Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Archive for September, 2015

Savages

Posted by xneverwherex on September 18, 2015

Savages
DJ Johnny Hostile
Great American Music Hall
August 25, 2015

One of the first times I heard a really great story about Savages happened to come from one of the VP’s at my company. I was listening to the band and he came over to talk to me about them. He was impressed that a) I knew them and b) I was going to see them. And then he waxed poetic about how awesome they were and how he had now seen them twice and it was impressive. Why not a third time, I will never know. By then, I started hearing from countless other people how impressive they were – and usually at that point I begin to worry. Its hard to live up to the hype.

Savages

Savages

London-based Savages didn’t just live up to the hype, they by far surpassed it. And it will easily go down as one of the best live shows of 2015. The band, all dressed in black, fittingly opened up with “I Am Here” and the Siouxsie-esque vocals pierced through the crowd. No doubt, that lead singer Jehnny Beth was here with pure, raw, angst – a force to be reckoned with. The way she moves, commands attention and works the stage is nothing but impressive. An explosive ball of energy. While the band is often called the female Joy Division, they are much more than that. They are definitely taking the post-punk sound and throwing in some dark-wave and Siouxsie and Joy Division and the newer British bands for their own sound. And they do it better than anyone else.

In the beginning, Jehnny Beth danced and worked the stage with her stylish animal print heels on and is nothing but pure emotion. You can feel her energy on all the songs. It just pours through her. The band rocks out and everyone of them is just so into the music. The drummer going crazy on the drums – drumming her heart out. While the band seems to not be the center of attention, they are every bit essential and Jehnny Beth feeds off their energy, rocking out with them. As she gets into “City’s Full“, she’s dancing all across the stage, working it like no tomorrow.

Jehnny Beth

Jehnny Beth

By the time she has kicked off her heels, she has turned the crowd into a frenzy and is creating a scene and encouraging the mosh pits. She wants people moving and dancing and enjoying themselves and San Francisco did NOT disappoint. The crowd was non-stop dancing, moving, jumping, crowds surging forward – and Jehnny Beth stood at the edge of the stage – grabbing friends’ hands for support – and singing into the crowd. She walked across the crowd with everyone helping her stand above and sang from atop the crowd during “Hit Me” which was pretty impressive. It was just craziness that kept on going.

It was great to see the band loving it as much as the crowd. Jehnny Beth was all smiles and talked about how this was one of the best shows she had ever played. And she was having so much fun she couldn’t wait to come back here and do it again. She mentioned her prior shows (The Independent) and said how much better this was with a crowd so pumped and so into it. Whats not to love when the band and fans are all enjoying it. This just does not happen enough.

And the best part might have been towards the end of the set, she looks up to the people sitting above and starts talking to a guy near the top left corner who is leaning over and filming the entire set. She asks if he’s enjoying himself watching it from there, then tells him that he had better post the f’ing video on youtube — touch it up and zoom in and out! It couldn’t have ended on a better note especially as the next song was “Fuckers“. “Don’t let the fuckers get you down”. And that sums up the entire night. Pure brilliance.

Bonus – I sold my ticket to a guy who really wanted to see the band after someone else had promised they’d buy the ticket off of me. And he really loved the show. Winning all around!

Set List:
I Am Here
City’s Full
Shut Up
The Answer
Sad Person
Slowing
Adore
I Need Something New
Evil
No Face
Husbands
Hit Me
She Will
Fuckers

Savages

Savages

Jehnny Beth - Savages

Jehnny Beth

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F**K Yeah Fest (FYFFest) Festival 2015 – Day 2

Posted by xneverwherex on September 15, 2015

FYF Fest
August 22-23
The LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park

While Day 1 was pretty incredible … it was really all about Day 2 – Saturday. And it was really all about just 3 bands. We showed up late into the day and strolled into the park right as Spiritualized was taking the stage in the Arena. The Arena couldn’t have been a more perfect place for the band to perform.

The show was pretty sparse which was a bit of a surprise with a near empty floor. We opted for the seats up above and werent too far away with amazing views. The band was swathed in lights and it made for one of the best light shows of the festival. “Lord Let It Rain On Me” sounded just beautiful – with loud, fuzzy guitars and the women vocalists in the backdrop. Jason Pierce’s vocals were just beautiful as they echoed through the arena and filled the room. And then it just melted into “Electricity“. Its hard to have even imagined a more perfect set than what the band gave to us.

