Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

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Posts Tagged ‘LA’

Arkells – The Next Great Canadian Export?!?

Posted by xneverwherex on April 18, 2017

Blossoms
Arkells
Wilderado
Bottom of the Hill
April 13, 2017

On a cold night in San Francisco, the inside of Bottom of the Hill looked anything but. People were clearly already preparing for Coachella with short shorts and high boots. The lines were long to get in and it was a packed club. Little did I know, the crowd was not there for headliner Blossoms but showed up in droves for Canadians Arkells, who clearly stole the show.

Blossoms, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, brought back the baggy Madchester scene. Unabashed ’60s pop songs mixed in with psychedelic undertones and in some cases a bit of Abba-esque ’70s sounds. The band played most of the songs off their debut self-titled album. While the band has a lot of hype and is being touted as the next Arctic Monkeys, unfortunately, lead singer Tom Ogden appeared wanting to be anywhere but there. Songs sounded lackluster and there was no energy. But, he did at times sound reminiscent of Alex Turner and even had his same hip gyrations down.

Blossoms

Blossoms

Myles Kellock brought some recognizable dance riffs on his keyboards to the catchy “Honey Sweet“. It sounded like they came out of a New Order song. Towards the end of the set, Tom performed an acoustic number that just didn’t work. As the band stood onstage not doing a thing, it just felt awkward. Thankfully, it was only one song and then they would play the guitar driven “Cut Me And I’ll Bleed“. A simple hook that is destined to get stuck in your head. It stood out.

Blossoms ended the set with the utmost of pop songs, single, “Charlemagne“. The song which is pure catchy, sunshine pop, woke up the crowd which gladly danced along. And with that, the band was gone as quickly as they seemed to come to the stage.

The openers stole the show from the onset. It was going to be a daunting task for anyone to come after Arkells. The boys from Hamilton, ONT. clearly should have been the headliners. The band, who has been playing for 10 years, had just played here a few months before and they did not disappoint.

From the moment Max Kerman, lead singer and guitarist, hit the stage you knew what you were in for. He had a frenetic energy that was contagious. As he said the moment he walked onto the stage, he wanted everyone singing and dancing. He jumped into the crowd during the first song, “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)“, and immediately got the crowd jumping and dancing and as promised he even called out the lyrics for the crowd to sing along.

Arkells - Max Kerman

Arkells – Max Kerman

The band played a really great set with plenty of songs off their new album, Morning Report. Each song told a story and the band just pulled you in. While it would be near impossible to put a label on them, aside from calling them alternative rock, their sound was never static. On “Savannah” the band had some really tight melodies and even had Anthony Carone, keyboards, break out a trumpet. “And Then Some” proved to be a perfect love song with gorgeous guitar riffs coming from the multiple guitars. It was really impressive to hear how all these guitars could melt into the background. Their newest song which was just released a couple of weeks ago, “Knocking At The Door“, was powerful. With a gritty bluesy sound, and Max singing out to “rise up”, it felt like something changed in the crowd. There was a pulse and an energy to the crowd.

While everyone always mentions the UK when it comes to the next newest, hottest band, we really can’t forget about our friends up North. Arkells clearly stole the show tonight. Perhaps touring with Canada’s greatest band The Tragically Hip taught them a thing or two.

LA band by way of Texas and Oklahoma, Wilderado, was the first opener. You could hear their music while waiting outside and they brought some energetic rock-n-roll to the club. The band had a catchy Americana/twangy sound filled with lots of guitars. They were able to uniquely blend how the South meets California sunshine/psychedelia. The band is definitely one to watch.

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Its Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas w/Aimee Mann

Posted by xneverwherex on December 7, 2015

Aimee Mann & Ted Leo Holiday Show
w/Special Guests Liz Phair, Jonathan Coulton and John Roderick
Bimbo’s 365 Club
12/6/15

In a random twist of events, I ended up at Bimbo’s last night for the Aimee Mann, Ted Leo Holiday show. Let’s just say that there might be hope for Tinder, really. The guy was from Chicago, so obviously he’s already got cool points because thats where Liz Phair is from and well it’s Chicago, and he’s obviously got great taste in music. I had always wanted to go to this show, but just never bought tickets and it seems it usually sells out. All I know is that it’s fully worth the money and next year (assuming it’s happening again), I’m all over it.

I had seen Ted Leo quite a bit in NYC but not on a tour like this and I had missed The Both (his and Aimee Mann’s collaboration). It was a really great set consisting of some really bizarre Christmas tunes and just some great stories. Apparently Ted was running for office in the North Pole as FrosTED the snowman (costume too) (term limits came into effect), and as Aimee mentioned – another white guy running for office and he had a platform/campaign with an awesome poster. Him and Aimee have great chemistry on stage and just feed off of each other.

Holiday Show w/Aimee Mann, Ted Leo

Holiday Show w/Aimee Mann, Ted Leo

With so many great guests coming together (hello Liz Phair) it was an awesome experience. She came out early in the set to perform “Supernova” along with Aimee and Ted. It sounded as great as ever and maybe better with the addition of the two of them. I did really enjoy the holiday songs that Aimee and Ted performed with Aimee’s lovely voice on “Winter Wonderland” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas“. Perhaps the best of the night was Jonathan Coulton‘s help on a new rendition of “Superstar” from Jesus Christ Superstar – with new lyrics “Jesus Claus” “Santa Christ” it was blasphemous and hilarious and so worth seeing.

I’m not sure the show got better than the moment that Aimee came out to sing “Save Me” which was haunting and beautiful as ever. So much pure, raw, emotion. Ted helped out with guitars and vocals and missed the 2nd half of the song as he got so enrapt with Aimee’s vocals and just listened in and forgot to sing. It was *that* special. Plus, she even did the “original” version of “Voices Carry” from Til Tuesday. Apparently, the original version is not what we ever heard on the radio which was about trying to get presents from her step-dad. But, apparently it didnt go well with radio peeps with lyrics like “Hush hush / He’s your dad now / This is Gary”. I think this song will be forever tainted in my head with these new lyrics.

Aimee and Ted clearly have a wicked sense of humour and really play off of each other well. And John Roderick – and a song about Atari 2600 called “2600” was pure awesome. Lots of talk about Atari vs ColecoVision and other ancient video games. It clearly wasn’t necessarily a show for the young hipster crowd, as even my date didn’t even recognize Til Tuesday. Also, there was a great rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr Grinch” which really showcased Aimee’s beautiful vocals.

In their 2 hour set, it seemed so much happened and was learned. Aimee was once married to Santa Claus (he had no time for her), Ted Leo learned the elections were not happening, he also has a dad who cries mysteriously when some Christmas donkey song is played (report back NYC when he brings his dad on stage for this), Jonathan Coulton (who was initially dressed as Santa Claus) is really Jesus, and the lovely Liz Phair goes all out for decorating the tree so much that you can’t even find her family. What can be better than a night spent like that, hearing lovely stories and laughing a lot and bringing in the holiday spirit.

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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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F**K Yeah Fest (FYFFest) Festival 2015

Posted by xneverwherex on September 4, 2015

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

A friend and I love to joke about the name of the festival as the letters already stand for F*** Yeah Fest – so why they also added another fest is beyond me. Kinda like Courtney Taylor-Taylor – because one is never good enough.

A long, hot drive down the I-5 was just the beginning of the fun. Apocalyptic reservoirs that clearly were not winning in this drought war to gorgeous sprawling mountains that were no longer any shade of a recognizable green. Eventually, I’d pull into the traffic known as LA which somehow wasn’t bad at all. (A rare feat in itself).

And then it was off to the oh-so-trendy Echo Park with Ben and friends. Sadly, I still don’t get how that neighborhood is all that popular. Aside from the major strip that The Echo is on and a few hipster bars it was pretty dead on this Friday night. So here I am trying to beg my way into Baltimore’s Lower Dens show as Jana Hunter passes by more than a few times. Temptation set in quickly to ask her for a ticket, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead its off to a bar and Lower Dens will have to wait.

Saturday:
FYF is nothing like what I expected. Its beyond organized and it’s a breeze to get into. Sadly, I somehow missed half of Broncho‘s set, whom I was really looking forward to seeing. But, of what I did hear I loved. They were upbeat, rocking out on the stage and their music was infectious. They ended their set with their ever catchy single “Class Historian” and everyone was bouncing and singing along. Great way to start the day.

I end up hanging around on the trees stage as its shady and a chill stage. The cool thing about this festival is the stages are spread out far enough that there’s no bleed-through but also easy enough to get from stage to stage. Expo Park is awesome with the coliseum in the middle sporting the 1984 olympic athlete sculptures cue “stars of track and field”.

La Femme

La Femme

The real reason for hanging out at the stage is Paris’ La Femme. Easily one of my most recent favorite albums, the French do NOT disappoint. The band comes out covered head-to-toe in robes and head coverings (Arab-chic) looking like they should be playing in the Sahara and they are ready for fun as well as a dance party.

With their opening notes of “Its Time To Wake Up”, the band got the crowd moving. It was a kick-ass set and the crowd was dancing up a storm and singing along to their music. It was pure fun as they went through a good chunk of their album Psycho Tropical Berlin. As they finished out the set with the catchy “Sur La Planche“, the crowd was a dance party with everyone moving together and singing along. A pretty awesome first couple of bands.

After much needed shade and beer (they somehow go hand in hand) it was off to enjoy Dinosaur Jr. in the beer tent. The band is celebrating 30 years and with all the original members they’re awesome to see. As soon as the chords of “Feel The Pain” started it was off to the front of the stage to get the real feel of J. Mascis. Man.. he does not disappoint. With his grey locks flowing, he rocked out and really got the crowd into the music. Plus, their cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” is insane and possibly better than the original, harder and heavier and so rocking. Just brilliant!

Then I had to give NYC’s The Drums another chance. I figured at a festival they would be better than the countless other times I’ve seen them in a club. And their light show was pretty incredible, but I still have yet to figure out the hype and they were still as boring as ever. Musically, they sound pretty good, but live — leaves a lot to be wanted.

!!!

!!!

But then right after was the dance party I had really been waiting for — !!! (chk chk chk). And this is a band that never disappoints. Surprisingly, their stage is pretty empty which means even more room to work it out and dance dance dance.

As Nic Offer came onto the stage, the band wasted no time getting into their electro-dance-punk beats and the band members all started dancing on stage with instruments. By the time lead singer Nic started to sing, he was already working the crowd with his awesome/funky dance moves and his short shorts (a staple!). Not much had changed since I had last seen them and it was refreshing! As a frontman, he is always entertaining and its always a good time.

Thankfully, as I hadnt really been following them, they were playing mostly newer material and have a new album coming out. Plus, they have a show scheduled in SF at Slims in December … so the dance party will continue.

And then it was the newly put together Bloc Party. So long Matt Tong… and welcome to female drummer Louise Bartle, who totally kicked ass. The band had played their first show with the new band members, which also includes the new bassist Justin Harris, just 2 nights prior. And thankfully the band still has their same energy.

Bloc Party

Bloc Party

Kele Okereke sounded as great as great as always hitting his high notes. He was talkative with the crowd and seemed happy to be performing again. And with the opening bass lines of “Hunting for Witches“, the crowd went crazy as everyone started singing and jumping. And then if it couldn’t get any better is the scratchy opening notes and catchy drum beats of “Positive Tension“. By then everyone was singing and dancing along if they weren’t already. Their post-punk sound filled the air and it was a great way to nearly be ending out the night.

So many awesome songs were played and it felt like a ‘best-of’ set which was perfect for this fest and perfect for the fans. I somehow ended up mostly in the beer tent area and a bunch of us went crazy as “Banquet” started to play. Singing in unison and all with the same ridiculous dance moves of jumping in circles as Kele sang “turning away from the light… turning into myself”. In some ways it felt like one of the first times I had seen them. The same excitement had returned which I hadn’t felt in forever.

After that I would try and see Cold Cave — just don’t get the love for that band — and I kinda felt bad as it was one of the most empty stages. But, anyone going up against Yeezus, Kanye was seriously in trouble.

Trying to get to the main stage for Kanye was truly insane. Everyone at the festival was trying to get there and it was just beyond packed. While the screens helped some, it was near impossible to see anything. As people eventually cleared out, it got easier to see.

Kanye is truly something else. His rapping over Daft Punk’s “Stronger” is pretty brilliant. It’s catchy, original and he is pretty amazing. And then it was straight into the single “Power” which sounded even better live. I’m not sure who was performing the female vocals but it was pretty amazing. The guy was just delivering and I finally understood the obsession with Kanye and people needing to see him. (He was a replacement for Frank Turner – and people were paying top dollar to get in just to see him). Its hard to deny how talented he is and someone so worth seeing.

Jesus & Mary Chain

Jesus & Mary Chain

Trying to leave the festival would be insane so left Kanye a bit early (missed Rihanna towards the end of his set) to see the Jesus and Mary Chain. The band was playing the album Psychocandy in its entirety and had never sounded better. Their loud, dark, moody sound filled the nighttime air. The sounds of guitars just seemed to go on forever; plus they had a pretty impressive light show.

I hadn’t heard this album in forever. The even louder, more rocking “The Living End” had never sounded better. Staring at their shoes for the most part, there was hardly any crowd interaction. But it’s one of those bands where none of this matters. The music speaks for itself.

It was one hell of a first day and the next day was even better.

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Black English – #OtherCoastConfiguration

Posted by xneverwherex on May 30, 2015

Black English
Vela Eyes
Meet Me In Orbit
(Upstairs @) DNA Lounge
5/29/15

Echo Park’s Black English (fka NO) played a couple of shows across the States leading up to today’s Bottlerock Festival. If I had been paying attention and noticing all of their #’s – I would have realized the show would be a bit different.

Black EnglishThe band is currently playing this small “tour” as a 3 piece band with Spike on drums and Laura Burhenn (of the Mynabirds) on keys. Naturally, you still have Bradley on guitars/vocals. Hence the othercoastconfiguration tags. It seems fitting as the band just finished touring with Yann Tiersen in Europe and the Psychedelic Furs across The States and Canada.

While it definitely lacked some of their bigger sound with the missing guitars, this worked out pretty well. I wasn’t sure how some of their more anthemic songs would sound, but with Bradley’s amazing vocals coming together with Laura’s it gave a nice change to their sound. I really was enjoying their harmonies and their voices had a beautiful blend. I felt at times that the keyboard was too overpowering and somewhat distracted from the songs, but overall it worked.

Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen cover) which features Laura sounded gorgeous. As the music goes from Bradley singing to Laura and then the two of them harmonizing together the song couldnt sound more beautiful. Of course, it was all about their hits off of El Prado and Bradley’s baritone did them justice. Even without the crescendoing guitars his vocals do wonders on setting a tempo — he had the crowd clapping along to ‘Stay With Me‘ and lots of fist pumping to ‘Leave The Door Wide Open‘. The crowd was very into the show with some people showing off their dance moves and most people just clapping and singing along and moving to the beat of the music.

Regardless of #othercoastconfiguration – the band surprisingly worked amazing as a 3-piece. Once you rearrange a few songs and add more keys and throw down some percussion – you get a pretty awesome ‘new’ band. Chicago, LA, NYC and SF were all pretty lucky to have them come through — hopefully theyll be back soon. And even more surprising, it was only the band’s second show in SF (which seemed to be a theme of the night).

San Francisco’s Vela Eyes put on an entertaining set. They have a 90’s vibe with one hell of a kick-ass singer. She tears it up not only vocally, but in her mini-dress and knee high socks really works the stage with some pretty great kicks. They have a Blondie kind of rock edge and blends a lot of styles together with some songs having a more shoegaze 60’s wall of sound and others just pure rock-n-roll. The other woman on keyboards adds backing vocals which are a nice blend (although at times hard to hear). Personally, I loved when she wasnt on the keys and was playing her guitar — loud fuzzy and lots of reverberation. They were quite good and well worth seeing.

And while I do love Black English, I cant help but say how excited I was to see Meet Me In Orbit on the bill. All of a sudden, the show was *really* worth seeing. Their first show ever (opening for Public Service Broadcasting), blew my mind away. So I figured they had probably played another few shows and were going to become huge right away, but was pleasantly surprised to hear it was only their 2nd show ever (along with Black English – albeit this was just their second show in SF). I arrived early enough to hear the guys (Jared and Brandon) finishing up their soundcheck. I only had one thought – it was going to be much louder than I had remembered.

So seeing their second show, I figured I’d be happy if it were even as good as the first (which was great!) and it was so much better. Its hard to say if the songs were more polished, or if the crowd which seemed to be all there for them was just more into it, but everything just seemed bigger and better. Their lush chillwave/dreampop sound filled the venue. “Last Time” sounded gorgeous and the crowd just swayed along to the music. Their electronic sound was just perfect with Jared’s vocals filling the room. And while a lot of the songs were more laid back with the chill vibe – they definitely have the more upbeat electronic songs to get the crowd moving.

Meet Me In OrbitThey just released their first EP Traveler with 5 songs. The music will take you on a trip and let you get away to the past for just a bit of time and what a lovely time it is. If you haven’t yet seen them (and odds are with only 2 shows you probably haven’t), the next time they do play (and hopefully a tour will come soon), be sure to not miss them.

Check out “We Are Grown” which reminds me of a cross between Chvrches and Little Daylight.

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Dope Machines – Airborne Toxic Event

Posted by xneverwherex on March 24, 2015

Airborne Toxic Event
Regency Ballroom
3/21/15

LA’s, The ATE, had announced a shortened tour of just 9 dates for their 4th album Dope Machines. The new album was going in a bit of a different direction than prior albums. It definitely has more of an 80s flare and more synth than their big anthem indie songs of years prior. It was to be an awesome show that would be focusing more on the visuals than the actual band itself.

The Airborne Toxic Event

The Airborne Toxic Event

Mikel Jollett sounds so much more emotionally invested in this album. With raw, passionate vocals you really can feel him. It also helps that they played the new album in its entirety nearly in the dark with all of the emphasis on the video images behind them. The videos ranged from women in lacey lingerie (stockings) to visuals of cityscapes passing by. Songs like “California” still have the catchiness of prior songs and it was great to hear Mikel talking about growing up in the different parts of California and how its made him – of course, hes a product of hippie parents that took him around in a VW bus growing up. And best of all, he tells a story like no other.

Unlike other shows, this show started out a bit on the slower side but thankfully there was a part 2 where they played all of their hits. The band then started out “part 2” with the ever catchy “Gasoline” which got the crowd dancing and revved up. Plus – it would mean we’d finally get the band really working the stage and playing their hearts out. Lots of guitars, lots of great harmonies and of course Anna Bulbrook not just on keyboards, but her violin. And man, I am sure seeing a lot of violins in bands these days, but she tore it up. So with the lights all up and a crowd wanting this – the remainder of the set would turn into a fun affair. The band continued to rip through songs immediately going into “Happiness Is Overrated” — another fun catchy song that had the crowd singing along to ‘i’m sorry, i nearly lost my head’.

It was a great fun night, but this crowd left a lot to be desired. From the young kids in front of me who insisted on slow-dancing then having a full on make out session (yes – this was right near the stage) and having no clue that they were yes, at a concert. It was just awkward. Worse, instead of paying attention to Mikel who is literally right behind them playing his guitar to the far right area, they were filming each other. If that wasnt enough, we then had a woman come up to us asking if we would be her friend. Now I have seen a lot at concerts, but I dont think Ive been asked about the friend thing since I was 5. She was insistent on hanging out with my friend and I, while I was more interested in not having any conversation and watching the band. Plus, I had the kids in front of me now making devil-horned signs the entire show.

The Airborne Toxic Event

The Airborne Toxic Event

So yes, it was an interesting night, and they had an encore or two, plus its hard to go wrong with the violin opening of “Sometime Around Midnight“. Its just gorgeous having the addition of the strings. And the song just resonates with these lyrics:
And it starts
Sometime around midnight
Or at least that’s when you lose yourself
For a minute or two
As you stand
Under the bar lights
And the band plays some song about forgetting yourself for a while

And in a nutshell it rather sums up the night. Theyre definitely a band to see if you havent before as its always a good time, even when the crowd isnt quite what you were expecting.

Set List:
Dope Machines Set
Wrong
One Time Thing
Dope Machines
California
Time to be a Man
Hell and Back
My Childish Bride
The Thing About Dreams
Something You Lost
Chains

Fan Favorites (might be out of order)
Gasoline
Happiness Is Overrated
Changing
Change and Change and Change and Change
Papillon
Welcome to Your Wedding Day
Sometime Around Midnight
All I Ever Wanted

Elizabeth

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Its Time To Wake Up – La Femme

Posted by xneverwherex on November 2, 2014

La Femme
Sego
Future Twin
10/30/14
Slims

Paris-based La Femme was in town on Thursday night, the last night of their US tour, and were ready to start the Halloween party a tad bit early. The band came on stage around 11pm and played for nearly an hour and 45 minutes, properly bringing in the holiday. Sasha graced the stage in what looked like a lounge-y housecoat and pajama bottom styled pants, with the housecoat very open revealing a very naked chest. So it only took moments before the crowd (men and women) were yelling for him to take it off.

La Femme

La Femme

La Femme was perfect for California bringing their surf-electro-wave music to town. If they werent singing in French, they might be mistaken for a California surf punk band. They definitely have perfected the style but made it their own. At times they had the sexiness of Serge Gainsbourg (the breathy sultry music) complete with some great dancing. The band members all worked the stage dancing across it lost in the music.

The band turned Slims into one hell of a chaos infused dance floor. There was more moshing/circle pits than dancing (a pity), but the crowd was very into it. Only real complaints were the ginormous guys who were crushing the females in front – I walked out of the show with a bloodied up elbow and a fair amount of bruises including bruised ribs. (note: Im so not cut out for this). There was some stage diving as well as a few band members joining in on the fun on the floor. “Its Time To Wake up (2023)” really had people moving — with a great mix of vocals sung together, an electro meets psychedelic vibe and a lot of pot smoking. Their songs seemed to last forever and at times it was trance like. “Sur La Planche 2013” was as catchy as ever with plenty of people singing along.

I did notice a lot of French people in attendance and a lot of French speaking which isnt seen all that often. The band, keeping true to their album title Psycho Tropical Berlin, played a set encompassing all the different styles. From Berlin cold-wave, to the beach tropical sounds, deep into the psychedelic – lots of keyboards (lots!) and a good amount of guitars. The band was insanely brilliant.

LA via Provo, UT band Sego was one of the openers. And they really killed it. Reminiscent of Bloc Party, minus the catchy choruses, infused with LCD Soundsystem and you pretty much get this band. Their music was fun with lots of catchy bass lines and a keyboardist that was going crazy. Dance-punk at its finest, I expect to be seeing a lot more of this band.

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Summer Ends with The Raveonettes

Posted by xneverwherex on September 24, 2014

The Raveonettes
Coves
Rich Girls
Bimbo’s 365 Club
9/22/14

The now LA-based Raveonettes made their way up the sunny coast of California to begin their tour in San Francisco at the lovely swanky old club Bimbo’s 365 in North Beach. Apparently, a regular stomping ground for them when they come to town. And, I could see why. Acoustically, the band sounded amazing. The noise was beautifully contained in the small club and regardless of where I stood it still sounded great (sight-lines is a whole ‘nother story).

The Raveonettes

The Raveonettes

The Danish duo were here in support of their new appropriately titled Pe’ahi (a place on the north shore of Maui). Their new album reflects some of their new home of LA — a more pop, surf-rock layered in guitars/fuzziness sound. Sure, in the beginning Sharin Foo, bassist & vocalist, had a bit of sound problems, but it was quickly worked out. Soon enough, plenty of loud gritty guitar. Sune Rose Wagner, lead vocalist & guitarist, was not too talkative but did introduce a few songs and excitedly would announce when they were playing an older one.

The band jammed through their hour long set with 3-minute 60’s wall of sound fuzzed out garage pop. “Love in a Trash Can” never sounded better with plenty of distortion and driving beats. Im in love with the song “Summer Ends” which they fittingly played after announcing it was the official last day of summer. Its a perfect end of summer song if your summer ended in heartbreak except for the fact its a catchy lighter shoegaze pop song with biting lyrics. “You said you come a-running when I need you
I said go fuck yourself I don’t believe you”. Enveloped in lots of strobes and dark lights the band played a great set of songs including “Uncertain Times”, “Chain Gang of Love”, “Apparitions”, “Sisters” (from the new album), and so many more. With 3 minute short songs, they seemed to just rip right through them.

The Raveonettes went out with a bang with their dirty gritty guitars on “Aly, Walk with me” and “Recharge & Revolt”. They sounded perfect in there and walked off the stage with the crowd definitely wanting more…

Rich Girls

Rich Girls

Openers Coves from the UK had to bow out due to visa issues (dont get me started on that one). San Francisco locals Rich Girls filled in for them at the last minute. And they were awesome. Fronted by Luisa Black, this 3-piece band performed a noisy guitar-heavy, drum heavy set. They sounded awesome, dirty and gritty garage rock, and had some really great songs. They were a perfect opener for the Raveonettes.

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20 Years Later and The Dandys (Still) Rule OK

Posted by xneverwherex on April 26, 2014

The Dandy Warhols
The Warlocks
The Independent
April 23, 2014

Its hard to believe that the Dandy Warhols have now been together for 20 years. The band was in town on Wed night to kick off their new tour celebrating 20 years. The Independent (which was of course a sold-out show – apparently selling out in some 5 mins according to Courtney), was a perfect place for the band. Still quite small, it seemed that most of their older fans were in the crowd. A few of the people had remembered seeing the band at house parties around the Mission.

The band, mainly CTT, reminisced about the long ago time in which they were playing shows to a few of their friends. Since then, they’ve opened for some amazing bands/artists (hello Bowie!, The Charlatans, and countless others) and have played some really awesome shows (3hr shows, 13 Tales album, etc). It was pretty great to see all of them feeling so at home and so comfortable. As Zia mentioned, she was just so comfortable that they would do whatever they wanted for us, including one of the Warlocks playing tambourine on ‘Bohemian Like You’ (if I recall correctly).

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols

The band really went old school for the show and played a ton of early material (so happy to hear TV Theme Song after what seemed like years) and also CCR, White Gold and so many others. And they even went more old school to play a cover from Eddy Grant (whereby CTT talked about the Clash and Desmond Dekker! and then even went farther back to discuss his band The Equals). It was one of those kinds of nights, where you wished it never ended.

And what can I say about their fanbase. Some of the best fans Ive ever seen and met. As always, met some very awesome people in the crowd. People were very into sharing all their smokes and it was just a very great environment. Even for new fans, the older ones are always very cool and never ‘too cool for school’.

An awesome show indeed — and the best part The Warlocks opened the show.

The Warlocks

The Warlocks

The Warlocks, from LA, started the night out in fine fashion. With some slow droning guitar rock, that changed into more shoe-gazey and even had some pop bits. Guitarist Earl, who was in front of me, is one hell of a musician. He is *incredible* on the guitars and you get mesmerized just watching him. The band is really incredible and plays a really tight set. Its the type of band that just takes you on a trip for an hour as you really feel the music and it just takes a hold of you.

One of the best openers I had seen in a very long time. The only thing Im most sad about is the fact that I did not have plans to attend Austin Psych Fest which has the most amazing lineup ever.

Pseudo-set List (I know this isnt correct order and songs are missing)
Be-In
Shaking
Used To Be Friends
TV Theme Song
Ride
Last High
Now Ya
Sad Vacation
theyre gone
Gotta get over
holding me up
come back
girls
ccr
horse pills
bohemian like you
dreamt
godless
get off
white gold
pete/boys better

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Black Violin. BEST.LIVE.SHOW

Posted by xneverwherex on March 13, 2014

image

Wednesday night (3/12) in a word was all over the place. Ok so a few words. I started panicking around 945 or so as I was jumping venues. But then something … someone’s …. happened.  A band called “NO” from L.A. which has band members from everywhere. And this is where the change happened.

The swan dive is an awesome bar on red river. Its got tables surrounding the outter wall and lots of chairs. I met a guy from Germany who told me no would be great. Man he was not lying.

image

The six piece band, who met in la, are from everywhere around the world. They were dressed very sharp with all of them clad in black pants, nice shirts and their best 12 eyed doc Martens.  The lead singer has a nice baritone ala Matt Berninger of the National.  Their sound is post punk a nice mix of the National meets the editors meets interpol.  They blend it all and they have a really nice full polished sound. Their songs are catchy and in no time at all will you be singing along. The lead singer has great energy and really works to get the crowd involved. A very solid band you dont wanna miss.

They’re signed to the great label arts and crafts and are currently on tour with the Darcys.

Rey pila from mexico city brought on the funk and dance. They infused it all and they were great fun. Their lead singer came into the crowd and danced it up big time. Really a band you dont want to miss at sxsw.

Black Violin came on around 130 to a fairly unpacked club. It was a good mix of people in the audience making for an awesome night.

The band is 2 black guys who met in high school some 15 years ago in orchestra class. They have remained tight friends ever since. The band, from Miami, also has a dj spinning beats and a solid drummer (with an awesome shirt).

The guys on violin are just BRILLIANT!! They have transformed the violin into this awesome instrument that at times sounds just like a guitar. The way they play and put to use the violins is mesmerizing. They should be the new heroes for music classes everywhere inspiring the youth today to turn towards playing the violin.

The music at times is straight out of a symphony but with a rock infusion. Then they will immediately go into something very different. They will keep you on your toes. They ended the set with one guy introducing us to ‘Tiffany’ his violin and doing some pure shredding (do you shred on a violin?). The set ended with a great medley of some of the catchier radio songs from ‘Radioactive’ to ‘Blurred Lines’ then straight into Daft Punk’s song of the summer ‘Get Lucky’. It was SICK! The crowd loved it with everyone getting down and dancing. It was non-stop entertainment and kept us going for the night. BEST.BAND.OF.SXSW.2014.

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