Long live rock, I need it every night

Friday, May 30, 2008

Look at Dat: Wine And Revolution

I'm still working on a name for my series featuring Austin bands. For now I'm going with "Look At Dat" since I found Arnold's commentary on the Conan DVD so inspiring. So who are we looking dat this week? Wine and Revolution.

Wine and Revolution plays retro flavored garage rock a la The Black Lips (minus the spitting, gold teeth, and mustache). They only have a couple songs posted online but so far they're two for two. That means they can fuck up their next three songs and still be batting .400. Not bad. This weekend they play with Poor People and Selenese at Lamberts. I haven't heard of either of those bands and didn't even realize Lamberts existed until I saw it on W&R's site. I'm heading to the show with an open mind and actually have high hopes. Then again, after 10 sleep deprived days with a newborn baby I'm happy to be leaving the house at all.

Check our Wine and Revolution's video for "Trees" and let me know what you think:

While the video production isn't groundbreaking (still better than our Pitchfork videos last year), the song is top notch. I especially like the whistling solo, one my favorite musical gimmicks. Assuming Wine and Revolution plans to record in the near future, I implore them to use each of these gimmicks on their first record:

The Whistle - Not whistling, but a whistle. Like NBA refs use. W&R needs to go G&R, like Axl did on "Paradise City". One loud whistle is all you need. Or they could just stick to plain old whistling like Peter Bjorn and John on "Young Folks" [Malapropism Alert: I once referred to them as Peter, Bjorn and Borg]

Talking in the Middle of a Song - David Lee Roth (gay or not gay?) was the king of this: "I heard you missed us, we're back!" or "you reach down, between my legs, ease the seat back..."

The Hand Clap - Many examples of this but I always liked the hand claps on "Naturally" by DC's own Middle Distance Runner:

Air Raid Siren - Public Enemy used this to great effect on "Countdown To Armageddon". Also used to great effect by dozens of minor league hockey sound technicians.

Accompanying Hand Gestures - add a line to a song that gets people involved during a live show. The Dismemberment Plan mastered this on "Back and Forth" which made the people at their shows raise their hands in the air like they just didn't care.

Name Check - It cracks me up when indie bands name refer to themselves in the third person like they're gangsta rappers or something. Fujiya & Miyagi repeat their name over at the beginning of their Transparent Things album. The Dismemberment Plan describe their rise as mega moguls on "The Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich". BTW, it's no secret I'm a big D-Plan fan and this gimmicks list is starting to make me realize why.

The Cowbell - it's cliche at this point but some songs do need more cowbell. However, that does not give you the right to yell "More Cowbell!!!" at a show. That's about to take over "Freebird!!" on the List of Things Douchebags Yell at Concerts. Don't be that guy.

So there you have it. Another stellar Austin band and I've even given them the keys to a monster first album.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Concert Preview: The Raconteurs

Potsy and Sacklunch are going to the 9:30 tonight to see the Raconteurs. I chose not to go because I don't like the Raconteurs $50 worth. I like them, maybe $35 worth.

We have a Rock Club rule that all shows must be $20 or under, but if the majority votes to waive the rule, then it's waived. Since Jumbo Slice moved to Texas, it's easier to assemble a two man majority.

The Raconteurs are good but they're not even a proper supergroup. Webster's Dictionary defines "supergroup" as a "rock music group composed of members who had already achieved fame or respect in other groups or as individual artists." And I would like to add "...and are consistently less than the sum of their parts." The Greenhornes and Brendan Benson are not famous enough to make the Raconteurs a supergroup. Ever since Velvet Revolver broke up, there's only one supergroup on the scene, and that's the Jicks, and even that's a bit of a stretch because once you move beyond Malkmus and Weiss, the other two members are pretty D-list.

Regardless, it should be a good show. I like what I've heard so far from the new album.

Here's a clip of Arnold Schwarzenegger providing the DVD commentary track for Conan the Barbarian. It's pretty funny, someone condensed it into two minutes. It includes the following insights from Arnold:

Look at dat attack

The whole place is burning down

Look at dat, it’s total hypnosis. Look at dat.

I was getting laid a lot, in this movie. It was amazing.

Look at her with the snakes. See how she holds the snakes?

Oh, this is where the orgy...takes place.

Look at this, when he becomes the snake.

And she’s in ecstasy, she’s on drugs.

And she’s gonna...she’s gonna die now.

Now comes this attack.

Now I get hypnotized. See, I’m looking down.

Now I’m carrying her off.

Here's the video:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

...and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

Not too long ago, my mom excitedly told me how she had spared my old concert tees as she was purging some of my junk from her house. Her excitement led to my excitement as I considered how cool I'd look were I to show up at the Rock n Roll Hotel decked out in my authentically retro shirts from similarly cool arena rock shows from yesteryear. Back in the day, you had to come away with a concert shirt. It was, after all, proof of your attendance at a show, and you were expected to flaunt your shirt the next day at school.

"Yeah, I was at the ZZ Top concert last night, but I was really there to see the Black Crowes open...check out my shirt."
But something happened to my shirts between then and now. They don't fit like I remember, and I'm basically the same size I was in high school (sad but true). These shirts also have a strange smell to them. I washed them twice, and they still smell weird.

