Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘britpop’

Moving, Just Keep Moving w/ Gaz Coombes

Posted by xneverwherex on April 10, 2016

Gaz Coombes
Piney Gir
Slim’s
April 1, 2016

One of my favorite bands was finally in town again. Well, it wasn’t exactly the same as Supergrass is no more, but Gaz Coombes is going strong as a solo artist. He was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize (sadly, did not win it) for his album Matador. He was back in SF after at least 5 years, if not longer. And it was great to have him back.

Sure, he looked a bit older, but he still had the same muttonchops and looked quite the same. His voice sounded as strong as it ever had. Plus, he had his signature row of guitars all lined up across the stage. And they were as beautiful as ever and looked to have seen (played) a show or 2 – like the most loved guitars ever.

Gaz Coombes

Gaz Coombes

Gaz opened the set with “Oscillate“, psychedelic trippiness and the perfect opener off the album Matador. That led into “Buffalo” – which sounds like a forgotten Supergrass track – a lot of angst and emotion as the song progresses. “One of These Days” is a beautiful track which takes him away from the guitars and is just him and a keyboard. It’s dreamy and airy and with the lyrics of countryside and graveyard, it evokes the feelings of being there. The album doesn’t seem to stay in any one direction but is a bit all over the place. But, it works.

It seemed like everyone was just waiting/hoping to hear some Supergrass songs and Gaz did not disappoint. While a lot of people were yelling out for certain songs, Gaz mentioned he had certain songs that he would be playing and this wasn’t request hour. He then went into one of the most gorgeous covers of “Moving” which had never sounded better. The crowd sang along happily and Gaz seemed to be overjoyed.

He was able to reminisce about spending some of his formative years in the Bay Area (Palo Alto – he mentions) stating it’s not quite San Francisco. An interview had just been published about him growing up here and his father working in the Valley as a tester of sorts. He seemed to have fond memories of living here – especially weather – even though it had been so long ago, but always loved coming back to San Francisco. A feeling of a second home.

Gaz played some songs off his first solo-album, Here Come the Bombs, and the songs had never sounded better. “White Noise” just pulls you in with lyrics that just evoke emotion. You could feel them come through as he sang his heart out. The set, which felt all too short, ended on the biggest high note. Gaz told a story of being 15 and getting “caught by the fuzz” for possession of marijuana which of course meant the debut single of Supergrass “Caught by the Fuzz“. The crowd yelled out the lyrics with Gaz as he strummed along at a quick pace singing along with us. If he wasn’t sure about a Supergrass reunion, hopefully seeing everyone so happy singing along should have been an indication.

Piney Gir, a Kansas musician – but based out of London, opened the set. She was quirky and fun. Plus, she had stories for all of her songs. They were catchy and fun and songs like “Gold Rules” had me tapping along and bobbing my head. She had a great voice and had names for all of her instruments. If anything, she made herself memorable not from her music exactly, but from the quirky things she did. I guess these days, however people remember you, it doesnt really matter. She is definitely someone I would see again and is worth catching. Strangely enough, the two acts together worked out really great.

Set List:
Oscillate
Buffalo
Hot Fruit
Detroit
One of These Days
Needle’s Eye
Sleeping Giant
Moving (Supergrass)
Seven Walls
White Noise
The Girl Who Fell To Earth
20/20

Encore:
Matador
Caught by the Fuzz (Supergrass)

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Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tell Me Its Not Over – Starsailor/Embrace

Posted by xneverwherex on June 4, 2015

Starsailor/Embrace
Slim’s
June 3, 2015

It felt like a reunion show of sorts, with these lovely bands of the late 90’s and 00’s. Its hard to watch these guys, not just as they age (we all do), but as the gigs change. At one point they were slated to play The Fillmore and then were bumped to Slim’s where it wasnt even a packed house. Seriously – its a pity. But at the same time, as a fan of the band, it meant a much more intimate show.

Starsailor It felt like a lifetime since I had seen Starsailor – a lifetime quite possibly being September 11, 2006 – a show that will live forever in my mind for the date alone and also seeing it in NYC. Its hard to pull off a show on that date – esp when it was just 5 years to the date. But I also had been lucky enough to see James Walsh perform a solo set, shortly before announcing the band’s hiatus. 5 years is a long time for a band to go away (even moreso now with videos on demand and everything changing in a heartbeat) and I am sure the band didn’t know what to expect on coming back. But here they were, filled with an audience who remembered the band from years prior, a little bit older but loving the band just as much.

