Posted by xneverwherex on September 28, 2012
It seemed forever that I had last seen Maximo Park. Their last tour somehow didnt end up coming to NYC, so it was about time they finally came back. And the band seemed to really enjoy being in San Francisco and playing Slims. Paul had so much energy that you could feel it bouncing off the walls. He posed lots and had lots of great movements and his dancing has definitely improved and increased. I definitely miss the scissor kicks, but theres still lots of jumping. Lukas is still as insane as ever on the keyboards. He kept pulling them towards him as he’d jump around and even jump on them. Very awesome.
The songs off their new album, ‘The National Health’ are quite catchy. ‘Take Me Home’ should be a total hit. They started their show off with the always fun and energetic ‘Graffiti’ and then jumped into the title track which was also really catchy. But it was really their older songs that got the crowd super excited and jumping and singing along. While their other albums have been quite good, nothing has compared to ‘A Certain Trigger’. Although, the guitar riff from ‘Girls who Play Guitars’ has never sounded better.
It was awesome when Paul said he had a song to sing about where we were. People screamed out songs, but I knew it had to be ‘The Coast is Always Changing’. What an awesome song and what a perfect San Francisco song. ‘Graffiti’, ‘Limassol’ and ‘Kiss You Better’ still sound amazing live. It was great to hear Paul sing part of ‘The Acrobat’ which he had to stop singing due to the lack of anyone remembering it 🙂
Paul & The Park
The band played nonstop for about 90 minutes before announcing it was down to their last songs. He mentioned how Americans love encores (really?), but that on this tour there wouldnt be any. They put their heart into the set and left it all on the floor. Naturally, some people (who I guess didnt believe the band), yelled for an encore. A 20 song set was hard to be disappointed with and for the most part they played nearly everything I would have wanted to hear.
Paul talked about how he had a few days off from the tour and how they went to Coit Tower and visited other sites. Paul was pretty talkative and wanted to tell stories, but for some reason many people in the audience just yelled out songs and wanted them to play. A pity as he’s a great storyteller.
LA’s The Neighbourhood
were surprisingly quite awesome. The guys looked quite young and were very excitable. There are definitely some hardcore influences along with hip hop. Its a great combo and makes for a great show. The lead singer, who is covered with tattoos, is hard to take your eyes from. Even if the music is not your scene, just stare at his arms/neck for awhile and youll be entranced.
NYC’s Zambri played a quite short set. They tried to do something unique with a lot of microphones that didn’t quite work. It definitely had an electronic feel and reminds me of School of Seven Bells. I still find them a bit forgettable but they’re fine to watch. Im not quite sure how they ended on this lineup but it made for a quirky interesting night.
The National Health
Girls Who Play Guitars
Hips and Lips
Questing, Not Coasting
The Coast Is Always Changing
Write This Down
Books From Boxes
The Kids Are Sick Again
Take Me Home
Now I’m All Over the Shop
This Is What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
I Want You to Stay
By the Monument
Waves of Fear
Apply Some Pressure
Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: britpop, indie, LA, live, Lukas, Maximo Park, music, Newcastle, NYC, Paul, San Francisco, Slims, The Neighbourhood, UK, Zambri | Leave a Comment »
Posted by xneverwherex on September 7, 2012
Great American Music Hall
I guess the summer holiday is officially coming to an end, so it seemed fitting that it ended with Wild Nothing. Wild Nothing had finally made it back to the West Coast according to Jack. It sounded like it had been quite awhile and the way Jack told how San Francisco was his favorite city, reminded me of the way I had felt about NYC.
The band, by way of NYC (Brooklyn for Jack — and Athens for a few others — as well as one guy still in VA?), are on tour for their second album, Nocturne. I wasnt sure how the album would hold up compared to Gemini (one of my fav albums quite possibly ever), and it does. And quite nicely. Maybe with a few more spins it’ll end up in that same category.
From what I had learned from their new lighting guy – the band is kind of all over the place when it comes to where they live. Im not sure how it works as it seems that Jack isn’t fully in control over every part of the music, but it does work. And dare I add, quite well.
Their music just takes you away to a dreamy far away land with swirling guitars, lush vocals and darkened lights that just add to the visual. For an hour or so, it feels like youre off in your own land dancing to infectious indie pop hooks. It still has the hint of shoegaze but its like the Cocteau Twins of the 80s and the pop sounds of The Sundays.
The guys all moved around aimlessly with the bassist jumping up and down for a lot of the songs and the guitarist moving back and forth in his own world. Jack, who doesnt say much, had some interactions with the guys but mostly he just played his heart out. He was definitely excited to be there and you could feel the energy from the crowd. As the first guitar chords begin on ‘Chinatown’ an excitement builds in the crowd. ‘Live In Dreams’, which has always been a favorite, has never sounded better. Everyone sang and danced and moved in a hazy dreamlike nature.
