Australian psych-rockers Tame Impala stopped by The Pageant on Monday night and somehow found a way to convey your Uncle Mark’s acid flashbacks from the 60’s and 70’s through a live music experience. When it comes to recorded music, Tame Impala is Kevin Parker. Parker writes all of the songs and creates the textured and dynamic music himself while playing every instrument and using techniques such as reverb and fuzzing to melt your mind. However, the Tame Impala live experience is a five piece powerhouse featuring drummer Julien Barbagallo, bassist Cam Avery, and multi instrumentalists Dominic Simper and Jay Watson who provide additional layers to their unique sound by way of additional guitar, bass, and synths, respectively. Parker himself sticks primarily to the guitar and vocal duty for live performances, relying heavily on down tuning and effects pedals to recreate the sound heard on recordings.
Opening act Kuroma started things off at 8PM and did a perfectly fine job as an opening act for a band as hyped as Tame Impala. They ripped through their 45 minute support slot full of indie garage rock with ferocity. Kuroma is fronted by Hank Sullivant, former front man of The Whigs. Sullivant also spent some time as a touring guitarist with MGMT, I kind of wished more of that sound had rubbed off on him, but regardless, it was a very good set. Kuroma isn’t new to the scene, they have been around on and off since 2008 and they have a few albums available. They are worth checking out for sure. There was a noticeable difference at this point between the under 21 section and the over 21 section. The all ages floor and right quarter of the venue were both packed full of kids that had lined up early in hopes of riding the rail or obtaining that sweet spot in the pit. Then there were those disappointed to end up in the raised seating just off to the side of the floor. However, even after Kuroma’s set ended, there were optimal spots available for those who were old enough to consume alcoholic beverages. Much of the crowd started to fill in after Kuroma ended their set. Sucks to be them…
During the set change from Kuroma to Tame Impala, all signs pointed towards this being an interesting show. The stagehands and techs in charge of setting up and sound checking the equipment were all dressed in white lab coats. The set up was quite simple, a large screen behind the band and a handful of lights set up all over the stage. The stacks of speakers set up at the side of the stage told everyone in the room that it was about to get loud.
Tame Impala did a great job covering their entire catalog, including a few new tracks from their soon-to-be released album, Currents, out July 19. The set also featured songs from 2010’sInnerspeaker, but focused heavily on 2012’s critically acclaimed, and commercially successful,Lonerism. Once Parker led the rest of the boys on stage, the crowd immediately erupted and welcomed the Aussie’s to St. Louis.
The set began with a little tuning free jam before segueing into the new and almost Daft Punk-ish sounding “Let It Happen”, from the yet to be released Currents. The screen behind the band was transformed into a giant spinning eyeball. The screen didn’t get any less weird throughout the next 90 minutes while we were taken on what seemed like a chemically enhanced spiritual journey into Kevin Parker’s mind.
The rest of the set featured minimal banter and excessive amounts of awesomeness. The crowd seemed to respond the most to the tracks from Lonerism, including “Elephant”, which many people recognize as the song from a Blackberry commercial. Remember when Blackberry was a thing briefly?
Highlights of the set were “Endors Toi”, “Be Above It”, which featured one of the only real opportunities for the band to stray from the course and do a little free jamming, and set closer “Apocalypse Dreams”, which is always a fan favorite. The encore featured another crowd favorite “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” before ending with “Nothing That Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control”, most likely Tame Impala’s longest song title.
When the lights came on and the lab coat sporting stage hands returned to start tearing down the spectacle that was, it appeared that most of the crowd was incredibly satisfied with what we had just experienced. Tame Impala are at the top of their game right now and not to be missed if you are given the opportunity to check them out. They are quickly shooting up the bills on festival lineups across the globe, and even though this show was shy of being a sellout, I would be shocked to see them playing rooms the size of The Pageant much longer.
Being a fan of a band since they first came onto the scene is usually how I roll, especially if it’s a band that keeps making albums and writing killer songs, Theory of a Deadman is just that band.
It’s been a few years since I seen them live, and like the other bands that I follow, Theory has proved that they can keep up with the changing times, in the rock music world. They just released their fifth studio album entitled “Savages” and what an album it is. This was the only date they were coming near me, so I couldn’t miss an opportunity to see them and do VIP in the process it has been 10 years since we last had a photo opportunity, so why not.
Theory had two openers for this tour, 3 Pill Morning, and Black Stone Cherry. 3 Pill Morning is a little band from Minneapolis they have been on the scene since 2011 and put on a great little show. I will admit, I had never seen them before, they did play several songs off of their CD that was released in 2012 entitled “Black Tie Love Affair”. They did sing, “Rain”, “Loser” and “I want that for You”, for their set, I do need to get their CD, as they were hanging out afterward, but I wasn’t losing my “seated” spot for the opening act.
Black Stone Cherry was up next and I have to say their guitarist looks just exactly like Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters, he is a little maniac on that guitar. Ben Wells is his name, and he’s non-stop head banging, moving, shaking, rocking, he totally wore me out just watching him on stage, they put on a great set as well and got the crowd singing along.
I had never seen Black Stone Cherry until now, been to a show of theirs but left before they took the stage as I was there to see the opening acts. Black Stone Cherry, just recently released their 4th studio album, which is entitled “Magic Mountain”. They remind me of Seether a lot, as they have that guitar based songs, with a hint of redneck rock and roll. They put on a great set and sang several of their hits, that included: “Magic Mountain”, Me, and Mary Jane” “White Trash Millionaire” “Lonely Train”, and “Blame it on the Boom Boom”. Overall Black Stone Cherry did really well, and got the crowd involved as most of the crowd was their to see them, they do have a following in St. Louis for sure.
Theory of a Deadman was next, and they promptly took the stage at 10pm, with an hour and half set, that included new songs, and old favorites. This is the first time I’ve seen Theory do several acoustic songs in the middle of their show, and I loved it. I was able to get a couple on video. Theory opened with “So Happy” off of their third CD entitled “Scars and Souvenirs” with five albums under their belt, it’s hard to decide what to put on the set list. They did play their very first single, that got me hooked on them twelve years ago. “Nothing can Come Between us” that was the first song I heard and had me hooked from the get go. Tyler writes songs about relationships, struggles, and every day life. When I first heard them I thought, wow this dude hates women, but he really doesn’t, I feel like he’s been through those relationships, struggles and came out a better person, he writes what he knows and it works.
The Set list consisted of songs listed below, but not in that specific order, they did change it up a bit.
Bitch Came Back
Nothing can Come between us
All or Nothing
Interstate Love Song (STP cover acoustic)
Not Meant to be
Hate my Life
I was able to get “Angel” and “Santa Monica” on video, the acoustics in the Pageant are amazing, and they videos sound spot on.
I did VIP for this show, so I gave up my front row spot which was fine. Getting to see Tyler and the guys again was worth it, shows how much we have changed in 10 years..
Dean Back is the Bassist, and after seeing this photo last night, I found the one that was taken ten years ago, it seemed only fitting that we reflect on the memories. Oh I know they don’t remember that night, heck I can barely remember it myself, I’ve been to so many shows over the years. It was a little bar in Wisconsin, and they hung out afterward, shows how times have changed.
Theory of a Deadman has proved that they can hang with the rock bands of today, and still come out on top, they have put out great music over the years, and with five albums under their belt, I’m sure Tyler and the guys will continue to do what they love.
It was a great show, I’m glad I made the drive and got to hang for a bit, and listen to some great music. The Pageant in St. Louis is an awesome venue, it’s one of my go to venues in St. Louis. The acoustics are great, and they just raised the curfew this year to 11:30pm, so that allowed for a good hour and half of live music from a great band.
Theory is on tour with 3 Pill Morning and Black Stone Cherry for the rest of September and the first part of October, then they are headed overseas for a trek. Hopefully they will be back around near me again either later in the year or next year, as I would love to hit up another show. Thanks again for the memories.
105.7 The Point has done a great job over the past 21 years bringing some of the biggest names in modern rock to town to celebrate Halloween, Christmas, and their Birthday by playing shows across St. Louis. When this one was announced back in the Fall it was no question that this would sell out. The Arctic Monkeys have played at The Pageant before back in 2011 and most recently stopped in St. Louis when they opened for The Black Keys at Chaifetz Arena. Their most recent album, AM, has garnered a lot of attention from both critics and fans alike and the Arctic Monkeys seem to be destined to rise the ranks from the post-punk under card. I have only recently started paying attention to this great UK band, but have very quickly found myself smothered in their entire catalog. This was a show I was very much looking forward to.
Upon arriving at The Pageant, I proceeded to get my cavity search from the friendly security staff and my ticket scanned before making way to the ID guy. While he was checking mine, there was a young British fellow getting harassed for having what was apparently judged by security to be a fake ID. As he all but begged him to reconsider by telling him that all his friends are in the bar and he swears its real, I pushed forward. The set up for the venue was strange… according to one bartender they expected a 70/30 split favoring 21+ but as the venue filled in it ended up going the other way so they had to change it at the last second. Even with the expanded underage section, it was still noticeably more crowded in the kids section than near the bar.
The Arctic Monkeys took the stage just after 9:15 to ominous music that set the tone for the evening. The lights were consistently reds, blues and purples with heavy strobe effect that kicked in the moment drummer Matt Helders hit the bass drum for the first note of “Do You Wanna Know”, the opening track to 2013’s critically acclaimed AM. Right away the capacity crowd was hooked in and hung on every word that frontman Alex Turner sang. The band were all dressed in button up shirts and sport coats with the exception of Helders who was dressed for comfort on the drum kit. Guitarist Jamie Cook was to Turner’s left while bassist Nick O’Malley was on his right. Halfway through “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair” Turner took a moment to address the crowd with a simple “Hello St. Louis!”. After the song he went on to say “Have you missed us St. Louis? You probably missed us. We are going to have a good time tonight!”
During “Snap Out of It” I started to notice that Alex Turner had this little hip shimmy thing going on… kind of like Jack Parkman. I hear it drives the women in Cleveland crazy. Turner introduced us to drummer Matt Helders, who’s bass drum is adorned with 0114… the dialing code for their hometown of Sheffield, England. He told us that Helders was going to sing us a song, “Brick by Brick” from 2011’s Suck It and See. After “Crying Lightning” it was four straight songs from AM including two of my favorites, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” and “Arabella” which featured teases of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”… watch that below right now courtesy of YouTube user Ashley K!
Pretty much the only song I heard people scream-requesting was “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”, the bands first single from their 2006 debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not… the band complied, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it was on the set list anyways. The set closed with three of the last four songs taken from the 2007 follow up Favourite Worst Nightmare including set closer “505.” The band flicked their sticks and picks into the crowd and took a short break before coming out for a three song encore that started with “Cornerstone” and finished with two more songs from the heavily featured AM, “One for the Road” and “R U Mine?”
The show clocked in right at 90 minutes and even though a majority of the songs were from the most recent album, they did a great job at mixing in material from throughout their careers. This show is one that I won’t soon forget, the band was incredibly tight and were hitting on all cylinders all night. I regret not getting more interested in the Arctic Monkeys earlier, but I am incredibly happy that I had the opportunity to see them at The Pageant this time around because I won’t be shocked to see them move on to a bigger room next time through.
SETLIST (click links for YouTube videos. Credit to YouTube user Ashley K)
Reel Big Fish, The Pageant 01/15/13 St. Louis, Mo
Photo’s and Words By BeezNutzSTL
I have been lucky enough to call myself a Reel Big Fish fan for many years. They always make me laugh, their shows are high energy and most of all they are FUN. So with a show announced for the first month of 2013 in my hometown. I had no choice in the matter. During the weeks leading up, I kept suggesting that my girlfriend come out and see the show with me. She wasn’t that hard to convince. It had been a year since I had seen The Fish so there was no way I could miss this show.
Reel Big Fish released ” Candy Coated Fury ” on July 31st 2012 on Rock Ridge Records. They have been very busy since embarking on a world tour that had already included a St. Louis date. Well that didn’t stop the fans from showing up again. Arriving at The Pageant a bit after 8:30 my girlfriend and I parked and hustled through the cold to the venue. After a brief search we were in and Dan P and MU330 were finishing their reunion set which I sadly missed.
Up next was a band that I was at the time unfamiliar with The Pilfers from New York City. I was unprepared for the level of energy, and the show they brought with them. They got the crowd moving as soon as they hit the stage, and the floor soon reached capacity.
The Pilfers took the stage as the loyal fans none as ” Pilfer Crew ” filled the pit area. The fusion of the different styles of music melted into a crazy stream of energy felt throughout the venue. The band lead by ex-Toasters singer Coolie Ranx on vocals, Billy Kottage on Trombone, Nick Bacon played Guitar and did back up vocals, Ben Basile on Bass and James Blanck behind the kit. They all sounded great together, and had my lady and I dancing to the beats.
My girlfriend told me after their set how compelled she felt to dance during the whole set. Before leaving the stage Coolie came and paid the crowd a visit. First he did a entire song from the pit, then he walked the length of the crowd on the counters of the venue. Very cool and made for a highlight of the show for myself.
After a brief sound check and set change, the crowd grew louder in anticipation. The lights fell black, and a epic sounding intro song blasted through the speakers. The Orange County Ska Legends took the stage. Notable missing Little Johnny Christmas (congratulations on fatherhood) and Matt Appleton (whom is sick). The band led by Aaron Barrett on Vocals/Guitar, Dan Regan on Trombone, Derek Gibbs on Bass, and Ryland Steen on the Drums took their places. A few of the Pilfers helped fill in the void of the 2 missing members. They chose to open the set with the opening song from ” Candy Coated Fury “. The song ” Everyone Else Is A Asshole ” started the crowd on a nonstop skankin’, dance marathon that was this entire show. Next were the fan favorites ” Trendy ” and ” Everything Sucks ” which are always great live.
Reel Big Fish is a great live show, for one the jokes are different every time. And two the setlist will be different every time no matter what. So every show is fresh and new, which I love most about this band.
Midway through the set, Aaron told everyone about how cool the 90’s were. Before jumping into the song ” Sell Out ” he told everyone that the next song was written before Instragram. Which made for a great intro to popular hit song.
The highlight of the show for me was them breaking out the 2002 classic song ” Where Have You Been “. It had been far, far too long since I heard that live. Last time I saw that song was 2008 on the Warped Tour. They dropped many gems throughout the show.
Before breaking into everyone’s favorite drinking song the band had a identity crisis on stage. First they played ” Tequila ” before they realized they don’t know that song. Then they tried “ Red Red Wine ” but sadly didn’t know that one either. Finally they gave ” Margaritaville ” a try but that didn’t fare any better. Before giving up they played a awesome version of ” Beer “.
They left the stage for 5 minutes with chants of Reel Big Fish filling the dark room. Getting the crowd charged up again with ” Don’t Stop Skanking ” Reel Big Fish got the crowd moving again. Which was followed up by one of my favorite ” The Many Faces Of Suburban Rhythm ” which is where they play a quick song followed by different musical versions of the same song (Country, Death Metal, Disco). Before ending the bit, Aaron remarked that was the first time for that joke. Funny guy.
They sent everyone home with a classic cover of the 80’s song ” Take On Me ” which was a fitting way to end a great night. This show was awesome, Reel Big Fish never lets me down and I always feel great when I leave.
The Album ” Candy Coated Fury ” is in stores/online now. Go support locally owned record stores. Or shop online byclicking here.
Thank You to : Reel Big Fish, The Pageant, Dan P and MU330, The Pilfers, Mike at Ear Shot Media, Nick Bacon and everyone else who made this night so great.
Reel Big Fish, The Pageant 01/15/13
1. Everyone Else Is A Asshole.
3. Everything Sucks.
4. She’s Famous Now.
5. Your Girlfriend Sucks
6. All I Want Is More
7. Everybody’s Drunk
8. Sell Out
9. Your Guts ( I Hate Em’)
10. Good Thing
11. I Hate You, Fuck You, Leave Me Alone.
12.Where Have You Been
13. Candy Coated Fury
14. She Has A Girlfriend Now
15. Another F-U Song.
16. In The Pit
17. I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore.
18. Tequila, Red Red Wine, Margrataville – BEER.
19. Don’t Stop Skankin’
20. Suburban Rhythm (Many Faces Of)
21. Take on Me.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that in the last two years I have become a tremendous fan of Ingrid Michaelson. Not only does her particular brand of songwriting tend to hit all of the right notes for me (both when she is upbeat and cheerful as well as when she is channeling heartache and pain), but anyone who is familiar with my musical preferences is fully aware that I have a huge soft spot for the female singing-songwriting-piano-playing types. Even my wife will gladly acknowledge that my crush on Ingrid is huge.
Fan that I am, I wasn’t sure about going to see the show last night. Earlier in the year when tickets went on sale there were a lot of unknowns in the Jenkins household due to the pending arrival of baby “Fussy McShitpants” – I wasn’t sure it would be smart to commit to tickets given that cash and time would both likely be at a premium. As it turns out, my sister-in-law really wanted to go and my wife and I were the only two people she knew who had any interest at all. To hell with it – tickets were purchased, shows were attended, and maybe in the process I could have a couple of lessons with the sister-in-law (at the impressionable young age of 17) about important things like “sneaking cameras into concerts using a purse full of tampons” and “silently mocking people who obviously dressed themselves in the dark”.
On to the show. This old man likes to snag a seat whenever possible, so I wanted to get there early enough to get a decent spot. Seating is relatively sparse at The Pageant, but I figured that getting there right around when doors opened would be good enough to score a table. I was not expecting this to be a super-crowded show, but especially given that this was on a Monday night and we needed to be in the under 21 section I did not think that we would have a problem.
I. Was. Wrong.
I’m usually at The Pageant a handful of times each year – three times so far this year before Ingrid – and I don’t know that I have ever seen it so full so quickly. The balcony was open, the balcony at least appeared full, and right when doors opened there were enough people there to fill most of the floor and all of the seating (including the under-21 section). The floor it is – it isn’t exactly what I was hoping for, but if there was a sunny side to it, at least I would be able to stand in the middle of the crowded floor and remain relatively unnoticed while recording a few songs here and there.
The show was scheduled to start at 8:00 – I had just assumed based on that start time that there was no opener. Once again, wrong: Singer/Songwriter Greg Laswell would be starting things off this evening. I hadn’t heard any of Greg’s songs before the show, so this was a set entirely full of new material for me. Greg played an 8 song solo set displaying his competencies as a pianist and a rhythm guitarist. I’ll be honest – I was worried that the crowd around us was going to be especially noisy and chatty, but once the set started the room was for the most part respectful. It was nice being able to hear quiet, intimate songs without having to block out cell phone chatter. Greg’s songs covered both the light and dark ends of the emotional spectrum (including a heartbreaking cover of the Kate Bush tune This Woman’s Work), but he especially seemed to shine when channeling melancholy – even some of the more upbeat songs occasionally had a kind of sadness to them (likely in part due to the solo acoustic setting), but it was an overall vibe that worked well for him and felt sincere. In between songs, Greg was talkative and funny, chatting with the audience and telling the stories behind some of the songs. An eight song set is really not enough exposure to form an opinion on a musician’s discography, but I certainly liked everything I heard and ended the set intending to check out some of his other work.
Sing, Theresa Says
This Woman’s Work (Kate Bush)
For the final song of his set, Greg brought out Ingrid to perform a song they co-wrote called Landline. At some point prior to this song, Greg mentioned that he was indeed married to the lovely and talented Ingrid. He talked a bit about (not) writing songs together – they’ve written two songs together, and he explained that while it’s easy to imagine two married songwriters sitting in their home writing together all the time, he and Ingrid never do and instead spend most of their time together watching Netflix. So the story goes: when the power went out and Netflix wasn’t an option, they wrote Landline.
Greg Laswell and Ingrid Michaelson – Landline
After a brief set change, Ingrid and friends came out and played a set that was mostly songs from her new album Human Again with a few covers and some favorites from her older albums sprinkled throughout. The band, including Ingrid, is six people – three guys and three gals. The ladies were front and center on stage, with Ingrid, Bess, and Allie on lead/backing vocals, and Ingrid playing guitar/uke/piano while Bess and Allie played lead and rhythm guitars, respectively. The gents all kept towards the back of the stage playing drums, bass, and a whole mess of other stuff (synth/keys, trumpet, et cetera).
Ingrid and company opened with Fire, the lead track from Human Again. True to the album cut, Fire started Ingrid’s set off with a burst of strings and extra percussion, with several of the other band members adding to the drums with their own floor toms. I love the addition of strings to non-classical music, but I’m always skeptical of using keys to recreate that sound live. Thankfully, the synth here sounded great and managed to completely avoid that fake-string-section sound that so many other bands seem to have. After Fire, the band played Palm of Your Hand, also from Human Again. For some reason this song hasn’t gelled with me quite as well as the rest of the album has, so it’s not a personal favorite, but it was performed really well and I found myself enjoying it by the end.
For the next few songs the band switched gears and played a few pre-Human Again tunes, starting with Soldier from the 2009 album Everybody.
By this point, the vibe in the room has totally changed from the opening set, and we have moved from “quiet, intimate setting” to “rock concert”, complete with all of the dancing, singing, and personal space violations that come with it.
Up next was Parachute, a single that Ingrid released between the last two full length CD’s. Parachute was a song Ingrid wrote that was used on Cheryl Cole’s album Messy Little Raindrops; Ingrid later released her own version as a digital single. This was followed up with Corner of Your Heart, a deeper cut from Ingrid’s 2006 album Boys and Girls. Corner of Your Heart was the first song of the night to feature Ingrid on the piano, and the combination of the piano, electric guitar, and vocal harmonies on this was really fantastic.
Ingrid stayed at the piano and returned to Human Again for the next few songs, starting with Do It Now. This is one of the faster, more “rocking” songs off of the new album, and for whatever reason I was surprised to hear so many people around me singing along. That isn’t a criticism – it’s a good enough song for sure – I just wasn’t expecting it to be a crowd favorite. Sure enough, though, everyone around me knew every word. In between songs here Ingrid was especially chatty, talking about the next song and the process of creating the music video for it. At a certain point in the story, Lady Gaga came up (Ingrid briefly dresses as her, among others, in the video), and Ingrid started telling a story about a show were her pants were too tight, and how she wound up playing a Weird Al style parody cover of Lady Gaga’s Poker Face about her pants being too damn tight. She and the band started playing the cover, but before they made it too far into it, Ingrid noticed a few younger kids in the audience and filtered herself (and the parody) before dropping any f-bombs. This evolved into a song about Lady Gaga having a penis, or maybe having a vagina, or maybe having both and being able to have her own babies. If there were young kids in the audience like Ingrid thought, some parents likely had some ‘splaining to do later that night. The crowd was eating this up, and it felt less like a band playing a concert and more like a group of friends screwing around and having fun.
Sadly I didn’t have the camera ready for this, so I don’t have a video to share, but you’ll just have to trust that this story really was way better than my retelling of it after the fact.
After revisiting the process of recording the music video for this song, the band played the single Blood Brothers next. To be honest, I’m fairly indifferent to this particular song so I don’t really have much to say about it, but it is catchy as hell and translated well to a live setting – I wound up enjoying it more than I thought I would.
Ingrid (and various band personnel) played a brief unplugged/acoustic set of four songs next. Up first was The Light In Me, another duet with Greg. He had mentioned before that they had only written two songs together – the first was Landline (played earlier in Greg’s set), and this was the other.
Ingrid Michaelson & Greg Laswell – The Light In Me
Next, Ingrid took the stage alone to perform Ghost, one of my favorites from her entire catalog and definitely one of the highlights of the night.
Perhaps her best known song at this point, The Way I Am was up next. This was a solo performance on the ukelele and was much slower and softer compared to the studio cut. She talked a bit about this song first, explaining that she has to change the style and arrangement of the song to keep it fresh for her since she plays it so often.
The Way I Am
The final song of the acoustic mini-set was a cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love, with Allie and Bess on vocals. Not going to lie, I’m not especially a fan of the song and I don’t really give a rat’s ass about Buon Eeever in general, but this arrangement made it feel like one of Ingrid’s own songs, and the three ladies really shone with the vocal harmonies.
Skinny Love (Bon Iver)
The rest of the band came back out to wrap up the main set, playing a run of four songs from the new album and closing the set with a cover. In The Sea was first, and like a few others this one has never really resonated with me, but the performance was solid and the band sounded great. This was followed by This Is War, a song that very much sounds like a signature Ingrid song. For my money, this is one of the better songs on the album, so I was glad to hear it make an appearance. Again, the vocal delivery of the chorus and the backing vocals were especially great – a common theme for this band. Next was Black and Blue, another favorite from Human Again. This one is kind of a funky jazzy tune that really gives Ingrid a chance to show off both the highs and lows of her vocal range. This song is at least a little bit of a departure from that signature sound found in This Is War, and it works really well.
Ribbons was the last Ingrid song of the set, and it was definitely the surprise of the night for me. I really like this song on the album, so I was hoping to hear it tonight, but I was not at all expecting it to have such a huge live presence. Not only did everyone in the band really give it their all for this tune, but they also incorporated an audience sing-along into the the middle of it, and wrapped it all up with the “big rock ending”. This one really had the crowd going probably more so than any other song of the night. It would have made a great closer on its own, but rather than end the set there the band wrapped things up with a pretty rocking cover of Rihanna’s We Found Love. The crowd may have been into Ribbons, but the room erupted for We Found Love. Everyone in the room was singing along and dancing, hands in the air. Well, everyone except me I suppose, as I didn’t know the song and actually had to look it up once I made it home. It was definitely a crowd pleaser regardless of my ignorance.
The band took a few minutes for an encore break and then came back out and played for more songs, starting with Maybe, the single from 2009’s Everybody.
After Maybe, the band played what I suspect is their second most well known song – Be OK. A short, upbeat tune, this was pretty consistent with the versions that have been on albums and/or on the radio.
All six band members left their instruments and stepped up to the mic arm-in-arm for an almost-a cappella performance You and I. This is a fun, quirky little song, and the band seemed to have a lot of fun with it before returning to their posts for one final song.
You and I
The night ended with what is without a doubt my favorite song from Ingrid’s entire catalog – The Chain. I would have loved to tape a video of this, but unfortunately my camera battery was just not having it. This song starts off with Ingrid singing and playing piano, and eventually as the song progresses each band member comes in with their respective instrument. About midway through the song the ladies start staggering their delivery of the chorus, and the song picks up a certain melancholic energy that results in a huge build up of intensity. Eventually the build up ends, the instruments stop, and Ingrid finishes the song by quietly delivering the last line “And I will take the chain from off the door”. The live performance of this was a little more extended than I would have expected, giving the various musicians a little bit of extra play time. I’m not going to call it jamming, but it did give the band a chance to be a little more flashy than the album cut of the song.
With that, the show was over, and in a perfect example of “doing it right”, my sister-in-law started forcing her way through the crowd and made her way up to the rail, claiming one of only three paper setlists handed out by the crew as they were breaking down the stage.
Admittedly, if it wasn’t for my sister-in-law wanting to go I probably would have passed on this show just because of how busy we’ve been lately. Having gone, I’m thankful that she needed someone to go with. I enjoyed practically everything about this show, and after the fact I almost certainly would have regretted not going had I passed. The band was great, the show was fun, and from where I stood it looked like both the band and the fans ended the night satisfied. For me personally, Ingrid Michaelson and friends were completely worth giving up a night of relatively hard-to-find free time.
What A Day
Sing, Theresa Says *
How The Day Sounds
This Woman’s Work (cover) *
And Then You
Landline (with Ingrid) * Ingrid’s Set:
Palm of Your Hand
Corner Of Your Heart
Do It Now
“Pants Too Tight” / “Lady Gaga Has a Penis” (Poker Face parody/improv)
The Light In Me (duet with Greg) *
Ghost (solo) *
The Way I Am (solo) *
Skinny Love (Bun EEEver cover, just the ladies) *
In The Sea
This Is War
Black And Blue
We Found Love (Rihanna cover)
You and I (unplugged) *
Evanescence w/ Killer Me, Killer You and Weave The Fate 04/25/12
The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
Words/Photos by concertchk
Ten years ago during the Nintendo Tour, Evanescence front woman Amy Lee walked out on stage in a wedding dress. At this point they were the headlining act, and she was at her prime (or at least she should have been). Yet I wasn’t that impressed as I just stood there like and was like really.. a wedding dress? Please.
