Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Archive for September, 2007

Mum is the Word…

Posted by xneverwherex on September 27, 2007

So – I just bought my mum tickets as part of the Wordless Music Series. And I can’t recommend seeing shows at this series enough. I have been listening to mum a bit and am just blown away by how amazing they sound. So naturally, a church and mum seem a great fit!  Now really …. its on to Beirut.

9/24/07

Monday night was a great way to start the week by heading up to the Society for Ethical Culture on the corner of Central Park West & 64th. The church is still in amazing condition (I did read it was recently refurbished) and the paintings are gorgeous. The pews are about as comfortable as pews can be, but more importantly, the acoustics are amazing. This was my second trip to this church – my first time having seen Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance.

This series is about putting together acts that we might never consider listening to. For a lot of indie fans (myself included), its not often that I’d go out and find a new classically trained artist with electronic influences. And its not that I don’t care for the music, I just don’t find myself gravitating towards that. So I look to this series to expose my horizons.

The first review I read about the Beirut show had me so disappointed with what I read, I was convinced I attended a different show. Thanks NYT for thinking outside of the box.

Colleen, a French woman who it turns out barely made it into the states thanks to our government’s efficient visa plan with turning away all these artists, was the first artist to play. She is classically trained and primarily played the cello. She was very gifted and her music was a fusion of classical and electronic. She played everything from a clarinet to wind chimes to the violin. And everything was so beautifully crafted it was hard not to drift away with the music. I had no idea what to expect coming in, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised.

The next artists up were Katya Mihailova (on the piano) and Colin Jacobsen (on violin). Katya came up to perform 2 songs by herself on piano. The song from Chopin was performed perfectly, her fingers flying over the keys amazing to watch. I was seated in the 3rd row on the edge and had an amazing view. Her next song – which I dont remember the title but has something to do with only the left hand – was even more impressive. With just her left hand, she played the entire song. I don’t know if anyone else would have realized it, but when it hit me that she was only playing with one hand, I was blown away. Brooklyn (where she lives) should have been proud tonight!

Katya was later joined on the stage with Colin Jacobsen. Their first piece was from Arvo Part which really played out well together. The violin accompanying the piano was just beautiful. I am a sucker for beautiful piano pieces, and I have a love affair with watching people play the piano. It takes me to a different world. The set ended with a piece from Bela Bartok and Colin asked the lovely men of Beirut to join them on stage. So 4 guys from Beirut came out with a trumpet, a cello and some other instruments. There seemed to be a bit of confusion, but by the last part of the song it came together. It was a great way to end the set and get us pumped up for Beirut.

 Beirut were amazing. Zach Condon, the ever talented lead singer of Beirut, was exceptionally cool! Possibly the epitome of cool. With heavy French influences in the form of Jacques Brel, the band put on quite a show. 6 other guys filled the stage playing a variety of instruments and the lone female primarily on violin. The music which has a very Eastern European flair contained a big sound from the accordion, trumpets, violins, ukuleles and minimal drums. Guitars were barely used which was quite the nice change.

Its hard to close your eyes and imagine this band from Brooklyn, performing this Eastern European music, but this is what they do. And they do it quite well. The evening ended with Zach coming back after the encore and telling everyone to move forward and stand up. It ended with some sort of Romanian jig like tune. It was a perfect setting for nearly an hour and a half even when inside of a church!

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Our Love To Admire (Interpol)

Posted by xneverwherex on September 17, 2007

9/14/07

This was the first time I had pit tickets in quite awhile at a big venue. I had decided originally to get there insanely early to get a great spot in line. But when it came down to it, I just had no energy to do that. So I arrived at The Garden around 10 till 6. And there were maybe 20 people in front of me. Not bad, not bad. I start talking with the girl in front of me, who seems so nice. And she is quite friendly. She has just moved here from New Mexico and loves to go to concerts. On that note – I should send her a text about tomorrow’s show.  So its always a great way to hang out before the show begins. I get a text from my friend Hannah who is coming up from DC. yay! After our last fiasco – which is the fiasco not named – we had our fingers crossed that the trains would have no delays. And she made it just in time before we were let into the doors.

After standing around for an hour – and we are RIGHT in front (well one row ahead of us of shorter women) – The Liars come on. I had no clue what to expect of The Liars as I hadnt listened to them. The music is very loud, screamo type stuff but is quite out there at the same time. Some of their music was really good that I liked but for the most part I felt like I was in some sort of weird reality time-warp. The lead singer is entertaining and very much is a strong presence on the stage. He would mimic the drum movements and do all sorts of crazy little things. After about 35 mins. and their set was done.

I will say MSG has amazing acoustics and the first band sounded great. A super quick sound check and they were ready to go. Its not often that you get to see this, but suddenly you realize this is how its done by the pros 🙂

Next up was the amazing – Cat Power & The Dirty Delta Blues. I had always wanted to see her, as she has such an amazing beautiful, sultry voice. She definitely didn’t disappoint at this show. She seemed so happy to be there, working the stage as she made her way back and forth. She sat down on the side when there was nothing to see and let the band go to town. And this band was so talented. They really were a great backing unit to her. She played a cover (or maybe 2) and some other songs that I knew but for the most part I cant say I recognized them. It wouldn’t have mattered. She did not disappoint.

It was hard not to go insane once she left the stage. Floods of memories came back of seeing Interpol just a month ago at Lollapalooza. Thinking about what they might or might not play, was not helping the anticipation. I knew they were scheduled to be on at 10:30 per the employees of MSG who let us know. Around 10:20 Interpol takes the stage.

MSG at this point is so loud! Everyone is screaming and yelling for them and the place is going nuts. A large white sheet is in front of the band as they begin to play. The shadows that should have shown through the sheets were not working, so it didnt look quite right. Being in the front I could still easily make out the band and see everyone, but it didn’t seem quite right.  During the 2nd song, Daniel is going frantic yelling at the guy in front of him to take down the sheet.

The band has to stop the show and wait for the sheet to come down, which is having a malfunction. During all this the band starts to play, just instrumentals and the crowd is getting even more antsy just wanting to see them.

The sheet comes down and the band bursts into the rest of their set. The band was incredible. They played for a full hour and 40 mins, with not one, but two encores. Paul’s voice was so spot-on; Daniel was full of energy working the stage coming towards the crowd and Carlos D was naturally on his game and Sam worked it on the drums. The new songs which they played a bunch of were simply beautifully played. The highlights were “Pace Is The Trick” which has the trademark dramatic Interpol song. The crowd went nuts during “Heinrich Maneuver” with everyone singing along. Actually I think a lot of people were singing to every song. My favorite song on the album “Rest My Chemistry” was just what I had expected. From their first note, it was hard to contain oneself.

If anything Interpol far exceeded any other prior impressions I had of them. The final song “Untitled” was the perfect way to end the night. Luscious guitars that swirled and filled the room, with the constant drum beat in the background with the sparse lyrics from Paul was all that was needed. And the show couldn’t have ended on a better note!

Here’s hoping I can see them again soon.

Setlist:
Pioneer to the Falls
Obstacle 1
C’Mere
Narc
Say Hello to the Angels
Pace is the Trick
Mammoth
Hands Away
No I in Threesome
Slow Hands
Rest My Chemistry
The Heinrich Maneuver
Evil
Not Even Jail

NYC
Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down
PDA

Untitled

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Are You A Nerd?

Posted by xneverwherex on September 12, 2007

Naturally I have way too much time on my hands at work. So I decided to take this test. :) Nice to see I scored high in the comic book section :) Take yours?


NerdTests.com says I'm a High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

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The Veils Return

Posted by xneverwherex on September 11, 2007

9/10/07

Another great night at the Bowery. It was funny – as I was there a little bit early, I was upstairs talking to the guys who work security. And they were saying how they felt that Webster Hall by far had the best sound system. And that Mercury was OK, but Bowery was so much better. Then the guy was telling me – that I better make sure to have some earplugs as the bass lines for The Picture would be VERY loud.

So – alas I was ready for The Picture to come on. They are a 5-piece band from Brooklyn. And apparently all of their fans came out for this show. They are also playing on Friday night at Midway. And if I weren’t already going to Interpol, I’d have definitely gone back to hear them again. The bass lines weren’t so loud, but in general they were louder than usual. The bassist was really great, but the guitarists themselves were really great. The lead singer has a great voice and their songs were very catchy. Its yet another indie rock band, but I think these guys have a bright future ahead of them.

Next up – The XYZ Affair. Now this is a name I see around all the time. I had never listened to them, or if I had I really didn’t remember hearing them. I was not blown away by them for a second. Very loud guitars that just didn’t seem to connect. It seemed everyone was playing their own part, but never coming together as a band. The lead singer was very energetic jumping all over the stage, but I didn’t feel it completely translated over to the audience.

Finally – The Veils came on to the stage. They started their US tour at The Mercury Lounge, so how fitting was it that it ended at the Bowery Ballroom. Finn (lead singer) reminds me of this delicate creature when he plays. He came out in his bowler hat like last time, and looked to be wearing the near same clothes. Tighter than tight jeans with white shiny shoes. Looks great as always. Thin as a rail – I imagine him playing in most cities with a cigarette hanging from his mouth. It was a great set with music that just grabs you. Finn wears all of his emotion on his face, and at times it looks like he’s going to break down, and then a smile spreads across his lips for just a second. The intense look of joy on his face, only makes it that much better.

This time I was standing between Finn and the bassist. She had a taped up shoe yet again, and seemed excited to be there. She was amazing on the bass, her fingers just flailing away. As great as she was on bass, it was clearly Finn that is the band. With so much intensity on his face, its hard to remember to look down and watch him play. But when you do, his fingers move with such incredible speed, its amazing to watch.

This time the band played quite a few new songs, and then Finn noted that last time they didn’t play their cover of Scritti Politti’s “Lion After Slumber” – so that was included. He also pointed out, that just for us he’d play some songs they even played at Mercury 🙂 So we were treated to quite the show. Their new songs are sounding as great as ever, and Finn’s vocals were in top quality.

The encore was a real treat with a wardrobe change from Finn. He came out in red, white and blue striped pants with stars no less on them. Apparently a purchase from a store in LA, in which I guess it was told to him the colors wouldn’t bleed upon washing them. He had his button down shirt unbuttoned showing off his quite nice chest. The encore was 2 songs with an ending that consisted of him looking at the drummer, smiling, and then running into the drumset with his guitar and drums flying everywhere. What an ending to their tour in the states!

If you ever have a chance to see them, it should be worth your while. Its not often that you see guys who wear their hearts on their sleeve (so to speak), with vulnerability written all over their face.

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Friday night with editors

Posted by xneverwherex on September 10, 2007

9/7/07

Friday night started out on a great note at Webster Hall with Ra Ra Riot. I arrived there quite early and had a prime spot right in the front center. I’m slowly beginning to feel tho, that maybe they just arent ready for it all yet. The music still sounds as great as ever, but it just feels like they’re lacking something on stage. The 2 women in the band seemed nearly afraid of the crowd. Perhaps they’ve just been touring too much and need to take a break. Regardless, the new Kate Bush cover sounds quite good, but it doesn’t have the same catchiness as “Hounds of Love”. The drummer was good as well and it seems he’d make a fine replacement for John Pike.

The next band up was Biffy Clyro from Scotland. The first thing I noticed about the band was that they had die-hard fans who came out just to see them. A group of guys from Ireland were so excited to be seeing them, it was quite contagious. Now, I will start this out by saying Biffy Clyro is not someone I would normally listen to. It seemed an odd mix to put them between editors and Ra Ra Riot, two indie-pop/britpop bands. Biffy Clyro’s sound check was so loud I thought my ears might die. But when they came out to play it wasnt quite so loud. Or maybe my ears had adjusted. Some of the songs were quite easy to get into, but the loud, scream, noise heavy band was definitely not my cup of tea. The drummer and lead-singer (brothers), played with their shirts off. The lead singer has a collection of tattoos that range from everything from images to words. The band was very talented, and they could sure play those guitars. It was great fun to watch.

The highlight of the night – and probably one of my favorite shows from this year was editors. I became very addicted to the new album – An End Has a Start – , so I really couldn’t wait to see the band. Tom came out and right away jumped into Bones. What a track to start the night. The night continued with a set-list that I would say were some of their best songs.  Tom is very expressive with his hands, as he’d hold them out and wrap them around him. The crowd loved him and he played it up for the audience. His songs on the piano, enmeshed with his guitar were absolutely amazing. Watching his hands fly across the keys was pretty impressive. It was easy to see how truly talented he was. The lead guitarist is an incredible player and its easy to forgot how much of the music he actually plays.

Tom

The bassist on the other side of the piano, and nearly cut off from the band held his own and would often times go back towards the drummer and play facing him. When the 4 of them came together in the back of the room (bad pun), it was easy to see how they fed off of each other. The energy was there and in each song you could feel the energy emanating in the room.

