Sunday, May 24, 2009

Concert Review - Enon - Smiling Moose - 5/23/09

Last night's show was supposed to start at 9p but because everyone was watching the Pens it didn't get begin until after 10:15p. I was totally fine with this until the first band came on, Knot Feeder. They were an opening act that was under the delusion they were headlining and forgot they were playing with other groups. They were tolerable at first but just kept going on with what felt like the same instrumental piece for over 55 minutes, freaking Groundhog Day. They might have been interesting for 30 minutes, but just became an annoyance and pushed the night much later than it should have been.

Next up was Poison Arrows from Chicago who kept their set nice and tidy like an opening act does. They were decent but I kept yawning wanting Enon to get on with their set.

Finally Enon came on while most of the crowd had thinned out. Even though they went on much later than expected they played a hyper, energetic set that was worth the wait. They tried out a few new songs that sounded really good. John (lead) was on his game with his strange, bug eye antics which including jumping into the crowd for a couple of numbers. The new drummer was a great addition keeping a breakneck beat with the new tunes.

The show ended after 2a which was really unfortunate for the audience members who had to leave early...but Enon still puts on an admirable show.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interview with John Schmersal of Enon

As previously mentioned Enon is playing the Smiling Moose on Saturday. This is a interview with lead John Schmersal. If you happen to attend mention the interview and I will buy you a beer.

What was your favorite touring experience, what other bands did you really enjoy spending time or playing with while on the road?

Most of the tours we do with bands that we have known already and are friends so it is hard to pick favorites. I think we all collectively would say w/ Gogogoairheart and Love as Laughter. Those guys are such crack ups, and we'd pow wow to a lot of eateries along the way. I think that is the best part of tour is being in a random city and eating food with friends, good or bad food... it's still memorable and often so very funny.

How do you enjoy living in the Philly area compared to Brooklyn?

They don't really compare although I smell a lot of things happening in Philly that taste like New York style change. Still, we don't live in center city and we didn't move from one city environment just to be in another. The best stuff is having a yard with a serious garden, apple tree and mulberry tree in the yard BBQ. Ample parking on our street that is legal, and a basement style practice space, old houses favored over new construction. I do miss NYC restaurants, friends, and the drinking water. Also, Philadelphia has the most expensive and inefficient mass transit system probably in the world. Really a travesty. And the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits "control" thing is some old school crap that needs to be done away with. I'm sure you can relate. Otherwise Philly wins.

When you are on tour you always tend to hit the smaller markets instead of just the major. Is there any reason for this? (I always appreciated it since I lived in smaller markets most of my life)

Well, we will really play about anywhere that makes sense. Most of the more memorable stuff through out the years often happens in the smaller cities and towns though. The whole global homogenization with the internet has made small town shows more viable too. The average town kids are way more informed now and chances are even if they don't get a lot of the big acts through town that they have seen footage of them on the internet etc. It just makes sense to play smaller towns.

Your videos have some interesting visuals. How do you like the process of working on music videos? What was your favorite experiencein the process? I heard that Juan Monastario (a former bandmate of Schmersal from brainiac ) was involved in directing some of your music videos, can you describe that experience? What did you think about the idea of releasing a DVD and how did that differ from the regular album recording process?

Videos are fun and it's fun to visualize the songs. We have been lucky to work with some talented video people. It seems like because we have made a bunch of videos in the past that people approach us to make new ones in the future which is nice. when it rains it pours I guess. The last video we made for paperweights was the most fun to collaborate. We did our own blue screen video footage and sent it to Paul Wilm, who has made many videos for us. That was the most fun but, seems the least number of people have seen. The DVD was a fun endeavor but, I don't know if I would do it again. It was a lot of work + time, and it was an expensive project but, we feel like that DVD was sort of treated like a 2nd class citized of a release or something. Really proud of that DVD but, bands are supposed to release records... I guess that 's the way people look at it.

Your last album, Grass Geyers…Carbon Clouds, came out about 2 years ago? Are you planning to go back to the studio to record a new album soon?


How are you trying to promote your band now and going forward? How has the internet affected the distribution of your music and accessibility to fans?

We are barely trying to promote our band and I like to spend as little time on a computer doing things like that as possible. Guess we still prefer the physical world and interactions, getting out and playing shows. The model is changing and no one knows what that means...yet. Labels, studios, and budgets are down/out. Looking bleak. People will always want to listen to music but, I guess they just don't think it's worth paying for anymore. Hopefully food and gas will acheive this kind of status in the next few years.

How has the band's sound evolved since it's evolution and eventual relocation to philly? What effort was made to reconcile the sound on the album with playability in a live setting?

Well, we made an effort to be concise on Grass Geysers more as an exercise. I don't know if philly has changed our sound as much as it has allowed us to reflect and manage things a little better. We have a clear idea about why and how we want to do things before we are done with them so, having the brain space to execute has been the most precious thing about being in Philly.

Are you doing a lot of touring this summer? What are your plans for upcoming shows?

Well we have a little tour in June at the end through the midwest mostly. We don't really have any objectives, we have been working on new material and changing up how we are doing things live... it's a bit more electronic again so we are going out and flexing those muscles for people 'round.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Enon - Saturday 5/23/09 - Smiling Moose

Just a reminder that Enon is playing at the Smiling Moose on Saturday. Doors will open at 8 and show should start around 9p with a couple of opening you shouldn't have to miss any of the Pens game.

Enon puts on a really good show...seen them quite a few times. Come out if you can.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Concert Review - TV on the Radio 5/11/09 - Mr Smalls + Mike Watt 5/10/09- Club Cafe

Since I wasn't able to make it to TVOTR (because I busted up my eye) we have a guest reviewer today who was there, plus the Mike Watt show at Club Cafe:

In short it was entertaining, but there were issues. I'm was still disappointed
that the Dirty Projectors were not the opening act, because of that I
showed up about 1/2 way through the Little Dragons set. They were not
bad, but they didn't really stand out for me.

I could tell that there might be some issues with the sound by the end of their set. The bass pounding down from the subwoofers in the ceiling was overpowering
everything else. It was very noticeable in the back behind the
barrier in the 21+ area. We promptly finished our beers and moved
closer to the stage. The sound was much better there, but the vocals
and guitars were still muted by the overpowering bass from above. The
performance on the other hand was very energetic, despite an
interruption from a few guys getting too roudy and getting singled out
by the band. They really new how to put together a good setlist, and
kept it exciting by switching between slower and fast songs. They
made a great finish with "Staring at the Sun". I'm glad I made it to
the show, but with the lack of the Dirty Projectors, the tickets were
a bit overpriced.

The night before I hit up the club cafe for Tobacco, Light, and Mike
Watt &His Missingmen. Tobacco came on first, he was accompanied by
another member of Black Moth Super Rainbow on a synth. As expected
there were very trippy visuals along with the set consisting of old
movie clips, richard simmons, and carebears. Both of the performers
were wearing monster masks throughout the show, and didn't really put
on a big performance. But as expected, the sound was great and I
really dig the album "Fucked Up Friends", so it was a good set.

They were followed by a Light, a Japanese band from Tokyo on their 3rd U.S.
show. Their songs were mostly lyric-less with heavily layered guitar
and bass melodies that slowly built up to a crashing conclusion at the
end of each song. Their set was definitely a great performance, and
they were very humble and thankful to Mike Watt for bringing them
along on the tour. Somehow, I don't see how either of the opening
acts were a good fit to be opening for Watt, but I liked the openers
more than the main act. Mike Watt seemed to be under the weather,
either drunk or tired. His set didn't really appeal to me. It was kind of unusual for me, as Mke Watt being the frontman was playing bass almost like a lead guitar. It felt to me that there were just too many people trying to play solo parts without
tying them together well. It was a pretty basic rock set otherwise. I
might have had a better appreciation for them if I was more familiar with his work as a member of the The Minutemen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Live Show Review- Coachella Sunday, Cont.

Finally I am getting around to finishing this Coachella review (3 weeks later)! I forgot to mention a bit during Yeah Yeah Yeahs where we looked over and Amanda Palmer was like 5 people away from us. I wanted to go say hi but my friend didnt want to bother her. I totally think we should have.

Anyways, as we waited for My Bloody Valentine we could hear Devendra Banhart off in the distance. Now, I really dont have any interest in him or his psych hippie folk stuff, but I overheard him introducing Har Mar Superstar to join him onstage. What a weird combo! I once saw Har Mar open up for The Strokes and he was singing his bizarre R&B slow jams in his tighty whities as angry hipsters threw beer cans and lit cigarettes at him. Ha ha, that was a good time though.

As everyone entered the festival, there were earplugs given out courtesy of My Bloody Valentine. I've heard people saying how loud they are live and it is totally true. I cant imagine having been up close for that, we were really far back. Now, I really want to like MBV. I know I should like them. But I kinda dont. I dont dislike them at all, but it just sounds like...... noise. There I said it. Here's a little snippet of the sensory overload that was going on.

Next I really wanted to see The Kills. Maybe I was a little bitter at The Cure for Vegas, but I was willing to miss about 20 minutes of their set to watch The Kills. Plus, I was sure the Cure would go on late as usual. So we went to the packed Mojave tent and got some pretty sweet 2nd row spots, although right in front of all the speakers. There were definitely some stragglers that had escaped out of the Sahara tent to attend this performance, but they were quickly put in their place. VV and Hotel came out and ripped through a lot of songs off their excellent latest album 'Midnight Boom'. They were exactly as you would expect, clad fashionably in black with no shortage of attitude. VV was terribly cool smoking, spitting, looking harrowed and pacing about the stage. The two of them play very well off eachother, especially showcased during 'Last Day of Magic' where they set their mics toward eachother and kind of seductively performed together. It was pretty great but I knew i must go on to see my favorites now.

We got to the mainstage about 20 minutes after The Cure were scheduled to go on and surprise they still hadn't begun. I dont recall how much later, but I started hearing the waves and all was forgiven. They came out, Rob decked in a black hoodie with a fur collar that was a bit ridiculous, and started off with 'Underneath the Stars' (awesome), then 'Prayers For Rain' (awesome), then 'A Strange Day'....... wait, is this the exact same set as Vegas?! It basically was, aside from the inclusion of 'Wrong Number' which was surprisingly very fun. Simon rocked out the bass at the end of 'A Forest', just like always (um, except vegas). The entire set was full of energy and everyone was having a blast. The vocals on my favorite 'Disintegration' could have been livelier, but I wont complain. You can check a snip out here:

Sometime during the encore Rob said something like, "They said we could only play one more". But I'm pretty sure they played more than that. Around 12:30, during 'Boys Dont Cry' the festival pulled the plug. I dont even think the band realized for a while. All the screens were turned off as were the amps, but they kept playing. I am getting chills thinking of how special and awesome it was to hear 10's of thousands of people singing every word. No power? It still didnt stop them, they played 'Jumping Someone Elses Train' and everyone in the audience was still singing their faces off. Then they started to play 'Grinding Halt' and i think every other plug that could be pulled was. But we still had gotten almost 3 hrs worth of performance. What an amazing performance and ending to Coachella.

Interesting to note, I saw a pic of RS hand from Vegas and one from Coachella. His right hand was totally swollen about 3x its size for Coachella, I am amazed that he could even play at all! Also, the town of Indio is a bit ridiculous. They have this strict 12:00 music curfew (which was exceeded by 40 min. by the cure), and they fine something like $1,000 per minute, just let them keep playing and you will make a ton of money! Nothing goes on in this town in the middle of nowhere the other 50 or so weeks of the year.

But anyways, as always, Coachella was amazing this year. I will spend the next 11 1/2 months planning and dreaming for the next time. I cant wait to get back to the desert!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Upcoming Shows - Summer 2009

There are several upcoming shows that are of interest. I just wanted to touch on each one and maybe why you should attend or give a listen.

5/11 - TV on the Radio - Mr Smalls - Sold out show at $28 (+surcharges)a ticket with a no name opener. Not bad.

5/18 - Helio Sequence - Diesel - This one really surprised me that they are playing at Diesel. I doubt many people really know them and it should be an under attended show (of course I could be wrong). Its a duo act. I read an article about 1.5 years ago (believe Magnet) that the drummer was offered a full time gig with Modest Mouse after he was the temporary drummer for a bit. He chose to go back to HS and the interviewer that was following them said he might have been having regrets because they were playing to less than 50 people a night.

5/23 - Enon - Smiling Moose - I really like Enon and feel they deserve more attention. Their first new album was even *Best New Music* by P4k. Never been to the Moose before. I have good concert footage of them I taped back in the day that I will upload later.

5/31 - Jeffrey Lewis - Club Cafe - Went to British Sea Power at Mr Smalls and this guy opened. He was about the best thing at the show. Never had heard of him, but he writes parody songs and is hysterical. I have an album where he does cover of the anarchist punk band Crass that is just awesome. I really would like to see a good attendance; its an early show at CC but I doubt many will show.

