Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

The Singer Addresses His Audience – The Decemberists

Posted by xneverwherex on May 5, 2015

The Decemberists
Lucius
The Greek Theatre
5/1/15

Portland, OR The Decemberists were in town for their latest release What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. The band performed one of their best shows ever to a sold-out crowd in Berkeley. It was the bands first time playing at The Greek, and they had never sounded better. The acoustics were fabulous in the amphitheater and their sound filled the venue.

The Decemberists

The Decemberists

The setlist focused mainly on their newer material (which is nothing short of awesome) but also had a few songs from the impressive Hazards of Love. Overall, they did a song here and there from their prior albums. Of course, its always great when they are playing songs from their earlier material. Plus, Colin Meloy wanted to focus on California and all things/songs California – which meant we got the ever fitting ‘Grace Cathedral Hill’. He also seemed to start to wax poetic about Los Angeles before commenting on the rivalry between the two areas. Regardless, it was pretty awesome to hear ‘Los Angeles, Im Yours’.

Of course, any Decemberists show without the charm of Colin Meloy, would really not be a show. Colin was in great form and oh so talkative. He talked about writing the song ‘Calamity Song’ and how it was much better when it was initially written to be “Hank Eat Your Oatmeal” which is obviously a classic. Written to get his son to eat oatmeal, the song was just that line but oh so precious. And of course, the worst song to ever be written ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ is always pretty awesome even if its just a small clip.

But really, there were two major highlights of the night. The first and very unexpected surprise was the band performing “The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle The Thistles Undone). I really didn’t think I would ever hear it again live after seeing it performed with Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) back in 2009. Nor, did I ever think it could be that impressive. If you’re not familiar with the song, right about now you need to be hearing it. But, Kelly Hogan KILLED it! Thats an understatement, Kelly (Neko Case’s partner in crime aka a vocalist in her current band) has a wonderful voice. And her addition to the song was nothing short of beautiful. So that was a very pleasant surprise. Plus, it turns out some friends know her and couldn’t have enough praise for her and how thankful/excited she was. Seriously, this is beyond awesome.

And if that wasn’t enough, ’16 Military Wives’ (which I just love), got all the better. During the ‘la di dahs’ towards the end of the song Colin had a lot of crowd participation from getting the audience to sing along, to engaging all parts of the amphitheater from the very front to the grass on the hill. He singled out a few people getting them to do individual performances plus also in typical Colin format, telling the crowd to be quiet because ‘Im a professional’ and naturally he can do it better. But one of the best parts was when he told the crowd to stop singing and be quiet and don’t think about the song, but think about the song ‘Sailing’ from Christopher Cross and to sing it to yourself (which naturally he did) and then forgot the lyrics and of course, it couldnt have been more amusing.

The Decemberists

The Decemberists

The band was tight and the back-up vocalists were awesome. Chris Funk was having a great time as always switching it up from the banjo to the guitar to some mandolin. Colin, vocally, has never sounded better and of course the harmonica playing was all the better; but seriously no concert is ever complete without Jenny Conlee – naturally kicking ass on the accordion and piano. But all the better when she adds her vocals to a song and Colin will typically take a moment to applaud her. The crowd just loves her!

Sadly, the band was running out of time which meant they had to cut their set short. Always a pity as theres so much material to want to hear. Of course, no show is complete without having ‘The Mariner’s Revenge Song’ as the finale/encore. So of course, with roughly 15 minutes left before 11pm, the band announced it would be their last song and dove right in. And the song was as fun as always – with a couple practice rounds of screaming … how often are most of us eaten by a whale, so you definitely have to prepare. He said us Californians would probably be more used to dealing with this (sharks in an ocean??) and gave us a practice round. Of course, it wasnt quite good enough but with 2 rounds we were ready to go. And just like that the quintet began the journey. It felt like you were on a ship going down, and you could feel the crowd going back and forth like being on the ocean. As the song continued, soon enough the whale (which seems to have grown), came out and swallowed us all. Obviously, there were survivors (hence the song), and the song continued. Nate Query on stand-up bass and Chris on mandolin and of course Jenny providing backing vocals all sounded amazing! The song just couldn’t possibly have been better.

