Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why I Like the Movie Slapshot So Much: Ed Harcourt, Eulogies, and Army Navy @ Spaceland, June 4, 2008

Well, I was able to drag myself out of a dark, dark hole of work to get to a show last week over at Spaceland. If Ed Harcourt can come all the way from England to play here, then I can get myself to the club.

Here's a thought. Does Dewars own some kind of right to be the only alcohol that is offered for free or close to free around LA? It seems that ANY time I am out at a place that is their only drink special. Now, I don't mind the stuff. I have a pretty tolerable palate for most things alcohol- this coming from the person who in high school thought Rumplemintz was the shit. Anyways, I can drink the stuff, albeit mixed with some diet coke, but some of my other friends have such a negative reaction to it, grumbling phrases like "it tastes like socks" or "it tastes like band aids". It tastes like Scotch, not 60 year aged scotch, but scotch nonetheless (please feel free to tell me how little I know about being a scotch connoisseur below, really I'll totally appreciate it).

Right, so there was a show. Army Navy. I'm not sure where they are from, somewhere on this coast line I believe. My initial reaction was that they were non-offensive, happy, sunny indie rock. The lead singer had hints of Robert Schneider in his voice, although my friend who accompanied me this night stated that if he didn't remind her so much of Tobey Maguire she could not listen to him. Now, what I am about to say could, inevitably, stop all 5 of you from reading this blog anymore, HOWEVER, I will say it anyway. I was perfectly happy with the band until they did a cover of Maxine Nightingale's "Right Back Where We Started From"... then I loved them. This, technically, was the last full song listened to in my car before we parked for Spaceland. I make no excuses for loving that song so much, and they did a very nice cover, so I think it's justifiable that I sang along and decided to forget that all of them were wearing skinny jeans. If I hadn't had so much of a buzz on by the end of the night I would have checked to see if they had their EP for sale, cause I refuse to purchase anything off ITunes. I don't own an IPod so I don't see the point.

The second band, Eulogies (although I didn't catch their name once during the set so I had to go back and look it up), was hit or miss with me. Also, they kept alternating between a 3 piece and a 4 piece (one guy kept wandering off and on the stage). It was a lot darker in contrast to the first set. I am looking back at my notes now and noticing I was reference Voxtrot and Varnaline- although the latter I have no idea what I was thinking. I found I enjoyed their more energetic songs more, perhaps because it was provoking some more emotion from the band, myself, and the crowd.

My first thought when Ed Harcourt took the stage was that he reminded me of an old Timey apothecary and Josh Brolin's character in "No Country For Old Men". But then the voice coming out was British. Harcourt's music makes me think that not all piano based British bands have to suck. He is dark, funny, and a good storyteller by way of Waits and the like. Oh yeah, I'm making that comparison. Granted, there were several technical difficulties this night, but he waved them away with some chit chat. There was a 'full' band tonight as well, including a trumpet and violin. The combined effort of the 6 musicians though made it sound even 'fuller' than just 6 people. The songs were coming from his latest (although technically it was released in the UK TWO years ago) album, The Beautiful Lie, as well as other releases- I recognized "Born in the 70's" from 2004's Strangers. It was a good show, even if he didn't cover cheesy 70's songs.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

We Got Some Soul in the House: Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves, and Jail Weddings @ the Echo, April 17, 2008

I think I can say, without any doubt, that I have been to one of my favorite shows since last August (that would be for the Old Time Relijun show). HOLY CRAP. To think I was going to miss this for lack of company... Tonight the Echo was transported to some alter reality where a young twenty something white boy from Massachusetts sounded as if he was coming off a Stax 45 from the '60s. Magical folks, truly magical.

I was a late arrival, but did get there in time to catch Jail Weddings. Who, as I've mentioned before, are a group of really talented people, fun to watch, and tonight were a perfect match for the headliners. For more notes on them, check back over here.

Now, there's those bands that you listen to and are like, well, yes, I've heard this before so why should I care. And then there are those bands that fit into a niche and the sound is so genuine you have to stand up and clap. Or maybe wave your hands around and yell. And that's what it was like watching Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves. I think I kept turning to my friends and, with jaw dropped, kept pointing and saying Can you believe how awesome this is? It was just hard to make the connection between what I was hearing, the powerful old school rhythm and blues and soul sounds, and what I was seeing, this exuberant young, white guy who was moving the crowd with the simplest howl from his lips. And although the paring seemed off, it just felt right. I'm actually at a bit of a loss, because everything I want to write about him seems like I'm not giving him enough credit. And i don't want to gush like a school girl. All I can say is that this man can channel Otis Redding, and it gives me chills.

You can check him out again in Los Angeles at Spaceland, May 19th.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Some Club Soda Will Take That Stain Out: Jay Reatard, Mika Miko, and Bad Parents @ All Star Lanes March 31, 2008

There is another show looming in the not very distant future this week, so I thought I'd crack down and talk about one I went to like, 2 weeks ago. Jay Reatard everyone!

Apparently this was a 'secret show', I think done by the Listing Ship guys- I could be off, if I am- sorry bout that. I found out about it because it was listed at upcoming.org. And then because I'm 'friends' with the FYF guys on myspace, I had it confirmed through them. The thing about these types of shows is that you really don't know how crowded/not crowded they will be. I was warned it was going to sell out. Oh,yeah- it was at All Star Lanes in Eagle Rock. A bowling alley. With a stage space in a bowling alley bar, kinda tight. So, we decided to play it safe, get there early and bowl a game, cause I like to bowl with a crazy passion.

Apparently though we got there really early. The show didn't start until past 9. We showed up at 7:30 to bowl. The lineup for the night was Bad Parents, Mika Miko, and Jay Reatard. When Bad Parents starting playing I was so happy that there was something going on that I immediately was just like- YES, this band is the greatest ever!! After the initial shock, though, I thought they were good. I'm quite a fan of anti-surf guitar riffs and their playing was enjoyable. However, I was not in the right mood to listen to screaming. I can take it sometimes, but not this night. I think though that maybe I should give them a second chance some other time.

Second up was Mika Miko, that crazy group of girls. They're always a fun show. I think though that my feelings are still the same as the last time I saw them.

Finally Jay Reatard played. We got right up to the stage, which only was about a foot- maybe- off the ground. And in his usual fashion, launched straight into his intense stage presence. Off stage, Jay Reatard was completely mellow and just standing around watching the bands play. But onstage, this must be where he lets everything go. And when he started playing- a mosh pit formed. Really, not joking. The last time I can even recall being in the midst of one I can say was probably some 10 odd years ago. After 3 songs, I pushed my way outside of it, cause I couldn't actually concentrate on the show, just avoiding contact with people. However, moving to the outskirts of the pit still did not prevent jackasses from thinking it's funny to pull people who are obviously just trying to stand there and watch the show. So, some guy got my elbow in his face. Sorry dude, but you totally deserved that. Anyways, the show seemed slightly longer than usual. Possibly clocking in at 35 minutes. But I forgot to check my watch for exact times. I did end up with blood on my purse, which is just fucking gross. And sharpie. Dammit. However, seeing Jay Reatard preform is always fun, and even with the escalated males testosterone violence, I still had a sweaty good time. I'd recommend standing at least 50' away from the stage though to avoid spit and punches.

Friday, March 28, 2008

They're Still Head Banging Over Here: 400 Blows, Tweak Bird, Ancestors @ Charlie O's March 21, 2008

One band I rave about but find hard to get people to listen to is 400 Blows. Either the person doesn't know the band, and when I explain what they sound like they do not want to go see them, OR they've heard of them and are scared to go and see them. I think I need to work on my explanation of the band a little more. I guess Loud doesn't cut it. I could throw in they have a good beat? ... You can dance to it? I dunno, anyways, this post, eventually, will be about Ancestors, Tweak Bird, and 400 Blows downtown over at Charlie O's.

LA Record loves to host shows at Charlie O's. The name, for me, is funny because it is the name of this crappy seafood restaurant/bar back in my home state of RI. And then to go to this wonderfully decrepit bar/club here, well, calling it Charlie O's instantly makes me twinge slightly. The memory still persists apparently.

K, so the first band up was Ancestors, a local band, which got an ok review from a friend of mine prior to the show. They play loud, slow, metal, droning rock.. and the singer/guitarist still HEAD BANGS. This amuses me for some reason. They were ok enough to listen to; live maybe better than recorded. I found them a slow choice to play with the other two bands tonight. But, whatever, it had been a LONG while since I've seen a band like this and I didn't' DISlike it, so...

2nd to play was Tweak Bird. Tweak Bird is a fun band that at first reminded me sorta of DFA1979, but somewhat harsher. And then a friend chimed in with "sounds like early era Rush except more metal...". Both, I find, work as descriptions. Their live show is pretty energetic, very sweaty and the losing clothing kind. Getting closer to the stage, one realizes however that the audio set up at the place sounds 'off' the closer to the stage you are. That can be fixed if you move off to the side though, or outside. It sounded pretty clear outside too. The one comment I'd like to reiterate about this band is this: SIGN THEM. Really, they would probably sell a bunch of records. They are good.

