Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘synth’

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

Posted in Adventures in the Big City, Friends, Live Music, Random Ramblings, San Francisco | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jones, Jobs

Posted by xneverwherex on October 20, 2011

Howard Jones
Classic Albums Tour
Irving Plaza
10/19/11

Howard Jones somehow made it to NYC and played an incredible set. He fought pneumonia the previous night and had to cancel the prior nights show in CT. I was worried that he might not actually be able to pull it off, but boy was I ever wrong. He came out in sunglasses, a black

Howard Jones

leather jacket and black glittery pants. No more long hair, but he still looked as cool as ever.

It was definitely interesting being here, coming from CMJ bands. It was so apparent how many bands copy a near identical sound. With only a drum machine, keyboards, a mixer, 3 laptops, +1 Ipad (that was apparently really needed), the show couldnt have been better. Howard was all mic-ed up and worked the stage. He started off with the album ‘Human’s Lib’ with videos in the background. There were sing alongs and ‘What Is Love’ was mostly the crowd singing. Everyone sang and danced during the more popular songs. Howard just loved seeing the crowd so into it. The first album with an occasional other hit was a very quick hour.

He then took a 30 minute break before he came back for the 2nd set. I was always a huge huge fan of ‘Dream Into Action’ and knew more of the songs off that album. With a nice costume change – hello red leather jacket and disco sunglasses – he was ready to tear through the next set. After realizing the show could not go on without his Ipad, he mentioned how this was dedicated to Steve Jobs. It was great to see someone acknowledge how the world has changed with Apple, especially in the music industry.

Howard Jones

Many of the songs have now been remixed and its great to hear how they’ve been updated. The keyboards will always be so distinct with a sound all of his own. He encouraged us all to learn the piano and come back and we’d all do a song together. His voice has still held up and sounds as great now as he did then.

Some of the highlights off this album were “Like to Get to Know You Well” which kind of went on and on with everyone singing the chorus. “Look Mama” was dedicated to all the moms in the crowd along with Howard’s mum who is slowly forgetting everything. “No One is To Blame” sounded as gorgeous now as it did then and instead of playing the album version he played the more popular version that the audience always loves.

He did an encore of sorts with the hugely popular ‘Things Can Only Get Better’. It was by far the best song of the night. He mentioned how a teacher told him her 4th grade class sings it every morning. And its something that we should all still live by. It was mostly sung with the audience with Howard doing different parts. It couldnt have been a more perfect way to end the set.

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Who Are The Pinker Tones?

Posted by xneverwherex on April 19, 2011

The Pinker Tones
Highline Ballroom
April 17, 2011

Its always quite odd when you show up at a venue – about 15 minutes before the band comes on and NO ONE is there. Ok – there were a few people (friends of the band?) there eating/drinking, but really – that was it. 9pm rolls around and the band isnt coming on. A friend inquires and learns that within 15 minutes – people or none – the band is going on.

Sure enough 15 minutes later The Pinker Tones come out. It seems theyre a band that either no one knows of – or they had a serious lack of promotion. Ill go with a bit of both. Sunday nights are a hard sell and the Highline isnt quite ideal if you dont live on the west side. With all that being said – the band put on a fun show. Maybe 100 people max showed up but everyone seemed to be having a great time. The band dedicated a song to the Land of the Rising Sun – and then made sure to tell us it was Japan. So naturally it meant they were playing the beyond catchy “Tokyo”.

The band did play as if it were a full venue. They were energetic and came out with sunglasses and similar outfits, black pants/white shirts. They did a combination of speaking in Spanish and English. I was surprised that they did so many English-speaking songs when a good chunk of their music is in Spanish. After all – they are from Barcelona its to be expected. They even did a song and broke up the small crowd alternating the bops or whatever we were yelling out. At best it was pathetic but hopefully we could all laugh about it. They played some of their earlier songs off their first album but focused mostly on Modular. Estirado al Sol and Invisible are quite catchy. A lot of the songs became sing alongs. Its just a pity that their music is somewhere between 80s synth pop/dancey and then they just have other songs that are not even in the same vein. So the question is – who are they?

The band ended with a small dance party and started mixing up their own songs. Throwing in some 70s songs and it was fun. The most amusing part was the song/dance that could have been the macarena. Between the pointing to the head, the world and I forgot the rest of what we did I felt like a total kid again.

The band tried their best to be in good spirits. They cut their encore short which was pretty amazing that they even bothered with one. Its gotta be frustrating to come over from Europe to have a nearly empty club. But they came out and played a good show. I was glad that I saw them – Im sure they needed all the support they could get!

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