The show was just brilliant. Ive now seen the band a handful of times and this show might have been the best. The band was in top form and Colin just seemed so happy. And of course, the crowd loves him. Berkeley ended up being a great night for them.

Plus, Lucius opened. The two women who sing (who dress the same, yet aren’t sisters) also sounded really great. The Brooklyn based band has an indie-pop-folk sound with some of the most beautiful harmonies. They also at times sound like a 60’s girl band and add a bit of guitar and you get a perfect pop band. They will definitely get big and opening for the Decemberists is sure to help them out. A perfect complement to the Decemberists and it made for a special night.

Set list:
The Singer Addresses His Audience
Cavalry Captain
Down By The Water
Hank Eat Your Oatmeal/Calamity Song
Grace Cathedral Hill
Anti-Summersong
Make You Better
The Wrong Year
The Island
Los Angeles, I’m Yours
Carolina Low
The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone) w/Kelly Hogan
A Bower Scene
Won’t Want for Love
The Rake’s Song
16 Military Wives
Dracula’s Daughter/O Valencia
A Beginning Song

The Mariner’s Revenge Song

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

I’m In Love… With That Song – The Replacements

Posted by xneverwherex on April 14, 2015

The Replacements
John Doe
Masonic Auditorium
4/13/15

20+ years later and The Replacements were back in San Francisco for the “Back By Unpopular Demand Tour”. The much-adored Minneapolis ‘Mats broke up all too soon in 1991 and it was hard to imagine that this day would come. It was even harder to come by with a ticket to this oh so sold-out show which seemed to have sold out in mere minutes of their onsale time. But pretty much any price would have been worth it to see them. I had pretty much given up on going to the show and opted for a ticket to another reunion show Ride over at The Warfield. But my heart was always in it to see The ‘Mats.

Mats

Mats

It was interesting to see them in a nice, polished club with ushers at the doors and ‘bartenders’ in their tuxes selling way overpriced drinks. But I will say the sound at The Masonic was pretty amazing. While I cant say Im a huge fan of Nob Hill (is anyone really?), it was a pretty sweet venue and one Id gladly go back to. So it was amusing when Tommy Stinson commented about how they used to play in the ‘lowlands’ (referring to the I-Beam in the Haight). And naturally Paul Westerberg could barely remember it. And that was just the kind of show it was.

Some bantering about the songs, the area and how we needed to break the Portland curse. And if that wasnt broken after that, Im not sure what would have unbroke it. The band started out the night just right with ‘Takin a Ride‘. The crowd was jumping and bouncing and it was pure energy with lots of fists punching into the air. It was hard to go wrong when that was just the opening song. Of course, it was over all too soon with what felt like 2 minute songs of pure raw-punk energy. Headed right into ‘Favorite Thing‘ kept the audience moving and it seemed that energy would never stop.

The band sounded as great as ever. Sure, theyre a little older (or a lot!) as we all are. Forgotten lyrics, shortened songs, clips of songs that didn’t finish, and even Paul singing ‘Androgynous‘ from inside of a tent. It just would not get better than that, but of course it did. While the band didn’t necessarily have hits, they did manage to play a lot of their more popular songs along with their deeper cuts. It should have appealed to nearly everyone in some way, shape or form. They really mixed it up with playing songs from their early albums Hootenanny and Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash plus their later albums.

And best of all, the band still had that grittiness/dirt to them. They still had an edginess to them and Paul might be a little grayer but hell a lot of us are now and he still sounds as great as ever. The energy from Tommy on bass is still electrifying. Dave Minehan on guitars was f’ing brilliant. He had so much energy and was an awesome fit. (Original ‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap is recovering from a stroke; while original drummer Chris Mars ixnayed the reunion tour). On drums was Josh Freese who was pretty kick-ass having played in oh so many other bands. Its a great fit and they seem to have chemistry.

The show was one of those things where it was either going to be insanely awesome or it would just suck. Thankfully, it was f’ing brilliant. I couldnt have asked for a better time, better company and a most awesome crowd. Everyone singing to “Bastards of Young” is one of those moments that will be hard to forget. The excitement of finally hearing “Kiss Me on the Bus” live was beyond awesome. Plus, Paul playing “Skyway” acoustically was just gorgeous. And then you add in other popular songs like “Ill Be You“, “I Will Dare” and of course the final encore of “Alex Chilton” along with the entire crowd singing along and it might be one of the most perfect sets.

