Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Hooky, JD, New Order = Paradise

Posted by xneverwherex on November 24, 2014

Peter Hook & The Light
Performing ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Low-Life’
Mezzanine
11/21/14

After hitting up the Castro theater on Friday night to see Pulp’s new documentary – and clearly get me in the mood for a night of dancing – I made it down to Mezzanine. I somehow got there about 5 minutes before Peter Hook would grace the stage. Thank god for Muni and quickness – because no joke – the best part of the set hands down was the Joy Division material.

Minus Ian Curtis’ haunting vocals, the band was on fire. The guitars (Hooky and son mainly) were sounding amazing. Their full sound filling up the room. Starting with the opening chords of ‘Dead Souls’ it would only get better. The bass lines hauntingly beautiful – a recognizable sound most anywhere. The crowd was really into it, with people moving around slowly, feeling the music. It just seeped into you and would only get better. They worked their way far too quickly the songs but ‘Transmission’ into ‘Isolation’ and finally into ‘She’s Lost Control’…. wow!! It just could not get better.

Hooky

Hooky

Sure Peter Hook might not be the best vocalist, but for whatever reason I felt like his band really kept the essence of Joy Division more than Bernard Sumner’s New Order. Ive heard people tend to like either one or the other, but the intimacy of the show, the fans all moving/dancing together, was incredible. Granted, New Order is playing at the Fox which does tend to not have the greatest acoustics.

Regardless. the night was awesome. The guitar tracks were sounding great and Peter Hook was every bit the show man. He worked the stage playing his guitar close to the fans in front. He then climbed on top of some speakers reaching the far left of the stage. People were just loving it. His son, Jack Bates, seemed a bit more subdued but was a fully competent and excellent player. He isnt showy like his dad in any way, but would look out and smile on occasion and you could tell he was enjoying it. The keyboardist, Andy Poole, was incredible and that really kept the music going. If you cant have the vocals, surely you can get all the music itself done perfectly, and thats just what the band did.

My only real complaint is when Hooky stopped singing on a few songs and gave the duties over to David Potts, formerly of Monaco. His voice just seemed so out of place that at first I was wondering who on earth was possibly singing. And sadly, no Monaco songs.

Although, after a fully awesome Joy Division set, the band went into a really great New Order set. It started with 2 songs not off either the albums before going right into Low-Life. It was never one of my favorite NO albums, but it did sound quite good. And it does have one of my favorite NO songs “Perfect Kiss”. In no time at all the crowd was dancing tons and really into the set. After completing the album and a short break, it was time to dive into Brotherhood. ‘Paradise’, ‘Weirdo’ and ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ – I felt like I was back in high school, but this was so much better. I mean Bizarre Love Triangle really had the crowd dancing.

Peter Hook & The Light After 2 amazing albums, it was hard to ask for even more, but of course there was an encore. And the encore topped the whole show off. ‘Confusion’ into ‘True Faith’ (never sounding better!) and finally my favorite song ‘Temptation’. A crowd singing along, dancing, Hooky working it through the set and finally ripping off a wet “Jackass” shirt and throwing it into the crowd — yeah it was that good. And of course, it had to end with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. What show would not be complete without that as a finisher. Nearly 3 hours later – and I was left a hot, sweaty mess, departing into a cold rainy night. Somehow, it couldnt have been more fitting.

Set List:
Dead Souls (Joy Division)
Komakino (Joy Division)
Something Must Break (Joy Division)
Transmission (Joy Division)
Isolation (Joy Division)
She’s Lost Control (Joy Division)
Shadowplay (Joy Division)

Murder (New Order)
Lonesome tonight (New Order)
Thieves Like Us (New Order)

Low-Life (New Order)
Love Vigilantes
The Perfect Kiss
This Time of NIght
Sunrise
Elegia
Sooner Than You Think
Subculture
Face Up

Brotherhood (New Order)
Paradise
Weirdo
As It Is When It Was
Broken Promise
Way of Life
Bizarre Love Triangle
All Day Long
Angel Dust
Every Little Counts

