Author: ReverendJustito (page 2 of 8)

Kasabian 04/19/12: Jimmy Kimmel Live – Hollywood, CA

Kasabian 04/19/12

Bud Lite Concert Stage at Jimmy Kimmel Live – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justitio

There is a line from the Kasabian song “Days Are Forgotten” that has been running through my head since I awoke this morning. Perhaps this line is here because I heard the band sound check the song no less than six times yesterday; perhaps it is there because of a deeper meaning? Hell, it is possible it is there for both reasons. The line is as follows:

“Cos I’m taking back what’s mine, I am taking back the time, you may call it suicide but I’m being born again…”

The responsible thing would have been going to the Roosevelt Hotel which is adjacent to the theatre where Jimmy Kimmel films his late night television program. There were some Brits there who wanted to drink cocktails and discuss matters I am not legally allowed to share here. Yet when the day of my death comes and my life flashes before my eyes what memory would I rather see? Cocktails with people who could give two shits about me, or the moment where I met Tom and Sergio from Kasabian? Suicide perhaps, but for this soul it was nothing short of the conclusion of a much needed rebirth.

I made it to Hawthorne Avenue behind the Jimmy Kimmel Live studios around 5:30pm. Off the bat I saw many familiar faces from our “Bring Kasabian to North America” Facebook campaign. I also ended up seeing many familiar faces that I met during Tuesday nights’ stellar Kasabian headline gig at The Fonda Theatre. As the band spent twenty minutes sound checking various sections of “Days Are Forgotten” and “Goodbye Kiss” we bonded even further over our love of Kasabian. We discussed everything from Coachella to Sergio and was he/was he not furious with a few fans disrespecting him at the end of the Fonda show. The fellowship continued as the fine folks at 1iota let us into the parking lot that the Jimmy Kimmel Bud Lite Concert Stage calls home and we all settled in for the mini performance.

As is common practice with all outdoor tapings for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, we watched the entire program as it taped via a videoscreen set up next to the stage. I am now an expert on Precious and her squirrel problem, Morgan Spurlock shared all about his manscaping and of course with it being a Thursday night we were treated to some Unnecessary Censorship. Then it was our turn to be up front and center as the fans who sat inside for the show taping joined us outside. We made lots of noise as Kimmel did multiple takes introducing the band (you can see me in my San Francisco Giants hat looking very awkward over Kimmel’s right shoulder) before my final Kasabian set of April 2012.

We all knew “Days Are Forgotten” was coming from the numerous soundtracks. It appeared that neither Tom or Serge were thrilled with the sound, but as you can watch below the fine editors at the Jimmy Kimmel Live show managed to work some post production magic and you can’t tell that is the case at all. I of course have to mention to wonderful shirt lead guitarist Sergio Pizzorno was wearing. If I was going to be on Television, I’d probably wear something similar as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFD_lTS2kUQ

After a quick break, we were ordered to cheer again as the band launched into the second song, the web exclusive (which as of publication time has yet to be posted) “Goodbye Kiss.” A fitting song as the sun set on the 19th of April, this version sounded tighter than the one performed at the Fonda two days earlier. While the band may have sounded tighter, you could no doubt feel a bit of a disconnect between them and the fans due to the fact that cameras are flying above our heads and a large part of the audience was made up of tourists there for a television taping and not because they are fans of Kasabian.

As with most Jimmy Kimmel Live performances, the band played three songs after the cameras went off. Up first was “Let’s Roll Just Like We Used To” which while not terrible didn’t do much to energize the now thinning crowd. The energy level did pick up a bit amongst those who only had tickets for the outside stage when the group closed the set with solid versions of “Vlad The Impaler” and “Fire.” While Pizzorno didn’t ask us to get down at the end of “Fire” fans did sing along to the chorus and a few of us even bounced up and down in unison.  Then just like that it was all over. Three Kasabian shows in six days had come and gone faster than you could say Velociraptor!

With the clock yet to hit 9pm, I decided to do something I have not done in years. I joined some of my new friends and we headed over to the alley directly behind the theatre. For roughly twenty minutes approximately 25 fans waited for Kasabian to be taken away from the site by large passenger vans with tinted windows. We sang “Fire” and we screamed and cheered as loud as we could. Our devotion was rewarded as both Sergio and Tom came out and met us. They posed for photos, signed our ticket stubs and some lucky ladies even got kisses on the cheeks. Some spoke about Football (known in America as soccer) and I was able to pass the “America Loves Kasabian” sign to a very appreciative Sergio. With many fans (myself included) thanking them for returning to our home land, they confirmed they would be back in the fall. Then as fast as they came out, Tom and Sergio were swept up by management and personal handlers and drove off into the night.

Epilogue

I started this website over three years ago as a fan looking to build a community for individuals who had the same passion for live music as I did. I still love this place and I am very proud of what we have accomplished, but the sad fact is that it has gone from a hobby to a job. I have gone from someone who barely passed High School English to someone who sat around a table with legit journalists eating breakfast and frantically posting reviews of Coachella before heading out to the Polo Fields for more. I have had the threat of lawsuits and I have publicists who call me and beg me to check out their bands. I have had the chance to meet some heroes and had to play it cool because that is what you do when you are VIP at the corporate rock and roll venue. I am not crying at all because I love doing this. I am sharing this because I waited six long years to see Kasabian perform live and in person. This week has been amazing for many reasons, but most importantly I was able to shake off all the armor that one must wear when they decide to dive deep into the unknown and pursue what they love. I was able to be a fan boy and geek the fuck out. I made sure I was as close to the guard rail as possible for three shows. I jumped up and down and sang along to every song and made silly signs to show the band my appreciation. I have partied with the likes of Lemmy and Vinnie Paul yet that can’t even compare to what I felt inside my soul during that moment I took a blurry photo with Sergio. I have taken this site so serious for so long that I truly forgot the reason we started. Thank you Kasabian for coming back to America, rocking my ass off three times and most importantly reminding me why I do this again.

Kasabian 04/17/12: The Fonda Theatre – Hollywood, CA

Kasabian w/ The Dear Hunter 04/17/12

The Fonda Theatre – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

Standing along the fence that separates a parking lot from Hollywood Blvd I watched as a tour bus slowly backed up and parked next to an 18 wheeler. With doors for The Fonda Theater not open for another two hours I felt like a teenager again as I watched as each member of the band exited the bus and entered the venue. In a day and age where I typically show up to a concert as late as possible and often get to hang with the bands before or after I couldn’t remember the last time I felt such excitement to see a famous musician perform let alone walk across a parking lot. Then again, this was not your typical concert; this was the final headline performance during Kasabian’s highly successful return to America and I was going to treat this evening as if I was an underage girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

Having spent time pre show meeting many from a Facebook group I started called “Bring Kasabian to North America” the love only grew once inside the venue as fans that had never seen the band swapped tales with the few who had. It was about 45 minutes into our conversation when we were interrupted by Serge, Jay and Chris from Kasabian. Armed with size medium white t-shirts featuring a unique word printed upon it, they asked for volunteers to put them on. As you can imagine, there was no shortage of folks trying to squeeze into the tiny t-shirts. I know I felt a lot like a sausage as I did my best to fit my large man boobs into a shirt that simply read “ride.” With about 50 of us now wearing these t-shirts we were told that we would find out what they were for later. While the band never did share with us the purpose, it is assumed that it has something to do with the sign posted outside the venue stating that we would all be filmed by the Last Call With Carson Daly television program.

It was 9pm sharp when The Dear Hunter took the stage. Not to be confused with the Phish hating Deerhunter, this Rhode Island group mixes deep fried southern melodies with gluten free indie tendencies. Surprisingly, the end result was rather tasty as their 30 minute opening set was quite delectable. One of my favorite thing to see live is a three guitar attack. However, this must be done properly and The Dear Hunter did exactly that. An enjoyable set that lasted just the right amount of time as it was clear early on that 99% of the crowd were there for the evening’s headliner and not the opener.

Having smuggled numerous messages for the band into the venue, I made sure to have my “Vote For Meighan/Pizzorno in 2012” sign raised high as the boys from Leicester took to the stage. Opening with “Days Are Forgotten” it was clear out the gate that while The Fonda Theatre may only hold 1,200 people they brought a light and sound system designed to rock 120,000. As the bass boomed and singer Tom Meighan welcomed the packed venue with open arms I knew it was time to get loose, let go and give the band what little energy I had left after a long weekend (and not to mention my first Kasabian live experience) at Coachella.

Not missing a step, the end of “Days” flowed nicely into the Empire track “Shoot The Runner.” As I looked past the first few rows of fans behind me, my long running fears were beginning to come true. Having watched hundreds of live Kasabian videos on YouTube, I know that when they play the crowd goes bonkers for the band. Alas my lone headline appearance from the band happened to be in a town where even the greats find it impossible to get the crowd to show any type of enthusiasm on a Friday night, let alone a Tuesday night.

Thankfully my fear didn’t last long as Kasabian proved why they are the greatest rock stars to emerge over the last decade. The band reminded fans where they were, who they were seeing and that it was time to get off of the cell phones and into the show. Hard hitting versions of “Velociraptor,” “Underdog” and “I.D.” finally got many on the floor jumping and moving. Playing up that they were in the city of Angels, Meighan not only dedicated “Thick as Thieves” to Peter Hayes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, he threw in a few lines of The Doors “People Are Strange” to the delight of many older audience members.

My biggest shock of the night was “Take Aim.” Not a terrible song, but one that may get skipped occasionally when I enjoy West Ryder however after this night that may never happen again. With Meighan now totally absent from the stage, lead guitarist/vocalist Sergio Pizzorno lead the band through a highly charged take on the song. Pizzorno doesn’t ask that you jump and make some noise, he demands it and by this point in the night there was not a single person inside of the Fonda not eating out of his hand and following his every word. Having smiled and given me a thumbs up after spotting my “America <3 Kasabian” sign, the swirling wall of feedback built into the bands biggest stateside hit “Club Foot.” With Meighan sneaking back on stage and bassist Chris Edwards laying down the greatest bass line of the past 25 years I couldn’t help but smile. Kasabian were in Hollywood rocking my ass harder than it has ever been rocked before.

I have to assume that either “Re-Wired” or “Goodbye Kiss” will be the song featured on the Carson Daly television program as numerous video cameras showed up around that time. Having now made Meighan smile and dare I say blush from his spotting the “Thank You For Playing America Again” sign the band unknowingly thanked me by busting out “Fast Fuse.” Countless nights I have pushed my car well past the posted limit as I drive through the concrete jungle known as Los Angeles screaming along to the lyrics from this song. I have abused this metropolis hard over the past decade and not playing this song within our vast city limits would have been nothing short of criminal.

After a set closing “L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)” which featured an extended outro where Pizzorno once again made Los Angeles break its strict NO AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION rule by singing the songs La La La’s well after other members had left the stage. When the band eventually returned we were treated to a nasty three song encore. Kicking off with arguably the bands heaviest song “Switchblade Smiles” it felt as if the lads had turned up the music even louder than before. With many in the crowd now jumping and smashing into each other without Pizzorno requesting us to do so, “Vlad The Impaler” kept the low end rumbling and featured Pizzorno laying down a few lines from “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy.

As the notes of “Fire” began to rang through the PA I knew our time together was coming to an end. I flashed my “Let’s Hit Roscoe’s After The Show” sign and guitarist Jay Mehler asked if I was paying and I of course responded yes. While we never did find each other for a chicken and waffle feast, he and his mates did rock all of us one last time. Despite its rampant overuse in America today, the word epic is the only way to describe the bands final song. From the fan sing along to Pizzorno instructing us all the sit upon the floor only to jump up on his command the energy inside the room felt like we were in a venue built for sports and not a former vaudeville theatre. As the final notes rang through and the band walked off the stage I am pretty sure I was glowing. Kasabian have conquered the rest of the world and the last empire to fall just happens to be America. I felt it coming long ago but it’s clear that if they keep working hard it is only a matter of time before this band gets the same love and respect from America as Radiohead and Muse. Thank you Kasabian for coming to America, please don’t make us wait 5 years for your next visit.

 

Coachella Music Festival 04/15/12: Empire Polo Fields – Indio, CA

Coachella Music and Arts Festival 04/15/12

Empire Polo Fields – Indio, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

For the final day of my first Coachella weekend I arrived to the Empire Polo Fields much later than I had the first two days. I could tell by the time that I was to the Beats Antique tent that the energy had changed. You could see the exhaustion on the collective face of the crowd, sick and tired of having to walk into a cage to get a beer or take a leak. Security was a bit tighter on this particular day as well as for the first time all weekend I had to throw away contraband at the front gate (clearly Coachella is no place for Gummy Bears, especially the Haribo variety). Most important on this sunny spring day, it was a final shot for me to get my head straight one last time before returning home to reality and a new chapter in my life.

Fitz and the Tantrums

Fuck these guys. No, really fuck these guys. This is not a band, this is a fucking product. They make me so fucking angry that I am left but no choice to overuse the word fuck. The songs are simple, uninspired and I felt for the first time all weekend that I was at a Pop radio station summer festival and not Coachella. This metro-sexual Motown shtick doesn’t work. The fact that “Steady As She Goes” by The Raconteurs was stale, cheap and generic made me wonder if they add it in just to look cool? Fitz is nothing more than mass produced music for people who don’t want to be pushed outside their comfort level. I wouldn’t even bother to steal their retro recordings. Oh and spare me the “they are a fun band” argument, because the world has plenty of fun bands who make great music. Fitz isn’t one of them. Next please.

Wild Flag

I’ve had a crush on Carrie Brownstein because she once did an experiment for NPR where she became a Phish fan for a week. I decided to check out Wild Flag because of this. I managed to catch three songs from up front before enjoying the rest with a few friends in the beer garden. While many in my group thought the music was terrible I had to disagree. While it would have been better suited inside one of the tents versus the massive Outdoor Stage, the all-female super group had a good energy going throughout the set and quenched my festival hunger for grrrrlrock.

Gaslamp Killer

For those who follow me on Twitter, you know all about my sworn duty to bust wooks. We all hate the dirty crusty scum who sell bad drugs, refuse to shower and call your sister “brah.” Well what if I told you they started a new genre of music to spread their message of filth and dishonesty? WOOKSTEP is here people; I nearly choked on my $5 churro when I saw this in action. Truly dreadful, I went and found an officer from the nearby Cathedral City Police Department but he refused to do anything. Check the footage below and then warn all your friends that WOOKSTEP is coming to a Wal-Mart near you.

