Review: Black Lips & Natural Child @ Paradise (4/19/14)

Lipss
Bands: Black Lips, Natural Child
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2014
Venue: Paradise Rock Club (Allston, MA)

This band/show needs no introduction. I usually run through a massive history to introduce my Black Lips reviews, but at this point it just feels redundant. Look all around you. Check out this site and you’ll see what we’re all about… KIDS LIKE YOU & ME – we started five years ago, the same year we first saw the Lips live. Many subsequent shows and excessive fandom have since ensued. Alas, it’s been nearly three years since we’ve seen the band in the flesh. In fact, it was exactly three years ago when we saw the Lips here at the dise; we ventured out for a couple of NYC shows later in 2011. Three long years.

Over these years, KLYAM itself has slowly evolved. With each passing year we have grown closer to the music community as well as carving out our own distinct identity in that same community. Our focus has shifted from bigger (mid level) bands to smaller, local rock ‘n’ roll outfits such as Atlantic Thrills, Fat Creeps, Nice Guys, The Fagettes, etc. The list goes on and on and I can’t recommend all of them enough especially if you salivate over Black Lips and the wild rock ‘n’ roll spirit they embody. Anyway, primarily keeping up with these Boston/New England monsters has forced us into an underground world of dusty basement shows, tiny (sometimes empty) rock clubs, dive bars, or simply hip, welcoming art galleries/DIY spaces. This is the same world our friends the Black Lips were spit out of many moons ago.

If you’re not familiar with the first half of the Black Lips’ career, I suggest getting to know it. See: Die Slaughterhaus (Atlanta house venue in the early 2000s – home to Black Lips, Deerhunter, and a whole scene full of wayward boys and girls and drunken debauchery).  Those were their “underground” years. 1999-2006. 2007-present, the band has become a massive force in the “indie” world, garnering vast media attention, fan adoration – homegrown and international (tours of Israel, India, and the Middle East), not to mention a steady batch of solid albums to back up the acclaim. So, after that lengthy introduction (ahh fuck, I guess I did give an introduction even when I set out not to), here we are tonight and despite our nastier leanings, we still love the Lips as much as ever. Here we go. To the show…

But wait, the doors aren’t open yet! “So call the copssssss” No wait call the Firemen apparently cause “no fire in the 40 Watt motherfucker!” errr I mean “no fire in the Paradise motherfucker! Alright, I’ll quit with the Lips references. Long story short, a fire alarm or something went off in the Paradise, so we have to wait outside for another twenty minutes or so. Fine, we do some catching up with our fellow Lips devotee Travis, reminiscing of past Lips concerts.

Natural Child – I’ve been a Natti Child (that’s what I like to call them, fuck off) fan since 2010, yet I have never seen the band live :(.  They have been to Boston before though. As far as I know, this is their third show. Their first appearance was under the radar, seeing that the band was playing at a house show in Allston (Twin Towers) in November 2011 and damn I missed it. The second time was at Great Scott also in Allston in July 2012 and I was out of town that week. Now, NOW is my time. Though, I’m still a Natti Child fan, I’m more enamored by their older, more aggressive, punkier, material which always had a lovely flavor of country to it. Nowadays and for the last couple albums, these Nashville dudes are 100% country fried. This is cold country to the bone. Very chill, relaxed, like sitting on your porch, smoking a pipe, maybe a spliff, perhaps listening to the splifft – the Nice Guys/Miami Doritos splifft 7″ that is, available through KLYAM Records ;). OR simply listening to the rad eee ohh, leaning back and sipping down that smooth whiskey whilst discussing your thoughts on the Vietnam War with your buddies. It has that laid back feel to it.

The crowd appreciates Natural Child as do I, but at best there are some slight movements, a little dance here and there. I myself am mellow in my admiration. I don’t recognize any of the tunes, but I still enjoy their performance as a worthy introduction to the Lips and as a long time fan of the band. I would have liked to have heard more (if any?) earlier, 1971 (2011) era Natti Child, but that’s alright. Lastly, the band has grown in numbers since I last checked them out – there’s now an additional guitarist and a pianist. Yessir, I can finally cross Natural Child off my “Bands To See Before I Die” list.

Black Lips – The excitement, the awe, the anticipation, the moment, the memory. The Black Lips are my favorite band of all times, if that hasn’t been made abundantly clear by this point. This may not be the Middle East (the venue in Cambridge) nor 2009, but hell it’s still a rollercoaster for me. One thing does disrupt my rollercoaster ride, however, and that is this dumbass guardrail that serves as a mighty trench between the stage and the people. It’s a fascist barrier and kills some of the vibes, but we manage.

“Sea of Blasphemy” (Let It Bloom, 2005) is still the choice opener and as always that kicks off the hurricane of bodies smashing back and forth into each other. The foursome slither into Arabia Mountain (2011) classic “Family Tree,” then transition to a new cut “Drive By Buddy” from their latest LP Underneath The Rainbow (2014). Cole lends his vocals to all of these ditties and Cole does well in his raspy, punk slimy, Cole way.  Though Cole ain’t the only one belting out the leads…

We get served a full entree of Joe numbers. Dude bops the skins and screams his heart out without a second of hesitation. The look of exhilaration and pleasure on his face is the heart that pumps the band and the audience as a whole. Or for a less flowery, more flower punky metaphor, the drummer is the power bottom of a rock show. He (in this instance) is limited by his position, seated all by his lonesome, way in the back. YET! he generates the power of the music. He is the dominating force that fuels the entire room’s  adrenaline. It totally comes through tonight.

You have Joe’s lead vocals on killer hits like Let It Bloom’s “Not A Problem,” a tune that seriously gets the crowd all riled up and singing along, “Buried Alive,” (Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo, 2007) a consistent smash whenever they happen to unleash it, the big chart topper, “Bad Kids” (Good Bad Not Evil, 2007), rampant dancing machine inducing “Go Out and Get It” (Arabia Mountain, 2011), and most recently, UTR’s “Justice After All.”

If you’re a Jared man, well then you’re loving some real electrifying tunes. Jared takes control on “Modern Art” (Arabia Mountain) and “O Katrina!” (Good Bad Not Evil) arguably two of the finest, most accessible, and certainly memorable songs from their entire catalog. By contrast, the Lips bust out a lesser known jam and rarely played one at that in “Punk Slime” (Let It Bloom). This one features J Swill on lead vocals and it’s a personal favorite as it is from my favorite Lips album from my favorite era of the band. More importantly, it is the KLYAM anthem – as we quote “PUNK SLIME ALL OF THE TIME!” It’s our “slogan,” and like the name Kids Like You & Me, we’ve taken it and mutilated it into our own.

Jared also provides the leads on a new song known as “Smiling,” (Underneath The Rainbow) one of the few songs I actually enjoy from the new record. Oh what, you thought it was all cock sucking around here, didn’t you? didn’t YOU? Well, everybody loves a cocksucker, but they’re not getting one. Yeah, I’m not as big into this record as all of the others, but that’s okay. This is not an UTR review. “Smiling” gets me going though.

I didn’t forget about my main man Ian. Always one for words, Ian spreads his arms open and thanks “all the fans.” He explains that they have been playing rock ‘n’ roll all along. Amen brother. Ian takes care of the lead vocals on his song “Make You Mine” (Underneath The Rainbow) and honestly he has the most polished vocals of all the members, while still retaining a rough, not ready for top 40 radio voice. Screw em’. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll.

Going back to Old King Cole Younger for a bit, he may be the most animated Lip. Hawking loogies and frolicking to and fro with his guitar. He is the lead vocalist on most of the tunes tonight and always gives the group its raw delivery. While I’m not as into the new song “Boys In The Wood” (Underneath The Rainbow), I love all of the essentials like “Raw Meat” (Arabia Mountain) and “Dirty Hands” (Let It Bloom) – the perennial sing along, Lips anthem if there ever was one. I love how Cole holds out his hand as if he is holding a joint when he utters those immortal words “Me and Bobby went to the beach this Summer, we built castles in the sand and smoked DOPE by the water.”

“Hey baby, I’d love to hold your dirty hands.” Better yet let’s make out and then I’ll make out with your friend and then I’ll watch the two of you make out together. Well, this happens to KLYAMER Glen. Very nice and at a Black Lips show may I add. Speaking of the crowd, the participation is sound, though it seemed crazier in the past or maybe it’s just me? There’s a lot of newbies, which is actually great. Convert em’. Bring your young. Though, I can tell some folks look lost when they play oldies such as “MIA” and “Ghetto Cross” both of which feature Cole on lead vocals and appear on their 2004 trashy masterpiece We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow. Jared even refers to “MIA” as an “old song.” It has been over a decade since its conception.

Per usual the band closes (or is it second to last?) with the band’s most recognizable song “Bad Kids” only to return for a quick encore featuring a rendition of The Almighty Defenders’ “Bow Down And Die.” For those poor, unconverted souls out there, the Defenders were a punkified gospel supergroup featuring Black Lips and The King Khan & BBQ Show circa 2009/2010.

Another Lips show for the books. I had a blast, one of the best shows all year, but it’s not the same. I feel like it can never be the same again as those initial Lips live experiences 3-5 years ago. It’s like the excitement of Christmas morning or an annual family vacation. It’s hard to reignite that same spark that drove you crazy in years prior. That sensation wears off as you get older. And now being wrapped up in local, underground music the feeling of warmth and intimacy in a show is a quality I greatly desire and one rarely obtained at bigger rock shows such as this.

Nonetheless, the Lips rule, forever my favorite. I can’t wait to see these Atlantans again with The King Khan & BBQ Show!!! What a double feature, a true rock ‘n’ roll show coming to you this fall…

I recognize that this is an extremely long review, but thanks for reading if you are reading. I hope you had fun. Ultimately, this is for my own collection. Documentation. Whether you can proudly hold the first Die Slaughterhaus pressing of “Ain’t Coming Back” 7″ (2001) in the palm of your dirty hands or you just got turned on to Underneath The Rainbow through your hip friend, OR you tapped into their discography somewhere in between like us (2008 for us). Whatever the case may be, I hope you’re having fun and appreciating all of the wonderful music being made around you, regardless of internet hype, fame, or peer pressure. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll.

Punk Slime All Of The Time.

Set-List (by album):
We Did Not Know Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow (2004):
“MIA”
“Ghetto Cross”
Let It Bloom (2005):
“Sea Of Blasphemy”
“Dirty Hands”
“Not A Problem”
“Punk Slime”
Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo (2007):
“Buried Alive” (though Sea, Dirty, and Not also appear on this live recording)
Good Bad Not Evil (2007):
“O Katrina!”
“Bad Kids”
Arabia Mountain (2011):
“Family Tree”
“Modern Art”
“Raw Meat”
“Go Out And Get It”
Underneath The Rainbow (2014):
“Drive By Buddy”
“Make You Mine”
“Justice After All”
“Boys In The Wood”
“Smiling”
ENCORE
Non Album:
“Bow Down And Die” (The Almighty Defenders “cover” from The Almighty Defenders, 2009)

Am I forgetting anything? Let me know. Overall, a diverse set list with songs from all over their fifteen year long career.

Check out this video of the Lips playing “O Katrina!” at the show. Shot by KLYAMER Joanna!

Three Years Ago Today: The Shrines & Mark Sultan @ Paradise

If the time-machine took me back to 8:20 PM on Thursday May 7th 2009, I’d be standing in front of the Paradise Rock Club’s stage waiting in anticipation for the show to start. I had not yet seen King Khan and the Shrines or Mark Sultan in the flesh. But I had waited patiently for my own Jared Swilley moment (refer to the Supreme Genius LP/CD if you don’t get the reference) and yes it happened!

Read a review that Chris and I wrote following that very performance: https://klyam.com/2010/10/13/memory-2-classic-concert-review-shrines-paradise/

On a very related note, both King Khan and the Shrines (July 23, Brighton Music Hall) and Mark Sultan (this SATURDAY, May 12, PA’s Lounge) will be coming back to town.

