Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Archive for September, 2013

Your Ex Lover is Dead – Stars

Posted by xneverwherex on September 24, 2013

Trails and Ways

Stars is like a cup of hot tea and always makes you feel better. It was a rough night for too many reasons, but everyone encouraged me to see them. Ive seen Stars countless times, and they never disappoint. Stars, from Montreal, had been in SF for a few days and had played a show the night prior at Great American Music Hall. Some bands might look weathered, or sound jaded, but Stars is far from that.


Torq, bandleader, was in a talkative mood and talked about spending time in SF. He also mentioned that the band would be headed back to the studio after the tour to work on their NEXT album. The band just does not stop. He talked about not forgetting the band, and it seems that theyre a band that would be hard-pressed to forget.

Amy, who shares vocals with Torq, looked and sounded great as she worked the stage — joining the other guitarist on the other side of the stage. She seemed super cheerful and was bouncing all over the stage. Of course, she sounded incredible on “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead”.

Stars – Amy

The band was in town supporting their newest album The North. Ive really liked the songs that I heard from it. Their set was a nice mix showcasing all their music from early on till now. It was a nice love-letter to SF and the audience really loved it, with a good chunk of the crowd at the prior nights show. ‘Take Me To The Riot’ had the audience singing along and hopping with the band. It was pure joy. ‘We Don’t Want Your Body’ is always a fun song and sing-along. Its also great that the band has their violinist on tour with them. She is absolutely amazing and sounds gorgeous playing alongside them, giving them a fuller sound.

The band ended with a 4 set-encore that was really awesome. Their final song ‘The 400’ consisted of the band sitting on the edge of the drummer Pat McGee’s platform just singing along together in perfect harmony. And it should be noted – Pat McGee – obviously best dressed man!

I cant recall a time that the band seemed more excited. I had seen them in NYC quite a bit but this show had a different feel. It was like the band was made to play in San Francisco.

Trails and Ways from Oakland opened the set. They must have said a bajillion times they were from Oakland. The band started off a bit bland, but as the set picked up, so did their music. They had some great catchy pop tunes which were off the new EP (prob worth checking out). I’d definitely want to see them again and see how I feel about them.

Set List:
The Night Starts Here
Ageless Beauty
A Song is a Weapon
Death to Death
One More Night
Soft Revolution
Dead Hearts
Your Ex-Lover is Dead
We Don’t Want Your Body
Take me to the Riot
Hold One When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It

Calendar Girl
The Theory of Relativity
Elevator Love Letter
The 400


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Rhythm Is A Dancer – Bastille

Posted by xneverwherex on September 21, 2013

Little Daylight
Nightmare & The Cat
Great American Music Hall

Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille, might not be the greatest dancer (as he said so himself), but does he know how to get a crowd moving and dancing and jumping. Their cover of Snap!’s ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’ and Corona’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’ was pretty impressive and definitely changed it up just a bit. But it was fun and the crowd loved it.

The band, hailing from London, was excited to be back in San Francisco yet again. They made their first US appearance over the sumer at Rickshaw Stop (Popscene); sold out instantaneously. Their music has some fun catchy pop tunes, but also a number of songs which is mostly Dan on the keyboards singing alone. He has a powerful voice and exudes emotion. The band (or at least Dan) is also a huge film lover. With the song title ‘Laura Palmer’ – he definitely likes David Lynch. And their music sounds like it could be in one of his movies.

One thing is for sure – Dan’s energy is infectious. He jumps around all over the stage and makes use of every space. He climbed everywhere he could and did a walk through the crowd. The ever catchy and oh so popular ‘Pompeii’ ended the set and the chanting was just as powerful live. The entire band seems to have a lot of fun and everyone is quite versatile with the instruments.

Definitely a band not to miss – theyre pretty much sold out everywhere on their tour, but if you can snag a ticket its worth it.

Now — not to make the other bands seem inconsequential — but they are also SO worth seeing. I was told that I needed to check out Little Daylight, from Brooklyn, as my friend Jordan’s wife Nikki is in the band. I had her prior band Xylos and thought they were quite good, but never had a chance to see them. The only real complaint is their set was impossibly short at maybe 20 minutes long. She told me later they only had 5 songs. They must be the most catchy fun songs ever. In a way their music reminded me of The Go-Go’s (and Im a huge fan!) but really I think it was Nikki’s voice that reminded me of Belinda Carlisle. She has strong vocals amidst the keyboard playing that are definitely reminiscent of the 80s. They were lots of fun and she has energy. Lots of dancing on the stage and lots of songs with hand claps and of course a catchy sing-songy chorus. If John Hughes were still alive, their music would definitely appear in one of his movies. I have to say — I had more fun during their set than Bastille. It was just so my type of music – that I cant wait for more.

LA–based Nightmare & The Cat, consisting of 2 British ex-pat brothers, must be one of the most stylish bands. Django, the lead singer, is captivating and just draws you in. The way he moves his hands and expressions reminds me of Tom Smith (from the Editors). The music has a soulful sound with a hint of a folkiness to it. They have some beautiful harmonies, and I constantly felt like I was drawn into the art world – part of a gorgeous painting that is just expanding with lush sounds (as if that makes any sense).

Definitely dont miss any of these bands if youre going to be seeing them. Its an awesome lineup.

Bastille Set List:
Bad Blood
Things We Lost In The Fire
The Silence
What Would You Do
Weight of the Living Pt II
These Streets
Laura Palmer

Get Home
Rhythm is a Dancer/Rhythm of the Night (cover)

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I Hate Music w/Superchunk

Posted by xneverwherex on September 10, 2013

Mikal Cronin
The Fillmore
September 3, 2013

It had been 12 far too long years since Superchunk had played in San Francisco. Thankfully, they had been playing quite a bit in NYC over the past couple of years so I’ve had my share of Superchunk shows most recently. The show was definitely not the same with the absence of Laura who bowed out of touring due to a hearing loss type condition. The band would replace her (on tour) with Jason Narducy who has toured with other bands. I missed seeing Laura jumping around and really having fun, but as she mentioned in an article – she doesn’t hate music, and shes not too old. Its just one of those things.

Mac and Jim


The crowd was a great mix of people — a lot of older (ie 60s) type folks along with the 40+/late 30 year olds who grew up listening to them. I met a few people who didn’t go to many shows, but would definitely not miss Superchunk. As a few said, well its not quite the same and their music had changed. Im not sure I totally agree with that, but I hadn’t seen them in the 90s – so of course maybe theres no longer mosh pits but it did still have the same energy.

The band opened their set with the popular new song ‘Foh’. Its quite catchy and soon they were off into ‘Me & You & Jackie Mittoo’ which was even more catchy. The band played nearly every song off their new album I Hate Music . The album is fun, catchy and so fast-paced with the great spirit of punk music still alive. Pop-punk at its finest. The first part of the set seemed to fly by at a record pace with 15 songs lasting about an hour and 15 minutes. ‘Digging For Something’ sounded as great as usual and had the crowd singing along.

The band came out for 2 encores which was quite awesome. Jon, the drummer, swapped spots with Mac for the encore and turned it into a high energy punk show with a few guys forming a small pit towards the stage. ‘Slack Motherfucker’ had everyone singing along and pogo-ing along to the music. As Mac said – he might just lose his day job. The band ended the set with a 2nd encore to ‘Brand New Love’ from Sebadoh. A few covers, and lots of songs – old and new – and what a show!

As always – Jim was super fun and chatty. Talking about his pants falling down and random other things about playing. And of course, making fun of Mac here and there. Mac relegated us with a great story about his first trip to SF when he was about 15. He went to a punk show at some random warehouse downtown and couldn’t find his friends, but ended up having a blast!

Mikal Cronin

Superchunk never disappoints. They brought fellow artist Mikal Cronin (from their own label Merge Records) on tour with them. He was great and had some really great songs. It started off a bit slow but had a slow steady build and had some awesome songs. The crowd was pretty respectful with some talking, but not terribly into it. Im not sure Mikal Cronin even said who he was as he just tore through a 45 minute opening set with nearly no stopping. He’s definitely worth seeing again.

