During one of the obnoxious yet mandatory interviews interrupting the first half hour of Death Cab For Cutie’s hour long performance at the iHeartRadioMusic Theatre, Benjamin Gibbard declared that Los Angeles was neither a villain or a hero on their just released album Kintsugi. As a transplant of this harsh city who has survived upon the sun dried slab of cement for nearly 15 years; those words could not more perfectly sum up the experience of someone who somehow lucked into watching the band knock off some ring rust as they head out to promote their stellar new album.
With cameras overhead and 30 minutes to wash down a free beer from your friends at Budweiser, the former The Tonight Show sound stage is typically reserved for the likes of Katy Perry, Shakira, and the Dad from Growing Pains actual son. Starting promptly at 7pm for those tuning in via radio and internet, the now five piece band kicked the night off with the recently eligible for classic rock radio fan favorite The New Year. Where most people in the room more than likely assumed we would get a new song, the energy level in the room jumped massively with the unexpected curve ball.
With the first half hour being both radio and webcast, Death Cab did a phenomenal job blending new songs with hits. With hints of the City of Angels in both The Ghosts of Beverly Drives and Black Sun, the crowd has already instantly related and bonded to the latest additions to the Los Angeles influenced songs spread across the band’s catalog. With time restraints more than likely preventing I Will Possess Your Heart, You Are A Tourist and Soul Meets Body did a fine job of throwing some hits out to keep the VIP types up in the balcony.
As far as the forced interview went, perhaps the best question was if the new song You’ve Haunted Me All My Life was about being a fan of the Seattle Mariners and never making it to the World Series. Longtime fan Gibbard had a good laugh and stated this would be the year they win it all. While time will only tell if that happens, we also learned on this evening that bassist Nick Harmer spent his downtime between albums creating a mosaic piece of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch completely made out of Skittles.
Once the radio audience dropped off, the band seemed to loosen up a lot. Opening with the 1-2 Kintsugi punch of No Room In Frame and Little Wanderer, the band still has that layer of vulnerability in playing these songs in front of people that will be long gone by the time the now five piece pulls into the Hollywood Bowl later this year. Where the band never sounded bad or out of place; longtime fans without a doubt noticed that the two musicians taking the spot of recently departed founding member Chris Walla can emulate yet not truly recreate what he brought to the table. Impossible shoes to fill, songs like Crooked Teeth and the set closing Transatlanticism lack a certain warmth, yet will have no problem bringing out the emotions of the massive audiences the band are about to embrace.
A perfect warm up for what’s to come, Death Cab For Cutie made the most of their hour at The Burbank Studios. A few more chord progressions perfected, a chance to play in front of a loyal crowd, it will be interesting to see how tight this band becomes by the time they wrap up the touring cycle for this album. Leave it to Death Cab For Cutie to make an indie gig feel like a party in your friend’s back yard.
For years I have been trying to see The Dandy Warhols live. I have a few albums, some I like, and some make me wonder what the fuck I am listening to. Yet I just knew I had to catch the band live. That finally happened on the last Friday in April during the year of our Lord 2014. Nic Adler and The Roxy decided it was time the Sunset Strip was no longer a shadow of its former self and are finally bringing bands worth a lick to West Hollywood. With two sold out nights, I finally got to catch the four piece that made Portland cool long before Fred and Carrie.
The night began with a set from the long running Los Angeles based band The Warlocks. While nothing groundbreaking, the band has an undeniable, almost hypnotic presence. Featuring an extremely tight rhythm section backing a three guitar attack, The Warlocks ooze distortion and create massive waves of sound. I couldn’t name a single song during the 40 minute set, but I was impressed enough to buy some vinyl on the way out.
It was shortly after 10pm when The Dandy Warhols took the stage. With a new live album to support, the band spent 90 minutes serenading the crowd with selections spanning their career. Once front man Courtney Taylor-Taylor fixed an issue with his microphone shocking him, the band ripped through crowd pleasers like We Used To Be Friends, Sad Vacation and Get Off.
With three of the four members rocking vintage rock and roll t-shirts (Taylor-Taylor made sure to mention to the crowd how awesome his Guns ‘n’ Roses t-shirt was) the crowd shouted for requests. While a certain AC/DC cover was ignored, many up front were delighted for Minnesoter towards the end of the set.
With the first night at the Roxy being night three of this current run across the continent, The Dandy Warhols sounded tight and looked confident upon a stage in a venue that was far too small for them. A great gig indeed, hopefully it won’t take me another 20 years to catch them again.
While I recognized the name Biffy Clyro, I only started to pay attention to the band after they became the latest temper tantrum target for the once great artist known as Trent Reznor. In a tweet sent right before the massive Reading Festival across the pond in the United Kingdom, the Academy Award winner was upset that some “whoever the fuck they are” band was not only following Nine Inch Nails, they also “fucked him” on production. Not knowing a damn thing about Biffy Clyro, I decided it was time to give them a listen (I have a thing for bands from the UK that have zero following here in the States). As it turns out, the three piece band from Scotland is making far more interesting music than Trent these days and as you can see from this video, they blew Nine Inch Nails off the fucking stage.
So that brings us to Valentine’s Day 2014 and one of the final nights of a brief west coast run for Biffy Clyro. I found myself back at the El Rey Theatre for a second night in a row, which makes me laugh since I had been to the venue only twice in the past 12 years before that. The night started off rather painfully with a boring set from openers Morning Parade. Dull riffs, dreadful vocals and totally uninspiring, watching Morning Parade are about as exhilarating as watching paint dry. Diet One Republic at best, no need to waste any more space discussing the 40 minutes of my life I can never get back.
With the venue near capacity the band kicked off their largest Los Angeles headline show to date with the slow building Different People found on their most recent studio album Opposites. I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t know what to expect from the crowd as Los Angeles has earned its reputation for shitty crowds for a reason. Yet once the crowd instantly drowned out vocalist/guitarist Simon Neil, I knew we were in for something special. The energy continued right into That Golden Rule as fans bounced off each other and even sang along to instrumental sections of the song.
An unplanned highlight of the night came during the third song, Who’s Got A Match? In fine rock star fashion, Simon Neil ate it hard on the drum riser and fell flat on his face. Despite what looked like a painful trip, Neil kept at it and finished the song with his teal blue Converse facing the crowd elevated high in the air. Check out a great photo from Twitter of the accident down below.
The show continued on with Neil planted firmly on two feet as the band mixed songs from their past two albums effortlessly. Sounds Like Balloons got the boys up front moshing for the first time that night while God and Satan became one massive fucking sing-a-long. Another highlight was the appropriate Spanish Radio, seeing as how Biffy Clyro has a better shot of getting played on one of those in Los Angeles versus our pathetic rock radio signals KROQ and whatever they are calling 98.7 this week. Stripped down a great deal from the album, it once again gave the crowd a chance to breath after a rowdy take on Bubbles.
It didn’t matter what era of Biffy the songs came from, the crowd knew every last line. Armed with only an acoustic guitar, Neil serenaded the crowd with Folding Stars, much to the delight of a few jock types who stopped banging around to allow one of the smaller guys to sway upon the shoulders of a pal. I don’t think the band’s debut album Blackened Sky was released in the United States; however thanks to modern technology everyone lost their minds when it came time for 57 to make an appearance. Perhaps file sharing isn’t always a bad thing?
Clocking in at nearly two hours, the set finally closed with a ferocious run through of The Captain. With sweat dripping from each member of the band, it didn’t matter that the El Rey was 1/80th the size of Reading or Leads, Biffy poured every ounce of energy into the song.
Upon returning for a three song encore that included the songs Opposite, Stingin’ Belle and the band’s biggest UK hit Mountains, the band took a moment to thank the crowd. While some stage banter was unintelligible under those thick Scottish accents, everyone got the message loud and clear that this was hands down the best Biffy Clyro show Los Angeles has ever witnessed. With no main stream help whatsoever, Biffy Clyro is slowly winning over the United States one fan at a time. With at least 850 rabid residents of Southern California now eating out of the palm of their hands, it is just a matter of time before Mon The Biff is as popular of a phrase in Los Angeles as Fuck The 405.
It has been exactly 47 hours since I stood five feet away from Failure as they played live music and the truth of the matter is that I still don’t believe it happened. The group has been number one on my list of bands I want to see reunite since I rescued Fantastic Planet from a discount bin at well-known Bay Area record store. That lone purchase I made on that afternoon in October 1998 would end up becoming my favorite album of all time.
You can imagine my shock last fall when the Facebook page for the band started to show signs of life. That shock then became squeals of delight when the first show since 1997 was set to take place in my adopted home town of Los Angeles. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but perhaps as some sort of karma kicking back my way for turning so many people onto the band I ended up with one ticket admitting me into the El Rey Theatre for an evening with Failure.
With no opening act, the celebration kicked off with a twenty minute video montage featuring various films and television shows. By the time such beloved classics as James Bond and Ren & Stimpy had given way to the film Fantastic Planet, I knew we were close. Sure enough before the movie screen had a chance to drop the opening notes of Another Space Song began to fill the sold out theatre. A song rich in distance, the slowly moving melodies truly allowed the proper mood for 900 people simultaneously experiencing goose bumps. A fantastic opener indeed.
For the next 90 minutes the band dazzled the crowd with a heavy dose of Fantastic Planet while sprinkling the set with enough material from their first two studio records. With illuminated platforms and microphone stands, time and modern technology have allowed the trio of Ken Andrews, Greg Edwards, and Kelli Scott to finally sound as mighty on stage as they did on LP’s back in the 1990’s. An early example of this was the bass Andrews laid down during Frogs. With low-end so rich and deep I was convinced the chandeliers above the crowd would come crashing down. Thankfully that was not the case.
Much like the Fantastic Planet album, the show slowly evolved into something greater and greater. Any slight cobwebs were all but knocked up by the time songs like Sergeant Politeness and Undone had come and gone. In fact the band sounded as if they had been on tour for 16 years and not on moth balls as the three sounded tight and nailed every musical transition with ease. It didn’t matter if they were rocking at full force on Pillowhead or taking things down into dark ravines with the likes of Segue 3 and Blank, Failure was in dialed in and confident as could be.
Since listening to a Live 105 Christmas concert on the radio back in 1996 doesn’t count as seeing the band live, I didn’t raise my hand when Andrews asked between songs if I had seen the band back in the day. I did however enjoy every last moment as all of my favorite Fantastic Planet tracks came to life right before my eyes. I giggled as Stuck On You got the biggest ovation; personally I was more excited for The Nurse Who Loved Me, Heliotropic and the natural pick for set closer, Daylight. As if it could be anything else, the swirling guitar solos that come from a slow build throughout the song washed over the El Rey proving that Failure are not simply back, they are a dominate force to be reckoned with.
I think the reason I don’t believe that I saw Failure is the fact that the band exceeded my unreachable expectations of what a live performance from them could or should be. The band delivered a flawless ninety minutes of music and looked visually stunning doing it. This wasn’t just any old concert, this was a dream come true that I still fear waking up from. I can now add to my tombstone that I saw Failure live, even if I still refuse to believe it.
With a smorgasbord of musicians spread across Southern California for the annual NAMM convention, Joseph Arthur once again found himself west of the 405 freeway for a night of hilarious comedy. Did I say comedy? I meant music. To be fair the intimate late night set at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica was a 50/50 split of both, much to the delight of those who politely turned off their phones and turned their focus onto the man who had recently returned from a trip to Mexico.
The nearly two hour set kicked off well past the advertised 10pm start time with Blue Lights In The Rear View. On stage alone in a bright red jacket and beat up hat upon his head, Arthur strummed the self-described Bonnie & Clyde tale using a guitar straight off the wall of the store (the acoustic instrument still had a price tag attached). Jokes came as rapidly as songs during the brief solo section of the show. When not referencing Mexico during the haunting Speed of Light, he was sharing tales of hitting it off with Sammy Hagar’s guitar tech. With Hagar being a recurring topic of banter through the night, I will fully admit that it was me who screamed out the request for I Can’t Drive 55 when Arthur asked what he should play after a powerful take on A Smile That Explodes. Arthur instead decided to play his breakout hit In The Sun for the audience filled with the 50+ demographic that allows him to make a humble living.
Even before In The Sun wrapped, Arthur began to bring friends out on stage. Grabbing C.C. White from the front row, she sang backup on In The Sun, while Bill Dobrow and Jonny Polonsky joined on percussion and bass respectively as soon as the song wrapped. For the next hour, the four musicians (who couldn’t decide if they wanted to be called Chickenshit or Chickenhead based off Arthur’s continued discussion of Hagar and his project Chickenfoot) focused on choice cuts from Arthur’s 2013 masterpieceThe Ballad of Boogie Christ. With literally 25 minutes of practice with Polonsky (who has performed with everyone from Puscifer to Neil Diamond over the years), the set was loose, yet never in danger of derailing. His low end supplemented Arthur’s lead licks on standout songs such as The Ballad of Boogie Christ, I Used To Know How To Walk On Water, Currency of Love, and Black Flowers. While Arthur may not have received the enthused reaction he expected when he announced that the true story King Of Cleveland would be closing the set, it may have been that the crowd was still taking in the painting he completed during the loop heavy rendition of I Miss The Zoo.
After an ever so brief break, Arthur returned for a lengthy encore that consisted of classics from the back catalogue, comparisons of Sylvester Stallone to Bruce Springsteen, and a very special tribute to Lou Reed. A fan of the recent boxing film Grudge Match, Arthur confessed that Black Lexus was a true story before performing the song. However, the highlight of the evening was not Arthur sharing how he doesn’t use a teleprompter like older rock stars as he struggled to fulfill a request for Even Tho. The highlight was his moving tribute to Lou Reed with his first ever public performance of Walk On The Wild Side. With lyrics written down on a massive piece of cardboard, Arthur struggled yet never fell flat on his face in paying tribute to one of his heroes. In fact, on a night where his backing band sounded remarkably tight for such little practice, the vulnerability and sincerity within the cover was a welcome breath of fresh air.
Questioning if Santa Monica was part of Los Angeles (editors note: it is its own city and not part of Los Angeles, despite what most of the crowd claimed) Arthur shared his love for the Golden State before calling it a night. Not much happens west of the 405 when it comes to music in Southern California. Arthur even mentioned he hasn’t done much performance wise in Santa Monica. However, with plenty of performances in Venice over the years, it’s always a special occasion when Arthur visits out little corner of the world. As the rest of the 50+ AARP demographic inside McCabe’s would confirm, Arthur’s mix of comedy and music was a welcome treat to our neighborhood and we all eagerly await his triumphant return to Pico Boulevard.
At the ripe age of 34, I have seen the music industry reinvent itself on more than one occasion. While I was fortunate enough to begin my musical identity right as Nirvana was taking off, it is my honest opinion that there are only a few perfect records created. One of these perfect albums just so happened to be released as I entered my second decade of musical snobbery. That album is called Give Up and as it now enters its second decade, The Postal Service are in the middle of a world tour celebrating the beloved album.
After nearly 90 minutes in traffic, we made our way to the lovely Greek Theatre in Los Angeles just in time for the evenings main support act, Big Freedia. I’ll be honest, my exposure to bounce MC’s is very limited, but thanks to the eccentric act from New Orleans, I sure as hell hope that changes. For nearly 45 minutes, Big Freedia freaked across the stage armed with a mic, a DJ and three booty shaking dancers. As the sun set behind the hills that make up Griffith Park, most of the crowd didn’t know what to make of what was in front of them. Two self-described wine snobs sitting in my general area honestly thought they had made it to the wrong show. With songs like Excuse and Azz Everywhere, it is understandable as the hard hitting beats and praise of the backside are a radically different message than kissing an ex in a way Clark Gable would have admired. That said, Big Freedia came and concurred as he pumped the crowd for the main event.
When I first heard that The Postal Service was going on tour, I was skeptical. What bootlegs I had heard of their sporadic live performances a decade ago left a lot to be desired. As I am sure many people are, I am very protective of Give Up and how something so simple truly served as a blueprint for a new generation of laptop rocking musicians. Thankfully a decade after release, the band has managed to translate the still unique techno sounds found of Give Up into anthems capable of moving large masses of humanity that show up to celebrate them.
Opening with The District Sleeps Alone, the band commanded the short attention spans of all 8,000+ fans that made it into the hillside venue. For the next 75 minutes, with front man Ben Gibbard joking that they were “a band from nowhere” the four piece perfectly performed basically every song that appeared on the original version of Give Up, as well as all the b-sides and new songs from the deluxe edition.
While many may thing of The Postal Service as the guy from Death Cab and some other guy, it was fellow indie darling Jenny Lewis who stole the show. The ‘third’ member of The Postal Service, we all know Lewis can belt out some truly powerful vocals, however on this particular night we got to witness just how phenomenal of a musician she is. In addition to her cute interplay with Gibbard on Nothing Better, Lewis threw massive amounts of rage sauce onto songs like Recycled Air, Clark Gable and Tattered Line of String.
While I don’t believe The Postal Service could ever recapture the magic that is Give Up with a second album, I am truly grateful the band decided to hit the road in celebration of 10 years of songs that served as an important soundtrack to my twenties. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 10 years to have them do it all over again.
How’s this for a confession? This reverend does not get the chance to make it out to shows very often since becoming a father. Yet when I got wind that John C Reilly & Friends were playing a church in my adopted home town of Santa Monica, I pulled off a miracle and got myself down to the ‘Sanctuary’ inside the Methodist Church on Hill Street for a night of folk music.
The night kicked off with songs from Simone White. Armed with only her guitar and vocals, White stunned the crowd with her well-crafted songs. Declaring early on that the over-capacity (thank God I was near a fire exit) was the best she had ever performed in front of, White’s vocals were as impressive as they were beautiful. With all but one songs focusing on love (the one exception was a song about an elderly friend) nervously executed everything wonderful about Joni Mitchell in a day and age of Nicki Minaj. Indeed a heavenly way to kick off a night in the house that God built.
With just about every inch of available floor now covered, the second band of the night was RT n’ the 44s. While I can respect and appreciate music like Simone White, RT n’ the 44s was much more up my alley. They at one point described their music as “depressing songs about outlaws” which sounded like the perfect Friday night soundtrack to me. The four-piece ripped through a set that included such songs as Black Rain, Captain Jack and Black Bart. Not even sound trouble could stop RT and his gang from making everyone in the crowd forget that they were sitting in the middle of a church.
Musically I would describe the Los Angeles locals as Gold Miner Punk as they could win over a crowd at both Warped Tour and Stagecoach. Saving the best for last, the band closed with a song declaring that corporations are indeed Satan. It was a fitting way to close a set where they refused to play their dirty songs while winning over every soul who made the $5-10 donation to enter through the door.
The night ended with a headline set from Academy Award nominated actor John C Reilly. With our Northwest chapter raving about his performance last year as the Sasquatch Music Festival my expectations were high. Thankfully, Reilly and his friends didn’t just meet them; they blew them out of the water (even if we don’t agree on video recording at concerts as you can see down below).
With the entire set consisting of songs originally written by other musicians, I will be the first to admit I didn’t recognize much of what was performed. Yet with anywhere from 1-4 musicians huddled around one microphone, you couldn’t help but be captivated by these classic American spirituals being performed in an old (by Southern California standards) church. From Dolly Parton to The Stanley’s, Reilly along with Becky Stark, Tom Brosseau and Willie Watson cranked out a heavy mix of Americana classics and gut busting comedy.
Going well past the 10pm sharp curfew, John C Reilly & Friends was a great way to kick off my 2013 concert calendar. Oh and I have to think that as an acting/singing double threat, God will forgive Reilly for dropping all of those curse words inside his house.
In 2012 I exchanged maxing out my credit card with Ticketmaster and instead maxed it out on diapers. In June I became a first time father which meant my sleepless nights were spent with an infant in my arms instead of next to the PA. Despite the life change I still managed to see some great gigs.
10) Baroness/Meshuggah 05/05/12
Nothing say Cinco De Mayo on the Sunset Strip like the double shot of Baroness and Meshuggah. The House of Blues was sold out for weeks as fans heard a mix of new gems and old classics from both bands. Two completely different ends of the metal world combining perfectly just like beans and rice.
Hallelujah! I’m A Bum was my favorite album of 2012. So the fact that the Local H show at the Troubadour comes in at 8 tells you just how many amazing moments I saw this year. It was a rare occasion where I actually found myself rooting for new songs instead of the reliable rockers from the back catalog. Fingers crossed they make it back to Southern California in 2012.
7) Coheed and Cambria 10/04/12
Didn’t I just write about a show at the Troubadour where I was most excited to hear new songs? This time around it was Coheed and Cambria and having been shut out in the original on-sale, I lucked out and got in at the very last minute. As a hardcore Coheed geek, it was amazing to see the band perform songs live for the first time. The fact that I got to see it go down in the best club in Southern California is the icing on the cake.
6) Phish 08/15/12
I used to have this saying that as long as I saw Phish, they would be the top band I saw that year. While this could be true if I saw shows in San Francisco, St. Louis or Denver, the fact is that in 2012 the lone Phish show I saw is pretty low down on the list of shows I have seen the band play. Phish is pizza, even when it is bad it is good. But a poor venue and a setlist that included a good amount of Phish songs that I am less than ecstatic about drops my favorite band to the 6 spot.
5) Ryan Adams 02/17/12
Antiquiet was kind enough to send my wife and I to downtown Los Angeles for an evening with Ryan Adams. After an opening set from Mark Twain, Adams dazzled the Walt Disney Concert Hall with his solo acoustic set. The night was as much of a comedy show as it was an evening of music. Adams banter is hilarious and Mr. Cat is now regularly played in my home. I didn’t manage to get any video but our pal Brian did. Check out a heartfelt cover of the Dio classic Holy Diver down below.
4) Trey Anastasio 03/10/12
Remember up above where I mention that Phish is my favorite band? Well you can imagine how incredible it was to see Trey Anastasio rework Phish songs backed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. One of four shows booked across the states, Anastasio sounded flawless inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall. With the venue having a strict no camera policy I managed to get a few shots and this lone video.
3) Coachella 04/15-17/2012
Having lived in Los Angeles for a decade, I finally dragged my ass out to Indio for Coachella. The sun and I have a real love/hate relationship so you know I was one of the few people out on the Empire Polo Fields stoked for the first rainy day in festival history. I viewed my three days like a buffet, getting a sampling of everything I could possibly fit in. I know this much. It may not be 2013 but my ass will no doubt make it back to Coachella before ten years pass again.
2) Ghost 02/02/12
I said it in my review and now nearly a year later I stand by what I said. There are concerts, and then there is history. This was history. A packed Roxy witnessed the first Los Angeles ritualfrom Ghost. You just knew watching a band who was already far too big for the small Sunset Strip landmark. With a major label sophomore effort set to drop early next year I think it is safe to say that everyone who catches Ghost at one of the larger venues in town will claim they had made it into the Roxy on that February night.
1) Kasabian 04/17/12
Ask anyone who knows me and they will share with you my unhealthy obsession with getting Kasabian to America. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand why America doesn’t like this band. For years I had prayed for their return and 2012 was it. As it worked out, I got to see the band three times in a week. Having seen the band for the first time a few days earlier at Coachella, their appearance at the Fonda was my one shot to see the band headline. It didn’t just live up to my expectations they absolutely destroyed them. Now the question is, how the hell do we get them back to do it again?
I am pretty sure it was 8th grade when I discovered Soundgarden and early 9th grade when I picked up Badmotorfinger. Sure Superunknown was solid but nothing ever hit me as hard as the songs on the 1992 classic.
Sadly I never had a chance to see Soundgarden the first time around. I was either too young to see shows or unable to get to a far off destination like Oakland to see the band. Now with the band back together it has been a struggle to see them. From already having tickets to another show to simply not getting down to the Bayou in time I feared it would never happen. As great as it would be to see them at the Wiltern early next year I simply don’t have the funds at this point in my life. So I did what any music snob in Southern California would do to get a fix of Soundgarden live. I volunteered to stand around for 3 hours in exchange for 5 songs as part of a Jimmy Kimmel Live taping.
I knew we would get a heavy dose of the band’s outstanding new albumKing Animal. I assumed the first song out of the gate would be Been Away Too Long but I was wrong. The band actually kicked off the set (which featured the Goodyear Blimp flying overhead) with By Crooked Steps. This actually worked nicely as I think it rocks a bit harder. What most surprised me is how the band seamlessly flowed Rowing out of Been Away Too Long. Typically this bald MC comes out and shocks nobody by sharing that the band will perform a few more songs off air. Not on this night as the action kept flowing well after the cameras were shut down.
With many hits that could fill up the brief set, I had my hopes on one song. That song was Rusty Cage. If I could just hear the band play that I could die a little happier. Much to my luck they decided to bust this out right as I hit record on my fancy new iPhone. Talk about perfect timing and life working out nicely.
The band closed out the mini set going back farther than Badmotorfinger. Deciding to rock the parking lot to the fullest, Soundgarden busted out Beyond The Wheel. Way cooler way to end than Black Hole Sun, while I would still go see the band perform a full headline set if I got the chance this was a great way to get a glimpse of a band I have loved for nearly two –thirds of my life. Glad they are back.
Watch Bob Weir and Phil Lesh Sing The National Anthem Before Game 2 Of The NLCS
As a native son of the Bay Area, you know watching Bob and Phil sing the National Anthem before a Giants playoff game is something very special. So you know we have to share this here and cross our fingers Bud Selig does not kick this off of YouTube. We of course also have to point out that Joe Buck’s annoying voice ruins this clip at the end and photo credit of Bob, Phil and Giants pitcher Barry Zito goes to TRI Studios. Enjoy.
It was a little over three years ago when I moved from West Hollywood to Santa Monica. Sure the temperature in this part of town is a bit lower but so are the number of quality live performances. So you can imagine my delight when our resident Meat Puppets groupie Jay Porks kicked down the knowledge that his favorite band was coming to town.
I had never heard of Track 16 before this show and as it turns out that is a damn shame. On this particular night the art gallery/music venue was hosting its final show as it is set to be torn down under eminent domain laws so we can finally have Metro Rail reach from Downtown Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean. Tucked across the street from the local Hazardous Material drop off, I knew I was in for an interesting night when I entered the parking lot and saw some individuals who were no doubt alive for the original Woodstock Music Festival taking hits from a rather large bong.
I walked into the venue midway through the set by legendary OC punks Middle Class. How had I never heard of this place again? The scene felt more like a party than a concert. The walls were covered in art; Ice Cold PRB’s were yours for a fair donation of $2 and holy crap check out the dining car in the corner. As Middle Class cranked out their set a large a friendly circle pit took up a good chunk of the main floor. To further prove the anything goes philosophy of the venue, the pit featured one crusty punk sipping from a flask while others skateboarded around him. That’s something you sure as hell won’t see at any of the venues on the Sunset Strip.
Want to know what else you don’t see on the Sunset Strip? The headliner taking the stage puffing upon a big fat joint. That’s exactly what Meat Puppets did on this Saturday night before kicking off their set with a smoking Lake of Fire. Despite a less than stellar PA, the band were just warming up as they rocked the room hard on classic Puppet songs such as Touchdown King and Walking Boss.
With pits filled with punkers swirling I was excited when the band launched into one of my favorite songs Up On The Sun. Clocking in at 9 minutes the band was more like Phish than punk as Curt Kirkwood led the band into a deep jam. Then again with large clouds of pot smoke rising from the sweat soaked crowd I would say it indeed was more a Phish show than a punk show by this point.
Speaking of pot smoking, the newest member of the Meat Puppets, Elmo Kirkwood found plenty of time to partake in California’s best medicine as joints and bowl were passed to him (as well as his uncle, bassist Cris Kirkwood) all night. Other highlights of the 90 minute set including sweet takes on Comin’ Down, Hey Baby Que Paso (Texas Torandos cover))and Sam.
After a rocking version of Plateau, the band closed their set with what I would describe as a 20 minute noise jam. I am sure there were some songs from the band’s early career in there that I don’t know the title of, but not even a broken high E string on Elmo’s pink Squire guitar could stop the band from heading deep into the wacky uncharted water.
At the end of the jam, the band left the tiny stage for just a moment. Where it looked as if an encore was coming, the Puppets ended up disappearing into back private room. As it turns out the venue that allows skate boarding and even pets had a hard curfew which the Puppets were apparently past. Despite a few fans up front chanting for the band (and one guy grabbing the mic letting the crowd know he band would return to perform Kiss Alive Volumes 2 & 4 in their entirety) the show was over. For as great as the subway to the sea will be, I walked out sad that I discovered a rad spot for music on the last night of its existence. So big thanks to the Meat Puppets for rocking Santa Monica on a Saturday night. Feel free to come back to Santa Monica when your untitled 14th album drops in 2013.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t throw a mini temper tantrum when I was shut out of the Coheed and Cambria Troubadour on-sale because TicketFly assumed I was a scalper. It was after all only one of my all-time favorite bands playing in the best club in Southern California. Yet as it turns out the universe was on my side. I decided to check out the Troubadour website around 4pm on the day of the show and as luck would have it a few tickets were released. Instead of heading home from work on a Thursday night to watch the idiot box I was flying over Barham (okay crawling) from Burbank to Hollywood for a night with Coheed at the Troubadour.
The night kicked off with a thirty minute opening set from Aeges. In my expert opinion there are three types of opening acts you can encounter. Bands who can’t get off stage fast enough, bands that fill the role perfectly and then bands you wish could have played another 15 minutes. For Aeges it was the last type. Holy smokes how have these guys not popped up on my radar before this particular Thursday night in West Hollywood? For 30 minutes Aeges mixed deep stoner metal grooves with sci-fi sensibilities. Most of the material from their set came off the recently released album The Bridge (which I only know because the drummer told me this after I bought the album from him after the show). I can’t stress this enough, if Aeges hits your town check them out because they are one of the best rock bands I have seen in a long time.
With the tiny club now as packed as I can recall seeing it, Coheed and Cambria hit the stage around 9:30 pm. The band opened with a 1-2 punch from the 2007 album Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume II: No World For Tomorrow. After opening with the song No World For Tomorrow the four piece moved right into the raucous Gravemaker & Gunslingers. From there fans went crazy as the group went all the way back to the start with Everything Evil, the only song from the band’s debut album Second Stage Turbine Blade to make it into the set.
On this particular night a rare thing happened. Where most shows you attend fans have zero desire to hear new material, this was not the case inside the Troubadour. Fans were screaming for the band to play new songs and Coheed was happy to feed those requests. In fact those lucky enough to make it into the pint size club witnessed the band perform some songs for the first time. One of those songs was Key Entity Extraction III: Holly Wood The Cracked. Sure the upstate New York band may have put a space in Hollywood, but everyone inside the room knew there was no better place for this dark creepy number to make its live debut.
For the rest of the evening, the band mixed classic Coheed with material from the soon to be released double album The Afterman. You could see the band was clearly having fun as they played songs like Blood Red Summer, A Favor House Atlantic and a relaxed take on Mother Superior. With this being my 10th Coheed show, I enjoyed small tweaks the band made in the music. The way the band has added a pause in In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 so fans can scream MAN YOUR OWN JACKHAMMER – MAN YOUR BATTLESTATIONS is nothing short of brilliant.
Here was something that boggled my mind. Granted we were packed in like sardines, when was the last time you hit a show and a pit finally broke out during a new song? That’s exactly what happened on this particular night as the crowd finally erupted during Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant. Another interesting occurrence was the moment when fans chanted for the first single from The Afterman Ascension. Front man Claudio Sanchez couldn’t help but laugh as he assured fans that Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute would be played later before launching into another song making its live debut, Goodnight, Fair Lady.
After playing for well over an hour the band wrapped the night with a lengthy four song encore. Crowd surfers started to find their way onto the stage as the band played a smoking version of Welcome Home. Armed with a double neck guitar, Sanchez even allowed fans packed up front to strum the stings during one of the songs solos. The band finally brought the night to a close with the lengthy jam heavy The Willing Well V: The Final Cut. I moved towards the back of the room and just took it all in for a moment. From being shut out to seeing Coheed live at the Troubadour I am truly grateful that the universe had my back and allowed me to make it in.
Back in early August I received an e-mail with a download link for the latest Local H record Hallelujah! I’m A Bum. Over the next few weeks the latest concept record from the pride of Illinois has been blasted into my head over and over and over again. In my cubical, sitting in traffic on the 101 and working out in the yard the 17 songs found on the double album is a soundtrack for exactly where I am at in 2012. I fought hard to give Hallelujah! a coveted 5 star review on Antiquiet, and there was no way in hell I was going to miss the duo of Scott Lucas and Brian St. Clair perform songs from one of the year’s best record at the best place to see music in West Hollywood California.
Monday night at the Troubadour kicked off with an acoustic set from Scott Lucas. Yes the same Scott Lucas who happens to be ½ of Local H. While many men watched the now legendary Seahawks versus Packers game I watched Lucas open up his brief set with a cover of Last Caress by the Misfits. From there Lucas performed some material from his Married Men band including Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down) and Blood Half Moons. A brief yet fun set, Lucas opening for himself was the perfect way to kick off the night.
Main support on this particular evening came from Ambassadors. The Brooklyn based band announced early on that they were performing in Los Angeles for the very first time much to the delight of many in the crowd. I was unfamiliar with Ambassadors walking in the door and I personally found them an odd choice of opener for a band like Local H as they were more hipster rock than heavy rock. In fact looking out into the packed club you could clearly tell who was there for Local H and who was there for Ambassadors.
Musically these four gentlemen would be a perfect fit for a Yeasayer/GROUPLOVE tour. A bit hippie jam with vegan hipster sensibilities. Not worldly enough to be called world music but no doubt more interesting than most indie bands if that makes any sense whatsoever. While I don’t know if I would seek them out again the band had a good energy and sounded tight. I have no doubt that when they return to Los Angeles they could very well perform at the Troubadour as the headliner instead of the opener.
As Local H walked down the stairs from the “backstage” area at the Troubadour the opening riffs of Waves played across the PA. Lucas timed of strapping his guitar on and walking to the mic to sing the songs opening line perfectly. As I expected weeks before the band set up their gear on the Troubadour stage I knew they would kick the set off with the opening number from their latest release. I also expected them to segue straight into Cold Manor as they do on the album but where they threw me for a curve was not heading straight into Night Flight To Paris after Cold Manor. Instead they went head first into a raging take of Paddy Considine and saved Night Flight for later in the set.
Having a good dose of Hallelujah! I’m A Bum now under our belts the band used the rest of the night to mix classic Local H cuts with new material. An early appearance of Bound For The Floor cleared out a decent number of Ambassador fans who hung around to finish their $7 Corona while Manipulator filled my quench for anything off their debut album Ham Fisted.
Lucas joked with the crowd before a block of new songs that it was time to go grab a beer from the bar instead of rocking out to new jams. However this was a rare night where I was actually more excited for new songs instead of older ones. Sadly I was alone on this one as numerous fans decided to chat during the softer parts of Say The Word and while I couldn’t exactly see the line at the bar as Lucas announced that Feed A Fever was about Fox News I have to imagine that anyone who isn’t pumped for material from Hallelujah! is probably dumb enough to be a fan of that network.
After a goose bump inducing take on Another February the band brought out the big guns to close the night. After a hard rocking take on All-Right (Oh, Yeah) the highly intoxicated crowds’ energy finally exploded into a large most pit during All The Kids Are Right. The funny thing about this pit was the fact that none of the members were kids. There is nothing more depressing than watching a 30-something trying to relive the glory days of the days when Bill Clinton lived at the White House by crashing onto the floor in a crowd surfing attempt gone horribly wrong.
With tasty versions of Fritz’s Corner and Hands On The Bible in the rear-view the duo closed the set with Waves Again. As if there is any other song they can close with on this tour the song built from dreamy riffs into a massive wall of feedback that rang through the PA until the band returned for a lengthy four song encore that kicked off with a cover of the Rush classic 2112.
Interesting market research was accidently conducted during California Songs. In between digs at Katy Perry and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lucas observed that the Los Angeles crowd enjoys to scream the and fuck New York too section of lyrics. While we all could have a good laugh making fun of the fact that there are far too many songs about this city of Angels many in the crowd will no doubt remember California Songs for all the wrong reasons.
Having taking a solo on the opposite side of the stage from where he was set up, Lucas had to break up a fight between two sets of fans. Having watched things unfold all night I can understand the frustration of the two guys who got the venue early and waited for a front row spot. All night three drunk assholes did all they could to shove in on them (these assholes of course show up two songs into Local H’s set). While I must assume Lucas was unaware of the fact these assholes bullied these two fans all night he sure as hell stepped in when the bullied had enough and fought hard to save their spots. After Lucas got the parties to cool down he encouraged us all to stop fighting each other and go out to the street and fight the real bad guys by voting.
In watching this battle for front row supremacy brew all night it fit into everything that Hallelujah! I’m A Bum represents in America today. We are all struggling to get ahead. We will step over each other for a piece of the pie be it in our cubicles or for a front row spot to the rock and roll show. We are a nation divided and growing ever further apart and while we can put out all the hope in the universe it’s going to take a massive effort to reunite us together again. Thank you Local H for giving us a great place to start.
Silversun Pickups w/ Atlas Genius & School of Seven Bells 09/13/12
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium – Santa Monica, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
Friends you don’t need me to tell you that we are smack dab in the middle of a baby boom. Perhaps it is because my wife and I just welcomed our first little bundle of joy into the world, but everywhere I look I see pregnant women. The final show I saw before my self-imposed let’s be a Dad instead of a music snob hiatus featured a bassist who was performing their final show before having a child, so it makes perfect sense that my wife and I’s first night out in months would also feature a bassist heading out on maternity leave. That’s right folks the 2nd post fatherhood Reverend Justito Experience (see what I did there Porks?) we ditch the baby with grandma for a few hours in order to enjoy date night with Atlas Genius, School of Seven Bells and Silversun Pickups at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
After getting a belly full of Mexican goodness at Gilbert’s El Indio we headed down Pico towards the Pacific for the rock and roll show. Despite living in Santa Monica for three years now I had yet to make it through the doors of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Fingers crossed Goldenvoice keeps using this place because it’s pretty sweet. Nice big open GA floor and bleachers in the back for old people such as myself. Nice lobby area where one could easily get a drink or a Silversun Pickup onsie.
The evening kicked off at 8 am with Australian indie rockers Atlas Genius. In performing my pre-show due diligence, I hated what I heard on YouTube from these guys. This is why I was shocked when they won me over with their 30 minute opening set. With front man Keith Jeffrey sharing that most of the set was from the band’s soon to be released full length debut I can’t really give you a rundown of what they played. I will say that the band sounded tight, the music was engaging enough to keep my wandering mind occupied and if you plan to catch this tour as it moves across America it is in your best interest to show up early and give them a shot.
Up next was School of Seven Bells. I was excited to see School of Seven Bells having heard some material including a crazy cover of Lil’ Wayne’s How To Love. Yet by the time the New York based band was halfway though their set I was more interested in playing Words With Friends and Simpsons Tapped Out on my recently obsolete iPhone 4. This is the thing, while the music is not terrible I have a serious lack of respect for bands that pretend to play live. If I had to guess, I would say that at least half of the music coming from the stage was made up of pre-recorded loops. Guitarist Benjamin Curtis looked bored as he focused on what I would consider third layer riffs instead of attempting to be an actual lead guitarist. Lead vocalist Alejandra Deheza managed to out-bore Curtis with her uninspired performance. Don’t even get me started on the gal with the keyboard who did more standing around than key stroking. Apparently SVIIB is best enjoyed on YouTube because upon the stage they leave a lot to be desired.
It was 10pm sharp when Silversun Pickups hit the stage. With the Civic Auditorium now near capacity the band opened with Skin Graph from their outstanding 2012 release Neck of The Woods. The opener set a tone for the night as the band performed a majority of their new album during the 90 minute show. Some of the new numbers to emerge early in the set included Simmer, Here We Are (Chancer) and the first single Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings).
Before the band dipped back to 2009 for Substitution, front man Brian Aubert took a moment to address the home town crowd. After joking about how this was the most western location the band had performed at in the greater Los Angeles area he shared the news that this would be the final performance for bassist Nikki Monniger before heading out on maternity leave. Trying to make Monninger cry, it was one of the many sweet moments between in between songs as the band prepares for life on the road without their long time bassist.
The set progressed nicely with a mix of material from the band’s last two albums. Catch and Release was a nice breather for the folks jumping up and down at the front of the stage as the band unleashed massive rock radio hits The Pit and Panic Switch. Yet the biggest reaction was reserved for the set closing Lazy Eye from the bands 2006 full length Carnavas. Fans freaked out as Aubert ran around the stage conducting his band mates with the headstock of his guitar as massive waves of deeply distorted riffage crashed into the walls of the Civic.
Looking to play all night, the band returned for a four song encore. After performing two additional songs from Neck of the Woods the band brought it back to the old school for Kissing Families and the show closing Well Thought Out Twinkles. A great way to close out a great night of music as Silversun Pickups enters a new and exciting chapter of their history. Fingers crossed Goldenvoice keeps booking shows at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium as I know I for sure would like more date nights like this in the not so distant future.
I remember October 3rd, 1998 like it was yesterday. The night before my car was broken into and my entire collection of Phish studio albums (as well as some Ween, Deftones and Sepultura) were stolen. Now say what you will about Phish studio albums, but my car only had a CD player and I could not listen to live shows via Maxell XLII audio cassettes. Bummed as fuck that entire day I remember watching all of Farm Aid live on Country Music Television. This was the OG couch tour, long before webcasts and streams. When the band finally hit the stage I danced away all my pain live in my parent’s living room. Thanks to the fine folks at Farm Aid you can now watch the entire Phish performance. For those who have not seen the set, let’s just say Phish and Neil Young destroy the great state of Illinois.
The thing about Phish is that they always get the last laugh. I won’t lie, despite the fact that the band’s appearance at the Long Beach Arena is the only concert I will see this summer I wasn’t pumped. None of my hardcore Phish friends were able to join me to celebrate my 25th experience with Mike, Trey, Jon and Page, the venue stinks worse than the city of Long Beach does and I just knew in my heart that I was going to get a show filled with songs that the snob inside of me is sick of hearing live. Yet despite all of those fears and anxieties coming true Phish still grabbed me by the balls and gave me a great hump day night inside the venue with the world’s largest mural painted upon the outside.
The night kicked off with Suzy Greenberg. Not expecting this as an opener (only one I can think of is 12/14/95) I was thrown off my game a bit but it worked well as did he Talking Heads cover Cities followed. While I don’t think anything will ever top the phenomenal Berkeley 2010 version this one had some very dark moment that made the metal fan who wore his Iron Maiden/My Friend My Friend shirt to the show quite satisfied. I know I am not alone in being over Kill Devil Falls, but it segued nicely out of Cities and featured a flawless guitar intro from Anastasio and a nice jam.
After a fun take on Guelah Papyrus, I got my lone “first time seen” of the night with a cover of the Velvet Underground’s Cool It Down. With temps well over 100 degrees in most parts of Southern California for well over a week (and having been busted out earlier this summer at Deer Creek on a day where temps hit triple digits) I have to assume that this is Phish’s ode to heat waves. While I have never been a huge fan of the Velvet Underground, Cool It Down sounded tight and is nice one to witness live and add to the collection of songs under my belt.
Rift kept the energy high in the mostly full room as fans danced and spread the news that Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez were in the house. Stash is one of those songs that tends to get skipped when shuffling through my iPod while stuck in traffic on the 405 as the song bores me. Yet in person I can at least clap and I know that if I can make it to the jam I will be okay. If not for a beautiful Bathtub Gin following a Bouncing Around The Room breather, the jam out of Stash would have been the highlight of the first set. The band wrapped set one with the second Quinn The Eskimo to rock the Southland in as many years. As the band rushed off stage I hit the concourse where I discovered that you had numerous stands to purchase beer yet could only get water from the food vendors.
While it is true that Rock and Roll is a song originally belonging to the Velvet Underground, the fact is Phish made it their own years ago. Despite this being my fourth Rock and Roll in seven shows, the version that went down on this Wednesday night in the LBC is why I will go and see Phish every chance I get for the rest of my life. Knowing that the Rock and Roll from the Gorge last year was the greatest live moment I have ever seen from any band in my entire life, I was shocked that this take gave that version a run for its money. Where the Gorge take had a real creepy evil feeling, this one managed to keep beating you upside the head with vicious blows well after the ref had rang the bell. While many 3.0 jams are over before they begin, this one kept going and going. There were moments I thought we were going to go into songs like Piper, A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing and Light, yet it wasn’t until the 25 minute mark that we were finally guided to the second song of the second set – Ghost. I mean how could it not be Ghost, it made sense that Phish would celebrate my 25th show by playing the song that opened my first show at the 25:25 mark of the second set. You may just chalk that up as coincidence, but I know better than that.
Earlier in the day as I changed the diaper of my six week old daughter, I mentioned to her that the band would screw with me by playing the two songs I am most sick of back to back. So when the 1-2 punch of eye rollers Limb By Limb>Guyute actually happened I just had to laugh as I clinched the adorable whale onsie I bought my little bundle of joy at the merch booth during set break. Well played but I wouldn’t wish 10 Limb By Limb’s in 25 shows on my worst enemy.
My personal highlight of the second set was Dirt. My first time hearing the soft and gentle song with the soaring solo since Shoreline ’99 not only pleased my soul but cemented what a fan had shared with me earlier in the day. Having ran into Phish’s lighting guru Chris Kuroda yesterday (he had the photo on his iPhone to prove it) he shared that the band felt that Long Beach Arena was the Hampton Coliseum of the west. Watching Anastasio play that solo in Dirt, you could see that the band managed to conquer the notoriously difficult venue and felt much more at ease then they did the year before at the Hollywood Bowl.
I thought for sure Biebs and Gomez would join the band for Harry Hood. The songs third Do You Feel Good About Hood section would have been perfect for the two teenage love birds, but sadly that was not the case. Instead we just got a smoking take on the classic and the evening’s best bass bombs from one Mike Gordon. I also hoped that the band would pay homage to Iron Maiden (whose groundbreaking concert album Live After Death was recorded in Long Beach) with a first time cover of a Maiden tune, but instead the second set closed out with a tribute to another UK artist with numerous Long Beach gigs under their belt. Good Times Bad Times managed to shake the ceiling (at least what’s left of it) and I even saw one Long Beach Police Officer banging his head in approval.
As my fourth Julius in five shows ended my one and done 2012 Phish run I had to laugh. My 25th show went down in the worst venue I have seen the band in and it featured a bunch of songs that I didn’t really want to hear. Yet despite all that the show was incredible. This is the tightest I have seen the band play since returning in 2009, the jams proved that they could still go deep and the layout of the sets worked. So here is to the next 25 shows. When the band returns for a multi-night run at the Long Beach Arena in 2014, I will no doubt get to hear Limb By Limb each night as torture but its okay because there is no denying that no band can make me feel as good as Phish does.
Saltines & Peanut Butter: Life On The Road With Ume
When not taking phone calls from Perry Ferrell, Ume has spent the past few weeks tearing up the road with the Toadies and Helmet in support of their 2011 release Phantoms. Hailing from Austin Texas, this power trio has found a way to mix thrash metal riffs with 90’s shoegaze sensibilities. We recently caught up with lead guitarist/front woman Lauren Larson to talk about life on the road for the up and coming band.
You were recently hand-picked by Jane’s Addiction to open their Lollapalooza post show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. I heard he personally called you and invited you down to play.
Yeah, literally two weeks ago we were sitting outside a venue in Jacksonville Florida next to the dumpsters eating saltines and peanut butter living the dream and my cell phone rang and it was Perry Ferrell and he invited us to open for them. He found our band through a website called Red Bull Soundstage which is a site that features a few hundred bands that Red Bull likes and helps promote. He went to the site and was supposed to pick a band and he picked us based off our music on there.
You mentioned eating saltines and peanut butter. Having seen (Ume’s bassist) Eric’s Tumblr page, it does appear that you do sometimes get to eat well on the road. I saw that you will also be on an episode of No Reservations coming up.
Eric and I are the real foodies. Rachel (drummer) likes the peanut butter and saltines. Sometimes you get fed by the venue and other times there is nothing but beer and crackers. But yes we are going to be on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain and it’s going to air September 3rd. No Reservations picked a couple of bands to cover at SXSW and we were one of them. They came to our show and filmed it and we got to take Anthony to dinner which was really amazing.
As far as your tour with the Toadies and Helmet goes, what is the best place you have had the pleasure of eating?
That’s tough; we have had some good food. Eric and I and a buddy went to Momofuku which was really good Japanese cuisine in New York City. It was delicious. We always like to try to find a local place to eat after we get to town so it’s not sandwiches and fast food all the time.
You mean it’s not Taco Bell every day?
So knowing you are at a gas station, I assume you have not made it to Pop’s, where you are scheduled to perform tonight.
We’re the openers so we have the last load in. The other guys they are on a bus or an RV so they have a driver and right now it is just the three of us so we try to sleep in when we can and get there by 5pm.
I’ve never been, but we have numerous writers in the St. Louis area they speak very highly of Pop’s as a venue. Apparently, it’s the lone music club amongst a sea of strip clubs.
That’s what I have heard.
I hear it gets pretty crazy in Sauget, one of our gals got to see Sebastian Bach just from being out there in the debauchery.
I know it’s a 24 hour roadhouse in the middle of nowhere with a strip club on either side so we shall see.
You mentioned the van. I saw on your Facebook that the van is apparently cursed. Is that because it breaks down or is it one of those things where, when you get in, the radio is always on the Spanish station?
We break down constantly. We’d probably have a lot more music out and a lot more money to record if it wasn’t breaking down all the time. Our last time on the west coast it broke down five times. It finally died in a 32 lane intersection in the middle of Los Angeles.
Yeah we stopped dead on the freeway so when we got back from that last tour we took it in and had it in the shop for three weeks. We got it out and the day before the Toadies/Helmet tour we’re driving to go pick up our merch for the road and it dies on the freeway again after having spent thousands of dollars on it. We took it to another mechanic and I think we figured out the problem but we will see.
Hopefully it will be cursed no more.
Yeah we have replaced everything in it.
So you have a new van then.
Haha kind of. New with 200,000 miles.
Granted you are touring in a van, but are you able to write on the road or is that something you do back home?
It’s tough when we have all our gear in the van and there is just not a lot of room. We do write sometimes on the road. Primarily when we are at home that’s all we’ve been doing and we have enough material now for a new record and we are going to go in and record probably starting in late September.
As far as music venues and touring goes, America has some incredible venues from Madison Square Garden and Hollywood Bowl to the Gorge in Washington. Is there any one venue in particular that you have your eyes on and you have to perform at?
Oh man let me see. Just playing the Aragon Ballroom is kind of mind blowing. That’s almost a 5000 seat venue and that’s probably the biggest show we’ve ever played. What’s so funny about that is that we were opening for Franz Ferdinand and Jane’s Addiction and it’s this huge stage yet we had one of the smallest areas to put our gear. We had to set up where I was in the middle and Rachel our drummer was to the side and I probably had three feet in front of me before I was falling off the stage.
As far as just other venues I’d love to play, the El Rey Theatre I would love to play there again. We got to play there with the Meat Puppets once but to be a headliner would be nice. That’s a really cool venue.
On the heels of opening for Jane’s, are there any other heroes you would like to open for?
As far as bands that are still playing, Queens of the Stone Age would be a band we would be stoked to play with.
I noticed on your website that you are about to play a festival in Paris. Is that the first international gig for Ume?
We’ve played Canada but this will be the first time overseas.
Is it just the one show over there or are there plans to go back at a later point?
Our record is going to get released over there in a couple of months. When we played SXSW this past March, we found out that a European magazine told their writer to check out three bands. Those bands were Fiona Apple, The Cult and a little band from Texas called Ume. So he came out and ended up seeing us three times and really liked our band and offered to help us out over there in Europe. He has a label and he will be putting it out over there and that is how we got put on the Rock en Seine Festival. We will probably be going back over there for a full tour in December or January.
What has it been like going out with the Toadies and Helmet? Any memorable moments you would like to share from the current tour?
It’s been amazing. These are two of the nicest bands we have had the pleasure of working with. They have been so supportive whenever our van has broken down or we had to borrow gear they have helped us out. I got to play Page Hamilton’s guitar the other day as mine was en route to Chicago for the Lollapalooza gig. I got to use one of the Toadies amps the other night. They are great guys; we have been hanging out every night and just real gentlemen and talented musicians.
The tones and melody in your music are amazing. Is there a core piece to your pedal board that you couldn’t live without?
It’s interesting because I am just using the distortion built into my amp. I use a couple of delay pedals and I use a HOG pedal which kind of thickens the tone of the lowest octave or highest octave cause I play a lot of single notes riffs. The main thing is my guitar I use a lot of alternate tunings so it was really cool to see that Page tuned down to a drop C tuning so it was really easy to use his guitars. But yeah, probably the HOG pedal.
Before we wrap this up, I know you went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few days ago. I know they have a lot of stuff, but what was the coolest thing you saw?
Oh man there was so much. Everything from Muddy Water’s guitar to John Lennon’s guitar. Ian Curtis’ hand written lyrics to Love Will Tear Us Apart. That was pretty emotional to see because you could see where he marked out certain words and changed it. That was something that was a real emotional connection to me. Some of the best lyrics just a beautiful piece.
I saw Jim Morrison’s High School Diploma, that was pretty funny.
Did you see the Phish Hot Dog?
Oh I didn’t see that, that’s funny. The Rolling Stones rider was pretty funny.
What was the best thing on their rider?
Oh they had a list of about 30 different bottles of alcohol including what each individual wants. Then written to the side is all champagne. Then there was another note Mick Likes Scotch…so yeah there was probably about 40 bottles on there.
Watch Arctic Monkeys Play Live At The 2012 Summer Olympics
So in a couple of hours I am going to go home and watch the Arctic Monkeys rock the Olympics. This is because NBC still thinks it is 1992 and tape delay is cool. It’s not. So fuck NBC enjoy Arctic Monkey’s rocking I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor and a cover of The Beatles Come Together live from the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
Update: We promise to do our best to keep these updated as YouTube takes them down for copyright violation. We currently can’t find a video for Dancefloor.
With all due respect to Nas (who rocked David Letterman’s late night TV bonanza earlier this week) instead of writing a few lines about his stop by The Colbert Report, I am just going to say fuck you Viacom. Even if I legally wanted to view this program tonight (as I often do) your bullshit battle in the name of greed against DirecTV prevents me from doing so. So fuck you for the first time in the history of this site I don’t feel an ounce of guilt for sharing content that does not belong to us.
Off my soap box now, enjoy Nas.
As always, nothing but love and respect to The Audio Perv for the videos.
This is an experiment. I want to see if anyone actually cares about The Offspring in 2012. I assume they have a few loyal fans from way back when, but who are we kidding this band has not had a decent song since Clinton was president (and even those songs have not withheld the test of time). So yeah here is Off Key Dexter, Noodles and some other twats stinking up the Jimmy Kimmel Live outdoor concert stage last night. If you actually think this is good, please leave a comment to help us with this experiment.
The Top Five Covers Phish Needs To Bust Out This Summer
In a few hours, Phish will return to the stage for the first time since the early hours of January 1st 2012. Keyboardist Page McConnell has already shared with Rolling Stone that the band has approximately 200 songs that they could bust out at any time. Never being one to shy away from a cover jam, we have come up with five songs that the boys from Vermont absolutely need to bust out somewhere between Worchester and Commerce City. Because we are so swell, we have even narrowed it down to where Phish needs to play these songs.
Ween – The Fucked Jam (06/16/12: Bader Field – Atlantic City, NJ)
According to legend, Ween never played Roses Are Free live until Phish started playing it. With Ween calling it quits, it’s time for the Phish to bust out another song that (according to my Google research) the pride of New Hope Pennsylvania never rocked out on stage. An instrumental that lives up to its name, this quirky song could fit nicely in a fat second set Mike’s Groove.
Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know (08/22/12: Starlight Theatre – Kansas City, MO)
Phish has always done some funky things when playing in the Kansas City area. From Fishman taking the mic for a breathtaking rendition of Suspicious Minds to obscure Beatles covers the boys love tinkering with the minds of phans in this Midwest metropolis. Everyone from Coheed and Cambria to little kids have cover Gotye over the past 9 months, why not have Fish return to the mic for his take on the song. Bonus points if it goes down in the middle of a raging Harpua with narration about Poster Nutbag getting killed at the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star Game after New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez fouls a ball into the stands.
The White Stripes – Hotel Yorba (06/10/12: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival – Manchester, TN)
We all know that Mr. Jack White now calls Tennessee home. What you may not know is that I recently told Johnny Firecloud that Hotel Yorba was Jack White’s Phish song. So what better place to perform this jams then at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival? Hell with White having no scheduling conflicts, why not have him stops by and lend a hand?
Iron Maiden – Rime of the Ancient Mariner (08/15/12: Long Beach Arena – Long Beach, CA)
SCREAM FOR ME LONG BEACH!!! The fact is my 25th Phish show (and only show of 2012) will be at the shit stain known as the Long Beach Arena. While I would not be opposed to a late fall/winter gig at this historic arena it is a massive bummer coming off outdoor Southern California stops at breath taking venues in Indio and Hollywood. So if Phish must play this toilet, they may as well bust out one of the highlights from Maiden’s Live After Death album which was recorded at the same venue on March 17th, 1985. In the event the boys can’t pull off this massive thirteen minute metal masterpiece, I will settle for a guest appearance from Long Beach native Snoop Dogg.
Beastie Boys – In 3’s (07/04/12: Jones Beach Amphitheatre – Wantagh, NY)
Outskirts of NYC on America’s birthday, the fearless foursome kicks into Moma Dance. Before Fish takes the mic there is a pause and oomph the band ditches the dance and goes straight into this beloved Beastie Boys instrumental. What better way to pay tribute to an American classic and the late great Adam Yauch?
What jams would you like to hear Phish bust out this summer? Let us know via the comment section below.
There I was last night standing in the beer section of the Whole Foods where they shot that viral hit about it getting real in the parking lot when my phone honked with a new text message. The message simply said “Wanna go see Jack White in like an hour?” Should Whole Foods rename their store Whole Paycheck – Fuck yeah I want to see Jack White in an hour. I quickly finished my shopping and after a brief yet triumphant stop at home I was speeding down interstate 10 en route to The Wiltern for a Jack White miracle thanks to Mr. Johnny Firecloud of Antiquiet fame.
We made it to the venue a few moments before Mr. White was set to take the stage. It was hard to miss the signage that made it clear cameras were not welcome and anyone violating this policy would be kicked out. With one of the signs sharing that photos would be available on Mr. White’s official website I decided on this particular evening I would respect his wishes and leave my camera in the car.
The night kicked off with the White Stripes favorite Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground. As you probably know by now, Mr. White is playing multiple nights in numerous markets with two bands. One is made up of men; the other is made up of women. For the second sold out show at the Art Deco theatre it was ladies nights in Koreatown.
For 90 minutes, Mr. White lead his six piece backing band through a set that weaved classic material from the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather with new songs from his recently released solo record Blunderbuss. For someone who has appreciated Mr. White from a distance for years but never seen him live in any capacity, I got a bit of everything and it was a great way to cross him off the bucket list.
For me the highlight was not so much what Mr. White played as much as the energy of what was going on in front of my eyes. Walk a mile in my shoes these days and you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the strength and beauty of women. Watching Mr. White lead his ladies through songs the likes of Freedom at 21, Hotel Yorba and Blue Blood Blues was not just another rock show as much as it was inspiration for the next chapter in this crazy journey called life.
After a rocking main set that also included beloved favorites like Love Interruption and Ball and Biscuit, the night closed with a massive encore that included seven songs. Amongst the songs included in the encore were Mr. White’s biggest hits – Seven Nation Army and Steady As She Goes. For the latter, Mr. White had no problem getting the often jaded Los Angeles crowd to sing and clap along. Yet it was the final number of the night that served as the much needed exclamation point to what was a truly amazing night. With my own daughter’s birth less than six weeks away (unless she is a typical Los Angeleno and fashionably late) this was the final show for bassist Byrn Davies before she delivers her own child. Mr. White and band mates said goodbye with an emotionally charged cover of the Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter classic Goodnight, Irene.
On a night where I got in on a miracle; if this is the last confession before I experience the biggest miracle of all then let’s just say I can’t think of a better performance to close this chapter of my life.
With thoughts of Tyler in a Paper Dress dancing in my mind, I knew it was going to be a good night when I entered the Roxy as Club Foot by Kasabian played over the sound system. I hit the bar and filled my cargo short pockets with cans of Does Equis before grabbing myself a spot right up against the stage. As soon as I cracked open the first can the curtain went up and we were underway as Los Angeles locals Blank Faces kicked into an explosive 30 minute set.
From the fiery number The Adolescent to the softer set closing Don’t Need You Around I was intrigued by the conflicting styles of guitarist/vocalist Kemble Walters and bassist Adam D’Zurilla. Walters looks like Urge Overkill, sounds like Catherine Wheel and from what I gather is steering this hard rocking vessel. D’Zurilla (who admitted that he drank one too many Red Bulls on numerous occasions) oozes post hardcore pre screamo machismo. It should be noted that while Walters place it cool D’Zurilla is a one man circle pit. While one could read those descriptions and could imagine a train wreck. Yet much like Chicken and Waffles these two opposites come together and the end result is straight up delicious.
A prime example of these mixtures of flavor was the song Cannibal. D’Zurilla’s thunderous bass paired with the drumming of Dicki Fliszar does not just support the fuzz drunk riffs of Walters as much as it serves as a massive injection of steroids. The band also showed that they like to have fun. When not covering Tom Petty’s Out In The Cold, D’Zurilla was updating the crowd on the Dodgers score (which then lead to a lil Giants/Dodgers trash talk between the two of us). Blank Faces made thirty minutes pass far too quickly and were the perfect band to start off the night.
I’ll admit I was bummed when I realized that the Toadies/Helmet co-headline tour was not coming to Los Angeles. That sorrow quickly went away when I realized USELESS KEYS would be opening for the Texas natives. Having first seen the band at the Roxy nearly three years ago we don’t hide our love for these Los Angeles locals. On this particular Saturday night I saw a new level of confidence in the band I had not seen before. Perhaps it was the return of bassist Guylaine Vivarat but the four piece really sounded as if they had been on the road as long as the headliner.
Opening with the hypnotic Sea Bells, the group had no problem winning over crowd that grew slowly but never to capacity. With only thirty minutes to work with the set consisted of mostly newer material. Taking a page out of the Phish playbook, Sea Bells segued perfectly into Verde Mann. I was shocked when the group placed White Noise in the middle set. The usual closer for the band this was one of the many examples of confidence shown over the course of the set. Further confidence was found in the fantastic new song End of Sleep Cycle. Guitarist/Vocalist Michael Bauer lays down some intense fret work over a thunderous wall of distortion. I really need to hear this one again (and again and again and again). Brighter Places confirmed that the USELESS KEYS had no doubt won over the Toadies fan base as fans jumped up and down to the final song of the set. I never get tired of watching this band win fans over and this particular set was without a doubt one of the best I have seen this band play.
The night took a peculiar and unpleasant turn as road crews prepped the stage for the Toadies. Shortly before the main event was underway a hideous creature stinking of menthol cigarettes and prominently displaying particles of dinner in her teeth decided to crash into the front row. Making things worse she decided that I was going to be her drunken hookup. After a dreadful conversation I assumed I was saved by the Toadies taking the stage with a rocking 1-2 punch of Heel and I Come From The Water but that sadly was the not the case. I had to stomp on her toes and shove her off of me as I tried to enjoy the show. The third song Keep That Hand Away felt rather appropriate as I had to fight off this disgusting land beast and her un-wanted wandering hands.
It was not just me having issues with this behemoth and her surprisingly attractive and equally inebriated friend. The duo were so gone they had no idea that they were moving the monitors around and nearly spilling drinks into guitarists Clark Vogerler’s pedal board. Thankfully the security team at the Roxy came to our rescue and removed the vermin from the front of the stage.
Able to finally focus on the music, the Toadies played an exciting set that covered their lengthy career while giving fans a sneak peak of what the future holds. It’s no surprise that fans react best to songs from their 1994 breakout album Rubberneck. Songs like Happy Face and Away got the crowd dancing early on. While it never found its way onto Rubberneck, one of my favorites from that era is Paper Dress and I beyond excited that the band is still playing it in 2012.
With a new album titled PLAY.ROCK.MUSIC set for release on July 31st the band found time to sneak four new songs into the set. Early on the crowd was treated to the bass heavy first single Summer of the Strange. Later in the night guitarist/vocalist Todd Lewis wanted our opinion on what he described as the “slower” Beside You. In my humble opinion it was the best of the four new songs played upon the Sunset Strip on a Saturday night.
It was around the time that Lewis joked that the band had been on tour forever that I was taking note and just how tight the Toadies sounded. The harder they brought it, the more the now sweat soaked crowd returned the energy right back to the band. Backslider, Song I Hate, and a cover of the Reverend Horton Heat rocker 400 Bucks all kept the crowd moving (and not to mention drinking). The set finally closed with the group’s biggest commercial hit Possum Kingdom. While many no doubt love this one for obvious reasons, for me it’s all about watching Vogerler create that fat wall of feedback only to twist and manipulate it with his guitars Floyd Rose bridge. Standing just a few feet as he makes those amps hum is pretty flipping awesome.
After what was quite possibly the shortest encore break in history, the band blessed us with another four songs. After kicking thing off with Hell In High Water the band played what I feel is their biggest hit. Sure you may not hear it on the FM dial during 90’s weekend, but ask any Toadies fan what the band’s best song is and chances are they will tell you Tyler. To stand front row and watch as Lewis belt out the song’s creepy bridge of breaking and entering and beer pouring is something I have waited nearly sixteen years to experience again. The show eventually wrapped with a percussion heavy take on I Burn and the final new song of the evening Rattler’s Revival.
I knew I would get a great rock show but this particular evening on Sunset Blvd far exceeded my expectations. With playoff games at Staples and flying pigs at the Coliseum it was no doubt the right place to be in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
It was not just any Saturday night on the Sunset Strip, it was Cinco de Mayo. America’s version of El Día de la Batalla de Puebla or as alcoholics prefer to call it Amateur Night. You can always tell it is going to be a good night when vomit is flowing down the boulevard long before sun sets upon Sunset. There is a good energy in Los Angeles right now, people like hockey all of a sudden and we can no longer laugh as hard at the Clippers. Hell even the metal heads on the Strip were feeling good on the 5th of May as most of them had tickets for the sold out celebration of a battle in 1862 with Decapitated, Baroness and Meshuggah.
The fiesta kicked off with Decapitated. The band was faced with the unfortunate circumstance of having to go on as fans whom showed up well in advance of the doors opening were left waiting outside as metal detectors and slow ticket takers worked at the pace of snail. That didn’t stop the Polish natives from bringing a pulverizing set. For those who were in the venue the group did a great job of warming them up for a night of metal. After rocking classics like “Mother War” and “Post Organic” the highlight of the brief set was the moment that the band welcomed back original bass player Marcin Rygiel for the set closing Spheres of Madness. I didn’t know much about Decapitated walking into the venue, but they no doubt won me over by the end of the night.
Baroness hit the stage around 9:15 and pleased the crowd with 45 minutes of southern sludge metal. Circle pits were swapped for stoney head nods as the Savannah four piece played a set that drew heavily from their 2009 album Blue Record. I was particularly impressed with how the band strung songs together using jams that were sparse in notes yet dense in tones. Highlights of the set included Steel That Sleeps The Eye, The Sweetest Curse and a new song called Take My Bones Away that I assume will be included on the groups’ upcoming Yellow and Green album. I was hoping we would get an hour but as the band busted into Isak I knew our time together was done. A great main support set I need to see these guys headline someday.
After great opening sets it was clear everyone was ready for the main event to begin. With their most recent record Koloss debuting at #17 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts House of Blues is far too small of a venue for Meshuggah. Those who made it in knew they were lucky and made sure to show it by forming small pits on the crammed floor as a recording of Obsidian played across the PA. When the band finally did come out, they opened with the outstanding new song Demiurge. You can hate me for saying this all you want but this song reminds me of Primus and I could not have asked for a better way to kick off the set.
Early on there was a heavy focus on the band’s 2008 effort ObZen as Pravus, Combustion and Lethargica all cemented the notion as fact that this venue is far too small for the music being performed on stage. Other early highlights included Glints Collide and the new song Do Not Look Down.
Around the midway point of the show, the band left the stage as Mind’s Mirror played. When they return we were treated to one of the high points of the night as they performed In Death – Is Life and In Death – Is Death from the 2005’s Catch Thirtythree. The entire band sounded top notch all night, especially vocalist Jens Kidman.
I was shocked at how little of the new record the band played. I Am Colossus did make a late appearance sandwiches between fan favorites New Millennium Cyanide Christ and the eventual set closer Rational Gaze. Also shocking was how loud the crowd was during the obligatory encore break. In my decade plus in Los Angeles it was one of the loudest I have heard. Fans were rewarded with two more songs before being sent back out onto the strip to shock the Swagtastic lushes of amateur night. After a mighty camera killing Future Breed Machine, the men of Meshuggah bid Hollywood goodnight with Dancers To A Discordant System. It may have been a Mexican-American holiday but on this particular night it was the Swedes who won the battle of the Sunset Strip.
Click here to see where you can catch Decapitated, Baroness and Meshuggah.
So there I was in the dentist chair this morning getting my face drilled once again (let this be a friendly reminder that not having dental insurance for a decade is no excuse for skipping your bi-annual cleanings) when I had what I would like to believe is a genius idea. To distract you from what is going on inside your mouth, my dentist has this big monitor where her victims patients can watch Hulu. Not being a huge fan of TV I am the one guy who heads to YouTube in search of a full concert performance from a band I love. On this particular trip, I stumbled upon a set that featured two artists I love – The Flaming Lips and Beck. Then it hit me, the world needs a Feistodon tour.
In case you are unfamiliar with what went down a decade ago, The Flaming Lips not only opened for Beck, they also performed as his backing band. The tour was a huge success for both artists and I know I have kicked myself numerous times for missing out. With the successful Record Store Day release of the Feistodon 7 inch, the next logical step is for these two powerhouses to hit the road together. Think about it, Mastodon comes out and warms up the crowd for 45 minutes. A quick set change and the lovely Leslie Feist takes the stage for a few solo songs. Next thing you know, Troy, Brent, Bill and Brann are sneaking onto the stage and backing the Canadian songbird for the rest of the night. We know that there is a mutual respect between both of you, so why not take this to the next level? Sure a few Feist fans may be scared of Mastodon and I have no doubt that a few Mastodon fans may not enjoy some of Feist’s more mellow moments but on a whole I know that a majority of fans from both sides are open minded and would eat this up.
So what do you say, let’s make this happen. I vote for a Halloween night kick off at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. For real, this gives Mastodon the chance to ‘twang’ it up a bit and explore new styles and it gives Feist a chance to re-imagine her back catalog. Hell perhaps Feist can sing Mastodon songs as well and you know the album Metals was made for Mastodon to play. So what are we waiting for, let’s make this fucking happen.
Thanks for your time and consideration of this once in a lifetime concert experience,
Universal Studios Hollywood is always a bizarre place to see a heavy metal show. As you make the long walk from your car to the Gibson Amphitheatre it’s hard not to laugh as metal fans stuff their faces with food court fair as tourists walk past and modern day Madonna songs blast upon the jumbotron. I actually thought it was an odd place for the Heritage Hunter Tour to be stopping in Southern California and upon seeing how many sections of seats were closed off inside the large venue it was at least refreshing to know my suspicions were correct. Undersold or not I was just excited to be catching Ghost and Mastodon together.
The show was set to kick off at 8:15 pm, but actually started around 8:13pm. As music you would hear on church during Sunday morning service rang through the PA many fans rushed in from the lobby to their seats. As the intro music faded the familiar bouncy bass line of “Con Clavi Con Dio”began and our ritual was underway. For thirty minutes Ghost enchanted the few diehards who made it into the venue while winning over every single individual smart enough to show up on time. Having spent a decade now living in Los Angeles, I don’t recall ever hearing a band refer to us as Tinsletown, but that is exactly what Papa Emeritus addressed us as. With the band’s February 2012 appearance at The Roxy being one of the best shows I have ever had the privilege of seeing, I knew a 30 minute opening slot would never be able to compare. While brief, it was still magical and I am still convinced that one day we will be watching Ghost headline venues this size in America. For the first time in my life I actually taped an entire performance of a band, and you can watch Ghost for yourself down below.
The last time I saw a show at Gibson Amphitheatre, Live Nation incompetencecost me a chance to see Mastodon. Thankfully that was not the case on this night. Having just seen the band in New Orleans last October, I was excited to see what they could do in a “headline” capacity. With their most recent release The Hunter being my top album of 2012, I was hoping for a set that was heavy on songs from the record and I got exactly that. Opening with “Black Tongue” we were in store for 75 minutes of hard hitting Mastodon action.
The group followed up “Black Tongue” by taking it back a few years to Blood Mountain. Both “Hand of Stone” and “Crystal Skull” got the mosh pit moving as an impressive light show caused more than one fan to fight of seizures. Yet after those two songs, the next 45 minutes was dedicated to material from The Hunter. With limited interaction of the crowd, highlights of this run of songs included “Dry Bone Valley,” “Octopus Has No Friends,” “Blasteroid” and of course the title track “The Hunter.”
The group snuck in a stellar version of “Crack The Sky” before going back to more songs from The Hunter. Instead of listing off all the songs the band played; let’s just say they didn’t play one of my favorites “Creature Lives.” That didn’t matter as the show was still incredible. The problem with Mastodon is that they are too good. It’s hard not to say cliché terms like “they killed it” or “brought the house down” because that is exactly what they do. Towards the end of the set, they did sneak in fan favorites “Aqua Dementia” and the mighty “Blood and Thunder” before closing with “The Sparrow.”
What I really love about Mastodon is that they change things up each time you see them. I do believe this was my 5th time seeing the band and I am inclined to say this was the best one yet. Phenomenal playing, killer light show and the sound was superb. As I am not a fan of Opeth (I have a ton of respect for them, but they tend to put me to sleep) I called it an early night and made the long walk back to the car grateful to catch two of the best live bands on the planet together on a Thursday night in Tinsletown.