Concert Review: Smith Westerns @ Paradise (1/29/12)

Image: Scene In The Dark

Bands: Smith Westerns, Porcelain Raft, Bleached
Venue: Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
Date: Sunday, January 29

Act One Bleached – Bleached was one of the better opening bands that I’ve seen in a while. I like noisy and catchy rock and roll so it makes sense. They are definitely more rooted in punk rock than the bands they’re bound to get compared to: Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls. I was most excited for “Electric Chair,” which also happened to draw a nice crowd reaction. It’s too bad I hadn’t discovered that song until a few weeks ago. It’s an instant favorite. For a band that still hasn’t released a full-length, there’s a lot to be excited about. The other song that I want to mention is “Searching Through The Past,” which will get stuck in your head. It’s only a four chord jaunt with a vibrating guitar solo that was performed quite well in the Paradise.

Act TwoPorcelain Raft – Every now and then, I’ve seen shows that feature a Porcelain Raft type of band. It’s a rare thing, but it has happened. It’s the situation where I get this sense that I’m watching a band that belongs on a bigger stage or at least in a headlining capacity. The music was overwhelming in that it was sort of all over the map genre-wise, but just maintained this grandiose presence. I got vibes of recent Kings of Leon and Editors among others. Keep in mind Porcelain Raft is just a two piece, but they make use of pedals, keyboards, and extra drum and bass to give them a fuller sound. Listening to Porcelain after the fact on headphones is no comparison. Last night, I could feel my entire body vibrating from the shaking bass. All this said, Porcelain felt at home during their first performance in Boston and I’m sure the next time they’re around they’ll play somewhere with a nice sound system. That being said, I thought they were an enjoyable band, but I don’t think I’d see them again on their own. Just not really my thing.

Act ThreeSmith Westerns – The Smith Westerns are one of those bands that have probably proved themselves more divisive than at all necessary. They got their start as a high school rock and roll band, as I’m sure most know by now. They shortly thereafter opened on a tour for Nobunny, released their debut Smith Westerns on HoZac, and did some more touring. Dye It Blonde, their second album, is remarkably cleaner sounding with extravagant lead guitar playing and the addition of keyboards. So they stepped it up in other words. Live, they seem like they’ve been playing these songs for years. Just an extremely polished band. What stood out to me is just how they were able to transmit their raspy earlier songs like “Tonight” and “Be My Girl” into these powerful live songs that are just as awesome (if not more than) as the newer ones. Speaking of new ones, they played two new ones. One involving the word ‘star’ and the other…well I don’t remember. They were good; they reminded me of a band that I couldn’t help, but think of during the set: Girls. Both bands have similar set ups and that awkward (mostly for audience members) balance of slow songs and medium/fast tempo ones. I believe they played more than three-quarters of the Dye It Blonde during their set and followed up with a new song and “Dye the World.” Biggest crowd reaction: “Weekend”. My favorite was “All Die Young.” I love that keyboard intro. The most fascinating SW to watch was Max Kakacek. He is an outstanding guitar player.

Chris DeCarlo: What the fuck do you expect a KLYAM concert review without the showstopper, the main event? Didn’t think so. Glen summed up most of  my sentiments, but I thought I’d add a few musings that are worth noting. First off, like my co-conspirator, I have been dying to see Smith Westerns for quite some time now and so that made this show doubly special. Few current bands can I say the same thing for.  They more than satisfied all of my Smith Westerns hopes and desires. By the way, why did we stop doing those good ol’ fashion “Hopes and Expectations” pre-show posts? I guess we got lazy.  If I had made one of those, you can bet your sweet ass the hopes would have outweighed the expectations. They played just about all of the classics from both records; in fact I believe “Dance Away,” was the only cut they didn’t perform from Dye It Blonde (2011), correct me if I’m wrong.  The whole set, start to finish was invigorating, another rare feat for me, even amongst top KLYAM greats. The sound was amazing, which is what we have come to expect from the dise and it adds to the flavor of the Smith Westerns too. They have a polished sound and style, and proper sound amplifies that greatness. Lastly, brilliant, bubblegum pop flow aside, these guys are masters in the performance realm, making sure every nuance of each song can be appreciated by the audience, and with very minimal crowd interaction or wishy washy intervals, the songs simply seaped from one into another in a manner I’ve never seen quite matched before. There was no filler, it just hit you. My only gripe? People (self-included) became really content with just standing there, bobbing their heads, or at best awkwardly dancing in their own little way, which is cool, but there isn’t/wasn’t any unified, overly enthusiastic crowd response and that takes things down a few notches… slightly. I mean this isn’t Jay Reatard. As much as I’d love to see people dancing, moshing, babes sweating all over me, the whole nine, the music itself doesn’t really lend itself to such activities. OR maybe crowds are just lame sometimes? I don’t know, but I tend to think it’s more of the former. People want to just react naturally and not force it. With that being said, lack of audience participation should not be any reflection on the prowess of the band members, for they are easily one of the best and most mesmerizing bands I have seen in my life, and they’re my age! Now back to Glen…

Final Comments: This was a really good show. I got to appreciate a variety of musical chops in addition to a band that I’ve been meaning to see live for a while now. I’m interested to see what’s next for the Smith Westerns considering they’ve already opened for Arctic Monkeys, MGMT, and Yeasayer in such a short time frame.

CONCERT ALERT: DINO JR. @ PARADISE


On Wednesday June 21, Dinosaur Jr. will be playing at the Paradise Rock Club with special guests OFF! and Henry Rollins (as interviewer). The theme of the show will be them playing Bug, their 1988 LP of which I had zero knowledge of before finding out about it now. I’m down for Dino Jr. once again, having seen them on a bill with Built to Spill and the Meat Puppets a few years back at the Orpheum Theatre. Now if I’m going to make a wild guess, it would be that this thing is going to sell out fast. Ticks on sale this Friday at NOON. It is $33, making it approximately one of the most expensive Dise shows ever.

Concert Review: Best Coast, Wavves, No Joy @ Paradise (2/4/11)

Artist(s): Best Coast, Wavves, and No Joy
Date: Friday, February 4, 2011
Venue: Paradise Rock Club (Boston, MA)
Comments: For starters, it was a blessing that we actually made it to this show alone. Long story short, the concert sold out and we had no tickets! After a frusturating 24 hour journey, thee  Best Coast/Wavves tickets were finally in the palms of our hands and all was well in the KLYAM Concert Atending Universe.

Act I: No Joy-

If their name was their aim, then they did not succeed. I felt plenty of joy seeing this “female Deerhunter” as Glen put it (though half the band consisted of men) and from the moment they picked up their instruments I could tell we were in for a loud band. I know fans always say stupid shit like that ” from the very first moment it was gold blah blah blah.” Nah, it wasn’t earth shattering and I’m not saying I knew immediately they would be a sound opener, I didn’t, but I had a feeling from the first guitar riffs that whether good or bad they weren’t a band you could turn away from. Luckily, they put on a decent set and though they didn’t share the same pop qualities as their headliners, they did give off some summery vibes that fit with the mood of the evening. Overall, they rocked hard and clearly weren’t a band that begged for your attention, but rather let their music do the talking. I will be sure to further check out No Joy one way or another in the future, hopefully they will swing by Boston again sometime soon.

Act II: Wavves!-

Yes Best Coast is superb, but unlike most of the attendees on Friday, the KLYAMers were perhaps the few that hail Wavves as the one and only King of the Beach. That’s right, our boys Nathan, Stephen, and Jacob unleashed their best KLYAM attended set thus far- playing all the hits one would hope one of their favorite bands would play. Immediately following  a jab about innerband analingus, the trio exploded into King of the Beach classic, “Idiot” and the crowd erupted into moshing and pogoing and the whole nine. I could tell just from this intro that the band sounded better than they did the last time I saw them in June and that was a great performance unto itself. I could hear everything Nathan uttered, making it easier to sing along to all my beloved Wavves tunes. Speaking of which the group played a fair amount of the old (“Wavves,” “Beach Demon,” To the Dregs,” “So Bored,” “No Hope Kids,)  the new (“Bug,” “In the Sand,”) but mostly cuts from last year’s landmark record King of the Beach- (“Super Soaker, “Take On the World, “Linus Spacehead,” etc.).  All in all they were tighter than ever and the sound was great; there’s just this undeniable musical onslaught that hits you so hard, it’s terrific. I think their musicianship has definitely increased over this past year as well as their roles as performers. This time around they really came off as a “Rock Band,” in a good way. The set concluded with the 90s commericalish pop esque sounding “Post Acid,” a great choice for a closer, certainly leaving me with a smile.

