Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Live: Do Make Say Think

I saw Do Make Say Think this past Saturday. It was freaking a-m-a-z-i-n-g. My ears are still ringing and I can't listen to anything other than DMST ever since then. Detroit was their last show of the tour in the States. So unfortunately, I can't give everybody out there a heads up to go see this amazing act. It's most likely already passed you by - unless you live near Toronto! They are playing there tonight and everyone that was at the Magic Stick on Saturday was invited to see them again. If you ever hear that they're coming around by you in the future, though, you seriously SERIOUSLY gotta go and bear witness for yourself. It was quite an experience.
In between sets, from the bar in the back of the club, I got to watch the Red Sox take Game 2 of the Series, as well. It was all so splendid.
I posted a couple more pictures from the show over on the Afterburners blog, so check those out. They're small, but I'll make it so you can click on them and see the larger versions real soon. I didn't have a good spot for taking pictures for most of the show, but at the end I got up close and was able to snap a few decent ones. You seriously have to be right against the stage to get anything good when it comes to taking photos at club shows.

Friday, October 08, 2004

LIVE: Jurado/Buckner/Dolorean

This is the show that I referred to being so excited about in my last post: Damien Jurado, Richard Buckner and Dolorean at the Magic Stick. I was really only expecting Jurado and Buckner but on the day of the show I noticed Dolorean had been added onto the bill since the last time I had looked at the Magic Stick's webpage. That totally made my day right there. If you have not yet heard Dolorean's Not Exotic album from late last year, you absolutely must. They've also just released a new album (Violence in the Snowy Fields), and after listening to it almost ten times through already I can say that's it's on the same level of greatness as Not Exotic. I wanted to grab the vinyl version off the merch table so bad. 'Course, I wanted a couple t-shirts, too - well, pretty much everything there, so I had to exercise some discretionary spending measures. Actually, it was pretty much just that I was low on of cash after buying 2 tickets and a bottle of Red Stripe Jamaican lager.

Anyway, on to the music.
Dolorean got things started with a set of about 9 or 10 songs, I'd estimate. Some from the old one, some from the new one. All fantastic, especially "Hannibal, MO". I totally wish they could've played longer since there were even more songs that I would've liked to hear live (i.e. - "Dying in Time"). I expressed my lament over this to lead singer Al James after his set and he was right there with me on that. He would've loved to play longer, too. Except, as he explained, it was an all ages show so everything had to be over by 12 o'clock, which meant all of their sets had to be trimmed down a tad to accomodate everyone on the bill.
Anyway, I had a 15-20 minute conversation with Al, who I gotta say is one cool, down-to-earth guy. Not many people can leave that kind of impression on me after such a brief encounter. He's really cool. We talked about how his tour has been going, playing with Damien and Richard, fundamentalist universities (I won't name any names) and their counterproductive methods, and our mutual friend Kaleb Gay of Slightly Confusing to a Stranger-fame. Kaleb has had a big hand in co-releasing Dolorean and Holy Sons' brand new split 7". I, of course, put down the $5 for my own hand numbered (out of 500) copy of that 7", and it's beautiful. Great job on the packaging and the translucent green vinyl, Kaleb. You did a nice job on this. You shouldn't have much trouble getting someone else to ask you to do their release(s) after this. And, duh, let's not forget that the songs on it are just awesome, too.
Anyone who wants a copy of this, they're selling them at shows on this tour (obviously), but you can also get one straight from Kaleb.

After my chat with Al, I found my seat again so I could take in Richard Buckner. I liked him. It was my first time ever hearing anything by him so it was a little hard to get into only because I didn't know any songs or anything. But I was still intrigued by his playing. And he did this really cool thing where there were no breaks in between songs. He would blend them all together using this technique where he'd record like 4 seconds of something he was playing at the end of the song, loop it through his delay pedal or something like that, and then, while that was repeating, he'd add a layer over that and slowly traverse into the next song. It was pretty rad and has to be seen yourself to understand how cool it was. I especially appreciated his use of the e-bow. I'm a sucker for e-bow.

And then, of course, there was Jurado. What can be said about him? I mean, other than the fact that he's easily in the upper echelon of storytelling songwriters out there today. The guy is amazing and there's no doubt in my mind why he's been around so long doing the same thing in just slightly different ways, managing to be consistently solid and simultaneously fresh and relevant. His vocals, albeit a little unorthodox, are incredible to witness live. Just the little nuances and flourishes he throws into the mix - going from ever so soft to just a little louder or shaky or hollow - add something spectacular to the mood and feelings he's expressing through the song or one moment in the story. And what I liked was that his performances of his material were different from how the songs sound on his records. It makes a live performance a lot more interesting when an artist does that. Among the many songs Jurado played were "Medication" from Ghost of David and "Ohio" and "Tragedy" off of Rehearsals for Departure, so I was a happy man.

If this tour is coming to your neck of the woods, I'd really encourage you to get out of the house and be there. Get a cup of coffee, as there is the danger of induced slumber. I was able to stay glued to the music without caffeine, but some might need it. That's a little inside joke for the company my wife and I had during the show. Oh, and here's another one: It's Damien Jurado, not Richard Ashcroft - just wanted to clear that up.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

LIVE: Rilo Kiley

Why does October seem to be the month to take your music on the road? Couldn't we spread the tours out a little bit more over the course of the year? That way, I could make it to more of your shows. Instead, you guys all decide to tour at the same time. Fall hits and all of a sudden there are like 3 shows a week in Detroit that I could justify going to if only I didn't have any sense of financial responsibility whatsoever. There's no way my checking account could agree with that. Instead, I'm left to pick and choose which shows I'd like to see the best and pat the others on the tush and tell them, "Sorry. Maybe next time."

The first show we decided to hit this month was Rilo Kiley, since we've been listening to their latest album, More Adventurous, like, nonstop. When Dana's not listening to it, I am. And when I'm not, she is. So there's no getting away from it and quite frankly, I don't really want to yet. It's that good.

It was a pretty sweet show with decent opening acts. Now It's Overhead was not very good. Really moody stuff. It was alright, but I just wasn't feeling it and it seemed sort of manufactured. I pictured the lead singer in the bus behind the club laughing and having a good time with his bandmates and tour buddies and then coming in the club, slapping on a gloomy face and turning up the angst right before coming on stage to do his set. It made him seem like a complete tool. That thought ruined their whole performance for me in my mind. Luckily, I was still reeling from Tilly & the Wall's way cool garbage can stomping, tapping and clapping.Even though I thought the novelty of having a tap dancer instead of a drummer might wear off, it never did b/c it's just too freaking fun. You gotta see it, seriously.

Rilo Kiley took the stage and it didn't take long before I heard someone yell "Salute Your Shorts!!!" (Blake Sennett, the guitarist, used to be on Nickelodeon's show of the same name). Had to laugh at that. Been a long time since I've seen that show, but I used to watch it as a kid. The guy looked familiar but I still couldn't picture him on Salute Your Shorts. The only two dudes I could remember were that fat kid who makes the fart sound during the opening song ("...and when I think about you, it makes me wanna FART!") and the red-headed kid with the mullet.

Anyway, Rilo's set was really good. They pretty much played all of their good stuff, new and old. Even had a small string section on the side of the stage that accompanied them on a couple songs. They were really tight as a band and as for entertainment value, Jenny Lewis did a pretty solid job of commanding the audience's attention. Her cowgirl boots and pottymouth probably had something to do with that.

I found about thirty photos from the show the next day on RiloKiley.net, in the gallery section (Oct.2, Detroit, MI). That's cool, man. Downloaded those and now I've got some pretty good pictures to remember the show by. Plus, where my camera would have been tying up one of my free hands instead I was able to have one arm around my girl and the other hand keeping my Rolling Rock close as I enjoyed the show, all the while not being mistaken for a member of the independent rock papparazzi. Thanks, whoever that was that was snapping photos for me! You should come to the next show I go to!

Speaking of the next show, I'm riding a natural high just thinking about it right now, since it's a mere 6 hours away. I'll keep you in suspense for a day or two and then tell you about that one, too...

In the meantime, tune in to Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight (Oct.6th) and check out musical guests...who else? Rilo Kiley. That's right. "Check your local listings."