Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Clean / Times New Viking at the Local 506 - 6/8/2012

The Clean
with Times New Viking
Local 506

I was excited to see The Clean again - a number of years ago I saw them as the first act on a super bill with Yo La Tengo and Modest Mouse, and they might have been the best band of the night.  I clearly wasn't alone as the show was well attended by both young fans and old folks alike.  I can't claim to be any sort of super fan - going in I claimed that as long as they played "Tally Ho" (one of my all-time favorite songs by any band ever), I was going to go home a very happy man.  After the show, even if they hadn't played it I still would have been plenty pleased with the performance.  Luckily, that gem of a track got the live treatment as well.  Then again, do they ever not play their signature track?  I really have no idea, but somehow doubt it. 

A combination of wanting to be up front to take photos of the Clean and a recommendation from my friend John led to getting to the 506 in time to see openers Times New Viking.  I basically knew nothing about them other than Merge put out a record of theirs, which I had not heard.  Turns out they are a spunky, poppy lo-fi punk band with a singing drummer and one of the most attractive keyboard players I've ever seen.  It was kinda hard not to stare at her for most of the show, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone.  As an added bonus, I greatly enjoyed their music - it reminded me a little bit of the Thermals crossed with Guided by Voices, two great tastes that taste great together.  I'd gladly go see these guys again, as an opener or a headliner. 

Pop. 1280 at The Pinhook - 6/7/2012

Pop. 1280
The Pinhook

It appeared to me that Pop. 1280 was one of the new underground buzz bands, putting out a record on the oft talked about Sacred Bones label and getting a lot of high visibility press.  I decided to go check them out more or less on a whim, but also because I really dig seeing shows at the Pinhook, and was shocked at how few people were there.  I feel like I'm always late on the intake on the new hot shit music, could it be I was ahead of the trends? 

Anyways, the band was kind of a trip - they sounded like Shellac, Ministry and US Maple got greased up, stuffed in a sack and shaken.  Dark, industrial, aggressive, and pretty enjoyable.  The drummer had a sheet of tin roofing set up on a keyboard stand and banged on it extensively.  The singer, who was front man only, was tall and lanky with tight clothes and an angular haircut, looking kinda like a rock star caricature and a bad ass at the same time.  I'm not entirely sure I loved them, but they were definitely interesting enough that I bought their record and want to give it a nice solid listen. 

Hiss Golden Messenger / William Tyler at The Pinhook - 05/22/2012

Hiss Golden Messenger
with William Tyler
The Pinhook

I have seen William Tyler play many times - with Lambchop, with KORT, and even with Superdrag on a tour a good decade or so ago - but this was my first time finally seeing him do his solo thing.  Instrumental guitar music isn't usually my bag, but I found it quite enjoyable.  More knowledgeable folks than myself have mentioned musicians like Jack Rose, Bert Jansch, and John Fahey in comparison, and I'll just have to take their word for it.  What I do know is Tyler is a hell of a guitar player, using a crazy configuration of pedals to layer different guitar lines on top of each other and providing a damn robust sound for just one dude playing six strings. 

The Court and Spark released one of my all-time favorite alt-country records, "Bless You."  They were from SF and gathered a bot of attention at the same time I was living out there, and I was lucky enough to see them play a couple of times.  I mention this because the frontman of that band was MC Taylor, who started going by Michael Taylor and moved to North Carolina probably around the same time I decided to move back.  But instead of taking my route of playing a lot of shitty basketball and getting fat, he started performing solo under the name Hiss Golden Messenger.  Probably a better use of one's time, honestly. 

Anyways, that's a really pointless and long-winded introduction to my finally seeing Hiss Golden Messenger playing live.  It was just one man and some folky, slightly country jams, but man were they powerful.  Haunting really, helped along a lot by Taylor's stellar voice.  He has always been one of my favorite singers since the Court and Spark days, and nothing has changed in that regard.  Any of his old C&S fans would be well served in searching out this "new" project from Taylor - I'm certainly glad I got off my ass and finally got acquainted. 

Archers of Loaf / Pipe at the Haw River Ballroom - 5/11/2012

Archers of Loaf
with Pipe
Haw River Ballroom

At what point do we stop referring to these Archers of Loaf shows as "reunion shows"?  They might not be playing any new music, but I've seen them at least four times since the reformation and I missed a couple of their gigs.  They've played locally more often over the past year than pretty much anyone not named Lonnie Walker or Whatever Brains.  Not that I'm complaining, obviously - they're still one of my very favorite bands ever no matter how you describe the nature of their current status.  And they still rock just as hard as they did before the break up.  It was a great set - played most of the "hits" and really hit heavily on "All the Nation's Airports".  They also played the great "White Trash Heroes," which they don't play nearly often enough.  Great sound, great effort, great gig.

But here is the downside to the evening - way way WAY too many weekend warriors out trying pack a year's worth of partying into one night.  Obviously the Archers draw an older crowd, people my age and older, and for the most part they don't go out like they did fifteen years ago (something I realize at nearly every show I go to when I'm one of the old creepy men there).  So they get a babysitter, go to a rock show and get so drunk they nearly ruin the event for everyone standing around them.  Let it be said I hate these people with the fury of a thousand suns.  Especially the drunk brother and sister who nearly came to blows with the lesbians behind me, all of which were acting like assholes.

An interesting thing happened on this, my 569th viewing of the phenomenon known as Pipe - no one was throwing beer cans at them!!!  I guess this fancy club doesn't serve any beers in cans, and we were left with an incomplete Pipe live experience.  Might as well have removed the drums or guitar, it would have been no less unnoticed.  A couple of folks were throwing pita bread at Ron Liberti, but it's just not quite the same is it?  Unless the band was also performing in a tub of hummus, then it would be the perfect choice.  Anyways, Pipe played pretty much the same set of songs they've been playing for years and years now, Liberti delighted & tickled me with his antics, and they continue to hold the title of "funnest punk band ever". 

As a side note, this was my first time to this venue and it's great - beautiful inside and out.  Too bad they don't have more shows I'm interested in here, but then again if I had to make that long drive often it would get a little old, even if it is a pretty nice drive.  And the burger I got at the general store next door was one of the best I've ever had.