Women know about shrinkage, don't they?

INXS - 1986
This makes me look like a super fan, pre-Kick and all.
But I didn't go to this show, my sister did. I'm such a poser.

U2 - 1987
1 of 3 Joshua Tree shirts I had

2 of 3 Joshua Tree shirts,

the 3rd disintegrated completely

RUSH - 1989
there's no mistaking this shirt for cool

Primus - 1991
What's even better is that I got this shirt
when Primus opened for RUSH
(Roll the Bones tour -front row, bitches)

U2 - 1991
This shirt has a mock turtleneck feel.
I'm actually choking as I wear this.

Faith No More - 1992

This shirt is the most malformed of all.
It's like a half-shirt. I look like a punk rock Richard Simmons.

Metallica - 1992
I got punched in the back of the head at this show.
I'm wearing this one when we go to Jaxx.

"I say hey, what's going on?"

I couldn't believe it, one of my favorite punk bands of all time was playing at the Rock and Roll Hotel last Saturday. Just in case you have been living in a cave for the last 15 years, 4 Non Blondes are perhaps the greatest band to come out of the Bay Area since Starship. I couldn't believe they were playing in a venue the size of the Rock and Roll Hotel, since they had a huge hit with their anthem "What's Up", back in 1992. Needless to say, I was all jacked up to see Linda, Roger, Christa, and Dawn up close and personal.

Imagine my disappointment when we arrived at the venue and found out it was not 4 Non Blondes, but some band from Sheffield, England called The Long Blondes. Since the tickets had already been purchased (good call Jimbromski, I am really glad I paid that $2.50 service fee per ticket...), I reluctantly ventured into to the hotel to see what these Blondes were all about.

We had actually seen The Long Blondes before, about year ago when they played at the same venue. Jimbromski missed that show (I can't remember why exactly...) and it turned out to be one of our favorites of 2007. I think we went in with low expectations which were quickly exceeded. It was a great show, full of energy and the sound was spot on.
Fast forward almost one year and things had changed a bit. I wasn't really enamored with the new Long Blondes album, "Couples" as it reminded me a little bit of Goldfrapp and was a bit too "electronica" for my liking. We actually weren't planning on seeing them again, as we all knew it wouldn't be as good as last year. Potsy and I wanted to go Costanza and end on a high note in regards to The Long Blondes. However, since there really wasn't anything else going on this week (except for Cut Copy, but that's another debacle all together), we opted to give them another go.
The show was pretty much what I expected. They played a number of tracks off their new album, most of which were just okay. The older songs were still pretty good, but there was something missing. I can't quite put a finger on it, but the show felt a little flat. I thought the vocals were lost a little bit in the mix and weren't nearly as powerful as before. The 1/2 full RNR Hotel crowd seemed to be enjoying themselves and there was even a comment by the guitar player that "DC people love to dance".
Not a bad night out, it just didn't live up to their previous engagement. RC Rating 6.0
ETA: We ate at Granville Moore's again before the show. I had some fat mussels with bacon and leeks. Potsy had a lamb steak. We ate a shitload of fries. That place is good.


After moving to Austin my initial plan was to check out all music venues and not worry about who was playing. Well, it hasn't worked out that way. I find myself heading back to Mohawk time and time again. It has two huge decks, an indoor stage, an outdoor stage, and $3 beer. Oh, and they book some excellent bands. Another nice thing is their pairing of local and national bands. Unlike some venues in DC there's a rationale for putting bands on the same bill. That means if you like the headliner there's a decent chance the local opener might interest you as well. Eventually I'll make my way to Stubbs, Emo's, Antone's, etc. For now, I'm calling Mohawk home.

I'm still learning about the myriad of bands here in Austin. When I find something worth checking out, I'll post something here. First up: Loxsly. The other week I sneaked out of the house for the Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin show (Jimbromski's right - that's a ridiculous name). Loxsly opened and put on a solid performance. So much so I didn't mind leaving before SSLYBY took the stage. I got my $8 worth and was ready to head out. Before leaving I picked up Loxsly new EP, Flashlights. Check out the opening track, "Lamprey Eels":

What I like about Loxsly is they straddle the line between familiarity and originality; they're catchy. They're not going to melt your face and are probably best described as pop rock, but I happened to like that music (usually). There's talk of a summer tour and a stop in DC. I'll be sure to post a follow up once the tour dates are set.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Danish Dynamite Tour

Last week I mentioned I was a little tired of Americana, rootsy-folk-rock bands. Seeing the Old 97's at Waterloo Records didn't help the situation. They weren't bad. I just was more focused on the free Shiner Bock than I was the band.

I guess it's good timing then that my next show is Efterklang, Slaraffenland, and Balmorhea. This will not be your typical Austin show. The two headliners hail from Denmark and are currently on the "Danish Dynamite Tour" (think Monsters of Rock tour, except Scandinavian). Balmorhea is from Austin but their music has much in common with the headliners. Each group incorporates elements of rock, jazz, and classical (and yes even some folk) that's tough to categorize. Post-rock? Minimalist? Experimental? Whatever it is, I'm just glad it's something different.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

One more excerpt from "The Dirt"

Whenever there are slow moments with this blog, I can always turn to my trusty, dogeared copy of The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band, and find something post-worthy.

Stutts's excellent review of the Van Halen show in Atlantic City got me thinking about the Van Halen banter video from the 1983 US Festival. That in turn made my synapses fire and recollect that a few weeks ago, during a random YouTubin' session at my friend Mark's place, we came across a clip of Motley Crue doing "Livewire" at the same festival.

"YouTubin' session"--yes, I know.

"Livewire" is one of my favorite Crue songs but this live version is absolutely awful. Enjoy:

In The Dirt, Vince Neil talks about the US Festival. To quote Jeff Lebowski, these guys treat objects like women:

It was the day that new wave died and rock and roll took over: May 29, 1983. Day two of the three-day US Festival.

Circling above hundreds of thousands of kids in a helicopter [ed. note--it must be difficult to fit that many kids into one helicopter] it seemed as if the scene on Sunset Strip on Friday and Saturday nights had suddenly been transported to a field in the middle of nowhere on a sweltering hot spring afternoon. Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, the Scorpions, and Van Halen were performing in front of three hundred thousand kids. And so were we.

Later on:

Mick left the stage first and walked back to the trailer that doubled as our dressing room. Waiting for him inside was girlfriend, who we called The Thing, a big mean brunette whose sleeves were rolled above her elbows. As soon as he walked in the door, after having played the biggest concert of his life, she hauled off and punched him square in the face without a word of explanation.

And still later:

Afterward for me was a blur of alcohol, drugs, interviews, and chicks. I remember walking offstage and seeing Tom Zutaut's [ed. note: Motley Crue's dweeby manager] girlfriend, who had stripped down to a leopard-skinned bikini because it was so hot outside. I grabbed her, pressed my sweaty face against hers, and stuck my tongue down her throat. I brought her back to the trailer--past Mick, who was sitting on the steps holding his head in his hands--and buried my face in the girl's tits. Just then, there was a knock on the door and a squeaky voice said, 'Hey, it's Tom. Can I come in?'

'What do you want?' I asked, worried that he had seen me.

'I just wanted to tell you that you were a-a-amazing. That was the best show I've ever seen you play.'

'Thanks, dude,' I said. 'Listen, I'll be out in a minute. I just need a little while to chill out.'

Then I tore off hiss girlfriend's bikini and fucked the shit out of her while he waited outside.

Nikki turned red when I told him what I had done. 'You fucking asshole!' he screamed. 'Can't you keep your dick to yourself? That dude signed us. If he finds out, he's going to hold it against us and seriously fuck up our new album.'

'Sorry,' I replied. 'But that's only if he finds out.'

Oooh, burn. If you don't already have this book, get it now. It's possibly the greatest book ever written. Seriously, it's only $10.85, you have no excuse and I'm sick of telling you this.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Take Two at Waterloo

Last time I decided to see a band at Waterloo Records I ran into some problems. Namely that Man Man had played two days prior to when I planned to go. This time I tripled checked the schedule and feel confident I won't fuck things up. Who's on a the bill you ask? Texas alternative country band (I can't bring myself to use the term Cowpunk) the Old 97's.

The band just released their seventh studio album, Blame it on Gravity. I'm really only familiar with one other album by them, the 1999 release Fight Songs. The new release isn't as fun as Fight Songs but it's pretty a solid effort. I hear a lot of alt-country and Americana here in Austin. I'm not a huge fan of that type of music but it's growing on me and Old 97s are definitely one of my favorites in the genre.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

VH II: So This Is Love?

Van Halen
May 9, 2008
Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall & Arena
Atlantic City NJ

NOTE: Friend of Rock Club Stutts attended this show and graciously agreed to provide us with a firsthand account. Enjoy, and don't forget to vote in the Is David Lee Roth a Homo? poll.

In the spirit of full disclosure, let me get one thing out there – I love Van Halen. At least, I used to love Van Halen. I don’t mean love in an “I want to wash Michael Anthony’s wolfman-hairy body with my tongue” fan-boy way, but love as in this is the band I’ve probably listened to more through my entire lifetime than any other. That was my recent realization when asked by Jimbromski as to who was my favorite contemporary artist. Rather, it was my indirect answer because a) I wasn’t sure VH qualified as ‘contemporary’ and b) I haven’t listened to the band regularly since 1992. That’s right; I stuck with the band through Hagar-era For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, so sue me. Hagar just couldn’t drive 55. Regardless of what you thought of the guy, you had to respect him for that. I even bought David Lee Roth’s solo albums up through 1991’s A Little Ain’t Enough, though I don’t recall liking any of them. I simply don’t think VH has been relevant for some time so despite how much I dig the group, I couldn’t answer Jimbromski’s question as stated. I had to keep breaking it down like Rob Gordon’s top-5s in High Fidelity. Go-to artist still performing and putting out music in the last five years? Mark Kozelek. Indie artist producing the most important work of the last 10 years? Belle & Sebastian (hey, it was off the top of my head.) Favorite band of all-time that you’ve bought all of their albums and listened to regularly for years until things just got too stupid to deal with anymore? Van Halen. There is no need to think about it.

