Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Hold Steady at Detroit Bar, 8/25/10

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.

The Bellrays at Spaceland, 8/21/10

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

Free Lions at Que Sera, 8/23/10

A whole lot can happen in two years, even while feeling like it happened in an instant.  Something that seemed like it might only be a lark can evolve into something formidable and real.  It's hard to believe it's been two years, almost to the day, since Free Lions played their first show at the Good Hurt in Los Angeles, and harder still to believe it's been over a year since I wrote about a fleshed-out version of the band impressing at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana.  What's not hard to believe, however, is that in the here and now Free Lions is a very good band, one that has grown into itself and then pushed outward for more.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Morning Jacket at the Greek Theater, 8/12/10

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

Against Me! and Silversun Pickups at the Greek Theater, 8/6/10

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

The Dead Weather at the Palladium, 7/21/10

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.

Obits and The Night Marchers at Alex's Bar, 7/20/10

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

Tool at Nokia Theater, 7/19/10

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.

Concert Roundup: Roky Erickson, LCD Soundsystem

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...