Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘experimental’

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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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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Caribou Closes Out Noise Pop Fest

Posted by xneverwherex on March 4, 2015

Caribou
Koreless
The Fillmore
March 2, 2015

Canada’s Dan Snaith, also known as Caribou, came to SF for a couple of days to close out the Noise Pop Festival at The Fillmore. The show had long been sold-out and unlike most shows, tickets were hard to come by. After finally making the decision that I had to see him, I just threw down the money and hoped for the best.

Caribou

Caribou

The band came out clad in white to a stage of red and blue lights that would eventually be a lot of strobe lights (I somehow did not see the warnings!). The band started out slow with the lo-fi house drum beats on “Our Love” and immediately the crowd was shuffling around. With a slow progression, the music gets faster with lovely synthy dance beats and the crowd followed along as Dan & Company would take us on a full-on dance party always in command. Just as you feel it getting close to the climax and youre ready for more, the band turns it down a notch. And it worked.

Caribou, which is labeled under ‘idm’ (intelligent dance music), isnt your typical indie dance electronica band. Dan manages to encapsulate so many styles in their songs – from experimental to jungle to house and of course electronic – and as a whole the songs work. There are so many layers on his songs, with some of them having a shoegaze influence but also still has the continuous throbbing beats. The new album, Our Love seems to have branched out even more and just might be even more accessible.

On tour, Dan brings along a guitarist, bassist and another drummer and the 4-some are tight on stage. Packed neatly into a small space in the center of the stage, each band member contributes as an individual and a whole to the band. It makes for an intimate closeness as they all play and work off of each other. Its hard to imagine that this is all done as just one when its so perfect live with all the different instruments. If you love drums, they have plenty, with 2 drums going on for most of the night – a throbbing beat just keeping the show moving along.

It definitely helps that Caribou has a fan-base that is pretty solid. Before the show started, I heard someone talking about all the different shows he had seen mentioning of course Caribou. How I was so tempted to say that I saw him perform under Manitoba years prior. People that love his music, really love his music. Throw down some awesome synths to solid drum beats that have a tribal sound along with one hell of a light show, and you get one hell of an awesome show. Plus, the pulse of the crowd which was in constant movement (and they say people don’t dance) and bam! I mean, how can one not move to his music.

It was one hell of an impressive set. The band played for nearly 70 minutes without stopping between songs. Throw in ‘Sun‘ as an encore and for nearly 10 minutes you just get lost in the music. Dan was having such an awesome time, playing in purple socks, and every once in awhile staring out at the crowd with a huge smile. It was just pure happiness. The other drummer, played the set with just one shoe on. The whole band just seemed so comfortable and it was clear that it wasnt just the crowd who was so into it. Everyone was so lost in the music and with hits like ‘Odessa‘ (one of his most catchiest songs) and my own favorite ‘Leave House‘ (I never want to stop dancing when this is played – it just goes on and on and on). Plus, The Fillmore (not usually known for having electronic bands), was the place to see this. Sure, normally it’d be at Mezzanine or a more club environment, but the acoustics here were spot on. It could not have been a better space for the band.

Koreless

Koreless

Scottish electronic producer Lewis Roberts, a.k.a. Koreless, started the evening armed with just a laptop. It might have been the exact opposite in electronic music when compared to Caribou but to say it was not brilliant would be a lie. Koreless manages to add a lot of layers and textures to the music that it seems you can actually feel it. Between the ethereal shoegaze sounds to the space-y ambient noise, you feel like youre in your own world. In my own version of Interstellar, this is the music that would be with me. It transports you to another space, its moody and delicious. With a continuous haze of pot smoke above, it added to the ambience.

I walked out of the show and my back was drenched in sweat. The dress I was wearing was now clinging to me and soaked. Sure, it was disgusting after the fact, but during the show just the feel of the crowd dancing and super into it and connected was an awesome feeling. Surely worth every cent I paid for the show and probably even more.

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Brooklyn Takes on SF

Posted by xneverwherex on September 7, 2014

Bear in Heaven
Young Magic
Miles Cooper Seaton
The Independent
September 3, 2014

Brooklyn came to San Francisco for a full night of music and it was pretty awesome. And I didnt even have to go to a large venue to see them all (compared to NYC). One of the major pluses. It was a very awesome, respectful crowd and not even sold out (which was a surprise, albeit a nice one). The band was in town touring for their 4th album, Time Is Over One Day Old.

