Tag: Los Angeles (page 2 of 3)

Furthur Announce Fall 2011 Tour Dates

Furthur Announce Fall 2011 Tour Dates

Furthur – the band featuring former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh have added additional dates to their US Fall Tour. The trek which is set to kick off September 23rd in Eugene, Oregon will now wrap a few days before Thanksgiving in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mail order will run through October 7th. General public tickets will go on sale via the regular corporate outlets beginning September 16th.

Dates For Furthur as of 09/09/11:

 

Anthrax Teams With Testament and Death Angel For US Tour

Anthrax Teams With Testament and Death Angel For US Tour

With a new album entitled Worship Music set to hit shelves on September 13th, Anthrax has announced dates for an American tour. The trek kicks off October 14th in Grand Rapids Michigan and will cover most of the nation over five weeks. While Anthrax will close all shows, the tour will feature co-headliners Testament while Death Angel will cover the opening duties.

The American tour follows a hometown appearance for Anthrax at Yankees Stadium as part of The Big Four with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth.

Pre-sale is underway via AnthraxArmy.com while public on sales begin Friday September 9th.  For more information, make sure you check out Anthrax.com. Complete tour dates are listed below.

 

2011 Anthrax American Tour Dates

September

14 Yankees Stadium – New York, NY

October
14 Orbit Room, Grand Rapids, MI
15 Congress Theatre, Chicago, IL
16 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
18 The Cotillion, Wichita, KS
19 Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO
22 Nokia LA Live, Los Angeles, CA
23 Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA
24 House of Blues, San Diego, CA
26 Sunshine Theatre, Albuquerque, NM
28 South Side Music Hall, Dallas, TX
29 Emo’s East, Austin, TX
30 Warehouse Live, Houston, TX

November
1 House of Blues, Orlando, FL
2 Revolution, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
4 House of Blues, Myrtle Beach, SC
5 Fillmore Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
6 The Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD
8 Northern Lights, Clifton Park, NY
10 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
11 Palladium, Worcester, MA
15 Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY
17 Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA
19 Rave, Milwaukee, WI

 

Photo Gallery – Red Hot Chili Peppers Rock For The Silverlake Conservatory of Music

Red Hot Chili Peppers w/ Theolonius Monster 08/24/11

Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA

Photos by Reverend Justito

Last night Reverend Justito got a last minute invite to shoot 1 1/2 songs of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band hit the stage at Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles as hosts of a benefit concert for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. A truly magical place where young children are able to learn an instrument (often for free) we encourage everyone to check out their site (and donate to the cause) by clicking here.

 

Phish 08/08/11: Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA

Phish 08/08/11

Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

I witnessed my first performance at the Hollywood Bowl in 2003. Sitting there under the stars, I knew that the historic venue would be the perfect place to see Phish work their magic. I’ve even discussed for this very website how great it would be to see Phish perform at the venue with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Having spent two days at the Gorge with the boys, I pulled into the venue with my pal God Frank expecting the madness and energy level that was present all weekend in George, Washington. Much to my shock (and as I look back, delight) the place was as mellow as you could get. With this being God Frank’s first show, I wanted to find him a solid Shakedown Street so he could have the full experience. In our 45 minute walk around the stacked parking lots of the Hollywood Bowl, there was very minimum vending going on. A few glass pieces for sale, some hippie crack but that’s about it. I couldn’t even find a beer for sale. With no real party that we could find, we decided to head into the venue and wait for Phish to make their eagerly awaited Hollywood Bowl debut.

Around 7:30 pm, the band took the stage to a solid but mellow round of applause. From the second that sound began coming from the P.A. I knew we were heading straight into a “Down With Disease” opener. As far as “Disease” goes the playing was fierce especially the guitar work of Trey Anastasio, but this was no doubt the quickest version of the song I have heard. The band brought the jam right on down into an early set “Cavern.” I have to admit I was shocked to hear this one as it was just played opening night at the Gorge. Yet as a fan of the song, I had no complaints and was glad God Frank got the see the Anastasio and bassist Mike Gordon perform their leg kick dance.

For as shocked as I was for the “Cavern” repeat “Possum” really threw me for a loop. Having just seen it open the previous show, you can now put me in the camp of spoiled snobs who agree that the band is playing this one too much. I decided to use it as a piss break knowing I will probably catch it again at Outside Lands. When the band broke into the Talking Head’s jam “Cities” my first thoughts were of Berkeley 2010. With phans in front of me still wearing their Price is Right name tags (I believe they said the episode will air November 8th) I was hoping “Cities” would see another Plinko jam in the great state of California. While the mini jam coming out of “Cities” was tight, I think the band knew it had to take the energy up a level thus busting out the third cover of the Frank Zappa classic “Peaches en Regalia.” Once this made its appearance at SuperBall IX, I knew the band would pay tribute to Zappa at the Bowl.

I pointed to God Frank in excitement as the Chairman of the Boards himself Page McConnell headed towards the front of the stage for “Lawn Boy.” I loved when McConnell played up to the crowd asking us how we were doing. I had called a “Tube” opener, so fine I was off 7 songs? You knew they had to bust this one out with The 101 freeway behind them. Following “Tube” came “Back on the Train” which I felt had the best jam of the entire first set.

“Wilson>Axilla” was straight up ass kicking rock and roll and I loved every minute of it. After a tasty “Split Open and Melt” with a jam as laid back as the crowd, the band gave me another piss break (and 4th Gorge repeat) “Backwards Down The Number Line.” I will just say this about the set I closer. When I walked to the bathroom, there were folks around but not a hard walk. It was hard to walk back from the bathroom because so many people were filling out of the Bowl. As far as the first set goes, it felt as if Phish had to get comfortable with the venue and it showed in songs like “Disease” and “Cities” but once they became acclimated it was on like Donkey Kong.

If you have read my thoughts on the Gorge, then you know I feel the band has been kicking set II off with the second song. Not the case on this night as the hairs upon my arms began to rise as that thick opening riff from “Carini” drifted from the stage and over the surrounding hills. My first 3.0 “Carini” the jam was hard hitting as it should be, but what made it great is what it eventually became. I have chased “Crosseyed and Painless” for as long as I can remember. With “Cities” in the first set I figured I missed the Talking Heads original yet again. Wrong, I saw it live and in person and it rocked hard. Drummer Jon Fishman sounded great on the vocals and the energy very well could have blown the band shell off of the stage.

Once again not stopping between songs “Twist” was the confirmation that I needed that this was indeed a Phish crowd and not a Los Angeles crowd. With everyone front to back Wooing on mark, we may have just set the record for the mellowest Phish crowd of all time. There was even a major lack of glow stick wars over the course of the night. I looked for one during “Piper”, and where a few went up, it was more of a glow stick operation versus a full blown war.

So I got the Mike’s Grove that thenaturalstoner wanted so bad and it ended up being the highlight of the show. After a solid take on “Mike’s Song” the band wound down into “Joy.” I like “Joy” a lot so if I had to have a breather in my second set this one is fine with me. Nothing special musically on this one, just an important reminder to focus on what makes you happy. “Weekapaug Groove” followed “Joy” with Gordon straight up abusing his thumb with ferocious slaps against his strings.

I don’t think anyone in the house could have guessed what would go down next. Anastasio dropped his guitar and took to the drum set as stage hands quickly assembled a small drum kit in front of Gordon. From there Fishman took to the small kit and the band busted out a funky first time offering of the Paul Simon song “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.” I can’t lie, I have somehow managed to go 32 years without hearing this song, but it didn’t matter. I was just glad to see Fish to debut a new song where he gets to take center stage.

Like a fool I turned off the camera right as the band launched into “Hold Your Head Up.” Where this song usually sandwiches a front of the stage Fishman appearance, I guess we learned it follows a Fishman front of stage with drum kit appearance. Regardless, it was an absolute blast to finally see Fish take a victory lap around the stage.

After another Character Zero, the band closed the second set with a cover of “Quinn The Eskimo.” I was excited to finally see it performed live and looking around the Bowl you could actually feel a little energy coming from the crowd. For an encore, the band opened with “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan.” Solid version no doubt, but I am not sure I like it as an encore. For the 7th and final Gorge repeat, Phish closed the night with “Julius.” I reached for my phone to call Phishbeard knowing how much he loves the song. I suppose since Raphael Saadiq beat them to playing it at the Bowl they kind of had to play it right? Solid version and a great way to send people out to a Highland Avenue shakedown of Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs.

I have to think the first Phish show at the Hollywood Bowl was a success. Sure, there were a lot of repeats from the Gorge, but with so far to travel between dates I have to assume those who made all three are limited. As I mentioned earlier, I was glad that the crowd was respectful. Hollywood Bowl is the perfect venue for Phish in Southern California and I would like to see a lot more shows with them there in the future (starting the rumor now for three night run in fall of 2012).

Hope everyone in Tahoe has a blast. We will see you in San Francisco Friday night for Outside Lands.

L.A. Rising 07/30/11: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, CA

L.A. Rising 07/30/11

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

I moved to Los Angeles just shy of a decade ago. Before moving down here I was as Bay Area as it comes. The use of the word hella was still our thing. I didn’t eat meat, enjoyed public transportation and went green back in the late 80’s. I knew I was moving to a whole new world, but nothing could have prepared me for that first 18 months living in the City of Angels. The fact is Los Angeles is a hard city to live in and while you can keep your hippie dreams and try to make a dent you need tough skin. I would not have survived those 18 months without the guidance and protection of one man. Our initial bond was Rage Against The Machine. We shared stories of shows from Oakland to San Diego. So you had to know it would be him who would take care of me again with the offer of an extra ticket roughly 24 hours before the gates of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum opened.

The Festival Experience

I walked around the entire horse shoe of the stadium. The entire time I saw three things. Lite Beer stands, Merchandise stands and Food stands. OK, there was a poorly placed stage where KROQ was blasting Rush/Faith No More mash ups, but not much else going on. I couldn’t even find a first aid stand to see if they had earplugs (I picked a bad day to forget them that’s for sure). I finally made it to the other side of the stadium for the promised revolution, something called the “Re-Education Camp.” While it was nice to see organizations like Greenpeace, Food Not Bombs and Iraq Veterans Against The War be allowed to set up for free, the area felt more like an Indian Reservation then an opportunity to save the world. The camp was a small parking lot adjacent to the grounds. Tents were small, poorly lit and the whole thing felt depressing. We know you can hardly make ends meet, but we need help so please sign up for our email list and give us cash.

 While I understand that you need many stands to feed what I am guessing ended up around 85,000 people, the entire stadium walk around was capitalism at its best. $8 Hot Dogs, $30 T-shirt and $9 Beer as far as you can see. Speaking of beer, I assumed a festival would have more than Coors Lite, Miller Lite and if you were lucky enough to find it tucked away in the corner behind section 25 Dos Equis. So when it comes to being a festival, L.A. Rising has a long way to go. This is not the revolution; this was a corporate cash grab stadium gig at its finest.

To make things worse (and I realize that this only happened to a small percentage of guests) when I made it to my seat I discovered it was covered with a large black cloth. As it turns out there was a last minute security change where they decided to cover these seats to help prevent individuals from sneaking onto the floor. Between Immortal Technique and Lauryn Hill I walked back around the stadium for my seat exchange. The guy at the tent asked if I was alone or with a group. I told him I was meeting 5 other people and he promised me that my ticket was with them. I look at my new ticket and it was for the same exact section, except seat 10 was now found in row 5 instead of row 2. Knowing my group was in the stadium, I finally texted them between Muse and Rage worried that I had not seen them in the empty seats next to me. As it turns out, they were given tickets in section 8 clear across the stadium from me. So instead of sharing the day with the folks I was supposed to share it with I sat alone. Going to shows alone all the time it could be worse I suppose, but I lost my chance to see Rage with someone I really wanted to see Rage with and I don’t know if I will ever get that chance again. I do want to say thanks EC for getting me into the revolution, it means a lot to me.

Immortal Technique

I am not a huge hip hop fan so where I have heard the name Immortal Technique, I didn’t know who they (or as it turns out he) was.  I missed the first half of his set checking out the Re-Education Camp and that was a huge mistake on my part. Just walking down the long tunnel towards my section I liked what I heard coming from the stage. Instead of finding my seat near the side of the stage I decided to head up and over to get a better view for photos. When not joking with the crowd and his crew on stage, Immortal Technique dazzled the crowd with hard hitting rhymes that spanned his entire career. Highlights included the song “Memories,” his banter encouraging folks to steal his music so they can hear the message and a guest spot from Chino XL. As some folks kicked me from a seat which I had no right to be in, the east coast rapper unleashed a harsh yet often hilarious rant attacking hip hop played on the radio, Summer Jam, Amy Winehouse and Casey Anthony. If I do listen to hip hop, it needs to have bite and both Chino XL and Immortal Technique managed to show me they had that bite in a sun drenched college football stadium. Consider me a fan.

Ms. Lauryn Hill

I get it, she had some solid jams over a decade ago. But for the love of God Goldenvoice, why the hell do you shove this shit down our throats? At least at Coachella you have 14 different options if you don’t want to watch a fucking train wreck. I could think of 24 acts that would have been better for the slot. I watched the opening “Killing Me Softly” which sounded more like a Rastafarian who has been smoking oxycontin for three days then oh I don’t know music?  I tried to give it a chance but it was rough with a bad PA and a band that sounds like they were pulled together a day before the show. Whatever came next was even worse but hey don’t worry. It gave me a chance to go drink a beer with Skwerl of Antiquiet fame. Yes I could still hear her butchering hits from the concourse area, but that didn’t ruin my Dos Equis drank by this blatant name dropping music snob.