Encore:
State of the Nation (New Order)
Confusion (New Order)
True Faith (New Order)
Temptation (New Order)
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)

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Blonde Redhead @ The Regency Ballroom

Posted by xneverwherex on November 15, 2014

Blonde Redhead
Dot Hacker
Regency Ballroom
November 11, 2014

New York’s Blonde Redhead was in town on Tuesday night for their new album Barragan. This was the trio’s first album in what seemed like a long awaited 4 years. While I don’t think the album holds a candle to earlier work, hearing it performed live was a whole different story. As a whole, the band has never seemed more connected.

Kazu - Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead – Kazu

Kazu was having such a great time, working the stage, dancing it up like crazy. The band seems to have found a perfect balance between old and new – and between the shoegaze, indie pop art sound its just pure bliss. Theres something transformative happening when they play. And the crowd was way into it. Plus lots of older material and a good chunk from 23. And a double encore. I mean, seriously, what more can you ask for.

The band also has such chemistry on stage — its like they can just read each other and it makes for a real good mood/vibe. Guitarist Amedeo sounds amazing live. His vocals interspersed with Kazu’s on some of the songs was just beautiful, but even on his own he sounds equally enchanting. His twin brother Simone on drums kept the beat going and just connects it all together.

Their encore was pretty incredible. They came back to the stage playing the shoegaze-y, guitar heavy, dance-y “Spring and By Summer Fall” which had the crowd dancing up a storm. Lots of swaying and heads bopping and everyone moving. The first encore ended with “23” which had the crowd yelling for more. Kazu’s voice has never sounded so lush and beautiful. She was also tearing up the stage, working her way all over it dancing up a storm. As one guy told me, the best dancer of all the indie bands these days.

It would have been perfect even if they just ended it there, but the band clearly were having so much fun they had to come out for more. Kazu was saying how much fun she was having and enjoying playing for us so we were given a second encore with an additional song ‘Equus‘. And it was *that* awesome.

Ive seen them a number of times and they just get better with age. Like that perfect glass of wine, just aging in style.

Set List:
Barragan
Lady M
Falling Man
Hated Because of Great Qualities
Love or Prison
Mind to Be Had
No More Honey
Doll is Mine
Melody
Not Getting There
Dripping

Spring and by Summer Fall
The One I Love
Defeatist Anthem (Harry and I)
23

Equus

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Its Time To Wake Up – La Femme

Posted by xneverwherex on November 2, 2014

La Femme
Sego
Future Twin
10/30/14
Slims

Paris-based La Femme was in town on Thursday night, the last night of their US tour, and were ready to start the Halloween party a tad bit early. The band came on stage around 11pm and played for nearly an hour and 45 minutes, properly bringing in the holiday. Sasha graced the stage in what looked like a lounge-y housecoat and pajama bottom styled pants, with the housecoat very open revealing a very naked chest. So it only took moments before the crowd (men and women) were yelling for him to take it off.

La Femme

La Femme

La Femme was perfect for California bringing their surf-electro-wave music to town. If they werent singing in French, they might be mistaken for a California surf punk band. They definitely have perfected the style but made it their own. At times they had the sexiness of Serge Gainsbourg (the breathy sultry music) complete with some great dancing. The band members all worked the stage dancing across it lost in the music.

The band turned Slims into one hell of a chaos infused dance floor. There was more moshing/circle pits than dancing (a pity), but the crowd was very into it. Only real complaints were the ginormous guys who were crushing the females in front – I walked out of the show with a bloodied up elbow and a fair amount of bruises including bruised ribs. (note: Im so not cut out for this). There was some stage diving as well as a few band members joining in on the fun on the floor. “Its Time To Wake up (2023)” really had people moving — with a great mix of vocals sung together, an electro meets psychedelic vibe and a lot of pot smoking. Their songs seemed to last forever and at times it was trance like. “Sur La Planche 2013” was as catchy as ever with plenty of people singing along.

