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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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The Mountain Goats – the greatest music trade in craigslist history

Posted by xneverwherex on June 3, 2015

The Mountain Goats
Blank Range
The Fillmore
June 1, 2015

True story. If it wasnt for nameless and countless friends, Id probably still be wondering who this band was. Lets rephrase that. Years ago in NYC, a guy I was dating at one time but turned into an amazing friend, invited me to a Mountain Goats show. I have no clue why I didnt go, and the only reason I know this is because I was searching for Mountain Goats and found an email exchange. The more interesting thing was, he wasnt the first guy to invite me to the band. For whatever reason, I always associated them in a category I deemed ‘guy-rock’. Moral of the story – never underestimate the power of guys youve dated who end up becoming good friends. They probably have better taste in music than you.

Even truer story – Id be lying if I said I didnt know who John Darnielle was. Of course I knew who he was, who didnt. I lived in NY – we lived, talked, breathed music for years. Did I also ever mention how I was in love with Superchunk – one of the most awesome 90s ‘real’ indie bands operating a real indie label (Merge Records – home of one John Darnielle). So there I was in NYC at The Music Hall of Williamsburg seeing Superchunk yet again for another countless time and the band starts playing ‘Digging For Something’ and this guy in glasses is pogoing around the stage singing along and having a great time. Mac ends the song with ‘John Darnielle everyone’ and of course, crowd goes f’ing crazy!

John Darnielle - The Mountain GoatsBut I digress, here I am years later – a lot older – definitely less wiser – and again out with a guy I previously used to date – who is a good friend with way better taste in music than myself. And at this point — an even dearer friend in Asheville — is posting lyrics from The Mountain Goats and turns out has ‘Heretic Pride‘ tattooed on his arm. I knew this had to be a sign. Two very important people in my life were having these emotional experiences with the band. At this point, I was pretty sad that The Fillmore show had sold out, but turned out there’d be a second show at Great American Music Hall. So I wasted no time and bought tickets – and later lucked out to swap them for The Fillmore. Probably the greatest music trade in craigslist history.

I had started listening to their music religiously and was transfixed by the lyrics. The outpouring of his heart was something I could relate to all so well. I had cried one too many times listening to ‘Waving At You‘ that when he played it, it was impossible to not grab my friend. I could have turned into a ball of tears at that moment, but there was something so ridiculously beautiful and cathartic about hearing it performed live.

The band came out to the ever catchy ‘Blood Capsules‘ and in an instant the crowd was alive. Everyone seemed to be so into it — lots of dancing and moving around, lots of singing along, some hands in the air. It was a perfect crowd for a perfect show.

John was at his finest. He was oh so talkative with plenty of stories about pro wrestling and they were perfect introductions for the songs off of ‘Beat The Champ‘. At moments I felt I had gone back to the 70s and was about to watch a wrestling match on tv — there was always the villain and the good-guy. But as John said – in real life – there is no possible way to be the villain. I mean sure you can, but you cannot just hate people and feel no sympathy, lest you be labeled a sociopath. Such a perfect introduction for ‘Foreign Object‘ about a good guy going bad and a bad guy going good and eventually being stabbed in the eye with a foreign object. Honestly, I wasnt sure much could eclipse stories like that.

But then there was John Vanderslice and talk about Tiny Telephone Recording Studios in SF and of course SF’s own John Vanderslice was there to play on ‘Heel Turn 2‘. It was one of the most beautiful songs from the show last night. And John Vanderslice has got to be one of the coolest cats ever. It was too bad that they didnt do one of the songs that they recorded together, but who cares, this song was perfect.

And how can any show at The Fillmore not get some sorta mention of the Grateful Dead. And John did not disappoint. He talked about hating on the Dead while he was still into the black eyeliner goth scene (ala Bowie) – and sure everyone loves to hate on the Dead. But musically they are geniuses, perhaps not lyrical wise. So of course, a cover had to be played. It was pretty awesome as it was just John and his guitar (part of the 3 song solo part – which did include ‘Waving At You’) playing ‘Friend of the Devil‘ – which is actually quite a great song. He also played ‘Straight Six‘ for the first time ever and managed to do quite a bit of tuning before playing and joked about doing that to prolong playing the song.

