Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

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Posts Tagged ‘Great American Music Hall’

Wye Oak – Watching and Waiting

Posted by xneverwherex on July 17, 2016

Wye Oak
Tushka
Great American Music Hall
7/15/16

Baltimore’s Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack (aka Wye Oak) came to town last night and for so many reasons it was a show not to be missed. I hadn’t seen them since my NYC days (why, I still do not know) and they did not disappoint. It was fairly amusing to see Jenn come out in a tank top, bent over plugging everything in and setting herself up for the show. With no crew, the band is a minimalist act in nearly every way possible.

One of the things I most appreciated (and it seems like perhaps I hadn’t seen/heard this in far too long), was a band who clearly was doing this because they loved it more than life itself. Before playing ‘Civilian‘, and having a very out of tune guitar, she mentioned they were too poor to afford a guitar-tech. She went on to talk about how thankful she was people still came to see them play and people still paid for shows. She mentioned how this was an artist’s life and how if it was not for the fans coming out, they clearly would not still be doing this. Thankfully, Wye Oak still has a big enough fan basis.

Wye Oak

Wye Oak

While the GAMH was not sold out, it was still quite full and even with quite expensive tshirts, there was still a line after the show ended for shirts and records and other things. Probably the best $25 I spent, assuming the band took 100% of profits.

I hadn’t been in a mood to write about shows for a long time. Sure, there’s been good shows (I’ll do a rundown in another post), but none were leaving me with this blissful feeling. Perhaps it comes with humility and a band that does everything for themselves. When I left the show, I felt like I had just seen something even better than expected.

The band opened with “If You Should See“, a very dreamy-pop song that brings back the haunting vocals of Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays. The song is off their new album Tween (a new album of sorts “mini-album” of out-takes between Civilian and Shriek). Their new album is not quite as guitar heavy as their other album but is bringing in some synths to the mix giving it a more light, dreamy feel.

The band’s next song “Better (for Esther)” also off of Tween is a great mix of the old meets the new. When the guitar comes into action it gives the band a nice full song plus shows off how great Jenn is on the guitar. She loses herself in the guitar, just shredding away, head moving to the music. It’s moments like these that the crowd really got into the performance.

Wye Oak played a good mix of their work from the newer to the older. I was never a huge fan of their last album, Shriek, which was more synth-pop. It drifted almost too far from what I had liked about them, but “The Tower” did sound quite great live. This new album has grown on me quite a lot. Dance-y dream-pop songs had never sounded better and Jenn’s vocals were just soaringly beautiful on “Watching the Waiting”. Lyrics that so perfectly rang true, “And there is nowhere I need to go. And there is nothing left to do. And I am sitting watching myself. Watching you. Watching the waiting”.

Wye Oak - Jenn

Wye Oak – Jenn

It was really great to hear their older songs which are just so full and loud with Jenn tearing it up on the guitar. She is so powerful on “Hot As Day” and “Civilian” and gets lost in the music along with the crowd. It’s a lot of noise for just a two-some. Her vocals on these songs have always reminded me of Sharon Van Etten, sultry, powerful and full. “Civilian” had never sounded better, the guitars were so full and loud, the words just pouring out of her, it was pure raw, emotion.

It was an encore so that actually felt so worth it. Jenn and Andy both came across as so appreciative. Plus, it wasn’t just the hits that they came back to. “For Prayer” was great to hear, a much earlier track that fans really appreciated. Ending the set with “Holy Holy” was quite awesome with Jenn shredding the guitar and the crowd energized and dancing along. It was a perfect way to cap off the performance.

Tushka opened the set. Another duo, comprised of two brothers from North Carolina. Phil was in the band Bowerbirds. A mostly electronic R&B pop was a fun opener. The brothers seemed to have a lot of fun on stage and were really getting into the music. Would definitely check them out again if I see their name around.

Setlist:

If You Should See
Better (For Esther)
Shriek
The Tower
Watching the Waiting
Trigger Finger
Before
Sick Talk
Hot As Day
Civilian
No Dreaming
Logic Of Color
I Hope You Die

Encore:
For Prayer
Holy Holy

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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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2015 Ended and The Greatest Rock Band Played the Greatest Show…x3

Posted by xneverwherex on January 2, 2016

The Dandy Warhols
Joel Gion
Miranda Lee Richards
December 1 & 2, 2015

The greatest rock band played the greatest show… The End.

Sadly, time some times gets the best of us. And then the year ends, and you get to reflect on all the shows you saw and how the year ended. It was a crazy year – I saw Ride the day after the Paris attacks and I remember being unsure about going to a concert. And then I thought of how many awesome bands I had seen over time – and fuck it – ISIS, terrorists will never win.

Zia

Zia

As Zia ended the concert – she said it was one of the greatest rock concerts ever. Ive seen The Dandy Warhols so many times, that at times the shows start to blur. There was the string of the 3 hour long sets (some of the best I had ever seen), and then there was December 2. The energy in the club was amazing. The place felt alive and it had been a long time since I felt that feeling in a show (let alone in SF, ever!). And the energy in the club reflected with the band who was as tight as ever. It was like everything converged for that perfect storm.

A co-worker (who was at night 1) and I discussed the rules of music/bands and what happens when a band plays 2 nights. The obvious answer is … you go to both shows. The other answer is — when in doubt always go with night 2. There’s a lot of reasons night 2 always wins out – but to keep this succinct the rule of thumb is the band is all warmed up, they’ve been in town for a bit and everything is all worked out. This happened with The Mountain Goats (I didnt see show 1, but according to those who saw both – night 2 kicked ass) and I’ve seen it with other bands. (Testing this theory out on Sunday night with A Place to Bury Strangers – will report back). So while night 1 was pretty awesome, night 2 killed it.

The obvious – Zia no longer had a migraine and was in great shape. The band was tight and mostly the crowd was ridiculously awesome. Truthfully, with the frat bros pushing forward (and apologies now – never judge a book by its cover yadda yadda yadda) and needing to be front center and not shutting up I wasnt sure what would happen. Turns out – these guys were insane die hard fans.

Zia came out to a crowd that loves her – with everyone chanting her name. CTT likes to talk about how everyone loves Zia and she does a little dance. She looked super comfy in flowy pants and a black tank. CTT – who wasnt in a BJM shirt – was more chatty than usual. And Peter and Brent seemed like they were having an awesome time. I noticed Brent and Zia talking it up quite a bit with lots of smiles.

Dandy Warhols

Dandy Warhols

So what makes it a show that stands out from other shows:
* the crowd can make or break a show. Any crowd that upon request for a song to play actually has people yell out songs with explanations is pretty f’ing amazing. The guy next to me yelling out “Little Drummer Boy” with Zia stating maybe later – and the guy pleading ‘its December – its the right time to play it’ was quite convincing. Courtney ixnayed it and pretty much every song to state that he’d be sticking to the setlist.

* during the band’s “break”, CTT led the crowd in the loudest sing-along ever for “Everyday Should be A Holiday“. He mentioned that whenever this is played he alawys asks for a sing-along and its never really loud. So this time, when we weren’t loud enough, he asked for it even louder. The whole place must have been singing along. Perhaps one of the greatest moments ever.

* CTT sounding better than ever. ‘Chauncey P’ is a really great song live as well as ‘Some Things You Got To Get Over‘, two of the bands newest songs and so worth a listen.

* Zia dancing and playing the entire set and never stopping (minus the pee break). Plus her awesome dance moves as the crowd chanted her name. Migraines be gone!

* Zia stating it was one of the greatest rock n roll shows ever.

* Pete on guitars in the opening of PIA with some of the greatest guitar work ever – and then his windmill playing. Plus – the droning guitars that go on and on and straight into ‘Boys Better‘. How does life get better than that – and then you end the show!

—–

And while not to dismiss night 1 – that was awesome too and they were really good. Sure, Zia wasnt in the best of spirits but she looked to be having an awesome night. Plus – we got a Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses) cover – “Your Ghost” – which was incredible. Also, CTT waxed poetic about SF and him loving the city. And also about how while SF was changing the TL would never change no matter how they try to clean it up.