I did notice a lot of French people in attendance and a lot of French speaking which isnt seen all that often. The band, keeping true to their album title Psycho Tropical Berlin, played a set encompassing all the different styles. From Berlin cold-wave, to the beach tropical sounds, deep into the psychedelic – lots of keyboards (lots!) and a good amount of guitars. The band was insanely brilliant.

LA via Provo, UT band Sego was one of the openers. And they really killed it. Reminiscent of Bloc Party, minus the catchy choruses, infused with LCD Soundsystem and you pretty much get this band. Their music was fun with lots of catchy bass lines and a keyboardist that was going crazy. Dance-punk at its finest, I expect to be seeing a lot more of this band.

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Ex Hex ‘Rips’ and Killed It!

Posted by xneverwherex on October 22, 2014

Ex Hex
Wild Moth
October 14, 2014
Rickshaw Stop

Finally! A show at the Rickshaw Stop that did NOT start at 11pm. It must be a sign that Im getting old as those shows are always so insanely late. I guess those are just Popscene nights.

Ex Hex

Ex Hex

DC-based Ex Hex was in town ‘opening’ up for Speedy Gonzalez who I didnt stick around for. Its hard to believe that Mary Timony’s new band was not the headliner as everyone was there to see her and her new band. Mary Timony, of Wild Flag, Helium and her own band, as well as others, had formed a new trio with other DC natives Laura Harris (kick ass drummer) and Betsy Wright (bass/vocals).

The band was awesome. On tour for their new album Rips the trio played a fast power-punk-pop set. It had the all-girls feeling of The Go-Go’s if they were a bit more punk. The band started out with new single ‘Dont Wanna Lose’ which is catchy, fun, jumping goodness. Its just awesome. They wasted no time as they went from song to song with insane guitar playing and incredibly catchy bass lines. Betsy and Mary have great chemistry on stage and feed off each other, playing up close to each other, leaning against each other and playing the hell out of their instruments. Betsy has amazing vocals and sounded amazing on the songs she sang on.

Ex Hex

Ex Hex

It was a bit of a bummer when the sound totally cut out right after “All Kindsa Girls” and the girls were left on stage to fend for themselves. Perhaps its amusing because right before they played that they dedicated it to the bartenders and said ‘yes – we are really going to play this song’. Then, a total absence of sound techs (or pretty much anyone that worked at the club) and they had to kind of wing ‘Outro’. So instead it became an instrumental guitar heavy song with lots of drums and no vocals. I recall Mary trying to sing some and even in the front it was hard to hear a thing. I could watch them mouthing words, but it was pretty sucky. I knew at one point Mary was about ready to give up, but Betsy kept telling her to play on. Was so glad that they did and managed to do one more song. And somehow the mic started working again.

It was a really awesome set and the trio were awesome together. Theyre still on tour and making their way back to the East Coast again, so if you havent seen them and are a fan of either Mary or just incredible guitar playing/power-punk-pop music, make sure to see them.

SF-based Wild Moth opened the show. Sadly, it was impossible to make out vocals with such insanely loud guitars. It sounded so muddled that I couldnt figure out if the sound system was just awful at Rickshaw Stop or this was the bands sound. If theyre on another set, Ill definitely see them again to see if its any better.

Set list:
Dont Wanna Lose
Waterfall
Waste Your Time
How You Got That Girl
New Kid
Hot and Cold
Beast
Radio On
You Fell Apart
All Kindsa Girls (The Real Kids cover)
Outro (minus vocals)
Everywhere

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Summer Ends with The Raveonettes

Posted by xneverwherex on September 24, 2014

The Raveonettes
Coves
Rich Girls
Bimbo’s 365 Club
9/22/14

The now LA-based Raveonettes made their way up the sunny coast of California to begin their tour in San Francisco at the lovely swanky old club Bimbo’s 365 in North Beach. Apparently, a regular stomping ground for them when they come to town. And, I could see why. Acoustically, the band sounded amazing. The noise was beautifully contained in the small club and regardless of where I stood it still sounded great (sight-lines is a whole ‘nother story).

The Raveonettes

The Raveonettes

The Danish duo were here in support of their new appropriately titled Pe’ahi (a place on the north shore of Maui). Their new album reflects some of their new home of LA — a more pop, surf-rock layered in guitars/fuzziness sound. Sure, in the beginning Sharin Foo, bassist & vocalist, had a bit of sound problems, but it was quickly worked out. Soon enough, plenty of loud gritty guitar. Sune Rose Wagner, lead vocalist & guitarist, was not too talkative but did introduce a few songs and excitedly would announce when they were playing an older one.

The band jammed through their hour long set with 3-minute 60’s wall of sound fuzzed out garage pop. “Love in a Trash Can” never sounded better with plenty of distortion and driving beats. Im in love with the song “Summer Ends” which they fittingly played after announcing it was the official last day of summer. Its a perfect end of summer song if your summer ended in heartbreak except for the fact its a catchy lighter shoegaze pop song with biting lyrics. “You said you come a-running when I need you
I said go fuck yourself I don’t believe you”. Enveloped in lots of strobes and dark lights the band played a great set of songs including “Uncertain Times”, “Chain Gang of Love”, “Apparitions”, “Sisters” (from the new album), and so many more. With 3 minute short songs, they seemed to just rip right through them.

The Raveonettes went out with a bang with their dirty gritty guitars on “Aly, Walk with me” and “Recharge & Revolt”. They sounded perfect in there and walked off the stage with the crowd definitely wanting more…

Rich Girls

Rich Girls

Openers Coves from the UK had to bow out due to visa issues (dont get me started on that one). San Francisco locals Rich Girls filled in for them at the last minute. And they were awesome. Fronted by Luisa Black, this 3-piece band performed a noisy guitar-heavy, drum heavy set. They sounded awesome, dirty and gritty garage rock, and had some really great songs. They were a perfect opener for the Raveonettes.

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How Are Things On the West Coast? – Interpol

Posted by xneverwherex on September 22, 2014

Interpol
Rey Pila
Fox Theater
9/20/14

Interpol

Interpol

4 years later and Interpol was finally back in town and Im so glad that I ended up with a friend’s ticket. The band had finally released a new album, El Pintor. The album is brilliant and is a nice reminder of where they came from having a very similar sound to Turn On The Bright Lights. Sure, theres no Carlos D(engler) and the sound had to change some but its distinctly Interpol.

While I usually seem to loathe the sound at The Fox, for whatever reason it worked with Interpol and they sounded great. The guitars sounded a bit muddled at times, but it worked and added texture to their songs. Paul’s vocals were haunting over the lush guitars swirling in the background as the band started playing ‘My Blue Supreme’. It was a great way to start the set and then without disappointing they went straight to their first album to play the catchy-fast paced ‘Say Hello To the Angels’. The crowd quickly got into it with lots of hand clapping and fist pumping. And then straight into the even more catchy ‘Evil’ which had everyone singing along and dancing. Their music is just perfect and so easy to get lost in with the guitars and the drums thumping along keeping the timing.

Interpol NYC

Interpol NYC

Interpol also had their live debut of one of my favorite new tracks ‘Everything is Wrong’. Paul Banks: “That was ‘Everything Is Wrong’… that was the *debut* of ‘Everything Is Wrong’…as a matter of fact.” Enveloped in red lights and different imagery on the screen, the band played the hell out of the song. The band never sounded more gorgeous than during ‘NYC’ with the images of the skyline swirling in fast motion behind them. Paul’s vocals were hauntingly beautiful with the pulse of the guitars filling the air. Plus, Narc, Not Even Jail and Slow Hands right before they went into an encore. Yowzers! It does NOT get better than that.

