Filtering by Tag: live music

THE WEDDING PRESENT - "Seamonsters" - LIVE IN BROOKLYN, 3/21/12

I was shocked and disappointed in myself that I haven't posted these videos yet (as well as posted a new mix since February, but that's another story). The past 2 months have been a flurry of changes and busy times. But now, as I have a free few minutes, I'm righting the ship and sharing with you...

The Wedding Present, live at The Bell House in Brooklyn on March 21, 2012 performing their 1991 classic album Seamonsters.  I got 3 great videos of some of the songs from the set, here's the first 2 songs off the album, "Dalliance" and "Dare":

The Wedding Present are one of those Brit Pop bands that was I way late to the game on. Already firmly established in the 1980s and achieving legendary status in the 1990s, I didn't really tune into them until the early 2000s.  Luckily, they've since reformed and have been putting out new material (which is awesome), but these nostalgia tours of playing classic albums are always fun and hard to pass up the chance to see, especially when they play songs like "Corduroy":

This show in particular was a blast because I was able to meet up with some of my longest and bestest friends and had an nice little group to hang with. So much of the live show experience is the people you see the show with.  Of course the band will probably be good. A band like the Wedding Present are pros and David Gedge is a stellar front man,  but having friends around you who also are as psyched to be there as you are makes the night that much more memorable and awesome. 

That said, it's somewhat fitting that the last song I got on video was The Wedding Present's classic single "You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends"...

 

Bob Mould - "Copper Blue" - Live in SF, 2/24/14

If I were to share with you my top 10 albums of the 1990s and even my top 10 albums of all time, "Copper Blue" by Sugar would be towards the top of both lists.  I remember the first song I heard off the album, "Hoover Dam," on a mix tape a friend had made me. The song sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. The entire album quickly became a soundtrack for me and my group of friends through high school in the early 1990s. I was too young to understand Sugar's front man Bob Mould and his connections to underground music via Husker Du in the 1980s, much less Mould's stature and importance as one of the greatest musicians/songwriters of my generation. Further, I was too young to comprehend the influences to Sugar, such as My Bloody Valentine (a comprehension that would come years later as I got more mature with my listening skills). All I know was that "Copper Blue" was 10 songs of focused energy, emotion and gracefulness. They were 10 songs that would leave their mark on me forever.

I never got to see Sugar perform live, and I always had them on this list in my head of great bands I'd never see (along with The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, Minor Threat and many others. It's interesting to see the bands fall off that list as reunions and one-time gigs occur and who I will still never see, but that's a discussion for another time).  When I saw Bob Mould perform with his backing band at ATP 2008, I was blown away that he played "Hoover Dam."  I wasn't expecting it and yet here it was, live and being performed in front of me. So when the music festival in San Francisco, Noise Pop announced that Mould would be performing the entire "Copper Blue" album live, I had to be there.

After much drama, conflicts and touch and go moments, I found myself with some of my closest friends at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, California on February 24, 2012, waiting for Mould and his band, bassist Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster (of Superchunk fame) to take the stage.  When the first note started, I had to look around and verify that this was actually happening.

To prove it happened, I took some video of the first 5 songs. I had intended to do the entire show, but after "Hoover Dam", I had to put my camera down and just rock out.  I wanted to share this video with you so you can see the happiness and energy that Bob Mould shared with all of us. Seeing this amazing group of songs performed live helped push Mould to the top of my list of "Best Live Shows I've Ever Seen."

If you don't have "Copper Blue" - go buy it now and enjoy the videos below.

"The Act We Act"  "A Good Idea"  and "Changes"
"Helpless" and "Hoover Dam"

Suede - 05.19.11 - London

"So Young"

Yes, I flew to London to see Suede perform live.  Yes, I know that's crazy, but sometimes, crazy makes sense.  You see, any and all appreciation and enjoyment of Brit Pop I owe to Suede.  The first Brit Pop band I discovered, Suede was my entry point into the entire genre.  From Suede, I went to Elastica, to the Stone Roses, to Blur, to Pulp and then finally The Smiths and Morrissey.  

"The Drowners"

When I discovered Suede, it was the video for their song "Metal Mickey" that played on MTV's 120 Minutes.  Barely half way through the song I realized that everything I knew or thought about music had changed.  I immediately went out to get their first album (with the odd, androgynous figures kissing) and after that first listen, was a fan for life.  I saw them perform live for the first time in 1993 in New York City (one of the first shows I ever attended) still remember that show as if it was yesterday. 

"Metal Mickey"

The next and last time I saw Suede was in 1995, on Valentine's Day, again in New York City with my dear friend Shannon.  It was after their second album came out and again it was an awesome show. The original guitarist, Bernard Butler had recently left the band, but they still sounded great and the new album was as good as the first.  After that show, I finished High School, headed to college and my music interests expanded beyond Suede as I discovered other current and older Brit Pop bands.  Unfortunately my interest in Suede lessened over the years as each new album felt a little less magical.  When they broke up, it was less about being sad about the break up but rather relieved that it ended, especially after their last album which is probably their worst.

"Moving"

When Suede reunited last year for a series of chairty gigs, I seriously considered going to London to see them, but unfortunately due to life's circumstances, I didn't go.  I ws bummed, but what could you do?  Then when rumors swirled about them playing Coachella in 2011, I seriously considered my anti-Coachella stance (music festival in the desert? not for me), but ultimately decided not to go.  And then I searched YouTube for videos from Coachella and as I watched them, I thought, "Oh crap, they're really good..." and began pricing out flights to go to London to see them play in May of 2011.  They had scheduled 3 nights of shows, each night they would perform one album, smartly ending after their third album, "Coming Up."  I could only make it to the first night, where they played their first album, which I thought was appropriate, so I said, "You only live once" and booked the tickets.

 

"Trash"

I am so thankful I decided to go. The show was INCREDIBLE.  I made friends with a lovely couple standing by me, Marcus and Tracy - fans from the 1990s as well, and enjoyed the hell out of the performance. The audience seemed to be full of old, die hard friends, i.e. skewed older, which was great.  The moment the band came out to "So Young" (above) the place went nuts.  I really couldn't have asked for a better time or a better show or a better performance.  They played the entire first record, took a short break, and then played a bunch of B-Sides from the first record era, as well as some later album songs (like "Trash" above).  All in all it was perfection.

 

The Go! Team - 04.20.11 - San Francisco


"T.O.R.N.A.D.O."
Finally. The show I've been waiting for, literally, for months.  You see, I've been aware of The Go! Team for years now, and I've enjoyed a few of their tracks.  But when their latest album, Rolling Blackouts, came out, I fell in love it with.  I don't know what it was, something about the kinetic energy that I knew of them, added in with a bit of 60's pop songs and it just clicked for me.  The album has been on heavy rotation here in my home office since January and when I saw they were playing San Francisco in April, I snagged tickets and began my endless waiting.

"The Secretary Song"
To make matters worse, as I waited to see The Go! Team live, I heard from someone who saw them live earlier this year that they were fantastic live, just as I suspected.  So my impatience grew and grew until finally they rolled into town.  The show was on a Wednesday night and I have to admit, I was surprised as the venue was barely half full.  I thought for sure it would be packed as The Go! Team promised to be a party like atmosphere. But regardless, that just meant I could get get closer to stage.  The DJ music stopped, the lights dimmed and then The Go! Team too the stage playing the opening track of their new record, T.O.R.N.A.D.O., and just as I suspected, they totally rocked my ass off.


"Ready To Go Steady"

If I ever had to show someone or describe what kinetic energy looks like, I now have an example. It's The Go! Team live.  Only with a few other bands that I've seen live (like Avail) have I seen such pure energy and chaos on stage.  There's no way anyone can stand still as they play a song, even the slower ones.  Inbetween each song was a frantic dash as each band member switched instruments and got in position.  As far as I could tell, everyone in the band played drums at some point, and nearly everyone played guitar or bass or keyboards or something. There was no constant, no moment of stillness.  Always moving, always rocking out.  

"Buy Nothing Day"
(cut off so I could dance)
Their energy is best explained by the above video for Buy Nothing Day which I cut off taping in the middle of the song purely because I couldn't stand still to record. So I stopped so I could dance.  It's amazing how their mix of dance/hip-hop/rap songs mixed with the 60's esque/Japanese pop songs each delivered an equal amount of excitement and energy.  

 

I often get accused of hyping things up too much or using hyperbole, but trust me here (or ask any of the 5 other people I dragged to the show), The Go! Team is fantastic live and guaranteed to provide a party like atmosphere and a good time.  I found myself thinking that THIS is the kind of band that should be playing to an outdoor summer festival, with thousands of people dancing and enjoying the party.  Now I get it.

 

Pick up Rolling Blackouts and see what I'm talking about:

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - 04.19.11 - San Francisco


"Young Adult Friction"

The Coachella festival in Southern California was this past weekend.  I didn't go (I'm not big on festivals, much less festivals in the hot desert sun).  One of the reasons why I didn't go was something I like to call "The Coachella Effect" where bands who are playing Coachella come through San Francisco before and after the festival, playing smaller venues here in SF. Most of the time I'm able to see the bands that I would have seen at Coachella, but here in my city under much better circumstances (i.e. no sun, no desert, less people etc.).  This year I was psyched to see one of my favorite recent bands, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart were not only playing Coachella, but they were coming through SF afterwards. I bought tickets back in January and actually forgot I had gotten the tickets.  Last week when I saw the show was sold out, I panicked, and tried to buy tickets off Craigslist, before I remembered I actually had tickets.  I must be getting old. Oh well.  Either way, I had the tickets and was all set to rock out.


"Everything With You"

I have a hard time putting into words why I like The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.  Part of it is because they owe alot to My Bloody Valentine, one of my favorite bands as well, with their noise pop approach.  Another part of it is because the music is just *so* 80's at times, that it's hard to not just dance and enjoy it for that.  But there's an earnestness to this band that I adore.  If you've heard their albums or recorded songs, you'll hear a tight, polished, well produced noise pop band.  But live, without the shelter of the studio and the ability to make each song perfect, they're vulnerable.  They're not a perfect band live, not at all.  But that doesn't matter, it almost becomes part of the charm.  


"Belong"

The show itself was a great time.  I find myself complaining at the end after I see Pains live that the set was too short, but I think that's because I enjoyed the hell out of every song and I don't want it to end.  They played mostly songs from their new album, Belong, which was good, although I found myself wishing for some  of the older songs from their first album (isn't that always the case?) but enjoyed the few they did play.  It's funny how I seem to connect with the B-Sides or the songs they never play live, and ulitmately end up dissatisifed a bit at the show.  But anyway, that's not the point.  The point was after years of missing Pains live, I'm happy to say I've seen them twice in the past 6 months and they always deliver.  A great band and a great show.

Pick up The Pains of Being Pure At Heart's records, you won't regret it: