Long live rock, I need it every night

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I Demand That We Attend This Show

LCD Soundsystem, May 13. I love this band. Here's the new vid for "North American Scum".

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Galaxy Hut + Fake Accents + Magic Hat = 7.8.

(A concert reviewer for the Washington Post once told me to give my opinion up front. Here goes...)
The Fake Accents rolled out a harder, more punk sound at their Galaxy Hut show. Playing a plethora of new songs, the band simply tore the shit up. Tore it up! The performance solidified them as my favorite DC band. I said favorite! Rock Club Rating: 7.8! That's right, a 7.8! Why am I repeating myself? Why am I yelling? And why is my voice so high pitched?

Whoa, I need to settle down. I got a little worked up. Where was I? Oh yeah, The Fake Accents review. The evening began at my place where Jenny made us a nice spread of food and Oliver tried to bite Sacklunch in the nads. It took me many hours to teach Oliver that trick. Soon after the attempted ball biting we made our way over the Galaxy Hut.

The opening band was Impossible Hair. All I remember is they started with a campy song about ponies (or was it My Little Pony?) and then kicked straight into hardcore song. I loved it. However, I didn't listen to them too much because I was busy drinking and giving Potsy unsolicited advice on ass bouncing. I wouldn't hesitate to see them again though. I might even pay attention.

About three songs into the Fake Accents set, I questioned whether I was too kind in my opinion of the band. Were they really that good or was I just enjoying the show because of numerous pitchers of Magic Hat #9? Looking around the cramped bar, it was clear I wasn't the only one into the performance. This was confirmed when the crowd coaxed the band into playing an encore. I've never seen that happen in a small club like the Galaxy Hut. Of course, it helped that the Fake Accents rained thousands of dollars on the crowd, setting off a frenzy unseen this side of a Vegas strip club. Slick move.

While the harder sound and new punk stuff was great, I have one criticism. They have a good thing going with the alternating singers. However, things fall off when the bassist takes the lead. She doesn't have the haunting or edgy vocals of someone like Kim Gordon. It's a stark shift when she takes the mic after a bunch of songs by the guys. The music for her song may have been the best of the night, but the vocals just didn't seem a good fit. I'm curious what it would sound like with one of the guys singing. My guess: better.

Jerry makes it rain.

"Final Thoughts" (my tribute to Jerry Springer. You you read this, picture me extra serious, sitting on a stool, speaking with a self-righteous tone of voice)
Over the past few years, there has been a backlash towards the traditional DC sound. It's considered uncool to sound like a Dischord band. Hell, even Dischord doesn't sound like Dischord. Aquarium, The Evens, Soccer Team? Not exactly Minor Threat. I like the Fake Accents because they don't apologize for sounding like a DC band or for gleaming from Pavement, Sonic Youth, The Pixies, etc. Do they Fake Accents sound like other bands? Sure. Do they embrace the DC sound and do it justice? Fuck yes they do. Do I like to ask myself questions and then answer them, Donald Rumsfeld style? You're damn right. Bottom line, they play fun, instantly likable indie rock. That's more than you can say about 90% of the other bands out there (we're looking at you, Cedars).

Who's Coming, redux

Okay, one last try with the "Who's Coming?" posts. Apparently the table I'm posting is screwing up the formatting for people accessing this blog via some as-yet-determined version of Internet Explorer. I didn't see the problem in Firefox, but if any of my people are suffering, I suffer as well. Blogger really, really sucks in terms of formatting posts. And again, the image above is from The Exorcist III, which I highly recommend.

Okay, here goes:

Black Cat
The Thermals
Black Cat
Grizzly Bear
Christopher Cross
State Theater
Of Montreal
Badly Drawn Boy
The Raveonettes
The Walkmen
Black Cat
The Ponys
Black Cat
Fake Accents
The Long Winters
Wolf Trap
Roger McGuinn
Kaiser Chiefs
Erase Errata
Black Cat
Junior Boys
TV On The Radio
TV On The Radio
Sunset Rubdown
Arcade Fire
LCD Soundsystem

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Not Really New, Sort of Improved...

I fixed up the web site a little. First, I corrected the issue that was pushing the side info to the bottom of the page. Good god that was a pain. Other changes:

- Schedule for who picks the show is posted through June
- Under "the bands", the links now goes to the review, instead of the bands web site
- I added a movies section and linked to the reviews

I considered adding a section for album reviews, but no one seems to care about those. If you have any other suggestions for the site, let me know.

I'm aware my Fake Accents review is way overdue. This is known as "procrastination". It's an advanced writing technique you wouldn't understand. Of course, it didn't help that I drank a lot of beer that night and waited this long to write the review. Look for lots of fabrications when I finally finish the post.

Friday, February 16, 2007

We're With You, Leather

Mooney Suzuki, 2/14/07

9:30 Club

Despite the ice and cold, all four members of Rock Club converged at the 9:30 for a Valentine’s Day rock show featuring the Mooney Suzuki. Dan rappelled into the venue from a hovering helicopter. Jason was carried into the club by a retinue of 28 Filipino cabana boys. Erin was launched onto the mighty Potomac on a jet ski from the back of the cruise ship Dandy, and jumped from sea onto land, obeying all traffic laws en route to 10th and V NW. I drove my Civic hatchback and was able to find a parking spot without incident.

Due to the weather, attendance was sparse. All the single women in DC were at home, eating, getting fatter, and watching a My So-Called Life marathon. All the single dudes in the area were reading Maxim and touching themselves. Most couples, both married and unmarried, were facing each other across tables in nice restaurants, wondering where the magic went. Everyone else was at the Mooney Suzuki show.

Was it worth it? Well, yeah, I suppose. The band put on a hard-rockin’ show, but the low attendance probably put a damper on their enthusiasm. I saw this band open for The Hives in New York in 2002 (or maybe 2001?) and they were manic, climbing on the amps, sprinting around the stage, jumping, screaming, etc. Lead singer Sammy James, Jr. kept up some sort of negro preacher patter in-between songs, all show long. He’s an Adam Goldberg look-alike, for the record.

We saw glimpses of this showmanship on the 14th, but it just wasn’t the same. Since their heady days of 2002 (or maybe 2001), the Mooney Suzuki have hit some rough times. The era of The Hives, The Strokes, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs had raised hopes that some sort of scene was developing in New York, a sort of rock revivalist thing. And there was a scene, kind of, but it left the Mooney Suzuki behind, and they’ve since been dropped by their record label. The band seems to have accepted their new reality with good grace, but still. James, Jr. climbed on the bass drum a couple of times, and at one point climbed up on top of the amp stacks, but then climbed back down, as if the whole maneuver made his knee sore.

That said, the music is still pretty good. This is high-energy garage rock a la MC5 or Iggy and the Stooges, and that means there’s always gonna be some good rock, some loud noise, and some fuzzed-up guitar. And there was. Cuts from the new album were soft-as-shite—too many ballads—but the older stuff held up well.

All in all, the band did well, given the circumstances, which is why I’ll give them a 6.1. I’d definitely see them again, but they may want to think about switching to a smaller venue, because, ice storm or no ice storm, their moment has passed and there’s no way they can fill the 9:30.

On an unrelated note, I once again thought of a funny joke during the show, and was unable to share it with everyone because of the noise. I was thinking, if I were a cable access network producer, I would have a show featuring midgets and call it Small Talk. Just let the midgets talk, like the McLaughlin Group. They could discuss where they buy clothes, for example. I assume there’s midget clothing stores, just as there are big & tall boutiques. I suppose a midget can just buy kids’ sizes, but what self-respecting midget wants to walk around wearing Grrrranimals?

This also reminds me of a story my friend Ted told me. He said he had a friend who had a job selling windows, or siding, or somesuch, in Virginia, near Fredericksburg. This job involved going door-to-door, town-to-town. Anyway, long story short, this guy and his partner are driving and see a sign for this town, not marked on the map. They drive in, and being the good window/siding/whatever salesmen that they are, they notice that everything about this town looks off—the houses are smaller than average, the mailboxes are closer to the ground, the streetcurbs are inches high. Suddenly, a rock hits the windshield. They look around, and boom, more rocks—it’s like Fallujah. There’s a mob of midgets chucking rocks at them, yelling at them to get the fuck out.

It seems they had inadvertently stumbled onto a midget-only town, a sanctuary or refuge for the short where normal, adult-sized people weren’t allowed. As Israel is to the Jews, this town is to the midgets. And all the midgets want is to be left alone.

Fascinating, yes? This could also be discussed on Small Talk, but I’d wager that any midget who opened his mouth about this place wouldn’t last more than a minute on the street.

More Separated at Birth

Since we're all playing the separated at birth game, I wanted to post Exhibit A in the case of "Statehood Members Who Look Alike" (quotes added for James' "benefit").

In the upper left hand corner is Leigh, the guitarist who joined the band a few months ago. In the lower right is Clark, the lead singer. Basically, if Leigh put on 15 pounds and had lighter hair, they'd be the same person. I'll also note that Joe (upper right) could get work as an Abe Lincoln impersonator if he put in a little effort. Just an idea, in case the drumming thing doesn't work out.

BTW, I'm really looking forward to their show with The Thermals. That's a stellar rock lineup.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Back in Business

Midlake - February 7, 2007 - Rock & Roll Hotel ($12)

After an unexpectedly long "break," Rock Club braved the bitter cold and headed back to the Rock & Roll Hotel to reacquaint ourselves with live music. I'll be honest. I'm growing tired of writing these reviews. So I'll keep this short, in keeping with our time at the show.

The show (for us) began with opening act St. Vincent, which consisted of a bespectacled young woman with a waivering voice and supporting musicians whom I never saw. There was a really good crowd present for this show (thanks to Jason Lee's Myspace.com posts, I suspect), so I couldn't see to the front of the stage to see who else was with her. But it was at least a drummer. The geeky indie rocker was compared to Lisa Low-eb (as it was pronounced to me), but I didn't think she had that same sweet/yet annoying quality that Ms. Loeb had. But maybe she did share the same annoying quality as I was the only one who stayed until St. Vincent was finished. The rest of RC went back upstairs for free-form rap and bongo music. St. Vincent wasn't bad. Not my favorite either, but I if owned a coffee shop, I'd let her play there.

Too much time was spent hooking up the 4 or 5 separate keyboards, the LCD projector and screen, but after a few ear-piercing bits of feedback faded Midlake began their set. The first thing I noticed about this band was their impressive harmonizing. Singer/songwriter Tim Smith & guitarist Eric Pulido do that very well together. And it fits well for the soft-rock that they basically play. This is the music that you play for your special lady as you get her drunk and light the candles. I'm sure that TJ and Jimbromski were pleased when "Roscoe" was the 2nd song performed. They had been talking about that tune before the show, and I'm sure it made it easier to leave early once they heard it.

I only stayed for about 6 songs or so before I felt like I had enough to get the point. I would have needed to listen to more of their studio albums to have stayed for the whole thing. The rock quotient was relatively low, which made it tough to stick with after a while. Overall, I thought they put on a high quality show. Good sound, good performance. But I wouldn't fight you for a ticket to their next show.

As for separated at birth, how about these two Erics?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is Anybody Tired of This Joke Yet?

Because I'm not. The joke being, pick one person, and then try and determine who they most resemble.

In honor of Dan and the boner he is sporting because of the impending arrival of 2006 Best Band Thorkelson winners Erase Errata, I give you:

Kelly Leak, Bad News Bears

Jenny Hoyston, Erase Errata

Friday, February 09, 2007

Who's Coming? (updated)

Okay, more shows on tap. Note that Yacht Rocker Christopher Cross is playing the Birchmere on March 5. Erin, if you've by some miracle snagged a lady friend by that date, I strongly suggest you take her to that show. Lovemaking and assplay are sure to follow.

Note also Roger McGuinn, ex-Byrds frontman, will be bringing his folky-acoustic stylings to Wolf Trap on April 6. That show would go well with a nice French cheese and some Chardonnay.

And finally, 2006 Album of the Year Winners Erase Errata will visit the Rock and Roll Hotel on April 9. I'll probably still be sore from the McGuinn show, however.

* I found some Christopher Cross photos (now and then). The "now" photos are amusing, it appears that Cross, Frank Black, and Kyle Gass are all sharing the same corpus.

Date Venue Band

3/4/2007 Black Cat Grizzly Bear

3/6/2007 9:30 Badly Drawn Boy

3/16/2007 RNRH Raveonettes

3/23/2007 RNRH Walkmen

3/24/2007 Black Cat The Ponys

4/3/2007 RNRH Long Winters

4/7/2007 9:30 Kaiser Chiefs

4/10/2007 9:30 Low

4/13/2007 Black Cat Junior Boys

4/17/2007 9:30 Ratatat

5/2/2007 RNRH Sunset Rubdown

5/4/2007 Black Cat Konono No. 1

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Voice Your Choice, Rock Club

Okay, it's my week next week (2/10 - 2/16). That means we're playing by my rules. And the rules are, there's no rules. Got it? Good.

Okay, I was wrong about Mooney Suzuki--it's on Feb 14, not Feb 16, as noted in an earlier post. I vote for this show for the following reasons:

1--I have seen them before. They opened for The Hives in New York. It was a high-energy, hard rock show, and the two guitarists placed themselves at considerable physical risk by climbing on top of the amps for an extended guitar solo. Also, the small, balding drummer, who was wearing a beige tanktop, goose-stepped about the stage holding a plastic coiled cobra above his head while this solo was taking place. It was rad. My good friend Matt Stutts can vouch for this, he attended the same show.

2--We haven't been to the 9:30 in a while and I miss it terribly.

3--A few of this band's songs can be heard occasionally in strip clubs, as well as on the Madden Football soundtrack.

Second choice would be either The Deerhooves, who we've seen before, or maybe the Apples in Stereo, although I think Erin's seen them and given them a big thumbs-down.

Note that Mooney Suzuki plays on Valentine's Day, so get your lovemaking in early, then head to the club like a real man would.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Next up...

It seems a bit odd to me that the last "show" RC attended was last month, and was a "Potsy show." This means that I am about lap the rest of Rock Club by providing the next event. Granted, RC x 3/4 has seen the 1968 Elvis Comeback Special; another treat from 1968, The Doors in Europe, 1968; as well as the Kids Are Alright from the Who, in the intervening weeks. But those 3 "films" were actually viewed within the same week, I believe. So that should tell us something. What it tells me is that there is only so much entertainment to be had before you need a rest. That's where the term "hiatus" comes into play.

A word about the Elvis Comeback Special...if you've never seen it, it's tripfantastic. The dance sequences alone will make you wonder if someone has slipped something into your drink. Now, I love Elvis. I love what he stands for, and I love what he did for rock n roll. But I've given this a lot of thought recently, and I've concluded that Elvis was set up for failure. He was a pretty-boy who was set up to make a lot of people rich (including Elvis), but his limitations as an artist were quickly revealed, and it eventually led to him being a wasted, bloated, under-educated man laying dead on his bathroom tile. Look no further than the out takes from the Comeback Special, and tell me that he doesn't lack a basic talent for "live" performance. If you can't remember the words to Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (among others), are you really the King of Rock n Roll? He was great in the studio, but beyond that, he's really a prop, held up by good musicians on stage. I could write a thesis on this subject, there's so much evidence out there to support it. Look at one of his most memorable hits, "Blue Suede Shoes." Don't forget that Carl Perkins actually wrote and popularized this song before Elvis usurped it from Perkins following Perkins's near fatal car crash. There's so much more, but I've got other things to do than spell it all out for you. Bottom line, Elvis had good raw talent in the 1950s, made some great records throughout his career, but under close inspection he doesn't really live up to his super star position in music. He was a prop.

Moving on, I've looked about and have found it a challenge to identify anything of great quality for this week in Rock Club, but I did check out Midlake as was posted by Jimbromski below. If My Name is Earl star, and super skate boarder Jason Lee likes them, then I think we should check them out. So, next show: Wednesday, February 7th at the Rock & Roll Hotel.