Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘concert’

Wye Oak – Watching and Waiting

Posted by xneverwherex on July 17, 2016

Wye Oak
Tushka
Great American Music Hall
7/15/16

Baltimore’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack (aka Wye Oak) came to town last night and for so many reasons it was a show not to be missed. I hadn’t seen them since my NYC days (why, I still do not know) and they did not disappoint. It was fairly amusing to see Jenn come out in a tank top, bent over plugging everything in and setting herself up for the show. With no crew, the band is a minimalist act in nearly every way possible.

One of the things I most appreciated (and it seems like perhaps I hadn’t seen/heard this in far too long), was a band who clearly was doing this because they loved it more than life itself. Before playing ‘Civilian‘, and having a very out of tune guitar, she mentioned they were too poor to afford a guitar-tech. She went on to talk about how thankful she was people still came to see them play and people still paid for shows. She mentioned how this was an artist’s life and how if it was not for the fans coming out, they clearly would not still be doing this. Thankfully, Wye Oak still has a big enough fan basis.

Wye Oak

Wye Oak

While the GAMH was not sold out, it was still quite full and even with quite expensive tshirts, there was still a line after the show ended for shirts and records and other things. Probably the best $25 I spent, assuming the band took 100% of profits.

I hadn’t been in a mood to write about shows for a long time. Sure, there’s been good shows (I’ll do a rundown in another post), but none were leaving me with this blissful feeling. Perhaps it comes with humility and a band that does everything for themselves. When I left the show, I felt like I had just seen something even better than expected.

The band opened with “If You Should See“, a very dreamy-pop song that brings back the haunting vocals of Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays. The song is off their new album Tween (a new album of sorts “mini-album” of out-takes between Civilian and Shriek). Their new album is not quite as guitar heavy as their other album but is bringing in some synths to the mix giving it a more light, dreamy feel.

The band’s next song “Better (for Esther)” also off of Tween is a great mix of the old meets the new. When the guitar comes into action it gives the band a nice full song plus shows off how great Jenn is on the guitar. She loses herself in the guitar, just shredding away, head moving to the music. It’s moments like these that the crowd really got into the performance.

Wye Oak played a good mix of their work from the newer to the older. I was never a huge fan of their last album, Shriek, which was more synth-pop. It drifted almost too far from what I had liked about them, but “The Tower” did sound quite great live. This new album has grown on me quite a lot. Dance-y dream-pop songs had never sounded better and Jenn’s vocals were just soaringly beautiful on “Watching the Waiting”. Lyrics that so perfectly rang true, “And there is nowhere I need to go. And there is nothing left to do. And I am sitting watching myself. Watching you. Watching the waiting”.

Wye Oak - Jenn

Wye Oak – Jenn

It was really great to hear their older songs which are just so full and loud with Jenn tearing it up on the guitar. She is so powerful on “Hot As Day” and “Civilian” and gets lost in the music along with the crowd. It’s a lot of noise for just a two-some. Her vocals on these songs have always reminded me of Sharon Van Etten, sultry, powerful and full. “Civilian” had never sounded better, the guitars were so full and loud, the words just pouring out of her, it was pure raw, emotion.

It was an encore so that actually felt so worth it. Jenn and Andy both came across as so appreciative. Plus, it wasn’t just the hits that they came back to. “For Prayer” was great to hear, a much earlier track that fans really appreciated. Ending the set with “Holy Holy” was quite awesome with Jenn shredding the guitar and the crowd energized and dancing along. It was a perfect way to cap off the performance.

Tushka opened the set. Another duo, comprised of two brothers from North Carolina. Phil was in the band Bowerbirds. A mostly electronic R&B pop was a fun opener. The brothers seemed to have a lot of fun on stage and were really getting into the music. Would definitely check them out again if I see their name around.

Setlist:

If You Should See
Better (For Esther)
Shriek
The Tower
Watching the Waiting
Trigger Finger
Before
Sick Talk
Hot As Day
Civilian
No Dreaming
Logic Of Color
I Hope You Die

Encore:
For Prayer
Holy Holy

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The Music Revolution Has Begun… Again

Posted by xneverwherex on April 21, 2016

The Last Shadow Puppets
Alexandra Savior
The Fillmore/The Catalyst
4/17, 18/2016

It was only 8 years ago that I had last seen The Last Shadow Puppets. At the time, I was raving about how brilliant their album was. It was also a show that had stayed with me. I remembered seeing them upstairs in the Hammerstein Ballroom. Even then, I knew it had to be too small for them. So, I am still a bit dumbfounded that The Last Shadow Puppets aren’t huge and can still play venues like The Fillmore. It’s not a bad thing, at least as a fan. But they came back stronger than ever with their second album, Everything You’ve Come To Expect.

TLSP - Alex Turner

TLSP – Alex Turner

Long story short, Alex Turner and Miles Kane, should be that huge with this band. It’s a departure from the Arctic Monkeys, but this is by far the better band. The two of them are the ultimate crooners. The way they sing to you, as if you’re the only person in the crowd, is pretty amazing. With their suits and dapper look, I was instantly reminded of some of the best – an homage to the Rat Pack – straight with Alex Turner combing his hair back as he takes a rest while Miles Kane sings. Throw in a bit of the cool swagger of Tom Jones and the emotion of Morrissey and you get Alex Turner. He has charisma and charm in a way that only Morrissey exudes. I don’t think I had been to a show in that long of a time in which the girls were screaming like this was The Beatles. The girls were going crazy for Alex – including throwing things on the stage (please say it was a bra or panties). Their high pitched screams and giggles if Alex looked their way, was amusing. Sure, he’s attractive (he knows it), but my god – when he sings – he becomes even more attractive. And Miles, is the much louder, brasher of the two commanding attention. But the two of them together work perfectly. And when the two sing together – arms around each other – it really shows their fondness of one another.

I was telling a co-worker about last night’s show and his comment was “from the sounds of your description – they sound amazing and someone not to be missed”. And that is what I walked away with. I wasn’t even supposed to be at the show on Sunday night at The Fillmore (Lush had to cancel) and it worked out that I was there, and honestly, having 2 shows back-to-back made me fully appreciate the band even more.

Onto the music – TLSP added a strings section to their show. It was needed to add another element to the band. They begin the show with just the strings, violins and cellos which sounded so beautiful. Just a small group of performers really added to the show. The moment TLSP got on the stage, the whole floor of The Fillmore just lit up in billows of smoke. Im sure the band was stoned by the end of the show if they weren’t already. The band also seemed beyond excited to be playing in San Francisco. Miles and Alex must have yelled out something about SF every few minutes and incorporated SF into some of their songs. They were so incredibly tight and I felt their set in some ways was a bit better. The mix/order of the songs felt a bit more succinct at the Fillmore.

TLSP - Miles Kane

TLSP – Miles Kane

Most of the songs were the same, save for “Used to Be My Girl” – which is pure sexy, sultriness. The melodies from Miles and Alex in that song are just perfect. Their voices blend together so beautifully; it’s a song they should always play. “She Does The Woods” (with the intro from Arctic Monkeys “Joining the Dots” was also missing). Alex sounds so great on that song with Mile’s breathy vocals joining him.

Really, the one thing missing was the talkativeness of the band. They must have mentioned/asked ‘How you doing SF’ almost after every song and were just saying how excited they were. In retrospect, the Santa Cruz crowd was insane and way more into it. People were beyond excited for this show with a line wrapped around the block and down the street (this was over an hour prior to showtime). The crowds were polar opposites with the Santa Cruz show filled with a ton of college students and younger. Perhaps, SF has become the ‘cool scene’ where people just don’t show emotions. Regardless, both shows were incredible.

Some of the stand-outs from the evening were easily off the first album The Age of the Understatement with the ever catchy ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You‘ showing just how awesome of a vocalist Alex Turner really is; ‘Standing Next To Me‘ (easily one of my favorite songs) and having some of the best harmonies ever especially as they go into the chorus; ‘The Age of the Understatement‘ which was my first foray into the band – and has the best build-up of any song – always making me think of a bull fight as it just gets more and more intense – it’s pure brilliance; and possibly my favorite TLSP song ever ‘Meeting Place‘. With the strings opening the song and played throughout it just adds to the emotion of the song – coupled with Miles Kane softer vocals to Alex, who really works the song with all of his moves and hip shaking. The lyrics are just heartbreaking, but so beautiful.

