Concert Review: Deerhunter, Real Estate, Casino vs Japan @ Royale (10/16/10)

Artists: Deerhunter, Real Estate, Casino vs Japan
Venue: Royale Boston
Date:  Saturday, October 16, 2010

Act I: Casino vs Japan
This is not my kind of music whatsover, so yeah it was just unbearable electronic music to me. It always feels like these guys overstay their welcome, but maybe it’s just me. Aficionados of said music may have dug this chap, but nothing stood out to me, I have seen far more interesting purveyors of the style.

Act II: Real Estate
Not my favorite band by any means, but a good band and after Casino, they were a massive relief. I liked them slightly more this time around. They are just a chill, relaxing group with some rockin’ in them. If you like mellow music, I would recommend them.

Act III: Deerhunter
YESS! As one of my favorite bands, I was really excited for this show. Deerhunter always (in the two previous times I have seen them) blow my mind. But, before I felt a tad bit unsatisfied, just a teensy bit as they are amazing, but not this time. Sure, there were some flaws. The vocals were low, at times they were better, but much of the time they were indecipherable. Which was not that big of a deal because I feel like the vocal apsect of their music is better appreciated on record, whereas the live show is mostly concerned with the guitars. Brad, Lockett, and Josh produce shards of noise whilst still maintaing that calm, cool quality that is essential to their art. Not to mention, the pounding drums of Moses, also exquisite. In terms of the setlist, it was fantastic. Sure, I did not hear everything I wanted to, but numerous classic were dished out, mostly tracks from their latest release, the incredible, Halcyon Digest (2010). They opened with one of their best “Rock” numbers in the Halcyon track, “Desire Lines,” where Lockett carried vocal duties. For that album they also unleashed the catchy and evocative (Deerhunter can mash the two aesthetics together perfectly) “Revival,” “Don’t Cry,” “Memory Boy, “Helicoptor,” and “He Would Have Laughed,” in honor of our buddy Jay Reatard. From Microcastle (2008) we heard “Never Stops,” “Little Kids,” and “Nothing Ever Happened.” Then “Rainwater Cassette Exchange,” from the EP of the same name. “Fluorescent Grey” and other classics were performed as well. As serious of a band Deerhunter is, there is an amusing, almost goofy side to the band. Frontman Bradford Cox always seems to be cracking jokes: at one point he stops the show to ask Josh if he loves him and informs the audience that he will not continue to play until he hears Josh utter the words. Haha, stuff like that. Overall, I can safely say this is the best Deerhunter show I have seen and I really cannot wait to seem them again.

Grade: A/A-

Concert Review: King Khan & The Shrines, Gentlemen Jesse and His Men, Red Mass @ Royale (10/13/10)

Photo Credit: Kyle

Act I: Red Mass – Red Mass was a weird/bizarre act to watch. They definitely had the “rocking” quality to them. One of the first things that I noticed was a similarity to the K-Holes. They put us in a trance of sorts with their dark/psychedelic aesthetic. Choyce, the lead singer and guitarist, had a funny hodgepodge of clothing items on — a bandanna, a large medallion necklace, and a dress shirt with tie. He was into it and so were we.

Act II: Gentlemen Jesse and His Men – Oh, Gentleman, where shall I begin? (All I needed that night) was to hear this band. A very fine band from Atlanta, Georgia. They rocked just as hard as they did when they opened a month earlier at TT The Bears. They had their keyboardist present and his little melodies added a little bit to the sound. Jesse is just the man. Great front-man. He is a Jared Swilley-like character. They’re from the same hood, yo. They sound like a classic rock act that you take your girlfriend to see and then fuck when you get back home. You highland crawler, you. I felt like eating some candy during “Butterfingers.” Fuck, what a tune. It’s as invigorating as just about all of their songs. The backing vocals were mixed a little low, but no biggie we had Jesse.

