New Music | 10.28.2016

This week is a little slow as far as new albums are concerned. We have Mayer Hawthorne releasing Party of One. The short EP features three songs that get funky. “Time For Love” sounds like something Jamiroquai could have released in the 90s, and that is absolutely a good thing. Synthpop group Empire of the Sun come out with Two Vines that will absolutely get you dancing, and should be a hit at all the music festivals next summer (here’s looking at you Bonnaroo).

We have two new Christmas albums (yes, already) from Jimmy Buffet and country starlet kacey-musgraves-christmas-album-coverKacey Musgraves. They both features covers of all those songs you’ll be hearing in every store in the next few weeks. Musgraves album has some great guest spots with Willie Nelson joining in for “A Willie Nice Christmas” and Leon Bridges on “Present Without a Bow”.

On the singles front we have Drake with, “Two Birds, One Stone” which sounds more like a stream of consciousness than actual song. AFI spring back to life with “Snow Cats”, which is not a Christmas song, but a promising look into their next album. Lead singer Davey Havok is on form with a familiar cadence and a song that sounds like it could have been a b-side from Decemberunderground.

A new single from Charli XCX, “After the Afterparty” and new album from Tove Lo, Lady Wood wrap things up in fun fashion that no doubt will get much play in 16 year olds vehicles everywhere. | Bruce Matlock

Coldplay | 07.21.16

From now on, it may be referred to as The Sauna at Scottrade Center. The amount of sweat filtering through the mostly filled arena could have very well formed a palpable river, if not for the confetti soaking it up. Coldplay returned to St. Louis filled with optimism, fan worship, and enough confetti and hormones flying through the air to write an entire Young Adult book series.

coldplay_confettiRecent divorcee Chris Martin and the band have gone through enough changes in their time to draw in the 45-year-old who came to hear “Yellow” or “The Scientist,” along with the middle-aged female who requested A Rush of Blood to the Head’s “Green Eyes.” They also draw in fans of Beyoncé, who saw the two together at the Super Bowl, or heard her small addition to new song “Hymn for the Weekend.”

The show was a never-ending list of highlights of Martin being beyond charming. The first piece of the show ended with a remixed version of “Paradise”—originally done by Tiësto—that featured an intense amount of lasers on top of an arena’s worth of flashing bracelets. The second part of the set was highlighted by a climax of “Fix You,” leading into an accurate reproduction of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” dedicated to Bowie as well as Prince. “Viva La Vida” served as the loudest singalong of the night, with Martin remarking, “This is what they sound like in St. Louis.”

After a brief break, the band returned to stage that couldn’t have been bigger than 8′ x 8′ at the back of the arena. Martin introduced the band, and then himself as “the former Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow.” Before the band returned to the main stage, Martin delivered “Green Eyes,” a request from Instagram videos fans posted of their favorites, as well as the slinky “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face.” As he sang, Martin took the long way around the floor of the arena, greeting all he could.

coldplay-250The band wrapped things up with three newer songs—which felt a bit odd, but who can argue with “A Sky Full of Stars” while literal star confetti rains down from the sky? Newest single “Up & Up” ended proceedings with its ever-positive insistence that “when you think you’ve had enough, don’t ever give up.”

Coldplay is a band that brings together multiple generations, consistently finds new ways to bring the crowd closer in spite of the size of the venue, and spares no expense on its show. Martin may see himself as Entertainment Weekly fodder at this point, but the band’s fans remain as loyal and willing to dish out large amounts of money to hear their own “Green Eyes” as the fan who traveled hundreds of miles wished for.

Alessia Cara and Foxes opened the show with a similar sound, while being distinct in their personalities. Foxes lead singer Louisa Rose Allen has the current claim to fame as vocalist for Zedd’s hit song “Clarity.” Allen was mostly quiet, seemingly taking in every face in the crowd while dancing around the stage. Cara, on the other hand, spoke often and rocked the stage with a large presence, despite her young age. Cara signed last year with Def Jam Recordings at the age of 18, and has already produced a radio hit in “Here.” | Bruce Matlock

Bonnaroo 2015

 

Live Nation will ruin Bonnaroo. Coffee County’s new DA will ruin Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo will ruin Bonnaroo. The list of things that will end Bonnaroo never seems to end, but the festival keeps going, improving, and growing. Coming from a veteran of seven years, the festival’s infrastructure and experience has never been stronger.

This year saw several new and rather large improvements to the grounds, including a couple groups of flushable porta-johns (which did amazing things for the smell walking into Centeroo); large screens outside all the tents, which changed the vibe from one of frustration for many to a more relaxed, sit-down experience; and lastly, yet another year of growth for shade trees planted on the Farm a few years back.

It was a dusty, hot year, however. By Sunday, facemasks were widely accepted apparel. As the crowd rushed in to the What Stage area on Sunday, an intense dust storm kicked up behind them the closely resembled something you’d see in a desert, or Mars, perhaps.

Thursday 6/18

Thursday continued to be a day for the new. Unlocking the Truth started off what would turn out to be one of the stronger metal lineups the festival has had. The insanely young thrash metal band from Brooklyn got several mosh pits going, which is several more than there are at Bonnaroo some years. Ryn Weaver played several songs off her new album, The Fool. She did suffer from poor sound from which The Other Tent seemed to suffer for a large portion of the weekend. Unless you were right underneath it, you had better luck hearing what was going on at other stages.

As dark approached, a crowd gathered under the newly placed disco ball that had been previously topped by the clock tower. Excitement grew as the end of the parade promised the opening of the Grove. The area would supposedly add whimsy to a festival jam-packed with it. As the lit-art cars approached, a ring of enclosed porto-johns opened and people wearing little more than see-through raincoats and clear umbrellas emerged. The crowd quickly caught on and ran into the area. Over the weekend, the Grove featured insane dance parties, magic acts, and plenty of time to relax in hammocks. As a side note, there have also been reports of people emerging from the Grove with poison ivy.

Other Thursday highlights included the comedy stylings of Ron Funches and Cameron Esposito; an advance screening of Trainwreck, the new film featuring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader; and Vernor Winfield Macbriare Smith IV, aka Canadian singer-songwriter Mac Demarco.

Friday 6/19

With the sun and Tennessee humidity oppressively beating down like Apollo unhitched his carriage and took a break directly over the farm, Friday was a day not to be taken lightly. Metal bands generally don’t come along with bright sunlight and drinking as much water as possible, but Pallbearer and Brownout (presents Black Sabbath) both received the opportunity to bring their sludgy sounds to an otherwise bone-dry day.

Pallbearer vocalist Brett Campbell quipped that it was unfortunate the festival had booked “two Black Sabbath cover bands” in the same timeslot. He most likely noticed the crowd, albeit enthusiastic, was rather thin. Metal has a shaky history at the fest, although Tool notably delivered a memorable headlining performance in 2007 and Gwar received a coveted late night spot in 2010. Brownout, on the other hand, swapped out Pallbearer’s doom metal for Latin-infused renditions of Black Sabbath hits and deeper cuts alike.

Continuing the day’s theme of ear-busting rock, Royal Blood took the Which Stage in a fashion that would be impressive for someone on their 3rd or 4th Bonnaroo. The U.K. duo was not overwhelmed by the size of the gathering crowd but right at home as they continue playing to massive festival crowds worldwide. Running through their entire discography (all one album), they took little time for chatter and only a few brief moments to look over the crowd and soak it in.

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Bonnaroo veterans would consume most of the next several hours. Ben Folds brought along Y Music to play an almost entirely new set of songs that will be released in the fall. Folds noted that everyone in the crowd must be very smart to have come seen a chamber ensemble. The band was not enough, however, as he often turned the entire audience into an instrument, bringing beautiful music from both behind and in front.

Nashville band Moon Taxi has been at the festival what seems like…every year. This year, however, felt different. They captivated a large Which Stage crowd and worked them into frenzy with their combination of indie and jam sounds, which no doubt has been developed and influenced by playing Bonnaroo over the years. They are a band that could easily play with Walk the Moon or Phish, and they closed their set with an excellent cover of “Wake Up” by Rage Against the Machine. If that doesn’t get your interest, keep listening to your Florida Georgia Line album.

The night suffered from what felt like the lack of headliner. Technically, Kendrick Lamar and Deadmau5 held the title, but the fact neither were unopposed seemed to give away the festival also felt like neither could please a large enough audience. If anyone after dark put on a headline-worthy set, no one received more buzz the rest of the festival than Earth, Wind and Fire. That’s right: A band more used to playing at performing arts centers delivered a packed set to twenty-somethings while Deadmau5 was showing off his new toys and Run the Jewels were putting on one of the best hip-hop sets in Bonnaroo history.

Saturday 6/20

Saturday morning starts out with the feeling that two more days are an eternity. Saturday night brings the realization that this is your last chance to listen to music until sunrise for another year. Andrew Hozier-Byrne, aka Hozier, felt like the perfect Bonnaroo act. He may be Irish, but somewhere in there is a little Tennessee. His presence is captivating and his voice smooth as apple butter on a hot summer day. One could easily see him playing in the same place a few years later, after another successful album or two.

My Morning Jacket are the consummate Bonnaroo musicians. Enough hits to bring in a crowd, enough jam to keep the old-school Bonnaroovians happy, and enough sound to fill the entire What Stage field with dreamers soaring through the cool night air. Their new (excellent) album felt right at home with a heavy dose of songs from Z and It Still Moves. Jim James isn’t the reincarnation of Jerry Garcia, but My Morning Jacket may be the closest thing this generation has to a band that knows how to jam, yet also keeps the casual interest of the many with solid singles.

After two solid hours of My Morning Jacket, having Mumford and Sons to follow felt excessive coming after a night with lesser headliners. Their new album may be the definition of meh, but the band had something to prove after missing its last headlining Bonnaroo gig due to bassist Ted Dwane’s requiring surgery to treat a blood clot. The band made light of the situation, but took its redemption very seriously. They (as well as their stage) looked the part of headliner, and the setlist followed suit. The band is used to pulling out special guests on the farm, and this time was no different as My Morning Jacket, Hozier, Ed Helms, and members from several other bands came out to perform “With a Little Help from My Friends” (the Joe Cocker version) to close out the night.

Walking back into Centeroo, an amazing (or devastating) realization set in. Bassnectar had begun on the Which Stage. What that essentially meant was you were either about to jump into a crazy rave, or about to hear a crazy rave while you watched D’Angelo bring his new album to fruition. In the case of the latter, it was very disappointing to find that, unless you were right underneath the This Tent, your chances of hearing any of D’Angelo were next to zero.

Things were slightly better over for the Superjam at the Other Tent. Producer Pretty Lights, DMC, Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Jack Antonoff (Bleachers/fun.), Chance the Rapper, and Jamie Lidell promised to bring a throwback dance party. What actually happened was fun, but a bit disjointed. Zach Galifinakis and Jon Hamm kicked off the party. After a few songs, things devolved into a Pretty Lights set, which was great but not as advertised. The mix of metal, pop, hip-hop, and soul didn’t leave much room for continuity as the vibe constantly shifted between headbanging, dancing, and awkwardly waiting for the next act to get its mic ready. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but calling it a dance party might be going a bit far.

Sunday 6/21

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Sunday is a more laid-back Bonnaroo experience. There isn’t very much EDM left, so many who came just for the party head out early or stay at camp for the majority of the day. It is a day for those aware of the marathon ahead on Thursday. There were, however, lots of great tunes that a large portion of the crowd could enjoy. Robert Plant led the Sensational Space Shifters through a solid career-spanning set that saw him put a twist on classic Led Zeppelin songs “The Lemon Song” and “Rock and Roll.” If you are against revisionism of art, his set would most like cause more pain than joy, but given how long he has been performing, it’s only fair that he should still be able to enjoy the songs, as well.

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Twenty One Pilots win for having the set that caused the most number of dust tornadoes. As the What Stage gates opened around 2:00 p.m., somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 to 5,000 people rushed in for a chance to stand in the sun and get as close to the stage as possible. Though the band arrived close to half an hour later than scheduled (supposedly due to Bonnaroo forcing them to sign anti-climbing stuff paperwork), they quickly got the crowd jumping and climbing on each other’s backs. Twenty One Pilots undoubtedly spent more time in the crowd than any act all weekend, and ended in a climactic version of “Guns for Hands” with drummer Josh Dunn and singer Tyler Joseph riding the crowd on top of drum kits as confetti covered the sky over the pit.

Thankfully for those looking for something besides Billy Joel, the Bluegrass Superjam ran late and seemingly featured every musician still on the grounds. Annually curated by Ed Helms, this year’s version of The Bluegrass Situation featured Trampled by Turtles, Punch Brothers, Rhiannon Giddens, Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Jerry Douglas, Shakey Graves, and probably more. The group covered staples of Bluegrass music as well as other songs throughout pop culture. One cover featured Shakey Graves singing through “Little Red Corvette.”

All good things must end. Though few in attendance could admit to having actually seen Joel, the man from the Bronx did a fairly successful job of wrapping things up. Some odd things occurred. For instance, did anyone need to hear his backing band cover AC/DC and ZZ Top? Even Joel asked the crowd to stop him if it was awful, but Southerners are too kind for that. The rest of the set was a tight collection of hits that put him on par with the last two Sunday headliners Elton John and Tom Petty.

Bonnaroo is unique in that its crowd (in large part) is composed of true music lovers. You don’t come to the middle of nowhere in Tennessee to be seen or noticed. You don’t bake all day to check one or two bands off your list. You’re just as likely to see 70-year-olds in the audience at Childish Gambino or Twenty One Pilots as you are to see teenagers at Billy Joel or Robert Plant. We are just music lovers coming together to share in a judgement-free zone, and dance. | Bruce Matlock 

Gruesome Twosome 10.07.10

It wasn’t quite Halloween yet though you wouldn’t have known it from the inside of the Family Arena on October 7th. The two greatest shock-rockers of all time  took to the stage in front of “the smallest crowd of the tour” according to Rob Zombie.

Opening up for the show would be Slipknot/Rob Zombie drummer Joey Jordison and the Murderdolls. The band, lead by Wednesday 13, did their absolute best to warm up a crowd that was still not liqueured-up enough to fully engage in the otherwise very entertaining opening performance.

Alice Cooper took to the stage next and would show the other acts the true meaning of shock-rock with his “Theater of Death”. I can only imagine what it was like to see Cooper in his prime as even now he fully engulfs the stage with his presence. His backing band does an incredible job of keeping up and still interacting with  crowd while making sure Cooper was in the spotlight.

Alice Cooper brought the old-school but Rob Zombie brought the old (White Zombie classics) and many tracks from his newest effort Hellbilly Deluxe 2.

Coming out like a metal version of the Flaming Lips Zombie quickly coated the floor with a thick layer of confetti that would later be topped with an immense amount of what were seemingly feathers.

Blackdiamondskye Ft. Alice in Chains 10.01.10

If ever there was a packaged concert designed to leave all attendees nearly mute from sore throats and ringing ears the following day it is surely Blackdiamondskye. The many fans arriving slightly late to the Alice in Chains/Deftones/Mastodon aural attack arrived directly into the wall of progressive sludge metal that is the men from Atlanta’s Mastodon. Though the band did not let up for a moment during it’s short 8-song set, it seemed all together that the crowd became quite unresponsive by mid-set and didn’t catch back up with the band’s intensity until closer “Blood and Thunder”.

As the Deftones approached the stage not 20 minutes after the departure of the previous band, many more had decided to join in the fun as Chino Moreno & co. lit up everyone with their blend of old and new ranging from 1995’s “7 Words” to 2010’s “You’ve Seen the Butcher”. Since their last show at the Pageant in 07′ the band have been through events that have seen many bands fold under. Bass player Chi Cheng remains in a semi-conscious state following a car wreck nearly two years ago. Through  the love of many OneLoveForChi.com has raised nearly $12,000 dollars this year, with a goal of $500,000. In the meantime, long time friend of the band Sergio Vega aptly fills in and is even featured live during “My Own Summer (Shove It)”.

With another quick changeover (by the way, what an incredibly well organized stage setup) Alice in Chains simultaneously reminded fans of the new with an intro featuring artwork from 2009s’ Black Gives Way to Blue, and paid tribute to the old coming out to “Them Bones”. Most noticeable early on were overbearing sound issues that would leave it difficult to enjoy the many early tracks off of 92s’ Dirt. Either by loss of hearing or a change to less intense tracks, the sound seemed to clear up before recent hit’s “Check My Brain” and Your Decision”.

The setlist featured multiple cuts from all of the bands four main LP’s and never focused on the same one for too long. The one exception was “A Looking in View” off of BGWTB, the over seven minute long track got the standing crowd thinking about those seats that had been long ignored from the moment the lights went out, however as soon as the opening riffs of new single “Lesson Learned” attention quickly returned to Jerry Cantrell’s haunting vocal delivery. Cantrell and William Duvall would trade and share the five mics placed around the stage, and perfectly recreated the sounds of “Grind” and possibly improved the biggest sing-alongs of the night “Rooster” and “Man in the Box”.

The problem with a tour featuring the lords of progressive, alternative/nu-metal, and grunge rock respectively is that there were three entirely different types of crowd in the same space. This became very clear throughout the night as crowd members drunkenly let those around them be aware that “The Deftones should be the ones headlining” or “Mastodon is better than both of those bands!” Though as each respective band took the stage only one thing was apparent, all of these bands came 100% prepared to prove themselves more than worthy of the stage and everyone’s attention.

Muse – 3.15.10 Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Few bands put on a more bombastic arena show than Muse. The rest of the world has been well aware of this for years, now North America is catching on as to why. For “The Resistance Tour 2010” the band has brought along every arena tool in the big book of rock history including a mind blowing amount of lasers, skyscraper like rising platforms, led screens, and the most important part… big arena-worthy rock songs.

Before they would get their chance to light up Bridgestone Arena however, L.A. based Silversun Pickups brought a good mix of fuzz-filled rock. When lead singer Brian Aubert wasn’t busy playing intense 90s-esque songs like recent single, “Substitiution” or 2006 breakthrough “Lazy Eye”, he filled the rest of the 45 minute set entertaining the crowd with his excitable style of humor, which saw him begging the crowd not to look the Muse lead singer, Matt Bellamy, in the eyes. Later in the set he sported a stylish pair of AC/DC style flashing devil horns that he had borrowed from a fan in the front row.

Nothing, however, was more of a test of patience than watching Bellamy’s unique Manson guitar’s brought to the stage for sound check as they flashed behind the curtain surrounding the ominous skyscrapers. Nearly 45 minutes passed between sets before the lights when down and Muse arrived onstage to alternative rock hit “Uprising”. It was at this point that the arena lost it. As the words “They will not control us / we will be victorious” flashed across the towers, there was a palpable sense of a literal uprising of the spirits of everyone in attendance.

The band did choose, however, not to stick with material off The Resistance, as only three songs into the set the band would kick into “New Born” off of 2001’s Origin of Symmetry. Slowly being lowered to the stage as lasers covered nearly everyone in the crowd (literally!) few noticed the bands new location until Bellamy did a knee slide to the front of the stage playing the songs opening riff.

Rock star moves were the usual more than a rarity on the night as the band were in usual top-form. Bassist Chris Wolstenholme only stopped head banging for occasional back-up vocals as well as a harmonica solo. Joining Wolstenholme for an extended mid-set duet, was drummer Dominic Howard who did an amazing job of keeping the beat during the hour and forty minute set. Though the band have a very set song list on this tour, they do a good job of making it feel fresh and slightly improvised with several extended solos and jam sessions.

Following the incredible main-set ender in “Plug In Baby,” which featured confetti-eyeball balloons and knee slides galore, the band returned for a three song encore. The first of these was “Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1” from The Resistance which, despite it’s epic sound, was the only song the band could play from the three part symphony due to lack of a full orchestra. The band chose instead to end with the last song on 2006’s Blackholes and Revelations, “Knights of Cydonia.” The song maybe the band’s ending song for a long time as, though it’s possible, it’s hard to imagine the band coming out with a better ending moment than the entire crowd shouting, “No one’s going to take me alive!”.

The band is rumored to be planning a fall 2010 North American tour, which would seem plausible considering they are only playing 24 dates on the first tour in support of The Resistance. If they do come back for round two, you will be missing the top arena rock tour of 2010 by not attending


AFI turns up the love, down the dispair in St. Louis (11/4)

Almost as if to tell their Hot Topic loving fanbase to suck it, Davey Havok, the lead singer of AFI, has faded away from the makeup and turned up the screams. On a cool Wednesday night in St. Louis, MO, the band showed up looking more like the early to mid-thirties rockers they are, and much less like the mostly younger crowd they drew in.