Mats

Mats

I may regret not taking more photos (really hardly any), but hell if it was way back when none of us would have even had them. It was nice to see for most the set that there werent a whole lot of people recording/filming every second of it. We were all caught up in a time and moment together, and fuck it, why bother trying to replicate it. It will never be better than that moment. With that being said, the photos on here are all from Ben Graham and theyre quite a fitting way to remember the show.

Opener John Doe (of X) opened up the show and like many a punk-rocker these days, he has gone the alt-country-folk route. And they were quite good and the woman in his band had amazing vocals. He changed the lyrics to a song to reflect a SF club and that was a nice touch. And he even played some X songs as well so that is a pretty cool thing. Plus, its f’ing John Doe opening and it seemed a very fitting opener.

Set List:
Takin a Ride
Favorite Thing
Hangin Downtown
Treatment Bound
I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know
(Elvis “Little Sister” tease)
I.O.U.
“Poetry Tent” (Paul reads in a tent to “Take Five,” Brubeck
Androgynous
([with Paul singing from inside a tent)
Kissin’ in Action
((with Tommy playing Black Sabbath Iron Man intro at the end))
I Will Dare
Kiss Me on the Bus
20th Century Boy / Bang a Gong (Get It On) / All Shook Down
Nobody
Take Me Down to the Hospital
I’m in Trouble
I Hate Music
If Only You Were Lonely
I’ll Be You
The Ledge
Color Me Impressed
Maybellene
(Chuck Berry cover)
Anywhere’s Better Than Here
Sixteen Blue
Can’t Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
Within Your Reach
Seen Your Video

Encore:
Skyway
(Paul solo acoustic)

Encore 2:
Left of the Dial
Alex Chilton

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

Ibeyi

Posted by xneverwherex on April 3, 2015

Ibeyi
Flo Morrissey
The Independent
4/2/15

Ibeyi, the much-hyped SXSW band from Paris, had finally emerged in San Francisco. Ibeyi, meaning twins in Yoruba, had to be the most adorable twin sisters I had ever seen perform. I guess one word that kept coming to mind while watching them was ‘precious’. And their set was just that (which is not to take anything away from how brilliant they are).

The sisters came out to the stage to a crowd that was beyond excited to finally be seeing them perform. They kneeled down and picked up the candles on the stage and lit them before starting their first African chant. Add some traditional Cuban drums, and the beats came alive with Naomi keeping a consistent beat throughout the show. Coupled with sister, Lisa-Kaindé, singing in Yoruba (a bygone Nigerian and Santeria language) and the show was already that great.

The show felt at times voyeuristic as we watched the sisters perform chants and folk songs for the Yoruba gods. Lisa-Kaindé talked a lot about the gods and who they were and how they were a part of the songs. It felt like we were almost invading this sacred world, but the way they made the audience a part of it was nothing short of special.

Ibeyi

Ibeyi

The blend of Afro-Cuban, French music set to drum beats was a minimalist sound but simple and beautiful. With the piano playing of Lisa-Kaindé against Naomi’s drum beats and the strong vocals it was so easy to get lost in the music. The sultry dance moves as they glided across the stage just added to the ambience of their music. As the twins went into their single ‘River‘, they dedicated it to the gods (possibly Oshun and Shango – one was definitely for the water and the other earth) and had the crowd sing along “wash my soul again” as they sang “I will come to you river”. The end result was just beautiful as the crowd became a part of their show.

The crowd, who was filled with lots of very polite women (someone even complimented Lisa-Kaindé’s dress), would apologize each time they bumped you or wanted to squeeze in and take a picture. And it felt all too fitting with the sisters on stage who had that same vibe to them. They were all too thankful to be playing and so excited that the crowd was so into them. The crowd was electric and sang along to most of the songs as well as continued with the clapping as instructed. Songs like “Oya” just stood out with the gorgeous piano playing and warm/strong vocals against the simple percussions keeping up the beat. And “Ghosts” is nothing short of spectacular. You can just feel the pain in their voices as they harmonize together and come together as one. The pianos and drums together with their chanting and vocals just makes for a beautiful song.

