Showing posts from 2012

Whatever Brains at Slims - 12/1/2012

Whatever Brains

So there isn't really any reason for me to write another poorly worded Whatever Brains review, so I'm going to keep this brief:  they were awesome as always.  Slims was packed, and the band was bleeding into the crowd off of the tiny stage.  It was another two keyboardists performance giving a heavy carnival punk vibe, I have no idea if this is a permanent arrangement and I doubt the band does either.  The highlight of the night was the final song, when they undertook a very Whatever Brains-ish cover of the Turtles' "Happy Together" that they never let end - just when you thought the song was dying down they would restart it again.  They must have played it three or four times in a row, getting sloppier and more ridiculous with every pass.  It was glorious, and a perfect example of why I love this band.

Dead Tongues at Tir Na Nog - 11/30/2012

Dead Tongues
Tir Na Nog

It feels like it's been forever since I had last seen Ryan Gustafson play live, and according to this review forever means more than two years.  And I don't mean that he's been playing shows and I've avoided him all that time, I just don't think he has been performing much these last couple of years.  But now he's back, and performing under the moniker Dead Tongues.  The name change doesn't seem to have had any effect on Gustafson's sound though, as he's still doing the country rock thing ala the Byrds and singing with that same ear-pleasing voice.  Lots of young girls piled up in front of the stage, alternating between watching the music and "whooping" for 30 seconds, and then talking to their friends and texting for five minutes.  This went on the entire show, like clockwork.  It would have been more irritating if it wasn't so expected. 

The good news is there apparently is an album in the works with t…

Future Islands at the Lincoln Theatre - 11/2/2012

Future Islands
Lincoln Theatre

It feels like only yesterday I was seeing Future Islands in a half-full Berkeley Cafe, and now they are selling out the Lincoln Theatre.  OK, maybe it was closer to two years ago, but that is still some impressive growth in a fanbase.  Of course that sort of growth also means the asshole factor goes way up; that plus this evening's gig happening on a First Friday, and I'd guess no more than a few dozen people at this show WERE NOT douchebags. 

My fandom of Future Islands transcends even the worst of crowds, though I could only tolerate being at the front of the stage for a handful of songs (and only stayed there that long to take a few photos).  But Future Islands don't care, they just keep on being awesome on stage no matter how many frat boys are populating the audience.  It felt like they played pretty much every song from their last two records "In Evening Air" and "On the Water," including all the highlights th…

King Tuff / The Intelligence / Whatever Brains at the Duke Coffeehouse - 10/24/2012

King Tuff
with The Intelligence & Whatever Brains
Duke Coffeehouse

For some reason I have the hardest time getting myself to Duke Coffeehouse shows, most likely because if I don't buy advance tickets it can be real hard to motivate me off the couch, and as near as I can tell they never do advance tickets.  Even when I know a show won't sell out, it can be tough to convince my paranoid self that I'll get in for sure.  And nothing worse than driving to Durham or Chapel Hill and then getting turned around.

Luckily, this did not happen this evening.  I did get there a little late though, and only caught the last couple of songs by Whatever Brains.  Still, it fulfilled my requirement of seeing them at least once monthly.  They appear to be playing with two keyboard players now - the young dude is now back in the band (I think he left town for school or something?), and the older dude continues to be in the group, so now it's like a synth band covering Whatever Bra…

The Afghan Whigs at the Cat's Cradle - 10/21/2012

The Afghan Whigs
The Cat's Cradle

I guess it is possible to both love and hate a band's live show at the same time.  The Afghan Whigs came equipped with a crazy light show...unfortunately, it was one most likely optimized for a much larger venue than the Cat's Cradle.  They forgot that part of seeing live music is actually being able to see the band, as there were no lights directed at the front of the band - I couldn't see Greg Dulli's face for more than a couple of songs all night.  But what was even worse was that they had some crazy spotlights mounted to the top of the stage shining out in the crowd blinding many of us.  These lights might have worked on a much taller stage, but in this venue it was a goddamn mess.

So I was irritated at the start of the show as conditions were less than optimal and, at least by my purchase history, this was a damn expensive ticket.  But even if I couldn't see Dulli & company, they sounded so so SO good...just r…

Godspeed You! Black Emperor at the Cat's Cradle - 10/4/2012

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Cat's Cradle

Finally getting to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a show that had been a long time coming.  And while the 2002 version of me would have been ready to sacrifice his first born child at the chance to see this band, even the decade older version of me was pretty excited.  The band was eight members deep, and had configured themselves into a very tight horseshoe in the middle of the stage.  I only mention this since I was standing on the side, and it gave their performance a very closed-off look.  Perhaps this was intentional, fitting in with their sound, but it made taking photos a little tougher.  But you know what made it even tougher than that?  That the band was playing entirely in the dark outside of a couple of projection screens behind them.  And the projections themselves were often dark.  But it all worked well with their post-apocalyptic orchestral post-rock, the dark mood fitting well with their dark sounds.  They playe…

OFF! / Negative Approach / Double Negative at Kings - 9/30/2012

with Negative Approach & Double Negative

It was to be a night of high class living - champagne, caviar, and old man hardcore.  Outside of listening to some Gorilla Biscuits twenty years ago I'm not usually a hardcore kind of guy, but OFF! is the sort of band to get you out of the house.

Local lads Double Negative opened the show.  The place wasn't even close to full yet, but once the band started the moshing and general carry on was already ferocious.  It was pretty clear that getting half-decent photos of the band was not going to be easy with one eye on the crowd, my body braced for impact, and random people flying off the stage in my direction.  The band rocked it out for about twenty minutes, which is apparently a long show for them.  Like other times I've seen DN I dug it, but I'm not educated enough in this genre to make comparisons or really say why.

The middle slot was for hardcore legends Negative Approach.  They are one of those bands I&…

Spider Bags / The Golden Boys / The Limes at Kings - 9/20/2012

Spider Bags
with The Golden Boys & The Limes

Good goddamn what a night of garage rockery.  Muy Bueno. 

The Limes played first.  I didn't (and still don't) know dick about them, but they're from Memphis and Goner has put out some of their records so I figured it was worth checking out.  They started off real damn sloppy, playing a song that they had apparently just written a few hours earlier; they got stronger and stronger as the set wore on though.  Singer Shawn Cripps has an interesting vibe about him, reminding me a little bit of local legend Dex Romweber, though probably not as badass a guitarist as Dex.  At their best they sounded like garage combined with New Zealand/Kiwi pop, with maybe a little Cramps and very early "Westing"-era Pavement thrown in.  Towards the end of the set Dan McGee joined the band to sing one of their songs, a trend that would continue through the night.  Pretty decent - I didn't pick up their record that night…

PHOTOS: Hopscotch 2012, Day Three in downtown Raleigh - 9/8/2012

Oneida - Mecca

Old Quarter - Slims

Mount Moriah - Mecca

The Roots - City Plaza

Nobunny - CAM

Hopscotch 2012, Day Three in downtown Raleigh - 9/8/2012

Hopscotch Music Fest 2012 - Day Three
With Oneida, Old Quarter, Mount Moriah, The Roots, Nobunny, Danny Brown, Lambchop and Sunn O)))
Mecca, Slims, City Plaza, CAM, Fletcher Opera Theatre and Memorial Auditorium

To paraphrase "Clerks" I wasn't even supposed to go out today.  I was planning on lazing around on my couch and not going out until the evening shows, but when Oneida was a last-minute addition to the Megafaun day party so I screwed myself together, put on some sunscreen, and left the house.  Oneida was also playing later that night, but I was going to be seeing someone else during their time slot so it was exciting that I was still able to see them play.  This gig was held in the street in front of Mecca, and apparently I wasn't the only one who thought starting the day with these guys was a good idea.  The band had eight people total, but never more than seven playing at the same time - the sax man was never performing when the extra drummer was doing …