The Weeknd

I’d be lying if I denied being bored for a good chunk of Coachella on Sunday. I ended up taking a seat along the fence and watched a beautiful California sunset as The Weeknd took the stage. Before a single note played, I already knew this band was going to be huge based off the thunderous cheers from every young girl at Coachella. The Weeknd were not bad, but Canadian indie rock infused R&B sung by pretty boys is never going to win me over. So instead I just watched the day, reflected on the wonderful weekend that was coming to an end and thought about the day when I take my daughter to see a dreamy front man like The Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye live.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ktEbWgIyMs

The Airplane Boys

As I walked in a sea of people to go see Gotye, I noticed the Gobi Tent was deserted as a hip hop act played. I decided to go check it out and what I saw reminded me of being 16 and checking out a local show. The Airplane Boys are from Canada and what they lack in talent, they make up in enthusiasm. From running around the empty tent to getting what few fans were there to raise their hands and scream, you would have thought these guys were arena headliners. Alas they were just a few guys praying for folks to give em a chance on a night headlined by some of hip hops brightest stars.

Gotye

This dude should have been on the Outdoor Stage and Wild Flag should have rocked this tent as there was a massive crowd gathered to witness the greatest one hit wonder of 2012. I can only assume he played the song everyone will be sick of by Memorial Day and it changed the lives of girls not old enough to get into the beer garden. Good times.

Girl Talk

I would like to pat myself on the back as I successfully completed the Girl Talk Triple Crown. Three Girl Talk sets at three festivals in one single year. First we had Outside Lands in San Francisco. Then we had Voodoo in New Orleans. Coachella completed the Triple Crown. What I have realized with Girl Talk is that every show is exactly the same. Stressing that he only had 45 minutes, I stayed for about 20 before leaving the mash up madness and heading back to the main stage to wrap my weekend.

Justice

Fuck these guys. No really, fuck these guys. Unlike Fitz they are unique and talented. But the fact is long before Girl Talk started I gathered at the main stage to check out their 7:45 pm set. I watched my watch and 7:45 pm came and past. It was 8:05 pm when I finally said fuck this and left as fans started to get ugly. This is a festival set, you have an obligation to be on time for your fans. Justice wasted my valuable time and it was not appreciated. I heard they finally came on around 8:15 pm and only played for 30 minutes versus the entire hour that was expected. I hope they only got half of their paycheck. I did manage to catch the last song after Girl Talk, so enjoy the one photo I took of these tardy twats up above.

At The Drive-In

This was a moment I have waited years for. I never got to see At The Drive-In and I knew Coachella was my chance. With the sun now set the masses flocked to the main stage for a taste of El Paso in Indio. I knew the second the low end rumbling began that we were opening for “Arcarsenal” and I was ready to rage. For the next hour, the five piece band unleashed an all-out assault on Coachella that managed to sound well-polished while never losing its raw grit.

I really enjoyed the construction of the set and how the songs flowed. I believe it was “Lopsided” that flowed perfectly into “Sleepwalk Capsules” without pausing to quickly tune or allowing front man Cedric Bixler-Zavala to insult the audiences’ choice of clothes.

While I could have listened to the band play all damn night, I am happy that most of my favorites were performed. I was a bit worried that we would see two separate bands (The Mars Volta and Sparta) trying to be one, but on this particular night you could not see any divide upon the stage. The one thing I did find disappointing was the lack of energy from guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. After wishing us a Merry Christmas, the band wrapped the set with their lone radio hit “One Armed Scissor.” No longer yelling at folks not to mosh, At The Drive-In is back and sounds better than ever.

Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg

Unless you are an E-Tard losing your cell phone out at the Sahara Tent, the final set of Coachella 2012 was the one set I was most intrigued about since the initial artist announcement. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg together again. I managed to catch Snoop last fall at Voodoo and found myself bored to death thirty minutes into the set. Could Dre and Snoop keep the interest of a casual hip hop fan? As it turns out they not only did but put on one of the best performances I have ever seen.

The celebration of West Coast Hip Hop from the past, present and future kicked off with “The Next Episode.” It was clear that the duo were well rehearsed and about to put on a show for the ages. Keeping the parting rolling, “Kush” and “Gin N Juice” followed giving tens of thousands of concert goers the chance to get in the right mental condition for a Death Row history lesson.

Now that we were all in the right mind frame, it was time to pay tribute to Nate Dogg. While we never did see a hologram performance as rumored, we did get to see Kurupt come out for a rocking take on “ Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None).” After the tribute, it was time to get high again as Snoop Dogg brought out Wiz Khalifa to perform their hit “Young, Wild & Free.”

The first half of the show was jam packed with hit after hit. Some not even their own as both Dre and Snoop had a chuckle after a tongue and cheek performance of the House of Pain classic “Jump Around.” From there we got such timeless memories as “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and of course “Ain’t Nothing But A ‘G’ Thang.”

With massive energy in the venue, Dre sucked the life out of the show for a few minutes to show off his newest weapon Kendrick Lamar. Thankfully it was the breather we all needed as 50 Cent came out next shocking the Coachella nation. 50 breezed through three tracks in about six minutes. Fans went nuts as he performed his biggest hits “P.I.M.P” and “In The Club.” 50 sounded great and was no doubt a welcome surprise.

After a massive group rap-a-long for “California Love” it became time to pay tribute to Tupac via hologram. I will be honest, where I was standing, it didn’t look very good. In fact it looked more like a videogame than anything. This was cheesy, out of place and distracting in my opinion and I am going to pretend as if it never happened.

The biggest highlight of the night was Eminem. Em joined the fun for three songs, “I Need A Doctor,” “Forgot About Dre” and “Till I Collapse.” The reclusive rapper had a hoodie over his head the entire time and the good Dr. of course had to beg him to play the final song. Yet the excitement in the air after what had already gone down was not matched all weekend.

The set came to a roaring conclusion with “Still D.R.E.” as the incredible backing band jammed out the songs tail end, Dre and Snoop said their thanks as their respective platforms brought them below the stage. As someone who does not claim to know much about hip hop, Dr. Dre is one of the few artists whose catalogue I know. The set truly was one of the greatest performances I have ever seen as far as pure entertainment level and it was the perfect way to end my first Coachella.

 

Coachella Music Festival 04/14/12: Empire Polo Fields – Indio, CA

Coachella Music and Arts Festival 04/14/12

Empire Polo Fields – Indio, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

I had three goals for Coachella on Saturday. See as many acts as possible while getting inebriated enough to enjoy Radiohead after having my Kasabian live cherry popped. All I have to say is Mission Fucking Accomplished.

Black Lips

One of my top twelve bands to see at Coachella, I made it to the stage about ½ through the Flower Punkers set. I saw no barfing; I saw no guitars being played by cocks. Instead I saw a rather small crowd gathered around the band. Oh and I saw the wonderful Adrian Garro, who I then spoke with instead of actually watching the band. How is that for a deep journalistic review? (Update – per the user comment below I guess I missed the cock show. This is why you should never hang out with your friends).

Childish Gambino

I don’t watch a lot of TV, and what I do watch certainly isn’t on NBC (and if it was, do you think I would actually admit here that I am a fan of Parenthood?). So while I can’t talk about the skills at his day job, Donald Glover’s side job as a rapper is pretty fantastic. With a massive crowd at the main stage in the hot afternoon sun, Gambino delighted the crowd more with his charm than his mic skills. Highlights included “Heartbeat,” “Fire Fly” and a cover of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” I think for most in the crowd (at least the two in front of me) the highlight was no so much Gambino’s ZZ Top T-shirt, but his song “Asian Girls Everywhere (UCLA).” Then again, how could that song not be a hit in sunny Southern California?

 

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

There was a moment on Saturday when Miss Potter was dancing on stage in her bikini top and leather shorts and she spotted me amongst a sea of hippiesters. Perhaps it was the Phish shirt, or the fact that I was not moving to the groups hit “Paris (Oh La La)” but she gave me a look and it clearly said the following: “Hey, what am I supposed to do, I can play tiny shit hole clubs as a respectable jam friendly musician or I can be a whore. You whore in a cube all day, I whore on stage all day it is what it is honey now stop looking at my rolls when I turn to rock out with our drummer.” I get it Grace you are living the rock and roll dream we all have and I refuse to knock you for that. But damn I wish you had stayed more Bonnaroo instead of going Hollywood and for the record this performance was 1,000 times hotter than anything you have done in the past two years.

Zed’s Dead

After checking out some of the installations at the festival/finding out Kasabian had cancelled their signing I decided to check out Zed’s Dead on the recommendation of our pal Jakob. The fans inside the Sahara tent were obnoxious and I really wanted to like the music but as more time went on it got on my nerves. This was the first real sign on this particular weekend that there is now an entire generation of music after the generation of music I grew up with. I am the old timer and I am going to need to learn how to accept that.

fIREHOUSE

Just stopped in for a quick hello. They are legends after all. I dug the song I heard, it reminded me of Phish. On to the next thing.

The Head and the Heart

Knowing it was a long day, I sat just outside whatever tent these indie country types played at and found it rather enjoyable. Mellow, which was exactly what I was looking for at that point in time. Perhaps better in a small club than a festival tent but the band sounded good. The only thing that bothered me about the set was the pants worn by Charity Rose. Dreadful.

Buzzcocks

As far as old punk bands go, Buzzcocks came into my life about a decade ago. I was drawn in by their unique melodies and how they incorporated things like keys into their jarring sounds. With a massive circle pit causing a large dust cloud to rise inside the Gobi Tent, the few fans of punk who made it into Coachella were pumped for the career spanning set. The Buzzcocks saved most of their well-known songs including “Orgasm Addict” and “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” saved for the tail end of the set. I tell ya, the kids go crazy for car commercials as “What Do I Get?” got the biggest reaction from the crowd. Personally I am just glad I finally got a chance to see these guys live, a great high energy set performed by the boys from Bolton.

Kaiser Chiefs

Caught the tail of the set by catching up with an old friend I grew up with. Not bad, but it felt like they tried too hard. But hey, better them on the main stage at 5pm than Kasabian. I did feel bad when the band begged fans to tell all their friends about them. Perhaps it is time I start a PR firm that promotes solid UK acts who never get a chance stateside? Oh and how bad ass is the above photo as I took it from about 800 feet away?!?!?!?!

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Gallagher’s stop last year at UCLA’s Royce Hall was magical. I didn’t know how well Gallagher would do on the main stage during dinner time but as it turns out that just shows you how lame I am. Gallagher is a genius and after playing show after show in the worlds largest venues he knew just what to do. He cranked the distortion up to 11, made sure the drums were heavy in the mix and rocked the fuck out. Songs from his self-titled solo effort like “The Death of You and Me,” “If I Had A Gun,” and “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach” were transformed from well crafted pop songs into all out stadium rockers. While many in the audience shows zero reaction to Oasis songs like “Mucky Fingers” and “Little By Little” they did indeed go nuts when the band performed “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” This of course was problematic to Mr. Gallagher as scolded the audience for cheering when he said he had a final song and not boooing. Well played Noel, well played indeed.

St. Vincent

We all know St. Vincent is incredible. Where Grace Potter failed at being sexy, St. Vincent oozed it. Opening with “Northern Lights” St. Vincent was not only confident she was dominant in seducing the large Gobi Tent crowd with her music. A flawless version of “Cheerleader” followed as the sun was now fully set upon the Empire Polo Fields. “Chloe In The Afternoon” came next and sounded even heavier than on the record. I would love to know what kind of pedal she is using to get that beefy crunchy low end distortion from her guitar. After being won over by her set last fall in Hollywood, I wish I could have seen the entire set, but as she launched into her fourth song “Actor Out Of Work” I knew I had to depart in order to experience a life changing event.

Squeeze

No, Squeeze was not the life changing event. They were just the act playing to all the parents who brought their young kids out to the desert. The song I heard, well I will just say if you don’t have anything nice to say, you must be listening to Squeeze.

Kasabian

If you have read the site, you know that this band has been my long running obsession. As soon as Squeeze finished I forced myself up to the front of the Mojave Tent and quickly discovered that it is not just I who had waited a long, long time for this moment. I met fans from Europe, Saudia Arabia and Reno who had made the trek to Coachella just to catch an hour with Kasabian. In the minutes before the band hit the stage, fans began singing to chorus to the groups hit “Fire.” It was the only time I have seen this kind of pre-set energy at Coachella. When the band did hit the stage at 8:35 pm sharp they opened with a fierce 1-2 punch of “Days Are Forgotten” and “Velociraptor!”  I see a lot of bands, but I was truly freaking out like some 13 year old girl who just met Justin Bieber. It was Kasabian and they were loud and three feet away from my face.

The band playing a much shorter set than their typical headline shows did a superb job of mixing new material in with classic jams from their first and third records. With no proper US tour for West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum it was a treat when the band tore the tent to shreds with “Underdog” (which included some sweet improved lyrics from lead guitarist Sergio Pizzorno about the large amounts of marijuana being smoked in front of the band). Joking about how they were kids when they last played Coachella in 2005 “I.D.” from the bands self-titled debut was not only a welcome treat but the perfect song for the electronic heavy festival.

From what I could gather the band was winning over fans left and right, especially after a jaw dropping take on the Noel Gallagher dedicated “Club Foot.” A humorous moment came right before “Re-Wired” as lead singer Tom Meighan pointed out a fan with a mask of the Queen of England before promptly booing her Majesty. Sadly before things really began they were coming to an end. Now with a full on mosh pit going down in front of the stage, the group closed with the effective combination of West Ryder classics “Vlad The Impaler” and “Fire.” It didn’t matter how tired I already was at that point, I gave it my all jumping up and down per the instructions of Pizzorno. In closing, I have noticed many times in life you long to see a band you love and when you finally do see them it’s amazing yet expectations are not met. Kasabian in 50 minutes are the one act I have seen who went above and beyond my high expectations and I can’t wait to do it all over again on Tuesday night.

Flying Lotus

All I can tell you is that he was bummed he was almost out of time. Honestly, having just seen Kasabian, I don’t even remember what I heard here.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed is one of those bands I have always heard of yet never heard. Nothing like I expected, I think I assumed these guys were more like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. With little or no lighting, what appeared to be about eight musicians sat down and made these crazy post rock instrumentals. Really mellow, really different. Took in about two or three songs before going to grab a quick bite and beer before Radiohead.

Radiohead

I tend to be a music snob and have hated everything this band has done since OK Computer. I often get into fights with folks on twitter by comparing their music to “pussy farts.” Yes, two hours was way too long to be alone in a field, but I actually really enjoyed most of Radiohead’s set. Sure, I recognized the hits like “Karma Police” “Lotus Flower” and “Idioteque” but it was some of the non-hits that most intrigued me. The opening song “Bloom” reminded me a lot of Phish which was awesome. I was shocked to hear the band play the song “Lucky” but perhaps that is just because I recognized it. The entire presentation from the light show and video screens was incredible (I can’t believe I am calling something Radiohead related incredible). Hell they even teased Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” before playing “Everything In Its Right Place.” So perhaps I was wrong, perhaps Radiohead is more than pussy farts?!?!?! I am not rushing to call them the greatest band, but they no doubt changed my feelings on them with a pretty spectacular Saturday headline set.

 

 

Coachella Music Festival 04/13/12: Empire Polo Fields – Indio, CA

Coachella Music and Arts Festival 04/13/12

Empire Polo Fields – Indio, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

There was a reason I have always avoided Coachella and that reason is the sun. Fact is my white ass doesn’t do so well out in the middle of the desert. So it is fitting that my first trip to Coachella felt more like my hometown of San Francisco versus the Palm Desert. Strong winds, sporadic showers and thick fog were a downer for everyone but me. But enough about the weather, let’s discuss the first Friday of Coachella 2012.

James

I have a pal, his name is James and the album title Get Laid by James has always made us laugh. So to pop my Coachella cherry I decided to start off with this long running Manchester band’s main stage set. I honestly couldn’t name a single song they played, I didn’t get to hear the song Laid, but I did run into my pal Brian so that was pretty sweet.

Gary Clark Jr.

I ran across the Polo Fields from the main stage to the Gobi Tent for the first act I was truly excited to see. With the wind blowing hard through the tent, Gary Clark Jr. hit the stage with a fantastic set of rock/blues revival. Song like “When The Trains Pull In” and “Don’t Owe You A Thang” felt more like Bonnaroo as the crowd danced under the tent. I ended up sneaking off right after he teased some “Third Stone From The Sun” action as I decided to check in on another hippie heavy act.

GROUPLOVE

As I have shared in the past, I have been trying to see Grouplove since last summer. I still need to see Grouplove. With hurricane strength winds and extremely douchie fans assembled under the Mojave Tent I only lasted two songs. Sadly the band sounded terrible and I am not sure if it was the wind, the fact they are blowing up before they have the time to grow as a live act or a combo of both. I am sure Hannah Hooper is a lovely gal but someone should mention to her that when winds are whipping she may want to actually sing into the mic when she dances around instead of projecting from eight feet away. I split after “Itchin on a Photograph” with the thoughts in my mind that perhaps the third time is the charm.

Death Grips

In my pre-Coachella YouTube session, Death Grips caught me off guard. I have a thing for noisy bands and I am always down to check out any act who call Northern California home. With their road crew rocking San Francisco Giants hats, the band hit the stage to a very small crowd. I lasted about ½ the set and I have very mixed emotions on the band. Unaware of how long they have been performing live, you can tell the group needs some work on their stage presence, especially lead vocalist MC Ride. What I do like about this group is they are a new wave of acts that are the evolution of heavy music. I like the combo of aggressive beats matched with a hip hop meets DC hardcore vocal flair. It’s unique it’s refreshing and God damn did it make me feel old.

Girls

If you have followed this site for a while you know I love Girls. I showed up about ½ way into their Outdoor Stage set and was delighted to see bassist Chet White rocking an old school San Francisco 49ers jacket. The part of the set I saw was heavy on last year’s outstanding release Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Highlights included Saying I Love You, Alex and the set closing Vomit. Towards the end as the song gets heavy and lead singer Christopher Owens is singing “looking for love” with the help of backup singers, the rain began to fall heavily upon the crowd. It was as if it was in synch with the San Francisco based group and the first truly magical Coachella moment I was lucky enough to experience.

Artic Monkeys

After catching up with some pals, I caught my third Arctic Monkeys show from the beer tent. Shockingly, while I was not exactly watching them it was the best I have heard this band play. Highlights included “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and the track recorded with Mr. Josh Homme just a few miles away “Crying Lightning.” The perfect dinner band, even if dinner is two quickly pounded cups of Heineken.

Madness

Hey look it’s Madness. Cross them off the list of bands I have never seen.

Pulp

As I mentioned sarcastically in my Coachella preview, I know “Common People” and that’s about it. Yet despite not knowing much about the band they were the highlight of day one. The Jarvis Cocker lead act sounded incredible and he is a helluva front man. I love his rambling banter on everything from learning how to have sex to the admission that Coachella wanted them last year and it simply didn’t happen. Oh and Cocker hit me with a grape before performing “Babies” that was pretty awesome. I went to see Pulp knowing they don’t make it across the pond to the states very often, and I left their set as a fan. Oh and just to make assholes like me happy, you know they closed with “Common People” and it was all I had dreamed of and more.

The Black Keys

I knew this band was ready for headline status when I tried to catch them at Outside Lands and was at least two football fields back. Thankfully I was much closer on this evening and enjoyed most of the Akron duos set. Opening up with the 1-2 punch of “Howlin’ For You” and “Next Girl” the massive crowd erupted for the main stage headliners. Some of the background videos seemed to be glitching but no one really cared as the duo were bringing it hard. Other highlights included the duo ditching their back up band to go at it alone on older songs like “I’ll Be Your Man” and “Your Touch.” One of my favorites from their stellar new record El Camino, “Little Black Submarines” was the perfect way to close out my first proper show by The Black Keys in order to get a quick beer and a slice of pizza before ending my night at the Outiside Stage.

Explosions In The Sky

Granted most of the set was watched from the beer garden as I ate the earlier mention pizza and drank the earlier mentioned beer but I really liked what I heard from this Texas based post rock instrumental act. The music was beautiful and with no lyrics found a way to bring out emotions I wasn’t expecting to feel. By the time I finally got to the field, they were unfortunately just wrapping up their set.  There is going to have to be a next time for these guys.

Refused

I never thought I would see these fine Swedes live. But there it was just past 11pm with the rain coming down rather hard. Opening with The Shape of Punk To Come my arms were forming goose bumps while the younger generation were forming circle pits. The band sounded amazing as if they had not been broken up for the past decade plus. In between rants of how the band has moved on from trying to overthrow our government, the band was crushing us with classics including “The Refused Party Program,” “Rather Be Dead” and “Summerholidays vs. Punkroutine.” What I thought was most interesting was how the band discussed their reunion. They explained how it would be wrong of them not to do it since so many fans wanted it. The band was humble (their last US gig was in a basement to 40 people) and appreciate of the fan as they rewarded the crowd to a balls to the wall set closing “New Noise.” As I sit here today, I still don’t believe it happened. Refused are alive and well and I saw it with my own two eyes.

In closing day one of Coachella was a blast. I am out in about 90 minutes for round two with the likes of Kasabian, Grace Potter and those pussy farting wastes of talent known as Radiohead.

The Top 12 Must See Acts of Coachella 2012

The Top 12 Must See Acts of Coachella 2012 According To Our Shit Talking Loud Mouth Founder Reverend Justito

My only trek to Indio for three days of music in the desert was nearly 2 ½ years ago. It featured one band performing 8 sets for 45,000 devoted fans. Truth be told, I am a bit scared of my first Coachella experience. I am not really the violent type, but the right mix of mind altering substances as well as the heat and general stupidity of 89,989 fucktards rocking fedoras may just send me into a murderous rampage. I suppose it’s a good thing that the fine folks at Goldenvoice don’t allow weapons onto the lush green lawn known as the Empire Polo Fields. But enough with the hate, weekend one of Coachella is just days away and I want to share with you the top 12 artists I am looking to forward to enjoying in the middle of the fucking desert.

Honorable Mentions Who Didn’t Make the Cut: AWOLNATION, The Black Angels, Girl Talk, Manchester Orchestra

12) GROUPLOVE

I tried to catch these lovable Silver Lake by way of the UK and Brooklyn yet formed in Greece hippiesters at the 2011 Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. Booked on the festivals smallest stage yet performing to a massive crowd my pals and I were so far back that we had no choice but to enjoy some whiskey and pretend that we could hear what was going on. With tours of a land down under and a few national TV appearances under their belt since Outside Lands, hopefully I can get a bit closer to the group this time around. If not, at least I will spend Weekend 2 of Coachella at my Best Friend’s House.

11) The Black Lips:

You don’t go see The Black Lips for the music (well maybe you do) you go see these Atlanta based Flower Punkers to watch them urinate on stage, puke on stage, chug beers on stage and spit snot rockets into the air only to catch it in their mouths and swallow it down. Hopefully around the time they play their guitars with their penises, I am vomiting all over those annoying racist white girls who dress like Native American Princesses. Don’t worry honey, I drink microbrew your moccasins will be just fine it’s the headdress that you need to worry about.

10) St. Vincent:

While I would prefer more METAL at Coachella, one thing that the festival is stacked with is great female talent. From Feist to that Florence chick who sounds like a dying pigeon when she sings this may be the best collection of ass kicking females in one place since Lilith Fair 1998. I was shocked at how impressed I was with St. Vincent when I caught her in Hollywood last fall. While I am not sure if her show will translate from a small dark theatre to a sun baked polo field if nothing conflicts I look forward to finding out. Oh and she may be the one individual at Coachella whose skin is more fair than mine. Perhaps we can share sun block after she gives me tips on how to kick ass on guitar as hard as she does.

9) The Buzzcocks:

For me classic punk bands are like Pokemon, I have to catch them all. With the likes of Angry Samoans, FEAR and Youth Brigade checked off the list, Coachella 2012 is my chance to catch the pride and joy of Bolton England. Here is hoping that “Orgasm Addict” and “Something’s Gone Wrong Again” make it onto the setlist.

8 ) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals:

Unknown to her, Grace Potter is my future ex-wife. Long before she was rocking VH1 award shows wearing fancy clothes, this Vermont native was winning me over with her hippielicious 70’s arena rock. Oh and the best thing about seeing Miss Potter and crew at a festival is the fact I can still enjoy her without violating that nasty court order saying I must stay 250 feet away at all times.

7) Childish Gambino:

If Foxy Shazam is White Music For Black People, does that make Childish Gambino Black Music for White People? Granted I don’t know much about hip hop, everything I have heard by this dude is great. It’s like Drake, but not a total fucking joke. Plus we both drink whiskey till we are grounded, here is to passing out in the tent during his set. That is of course when I am not puking on Asian girls from UCLA?

6) Pulp:

As an American, my vote is that you play “Common People” and then get the fuck off the stage so The Black Keys can rock. Oh and have a meltdown, because I have always wanted to see a Brit-Pop band have a breakdown on stage. I kid of course, granted I don’t really know much about Pulp, I have a thing for bands from the UK who don’t get the respect they deserve on this continent. So knowing they don’t come over here often, Pulp you best amaze the fuck out of me.

5) Girls:

I get the feeling Girls will make a lot of new fans at Coachella this year. Their performance at the Music Box last December was their biggest US headline gig to date and they blew the roof off the fucking place. Their 2011 release Father, Son, Holy Ghost made it onto numerous top ten lists for good reason. From lush ballads like “Love Like A River” to Sabbath inspired rockers like “Vomit” and “Die” this band is truly something special and not to be missed.

4) Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds:

While I fully expect to see a water-downed version of Gallagher’s stunning November 2012 appearance on the campus of UCLA, that will still be far superior to the performance of Saturday headliners Radiohead. Having hit arena headliner status across the pond in Europe, I have no doubt that Gallagher’s well crafted songs will captivate the masses as the sun sets in the west. Likewise, ladies if you are crushed over his lack of “Wonderwall”, you can cry on my shoulder while Radiohead blow pussy farts across the Polo Fields.

3) Refused:

Dead my ass! Refused are back and they are going to kick the living crap out of the hipster nation. Granted I get the vibe they would be better in a small club instead of on a massive stage, the fact is that in 2012 Refused are alive and I will get to see them with my own two eyes. I never thought I would have a chance, but Lord knows I plan to make the most of this one.

2) At The Drive-In:

You can pretty much take the above statement on Refused and put it here. The only difference is that I was going to see At The Drive-In live and then they went and broke up. I kid you not, when those loveable fucks over at Antiquiet broke the news that these mad men from El Paso were reforming I knew I had to finally make the trek to Coachella. Fingers crossed no one moshes thus ending the performance before it even begins.

1) Kasabian:

CAN YOU FEEL IT COMING? Anyone who knows me already knew who the number one band was going to be. It has been 5 long years since Kasabian blessed North American with their presence. Super stars in Europe, Asia and Australia, there are many theories as to why this band has not taken off in America, but who cares. The fact is Kasabian is here in America right now and you are a damn fool if you miss their Saturday performance. Massive anthems from real rock and roll stars, Kasabian is the one act you can’t miss at Coachella 2012. See you in the fucking pit.

 

 

 

Nile/The Black Dahlia Murder 04/05/12: House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA

The Black Dahlia Murder w/ Nile, Skeletonwitch & Hour of Penance 04/05/12

House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to spend Good Friday Eve then with a quadruple shot of detuned death metal action. The line for the sold out House of Blues Sunset show wrapped around the block long before the doors opened with fans ready to mosh the night away. Once doors opened, the building buzzed with anticipation as fans slammed beers and discussed which of the night’s artists they were most looking forward to experiencing live.

Hour Of Penance

While the venues website stated that the music was to kick off at 8pm, the evenings first band Hour of Penance actually hit the stage at 7:30pm. Hailing from Italy (Rome to be exact) I know I was not alone in not knowing much about the four piece band. Likewise I was not alone in being instantly converted as a fan by the time they left the stage. For 25 minutes the band brought  it hard as circle pits formed and fans went nuts. New songs like “Ascension” mixed well with older material like “Slavery In A Deaf Decay” and the set closing “Misconception.” I was very impressed and get the vibe that by the next time they make it to America they won’t be the first band performing on the bill.

Skeletonwitch

Skeletonwitch made it clear from the second they hit the stage, they were there to drink beer and rock the fuck out. Mission Accomplished as the Ohio based band did exactly that. The set drew heavy from last year’s four star effort Forever Abomination. “This Horrifying Force (The Desire To Kill),” “Reduced To The Failure Of Prayer” and “Shredding Sacred Flesh” beat the capacity crowd into submission. I did have one major problem with the bands set and that is the fact they only got 30 minutes. I know they were second on the bill, but I assumed with the early start time they would have played for at least 45. Sadly that was not the case as the band said goodbye before launching into a spectacular version of “Within My Blood.”

Nile

Despite quick set changes, fans were ready for Nile the moment Skeletonwitch left the stage. With singer/songwriter Ryan Adams having already shared with me via Twitter that Nile was “intense” I was damn excited to finally see a band that has been making groundbreaking death metal for nearly 20 years. The group opened their main support set with the thunderous first track from their 2009 release Those Whom The Gods Detest. With it being Good Friday Eve, “Kafir!” was the logical opener as it gave the sweaty masses on the packed floor a chance to scream in unison “There Is No God.” Not even lead guitarists Karl Sanders Marshall Amp cutting in and out could stop the destructive onslaught Nile was brining onto the West Hollywood hot spot.

Nile did an outstanding job of interacting with the crowd while cranking out a seven song career spanning set. Vocalist/guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade had fans scream in their best death metal voice before launching into a devastating version of “Sacrifice Unto Sebek.” Other highlights included tight versions of “Ithyphallic” and “Sacrophagus.” Much like Skeletonwitch, my only complaint was how short the set was. 40 minutes of Nile is simply not enough. After the band wrapped the set with “Black Seeds of Vengeance” fans chants for one more song were unfortunately not granted. While a few were seen heading for the exits, most crowd members just grabbed another beer of complimentary cup of ice water in a hope to hydrate before the night’s final act.

The Black Dahlia Murder

It was shy of 9 months ago that I caught my 5th performance by The Black Dahlia Murder and I was no doubt excited for round 6. Kicking things off with the 1-2 opening punch from their most recent studio effort Ritual; “A Shrine To Madness” and “Moonlight Equilibrium” took what had already been an insane pit and somehow managed to make it bigger and faster. For the next hour, the Michigan based melodic death metal heads played a career spanning set much to the delight of the crowd. “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse” and “A Vulgar Picture” took it back a few years but it didn’t matter as fans react to all eras of The Black Dahlia Murder with equal enthusiasm.

I believe it was during “Conspiring With The Damned” that I thought of the perfect title for the set. It was A Night of 1000 First Bumps. Lead vocalist Trevor Strnad found a way to sneak in an even heavier dosage of arm raising fury than usual as the band blasted heavy hitters like “Den of The Picqurerist,” “Miasma” and “On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood.” Known for not playing encores, the set ended with a song from their debut album Unhallowed. “Funeral Thirst” gave fans one last chance to go bonkers in the pit and one final chance for Strand to raise his fists in the air while serving as the perfect exclamation point for an outstanding night of death metal mayhem.

 

Duran Duran August 2012 US Tour Dates

Duran Duran August 2012 US Tour Dates

Once upon a time my pal and I went to a local race track. He won tickets to the local amusement park that also included tickets to see Duran Duran. It was back when it was only Simon and Nick. I think that’s the name. Well regardless, I got a concussion that day on a ride and being a young dumb fool I continued to go on rides. Finally I was so scrambled brain I could take no more so we saw an IMAX movie. It made me sick. Having already ruined my pals day, we went and saw Duran Duran at the parks mini-amphitheater. The only thing I remember is that they covered that White Lines song. The point is, Duran Duran is coming back to America and with a lot of the venues still listed as TBA perhaps you will get to see them concust at an amusement park (but probably not). Dates for the trek below. Oh and make sure to check out our past Duran Duran confessions from Oklahoma and Los Angeles. For all the latest info make sure you check out the official Duran Duran website by clicking here.

Duran Duran August 2012 US Tour Dates:

 

08/08/12 –  Saratoga, CA/Mountain Winery
08/09/12 – Saratoga, CA /Mountain Winery
08/11/12 – Costa Mesa, CA/Pacific Amphitheatre
08/12/12 – Tucson, AZ /Ava Amphitheatre @ Casino Del Sol
08/15/12 – Catoosa, OK /The Joint Inside The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
08/17/12 – Memphis, TN/Memphis Botanical Gardens
08/18/12 – Biloxi, MS/Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
08/19/12 – Atlanta, GA/Chastain Park Amphitheatre
08/21/12 – Durham, NC/Durham Performing Arts Center
08/24/12 – Mashantucket, CT/MGM Grand Theatre at Foxwoods
08/25/12 – Atlantic City, NJ/Ovation Hall
08/28/12 – Kettering, OH /Fraze Pavilion
08/29/12 – Highland Park, IL/Ravinia
08/31/12 – Orillia, ON/Rama Entertainment Centre

Nada Surf 03/20/12: The Fonda Theatre – Hollywood, CA

Nada Surf w/ An Horse 03/20/12

The Fonda Theatre – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

Before we begin this latest confession, a few shout outs are in order. Big thanks to the incredible Adrian Garro for inviting me out to the show. Truly one of the nicest people you will encounter here in Los Angeles thanks again for the hookup. Likewise, thanks to You Tell Concerts who held the contest for Nada Surf tickets that Adrian won. To check out Adrian’s review of the show (after you read ours of course) click here

On a cool Tuesday evening in March it didn’t matter who was playing on stage, I was just excited to be once again walking into the venue once known as the Music Box. Back to being called The Fonda after being closed back in January, the venue is one of the best Los Angeles has to offer and I know I am not the only person in this city excited that it is open once again. Sure, some of the couches are still missing and the beer selection has gone from bad to worse, but the fact is music is once again blasting from the corner of El Centro and Hollywood Blvd as it should be.

The night got started just past 9pm with the Australian duo An Horse taking the stage. Before the curtain had been pulled back at the historic theatre, I was already bothered by the group. I realize that when it comes to grammar, I am far from perfect but for the love of God what kind of a name is An Horse? A dreadful name, that’s what kind of name it is. Regardless the group’s first song was pretty solid, it had a Death Cab For Cutie meets Tegan and Sara kind of vibe. Then the second song had the exact same feel. Before the third song, we all discovered that the front man (who even had the same stage presence and moves as Death Cab front man Ben Gibbard) was actually a woman. Thank God she mentioned not being able to sport a bikini with this chilly LA weather, because otherwise I would have assumed the entire night she was actually a he. As you probably guessed the third song sounded like the first two and by the time the fourth song began I was starting to lose focus on the band and was more interested in playing Words With Friends, Dice With Buddies and texting our good friend Jay Porks. I believe it was around the seventh of eight song that I finally that my attention was drawn back in even if it was for all the wrong reasons. Sadly in this day and age I didn’t recognize the “hit song” because of MTV or radio, I recognized it as a TV jingle As proof that marketing campaign worked, I couldn’t even tell you what product was being pushed. I wanted to like An Horse, but between the terrible name (which even the lead singer had a hard time pronouncing) and all their songs sounding the same I just couldn’t get into it. I will give them credit for using a guitar with an image of Owen Wilson from Shanghai Knights on it. That was rather random.

 

After enjoying great jams by Kasabian, Girls and M83 spun by the venues house DJ, Nada Surf hit the stage just past 10pm. Having just seen my first Nada Surf set earlier this year at Amoeba, I was excited to see what the boys could do with electric guitars. The group kicked the set off with the 1-2 punch of Clear Eye Clouded Mind and Waiting For Something from their incredible new record The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy. While some bands would let fans down with new material right out the gate, the loyal audience was eager to eat up anything and everything played by the East Coast rock and rollers.

By the time the third song Happy Kid was almost over, I realized something was not quite right with front man Matthew Caws but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Joking as he tuned (something the band does very well) Caws then confessed he feared that he was coming down with a cold. With a cup of Thera-flu mixed with Vitamin W (the W standing for Whiskey) Caws continued on with the set by asking the crowd to help him sing the high harmonies on Whose Authority. I have seen a lot of things over the years at shows. I have seen front men set themselves on fire, I have seen band members busted open by bottles, but never have I watched a front man come down with a cold on stage.

Despite feeling less than stellar Caws and the band continued on like pros. The bands sense of humor was as enjoyable as the music. I tend to no longer scream things at bands as it’s rather douchy, but with the band basically encouraging it I was happy when they answered my question as to what brand of whiskey they were drinking (it was Jameson for those keeping score at home). I know I was not alone when I chuckled after Caws shared that he had replaced his vitamin W with the real vitamin W as he chugged down a bottle of water. He of course joked that the original vitamin W was white wine before launching into a stellar version of Teenage Dreams. In fact, the one thing that really stood out on this particular evening was how great the new material sounded. My personal highlight on this Tuesday night was When I Was Young. I loved how the soft quiet song slowly built and the guitar solo from the newest Nada Surf member Doug Gillard was nothing short of phenomenal.

After performing a seventeen song main set that lasted nearly 90 minutes the band returned for an obligatory encore. Having read past setlists, I knew this was the moment when the band busted out all the big guns. As expected, the group kicked things off with Inside Of Love. Admitting its cheesy nature, the boys asked the audience to sway along in unison as they played the song. Knowing how jaded southern California crowds can be, I was shocked to see how many not only swayed along in time to the music, but sang along as well. Perhaps inspired by all the Peyton Manning mania that has gripped the nation the last week, Caws then called an audible that broke hearts from coast to coast. Instead of playing the bands biggest hit Popular, they busted out the soft number Blonde on Blonde. I am going to assume this has to do with Caws struggling to keep his voice at this point and thus all is forgiven. The band finally closed the night with the beautiful Always Love.

Despite fighting the common cold, Nada Surf North American tour kickoff exceeded my high expectations. This band has been fighting an uphill battle for nearly two decades, of course they were not going to give up because of a weak immune system. Now if only they had heard my request to pass the bottle of Jameson (which made its way onto the stage during the encore) to the folks in the front row. Oh well, there is always next time.

 

Green Day’s American Idiot Live in Los Angeles

American Idiot – The Musical

03/15/12 – Ahmanson Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Words by Reverend Justito/Photos by Doug Hamilton

There I was talking crap on Twitter when I got a message from the fine folks at Center Theatre Group Los Angeles. They not only told me they loved my tweets, they wanted me to come see Green Day’s smash musical American Idiot. I assumed there was a catch and of course there was. Myself and a guest could come down to the show for free, but we had to tweet during it. At first I was shocked that “the catch” was basically breaking house rules by having a cell phone in my hand the entire night. Once the shock wore off, I said hell yes and marked down American Idiot on my ever busy social calendar.

Truth be told, I don’t attend many musicals. Despite the fact that BeeZnutZ, Brad and I have joked about starting www.playconfessions.com, I have seen a grand total of three musicals in my life. As I enjoyed my $12 Jack and Coke while waiting for our social media guru Jim my excitement for my fourth musical grew tremendously. After getting our tickets and press kit, we went into the theatre where we quickly met other tweeters. It was nice to finally meet the beautiful Sarah B after all these years and a huge shout out to my “theatre guide” for the night – Ellen from Musicals in LA.

The show kicked off around 8:10 pm with a rocking version of American Idiot’s self titled opening track. At first everything felt a bit out of place. Here was this hard hitting song that made me want to get the circle pit going, yet instead I was stuck in a seat watching the cast faux-mosh upon the stage. Yet by song two (my personal favorite American Idiot track Jesus of Suburbia) the awkward feelings had passed and I was deeply entrenched into the show.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I will share just a few more thoughts on the night. The first is how funny it was to see many older (and by older I mean well over the age of 65) members of the crowd get up and leave. I must assume they are season ticket holders and the sex, drugs, crude language and rock and roll was not their cup of tea. While tweeting was a unique experience, I noticed that I missed a lot when looking down at my phone to type. For example, I missed the character Heather get pregnant.

One thing that I really liked about American Idiot was that it is designed for the ADHD nation. With three characters having major story lines, there is a lot to take in. You could go twice and still not catch every lil nuance within the performance. All of the talent on stage was incredible. The show is extremely physical and I could only imagine the bruises and muscle aches this cast must have.

American Idiot was truly a blast and I am very grateful I was able to see it. The cast is amazing, the music was fabulous and I have a much better understanding of an album I have now enjoyed for nearly a decade. Once again much love to all the tweeters I met last night and major kudos to the theatre and production for trying a unique social media experiment. American Idiot will be at the Ahmanson in downtown Los Angeles through April 22nd, 2012. Click here to get your tickets today.

 

 

King’s X Release Live Album To Help Support Ailing Drummer

King’s X Release Live Album To Help Support Ailing Drummer

One of the very first cassette tapes I ever purchased was Gretchen Goes To Nebraska by King’s X. The year was 1991 and I was in the 7th grade. As I sit here weeks away from my 33rd birthday, it has occurred to me that I have been listening to King’s X for nearly two thirds of my life. I have purchased every album the band has recorded. I have seen the band live numerous times (click here to read my June 2009 review of their West Hollywood show) and when news broke the group was hitting the road in 2012, our site was one of the first to share the news knowing we would make it to the West Hollywood stop come hell or high water.

Then I saw the tweet from the band’s bassist/vocalist Dug Pinnick on February 26th. “jerry had a heart attack last night, they operated on him, is sedated and on a ventilator, will keep you posted.” I didn’t really want to believe it. While I have been fortunate enough to meet the band a few times over the years, it felt more like a family member breaking band news than a musician I love and respect. I knew and accepted the fact that the tour would be cancelled, but my bigger concern was would Jerry pull through? Thankfully it appears that he will, but he now needs our help.

It is no secret that it is often hard for musicians to get health insurance. Especially for a band like King’s X who never got the respect and fandom they so desperately deserve. With the sum of medical bills increasing by the hour, here is a chance for you to not only discover one of the best rock and roll bands of the past 30 years, but to help their drummer recover from a major health scare. Burning Down Boston – Live at the Channel 06/21/91 is a web only live album that has just been made available by the band. It is free with a $20 donation to Jerry. The 14 song 89 minute set is available now and you can get it by clicking here. Check out the track listing and more ways to help Jerry below the video.

 

On behalf of the entire Concert Confessions family – best wishes to Jerry Gaskill and the entire King’s X family. We hope to see you behind the kit in the near future.

 

From The Press Release:

In addition to the gift with this download, please let anyone who wants to further make a personal gift to Jerry to help him with his medical bills know that they can send a check made out to Jerry Gaskill. Mail it to: Jerry Gaskill, c/o World Entertainment Inc., P.O. Box 3095, Sea Bright, NJ 07760. 100% of your gift goes to Jerry Gaskill to help him defray his medical bills. Jerry Gaskill is an individual and not a charity. Any funds given to him would be a gift and no further tax deduction for charitable contributions would be coming from him. We appreciate your help.

Burning Down Boston Track Listing:

We Are Finding Who We Are (6:33)
Mission (4:17)
Far Far Away (4:44)
We Were Born to Be Loved (4:57)
It’s Love Intro (3:36)
It’s Love (5:28)
I’ll Never Get Tired of You (3:51)
Visions (7:27)
Over My Head (12:47)
Moanjam (10:19)
The Burning Down (9:53)
Talk to You (Bonus Track) (4:44)
Fall on Me (Bonus Track) (4:13)
Power of Love (Bonus Track) (6:02)

Trey Anastasio 03/10/12: Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, CA

Trey Anastasio w/ the Los  Angeles Philharmonic 03/10/12

Walt Disney Concert Hall – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

Back in 2010 I wrote an open letter to Phish and the Los Angeles Philharmonic begging them to team up for a performance at the Hollywood Bowl. While we finally got to see Phish at the Bowl last summer, it was your typical two set balls to the wall affair with no sign of the Phil in sight. Thankfully my wish somewhat came true in March of 2012 as Trey Anastasio of Phish took on the Los Angeles Philharmonic for a fantastic night at the immaculate Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles.

I really didn’t know what to expect as we headed from our car up into the massive structure that serves as the LA Phil’s winter home. The Phish scene was interesting on this particular evening to say the least. I would say at least two thirds of the crowd dressed up for the occasion. In fact just about every wook I saw out dressed my modest button down and jeans attire. Everyone was on their best behavior for a fancy affair in the heart of Los Angeles.

After enjoying dinner in the dining area within the venue we found our way to our seats just as members of the LA Phil began to warm up. I enjoyed one of the French Horn players practicing certain sections of Stash and I swear one of the bass players was teasing Down With Disease to warm himself up for the evening. While advertised as a prompt 8pm start time, the show finally got started around 10 after as Anastasio and conductor Scott Dunn took the stage. Opening with First Tube it was hard to sit still as the excitement and the energy of the song all hit at once. Anastasio used just a slight hint of distortion with his Ocelot electric guitar and toned the song down just enough for the Philharmonic to keep up and let everyone know that we are here and this is happening.

After a solid performance of Water In The Sky which sounded a lot like the Festival 8 version on steroids, the night’s first highlight unfolded. With Anastasio on acoustic guitar the entire time Divided Sky was a new indescribable form of beautiful. The way the string section lifted this number I came to the conclusion that this needs to be playing when I take my walk down the long tunnel towards the white light. While Brian and Robert (Phishbeards favorite Phish song for those keeping score at home) would have probably been a mood killer if this was Phish on a Saturday night, it was very enjoyable with the additional musicians.

Guyute shocked me in the sense that it was done as an instrumental. This was a perfect way for the Philharmonic to show off some more of its quirky instruments and unusual sounds they can make. I saw instruments being used that I couldn’t even name, it was great. I was equally impressed by Stash. I won’t sugar coat it, I just don’t like this particular song. Yet with the Philharmonic it took on a whole new vibe and I found it incredible. From Anastasio’s slowed down lyrical delivery to various members of the Philharmonic smiling from the synchronized hand claps of the audience this song finally felt special after hearing it for the last 16 years. Having apologized for years of promising to be back in 15 minutes and taking much longer, Anastasio stressed that there would only be a 10 minute break on this evening. His promise was correct as after a short break we were back for a second set of music.

I knew the second set was scheduled to open with Time Turns Elastic. I also know I am not alone in saying that this song can be torturous. With the understanding that the orchestral version is much longer than the Phish version I had an open mind for the music. However it was still very difficult to sit through at times and judging by the restless nature of many in the crowd I was not alone for this. I am sure you could find folks that disagree somewhere, but judging by the heckles from numerous members of my section this was the lowest point in a night of exhilarating highs.

Since I have never seen Phish perform If I Could, I was excited for the chance to hear one of my favorite tracks from Hoist. This take gave me chills it was so good. The extended string heavy outro sounded great inside the space that Anastasio admitted is the best sounding room he’s ever performed in.

If you were to ask me what the quintessential Phish song is, I would say You Enjoy Myself. It is my favorite song and I have had the fortune of seeing numerous versions over the years. With a very well behaved crowd at the edge of their seats the entire night this song was the moment the dam busted open as our minds were officially blown. You Enjoy Myself is classical music done as rock and roll. To hear it as classical music was too much for the audience. As the song builds and builds folks could no longer withhold the cheers and some even left their seats to stand. As we finally broke and crashed down into the Boy Man God Shit section many laughed as the words were replaced by horns that sounded like a wet version of the last word. For as foul as that sounds it worked perfectly and took the song to a new and exciting place. However the highlight of the song was the ending vocal jam. With the Philharmonic laying down a melody below him Anastasio walked about 10 feet away from his microphone. With the room built for sound, the sold out crowd was able to hear Anastasio sing a vocal jam along with the musicians behind him. It was an incredible way to end over two hours of music.

Anastasio of course came back out for an encore. You know I have to point out that once again the west coast got screwed as out of the four shows Anastasio did with Orchestras this summer we were the only ones who didn’t get to hear Golden Slumbers>Carry That Weight>The End. We did however get a sweet take on The Inlaw Josie Wales before we headed back to our cars in an attempt to navigate the snarled streets of downtown Los Angeles. Even with the shortest set of the tour, it was an amazing opportunity to hear the music of my favorite band in a brand new reimagined light. Now let’s have another round when the Hollywood Bowl books Phish for three nights for their annual July 4th celebration in 2013.

The Darkness 02/19/12: House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA

The Darkness (w/ Crown Jewel Defense and Fox Shazam) 02/19/12

House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

I have a shocking confession to make. For a brief period in time I lied and claimed I had seen The Darkness when they played at The Roxy. It was silly I know, but I just wanted to be cool. By dumb luck I was out of town when The Darkness returned and played the Fonda and then they broke up and my dream of seeing The Darkness live was all but crushed. So I lied. Thank God for reunion tours. You know I was online the second their House of Blues West Hollywood President’s Day Weekend Throwdown went on sale. I had missed the group twice; I was not going to miss them for a third time.

The evening started with a group called Crown Jewel Defense. While I wouldn’t say they were good, I will say they were the perfect openers for this tour. The band had the look – bad spandex, synchronized hair flips and screeching guitars. The groups’ music reminded me of what Saigon Kick would have sounded like after a decade that featured unoriginal ass clowns like Godsmack and Disturbed selling a ton of records. Nothing special, in fact some of the songs were cringe-worthy. Yet that didn’t really matter because the band was having fun performing to a very full floor of rock and roll enthusiasts.  The highlight of their set was being smart enough to throw plenty of free promotional gear into the crowd. No matter how bad your music is people love free shit and it’s hard to hate any band who can take out a hipster by hitting them upside the head with a t-shirt.

Up next on this particular evening was Foxy Shazam. My knowledge of the Cincinnati Ohio based rockers walking into the show was my 7 inch single of “Wanna-Be-Angel” and recent confessions from the likes of Jay Porks and BeeZnutZ. Within seconds of hitting the stage I was drinking the Foxy Kool-Aid and ready to tell everyone just how great they are. This band is pure energy. I can only imagine the bruises on lead singers Eric Sean Nally’s body from the way he abuses himself in the name of rocking roll. From somersaults and random drops to his knees to crashing into the drum set watching command the man command the stage is a lot like watching an episode of Jackass.

The groups’ music was as amazing as the performance. From the opening licks of “Welcome To The Church of Rock and Roll” to final notes of “The Only Way To My Heart…” the band sounded like a well-oiled machine. As great as the jams were, it’s hard to not talk about the antics. The first highlight was Nally’s bitching out of a douchebag who ruined the punch line of a long drawn out “joke” about a drunk by screaming for the night’s headliner. As you can see here, Nally had no problem cutting him down to size. Where I assumed the highlight of the night would be Nelly eating a cigarette on stage, it turned out it was anything but. Yes, it was great to see him eat not one but no less than five lit cigarettes during “The Temple.” However the speech that followed where Nally confessed he was over the dumb stunt but felt he had to do it was somewhat heartbreaking. Cigarettes or not, Foxy Shazam are one bad ass motherfucking rock and roll revival and the sold out crowd would have been won over had he eaten them or not.

It was around 9:40pm when “The Boys Are Back In Town” by Thin Lizzy blasted through the PA. While a mix of songs from the likes of Electric Six and Boston has already been heard by the capacity crowd, there was no way that this particular song choice was a coincidence. Moments later the boys known as The Darkness were hitting the stage to a thunderous applause as they kicked off the nearly two hour show with “Black Shuck.” Out the gate the band sounded superb with their flashy guitar licks and falsetto vocals. “Growing On Me” quickly followed as late comers did their best to find a spot in the packed club.

One of my biggest surprises of the night was how much new material (and B-sides) the band performed. Early on the band started to drop songs from their highly anticipated new record (still untitled and due out later this year). Of the new material and B-sides, some of the stand out numbers included “The Best Of Me,” “Concrete” and “Physical Sex.” Another highlight was front man Justin Hawkins giving a shout out to the individual who animated the music video for the just released track “Nothing’s Going To Stop Us.” The animator jumped up and down with delight in the VIP section as the group ripped the venue a new one with the feel good jam of 2012.

As great as the new material was, everyone in the crowd was pumped for the classics. I am pretty sure the band managed to perform every track from their 2003 debut Permission To Land. Highlights included Hawkins solo take on “Holding My Own” as well as spot on renditions of “Love Is Only A Feeling,” “Get Your Hands Off Of My Woman” and “Givin’ Up.” Another highlight from that era was the band breaking out their cover of the Radiohead classic “Street Spirit [Fade Out]” that featured seizure inducing strobe lights and the band sounding better than Radiohead has in fifteen years. You of course don’t need me to share the reaction of the crowd when the band played their biggest hit “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” to close the main set.

The thing that stuck out the most was how grateful the band appeared on stage. It’s clear that each and every member realizes that they have been blessed with a second chance and at least on this particular night it felt as if they refuse to allow the opportunity to go to waste. The energy all night from the crowd was massive,  be it singing along, synchronized overhead claps or clearing a path so Hawkins could shred while riding on the shoulders of a security guard during the night’s final number “Love On The Rocks With No Ice.” It’s clear that 2012 is going to be the best year for The Darkness yet and I am glad I no longer have to lie when folks asked if I have seen the pride of Lowestoft, England live.

Metallica Set To Launch Orion Music + More Festival

Metallica Set To Launch Orion Music + More Festival

For months, Phish fans have been on the ball in regards to the band hosting a festival later this summer at Bader Field. In various reports, it was known that Phish, Kenny Chesney and Metallica would be holding events at the airport. While we still wait for details on the Phish bash, Metallica has announced details for the inaugural Orion Music Festival. Chances are, you won’t believe what you are about to read.

Metallica will headline the two night festival. The group plans to perform the “Black Album” for the first time on American soil on one of the nights. That part we can all believe. What is hard to believe are some of the acts Metallica are bringing along. While it is easy to see the likes of Fucked Up and Avenged Sevenfold sharing the stage with the Bay Area thrash legends, what shocks us is the inclusion of such alt/indie rock darlings like Modest Mouse, Cage The Elephant and Arctic Monkeys. You read that right people, Modest Mouse, Cage The Elephant and Arctic Monkeys.

As with all festivals there are various ticket packages, various prices and chances are someone will forget sun block and get nasty sunburn. We would also like to go on record now and start the rumor that Lou Reed will cruise out from NYC and perform all of “Lulu” with the band. For all the details on the Orion Music Festival – click here.

Artists for Orion Festival A/O 05/21/12

Metallica (two nights)

Arctic Monkeys

Avenged Sevenfold

Modest Mouse

The Gaslight Anthem

Cage the Elephant

Volbeat

Best Coast

Fucked Up

Hot Snakes

Titus Andronicus

Gary Clark Jr.

Lucero

Roky Erickson

The Black Angels

Baroness

The Sword

Jim Florentine

Don Jamieson

Wooden Shjips

A Place to Bury Strangers

Liturgy

Ghost 

Soul Rebels

The Black Dahlia Murder

Appearing on the Damage Inc. Stage

Suicidal Tendencies

Sepultura

Torche

Letlive

Red Fang

Kyng

Landmine Marathon

Black Tusk

Thy Will Be Done

Also a midst the goings on there’s gonna be what they’re calling the ‘Orion Custom Car + Motorcycle Show inside the festival grounds throughout the weekend.’ Ticket holders like our very own Jay Porks, will get this added element to a festival continuing to shape into a very interesting 2 days in Atlantic City. As more details come out, we’ll have them for you.

Ghost 02/02/12: The Roxy – West Hollywood, CA

Ghost (w/ Ancient VVisdom and Blood Ceremony) 02/02/12

The Roxy – West Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

There is a moment when a concert junkie realizes that what they are about to witness is not a typical show as much as it is a special moment with great historical magnitude. That moment hit me as I crossed Sunset Blvd en route to The Roxy Theatre. I watched as a young man in a Manowar T-shirt handed a scalper no less than five $20 bills for one ticket to the 13 Dates of Doom tour featuring Ancient VVisdom, Blood Ceremony and Ghost. As Ancient VVisdom wrapped their opening set, I could feel goose bumps forming on my limbs as I walked into the small theatre for the show which had been sold out for weeks.

My night of music kicked off with Toronto Doom Metal outfit, Blood Ceremony. Knowing nothing about the four piece, I was instantly mesmerized by their Black Sabbath meets Led Zeppelin riffs. While that description may sound overly generic, it works because these four don’t mess around. What sets Blood Ceremony apart from countless other metal groups is front woman Alia O’Brien. In addition to an incredible set of pipes, O’Brien splashes random colors of sound over de-tuned and bonged out guitar riffs with both an organ and a flute. Unless you are the Recording Academy (AKA The asshats who hand out Grammy awards) chances are you don’t expect to find a flute in a metal band; and yet for Blood Ceremony, it works. The Canadians had the capacity crowd eating out of the palm of their hand and their 45 minute set flew by way too fast. I don’t know when these four are hitting the road again, but if you enjoy no bullshit balls to the wall rock and roll that sounds familiar, yet unique and totally original then you need to make it a point to check Blood Ceremony out.

Somehow, the already packed theatre managed to cram even more fans in by the time Ghost hit the stage at 10:30 pm. Kicking off with the opening chants of “Masked Ball” which flowed nicely into the pulsating “Con Clavi Con Dio,” the mostly male crowd lifted cell phone and devil horns in approval.

Despite this being the group’s first Southern California concert appearance, it became clear early on that The Roxy was simply too small to contain the energy of both the band and the fans. Lead singer Papa Emeritus led his Nameless Ghouls (AKA two guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a keyboard player) into spot-on performances of every track found on their debut album Opus Eponymous. Highlights of the 45 minute headline set included “Stand By Him”, “Death Knell” and an evil take on the Beatles classic “Here Comes The Sun.”

In addition to an onslaught of highly melodic metal, Ghost is a very visual show. From the earlier mentioned Nameless Ghouls whose faces are hidden by their cloaks to the satanic pope garb (is there a proper name for those? Catholic I am not), Ghost has a uniquely sinister look. When you add in the burning of some form of sage and communion handed out by Papa Emeritus to loyal disciples in the front crowd, you have the perfect one-two punch of great music and incredible theatrics.

Towards the end of the set, Papa Emeritus growled into the microphone that this was a great show. While I won’t disagree with him, I feel that he underestimated the show. This was not just a Thursday night metal show at The Roxy. This was Elton John’s first show at The Troubadour or that night when cops came and broke up Black Flag at the Palladium. This was history and while a few hundred were lucky enough to witness it, there is no doubt in my mind that in a few years, when Ghost are headlining large rooms with thousands of fans, each and every last one of them will claim that they were in attendance at The Roxy. This is the type of show where everyone who saw it will tell 10 friends and those friends will tell 10 friends. So this is me telling you that Ghost is the total package. With their next North American trek as main support to Mastodon and Opeth, you have no excuse to miss quite possibly the greatest new heavy metal band of the last decade.

Nada Surf 01/30/12: Amoeba Music – Hollywood, CA

Nada Surf 01/30/12

Amoeba Music – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

As far as Monday’s go, I can think of many that were way worse than this particular one. Sure, I will never know the outcome of the one armed man who may or may not have beaten his wife and my nifty traffic phone app totally lied to me. But none of that really matters when you end your busy Monday in Hollywood, CA enjoying a free in-store performance from Nada Surf. With their new record The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy hitting shelves last week the now four piece group snuck into Amoeba Music to share songs new and old. I found a nice spot next to the Bo Diddley compact discs and enjoyed every last second of the 45+ minute set.

Armed with clear plastic cups of Jesus Juice, the band took to the quaint stage at just past 6pm kicking off their performance with a new number entitled Clear Eye Clouded Mind. Another new number known as Waiting For Something quickly followed. Early on, Nada Surf mastermind Matthew Caws mentioned that the set would be heavy on songs from the just released album and he seemed surprised when the crowd cheered with approval. If there was a recurring theme within the songs performed on this Monday night, it’s that the younger years are in the rear view. I was just excited to catch a band I have enjoyed over the years. Little did I expect new numbers like When I Was Young and Teenage Dreams to have such an impact on me and where my life is at this particular point in time.

It was not just new songs for Nada Surf on this particular evening. The band sprinkled in material spanning their 15+ year career. Some highlights included a bass heavy version of Happy Kid and many in the crowd singing along to Weightless. Before the show started, there were the inevitable duo standing close to me who vowed the show would be a failure if they didn’t hear Popular. While the band avoided their biggest hit as well as Inside of Love, many in the crowd were delighted when the band performed their “final” song Always Love.

Having already been told that their time was up, Cawes and company ignored the red light and kept on driving full speed ahead. With many kids (I assume some belonging to members of the band) set up in the front row, the group launched into the incredibly adorkable rarity Meow Meow Lullaby. Still not ready to let up, the band polished off the last of the Jesus juice before blasting through one more song. When the set was finally over the musicians took time to meet fans and autograph copies of the new record. While I didn’t stay around to meet the band, I hit Sunset Blvd not only thankful to finally catch a performance by Nada Surf, but with the pleasant reminder that there are far worse things than growing old.

 

O.A.R. 01/27/12: House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA

O.A.R. (w/ Parachute) 01/27/12

House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

I have talked a lot of shit about O.A.R. By a lot of shit, I mean trolled the message boards known as O.A.R. fans for years. Most of my shit talking took place in off topic forums, but I made my distaste for the group’s music well known. So when I say I talked a lot of shit about O.A.R., I am talking years of trolling.  In an odd yet not unexpected turn of events, I managed to win many over on the board and even became pals with a few of them. One of those friends came into town this week to catch the bands shows in Anaheim and West Hollywood and was kind enough to bring me along. We met up with another Pub 24 (AKA what the cool kids call the O.A.R. board) vet and did the Sunset Strip right on a Friday night.

The night kicked off with openers Parachute. The best thing about their set was House of Blues re-tweeting the photo we took and posted online. Don’t get me wrong 1197 people inside the venue will tell you that they were great. This is because they are simple people who like simple music and/or females under the age of 17. For these individuals, Parachute are perfect. The music was basic, somewhere between a frat house and the iPod of a Volvo driving mother of two. I understand that some people really like that type of music and had Parachute done this genre well I would go easy on them. My problem is that they did everything wrong. Having already worked the length of the guard rail with high-fives to everyone within arm’s reach during the second song of the set, lead singer Will Anderson jumped into the crowd around the mid-way point of the set. Jumping up and down singing the word Baby over and over as if he was Justin Bieber, you could just tell he does this every night. It was not a spontaneous rock and roll moment as much as it was forced and generic. As he tricked little girls into thinking he was a rebel, I pondered dumping my beer onto Mr. Anderson from the balcony above. Things only got worse when the group performed an uninspired cover of the Tom Petty classic “Won’t Back Down.” Hell the entire second half of the show felt like covers when you throw in a few verses of U2’s “With Or Without You” and closing number that had the exact same intro as Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart.”  Parachutes are pineapple on pizza and sitting down to pee. Totally acceptable for the ladies and an overall disappointment to the male species. I expect they will make it big performing their bland adult contemporary rock, because let’s face it the world needs another version of All American Rejects.

Before I even made it into House of Blues, I knew even if O.A.R. was torture upon my ear drums I would have a good time with the folks I was with. As it turned out, O.A.R. wasn’t torture at all. The Dave Matthews gone Reggae thing never really tickled my fancy and the highlight of the two shows I saw nearly a decade ago was the opening set from a then unknown Maroon 5. For me the 2012 trip to O.A.R. town was a nice mix of older songs I vaguely knew and some interesting new material. Two early on highlights of tolerable O.A.R. moments of yesteryear were “City On Down” and “Black Rock.” Dare  I say the later was one of my favorites and I was glad to see it is still in rotation.

The thing that most impressed me was Jerry DePizzo on guitar. I don’t remember him playing guitar when I last saw them but he should ditch the sax and stick with it. DePizzo has an excellent ear for tones that beef up music that has always been too bland for my tastes. I understand that many feel that “Shattered” is the sellout point, but the guitar work of DePizzo on it was the best thing I heard all night. I also enjoyed the new number “Irish Rose” but I seem to be one of only a few who does as that was one of the few moments during the two hour show where drunk sluts managed to drown out the band with their moans for black cock (I am not making this up).

The energy inside the club (which was sold out for weeks) was intense. Knowing the band can pack 15,000+ seat venues back east, the crowd (made up of transplants and 14 people born within the state of California) truly erupted for the last song of the night. “Crazy Game of Poker” was the biggest gun in the O.A.R. arsenal a decade ago and it’s nice to see that is still the case. The throwing of cards at the band is a nice touch and I dug the vagina/lasagna rap that took place well past the 10 minute mark. It was a random and fun way to end a night with some truly incredible people. O.A.R. has come a long way since the days I trolled Pub24, and it was nice to reconnect with the boys from Maryland.

Reverend Justito’s Top Ten Shows of 2011

Reverend Justito’s Top Ten Shows of 2011

 

#10 Rammstein 05/20/11 – The Forum – Inglewood, CA

Oh those crazy German’s. I truly assumed I would never catch these guys again after the Great White fiasco, but there I was on the floor of the sold out Forum watching the band’s first North American tour in nearly a decade. It was all you could want from a Rammstein show – pulverizing riffs, shock value galore and lots and lots of fire.

#9 Chris Cornell 05/04/11 – John Anson Ford Amphitheatre – Hollywood, CA

The only reason I went to Chris Cornell is so I wouldn’t have to sit home alone for another night. I really didn’t expect much and just assumed I was crossing another artist off the list (as you can see in the review, I had actually seen Cornell live and forgot all about it). As much fun as it was to get videos taped at a show where armed guards stood looking to shoot anyone with a phone or a camera, as it turns out the music was really amazing. Cornell’s voice sounded strong, he performed stripped down versions of songs that span his entire career and hell if the Rock and Roll career does not work out, the man is funny enough to be a stand-up comedian.

#8 Voodoo Music Experience 10/29/11 – City Park – New Orleans, LA

Truth be told, this wasn’t so much about the music as much as it was about the Experience. Traveling alone through the streets of New Orleans 2000 miles from home with a once in a lifetime chance to check out one of American’s premiere music festivals. Don’t get me wrong, Mastodon, Social D and Girl Talk all killed it up on stage. However, it was meeting a kid fifteen years younger than me from my home town. It was checking out a beautiful park in a beautiful city and taking in a culture very different from Los Angeles. It was the sweet Street Car driver who pointed out all the great spots to eat far from Bourbon Street. Just like the name said, it truly was an experience.

 

#7 Joseph Arthur 04/14/11 – Venice Sound Stage – Venice, CA

There is something truly special about Joseph Arthur in Venice in April. Even if I tried to explain it, it simply wouldn’t make sense. So when this last minute gig was announced the same weekend as Coachella, I got my ass down to Venice faster than you can say Milk truck. Having seen the man at three of his four shows at the Bootleg Theater earlier in the year, I didn’t know what to expect out in Venice. With less than two dozen people showing up to the last minute gig, it was more like Arthur was playing in your living room then your typical concert. Perhaps it was the dog running around the venue, perhaps it was the fact he was cool enough to play “Morning Cup” for me, whatever it was this performance brought out some of the best feelings I have ever felt.

#6 Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 11/18/11 – Royce Hall – Los Angeles, CA

When Oasis split, I found myself bummed I never made an effort to catch a proper show. I figured I may as well make the effort to catch the side projects till the day the Gallagher’s get back together. While we won’t mention the worst show we saw in 2011, Noel’s performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall was nothing short of exquisite. In between playing nearly the entire debut album, the man busted out some of Oasis’ biggest hits including “Wonderwall” and “Supersonic.” Oh and for the record it was not I who asked him to take off his shirt, but it was me who did request he play some Kasabian.

#5 Amon Amarth 04/24/11 – House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA

So let me get this right, I get to leave Easter dinner early to watch Amon Amarth perform two sets of music? Oh and of those two sets of music, one of them is the bands’ latest release Surtur Rising from front to back? With no support, the mighty men from Scandinavia played almost three hours of music to a blood hungry crowd of sweaty men young and old. Much like an Easter Sunday service, the crowd sang along to every word worshiping the band and their every command. My only regret was the fact I was unable to experience it all over again when the group hit Anaheim in August.

#4 TV on the Radio 09/25/11 – Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA

When 2011 started, I just assumed TV on the Radio was some over-blown hipster bullshit from Brooklyn. While that is totally correct, that didn’t stop me from falling in love with the group. As I mentioned in the original review, I didn’t even want to go to this show, but the lady had already purchased me a ticket. Then the group became unavoidable. Phish was covering Golden Age and someone I really respect kept posting Will Do to their Facebook wall. By the time I walked into the Bowl, I had not only owned TVOTR on vinyl, but was pumped for the gig. Grouped with other up and coming acts including Warpaint and Arctic Monkey’s – TVOTR’s headline set was a fierce hour of post punk/post hardcore/post indie yet totally original melodies and madness. Your new favorite band of 2005 is my new favorite band of 2011.

 

#3 Prince 04/23/11 – The Forum – Inglewood, CA

I am not a huge Prince fan. Don’t get me wrong the man has some great songs but it’s not something I listen too very often. Yet with 21 shows with most tickets priced at $25 there was no way in hell I was going to miss one of the greatest performers of the last 100 years in my back yard. As much fun as my birthday was with The Purple One in May, when it comes to music this show was one of the greatest I have ever seen no matter what the year is. He played the hits, he got funky with Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham, he performed encores nearly twenty minutes after the house lights came up. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. If you live in Southern California and missed this run – shame on you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaKHR6oe52Q

#2 Ween 01/26/11 – Fox Theatre – Oakland, CA

It was late 2010 when my pal James and I made plans to have a mini Ween California tour. I would fly to the Bay Area to get brown in Oaktown and he would come back with me to see the brothers Boognish in Los Angeles. From sneaking onto the floor to the sweet mini acoustic set there are just too many high water marks to mention. So instead we will just give a shout out to the hood rat who threatened to kill me on BART after I informed her I was not a drunk, but a drug addict.

 

#1 Phish 08/05/11 – Gorge Amphitheater – George, WA

As I said last year, as long as I see Phish I will always know what my top show of any given year is. This year I was not only fortunate enough to catch the band four times (so really, the top four shows of 2011 were all Phish), I finally got to see the boys live at The Gorge. It has been a dream of mine to do such a thing since the summer of 1997 and what a magical weekend it was. I could write a novel about the inside jokes of the weekend. From Eel attacks to me learning to open a bottle of beer with a lighter, it truly was one of the best weekends of my life. Oh and the music? All I have to say is Rock and Roll>Meatstick>Boogie On Reggae Woman.

 

Tori Amos 12/18/11: Orpheum Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Tori Amos (w/  Thomas Dybdahl ) 12/18/11

Orpheum Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

 

There is the famous line in Pulp Fiction when Jules shares with Vincent that his gal is a vegetarian so that pretty much makes him a vegetarian. If you replace the word vegetarian with Tori Amos fan, you now know why you are reading this review. This weekend was my 11th and 12th all expense paid trip to Toriland. I have nothing but respect for Tori Amos, but if my wife and I ever broke up, I would no doubt hate her as I can’t even describe how many hours of my life have been spent being forced to listen to her music. With the last Tori experience leaving a less than stellar taste in my mouth (Greek Theatre Los Angeles – July 2009) I had hoped by agreeing to commit to two nights long before Goldenvoice announced some killer punk shows out in Santa Monica that I had not made the wrong choice.

The opener for both nights was a gentleman named Thomas Dybdahl. Mr. Dybdahl was not terrible, but I found myself each night preferring his stage banter over his songs. While he did have help from someone on what appeared to be a Weissenborn, when it’s just you and a guitar you need to be really something special. Having seen many of these types open for Amos over the years, Dybdahl was far from memorable. Nothing against him and his music, I just would have preferred someone a bit more dynamic.

As we reported in our recap of night one, Amos knew it was Saturday night in Los Angeles and rocked the historic vaudeville theatre hard. I assumed Sunday night would be much mellow and where I was correct not even I could imagine what she had up her sleeve.

The evening started the exact same way as night one. Apollon Musagète kicked the set off with their stringed madness before Tori joined in on the fun with “Shattering Sea.” After rocking “God/Running Up That Hill” and “Suede” for the second consecutive night, things began to get very interesting. It took my wife almost two minutes to place the rare Little Earthquakes B-side “Ode To The Banana King” and I am pretty sure I had never heard this song before. With the mood now set that anything could happen, it was clear we were in for a once in a lifetime show.

Where Saturday had the “hits” Sunday was all about making a message with the music. “Fearlessness and “Maybe California” sounded great with the strings. As far as the new material from her album Night of Huters goes, the best song I saw over these two nights was Star Whisperer. On a structural level, it reminded me a lot of my favorite band Phish. The tempo changes and song within a song feel had me craving some parking lot grilled cheese and a good old fashion wook bust.

As great as the strings are, the highlights of the night was when Amos was alone with her piano. If “Ode To The Banana King” wasn’t a big enough treat we were fortunate enough to hear solo takes on the rare gems “Sister Janet” and performed for only the fifth time “Apollo’s Frock.” That however was just the tip of the ice berg.

 

With a fat drunk cow screaming at the top of her lungs a few rows in front of us (as I mentioned in the Saturday recap, these shows had some of the rudest Tori fans I have ever encountered) Tori warned us to brace ourselves. It was then that for the first time ever that she busted out the Y Kant Tori Read track “On The Boundary.” No joke, when folks tweeting the setlist for the incredible fan run website Undented, many thought it was a practical joke. But as you can see below, it was no joke as Amos reworked the number into a beautiful haunting song that hit me deep in my soul.

Even when not busting out rare gems, Amos was kicking all kinds of backside. “Leather” sounded great and it’s always fun when Tori grabs her ass up on stage. I was most impressed with the re-working of “Hey Jupiter.” Typically if Amos is the change a songs tempo, it’s for the slower. With the quartet behind her, “Hey Jupiter” had a much jazzier upbeat feel. Dare I say I enjoy the re-worked version better than the original?

The show closed with a lengthy encore that went a few minutes past the venues 11pm curfew. Some of the better points of the encore were the holiday flavored “Holly, Ivy and Rose” and one of my favorite Amos rockers “Big Wheel.”

 

In closing, while I was bummed I had agreed to do the right thing and be a good husband I am glad I did. Both shows were some of the best I have ever seen Tori perform. From a rocking night one to a once in a lifetime performance on night two, seeing Amos recreate her classics with a string quartet was truly special. If she brings this tour back to the states in 2012, there will be no doubt that I will be back for yet another round.

 

RECAP: Tori Amos 12/17/11: Orpheum Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Tori Amos (w/  Thomas Dybdahl ) 12/17/11

Orpheum Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Editor’s Note: I am out the door in 90 minutes for night two of Tori Amos in Los Angeles. Here is a quick recap of the action from night one. Look for a complete review of the weekend late Monday.

Tori Amos brought her Night of Hunters tour to Los Angeles for two sold out nights at the Orphuem Theatre. The worldwide trek features Amos performing with a string quartet. While many of the shows on this tour have had a more mellow feel, Amos knew it was Saturday night in Los Angeles and brought out the big girls for a rocking good time. Mr. Zebra, God and Crucify all played well to an audience who were rowdy compared to the typical Amos crowds.

Other highlights of the two hour set included Pretty Good Year, Nautical Twilight and a very funny song about the joys of menopause. It was great to hear classic Amos songs reimagined with the help of the string quartet. As always Amos was in fine form and as someone who has been dragged seen Tori Amos eleven times now I am actually really excited for round two tonight. As I mentioned up top, look for a much more detailed review right here on Monday.

 

 

 

Girls 12/06/11: Music Box at Fonda – Hollywood, CA

Girls 12/06/11

Music Box at Fonda – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

Before we begin, we must give a major shout out to both Girls and Vacation Vinyl in Silver Lake, CA. I don’t know who had the idea to give away a free ticket to the Girls show with the purchase of Father, Son, Holy Ghost on vinyl, but I am sure glad they did. We here at Concert Confessions truly can’t express just how wonderful the folks at Vacation Vinyl are. They have always taken care of us on Record Store Day, host some great in-stores and have a diverse selection of vinyl from hipster indie faves to the blackest of black metal. So THANK YOU to whomever made it possible to see a show and get a double vinyl LP for $23, we sure as hell appreciate it.

When I walked through the doors of the Music Box, I was a guy who was still trying to figure out Girls. My first encounter with Girls was nothing short of magical. How could it not be, here were two guys I grew up with performing at the Hollywood Bowl?!?!?! In the days and weeks after that show, I wondered had I not been connected with some of the players, would I have enjoyed it? I do tend to be the anti-hipster after all and Girls are not something I would usually gravitate towards. After the Bowl appearance, I picked up a copy of Broken Dreams Club and gave it a spin or two before placing back upon the shelf. Father, Son and Holy Ghost was not originally on my shopping list this past Record Store Day – Black Friday, but with the earlier mentioned incredible deal the time was right to dive deep into Girls.

Having secured a front row balcony seat despite arriving well after The Tyde had wrapped their main support set, I patiently waited for the sons of San Francisco to take the stage. When they finally hit the stage at 10 past 10, the near capacity crowd erupted as the opening notes of “My Ma” trickled from the PA. With Father, Son and Holy Ghost being declared the best record of 2011 by MTV News earlier in the day, the mood inside the Music Box was happy and warm despite the cold by Los Angeles standards weather out on Hollywood Blvd.

The front end of the set was loaded with songs for the broken hearted and I am not just saying that because “Heartbreaker” was the second song performed. When front man Christopher Owens sang “Cause when I said I love you honey, I knew it from the very start. And when I said that I loved you, honey I knew that you would break my heart” one couldn’t help feel reminded of the agony that a break up causes on ones soul. If that didn’t hit you in the heart, then the pain within the lyrics of “Laura” and “Love Life” most certainly did.

As the show progressed I realized my love of Girls was not based around the lyrics and hypnotic vocal execution from Christopher Owens. My love of Girls is from the incredible landscapes they create musically. I love the bands ability to mix various genres into one. “Die” manages to sound both like Black Sabbath and Dick Dale yet possess the flair of a 1980’s underground punk song. One thing that really added to the music was the use of three female back up singers. The layer of texture they added took what was a good show and made it an amazing show.

Another great trick under Girls sleeve are songs that begin as a soft and tender ballad and end as a monstrous feedback heavy balls to the wall ass kicking rock and roll extravaganza. The bands best example of that was the eventual set closer “Vomit.” This song truly has it all, tender chords, massive guitar solos and more lyrics that tug upon your heart. “Forgiveness” is another great example of this type of song structure.

I walked into the Music Box with an open mind and the understanding that there was no way the group could be worse than Beady Eye. I left not only having a much better understanding of Girls, but knowing that in a few years I can brag that I saw the band way back when at the intimate Music Box. With the already mentioned MTV accolades and plenty of touring to come in 2012 (may I start the Coachella rumor here) Girls are right on the edge of blowing up big time. As for me, let’s just say my $23 was well spent.

Beady Eye 12/03/11: Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Beady Eye w/ Ican Abrahamn and Black Box Revelations 12/03/11

Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

It’s always nice to spend Saturday night with good friends. On the first Saturday in December, I did exactly that at the Wiltern in Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to find free parking. One of my pals ran into an old friend who he had not seen in 17 years. There was an exchange of Christmas gifts where I gave the gift of Insane Clown Posse Vinyl and received the latest Limp Bizkit effort on compact disc. Two thirds of Triple Bordego found their way into the house. Those guys are a lot of fun and always a blast to hang out with. I managed to catch up with not one, but two of the best warriors of the new media revolution. The only bad part of the evening was the reason we were all gathered on the corner of Wilshire and Western. That reason was Beady Eye.

My night of music started with the closing song from opener Ican Abrahamn. Musically, I would describe the song I heard as trance heavy indie rock. The best description of what was going down on stage comes from my man JEFF WINSTON. He pointed out that he drummer looked homeless. I couldn’t agree more.

Before I make Oasis fans cry, we must discuss the musical highlight of the night. The Black Box Revelation are a Belgian duo who are capable of cranking out some serious rock and roll. It’s a shame the two only had thirty minutes to spend with the empty auditorium as they were just getting warmed up by the time it was all over. I must assume that guitarist/vocalist Jan Paternoster is using the same trick as Local H guitarist Scott Lucas by having a bass pickup built into his guitar as the sound coming from that thing was fucking massive. Imagine the blues boogie of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or the Black Keys dipped in the demonic tones of Black Sabbath. I realize that is a lot of bands with black in the name used to describe the sound of a band with black in the name but it’s the truth. Highlights of the short set included “I Think I Like You,” “Bitter” and “Love Licks.” Thank you for giving me something good to write about BBR.

So by now you are probably asking why the hell I went to Beady Eye. I wouldn’t call Different Gears, Still Speeding a top 10 album of 2011, but I found the music on the band’s debut album enjoyable. Someone in the Beady Eye camp was smart in putting tickets on sale long before Liam’s brother released a record and toured across America. My pal is obsessed with Oasis and was foaming at the mouth at the chance to see a Gallagher brother in such an intimate venue so tickets were purchased the moment they went on sale. The excitement level for the evening was high which is why what we got was so disappointing.

I knew there would be no Oasis songs and I was fine with that. What I didn’t expect was a lifeless uninspired mess that will no doubt take the crown as the worst show I saw in 2011. Despite the venue being only half full at best, the energy level was high as a pre-recorded version of “Yellow Tail” blasted from the PA. The energy was even higher when the five piece band hit the stage performing “Four Letter Word.” Some jumped, some clapped but on the main floors third tier many were checking Facebook by the time the bands second song “Beatles and Stones” began.

The first major glare of the set was the sound inside the venue. Even when undersold I have heard bands’ sound great inside the Art Deco landmark. When the bands guitars and drums didn’t echo off the walls, Gallagher’s vocals were so loud in the mix that they were often distorted. While it has never been easy for us Yanks to understand what Liam Gallagher is saying through his thick Manchester accent, it took me coming home and watching my videos to discover the front man had insulted the Church of Scientology.

Glancing across the venue the overall feel inside was boredom. Fans chatted over soft songs like “For Anyone.” Multiple security duos walked around desperately seeking someone to bust. The most action I saw them have all night was when they insisted a female fan get off the shoulders of her male counterpart during “Bring The Light.” Yet the biggest violators of looking bored were the band themselves. Liam occasionally moved around and at one point and even autographed a fans recently purchased vinyl copy of Different Gears, Still Speeding. Yet I can’t recall any other of the band moving an inch the entire time. These gentlemen were so still they make Interpol look like Dillinger Escape Plan. It felt as if they want to be there and were simply going through the motions. I found myself watching Liam sweat through his trench coat as Jakob mentioned in his Seattle review while having a conversation on twitter with The Audio Perv instead of enjoying the music. Speaking of Jakob thank God he posted the setlist so I could countdown how many songs we had left.

Even a move to a smaller venue such as the Music Box would not have saved this show. It is clear Beady Eye is a team who is playing out the season with no chance of making the playoffs. Noel won the race with a far superior album and two sold out nights in a slightly smaller venue here in Los Angeles. His High Flying Birds are returning next weekend for a key slot on a major rock radio holiday festival and a late night television performance. Beady Eye didn’t even try to make an effort to shine for Los Angeles. In closing its clear Beady Eye has no desire to be amazing. While they may be able to ride the coattails of past success overseas Beady Eye clearly missed the boat in America and no one really cares. Even if the music left a lot to be desired it’s always nice to have a night out with your friends and that’s exactly what that was on a brisk December night.

 

Pixies 11/19/11: Music Box @ Fonda – Hollywood, CA

Pixies 11/19/11

Music Box @ Fonda – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

Ever since the Pixies reunited back in 2004 I have been trying to catch them live. Typically one of three things happen that prevent me from seeing the band. If I am not out of town, I already have tickets for another show and if I happen to have a ticket for the Pixies show (10/23/04 to be exact) then my car breaks down and I never actually make it to the show. I had all but given up my dreams of seeing the band when low and behold I saw a tweet that mentioned the foursome playing a pseudo-secret fan club e-mail invite show at the Music Box in Hollywood, CA. With the password for tickets included in the tweet I added another $50 to my Visa card and prayed for no issues with my car on the night of November 19th, 2011.

With no opening act on this particular evening the Pixies hit the stage inside the sold out theatre just past 9pm. The band kicked things off with a botched version of “Bone Machine.” I am not exactly sure who messed up causing “Bone Machine” to be aborted, but after some serious chuckles from the various musicians on stage the show got back on course with a rocking take on “U-Mass.”

Knowing the group is currently performing their classic 1989 album Doolittle from front to back, I was shocked when that albums third track “Wave of Mutilation” was performed early in the set. Clearly this special show was to be radically different than others on this tour. With “Isla de Encanta” and one of my personal favorites “Caribou” following no one seemed to mind that we were not going to be rocking out to Doolittle like the rest of the nation.

As the set continued on, the band sounded tight musically while being very loose on stage. Bassist/vocalist Kim Deal gave a shout out to guitarist Joey Santiago’s family who happened to be sitting right in front of us (you can hear his daughter scream Daddy in the video for “There Goes My Gun”). This shout out occurred after Pixies front man Black Francis/Frank Black/Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV discussed the difference between crowd members screaming I Love You and Fuck You while the band performed on stage.

While we didn’t get Doolittle from front to back, we did hear every song from the album over the course of the 32 song set. In between timeless numbers from that album like “Here Comes Your Man” and “Monkey Gone To Heaven” we got a mix of rare Pixies gems. Some of those gems included the B-side “Bailey’s Walk” and a cover of Neil Young’s “Winterlong.” After busting out some of the biggest Doolittle songs including “Gouge Away” and “Debaser,” the main set closed with a B-side sung by Deal entitled “Into The White.”

The band never actually left the stage for an encore break; instead they put down their instruments, walked around briefly before taking position and heading into the fan favorite “Where Is My Mind?” With the venue anxious to kick fans out by 11pm so they can host a dance night, the Pixies wrapped their nearly two hour show with “Gigantic.” Much like the first song of the night, the band stumbled, but was saved by Deal and her hilarious good night wishes to her fellow band mates. With a long bus ride up the coast for a Sunday night show in Napa, her goal was to be asleep long before the first dance night patrons found their way into the Music Box. For me, I was just happy to finally catch the Pixies live and in person.

 

 

 

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 11/18/11: Royce Hall – Los Angeles, CA

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 11/18/11

Royce Hall – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

As an individual who attends an extremely high number of concerts, it’s rare for me to be excited days before a show. Yet for the last two weeks, I have been bouncing off the walls ecstatic for the evening of Friday November 18th 2011 as that would be the night I would descend upon the UCLA campus for a performance from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. I admit I was one of those foolish Yanks who gave up on Gallagher’s previous band Oasis around the turn of the century. Yet thanks to my pal Sim showing me the errors of my ways, I have become obsessed not just with Oasis, but with the guitar playing and songwriting skills of Mr. Noel Gallagher. With Gallagher’s High Flying Birds releasing their debut album a few days ago, it has been on heavy rotation to the point I broke the “never listen to an artist driving to their show” rule as I braved rush hour traffic into Bruins country.

Having missed the opening set by The Hours in order to drink a few beers with various friends, I found myself in my seat moments before Gallagher and his High Flying Birds hit the Royce Hall stage. Despite my high number of concerts attended over the past 15 years this was my first visit to Royce Hall and I must say it is an extremely classy joint. The high ceilings and fancy décor of Royce Hall only added to the already existing feelings that Gallagher’s second sold out night in Los Angeles was truly something special. When Gallagher and his Birds hit the stage at 9pm opening with the Oasis favorite “(It’s Good) To Be Free” those feelings went into overdrive.

While I expected Oasis songs in the set, the 1-2 opening punch of “(It’s Good) To Be Free” and “Mucky Fingers” shocked me as I assumed High Flying Birds materials would begin the night. However what this accomplished was exposing those who were hardcore fans versus those who simply got a ticket for being VIP and were looking for a soundtrack for a Friday night glued to a smart phone. With roles determined and the mood now set, the opening double shot of Oasis songs eased nicely into the first of many High Flying jam of the night entitled “Everybody’s On The Run.”

 

When not performing recent radio hits including “If I Had A Gun…” and “The Death of You and Me,” Gallagher was having a blast busting balls with various individuals screaming out song requests. Having already shared that he was not going to play anything that wasn’t on the setlist (which he spent a good five minutes writing) Gallagher taunted one individual who repeatedly screamed for “Acquiesce.” At another point a fan screamed for the Japanese B-side “You’ve Got The Heart of a Star” which led Gallagher to sharing that song had never been played live in any form and that he should have no problem whatsoever just playing it off the cuff.

With a handful of shows under their belt, the band is at that point where they all know their exact rolls and can focus on where the music can go instead of simply getting through the set. That freedom was most noticeable during “Freaky Teeth” a song that is heavily rumored to be the next Bond theme. The opening licks most certainly indicate that it will accompany Daniel Craig and a bunch of big budget Hollywood magic, the song proved the group can really crank out maximum rock and roll when they so choose.

Midway through the show, Gallagher strapped on an acoustic guitar and gave those on their phones a reason to finally tune into the show. A mini acoustic set of Oasis mega-hits kicked off with “Wonderwall.” Performed more like the Ryan Adams version than the version found on What’s The Story (Morning Glory), the capacity crowd joined Gallagher singing along to the man’s biggest stateside hit. A fantastic version of “Supersonic” followed with similar results.

While various B-sides and Oasis songs found their way into the set at random moments, I realized by the time the group was performing “AKA…What A Life!” that we were getting the songs from the High Flying Birds album in the order they appear. By the end of the evening, all songs with the exception of “Stop The Clocks” had been performed. One song that didn’t really stand out on the album but was outstanding live was “AKA…Broken Arrow.” Most noticeable was how strong Gallagher’s vocals sounded. No disrespect to his younger brother Liam, but the performance made you wonder why Oasis ever needed him in the first place.

The main set concluded with “(Stranded On) The Wrong Beach” with fans chanting for more Noel. Gallagher and his band returned for a three song encore of Oasis songs that kicked off with Heathen Chemistry track “Little By Little.” The fan sing-along continued into “The Importance of Being Idle” but it was clear the highlight was the evening’s final song “Don’t Look Back In Anger.” For the first time all night fans jumped up and down in front of their seats excited for the other American Oasis smash hit. While the leaps of fans looked nothing like a crowd at Wembley Stadium the fact members of a Los Angeles crowd jumped up and down at all was rather remarkable.

While only 90 minutes in length, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds second sold out Southern California performance was truly magical. Without a doubt a top five show for the year 2011 in my book, I pray the group returns when the rumored second more experimental album drops next year. Now the question in my mind is; how will Beady Eye even come close to such an amazing experience when we cross paths at the Wiltern in a few weeks?

 

 

Blitzen Trapper 11/17/11: Music Box at Fonda – Hollywood, CA

Blitzen Trapper 11/17/11

Music Box at Fonda – Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

On the wild ride that is life as an amateur rock journalist, Blitzen Trapper has served as my training wheels for much of the journey. A long time ago (a little over three years to be exact) a major network in the Viacom family sent me to Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, CA to shoot the band. While I had taken plenty of photos at shows, I had never been sent on someone else’s dime to shoot and cover a specific artist. I was not only excited to be working as a journalist, but my love for the six piece Portland Oregon based band began on that warm summer day. Then a few months ago, the fine folks at Antiquiet allowed me to review the groups outstanding 2011 release American Goldwing. My first published album review, once again Blitzen Trapper allowed me to experience growth in this crazy day and age where a kid with nothing more than a California public school education and a dream can become Almost Famous on the World Wide Web. So walking into the Music Box at Fonda on Thursday night I assumed I would simply enjoy the show as I do most shows – safely tucked away in the crowd doing our trademark By Fans for Fans below the radar approach on concert coverage. I assumed wrong.

Shortly after walking through the doors of the Hollywood Blvd venue, a Coachella 2011 media pass was slapped upon my wrist and a fancy Canon SLR camera was handed over to me. While I have had multiple experiences in photo pits over the years, this was only the second time I have shot with a “real” camera. After a brief lesson on how to use such a fine photography capturing device I was six inches away from Blitzen Trapper as they opened their 90 minute set with “Sleepy Time in the Western World.” While I imagine my three songs worth of photos will leave a lot to be desired it was great practice as I look to grow in the field of concert reporting.

By the time I was done shooting, the venue was packed to the very back of the balcony. I found a spot on the stage right side for the remaining 75 minutes of Blitzen Trapper’s final co-headline show of 2011 with Dawes. The group did a fine job of mixing songs from American Goldwing with material from their back catalogue. Early on, the group eased into the night with familiar material including the earlier mentioned “Sleepy Time in the Western World” and “Furr.” As I felt when I first heard American Goldwing, the new songs are designed to rock the masses. “Fletcher,” “Love the Way You Walk Away” and “My Own Town” felt larger than the venue the band was performing in.

In a day and age where bands are often disposed of if they don’t hit it big out of the gate, Blitzen Trapper have been allowed the luxury to grow slowly into a fine tuned machine. From the story telling lyrics of “Black River Killer” to the balls to the wall rock and roll onslaught that is “Street Fighting Sun” the six piece group manages to blend so many elements into a unique yet familair sound. On this particular Thursday night we witnessed softer moments where you could hear a pin drop within the crowd, we witnessed soaring guitar solos and pump organ fueled improvisational jams within a collection of songs that make you feel damn proud to be an American. While I don’t know what fantastic journalistic endeavor Blitzen Trapper and I will embark on next, I know I most definitely look forward to it.

Voodoo Music Experience 10/29/11: City Park – New Orleans, LA

Voodoo Music Experience 10/29/11:

City Park – New Orleans, LA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

There is something to be said for having an adventure thousands of miles from home. My latest just happened to be a Saturday spent at City Park in New Orleans, LA. For years I have heard of the Voodoo Music Experience yet living 2000 miles away it’s not the easiest festival to attend. While my original plans for all three days fell through, I was able to at least take in one day of the long running music festival.

The adventure began with me hopping a street car from the Central Business District down to City Park. Public transportation in unknown cities can always be a bit nerve wracking but thankfully the $1.25 ride across town went as smooth as could be. Our street car operator pointed out places to get everything from Turtle Soup to Bacon Wrapped Donuts. He even allowed some local youth to pay for a ride on the car in candy. End of the line was City Park and I followed my fellow concert goers through the front of the park to the gates of the festival.

Upon entering, the first stage I stumbled upon was the Red Bulletin stage. Located next to some body of water, about 12 dozen kids were sitting on the lawn as Carmine P. Filthy did his DJ thing. This was the last kind of music I was looking for at just past 1pm so I headed deeper into the park to experience some sounds of New Orleans.

Over the next hour, I caught portions of sets by Treme Brass Band and Soul Rebels Brass Band w/ Cyril Neville. I’ll admit, I don’t check out many bands of this style, but when in Rome how can you not? I personally enjoyed Soul Rebels set more, mainly because as younger men they had much more energy and a more modern feel.

After walking around checking out the various foods and vendors for a while I took up residence at the main stage for a long haul. I was shocked to see next to no one at the main stage when I arrived but that probably had a lot to do with the fact that not only was it early, but that The Revivalists were butchering an Eminem song. The one good thing about such a terrible band performing on stage was the fact I was able to secure a spot three rows back. Pretty sweet spot for a stage that had at least 50,000 fans rocking out at it later in the day if I do say so myself.

Boots Electric

Boots Electric (also known as Jesse Hughes from Eagles of Death Metal) came to New Orleans to share songs from his recently released solo record Honkey Kong. As a long time fan of Boots, the first few songs of the set were rough. I chalked it up to the fact that the new group would have been better placed on a smaller stage but as it turns out the city of New Orleans was to blame. In between songs like “I Love You All The Thyme” and “Boots Electric Theme” it was shared that the swaggering front man had been awake enjoying New Orleans for about 96 hours. Clearly on his twelfth wind, where the music lacked one couldn’t help but root Boots on in hopes he could make it through the sun drenched set. Not even Eagles of Death Metal songs like “Whorehoppin (Shit, Goddamn)” and “Speaking in Tongues” managed to draw interest from a sparse crowd mainly looking to pop their Blink 182 cherry later in the night. It’s always fun to rock with Boots, but next time I hope it’s in a small club well after the sun has set.

Mastodon

Following Boots Electric was the mighty men from Atlanta known as Mastodon. The bands late afternoon slot on the main stage was the set I was looking forward to most at Voodoo and they did not disappoint. The four piece did a fine job of mixing songs from the recently released album The Hunter as well as plenty of classics from yesteryear. Still planted three rows back, I had assumed the Mastodon fans would make their way up front for some larger than life mosh pits. While a few drunk knuckleheads did try (and fail) to crowd surf, the Blink fans managed to hold their ground forcing the circle pit to be located about 40-50 feet back from the guard rail. I get the feeling this took an effect on the band as they tried yet were unsuccessful in getting a majority of the crowd energized as they bashed out songs like “Spectrelite”, “Crack The Skye” and “Bedazzled Fingernails.” Where Boots and crew were lost upon the big stage, Mastodon and their monstrous sounds made the place feel small. While there are still a few kinks to work out within the new songs, Mastodon came and conquered Voodoo Experience and confirmed my assumption that they would be the highlight of my day.

 

Social Distortion

As the sun began to set on City Park, the festival began to feel a lot like home. With quick set changes, all the older punks with faded tattoos and slicked back hair found their way to the front of the stage for the hard working tales of Mr. Mike Ness.  With their hour long dinner time set, Social Distortion did an outstanding job of performing material spanning their lengthy career. When not joking about puking up your booze upon the Festivals small selection of carnival rides, Ness and company gave it their all on songs such as “Story of My Life”, “Bakersfield” and a reworked version of “Prison Bound.” One thing I never thought I would see as part of a Social Distortion show 15 years ago was an acoustic guitar, but it actually worked (as did the ragtime honkytonk piano). Having seen Social Distortion numerous times in the past the band never disappoints and Voodoo was just another example of this. As the band wrapped their set with a cover of Johnny Cash’s classic “Ring of Fire” I decided to leave my cozy spot at the main stage in search of more California sounds within City Park.

X

X was one of those funky festival sets where you are there, but not really there. I had a quick snack. I watched the legends blast out song after song from their debut album Los Angeles as I stood in line for porta-potties (and here I thought Outside Lands had it bad). Then I found a spot, taped the title track while braving two young men smoking something from tin foil. Moved, found another spot only to have someone almost puke on me so I end up saying enough is enough it’s time to go check out Snoop Dogg.

Snoop Dogg

By the time I worked my way back to the main stage, the area was packed. I headed back to my stage left side however I couldn’t get to a good angle especially with the video camera passing back and forth right in front of my face. So I found another spot much further back and the pride of Long Beach paced back and forth upon the stage in a Marcus Colston New Orleans Saints jersey. When various members of Snoops entourage were not encouraging the crowd to light up on Cannabis, the collective were cranking out Snoop’s biggest hits. “Beautiful” “Gin and Juice” and even some Dr. Dre joints pleased the predominantly white rock crowd. Having never witnessed Snoop live before, it was fun but about ½ through the set I found myself bored. So I decided it was time to head over to the first stage I found at Voodoo and get a prime spot for Girl Talk.

Kreayshawn

Before we can discuss Girl Talk, let’s discuss Kreayshawn. For as bad as I thought the two songs by The Revivalists were, this may be the most God awful shit I have ever witnessed.

Girl Talk

As you may recall, I ragged my nads off with Girl Talk at Outside Lands in San Francisco earlier this year as I had already seen major headliner Muse twice within the year. I made the same call at Voodoo, this time skipping Blink 182 for Mr. Gillis. I caught no less than seven Blink 182 shows before the bands hiatus and with their new album being one of the worst I have heard this year I knew exactly how I wanted to wrap my Voodoo experience. Hitting the stage in a Freddy Krueger costume, Girl Talk was the right call as I had a blast dancing my ass off during his hour long set. As a human being blessed with the gift of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, his unique blend of all genres of music makes my soul happy. It didn’t matter how tired I was or how bad my feet already hurt, the man made my fat white ass groove.

I ended up leaving Girl Talk’s set a few minutes early as I had heard many fans share horror tails of how hard it was to take public transportation back towards the French Quarter the night before. Walking towards the 91 bus almost an hour before the festival came to a close I couldn’t help but have a grin larger than Snoop Dogg’s cross my face. Sure, things didn’t go as I planned for Voodoo and I this year, but the fact is I got to spend a day in City Park with some great acts. I met some amazing folks, including one Tulane Student who graduated from the same Junior High as I did. I visited the Third Man Records truck and almost had my beard died green. While Voodoo didn’t work out for three days as I expected, it was the unexpected that had the biggest impact on me. For a city that was destroyed six years ago, New Orleans is on the upswing once again and just by being there spending my hard earned money I was able to not only help rebuild a place with a rich history, but help every single person who never gave up on their hometown. A truly magical experience, I hope one day I can return to City Park and Voodoo all over again.

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