Sunday, October 11, 2015

Spider Bags / Dick Diver at the Nightlight - 7/9/2015

Spider Bags
With Dick Diver
The Nightlight

No disrespect to the always awesome Spider Bags, but the impetus for my driving out to Chapel Hill on this Thursday night was to see Australia's Dick Diver.  And to also eat at Carrburritos obviously, but that part is a given for any trip to Chapel Hill.  I'm not sure what is in the water down under, but it seems like nearly every Aussie band I have lent my ears to lately I come away loving, and that was definitely true with this four piece from Melbourne.  On record they sound a lot like kids who grew up on the New Zealand sound of the Clean and the Bats and the 3ds and that crowd - that may or may not true, and it seems entirely possible that Australians would never admit to being influenced by New Zealanders (I'm possibly creating a rift between the two countries completely out of thin air mind you), but pretty much everyone seems to hear the same thing as me.  Live you get that vibe as well, but there is something else there, something almost Stone Roses-ish...Stone Roses with amazing harmonies.  They were quite endearing and funny between songs as well, seemingly fascinated with American truck stops and weird flip flops (or as they called, them, thongs) and talked of going to F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave and farting.  It was everything I could ever want out of the live show of a new favorite band.  The Aussies don't often make it past the west coast, but I hope they travel back over here to the east again and often. 

I was feeling kinda beat but if Spider Bags are playing it's not like you can't watch at least a couple of songs...and once you've taken in a couple of songs, you might as well see a few more, until you get sucked into nearly the whole damn set.  There was a guy posted up front and center who clapped along vigorously throughout the whole song for most of their set, a level of enthusiasm that was impressive at first and quickly escalated to fucking annoying.  The band didn't give a shit though, powering through jam after jam and making me happy by performing "Que Viva Rock n' Roll" and "Keys to the City" back-to-back.   As with every other time I've seen them, they're still the best live act in the area - here's to seeing them at least a few more times before the end of 2015, as one should.

The Rolling Stones at Carter Finley Stadium - 7/1/2015

The Rolling Stones
Carter Finley Stadium

It's not often I go to giant, expensive stadium shows where you can enjoy a corndog or nachos (or both) with your rock-n-roll, but how many more chances is there going to be to see the Rolling Stones?  I know it's a well worn trope, but any or all of the band could keel over from old age any minute now.  The family felt the same as I did, and made the trip down from the hills to join Chelsea and I for this gigantic concert extravaganza. 

I've been to a number of NC State football games at Carter Finley, but for some reason the crush of fans looking for parking and walking to the venue seemed ten times greater.  My best guess is that at football games tons of people get there hours early and trickle in slowly through the day, whereas this concert was mid-week after work so everyone was coming at the same time.  Due to my mom's anal retentiveness, we got there plenty early and sat around the parking lot for a while, enjoying refreshments and watching all forms of humanity stream by.  A truck parked a couple over from us was breaking the cardinal rule of playing a band the day you are going to see them, but other than that it was mostly just a bunch of almost-drunk, middle-aged (and much older) white people ready to have a good time.  

The Avett Brothers opened.  We saw a couple of songs.  I question that they are all brothers.  I think at one point I commented that it was music for people who wear large neck amulets.  That's all I really have to say on that. 

As for the real show - our seats were pretty much dead center, which turned out to be a pretty good spot.  All of the floor seats were crazy expensive (as opposed to the regular expensive where we sat), and unless you were in the very front I'm not sure it was worth it.  They had a penis-like extension that reached out pretty far into the crowd, which Mick and Keith did a fair amount of strutting up and down.  It actually sounded pretty decent where we were sitting, or at least as decent as you might expect from an outdoor stadium show.  The set list was as expected - lots of their most popular songs like "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Satisfaction," and "It's Only rock-n-Roll" that I honestly never need to hear again.  But they also played a bunch of their other hits that never get old such as "Honky Tonk Women," "Miss You" (that disco bass line will always rule), "Sympathy for the Devil," and "Gimme Shelter." 

Rock n' Roll Partyfest at Slims - 6/20/2015 & 6/21/2015

Rock n' Roll Partyfest
6/20/2015 & 6/21/2015

I waited way, way, WAY too long to write this review, so it will be a very abridged version because I can barely remember shit.  Long story short, they held a two day mini-festival of (mostly) local punk and garage bands in the sweatbox known as Slims.  I didn't see all of the bands because I am ultimately a very lazy person, but this is who I did see...

Thick Modine - three piece who played a soulful, bluesy version of garage rock.  Singer had a nice set of pipes - a couple of their songs reminded me a little of early Bob Seger.  The band was a little sloppy, but still fun enough. 

Drag Sounds - they used to be from Greensboro but now live in Baltimore - damn that city for constantly stealing our best.  They were one of my highlights from last year's Hopscotch, and probably the best thing at this Fest.  Really should have seen them more when they were still local.  Top notch garage psych, with the occasional foray into AC/DC style riffage.

Paint Fumes - You can't have a fest like this and not include Charlotte's finest.  I don't think I had seen them since before the singer's injury, but they were just as great as ever.  The band now features members of (now defunct?  Still not clear.) Last Year's Men as the rhythm section.  They performed a great cover of the Stooge's "1970."

Acid Chaperone - newish local four piece that really impressed me - instrumental stoner surf punk, if there is even such a genre.  Reminded me of a heavier Family Dollar Pharoahs, a great local band that broke up possibly before most of the band was even born. 

Natural Causes - the new hot shit in the local punk scene, it's most of the kids from Last Year's Men, and as mentioned above I have no idea the status of that band that I loved so much.  I assume they're either broken up or on hiatus, and if that's the case Natural Causes are a pretty great consolation prize.  This group is a little less Reigning Sound-ish soulful garage, and more in the vein of spazzy synth punk ala Lost Sounds.  They also would occasionally get a little snotty and aggressive in a Circle Jerks kind of way.  These kids are playing constantly so I'm sure I'll see them a lot more.    

Black Zinfandel - The whole band was wearing matching shirts that read "Black Zin Gang" and they said it was their first show in a year.  I've always been impressed by them - they're not really punk or metal or any one genre in particular, just heavy in the best sort of way.  I'd really like one of those shirts. 

It was a fun time, outside of all the sweating I did.  Hopefully they do it again next year.