Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

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

image

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.

image

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

image

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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Enough route to Austin

Posted by xneverwherex on March 8, 2014

Im in the air en route to Austin. The guy next to me is working in Photoshop and doing all sorts of coding. Prob works for google; at least he’s not wearing an Instagram shirt like another guy on the flight. Maybe he’s the founder.

Beyond tired. Got hardly any sleep. First visit w Noah at my new apt. And a success. .. he loves it. Ok so I’m living in colma but my balcony is nice and cemetery free. Im sure there’s more dead ppl than live ones. But its home.

Sxsw is around the corner. Stacey is tired and so am I. At least its a mostly chill day. Whole foods for healthy eating options and then maybe check out a film at the fest.

Its on. Its coming fast. More soon.

Oh good news. Schedule is looking swell. :)

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Inform. Educate. Entertain. w/Public Service Broadcasting

Posted by xneverwherex on February 22, 2014

Public Service Broadcasting
Kiev
Slim’s
February 20, 2014

Inform – Educate – Entertain is not only the name of the first album from Public Service Broadcasting, but also seems to be the mission of the London-based duo. And that they did. The band’s backdrop/screen is a continuous reel of archival news clips and some “educational” information which was probably shown in schools forever ago – which is really propaganda. Those were the days. But the band takes this material and adds their own music to the pieces. While it might seem that it wouldn’t or shouldn’t work, it does. And I did learn (thanks to a guy from England standing next to me), that the first image is what the Public Broadcasting Service used to use before their announcements.

Public Service Broadcasting – J. Willgoose, Esq.

The duo consists of Wrigglesworth on drums and the ever dapper J. Willgoose, Esq. on everything else (as is pointed out very cheekily). Willgoose dresses in a bowtie and horn-rimmed glasses and looks like a lawyer of yesteryears. He seems to be the educator of the band while Wrigglesworth keeps it very entertaining with on-going drum beats — sometimes speeding it up and creating a more dance-friendly song.

Some of the images that seemed to stick out were soldiers during wartime marching down the streets with crowds out to cheer them on (reminding me of Hitler’s Nazi Germany). The band seemed to have the perfect song to accompany it, keeping it more down-beat. Willgoose tends to use a lot of banjos and guitars in the mix of the songs and the blends work out just perfectly. The ending of Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mt. Everest was perfect with a more dance-y track that had some of the audience really breaking a sweat. It was upbeat and seemed to signify a victory to the end of the show.

This was nothing but pure original brilliance. I cannot recommend seeing this band enough as they will delightfully surprise you for an hour or so taking you on an informative musical journey through English history. While the band never utters a word on stage, the band does have their computer ‘voice’ (not siri, mind you) who does add quips throughout the show and one of the total highlights to hear him say ‘thank you. (long pause) San Francisco’. And just like that, the crowd bursts out in cheers and applause.

Kiev

The opener, Kiev, played their first show ever in San Francisco. It was rather hard to believe as they’re just our ‘neighbors’ down in the O.C. (Orange County). They were surprised to not get boos from saying that, but then again, half the crowd was probably their family/friends. So much for the SF/LA rivalry.

The band was surprisingly insanely loud. It was hard to figure out where the reverberations were coming from (as theyre far from a solid guitar band), but it seems that from the dueling keyboards and the guitars in between it made for a lot of sound (or else the mix was really bad). The stage was shaking and you had to step back as you could feel it pulsate through your body.

It was a bit too loud, as would have loved to hear the saxophone in several of their songs which got drowned out. The band was quite good and as it got towards the end, their music had more of a dance-electronic feel to it. They definitely ended the show on a high note and are worth checking out again.

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Wild Cub Closes Out 2013 Concerts

Posted by xneverwherex on December 20, 2013

Wild Cub
Rickshaw Stop
12/19/13

Its hard to believe that 2013 is nearly over. But Wild Cub made it clear that they would end out the year with a bang! It was their final concert of the tour and year and the band was beyond excited to be back in San Francisco. They had only played one other time in SF (back in July – when I missed their show but ended up in Austin) and had an awesome time. I had heard others on the street outside talking about how awesome that first show was. So, of course, my expectations were now set a bit higher.

It was a late show night with doors at 10pm. I was told it would definitely not be a late night, but it turned out that the band didnt hit the stage until around 11:15pm. Indeed another late night at Popscene. Thankfully, Aaron Axelsen was spinning some great tunes and the new War on Drugs song is f’ing brilliant. I cannot wait to hear the new album.

