Long live rock, I need it every night

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fun Fun Fun Fest - Day 2 Preview

Sunday at the FFF Fest provides more tough choices. Let's start off with the headliners at each stage.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (8:40-9:40)
Bad Brains (8:45-9:45)
Tim and Eric Awesome Show (8:45-9:45)
Clipse (8:45-9:45)

Some very good options but it's a no-brainer. Or should I say a Bad-Brainer? RIMSHOT! Ever since we watched American Hardcore I've wanted to see them live. Tim and Eric Awesome Show is really popular in here in Austin. I'm sure they'll draw a big crowd. Clipse intrigues me but I've only listened to them a few times. And then there's CYHSY. I went to their show at the Black Cat when they were the big buzz band. Their first album may have been catchy but their live show was flaccid. They've gone from selling out the 9:30 Club to playing shows at DC9. Oh, how they have fallen. Then again they are headlining a major festival so what the hell do I know.

Minus The Bear (7:35-8:35)
Bouncing Souls (7:40-8:40)
Grupo Fantasma (7:30-8:30)

This one is tough too. Mostly because I'm ambivalent about the bands. I'm leaning towards Minus the Bear, since the indie stage will be my default location. Grupo Fantasma is from Austin so I can always see them another time. Bouncing Souls are punk mainstays but I've never really been into them. They might deliver the best live performance though. Might have to flip a coin on this one.

St Vincent (6:30-7:30)
Kool Keith / Dr. Octagon (6:30-7:15)

Who am I kidding? Kool Keith all the way. The guy has a doctorate in Doomology AND Octagon Mathematics. You can't top that. St. Vincent is cute but her music bores me.

Other bands I'm looking forward to on Sunday:

The Black Angels (5:40-6:25)

Droning, neo-psychedelic stoner rock. When we saw them at the Rock & Roll Hotel I didn't think much of them going in. Too classic rock for me. Maybe it was the low expectations but I left impressed. Now I can't wait to see them again.

In the late afternoon I'll be watching DOA (5:10-5:55), Annuals (4-4:45), and The Spinto Band (3:20-3:55).

And finally...Frightened Rabbit (2:45-3:15)

This might be the band I'm most excited to see. They played two shows at Mohawk over the summer and were outstanding both times (see video below). Their album, Midnight Organ Fight, is one of the best releases of 2008. Plus, their drummer looks like Turtle from Entourage. So, there's that.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fun Fun Fun Fest - Day 1 Preview

Now that Austin City Limits is over it's time for Austin's next big music festival: 2008 Fun Fun Fun Fest. It's a two day event in downtown Austin on November 8th and 9th. There's plenty of bands to choose from. The main stages are divided into three types of music: indie rock, punk/hardcore, and hip hop/dj. They also included a bunch of comedy acts for good measure. The 2007 lineup included bands such as The New Pornographers, Of Montreal, Cat Power, Explosions in the Sky, White Denim, Against Me!, Ted Leo, Okkervil River, Girl Talk, Cadence Weapon, and Battles. Not too shabby. This year's lineup is just as good. Here are the bands I'm most looking forward to. There are a number of good bands that overlap. If you disagree with my choice let me know in the comments section:

And the Award for Ugliest Band goes to...

The National (8:40-9:40) or Dead Milkmen (8:45-9:45)

I like The National but I'm definitely going to see The Dead Milkmen reunion. They're getting back together for one show and that's it. When I was 16 years old I snuck backstage at their show in Rochester, NY. My buddy Lou and I hung out with the band and talked about MTV, baseball, and other alternative bands of the day. It was a cool experience for a kid from a crappy little town. I'll catch The National another time.


Dan Deacon (7-8) or Deerhoof (6:30-7:30)

Tough choice between oddballs. Dan Deacon is a funny dude and his sets are usually pretty insane. He was my favorite artist at last year's Pitchfork Music Festival. However, I can't miss a minute of Deerhoof (even if the new album is a bit of a disappointment). I've listened to them for years and have only seen them live twice.

Did Corey Feldman join the Trail of Dead?

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead (4:50-5:35)

Considering the festival is right by the University, this set is likely to be filled with frat guys. I saw ...Trail of Dead in DC and it was a sausagefest with a mosh pit. Super cheesy. Perfect example of the crowd ruining what otherwise was a entertaining show. I'm holding out hope it won't be as bad this time.

Other Saturday bands I plan on watching:

Bishop Allen (3:20-3:55)
Octopus Project (3:45-4:45)
Centromatic (2:45-3:15)
Parts & Labor (2:10-2:40)
Krum Bums (2:30-3)
James Petralli (White Denim) (1:40-2:10)
Frank Smith (1:00-1:30)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Riding The Short Bus-Jay Reatard-Black Cat Backstage-10/28/08

I have been recently listening to some old Husker Du albums (mainly Zen Arcade) and last night I had a hankering for some fast-paced garage punk. So with Potsy in class and Jimbromski celebrating his birthday, I ventured out solo to see Jay Reatard at the Black Cat.

What can I say about this guy that hasn't already been said? He hit the stage at approximately 10:30 PM and belted out about 15-17 songs in roughly 35 minutes. One after another, no banter, just rock. I think the only thing he said all night was the title of the song right before he started each tune. With a recent purchase of "The Matador Singles '08" I was familiar with quite a few of the songs, but they were all played in double the speed they are on the disc. Standouts for me included "See Saw", "Trapped Here", and what I think was "Screaming Hand". Believe it or not, Reatard even busted out the acoustic guitar for a couple of songs, playing the instrument at a blistering pace.

The backstage was almost full for the show (I thought it was going to sell out) and the crowd was fairly enthusiastic. For the last song, he brought some random dude on stage to "play" his flying-v, while he sang the lyrics. It was equivalent to me getting up there to play, as the guy looked like he had never strummed a chord in his life. And at 11:10, it was all over.

Side note:I tend to notice and listen to conversations more when I go to shows alone, and last night was no exception. As I was watching opening band Cola Freaks, the Joe Cocker-esque , flailing front man came off the stage to sing (more like scream) into the faces of some freaked out crowd members. One of the guys he was "singing" to was Ahmed, the blind show goer we have seen in the past. Can you imagine being blind, enjoying the show, then the yelling starts getting louder and louder. The next thing you know there is hot breath screaming Danish-accented hardcore right in your face. When I was outside having a smoke, these two dudes were talking about the blind guy.

Dude 1: Did you see when that singer was yelling into the face of the blind guy...
Dude 2: That dude was blind?
Dude 1: Yeah, I see him at a lot of good shows...
Dude 2: Yeah, people with disabilities usually go to only the good shows.

Huh? I guess this is probably true, as the four of us go to a lot of good shows and we are all slightly Reatarded.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jai guru deva om

It's Tuesday.....

I'm trying to come to come terms with Across the Universe, the movie musical that draws its characters from the Beatles catalog - Jude, Max, Sadie, Prudence, Jojo, Lucy - you get the idea.

If you haven't seen it, it uses a similar device as Forest Gump - placing the aforementioned characters in situations from the 1960s - and uses Beatles songs to stitch together a story that depicts the changing political, and cultural landscape of the era.

I saw this flick for the 1st time when I was in Guatemala back in January, and it recently showed up on my phantom inDemand channel on my HDTV. With the exception of the characters Sadie (that actress sucks) and Dr. Robert (Bono is really starting to bug me), I got into the way the Beatles tunes were used when I saw this the 1st time. But when I went back to look at some of the clips online, I wasn't feelin' it. Maybe it was something in the Guatemalan water?

Here's one of the better clips from Youtube.

Come Together - feat. Joe Cocker

I'm secure enough to admit that I'm cool with musicals. Moo Lon Rueszh was pretty wild, the 2001 version, anyway. And I'm a sucker for the Sharks v. Jets. I'm truly undecided about this movie (and this isn't part of my halloween costume, thank you very much).

Someone convince me how I should vote.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Place to Bury the Audience

A Place to Bury Strangers
October 22, 2008
9:30 Club

It's a bold move, scheduling a late show on a Wednesday night. It's an even bolder move when you're a band that not that many people give a fuck about. A Place To Bury Strangers are a bold band. Here are some areas where boldness pays off:

  • Tank warfare: find a gap, send the 60-ton monsters through it, and race to Moscow
  • Swashbuckling: why fight just one motherfucker? Swing from the chandelier with your sabre slashing and lay waste to the whole room
  • Painting: fuck you and your fucking pussy-assed controlled brushstrokes--just throw that goddamn paint on the canvas, then get drunk and beat your wife
Here's an area where boldness doesn't pay off--indie band touring schedules. I think there were 15 people there. I introduced myself to everyone in attendance and now we're all friends. We're meeting at my house next week to watch "Mad Men." It's not a good night for you when your band's name has more letters in it than the number of people in attendance. And what can I tell you about A Place to Bury Strangers that you don't know already? They're loud as shit and they sound like Jesus and Mary Chain. Fine. It's better than being really quiet and sounding like a morbidly obese man with gastrointestinal distress.

I'd like to salvage this worthless review while I still can and appeal to our readership to give Potsy some Halloween costume ideas. I got to his house before the show and he said, "let's workshop my Halloween costume."

"Okay," I said. "Let's hear it."
"Swing voter--I was thinking of wearing both candidates' buttons, and..."
"Veto. Gay. What's your next idea?"
"Okay, how about 'undecided voter'?"

It was at this point that I stood up, pulled my pants down and placed my nutsack in his mouth. These are the stupidest ideas I've ever heard. This being DC, there's going to be countless Capitol Hill-types with witty, topical, political costumes. Find all these people and punch them in their faces, hard.

That's not to say that I'm not politically engaged. I've thought of two awesome ideas for the campaign that I want to sell to the highest bidder. First, has anyone made a "McCain't" shirt? It seems so obvious, someone must have thought of it already. Second, I want to start the rumor that Michelle Obama is actually Omarosa from "The Apprentice"--after the show she moved to Chicago, changed her name because people fucking hated her so much, then married Barama. That rumor alone could cause a massive shift in voter preferences--you remember Omarosa? She sucked. And now she's gonna be First Lady.

But politics on Halloween--don't do it. You're not funny and you're not original. Here are my suggestions to Potsy:
  • 1950s milkman: can't go wrong with a profession and milkmen have cool white uniforms
  • 1890s strongman: these are the guys that have the round barbells with "1000 Pounds" painted on them. You could make the barbells out of styrofoam. Plus has the added advantage that you could make strength jokes all night and offer to lift heavy things for people.
  • 1980s stand up comedian: one of my friends tried this back in the 90s and couldn't pull it off. Perhaps it was too soon. But now, I believe, people are ready for a man wearing a mock turtleneck and a sportcoat with the sleeves pushed up. Spend the night making observational jokes. What's the deal with candy corn? It's not corn...etc etc.
  • John Cusack: Potsy looks like Cusack so this would be easy. The obvious choice would be Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything, but the dark horse choice would be lovelorn Jake from 2005's Must Love Dogs. Man, what an understated, nuanced performance that was.
Feel free to chime in with suggestions in comments. I'll start with "Human Butt Plug."

Cold Shoulder Kids

On Friday we went to Waterloo Records for an in store performance by The Cold War Kids. Two years ago Jimbromski and I went to see them at DC9 but bailed before they went on. Mistake? Perhaps. Since then the popularity of the band has increased tremendously. The kids love the Cold War Kids. Personally, I've had mixed feelings. I enjoyed a few songs off their first album, especially the first two: "We Used To Vacation" and "Hang Me Up To Dry". There were also songs I thought were terrible. Some say their sound is a rip off of Spoon and maybe that's why I got sucked in. However, after seeing Spoon the other week and then catching Cold War Kids, it's clear the bands are in totally different leagues.

I'm a fan of the free Waterloo shows so I go to as many as possible. Even though I don't care much for the new Cold War Kids album I hoped the music would be better in a live setting. Nope. They only played 4 songs for a total of 14 minutes. Thanks for the effort guys! Hope you didn't exhaust yourselves.

At the other Waterloo shows I've attended the bands played for much longer, talked more with the fans and genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves. You got the feeling The Cold War Kids wanted to get in and get out. Very little effort. Plus, 3 and the 4 songs were boring. Only "Something Is Not Right With Me" had any punch to it. If their show at Emo's was anything like the Waterloo show, I'd glad I didn't buy a ticket.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Essential Utensil

Last week Spoon played a fundraiser in Austin for Texas Democrats and Texas Railroad Commissioner candidate Mark Thompson (nothing gets hipsters fired up like the Railroad Commissioner race). I had just flown in from Atlanta and frankly I was dead tired. If it was any other band I would've bailed. But it wasn't just any band. It was Spoon. So I strapped on a pair and headed out.

The show was at The Parish on 6th street. Rock Club knows my favorite venue is The Mohawk but The Parish ain't too shabby either. It has best sound and lighting system of any mid-sized club I've ever attended. With such killer visuals it's no wonder the people in front of me were getting baked. It was better than the Pink Floyd light show at the local planetarium.

