Friday, April 30, 2010

Wilco at the DPAC - 3/27/2010

Durham Performing Arts Center

Every once in a while you gotta get your giant concert on, and for me most of the time this ends up being a Wilco show. Despite my constant whining about their output since "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot", I still continue to go to their shows and enjoy myself while complaining to anyone who will listen about how they play too many new songs and Nels Cline needs to knock off all the ridiculous solos.

So the show report is this: they played too many new songs and Nels Cline played too many ridiculous pointless solos. And I still enjoyed myself. They actually played for damn close to three hours, and with that much time to fill they were bound to play some older material as well. A number of songs from their perfect record "Summerteeth" made the list, including "She's a Jar", "A Shot in the Arm", "Via Chicago", "When You Wake Up Feeling Old" and the title track "Summerteeth"; at least half of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" including "War on War" and "Handshake Drugs" and "I'm the Man Who Loves You"; and the real classic gems "Forget the Flowers" and "Passenger Side". For the record, I consider any show where "Passenger Side" is played to automatically be a good show regardless of what else happens. These good songs happened just often enough that I didn't lose my mind when they played pretty much the entire "A Ghost Is Born" and "Sky Blue Sky" albums. One of the final songs they played was a tribute to the recently passed Alex Chilton, the Big Star classic "Thank You Friends".

Given what is to be expected these days at a Wilco show, I'd have to give a pretty big thumbs up. As a side note, this was my first time seeing the inside of the DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center for those not comfortable with acronyms) - pretty swank place. Our seats were in the front of the top section but the seats were still great...the steepness of the joint seemed to discombobulate my friend Brian who attended with me, though that could have also been the giant burrito he ate at Chubby's Tacos before the show. I'd gladly go see more "big" bands here, assuming they ever book something to my liking again.

Whatever Brains / Naps / The Cellar Seas at Tir Na Nog - 2/4/2010

Whatever Brains
with Naps and The Cellar Seas
Tir Na Nog

OK, so my idiot ass waited WAY too long to write this review, cause my memories are hazy at best. That's what you get for being lazy and forgetful I guess. I do remember it was an awesome night of music from start to finish, something I would have paid for but luckily it was one of those free local nights at Tir Na Nog. Why these things aren't always packed is beyond me...maybe folks just aren't as cheap as I am and don't value the power of "free".

The first band of the night was called The Cellar Seas, and it was their first gig ever! Seeing history with my own eyes! I play basketball multiple times a week with the singer/guitarist of the band, Roy Bourne, and I didn't even know he had a time for chitchat when I'm raining my wet jump shots all over the court. Nonetheless, they sounded great, obviously well practiced, and churned out a set of very catchy, Americana-tinged rock songs. They reminded me a little bit of the band Richmond Fontaine, a comparison I dreamt up totally out of the blue and not because I had just been listening to them in my car. The Cellar-ites played the sort of songs you would sing along to riding in your car with the windows down on a warm summer day while writing run-on sentences. Of course I didn't sing along at the show, because I would have looked goofy doing it and also it was my first time ever hearing them. Anyways, great debut by these cats and I look forward to many more shows by them.

The middle bands was Naps and featured Brian Corum of Lonnie Walker as well as some other local rock star types. I have a vague recollection that Brian played the show in some manner of one piece long johns/pajama thing, but maybe I totally imagined that. As for the music, I quite enjoyed it - it sounded like vintage Chapel Hill indie rock from the early to mid-nineties with just a tinge of Silver Jews. If I would have seen these guys opening for Archers of Loaf in 1995, they would have fit in royally. And they probably would have had a seven inch out on Jesus Christ like all the cool bands did.

I've been meaning to see Whatever Brains ever since I moved back to the Triangle, but through a combination of epic laziness and other obligations, this was my first time actually making that happen. Damn shame it took so long, because just as I expected they were really fuckin' great. they sounded like the bastard child of Drive Like Jehu and The Fall, all jittery and anxious in the best post-punk way possible. Lots of spastic, off-beat dancing both on stage and in the crowd, just the way good shows are meant to be. It was pretty obvious why they are getting a reputation as one of the best local bands going right now, and I'll not be making the mistake of waiting so long before I see them play again.