Setlist (not actual set list, but songs they did play in no particular order):

Idiot
King of the Beach
Super Soaker
Friends Were Gone
Wavves
Beach Demon
To the Dregs
Linus Spacehead
Bug
In the Sand
Nervous Breakdown (Black Flag)
Take On the World
Green Eyes
So Bored
No Hope Kids
Post Acid

Act III: Best Coast-

Right now, I’m a little crazy for Best Coast and this set just jostled me into insanity. Bethany Cosentino, Bobb Bruno, and Ali Koehler offered Boston a 60 minute taste of the Summer, California, and youthful AM Pop heartbreak drenched in vintage, reverby Rock and Roll. The reverb was done just right, you could hear everything Bethany sang, which for this kind of music that is key. I noticed throughout their invigorating set the crowd enthusiastically sang along as if they knew the pain Bethany articulated (probably because they did)- though it was mostly the ladies that felt this connection, it seems. Right off the bat with “Crazy For You,” Bethany displayed excellent showomanship and almost naturally shared a wavelength (no pun intended) with the audience. Stand outs from the performance included “Boyfriend,” “When I’m With You,” “Our Deal” (a song NOT about weed, but mentions it!), “Bratty B,” amongst others. One of the most powerful moments of the evening was without a doubt the finale of “Each and Every Day” (CFY’s closer)- the trio rocked hard into the breakdown building up to Bethany’s soft, gentle vocals at the very end of the ballad. When she cried “Every day I wake up and I thank the stars above for sending me a man who I could really love if only I could convince you to feel the same way we could be so very happy each and every day” I could see the passion in some of the girls’ eyes and in just that alone I think Bethany and Best Coast have accomplished what they set out to do.

Setlist (Not in any particular order and I’m definitely missing some songs):
Crazy For You
The End
Goodbye
Summer Mood
Wish He Was You
Our Deal
Sun Was High (So Was I)
Bratty B*
When I’m With You
Something In the Way
When the Sun Don’t Shine
Fist City (Loretta Lynn)
Each and Everyday*

* For these songs seeing them live jolted me into excessive fandom for each in their own right; for whatever reason they never hit me before, but now I’m addicted :)

Final Comments: Some shows deliver surprises (Shattered Records Tour), others offer extreme visceral euphoria (Black Lips, No Age), and then there are simply those shows that satisfy exactly what you anticipated they would and a little bit more. This concert was definitely one of those shows. I can’t say anything was unexpected, but it didn’t have to be. All corniness aside, I think Best Coast/Wavves/No Joy did bring some Summer cheer to this froid as fuck region of the world. And as for first KLYAM attended concerts of 2011, what a way to kick off the year!

Grade: Strong 8 to Light 9

IMPORTANT: Black Lips @ Paradise APRIL 14

After selling out the Middle East Downstairs as headliners for two years in a row, honorary KYLAMers and of course (shocker!) my favorite band Black Lips will be moving up in the world of Boston venues, playing at the Paradise Rock Club on Thursday April 14. Vivian Girls will be opening. The Lips will be hitting the road a little later than usual this year and will be touring independently of a record release — their new album has been pushed back to Summer 2011 after initially being slated for April 5.

Other dates here:
02-24 Miami, FL – Grand Central *
02-25-28 Miami, FL – Bruise Cruise *!
04-06 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
04-07 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar
04-08 Washington, DC – Black Cat
04-09 Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero
04-12 New York, NY – Webster Hall
04-13 Pawtucket, RI – The Met
04-14 Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
04-15 Montreal, Quebec – Le National
04-16 Toronto, Ontario – Phoenix Concert Theatre
04-17 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
04-19 Columbus, OH – Outland Live
04-20 Newport, KY – Southgate House
04-21 St. Louis, MO – The Firebird
04-22 Chicago, IL – Logan Square Auditorium
04-23 Minneapolis, MN – Varsity Theater
04-25 Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
04-26 Kansas City, MO – The Beaumont Club
04-27 Dallas, TX – The Loft
04-28 Austin, TX – Emo’s
04-29 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
04-30 Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon