Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Kings of Leon Problem

Kings of Leon, why won't you just let me go?  In the past two years you've done everything you possibly can to alienate me, a former huge fan who wants so desperately to believe that you can be better than your current musical aspirations.  Still I cling to the memories of what you once were, despite your repeated demonstrations of mediocrity.  Well, this time we're really finished, and I'm going to share with everyone else how I managed to finally break away from your emotional abuse.

The Black Crowes at the Palladium, 12/11/10

There aren't many bands I've loved since the beginning that I've yet to see, but the Black Crowes fit that bill.  Sure, I saw them at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas back in 1994 (and let's all take a moment to marvel at a time when a band like them would ever be played on KROQ), but that was something like five songs, and I barely remember it.  Now, just before they go on "indefinite hiatus," a term that their age suggests is a euphemism for retirement, I finally got to cross them off my ever-shortening list.  However, as great as they were, I couldn't enjoy it as much as I should have.  An open letter:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Weezer play Pinkerton at the Gibson Amphitheatre, 11/27/10

The next sentence would have shocked and horrified the fifteen year old me, and not just because he wouldn't have understood the concept of 'blogging' or even the Internet.  I've come to really hate Weezer.  I look back on the last ten years or so of their music, and I find it hard to remember what ever drew me to them in the first place.  Luckily, there was a reason I cared enough to hate them so much, and I can still go back and enjoy the good ol' days.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Black Angels and Black Mountain at the El Rey, 11/24/2010

If not for that 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

Deerhunter at the Music Box, 11/1/10

I'm always excited to hear new material from a band I love, especially if I've recently become obsessed with an album.  Sometimes, though, that newness can overwhelm a band to a degree, messing with the flow of their show.  That definitely happened to Deerhunter at the former Fonda.

Built to Spill at the El Rey, 10/28/10

Though I caught them at 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.

Mastodon and Deftones at Gibson Amphitheatre, 10/12/10

We all make mistakes.  I look back at some of the music I used to listen to, hell, love, and I can't help but cringe.  KoЯn in particular seems an example of bad judgment, not least of all due to the opening salvo of "Justin:" "Fuck all that bullshit!"  But if there's one band from that time period that I'll still defend and happily listen to, it's Deftones, and seeing them paired with the best metal band alive at the moment, Mastodon, was like going into my own personal Mosh Pit Time Machine(™, © and all that).

The Besnard Lakes at Detroit Bar, 10/9/10

Not a ton to say about this one, except that they were really good (if not quite as good as 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.

Arcade Fire at the Shrine, 10/7/10

I am what you could charitably call 'particular' (picky, fastidious, fussy all work as well) when it comes to my concert-going experience.  I don't need to be front and center, but I do want to be close enough to see and hear the music in the way it's meant to be.  The last time I had seen Arcade Fire, I left extremely disgruntled because of the poor seat I had 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

The Futureheads at the Troubadour, 10/6/10

Long distance relationships are hard.  Not being able to see those you care about whenever you want is a strain, and it can make you want to just cut the cord to avoid the heartache.  But if you're patient, you will be rewarded.  The last time I got to see The Futureheads was in the summer of 2006, and at times the longing was almost too much to bear, but I'm glad I waited it out.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at the Troubadour, 9/30/10

When I was younger, I would often lament the retirement of the bands I liked, thinking it must be as final as a TV show's cancellation.  These days, I've been around long enough to know that eventually they almost all come back (assuming they haven't died, of course).  The Jon Spencer Blues Exxplosion were no exception.  After going on hiatus in 2005, I finally got a chance to see them again at the end of September.

The Black Keys at the Palladium, 9/27/10

And we're back!  Time to catch up on the many shows I've been to in the last three months, followed by all kinds of fun end-of-the-year content (lists and the like).  In other words, this paragraph is basically saying Apres moi, le deluge...