Watch Nada Surf Perform Live From Amoeba Hollywood
As you may recall earlier this year our pal Reverend Justito hit up Amoeba Hollywood to check out an in-store performance from Nada Surf. Well now the kind folks at Amoeba have put together multi-angle video of the group’s complete performance. You can watch it for yourself down below.
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.
I am not one of the individuals who remember the Sunset Junction as a small community gathering of Silver Lake locals. I know Sunset Junction as a gathering of inebriated individuals from all over Southern California looking to enjoy some music and overpriced churros in the hot summer sun. It had been a few years since I participated in the all day bash, and I was very much looking forward to the 2011 edition. USELESS KEYS, The Stripminers, Vanaprasta, Helmet, Melvins and the Butthole Surfers all in one day – how could you not brave triple digit heat for those acts? For those outside of Southern California, Sunset Junction failed to obtain a permit from the city of Los Angeles (which was not the city being cruel as much as Sunset Junction really fucked a lot of things up) and was subsequently canceled. As soon as Sunset Junction ceased to have a pulse, various artists began to book shows in and around down. With some dubbing the event as Echo Park Rising(a name I am using despite only seeing one show in Echo Park), my man Jeff and I decided to see just how many shows we could hit over the course of one day.
Sunset Junction Live From Dangerbird Records
Located in Sunset Junction, Dangerbird Records is home to such acts as Silversun Pickups and Beady Eye. While I have driven past their Sunset Blvd headquarters on numerous occasions, I have never had an opportunity to stop in for a visit. They have a pretty sweet setup, as the stage overlooks what is basically a back yard with various trees (aka shade), some street art and a basketball hoop. We made it to the free show (with donations requested and gladly handed over to the wonderful non-profit known as The Pablove Foundation) comprised of some of the up and coming local artist who were originally scheduled to perform at Sunset Junction.
Perhaps it was the heat, perhaps it was the mix of styles while never truly having their own sound but I lost interest quick in Chasing Kings. Did they meow a song? I think they meowed the lyrics to a song, I don’t really remember as I ended up hanging in the shade somewhere between the trash can and those endless supply of funky supplement drinks that tasted like diet skittles.
Not knowing anything about these guys, they win the prize as the only new act to win me over all day. I am a sucker for that rock meets folk with a bit of La Honda psychedelica thrown in for good measure sound. The Fling fly the rock meets folks with a bit of La Honda psychedelica flag high and proud. Well written songs with solid licks and great melodies. With new material to release later in the year, the band debuted some new material, including the song below. I will no doubt be seeking these guys out again.
I really want to like Vanaprasta, probably because in the next 18 months everyone will like Vanaprasta. The band had elements I really liked. The energy level (especially the guy who was using the palm tree as a percussion instrument during the first song) in the group was high. Some of the musical passages intrigued my ear. I think the one thing that killed it for me was the vocals. They sounded so much like Kings of Leon that it ruined anything good they can do While the familiarity will help them in the end it made me rush back to a bench in the shade versus diving deeper into the set. Perhaps the group would be more enjoyable inside a club versus playing outside at 3pm. One positive note is that Kevin Bacon and his brother showed up for the set and seemed to enjoy it. If you know Vanaprasta (or Jeff and I) you are now one degree away from Kevin Bacon.
It usually takes something rather special for this Nor Cal West Side boy to hit the Silver Lake/Echo Park section of Los Angeles. Typically those special reasons are Record Store Day, Joseph Arthur or USELESS KEYS. Till someone proves me wrong, I will proclaim USELESS KEYS as the best local band in Los Angeles today. The group used their set not only to wrap up a brief tour of the South West, but as a chance to rock a lot of material assumed to be featured on their upcoming full length release . “Static Friend” “Kamikaze” and “Sea Bells” and songs unfamiliar to me hypnotized the crowd. The four-piece made sure to mix in the material found on their four song debut EP. “Arizona State Highway” was an appropriate call given the concrete baking from the oppressive sun overhead. There is no doubt that “White Noise” is a natural set closer, so when the band began to strum to chords I knew our time at Dangerbird Records was coming to a close. Another great set from USELESS KEYS, till next time gentlemen.
There was a debate to head back to the west side after USELESS KEYS, but that would have been about 2.5 hours in a car for three hours at home? So Jeff and I decided to head down Sunset to Amoeba Records in Hollywood to check out The Growlers. Originally scheduled to perform at the Junction on Sunday, I suppose you take a gig where you can get one right? I had literally looked up The Growlers on YouTube earlier in the day to see if it was worth the trek I enjoyed the spooky Scooby-Doo flavored surf rock thing that The Growlers had going and figured why not make the trip. We made it just as the band wrapped their first song. Standing in the Diamond Head/Ani DiFranco/Dio section of the store, I noticed myself more excited for the air conditioning instead of the music. Once my body cooled, I realized I really didn’t like the music. I take that back, the music while nothing amazing was fine. It was vocalist Brooks Nielson that ruined it for me. He felt as if he did not want to be there, proclaimed that he never comes to Amoeba because he has no money and one must assume he was not just drinking java from that coffee mug. I ended up looking at vinyl for the final 1/3rd of their set ending up with albums by Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts and TV on the Radio.
Photo by Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Man can’t survive on music alone, which is why Jeff and I hit up Big Wangs in Hollywood for dinner and what we assumed would be baseball and pre-season NFL action. While we got the NFL action, we were also treated to UFC 134. Neither of us are fans of UFC, but with cold drinks and pizza tater tots it ended up being a sweet spot to not only recharge our batteries but kill a few hours. Not knowing really anything about UFC, it was a blast to watch this Anderson Silva guy just destroy Yushin Okami. Where other fights I saw featured fighters lunging upon their opponents as soon as they were down on the mat, Silva played cat and mouse with Okami. It was pretty bad ass; I think I finally see the appeal of UFC.
The final leg of our Echo Park Rising 2011 experience was a trip to the Echoplex. Here is where I admit that I have never stepped foot into this venue (of the Echo for that matter) and now I must wonder why as it’s a great place. I spent basically the entire set of 400 Blows towards the back section. Its clear 400 Blows don’t take themselves seriously as I don’t believe a band could be that bad without knowing they are bad. Instead I spent my time playing Words With Friends with fellow journalist/Concert Confessions supporter Adrian Garro. Sure, he was 15 feet away from me, but as we posted to our Facebook wall, Words With Friends is much more entertaining than 400 Blows.
On June 28th 1996 a local radio station in the Bay Area hit up my local Blockbuster Music and gave out free tickets to the Reverend Horton Heat/Toadies/Butthole Surfers gig that night at the Greek Theatre. I was not allowed to attend concerts at this time in my life, especially concerts across the Bay in Berkeley with people my parents didn’t know. So I did what any 17 year old kid would do and told my parents to fuck off and went anyways. As it turns out it was one of the better choices I made as my parents fined me $25 and then started letting me go to shows. For fifteen years I have been trying to see the band again. There was no way in hell I would allow a permit issue to keep me from rocking out with the Butthole Surfers.
The band hit the stage around 11:30pm as front man Gibby Haynes questioned the crowd to see how many had tickets for Sunset Junction. With many hands raised high, Haynes shared his disappointment with the cancellation (Butthole Surfers were set to headline the main stage) before blasting into “100 Million People Were Dead.”
With the bands core members all in their mid-50’s, the four piece rocked Echo Park hard for 90 minutes. What shocked me was the fact that most of the set was that much of the material performed was from the bands mid 80’s material. I didn’t think we would hear anything from Psychic…Powerless…Another Man’s Sac, but there they were rocking “Negro Observer” and “Gary Floyd.” Other classics like “BBQ Pope” “I Saw An Xray of a Girl Passing Gas” and “Bong Song” pleased the hardcore Butthole fans.
While I can’t claim to own the entire Butthole collection, I would say my favorite release by the San Antonio noise rockers is 1993’s “Independent Worm Saloon.” The band blessed the Echoplex with a lot of material from this release including “Goofy’s Concern” “Some Dispute Over T-Shirt Sales” and “Edgar.”
I know on their last tour, the band refused to play their one mainstream hit “Pepper” so I was not expecting to hear it on this particular evening. The band however shocked me and many more as they snuck it into a medley along with “Lady Sniff.” However that was the only material performed from the entire Electricladyland record.
All in all, the Butthole Surfers were the perfect way to end a great day of show hopping. I am grateful I got the chance to see the legends live and in person once again. As far as Echo Park Rising, I think there may very well be something here. Various shows around local venues for a weekend, it could be SXSW for downtown adjacent. I know I had a blast running around and would be down for another round next year.
On a night that felt more like Seattle than Hollywood, musical messiah Alain Johannes celebrated the release of his debut album Spark with an intimate set inside Amoeba Records. Known for his work with Eleven, Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures, the Cigar Box Guitarist managed to move both devoted fans and one plus-sized Asian girl whose only mission on a damp Tuesday night was to purchase the entire Seal catalogue for less than $12. With many from the extended QOTSA family tree (Josh Homme, Brody Dalle and Joey Castillo just to name a few) in the house, the brief yet beautiful set did not feel like a record store as much as it felt like a family reunion.
Hitting the stage just past 7pm, Johannes silenced the worlds greatest record store with an intense version of“Endless Eyes.” Johannes performed the first three songs from “Spark” straight through to start off the evening. As young children with their parents cameras point and clicked away, Johannes reflected upon his late partner in crime Natasha Shneider with dignity and grace.
When not giving each individual in the audience a giant lump in their throats, the man can shred on his custom Cigar Box guitar. Despite being only one man, the way Johannes strums upon the 8-string instrument makes one feel as if they are being assaulted by an acoustic army. A perfect example of this ferocious playing was “Gentle Ghosts.” Johannes made you fear that at any second, the delicate instrument would snap in two.
The highlight of the set was the only non-Spark song performed by Johannes. While originally found on “Desert Sessions Volume 7 & 8” – “Making A Cross” has truly become property of Johannes since the passing of Shneider. One look down the $4.95 or less aisle and you could see multiple individuals holding back tears. Following outstanding versions of “Spider” and “Unfinished Plans” Johannes swapped his Cigar Box for a 12 string and closed the set with “Making God Jealous.” Shortly after 40 minutes of soul-baring upon the stage came to an end, Johannes took the time to speak with fans and signed copies of his new record. For as vulnerable as Johannes was upon the stage, his spirit when face to face is nothing short of warm and inviting. While short, it was an honor to meet the man. As I walked out of the stores and into the rain, I looked down and saw that he wrote Love Life as part of the signature. I couldn’t agree with Mr. Johannes more.
For years, I have had a crush on Mandy Moore. If my wife and I were to play that silly game where we made a list of those we are allowed to cheat on, she would be close to the top of that list. I mean lets be honest here, I went and saw License To Wed in theaters and it was not because of my fellow Bay Area native Robin Williams. So when I discovered my crush was celebrating the release of her latest record Amanda Leigh at Amoeba Hollywood, you know this dirty old man was not going to miss his chance to finally get intimate with her after all these years.
Standing in front of the T-Rex section, I discussed the NBA playoffs with security while waiting for the one time teen pop-star to emerge. After a very quick sound check, we discussed LeBron vs. Mello vs. Kobe vs. Howard a bit more while a diverse crowd filled the aisles. Taking the stage just past 6pm, Moore a clearly intimidated Moore joked with the crowd as unfunny shoppers screamed for “Candy”. Backed by co-writer Mike Viola, Moore and one additional musician, the trio performed a 45 minute set consisting songs from her new record.
In watching the awkward Moore perform, I only fell more in lust (I don’t think we are at the love phase yet) with her. In between new songs, Moore shared how she didn’t feel cool enough to perform in the very store she shops. She also seemed very confused when someone shouted out for her hit movie A Walk To Remember. With a big new shiny rock on her left ring finger, the angelic singer belted out soft and sweet acoustic melody after another. My personal favorite was a song called “Bug “that managed to name drop both the city where I was born, and the city where I currently live.
Perhaps for me, the most remarkable thing about the set was how far Mandy Moore has truly come. I had a good laugh the first time I saw the video for “Candy”. As someone who respected the progress women in rock made over the course of the 90’s, “Candy” was everything anti-Lilith. Sure, Brit Brit and XXXtina have sold more records, but Moore has truly developed into a gifted singer/songwriter. With most songs touching on love, most of the crowd stared on mesmerized by the delicate vocals over simple yet lush acoustic instrumentation. As someone who went strictly because I am a pig, I truly figured I would end up writing some Bukowski type review. However, tonight I gained a lot of respect for Mandy Moore as an artist. I was very surprised at just how grown up and touching her new songs were. Moore has truly evolved as an artist and had time not been tight, I may have even picked up the nre record, it’s that good. Now if only I was Ryan Adams…
Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
With the milestone age of 30 weeks away for me, I was in high school when Nirvana introduced the world to Meat Puppets. During their now classic appearance on MTV Unplugged, the Arizona band performed three songs (only two song appeared on the original broadcast which our webmaster has on VHS) at the request of Cobain who couldn’t figure out how to play them on his own. This of course was my introduction to the brothers Meat (as Cobain dubbed them) and the wonderful yet wacky/twangy punk rock jams they have crafted for years. As time has progressed, I picked up a record here and there, and have always been a casual fan of the band. If Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson crossed off life goals in their 2007 hit “The Bucket List” – tonight in Hollywood, I was able to cross Meat Puppets off of my bucket list of bands I have to see live before I die.
With their new record Sewn Together hitting shelves tomorrow (05/12/09) Cris and Curt Kirkwood (along with drummer Ted Marcus) snuck into Amoeba Music to play some new song and visit some classics. With the store aisles packed with fans the trio opened the laid back 45 minute set with the new records title track. Thanks to being in the wrong place at the right time and talking basketball with a really great security guard, I was plopped right in front of the stage at the last minute. Being so close I could hear the band chat between with each other between songs. Much like Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning, the band threw out the play book early on and relied on audible and played whatever felt right. Another new song – “Rotten Shame” was one of the called audibles.
As fans danced in from the rock to the oldies section, it was about 5 songs into the bands set when I finally recognized a song. The last song (not counting the ever popular hidden track) from their 1994 breakthrough Too High To Die “Comin’ Down” was even more stripped down than the original. This really got the crowd bogeying as the brothers harmonized over the Tex Mex riffs. I think my personal highlight was one off the bands final numbers called “Up On The Sun”. The jam clocked in over 7 minutes and had a really sweet imrpov lead by Curt. The jam, with is rising riffs, deep distortion was just long enough to never get boring and featured a thick rhythm section laid down by Cris and Ted.
The band closed the intimate set with the one song left off the original airing of MTV Unplugged. The delicate “Oh Me” was the perfect closing, appealing to the casual fan like myself as well as the hardcore old school fan who were finally able to bring their young child to a Meat Puppets show. From (what I have been told) the record Cobain loved the most (Meat Puppets II), the band who had smiled through their entire set somehow to those grins grow a bit wider. With this being the opening night of their 28 date US tour, I am grateful to have finally seen the brothers meat 15+ years after I was introduced to them. In just 45 minutes, the band took the casual fan in me and made me a bit more obsessed. All the while crossing another band off my bucket list.