Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘rock’

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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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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Welcome To My World of Kinky

Posted by xneverwherex on February 15, 2015

Kinky
2/12/15 – Mezzanine
2/13 – The Catalyst (Santa Cruz)

Rock en Español/Latin American rock whatever you want to call it, has never been better. The bands that I have recently seen coming from below us always put on incredible shows. So, its really no surprise that the quintet from Monterrey, México Kinky put on one hell of a show. I knew in roughly the first 5 minutes, that I would be off to Santa Cruz for night 2! The band had just released MTV (unplugged) which seems to contain songs from all their different albums.

Kinky

Kinky

With the opening notes of “Después Del After“, you could already feel the surge of electricity emanating from the crowd. Omar Gongaro, would be the first to appear, somewhat hidden behind his ginormous drum set. One of the few drummers that Ive seen play standing up for the full performance. Then came their out bassist Cesar Pliego (who is just pure energy) and Carlos Chairez (lead guitar). Cesar was already dancing around in his tejana (cowboy hat) and boots and was ready to get the show started. By the time lead singer Gilberto Cerezo came out on stage the entire crowd was dancing and singing along. Adding to the craziness of their set is Ulises Lozano keyboardist/programmer and sometimes accordionist.

Unlike the Santa Cruz set, Mezzanine is a small tight club with everyone pressed into each other. The stage is way too small to incorporate the band and their theatrics to really appreciate the entirety of their show. The video screen in the background was nearly impossible to see from the sides of the Mezzanine and it proved to be an integral part of their show (as I witnessed at The Catalyst). The spaces couldnt have been more dissimilar from each other. The Catalyst was a really wide open spot with a fairly large balcony that surrounds the stage. The stage is up pretty high – with a good 3′ gap between the stage and the audience. So there is definitely a bit of a barrier between audience and band. While Mezzanine seemed a much more intimate experience (up close and very personal), the band definitely thrived on the larger stage and took full advantage of it.

Kinky

Kinky

While, Id guess that most of their fans are Spanish speakers, it really doesnt matter if you can/cannot understand the songs. You end up just losing yourself to the music. They do a blend of songs in Spanish and English infusing electronic beats into full on rock songs. The band is pure energy and its a non-stop dance party. With songs like “Alma de Neon“, its impossible to not be moving around. Keeping it going, they move straight into the funkadelic “Hasta Quemarnos“.

By the time the band got into even the more upbeat/electronic/dance/rave “Cornman” followed by “Coqueta” with COWBELLS played by Ulises the crowd was a frenzy of arms, flailing and everyone moving. The songs are beyond catchy and when played back to back it just begs for a full on dance party. Adding to the fun of it all was bassist Cesar who by now was jumping around and dancing nonstop hopping on one foot in circles. Plus, we got to have even more accordion playing during “Cornman” with the all too perfect lyrics “Welcome to my world… welcome to my world”. Somewhere in all this were the unforgettable beats of Prodigy‘s “Smack My Bitch Up“. There’s not many bands that can pull this off so smoothly.

The band is incredibly talented incorporating so many different styles along with so many instruments. Gilberto has an incredible voice and such charisma and gives a commanding performance that its hard to even look away from him. Thursday night I was in front of Carlos and he was incredible to watch. Tucked away behind keyboards and guitar strapped to him he was amazing. Friday night was in front of Cesar and he tore it up. He worked the entirely massive stage, sweat dripping constantly from beneath his hat and a huge smile that never left his face. He was also constantly spitting onto the floor; he just left it all out there.

If the music isnt enough to intoxicate you, then lets add visuals. Because this band is nothing short of an aural/visual combination. In the beginning of their set it was usually just the song titles that were flashing on the screen but as the set went on, the visuals became something from a movie. At times it felt like I was caught in a Stanley Kubrick film – with images of a person about to shoot up (oddly enough this not shown during “Smack My Bitch Up”), but to the song preceding it. There’s an arm just laying there as the background morphs into other images. The images were just hauntingly beautiful.

For more on their visual / film love – a great interview is here.

Also, they threw in some norteno melodies and folk music (as I learned from a friend). I was in love with their beautiful version of Los Cardenales “Soy Lo Peor”. They completely changed it up and its just gorgeous. And of course, the entire crowd sang along. It just gives me chills each time its performed – the lush vocals of Gilberto and I’m swooning. Throw in the rhythm section and an upright bass that Cesar just plucks away at and its quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs Ive ever heard.

The band would come back for an incredible encore. All to fitting was Wall of Voodoo‘s “Mexican Radio” which would become pure chaos. The crowd in SC went insane. There was lots of pushing and shoving, pits breaking out and of course a few girls who were beyond determined to get on stage along with security guards working overtime to contain the raucous crowd. And of course, everyone was singing along yelling it out at the top of their lungs. When I first heard it in SF (not having heard it since my high school days at the very least) it was one of those blasts from the past. In SF, a girl easily managed to get on stage and it took 2 of their techs to get her off the stage. Probably a good thing the girls from SC were not at that show (or not close enough to get on stage).

By the time the band got to the signature bass lines of “Mas“, it was hard to imagine that there would be an even bigger blast of energy. The rocked out song with heavy guitars was brilliant. Everyone was singing the lyrics that are all too fitting, “Vamos queriendo mas y mas, mas y mas, mas y mas,” which roughly translates to, “We want more and more, more and more, more and more!” It was hard to not want this to end. If the energy of the show was already at a 10, by this point it had eclipsed that. The band laid it all out and left everyone clamoring for more. And it seemed like the band could have kept going and going.

I hadn’t been to a larger Latin American rock concert since my NYC days when I volunteered a day or two at the Latin American Music Conference. I had really forgotten how much I had enjoyed these shows and how unbelievably awesome they were. Unlike typical American audiences, everyone was there to dance, have fun and let loose. By the end of the show, one of the women constantly trying to get on stage had her arms around me as we were pogoing like no tomorrow. And the crowd in SC rocked. While it was insanity for parts of it, it was an incredibly great show and people thankfully even looked out for each other (at least the women). And if SF was the place to smoke up, Santa Cruz really put it to shame. From the moment the band went on, the place reeked of pot. It just got stronger and stronger.

While the band was insanely awesome, their audiences might have been even more so. If you haven’t yet seen them, go go go. pronto pronto pronto!

Mezzanine 10/10
Catalyst 12/10

The openers were both quite good, but the SF openers Bang Data were nothing short of awesome. The band, from the Mission (SF), also got a guest appearance from Kata of Locura(another SF band). The band, made even more famous from Breaking Bad, really brought the energy. They had the crowd pumped up with their blend of ska meets samba-cumbria infused beats and throw in some hip-hop and the band is banging. Throw in some other songs that are Spanish-English infused and more of the bossa-nova sound and it wont take long before your hips are moving to the afro-electro sound or youll be jumping around in no time. Plus, the lead singer skanks on a song or two. Now that is something rarely seen these days.

Moon Cadillac from Santa Cruz were entertaining enough. They had more of a disco-funk sound and brought out a would-be dance party, if anyone was actually interested. Sadly, they seemed to be a bit stiff on stage and just didnt have as much stage presence as Bang Data to really get the crowd pumped. But nonetheless, they were still good.

Set List Kinky (SF):
Después del after
Alma de neón
Hasta quemarnos
Soun tha mi primer amor
Ejercicio #16
Negro día
Cornman
Coqueta (Intocable cover)
Una línea de luz
Huracán
Para poder llegar a ti
Yo soy lo peor (Los Cardenales cover)
¿A dónde van los muertos?

Encore:
¿A dónde van los muertos?
Sister Twisted / Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo cover)
Bien pedo, bien loco
Más

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Hooky, JD, New Order = Paradise

Posted by xneverwherex on November 24, 2014

Peter Hook & The Light
Performing ‘Brotherhood’ and ‘Low-Life’
Mezzanine
11/21/14

After hitting up the Castro theater on Friday night to see Pulp’s new documentary – and clearly get me in the mood for a night of dancing – I made it down to Mezzanine. I somehow got there about 5 minutes before Peter Hook would grace the stage. Thank god for Muni and quickness – because no joke – the best part of the set hands down was the Joy Division material.

Minus Ian Curtis’ haunting vocals, the band was on fire. The guitars (Hooky and son mainly) were sounding amazing. Their full sound filling up the room. Starting with the opening chords of ‘Dead Souls’ it would only get better. The bass lines hauntingly beautiful – a recognizable sound most anywhere. The crowd was really into it, with people moving around slowly, feeling the music. It just seeped into you and would only get better. They worked their way far too quickly the songs but ‘Transmission’ into ‘Isolation’ and finally into ‘She’s Lost Control’…. wow!! It just could not get better.

Hooky

Hooky

Sure Peter Hook might not be the best vocalist, but for whatever reason I felt like his band really kept the essence of Joy Division more than Bernard Sumner’s New Order. Ive heard people tend to like either one or the other, but the intimacy of the show, the fans all moving/dancing together, was incredible. Granted, New Order is playing at the Fox which does tend to not have the greatest acoustics.

Regardless. the night was awesome. The guitar tracks were sounding great and Peter Hook was every bit the show man. He worked the stage playing his guitar close to the fans in front. He then climbed on top of some speakers reaching the far left of the stage. People were just loving it. His son, Jack Bates, seemed a bit more subdued but was a fully competent and excellent player. He isnt showy like his dad in any way, but would look out and smile on occasion and you could tell he was enjoying it. The keyboardist, Andy Poole, was incredible and that really kept the music going. If you cant have the vocals, surely you can get all the music itself done perfectly, and thats just what the band did.

My only real complaint is when Hooky stopped singing on a few songs and gave the duties over to David Potts, formerly of Monaco. His voice just seemed so out of place that at first I was wondering who on earth was possibly singing. And sadly, no Monaco songs.

Although, after a fully awesome Joy Division set, the band went into a really great New Order set. It started with 2 songs not off either the albums before going right into Low-Life. It was never one of my favorite NO albums, but it did sound quite good. And it does have one of my favorite NO songs “Perfect Kiss”. In no time at all the crowd was dancing tons and really into the set. After completing the album and a short break, it was time to dive into Brotherhood. ‘Paradise’, ‘Weirdo’ and ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ – I felt like I was back in high school, but this was so much better. I mean Bizarre Love Triangle really had the crowd dancing.

Peter Hook & The Light After 2 amazing albums, it was hard to ask for even more, but of course there was an encore. And the encore topped the whole show off. ‘Confusion’ into ‘True Faith’ (never sounding better!) and finally my favorite song ‘Temptation’. A crowd singing along, dancing, Hooky working it through the set and finally ripping off a wet “Jackass” shirt and throwing it into the crowd — yeah it was that good. And of course, it had to end with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. What show would not be complete without that as a finisher. Nearly 3 hours later – and I was left a hot, sweaty mess, departing into a cold rainy night. Somehow, it couldnt have been more fitting.

Set List:
Dead Souls (Joy Division)
Komakino (Joy Division)
Something Must Break (Joy Division)
Transmission (Joy Division)
Isolation (Joy Division)
She’s Lost Control (Joy Division)
Shadowplay (Joy Division)

Murder (New Order)
Lonesome tonight (New Order)
Thieves Like Us (New Order)

Low-Life (New Order)
Love Vigilantes
The Perfect Kiss
This Time of NIght
Sunrise
Elegia
Sooner Than You Think
Subculture
Face Up

Brotherhood (New Order)
Paradise
Weirdo
As It Is When It Was
Broken Promise
Way of Life
Bizarre Love Triangle
All Day Long
Angel Dust
Every Little Counts

Encore:
State of the Nation (New Order)
Confusion (New Order)
True Faith (New Order)
Temptation (New Order)
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)

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I Wonder … Rodriguez

Posted by xneverwherex on June 8, 2014

Rodriguez
LP
Warfield Theater
May 28, 2014

Sixto Rodriguez, known to most of us from the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, played back-to-back shows at The Warfield Theater. The 70-year old came out to the stage with a full band (a guy from the UK, a guitarist from New Zealand and a drummer from somewhere else not in the States) and played a really great set, to a really excited crowd. He was dressed in dark clothes, a jacket, and his trademark sunglasses and hat that he only took off towards the end of the set.

Rodriguez @ The Warfield

Rodriguez @ The Warfield

There must have been a few people from South Africa who yelled out periodically how much South Africa loves him. This continued on throughout the night, and at some point Rodriguez asked them how much they had been drinking. He was funny, chatty and most of all was seeming to have a really great time. After ‘Sugar Man’ he added that the song is “descriptive, not prescriptive … hugs not drugs.” and had a few political quips. He also talked about growing up in a Mexican family.

Rodriguez who released his first EP in 1970 in Detroit has definitely paid his dues. He is often times compared to Dylan and on occasion does a Dylan cover. Its hard to believe that he never found the same fame that Dylan had as his music is just as good, if not better. For a long while he was thought to have been dead, and then found a resurgence in South Africa during Apartheid. The music is all Detroit and is a great blend of urban, blues and folk music put into one. He’s got a very melodic soulful voice with an edge and perhaps a hint of sadness. He seemed to blow through his 2 albums all too quickly. The set lasted just over an hour and was a great ‘best-of’ set with a few covers thrown in.

Rodriguez

Rodriguez

‘I Wonder’ was a stand out with catchy sexual lyrics. ‘Sugar Man’ sounds wonderful live. His backing band was phenomenal and they had a great chemistry. It would be hard to complain to be recruited by him and play a full tour with him.

LP, who is mostly known from her song being in a Citibank commercial, opened the set. She was impressive and has one hell of a voice. Reminding me of St. Vincent she was a force. Her set was short, but she definitely left an impression and everyone was left talking about her. I will have to be seeing her again.

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Jesus for the Jugular – The Veils

Posted by xneverwherex on May 2, 2013

The Veils
The Sporting Life
Independent
April 24, 2013

The Veils always put on a great show. I had seen them in NYC a few times and they never disappoint. So, of course I was excited to see how it would be on the other coast. I spoke with their merch girl (from New Zealand, naturally) who I had actually met before. We talked about prior shows, their love of Prince (who was also playing that night) and how another friend of mine from New Zealand had to see them in NYC.

It was starting out a great night. I was surprised to see that when the opener came on – The Sporting Life – there was only me and one other girl in the area standing and giving support. While I know people were not there for them, it never ceases to amaze me how people act oblivious and not at all interested. At least by the time the Veils showed up on stage, the crowd had come forward a bit and the venue filled up.

The band, originally hailing from New Zealand and now based out of the UK, seems to be ever changing in their line up. Last time they had a wonderful female drummer from Germany (if I recall correctly) and now they have added a brass section (Americans), and a new drummer (possibly from Germany, maybe from the UK?) and a few other guys to round out their sound (also from European countries). This addition is great and the brass really adds to their songs.

Finn Andrews, lead singer, has such an impressive voice. You can feel the raw emotion as he sings and his face is entirely expressive – the look of a tortured soul/artist. Everything is shown on his face and its hauntingly beautiful. This is just one of the many thigns I like about him/the band. He didn’t have much to say, but a few thanks for the liking of his hat and he seemed cheery enough to be in SF. Sophia, bassist, always comes across as shy and more often than not, plays with her back to the audience. When a woman commented on her awesome boots, she got super excited and more talkative. As always, she sounded awesome on bass.

The band played quite a bit of new songs off their album ‘Time Stays We Go’. After hearing it online a bit, I was impressed with the songs live. They sounded amazing. It was great to hear ‘Calliope’ which always sounds amazing. And their final song of the night ‘Jesus For the Jugular’ sounded as great as ever. It was gut wrenching with one hell of a guitar solo that probably normally ends with a guitar on the ground (at least in the past it has). It was so intense and it was one hell of a way to end the show. It left you wanting more but completely happy with what you got.

If you havent yet seen them (theyre headed to NYC any day now), you really should. The band never disappoints and with this new album sounding incredible and with rave reviews, this might just push them over the edge into major star quality. Not that Finn doesnt already have that quality!

Oh and as far as the merch – Finn designed the shirts. So its worth it to get one (or two).

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The Airborne Toxic Event Rocks The Warfield

Posted by xneverwherex on April 18, 2013

The Airborne Toxic Event
Nightmare Air
The Warfield
April 11, 2013

I hadnt seen the Airborne Toxic Event in quite a few years and hadnt remembered their prior sets quite so lively. The band did not disappoint. They put on a really great rock show. Mikel Jollett, lead singer, wasted no time at all before climbing on the stacks on the far left side and singing to the audience all over there. He really worked the stage using every bit of it – making rounds to each side.

Airborne Toxic Event – Mikel

By the 2nd or 3rd song, he jumped into the audience and started playing from the crowd. The crowd was really into it and were singing along and dancing. There was so much energy from the entire band. The guys moved from different instruments throughout the set which was pretty cool. Mikel was often times on top of the drum kit and playing from there. The other band members each had their turn up there. There were some pretty incredible guitar solos as well as bass solos. Mikel gave each member a shout out and plenty of time to show off how talented they were.

The set just flew and before I knew it, they were onto the encore. Some of the highlights during the set were ‘Numb’, which it didn’t seem a lot of people knew or were into. Their cover of the Magnetic Fields ‘Book of Love’, was just beautiful and sounded really incredible and fresh. They ended the night with a raucous encore of a medley of songs that had the crowd going nuts and singing along. It started out with their own song “Missy” which then became Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ and then turned into Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ and then they did a quick pause. Mikel talked about the next song being a huge protest song and how most people in this country have no idea what the song is about. Of course, it was Bruce Springstreen’s ‘Born in the USA’. By the time it was done, they had taken it back to ‘Missy’. It was a real incredible way to end a really amazing set.

ATE

I definitely had missed seeing a balls-out rock show that just rocked! By the end of the night, everyone was a sweaty mess from dancing and singing. It was great fun and a band I will definitely be seeing again.

The opener Midnight Air, also from LA, were a harder edged rock band. While they were good, I wasnt blown away by them. One of the band members was in Film School which I had really liked but this was definitely not the same band. The band clearly had a great time and were excited to be playing in SF for the first time. They were talkative and friendly and fun! The band was also excited to be playing their last show with ATE and clearly had a great time on tour with them. Im guessing theyre playing Coachella about now.

If youre on the fence about seeing the ATE, and theyre heading East – Id definitely say not to miss them. You definitely will have a great time!

Set List:
Gasoline
Happiness is Overrated
Does This Mean Youre Moving On?
True Love
Changing
Something New
Half of Something Else
Numb
Safe
Wishing Well
Timeless
Sometime Around Midnight
All I Ever Wanted
All at Once

The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields cover)
The Graveyard Near the House
Missy/Ring of Fire/American Girl/Born in the USA/Missy

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Johnny F’ing Marr & the Bad Ass Band

Posted by xneverwherex on April 14, 2013

Johnny Marr & The Healers
Alamar
The Fillmore
April 13, 2013

Johnny F**kin Marr, as his tshirt states, is a force to be reckoned with. An already great show went over the greatness by the time the encore hit. So I’ll just start there as its too impossible to still not be reliving. Johnny starts telling a story of growing up in Manchester and at age 13 meeting some really amazing kids. And one kid, in particular, is in a band and had made it. The others, yeah not so much. This kid turned out to be Billy Duffy, guitarist of the Cult. These long-time friends had never played a stage together before tonight. And, honestly, they need to do it more often as this was melt your face off unf’ingbelievable.

The two of them (both guitar gods as far as Im concerned) performed one hell of a version of the Clash’s ‘I Fought the Law’. It was powerful and full of raw energy. Johnny let Billy take the spotlight and on his white guitar he tore it up. The two of them continued into a really rocked out version of ‘How Soon is Now’. The song has never sounded so amplified with so many guitars filling up the room. It was awesome and one hell of a way to close out the set.

And for those interested in their friendship – and random factoids – there is a great interview here.

Prior to that insane encore, the set itself was beyond great. Johnny Marr & The Healers are a great band. While its clear that this is Johnny’s band, he seems to really like working with his band. The guys looked quite young but all seemed to be having a great time. It would be hard not to. Johnny Marr is charismatic and charming. He thanked SF quite a bit, and spoke of the acupuncture he had done. He had lots of chi in him and apparently it really helped on his guitar solos.

The songs off his solo album sounded really great and fresh. And had a very current sound. They use a lot of guitars, but it never sounds too heavy. The Smiths songs received huge applause and everyone sang along. ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ sounded every bit as great as The Smiths. While at first it was a bit odd to hear Johnny sing these songs, (he doesnt have Morrissey’s moodiness nor vocals), he did sound quite great overall.

Johnny Marr is an unbelievably talented guy. He still has the boyish good looks so reminiscent of English bands. Its pretty amazing to watch him and remember how many bands he’s been in and how talented he truly is. I was fortunate to having seen him play with Modest Mouse. Its easy to forget that he was also in Electronic and The The and even toured with the Cribs. It makes sense then that NME gave him the godlike genius award.

One hell of an amazing show. Yeah, that sums it up!

Theres not many guitar gods out there anymore so if you can still see him, you owe it to yourself to not miss this show.

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Wash The Sins – Esben & The Witch

Posted by xneverwherex on April 10, 2013

Esben and The Witch
Heliotropes
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
April 4, 2013

The Brick & Mortar Music Hall is one of those venues that is barely noticeable. I had walked and driven by it too many times and didn’t even know it existed. Right down the street from a gas station, it just blends into the block. With that being said, the venue is quite cool. Its a pretty small spot with a bar directly in front of you as you walk in and a stage off to the left. Lots of seating available and a very low-key crowd.

Esben & The Witch

Hailing from Brighton (UK), Esben and the Witch are a 3 piece band that puts on a great subdued show. I had seen them open up for Foals and was curious about their show on its own. The band hardly spoke to the audience but did have a few ‘thank yous’ after the songs. They introduced themselves oh so quietly and then just tore into their set. Rachel Davies, who has a striking resemblance to Keira Knightley, has an amazing voice. Her vocals are reminiscent of Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance) or even Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins). While their sound can be described as gothic, the band definitely has some of the shoegaze influence.

During much of the show, it felt like you were transported to somewhere else. Stuck in a movie that just keeps on going, youre swept away. The music is hauntingly beautiful with guitars that soar. The band had hardly any interaction with each other and played the 45 minute set with hardly any breaks between songs. The band was on tour in support of their awesomely named album, ‘Wash The Sins Not Only The Face’.

Simply put – the show was wonderful.

The semi-local, but mostly Brooklyn, Heliotropes opened up the show. It was their San Francisco debut. At least one of the girls was from Foster City and possibly others. The lead singer seemed excited to be performing for the first time for her mom and sister and friends. The band was very excitable and were having a really great time.

Heliotropes

In contrast to the headliners, this girl band was the exact opposite. They were very talkative about their songs, their new album (coming out in June) and just how excited they were to be on tour. Their short set was fast and punchy and balls out rocking. While I wasnt totally into them, it was easy to become swept up in their excitement.

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