Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘France’

NO! Casual Sex on Thursday!

Posted by xneverwherex on March 20, 2014

Thursday March 13
SXSW
Austin, Texas

Thursday was a bit of a somber day around some of the clubs. There was a lot of talk about the accident the prior night that killed 3 people. It was tragic — and I was just blocks away from where it happened. Thankfully, I was hanging out with the rappers.

I started the day out with The Beastie Boys — well not really — but it was a panel about the Beastie Boys and copyright vs fair use laws. It was informative and I NEED to be working for Leslie Frank (or at least at her firm). This is the kind of law that is beyond fascinating. There are no black/white answers when it comes to fair use and this is not the place to get into what happened with them and Goldieblox. Regardless, the conversation was very interesting and most of the crowd agreed that GoldieBlox was in the wrong.

Now onto the music — Oh and Edward Sharpe was a no-show for his panel 😦 😦 😦

As I was eating at the Convention Center I heard some great music from upstairs. So ended up there to check it out. Much to my surprise, it was the EXCELLENT Mary Onettes. Now I had seen them years before, but they were much tighter and sounded awesome. The day stages had some excellent sound systems. The band has some very catchy hooks and great songs. The lead singer has one hell of a great voice. I need to be seeing them again soon.

After that, it was another chance to see NO. And yes, they were still as awesome. They were playing as if they were in a club wanting us all to get up and dance. Didnt quite happen, but everyone loved them. They’re the utmost professionals and know how to put on a show, even if it means rocking out in a sweater. The band has so many infectious tunes, I felt like I knew most of them already after seeing them for just a second time.

Then it was off for some British bands. Battle Lines from Leeds were playing some dancey electronica. The set seemed so short but everyone was having a good time.

Casual Sex - Scotland

Casual Sex

After that it was time for some Casual Sex. Sadly, the band was not offering any (save for the single drummer – who didnt seem too amused) as theyre all in relationships. The band is cheeky and clearly have a great time doing this. The band is from Scotland and Sam Smith, lead singer, is what its all about. He reminds me of Brian Molko – he did put on lipstick during the show – and clearly likes his make-up and dresses (although not in public apparently). Sam also brings to mind the glam Bowie years as well as their music. The band’s music was some good fun jangly guitar rock and you feel like youve been transported back to the glam of the 70s. Their music will get you dancing in no time. A band I will definitely see again.

Later on, it was time to hit up a hotel. The bands were playing at the hotel bar/restaurant and there was a small stage for them. Lys – from France were a really great band. They have this beautiful, lush, dream, indie-pop sound. It was so full and just sweeps you away. The lead singer had amazing vocals and it was great when he paired up with the woman in the band – their melodies were beautiful together. This was perfect music for dinner-time. While it was lush and beautiful they brought they energy with full, ripe guitars. It was just brilliant.

And then the night just went off course. I scrapped what I had planned and just changed it up. The prior night I met the band De Nalgas from Mexico City. I started talking with the drummer Irving when I got confused about Rey Pila playing. He was really cool and invited me to his showcase. He told me they were a punk band and similar to the Clash. I mean seriously, how can anyone miss that. Old school punk and their lead singer has a blue mohawk. So of course, I was going to see them.

I had jumped over to Metal & Lace to check out some bands not knowing what to expect – and OMG Scorpio Rising was the most insane fun band. The band is from Austin and the lead singer was offering all sorts of things to non-locals; oh yeah – shes pretty crazy fun. She was quite acrobatic and it reminded me of a burlesque show. The bassist walked the room as well as outside and pretty much played with everyone in the crowd (including the bartender). They just had so much energy. It was pretty cool. Now I couldnt tell you a bit what they sounded like, but I remember enjoying them.

De Nalgas de Mexico City

De Nalgas

De Nalgas was up next. How do you top that first act – you play straight up punk. And that they did. And they were _THAT_ good!! It was even in Spanish and while not everyone spoke it, everyone was so into it. There were some guys in front moshing (thankfully no crowd surfing). The lead singer, Boris, is an excellent frontman. He tears up that stage and does more scissor kicks then Ive seen in quite a while. He owned the stage and got the crowd really involved. The band all came out in black/white De Nalgas shirts and they all seemed to have tats that said that as well (along with 1989 – the year of their births). And Irving, the drummer, tore it up with one hell of a drum solo. It was f’ing brilliant. Everyone in the band had great camaraderie and were just tight. If punk is your thing, then this band you have to see. And their last song ‘presidente’ – was entertaining with the crowd yelling ‘pinche’ before ‘presidente’. Total bonding experience.

If anyone knows of a venue that needs a punk band to play – do let me know. I know the band would LOVE to play here. Oh and I forgot that this was their FIRST show in the States!

After some punk, it was time for some church. Yeah – really. I ended up spending the rest of the evening at two churches. The first church was Central Presbyterian Church which is a gorgeous church with beautiful stained glass windows. I sat upstairs and the acoustics were amazing. Its a venue just designed for musicians with sound that just carries.

I caught a few songs from Haley Bonar who has this gorgeous voice. The music was lo-fi/minimalist but with her vocals it just filled the church. It has almost a slight country-esque sound to it but comes across nearly haunting. I would definitely see her again. She reminds me of an artist to see on a cold winter night – she would just warm up the room.

One of my favorite bands from the festival were Mother Falcon from Austin. The band, which has about 18 members in it, is a symphonic indie band. The band is all very talented with a lot of them who play multi-instruments. The members seem to take turns on singing the songs and it just works. Their music is so full and rich its hard to not fall in love with them. They do a great Radiohead cover and its quite awesome. This is the type of band that is perfect for this venue. The room just fills with so many sounds, its just poetry in motion.

Curtis Harding

Curtis Harding

Curtis Harding, former backup singer to CeeLo, is one hell of an impressive guy. He’s got blues and soul flowing out of him. He’s from Atlanta and his songs had so much raw passion with so much feeling. The set was way too short for him and he talked some about growing up playing gospel and being in the church. He was so great and I so wanted more, but he had to get to another venue nowhere near and cut it short.

While I am sad that Curtis Harding didnt have a longer set, it did mean I got to hit up another church and check out Gruff Rhys (of Super Furry Animals, of course). So I ended up around the corner at St. Davids Historic Sanctuary. Very different than the other church, there was drinking allowed and the staff was much more casual. Gruff is always a pleasure to see and one I never miss if I can help it. He’s so soft spoken and waited to start the show while others came in. He was polite and kept words to a minimum. He started out the set by asking us to pretend we recognized the song so when he sang it a few minutes later it would seem we were all into it. Classic Gruff. So he played the first line of the song and then stopped. Then restarted the song – we all clap and scream – and he thanks us and he plays the rest.

Gruff Rhys - American Interior

Gruff Rhys

His new music – to accompany his film, American Interior – is just gorgeous. It just works and it so fits the film. Most of the music was about the journey with John Evans – a long, lost relative who may have found the U.S. and the quest to find a Native American tribe that spoke Welsh. The music is just beautiful and so fitting. Kliph Scurlock from The Flaming Lips, joined Gruff on drums. He was awesome. Gruff was pretty quiet with a few things to say — mostly asking the time — and then it ended with something like ‘oh fuck. we’re done’. And of course with that, a few signs were held up ‘thank you’ and ‘the end’. One of my favorites. ALWAYS!!

Typhoon

Typhoon

The night ended with me barely getting back into the other church to see Oregon-based Typhoon. I was able to get in after about 10 minutes and it was so worth it. The band killed it. The band has a bunch of violins, horns and drums but mostly beautiful harmonies. Frontman, Kyle Morton, has beautiful, haunting songs that cover most topics but lots to do with life and death which was fitting for my last band. At 12am the band paused as the pastor of the church came out to say a few words about the tragedy the prior night. He talked about life and death and living life to the fullest of every moment of the day. The band had stopped playing and the church went quiet for the 2 minutes of silence. It was beautiful with a lot of tears. It was so full of emotion. After 2 minutes, Typhoon continued to play. With their 11 members — they brought so much life to the church and the sound just echoed through and it was gorgeous. It was a show to never forget.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Austin, Live Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Night of French Pop

Posted by xneverwherex on September 25, 2011

Ivy
Tahiti 80
Gramercy Theatre
9/24/11

Ivy had finally returned after a 6 year disappearance. It was great that they brought their French counter-parts with them along for the ride (Tahiti 80). While Ivy technically isn’t French, lead singer Dominique Durand most definitely is. She still looked and sounded as great as ever. She did introduce all of the band members, much to the chagrin of husband Andy Chase, who commented cheekily with ‘I guess we need a new singer now’.