Spiritualized

Spiritualized

Throw in some heavy, droning guitars and turn it up and one hell of a laser light show and its pure electricity. Jason’s vocals were haunting through the loud guitars and filled the air. The crowd below swayed with a few people jumping around. It was just an electric, raw feeling that I knew I wouldn’t get from any other band. And soon after, the very space-y jam “Electric Mainline” that you can just close your eyes and feel like youre in the music – it just takes you away as the guitars drone on and on and your body just moves with it. Such a beautiful feeling. And naturally, as this song came on the joints started getting passed back and forth behind me and the arena started looking like it was one big cloud of smoke.

The show just got better and better with “She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)“, “Oh Baby” (which really emphasized the background singers – who of course sounded amazing!) and eventually coming to the end with the Spacemen 3 cover “Walkin’ With Jesus” which always makes me feel like I’m in a church with such powerful lyrics. Spiritualized ended the set with “Come Together” which couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to the set. That song just takes you away — your body moves to the music – heads swaying/bobbing back and forth — and then the loud guitars come in and BAM! It’s pure heaven! And they were just awesome!

And then came a bit of a wait – as I checked out some bands. Battles sounded awesome and are so worth seeing again. The 3-some from NYC and their experimental art-electronic rock sound were a really great time. “FF Bada” is pure catchiness, if not a totally out there song but it had the crowd moving and snapping along. And then of course, there’s “Ice Cream” which is so hard to go wrong with. Its pure catchy, love, hip shaking, infinite loops that are always changing and dance around fun! What’s not to love about this band!

Following Battles, was LA’s Health. The loud, VERY loud rock/experimental band, could be heard from nearly everywhere. I had seen them before and just loved them, but this time just couldn’t get into them. It just seemed like screamo rock without much else, but perhaps it’s just their new album or just not a great set up. Either way, sadly, I didn’t stay to hear much of them. Did attempt to see Solange as I had heard great things about her, but after not starting within 15 minutes of her start time, I ended up taking off. Not sure what time she eventually came on. But I had places to be … as in needed to get past the famed 1984 Olympic site with the lovely olympic rings to see hear some ‘Stars of Track and Field’ aka Belle & Sebastian.

And finally, we were getting to the best of the best. Scottish band Belle & Sebastian were clearly up for a good time. They had recruited members of the audience to be part of the show and they just danced on the sidelines for the most part; although one girl, who apparently thought she was the show, seemed to end up in Stuart’s lap quite a bit. While it was a bit distracting, it really didn’t seem to matter all that much.

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian opened with “Nobody’s Empire” off their newest album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Its fun and catchy and a great way to start the set. Singer Stuart Murdoch seemed in great spirits and just wanting to have fun. It was awesome that there were so many people on stage as well as so many instruments. And if you wanted to dance, the set could’t have been more perfect. They jumped right into “Im A Cuckoo” and everyone was dancing and bouncing around. Pure blissful fun indie-pop. It could only get better.

Stuart asked the Angelenos (pronounced in a way only a Scotsmen could say) if we wanted to party on this Sunday night before going right into “The Party Line“. And just like that Stuart was dancing and on the screens there were people dancing with their great little dance moves. If that couldn’t get a crowd dancing than nothing would.

Stuart was beyond chatty – talking between songs and adding a lot of banter. But of course the real highlight (even if all too predictable) was “The Stars of Track and Field“. He joked about how most of us weren’t alive during the olympics but he remembered watching it in 1984. And of course, with the olympic stadium behind us — it was hard to not be touched. Jokes about the jetpack man (where is he now?) and of course Carl Lewis on the big screen as the band played on. It was just too awesome and how often (if ever) can you say you saw a band play the most perfect song at the most perfect place. Even if it ended here, I’d have been beyond happy.

The band played just an awesome set. Couldn’t have been happier to hear “The Boy With The Arab Strap” as Stuart jumped over to the keys and sounded just perfect. They recruited a trumpet player from the area and it worked out quite well. He was awesome. The band ended the set with “Judy and The Dream of Horses” and sounded awesome — clarinet players, FTW! It was just a great set… so the only real question in my mind was — Will Morrissey be even better? 🙂

And clearly, the best had yet to come. The crowd surged forward and everyone needed to get as close to Moz as humanly possible. At this point – I went to the side as I was not about to get crushed. Sadly, I had missed Moz in July in San Jose, so it was a long time coming (he manages to cancel all of his SF shows, so thankfully I saw him plenty in NYC)… And Morrissey did NOT disappoint. Coming out in jeans and a bright blue long sleeved shirt and the band sporting Crapitol Records, he was at his finest. He had the best images on the large screen behind him and with the Queen Mum flipping us off, Morrissey started the show with “The Queen is Dead“. He sounded as great as ever and starting with a Smiths song!!! I didn’t really care what happened after this, as at this moment it was pure happiness.