James Walsh joked about growing old – getting fatter, losing hair, etc. – but his voice has held up quite beautifully. To this day, there are few artists that I put in his category of the greatest voices ever. Actually, between him and Kelly Jones of The Stereophonics, I am not sure there is a better voice out there. The band came out and jumped into “Poor Misguided Fool” which sounded as beautiful as ever. And wasting no time went directly into “Alcoholic” which was more heartbreaking than I had remembered it. It was quite awesome as the whole crowd sang along.

James wasn’t so talkative (when you compare him to Danny of Embrace), but he was having a really great time and was getting the crowd to sing along. Joking about if we didn’t know the lyrics how easy the part was – and demonstrated it for us (of course, it was just ooooh’s and aaahhhh’s). He introduced his band mates as the show progressed. Also, tried to not engage in a war of sports as a guy in the audience was talking about their football team winning 5 championships – and he wanted a high-5. James was pretty amusing and finally said something like ‘no way – I am not getting into a war about sports at a show – someone always gets mad’. Definitely one way to shut it down; although the guy wouldnt stop for a bit.

I was loving their faster, “harder” edged songs on James’ electric guitar. Their music had never sounded better to me. The show just could not possibly go on long enough and songs like “Fidelity” were just way too short. I loved that Danny had asked James to play “Fever” and so he dedicated the song to Danny and it was quite sweet. And Fever sounded just amazing! So glad it was put on the set. James’ high notes on “Lullaby” couldnt have sounded better. It felt like he should have been playing for a much bigger crowd. I loved that he asked about playing a new song, and if we wanted to hear it, and then he remarked about how he loved people singing along to a song that was just released a couple days before (thank you youtube)! And “Give Up The Ghost” is seriously that good! I am loving this new song and hope it brings new life to the band.

But one of the things Ive always loved about James is how honest he comes across. He remarked that when he started, their label probably would have dropped them if they only had one popular song, so it was a relief when their second song was a hit that they released. (Good Souls? quite possibly). The ending of the show was just insane playing some of their more popular songs. “Tell Me Its Not Over” is one of the most heart-wrenching songs ever and with the tempo of Barry banging on the piano its just soars and makes the song that much more upbeat. The audience was very into it and lots of hand clapping and singing along. Probably one of my favorite songs these days. Plus, its now getting ‘mixed’ and James is adding some other songs into it – such as Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” and I think part of an MGMT song was thrown in. And to end the show with “Four to the Floor” and of course “Silence is Easy” which is sounding as rocking as ever and closing it out with “Good Souls” — wow! Its great that the audience was so into it and he mentioned how we were so much a better crowd than Anaheim the night before and they were having such an amazing time.

Even if this were the last time I saw them (hopefully not!), I will forever have these awesome memories of the band. And of course, it all now lives on forever on youtube.

Embrace co-headlined the show and started off the night. And there were a lot of people in Embrace t-shirts which was pretty awesome. Danny McNamara, lead singer, is *the* ultimate front-man. If you ever wanted a band to be so full of energy and putting their hearts into a set, you couldn’t ask for a better band. The band, having been around since the brit-pop days of the 90s from the UK, seems to have somewhat fallen by the wayside. Steve, bassist, looked cooler than ever coming on stage with big sunglasses and the same floppy hair from the day. Most the band seemed like it never aged with similar hair styles. Like James said, maybe they got a bit older and fatter, but this band was looking awesome.

EmbraceThe band started off with the ever catchy ‘Protection‘ and after performing it asked how many of us even knew who they were from back then. Then obviously commented that we were all too young to remember them. The crowd missed the part of saying that the band was clearly too young to be that old. It was amusing. He asked how many people actually had their other albums and remembered songs from it. And of course, everyone knew their music and was singing along.

Danny worked the stage and kept prompting the crowd to move forward. Edging towards the very front of the stage he kept chastising the back of the room and told them they needed to be part of it; plus the sound stopped at a certain point and they just couldnt possibly hear the loudness from that far back. He was amusing but mostly just loving every minute of it. The band was just so excited to be playing you could see it all on their faces. As Danny would just look at you, his piercing blue eyes just melted you. I felt like I was 18 again crushing on a band.

