Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Concerts I've Been To

The Rolling Stones w/ Sheryl Crow -- too young to remember
Cold War Kids -- **
Ra Ra Riot -- ****
Death Cab for Cutie -- ****
Laura Veirs -- ***
Yeasayer w/ Javelin -- ***
Local Natives -- *****
Atlas Sound -- ****
These New Puritans -- * -- Crazy and weird and not very good although I've heard better things recently
The Fall - * -- Old and showed it.
Memory Tapes -- ** -- I literally fell asleep standing up during this.
Gold Panda -- * -- Wasn't as good as I hoped
Caribou -- *** -- Playing to enormous crowd got some people undulating.
Phoenix -- **** -- Massive crowd, absolutely insane. The biggest thing I've ever been a part of. Great theatrics during "1901" and "Lisztomania"... a couple other memorable cuts, but those things were so gigantic that I hardly remember anything else, to be honest.
Caribou -- *** -- In a club where this guy wouldn't stop talking about how he knew Arthur Russell was a genius way back in the 80s.
Wye Oak -- *** -- Excited me enough that I bought their album and really enjoyed it. The vocals had a lot of immediacy; for some reason I believe what this band is telling me and I believe it is important.
Deerhunter -- **** -- In the rain. Coolest, baddest show. "Desire Lines," whoah. Teaching myself their bass grooves all the time. Would love to see them again.
Death Cab for Cutie -- *****
Local Natives -- *****
Beach House -- ****
Chromeo -- **
Fitz & the Tantrums -- * -- Obnoxious rip-offs.
The Flaming Lips -- *****
Modest Mouse -- *****
The Decemberists -- ****
Bright Eyes -- ****
Iron & Wine -- **
Rodrigo Y Gabriela -- **
Guided By Voices -- *
Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings -- ***
Ratatat -- ***
Bassnectar -- *
Archers of Loaf -- **
The Thermals -- *
Best Coast -- *** -- surprisingly danceable; the songs are basic, and so are the sentiments, but that doesn't make them less arresting (June 2011)
The Head & the Heart -- ** -- they got people moving, and I understand why, but I wasn't one of them. repetitive and boring. (June 2011)
Stornoway -- * -- I don't remember this one except that I was there.
The Radio Department -- *** -- I love their workmanship and craft; not exactly glittering stage presence, but they didn't need to be showy. (June 2011)
Gayngs -- **** -- A jubilant show. I really expected Justin Vernon to show up to guest with this great sex-jams unit, but it didn't happen. Absolutely beautiful (June 2011)
S. Carey -- *** -- A favorite moment of any show I've been to: a long instrumental interlude transitions into something hauntingly familiar. As the hairs on the back of my neck prick up, I realize it's Björk's "Unravel." (June 2011)
The Globes -- ** -- Lots of twists and turns. I came away thinking these guys are talented, they just need to tone it down a bit. (June 2011)
Basia Bulat -- ** -- Performed a perfectly pleasant folky set; great for sitting down and catching one's breath. (June 2011)
Other Lives -- *** -- Only got to see them for a half-set, but was very impressed. (June 2011)
Talkdemonic -- * -- Don't remember them except that there were only two of them.
Wilco -- ***** -- Played a mammoth of a show. "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" must have lasted twenty minutes at least. Nels Cline went nuts on a couple solos, but there were moments of elegiac, simple beauty, too, and while Tweedy's voice is getting more of a quaver, we can pass it off as 'character'--especially when he's singing "Ashes of American Flags." "I Am Going To Break Your Heart" had me at the rattling of the drums. (June 2011)
Yo La Tengo w/ William Tyler -- ***** -- (February 2011) -- William Tyler was a demon on the guitar, alternately possessing it and letting it possess him. After that, my heroes in YLT let a lucky fan up to spin a wheel that would determine the theme of the set's first half. "Dump"--and so we got to see James McNew do his thing, with Ira and Georgia skittering around the stage, constantly swapping places. The multi-instrumentalism didn't stop there. Highlights included "My Heart's Reflection," "Here To Fall," "Nothing To Hide," and -- best of all -- "Blue Line Swinger," at which the kid in front of me promptly had a drug-induced euphoric seizure.
Explosions in the Sky -- **** -- Amazingly beautiful, marred only by the kids who wouldn't stop talking in front of us and the bizarre stage setup at the venue in Charlotte. "Your Hand In Mine."
Beirut -- ***** -- A celebration as Zach Condon and his band of Mexican mazurka gypsy brass blasted through a collection of his finest melodies. Watch the drummer. (April 2011)
Feist w/ Timber Timbre -- **** -- Leslie came out looking her finest at this Orange Peel show attended with my roommate Mike. Timber Timbre were... boring, but Lez made up for it with a sparkly skirt, gold cape, and a couple Annie Clark-like herky-jerky guitar-dance-chokeout moves. She altered "Mushaboom," avoided "1234," brought the house down with "I Feel It All" and "My Moon, My Man," got bluesy on "Sea Lion," and broke my heart with "Intuition," the set closer. Oh, and all her new songs were amazing. (April 2012)
Spiritualized w/ some girl in a white dress -- *** -- The girl in the white dress sang funny dirty songs about running away. She told stories in between songs, which were stories themselves. Spiritualized never said a word but were entrancing nonetheless. "Hey Jane," "Come Together," and new anthem "So Long You Pretty Thing" rocked Cat's Cradle and had everyone in the diverse crowd chanting along. It was in between that I was really impressed, on several long instrumental passages that had me closing my eyes and really feeling as if I were floating in space. "Cop Shoot Cop" was as chaotic as you would hope.
Oberhofer -- * -- Blink-182 all grown up to me.
Bon Iver w/ Feist -- ***** -- Vernon & Co. absolutely killed it and dispelled any of my doubts for good. The venue didn't hurt-- Red Rocks lived up to its reputation, and Justin wondered whether the rocks might hide spaceships. Intergalactic inspiration or not, this was probably the most impressive flexing of musical muscle I've ever seen: the band was incredibly tight even as they did modified takes on Bon Iver classics. "Skinny Love" got a kind of cheery foxtrot lilt to it, and "Blood Bank" turned into an extensive and exhilarating jam. Cap it all off with "Re: Stacks" solo, and it can't be beat. (June 2012)
Cloud Nothings -- *** -- These snotty punks are smarter than they let on; during a short set, in which they ripped through their recent album's main cuts, they also demonstrated more impressive chops than I expected. "Stay Useless" is the anthem I can't get out of my head. (July 2012)
Lumineers -- * -- I admit it--not a fan. (July 2012)
Blouse -- * -- Came in thinking I would enjoy it, and left wishing I'd skipped over to Porcelain Raft instead. The two songs that impressed gave the bass line, rather than keyboard part, more prominence; I think the problem is with her voice melding too much with the airy synths. (July 2012)
Phantogram -- *** -- Played above their material, I thought. After an hour of it, it does all sound very similar--and that's because every song has the same setup. Guitarist plays an arpeggio thing, there's a background programmed beat, etc. But they went hard, had great stage presence, gave their songs an organic and aggressive edge that isn't there on the record, and got people moving. "Mouthful of Diamonds" was a highlight, and I guess they left out my favorite--"You Are The Ocean"--in favor of more uptempo songs. Will definitely show up on my party mixes. (July 2012)
Neko Case -- *** -- Played below/at her material, I thought. Her sidemen were affable but played like, well, the great session musicians they are, but not much more. In other words, there wasn't much zest to the proceedings. At one point she saw someone in an eagle costume in the crowd, and she absolutely lost it; and it took several more episodes of laughter, but she regained top form by the end of the show. A beautiful new song called "Calling Card" was debuted (I only wish it had been longer), and "Star Witness" was as memorable as I hoped it would be. (July 2012)
The Dirty Projectors w/ Wye Oak -- **** -- Wye Oak played well, and Dirty Projectors had several high points but overall did not impress quite like I thought they would. I almost gave it three stars. But at the time I was exuberant and thought it was a great show. (August 2012)
Animal Collective w/ Micachu & the Shapes -- ***** -- A can't-miss for me going forward. Went alone and was okay with it--hard to remain alone when the entire crowd is bouncing to "Peacebone/Brother Sport." "My Girls" was flat in comparison. The new songs sounded great in the live format, much better than on record. (September 2012)
Christopher Owens-- *** -- Debut show for "Lysandre." Played the album through--most of the tender moments came through, the rockier numbers had a bit tougher time. First and last songs excellent. Played an encore of covers that cemented the point that he is positioning himself as a songwriter in the tradition of the American rock 'n roll canon--covering Dylan, Donovan, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens. Amazing venue--the Loft at the Regency Ballroom. Super hip crowd at the small venue. (October 2012)
Titus Andronicus w/ Creative Adult, Ceremony -- ***** -- Mind-blowing surge of ambition, positive energy, respect, earnestness. Read my full-length review here.
Local Natives -- **** -- Not as good as before, but the new material was impressive. Partially the crowd, which wasn't really on my level.
Pictureplane - *** -- Unfair to judge given the showing. I had fun -- and then he DJ'ed at my apartment.
Kids These Days -- *** -- impressive. Definitely played above their age/ability, making up with charisma and energy.
Third Eye Blind -- ** -- 

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