Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘shoegaze’

And There Were 14 … Moving Panoramas

Posted by xneverwherex on May 21, 2016

Moving Panoramas
Rabbit Quinn
Upstairs at DNA Lounge
May 18, 2016

You know that moment, that you walk upstairs into a club, and you barely hear a sound… and you walk through the door and realize you are one of the only people there… now, imagine that you are the band.

Austin trio, Moving Panoramas, could tell you all about that kind of night.

The one question I repeatedly get asked (and wonder why people feel inclined to ask) is “did the band play” and “did they play like there was a full crowd”. First off, if a band has people at a show – I have never seen a band just walk off because there weren’t enough people at the show and secondly, I have been the only person at a show (which was awkward) and the band still played like they would play for a full house. Naturally, it means I also make even more noise than usual. So yes, they a) played and b) it was seriously kick-ass.

Moving Panoramas

Moving Panoramas

The trio of women were remarkably cool and funny about the show. The band addressed it early on and the crowd for the most part kind of sucked. The band said hello – and no one said a thing – I said ‘hi’ back and they joked that ‘well at least one person is here to see us’. But pretty much they just played all their songs and were so into it that they barely said much to us. Sure there were jokes about how we should all get to know each other as well as at the next show it would be so packed we’d have to push our way to the front but could totally say ‘i was there when …’. So yeah – the band was pretty f’ing awesome!

Singer/guitarist Leslie Sisson has this really beautiful dreamy voice that blends so well into their shoegaze-dreampop sound. And they have one of the most fitting names for a band. Their music has this feel of beautiful, moving landscapes that you can just lose yourself to. The guitar and bass just meld into one full sound. Add the harmonies from drummer, Karen Skloss and it just completes the band’s sound. And while the club was empty, their music filled that emptiness. It filled all the voids with its simplisticness.

Their album, One, is just a perfect blend of indie-guitar-dreampop/rock. With just enough guitars, bassist Rozie Castoe, adds a bit of the fuzziness of the shoegaze sound but still manage to keep it more on the dreamy side of things. Songs like “Magic” and “Tonight” get you lost in their sound. It’s the perfect music to just close your eyes to – hop in your car – and drive for awhile and get lost in this perfect ambient sound. I feel like the best part of their songs is the emptiness within. They were really smart with their songs in that not every moment has to be filled with vocals and it leaves a lot for the listener to fill in.

It was pretty amusing in that when Leslie wanted to dedicate a song to the newly married couple, that she noted that all their songs were way too dark. I think in the end, they chose “One” and said to kind of change the lyrics around or think of it in a different way. Sure their songs are dark and sad, but if you read Leslie’s stories between kidnappings and friends killed, etc. in some ways it makes perfect sense. Regardless, their band is one not to miss – even if you find yourself in a club with just 13 others.

Sometimes it’s about those awkwardly intimate performances where you both know that it’s just you and them. But if you’re lucky enough, the band will put on such a show, you will forget that it was just the 14 of you. Plus, by the end, you will all become friends and even get to talk to the band.

Rabbit Quinn

Rabbit Quinn

The other huge bonus to the show was the opener, Rabbit Quinn. A local woman who joked about wearing fairy wings and sneaking into the DNA when she was younger. From the moment she stepped behind the piano, and started her first song, I knew it would be good. She was the reincarnation? of Tori Amos. She was sorta like a cornflake girl, with great stories that were hauntingly beautiful.

Her vocals just filled the room and managed to hush the room with the few people who were talking. She commands attention with both her piano playing as well as her vocals. Her debut album, Lost Children, is dark and eerie and seems to be a story of fables. While it could be mistaken for a long, lost Tori album – she definitely is putting her own spin on it. She has some quite catchy songs that have you singing along. And it’s always great when a singer asks what you want to hear and then plays a song showing that she’s fully in control of the music and the set. She knew how to play to the audience as small as it was and knew how to have fun. One hell of a talented woman. Oddly enough, you can also see Rabbit, performing the national anthem at the A’s games these days. She’s really one to check out if you notice her name at any of the local venues.

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

(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).

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

2015 Ended and The Greatest Rock Band Played the Greatest Show…x3

Posted by xneverwherex on January 2, 2016

The Dandy Warhols
Joel Gion
Miranda Lee Richards
December 1 & 2, 2015

The greatest rock band played the greatest show… The End.

Sadly, time some times gets the best of us. And then the year ends, and you get to reflect on all the shows you saw and how the year ended. It was a crazy year – I saw Ride the day after the Paris attacks and I remember being unsure about going to a concert. And then I thought of how many awesome bands I had seen over time – and fuck it – ISIS, terrorists will never win.

Zia

Zia

As Zia ended the concert – she said it was one of the greatest rock concerts ever. Ive seen The Dandy Warhols so many times, that at times the shows start to blur. There was the string of the 3 hour long sets (some of the best I had ever seen), and then there was December 2. The energy in the club was amazing. The place felt alive and it had been a long time since I felt that feeling in a show (let alone in SF, ever!). And the energy in the club reflected with the band who was as tight as ever. It was like everything converged for that perfect storm.

A co-worker (who was at night 1) and I discussed the rules of music/bands and what happens when a band plays 2 nights. The obvious answer is … you go to both shows. The other answer is — when in doubt always go with night 2. There’s a lot of reasons night 2 always wins out – but to keep this succinct the rule of thumb is the band is all warmed up, they’ve been in town for a bit and everything is all worked out. This happened with The Mountain Goats (I didnt see show 1, but according to those who saw both – night 2 kicked ass) and I’ve seen it with other bands. (Testing this theory out on Sunday night with A Place to Bury Strangers – will report back). So while night 1 was pretty awesome, night 2 killed it.

The obvious – Zia no longer had a migraine and was in great shape. The band was tight and mostly the crowd was ridiculously awesome. Truthfully, with the frat bros pushing forward (and apologies now – never judge a book by its cover yadda yadda yadda) and needing to be front center and not shutting up I wasnt sure what would happen. Turns out – these guys were insane die hard fans.

Zia came out to a crowd that loves her – with everyone chanting her name. CTT likes to talk about how everyone loves Zia and she does a little dance. She looked super comfy in flowy pants and a black tank. CTT – who wasnt in a BJM shirt – was more chatty than usual. And Peter and Brent seemed like they were having an awesome time. I noticed Brent and Zia talking it up quite a bit with lots of smiles.

Dandy Warhols

Dandy Warhols

So what makes it a show that stands out from other shows:
* the crowd can make or break a show. Any crowd that upon request for a song to play actually has people yell out songs with explanations is pretty f’ing amazing. The guy next to me yelling out “Little Drummer Boy” with Zia stating maybe later – and the guy pleading ‘its December – its the right time to play it’ was quite convincing. Courtney ixnayed it and pretty much every song to state that he’d be sticking to the setlist.

* during the band’s “break”, CTT led the crowd in the loudest sing-along ever for “Everyday Should be A Holiday“. He mentioned that whenever this is played he alawys asks for a sing-along and its never really loud. So this time, when we weren’t loud enough, he asked for it even louder. The whole place must have been singing along. Perhaps one of the greatest moments ever.

* CTT sounding better than ever. ‘Chauncey P’ is a really great song live as well as ‘Some Things You Got To Get Over‘, two of the bands newest songs and so worth a listen.

* Zia dancing and playing the entire set and never stopping (minus the pee break). Plus her awesome dance moves as the crowd chanted her name. Migraines be gone!

* Zia stating it was one of the greatest rock n roll shows ever.

* Pete on guitars in the opening of PIA with some of the greatest guitar work ever – and then his windmill playing. Plus – the droning guitars that go on and on and straight into ‘Boys Better‘. How does life get better than that – and then you end the show!

—–

And while not to dismiss night 1 – that was awesome too and they were really good. Sure, Zia wasnt in the best of spirits but she looked to be having an awesome night. Plus – we got a Kristen Hersh (Throwing Muses) cover – “Your Ghost” – which was incredible. Also, CTT waxed poetic about SF and him loving the city. And also about how while SF was changing the TL would never change no matter how they try to clean it up.

I should also state that the openers – Joel Gion especially – put on a really great show. If you love psychedelic music – you have to see them. I got to talk to Christof after the show (guitarist in Joel’s band as well as Miranda Lee Richards) and besides being insanely talented he was charming. Him and a few of us were talking about both the nights shows and how he thought the 2nd night for his band was so much better (possibly more drugs?) but how as an audience it seemed the first night was much tighter. Perhaps because the band had so little space to perform, they seemed so connected. Either way – the band was awesome on both nights and Joel (of Brian Jonestown Massacre percussionist fame) has one hell of an awesome band. Definitely a band not to be missed.

Set List:
Mohammed
Crack Cocaine Rager
Get Off
Somethings You Got To Get Over
I Love You
The Last High
Everyone Is Totally Insane
Plan A
Down Like Disco
Good Morning
Shakin’
Every Day Should Be a Holiday – CTT Solo
Chauncey P vs All the Girls in London
We Used to Be Friends
The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers a.k.a. the Ballad of Sheriff Shorty
Bohemian Like You
Godless
Pete International Airport / Boys Better

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

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.

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

Caribou Closes Out Noise Pop Fest

Posted by xneverwherex on March 4, 2015

Caribou
Koreless
The Fillmore
March 2, 2015

Canada’s Dan Snaith, also known as Caribou, came to SF for a couple of days to close out the Noise Pop Festival at The Fillmore. The show had long been sold-out and unlike most shows, tickets were hard to come by. After finally making the decision that I had to see him, I just threw down the money and hoped for the best.

Caribou

Caribou

The band came out clad in white to a stage of red and blue lights that would eventually be a lot of strobe lights (I somehow did not see the warnings!). The band started out slow with the lo-fi house drum beats on “Our Love” and immediately the crowd was shuffling around. With a slow progression, the music gets faster with lovely synthy dance beats and the crowd followed along as Dan & Company would take us on a full-on dance party always in command. Just as you feel it getting close to the climax and youre ready for more, the band turns it down a notch. And it worked.

Caribou, which is labeled under ‘idm’ (intelligent dance music), isnt your typical indie dance electronica band. Dan manages to encapsulate so many styles in their songs – from experimental to jungle to house and of course electronic – and as a whole the songs work. There are so many layers on his songs, with some of them having a shoegaze influence but also still has the continuous throbbing beats. The new album, Our Love seems to have branched out even more and just might be even more accessible.

On tour, Dan brings along a guitarist, bassist and another drummer and the 4-some are tight on stage. Packed neatly into a small space in the center of the stage, each band member contributes as an individual and a whole to the band. It makes for an intimate closeness as they all play and work off of each other. Its hard to imagine that this is all done as just one when its so perfect live with all the different instruments. If you love drums, they have plenty, with 2 drums going on for most of the night – a throbbing beat just keeping the show moving along.

It definitely helps that Caribou has a fan-base that is pretty solid. Before the show started, I heard someone talking about all the different shows he had seen mentioning of course Caribou. How I was so tempted to say that I saw him perform under Manitoba years prior. People that love his music, really love his music. Throw down some awesome synths to solid drum beats that have a tribal sound along with one hell of a light show, and you get one hell of an awesome show. Plus, the pulse of the crowd which was in constant movement (and they say people don’t dance) and bam! I mean, how can one not move to his music.

It was one hell of an impressive set. The band played for nearly 70 minutes without stopping between songs. Throw in ‘Sun‘ as an encore and for nearly 10 minutes you just get lost in the music. Dan was having such an awesome time, playing in purple socks, and every once in awhile staring out at the crowd with a huge smile. It was just pure happiness. The other drummer, played the set with just one shoe on. The whole band just seemed so comfortable and it was clear that it wasnt just the crowd who was so into it. Everyone was so lost in the music and with hits like ‘Odessa‘ (one of his most catchiest songs) and my own favorite ‘Leave House‘ (I never want to stop dancing when this is played – it just goes on and on and on). Plus, The Fillmore (not usually known for having electronic bands), was the place to see this. Sure, normally it’d be at Mezzanine or a more club environment, but the acoustics here were spot on. It could not have been a better space for the band.

Koreless

Koreless

Scottish electronic producer Lewis Roberts, a.k.a. Koreless, started the evening armed with just a laptop. It might have been the exact opposite in electronic music when compared to Caribou but to say it was not brilliant would be a lie. Koreless manages to add a lot of layers and textures to the music that it seems you can actually feel it. Between the ethereal shoegaze sounds to the space-y ambient noise, you feel like youre in your own world. In my own version of Interstellar, this is the music that would be with me. It transports you to another space, its moody and delicious. With a continuous haze of pot smoke above, it added to the ambience.

I walked out of the show and my back was drenched in sweat. The dress I was wearing was now clinging to me and soaked. Sure, it was disgusting after the fact, but during the show just the feel of the crowd dancing and super into it and connected was an awesome feeling. Surely worth every cent I paid for the show and probably even more.

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

Blonde Redhead @ The Regency Ballroom

Posted by xneverwherex on November 15, 2014

Blonde Redhead
Dot Hacker
Regency Ballroom
November 11, 2014

New York’s Blonde Redhead was in town on Tuesday night for their new album Barragan. This was the trio’s first album in what seemed like a long awaited 4 years. While I don’t think the album holds a candle to earlier work, hearing it performed live was a whole different story. As a whole, the band has never seemed more connected.

Kazu - Blonde Redhead

Blonde Redhead – Kazu

Kazu was having such a great time, working the stage, dancing it up like crazy. The band seems to have found a perfect balance between old and new – and between the shoegaze, indie pop art sound its just pure bliss. Theres something transformative happening when they play. And the crowd was way into it. Plus lots of older material and a good chunk from 23. And a double encore. I mean, seriously, what more can you ask for.

The band also has such chemistry on stage — its like they can just read each other and it makes for a real good mood/vibe. Guitarist Amedeo sounds amazing live. His vocals interspersed with Kazu’s on some of the songs was just beautiful, but even on his own he sounds equally enchanting. His twin brother Simone on drums kept the beat going and just connects it all together.

Their encore was pretty incredible. They came back to the stage playing the shoegaze-y, guitar heavy, dance-y “Spring and By Summer Fall” which had the crowd dancing up a storm. Lots of swaying and heads bopping and everyone moving. The first encore ended with “23” which had the crowd yelling for more. Kazu’s voice has never sounded so lush and beautiful. She was also tearing up the stage, working her way all over it dancing up a storm. As one guy told me, the best dancer of all the indie bands these days.

It would have been perfect even if they just ended it there, but the band clearly were having so much fun they had to come out for more. Kazu was saying how much fun she was having and enjoying playing for us so we were given a second encore with an additional song ‘Equus‘. And it was *that* awesome.

Ive seen them a number of times and they just get better with age. Like that perfect glass of wine, just aging in style.

Set List:
Barragan
Lady M
Falling Man
Hated Because of Great Qualities
Love or Prison
Mind to Be Had
No More Honey
Doll is Mine
Melody
Not Getting There
Dripping

Spring and by Summer Fall
The One I Love
Defeatist Anthem (Harry and I)
23

Equus

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

Summer Ends with The Raveonettes

Posted by xneverwherex on September 24, 2014

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

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

The Raveonettes

The Raveonettes

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

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

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

Rich Girls

Rich Girls

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

Posted in Blogroll, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

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

Take A Summer Holiday w/Wild Nothing

Posted by xneverwherex on September 7, 2012

Wild Nothing
DIIV
Holy Shit

Great American Music Hall
9/5/12

I guess the summer holiday is officially coming to an end, so it seemed fitting that it ended with Wild Nothing. Wild Nothing had finally made it back to the West Coast according to Jack. It sounded like it had been quite awhile and the way Jack told how San Francisco was his favorite city, reminded me of the way I had felt about NYC.

The band, by way of NYC (Brooklyn for Jack — and Athens for a few others — as well as one guy still in VA?), are on tour for their second album, Nocturne. I wasnt sure how the album would hold up compared to Gemini (one of my fav albums quite possibly ever), and it does. And quite nicely. Maybe with a few more spins it’ll end up in that same category.

From what I had learned from their new lighting guy – the band is kind of all over the place when it comes to where they live. Im not sure how it works as it seems that Jack isn’t fully in control over every part of the music, but it does work. And dare I add, quite well.

Wild Nothing

Their music just takes you away to a dreamy far away land with swirling guitars, lush vocals and darkened lights that just add to the visual. For an hour or so, it feels like youre off in your own land dancing to infectious indie pop hooks. It still has the hint of shoegaze but its like the Cocteau Twins of the 80s and the pop sounds of The Sundays.

The guys all moved around aimlessly with the bassist jumping up and down for a lot of the songs and the guitarist moving back and forth in his own world. Jack, who doesnt say much, had some interactions with the guys but mostly he just played his heart out. He was definitely excited to be there and you could feel the energy from the crowd. As the first guitar chords begin on ‘Chinatown’ an excitement builds in the crowd. ‘Live In Dreams’, which has always been a favorite, has never sounded better. Everyone sang and danced and moved in a hazy dreamlike nature.

In contrast to the Pains show, this was a different experience where people were there just wanting to hear the music. The only real complaint was the sound itself. At times the guitars were just too loud and muddy and took away from the vocals, but for the most part it worked itself out.

And just because Im selfish – how about bringing back one of the best Kate Bush covers ever. Cloudbusting is such an amazing song; its rare that a band can do her music justice. But its one of the best covers Ive ever heard. And this coming from a music snob đŸ™‚

DIIV (pronounced Dive and formerly known as Dive), another band from NYC, were one of 2 openers. The guys looked impossibly young and it was hard to believe they were even 16. The crowd were so into them and that was quite awesome. Some of their music reminded me of Explosions in the Sky but not as big as a sound. Lots of heavy guitars and a few songs with minimal vocals.

I remember liking Holy Shit and at the same time thinking what a horrible band name or thinking when is Holy Shit Fuck going to be a band. The band, which used to have Ariel Pink in it on the first album, is now a few guys from San Francisco. They play lo-fi experimental-ish jams and put on a great, really tight set. It was over so quickly that by the time you were into it, that was it.

Overall — one hell of a night with 3 great bands!

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

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

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