Long live rock, I need it every night

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Time

On Thanksgiving people mention all the good things in their lives. DC Rock Club likes to do things a little differently. Here are some things we're not thankful for: the worst albums of 2008. The flood of "Best of 2008" lists are just around the corner. Before that happens let's salute those bands put out the poo-poo this year for all to not enjoy.

I'll just mention a few and then let people chime in with their own submissions. I know Ashlee Simpson, Metallica, Madonna, Mars Volta, and Nickelback will top some lists. Those are givens. I had high hopes for a number of albums that were ultimately very disappointing. Here are some nominations for Turkey of the Year (in no particular order):

Guns & Roses, Chinese Democracy - yeah, I know Rolling Stone and Chuck Klosterman loved this shit but I didn't. I really, truly, tried to give it a chance. I wanted to like it but it's not going to happen. I barely make it through the whole thing. At times it reminded me of a Broadway musical and other times it sounded like Korn. Either way, the listener is the loser. Sorry Axl, thumbs down from me. Thanks for the free Dr. Pepper though.

Islands, Arm's Way - I guess I'm as much to blame as the band. I hoped they could produce something as quirky and innovative as what Nick Thorburn created while in The Unicorns. This album is scattered, inconsistent, and most of all, annoying.

Cold War Kids, Loyalty To Loyalty - Somehow I had convinced myself that their first album was an underrated gem. Then I went back and realized I only really liked two of the songs. Granted, I like them quite a lot but the rest of the tunes are middle of the road at best. On their second album, there's only one song I like (and not even that much). Then I saw them put on a half-ass performance at Waterloo Records and that sealed their fate as one of my 2008 Turkeys of the Year. Congratulations, Cold War Kids.

Thoughts? Are their bands that released worse albums this year?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fun Fun Fun Recap - Part 2

I was holding off on this post until I could access my pictures and videos from the festival. Laptop is still down though. Oh well. I managed to load a few pictures before the technical difficulties set in.

Dan Deacon

I scooted from Deerhoof a little early to catch Dan Deacon. I've seen him a few times already and I still listen to many tracks off of Spiderman of the Rings. When I first arrived the sound was absolute crap. This isn't surprising since he performs with throngs of kids jumping all over him and his equipment. The issues were fixed soon enough and the party continued (not that the poor sound mattered to most).

Here's the thing with Dan Deacon. I've seen his shtick and each show is basically the same. Nonetheless he's a funny guy and never fails to crack me up with his commentary to the crowd. And you have to give credit to a dude that can make kids go totally and completely ape shit. They love the fat man. I admire all those things (including his girth) but he's mostly a novelty to me. If I was still in my teens or early twenties, it might be different. I'm guessing the kids in the middle of his mad dancing frenzy feel similarly about bands I liked at their age. They might listen to early Dinosaur, Jr. and wonder, "what's the big deal?" Music often defines periods of your life and Dan Deacon just doesn't do that for me. However, one band that did: The Dead Milkmen (that's what I call a Segway, bitches).

Dead Milkmen

As I mentioned in my preview of the FFF Fest, I once snuck backstage and hung out with the Dead Milkmen when I was 17. It was right when "Punk Rock Girl" was the #1 video on MTV. Naturally, I thought I was hot shit for chilling out with the band. I continued to listen to the Milkmen as I entered college. In fact, at parties Freshman year we'd all pile into our tiny bathroom and crank "Gorilla Girl" as we moshed around and beer flew everywhere. Why? I have no fucking idea. Looking back it may be the ghey-est thing I've ever done. And believe me, there's lots of competition for that title.

This was a one time reunion for the band so I wasn't sure what to expect. Reunions can easily go awry. The Milkmen were in fine form though. They kicked things off with "Punk Rock Girl" and the crowd went ballistic. I actually wormed my way to the front before the start and quickly was being thrown every which way. It was insane. I lasted exactly two songs before I exited the mob. I may be too old for that nonsense but it was fun to relive some memories for a short time. I watched the rest of the set from a safe distance on the hill.

Okay, this is getting too long so let's move onto the speed round...

