The first show of the new millennium. It was crowded. One of the band members is moving to Chicago (what's with the Austin to Chicago musician migration? I thought Austin was the live music capital of the world!), so this was their last show, though I swear I saw them listed for SXSW. Anyway it was fun. They had the usual saucy songs and pyrotechnics. Some odd people near me were cheering for them to catch on fire.
5ive Style was a 4 piece this time around. The drummer was from Heroic Doses & Euphone. The 4th member was a jack of all trades instrumentalist: vibes, keyboards, & guitar. It was a grand set. However, their Grateful Dead like riffs surfaced again. It was compounded by the fact that I saw 2 people within 10 feet of me wearing Phish shirts. I didn't stay for all of Giant Sand. I was tired. The set was slow. It certainly didn't live up to the Chronicle's hype. There were lots of tall people there. So remember that Giant Sand attracts giants.
We missed Daniel Johnston & Adult Rodeo. It's hard to get a herd of people somewhere! Since it was about 35 degrees out, the show was moved inside of Emo's and the place was super packed! It was very hard to get around. Brown Whornet do this punk funk stuff. It's pretty intense. But I don't know if I look at it as anything but an exercise. It doesn't impress me, and the songs aren't sticking with me. Half Japanese is a band with Jad Fair, and apparently he's a little on the Daniel Johnston side of the fence. It was crowded & late & I was close to drunk, so I didn't stay for the whole thing. It was unique, but I was honestly most into seeing Daniel Johnston.
Broken Spoke is a great place. It's very Texas, in an Austin sort of way. I wish that I had been here sooner so that I could take out of towners here! This place is a dance hall. At one end of the room with a low ceiling is the stage. In front of it is a big long narrow area where people dance. On both sides there are 2 rows of tables. We ate dinner before the show: chicken fried steak & fajitas. There was a broad range of people there, both in age & well, authenticity. I really like this part. There were cowboys, city slickers, & city slicker cowboys. The guy who runs the place had easily 100 pictures of himself with all sorts of famous folks, mostly country & western musicians. It was hilarious. There was a great picture of him & Willie Nelson from 1969. Willie had short dark hair, and so did Mr. Broken Spoke. I'd like to go again.
Raw Rock and Roll. We only saw one Plus Ones song. They were young. The Smugglers all wore matching suits & shirts. Their guitars all looked similar too. The bass player acted like he was deranged or something. I'm pretty sure it was an act. The Donnas are like the Ramones, except they're women, and instead of all having the same last name, they all have the same first name. They also dress trailer-trashy, for lack of a better adjective. We didn't stay for all of this, but it had that Ramones feel.
SXSW Julio of The J. Davis Trio is a friend from Chicago. When I had left Chicago, the band was just starting out. He's said that he's been doing the band full time for about a year and a half now, so that's good. It was hip hop night, and his band was the least hip hop, with a drummer, bass player, and a trumpet player. They were also all wearing suits. It's a laid back style, sort of jazzy. Then Julio rhymes over it with a casual style. The crowd was digging it. MC Overlord has to be the biggest man I've ever seen. But he moves fast & rhymes. Their musical style is like funk-core with rhyming. The guitarist is a little guy who looks like he's about the right size for a MC Overlord snack. It was intense, but not quite my style.
SXSW The Poster Children apparently played the night before, and tonight was the side project's night. Compared to when I had seen them a couple years ago at SXSW, this was a big show. They had lots of gear compared to the last time. The crowd was liking it, but not as much as Rose. I swear that she doesn't stop moving. It's kinda funny, but you know she's rocking out. It catching, even though I had drank a little too much to enjoy it to the fullest.
I was so tired. I was getting ready to move to California before the movers came. I hadn't slept much. My great friends in Austin all met up to send me off with a really Tex-Mex meal and Texas music. Mr. Walser is enormous, but he sure can yodel. I wish I hadn't been so tired. I would have enjoyed this even more.
I went out with a bunch of San Francisco folks. I don't believe they are into the rock as much as I. We got there when Men of Porn were already playing. They were heavy & slow, a la the Melvins. It was good. I was looking forward to seeing the Dwarves. I have heard a lot about them over the years. They are crazy. They have albums covers of blood & naked women. However, once they started, it was straight ahead 1-2-3-4 punk rock. Yes, once guy was buck naked with some sort of a viking mask on, but it was pedestrian. We left after a song or two.
I decided to go to this show because I've seen Shiner before. They're acceptable, but not all that. The show was the same. I swear the entire band but the singer has changed. I left after a couple J Church songs. I was not impressed with the whole evening.
Man I was looking forward to this one. The last time I saw them was probably one of the best shows I've seen. I had built it up in my mind, and proceeded to build it up in my friend Benjamin's head as well. Dub Narcotic were a 3 piece this time around. It was a fine show, but not what I had built myself up for. Calvin only sang one song, "Spellcaster." It wasn't a dancing funky show. It was funky though. The entire time I was hoping that Calvin would take the mic & do his thing.
This was very punk rock. Speedealer is from Texas; they used to be called REO Speedealer, a much better name IMHO. I only saw one of their heavy songs. Fu Manchu were doing a good update of the Seattle sound of 10 years ago. Nashville Pussy are southern fried punk rock. Two women; two guys: The chicks are dressed trashy rocker, and the singer looks like he's about to go hunting. The tall bass player woman spit fire towards the end of the show. It was also cool because one of the women is the lead guitarist, and she does all the standard heavy metal licks. Up last was Motörhead. Maritime Hall is big, but not huge. Motörhead brought a totally stadium sized show. It felt more like a stadium show than any I've seen for a long time. Lots of lights and smoke machines running. Lemmy made the first reference to downloading music I can remember hearing at a concert. They asked the crowd how many had their latest album. About 50 hands went up. Lemmy then asked how many must have downloaded it. His voice was hoarse; the rock was loud.
This was a concert for Food Not Bombs called SoupStock. It was a free show on a great sunny day in San Francisco. It was also a freakshow, but that was half the fun. I had heard lots about all these bands, but I hadn't ever seen any of them. The only one I knew was playing in advance was Fugazi, so the rest were a pleasant surprise. Most of the time I was too far away to enjoy the bands as much as if I saw them indoors. The sound would seem to fade in & out with the wind.
This was a pretty great Irish bar in Berkeley. I went with some friends from Champaign who were in from out of town. The band was this ex-Midwesterner Country & Western band based in Oakland. The music was honky tonk, and the band was pretty funny. Nothing like great songs about pickups, the Oakland bridge, and the Alameda County line.
This was the absolute worst band I've ever seen. That said, this place was so surreal. The band sucked, and the place was strange. It was so unlike anything I've ever seen in my life. I'm no fan of pretension or attitude, but this place had so little that it was simply unique. Strange. People should go here just to see something they'll never see again.
I walked to this show. I love that. It seems to be close to impossible to get into a bigger show in this town without buying tickets in advance. That's kind of a bummer. Plus I bought mine to this over the net, so I'm no longer a virgin. The will call line was long! So I missed most of Creeper Lagoon. Here's my arty review of Built To Spill. Imagine you have some small really cool things. Such as new golden Sacagawea dollar coins, a ring, a marble, whatever. Then you put them into an old can, close it, and shake it. That's what Built To Spill sounds like. Lots of neat sounds jumbled together. They are guitar wankers, but the band still sounds loose & easy. Not Don Caballero like at all. They also covered Ozzy's "Mr Crowley", and played a song so Neil Young like, it had to be a Neil Young song. However, I can't be sure. Plus, they only played one song off the record I have. Lots of new to me stuff. I went home happy. Here's the tangential story for this show. It was hot in this place. Not Texas hot, but hot. There's this enormous guy standing next to me. No big deal. But about 3/4 of the way thru the show, he takes this candy bar out of his pocket and starts eating it! It had to be totally melted. Plus who buys a candy bar and save it for, oh, and hour into a rock show? It just struck me as odd.
