It's my turn to pick the Rock Club concert of the week. For the week of Sept. 2 - 8, you can choose between these two shows:
Saturday, Sept. 2 - Beauty Pill, The Aquarium, and Soccer Team (Black Cat)
Thursday, Sept. 7 - Evangelicals, Arboretum, The Fake Accents (Warehouse Next Door)
To be perfectly honest, I have no desire to see any of the bands on the 2nd. Well, maybe Soccer Team. I simply included them in case you guys were unable to make the show on Thursday. I'm a fan of Evangelicals new album, "So Gone". My buddy Jim says The Fake Accents are good so I'd like to give them a try. Arboretum are from Baltimore and, from what I can tell from their stuff online, not that good. Oh well, not every band can be Black Tie Revue. At least Jimbromski will enjoy their extended hippie jams. Thankfully, there's a bar next door for the rest of us.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
August 26 saw the denizens of Rock Club assemble at Velvet Lounge for a three-fer of bands. For once, each RC member was accompanied by a chick. Unfortunately, they were all wives and ex/current girlfriends. But still, there were women with us. We even had a surplus girl, a non-wife/non-girlfriend. Maybe this is a portent of things to come, as Rock Club becomes more popular, and we members become international playboys. The ratio of wives/girlfriends to unattached chicks will decrease in our favor. You'll see.
Anyway, on to the show. First up was the Nunchucks, a four-piece with a bass, guitar, keyboard and drums. The lead singer was an Asian guy with thick-framed black glasses and short hair; what looked to be his sister was on the keyboards. Upon seeing the keyboardist, Jumbo Slice scurried away with sweaty brow--I saw him later masturbating in a dark recess of the club. Despite that, the Nunchucks laid down a really good show--poppy, lots of hooks, enthusiastic playing. Good stuff. Jumbo Slice(before running off to rut against the cigarette machine) mentioned that they sounded like "the Asian Weezer"; I agreed but thought maybe they're more like the Asian Blink-182. Sorry, Brink-182. Either way, for an opener they were quality. The lead singer and keyboardist have a bright future ahead of them, either as rock stars or as IT consultants. I give the Nunchucks a 6.7.
Quick Digression--As always, I tried to tell a joke, and just before I got started, the music came in and drowned me out. So here's the joke: Imagine Beethoven as a modern day, 21st century rock star, playing a big arena. He struts to the mic and screams, helllloooo Cleveland, are you ready to rock? The crowd goes nuts. Beethoven says, I can't hear you!
See, that's the whole joke. Beethoven was deaf. So he couldn't hear the Cleveland crowd.
Okay, on to Black Tie Review. During the Nunchucks set, we were sitting on some risers in the back of the club. Next to us were a 4'11", 300 pound man, a Michael Caine circa 1971 lookalike, and an Emo Philips (circa now, I guess; haven't seen old Emo in a while) lookalike in a striped sailor shirt. If you've seen Little Miss Sunshine, the dude looked like the mute brother.
Here, some pictures for you:
On rhythm guitar and vocals, Artie Lange. Except this dude was wearing an aqua polo shirt.
On the keyboard/tambourine, the mute brother from Little Miss Sunshine.
Last but not least, Michael Caine (from Get Carter) on the lead guitar. Except our Caine doppelganger was wearing a Members Only jacket.
Okay, so there were other band members, but I couldn't get a good look at them, so I can't properly mock them. Anyway, once these fashion plates got on stage, all bets were off. I had no idea what they would sound like, with a mix of guys like that. Imagine my surprise and pleasure when they launched into their first song...loud guitar, hand clapping, yelling, good backbeat. It was like the Ramones meet Tom Petty meet Mooney Suzuki, or something like that. My theory is that, being from Pittsburgh, they have the alternative influence (much like Pittsburgh's favorite whack-job son, Andy Warhol), but also, being from Pittsburgh, they dearly wish to avoid getting their asses kicked by unemployed steel workers, so they have a guitar-heavy sound, and a fat, regular guy lead singer.
Whatever their motivations, it worked. This band rocked hard and all the songs were quick and to the point. Emo Philips even jumped out into the crowd to play the tambo--what more can you ask for? On the down side, they veered a little too much into frat rock territory, but again, once they escape Pittsburgh and the threat of nightly ass-whuppins they can start experimenting and branching out. But here's a message to the lead singer--don't change. Don't lose weight. Don't clean that grinder stain off of your aqua polo shirt. You, sir, are perfect the way you are. The Black Tie Review get a 7.1.
Okay, by the time Black Tie Review wrapped it up, it was about 1:00 am and people were starting to complain. Okay, my wife was complaining. But I couldn't hear everyone else, so I assume others were complaining as well. It can be difficult for civilians, if they're not accustomed to late night rockin'. My concern was that, after the superlative Nunchucks and Black Tie Review sets, that Middle Distance Runner had nowhere to go but down. Unfortunately, that was the case--MDR came out flaccid. If they were a sports team, the coach would have had to call timeout after the first ten minutes and make the band huddle up so he could yell at them. They aren't a bad band--there were definitely some catchy songs and when they speeded things up it got interesting. My feeling was, a band like Black Tie Review is great live, but MDR is more likely the CD you'll listen to when you're in your house, or car, or S&M basement dungeon. You know, atmosphere music. However, I was not in my house/car/dungeon, so MDR fell a little flat, in my opinion. Maybe I was tired. Maybe I ain't got it anymore. Don't know, really. They kind of had an ersatz Radiohead thing going, except it was the Radiohead where Thom Yorke goes "eeeehhhunnnhhhhoheeeh" into the mic while the band noodles in the background, not the Radiohead from The Bends, with the, you know, things I like to refer to as "songs". Ah well, let this be a lesson, MDR--next time pick some shitty opening bands. Although, I'm thinking they looked at Asian computer geeks the Nunchucks, and the freak show that is Black Tie Review, and thought to themselves, yeah, these are our guys--no way these freaks will outshine us. I give Middle Distance Runner a 5.9.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
The most common question we get here at Rock Club is, "If Rock Club were a band, what band would you be?". Well, one possible answer is Dirty On Purpose. SackLunch would be the bassist and Potsy would be the studly lead singer, as this picture clearly demonstrates. However, there are a few characteristics that separate Dirty On Purpose from Rock Club, namely reliable automobiles. The DOP van broke down on the way to DC last night so we were only left with Cedars to quench our thrist for Rock.
After arriving at the Black Cat, I ponied up $5 to see Cedars play their entire catalogue of songs. That's right, they played all 7 of them. Cedars is a decent band that could have real potential except for one thing: there are a thousand other bands out there that sound like they do. You know what I'm talking about. Take a little U2, sprinkle in some Interpol, and add a little Gang of Four with just a touch of synthesizer. Or as the indie rock snobs would say, "highly derivative". It's the "I'm going to write this song and totally get laid" sound. Why do so many bands play the same wuss rock? I'll tell you why: the ladies love it. Here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about. After playing to a crowd of about 17 people, the keyboardist/guitar player walked out of the Backstage with four or five young hotties flocked around him. These guys aren't idiots.
Since we didn't actually get to see Dirty On Purpose, I decided to include a clip of their latest video. Any video that has both Jazzercise and a drummer on a trampoline is a-okay with me.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the multiple rule violations from last night. It may be time to expell Potsy, thereby leaving Jimbromski as the last remaining member.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Even though i did not like the Peaches song that Erin suggested, it did give me an idea. Let the other members of RC know what you are listening to. Maybe you have found the proverbial 'diamond in the rough", or maybe it is a lost classic that we may have forgotten. Song, album, EP, video, whatever, it doesnt matter. It can be good or bad, soft or hard (no comments please). I will begin: Right now I am listening to Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth. I havent heard it in a while and I quite like it. Teeange Riot is a catchy tune. Before that I was listening to Awesomer by Blood on the Wall (which sounds a bit like Sonic youth with the chick singer and all), for those of you who dont have this CD, I think it is a must have. The CD I have been listening to repeatedly before going to bed is The Complete Guide to Insuffciency by David Thomas Broughton. It is kind of a folky, Nick Drake/Antony and the Johnsons type sound. Probably not for everyone, but I quite like it. Also been listening to a great deal of 1964-1967 era Bob Dylan. Excellent. What have you been listening to?
