Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

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

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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.

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20 Years Later and The Dandys (Still) Rule OK

Posted by xneverwherex on April 26, 2014

The Dandy Warhols
The Warlocks
The Independent
April 23, 2014

Its hard to believe that the Dandy Warhols have now been together for 20 years. The band was in town on Wed night to kick off their new tour celebrating 20 years. The Independent (which was of course a sold-out show – apparently selling out in some 5 mins according to Courtney), was a perfect place for the band. Still quite small, it seemed that most of their older fans were in the crowd. A few of the people had remembered seeing the band at house parties around the Mission.

The band, mainly CTT, reminisced about the long ago time in which they were playing shows to a few of their friends. Since then, they’ve opened for some amazing bands/artists (hello Bowie!, The Charlatans, and countless others) and have played some really awesome shows (3hr shows, 13 Tales album, etc). It was pretty great to see all of them feeling so at home and so comfortable. As Zia mentioned, she was just so comfortable that they would do whatever they wanted for us, including one of the Warlocks playing tambourine on ‘Bohemian Like You’ (if I recall correctly).

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols

The band really went old school for the show and played a ton of early material (so happy to hear TV Theme Song after what seemed like years) and also CCR, White Gold and so many others. And they even went more old school to play a cover from Eddy Grant (whereby CTT talked about the Clash and Desmond Dekker! and then even went farther back to discuss his band The Equals). It was one of those kinds of nights, where you wished it never ended.

And what can I say about their fanbase. Some of the best fans Ive ever seen and met. As always, met some very awesome people in the crowd. People were very into sharing all their smokes and it was just a very great environment. Even for new fans, the older ones are always very cool and never ‘too cool for school’.

An awesome show indeed — and the best part The Warlocks opened the show.

The Warlocks

The Warlocks

The Warlocks, from LA, started the night out in fine fashion. With some slow droning guitar rock, that changed into more shoe-gazey and even had some pop bits. Guitarist Earl, who was in front of me, is one hell of a musician. He is *incredible* on the guitars and you get mesmerized just watching him. The band is really incredible and plays a really tight set. Its the type of band that just takes you on a trip for an hour as you really feel the music and it just takes a hold of you.

One of the best openers I had seen in a very long time. The only thing Im most sad about is the fact that I did not have plans to attend Austin Psych Fest which has the most amazing lineup ever.

Pseudo-set List (I know this isnt correct order and songs are missing)
Be-In
Shaking
Used To Be Friends
TV Theme Song
Ride
Last High
Now Ya
Sad Vacation
theyre gone
Gotta get over
holding me up
come back
girls
ccr
horse pills
bohemian like you
dreamt
godless
get off
white gold
pete/boys better

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Team Me FTW

Posted by xneverwherex on March 24, 2014

Friday March 14
SXSW
Austin, Texas

Friday began with a plan. Too bad I cant read schedules and the Friday schedule I wanted to see was really happening on Saturday. I ended up catching the tail end of Neulore and I really enjoyed their sound. I was bummed I didnt catch more of their set, but I was intrigued and will catch them some other time.

Team Me

Team Me

Then it was off to Maggie Mae’s which was PACKED!! The first band The Soil & The Sun which had a folk-rock sound were quite good, but the sound was so bad it really didnt help. I lasted about 20 mins before taking off to (hopefully) catch Jungle. On the way – I met some guys who were working for Vans/Mohawk (should have taken advantage of it) at some random stage. We were all yelling at the band to figure out who they were. The 2 people on the stage rocked — really great voice, really amazing guitars, the female had some kick ass moves. After a bit of yelling, we found out they were called Schisms. Finally it was off to Vans – Mohawk. I arrived to find a line down the block, up a hill, around a corner (and that included badge holders). So again – I would have to miss Jungle and a bunch of other bands. Story of my life with a lot of the day showcases.

So it was back to the beginning (ie Maggie Maes) — with a quick stop to listen to a really great indie/70s band who had some great songs. The band was so catchy and their sound filled the air. Really punchy guitars, soaring vocals — the band was Temples. OMG. They sounded even better than when I saw them and they were playing even catchier songs. I was standing outside Stubbs — which was impossible to get into (I think Lady Gaga or someone else of that caliber would be there). It worked for me, Stubbs sounds way better outside.

