June 26, 2009
Who's Bad are a Michael Jackson tribute band. Sacklunch selected this show on June 24 as a sort of "fuck you" to Potsy and I because we were harassing him to make up his goddamn mind already and pick a show for his week. Little did he know that the messer would become the messee when we called his bluff and said yes to Who's Bad. And little did any of us know that the show would be even more tribute-y when Babystew Steve alerted us to Jacko's impending death on Thursday (Steve either has a TMZ RSS feed or a Michael Jackson Google News Alert).
And so here we are. This show review would, as I so eloquently put it, give Sacklunch an opportunity to show America how to grieve. Except Sacklunch went on vacation for a week so I have to do it. Not a totally unexpected development but galling nonetheless. The guy adds absolutely nothing to this enterprise except for giving us the opportunity to point to schlubby looking guys at shows and say, "hey Sack, look, it's your twin!"
Who's Bad modestly billed themselves as "one of the top Michael Jackson tribute bands in the country," which I think is fair. There's The White Gloves, operating out of Detroit, and Bubbles Loves Bananas, from St. Louis. And let's not forget Hyperbaric Chamber Music, who dominate the Florida Panhandle, and Webster's Unabridged, in Boise. The list goes on and on. I believe that last one actually features Marlon Jackson, so that's hard to top.
The highest praise I can give Who's Bad is that they really really made me miss the real thing, which is probably not quite what they were after. My biggest beef was with the dancing--the moves didn't snap the way they should have as our ersatz Jackson moved like an arthritic amputee. Dude, I can look past not totally sounding or looking like The King of Pop, but you should have the moves down. Not all of them, but just pick a few and master them.
Who's Bad was actually a passable funk band and the crowd seemed willing to overlook any faults (leave fault-finding to dicks like me) on this very special night. "Smooth Criminal" was pretty tight, but it would take a special level of ineptitude to fuck that one up. The rest of the songs came off slightly above average, with the exception of "Beat It," which sucked bad, and I mean bad. Do not modify that guitar riff in any way. As with the Jacko impersonator, I understand that you, sir, dear lead guitarist, are not Eddie Van Halen, but that does not entitle you to put your own "spin" on things. "Beat It" did provide one of the funniest moments I've had at a live music show in years, when the lead singer fell over an amp on the stage. I haven't laughed that hard since I attended the sneak preview of the hit movie Football In The Groin starring George C. Scott. Buh-buh-buh-but wait, there's even more...after he fell, he ran off the stage in a huff, and then a member of the audience sprinted across the stage and did this major stage dive, and it happened so fast that no one was ready for it, and nobody caught him. As I was already guffawing from the amp fall, I nearly died after I saw that. Seriously, the whole thing, from Jacko trip to stage dive faceplant, happened in about 10 seconds. I think I wet myself a little, I was laughing so hard. It reminded me of the criminally underrated movie Night Shift, when Michael Keaton leaps from a balcony at a sex club to try and save Henry Winkler from a beatdown, and no one catches him. Here's a clip--you have to wait until 7:15 to see the scene I'm talking about, but really you should watch the whole thing because it's totally full of funny scenes. Whatever happened to Michael Keaton, anyway? The guy used to make good movies. Here's a tip--if Who's Bad comes to your town, stay in and rent Night Shift instead. You do know it's a Ron Howard movie, right? Of course you do.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Michael Jackson's death has given the world a chance to reflect on - and pay homage to - an artist whose music has truly impacted the lives of millions. Rightly so.
Farrah Fawcett also died on June 25th, 2009. And while her impact on popular culture comes no where near that of MJ's, she was still iconic and deserving of some ink. Personally, I have been living under a rock, and only learned of the cause of her death two days ago. Anal cancer. I never would have guessed.
In keeping with our tradition, I bring you a rock inspired YouTube clip this Tuesday. This one features Ms. Fawcett's untimely death in the movie Logan's Run set to the music of Radiohead. I still have never played Dark Side of the Moon as the soundtrack to the Wizard of Oz. I think that'll have to wait until my retirement/imprisonment/hospitalization.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I'm sorry to interrupt the Michael Jackson tributes but we'll be back with a review of Who's Bad: The World's #1 Michael Jackson Tribute Band soon enough. For now, let's focus on my favorite band (this week): Harlem. This Austin band specializes in fun-loving, sloppy, lo-fi tunes with goofy names like "Psychedelic Tits" (great song, btw). During SXSW I caught them at the Gorilla vs. Booze party and it was a blast. The free Red Stripe was flowing, the joint was packed, and everyone was dancing and sweaty. It was like the best house party you never went to.
The band has one album out called Free Drugs ;-) and recently signed to Matador Records for their next record. It'll be recorded this summer and released in 2010.
Of course, a mere 16 hours later, this is all old news. The King of Pop passed away yesterday at the age of 50. I am not going to bore you with a history of MJ's life. I am sure there are 5000 other stories, blog posts, etc.. that could do a much better job than I could even think of doing. However, I will share a few personal memories of perhaps the greatest pop star to ever have a pet chimp.
I remember back in 1983 when MTV released the "Thriller" video. It really was the heyday for MTV, and I distinctly remember staying up to catch the almost 14-minute long video, watching from the comfort of my parents bed (I was 12 years old). More a short film than an actual video, it was truly an unbelievable moment in music history. I remember everyone talking about it at school the next day and its release just before Christmas 1983 set off an even greater stream of Michael Jackson frenzy.
That next summer (1984) I got the privilege of seeing MJ live on the Victory tour, which I already posted about here. However, something else happened that same summer which few people (outside my immediate family and those who were there) know about. That summer, we rented a large beach house in VA Beach with a bunch of other families and their kids. At the end of the week, I spearheaded an operation to act out the entire "Thriller" video as entertainment for the adults. Of course, I was to play the lead as I already had a nice jew-fro going and my skin was a light cocoa color due to a whole week in the sun. It was a totally ridiculous attempt, but I think we pulled it off. I remember using 2 Q-Tips as "fangs" for the scene when MJ transforms into the Zombie. I also remember my then 6-year old brother getting smacked in the head when we were doing the zombie line dance. He went running off camera in tears.
Did I say camera? Well, yes, the entire performance was filmed by my pops on his fancy new VCR recorder (the thing was like the size of a small piece of luggage). The video still exists today at my folks house. If any of you techies out there know how to convert a VCR tape to digital, I promise (to my utter embarrassment) I will post the video here on the blog.
Luckily for us, we pre-purchased tix (thank you Potsy) to tonight's sold out Who's Bad tribute at the 930 Club [btw, they added a second show]. Of course, there will be a proper review of that show coming soon. The funny thing is, I picked this show days ago, kind of as a joke. I guess I am like the Grim Reaper of rock. So if I were a cheesy crooner named Neil , I would probably go to the doctor and get a physical. Next up for RC, Superdiamond!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
As the only member of DC Rock Club in Austin there's no arguing which show to see each week. It's considerably more difficult for the DC guys. I won't go into all the behind-the-blog drama but when the dust finally settled they chose Who's Bad: The World's #1 Michael Jackson Tribute Band. At first I laughed but now I'm actually jealous. I predict it'll either be totally awesome or unbelievably bad (nailed it) but in an amusing way. I await the review.
This afternoon I'm seeing Monahans perform for free at Waterloo Records. This Austin band recently released their second album, Dim The Aurora, on Misra Records. I was hooked on this album from the first listen. Here's Texas Monthly's take:
"The finest bands create not only great songs but also mood, and no one gets that like Austin’s Monahans. The four-piece group named itself after the tranquil West Texas oasis, but the band’s tone is dark and unnerving, like a storm rolling in— all pounding drums and big guitar riffs, alternately thunderous and eerily ambient."
Yeah, that sounds about right.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Last night I enjoyed some time in the grass at Ft Reno with Emma Peel, ETC, and D'Carl. On the bill: Sweater Set, Funk Ark, and Pash. Also in attendance was Senior Youth Correspondent, Andrew - taking photos. Fort Reno is a good thing for DC, and I'm glad to see that folks were able to make it happen again this year (not without difficulty).
As it says at the close of the Fort Reno concert site, this summer's events have been dedicated to Clark Sabine. Statehood was a staple for DCRC when we first began, and we are sorry for the loss of Clark.
This week's clip is from last year's Fort Reno concert series:
Monday, June 22, 2009
June 18, 2009
Honey, would you come in here, please? We need to talk. Yes, I realize you're listening to your new Dead Can Dance album. And I'm excited for you. But please, I must tell you something. I heard a band today and let me tell you, they're going to be massive. They're called Metric. Yes, like the system. Well done, honey.
You see, although they're Canadian, I don't find them stultifyingly tedious and smug. In fact, their songs are quite catchy.
Yes, uhhh, I'll have the prime rib with the leek reduction, and my wife will have the pate.
Oh, I know that annoys you, when I order for you. Cute.
Look, don't get all upset because I like Metric. It's not their fault that their synth/guitar combo is reminiscent of such great bands as New Order, and not-so-great-but-still-good bands like Book of Love. I can dance to their songs with with the rest of the guys from Equities when we're out clubbing, but they're still rock enough that I can listen to them while I lift weights. Have you noticed I've been filling out this tank top? No, you never notice anything.
And Metric's lead singer--Emily Haines--well, she's just really sexy. Like Debbie Harry in her prime.
Yes, I suppose I do compare the two of you. Look, she has an up-to-date haircut. You look like a hedgehog shat on your head. Why do you consciously try to resemble Howard Jones?
Oh, a note. For me? Okay, I'll read it.
"Uhh uhh tell me how my ass taste"
Oh, that's mature. Nice. Look, I'll be frank here. You need to grow up.
Wow, here we are at dinner again. Wait! Is that Emily Haines?
Ah, no. Just someone who looks like her.
Listen, I know I've been going on about Metric, but you can learn from them. Like that song "Gimme Sympathy"? Probably single of the year. It's about following your dreams and never giving up, never! So chin up!
Hey, babe, I thought Bela Lugosi was dead!
Okay, that was mean. But you do look, how shall I say, lifelike, in that outfit. I buy you all kinds of clothes and you never wear them.
Remember when I said you looked like Howard Jones? You don't. You look like Martin Gore.
Is that the look you're going for, here?
I'm running out of patience here. Metric is awesome live and are going to be playing arenas soon. And here you are, refusing to listen to me.
Don't pout, baby. It makes me....uhh...Martin Gore...Howard Jones...
Wow, here we are at the Metric show. I'm glad you finally came around.
I'm also glad that everyone chose to dress up. That's nice.
That's a rat tail, yes? Your goal here is to emulate the most disgusting animal on earth. No, not the rat. The possum.
You know, I was thinking of Emily the whole time we were having sex.
Oh no, no!
Don't sing your songs, no one wants to hear your Berklee nonsense! These people came to see Metric! Metric, damn you!
Shut up, woman!
In cooking they say everything is better with bacon. I don't dig on swine but I've watched enough Top Chef to know it's true. Similarly, there's a simply rule when it comes to Austin music: everything is better at an Austin City Limits taping.
Thursday night Okkervil River performed at the famed Austin City Limits studio. It was incredible but not because the band was particularly extraordinary. The show was a bit of a roller coaster ride: lots of highs and lows. The over emotive and melodramatic songs seemed interminable but their upbeat and bombastic tunes were pure joy.
Okkervil is a love/hate band for me. Hate is probably too strong a word. Love/Annoyed By is more like it. They have great songs but the 8 minute long tunes like "So Come Back, I Am Waiting" make me want to wander into heavy traffic. They played that on Thursday night and I thought it would never end. On the flip side, "Unless It's Kicks" (kudos to the maracas player on this one) and "A Hand To Take Hold of The Scene" were fantastic. The crowd was up, clapping, and 100% into the show. Basically, I like the band as a whole but find Will Sheff's spotlight songs overbearing. Will: We get it. You're deep, you dress like a college professor, and you feel pain. Can you play an upbeat song now? Thank you!
For the performance the band busted out a grand piano, horn section, string section, etc. It reminded me of the "November Rain" video by Guns N' Roses. Did they really need 13 people on stage? Probably not. The horns were a perfect addition but I could've done without the rest. I bet they used over two dozens different instruments. Sometimes it's best to keep it simple.
If Okkervil River alternated between brilliant and annoying, why did I have such an incredible time? An Austin City Limits taping is unlike regular concerts. There's an energy and excitement, not to mention the free beer. All the staff and volunteers are funny and friendly. It almost doesn't matter who's playing. Tickets are difficult to come by and I see why. Once you're in the studio and spot the trademark skyline you can't help but be in a good mood. Everyone I know that has been there is determined to go back. It's like Austin's version of the island on "Lost". You know, just with more music and less smoke monsters.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Metric review coming soon.
In the meantime, enjoy the video below....as a matter of fact, I have seen the little piggies, and they're running for their lives, at least on this block of Tehran:
Friday, June 19, 2009
I'm a late comer to the St. Vincent bandwagon. I didn't care for her first album, Marry Me but I was blown away by Actor. I could listen to songs like "The Strangers" and "Out Of Work Actor" all day. The one thing everyone seems to say about Annie Clark is "OMG, she's soooooo cute!" And yes, it's true, she's cuter than a litter of puppies. But she's also an amazing musician.
This afternoon I saw St. Vincent play a short but incredible set at Waterloo Records. Check out the video and you'll see what I mean. Tomorrow night is St. Vincent's Austin City Limits taping and I can't wait. This will be my fourth time in the ACL studio and I have no doubt it'll be the best.
[Photo and Video Credit]
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tonight is the Austin City Limits taping of Okkervil River. The band has come quite a long way since I first saw them. In 2003 they played Common Grounds (a.k.a. Murky Coffee) in Arlington in support of their second album, Down The River Of Golden Dreams. There was maybe 40 people there. I caught them again a few years later at Iota, along with Jimbromski and Sacklunch, when they toured with Earlimart. THAT was a great show. Last year we saw them at the Austin City Limits festival. It was cool to see them in front of thousands and think back to that show at a local coffee house.
It may seem like I'm an Okkervil River superfan but I'm not. I just respect them a lot. I think they've put out one great album (The Stage Names) and some very good albums (Black Sheep Boy, The Stand Ins). They're an excellent live band so I expect the show tonight to be even better than the Heartless Bastards ACL taping I saw a few weeks ago.
Have you seen Okkervil River in concert? If so, what did you think? I believe the only DC show I missed was their Iota show with Man Man. All my friends in attendance agreed Okkervil River was fantastic and that Man Man was one of the worst bands they had ever seen. I can buy that.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It kills me we're not able to review this show. I'm totally obsessed with An Horse right now. Plus Telekinesis, also on the bill, is quite good. Our loss is your gain though.
We're giving away two tickets tonight's show at the Black Cat Backstage. Simply email us your name at DCRockClub@gmail.com and we'll randomly pick the winner. The contest ends this afternoon so enter now. Good luck!
I've already posted a number of An Horse videos so how about something from Telekinesis? Here's my favorite tune by them, "Coast of Carolina":
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The new album from White Denim is called Fits. As with past albums, it's being released in Europe first (on June 22nd). I'm not sure when it comes out in the US. Anyone out there have that info? Or perhaps a copy of the album you could just send me? Thanks.
Here's the video for their new single "I Start To Run":
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The year is 1958. You're listening to Elvis, Buddy Holly, Perry Como, what have you. You go to sockhops and drive-ins.
The year is 1968. You take gallons of acid and wear a fire-helmet on your head as you spasmodically jerk about and emit high-pitched screams. Oh my, what happened in those intervening 10 years?
This is "Fire" by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, from Top of the Pops in 1968. Dig the square introducing the clip in the beginning. He's only on for a second, but I'm sure he was thinking, man, things have gone toooooo far.
Hang in there until about 1:32, whereupon Arthur takes off his tunic and starts dancing.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Japandroids (JPNDRDS) is yet another solid band out of Canada. They remind me of Death From Above 1979 but with more of that lo-fi sound that's all the rage now (No Age, Wavves, Psychedelic Horseshit, etc.). I saw a bunch of bands last week - Heartless Bastards, Harlem Shakes, Passion Pit, School of Seven Bells, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Bonnie "Prince" Billy. I was scheduled to see Japandroids as well but they cancelled because their guitarist, Brian King, was treated for a life-threatening perforated ulcer. Yikes!
King is on the mend though and the band is again touring in support of their excellent album Post-Nothing. Don't miss them when they play DC9 on July 8th.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I used to consider Metric a bit of a secret. I always liked their early stuff and thought it was cool when they got played on WOXY. Clearly, the secret is out. Not only is their 6/18 show at the 9:30 Club sold out already but my wife is now a fan. We heard "Help, I'm Alive" on the radio this evening and she said, "Oh, I like this song!" If Mrs. Slice knows a band, they must be huge.
Check out the video for "Sick Muse" below. You can also use this widget thing to stream their new album, Fantasies. Nice, huh? One more thing. Emily Haines? Wow.
Austin and DC collide on Saturday night as Deleted Scenes comes to town for a great triple bill at Club de Ville. Opening the show is Loxsly, followed by Deleted Scenes and then La Snacks. I've written about each band before so I'll keep this brief: if you're in Austin Saturday night, get your ass to the show. I'll even buy you a beer. Now enjoy perhaps the only Deleted Scenes video I've not yet posted:
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Occasionally we post reviews of top music films such as Gimme Shelter (1970--Criterion Edition), Some Kind of Monster, and of course, The Room. So we were happy to learn about the NOMA Summer Screen. Here are the main details:
What: A film series featuring movies about bands and musicians.
Where: L St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave. NE (near the New York Ave Metro stop)
When: Every Wednesday night in June and July from 7-11 PM.
How Much: Absolutely nothing
The schedule includes flicks such as Buena Vista Social Club, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart (Wilco documentary), and our personal favorite DIG! which tells the story of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Tonight they kick things off right with No Direction Home. It's the Martin Scorsese directed film about Bob Dylan between 1961 and 1966. If you haven't seen it yet I recommend you pack up your cooler, grab the lawn chairs, and watch it tonight.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
One of my goals when I moved to Austin was to attend an Austin City Limits taping. I didn't care who was playing I just wanted to experience it once. I soon learned that everyone wants to attend these shows. Therefore, tickets hard to come by but last week I got my chance.
This wasn't my first time in the famous ACL studio. I was there a few weeks ago for a ACL Stage Left performance featuring Brazos. The main difference was the crowd size and the staging. If you've seen the show you know its trademark is the Austin skyline right behind the stage.
Once inside, I grabbed a beer, snagged a seat (standing is for suckers), and the Heartless Bastards took to the stage. The band is known for its bluesy version of garage rock but on its latest album, The Mountain, they changed things up a bit. Prior to recording, Erika Wennerstrom moved from Ohio to Austin and replaced the entire rhythm section. The result was less of that lo-fi sound that is synonymous with the Ohio music scene and more of what I'd call country-grunge. The music is still a little dirty but it has plenty of muscle to match Erica's soulful and distinctive vocals.
At first Erika seemed a little nervous but then I suspected she was a little tipsy. It could've been nerves but I'm betting otherwise. Not that it mattered. When she was singing and playing guitar she was spot on. You only noticed when she spoke with the crowd or had to restart a song - which she did more than a few times. That was the one thing that distinguished this from a regular concert. They knew they were on tape and everything would be edited later. If a song wasn't going right Erika would call it off and start over. This happened three times when Erika and Alex Maas, lead singer of The Black Angels, sang Johnny Cash's "If I Were A Carpenter" (they have a side project called Sweet Tea). It took a while but once they got through the first verse everything sounded great. The Man in Black would've been proud.
Erika, who bares a striking resemblance to former Saturday Night Live player Cheri Oteri, and the band gained confidence and momentum as the set progressed. The low point was the Cash cover restarts but things turned for the better when they played "Into The Open" off All This Time. With each song the rhythm section proved fierce but well honed. The group cranked out a rousing racket but also showed range with tunes featuring acoustic guitar, banjo, and violin.
This is the third time I've seen these Bastards in concert. The first time I only knew one or two songs. Sacklunch, probably their biggest fan in Rock Club, was a little disappointed in the show but I liked it enough to listen to more of their stuff. By the time I saw them again at last year at the Austin City Limits Festival I considered myself a legit fan. This performance did nothing to change that. In fact, quite the opposite.
TV On the Radio @ 9:30 Club - Monday, June 8, 2009 - ~$31
Let's have a look at Golden Age from TVOTR, last night's headliners at the 9:30 Club.
Personally, I think this song is reminiscent of Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Startin' Something. There was a moment last night when I thought TVOTR sounded a bit like Us-era Peter Gabriel too.
What makes a crowd go so nuts for the Doves, who performed to a sold-out 930 show Saturday night, as compared to a politely enthusiastic crowd for a sold-out TVOTR? I don't get it. TVOTR's music seems much more energizing (and danceable) than the Doves, yet the Doves' audience was vociferous and squeezed a second encore out of the English birdmen.
TVOTR return for a second show at the 930 Club tonight with opening act Dirty Projectors (stupid band name).
Monday, June 08, 2009
If you have ever been to a Hold Steady show, well, then you will understand the title of my post.
I ventured out solo (once again) to check out The Hold Steady at the 930 Club last night. Since this is my 3rd time seeing them, I will be fairly brief.
I got there nice and early to get a good spot, as I did not want to recreate my last visit. The nice thing about Sunday shows is that they start fairly early, and The Hold Steady took the stage at promptly 9:30 PM, opening up with "Positive Jam" and then went into "Chips Ahoy" (if I recall properly). I still don't get tired of Craig Finn's goofy dances, singing without the mic, hand clapping, etc., however, it is starting to become a bit rehearsed and more of the same old-same old. Highlights for me included most of the "Separation Sunday" stuff, "Hornets! Hornets!", "Little Hoodrat Friend", and "Cattle and the Creeping Things". They also pulled out one from the vault, "Hostile, Mass." which got a fairly lukewarm reception from the crowd. It seems like the kids were far more enthusiastic for the newer tracks. "Sequestered in Memphis" and "Constructive Summer" received lots of fist pumping and singing-along.
All in all a good show, but it definitely lacked a little something. Donald Malice told me about a year ago that he was "done with the Hold Steady live" and that "they had given him all they could give", and "it was time to move on". I ahve to agree with those sentiments. They kind of looked like they were going through the motions and that maybe the constant touring was finally taking a toll. I mean, a mediocre Hold Steady show is usually far better than the majority of the shows we see, kinda like The Thermals situation a few weeks ago. But I think I am done. This was summed up best by the attitude of (normally upbeat and high energy) keyboardist Franz Nicolay. He was either tired, sick or sober, because he looked completely bored. I saw him belt out 3 huge yawns throughout the set and the only time I saw him really smile and look happy was at the end of "Killer Parties", because, well, his night was over.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Picking the band this week was easy. Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, is playing The Mohawk tonight and it's a show I've been looking forward to for sometime. He's touring in support of his new album, Beware. If you've never listened to Will Oldham's music, start with I See A Darkness. It's one of my favorite albums of all-time.
I already posted the video for his latest single, "I Am Goodbye" so here's a video he did with Zach Galifanakis (star of The Hangover - opening this weekend!) for Kayne West's "Can't Tell Me":
I suppose I should include some of his music and not just a Kayne West video. Here's a very boring video for a great song, "A Minor Place".
Thursday, June 04, 2009
White Rabbits w/ The Subjects @ the RnRH - Tuesday, June 2nd - $14
Nearly a year ago to the date, DCRC embarked on one of our more ambitious endeavors, two shows at two venues in one night. Sometimes we fail to make it out of my living room, so trust me, this was big. We ventured out to see the White Rabbits and These New Puritans that night, and this past Tuesday, we went back for another helping of rabbit.
When Twitter's 140 characters are replaced by one word micro-blogging, the word for White Rabbits will be percussion. They showed this a year ago, and did one better this time around by having all but one member take a turn banging on the drums. We at DCRC are generally pro-multi-membranophoners. DC locals, Imperial China do this from time to time, but I don't think they execute all that well. Certainly not as well as the White Rabbits do. It's no wonder where the WRs came up with the title of their single, Percussion Gun.
Speaking of titles, as Jumbo Slice mentioned last month, White Rabbits have a new album called It's Frightening. I haven't heard it. But I was surprised by the title. I've already shared my thoughts on the proliferation of bands with the word "black" in their title. And there's been a wave of animal related bands that have been touring lately (you have your Animal Collective, Deer Tick, Deerhoof, Cat Power, Bat for Lashes, Fleet Foxes, Ponys, etc). I know this is nothing new. But White Rabbits already share some space with another rabbit themed band. So to come out with an album called It's Frightening when there's a band called Frightened Rabbit out there doesn't make sense to me. You're bound to confuse someone as easily confused as myself.
Here's a peek into White (unfrightened) Rabbits from Tuesday night.
Brooklyn, New York's The Subjects opened for WR on Tuesday. They were decent. I honestly didn't pay enough attention to them as I should have, but one look at their website makes me like them more. They seem to have a good sense of humor (they've posted a Maury Povich show video). Also, the members of The Subjects seem to have something in their contract that says each of them will sing in at least one song. Here's another clip.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
I'm not quite sure how to categorize Balmorhea. Indie classical? It's a mix of classical and experimental acoustic folk that features guitar, percussion, piano, cello, upright bass and wordless vocals. The result is lush and beautiful. Not unexpected for a band named after a tranquil state park. I guess it could be called moody and luckily it fit my mood perfectly. They were my favorite band of the night.
Next up was School of Seven Bells. I'm not a big fan of guitar-electronica unless it's by Lambda Lambda Lambda but the band is quite appealing (I mean, did you see the ladies in the picture above?!). The band is fronted by the oh-so-easy-on-the-eyes Deheza sisters with Benjamin Curtis, formally of Secret Machines, on guitar. When I first listened to them online many of the songs sounded similar and without distinction. In concert though you notice the differences in each song. Some were fuzzed out with lots of shoegazer guitar, some were trippy and psychedelic, while others were pure dream pop featuring the lovely harmonies of the Deheza sisters. Their overall sound isn't one I usually gravitate to. I prefer old fashioned drums and bass over Casio keyboards, laptops, and drum machines. However, I left respecting the talent of the band and could see why they packed The Mohawk with fans on a Tuesday night.
I didn't stick around for much of the Black Moth Super Rainbow show. I need to pace myself this week. They kicked things off with a hysterical video about their fans featuring Brian Posehn (best known for his roles on The Sarah Silverman Show and Just Shoot Me). I searched online for a clip of the video but it's no where to be found. Oh well. You'll just have to trust me when I say it was really funny.
Tomorrow: a review of The Heartless Bastards.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
As Canadian Metallurgists, Anvil! tour the nation with their latest effort, a 1 1/3 hour long film about their 15 minutes of fame and 25+ years of wistful/wishful thinking, what's a blog to do? Here's a clip from the once and future Metal Kings of Canada.
I saw the Anvil! The Story of Anvil flick on Sunday night. It unapologetically mirrors This is Spinal Tap! without even trying, and has splashes of Metallica's cinematic therapy session, Some Kind of Monster. Unless they are playing at the theater themselves (which they are doing), it's a rental (but decent).
Monday, June 01, 2009
Here We Go Magic - June 1st - @ 9:30 Club
With all the exposure Grizzly Bear is receiving these days, tonight's show at the 9:30 Club suddenly became a tough ticket. I was there dutifully to see Here We Go Magic and report back. Here's how they looked:
Yeah. Awesome. Not the band's fault, but we had one of those failures to communicate today. Made me think of this clip as I was heading back. And this is the second time I've had the pleasure of talking through a slot in a window at the 930 only to walk away empty handed. Tell All Your Friends, indeed. So instead I caught this act at the U Street Cardozo metro stop on my way back. I had seen them setting up on my first pass and noticed how suspect they all seemed. They looked like they had just gotten off Mötley Crüe's tour bus. A mess.
So I can't tell you how much Here We Go Magic licked balls tonight - or didn't. Same for Grizzly Bear. I'm sure they were fantastic and they got Obama to come out with cheeseburgers for everyone or some shit...
I'm not going to lie. Austin is better than DC when it comes to live music. That doesn't mean I don't miss going out in the District. Recently I was thinking about my favorite places in DC for live music. Here's my best and worst lists. Let me know if you agree or disagree.
5. Comet Ping-Ping - I've never stepped foot in this place (I live in Austin after all). However, it has all of my favorite things: pizza, cheap beer, indie rock, and ping-pong. It may jump up to number one if I actually see a show there.
4. Galaxy Hut - Okay, I'll admit it's not really a great music venue. It is great in every other sense of the word so it goes on the list.
3. Black Cat - Pluses: The Red Room, the pear shaped Asian worker who tells kids to "Go back to Virginia!" when kicking them out. Minuses: the gas The Red Room Ale gives me and their crappy sound system.
2. Rock & Roll Hotel - squeaked ahead of The Black Cat only because it's always so easy to get close to the stage.
1. 9:30 Club - great sound and sight lines, the people are nice, and the shows are always well run. Sure, it's not everyone's favorite place but it's the best DC has to offer.
3. Sixth and I Synagogue - Sorry, no beer will land you on this list every time. You might disagree if you're not too much of a pussy to sip whiskey from a flask (like me). Or you could point out it's superior acoustics and say it's not about the booze. Whatever, nerd.
2. Jammin Java - Again, no beer. Plus it's way out in the 'burbs and it's name is Jammin Java. Horrible.
1. Nissan Pavillion - if you've ever been there, you understand. They should really let everyone who survived the Radiohead show last year burn that fucker to the ground, riot-style.
Others to consider:
- Fort Reno - just missed my Best list. Lots of good memories here (Fugazi, Dismemberment Plan, Q And Not U, etc).
- Wolf Trap - not bad if you enjoy wine, cheese, and The Gyspy Kings. Personally, I don't.
- DC9 - the home of Rock Club's first official show. I haven't seen a show there in the three years since then.
- The Red and the Black - I always enjoyed the shows there, I just didn't see that many.
- Velvet Lounge - I was down on this place but it's really not bad. They do a good job of booking decent bands.
- Birchmere - I haven't been there but as I get older places with seating and a decent menu have more and more appeal.
- Also: Iota, The Wonderland Ballroom, Jaxx, Merriweather Post, State Theatre