Monday, August 21, 2006
We now have yet another place to rock. It's the aptly named Rock & Roll Hotel in the H St. corridor. It's owned by the same people who own DC9 and The Red and The Black. Looking at their calendar, it seems like they have a lot of the same bands as DC9, but a few names do stand out, notably Andy Rourke (of The Smiths) and Marky Ramone (take a wild guess which band he used to be in). Head Roc is also playing there. I just hope he continues to raise awareness about the escalating violence in Iraq, Lebannon, and of course, Japan.
Okay, here are some proposed shows for my dates. I can only work with what I'm given, people.
Aug 25 - Sept 1
Okay, slim pickings for this week. Like a bunch of welfare state Frenchmen, America's rockers have all gone on vacation. The best I could find, and I am not kidding, is the "Back on the Bitch" tour at Jaxx, on Aug 25 (Friday). This tour includes SpreadEagle (or maybe Spread Eagle, with a space), Dropoutz, Molotov Valentine, and "Abio genesis" (once again, I cannot easily read the band names on this website due to the "metal" fonts used by all the bands). Sadly, Hookers and Blow had to drop out of this show due to unforseen circumstances. Again, I am not kidding.
This might be a week where we pick a night that's best for all of us, and just head over to DC9 or Velvet Lounge and have some beers, while a bunch of no-hopers strain away in the background. Technically, that would statisfy RC requirements.
Sept 23 - Sept 29
Ah, fall semester. Time for sweater sets and new Trapper Keepers. And upon those Trapper Keepers, we will draw the logos of the rockin' bands we've seen.
Better options this week. At the Black Cat, Sunset Rubdown on Sept 27, and the Mountain Goats on Sept 28. At 9:30, Ladytron on Sept 25 and Yo La Tengo on Sept 26. Mates of State at the State Theater on Sept 27.
I think I would vote Mates of State and a tie between Ladytron and Mountain Goats. On a side not, Massive Attack is playing 9:30 for two nights that week for $40. Unbelievable. I like them but at that price I want the Beatles to get back together.
Oct 21 - Oct 27
And we approach the ancient pagan feast of Samhain. In order to ensure that next year's Rock Club harvest is as bountiful as this year's, we will schedule an orgy (we'll need some virgin maidens) before this week's show, and after the show, we'll sacrifice one Rock Club member (member TBD).
Again, some good shite this week. As days go by, I expect more shows will be announced, adding to the excitement of what will henceforth be referred to as "ROCKTOBER". Two great shows at the 9:30, Frank Black (acoustic) on Oct 22 (sorry, "Roct 22") and the Futureheads on Oct 26.
I think Futureheads will rock the joint, so that's my vote. A special prize to whomever can figure out my second place vote.
Okay, clubbers, let's hear it. Get off the schnied and vote.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Here are your choices for this week:
Tuesday at the Black Cat Backstage - Cedars and Dirty On Purpose
Wednesday at the Warehouse Next Door - Get Him Eat Him, Curtains, and Beirut
I've only listened to a few songs by Cedars and Dirty On Purpose but I liked what I heard. It's wuss rock, but the good kind (James knows what I mean). Might be a good show to wear my shirt with the unicorns fucking in front of a rainbow.
Get Him Eat Him have a ton of different sounds. I listened to one album and they were all over the place. Some stuff worked, some didn't. Kind of like hooking up with someone for the first time, when drunk and high on Angel Dust. Overall, not bad. Curtains features a guy from one of my favorite bands, Deerhoof. Too bad this band isn't good. Beirut got rave reviews from Pitchfork. Sometimes I wonder if they just post sick reviews to see how many people latch onto a crappy band. Maybe I'm wrong and Beirut is pure genuis, but I doubt it.