So, there was great excitement at the news VH would finally hit the road for real with David Lee Roth in 2007. But I don’t think anyone, including myself, really was ready to believe it. At least, not until the fuckers showed up on stage in your own home town. Not many bands have a track-record of bickering and backstabbing like this one. In fact, I think they could probably even out-do Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster group therapy mind-fuck if they tried. And there’s little doubt that much of the blame falls on the shoulders of Eddie VH who, just months before their completely botched induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame was busy getting treated for lip cancer and scoring a soundtrack to a hard-core porno… that was being filmed in his house. Yeah. I recall reading on CNN.com when Eddie finally checked himself in to rock-star rehab that on a scale of eccentricity, he was ranked somewhere between Michael Jackson and Axl Rose. I don’t know which research firm conducted this scientific study but the results clearly show that the guy had issues. And who could blame him? Deep inside he had to know that the only true means to resurrect his legacy involved having to reunite full-time with Roth, an egomaniac by divine right, and a guy who probably still wears rubber pants to the grocery store.

Hey, which aisle are the Brillo pads?

Despite all the bullshit, these guys found a way to pull together to make peace long enough to make $100k each per show. But any true fan knew that just because you had tickets, there was still a 50-50 shot they’d break up before the tour made it to your town. So, back in November, I got tix to their DC show at the Verizon Center the moment they went on sale. Lo and behold, they made it to town and much rock was enjoyed by all. Everyone looked fit, healthy, and happy. That is, the guys on stage looked great. Most of the crowd looked like weathered alcohol abusers who managed to find time to put down their Wild Turkey chasers and stumble out of Jaxx for this special day. It was a good, good time.

Hell, it was such a good time that I was determined to see this once-in-a-lifetime event for a second time. So I scored another set of tix for their April show in Atlantic City. I could have gone to NY or Philly or even Charlottesville but Atlantic City screams debauchery and if you’re going to rock, you want to feel like there’s a chance you might get stabbed.

So, Mrs. S and I headed up through a rain storm for the show. One thing about my wife – the girl loves her rock. She’s got a particular fondness for 70s-80s classic rock. Metallica, Rush, whatever. She’s more particular about her hair metal. Poison? No thanks. But Quiet Riot? Christ help me, but yes. Mrs. S was a sucker for the DC classic rock station the Arrow and I mocked her (lovingly, of course) when it turned into the Globe and started playing Natalie Merchant. (“There are some really good DJs on there.” No baby. No.) Incredibly, this was to be the first arena-rock show we’ve seen together in our almost ten year relationship. We’ve seen plenty of indie shows in DC but nothing on this scale. I mean, prior to this, the biggest show we’d seen together was one of our first dates when we drove through a snow storm to see the Philip Glass ensemble perform live to a screening of Koyaanisqatsi, which may seem more akin to being eaten alive by zombified Tibetan throat singers. But add copious amounts of pot to the mix, which we did, and it’s very rock and roll.

Curse you, Philip Glass

Mrs. S was even more psyched up for the show than I. She kept telling me for weeks in advance that she was going to get “all slutted up” in honor of David Lee Roth. She had been watching way too many episodes of Rock of Love II with Brett Michaels and I was getting concerned she’d somehow contract a VD through the TV screen. But come the night of the show, I learned that in Mrs. S’s world, getting “all slutted up” just meant she was going to put on eye-liner. Disappointing on the surface but I’m now reasonably sure I don’t need to get my blood tested.

Driving into Atlantic City is probably like heading to an interstate rest-stop at 7am for a glory hole experience. Not that I’ve done that, of course, but the anticipation and regret is palpable on the Atlantic City Expressway. You head there with an erection full of confidence and Vicadin but you know there’s a good chance you’re getting raped twice before you leave. The only real difference is you can catch Debbie Gibson or New Kids on the Block for the early show. (I’m not kidding. I saw billboards for both of these acts… oh, and for Brett Michaels too. That skeve-bag is everywhere.)

Just before I left town, Jimbromski called me and asked me specifically to take lots of pics of people at the show. We both assumed it’d be like DC to the power of 10. So, we got into town, met up with my buddy, Eric, and his gal, and we all headed off down the boardwalk to the arena.

The AC boardwalk makes for a great metaphor – a splintered highway that goes absolutely nowhere, strewed with broken glass and seagull semen. Never in my life have I seen so many people missing limbs.

Thank you, I'm here all week...

As badly as I wanted to take pictures of the freak-fest, I recoiled at that thought I’d probably have to pay these people a buck or two to do so. There are few places outside the AC boardwalk where the people are so horrible to look at that they constitute legitimate street art simply by existing. Maybe I’m cheap but I’m not mean and cheap. Maybe I would have tossed a coin to some of these guys if they at least tried. There was one old dude wearing six or seven coats and he had an amp playing old Roy Orbison tunes. He had a mic in his hand but was just tapping it with his index finger. That was his show. Another dude had a plastic cup in front of him and was spinning in circles, looking at his feet. Fuck me.