So then I just wandered 6th street and started hearing really great bands. Some guys invited me into a showcase at Trinity Hall (Old School Bar) and damn — it was quite the showcase. I couldnt see everyone, but I wished I could have. I was able to catch another set from Terraplane Sun — still sounding as excellent as before. Same catchy songs – but the guys seemed a little subdued (perhaps the crowd). Music was still as awesome as ever and a few of us were dancing.

Hey Moonshaker

Hey Moonshaker

Then was able to catch about 20 mins of Hey Moonshaker. I wished I had seen longer because these guys were great. The 2 guys had a brotherly love for each other and they talked so nicely about each other. One of them had mad skills with his beatboxing. He had the entire small bar on their feet, making a circle around him. The other guy was great on guitar adding a blues sound to it all. The blend was smooth and they were exciting to watch. 20 mins was way too short and I knew that I needed more.

The next band I had heard so many good things about I was beyond excited for. Although it was back to Maggie Mae’s and that I was worried about. The place was packed (even moreso), but I was somehow able to squeeze in towards the front. I was beyond glad that I did. The band was Team Me from Norway. I had met one of the guys in the band earlier in the day and he was cheerful and friendly. The band had to be the cutest bunch of kids with the young guys in headbands dancing around. The whole band seemed to always be dancing — while playing the keyboards, guitars whatever. They were the HAPPIEST band ever! They also played the cheeriest, sunniest pop music ever!! It was impossible not to enjoy the set and everyone was dancing and clapping. The band ended the set with bringing their instruments and mics into the crowd and singing from deep inside the center of the crowd. Others were playing their instruments, singing with them. It was just pure fun and it couldnt have been a better set!

Mumiy Troll

Mumiy Troll

So I was off — a really great band — what would be next. Mumiy Troll from Russia. The band was quite possibly the best band ive seen here. Funk meets glam with rock. Lead singer Ilya is awesome. He works the stage wearing his black jeans covered with a hula grass skirt. He danced around, played the keyboards, he worked it up a storm. The band entertained and were easily one of the best I had seen.

After that — while I probably could have found more great bands, I opted to check out Gruff’s film ‘American Interior’. I love everything about him and loved the film no less – which retraces the fantastical adventure of his 18th Century relative, the Welsh explorer John Evans. The people Gruff encounters along the way are pretty cool and is a nice look at the other parts of America. Its worth seeing if youre at all interested in history or just love Gruff.

From Wales it was off to Scotland to see the lovely ladies of the Cairn String Quartet. The 4some were quite magical with 3 of them playing violin and the lone cellist. The band performed current beats to classical pieces and just sounded lovely. They had some great song choices with one of Lorde’s song which was easily recognizable and also played from some Scottish artists. They really had a complete range of styles and the crowd just loved them. They ended the set by playing a song from one of the more popular Scottish bands – Franz Ferdinand – and had an awesome rendition of ‘Take Me Out’. The women seemed so excited to be playing and informed us their next set would be very different as they change it up depending on the venue. I would love to see them again sometime and hopefully they will be doing a full tour.

FMLYBND, from Isla Vista (home of UCSB), is a band I was beyond excited to see. Im pretty local to my SB bands and so much wanted to like them. The club was one of those places Id never be caught dead in – offering shots to those on the street and just seemed the total club to be seen. The band, had some major issues, and couldnt seem to get their instruments set up. It took about 40 mins (almost their entire set) before they were even read to play. By that time, their set should have been over. I caught 2 songs and the band sadly just seemed so much more interested in themselves than actually playing anything remotely good. It was somewhat dance-y with lots of guitars and keyboards, but overall just forgettable.

Mas Ysa

Mas Ysa

The only thing that I was happy about, is that I left when I did. I had really been wanting to check out Mas Ysa from Montreal. He is a one-man show blending different styles – folk meets electronic meets love songs. Its a bit melancholy, yet watching him play and manipulate the instruments is far from that. He takes you on a journey with his music and you just get lost in it. He was that good and sounded even better in the church. So of course, I stayed for another artist – Forest Swords from the UK. The band is a twosome with one guy playing guitar and the other one on keyboards. It works well in a very experimental avant-garde style. The music is at times quite heavy but it lifts you at the same time. I didnt last their entire set (was getting sick) but enjoyed them very much.

