Last night I had the great fortune to see The Flaming Lips play a teeny tiny bar, The Belly Up, in Aspen, Colorado. The excitement of seeing a band that sells out venues to the thousands in such an intimate setting was palpable. Everyone was smiling knowing they were in for a treat. Even though the venue size was constraining, they did not hold back on their usual theatrics. In typical fashion, Wayne opened the show with his hamster ball trick, busting stage lights and his man bubble along the way. Cannon confetti guns, laser lights, smoke machines, dancing bears and bouncing balls added to the euphoria of the evening. Considering the joint only held a few hundred, it had to be a money losing proposition for them. But joy of that performance was so transcendental it will not soon be forgotten. What a great show to wrap up 2010. While I’m no concert photographer, I hope you enjoy some of my amateur shots and video. Long live The Flaming Lips!
Standing on the floor of LA’s Music Box Theater last night waiting for the Radiohead Benefit for Haiti to begin, it was hard not to muse over the crowd – a mix of the star-studded Hollywood elite and die-hard fans. On my immediate right was 007 himself, Daniel Craig. In front of me, some dude from The Practice (sorry, not up on my TV). And to my left was a lone 18-year-old kid in a fur earflap hat trying to borrow one of our mobile phones so he could text his friends he made it in. Hmm, I thought. If you don’t even own a cell phone how could you possibly even afford the $475 minimum ticket price for tonight’s show. Turns out he traded a scalper his MacBook Pro for a ticket.
Clearly, this wasn’t your average Sunday night. Nor was this your average concert. This was Radiohead, one of the biggest and influential bands of our time, getting ready to play a one-off gig at a venue the size of San Francisco’s Bimbos 365 Club. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and everyone knew it.
At 8:30 Thom Yorke and company took the stage and set the intention for the evening: “It’s going to be a sing along tonight.” And indeed it was. They gently eased us into an epic evening of music with “Faust Arp” followed by “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Arpeggi/Weird Fishes”. Then all hell broke loose when they launched into “National Anthem”/ “Nude”/ “Karma Police”. If you weren’t sing along or yelping with glee, you were finding God, speaking in tongues and uttering phrases like “Jesus Christ… Oh my God…Oh my FUCKING God!!!”
Yes, it was a religious experience. The best moment? Pick one. Pick any. Like when Yorke serenaded us on the piano with “Everything In It’s Right Place,” or the novelty of the band asking the audience to choose the next song: “Just” or “Airbag”. (The latter won.) Or the sneak preview of their new song, “Lotus Flower.” It was all insane. But for me, I lost my mind at “Bodysnatchers”.
In the end, and most importantly, the band raised over $570,000 for Haiti. We all helped to support the cause. And we all walked away with an experience we won’t soon forget.
Fake Plastic Trees
How to Disappear Completely
Wolf at the Door
Dollars and Cents
Exit Music (for a Film)
Everything in It’s Right Place
You & Whose Army?
All I Need
Lotus Flower (new song)
King Khan greeted the crowd Wednesday night at the Independent with a few words to sum it all up: “It’s good to be back in civilization.”
The King Khan & BBQ show tour was sorely interrupted on November 12th when their rental car was “randomly” stopped at a “safety checkpoint” in Kentucky. All were arrested and the groups manager was jailed on possession charges (mushrooms). Two shows were missed.
People expecting a Shrine’s style stage full of musicians and dancers may have been initially disappointed to find only the dynamic duo (King and Sultan), but any disappointment would be quickly flattened as the two tore threw a long sweaty set and encore. No distractions, just King and Sultan, giving it all their mighty powers. Mark Sultan used all 8 appendages, playing fierce guitar while keeping the pounding, tribal beats on drums and tambourine with his 2 feet. It seems his foot went through the tambourine which was attached to one of the two drum pedals. King Kahn dressed elegantly in a sleeveless, shimmery blue dress. The fringed skirt barely covered his thighs. He wore a black helmet with a silver spike and eagle on top (Franco-Prussian war perhaps?), snappy red tennis shoes, and a necklace of teeth and bone. Together they plowed through most of the KK&BBQ catalog including great renditions of personal faves “Zombies” and “Why don’t you lie?”. Yes there was moshing.
Opening act, Those Darlins come from Murfreesboro, TN. They have developed quite a reputation for wild shows with lots of drinking and mayhem. Consisting of 3 lovely ladies (Jessi Darlin, Kelley Darlin and Nikki Darlin on guitar, bass and ukulele) as well as a handsome dude on the drums. He has not achieved the “Darlin” surname yet. The show defied all expectations. Shredding guitar and lots of stage antics. Nikki, in particular, was in prime form. She jumped into the audience to have a cigarette and push some guys around. She climbed back on stage only to drool beer into the welcoming mouth of a lucky young man in the front row. Yet with all the drinking and rocking they still found the time to answer some questions for us at the OCMD! Smart, wonderful, sober answers, enjoy!!
OCMD: How is the tour so far? Any favorite cities or venues? Will we see you at SXSW this year?
TD: Interrupted. The Bottletree in Birmingham is one of the best venues, for bands especially!!! They have 2 air stream trailers outside that are fully equipped with flat screen tvs, dvd players, refrigerators, blankets, beds, movies , nintendos, etc. They are all decorated really retro and awesome, they even have lawn gnomes and an outside hangout out area with lawn chairs. The bands can stay there all night if they want! and there is still a huge back stage area with tons of couches and comfy stuff, including massage chairs!! It rules. As far as cities on this run, atlanta, st louis, and memphis brought it as a whole. But there have been crazy sweet people in every city. Los Angeles showed up with huge enthusiasm after the Troub cancellation and a last minute venue change. Yes we shall be back to the SXSW festival this year. At least we sure hope to be.
OCMD: How are things going with the King? It seems like a match made in heaven. Are you playing any songs together yet? Is he behaving himself since his arrest??
TD: Things were great with King Khan, until they went missing. We were pretty damned worried when no one could get a hold of them. And then their whole run in with the KY sobriety force. A drag on everyone. We’ve had to cancel 2 shows and move one. But we’ve tried to keep the spirit of the tour going…we played extra long sets and covered some KKBBQ for Kansas fans who were understandably bummed. And now we are on our way to rejoin them in SF. I think it is a match made in heaven. And, Khan and I can share accessories. The rest of the tour is gonna be crazy fun. I think everyone has a lot of pent up energy to play out. I don’t know if he is behaving himself since then, as we haven’t seen him yet. But i would hope he isn’t.
OCMD: Tav Falco Pather Burns. Great American rockstar or the greatest? Can you help spread the gospel about Tav? Maybe a cover? We would really like to see him return home from Europe and we need your help!
TD: We love Tav Falco! Yeah, we’ve wanted to tour with him but he’s so far away…we can certainly help with a campaign to let him know how much he is loved and missed in the States. We’ll start with a cover and then try to court him with love letters. Surely there are others who will join us in our efforts? And if he doesn’t come here, we will just have to go to Europe and find him!
OCMD: Why should we love you more than the Vivian Girls?
TD: When it comes to love, you should follow your heart…I love the Vivian Girls’ use of reverb, but I will say that we can shred some guitar solos.
OCMD: What do you look for in a groupie?
TD: I look for groupies that will carry my equipment, buy me drinks, and never talk to me.
OCMD: Top 5 things to do in Murfreesboro?? ..other than say it over and over again?
TD: 1.Volunteer at Southern Girls Rock n’ Roll Camp 2. Eat at Kleer-Vu 3. Ride your bike on the Greenway 4. Uncle Dave Macon Days 5. Wiffle Ball in the Sir Pizza parking lot
OCMD: As a father of 2 young girls, I would like to know how I can ensure they will become rock stars? Your camp is a bit too far from California…
TD: Aww…they can become “rock stars” by being encouraged to be confident and creative. By rock stars, I mean that they will have the confidence to succeed in whatever they pursue. There are so many girls rock camps that have this very purpose as their main mission all over the US and around the world! Last I checked, there were over 20 camps and more being started all of the time. There’s a list of all of the camps maintained by the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, a group formed to share resources among camps. In fact, there’s a Bay Area Girls Rock Camp in San Francisco and there’s a full list available at <http://www.girlsrockcamp.org/supporters/grca>. We’re really proud to be a part of this kind of social change. Please check out the camps and help support the movement!
OCMD: Thanks ladies! Safe travels and come back soon!
An excellent evening of moody, melodramatic rock last night at The Great American Music Hall in SF with Julian Plenti, the solo side project of Interpol frontman Paul Banks. It was just what the doctor ordered. Interestingly, I enjoyed his quieter material much more live than on the studio recording. Partly due to his amazing cellist. Wow, what beautiful complexity that instrument added to the evening.
The crowd was intimate but very enthusiastic, bestowing Mr. Banks lots of love throughout the night. They played their entire debut and then some, including some rockin’ new tracks and a great cover of America’s ‘Horse with No Name’. Enjoy the live footage!
Meet what very well might be the first race horse in history named after a Twitter handle, Indy Rocker Girl. Those are my nieces and nephew checking out the foal their Grandpa named in my honor (endearingly botched in only the way my Dad could manage.) I got this photo in my inbox just before heading out to see J. Tillman last night at Cafe du Nord and the combination of the two elements really made me homesick.
I think it was the pedal guitar that got me. It does every time. Listening to the talented Mr. Tillman’s beautifully plucked guitar and weeping sounds of the pedal steel guitar, it finally hit me why I’m such a sucker for it. It’s home. As much as I grew up on the alternative sounds of WOXY, so I did country and bluegrass music in my Dad’s pick up truck. Regular pilgrimages across the border to the Kentucky Bluegrass Festival made me a lifelong fan of the banjo, pedal guitar and heartfelt lyrics.
J. Tillman and his band are just that – and more. Their music is honest and real. In a time when so much indie music seems contrived and trite, it’s a refreshing respite. I had such a feeling of contentment after that show. My chicken soup for the soul, I guess. If only I could have had a patch of real bluegrass to sink my bare feet into….
There’s always a bit of fear and trepidation when I anticipate a show as much as I did this one. Usually you’re setting yourself up for a disappointment, but that was not the case Monday night at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill. The stellar double header of Foreign Born and The Veils definitely goes down as one of my top concerts so far this year.
Both bands were excellent, but I have to say Foreign Born really delivered an outstanding performance with a rich, polished and professional sound rarely seen at the likes of this venue. And they had a stage show too. When’s the last time you saw a show at Bottom of the Hill with two drummers, stage lighting and smoke effects? It was a first for me. They were tight.
The Veils, Finn Andrews, bared his soul during the show giving such a passionate performance he could barely compose himself after “Larkspur.” Wow, was all I could say. His vocals reigned true throughout the night and his graciousness on stage was and unexpected surprise for me. Impressive all around.
Ladies and gentleman, Ty Segall has band! He’s evolved from a one-man act into a full fledged surf punk trio with a girl drummer to boot. Friday night The Hemlock played host to his CD Release party for Lemons, his new album due out July 14.
It was a raucous and rawkin’evening of surf punk all around. Just when I started to question my stamina for a late evening at The Hemlock after a long week, opening band Charlie and The Moonhearts laid out a fierce set of late 80’s-inspired Orange County punk that kicked me right in the teeth. Their 30 minute assault of fast and dirty garage rock combined with the ponytail face whipping from my friend Jen next to me was just the adrenaline shot I needed. No more yawning for me, I tell ya.
Ty and company (which by the way, featured the same bass player – Mikal- from Charlie and The Moonhearts) banged out a great set of mostly new material to an eager and (sometimes overly) rambunctious crowd. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, get in to this band!
I can’t emote enough about Grizzly Bear. I truly believe they are one of the seminal bands of our time and will inspire a generation of musicians to come. And they’re so young! But oh so talented. Each of them playing a multitude of instruments and contributing vocally to their beautiful, ethereal harmonies. The sound they create is simply symphonic. Their instrumental and vocal arrangements are so beautiful, well-crafted and of such far grander proportions I have a hard time lumping them into the category of ‘indie rock.’
As much as I love Grizzly Bear, as was just as excited to see Here We Go Magic. On the album, Luke Temple’s voice is on par with that of Ed Droste. In person, there’s absolutely no comparison. Mr. Droste wins hands down. I was actually quite disappointed with Here We Go Magic. Their album is great, it just didn’t translate live for me.
So with that, I’ll leave you with a video I captured from the show. It wasn’t until later did I learn that you’re not supposed to do that. I didn’t know! I don’t get to The Fillmore much. I usually stick to the smaller venues and shoot video no problem. It just seems a shame to let it go to waste. So I put it here with the pinky promise that – cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye -I will never ever shoot video at The Fillmore again.
The Handsome Furs finally made their way to San Francisco this week and, well…this was pretty much what the show was like – HOT! Their energy, connection, passion and performance on stage was raw and magnetic. The husband and wife duo bared it all for the audience (figuratively speaking), pouring their souls into their music and each other, feeding one another into a frenzy and into heaps on the floor several times throughout the night.
There were moments when I thought Alexi Perry was going to dive through her drum machine back into the Matrix, only to be brought back from the edge by the dashing Dan Boeckner’s embrace and kiss. For real, people! It was truly amazing and inspiring to watch two people so connected and effusive. If it wasn’t rock and roll it might have even been a little sappy.
Oh, and I haven’t even talk about the music yet. I love these guys and have been remiss for not featuring their new album, Face Control, on this site yet. It’s sure to be on my top album list of 2009. Just like their sleeper debut Plague Park was in 2007. Face Control is definitely more upbeat and dancey, likely inspired by their romp through the clubs of Eastern Europe. Boeckner’s straightforward rock and songwriting shine in this album. as it does in his work with Wolf Parade. I’ll take him over Spencer Krug any day.
I’ve never seen so many photogs at a Rumbe event prior to Wednesday night’s performance by Band of Skulls at The Harlot in San Francisco. And if there’s any correlation between the number of photographers/camera crew in attendance and a band’s success, then these guys will not be under the radar for very much longer. With their session tomorrow on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, that’s bound to become a certainty.
The hot London trio definitely delivered too. Standing in front of bassist, Emma Richardson, I couldn’t help muse how much she looked like a young Chrissie Hynde, haircut and all. Their gritty, rock and roll swagger is very soul satisfying and have had their debut album, “Baby Darling Doll Face Honey,” on repeat since I got it. You should too. Go download it from iTunes. It’s only $5.99!