Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘folk’

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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Panic Is Perfect – Live 105 BFD

Posted by xneverwherex on June 9, 2015

Live 105 BFD Festival
Shoreline Amphitheater
June 6, 2015

It was a hot hot sunny day in Mountain View over at the Shoreline. Somehow we got there early enough that the lines werent too painful, yet still managed to take forever to get inside. Ive yet to figure out their security system (its insane!) and how possibly taking every single thing out of a woman’s purse is at all productive. Oh, its a pen, let me look at it. Oh here’s your unopened water bottle, so let me open it for you and throw away the cap. Ive heard of ridiculous things, but seriously, this was the worst.

Actually, that was not the worst. Whoever thought of this venue and setup needs to seriously re-think their day job. Having the dance tent on top of the other stages and all the music going on at the same time was awful. The bleed through was non-stop and between songs you could just hear the thumping of the dance tent. Some performers were getting upset about it (not much you can do), but it just was bad. Its also bad that the two “smaller” stages are next to each other – and while theyre not having performances at the same time (thankfully it alternates), it just means the crowd is insane in one small blocked off area and going in and out, let alone to the ‘other’ stage soon became a clusterphuck of magnificent proportions.

With that being said – lets go on. This was all about the music. Instead of discussing bands in order, I will start with my favorite shows. Of course, theres always panic at shows of not seeing who you want and at a certain point, I just gave up and didnt even care. But the hands down best set of the night belongs to a band that I don’t particularly like (nor hate) but by far they know how to put on a show. Panic! At The Disco killed it! The band by far was one of the biggest surprises of the night. Now I knew their show would probably be big and insane, but I really was not expecting their energy and the excitement for the band. It was hard to not be jumping around. Lead singer, Brendon Urie, is really charismatic and him and the band were jumping around the entire stage and it was contagious. Their light show added to the overall dance-y rock feeling. And to make it all the better, I think by far this was the band that most people were there to see. And everyone around me was out of their seats and singing and jumping along. Some kids were way serious about it too and insisted on taking video of the entire show and not even enjoying it.

Probably the most impressive part of their set was Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘. Its hard for most people even to be able to pull off some of those high notes, but Brendon has incredible vocal range and got it just perfect. The band also decided to give a 30-second clip of a hardcore metal show and really went off for a good 30 seconds with loud screeching guitars and headbanging music. After that, they closed it out with their single ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies‘ and to say I barely recognized that would be an understatement. But it was impressive and the backflip in the middle of the song by Brendon was f’ing brilliant. The band was just insanely impressive and one very worth seeing again.

Of course, closers Modest Mouse put on one hell of a show. The band sounded so incredibly tight and have superior musicians. Isaac Brock, frontman and multi-talented instrumentalist, was in top form and sounded better than ever. Their song intros were quite long but when they would finally get into their song the pay-off was so worth it. It was pretty much a singles list from the band, but I couldnt have asked for a better set. They gave the crowd just what they wanted and even after performing single ‘Float On‘ and people expecting it as the last song, the band still continued on. And the song never sounded better, just filling the venue with everyone up and dancing.

And with all the many instruments, the band always manages to sound so tight. I love the varied instruments from trumpets to fiddles, banjos and the other instruments that appear. I just love the song ‘Ocean Breathes Salty‘ and on a nice cool night outside, it was almost perfect hearing it. The band were as awesome as always and I wouldnt have expected anything less.

One of my favorite bands played earlier on in the day – The Kooks. And man how I missed them. Sadly, the crowd mostly talked through their set and it was way too short but Ive always loved them and their energy. Luke Pritchard was as engaging as ever and tried to get the crowd going with sing alongs, but it didnt always work. He mentioned that he’d play an older song and it was quite sad how no one seemed to recognize “She Moves In Her Own Way“. I was just glad to hear earlier songs like ‘Ooh La’ and set-ender ‘Naive‘. While the band may not have sounded the best, they are always ones to watch for me. I never get tired of their music and its always a good time.

I was finally lucky enough to see Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men. The band who seems to play here all the time, sounded was great as I had expected them. Their set which seemed all dark and hazy due to their darkened lights totally fit the mood of the band. I didn’t realize how many band members were in the band and how many instruments were used. It seemed like a bunch of people on different drum sets, lots of different back-up vocalists and a range of brass instruments. In actuality, its probably just 7 of them, but their sound just filled the nighttime air and it was pretty beautiful. Somewhat moody and atmospheric they were quite the band. While I will always think theyre a somewhat lesser version of Stars, it still made for an engaging set. The harmonies are just beautiful and the back and forth interplay between the male and female always is just beautiful. Definitely a band I will need to see in a club at some point.

Atlas Genius sounded incredible and put on a really fun set. Sure, their music is all over the place and some of the songs got annoying, but on stage they were tight. Its a pity that their super dance-y guitar rock didn’t translate with the crowd (who were perhaps recouping from the major rays), because in any other place everyone would have been dancing. Their songs are all so very catchy and dance-y with lots of great catchy hooks and great harmonies. Songs like ‘If So‘ had people singing along and of course their first single ‘Trojans‘ had even more people singing along. This is one band who is made to play in clubs and I really need to catch them in that sort of environment.

Other bands included: WATERS – the very catchy indie-pop band from SF. I was standing with the guitarist and drummer (Marc Campbell and Etienne Bowler) of Misterwives during their set and he was super into it. Their show was just awesome fun (turns out theyre touring with Misterwives). Their songs were just pure catchy fun filled with catchy choruses. There was lots of crowd participation with sing-alongs and clapping along.

New York City’s Misterwives definitely did not let down. Im just so bummed that their next show here has been sold-out forever. They had one of the most awesome live performances of the day. The band was infectious fun with lots of solid dance performances happening on the stage as all the band members had their shots at showing off their dance moves. Their bassist just killed it and had all the moves. Lead singer, Mandy Lee, clearly took some cues from Gwen Stefani and was rocking the short shorts and half tops and really working the crowd. She had a moment too that was all about female-empowerment which was pretty awesome and rarely seen.

Their band has a definite No Doubt vibe with lots of ska infused songs complete with a brass section to really make the ska beats happening (think early No Doubt – not whats going on now). Their sax player was just genius and him and the trumpet player really add to the bands sound. It really made for a great set in which they had the crowd dancing to their very dance-y songs. It was just pure energy and it was great that the band and the crowd all could feel the same energy. Its a band that needs to be see again and will probably become huge at the rate theyre going.

Of course, Im a sucker for violinists – and Alan of Curious Quail killed it. Man could he rock out on the violin which was truly awesome. The band is from San Jose and is thankfully playing a small mini-tour on the west coast that should be awesome. Had a really great indie-rock/pop sound and had a really tight set with songs that were easy to get into and had you tapping along in no time. There were some great harmonies between the woman on bass and the lead singer. The singer had a really strong powerful voice. Was one of the best bands I saw on the local stage.

Andrew St. James was a pleasant surprise. I had crossed him off the list after not really getting into what I had heard, so it was just a fluke that I was exhausted and was looking for some grass and shade. He had with him a stand-up drummer and another guy. It was a pretty alt-folk act and he has a very Dylan-esque sound. He had such a great voice and it also helped that he was amusing as he yelled at the crowd for not applauding him on stage (bold move). He then commanded attention that was very well deserved.

K.Flay was someone that I just happened to catch in the dance tent. She is quite the talented rapper and has one hell of an awesome drummer. And with speaking of drummers – the drummer of 21 Pilots worked it and was insane. Along with a hanging mic the duo put on one hell of a set that was super high energy.

The Family Crest, another SF band, put on a really awesome set. They have so many different instruments including violin, cello, flute and piano. They were super tight with some great harmonies. A band very well worth seeing again!

Cold War Kids who I just want to like definitely put on a solid rock performance. But like always, I just find the band so boring and leave me wanting for more. Perhaps seeing them at a festival doesnt do them any justice, but its just one band that I could definitely be fine without seeing again.

Dangermaker from SF was one of the loudest bands I saw with heavy loud guitars and keys for good measure. The band just rocked out and had nice layers of guitars. And that lead singer could sure hit his high notes.

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Pandora Presents: Sharon Van Etten @ The Chapel

Posted by xneverwherex on July 31, 2014

Sharon Van Etten
The Chapel
7/29/14

Pandora Presents Sharon Van Etten. So that’s pretty cool and it was free. So yeah, even better. The show, which started at 9pm, already had people lining up at 4:30pm. And for the most part by 6pm – it was one packed line. I didn’t show up till later, and that was a big risk as I nearly did not get in. The place was packed and people were beyond drunk and beyond talkative.

Sharon Van Etten had flown into SF for the show and came with band members (and siblings) Heather and Peter Broderick. Peter is one hell of a violinist and sounded gorgeous on the few songs he played with them. Heather as always complemented Sharon beautifully with the vocals and their harmonies are enchanting. The two also played with Efterklang when on tour and they fit in beautifully with that band. Hopefully they will also tour with them again as well.

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten

I missed a bit of the beginning as I was still in line, but didn’t seem to miss too much. There was some yelling between her and the crowd when people wouldn’t shut up and it just got louder and louder. I heard her mention something about them being louder than her and to shut up. It seemed a recurring theme during the show, as people just couldnt shut up. But once we got passed that and onto the peace and love part, it was great. She was not playing her typical songs, but played a few songs she had never played before live. Most of the songs were off of Are We There. Some b-sides (one was, “Life of His Own” the b-side to “Leonard”) as well as “Red are the Flowers” a song she was still working on for a covers album for Karen Dalton.

SVE was self-deprecating as always. She made jokes about not being able to play the piano for shit (her words) and really being NOT good. Of course, she does sound great and the acoustics in the Chapel were perfect for her. The band sounded full with just the 3 of them when they all played together. Most the songs were just SVE on the piano or guitar. She seemed so engaged and exposed when she talked about her music and why she wrote it. She talked about her dad lots with mention of a new video and her dad blushing when he saw her on the bed with another guy (she was clothed and it was G-rated, although perhaps PG as she said). She encouraged the crowd to sing along to one of the songs towards the end even if they didnt know the words, but should make something up.

It was a short set – less than an hour – but great to have her back in town, even if just for an evening. She loves SF and definitely wanted to keep things weird at the show, which she always manages to do.

Thanks Pandora! Another soon, please!

Set List:
Afraid of Nothing
Life of His Own (b-side to Leonard)
Tarifa
Consolation Prize
Hotel 2 Tango (Live debut)
I Always Fall Apart
I Love You But I’m Lost
Our Love (Live debut)
Tornado
Every Time the Sun Comes Up
I Know

Red are the Flowers (Karen Dalton cover)

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I Wonder … Rodriguez

Posted by xneverwherex on June 8, 2014

Rodriguez
LP
Warfield Theater
May 28, 2014

Sixto Rodriguez, known to most of us from the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, played back-to-back shows at The Warfield Theater. The 70-year old came out to the stage with a full band (a guy from the UK, a guitarist from New Zealand and a drummer from somewhere else not in the States) and played a really great set, to a really excited crowd. He was dressed in dark clothes, a jacket, and his trademark sunglasses and hat that he only took off towards the end of the set.

Rodriguez @ The Warfield

Rodriguez @ The Warfield

There must have been a few people from South Africa who yelled out periodically how much South Africa loves him. This continued on throughout the night, and at some point Rodriguez asked them how much they had been drinking. He was funny, chatty and most of all was seeming to have a really great time. After ‘Sugar Man’ he added that the song is “descriptive, not prescriptive … hugs not drugs.” and had a few political quips. He also talked about growing up in a Mexican family.

Rodriguez who released his first EP in 1970 in Detroit has definitely paid his dues. He is often times compared to Dylan and on occasion does a Dylan cover. Its hard to believe that he never found the same fame that Dylan had as his music is just as good, if not better. For a long while he was thought to have been dead, and then found a resurgence in South Africa during Apartheid. The music is all Detroit and is a great blend of urban, blues and folk music put into one. He’s got a very melodic soulful voice with an edge and perhaps a hint of sadness. He seemed to blow through his 2 albums all too quickly. The set lasted just over an hour and was a great ‘best-of’ set with a few covers thrown in.

Rodriguez

Rodriguez

‘I Wonder’ was a stand out with catchy sexual lyrics. ‘Sugar Man’ sounds wonderful live. His backing band was phenomenal and they had a great chemistry. It would be hard to complain to be recruited by him and play a full tour with him.

LP, who is mostly known from her song being in a Citibank commercial, opened the set. She was impressive and has one hell of a voice. Reminding me of St. Vincent she was a force. Her set was short, but she definitely left an impression and everyone was left talking about her. I will have to be seeing her again.

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Into the wilds of Brooklyn

Posted by xneverwherex on September 25, 2009

So its been a pretty busy week. Im not sure how Id be coping if Maximo Park hadn’t cancelled their tour, but actually Im really beyond bummed. Which reminds me — concertmaps SUCKS! I just want my $75 refund, and they still havent given it to me. Must make some calls.  evidentally, either my credit card company or the actual company made my money come back to me! YES! All is right with this world again.

So with Maximo Park cancelled, my Monday ended up freed up. Which was really just a good excuse to stay home and watch BAD tv. Then Tuesday rolled around like a whirlwind.

9/22

And on Tuesday I made it into the wilds of Brooklyn. As a friend so nicely called it. Actually, The Bell House isnt that remotely located but Gowanus isnt that populated either.

Fanfarlo would be there that night. I had missed them on Monday night, so was glad to finally see them again. Last time I saw them at a hole in the wall club in the LES, at least this time they had a big enough stage for the band. I just love their style of indie-quirky-folky-pop music. They have the harmonies down perfect and everyone in the band sings quite well. They all eject random quips during the show and better yet, they dont dress like the hipsters. Definitely have their own thing going on.

It seems each band member must be required to play no less than 3 instruments as they all rotate throughout most of them. They have a trumpet, a sax, a violin, a maudlin, and Im sure Im forgetting most the others in addition to their guitars and drums. The addition of a saw used with a violin bow was awesome. Its amazing how they produce sound. The crowd was super into them and it worked well with the band.

Finishing off their whirlwind week tour of shows, this would be their final show (for now). They were a bit tired and the lead singer was slowly losing his voice. But they pulled off an awesome set and then amidst the cheering that wouldnt die down threw in a cover from Netural Milk Hotel. Definitely an influence of theirs.

Main Set

  1. Drowning Men
  2. Im A Pilot
  3. Finish Line
  4. Harold T. Wilkins, Or How to Wait for a Very Long Time
  5. Atlas
  6. The Walls Are Coming Down
  7. Waiting in the Wings (new song)
  8. Comets
  9. Luna

Encore 1

  1. Ghosts
  2. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)

Wildbirds and Peacedrums from Sweden made for a different opener. The 2 people in the band definitely are into sounds and noises and it turns out to be more of an artistic performance. A lot of hand clapping and foot stomping and mic-less singing of just ‘oohhs and aah’ and filled in with a drum. It somehow worked for the band.

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