The more popular songs were huge hits with the audience with everyone singing and jumping, and heads bopping along. I thought ‘Blood’ sounded amazing and one of my favorite songs ‘All Sparks’ was impressive. ‘Fall’ was as beautiful as it gets. Tom’s voice is so impressive live – it cant even compare with the recorded song. I am shooting myself that I am only seeing them once on this tour, because their new music is great. “When Anger Shows” is incredible live with the emotion all over Tom’s face and in his hands. Set list is listed below. If you haven’t yet seen editors, do yourself a favor and see them soon! They will not be this small forever. I keep thinking how impressive it would be to see Coldplay and editors play together. Similar styles and incredibly talented lead singers. Just might be a dream show.

Editors setlist:
Bones
Bullets
An End Has a Start
Blood
Fall
Escape the Nest
All Sparks
When Anger Shows
Lights
The Racing Rats
Weight of the World
Munich
Open Your Arms

You Are Fading
Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors
Fingers in the Factories

Video and photos to be added in the next day.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music | 2 Comments »

Magnum Cum Louder!

Posted by xneverwherex on September 8, 2007

9/5/07

So – I’m a few days late on this posting, but better late than never. Wednesday night I found myself at BB Kings in Times Square. Never having been to this venue, and more importantly, hearing negative things via friends, I was unsure of what to expect. You go down a flight of stairs, and turn the corner, and voila! you arrive in a pretty big room, a stage in the center with tables all around. I was then seated, but told the woman I’d not be eating dinner. So I found myself hanging out by the sound stage awaiting THE HOODOO GURUS.

Now heres a bit of a flashback. I’m not really _that_ old, albeit what some friends might tell you 😉 I tend to hang around with younger(ish) people. Is that even a word? Well actually it really varies – my friends are either closer to 40 or closer to 25. With a range in between. So depending who you ask, I just might be old. Back in highschool, around 1991 or so when the aforementioned Magnum Cum Louder came out, my friends and I were HUGE fans of the Hoodoo Gurus. And with a title like Magnum Cum Louder (I didnt make up the spelling), we were taken with them. Needless to say, hearing that the guys from Australia were hitting the states – I was NOT missing them. So I felt like I was reliving my highschool days.

The first band The Elms were supposed to come on at 8pm. Around 8:05 or so, a band takes the stage, and announces in their THICK Australian accents – ‘thank you for coming to the early show, we’re going to play a few songs and then come back for the late show’. It was then that it hit me, The Hoodoo Gurus were the f’ing opening act. Guess The Elms bailed or something, so instead of one set with the Hoodoo Gurus, I got 2.

The first set had some catchy songs, but the one that hit me was “Good Times”. Dancing around and singing along, I might have been back in high school at a high school dance singing along “All the good times we had we’ll have again. ” Oh yeah! that was so high school for me. And at that moment I knew I was in for a special treat.

The band left the stage, only to come back promptly at 9pm to give us the late night version. I was surprised how many people missed the openers. Im one of those few people who is insistent on seeing openers. Im convinced Im going to have my own Joy Division story. (or is that the Sex Pistols?). You know the story – the one where there were 20 people who showed up for the show. Yeah – those stories rock! Because at some point most of us have them. But its more amazing when the band blows up and you can say I saw them at xyz. So I was talking to some people around me, and everyone asked if it was true that The Hoodoo Gurus did the opening slot. You bet your ass they did. And yeah – of course I saw it.

The crowd was a much older crowd, I was probably one of the youngest people there. I was standing right in front of the bassist, Rick. The bass lines soared, lots of guitars, vocals that came and went, and some older guys who could rock out. Rick kept staring down at me, as the older guys around me would all start getting into it, dancing, jumping around. A smile would pass his lips, and I was in heaven. Some girls would try and push into me, to catch Rick’s look, but alas too bad for them. I wasnt the chick who was wearing near nothing, but looked presentable (in clothes that covered me) and wasnt too cool to not rock out.

My only disappointment was not hearing my favorite song “I Want You Back”. Around the 6th song “Come Anytime” (one of my favorite songs), it became ‘audience request time’. Apparently they are staples at BB Kings, and even remembered what they had played prior times.

and btw – for anyone interested. they are playing maxwells on sunday night.

oh and they ended with a friend of theirs, Keith?, coming up and playing a song they rehearsed (apparently incorrectly).

Set List
(lets all) turn on
down on me
domino
death-defying (apparently dave’s fav song that he ever wrote).
for the ladies (which they were not going to play because they played it last time at bb kings)
come anytime
*audience request*
*audience request*
poison pen
1000 miles away
axegrinder
what’s my scene?
miss freelove ’69
bittersweet
the right time
kamikaza pilot

the encores were left to us
i think the songs were arthur and good son?

*and for those who need more…. editors update coming later this weekend*

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music | 1 Comment »