In short, this is a band to see. While their music itself is simplistic, when they perform together its really something beautiful and magical. The twins come together as one and take us into a world that rarely we get to see. Its usually hard to translate that into a live performance but theyve managed to do just that. In a nutshell, its just precious and will take you out of your own world/life for just a bit.

Opener Flo Morrissey came out to a very loud audience. She was soft-spoken and picked up her guitar and played a short acoustic set. She had some good songs and her vocals are nothing short of impressive – strong and powerful – but she just couldn’t compete with a crowd that was far louder than her. It seemed most the time you could barely hear her singing but Im sure in the right venue she would be pretty awesome to hear.

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

Go! (Public Service Broadcasting)

Posted by xneverwherex on April 1, 2015

Public Service Broadcasting
What Up Mang
Meet Me In Orbit
(Upstairs) @ DNA Lounge
3/31/15

Its been a year since Public Service Broadcasting had been around, but amazingly enough they’ve already released their 2nd album. Aptly titled The Race For Space, the band has now surpassed where they started from. This new album is pure genius and it feel like it could just take us up into space.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

London boys J. Willgoose, Esq. (always looking lawyerly in a bowtie and corduroy) and Wrigglesworth, the bad ass on the drums, always know how to put on an incredible show. While the band doesnt talk at all, their computer certainly makes for a 3rd person of the band. With lovely quips ‘thank you San Francisco’ or ‘We’re so glad that we are finally playing (majorly long pause) Upstairs the DNA’, the computer has a personality of its own. The two guys clearly have an awesome time playing together and it shows all over their face with lots of big smiles.

Mostly their show is all about the music. The Race for Space is just that. It felt like we had gone back in time to when JFK was in office – there was a need to get to space and see the unknown world, get to the moon – and hearing it all looped over their music was something pretty special. The band has managed to do one hell of an impressive feat with getting the astronauts and NASA’s original broadcasts and communications between each other. The band has some amazing footage from times lost and has incorporated it into one hell of a visual display. Between the visuals and the aural sensation, at points it felt like we were there.

Single ‘Gagarin‘ is a fun disco-infused electronic song that really got the crowd dancing. People were there for fun and the tiny little upstairs was a great place for everyone to get a bit hot and sweaty dancing to their music. ‘Signal 30‘ off their first album is still a catchy piece with much heavier guitars and drums as cars go flying down the road with the announcer talking about ‘driving too fast – no drinking and driving’. It just works and with all of their songs you feel like youre transported into this whole different world of theirs. I still get a bit misty eyed every time they play ‘Everest‘ just imagining being there — with the most gorgeous mountain ever. Its just hauntingly beautiful.

With that being said – their new music combined with some of their most awesome tracks off the other album – makes for one hell of a show. You just dont want it to end.

Meet Me In Orbit

Meet Me In Orbit

Its only fitting that Meet Me In Orbit (with perhaps one of the best names ever!) was one of the show’s openers. The San Francisco band played their first show ever last night and the crowd was so into them. The band is bringing their own dreamy, spacey electronic sound which is catchy and dance-y and like PSB, just takes you away. It was hard to not want more from the band, but with such few songs you take what you can get. Thankfully, their first EP gets released on April 7 – and if youve missed really good dream-space-pop that you can just close your eyes and dance to – then make sure to get this. They’re one of those bands that you expect to be big and to hear much more from because they are THAT good!

What Up Mang

What Up Mang

What Up Mang! managed to bring some pretty cool kaleidoscope disco psychedelic beats from the Lower Haight to SOMA. The band was definitely out there and were having a great time and I never would have thought Id say that disco and psychedelic music could go together, but it seemingly blended all too well together. Plus, they had some great blissed out harmonies. The lead singer was quite the dancing machine and she was enthralling to watch. Plus, they even managed to have a crazy cover of Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart‘ and they made it even better by slowing it down and adding some heavy Hawaiian luau beats. So if you ever just want a fun night out, this band will deliver, plus youll end up dancing the night away.

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

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!

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

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

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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

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

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!

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

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.

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

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

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 822 other followers