We finally got to the show about ten minutes before VH took the stage. Despite getting there early, we somehow missed opening act somebody-Marley. Considering I’ve now managed to miss him perform twice, I don’t see the point of even looking up his correct name. Sorry dude. Nothing personal. We just didn’t have any smoke on us and I didn’t care to sit in a half-empty arena listening to reggae sober.

First order of business was to break out the flask of scotch Mrs. S snuck into the show for me. Hey, maybe it’s wrong to ask your wife to break posted rules for your own self-gain, but she was all too eager. Plus, she bought me the flask. That’s love. I scanned the crowd, ready to take pics of the worst of the worst. But no – I couldn’t quite believe it but there were no toothless rockers in attendance. I even expected a mass gathering of guidos but they seemed to all be home shooting up steroids. Maybe they just weren’t in my section or I just didn’t see them, but the crowd was shockingly well groomed, educated-looking, and diverse in age. In fact, in my section alone I could make out no less than 10 families with kids as young as 8 or 9. WTF? I figured nobody was going to believe this so I broke out the camera but thought twice, let I were to find myself on an episode of Dateline. Trust me, there were lots of kids there. I didn’t think Atlantic City had the same rep as Vegas but apparently, bringing the little ones to arena rock is the thing to do in Jersey.

The band finally took the stage at 9pm sharp, busting out You Really Got Me. Diamond Dave was flying a flag, Alex and Eddie rockin’ away, young Wolfgang in step. Same opener as the DC show and I expected a word-for-word, song-for-song repeat of that night. Thankfully, they mixed it up enough to keep it interesting. But the audio quality for at least the first two songs sounded like mud. Dave’s vocals were too buried in the mix.

Something unfortunate happed after their second song, I’m the One. My buddy Eric turned to me and shouted, “Holy shit. I didn’t realize until just now that David Lee Roth is gay.” I just shook my head. You see, there’s a long running debate with not just the guys in Rock Club but with a number of outside friends and their wives as to the sexual orientation of Diamond Dave. Let’s get it out there: none of us give a shit either way and Dave could go marry Rob Halford in the Sunset Room at a furries convention for all we care. We just want to settle the question. For the record, I’m taking what is possibly the least likely and unpopular position that Dave is just an over-sexed straight guy with a few kinks in the attic. Unfortunately, most everyone else seems to think he could put Freddie Mercury to shame. (Come on Dave), Give me a break. Have you seen Diamond Dave doing quasi-S&M German leather pop? I don’t think so. Mrs. S, on the other hand, believes he’s bi and I think Jimbromski has taken the position that Dave is neither straight, gay, nor bi- but rather Omni-sexual. Meaning, he would fuck a tree stump if he could. You have to give him credit for being open-minded.

Still, I’m not sure I buy it. I offer this comparison as evidence. Here is, side-by-side, practically the exact same video by two different bands with similar lead men. First, we’ve got Jump by Van Halen. Ok, sure, there’s the teasing of the hair, the bedroom eye stares, the rubbing of his ass with the mic stand. I hear what you’re saying.

Now watch Start Me Up by the Rolling Stones. Sure, it was rumored Mick got caught fucking Bowie but that can’t be real. Watch Mick in all his leotard frivolity and remind yourself that straight men that rock may just be full of life. That’s all there is to it.

But hell, I understand the confusion. After all, Mick pulls off a good impression of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.

I'd fuck me. I'd fuck me hard.

Continuing on with the rock, Running with the Devil, despite the hilarity of the recent release of Dave’s vocal-only track was solid. Rock! This is what the people came for and it sounded fantastic. Dave has a harder time hitting certain notes but he tries. Eddie looks healthy and mentally stable. Who the fuck knows what Alex is thinking, but he’s still one of the best drummers in the business. Wolf is another matter. Every serious fan of the band is disappointed that Michael Anthony isn’t with the band anymore. Instead, the guy was touring with Sammy Hager as Half of Van Halen (before dropping that name) and getting inducted into the RnR Hall of fame while the other guys slogged off. But Mike was never some dude they picked up off the street because he had a cool-ass bass. The guy hit all the high backing vocals and drank Jack Daniels on stage. In the rock world, these are essential skills.

To Wolf’s credit, he’s clearly competent on bass and can hit the notes he needs to. More so, he’s the only legitimate replacement for Mike and so people are willing to accept it. The problem comes in that Wolf seems to think this is his birthright, and it’s not. Even Jason Bonham proved himself with years of touring in his own band, not to mention lots of hard work. You have to prove you’ve earned it, little prince, and the kid has not. He’s absolutely lifeless and disengaged on stage. He’s also only got one solo line during the entire show and he still can’t learn his fucking cue.

That said, the band rocked on. Romeo’s Delight, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Beautiful Girls, Dance the Night Away…the band sounded pretty tight and the crowd ate it up. What’s more impressive is that Dave seemed to have mostly figured out what he was supposed to be singing 95% of the time.

Waaaiiiit for it...

