Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘indie’

Vagabon Proved She Won’t Be A Small Fish For Long At The Rickshaw Stop

Posted by xneverwherex on March 25, 2017

Vagabon
Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz
Joyride!
Rickshaw Stop
March 23, 2017

Coming to SF straight from SXSW with lots of well-deserved hype was Vagabon. Vagabon is producer and musician Lætitia Tamko, born in Cameroon and raised in NYC. In a far too short set, she played nearly all of the songs off her debut album Infinite Worlds. Vagabon, who played a number of songs with just a guitar and synthpads, also brought 2 other women musicians with her for some added bass and drums.

Vagabon

Vagabon

Vagabon’s haunting vocals brings an emotional punch to the songs. During “Cold Apartment” you can feel the angst in her voice and it clings to your skin. There is such a rawness and vulnerability and it feels stripped to the bone, yet the moment the drums and bass join in it packs a real punch. “Minneapolis” bursts out with punk aggression and explodes with lots of guitars and bass and has you stomping along in no time.

Lætitia even teased us with her new song as the other musicians left the stage. She literally had just written it and it was still a work in progress. In her new song she has a line about the moon and her lyrics are so picturesque that you can visualize her words. She knows how to bring more than emotion to her songs and uses her words expressively.

She ended the set with single “The Embers“. As she sang “I’m just a small fish” repeatedly over punk drums and the crowd sang along, it was clear that she would not be a small fish for long. As she said early on, with a huge smile on her face, “Thank you all for coming. This is fucking crazy.”

Philadelphia’s Allison Crutchfield & The Fizz had a hard act to follow. She said right away that she didn’t want to keep the crowd waiting and came on earlier than expected. She started the set by stating that “I hate men, but I love California” and then went into playing 2 songs about California. Her song “I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California” is a catchy lo-fi bubble-gum pop song.

Some of the songs were more catchy than others and it seemed to lull in the middle before picking up again with new song “Charlie” off her debut album Tourist in This Town. Her songs tended to work better when she harmonized with her guitar player as it gave her songs a more interesting fuller sound. The band ended their set pretty early on saying there was just one more song. It seemed that the energy was just waning but it worked out as all the bands played the same amount of time. She ended the set with their very catchy song, “Dean’s Room“. It was one of their more dancey songs, which the crowd loved, and sounds like it came courtesy of New Order with their recognizable keyboards/percussive hooks.

Locals Joyride! opened up the set. The very loud trio, fronted by Jenna Marx, is bringing the ’90s pop punk sound back. During “Don’t forget the first one”, as the drums and guitars quiet, Jenna’s sugary pop sweet vocals burst through the song. It made the song feel alive and brought freshness to set it apart from their other songs. Their 20 minute set, which felt far too short, consisted of tight pop punk songs that came alive with their explosive energy and loud guitars. It was a great way to start the set and get the crowd ready for an incredible evening of music.

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Noirwave Comes to the Rickshaw

Posted by xneverwherex on March 27, 2016

Petite Noir
The Seshen
Rickshaw Stop
March 23, 2016

Yannick Ilunga, the singer/songwriter/producer out of Cape Town, South Africa, was here in town with his band for his first show. He plays under the name of Petite Noir and is someone not to be missed. I wasn’t familiar with his music, but it was clear the crowd knew some of his songs. His first EP, released in 2015 ‘King of Anxiety‘, was all the buzz at SXSW that year.

Petite Noir

Petite Noir

And now he’s back again, with the album La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful. It’s clear that he has influences from all genres and blends it all together making his own sound. Upon the band’s entrance to “Intro Noirwave“, I was reminded me of the genius of Battles (pre-Yannick’s appearance). If you stripped out vocals and just had instrumentation – you might have a band that sounds all too similar to Battles (which is not a bad thing in any way), but the minute that Yannick joins with his bandmates – and the dynamic changes.

Yannick has a stage presence that is all to awesome to see. He owns the stage and is a charismatic frontman. He works the stage engaging the audience. His vocals reminds me of a cross between Twin Shadows and Kele of Bloc Party. The band has a similar sound to Bloc Party with the indie/post-punk sound. Songs like “Seventeen (Stay)” could be a new Bloc Party track. I’m a fan of the music when he starts to blend African beats into the music. It then differentiates him from the Bloc Party(s) and bands who are already doing that music.

After listening to his work online, it’s totally clear that this is a band that needs to be seen live. “La Vie Est Belle” is just beautiful when it’s performed. The images that are shown on the backdrop of him falling just add to the sound. Add the African beats to the R&B influences and you get an amazing song that incorporates it all. In songs like these, you can hear all the music that he listened to – from Kanye to Mos Def to Prince – its a beautiful blend. “Just Breathe” shows off the 80’s influences and had the crowd dancing. Add some positive lyrics with “be the change you want to see” over synth-pop beats – it makes for a good dance party – and then to dive right into “Freedom“. You can feel his emotion in all the songs, from discontentment to frustration to exhilaration.

As he neared the ending of the set, there was a crowd sing-along with “Down” which went on and on and made sure to include all of the audience at some point. Yannick seemed like he was having a great time and said over and over how SF was such an awesome crowd and so loud. The crowd danced along and sang along and clearly showed him and the band a really great time. Can’t wait to see what happens when he comes back to play a bigger venue.

The Seshen

The Seshen

What made this show even more awesome were the openers from the other side of the bay – The Seshen. Two bands that were paired perfectly and both had amazing shows. The Seshen clearly had a big following and many people were out just to see them. The two lead singers, Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr, both had amazing/strong vocals – and both were awesome dancers. They just take you away with their lush voices.

Plus – The Seshen has one hell of a percussion section. A set of congas and bongos along with a whole drum set, and a drummer with a contagious smile, and it elevated the music. The afro-caribbean beats mixed in with a fusion of R&B/hip-hop/electronic music and indie and it made for some awesome songs.

The band had the crowd dancing in no time. It’s so easy to get swept up into their music. “The Fall” is just infectious and its swirling melody reminds me of Beach House. It just transports you and you get lost in the music as you dance and move along to it. “Unravel” is pure catchiness over the electronic dance beats that will keep you moving. Their set is just brilliant and the only bad thing is that it felt like it was over before it even began. Between the catchy/dance-y music and the amazing singers and their dancing – the set just felt like it was way too short. We definitely need to be seeing more of the Seshen in the Bay Area sometime soon!

Set List Petite Noir:
Intro Noirwave
Best
Seventeen (Stay)
Shadows
La Vie Est Belle
MDR
Just Breathe
Freedom
Down
Chess

Till We Ghosts

Set List The Seshen:
Turn
Shapes
The Fall
Spectacle
Unravel
Distant Heart
Periphery
Oblivion
2000 Seasons
Right Here

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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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(No) Passion w/Car Seat Headrest

Posted by xneverwherex on January 23, 2016

Car Seat Headrest
Silver Shadows
Independent
January 20, 2016

Not unlike another Virginian (Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing), Will Toledo has a similar story. Both seemed to start recording their albums very lo-fi in their bedrooms and then managed to get signed by labels and record albums and go on tour. It’s almost too familiar. Both artists are clearly masters of what they do and have incredible music. Will, playing under the moniker Car Seat Headrest, has moved onto wetter pastures aka Seattle. And then he got signed by Matador Records. The even crazier part of this – he already had some 11 albums released. Pretty f’ing impressive!

Car Seat Headrest

Car Seat Headrest

On album, some of their songs are fuzzy anthem sing-alongs and they’re fun to listen to, but it was a wonder of what it would be like live. I already had listened to Car Seat Headrest’s Matador debut, Teens of Style, more than enough times. I had come across them while asking friends which bands I needed to check out from CMJ (think SXSW – smaller and in NYC). And then next thing I know, a co-worker is sending me all these links of the band and how much press they are getting. Seriously, the prestigious New Yorker had written about them. And that’s when you know you’re going places.

To say that I was beyond pleasantly surprised about their show would be an understatement. I didn’t even realize they had that much music to perform and it seemed like the entire audience know their entire catalog and had seem them play countless times. The band started the set with “The Ending of Dramamine” which had to be the coolest song they had. The solid drum beats in the background with the minimal sound of the throbbing bass and then the guitars come in oh so slowly. At first a note here and there its slow and drawn out. I was so reminded me of Explosions in the Sky at this moment. As the 13 minute song continues it picks up. The guitars come in full force getting louder and louder and more aggressive. It comes to a full swell before backing down and then picking up. It was just beautiful and one hell of a song opener. And then once it seems like the song is over, 5 or so minutes in, Will comes in with his lyrics. It’s strangely beautiful – his vocals just emote. You can nearly feel the pain of the lyrics as he sings.

My only wish was that it continued just like that, but the songs change up and they’re not all that heavy. But regardless, the show was awesome. From the crowd chanting out songs and the drummer joking that it’s a school night and we should all be home sleeping. The band clearly was quite comfortable with the crowd. Will almost seems embarrassed from the way the audience loved him and it was somewhat cute. There were moments that I felt like I was watching an early Pavement show. Some old-school songs that clearly felt like they were from the 90’s independent scene. Then there were songs like “Bodies” which has a more electronic fuzzy pop sound and got the crowd dancing and jumping.

Im definitely a fan of their songs being played with more guitars. But even their pop songs that were more well known were awesome live. Everyone singing along they also managed to capture the 60’s neo-psychedelia sound. Its hard to place the band on where they should be filed under and who would like them, but it seems that they cross genres and have a pretty cool fan-base. Im totally into seeing them again whenever they come around. Plus – Will is multi-talented and watching him on drums was pretty sweet.

Besides, any band that can end with a really impressive “Psycho Killer” cover from The Talking Heads already upped brownie points. In a weird way, at that moment it felt like we were watching a young David Byrne. Quirky and slightly weird, Will is just quite awesome.

Silver Shadows

Silver Shadows

Local SF/Oakland band Silver Shadows started the set. The almost all-girl band (minus the drummer – Chase – who apparently is a cool dude that somehow everyone seems to know) were a really great start. Sounding like some of the 60’s girl bands they didn’t totally have a wall-of-sound going, but should have. If the guitars were just a bit louder it would have been that much more awesome. A co-worker said they could be the next Dum Dum Girls or Best Coast and I was reminded of a less 80’s version of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Regardless, all great bands to be compared to. The vocals from each of the women was pretty sweet – as their high voices pierced through the air against swirling guitars, drum beats that almost get lost in the background but you can just feel it and keyboards. The guys in front next to me (possibly friends of the drummer for all I know) were really into it and dancing and singing along.

I’ve listened to the EP more times than I could have imagined already and it makes for really great listening. A bit shoegazey at times into crescendoing guitars and they have this really awesomely beautiful sound. I really need to see them again.

So far – a pretty good start to 2016 with Tool being the first show (no words can describe a Tool show but f’ing amazing balls-to-the-walls awesomeness).

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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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Stereolad = !!!

Posted by xneverwherex on December 6, 2015

!!!
Stereolad
Slim’s
12/4/2015

It was one of those nights that was just bizarre. While waiting in front of the club, a woman comes up to me and asks me if I want dinner tickets to the show. I tell her that I already have tickets, and she says she has no one else to give them to. So now – Ive got 4 tickets. Because the show isn’t sold out, nor even close to it, and there arent people roaming around I talk to the bouncer/security guy and he is game to help me out. He agrees to text me if it does sell out so I can come back out and sell my tickets. I won’t even spill the guy’s name, because I am sure that this is not supposed to happen. Wouldnt matter anyway, as that did not happen.

But, I did get a free dinner out of it. So, I cant complain too much, especially because it meant I didn’t really have to hear the first band which I just wasn’t enjoying, nor really paid much attention to.

Stereolad

Stereolad

As excited as I was to see !!! again, I was even more excited when I realized/hoped that Stereolad was indeed a Stereolab cover band (with the members of !!!). Im not sure if it was a better thing that I had read up on this, or the surprise in person would have been better. Either way, it was simply brilliant and maybe even the highlight of the show. Oddly enough, Laetitia Sadier, lead singer of Stereolab, had just performed in concert a few months ago.

Its so worth checking this out, especially if you’re a fan of Stereolab. Stereolad does not disappoint in the slightest. Nic Offer (lead singer of !!!) comes out in an too short checkered dress with big flowers on the pockets and even puts on a great French accent. He nails it and gets the whole French attitude all so perfectly. With 2 other women singing, alongside him, it almost feels like a Stereolab concert. They have perfect harmonies and opening with ‘French Disko‘ is just about as perfect as it gets. With heavy keyboards, some great droning guitars and Offer singing back-up vocals in addition to him on guitar, their music sounds perfect. Its that perfect amount of indie-pop sung in French and English and has everyone dancing along. How can anyone not dance to ‘Jenny Ondioline‘. I couldn’t have been happier to hear “The Noise of Carpet” off Emperor Tomato Ketchup (which was one of my favorite albums of theirs), especially since the women really killed it on the vocals of that song. Perhaps the best moment is when Nic announces that soon !!! (or pronounced in a French accent – cheek cheek cheek) will be out soon. Never sounded better! The set was just perfect and if you can’t get Stereolab, you definitely can’t go wrong with Stereolad.

French Disko
Transona 5
Jenny Ondioline
Our Trinitone Blast
The Noise of Carpet
Lo Boob Oscillator

!!!

!!!

And soon enough Brooklyn via Sacramento band !!! (chk chk chk) would take to the stage. Nic opted out of his dress and came back with his short blue board shorts (TM). And the band was ready to go in a whole different direction from Stereolad.

The band is on tour for their new album As If. It didn’t take long for them to get the crowd dancing with hands in the air. Sure, maybe the music has changed over the years and has lost the dance-punk edge, but the 80’s dance music is hard to go wrong with. They opened with the ever catchy “Sick Ass Moon” off of their new album. It starts off slow but has a nice build to it and is a good way to begin the show which is obviously going to be a sweaty hot dance mess. “All U Writers” is by far a bit more catchy and it was good that they kept the songs going more upbeat and really working the crowd into a frenzy. The back-up vocals were pretty awesome, although I have no clue on the woman’s name who sang. All I can say is – first time in SF and she was having an awesome time – and killing it. I love that the band now has solid dance routines down for the band members. It’s just so much fun to watch.

Nic Offer !!!

Nic Offer !!!

And Nic’s moves are always sweet. He knows how to work a stage, hands and arms going back and forth, legs moving non-stop. While they may never change, it surely doesn’t matter. It works and everyone loves him for it. Nic clearly was having a good time and spent a good chunk of time in the dance pity on the floor. He worked the entire floor moving all through it really getting the crowd to dance. He was so engaging.

Bam City” was great to finally hear. It’s a total rock party song and everyone was singing along with it. And lots of keys and guitars are always refreshing to hear. It had been awhile since I had heard “Must Be The Moon” performed, so it was really awesome to finally hear it again. The crowd was going pretty crazy and everyone was jumping. Nic was leading the crowd in the pogo-ing and it worked. Plus the keyboardist was really into it. He had a lot more solo dance moves last night and was really into it.

Freedom! ’15” is a song perfect for now – political enough but with dance beats it always seems a bit more light-hearted. And then right into the even more fun “One Girl/One Boy” was perfect. Everyone singing along and dancing to it was just perfect. It’s beyond catchy and has lots of great guitar parts so Nic could catch a breather.

But the highlight by far had to be the encore, “i feel so free (citation needed)” – which more people seem to know it as ‘say it ain’t so’. It starts with just Nic singing and then as he song goes on he says ‘its too quiet without kickdrums’ and sure enough they come in – then the same for guitar. It just builds and builds and its just a huge dance party with the whole floor moving – arms flailing in the air, everyone having a great time together – and dancing all as one. As Nic would lean over the stage, people would rub his head – all sweaty big hair and curls. He would get really into it. And at one point, he messes up, and just starts laughing and laughing and cant stop – then says ‘well thats never happened before’. And that kind of sums up the show. It was just pure fun and to all the blogs/writers out there giving this album mediocre to bad reviews – if you cant get past that the band is all about making great dance music – and sure maybe the punk is gone – but who cares. They put on a show like no one else – and some days that’s all I want in my music.

Set List:
Sick Ass Moon
All U Writers
Except Death
Ooo
Fast One
Bam City
All the Way
Must Be the Moon
Freedom! ’15
One Girl/One Boy
Slyd

I Feel So Free (Citation Needed)

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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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F**K Yeah Fest (FYFFest) Festival 2015 – Day 2

Posted by xneverwherex on September 15, 2015

FYF Fest
August 22-23
The LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park

While Day 1 was pretty incredible … it was really all about Day 2 – Saturday. And it was really all about just 3 bands. We showed up late into the day and strolled into the park right as Spiritualized was taking the stage in the Arena. The Arena couldn’t have been a more perfect place for the band to perform.

The show was pretty sparse which was a bit of a surprise with a near empty floor. We opted for the seats up above and werent too far away with amazing views. The band was swathed in lights and it made for one of the best light shows of the festival. “Lord Let It Rain On Me” sounded just beautiful – with loud, fuzzy guitars and the women vocalists in the backdrop. Jason Pierce’s vocals were just beautiful as they echoed through the arena and filled the room. And then it just melted into “Electricity“. Its hard to have even imagined a more perfect set than what the band gave to us.

Spiritualized

Spiritualized

Throw in some heavy, droning guitars and turn it up and one hell of a laser light show and its pure electricity. Jason’s vocals were haunting through the loud guitars and filled the air. The crowd below swayed with a few people jumping around. It was just an electric, raw feeling that I knew I wouldn’t get from any other band. And soon after, the very space-y jam “Electric Mainline” that you can just close your eyes and feel like youre in the music – it just takes you away as the guitars drone on and on and your body just moves with it. Such a beautiful feeling. And naturally, as this song came on the joints started getting passed back and forth behind me and the arena started looking like it was one big cloud of smoke.

The show just got better and better with “She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)“, “Oh Baby” (which really emphasized the background singers – who of course sounded amazing!) and eventually coming to the end with the Spacemen 3 cover “Walkin’ With Jesus” which always makes me feel like I’m in a church with such powerful lyrics. Spiritualized ended the set with “Come Together” which couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to the set. That song just takes you away — your body moves to the music – heads swaying/bobbing back and forth — and then the loud guitars come in and BAM! It’s pure heaven! And they were just awesome!

And then came a bit of a wait – as I checked out some bands. Battles sounded awesome and are so worth seeing again. The 3-some from NYC and their experimental art-electronic rock sound were a really great time. “FF Bada” is pure catchiness, if not a totally out there song but it had the crowd moving and snapping along. And then of course, there’s “Ice Cream” which is so hard to go wrong with. Its pure catchy, love, hip shaking, infinite loops that are always changing and dance around fun! What’s not to love about this band!

Following Battles, was LA’s Health. The loud, VERY loud rock/experimental band, could be heard from nearly everywhere. I had seen them before and just loved them, but this time just couldn’t get into them. It just seemed like screamo rock without much else, but perhaps it’s just their new album or just not a great set up. Either way, sadly, I didn’t stay to hear much of them. Did attempt to see Solange as I had heard great things about her, but after not starting within 15 minutes of her start time, I ended up taking off. Not sure what time she eventually came on. But I had places to be … as in needed to get past the famed 1984 Olympic site with the lovely olympic rings to see hear some ‘Stars of Track and Field’ aka Belle & Sebastian.

And finally, we were getting to the best of the best. Scottish band Belle & Sebastian were clearly up for a good time. They had recruited members of the audience to be part of the show and they just danced on the sidelines for the most part; although one girl, who apparently thought she was the show, seemed to end up in Stuart’s lap quite a bit. While it was a bit distracting, it really didn’t seem to matter all that much.

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian opened with “Nobody’s Empire” off their newest album Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Its fun and catchy and a great way to start the set. Singer Stuart Murdoch seemed in great spirits and just wanting to have fun. It was awesome that there were so many people on stage as well as so many instruments. And if you wanted to dance, the set could’t have been more perfect. They jumped right into “Im A Cuckoo” and everyone was dancing and bouncing around. Pure blissful fun indie-pop. It could only get better.

Stuart asked the Angelenos (pronounced in a way only a Scotsmen could say) if we wanted to party on this Sunday night before going right into “The Party Line“. And just like that Stuart was dancing and on the screens there were people dancing with their great little dance moves. If that couldn’t get a crowd dancing than nothing would.

Stuart was beyond chatty – talking between songs and adding a lot of banter. But of course the real highlight (even if all too predictable) was “The Stars of Track and Field“. He joked about how most of us weren’t alive during the olympics but he remembered watching it in 1984. And of course, with the olympic stadium behind us — it was hard to not be touched. Jokes about the jetpack man (where is he now?) and of course Carl Lewis on the big screen as the band played on. It was just too awesome and how often (if ever) can you say you saw a band play the most perfect song at the most perfect place. Even if it ended here, I’d have been beyond happy.

The band played just an awesome set. Couldn’t have been happier to hear “The Boy With The Arab Strap” as Stuart jumped over to the keys and sounded just perfect. They recruited a trumpet player from the area and it worked out quite well. He was awesome. The band ended the set with “Judy and The Dream of Horses” and sounded awesome — clarinet players, FTW! It was just a great set… so the only real question in my mind was — Will Morrissey be even better? 🙂

And clearly, the best had yet to come. The crowd surged forward and everyone needed to get as close to Moz as humanly possible. At this point – I went to the side as I was not about to get crushed. Sadly, I had missed Moz in July in San Jose, so it was a long time coming (he manages to cancel all of his SF shows, so thankfully I saw him plenty in NYC)… And Morrissey did NOT disappoint. Coming out in jeans and a bright blue long sleeved shirt and the band sporting Crapitol Records, he was at his finest. He had the best images on the large screen behind him and with the Queen Mum flipping us off, Morrissey started the show with “The Queen is Dead“. He sounded as great as ever and starting with a Smiths song!!! I didn’t really care what happened after this, as at this moment it was pure happiness.

The crowd went crazy as the next song was “Suedehead“. Seriously, how could it not be more perfect. Everyone started singing along and it was louder than Morrissey himself. I swear, if I hadn’t seen him before, I would have been crying with all the emotion I felt at this moment. I felt like I was back in highschool and seeing him all over again for the first time. He still works the stage better than any other performer I’ve seen. He plays to his fans and LA fans are serious about Morrissey. They love him like no other. (Next LA show, I am flying down). There was so much security protecting Moz, no one could really climb on stage so naturally Moz had to chastise them saying there were too many of them! Its a sick love/hate relationship with Moz and his security.

Morrissey

Morrissey

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Morrissey show if he didn’t express his views and show it in the hard-cold reality. He had choice words about our police and all of the police brutality. With images on the screen of black men getting beaten up by police, its hard to be surprised by what he shows. He had choice words about Obama, American politics, British Royalty and of course, meat. He has probably become more in your face over the years, but its hard to not love him. He doesn’t hide from his views and is always confrontational. Good thing him and Kanye weren’t playing the same night.

World Peace is None of Your Business” sounded just great and it was also awesome to hear that he now sings a bit in Spanish and has clearly learned quite a bit of Spanish thanks to all of his time in LA. And then soon after even more Smiths. As soon as he started with the opener of “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before“, the crowd went crazy and everyone was singing and dancing along. It just got better and better. I can’t even begin to fathom how it was so perfect. “First of The Gang To Die” which is a perfect song to be playing in South Central. “Meat Is Murder” was just awesome to hear and its hard to imagine dancing along as he performed it with all the images of animals being slaughtered. It was so Morrissey and it was hard to not feel nauseous watching it all. Some guys around me joked about now getting a burger, but I just felt ill. Nothing like literally shoving this down our throats.

Morrissey is one of the best crooners still performing and he knows what to play for his crowds. So, of course he played “Everyday is Like Sunday” and all I could hear was everyone singing around me … and of course, now there’s some Spanish thrown in and its fitting and was perfect. And this might have been the perfect song to end with. A perfect Sunday would come to an end, but this memory will live on forever.

“And if you happen to have a God, may he or she bless you”. – Morrissey

Set List:
The Queen Is Dead (The Smiths song)
Suedehead
Alma Matters
Kiss Me a Lot
Ganglord
Speedway
Staircase at the University
World Peace Is None of Your Business
I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (The Smiths song)
First of the Gang to Die
Istanbul
Everyday Is Like Sunday
The Bullfighter Dies
Meat Is Murder (The Smiths song)
Now My Heart Is Full
I Will See You in Far-Off Places
What She Said (The Smiths song)

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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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Tell Me Its Not Over – Starsailor/Embrace

Posted by xneverwherex on June 4, 2015

Starsailor/Embrace
Slim’s
June 3, 2015

It felt like a reunion show of sorts, with these lovely bands of the late 90’s and 00’s. Its hard to watch these guys, not just as they age (we all do), but as the gigs change. At one point they were slated to play The Fillmore and then were bumped to Slim’s where it wasnt even a packed house. Seriously – its a pity. But at the same time, as a fan of the band, it meant a much more intimate show.

Starsailor It felt like a lifetime since I had seen Starsailor – a lifetime quite possibly being September 11, 2006 – a show that will live forever in my mind for the date alone and also seeing it in NYC. Its hard to pull off a show on that date – esp when it was just 5 years to the date. But I also had been lucky enough to see James Walsh perform a solo set, shortly before announcing the band’s hiatus. 5 years is a long time for a band to go away (even moreso now with videos on demand and everything changing in a heartbeat) and I am sure the band didn’t know what to expect on coming back. But here they were, filled with an audience who remembered the band from years prior, a little bit older but loving the band just as much.

James Walsh joked about growing old – getting fatter, losing hair, etc. – but his voice has held up quite beautifully. To this day, there are few artists that I put in his category of the greatest voices ever. Actually, between him and Kelly Jones of The Stereophonics, I am not sure there is a better voice out there. The band came out and jumped into “Poor Misguided Fool” which sounded as beautiful as ever. And wasting no time went directly into “Alcoholic” which was more heartbreaking than I had remembered it. It was quite awesome as the whole crowd sang along.

James wasn’t so talkative (when you compare him to Danny of Embrace), but he was having a really great time and was getting the crowd to sing along. Joking about if we didn’t know the lyrics how easy the part was – and demonstrated it for us (of course, it was just ooooh’s and aaahhhh’s). He introduced his band mates as the show progressed. Also, tried to not engage in a war of sports as a guy in the audience was talking about their football team winning 5 championships – and he wanted a high-5. James was pretty amusing and finally said something like ‘no way – I am not getting into a war about sports at a show – someone always gets mad’. Definitely one way to shut it down; although the guy wouldnt stop for a bit.

I was loving their faster, “harder” edged songs on James’ electric guitar. Their music had never sounded better to me. The show just could not possibly go on long enough and songs like “Fidelity” were just way too short. I loved that Danny had asked James to play “Fever” and so he dedicated the song to Danny and it was quite sweet. And Fever sounded just amazing! So glad it was put on the set. James’ high notes on “Lullaby” couldnt have sounded better. It felt like he should have been playing for a much bigger crowd. I loved that he asked about playing a new song, and if we wanted to hear it, and then he remarked about how he loved people singing along to a song that was just released a couple days before (thank you youtube)! And “Give Up The Ghost” is seriously that good! I am loving this new song and hope it brings new life to the band.

But one of the things Ive always loved about James is how honest he comes across. He remarked that when he started, their label probably would have dropped them if they only had one popular song, so it was a relief when their second song was a hit that they released. (Good Souls? quite possibly). The ending of the show was just insane playing some of their more popular songs. “Tell Me Its Not Over” is one of the most heart-wrenching songs ever and with the tempo of Barry banging on the piano its just soars and makes the song that much more upbeat. The audience was very into it and lots of hand clapping and singing along. Probably one of my favorite songs these days. Plus, its now getting ‘mixed’ and James is adding some other songs into it – such as Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” and I think part of an MGMT song was thrown in. And to end the show with “Four to the Floor” and of course “Silence is Easy” which is sounding as rocking as ever and closing it out with “Good Souls” — wow! Its great that the audience was so into it and he mentioned how we were so much a better crowd than Anaheim the night before and they were having such an amazing time.

Even if this were the last time I saw them (hopefully not!), I will forever have these awesome memories of the band. And of course, it all now lives on forever on youtube.

Embrace co-headlined the show and started off the night. And there were a lot of people in Embrace t-shirts which was pretty awesome. Danny McNamara, lead singer, is *the* ultimate front-man. If you ever wanted a band to be so full of energy and putting their hearts into a set, you couldn’t ask for a better band. The band, having been around since the brit-pop days of the 90s from the UK, seems to have somewhat fallen by the wayside. Steve, bassist, looked cooler than ever coming on stage with big sunglasses and the same floppy hair from the day. Most the band seemed like it never aged with similar hair styles. Like James said, maybe they got a bit older and fatter, but this band was looking awesome.

EmbraceThe band started off with the ever catchy ‘Protection‘ and after performing it asked how many of us even knew who they were from back then. Then obviously commented that we were all too young to remember them. The crowd missed the part of saying that the band was clearly too young to be that old. It was amusing. He asked how many people actually had their other albums and remembered songs from it. And of course, everyone knew their music and was singing along.

Danny worked the stage and kept prompting the crowd to move forward. Edging towards the very front of the stage he kept chastising the back of the room and told them they needed to be part of it; plus the sound stopped at a certain point and they just couldnt possibly hear the loudness from that far back. He was amusing but mostly just loving every minute of it. The band was just so excited to be playing you could see it all on their faces. As Danny would just look at you, his piercing blue eyes just melted you. I felt like I was 18 again crushing on a band.

Come Back To What You Know” took me back to my 20’s. I dont think I had really listened to The Good Will Out since what seemed a lifetime, but I could still picture their album – the front picture Ive never forgotten. Mickey was just awesome on the keys and in songs like the very dance-y “Quarters” it showed off his playing. And it also led into one of the many San Francisco stories. Mickey has a love of San Francisco and talked about wanting to move here as he so loved it here. Of course, real estate prices here is no ones friends, and Danny suggested he do a swap with someone at the show. Simply brilliant. They also talked about sitting at a pub and an 8-year old boy doing karaoke and singing ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’, but the poor kid had a lisp and couldnt say it. It segued into the band playing ever-catchy ‘Save Me‘ which had the crowd singing along.

One of the highlights was hearing Danny sing “Gravity“. It is one of the most beautiful songs and interestingly enough it wasnt even written by the band. It was written by one Chris Martin and team (aka Coldplay), who gave it to the band. And the song is so suited for them. Afterwards, Richard, guitarist and brother of Danny, sang the band’s new song ‘Refugees‘ which is a bit more electronic but with a rock edge featuring Richard’s falsetto which is nothing short of impressive. There was so much pressure and he joked about how nervous he was, so insisted on tuning his guitar for a bit, for fear of f’ing it up. Just watching Danny watch his younger brother was pretty sweet. It just reminded me of watching a proud family moment. And right after that going onto play one of my favorite songs ‘Ashes’ which people had been screaming out for. And everyone started jumping around with hands in the air singing along. It was one of those moments that you can imagine happening in an arena with everyone sharing that moment. So it wasnt quite like that, but it still had that feel and the band seemed pretty excited even as Danny kept motioning for people to ‘dance and sing’ and mostly to keep coming forward.

It was heartbreaking to hear Danny talk about how it might be the last time they ever play SF and he’d see us in the after-life. The crowd went nuts and so he suggested everyone getting their mates to their gigs so they could keep on doing this. And sure the band sounds like an homage to those other bands – The Charlies – Stone Roses – and any other 90’s band from the same era/area – and theyre all trying to still be here and keep playing. But there was something special about last night, hearing both bands talk so lovingly about the other. Danny commented on watching Starsailor the previous nights and how one show was really great and the other one was as good. The crowd chuckled. Definitely no love lost with these 2 bands.

So hearing these songs live, was really awesome. I still have a fondness for their music and while never was a huge Embrace fan, their live show is just brilliant. I wish I had thought to see them awhile back as I imagine their shows would have been nothing short of incredible. With that being said, their new song is a force to be reckoned with off their latest EP (from 2014) titled Refugees – and perhaps the tides will change and there can be a resurgence for Embrace.

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