Tag: The Dough Rollers

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.

Joseph Arthur Puts A Stronghold on Venice Pt 2 – Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

 

 

Joseph Arthur & Friends

(with  The Dough Rollers, Penelope Fortier and Harper Simon)

The Stronghold – Venice, CA 04/16/10

Words/Photos/Video by concertconfessions.com

While most Southern California music fans flocked to the desert for Coachella, I mooched yet another ride to Venice off my wonderful wife.  Sure, it would be fun to see the likes of DJ Lance Rock and Jay-Z amongst the lush green polo fields and towering palm trees; but when it comes to Friday nights in April there is no place I would rather be then The Stronghold.  With it being the third week of a month long residency, I just had to see what the amazing Joseph Arthur would pull out of his sleeve.  While expectations were high, I found myself watching a set that was nothing short of a train-wreck.  Perhaps this sounds bad to the common reader, which is all the more reason I encourage you to go out and buy the mans entire catalogue.  After all, when life gives Joseph Arthur lemons, he will take those lemons, make a bike helmet out of the peels, plant the seeds out back to grow new trees and of course make a damn tasty pitcher of lemonade.
Despite showing up much later than the previous week, I was once again the front of the line (which was fine, as I was able to hear a sound-check that included “Black Lexus“).  After a nice conversation about drying Iphones that have gone swimming in toilets, the very kind doorman let me up into the venue.  Much to my shock, the wonderful couches from the week before were moved back against the walls instead of being right in front of the stage.  I ended up sitting on the back couch watching as the few hipsters left in Los Angeles County began to fill the room.  Within 15 minutes of doors being opened, it was time for the first musical guest of the night.
The Dough Rollers
I really thought the two men on stage said there name was the Dough Boys (The Dough Rollers).  I have looked all over the Internet trying to find something about these two, but have failed.  Shame too, as the duo was very entertaining.  Nothing more than two white guys in nice suits channeling dead delta blues-men.  At first I felt as if it was a tad cheesy and forced, but after about song two or three, I realized these two were the read deal.  With covers (and perhaps originals, I am not sure) such as “Move To Alabama” and “Railroad Blues” these two truly felt natural playing the gospel-tinged blues.  I would be very excited to see them again.

Penelope Fortier

After a quick set change, a female with a guitar hoped up on stage.  Introduced only as Penelope, the shy song bird was joined by both Rami Jaffee and Jenny Greene (who had sat in with Aurthur the week before).  I don’t see how anyone could not instantly fall in love with Penelope.  I mean heck, it’s not everyday you get to have a beautiful French woman sing you love songs in her native tongue.  Knowing that I can hardly speak English, sadly I don’t know any of the song titles (let alone spell them).  I will say that with a powerful voice and solid guitar technique, the entire crowd at The Stronghold were robbed that she was only had time to perform three songs.

Joseph Arthur & Friends
Guitar: Joel Shearer
Drums: Brendan Buckley
Bass: Jonny Polonsky
Violin: Jessy Greene
Keyboard: Rami Jaffee
Vocals: C.C. White & Sibyl Buck

When I walked into the intimate venue, I noticed a lot more equipment up on stage then the week prior.  I had assumed that it was for an opening act, but when Penelope had announced that Joseph Arthur was up next it became clear that we would indeed be guided on a very different musical journey.  While the venues sound-man does assist in helping set up, the musicians serve as their own roadies.  As the seven musicians were getting ready to begin, it became clear gremlins were already present within the tangled web of patch chords and power supplies that make up Arthurs massive pedal board.  Once the issue appeared to be solved, Arthur lead his friends (which included Rami Jaffee, Jessy Greene, Sibyl Buck in addition to some local musicians assembled by Jaffee) into the unknown with the powerful “Tattoo.”

Before Arthur was able to begin the third song of the night – “Slide Away” a lengthy delay occurred as a result of the earlier mentioned gremlins.   A frustrated Arthur pulled chords out and replaced, hit buttons and unplugged/replugged power sources before finally discovering a faulty effects processor.  When he was finally able to perform “Slide Away” Arthur invited a young woman from the audience up on stage (Update 06/30/11 – C.C. White is the vocalist) who added a soulful vocal jam towards the end of the song.  The singer managed to breathe new life into the song, creating a very unique moment that I am thankful I was able to witness.

Early in the set, I began to wonder if perhaps Arthur had added a backing band that included bass, drums, guitar and Jaffee ditching his accordion for a keyboard to drown out the constant chatter that had occurred over the two previous Friday nights.  With almost every light in the venue powered down in addition to further sound issues, the over all mood of the night was very tenebrous.  Select, darker lines from songs like “Honey and the Moon” and “Faith” sent my mind into places I really didn’t expect it to go.  When you mix this with musicians who very well may not have all known each other the last time Arthur graced the tiny Venice, CA stage – you had a very almost punk rock feel.  You found yourself rooting for the musicians, always pondering if they would make it through a song, or if it would blow up in their faces.  The fact that it was so raw and rough around the edges made it feel Sunset Strip dangerous.
After a rocking jammed out version of “September Baby” Arthur left the stage and introduced a singer named Harper Simon (who according to Wikipedia is the son of Paul Simon).  Dressed in a plaid shirt, the singer performed two songs.  While I was not familiar with the first, the second number was a cover of The Buzzcocks classic Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)?  It took me a minute before I recognized the song, and once the familiarity sank in my smile grew almost as large as the smile Simon was wearing the entire time he was on stage.
Once again, Arthur used the set to create a song on the spot (once again, I assume).  Not aware of the title, I am calling it “I Miss The Zoo”.  After creating a spacey solo over slightly delayed loops, Arthur sang lyrics confessing missing days of addiction.  Dark, depressing yet totally unique and absolutely powerful, this random act of art in the dark lit room ended up the no doubt about it highlight of Friday night.

Keeping his word from the week before that additional special guests would be welcomed – Arthur invited American songwriter, singer, musician, performer and composer for film, dance and theater (thanks Wikipedia) artist David Poe to the stage.  Poe lead the band through a boogie-licious blues stomp called “Joy”.  While I am unfamiliar with the song, it was perhaps the most upbeat moment of the night.

The night wrapped up soon after with Arthur building his loops for “Lack A Vision.”  Once completed (and after knocking over his mic stand – some nights you just can’t win) Arthur brought his easel onto the very packed stage to finish his painting (which featured the names of the various musicians who had shared the stage).  Blowing through his harmonica and singing into the mic, Arthur doodled, painted over existing lines and finished a painting unlike any other of his I had seen.  Much like the music, the work seemed jagged, unsure of what it wanted to be.  What struck me the most was not giving up.  Arthur and his friends fought on all night, and while often frustrated, the art never suffered.  The struggle created beauty that would have never been found if this was a solo acoustic show.  What made the night so magical was watching these musicians discover each other.  Often you could watch one musician squint across the dark stage to confirm they were indeed playing the same chords.  I recently heard a friend say about his child that you can not learn to walk without a few bumps from falling down.  This perfectly sums up week three of Joseph Arthur’s residency – and I can not wait to see what’s in store for our final Friday together.

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