The Last Shadow Puppets

The Last Shadow Puppets

It’s also pretty awesome that they still play pretty much everything off each of their 2 albums. They could have cut their shows short, but they really put on quite the show including a Beatles cover that is quite impressive ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)‘. ‘Dracula Teeth‘, which is Alex singing with Miles playing the hell out of the guitar is quite the pretty song. And the single ‘Bad Habits‘ is the ultimate in catchiness and has Miles doing one hell of a scream while Alex does more of his slides and dance moves as he plays the guitar. Just brilliant.

Alexandra Savior opened the set. She collaborated with Alex Turner on her album and he co-wrote most of the songs with her. I noticed at the Santa Cruz show, he stood by the side and watched her perform and seemed quite pleased. While she does have good vocals, she seemed a bit too precious/twee for me. She was almost too cute, but at times she did have a sultriness/sexiness to her and that made her quite appealing. If she toned down the preciousness and upped the sensuality, I think she’d made for one hell of a performer. Regardless, she still put on really captivating show and is definitely one to watch.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to see The Last Shadow Puppets, or can see them at one of the festivals this year, you really shouldn’t miss them.

Set List The Fillmore:
Everything You’ve Come to Expect (Extended string intro)
Sweet Dreams, TN
Meeting Place
Miracle Aligner
Dracula Teeth
Calm Like You
Used to Be My Girl
Aviation
She Does the Woods (Arctic Monkeys’ “Joining the Dots” intro)
Bad Habits
Only The Truth
The Element of Surprise
The Age Of The Understatement
Pattern
My Mistakes Were Made For You
In My Room

Encore:
Standing Next To Me
The Dream Synopsis
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (The Beatles cover)

Set List The Catalyst Club:
Black Plant (Live string intro)
Calm Like You
Bad Habits
The Age Of The Understatement
The Element of Surprise
Separate And Ever Deadly
The Chamber
Miracle Aligner
Pattern
My Mistakes Were Made For You
Only The Truth
Dracula Teeth
Everything You’ve Come to Expect
Meeting Place
Aviation
Sweet Dreams, TN
In My Room

Encore:
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (The Beatles cover)
The Dream Synopsis
Standing Next To Me

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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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The Man Dont Give a F**k – Super Furry Animals

Posted by xneverwherex on February 15, 2016

Super Furry Animals
Heron Oblivion
Great American Music Hall
February 9, 2016

Wales Super Furry Animals (SFA) always puts on a great show and this night was no exception. The whole night was nothing short of awesome. As I had a rental car, I wanted to be sure I parked in a safe spot vs some of the alleyways Im prone to park in with my own car. It was only fitting that as I pulled up a woman was getting out of her car at the same time and turns to me to ask if I was going to the SFA show. Seems we’re off to a great start. To make it all the more interesting, turns out she lives a block from my grandmother. Who said the world really wasnt that small.

SFA - Gruff

SFA – gruff

Then I really wanted to buy a shirt. And Guto, bassist (whom I didn’t even recognize, but guessed he was in the band due to the Welsh accent), had to deal with my lack of cash and actually felt bad that he was taking all of my cash. He was quite concerned; meanwhile I still did not have enough cash for the shirt. He was willing to work with me and gave me the shirt for even less. Man, that totally made my night. And hell, the bands hadn’t even played yet.

Long story short… I really love this band. SFA OK!

The band came out with lead singer Gruff Rhys in his spaceman costume and all the guys in white lab coats with the oh so spacey psychedelic sounds of ‘Slow Life‘ from 2003’s Phantom Power. The song is one of those slow burns as it delves into other styles from the 90s Manchester baggy-dancey rave sounds before it feels like we’re back to the 60’s psychedelia. It’s the perfect song to get the crowd worked up as it just builds with energy.

As if the show couldn’t get any better, they immediately delved into the even more space-y jam ‘(Drawing) Rings Around The World‘. The crowd was really into it with everyone singing along and dancing — and yes, there was a lot of dancing people which is always an awesome thing to see. Plus, most the people around were really cool and actually looked out to make sure they totally weren’t blocking the view.

