Tag Archives: live music

Neglected Blog Is Neglected (And I just got home from the AP Tour.)

So, I have like three mostly-finished posts (including a mile-long paean to Brand New, written after I saw them live for the seventh time a few months back), but instead of finishing any of them, I am going to say this: GALLOWS, GALLOWS, GALLOWS, GALLOWS. …GALLOWS, GALLOWS, GALLOWS. Okay, there were other bands there, too, but…Gallows. Gallows were so cool. They were (mostly) all British, and all tattooed, and all playing fucking awesome music. And the lead singer and guitarist went into the middle of the pit for a while–the lead singer had us make a circle pit around him. Their set was so, so cool. And fun. And they were nice when they sold me merch.

As for the rest of the show, which I guess existed, the venue was only like a third full, and everyone in the crowd seemed like they had never been to a show before. People utterly failed at the wall of death Four Year Strong tried to create, and a couple of dudes were awkwardly hardcore dancing to Title Fight and The Swellers, which were not exactly hardcore dancing fare. Circle pit? Yes. Standard pit? Yes. Hardcore dancing? Huh? There were also lots of fail crowd-surfers. It’s hard to crowd-surf when there’s not that much crowd to surf on. Keep that in mind, people.

Kendal and I had a good time during Four Year Strong. We basically just moshed and jumped around a bunch, even though neither of us had much knowledge of their songs. That sort of thing has never stopped me from having fun at a show, and it definitely didn’t this time. They’re super energetic and fun, and crashing into people to loud music is the best form of therapy in the world.

I left the show ridiculously happy, and in possession of a Gallows shirt, some free posters, and a year worth of free subscription to Alternative Press. I have never liked the writing in that magazine, but have always enjoyed the pictures–namely, cutting them out to tape on things. I shall have many new magazines to cut out. It will be good. And um, to end this post: GALLOWS.


Warped Tour and Southern California Adventure

So, apparently I have some cool friends that live in that half of the state over there, or something, and we did some pretty cool things together. No worries, I’m not going to gush forever, but thanks again for having me, and you guys are awesome. Warped was too epic for words, but I will try my hand at them anyways. I’m so bummed all my bruises have mostly faded–the bruises from a really fun show are tangible reminders that you had a good time.

For most shows, I try and write about every set, but as long as my blog posts usually are, I’m going to go ahead and veto that idea for Warped.  Let’s just say we began the afternoon with some nice, heavy sets, and it was good, particularly Enter Shikari. It was a lovely start to a lovely day of drifting from stage to stage, perusing merch stands and consuming more and more water as the sun grew brighter.  The standout sets were as follows:

The Devil Wears Prada

Though I missed the first song or so getting to the stage they were playing from catching the first ten minutes of Of Mice & Men’s set, which was kind of a bummer, since they’re apparently much better recorded than live, this was just as solid as Another Friend said it would be. They’re adorable, even though that Jesus moment was slightly awkward for those of us who are not members of the Jesus crew, and I guess they play good music or something. Also, Another Friend got kicked in the face. His blood, it needs to get better at not escaping through his nose…

Against Me! 

They’ve been known for their relentless touring and awesome live show for years now, and well, that kind of reputation does not happen without reason. Kendal and I were second from the front for this one, as opposed to in the general area of the pit, like for most of the other sets, and it was pretty fantastic. They clearly have so much fun playing their music for a bunch of kids, and that shows. Tom Gabel was beaming the whole time, and it was adorable. They played a lot more old songs than the last time I saw them at Warped, which I was pretty psyched about. “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”!..!!!!…!!!!!!!!!!!

Attack Attack!

CIRCLE PITS! Somuchfunsomuchfunsomuchfun. This was the set whose wonderfulness sort of took me by surprise. I figured it would be fun, because they are ridiculous. I did not figure that it would also be raging amounts of awesome. They were great, the moshing was fun, and the new vocal lineup sounded boss. Let’s go to Brazil, you guys. Shooooows.

And those were my favorites, though I must include some words about D.R.U.G.S., and those words are “Craig Owen shirtless!” (repeated several times very fast and with many more exclamation points). He’s quite the frontman, and Matt Good! Matt Good is in this band also, and he is adorable. So those are the words I have to say about Warped, until the next one…Hooray Warped! Have some Attack Attack! It’s good for you.

Yeasayer? Why yes, I did see them on my birthday.

Because of course it’s late. In my defense, there was no way I could have made time for anything resembling a blog post at the end of last quarter. Just….no. These past two weeks of not writing? That one’s on me. My bad! I am not, however, passing up an opportunity to gush about Yeasayer. Gushing about Yeasayer has become a sacred duty for me. I must sing their praises to the skies or die in shame. In case that last paragraph didn’t give it away, I really, really enjoyed my birthday show. Kendal Fong is like the best roommate ever, or something, and I hope she enjoyed our adventure despite her erm, possessions mishap. Possessions mishaps are not fun.

After some time spent searching for the possessions that were mishapped, we acquired dolmas sandwiches at Falafel of Santa Cruz, which I am so, so addicted to (I had one today when I was moving out the remains of my stuff. You should be jealous. If you are not jealous, I am afraid for you), and set off for San Francisco. The traffic on the way up wasn’t too crazy, and we got super cheap parking, and only had to call my dad like four times and make him look up directions when we were walking from the parking to the Fillmore (which is such, such a good venue.) Only.

We were able to immediately secure really awesome spots, and since we’d taken so long to actually find the damn venue (Yeasayer’s bus was blocking it so you could not see it from across the street, okay!), we did not have to wait long at all for the first opener. The first opener was… …. …. Words, they fail me. An extremely skinny and  bearded hipster dancing like Ian Curtis one of the times he was actually having a seizure on stage and words that could make professional writers of erotica flinch to some beats on his ipod? Here is his website : http://www.hushhushhush.com/. There is a music video. I am afraid to watch it, but hopefully it can do a better job expressing him than I can. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure Yeasayer’s plan was to make sure the indie kids had no choice but to dance by putting a human being that had never even heard of the concept of self-consciousness on stage first. Awkwarding everyone into being incapable of coolness? A valid stratagem?

The second opener was Smith Westerns, and I thought they were pretty adorable at first, but their set felt samey after a while and I wanted Yeasayer, dammit. And then the glorious moment came. I was really hoping they would open with either of their album openers, because I think those are so well-selected. And lo and behold, they opened with the intro of “The Children” and then went into “Sunrise,” effectively opening with both their album openers, and blowing my brain out (though that might have also been their ridiculous, awesome lightshow.) Beyond that, they played pretty much every song I wanted to hear live, with the exception of “Love Me Girl,” and the rest of “The Children” (which, I cannot really blame them for not bringing a fan on stage. I don’t really know how that one would work, tbh.) The crowd was awesome, particularly during “O.N.E.” and “Ambling Alp,” and the band was super high-energy and drinking steadily from cups of some manner of amber-colored hard alcohol, and therefore adorably drunk.

They did “2080” as an encore, which was glorious and beautiful and magical. That song is the first Yeasayer song I ever heard/fell madly in love with, so…It has a place. A place lodged inside of my skull and somewhere under my breast-bone…They also played new songs (!!!), which I loved, especially “Henrietta,” which is super 80s vibey, and fantasastic. I went on an epic search of the youtubes for the best live recording of this one, because everyone should experience it. In the end, picking one was hard.

This one shows off their killer live show (and Chris Keating’s well-dressed hotness) the best:

And this one has really nice sound-quality, but is shot from a distance:

I guess which one you prioritize is up to you!

At any rate, everyone ever who doesn’t already should listen to Yeasayer, and everyone should see them live. Way, way too absurdly awesome.

Continuing the trend of posting late concert recaps…

The New Pornographers last Sunday, ohhh my goodness. That show made me way, way too happy.

I was pretty sure it was going to be awesome, because New Pornographers–but that was above and beyond what I expected. I have never seen a band do massively multi-part harmonies like that live. I have never seen indie kids come so alive at a show, but how could they not? Their music is so completely full of joy as to overwhelm all capacity for coolness–not that I have any of that in the first place, but I wasn’t the only one dancing! It was all so pretty and so full of happy. Also, Kendal went with me, and that was pretty cool or something.

Here is a live video of “The Crash Years,” because them playing this song made me so happy and I want to see them over and over again.

Woooooot shows

So, I figured since it’s been two weeks and two shows since A Day to Remember/Bring Me the Horizon/We Came as Romans/Pierce the Veil, so I figured I should, you know, finally write about it. Whole day was filled with awesome, from waking up and getting deelicious food (falafel!) to road-tripping up to San Francisco with Kendal + Tanner + Another Friend, to making fun of ridiculous scene kids in line (tiny girls! pulling combs out of their pockets! and burning their eyeliner and reapplying it ever four minutes!), to you know, the actual show.

Pierce the Veil played first, which was silly because they were infinitely better than We Came As Romans. They were, however, fuckin’ awesome, what with the opening with “Besitos” and closing with “Caraphernalia” and the kicking ass in general. They kicked so much ass that I was compelled to purchase entirely more merch than I was going to. And this is how I came to own my red shorts, which you have probably seen already (80 kadjillion times). But here is a picture of them from a merch site just in case! I even found one that didn’t come with creepy, disembodied legs!

They are the best thing. They make me so happy. And I guess Pierce the Veil does too, or something. 😛 The reason they’ve been stuck in my head pretty much non-stop since the show is not because I enjoyed them, or anything. Naaaaaaaw. (I jest, thanks for showing me them, Another Friend!)

Next up was We Came As Romans, whose ratio of cutesy stage moves to actually good songs was not favorable. I’m pretty sure there were some pretty people in the band or something, so I guess the fourteen year old girls were excited, but I’m not exactly sure why they played after PTV. Current theory: they gave A Day to Remember better blowjobs.

Bring Me the Horizon! The band that I’d been aware of and resisting for years, based on the reasoning that fourteen year old girls like Oli Sykes because he’s pretty, and therefore I should not like his band. Well, fuck it. I like his band. Oli Sykes is fucking entrancing on stage, and I love his screaming style (ie. rip out vocal chords for audience pleasure). Another Friend was very good and predicting what songs would get played when for this one. I went out and bought a CD right after this set, and another one shortly thereafter, which is I guess my way of saying BMTH put on one hell of a show. On a totally unrelated note, I am totally back on body-mods on guys now. Also, fourteen again. The tiny scene girls, sometimes they are not wrong…

A Day to Remember had this ridiculously elaborate stage setup and over the course of the show, shot confetti at the audience twice, showered the crowd with balloons, threw t-shirts, rolls of toilet paper, and rolled their lead singer on top of the crowd in a giant bubble. I kept wondering how much throwing all that shit at the audience every day must cost and also managed to bruise my knee even though I was up in the seats. My jumping up and down without jumping forward skills, they are lacking. Fun set.

In conclusions, it was a great fucking time, even though I hate being stuck in seats, and I need to watch both Pierce the Veil and Bring Me the Horizon headlining things again soon. I forgot I missed scene shows. The pure focus on music that most indie shows have is fantastic, but watching a band fucking work their asses off to entertain the crowd, lead singers putting themselves at the mercy of enthusiastic crowds, synchronized stage moves, and an intense focus on swoopy hair, I need those things, too. Oh shit! I made a post about something that wasn’t indie rock. Now that this tragically overdue recap is done, I can get started on my next one, about that one show I went to two years ago!

Andrew Bird last friday

SO, last Friday was a superb sort of day. The mission? Andrew Bird. The journey? Fantastic. Kendal, Riley, Mark, Cory, and I set out on a grand adventure that began with hookah in my living room, moved to Charlie Hong Kong for a delicious, cheap, organic, pan-Asian street-food dinner, and saw itself realized at The Rio theater. It was all-seating, which actually worked really well for Andrew Bird.

The opening act was this adorable, curly-haired singer-songwriter named Simone White. I did not enjoy her music. She had a pretty voice, played guitar prettily, but dear lord, her lyrics. They were inane. She forced rhymes constantly, including delivering things weirdly. I did not enjoy her.

Andrew Bird was a totally different story, though. Holy shit. Holy fucking shit. He is SO GOOD. Violin on looping pedals turns out to be the coolest thing ever. He played violin, guitar, glockenspiel, and sang at approximately the same time. And he whistled! I’ve never heard anyone whistle so prettily, I swear…That is a weird statement, isn’t it? BUT IT’S TRUE. SEE FOR YOURSELF. Here is a video of him playing at Bonnaroo one year. Imagine seeing that live.

Afterward, we headed back to our place and had some celebratory beers. Good fucking night. Seriously.

Yaaaaaay show! (Not-So-Silent Night Recap)

So, I always procrastinate about writing up concert reports. It’s as if they were homework, or something. That being said, Kendal and I went to an awesome show on Friday. Not-So-Silent Night is a show our local alternative station, Live 105, puts on every year, sometime in the winter. This year’s had what I’m pretty sure was the biggest lineup of any NSSN to date, and…it was pretty fucking awesome.

Kendal and I bussed up from SC, gave our stuff to my grandpa, and then met up with a couple of my friends and got food at Good Karma, which is a fantastic vegan place in downtown San Jose. Seriously, if you are ever in the area, go there. They have (usually, they were out when we went) vegan pork buns which are made by Buddhist monks and sold by the restaurant at cost. Also, the rest of the food they have is delicious, too.

So, after that interlude, we proceeded to the HP Pavilion, home of the San Jose Sharks and also ginormous shows such as the one we attended. Our timing was pretty sweet, since we didn’t have to wait long for the openers, who had won a contest for the privilege, went up. Okies! Band-by-band recap time!

The Finish Ticket:

They were an adorable local band from…somewhere in the Bay Area. I swear, some of them looked like they had to be jailbait, but I digress. They had a kind of Kings Of Leon-y sound, and were really polished for a band that looked SO DAMN YOUNG. They were all decked out in some kind of war-paint, and played a set that was really nice, if also really short. You can check them out at their myspace, over here: http://www.myspace.com/finishticket .

Broken Bells

This was arguably the band I was most excited about seeing, and holy shit, they did not disappoint. I was kind of angry at Broken Bells for a little while after their existence was announced, because they mean it will be forever before The Shins put out anything new, because James Mercer, but I forgave them very quickly after I heard a few songs and purchased the album. When you think about it, James Mercer and Danger Mouse is a pretty fuckin’ weird combination, but it is so, so damn awesome in practice. They make beautiful, perfectly-produced, electronica-tinged indie rock, and that is exactly what they performed on stage.

An important point: I had never seen that many keyboards on stage before, ever. I think the total Kendal and I arrived at was five,  two of which were like…the two-tiered kind. It was pretty ridiculous, but they used all of them during various points of the show. The band kept trading instruments throughout, with Danger Mouse hopping from drums to keyboard, one of the keyboardists hopping from keyboard to trumpet, to both at the same fucking time, and so on and so forth. Their music sounded pretty much exactly how it does on the album, but with awesome extended jammy bits. Keyboard jams! So awesome. Also, they were mixed perfectly. Like, the sound-guys did their job on that one. Also, James Mercer’s voice is beautiful. Also, I want to see them live every night for the rest of forever.

Here’s a video of them playing “The High Road” live at what I am assuming is SXSW. I couldn’t find a video of them doing improvy things, but this is still ridiculously awesome.

The Black Keys

This was the portion of the evening I did not really enjoy. I have not listened to The Black Keys much, but have been told nice things about them by sources that may or may not be Dylan, but none of this came across in their show. First off, their was the difficulty of following Broken Bells, which would have felled mightier men. And then there was the issue of the sound-guy clearly falling asleep or something. Their guitars were absurdly, drowning-out-the-drums too loud. I’m not sure if I have ever witnessed that happen before. The vocals not being loud enough is a pretty common problems, but I’m pretty sure you’re always supposed to hear the drums. Like, that’s kind of hard to fuck up.

I’m not sure if it was just the sound problem, but they did not please me, not at all.


Oh my gosh, Phoenix. I’m pretty sure I love them like eight thousand times more after seeing them live. Generally speaking, I kind of dislike arenas, but Phoenix in an arena was so spectacular. Their light show was fantastic; they had their drummer on a really awesome platform, and they were so energetic. They opened with “Lisztomania,” which was such a perfect choice and got everyone so excited for their set. They seemed so genuinely excited about playing for such a large crowd, and were so ridiculously gracious, and so ridiculously adorable; I now want Phoenix to take over the world. I accept Thomas Mars as our new overlord.

In all seriousness, if watching Phoenix live does not make you happy, you probably lack a soul. I want them to have all the success so that everybody ever can see them live. Thomas Mars ended the show by smashing the mic and tossing it into the audience, which is a pretty rock and roll thing to do, but when accompanied by charmingly-French-accented professions of gratitude, it was kind of adorable. Also, they sounded really good.

Here is a video of “Lisztomania.” For some reason, the high-quality ones are not the ones where Thomas Mars dances (…probably because they’re all like…in radio stations and shit). Some quality had to be sacrificed so that you could understand why he and Sofia Coppola should repopulate the earth. Also, this video gives you some idea of how fucking awesome their drummer looks with their light show. Aaaaaaah. Actual song starts around 1:35.

My Chemical Romance

These dudes are arena pros and well-known for their stage presence, so of course they put on a good show. Kendal and I hold Gerard Way and his new, bright-red hair responsible for the disappearance of all the Special Effect Nuclear Red hair dye in the world. (Seriously, come back in stock, please dye.) The first time I saw MyChem live, I was fourteen years old, and this set made me nostalgic as fuck. I saw them another time…at…some festival. Maybe Download? It was when they were playing the same festival as MSI and wound up being a couple of days before Gerard Way and Lyn-Z did their whole getting married backstage thing. They are a band whose story kind of stuns me–their fucking lead singer went from living in his parents’ basement and being miserable to being a fucking rock star, with a hot rocker wife. Dreams do come true, I guess.

At any rate, it was really fun, and made me feel old as fuck. All the musicians I listened to in my early teens are reproducing and shit, now! Also, Mikey Way now looks like a gay club kid. His hair was doing some bleached and partially shaved thing, and he had on some sort of green animal print tank-top…and a fucking glittery bass. If you had told fourteen-year-old me that Gerard would someday be the straighter-looking Way brother, she would have laughed in your face. But I digress, they played old things and new things. Seems like the new stuff is kind of glam-inspired? High-energy and fun times. I realized that I am now too old to feel guilty for enjoying any kind of music. This is a good thing.

Go and find your own damn live MCR vid on youtube. There’s approximately infinity of them and I am too lazy to sort through them.

The Smashing Pumpkins

Did not really succeed at following MCR, IMO. I am fond of Smashing Pumpkins and had seen them before, in a tiny venue in Santa Cruz, on their first reunion tour. That time, they played for like…three hours. There were three encores. They played songs off every album. This time…did not measure up. I just did not like them in an arena. They changed up some old songs in displeasing ways (they ended with “Tonight, Tonight,” which I swear, almost made me cry the first time I saw them, but this time it was all rock and rolled up and laaaame), and their light show involved these bizarre, sparkly, flower-windmill giant things.

They weren’t bad, but just…not high-energy or high-awesomeness enough to support such a large venue. And this post is now approximately eight million words long. So I will leave it at this. Show was awesome, and then Kendal and I watched How I Met Your Mother into the night. Man, I could have summed the whole night up in like a sentence.