Monday, May 28, 2007
Memorial Day Weekend and The Slickees
My old college roommate/Dead touring buddy came into town for the weekend to catch The Slickee Boys shows. Getting together with old friends like that is always a little awkward at first. We haven't seen each other in a couple years and other than the infrequent emails we send back and forth, we really don't talk very much these days. But give us a few hours together and things are back to normal. The scary mind-meld of two people that know each other way too well starts to settle-in and that's when the fun finally starts.
Great weekend. Lots of really unhealthy food (mmmm...Old Bay-seasoned tater tots), way too much beer and 2 shows by one of our favorite bands.
Saturday was spent by the pool, followed by a trip up to Baltimore for the first night of Slickee fun. We were hoping to avoid the opening bands, but they started late and we ended up seeing both of the openers. They weren't bad, but we weren't terribly interested in seeing them. Oh well. The Slickee Boys were great - as always - despite some equipment problems. I think Kim blew his amp. Every time I see them in Baltimore, the band always talks about how much they love playing there. I can see why. The Baltimore crowds are so much more colorful than DC crowds. They dress like they're ready to rock and when the music starts, they don't hold back. Great time.
The weather wasn't as nice on Sunday, so we spent most of the day watching auto-racing on tv. Not my choice. Monaco, then Indy, then NASCAR. Something like nine-hours of non-stop racing. Ugh. Just shoot me now.
But it was finally time for the show. Designated-Driver-Dinger drove us all down to 9:30 for night number two. Unlike Saturday, I definitely wanted to see Rustbuckit's set tonight. They certainly didn't disappoint. The brought the rock from start to finish - ending with a cover of Black Market Baby's "Drunk and Disorderly". Great set guys - now get that cd released soon.
The Slickee Boys put on another spectacular show. A few different songs tonight - including "Death Lane" and "Your Autumn Eyes", which may be the only Slickee Boys song I really, really don't like. Kim seemed to have a few more problems, but I'm not sure what was going on. Whatever they were, they caused him to lose his mask during "The Brain That Refused To Die", so we didn't get the full effect of the visuals. It still came off fine though. "Jailbait Janet", "This Party Sucks", "Going All The Way/Glendora"....just a big ol' Slickee good time.
Having decided the dozen or so beers weren't enough, we headed to the Velvet Lounge for a few more. Completely unnecessary, but loads of fun.
My friend headed home kind of early, which left us with a much needed full day of laying by the pool. So now I'm pretty much sunburned, slightly hungover and exhausted. Mission accomplished.
(both pics are from the Ottobar show in Baltimore)
Friday, May 25, 2007
When I (don't) Go To The Beach
Part of me is jealous of everyone going to the beach this weekend. I haven't been in a couple years. I'm sure it would be a blast. Then again...the thought of sitting in traffic...big crowds...lines at every restaurant...ugh. That would definitely get on my nerves fast. I'm determined to get back to Rehoboth before the end of the summer, but it's probably best to avoid the holidays. Besides - I have this in my backyard:
That eases the pain a little.
Even if the beach was an option for this weekend, I'd skip it. There's no way I'm going to miss the return of The Slickee Boys - DC's favorite psychedelic-surf-garage-punk-party band. Two shows this weekend - one at The Ottobar in Baltimore and one at 9:30 in DC. That DC show is going to be great, because:
- They're playing 9:30 instead of Iota for a change. You'll actually have room to dance.
- You won't have to spend any money in homo-hatin' Virginia.
- Rustbuckit is opening (featuring former members of Black Market Baby and Government Issue). That's a lot of old-school DC fun.
My old college (and post-college) roommate is coming up for the shows this weekend. That usually means trouble for everyone involved. You've been warned.
Slickee Boys on YouTube. Add about 20 years and they're pretty much the same.
Gotta Tell Me Why
When I Go To The Beach
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Rosebuds @ The Rock and Roll Hotel
Have you ever bought something from someone at the merch booth, only to realize 10 minutes later that they're a member of the headlining band? I came to see her band. I have all of their cds, but not only do I not recognize her, I practically blow her off when she tries to make small-talk. What a dork I am. Sorry about that. ummm....I love your band. You rule.
The band in question is The Rosebuds - a super-fun power-pop-ish band from NC. I caught them last night at The Rock and Roll Hotel. The first time I ever heard/saw them was a few years ago at The Warehouse Next Door, opening for Metropolitan. They were touring for their cd The Rosebuds Make Out, a near-perfect pop record. It's one of those great records for driving around with the top down on a sunny day. Lots of "yeah-yeah-yeahs", "la la las" and "bum-ba-dums" that make it hard not to sing along. The show was just a big ol' rockin' dance party. I've been hooked ever since.
Since then they've grown up a bit. They've lost a tiny bit of the lightness in their songs. They still rock and get you moving, but everything has a slightly more serious tone to it. It's not that their records aren't fun - they definitely are. But Make Out is so over the top catchy, anything else is going to seem more serious.
