New month, same shit: photo
journal page, band
photos, yadda yadda yadda.
over on the other site are getting slacker and slacker. I've been
watching a lot of Premier League
soccer during the day when I usually write the reviews, so blame the
English. Lilac Shadows, Perfume Genius, Islands,
Blasted Canyons, Fucked Up, Mind Spiders, and a few more.
As I noted to someone, I've seen Crooked
Fingers three times in the last six months...and I'm
perfectly fine with that.
This time out it was a stripped down version of the band, just Eric
Bachmann on the acoustic guitar and his girlfriend/
bandmate Liz Durrett playing some sparse electric guitar and singing
backing vocals. I think I might prefer this version
of Crooked Fingers to the full band, but I'm more than happy to watch
and listen to whatever iteration of the group
comes through town. The set list felt very similar to the last
couple of shows I've seen - lots of songs from the newest
album "Breaks in the Armor" plus a few older tracks like "Call to
Love," "New Drink for the Old Drunk," and "Carrboro
Woman" off the top of my head. It was all quite fantastic, and I
hope he comes back and plays again within the next
couple of months so I can keep my current streak alive.
You never really know what you're
going to get out of a Lambchop show, but it's always
fantastic. This time out they
were in mellow mode, performing as a five-piece; the band had set up
like a horseshoe on the stage, leaving a big
empty area right in the middle like they were going to have some
cloggers come out and dance for everyone. They
didn't, for the record. You know a band is playing a laid-back
set when the drummer plays the entire show with his
wallet sitting on the snare drum. The bulk of their set was made
up of songs from their most recent (and quite fantas-
tic) record "Mr. M", though they did manage to get to one of my very
favorite songs "Soaky in the Pooper" towards the
end of the night. They even played a cover of the Beach
Boys-penned Glen Campbell song "Guess I'm Dumb"
the encore, a great track that I hadn't heard in quite some time.
And of course Lambchop gave it their own wry treat-
ment, delightful as always.
It wasn't all shits and giggles though...early in the set this loud
audible buzz started...well, buzzing, and it nearly drove
me insane. On top of that, while most of the crowd was quiet and
respectful, there was a chunk of dumbshits back at
the bar trying their best to ruin the show. I know bitching about
a talkative crowd is tired, but this was a very quiet per-
formance - I could hear the switches on the guitars being flipped for
example - so in this case the talking was extra
annoying. The band was clearly bothered by it, but they're
professionals and powered through. And most of the crowd,
the ones there to see a great live band and not converse about
nonsense, were glad for it.
Thanks to lethargy after ingesting a giant Italian dinner, I was so on
the fence about leaving the house to go to this Real Estate show,
that it took a flip of the coin to actually get me in the car. Of
course it should never have come to
that, since the goddamn show was free, but I am a truly lazy man at
heart. And being free, the place was fairly packed,
mostly with younger kids. I wouldn't call the place a daycare,
but "high school dance" might have been a fitting descrip-
tor. And then me over on the side with my molester mustache,
twice their age and avoiding eye contact for fear of
getting arrested for statutory gawking. You can go to jail for
that right? Not taking any chances.
As for the show itself - pretty good actually! I say that
somewhat excitedly because I didn't have particularly high ex-
pectations going in. I thought their last album was just okay,
but nothing amazing, and nothing else I'd heard by them
got me too riled up one way or another. I think they sometimes
get sucked into that prep-rock scene that had a brief
run a couple of years ago, but after seeing them live it seemed like
there was a little more depth to them than that.
Honestly they reminded me a of young, slightly less jazzy version of
the Sea & Cake, with some Stone Roses thrown
in there (especially the guitar work) and maybe just a smidge of Death
Cab for Cutie's mopey pop sensibility. The
kids in attendance seemed well into it for the entire set, and even
this old man was kept interested enough to stay
until the end.
I've often described the one of the hot new bands on the block, TOW3RS,
as our local version of Of Montreal. If that's
the case, then their sister group Lilac Shadows is our local
version of Apples in Stereo. This evening's gig was all
about the release of their cassette EP on the local Diggup Tapes label...though I was
secretly hoping it was actually
going to be a cassingle, complete with cardboard sleeve. Hell, if
shitty cassettes can make a comeback, it's only a
matter of time until someone starts making cassingles again. I'm
just glad I still have a tape deck in my car. Sure, the
cassettes come with mp3 download codes too, but I'm old and a sucker
for the physical object of music.
All that jibber jabber aside,
Lilac Shadows have popped onto the scene quickly, and based on the
turnout at Kings,
have made quite a splash. The place wasn't packed, but it was
comfortably full. They had a dude running a projector
displaying trippy images and lights on the band, which resulted in some
interesting photos. The band was great, even
better than the last time I saw them (and was too lazy to write up) - a
quality pop band that wraps their hooks in a lot of
swirly pedal-laden guitars and keyboards and such. The music made
for some dancing kids up front at the stage, well
not actual kids but I probably had 15 years on most of them so they
seemed like kids to me. The kids seem to be really
into the dancing these days, and I blame that damn terrible dubstep
nonsense as I yell at people to get off my lawn. But
I guess they like dancing to nice pop songs too.
played just before Lilac Shadows, and this was also my second time
seeing this new-ish group. These guys
are absolutely one of my instant local favorites going right now,
replacing the spot that the singer's former band Veelee
held. I only hope they can put out some recorded music in as
quick a fashion as Lilac Shadows have, though at least
there are the free songs on their bandcamp at the link above. The
more I listen the more I hear a heavy later-era Polvo
vibe from these guys, and on a couple of songs they almost veer into
Wooden Shjips-style psych rock with the slightest
Black Sabbath tinge. The group is highly recommended in my
book. And as an added bonus, maybe you'll get lucky
and there will be a girl standing front and center eating a mango with
a knife while she watches the band. I've heard
from a number of folks that the only real way to see live music is
while eating fruit with a knife, but this was my first time
A brief word about show openers Jenny Besetzt - I had never
heard of them and only caught a song and a half, but
damn was I impressed with the short bit I heard! Really upbeat,
jangly, indie-pop with a little guitar swirl was what I
heard from the brief snippet my ears ingested. Had a couple of
other impressed folks ask about them after the show,
so it wasn't just me. Hopefully I'll hear more and get a better
feel for them in the near future.
Last time The War on Drugs were in town
they played to a full (but not packed) house at Kings, so it was a bit
prising that their next gig would be at the much larger Lincoln Theatre
- I didn't think they could fill it, honestly. The end
result though was again a full (but not packed) house, so maybe they
just have the magic touch of filling any venue up
to the level of pleasant capacity.
I don't have any great,
enlightened things to say about this show, except that it was damn good
like last time they were
in town. They played most of their newest record "Slave Ambient"
and plenty of older songs as well, and it all sounded
gangbusters. Specifically they played "Baby Missles", the only
song name I can ever remember from that new album,
and my favorite song the band has produced so far. At one point
John Massengill, member of new upstart band Old Quarter,
joined the band for a song, a surprise birthday gift for the kid.
Additionally Brad Cook of Megafaun
along on a few tracks as the night wore on. There were a ton of
really young kids that seemed to clearly be there for
the opening band (White Rabbits) that I thought for sure would leave,
kids that age not being known for their love of
mature Tom Petty-ish pop rock. But they hung in for the most of
the show, even if many of them spent most of their
The moral of the story is this review is a rambling mess, the War on
Drugs are awesome live, and...boobies. Shit, I
Left the house on a whim for this gig, based mostly on the little bit
of buzz Royal Baths have gotten.
on the turnout maybe I'm getting faulty intel on what is hot.
Short story on the band - from SF, living in NYC now, and
features former members of Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall. Based on
their pedigree I was expecting a fairly straight-
forward garage pop affair, but their music was more dark, almost
goth-like than anything. Made me think of the other
band that fits this description, Sex Church, that I've heard folks talk
about. There were also a couple of Jesus & Mary
Chain-type songs, and a track here and there that reminded me of early
Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. So a little dark,
a little weird, and not at all like their old bands. I'll be
honest, I didn't love it, nor did I hate it - it was just a show that
happened, I saw it, and I went home. It happens. Live shows
can't always be the greatest thing ever.
The highlight of the night was Paint Fumes - a somewhat new
poppy garage-punk trio that played it pretty straight
80% of the time, and went off on long psychedelic jams the other
20%. And for the record at least one of these jams
sounded like the theme music from the greatest talk show of all time,
"Space Ghost Coast to Coast." They're appar-
ently from Charlotte but they've been playing up here so much lately
you could easily assume they are local. And since
when does Charlotte produce bands worth a shit anyways?
Definitely a band to look out for.
"Keep all boats away from our Skull Island laboratories...you have been
Birds Of Avalon - All
Your Downtime Is Up. Local lads (and lass) make the
interesting psych rock. The band has
changed some since this was recorded, and they are on an even better
Gillian Welch - Hard
Times. All her records sound pretty much the same, not
that I'm complaining. This song might
be the best she's ever recorded.
Way It Goes.
Mgmt - Kids.
I kinda ignored this band when they were hot shit, but catchy is catchy
and I got around to it eventually.
Bonus: Time To Pretend.
Stornoway - Fuel
Up. I've listened to this obsessively for the last six
months. Would have been one of my favorite
records of 2010 if I'd heard it on time.
Saw You Blink.
End Of The Movie.
The Wrong Words - Just
The Right Place. One of those awesome times when
friend rock is really really good.
Wild Wild Geese - Art
And War. Another 2010 release I'm really feeling in a
tardy fashion. No excuse here though,
as not only are these kids local but I've seen them live before.
Hi To Hell.
Wye Oak - Holy
Holy. This one is a slow grower. Took seeing
them live (amazing) to really hit me just right.