Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Deftones/Mastodon show, this would have been easily the heaviest pairing I saw all year, and certainly the most throwback. Both bands are firmly entrenched in the late 60's to early 70's, though they take different approaches. The Black Angels go for the psychedelic, while Black Mountain can be the best Black Sabbath emulators around.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Outside Lands, I never got to see a proper Built to Spill show on their tour for There is No Enemy, their excellent album from last year. Luckily, Doug Martsch brought his group of dad-looking indie gods back to LA in October, and it was a typically great set.
they were in May), cut back on the silly Canadian banter, and "Albatross" in particular blew my head off. Literally. You can click through for the set list, or you can go about your business.
at the Greek, off in the top row of the wings of the theatre, a place where sound goes to be distorted by the wind. My tickets for the Shrine were nosebleeders as well, so I was worried about a repeat performance. However, the band delivered a set that made me forget just how far away they were.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
After a brief respite, it was time to get back in the concert groove with an interesting show at the Bowl, one of the best venues in Southern California. Though I've never listened to their most recent album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, all the way through, this was the third time I'd seen them this year, so they must be doing something right. Grizzly Bear, on the other hand, is a band capable of great beauty and ponderous effort, sometimes within the same song, but I'd been told over and over that I needed to see them live to really appreciate what they do.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sometimes things just come together, no matter how bad they start out. I was supposed to see The Hold Steady at the El Rey in May, but that week brought an extra special surprise in the tiny, spiky and painful form of my first (and for the love of all that is good and decent and right in the world, hopefully last) kidney stone. When I saw this show announced I knew the universe was trying to even the score. The world's best bar band in a tiny bar twenty minutes from where I live? Yes, please.
A lot of the bands I write about are fairly well known, successful groups, but not everyone makes it through. The Bellrays' biggest success so far has been selling their song "Revolution Get Down" for a Nissan Xterra commercial a few years ago (it was fairly ubiquitous; I can't find it online, but chances are you saw it if you watched TV in 2004). That's a shame, because they've been making damn fine music, 'punk rock & soul' as they call it, since the mid-90's. Almost two decades in, and they still tore up Spaceland last weekend.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Last week, I was lucky enough to see one of the best live bands around twice in three days, first at the Greek in LA, and then in San Francisco at the Outside Lands festival two days later. Since I'll have a full rundown of my weekend in Golden Gate Park coming up, I'm not going to spend too much time on this show, but I do have some thoughts on why I may avoid the Greek like the plague going forward.
Monday, August 9, 2010
After giving my ears a couple weeks off from the sounds of pounding drums, screeching guitars and the like, it was right back into the fold with two newer bands (for me, anyway): Against Me! and Silversun Pickups. It was a strange match, despite my fondness for both, so I was eager to see how it would be received. As it turns out, pretty well.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
My concert extravaganza--three shows in three nights--finished on an extremely strong note with The Dead Weather. I raved about them last summer, and rightly so, but a lot of that was the excitement of something new. This time around, they had a second record worth of material to choose from and a year of touring together under their collective belt. The result was a band that has more than come into its own.
I went into this show meaning to focus more on Obits, since I'd never seen them before, and I already did a lengthy review on the Night Marchers back in November. But between Obits playing a bunch of new stuff that sucked me in and Speedo messing up the momentum of the Night Marchers set by overdoing the banter, I don't have a ton to say about either. Brief thoughts to follow, if you please...
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Not many bands can be said to have a unique sound. Everything sounds like bits and pieces of everything else, and that's just fine. Necessary, even. Some of my favorite bands are the least original ones, like The Hold Steady, who take an idea, a sound that's been around, and play it better than anyone. But when you get a band that takes their influences, mixes it with their own talents and creates something impressive and original, well, that's fairly incredible. From where I'm sitting (on a dinner table chair next to my bed, for the record), that band is Tool.
Hello! This place has been a ghost town for too long, and I actually have concerts and other things to share with you from the past couple weeks, but I'm so OCD about chronology that I have to say a few things about a couple shows that deserved longer thoughts from a less distracted person. But, they got me, as do you, and that's just how it is. So kicking off my return are some truncated reactions to things that happened quite a while ago...
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It's April, and for me that means one thing: Coachella. After being drawn to the desert in 2004 by Radiohead and the Pixies, I've been every year since. As I like to say, it's the greatest weekend of my life and it happens every year. That may be a bit hyperbolic, but only a bit. Nowhere else can I see so many bands all in the same place, and it's more or less guaranteed to surprise me. This year was no different, though it did get off to a rocky start. In the days leading up to the festival Goldenvoice had announced that the festival was sold out, and that the number of tickets sold was 75,000, the most I can remember in the seven years I've been going. So I anticipated a lot of people, but what I encountered was another thing entirely.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
On Monday, the music world suffered a loss that will be overlooked by far too many: Supergrass broke up. I know they weren't especially well known over here, only coming out to tour every few years or so, but I've loved them for a long time, even going so far as to include their most recent (sigh, final) album on my best of the decade list. Perhaps ignored because of their penchant for silliness, the band went from a mashup of influences such as the Kinks and Buzzcocks to a legitimate rock force with which to be reckoned. When they released their debut, I Should Coco, in 1995, a friend of mine had heard about them from his older sister, and we would listen to "Caught by the Fuzz" and "I Don't Know" constantly. I still remember staying up until midnight on Saturdays to catch MTV's 120 Minutes video show--since it was the only place to see cool stuff that was still under the radar--hoping to catch the video for "Caught by the Fuzz." Wow, imagine MTV still being a source of interesting music!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I knew when I did my huge lists of my favorite albums of the decade I would leave stuff out. It's just the nature of lists that we forget things, no matter how long we spend putting it together. But boy, did I commit an egregious error when I left out Bad Religion. I ignored another of my favorite bands, Rocket From The Crypt, because I didn't feel anything they put out in that time span was quite good enough. Bad Religion, on the other hand, had a major creative upswing in the 2000's when founding member Brett Gurewitz came back, and the first album they did after the reunion, The Process of Belief, absolutely deserved to make the list. I admit, sometimes I'm remiss. After seeing them again recently, I feel even worse about it, but I'm confident they still have some strong material in them, something that'll make my inevitable list of the 10's. (What follows is likely to be long, so consider yourself warned.)
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Cinderella once sang, "Don't know what you got till it's gone," and while I think we were all more or less aware of what we had in Cinderella, they still sang true. During my dizzy time in the bunker (which rotated between my apartment and my girlfriend's), I was so preoccupied with my health and how disorienting the vertigo was that it never even occurred to me that I hadn't been to a concert since the second week of December. For me, that's quite a while. Luckily, a remedy was on the horizon: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Monday, January 4, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
Soundgarden is (probably) getting back together! Apparently, all that I had to do to make this happen was briefly lament their demise in my Metallica review. This is the most exciting reunion I could think of, personally, since Soundgarden was one of my first, favorite bands. When my parents bought me my first CD player back in middle school, Superunknown was the first album I went out and bought personally, and I still listen to it fairly often. And no kid of about my age could get through MTV or radio without seeing the amazingly creepy "Black Hole Sun" video, or hearing "Spoonman," "My Wave" or "Fell On Black Days" on KROQ (you know, back when KROQ was still good). Lead singer Chris Cornell recently showed up at a Pearl Jam show, sounding as good as ever, and drummer Matt Cameron is still playing great, these days with Pearl Jam. I can only assume that Kim Thayil (lead guitar) and Ben Shepherd (bass) still know what they're doing. If this rumor pans out, I really hope they pop up at Coachella; it would be roughly infinity times more exciting than when the Pixies did it.