The set was a good mix of deeper cuts and more popular tracks. Gruff has never sounded better and it was nice to hear him perform with SFA again. It had been far too long (6 years too long!). It’s hard not to re-fall in love with the romantic love songs like “Hello Sunshine” and lyrics as great as “I’m a minger and you’re a minger too, so come on minger, I want to ming with you.” The space-y experimental Pink Floyd-esque Welsh song “Pan Ddaw’r Wawr” always sounds amazing. It’s so hard to not fall in love with the band; their music is all over the place crossing into so many different genres including country-fused ballads like “Run! Christian, Run!

SFA OK

SFA

Their music is always a bit trippy with costume changes seeming to come from space, white coveralls and of course YETIS!! Like seriously, how can any band go wrong when they walk around holding signs saying “applause”, “more applause”, “thank you” and the ever cheeky “resist phony encores”. So naturally, they ended the set in coveralls playing “The Man Don’t Give a Fuck“. It was wild and awesome and so had everyone worked up, fists in the air. And of course they walked off the stage as the song nears the end leaving us just the pulsating sounds of the reverb before the band comes out dressed as Yetis! and kicks it into high gear and finishes off the song with a bang.

And this truly explains why encores are so never needed. If you can finish off a set like this, there is truly no reason.

Opening the set was San Francisco’s own, Heron Oblivion. The band was just recently signed to SubPop Records. The band was tight and this experimental psychedelic band is one to watch. Lead singer/drummer Meg Baird comes from Espers while the other band members came from a variety of other bands including Comets on Fire.

Put them all together and the band is the perfect opening for SFA. Vocals come in here and there but its really all about the 3 guitarists behind her and this blissful psychedelic music they make. Meg’s vocals are haunting as they come through over all the noise. They are definitely a band to catch and I have a feeling they will be opening up for some amazing bands in the near future (or at least one can hope).

Short Clip from “The Man Don’t Give a Fuck About Anybody Else”

The Man Don't Give a F*CK- Super Furry Animals

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(No) Passion w/Car Seat Headrest

Posted by xneverwherex on January 23, 2016

Car Seat Headrest
Silver Shadows
Independent
January 20, 2016

Not unlike another Virginian (Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing), Will Toledo has a similar story. Both seemed to start recording their albums very lo-fi in their bedrooms and then managed to get signed by labels and record albums and go on tour. It’s almost too familiar. Both artists are clearly masters of what they do and have incredible music. Will, playing under the moniker Car Seat Headrest, has moved onto wetter pastures aka Seattle. And then he got signed by Matador Records. The even crazier part of this – he already had some 11 albums released. Pretty f’ing impressive!

Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest

On album, some of their songs are fuzzy anthem sing-alongs and they’re fun to listen to, but it was a wonder of what it would be like live. I already had listened to Car Seat Headrest’s Matador debut, Teens of Style, more than enough times. I had come across them while asking friends which bands I needed to check out from CMJ (think SXSW – smaller and in NYC). And then next thing I know, a co-worker is sending me all these links of the band and how much press they are getting. Seriously, the prestigious New Yorker had written about them. And that’s when you know you’re going places.

To say that I was beyond pleasantly surprised about their show would be an understatement. I didn’t even realize they had that much music to perform and it seemed like the entire audience know their entire catalog and had seem them play countless times. The band started the set with “The Ending of Dramamine” which had to be the coolest song they had. The solid drum beats in the background with the minimal sound of the throbbing bass and then the guitars come in oh so slowly. At first a note here and there its slow and drawn out. I was so reminded me of Explosions in the Sky at this moment. As the 13 minute song continues it picks up. The guitars come in full force getting louder and louder and more aggressive. It comes to a full swell before backing down and then picking up. It was just beautiful and one hell of a song opener. And then once it seems like the song is over, 5 or so minutes in, Will comes in with his lyrics. It’s strangely beautiful – his vocals just emote. You can nearly feel the pain of the lyrics as he sings.

