Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Archive for April, 2013

Michael Been of The Call is Celebrated

Posted by xneverwherex on April 22, 2013

The Call (featuring Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)
Jeffertitti’s Nile
DJ Dan Mancini
April 11, 2013

Its not often that a show touches your heart and is so endearing. But this show was just that. It took a year and a half for the show to be put together. It appeared that The Call’s music was not the easiest to learn, but Robert did one hell of a job to follow in his father’s foot steps.

Robert Been, bassist and singer of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, came together with his father’s band The Call to perform their music. It was one of two shows that the band will be playing. His father, Michael Been, died a few years back on tour with his son’s band. It was sudden and way too soon. So this was a perfect tribute to his father, bassist and singer, of The Call.

The Call

The band seemed very excited to be playing. Their music still sounded incredible and they definitely still knew how to rock. Their 80s alternative U2-esque sound was amazing as they opened up the set with ‘Everywhere I Go’. The crowd was enthusiastic with lots of cheers. Tom (Dickie), the guitarist, was right in front of me clad in a BRMC shirt. It was fitting and he was full of smiles. He smiled at me a few times, easily one of the younger people in the audience. The guys next to me were pumped up as they yelled out songs and talked about their first time seeing the band. Scott, the drummer, was on top of it, pushing the band through the music. Jim was great on keyboards, having a really fun time.

The band seemed to be racing through songs and they all sounded incredible. While I only recognized a handful of songs, it was easy for me to want to be there to support this special night. Their songs are easy to get into and their music still has a current sound to it. The gents next to me gave Robert a hard time about messing up a few of the songs. Robert was cute and nervous and some of the songs were clearly more difficult than others.

One of my favorite bits of the night was the crowd heckling him for not quite getting the songs right. He commented on how hard they were to learn and why it took so long for them to have this night. He told a heart warming story about his dad’s bass being stolen. Then one day he gets a call from a pawnshop in Santa Cruz with the owner being a huge fan of the Call and realizing that it was Michael’s bass. It landed back in Robert’s hand and he’s been playing it. He comments about it being very hard to stay tuned, but that it was special.

I was beyond excited to hear ‘Let The Day Begin’. I had recently heard it when BRMC had played it, but it was just incredible to hear the band play it. The crowd sang along and clearly was having a great time. The lyrics still seem so relevant. The set ended with ‘Walls Came Down’ and it sounded even better live. With everything that had been going on, the song just seemed so fitting. They ended the set with Uncovered which was just Robert singing and it was just hauntingly beautiful. It was great that they kept playing and didnt leave the stage right at 11. They pushed on and said to hell with last calls/closing times. Its a joke anyway – I sure dont remember this when I last lived here. (Apparently its a new thing – with some place moving in and wanting to change it up – thank you gentrification).

Jeffertitti’s Nile

Robert definitely tried his hardest and wanted to please the band and his fans. A guy commented next to me, ‘well he’s definitely not his father, but he’s holding his own’. Robert sounded great and albeit a bit nervous, he was clearly having fun. The guys were all good natured and poking fun at him. His father definitely had to be smiling down at him. The band clearly missed Michael but this was the best tribute anyone could have asked for. It was just heartwarming and endearing and Im glad that I got to be there to be a part of it.

Jeffertitti’s Nile, the opener, is a 4 piece band from LA and a friend of Roberts. The lead singer came out clad in skin tight jeans, that looked like they were painted onto him. He had a mop of blonde hair hanging in his face reminding me of a surfer. But a surfer band they were not. The other guys came out in long shirt/dresses and pants and longish hair stepping out of the 60s. It was fitting that they played psychedelic-garage-bluesy-glam rock. They kind of flowed all over the stage. The real awesomeness was the drummer and his hair which exceeded Brent (fathead of The Dandy Warhols). This guy had the most awesome head of hair, only sadded by the fact that the drums hid it. People seemed to really enjoy them. They were pretty quiet with not much to say, and when they did say something it was all distorted through the mics. This is one band that I cannot wait to see again.

Setlist (from LA – and prob the same in SF)
Everywhere I go
I Still believe
I dont wanna
Floating Back
Into the woods
Turn a blind eye
you were there
tore the old place down
red moon
swim in the ocean
let the day begin
modern romans
whats happened to you
…same old story
you run (acoustic)
walls came down

I feel alone lyrics


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The Airborne Toxic Event Rocks The Warfield

Posted by xneverwherex on April 18, 2013

The Airborne Toxic Event
Nightmare Air
The Warfield
April 11, 2013

I hadnt seen the Airborne Toxic Event in quite a few years and hadnt remembered their prior sets quite so lively. The band did not disappoint. They put on a really great rock show. Mikel Jollett, lead singer, wasted no time at all before climbing on the stacks on the far left side and singing to the audience all over there. He really worked the stage using every bit of it – making rounds to each side.

Airborne Toxic Event – Mikel

By the 2nd or 3rd song, he jumped into the audience and started playing from the crowd. The crowd was really into it and were singing along and dancing. There was so much energy from the entire band. The guys moved from different instruments throughout the set which was pretty cool. Mikel was often times on top of the drum kit and playing from there. The other band members each had their turn up there. There were some pretty incredible guitar solos as well as bass solos. Mikel gave each member a shout out and plenty of time to show off how talented they were.

The set just flew and before I knew it, they were onto the encore. Some of the highlights during the set were ‘Numb’, which it didn’t seem a lot of people knew or were into. Their cover of the Magnetic Fields ‘Book of Love’, was just beautiful and sounded really incredible and fresh. They ended the night with a raucous encore of a medley of songs that had the crowd going nuts and singing along. It started out with their own song “Missy” which then became Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ and then turned into Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ and then they did a quick pause. Mikel talked about the next song being a huge protest song and how most people in this country have no idea what the song is about. Of course, it was Bruce Springstreen’s ‘Born in the USA’. By the time it was done, they had taken it back to ‘Missy’. It was a real incredible way to end a really amazing set.


I definitely had missed seeing a balls-out rock show that just rocked! By the end of the night, everyone was a sweaty mess from dancing and singing. It was great fun and a band I will definitely be seeing again.

The opener Midnight Air, also from LA, were a harder edged rock band. While they were good, I wasnt blown away by them. One of the band members was in Film School which I had really liked but this was definitely not the same band. The band clearly had a great time and were excited to be playing in SF for the first time. They were talkative and friendly and fun! The band was also excited to be playing their last show with ATE and clearly had a great time on tour with them. Im guessing theyre playing Coachella about now.

If youre on the fence about seeing the ATE, and theyre heading East – Id definitely say not to miss them. You definitely will have a great time!

Set List:
Happiness is Overrated
Does This Mean Youre Moving On?
True Love
Something New
Half of Something Else
Wishing Well
Sometime Around Midnight
All I Ever Wanted
All at Once

The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields cover)
The Graveyard Near the House
Missy/Ring of Fire/American Girl/Born in the USA/Missy

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Johnny F’ing Marr & the Bad Ass Band

Posted by xneverwherex on April 14, 2013

Johnny Marr & The Healers
The Fillmore
April 13, 2013

Johnny F**kin Marr, as his tshirt states, is a force to be reckoned with. An already great show went over the greatness by the time the encore hit. So I’ll just start there as its too impossible to still not be reliving. Johnny starts telling a story of growing up in Manchester and at age 13 meeting some really amazing kids. And one kid, in particular, is in a band and had made it. The others, yeah not so much. This kid turned out to be Billy Duffy, guitarist of the Cult. These long-time friends had never played a stage together before tonight. And, honestly, they need to do it more often as this was melt your face off unf’ingbelievable.

The two of them (both guitar gods as far as Im concerned) performed one hell of a version of the Clash’s ‘I Fought the Law’. It was powerful and full of raw energy. Johnny let Billy take the spotlight and on his white guitar he tore it up. The two of them continued into a really rocked out version of ‘How Soon is Now’. The song has never sounded so amplified with so many guitars filling up the room. It was awesome and one hell of a way to close out the set.

And for those interested in their friendship – and random factoids – there is a great interview here.

Prior to that insane encore, the set itself was beyond great. Johnny Marr & The Healers are a great band. While its clear that this is Johnny’s band, he seems to really like working with his band. The guys looked quite young but all seemed to be having a great time. It would be hard not to. Johnny Marr is charismatic and charming. He thanked SF quite a bit, and spoke of the acupuncture he had done. He had lots of chi in him and apparently it really helped on his guitar solos.

The songs off his solo album sounded really great and fresh. And had a very current sound. They use a lot of guitars, but it never sounds too heavy. The Smiths songs received huge applause and everyone sang along. ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ sounded every bit as great as The Smiths. While at first it was a bit odd to hear Johnny sing these songs, (he doesnt have Morrissey’s moodiness nor vocals), he did sound quite great overall.

Johnny Marr is an unbelievably talented guy. He still has the boyish good looks so reminiscent of English bands. Its pretty amazing to watch him and remember how many bands he’s been in and how talented he truly is. I was fortunate to having seen him play with Modest Mouse. Its easy to forget that he was also in Electronic and The The and even toured with the Cribs. It makes sense then that NME gave him the godlike genius award.

One hell of an amazing show. Yeah, that sums it up!

Theres not many guitar gods out there anymore so if you can still see him, you owe it to yourself to not miss this show.

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Wash The Sins – Esben & The Witch

Posted by xneverwherex on April 10, 2013

Esben and The Witch
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
April 4, 2013

The Brick & Mortar Music Hall is one of those venues that is barely noticeable. I had walked and driven by it too many times and didn’t even know it existed. Right down the street from a gas station, it just blends into the block. With that being said, the venue is quite cool. Its a pretty small spot with a bar directly in front of you as you walk in and a stage off to the left. Lots of seating available and a very low-key crowd.

Esben & The Witch

Hailing from Brighton (UK), Esben and the Witch are a 3 piece band that puts on a great subdued show. I had seen them open up for Foals and was curious about their show on its own. The band hardly spoke to the audience but did have a few ‘thank yous’ after the songs. They introduced themselves oh so quietly and then just tore into their set. Rachel Davies, who has a striking resemblance to Keira Knightley, has an amazing voice. Her vocals are reminiscent of Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance) or even Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins). While their sound can be described as gothic, the band definitely has some of the shoegaze influence.

During much of the show, it felt like you were transported to somewhere else. Stuck in a movie that just keeps on going, youre swept away. The music is hauntingly beautiful with guitars that soar. The band had hardly any interaction with each other and played the 45 minute set with hardly any breaks between songs. The band was on tour in support of their awesomely named album, ‘Wash The Sins Not Only The Face’.

Simply put – the show was wonderful.

The semi-local, but mostly Brooklyn, Heliotropes opened up the show. It was their San Francisco debut. At least one of the girls was from Foster City and possibly others. The lead singer seemed excited to be performing for the first time for her mom and sister and friends. The band was very excitable and were having a really great time.


In contrast to the headliners, this girl band was the exact opposite. They were very talkative about their songs, their new album (coming out in June) and just how excited they were to be on tour. Their short set was fast and punchy and balls out rocking. While I wasnt totally into them, it was easy to become swept up in their excitement.

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