Wild Cub

March also brings the release of Wild Cub’s debut album, Youth, which is INCREDIBLE. Ive been listening to it on repeat the day-after and am seriously not disappointed at all. The band formed after Keegan left Brooklyn (the rents too damn high!) for the greener pastures of Nashville. He is an endearing front-man who just exudes energy and still looks like he probably did in the 90s. Pegged pants, nice shoes, a slightly shaved head with long hair in front.

The band has a Prince vibe on some of their songs. Check out ‘Wild Light’. Their music is fun, catchy, indie-pop thats quite dance-y and will have you clapping in no time. Add some great melodies and infectious keys and some great hooks on their bass and voila! The band wasted no time getting the crowd moving with the ever-catchy ‘Jonti’ early in their set.

‘Wishing Well’ with its hook of a bassline and a sound that will take you back to the 80s, is one awesome song. Seeing it live is even better as Keegan tears up the stage. He dances all over the stage while playing guitar exuding fun and pleasure. The band then slowed it down with ‘Drive’ which is probably one of my favorite songs. With gorgeous guitars and Keegan’s smooth vocals the song feels like blissed out summer joy.

Wild Cub

The band definitely ended their tour on a high note. They talked about the great Chinese food they consumed (for about 7 people) and just their love of the city. They changed their set list a bit from their usual set. Keegan wanted to play his favorite song of 2013 and did a great rendition of Lykke Li’s ‘I Follow Rivers’. It was really awesome. They added a couple new songs and just did not want the night to end. So they pushed it out as long as possible. Instead of vanishing for an encore, they just remained on stage – announced their last song and broke out ‘When Doves Cry’ from Prince. While its hard for anyone to hit Prince’s notes – this was a pretty awesome cover.

One hell of a way to end 2013. Wild Cub delivered and made it an awesome last show of the year!

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Wood Shoppe … Free Music!

Posted by xneverwherex on November 8, 2013

Strange Talk
Battleme
Aan
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
November 5, 2013

Wood Shoppe is a free night of music that’s held monthly at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall. I had wanted to go another night, but of course, I had a show that night and as it turned out the band I had wanted to see had to cancel. But I will be returning as it was awesome – and they had a really great line-up.

Strange Talk

The headliner, Strange Talk from Australia, was a band that I had been wanting to see for ages. And one, that I would have gladly paid money to see. I somehow kept missing them at CMJ. The band did not disappoint. They came out, introduced themselves by mentioning their Aussie accents (hence the band name) and then quickly proceeded into the ever-catchy ‘Cast Away’. The crowd quickly got into their music and soon there was lots of dancing.

The band which mostly uses keyboards/synths, did use guitar on some of their songs. Their music is very similar to fellow Aussies The Presets/Cut Copy with even more dance-y electro pop songs and their ultra-bright sneakers. As the night progressed, their music started to have more of an edge as more guitars came out and they started sounding like they could be the new version of Innerpartysystem. The lead singer sounded really great and has a smooth sound to his voice.

As they ended the set there was a pretty decent sized dance pit for this small club. The crowd really got worked up during ‘Falling in Love’ and ‘Sexual Lifestyle’ which also included a couple getting a little too into it. They ended their set with their first single ‘Another Day’ and even had a crowd sing-along. It was fun indeed and I’m sure in no time they will be playing the larger venues. Definitely a band worth seeing if you enjoy their music.

My favorite band of the night was Battleme from Portland. I had listened to a few songs and they tended to have more of an acoustic folk sound on some of their songs, but live —- its a whole different story. They killed the set with tight, hard-fast rock-n-roll with a bluesy/psych rock sound. The band, which primarily uses guitars, looks like 2 bands in one. The drummer and keyboardist, who were more clean-cut, looked like members of Strange Talk while the other guys (the guitarists) had tattoo sleeves and long hair. It didn’t matter – they sounded like one tight kick-ass band.

Battleme

Lead singer, Matt Drenik, has amazing vocals with a sultriness to his voice. The band really reminded me of the 90s bands like The Replacements, yet also had the melodies of the power-pop bands (Fountains of Wayne/Matthew Sweet). ‘Just Weight’, the single off the new album, is my favorite song with a very catchy sound and when the gritty guitars sink it, its just the perfect blend.

The band really got into songs with Matt really working every inch of the small stage. While their songs can be loud, thrashy and heavy they were also quite melodic. Their music really had the crowd rocking out. They ended the set way too early (or so it seemed) and had the crowd wanting more and calling for an encore. They finished out their last song asking the crowd if they’d want a slow or fast song … we went with fast and it was fast, loud and powerful and was one hell of a way to end their set. Definitely a band that needs to be seen again!

Aan, another Portland band, started out the night. Their sound tended to be a bit here and there with some songs sounding very emo and some being more pop. It was kind of all over the place and its hard to pin-point them with their musical style.

While some of their songs were catchy and fun, a lot just didnt seem to fit in with the others. At least the band seemed to be having a great time on stage and they were pretty decent (just hard to live up to the other 2 bands). And their name as they said is ‘on – spelled aan’.

Set List – Strange Talk:
Cast Away
Take Me As I Am
Is It Real
Wanted
Eskimo Boy
Cosmic
Sexual Lifestyle
We can pretend
Falling in Love
Climbing Walls
Another Day

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Canada Night @ Hotel Utah Saloon

Posted by xneverwherex on November 1, 2013

Fast Romantics
Mise En Scene
Bears for Sharks
Hotel Utah Saloon
10/30/13

Wed. night featured bands from Canada at the Hotel Utah. The venue was an interesting space with a pole in the center and couch like seats around it. It made for a very odd playing space. It even had an upstairs. To make matters worse, the crowd was sparse at best with most people there other band members.

Bears for Sharks

The line-up was solid. The bands got exceedingly better as the night progressed. Each band a little better than the one before them. The first band, Bears for Sharks was playing their THIRD show ever. So they’re quite new to the scene – can’t find much on them online. I did like how they seamlessly blended styles. The 3 piece band managed to switch up instruments and singing on most songs. There was a lot of guitar/drums switch-ups going on, with the occasional singer switch up. It was kind of all over the place with all the movement but it somehow worked.

The lead singer (for the most part) had very low vocals reminiscent of Ian Curtis (Joy Division). The drummer/guitarist livened things up with his bear mask. He was definitely the spark of the band bringing them a lightness. Their music ranged from an alt-folk sound to more pop songs. They did hae some catchy songs and for only their third show they proved to be a fun band. Oddly enough, they also brought the biggest crowd with them consisting of lots of family and friends.

Mise En Scene

Next up were the ladies from Winnipeg, Mise En Scene. A two-some (think White Stripes) who wore matching sparkly jackets, brought lots of noise. A noise-pop/guitar driven band, they made the place feel alive and VERY loud. They have a garage-rock meet 60′s girl band sound. And it actually works quite well. Sadly, it was just me and one other girl in the audience aside from other bands. It was like a 30 minute serenade and it was awesome for me. But, Im sure it was more than awkward for the band who seemed to be having lots of sound issues from insanely loud guitars, to feedback, to other things.

Stefanie, lead singer, has amazing powerful, sultry vocals. She is a kick-ass guitarist and sounded amazing. She told some Canadian joke that had the others laughing and was trying to have fun on stage. The drummer, Jodi, was also good but seemed to stay more in the background and didnt say much. Regardless, the band was fun to watch and sounded great despite the problems. Plus, Stefanie is nice as hell which is always a plus. They’ll be at SXSW and with a better venue/better acoustics, etc they should be a band that is NOT to miss.

Fast Romantics, from Toronto now (prior they were in Alberta), was the third band (somehow not the last of their headlining set) and I had been waiting years to see them again. I had remembered enjoying them a lot when I had seen them at CMJ a good 3-4 years back. The members had changed some, but they still had the great pop songs. Their songs are still jangly, fun, catchy, pop(py) songs. Indie-pop goodness!

Fast Romantics

Matthew, lead singer, reminded me of a cross between Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker, wearing a lovely blue/green (the crowd was torn on what color it was) cardigan. Oh yes, he could have been in one of those 90s brit-pop bands. His voice screams Elvis Costello and if you didnt know it, you might even think it was him singing. He’s a great front-man and for our crowd of 12 (at most), he really tried to get us engaged. There was hand-clapping, a slow song that he tried to encourage a make out session (the bassist suggested masturbation for the single people) and trying to get us to dance. I guess someone did oblige him with the make-out session. The rest of the band is really great, from the woman playing keyboards and the other guys that were in the band prior to their new incarnation. They’ve also added a new bassist from Australia. They all have really strong vocals and are great together.

They ended the main set with the ever-catchy ‘Funeral Song’ off their new album Afterlife Blues. They played most the songs off the album, and its great. It’s gotta be one of the catchiest albums Ive heard in a long time. It will have you singing along in no time. The final song was Pulp’s ‘Common People’. Possibly the best cover Ive heard. We were all singing along and dancing and it was truly a great way to end the night. Oh yeah… Im hook, line, SUNK!

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

 
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