Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Obits / Whatever Brains at Kings - 1/12/2011

with Whatever Brains

My first show of the new year, and it was a keeper. It would have been a super-duper keeper if the opening band Gentleman Jesse & His Men hadn't been snowed and iced in back in their hometown of Atlanta, but Obits is entree enough for any rock meal. I got there right at the end of Whatever Brains opening set, and it sounded good as always - I always hear the Fall in them, but this time I picked up on a tinge of "TV Party" era Black Flag party punk in there too. One thing of note though - I like them live and I like the recordings I've heard, but the two seem to never sound alike to me. Maybe my ears are broken, but it's like two different bands. I probably prefer the live version best, if pushed to pick.

Kings was probably half to three-quarters full by the time
Obits took the stage. How this show isn't sold out but Girl Talk sells out Disco Rodeo, I'll never understand. Insert grumpy old man rant about kids these days. Anyways, Obits were fucking fantastic. I was a HUGE Hot Snakes fan and got to see them a few times living out in California (no idea how much they played the east coast, they didn't seem to like to tour much), but this was my first time seeing this new Rick Froberg production. Obviously their sound is going to be compared to the Hot Snakes, and understandably so. But Obits aren't nearly as aggressive as the Snakes, and seem to harbor a strong undercurrent of surf rock in their sound. I suppose calling themselves Shadowy Snake Men on a Shadowy Hot Planet was shot down in the preliminary stages of band name choosing. The set seemed to be mostly new songs and only a few from their only full-length "I Blame You". This would obviously point towards them having a new record out in the near future, which is clearly a good thing. They seemed to really enjoy Kings, so hopefully there will be more stops in the City of Oaks for us fans.

Light Pines at Tir Na Nog - 12/2/2010

Light Pines
Tir Na Nog

I've beat around the bush but my final thought on the matter - Light Pines really remind me of Doves. This show crystallized this thought into my brain, and I don't see it shaking any time soon. I consider this a good thing, for the record - those first two Doves records are quite good and listenable even to this day, and I saw them live a few times - always a great show.

It was kind of a crappy night out but there was still a big crowd at Tir Na Nog for this free gig - was it because of Light Pines, or was it because local pants kings Raleigh Denim were giving away a couple pairs of their really nice (and pricey) pants? It was probably both, cause last I checked everyone loves both awesome music and free pants, or at least everyone with any goddamn sense. And let it be stated that I did not win any pants, but I'm not going to hold that against Raleigh Denim, I hold it against all those other people that showed up for the show. Plus they were all wearing pants, so I'm not sure what they needed them for (I was, of course, bottomless - as I always am at local shows, so the pants would have been really handy).

Wasn't this supposed to be a show review? Did I mention Light Pines were awesome, like they always are? I really really REALLY wish they'd put out a damn record. I want to listen to them all the time, not just at shows. Put out a record Light Pines, your pantsless fans need something to keep them warm on these lonely winter nights.

Future Islands / Lonnie Walker at Kings - 11/19/2010

Future Islands
with Lonnie Walker

It had probably been a few months since I'd last seen Lonnie Walker. And going a few months without seeing them is a real feat. A nice problem to have, an awesome local band that plays a lot locally. But I guess they had recently partaken in a tour of some sort (supporting the night's headliners, Future Islands, or at least I think that's the case), and good lord were they tight and together and really kicking ass on stage. I constantly fluctuate on what/who these guys remind me of, but I seem to come back to Modest Mouse more than anyone. But the thing is, I only think this when I'm watching them...when I sit around and write a review, the idea of comparing them to Modest Mouse doesn't really make much sense. Certainly Brian Corum doesn't sound anything vocally like Isaac Brock, but something in their style of singing their delivery...I dunno, it's just a comparison I can't shake.

I'd gone on and on and on to the old lady about how great Future Islands are live, had convinced her to go with me next time they were in town, and then she went and got sick and sent me out alone. But any displeasure in electro-rocking out solo is easily washed away with the presence of glow sticks...and there were glow sticks everywhere. I thought there were a lot of glow sticks last time, but it felt like they had multiplied like rabbits. They were being thrown to and fro, at the band, at the audience, folks making necklace and bracelets out of them. I tucked a few in my hat like a feather, cause that's how I roll.

The show sold out in advance, and packed to the gills with happy kids (and a few old folks like myself) there to dance and really enjoy themselves on this pleasantly cool fall night. Like the last time I saw Future Islands, the attendants were really living it up and having themselves a grand ol' time to the music. As expected the band played pretty much both all of their last two records, along with a couple of new tracks one would hope will find their onto a recording in the near future (hopefully very near future). Two things came to me during their set...first, this is performance art as much as it is live music. Band front man Sam stalks the stage like a caged tiger forced to dance for his dinner, and I mean that in the best way possible. He looks like he might pounce on an audience member at any moment, and who knows what will happen from there - a lick on the cheek or a bite to the neck, either seems possible. Second, it finally dawned on me what they sound like - Ian Curtis fronting New Order if he hadn't killed himself (obviously we're assuming Joy Division would have broken up anyways, and New Order formed as they did). And I still say he sounds a little like the singer from U.S. Maple, a comparison a fellow U.S. Maple fan agreed with.

But none of that nerdy pointless comparisons and hogwash really matters - Future Islands put on one of best live shows in the business. And we're lucky in that they perform here all the time. So don't be stupid, go see them play. Assuming you like to have fun.