Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘Oakland’

(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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On A Mission w/Black Violin

Posted by xneverwherex on March 26, 2015

Black Violin
Yoshi’s Oakland
3/22/15

Couldnt have picked a better venue for Miami’s Black Violin to play. Yoshi’s is a sweet little jazz club that doesn’t leave space for dancing, but is great for a very intimate performance. The sound couldn’t possibly have been better and as it was all chairs and tables, the sightlines were great.

Of course, right from the on-set the band went against Yoshi’s “rules” and told everyone to take pictures and videos and to tag everything with @BlackViolin. They also encouraged everyone to stand up and dance and their shows were not made for sitting. Sadly, there really wasnt much room to stand nor dance, but people did what they could on occasion.

Black Violin

Black Violin

The duo consisting of the always wide smiling Kev Marcus on violin and Wil B on viola are nothing short of impressive. From seeing them at a small hip-hop club last year at SXSW to seeing them at a jazz club, the band doesn’t disappoint.

The band started out with their classical music “Brandenburg” showing just how talented the two of them are. It quickly moved into some hip-hop numbers along with their DJ throwing down the beats and a drummer who was simply sick. The way the guys move between genres and making it sound so flawless is pretty amazing. The wah-wah effects pedal used with Kev’s violin is pretty sick and not something that you see a lot. It gives the instrument such a full on sound taking it far away from a traditional violin sound.

Im a big fan of their renditions of popular songs and just how amazing they sound with violins and their vocals. It helps that they encourage a lot of audience participation with hands in the air, encouraging lots of dancing and of course, singing along. Its a bit of a bummer when the crowd is pretty silent to a song like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky“, but then again hearing Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” on violins is nothing short of impressive. Of course, the crowd was mostly singing along and a few of us had our hands in the air or were dancing. “Radioactive” and “Stay With Me” were also pretty cool, but Im a bigger fan of their original numbers. “The Mission” is a highly catchy song with great beats/synths and Kev plucking his violin like a guitar and will have you tapping your foot in no time. But the band is most impressive when they perform their song “Freestyle” which is exactly as it sounds – just them performing on the fly, feeding off the energy of the audience and never the same. Its pretty cool to see what they come up with. Of course, after it was done Wil asked for someone to be sure to post it as it was one of the more awesome Freestyles. This is where the band excels fusing classical with hip-hop and making it all sound so fresh and new.

The band had now been touring for 65 days straight and it seems theyre hitting up everywhere. So if they haven’t yet hit your city, its a crime to not see them. Push yourself into a genre you probably weren’t necessarily aware of and enjoy some violin for a night. It will blow your mind. Now, if theyd just start playing the club circuit and then you could have a real party!

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How Are Things On the West Coast? – Interpol

Posted by xneverwherex on September 22, 2014

Interpol
Rey Pila
Fox Theater
9/20/14

Interpol

Interpol

4 years later and Interpol was finally back in town and Im so glad that I ended up with a friend’s ticket. The band had finally released a new album, El Pintor. The album is brilliant and is a nice reminder of where they came from having a very similar sound to Turn On The Bright Lights. Sure, theres no Carlos D(engler) and the sound had to change some but its distinctly Interpol.

While I usually seem to loathe the sound at The Fox, for whatever reason it worked with Interpol and they sounded great. The guitars sounded a bit muddled at times, but it worked and added texture to their songs. Paul’s vocals were haunting over the lush guitars swirling in the background as the band started playing ‘My Blue Supreme’. It was a great way to start the set and then without disappointing they went straight to their first album to play the catchy-fast paced ‘Say Hello To the Angels’. The crowd quickly got into it with lots of hand clapping and fist pumping. And then straight into the even more catchy ‘Evil’ which had everyone singing along and dancing. Their music is just perfect and so easy to get lost in with the guitars and the drums thumping along keeping the timing.

Interpol NYC

Interpol NYC

Interpol also had their live debut of one of my favorite new tracks ‘Everything is Wrong’. Paul Banks: “That was ‘Everything Is Wrong’… that was the *debut* of ‘Everything Is Wrong’…as a matter of fact.” Enveloped in red lights and different imagery on the screen, the band played the hell out of the song. The band never sounded more gorgeous than during ‘NYC’ with the images of the skyline swirling in fast motion behind them. Paul’s vocals were hauntingly beautiful with the pulse of the guitars filling the air. Plus, Narc, Not Even Jail and Slow Hands right before they went into an encore. Yowzers! It does NOT get better than that.

The band did an awesome mix of songs and really catered to older fans of the band focusing on the brilliant album ‘Antics’. The breakdown consisted of 6 songs off of El Pintor (the painter in Spanish) but also an anagram of Interpol; 5 songs from ‘Antics’ and 3 songs from ‘Turn on the Bright Lights’. Then one each from the other album. Of course, theres always bound to be a disappointment and it would have been great just to hear ‘How are things on the west coast?’ (the opening line to Heinrich Maneuver). Ah well. I seriously could not complain about the set. It was short as I had expected it to be, they were never a band that played for a very long time. But they packed the set with a punch.

Interpol has had a few changed with members over the years, but has added to the mix Brandon Curtis (mostly known for Secret Machines) on keyboards and vocals as well a new touring bassist, Brad Truax. The additions were great. And yes, its hard not to miss Carlos D. (he was insanely great on bass), Brad held up his own. He sounded excellent with his hair flying all over the place as he tore through the songs. Brandon Curtis is also a great addition and sounded like he’d been playing with the band all along (granted Secret Machines toured with them a bit, so it was already a great fit). Daniel as always worked the stage going back and forth and doing quite a bit of dancing. Clearly always enjoying himself. And Sam Fogarino sounded great on drums, always keeping the band connected.

If youre on the fence about seeing them and enjoy their new album, its quite worth it. With such a great mix of songs, its hard to leave disappointed.

Rey Pila

Rey Pila

Rey Pila, from Mexico City, opened the set. The poor lead singer forgot where he was off the bat and said something to the effect of being so glad to be in Sacramento! Doh! These things do happen, and he tried to play it off and ask about the Raiders. The crowd was not having it. I was a huge fan of them at SXSW and their music still sounds great. Clearly a throw-back to the new wave 80s, they had totally reminded me of a new version of The Cars. One with much more guitars but still plenty of keyboards. Not quite as funky as I had remembered them, I still enjoyed their set immensely. The lead singer was dancing up a storm and worked the stage. He even hopped down below more than a few times to be closer to the fans. Clearly enjoying himself, and getting over his faux-pas. Definitely not one of the more typical Interpol openers, but really great.

Set List:
My Blue Supreme
Say Hello to the Angels
Evil
My Desire
Length of Love
Breaker 1
The Lighthouse
Anywhere
Everything is Wrong (live debut)
Lights
Narc
Not Even Jail
Slow Hands

All the Rage Back Home
NYC
Obstacle 1

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Your Ex Lover is Dead – Stars

Posted by xneverwherex on September 24, 2013

Stars
Trails and Ways
Slims
9/18/13

Stars is like a cup of hot tea and always makes you feel better. It was a rough night for too many reasons, but everyone encouraged me to see them. Ive seen Stars countless times, and they never disappoint. Stars, from Montreal, had been in SF for a few days and had played a show the night prior at Great American Music Hall. Some bands might look weathered, or sound jaded, but Stars is far from that.

Stars

Torq, bandleader, was in a talkative mood and talked about spending time in SF. He also mentioned that the band would be headed back to the studio after the tour to work on their NEXT album. The band just does not stop. He talked about not forgetting the band, and it seems that theyre a band that would be hard-pressed to forget.

Amy, who shares vocals with Torq, looked and sounded great as she worked the stage — joining the other guitarist on the other side of the stage. She seemed super cheerful and was bouncing all over the stage. Of course, she sounded incredible on “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead”.

Stars – Amy

The band was in town supporting their newest album The North. Ive really liked the songs that I heard from it. Their set was a nice mix showcasing all their music from early on till now. It was a nice love-letter to SF and the audience really loved it, with a good chunk of the crowd at the prior nights show. ‘Take Me To The Riot’ had the audience singing along and hopping with the band. It was pure joy. ‘We Don’t Want Your Body’ is always a fun song and sing-along. Its also great that the band has their violinist on tour with them. She is absolutely amazing and sounds gorgeous playing alongside them, giving them a fuller sound.

The band ended with a 4 set-encore that was really awesome. Their final song ‘The 400’ consisted of the band sitting on the edge of the drummer Pat McGee’s platform just singing along together in perfect harmony. And it should be noted – Pat McGee – obviously best dressed man!

I cant recall a time that the band seemed more excited. I had seen them in NYC quite a bit but this show had a different feel. It was like the band was made to play in San Francisco.

Trails and Ways from Oakland opened the set. They must have said a bajillion times they were from Oakland. The band started off a bit bland, but as the set picked up, so did their music. They had some great catchy pop tunes which were off the new EP (prob worth checking out). I’d definitely want to see them again and see how I feel about them.

Set List:
The Night Starts Here
Ageless Beauty
A Song is a Weapon
Death to Death
Wishful
One More Night
Fixed
Soft Revolution
Dead Hearts
Personal
Your Ex-Lover is Dead
Backlines
We Don’t Want Your Body
Heart
Take me to the Riot
Hold One When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It
Walls

Calendar Girl
The Theory of Relativity
Elevator Love Letter
The 400

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How Does It Feel?? New Order

Posted by xneverwherex on October 10, 2012

New Order
Run Run Run
Fox Theatre
10/5/12

I was pretty lucky that I had ended up with a New Order ticket. It had sold out so quick and so many of us were unlucky. Thanks to Val’s boyfriend having to travel, it made me one lucky girl.

Friday night in Oakland was insanely busy. I can only assume that there was some sorta festival going on. There were bands on the street, djs spinning and people everywhere. Plus some sort of protest march going on. And the Fox Theatre was right in the middle of it all.

New Order

It seemed to take forever but New Order finally came out. The stage was quite dark as they started into their first song. And then BAM! The lights started going, strobes coming on and off and the beginning to what would be an insane light show the entire night. I was convinced my friend Will was their lighting designer.

Their second song, ‘Age of Consent’, really got the crowd revved up. They introduced the band via video screen. The band didnt do a whole lot of moving around, and Gillian barely left her keyboards. Bernard Sumner did some moving around and jumping around while Stephen Morris for the most part remained behind the drums. On occasion, he’d walk to the sides to play what looked to be a drum machine. There were a few other members rounding out the touring band, but couldnt remember who. It was definitely a loss to not have Peter Hook on bass.

The first half of their set was mostly songs I hadnt remembered and probably a few newer ones. It seemed I was recognizing one for every few. I was a bit disappointed. At least the seongs all had a catchy synthy beat and they were easy to get into. But then it was like all of a sudden all their most popular hits. True Faith was followed by Bizarre Love Triange, complete with the original video on the screen. The crowd went nuts with people dancing in the aisles, next to their chairs, wherever they could make room. And then they threw in ‘Perfect Kiss’ and ‘Blue Monday’. Lastly, there was ‘Temptation’. They were so great and the crowd was singing along. But then Barney was saying last song and everyone looked confused as it was barely over an hour at that point. It seemed a bit unreal. But then it happened, and the band was off the stage. It was hard to believe that after an hour and 15 minutes the show was nearly over.

New Order

New Order

Of course there was an encore. It was a short, but sweet, 2 song encore of Joy Division songs. The first was ‘Atmosphere’ and the set was closed out with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. The songs arent quite as dark and moody as Joy Division, but still had that feel to them. Its hard to hear the songs and not imagine Ian Curtis’ voice, but its cool to be able to hear them played at all.

While I guess I had higher expectations, it didn’t totally disappoint. I heard some great songs live and they were performed with great execution. But just a few more songs would have been nice. I definitely would have loved to hear a song or two off of ‘Technique’. More of anything would have been great from a band that has countless albums and songs. C’est La Vie.

Set List:
Elegia
Crystal
Ceremony
Close Range
Age of Consent
Isolation (Joy Division Cover)
Here to Stay
Your Silent Face
Bizarre Love Triangle
586
True Faith
The Perfect Kiss
Blue Monday
Temptation

Encore:
Atmosphere
Love Will Tear Us Apart

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