Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘darkwave’

The xx Became A Loud Place @ Bill Graham Civic

Posted by xneverwherex on May 21, 2017

the xx
Sampha
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
April 15, 2017

London trio The xx had a 3 night residency at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in one of the most beautifully lit shows with amazing use of mirrors to capture feelings. The band also had to get some SF activities in, including a stop to see the Giants.

the xx

the xx

The xx came out and immediately started playing “Say Something Loving” off of their new album I See You. As their lush guitars filled up the entirety of the room, it just embraced you. It was so dreamy as Romy Madley Croft‘s vocals came into the song over the guitars. The band played most of their songs from their first album as well as this album.

The band then immediately went into “Crystalised” off their debut The xx. The song had a dark feel and felt like a song that Interpol would have played. It also featured the bass lines of Oliver Sim. As the voices of Romy and Oliver came together, they created melodies that were just beautiful. It was like they were made for each other. “I Dare You” proved that they wrote the perfect pop song. As Romy and Oliver faced each other playing guitars and mirrors turned inwards, it gave the song an intimate feel.

Lips” showed off Jamie Smith’s, better known as Jamie XX, fantastic skills behind the controllers creating impressive beats. He has added in some tropical rhythms giving the song a breezy feeling. Also, The xx covered Jamie XX’s “Loud Places” which transformed the auditorium into a club with everyone dancing as Jamie commanded the room. As the mirrors turned in all directions with the ceiling mirror coming down it felt like the venue just opened up. And for a moment it felt like it wasn’t even a performance.

From seeing them in 2009 opening for bands to headlining 3 nights really showed how much the band had grown. They have turned their introverted minimalist sound outward and their use of mirrors was able to convey that feeling, how it could change the reflections of the lights and really open up the stage or keep it nestled, tight and dark. Their songs have become bigger and Romy’s vocals now soar on their songs.

Highlights of the show included: the great guitar riffs on “Sunset” as well as their dueling vocals before they came into the most gut-wrenching harmonies; the raw performance from Romy as she played “Performance” on her own; “VCR” which gave me chills and reminded me of Bowie as it sounds like an updated version of “Heroes“. Additionally, Oliver dedicated the ever catchy groovy soulful “Dangerous” to all the single people in the crowd who rarely get mentioned.

the xx

the xx

As the band said at the end, “we see each and every one of you. We want you to know that we see you and we love you.” And as the fans left the building, it truly felt like they had touched all of us in their own way.

Label-mate and fellow Londoner Sampha opened up the set supporting newly released album Process. He was backed by 3 additional people: a drummer, a keyboardist and someone on synth pads. The songs varied and ranged from sultry electronic music with deep bass to other songs that had a lot of drums layered into his music. Sampha also used Caribbean island sounds that made his music feel alive.

Sampha preformed the gorgeous song “Too Much” on his own. It was just him on piano and his haunting vocals. The song already received a bit of attention as Drake sampled it. Sampha’s music is destined for a film score in the way that his simple piano pieces conveyed so much emotion. He is definitely not to be missed.

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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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Clan of Xymox @ DNA Lounge

Posted by xneverwherex on March 21, 2015

Clan of Xymox
Anthony Jones
DNA Lounge
March 19, 2015

Dutch band, Clan of Xymox, finally made it back to San Francisco just 10 years later. Having a very brief tour, just 3 dates in California before heading to Europe, Northern CA was lucky to get one of their shows.

Clan of Xymox

Clan of Xymox

While I had never seen the band back in the day, it was great to finally see them. Ronny Moorings sounded just great and still looked awesome. He is just great to watch on guitar, but even better when he’s not playing as his hands are so expressive. Always moving and just perfect with the music, it was gorgeous to watch.

Their earlier songs with the catchy synth beats over dark and moody guitars and vocals, sounded incredible. The music just goes on and on with incredibly long songs that just beg for dancing. With songs like ‘This World’ that just seem to keep going and a pulse that never stops, its easy to get lost in the music. No matter how long the songs are, you just dont want them to end.

‘Jasmine and Rose’ was another crowd favorite and everyone was singing along to the chorus of “sensual” — bodies writhing to the music, clad in black latex and leather, mohawks everywhere you turned, lots of very dark eye make-up and black eyeliner, the crowd was just beautiful. Unlike most shows where theres lots of pushing and shoving, it was a pretty awesome crowd. Everyone just dancing (and not the pseudo jumping around) people were caught up in the music. Arms floating through the air, bodies moving to the music, its the perfect music. Darkwave has never sounded better.

I’m definitely partial to their earlier songs, but the music off of their latest album, Matters of Mind Body and Soul, is really quite great. The band which has definitely gone away from the more synthpop 80’s sound, still has their darkwave/gothic/electronic feel. Its melancholic, emotional, atmospheric sounds tugs at the heartstrings. The songs are emotional and raw and just beautiful. You can just close your eyes and with the background keys and guitars, get lost in the music. It just takes you along and is perhaps one of their best albums since their earlier music. Opening the set with “I Close My Eyes” off this new album was a brilliant way to start the set. It just set the mood for an incredible dark ambient show.

The band ended the show with a brilliant cover of Shocking Blue‘s ‘Venus’ changing up the words just a bit from “Im Your Venus” to “Shes My Venus, She’s My Fire’ which was an awesome little change. Its a nice dark, heavy cover with moody vocals and couldnt have been better. Of course, they had to end the set with one of their most popular songs ‘Obession’ which created a surge of energy and finally lots of moshing. By that time, with everyone a hot sweaty mess, it didnt even matter. It was a brilliant way to end the show and I couldnt have left more happy.

Anthony Jones @ DNA

Anthony Jones

San Francisco’s Anthony Jones, whose music and shows benefit the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, opened up the set with musicians on violins and cello. It had to have been the most beautiful gothic, Victorian music I have ever heard. It felt like a time and place of yesteryear. The women in their Victorian/gothic dresses with gorgeous headpieces were just breathtaking. It was all so intricate.

The music takes you to another place and Anthony’s vocals echoed through the DNA Lounge. It just filled the room along with the backing instruments. It felt like a full orchestra even if there were only 3 of them on instruments. He has such a strong presence and the way he works the stage, he commands your attention. As he sings “Long Live The Queen” you begin to feel like you are in a different era. His music is like period-pieces and depending on where he takes you, you get sucked into that era.

As he played “Come to Me” (which starts with the opening line ‘Welcome to Fright Night’), youre immersed in a world of vampires. Keyboards fill the room with manic sounds, and then Anthony’s voice comes in, haunting and beautiful. Ariellah comes out in beautiful black latex and starts dancing, her body undulating across the stage. She grabs him and clings to him and its just beautiful to watch, if not a bit of a voyeuristic feel. The music is just made for a movie, all dark and haunting, brooding and gothic.

By far, he is one to go out and see. Its hard to go wrong with beautiful vocals and violins and a cellist that just add to the whole world. The two bands were so well paired together. It couldnt have been a better set and with an awesome crowd, it made the night all the better. Plus, so many great outfits to look at. An awesome night!

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