We got to this show after a busy evening. Grandaddy only had about 2 songs to go when we got there. Yo La Tengo were phenomenal. The crowd was very quiet during the quiet songs; everybody seemed to want to hear everything. We were way up in the balcony at this place; we even had reserved seats. I bought these tickets in advance as well, but only 2 days before the show. We were in the nosebleed seats. It's a great old theatre; I'd compare it to the Riviera in Chicago. We could see all of the band, head to toe. We were exhausted from biking in Critical Mass, so it felt great to sit down for an entire show. During the show I realized they have a big Velvet Underground feel. For whatever reason, it hadn't struck me before. One of the highlights of the show was how they did "You Can Have It All" off the latest album. They played a tape of the soundtrack to the song, and the 2 guys did a whole Motown-esque dance routine while the woman sang. It was hilarious.
Dianogah put on a great show. I haven't heard them in awhile, and it was nice to hear the a band in the Chicago style again. They have a double bass line up, and The Champs have a double guitar line up. Too bad Don Caballero don't have a double drum line up. So The Champs sound is this: 100% heavy metal licks. I've seen them with Trans Am before, and I think it's appropriate. Trans Am have a great thing: 80's video game sounds. The Champs have 80's heavy metal licks. However, it can only hold water for so long, no matter how great the licks are. In a strange way they are like a sound effects record. You buy a Champs album, and you have a library of metal licks to use. They'd be great for the modern videogame sound track. Don Caballero did it again. There is no doubt they are masters of their instruments. However, it really fails to inspire me at all. The guitarist uses some type of electronics to loop guitar licks one on top of the other. This way he can get really complicated sounds going that he really isn't playing. I left just about in the middle of Don Caballero. I think this is a sign of me getting older. There used to be a day I'd never leave a show early, just in case the greatest song I've never heard was played. I don't think I've had one of those shows in awhile.
This was called The Spitkicker Tour. I was in Boulder for work, so I got to hang out with my great friend Kevin in Denver. He's in the music business, and he scored some free tickets to this show. Apparently it's an old ice skating rink. The main floor is lower than the rest, and up from the sides, we had a great view of the stage. Both the acts I saw were good. Kev was looking forward to seeing some that we had missed. The show was fine, but there was lots of reverb on the vocals that didn't need to be there; it drowned out the music. Also, I swear that all hip hop shows have a part where they get one side of the crowd to yell when the other side shouldn't. Then they have some sort of a contest to see which side is better. I don't understand this at all. I'm there to rock out; not argue based on which side of the room I'm standing on! Tonight's concert was no different. All in all, I don't think I care much for hip hop shows.
This was a beautiful show in every sense of the word. It looked great, it sounded great, the songs were great. I bought a scalped ticket after walking down Market Street to the show. I got a seat up in the balcony. I like these seats; you can see the entire stage. That and I'm old. The stage had a huge backdrop where video was being displayed. It was projected onto the band & the screen the entire show. It really reminded me of Walker Evans' photography. There's currently a great exhibit of his photography at SFMOMA. Apparently it was previously at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is amazing stuff. Sorry to get so art critic on you, but there are similar city scene & subway shots. They had a hidden static camera positioned at a very low angle on various NYC street corners. People walking, biking, & driving. These eventually very slowly faded into anonymous NYC subway shots to his. These were static hidden camera shots showing people getting on, sitting down, & getting off the subway while NYC rolls by through the subway car windows behind them. It was very cool & engaging. Also it made me feel like I was in the "in crowd" with the Walker Evans reference! Back to the show. Every now & then during particularly crazy parts of songs, strobe lights would go off from the front of the stage shining back towards the screen. There were 3 or 4, and they went off in a staccato fashion, creating huge distorted shadows of the band and their equipment on the screen. It would completely drown out the video, creating a visual effect as jarring as the music. Now onto the actual music for the evening. Much like the last time I saw them, they played a decent handful of older songs. Jim O'Rourke played with them the entire show. I would assume that most people would be intimidated to play along with SY, but he's got the ability to be up on stage doing just as much guitar banging with the rest of them. At one time they had 3 guitars going with the drumstick thing. If you haven't seen it, they jam one drumstick under they strings down near the body of the guitar. After building up some feedback, they hit the ends of the jammed stick with the other. It vibrates like