Set List:
Me & You and Jackie Mittoo
Seed Toss
Skip Steps 1 & 3
Staying Home
Out of the Sun
Breaking Down
Iron On
Nu Bruises
Low F
Rope Light
Package Thief
Digging for Something
Trees of Barcelona

Learned to Surf
Hyper Enough
Slack Motherfucker
Landshark (Fang cover)

Encore 2:
Brand New Love (Sebadoh cover)

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Heart + Jason Bonham = Magical Led Zep Experience

Posted by xneverwherex on September 2, 2013

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience
America’s Cup Pavilion

Ann & Nancy Wilson, the sisters of Heart, will always take me back to the 80s. I first remember listening to them on tape after hearing one of their songs on the radio. I must have played the hell out of it, as the tape was a bit crunchy, and the tape would get stuck all the time and you’d have to manually rewind it. Sure I’m dating myself, but that was the time.

It was hard to believe that it would take this many years later for me to finally see them live. And the wait was so worth it! The powerhouse vocals that Ann has are simply amazing after all these years. You hear their songs performed on TV all the time, but none could ever get the angst and power to their vocals to come even close to hers. Her voice comes across as gritty, strong, filled with angst and so much emotion.

The band opened the set with ‘Barracuda’. What a great song to open with and the crowd was up and dancing and singing and clapping. The acoustics were amazing and from where ever I was standing (including outside the venue during the opener) it was crystal clear. America’s Cup Pavilion – on Piers 23 and 27 – is an amazing place to see a show. Youre right there on the waterfront – with a cool breeze coming in and the Bay Bridge behind you with their nice new light work. Its definitely worth the price to check out a show there.

Ann said she’d be playing songs that she said called to her to be played. It was a really great set with a good mix of songs from the 70s and 80s (and perhaps even later than that). ‘These Dreams’ and ‘Alone’ sounded amazing. Nancy’s guitar work was superb and she killed it on the songs. ‘Crazy On You’ which closed out the set was perfect. At first the show seemed a bit short – clocking in at 70mins or so just for the set – but the encore itself was balls out one of the best shows Ive ever seen.

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience opened the show. I missed most of their set – but heard a good chunk of it from either outside the venue or waiting in line. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ was so impressive it was hard to believe it wasn’t the original band. The guitar work from Tony Catania, is pretty amazing. It’d be hard to compete with Jimmy Page, but honestly – this is on par with it. Jason Bonham is impressive, carrying on in his father’s footsteps.

The show’s encore was the real highlight of the night. Ann called for Jason and his band to perform with them and it was SICK!! Two amazing bands on stage together performing some of the greatest songs ever. The guitar work from Nancy was incredible and showed how talented she is. Ann’s vocals were amazing on these tracks and of course the guys from Jason Bonham’s band were insane!’Misty Mountain Hop’ and then ‘Immigrant Song’ … honestly I think my mind was blown. And of course, Kashmir – what an amazing song to hear live. The band closed out with ‘Stairway to Heaven’ which was so beautiful that you really did not want the night to end.

Easily – one of my favorite shows quite possibly ever. The bands were so talented and the combination of them was pretty unreal. I cant imagine ever seeing something like this again – unless Led Zeppelin somehow reunites with the remaining band members.

This show reminded me of quite possibly my favorite quote ever uttered on tv courtesy of Freaks and Geeks: “I believe in God, man. I’ve seen him, I’ve felt his power. He plays drums for Led Zeppelin and his name is John Bonham, baby!”

Heart set list:
What About Love
Magic Man
Kick It Out
Mistral Wind
Even it Up
Dog & Butterfly
I Need You To Turn To (Elton John cover)
These Dreams
Dear Old America
Crazy On You

Encore: w/Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience performing Led Zeppelin songs
Battle of Evermore
Misty Mountain Hop
Immigrant Song
The Rain Song
Stairway to Heaven

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience Set List:
Black Dog
Over the Hills and Far Away
House of the Holy
Nobody’s Fault But Mine
The Ocean
When the Levee Breaks
Whole Lotta Love

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