Showing posts from 2011

Kumail Nanjiani at Local 506 - 12/23/2011

Kumail Nanjiani
Local 506

I love comedy shows.  And even better than comedy shows are comedy shows in rock clubs.  The tickets are usually much more affordable, no silly drink minimums and a very low-key atmosphere.  As long as the jokes are funny, a faux brick wall and cocktail waitresses aren't really a necessary part of me laughing. 

Sadly we don't get many good comedy shows around here, so I was stoked when I saw Kumail Nanjiani announced at the Local 506 just before Christmas.  I thought it odd that a Pakistani born, LA based comedian would be performing in a rock club in a college town over Christmas break just before the holiday, until he started talking about his wife who was raised in Winston-Salem.  I was a little worried attendance might be low, with all the kids back home, but the room was full and happy to be hearing the funny. 

I'm not entirely sure how to review a live comedy show, but the end result was Kumail is funny as shit - we laughed our …

Beirut at Cat's Cradle - 12/8/2011

Cat's Cradle

It's getting harder and harder to get myself to go to shows in Chapel laziness has grown to epic levels (this laziness also seemed to rear up right around the same time Kings re-opened and good shows started happening again in Raleigh).  Unless I've purchased a ticket I just can't get motivated to drive out there, and there are even times when that isn't enough.  I really REALLY wasn't feeling like driving out there this evening, but the ticket wasn't cheap and the newest Beirut album "The Rip Tide" is one of my very favorite releases of the year.  So like Willie Nelson, I was on the road again. 

The apprehension is always with the getting up and going, and never with the actually show.  The show was, predictably, fantastic.  I saw Beirut once many years ago, early in their career, and it was fine - but night and day with how polished they sound now.  There were times when the horn section sounded so good I w…

PC Worship / Whatever Brains at Slims - 12/14/2011

PC Worship
with Whatever Brains

There were promises, promises of an early-ish show starting at nine and Whatever Brains going on first.  This meant I got my ass out of the house early, and what the hell, let's eat a tasty burger at Chuck's next door before the rocking begins.  Let it be known they make a damn tasty burger, even if it is a bit expensive. 

The show did actually start early, probably closer to 9:30 though...still early enough for my old man tastes.  Whatever Brains were luckily opening the show - I would have expected them to headline or play next to last, but, you know, fuck it.  The whole band piled on to the tiny stage and put out a blistering set of their weirdo art punk that I love so much.  I guess the really young keyboardist is moving away and this was his last show with them for the time being at least.  Probably going to cut down on the amount of underage ladies hitting on the band, but that might be a good thing.  Anyways, yadda yadda …

Future Islands / Ed Schrader's Music Beat at Cat's Cradle - 11/27/2011

Future Islands
with Ed Schrader's Music Beat
Cat's Cradle

I spent the entire Thanksgiving break in Washington DC looking at museums and such, so the prospect of driving out to Carrboro for a show wasn't very appealing...but the ticket was bought and having seen this line-up a few times now, I knew it would be a good time, tiredness aside. 

I could hear Ed Schrader's Music Beat hammering out their primitive rock from where I parked behind Carrburritos - one of the benefits of the (usually open) side door at the Cradle.  Luckily I was able to see most of their set, as they are one of my favorite live bands going these days.  I've tried and failed to describe their music in the past - the best way I can put it is the songs and sound are simple but not simplistic, if you catch my drift.  Drums, bass and barked vocals, all done in a very straight-forward manner...the sorts of tracks most people could probably play, but couldn't ever think of.  It's like…

The Sea & Cake at the Local 506 - 11/11/2011

The Sea & Cake
Local 506

I celebrated the meaningless adulation of the date 11/11/11 by going to see The Sea & Cake in Chapel Hill.  I saw them for the the first time in this same town (no big surprise there), only at the Cat's Cradle with Trans Am and Tractor Hips opening on May 4th, 1997.  No, I'm not some sort of date savant, I've still got a poster I bought at the show on my wall (a poster by Casey Burns, no less).  I've seen them maybe one or two other times since then, and a couple of Sam Prekop solo shows, but you just don't get that many opportunities to see the great band live. 

Given the age and style of this band, is it sexist to mention how surprised I was that there were so many young attractive women at the gig?  Probably.  But I was expecting a bunch of middle aged men with beards to dominate the audience, and certainly there were plenty of "us" there, but the ratio was actually decent.  Of course, you really only notice …

M83 / Active Child at Kings - 10/29/11

with Active Child

The only show I've anticipated more than this one all year was the "secret" Archers of Loaf show way back in January.  When they announced M83 was going to be playing Moogfest up in Asheville, I would have definitely gone whatever day they played despite not giving a shit about much of the other music and the tickets being damn expensive.  Then when they announced a stop at Kings, that not only I'd get to see them in town but in a very small venue...well, musical nirvana washed over me. 

Active Child opened the show.  I'd seen them play for free a few months ago at Deja Mi Fest in front of the Lincoln Theatre, and was really neither here nor there on them - some interesting moments but overall not really my style of music.  I felt only slightly better about them this go around.  It certainly helped that the sound in Kings was much better than that outdoor show, as this group has a certain subtlety to their music.  I think the b…

Spider Bags / Wesley Wolfe / T0W3RS at Tir Na Nog - 10/20/2011

Spider Bags
with Wesley Wolfe and T0W3RS
Tir Na Nog

This was a pretty exciting version of "Local Beers, Local Bands" - two great groups in Spider Bags and my new crush T0W3RS, plus Wesley Wolfe who I've been meaning to see for quite some time now.  I was there early and excited, staking out a good spot so I could snap some of my mediocre photos...only to discover that the old lady had removed the memory card from my camera and not returned it.  So not only was I not able to take photos, I now had this heavy albatross hanging around my neck, as useless as a tuxedo on casual Friday.  But once the music started, things got better. 

T0W3RS opened the night.  I'd just seen them for the first time a few weeks prior, and instantly became smitten with their larger-than-life shambolic pop.  I keep comparing them to early pre-disco Of Montreal, but there is a ton more going on, from the weird cultiness of Danielson Famile to the chamber pop of Polyphonic Spree to the.…

The War on Drugs at Kings - 10/11/2011

The War on Drugs

Despite my snarkiness with some friends that the new War on Drugs record "Slave Ambient" is the best album Tom Petty has released in years, I was pretty pumped to see them play again.  Cause even if it does sound a whole lot like Petty, it's still a great fuckin' record - and has gotten a ton of spins since I got my sticky little fingers on it.  Kings wasn't packed but it was fairly full, and despite being a partial anti-social shut-in I knew a ton of people there.  No doubt if you polled my local group of friends, this record would come the closest to getting the "record of the year" nod, and across a fairly wide swath of music fans. 

Clearly, the love goes both ways, as the War on Drugs declared their love for the town multiple times...I'm sure it helps that they seem to have friends here, and I'm sure constantly getting smoke blown up your ass is never a bad thing.  Early on they noted they were going to pla…

Pipe at Motorco - 10/7/2011


Pipe.  PIPE!  PIPE PIPE PIPE PIPE PIPE!!!!!  Can you tell I was excited to see these guys again?  I couldn't even tell you how many times it's been, but seeing punk rock's version of Guided by Voices never gets old.  The crowd wasn't very large but they were enthusiastic, peppering singer Ron Liberti with beer cans for the duration of the show.  The set list was a typical Pipe set list, including "Ashtray" and "You're Soaking in It" and all the usual suspects - but the real surprise is they played a *new* untitled song.  When the hell was the last time Pipe had a new song?!?  I was both bewildered and excited, fondly daydreaming that there might even be a new seven inch or album in the future...well, maybe a seven inch.  A new album seems about as likely as this band getting the due they've deserved for almost 20 years now.

Tonk at Kings - 10/1/2011


Local classic country purveyors Tonk decided to make an appearance at Kings, and who was I to stay at home and miss that?  After a night of watching football and eating cheeseburgers with friends, it was the best way to end the night.  As per usual they played a wide swath of classic country songs, some known and others not.  A couple of the highlights were "Be Real" by Sir Douglas Quintet and Nick Lowe's "Lately I've Let Things Slide".  Yeah the Nick Lowe song isn't country but it is awesome so who cares.  I know there was a Gary Stewart song played too but my mind fails me on what it was.  There were also a couple of original tracks, with the comically titled "She Likes To Love Me Early and Often" standing out in my hazy brain.  There were quite a few audience members dancing, and i don't mean rock show bobbing-your-head dancing like I've perfected - real dancing, couples dancing.  I don't do that kind of dan…

OCSC 10th Anniversary Party at the Cat's Cradle - 10/15/2011

OCSC 10th Anniversary Party
with Crooked Fingers, Kerbloki, and Seven Brides for the Meatwagon
Cat's Cradle

Just because I've never actually been to the OCSC, doesn't mean I don't want to celebrate their success.  Especially when it involves a bunch of great bands.

Due to some family in town and a late dinner stuffing myself silly with Mexican food, I got to the Cradle just after Crooked Fingers had started their set.  I've seen them a thousand times so it wasn't end of the world that I was late, but there is also a reason I've seen them so many times - Eric Bachmann always delivers a fantastic show, time and time again.  His sound might slightly morph between different styles, but that booming deep voice of his always ties the music together, much like The Dude's rug really tied the room together.  And like most Crooked Fingers shows, the band was almost completely different from every other time I've seen them, working as a standard four…

American Aquarium / Stuart McLamb / Gray Young at Motorco & Fullsteam Brewery - 9/1/2011

Deja Mi Fest - Durham
with American Aquarium, Stuart McLamb, and Gray Young
Motorco and Fullsteam Brewery

I could get used to to Deja Mi throwing all these free gigs.  The first one in Raleigh was a larger, multi-day affair featuring a bunch of touring bands, but this Durham outing was more focused on our great local acts.  And as an added bonus, there were a bunch of food trucks there so that I was able to stuff myself silly while rocking out. 

The first act was Gray Young and they played inside of Full Steam.  I mean, not inside of the giant beer vat or anything, though that might have been kind of awesome.  I've been meaning to see them for quite some time, so it was great to finally be able to check that off my list.  They were quite good, very much like their or some such ridiculous descriptor.  What I'm saying is they reminded me a lot of Appleseed Cast, and maybe some older bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and Christie Front Drive.  S…

T0W3RS / Naked Gods / Cellar Seas / The Toddlers at Kings & Tir Na Nog - 9/29/2011

T0W3RS with Naked Gods; 
Cellar Seas with The Toddlers
Kings and Tir Na Nog

This was a night of two free shows - one at Kings, the other at Tir Na Nog.  The only thing better than a free show is two of them withing short walking distance of each other. 

First up was Naked Gods at Kings.  I'd heard of these kids for a while, but this was my first time seeing them.  Boone hasn't exactly produced a ton of great bands, and growing up near there you automatically assume most anything leaving that town is going to have a strong hippie stink to it.  Luckily, that was not the case here - to put it in simplest terms, the group reminded me of a southern rock version of the great British band Doves.  The singer had a nice voice, reminding me at different times of David Bazan and Jim James of My Morning Jacket.  I didn't love every single song they played, but I liked enough of their songs to recommend them to others and try to see them again myself. 

I made my way down to …

PHOTOS: Hopscotch 2011, Day Three in downtown Raleigh - 9/10/2011

The Men - Slims

Bass Drum of Death - Slims

Brain F≠ - Lump Gallery

Cheveu - Lump Gallery

KORT - Kings

Hopscotch 2011, Day Three in downtown Raleigh - 9/10/2011

Hopscotch 2011 - Day 3
With Superchunk, The Flaming Lips, Shit Horse, The Men, Bass Drum of Death, Brain F≠, Cheveu, and KORT
Downtown Raleigh

It was the third and final night of Hopscotch, and while my body might be wearing down, my spirit and excitement in hearing more live music had not waned at all.  Superchunk was on stage in the City Plaza as I was parking my car...and let me say how amazing it is hearing "Slack Motherfucker" blaring all over downtown Raleigh, able to be heard blocks away.  I have of course seen this band dozens of times, and will hopefully see them dozens more, so I didn't feel the need to be there for the whole thing in such a large impersonal setting.  But the Chunk did what they always do, churn out catchy song after catchy song, bouncing all around the stage like kids half their age.  I only caught a few songs but it was a few of their best songs - "Cast Iron" and "Hyper Enough" amongst them.  And even on a giant …

PHOTOS: Hopscotch 2011, Day Two in downtown Raleigh - 9/9/2011

Guided by Voices - City Plaza

Generationals - White Collar Crime

Bandway - Deep South Bar

Hospitality - The Union