My only wish was that it continued just like that, but the songs change up and they’re not all that heavy. But regardless, the show was awesome. From the crowd chanting out songs and the drummer joking that it’s a school night and we should all be home sleeping. The band clearly was quite comfortable with the crowd. Will almost seems embarrassed from the way the audience loved him and it was somewhat cute. There were moments that I felt like I was watching an early Pavement show. Some old-school songs that clearly felt like they were from the 90’s independent scene. Then there were songs like “Bodies” which has a more electronic fuzzy pop sound and got the crowd dancing and jumping.

Im definitely a fan of their songs being played with more guitars. But even their pop songs that were more well known were awesome live. Everyone singing along they also managed to capture the 60’s neo-psychedelia sound. Its hard to place the band on where they should be filed under and who would like them, but it seems that they cross genres and have a pretty cool fan-base. Im totally into seeing them again whenever they come around. Plus – Will is multi-talented and watching him on drums was pretty sweet.

Besides, any band that can end with a really impressive “Psycho Killer” cover from The Talking Heads already upped brownie points. In a weird way, at that moment it felt like we were watching a young David Byrne. Quirky and slightly weird, Will is just quite awesome.

Silver Shadows

Silver Shadows

Local SF/Oakland band Silver Shadows started the set. The almost all-girl band (minus the drummer – Chase – who apparently is a cool dude that somehow everyone seems to know) were a really great start. Sounding like some of the 60’s girl bands they didn’t totally have a wall-of-sound going, but should have. If the guitars were just a bit louder it would have been that much more awesome. A co-worker said they could be the next Dum Dum Girls or Best Coast and I was reminded of a less 80’s version of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Regardless, all great bands to be compared to. The vocals from each of the women was pretty sweet – as their high voices pierced through the air against swirling guitars, drum beats that almost get lost in the background but you can just feel it and keyboards. The guys in front next to me (possibly friends of the drummer for all I know) were really into it and dancing and singing along.

I’ve listened to the EP more times than I could have imagined already and it makes for really great listening. A bit shoegazey at times into crescendoing guitars and they have this really awesomely beautiful sound. I really need to see them again.

So far – a pretty good start to 2016 with Tool being the first show (no words can describe a Tool show but f’ing amazing balls-to-the-walls awesomeness).

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2015 Ended and The Greatest Rock Band Played the Greatest Show…x3

Posted by xneverwherex on January 2, 2016

The Dandy Warhols
Joel Gion
Miranda Lee Richards
December 1 & 2, 2015

The greatest rock band played the greatest show… The End.

Sadly, time some times gets the best of us. And then the year ends, and you get to reflect on all the shows you saw and how the year ended. It was a crazy year – I saw Ride the day after the Paris attacks and I remember being unsure about going to a concert. And then I thought of how many awesome bands I had seen over time – and fuck it – ISIS, terrorists will never win.

Zia

Zia

As Zia ended the concert – she said it was one of the greatest rock concerts ever. Ive seen The Dandy Warhols so many times, that at times the shows start to blur. There was the string of the 3 hour long sets (some of the best I had ever seen), and then there was December 2. The energy in the club was amazing. The place felt alive and it had been a long time since I felt that feeling in a show (let alone in SF, ever!). And the energy in the club reflected with the band who was as tight as ever. It was like everything converged for that perfect storm.

A co-worker (who was at night 1) and I discussed the rules of music/bands and what happens when a band plays 2 nights. The obvious answer is … you go to both shows. The other answer is — when in doubt always go with night 2. There’s a lot of reasons night 2 always wins out – but to keep this succinct the rule of thumb is the band is all warmed up, they’ve been in town for a bit and everything is all worked out. This happened with The Mountain Goats (I didnt see show 1, but according to those who saw both – night 2 kicked ass) and I’ve seen it with other bands. (Testing this theory out on Sunday night with A Place to Bury Strangers – will report back). So while night 1 was pretty awesome, night 2 killed it.

The obvious – Zia no longer had a migraine and was in great shape. The band was tight and mostly the crowd was ridiculously awesome. Truthfully, with the frat bros pushing forward (and apologies now – never judge a book by its cover yadda yadda yadda) and needing to be front center and not shutting up I wasnt sure what would happen. Turns out – these guys were insane die hard fans.