Funnier still, and part of why you can simply YouTube any DLR interview and laugh, is because Dave is a comedic-banter machine. Here, he explains what the hell he meant to sing in the lyrics to Everybody Wants Some:

I think Dave was happy to be in Atlantic City. He guest stared on The Sopranos as himself where he was in a high-stakes poker tourney with Jersey mob guys. I’m willing to bet he was throwing some cash down at a private table somewhere that weekend. But it was more evidenced by his copious use of profanities, something that he didn’t do in DC. It seemed like every other word out of his mouth was ‘fuck’, which was good b/c ‘fuck’ is rock. Even during one of the early songs he substituted a line by pointing to his crotch and telling the crowd they could “get some of this shit”. I assume he meant that for the ladies.

Anyway, the band ripped through over two dozen classics. Highlights included Mean Streets, I’ll Wait (short clip below), Hot For Teacher, Jamie’s Cryin, and Unchained. There was the requisite drum solo, which I used to head to the bathroom (unlike DC, nobody was fucking in the restroom), requisite 15 minute guitar solo (still impressive), and even Dave broke out the acoustic to tell his Ice Cream Man back-story (still amusing.)

The encore 1984 and Jump still sounded great and was a lot of fun but would again call into question Dave’s antics. During 1984, which is just a short intro synth piece, Dave donned an oversized admiral’s cap, and I almost worried he might finally break into a Gillbert & Sullivan tune. Eric turned to me and smirked. Then, during Jump, he broke out a white sailor’s cap, the kind you put on for a sexy party. Eric turned and just shook his head. I’m not sure I want to mention him riding an inflatable mic on stage through a confetti shower and disco ball lights. Eric looked at the big, black mic he was riding and asked me where the hole in the tip was located.

But fuck it. I ate it up and had just a great time. These were my rock heroes growing up and I was lucky enough to finally see them, despite them being past their prime. But they were also heroes to most of the 30-and-ups in the crowd and why? It’s simple. Eddie Van Halen is a guitar genius. There is nobody like him and the fact that he’s thus far managed to avoid an overdose is a testament to his longevity and significance. David Lee Roth might very well be one of the greatest frontmen of all-time (that’s a topic for debate but the dude makes the podium no matter how you look at it.) Alex, despite being a functioning mute, is one of the best rock drummers to ever.. rock..a drum. No, they’re not in their prime but they still sound great. Dave is and will always be a man-child but the guy lives to perform. He still throws kicks around the stage; he just can’t do the high-flying ones anymore, lest he break a hip. But the brother can twirl a mic like a cheerleader’s baton.. er, like a samurai sword, with no problem. Point is, if you have ever remotely liked this band, see them now. Who the hell knows if they’ll even finish all the dates before they break up again. And we all know that’s going to happen. The prophecy was written a long time ago.

Right after the show, Mrs. S turned to me and told me she’d "do" Diamond Dave. So I may need to rethink that blood test.

Finally, just to compare, I also saw Radiohead two nights later in Virginia. What a flying shit-storm that was. But it offered some interesting comparisons. Radiohead is one of the biggest bands in the world, at the prime of their career and abilities (so we think.) VH was one of the biggest bands in the world but is trying to make a comeback (or, at least, get through this tour.) Radiohead are pros and they let you know it. The show was tight. TIGHT. However, even Thom Yorke managed to forget the lyrics and restarted a song twice. Dave forgets lyrics to his songs nightly but at least he makes shit up on the fly. Frankly, I don’t know how you can forget lyrics to a song you wrote and have been singing almost nightly for months at a time but I guess it’s possible. Radiohead was better but Van Halen was more fun. However, I realized during the Radiohead show that I didn’t know a lot of the song titles, even though I’ve been listening to the band for years. I mean, I’ve heard Subterranean Homesick Alien dozens and dozens of times but I couldn’t tell you what it sounds like. Yet, I can probably name just about any song off of any Roth-era VH album, possibly in order. That’s the difference. That’s love.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Packt Like Sardines in a Blu Ford Escape

Radiohead - May 11th, 2008, 7:00pm with Liars, Nissan Prison, >$20

If you missed the Radiohead show yesterday, I will try to paint a quick picture of what went down. First, imagine your worst camping experience ever- the one that leaves you hungry and shivering and $29 away from checking yourself into the nearest Motel 6. Now imagine gridlock traffic at rush hour after a dirty bomb deployment. Wedge in between those a fantastic performance by possibly the greatest rock band making music today, and that's basically what we experienced at the Nissan Pavilion yesterday evening/night/early morning today.

There has already been a lot written about the horrendous weather, the lack of communication from Nissan Pavilion staff, the decision not to postpone the show, the lack of medical professionals available for the soggy, indie rockcicles that showed up in t-shirts and shorts, as well as the eco-unfriendly decision to play at car-dependent Nissan Pavilion. So I won't say much more about those things than that. Just know that at times we were starting to think that this was going to unfold as modern day Altamont and at other times there were gross comparisons being made to the Holocaust*.

What compounded our misery was the fact that not only were our plans for an elaborate tailgate - sitting in camping chairs in the lot, throwing the frisbee around, getting a little hacky sack action in - completely upended by the torrential rain, but we also left behind the food at Casa de sacklunch. Oh and we had a total of 12 beers for the 4 of us and it was only 4:30pm.