The band was definitely having fun on stage. Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains of Wayne fame) said some funny things which Im not remembering. It was great when they played The Go-Betweens lovely song “Through the Streets of Your Town” even announcing it wasnt their song. Very funny esp as the band said how it showed they hadnt been playing in years as no one does that, but actually many times that does happen (just no mention of the original artist – Im looking at you Broken Social Scene). Either way, the song sounded as great as the original. Lots of people were singing and dancing along.

Through The Streets Of Your Town

Their older hits are definitely what the fans wanted to hear. Lots of fans screaming out songs, of which few were played. The band kept it to a fairly short set, barely reaching an hour. It is too bad as there is so much material. But as Dominique said, it was past her bedtime. Their music sounds even more pop-friendly than Tahiti 80 and is always a good time. The crowd was definitely loving “Thinking About You” and everyone sang and moved around to it. The new material of “All Hours” sounds just as great and I definitely need to be getting my hands on it soon.

Hopefully the band will be back around soon with a proper tour for the new album. And just hopefully play a bit longer.

Openers Tahiti 80 were as fun as ever. A pity their set was quite short as well, as it seems they could have played a lot more. Ah the joys of being an opener. The French group seemed to be having a really great time on stage. Their new material sounds very reminiscent of their first album. Some very catchy, poppy, dance-y songs. It was great hearing a nice mix of new material and their early work. “Heartbeat” still sounds as great as ever and is just beyond super catchy.

The bands definitely were a great fit together. Its no surprise as Andy Chase did produce the bands first 2 albums. Hopefully they will continue a full tour all together. If you like pop bands with great melodies and catchy songs, these are 2 bands that are definitely worth seeing together.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oh those lovely Parisians

Posted by xneverwherex on October 11, 2009

So — in the past 2 weeks Ive seen a _ton_ of shows.  So lets start – a show at a time for the past 2 weeks. Or I should say – the shows that stood out.

Fri – Sept 25 – Phoenix & Passion Pit @ Central Park (Summerstage)

So, I was lucky enough to get into the show since it was sold out. But I volunteered for Summerstage, so I had an easy in. Of course, it really meant that I was working at the show. So I got there early and got to hear Passion Pit doing their soundcheck. They were already sounding great. A quick text to Andrew (one of the guys who works for them, and is also a friend of mine) to let him know how it sounded.

I was assigned to the ‘mobility -impaired’ section as its now called which is right in the front of the stage area on the right hand side. Great spot with a great view and also right next to the VIP section.

Passion Pit played a good set. I cant say I had the same feeling after seeing them in Chicago, but they were enjoyable. But Im a big believer in the fact that they need to just play their faster/upbeat stuff in concert, as their slower stuff doesnt translate as well. And honestly, I can only take so much falsetto. But their catchy songs do work live and the crowd was really living it up.

Phoenix would come on next. And me, being totally forgetful, couldnt understand why my friends were getting all excited. And behind me was Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst and Sophia Coppola (wife of Thomas Mars – lead singer of Phoenix). How on earth I didnt think for 2 secs she might show up, I dont know. But sure enough they were all there leaning up against the same fence I was. They seemed friendly enough, but you could tell they did not want to be bothered. And Simon nearly had to jump in and help me do security and get some guys out of the area.

Anyway, after all my celebrity gawking, Phoenix finally hit the stage. And the boys from France never disappoint. Their new stuff sounds great live and starting off with Lisztomania is a great choice getting the crowd really involved in their show. They played stuff from each of their albums, and it was really great to be hearing ‘Funky Squaredance’, although for all I know they play it at all of their shows. But its always a great song – Im just amazed how many people dont know it. Their encore had some of their other hits with Everything is Everything and If I Ever Feel Better. Thomas even did some songs by himself which was a nice change. Overall, they sounded great and what an awesome way to end the summer. Out in the park with gorgeous weather and the boys of Phoenix.

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »