Monday, August 27, 2007

Fucking in a Ballroom: Fuck Yeah Fest with Great Northern, Jay Reatard, and No Age August 25 & 26 2007

My ears are still ringing from trying to walk through the crowd during Deerhunter's set at the Echoplex last night, the last night of the Fuck Yeah Fest in Echo Park. A year has passed already and I can still smell the beer lingering around from last time. This year though felt a lot less chaotic, more spread out and relaxed. And not a single freakin' beer spilled on me. WOOHOO!

This year I actually ventured out to both nights. However, Saturday we kinda got stuck at Taix. We were smart (albeit not that smart- the food was icky!) to get to the bar for dinner first and then just wait for the comedians to start up. It got so packed in there; thankfully there was air conditioning. I guess Bob Odenkirk was supposed to go on Sunday, but came Saturday, or was doing both nights... or whatever, regardless, a shit load of people showed up for him. I hate to say thankfully he went on second, following a killer set by Kyle Kinane. Because when he was done, a good third of the room left and breathing could commence. The whole night seemed to be, "Let's All Be Dicks to the Comedians". Which is weird, cause last year it was really relaxed. Anywho, some really entertaining sets came out of this audience/comedian "banter" with Matt Dwyer and Jarret Grode. Hil-AR-ious folks, really. And all the guys there were good too. Although I need to NOT shout out punch lines to my favorite jokes and then spend the rest of the night feeling like an ass- yeah, not cool.

Sunday night had a solid line up down at the EchoPlex. Great Northern, Jay Reatard, No Age and Deerhunter. Yeah, insanely good lineup in one block.

Ok. Need to stop here for a second and apologize for one- the lateness of this post and two- the cloudy details that will follow. I'm starting this post up again over a week later due to VACATION. One which was a long time coming and included me stopping all electronic-ness for a week. Ok, back to the post.

The Echoplex, just under the Echo, has it's pro's and con's against it's Big Little Sister upstairs. For tonight, the amount of space inside was great. You could drift to the back bar and not get stepped on and take a breath of not-so-stale air, and you can still see whoever is playing on stage up front. For multi-band shows like the Fuck Yeah Fest, with its crowds of people, the venue makes the crowds much more tolerable. However, the smoking patio, where even if you don't smoke and just want a breath of fresher air outside, is two sizes too small. It feels smaller than the Echo's area, which does not make sense because if your crowd is larger, why make the outside area smaller. I just don't get that. And on both fronts, air conditioning. God it got awful hot and smelly during Jay Reatard.

Oh, yeah, so the bands.... We walked in during Great Northern's set. And you know what? They sound exactly the same live as they do on the record. Not much movement, but enjoyable all the same. I hear them whenever I turn on Indie 103.1, which can be both a good and bad thing... Really, every time....

Jay Reatard was up next, and surprisingly, for the Echo, everything was running on time, even early at some sets. It was a bit jarring to go from the last set to this. If you've never heard Jay, read this post. I don't remember four people the last time I saw him, but maybe one was hidden. Either way, it's rare to see a whole band rockin' out at the same time like these guys. The bass player, who sorta resembles Jay himself, bobbed his head, screamed out lyrics and kept thrusting his bass up like the statue of liberty. There are no breaks between songs either. Jay Reatard yells out for the next song, and if his band mates do not start instantly, he growls the name of the song in frustration. Pumping out I don't' even know how many songs in around 40 minutes I did catch: blood visions, nightmares, hammer i miss you, i know a place, all over again... and a bunch more. He's always exciting to watch live.

No Age were up after that. Based in LA, these two kids came out of the Smell scene and now seem to be playing all over the world. Good for them, they're awesome. And so is their latest album. Anyways, the usual more spacey sounding tunes that are interspersed between the loud, pounding garage/punk beats sounded more static-y and harsher tonight. But really, just another facet to this duo that makes them fun to watch and listen to. They twisted through the many songs that make up their EPs and the latest full length, as well as some new tunes.

Oh, and the crowd surfing tonight. I guess this is not an unrelated experience from that last occurance I saw at the Matt and Kim show. Both during the Jay Reatard and No Age set: kids being thrown over heads. Craziness. I guess this is making a come back.

I really wanted to stick around and see Deerhunter. However, I was told they can be iffy live, and I was already counting the hours till my day job. So, I caught a couple minutes of their set at the beginning: loud, screaming loud. I'm sure it wasn't like that the whole set, but I made peace with myself for missing the rest of the it.

So yay! No beer spilled on me this year and a more positive, less crowded feeling showcase. Maybe next year I'll feel more inclined to review more than three bands, maybe.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Just Another Manic Monday: Manic @ the Echo, August 13, 2007

Lazy summer days make me lazy about going to hot, hot concert venues. However, the Monday night residency at the Echo this month is Manic, a band I just reviewed over on Little Radio and who I needed a comparison of their live music to what they sounded like on cd. And it was free, but that's beside the point.

The funny thing about residency nights is that the bands' "style" of music does not necessarily have to match each other. I have no idea how they go about doing this but in my head it involves a bunch of club owners drawing names out of a hat in a dark back room somewhere with one bare light bulb hanging overheard. For example, tonight upon arrival the bouncer was telling us that they had a huge crowd tonight compared to the 50 odd people who showed up last time and I believe they were mostly there to see this all girl Japanese ska band. Oreskaband is made up of what looks like a group of 14 year old girls in school uniforms. The strange thing being is that they were cute in like, a muppet way and actually were entertaining to watch while we fetched drinks from the bar. A LARGE amount of people were packed in front of the stage jumping up and down to the music, which made the Echo incredibly hot and gross so we decided to high-tail-it outside to the back, where it was still kinda too warm out, but it is August so I shouldn't complain.

When we happened to look at out watches again it was almost 11 and Manic had just started to play. Which is odd for the Echo... going on time. I believe we walked in on the start of "Carolina Ghost", a haunting, pulsing rock song that I think might be my favorite off the new EP. One thing that struck me about seeing Manic live is that much more emotion seems to be thrown into the songs than on the record. Maybe it's the sweating and dancing and screaming into the mic. Or the girls yelling "sexy" as they play. Or the fog machine that we thought had killed the drummer... maybe not that. But anyways, they played songs off the new EP and I'm guessing their last one as well- I'm not completely sure. It as kinda a short set, but they only have 2 EPs out so I guess that makes sense. In a press release on them it said that the only things in life they want to be doing aOne ridiculous event of the night was while I was taking photos an older woman turned to me and asked if I was Paul's (the singer) mom. Seeing as how I might actually be younger than Paul, I don't think this is biologically possible. It made me hate my new haircut for a second if it makes people think I'm possibly 30 years older than I actually am. Oh, and what was up with the craft fair outside in the back? I think that's a first as well.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Nothing But Happy Folks: Bishop Allen and Castledoor @ the Echo, July 31, 2007

Bishop Allen put out an album last week that included mostly reworkings of songs from the TWELVE EPs they put out last year. It's a really good album. It turns out they're also really great live too.

Last night Bishop Allen played to an almost packed Echo, thankfully no one ever stands to the right of the stage so it's usually about 30ยบ cooler there (that's a tip for you readers, all three of you). Page Francis was supposed to play, but did not for reasons I never learned, which bumped Castledoor up to the number two position instead of first- good, considering I didn't want to show up too early so I still got to see them play. Yay.

Castledoor have been getting a lot of hype so I was keen to check them out. They run the vein of the poppy folk indie rock crowd (yes, it's a bit of an amalgam, but whatever) and they get you to want to dance and clap along with them. The lead singer, Nate Cole, seemed genuinely pleased to be performing and was all grins and shout outs to people he worked with that came to see his band play. They also get kudos for have a keyboard AND a xylophone. I know that they played "Magnetic Forces" cause they shouted out that that was what they were playing next. I think that they were a perfect band to open for Bishop Allen, that happy streak ran through both bands. So, yeah, all the hype is true, go check these local kids out.

Taking the stage, Bishop Allen look like a bunch of kids coming out of Harvard or something. Maybe it's to due with their traveling from the east coast, or not, I'm just guessing. The same happiness evidently present prior to their set was still there, beaming in the smiles of frontmen Justin Rice and Christian Rudder. Tonight they also had a fifth member in the band, but I do not know where he hails from (forgot the digital camera last night and took "real" photos instead. Once they're developed and scanned look for them here [approximately 6 to 8 weeks] so until then enjoy the generic photo).

People were attempting to dance in the smooshed crowd that gave off waves of heat you could see through the smoky stage lights. Songs were played off The Broken String, which actually are mostly songs off the 12 Eps from 2006, including Click, Click, Click, Click , The Chinatown Bus (which is an actual bus that runs from the Chinatown in NY to the one in Boston and is wicked cheap), Middle Management, and Like Castanets (a favorite of mine). There were also some songs I didn't quite recognize, but you know, that happens.

So yeah, pretty satisfying night of music. Even if the Echoplex had MIA downstairs and whenever the music came to a quite spot upstairs all you could hear was THUMPATHUMPATHUMPA, and it felt like an earthquake.