Rise Against

This was make or break for me when it comes to Rise Against. I had seen the band twice before, once was great and the other left me wanting a bit more. Could these guys who have headlines sold out arenas in this town make the jump from that level to dinner time/twilight stadium rockers? The answer was clear – Yes.

For the first time that I saw all day, huge circle pits broke out on the floor (which was divided into an A section up front, a middle B section and a rear C section upsetting many fans). Despite the sound system struggling throughout their set, the band bashed out hit after hit including “The Good Left Undone,” “Prayer Of The Refuge” and “Ready To Fall.” The highlight of the set however was when front man Tim McIlwraith strapped on an acoustic guitar and sang the powerful anti-war number “Hero Of War.” You could hear a pin drop it was so quiet inside the only venue to host two Olympic Games. Los Angeles has always given Rise Against a lot of love and it was great to see them take the next step in an already well accomplished career.

Muse

Having purchased a ticket for Outside Lands last Spring, L.A. Rising did me a huge favor by having Muse booked as a headliner. Having seen the band last fall, and now at L.A. Rising I have high hopes of having my Girl Talk cherry popped in Golden Gate Park. The band who can headline multiple nights in Football Stadiums across the pond felt right at home inside the massive Coliseum (further cementing my beliefs last fall that the 20,000 seat Staples Center was too small for the group).  On a pure technical/skill level this was hands down the best set of the night.

Much like Rise Against, Muse spent much of their set rocking their wildly popular radio hits. Early on “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Hysteria” got fists pumping from the crowd in between deeper cuts like “Uprising” and “United States of Eurasia.” What is scary about Muse is how easy they make it look. Front man Matthew Bellamy can transition effortlessly from guitar to piano within the same song and own your ass on both instruments.

Packing their four biggest hits within the last five songs, the energy of the near capacity crowd was something truly special. From the TV spot friendly melodies of “Starlight” to the edge of manic meltdown that is “Stockholm Syndrome” the band had the crowd eating from the palm of their hands. It’s almost too easy for Muse; it’s really not even fair. Keep in mind I was unable to view the light show/effects the band had on stage and I was still blown away. As the final notes of “Knights Of Cydonia” rang through the PA, I knew even if I do see Muse at Outside Lands, I will still be blown away.

Rage Against The Machine

The last time I saw Rage Against The Machine was at the Battle of Los Angeles Tour Kickoff at the then Oakland Arena in Oakland, CA. That was almost 12 years ago. With the Olympic Torch lit and the arches of the Coliseum lighted up blood red, a brief video history of Rage Against The Machine played to the cheers of the crowd. Where love and respect was had for most of the other acts at the inaugural L.A. Rising, it was clear that this crowd was here for the lone appearance of Rage Against The Machine in 2011. The band started it off right with “Testify” and while it sucked to have the PA cut out twice it was clear that the band was beyond ready to bring the Coliseum down.

I was personally excited for how early Rage made it into the set After “Testify” the next seven songs came from the group’s first two releases. Highlights included an explosive “Bombtrack” along with fierce versions of “Bulls On Parade” “Township Rebellion” and “Bullet In The Head.” While there was one or two missed notes, the band sounded as if they had been on the road for a year. Vocalist Zach De La Rocha sounded great and even added a few new lines into songs like “Down Rodeo.”

During the set closing “Wake Up” De La Rocha took a large moment in time to address what he feels is a violent tension rising within Los Angeles. He compared foreclosures to empty hotel rooms in brand new developments downtown as a bonfire blazed towards the top of the stadium. It has been a few years since we have had a good riot here in Los Angeles, and the way things are going in this world we are probably due for one and De La Rocha made sure to encourage the crowd to take to streets. The band closed the night with an encore featuring their most explosive songs “Freedom>Killing In The Name Of.” With 12+ hours in the sun, the floor exploded into the biggest and most chaotic pits of the night as the hometown heroes celebrated a triumphant performance in downtown Los Angeles. Will this be the last Rage Against The Machine show as some have hinted? Who knows?

In closing L.A. Rising was a raging success for all the wrong reasons. Corporate America sold the revolution to a bunch of angry music fans. No doubt it will return next year with Common and System of a Down and the folks who struggle to make ends meet will throw down $100+ a ticket to get into the Electric Daisy Replacement revolution. For my taste there needed to be more then bands reminding me that times are fucked. Where were the forward thinking food options? Where was the fair and affordable food options? The fact is the movement spent Saturday afternoon handing their hard earned cash back to the ones who have used our politicians to steal it from us in the first place. Turns out the joke is on us.

Dolly Parton 07/23/11: Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA

Dolly Parton 07/23/11

Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

Every year I make it a goal to catch a living legend at the Hollywood Bowl. In past years I have seen artists including Willie Nelson, Neil Diamond and Aretha Franklin. This year my living legend of choice is Dolly Parton. I could fill this entire post with her accomplishments both on and off the stage, so let’s just talk about the action.

For those outside of Los Angeles, for most of the shows at the Hollywood Bowl, the venue encourages fans to bring in a picnic (including your own beer and wine) and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. As the sun set, I sat with friends eating well, drinking well and enjoying some of the best people watching I have seen in a long time. Elderly women, gay men in cowboy boots, legit Inland Empire county fans, hipster girls in cowboy boots, drag queens dressed as Dolly and at least three separate motorcycle clubs.

The show started at 8:30pm sharp as Miss Parton opened with the Katrina & the Waves hit “Walking On Sunshine.” While many ate and drank under the stars I was ready to rock as Parton busted out one of my favorites “Jolene” early in the set. Many in the crowd including myself quickly discovered that when you see Dolly Parton you get a stand –up comedy show as well as a concert. Between just about every number Dolly joked about the venue (Dollywood Bowl), her age and plastic surgery (it cost a lot to look this cheap) and really whatever she felt like at any given moment.

Dolly paid tribute to her bluegrass roots for part of the show by bringing out a big ol’ Ryman Auditorium microphone and picking upon a banjo for takes on “Rocky Top” and “Mule Skinner Blues.” After joking about artists doing covers and screwing up songs (which included a joke about Whitney Houston screwing hers up all the way to the bank) Parton led her band into a sweet medley that included “Help” by the Beatles, “Shine” by Collective Soul and “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin. I truly thought I was tripping when she started to play “Shine” as I have always been a fan of that one. It was the last song I expected to hear and at that point the Queen of Country had me in her pocket. Parton made it clear early on that whatever she wanted to do, she would do much to the delight of the crowd.

One thing I didn’t realize about Dolly Parton is how talented of a musician she is. On this particular Saturday night she rocked a guitar, a banjo, a piano, a dulcimer, a penny whistle and a saxophone. Being so far back in the venue, I probably missed an instrument or two, but you get the idea. Parton also paid a solid amount of time discussing her family and growing up one of twelve kids in between songs like “My Tennessee Mountain Home.”

Towards the end of her first set (here I thought my only two set show at the Hollywood Bowl this year would be Phish) Parton performed her latest single “Together You and I.” As videos of various individuals from different races, religions and beliefs united together played behind her, Parton rocked a jam that sounded a lot like Katy Perry. While pop is not a stretch from Parton what came next shocked and delighted the near capacity venue. Plugging her upcoming Warner Bros. major motion picture “Joyful Noise” (co-starring Queen Latifah), Parton busted out a rather solid freestyle rap. I told you nothing was off limits for the member of the Grand Ole Opry. Parton eventually closed the first set with a new song from the film entitled “He’s Everything.”

While many rushed back to their seats, it was clear Parton had her second wind from the 15 minute break. The set opened with “White Limozeen” but what came next once again shocked the crowd. Another cover, this time Parton tackled the Hannah Montana hit “Best of Both Worlds.” After the song, Parton defended Miley Cyrus (who was apparently in attendance during the Friday night show) and lashed out against the paparazzi who follow her every move.

After performing a few new songs from her latest release “Better Day” Parton hit the crowd wrapped the night with some of her biggest hits. “Little Sparrow” silenced the crowd to the point where you could hear the freeway behind the Bowl hum in the night sky. “Islands In The Stream” and “9 to 5” finally got the crowd up on their feet for a lil dancing. Of course the biggest highlight for most was “I Will Always Love You.” I don’t understand the couples who embrace during this song, but perhaps I missed the whole part about wishing someone you love the best because they no longer need your love.

Another legend off the list, the Dolly Parton live experience was everything I dreamed it would be and more. She truly made you appreciate life and left you walking out of the venue with a huge smile of your face. I really can’t think of a better way to kick off my 2011 run of shows at the Hollywood Bowl.

Widespread Panic 07/13/11: Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Widespread Panic 07/13/11

Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

It’s not that I had planned to have an 8 year and 354 day gap between Widespread Panic shows, but it just kind of happened that way. There were some shows I couldn’t make due to previous obligations. There were times when a $35 ticket with $23 in Ticketmaster fees was simply too high for my wallet. Then for a while, I just didn’t care about jam bands. So when I heard that the six headed monster from Athens would be hitting up the Wiltern for their 25th Anniversary Tour, I decided perhaps it was for the best that we re-connect before the group takes a well deserved break.

I don’t know why LAPD had Western/Santa Monica closed. I am going to assume a dead hooker or perhaps a six pack of dead hookers? Regardless, it was not easy to get to the best indoor concert theatre in Los Angeles County. Heck, when I finally handed over three Abe’s to park in that structure behind the Wiltern I was in no rush to get into the actual theatre. How could I when the car next to me offered me a margarita, the homeless guy was earning his way by selling balloons filled with nitrous and how about those dirty lesbians washing with a jug of Arrowhead Water purchased from the Ralph’s on the other side of the parking lot? If Widespread Panic was going to make Los Angeles home for two nights, I was honored to be the only fan from the great state of California at the show. No joke, none of my local friends or co-workers have heard of the band, and everyone I met was “on tour” from Boulder, Birmingham or Biloxi. That’s probably why they all offered to share their opium, molly, crank, ganja and herpes with me. Lord know most folks in LA don’t grasp the concept that sharing is caring. Heck, I am pretty sure one dude offered me the services of his mail-ordered bride but that’s more of a Penthouse Letters tale instead of a Concert Confession so let’s get to the action.

Panic took the stage just after 8pm and kicked off the two set affair with a cover of “Protein Shake” by the late Vic Chestnutt. The song got the crowd moving and as the band did for most of the night, they went right into the next song “Sewing Machine” without stopping. I felt as if the highlight of the first set was a nice run of “Can’t Get High>Greta>Better Off.” I was most impressed with the playing of guitarist Jimmy Herring. While original Panic axe-man Michael Hauser was still alive during my last WSP show, he was unable to perform and lost his battle to cancer less than three weeks later. No disrespect to his original replacement George McConnell, but my opinion is that his style and tone never gelled with the group. Herring on the other hand does and his effortless playing lead the band through roof raising versions of “None Of Us Are Free,” “Little Lilly” and the set closing “Holden Oversoul.”

Set II got underway with my all time favorite Panic song “Imitation Leather Shoes.” While the shout out to Hollywood and Vine always gets a cheer in this town, it’s the thunderous bass of Dave Schools that makes this song so freaking good. On this particular evening, I felt his bass could have been louder in the mix, but then again I am a glutton for low end and can always use a smidge more.  The song jammed nicely into “Love Tractor” which got the near capacity crowd pumping their fists in unison. Looking to rock on a Wednesday night at first I felt that “Tickle The Truth” and “Picking Up Those Pieces” killed any momentum the second set had going. As it turns out, they were giving us an early breather before a solid hour plus of ass kicking action.

The group welcomed both Jerry Joseph and Wally Ingram to the stage. While Joseph only stayed around for an 18 minute trip through “Chainsaw City,” Ingram lent his talents to “Drumz” and the (so I was told) rare treat “Papa Legba.” The whole stream of songs ran “Chainsaw City>Drumz>Papa Legba>Bear Gone Fishin’>Tie Your Shoes>Walk On.  I assumed that would be the end of Set II as it was well past 11pm, but the band pulled out one more hard rocking jam – “Conrad” before leaving the stage for a few minutes.

The encore consisted of two songs, “Her Dance Needs No Body” and “Big Wooly Mammoth.” The hardcore Panic fans around me seemed to have been bummed with the song choices. Knowing that the band holds records for the most sell out at massive venues like Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver and Phillips Arena in Atlanta, apparently seeing the band at the mid-size undersold theater simply wasn’t enough. For me, I was just excited I was able to help the band celebrate 25 years before they take their hiatus. If they return to the corner of Western & Wilshire in 2013, it’s going to be hard for me to say away.

 

 

 

Queens of the Stone Age 04/12/11: Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Queens of the Stone Age 04/12/11

Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

When Queens of the Stone Age announced they were hitting the road in support of the re-release of their self-titled debut album, I knew I couldn’t miss it. After all, I am one of the few who can say they saw Joshua Homme and friends when they originally supported the debut album over a decade ago. It was a hot August night in San Francisco, and the band “opened” for Ween at the Warfield. Ask any Ween fan who showed up early on that Friday night what they thought about the set and chances are they will tell you QOTSA 15 minutes on stage was a total fuckin’ disaster. Those who could stand had to prop themselves up on mic stands. I am pretty sure Nick Oliveri played most of the set upon his back. By the time the group crawled off stage well before they were due to be done, most in attendance (myself included) came to the conclusion that QOTSA was the worst band on the planet. 12 years and 7 QOTSA shows later, I was off to the Wiltern looking for some self-titled redemption.

It was earlier in the day that I discovered the opening act was none other than The Dough Rollers were main support. As you may recall, we caught the duo 361 days earlier opening for Joseph Arthur at the Stronghold in Venice. I was a bit shocked that the blues based duo would be opening, and assumed that folks would either go nuts or pelt them with trash. On this particular tour, Jack Byrne and Malcolm Ford brought along a bassist and a drummer which was a smart move. While the duo still cranked out slow blues jams with smoking guitar licks and gravel filled vocals, the additional musicianship on this particular night was enough to win over the rabid crowd. Performing for 30 minutes, the band entertained while not over-staying their welcome. If you were one of the cool kids who showed up late, you truly missed out.

For once in my life, I actually wish the change over time between bands was longer. It was great to catch up with early Concert Confessions contributor Poppers620, meet the wonderful Tequila drinking Canadian Cosmonaut (and fellow Antiquiet contributor) Rory and most important it was nice to hang with someone who I see around the office complex, yet never really knew. See you on May 23rd Miss Teddy. My time as a social butterfly came to an end at 9pm sharp as the lights went down and the capacity Korea Town theatre was transported back to a time when our President was a pimp, gas was under a dollar a gallon and Limp Bizkit ruled the rock world.

I know some folks I have spoken with are sick of bands playing complete albums front to back at concerts. I am in no way one of those individuals. In fact, I love when a band treats us to an entire album of work. Not wasting anytime, the band kicked things off with “Regular John” and as thick clouds of smoke arose from the crowd, it was clear that the five piece band was firing on all cylinders. “Avon” and “If Only” followed in rapid succession, crushing the crowd with jarring riffs and thundering drums.

In performing the album front to back, I had to wonder how the LA crowd would react. After all, it has been out of print for years, and if you ordered the vinyl edition via Domino USA – you are still waiting for that shit to show up at your door (note to self, next time just buy it at the dang show). I assumed most of the crowd would be your typical KROQ dick wads uninterested in hearing unfamiliar songs. At least in my section, I was clearly wrong as folks were singing along to long lost jams like “You Would Know” and “How to Handle a Rope.”

As the album unfolded before our eyes, each song grew more and more intense. “Mexicola” bashed everyone’s brains in while the opening bass line of “You Can’t Quit Me Baby” came dangerously close to the dreaded brown note. The jam that built out of this was as massive as the amounts of Kettle One vodka front man Joshua Homme downed on stage. It was the rare kind of night where the importance of documenting the event through a camera lens took a back seat to shaking my ass and losing myself in the music. In fact the last three songs truly felt as if I had blinked they seemed to go so fast (which was not the case, I must assume “Spiders and Vinegaroons” hit the 10 minute mark). Yet there we all were with the collective stunned did that just happen look upon our collective faces as the band exited the stage after the final notes of “I Was A Teenage Hand Model” rang through the P.A.

With thunderous claps and ear piercing cheers from the crowd, the band opened their first encore with the Lullabies to Paralyze juggernaut “Someone’s In the Wolf.” I noticed something interesting during the second song “Little Sister.” At most KROQ sponsored shows, this is the point of the night where most folks would go bat shit insane. However on this particular night it was just the opposite. For the first time all night, a majority of fans tuned out of the music and instead began sending tweets and attempted to carry out conversations. While “Make It Wit Chu” managed to draw a few more audience members back, it was refreshing to witness that the mid-sized theatre (which sold out in a matter of minutes) were true die-hard fans of the band, and not your typical LA bags of dicks that only come to be seen and look cool during the hits. After more rowdy applause, the band kicked off a solid take on “Hangin’ Tree.” I was stoked to hear the Songs for the Deaf classic, but no amount of Vodka can ever make Homme sound like the songs original vocalist – Mark Lanegan. The first encore wrapped with “Tangled Up In Plaid” which is a song I happen to be rather indifferent on.

Thankfully the band didn’t close with “Plaid” and came out for a second encore that started with a nasty version of “Sick, Sick, Sick.” The band the finally closed the night with the rocking hit “Go With The Flow.” Performed effortlessly by the band, it was the perfect number to send us home with. Walking out of the venue, I truly felt as if this show made up for the disaster at the Warfield and then some. Hell with the exception of the Natasha Shneider benefit, this was hands down the best show I have ever seen Queens of the Stone Age perform. If you missed out on this tour, I truly feel sorry for you.

Meat Puppets To Hit The Road In Support Of Lollipop

Meat Puppets To Hit The Road In Support Of Lollipop

It was our very own Jay Porks who assisted in giving away a free Meat Puppets song a few weeks ago, but today it’s our turn to pay some much needed attention to the psychedelic cow-punkers from Phoenix. With their latest disc dropping today, the brothers Meat are about to hit the road for the first round of dates in support of their 13th studio effort – Lollipop.

Dates for the trek are listed below. Oh and don’t forget to check out our review of the release of the Meat Puppets 12th record – Sewn Together right here.

Meat Puppets Tour Dates
Apr 27 – Busters – Lexington, KY *
Apr 28 – The Valarium – Knoxville, TN *
Apr 30 – Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK *
May 1 – Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KS *
May 3 – Simon Estes Amphitheater – Des Moines, IA *
May 5 – The Venus – Fargo, ND *
May 6 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN *
May 7 – The Pageant – St. Louis, MO *
June 8 – The Blue Light – Lubbock, TX
June 9 – Santa Fe Brewing Co. – Santa Fe, NM
June 10 – Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
June 11 – The Clubhouse – Phoenix, AZ
June 14 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
June 15 – Detroit Bar – Costa Mesa, CA
June 16 – Echo – Los Angeles, CA
June 17 – Independent – San Francisco, CA
June 18 – Humboldt Brews – Arcata, CA
June 20 – Wild Buffalo – Bellingham, WA
June 21 – Crocodile – Seattle, WA
June 22 – Doug Fir – Portland, OR
June 23 – Neurolux – Boise, ID
June 25 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
June 26 – Abbey Theater – Durango, CA
June 29 – Bluebird – Denver, CO
June 30 – Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
July 1 – Slowdown – Omaha, NE
July 9 – Summerfest – Milwaukee, WI

w/ Slightly Stoopid *

Plácido Domingo Celebrates Opening Day 2011

San Francisco Giants Opening Day 2011 w/ Plácido Domingo

Dodgers Stadium – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

 

As a lifelong Giants fan living in Los Angeles, there was no way in hell I was missing the 2010 defending champs kick off their title defense at Chavez Latrine. While I wish the final score had been more favorable, the one bright point of the game is that we can now add a Plácido Domingo tag to Concert Confessions.

 

So here is video and a few photos from the game yesterday. As you may recall, this is not the first time I have submitted a review from Chavez Latrine. In fact, the only thing more pathetic then the 2010 Dodgers was the appearance of Santana’s son before a heated inter-league match up with the Detroit Tigers.

Within our family of review technicians here at Concert Confessions, we have two Cardinals fans, one Yankees fan, one Red Sox fan, one (perhaps two) Mariners fans and of course one Giants fan. So no matter who you root for (even if it’s the dreaded Dodgers) baseball is back. Happy Opening Day from everyone at Concert Confessions.



Joseph Arthur 02/15/11: Bootleg Theater – Los Angeles, CA

Joseph Arthur 02/15/11

Bootleg Theater – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

As the rain began to fall on the South Land, I once again headed east towards downtown Los Angeles for a night with Joseph Arthur. A lack of sleep, a stressful week at the day job and the fact I was fresh out of business cards wasn’t going to stop me from missing night two of Arthur’s month long run at Bootleg Theater. While some may argue that GENTRIFICATION from Echo Park has hit this neighborhood, I once again witnessed events on my drive that made this sixFOOTtwo 200+ pound white boy cringe. Yet like I said last week, its Joseph f’n Arthur and he’s worth it.

Before I had a chance to hand over the $12 cover fee, I heard something familiar from last week. It was the soft sounds of the two nameless guys who play before the posted start time. I stood for a few minutes watching, but then decided my time would be better spent exploring the back room where various paintings of Arthur are being displayed. I will say that the band mentioned their name at the end of the set, but unfortunately I couldn’t quite make the name out. I know it starts with a W and I believe they said their name was Whine. Perhaps if we cross paths in two weeks, I can nail this information down and finally give them proper credit.

The main support act for the evening was Nashville based folk indie pop singer/songwriter Madi Diaz (and her pal Keith). Before the duo had a chance to perform a single song, Diaz had won me over with her charming stage banter. Stalling for time while the soundman worked on Keith’s malfunctioning guitar, Diaz joked about jogging, lunch and at what point in the work week it becomes acceptable to eat BBQ (for the record, if you work in Burbank it’s Wednesday when Smokin’ Willie’s BBQ Truck comes to town). Once the problem was corrected, we were underway for a set of music that ended up being far more impressive then the stage banter.

I always fear when I see a duo get up on stage with nothing more than acoustic guitars and vocal chords. Any asshole(s) can get up and play a few chords while expressing their inner most thoughts via verse/chorus/verse format. However, it takes true talent and a little bit of luck to stir emotions deep in one’s soul and thankfully for Keith and Madi they have been blessed with both. While I am unable to tell you exact song titles, I can tell you that the set consisted of songs about relationships with the one you love. There was the break up song, and then there was the make out song and who could forget the soft sad song which featured a special guest appearance by some stupid hipster in the crowd cracking open a can of PBR?

While the duo may only have limited instrumentation, each song took a very different sonic journey thanks to the use of various tunings and style of play. One song was almost punk rock in nature with the quick and powerful strumming of power chords, while the next song would feature flamenco inspired finger picking. It’s rare I write three paragraphs about an opening act, but Madi (and Keith) could have very well headlined on this particular night. Their music moved the collective soul of all in the converted warehouse; and as the duo exited the stage you just knew that all those folks reaching for their phones were texting friends to share what they had just discovered.

I’ll spare you the details on the drunken hipster dressed like a sailor who almost got his ass kicked for talking shit about my Iron Maiden shirt and get straight to the main event. Hailing from Akron, Ohio by way of New York City, Joseph Arthur took to the stage with his tag team partner for the night – Blues Explosion drummer Russell Simins at 10pm sharp. By the time the two were bashing out the final notes of the opening number “Black Lexus” it was clear that on this rainy Tuesday night that when he wants to, Arthur; can compete with some of the best rock & roll duo’s to call Akron home.

The duo of Arthur & Simins really clicked by the third song of the night, which I can only describe as Temporary People>Poetry Reading>Jam. As I have said before, each show Arthur puts on is a unique one of a kind experience and this version of “Temporary People” was completely different from the version of a week ago. The outro jam was much like watching Dr. Frankenstein vs. Godzilla battle it out. Arthur worked feverishly tweaking guitar pedals and whaling upon a white Stratocaster as Simins wreaked havoc upon his five piece drum set. What’s most freakish in looking back was the fact that these two were just warming up.

 

Aiming to please (his words, not mine) Arthur began taking requests from various females in the audience. First up was “Vacancy” which featured a subdued Simins lightly hitting his kit while allowing the focus to remain on Arthur. Had the chatty Arthur not mentioned the fact Simins didn’t know the next request “Invisible Hands” chances are no one would have noticed. While the song was slightly faster than most versions, yet the haunting feeling that comes with the number was as strong as ever.

As Arthur joked with the crowd after performing “Invisible Hands” a voice from the back of the room screamed FAT TONY. Holding back a giant smile, Arthur invited the heckler up on stage. Why wouldn’t he, the heckler was current Twilight Singers/former Afghan Whigs vocalist Greg Dulli. No stranger to sharing the stage with Arthur, both men confessed their fears over having to share a mic with bad breath. Thankfully Dulli came to the rescue with a pack of gum that had only two remaining pieces (sorry Russell). With fresh breath between them both, the two singers belted out Arthur’s biggest hit to date “In The Sun.”  For as amazing as it was to see the two perform together once again, what happened next truly blew my mind.

A moment after inviting vocalist C.C. White to the stage, Arthur glanced in my direction (or at least I would like to think he did). He informed White that his father had watched last week’s performance on the internet and his father felt that perhaps White had held back. It took me a second, but then it sunk in that Joseph Arthur’s father had seen my video on the internet. Talk about an honor. As far as this version of “Heroes” goes, I am glad to report that White took Mr. Arthur’s advice and didn’t hold back at all.

I can’t lie, I love watching the evolution of “I Miss The Zoo.” Intense bursts of poetry over gnarling guitar lines, “Zoo” punches you in the chest with brass knuckles. After a rocking “Slide Away” the duo closed the set with “Lack A Vision.” With loops in place, Arthur finished his latest on stage painting that he began moments before the first note was played. Unlike last week, he returned for an encore. The only song performed solo by Arthur all night was “Honey and the Moon” by request of yet another female fan. The duo closed with “Speed of Light” which started off soft and reserved but slowly built up into a raging end-all-be-all rock and roll machine. Arthur made multiple trips to his amp in order to crank up the volume and send the crowd home with their ears ringing.

Sadly I won’t be able to cover next weeks show at the Bootleg. I had already taken the opportunity to check out Lazarus AD & Death Angel at the Key Club days before Arthur announced his residency, but do not fear. I will be back for the final night, but in the event anyone wants to cover next week for Concert Confessions, please drop us an e-mail (concertconfessions@gmail.com).

Joseph Arthur 02/08/11: Bootleg Theater – Los Angeles, CA

Joseph Arthur 02/08/11

Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito

I had heard only bad things about Bootleg Theater. Adjacent to downtown Los Angeles, from the lack of parking in an undesirable neighborhood to the venues stale atmosphere my expectations were rather low. Oh, and who can overlook the fact that the name is Bootleg Theater, yet the art of bootlegging is highly frowned upon? I have always told myself that if an artist is worth being stabbed, shot or mugged for, then I would schlep out to Historic Filipino Town for some live music. So with low expectations I headed towards downtown hoping my tombstone would not end up reading “Died at a Joseph Arthur Show in a Shit Part of Town.”

My iPhone lied to me and traffic was much lighter on Interstate 10 then expected. The reward of an early arrival was the “musical” styling of two dudes who never once mentioned the name of their act. No joke, before the first song had finished 4/5th of the room had cleared. It’s not that the duo was bad; I just feel that the crowd was not ready to watch the illegitimate love child of Rainn Wilson and Chris Burke sing folk songs. Let’s be honest, it takes balls to perform a song called “Freebird” that is not the version made famous Lynyrd Skynyrd. Yet these two guys did just that much to the delight of what I must assume is the love interest of half if not the entire band. It would be easy for me to rip these dudes apart for their boring songs, dreadful banter and major lack of stage presence and bodily hygiene. Instead, I will just encourage to duo to continue with you art. Perhaps you will grow as performers even if no one knows who the fuck you are.

The actual announced opener goes by the name of Tom Freund. Prior to Tuesday night, I was not familiar with the singer/songwriter. Unlike the first act, Freund won over the near capacity crowd with his 30 minute set of reflective and hilarious songs. Freund splits his time between acoustic guitar and upright bass and is fierce upon the strings of both instruments. When on bass, his grooves remind me of Les Claypool, which is a compliment in the highest. For about half of his set, Freund welcomed piano virtuoso (and former Joseph Arthur opening act) Chris Joyner to the stage. We all know Joyner commands the keys, but on this particular evening his ivory tickling was minimal and only served to accentuate the music.

The most impressive moment of Freund’s time upon the stage was the set closing “Truly Mellow.” Described as a song about getting high as a teen, Freund asked the crowd to sing along to the final verse. A rare task that not even the likes of Linkin Park can pull off in this town, the crowd willingly sang along with Freund ending a truly magical set on a high note.

Sir Arthur (as dubbed by Freund) hit the stage for the first of four consecutive Tuesday nights at Bootleg just past 10pm. Arthur artistically multi-tasks by performing music while painting on stage. He showcased both gifts right out the gate as he opened the 100 minute set with some paints and “A Smile That Explodes.” My first trip to “Chicago” with Arthur quickly followed as the goose bumps began to take hold upon my flesh. Such a powerful song (aren’t they all?) and to once again be up front and (almost) center with the man is nothing short of inspiring.

With a new full length solo album due out in the spring, Arthur’s set consisted of numerous songs I assume will be on the album. One highlight was a new number that I believe was called “Out on a Limb.” The song is everything you would expect from Arthur; semi-personal lyrics, lush melodies and his trademark guitar loops. A funny moment came right after “Limb” as Arthur attempted to begin “Watch Your Shadows Run.” He completely spaced and forgot how to play the song. After joking and struggling for a few moments, Arthur found the songs correct key and went to town. Many artists would have simply given up and moved onto the next song. Watching Arthur struggle turn into triumph only made my already massive amounts of respect for the man grow.

Arthur welcomed opener Tom Freund to the stage to perform two numbers upon his upright bass. The first was a version of “I Miss the Zoo” that was rather raw compared to previous live versions I have witnessed. Then again, with Arthur informing Freund what chords make up “Zoo” and the following number “Lack A Vision” on stage seconds before performing the songs, a certain raw vulnerability was to be expected. As soon as Freund left, Arthur welcomed a friend from last year’s Stronghold residency to the stage. Armed with the voice of an angel; C.C. White joined Arthur for the nights high point, “All The Old Heroes.” With at least a 14 inch difference in height the two managed to share a mic while also sharing an energy that can’t be put into words.  White’s vocal took the place of the guitar solo bringing huge smiles to all in attendance.

For the final few numbers, it appeared Arthur decided to ditch what he wanted to play in order to take some requests. All the songs one would expect to be screamed out were indeed screamed out. I was forced to ponder if the fan who screamed “Freebird” wanted to hear the classic version or the version performed upon the same stage a few hours earlier. While neither version of “Freebird” was played, plenty of fan favorites were. The first was “Echo Park” which worked well as we were gathered together just minutes from the Los Angeles neighborhood of the same name. As always, “Black Lexus” was money in the bank and not just because the song mentions the very city we call home.

It was the final two songs of the night that reminded me why I would venture into a rough neighborhood well past my bedtime on a Tuesday night. I have seen Arthur perform both “Slide Away” and the eventual set closer “You Are Free” numerous times. Each version has managed to stay true to the original recorded version, yet is performed in a unique manner each time. Arthur is a one man jam band, taking his songs into the unknown every time he hits a stage. Don’t believe me, check out YouTube and see for yourself. Better yet, get your ass down to Bootleg Theater the next three Tuesday nights. It was clear from the first night that Arthur is just getting warmed up. I look forward to see what goes down over the next few weeks inside the plywood walls of the Bootleg Theater.

Ween 01/29/11: Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Ween 01/29/11

Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

Before we discuss the final night of Ween’s winter west coast run at the Wiltern; we need to discuss Virgin America flight 150 from SFO to LAX (or as we re-named it AIR BOOGNISH). The party started at the Firewood Cafe (ok, perhaps the party started in the TSA scanner where I did my best Ravishing Rick Rude crotch thrust as photos of my junk were willingly taken) where over-priced cocktails were downed with great enthusiasm. It was pretty quick that my two friends (Papa Funk and South City) and I realized that the entire bar was made up of Ween fans that would be joining us aboard Richard Branson’s Poopship!

Once on the plane, things got straight up rowdy. One of the joys of flying Virgin America is the TV monitor in the seat directly in front of you. Papa Funk had the grand idea to initiate the seat to seat chatroom. For the final half of our sauced up flight, we violated the airline chats code of conduct with invites for Tooter Touching, multiple inquiries into getting ones dick sucked under the promenade and of course the request into seeing why my fucking Pony is coughing up snot in the driveway (verdict – his lung is fucked up). There is truly something beautiful to have a plane in complete silence, only to have multiple rows across the plane begin laughing at the same time. Now if only FAA rules would have allowed the flight attendance to announce over the PA that this was Boognish Air with non-stop service to the fucking Wiltern. Hey, at least we scared a lot of random passengers, right?

Speaking of the Wiltern, what was up with the line? I have now lived in Southern California for a decade, and never have I seen such a long line to enter the historic Art-Deco Theater.  Instead of waiting outside, we hit some bar between the landmark and Denny’s. We of course ran into some pals from our flight in the cramped bar. Fact is, whenever Papa Funk and I get together, shit is legendary and this particular weekend was no exception. So now that you are caught up on a triumphant day of travel, let’s discuss the show.

After dropping $60 on the first round of beers, we found a solid spot on the floor Deaner side. Having been lost in the sauce for a few days at this point, I couldn’t tell you when Ween hit the stage. I can tell you they opened with “Exactly Where I’m At.” I love this one as an opener (I had called it as an opener for Oakland actually) as it has that magical Ween feel that always brings us back for more. I believe it was the second song “Don’t Get To Close (To My Fantasy)” where we ran into some pals who we met on the floor in Oakland. I am telling you, the Boognish family is strong in California, and it’s moments like these that just make the night that much more amazing. I also believe it was during Fantasy that I watched venue staff help a guy who had already partied too hard to safety. Another Pure Guava classic “Touch My Tooter” quickly followed and I knew we were truly off to a great start.

For the next 20 minutes, Ween did a great job bouncing around their massive catalogue. “Transdermal Celebration,” “Spinal Meningitis,” and “Bananas & Blow,” all owned the crowd. The Philadelphia inspired “Freedom of ‘76” felt even cooler when you watched Dean Ween tear shit up on his strat while wearing a beat up Flyers T-shirt. However, it was after Deaner laid down some serious ass kickin’ on “With My Own Bare Hands” that shit went from Saturday night rock show to dirty, dirty brown.

When I first heard the Quebec record, I was not really feeling it. However over the years it has grown on me and “The Argus” has become one of my favorite songs. The placement gave the crowd a chance to catch their breaths before bringing things back up. “Gabrielle” – a song that begs for forgiveness was an unexpected yet tasty treat. Speaking of tasty treats, the fact Gabby flowed nicely into my all time favorite Ween B-side “Puerto Rican Power” caused me to loose my shit. While mainstream media may feel the song was the evening only loud and boring misstep, I feel bad about spilling a ¼ of my beer on the guy next to me. What can I say, I was rocking that hard. The momentum out of PR Power was massive and presented the band with the perfect launching point for the musical highlight of the evening. On record, Johnny on the Spotis a 1980’s Casio keyboard tinged punk jam. Yet on the last night of an epic west coast run, Johnny featured an extended jam that gave Deaner the perfect chance to wank off into our ears. This is arguably the most massive mama-jamba Johnny I have ever heard and it brought the sold out theater to our collective knees.

The band had no choice but to slow things down for the next few numbers. Just because the songs are slower, it doesn’t mean they are not mind tingling. “Object”, “Did You See Me” and “Your Party” brought the loyal crowd up from the knees and onto our tippy-toes. Name one other band that could make 2,300 freaks smile when singing about Tri-colored pastas? Much like rhyming the word orange, it’s fucking impossible and that’s why Ween own your fucking soul!

As brown as it got for “Argus/Gabrielle/Puerto Rican Power the next run of songs was the highlight of the night. Papa Gene Ween took to the mic and announced that a special guest by the name of David Bowie would grace the band with his presence. After a few moments of “confusion” Gener informed Bowie that it was ok for the white duke to watch from the sidelines as he could handle the vocals on ‘Let’s Dance.” With the hearts and hopes of Silver Lake hipsters crushed, the band managed to destroy the Oakland version of “Let’s Dance” with this particular take. Thrilled from the response it appears that Deaner decided it was time to play quarterback and start calling audibles. The first jam called out was the rare (and highly debated) “Slow Down Boy.” I am on the side of the debate where I argue it’s a bit slow and dull; yet I was still grateful to catch it live. I was even more grateful after Deaner mentioned some love for Lenny in introducing the Motorhead classic “Ace of Spades.” Truth be told, I am kicking myself for not snagging video of this as the passion and intensity of Ween’s cover trumped the epic version God himself performed with Slash & Dave Grohl at the 2010 Revolver Golden Gods Awards.

With the Southern California crowd now deep in the palm of their hands, the band rewarded the casual fans with a string of “hits.” You don’t need me to mention what cartoon duo made “Push Th’ Little Daisies” famous, nor do you need me to mention which jam band made “Roses Are Free” famous. Yet with those songs sandwiching a raging “What Deaner Was Talking About” folks started dropping like flies keeping Wiltern staff very busy. You read that right folks; Ween are so powerful and brought Blake Griffin-esque excitement to the point of sending their fans to the hospital. Knowing just how hard they were killing it (and how hard LA was partying) Deaner did the unthinkable. He called for “Put The Coke On My Dick.” Yep, Korea town got to witness the band break out the Craters From The Sac classic. With drummer Claude Coleman handling vocal duties, the band nailed it. That right there was worth the price of admission alone.

After closing the main set with two jams from The Mollusk the Wiltern was shaking from the thunderous crowd noise. The band came back and kicked off the four song encore with the Latin-inspired instrumental “Fiesta” (which was sweet since we missed it in Oaktown). “Take Me Away” kept the crowd rocking and the ode to rich gay men “Mr. Richard Smoker” delighted everyone. The show came to a close with what I believe is the second ever of the ELP classic “Lucky Man.” Where “Lucky Man” was part of the acoustic set in Oakland, for the Wiltern the song was full electric. Keyboardist Glenn McClelland’s confidence seemed to grow by leaps and bounds on the 400 mile trip from the Bay Area as he truly owned the cover. With members of the five piece band slowly ducking out one by one to end the night, it was hard to come to terms that our two night Ween run had come to a close.

As I said in my Oakland review, I knew I had to hit the Fox to see my boys Dean and Gene graduate to the next level. What I didn’t expect on this mini-run was for Ween to truly conquer Southern California. I have seen Ween a few times at the Wiltern, and the crowds’ reaction has been typical LA dickwads. A lack of energy from the crowd has a less than stellar effect on the band and when it comes down to it 99 out of 100 times Los Angeles crowds act too cool to rage. This was not the case as for the first time that I am aware of, Ween sold out the Wiltern in advance. This is also the first time I have truly seen a So-Cal show go off as Ween deserves. You couldn’t help but feel proud for the boys as they have finally hit the next level in Southern California. It was truly rewarding to see the smiles on their faces so a big round of applause to the boys from New Hope, PA We are already begging you to come back to the left coast!

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Arthur Set For Month-Long Los Angeles Residency

Joseph Arthur Set For Month-Long Los Angeles Residency

According to tweets from his Lonely Astronaut Records (@lonastrorecords) singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur is set to perform a month long residency at the Bootleg Theatre in Los Angeles, CA.  Arthur will be performing every Tuesday from February 8th through March 1st.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdgjPQL-2kQ

Each of the four tweets will take you to a Facebook RSVP page for each show.  As of posting, there is currently no information regarding pre-sale tickets for these shows.  Per the Bootleg Theater, tickets will be $10 in advance and $12 at the door.  Tickets are on sale now via Ticketfly.  Arthur will also be showcasing and selling his art duing the four week run at the theater’s backstage area.  For more information on these shows, please click here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is6mrsIJGEY

Arthur is no stranger to Southern California residencies.  Just last spring, Arthur performed a month long residency at the now-defunct “Stronghold” in Venice, CA.  Click the below links for reviews of 3/4th of those star-studded shows.

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Boobs4Food To Host Los Angeles Benefit Bash

Boobs4Food To Host Los Angeles Benefit Bash

For those in Southern California, we would like to share with you an upcoming show that is a benefit for a great cause.  Founded in 2009, Boobs4Food is a volunteer supported organization committed to bridging passion for food & the passion to fight hunger.  On January 27th, the non-profit organization will host the “Together We Can” benefit concert at The Mountain Bar in Los Angeles, CA.  Featuring live performances from Hanni El Khatib and White Arrows, it is shaping up to be a great night of live music.  Tickets are available for $10 in advance, and $12 at the door.  All proceeds will be donated to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Phish vs. The Philharmonic – Another Open Letter To Phish

Dear Phish,

On Monday I had to go to the dentist and get my teeth cleaned which resulted in me taking a different route to work.  Along that route was The Troubadour where I was lucky enough to see Mike Gordon just shy of 48 hours earlier.  However, it was another legendary Southern California venue that not only caught my eye but gave me an amazing idea that I think you are going to like.  Because after all, I know you guys don’t have anything to do then read open letters from a bitter West Coast fan who wishes you guys played my time zone multiple times a year.

 

Rumor has it that you guys had a hold on the Hollywood Bowl (for what they call a lease event) for your Fall 2004 tour.  We all know what happened there and why you never made it.  Since you have returned from your break up, multiple “rumors” have pointed to you playing the historic hillside venue.  Clearly this has yet to happen.  Then again, you have yet to play Los Angeles county since your return, not that I am crying or anything like that.  Yet as I drove past the venue on my way to work Monday, a huge WHAT IF sunk into my head.

 What if Phish not only played the Hollywood Bowl, but played it with the LA Philharmonic?

 

Now let’s look at the benefits of this truly epic idea.  First off and most obvious, is the fact that the Bowl is an amazing venue where everyone who is anyone has graced the stage.  In my decade in Southern California I have seen the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Gnarls Barkley, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson perform.  I could name hundreds of artists who have graced the stage.  Hell they even let Vampire Weekend perform at the Bowl, so why not Phish?  They can clearly pack large venues and can you imagine the Kuroda light show inside of the band shell?  I know I don’t need to mention how much nicer the hills of Hollywood are versus the hills of Irvine, Chula Vista or San Bernardino where those other outdoor music venues are located.

 

Now, for those who live outside of Southern California, here is something you may not know about the Bowl.  When a show is sponsored by the Bowl, you are encouraged to bring in your own food and drink (beer and wine only, sorry no hard alcohol).  Could you imagine sitting there under the stars with a nice red wine and some organic vegan snacks while the sounds of Moma Dance tickled your ears?  Then again, this could also be used as an argument as to why Phish should not play the Bowl.  So remember wooks, hippie crack addicts and other scum of our community – if this is to happen, this is a privilege.  Respect it.

 

While an open beverage policy and historical landmarks are indeed important, the main point is the music.  Each year a few contemporary artists (Death Cab for Cutie, Faith Hill etc) come to the Bowl and perform songs backed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Perhaps the band could perform alone during Set I, but invite the LA Phil out for Set II.  Sure, you may not have any massive “Mikes>Simple>Light>Weekapaug” jams, but could you imagine songs like “You Enjoy Myself” “The Divided Sky” and even “Time Turns Elastic” backed by some of the worlds most respected musicians?  I am sure Trey can and I am sure the thought would send his ADHD into overdrive.

So let’s do it!  Phish – it gives your loyal west coast fans not only a chance to see you, but a very special event.  It gives Fishman a chance to rock a suit like it was 1997 all over again.  It gives Trey the chance to use his immense talent once again to transcribe Phish classics for strings and horns and other fine orchestral instruments.  Most important, the band has a chance to not only take their music in a new direction, but prove themselves to a whole new set of fans (as the Hollywood Bowl crowd is often made up “subscribers” whose whole point is to discover new music).  Phish, meet the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Los Angeles Philharmonic – please meet Phish.  I am ready to have my mind melted in an all new way (may I suggest July 4th weekend 2011).  After all, if Raphael Saadiq is going to perform your songs at the Bowl, you may as well do the same.

Thanks for your time,

Reverend Jusito – concertconfessions.com

CC: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Ween Announce January 2011 West Coast Run

Ween Announce January 2011 West Coast Run

Monday’s generally suck.  Monday’s at the dentist really suck.  Thankfully our very own thenaturalstoner hit me up with a text just before I hit the chair:

Ween West Coast Dates Are Posted!

That’s right folks; it’s going to be a brown January out west as Dean and Gene Ween are blessing the Pacific Time Zone with their unique blend of classic rock/alt rock/death metal/funk/jazz/punk/blues/country/polka/jam band/top 40 pop/reggae/dub-step/indie rock.  Tour dates are listed below, and you can bet your ass Reverend Justito will be raging at the Wiltern with the pride and joy of New Hope, PA.

Monday, Jan 24: Queen Elizabeth Theater, Vancouver, BC
Tuesday, Jan 25: Paramount, Seattle, WA
Wednesday, Jan 26: Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
Friday, Jan 28, Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
Saturday, Jan 29, Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA

While you wait for January, you can read about some 2010 Ween action right here.  From Montana to NYC, concertconfessions.com worship the BOOGNISH!

Arcade Fire 10/08/10: Shrine Auditorium – Los Angeles, CA


Arcade Fire 10/08/10

Shrine Auditorium – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

I wouldn’t say that I hated the Arcade Fire. I just was never moved by their music. Hell there was a time in my life when I was tortured by them. Then out of nowhere like a silent ninja; the Arcade Fire snuck up and choked me into submission with their latest release “The Suburbs.” I know that it is no coincidence that the record landed in my lap hours after returning from Berkeley and a weekend in the suburbs where I spent my first 21 years. The choke out continued with a clever interactive video for “We Used To Wait” that literally took a homesick soul and gave them a soundtrack for their depression. So when an offer to see the band at the historic Shrine Auditorium was presented to me, I jumped on the opportunity to see if the Arcade Fire was something special or if perhaps they just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

 

I could write an entire essay about the nightmare that was The Shrine on Friday night. From the thirty minute wait to get into a parking lot that was $13 higher than advertised to the fact that all bars inside the venue had at least a twenty minute wait for drinks, the logistics were an absolute nightmare. Yet once seated inside, all the struggle was in the rear view. Having barely made it to my seat, the house lights went down and the Arcade Fire stormed the stage. From the opening notes of “Ready To Start” it was clear that Arcade Fire live was more than just a concert, it was a spiritual experience.

 

I am the first to say that crowds in Los Angeles are dull and undeserving. This crowd was anything but. The energy level and devotion was intense. Sitting in the balcony, I feared the entire thing would come down from folks jumping, dancing and just flat out rocking as the band played a 90 minute set with a heavy mix of songs from “The Suburbs” as well as classics from their past releases. It didn’t matter if the band was playing a radio hit like “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” or a new song such as “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” the energy was through the roof. Then again, with Win Butler darting off the stage and running up to say hi to me in the balcony, it was hard to not go nuts during the song.

 

What impressed me most with the band is that it truly appears to be ego free. There is no Eddie Van Halen or Steven Tyler. Instead it is 8-9 musicians coming together losing themselves to create something more powerful. The Grateful Dead may have created the Wall of Sound, but the Arcade Fire is a wall of sound. The only way you could not have been moved by the show is if you truly lacked a soul. As impressive is how the each member can play 2-3 instruments. With each song, you were looking at a different configuration, and while the music stays true, different skills take the music to different places thus making the Arcade Fire unstoppable.

 

When all was said and done, the Arcade Fire rapidly shot their way into the top 5 bands I have seen all year. I get it now. It is powerful, dynamic, introspective and just a huge rush of love and energy on the same level of Phish and the Flaming Lips. You are not just going to a show; you are being saved by rock and roll. Now that I am converted, I just want to be saved again.

 

Muse @ Staples Center. 9/25/10

Muse 09/25/10

Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Hullabalooza

 

Note – Hullabalooza hit up almost every video our own Reverend Justito posted from the Muse show this past Saturday night in LA.  He also hit Rev’s review with a comment seconds after it was posted.  With the goal of the site being live music reviews by fans for fans, we asked Hullabalooza to share his T-shirt story.  We hope you enjoy. 

 

Believe it or not. My story starts… I believe exactly on April 22.

After getting completely angry after looking forward to buying Coachella tickets; then finding out I had to buy ALL 3 days just to see ONE band. Muse.

Believe me. If I had 300 dollars. I would have bought all 3 days. Sadly, I didn’t.

Next thing you know, I hear they’re playing at Staples Center! And that the presale is on the 22nd! I couldn’t believe it. Another chance. PRESALE. I had it planned out.

Sadly, everything didn’t go according to plan. However, I stayed home from school that day and my sister and I were on two laptops, awaiting the presale at 10 AM.

I was on the phone with my friends at school from 9 AM to 10 AM. We’re all so excited. I was litterally shaking. My heart has never pumped so fast.

9 :45… 9 :50… 9 : 58…. My sister says ” I HAVE TO GO PEE,” and I tell her.. “STAY SITTING DOWN. YOU AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE.”

PRESALE STARTS! I get TONS of errors, I’m panicking, I’m sweating, I’m yelling at my sister.

We buy four tickets, two tickets each. Sadly. I got seated seats. My sister got two GA.

We were buying tickets for us, and two of my friends, who are the ones that I’ve talked about nothing aside Muse for just about 3 years. Litterally, everytime we were at eachother’s houses, “Imagine if Matt….” “OMG WHAT IF…” “WE HAVE TO SEE THEM” “THEY HAVEE TO PLAY…”

About 300 dollars gone right there from presale.

There was no way I was going to make my friends fight for my sister’s GA ticket, even though it would be funny because they were willing to fight for it.

300 Dollars for our four already bought tickets. I found a site. Bought two more GA tickets. 150 Dollars each.

A little backround info: My parents, never even give me a dollar. 20 Dollars is plenty to me. 600? In the span of 5 minutes, 600 of my mother’s dollars gone.

I’m still shaking. I can’t believe it. I have PIT TICKETS.

And that’s where it started. My count down to the day. I don’t remember at how much it started at, but this past month, I’ve been thinking that it was 168 days. Every day at lunch “Dude. 167 days to go.”

Again, believe it or not. EVERYDAY, we talked about how epic it’s going to be. How early we’re going to leave. How complete our lives are going to be.

Funny quote: “We’re going to leave as men. Even your sister is going to leave with a beard.”

As the days passed, we were acting as if the show was the upcoming weekend, as if it was so close!

July. Me and my friends make a pact to stop listening to Muse. Just to make the concert feel so much better. Sure we failed a lot, but there was still a lack of Muse throughout our journey.

Just as a little funny story. My friends and I would hang out, litterally play the first HALF second of the song. We would know IMMEDIATELY what song it is. We laughed so hard at the fact that it was even possible. If you ever go to a Muse concert in Southern California on their next tour. We’ll be first in line. Try us.

September 17

During the summer. We had planned out to make a shirt for the show. We weren’t exactly sure.. Some of our ideas :

All three of us have a different shirt, each dedicated to Tom Kirk; Morgan Nicholls; Dan the Trumpet Man.. Individually of course.

Shirts that tell Twilight fans to go away.

Shirts for Chris, Dom and Matt; Along with a story of how EPIC they are on the back.

We ended up sticking to the idea of Dan, Tom, and Morgan.

Sadly, Josh (One of our trio) and I had no money.

Junior (EPIC MAN OF OUR TRIO) however, decided he was going to do Tom and Morgan OWN YOUR FACE.

September 17. After school. He’s going to finally make the shirt. I drop him off at the Swap meet (cheap quality, SO WHAT?).

An hour or so later, he shows up at my house with his master piece.

We plan out more stuff. We had the intention of making a HUGE poster board and having everyone in the GA line write a insert to them. The night before the show, I read that we can’t take posters bigger than 11×17 in. inside. So that idea was crushed.

Junior planned on throwing the shirt at Dom, right after KoC, we all imagined him getting it and just laughing. We loved that idea.

 

The day

The night before, I couldn’t sleep from being so excited.

Junior and Josh got to my house around 9 PM. As excited as we were, it still didn’t hit us that they were going to be playing RIGHT IN FRONT OF US. Infact, even as I type this. It feels like I’ve never seen them live.

3 AM. We leave my house and go buy food before we get on the freeway.

Taquitos at 7-11. ARE SO GOOD!!! I told them in the car. These are the PERFECT start, to our PERFECT day.

We get to L.A. at around 4 AM, we see a group of kids in front of Staples, we jump out of the car just thinking “NO FUCKING WAY. THEY DID NOT GET HERE BEFORE US.”.. They left. Tourists? Random people walking around at 4 am? Either way. We were just repeating. We’re here. We’re first.

Security sees us. Then makes us leave.

We wait in my sister’s car outside of a Taco Bell, at 6 AM, we go park the car in a lot and head back to Staples.

We get there, and just sit outside, knowing we’re going to get kicked out. Knowing we can’t be there for another our.

We get kicked out.

We walk over to Starbucks, having our usual “OMG WHAT IF MATT WALKED IN RIGHT NOW AND JUST SAT RIGHT NEXT TO US?”

6:50 AM

We scamper back to Staples. Repeating outloud, “THERE BETTER NOT BE ANYONE THERE.” “Dude. No one is there. We’re first.”

We get to the GA line.

We’re third.

I was so mad. They got in line before we did?!?!? It wasn’t even 7 AM yet!

One of the people, stayed outside in LA from 9 PM the day before. I was amazed.

Not because she got there at 9 PM, but just the ignorance! I’m suprised she didn’t get shot/stabbed/kidnapped/etc. LA is dangerous until light out. The other two people were brother and sister so they counted as 1 group to us. They got there right before we got in line. So TECHNICALLY. We were second.

We talk to our new aquaintances, finding out that they were, in our books, the coolest people ever. At our school; Junior, Josh, and I, are the only people who LOVE Muse. So it just amazed us that there were people like us there. Of all places, Los Angeles, where we thought no one appreciated Muse as much as we did.

And so our day starts, with nothing but two backpacks filled with food and water.

People arrive at around 9 AM, suprised to discover that they aren’t the first in line. That was just hilarious in my mind. I just thought to myself “It’s Muse. 9 AM is LATE.”

More people arrive, little by little, all with the same expression of “WE AREN’T FIRST?!?!”.

At around noon, Muse.mu members arrive. We already heard that they were annoying at the Honda Center show. So I was expecting the worse. They got there. Cut the whole line behind us. Wrote a number on everyone because we are so incapable of taking care of keeping our own spots. They basically acted like they were better than everyone else and that really bothered our group up front. We erased our numbers, and the product of their annoyance, was this.

Those 4 older women from Muse.mu, HATED HIM. It was the best part of the line… almost.

At around 4: 30. We’re still in line. I hear drums. I instantly move my ear to the door, telling the people in my group “I HEAR MK ULTRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” We’re all pressing ourselves against the doors, just trying to listen. The song ends. We’re amazed. At the song, and at the fact that nobody else cared when we were going crazy. We even yelled to the people in line that they’re playing.

We hear MK Ultra start.. AGAIN. Josh and Junior SPRINT to the Team LA store, because we found out earlier that it’s RIGHT NEXT TO THE STAGE. I didn’t run because I didn’t want to give up seconds of the song when I can hear it through cracks in the door.

It finishes again. Josh comes back running, telling me to “get the fuck over there”. I run to the store. I regret not going earlier. The sound was so clear. I heard Matt talking. Even though his voice is just blibberish to me, I HEARD HIM!

We all heard him say “We might do Bliss too” TWICE. Sadly it wasn’t played, but just that got us so excited. Junior and someone else yelled to Matt, not sure on what they said, but it was so thrilling.

The store closed at 5 PM. Basically making us leave while Muse was in sound check still. It was practically over, but we wanted to hear it all.

At around 5 :30, they start telling us to get ready… One hour till doors open.

It was the longest hour of my life. Just thinking that Matthew James Bellamy, Dominic Howard, Chris Wolstenholme, Morgan Nicholls, and Thomas Kirk are all going to be within reach. That they’re even in the same building. Was truely amazing.

6:29…. 6:30!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doors open shortly after, Junior and Josh being in a seperate door entrance as I, they were yelling the whole time. I even told them “Imagine if your door lags because you guys won’t stop yelling? LOL”

Coincidently there was a problem with the scanner in that line. I was the 3rd person inside the arena. In the backround, I hear Josh and Junior yelling, “JUAN, YOU FUCK. JUANNN. FUCKK. OMG. HURRY UPPP. JUAN, FUCK YOU.”

I run to get my wrist band, I run down the steps even though there’s no one near me, no one inside yet. The run to the front was just excruciatingly exciting. I claimed my spot, where I planned months ago. Front middle, a little to the left to get Matt’s side.

I couldn’t believe where I was. It didn’t even feel like I was there to see my idols.

As soon as I get my spot, I take a picture of the beautiful stage.

As we sit there, just waiting for our wildest dream to come true in front of our eyes. I remember that I needed to take a picture of proof of Junior’s shirt..

Passion(ate) Fail  FINALLY gets on. I’m happy. It just means we’re that much closer to Muse.

I litterally almost fell asleep while they were playing; the only thing keeping me awake was the annoying sound of the singer’s voice, making my ears vomit.

They’re off. Intermission starts. It still hasn’t hit me yet. I’m about to see Muse. I’m in the front of the pit at a HUGE arena.

We see Tom. Junior IMMEDIATELY takes off his shirt, and gives it to Tom. I was just shocked in disbelief. He actually got the shirt to them. There’s a 100% chance of the whole band seeing it. OUR DAY IS GOING PERFECTLY.

Intermission almost over. I start to see shadows in Matt’s pillar. I start telling people. I see his guitar reflection. I EVEN SEE HIS KAOSS PAD. Then it starts.

The lights shut off. We can see Matt, Dom, and Chris moving up in their pillars.

We are the universe begins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEt71lPVvQI

Before this, I let two people go in front of me so I won’t be squished against the barrier.

Uprising starts. I immediately begin to go mad. Half way through the song, I’m exhausted. I’m forcing myself to jump more, singing at the top of my lungs.

Crowd going ballistic, making the begining of the show ridiculously amazing.

Song ends. Matt throws his glasses. Where do they land? The EXACT spot where I was before I moved back a little. I wanted to kill that guy. Those should have been mine. I didn’t care after 5 seconds.

Resistance starts. Everyone is clapping. I’m yelling like a little school girl that just got a pink pony.

It could be wrong, could be wrong.

This was definately right.

Crowd again, AMAZING.

Before I realize it, I had just blacked out. I don’t remember being there. Everything felt so surreal. I was convinced that I was dreaming. I didn’t realize that I was still jumping and singing.

Resistance is over.

When New Born started. I already knew I was going to go beserk. I was still blacking in and out, but I was more focused on this show than my own well being.

Soulless is everywhere…

After that. The whole pit went nuts. The spineless were truely destroyed.

When Matt slid onstage near the pit, he did his trademark ‘sex-face’ DIRECTLY to Josh.. That bastard.

Practically dead. New born is over. Microphone fiend riff beings.

Typing this, I realize it’s almost impossible to put my feelings during these songs into words.

Let’s just say… I jizzed.

Honestly. I remember jumping and singing, however, I don’t remember Supermassive Black Hole. I blacked out once again.

MK Ultra. I regained actual conciousness. Seeing Matt so close to me. I was telling myself that I passed out at Staples, and this was just a dream. I remember MK Ultra perfectly. Seeing it live, definately made me love that song even more than I already did.

They’re breaking through….

Once again. Blacked out. I was suprised to find out they played the star spangled banner the next day.

I do remember them playing hysteria, but I don’t remember it during sadly.

All I remember is seeing Chris headbang like crazy, just thinking “HurHur.. iWolstenholmed” and the solo.

EPIC.

I slightly remember Nishe and United States of Eurasia, but I just mainly remember shouting at the top of my lungs

EURASIA! SIA! SIA! SIA! SIA! EURASIA!

Next up. Feeling Good and Guiding light.

So happy. I was able to rest. Just to relax. To breathe. To listen to FEELING GOOD. ONE OF THE FEW SONGS THAT I WANTED TO BE A MUST FOR THIS SHOW. I felt my hair soaked, my backpack pressing the sweat against my back.
I was able to just record Feeling Good and regain energy as I sing along to every word.

Next up. Helsinki Jam.

I’m at a loss of words for this. Absolutely amazing. No one can truely understand how epic this jam is from a video. When you watch this live and hear it perfectly. You just want to punch someone in the face and yell “FUCK YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”

Another chill song, undisclosed desires. I was able to record it as well, and just get ready for the insane songs still left to come.

At this point. I realized how much I’ve blacked out. How much my body was in need of water. I didn’t care. There was no way I was letting this stop me from enjoying this show.

STARLIGHT.!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7TtKccKF-s

There was no way I was going to record this song. Clapping and singing were a must for this. This is the song that pulled me into Muse. This is the first song that I listened to 24/7 for two weeks straight. Yeah I heard it a trillion times, so what. No matter how many times I see this live, I’ll always enjoy it beyond my own expectations.

Next, PLUG IN MOTHER FUCKING BABY. Definately one of my personal highlights of the show. Four words.

I popped a hullaballoon. (A.K.A. The big eyeball balloons filled with confetti)

Not only that. I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG. During the performance, I can just tell that Matt was having the time of his life. That the whole band loved the crowd. I never stopped jumping. Never stopped singing. The whole time they were onstage, I don’t think my mouth was ever just closed shut.

Next. House of the Rising Sun.

At first, I was suprised at how many people were singing along. I was amazed. And then hardly anyone sang “It’s been the ruin of many a poor boy and God I know I’m one” That was HILARIOUS. I felt so akward being the only one in my little area singing that part. It was awesome either way!

Hysteria again??!? Was my first thought when Time is running out started playing. I was completely out of it. I don’t remember the song until Matt impregnated EVERYONE at Staples Center with his voice. If you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve never seen this song live.

At this point. I couldn’t feel my legs, I never felt so desperate for cold air, and even though I was on the brink of going to the hospital, I was having the best night EVER. I’ve had dreams of seeing Muse this upclose, hell I even had dreams where Matt sang to me. This show already was beyond any dream I’ve ever had.

UNNATURAL SELECTION. My favorite song off the Resistance Album. Happy and excited are insulting understatements to how I felt when I heard the begining. When it was over. I refused to let them leave. So many people started chanting different things.

I went from yelling about 3 different things before everyone started yelling MUSE MUSE MUSE MUSE MUSE MUSE MUSE!

When they came back with OVERTURE!!!!!! I was glad I could rest, because I knew they were going to play something epic before KoC. I definately was not expecting Stockholm, but that IS one of my favorite songs, along with every other Muse song.

My body was WAY past its limit. I forced myself to continue to jump as high as I could and to sing along. I couldn’t believe I was actually watching this song live. That I was even in the same room as Matthew Bellamy.

Final song. Man with a Harmonica started. KoC obviously. I’ve always just LOVED the Man with a Harmonica intro. I plan on getting a harmonica just to learn that. I knew this was the last song. I gave it my all. No matter how many times the people from the mosh pit hit me or pushed me around, I pushed back harder. Jumped higher, sang louder. Making it so much more worth it for me to just be alive.

It’s so hard for me to describe this show to anyone reading this. One, because I blacked out constantly. Two, because it’s Muse. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling I get whenever I hear their music. The only way I could ever figure out how to begin to begin to begin to describe it is just through the most beautiful poetry known to man.

This show. Was definately the best night of my life. When it was all over, I thought I was just going to fall onto the floor and pass out, it felt like my calves were cut in half, even today, over two full days after, it hurts SO much to walk. I still have my GA bracelet on, I’m going to keep it on for as long as I can.

Saturday can only be described as the biggest orgasm known to man. How dead I felt afterwards made the show feel even more epic. My clothing has never been so soaked from sweat. I felt like I just went swimming.

There is so much more that I haven’t said. This isn’t even half of everything. I could talk about this for ages. And I plan on doing so.

It still hasn’t hit me that I saw them this Saturday, another reason why it’s hard for me to describe. Once it will. I will most likely die from the late excitement.

The next day. Junior found this on Muse’s twitpic.

Look familiar?

Well it should.

MUSE HAS OUR SHIRT.

Muse 09/25/10: Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA

Muse 09/25/10

Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

Over the past 15 years, I can think of a few times when I had an extra ticket to a sold out show and I gave that ticket to a random stranger for free.  In certain circles, this is called a miracle.  This week, karma came full circle and I got my miracle.  Although the show had been sold out for weeks, a good friend and a real big supporter of Concert Confessions asked me if I wanted to see Muse.  The best part of the offer was that our seat location would be one of the venues swank luxury boxes.  That’s right, open bar, questionable sushi and a desert cart of decedent treats while I watched Muse melt faces on a Saturday night.  Truly grateful, this was hands down the best time I’ve ever had at Staples Center.  A big thank you goes out to everyone who made it possible.

Let’s begin with the nights opening act Passion Pit.  For those who are not aware, I fucking hate this band.  Just listening to them while in line waiting to enter the 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast made me want to climb the venue’s chain link fence and slice my wrists open with the barbed wire on top.  It is not often that I am thankful for traffic, yet I found myself stoked that the average speed on Interstate 10 was well below the posted limit.  You see, Passion Pit is so bad I would rather look at break lights than have my ears tortured by the Massachusetts “musicians.”  Those in the box who did catch the band — well lets just say I heard the following:

“My ears have been raped and I want to cry”

“How much did these guys pay to get on this tour?”

“That shit made me want to abuse puppies and beat babies”

So there you have it folks, Passion Pit still fucking sucks.  But enough with the negativity, let’s talk about Muse.

When it comes to Muse, I must be honest and confess that I gave up on the band last year.  At the time of it’s release, Absolution became one of those perfect records and, truthfully, the band had no chance to surpass it.  I found Black Holes and Revelations to be a disappointment, and I also failed to make any connections with The Resistance.  I then heard that God-awful Twilight number and decided I was done wasting my time with Muse.  And yet, a rock show is a rock show, and when that rock show in in a suite for the low, low price of free, you know Reverend Justito will go with an empty belly and open mind.

The band opened the show with the powerful 1-2 punch of “Uprising” and “Resistance.”  The energy in the large arena was an insane level of intense devotion.  Fans on both the main floor as well as the seats bounced up and down in unison as the three main band members performed on large platforms elevated above the stage.  The trio continued to keep the energy high by performing rock radio hits “Hysteria” and “Supermassive Black Hole” early on.

 

While the band teased classic songs by everyone from Rage Against The Machine to The Turtles in their set, one of the evening many highlights was a cover of the Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley cover, “Feeling Good.”  With lead vocalist/guitarist Matthew Bellamy tickling the ivory on a grand piano covered in lights, the sold out crowd swayed together to the often covered classic.  Another amazing moment was the bass and drum jam between Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard that lead into a powerful version of “Undisclosed Desires.”

 

What was most impressive on a Saturday night in September was the sound the band made.  As far as arenas go, Staples Center is one of the larger ponds out there.  The group’s sound was so large and so overpowering that the cavernous room felt like an intimate club.  These three could no doubt make the Los Angeles Coliseum feel like The Roxy.  In reflecting upon the show, this is what truly stands out in my mind.  From Metallica to Phish, I have never seen a band overpower a large venue so easily.

 

With fan favorites “Starlight” and “Time is Running Out” helping to close out the set, the energy inside the arena managed to grow during the lengthy encore break.  When the band did return, the loyal fans were treated to a three song encore.  I found myself more focused on the video screen visuals during  “Exogenesis Symphony Pt 1 (Overture)” than the music.  My mind wandered, lost in the moment which, really, live music is all about.  The following songs were arguably the bands biggest hits.  “Stockholm Syndrome” took me back to the days where Muse could do no wrong and the song helped me survive the crazy roads of Los Angeles during rush hour.  The band then closed the night with easily their biggest stateside hit, “Knighs in Cydonia.”  With its futuristic wild west sounds, the rocking number gave the crowd one last chance to get down downtown on a Saturday night.  For me, it was the icing on the cake.  I attended this concert hoping for a free meal as the highlight of the evening.  Little did I know that the show would be an all out sonic assault upon my senses and my faith in Muse would be fully restored.  I may not put The Resistance on during Thursday night rush hour, but you can bet your backside that I will see Muse again in my lifetime.


 

Girls/Grizzly Bear/Phoenix: Hollywood Bowl 09/18/10

Phoenix (W/ Girls and Grizzly Bear) 09/18/10

Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

On a night where summer finally lost the battle to autumn, the Hollywood Bowl was beyond capacity and eager to get their drink on with French alt-rock superstars Phoenix. The sold out crowd was already at max capacity by the time San Francisco indie-popsters Girls kicked took to the stage. For 23 minutes, the up and coming act impressed with a mix of Beach Boys pop mixed with Ryan Adams musical appreciation. The band sounded sharp and was never overwhelmed by the fact they were performing at the legendary venue. Lead by Christopher Owens, the band won the crowd over with songs like “Hellhole Ratrace.” A major step for this band, the guys nailed their chance and sounded great while doing it.

 

Someone once told me that Grizzly Bear was the indie rock version of Phish. This same person told me to ignore records and check them out live if I had the chance. By the third song of their set, I couldn’t agree more. With no clear leader, the band performed a short but sweet set of laid back jazzy indie rock. The highlight of their Bowl debut was when Canadian song bird Feist joined in on the fun during the songs “Service Bell” and “Two Weeks.” With many hardcore fans of the band representing within the venue, Grizzly Bear was the perfect fit for the bill. Don’t be shocked if you catch these guys headlining this very venue one day.

 

It was clear from the first notes of “Lisztomania” that the crowd was ready for Phoenix. For 75 minutes, the French band held a firm grasp of the generally distracted Hollywood Bowl crowd. When not singing delicate French ballads from the middle of the crowd, the bands dance friendly euro-rock sound did a fine job of feeling larger than the actual venue. “Girlfriends”, “Rome” and “Lasso” gave the twenty-something crowd a chance to put down their wine and dance into the aisles.

 

The highlight of the night was “Love Like A Sunset” Pt. 1 & 2.” Using the venues Bowl as a backdrop, an intense light show was unleashed on the highly enthusiastic crowd. No doubt it was a powerful moment that none in attendance will soon forget. The other obvious highlight was the #1 radio hit single “1901.” Closing out the show, the band teased the crowd by appearing to end the song, only to hide under no stage lights and re-appear thirty seconds later. When front man Thomas Mars was not in the crowd, he was inviting it’s members up on stage to jump and move one final time. Love them or hate them, Phoenix has arrived.

 

UPDATED: A Perfect Circle To Hit The Road This Fall

A Perfect Circle To Hit The Road This Fall

 

 

 

I tell you, rock bands need to stop announcing tours when I am stuck in traffic.  As our friends at Antiquiet, COS and countless others have all pointed out – A Perfect Circle are gearing up for a tour of the left coast.  The band (that features the bald dude from Tool and the Asian dude from The Smashing Pumpkins) will play intimate venues for multiple nights.  Each night the band will perform one of their  records from front to back.

From the band’s Twitter page.

Tweet 1: Marquee – Tempe AZ, Avalon – LA, Showbox at the Market – Seattle, The Fillmore – SF, The Pearl – Vegas. 3 nights each. Album each night.

Tweet 2: MJK, Billy, Josh Freese, James Iha, Matt McJunkins (Ashes Divide, Puscifer).

Tweet 3: Jeordie, Paz, and Troy all have awesome stuff going on that they couldn’t step away from. But all is well with them.

Dates are as follows:

11/04:  Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre (Mer de Noms)
11/05:  Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre (Thirteenth Step)
11/06:  Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre (eMOTIVe)
11/08:  Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon (Mer de Noms)
11/09:  Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon (Thirteenth Step)
11/10:  Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon (eMOTIVe)
11/12:  Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market (Mer de Noms)
11/13:  Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market (Thirteenth Step)
11/14:  Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market (eMOTIVe)
11/16:  San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore (Mer de Noms)
11/17:  San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore (Thirteenth Step)
11/18:  San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore (eMOTIVe)
11/20:  Las Vegas, NV @ The Pearl (Mer de Noms)
11/21:  Las Vegas, NV @ The Pearl (Thirteenth Step)

 

USELESS KEYS & Dax Riggs 09/10/10: Spaceland – Silver Lake, CA

USELESS KEYS/Dax Riggs 09/10/10

Spaceland – Silver Lake, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/Concertconfessions.com

My good pal hit me up a few weeks ago asking if I wanted to see Dax Riggs with her.  I will admit this off the bat: I had no idea who Dax Riggs was.  Turns out the dude was in an epic but short lived New Orleans sludge metal band called Acid Bath.  Of course, I had never heard  Acid Bath, but with no plans on that particular Friday night I decided it was time for the headbanging hippie to pay the dickhead nation known as Silver Lake a visit.  After all, if I was going to enter Spaceland for the very first time, it may as well be with some dude who used to play heavy metal, right?

A few days after I agreed to attend the show, it was announced that one of my favorite local bands USELESS KEYS would be main support.  I stressed to my friends the importance of an on-time arrival, as it had been eight long months since I had seen the KROQ Locals Only favorites.  The band hit the stage just past 10:30 pm and used their set to perform copious amounts of new material.  Sadly, I don’t know all of the new song titles, but I can tell you that there was not a dull moment or bad song in the mix.  Kamikaze is much more upbeat than anything on the band’s Is The Painting Changing EP and manages to mix a dash of surf-rock into the bands soulful shoe-gazing sound.  Another new song, Sea Bells, features hard pounding waves of distortion crashing into guitarist, Michael Regilio’s, lead licks, sounding more like a theremin then a guitar.

 

The thing that stood out most about the KEYS’ set was new bassist Davin Givhan.  On his own, he manages to equal out the duel guitar attack of Regilio and guitarist/lead singer Michael Bauer.  Yet as a rhythm player, Givhan’s ability to lock in with drummer Rory Modica not only gives Regilio/Bauer a greater canvas to paint over, but truly increases the bands already larger than life sound.  To say Givhan has taken USELESS KEYS to the next level is an understatement. The man is a beast and truly a perfect fit.

 

After a hard rocking cover of What Goes On by The Velvet Underground, the four piece closed their set with their signature song — White Noise.  Haunting while hard rocking, the finale managed to take hold of just about everyone in the venue.  I am going to assume that many inside the quaint club had not heard USELESS KEYS before this particular Friday night, yet are now very much aware of them.  These guys truly get better each time I see them and you really owe it to yourself to check them out if they happen to make it to your town.

 

Something strange happened to me during the headline set by Dax Riggs.  I felt more as if I was at the Peach Pit After Dark instead of a show.  I ran into old band mates and then an old co-worker.  I was introduced as the dude who writes kick-ass music reviews, and was implored to come see some gal’s second show at some coffee shop on the outskirts of Thai town.  I got punched in the ribs by a short Mexican chick simply because I moved up 6 inches when one of her pals went to get drinks.  I’m shocked I remember the “You have a Phish shirt on so you have to eat this” challenge, not to mention the plethora of free drinks that comes with a night out with friends both old and new.  With that said, it was very had to focus on Dax Riggs.

Having lost the friends I showed up with, I say I was able to enjoy the first 5-6 songs from the main floor.  Let Me Be Your Cigarette reminded me a lot of Urge Overkill, which was great because that band was great.  I noticed the crowd (which was now packed) was enthralled with Riggs, eyes focused on him and only him.  Later in the show, a big highlight was his cover of the Elvis classic Heartbreak Hotel.  Sadly this, for me, was enjoyed amidst conversation.  I finally found my crew of friends who I attended the show with in time for the set’s final encore.  With fans getting on stage and dancing for the final song, the energy level in the club was through the roof.  A rocking Friday night for all, indeed.

Porcupine Tree/Coheed and Cambria Kick Off US Tour In Koreatown

Porcupine Tree/Coheed and Cambria 08/12/10

Wiltern: Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com

Nothing says a party like a Thursday night in Korea Town.  While many gathered to drink Soju and sing Karaoke, I entered the doors of the historic Wiltern Theatre for a night of progressive rock and roll.  With Porcupine Tree and Coheed and Cambria joining forces for a two week tour across the states, what better place to kick off a summer tour than frigid Southern California?

Sadly, I missed The Deer Hunter (thanks traffic), but made it inside the venue in time for England’s premiere prog-rock band Porcupine Tree.  To be fair, before last night, I knew Porcupine Tree.  I went in with an open mind, and for the first 45 minutes I tried to convince myself that what I was hearing was enjoyable.  Parts were really solid, but a lot of it was a struggle.  I get that they are very talented musicians, but when it came down to it, the music went nowhere.  I reminded myself many times that if I was familiar with the music, this would be epic.  Yet by the 46 minute mark, I was bored to death.  24 minutes later, it was finally over and I could not have been more relieved.  So is Porcupine Tree lame?  With my last three reviews being about Phish shows, you know I appreciate long complex songs.  The Between The Buried and Me set I caught a few weeks back throws out the argument that you need to know the material to appreciate the show.

While waiting for Coheed and Cambria to start, I was asked by a fellow fan what I thought of Porcupine Tree’s set.  I told her everything you just read in the last paragraph.  She smiled and informed me that they were here favorite band and this was show #17.  After making fun of Phish, she then told me that of the 17 shows she had seen, this was without a doubt the worst one.  So I am going to keep an open mind to Porcupine Tree.  I don’t know if I will seek them out, but if we one day connect in the future great.  If not, thanks for your time, you at least have my respect as musicians.

(You would see a video of Porcupine Tree here, but the cowards lead singer of the band had it removed.  While I understand that this video is not mine, I am not sure how this hurts Porcupine Tree or WMG.  I paid to enter the show.  There are no plans that I am aware of to release this show via commercial outlet.  All I have done is given their band free publicity and allowed fans worldwide to share in a moment that they have missed out on.  Shame on you PT, you are cowards, you are dinosaurs and perhaps if you were more fan friendly the show would have been able to fill the Palladium versus being moved to the Wiltern.)

I somehow missed out on the information that this tour was a co-headline.  I assumed as with past Coheed and Cambria shows, that they were the main attraction and all others were simply there to warm the stage for the upstate New York prog-metal-jam-polka-sci-fi-rock Gods.  You all know what happens when one assumes – so yes while we only got 75 minutes of Coheed and Cambria, those 75 minutes was nothing short of amazing.

The foursome kicked off the set with In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3.  Underage boys quickly formed a pit in the venues front section of floor, sending bodies both willing and otherwise flying as the band cranked out the ten plus minute battle cry.  After blasting through Ten Speed (of God’s Love and Burial) with great ease, the group busted out the self-fulfilling prophecy  Here We Are Juggernaut.  From the recently released record Year of the Black Rainbow, fans went nuts for the raucous number that rock radio fans foolishly failed to grasp onto.

 

The band did a great job of performing a good range of songs from their catalogue.  Modern day classics like Everything Evil and The Willing Well I: Fuel For The Feeding End mixed well with new material such as Pearl of the Stars and When Skeleton’s Live. I know I got goosebumps from the sweet intro jam into Delerium Trigger, but don’t think it mattered what the band played, they audience was thirsty for anything Coheed.  Fans even went wild for front man Claudio Sanchez’s tale of throwing an early demo tape at Deftones (and of course totally missing the stage).

 

Where Porcupine Tree did not use their time for an encore, Coheed and Camrbia did.  The band performed three songs, which was lead off by Sanchez performing Wake Up alone upon the stage.  I would have preferred another song then World of Lines, but hey at least the band closed the short but sweet set firing on all cylinders with Welcome Home.  The highlight of the closing number was Sanchez allowing those in the front row strum his guitar and complete the songs final solo.  I know post show chants for bands never work, but on this particular night I gave it a try.  75 minutes of Coheed and Cambria simply doesn’t satisfy.  Fingers crossed I don’t have to wait long for the next time.

 

Barenaked Ladies Got to the Greek — July 22, 2010

Barenaked Ladies (w/ Angel Taylor & Kris Allen) 07/22/10

Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Eringoboro

 

In the summer of 1998, the HORDE festival made a stop at Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Like any other teenager in upstate New York at the time, Blues Traveler was on my top ten list of favorite bands, and I was longing to get tickets, yet I didn’t have a chance to go to the SPAC show as I was working at a summer camp. However, a friend of mine did attend, and as he kept singing “If I Had $1,000,000,” I’ve discovered a new favorite band. Self-proclaimed nerd-rockers Barenaked Ladies. Obsessed isn’t even the word for it; I was in love with their musicianship and their comedy. I made quick to the used record store to buy all their albums (at the time, “Stunt” was the most recent). I played their albums non-stop, notably Rock Spectacle, Gordon and Maybe You Should Drive – “Enid” off Gordon made it on as my senior quote for yearbook, even.

When I was a lonely freshman at Edinboro University in the autumn of 2000, I called in on a whim and won tickets from a local radio station in Erie, PA for their Maroon tour at the (formerly known as) Gund Arena in Cleveland, OH. I finally got to experience firsthand how every fan has said their shows are a real fun experience. The on-stage banter between songs, the high-energy, the boy-band-esque dance-offs… I had a blast.

Fast-forward to 2010. A lot has happened in my life in ten years… graduated college, moved to Atlanta, then to Los Angeles… and saw that a blast from my past were playing the Greek – right up the road from my house! Since none of my friends are really fans, I decided to just purchase a single ticket off StubHub the night before the show, while only four seats were left. Boy am I happy I did…

I’m cheap, and I didn’t want to pay for stacked parking and never get home, and I don’t mind walking where I have to go (so there, Missing Persons!), so I found a quiet street with ample lighting to leave my car, and set off on a long, uphill trek through Griffith Park. (Bonus – I didn’t feel as guilty for skipping the gym this lovely evening.) The walk is very scenic with some absolutely gorgeous houses lining the path.

I unfortunately missed Angel Taylor’s set. She was the first opening act. I was a little sweaty when I got to my seats, but the very nice lady sitting in the row by me didn’t seem to mind; in fact, she was impressed that I trekked up the hill on my own. Funny story: It turned out that the three other seats on StubHub didn’t sell… because Ms. Taylor and her family were the ones sitting in the row next to me (aforementioned lady was in her party) – I didn’t even realize it was her until Ed Robertson called her up on stage to sing “Every Subway Car” early in their set (and her party then left, giving me half of the entire row to myself – thanks!!). By the way, Ms. Taylor is drop-dead gorgeous, has a very sunny personality, and I checked out her music when I got home, and she’s pretty great.

Roughly 15 minutes after I got settled, Kris Allen took the stage as the second opener. I Googled him before going to the concert, and was a little put-off that he was an American Idol winner, as I am typically not a fan of the pop music that comes from that franchise, and I don’t watch the show, but needless to say, I was very impressed with this guy. He sang nearly everything off of his new album, and totally surprised me by covering “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead. Unfortunately, the younger audience didn’t seem to recognize the song, and the venue was still pretty empty. He finished out with a fantastic cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together,” which sounded more like the Aerosmith arrangement, but this kid rocked it. Mr. Allen was a pleasant surprise with his very crisp vocals and gritty rock music from his band. I hope he sticks around for a while; I’d see him again, for sure.

Before the Ladies took the stage, I started to feel a little apprehension. I was always a Steve girl, so I really didn’t know what to expect from this show. Some fans I knew of were saying that they’ve seen prior shows and commented that it was “sad,” or “not very good.” I was still expecting a good show, thinking they’d just primarily do Ed and Kevin’s repertoire of the old, and lots of stuff from the new album, All In Good Time (which is a very solid album being the first as a foursome, by the way, I recommend y’all take a listen). No, Ed brought the big guns and didn’t shy away from Page’s songs, such as “The Old Apartment,” and shockingly, “Blame It On Me” from 1992’s Gordon.

Kevin Hearn and the boys brought a unique twist to Page’s “Sound of Your Voice” from Barenaked Ladies Are Me (“BLAM”), as he played a quiet, yet very solid, lead vocal with solely an acoustic guitar, while Ed, Jim and Tyler bring the funny (and the talent) backing Hearn up barbershop-style. Typically, I’m not a fan of Kevin’s songs (sorry), but Thursday night changed that. I very much enjoyed “Sound of Your Voice,” but even better was Hearn’s tickling of the ivories and strong vocals on his own “Another Heartbreak.” Kevin, you’ve come a long way, baby, thanks for convincing me.

The highlight of my evening was Jim performing “On The Lookout” on the piano after a very sweet story about how he wrote the song for his wife while they were hiking in California. Jim has never really had too many album solos, but with Steven Page’s absence, he’s getting his chance, and it’s great that he is. Creeggan has a very smooth vocal that I am really itching to hear a lot more of on future albums. But then, I have always had a soft spot for Jim for the sole fact he plays a string bass AND a Hofner a’la Macca.

Ed’s vocals were a little weak on some songs, mostly Page’s higher-range, but I still give him cred – he’s working double-time, now. He’s still a fun performer, completely rocked his own songs of “Pinch Me,” “Easy,” “Falling For the First Time,” and the crowd-pleasing set-ender “If I Had $1,000,000.” Of course he brought the rhymes with “One Week” and “Four Seconds,” the latter being lots of fun with drummer Tyler Stewart, who has also stepped up in the vocal department by being a full-time backup harmony.

The trademark Boy-Band Jam came late in the show, with Kevin on keys singing “Oh-Oh It’s Magic,” segueing into Tyler belting “Empire State of Mind,” Ed’s beatboxing pushing into a hilarious and quite coordinated finale of Justin Beiber’s “Baby,” BEP’s “I Gotta Feeling,” and Katy Perry’s new single, “California Girls.” It’s a well-known routine that the guys do this at every show, but they continue to keep it fresh by using newer songs every tour.

I was all smiles upon leaving the Greek. My only regret was that the show wasn’t longer. I missed Steve, but the show was a lot of fun, and two nights later I still have a post-concert high (and I don’t mean the kind I could smell all over the Greek at the show). If you’re a fan of the Ladies, but are hung up on Page leaving the band, go anyway, you’re still going to have a blast.





MGMT 07/16/10: Greek Theater – Los Angeles, CA

MGMT w/ Helios Creed & Francis and the Lights

07/16/10 Greek Theater – Los Angeles, CA

Words/Photos by Revered Justito

You know a song is rocking when it is stuck in your head after the first listen.  That was me a few summer’s back with “Time To Pretend” by MGMT.  Walking the halls at work trying not to mention shooting heroin in Paris as I walked past million dollar execs, I just knew there was something about this Brooklyn based duo.  I went to Target, bought Oracular Spectacular and fell in love instantly.  The album that was so good Phish named a campground after it at Festival 8; I had finally found the two headed love child of Ween and The Flaming Lips.  By this point, you don’t need me to tell you that the bands follow up Congratulations is a giant middle finger to mainstream rock and it’s legion of simple minded fans.  For someone like myself (music snob, 31 years aged, addicted to Del Taco and possessing way better music taste than you) the latest and greatest album by Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden is a breath of fresh air more fit for Bonnaroo than KROQ.  So on a hot and sticky night in Griffth Park (aka Hipsterwood adjacent) I headed to the Greek Theatre to see for myself what the live MGMT experience was all about.

It would be easy for me to chastise the crowd off the bat.  From the kids not old enough to operate a motor vehicle and your typical I <3 Silver Lake yet live in Whittier hipster fucks with lame headbands, neon clothing and those god awful Zeus meets Pocahontas sandals that for some reason are all the rage (breath, run on but I don’t care) the crowd was full of people I look down upon.  Instead we are going to rip the nights first band Helios Creed to shreds.  What can I say, he was so bad, I wanted to listen to Creed.  I must assume that Helios would tell you it’s experimental music, but from what I could gather he is just some d-bag with stolen riffs and a lot of guitar pedals.  One song was most of “Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag, another was a combo of Joy Division, Pink Floyd and Primus on their worst days. At least “Lactating Purple” was short.  Even if there was a somewhat decent song in there, it was drown out by far too many effects.  Chorus, echo, delay, loops – all at the same time, all sounding like a bunny pooping Chiclets chewing gum into a rusty tin can.  It was so bad, I started to wonder if MGMT had intentionally brought bad bands on the road with them as a further effort to be difficult.  By dumb luck, I taped Helios last song – an 9+ minute epic called “I Am The Jaw.”  You’re in luck folks, because this was the best thing he did all night.

 

Having already established that I am a music snob and better than you, I would like to brag for just a moment.  In 2002, I saw a lil band called Maroon 5 open for O.A.R.  While a few locals crashed the gig and rooted their boys on, no one had heard Maroon 5 at this point.  At first I was uncomfortable, it was so poppy, and pretty and not me at all.  Yet by the end of the set I was hooked and knew the band would one day become massive superstars.  Watching Francis and the Lights as main support for MGMT, I had the same exact feelings as I did with my first Maroon 5 show.

The sound is familiar.  That pale 80’s English white boy who wishes he was a black Motown artist but got stuck fronting a new wave band.  The type of backing band who hit every local show on The Police reunion tour, the guys who still find it funny to Rick-Roll your buddies, yet can f’n play their asses off.  I have looked all over the net for the guitar players name (if you know it, please leave as a comment) Guitarist Jake Rabinbach (Thanks Peanut) is the driving force that makes the whole thing work.  Great tones and riffs that make you feel as if you are at the big dance at the end of an 80’s teen flick.  And the bands vocalist, Francis?  Wow, where do we start?  Part Adam Ant, part the non-dickwad side of Adam Lambert – this guy is an already larger than life frontman.  It will be amazing to see how great he becomes with some fame and adoring fans flocking to shows.  His voice is strong – falsetto but very reminicent of white Michael Jackson.  He has killer dance moves, and great stage command.  Their set was the type of set where each song gets a little bit better and by the end you are pissed that they are giving up the stage to the headliner.  When Francis comes back to the Greek a few summers from now as the headliners, make sure you pay this review a visit and admit that I told you so.

 

Before MGMT had a chance to take the stage, I could feel the war brewing inside the sweaty, sold out venue.  On one side of the battles lines was the sold out crowd.  Merch lines were longer than beer lines, seat locations were bragging rights/sophmore year status points based on whose Daddy had the better corporate hook ups, and I won’t even mentioned the brace faced gal who called her boyfriend to tell him she would imagine bouncing up and down on his boner when the band played “Kids.”  On the other side was MGMT – a band who is fighting for control of their artistic integrity, a band who can not and will not be labeled looking to challenge their massive 21 and under fan base.  I for one want to be challenged, and found myself deep in enemy territory when the house lights went down and the band took the stage.

Sitting stage right/middle venue, the group kicked things off with the mellow Congratulations track “I Found A Whistle.”  This gave the crowd the perfect chance to continue their conversations over the beautiful song that sounds a lot like The Beach Boys had they been raised in the United Kingdom.  The show seemed to be designed to slowly grow in energy song by song  “Weekend Wars” “The Youth” and “Flash Delirium” all built upon each other and flowed nicely into the first major victory for the crowd.

 

“Electric Feel” the second single from Oracular Spectacular (not to mention fave of San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum) was the first time all night the entire venue removed their backsides from the orange stadium seating  For the first time in a long time, I cursed the camera in my hands, wanting to move, yet having to keep still in order to avoid those nasty thumbs downs on YouTube.  Once “Electric Feel” wrapped, the band unfortunately lost most of the crowd.  With the band now warmed up and ready to kick some backside“The Handshake” in my opinion was the musical highlight of the night. Even with the song rocking far harder than on record, with most back down in their seats, it was clear the crowd was only there for the hits..  Psychedelic pop 60’s surf rock-esque songs “It’s Working” & “Song for Dan Treacy” while great failed to connect with the distractable teen angst.  “It’s Working” was clearly a bathroom/beer/cell phone break for many.  Bored and in line for beer the band managed to sneak a quick victory over the crowd.

 

 

“Time To Pretend” satisfied the souls of everyone but me.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this song – but it needed to rock harder.  It really felt as if the band held back.  Intentional perhaps, while most freaked out, I just wanted it to pound me harder and faster.  Did I just say that?  You know what I mean.

 

At the conclusion of the bands breakthrough hit – the crowd was lost and bored yet again.  I didn’t want to sit back down for the epic “Siberian Breaks” but I also did not want to be the one asshole who stands in an entire section of people plopped down upon their asses.  At well over 10 minutes, most of the crowd was bored before the first verse.  With the band performing the massive monster flawlessly – I only grew more impressed with the band.  One of my personal MGMT favorite soon followed in form of an ode to a living legend.  I get that major record labels are dead and in their final days they often collectively have their heads up their asses.  How the hell the “fine” folks at Colombia Records didn’t release “Brian Eno” as the lead single is beyond me.  Upon my first listen of a “pre-release leak” this was the song stuck in my head and in fine fashion the band nailed it on that hot muggy night at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.

 

With multiple mentions that the band was performing their last song, the venue went bonkers for the massive hit “Kids.”  What I found interesting is that the band doesn’t really play the song at all.  While too far back to tell if the band was lip-syncing no actual instruments are played during the set.  Instead, Goldwasser & VanWyngarden bounce up and down free of their respective keys and guitars and just act goofy.  Perhaps their way of not playing “the hit” or maybe just how they have always intended to give the crowd their money-worth; for most it was the highlight of the night.  As fans began to exit the award winning venue at the conclusion, I held out hope for a few more.

 

After a slight train wreck to start, the band played a spot-on version of the complex number “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters.”  For those who remained inside the venue, the band closed with the soft and lush title track “Congratulations.”  In a way the song took on a second meaning.  Sure kids chatted when not vomiting on each other.  Yes hipsters smoked dirt weed and acted cool vs. being cool.  But in the end, MGMT won the war.  They sold 8,500 tickets in Los Angeles on a Friday night.  They spread out their hits in between complicated new material.  They knew when to challenge and when to please.  Most important, their young fan base bought merch, boogied to the sounds of their youth and ran home to tell all their friends.  While for some it may have just been a chance to be tagged in the prom princesses Facebook photo the summer between Junior and Senior year – for many it was a gateway drug.  A gateway drug to Meat Puppets, Flaming Lips, Butthole Surfers and Ween.  I’ve known for years that “Pepper” and “She Don’t Use Jelly” paved the way for “Time To Pretend” and “Kids.”  Where will MGMT go next, I can’t tell you.  Perhaps they will never sell 8,500 tickets again, but for those willing to listen, the ticket has been punched and a new generation of intelligent music fans has been born.

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