The Dead Milkmen - nostalgic bliss. They should do a big reunion tour. They were fantastic.

Frightened Rabbit - good but not great. It was their last show of the tour and it wasn't as intense as their shows at Mohawk. It was still funny to see a bunch of Scots dealing with the Texas heat. The sweaty lead singer commented, "So this is winter in Texas? Jesus Christ."

The Spinto Band - not exactly groundbreaking stuff but they make some delightful indie-pop. I like the Kinks influenced stuff.

The Annuals - wasn't impressed when I saw them in DC and this time was no different. It just seemed messy.

I went into fanboy mode as I spoke with James Petralli of White Denim:

Shortly after this photo was taken security forcibly removed me when I tried to retain his pants as a keepsake. Side Note: if you haven't bought their new album, Exposion, go download it now, listen, and repeat. It's sure to be in my list of top albums of 2008.

And finally, here's a video synopsis of Day 2 at the Fun Fun Fun Fest. You should watch if only to see the remarkable transformation of the Frightened Rabbit drummer. At their last Austin show, he looked like Turtle from Entourage. Now he looks exactly like one of the Geico Cavemen. Check it out:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deep Thoughts

Another Tuesday has come, they are relentless...

You may have seen this link via Stereogum, but in case you missed it, enjoy two great artists of their time engaged in a creative mind meld like no other.

If you're giving thanks this week, be thankful you weren't driving this cab.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marnie Stern: Shredder

I planned to see Marnie Stern on Tuesday night but she went on way too late. Luckily, on Wednesday morning I discovered she was doing a free show at Waterloo Records. The past few weeks have been dedicated listening to her new album, This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That (suck on that Fiona Apple). I'm not sure how to describe her music. It's not metal. It's not prog, math rock, or indie rock and it's not punk or hardcore either. Let's just call it experimental and leave it at that.

She plays guitar using a cool finger-tapping style that produces a frenetic sound. It's often an odd juxtaposition to her high voice (more prominent when she talks than in her singing). Normally I chalk up excessive guitar solos/shredding to egocentric musical masturbation. That's not the case with Marnie though. The songs aren't all about her guitar playing. They're complicated and give equal weight to the mad percussions. I'm not sure who was playing drums but the guy put on a show.

After 20 minutes or so she asked one of the employees if she could keep going. They ended up playing for another 15 minutes or so. Definitely the longest performance I've seen at Waterloo and perhaps the best. It was a refreshing change from the Cold War Kids who were in and out in under 15 minutes.

Finally, Marnie is also a nice, down to earth person. My wife and daughter met her while waiting for me to arrive. My kid is mesmerized by dogs and Marnie was very kind in letting Mia meet her little dog, Fig.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

10 reasons why the Eagles of Death Metal will be one of my top shows of 2008:
10. They had a very good opening band in The Duke Spirit. Sexy, Debbie Harry-like lead singer, catchy tunes, and an engaged crowd. While I wouldn't go see them again, they got the audience revved up for the headliner.
9. I had an excellent spot on the rail. It wasn't my normal spot in the corner, but more towards the center of the balcony. I stood next to an upright spooning couple, but the chick looked like supermodel and David Bowie lover, Iman.
8. The opening track, "I Only Want You" was the perfect lead-in. To be honest, I had only heard a couple of EODM songs prior to the show, but this one set the tone for the rest of the evening.
7. Lead singer and head Eagle, Jesse Hughes is probably the most entertaining lead singer this side of Craig Finn. It is really something that needs to be seen and can not be explained. A true rock and roll entertainer.
6. The other guitarist played a Flying V. Jay Reatard plays a Flying V. So did Jimi Hendrix and Randy Rhoads. Rad.
5. The crowd (and the band) were really into the show. It was one of those evenings when there was a symbiotic relationship between audience and band. The crowd was lively, yet seemingly not aggressive. Lots of dudes, but all seemed to be well behaved (unlike The Hold Steady show). The EODM seemed damn appreciative of the crowd. It was a great vibe.
4. Good 70"s style stage banter. Lots of "CAN YOU DIG IT" and shout-outs to the ladies.
3. They played 2 covers ("Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel and "Brown Sugar" by The Stones). All bands need to throw a cover song into their set. If you put in 2, well, that's even more kick-ass.
2. Unfortunately, Jimbromski had to bail on the show due to his ill offspring. I usually don't mind going to shows alone, but this was one that you kind of wanted to share with some friends. Luckily, I ran into a friend during the Duke Spirit. Karma.
1. Jesse Hughes moustache. Ridiculously bushy, like a 70's porn star. Somehow it added to the whole experience.
While probably not the best music I have seen live this year (that undoubtedly goes to the band from Oxford that played in a monsoon), this was probably the most entertaining show I have seen in 2008. I'm a believer now.