crazy, and the feedback follows accordingly. It was quite impressive. There was definitely a song going on at the time, but all that was traditional about it was a drumbeat, and a fairly regular, but highly distorted, bass line. They had a PowerBook like my own on stage. I could tell because of the white glowing Apple logo on the back of the screen. I assume it was making all of the cool sounds. Lee Ranaldo played some sort of a synthesizer at one point. I was pretty far away, but he seemed to be swinging around a guitar cord while it was on. If you've ever touched a live guitar cord, you know that it makes odd sounds. I believe that it was also during this particular song that Kim Gordon played her guitar with a trumpet. Every now and then she'd blow into it as well. When they played "Kool Thing," Kim put down the guitar and danced while singing. It was perfect for the song. I can remember from a couple times ago when I saw Sonic Youth that Thurston Moore had to read song lyrics from a sheet. He said that the song was so new, he didn't know all of the words yet. However, I noticed from my point of view that he had a stand with a small light in front of his monitor that had sheets of paper on it. Every now and then between songs a guy would come over and mess with the sheets. One of my favorite noise parts of the evening was when Lee & Thurston where holding their guitars by the body of the guitar, strings towards the floor, and the neck of the guitar touching the floor. They'd move them around like vacuum cleaners or something. It was wacky & sounded great. This was an incredible show.
This was a hot one. Many times Trail of Dead is hot or cold. They're really great, but then they have some lousy parts. This was all good. Their sampler was apparently broken. They use this in between songs. This is usually when they wind up fucking around, so perhaps this was a good thing. I don't recall hearing any new songs. There was a pretty good crowd there. At the end of the show their gear was strewn about the stage. They made a reference to Napster. They said one could get all their stuff there for free, and they don't care. So there's this woman called the Stalker. I had first encountered her in Chicago. Apparently the Urge Overkill song Stalker is about her. She had an anti-Urge fanzine called the Stalker. She would ask everyone if they liked Urge, and beg them not to if they did. So later I move to Austin, and what do you know, but I see her around town occasionally. Mind you, I don't know this freak, I just see her around. So at a Trail of Dead show at Stubb's she removes her panties, and hangs them over the microphone stand. Then I didn't see her again until I moved here to San Francisco. She's at a show, and she attempting to be the center of attention again. During a song or two, she grabs the microphone, and incessantly chants, "Austin sucks." Yes, it was that brilliant. This woman needs to do something on her own so she doesn't need to absorb people's attention at events that don't have anything to do with her. After the show I'm leaving, and I happen to walk by her. I overhear someone sarcastically asking here, "so are you from Austin?" I'm right there at the time. I grab the Stalker's arm and say, "No, she's from Chicago." She somewhat hesitantly mumbles, "well yeah." And I say, "And she's the Stalker." I keep walking right on out of the building. Strange thing is though, I've trailed her from Chicago to Austin to San Francisco. Hmm. Oh, the opening band sounded hella like Polvo. Their band name starts with an umlaut.
I went back to Austin for a long weekend to see all my friends there. I had a great time, and when some were talking about going to see a show, I was really into it, because I knew that I hadn't seen a band for all of August, and I needed to get my stats up! So I had see Mittens before; apparently they had kind of broken up, and this was a reunion show or something. It was a fun show, and hot. Damn it was hot.
Le Tigre were great. It was a short set, but jumping. There were many lesbians here. I didn't know much about the band; I had only heard their record a couple of times. It's catchy. Also I had heard them on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR! BB were a duo that played goofy electronic stuff (they had a PowerBook), and wore a dress that connected the two of them at the hems.
So Farm Team is a friend's band from Chicago. They booked a west coast tour on their own. They crashed at my pad the night before. That's the first time a band's done that at my place. Anyway, it was at this cool club in Oakland that was an old country & western bar that was full of Barbie's in boxes and booked punk bands. So they opened for a local band, and this was their first show. Farm Team played a short set, they didn't want to intrude on the other band's time (since the show started late due to a no-show). In hindsight, they should have intruded, nay, invaded their time. Farm Team played good hard Chicago-style rock, and Sociopath took a long time hanging their art up. Then they had a TV playing loops of horrific videos. Then the bass player freak obviously picked up the instrument the week before. They had technical difficulties, and something sounded bad, I can't remember what. As Jim said, "Ugh, now I have to go tell the guy how I liked his show, since he stuck around for ours."