Set List:
If I Can See you (written as “If I Can C U”)
Highland Crawler
slips right into
Black Hole
What Did I Do
Rest of My Days
Only Lonely
All I Need Tonight (Is You)
I Don’t Wanna Know

Act III: King Khan & the Shrines – Sensational, you bet. This what we’ve come to expect from King Khan and that right there is terrific. Started off with “Outta Harms Way” King, following the usual instrumental, screamed his lungs out and got everyone going. As always with Shrines shows the audience was more akin to a religious cult than a rock show- everyone going wild, being mesmerized by King Khan and His Mysterious (yay a new adjective to describe these boys and girl!). Which by the way, this time around Bamboorella was absent, however her replacement sufficed. She could move and groove and she was quite attractive, but I need my bamboorella fix haha.  Back to the music, the Shrines unleashed their classic, Supreme Genius material, which is exactly what I adored and anticipated. Hits such as “I Wanna Be a Girl,” “Land of the Freak,” “No Regrets,” “Took My Lady Dinner,” and more. Alright, well before I start to sound like a fucking infomercial I am going to wrap things up here. There were a few new numbers performed including “Bite My Tongue,” which I definitely can see becoming a Klassic Khan ditty in time to come. This was a great and highly entertaining show, one of the best I have ever witnessed. If you need a quick pick me up, ok a relatively quick pick me up, King Khan and The Shrines are your saviors- leave you smiling for a month. Lastly, as much  as I loved this show, it was not on par with my first Shrines experience for three reasons. 1) Khan was a bit restrained this evening and though he was still his energetic, charismatic self, he was much calmer. 2)  I attribute my slight lack of devotion i.e. me not feeling the “this was the best show ever!!!” kinda deal to no longer being a Supreme Genius virgin, since this was my second time seeing them. 3)  It was not as loud as last time. Don’t get me wrong, it sounded nice, but the PA definitely needed some raisin’ and that would have made it all the more effective. With those minor qualms aside, fantastic show as I expected. Can’t wait to see them again and again and again.

Grade: A

Deerhunter H & E!

Hopes: The H&E this time around is basically the same as the past two times; after seeing them twice I’ve come to expect what their shtick is. I don’t expect any surprises, but I look forward to an amazing show and hopefully one of the best I’ve ever seen. I hope they play, as I’ve stated in previous H&Es, my favorite Deerhunter song: Twilight at Carbon Lake. I would also like to hear various favorites such as, but not limited to: “Basement Scene,” “Sailing,” “Agoraphobia,” and the entire Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP.

Expectations: I expect them to put on a “stellar production” as David Lee Roth would say. I plan on hearing the classics such as “Never Stops” and “Nothing Ever Happened” amongst others.

Concert Review: The Walkmen, Blood Feathers, A.A. Bondy @ Royale (10/7/10)

Bands: The Walkmen, A. A. Bondy, Blood Feathers
Venue: Royale [Boston, Massachusetts]
Date: Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blood Feathers – Rarely have I seen a first opening act rock and roll as hard as these guys did. Catchy numbers a plenty, it seemed as if Blood Feathers have been on the big stage many times before. Plus, all the band members seemed to be savoring every moment of their time up there.  It’s really hard to describe them other than rock and roll (a bit southern/Americana influenced I’d wager) — in this way they are somewhat comparable to The Dig, who opened for The Walkmen in 2009.

A. A. Bondy – Bondy and crew started their set loudly with a huge wall of sound coming from Bondy’s amp and another wall of darker, clearer sound coming from the amp of the keyboardist (turned bassist). After this little introduction, the guys went full force into finger-picking, pedal steel guitaring, and tight bass playing. Bondy is an expert guitar player and when he rocks out, he rocks out. There were some slow folk tunes and some faster and meatier ones that usually involved the pedal steel guy sitting behind the drum kit instead of the guitar. The latter were my favorite.