The Mountain GoatsAmong stories galore, one of the best shows ever was played. John is an incredible frontman. He was so impressed with the crowd and amazed at how quiet we were during the slow songs (you could have heard a pin drop) and also how energetic it was at points. It was almost too perfect to have it all in one, that at moments I wanted to pinch myself to make sure it was real. Plus, his other band members are insanely awesome – Jon Wurster, drummer of Superchunk and tMG – bassist Peter Hughes, who is simply f’ing awesome and has some pretty sweet bass lines – and mostly the multi-talented Matt Douglas, who plays nearly every instrument but was pretty sweet on the sax and clarinet! (why oh why arent there more clarinets in bands!)

And naturally, he ended the show by talking about encores (which most people know I really detest). The silliness of them – and how if you come out – typically you perform 2 songs, and then maybe leave again and come back to do another 2 – and its this huge deal or the other way – you come out for an encore and just play and play another long set. So as he said he’d be playing a long set for the encore and we’d all appreciate it. And there is nothing ever wrong with that especially when you get to hear ‘This Year‘ which might be my mantra for the year. And it was quite an encore and I could have been happy with that. But the crowd never stopped and got louder and louder and surprise – he did a second encore. The second encore included the Gladiator songs performed back-to-back which is a rarity and was pretty amazing! And it was a perfect way to close out the night.

I have loved Beat The Champ from the moment I heard it. All of the songs are so beautiful and I love the stories about the wrestlers and hearing them performed live was perfect. Of course, throw in older songs, never before played songs, a cover, and John Vanderslice a second time (he played during the 2nd encore) and you get a perfect show. As a friend emailed me today, “I’m glad you are now a member of the church”.

“i am gonna make it through this year, if it kills me.” – john darnielle

Set List:
Blood Capsules
Cry for Judas
Animal Mask
Foreign Object
Get Lonely
Heel Turn 2 (with John Vanderslice)

John Solo
Straight Six (first time played live)
Waving at You
Friend of the Devil (Grateful Dead cover)

Full band
Fire Editorial
Luna
Stabbed to Death Outside San Juan
The Young Thousands
Love Love Love
Never Quite Free
Up the Wolves

Encore 1
Southwestern Territory
The Legend of Chavo Guerrero
The Diaz Brothers
Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod
This Year

Encore 2
Amy AKA Spent Gladiator 1
Spent Gladiator 2
No Children

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The Singer Addresses His Audience – The Decemberists

Posted by xneverwherex on May 5, 2015

The Decemberists
Lucius
The Greek Theatre
5/1/15

Portland, OR The Decemberists were in town for their latest release What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. The band performed one of their best shows ever to a sold-out crowd in Berkeley. It was the bands first time playing at The Greek, and they had never sounded better. The acoustics were fabulous in the amphitheater and their sound filled the venue.

The Decemberists

The Decemberists

The setlist focused mainly on their newer material (which is nothing short of awesome) but also had a few songs from the impressive Hazards of Love. Overall, they did a song here and there from their prior albums. Of course, its always great when they are playing songs from their earlier material. Plus, Colin Meloy wanted to focus on California and all things/songs California – which meant we got the ever fitting ‘Grace Cathedral Hill’. He also seemed to start to wax poetic about Los Angeles before commenting on the rivalry between the two areas. Regardless, it was pretty awesome to hear ‘Los Angeles, Im Yours’.

Of course, any Decemberists show without the charm of Colin Meloy, would really not be a show. Colin was in great form and oh so talkative. He talked about writing the song ‘Calamity Song’ and how it was much better when it was initially written to be “Hank Eat Your Oatmeal” which is obviously a classic. Written to get his son to eat oatmeal, the song was just that line but oh so precious. And of course, the worst song to ever be written ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ is always pretty awesome even if its just a small clip.

But really, there were two major highlights of the night. The first and very unexpected surprise was the band performing “The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle The Thistles Undone). I really didn’t think I would ever hear it again live after seeing it performed with Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) back in 2009. Nor, did I ever think it could be that impressive. If you’re not familiar with the song, right about now you need to be hearing it. But, Kelly Hogan KILLED it! Thats an understatement, Kelly (Neko Case’s partner in crime aka a vocalist in her current band) has a wonderful voice. And her addition to the song was nothing short of beautiful. So that was a very pleasant surprise. Plus, it turns out some friends know her and couldn’t have enough praise for her and how thankful/excited she was. Seriously, this is beyond awesome.

And if that wasn’t enough, ’16 Military Wives’ (which I just love), got all the better. During the ‘la di dahs’ towards the end of the song Colin had a lot of crowd participation from getting the audience to sing along, to engaging all parts of the amphitheater from the very front to the grass on the hill. He singled out a few people getting them to do individual performances plus also in typical Colin format, telling the crowd to be quiet because ‘Im a professional’ and naturally he can do it better. But one of the best parts was when he told the crowd to stop singing and be quiet and don’t think about the song, but think about the song ‘Sailing’ from Christopher Cross and to sing it to yourself (which naturally he did) and then forgot the lyrics and of course, it couldnt have been more amusing.

The Decemberists

The Decemberists

The band was tight and the back-up vocalists were awesome. Chris Funk was having a great time as always switching it up from the banjo to the guitar to some mandolin. Colin, vocally, has never sounded better and of course the harmonica playing was all the better; but seriously no concert is ever complete without Jenny Conlee – naturally kicking ass on the accordion and piano. But all the better when she adds her vocals to a song and Colin will typically take a moment to applaud her. The crowd just loves her!

Sadly, the band was running out of time which meant they had to cut their set short. Always a pity as theres so much material to want to hear. Of course, no show is complete without having ‘The Mariner’s Revenge Song’ as the finale/encore. So of course, with roughly 15 minutes left before 11pm, the band announced it would be their last song and dove right in. And the song was as fun as always – with a couple practice rounds of screaming … how often are most of us eaten by a whale, so you definitely have to prepare. He said us Californians would probably be more used to dealing with this (sharks in an ocean??) and gave us a practice round. Of course, it wasnt quite good enough but with 2 rounds we were ready to go. And just like that the quintet began the journey. It felt like you were on a ship going down, and you could feel the crowd going back and forth like being on the ocean. As the song continued, soon enough the whale (which seems to have grown), came out and swallowed us all. Obviously, there were survivors (hence the song), and the song continued. Nate Query on stand-up bass and Chris on mandolin and of course Jenny providing backing vocals all sounded amazing! The song just couldn’t possibly have been better.

The show was just brilliant. Ive now seen the band a handful of times and this show might have been the best. The band was in top form and Colin just seemed so happy. And of course, the crowd loves him. Berkeley ended up being a great night for them.

Plus, Lucius opened. The two women who sing (who dress the same, yet aren’t sisters) also sounded really great. The Brooklyn based band has an indie-pop-folk sound with some of the most beautiful harmonies. They also at times sound like a 60’s girl band and add a bit of guitar and you get a perfect pop band. They will definitely get big and opening for the Decemberists is sure to help them out. A perfect complement to the Decemberists and it made for a special night.

Set list:
The Singer Addresses His Audience
Cavalry Captain
Down By The Water
Hank Eat Your Oatmeal/Calamity Song
Grace Cathedral Hill
Anti-Summersong
Make You Better
The Wrong Year
The Island
Los Angeles, I’m Yours
Carolina Low
The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone) w/Kelly Hogan
A Bower Scene
Won’t Want for Love
The Rake’s Song
16 Military Wives
Dracula’s Daughter/O Valencia
A Beginning Song

The Mariner’s Revenge Song

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I’m In Love… With That Song – The Replacements

Posted by xneverwherex on April 14, 2015

The Replacements
John Doe
Masonic Auditorium
4/13/15

20+ years later and The Replacements were back in San Francisco for the “Back By Unpopular Demand Tour”. The much-adored Minneapolis ‘Mats broke up all too soon in 1991 and it was hard to imagine that this day would come. It was even harder to come by with a ticket to this oh so sold-out show which seemed to have sold out in mere minutes of their onsale time. But pretty much any price would have been worth it to see them. I had pretty much given up on going to the show and opted for a ticket to another reunion show Ride over at The Warfield. But my heart was always in it to see The ‘Mats.

Mats

Mats

It was interesting to see them in a nice, polished club with ushers at the doors and ‘bartenders’ in their tuxes selling way overpriced drinks. But I will say the sound at The Masonic was pretty amazing. While I cant say Im a huge fan of Nob Hill (is anyone really?), it was a pretty sweet venue and one Id gladly go back to. So it was amusing when Tommy Stinson commented about how they used to play in the ‘lowlands’ (referring to the I-Beam in the Haight). And naturally Paul Westerberg could barely remember it. And that was just the kind of show it was.

Some bantering about the songs, the area and how we needed to break the Portland curse. And if that wasnt broken after that, Im not sure what would have unbroke it. The band started out the night just right with ‘Takin a Ride‘. The crowd was jumping and bouncing and it was pure energy with lots of fists punching into the air. It was hard to go wrong when that was just the opening song. Of course, it was over all too soon with what felt like 2 minute songs of pure raw-punk energy. Headed right into ‘Favorite Thing‘ kept the audience moving and it seemed that energy would never stop.

The band sounded as great as ever. Sure, theyre a little older (or a lot!) as we all are. Forgotten lyrics, shortened songs, clips of songs that didn’t finish, and even Paul singing ‘Androgynous‘ from inside of a tent. It just would not get better than that, but of course it did. While the band didn’t necessarily have hits, they did manage to play a lot of their more popular songs along with their deeper cuts. It should have appealed to nearly everyone in some way, shape or form. They really mixed it up with playing songs from their early albums Hootenanny and Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash plus their later albums.

And best of all, the band still had that grittiness/dirt to them. They still had an edginess to them and Paul might be a little grayer but hell a lot of us are now and he still sounds as great as ever. The energy from Tommy on bass is still electrifying. Dave Minehan on guitars was f’ing brilliant. He had so much energy and was an awesome fit. (Original ‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap is recovering from a stroke; while original drummer Chris Mars ixnayed the reunion tour). On drums was Josh Freese who was pretty kick-ass having played in oh so many other bands. Its a great fit and they seem to have chemistry.

The show was one of those things where it was either going to be insanely awesome or it would just suck. Thankfully, it was f’ing brilliant. I couldnt have asked for a better time, better company and a most awesome crowd. Everyone singing to “Bastards of Young” is one of those moments that will be hard to forget. The excitement of finally hearing “Kiss Me on the Bus” live was beyond awesome. Plus, Paul playing “Skyway” acoustically was just gorgeous. And then you add in other popular songs like “Ill Be You“, “I Will Dare” and of course the final encore of “Alex Chilton” along with the entire crowd singing along and it might be one of the most perfect sets.

Mats

Mats

I may regret not taking more photos (really hardly any), but hell if it was way back when none of us would have even had them. It was nice to see for most the set that there werent a whole lot of people recording/filming every second of it. We were all caught up in a time and moment together, and fuck it, why bother trying to replicate it. It will never be better than that moment. With that being said, the photos on here are all from Ben Graham and theyre quite a fitting way to remember the show.

Opener John Doe (of X) opened up the show and like many a punk-rocker these days, he has gone the alt-country-folk route. And they were quite good and the woman in his band had amazing vocals. He changed the lyrics to a song to reflect a SF club and that was a nice touch. And he even played some X songs as well so that is a pretty cool thing. Plus, its f’ing John Doe opening and it seemed a very fitting opener.

Set List:
Takin a Ride
Favorite Thing
Hangin Downtown
Treatment Bound
I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know
(Elvis “Little Sister” tease)
I.O.U.
“Poetry Tent” (Paul reads in a tent to “Take Five,” Brubeck
Androgynous
([with Paul singing from inside a tent)
Kissin’ in Action
((with Tommy playing Black Sabbath Iron Man intro at the end))
I Will Dare
Kiss Me on the Bus
20th Century Boy / Bang a Gong (Get It On) / All Shook Down
Nobody
Take Me Down to the Hospital
I’m in Trouble
I Hate Music
If Only You Were Lonely
I’ll Be You
The Ledge
Color Me Impressed
Maybellene
(Chuck Berry cover)
Anywhere’s Better Than Here
Sixteen Blue
Can’t Hardly Wait
Bastards of Young
Within Your Reach
Seen Your Video

Encore:
Skyway
(Paul solo acoustic)

Encore 2:
Left of the Dial
Alex Chilton

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Dope Machines – Airborne Toxic Event

Posted by xneverwherex on March 24, 2015

Airborne Toxic Event
Regency Ballroom
3/21/15

LA’s, The ATE, had announced a shortened tour of just 9 dates for their 4th album Dope Machines. The new album was going in a bit of a different direction than prior albums. It definitely has more of an 80s flare and more synth than their big anthem indie songs of years prior. It was to be an awesome show that would be focusing more on the visuals than the actual band itself.

The Airborne Toxic Event

The Airborne Toxic Event

Mikel Jollett sounds so much more emotionally invested in this album. With raw, passionate vocals you really can feel him. It also helps that they played the new album in its entirety nearly in the dark with all of the emphasis on the video images behind them. The videos ranged from women in lacey lingerie (stockings) to visuals of cityscapes passing by. Songs like “California” still have the catchiness of prior songs and it was great to hear Mikel talking about growing up in the different parts of California and how its made him – of course, hes a product of hippie parents that took him around in a VW bus growing up. And best of all, he tells a story like no other.

Unlike other shows, this show started out a bit on the slower side but thankfully there was a part 2 where they played all of their hits. The band then started out “part 2” with the ever catchy “Gasoline” which got the crowd dancing and revved up. Plus – it would mean we’d finally get the band really working the stage and playing their hearts out. Lots of guitars, lots of great harmonies and of course Anna Bulbrook not just on keyboards, but her violin. And man, I am sure seeing a lot of violins in bands these days, but she tore it up. So with the lights all up and a crowd wanting this – the remainder of the set would turn into a fun affair. The band continued to rip through songs immediately going into “Happiness Is Overrated” — another fun catchy song that had the crowd singing along to ‘i’m sorry, i nearly lost my head’.

It was a great fun night, but this crowd left a lot to be desired. From the young kids in front of me who insisted on slow-dancing then having a full on make out session (yes – this was right near the stage) and having no clue that they were yes, at a concert. It was just awkward. Worse, instead of paying attention to Mikel who is literally right behind them playing his guitar to the far right area, they were filming each other. If that wasnt enough, we then had a woman come up to us asking if we would be her friend. Now I have seen a lot at concerts, but I dont think Ive been asked about the friend thing since I was 5. She was insistent on hanging out with my friend and I, while I was more interested in not having any conversation and watching the band. Plus, I had the kids in front of me now making devil-horned signs the entire show.

The Airborne Toxic Event

The Airborne Toxic Event

So yes, it was an interesting night, and they had an encore or two, plus its hard to go wrong with the violin opening of “Sometime Around Midnight“. Its just gorgeous having the addition of the strings. And the song just resonates with these lyrics:
And it starts
Sometime around midnight
Or at least that’s when you lose yourself
For a minute or two
As you stand
Under the bar lights
And the band plays some song about forgetting yourself for a while

And in a nutshell it rather sums up the night. Theyre definitely a band to see if you havent before as its always a good time, even when the crowd isnt quite what you were expecting.

Set List:
Dope Machines Set
Wrong
One Time Thing
Dope Machines
California
Time to be a Man
Hell and Back
My Childish Bride
The Thing About Dreams
Something You Lost
Chains

Fan Favorites (might be out of order)
Gasoline
Happiness Is Overrated
Changing
Change and Change and Change and Change
Papillon
Welcome to Your Wedding Day
Sometime Around Midnight
All I Ever Wanted

Elizabeth

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A Little Bit of Country — Dinner With The Kids

Posted by xneverwherex on March 21, 2015

Dinner With the Kids
+ other local bands
50 Mason Social House
March 20, 2015

Lots of different bands and lots of different sounds filled 50 Mason Social House last night. With the first band that was your typical indie rock fare, they had some good moments and it definitely wasn’t anything horrible, but sadly it was just rather forgettable. I dont even know if they ever said their name so that in itself isnt quite good, but then again I was outside for part of the set.

Really, I was there to see San Francisco local band Dinner With the Kids. Thanks to their “new” mandolin player, Ben Graham, I found out about them. And yes, really its definitely a little bit of country and a little bit of bluegrass and a little bit of Americana. Its foot stomping, hand-clapping sweet sweet music. And while last night was a set way too short, it was nothing but awesome.

Dinner With The Kids

Dinner With The Kids

“Wild At Heart” which has to be one of the catchiest songs with Nick Poulos‘ scratchy gruff vocals is a foot stomping good ‘ole time. When Michelle Juola joins in, their harmonies are just beautiful together. Their voices blend together so perfectly with her higher vocals softening up the song. Add a bit of banjo and cello (sadly missing last night) and the song just gets better. It reminds me of a song that you’d hear at a Decemberists show that just goes on and on and picks up with speed and intensity the deeper into the track.

When Nick sings, its hard to not pay attention to him. With a full lumberjack red beard and a hat, he has a voice that just commands attention. (“Voodoo Call” is the perfect example – he just draws you in with those vocals). The band, with all the different instruments, just blends together so beautifully. Bassist (Reese Douglas) and mandolin player (Ben) fit in so well amongst the guitars and vocals of Nick and Michelle, it just seemed that they all could have been playing together now for quite awhile. Drummer (Kevin Rypma) was tucked away in back, but his drumming definitely added to their full sound.

The real asset of DWTK is the guitars and harmonies of Nick and Michelle especially on songs like “And Everything Moves On” – the two of them together have a beautiful interplay and you can feel the emotion when they sing. They just bring you into the song and hold you captive during those moments and its hard not to fall in love with them.

The show last night sadly may have had too many bands that were all over the place music genre wise. The crowd was pretty tame with most people sitting down and not terribly interested. But I did hear some people talking about how good they were, so thats a good thing.

If youre local – the band is playing a bunch more shows in the city. Next up – Wed night a free show/fundraiser to raise money for a new album! Come out, come out wherever you are!

Set List:
Sonoma
Sarsaparilla Roots
Wild at Heart
Southern Hospitality
Whiskey Riders
Devil at the Crossroads
15 to Life
Voodoo Call
And Everything Moves On

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Battlefield … WTF is this Mess… Earth

Posted by xneverwherex on January 31, 2015

Battlefield Earth
The Dark Room
Why oh why – Jan 11, 2015

So I was asked? to write about this – as it was beyond entertaining. And I use entertaining in the worst possible way. So for the uninitiated The Dark Room has Sunday nights filled with the worst movies ever. Much like MST3K, there are some people who organize this and are clearly the joke-makers (comedians?, ummm no). So it started out with potential. Hey, there is free popcorn. But after 5 minutes, I already knew this was going to be a trainwreck. With a roughly 10 minute introduction for the host and the same joke repeated ad nauseam, it could only get better WORSE. WAY WORSE!

So Battlefield Earth inexplicably starts in German (well I think it was German, mine isnt too great), and the subtitles are in another language. Maybe the film would have been entirely better in another language. Then it switches to English, thankfully? Theres a few stock jokes – like how many times a word is said (i already forgot this word, and im afraid to look it up); and how many “middle” wipes are used. (you ask about these so-called middle wipes – youll wish you didnt – a lovely use of transitioning where the image parts in the center of the screen and scrolls off to each side, like Moses parting the Red Sea) So let the counting begin…. (there were a lot – like so many that I wondered who the hell made this film and had they ever actually watched other films)?!

First off a few things to note: this is somehow related to Scientology (i do NOT want to know); Forest Whittaker is in it (and i think it was mentioned about how his eye was better – majorly f-ed up joke – one of the more hilarious ones), naturally John Travolta is in it and then even more inexplicable is one Barry Pepper. Oh, and lets not be surprised, there are no women. Actually, women are f’ing smarter than this shit, enough said!

The humans are now enslaved – the year 3000. The Psychlos are running the world (hell if I know what really happened) and somehow Barry Pepper is going to save humanity. They encounter a more dystopic Denver and prob some other cities. I was never too sure about where anything was or what was actually happening. The jokes got worse, hell can you even make any good ones for a movie that is *this* bad. Honestly, I was more entertained by the drunk girl next to me, who I am pretty sure was going to be sick most the time (by the time she had the hiccups I nearly was out the door). She was giggly and making her own stupid jokes. The jokes were so bad – that early on (the only sane people there, clearly) took off like 20 minutes in. Of course they were chastised, but as I mentioned the only people who were smart enough to leave.

I think at one point or maybe 2 I fell asleep, because honestly its the only thing to explain what happens in the film. I seriously wasted an hour, going WTF is this mess. They chase each other, kill each other, probably blow each other sorry I mean blow up each other. Actually, its probably all the same if you ask me, because Im guessing its the only way people signed on to this mess. Seriously, this has got to be the worst film Ive ever seen! (and I see a lot of films)!

Apparently, Travolta had high hopes and was hoping to do a sequel. Mind Blown! My date, Ben, was the one who suggested going, so I can really only blame him, but he was also so kind as to agree to leave with me an hour in. With that being said, I have no clue how it ended, nor did we care. We reached the bar next door and had a good laugh!

What can I say… a perfect date 😉

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Black Violin. BEST.LIVE.SHOW

Posted by xneverwherex on March 13, 2014

image

Wednesday night (3/12) in a word was all over the place. Ok so a few words. I started panicking around 945 or so as I was jumping venues. But then something … someone’s …. happened.  A band called “NO” from L.A. which has band members from everywhere. And this is where the change happened.

The swan dive is an awesome bar on red river. Its got tables surrounding the outter wall and lots of chairs. I met a guy from Germany who told me no would be great. Man he was not lying.

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The six piece band, who met in la, are from everywhere around the world. They were dressed very sharp with all of them clad in black pants, nice shirts and their best 12 eyed doc Martens.  The lead singer has a nice baritone ala Matt Berninger of the National.  Their sound is post punk a nice mix of the National meets the editors meets interpol.  They blend it all and they have a really nice full polished sound. Their songs are catchy and in no time at all will you be singing along. The lead singer has great energy and really works to get the crowd involved. A very solid band you dont wanna miss.

They’re signed to the great label arts and crafts and are currently on tour with the Darcys.

Rey pila from mexico city brought on the funk and dance. They infused it all and they were great fun. Their lead singer came into the crowd and danced it up big time. Really a band you dont want to miss at sxsw.

Black Violin came on around 130 to a fairly unpacked club. It was a good mix of people in the audience making for an awesome night.

The band is 2 black guys who met in high school some 15 years ago in orchestra class. They have remained tight friends ever since. The band, from Miami, also has a dj spinning beats and a solid drummer (with an awesome shirt).

The guys on violin are just BRILLIANT!! They have transformed the violin into this awesome instrument that at times sounds just like a guitar. The way they play and put to use the violins is mesmerizing. They should be the new heroes for music classes everywhere inspiring the youth today to turn towards playing the violin.

The music at times is straight out of a symphony but with a rock infusion. Then they will immediately go into something very different. They will keep you on your toes. They ended the set with one guy introducing us to ‘Tiffany’ his violin and doing some pure shredding (do you shred on a violin?). The set ended with a great medley of some of the catchier radio songs from ‘Radioactive’ to ‘Blurred Lines’ then straight into Daft Punk’s song of the summer ‘Get Lucky’. It was SICK! The crowd loved it with everyone getting down and dancing. It was non-stop entertainment and kept us going for the night. BEST.BAND.OF.SXSW.2014.

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Inform. Educate. Entertain. w/Public Service Broadcasting

Posted by xneverwherex on February 22, 2014

Public Service Broadcasting
Kiev
Slim’s
February 20, 2014

Inform – Educate – Entertain is not only the name of the first album from Public Service Broadcasting, but also seems to be the mission of the London-based duo. And that they did. The band’s backdrop/screen is a continuous reel of archival news clips and some “educational” information which was probably shown in schools forever ago – which is really propaganda. Those were the days. But the band takes this material and adds their own music to the pieces. While it might seem that it wouldn’t or shouldn’t work, it does. And I did learn (thanks to a guy from England standing next to me), that the first image is what the Public Broadcasting Service used to use before their announcements.

Public Service Broadcasting – J. Willgoose, Esq.

The duo consists of Wrigglesworth on drums and the ever dapper J. Willgoose, Esq. on everything else (as is pointed out very cheekily). Willgoose dresses in a bowtie and horn-rimmed glasses and looks like a lawyer of yesteryears. He seems to be the educator of the band while Wrigglesworth keeps it very entertaining with on-going drum beats — sometimes speeding it up and creating a more dance-friendly song.

Some of the images that seemed to stick out were soldiers during wartime marching down the streets with crowds out to cheer them on (reminding me of Hitler’s Nazi Germany). The band seemed to have the perfect song to accompany it, keeping it more down-beat. Willgoose tends to use a lot of banjos and guitars in the mix of the songs and the blends work out just perfectly. The ending of Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mt. Everest was perfect with a more dance-y track that had some of the audience really breaking a sweat. It was upbeat and seemed to signify a victory to the end of the show.

This was nothing but pure original brilliance. I cannot recommend seeing this band enough as they will delightfully surprise you for an hour or so taking you on an informative musical journey through English history. While the band never utters a word on stage, the band does have their computer ‘voice’ (not siri, mind you) who does add quips throughout the show and one of the total highlights to hear him say ‘thank you. (long pause) San Francisco’. And just like that, the crowd bursts out in cheers and applause.

Kiev

The opener, Kiev, played their first show ever in San Francisco. It was rather hard to believe as they’re just our ‘neighbors’ down in the O.C. (Orange County). They were surprised to not get boos from saying that, but then again, half the crowd was probably their family/friends. So much for the SF/LA rivalry.

The band was surprisingly insanely loud. It was hard to figure out where the reverberations were coming from (as theyre far from a solid guitar band), but it seems that from the dueling keyboards and the guitars in between it made for a lot of sound (or else the mix was really bad). The stage was shaking and you had to step back as you could feel it pulsate through your body.

It was a bit too loud, as would have loved to hear the saxophone in several of their songs which got drowned out. The band was quite good and as it got towards the end, their music had more of a dance-electronic feel to it. They definitely ended the show on a high note and are worth checking out again.

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Dandy Warhols – 13.13.13. (13 Tales)

Posted by xneverwherex on June 18, 2013

The Dandy Warhols
The Shivas
The Fillmore
June 15, 2013

Saturday was a complete day of all things Dandy Warhols. It started out on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Amoeba Records in the Haight. I had planned an earlier arrival, but it worked out just perfectly regardless. About 30 mins prior to showtime, the place was still fairly empty. The band still hadnt arrived and some random store employees were testing out equipment. Finally, Zia was there – her hair all done up in braids and started talking to friends and getting things ready. Then, unbeknownst to me, Pete was right in front of me looking very scruffy.

Dandy Warhols @ Amoeba

It was soon announced that Courtney was MIA – hadnt yet arrived and was still hung over from the prior night of partying in LA. Good times! About 20 mins later – theyre good to go (or as good as things will be). They do a short set with songs from 13 Tales. I remember ‘Horse Pills’ and ‘Shaking‘ but Im also quite sure ‘Godless‘ and/or ‘Mohammed‘ was also in there. And they ended the set with ‘Big Indian’. Hard to complain for a free show that was right before their show that night.

The plus in Courtney’s lateness — Zia, Pete and Brent — all were happy to sign whatever people had. Brent kindly told me ‘I took that pic on the cover. Its Pete’s shirt’.

Saturday night was a very different scene. Much more professional, the band was all there on time. They played 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia in its entirety. Im pretty biased as its my favorite album ever. So seeing it played from start to end was pretty awesome for me. From the first guitar notes of ‘Godless’ it sucks you in. The first 3 songs were just designed to play together. ‘Godless’, ‘Mohammed’ and ‘Nietzsche’ sound excellent when played back to back. They just blend together perfectly. And then it really starts going and picking up speed. ‘Country Leaver’ and ‘Solid’ are sounding as excellent as ever. People are singing along, dancing and everyone is having a good time.

I have to say I am mystified about the crowd. A lot of kids are there and they only want to hear ‘We Used to Be Friends’. Its annoying. Plus they want to mosh. Really – some of these songs are just not made for moshpits. Fights were breaking out – people were incredibly rude and honestly – I wished everyone had smoked a lot and chilled out. This was not the right crowd that one normally gets. Zia had to yell down to tell a girl to shut up who wouldnt stop screaming (she was punched in the breast). I guess if I were her, that guy wouldnt have been walking straight. The guy (at maybe 16/17?)’s argument ‘we’re at a rock concert’. Ive heard a lot of things – but there are things as personal space and groping people anywhere will likely get you arrested (esp if thats your lovely argument).

Other than that, Zia is as charming as ever. She was pretty polite even with people yelling her name every 5 seconds. Rocking out in her Guns n Roses shirt, she was having a great time dancing a bunch, playing guitar and tambourine. The band was in great spirits and after the initial 13 Tales set came back for a pretty awesome set of a few songs off DROK. Of course, now between sets we’re treated to the acoustic version of ‘Every Day Should Be A Holiday’ with just Courtney and a guitar and an excited crowd singing along. Some of the others included ‘Lou Weed’ and ‘Ride’. We also got to hear ‘Good Morning’, ‘Theyre Gone’ (off the last album), ‘Last High’ and a really great revved up version of ‘Boys Better’. Now that was just awesome. I cant remember if ‘Be-In’ actually was played, but theres a good chance that it was.

Courtney, Fathead and Pete @ The Fillmore

Of course, a Dandys set in SF is never complete until Zia sings a song on her own. I usually get to hear her ‘Daisy’ song, but this time it was even better. She wanted to give tribute to one Janis Joplin and how fitting it was that she ended the set with ‘Mercedes Benz’. A lot of people joined in and Zia looked super excited that the crowd was so into it.

Overall, the show was pretty awesome. It was great to finally hear my favorite album in its entirety. Over the time (97 was my first show of theirs), Ive seen some incredible shows (their 3 hour sets were insane), and some that werent so great. This was definitely one that prob won’t ever be repeated and for that reason alone it was pretty special.

The Shivas opened the set. I guess I had higher expectations. Not sure if I understood the need for 2 drummers (the female was insanely awesome). Some of their garage rock songs were pretty awesome and Ill prob try and check them out again sometime. They didnt say much but seemed excited to be on the set.

Set List:
13 Tales from Urban Bohemia
Godless
Mohammed
Nietzsche
Country Leaver
Solid
Horse Pills
Get Off
Sleep
Cool Scene
Bohemian Like You
Shakin
big Indian
The Gospel

Every Day Should be A Holiday (Acoustic/Courtney solo)
Good Morning
Theyre Gone
Holding Me Up
Last High
Ride
Boys Better
Lou Weed (somewhere in the set)

Mercedes Benz (Janis Joplin cover) (Zia solo/acoustic)

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