Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

On A Mission w/Black Violin

Posted by xneverwherex on March 26, 2015

Black Violin
Yoshi’s Oakland
3/22/15

Couldnt have picked a better venue for Miami’s Black Violin to play. Yoshi’s is a sweet little jazz club that doesn’t leave space for dancing, but is great for a very intimate performance. The sound couldn’t possibly have been better and as it was all chairs and tables, the sightlines were great.

Of course, right from the on-set the band went against Yoshi’s “rules” and told everyone to take pictures and videos and to tag everything with @BlackViolin. They also encouraged everyone to stand up and dance and their shows were not made for sitting. Sadly, there really wasnt much room to stand nor dance, but people did what they could on occasion.

Black Violin

Black Violin

The duo consisting of the always wide smiling Kev Marcus on violin and Wil B on viola are nothing short of impressive. From seeing them at a small hip-hop club last year at SXSW to seeing them at a jazz club, the band doesn’t disappoint.

The band started out with their classical music “Brandenburg” showing just how talented the two of them are. It quickly moved into some hip-hop numbers along with their DJ throwing down the beats and a drummer who was simply sick. The way the guys move between genres and making it sound so flawless is pretty amazing. The wah-wah effects pedal used with Kev’s violin is pretty sick and not something that you see a lot. It gives the instrument such a full on sound taking it far away from a traditional violin sound.

Im a big fan of their renditions of popular songs and just how amazing they sound with violins and their vocals. It helps that they encourage a lot of audience participation with hands in the air, encouraging lots of dancing and of course, singing along. Its a bit of a bummer when the crowd is pretty silent to a song like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky“, but then again hearing Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” on violins is nothing short of impressive. Of course, the crowd was mostly singing along and a few of us had our hands in the air or were dancing. “Radioactive” and “Stay With Me” were also pretty cool, but Im a bigger fan of their original numbers. “The Mission” is a highly catchy song with great beats/synths and Kev plucking his violin like a guitar and will have you tapping your foot in no time. But the band is most impressive when they perform their song “Freestyle” which is exactly as it sounds – just them performing on the fly, feeding off the energy of the audience and never the same. Its pretty cool to see what they come up with. Of course, after it was done Wil asked for someone to be sure to post it as it was one of the more awesome Freestyles. This is where the band excels fusing classical with hip-hop and making it all sound so fresh and new.

The band had now been touring for 65 days straight and it seems theyre hitting up everywhere. So if they haven’t yet hit your city, its a crime to not see them. Push yourself into a genre you probably weren’t necessarily aware of and enjoy some violin for a night. It will blow your mind. Now, if theyd just start playing the club circuit and then you could have a real party!

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Dope Machines – Airborne Toxic Event

Posted by xneverwherex on March 24, 2015

Airborne Toxic Event
Regency Ballroom
3/21/15

LA’s, The ATE, had announced a shortened tour of just 9 dates for their 4th album Dope Machines. The new album was going in a bit of a different direction than prior albums. It definitely has more of an 80s flare and more synth than their big anthem indie songs of years prior. It was to be an awesome show that would be focusing more on the visuals than the actual band itself.

The Airborne Toxic Event

The Airborne Toxic Event

Mikel Jollett sounds so much more emotionally invested in this album. With raw, passionate vocals you really can feel him. It also helps that they played the new album in its entirety nearly in the dark with all of the emphasis on the video images behind them. The videos ranged from women in lacey lingerie (stockings) to visuals of cityscapes passing by. Songs like “California” still have the catchiness of prior songs and it was great to hear Mikel talking about growing up in the different parts of California and how its made him – of course, hes a product of hippie parents that took him around in a VW bus growing up. And best of all, he tells a story like no other.

Unlike other shows, this show started out a bit on the slower side but thankfully there was a part 2 where they played all of their hits. The band then started out “part 2″ with the ever catchy “Gasoline” which got the crowd dancing and revved up. Plus – it would mean we’d finally get the band really working the stage and playing their hearts out. Lots of guitars, lots of great harmonies and of course Anna Bulbrook not just on keyboards, but her violin. And man, I am sure seeing a lot of violins in bands these days, but she tore it up. So with the lights all up and a crowd wanting this – the remainder of the set would turn into a fun affair. The band continued to rip through songs immediately going into “Happiness Is Overrated” — another fun catchy song that had the crowd singing along to ‘i’m sorry, i nearly lost my head’.

It was a great fun night, but this crowd left a lot to be desired. From the young kids in front of me who insisted on slow-dancing then having a full on make out session (yes – this was right near the stage) and having no clue that they were yes, at a concert. It was just awkward. Worse, instead of paying attention to Mikel who is literally right behind them playing his guitar to the far right area, they were filming each other. If that wasnt enough, we then had a woman come up to us asking if we would be her friend. Now I have seen a lot at concerts, but I dont think Ive been asked about the friend thing since I was 5. She was insistent on hanging out with my friend and I, while I was more interested in not having any conversation and watching the band. Plus, I had the kids in front of me now making devil-horned signs the entire show.

The Airborne Toxic Event

The Airborne Toxic Event

So yes, it was an interesting night, and they had an encore or two, plus its hard to go wrong with the violin opening of “Sometime Around Midnight“. Its just gorgeous having the addition of the strings. And the song just resonates with these lyrics:
And it starts
Sometime around midnight
Or at least that’s when you lose yourself
For a minute or two
As you stand
Under the bar lights
And the band plays some song about forgetting yourself for a while

And in a nutshell it rather sums up the night. Theyre definitely a band to see if you havent before as its always a good time, even when the crowd isnt quite what you were expecting.

Set List:
Dope Machines Set
Wrong
One Time Thing
Dope Machines
California
Time to be a Man
Hell and Back
My Childish Bride
The Thing About Dreams
Something You Lost
Chains

Fan Favorites (might be out of order)
Gasoline
Happiness Is Overrated
Changing
Change and Change and Change and Change
Papillon
Welcome to Your Wedding Day
Sometime Around Midnight
All I Ever Wanted

Elizabeth

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A Little Bit of Country — Dinner With The Kids

Posted by xneverwherex on March 21, 2015

Dinner With the Kids
+ other local bands
50 Mason Social House
March 20, 2015

Lots of different bands and lots of different sounds filled 50 Mason Social House last night. With the first band that was your typical indie rock fare, they had some good moments and it definitely wasn’t anything horrible, but sadly it was just rather forgettable. I dont even know if they ever said their name so that in itself isnt quite good, but then again I was outside for part of the set.

Really, I was there to see San Francisco local band Dinner With the Kids. Thanks to their “new” mandolin player, Ben Graham, I found out about them. And yes, really its definitely a little bit of country and a little bit of bluegrass and a little bit of Americana. Its foot stomping, hand-clapping sweet sweet music. And while last night was a set way too short, it was nothing but awesome.

Dinner With The Kids

Dinner With The Kids

“Wild At Heart” which has to be one of the catchiest songs with Nick Poulos‘ scratchy gruff vocals is a foot stomping good ‘ole time. When Michelle Juola joins in, their harmonies are just beautiful together. Their voices blend together so perfectly with her higher vocals softening up the song. Add a bit of banjo and cello (sadly missing last night) and the song just gets better. It reminds me of a song that you’d hear at a Decemberists show that just goes on and on and picks up with speed and intensity the deeper into the track.

When Nick sings, its hard to not pay attention to him. With a full lumberjack red beard and a hat, he has a voice that just commands attention. (“Voodoo Call” is the perfect example – he just draws you in with those vocals). The band, with all the different instruments, just blends together so beautifully. Bassist (Reese Douglas) and mandolin player (Ben) fit in so well amongst the guitars and vocals of Nick and Michelle, it just seemed that they all could have been playing together now for quite awhile. Drummer (Kevin Rypma) was tucked away in back, but his drumming definitely added to their full sound.

The real asset of DWTK is the guitars and harmonies of Nick and Michelle especially on songs like “And Everything Moves On” – the two of them together have a beautiful interplay and you can feel the emotion when they sing. They just bring you into the song and hold you captive during those moments and its hard not to fall in love with them.

The show last night sadly may have had too many bands that were all over the place music genre wise. The crowd was pretty tame with most people sitting down and not terribly interested. But I did hear some people talking about how good they were, so thats a good thing.

If youre local – the band is playing a bunch more shows in the city. Next up – Wed night a free show/fundraiser to raise money for a new album! Come out, come out wherever you are!

Set List:
Sonoma
Sarsaparilla Roots
Wild at Heart
Southern Hospitality
Whiskey Riders
Devil at the Crossroads
15 to Life
Voodoo Call
And Everything Moves On

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Clan of Xymox @ DNA Lounge

Posted by xneverwherex on March 21, 2015

Clan of Xymox
Anthony Jones
DNA Lounge
March 19, 2015

Dutch band, Clan of Xymox, finally made it back to San Francisco just 10 years later. Having a very brief tour, just 3 dates in California before heading to Europe, Northern CA was lucky to get one of their shows.

Clan of Xymox

Clan of Xymox

While I had never seen the band back in the day, it was great to finally see them. Ronny Moorings sounded just great and still looked awesome. He is just great to watch on guitar, but even better when he’s not playing as his hands are so expressive. Always moving and just perfect with the music, it was gorgeous to watch.

Their earlier songs with the catchy synth beats over dark and moody guitars and vocals, sounded incredible. The music just goes on and on with incredibly long songs that just beg for dancing. With songs like ‘This World’ that just seem to keep going and a pulse that never stops, its easy to get lost in the music. No matter how long the songs are, you just dont want them to end.

‘Jasmine and Rose’ was another crowd favorite and everyone was singing along to the chorus of “sensual” — bodies writhing to the music, clad in black latex and leather, mohawks everywhere you turned, lots of very dark eye make-up and black eyeliner, the crowd was just beautiful. Unlike most shows where theres lots of pushing and shoving, it was a pretty awesome crowd. Everyone just dancing (and not the pseudo jumping around) people were caught up in the music. Arms floating through the air, bodies moving to the music, its the perfect music. Darkwave has never sounded better.

I’m definitely partial to their earlier songs, but the music off of their latest album, Matters of Mind Body and Soul, is really quite great. The band which has definitely gone away from the more synthpop 80’s sound, still has their darkwave/gothic/electronic feel. Its melancholic, emotional, atmospheric sounds tugs at the heartstrings. The songs are emotional and raw and just beautiful. You can just close your eyes and with the background keys and guitars, get lost in the music. It just takes you along and is perhaps one of their best albums since their earlier music. Opening the set with “I Close My Eyes” off this new album was a brilliant way to start the set. It just set the mood for an incredible dark ambient show.

The band ended the show with a brilliant cover of Shocking Blue‘s ‘Venus’ changing up the words just a bit from “Im Your Venus” to “Shes My Venus, She’s My Fire’ which was an awesome little change. Its a nice dark, heavy cover with moody vocals and couldnt have been better. Of course, they had to end the set with one of their most popular songs ‘Obession’ which created a surge of energy and finally lots of moshing. By that time, with everyone a hot sweaty mess, it didnt even matter. It was a brilliant way to end the show and I couldnt have left more happy.

Anthony Jones @ DNA

Anthony Jones

San Francisco’s Anthony Jones, whose music and shows benefit the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, opened up the set with musicians on violins and cello. It had to have been the most beautiful gothic, Victorian music I have ever heard. It felt like a time and place of yesteryear. The women in their Victorian/gothic dresses with gorgeous headpieces were just breathtaking. It was all so intricate.

The music takes you to another place and Anthony’s vocals echoed through the DNA Lounge. It just filled the room along with the backing instruments. It felt like a full orchestra even if there were only 3 of them on instruments. He has such a strong presence and the way he works the stage, he commands your attention. As he sings “Long Live The Queen” you begin to feel like you are in a different era. His music is like period-pieces and depending on where he takes you, you get sucked into that era.

As he played “Come to Me” (which starts with the opening line ‘Welcome to Fright Night’), youre immersed in a world of vampires. Keyboards fill the room with manic sounds, and then Anthony’s voice comes in, haunting and beautiful. Ariellah comes out in beautiful black latex and starts dancing, her body undulating across the stage. She grabs him and clings to him and its just beautiful to watch, if not a bit of a voyeuristic feel. The music is just made for a movie, all dark and haunting, brooding and gothic.

By far, he is one to go out and see. Its hard to go wrong with beautiful vocals and violins and a cellist that just add to the whole world. The two bands were so well paired together. It couldnt have been a better set and with an awesome crowd, it made the night all the better. Plus, so many great outfits to look at. An awesome night!

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Caribou Closes Out Noise Pop Fest

Posted by xneverwherex on March 4, 2015

Caribou
Koreless
The Fillmore
March 2, 2015

Canada’s Dan Snaith, also known as Caribou, came to SF for a couple of days to close out the Noise Pop Festival at The Fillmore. The show had long been sold-out and unlike most shows, tickets were hard to come by. After finally making the decision that I had to see him, I just threw down the money and hoped for the best.

Caribou

Caribou

The band came out clad in white to a stage of red and blue lights that would eventually be a lot of strobe lights (I somehow did not see the warnings!). The band started out slow with the lo-fi house drum beats on “Our Love” and immediately the crowd was shuffling around. With a slow progression, the music gets faster with lovely synthy dance beats and the crowd followed along as Dan & Company would take us on a full-on dance party always in command. Just as you feel it getting close to the climax and youre ready for more, the band turns it down a notch. And it worked.

Caribou, which is labeled under ‘idm’ (intelligent dance music), isnt your typical indie dance electronica band. Dan manages to encapsulate so many styles in their songs – from experimental to jungle to house and of course electronic – and as a whole the songs work. There are so many layers on his songs, with some of them having a shoegaze influence but also still has the continuous throbbing beats. The new album, Our Love seems to have branched out even more and just might be even more accessible.

On tour, Dan brings along a guitarist, bassist and another drummer and the 4-some are tight on stage. Packed neatly into a small space in the center of the stage, each band member contributes as an individual and a whole to the band. It makes for an intimate closeness as they all play and work off of each other. Its hard to imagine that this is all done as just one when its so perfect live with all the different instruments. If you love drums, they have plenty, with 2 drums going on for most of the night – a throbbing beat just keeping the show moving along.

It definitely helps that Caribou has a fan-base that is pretty solid. Before the show started, I heard someone talking about all the different shows he had seen mentioning of course Caribou. How I was so tempted to say that I saw him perform under Manitoba years prior. People that love his music, really love his music. Throw down some awesome synths to solid drum beats that have a tribal sound along with one hell of a light show, and you get one hell of an awesome show. Plus, the pulse of the crowd which was in constant movement (and they say people don’t dance) and bam! I mean, how can one not move to his music.

It was one hell of an impressive set. The band played for nearly 70 minutes without stopping between songs. Throw in ‘Sun‘ as an encore and for nearly 10 minutes you just get lost in the music. Dan was having such an awesome time, playing in purple socks, and every once in awhile staring out at the crowd with a huge smile. It was just pure happiness. The other drummer, played the set with just one shoe on. The whole band just seemed so comfortable and it was clear that it wasnt just the crowd who was so into it. Everyone was so lost in the music and with hits like ‘Odessa‘ (one of his most catchiest songs) and my own favorite ‘Leave House‘ (I never want to stop dancing when this is played – it just goes on and on and on). Plus, The Fillmore (not usually known for having electronic bands), was the place to see this. Sure, normally it’d be at Mezzanine or a more club environment, but the acoustics here were spot on. It could not have been a better space for the band.

Koreless

Koreless

Scottish electronic producer Lewis Roberts, a.k.a. Koreless, started the evening armed with just a laptop. It might have been the exact opposite in electronic music when compared to Caribou but to say it was not brilliant would be a lie. Koreless manages to add a lot of layers and textures to the music that it seems you can actually feel it. Between the ethereal shoegaze sounds to the space-y ambient noise, you feel like youre in your own world. In my own version of Interstellar, this is the music that would be with me. It transports you to another space, its moody and delicious. With a continuous haze of pot smoke above, it added to the ambience.

I walked out of the show and my back was drenched in sweat. The dress I was wearing was now clinging to me and soaked. Sure, it was disgusting after the fact, but during the show just the feel of the crowd dancing and super into it and connected was an awesome feeling. Surely worth every cent I paid for the show and probably even more.

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Welcome To My World of Kinky

Posted by xneverwherex on February 15, 2015

Kinky
2/12/15 – Mezzanine
2/13 – The Catalyst (Santa Cruz)

Rock en Español/Latin American rock whatever you want to call it, has never been better. The bands that I have recently seen coming from below us always put on incredible shows. So, its really no surprise that the quintet from Monterrey, México Kinky put on one hell of a show. I knew in roughly the first 5 minutes, that I would be off to Santa Cruz for night 2! The band had just released MTV (unplugged) which seems to contain songs from all their different albums.

Kinky

Kinky

With the opening notes of “Después Del After“, you could already feel the surge of electricity emanating from the crowd. Omar Gongaro, would be the first to appear, somewhat hidden behind his ginormous drum set. One of the few drummers that Ive seen play standing up for the full performance. Then came their out bassist Cesar Pliego (who is just pure energy) and Carlos Chairez (lead guitar). Cesar was already dancing around in his tejana (cowboy hat) and boots and was ready to get the show started. By the time lead singer Gilberto Cerezo came out on stage the entire crowd was dancing and singing along. Adding to the craziness of their set is Ulises Lozano keyboardist/programmer and sometimes accordionist.

Unlike the Santa Cruz set, Mezzanine is a small tight club with everyone pressed into each other. The stage is way too small to incorporate the band and their theatrics to really appreciate the entirety of their show. The video screen in the background was nearly impossible to see from the sides of the Mezzanine and it proved to be an integral part of their show (as I witnessed at The Catalyst). The spaces couldnt have been more dissimilar from each other. The Catalyst was a really wide open spot with a fairly large balcony that surrounds the stage. The stage is up pretty high – with a good 3′ gap between the stage and the audience. So there is definitely a bit of a barrier between audience and band. While Mezzanine seemed a much more intimate experience (up close and very personal), the band definitely thrived on the larger stage and took full advantage of it.

Kinky

Kinky

While, Id guess that most of their fans are Spanish speakers, it really doesnt matter if you can/cannot understand the songs. You end up just losing yourself to the music. They do a blend of songs in Spanish and English infusing electronic beats into full on rock songs. The band is pure energy and its a non-stop dance party. With songs like “Alma de Neon“, its impossible to not be moving around. Keeping it going, they move straight into the funkadelic “Hasta Quemarnos“.

By the time the band got into even the more upbeat/electronic/dance/rave “Cornman” followed by “Coqueta” with COWBELLS played by Ulises the crowd was a frenzy of arms, flailing and everyone moving. The songs are beyond catchy and when played back to back it just begs for a full on dance party. Adding to the fun of it all was bassist Cesar who by now was jumping around and dancing nonstop hopping on one foot in circles. Plus, we got to have even more accordion playing during “Cornman” with the all too perfect lyrics “Welcome to my world… welcome to my world”. Somewhere in all this were the unforgettable beats of Prodigy‘s “Smack My Bitch Up“. There’s not many bands that can pull this off so smoothly.

The band is incredibly talented incorporating so many different styles along with so many instruments. Gilberto has an incredible voice and such charisma and gives a commanding performance that its hard to even look away from him. Thursday night I was in front of Carlos and he was incredible to watch. Tucked away behind keyboards and guitar strapped to him he was amazing. Friday night was in front of Cesar and he tore it up. He worked the entirely massive stage, sweat dripping constantly from beneath his hat and a huge smile that never left his face. He was also constantly spitting onto the floor; he just left it all out there.

If the music isnt enough to intoxicate you, then lets add visuals. Because this band is nothing short of an aural/visual combination. In the beginning of their set it was usually just the song titles that were flashing on the screen but as the set went on, the visuals became something from a movie. At times it felt like I was caught in a Stanley Kubrick film – with images of a person about to shoot up (oddly enough this not shown during “Smack My Bitch Up”), but to the song preceding it. There’s an arm just laying there as the background morphs into other images. The images were just hauntingly beautiful.

For more on their visual / film love – a great interview is here.

Also, they threw in some norteno melodies and folk music (as I learned from a friend). I was in love with their beautiful version of Los Cardenales “Soy Lo Peor”. They completely changed it up and its just gorgeous. And of course, the entire crowd sang along. It just gives me chills each time its performed – the lush vocals of Gilberto and I’m swooning. Throw in the rhythm section and an upright bass that Cesar just plucks away at and its quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs Ive ever heard.

The band would come back for an incredible encore. All to fitting was Wall of Voodoo‘s “Mexican Radio” which would become pure chaos. The crowd in SC went insane. There was lots of pushing and shoving, pits breaking out and of course a few girls who were beyond determined to get on stage along with security guards working overtime to contain the raucous crowd. And of course, everyone was singing along yelling it out at the top of their lungs. When I first heard it in SF (not having heard it since my high school days at the very least) it was one of those blasts from the past. In SF, a girl easily managed to get on stage and it took 2 of their techs to get her off the stage. Probably a good thing the girls from SC were not at that show (or not close enough to get on stage).

By the time the band got to the signature bass lines of “Mas“, it was hard to imagine that there would be an even bigger blast of energy. The rocked out song with heavy guitars was brilliant. Everyone was singing the lyrics that are all too fitting, “Vamos queriendo mas y mas, mas y mas, mas y mas,” which roughly translates to, “We want more and more, more and more, more and more!” It was hard to not want this to end. If the energy of the show was already at a 10, by this point it had eclipsed that. The band laid it all out and left everyone clamoring for more. And it seemed like the band could have kept going and going.

I hadn’t been to a larger Latin American rock concert since my NYC days when I volunteered a day or two at the Latin American Music Conference. I had really forgotten how much I had enjoyed these shows and how unbelievably awesome they were. Unlike typical American audiences, everyone was there to dance, have fun and let loose. By the end of the show, one of the women constantly trying to get on stage had her arms around me as we were pogoing like no tomorrow. And the crowd in SC rocked. While it was insanity for parts of it, it was an incredibly great show and people thankfully even looked out for each other (at least the women). And if SF was the place to smoke up, Santa Cruz really put it to shame. From the moment the band went on, the place reeked of pot. It just got stronger and stronger.

While the band was insanely awesome, their audiences might have been even more so. If you haven’t yet seen them, go go go. pronto pronto pronto!

Mezzanine 10/10
Catalyst 12/10

The openers were both quite good, but the SF openers Bang Data were nothing short of awesome. The band, from the Mission (SF), also got a guest appearance from Kata of Locura(another SF band). The band, made even more famous from Breaking Bad, really brought the energy. They had the crowd pumped up with their blend of ska meets samba-cumbria infused beats and throw in some hip-hop and the band is banging. Throw in some other songs that are Spanish-English infused and more of the bossa-nova sound and it wont take long before your hips are moving to the afro-electro sound or youll be jumping around in no time. Plus, the lead singer skanks on a song or two. Now that is something rarely seen these days.

Moon Cadillac from Santa Cruz were entertaining enough. They had more of a disco-funk sound and brought out a would-be dance party, if anyone was actually interested. Sadly, they seemed to be a bit stiff on stage and just didnt have as much stage presence as Bang Data to really get the crowd pumped. But nonetheless, they were still good.

Set List Kinky (SF):
Después del after
Alma de neón
Hasta quemarnos
Soun tha mi primer amor
Ejercicio #16
Negro día
Cornman
Coqueta (Intocable cover)
Una línea de luz
Huracán
Para poder llegar a ti
Yo soy lo peor (Los Cardenales cover)
¿A dónde van los muertos?

Encore:
¿A dónde van los muertos?
Sister Twisted / Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo cover)
Bien pedo, bien loco
Más

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Buzz Band Catfish & The Bottlemen Conquer SF

Posted by xneverwherex on February 11, 2015

Catfish & The Bottlemen
Wild Party
The Independent
2/10/15

The much hyped Welsh band, including a test-tube baby born lead singer with the born to be rockstar name Van McCann, Catfish & The Bottlemen lived up to everything and more. Its hard to actually believe the hype as all too often there is such a big letdown. But in this case the 4-some came to San Francisco and were ready to play their hearts out.

Catfish & The Bottlemen

Catfish & The Bottlemen

The band opened with the very catchy “Rango” off their debut album The Balcony. Van wasted no time with amping up the audience. With a lot of kicks and jumps, he worked the stage taking all of their songs a level up. They were harder and heavier in concert, not sounding quite as poppy. And the heavier sound worked perfectly. The packed show (surprisingly not sold out) had everyone singing along like they had been fans of the bands for years. It was hard to believe that this was their first time in San Francisco.

The band then went into the even more catchy “Pacifier” with catchy guitar riffs and Van’s lovely vocals. It has a bit more of a pop sound and had the crowd dancing and rocking out. Van’s head was constantly bopping up and down, his floppy hair all over the place.

Van is very reminiscent of Luke Pritchard of The Kooks. The way he moves, the way he takes over the stage and his whole presence reminds me of the band. You can almost imagine them playing around the same times. The band exudes energy and its infectious and everyone around me was smiling and clearly into it.

There was also a lot of stage banter with him calling out to a Liverpool fan who ended up singing their football anthem. There were clearly a lot of ex-pats in the crowd last night. There was talk about pies and what makes a perfect one and what to put it one (I think Van was not talking about a pizza pie). And it went on. He was so peppy and so full of life.

The other guys of the band left for a couple songs (which I guess could be an encore of sorts) and Van played “Homesick” on his own – along with a crowd sing along. It then went into the acoustic version of “Hourglass” which is beautiful. A girl next to me freaked out about not being able to video the song which was somewhat amusing. The band emerged again for “Cocoon” and “Tyrants” and included the awesome moves of Van sliding up and down the mic stand, resting his head against it as well as sliding his guitar up and down nearly using it as a slide. He just exudes coolness.

This is the band to see – so if youre on the East Coast – find yourself a ticket pronto. Most shows are/will sell-out and you will have no regrets.

Wild Party

Wild Party

The openers Wild Party from San Antonio, Texas are also a band not to miss. The bands are pretty different sound-wise from the heavy guitar rock of Catfish to the lighter, pop sounds of Wild Party. But each of them have the energy. It will be no surprise to see Wild Party around a lot more often.

Lead singer, Lincoln Kreifels tried to get lots of dancing going on and was really engaging. It was clear the band was excited to be in town. They have the same catchiness of Rooney who sadly never became bigger. Power-pop guitars, dance-y songs and in no time you’ll be dancing along to songs like “Outright“. The bass lines of Ethan Kaufmann are beyond catchy esp on songs like “Connect the Dots“. He’s excellent and the band is great to watch. In their ever tight skinny jeans, the band seems almost too jaded and cool, but its clear they’re all just having a good time.

Their music just makes people happy. Everyone around me seemed so into it and just having a great time. I remember missing them at SXSW last year and thinking eventually Id see their name. And I was so glad that I finally caught them. Its one of those bands to just go out and see and you wont regret it.

The combo is one hell of a two-some. Its hard to get two incredible bands with different styles, yet it works just fine. They’re a perfect opener, getting the crowd ready to go and then leaving it all to Catfish & The Bottlemen to take it to the next level.

I expect to be seeing both bands around a lot more often.

Set List: (Catfish)
Rango
Pacifier
Sidewinder
Fallout
26
Business
Kathleen
Homesick
Hourglass
Cocoon
Tyrants

Set List: (Wild Party)
Nicely Done
Lo-Fi Children
New Light
Connect the Dots
Chasing Honey
When I Get Older
Life’s Too Short
Outright
Take My Advice

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

SF’s Soft White Sixties Should Be Huge!

Posted by xneverwherex on January 31, 2015

The Soft White Sixties
Mahgeetah
Coo Coo Birds
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
1/28/15

San Francisco’s The Soft White Sixties finished off their month-long residency at The Brick & Mortar Music Hall this Wednesday night. And what a show it was. With birthdays on hand, the boys were ready to celebrate.

I had been meaning to see TSWS since coming across them last year as they were playing SXSW. Why this band is not bigger is beyond me. The band is pure infectious energy and took control of the stage. They started off the set with “Queen of the Press Club”. Ryan‘s bass lines are just impressive. Its a full-on rock song with some great solid guitars. And the drummer, Joey Bustos, was out of control, just tearing it up. With his arms all tatted up and big smiles he just went crazy on the drums.

The Soft White Sixties

The band has a solid garage-rock sound meets psychedelic, 60s sound and are so loud. Its pure, raw explosive energy. The band will have you rocking your head off and bouncing around in no time. The band next went into “Lemon Squeezer” which is more of a catchy song with a great chorus that will have you singing along in no time. Filled with a catchy keys section, its got a more dance-y vibe to it. By the time the guitars come in, you will be dancing your ass off!

Lead singer Octavio Genera is nothing short of impressive. The way he works a stage and commands an audience is something most artists can only dream of having. He danced across the stage so many times, whipping that microphone around and pulling off some excellent moves. He was so engaging and has gorgeous vocals.

Its a band that can be seen over and over as they clearly love doing this and its evident in their show. By the end of the show, the crowd and the band were spent with it being insanely hot and sweaty in the club and so much dancing.

It was also a special show in that it was Octavio and Joey’s birthday. In true SF fashion, a “burrito cake” was brought out with candles and all. Lots of champagne was flowing and lots of drinking was had. It was one hell of a fun celebration.

Openers Mahgeetah seem to have a huge following. While their music is good, it just seems so boring. There was only so much I could take before really hoping it would end. They are quite talented guys, but theres just something a bit lacking in the band. Perhaps with a better stage show, the band would be awesome.

Coo Coo Birds

Coo Coo Birds

Coo Coo Birds were pretty awesome. Fun garage rock, psych-pop hip shaking songs. Throw in some gritty guitars/bass and make it a little dirty and youve got yourself one hell of a band. Add some throaty vocals and youre set. The band is not to be missed and will remind you of the 60s (in hair and looks) and puts on one hell of a fun show!

Set List
Queen of the Press Club
Lemon Squeezer
Wont You Come With Me
When This All Started
Treat Me
Don’t Lie To Me
Up to the Light
City Lights
Children of the Revolution (T Rex cover)
Knock It Loose
Kick Me Back

The Boys are Back in Town (Thin Lizzy cover)

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Battlefield … WTF is this Mess… Earth

Posted by xneverwherex on January 31, 2015

Battlefield Earth
The Dark Room
Why oh why – Jan 11, 2015

So I was asked? to write about this – as it was beyond entertaining. And I use entertaining in the worst possible way. So for the uninitiated The Dark Room has Sunday nights filled with the worst movies ever. Much like MST3K, there are some people who organize this and are clearly the joke-makers (comedians?, ummm no). So it started out with potential. Hey, there is free popcorn. But after 5 minutes, I already knew this was going to be a trainwreck. With a roughly 10 minute introduction for the host and the same joke repeated ad nauseam, it could only get better WORSE. WAY WORSE!

So Battlefield Earth inexplicably starts in German (well I think it was German, mine isnt too great), and the subtitles are in another language. Maybe the film would have been entirely better in another language. Then it switches to English, thankfully? Theres a few stock jokes – like how many times a word is said (i already forgot this word, and im afraid to look it up); and how many “middle” wipes are used. (you ask about these so-called middle wipes – youll wish you didnt – a lovely use of transitioning where the image parts in the center of the screen and scrolls off to each side, like Moses parting the Red Sea) So let the counting begin…. (there were a lot – like so many that I wondered who the hell made this film and had they ever actually watched other films)?!

First off a few things to note: this is somehow related to Scientology (i do NOT want to know); Forest Whittaker is in it (and i think it was mentioned about how his eye was better – majorly f-ed up joke – one of the more hilarious ones), naturally John Travolta is in it and then even more inexplicable is one Barry Pepper. Oh, and lets not be surprised, there are no women. Actually, women are f’ing smarter than this shit, enough said!

The humans are now enslaved – the year 3000. The Psychlos are running the world (hell if I know what really happened) and somehow Barry Pepper is going to save humanity. They encounter a more dystopic Denver and prob some other cities. I was never too sure about where anything was or what was actually happening. The jokes got worse, hell can you even make any good ones for a movie that is *this* bad. Honestly, I was more entertained by the drunk girl next to me, who I am pretty sure was going to be sick most the time (by the time she had the hiccups I nearly was out the door). She was giggly and making her own stupid jokes. The jokes were so bad – that early on (the only sane people there, clearly) took off like 20 minutes in. Of course they were chastised, but as I mentioned the only people who were smart enough to leave.

I think at one point or maybe 2 I fell asleep, because honestly its the only thing to explain what happens in the film. I seriously wasted an hour, going WTF is this mess. They chase each other, kill each other, probably blow each other sorry I mean blow up each other. Actually, its probably all the same if you ask me, because Im guessing its the only way people signed on to this mess. Seriously, this has got to be the worst film Ive ever seen! (and I see a lot of films)!

Apparently, Travolta had high hopes and was hoping to do a sequel. Mind Blown! My date, Ben, was the one who suggested going, so I can really only blame him, but he was also so kind as to agree to leave with me an hour in. With that being said, I have no clue how it ended, nor did we care. We reached the bar next door and had a good laugh!

What can I say… a perfect date ;)

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

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)

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

 
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