I've seen Spoon in Baltimore and DC but this had a different feel. They casually chatted with the crowd as they set-up. You could tell they were playing a hometown show. They started the evening with a new song, "Who Makes Your Money", before playing "My Mathematical Mind" (a take off of "My Mechanical Mind" by The Oranges Band). For the next few songs members of Grupo Fantasmo, a local funk, mambo, and merengue band, took the stage to play the horns. I'm not a big fans of horn sections in indie rock (reminds me of ska - which I hate) but Spoon, like Menomena, does it right. They also use maracas more than any indie band I've seen. Jim Eno played the drums with a maraca on a few songs while the bassist and keyboards shook them on others. Spoon is now making their next album and I can only hope they continue this slow evolution into a Mariachi band, complete with matching suits, sombreros, fat guitars, and thin mustaches.

Not surprisingly, the set was outstanding. However, a few things did catch me off guard. "The Ghost of You Lingers" was was one the best and most powerful songs of the night. I regard this as the weakest track on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga but now see it more favorably. On the other hand, the one of the album's best tracks, "Don't You Evah" seemed sloppy and disjointed, perhaps on purpose. Either way, it didn't match up to the recorded version.

Before they came back onstage for the encore I guessed to myself they would play "Sister Jack" or "Japanese Cigarette Case". Wrong and wrong. They opted for "Rhthm & Soul", "Finer Feelings", and "Small Stakes". Can't really argue with those choices. Here they are playing the final song of the night:

Can't say enough good things about the show. They were tight as a tick and kept the political stuff to a bare minimum. No rants about Sarah Palin or dedicating "The Underdog" to the Texas Democrats. They just came out and showed why they're the best band in indie rock today.

Set List:

Who Makes Your Money (New Song)
My Mathematical Mind
Stay Don't Go
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
The Ghost Of You Lingers
Trouble (New Song)
Don't You Evah
The Beast And The Dragon, Adored
Me And The Bean
Peace Like a River (Paul Simon cover)
I Turn My Camera On
Don't Make Me a Target
They Never Got You
I Summon You
The Underdog
Jonathan Fisk
Black Like Me

Rhthm & Soul
Finer Feelings
Small Stakes

Bye bye Blondes

Sorry to hear that the Long Blondes have disbanded.

An early favorite of DCRC, they put on a killer show at the RNRH in June of 2007, and a slightly less impressive, yet solid show at RNRH in May of this year.

Hopefully Kate Jackson will continue on in some rock fashion. Apparently she will. Best wishes to ailing guitarist Dorian Cox.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Def Dumb & Blind

It's Tuesday and time for another look into YouTube.

Here's a clip showing how Def Leppard doesn't know its ass from its remaining elbow. I guess RUSH was unavailable for this gig.

The small part of the trophy is the Cup, not the stand. Jackass.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Jews gone wild

Monotonix w/ Imperial China - Thurs. October 16th - DC9 $10

I don't know where to begin, but I'm going to be brief. My ears are still ringing from Imperial China's performance at DC9 Thursday night. They were kind enough to pass around ear plugs before they began, but I only managed one. Two ears plugs prove to be better than one, as it turns out.

We've seen IC before, and Jumbo Slice has a bit of a band crush on them, I think. And they put on a good show, with super high energy, to a big crowd at DC9. At one point I thought that their lyric-less jams would serve as solid music to a video game in which you hunt down zombies through a swamp. At times, they got a little too self indulgent and drifted toward the experimental jazz vein, and sometimes they didn't synch the dueling drumming very well. But over all, a great combination of synth, percussions, and I appreciated the limited vocals.

Now on to the headliners, Monotonix. We had caught the tail end of Monotonix when they played with the Silver Jews last month at the Black Cat, and it was clear that we should have gotten there earlier.

The clip below will give you a sense of what went down last night and does what my words would fail to do. Just note that the first half of the clip takes place in one of the booths at DC9 with the second half of the clip being shot outside just off of U street.

Like Pleaseeasaur, this is an act you have to see at least once, but one that you probably don't need to see more than twice. The music is secondary to the performance, but for $10, you can't beat the entertainment value.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fucked Up

Last week I was on Rhapsody and saw Fucked Up had a new album out - The Chemistry of Common Life. I had read about them on Stereogum so I gave it listen. From the opening track, "Son The Father", I was hooked. It's been a long time since I've heard a hardcore record I liked this much.