6/5 - Black Keys - Point State Park - For me these guys are the best thing at the Arts Fest. I am not a huge fan, but do want to see a show at the new park.

6/6 - White Rabbits - Brillo - I have seen these guys 2x as openers and haven't been impressed but people keep telling me I'm dense. Maybe the 3rd time will be the charm.

6/9 - John Vanderslice - Warhol - Saw him at the Warhol last year. Great show. Check out Scotts review: Vanderslice at the Warhol

6/9 - Apostle of Hustle - PSP - Saw these guys were added to the 3 Rivers Festival. They are part of Broken Social Scene. Haven't listened to them in a while.

6/13 - Dean and Britta - Warhol - Former Luna members.

6/28 - Old 97's - Hartwood - Free show at a great location.

6/30 - Camera Obscura - Mr Smalls - Scottish pop.

7/15 - Magnolia Electric Co. - Warhol - P4k always hyped this guy up. Never could get into him.

7/17 - Mr Gnome - Bloomfield Tavern - Love this duo. Wrote about them before here:
Gnome Show

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cursive Live Concert Pittsburgh (cont) - Diesel (5/5) - Show

So, continuing on with the Cursive show Tues. night is some video. First is Cursive's 'The Casuality'

Here is a little banter with the audience:

And from the banter request, 'Art is Hard'

And a little 'Martyr'

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Live Concert Show Review- Cursive - 5/5/09 - Diesel

Last night Cursive played to a capacity crowd at Diesel. There were two openers, the first was a solo guy with a comedy routine. He wasn't that funny. The other opener was Man Man, who brought their 5 piece band of gypsies all the way from Philadelphia. I've never seen so much stuff fit on stage before, it looked like a garage sale. Their performance was full of energy, a very lively show. The music has a circus feel to it with the multitiude of keyboards and various eclectic sounds like water being poured into a metal bowl and a pin being dropped into a cup. Overall, they were a pretty good opening act.

Oh Cursive, a chance for me to let out my inner angst ridden 16 year old self. They came out and immediately pumped up the crowd with 'Butcher Song' and i knew we were in for a good night. They played a ton of goodies from fan favorite albums 'Domestica' and 'Ugly Organ' to a packed house and mini mosh pit down below. Tim K. always pours his heart into the performances. Aside from some banter with a crowd member, Tim kept the rambling to a surprising minimum. If you saw their last show at Mr. Small's you might remember his ramblings, although he did tell us that he thinks Pittsburgh is beautiful which I remember him saying then as well.

The new songs off of 'Mama, I'm Swollen' came off pretty amazing. A highlight for me was when he ascended the club stairs and gave a heartwrenching performance of 'What Have I Done'. For the encore Tim surprised everyone and got into the crowd to sing the last 2 songs. I thought some people were going to get crushed down there, including him. But he belted through while waves of the crowd were pushing if back and forth singing into the mic with him. It was a great scene that was not to miss; they ended with 'Big Bang' which seemed pretty fitting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Live Show Review- Coachella Sunday

The lineup for Sunday's Coachella was very solid. We got there early to try and see as much as possible. As we searched to no avail for grilled corn on the cob, I heard part of Friendly Fires in the Gobi tent and they sounded like they could be pretty fun, good dancey type of music. Defeated from our quest for our favorite desert snack, the first act that we saw was Okkervil River. I have seen them previously at Mr. Smalls and was very impressed with them live. They played the mainstage at Coachella around 2:30. Their performance was very good and energetic, at times with the lead singer kind of writhing on the ground. Its not quite the type of music, in my opinion, that warrants laying on the stage and screaming out your vocals.... but hey, i sure remembered it.

Next up, we made a pit stop at the outdoor theatre to catch some of The Gaslight Anthem before heading to see Brian Jonestown Massacre. Gaslight was pretty good, straightforward rock and roll. I'm not going to run out and buy their CD but I enjoyed the 15 or so minutes I saw of them. On to BJM, we almost went to see them when they came through Pgh about a month ago, but didnt make it. Of course their music is pretty good, but you really want to see onstage meltdowns and fighting at a show like this. One of the subjects from the awesome documentary "Dig", the band is notoriously self destructive, specifically lead singer Anton. The coachella performance was kind of a bummer for me. The band sounded awesome. Their music is really good and comes across well live. The band, however, was pretty much the most boring performance I witnessed at this years festival. Absolutely no crowd interaction, no life on the stage, no movement, no banter, nothing. What a waste of a good opportunity to win over some new fans. We left less than half way into it.

Next up on the mainstage was Peter Bjorn and John. They played coachella in 2007 in the Mojave tent and it was explosive. It was so much fun, I really felt like I was in an important 'moment' musically. Obviously, being on the mainstage during the day cannot match the intensity of playing a packed tent. The performance was pretty good overall though. I took the opportunity to spread out my blanket and relax in the grass and try to work out the hangover from the previous night that had somehow crept up on me as the day progressed (tip: if you ever attend coachella, a good rule of thumb is to save the alcohol consumption until nightfall, those who booze during the day do not last). I knew I had to conserve energy for the action packed nighttime lineup.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs were to follow on the mainstage. As with many of the bands this year, I have seen YYY a few times. Karen O. is definitely a great performer. The first time I saw them was at the tiny Club Downunder at Florida State Univ. back in 2003, they have changed quite a bit since then. They played a lot of their new tunes, which i am really liking. I especially enjoyed the ridiculously catchy 'Zero' and 'Heads Will Roll'. Karen was decked out in some sort of gold sequined outfit, she is looking pretty glam these days. I do think I saw her pour some beer over her head, but long gone are the antics of deep throating microphones, screeching and running about the stage dousing herself in beer. She really seems to have cleaned herself up, I miss the old craziness, but she still puts on a great performance.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cursive Concert Pittsburgh Reminder - Diesel (5/5) - Show

Just a reminder that Cursive is playing Tuesday night at Diesel. They are an excellent live act having seen them several times in the past. Below is a video I took (when I used to nerd out and tape shows) back in 2003 from a small sold out club in Gainesville, FL. The sound quality is pretty bad, but you get the idea.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Eulogies Ticket and Prize Pack Giveaway - (Eulogies w/ The Dears 5/8/09 - Diesel)!!

Ok fellow readers, I am happy to present a contest giveaway for the Eulogies/The Dears show that is scheduled to occur next Friday 5/8 at Diesel. Here is what the package includes:

-(2) tickets to show (guest list at venue’s will call)
-(1) eulogies “tempted to do nothing” vinyldisc
-(1) eulogies “here anonymous” on vinyl
-(1) The Dears “Money Babies” / “Threats” 7” Vinyl
-(1) the dears “missiles” CD
-(1) eulogies shirt
-(1) dangerbird hoodie

This is a great package. All you have to do is email me at by Thursday, 5/7 with your name and address and "Eulogies Contest Entry" in the subject line. Winner will be chosen at random on Friday, 5/8. I will contact the lucky winner the day of the show. You will be placed on the guest list and receive the prize pack described above.

This will be a really good show, please be sure to read the Eulogies record review below.

Eulogies - Here Anonymous Album Review (Eulogies w/ The Dears - Diesel 5/8/09)

As previously noted The Dears are playing at Diesel next Friday night which I will definitely be attending. One of the opening bands for the show is the Los Angeles based Eulogies who just this month came out with their second LP entitled Here Anonymous. They are based on the Dangerbird Records home of such bands as Silversun Pickups and Dappled Cities.

Here Anonymous is a record that is set in a melancholy mood but with upbeat tempos. It’s a very stripped down affair with no big, high production that really gives the listener a pleasant feel. It reminds me a little bit of The National with the fuzzed out sound and gloomy lyrics. The songwriting is consistently good throughout the disc with the melodies using the basic bass, drums and guitar to make genuine pop gems.

There are a couple of songs that make you want to get up and dance such as “The Fight” and “Dark Place”. These two songs bring up the pace with rhythmic drums and hook laden guitars. Other songs such as “How to be Alone” and “Bad Connection” bring in lush sound of while keeping the music at a slow steady pace. Lyrically the band keeps pace of bouts of loneliness and doubt. "Now I'm left with our hapless memories/Can't deny that you gave them all to me" sings lead Peter Walker.

Make no mistake, Eulogies “Here Anonymous” is a pop album with a dark seeded outlook. But like the National, it makes you want to tap your toes and listen along while crooning about the deep, dark despair of lives corners. It will keep you entranced waiting for the next track and then place it on repeat.