Adam Wills - Bear in Heaven

Bear in Heaven – Adam Wills

While I hadnt spent much time listening to Bear in Heaven‘s new album, I had heard it a few times thanks to streaming on NPR. The new album is very accessible but still has their own distinct sound. Not as pop sounding as earlier albums, they still managed to have catchy tunes that will stick in your mind. A woman and I were saying at the show, ‘and their music is still so blissful.’ You can just disappear into their songs, with the constant beat from the drums and the droning spaced out guitars – you just dissolve into their music – the beat just takes you along and it doesnt feel like its always distinct songs – just a feeling of blissfulness. And it doesnt leave as they continue their set (which always seems way too short).

Bear in Heaven

Bear in Heaven

The band focused on their latest 2 albums which sound great live. The band started out with ‘Autumn’ and then went into ‘I Do You’ off their second album (and one of my favorite all-time albums – Beast Rest Fort Mouth). Its just hypnotic as the keyboards take you away, the band swathed in lights which sometimes turned into strobes giving them a far-away feel spaced-out feel of psychedelic grooviness. While the strobes are definitely not intense as they are in Brooklyn (they don’t take their lighting designer, Will Armstrong, along with them on tour) it works. And you still get the same feel.

Jon Philpot, lead singer, wasnt too talkative but was quite happy to be back in San Francisco. He was cool and obliged a fan who yelled out for ‘Lovesick Teenagers’. That was definitely one of the highlights for me and was so glad that they played it. ‘Sinful Nature’ sounded better than ever; Jon’s vocals sweeping into the air amidst the beat from the keyboard and bass.

If you haven’t seen the band in awhile, or perhaps never at all – I would highly recommend checking them out as theyre still playing a good mix of most their music.

Young Magic

Young Magic

Young Magic, a band I was familiar with mostly by name, was one of the openers and they proved to be a great match for Bear In Heaven. They were possibly even better than Bear in Heaven playing an experimental electro-trip hop set. Lead singer Melati Malay’s voice floated through the set with a sense of longing. Lots of influences could be heard with African beats standing out. The band, now hailing from Brooklyn, is from a mish-mash of places mostly of the South Pacific (Indonesia and Australia) and its noticeable in their music.

The music is just beautiful and like Bear in Heaven, will just sweep you away. The vocals of Isaac Emmanuel and Melati sound gorgeous when they sing together and it just blends seamlessly. Throw in some solid drum beats and you feel like youve escaped to another part of the world. Just drifting in and out it takes you elsewhere.

This might have been one of the best pairings Ive seen in a long time. They could have been extensions of each other musically and it was so worth it to show up early to see them.

Miles Cooper Seaton

Miles Cooper Seaton

I shouldn’t leave out fellow opener, singer-songwriter and founder/creator of Akron/Family, Miles Cooper Seaton. Just him, a guitar and laptop, and add some soaring vocals (damn could he hold his notes). He was also quite the storyteller too – talking about punk music, playing covers and his musical sensibilities. He was simply put – awesome! He was just so comfortable on the stage it would have been hard to know it was his first time really doing this on his own. His music ranged from more punk influenced songs to ambient songs. He was a great addition to the set and his music fit in just perfectly.

Bear in Heaven Set List:
Autumn
You Do You
Sinful Nature
Time Between
If I Were to Lie
Cool Light
Kiss Me Crazy
They Dream
Lovesick Teenagers
You Don’t Need the World
Dissolve the Walls

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Nonono Yesyesyes

Posted by xneverwherex on October 24, 2013

Nonono
Helado Negro
Rickshaw Stop
October 23, 2013

Nonono played their first show in San Francisco last night on their first tour of the States. Luckily for them, they’re playing Live 105’s Not So Silent Night, because I would have pegged them to become a one-hit wonder. How badly I wanted to like them, but the band for the most part was just boring and the words most people hate to hear – forgettable.

Stina

Nonono

Stina Wäppling, lead singer, chatted it up about how excited she was to be in San Francisco. She looked like she had just run from somewhere else and suddenly remembered she had a show to perform. After coming to the stage late (bathroom or so people muttered), and continuing to keep people wait, she finally arrived in a little black dress with her sweater wrapped around her waist and sneakers. I had actually thought I had stepped into the movie ‘Working Girl’ as she wore her sneakers with her nylons.

The band was a tight-knit 3some, with a really talented bassist. Astma & Rocwell were the other 2 members. While I didn’t think Stina sounded great on all of the songs, she did kill the single ‘Pumpkin Blood’ which was easily the highlight. The set was quite short and had a range of upbeat dance songs as well as much more subdued sad songs. Overall, it was just a bit lackluster.