Come Back To What You Know” took me back to my 20’s. I dont think I had really listened to The Good Will Out since what seemed a lifetime, but I could still picture their album – the front picture Ive never forgotten. Mickey was just awesome on the keys and in songs like the very dance-y “Quarters” it showed off his playing. And it also led into one of the many San Francisco stories. Mickey has a love of San Francisco and talked about wanting to move here as he so loved it here. Of course, real estate prices here is no ones friends, and Danny suggested he do a swap with someone at the show. Simply brilliant. They also talked about sitting at a pub and an 8-year old boy doing karaoke and singing ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’, but the poor kid had a lisp and couldnt say it. It segued into the band playing ever-catchy ‘Save Me‘ which had the crowd singing along.

One of the highlights was hearing Danny sing “Gravity“. It is one of the most beautiful songs and interestingly enough it wasnt even written by the band. It was written by one Chris Martin and team (aka Coldplay), who gave it to the band. And the song is so suited for them. Afterwards, Richard, guitarist and brother of Danny, sang the band’s new song ‘Refugees‘ which is a bit more electronic but with a rock edge featuring Richard’s falsetto which is nothing short of impressive. There was so much pressure and he joked about how nervous he was, so insisted on tuning his guitar for a bit, for fear of f’ing it up. Just watching Danny watch his younger brother was pretty sweet. It just reminded me of watching a proud family moment. And right after that going onto play one of my favorite songs ‘Ashes’ which people had been screaming out for. And everyone started jumping around with hands in the air singing along. It was one of those moments that you can imagine happening in an arena with everyone sharing that moment. So it wasnt quite like that, but it still had that feel and the band seemed pretty excited even as Danny kept motioning for people to ‘dance and sing’ and mostly to keep coming forward.

It was heartbreaking to hear Danny talk about how it might be the last time they ever play SF and he’d see us in the after-life. The crowd went nuts and so he suggested everyone getting their mates to their gigs so they could keep on doing this. And sure the band sounds like an homage to those other bands – The Charlies – Stone Roses – and any other 90’s band from the same era/area – and theyre all trying to still be here and keep playing. But there was something special about last night, hearing both bands talk so lovingly about the other. Danny commented on watching Starsailor the previous nights and how one show was really great and the other one was as good. The crowd chuckled. Definitely no love lost with these 2 bands.

So hearing these songs live, was really awesome. I still have a fondness for their music and while never was a huge Embrace fan, their live show is just brilliant. I wish I had thought to see them awhile back as I imagine their shows would have been nothing short of incredible. With that being said, their new song is a force to be reckoned with off their latest EP (from 2014) titled Refugees – and perhaps the tides will change and there can be a resurgence for Embrace.

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Take Me Home, Maximo Park

Posted by xneverwherex on September 28, 2012

Maximo Park
The Neighbourhood
Zambri
9/20/12
Slims

It seemed forever that I had last seen Maximo Park. Their last tour somehow didnt end up coming to NYC, so it was about time they finally came back. And the band seemed to really enjoy being in San Francisco and playing Slims. Paul had so much energy that you could feel it bouncing off the walls. He posed lots and had lots of great movements and his dancing has definitely improved and increased. I definitely miss the scissor kicks, but theres still lots of jumping. Lukas is still as insane as ever on the keyboards. He kept pulling them towards him as he’d jump around and even jump on them. Very awesome.

Paul

The songs off their new album, ‘The National Health’ are quite catchy. ‘Take Me Home’ should be a total hit. They started their show off with the always fun and energetic ‘Graffiti’ and then jumped into the title track which was also really catchy. But it was really their older songs that got the crowd super excited and jumping and singing along. While their other albums have been quite good, nothing has compared to ‘A Certain Trigger’. Although, the guitar riff from ‘Girls who Play Guitars’ has never sounded better.

