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 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 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.
check out the parent website...
2008 - current: These reviews are from my time here in the Triangle of NC.
Pre-2008: These reviews were from when I lived in the Bay Area and likely appeared on the website Playing in Fog.