In contrast to the Pains show, this was a different experience where people were there just wanting to hear the music. The only real complaint was the sound itself. At times the guitars were just too loud and muddy and took away from the vocals, but for the most part it worked itself out.
And just because Im selfish – how about bringing back one of the best Kate Bush covers ever. Cloudbusting is such an amazing song; its rare that a band can do her music justice. But its one of the best covers Ive ever heard. And this coming from a music snob 🙂
DIIV (pronounced Dive and formerly known as Dive), another band from NYC, were one of 2 openers. The guys looked impossibly young and it was hard to believe they were even 16. The crowd were so into them and that was quite awesome. Some of their music reminded me of Explosions in the Sky but not as big as a sound. Lots of heavy guitars and a few songs with minimal vocals.
I remember liking Holy Shit and at the same time thinking what a horrible band name or thinking when is Holy Shit Fuck going to be a band. The band, which used to have Ariel Pink in it on the first album, is now a few guys from San Francisco. They play lo-fi experimental-ish jams and put on a great, really tight set. It was over so quickly that by the time you were into it, that was it.
Overall — one hell of a night with 3 great bands!
Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: Athens, Brooklyn, concert, DIIV, dreampop, GAMH, Great American Music Hall, Holy Shit, indie, live, music, NYC, San Francisco, shoegaze, Virginia, Wild Nothing | Leave a Comment »
Posted by xneverwherex on September 6, 2012
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
A B & the Sea
Perhaps age and more than likely perhaps living in NYC has made me somewhat jaded about shows. Or perhaps I have been spoiled with seeing many of these bands earlier in their career that sometimes it just doesnt pay to see a show.
A B & The Sea
Arrived at Popscene, (which is not the popscene I had remembered from the 90s — oh the people and times have changed) long gone from the very cool warehouse like 330 Ritch and now over at Rickshaw Stop – a smallish tightly packed club, to a long long long line. It was a bit confusing at first as no one seemed to know where to go. Then of more things crazy – they let the ticket buyers (not holders) into the show first. So we had to wait an additional 30 mins or so just to move an inch. Of course, Popscene is now filled with a very young high school crowd who were more excited about seeing each other late at night and high fiving each other for being in the very front. The whole thing just was weird. Id like to take this moment to say I really hope I was not that obnoxious in high school at shows (then again everywhere was 21+), so it was usually The Warfield and Shoreline.
The club was pretty packed by the time friends and I arrived. The Popscene DJs were spinning the same stuff youd hear on Live 105. No one danced and it was just a tad sad. As we had waited outside so long, at least it wasnt too long a wait for A B & the Sea to come on. Plus, random videos on the screens made it go by a bit quicker.
San Francisco’s A B & the Sea put on a pretty awesome performance. Some of the songs were beyond catchy and had a sunny California pop sound. It just made you want to dance and sing along. Songs like ‘California Feeling’ are guaranteed to be a pop hit. Its fun and light. ‘Constant Vacation’ is another very catchy dance-y song. They make you feel like summer is in the air and its going to be a great night. The only problem with their music is that they are all over the place. There are the total pop songs that are light and fun and then a lot of their music is in a totally different direction. It was like the band wasnt sure which way to go. A pity. The crowd was really into their lighter feeling songs.
Either way – Id see them again if theyre playing in SF.
Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Brooklyn’s Pains of Being Pure at Heart
had finally come back to SF after about 5 years. The crowd was beyond tightly packed inside and even at the beginning everyone was pushing against each other. Their fun dream pop sound that I had come to love from their first self-titled album was somewhat gone. With another guitarist added to their stage performance, it became a lot more loud and a lot more guitar driven. I somehow missed hearing their earlier stuff and the dream pop sound that had made them popular. And mostly I missed more of Peggy singing. Perhaps she was just overshadowed by the loud guitars?
Their new album ‘Belong’ has some great numbers and it was great to hear it live. The band was excited to be there. It seemed that Weekend (the band) was around and that the 2 bands had decided to switch coasts. Well actually, only Weekend is moving to NY. As the band mostly played tracks off their new album, the crowd got more insane. First the moshing began with people getting shoved to the ground, guys grabbing girls and just pushing them into the pit, and then the crowd surfing. Ive certainly been to plenty of shows with all that, but its rare for a guy to repeatedly try and grab me and push me into a pit.
Overall, it was a bit of a disappointment — but at least the opener gave me something to look forward to. And the cheap ticket… oh yeah that made it all the better.
So the question is, would I see the Pains again? Im not sure if it was the crowd, the music, their new direction. But, at this point, Im not sure I feel a real need to. I loved the first album when it came out and couldnt get enough of it. Ive listened to Belong a number of times, and it lacks something for me. Everything I loved seemed to be gone.
Thankfully I had Wild Nothing to look forward to.
Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music, San Francisco | Tagged: 8/30/12, A B & The Sea, Brooklyn, California-pop, concert, indie, indiepop, live, music, NYC, Popscene, Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, The Pains, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart | Leave a Comment »