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Anberlin w/ Circa Survive & Foxy Shazam – 1.24.11, Bogarts

3 Mar

Foxy Shazam
Circa Survive
24 January 2011
Bogarts, Cincinnati, Ohio

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It’s always fun when a band comes home to do a home town show (I know I’ve said it before, and it’s still true.). They’ve got friends and family around and the mood is generally pretty high. I’ve never had a bad experience at a band where they were playing at home in front of their own crowd, and Foxy Shazam was no exception. Foxy are one of those bands that you can’t help but have one of two reactions: one: this is the best thing EVER or two: WTF is this? Admittedly, most people were there to see Circa Survive, a topic that we will delve into at a later point, so most people fell into the latter category. They’re one of those bands that you can’t help but abandon all inhibitions and dance the night away. After all, that’s exactly what they did. Walking out in gold lamé, brocade, jacquard, fringe, and top hats, they looked like a Victorian era group of wandering minstrels that got caught in the 1970s. Continue reading

Terrible Things, 1.19.11 @ The Mad Hatter

4 Feb

Terrible Things
The Mad Hatter, Covington KY
1.19.11

Perhaps it is unfair to judge a band based on the parts and not the whole, but it’s bound to happen, especially when you talk about a band such as Terrible Things. Consisting of Josh Eppard (Weerd Science, Coheed and Cambria), Fred Mascherino (The Colour Fred, Taking Back Sunday, Breaking Pangaea), Brian Weaver, and Andy Jackson (Hot Rod Circuit), Terrible Things is an amalgamation of the best elements of the sounds of your generation. You probably have a pretty good idea of what they should sound like, but you probably don’t have a very good idea of what they do sound like. These guys, after all, played on some of your (and my) favourite records. If you’ve seen them play in any other incarnation, you probably have a pretty good idea of what a Terrible Things live set is going to be like. Take that notion and get rid of it because it won’t help you at all.

From the moment these guys stepped out on stage, it was pretty clear that they were about to do something special. The venue itself is less of a “rock club” and more like a basement, which, it seemed, suited them better. Whatever ego they could have had (and deservedly so), they left at the door. They unceremoniously walked out and without saying a word, barrelled into their self titled opening song. For a band that has never played here before, they managed to whip the crowd into frenzy. With a catchy hook and fairly easy backing vocals (We’re doing terrible things), all three hundred people were singing along in no time. The songs themselves were fairly uncomplicated, and almost properly so. Sometimes uncomplicated is better. Sometimes the lack of guitar trickery or crazy time signatures is a good thing. It allows us to see how incredibly talented these musicians are. Lullaby, on record, is a slow burner, but live it takes on a life of its own. The vocal interaction between Fred and Andy is eerily reminiscent of Jesse and Vinnie from Brand New on Your New Favorite Weapon. The biggest highlight of the night, personally at least, was The Hills of Birmingham. It’s not only one of my favourite songs that they do, but it has one of my favourite vocal harmonies that they’ve recorded. Andy and Fred play off each other so well, both vocally and musically. Both of them have such distinct voices that, in a live setting, they can do things that they can’t do on record. The result is a raw, authentic almost early 90s Jimmy Eat World highly nuanced vocal tag team.

There wasn’t much dialogue or banter in between songs. Maybe it was the anxiety of winning over a brand new crowd. The banter that was there was pretty short and pretty sweet. They interacted with the first couple of rows throughout their set, making the Mad Hatter feel like a proper basement. The interaction that they had with the rest of the crowd was humorous.

Guy in crowd: I love you guys!
Fred: Who said that? We love you too! OH! it’s gun guy from earlier! We love you Gun Guy!

The biggest response of the night came almost at the end of their set. If you’ve never heard of Terrible Things before, chances are that you’ve heard Revolution, the video for which is below. It’s one of those impossibly catchy songs that seems to get stuck in your head. It’s summery without being sticky sweet, and lately it’s been popping in little bits and pieces everywhere. If you didn’t know any other song that they played, you definitely knew this one. The crowd was fully engaged and by the first chorus, they were out singing the band much to everyone’s surprise. There was a moment in the song where Fred was completely taken aback and looked at his bandmates with a look of “if this really happening?”

I think the thing that struck me the most is how much they resemble bands like Braid, Rival Schools, and the Promise Ring during their set. They’re not a pop punk band, but they act like it at time, jumping on and off the crowd, conducting them like one giant rock and roll chorus. Overall, though, they turn in a solid, high energy set (well, as high energy as you can be for this type of music, though once they really get rolling, they’re a forceful onslaught of movement and electricity). They take the best parts of their influences and their former bands and they’ve managed to melt it into one big thing. Never once did I get the impression that they set out to be showmen, because they’re not. They truly come across as a bunch of friends touring around the country in a van and they couldn’t be happier about it. You’d think that once they were off stage they wouldn’t have a reason to keep that up, but even interacting with fans after the show you can tell that they’re “so stoked on life right now”.

The biggest compliment that they could have earned came as we were leaving the venue. A group of late teen / early twenty somethings were walking to their car. They were discussing the show and the driver said, “but Terrible Things. They need to change their name, you know, because they’re not terrible! They’re actually pretty amazing.” This tour and the one that they’re going to do with Streetlight Manifesto later this month are, I would safely bet, probably one of the last two tours that you’ll get to see them in such a small and intimate setting. It would be safe to say that they’ll be off headlining their own tours in bigger spaces soon enough and to miss them like this would be a terrible thing indeed.

Setlist:
Terrible things
Lullaby
Wrap Me Up
Conspiracy
The Hills of Birmingham
Revolution
The Arsonist’s Wife

Thursday @ Starland Ballroom, 30 December 2010

17 Jan

Thursday
Starland Ballroom, Sayreville NJ
12.30.10

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You’ll never really know how much a record will affect your life when you first hear it. You never really know how much it does after you don’t listen to it for a while. When you do go back and revisit it, you realize how completely that record has become a part of your life. That’s how I’ve become with a little record called Full Collapse. I remember when Thursday jumped from Eyeball Records to Victory Records and everything that went along with that move. I remember being played the demos for that record and feeling something, knowing that they had something but not really being sure what it was. The record was preceded by the video for Understanding in a Car Crash. I can remember seeing that video for the first time and realizing that they were on the threshold of something huge. I guess I wasn’t really prepared for the impact that this record was going to have on “the scene.”

Thursday’s holiday shows are always a real treat. They always manage to pull out all the stops whether it be by playing rare songs, having special guests or having amazing opening acts. Tonight, we got a little bit of all three. It could have been very easy for them to phone in their set; after all, it was billed as “Full Collapse plus the hits.” Anyone who has ever seen them live knows that songs from Full Collapse are always present in their regular set. Everyone knows them and everyone loves them and every one always sings along. Thursday, however, don’t ever do things the easy way. Everyone thought that they knew what to expect, perhaps, but nobody was really prepared for what was about to happen. Sure they were playing their “big” record from cover to cover, but what did these guys have up their sleeves? Continue reading

glassJAw – 1.1.11 @ The Best Buy Theatre, New York City

10 Jan

glassJAw
Best Buy Theatre, New York City
1.1.11

*please keep in mind that all of these pictures were taken from the crowd and are not of the usual proshot variety.*

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glassJAw
1.1.11
Best Buy Theatre, New York City
Capacity: 2100 (Sold Out)

I never know what’s going to happen at a glassJAw show. Truth be told, I don’t think anyone really ever does. Perhaps that’s part of the fun. Perhaps it’s what makes the shows as unpredictable as the band itself. Whatever the reason, it worked. We weren’t even made aware of the openers until two weeks before the show, and even then, we were only informed of one of them (Tidal Arms, Fran Mark from From Autumn To Ashes’ new band). In typical glassJAw fashion, the rumours about the show swirled around both the internet and the queue. Unfortunately, the most popular rumour (that Converge was added on the bill just days earlier) never came true.

In queue, we met people from all over the country and even one guy who came from Columbia for the show (he clarified, “the country, not the university.”). You would think that with the legions of devoted masses that listen to this band who were present, it would make for a very very good show. It did, and it didn’t; this will be discussed later, but first, a discussion on the band themselves.

By the time they took the stage, the stage itself was stripped down as far as possible. Outside of the instruments, there was nothing onstage. Perhaps this was a silent announcement that the band didn’t need fancy trappings to put on a good show. It is of my opinion that they chose to keep an empty stage because they were going to allow the music to speak for itself. Of the twenty two songs played, ten were new since the release of Worship and Tribute. Of those ten, they could be broken up as follows: three that have become live staples (You Think You’re John Fucking Lennon, Jesus Glue, Natural Born Farmer), one reworked song (Stars / Stars Above my Bed), one newish song (All Good Junkies Go To Heaven), and five brand new songs (Black Nurse, Please Don’t Let Me Down, Vanilla Poltergeist Snake, Miracles and Inches, A Song To Break Up To). With these tracks in mind, I feel as though it would be safe to assume that we the majority of the new album. Both Worship and Tribute and Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence contained twelve tracks, so I wouldn’t put it past them to road test an eleventh and twelfth song on their spring tour. Continue reading

glassJAw – 1.1.11

3 Jan

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You Think You’re John Fucking Lennon
Tip Your Bartender
Mu Empire
Stars
Ape Dos Mil
Calvacade
Stuck Pig
Pink Roses
Pretty Lush
Lovebites & Razorlines
Jesus Glue
Natural Born Farmer
All Good Junkies Go To Heaven
El Mark
Convectuoso
Two Tabs Of Mescaline
Siberian Kiss
Black Nurse (New-ish)
Please Don’t Let Me Down (New)
Vanilla Poltergeist Snake (New)
Miracles and Inches (New)
A Song To Break Up To (New)

Joe Satriani @ The Aronoff Centre, 7 December 2010

17 Dec

Joe Satriani
The Aronoff Centre, Cincinnati Ohio
7 December 2010

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If there’s one thing that I hate it’s going to a show and seeing a musician who looks completely and utterly bored to tears. It’s that they’re there in body, but they’re not there in spirit. It’s that they’re there to just go through the motions and go home or go back onto the bus and hide. Joe Satriani and company, however, embody everything that I love about going to shows. From the moment he stepped out on stage until the moment that he walked off, he smiled. It wasn’t one of those silly cheesy smiles, either. It was a genuine smile from deep down. It is evident that he loves doing what he does and he loves the people he has chosen to share the stage with. I’ll be the first to admit that this show was set up differently than what I am used to. There wasn’t a barricade, security were conspicuously missing and there were…seats. Seats that were numbered and assigned to you. This was all a very foreign concept as I hadn’t been to an assigned seating show in ages. Perhaps this was all a harbinger of what was to come as I was not prepared for what I was about to experience.

Experience: noun. A word meaning the totality of the cognitions given by perception; all that is perceived, understood, and remembered. It is of my opinion that the only way that this tour can accurately be measured is if you experience it. The venue that they chose to play in couldn’t have been more perfect. The Aronoff Centre, most often holding ventures from the fine arts world, is an open space with a ceiling that reaches to the heaven. Perhaps appropriately so, the space itself feels as though you had walked into the sanctuary of a gothic orthodox church. Foreshadowing? In hindsight, it’s very likely that this was the case. Everything felt much larger than it really was, which was perfectly fitting as the band played as though they occupied a space much larger than the largest arena you could ever imagine.

Before anyone really knew what was going on, the changeover had been completed and there was just a split second of calm before the houselights were brought down. Soon, the theatre was washed in a royal blue light. One by one, the band walked out, slowly, unassumingly. Mike Keneally, sitting behind his various keyboard equipment, is illuminated from above and plays something or other on the piano. Keneally, it should be noted, is a mad genius on par with Satriani himself. Having played with everyone from Frank Zappa to the touring incarnation of Dethklok as a guitarist, it was interesting to se him take on the role of keyboardist / pianist. For those who only know him as a guitarist, it was refreshing to see him in a role like this as he was able to truly put his musical virtuosity on display. One day, it will be nice to see both Keneally and Satriani have a guitar battle; there’s always soundcheck and there’s always next time. The closest thing that we were able to see this go around was a keyboard-guitar duel to the death. The line between anticipation and action was a fine one and just as we were all getting comfortable…he walked out. Continue reading

Alkaline Trio @ the Newport Music Hall, 3 March 2010

25 Nov

Alkaline Trio
March 3, 2010
Newport Music Hall
Columbus Ohio

There’s lens flare, and then there’s…this. I don’t even know what this is, to be quite honest. At any rate, I’ll be posting the full photo set from this show in the coming days.

In other news…Yann Tiersen has a new webisode up for viewing on La Blogotheque here. It is absolutely brilliant.

I’m also super excited to announce that i’m shooting JOE SATRIANI at the Arnoff Centre on D-Day for the 1st Five. My friend Mike Keneally is on this tour playing keyboards (though i’d LOVE to see Mike and Satch go at it duelling guitar style. just sayin’.), and i haven’t seen him since…November of last year when i went to vegas to see Dethklok VIP style. Don’t know Joe?

post script: Sevendust ft Chino Moreno of Deftones – Bender. CHILLS.