I should also state that the openers – Joel Gion especially – put on a really great show. If you love psychedelic music – you have to see them. I got to talk to Christof after the show (guitarist in Joel’s band as well as Miranda Lee Richards) and besides being insanely talented he was charming. Him and a few of us were talking about both the nights shows and how he thought the 2nd night for his band was so much better (possibly more drugs?) but how as an audience it seemed the first night was much tighter. Perhaps because the band had so little space to perform, they seemed so connected. Either way – the band was awesome on both nights and Joel (of Brian Jonestown Massacre percussionist fame) has one hell of an awesome band. Definitely a band not to be missed.

Set List:
Mohammed
Crack Cocaine Rager
Get Off
Somethings You Got To Get Over
I Love You
The Last High
Everyone Is Totally Insane
Plan A
Down Like Disco
Good Morning
Shakin’
Every Day Should Be a Holiday – CTT Solo
Chauncey P vs All the Girls in London
We Used to Be Friends
The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers a.k.a. the Ballad of Sheriff Shorty
Bohemian Like You
Godless
Pete International Airport / Boys Better

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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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Rhythm Is A Dancer – Bastille

Posted by xneverwherex on September 21, 2013

Bastille
Little Daylight
Nightmare & The Cat
Great American Music Hall
9/19/2013

Dan Smith, lead singer of Bastille, might not be the greatest dancer (as he said so himself), but does he know how to get a crowd moving and dancing and jumping. Their cover of Snap!’s ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’ and Corona’s ‘Rhythm of the Night’ was pretty impressive and definitely changed it up just a bit. But it was fun and the crowd loved it.

The band, hailing from London, was excited to be back in San Francisco yet again. They made their first US appearance over the sumer at Rickshaw Stop (Popscene); sold out instantaneously. Their music has some fun catchy pop tunes, but also a number of songs which is mostly Dan on the keyboards singing alone. He has a powerful voice and exudes emotion. The band (or at least Dan) is also a huge film lover. With the song title ‘Laura Palmer’ – he definitely likes David Lynch. And their music sounds like it could be in one of his movies.

One thing is for sure – Dan’s energy is infectious. He jumps around all over the stage and makes use of every space. He climbed everywhere he could and did a walk through the crowd. The ever catchy and oh so popular ‘Pompeii’ ended the set and the chanting was just as powerful live. The entire band seems to have a lot of fun and everyone is quite versatile with the instruments.

Definitely a band not to miss – theyre pretty much sold out everywhere on their tour, but if you can snag a ticket its worth it.

Now — not to make the other bands seem inconsequential — but they are also SO worth seeing. I was told that I needed to check out Little Daylight, from Brooklyn, as my friend Jordan’s wife Nikki is in the band. I had her prior band Xylos and thought they were quite good, but never had a chance to see them. The only real complaint is their set was impossibly short at maybe 20 minutes long. She told me later they only had 5 songs. They must be the most catchy fun songs ever. In a way their music reminded me of The Go-Go’s (and Im a huge fan!) but really I think it was Nikki’s voice that reminded me of Belinda Carlisle. She has strong vocals amidst the keyboard playing that are definitely reminiscent of the 80s. They were lots of fun and she has energy. Lots of dancing on the stage and lots of songs with hand claps and of course a catchy sing-songy chorus. If John Hughes were still alive, their music would definitely appear in one of his movies. I have to say — I had more fun during their set than Bastille. It was just so my type of music – that I cant wait for more.

LA–based Nightmare & The Cat, consisting of 2 British ex-pat brothers, must be one of the most stylish bands. Django, the lead singer, is captivating and just draws you in. The way he moves his hands and expressions reminds me of Tom Smith (from the Editors). The music has a soulful sound with a hint of a folkiness to it. They have some beautiful harmonies, and I constantly felt like I was drawn into the art world – part of a gorgeous painting that is just expanding with lush sounds (as if that makes any sense).

Definitely dont miss any of these bands if youre going to be seeing them. Its an awesome lineup.

Bastille Set List:
Bad Blood
Things We Lost In The Fire
Overjoyed
The Silence
What Would You Do
Oblivion
Weight of the Living Pt II
These Streets
Laura Palmer
Haunt
Icarus
Flaws

Get Home
Rhythm is a Dancer/Rhythm of the Night (cover)
Pompeii

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Shout Out Louds – We’re All Happy

Posted by xneverwherex on May 24, 2013

Shout Out Louds
Haerts
Great American Music Hall
May 22, 2013

One word can easily describe the set last night. Awesome! Or maybe its happy! Its been about 3 years since the Shout Out Louds were last on tour. Its true that Adam (lead singer) was here last year with his side project – We Are Serenades – but really, its not the same.

The band, hailing from Sweden, were here for their new album Optica. I spoke with the lead singer’s brother, Robin, for a bit and I made him do the honors of picking out which cd I should get from them. I know I never had bought Work, and I couldnt remember if I actually owned Our Ill Wills. He convinced me that the new album is brilliant and prob his favorite album of theirs (as he said completely biased). We then got to discuss The Serenades and of course their excellent Christopher Cross cover and who even knows who he is anymore. We both laughed as people around us looked on with a ‘who?’ look across their face.

As always, The Shout Out Louds put on a really great set. Its hard to not leave feeling completely happy. I had only heard a few songs off their new album before the show but was pleasantly surprised with how well they fit in with their earlier songs. The band wasted no time with going to earlier songs and started their 3rd song with the ever recognizable intro to ‘The Comeback‘. The crowd went nuts as people started jumping up and down, dancing and really getting into it. Everyone was so excited and Adam seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage. Bebban, who rarely seems to acknowledge the audience, took a few moments to wave to people and seemed pretty into it. Its hard to know with her, as she always is looking either down or at other band members.

The band worked out a pretty amazing setlist and made sure to hit upon songs from all of their albums. I was still glad that there was plenty off of Howl Howl Gaff Gaff as its always been a go-to album for something shiny, fun and upbeat. So it was awesome when they played “Please Please Please“, my favorite song of theirs.

Must point out that the crowd was quite nice and friendly. I met some really awesome people and had fun dancing and talking with others. The band was in top form and Adam did a little walk through the middle of the venue dancing and taking photos as he went on. They ended the show with the hugely catchy song ‘Tonight I Have to Leave It’ and its fun and a great sing-along. And who doesn’t love a lot of cowbells. Everyone on stage was dancing and moving and really into it.

The opener Haerts, living in NYC but from England, Germany, wherever else were just brilliant. The band could not have picked a better opener. Indie dream pop, catchy songs and very dance-y reminding me a bit of the movie Drive. If you havent seen it, it could be them doing the music. Their music was meant to be on an 80s soundtrack and the lead singer — she has amazing vocals and a powerful voice. She transports you and you feel like a teenager again dancing alone in your room. It was their first show in SF and I really hope they come back. How I forgot to buy their cd for just $5 is what the real travesty is. I cannot say enough good things about this band, except to check them out. Just lose yourself for a bit, dance a lot, and forget it all.

Its hard to go wrong with 2 amazing bands. If you havent yet seen either, do yourself a favor and make sure you do, soon! In the meantime, check out Haerts and pretend youre just a kid dancing in your room with the music up loud.

Set List:
Sugar
Walking in Your Footsteps
The Comeback
Impossible
Candle Scurrned Out
Chasing the Sinking Sun
Fall Hard
Illusions
Blue Ice/Where You Come In.
Hard Rain
Please Please Please
14th July
Very Loud

Destroy
Walls
Tonight I Have to Leave It

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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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Take A Summer Holiday w/Wild Nothing

Posted by xneverwherex on September 7, 2012

Wild Nothing
DIIV
Holy Shit

Great American Music Hall
9/5/12

I guess the summer holiday is officially coming to an end, so it seemed fitting that it ended with Wild Nothing. Wild Nothing had finally made it back to the West Coast according to Jack. It sounded like it had been quite awhile and the way Jack told how San Francisco was his favorite city, reminded me of the way I had felt about NYC.

The band, by way of NYC (Brooklyn for Jack — and Athens for a few others — as well as one guy still in VA?), are on tour for their second album, Nocturne. I wasnt sure how the album would hold up compared to Gemini (one of my fav albums quite possibly ever), and it does. And quite nicely. Maybe with a few more spins it’ll end up in that same category.

From what I had learned from their new lighting guy – the band is kind of all over the place when it comes to where they live. Im not sure how it works as it seems that Jack isn’t fully in control over every part of the music, but it does work. And dare I add, quite well.

Wild Nothing

Their music just takes you away to a dreamy far away land with swirling guitars, lush vocals and darkened lights that just add to the visual. For an hour or so, it feels like youre off in your own land dancing to infectious indie pop hooks. It still has the hint of shoegaze but its like the Cocteau Twins of the 80s and the pop sounds of The Sundays.

The guys all moved around aimlessly with the bassist jumping up and down for a lot of the songs and the guitarist moving back and forth in his own world. Jack, who doesnt say much, had some interactions with the guys but mostly he just played his heart out. He was definitely excited to be there and you could feel the energy from the crowd. As the first guitar chords begin on ‘Chinatown’ an excitement builds in the crowd. ‘Live In Dreams’, which has always been a favorite, has never sounded better. Everyone sang and danced and moved in a hazy dreamlike nature.

In contrast to the Pains show, this was a different experience where people were there just wanting to hear the music. The only real complaint was the sound itself. At times the guitars were just too loud and muddy and took away from the vocals, but for the most part it worked itself out.

And just because Im selfish – how about bringing back one of the best Kate Bush covers ever. Cloudbusting is such an amazing song; its rare that a band can do her music justice. But its one of the best covers Ive ever heard. And this coming from a music snob 🙂

DIIV (pronounced Dive and formerly known as Dive), another band from NYC, were one of 2 openers. The guys looked impossibly young and it was hard to believe they were even 16. The crowd were so into them and that was quite awesome. Some of their music reminded me of Explosions in the Sky but not as big as a sound. Lots of heavy guitars and a few songs with minimal vocals.

I remember liking Holy Shit and at the same time thinking what a horrible band name or thinking when is Holy Shit Fuck going to be a band. The band, which used to have Ariel Pink in it on the first album, is now a few guys from San Francisco. They play lo-fi experimental-ish jams and put on a great, really tight set. It was over so quickly that by the time you were into it, that was it.

Overall — one hell of a night with 3 great bands!

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It Must Be Summer – Fountains of Wayne @ GAMH

Posted by xneverwherex on July 24, 2012

Fountains of Wayne
Mike Viola
Great American Music Hall
7/19/12

It seems like every time I see Fountains of Wayne its the summer. They are the perfect summer band, so it works out quite nice. The band came here via Japan and were still jet-lagged from the plane ride. They joked about the questions the Japanese asked them and clearly they had a great time. While maybe a bit tired, you never once got that feeling from them during the set.

The band played with so much energy. The crowd just loved Adam – who doesnt – and throughout the show you could hear various people yelling out his name. The crowd was beyond energetic and everyone around me was singing and dancing. There was just so much love for the band.

The band, who seems to have not stopped touring since summer of last year, was here promoting the new album Sky Full of Holes. Its great that the band manages to play songs from all of their albums. My favorite album has always been Utopia Parkway – so its always good to hear “Denise” and “Red Dragon Tattoo” (perhaps my favorite song).

The night seemed to go by at record speed. Their catchy power-pop songs felt like they were played at a frenetic 3 minute speed (they might have, actually). The guitars as always really add to the show. Im pretty sure the entire crowd was rocking out. I couldnt wait for the ‘Radiation Vibe’ medley which seems to always occur now. The real surprise is what songs will they mix it up. The guy behind me was nearly going into cardiac arrest yelling ‘Billy f’ing Squier’. Hah! Its hard to argue with the following mix tho – Radiation Vibe/White Wedding (Billy Idol)/Everybody Wants You (Billy Squier), Rock’n Me (Steve Miller Band)/Jet (Paul McCartney & Wings)/Sister Golden Hair (America)/Radiation Vibe. Im a huge fan of America (I make no apologies) and this was just insane. The crowd is driven to insanity and then bam – band leaves the stage.

Thankfully the band came back out with a 5 song encore. Of course, Stacy’s Mom (has got it going on) and Sink to the bottom was on it. Its hard to imagine a show without either of them (not sure it can happen).

Always great to see a NY local band along with FoW. I think it must be a staple for them. Mike Viola was an opener not to be missed. He had really catchy pop songs – so it wasnt a surprise to google him and find out that he composed songs for movies “That Thing You Do”. The 2 other guys accompanying him were a great addition, but he alone would have been fabulous. He’s definitely an artist worth checking out.

Setlist:
Bought for a Song
It Must Be Summer
Someone to Love
Denise
Red Dragon Tattoo
The Summer Place
Richie and Ruben
Valley Winter Song
Hackensack
A Dip in the Ocean
Bright Future in Sales
Barbara H
Mexican Wine
Radiation Vibe Medley: Radiation Vibe/White Wedding (Billy Idol)/Everybody Wants You (Billy Squier)/Rock’n Me (Steve Miller Band)/Jet (Paul McCartney/Wings)/Sister Golden Hair (America)/Radiation Vibe

Encore:
I-95
Cemetery Guns
Joe Rey
Stacy’s Mom
Sink to the Bottom

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Raise Our Voice, Make Another Sound – The P-Spree

Posted by xneverwherex on April 4, 2012

The Polyphonic Spree
New Fumes
Sweet Lee Morrow

Great American Music Hall
4/3/12

My first show in awhile and my first show since moving back to SF. I couldn’t have chosen a better band for my first show here. The GAMH is a super awesome space. The ceiling is quite ornate in the shape of a woman’s body (thank you, foursquare). Its quite the intimate spot with tables wrapped around the venue making it a great place for dinner and a show.

Sweet Lee Morrow, keyboardist with the Spree, opened the show with a folk acoustic set. He sat down in the middle of the stage with just a lone chair and guitar. He sang a few songs, made some quips about songs not for the young ones (ah the ever great all ages shows) and finished the set in a fast 20 minutes or less. Next up, New Fumes. I was surprised that the audience didnt seem so into it, and for just one guy he had some great beats. An electronica set with interesting beats and Star Wars as a backdrop, not bad. Oh yeah, and danceable music. I was quite loving it.

A few minutes before 10pm and a red sheet/screen is covering the stage. Its a wonder how many members are in The Polyphonic Spree these days and how will they fit them all on the stage. Right away you could tell 2 players would be high up above the others. Soon, a heart is cut out and out pops Tim DeLaughter’s head. The rest of the sheet is then cut and pulled off and GAMH has turned into a stage filled with at least 13 members (although I swore there were more). Way high up above would be the cellist and guitarist. In the center are 2 rows of choir members that are beyond giddy. Of course, my favorites, the horns comprising a french horn, trombone and trumpet.

The Polyphonic Spree

Its a whirlwind pace of a show with white robes swooshing and a big red heart stitched into the middle. Who wouldn’t want to be a member of that cult band. Musical director/lead singer Tim DeLaughter takes us on a tour of the Spree’s musical catalog. Directing the instruments and choir it begins to feel like a gospel baptist church. Its hard to not get caught up in the euphoria that the band brings. Everyone swaying and dancing with hands extended into the air. Plenty of peace signs flashed throughout the show along with heart-shaped hands.

Some of the highlights included ‘2000 Places’ which early on got the crowd moving and dancing. The new single ‘Bulls Eye’ sounds quite great. The Who medley was pure brilliance as Tim leads the band through a nearly 10 minute performance that includes a rockin’ ‘Pinball Wizard’. The french horn and cello got lots of play during that. ‘What Would You Do’ had the choir doing some great harmonies and vocals.

So soon they’d be off the stage. Tim said how awesome it was to be in SF again and how they’d be back again real soon. As in one month, maybe one night, and then he said theyd play again today at 7:30am and asked if we’d be there. Obviously, if there was a 7:30am show we’d all be there regardless.

The band then left the stage for a few minutes before coming on and doing a march through the crowd. The band members kept on coming – high-fiving the crowd and waving hello. The encore consisted of ‘Together we’re Heavy’, crowd favorite ‘Light & Day’, ‘We Sound Amazed’ and ‘The Championship’. It is one hell of a one-two punch when oen of the last songs you’re singing is ‘Follow the day and reach for the SUN!’ – which should be an anthem for the band (and prob for most of us in general). The band finally left the stage (after a nearly 2 hour set) for good with each member walking off the stage and waving goodnight. As the band members left soon it was the cellist, who seemed to be having a hard time getting down from the riser and 2 singers and Tim. As each person left it got a little quieter, but the audience got louder. Soon it was just us and Tim singing ‘All in good time, we’ll come round, raise our voice, make another sound’. And then it was just us and the audience continued singing that line and simply put… it was beautiful.

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