3rd and last was 400 Blows. Again, the audio comment. WTF was up with the vocal mix for them? Terrible. Getting someone to go see them for the first time and having to apologize for the way it was coming out into speakers was sad. Their performance was great except for that part, so distracting. Blarg.

Anyways, there's a 'secret' Jay Reatard show tonight. OH, and sorry for no live photos, I even had the camera out a one point but forgot.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Then, What IS Your Name?- The Ting Tings @ the Jensen Rec Center March 11, 2208

This is going to be a short post, for a couple reasons. Firstly, I'm going to a show tonight, therefore I'd like to have all my 'pending' reviews cleared out of the inbox. Second, this was a short show.

So, the Jensen Rec Center looks like a ratty shit hole on the outside, but inside is this uber slick artistic 'space' that they say you can turn into anything you'd like (to pay for). Maybe my superhero costume themed birthday party can take place here... I'll have to inquire about their fees. Anyways, since venues never like to post actual times up for bands, we showed up somewhat early, and in finding that the band was not scheduled to be on for another hour- and having no clue who the other bands were playing with, oh, sorry, tonight we came down to see the Ting Tings- perhaps I should have mentioned that at the start of this post. Although there will be a title when I finish writing this so I guess you would have read it.. there.. ok, moving forward, we ended up taking a detour drink break over at the Little Joy and happened upon a dead pony:

There seemed to be a miscommunication as to whether or not the Rec Center had a bar. Apparently it is event specific. They had one tonight, however, thank GOD I had some cheap PBR over at the LJ, cause drinks at the Rec were pricey. $10 is WAY too much, especially when it is a rec center.

So, tonight's show I guess was hyped up by a local popular radio station and, knowing that, was porportionately crowded. Oh! But they have air conditioning vents blasting up from the floor, which is clever- sorta. So we found one and parked ourselves stage right. We lucked out with some kinda less crowded bubble there unexpectedly. The side stage view was totally fine, she kept turning towards us during the set and the drummer was positioned so that he was pretty much looking to the side of the stage anyways. We were pleased, except for the camera flashes from the front, which made me do what I usually do not do, and that would be to shoot with the flash on.

The whole set I think lasted maybe 30 minutes. This would have been acceptable except for a few reasons. Mainly though that the price that was posted EVERYWHERE before the show turned out to be $2 MORE, even if you were showing up ONLY for that band 5 minutes before they started and had every intention of leaving as soon as they were done. I hate that, very much. Also, their outlandish drink prices. It was just irritating. But I will admit that the music was fun. The sheer hilarity of some of the lyrics shouted out above delayed music loops and possibly laquered chuck taylors was amusing. And it's always fun to bounce around a bit, I will never knock that. The fact though that when some music stations hype stuff ultimately leads to the price of the freaking air going up in price just for the event just seems abusive. However, it is a business and that's the way they choose to do theirs, and many people do not have a problem with it. I guess it's cheaper than the Staples Center. Eeesh.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dork Out!- Nerf herder, Killola, Echo Hawk @ Safari Sam's March 7, 2008

Catch up time. I have another review sitting from last night, however, since this is steadily growing into a several day old show, by default- Nerf Herder.

Yeah, really, Nerf Herder. Like, from my high school days about a decade ago. That is one thing you can count on in this music blog, variety, and bands you've either never heard of or you thought had broken up years ago.

Right now, when describing a band as pop-punk, I usually get a sour taste in my mouth. It immediately makes me think Blink 182. That is the connection in my head pop-punk=blink 182. However, Nerf Herder comes from a time when pop-punk usually meant 'fun', like the Mr. T Experience or one of those bands. But for the sake of consistency and not seeming like I'm mixing terms, I'll refer to their style by their self described 'nerd rock', which is appropriate if i say their name and suddenly the image of Princess Leia calling Han Solo that jumps into your head- I know you're out there reading this....

Anyways so walking in to Safari Sam's we caught a set by Echo Hawk first. They were sorta a mixup with garage band mentality- and I do mean garage band, as in playing to some friends in a garage the night prior, and sorta drony stoner rock. Although they seemed pretty new to the stage (tuning between songs is ok if you can do it in 2 seconds not if it takes almost a minute), they did have an excellent drummer, a good beat, and catchy songs. So, there, just maybe some more time and they'll be a whole package. I liked them well enough and I stayed for the whole set. Unlike the next band...

