Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Carvers at Satellite Bar and Lounge - 5/24/2014

The Carvers
Satellite Bar and Lounge

The wife and I went to Wilmington for a little Memorial Day vacation and to visit my good pal Brian, and it just so happened that a band featuring both one of Brian's bandmates and his former college roommate, the Carvers, were having a release party for their record.  Why not go see a little surf rock?  well, surf rock with a little vintage sixties garage rock thrown in.  The band was a five piece, all wearing matching burgundy blazers, and rocked it out like the house band of every Roger Corman sixties biker flick ever made.  It was a mix of originals and covers, from the Sonics to Dick Dale to the Santo & Johnny classic "Sleep Walk."  The crowd was also as mixed as I've seen in some time - from the usual young crowd to the middle age set like myself to older folks cutting a rug to the jams, pretty much everyone was represented here.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, including myself...not bad for a free show on a whim. 

Brody Stevens / Howard Kremer at Local 506 - 5/23/2014

Brody Stevens
with Howard Kremer
Local 506

Weird comedy show was weird.  To be fair, I knew this would be the case going in. 

After a local opener, Howard Kremer was the first of the touring duo to take the stage.  It should be noted that the whole reason I was even at this gig is because the wife is obsessed with his podcast "Who Charted," but even she was wary about how odd this might be.  Howard isn't really a stand-up - he occasionally says funny things, but it's awkward and not well formed at all like a typical comedian.  Still, I laughed more than I cringed so I count that as a victory.   

Brody Stevens - not even sure where to start with him.  First off, he is crazy.  And I don't mean in the joking way "oh he's so crazy," no, he's actually been committed.  He's been well known in the LA comedy scene forever, does a ton of audience warm up gigs for various shows, had a documentary show about him on Comedy Central, and is friends with a ton of A-listers.  But none of this means I'm going to laugh seeing him live.  He started his set by DJing songs from his iPod/iPhone/iWhatever and "pumping up" the crowd...and then he proceeded to tell jokes for over two hours.  Well, not so much jokes as yell and do his crazy character and I think he did crowd work on three-quarters of the audience.  I'm not actually sure how much over two hours because that is the mark we left at...at the time Brody was on stage using a pair of chairs like a drum kit.  Seeing him is like seeing a life coach tripping on mushrooms - lots of laughs but I basically felt high after it was over.

(Photo not mine, found randomly online.  Brody did not perform comedy with a dog.)

Superchunk / Loamlands at Haw River Ballroom - 4/10/2014

with Loamlands
Haw River Ballroom

It's a bit of a drive to the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, certainly more so than most other venues.  But it's a pleasant drive, and with my friend the Cook-Out tray there to accompany me, we made the trip in no time and got there in time to see the last half of Loamlands set.  They're almost a local all-star band, mainly consisting of a couple of former Midtown Dickens members but from show to show includes any number of other recognizable musicians - tonight in particular Matt from Portastatic and Bon Iver was handling the drums.  Despite the pedigree I'd not listened to or seen the band before - turns out they play very pleasant folk pop with a slight country tinge.  Singer Kym Register has a fantastic voice, one that could easily hold my attention all by itself, but the songs and musicianship seemed to be top notch across the board.  It looks like they're finally releasing some recorded music this summer, and I'll be gladly picking that up. 

Then it was time for my biannual Superchunk live show experience.  Even though I get to see them fairly often these days, I'm as excited as a teenager each and every time.  I don't have any great insight or special things to say about this show over the many others I've seen, but like always I feel the need to document it.  This was my second time seeing the band without Laura Ballance on bass and with Jason Narducy as her replacement; he may not pogo as much and I haven't had a crush on him my entire adult life, but he is a fair substitute. The attendance (or lack thereof) was somewhat interesting - not that the place was empty or anything, but there was way less folks than I expected...I guess it takes some serious motivation to get folks to drive all the way to Saxapahaw, and since it was only my second time I can't argue with that.  Chunk put on a great show regardless, playing tons of songs I wanted to hear - they leaned heavily on their newest record "I Hate Music" as well as "Indoor Living" which was just recently reissued.  Of particular note was them performing "Under Our Feet," which according to Jim Wilbur was the first time they had ever played it live.  There was also a cover of a song called "Can't Fool Me" by A Number of Things - I'd never heard of this band but apparently Mac was briefly in the group in the eighties and the singer recently passed away.  Track had a nice Black Flag vibe to it, I'd be curious to hear the original. Other than that, there were a few classics like "Skip Steps 1 & 3," "For Tension," and "Driveway to Driveway" that I sang along to like a damn fool.  As always, it was a grand ol' time, and I can't wait to see them again.  And again.  And again. 

Todd Barry at Kings - 4/3/2013

Todd Barry

I saw Todd Barry again.  It was at Kings again.  I laughed my ass off again.

This gig was part of his final crowd work tour.  What does that mean?  Todd came out on stage without a set of prepared jokes, and instead talked to the audience and riffed off of whatever direction they would send him in.  There probably aren't a lot of comics who can do this as successfully as Barry, he's just so quick with the banter, and couple that with his general personality that would have me laughing if he was reading the phonebook, and you've got a successful show. 

There's really not much to say though, other than I laughed so much my face hurt.  He managed to make a bunch of RTP tech nerds sound interesting.  A former NC State soccer coach was there and talked to Todd - he was a much better sport about it than I would have expected, but then again this isn't a regular comedy show at a comedy club and I'm guessing he knew Todd and what he was getting himself into.

(Photo not mine, found randomly online.)