Zia came out to a crowd that loves her – with everyone chanting her name. CTT likes to talk about how everyone loves Zia and she does a little dance. She looked super comfy in flowy pants and a black tank. CTT – who wasnt in a BJM shirt – was more chatty than usual. And Peter and Brent seemed like they were having an awesome time. I noticed Brent and Zia talking it up quite a bit with lots of smiles.

Dandy Warhols

Dandy Warhols

So what makes it a show that stands out from other shows:
* the crowd can make or break a show. Any crowd that upon request for a song to play actually has people yell out songs with explanations is pretty f’ing amazing. The guy next to me yelling out “Little Drummer Boy” with Zia stating maybe later – and the guy pleading ‘its December – its the right time to play it’ was quite convincing. Courtney ixnayed it and pretty much every song to state that he’d be sticking to the setlist.

* during the band’s “break”, CTT led the crowd in the loudest sing-along ever for “Everyday Should be A Holiday“. He mentioned that whenever this is played he alawys asks for a sing-along and its never really loud. So this time, when we weren’t loud enough, he asked for it even louder. The whole place must have been singing along. Perhaps one of the greatest moments ever.

* CTT sounding better than ever. ‘Chauncey P’ is a really great song live as well as ‘Some Things You Got To Get Over‘, two of the bands newest songs and so worth a listen.

* Zia dancing and playing the entire set and never stopping (minus the pee break). Plus her awesome dance moves as the crowd chanted her name. Migraines be gone!

* Zia stating it was one of the greatest rock n roll shows ever.

* Pete on guitars in the opening of PIA with some of the greatest guitar work ever – and then his windmill playing. Plus – the droning guitars that go on and on and straight into ‘Boys Better‘. How does life get better than that – and then you end the show!

—–

And while not to dismiss night 1 – that was awesome too and they were really good. Sure, Zia wasnt in the best of spirits but she looked to be having an awesome night. Plus – we got a Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses) cover – “Your Ghost” – which was incredible. Also, CTT waxed poetic about SF and him loving the city. And also about how while SF was changing the TL would never change no matter how they try to clean it up.

I should also state that the openers – Joel Gion especially – put on a really great show. If you love psychedelic music – you have to see them. I got to talk to Christof after the show (guitarist in Joel’s band as well as Miranda Lee Richards) and besides being insanely talented he was charming. Him and a few of us were talking about both the nights shows and how he thought the 2nd night for his band was so much better (possibly more drugs?) but how as an audience it seemed the first night was much tighter. Perhaps because the band had so little space to perform, they seemed so connected. Either way – the band was awesome on both nights and Joel (of Brian Jonestown Massacre percussionist fame) has one hell of an awesome band. Definitely a band not to be missed.

Set List:
Mohammed
Crack Cocaine Rager
Get Off
Somethings You Got To Get Over
I Love You
The Last High
Everyone Is Totally Insane
Plan A
Down Like Disco
Good Morning
Shakin’
Every Day Should Be a Holiday – CTT Solo
Chauncey P vs All the Girls in London
We Used to Be Friends
The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers a.k.a. the Ballad of Sheriff Shorty
Bohemian Like You
Godless
Pete International Airport / Boys Better

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Its Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas w/Aimee Mann

Posted by xneverwherex on December 7, 2015

Aimee Mann & Ted Leo Holiday Show
w/Special Guests Liz Phair, Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick
Bimbo’s 365 Club
12/6/15

In a random twist of events, I ended up at Bimbo’s last night for the Aimee Mann, Ted Leo Holiday show. Let’s just say that there might be hope for Tinder, really. The guy was from Chicago, so obviously he’s already got cool points because thats where Liz Phair is from and well it’s Chicago, and he’s obviously got great taste in music. I had always wanted to go to this show, but just never bought tickets and it seems it usually sells out. All I know is that it’s fully worth the money and next year (assuming it’s happening again), I’m all over it.

I had seen Ted Leo quite a bit in NYC but not on a tour like this and I had missed The Both (his and Aimee Mann’s collaboration). It was a really great set consisting of some really bizarre Christmas tunes and just some great stories. Apparently Ted was running for office in the North Pole as FrosTED the snowman (costume too) (term limits came into effect), and as Aimee mentioned – another white guy running for office and he had a platform/campaign with an awesome poster. Him and Aimee have great chemistry on stage and just feed off of each other.

Holiday Show w/Aimee Mann, Ted Leo

Holiday Show w/Aimee Mann, Ted Leo

With so many great guests coming together (hello Liz Phair) it was an awesome experience. She came out early in the set to perform “Supernova” along with Aimee and Ted. It sounded as great as ever and maybe better with the addition of the two of them. I did really enjoy the holiday songs that Aimee and Ted performed with Aimee’s lovely voice on “Winter Wonderland” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas“. Perhaps the best of the night was Jonathan Coulton‘s help on a new rendition of “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar – with new lyrics “Jesus Claus” “Santa Christ” it was blasphemous and hilarious and so worth seeing.

I’m not sure the show got better than the moment that Aimee came out to sing “Save Me” which was haunting and beautiful as ever. So much pure, raw, emotion. Ted helped out with guitars and vocals and missed the 2nd half of the song as he got so enrapt with Aimee’s vocals and just listened in and forgot to sing. It was *that* special. Plus, she even did the “original” version of “Voices Carry” from Til Tuesday. Apparently, the original version is not what we ever heard on the radio which was about trying to get presents from her step-dad. But, apparently it didnt go well with radio peeps with lyrics like “Hush hush / He’s your dad now / This is Gary”. I think this song will be forever tainted in my head with these new lyrics.

Aimee and Ted clearly have a wicked sense of humour and really play off of each other well. And John Roderick – and a song about Atari 2600 called “2600” was pure awesome. Lots of talk about Atari vs ColecoVision and other ancient video games. It clearly wasn’t necessarily a show for the young hipster crowd, as even my date didn’t even recognize Til Tuesday. Also, there was a great rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr Grinch” which really showcased Aimee’s beautiful vocals.

In their 2 hour set, it seemed so much happened and was learned. Aimee was once married to Santa Claus (he had no time for her), Ted Leo learned the elections were not happening, he also has a dad who cries mysteriously when some Christmas donkey song is played (report back NYC when he brings his dad on stage for this), Jonathan Coulton (who was initially dressed as Santa Claus) is really Jesus, and the lovely Liz Phair goes all out for decorating the tree so much that you can’t even find her family. What can be better than a night spent like that, hearing lovely stories and laughing a lot and bringing in the holiday spirit.

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Stereolad = !!!

Posted by xneverwherex on December 6, 2015

!!!
Stereolad
Slim’s
12/4/2015

It was one of those nights that was just bizarre. While waiting in front of the club, a woman comes up to me and asks me if I want dinner tickets to the show. I tell her that I already have tickets, and she says she has no one else to give them to. So now – Ive got 4 tickets. Because the show isn’t sold out, nor even close to it, and there arent people roaming around I talk to the bouncer/security guy and he is game to help me out. He agrees to text me if it does sell out so I can come back out and sell my tickets. I won’t even spill the guy’s name, because I am sure that this is not supposed to happen. Wouldnt matter anyway, as that did not happen.

But, I did get a free dinner out of it. So, I cant complain too much, especially because it meant I didn’t really have to hear the first band which I just wasn’t enjoying, nor really paid much attention to.

Stereolad

Stereolad

As excited as I was to see !!! again, I was even more excited when I realized/hoped that Stereolad was indeed a Stereolab cover band (with the members of !!!). Im not sure if it was a better thing that I had read up on this, or the surprise in person would have been better. Either way, it was simply brilliant and maybe even the highlight of the show. Oddly enough, Laetitia Sadier, lead singer of Stereolab, had just performed in concert a few months ago.

Its so worth checking this out, especially if you’re a fan of Stereolab. Stereolad does not disappoint in the slightest. Nic Offer (lead singer of !!!) comes out in an too short checkered dress with big flowers on the pockets and even puts on a great French accent. He nails it and gets the whole French attitude all so perfectly. With 2 other women singing, alongside him, it almost feels like a Stereolab concert. They have perfect harmonies and opening with ‘French Disko‘ is just about as perfect as it gets. With heavy keyboards, some great droning guitars and Offer singing back-up vocals in addition to him on guitar, their music sounds perfect. Its that perfect amount of indie-pop sung in French and English and has everyone dancing along. How can anyone not dance to ‘Jenny Ondioline‘. I couldn’t have been happier to hear “The Noise of Carpet” off Emperor Tomato Ketchup (which was one of my favorite albums of theirs), especially since the women really killed it on the vocals of that song. Perhaps the best moment is when Nic announces that soon !!! (or pronounced in a French accent – cheek cheek cheek) will be out soon. Never sounded better! The set was just perfect and if you can’t get Stereolab, you definitely can’t go wrong with Stereolad.

French Disko
Transona 5
Jenny Ondioline
Our Trinitone Blast
The Noise of Carpet
Lo Boob Oscillator

!!!

!!!

And soon enough Brooklyn via Sacramento band !!! (chk chk chk) would take to the stage. Nic opted out of his dress and came back with his short blue board shorts (TM). And the band was ready to go in a whole different direction from Stereolad.

The band is on tour for their new album As If. It didn’t take long for them to get the crowd dancing with hands in the air. Sure, maybe the music has changed over the years and has lost the dance-punk edge, but the 80’s dance music is hard to go wrong with. They opened with the ever catchy “Sick Ass Moon” off of their new album. It starts off slow but has a nice build to it and is a good way to begin the show which is obviously going to be a sweaty hot dance mess. “All U Writers” is by far a bit more catchy and it was good that they kept the songs going more upbeat and really working the crowd into a frenzy. The back-up vocals were pretty awesome, although I have no clue on the woman’s name who sang. All I can say is – first time in SF and she was having an awesome time – and killing it. I love that the band now has solid dance routines down for the band members. It’s just so much fun to watch.

Nic Offer !!!

Nic Offer !!!

And Nic’s moves are always sweet. He knows how to work a stage, hands and arms going back and forth, legs moving non-stop. While they may never change, it surely doesn’t matter. It works and everyone loves him for it. Nic clearly was having a good time and spent a good chunk of time in the dance pity on the floor. He worked the entire floor moving all through it really getting the crowd to dance. He was so engaging.

Bam City” was great to finally hear. It’s a total rock party song and everyone was singing along with it. And lots of keys and guitars are always refreshing to hear. It had been awhile since I had heard “Must Be The Moon” performed, so it was really awesome to finally hear it again. The crowd was going pretty crazy and everyone was jumping. Nic was leading the crowd in the pogo-ing and it worked. Plus the keyboardist was really into it. He had a lot more solo dance moves last night and was really into it.

Freedom! ’15” is a song perfect for now – political enough but with dance beats it always seems a bit more light-hearted. And then right into the even more fun “One Girl/One Boy” was perfect. Everyone singing along and dancing to it was just perfect. It’s beyond catchy and has lots of great guitar parts so Nic could catch a breather.

But the highlight by far had to be the encore, “i feel so free (citation needed)” – which more people seem to know it as ‘say it ain’t so’. It starts with just Nic singing and then as he song goes on he says ‘its too quiet without kickdrums’ and sure enough they come in – then the same for guitar. It just builds and builds and its just a huge dance party with the whole floor moving – arms flailing in the air, everyone having a great time together – and dancing all as one. As Nic would lean over the stage, people would rub his head – all sweaty big hair and curls. He would get really into it. And at one point, he messes up, and just starts laughing and laughing and cant stop – then says ‘well thats never happened before’. And that kind of sums up the show. It was just pure fun and to all the blogs/writers out there giving this album mediocre to bad reviews – if you cant get past that the band is all about making great dance music – and sure maybe the punk is gone – but who cares. They put on a show like no one else – and some days that’s all I want in my music.

Set List:
Sick Ass Moon
All U Writers
Except Death
Ooo
Fast One
Bam City
All the Way
Must Be the Moon
Freedom! ’15
One Girl/One Boy
Slyd

I Feel So Free (Citation Needed)

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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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Savages

Posted by xneverwherex on September 18, 2015

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

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

Savages

Savages

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

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

Jehnny Beth

Jehnny Beth

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

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

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

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

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

Savages

Savages

Jehnny Beth - Savages

Jehnny Beth

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