Daniel My Brother, You Are Weirder Than Me

[photo credit]

If you measure bands according to the number of people turned off after one listen than Danielson might be the best band touring today. When their highly acclaimed album Ships was released in 2006 I thought it was terrible. Absolutely terrible. On Tuesday I gave the band a second chance. I was going to see Marnie Stern at Mohawk and they were playing before she took the inside stage. I wanted to understand why they had such loyal fans and why sites gave their albums such effusive reviews. I listened to their newly released 28-track anthology (Trying Hartz) and to my surprise I liked it. The live tracks highlight Daniel Smith's engaging personality and the band's quirkiness comes off as fun instead of grating (especially on songs like "Rubbernecker" and "Flip Flop Flim Flam"). In a span of 2 hours I went from completely dismissing the band to looking forward seeing them live.

Perhaps the most distinctive thing about the band is Daniel Smith's voice. How can I even describe it? It's a bizarrely high pitched. I first found it annoying but then I became mesmerised by it. I couldn't understand how a dude could sing like that (my guess: football to the groin). Each song was punctuated with a series of shrieks, cries, and odd yelps.

Danielson doesn't look like your average indie rock band. The seven members all had on matching uniforms from their hats down to their one of a kind shoes (they were custom made in exchange for a song). The lyrics have a decidedly Christian bent but you'd have to be a Satanist not to appreciate their take on indie-gospel-rock. There are lots of twists and turns, jagged guitars, plentiful percussion, and layered vocals. Some may find the music, squeaky falsetto voice, and matching outfits a little creepy. Maybe it's just a coincidence that I saw Danielson near the 30th Anniversary of Jonestown but I think Smith and Jim Jones share certain traits. They're instantly likable and very persuasive. Smith had the audience involved in almost every song. There were clap alongs, snap alongs, and sing alongs. One song was just a drink along. Smith is like the Pied Piper. People love his music and obey his instructions. This is not to say he's going to start a church and misuse Kool Aid (if anyone starts a cult it'll be Dan Deacon). Smith just knows how to put on an engaging performance. He looked like he was enjoying every second on stage. It was a nice contrast to the brooding young rockers I often see at shows.

If you're not familiar with Danielson (or the Danielson Famile) here's the trailer for a documentary film that was made about the band and family. They seem too odd to be real. They're like a religious version of the Partrich Family (only weirder, if that's possible).

Danielson might not be for everyone but I found them compelling. They're certainly not terrible like I first thought. They're talented and unique which is more than you can saw for most indie bands out there today.

Postscript: I didn't stick around for Marnie Stern. I thought she went on at 11:00 but it turned out to be closer to 1:00 AM. Fortunately, she played an in-store show at Waterloo Records yesterday. A review of that show will be up tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ian MacKaye

[photo credit]

Ian MacKaye
St. Edwards University: Austin, TX
November 14th, 2008

My wife and I planned to check out a coffee shop on Friday night but that quickly changed when I saw Ian MacKaye was speaking. It's ironic that for five years I lived within a mile or so of the Dischord House and it was only when I moved to Texas that I finally got to hear Ian speak. Well, I guess that's not totally true. I was fortunate enough to see Fugazi a few times. I've also seen The Evens play but I've never talked with Ian or heard him in a Q&A setting. He has an unfair reputation of being a bit puritanical (the whole DIY and Straight Edge stuff). Sure, he has strong beliefs on certain issues but he's certainly not an uptight guy. I found him incredibly funny, intelligent, thoughtful, and even inspiring. The one word my wife used when describing him was "real".

We didn't have tickets so we waited in line and hoped there was extra room. Fortunately, the three of us got in (our 6 month old daughter was with us). Ian casually walked into the packed ballroom wearing his cargo shorts, sweatshirt, and muggers hat. After a brief introduction Ian explained the ground rules for the event: no video please (damn internets), you ask, I'll answer.

Over the next 90 minutes (it lasted two hours but we had to scoot early) Ian described the support he received from his family. He told a touching story about the kindness his Mom showed to the people who visited her Beecher St. home thinking it was Dischord House. His stories of growing up with Henry Rollins were especially funny. It's fascinating how life has taken them in different directions yet they remain best friends to this day.

Other subjects he touched upon were the effect of the internet on regional music, his stances on DRM (he's against any restrictions) and file sharing (he's for it). His views on file sharing were particularly interesting considering he owns a record label. His general advice is to be a patron of the arts - go to a show, buy a record album, let a band crash at your place. Just do something to support those making music. And when you do discover good music share it with your friends. He says music is meant to be free and all record companies sell is plastic.

After a while it was getting close to my daughters bedtime so we scooted out the side door. As I left with my daughter in my arms, Ian gave us a little wave as if to say "good night - thanks for coming". No problem Ian. The pleasure was all ours. Now get to work on that next Fugazi album...

Flotsam & Jetsam

Okay, I missed the Eagles of Death Metal/Duke Spirit show last night. My son's been barfing regularly since Sunday morning and he hurled just as I was about to leave last night so I couldn't leave my wife high and dry. The good news is that I seem to have happened upon some sort of perpetual motion machine because he seems to be puking up more food than he's taking in. If I can somehow harness this power I can make money/solve the world's problems. Typically, Sacklunch tells me last night's show was "f*cking awesome." He said he'd get a review up sometime.

There was a post on the Miami Sun-Sentinel's blog about shitty NFL rap videos that Stereogum linked to. This is right in my wheelhouse. As a devoted Raider fan (I've found that saying that out loud these days is like going to Gymboree and announcing "I am a devoted pedophile") I always felt "Silver and Black Attack" was the best NFL rap video of all time. The Sun-Sentinel's list is comprehensive so I won't say much more about it, but they did miss two key entries.

First, here's Jonathan Ogden (Baltimore Ravens tackle and DC native) in an insurance commercial. Technically not a team rap video, but funny nonetheless (30 seconds):

And here's the big oversight--ladies and gentlemen, I give you, yourrrrrr Glasgow Diamonds!

The Glasgow Diamonds were not part of NFL Europe. They were just a bunch of Scottish dudes who played American football and made a video. Not bad, considering. The best part of the video is the relentless dreariness that is the UK. It always looks like it's 10 minutes to sunset there and all colors are a variation of brown.


I forgot about these two vids. While we're on the international tip, here's "Ossie's Dream" by Tottenham Hotspur, to get everyone fired up for their FA Cup run in 1981. This one's not particularly funny and it's really sort of catchy, but at 1:58 Argentine midfielder Ossie Ardiles chips in with some fractured English. Watch it, it's a hoot.

And here's the New England Patriots' "New England, the Patriots and We." This is from 1986--their devastating riposte to Chicago's "Superbowl Shuffle" from the same year. Chicago had the better musical chops and bitchified the Pats on the field, 46-10.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let the midnight special shine a light on me...

It's Tuesday and I'm reaching my hand up the small intestine of YouTube to deliver you a clip for the week.

This week's clip is inspired in part by the fires in California - though the clip really has nothing to do with fires, only its title does. The song is about a horse, actually. The choice is also inspired by Jimbromski's previous unfamiliarity with this softrock classic. Being that he regards himself as a softrock connoisseir, this track is a must have. Check out the set behind this act. Your name doesn't appear as a two-story neon sign for nothing. Neon ain't cheap.

The Midnight Special (forerunner to NBC's Friday Night Videos)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fun Fun Fun Fest - Part 1

The 2008 Fun Fun Fun Fest - 2 days, 4 stages, and over 60 bands. The music included indie rock, Hip Hop and DJ's, and Punk/Hardcore bands. They was a little something for everyone. Here are some of the bands I opted to see:

Bishop Allen

This clean cut crew plays catchy, literate, unoffensive tunes. The type of stuff your girlfriend likes and that gets played on NPR's All Songs Considered. Listening to their set I was reminded of Death Cab, The Decemberists, and The Shins. Not exactly edgy stuff. Of course, I kind of like those bands so it's not surprising that I enjoyed Bishop Allen. I was on the fence going in but I'm a fan after seeing them live. Sometimes you just want to hear a good pop song and they delivered with "Click, Click, Click", "Rain", and "Middle Management".

One final comment about Bishop Allen. A few songs into the set the lead singer starting doing this odd dance. He was bopping around the stage kicking his heels up towards his ass. It looked like a retard doing Jazzercise. Which is to say that it was awesome. Oh, and he had a huge head so that may have added to the effect. Just thought I'd mention that.

Octopus Project

This was my first time seeing Austin's most experimental band. Primarily an instrumental band, Octopus Project were as entertaining as they were innovative. There was so much going onstage and within each song (odd structures, myriad of instruments and effects) it was easy to forget there were no lyrics (there were vocals in only two songs). At times they were angular and dissonant and other times they were beautifully melodic. They displayed impressive creativity for sure.

A quick example of their showmanship: dancing ghosts. Behind the band there were a series of green and white sheets with funny faces and little ears. They looked to be covering the amps and hanging from the ceiling. Assuming they were just decorations I didn't pay attention to them until 3 or 4 songs into the set when half of them started dancing around. The crowd loved it.

The band isn't all gimmicks though. Their talent was evident as each member played at least two or three instruments. My favorite was Yvonne Lambert on the theremin (the Moog device she controls without touching). It produced lots of eerie sounds as if she was channeling the thoughts of the dancing ghosts behind her.

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead

By the time Trail of Dead took the stage, the festival crowd had grown quite a bit (the will call line was LONG). They had big lineup with two drummers, two guitars, bass, and keyboards which helped create the quiet/load contrast found in many of their songs. The band had a big wall of sound dynamic that worked perfectly in a festival setting.

The group was dressed in all black, as if they were representing the dark side of indie rock, and the music reflected it. Early on they played "The Betrayal of Roger Casement and the Irish Brigade," a searing instrumental from their recent Festival Thyme EP. The set included a nice mix of new tunes along with their standards. Personally, I enjoyed "Caterwaul" of their poorly reviewed Worlds Apart album (underappreciated album IMHO). Listening to the new songs I'm guessing the album due in January will be less produced and more straightforward rock. They even had one song that was pure hardcore punk.

I used to wonder if they were blessed or cursed when Pitchfork gave Source Tags and Codes a 10.0. Answer: probably cursed. Since that review each successive release has been over-scrutinized and a backlash has occurred. There were also label troubles and a general decline of interest in the band (playing a mid-day slot at their hometown festival being one sign of this). However, none of that was reflected in their performance. They put on a blistering show and the crowd was very much into the entire set. I look forward to the new album in 2009. The Trail of Dead is ready for its Lazarus moment.


I'm down with any band that has a sick drummer and Greg Saunier is as bad ass as they come. He's the soul of the band pounding away on his spare drum kit. Not to take away from the rest of the band. The guitarists, Jon Dietrich and Ed Rodriguez, are incredible musicians, and Satomi Matsuzaka is one of the most unique front women in indie rock. All combined they produce sloppy brilliance that keeps you guessing where they'll go next (musically that is).

The band has a reputation for inspiring live shows and this was no exception. Admittedly, it wasn't as good as the past shows I've seen but it was solid nonetheless. They played a series of favorites from their last five albums. I was happy the set wasn't too heavy on the new album (Offend Maggie) because frankly, I'm just not that into it. Although I must say "Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back" is better live than on record.

I hope Deerhoof makes another Austin visit soon. I prefer seeing bands in smaller venues instead of at festivals. I tried to get close to the stage but had to leave the mob after about 10 minutes. My old man back was acting up and there were some seriously drunk people around me. One dude passed in front of me holding his hand over his mouth as puke ran down his shirt. Nice.

In the second recap I'll cover The Dead Milkmen, Dan Deacon, Frightened Rabbit, The Spinto Band, and Annuals. I'll also lament the many bands I failed to see (due to either scheduling conflicts or my nasty cold).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Show Recommendation

There are many good reasons to go to the Velvet Lounge tonight. Here's five:

1. Look at the fucking poster! I love it. That kangaroo isn't taking any shit. Try and take his picture and you're getting popped in the throat.
2. Imperial China. My favorite DC band. I wish they'd come to Austin. Maybe for SXSW?
3. If I'm not mistaken, the Velvet Lounge serves inexpensive Pabst cans. Sure it'll give you gas and the runs the next day but it tastes good going down. Okay, maybe not.
4. Girl Loves Distortion. I'm listening to their latest album, Earth Beings On Exhibit, and it's pretty good. How have I not heard of this DC band before?

And finally...

5. Report Suspicious Activity. It's a "post-punk supergroup". By law, you're obligated to check out all supergroups. Sorry, I don't make the rules.

The Cheniers

The Cheniers - Thursday, November 13th, 2008 - The Velvet Lounge - $10

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What about the Chocolate Rain dude?

I know Jimbromski loves a good list so here's the Top 100 Singers according to Rolling Stone (deftly copied and pasted from stereogum):

Art Garfunkel is only #86?! Horseshit. Which part of the F-U-N-K in Garfunkel don't they understand?

100 Mary J. Blige
99 Steven Tyler
98 Stevie Nicks
97 Joe Cocker
96 B.B. King
95 Patti LaBelle
94 Karen Carpenter
93 Annie Lennox
92 Morrissey
91 Levon Helm
90 The Everly Brothers
89 Solomon Burke
88 Willie Nelson
87 Don Henley
86 Art Garfunkel
85 Sam Moore
84 Darlene Love
83 Patti Smith
82 Tom Waits
81 John Lee Hooker
80 Frankie Valli
79 Mariah Carey
78 Sly Stone
77 Merle Haggard
76 Steve Perry
75 Iggy Pop
74 James Taylor
73 Dolly Parton
72 John Fogerty
71 Toots Hibbert
70 Gregg Allman
69 Ronnie Spector
68 Wilson Pickett
67 Jerry Lee Lewis
66 Thom Yorke
65 David Ruffin
64 Axl Rose
63 Dion
62 Lou Reed
61 Roger Daltrey
60 Björk
59 Rod Stewart
58 Christina Aguilera
57 Eric Bourdon
56 Mavis Staples
55 Paul Rodgers
54 Luther Vandross
53 Muddy Waters
52 Brian Wilson
51 Gladys Knight
50 Bonnie Raitt
49 Donny Hathaway
48 Buddy Holly
47 Jim Morrison
46 Patsy Cline
45 Kurt Cobain
44 Bobby "Blue" Bland
43 George Jones
42 Joni Mitchell
41 Chuck Berry
40 Curtis Mayfield
39 Jeff Buckley
38 Elton John
37 Neil Young
36 Bruce Springsteen
35 Dusty Sprinfield
34 Whitney Houston
33 Steve Winwood
32 Bono
31 Howlin' Wolf
30 Prince
29 Nina Simone
28 Janis Joplin
27 Hank Williams
26 Jackie Wilson
25 Michael Jackson
24 Van Morrison
23 David Bowie
22 Etta James
21 Johnny Cash
20 Smokey Robinson
19 Bob Marley
18 Freddie Mercury
17 Tina Turner
16 Mick Jagger
15 Robert Plant
14 Al Green
13 Roy Orbison
12 Little Richard
11 Paul McCartney
10 James Brown
09 Stevie Wonder
08 Otis Redding
07 Bob Dylan
06 Marvin Gaye
05 John Lennon
04 Sam Cooke
03 Elvis Presley
02 Ray Charles
01 Aretha Franklin

Personally, I'd rank Willie Nelson, Thom Yorke, and Patsy Cline higher. Also, Mariah Carey should be striken from the list for having the IQ of an amoeba.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If you have a problem, if no one else can help...

It's YouTubesday... Armistice edition.

I think a lot of us are familiar with Barry Sadler's Ballad of the Green Berets. But did you know he had another green beret inspired tune?

While we're talking A-Team...

"I don't like Irish proverbs."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dude Pees from Upper Deck of 9:30

This news item courtesy of Rick--Jersey City Councilman Steven Lipski was at the 9:30 on Saturday night to see a Grateful Dead tribute band and decided to relieve himself on the hippies on the floor. I'd endorse this if it were some sort of anti-Grateful Dead gesture but it turns out the guy was just being a dick.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

No Concert for Old Men

stellastarr* w/ US Royalty - Sunday, November 9th @ RnRH "$16"

Don't send old men to do a young man's job.

Despite my recent review of The Who, here I am again reviewing this week's DCRC show. You may ask yourself what you did to deserve this. I have asked myself the same question. I'll spare you the details of my comrade's absences. But since we are not a professional sports team, I will out my clubmates publicly. They are weak.

I ventured down to H Street to catch both local band, US Royalty, and NYC's stellastarr* on Sunday evening. I had been listening to stellastarr* over the weekend via Myspace, not being all that familiar with their work. Survey said... not bad. I kinda liked it. With songs like Warchild and Jenny, I figured this to be a band with a pseudo 80s tinge.

Their live performance gave me an entirely different feeling, however. I saw somewhere that lead singer Shawn Christensen has had trouble with his voice in recent years, affecting his ability to hit the low notes. Maybe that was the difference... But in all honesty, I found it hard to really get into this band. They had a pretty loyal following, with the downstairs of the RNRH being 70% full on a Sunday night, and with a good number of superfans singing along - or at least mouthing the words.

There was also a large number of females in the audience for this show. I noted three incidents of upright spooning, not a good sign if you're the band inspiring this type of behavior. The Goo-Goo Dolls inspire upright spooning, ya know. Not sure if bassist Amanda Tannen inspires fellow fems to rock and is what brought so many ladies out Sunday night. But who's complaining? Amanda Tannen is not only hot, but she also lays down heavy bass lines and plays a prominent role (no window dressing here). Her singing isn't her best attribute, but it's not a detraction either.

Here's a clip that represents what this show did for me.

Overall, they were...fine. Nothing that really jumped out at me. Not offensive or annoying, but not all that inspiring either. At least not for me.

A quick word about opening act, US Royalty. I was interested in seeing another of DC's touring bands perform at the RNRH. I missed the first half of their set, but I was pleased to see a cover.

US Royalty were pretty tight, and their sound had a produced quality to it, which may have worked against them slightly. They actually sounded a bit too polished. Anyhow, onto more important matters, the guitarist needs to reconsider his boots. I don't mind it when chicks want to dress like it's 1982, but dudes need to think twice before returning down that path. Those boots do not make me envious of your rock and roll lifestyle. And that is job 1 for you Mr. Rockstar.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fool me twice - won't get fooled again

The Who - Monday, November 3rd - Verizon Center $120

I never thought I would see The Who in concert. When I first embraced their music as a youngster, the three surviving members had officially disbanded and were well on their way to middle agedom with all of their influential work behind them.

I was a sophomore in high school during The Kids Are Alright tour in 1989 - neither savvy enough nor in possesion of a credit card to score a ticket. I likewise missed their Quadrophenia tour in the mid 90s, and was unwilling to deal with last year's Virgin Festival.

With one foot in my own middle agedom, but with decent credit, I finally came to my senses in July of this year, vowing to see The Who before anyone else died (myself included).

I was trying to keep my expectations low for Monday night. This isn't your father's Who. Half of them are gone, so is Townshend's hair, and after watching the abysmal Rolling Stones live film, Shine a Light, the thought of a mediocre show was looming large in my mind. Jimbromski wasn't helping either. Here's a bit from an email he sent hours before the show, suggesting that Daltrey was going to choke, literally.

yeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh we don't get fooolllleeeddd agaaaaaaiiiiinnn-COUGH-COUGH-COUGH-HACK-shoobie-doo-waa, doobie doo
Daltrey can't hit the high notes anymore. But that's not what I wanted to hear anyhow. Here's how it actually went down.

Obviously the video isn't high quality, but The Who were. I think Jimbromski was just bitter that he didn't have a ticket for the show. sacklunch and I were close enough to see Townshend's windmills, and Daltrey reeling in his microphone, and it didn't cost us $200/ticket. It was a little odd (though not surprising) to find ourselves adrift in a sea of 60-year-old dudes. I half-expected my ticket would read, "Flomax presents: The Who - Nov. 3rd @ Verizon Center."
And going from smaller shows at the Black Cat to a large arena show takes some adjusting, but I was comforted to see a familiar figure occupying the same spot he takes up at the 9:30 club.

Rob Corddry loves to dance

A bunch of us got together on Saturday night to watch Quadrophenia, in preparation for this show. The film was so moving, Jimbromski jumped on eBay and secured himself one of those green rain coats the Mods wore while riding their scooters.

Duh-cut took in a bit of the film with us and reminded me of his ingenius plan for the ultimate nostalgia super group. His idea: take Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and Ringo Starr, put them together on tour (you have a bassist, a guitarist, a singer, and a drummer - a complete band), and they just happen to be the remaining members of the Beatles and The Who. They can play songs from both catalogs, or even combine the two in some cases (Won't Get Fooled on The Hill Again; Who Do You Love Me Do; Getting Better, You Better, You Bet; etc). It really is genius.

I was particularly excited to hear The Who play The Seeker. And they played it second. Yeah! Alright! ... Okay.... That was quick. No matter, they kept the hits coming, and I couldn't have been more excited.

Here's the set list as far as I could decipher:
  • Can't Explain
  • The Seeker
  • Relay - (both sacklunch and I were expecting this to morph into Eminence Front. it didn't)
  • Fragments
  • Who Are You
  • Behind Blue Eyes
  • Real Good Looking Boy
  • Sister Disco
  • Baba O'Riley
  • Getting In Tune
  • Eminence Front
  • 5:15 (I thought I smelled pot during this one. Noteworthy for the crowd and venue.)
  • Love, Reign O'er Me
  • Won't Get Fooled Again
  • My Generation
  • ?? (bathroom break - I heard a guy puking in a stall behind me - arena rock inspires vomiting)
  • Naked Eye
  • Pinball Wizard
  • See Me, Feel Me
  • Tea and Theatre
Fantastic. Honestly. Except for Real Good Looking Boy, which is a super ghey song, but I can live with it. Like I said, I never thought I would actually see The Who in concert, and now I have. And it wasn't a watered down version. They rocked like it was 1972. Okay, maybe not 1972, they didn't break anything. But they didn't hold back at all and Daltrey was most impressive.

Wow. I'm all worked up now. It's been quite a week. Monday: The Who. Tuesday: Oback Barama.

Where am I and what year is it again?

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Camacho

Some Wednesday filler while Potsy prepares his review of The Whom. Sorry, The Who. I didn't go because it was too expensive but I'm dying to find out how it went, beyond the succinct "fucking awesome" that Sacklunch texted me. He also said "maybe I need more arena rock in my life." That, and a better personality, haircut and set of clothes, then you'll be set.

Election night! Yay! I tried to cast a write-in vote for Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho but ran out of space, so instead I settled for John Hegelin of the Natural Law Party. I felt strongly that Camacho's experience as porn star and five-time ultimate smackdown wrestling champion would come in handy over the next four years. All the same, congrats to Obama. Whatever you think of the man, his daughters are incredibly cute and when he promised to buy them a puppy I nearly fell over. The darker part of my soul also noted that if he ends up as a two termer then the older Obama girl will turn into a woman before our very eyes. A very hot, nubile, young woman. That's a powerful incentive to vote Barama in 2012.

Here's a video of President Camacho addressing Congress. Listen and learn, Obama.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rock the vote or else I'm gonna stick a knife through your eye

It's Tuesday....if you're an American over the age of 18, and not in prison....