The Walkmen: Ah, yes, these guys. One my favorite bands of the last four years, The Walkmen put on an incredible show on this night. Kicking things off with Hamilton on electric, they played “Blue as Your Blood,” off of Lisbon, a song which they played early on in their 2009 set when it was kicking around as “The Sky Above.” What I noticed, starting with “Blue,” was that Lisbon is a million times better live than on record. That’s no offense to how they recorded the album, it’s just the whole being there thing. Next up, “Angela Surf City,” which some have placed alongside “The Rat” as top in the band’s “rocker” category. Ham might have broken his neck singing this one. I could tell he loves singing slowly and then slamming into the rather intense chorus. I was surprised that they followed up “Angela” with “In the New Year,” I mean doesn’t Ham need a little break before he strains his vocal chords? Of course, this is one of their best numbers and a personal favorite. Paul’s clicky guitar and Pete’s faint keyboard go so well with Ham’s vocals. “Canadian Girl” followed and noticeably absent was a horns section. Usually around this time, they would ease their way next to Paul, stand around, and then do their thing. The song was still great in their absence, I think Pete might have even programmed some little faux horns in his keyboards. “Victory” is a great live tune. They decided to change things up and go back to the old days on the next two songs, “The Blizzard of ’96” and “We’ve Been Had,” off of their debut Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone. Paul and Pete switched positions with Pete playing guitar and Paul playing the piano. It was super refreshing to see them dig deep into their catalog and play these lighter piano-driven ditties. Pete’s guitar parts were classic — the man looks very out of place playing the guitar…he makes a tin soldier look pliable. It was back to the battle as the guys reverted to their normal positions and played a string of numbers from their last two albums: “Donde Esta la Playa,” the especially fun “Woe is Me,” the bass heavy (credit Walt Martin) “On the Water,” the laidback Lisbon opener “Juveniles,” the orchestral-but-not-really-cause-there-are-no-horns  You and Me beat “I Lost You,” and the triangles-laden waltz “While I Shovel the Snow.” For everyone who went just to see “The Rat” (you know who you are), you had to wait thirteen songs. Good. It’s a great song and I love it as much as the next guy. Unexpectedly, it drew the greatest reaction from the packed crowd. Oh yeah and Pete was on bass for all those who care about things like that. The set ended with the band’s alternate version of A Hundreds Mile Off standout “All Hands & the Cook.” The best is the little break when Ham sings some really long note and then the other instrumentation comes in and ends the song. That ended the song’s set and despite an earlier plead from some girl in the crowd “Lost in Boston” never came next as it does on the record. After a few minutes of cheering, Ham and Paul emerged to perform “New Country.” The rest of the band came back on stage after this tune and we got to hear “Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone,” which they’ve been reviving recently. Great track! They closed their performance for good with their Mazarin cover of “Another One Goes By” and, indeed, another Walkmen Boston concert is in the books. Exemplary guitar play from Pete on this one as well.

1. Blue as Your Blood – Lisbon
2. Angela Surf City – Lisbon
3. In the New Year – You and Me
4. Canadian Girl – You and Me
5. Victory – Lisbon
6. The Blizzard of ’96 – Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone
7. We’ve Been Had – EWPTLMIG
8. Donde Esta La Playa – You and Me
9. Woe is Me – Lisbon
10. On the Water – You and Me
11. Juveniles – Lisbon
12. I Lost You – You and Me
13. While I Shovel the Snow – Lisbon
14. The Rat – Bows and Arrows
15. All Hands & The Cook – A Hundred Miles Off
16. New Country – You and Me
17. Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone – EWPTLMIG
18. Another One Goes By – A Hundred Miles Off

Grade: A/A+

Concert Review: Deerhunter, Kurt Vile, K-Holes @ Royale (8/13/10)


Bands: K-Holes/Kurt Vile/Deerhunter
Date:  Friday, August 13, 2010
Venue: Royale (Boston, MA)

Act One– K-Holes – I liked these guys and girls a good amount better this time around than on the Rocks Off NYC cruise concert. Jack Hines and crew rocked out what I now term horror punk. They play with a certain mystique that really comes out when the trumpet is on full blast and when the lady vocalist sings and utilizes the shaker. When Hines sung, I couldn’t help but think of We Did Not Know era Black Lips…like on “Swamp Fires.” Other songs definitely played were “Native Tongues,” “Step N Fetch It,” and “The Gutter.”

Chris– Glen speaks the truth here. K-Holes are Kickass! They have a simple vibe to them, but present themselves in a very solemn, quiet manner that draws you in and never lets you go. Jack Hines’ frenetic guitar playing and Cole-like screaming demonstrate that his Black Lips roots are still evident.

Act TwoKurt Vile and the Violators – True story: Kurt was boring and musically draggy in July when he headlined at Harpers Ferry. At that time, it seemed like him and the other guitarist were going heavy on the effects and slacking mightily on replicating some of their best recorded songs. This time, with the crucial assistance of a third guitar player, songs like “Freeway” (the best number these guys cranked out) and “Overnite Religion” bordered on greatness. Whatever they didn’t have at the Harpers Ferry gig, they seemed to have at the Royale on this night. They might have even overstayed their welcome…the sound guys at stage left frantically signaled “ONE MORE AND THAT’S IT” after about thirty or forty minutes of playing. I’m pretty much all set with seeing Vile headline for a while (a year, at least), but I wouldn’t be opposed to catching him and crew again as an opener.

Chris– With the “technical difficulties” omitted I began to notice the “Americana” elements of Vile’s music, I had missed before. I did gather some Peter Framptonish vibes. A noisy Frampton comin’ alive, if you will. Still, not exactly my cup of tea, but I did enjoy myself this time around.

Act ThreeDeerhunter – Deerhunter fans seem to be a real loyal and passionate bunch. Maybe that’s why Bradford, Lockett, Moses, and Josh keep coming back. Bradford said the band arrived late…which explains their five minute sound-check. As far as sound-checks go, this one was as informative as can be. Bradford explained the origin of the various instruments that compose the drum set while Moses tested them out. Early on in the set there existed some technical difficulties that I couldn’t even notice. The sound guys seemed pretty convinced that something was wrong AND one of them even unplugged Josh’s bass by accident while trying to remedy the situation. Hehe. His bass sounded kind of distorted the entire night which worked well 90% of the time, but at times felt a tidbit random. At any rate, Deerhunter played an excellent set albeit a short one. I’d say they played about ten songs at maximum; quantitatively it felt like an opening act kind of set, but qualitative it had no shortage in glory. Songs that stuck out to me were Microcastle gems “Never Stops” and “Nothing Ever Happened,” Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP tune “Rainwater Cassette Exchange” and, of course, “Fluorescent Grey” from their EP of the same name. It was enjoyable to see the crowd react positively to the band throughout and me and my pals had a fun time ourselves.

Chris: Of course, one of the most mesmerizing bands out there today. I really dug the quiet, mellow nature of their performance and how at any moment a violent jolt of noise could send your head spinning into ambient Heaven. With Deer, there is never a dull moment and so it always feels like the set is shorter than it seems. They played for a good hour and they played a fairly long time before as an opening act, yet at both shows, it felt rushed… well because it was! Not by the band, but time constraints for stupid events that get in the way of my concerts! But, seriously, with most bands like Deerhunter, I would get bored real soon, but these guys keep you amazed and entertained the whole time. My favorite was definitely “Fluorescent Grey.” Overall, I thought it was great, but I feel like I have yet to see that phenominal Deerhunter show that I will one day tell someone else’s grand kids about until I am informed by a copper that I am causing a disturbance and have to be removed from the Little League game. I can’t wait to see them in October, until then, I will have to wait PATIENTLY PATIENTLY…

Set list: From though I could have sworn they played “Revival” and others.

Hazel St.
Never Stops
Rainwater Cassette Exchange
Wash Off
Fluorescent Grey
Nothing Ever Happened

Grade: A/A-

Deerhunter @ Royale … Again!

Deerhunter can’t get enough of Boston!

Just days after playing a fantastic show (of which a review will be posted within DAYZ) at the Royale, a listing on the Royale website shows Deerhunter playing October 16, 2010 (Saturday)! Well, well, well, I kid you not! By that time around I’m hoping to know Halcyon Digest in and out.

Opening, of course, is Real Estate. You see, after a while of going to shows and stuff, you notice certain bands always in the fold. What do Real Estate, Deerhunter, Kurt Vile, and K-Holes have in common? You should know.

Deerhunter @ Royale

From the people who do “Bowery Presents” shows in New York at venues like Bowery Ballroom, Mercury Lounge, and Terminal 5 comes the Royale Nightclub, formerly known as The Roxy. I’ve never been to the venue, but from what I’ve read and seen, it seems to be somewhere in between The Paradise and the House of Blues in terms of size and capacity.

And none other than Deerhunter is coming! August 13 is the date. It’s a Friday. I’m pretty sure the tour hasn’t been announced officially, but this is real talk.