The band did an awesome mix of songs and really catered to older fans of the band focusing on the brilliant album ‘Antics’. The breakdown consisted of 6 songs off of El Pintor (the painter in Spanish) but also an anagram of Interpol; 5 songs from ‘Antics’ and 3 songs from ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’. Then one each from the other album. Of course, theres always bound to be a disappointment and it would have been great just to hear ‘How are things on the west coast?’ (the opening line to Heinrich Maneuver). Ah well. I seriously could not complain about the set. It was short as I had expected it to be, they were never a band that played for a very long time. But they packed the set with a punch.

Interpol has had a few changed with members over the years, but has added to the mix Brandon Curtis (mostly known for Secret Machines) on keyboards and vocals as well a new touring bassist, Brad Truax. The additions were great. And yes, its hard not to miss Carlos D. (he was insanely great on bass), Brad held up his own. He sounded excellent with his hair flying all over the place as he tore through the songs. Brandon Curtis is also a great addition and sounded like he’d been playing with the band all along (granted Secret Machines toured with them a bit, so it was already a great fit). Daniel as always worked the stage going back and forth and doing quite a bit of dancing. Clearly always enjoying himself. And Sam Fogarino sounded great on drums, always keeping the band connected.

If youre on the fence about seeing them and enjoy their new album, its quite worth it. With such a great mix of songs, its hard to leave disappointed.

Rey Pila

Rey Pila

Rey Pila, from Mexico City, opened the set. The poor lead singer forgot where he was off the bat and said something to the effect of being so glad to be in Sacramento! Doh! These things do happen, and he tried to play it off and ask about the Raiders. The crowd was not having it. I was a huge fan of them at SXSW and their music still sounds great. Clearly a throw-back to the new wave 80s, they had totally reminded me of a new version of The Cars. One with much more guitars but still plenty of keyboards. Not quite as funky as I had remembered them, I still enjoyed their set immensely. The lead singer was dancing up a storm and worked the stage. He even hopped down below more than a few times to be closer to the fans. Clearly enjoying himself, and getting over his faux-pas. Definitely not one of the more typical Interpol openers, but really great.

Set List:
My Blue Supreme
Say Hello to the Angels
Evil
My Desire
Length of Love
Breaker 1
The Lighthouse
Anywhere
Everything is Wrong (live debut)
Lights
Narc
Not Even Jail
Slow Hands

All the Rage Back Home
NYC
Obstacle 1

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Brooklyn Takes on SF

Posted by xneverwherex on September 7, 2014

Bear in Heaven
Young Magic
Miles Cooper Seaton
The Independent
September 3, 2014

Brooklyn came to San Francisco for a full night of music and it was pretty awesome. And I didnt even have to go to a large venue to see them all (compared to NYC). One of the major pluses. It was a very awesome, respectful crowd and not even sold out (which was a surprise, albeit a nice one). The band was in town touring for their 4th album, Time Is Over One Day Old.

Adam Wills - Bear in Heaven

Bear in Heaven – Adam Wills

While I hadnt spent much time listening to Bear in Heaven‘s new album, I had heard it a few times thanks to streaming on NPR. The new album is very accessible but still has their own distinct sound. Not as pop sounding as earlier albums, they still managed to have catchy tunes that will stick in your mind. A woman and I were saying at the show, ‘and their music is still so blissful.’ You can just disappear into their songs, with the constant beat from the drums and the droning spaced out guitars – you just dissolve into their music – the beat just takes you along and it doesnt feel like its always distinct songs – just a feeling of blissfulness. And it doesnt leave as they continue their set (which always seems way too short).

Bear in Heaven

Bear in Heaven

The band focused on their latest 2 albums which sound great live. The band started out with ‘Autumn’ and then went into ‘I Do You’ off their second album (and one of my favorite all-time albums – Beast Rest Fort Mouth). Its just hypnotic as the keyboards take you away, the band swathed in lights which sometimes turned into strobes giving them a far-away feel spaced-out feel of psychedelic grooviness. While the strobes are definitely not intense as they are in Brooklyn (they don’t take their lighting designer, Will Armstrong, along with them on tour) it works. And you still get the same feel.

Jon Philpot, lead singer, wasnt too talkative but was quite happy to be back in San Francisco. He was cool and obliged a fan who yelled out for ‘Lovesick Teenagers’. That was definitely one of the highlights for me and was so glad that they played it. ‘Sinful Nature’ sounded better than ever; Jon’s vocals sweeping into the air amidst the beat from the keyboard and bass.

If you haven’t seen the band in awhile, or perhaps never at all – I would highly recommend checking them out as theyre still playing a good mix of most their music.

Young Magic

Young Magic

Young Magic, a band I was familiar with mostly by name, was one of the openers and they proved to be a great match for Bear In Heaven. They were possibly even better than Bear in Heaven playing an experimental electro-trip hop set. Lead singer Melati Malay’s voice floated through the set with a sense of longing. Lots of influences could be heard with African beats standing out. The band, now hailing from Brooklyn, is from a mish-mash of places mostly of the South Pacific (Indonesia and Australia) and its noticeable in their music.

The music is just beautiful and like Bear in Heaven, will just sweep you away. The vocals of Isaac Emmanuel and Melati sound gorgeous when they sing together and it just blends seamlessly. Throw in some solid drum beats and you feel like youve escaped to another part of the world. Just drifting in and out it takes you elsewhere.

This might have been one of the best pairings Ive seen in a long time. They could have been extensions of each other musically and it was so worth it to show up early to see them.

Miles Cooper Seaton

Miles Cooper Seaton

I shouldn’t leave out fellow opener, singer-songwriter and founder/creator of Akron/Family, Miles Cooper Seaton. Just him, a guitar and laptop, and add some soaring vocals (damn could he hold his notes). He was also quite the storyteller too – talking about punk music, playing covers and his musical sensibilities. He was simply put – awesome! He was just so comfortable on the stage it would have been hard to know it was his first time really doing this on his own. His music ranged from more punk influenced songs to ambient songs. He was a great addition to the set and his music fit in just perfectly.

Bear in Heaven Set List:
Autumn
You Do You
Sinful Nature
Time Between
If I Were to Lie
Cool Light
Kiss Me Crazy
They Dream
Lovesick Teenagers
You Don’t Need the World
Dissolve the Walls

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Pandora Presents: Sharon Van Etten @ The Chapel

Posted by xneverwherex on July 31, 2014

Sharon Van Etten
The Chapel
7/29/14

Pandora Presents Sharon Van Etten. So that’s pretty cool and it was free. So yeah, even better. The show, which started at 9pm, already had people lining up at 4:30pm. And for the most part by 6pm – it was one packed line. I didn’t show up till later, and that was a big risk as I nearly did not get in. The place was packed and people were beyond drunk and beyond talkative.

Sharon Van Etten had flown into SF for the show and came with band members (and siblings) Heather and Peter Broderick. Peter is one hell of a violinist and sounded gorgeous on the few songs he played with them. Heather as always complemented Sharon beautifully with the vocals and their harmonies are enchanting. The two also played with Efterklang when on tour and they fit in beautifully with that band. Hopefully they will also tour with them again as well.

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

I missed a bit of the beginning as I was still in line, but didn’t seem to miss too much. There was some yelling between her and the crowd when people wouldn’t shut up and it just got louder and louder. I heard her mention something about them being louder than her and to shut up. It seemed a recurring theme during the show, as people just couldnt shut up. But once we got passed that and onto the peace and love part, it was great. She was not playing her typical songs, but played a few songs she had never played before live. Most of the songs were off of Are We There. Some b-sides (one was, “Life of His Own” the b-side to “Leonard”) as well as “Red are the Flowers” a song she was still working on for a covers album for Karen Dalton.

SVE was self-deprecating as always. She made jokes about not being able to play the piano for shit (her words) and really being NOT good. Of course, she does sound great and the acoustics in the Chapel were perfect for her. The band sounded full with just the 3 of them when they all played together. Most the songs were just SVE on the piano or guitar. She seemed so engaged and exposed when she talked about her music and why she wrote it. She talked about her dad lots with mention of a new video and her dad blushing when he saw her on the bed with another guy (she was clothed and it was G-rated, although perhaps PG as she said). She encouraged the crowd to sing along to one of the songs towards the end even if they didnt know the words, but should make something up.

It was a short set – less than an hour – but great to have her back in town, even if just for an evening. She loves SF and definitely wanted to keep things weird at the show, which she always manages to do.

Thanks Pandora! Another soon, please!

Set List:
Afraid of Nothing
Life of His Own (b-side to Leonard)
Tarifa
Consolation Prize
Hotel 2 Tango (Live debut)
I Always Fall Apart
I Love You But I’m Lost
Our Love (Live debut)
Tornado
Every Time the Sun Comes Up
I Know

Red are the Flowers (Karen Dalton cover)

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Sharon Van Etten Sizzles & Shines (and is secretly a comedian)

Posted by xneverwherex on July 2, 2014

Sharon Van Etten
Jana Hunter (Lower Dens)
The Independent
June 30, 2014

Sharon Van Etten, the charming singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, was all smiles and looking incredible. Clad in a form fitting black dress with gold up the middle and very high heels, she was looking smashing! Better than looking good, she was all charm with a witty/dry sense of humour and seems to laugh at her own jokes and is very light-hearted. Its not exactly what one expects after listening to her songs. She doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously and knows how to let loose. As mentioned, she is charming and delightful.

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

SVE played to a packed house Monday night. Both of her shows sold out in San Francisco. She could easily be playing much larger venues, but its clear that shes comfortable and loves the intimacy. From the sounds of it, her show on Sunday night was nothing short of spectacular so it was hard to know what the show would be like. And this show was beyond incredible.

The majority of songs were off the new album Are We There. While her music is still powerful and haunting, she’s moved beyond heartbreak. Its clear that this is the grown-up version of herself, moving on with life. Her new album still has an angst to it, and its easy to get caught up in it and just feel it all. Its like everything she’s ever felt goes into her songs and it exudes from her as she plays.

She played ‘Leonard‘ dedicating it to the ex who probably knew it was written for him. As she said, his real name is ‘Bleonard’. It was like an inside joke that we were all part of, no matter how stupid it sounded. It was a funny joke and even better to see that she can now joke about this toxic relationship.

She talked lots about her merch, oh yeah she does have kleenex with her face on it so you know, you can blow your nose into. (no im not making this up!). And umbrellas for the rainy days we don’t seem to have (clearly an ongoing joke, with someone and her yelling ‘too soon’). She’s even thought of adding a new part to her show ‘current events with Sharon Van Etten’. Hah! Seriously, she could be on a talk show at the rate shes going. She talked to a huge fan in the front asking what current events she missed. Naturally, the story brought up was the student stuck in the vagina in Germany (because these things always occur). Ive got to hand it to her, without missing a beat she said ‘and the next song is “Break Me“‘, giggling as she starts playing the droning, lo-fi song. Its gorgeous like everything she plays.

SVE seems to know how to push people and understands concert crowds all too well. While there was lots of banter back and forth between the crowd and her, there were the inevitable naysayers who were getting upset and wanted her to just play. She joked about blogs and what kinds of nasty things would be written about the show and people would complain about her lack of playing and even more importantly there’s always the people who complain that enough old songs weren’t played. Its the nature of being in a band, and you never can win them all. But I actually think she should have garnered even more fans. And for those not paying attention, she played more songs last night than she did at her prior shows.

She quickly introduced the band as others yelled out for that in the mix of the banter. Her band is just awesome and it appears most of them aren’t going elsewhere. Heather Woods Broderick (Efterklang), is a great addition and matches Sharon Van Etten’s raw, haunting vocals. On the crowd-pleasing hit ‘Serpents‘, the women go back and forth almost as in a duel with each out performing each other with the vocals. Its strong, powerful and is beyond emotional. It packed a punch and made the already powerful song sound even better. Doug Keith, on guitar and vocals, was nicknamed ‘Pretty Boy’, by a fan who wanted to know which effects he was using on the guitar. Turns out it was the ebow, which he was nice enough to even spell.

She ended the set asking for some weed and promising a setlist in return. As she played the last song of the night, “Everytime the Sun Comes Up“, complete with laughter and giggles, some guys in front of her were nice enough to blow smoke up at her. It was the only song she had written totally stoned. After the show they gave her a joint and she kept to her word and gave out a setlist.

All in all, SVE sounded amazing and full but still has a haunting ache to her voice. Her fans relate as we all have stories, but she’s managed to articulate it so well with not just her lyrics, but with the music itself. This album is a nice departure from the last. Instead of all the amazing guest collaborators (The Dessners, Wye Oak, etc), this is more herself and perhaps it shows.

Jana Hunter

Jana Hunter

Jana Hunter, lead singer of Baltimore’s Lower Dens, opened the set. Armed simply with just a guitar and a laptop, she sat down in a chair and played a lovely short set. It felt so intimate as if we were watching someone in her recording studio preparing her new album. The material is dark and ethereal and comes across as oh so moody. Simply put, its gorgeous and just takes you away.

It was great to hear her have some fun with Hall & Oates’ ‘Maneater‘; ’twas an amazing cover. And her voice had the perfect amount of rasp, which probably meant she did smoke the perfect amount of cigarettes.

SVE Set List:
Afraid of Nothing
Taking Chances
Tarifa
Save Yourself
Nothing Will Change
Break Me
Don’t Do It
I Love You But Im Lost
Leonard
You Know ME Well
Serpents
Your Love is Killing Me

I Know (SVE solo)
All I Can
Everytime The Sun Comes Up

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Wonder … Rodriguez

Posted by xneverwherex on June 8, 2014

Rodriguez
LP
Warfield Theater
May 28, 2014

Sixto Rodriguez, known to most of us from the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, played back-to-back shows at The Warfield Theater. The 70-year old came out to the stage with a full band (a guy from the UK, a guitarist from New Zealand and a drummer from somewhere else not in the States) and played a really great set, to a really excited crowd. He was dressed in dark clothes, a jacket, and his trademark sunglasses and hat that he only took off towards the end of the set.

Rodriguez @ The Warfield

Rodriguez @ The Warfield

There must have been a few people from South Africa who yelled out periodically how much South Africa loves him. This continued on throughout the night, and at some point Rodriguez asked them how much they had been drinking. He was funny, chatty and most of all was seeming to have a really great time. After ‘Sugar Man’ he added that the song is “descriptive, not prescriptive … hugs not drugs.” and had a few political quips. He also talked about growing up in a Mexican family.

Rodriguez who released his first EP in 1970 in Detroit has definitely paid his dues. He is often times compared to Dylan and on occasion does a Dylan cover. Its hard to believe that he never found the same fame that Dylan had as his music is just as good, if not better. For a long while he was thought to have been dead, and then found a resurgence in South Africa during Apartheid. The music is all Detroit and is a great blend of urban, blues and folk music put into one. He’s got a very melodic soulful voice with an edge and perhaps a hint of sadness. He seemed to blow through his 2 albums all too quickly. The set lasted just over an hour and was a great ‘best-of’ set with a few covers thrown in.

Rodriguez

Rodriguez

‘I Wonder’ was a stand out with catchy sexual lyrics. ‘Sugar Man’ sounds wonderful live. His backing band was phenomenal and they had a great chemistry. It would be hard to complain to be recruited by him and play a full tour with him.

LP, who is mostly known from her song being in a Citibank commercial, opened the set. She was impressive and has one hell of a voice. Reminding me of St. Vincent she was a force. Her set was short, but she definitely left an impression and everyone was left talking about her. I will have to be seeing her again.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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