Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

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.

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Buzz Band Catfish & The Bottlemen Conquer SF

Posted by xneverwherex on February 11, 2015

Catfish & The Bottlemen
Wild Party
The Independent
2/10/15

The much hyped Welsh band, including a test-tube baby born lead singer with the born to be rockstar name Van McCann, Catfish & The Bottlemen lived up to everything and more. Its hard to actually believe the hype as all too often there is such a big letdown. But in this case the 4-some came to San Francisco and were ready to play their hearts out.

Catfish & The Bottlemen

Catfish & The Bottlemen

The band opened with the very catchy “Rango” off their debut album The Balcony. Van wasted no time with amping up the audience. With a lot of kicks and jumps, he worked the stage taking all of their songs a level up. They were harder and heavier in concert, not sounding quite as poppy. And the heavier sound worked perfectly. The packed show (surprisingly not sold out) had everyone singing along like they had been fans of the bands for years. It was hard to believe that this was their first time in San Francisco.

The band then went into the even more catchy “Pacifier” with catchy guitar riffs and Van’s lovely vocals. It has a bit more of a pop sound and had the crowd dancing and rocking out. Van’s head was constantly bopping up and down, his floppy hair all over the place.

Van is very reminiscent of Luke Pritchard of The Kooks. The way he moves, the way he takes over the stage and his whole presence reminds me of the band. You can almost imagine them playing around the same times. The band exudes energy and its infectious and everyone around me was smiling and clearly into it.

There was also a lot of stage banter with him calling out to a Liverpool fan who ended up singing their football anthem. There were clearly a lot of ex-pats in the crowd last night. There was talk about pies and what makes a perfect one and what to put it one (I think Van was not talking about a pizza pie). And it went on. He was so peppy and so full of life.

The other guys of the band left for a couple songs (which I guess could be an encore of sorts) and Van played “Homesick” on his own – along with a crowd sing along. It then went into the acoustic version of “Hourglass” which is beautiful. A girl next to me freaked out about not being able to video the song which was somewhat amusing. The band emerged again for “Cocoon” and “Tyrants” and included the awesome moves of Van sliding up and down the mic stand, resting his head against it as well as sliding his guitar up and down nearly using it as a slide. He just exudes coolness.

This is the band to see – so if youre on the East Coast – find yourself a ticket pronto. Most shows are/will sell-out and you will have no regrets.

Wild Party

Wild Party

The openers Wild Party from San Antonio, Texas are also a band not to miss. The bands are pretty different sound-wise from the heavy guitar rock of Catfish to the lighter, pop sounds of Wild Party. But each of them have the energy. It will be no surprise to see Wild Party around a lot more often.

Lead singer, Lincoln Kreifels tried to get lots of dancing going on and was really engaging. It was clear the band was excited to be in town. They have the same catchiness of Rooney who sadly never became bigger. Power-pop guitars, dance-y songs and in no time you’ll be dancing along to songs like “Outright“. The bass lines of Ethan Kaufmann are beyond catchy esp on songs like “Connect the Dots“. He’s excellent and the band is great to watch. In their ever tight skinny jeans, the band seems almost too jaded and cool, but its clear they’re all just having a good time.

Their music just makes people happy. Everyone around me seemed so into it and just having a great time. I remember missing them at SXSW last year and thinking eventually Id see their name. And I was so glad that I finally caught them. Its one of those bands to just go out and see and you wont regret it.

The combo is one hell of a two-some. Its hard to get two incredible bands with different styles, yet it works just fine. They’re a perfect opener, getting the crowd ready to go and then leaving it all to Catfish & The Bottlemen to take it to the next level.

I expect to be seeing both bands around a lot more often.

Set List: (Catfish)
Rango
Pacifier
Sidewinder
Fallout
26
Business
Kathleen
Homesick
Hourglass
Cocoon
Tyrants

Set List: (Wild Party)
Nicely Done
Lo-Fi Children
New Light
Connect the Dots
Chasing Honey
When I Get Older
Life’s Too Short
Outright
Take My Advice

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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

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Raise Our Voice, Make Another Sound – The P-Spree

Posted by xneverwherex on April 4, 2012

The Polyphonic Spree
New Fumes
Sweet Lee Morrow

Great American Music Hall
4/3/12

My first show in awhile and my first show since moving back to SF. I couldn’t have chosen a better band for my first show here. The GAMH is a super awesome space. The ceiling is quite ornate in the shape of a woman’s body (thank you, foursquare). Its quite the intimate spot with tables wrapped around the venue making it a great place for dinner and a show.

Sweet Lee Morrow, keyboardist with the Spree, opened the show with a folk acoustic set. He sat down in the middle of the stage with just a lone chair and guitar. He sang a few songs, made some quips about songs not for the young ones (ah the ever great all ages shows) and finished the set in a fast 20 minutes or less. Next up, New Fumes. I was surprised that the audience didnt seem so into it, and for just one guy he had some great beats. An electronica set with interesting beats and Star Wars as a backdrop, not bad. Oh yeah, and danceable music. I was quite loving it.

A few minutes before 10pm and a red sheet/screen is covering the stage. Its a wonder how many members are in The Polyphonic Spree these days and how will they fit them all on the stage. Right away you could tell 2 players would be high up above the others. Soon, a heart is cut out and out pops Tim DeLaughter’s head. The rest of the sheet is then cut and pulled off and GAMH has turned into a stage filled with at least 13 members (although I swore there were more). Way high up above would be the cellist and guitarist. In the center are 2 rows of choir members that are beyond giddy. Of course, my favorites, the horns comprising a french horn, trombone and trumpet.

The Polyphonic Spree

Its a whirlwind pace of a show with white robes swooshing and a big red heart stitched into the middle. Who wouldn’t want to be a member of that cult band. Musical director/lead singer Tim DeLaughter takes us on a tour of the Spree’s musical catalog. Directing the instruments and choir it begins to feel like a gospel baptist church. Its hard to not get caught up in the euphoria that the band brings. Everyone swaying and dancing with hands extended into the air. Plenty of peace signs flashed throughout the show along with heart-shaped hands.

Some of the highlights included ‘2000 Places’ which early on got the crowd moving and dancing. The new single ‘Bulls Eye’ sounds quite great. The Who medley was pure brilliance as Tim leads the band through a nearly 10 minute performance that includes a rockin’ ‘Pinball Wizard’. The french horn and cello got lots of play during that. ‘What Would You Do’ had the choir doing some great harmonies and vocals.

So soon they’d be off the stage. Tim said how awesome it was to be in SF again and how they’d be back again real soon. As in one month, maybe one night, and then he said theyd play again today at 7:30am and asked if we’d be there. Obviously, if there was a 7:30am show we’d all be there regardless.

The band then left the stage for a few minutes before coming on and doing a march through the crowd. The band members kept on coming – high-fiving the crowd and waving hello. The encore consisted of ‘Together we’re Heavy’, crowd favorite ‘Light & Day’, ‘We Sound Amazed’ and ‘The Championship’. It is one hell of a one-two punch when oen of the last songs you’re singing is ‘Follow the day and reach for the SUN!’ – which should be an anthem for the band (and prob for most of us in general). The band finally left the stage (after a nearly 2 hour set) for good with each member walking off the stage and waving goodnight. As the band members left soon it was the cellist, who seemed to be having a hard time getting down from the riser and 2 singers and Tim. As each person left it got a little quieter, but the audience got louder. Soon it was just us and Tim singing ‘All in good time, we’ll come round, raise our voice, make another sound’. And then it was just us and the audience continued singing that line and simply put… it was beautiful.

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