Fast forward to the year 2012 and a night at The Pageant in St. Louis. The Pageant is my favorite place to go in St. Louis, I fell in love with it way back when it first opened, and have been going to shows there for years. I’ve had tons of great concert memories there, and always love the atmosphere. I should own stock that’s how much I love the place as it’s one of the BEST concert venues in St. Louis. In fact, I have never seen a bad show there.
The opening acts for Evanescence were Killer Me, Killer You, and Weave The Fate. There was some sort of mix up when these bands went on. Killer Me, Killer You was out there, rocking, heavy, and the crowd was going nuts. The lead singer went into the pit and just got the crowd all pumped up and ready for a great night of music. Then Weave The Fate took the stage and all the energy died. I feel asleep as I couldn’t tell if they wanted to be rock or rap. Yes they had a DJ, but they were such a mishmash of music genres it made it hard to focus which made it hard to care. The crowd wasn’t motivated at all and they were just ready for it to end and Evanescence to begin.
Promptly at 10:05pm Amy Lee and company took the stage, that’s one thing I love about The Pageant is they do have a curfew and they make sure those artist get on stage and going in the time they have allowed.
Lee actually impressed me. Yes she did have help during a few songs as you could tell she was using backing tracks or some kind of auto tune, but over all she belted out new songs and old favorites with grace and her backing band (two of whom I know from past bands) sounded remarkable.
Amy Lee’s piano playing was excellent as I don’t remember seeing her play it ten years ago, like I said the whole wedding dress just ruined it for me. In fact, her piano playing skills are exceptional and far better than Lady Gaga I would have to say. I am always impressed when someone can play an instrument and belt out incredible vocals at the same time.
Lee also stated she wasn’t one to talk, she was more of just play the song type, and that’s what she did. With her doing this the show flew past despite being nearly 90 minutes in length. I was actually surprised that after the show ended, she did come out and autograph things for folks. There was roughly 150 people standing in line out by the bus, and I honestly didn’t except her to even make an effort. After about fifteen minutes, security came out and said, Amy will be only signing, there will be no photos, nor hugging, just straight signing as the band had an 18 hour drive ahead of them. Amy was super nice and I made sure to get my ticket signed after I mentioned that it’s been ten years since I had last seen her perform live. She smiled and thanked me and yes I just had to pat her on the shoulder. It was nice, she is after all human. Overall seeing Evanescence ten years apart was a good thing, it shows that artist really do improve with age.
PHOTOS/SETLIST: Yonder Mountain String Band at The Pageant 3/30 & 3/31
Pictures/Words by Bradley Darby
Last week in preparation for the two night Yonder Mountain String Band extravaganza at The Pageant in St. Louis, we brought you an interview with Jeff Austin and Dave Johnston where we were told that St. Louis crowds are typically pretty pumped up and that shows here are known to involve a heavy workload for the band. When they made their presence known at The Pageant around 8:45PM on Friday night, it was obvious from the start that this was going to be one hell of a weekend.
They didn’t waste any time, starting their first of four sets right at the designated time with crowd favorite “Sharecroppers Son.” Just a bit later, Jeff Austin addressed the St. Louis crowd and fed the baseball towns addiction by making note that he is a Chicago Cubs fan, before they went into “Redbirds.” Bass player Ben Kauffman, who was doing a majority of the emcee work between songs, then introduced the next song, written by banjo player Dave Johnston, “Don’t Worry, Happy Birthday”, followed by “Looking Back Over My Shoulder” which was called “the worst song you’ll ever hear us play” by Kauffman. The first set ended with “Illinois Rain”
After about a twenty minute break, they came back out for the second set. Highlights of set two included Bob Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” and the highly energetic “Boatman’s Dance”, which ended with a solid 30 plus seconds of the crowd erupting as the band stood on stage, obviously taken back by the rambunctious crowds support. Another cover, and a Yonder rarity, “Masons Children” , originally by the Grateful Dead, kicked off a pretty stellar finish to the evening that also included a 20 minute medley of “Ramblin in the Rambler” into Yonder’s take on the Talking Heads “Girlfriend is Better” into “Angel”, into “Rambling Reprise.” After a brief break, the boys came back out and spoke to the crowd again as mandolin player Jeff Austin told the crowd to go get drunk and crazy tonight and then pretty much told us to party all night before telling everyone they would see us tomorrow, and reminded us to wear sunglasses. The encore kicked off with the Ben Kauffman voiced “Sometimes I’ve Won” and finally the crowd was sent home after “Let Me Fall”
NIGHT 1 – 3/30/2012 Set 1
Sharecroppers Son, Don’t You Lean On Me, East Nashville Easter, Spanish Harlem Incident, Strophe, Too Late Now, Long Time, Redbird, Don’t Worry Happy Birthday, Lookin’ Back Over My Shoulder, They Love Each Other, Illinois Rain Set 2
Out of the Blue, Straight Line, And Your Bird Can Sing, It Takes A Lot To Laugh – It Takes A Train To Cry (Bob Dylan), Years With Rose, Boatman, Rain Still Falls, Things You’re Selling, Masons Children (Grateful Dead), Lord Only Knows Pt 1, Ramblin in the Rambler, Girlfriend is Better, Angel, Ramblin Reprise E: Sometimes I’ve Won, E: Let Me Fall
Saturday’s show started off with some interesting events going on just outside the venue. Just a block up the road from The Pageant, there was some form of domestic disturbance that led to police in riot gear and gun shots being fired into the air. Meanwhile, back in hippie land… myself and about 2500-3000 of my closest friends enjoyed our time yet again with the Yonder Mountain String Band.
The first set began again, right at 8:45. After just one song, Dave Johnston was given the change to show off on the banjo for “Steep Grade, Sharp Curves.” Other highlights of the first set were “Kentucky Mandolin”,“Damned If The Right One Didn’t Go Wrong” and fan favorite “Pockets.” One of the early day Yonder songs, “40 Miles from Denver” written about Nederland, Colorado, “Shake Me Up” which has a funky string feel to it and “Raleigh and Spencer” ended the first set.
Second set highlights included the opener, “Pretty Daughter”, which is one of my favorite Yonder songs, and “Aint Been Myself in Years” both of which are sang by Jeff Austin. Kauffman took over the helm again for “Town” and the set ended with the 23 minute jam of “Traffic Jam” with “King Ebenezer” thrown in the middle. Quite a filthy little combo to end the fourth set in two nights. The encore featured a dedication to former Split Lip Rayfield guitarist, and friend of Yonder, Kirk Rundstrom who passed away in 2007 after being diagnosed a year earlier with esophageal cancer. In Rundstrom’s honor, they played the Split Lip Rayfield song “Used to Call Me Baby”, commonly referred to as Crazy.
NIGHT 2 – 3/31/2012 Set 1
Goin Where They Dont Know My Name, Steep Grade Sharp Curves, Honesty, Kentucky Mandolin, Loved You Enough, Damned If The Right One Didn’t Go Wrong, Free To Run, Night is Left Behind, Pockets, 40 Miles From Denver, Shake Me Up, Raleigh and Spencer Set 2
Pretty Daughter, All The Time, Blue Collar Blues, Deep Pockets, Hill Country Girl, Sidewalk Stars, Isn’t Been Myself In Years, Town, Another Day, Fine Excuses, Little Rabbit, Traffic Jam > King Ebenezer > Traffic Jam E: Crazy (Split Lip Rayfield) , E:Troubled Mind > 20 Eyes > Troubled Mind
As you may have seen previously here on Concert Confessions, the Yonder Mountain String Band will be heading out on a cross country trek beginning this week in Lawrence, KS at Liberty Hall and inevitably going all the way through their Harvest Music Festival in October. The tour hits my hometown of St. Louis this Friday and Saturday night and you can still pick up tickets to join in on the festivities as the Nederland, Colorado based jam band/new grass quartet hits The Pageant stage following Brown Bird at 7:30PM each night. Make sure to check back here next week for a full recap of both shows!
We recently caught up with mando master Jeff Austin as he voyaged around the greater Colorado area on a man cave shopping spree, as well as banjo picker Dave Johnston on his way home from the doctor to ask the guys a few questions about music, baseball, piracy, and their favorite things to do while in St. Louis.
Jeff: THIS IS JEFF AUSTIN!
Me: Hello Jeff Austin, how are you?
Jeff: I’m good man! I’m highly caffeinated and I am buying fun things for my man cave. I just bought a big flat screen, I am going to buy a home computer, amp cables, mic stands, I’m buying a bass… today is a fun fucking day!
Me: It sounds like it!
(Joined by Dave Johnston)
Dave: Hello, Dave here!
Me: I appreciate you guys taking the time to talk with me today. The first thing I wanted to ask you about is what it’s like having the opportunity at this point in your career to share a stage with your friends, and influences, like Sam Bush, and even Bela Fleck for instance at last year’s Harvest Festival.
Jeff: The cool thing, especially within this genre of music, is to get the opportunity to play with people that are like your hero’s and you kinda idolize, or look up to in a big, big way. In this area of music, the acoustic-new grass-bluegrass-Americana kinda thing, there’s a bigger sense of being open and sharing experiences with each other. So to get to be on stage with Bela Fleck, and to consider him someone that’s not just an influence to me, but he’s a friend to me… And Sam Bush, calling him and talking shit about baseball, it’s just another phase of those guys being someone who inspires you, you know. When they go from being someone you may idolize to being a friend, its a cool transition and knowing people in the rock world, it doesn’t seem to really happen that much in that world, but in this world it really seems to be something that doesn’t just happen, it’s kind of a pride thing you know? I take great pride in the fact that Sam is a buddy of ours.
Me: How heavily involved are you in bringing in bands you love and buddies at the Harvest Festival, such as the McCourys and Keller, guys like that?
Jeff: It’s definitely not coincidental I mean, its something that if we are going to put our name on something and partner with someone we definitely want to make sure we have input in every aspect. Who’s playing the festival, and even better if they’re buddies of ours that we already have a relationship with them, or if it’s someone we’ve always wanted to meet and interact with we bring them in and strike up a friendship with them. Like last year at Harvest Festival, I’d never met Howard Levy before then. But about a week and a half ago I was in Los Angeles and the Flecktones happened to be in town and the next thing I know I find myself with Howard after the show laughing and joking and talking baseball and talking music and stuff. There’s no coincidence in that sort of thing man, we love to have our buddies invited to the party.
Me: I can tell you first hand from the fans side that the last two Harvest Festivals were two of the best weekends of recent memory, and I really appreciate what you do to you putting those festivals on.
Jeff: I appreciate hearing that man. We got some great stuff planned for this year and I think its just going to continue like a big family picnic feel
Me: You certainly picked a great spot to host them, Mulberry Mountain is a beautiful place.
Jeff: What an awesome site, such a great spot
Me: So Jeff you mentioned talking baseball with Sam Bush, and I know you are a big Cubs fan, that’s been documented in the past… I’m in STL and as you know there’s a friendly rivalry between the two cities… I know Sam Bush is a big Cardinals fan… does that ever create a problem with you two?
Jeff: No no, you know the thing is as hardcore and until my dying day am I a Cubs fan, I’m also just a huge fan of baseball. Just to watch what happened last year, that was amazing. I have a bunch of friends that are big Cardinals fans, including Sam, and just to see that happen and go ‘man what an amazing thing for the sport of baseball in general’. It’s never presented a problem because the one bet Sam and I ever made, I won. And the thing was with Sam especially, he grew up, who was one of your broadcasters back in the day? Harry Carey, and then Harry came to the Cubs, so theres this connection between just loving the sport of baseball. Yeah they’re rivals and you’ll never find me wearing red, but it’s a fun thing for Sam and I to have a jab at each other about and I’ve never had any ill intent behind it, it’s just talking good baseball.
(Dave re-joins the conversation after dropping call)
Me: As I had told you earlier Concert Confessions is all about the by the fans for the fans point of view, and I was curious to know what’s one of the best shows you’ve had the chance to see lately as a fan when you aren’t on your hectic touring schedule?
Dave: I just saw Ryan Adams in Denver and I was very impressed with it, it was very inspiring.
Jeff: I’m the resident dirty hippy of the band.. Last year first night of Phish at the Gorge… I’ve been seeing that band for 20 years and that was just one of the best. To see a group of guys who at one point probably were never going to speak to each other again go out there and do what they did, I was so impressed. August 5, 2011, it just blew my mind. Just such great interplay, they were laughing, having a blast, everyone is healthy and happy, that for me was a pretty mind blowing experience. In recent memory that was one of the great times I have had recently. It’s just nice to see them getting along and making good music in a different frame of mind.
Me: What was the first bluegrass album or show that made you say “this is what I want to do”?
Dave: I went to go see this band called Traditional Grass in Urbana at a park festival kind of thing. There was this fantastic banjo picker there named Joe Mullen. After I saw that I couldn’t believe you could do that with an instrument and that set me on the path.
Jeff: The first bluegrass I had heard that I kind of really recognized, as I learned my mom was a semi truck driver, an 18 wheeler driver, and when I was really little we would drive around and listen to a lot of old country western radio and there was a lot of bluegrass. So I found out recently I was exposed to a lot of it when I was younger, and it was funny because one of my mom’s favorite groups was Del McCoury and now Del’s a close friend and that’s pretty crazy. When I was a senior in hs we did a production of Huck Finn and I was the lighting, sound director and stage manager and this music that they used was John McEuen’s record The String Wizards. It was 1991/92 and I didn’t really put together that it’s Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas and Earl Scruggs and John McEuen and you know, but I remember the impact it had on me, it had drums and stuff like that but I still remember it and I actually just found my original tape of it. As far as the first thing I ever heard that really stuck with me as far as really seeing bluegrass I think it was the first year that me and Dave and a couple of the other guys that were in a band that Dave got together called the Bluegrassholes in Illinois and we went to Merlefest, I don’t remember the year, 96 maybe, and just sitting in mud watching all these amazing musicians play we never slept, we just watched music all day and go back to camp, drink some beers and cheap whiskey and play music until the sun came up.. fall asleep for a few hours, wake up when the tent got too hot, and go back after it for four days straight and that for me was when the hook got set and I thought this is what I really want to do.
Me: I was up in your hometown of Nederland last fall and had the opportunity to go to Red Rocks for the first time to see you guys, how often do you make it back home to Nederland?
Dave: I was just up there a little while ago, my sister and her husband live in the area and I live in Boulder now. But I was up there doing my taxes and paying a little visit. About once every 6 mos or so me and the family get up there
JA: i live 10 mins from Ned so I am in Ned pretty often, I was there yesterday at the playground with my gf and her daughter, I am there a lot. I got buddies in Ned, I go to the deli and eat soup, I go have a beer at the PI and stuff like that. I’m about 10 mins south of there so I’m there pretty often.
Me: You tend to often do multiple day runs in St. Louis (3 nights NYE 2010, 2 nights Feb 2010)… what do you like to do for fun when you’re here?:
Dave: Right down the street from the Pageant is that killer record store right?
Me: Vintage Vinyl
Dave: YEAH! The Thai food down the street is pretty badass
Jeff: I’m with Dave I pretty much go from the gym at the Moonrise or whatever the heck it is to the record store, and I gotta give major credit to the Thai Country Cafe which is my favorite Thai spot right there, for bringing back the duck noodle soup. finally, it was off the menu for like 2 years and it was a heartbreak because every time we pulled into STL Adam and I, our guitar player, would wake up and roll down and get the roast duck noodle soup and a couple years ago they took it off the menu and I was doing a show there with the Traveling McCoury’s and Bill Nershi at Old Rock House and we went with a good friend of mine Dave Shulman, who works at the Mimi Fishman Foundation in honor of Jon Fishman from Phish’s mom, and I said ‘lets go to the Thai Country Cafe’ and I sat down and opened the menu and it was back on the menu! I hugged the guy and told him it was awesome. The shows in STL are pretty pumped up crowds, so the shows are pretty heavy duty. I sleep in a little bit and wake up, go for a run, lift some weights, record store and Thai food, sound check and off to the races again.
Me: What are your thoughts on SOPA and piracy in general in terms of like YouTube?
Dave: I think that John Barlow had a really good way of looking at this whole thing. you cant manufacture scarcity right, what YouTube does is it exposes everyone and you can get yourself out there for free and while its true you might not make a lot of money selling records because of YouTube or piracy and things like that, the fact is you will make more money doing your music. Ask the Grateful Dead, they are proponents and proof that just because something is scarce doesn’t make it more valuable. They made their stuff very available and did a great job with that and I love the fact that Barlow called attention to that one time. I still blow that horn quite a bit
Jeff: We’re a live band. Would I love to sell a million records and have songs on the radio, fuck yes… any musician who tells you different is a liar. I believe that strongly, any musician that doesn’t want success is selling themselves short. But we’ve always been a word of mouth band, we played a show in 1999 that was recorded on microphones and circulated and turned California into one of our biggest markets. If we have a great experience with each other on stage and it gets out there on YouTube or somebody streams it on their phone and a thousand people watch it… that spreads so quickly in this day and age where I can go to a Flecktones show and take a five minute video and send it to 10 friends they send it to 10 friends and within 24 hours a thousand people see it, or ten thousand people or a hundred thousand people. That’s our bag, we’re a live band, we’ve always been a touring band and we made our nut off of going and hitting the bricks and making music in front of people and showing them that kind of direct honesty as opposed to the filter the studio can give you. I think it’s an important thing and nothing about that really scares me. If you got a song you haven’t recorded on a record yet and you want people to be hip to it and someone shoots a video of it a night the bands really hot, that can spark a lot of things when that video pops up, and then the record comes out and people pay attention to it more… I think it’s a really beneficial thing, especially in this day of age where, shit what was the top selling record last yr?? 2 million copies, 3 millions copies?? When I was a kid they were selling 3 million copies in a week. The importance of if can’t be understated that even for bands like us that even though we’ve been together 14 years and touring that entire existence, the word is still getting out about us. People are still finding out about us. Who are these guys, when did they get together? Great awesome, welcome in, eat it up! That’s kind of how I feel
Me: Thanks for the time today, we certainly do appreciate it. Is there anything you want to add?
Dave: Looking forward to getting to St. Louis….
Jeff: The start of this tour for us is pretty damn fun for us… Lawrence, Kansas then 2 nights in St. Louis and then Tulsa I think. It’s a nice little beginning for a trip, it couldn’t be set up better… we’re psyched! Get there early and check out Brown Bird, they’re pretty hip they are getting some really good buzz and have a real cool thing going on so check them out!
CATCH THE YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND THIS SPRING AND SUMMER AT A VENUE NEAR YOU!
When a band that helped pave the way for an entire genre of music likes Jane’s Addiction announces a show at a venue as small as The Pageant, you don’t wait around to pick up tickets. Many people were left in the dark after this show sold out in 30 minutes just over a month ago. Tickets were being sold for upwards of $100 a piece by online brokers and scalpers. The bar was set high for the first show of Jane’s Addictions 2012 tour in support of their newest album “The Great Escape Artist” released last year. This marked the first show with the “original lineup” of Jane’s Addiction including guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins, and front man Perry Farrell, who was also the founder of Lollapalooza in 1991. The only exception is bassist Chris Chaney, who rejoined the band last year after brief stints with them over the last ten years.
Jane’s Addiction came on just after 9:15 as Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” blared to an end throughout the sold out, jam packed crowd. They didn’t waste any time and went right into “Underground” from The Great Escape Artist before going right into fan favorites “Mountain Song”, “Just Because” and “Been Caught Stealing.” Perry and the boys were in excellent form and their excitement and emotion certainly shined bright.
The stage setup was pretty crazy. Earlier in the day it was being mentioned on social media outlets that the show was an “erotic circus for adults” and that there were signs posted at the venue educating the crowd that there were adult themes present throughout the show. Not only was the lighting setup pretty great, but there were burlesque dancers and actors performing during the show as well. One of the more interesting scenes involved a man doing some weird things with a baby, including hanging it from a noose, before inevitably slipping and hanging himself as the song came to an end during “Twisted Tales.”
After the band took a short break they came back out to an even more intimate setup to the left side of the stage. There Navarro and Chaney were sitting around on amps with tables and lamps nearby while Stephen Perkins played a stripped down kit and Farrell hopped around stage crooning in a way that only Perry Farrell can for acoustic versions of “Classic Girl” and “I Would For You”, one of my personal favorites. They closed this portion down with their most popular song “Jane Says.” There was also a large stuffed bear on the stage with them to complete the living room show vibe.
As the show came to an end Farrell came out and addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for coming and telling us that he is glad we enjoyed the show because they had just come up with it yesterday on that very stage. They then closed the night out with another song from the new album, “Words Right Outta My Mouth” before sending the capacity crowd home with a ringing in their ears and stories of a fantastic show to tell to their friends. It was an incredible experience and I look forward to getting the opportunity to see Jane’s Addiction again.
Saturday marked the return of the famed Grateful Dead tribute band, Dark Star Orchestra, to St. Louis and The Pageant for their 2028th show (they number them on their website). Dark Star is not like other bands attempting to channel their inner Jerry, but they typically choose a show from the bands 30 year history and perform the show as it was intended. Sometimes, however, they choose to just come up with an original set… tonight was one of those nights.
The first set started off right on time at 8 and seemed to be kind of dragging on for the first half. The band seemed very laid back and casual on stage taking extended breaks between songs and just kind of taking their time to hit their stride. The healthy turnout of Deadheads seemed to be growing restless but DSO picked it up with a Bob Dylan cover thrown into the mix, and ended the first set with “To Lay Me Down” and “Don’t Let the Deal Go Down.”
After a short break Dark Star went onto a tangent with a hour long medley of songs thrown together including a ten minute drum solo, “Scarlet Begonias” and the rarely played “If I Had The World to Give” which was only performed by the Grateful Dead three times.The set ended right around 11:30 and after a short break, DSO came back out and closed the night out with a tribute to a St. Louis legend, and a man who’s legacy will live on forever just 1 mile up the street from The Pageant in the form of a statue, “Johnny B. Goode” written by the great Chuck Berry, often performed by the Dead.
This was my first non-festival Dark Star Orchestra show and I was happy to have gone, but would have certainly preferred a set that was a recreation of a historic Dead show. The crowd certainly got into the show as it went on and it was just crowded enough that you were left room to dance and maneuver as you wished which made for a great atmosphere. I would certainly take another voyage with the Dark Star Orchestra on their tribute to the legacy of one of the most iconic bands ever.
Set 1 : New Minglewood Blues, Might as Well, Passenger, Blow Away, Waiting For A Miracle, Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues, Mister Charlie, To Lay Me Down, Cassidy > Don’t Let the Deal Go Down
Set 2 : Feel Like A Stranger, Believe It or Not, Let It Grow > Saint Stephen > The Eleven > Drums > Space > Scarlet Begonias > Not Fade Away > If I Had the World to Give > Going Down the Road Feeling Bad > Not Fade Away
Once again, winter is upon us and the month of December has come and gone. Certain things are as dependable as clockwork during this time of year. The days get shorter, the temperature drops, and the world around us is inundated (for better or worse) with non-stop holiday themed decorations and music.
Another significant thing happens as the year draws to a close: a group of highly talented Saint Louis musicians join together like a giant inflatable pig-shaped Voltron to form El Monstero, and every year during the week surrounding Christmas they play 5 to 7 shows paying tribute to the sights and sounds of Pink Floyd, with proceeds benefiting The Pageant’s charitable foundation.
This is one of those shows where I have to have a reserved seat – the standing room only/general admission is just too crowded for me to be able to enjoy myself, and I don’t ever feel like showing up early enough to wait in line and get a good spot on the floor. I try every year to buy my own reserved tickets at the time they go on sale, and I have never been able to find any reserved tickets to any of the nights – and that’s if I am sitting at the computer ready to hit the button the minute they go on sale. Thankfully, someone I know has been able to get tickets for me the last few years, and came through again this year. This year the tickets were for the Thursday night show – 12/22, exactly one year after the 2010 show we attended. As a refresher, my thoughts on El Monstero and that particular show can be found here.
While the December gigs have never disappointed me before, in July El Monstero played a set at the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Memorial Amphitheater that just didn’t have the same magic. I was disappointed enough with the experience overall that I actually opted to not write a review of the show as I didn’t want to spend 2,000 words raining piss and vinegar on an act that I love. The band played well enough at this July gig, but everything else about it was pretty much awful. Long story short, the producers of this show sold 7,000 tickets to a show at a 5,000 capacity venue, it was the hottest day of the year, the crowd was rude and stupid (including wookies interpretive dancing and spinning glow in the dark hula hoops in the overcrowded seating area), the logistics were a total clusterfuck with 2+ hours lines to get beer/soda/water/food (with temporary outages of all of these items), and NONE of the rules were enforced by any of the crowd control officers. Yeah, maybe the band played great, but it was hard to have a good time in such a shit storm, and more than once I wanted to cram the glow in the dark hula hoops up some wookie’s ass. As a result, I was looking forward to a proper El Monstero show. It was, after all, one of the normal December gigs at The Pageant – but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little concerned after that summer show. It turns out that I was concerned for no reason. This year’s version of El Monstero was easily one of the best I’ve seen and was definitely on par with what I have come to expect from the previous winter shows.
Every year something big is added/changed in the production of the show to make each year stand out from the years before. Last year it was the fearless stage seating which put some lucky fans up on stage with the band for the duration of the concert (which may have also put them awkwardly close to the stripper poles during Young Lust). This year there was no fearless stage seating – instead, the band was on the main stage, but steps at each side of the stage lead up to a raised stage platform behind the band (ideal for the more theatrical/visual songs), and half a dozen or tall, skinny screens that displayed various content and images during songs. Also new this year were flame pillars located around the perimeter of the stage (at least, I think this was new – I don’t remember the flames in prior years). The flame pillars and fireballs released from these on stage pyrotechnics were big enough that we could feel the heat from every burst in the upper level balcony. I was at least a little surprised to see that The Pageant was rated for this kind of pyrotechnic display.
Here’s the best shot I have of the stage. Not the best picture, but you get the idea:
On to the show itself. I will spare you the play by play and focus on what I thought were the real highlights (and of course whatever I have videos of). In terms of song selection, this year’s set was very similar to last year. Overall song order was arranged a little differently this year which created a better flow, especially during the set of songs from “The Wall”. I have the full set listed out at the end of the review.
As usual, the band started the night off with one of the more theatrical songs in their arsenal – In The Flesh. This was complete with police officers on stage armed with spotlights and singer Mark Quinn flailing a riding crop at audience members while being raised into the air via a genie lift strategically placed near the stage. What followed was a greatest hits parade from the album “The Wall”, including crowd favorites such as Another Brick in the Wall, Mother, Young Lust, Hey You, and Run Like Hell.
Always popular with the El Monstero audiences, Young Lust (which typically includes an authentic pole dancer on each side of the stage) upped the stripper ante this year with nearly a full dozen of East St. Louis’ finest. One Of My Turns was up next – for whatever reason, I’ve always had a soft spot for this three minute mental meltdown of a song, and the electric guitar duet midway through the song is one of my favorite things that Pink Floyd has ever done (starting at about 2:30 in the video below).
One of my Turns:
The only two songs in the “The Wall” portion of the set that really felt out of place to me were Vera and Bring the Boys Back Home. I get the message. I understand the role these songs play in the overall concept of “The Wall”. I still think they’re filler songs in a live setting and don’t understand why they are played every year. My problem, I guess, but to me this is time that would be better filled with a song from somewhere else in the band’s catalogue, like Fearless or One Of These Days.
After Bring the Boys Back Home came the highlight of the first set: Run Like Hell > Another Brick in the Wall III > Run Like Hell. This was definitely a major highlight of the show – with high energy guitar driven rock and roll, a drum solo, and fireballs and flame pillars erupting on stage in sync with the rhythm of the song, this is hands down the best song played in the first set.
Run Like Hell > ABITY III > Run Like Hell:
Finally, after completing their run of songs from “The Wall”, El Monstero ended their first set of the night with Shine On You Crazy Diamond, the haunting and beautiful tribute to Syd Barrett. Saxophone player Dave Farver came out for the outro/jam at the end and took to the bar/handrail area surrounding the perimeter of the floor, strutting and dancing across the bar (and narrowly avoiding spilling people’s drinks) as he played. This was a fairly standard version of Shine On, but even the standard version is still exceptional.
The curtain closed for a set break, and after a brief intermission the lights went down, the music started, and two crew members dressed as cops (or some other kind of authority figures) pulled the curtain back to reveal a giant projection screen covering the front of the stage showing thematically appropriate images of hammers beating down nails and cavemen beating things with rocks. The message was clear: The nail that sticks up must be hammered down. The band started Welcome to the Machine from behind the screen and after a verse or so the screen dropped to reveal the band on stage with the same “the man will break you” type imagery on display on the 6 smaller screens at the rear of the stage.
Welcome to the Machine:
This led right into Have A Cigar, and true to the studio recording a special guest came out to sing lead vocals. A song about record labels and selling out, as usual this performance was complete with fake money being thrown into the crowd during the song. I was shocked to see people leaning way over the rail of the balcony struggling to grab fake paper money like it was the black Friday door buster deal at Walmart.
Have A Cigar:
The set took a turn for the psychedelic next with a medley of Echoes and Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. As a song, I have always (and still do) love the lyrics and imagery of Echoes. Conceptually, it has always fascinated me. Something about a 30 minute song that is 4 minutes of song and 26 minutes submarine pings, trippy guitar jams, and outer space sounds really appealed to the teenager to me, but it’s a track I have to skip after the first four minutes now. Thankfully, El Monstero’s arrangement of Echoes clocks in at less than a third of the time and focuses on all of the important parts of the song while leaving out the crazy acid flashback. This year, they mixed in a version of Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun set to black lights and mostly naked glow-in-the-dark body painted interpretive dancers.
Echoes > Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun > Echoes (video starts at Set the Controls…):
After this we were treated to a set of songs from “Animals” (my favorite Floyd album) that included Dogs, Pigs (Three Different Ones), and Pigs on the Wing. Similar to One Of My Turns, the guitar duet in the middle of Dogs is perhaps the best thing they’ve ever put to tape (the video below starts at that duet).
Dogs (partial) > Pigs
I suspect this next run of songs may be the most anticipated part of this show, and I suspect it keeps most fans coming back year after year: The album “Dark Side of The Moon” in its entirety. There really isn’t much to say about this, either you know it or you don’t. Pink Floyd derailed before I ever had the chance to see them live, but all I know for sure is that if I sit back and close my eyes during this, it’s the closest that I will likely ever get.
On The Run > Time
Great Gig in the Sky:
“Dark Side of the Moon” concluded, and after a short encore break the band returned to the stage to perform what are perhaps the two most popular songs in the Pink Floyd library: Wish You Were Here and Comfortably Numb.
Comfortably Numb had the full run of stage animations and pyrotechnics, with fireballs and flame columns exploding throughout, sparks raining down from the ceiling, and a hydraulically raised platform in the middle of the room for the two lead guitarists to take their extended solos on. Rock and roll, defined.
Wish You Were Here:
It is worth mentioning here that my father is the source of my Pink Floyd nerdery. He was perhaps the single biggest influence on my musical preferences as a child, and without a doubt he was the origin of the Pink Floyd virus. This is all his fault, so naturally I’ve been waiting for years for a chance to be able to bring him to one of these shows. Unfortunately, the show that he went to was the same summer show that I mentioned above, and while he swore that he had a great time, I was disappointed that it wasn’t everything I had talked it up to be. Seeking redemption, it was more important than ever to me to get him to one of the proper December shows. My mother had taken him to see the Australian Pink Floyd at the Fox theater earlier in the fall, and he was satisfied with that – he didn’t really feel the need to go see El Monstero again and thought someone else might have more fun. While we had to drag him kicking and screaming (he was trying to give his ticket away to my sister as late as two hours before the show started), he went.
Curious for my dad’s thoughts on the show given that he went to Australian Pink Floyd and the July El Monstero gig, I asked him what he thought after the show.
His response is the most important line of this whole review: “Fuck Australian Pink Floyd. These guys [El Monstero] just did Floyd WAY better than Australian Pink Floyd. I think they just did Floyd better than Pink Floyd did Floyd.”
I wrote over two thousand three hundred words in this post, and he may have written a better review than me in less than thirty.
Maybe he wants to join Concert Confessions?
In The Flesh
The Thin Ice
Another Brick in the Wall I >
Happiest Days of our Lives >
Another Brick in the Wall II
Goodbye Blue Sky
One Of My Turns >
Goodbye Cruel World
Is There Anybody Out There?
Bring The Boys Back Home
Run Like Hell >
Another Brick in the Wall III
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
— set break —
Welcome to the Machine
Have a Cigar
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun >
Pigs on the Wing
Dark Side of the Moon (full album)
Wish You Were Here
12.29/12.30/12.31 – Umphreys McGee at The Pageant – St. Louis, MO Words and Pictures By: Bradley Darby
I sure as hell hope The Pageant’s insurance is up to date….. because following the three night-seven set weekend to close out 2011 and ring in 2012, there is no doubt that Umphreys McGee blew the roof off the place! If you have never seen Umphreys McGee, you should do yourself a favor and make it a point to catch a show. The band can’t be contained in one genre, and attempts to place them will always come up short when during one song you may get elements of funk, metal, progressive rock, electronic and a hint of hip hop thrown in at the same time. Umphreys McGee is one of those bands you need to see once in your life, so you can honestly say you gave them a shot to blow your mind and explode your visual senses all at the same time. The extended weekend featured quite a bit of the improv side of Umphreys, but that is when you can see them in their raw form just having fun and doing what they love for a short residency at one of the premiere concert venues in the Midwest.
New Years Eve was surely one of the greatest weekends of music I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing, and the visual stimulation added by one of the best light men out there Jefferson Waful (@JeffersonWaful) only helped add the perfect ambiance. Here’s a brief recap and setlist from each night, as well as some photos from the weekend.
Night One – Thursday 12/29
Quite possibly my favorite show of the weekend, it seemed as though Umphreys wanted to get some straight in your face rocking out of the way before bringing horns in for the rest of the weekend. The theme for Night 1 seemed to be shredding guitar riffs. Doing their best to melt faces off on “Cemetery Walk”, it was after the funky “August” before vocalist Brendan Bayliss stopped to acknowledge the crowd and congratulate the St. Louis Cardinals on their World Series victory, and then admitting how hard it was to say that. Set one was heavy on instrumentals, including “Resolution” and an Umphreys led journey on a heavy metal emotional roller coaster with “Wizard Burial Ground” to close out the set.
“Bright Lights”, in my opinion the unofficial UM Party Anthem, kicked off the second set. Always one to get the crowd moving, it makes it a lot easier when it clocks in at over 15 minutes. The medley of “1348” into “Dr Feelgood” into “Cemetery Walk II” was followed by the debut of a new cover song, “Second Song” by TV on the Radio. “Pay the Snucka” was also pretty great, and a first in my limited Umphrey’s history. After going back into “1348” to close out the set, I was pretty psyched that “Hajimemashite” was chosen as the encore, and it seemed like an absolutely amazing way to end the first night and set the bar high as Bayliss told the crowd “Lets do this again tomorrow people.”
I: Intro (debut) > Cemetery Walk, August, Resolution > Anchor Drops, Tribute to the Spinal Shaft, Wizard Burial Ground II: Bright Lights > 1348 > Dr.Feelgood (Motley Crue) > Cemetery Walk II, Second Song (TV on the Radio), Pay the Snuck (Pts 1&2), Sociable Jimmy > 1348 E: Hajimemashite
Night Two – Friday 12/30
Definitely a larger crowd for night two. The show certainly didn’t disappoint, and the first set featured Brendan and Jake on acoustic guitars for a few songs including “Nemo.” I was holding out for “In The Kitchen”, but the set certainly didn’t disappoint. During the second set, after “40’s Theme”, sax man Jeff Coffin was introduced and they went into classic 80s tune “Maneater” by Hall & Oates. Coffin left after just a few songs, but Umphreys continued to rock faces off and ended the night with “Nothing Too Fancy” that was on steroids, nearly hitting the 20 minute mark.
I: Intro > Conduit, #5, The Bottom Half, Uncle Wally@, Nemo@, All Things Ninja, Slacker > Dear Lord > Slacker II: 40’s Theme, The Triple Wide, Maneater^(Hall & Oates), Night Nurse^, Plunger, Fussy Dutchman, Nopener, Rocker part II E: Nothing Too Fancy
Night Three – Saturday 12/31
This show sold out earlier in the day, and I am pretty sure everyone that had a ticket was in the door by 8:30 when the band started. There wasn’t room to breath, little or less dance but somehow the 2300+ in attendance found a way. “Domino Theory” and “The Floor” were first set highlights, and first night encore “Hajimemashite” was even teased during “Divisions”, giving me a brief glimmer of hope that they would bring it back.
The second set featuring Mad Dogs Filthy Little Secret as the horn section, and the return of Jeff Coffin. Highlights of set two were “Ocean Billy”, “Miami Virtue” into a cover of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” that left many wondering not only what they had just heard, but why they hadn’t heard it more.
Set three started just before midnight with a nasty “Nipple Trix” into the always sexy “Booth Love” that included the New Years countdown and balloon drop as the band transition into the traditional “Auld Lang Syne” before taking a moment to thank the crowd for letting them do this tonight and each other. (Writers Note: I would like to send a congratulations to Tiffany and John who got engaged at midnight as the balloon drop was going on, good luck you two!) Next up was David Bowie’s “Lets Dance” as the entire crowd erupted into a dance party fueled by various spirits. The night ended with “Jimmy Stewart”, with vocals (not always the case for you non-Umphreaks) as well as a memorable “Puppet Strings” to start the encore. The last song of the 7 set, just over 9 hours of Umphreys we would enjoy was Paul Simon’s “Late in the Evening” featuring the horn section. It was a perfect end to an epic weekend, and one I will never forget.
I: Jazz Odyssey > Domino Theory, The Linear > The Floor, Kabump > Divisions II: Catshot^ > Dump City^, Don’t Do It^, Ocean Billy, 2×2, Miami Virtue^ > 25 or 6 to 4^(Chicago) III: Nipple Trix^ > Booth Love^ > Auld Lang Syne^, Let’s Dance^(David Bowie), JaJunk > “Jimmy Stewart” > JaJunk, FF > Hangover, Ringo^ E: Puppet Strings^, Late In the Evening (Paul Simon)^ ^ with Mad Dog’s Filthy Little Secret horns, including Jeff Coffin
Ring in 2012 with Umphreys McGee in St. Louis Words by Bradley Darby
For the first time in their 13 plus year existence, Chicago progressive rockers Umphreys McGee take their end of the year party on the road and bring their annual New Years shindig to St. Louis to close out 2011 and ring in 2012 with a 3 night run at The Pageant. Last Halloween the boys spent two nights at The Pageant for their Monster Mashup, and many consider those shows (especially night 1) to be one of the highlights of UM 2010.
Each show at The Pageant is set to deliver something new for the Umphreaks in the crowd, as well as typical Umphreys shenanigans for new fans in attendance. If you have never seen UM before, there are 2 things you need to know….1) you never know what to expect at an UM show and 2) Umphreys will ALWAYS deliver! The band has already promised to break out some new covers, and with that being said, its never hard to imagine a mash up or two thrown in the mix. I am still holding out hope for a Tool cover (46&2 anyone??)
Thursday nights show will be a straight forward Umphreys McGee show. This shouldn’t deter you from snagging up tickets today however, as a “straight forward” UM show will still feature Brendan Bayliss, Jake Cinninger, Joel Cummins, Kris Myers, Ryan Stasik and Andy Farag with their improvisations and extended jam versions of their catalog, in addition to the face melting lighting display provided by the 7th man in the band, Jefferson Waful.
Friday night will feature the sexy sax stylings of Jeff Coffin, who you may know from his work with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and Dave Matthews Band.
As for the final UM show of 2011 on Saturday, you will get 3 sets of Umphreys, and they will have a full horn section joining in the festivities. Personally, I can’t wait to hear some of the new tunes from Death by Stereo with a full horn section. Saturday night will also be 18+, so you can let your freak flag fly while you make bad decisions to ring in 2012. The show is slated to end around 2AM.
Tickets for Thursday and Friday are $35 for each night and both shows are all ages and set to start at 9PM. The New Years Eve show will run you $65, is 18+ only and scheduled to run from 8:30PM til 2AM. For more information visit www.thepageant.com or www.umphreys.com/nye2011/
Going forward into 2012, Umphreys has already lined up a nice set of dates all across North America, plus their annual Summercamp Festival in Chillicothe, IL in May. This years lineup already includes Primus, Gogol Bordello, Ozomatli, Cornmeal, Victor Wooten, Infamous Stringdusters, Spankalicious, and many more in addition to festival co-hosts moe.
UM 2012 Tour Dates
01.07 & 01.08 Revolution Live, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
01.09 through 01.14 Jam Cruise 10, MSC Poesia – SOLD OUT
01.20 & 01.21 Best Buy Theater, New York, NY – VIP Packages available
01.26 through 01.30 Mayan Holidaze, Mayan Riviera, Mexico – SOLD OUT FEBRUARY
02.02 & 02.03 First Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota
02.08 State Theater, State College, Pennsylvania
02.09 Town Ballroom, Buffalo, New York
02.10 House of Blues, Boston, Massachusetts – VIP Packages available
02.11 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – VIP Packages available
02.12 Rams Head Live, Baltimore, Maryland
02.15 Buster’s, Lexington, Kentucky
02.16 The Fillmore, Charlotte, North Carolina
02.17 LC Pavilion, Columbus, Ohio
02.18 The Fillmore, Detroit, Michigan
02.19 Canopy Club, Urbana, Illinois MARCH
03.07 & 03.08 Belly Up, Aspen, Colorado
03.9 The Fillmore, Denver, Colorado – VIP Packages available
03.10 The Depot, Salt Lake City, Utah
03.11 Crystal Bay Casino Club, Crystal Bay, Nevada
03.16 House of Blues, West Hollywood, California
03.17 Fox Theatre, Oakland, California – VIP Packages available
03.18 Harlow’s, Sacramento, California
03.21 Historic Ashland Armory, Ashland, Oregon
03.22 Showbox, Seattle, Washington
03.23 Roseland Theatre, Portland, Oregon
03.24 Knitting Factory, Boise, Idaho
03.25 Wilma Theatre, Missoula, Montana
There aren’t very many artists whose catalogues I know by heart – and I don’t just mean “heard all of the songs and have all of the CDs”, but “know every word and memorized every breakdown and transition”. For me, Matt Nathanson is one of of those artists. Even though he toured extensively on his 2007 release Some Mad Hope, I somehow managed to miss seeing Matt headline a show since his dual-headliner with Carbon Leaf at Mississippi Nights in 2006 – incidentally, the last show I saw there before the venue closed its doors for good. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to hear that Matt would be coming back to Saint Louis again on a headlining tour, this time stopping at The Pageant in support of his new album Modern Love.
For whatever reason, the balcony of The Pageant was not open for this show so all seating was first-come, first-served general admission with most of the room being standing room only. Doors opened at 7 and the show started at 8, so we decided to show up at The Pageant at around 6:30 in hopes of getting a decent spot in line and getting a place to sit inside. We absolutely needed to be able to sit, so I went in armed with $60 in case I needed to buy someone out of their table/bar stool. This, thankfully, was not necessary – we arrived just in time to be admitted into the Halo Bar, and they let those folks into the venue about 15 minutes before all of the poor schmucks standing outside. There were a good number of people in front of us in the bar, and so most of the seating was taken once we were inside – most of the seating, except for one section that was pretty much wide open. We made our way over to this open area and scored four seats against the rail. I felt pretty good about it up until our friend arrived – she figured out almost immediately that we had managed to score really sweet seats… in the under 21 section of the room. Shit. Oh well. The rest of the seating areas were pretty full, and a seat is a seat – so in the underage section we sat.
Opening for Matt on this leg of the tour were indie rockers Scars on 45. A 5-piece band from the UK, their biggest break to date came in the form of a single that was used on the soundtrack for TV show Grey’s Anatomy. Having never seen a single episode of Grey’s, this didn’t get me very far. I wasn’t worried about it, though; I have historically really enjoyed all of the openers that Matt has toured with, so I didn’t really do much homework here and just went in under the assumption that I’d enjoy myself.
And, I did.
Scars played an opening set full of material that I mostly did not know but really enjoyed. They played a 7 or so song set that was tight, energetic, and well-rehearsed. Maybe it was the vocal melodies created by the alternate male/female lead vocals, maybe it was the catchy hooks and songwriting, or maybe it was my soft spot for female singers with accents – regardless, at the end of their set I was a new fan.
While their performance was great, I was equally impressed with their overall demeanor. I recall singer Aimee saying during their set that this, their first night on the road with Matt, was the biggest crowd they had played for as a band thus far. They seemed awe-struck to be performing for us all, and at points appeared shocked that so many people came out early to see them play. In between songs they were friendly and chatty with the crowd and seemed genuinely grateful to be a part of the tour. Finally, Aimee pulled out a camera and stood toward the back of the stage to take a picture of the crowd in the room, and asked that all of us tag ourselves in the picture when she uploaded it to Facebook. Apparently they’ve been doing this at all of their shows, and it’s a pretty awesome way to get the fans involved.
Finally, I was able to witness a neat moment off stage post-set. From our seats in the kiddy section of the room, I could clearly see the band members just off to the side of the stage. They were huddled around each other, laughing, hugging, and high-fiving each other like they had just won the lottery. Later on we were able to meet a few of the band members, and they all seemed to be a little overwhelmed with the size of the line of people waiting for autographs, as if they were not expecting to have so many fans in the room. Overall, a great show and a band of really normal people who love to play music.
I only managed to get videos of two of their songs, but I think they were arguably the two best songs of the set:
Heart On Fire:
Give Me Something:
After a short break, the house lights went dark leaving nothing but the glowing outline of the a neon heart on the stage backdrop. The Superman theme song started to to play over the PA as Matt and company came on stage and started the set with their standard All Night Noise opener, Mercy.
Mercy is (in my opinion) one of the best songs on the new record, and true to the album recording started off with a little audience clap-along session to get the crowd involved. After this, Matt teased a portion of Florence + The Machine’s Dog Days as a segue into Pretty the World (one of the few songs in the set that is from Matt’s extensive catalogue of older tunes – the majority of the set was from 2011’s Modern Love or 2007’s Some Mad Hope).
After this, they played a few more new songs, including the radio-friendly title track from Modern Love and the quiet acoustic song Kept. Modern Love takes Matt a little out of his normal element – normally playing a guitar for every song, this song finds Matt armed with just a microphone and a hand held shaker. While he was certainly out of his usual comfort zone, he danced around on stage for the whole song rather than just standing at the mic. While lots of guitar playing singers look visibly awkward when they perform sans instrument, Matt was having a great time and didn’t have any issues keeping himself occupied. I am, however, still waiting for Matt to explain how modern love is like a taco truck.
Kept is another favorite of mine from the new album, and shows Matt’s songwriting at its dark and moody best. I have been hooked on this song since the first time I heard it.
Another older song – Curve of the Earth – was up next, followed by the 80’s-depeche-mode inspired Queen of (K)nots, complete with snippets of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love interspersed within. This song is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine – I’m pretty sure that I’m not supposed to like it, but I was looking forward to it anyway. Guitarist Aaron Tap was at his finest here with lots of great fills and riffs filling up some of the empty space in the verses. I sadly didn’t get to tape this, but youtube user KorrinSpalding1 managed to get a great video of it.
Queen of (K)nots / Tainted Love (video from youtube user KorrinSpalding1):
Matt followed this up with two more older tunes, starting with his cover of Laid (complete with crowd sing along, and what felt like the entire room screaming the infamous 3rd line “But she only comes when she’s on top”). After talking to the crowd for a little bit about the next song and explaining that yes, he knows it sounds just like Rick Springfield’s Jesse’s Girl, Matt and company played Princess, seamlessly weaving back and forth between segments of Princess and Jesse’s Girl.
Wrapping up the first part of the set were Kiss Quick from the new album and Detroit Waves from Some Mad Hope. I am generally confused by Kiss Quick – a lot of people who wrote reviews for this album single this song out as the best song on the album, and to be honest I don’t really get it. It’s certainly not a bad song, I don’t hate it, and I even enjoyed it live, but it doesn’t even rank in the top 50% of Modern Love for me. Matt, however, was obviously really crazy about this tune, and he talked for quite a bit before starting the song about how much he loved it and even said that even though you aren’t supposed to have a favorite child, it was his favorite of all his children on Modern Love.
I’ve always liked Detroit Waves, and as usual it was four and a half badass minutes of Matt and company showing off their rock-and-roll side, with Matt sneaking in some of Katy Perry’s Fireworks near the end of the song. Aaron again went above and beyond on guitar during this song, especially with the effects he used on his contributions during the breakdown before the final chorus.
After a very brief equipment change, the band stripped down to all acoustic/unplugged instruments for a short 3 song acoustic set. I have seen Matt – either solo or with the band – probably a dozen times in the last ten years, and I’m pretty sure that this acoustic set was the greatest thing I have ever seen at one of his shows. I would love to see the full band put on an entire set in this setting sometime, it was absolutely the highlight of the night for me.
Matt and Aaron started the acoustic set with with a cover of Prince’s Little Red Corvette. It’s certainly not easy to recreate the funk of the original with two acoustic guitars, but it was obvious that they put a lot of thought into the arrangement (especially vocal harmonies), as opposed to just strumming guitars and singing the words.
Little Red Corvette:
The rest of the band came back out for an acoustic rendition of Bare. This has never been a favorite song of mine, but the acoustic treatment was an improvement over the standard arrangement for me. Sing Me Sweet was next, and for me this was the highlight of the night. Fantastic in so many ways, and this was the first time they played it as a band. Nothing more to say, just watch the video.
Sing Me Sweet:
One last run of mostly new songs rounded out the end of the set, including Room At The End Of The World, Wedding Dress, Drop To Hold You, Faster, and Come On Get Higher. Room At The End Of The World was the best of this group of tunes for me, and it included bits of I’ll Stop The World And Melt With You and The End Of The World As We Know It throughout. I don’t particularly care for the album cut of Wedding Dress, but the live performances are always enjoyable. Drop To Hold You is a good enough song, and the performance sounded great, but any time I hear it I can’t help but think that the inspiration for the music was something along the lines of “Where The Streets Have No Name? Yeah, I want one of those”. Matt had to give another little lesson to the crowd on how to clap in rhythm (something that this particular crowd wasn’t very good at by the end of the night) before Faster, the first single off of Modern Love. The crowd was really into this and sang and clapped along to the entire song. Finally, the band closed the set with Matt’s biggest radio breakthrough to date, Come On Get Higher. While this is certainly Matt’s most well-known/commercially successful song, this was kind of a weird song to end a show with. Come On Get Higher is a slow and sensitive love song, and I think I was expecting a send-off that was a little more… loud and obnoxious.
Finally, the band returned from a short encore break to play one final song – All We Are, the album closer from Some Mad Hope and one of the very few uplifting songs in Matt’s arsenal, and at more or less 10:45 the show was over.
All We Are:
In spite of everything that was great about this show, I do have a couple of complaints (minor as they may be).
First, the venue curfew was clearly posted on signs all over the room as 11:30, and yet this show – part of the “All Night Noise” tour – was over by 10:45. I know that “All Night Noise” isn’t a literal sales pitch, and I absolutely understand that the curfew is different at every venue, but the night ended earlier than I had expected – especially considering the length of Matt’s sets on prior headlining tours.
Second, it felt to me like there were a lot of Matt fan favorites missing from the set. I know the numbers don’t really support this – while most of the set was from Modern Love and Some Mad Hope, there were plenty of songs from Beneath These Fireworks as well – but for whatever reason, it felt like a lot of the classic older material was MIA. Don’t get me wrong, this is an album tour, so I was certainly expecting to hear most of Modern Love. Plus, Matt has been touring on his extensive back catalogue for years and years, so I also can see where it’s more exciting for a performer to load the set list up with the newer fresh material than with songs that you have been touring on for over ten years. That being said, there are tons of classic Matt fan favorites that didn’t make the cut.
Playing for another twenty minutes and adding just a few more of the fan favorites like Answering Machine or Suspended would have killed any complaints I had about what was an already great concert. Like I said – relatively minor complaints, all things considered.
So, that’s that. The mix sounded great, the crowd knew when to be quiet and when to be loud, Matt was full of stories and funny banter with the crowd, and the band’s current lineup is more solid and cohesive that it has ever been. Matt’s concerts have always been some of my favorite shows to catch, and all in all this evening did not disappoint.
Scars on 45:
Burn the House Down
Heart On Fire
Give Me Something
(Dog Days) ! >
Pretty the World
Curve of the Earth
Queen of (K)nots
(Tainted Love) *
(Jesse’s Girl) $
Little Red Corvette @
Sing Me Sweet
Room at the End of the World
(The End of the World) ?
Drop to Hold You
Come On Get Higher
All We Are
! Florence and the Machine
* Soft Cell
$ Rick Springfield
& Katy Perry
String Cheese Incident’s Roots Run Deep Tour at The Pageant – 12/7/2011 Words and Pictures by Bradley Darby
The String Cheese Incident has been doing their thing for almost 20 years (with a break here or there) in the jam community, blending Colorado progressive bluegrass with psychedelic rock, funk, and jam music. They have accumulated quite a large following of loyal fans which makes it difficult to get tickets to many shows, especially when the show in question is one of the more intimate venues on the tour consisting of 14 shows in 16 days, and only 2 cities in the Midwest. This particular show at The Pageant was part of the Roots Run Deep Tour and actually sold out in something like 23 minutes. On Wednesday night, I was finally given the chance to experience a Cheese show and I must say…. I finally get it.
I was meeting people at the show, and they had already claimed our spot, so upon arrival around 730 I spent a few moments wandering around the small lot scene that was forming on the side of the building. There were people selling veggie burritos and beers, handmade limited String Cheese pins and posters, and all kinds of other goodies. The lines to get in were very long, you could tell no one wanted to miss a note of the show scheduled to start at 815pm. As I got in the door and was gently caressed by the kind security guard, I already saw one person being escorted out by another security guard. It was then time to post up with my friends off to the Moseley side.
The show started just about 8:20 as most of the capacity crowd had flowed in. String Cheese has consisted of the same lineup since its inception in 1993, with percussionist Jason Hann being added to the mix in 2006. The rest of the band is comprised of main songwriter and guitarist Billy Nershi, drummer Michael Travis, bassist Keith Moseley, Michael Kang on the electric mandolin/fiddle, and Kyle Hollingsworth on the keys/organ.
They wrapped the first set with “‘Round the Wheel” which had yet to be played this tour. The lighting rig was pretty stellar, featuring a LED screen with crazy visualizations being projected and mostly ominous lighting. It was tough to find a time throughout the entire evening where the whole crowd wasn’t dancing along with the music. Its no question that String Cheese fans know how to enjoy the show, and no shock as to why many go to multiple shows on tour. Some even brought signs requesting certain songs, while some just brought glowsticks and pineapples. The first set also featured “Indian Creek”, a rarity bluegrass jam and one of my favorite SCI songs.
Billy Nershi danced from side to side while strumming the guitar and taking vocal duties on many songs. He addressed the crowd at one point and told us that they had considered ending the tour out East but decided to come out to the Midwest for a few days (the tour ended with three shows in Chicago immediately following this show) Nershi also asked the crowd “whats with the pineapples?” As a few fans held up pineapples they have brought….. no more information was obtained involving the pineapple sadly.
After the power was restored, the band took their places again to finish the set and Billy Nershi asked “where were we?” At that point they went right back into “Ring of Fire” as they had never been interrupted. We received extended versions of “Eye Know Why” and “Restless Wind” before they left the stage to a frenzied crowd. Before playing the encore, Billy told us they had something special in store, they then finished it off with a fifteen minute “Texas” from their debut album, Born on the Wrong Planet from 1997.
Quixotic Fusion will be performing with MarchFourth Marching Band for a few special Halloween Balls across the midwest. The three city trek will hit Lawrence, KS at Liberty Hall on Oct 28, St. Louis, MO at The Pageant on Oct 29 and Springfield, MO at Gillioz Theatre on Halloween night. These two groups define the term “performance art” and both bands feature some damn talented musicians as well, this will be a spectacle NOT to be missed!
For the past five years, Kansas City’s Quixotic has created a full spectrum of music with sounds rich in electronic tones that soar and twist from emotive rich classical string progressions to driving tribal dance music. Composer Anthony Magliano, along with an award winning band including violinist Shane Borth, keyboardist/vocalist Laura Scarborough, drummer Brandon Draper and Rick Willoughby on Bass, create music with instrumental foundations and diversity that is meant to inspire movement within the group’s other half; dancers, multi media designers, and aerialists. Quixotic’s use of effects, synths and laptops harness technology in a unique way that’s never been seen, or heard before. The innovative musical technology is combined with the fierce and organic rhythm section to create a marriage between two musical worlds within the five-piece band. This musical combination creates a foundation for the dancers, aerialists and multi media designers to freely explore themselves creatively. Thus resulting in a full sensory experience like none other. www.QuixoticFusion.com
Aside from two of the most unique performances you will ever witness, there will also be a costume contest for all fans in attendance with a chance to WIN TICKETS TO NEXT YEARS WAKARUSA FESTIVAL, where this year Quixotic had their own stage featuring a set each night immediately following the main stage headliner.
When it was announced in May that My Morning Jacket would be playing at The Pageant, the feeling that immediately came to me was jubilation. This is a band that I had been dying to see since I first watched the Okonokos DVD and caught a glimpse of what a MMJ show was like. Only problem was, tickets went on sale while I was away at Wakarusa seeing My Morning Jacket. Luckily a friend that is in the right place was able to help me out and secure me tickets. I vowed to get their early to obtain a premium spot, as their set at Wakarusa not only was the highlight of the weekend, but was nothing short of amazing.
Its not a coincidence that some people consider My Morning Jacket to be one of the best live bands out there right now. The raw energy and emotion put into a performance by the Louisville, Kentucky five piece is something that is hard to express in words (luckily there is video evidence to help me out!) Since the release of their debut album The Tennessee Fire in 1999, MMJ has released five more studio albums with each one giving you a different vibe than the last. Talking with another fan after the show, we both agreed that upon the first listen of each album you are questioning what you just heard…. but give it a few more spins and you start to see what Jim James and the boys are trying to do, as no two albums sound alike.
The opening band was California indie rockers Delta Spirit, who were fantastic and spent their 45 minute set doing their best to convert each and every person in the room into a believer. By the near standing ovation they received after their set, I think they succeeded. The highlight of their set was the fact that on a few songs they initiated the duel drummer sequence and had two kits set up next to each other while percussionist Brandon Young and Kelly Winrich banged away with the fury of a honey badger as they rattled the bones in your body. I sadly cant give you any more info on their set, but I recommend you check them out.
My Morning Jacket took the stage at around 9:15 and came on to ominous green glows and haunting bass, both of which borrow from the theme of their most recent album Circuital, released just two months ago. The set kicked off with the opening track from that album, “Victory Dance”, a perfect song to start a set and get the crowd going. Near the end, vocalist Jim James belts out a primal scream and then seamlessly flowed into the second song and title track, “Circuital” before venturing into their prior catalog.
Front man James has a way for controlling a crowd as he bounces around the stage from side to side, using the monitors as stepping stones along the way while his mane of hair flows through the air like he’s floating above the rest of the world like some angel (shout out to American Dad!) But that’s only when he’s not busy shredding your face off on his flying V guitar and howling screams or soothing your soul with his soft spoken inside voice and acoustic guitar. He is joined by Tom Blankenship on the bass, Patrick Hallahan on drums, Bo Koster on keys and Carl Broemel on guitar.
Jim James Being All Angel Like
“I’m Amazed” from 2008’s Grammy nominated Evil Urges went into another new one, “First Light.” After James took a second to talk to the crowd by telling us about St. Louis being the “power center of the country” and talking about how great it was that there is a place where “the City Museum and the Arch can coexist” (if you dont know the City Museum, you should check this link out) they then went right into “The Way He Sings”, the only song from their 2001 album At Dawn that was played. The new album, Circuital, would make up a major part of the set list as it was only released two months ago. But its a fantastic album, so thats not a bad thing whatsoever. The remainder of the night featured a solid mix of their entire catalog and a total of 24 songs over two and a half hours.
One of MMJs more epic tunes, “Touch Me and I’m Going to Scream Pt. 2” went into “Dondonte”, a beautiful, yet deep song about long time friend of the band who took his own life, to end the set. That song is from 2005’s, Z, one of my favorite MMJ albums that actually played a heavy role in the night with 5 songs including “Dondonte” and the always amazing “Wordless Chorus” to kick off the encore. After a few more song James then again addressed the sold out rowdy crowd as he told us a story about visiting the City Museum earlier in the day, and how he was trapped in a door maze where he kept having the option of going through two doors, and they kept getting smaller as did the rooms until he was eventually just stuck in a tiny room. James then said that made him think of the next song as they then played “Holding On To Black Metal.” The set then ended with the crowd favorite and the always guaranteed to rock your socks off “One Big Holiday” from It Still Moves, their major label debut from 2003.
It had been five years since their last visit to St. Louis, and My Morning Jacket made up for it by keeping a sold out crowd happy for nearly three hours, and blowing the mothefucking roof off The Pageant. I took a friend along who had just gotten into them in the few days leading up to the show, and he was blown away as well. We both agreed that it was quite possibly the loudest concert we had ever attended, and both of us have seen many shows over our years. This show is in strong contention for Best of 2011, and it is going to be tough to top. Luckily I have Wilco at the soon to open Peabody Opera House to look forward too……..
1. Victory Dance (Circuital)
2. Circuital (Circuital)
3. The Dark (The Tennessee Fire)
4. I’m Amazed (Evil Urges)
5. First Light (Circuital)
6. The Way That He Sings (At Dawn)
8. Golden (It Still Moves)
9. Slow Slow Tune (Circuital)
10. Heartbreakin’ Man (The Tennessee Fire)
11. Off the Record(Z)
12. Mahgeetah (It Still Moves)
13. You Wanna Freak Out (Circuital)
14. Movin’ Away (Circuital)
15. Smokin’ From Shootin’ (Evil Urges)
16. Run Thru (It Still Moves)
17. Touch Me, I’m Going to Scream, Part Two (Evil Urges)
First, let me go ahead and get the rabid fanboyism out of the way now: I am a huge Pink Floyd nerd. Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin were the first two bands that I really loved, the first two bands whose entire catalogue I had to own, and Dark Side of the Moon was maybe the first album that I memorized from beginning to end as a kid.
It is, needless to say, a little bit of a disappointment that I was born twenty years too late to see either of these bands in concert “in their prime” (or at all, for that matter).
For the uninitiated (and the non-Saint-Louis folks), “El Monstero y Los Masked Avengers” is essentially a Pink Floyd tribute act. I don’t like using the term cover band here as it doesn’t carry the right tone. Once a year around the end of December, a handful of musicians from local Saint Louis acts get together and play 6 or 7 nights as El Monstero. The gigs are always at the Pageant, and the proceeds benefit the Pageant Charitable Fund. Incidentally, the same group of musicians also perform a Led Zeppelin tribute in February.
No opening act, no other source material, no bullshit, just three solid hours of the best Pink Floyd has (err, had) to offer.
The show started at eight; we arrived at the Pageant with what I thought was plenty of time to spare. Parking at the Pageant is notoriously terrible for popular shows and this was no exception – it took us almost twenty minutes to find a place to park and walk to the entrance. After wading through the sea of people we made our way to our seats right as the show was about to start. We had aisle seats with a pretty good view of the stage three rows from the front of the reserved seating balcony (the old man in me tends to avoid general admission unless it’s the only option).
It’s worth mentioning that the seating arrangement was a little different from years before: This year, there was “Fearless Stage Seating”. Basically, the stage was extended further onto the main floor and several rows of seats were added around the sides and rear of the stage, creating a kind of faux “concert in the round” setup. This was certainly an interesting decision, especially considering how much of their show is based on “The Wall”, an album that is at least partially fueled by Roger Waters’ contempt for Pink Floyd’s fans.
This year, El Monstero played two sets. The first was a selection of songs from “The Wall”, followed by Shine On You Crazy Diamond. The second set included some early Floyd tracks and “Dark Side of the Moon” played cover to cover.
The band came out dressed in all black and kicked things off with crowd favorites Another Brick in the Wall 1 > Happiest Days of our Lives > Another Brick in the Wall 2, followed by Mother, Is There Anybody Out There?, Goodbye Blue Sky, and Empty Spaces. ABITW1 through Mother was just perfect. ABITW2 included a great guitar solo/jam and a crowd sing along of every high school kid’s anthem, and Mother is one of my favorite sad bastard songs ever.
The next run, however, I wasn’t so crazy about. This is not a criticism of the band – they absolutely performed every one of these songs energetically and perfectly, and the stage presence and light show were spot on. My issue here is with the source material. The Wall has plenty of great songs and rock anthems, but in between that greatness is the occasional filler track. I like Is There Anybody Out There, but it (as well as Goodbye Blue Sky and Empty Spaces) definitely fall into the filler category for me, despite their role in the concept of “The Wall”.
True to the studio album, Empty Spaces segued perfectly into Young Lust, another crowd favorite. As in prior years, Young Lust was complete with strippers and mostly naked pole dancers. Needless to say, a room full of drunken men (and some women) exploded in applause and cheering. The poles were at the edges of the stage, resulting in a view from fearless stage seating that was either breathtaking or awkward, depending on your point of view. This was followed by One of my Turns, complete with a barely dressed groupie and “Pink’s” psychotic snap midway through the song. After this came Hey you (another chance for guitarist Jimmy Griffin to shine) and a beautiful Nobody Home – a song that makes me regret not taking piano lessons more seriously as a kid. Every concert needs the occasional bathroom break – next up was another run of filler tracks: Vera > Bring The Boys Back Home > Goodbye Cruel World. Again, the band performed these tunes spot on and with gusto, and I get what they signify in terms of the big picture of “The Wall”, but they don’t do much for me personally.
A few final songs from The Wall were played next, and this run was an unexpected highlight of the night for me – Run Like Hell > ABITW3 > Run Like Hell, and Waiting for the Worms > Stop. Run Like Hell was perhaps one of the best songs of the night – not only is it a loud, uptempo, high energy rock and roll explosion, but midway through they brought out the Pacific High School drum line for a couple minutes of additional kick ass percussion. I unfortunately do not have my own video of this, nor was I able to find a video from the 22nd, but there is a video of the same run of songs from a few nights earlier (video below taken and owned by youtube user StLouisEarl, who has all kinds of great videos from these concerts).
Waiting for the Worms > Stop, on the other hand, had no extra drum line and no strippers – just four minutes of head bobbing foot thumping Pink Floyd rock psychosis with rumbling bass so loud it shook your naughty bits. Normally this track is filler for me, but El Monstero made it truly excellent, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
Wrapping up the first set was Pink Floyd classic and fan favorite Shine On You Crazy Diamond.
Having moved on from The Wall, the band changed from all black to all white and took the stage for the second set. There was a definite shift here – the first set focused on The Wall and so required a more theatrical approach to performing. The second set consisted of mostly older tunes and classics (I think the kids are calling them “deep cuts” now) and so focused more on playing, jamming, and rocking the crowd.
The set opened with favorites of mine, starting with one of the songs that made me love this band: Echoes. Echoes is from Pink Floyd’s older, more psychedelic rock era, with a studio cut clocking in at nearly thirty minutes. They played the meat of it, jammed for a while, and moved on to a medley of Dogs > Pigs from the album Animals. Both Dogs and Pigs are almost ten minutes each in full, and the band played a little over half of each. When you have decades of material to fit into a single concert and you’re trying to cover a lot of ground, there isn’t really room for ten and thirty minute songs. El Monstero arranged these songs in a way to keep them mostly in tact, but trim overall song length down to something more reasonable and keep the set moving.
As in prior years, the band brought out a guest next to sing on Have a Cigar. As always, he was perfect for this song and channeled Roy Harper’s delivery from the studio cut while making his way around the stage throwing huge wads of fake paper money out into the crowd. This was followed by Pigs on the Wing, another song that’s kind of filler material for me, but it’s short, sweet, and simple, and it served as a nice bookend before moving on to the centerpiece of the set – a favorite of Floyd lovers, classic rock junkies, and Wizard of Oz fans everywhere: the entire album Dark Side of the Moon, played cover to cover.
With the exception of a few highlights, I will spare you the song-by-song details of DSoTM and just say that the performance was equally as excellent as the rest of the show, with the addition of a great light and laser show consistent with what one would expect for Dark Side. There were two songs worth singling out, however: The instrumental track On the Run, and the female vocal driven Great Gig in the Sky. During On the Run I experienced what may have been the loudest, most intense room shaking bass I have ever felt at a concert. Crisp and clean without being muddy or distorted, but so loud and fierce that you could feel everything around you vibrate and at points my vision actually blurred as things around me reverberated. Great Gig in the Sky featured guest vocals from three lovely ladies, and all three of these ladies cried and wailed and belted their way through incredible solos resulting in a standing ovation.
After a brief break, the band came out for a 3 song encore performance of In The Flesh, Wish You Were Here, and Comfortably Numb. While In The Flesh has normally been played as part of The Wall portion of the set in prior years, it worked well here this year as a chance for a little audience interaction and got the crowd on their feet. Wish You Were Here gave the band a chance to show off the quieter, acoustic side of Pink Floyd, and the crowd sang along with the band word for word. Floyd’s rock anthem Comfortably Numb ended the night and gave everyone in the band a chance to shine one more time before calling it a night, ending the evening with one more final burst of guitar solos and rock ‘n roll.
I mentioned before that El Monstero is made up of local musicians who have their own bands and shows around town (The Incurables, Joe Dirt, Shooting With Annie, and Wyld Stallyns, to name a few of many), and seeing them get together and channel classic rock gods once a year is a great motivator to get out and go support these local acts and see them do what they do best on a regular basis.
Have I kissed an awful lot of ass in this review? Yeah, maybe I have, but I think it’s well earned. Calling El Monstero a Pink Floyd tribute act sells all of these musicians short of the credit they deserve. There is no doubt (at least not for me) that every one of these folks knows the music of this band as well as Pink Floyd themselves – they aren’t just musicians, they’re fans. These gigs sell out in short order every year, and for good reason: In a world with no Pink Floyd, El Monstero is as close as you can get to the real thing.
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (commonly referred to as GPN) have received quite a bit of publicity lately, and for good reason. Their newest self-titled album made many Best Of 2010 lists, they stole the show last month at the VH1 Divas Salute the Troops, a show that also featured Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Keri Hilson, Paramore and Sugarland. Not to mention their cover of the Jefferson Airplane classic “White Rabbit” that appeared on the Alice in Wonderland soundtrack, as well as vocalist and front woman Grace Potter performing a solo track for the soundtrack to Tangled, and a guest spot on mega country star Kenny Chesney’s new album. It seemed as though 2010 was going to be the ultimate year for GPN.
After a stop at The Pageant on Friday, January 14th I think it is safe to say things are just beginning for this quintet from Vermont.
The stop in St. Louis marked only the second show of the 20 date tour featuring Chamberlin as the support group, also from Vermont. Chamberlin consisted of five members as well including two guitars, a bassist, drummer and keyboards/percussion. They weren’t terrible, I rather enjoyed them, and they played for about 40-45 minutes. There were a few songs that sounded recognizable, though I did not catch the name of any other than “Dirt” which is available as a free download on their website. Could have enjoyed them a bit more but we were positioned near the bar and there was a crowd of annoying assholes next to us that chose to talk about Labradoodles and secret handshakes instead of enjoying the music.
After about a 30 minute break, it was time for the main event, Miss Southern Rock-Jam Band Diva, Grace Potter and her band of night loving men (and a woman). Grace is only 27 but sings with the heart and emotion of a rock and roll veteran. She can also be found jamming out on her B3 Harmon or wailing on her flying V or acoustic guitar. In my book she is a bluesy-rock goddess, one of the best female vocalists and one of the best song writers out there. Not to mention easy on the eyes.
(Photo from VH1 Divas)
Her backing band, the Nocturnals are nothing to be ashamed of either. Consisting of Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco on guitars, including 12 string and slide, Catherine Popper on bass, and Matt Burr on drums, the Nocturnals not only rock some of the best facial hair in the game (minus Cat of course) but can wail on their respective instruments. The current lineup of the Nocturnals has been together since the beginning in 2002, with the exception of Cat Popper who joined the band in 2009 after a stint playing with Ryan Adams backing band, the Cardinals.
Last time GPN was in town they opened for the Avett Brothers in September and played a pretty strict, yet solid set. But this time they had free reign, and it showed. The band was jamming out and seemed very loose, to be expected, as they have come up through the jam band circuit opening for Gov’t Mule, Black Crowes, Dave Matthews Band and playing Neil Youngs classic “Cortez the Killer” with Steve Kimock, Joe Satriani, Reed Mathis and others at the 2006 Jammy Awards. Not to mention highly regarded sets at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, and Mile High Music Festival. It was nice to see that success is not letting this band get away from their roots.
The set opened with “Ah Mary” from 2007’s This Is Somewhere. In the next two hours they tore through a 16 song set list that included many songs from 2010s Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, but also material spanning the last nine years of this bands great, but young career. During “Colors” from the self titled album released last year, Grace told the crowd that this city held a special place in her heart because she had written the song in 2008 while at the St. Louis Zoo when their tour bus broke down at a Holiday Inn in St. Louis. For “Ragged Company” the rhythm section was excused while we were treated to a stripped down acoustic version of the song. As Matt and Cat came back out to join their band mates, guitarist Scott Tournet stepped up to the mic to assist on vocals for Potter and Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila.” As the set was winding down Grace reached for her flying V guitar one more time for back to back rockers “Sugar” and her current hit single, “Paris.”
Earlier in the day, via Twitter, Grace had asked for requests for the show and I immediately replied with “Nothing But The Water”, one of my personal favorite GPN songs. Well when Grace Potter stepped up to the mic with no guitar and started in on the vocal solo that starts the song, coincidence or not, it was pure bliss. After a chilling 2 minute intro, she grabbed her guitar and finished what is known as Part 1 of the song. Potter then went back to the Hammond B3 and led the band on a fourteen minute epic journey that very well may have transcended space and time. The set ended after each member was introduced to the crowd to a thunderous applause.
A brief encore break followed, and out came Benny Yurco to play a beautiful Zeppelin-esq acoustic intro. Then back came the rest of the band for a cover of Hearts “Crazy on You,” made famous at the VH1 Divas Salute the Troops special last month. “Big White Gate” followed and the night was closed out with “Medicine”, a fantastic selection as it is one of the bands favorite songs to play live, is full of energy and it could leave any room in a great mood.
Whatever it was she was feeding The Pageant on this Friday night was working, and she definitely had the medicine that everybody wanted. This was my first show of 2011, and I cant think of a better way to start off the year to be honest with you. Grace Potter is going to do great things in the next few years, and the next stop on her journey for me will be at the Wakarusa Music Festival, June 2-5 in Ozark, Arkansas where GPN will be performing with My Morning Jacket, Ben Harper and Relentless 7, Umphreys McGee, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Mumford and Sons, STS9, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings and about 100 other bands.
Ah Mary – 2007 – This Is Somewhere
Only Love – 2009 – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Joey – 2005 – Nothing But the Water
Money – 2009 – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Oasis – 2009 – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Hot Summer Night – 2009 – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
One Short Night – 2009 – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
It has almost been 10 years since I have been going to Reel Big Fish Shows. I went on a fateful road trip I believe in 2001 to see Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, and many others. It was another great birthday road trip.
I have seen Reel Big Fish about 5-6 times since then. Mostly at festivals or warped tours over the years. I had not had the chance to see a headlining show. So when I saw the show announcement months ago I eager to go.
I started cracking beers around 4 p.m and by 7 p.m I was ready to roll. I would of loved to see the openers but it just wasn’t going to work out that way.
I was 6 beers into my pregame celebrations when I walked into the pageant to the most lax pat down I have encountered there. Normally its pretty thorough , but they didn’t even make me empty my pockets this time.
Next stop say Hi to my favorite bartender. Always good to see him and as a bonus I scored a free beer. Beer Number 7! I sat there beer in one hand, camera in the other right behind the soundboard and filmed a few aquabats songs.
Now I had never seen the aquabats before this and was pretty impressed. I enjoyed there stage humor and outfits.
The Aquabats had videos playing above them instead of a backdrop, mostly it looked like old 80’s movies but at this point I was a little drunk to pay attention or care.
It seemed the aquabats had brought a decent chunk of the audience as a lot of people knew the words and some were even dressed as a aquabat. Then I had to piss, badly.
After I left the bathroom, they had all these kids onstage. Even with a good buzz on my instinct told me to start filming what was about to happen. Then much to my drunken amazement he let one kid fly after another into the waiting arms of the st louis crowd. He tossed out about 4 children ranging from about 10 to 5 years old.
Before he chucked each kid the singer would ask permission from the parents. To one he said ” Don’t worry, I have a kid and I throw him all the time”. It was a funny moment.
Then he got to the last kid who was 5. He lifted him high over his head the kid spread his arms like wings and was tossed into the abyss. Then dad jumped in after him narrowly missing his son. All in good fun the kids had fun, nobody got hurt.
Then it was beer time again during set changes. Midway through beer number 8, I had a grand vision. It involved me putting my beer into my pocket and walking down to the no alcohol pit. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
After a very brief wait, the horns blared as Reel Big Fish took the stage. I called it when I said the day before they would open with ” Sell Out “. It got as rowdy as Ska show could possible get.
Rowdy enough to draw security into the pit, one spotted me and my beer and escorted me back to my 21 and up habitat.
Things happen for a reason, I had a much better video advantage from my new spot. They played lots of my favorite songs and one I hadn’t seen live before. A cool cover of Brown Eye Girl was a fun live treat.
Then after a few songs they brought up a local singer from the band “Dick and Jane” to help sing ” She Has a girlfriend now”
Reel Big Fish has fun playing each night and it shows. I always enjoy their humor and stage banter. As a intro for the song “The Setup” They played a brief version of “Enter Sandman” which always gets the crowd pumped.
Towards the end of the set is that scramble in your mind as you start to wonder…. are they going to play my favorites.
They didn’t let me down as I got a awesome version of “SR, the many versions of”. Which has always been one of my favorite parts of their live show.
At this point I was at 2 minutes left on my 4gb card. I was going to try and delete one of my lower quality videos as I knew what would be next in the set.
I predicted that they would open with “Sell Out” and end on “Beer”. Those predictions held true and I enjoyed the setlist quite a bit this time. I wish they had played “Where Have You Been” but you can’t get everything you want.
Then I proceeded to the Halo Bar where I bought another drink followed by 2 more purchased for me by friends.
After sobering up for 10-15 minutes I drove home doing 85 the whole way to the TACO BELL.
Just kidding, I didn’t drive I was a passenger. The next morning was one of those where you are wearing one shoe and can’t find your hat, camera or another shoe.
However when you scroll back through your videos and picture you know it was alright………
It’s the summer of 2006…. I, like most people, am looking for something new to listen to and at this time, most of the new music coming out is terrible. I ask a friend to give me something good I probably don’t have. He gave me a copy of ‘Magic Potion’ and as soon as the second track, “Your Touch” started, I was officially hooked. I knew that I had to see this band live.
Dan Auerbach - The Black Keys - 6/10/10 STL
Four years, and three new albums later, including a collaboration with ODB, Mos Def, Ludacris and others on 2009’s ‘Blackroc’, and I finally got my chance. Not once, but twice in a matter of a week. The first was the 2010 Wakarusa Music Festival at Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas the first weekend of June. The second was a sold out show at The Pageant in St. Louis on June 10, 2010.
Let the story begin with the hype building up to this show. The show at the 2500 person, The Pageant, sold out about three weeks before the show. Since that announcement, tickets were being sold online for upwards of $100, well over the $25 face value. I asked myself if these guys were worth that kind of money, while at the same time being thrilled that I was lucky enough to get tickets days before the sell out announcement.
As I approached the venue almost three hours before the doors were set to open, there were already a few folks out front asking for tickets. The ticket whores out front, with their stacks of tickets, were asking for $100 a piece and wouldn’t budge. My favorite moment was when a scalper asking $100 for tickets asked a girl for a cigarette, to which I butted in and said “I’ll give you a cigarette for $100” His response was not friendly to say the least, but the young lady as well as myself had a good laugh.
The opening act for the night was Brian Olive. He did a solid job opening the show, but everyone was more than ready for The Black Keys to embark on the stage and melt our faces off. They opened their set with “Thickfreakness” the title track from their second full length album. From that point on, Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach didn’t miss a beat or slow down to let anyone stop to process what was happening. Its tough to describe the emotion and feeling these guys put into their performance, but as you watch Auerbach shred his guitar and see Carney beating on his drums as if he was still trying to figure them out, it all starts to make sense. They feed off each other more than most other bands, but when there are only two members in the band, I guess you have too.
The beginning of the set featured favorites like “Girl is On My Mind”, “The Breaks” and “Stack Shot Billy” before Carney and Auerbach brought out two friends, only introduced as Leon and Nick, to help out with keyboards/organ and bass. This seemed to only help them, as it allowed them to not only count on each other so much, but gave them opportunity to loosen up and just play some rock and roll in the bluesy-funky way that The Black Keys have grown accustomed to. They ripped through songs off of the ‘Brothers’ album, with highlights including “Next Girl” , “Howling For You”, and my personal favorite, “Ten Cent Pistol” before having Leon and Nick leave the stage. Then it was right back into the two man spectacle that is The Black Keys with “Your Touch”, “No Trust” and “I’ll Be Your Man.” They closed the set out with “I Got Mine” from my favorite Keys album, “Attack and Release”, which featured some glorious cowbell and Auerbach, again, shredding his way through the guitar as Carney smashed his kit like it was the last time he’d be using it.
After a short break, Auerbach and Carney came back out with Leon and Nick to close the night out with encore performances of “Everlasting Light”, after which it was just the duo again for “Till I Get My Way” before leaving the capacity crowd on their feet, and scraping their faces off of their shoes.
After seeing them just six days before, I never would have imagined that the same band could be so much more intense less than a week later. But after leaving The Pageant and speaking with my friends who had just seen them for the first time, it was agreed that tonight’s show was nothing short of amazing. The Wakarusa show was good, and after their set Friday afternoon I could have easily been satisfied with my first Keys experience… But this show at The Pageant was something special. I don’t know if it was the more intimate venue, or just the atmosphere created by the 2500+ fans there specifically to see The Black Keys, but this show is on the top of my 2010 list and it will take a monster to knock it down.
This is a show that I would watch again and again, and would even consider paying the ticketwhores $100 a ticket to see this show next time around. Get your tickets now for The Black Keys; because this time next year, they won’t be playing in these small clubs and small theaters, this band is on their way to much bigger and better things.
2. “Girl is on My Mind”
3. “10 a.m. Automatic”
4. “The Breaks”
5. “Stack Shot Billy”
7. “Everywhere I Go”
8. “Strange Times”
9. “Same Old Thing”
10. “Tighten Up”
11. “Next Girl”
12. “I’m Not the One”
13. “Howlin’ for You”
14. “Sinister Kid”
15. “She’s Long Gone”
16. “Ten Cent Pistol”
17. “Your Touch”
18. “I’ll Be Your Man”
19. “No Trust”
20. “I Got Mine”
21. “Everlasting Light”
22. “Till I Get My Way”
Patrick Carney - The Black Keys - 6/10/10 The Pageant STL
Our main man in the Midwest – BeeZnutZ went to check out the walking freak show known as Courtney Love and her re-united Hole. Having not one, but two reports from the East Coast, and having one over Concert Confessions founder/spiritual guru Reverend Justito out West – we figure it’s only fair that the Midwest gets their moment with everyone’s favorite Golden Globe Nominee/former Junkie.