On Tuesday the band played a 12-hour show in NYC to promote the new album. Guests that joined them for the marathon show included Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington, Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig (covering the Ramones), J Mascis, Moby, and Vivian Girls. Check out Moby being all hardcore and shit:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heavy duty

It's Tuesday - time for YouTube.

With all this talk about the credit crisis, I thought it time to bring you something positive regarding credit. Earlier this summer, I boasted about my new HDTV and how I found myself staring into it regardless of content. I recently found myself mesmerized by the closing credits to a movie I've never seen, don't recall being in the theaters, and most likely never will see. But there it was as I was flipping by.

No doubt, watching this from your computer screen won't do it justice, but I don't remember seeing closing movie credits this good before, so I'm sharing it nonetheless. The movie is called Mad Money, featuring Diane Keaton, Ted Danson, Queen Latifah, and Katie Holmes. The music behind the credits is by The Heavy.


We love to rock and it shows

The Delta Spirit - October 12th @ the Rock n Roll Hotel, $10

San Diego's quintet squeezed themselves on stage at the RnRH Sunday night, bringing to the nation's capital their loud, impassioned brand of rock.

We saw the Delta Spirit perform at Austin City Limits, and arguably, they were the best of the acts that we saw. On day one of ACL, Delta Spirit played the Austin Ventures stage and were the first band Rock Club saw after our refreshing mid-day swim in Barton Springs. They didn't hold back then, and they didn't hold back on Sunday night either.

This is a band that reminds me of 5 other bands rolled into one. And I'm good with that. Having only heard them once before, it wasn't tough to feel like I've seen them, I dunno, three times already. Solid rock, musicians that play multiple instruments - switching around on the keyboards and drums; dude on the harmonica, and another on a trash can lid.

Here's a look at their crowd pleaser, Trash Can:

Delta Spirit at the RnRH 10/12/08

To be critical, Delta Spirit were better at ACL than at RnRH. Despite having a small squadron of superfans at RnRH, singing along, knowing what was up, sacklunch and I agreed the performance at ACL seemed more genuine somehow. Maybe because we had already seen them perform, or maybe because the stage at ACL offered them more room to strut their stuff, but I preferred the Delta Spirit after a few hours of dehydration, a nice redish dust coating, seeing them in broad daylight, and surrounded by indie rock chicks in tank tops.

For their last song, Delta Spirit got the crowd so involved, I started thinking I was at Ireland's Four Courts. And that's meant to be a compliment. For the record, I own a Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brother's cd and enjoy it every other March 17th.

Haven't seen the Delta Spirit? Loser. Comparing their stuff online to what I've seen in concert, I suggest checking them out in person. I think they have that Allman Brothers thing working.

Autism City Limits

ACL Recap: Day 1

Rock Club is as always devoted to bringing you recaps of things that happened weeks past, long after anyone is interested. And in that spirit of obligation, here's a recap of Day 1 at Austin City Limits.

We all left Jumbo Slice's gated community and headed for the bus stop. "This bus will take us straight to Zilker Park. It's the best way to get to the festival," assured Slice. We got on the fucker, and 100 yards later it dropped us off, as the route to Zilker was shut down for the day. No matter, we'll walk the mile on the Barton Greenway, which looked pretty brown to me, but whatevs. Did you know that in a scenario where a bunch of guys are walking in the woods on a trail, the longer they are on the trail, the odds of someone making a Vietnam reference approach 1.00. As my brains began to boil under my boonie hat I muttered something about watching out for booby traps, thus proving my own rule. Other idle chitchat during the 45 minute walk included Sacklunch proposing to capitalize on the reality porn craze by shooting a movie called Austin Titty Limits. Sounds like a winner, but I would call it Austin Titties Unlimited, because why would you limit the titties? That would be foolish. But that title loses the connection to ACL, so it's a conundrum. No one said adult entertainment was easy.

First Band: Yeasayer

Not too bad. "2080" sounded cool. The bass player braided his hair like some sort Aryan Brotherhood guy, while the guitarist work a pink polo shirt. There's no logic to anything these days.

Second Band: Vampire Weekend

We were at Barton Springs lounging in the cool water while these guys played. Best adjective to describe VW: inoffensive. Speaking of Barton Springs, that was an unlimited titty scene. We tried to act all blase and European about it. As we were leaving a girl who was climbing out of the pool lost her top for a split second. So you're probably thinking, what's the big deal, you already said there were a bunch of topless girls there, right? That just shows how stupid you are, to say that. It's the illicit nipple that trumps the deliberately exposed breast. Now stop making stupid comments and allow me to get to the next band.

Third Band: Delta Spirit

These guys were the best band I saw all weekend, although Spiritualized was a close second. We've had two readers--Preeti and Amy--who have recommended this band to us over the past year and now I see why they were so high on them. Preeti and Amy, I dedicate all the above breast-oriented comments to you, in return for your superior taste and your efforts to make us see good bands. More on Delta Spirit to come, as Potsy and Sacklunch saw them last night at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

Fourth Band: Hot Chip

English dorks Hot Chip were the last band we saw on day one. After Pitchfork last year we made an executive decision to see fewer bands per day but to try and concentrate on seeing full sets and getting in early to get a good spot. The Chipsters gave an upbeat set, and the lead singer wore a white jumpsuit. By the end of the day my brains were beginning to slow-cook inside of my cranium so I'm glad we left when we did. Jesus, Texas is hot.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

ACL Day 2: Area Man Attends Music Festival

You read that title correctly. I, Jumbo Slice, went to Austin City Limits and it was all like awesome and shit. And the rest of Rock Club was there too - kick ass!

Okay, I was going to write this whole review as if I was an idiot frat guy but there's no way I could keep it up after a paragraph or two.

We managed to see 5 very different acts on Saturday. They ranged from Retro-Soul to a wide variety of Rock (British, Classic, Space, and Indie). Let's take them one at a time:

The Fratellis

We arrived at Zilker Park as The Fratellis were performing at one of the "large but not quite a main stage" stages. These guys are best known for their song, "Flathead" which was used in an iPod commercial. We didn't really get too close for their set. I have their first album and I'm not a big fan but they struck me as a decent festival band. They had the crowd fired up early in the day.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

I was the only one genuinely excited to see Sharon Jones. In our ACL Injuries preview of the festival we debate whether to watch Sharon Jones or The Drive By Truckers. Sharon's win was due more to our lack of enthusiasm for DBT than anything else. In the end it was a good decision. She has been described as the female James Brown [malapropism alert: during her set I kept referring to her as "Sharon Brown"]. She even got a James Brown style introduction from the Dap Kings. She was a flurry of energy as she strutted about the stage and invited people to dance onstage with her. Having never seen a band like the Dap Kings, I really enjoyed the set. Sharon is an incredible performer and easily won over the crowd with Tina Turner-esque sassiness.

While watching her set a funny and distinctly Austin moment occurred. Some guys next to me were sitting down as they smoked a joint. It didn't take long before they were approached by a man working security. He apologized for interrupting them and politely reminded them they were in a standing only section. He then wished them a good day and went on his way. Lesson learned: Smoking pot = Okay. Sitting = not okay. Pay attention youth of America.

Siesta at Barton Springs

When presented with the choice of Man Man or CSS we chose a swim at Barton Springs. Why more people don't take a break from the music for a dip in the pool is beyond me. It's relaxing, refreshing, and a great place for people watching. It's also not uncommon for the ladies to sun bath topless...if you're into boobs.

I was glad to read that at least one of the performers thinks like I do. David Byrne blogged about Barton Springs and said "The water is chilly, but you get used to it. Other towns should do this if they can — if they cleaned up their rivers, they could create secure walled-in areas of river water or even ocean water, as they do in Australian cities."


Feeling energized from Barton Springs we got back in time for Spiritualized's entire set. This was yet another band that won an ACL Injuries battle. Opting to see them over MGMT was definitely the right call. The rest of Rock Club was more familiar with the band than me but I left a fan. They mixed spacey psychedelic rock with a bit of gospel on tracks such as "Come Together" and "Walking with Jesus".

John Fogerty

Potsy and I tried to get a decent spot for John Fogerty and failed miserably. After getting stuck in a sea of chairs we decided to abort the mission. Getting out proved even harder than getting in. We finally escaped and met back up with Jimbromski and Sacklunch. We were far from the stage but got to hear him play "Fortunate Son" and "Proud Mary". As a recent convert to classic rock, that's all I really needed.


Beck was one of the headliners of the evening (Robert Plant and Allison Krauss were the others). Having decided to skip The Black Keys were got to the stage early to stake out some real estate. It didn't take long for it to get crowded. Really crowded. At this point I was feeling a little out of it so I excused myself from the masses. I found a seat against a fence where I could enjoy the show. I couldn't see the stage but sitting down was 1000% better than being packed in a massive crowd.

Beck's set was like a "Best Of" album. He played one hit after another. Even those who are lukewarm on Beck have to admit the guy has put out a lot of good songs. He played "Loser", "Nausea", "Gamma Ray", "Where It's At", and "E-Pro" among others. He even played a Rock Club approved cover - Dylan's "Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat".

After Beck's set the real adventure began. Our car was parked at the exact opposite end of Zilker Park. Working our way through the throngs of people in the dark was no easy feat. However, even in my impaired state it was kind of fun. We eventually made it back and headed downtown to see Sunset Rubdown at Mohawk.

I tried (unsucessfully) to keep the reviews short so I could to include a list of "do's and don'ts" while the festival is (somewhat) fresh in my mind. If I missed any, please leave a note in the comment section.

Lessons From ACL

- It's better to set up camp, a home base if you will. Bring a blanket, some chairs and get a decent spot by the stage featuring the bands you're most interested in. You can still visit other stages and you'll always have a meeting spot and a place to relax.

- Siestas at Barton Springs is an absolute must.

- Utilize the left flank. I have to give credit to my good friend Callie (aka Show Lush) for this tip. The best way to get close to the stage is to scoot up the left side and then make your way to the middle. It's a simple strategy but it works.

- Don't wait until the dinner rush to get food. Especially if you want to get the Chicken in a Cone. The line for Hudson on the Bend was ridiculous. Luckily there were lots of good options with short lines. We settled for some delicious fish tacos.

- Most importantly, if you are not used to partaking of certain herbal products, a large music festival is probably not the best place to give them a try.

A Bird In Hand

I just saw that Pitchfork is reporting that Bowerbirds have pulled out of Calexico's current North American tour.

To quote The Dude, this a "major bummer, man." Not 20 minutes ago I was looking at my calendar and looking forward to their November 13th show at 9:30 (which isn't on the Pitchfork list for some reason....hmmm).

Apparently they're exhausted, but not that exhausted that they won't play this Saturday night in Norfolk. So, enjoy them Norfolk, but don't hurt 'em.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Beware the Devil Woman

Oasis is in the news again this week. Another charge of plagiarism has been hurled at the Brit pop band, following long standing claims that the band has at times sounded a whole lot like the Beatles, the Rutles, that Coca-Cola commercial, and T Rex.

Now, it's Cliff Richard's Devil Woman. Let's go to the video tape...

I don't know. To me, the Vanilla Ice v. Mercury/Bowie case is the measuring stick. If it's obvious, sue. But I'm still not convinced that George Harrison did anything wrong.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sunset Rubdown Results In Happy Ending

Unfortunately, I can not take credit for the witty title of this post, I think that honor goes to Potsy and Jumboslice. Thanks fellas. Well, we are sort of working backwards (chronologically speaking) in regards to our trip to Austin. After a busy Saturday at ACL, we headed down to 6th Street to check out Jumbo's favorite Austin venue, The Mohawk. I will also add at this time that I had the pleasure of driving us all in my sweet rental car-I think it was a Nissan Sentra. Kudos to me for driving.

We arrived at The Mohawk just in time to catch Sunset Rubdown (missed the openers, sorry..). To be honest, I didn't think we were going to 6th Street to see any more music, I thought we were just going to drink, so this was a pleasant surprise. I own the first LP by Sunset Rubdown, "Shut Up I Am Dreaming" and I like it pretty well. I am more in the Wolf Parade camp, but this Spencer Krug side project always seemed pretty good in my book.

I was really the only one interested in the actual show and found a great spot on the balcony overlooking the band. It was an excellent viewpoint and gave me a much different perspective than the head-on approach. The band seemed pretty tight and they played a number of tunes off the before mentioned debut LP and a lot of stuff off the new disc. I think they threw a cover in there as well but I couldn't recognize it. I wish a had more to add, but it's been over a week and I my mind was sort of mush by that point. Here is a clip:

Other items of note about the evening:

* We walked down 6th Street after the show. Not really my cup of tea, lots of really drunk people and it had an Adams Morgan type vibe to it. They did, however, have a plethora of options for street chow. I enjoyed an excellent taco from a truck. I also sampled some pizza from another truck and it too was quite good.

* Some drunk redneck offered Potsy $20 for a bite of his pizza. Potsy said sure and the guy backed down. I saw this same dude get out a cab and say "Let's go where the white people are." to his redneck bitch and friends. After the pizza incident he mumbled something like "Jesus wants his cross back." Merely another reason that I would not want to live in Texas.

* The highlight of the night was listening to "Whole Lotta Love" with the volume at 11 in the Sentra (on the way home). That song fucking rocks.

Fun night out and I am glad we had enough energy to make it down there after ACL. Sunset Rubdown was surprisingly good and I would recommend checking them out if they ever return to DC. And, if ever in Austin, be sure to make a trip down to The Mohawk for some live music. I dug it.

ACL Day 3: You Say It's My Birthday

It’s been one week since the opening of Austin City Limits, three days of peace, love, and sun screen. And it’s about time for one in a series of reports….

Last Thursday, I flew from the Great White North to the Live Music Capital of the World. It was Rock Club’s second sojourn to take in a multi-day music festival. As they said in Rattle and Hum, “it’s a musical journey.” It was our collective first-time attending Austin City Limits, but with last year’s Pitchfork festival behind us, we were ready for hot weather and came prepared with effective drinking, eating, and port-a-potty-avoidance strategies.

ACL offered 3 days of great line ups, but I’m focusing on the closing day, which happened to be my birthday, Sunday, September 28th. This was dubbed “chick-day,” as it was the day that the Wives of Rock Club (WORC) had the most interest in seeing some of the acts (with the likes of Gillian Welch, Neko Case, and Okkervil River playing).

Following a good breakfast burrito from Tacodeli (I recommend the “Jess Special”), I hopped in a cab with WORC and served as guide through the massive expanse that was ACL while the Dads of Rock Club (DORC) stayed behind with their offspring. My objective on Day 3 was to focus on bands I had not yet seen live.

First up, the Kills. Here’s a peek.

Just a two piece, which is a good move in this tough economy (take note Polyphonic Spree – fewer peeps to split the $ with), the band relied on recorded sequences and back beats to build their Garbage-esque sound. Good stuff, but I missed the first half, and despite it being hot and sunny, The Kills (and many more ACL artists) stuck with the Rock n Roll uniform and wore black. By the end of their set, Jamie “Hotel” Hince had had enough of the sun, suggesting that they not return until it got cooler. So look for the Kills to return to Austin on some January day - sometime after 8pm.

Gillian Welch was next and to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention. I was too busy finding myself a straw hat to shade my head and neck. But I did pay enough attention to see Alison Kraus join her on stage for a number toward the end. Alison Kraus has a great voice, but I had my fill of her last summer at Merriweather.

We basically did a drive-by of Stars, and I didn’t like what I heard. We kept going to get a decent spot for WORC’s big draw of the afternoon.

Next up, Neko Case. Another peek.

This is what the WORC had really come to see. Neko Case’s performance made for a nice sit-down folksy affair. I like her work, but given the circumstances, it really didn’t make a big impression on me. Too far from the stage to really get into it. I’m spoiled I guess. I will say, however, that Neko Case is the kind of artist that would be good to see whilst on a date with a young lady. Upright spooning could ensue.

Moving on. Mrs. Jimbromski and I checked out Austin’s own Okkervil River next. I was particularly interested in this show since I hadn’t seen them before, and knowing that it was a home-town band made it all the more intriguing.

Yet another taste (albeit shaky and grainy):

I really dig this band’s mellowness. Will Sheff’s voice has a familiarity and earnestness to it that draws me in. The quality of his voice is degraded just a bit (as expected) during his live set in comparison to the band’s recordings, but as you can hear in the clip, they still sound great.

After Okkervil River, I was on my own for a bit with the WORC having left for the evening. Despite having seen them before and being disappointed by a lackluster performance, a text message from a friend encouraged me to catch the tail end of the Heartless Bastards’ set.

They seem to have a new line-up on stage, and with a different bassist, they rocked much harder than when we saw them at the RnRH last year. I was glad to see that, and I will no longer describe them as being “disappointing live.”

Staying at the same stage, I met up with latecomers sacklunch and Jumbo Slice for another Austin band, White Denim. We happily skipped the Raconteurs and Gnarls Barkley to check out this high powered trio. Jumbo Slice recently reviewed this band and gave them a rave review, so I’ll just say that while their sound did get a bit repetitive toward the end, they put on a fantastic performance, and I hope to see these guys in DC sometime soon.

We could have stuck around for Band of Horses (but I had seen them earlier in the year at 9:30) or for the grand finale, Foo Fighters, but we honestly didn’t care that much, and I had a birthday cake to eat. So that was it. Happy birthday to me.