Monday, June 30, 2014

Nat Baldwin at the Warhol Museum, with Sleep Experiments - Photos - June 28, 2014

Nat Baldwin at the Andy Warhol Museum. All photos (c) PMR.

Nat Baldwin is one of the most expressive individuals I've ever had the privilege of shooting. Blazoned across his face is all the nuance and emotion of his songcraft.

Baldwin and his double bass - that Mastiff of an instrument -  were the only ones onstage. The set was free from any of the additional flourishes found on his album, such as sparse drumming or other strings. All the better, since Baldwin's voice carries an extra resonance and punch that doesn't really come through on the LP. The performance was intimate and relaxed, as refreshing as the rain shower that greeted patrons as they exited the Warhol after a humid summer day.

Pittsburgh's Sleep Experiments opened with a short, dreamy set that featured atmospheric guitars and ambient vocals.




-- B. Conway

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Show Preview - Ume - 7.7.14 - Mr Smalls - Concert Preview

Austin based trio Ume will be appearing next Monday, 7.7 at Mr Smalls opening for Circa Survive. If you follow the blog, you know we are big fans of the group, having seen them live a couple of times over the past few years. They put on an amazing show with lead Lauren Larson thrashing throughout their entire live set. You can checkout our past show review of them at the Hard Rock Cafe here. Their Sunshower EP also made our top of album that year. They are touring behind their new album Monuments which you can find streaming here.

From their bio:

For Ume, music is the embodiment of contradiction. The Austin band’s powerful rock songs contain a multitude of opposing juxtapositions, balancing elegance with brutality, strength with fragility, ferocious metal and sweet melody. These paradoxes resound through the trio’s new album, Monuments, a collection of songs that reimagine heavy music and is as beautiful as it is massive. When the musicians began writing for the album, after touring over 200 dates in support of their acclaimed debut Phantoms, the emphasis was on translating the impassioned force of Ume’s momentous live show onto a recording. Rarely has the platform for women in rock been updated as authoritatively as it has been with this band and this new album.

Monuments emphasizes the intense power for which Ume has earned live acclaim, but also urges stronger variety of sound and greater emotional range. The album equally contains the heaviest riffs the band has written and their most vulnerable sonic moments, connected by an overarching tone of honesty and freedom. From the first blast of the opening track “Black Stone,” there is no doubt this is a record driven by one of today’s most ascendant shredders, and one that is also not afraid to subvert rock conventions. Cohesive but unorthodox, the album deftly balances the propulsive, surging rock of songs like “Too Big World” and “Chase It Down” with the raw, acoustic introspection of “Barophobia” and “Within My Bones.” At the record’s emotional epicenter is “Gleam,” a dedication to Esme Barrera, one of Lauren’s fellow Girl’s Rock Camp volunteers who was murdered during the writing of the record.

Show begins at 7:30p with doors at 7p. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sean Lennon's Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger - Photos and Concert Review - Club Cafe - June 22, 2014

Sean Lennon, Charlotte Kemp Muhl. The GOASTT. All photos (c) PMR.
Even though the sold out crowd at Club Cafe Sunday came to see Sean Lennon more than his band, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, it was the ensemble that had chins wagging come night's end.

There's no denying that Lennon looks and sounds like his father. He also seems, from his few interactions with the crowd, to possess his father's wry sense of humor. "We're The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger," he announced early in the set, "not to be confused with "The 'Goat' of a Saber Tooth Tiger." Later, after thanking the crowd for selling out the venue, he mused on Club Cafe's origins: "I love this place, but it's like they didn't know what to name it: 'It's a club, it's a cafe...'

The band played a short, energetic set that brought to mind the upbeat psychedelia of The Flaming Lips circa At War With the Mystics – clever pop hooks mixed with heady guitars and kooky keyboard flourishes. Nearly all of the songs were from their new album, Midnight Sun. (The setlist called for an encore of Syd Barrett's "Long Gone" that went unheeded.)

Much more than just an interesting footnote, The GOASTT is a fine psychedelic rock that deserves further attention.

Opening were Invisible Familiars, also from New York. They also backed Lennon and his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl, during their performance as GOASTT. They didn't have any CDs to sell because they sold out at their previous gig. That's always a good sign.

Here are some photos from the evening:



-- B. Conway

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Concert Preview - Drag Me Home Release Party - Mr. Roboto Project - June 27, 2014

Ricky Moslen – local guitarist and occasional contributor to the defunct-but-not-forgotten Draw Us Lines blog – has dipped back into the '80s to create a local scene zine along with the help of dozens of local writers, friends, and musicians. It's called Drag Me Home, and they're celebrating its release with a series of shows this Friday at Mr. Roboto Project that feature a staggering seven local bands: The Harlan Twins, Cyrus Gold, Allies, The Lopez, Host Skull, Trapper's Harp, and Driver.

Officially, DMH is a celebration of the East End's music scene, but like any good zine this one's all over the place. There is poetry, essays, interviews, an ode to Pittsburgh, and an all-too-true local band board game that's just dripping with cynicism (Win a Battle of the Bands, -50 points; Play 3 Shows in the Same Week, -6 points).

The best part is that there's also a local rock music compilation/mixtape that comes with the publication. There are a couple bands you've heard of (Legs Like Tree Trunks, Sleep Experiments, Harlan Twins) and a lot more you probably haven't. And at 22 tracks, there's bound to be more than a few new bands you'll dig.

The whole thing is a labor of love, and frankly it's a steal for just $5. Pick up a copy at the release show Friday. Admission is just $3. More information on their Facebook page:

-- B. Conway