April 30, 2008

Handsome Furs @ Detroit Bar [Costa Mesa; 4/13/08]

Even if they thought they were playing in “Norfolk Beach.” Someone from the small crowd at Detroit Bar screamed out, “It’s Newport Beach.” Singer, Dan Boeckner replied “oh like the cigarette; a delicious smoke.” He ripped a shot somewhere around that point.

Exchanges like these were commonplace by the end of the night, partly due to the Canadian couple’s delightful charm; but probably more so from the embarrassingly sparse turnout. And it’s not everyday such a marquee act comes through the neighborhood (although Friday’s Crystal Castles show may have drained most of our area’s energy for the weekend). But hey, a relaxed, front and center situation with one of your favorite musicians is never a thing to complain about (Dan is also a member of Wolf Parade). Also no complaints about being five feet from his wife and band mate, Alexei Perry. Having filled the Troubadour the night before, and San Diego the night before that, it seemed those Handsome Furs might have preferred this Sunday pace as well.

Dan’s next quip was more a story about them trying to find the beach earlier that day. They got lost in an industrial park, never finding the water. The tale ended with them fleeing from a gas station where a stranger’s car was on fire. All this sounded quite endearing coming from Montreal natives.

Refer to past entries for love regarding their debut, Plague Park. I want to talk about a different love here; the love these two are in. You could tell. It seeped from every movement on stage. I’m fairly used to being an envious spectator, but never for this particular reason. There stood two people, attached at the brain, creating grand music together, for a living. That music, by the way, rivaled any studio versions. My concerns over how they would perform the drum machine rock live was put to rest during "Dumb Animals". I still don’t understand how the sum of their parts can be so full.

A few new songs surfaced in the set. Their fast tempo stood out. Looks like the rumored release later this year might show a lighter side of the fur. (While we’re at it, Wolf Parade’s long awaited follow-up hits in a few months, with one song already floating around.)

Truly humble, Dan and Alexia endlessly thanked us. They even appeared surprised to hear applause for them to return for an encore. They obviously came back. Tossing his half-done cigarette in cocktail by his feet, he said, “Okay, We KNOW two more songs.”

Here’s a video from the show; dark, but the audio never disappoints. The song is “Handsome Furs Hate This City.” Hang in till the end and you’ll be hit with a riff that pays off.

Some guys that really know how to use a camera shot the band for these take away shows.

A Coachella Story: Volume One

It's a tremendous task to cover Coachella while it’s still relevant. Even if the laptop were brought, it likely would have remained zipped throughout the weekend's fun. It might not be on the hour coverage or contain high-resolution, close-up pictures (professional ones from Friday can be viewed here), but let’s assume storytelling (and amateur photos) are always relevant, right?

This wasn’t just any three day camping experience, this was Coachella, where more than 150,000 people unite over a music melting pot. And with 2008 looking like the “biggest” yet for some of those genres and for festivals as whole, we were in for it. Anyone who bypassed it because of "weak" headliners truly missed out on a near-perfect, balanced musical happening. Many thought this year would belong to the young acts, but the veterans reminded us why they were invited at every chance. I'm back with a new appreciation for not only the artists I generally talk about on this page, but also the ones I grew up on.

Did I say camping? I meant to say vacationing. Thanks to hundreds of email threads and the generous project management skills of Jack and Lindy, the final game plan developed into this: 18 people in a five bedroom desert home, five miles away from the grounds, with a pool, stocked fridges, wooden sculptures of panthers and dragons, a painting of a semi-nude Burt Reynolds over the master bed, and a highly underestimated access to showers. And only one rule: no humping the panther.

We showed up to the house on Friday morning just as a local rental shop was delivering the 18 bikes. Everyone met everyone. We highlighted set times, cheered a few shots, split into teams, and cut our way through the traffic to day one.

Here are some partners in crime that will be referred to throughout, so we’ll just get them introduced:
Mike – roommate, comedian, some circles know him as Cosmo, clearly looks good with a beard
Kati – friend, designer, SS correspondent/show buddy, little, very little, makes her own denim shorts
Tony – Did not attend, may this blog be a reminder to him that his decision was a poor one

5:15 Dan Deacon’s 4:00 start time was unattainable mark for us to meet as was the Black Kids set while Rogue Wave’s 1:30 was never actually considered as a possibility (for some reason those 2pm to 4pm hours were a bit blurry). We made it in time for Australian electropop-ers Cut Copy though. "So haunted" and "Light & Music" were some jams. Spending some time last week with their latest release, In Ghost Colours, probably helped. The album is worth getting.

5:40 Even at their highest point of saturation, Vampire Weekend’s songs were delightful. They went through the crowd favorites (most of that album) and introduced a new one that was pretty good (sounding even more like Paul Simon).

They also broke their “no T-shirts, only preppy button downs and sweaters on stage” rule. We can let it slide, as it was 100 degrees.

6:30 Just the fact that the identical faces of Tegan and Sara were displayed on the main stage big screens was enough to enjoy this. At one point they stopped a song 30 seconds into it to tune a guitar, but, luckily, their wit was on point. There were funny. They were cute. They were Tegan and Sara. Here is when they did "Back Into Your Head."

6:55 The National put on Friday’s best set. The Outdoor Theatre at sunset was a perfect tint for the band’s horn-backed heart pouring. Also fitting, they opened with "Start A War." Favored were tracks from best of 2007-list topper, Boxer. An instant classic, "Fake Empire" took us into the night; I fought back some chills and hugged Kati tight.

The National @ Coachella | Fake Empire

8:00 The Raconteurs weren’t a bad soundtrack for re-hydrating on the grass. We watched the big screens from afar, freaking out at every guitar solo from Jack White. One of those solos can be seen here in "My Blue Veins."

The night was wide open at this point. With no real “must-see” acts until Saturday, we jumped from tent to tent.

9:00 I knew what to expect from Datarock. They pretty much guarantee high energy and stage antics. They did test our patience with three opening duds before getting into "Computer Camp Love", "I Used to Dance with My Daddy", and eventually a 10 version of "Fa Fa Fa." The crowd loved it. Its not the most crafted music, but always a good time. Who can’t get into a Dirty Dancing “Time of Our Lives” saxophone solo?

I know Mike can.

9:55 Our friend, Sean, had the presence of mind to mention that The Verve had ten minutes left in their set at the main stage. We raced through the center dance club area in hopes of hearing them close with “Bittersweet Symphony.” This would be the first of many good calls when it came to timing. Richard Ashcroft belted away, then pressing the microphone against his heart, and we continued running; this time skipping in circles around onlookers. When it’s all said in done, that song is one of the finest of the 90s, and likely one of the finest I’ll ever hear performed live. That moment will stay with us. Bliss.

The Verve @ Coachella | Bittersweet Symphony "This one's for Hunter S. Thompson"

10:15 We met up with some of our house crew at Spank Rock, took in a few songs and made our way over to Fatboy Slim. The living legend was late to go on, but his Willy Wonka introduction heading right into a "Praise You" teaser made up for that:

The rest of the show, however, proved how out of touch Fatboy Slim is with the youthful electronic audience. It doesn’t help that he looks like Tommy Hilfiger waving at us up there. But really, it felt like a mediocre rave with little pay-offs to the expected crescendos. We gave it a 40-minute shot and moved on, passing by the tent with Professor Murder. According to the accounts of some people at our house later that night, we should have gone in. Noted.

11:50 A muffled Jack Johnson could be heard across the way and after a few rationalizing comments about good times in high school, we decided it was a proper wind down. I’ll give that guy some credit, he’s headlining every festival this year and hasn't changed his sound for anybody.

The third good call (oh and the second was fannypacks) came as we passed the parking lot traffic situation on our bikes. Quiet and warm, the ride home was backlit by desert stars and passing cars. We arrived to a party already underway. Fade to black.

Day Two (The strongest musically) coming soon.

April 29, 2008

The Eagle Has Landed (This Week On The Headphones)

I had to take a break from the Coachella recapping/resting to bring you this heat.

It might not have album art yet*, but the long awaited sophomore album from Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer, has leaked. The infamous Wolf Parade folks! It's all that shall be listened to today. Mount Zoomer officially lives on June 17th.
* Update Artwork just in...

Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

Up until that find, it was a three man weave between...

Islands - Arm's Way (due out May 20th)

Islands just dazzled us at Coachella. More to come on that.

My Morning Jacket's Evil Urges Album Art My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges (due out June 10th)

MMJ just dazzled us at Coachella. More to come on that.

M83 - Saturdays = Youth

M83 offers his shoegazey, electronic take on the 80's. That is the 80's according to John Hughes' films. It's a feel good-er.

Enough procrastinating. I should have the first of something up tonight (about that whole greatest weekend of music ever thing).

Oh and I finished putting together a video for the recent Habitat For Humanity trip. It can be viewed here.

April 24, 2008

Coachella is Tomorrow.

And the next day, and the day after that.

I'll do my best to document the ultimate reality.


April 11, 2008

3-Dimensional Spring Fever Leads to Ticket Binge

We'll come back to that later.

Concert season is among us! It seems like every time a browser is refreshed another tour gets announced or lineup released. Choose wisely or you'll go broke. I personally cut groceries out of the budget (not recommended).

Here’s what’s on deck so far. If you're roaming the streets of Southern California, feel free to join us.

Handsome Furs @ Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa this Sunday April 13th

A little 3-day desert party, perhaps you've heard of it, it's called Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, CA April 25th - 27th.
We have a house this year. Really, let's do this. Newsbreak: Prince was just added as a Saturday headliner. The legend. Sure. Why not. Next they’ll tell us Radiohead has a song on the Billboard Hot 100. And Stone Temple Pilots are going back on tour. And a new Beverly Hills 90210 show is coming out. 1994? And Billy Corgan is still an ass.

I won’t even touch this week’s NKOTB reunion news.

Of the Coachella throwbacks, I am most into seeing The Breeders. Mountain Battles is a great record. They had a release party about it the other day. Also topping the list of anticipated acts, our space kitten friends, MGMT. Now they already have the video of the year. How could they top that? I guess by making the video of the year in 3D. I'm serious, get some glasses. And a pair of those pink shorts while you’re at it. Come to the festival. We can match.

Watch 3D Version here
Download it from official page here

The National, Modest Mouse, and R.E.M @ The Hollywood Bowl on May 29th

The real challenge is getting out of work in time to catch "Fake Empire."

Radiohead with Liars @ The Hollywood Bowl playing both August 24th & 25th
I’d give my right arm for the 24th, and my left for the 25th. I really don’t see anything coming between an armless Radiohead experience and me. Amongst all this presale, ticketmaster mess, we'll find a way. Even if we need to go to Santa Barbara, or Chula Vista, or Santa Francisco, then we'll go to Washington DC to take back the white house..yeahhhh

Here's hoping somebody decides to throw around a few beautiful glow sticks again. Displayed here in clip from Bonnoroo 2006's "House of Cards."

We might go to the Crystal Castles show down the street tonight. I don't know if we'll have enough TIME.