The show was fun. A not quite sold-out crowd, so there was room to dance a little. A mix of old and new, but they didn't dig too deep into Make Out. That's a shame, because those songs seemed to get the biggest reaction of the night. The newer stuff rocked pretty hard, compared to the subtler sounds of the cd versions. The highlight of the night was probably "Get Up Get Out" from their latest cd Night Of The Furies. There's no denying it. This is a disco song. The vocals have a New Ordery feel to them, but the music is flat-out disco. The high-hat, the synthesized strings and the driving dance beat had the whole place dancing up a storm.
They finished the night with "Kicks in the Schoolyard" - one of the best tracks from Make Out. The singer ended up in the middle of the crowd and the opening band was also on stage on various percussive things. It turned into a big party afterall.
You can't go wrong with any of their cds, but go for Make Out for the pure pop goodness.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Elvis Costello and the Imposters @ 9:30
You never know which Elvis is going to show up. Will it be the Angry Young Man? Will it be the guy crooning Burt Bacharach tunes? The jazzy Elvis? Elvis' career is so varied, it's wise to do a little investigating before buying tickets. You never know what you're going to end up with.
I guess since he just re-released all of his early discs (for about the 4th time - this time sans bonus tracks) and released his 23rd and 24th "Best of..." discs simultaneously, we got the little-bit-of-everything-Elvis, with an emphasis on the really early stuff - which is really about the best thing possible.
He came right out of the box with "Welcome To The Working Week" and never let up. A little over 2 hours later the jam-packed crowd was still cheering. He played a perfect mix of hits and deeper tracks. Enough to keep the "Best of..." crowd happy, while still pleasing the folks who want the deeper cuts. I guess I fall somewhere in between.
The hits all sounded great - "Radio Radio", "Pump It Up", "Clubland", "Watching The Detectives".... He did something to the beginning of "Beyond Belief" that made it hard to recognize at first, but it sounded great. One of the highlights for me was probably "Alibi" from the terribly underrated When I Was Cruel record. This version came off as a little extra slinky and creepy, going on for quite a while. Chills. I was also loving "Country Darkness" - a beautiful song I'm completely unfamiliar with. My friend tells me it's from The Delivery Man - one of his most recent records. I definitely need to check that out.
We were even treated to a guest appearance by New Orleans jazz pianist Allen Toussaint, who played on a few songs - even singing one himself. Nice.
The true highlight of the evening, of course, was Elvis by himself, on acoustic guitar, singing "Alison". After the first verse became a giant sing-a-long, he started screwing with the cadence and melody - which threw off the crowd a bit. Come on people - You've got Elvis Costello in a nightclub, solo, acoustic, singing "Alison". Just try to listen for 4 minutes. The song was fantastic though. Definitely one of those musical moments you're going to remember for a long time. Perfect.
What didn't I like...? Well, I hate to say it, but it was almost too long. Sold-out 9:30 shows can be unbearably crowded. You can't even bend your knees without hitting 2-3 people. After 2+ hours of standing nearly perfectly still, it was getting a bit tiresome. Yeah - I know - Stop whining. And I'd like to say that Toussaint was a highlight, but to be honest, I couldn't really hear him. I couldn't hear what he was doing, so he didn't really seem to add much. It struck me as a special moment, but it was probably more special for Elvis, himself, than for most of the crowd.
He closed the show with Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding", complete with a call/response with the crowd about bringing the boys home. Without actually talking much, Elvis did a pretty good job of letting us know what he thought about the war.
Elvis is the king. I've only seen him once before - nearly 20 years ago. I won't make the mistake of waiting that long again. It was incredibly exciting to see him in a nightclub. I never expected to see that. Dinger's theory is that everyone plays 9:30 eventually. He's probably right. He usually is.
TJ likes setlists. You can find that here.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Velvet Revolver @ 9:30
Once in a while I have to make an executive decision. I use my powers conservatively, but every now and then I just make the call - no questions asked.
This was the case when I heard Velvet Revolver was coming to 9:30. Dinger never got to see Stone Temple Pilots (one of his favorite bands) and neither of us got to see the glorious mess that was G'n'R. I decided to exercise my authority and force Dinger to go to this one. No questions. Oh yeah - you're going.
It turned out to be the right decision. VR just rocked from start to finish. Scott Weiland is an awesome frontman - prancing around like a mix of Mick Jagger and Michael Stipe (Dinger's descrption). I saw STP once, but I was waaaaay in the back at the top of the Patriot Center. Hard to appreciate from that far away, but up close he was amazing to watch.
Musically, it was just balls-out kick-ass rock and roll. "Every now and then I forget and have to remind myself - Oh yeah - that's f-ckin' Slash!" - Dinger. (beware of audio on that Slash link.)
The highlight was easily "Vasoline" - they only STP cover of the night. The crowd went apeshit crazy over that one. And for good reason. It tore the place up. No G'n'R songs that I'm aware of, much to the obvious disappointment of the guy near us who proceeded to flip off the band for the last 20 minutes or so. Oh well.
Surprisingly, they did covers of "Wish You Were Here" and "Psycho Killer". Odd choices. Do they have a history with those songs? To be honest - they were pretty dull and brought the energy down a bit.
The crowd was surprisingly fun. Full-on good-time party mode, but not in an obnoxious way. Everyone just out on a weeknight having a little too much fun for a Tuesday.
I would have bet the farm that I wouldn't run into anyone I knew at this show. I was wrong. We are everywhere.
Great night. There aren't enough real rock and roll bands out there these days. VR definitely qualifies. The new record comes out next month. I'm all over it.
Suck it hipsters. Let's rock.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Gibbard @ 9:30
I was having a really crappy week. Work problems, boyfriend problems, family problems, money problems, etc. I was bitchy, angry and depressed all at once. What better way to turn my frown upside-down than to see BG since a bunch of happy-go-lucky, updeat, rockin' party anthems?
Accompanied by my dear friend Stella, we headed to the early show at the club. Early shows suck. It's impossible to get there in time for the openers and the crowd treats the whole thing like a giant happy-hour. Still - I'll take that over the late show, which didn't have Gibbard on stage until midnight. Ugh.
I'm terrible with song titles these days, but the show was the expected mix of Death Cab, Postal Service (I assume) and cover songs. Every emotion I listed above was all brought forth a little further with each song, but there's something about the songs that kind of eased the pain a little. I don't know if it's because I felt the "yeah - he gets it - he understands how I feel" thing, or just because the songs - no matter how sad, lonely or bitter they are - make me happy. Or, maybe I was just the fact that I was pounding Stellas because I was in a bad mood. Who knows. All I know is the music sounded great.
hmmm...let's see - songs..."Photo Booth", "Title and Registration", "I Will Follow You Into The Dark", "The Sound of Settling", that "I'm In Los Angeles Today..." song ...lots more. Oh wait - here's the setlist. A nice cover of Nirvana's "All Apologies" done on piano. Seeing him alone on stage - moving back and forth between piano and acoustic guitar - reminded me a lot of the Neil Young solo acoustic shows I saw years ago. Simple songs that you've heard a million times that can just rip your heart out, but make you happy at the same time. Perfect.
Surprisingly, the crowd went from chatty chatty chatty happy-hour mode to one of the most quiet and attentive crowds I've seen at the club. Impressive.
That's about all I remember. I waited too long. Oh well. Trust me - it was good. It almost makes me bummed that I skipped Death Cab when they played DAR a few months back. Almost.
Don't take my word on the quality of the show. It's up for streaming at NPR. It's a shame they don't make it downloadable, but I'm sure somebody not nearly as lazy as me has managed to pull it and rip it.
I'll try to get my thoughts on Velvet Revolver up tomorrow. Now - I'm off to see Elvis.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Arcade Fire @ DAR
I initially had no desire to go to this show. I was over the hype. Neon Bible wasn't getting the glowing reviews that Funeral got. I've already seen these guys in a club. Despite the fact that they were fantastic last time, I just wasn't feeling it. The fact that it sold out in 3.5 seconds sealed the deal. I'll sit this one out.
Then I saw them on TV. Letterman? Conan? I forget. One of those late night shows. Damn. They sound really good. Maybe I should at least check out the new cd. Downloaded it via emusic. Damn. It's better than some of the reviews led me to believe. Then they announced that The National were opening. Crap. They're really good too. I should have bought tickets. No chance in hell, I figured. Only if I can get a seat right up front at face value. Wow. Thanks to a last minute release of tickets from TM, I suddenly found myself with a 7th row center ticket. Score.
I saw The National once a few years ago opening for The Walkmen. There were maybe 50 people in the club early enough to see them that night. Not very different on this night. The National came out to a house that was maybe 10% full. Maybe 250 people in their seats when they came out. They killed. They slowly, but surely, took control and as the crowd filled the arena people began to pay attention. By the end of their set the mostly-full hall was on their feet cheering. Keep an eye out for these guys.
Arcade Fire was next and they did not disappoint. They've got such a great, full sound. Their songs have a great sense of folk about them, but they simultaneously make you want to just rise up and start cheering and singing along. There's so much going on on stage, it's hard to keep up. A horn section, your basic guitar/drum rock setup, a multitude of odd little instruments and people just randomly banging on anything they can get to. It's as mesmerizing to watch as it is exciting to hear.
And their fans are just crazy. Easily the rowdiest I've seen DAR, an arena well-known for being very uptight. I really, really like this band, but I haven't quite drunk the water that some of these folks have. There's some serious Arcade-mania going on. Good for them.
My seat was amazing up until the singer told everyone to come down front. Suddenly I was treated to people jumping over my seat, smacking me in the head with their overzealous clapping, stomping on my feet, etc. That kind of sucked, but I didn't really care by that point. It bumped up the energy level about 1000% and nearly turned the show into a revival.
Believe the hype. They really are that good live. Like the records. Love the show.
Friday, May 11, 2007
sorry about that
Not that I have anything interesting to say.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
If you don't get it...