The band’s vociferous fanbase, however, was not to be deterred, as they sang along with every word and bounced to many of the band’s songs (both new and old). Though older tracks “6 to 8″ and “Ny-Quil” had the crowd in its greatest frenzy, new songs off Crash Love, the band’s recently released LP, brought a good amount of dancing to the stage and crowd (despite being much weaker sounding tracks in the bands deep catalog). The four-piece’s songs have begun to sound less like dark dreary sorrow and more like the kind of love you’re not supposed to make music about.

Unfortunately, while these newer tracks were certainly fun, they just didn’t pack the immense bass lines of Hunter Burgan or the scorching guitar parts of Jade Puget. Drummer Adam Carson seemed almost pushed to the sidelines in exchange for computerized beats and pop break downs.

Early in the set, tracks off of Sing the Sorrow, the band’s platinum breakout, got everyone in the spirit with a rendition of “Girl’s Not Grey” and hardcore dancer anthem “The Leaving Song, Pt. 2″. Havok emerged looking more like a younger Perry Farrell and less like one of the girls from The Craft (as he has in the past). Overall, however, the crowd’s heavy momentum would push the band through the fairly short set (coming in at just over an hour long).

But, in the end, the real showcase of the night turned out to be openers, Gallows. It was quite a shock to walk into the mostly filled 2,000 person capacity Pageant, and see a band playing with no lead singer in sight (though one could obviously hear someone talking as well as singing). With a little bit of investigation, however, it could be discovered that the lead singer, Englishman Frank Carter, was directly in the middle of a frantic circle pit that encompassed most of the floor.

The band ran through songs featured on 2009’s Grey Britain, and did a suitable job filling the heavy slot AFI normally carries on the bill. The Brit punks sang songs for “the druggies, rehabbing druggies, and straight edge kids,” stating that it didn’t matter except that they were all enjoying themselves in the moment of the night. Carter also spent a fair amount of time promoting himself as a casanova, handing a broken microphone off to a woman he had chosen out of the crowd, as well as helping a specific gentleman by promoting anal sex.

All in all, the show provided many entertaining moments. If you get the chance, check out Gallows and leave the sorrow of old AFI to the albums themselves.

Setlist:
Torch Song
Girl’s Not Grey
The Leaving Song, Pt. 2
Too Shy to Scream
Ever and a Day
Kill Caustic
End Transmission
Ny-Quil
Beautiful Thieves
Dancing Through Sunday
Cold Hands
The Leaving Song
On the Arrow
Death of Seasonz
Medicate
Love Like Winter

Encore:
6 to 8
Miss Murder
Silver and Cold

The Mars Volta get sick in Memphis (10/19)

Few bands on this earth are capable of putting on a show on par withThe Mars Volta. No matter how you look at the band’s elongated jams and nonsensical lyrics, they do put 110% into their show, and that’s precisely what they did at Minglewood Hall in Memphis, TN last night. On a Monday, no less.

Despite a nagging sickness, an ailment that lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala made clearly evident of early in the night (noting that he would be expelling “large amounts of bodily fluids” and a promise that a few in the front row might be going home with more than their concert tickets), the lead singer leaped, danced, and hit notes higher than previously recorded on the band’s five albums. It almost begged the question, “How do I get this sickness?”

With a few nights off, due to their recent cancellation in Cincinnati, the rest of the band didn’t miss a beat — at least for a Volta show. Drummer Thomas Pridgen hit the drums so hard that he frequently floated over his drum seat, while Omar Rodriguez-Lopez soloed like a dazed madman, forcing Bixler-Zavala to frequently look at him, and then back out to the crowd, as if to say, “Are you guys seeing this shit!”

Naturally, fans new and old would be pleased, and the band treated both alike, running through several tracks off ofDeloused in the Comatorium all the way through to this year’s, Octahedron.  Opener “Inertiatic ESP” sounded pristine, highlighting every performer that brought it to life. “Goliath” took off next, sounding as large and ominous as its title. Drummer Pridgen furiously beat away at the drums with forceful fills and a beat that couldn’t be stopped. He’s worth the price of admission alone. “Eunuch Provocateur” showed off the skills of bass player Juan Alderete, who is frequently overshadowed by band mates.