Killola. There was some mixup of times for tonight because at 10:30 Nerf Herder was supposed to be playing and then some band comes on with a chick singer and me and my friend turn our heads and question if we are in fact really seeing Nerf Herder tonight or there is some sorta horrible mix up and we're forced to watch this band. Now, keeping this all in mind I was NOT giving this band a chance. At all. Cause I thought maybe enough time had passed that some sort of severe line up change had taken place and I was bound to hear 'Van Halen' played by a screaming woman's voice with bright yellow eyeshadow. But then they said they were thrilled to be playing with the band tonight and suddenly I felt really stupid to think that I could have thought I'd forgotten Nerf Herder so much that I was actually thinking that this was the shell of a band I once enjoyed, a long time ago. So stupid that I felt the need to share this embarrassing story with you all. So once we new we had at least 20 minutes to kill we left and got some air only to be accosted by some drunk dudes who went by names similar to Johnny B and the Lieutenant. Killola had a decent sized following this night, what with scores of kids singing along, but I just wasn't into it.

So if you don't feel like standing amongst a pitiful excuse for a mosh pit, there are some great balcony seats at Safari Sam's. I prefer the ones to the left of the stage... Looking at some notes I took while Nerf Herder played, the first idea I apparently had was that it's funny to see a band where the lead singer can be confused with the guy that changes the toner on your xerox machine at work. But that's the great thing about some of these dudes still playing in the band that you liked 10 years ago, they just seem normal and happy to be playing. That normality they portray in their awkward stage antics, or goofy lyrics is making some kid out there feel a little bit more secure with their current high school social status. Everyone is a nerd in Nerf Herder land, and that's fine. Tonight was great for the variety of people on the floor- fists punching, one finger pointing into space, and even, Primus Jackets. Oh, and the set was fun too. They insisted on their right to play new songs (they do have a new album), but did some old ones too (Diana, You're Gonna Be The One Who's Sorry, Pervert). It made me reminisce a little and made me realize how many other kinds of music I listen to now.

The only incredibly disturbing element to this night was the young girl who kept molesting this old man in front of the stage. To set the scene a little, earlier that night she was grooving by herself, dressed relatively nicely- nothing to indicate that later should would break into some kind of psychotic episode where she has to grind up against, and pull the small, white tufts of hair from a man upwards of 60. She, with her lack of general good taste in public, kept stealing the show. I had to make a mental note to close my gaping jaw at one point. Wow... you gotta love the people watching at these shows sometimes.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Rock with a Twist Show (I don't even have to come up with a clever name) with the Monolators @ the Scene, February 21, 2008

Nothing will bring me out faster to a club than the call of free food. It is a sad but true fact. For example, this show at the Scene. I had kept off the myspace for a couple days and for some reason or another found myself back on there and noticed a bulletin: Pretzel time! Clicking on it I was to find out that

  1. the Monolators were playing- who are quickly tying with Bodies of Water for local band I've seen A LOT.
  2. Mary from the Monolators was making pretzels, soft pretzels, not the hard crappy kind.
There was no reason to turn down this show, and also, the other bands in the line up all seemed worth checking out.

Turn out in the beginning was, at best, roomy. How could so many people not want pretzels? Did they honestly think there would be some left after the first hour? Anyways, the first band up was Friends Of Dennis Wilson, from Detroit. The easiest way to describe them would be to call them psych-rock, which they were. But they didn't tip too much towards the hard side of that genre. If you like the Warlocks, or maybe Dead Meadow or Ride, you'd enjoy this band. The amusing part for me was the lead singer's funny little dance he did the whole time on the stage, with his down parka (or at least that's what it looked like). Coming from Detroit, you'd think the weather would be like summer for them out here. Ah well...

Now, I caught the beginning of the next set by Summer Darling, who are just that, darling. However, I got caught up in a lengthy discussion about pretzels and missed out on the rest, and the next set. Oops, sorry guys, I owe you a proper review soon, promise!!

Finishing off the night was a riotous set by the Monolators, who not only kick major rocking ass, but make some mean pretzels too. They even took requests tonight (well, one...)! It was just a three piece lineup this evening with the second guitarist absent. They played some fan favorites, and a few whose names escape me. I don't think I'll ever get tired of Strawberry Roan...

Oh, and apparently this pretzel making show is going to be a bi-monthly event. Holy cow, right?