The misery grew as did the pressure on our bladders. By the time we got inside of the Pavilion, we were cold, wet, underserved and malnourished. Fast forward to the end of the show when we waded our way back to the car only to find that the car wouldn't start. Apparently listening to music for 4 hours with the dome light on will kill a car battery. Who knew? Not that we were going anywhere anyhow. We sat in section A6 of the parking lot after the show for an hour and a half and just waited for a mercy killing to greet us.

The good news - it was May 11th. Yeah, it was Mother's Day, but mom's are understanding about missing holidays in their honor - that's why we honor them, right? And being the 11th of May, it meant we were not seeing Tim McGraw, Allison Krauss, Jimmy Eat World, or the Jonas Brothers. Despite the bad weather and our own general incompetence, we were blessed to have tickets under the roof of the pavilion to see Thom Yorke and his friends.

But first a word about opening act Liars whose frontman looked a bit like David Johansen dressed like Pee Wee Herman. He wore an undersized suit which I found clever for some reason. Tall guy in a suit too small. Turning David Byrne on his head. Other than that, I thought Liars could be a good show if I knew more of their music. It didn't sound half-bad to me, but they definitely weren't crowd pleasers. It's a tough gig. Who really wants to open for Radiohead? It's like running for vice president, or watching the opening credits of a porno. Everybody wants to fast forward through that.

I usually rely on video taken at the show to help my posts, since my vocabulary is rather limited. But Youtube isn't cooperating, so uh, here's what I thought of Radiohead. OMG 101 1111!!!! 111 1! Okay, Youtube is working now. You're in luck. If you want to see it clearer, you'll have to come to my house. Youtube debases my work.

Radiohead fucking rocks. Period. Here's the set list:

All I Need
Jigsaw Falling Into Place
15 Step

Pyramid Song
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
Faust Arp
Paranoid Android
Everything In Its Right Place
Bangers + Mash
Like Spinning Plates
Karma Police
Go Slowly
Planet Telex
Fake Plastic Trees

The National Anthem
House of Cards

As Jimbromski predicted in an email exchange last week, there were hands in the air swaying to Fake Plastic Trees. I didn't post the images here because we can all imagine what that was like.

I wish they had skipped Videotape. I don't like that song one bit. And why end on the soft note? Rock it out for the last tune so we can all go out in a blaze of glory, Bon Jovi style.

*Thanks to DCRC commenter Rick M. and his wife, we received vital sustenance that kept us alive. There were our Oscar Schindler trekking through the rain and mud to bring us sandwiches.

I don't rate shows like the others, but I'll give Nissan Pavilion a 2.3 for the venue. Radiohead gets an MMCXVI, and the sandwiches get a 8.1.

This Week

DC Rock Club at the Radiohead Show

Potsy will be posting a review of the Radiohead show soonish. Unlike a lot of poor bastards, we actually got in to the venue and saw the entire thing. Is it illegal to make a death threat on the internet? Because I'm declaring open season on all Nissan Pavilion staff. Bring me a pelt and I'll give you $400.

Also coming soon: guest correspondent Stutts attended the Van Halen show in Atlantic City on Saturday night, and will be posting an overlong, overly-written, stuffed-with-purple-prose -freshman-year-paper-type review, with all kinds of photos and videos.

In the meantime, enjoy this video of Aerosmith doing "Draw The Line" at the California Jam II festival in 1978. The key to having a good outdoor show is to have it in California, where it never rains.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

You're Going To Make It After All

Dead Meadow - Weds, May 7th, 2008 - with Vampire Hands - 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis - $10

Being away from DC doesn't mean having to skip out on Rock Club. Case in point, Jumboslice. That guy reports from Texas now. He's dedicated. He's also a doosh for moving to TX, but no need belaboring that much belabored point (not in this post anyway).

I traveled to Minneapolis, MN this past week, which meant that I was to miss the scheduled Cave Singers show that sacklunch had selected for the week (at least that was the thinking at the time before he bailed on the Cave Singers show). To compensate for my absence, and since the Twins were not playing any home games during my visit, I decided to seek out a music venue in the Twin Cities to keep up on things. With a little help from my friend Truly, I was able to find the perfect home away from home.

The First Avenue and 7th Street Entry is akin to the Black Cat. The First Avenue is the larger of the two connected venues, and used to be a Greyhound Bus Station back in the day. This place has a fascinating history with links to the heir of the Fingerhut catalog fortune. Check it out here. The 7th Street Entry is the smaller of the two venues, not unlike the Back Stage at the Black Cat, but with more reliable bar service ($2.50 BPR tallboys 'til 11pm).

I chose to check this club out in part because sacklunch and I had recently debated going to see Dead Meadow play here in DC, but didn't make it. Since the research had already been conducted, it was a no brainer.

Minneapolis's own Vampire Hands opened for Dead Meadow. I hated their first song. I was pretty exhausted from a very long day of traveling and meetings, so I was happy to see that the middle of their set was much better. A few points on Vampire Hands.

1. Not a good time to be an indie band with the first name "Vampire." Regardless of when they chose the name, it still seems conveniently close to Vampire Weekend. It would be like having a band called Someone Still Loves You Boris Badenov, right now.
2. The bassist has this Geddy Lee thing working where he is definitely a dude, but he sounds like a chick. This was actually a good thing. He sounded good. I like the female vocalist, and not just the pretty ones apparently, cuz this guy was not pretty.
3. They had dual percussionists. Not exactly dual drummers (sorry Jumboslice), but close. It worked for some songs, but they weren't in sync enough to make it worth it over all. Maybe a bit more practice.
4. Beards. All of them had one. One may have had two for all I know. I couldn't see the drummer very well.
5. They were decent. They mixed it up with an unusual sound and kept my interest.

Meanwhile, Dead Meadow had been promoted by sacklunch as an act that I would like. I gave them a listen online a while back and thought the same. But this is a band that you have to be in the right mood to enjoy. They have a garage band sound in my opinion, and rely on a Cream-inspired jam-heavy performance which would be great if it were 1968, or if I were heavily intoxicated and sitting on my couch staring at a candle. Their performance was solid, and I genuinely enjoyed their music, but it didn't really seem like anything I hadn't heard before. Nor did it really raise my pulse. Yes I was tired from a long day, but falling asleep at a rock concert should be nearly impossible, especially when standing up.

Here's a sample of what I saw

Wanna touch my Polvo?

With the wife and kids out of town, I decided to make a night of it and see reunited Polvo at the Black Cat. I started the evening at Bar Pilar, where I enjoyed some anchovies on toasted bread and a chicken breast with asparagus, artichokes, and tomatoes all washed down with 2 Alligash beers. It was a tasty way to start the evening.

I got to the Black Cat in time to catch the last song by The Oranges Band , who we have seen as openers for both Spoon and The Dismemberment Plan. There were fine. I was never enamored with this band as much as Jumboslice , and I still don't think I look anything like the bassist (though he has ditched the pin-covered jean jacket for a polo shirt, classy..)

Speaking of lookalikes, the Black cat was full of them tonight, as in "everyone looked like everyone else". Lots of middle age semi- hipster doofus types, mostly male, lots of beards, etc... I fit right in. Polvo came on around 11:45 to about a 1/2 full Black Cat mainstage.

To be honest, I had never heard Polvo prior to tonight, but they had been heavily endorsed by friend of RC, Chip Chumpus. Basically, they formed in Chapel Hill around 1990-91 in what was essentially a thriving, guitar driven indie rock scene (Superchunk, Archers of Loaf). They put out a few albums in the mid-90's and disbanded in 1997. This was their first show in like 10 years and they are participating in the All Tomorrows Parties NYC show later this year.

The music was an interesting mix of layered guitars, heavy percussion, and unconventional song structure (paraphrasing Allmusic here, I can't write this shit on my own...). It is a bit hard to describe, but I really must say, I liked it a lot. Maybe because it was something different, maybe it was primarilly guitar driven (which I like), I am not sure. They reminded me a little of Fugazi, which may be due to the numerous tempo changes in the songs. In any case, it was an enjoyable set (I did leave a little early) and a good night out.

And finally, to clarify my point about the average age of the crowd, there was a girl at the bar wearing a Mr Bungle t-shirt (no lie). I was going offer her money for it so Potsy could add it to his collection. However, she kind of looked like Ann Smith (Jimbromski and Rick M. will know who I am talking about), so having her take her shirt off would be unkind to the rest of the patrons at the club.....

Friday, May 09, 2008

Concert Preview: Radiohead

I've never heard of this band but we're going nevertheless. The normal Rock Club $20 price cap for shows has been suspended by mutual agreement.

That's Why You're Stuck in the Reserves: Thom Yorke, head down, dribbling himself into trouble

For no apparent reason, here are some good videos. Man, I love YouTube.

  1. "Can The Can," Suzy Quatro. Glitter, glam, whatever. Good song. Later went on to play Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days.

  2. "Cherry Bomb," The Runaways. Lita Ford and Joan Jett in all their nubile glory. Lead singer in her underwear. Approve. By the way, whatever happened to L7?

  3. "Ballroom Blitz," Sweet. I saw Krokus open for Sammy Hagar on Hagar's Voice of America tour in 1985 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. They did this song. I didn't know it was a cover. I was 13 years old.

These people have lost their minds

If you live in California and you love freedom, then I suggest you hurry out to your shed and fetch your pitchfork. Here's the latest:

As state leaders hunt for politically palatable solutions to the swelling budget shortfall, some Democrats are proposing unorthodox ways to generate cash.

Strip clubs, six-packs, grocery bags and iTunes downloads are all in their sights as alternatives to broad income or sales tax hikes. So are gas guzzlers and yachts -- and a tax loophole for criminals.

kill kill kill

I have written a nice poem that I think crystallizes my feelings:

First they came for the trans-fats

but I was not a lard-ass, so I did not speak up;

Then they came for my recyclables

but I am not a dolphin, so I didn't care;

Then they came for the smokers

and I kept silent, because I considered myself a social smoker;

And when they came for my beer, porn, and rock

there was no one left to speak up for me.