Latin freak-out “Ilyena” shook several in the crowd out of their glazed stupor, thanks to keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens pounding and intoxicating rhythms, rocking out as hard as a keyboard player can. Though it’s exciting to hear live, it’s time for Frances the Mute single “The Widow” to go… for good. Taking a short break before the song, Bixler-Zavala came out and hit every note, but it pales in comparison to the rest of the set, coming off rather stale and without the intense passion that any other song carries. Luckily, hard rocking “Wax Simulcra”, though short, gave the band one last chance to prove that they probably could have kept going for another hour or two.

The short hour-and-a-half setlist did however leave several in the crowd wondering what happened to the band that used to play marathon two and a half to three hour sets without a pause. Though there are few bands that could please a Mars Volta crowd (Portugal. The Man perhaps?), for $35 dollars, it may be time for someone else to step in — at least, as long as the band intends on playing a shorter set. Still, it’s one intense event. No, few left the small club grumbling; however, faces were melted, souls were shaken, and grossly… many bodily fluids were drained. It just all seemed less a journey and moreover a short, quick trip.


Girl Talk walks the talk

Girl Talk’s Greg Gillis is an omnipresent musical being. He exists in no set decade and no good musician is safe from his all knowing eye.

This mash up master not only had a great 2008, with his album, Feed the Animals, aka, 24th best album of the year, according to Rolling Stone, he also began 2009 in party guru fashion, with a sold out show at the Pageant in St. Louis, MO on January 8th.

It should be said that it was no small feat to sell out a show at the 2,300 max capacity Pageant in a fairly weak concert selling city like St. Louis on this night. Under 10 miles away, Lil Wayne, T-Pain, and the Gym Class Heroes were hogging all media attention and advertising in town at the St. Louis University campus.

With all that being said, Gillis brought the party, and for one-fourth of the price, the crowd jumped up and down and danced to samples of Wayne’s songs, as he played right down the street.

All great acts need a great lead in, and maybe sometimes, someone to make them look better. On this night, Gillis would have both. Opening act, Chicago rapper, Hollywood Holt, took to the stage with absolute tornado of noise and furious physicality.

The rapper, backed up by former M.I.A. DJ, Million $ Mano, came out and got the crowd jumping, swaying, and at the end, physically keeping him from hitting the ground as he jumped into the mass of bodies. Having recently been anointed next big thing by Kanye West, Holt stood up and delivered on the promise.

Next up was fellow Pittsburgh rap duo, Grand Buffet. Though the group tried their best to please the crowd, few in the horde were going for it. It got ugly quick. As soon as the duo walked on stage, an icy chill wafted over the crowd that had been red hot minutes earlier. Vulgarities, along with middle fingers were thrown casually.

The duo quickly let it get to them, often addressing us. As if the awkward chit chat about politicians eating babies, and how they felt about microwaves wasn’t enough, the group couldn’t get past the boo-birds in the crowd, and try to please those having a good time.

I’m sorry guys, just because Gillis thought you were good enough to be on the tour doesn’t mean you walk in with our respect, you have to earn it. The fairly short and awkward set left the crowd more excited than ever to see the main attraction.

It’s amazing that in such an extremely short amount of time Girl Talk has gained the popularity to go from playing several hundred capacity clubs, to the large 2,300 capacity Pageant. With major planning and assistance from the security crew the crowd quickly made its way on stage and a usual show was forming.

There is truly no way to describe a Girl Talk crowd. It is as eclectic and seemingly random as Gillis’s music. However just a little taste would on this night include, LOTS of spandex on teenagers, animal masks, guys wearing dresses and entirely green attire, and last but not least, Gillis himself wearing sweatpants.

The dance party went on for an hour and a half, and just like the music, not one person quit moving, jumping, or partying. No matter your taste in music, believe me you will hear something you can tap a toe to, a Girl Talk show is an entirely unique experience that is not to be missed whether in a small club, or festival

More pictures coming later today!

Update 2009

Just wanted to stop in and let you all know how quickly things are moving for me right now. As you can see on the side I have several shows coming up, as well as an interview with a member of Seether sometime before the end of the month. I will also be writing concert reviews for consequenceofsound.net which is an absolutely amazing music site that kepps track of every major music festival as well as occasionally doing concert reviews, music reviews and news. I am very excited about this, and hope things only continue to grow from there! SO check back for upcoming show reviews and pictures!

edit: thought I would add that I have also recently added Tyler Rendleman’s interview with Rise Against guitarist Zach Blair, up on the reviews tab at the top!