Showing posts from 2008

Flute Flies / Magic Babies at the Local 506 - 12/12/2008

Flute Flies
with Magic Babies
Local 506

Nothing quite like a free show, just as god intended. If god were a cheapskate.

This gig was a celebration of the launching of CyTunes, a local music download website used to raise money for the fight against cancer, dedicated to the memory of local man-about-town and friend to all, Cy Rawls, who recently died from the disease. Many local bands have released exclusive and long out-of-print songs on the site, and I'd encourage everyone truck on over there and do a bit of shopping.

Besides the website unveiling, there were some live bands as well...first up was the Magic Babies, featuring a bunch of former members of The Weather. they played a very Sloan-like piano/keyboard driven 70's power pop, lots of hooks and harmonizing and pleasant vocal melodies. Their best songs sounded like they could have been off a long lost Records or 20/20 album, a high compliment in my book.

The main reason I drove over the the Hill from suburbia …

Danielson / Cryptacize at the Grey Eagle - 11/23/2008

with Cryptacize
The Grey Eagle

I love Danielson so much, that when I realized they wouldn't be playing in the Triangle I drove four hours up to Asheville to make sure I didn't miss seeing the man live. And it was worth it, ten fold. Well, maybe not ten fold...I'm not sure I would have driven forty hours for the gig, but you get my drift. And stop taking me so literally.

Cryptacize, who are keyed into the Danielson/Sufjan family via their label Asthmatic Kitty, opened the show. I was vaguely aware that they were a Bay Area band even though I'd never seen nor heard them before, but it wasn't until seeing them live that I realized that Chris from Deerhoof and singer/songwriter Nedelle made up two thirds of the group. They were cute, sweet, and poppy, with just enough edge that they fit in perfectly as an opener for Danielson. I don't think comparing them to Deerhoof would be that far off base, though much mellower and lo-fi. I could also com…

The Rosebuds / Kimya Dawson at the Carolina Theatre - 11/7/2008

The Rosebuds
with Kimya Dawson
The Carolina Theatre

Sit-down rock shows are always a little you stand up? But then what about all the folks who remain seated and now can't see the stage? Do you sit nicely and applaud the effort of the band? Doesn't make for the best live rock atmosphere, does it? I don't have any answers, but all of these things pop in my head any time I see someone in an old theater like the Carolina Theater. The joint has ushers in monkey suits for chrissakes...

When we got there Kimya Dawson was midway through her set. Most of my knowledge on Dawson stems from the "Juno" soundtrack, filled with cutesy folk songs by her. And that was pretty much what her live set was as well...just one woman, her guitar, and a lot of goofy/cute songs that were pretty entertaining in a live setting but I'm not sure how well it would hold up on multiple listens. She was a very engaging performer though, especially the between song ba…

Superchunk / Ivan Howard / Billy Bragg / Megafaun / Bowerbirds on the UNC Campus - 11/1/2008

with Ivan Howard, Billy Bragg, Megafaun and Bowerbirds
UNC Campus

A daytime show!
A free daytime show!
A free daytime show featuring one of my favorite bands of all time, Superchunk, and a bunch of other great acts!

Yes, you could say I was fairly excited...this was an event that met all of my parameters for what makes quality entertainment, short of providing me a free chocolate milkshake (let's get on this's not like Ben and Jerry's don't sponsor crap all the time). This whole affair was put together to celebrate/draw attention to the final day of early voting for this historic election (spoiler alert: Obama won!).

When I got there, things were already in full swing, a wide variety of folks gathered on the plaza to hear a little music, maybe do a little voting, and enjoy the amazing weather. Bowerbirds were the first group I saw play, and I'm damn glad I got there early enough to make their performance. I'd only heard a few songs…

The King Khan & BBQ Show / The Jacuzzi Boys at The Grey Eagle - 11/25/2008

The King Khan & BBQ Show
with The Jacuzzi Boys
The Grey Eagle

I managed to go to two good shows in Asheville in the span of three days. I'm not sure this has ever happened in this town, ever, unless you consider good shows to involve a lot of noodly guitar or bad cover bands.

This was a double-bill of bands I wanted to see even...opening the events were the Jacuzzi Boys, a trio of kids from Florida who weren't playing shitty metal or hardcore (I was given the impression early in life that was the only sort of bands who came from Florida). They did the dirty garage-punk thing like the Black Lips have made popular recently, only I'm pretty non-plussed by the Black Lips but found the Jacuzzi Boys quite entertaining. They had a layer of pop to their sound that made their gruff rockers quite catchy, which is probably what held my ear so firmly and drove me to the merch table later to pick up a seven inch by them. And now the state of Florida is 1 for 4,376 in the …

Okkervil River / Crooked Fingers / Black Joe Lewis at The Soapbox - 10/3/2008

Okkervil River
with Crooked Fingers and Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears
The Soapbox

It being a Friday night and all, it seemed perfectly reasonable to drive over two hours to Wilmington for a rock concert. It helps when you got a good friend to visit and a free place to stay at his house. Brian has been one of my major partners-in-crime for going on 14 years now, nearly half my life, and a visit with him is just as entertaining as the live music itself.

We got over to the club early, and much to our surprise there was a line of folks waiting to get in...this rarely seems to happen anywhere in NC, much less Wilmington. After some dicking around on the pool and foosball tables, we staggered upstairs to see what the opening act, Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears, was all about. I generally don't expect much out of unknown openers, having been let down so many, many times in my life, but the rumor of a horn section had me intrigued. Turns out this band of Austin…

Jay Reatard at the Local 506 - 10/30/2008

Jay Reatard
Local 506

This review will be not unlike the show itself - short, sweet and to the point. I thought I was getting there early enough to see the openers Cola Freaks (I'd heard good things from the cool kids), but as I get to the front of the club Jay Reatard and his boys are already setting up...thumbs down to missing the first group, but a big thumbs up to what was clearly going to be an early show.

Any Jay Reatard show is going to be hit or miss, depending on his mood... apparently on this fine evening his mood was all business. This is mostly great, as I'm a big fan of the songs, but there is still that little piece of you that is kinda hoping for a drunken mess and/or a royal freak out and/or abusive audience members to piss him off and create havoc. But there was none of that, just the man himself playing mostly a bunch of tracks from his new singles compilation that was recently released, with a couple of old tracks peppered in here and there (&quo…

Jonathan Richman at the Local 506 - 10/10/2008

Jonathan Richman
Local 506

I'm still trying to get used to not buying advance tickets for every show I go to. In San Francisco, if the performer had any acclaim at all, it would probably sell out. Outside of some small local bands, I wouldn't even bother going to a show if I didn't already have tickets lined up. But out here in NC, most of the time you can just show up, wait in line, and pay the cover right then and there.

It's generally not an issue, but for this show I found myself a bit worried...someone the stature of Jonathan Richman playing a small place like the 506? Did I need an advance ticket? Is he as popular out here as he is in California? Just to be safe, I got there early and stood around like a jackass staring at an empty stage until he began playing. I'm good at staring blankly out into space waiting for something to happen, I've been doing it my whole life.

There was no opening act, a rarity at most shows but a trend the old crot…

Wilco / Bon Iver at Koka Booth - 8/8/2008

With Bon Iver
Koka Booth

In our quest to fully ingratiate ourselves into complete suburban yuppiedom, it was decided a trip to see Wilco at the local outdoor amphitheatre was required. Long gone are the days of getting to see Jeff Tweedy and company in small clubs, or even medium-sized ones, so if I want to enjoy their young, crisp dad-rock sound there was no way around submersing ourselves into a sea of pressed J. Crew khakis, boat shoes, and croakies.

To alleviate some of the fear, we bolstered our numbers with a crew of Wilmingtonians who drove up for the festivities. Although greatly outnumbered, if we "circled the wagons" as it were we would last much longer if the former frat boys decided to turn on us for not wearing the requisite puka shell necklaces. Joking aside, the only real threat posed by this gang of boobs was standing around talking about nonsense and distracting from the concert, but I guess that is true of any live event. After a few songs,…

Les Savy Fav at the Nasher Museum of Art - 7/12/208

Les Savy Fav
Nasher Museum of Art
I've been to a lot of shows, but without question this is the only performance I have ever attended where the lead singer of the band I was there to see tried to display my genitals on giant screen via a webcam camera.

It can get dreadfully hot here in the summer, so the prospect of an outdoor show can be an iffy affair...luckily, it was a decently cool evening, and the sweating only started as I took to dancing my ass off once Les Savy Fav started their show. This was only helped as the band started close to an hour late, marred with some manner of technical glitchery involving their giant display screens.

With the Fav, you never know exactly what is going to happen from one show to the next, and for this event it revolved around giant screens where webcam-type cameras would be displaying images. One of these cameras was taped to lead singer Tim Harrington's head, and the other to some random kid's shoulder who roamed the audience.…

King Khan & the Shrines at the Local 506 - 6/30/2008

King Khan & the Shrines
Local 506

I've been to a lot of shows, and I'm racking my brain but I think this might have been the first one that involved a cheerleader/dancer as one of the members.

It was a packed show, and I'm not referring to the crowd (though that was healthy in size) - counting King Khan and the pom-pom pal, there were ten band members piled onto the small Local 506 stage. Depending on where you were standing, there were some members you couldn't even see...for me, it was one of the horn blowers and the percussion dude in the back...really, god knows who else they had stuffed on that box.

I placed myself up at the very front so as to take my shitty photos, and soon thereafter most of the crowd crammed in around me. You'd think there was a contest being held on how uncomfortably close you can stand next to the people around you even though there was plenty of room to spread out; this game is sometimes called "drunk asshole", an…

Swervedriver / The Nein at the Cat's Cradle - 6/6/2008

with the Nein
Cat's Cradle
I've thought about this little write-up for a while, not really knowing what to say. Since I've moved back to North Carolina, I've made it out to exactly two shows, and both of them have been “reunion” affairs. I don't know if this says more about me getting old or that more bands are reuniting these days...probably both. It was also a reunion of sorts with some good friends, Brian and Ivan, friends who were influential into turning me onto this band some twelve years ago or so. Now we were three old men going to see the live performance of a band that broke up ten years ago.

You'd never have known it was ten years ago Swervedriver released their last record, based on the show I saw this fine evening. Maybe they never lost it, or maybe they just re-found it since the tour had started out west before it made it's way here; whatever the reason, they were as goddamn tight and powerful as the bulging ass muscle on a…

Polvo at the Cat's Cradle - 5/10/2008

With Des Ark & Noncanon
The Cat's Cradle

I'm a huge Polvo fan. HUGE. One of my favorite bands of all time...and when I found out they were reuniting, I nearly soiled myself. At first the only show mentioned was a reunion gig at the Explosions in the Sky curated ATP festival in England. And even though I'm broke as a joke and unemployed on top of it, I contemplated going into debt to fly over and see this show. It may have also led to divorce, but so be it.

But then they announced a few shows here in the states, including one in their hometown of Chapel Hill. I was moving back to the area and boy howdy was I excited. Of course the show sold out of tickets quickly - they are local heroes after all - and this just happened to coincide with my cross country drive, when my mind was more focused on national parks than live music. I was feeling pretty fucked about my lack of ticket, but luckily my old friend Craigslist came to the rescue and I managed to pr…