It was awesome when Paul said he had a song to sing about where we were. People screamed out songs, but I knew it had to be ‘The Coast is Always Changing’. What an awesome song and what a perfect San Francisco song. ‘Graffiti’, ‘Limassol’ and ‘Kiss You Better’ still sound amazing live. It was great to hear Paul sing part of ‘The Acrobat’ which he had to stop singing due to the lack of anyone remembering it 🙂

Paul & The Park

The band played nonstop for about 90 minutes before announcing it was down to their last songs. He mentioned how Americans love encores (really?), but that on this tour there wouldnt be any. They put their heart into the set and left it all on the floor. Naturally, some people (who I guess didnt believe the band), yelled for an encore. A 20 song set was hard to be disappointed with and for the most part they played nearly everything I would have wanted to hear.

Paul talked about how he had a few days off from the tour and how they went to Coit Tower and visited other sites. Paul was pretty talkative and wanted to tell stories, but for some reason many people in the audience just yelled out songs and wanted them to play. A pity as he’s a great storyteller.

The Neighbourhood

LA’s The Neighbourhood were surprisingly quite awesome. The guys looked quite young and were very excitable. There are definitely some hardcore influences along with hip hop. Its a great combo and makes for a great show. The lead singer, who is covered with tattoos, is hard to take your eyes from. Even if the music is not your scene, just stare at his arms/neck for awhile and youll be entranced.

NYC’s Zambri played a quite short set. They tried to do something unique with a lot of microphones that didn’t quite work. It definitely had an electronic feel and reminds me of School of Seven Bells. I still find them a bit forgettable but they’re fine to watch. Im not quite sure how they ended on this lineup but it made for a quirky interesting night.

Set List:
Graffiti
The National Health
Girls Who Play Guitars
Hips and Lips
Questing, Not Coasting
The Coast Is Always Changing
Write This Down
Going Missing
Reluctant Love
Books From Boxes
The Undercurrents
Limassol
The Kids Are Sick Again
Take Me Home
Now I’m All Over the Shop
This Is What Becomes of the Broken Hearted
Parisian Skies
I Want You to Stay
Our Velocity
By the Monument
Waves of Fear
Apply Some Pressure

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Do You Wanna??

Posted by xneverwherex on June 29, 2011

The Kooks
Smoke Signals
Bowery Ballroom
June 27, 2011

The Kooks finally made it back to this side of the pond after what seemed like a long hiatus. They have a new album coming out in September – Junk of the Heart. From what they played live of their newer stuff, it sounds like it has a lot of promise. Its easily similar to their earlier works and equally poppy.

Luke Pritchard is always quite the front-man. A bit quiet, with guitar in hand, a red tight vneck with tight jeans; he looks every part the rock star. He never has too much to say but it really doesnt matter. The crowd loves him regardless. Anytime he approaches the edge of the stage, people want to pull him to them. Its alike for men and women.

By the time I got there, a bit after the said doortimes, the floor was already half packed. I was quite surprised, but managed to work my way to the front and side. Aside from some pushy guy, who asked way too many questions, the show was good.

I was a bit surprised that the set length is still just a bit over an hour. It hasnt increased much in time even with more songs. Luke did promise to play the favorites and he delivered. A lot of the crowd up front, were singing along to every single song, as Luke pointed out. ‘Do you wanna make love to me?’ was great and had the crowd dancing. He joked about the crowd knowing some of the songs as he broke out into ‘Naive’ and it was a sing-along.

The encore was quite great as Luke came out on his own and did a stripped down version of ‘Seaside’. Im pretty sure this is standard now, as I could have sworn I had seen it before. Either way, still sounds great. The Kooks early stuff still sounds great and its hard to want to hear new stuff when its just as satisfying to hear all of their early music.

Opener Smoke Signals was pretty bad. I was surprised that so many people were so into them. Had a country-ish vibe to them with a pop sensibility. They played for nearly 45 minutes and it was (seemed to be) the longest 45 minutes ever. Wish they had rapped it up sooner and given the Kooks more time. No clue if they might have played longer, but one can hope.