The crowd went crazy as the next song was “Suedehead“. Seriously, how could it not be more perfect. Everyone started singing along and it was louder than Morrissey himself. I swear, if I hadn’t seen him before, I would have been crying with all the emotion I felt at this moment. I felt like I was back in highschool and seeing him all over again for the first time. He still works the stage better than any other performer I’ve seen. He plays to his fans and LA fans are serious about Morrissey. They love him like no other. (Next LA show, I am flying down). There was so much security protecting Moz, no one could really climb on stage so naturally Moz had to chastise them saying there were too many of them! Its a sick love/hate relationship with Moz and his security.

Morrissey

Morrissey

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Morrissey show if he didn’t express his views and show it in the hard-cold reality. He had choice words about our police and all of the police brutality. With images on the screen of black men getting beaten up by police, its hard to be surprised by what he shows. He had choice words about Obama, American politics, British Royalty and of course, meat. He has probably become more in your face over the years, but its hard to not love him. He doesn’t hide from his views and is always confrontational. Good thing him and Kanye weren’t playing the same night.

World Peace is None of Your Business” sounded just great and it was also awesome to hear that he now sings a bit in Spanish and has clearly learned quite a bit of Spanish thanks to all of his time in LA. And then soon after even more Smiths. As soon as he started with the opener of “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before“, the crowd went crazy and everyone was singing and dancing along. It just got better and better. I can’t even begin to fathom how it was so perfect. “First of The Gang To Die” which is a perfect song to be playing in South Central. “Meat Is Murder” was just awesome to hear and its hard to imagine dancing along as he performed it with all the images of animals being slaughtered. It was so Morrissey and it was hard to not feel nauseous watching it all. Some guys around me joked about now getting a burger, but I just felt ill. Nothing like literally shoving this down our throats.

Morrissey is one of the best crooners still performing and he knows what to play for his crowds. So, of course he played “Everyday is Like Sunday” and all I could hear was everyone singing around me … and of course, now there’s some Spanish thrown in and its fitting and was perfect. And this might have been the perfect song to end with. A perfect Sunday would come to an end, but this memory will live on forever.

“And if you happen to have a God, may he or she bless you”. – Morrissey

Set List:
The Queen Is Dead (The Smiths song)
Suedehead
Alma Matters
Kiss Me a Lot
Ganglord
Speedway
Staircase at the University
World Peace Is None of Your Business
I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (The Smiths song)
First of the Gang to Die
Istanbul
Everyday Is Like Sunday
The Bullfighter Dies
Meat Is Murder (The Smiths song)
Now My Heart Is Full
I Will See You in Far-Off Places
What She Said (The Smiths song)

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F**K Yeah Fest (FYFFest) Festival 2015

Posted by xneverwherex on September 4, 2015

FYF Fest
August 22-23
The LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park

A friend and I love to joke about the name of the festival as the letters already stand for F*** Yeah Fest – so why they also added another fest is beyond me. Kinda like Courtney Taylor-Taylor – because one is never good enough.

A long, hot drive down the I-5 was just the beginning of the fun. Apocalyptic reservoirs that clearly were not winning in this drought war to gorgeous sprawling mountains that were no longer any shade of a recognizable green. Eventually, I’d pull into the traffic known as LA which somehow wasn’t bad at all. (A rare feat in itself).

And then it was off to the oh-so-trendy Echo Park with Ben and friends. Sadly, I still don’t get how that neighborhood is all that popular. Aside from the major strip that The Echo is on and a few hipster bars it was pretty dead on this Friday night. So here I am trying to beg my way into Baltimore’s Lower Dens show as Jana Hunter passes by more than a few times. Temptation set in quickly to ask her for a ticket, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead its off to a bar and Lower Dens will have to wait.

Saturday:
FYF is nothing like what I expected. Its beyond organized and it’s a breeze to get into. Sadly, I somehow missed half of Broncho‘s set, whom I was really looking forward to seeing. But, of what I did hear I loved. They were upbeat, rocking out on the stage and their music was infectious. They ended their set with their ever catchy single “Class Historian” and everyone was bouncing and singing along. Great way to start the day.

I end up hanging around on the trees stage as its shady and a chill stage. The cool thing about this festival is the stages are spread out far enough that there’s no bleed-through but also easy enough to get from stage to stage. Expo Park is awesome with the coliseum in the middle sporting the 1984 olympic athlete sculptures cue “stars of track and field”.

La Femme

La Femme

The real reason for hanging out at the stage is Paris’ La Femme. Easily one of my most recent favorite albums, the French do NOT disappoint. The band comes out covered head-to-toe in robes and head coverings (Arab-chic) looking like they should be playing in the Sahara and they are ready for fun as well as a dance party.

