Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

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Posts Tagged ‘Battles’

Bring on Brooklyn: Battles + Buke & Gase

Posted by xneverwherex on October 17, 2015

Battles
Buke & Gase
The Fillmore
10/9/15

I had avoided Battles for awhile just because they seemed like another experimental/art-rock outfit from Brooklyn doing something really out-there; which is not to say that they aren’t any of the above. The band might possibly be more weird/avant-garde than I thought, but perhaps people change (or as I get older, maybe I’m willing to think/listen outside the box). Putting that all aside, seriously, what on earth was I missing.

Battles

Battles

The trio from Brooklyn did not disappoint. While waiting for the band to come out, it was impossible not to notice the insane drums front and center of the stage with a crash cymbal that was beyond high for the average person, yet somehow was perfect for John Stanier. And then to his right (in front of me) the dueling upside down keyboards of Ian Williams and of course the band wouldn’t be complete without Dave Konopka‘s guitars/pedals.

Battles started out with the ridiculous sick ‘Dot Com‘ off of their new album La Di Da Di . Dave starts it out with repetitive loops that seem to carry on and on as the song has a slow build of just him until finally the guitars come in then throw down some synth beats. By the time a good solid 5 minutes have gone by the drums finally come into play. Have no doubt about Stanier — the guy is ridiculous. The way he seamlessly hit the insanely high cymbal while sitting down making it look so easy. He is quite possibly the best drummer I might ever see. He puts drummers to shame the way he went took to the drums. By the time the first song ended, the guy was dripping in sweat.

And then if you really wanted to dance, Battles went straight into ‘Ice Cream‘. One of the few songs that isn’t entirely instrumental featuring Matias Aguayo’s vocals. Its catchy and dance-y even if its all loops and blips and just makes you want to move. Guitars, synths, instruments all sounding like other instruments its one of the most brilliant songs.

Battles is like an aural symphony. The different, unique sounds and the way it comes together seems so organic like its happening fresh before your eyes. Even if they’ve done the same setlist night after night – it never felt old. There was so much sweat flying everywhere you could tell the band played their heart out. Even after they talked about San Francisco (“their favorite city to play in”), even as Dave kindly admitted they said the same thing the night prior in Portland – it was clear that they were having an awesome time. They even joked about how many cliche things they could say about San Fran, Cisco – and even asked what they should call it. But it was clear – they were at The Fillmore – and super excited to be playing there.

FF Bada‘ was beyond catchy and really showed how well the band played off of each other. Different time signatures and music all over the place – it somehow comes together and fits perfectly. The band was focusing mostly on their new album but did play ‘Atlas‘ which was definitely a crowd favorite. While not a lot of songs were played, the songs that were played seemed to go on forever and blended together like a beautiful symphony of sound. What more could one want.

Buke & Gase

Buke & Gase

Buke & Gase also of Brooklyn opened the set. If Battles was pretty out there, Buke & Gase held their own with also being pretty bizarre. I had seen them before in New York opening for The National and also with Ra Ra Riot and remember liking them but this time may have been more memorable. The duo Arone and Aron play hand-made instruments that are beyond creative. Arone plays the ‘toe-bourine’ which is exactly as it sounds (tambourines played as she click clacks across the stage) as well as the “buke” (six-string baritone ukulele) while Aron plays the “gase” (a guitar-bass hybrid).

Their music is definitely interesting and started off on the slow side until it really started to hit a stride. Arone has beautiful vocals that are strong and just flow with the sounds. Lots of solid repetitive beats and just a really unique experimental sound. Its pretty amazing that with just 2 people there are so many instruments that are heard. The band is beyond creative and definitely has their own style. If you’re into avant-garde/experimental music – these bands are both worth checking out!

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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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