Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘DNA Lounge’

And There Were 14 … Moving Panoramas

Posted by xneverwherex on May 21, 2016

Moving Panoramas
Rabbit Quinn
Upstairs at DNA Lounge
May 18, 2016

You know that moment, that you walk upstairs into a club, and you barely hear a sound… and you walk through the door and realize you are one of the only people there… now, imagine that you are the band.

Austin trio, Moving Panoramas, could tell you all about that kind of night.

The one question I repeatedly get asked (and wonder why people feel inclined to ask) is “did the band play” and “did they play like there was a full crowd”. First off, if a band has people at a show – I have never seen a band just walk off because there weren’t enough people at the show and secondly, I have been the only person at a show (which was awkward) and the band still played like they would play for a full house. Naturally, it means I also make even more noise than usual. So yes, they a) played and b) it was seriously kick-ass.

Moving Panoramas

Moving Panoramas

The trio of women were remarkably cool and funny about the show. The band addressed it early on and the crowd for the most part kind of sucked. The band said hello – and no one said a thing – I said ‘hi’ back and they joked that ‘well at least one person is here to see us’. But pretty much they just played all their songs and were so into it that they barely said much to us. Sure there were jokes about how we should all get to know each other as well as at the next show it would be so packed we’d have to push our way to the front but could totally say ‘i was there when …’. So yeah – the band was pretty f’ing awesome!

Singer/guitarist Leslie Sisson has this really beautiful dreamy voice that blends so well into their shoegaze-dreampop sound. And they have one of the most fitting names for a band. Their music has this feel of beautiful, moving landscapes that you can just lose yourself to. The guitar and bass just meld into one full sound. Add the harmonies from drummer, Karen Skloss and it just completes the band’s sound. And while the club was empty, their music filled that emptiness. It filled all the voids with its simplisticness.

Their album, One, is just a perfect blend of indie-guitar-dreampop/rock. With just enough guitars, bassist Rozie Castoe, adds a bit of the fuzziness of the shoegaze sound but still manage to keep it more on the dreamy side of things. Songs like “Magic” and “Tonight” get you lost in their sound. It’s the perfect music to just close your eyes to – hop in your car – and drive for awhile and get lost in this perfect ambient sound. I feel like the best part of their songs is the emptiness within. They were really smart with their songs in that not every moment has to be filled with vocals and it leaves a lot for the listener to fill in.

It was pretty amusing in that when Leslie wanted to dedicate a song to the newly married couple, that she noted that all their songs were way too dark. I think in the end, they chose “One” and said to kind of change the lyrics around or think of it in a different way. Sure their songs are dark and sad, but if you read Leslie’s stories between kidnappings and friends killed, etc. in some ways it makes perfect sense. Regardless, their band is one not to miss – even if you find yourself in a club with just 13 others.

Sometimes it’s about those awkwardly intimate performances where you both know that it’s just you and them. But if you’re lucky enough, the band will put on such a show, you will forget that it was just the 14 of you. Plus, by the end, you will all become friends and even get to talk to the band.

Rabbit Quinn

Rabbit Quinn

The other huge bonus to the show was the opener, Rabbit Quinn. A local woman who joked about wearing fairy wings and sneaking into the DNA when she was younger. From the moment she stepped behind the piano, and started her first song, I knew it would be good. She was the reincarnation? of Tori Amos. She was sorta like a cornflake girl, with great stories that were hauntingly beautiful.

Her vocals just filled the room and managed to hush the room with the few people who were talking. She commands attention with both her piano playing as well as her vocals. Her debut album, Lost Children, is dark and eerie and seems to be a story of fables. While it could be mistaken for a long, lost Tori album – she definitely is putting her own spin on it. She has some quite catchy songs that have you singing along. And it’s always great when a singer asks what you want to hear and then plays a song showing that she’s fully in control of the music and the set. She knew how to play to the audience as small as it was and knew how to have fun. One hell of a talented woman. Oddly enough, you can also see Rabbit, performing the national anthem at the A’s games these days. She’s really one to check out if you notice her name at any of the local venues.

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Black English – #OtherCoastConfiguration

Posted by xneverwherex on May 30, 2015

Black English
Vela Eyes
Meet Me In Orbit
(Upstairs @) DNA Lounge
5/29/15

Echo Park’s Black English (fka NO) played a couple of shows across the States leading up to today’s Bottlerock Festival. If I had been paying attention and noticing all of their #’s – I would have realized the show would be a bit different.

Black EnglishThe band is currently playing this small “tour” as a 3 piece band with Spike on drums and Laura Burhenn (of the Mynabirds) on keys. Naturally, you still have Bradley on guitars/vocals. Hence the othercoastconfiguration tags. It seems fitting as the band just finished touring with Yann Tiersen in Europe and the Psychedelic Furs across The States and Canada.

While it definitely lacked some of their bigger sound with the missing guitars, this worked out pretty well. I wasn’t sure how some of their more anthemic songs would sound, but with Bradley’s amazing vocals coming together with Laura’s it gave a nice change to their sound. I really was enjoying their harmonies and their voices had a beautiful blend. I felt at times that the keyboard was too overpowering and somewhat distracted from the songs, but overall it worked.

Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen cover) which features Laura sounded gorgeous. As the music goes from Bradley singing to Laura and then the two of them harmonizing together the song couldnt sound more beautiful. Of course, it was all about their hits off of El Prado and Bradley’s baritone did them justice. Even without the crescendoing guitars his vocals do wonders on setting a tempo — he had the crowd clapping along to ‘Stay With Me‘ and lots of fist pumping to ‘Leave The Door Wide Open‘. The crowd was very into the show with some people showing off their dance moves and most people just clapping and singing along and moving to the beat of the music.

Regardless of #othercoastconfiguration – the band surprisingly worked amazing as a 3-piece. Once you rearrange a few songs and add more keys and throw down some percussion – you get a pretty awesome ‘new’ band. Chicago, LA, NYC and SF were all pretty lucky to have them come through — hopefully theyll be back soon. And even more surprising, it was only the band’s second show in SF (which seemed to be a theme of the night).

San Francisco’s Vela Eyes put on an entertaining set. They have a 90’s vibe with one hell of a kick-ass singer. She tears it up not only vocally, but in her mini-dress and knee high socks really works the stage with some pretty great kicks. They have a Blondie kind of rock edge and blends a lot of styles together with some songs having a more shoegaze 60’s wall of sound and others just pure rock-n-roll. The other woman on keyboards adds backing vocals which are a nice blend (although at times hard to hear). Personally, I loved when she wasnt on the keys and was playing her guitar — loud fuzzy and lots of reverberation. They were quite good and well worth seeing.

And while I do love Black English, I cant help but say how excited I was to see Meet Me In Orbit on the bill. All of a sudden, the show was *really* worth seeing. Their first show ever (opening for Public Service Broadcasting), blew my mind away. So I figured they had probably played another few shows and were going to become huge right away, but was pleasantly surprised to hear it was only their 2nd show ever (along with Black English – albeit this was just their second show in SF). I arrived early enough to hear the guys (Jared and Brandon) finishing up their soundcheck. I only had one thought – it was going to be much louder than I had remembered.

So seeing their second show, I figured I’d be happy if it were even as good as the first (which was great!) and it was so much better. Its hard to say if the songs were more polished, or if the crowd which seemed to be all there for them was just more into it, but everything just seemed bigger and better. Their lush chillwave/dreampop sound filled the venue. “Last Time” sounded gorgeous and the crowd just swayed along to the music. Their electronic sound was just perfect with Jared’s vocals filling the room. And while a lot of the songs were more laid back with the chill vibe – they definitely have the more upbeat electronic songs to get the crowd moving.

Meet Me In OrbitThey just released their first EP Traveler with 5 songs. The music will take you on a trip and let you get away to the past for just a bit of time and what a lovely time it is. If you haven’t yet seen them (and odds are with only 2 shows you probably haven’t), the next time they do play (and hopefully a tour will come soon), be sure to not miss them.

Check out “We Are Grown” which reminds me of a cross between Chvrches and Little Daylight.

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Go! (Public Service Broadcasting)

Posted by xneverwherex on April 1, 2015

Public Service Broadcasting
What Up Mang
Meet Me In Orbit
(Upstairs) @ DNA Lounge
3/31/15

Its been a year since Public Service Broadcasting had been around, but amazingly enough they’ve already released their 2nd album. Aptly titled The Race For Space, the band has now surpassed where they started from. This new album is pure genius and it feel like it could just take us up into space.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

London boys J. Willgoose, Esq. (always looking lawyerly in a bowtie and corduroy) and Wrigglesworth, the bad ass on the drums, always know how to put on an incredible show. While the band doesnt talk at all, their computer certainly makes for a 3rd person of the band. With lovely quips ‘thank you San Francisco’ or ‘We’re so glad that we are finally playing (majorly long pause) Upstairs the DNA’, the computer has a personality of its own. The two guys clearly have an awesome time playing together and it shows all over their face with lots of big smiles.

Mostly their show is all about the music. The Race for Space is just that. It felt like we had gone back in time to when JFK was in office – there was a need to get to space and see the unknown world, get to the moon – and hearing it all looped over their music was something pretty special. The band has managed to do one hell of an impressive feat with getting the astronauts and NASA’s original broadcasts and communications between each other. The band has some amazing footage from times lost and has incorporated it into one hell of a visual display. Between the visuals and the aural sensation, at points it felt like we were there.

Single ‘Gagarin‘ is a fun disco-infused electronic song that really got the crowd dancing. People were there for fun and the tiny little upstairs was a great place for everyone to get a bit hot and sweaty dancing to their music. ‘Signal 30‘ off their first album is still a catchy piece with much heavier guitars and drums as cars go flying down the road with the announcer talking about ‘driving too fast – no drinking and driving’. It just works and with all of their songs you feel like youre transported into this whole different world of theirs. I still get a bit misty eyed every time they play ‘Everest‘ just imagining being there — with the most gorgeous mountain ever. Its just hauntingly beautiful.

With that being said – their new music combined with some of their most awesome tracks off the other album – makes for one hell of a show. You just dont want it to end.

Meet Me In Orbit

Meet Me In Orbit

Its only fitting that Meet Me In Orbit (with perhaps one of the best names ever!) was one of the show’s openers. The San Francisco band played their first show ever last night and the crowd was so into them. The band is bringing their own dreamy, spacey electronic sound which is catchy and dance-y and like PSB, just takes you away. It was hard to not want more from the band, but with such few songs you take what you can get. Thankfully, their first EP gets released on April 7 – and if youve missed really good dream-space-pop that you can just close your eyes and dance to – then make sure to get this. They’re one of those bands that you expect to be big and to hear much more from because they are THAT good!

What Up Mang

What Up Mang

What Up Mang! managed to bring some pretty cool kaleidoscope disco psychedelic beats from the Lower Haight to SOMA. The band was definitely out there and were having a great time and I never would have thought Id say that disco and psychedelic music could go together, but it seemingly blended all too well together. Plus, they had some great blissed out harmonies. The lead singer was quite the dancing machine and she was enthralling to watch. Plus, they even managed to have a crazy cover of Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart‘ and they made it even better by slowing it down and adding some heavy Hawaiian luau beats. So if you ever just want a fun night out, this band will deliver, plus youll end up dancing the night away.

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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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