With their opening notes of “Its Time To Wake Up”, the band got the crowd moving. It was a kick-ass set and the crowd was dancing up a storm and singing along to their music. It was pure fun as they went through a good chunk of their album Psycho Tropical Berlin. As they finished out the set with the catchy “Sur La Planche“, the crowd was a dance party with everyone moving together and singing along. A pretty awesome first couple of bands.

After much needed shade and beer (they somehow go hand in hand) it was off to enjoy Dinosaur Jr. in the beer tent. The band is celebrating 30 years and with all the original members they’re awesome to see. As soon as the chords of “Feel The Pain” started it was off to the front of the stage to get the real feel of J. Mascis. Man.. he does not disappoint. With his grey locks flowing, he rocked out and really got the crowd into the music. Plus, their cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” is insane and possibly better than the original, harder and heavier and so rocking. Just brilliant!

Then I had to give NYC’s The Drums another chance. I figured at a festival they would be better than the countless other times I’ve seen them in a club. And their light show was pretty incredible, but I still have yet to figure out the hype and they were still as boring as ever. Musically, they sound pretty good, but live — leaves a lot to be wanted.

!!!

!!!

But then right after was the dance party I had really been waiting for — !!! (chk chk chk). And this is a band that never disappoints. Surprisingly, their stage is pretty empty which means even more room to work it out and dance dance dance.

As Nic Offer came onto the stage, the band wasted no time getting into their electro-dance-punk beats and the band members all started dancing on stage with instruments. By the time lead singer Nic started to sing, he was already working the crowd with his awesome/funky dance moves and his short shorts (a staple!). Not much had changed since I had last seen them and it was refreshing! As a frontman, he is always entertaining and its always a good time.

Thankfully, as I hadnt really been following them, they were playing mostly newer material and have a new album coming out. Plus, they have a show scheduled in SF at Slims in December … so the dance party will continue.

And then it was the newly put together Bloc Party. So long Matt Tong… and welcome to female drummer Louise Bartle, who totally kicked ass. The band had played their first show with the new band members, which also includes the new bassist Justin Harris, just 2 nights prior. And thankfully the band still has their same energy.

Bloc Party

Bloc Party

Kele Okereke sounded as great as great as always hitting his high notes. He was talkative with the crowd and seemed happy to be performing again. And with the opening bass lines of “Hunting for Witches“, the crowd went crazy as everyone started singing and jumping. And then if it couldn’t get any better is the scratchy opening notes and catchy drum beats of “Positive Tension“. By then everyone was singing and dancing along if they weren’t already. Their post-punk sound filled the air and it was a great way to nearly be ending out the night.

So many awesome songs were played and it felt like a ‘best-of’ set which was perfect for this fest and perfect for the fans. I somehow ended up mostly in the beer tent area and a bunch of us went crazy as “Banquet” started to play. Singing in unison and all with the same ridiculous dance moves of jumping in circles as Kele sang “turning away from the light… turning into myself”. In some ways it felt like one of the first times I had seen them. The same excitement had returned which I hadn’t felt in forever.

After that I would try and see Cold Cave — just don’t get the love for that band — and I kinda felt bad as it was one of the most empty stages. But, anyone going up against Yeezus, Kanye was seriously in trouble.

Trying to get to the main stage for Kanye was truly insane. Everyone at the festival was trying to get there and it was just beyond packed. While the screens helped some, it was near impossible to see anything. As people eventually cleared out, it got easier to see.

Kanye is truly something else. His rapping over Daft Punk’s “Stronger” is pretty brilliant. It’s catchy, original and he is pretty amazing. And then it was straight into the single “Power” which sounded even better live. I’m not sure who was performing the female vocals but it was pretty amazing. The guy was just delivering and I finally understood the obsession with Kanye and people needing to see him. (He was a replacement for Frank Turner – and people were paying top dollar to get in just to see him). Its hard to deny how talented he is and someone so worth seeing.

Jesus & Mary Chain

Jesus & Mary Chain

Trying to leave the festival would be insane so left Kanye a bit early (missed Rihanna towards the end of his set) to see the Jesus and Mary Chain. The band was playing the album Psychocandy in its entirety and had never sounded better. Their loud, dark, moody sound filled the nighttime air. The sounds of guitars just seemed to go on forever; plus they had a pretty impressive light show.

I hadn’t heard this album in forever. The even louder, more rocking “The Living End” had never sounded better. Staring at their shoes for the most part, there was hardly any crowd interaction. But it’s one of those bands where none of this matters. The music speaks for itself.

It was one hell of a first day and the next day was even better.

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