Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘Santa Cruz’

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

Advertisements

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Michael Been of The Call is Celebrated

Posted by xneverwherex on April 22, 2013

The Call (featuring Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club)
Jeffertitti’s Nile
DJ Dan Mancini
Slims
April 11, 2013

Its not often that a show touches your heart and is so endearing. But this show was just that. It took a year and a half for the show to be put together. It appeared that The Call’s music was not the easiest to learn, but Robert did one hell of a job to follow in his father’s foot steps.

Robert Been, bassist and singer of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, came together with his father’s band The Call to perform their music. It was one of two shows that the band will be playing. His father, Michael Been, died a few years back on tour with his son’s band. It was sudden and way too soon. So this was a perfect tribute to his father, bassist and singer, of The Call.

The Call

The band seemed very excited to be playing. Their music still sounded incredible and they definitely still knew how to rock. Their 80s alternative U2-esque sound was amazing as they opened up the set with ‘Everywhere I Go’. The crowd was enthusiastic with lots of cheers. Tom (Dickie), the guitarist, was right in front of me clad in a BRMC shirt. It was fitting and he was full of smiles. He smiled at me a few times, easily one of the younger people in the audience. The guys next to me were pumped up as they yelled out songs and talked about their first time seeing the band. Scott, the drummer, was on top of it, pushing the band through the music. Jim was great on keyboards, having a really fun time.

The band seemed to be racing through songs and they all sounded incredible. While I only recognized a handful of songs, it was easy for me to want to be there to support this special night. Their songs are easy to get into and their music still has a current sound to it. The gents next to me gave Robert a hard time about messing up a few of the songs. Robert was cute and nervous and some of the songs were clearly more difficult than others.

One of my favorite bits of the night was the crowd heckling him for not quite getting the songs right. He commented on how hard they were to learn and why it took so long for them to have this night. He told a heart warming story about his dad’s bass being stolen. Then one day he gets a call from a pawnshop in Santa Cruz with the owner being a huge fan of the Call and realizing that it was Michael’s bass. It landed back in Robert’s hand and he’s been playing it. He comments about it being very hard to stay tuned, but that it was special.

I was beyond excited to hear ‘Let The Day Begin’. I had recently heard it when BRMC had played it, but it was just incredible to hear the band play it. The crowd sang along and clearly was having a great time. The lyrics still seem so relevant. The set ended with ‘Walls Came Down’ and it sounded even better live. With everything that had been going on, the song just seemed so fitting. They ended the set with Uncovered which was just Robert singing and it was just hauntingly beautiful. It was great that they kept playing and didnt leave the stage right at 11. They pushed on and said to hell with last calls/closing times. Its a joke anyway – I sure dont remember this when I last lived here. (Apparently its a new thing – with some place moving in and wanting to change it up – thank you gentrification).

Jeffertitti’s Nile

Robert definitely tried his hardest and wanted to please the band and his fans. A guy commented next to me, ‘well he’s definitely not his father, but he’s holding his own’. Robert sounded great and albeit a bit nervous, he was clearly having fun. The guys were all good natured and poking fun at him. His father definitely had to be smiling down at him. The band clearly missed Michael but this was the best tribute anyone could have asked for. It was just heartwarming and endearing and Im glad that I got to be there to be a part of it.

Jeffertitti’s Nile, the opener, is a 4 piece band from LA and a friend of Roberts. The lead singer came out clad in skin tight jeans, that looked like they were painted onto him. He had a mop of blonde hair hanging in his face reminding me of a surfer. But a surfer band they were not. The other guys came out in long shirt/dresses and pants and longish hair stepping out of the 60s. It was fitting that they played psychedelic-garage-bluesy-glam rock. They kind of flowed all over the stage. The real awesomeness was the drummer and his hair which exceeded Brent (fathead of The Dandy Warhols). This guy had the most awesome head of hair, only sadded by the fact that the drums hid it. People seemed to really enjoy them. They were pretty quiet with not much to say, and when they did say something it was all distorted through the mics. This is one band that I cannot wait to see again.

Setlist (from LA – and prob the same in SF)
Everywhere I go
I Still believe
I dont wanna
Floating Back
Into the woods
Turn a blind eye
oklahoma
you were there
tore the old place down
red moon
swim in the ocean
let the day begin
reconciled
modern romans
whats happened to you
…same old story
you run (acoustic)
walls came down
uncovered

I feel alone lyrics

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »