Friday, March 31, 2006

Editors @ Webster Hall, NYC

I'll leave the full reviews to InMyTree but I felt it necessary to mention how much I continue to be blown away by Editors' live shows. After leaving the Mercury Lounge audience with a jaw-dropping performance in January, Editors skipped the requisite Bowery Ballroom step and, as a shock to many, went straight to headlining Webster Hall (should be noted, the Arctic Monkeys went through all 3 venues). The show sold out within weeks. Editors took the stage full of confidence and played a slightly longer set of 12 songs (with a brief encore). Lead singer Tom Smith graciously acknowledged the crowd with comments of how much playing at Webster meant to the band. He also took a brief moment to take a swipe at Rolling Stone, no doubt referencing their lackluster review, before launching into "Bullets." In truth, their live is show is superior to their album; InMyTree raises a perfectly good point that a good producer could bring this band to platinum status. The selfish part of me wishes that I could see them in small venues for the foreseeable future but I can't help but root for these guys. I would challenge anyone to find another band out there that is this ready for the big time.

MP3: Editors - Munich

Razorlight & The Who

This must have been insane. Their second album is due in the summer.

MP3: Razorlight - To the Sea


Info on the follow-up to the epic ABSOLUTION, here.

MP3: Muse - Stockholm Syndrome (one of many stand-out tracks from Absolution)


Info on Courtney's sale of 25% of the Nirvana publishing catalogue here. It will probably be a few more years until we realize the full implications of this.

Massive Attack

Get ready for Massive Attack at Coachella with the video to "Live With Me." Real and Quicktime formats.

RS: Audioslave, TV On The Radio, Wolfmother, more...

The latest Rolling Stone covers "The Year's Ten Best New Bands," among them The Boy Least Likely To (who I just saw open up for James Blunt at the 9:30 Club), TV On The Radio (David Bowie's favorite new band), Rock Kills Kid, and Wolfmother (respect thine Wolf!).

It also covers the payola scandal involving Sony-BMG, Warner Music Group, EMI, ClearChannel, Universal, etc., etc. Hey, if I was a DJ you would have to pay me to play Jessica Simpson, too. Yeah Yeah Yeahs get 4 out of 5 from David Fricke and Hard-Fi gets 3 out of 5 for CCTV. Arctic Monkeys' debut is filed under "Buy These Now." There is a big story on Pete Doherty that I haven't been able to check out yet and there is a tiny snippet on Audioslave reporting that they just wrapped up the latest album.

In the DOWNLOAD NOW section we find Pearl Jam and Gnarls Barkley scoring 4 out of 5 stars for "World Wide Suicide" and "Crazy," respectively. I am going to try and track down the White Stripes live bootleg they talk about in the same section. Pretty good stuff, might be worth buying or at least a perusal at the magazine stand. As usual, you have to filter through the BS.

MP3: TV on the Radio - Playhouses (phenomenal new track from Return to Cookie Mountain)
MP3: Wolfmother - Mind's Eye

Band of Horses - Indie Band of the Moment

Band of Horses are quickly becoming the blogger/independent band of the moment, following in the recent footsteps of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Okkervil River, Tapes 'n Tapes and a revolving door of British bands. Recent acclaim from Pitchfork and CokeMachineGlow has only strengthened their indie street cred. I am certainly not the first nor the last person to compare their sound to My Morning Jacket but there's no question that their first single, Funeral, is a very strong track. The more I listen to the album, the more I feel like the rest of the songs are beginning to catch up. See for yourself here:

MP3: Funeral
MP3: The First Song
Buy at Insound

Art Brut, Futureheads join Pitchfork lineup

Info, lineup, ticket details here.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

50 Bands, 50 Free MP3s

Stereogum has provided readers with free MP3s from 50 (relatively) new bands. I don't recognize the majority of bands on here so it's a great look into some up and coming indepedent artists. A few worth noting, Birdmonster, Rogue Wave, Voxtrot (read their solid review from Pitchfork), Stellastarr* (see previous posts), Be Your Own Pet, and the Duke Spirit (received previous mention in the blog). Hear something new and enjoy.

Green Cold Argentina Tomatoes

I mean, uh, Red Hot Chili Peppers. When you rock 11 hours of sleep in 4 days, and catch three shows in that span, the mind goes to weird places. Here is the cover to the "Dani California" single. North American tour dates will be announced on their website next Tuesday (April 4), the same day that the "Dani California" video premieres on MTV. I didn't know they played music videos anymore. I hope it doesn't cut into NICK CANNON'S WILD N' OUT. I never miss an episode of that hot trash. If you want to see some of the most sexist BS on TV watch the aforementioned Cannon's show about "Spring Break Dimepieces." It will probably be on repeat seventeen thousand times this week. More hot trash. I lasted about 1 minute and I think I heard the word "dimepiece" five or six times. I am really ashamed I am writing this. I have no idea why I was watching MTV, let alone Nick Cannon. Someone get me another cup of coffee. MTV kills music. MTV kills kids. MTV probably killed me about eight or nine years ago and I am just living in a fantasy land with good bands like The National and Death From Above 1979. Kurt Loder and Kennedy are outside of the bubble looking in at me laughing, wondering how funny it will be when the bubble pops and I have to come to terms with a life sentence to endless Ashlee Simpson and Good Charlotte.

Hard-Fi @ Black Cat, TONIGHT!

Get a taste here, read a review of their live act here, or educate yourself on the band here. The video to "Better Do Better" is an NME exclusive and their album, STARS OF CCTV, is on sale at InSound.

Living Things

A little history, a little interview, a little politics, a little Living Things here. Coming to a Coachella near you.

No No Nos, Josh Homme, Hot Chip, Art Brut, SXSW

LA Weekly isn't down with SHOW YOUR BONES, but I am still sticking to my guns.

There is a funny interview with Eagles of Death Metal/Queens of the Stone Age band member, Josh Homme. Consider yourself 'stached. Homme seems like he is a pretty fun interview. I couldn't stop laughing at the one he did for Pitchfork. His sense of humor goes out the door pretty fast if you throw a beer bottle at him, as we witnessed last year at the 9:30 Club. More on that show later.

Other goodies at LA Weekly are an article on Hot Chip (see JK's mp3 links below for a nibble), another on Art Brut (I know it's a month after the fact) that makes me want to go check them out at either Black Cat or the Ottobar in B'more (or perhaps hold out 'til Coachella) simply because the lead singer sounds like a badass, and a blow by blow from SXSW (from last week) that covers a lot of bands we have been talking about lately.

Back on the Bloc

Bloc Party treated fans to five songs off their yet-to-be released sophomore album during a recent gig at London's Royal Albert Hall.


Thom Yorke and crew are getting it on this summer. They have 5 European dates announced, a 2 day festival in August (Paris Rock en Siene Festival), and a North American tour likely in June (no dates/locations yet).

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

stellastar* @ 9:30 Club (March 29, 2006)


Lost In Time
No Weather
A Million Reasons
Sweet Troubled Soul
The Diver
In the Walls
Island Lost at Sea
Love & Longing
On My Own
Born In A Fleamarket
My Coco/Pulp Song

I didn't know that much heading into this stellastar* show. I was familiar with a handful of songs, knew they were very good, but they had always been a band that was just outside of my "commitment" range. There is so much music out there and these guys were always passed over for someone else. Not anymore.

The best part of stellastar*'s sound is the vocal harmony between lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Shawn Christensen, and bassist, Amanda Tannen. While Christensen's voice is extremely versatile (ranging from a brooding peer of Robert Smith to a choppy, frantic sibling of David Byrne), Tannen's is the soft foundation to the songs, weaving in and out at opportune moments. Christensen's voice is captivating, as is stellastar*'s stage dynamic.

Lead guitarist Michael Yurin was quite active on stage quickly moving from a crowd-encouraging pose at the front of the stage to playing on his knees before his pedals. Christensen was also quite active, whether it was putting his guitar down to lean into his mic or play the final bars of a song on his side (see photos above). Drummer Arthur Kremer was dressed in tight jeans and electrical tape (forming an asterisk over his right nipple) and seemed to come alive consistently at just the right time in each song. Every element of this band is a vital companion to the others, they have a great sound, a great presence, and they put on a powerful performance.

It is easy to tell from their live performance that they know what they are doing. It should come as know surprise that they have opened up for a wide variety of bands (Placebo, Devo, The Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Raveonettes, and Jane's Addiction). They are comfortable on stage, passionate about their art, and talented. I would highly recommend seeing these guys in a venue near you or get a sampling of their sound at their MySpace page. Did I mention their bass player is gorgeous? Anyway, here are their upcoming shows on the East Coast (they will be at Coachella on Day 2):

Apr 1 Trocadero Philadelphia, PA
Apr 2 Sonar Baltimore, MD
Apr 4 Norva Theatre Norfolk, VA
Apr 5 Cat's Cradle Carrboro, NC
Apr 6 40 Watt Club Athens, GA
Apr 7 The Social Orlando, FL
Apr 8 Studio A Miami, FL
Apr 9 State Theater St. Petersburg, FL

You can buy their latest album, HARMONIES FOR THE HAUNTED, at Insound.

Editors @ 9:30 Club (March 29, 2006)


All Sparks
You Are Fading
Open Your Arms
Fingers In The Factories

I was out in the blogosphere getting informed, getting lied to, and just kind of fucking around when I found a kind of backlash to some of these up and comers from the UK (Maximo Park, Arctic Monkeys, Editors, and the like). Part of it was directed at Editors. If the person who posted it has only listened to the album "Back Room" and hasn't seen these guys live, I can understand it to an extent. JK had pumped Editors up to me, based on a live performace he caught a month or so ago in NYC. I bought the album the day it came out (along with Ben Harper's BOTH SIDES OF THE GUN). Upon first play I wasn't terribly impressed, and I was a little let down with the studio version of songs that I loved when I saw them performed live on FabChannel. I was giving the benefit of the doubt to Editors (partly because I already owned tickets to their show at the 9:30 Club) and a twin bill with stellastar* was not going to be missed because the positives far outweighed the negatives. This meeting would probably make or break my relationship with Editors (at least until a future, improved album release).

Here's the deal: the sound of Editors needs to be harnessed properly in the studio, because it is an awesome, powerful experience live. I don't feel all of the textures when I listen to the album. I am not pulled in. And I am not left begging for more when the album cycles on itself in the iPod. I felt that way when I saw them live. I didn't want it to end. I wanted the drums to keep crashing, I wanted Tom Smith to hop behind the keyboard again and show me something I haven't seen or heard in a while.

A note on the setlist...and I don't know if Ed Lay was intentionally reluctant with the presence of his drumming, or if it was the order of the songs...but all of a sudden they hit "Bullets" and I was like, "fuck, this guy can drum." The boys were excited to be in DC, and they noted that it was their first time in DC between songs. Most of the discourse outside of the songs was along the lines of thank yous. For what they bring to the table, they are quite humble. During the songs they are lost in the moment, and it is one of those things that makes the songs both welcoming and overpowering. When Smith sings "blood runs through your veins, that's where are similarity ends" it digs at you. It requests your feeling, your input. It wants you to share that feeling. That isolation. That hatred. Seeing him raise up to the crowd, quietly explode at his keyboard, or shake violently with his guitar brings an emotional accessibility and power to the songs and to their performance that you simply cannot deny.

I expect big things from this band. If they can bring to an album what they bring to a live performance, they have a bright future. As it stands right now, I will take a band that destroys live and has weak studio albums than a band that is poor live and has amazing studio albums (see The Killers). "Weight" and "Bones" are two new songs and they already show some movement in different directions. You can't help but be excited.

Catch Editors live at the following East Coast locations:

Apr 1 Trocadero Philadelphia, PA
Apr 2 Sonar Baltimore, MD
Apr 4 The Norva Theater Norfolk, VA
Apr 5 Cat's Cradle Carrboro, NC
Apr 6 40 Watt Club Athens, GA
Apr 7 The Social Orlando, FL
Apr 8 Studio A Miami, FL
Apr 9 State Theater St. Petersburg, FL

They are also a Day 2 performer at Coachella.

Official website

9 Black Alps Receive 4 Gold Stars

And yet another hot new band from the UK kicks off its first US tour and delivers the goods. The 9 Black Alps show at Baltimore's SONAR makes my #4 for the year to date, falling only behind the Arctic Monkeys, The National, and We Are Scientists shows.

This posting is going to be rough...I'm burning the candle on both ends over here. But here's what I liked: These kids have attitude, which in turn created a decent level of confidence on stage. They played their hit smash 'Cosmopolitan' - #3 in their set - harder than I've seen a band play any of their songs this year, giving their all to ignite the crowd (it worked). They tried out new material that they claim to have written over the previous two nights. After throwing a capo on the second fret of each guitar, the songs they played were perhaps the best songs of the night. This naturally leads me to believe these guys have a pretty large amount of potential they haven't even tapped into yet. I liked David Jones using a drumstick to play his guitar at certain parts of certain songs - sometimes as if he was stroking a violen, others as if he was sawing a metal pipe in half with a hacksaw. Their sound as a whole was great. Think Jet mixed with Nirvana, which was a surprise, as I did not catch the grunge influence in many of their album tracks. All in all this show rocked. These kids defintiely have what it takes to make it in the states - whether or not that happens may not be in their control.

Among the good, I have to point out some bad. First and most obvious was the technical difficulties experienced throughout the entire show with the bass guitar set-up. Bassist/Guitarist Martin Cohen probably did not help matters by buttstroking his amp with his bass guitar in frustration. Another obvious ding: a 40 minute set. Granted, it was a 10 dollar ticket, they do not have a giant arsenal of songs, and they gave an amazing show...but the crowd definitely left with a look of confusion on their faces. In reference to lead singer asking us (americans) to 'buy bazillions and bazillions of our records so we can make another return to the states,' an extra song or two wouldn't hurt. Neither would sticking around after the show and interacting with fans instead of running for the border. As stated earlier, they had a lot of attitude, which in addition to confidence, created arrogance. Hearing Forest say 'cheers' after every other song couldn't have been more Oasis-like if they wanted it to be.

9 Black Alps remains in the Northeast for the next couple of shows, most notably Philly, NYC, and Boston. They will also be at a little festival in CA coming up... concert pics to follow...

Raconteurs Schedule US Date

DC area fans of the The Raconteurs will have to wait to see the live show. The Jack White/Brendan Benson/Greenhornes supergroup have scheduled just one date in New York City on April 7th in addition to their festival appearance at Lollapolooza this summer. Needless to say, I will be online tomorrow with the rest of New York city trying to get tickets to their Irving Plaza show. In the meantime, enjoy their first single and pick up Broken Boy Soldiers when it's released on May 16.

MP3: The Raconteurs - Steady as She Goes

The British Are Coming

USA Today ran a recent article about the rapid rise of British bands and their potential impact in America. The story focuses on the success of recent imports, Arctic Monkeys, Hard-fi, and the Subways. If nothing else, it strengthens the argument that I've been making for some time now, that many of the best young bands are coming out of the UK right now. It should be noted that this in no way implies that they will experience monetary success in the States, sales of Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not have been modest at best, and it remains to be seen whether these bands can make it outside of Metropolitan areas. Has the collapse of traditional rock radio stations stunted American growth? Great new music is still made in the US and, even more so, in Canada but for now, the quality and quantity of new bands in the UK really stands out for me.

A related USA Today story looks at an additional 12 British bands looking to break-through on American soil. If recent live shows are any indication, I think Editors, Nine Black Alps, and Maximo Park are well on their way.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New Album Release - People in Planes

I think it's been close to two years now that I've been waiting for the release of the People in Planes album based on the strength of one song: "If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)." Joaquin Phoenix noticed too, he directed the video. The album, AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, released on 3/28, hasn't received a lot of press, in fact I haven't seen it reviewed anywhere yet. I don't really expect Pitchfork to love it, but I'm expecting good things.

MP3 - "If You Talk Too Much (My Head Will Explode)"
Buy the album at Amazon

The Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops Album Stream

The new album from The Secret Machines, Ten Silver Drops, will be released on April 25th. Listen to the album before it's released at NME. Their last album, Now Here Was Nowhere, was definitely a grower for me and word has it they put on a great live show. Stay tuned for live dates in support of the new release.

Update: Pitchfork didn't love it

Nine Black Alps tonight; Yeah Yeah Yeahs today

Catch Nine Black Alps tonight, buy the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs today, and get ready for some more picture posts (Wolfmother in Brooklyn) when I get back from my "business trip" tomorrow. Top is prepping a review of the Nine Black Alps show at Sonar in Baltimore, MD and we are both getting ready for stellastar* and Editors tomorrow night at the 9:30 Club. Keep on rocking in the free world....I will see you on the flip side.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Frozen Chosen: Arctic Monkeys @ 9:30 Club (March 27, 2006)

Three words: believe the hype. They came, they saw, they conquered. The Arctic Monkeys played the 9:30 Club tonight and they did not disappoint. Top to bottom, they played a tight set, fed off the energy of the sold out crowd and justified just about everything that everyone has to say about them. Forget the performance on Saturday Night Live, these guys can bring the excitement. The band walked on stage to Warren G.'s "Regulators," quickly picked up their tools and went to work.

Frontman Alex Turner came out cloaked in a dark hoodie, but it was gone before their second song, "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor." Bassist Andy Nicholson was doing his best John Entwhistle on the left side of the stage: only showing signs of life during the end of "Dancing Shoes," a little more than halfway through the set. He seemed to be casting nonchalant, despondent glances at the crowd, almost taunting us, and suggesting he could take anyone of us in a scrap. The excitement certainly didn't come from Nicholson's side of the stage, but Alex and fellow guitarist Jaime Cooke kept things bouncing with their frequent tempo changes, quick licks, and barre chord power progressions.

There was little chit chat directed towards the crowd, a few mutterings before or after songs, and for the most part, the boys from Sheffield were getting down to business. Drummer Matt Helders was rocking an I "Heart" Berlin shirt and a headband while keeping a furious pace on his kit. They closed it out with "Mardy Bum," "Fake Tales Of San Francisco," and the album closer, "A Certain Romance," introduced by Helders and dedicated to the opening act, Spinto Band. They played everything the crowd came to hear and had enough knowledgable fans present to share the vocal duties during the hits.

Whatever people say that they are...they are. They have a lot of promise, a lot of talent, and hopefully, the poise to keep a cool head and stay humble amidst the media storm. Outside the 9:30 Club, two people handed out the single to "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" to everyone coming out of the show, continuing the grass roots campaign that has pushed the Monkeys to stardom, and in the process, set new standards for indie record debuts in both the UK and US.

Rumors of White Stripes break-up not true

Jack White has confirmed that rumors of a White Stripes split are just that, rumors. In the meantime, catch some live tracks from the Raconteurs show is Glasgow courtesy of Tea with Tufty. I'm closely watching and waiting for announcement of the US shows.

Did Somebody Say...THROW RAG?!?

Well I was going to wait until after the Nine Black Alps Show tomorrow night to throw down my first words, but when I spotted "Throw Rag" a few posts back, an old, scary image popped up in my head and I had to do a little check-up on these desert rocker friends of ours. Anybody who has seen a Throw Rag show - and I'm guessing there aren't many in this area that have - know exactly what image I'm talking about. It's the image of a very large, sweaty, fully-tattood, greased-down man, rocking a washboard with the drive and stamina one would expect out of an 80's porn star in their prime (the 80's). This man is of course Jacko, who helps welcome all to the band's official webpage, with the deep words "I Like Cake, and Cake likes me." Not to be confused with frontman CPT Sean Doe's welcoming words of "Don't sweat the petty things, pet the sweaty things." And sweaty indeed is this scurvy band of sailors.

Inmytree and I saw Throw Rag when they opened up for Queens of the Stone Age at the 9:30 Club on March 27, 2005, coincidentaly exactly a year ago from today. The image of Jacko going Jacko, along with a CPT Sean Doe clad in nothing more than a black speedo, has not left my mind, and probably never will. I remember somebody referring to the Captain as 'A Scott Weiland that never had the opportunity to attend rehab." And anybody who's seen The Salton Sea, also the home of Throw Rag, would know exactly why this is probably a statement more true than not. I'm talking in terms of the Rehab part, not the STP part. Regardless, if nothing else, these guys carried on their duties as an opening act superbly by 1) Loosening up and livening up the crowd 2) Helping the crowd take their mind off of life and to focus on the show, and 3) To get people to start sucking down booze. They played every second of every song like it was their last, and provided licks that paralled their entertainment and shock value. Which is what one would expect out of a live show, yet we fail to see this more often than you would think... (Army of Me, Wu-Tang, Billy Corgan (don't ask...we were hoping for some Pumpkins)).

Check out Throw Rag's Homepage; there are some rediculously funny postings along with the usual media tasties. They also have a myspace page for you myspace addicts out there. For now, the band is focusing on the West Coast. Hopefully for us they make sail back to DC.

Cloud Cult's keeping it green at a venue near you...

Need some advice from the happy hippopotamus? Need an (exceptional) album with 25 tracks? Want to support an environmentally friendly band that gets it on? You can preview the tip of Cloud Cult's iceberg on MySpace or listen to some free downloads on their homepage.

ADVICE FROM THE HAPPY HIPPOPOTAMUS has blown the minds of all of us here at Metro Distortion, so maybe it's time you sit back and find out what the hype is all about.

Here are their East Coast tour dates for the coming April:

Saturday 4/1 - Duluth, MN: Luce's
Thursday 4/13 - Chicago, IL: Abbey Pub (sponsored by WLUW)
Friday 4/14- Detroit, MI: The Elbow Room (w/ Floride Program, Without Misty, & The Jealous Type)
Saturday 4/15- Philadelphia, PA: World Cafe Live
Sunday 4/16 - Arlington, VA: IOTA
Monday 4/17 New York, NY: Knitting Factory
Tuesday 4/18 TBA
Wednesday 4/19 - TBA
Thursday 4/20 Boston, MA: Johnny D's (band live on WERS in afternoon)
Friday 4/21 TBA
Saturday 4/22 - Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University

Top and I will be at the bar at IOTA at noon getting ready for the happy hippo.

Eagles of Death Metal

Brace yourself for Metal-mania. Almost caught these guys open up for QOTSA last year at the 9:30 Club, but they backed out and Throw Rag played instead.

It's all good, they are at Black Cat on April 22nd. Tickets.

Irving Plaza, NYC on the 23rd. Tickets.

Coachella if you dare (we do) on April 29th (Day 1). Get your metal before the metal gets you.

Arctic Monkeys Live Tonight on NPR

I know there have been a lot of posts on Arctic Monkeys thus far but if you can't make it to tonight's show, NPR will have a live webcast of the show. I was at Webster Hall on Saturday night and even have the photo to prove it. That's me in the front row of the balcony with the white shirt on. As you can see, the crowd (mostly British) was pretty fired up.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

"Still Suspicion Holds You Tight" is one of the best songs on the solid HOWL from BRMC. You can check out the video here.

If I didn't drive back from Wolfmother in Brooklyn the night before at 12:30 AM, then proceed to work all day, I probably would have made their show at the 9:30 Club later that day, I mean I had the ticket. I hate myself for being so weak. You can check their performance out here.

Snow Patrol - New mp3

Late on the dates here, but good info, nonetheless. JK, where you at? Get to the Bowery tonight and fill us in! New album May 9 stateside.

Here's a sneak peak at the upcoming album scheduled for a May 9 release in the US. I like the sound, it's not different but it's still good.
MP3 - Eyes Open
Buy the prerelease at Amazon

Happy Birthday Quentin Tarantino

I will never forget watching PULP FICTION for the first time with my old man. Especially when they brought out the gimp. It was almost as awkward as talking about the birds and the bees for the first time. OK, maybe it was slightly more awkward than that.

The Vacation

Have you ever gone to a show and become completely mesmerized by a frontman? Have you ever gone to a show, shared it with about 10 people, and have to come to terms with the fact that the next time you see them, it will be on a much grander stage? Have you ever wondered why a band wasn't breaking through after they poured their collective heart out on stage and tore through a set like a bull in a china shop? Do you ever miss balls-out, punch your teeth in rock 'n roll? Have you ever found out, a week after you caught a great band, that their next album will be produced by the immortal Rick Rubin? Top and I have.

The Vacation,...bitches. Bitches,...The Vacation.

New Keane, New Vines

Keane, UNDER THE IRON SEA drops on June 13 here, first single will drop on May 29.

The Vines, VISION VALLEY drops on April 4. Listen to the first single here.

Jack White, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Jack has no plans to leave the White Stripes. His new outfit, The Raconteurs, are dropping their first release, BROKEN BOY SOLDIERS, across the pond on 15 May, so that should equate to a 16 May release date here in the States. JK, the king of the bootleg, will let us know if he gets an early listen on this one. You can listen to two singles, "Steady As She Goes" and "Store Bought Bones" on their website (one of the most original websites I have seen in a while).

It was only a matter of time before a Brokeback Mountain reference popped up.

Franz Ferdinand rarity

Join the fanclub as soon as you's a chance for a free nugget of goodness. Additional info will run through the original fan club which (hopefully) will post something in the near future here.

We will do our best to keep you informed.

It sold out in a heartbeat, but you can still scrounge up something for the Death Cab For Cutie/Franz Ferdinand show at DAR Constitution Hall on 11 April.

SHOW YOUR BONES review from Pitchfork. Eh.

Take this for what it is worth. Listen to the album for free on NME (see earlier post) and make your own call. I guess this review might help an uninformed listener. Bottom line: Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a solid album of songs coming out tomorrow. It's different than FEVER TO YELL. Good. I was hoping that it would be.

Arctic Monkeys @ 9:30 Club TONIGHT! SOLD OUT!

Don't be the weak or fainthearted that doesn't want to sack up and get to this show. There are still a ton of people looking for trades, selling tickets, etc. right here.

Crowd participation will be crucial, a la the Kasabian show at 9:30 Club last year, when some people had the Manchester United flag flying proud. Get some!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rob Zombie @ 9:30 Club (March 26, 2006)

Rob Zombie likes vintage porn. Rob Zombie likes Charlie Manson. Rob Zombie likes his bass player to wear a shirt with his last name on it. Rob Zombie likes designer jeans (or he puts rhinestones on his jeans with crazy glue). Rob Zombie likes old school B-horror flicks. Rob Zombie likes to play a 70 minute set. Rob Zombie likes to take a few breaks between the last three songs. We knew this....well, we knew most of it. I wish I didn't know the last two.

I don't own any White Zombie albums and I don't own any Rob Zombie albums. My introduction to Rob Zombie came from my older brother when we were in high school via LA SEXORCISTO and ASTRO-CREEP 2000. I know every word to "Thunder Kiss '65" and "More Human Than Human" because Zombie (along with Metallica, Corrosion of Conformity, and Megadeth) were on heavy rotation in the bedroom I shared with my bro. When these tickets came up, it was a no brainer. I knew that Zombie was a pretty interesting guy and that there was some talent behind all of the mayhem.

We get to the 9:30 Club and score a great parking spot right in front of the gas station. The Club was pretty packed and I remembered that these tickets had sold out pretty quick. We got in as the last opener, Lacuna Coil was wrapping up. We managed to get about halfway up the main floor before settling in. (It is funny, at a show like this I see less people getting rowdy jockying for position than I did when my girlfriend and I had to battle it out with the yuppies at James Blunt. I guess people at these shows get out enough to realize that it doesn't really matter where you stand at a venue this small.)

Lights go down. Cue Shel Silverstein "The Cover of the Rolling Stone." Some crowd participation in this and I am thinking it is all part of the Zombie entrance. Pretty funny. Next we get a video shot of a bunch of horses running through a field (Zombie's new album is called EDUCATED HORSES). The crew walks out, crowd goes nuts and they immediately rip into some trademark stuff. During the entire show we were privy to some vintage porn, clips from Zombie's movies, a couple of animated Nazis and general cartoon mayhem (at one point two creatures from Tremors came out of a woman's breasts), and video clips of the Manson gang. We also got some tamer Nick at Nite "Addams Family" stuff and the simple flame/explosion/Windows Media Player visualizations. This stuff was entertaining in that "I want to be shocked" kind of way...There was definitely a full on visual and aural assault that lasted the entire show. I am sure there are a lot of people that would take it seriously and get pretty offended (Zombie related a funny story of the 700 Club's coverage of him when he first came to DC), but you have to take it for what it is: sleazed up, grooved out, shock rock with a B-movie spin.

Zombie is a pretty funny guy, and he is entertaining as well. I am always pleased to see a frontman getting into the music and displaying a little showmanship. If I come to see Rob Zombie, I kind of expect that type of energy. And he delivers. His head no longer carries the excessive dreads I remember from my youth, but it is still long, and he still headbangs like a champ with it. Notable anecdotes he shared on stage included a story about how his grandmother had to be a prostitute in Germany during WWII "to make ends meet" and how when he brought it up on a radio station that morning people were laughing at him. The crowd was laughing at him telling the story so he made a big joke out of it and said "I guess everyone loved fucking her, I don't know." He then informed the crowd that he wrote the song "Foxy, Foxy" for her. "Foxy, Foxy" is the new single and it is classic Zombie: a riff that makes you want to move, lyrics that aren't aiming too deep...just shooting for immediate shock and entertainment value. The accompanying video provided a break from the B-movie, vintage porn schlock and gave us some well endowed girls (complete with tight shirts reading "Foxy Foxy") rocking out in a field while Zombie and the boys tear through the song on stage.

Zombie played every song I came in there wanting to hear (again, my knowledge of the man and his music is not extensive): "Thunder Kiss '65," "More Human Than Human," "Hands of Death," "Never Gonna Stop," and "Living Dead Girl." For the 70 minutes that he played it was great. Their guitarist is currently John 5 of Marylin Manson fame (it should come to no surprise that he is married to a porn star, are we noticing a theme here?) and he threw his chops out for a little bit (riffing "Paranoid," some Van Halen, and a few others), but for the most part he stuck to the heavy groove that is the Zombie trademark sound.

The show kind of left me wanting more. It reminded me of the Wu-Tang show in a sense because an hour had gone by and all of a sudden...that's it. As we were walking out, I noticed a kid wearing a shirt that said: ZOMBIE 20 YEARS on it. Something tells me that if you're around for 20 years you can hook the kids up with a little more than an hour. It's one thing to walk into an Arctic Monkeys show and know that you will see a shorter set (we will be doing that tonight). It's another thing to see a guy with a pretty impressive resume and only get 70 minutes for your $46 ticket. All in all, I wanted more.

What we can expect next week from YYYs...

This guy helps us out with a setlist, photos, and play by play of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performance at Maxwell's in February. Is it a tune up? We won't know for sure until next week...but I would love to see some "Y Control" in there. The gigs at The Troubadour, in LA, took a similar course (ditto Bowery Ballroom)...which is fine...all of the new stuff kicks ass. Something tells me they are going to turn it up a notch for the main tour.

MP3s from up and coming artists

Here's a quick look at some of the lesser known bands appearing at nationwide festivals this summer. All mp3s are highly recommended and not coincidentally, all come from British bands. Perhaps another post on that later...

Hot Chip:
Boy From School (from upcoming release, "The Warning")
Nine Black Alps:
Cosmopolitan (from new release, "Everything Is")
The Duke Spirit:
Cuts Across the Land (from new release, "Cuts Across the Land")
Bullets (from new release, "The Back Room")
White Rose Movement:
Love is a Number (upcoming release, "Kick" out on April 17)
Tunng (not at a festival but worth the mention nevertheless):
Tale from the Black (from new release, "Mother's daughter and other songs")

Buy all of these albums at Amazon

Yoko Loco

Courtney. Please. Sell all of your rights. Is there any justice in the world? Next thing you know Paul McCartney will have to pay to play Beatles songs that he wrote when he tours in America. Oh, wait.

Arctic Monkeys EP

Details on Arctic Monkeys forthcoming EP here courtesy of NME.

More Yeah Yeah Yeahs: listen to all of SHOW YOUR BONES

You can preview SHOW YOUR BONES here before it hits us on Tuesday. Or you can hope that NME keeps the post up forever, never buy the album and then listen to it over and over again in front of your computer.

Smack. It does a body good.

Pete Doherty. What are you doing?

At least Carl has some focus.

Summer Music Festivals

This isn't all of them...but it is a start for anyone that wants to get away from it all and catch some live music as well:

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Indio, CA
April 29-30
Tool (!), Depeche Mode, Massive Attack, Franz Ferdinand, My Morning Jacket, TV On The Radio, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Animal Collective, Cat Power, The Walkmen, Hard-Fi, Eagles of Death Metal, Madonna, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Rose Movement, Living Things, Wolfmother, Wolf Parade, Nine Black Alps, James Blunt, Sleater-Kinney, Mogwai, Coheed & Cambria, Editors, stellastar*, Art Brut, The Subways, Youth Group, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Bloc Party, Matisyahu, & more...

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, TN
June 16-18
Radiohead (!), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Phil Lesh & Friends, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Oysterhead, Death Cab For Cutie, moe., Bright Eyes, The Neville Brothers, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Buddy Guy, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Ben Folds, Common, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Dr. John, Sonic Youth, Les Claypool, Matisyahu, G. Love & Special Sauce, Umphrey's McGee, My Morning Jacket, Cat Power, Medeski Martin & Wood, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, & more...
Lineup & Info

All Good Music Festival, Marvin's Mountaintop Masontown, WV
July 14-16 2006
The Black Crowes, Ween, Les Claypool, The Greyboy Allstars, The Disco Biscuits, Umphrey's McGee, Donavan Frankenreiter, Railroad Earth, Southern Culture on the Skids, Rebirth Brass Band, Bob Schneider, Hackensaw Boys, Animal Liberation Orchestra, Oteil & the Peacemakers, Tea Leaf Green, Split Lip Rayfield, Daniela Cotton, The Bridge, Soldiers of Jah Army, & more...
Lineup & Info

Pitchfork Music Festival, Union Square, Chicago, IL
July 29-30
Spoon, Silver Jews, Yo La Tengo, Devendra Banhard Band, Mission of Burma, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Aesop Rock, The National (!), Destroyer, Jens Lekman, Band of Horses, Tapes 'n Tapes, Man Man, Hot Machines, & more...
Lineup & Info

Street Scene, San Diego, CA
August 4-5
The Killers, Pixies, The White Stripes, Social Distortion, Snoop Dogg, 311, Black Eyed Peas, Garbage, Flaming Lips, Unwritten Law, Dashboard Confessional, The Used, Death Cab For Cutie, Flogging Molly, Method Man, Rise Against, Louis XIV, Kasabian (!), Hot Hot Heat, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Von Bondies, Mixmaster Mike, Spoon, Autolux, & more...
Lineup & Info

Lollapalooza, Grant Park, Chicago, IL
August 4-6
Red Hot Chili Peppers (!), Kanye West, Manu Chao, Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, The Raconteurs, The Flaming Lips, Ween, Queens of the Stone Age, The Shins, Ryan Adams, Sonic Youth (!), Sleater-Kinney, Common, Matisyahu, Ryan Adams, Theivery Corporation, Nickel Creek, Blues Traveler, Broken Social Scene, The New Pornographers, Gnarls Barkley, Blackalicious, Hard-Fi, The Hold Steady, Nada Surf, Sparta, Wolfmother, Living Things, & more...
Lineup & Info

Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Gold Lion" video

The video to the new song, "Gold Lion" from the upcoming release, SHOW YOUR BONES is available in Real and Windows Media on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs website. Great song. Karen O is so fine it hurts. SHOW YOUR BONES comes out Tuesday. If you pre-order it through they are kicking a live version of "Cheated Hearts" your way. JK managed to get his hands on a copy of SHOW YOUR BONES and had good things to say about it. Looking forward to catching them at the 9:30 Club next week. You can buy "Gold Lion" and another new one, "Let Me Know," on iTunes and the like, right now.

No rest for the wicked: new Audioslave in June

What was I saying about great frontmen? Forgot about the incomparable Chris Cornell. He recently shared who his favorite singers are with Rolling Stone. Here's hoping they play small venues again and dust off "My Wave."

Red Hot Chili Peppers STADIUM ARCADIUM, Lollapalooza '06

If this little preview doesn't get your blood pumping....I don't know what will. Great medley of RHCP songs and a rundown of their impressive rap sheet. I agree with everything except for the best frontman part. We all know the voice is limited (Kiedis even talked about it at length in his autobiography SCAR TISSUE) and the lyrics (more often than not) seem troublesome to me. I would have to take Vedder or Weiland on that one. Maynard James Keenan? Who knows....this is pretty tough now that I think about it. But, the preview is pretty sweet and the last 30 seconds or so is the chorus (I believe) to "Dani California."

It seems like it was just yesterday that JB, Frat and I were watching them perform "Parallel Universe" acoustic at the Bridge School Benefit.

They are headlining Lollapalooza 2006 in Grant Park, Chicago, IL this year. The lineup is pretty impressive Including Kanye West, Wilco, Death Cab, Raconteurs, QOTSA, The Shins, Common, Ryan Adams, Sonic Youth, Broken Social Scene, The New Pornographers, Gnarls Barkley, Blackalicious, Hard-Fi, The Hold Steady, Wolfmother, Sparta, Living Things, and more. It is three days, August 4-6 and that lineup speaks for itself. The Bastards and I are already formulating a plan to get out to the Windy City for this mess. Joe's on Weed Street here we come. Last time I was out in Chi-town I saw Kerry Wood hit a home run in a game that he threw 7 shutout innings in and I got to boo Nomar Garciaparra for the first time since he was polluting our dugout in Fenway.

Back to is the group discussing the first single from Stadium Arcadium, "Dani California." I can't help but look at drummer Chad Smith and picture him in a kimono, holding nunchukas and yelling, "Mom! The meat loaf! Fuck!". Listening to Frusciante talk is always interesting. The guy is on a different plane. What a genuis. The next time you are in a bookstore go to the Photography section and pick up the book AMERICAN MUSIC by Annie Leibovitz. If you turn to page 142 you will see the toll heroin took on his body. Tattoos consumed by's pretty grim. It's always good to see him healthy and talking in a completely different language than the rest of us.

The entire RHCP catalog is on iTunes now, with some additional songs to some of the albums.

Their European tour dates coupled with Lollapalooza lead one to believe that the end of summer will mark the American leg of their tour.

March 26 - April 1

IOTA, Arlington, VA:
Sun: An Evening w/ Iain Campbell Smith
Mon: Pontiak w/ Radiation Puppy w/ The Sad Lives of the Hollywood Lovers
Tue: Julian Velard w/ Dead Heart Bloom (ft. members of Phaser)
Thur: The Argument w/ Jpaolo
Fri: Tres Chicas w/ Dennis Jay and Lonesome Town
Sat: Middle Distance Runner w/ The Gaskets w/ The Cinematic Underground


Sun: Annie, Shy Child, Turntablist DJ DK
Mon: The Hard Tomorrows, Greenland
Tues: The Bonapartes, The Oranges Band
Wed: Magnolia Electric Co., Destroyer, Birds of Avalon ***
Thur: Hard-Fi, French Toast ***
Fri: Eric Roberson and Franklin Bridge ft. Curt Chambers
Fri: (backstage) Girl Friday
Sat: She Wants Revenge, Nightmare of You, Astra Heights
Sat: (backstage) Wag

9:30 CLUB, DC:

Sun: Rob Zombie SOLD OUT ***
Mon: Arctic Monkeys SOLD OUT ***
Tues: Eisley w/ Simon Dawes & Brighten
Wed: stellastar* & Editors w/ The Mobius Band ***
Thur: South w/ Something for Rockets & Margot and The Nuclear So & Sos
Fri: OKIE DoKIE It's THE OrB ON A MeRRY CAR TOuR '06 The ORB Live ft. Alex Paterson & Thomas Fehlmann
Sat: Darkest Hour w/ Himsa & A Life Once Lost (early show)
Sat: Roni Size & Marky (DJ Sets) w/ MC Armanni (18+, late show)


Sun: 33 West CD Release Party w/ Downtown Singapore


Wed: Garaj Mahal
Thur: The Country Gentlemen - Eddie & Martha Adcock
Fri: Jah Works
Sat: Mary Ann Redmond

SONAR, Baltimore, MD

Sun: Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners w/ Chelsea Graveyad & Fishnet Stalkers (club)
Tue: Nine Black Alps w/ The Quiet & Her Daily Obsession (club) ***
Wed: South w/ Something for Rockets & Margot and The Nuclear So & Sos (club)
Thur: Putrified Flesh, Despised Icon, Time of Cholera, Carol, Eatin Alive, Critical State (club)
Fri: TAXLO indie dance party
Sat: Tears of Mars, Blind Rhetoric, Chivalry, Hotspur

THE OTTOBAR, Baltimore, MD

Sun: Valencia, Lorene Drive, Thin Dark Line, Boy Crazy, & Gatsby Gets The Green Light
Wed: This Never Was, Bright Lights, A Ceremony In Grey and Cutlery,
Thur: Andy Rourke (The Smiths) w/ The Hong Kong, DJ Matt Walter guests (DJ Tour)
Fri: Water School, The Jennifers, Jaws and My German Lover

FLETCHER's BAR, Baltimore, MD


Thu: American Minor, The Frauds, Peppers Ghost, The Thieves
Fri: The Heavycoats, 451, Stock Market Crash
Sat: Type A, 7 Days Torn, Lennex, Second Self


Sun: Powerman 5000
Wed: Saves the Day
Thur: Straylight Run
Fri: Dog Fashion Disco CD Release Party
Sat: Burning Spear

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Coachella 2006

This shit is pretty addictive. Coffee has turned into cocktails. There is still plenty to discuss. Bloc Party is flying through "Banquet" right now.

Last year, I had a bad idea. The Mars Volta was playing Electric Factory in Philadelphia, soon after that or right before that announcement we heard that Audioslave was playing the Friday night right before it. We're down in Arlington, so the drive to Philly to make it all happen didn't seem all that crazy. On top of this, the Marlins were in town to play the Phils, so there was an outside chance that we would get to see Dontrelle Willis pitch. Too easy. We ended up following through on all of it. Caught Audioslave, caught a Phils game (missed Dontrelle by a day), heckled Eagles fans wearing the "then-not-so-obnoxious-TO-jerseys," caught The Mars Volta on Sunday, hit up Geno's, and got pretty shamboozled. Somehow we made it back and showed up to work on Monday (TMV ended at around midnight). Although it was a pretty brutal drive, it was nothing compared to the Wolfmother's-playing-in-Brooklyn-I-have-to-work-tomorrow-in-DC-drive that I conducted a few Sundays back. If that show wasn't the illest thing this side of The National playing Black Cat, I would have flown off the Jersey Turnpike when those exits start getting few and far between on the southern tip. But, the show kicked ass, I was juiced up, some Starbucks cold bevies added some fuel to the fire and I made it. I digress.

Does anyone else hear Bruce Springsteen inside The Hold Steady? Just a little? I digress, again.

What does this have to do with Coachella? Plenty. Coachella was another bad idea between me and the fellow Bastards. I had to work late one night and I was tooling around on Ticketmaster for no reason other than comparing exorbitant services, fees, and surcharges and I came across Coachella. At that point, I hadn't looked into the festival or checked out the lineup, for the simple fact that I didn't think it would be feasible. I think there is also some sort of self monitoring that goes on inside me that avoids looking at things like Coachella for the simple fact that I might not have the money, and once I look at, I know I will do everything possible to go. Especially when Tool is headlining. Not to mention Madonna, Bloc Party, Massive Attack, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Editors, stellastar*, Depeche Mode, White Rose Movement, Eagles of Death Metal, Daft Punk, Franz Ferdinand, Wolf Parade, Ted Leo/Pharmacists (still pissed I missed you last night at Black Cat...did anyone catch it? fill us in...), Nine Black Alps, the Zutons, and Wolfmother.

The self monitoring just went to shit.

I woke up the next morning and emailed Top. The subject line was probably something along the lines of "RE: Bad idea no. 26,784,093." My next step was emailing Frat. He is currently embedded with the Iraqi military, helping them out, training them, etc. I knew that his mid-tour leave was coming up soon, so I figured why not. The next day I received an email from him that said: "i was thinking of going to that actually...i just didnt get a chance to tell you about it./ i dont have much time to write.../ but my leave dates start on april i could make the dates.../ let me know if this is going to happen...cause if it/ is...IM IN!!/-frat." Fate intervenes once again. It wasn't the first time Frat and I were on the same train of thought in different cars. And I am sure it won't be the last. This was the icing on the cake.

Simple steps followed: talk to the boss. Get the Friday before and the Monday after off. Get tickets. From here it is drinking from a fire hose. Cahuilla was booked up, and that seems to be the big party spot for campers, etc. We looked into Joshua Tree and all sorts of different options, thing was that we jumped on the tickets and soon realized that the hotels were booked solid in the weeks following the lineup announcement. We even looked into people that were putting their houses up for rent ($900 for the weekend, no more than 4 people...yeah, that would be bad idea no. #26,784,094). My funniest venture into lodging options was exploring what was available at the "clothing optional" and/or "gay-friendly" hotels in Palm Springs. They had some pretty humorous ads and I talked to some of the guys over the phone and they were laughing at me telling me that they were booked up for a few weeks at that point. They also busted my chops about how bad I needed a place to stay and whether or not I would ever entertain staying at their hotel if it wasn't for Coachella. Good times.

We decided to all get the on-site camping pass for $35 as a back-up plan. If anything opened up, we would jump on it. Other than that we are all pretty amped up to get out there. It is hard to believe it is just a little over a month away. Currently Frat, one of his friends from Jacksonville, FL, Top, and Callo are going to make it. We are still waiting for word from JQ on whether or not the Quinnebago will make a grand entrance. He finally replaced the boat engine in his RV with a real RV engine. I shit you not. The thing had a boat engine in it. At any rate, he told me that it can't get above 50 mph most days, so the drive from Lawton, OK to Indio, CA might prove to be a little much on the Quinnebago.

Anyone else doing the Coachella thing this year? What are your plans? Where are you staying? Who are you looking forward to seeing? Top and I are going to have a pretty solid background going in. By the time we get to Indio we will have seen:

Hard-Fi, Living Things, Wolfmother, Franz Ferdinand, Eagles of Death Metal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wolf Parade, Editors, stellastar*, James Blunt, and possibly Art Brut. We will also head into it with a solid background in Depeche Mode, My Morning Jacket, the Walkmen, White Rose Movement, the Zutons, Madonna, Tool (any chance for "Ticks and Leeches"?), Bloc Party, Sleater-Kinney, Mogwai, Gnarls Barkley ("Crazy" is on heavy rotation right now), Ted Leo / Pharmacists, and the Subways.

Not bad. I am pretty psyched to see Nine Black Alps, the free download from iTunes has me ready to pull the trigger on the rest of the album. Is it just me or are we seeing a little grunge resurgence? Living Things has its moments in Nirvana-dom (see: "March In Daylight") and Nine Black Alps on "Cosmopolitan" has that heavy, fuzz feel to it at times. Granted, the vocals and riff to "Cosmopolitan" lend more to the brit-pop a la Franz Ferdinand school than anything else...but, I still feel Seattle in that song...somewhere out on the periphery, maybe. It might be the lyrics: "we'll be dead by sunrise."

Oddly enough "Mardy Bum" just turned up in the shuffle (see below).

Arctic Monkeys

Just got word from JK that Arctic Monkeys played a great set at Webster Hall in NYC tonight. We were a little nervous after their set on Saturday Night Live. Someone was yawning, there wasn't too much energy from the Sheffield boys, and we thought that maybe we shouldn't believe the hype. JK says, "I'm back on the bandwagon. Solid show." I think I will believe the hype...for now. Top and I are looking forward to catching them Monday night at the 9:30 Club. Hey, they're the best thing out of Sheffield, since, well, Def Leppard. Here's hoping they play "Mardy Bum."

Ben Harper @ 9:30 Club (July 25, 2005)

The best thing that happened last summer was the Zooma Tour with Trey Anastasio and Ben Harper getting canceled. To begin with it was at Merriweather Post Pavilion (traffic+traffic+open air venue+traffic=dag). On top of that, we probably weren't going to see Ben at his best. Zooma got canceled, Ben decided to do small gigs, and one of those was the 9:30 Club. The peasants rejoice.

This show was insane.


Just look at the setlist:

Set I:
• God Fearing Man
• Ground On Down
• Jah Work
• Brown Eyed Blues
• Wicked Man
• Everything
• Burn One Down
• She's Only Happy In The Sun
• Breakin' Down
• Temporary Remedy
• Please Bleed
• Amen Omen
• Where Could I Go
• How Many Miles Must We March?

Encore I:
• Another Lonely Day
• Widow Of A Living Man
• Number Three
• Roses From My Friends
• I Shall Not Walk Alone
• Walk Away
• There Will Be A Light
• When It's Good
• Pleasure And Pain

Encore II:
• Steal My Kisses/Pressure Drop
• Get It Like You Like It
• Homeless Child
• Dressed In Black
• Gather 'Round The Stone
• The Woman In You
• Ain't Too Proud To Beg
• With My Own Two Hands/War

If you're keeping track at home, that's over 30 songs. What an amazing set. Before we left, Callo's girlfriend told us to call her during "Widow of a Living Man." I told Callo, fat chance. I had caught Ben four times prior to this (Bridge School Benefit '04, Providence, RI '01, Fairfield, CT '01, Waltham, MA '01) and I had yet to hear "Widow." I was as wrong as the kid that said "we aren't going to hear any Rage tonight" before the Audioslave show at Electric Factory in Philadelphia. Sometimes it's good to be wrong. What an insane show. Despite the people with little or no etiquette (yelling out "Free Bird" and assorted other b.s. that had little or no place at a Ben show), the show was perfect. At first we thought the Johnny Damon line in "Get It Like You Like It" was ad libbed, but when the new album dropped this past Tuesday, we realized we were mistaken.

Quite simply, this is one of the five best shows I have ever seen. That setlist speaks for itself.

Tickets went on sale this morning for him at Merriweather this summer (Sunday, September 10th) through Fortunately, Top was all over it and we scored 4 for the pit. Tickets go on-sale to the public April 1st, through our good friends at Ticketmaster.

If you've never been to Merriweather the sound under the roof is far better than on the lawn. I've learned this the hard way. I caught Velvet Revolver (awesome, one of these days we will discuss the greatness that is Scott Weiland), Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with The Black Crowes (decent), Maroon 5 (gasp), and some others. I was very happy when Nine Inch Nails went the MCI Center route, but I guess the November timeframe helped on that one. Regardless, ditto for Pearl Jam. There is just something to be said for the sound quality in an arena as compared to an open air venue.

The National @ Black Cat, DC (March 15, 2006)

The shuffle just hit some Ataxia, "Dust." What a great song. I have a great story about that song, actually, but that's for another post, another time.

One of my good friends clued me in on eMusic's promotional deal of 100 free songs for signing up. First, an aside on illegal downloading...I'm not a fan. I buy just about everything save the iTunes download of the week and other assorted goodness like that. My mother is an artist and I can't justify taking something from an artist and not giving them something in return. That's that. I used my 100 free songs to grab a bunch of stuff that I was curious about...I ended up picking up The National's critically acclaimed ALLIGATOR. This was about a week before the show at the Black Cat, so I had plenty of time to dive in, come up for air, and dive back down.

First off, ALLIGATOR is an amazing album from top to bottom, I couldn't (can't) stop listening to it. It really fueled the interest in catching them live. ALLIGATOR was the only album of theirs that I owned, so I had some expectations, but nothing too high. I did a little research beforehand and it was good to see that they were from my home away from home, Brooklyn, NY and they all left pretty good jobs to put the band together. On top of that, several publications had placed ALLIGATOR in their Top Ten from 2005, including the #1 album honors from journalists at The Onion, Billboard, and the LA Times. Not bad. Now I am getting excited.

Up to this point, Top and I had caught several shows at the Black Cat. The week prior we caught The Cloud Room there (good show...i'll post about it soon) and in February we caught Living Things and The Vacation there. Neither of those shows were close to capacity. We were comfortable sitting at the bar for both, with no obstruction between us and the stage. As soon as we get to the Black Cat to see The National we notice that things are a little different. People were actually in a tiny line outside. This was new. We hustled in, got our will call tix (the only way Black Cat rolls) and got up to the Main Stage. The crowd was already noticeably larger than our previous shows there. Opening act was Baby Dayliner. It might have been my excitement to see The National, or my lack of enthusiasm for acts that sing over recorded-techno-lounge-house beats, but Baby Dayliner was not doing it for me. After the first song I wasn't giving him much attention and our bartender randomly gave us a free PBR after we had only grabbed one round. Fine with us. By the time Baby Dayliner wrapped up the place was about 3/4 full. We walked to the stage and set up (regrettably) next to the speakers on the left side (as you look at it) right next to the entrance back stage. The National came on and they all looked like nice enough guys and I was pleased with the fact that while BD's set was nothing special...there is nothing to take down or reorganize after a guy comes out and sings over a beatbox. The National's stuff was already set up and they took the stage shortly after BD was done. Top noticed about three Les Paul standards up on stage and we realized that things were going to be pretty good tonight.

They kicked off with "Secret Meeting," the first song on ALLIGATOR. I was lost in the music from this point forward. I think it was four songs in that they kicked into "Abel" and I lost my mind. As soon as the riff hit, you could hear some yelling from the crowd and I saw some fist-pumping that mirrored my own. It was the single best live song I have heard in 2005 (not counting everything that Robert Randolph did after the ball dropped at the 9:30 Club, of course). As good as the album is, you have to see these guys live. The guitars going back and forth on "Abel" is sonic heaven. The National thrives at bringing you into a song and then taking you on a rollercoaster ride. "Abel" pulsed back and forth between chorus and verse and as the song throttled along, Matt Berninger was jumping in the middle of the stage and then screaming the chorus at both the ground and the ceiling. The drumming was fantastic. We had a perfect view. I have not see drumming that great since Jon Theodore of The Mars Volta. It was mesmerizing. Simply amazing. Bryan Devendorf is a monster talent. His drumming may be the most irreplaceable aspect of The National. The subtle nuances he creates within songs like "The Geese of Beverly Road" and "Looking For Astronauts" are stark contrasts to the overpowering thunderheads within "Lit Up," the aforementioned "Abel," and "Mr. November."

A good friend of mine once said, all great bands can be divided into individual performances. If you can single out the singer, the guitarists, the bassist, or the drummer and be equally amazed at what they have going on as an individual, within the group performance, then you are in the midst of a great band. We are there with The National. Berninger doesn't show great range, and he doesn't need to. His lyrics and voice are perfect within the limits of the band and the music.

They touched most of the standout songs on ALLIGATOR and Top and I were introduced to older songs like "Cherry Tree," I believe. I was so caught up in the performance that I completely forgot about the song "Mr. November." Once the opening riff came on, I went nuts. They really had the place buzzing at this point...."this is nothing like it was in my room/in my best clothes/trying to think of you" was echoed by some of the loyal fans and you could see some bounce in the crowd. Once he hit the pre-chorus ("i'm the new blue blood/i'm the great white hope") you could hear a noticeable amount of audience participation. The banging guitars about three minutes in had the place on fire. Top and I smiled. They closed with several softer numbers ("All The Wine"?). There wasn't an encore. I kept dreaming there would be. I kept thinking they would rip into "Abel" again, but I wasn't sure if I had the energy for it. After they closed it out we hopped in line to pick up their other CDs (CHERRY TREE [EP] and SAD SONGS FOR DIRTY LOVERS) and the obligatory t-shirt. You have to support the band after a show like that.

I mentioned earlier that we regrettably posted by the left speaker. For the last five songs I had the DJ pose going: one hand over one hear, head bobbing, opposite hand keeping the rhythm. I was essentially deaf in my left ear after the show. We keep on forgetting the earplugs. What can you do.

As I close, "Omission" by John Frusciante is rocking. There is something about this song: the simple, first position chord progression and the ominous words, "suffer fate 'cause it's the only lift ya got." I listen to JF a lot. Somewhat religiously,...and each time I always think to myself, "thank god this guy is still alive. thank god we have people making music like this. life is so good." A related, cathartic lift was felt walking out of the Black Cat that night. I thought of Frat and Ryno in the desert, wished they were here, but knew that we were all traveling on the same wavelength regardless of our current commitments, dispositions, and locations. Catch The National whenever you can, you won't forget the show anytime soon. Especially if you stand right next to the speaker.

Why not...

For motivation I have some John Frusciante playing. A good mix, nothing from SMILE or NIANDRA, but some SHADOWS COLLIDE WITH PEOPLE, TO RECORD ONLY WATER FOR TEN DAYS, DC [EP], INSIDE OF EMPTINESS...the good stuff.

It's been about two or three years since I arrived in the Nation's Capital. In that year my friends and I have been to well over one hundred shows in numerous venues from Shoreline Ampitheater in Mountain View, CA (Bridge School Benefit 2004) to Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel (The Mars Volta 2005) in Providence, RI to our local haunts, the 9:30 Club and Black Cat. With some very bright opportunities on the horizon (Pearl Jam at the Verizon Center, Coachella at the end of April and Lollapalooza in August), I couldn't think of a reason why I shouldn't share all of the experiences with everyone. I was looking at a friend's MySpace page and while I didn't like the idea of MySpace I did like the idea of providing some feedback on all of the shows we were seeing. And there have been some incredible shows: Wolfmother @ Northsix in Brooklyn, NY; the surprise Foo Fighters show at the 9:30 Club last year; Ben Harper at the 9:30 Club; Living Things and The Vacation (I can count myself as one of about 30 at that gig, one of 12, not including members of Living Things, to see The Vacation open it up) at Black Cat and The National at Black Cat.

I found myself more and more immersed in the world of blogging simply because the information was so readily available. The first blogs that really caught my attention were Red Sox/baseball-related sites: The Soxaholix and Fire Joe Morgan. The latter really changed the way I looked at ESPN and a lot of mainstream media. I already had my suspicions with ESPN. The self-promotion would kill me on a daily basis and I had to pay to read one of my favorite journalists, the great Peter Gammons. Not to mention the fact that they employed Scoop Jackson, and let him get away with some outrageous social commentary. FJM was regulary making some very legitimate points about the sports world and holding broadcasters responsible for some of the crazy things they were saying in print and on the air. It baffled me that a guy like Joe Morgan would wonder why Doug Mirabelli was catching Tim Wakefield while Jason Varitek was on a tear at the plate. It was like Mr. Morgan had no idea that Mirabelli almost ALWAYS caught Wakefield, regardless of what 'Tek had going on offensively. C'mon. Aren't these the experts? I think the most recent Sports Illustrated tells it the best: "[it has become] the era of detachment and fragmentation - detachment because technology allows games to be covered from great distances and fragmentation because fans can tailor the 'news' to their needs." People are going to alternative media sources to find what they need. Of course, with that, comes the fact that a lot of lies and overall b.s. is coming out of this. But, I guess if you go out there with the intention of doing the right thing and being honest about what you are seeing, hearing, doing....then maybe someone will get some good out of it. I have definitely had my moments of uncontrollable laughter on The Soxaholix over the past few years. Enough about baseball.

I go to shows. I go to a lot of them. I buy way too much music. My friends do, too. We're pretty honest people. We probably have something to learn from anyone out there, new bands, great gigs...but we will never learn about it, unless we hear it, see it, do it. So here I go. There are a lot of shows that I will have to catch everyone up with...and there is a big week ahead. Rob Zombie (9:30 Club) on Sunday night, Arctic Monkeys (9:30 Club) on Monday night, stellastar* with Editors (9:30 Club) on Wednesday and Hard-Fi (Black Cat) on Thursday. Not to mention the coming months...we already have tickets in hand for the following: The Strokes, Death Cab for Cutie, Wolfmother, Wolf Parade, Cloud Cult, Coachella Art & Music Festival, Eagles of Death Metal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Pearl Jam, Elefant, Ben Harper and more. Hopefully we will pass something along that will be worthwhile....a band, a song, a venue, an idea. We welcome any and all feedback.