The Okmoniks are a garage band from Arizona. It was fun stuff with a cute singer to boot. The drummer was a cute woman as well. Pretty cute altogether. Is this what a garage band wants? The Flakes did their thing at about fifteen, forget Spinal Tap's eleven. I was close to pain during most of the show, and probably should have left early. I noticed the sound guy was wearing earplugs during the set, and I was the foolish one not wearing them. I paid dearly for the rock this evening.
David J put on an interesting performance. He wore a completely white suit and had a cellist playing along. There were pre-recorded backing tracks. This show absolutely wins the award for the best light show consisting of three flashlights. It also happens to be the only qualifier for this award. Just about everything he did seemed quite sarcastic to me. There was one song all about goth girls in Southern California, and how they don't like the sun. Then he did an acoustic version of "Bela Lugosi's Dead." I agreed with Jeff when he said, "I never thought I'd hear Bela Lugosi unplugged." Overall it was a much better set than I had expected. Nina Hagen is a diva from East Germany who's music covered just about every style from 1980 to 1989. Among other things, she did an interesting cover of Nirvana's "No Apologies", a song about Greenpeace, HIV, and eastern religion (I don't recall which particular one). She has googly eyes, and she does some fun voices while singing. However it seemed to go on a little long, and I started to think she was indulgent.
Another stellar and endearing performance. Apparently he now lives in San Francisco. This is a great little room, and it fits his show every well. This was in the middle of something like a four night stand at the venue. Strangely enough I don't think he played any of the songs I'd consider standards from his live shows. Nevertheless the songs he did play touched on his common themes of love and love. He played one song twice he liked it so much. He played a "cover" of a Hedwig and the Angry Inch song, "The Origin of Love". I think all that remained from the original were the title phrase and the main guitar riff. He also played a song that he wrote that was inspired by Hedwig.
Yard Sale were a trio of guitarists who sang in harmony. I really enjoyed it. The Weary Boys are from Austin, TX. I'd never heard of them while I was there, but then the guitarist looked to be about 21 years old. He probably wasn't playing out when I lived there. They do straight up honky tonk, but with a little more distortion than usual. They were a surprising blast.
This was a minimal rock rock show. The Hospitals were a drummer and a guitarist. Lots of primal pounding and yelling. At first there was so much reverb on the vocals you couldn't understand a thing. The interesting thing was the bands both did two sets. The second sets for both were quite drunken. I think there were lots of drunk people in there. People were throwing beer bottles and falling down. They were jumping on stage banging tambourines. They were smoking indoors. The Coachwhips were the better of the two bands. Great guitar, and great vocals, despite they were hard to figure out since it sounded like he was miked through an old telephone. There was a great scene where one girl was shoving her girlfriend into the drummer for The Hospitals during the show. It was very high school. When we left the body odor in the room was pungent, and I saw the drummer and the girl chatting some more. And they lived happily ever after.
Knife in the Water sound much better than I remember from a few years ago. It was a good set in the tiny Hemlock. I love their singing. The two of them sing together, and it really works. I hope they come through town more often.
The Ghosts played the hits and drank the beer. I had a great time and laughed through most of the set. After a song, everyone starts clapping, and then realizes that since they are ghosts, they should be booing instead. There were also lots of death is good types of jokes (the worst was "Once bitten, twice fried", since the Great White tragedy occurred the night before). The singer ran outside during the set, and ordered a drink at the bar during a song. This is all done while wearing white sheets. They are a great time. I seriously think that anyone who can have a good time will have a good time at one of their shows.
Well, you win some and you lose some. I don't think I'll go see Melvins again. They are good and fun for about 5 songs. Then it just seems to have peaked for the rest of the show. Melvins were exactly as expected, except for the fire alarms they had on stage with them. Skeleton Key were like funky hard industrial without the keyboards. They had a theatrical guy on percussion (in addition to a drummer). He chewed up the scenery while hitting his pots & pans & fire extinguisher. After seeing this for $23, I'm starting to think that The Flaming Lips could be worth $100 a ticket. They would definitely be four times the show this was.
So I went the scalper route to get tickets to this show. I'm positive that it's the first time I've done that. But it had to be done. There was no doubt this would be a show worth seeing, and I needed to get the bad taste of the Melvins out of my mouth. It was worth it. It was everything I expected. Lots of balloons, monologues by Wayne, blood, and a huge sound. Liz Phair did only two new songs and had two guys playing along on guitar. One of her new songs says something about playing X-Box with the guy she's seeing. I'm sure it's a character in the song, but when did Liz Phair ever date someone who plays X-Box? I think she's writing for an audience now, 18 to 23 year old women. Starlight Mints were an interesting mash of lots of influences. I think I heard Pavement, Bauhaus, The Flaming Lips, and some more. I'd go see them again.
What an interesting evening. This is a bar that winds up having a huge patio and a whole other room for bands. It is like a Dave-n-Busters for hipsters. Anyway, I found the first band to be like Gravy Train!!!! They have the lo-fi keyboards with trashy outfits. The first song I heard was something like "Daddy's Boyfriends". Deerhoof were nuts. This was certainly not like anything I'd heard before. It was crazy rhythms and guitars with a short woman with a falsetto Asian accent singing the guitar parts while playing bass. It was very nuts, and I'd see it again. Erase Errata were nearly all bass and drums this evening. The guitar was mixed low, but that bassist didn't care. She has got to be completely exhausted after a set the freaking stuff she plays. Nuts. It think the cheap drinks at the bar assisted in providing completely improvised lyrics most of the evening. I think they only played two songs I've heard before, so a new recording must be coming soon.
This was The Shambles first show. They had a home made mylar sign hanging behind them. The Black Lips were chaotic and out of tune. The drummer could scream with the best of them. They'd all do this "harmonic" mimicry of feedback before a few songs. This was always disconcerting. There was one song where the chaos and dissonance were great fun. However for the last song one of the guitarist dropped his pants and had fun with his guitar. This made no sense in the scope of the set. The Flakes were up next and they sounded huge. They have a great rhythm section that freaking carries the band through the noise.
The Clean did a set that I actually got to recognize the songs, now that I actually know of them. It wasn't as out of this world changing as the first time I saw them. This could be because the world had already been changed by the first time I saw them. Or it could be the size of The Fillmore. They did one of the few encores for an opening act that I've seen. Yo La Tengo started their set with about a 15 minute long song. That isn't they easiest thing to handle in the audience, but I managed to deal with it. One of the things you notice about Yo La Tengo when you see them play is that they have really quiet songs and then some really noisy ones. It's jarring to the listener. It makes you wonder what's going on with the band doing that. I was tired this evening, so I didn't stay for the 3rd encore.
Smog always gives a different performance. You can see him every time he comes thru town, and know all the songs, and he'll start playing one, and you won't even know that you know it very well and have heard it hundreds of times until you hear the chorus. All I can figure is that he gets very bored. That would explain why he puts out so many records as well as why "the hits" are completely dismantled and put back together in a completely different way when he tours. Otherwise it is just too boring for him. It must be tough to be in his band. First of all because no one smiles, and the secret of Smog is that his songs are clever and funny, really. Secondly, if you're a fan in his band, he does none of the songs in any shape or form like you are used to. Or you've never heard of him, and his songs are odd if you aren't familiar with him. The opener was Joanna Newsom, the pixie-like 16-year-old-looking woman who sang about whale bones, tadpoles and baseball -- all solo with an full-on upright harp! With that description, you wouldn't believe it, but she basically had the crowd wrapped around her finger. They were quiet, and sitting down on the floor. After her set, the crowd was still sitting (I was sitting at a table, however). Then Smog came on, did one song for the relaxed audience, and once the song was finished said "Now you can get off of your asses." And everyone stood up.
Continuous Peasant were acceptable. Not quite my thing, but acceptable. The singer played keyboards. He had this odd habit of looking out at the audience, but appearing to stare at the ceiling. It wound up looking like his eyes were rolling into his head all of the time. The Graves Brothers Deluxe are an interesting band. The sound is old school, but new. The singer can sound exactly like D. Boon from the Minutemen. This was verified by Jeff, so I'm not nuts.
So the Eagle Tavern is a leather gay bar. On Thursdays they have punk rock shows. A friend invited me that had been there before and there was going to be a group of folks, so I put my (irrational?) fears behind and went to the show. This place was playing gay porn when I got in. There were also all of these ridiculous drawings of large hairy men on the walls. But this was a rock show. The first band, Spector Protector, did not deliver. They seemed to be trying to do some sort of a Throbbing Gristle thing, but it simply didn't work. Von Iva were rocking. She's a powerful front woman, no doubt about it. Extreme Elvis was there. They rocked. They are hot. There were plenty of lesbians there. It was a smorgasbord of sub-sub-cultures.
The Walkmen do U2 really well. At least that was the impression I walked away with. KaitO are the best band I've seen from the U.K. in awhile. I usually don't like U.K. bands at all, but this band rocked, and were having fun. Interesting stuff. Dios apparently are from the central valley, and therefore I got a Pavement vibe from them. I don't know if that really applies, but there you go.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs set was one of the sexiest shows I've seen. One guy I went with was saying she's a hottie, but I don't think that applies. She's as sexy as all hell, but not really a hottie. Anyways they rocked, she smiled, we had a good time. The Icarus Line were one of the worst I've seen in awhile. The singer looked like he was in the Stooges, and the music was warmed over Led Zeppelin. But the main sticking point was this guitarist making a huge scene at the side of the stage. He'd swing his guitar, knock it into the amp, grab a martini glass from the edge of the stage, play a little slide guitar, and then whip it to the back of the stage. He jumped up on a piano that I think is always at Bimbo's and then started knocking his guitar into the suspended P.A. making it rock back and forth. What a poseur. The first band was much better than the second.
There weren't many people there for The Sermon set. I think that made them play even harder trying to fill the room. The Kills are a duo, and guy and a gal. They really remind me of Royal Trux. Unfortunately that was going through my head for most of the set.
This was a long show. My brother Mike was in town visiting, so he got his first taste of The Ghosts. The Ghosts were quite drunken this evening. Teenage Harlets are Japanese. Fleshtones used to be on IRS: The Cutting Edge on MTV if you remember that.
I felt very tall and old at this all ages show. Ms. Spektor reminded me of what I was afraid Joanna Newsom would be... annoying. Kings of Leon were too cool for school. They are not my cup of tea. The Strokes put on a great set. They play the songs just like they are on the record, but they are great songs to hear loud, so it works. I also decided that like the way their songs end. I obviously changed my mind about them since I saw them the first time.
The bands at this show weren't the focus of attention. The first was a woman fronting a group of guys (some dressed in vinyl), and she would complain about her family. It was the typical type of stuff you'd hear in high school. Binky was loud and hard, and an all woman band. They all wore white for the occasion. Meanwhile the main attraction in the front of the stage was live female oil wrestling. They wore underwear. The main wrestling woman was the genesis for the spectacle. This was a book release party. She lost her top only once.
It was Mac all alone and acoustic for this one. He played both old and new Portastatic songs. It was interesting to hear him in front of a pre-recorded backing track. The backing rhythm track actually sounded so clear over the P.A. that it got me thinking that it almost seemed better than a live backing rhythm section. The last thing to note is that Mac is now a father, whose daughter cries at the noise of his shows.