Helado Negro

On the other hand, I had forgotten about Helado Negro (couldnt remember if I had even liked him or not). Helado Negro, Roberto Lange, now calls Crown Heights (Brooklyn) home but grew up in South Florida. His music has a very Florida feel. Everything that might emanate from living in Florida is channeled into his music. He sings in Spanish, and even if you don’t understand all the lyrics (or any) you can feel his music.

It has this gorgeous feel of tropical weather, humidity, heat. It makes you just want to close your eyes and move with the music. Its just him on the stage, with his computer, and its such a heart-felt performance. Everything about the music is almost dream-like. It just takes you somewhere and you get lost in it. Its definitely no surprise that he remixed Bear in Heaven’s album. Check out ‘Dance Ghost’ — a great name for a song and describes it perfectly.

He talks to the crowd, trying to engage them, but clearly San Franciscans are too cool for school. A major disappointment that the front of the room, would just not shut up. Its not even that – no one seemed to care. He tried to have fun with it saying something like ‘just add some hips in addition to your lips’. And of course, a cute joke about getting a taste of black ice cream (helado negro).

Roberto was very friendly. After the set, he seemed quite happy that at least some of us enjoyed it. I definitely feel his music has grown since seeing him 4 years ago. And I would definitely see him again – perhaps next time he will get a crowd who appreciates what he’s doing.

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Efterklang Entertains

Posted by xneverwherex on March 13, 2013

Efterklang
Nightlands
Great American Music Hall
3/11/13

The night had finally arrived and I was finally going to see Efterklang. I had somehow missed them in NYC even after I had tickets. I don’t even want to know why/how/what I was thinking. With that being said – after waiting for what seemed like forever – the band came out and put on one hell of a show.

The 3 piece band from Denmark (touring with an additional 3 people), were nothing short of incredible. Casper is an incredible front-man. He was very excited and beyond happy to be playing once again in San Francisco. Their bassist, Rasmus, had a huge smile on his face for nearly all the songs. He just beamed pure happiness. The biggest highlight of the night was easily Katinka. Her voice was just magical and it was surprising how well an opera singer fit in with the band. She just blended so great the way her sound mixed in with the songs.

Efterklang


Their new album, Piramida, is quite simply beautiful. Everything about the organic sounds, the way the music emotes, and how it comes together is just amazing. The band took field recordings while out in Spitsbergen (between Norway and the North Pole) and it fits so amazingly into their music. All these organic sounds layered on top of keyboard pieces is just something else to hear. You feel like youve actually been transported into this world — of a faraway place with nothing just you and nature and probably a lot of cold and ice. While its not dreary in the least, it does have that dreamy hazy sound.

Casper/Efterklang


The band opened with Hollow Mountain (off of their new album) with the haunting vocals/sounds from Katinka. The sound slowly grew with some sort of metal being hit (thanks to amazing work done by Mads) and then Casper joined in. It was a great song to open with. Casper is theatrical making great use of his hands and body. The set continued pretty quickly and included Apples (which really reminded me of The National) and Sedna off the new album. A lot of what they were playing was off Piramida, and really if you dont own it, you should. Or at least give it a listen.

One of the cool things about the show was when Casper started to read ‘cards’ left from other shows to people/friends and just SF in general. Some were about making sure to enjoying the beach – laying out in the sand – to others about friends missing each other – and my favorite about how awesome the band is and the friend was so grateful for sharing it. Those kinds of things are just awesome. Casper also shared the lovely smells of Big Sur in the form of a rock (or maybe piece of wood) that he shared with an audience member. And lastly, the show had one of the youngest people ever enjoying it. A little boy who might have been 4-5 showed up with his mom and asked to stand in front for a song or two. It was pretty exciting.

Nightlands opened the show. Their set was quite great and reminiscent of another Philly band – Sun Airway. Their songs had a great dreamy/psych sound to it. Some of the songs felt like they could have been from Snow Patrol with big sounds and harmonies. And it was great when Efterklang’s drummer, Tatu, joined them for a song. You could tell there was a lot of appreciation between the bands for each others music.

Nightlands w/Tatu of Efterklang

I wish I could be seeing them again — and next time hopefully they will play with a full orchestra. Now that would be something else!

Set List:
Hollow Mountain
Apples
Sedna
I Was Playing Drums
Step Aside
The Living Layer
The Ghost
Black Summer
Between the Walls
Dreams Today
Raincoats
Modern Drift

Encore:
Monument
Cutting Ice to Snow

And to the guy from last night – I will have the pics posted in the next day or two. These were off my phone. I apologize – but check back (or just go to flickr).

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