What a great time. This place is old, beautiful & ornate. I have to go see more shows here. There's a balcony around 3 sides, and we were lucky enough to get there in time to score a great seat on the balcony. The first band was very mellow, and were competing with the crowd for volume. It was neat droning mellow type of music. It reminded me of seeing Low at the Empty Bottle years ago when they had "Shush" signs everywhere. Unfortunately, that wasn't done this time around. They had guitar, double upright basses, and a wooden squeeze box on a table. The Sea And Cake had a keyboard guy filling out the band this time around. Jim, who I went with, didn't think he was too hot, but I don't know since I guess I have a dead ear. I will agree he was mixed a little high, but it may have been where we were sitting. The show was great; people were bopping around to the summery pop music. The singer had the lyrics for the new ones written on a note pad at his feet. I wonder what would happen if he lost it? This is a great band, and they pull off the songs great live.
Yep, another Flaming Lips show. They currently have the record of the band I've seen most often that isn't from a town I've lived in. I've also seen them play the last eight years straight. Cool. It was the lipstick camera - backing video screen - pre-recorded tracks show again. They had changed some things since the last time I had seen them, but there were no new songs. There was a great video for "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate." The drummer was doing the vocal beatbox, and it was a close-up of his face. The funny thing was that he was smoking a cigarette while doing it, and the beat would stop when he'd take a drag. Another new one was "Lightning Strikes The Postman." This is sung thru a megaphone. They jammed a smoke bomb thingy into the end, and while Wayne sang thru it pointed at the lipstick camera smoke was blasting out. All the while he's wearing a strobe light around his neck, and there's two more on either side of the stage. It was quite the spectacle. There was also lots of confetti & balloons during the song "She Don't Use Jelly." In Wayne's intro, he wanted everyone to act like it was a birthday party. They also had a clip of the "Millionaire" show where Regis has "The Flaming Lips" as a quick finger answer. There was some incredible delay in the vocals to some songs that amazed me. They ended with a Christmas song. It was great.
This band is on Merge, so I wanted to go see them. Apparently I've seen them before, but I don't remember it. I also didn't realize it until I re-coded the program that generates this site to accept bands with asterisks in their names! They have a retro garage rock feel. This is mainly due to the reverbed out guitars, and the rough vocals. Most tunes had an organ in them as well. They were good, but not great. I left early because I was tired.
Chicago Underground Duo have a horn player and a drummer. The horn player dabbles in electronics as well. Nice grooves. There were a couple songs that had old-school Chicago flash backs for me. There was a bass keyboard line in these songs that sounded straight out of 2nd phase Ministry. It reminded me of "Everyday Is Halloween." Isotope were fun. It's always great to hear Johnny Machine. This was a much better show than I had thought it would be.
Jim, a friend from Apple, turned us onto this show. These guys were in Jefferson Airplane back in the day. I can see why Jim brought us. They just have an acoustic guitar and a bass. On some of the songs I can hear bits and pieces of the stuff I've been playing for Jim lately from my collection. The Fillmore is a great place to see a show. There were some strange things. I saw a puking guy, someone fell flat on their face, and there were bad dancers all around us.
This was an Apple Holiday get together for the group I work with at Apple. After a great Japanese meal, we saw this jazz quartet. They had an eight string guitar, sax, drums & congas. The guitar was odd with eight strings. The frets were splayed out in a start burst sort of pattern, not all parallel. At times the non-bass part of the guitar reminded me of Chet Atkins. It's that clean sound without guitar chords that did it. It was pretty good. It's strange how much different the aesthetic is between jazz & rock. Most rock bands I see wouldn't solo much, and sure wouldn't expect accolades afterwards. It's much different in the jazz world, apparently. The guitarist also plays the meanest tambourine I've ever heard.