Long live rock, I need it every night

Friday, June 27, 2008

Arsenic and Old Lace

Zulu Pearls
Dress Up
The Shakes

Fort Reno 2008
June 26, 2008

To those of you who missed our show reviews, be careful what you wish for. This one's a video. Forewarned is forearmed.

  • See Jimbromski broadcasting from his basement, complete with flopsweat and a gay v-neck shirt
  • Revel in gratuitous underage cleavage shots by crack cameraman Potsy
  • Watch a bitter old man advocate a fascist-style culling of the youth of America
  • And much, much less, all in less than six minutes!
Enjoy (?):

Postscript: My comments about the youngsters at the show were tongue-in-cheek. I'm sure they'll all go on to do great things with their lives. Fucking trust fund babies.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today in Canadian Rock History

June 26th

Like bacon and football, here's yet another example of our neighbors to the North trying to do things their own way....

Gordon Lightfoot
, Bryan Adams and Anne Murray each officially received a granite star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, on King Street in Toronto, on this day in 1998. They were the first three pop artists to be honored into the newly recognized group of Canadian stars. Rush and Celine Dion were added a year later, followed by Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in 2000. They were also each presented with a take-home brass and granite trophy, topped with a star created in the likeness of a maple leaf.

How did Neil Young and/or RUSH get skipped over on the first try?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Electronica 101

The past few posts I touched on my ignorance of electronica/dance/whatever. It was also a topic of discussion w/ the rest of Rock Club in regards to Datarock and Ki:Theory. I tend to dismiss much of this music without really giving it a chance. Case in point, I went back and listened to Datarock and some of it's pretty good. It's not something I'd put on my iPod but it's not as bad as I first thought.

After I badmouthed the new albums by Spiritualized, M83, and Cut Copy, Stutts (our Rock Club proxy and sometimes reviewer) emailed me with a list of albums to check out. It wasn't a list of the best electronic/electro-pop/ambient albums ever and they're not all favorites of his. He just offered them up as a good examples of various genres. He did a nice job with the recommendations because no two albums are alike. It's impressive b/c Stutts is no club kid. He just knows a lot about music (and porn).

I'll post my reviews of the 10 albums recommended. Here's my take on the first five along with a description from Stutts:

Amon Tobin - Supermodified

Stutts: A.T. has an interesting back-catalog, mostly b/c of his creative breaks and use of retro-jazz. Yeah, there's a lot of djs out there that incorporate jazz elements (a notable album is St Germain's 'Tourist'.) But the particular jazz samples are inspired and usually serve as flourishes, not the main element. The guy can go from slow trip-hop to manic drill-n-bass but most tracks are moody with a slight up-tempo beat. His soundtrack to the Splinter Cell game is excellent and even his older Cujo work rivals the best stuff found on late-90s Ninja Tune. But Supermodified is plain cool.

Jumbo Slice: All this Jazz talk had me worried. I'm sure there's Jazz I'd love but since I'm usually exposed to the Smooth variety, I tend to avoid Jazz. Stutts description above is right on the mark. Tobin's samples and accents work well with the electronic elements. The first half is definitely strong. I like the tracks with bigger beats ("Get Your Snack On", "Marine Machines") as opposed to the mellow songs (like "Slowly".) Tobin also released a song called "Hot Korean Moms" so he gets bonus points for that. Rating: Three and a Half Bowls of Kimchi.

The Third Eye Foundation - Little Lost Soul

Stutts: I wanted to pick something that pushed the experimental envelope just a bit w/out going full into Autechre territory (by the way, if you want to hear a great Autechre track, check out Clipper.) This dude has a sense of humor. It's dark but it's there. Some manic drum/drill beats over very moody and even creepy textures. I'm recommending this album as a starter but I think Ghost and In Version are also worth checking out.

Jumbo Slice: Never heard of The Third Eye Foundation but if he's on Merge he's doing something right. Merge is a great record company. Reading the description from Stutts, I figured I'd like this. If I'm going to listen to electronic I prefer it to be "moody, "manic", and "creepy". A sense of humor helps. That's why I like Richard D. James of Aphex Twin. The guy seems like a complete nut job. Matt Elliot, the man behind The Third Eye Foundation, is a little more reserved than James. What Elliot does on this record here isn't too similar to Aphew Twin but a lot of same qualities are there. Rating: Two and a Half Glowsticks.

Cinematic Orchestra - Every Day

Stutts: This one is just flat out pretty. That's it.

Jumbo Slice: There was a short period in my life when I was very much into Acid Jazz. I'd go to the Eighteenth Street Lounge each weekend and hang out on the couches acting all suave. I even bought a bunch of Acid Jazz CDs despite the fact I really didn't care for it. Why be such a jackass/wanker/douchebag? Because I was dating a Norwegian au pair and that's what she and her au pair friends liked. Sounds stupid but it was worth it at the time. Conclusion: Unless it helps with the ladies I see little, if any, reason to listen to Acid Jazz. Cinematic Orchestra is no exception. The instrumental songs are cool/chill out stuff but nothing memorable. I found the singing a big distraction especially on the last track, "Horizon". Every Day only gets a rating of One Martini Glass.

Scanner - Lauwarm Instrumentals

Stutts: Not too many guys who mix in scanned police recordings and eavesdropped phone conversations into their tracks. So this gets a nod.

Jumbo Slice: Freaky weird stuff. If Lost used electronic music instead of a full orchestra Scanner would be perfect for the job. I can just picture Jack and Kate getting chased through the woods as this music played. Certain stretches are monotonous but they manage to move on before it gets boring. Rating: Three Black Smoke Monsters.

Tarwater - Silur

Stutts: Well, it's only right to throw something so very Krauty into the mix here. And this one manages to be both cold/detached and engaging. And is ultimate track ends off with an otherwise joyous mood (considering the rest of the album). It's unusual and worth a mention.

Jumbo Slice: The first couple songs reminded me of Tricky. Granted, my knowledge of electronica is pretty limited so maybe that's a bad comparison. The rest of the album struck me more as post-rock than electronica. It also got more "Krauty" with each song. A few could have been theme music for Sprockets with Dieter. Maybe that's why I liked it. Rating: Three and a Half Frankfurters.

Monday, June 23, 2008

New Releases, Pt. II

And now for the rest of my list...

Albums I'll Listen To Again:

8. Arm's Way, Islands - "In The Rushes" harks back to the Unicorns. That's good thing. A very good thing. Still, I find Islands as a band very disappointing. They barely escaped the Overrated category. I'm going to see them today at Waterloo Records here in Austin. Honestly, I'm going for the free beer as much as I am the band. Speaking of Waterloo Records...

7. Rook, Shearwater - I saw them perform at Waterloo Records and I'll admit they put on an impressive performance. I just can't get past singing voice. When Jonathan Meiburg goes all falsetto it's irritating. I lump Shearwater in the same category as The Decemberists - excellent musicians, smart lyrics, annoying singing style that makes it hard for me to fully appreciate them.

6. The Hann-Byrd EP, Oxford Collapse - Austin has a plethora of free shows. Oxford Collapse is playing with Frightened Rabbit and Peel (how's that for a triple bill?) on Thursday night at Mohawk. And it's free. Why? I have no idea. I don't question these things, I just go. Oh, what about the EP? Let's just say it's better than Shearwater but not as good as...

5. The Bake Sale EP, Cool Kids - Reminds me of the rap I grew up listening to: Public Enemy, Run-DMC, some LL Cool J.

Albums Instantly Saved To My Permanent Library:

4. This Is Not The World, The Futureheads - These guys are alright in my book. I hope they come to Austin sometime. I've always wanted to see them live.

3. At Mount Zoomer, Wolf Parade - They have a bunch of solid side projects - Frog Eyes, Handsome Furs, Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake - but none of those bands can match what Wolf Parade does.

2. Feed The Animals, Girl Talk - The samples of Journey, Dexy's Midnight Runner, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers seem forced (or just plain stupid) but the mixes of Aphex Twin, Wu-Tang, The Cure and Radiohead (blasphemous for some) work great. I love Girl Talk but he's due for the inevitable blogophere backlash. The pattern for blogs towards indie music is very predictable. I fully expect this album to be panned despite that it's nearly as good as Night Ripper, which was widely praised.

1. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes - Loved them in concert and can't wait for their show here in Austin.

Friday, June 20, 2008

New Releases, Pt. I

I took time to listen to 15 albums released over the past few weeks (does not include Chinese Democracy or Coldplay). Here's the order in which I'd rank them based on one and only one listen. Let's start at the bottom and work our way up:

Just Plain Awful:

15. Real Close Ones, The M's - The Rockists like the M's so I'll give this another shot but based on one listen I think this album blows. I'm clearly in the minority since The A.V Club gave it an A and Pitchfork gave it a 7.4.

14. Weezer (the Red Album), Weezer - Another disappointment from Cuomo and crew. I still like Weezer though. I may only listen to their first two albums and a smattering of other songs, but I still like them.

I'll come out and say it. They're Overrated:

13. Songs in A&E, Spiritualized - I don't get the big deal with these guys. I've seen rave reviews for the album but I found it decent but not remarkable. Same goes for the new albums by M83 and Cut Copy.

12. Stay Positive, The Hold Steady - Well, I didn't hate it…

I can take it or leave it:

11. This is Ivy League, This is Ivy League - Nice but not enough for me to go back for a second listen. Potsy would enjoy their Belle & Sebastian-esque tunes though.

10. Velocifero, Ladytron - Didn't expect to care for this album. Their last album, Witching Hour, got positive reviews but I thought it was the same old electro-poop. Oops, I mean electro-pop. Whatever. Velocifero is a little meaner, darker, ass kicky-er. Well, except for when they sing in Bulgarian. That song is a tough listen. Verdict: I like it enough to see them in concert again but not enough put it in my listening rotation.

9. Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne - Brilliant album cover, decent album. Not the best rap album on this list.

Part II on Monday...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Child Is the Father of the Man

Dir. by Anton Corbijn

In the first scene of Anton Corbijn's Control, a young Ian Curtis comes home to his family's council flat, bearing in hand David Bowie's Aladdin Sane album. Curtis, played by Sam Riley, lays back on his bed and listens to "Drive In Saturday," and within the hour he's ditched his schoolboy uniform in favor of eyeliner and a furry jacket. Perhaps a heavy handed stab at characterization but Riley plays it well. Curtis the schoolboy lives within the spacious confines of his mind, and his music--Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Roxy Music--transports him from the black and white boundaries of his hometown of Macclesfield.

Black and white, literally--Corbijn shot the film entirely in b&w, which adds an arty touch to the movie. But the plot of Control is surprisingly straightforward and avoids avant-garde gimmickry, to its credit. Control is two stories, really--Curtis as an artist and a poet, and Curtis as a married man and father. This ground was covered to some extent in 2002's 24 Hour Party People--boy grows up listening to glam, boy goes to see the Sex Pistols in Manchester in 1977, boy forms Joy Division with his mates. After the Sex Pistols show the camera follows Curtis as he walks to his job, and only after he passes the camera do we see he's scrawled the word "HATE" on the back of his pea coat. Four years may have passed since he brought home Aladdin Sane, but, as on that day in 1973 when he put on the eyeliner and donned the fur jacket, young Ian is still easily moved.

Control excels in its look at Curtis's home life. The movie was based on the book Touching From a Distance, by Curtis's wife Deborah, so much of the focus of the plot is on the domestic impact of living with a rock star. Matters are further complicated when Curtis develops (catches? inherits? someone help me out here) epilepsy. Doctor's prescription? A cocktail of giant pills, and early nights, and alcohol in moderation. Needless to say, the counsel, with the exception of the pills, is ignored, at the cost of Deborah and Ian's sanity and stability.

"Transmission," Joy Division (1979)

This is a very depressing movie, don't get me wrong (SPOILER ALERT: Curtis hangs himself at the end. But I'm sure you knew that already, because if you've made it this far you know a little about Joy Division). Early on, Curtis recites Wordsworth's "My Heart Leaps Up", which contains the eternal truth that "the child is the father of the man," and indeed, in Curtis's case, it seems like he began writing his suicide note many years before he killed himself. But Control isn't a two hour mopefest. On the contrary, it's full of engaging characters, not least Curtis himself, but also Factory Records impresario Tony Wilson, band manager Rob Gretton, and not least young Bernard Sumner, who later picked up the broken pieces of the band and formed New Order, who found fame of their own accord. Sam Riley's performance as Curtis is Oscar-worthy, and I mean that sincerely--he looks like Curtis, he dances like Curtis, he sings like Curtis, and he has epileptic fits like Curtis.