I also managed to catch some of EMA‘s music – the lead singer was battling being sick so it was a short set and she was losing her voice. The band sounded great. Saturday – which was a bust – I did manage to catch Tumbleweed Wanderers from Oakland — which was an alt country/folky band – not what I was expecting but good and saw another performance from Mother Falcon – even better than when I had previously seen them. Just loving that band.

Overall, SXSW was a huge success. Despite my day being totally ruined on Saturday/Sunday – I got to see a fair number of bands – saw bands I would have never seen (Mumiy Troll from Russia) and saw some other bands that I might never be able to see. This is definitely a festival I will have to do again, but definitely takes a toll on the body.

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NO! Casual Sex on Thursday!

Posted by xneverwherex on March 20, 2014

Thursday March 13
SXSW
Austin, Texas

Thursday was a bit of a somber day around some of the clubs. There was a lot of talk about the accident the prior night that killed 3 people. It was tragic — and I was just blocks away from where it happened. Thankfully, I was hanging out with the rappers.

I started the day out with The Beastie Boys — well not really — but it was a panel about the Beastie Boys and copyright vs fair use laws. It was informative and I NEED to be working for Leslie Frank (or at least at her firm). This is the kind of law that is beyond fascinating. There are no black/white answers when it comes to fair use and this is not the place to get into what happened with them and Goldieblox. Regardless, the conversation was very interesting and most of the crowd agreed that GoldieBlox was in the wrong.

Now onto the music — Oh and Edward Sharpe was a no-show for his panel :( :( :(

As I was eating at the Convention Center I heard some great music from upstairs. So ended up there to check it out. Much to my surprise, it was the EXCELLENT Mary Onettes. Now I had seen them years before, but they were much tighter and sounded awesome. The day stages had some excellent sound systems. The band has some very catchy hooks and great songs. The lead singer has one hell of a great voice. I need to be seeing them again soon.

After that, it was another chance to see NO. And yes, they were still as awesome. They were playing as if they were in a club wanting us all to get up and dance. Didnt quite happen, but everyone loved them. They’re the utmost professionals and know how to put on a show, even if it means rocking out in a sweater. The band has so many infectious tunes, I felt like I knew most of them already after seeing them for just a second time.

Then it was off for some British bands. Battle Lines from Leeds were playing some dancey electronica. The set seemed so short but everyone was having a good time.

Casual Sex - Scotland

Casual Sex

After that it was time for some Casual Sex. Sadly, the band was not offering any (save for the single drummer – who didnt seem too amused) as theyre all in relationships. The band is cheeky and clearly have a great time doing this. The band is from Scotland and Sam Smith, lead singer, is what its all about. He reminds me of Brian Molko – he did put on lipstick during the show – and clearly likes his make-up and dresses (although not in public apparently). Sam also brings to mind the glam Bowie years as well as their music. The band’s music was some good fun jangly guitar rock and you feel like youve been transported back to the glam of the 70s. Their music will get you dancing in no time. A band I will definitely see again.

Later on, it was time to hit up a hotel. The bands were playing at the hotel bar/restaurant and there was a small stage for them. Lys – from France were a really great band. They have this beautiful, lush, dream, indie-pop sound. It was so full and just sweeps you away. The lead singer had amazing vocals and it was great when he paired up with the woman in the band – their melodies were beautiful together. This was perfect music for dinner-time. While it was lush and beautiful they brought they energy with full, ripe guitars. It was just brilliant.

And then the night just went off course. I scrapped what I had planned and just changed it up. The prior night I met the band De Nalgas from Mexico City. I started talking with the drummer Irving when I got confused about Rey Pila playing. He was really cool and invited me to his showcase. He told me they were a punk band and similar to the Clash. I mean seriously, how can anyone miss that. Old school punk and their lead singer has a blue mohawk. So of course, I was going to see them.

I had jumped over to Metal & Lace to check out some bands not knowing what to expect – and OMG Scorpio Rising was the most insane fun band. The band is from Austin and the lead singer was offering all sorts of things to non-locals; oh yeah – shes pretty crazy fun. She was quite acrobatic and it reminded me of a burlesque show. The bassist walked the room as well as outside and pretty much played with everyone in the crowd (including the bartender). They just had so much energy. It was pretty cool. Now I couldnt tell you a bit what they sounded like, but I remember enjoying them.

De Nalgas de Mexico City

De Nalgas

De Nalgas was up next. How do you top that first act – you play straight up punk. And that they did. And they were _THAT_ good!! It was even in Spanish and while not everyone spoke it, everyone was so into it. There were some guys in front moshing (thankfully no crowd surfing). The lead singer, Boris, is an excellent frontman. He tears up that stage and does more scissor kicks then Ive seen in quite a while. He owned the stage and got the crowd really involved. The band all came out in black/white De Nalgas shirts and they all seemed to have tats that said that as well (along with 1989 – the year of their births). And Irving, the drummer, tore it up with one hell of a drum solo. It was f’ing brilliant. Everyone in the band had great camaraderie and were just tight. If punk is your thing, then this band you have to see. And their last song ‘presidente’ – was entertaining with the crowd yelling ‘pinche’ before ‘presidente’. Total bonding experience.

If anyone knows of a venue that needs a punk band to play – do let me know. I know the band would LOVE to play here. Oh and I forgot that this was their FIRST show in the States!

After some punk, it was time for some church. Yeah – really. I ended up spending the rest of the evening at two churches. The first church was Central Presbyterian Church which is a gorgeous church with beautiful stained glass windows. I sat upstairs and the acoustics were amazing. Its a venue just designed for musicians with sound that just carries.

I caught a few songs from Haley Bonar who has this gorgeous voice. The music was lo-fi/minimalist but with her vocals it just filled the church. It has almost a slight country-esque sound to it but comes across nearly haunting. I would definitely see her again. She reminds me of an artist to see on a cold winter night – she would just warm up the room.

One of my favorite bands from the festival were Mother Falcon from Austin. The band, which has about 18 members in it, is a symphonic indie band. The band is all very talented with a lot of them who play multi-instruments. The members seem to take turns on singing the songs and it just works. Their music is so full and rich its hard to not fall in love with them. They do a great Radiohead cover and its quite awesome. This is the type of band that is perfect for this venue. The room just fills with so many sounds, its just poetry in motion.

Curtis Harding

Curtis Harding

Curtis Harding, former backup singer to CeeLo, is one hell of an impressive guy. He’s got blues and soul flowing out of him. He’s from Atlanta and his songs had so much raw passion with so much feeling. The set was way too short for him and he talked some about growing up playing gospel and being in the church. He was so great and I so wanted more, but he had to get to another venue nowhere near and cut it short.

While I am sad that Curtis Harding didnt have a longer set, it did mean I got to hit up another church and check out Gruff Rhys (of Super Furry Animals, of course). So I ended up around the corner at St. Davids Historic Sanctuary. Very different than the other church, there was drinking allowed and the staff was much more casual. Gruff is always a pleasure to see and one I never miss if I can help it. He’s so soft spoken and waited to start the show while others came in. He was polite and kept words to a minimum. He started out the set by asking us to pretend we recognized the song so when he sang it a few minutes later it would seem we were all into it. Classic Gruff. So he played the first line of the song and then stopped. Then restarted the song – we all clap and scream – and he thanks us and he plays the rest.

Gruff Rhys - American Interior

Gruff Rhys

His new music – to accompany his film, American Interior – is just gorgeous. It just works and it so fits the film. Most of the music was about the journey with John Evans – a long, lost relative who may have found the U.S. and the quest to find a Native American tribe that spoke Welsh. The music is just beautiful and so fitting. Kliph Scurlock from The Flaming Lips, joined Gruff on drums. He was awesome. Gruff was pretty quiet with a few things to say — mostly asking the time — and then it ended with something like ‘oh fuck. we’re done’. And of course with that, a few signs were held up ‘thank you’ and ‘the end’. One of my favorites. ALWAYS!!

Typhoon

Typhoon

The night ended with me barely getting back into the other church to see Oregon-based Typhoon. I was able to get in after about 10 minutes and it was so worth it. The band killed it. The band has a bunch of violins, horns and drums but mostly beautiful harmonies. Frontman, Kyle Morton, has beautiful, haunting songs that cover most topics but lots to do with life and death which was fitting for my last band. At 12am the band paused as the pastor of the church came out to say a few words about the tragedy the prior night. He talked about life and death and living life to the fullest of every moment of the day. The band had stopped playing and the church went quiet for the 2 minutes of silence. It was beautiful with a lot of tears. It was so full of emotion. After 2 minutes, Typhoon continued to play. With their 11 members — they brought so much life to the church and the sound just echoed through and it was gorgeous. It was a show to never forget.

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More SXSW Bands

Posted by xneverwherex on March 20, 2014

Wed. March 12, 2014

Due to getting majorly sick — this is way more delayed then I would have liked. Ive been resting so often that I barely could turn on a computer. Cest la vie.

The evening was spent running around trying to find bands that sounded interesting. And here is what I encountered. Some good, some didnt care for and some who just werent there. Sadness.

Pagiins — I lasted a few minutes for their show at Holy Mountain Backyard. It was beyond painfully loud. They are a very guitar heavy garage-rock band. It didnt work for me, and even with earplugs I was dying.

Then it was off to my ONLY entry into Stubbs. I have no clue how that even happened as the place was packed. I was there to see England’s Eagulls. They were on my ‘must-see’ list and its too bad I saw them there. The mix was all off, and making out vocals and songs were impossible. On their more popular song, I could somewhat make out the guitar riffs enough to at least recognize the song. Needless to say, lasted maybe 3-4 songs before taking off. (Note: if youre at Stubb’s — the sound is way better just outside in line — go figure)

Lost in the Trees

Lost in the Trees

Then it was back to Holy Mountain Backyard to see Lost in the Trees. They were quite good and endearing to the crowd. They had some pleasant indie-pop songs and I feel that they are a band worth seeing again — esp in a better venue.

Later that evening (pre-Black Violin) it was off to see Papa. They have the potential of being a good indie-pop band, but it seemed the only thing special about the band is the obnoxious lead singer who must have thought it was funny swearing as every other word. I was so bored.

At this point I was supposed to hit up Rd Gld Grn (Red Gold Green) from DC who I was really wanting to see. I got to the Palm Door on 6th (avoid like a plague) and the line was INSANE!!! Thankfully I thought to check the schedule and saw their names crossed off — sadly, the band didn’t make SXSW as someone got sick :( And I had missed them in SF — Doh!

Instead I ended up over at Main II quite early and caught a bunch of rappers. I couldnt tell anyone who I saw (assuming schedules were right — which I dont think they were) I could prob figure it out. It wasnt totally my thing, but the crowd was so into it. Too much of the ‘ho’s and bitches’ and I just tune out.

Temples

Temples @ IFC Fairgrounds

Earlier there was Temples from England at the IFC Fairgrounds. It was a pretty cool spot and seemed like a small county fair (slide and all). A lot of food trucks were around, but having just had dinner it wasnt that appealing. I should have come here more often as the sound was incredible. Temples sounded great with an awesome 70s pysch rock sound and even the 70s vibe. The lead singer looked like he had stepped out of the 70s with platforms and a huge fro. He rocked it. The band was tight and so worth seeing again.

The day time set started out at The Blackheart and was one of my favorite spots. It was super low-key and so casual. It was totally my kind of place. The bands included Denmark’s very young trio Baby in Vain. These girls can ROCK!! Played some great garage rock. And they shred on their guitars. My friend and I loved them the most, and of course, they werent even on my list to see.

Australia’s Panama — sadly, very forgetful. They were playing some electro-dance heavy keyboard music, but they never even seemed that dance-y and were boring.

The High Highs from Australia as well were good. I loved their shoegaze music and the dreamy pop music was just right for the day. They have a very similar sound to Wild Nothing. Not a bad thing, and cant wait to see them again.

Terraplane Sun

Terraplane Sun on Rainey Street

The last afternoon band was a band I had really been wanting to see. Filter — which was of course packed — had some great bands on their set. I only was able to catch Terraplane Sun and they were AWESOME!! They lived up to everything I wanted them to be. The band, from Venice, CA, has a really great garage rock, bluesy pop sound. Theyre infectious and have some great songs that you find yourself singing along to and dancing to. Thankfully, I already have tickets to see them when they come here post-festival.

Lastly, I should add that I made a HUGE effort to see some panels. Im a huge sucker to sit in and listen to ‘experts’ talk and maybe learn a thing or two. So today’s panel was the ‘Nerdy Music Panel’ which featured a bunch of nerd-core hip-hop artists. It was interesting to learn about the genre and besides Dr. Awkward was there as well as Mega Ran (Random). So if youre into video games, and like hip-hop but want it more interesting than what a lot of rappers are rapping about – check this out. You will LOVE it!!

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Black Violin. BEST.LIVE.SHOW

Posted by xneverwherex on March 13, 2014

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Wednesday night (3/12) in a word was all over the place. Ok so a few words. I started panicking around 945 or so as I was jumping venues. But then something … someone’s …. happened.  A band called “NO” from L.A. which has band members from everywhere. And this is where the change happened.

The swan dive is an awesome bar on red river. Its got tables surrounding the outter wall and lots of chairs. I met a guy from Germany who told me no would be great. Man he was not lying.

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The six piece band, who met in la, are from everywhere around the world. They were dressed very sharp with all of them clad in black pants, nice shirts and their best 12 eyed doc Martens.  The lead singer has a nice baritone ala Matt Berninger of the National.  Their sound is post punk a nice mix of the National meets the editors meets interpol.  They blend it all and they have a really nice full polished sound. Their songs are catchy and in no time at all will you be singing along. The lead singer has great energy and really works to get the crowd involved. A very solid band you dont wanna miss.

They’re signed to the great label arts and crafts and are currently on tour with the Darcys.

Rey pila from mexico city brought on the funk and dance. They infused it all and they were great fun. Their lead singer came into the crowd and danced it up big time. Really a band you dont want to miss at sxsw.

Black Violin came on around 130 to a fairly unpacked club. It was a good mix of people in the audience making for an awesome night.

The band is 2 black guys who met in high school some 15 years ago in orchestra class. They have remained tight friends ever since. The band, from Miami, also has a dj spinning beats and a solid drummer (with an awesome shirt).

The guys on violin are just BRILLIANT!! They have transformed the violin into this awesome instrument that at times sounds just like a guitar. The way they play and put to use the violins is mesmerizing. They should be the new heroes for music classes everywhere inspiring the youth today to turn towards playing the violin.

The music at times is straight out of a symphony but with a rock infusion. Then they will immediately go into something very different. They will keep you on your toes. They ended the set with one guy introducing us to ‘Tiffany’ his violin and doing some pure shredding (do you shred on a violin?). The set ended with a great medley of some of the catchier radio songs from ‘Radioactive’ to ‘Blurred Lines’ then straight into Daft Punk’s song of the summer ‘Get Lucky’. It was SICK! The crowd loved it with everyone getting down and dancing. It was non-stop entertainment and kept us going for the night. BEST.BAND.OF.SXSW.2014.

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Kimmel in austin

Posted by xneverwherex on March 11, 2014

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Jimmy Kimmel was here at the long center last night for his first live taping. Special guests were Snoop Dogg and Seth Rogen with White Denim from Austin performing.

Thanks to cottonelle we got access to the VIP party which had free drinks and free food courtesy of subway. The taping seemed to go on forever w the first 40mins or so just random clips of jimmy and prior guests. By the time Jimmy got started it was nearly 6pm. If you plan on seeing him, be sure to allow for additional time.

While I was looking forward to seeing Seth rogen, Snoop stole the show. He talked about the mass amounts of homegrown pot in Austin and how he’s offered it all the time. Also talked about his new festival in Seattle and Colorado that will be held on 4/20. He was the epitome of cool.

Seth talked about his new movie Neighbors which looks to have some funny moments.  He and Jimmy did a spoof on true detective season 2. Went on for a bit too long.

Musical guests were White Denim. They were good with a bluesy rock indie pop sound. They played about 3-4 songs but sadly lots of people were already leaving as they played. Very enjoyable with some catchy songs. Would defending recommend checking them out.

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