Friday, April 6, 2012

Race for the Cure Benefit - Photos - 3/23/2012

Whatever Brains - Tir Na Nog

Birds of Avalon - Pour House

Love Language - Pour House

Dana Buoy - Tir Na Nog

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Race for the Cure Benefit at Tir Na Nog & The Pour House 3/23/2012

Race for the Cure Benefit
with Whatever Brains, Birds of Avalon, Love Language, and Dana Buoy
Tir Na Nog & The Pour House

It's nights like these that really make you grateful for the fantastic local scene we have around here.  Local bands of varying levels of popularity gathered together at four different Raleigh venues to raise money for the care and treatment of a little boy with cancer.  The whole shebang sold out easily, and they managed to raise over 45K for the kid, which is just fantastic.  As an added bonus, much awesome music was seen and heard. 

I got a late start on the night after getting sucked into watching basketball at home, but I finally left my couch and started the evening with Whatever Brains at Tir Na Nog.  I feel like I've probably seen them play at least once a month for the last six months, maybe ten times in the last year, and I love them more and more with each viewing.  They've become my own personal house band for the talk show in my mind (which coincidentally will be jut like a stage version of "Fishing With John" for the record).  I'm as excited for their new album as I am for anything being released this year.  As always, I deem this band unreviewable, but highly recommended if you like both rock music and good times. 

After the Brains I wandered next door to the Pour House to see Birds of Avalon.  Unlike the Brains it had been quite a while since I'd seen them play, so it was good to get a refresher on the best psyche rock band operating in the area.  Their newish four-piece version of the band (yeah, it's probably been a couple of years since they became a four piece, get off my case) sounds a lot more dialed in to me - less vocals, more instrumental, heavy krautrock vibe...they don't sound just like Wooden Shjips, but they sound like they might visit the same barber.  As an added bonus, the bassist was sporting a really bad ass pair of white Filas that would have fit right in on a metal band in 1985.  So jealous, but I doubt I'm man enough to pull them off.  They played a lot of new tracks, and it really got me amped for a new album, whenever that might come. 

I stayed put at the front of the crowd at the Pour House for the next band scheduled to play there - the Love Language.  It's interesting to think of how indifferent I started with this band, and then their songs wormed their way into my head to where now I think they're one of the best pop bands in the country.  Stu and his cohorts really have a way with hooks.  And as much as it drives me crazy that the crowd is singing along and making it hard to hear the band from time to time, it says a lot to the power their music has pver their fans.  So much power, in fact, that there was a couple standing next to me basically dry humping.  It was giving me flashbacks to high school.  The band played plenty of tracks from their two records, as well as a few great new songs from an album they are currently working on.    To quote Abraham Lincoln, "Good times were had by all."

I closed out the evening back at Tir Na Nog.  I got there right at the end of Annuals, and they were playing the theme song to "Trailer Park Boys".  Glorious I tell you, just glorious.  But I was specifically over there to see Dana Buoy play, who was added to the end of the bill at last minute.  By the time the Annuals broke down and Dana got set up, there was only about twenty minutes left until closing...but it was a damned enjoyable twenty minutes.  For the record, Dana's main gig is in the band Akron/Family and this is apparently his first solo outing.  It was only a handful of songs but I was very impressed - imagine Akron/Family if they became an electro-pop duo, and you'd be in the ballpark.  Dana played guitar while tweaking a ton of keyboards and pedals and whatnot, and his bandmate was basically doing the same, only he had a bass instead of a guitar.  I'm really looking forward to this album when it comes out...a great ending to a terrific night.

Corrosion of Conformity / Torche at the Lincoln Theatre 3/3/2012

Corrosion of Conformity
with Torche
Lincoln Theatre

I almost never go to the Lincoln Theatre (not sure I've been there at any time other than Hopscotch), and I learned a valuable lesson from this show - they start their shit on time.  Yeah, there was four bands playing, but I didn't actually expect it to start at 8 or so.  I got there a little after 10 and Torche, the third band, was already playing!  So much for finally getting to see Valient Thorr

I'm not as well versed in the metal world so my reviews of these bands will be even shittier than usual.  Florida's Torche were the main reason I was at the show, no offense to our local gods of rock.  It seem like every time they play locally I've had some other shit going on or I was out of town.  Now I finally get to see them, and I miss part of their set cause the Lincoln has to be all timely like they're running a train station.  I was keyed in to the group via their "Meanderthal" album from 2008, and live they lived up to that masterpiece - a little bit melodic, a little bit mathy/prog, and a whole lot metal.  I'm guessing unlike myself, the crowd was primarily there for CoC but folks seemed to really be digging the rock.  I'm really looking forward to seeing Torche again, maybe even their complete set next time. 

It was actually a little bit of a mindfuck that I was seeing Corrosion of Conformity.  Not that I wasn't excited to see them now, but my 13 year old self would have been really wound up.  I mean, I was excitd when I got to see Damn Yankees at that age, so this would have melted me from the inside out.  I've never been a super huge fan, but they were always talked about in such high esteem as the godfathers of North Carolina metal it was great to finally witness their live show.  Sometimes there are things you want to do and sometimes there are things you feel like you should do...seeing CoC is both.  I can't even pretend to be an expert on their music, but I am an expert on what my eyes saw - some old dudes (even older than me!) rockin' the fuck out.  And a singing drummer!  It was just like seeing Genesis except awesome.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and now need to make an effort to go back and really explore CoC's catalog. 

Lonnie Walker / Airstrip / The Charming Youngsters at Tir Na Nog - 2/17/2012

Lonnie Walker
with Airstrip & The Charming Youngsters
Tir Na Nog

I had been looking forward to seeing Airstrip for a little while now.  See, there used to be this awesome two-piece called Veelee, made up of a boy and a girl who were romantically involved.  And then that relationship dissolved, and along with it the band they had together.  Now this seems awful selfish to me, not to stay together so their awesome band would stay intact and I could go see them play live, but it is what it is and Veelee is no more.  And now we have Airstrip via the boy half of of Veelee (and some other folks, one of which I'm pretty sure is in Gross Ghost). 

So how did it sound?  Being a band and all, that's kinda important.  The simple answer: like a rockin' Veelee.  Because of the vocals and how much I listened to their last (and only) record, it's going to be impossible for me not to think that.  But there is definitely a harder edge to the sound - I was hearing bits of Polvo, Pixies, and maybe other "P" bands in their music, though I don't think you'd ever say they actually sound like those groups.  There was also a bit of psyche rock-style repetitiveness in some of their songs along the lines of Wooden Shjips, which I quite enjoyed.  It was a good first impression, and the band seems to be playing out a lot lately so I should get a chance to see them again sometime soon. 

The evening was started by the bi-coastal musicians The Charming Youngsters (assuming you accept there are coasts in both Raleigh and Greenville).  I've written about them before, quality jangle pop that should by all accounts be much more popular.  They've been taking a break from playing live to record their new album, and they played some of these new songs this evening.  Still pop, but the tracks are a little longer, more elaborate - lots of build to them, ebb and flow, all that.  I like the direction and look forward to finally hearing this new record. 

Lonnie Walker closed the night.  I just checked the review sight and I've written about these kids eight times, and I'd guess I've seen them nearly that many times when I haven't bothered to write anything.  I'd guess I've easily seen them more than anyone else since I moved back from California, and there is a reason I keep going to see them...they fuckin' slay live.  This isn't news to most locals.  If only they could capture even half of that energy on their album they'd strike gold, but some bands are just made for the live setting.