"Isolation," Joy Division (1980)

Control is surely one of the finest rock and roll movies that I've seen in my short life. It avoids hagiography, while simultaneously steering clear of the faux fly-on-the-wall/you-are-there-now treatment that turns so many music biopics into jokes (Oliver Stone's The Doors, for starters). You'll want to purchase the entire Joy Division discography after seeing this one, believe me.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cover Art: Lil Wayne

I'm going to channel John Foster here and analyze an album cover. The album in question: Tha Carter III, by Lil Wayne.

I like it because the little kid has gangsta tats, plus a big pinky ring.

End of analysis.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Josh Homme Loses His Nut

Saw this on Stereogum--Josh Homme went on a tirade against some Norwegian dweeb who was throwing shit at him.

I think this falls under my banter policy--you have a mic, you make your wry observations, your witty jokes, you think you're Jon Stewart, or, in this case, you go apeshit. It's always a one-way conversation and you're rarely as interesting as you think you are.

That said, don't throw shit at the band, because they may throw crap back at you. So consider it a wash.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tilly and the Wall, Top of the Pops

WOXY has this song--"Pot Kettle Black"--by Tilly and the Wall in heavy rotation and I can see why. That one DJ with the effeminate voice said he played it like five or six times in one show. It reminds me of that Suzy Quatro song I posted about a month ago.

Here's the video:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Concert Preview: Battles

Potsy and Sacklunch are going to see Battles at the 9:30 on Saturday night. I forgot that my wife was taking me out for Fathers Day so I had to bail. I don't know what Sack's excuse is, maybe this is his present to himself. Potsy, of course, will never be able to bear children--he lived in Guam as a kid and was rendered sterile by lingering radioactivity from US atomic bomb testing. Probably for the best. Here's a bonus pic of me, Junior and the dog:

How dare you disturb us during nap time

I've always wondered what "math rock" means. Does it mean that the band members enjoyed math in high school, and continue to follow mathematical trends to this very day? Or, do they use algorithms to generate their music? Battles is (are?) described as "math rock." I've only heard "Atlas" and if that's math rock, then math rock means your songs sound like they're being sung by a choir of midgets. I don't see the link between midgets and math, except that perhaps if you posit that for an average human, height = X, and for a midget, height = X/3. That's all I've got.

BONUS FRIDAY VIDEO: I was watching TV the other night and saw Peter Frampton. I immediately remembered the seminal 1988 hit by Miami band Will To power, "Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley". This has to be one of the worst songs I've ever heard and the video matches the song's awfulness. Enjoy(?):

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Try To Stay Positive

The Hold Steady, the much beloved indie band from Brooklyn via Minneapolis, is now streaming their new album Stay Positive. [Credit to Steve for posting on this first]

We here at Rock Club were definitely in the minority when it came to their last album. We hated it. I'm a big fan of their first album, Almost Killed Me, and enjoyed their second album Separation Sunday. Boys And Girls In America annoyed the shit out of me for many reasons I won't go into right now. I'm trying to set aside any biases and give the new album a fair shot. Take a listen yourself and let us know what you think.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Double Deuce Deluxe

White Rabbits & These New Puritans

Black Cat/DC9
June 5, 2008

I always try and entitle my posts with some clever play on words. Not this time. Last Thursday we did something way extreme and I wanted to have that reflected in an edgy post title. What we did was, we bought tickets to White Rabbits, and saw about half the set, and then, all spur of the moment, we decided to bail and go to DC9 to catch These New Puritans. It's not wild on the level of snorting coke off of Lindsey Lohan's ass crack in Ibiza, but it's about as close as I get these days.

Us, last Thursday (artist's rendering)

We didn't bail on White Rabbits because they sucked. I thought they were actually pretty good. I'm seeing more and more of the double drummer attack these days. Not only did White Rabbit have two guys drumming, but one was using a maraca instead of a drumstick. This is akin to using a violin instead of a guitar pick, or to bring it down to a level you people will understand, using a chunk of broccoli to cut a piece of steak. White Rabbit also had two vocalists--one bespectacled Chris Martin-type sensitive guy on keyboards, and another dude who looked like Rodney Dangerfield's son from Back to School, on guitar. This is a band that builds redundancy into the system--if, like Lynryd Skynyrd, they have a plane crash that kills some of the band, but spares the rest, they'll still be able to play their show that night. You have to respect that.

White Rabbits' guitarist Gregory Roberts with father Rodney Dangerfield

Prior to the show, Sacklunch and Potsy reminisced about a three day boat trip they took with Jumbo Slice last summer. They were amazed at how lazy Jumbo Slice was--he slept the entire time and when he wasn't sleeping he was sunning himself. Also he didn't help man the jib, or hoist the spinnaker, of whatever you fucking gay assed sailors do out on the water, when you're not cornholing each other. I was able to explain his sloth by revealing that he had most likely spent all his time reading Watership Down, which I lent him before the trip. Watership Down is widely considered to be the Don Quixote of rabbit-themed books, and no one who picks it up can put it down. And so we had come full circle as we talked about a rabbit book, before seeing a rabbit band. Who says it's a random universe?

We made it to DC9 in time to catch most of These New Puritans' set. It provided a real contrast to the White Rabbits. While the aforementioned Rabbits played a set of dense, tightly woven songs, These New Puritans based their sound on repetitive, somewhat droning choruses and spare, simple guitar loops. I thought they were great. Their best songs--"En Papier," "Numerology," and "Elvis"--won't blow any minds with their complexity, but they're incredibly catchy. Also, the women at DC9 were better looking than the ones at Black Cat, which was nice. Additionally, lead singer Jack Barnett was wearing some kind of Roman Empire shirt that made him look like a young Caesar Augustus.

To White Rabbits, I bestow a Rock Club rating of 6.9. Not a bad band. These New Puritans get a 7.6--I would definitely check these guys out again, especially if they continue to play venues as small as DC9. They hit it just right and I'm afraid a bigger stage might muck it up for them.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

You ever see two friends of yours - friends that you've known separately- get together in inevitable bliss? Me neither. But I've heard that it happens and that when it does, unicorns fart rainbows, and your mailbox is stuffed with $600 checks from the IRS.

Despite the fact that he is in Austin now, Jumboslice takes care of the RC mail bag, and today he passed along the note below. Personally, I'm a WOXY superfan (don't like that new chick in the afternoon just yet), and collectively, we all have a soft spot for local boys, These United States. When the two came together as described below, all rejoiced.

So if you're in England anytime soon, go support DC's finest export, TUS. A side story: on our way to the 9:30 Club last week for the Raconteurs show, Jesse from TUS crossed our path on U Street walking the opposite direction. sacklunch said that if Jumboslice were with us, he'd have gotten all giddy and followed Jesse in the other direction. Aw, Jumboslice.

If you're not going to be in the UK, you can go check them out at the RnRH on Jine 18th before they leave. Just in case they decide to stay.

now entering:
These United States

a musical project
of Washington, DC
Eye, TheseUSApril and May have come and gone. thuderstorms down upon us, then sunny days. much is blooming. a tour overseas, a killer UK festival appearance or two, some serious Facebook-ing for all you kids who're, like, sO-o-o-over TheMySpace, some free songs, too, from our pals at WOXY. how could you still be reading this introduction part here? -- get yrself down into June already, summer pal...

Ask not what your United Kingdom can do for These United States...

Glastonbury Festival
if you look very closely, and a bit into the Future, you can see (t)Us, and our dear pal Vandaveer, and also our old friend Jay-Z, showing the English people of the world what It is All About at Glastonbury Festival 2008.
now, you can't just jump into this kind of Madness all willy-nilly, without a proper plan for how to best rock the peoples' faces off of them. therefore, we announce a Very Special UK Tour...

we would of course be remiss to roll nearly all of the Territory of Greater Brittania without first rocking the faces of those we love most and dearest and closest to home...

Wednesday 18 June - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel

again, all of the above dates will be with our good friend from France, goes by Vandaveer, (hep on over to his mYspAce, for those of yet un-hepped), and with various and sundry and amazing musical Others, including, tho far from limited to: Centro-matic, The M's, The Gentle Good, The Cedar, Family Machine, Black Velvet Band, The Epstein, Younghusband -- ah, yes, and, last but certainly never the least for it: Jay-Z. respect. see you soon, the Britainpeople!


These United States at WOXY in Cincinnati
WOXY is just a great word to say. and it's an even better place to visit. we went there in early April, at the tail end of our 6-week journey around the country. we were haggard. we were cranky. (see picture above) we were not ready to play music, yet again, for the 35th day in a row. but somehow, through force and through friendliness and through bottles of imported Belgian beer, WOXY coaxed it out of us. and they did it for you. so you could have these Free Songs and Unlimited Radical Banter. thanks go to Joe Long and the whole WOXY gang. say it again. WOXY. what a great word. well done, WOXers...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I Am Coming Around To The Big Gay Sound That Is Coldplay

Yesterday I came out to the rest of Rock Club and admitted I liked the new Coldplay.

Stock gay dude photo, to be used whenever appropriate, such as now

Here was everyone’s response:

Sacklunch: That is not gay at all.” Gosh, I agree, and furthermore, I think it’s a sign of emotional growth that you can say....waaaiiitttt a minute, you’re making fun of me!

Potsy: I think we're all a little gay for Coldplay. They've made some good music. I've never shied away from them. They'll definitely get you laid. But it could be with a dude if you're not careful. Classic Potsy: a pragmatic acceptance of the realities of life coupled with a wry, Gregory Peck-type observation.

Jumbo Slice: I do not like Coldplay. Okay, maybe I did when they first came out. Then I hated their stuff after that (for good reason). Except for this dancing in this video:

As for their new stuff...I'll admit it has sucked me in a bit. At least the first song is pretty good. I don't think I've heard the 2nd song. Typical Jumbo Slician rhetoric, where he disagrees with you, while simultaneously appearing to agree with you, so that he won’t lose his self-styled nice guy image. Jesus, you sicken me. Note also the now-standard word repetition/word omission mistakes (the kind that spellcheck won't catch) that appear in every one of his e-mails and posts. You must have a growth the size of a cinder block pressing on your cerebral cortex.

Actually, the vid Jumbo links to makes me think I’ve made the right decision to initiate phase 1 of Coldplay-liking. I like bands that have a sense of humor about themselves, without going over the edge into self-parody (hello, Dave Grohl). Chris Martin was funny in Extras and here we see he has made a video of two old fuckers dancing in thongs. I like that.

So what does everyone think? You want to judge me? Please walk a mile in my homo shoes before you do so. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Rabbit is the New Wolf

The next couple shows on the Rock Club docket feature Rabbit bands: White Rabbit at the Black Cat and Frightened Rabbit at the Mohawk, both on Thursday night. The recent proliferation of bands using Rabbit in their name (or in their album titles) got me thinking. Is Rabbit the new Wolf? (Jebus that last sentence reads like a Carrie Bradshaw inner monologue).

A few years ago, it seemed that every other band had the name Wolf (or some variation) in its name. Let me know if I left any out:

1. Le Loup (that's French, bitch)
2. Wolf Parade
2. Wolf Eyes
3. We Are Wolves
4. AIDS Wolf
5. Wolf & Cub
6. Tiger Bear Wolf
7. Fox & Wolf
8. Howlin' Wolf
9. Guitar Wolf
10. Wolf
11. Wolfmother
12. Wolf Colonel
13. Woelv
14. Superwolf
15. Patrick Wolf

And let's not forget Los Lobos, Steppenwolf, or even Wolf Trap, all forerunners on the Wolf trend. I also have to acknowledge my buddy Danny Agapito who belonged to the little known but highly influential* band Wolf Cookie.

While there are fewer Rabbit bands right now, the trend is clear. Is this the year of the Rabbit? (Fuck, there's the Carrie Bradshaw voice again)

Rabbit Bands:

1. White Rabbits
2. Frightened Rabbit
3. 7 Year Rabbit Cycle
4. Apple Rabbits
5. Rabbit in Red
6. Rabbit Season
7. Jack Rabbit

Forerunner: Eddie Rabbitt

Rabbit Habits by Man Man
Rabbit Fur Coat by Jenny Lewis

What does all this mean? Who knows. I'm just pumped Frightened Rabbit is in Austin twice this month. Their new album, The Midnight Organ Fight, is one of my favorite releases of 2008.

* by influential I mean "not influential"

Monday, June 02, 2008

The mortician and the grave digger

The Raconteurs w/ The Black Lips - Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 9:30 Club, $50+

This post is so overdue; it’s almost not worth writing. This will be one of those posts that we throw up for posterity, not as news (as it is far from new). This is supposed to be sacklunch’s review, too, but he’s never going to write it as he’s busy with plans for the upcoming Turkey Balls Falls weekend, so I’m just gonna squeeze one out. Enjoy.

When I saw that the Raconteurs were scheduled to play at the 9:30 Club in May, I was quick to mark my calendar and eager to hop online and get myself some tickets. It was a bit of a pain to get them, as the tickets.com site was all kinds of jammed up that day, and I had to buy my two tickets one at a time (meaning, I had to go through the whole ordering process twice). It was a big pain in the ass, but I was happy to have scored myself a way into the 930 to check out Jack White and his compadres.

Not to sound like one of those annoying people who love to tell you that they saw [insert hot new artist dujour] when they were playing in the high school marching band etc, I was lucky enough to see the White Stripes play at the old Black Cat with Stuttson and Duh Cut in 2000 (?)… jeez that was a long time ago… Anyhow, of course, they rocked that show and the bar was set rather high in my mind. In the subsequent years since, I think I’ve been to 3 more White Stripes shows, and I didn’t really think any of them were all that great. I usually complain that Meg White gets lost in the songs, and Jack White spends too much time trying to get her to lay down the beat that he needs to continue on. I also have been known to drone on and on about how much better Jack White would be if he just had a full blown band supporting him, so he could rock out properly. Enter Brendan Benson, and the Greenhornes’ Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, and the Raconteurs seem to be the solution I was looking for.

Now, I should mention that Jimbromski failed to get tickets for this concert, and sacklunch managed to snag another ticket to set us all up with entry to the sold out show. But Jimbromski balked at the ticket price (something about sending his son to college someday) and refused to go. Dumbass. So sacklunch went out and found a taker for the ticket, and it was just the two of us for this highly anticipated show. We went to night #2 of the 2 night schedule since it was Mr. & Mrs. Sacklunch’s wedding anniversary on the first night. Aw. How touching.

Not only were we going to see the Raconteurs, but opening was The Black Lips, whom we’ve seen, I dunno, something like 7 times. [Note to RC: We should get an intern to run stats and handle the advanced ticket purchases and perform other odd jobs for us.] Seeing The Black Lips on a larger stage was also highly anticipated, and the evening was poised to be an instant-classic.

We arrived in plenty of time to see The Black Lips aggravate a large number of people, particularly the meatheads and their girlfriends behind me. This was not the audience that The Black Lips was likely accustomed to seeing before they started this tour. I thought The Black Lips were good, but they suffered from serious technical difficulties, right to the bitter end as Cole Alexander struggled with his ax, unplugging and exchanging cords to his guitar during their last song, without success. The bass was also incredibly loud, even for them, and it made it less than a stellar performance.

Given Jimbromski’s refusal to join us for this show (the nerve), sacklunch and I decided we’d tell him it was the best concert of the year regardless of the truth. And that’s what we did. Until now. In my opinion, this show was a major disappointment. The Raconteurs started off strong, but much like every other Jack White performance except the 1st, there were major breakdowns throughout the show. Drummer Patrick Keeler seemed to fumble his way through several songs, and there were times when the other members just circled their way around and around and around waiting for the backbeat to return. Painful. I’m sure there were plenty of people who thought this show was awesome, or would argue with me, but I know what I saw and heard, and I thought this show was a disaster in its middle. The beginning and end were good bookends, but the middle was just not good. I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t Jack White that’s to blame. I blamed Meg White in the past, and now this. Maybe it’s not the drummers’ fault. But I still think it is.

So go ahead, Jimbromksi, you can say you were right and that it wasn’t worth the $. It seemed like a good risk to take at the time. I will be more careful about any future Jack White live performances moving forward. I didn’t make it through the entire NPR podcast of the Tuesday-night show, so maybe that one was good. But the Weds night show didn’t cut it.

As an aside, I thought Jack White looked a lot like Rocky Balboa (and also like Al Gore - not pictured).

Jack White with his pasty white face and dark suit – standing next to a very skinny Brendan Benson dressed in tattered jeans and boots - the two looked like they'd been hired to put Bo Diddley in the ground.

Bo Diddley Dead

RIP Bo Diddley
1928 -2008

And let's not forget: