Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘London’

The xx Became A Loud Place @ Bill Graham Civic

Posted by xneverwherex on May 21, 2017

the xx
Sampha
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
April 15, 2017

London trio The xx had a 3 night residency at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in one of the most beautifully lit shows with amazing use of mirrors to capture feelings. The band also had to get some SF activities in, including a stop to see the Giants.

the xx

the xx

The xx came out and immediately started playing “Say Something Loving” off of their new album I See You. As their lush guitars filled up the entirety of the room, it just embraced you. It was so dreamy as Romy Madley Croft‘s vocals came into the song over the guitars. The band played most of their songs from their first album as well as this album.

The band then immediately went into “Crystalised” off their debut The xx. The song had a dark feel and felt like a song that Interpol would have played. It also featured the bass lines of Oliver Sim. As the voices of Romy and Oliver came together, they created melodies that were just beautiful. It was like they were made for each other. “I Dare You” proved that they wrote the perfect pop song. As Romy and Oliver faced each other playing guitars and mirrors turned inwards, it gave the song an intimate feel.

Lips” showed off Jamie Smith’s, better known as Jamie XX, fantastic skills behind the controllers creating impressive beats. He has added in some tropical rhythms giving the song a breezy feeling. Also, The xx covered Jamie XX’s “Loud Places” which transformed the auditorium into a club with everyone dancing as Jamie commanded the room. As the mirrors turned in all directions with the ceiling mirror coming down it felt like the venue just opened up. And for a moment it felt like it wasn’t even a performance.

From seeing them in 2009 opening for bands to headlining 3 nights really showed how much the band had grown. They have turned their introverted minimalist sound outward and their use of mirrors was able to convey that feeling, how it could change the reflections of the lights and really open up the stage or keep it nestled, tight and dark. Their songs have become bigger and Romy’s vocals now soar on their songs.

Highlights of the show included: the great guitar riffs on “Sunset” as well as their dueling vocals before they came into the most gut-wrenching harmonies; the raw performance from Romy as she played “Performance” on her own; “VCR” which gave me chills and reminded me of Bowie as it sounds like an updated version of “Heroes“. Additionally, Oliver dedicated the ever catchy groovy soulful “Dangerous” to all the single people in the crowd who rarely get mentioned.

the xx

the xx

As the band said at the end, “we see each and every one of you. We want you to know that we see you and we love you.” And as the fans left the building, it truly felt like they had touched all of us in their own way.

Label-mate and fellow Londoner Sampha opened up the set supporting newly released album Process. He was backed by 3 additional people: a drummer, a keyboardist and someone on synth pads. The songs varied and ranged from sultry electronic music with deep bass to other songs that had a lot of drums layered into his music. Sampha also used Caribbean island sounds that made his music feel alive.

Sampha preformed the gorgeous song “Too Much” on his own. It was just him on piano and his haunting vocals. The song already received a bit of attention as Drake sampled it. Sampha’s music is destined for a film score in the way that his simple piano pieces conveyed so much emotion. He is definitely not to be missed.

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The Music Revolution Has Begun… Again

Posted by xneverwherex on April 21, 2016

The Last Shadow Puppets
Alexandra Savior
The Fillmore/The Catalyst
4/17, 18/2016

It was only 8 years ago that I had last seen The Last Shadow Puppets. At the time, I was raving about how brilliant their album was. It was also a show that had stayed with me. I remembered seeing them upstairs in the Hammerstein Ballroom. Even then, I knew it had to be too small for them. So, I am still a bit dumbfounded that The Last Shadow Puppets aren’t huge and can still play venues like The Fillmore. It’s not a bad thing, at least as a fan. But they came back stronger than ever with their second album, Everything You’ve Come To Expect.

TLSP - Alex Turner

TLSP – Alex Turner

Long story short, Alex Turner and Miles Kane, should be that huge with this band. It’s a departure from the Arctic Monkeys, but this is by far the better band. The two of them are the ultimate crooners. The way they sing to you, as if you’re the only person in the crowd, is pretty amazing. With their suits and dapper look, I was instantly reminded of some of the best – an homage to the Rat Pack – straight with Alex Turner combing his hair back as he takes a rest while Miles Kane sings. Throw in a bit of the cool swagger of Tom Jones and the emotion of Morrissey and you get Alex Turner. He has charisma and charm in a way that only Morrissey exudes. I don’t think I had been to a show in that long of a time in which the girls were screaming like this was The Beatles. The girls were going crazy for Alex – including throwing things on the stage (please say it was a bra or panties). Their high pitched screams and giggles if Alex looked their way, was amusing. Sure, he’s attractive (he knows it), but my god – when he sings – he becomes even more attractive. And Miles, is the much louder, brasher of the two commanding attention. But the two of them together work perfectly. And when the two sing together – arms around each other – it really shows their fondness of one another.

I was telling a co-worker about last night’s show and his comment was “from the sounds of your description – they sound amazing and someone not to be missed”. And that is what I walked away with. I wasn’t even supposed to be at the show on Sunday night at The Fillmore (Lush had to cancel) and it worked out that I was there, and honestly, having 2 shows back-to-back made me fully appreciate the band even more.

Onto the music – TLSP added a strings section to their show. It was needed to add another element to the band. They begin the show with just the strings, violins and cellos which sounded so beautiful. Just a small group of performers really added to the show. The moment TLSP got on the stage, the whole floor of The Fillmore just lit up in billows of smoke. Im sure the band was stoned by the end of the show if they weren’t already. The band also seemed beyond excited to be playing in San Francisco. Miles and Alex must have yelled out something about SF every few minutes and incorporated SF into some of their songs. They were so incredibly tight and I felt their set in some ways was a bit better. The mix/order of the songs felt a bit more succinct at the Fillmore.

TLSP - Miles Kane

TLSP – Miles Kane

Most of the songs were the same, save for “Used to Be My Girl” – which is pure sexy, sultriness. The melodies from Miles and Alex in that song are just perfect. Their voices blend together so beautifully; it’s a song they should always play. “She Does The Woods” (with the intro from Arctic Monkeys “Joining the Dots” was also missing). Alex sounds so great on that song with Mile’s breathy vocals joining him.

Really, the one thing missing was the talkativeness of the band. They must have mentioned/asked ‘How you doing SF’ almost after every song and were just saying how excited they were. In retrospect, the Santa Cruz crowd was insane and way more into it. People were beyond excited for this show with a line wrapped around the block and down the street (this was over an hour prior to showtime). The crowds were polar opposites with the Santa Cruz show filled with a ton of college students and younger. Perhaps, SF has become the ‘cool scene’ where people just don’t show emotions. Regardless, both shows were incredible.

Some of the stand-outs from the evening were easily off the first album The Age of the Understatement with the ever catchy ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You‘ showing just how awesome of a vocalist Alex Turner really is; ‘Standing Next To Me‘ (easily one of my favorite songs) and having some of the best harmonies ever especially as they go into the chorus; ‘The Age of the Understatement‘ which was my first foray into the band – and has the best build-up of any song – always making me think of a bull fight as it just gets more and more intense – it’s pure brilliance; and possibly my favorite TLSP song ever ‘Meeting Place‘. With the strings opening the song and played throughout it just adds to the emotion of the song – coupled with Miles Kane softer vocals to Alex, who really works the song with all of his moves and hip shaking. The lyrics are just heartbreaking, but so beautiful.

The Last Shadow Puppets

The Last Shadow Puppets

It’s also pretty awesome that they still play pretty much everything off each of their 2 albums. They could have cut their shows short, but they really put on quite the show including a Beatles cover that is quite impressive ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)‘. ‘Dracula Teeth‘, which is Alex singing with Miles playing the hell out of the guitar is quite the pretty song. And the single ‘Bad Habits‘ is the ultimate in catchiness and has Miles doing one hell of a scream while Alex does more of his slides and dance moves as he plays the guitar. Just brilliant.

Alexandra Savior opened the set. She collaborated with Alex Turner on her album and he co-wrote most of the songs with her. I noticed at the Santa Cruz show, he stood by the side and watched her perform and seemed quite pleased. While she does have good vocals, she seemed a bit too precious/twee for me. She was almost too cute, but at times she did have a sultriness/sexiness to her and that made her quite appealing. If she toned down the preciousness and upped the sensuality, I think she’d made for one hell of a performer. Regardless, she still put on really captivating show and is definitely one to watch.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to see The Last Shadow Puppets, or can see them at one of the festivals this year, you really shouldn’t miss them.

Set List The Fillmore:
Everything You’ve Come to Expect (Extended string intro)
Sweet Dreams, TN
Meeting Place
Miracle Aligner
Dracula Teeth
Calm Like You
Used to Be My Girl
Aviation
She Does the Woods (Arctic Monkeys’ “Joining the Dots” intro)
Bad Habits
Only The Truth
The Element of Surprise
The Age Of The Understatement
Pattern
My Mistakes Were Made For You
In My Room

Encore:
Standing Next To Me
The Dream Synopsis
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (The Beatles cover)

Set List The Catalyst Club:
Black Plant (Live string intro)
Calm Like You
Bad Habits
The Age Of The Understatement
The Element of Surprise
Separate And Ever Deadly
The Chamber
Miracle Aligner
Pattern
My Mistakes Were Made For You
Only The Truth
Dracula Teeth
Everything You’ve Come to Expect
Meeting Place
Aviation
Sweet Dreams, TN
In My Room

Encore:
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (The Beatles cover)
The Dream Synopsis
Standing Next To Me

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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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Go! (Public Service Broadcasting)

Posted by xneverwherex on April 1, 2015

Public Service Broadcasting
What Up Mang
Meet Me In Orbit
(Upstairs) @ DNA Lounge
3/31/15

Its been a year since Public Service Broadcasting had been around, but amazingly enough they’ve already released their 2nd album. Aptly titled The Race For Space, the band has now surpassed where they started from. This new album is pure genius and it feel like it could just take us up into space.

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting

London boys J. Willgoose, Esq. (always looking lawyerly in a bowtie and corduroy) and Wrigglesworth, the bad ass on the drums, always know how to put on an incredible show. While the band doesnt talk at all, their computer certainly makes for a 3rd person of the band. With lovely quips ‘thank you San Francisco’ or ‘We’re so glad that we are finally playing (majorly long pause) Upstairs the DNA’, the computer has a personality of its own. The two guys clearly have an awesome time playing together and it shows all over their face with lots of big smiles.

Mostly their show is all about the music. The Race for Space is just that. It felt like we had gone back in time to when JFK was in office – there was a need to get to space and see the unknown world, get to the moon – and hearing it all looped over their music was something pretty special. The band has managed to do one hell of an impressive feat with getting the astronauts and NASA’s original broadcasts and communications between each other. The band has some amazing footage from times lost and has incorporated it into one hell of a visual display. Between the visuals and the aural sensation, at points it felt like we were there.

Single ‘Gagarin‘ is a fun disco-infused electronic song that really got the crowd dancing. People were there for fun and the tiny little upstairs was a great place for everyone to get a bit hot and sweaty dancing to their music. ‘Signal 30‘ off their first album is still a catchy piece with much heavier guitars and drums as cars go flying down the road with the announcer talking about ‘driving too fast – no drinking and driving’. It just works and with all of their songs you feel like youre transported into this whole different world of theirs. I still get a bit misty eyed every time they play ‘Everest‘ just imagining being there — with the most gorgeous mountain ever. Its just hauntingly beautiful.

With that being said – their new music combined with some of their most awesome tracks off the other album – makes for one hell of a show. You just dont want it to end.

Meet Me In Orbit

Meet Me In Orbit

Its only fitting that Meet Me In Orbit (with perhaps one of the best names ever!) was one of the show’s openers. The San Francisco band played their first show ever last night and the crowd was so into them. The band is bringing their own dreamy, spacey electronic sound which is catchy and dance-y and like PSB, just takes you away. It was hard to not want more from the band, but with such few songs you take what you can get. Thankfully, their first EP gets released on April 7 – and if youve missed really good dream-space-pop that you can just close your eyes and dance to – then make sure to get this. They’re one of those bands that you expect to be big and to hear much more from because they are THAT good!

What Up Mang

What Up Mang

What Up Mang! managed to bring some pretty cool kaleidoscope disco psychedelic beats from the Lower Haight to SOMA. The band was definitely out there and were having a great time and I never would have thought Id say that disco and psychedelic music could go together, but it seemingly blended all too well together. Plus, they had some great blissed out harmonies. The lead singer was quite the dancing machine and she was enthralling to watch. Plus, they even managed to have a crazy cover of Billy Ray Cyrus’ ‘Achy Breaky Heart‘ and they made it even better by slowing it down and adding some heavy Hawaiian luau beats. So if you ever just want a fun night out, this band will deliver, plus youll end up dancing the night away.

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Inform. Educate. Entertain. w/Public Service Broadcasting

Posted by xneverwherex on February 22, 2014

Public Service Broadcasting
Kiev
Slim’s
February 20, 2014

Inform – Educate – Entertain is not only the name of the first album from Public Service Broadcasting, but also seems to be the mission of the London-based duo. And that they did. The band’s backdrop/screen is a continuous reel of archival news clips and some “educational” information which was probably shown in schools forever ago – which is really propaganda. Those were the days. But the band takes this material and adds their own music to the pieces. While it might seem that it wouldn’t or shouldn’t work, it does. And I did learn (thanks to a guy from England standing next to me), that the first image is what the Public Broadcasting Service used to use before their announcements.

Public Service Broadcasting – J. Willgoose, Esq.

The duo consists of Wrigglesworth on drums and the ever dapper J. Willgoose, Esq. on everything else (as is pointed out very cheekily). Willgoose dresses in a bowtie and horn-rimmed glasses and looks like a lawyer of yesteryears. He seems to be the educator of the band while Wrigglesworth keeps it very entertaining with on-going drum beats — sometimes speeding it up and creating a more dance-friendly song.

Some of the images that seemed to stick out were soldiers during wartime marching down the streets with crowds out to cheer them on (reminding me of Hitler’s Nazi Germany). The band seemed to have the perfect song to accompany it, keeping it more down-beat. Willgoose tends to use a lot of banjos and guitars in the mix of the songs and the blends work out just perfectly. The ending of Sir Edmund Hillary climbing Mt. Everest was perfect with a more dance-y track that had some of the audience really breaking a sweat. It was upbeat and seemed to signify a victory to the end of the show.

This was nothing but pure original brilliance. I cannot recommend seeing this band enough as they will delightfully surprise you for an hour or so taking you on an informative musical journey through English history. While the band never utters a word on stage, the band does have their computer ‘voice’ (not siri, mind you) who does add quips throughout the show and one of the total highlights to hear him say ‘thank you. (long pause) San Francisco’. And just like that, the crowd bursts out in cheers and applause.

Kiev

The opener, Kiev, played their first show ever in San Francisco. It was rather hard to believe as they’re just our ‘neighbors’ down in the O.C. (Orange County). They were surprised to not get boos from saying that, but then again, half the crowd was probably their family/friends. So much for the SF/LA rivalry.

The band was surprisingly insanely loud. It was hard to figure out where the reverberations were coming from (as theyre far from a solid guitar band), but it seems that from the dueling keyboards and the guitars in between it made for a lot of sound (or else the mix was really bad). The stage was shaking and you had to step back as you could feel it pulsate through your body.

It was a bit too loud, as would have loved to hear the saxophone in several of their songs which got drowned out. The band was quite good and as it got towards the end, their music had more of a dance-electronic feel to it. They definitely ended the show on a high note and are worth checking out again.

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Rhythm Is A Dancer – Bastille

Posted by xneverwherex on September 21, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Everybody’s Under Your Spell – The Duke Spirit

Posted by xneverwherex on June 5, 2012

The Duke Spirit
Hacienda
Slim’s
6/4/12

What a great night of bands. I hadn’t been to Slim’s since the late 90s and oddly enough it was exactly as I had remembered it. Had that nice welcome home feeling. Even better than that, the bands did not disappoint.

The Duke Spirit

Liela – The Duke Spirit

The Duke Spirit hadn’t played San Francisco in quite a long time and Liela and the gang were happy to be there. Throughout the entire set, she had a really big smile and played to the crowd. The crowd just adored her making it all the better. As usual, she had on black tights with heavy black boots and a sort of mock shirt dress/cape. Always one to look cool, it looks like she’d have been a fashion designer.

The band sounded really loud and crisp. The guitars were tight and gave off a nice shoegaze-y sound almost as loud as a Jesus & Mary Chain show. The sound reverberated throughout the club as everyone danced and got really into their music. Liela’s vocals never disappoint – a sexy growl as she takes over the stage.

Liela tends to fly around the stage. Her hands expressive as she runs back and forth – her body wrapping around poles on the stage. She plays to the audience and with songs like ‘Everybody’s Under Your Spell’ she really engages the crowd.

The set consisted of a good chunk of songs off the newest album ‘Bruiser’. I was familiar with a lot of the songs from their set at the Bowery Hotel last October but it was great to hear even more of the album played.

The only real disappointment was the set was so short. After 40 minutes they had already left the stage for an encore. It was rather unreal. They came back for a 3 song encore – sad to see that Lassoo was cut from the set. The encore was so kick-ass tho, Im not sure it mattered. ‘Red Weather’ was a real highlight. The guitars just kept going and going, it seemed like they could just play on forever. It was a total perfect frenzy between the vocals and guitars. Was beyond sad when it ended.

The Duke Spirit

Was pleasantly surprised about how awesome Hacienda was. I had only heard one song and thought they were so pop-sounding. It was great to hear that this band from Texas were playing some real Southern Texas with a bluesy rock sound. Im not usually a fan of it, but the guys were having a great time. The music was infectious and had some really great hooks. Would easily see them again and recommend people to check them out.

Set List:
Procession
Everybody’s Under Your Spell
Bodies
Hello To the Floor
Neptune’s Call
Glorious
De Lux/Don’t Wait
You Were Born
Surrender
The Step and the Walk
Love Is An Unfamiliar Name

This Ship
Red Weather
Cuts Across the Land

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CMJ Begins…The Good And Not So Good…

Posted by xneverwherex on October 19, 2011

CMJ – 10/18/11

So many bands, so little time! It seems its the same thing year after year with CMJ. Ive got a complete schedule that ends up useless in the first 5 minutes. Bands either fail to deliver or theyre so great – I end up seeing other bands on the showcase I might have passed up. Unfortunately, there are also times when you’d rather just shoot yourself and call it a night when disappointments continue.

The Good:

The Duke Spirit

The Duke Spirit – technically, they shouldnt even be included in this. Theyre established and damn good! Of course, they were the highlight of the night – and I fear if I continue to see them not much else will compare. Liela looking smokin’ hot as usual is always great fun to watch. She has so much energy when she performs and she commands the stage. Its hard to take your eyes off of her when she moves as she glances around the room. Her voice is perfection as she growls through the songs.

Surprisingly, they played their older songs instead of playing newer songs. Perhaps it was due to a really tight schedule in which they were needing to be in Brooklyn. They played a way too short set of about 8 songs but it couldnt have sounded better. The dirty, muddy sounding guitars were a great complement to Liela’s voice. The garage rock psychedelic sounded great in the posh Bowery Hotel. It couldnt have been a greater set.

Hands, from LA, took the stage prior to The Duke Spirit. They had a pretty big turn out with what seemed to be lots of friends (or maybe girlfriends) from Cali.

Hands

They sounded incredible and much better than I could have expected. The backing of the psychedlic, lush sounding keyboards and guitars filled the air, with a similar sound to Sun Airway. The vocals are strong and it seemed like if Division Day (another LA band) had continued and made their songs a bit more dancey this is what youd get.

The drummer, playing barefoot naturally, keeps the beats going. The keyboards nearly swallowing the lead singers voice on some songs works out beautifully. The music, the vocals and the guitars all blend so perfectly well together it gives such a complete sound.  If youre not sure of who to see during CMJ, this band is definitely not to be missed. They have a show on Thurs afternoon at Pianos which should be great.

Alamo Race Track – who I actually saw on Monday (pre-CMJ) are also a band that you dont want to miss. Hailing from The Netherlands, it seemed the Dutch contingency came out in full support for them. I had never seen so many insanely tall people in my life. The band started off a bit shaky, and its hard to say whether or not it was the band

Alamo Race Track

or the actual songs they chose, but as their set continued the music definitely got better. They have some great melodies and their voices play off each other’s quite well.

“The Northern Territory” which they ended with was easily one of their best songs and definitely more popular. A lot of people were singing along and its catchy and fun. It sounds so much better live, that its worth seeing them just to hear that song. Its a punchy, fun toe-tapping awesome song. “Black Cat John Brown” was also another highlight. The other band members broke out with other instruments during the song. It seems they’re all quite talented players going back and forth on instruments.

They’ve got a free showcase on Thurs over at The Delancey with some other Dutch bands. If youre not doing much – its worth checking out.

And the well — not so good and you might walk out on bands.

Marcellus Hall – now if youre quite into country music, youd probably find the band quite good. They had a good sound and the lead singer was pretty amusing – so this alone made it better. As Im not a fan of country music – this was pretty painful and it seemed each song kept getting longer. Thankfully when soon there were only 3 songs, it became 2. And naturally, they’re all about love and relationships. The woman on violin did sound pretty awesome and it was her birthday – so cheers to that!

The Silent Comedy – which has such an awesome band name – so disappointed. I couldnt wait to get out of the show and it couldnt happen fast enough. Sounded like some sorta folky-bluegrass jangly type thing with banjos and all. Maybe they should have played after Marcellus Hall insteaad of spacing it out so oddly. Perhaps that was the original set- but with The Duke Spirit having to be in Brooklyn lots of things were changed. Either way – meant an early night.

And oh New Zealand – I had such high hopes for you. Andrew Keoghan, who was oh so nice to look at, was a little underwhelming. The guitar and drum thing had so much potential, but it was more of just a singer-songwriter act. Not bad sounding all, just a bit boring.

Princess Chelsea was interesting. The women had good voices and the way the band mixed it up on instruments was pretty cool. Their first song, which I knew from online, was very catchy, but then it just sounded like more of the same. It really seemed like 2 girls on their computers, mixing it up with sounds and beats and 2 guitars who added a bit more, with a drummer occasionally filling it in. Not a bad thing, just a bit slow and was near sleep inducing. Prob a great band to end a night with.

Heres to Day/Night 2. Hoping for some great things!

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White Lies – Part 2 DC

Posted by xneverwherex on May 24, 2011

White Lies
Asobi Seksu
Sun Airway
May 20, 2011
9:30 Club

Oh DC. How sometimes I love you so much, and other times I dont. The 9:30 Club tends to be a great venue, but after Friday nights show I was left feeling a bit disappointed. Ive gone there enough times, and to be asked to take out almost everything your purse, including keys was a bit odd. Then I was asked to unzip random things on my bag that were clearly decorational. C’mon its a woman’s purse – what do you expect. The woman was just left baffled. I dont know what she was looking for – drugs, alcohol, my camera, iphone … hell Im guessing it was the camera as she pretty much did the same to my friend who had a much smaller bag (read: only holds pretty much id and lipstick). I was going to ask if she wanted to strip search me too, but I figured Id rather not get ejected from the club.

Sun Airway opened up the night and it was already not looking good. Plagued with sound problems they could barely get through the first song. Way too much feedback, everything sounded off and it sounds like the keyboards were causing lots of problems. Sadly, on a 30 minute set this did not help them much. But, by the time they were finishing up their set the sound was perfect and their last song – lots of loud guitars and a big soaring feel – was awesome! I wanted more. Sadly, not going to happen.

Instead of another night of School of Seven Bells – we got Asobi Seksu instead. Now I cant tell if she was having sound problems as well as her vocals were pretty much indeciperhable. It sounded ok enough, but something was lacking. It didnt seem there was much enjoyment and maybe at 25 minutes they were onto the last song. I dont know if that was the club’s doing – but it seems that their sets have become quite short. At least ‘Thursday’ was played and sounded good.

White Lies came on with their same big sound from the previous night. They started again with ‘A Place To Hide’. It sounded as great as the night before. Harry was talkative again, but not nearly as talkative as he was in New York City. He did make the comment about how they just got to DC from the UK and were so happy to be there. It was a bit odd hearing that, as Im sure a lot of people knew they were actually just in NYC. So that huge long trip over – heh – not so much.

The band seemed a little less energetic than the night before, but unless you could compare the two, it definitely wasnt too noticeable. They played the same setlist which is a nice balance of the new and the old. The newer stuff is growing on me more and more and seems to have a more electronic feel to it. Some of the songs “Bigger Than Love” feel like they should have been on the prior album. It fits right in. Live it sounds awesome and its a perfect encore.

The crowd was interesting. Most people stood there with their hands to their side, feigning interest, while a few were really into it – making up for the others. For a non-crowded- show (ie not sold out), the crowd was typical with pushing directly into you when there was no need. People felt entitled to push into you – even tho they had plenty of space to dance in. Ill never fully understand a DC crowd. It really didnt matter tho. I had an awesome time, singing along, dancing and enjoying it. They definitely know how to put on a great show and their music is not to be missed live. The whole chatty, happy thing might not totally work for their music, but the music does speak for itself.

Set List:
1.A Place To Hide
2.Holy Ghost
3.To Lose My Life
4.E.S.T.
5.Is Love
6.The Price Of Love
7.Streetlights
8.Farewell To The Fairground
9.Peace & Quiet
10.Bad Love
11.Death
Encore:
12.Unfinished Business
13.Power & Glory
14.Bigger Than Us

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White Lies Has Unfinished Business

Posted by xneverwherex on May 24, 2011

White Lies
School of Seven Bells
Sun Airway
May 19, 2011
Terminal 5

White Lies, hailing from London, finally made it back to this side of the pond and couldnt have been more excited. I hadnt seen the band in a couple years and I wasnt sure how it would be in a big club. But the times are a-changing and more importantly so is lead singer Harry. Trading in his dark clothes and gold nikes – hes now donning a suit. I might have thought for an instant they were going down the Interpol lane, but that is definitely not the case. Harry was more talkative than I had ever seen him before. I think he spoke more in 5 minutes than he had in any other prior show. He was happy to back in New York, one of his favorite cities ever. He was glad that more people showed up than he had anticipated – he wanted us to sing along, clap along, make more noise. It didnt stop. And the smile was HUGE! I guess success has hit him big time.

The band has now added yet another band member to tour with. They were always noted as a 3-piece band, yet from the moment I saw them on their first trip to the States, there was always 4. At this point, they have added another guitarist/keyboardist/singer. The guy is quite talented and seems to be doing it all. Jack seemed farther back and I really missed all the interactions that used to go on between the band and him. But Jack was still as awesome as ever and still looking ever-so-cool. Charlie’s bass lines still sound as great as ever – and loving him singing backup on what felt like more songs.

The band opened up with ‘A Place To Hide’ and its a great opener. The bass lines are instantly recognizable and it had the crowd singing along in no time. The crowd was loving every minute of every song. Guys were going crazy – and I would have thought it was the second coming of Jesus err The Beatles. Everyone wanted to be up close and was pushing – which is expected of the girls – but was more surprising with the guys. They followed it up with ‘Holy Ghost’ off of the new album. And then they went back into the older songs with ‘To Lose My Life’ which everyone knew and had Harry happy that we were all singing along. Was pleasantly surprised that right after that ‘EST’ would still be played. One of my favorite songs.

This was an excellent show. The band sounded awesome but its hard to get used to this new happy version of White Lies. Their music and lyrics definitely feels like a much darker band – but apparently they might be going to a happier version of themselves.

New York’s own School of Seven Bells were nice to have around. It was interesting to see them as a 2-piece. I definitely missed having the other sister there who left the band in October due to personal reasons. It seems their music isnt quite as interesting as it was, but regardless they still sounded great. They still had the same dark sound and vocals that arent that easy to understand, but that doesnt matter. Its this beautiful sound and it makes you just want to close your eyes and enjoy it and feel it. There wasnt much interaction – but a band who zipped through a 30 minute set trying to play as much as they could.

Sun Airway – one of my favorite new bands – from Philadephia benefited from playing such a huge venue. The soaring vocals were perfect in Terminal 5. Their songs sounded even bigger and darker and the guitars were sounding even fuzzier. A perfect shoegaze band complete with images shown on a white curtain behind them. It felt like they could have just kept playing and playing, but soon their 30 minutes were up too.

Definitely a show not to have missed – I was just happy that I managed to win tix to it and was able to appreciate it, not just once, but twice!

White Lies Setlist:
A Place To Hide
Holy Ghost
To Lose My Life
E.S.T.
Is Love
Price of Love
Streetlights
Farewell to the Fairground
Peace & Quiet
Bad Love
Death

Encore:
Unfinished Business
Power & Glory
Bigger Than Us

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