Set List:
Always Where I Need To Be
Eddie’s Gun
See The World
Carried Away
Ooh La
She Moves In Her Own Way
Junk Of The Heart
Is It Me
Do You Wanna
Naive
Saboteur
Eskimo Kiss
Shine On
Stormy Weather

Encore:
Seaside
How D’Ya Like That
Sofa Song

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White Lies Has Unfinished Business

Posted by xneverwherex on May 24, 2011

White Lies
School of Seven Bells
Sun Airway
May 19, 2011
Terminal 5

White Lies, hailing from London, finally made it back to this side of the pond and couldnt have been more excited. I hadnt seen the band in a couple years and I wasnt sure how it would be in a big club. But the times are a-changing and more importantly so is lead singer Harry. Trading in his dark clothes and gold nikes – hes now donning a suit. I might have thought for an instant they were going down the Interpol lane, but that is definitely not the case. Harry was more talkative than I had ever seen him before. I think he spoke more in 5 minutes than he had in any other prior show. He was happy to back in New York, one of his favorite cities ever. He was glad that more people showed up than he had anticipated – he wanted us to sing along, clap along, make more noise. It didnt stop. And the smile was HUGE! I guess success has hit him big time.

The band has now added yet another band member to tour with. They were always noted as a 3-piece band, yet from the moment I saw them on their first trip to the States, there was always 4. At this point, they have added another guitarist/keyboardist/singer. The guy is quite talented and seems to be doing it all. Jack seemed farther back and I really missed all the interactions that used to go on between the band and him. But Jack was still as awesome as ever and still looking ever-so-cool. Charlie’s bass lines still sound as great as ever – and loving him singing backup on what felt like more songs.

The band opened up with ‘A Place To Hide’ and its a great opener. The bass lines are instantly recognizable and it had the crowd singing along in no time. The crowd was loving every minute of every song. Guys were going crazy – and I would have thought it was the second coming of Jesus err The Beatles. Everyone wanted to be up close and was pushing – which is expected of the girls – but was more surprising with the guys. They followed it up with ‘Holy Ghost’ off of the new album. And then they went back into the older songs with ‘To Lose My Life’ which everyone knew and had Harry happy that we were all singing along. Was pleasantly surprised that right after that ‘EST’ would still be played. One of my favorite songs.

This was an excellent show. The band sounded awesome but its hard to get used to this new happy version of White Lies. Their music and lyrics definitely feels like a much darker band – but apparently they might be going to a happier version of themselves.

New York’s own School of Seven Bells were nice to have around. It was interesting to see them as a 2-piece. I definitely missed having the other sister there who left the band in October due to personal reasons. It seems their music isnt quite as interesting as it was, but regardless they still sounded great. They still had the same dark sound and vocals that arent that easy to understand, but that doesnt matter. Its this beautiful sound and it makes you just want to close your eyes and enjoy it and feel it. There wasnt much interaction – but a band who zipped through a 30 minute set trying to play as much as they could.

Sun Airway – one of my favorite new bands – from Philadephia benefited from playing such a huge venue. The soaring vocals were perfect in Terminal 5. Their songs sounded even bigger and darker and the guitars were sounding even fuzzier. A perfect shoegaze band complete with images shown on a white curtain behind them. It felt like they could have just kept playing and playing, but soon their 30 minutes were up too.

Definitely a show not to have missed – I was just happy that I managed to win tix to it and was able to appreciate it, not just once, but twice!

White Lies Setlist:
A Place To Hide
Holy Ghost
To Lose My Life
E.S.T.
Is Love
Price of Love
Streetlights
Farewell to the Fairground
Peace & Quiet
Bad Love
Death

Encore:
Unfinished Business
Power & Glory
Bigger Than Us

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Brother – Another Britpop Band??

Posted by xneverwherex on March 27, 2011

Brother
The Dig
@ The Rock Shop
3/24/11

Where were you when Brother came to town? Its probably going to be the question that comes up next time they’re here. It wont be a surprise when the band (who is already getting lots of hype) becomes the next big thing.

Brother, hailing from Slough (outside of London), might be starting the new revival of britpop bands. At times sounding a bit like Blur, they might be more closely seen as the next Oasis. Lead singer, Len, has the same swagger as Liam of Oasis. He’s chatty with the audience – tells us to remember where we were when we first saw them – and is sure theyre going to be huge.

Len might come across as a bit arrogant and self-assured but the music speaks volumes. Theyre catchy and the crowd (who seems to be a lot of bloggers and photographers) is in awe of them. People dancing and singing along – the band does a hurriedly 30 minute set. Its fun and the band is great together. It comes across as a bit odd that there is a back up woman dancer/singer, but in some ways it works.

If you blended the Stone Roses, Oasis and Blur together, throw in some of the other catchy 90s bands and youd get Brother. It was seemingly awesome and yes, seeing them at a small stage at The Rock Shop is definitely something none of us will forget. And yes – they are destined to be that huge.

Openers The Dig have some great songs as well. I seemed to remember them a bit differently from when I first saw them open for The Editors. They seemed to pick up more of a bluesy sound. While some of it works quite well, a lot of the songs started sounding same-y and it became a bit much after awhile.

Both the bands seemed in much appreciation of the other. Each being so generous and throwing out compliments. It was definitely a nice thing to see as you dont always get that.

Either way – Brother is back in a month or so and Id highly recommend *not* missing them.

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Rules for Setlists?!?

Posted by xneverwherex on September 25, 2009

So by now, you’d think Id have seen it all. I go to enough concerts to make up for most of us, and I love my set lists. Perhaps next job is to scan them all or take pics of them all. One thing at a time.

So anyway, last night I ventured on down to the Mercury Lounge to catch the Rifles. I have to say that the crowd was pretty cool and I ended up knowing more than a few people there. And for those I didnt know, I somehow met most the people in the front area.

Met this cool couple from Brussels (the place to go, btw, not Amsterdam) who told me about seeing bands in Brussels and how I must visit. They also told me they had seen The Rifles a ton of times, and this would be awesome. Then met some other huge Rifles fans and other people I knew showed up. It was like a small little party.

The Rifles put on a great show. They have a lot of energy and the crowd definitely feeds off of it. Everyone was jumping around, pumping their fists in the air and singing along. The lead singer just loved it, and I think half the crowd either came from England or were from there to see them. And I really appreciated the football chants too. We dont get enough of that here in the states.

The only main problem seemed their vocals were set too low so the lead singer was hard to hear. Then again with the loud powering guitars Im not sure it mattered that much. I just love “The Great Escape’ and it sounded amazing live. Its still hard to listen to them and not have your foot tapping along or your head bobbing along. It really is music that you just wanna scream out and sing along.

So — rules for setlists? I know youve been waiting to hear my newest gripe 😉  So I was talking to their roadie and asked for the drummer setlist and this woman next to me starts going off on me. I was so perplexed thinking wtf did I do. Rule #1 – if you come from England to see a band you ARE ENTITLED TO THE F’ING SETLIST! I mean what about the folks from Brussels. Hell they traveled farther than her. I had never heard of such lunacy. But oh it gets better. So I asked to take a picture of the setlist – a pretty mundane request. Instead of a simple yes, she says she would scan the setlist and email it to me. Seriously! all this for a setlist I asked for!

Well there is no way I was going to let this get to me, and so I met up with friends at the bar. Good times, but all these people wanted to hang onto the guys in The Rifles. That is so not my scene. So I ended up meeting up with a friend at Arlene’s Grocery.

So, I didnt know anything about the next band save for a few facts. First, the band Apefight has members from other bands – Radio 4 and Elefant. Secondly, he told me remember this is kind of a joke band and its total ‘cock-rock’. Honestly, I wasnt sure what to think, but thought this should be either a train wreck (that I HAD to see), or it would be the awesomest thing Id ever seen.

Lets just say FIGHT THE FIGHT! Im so on board with Apefight its not even funny. So the music is hysterical. Its so sexual in a way a 13-year old would write it, and their songs are ridiculous. I think one song is about bongs and beer, another one about drink enough beer youll get laid, or something to that effect.

The cool part is its clear the guys are loving it. They have too much fun and its hard not to laugh at it (even when youre one of 3 women in the place). They come out in white robes (ala The Polyphonic Spree) and masks. The lead singer yells at the crowd about clapping (or rather not clapping), saying stuff like “Are we not cool enough to be Art Brut?” – hahaha – and he just yells about everything. When the video screen went down, he yelled at the guys for not helping the chick manning the projector to put it back up.

And then to top it off, a friend described it as reverse karaoke. Basically we’re seeing the lyrics to the songs and the pictures that go with it, as the band sings it. Trust me DONT sing along. This is their show and its all for them. We’re just observing it, being idiots?? Im not entirely sure. Regardless it was awesome!

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