Lock in your votes now...
Here's the schedule for the remainder of the year. Memorize your weeks, monitor the schedules, and pick some good shows. I'm due this week, so I'll post the options in a bit. I'm in a pissy mood so I may pick a shitty show just to be a bastard.
Aug 25-Sept 1 - Jimbromski
Sept 2-8 - Spry
9/9 - 9/15 - Sacklunch
9/16 - 9/22 - Potsy
9/23 - 9/29 - Jimbromski
9/30 - 10/6 - Spry
10/7 - 10/13 - Sacklunch
10/14 - 10/20 - Potsy
10/21 - 10/27 - Jimbromski
10/28 - 11/3 - Spry
11/4 - 11/10 - Sacklunch
11/11 - 11/17 - Potsy
11/18 - 11/24 - Jimbromski
11/25 - 12/1 - Spry
12/2 - 12/8 - Sacklunch
12/9 - 12/15 - Potsy
12/16 - 12/22 - Jimbromski
12/23 - 12/29 - Spry
12/30 - 1/5 - Sacklunch
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Peaches, I hate 'em. The fruit that is. I find them nauseating. Seriously, if I catch a whiff of anything peach scented/flavored, I'm likely to ralph right then and there. But that's not what I wanted to write you gents about. I was just listening to KEXP and heard this track, "Give 'Er" by Peaches. It rocked.
That's all. Since everyone is busy camping, force feeding chocolate to the Washington Post, and/or being waited on hand and foot, I thought I'd contribute something to the cold, lifeless blog. Okay, back to work for me. Now KEXP is playing some tripnotic Taos crap. Where did Kevin the afternoon guy go...?
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Tuesday August 8, 2006 - An evening with Grant Lee Phillips - Iota Club & Cafe, Arlington, VA $15
Grant Lee Phillips used to have this band called Grant Lee Buffalo. Had they remained intact, I could have posted another black and white photo, in this case, of Buffalo Bill (William F. Cody) to continue the theme above; but they didn't so I won't. I used to listen to a little Grant Lee Buffalo back in my days as the man on the mic at WHRW (The Harpur Radio Workshop). It was decent alternative music back when that meant something, and it had a nice calming quality that nicely cut the rage of the industrial and grunge sound of the day. Should I mention that in 1995, Rolling Stone magazine voted GLP the best male vocalist of the year? No? Too late.
Fast forward 10 years, and Grant Lee Buffalo is now Grant Lee Phillips and is playing at clubs smaller than the ones he probably envisioned after opening up for acts like R.E.M. back in the 90s. But that's what you get without the Buffalo. Fewer people can fit in smaller places. And as GLP said himself on Tuesday, "more money to split fewer ways." So when looking into bands for this week, I chose to go with a more known quantity, and someone you could count on to have had enough experience to put on a decent show. The upside, we didn't suffer through a no talent night. The down side of this strategy, if you call it one, was that this was not going to be an opportunity to discover the next big thing. GLP's star is not necessarily on the rise.
How was the show?
The three-fourths of Rock Club present for this show had met out back for a drink and missed the very beginning of the first song. But GLP had taken stage to a capacity crowd at Iota, accoustic guitar in hand and accompanied by a lone drummer, and began with songs from his latest release, Nineteeneighties, covers of songs from the 1980s. Admittedly, this show did not rock with a capital "R," as I counted 4 songs that were up-tempo enough to actually rock. We caught the end of his version of Under the Milkyway by the Church as we entered from the back. He continued with other covers of the Pixies, the Psychedelic Furs, and New Order, before reaching back to his GLB album, Mighty Joe Moon. The sound was solid, and his strong whisper singing style kept the moshing to a minimum. If you didn't like the first song he performed, it wasn't likely that you'd like much of what followed as Phillips has a consistent sound both instrumentally and vocally, and which rarely shifts out of 3rd gear.
There were a good number of old school fans that served him well during the course of the night. Phillips quickly started taking requests from the audience which I personally enjoy seeing. It suggests to me that the artist is working for me. However, Phillips quickly reminded the crowd that he was in fact "the decider," which amused the politically in-tune audience.
Grant Lee Phillips continued to work the crowd through the course of the night, making jokes, and deliberating over which requests were worthy of consideration.
After a while, I was the lone RC member in the audience. I contemplated recruiting new members since it was clear that my aged clubmates had run out of gas. Given the low-key nature of the music, I can't blame them. But I returned to the back patio to find Jimbromski and Sacklunch sucking down cigarettes like coca-cola. This was the sad end to the night.
Overall, this was a quality show in a good venue. If I had the option, I would do it over again, but I wouldn't buy Sacklunch that 2nd beer.
Friday, August 04, 2006
Phew. These bitches ain't playin'. You think they playin'? They'll rip your head off and shit down your neck hole. And that's if they like you.
The rescheduled Sleater-Kinney show took place, er, on schedule, August 3. First, let me dispense with the opening band, French Toast. Dan liked them, nobody else did. I'm beginning to think Dan likes everything and everyone, which would explain why people find him more likable than the rest of us.
Sleater-Kinney absolutely rocked out. The core of the group is the drummer. We knew we were in for a drum clinic, when a roadie placed a binder containing about 20 drumsticks behind the drum set. And these weren't chicken drumsticks, although she's a healthy-looking girl and would appreciate some KFC during the show. No, she had extras, because she anticipated breaking a bunch in mid-flurry and wanted replacements at-hand. Seriously, I haven't heard drumming like this since Animal on The Muppet Show. I enjoyed watching her tits shake while she went off. As you can see from the picture, she's built, and I'm sure if we mated she would give me many fine sons, who when grown to adult-size could fell many acres of timber and plow my lands. The reality is, she'd probably throw me down and have go at me with the strap-on. I am curiously intrigued by the thought. Back in five minutes...
Whew. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, Sleater-Kinney.
Again, they killed, and the fact that they're women gives them bonus points. If you put your typical female alt artist--say, Lisa Loeb--in an isolation tank, and piped this music in, her head would explode and the only remnants would be bits of brain tissue and pieces of those ridiculous cat's-eye glasses she always wears. I know I harp about this, but S-K showed a firm commitment to melody and catchy songs--it wasn't just aimless noise (I'm looking in your direction, French Toast). They even broke things up with some 5 minute jams. I give this show a rating of 8.1, which is high praise given my ongoing war against grade inflation.
Wuh-wuh-wait a second! I would be remiss if I didn't mention Erin's absence from this show. I don't want to reveal personal details here, due to the amount of fans/stalkers that all members of Rock Club have to deal with, but I do have a picture of what Erin was doing last night:
Hint: Erin is not the man in the white coat. Perhaps it's better he missed this one, he's shown himself to be softer than a bag of marshmallows wrapped inside a feather pillow, and the sonic assault we experienced last night would forever haunt his dreams.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I read once that fully-loaded planes never crash. Meaning, whenever there's an air accident, invariably it turns out that a statistically significant number of passengers end up missing the flight, and thus save themselves from a fiery end. It's nothing so dramatic as a passenger getting to the gate and thinking, I'm going to die if I get on this plane, and then said passenger scurries off to long-term parking and speeds home. More like, a number of passengers dilly-dally the day of their flight, and arrive late, or some trivial matter comes up that causes them to miss the flight entirely.
The theory is that each human brain is hard-wired to be sensitive to extra-sensory cues. Perhaps it's a holdover from paleolithic times, when man was a hunter-gatherer, with no civilizational memory, and no written culture, and where a gut feeling that a drought was coming, or a hungry saber-toothed tiger was silently stalking the tribe, helped put the giddy-up in primitive man's garter. Think Fiver in Watership Down. You just get a weird feeling, and consciously or not, you heed that feeling.
Anyway, such a situation occured with Rock Club tonight. The casual reader can pore through the previous posts, and see that something kept Erin away from the Sleater-Kinney show. He rejected numerous attempts by fellow Rock Club members to procure him a ticket, instead choosing to mope at home, most likely watching Gilmore Girls by himself, or updating his Match.com profile in an attempt to lure more slutty Alaskans into his web.
But then something happened to vindicate Erin, and prove that he, like the aforementioned air crash avoiders, is in fact in tune with his sixth sense, while the rest of us cruise through life, oblivious to the psychic cues in front of us. After a rousing set by opening band The Rogers Sisters, a scruffy looking furball roadie announced that the DC Fire Marshall had ordered the audience to exit the 9:30 Club. The reason? An electric transformer in front of the club was threatening to fail, which would plunge the club into darkness, and transform a straight-ahead, ass-kicking rock show into some sort of James Taylor/Jackson Browne unplugged acoustic set. For the sake of Rock, we had to leave.
The only logical conclusion is that Erin has heightened psychic powers, like Nostradamus (right). You may think, wow, that's great--just like a superhero! But, unfortunately, Hollywood has taught us that people with these powers are often at best shunned as freaks by frightened small town minds, or at worst, detained by the FBI and held in an isolation cell until they die, alone and insane, having chewed off their fingernails, and probably their fingers as well. Oh well. Nice knowing you, Erin. I'll try and put in a good word for you to the G-Men, but again, as Hollywood has shown, nobody listens to the freak's friends, even if those friends are young and cute. Like me.
Alright, with that out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks. First, the Rogers Sisters. Like Bang Bang Bang, they were fronted by an Asian of indeterminate nationality. Come to think of it, so was Asobi Seksu. Hmmmm. Like Cream, or better yet, Canadian rockers Triumph (below), the Rogers Sisters is what is known as a "Power Trio", consisting of a guitarist, bass player, and a drummer. But, unlike Triumph, the drummer and lead guitarists don't just look like chicks, they are chicks. Furthermore, the lead guitarist had all kinds of tatoos on her legs, including on her substantially meaty thighs.
Fair enough--like Canada, America is a free country, and people are free to form power trios and tatoo their thighs. I believe that's implicit in the 4th amendment. Musically, they weren't too shabby--they sort of sounded like the 1980s band X, with the dual John Doe/Exene Cervenka aural assault. On the down side, they were lacking in the melody department, and left me with no songs that I can hum to myself as I sit here and type, only hours after seeing them. I'll rate them at 5.7--above average, perhaps worth another look. It's always tough being the opening band.
As mentioned above, there was no Sleater-Kinney, although the 9:30 Club assures us we will all receive refunds, or tickets to a rescheduled show. On the plus side, this being S-K's farewell tour, the rescheduled show may be tacked on to the end of the tour, making it a real possibilty that the Washington DC show may in fact be Sleater-Kinney's last show ever. But all I know is, if Erin again refuses to attend the rescheduled show, I may also take a pass--there might be a Great-White-in-Providence situation in Rock Club's future.
As you can see from the post below, Jason has stepped in to adjudicate the Sleater-Kinney dispute.
For his efforts to broker a peace deal, he will forever be known in the annals of Rock Club as The Great Compromiser, just like Henry Clay (left), who brokered the Missouri Compromise of 1820, as well as the Compromise of 1850.
However, historians must note the obvious fact that both of Clay's compromises merely delayed the American Civil War, and in the end solved nothing. Will the Great Rock Club Compromise of 2006 put an end to hostilities, or will it simply delay the onset of a splinter Rock Club, with a membership of one person, and the subsequent death of that one person, probably to take place in some anonymous Pennsylvania corn field, with that person face down in the dirt, pants unbuttoned, bleeding from the buttocks?
Let us pray that it doesn't come to that.