Thursday, October 6, 2011

Misfits @ House Of Blues

This was a 2nd chance for the Misfits. I’d seen them open for Motorhead a couple of years back, but wanted to see if they were better on their own terms.

Wandered into the House of Blues just after 8pm and the show had already started. It seems that they have a new album, The Devil’s Rain, and they are determined to play as much of it as possible. This does not go over great with the smallish crowd, but none the less the trio plough on with short, fast melodic tunes. For me, it wasn’t until the 2nd half of the show where things picked up. This is when they played into the large back catalogue and all the classics came out. 20 Eyes, Mommy Can I Go Out & Kill Tonight, Where Eagles Dare etc had the crowd in a frenzy. Unlike last time no Black Flag Covers – you kind of hope with Dez & Robbo in the line up.

When it was all over, Graves came down and met the crowd for autographs and photos, but I took off, as work beckons early tomorrow. My one doubt was that I’m not sure how rock and roll the night was, considering I was home by 9.45pm (and I live ½ hour away).

I had a good night, but if I see the Misfits again, I think it would have to be in a more intimate setting. The Las Vegas House of Blues stage keeps the band too far removed when the crowds aren’t so big.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 323rd concert.
This is my 38th concert at House of Blues.
This is my 118th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 118th concert in Nevada.
This is my 130th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Misfits concert.

Friday, September 23, 2011

TV On The Radio & Arctic Monkeys @ Cosmopolitan Pool

Two great bands co-headlining, 1 awesome venue – as if I was going to miss this one. The Cosmopolitan Pool is a new favorite venue – outside, not too big, good sound and good bands. Though $10 for a beer – c’mon!

I caught the last 2 songs of the Smith Wesserns and wasn’t enthralled by what I heard.

I was surprised that the Arctic Monkeys opened (I think of them as a bigger band) but who cares. I think all the English in the crowd – and there was a ton of them – felt the same. But then again, the English probably aren’t used to seeing the Monkeys in such a small venue. The earlier the Arctic Monkeys album, the better, and unlike other shows of theirs I’d seen, they played a good mix from each of their 4 release. Obviously the new album, Suck It & See, was well represented (from the beginning with Library) but it was the stuff from the first album that sent people into a frenzy. I loved The View From The Afternoon, followed straight away by I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor. And it seemed like the band were really enjoying themselves – which is different from the last 2 times I’d seen them. The set finished with When The Sun Goes Down, and from the first strains of “Who’s that girl there???” It was the perfect ending to the set. 18 songs from an opener. Very happy with that!

Arctic Monkeys Setlist
Library Pictures / Brianstorm / This House Is A Circus / Still Take You Home / Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair / Pretty Visitors / She's Thunderstorms /Teddy Picker / Crying Lightning / Brick By Brick /The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala / The View From The Afternoon / I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor / If You Were There, Beware / Suck It And See / Do Me A Favor / Fluorescent Adolescent / When The Sun Goes Down

Not sure why, but it seemed to take forever to get TV On The Radio onto the stage. And by this point I think all the English had left as there wasn’t near as many people around. But all the better for the rest of us. A totally different sound from the Arctic Monkeys, TVOTR are great in their own unique way. Not as many songs but a little longer that than AM, TVOTR the highlight came with the frenetic Wolf Like Me, closing the regular set. Only a 2 song encore as I think the late start robbed us of a couple of extra songs (but we’ll survive).

Great double bill, but that seems to be happening a lot in Vegas lately. Bring it on.

TV On The Radio Setlist

Halfway Home / Wrong Way / Dancing Choose / Second Song / Golden Age / Will Do / Young Liars / Cannonball Blues / Red Dress / Forgotten / Staring At The Sun / Repetition / Wolf Like Me
Encore: Caffeinated Consciousness / Satellite

The Crap Facts:

This is my 322nd concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Cosmopolitan Pool.
This is my 117th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 117th concert in Nevada.
This is my 129th concert in the USA.
This is my 3rd Arctic Monkeys concert.
This is my 2nd TV On The Radio concert.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rancid @ House Of Blues

It’s hard to beat a good Rancid show and tonight was no exception.

The House of Blues was PACKED – it was 2003, when the Foo Fighters played since I’d seen it this full.

I walked in as they started and then proceeded to be blown away by 37 songs over the next 2-and-a-bit hours. I think both the band and the crowd fed off each others energy and a good night was had by all. Roots Radical, Time Bomb, Olympia WA and Fall Back Down were highlights for me. I also liked the 3 song acoustic break in the middle of the set (last time they did this at the House of Blues was when they were forced to after blowing the power back in October 2006). It gave both the band and the crowd a breather.

A 3 song encore was finished with the awesome Ruby Soho – my favorite Rancid song. I felt like I didn’t want the show to end, which is always a good sign. And for the first time in a long time I bought a tshirt to take as a memento.

When are they coming back?

Radio / Roots Radicals / Last One To Die / The 11th Hour / Journey To The End Of The East Bay / I Wanna Riot / Red Hot Moon / Hooligans / Up To No Good /Roadblock / Nihilism / Dead Bodies / Adina / Salvation / Bloodclot / LA River / Maxwell Murder / Outta My Mind / Gunshot / International Cover-Up / St. Mary (Acoustic) / Poison (Acoustic) / Hoover Street (Acoustic) / East Bay Night / Rejected / Locomotive / Something In The World Today / Listed MIA / It's Quite Alright / The Way I Feel About You / Olympia, WA / Tropical London / Fall Back Down / Time Bomb
Encore: The Wars End / Tenderloin / Ruby Soho

The Crap Facts:
This is my 321st concert.
This is my 37th concert at House Of Blues.
This is my 116th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 116th concert in Nevada.
This is my 128th concert in the USA.
This is my 3rd Rancid concert.
Rancid are the 300th time I've seen an American band.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Scottsdale, AZ to Las Vegas, NV

Can I survive the flight home? I’m not going to risk it. Instead of flying back, we opt to extend the rental and drive back to Las Vegas . Not ideal in this heat – but I can’t see them suffer on the plane again.

We take off mid afternoon, as the boys are ready for a nap, and they are asleep as we hit the freeway. Before we get out of Phoenix we stop for our highlight of the 3 days – Amy’s beloved Chick Fil-A. We drive through and power on, trying to get as far as we can while the boys are asleep. We stop on the side of the road about 3 hours into the trip for a feed, and have to refuel in Kingman. It was from here home, that the boys were restless and made the trip a little more difficult.

After picking up my car from the airport and dropping off the rental we were finally home just after 6pm. Everyone’s happy that this trip is over and we all sleep like the dead.

What this trip has taught us is that we will wait until the boys have a better understanding of their surroundings before we get on a plane again, and who knows when it will be before we get them back to see my family in Australia?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scottsdale, AZ

With the nightmare hopefully behind us, the boys and I are set for a day in Phoenix .

I wanted to go to the Phoenix Art Museum , as they have a Gordon Parks exhibit and an exhibit about the new bridge over the Hoover Dam. The concierge is excited that someone is asking about the museum, as she is a docent there – unfortunately it is closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Plan denied.

It is so hot outside, so we head to the Fashion Mall in Scottsdale , just so we have a place to wander around in the air conditioning. We spent just a little time there before heading back to the hotel. We could walk around the grounds a bit, but the boys needed sleep.

After Amy finished with work I had an early dinner at the hotels Ocean Trail restaurant. Some great oysters and clams.

I am on babysitting duty again tonight as Amy heads out for a work dinner. Should be easy, I’ve done this enough times before – oh wait, not on this trip. Come bedtime, I had the boys wrapped, read them their story and they were drifting off to sleep. Maybe they were having flashbacks to the plane ride yesterday, but something set them off, and the screaming began again. I tried – I did – I promise, but nothing I did would calm them down. I could pick up one to comfort them and the other would ramp it up, and vice versa. I held on as long as I could, but eventually I had to call up to the restaurant to have Amy come and help me. As it turns out – mom was all they needed. With their mother’s touch and a quick bath, they were calmed and ready for bed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Las Vegas, NV to Scottsdale, AZ

The big test! How will the boys go flying in an airplane? The answer is in the nightmare that follows.
Las Vegas to Phoenix – a 45 minute flight. A good little first timer for the boys. We are prepared – bottles at the ready, boys to be fed as we are taking off. Here in lies the first problem. A delay in the flight meant we had to get feeding started well before takeoff. When we do get on the completely full plane, Amy and I can’t sit together as there would be 5 people in the row, and only 4 oxygen masks. So after getting settled in, I have to move Leland and my shit. (Problem number 2). So let’s hope their ears are OK for the ascent.

Guess what? They are not. Both Barrett & Leland do not take well to the flight and scream, not cry, but scream like I have never heard them before. I felt awful. There was nothing I could do comfort my guys, and the poor people around us – but what could I do? I could hope that they could calm down, but as per everything else that has happened so far the screaming continued until we stepped off the plane (but it stopped as soon as we were in baggage claim).

The crying started again as soon as we got in the rental car and continued until we got to Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale .

Amy & I were exhausted and settled for room service for dinner as we tried to get the boys to sleep. Of course during the course of the night I kicked the baseboard of the bed, because when you’re on a roll right?

We finally got them settled down we were in bed and out like a light. But to continue the horror of the day, the alarm clock in the room went off at around midnight….and would not turn off. Not because we are incompetent – it took engineering to come in and cut the wiring for the clock before the noise stopped. Goodnight!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Garth Brooks @ Encore

Never in a million years would I imagine going to a Garth Brooks concert – but tickets were free and people ask me about it all the time at work – so I’ll try anything once. I sat in the last row of the balcony (as far away as you can get) but still wasn’t too disappointed with the view, though I may have been if I’d paid for the ticket.

I will preface the story saying I know not a Garth Brooks song (or so I thought). I had to ask colleagues about him and was told his big hit was “I Got Friends In Low Places”. That tells me nothing! He came out on stage dressed like he had just finished fixing his car, not the big cowboy hat and nice outfit that you see in all the pictures of him, but jeans and a baseball cap – and he had a story to tell. The show started with a song I actually did know (not because of him, but because a Me First & The Gimme Gimmes cover) “Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old”. From there he told the story of his career, life and family and played songs that influenced his life. Whether it was George Jones, Elton John, Billy Joel, Cat Stevens, James Taylor or whoever, each song was well appreciated by me and the audience. Each cover was a revelation as to how playing in bars, honkytonks, clubs lead him to the success he enjoys today. Songs were scattered between great tales of growing up in Oklahoma , playing shows and meeting his idols (amongst other things).

It was over an hour before he played one of his own songs again – and that is when the crowd went really wild. My interest then changed to his stories and watching the audience have a blast. It was great fun! After nearly 2 hours, he then stopped and asked the audience to share experiences and make requests – and he knew every show they talked about and graciously played anything they asked for.

To finish the night he told about how he always wanted to write and anthem – like Piano Man or Wonderwall – and trust me he has. He didn’t need to sing as the audience got up on their feet and belted out “I Got Friends In Low Places”. It was a magic way to end a fun night.

Afterwards I read a lot of reviews from his fans that were disappointed that it wasn’t his regular big production (with a band and all the trimmings). Maybe it was good that I didn’t know of him, as I am now a fan.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 320th concert.
This is my 1st concert at Encore.
Encore is the 87th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 115th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 115th concert in Nevada.
This is my 127th concert in the USA.
Garth Brooks is the 385th band I've seen.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Soundgarden & The Mars Volta @ The New Joint

Again it is another band I have waited 14 years to see again. And when I purchased the tickets and then Queens Of The Stone Age announced a show on the same night I questioned whether I’d done the right thing. From memory the last time I saw Soundgarden, they were terrible.

One of the drawing points was The Mars Volta opening. This is Moz’s favorite band – and while I am not a fan of their records I hear live they are something else. And this is true. Their set, while short on songs, was dynamite. The off beat, signature changes and presence made for a great show. I’d love to see them in a small venue. My opinion of their music remains the same – not sure it’s the type of music you can just sit down and listen to – but seeing it performed is something else.

Mars Volta Setlist
Aegis / The Whip Hand / Molochwalk / Dyslexicon / The Malkin Jewel / Broken English Jam / Goliath

Soundgarden came out playing Searching With My Good Eye Closed, and they made it obvious from the start that this was going to be a good show. The band sounded great and every song was a classic - nothing new in the repertoire. Though they did say there would be a new album in the future, but tonight it was all about the old stuff. Jesus Christ Pose was fantastic, as was My Wave. And right near the end the trifecta of Outshined, Rusty Cage and Superunknown was superb way to end the night.

Soundgarden were a lot better than I remembered, and a good night was had by all. Mars Volta was a good choice for an opening band - can't wait to see them again.

Soundgarden Setlist
Searching With My Good Eye Closed / Spoonman / Gun / Jesus Christ Pose /Let Me Drown / My Wave / The Day I Tried To Live / Ugly Truth / Big Dumb Sex / Fell On Black Days / Burden In My Hand / Blow Up The Outside World / Pretty Noose / Black Hole Sun / Loud Love / Head Down / Black Rain / Outshined / Rusty Cage / Superunknown / 4th of July
Encore: Hunted Down / Beyond The Wheel / Slaves & Bulldozers

The Crap Facts:
This is my 319th concert.
This is my 12th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 114th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 114th concert in Nevada.
This is my 126th concert in the USA.
The Mars Volta are the 384th band I've seen.
This is my 4th Soundgarden concert.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flaming Lips @ Cosmopolitan Pool

Another new venue. Another new band. Yes my first Flaming Lips show ever. Have never been a huge fan of the music but I had been lead to believe their shows had to be seen.

The night started not so well. Eric and I were picking Robbie up at the airport (from his 6.20pm flight) and we were going to go and eat before heading to the show. However the wonderful United had some sort of computer malfunction saw his flight arrive at 9.30. We raced over to the Cosmo, parked, got into the pool area just as Flaming Lips hit the stage.

From the word go, this was not the average musical concert. It was a visual spectacular. Between streamers, confetti canons, the video screen behind the band, the hotels marquee and the music - this was one hell of a show. We got a beer and got to our viewing point to see this...

Wayne Coyne

Flaming Lips At The Cosmo Pool

The Lips are definitely a musicians band. They are great at what they do, and don't necessarily make use of straight forward methods in creating their art. The sound was great and my faves were, obviously, the songs I new - She Don't Use Jelly, Yoshimi Part 1 and Do You Realize. Eric was pleased enough to get a shirt. I am in self exile from black t-shirts until we leave Vegas. Even Rob liked it - which is surprising compared to the differences we have in music (me - rock and punk; him - Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks soundtracks). Was really excited about the venue as well. Not a gazillion people but good viewing for everyone. Can't wait to see the TV On The Radio / Arctic Monkeys show in September (and maybe get Ben Harper tickets as well).

This is the first time since Coachella 09 I've been to a show with a cell phone / camera so hopefully future tales will have more pics (though I don't want to be THAT guy). Also will see the Flaming Lips at any opportunity. If you get the chance, do the same.

Flaming Lips

The Fear / Worm Mountain / Silver Trembling Hands / She Don't Use Jelly / The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song / Is David Bowie Dying? / Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1 / See The Leaves / Laser Hands / The Ego's Last Stand / Pompeii AM Gotterdammerung / What Is The Light? / The Observer
Encore: Race For The Prize / Do You Realize??

The Crap Facts:
This is my 318th concert.
Cosmopolitan Pool is the 86th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 113th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 113th concert in Nevada.
This is my 125th concert in the USA.
The Flaming Lips are the 383rd band I've seen.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Deftones & Dillinger Escape Plan @ The New Joint

A quick return from the Deftones. They were here only 8 months ago supporting Alice In Chains - but tonight is their night. And a good one at that.

I had to decide at the last minute to go to this show as Amy wanted to see Cake at the Cosmo pool, but now that we have the twins, only one out at a time. When she decided that she didn't want the hassle of getting in and out of the Strip, and the loss of sleep. I got down to the Hard Rock and got my ticket to the show.

Walked in during the 1st song of Dillinger Escape Plan, who I wanted to see (knowing their contributions to Black Flag & Melvins cover albums). Man this band is heavy (uhoh! I'm getting old). They had plenty of energy, though the whole crowd didn't respond to them, and again were unbelievable musicians. I wonder if it would be seeing them in a smaller venue. I didn't know any songs to begin with, and came out none the wiser. Still it was a great band to be opening for the Deftones.

The Deftones, as always were great! Their soft-loud-manic-calm style is entrancing, and it's hard not to watch Chino stalk the stage. The crowd lapped it up as the band played tracks from a variety of albums. My faves for the night were Be Quiet and My Own Summer. In the end it seemed like a short set, but time just flew and after close to 2 hours I was back in the car on my way home. Have yet to see a bad Deftones show (this was my 3rd) and hope they come back to Vegas soon.

Deftones setlist
Diamond Eyes / Rocket Skates / Birthmark / Engine No. 9 / Be Quiet & Drive (Far Away) / My Own Summer (Shove It) / Digital Bath / Knife Prty with Teri Gender Bender / Korea / Minerva / Bloody Cape / You've Seen The Butcher / Sextape / Cherry Waves / Feiticeira / Elite / Change (In The House Of Flies) / Passenger with Greg Puciato / Back To School (Mini Maggit)
Encore: Root / 7 Words

The Crap Facts:
This is my 317th concert.
This is my 11th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 112th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 112th concert in Nevada.
This is my 124th concert in the USA.
Dillinger Escape Plan are the 382nd band I've seen.
Dillinger Escape Plan are the 100th different American band I've seen in Las Vegas.
This is my 3rd Deftones concert

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Electric Six @ Book & Stage

Girl! I wanna take you to a gay bar!

These are the words of the Electric Six JJJ Hottest 100 Volume 11 song Gay Bay that drew me to this show at the Cosmo. Again this was a free show, and the first of 8 sets of 4 nights at the Book & Stage.

The band seemed like they were up for a good time, but the stage set up didn't seem to suit the band's want for crowd interaction. Dick Valentine, while not getting into the music, definitely did his best to keep the crowd entertained between songs. Electric Six played an hours worth of punk/disco/rock, in which a blistering Gay Bar was played mid set. Unfortunately I don't know any other titles, but I did enjoy the show and will endeavor to find more of their music.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 316th concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Book & Stage.

This is my 111th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 111th concert in Nevada.
This is my 123rd concert in the USA.
Electric Six are the 381st band I've seen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Leland Ransom & Barrett David

Barrett David
b  26 April 2011 @ 8.02am
St Rose St Martin Hospital, Las Vegas, NV
5lb 10oz / 2.6 kg
17. 5 in / 44.5 cm

Leland Ransom
b  26 April 2011 @ 8.03am
St Rose St Martin Hospital, Las Vegas, NV
5lb 12oz / 2.6 kg
18 in / 45.7 in

Mom & Dad are over the moon

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bad Brains @ House Of Blues

It can be hard to see a band who, 30 years ago, were at the peak of a scene also at it's peak, but Bad Brains is one of those bands who you need to see in case they are still awesome.

Stories abound of the wild Bad Brains shows in the early 80's when hardcore punk was at it's newest , and best, had me intrigued to see whether they still live up to the reputation. Unfortunately, that live energy does not exude itself any longer. While Dr Know and Daryl still have amazing musicianship, HR reminds me of the Captain from the Simpsons. He is a man who has found peace in life, but this does not translate to the majority of the music being made (definitely good for the reggae songs).

Even with these contradictions, the crowd found the energy to charge up a huge pit on the main floor of the House Of Blues. Again, I know I'm getting old - I keep away from that stuff - but a pit seems a lot more violent from when I used to have a blast. The last contradiction of the show was the fact that I heard about 20 songs for the night, but they were only on stage for just under an hour.

I am not a huge Bad Brains fan (a couple of albums are on my Ipod) but I'm glad I went to see them. But can't help think I was 30 years to late to see a great Bad Brains show.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 315th concert.
This is my 36th concert at House Of Blues.
This is my 110th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 110th concert in Nevada.
This is my 122nd concert in the USA.
Bad Brains are the 380th band I've seen.
Bad Brains are the 50th time I've seen a band at The House Of Blues.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rise Against & Bad Religion @ The New Joint

Apparently 38 years old means - Too old for Rise Against. Too young for Bad Religion.

I've tried to like these bands. My 3rd Bad Religion show and 2nd Rise Against, but I just cannot get into either of them.

I'm sure I am seeing Bad Religion in too bigger venues. Maybe in a small place they'd have a better impact, but nothing they did tonight made an impression. I didn't even get to hear one of my 2 faves - 21st Century Digital Boy, though I did get American Jesus.

Bad Religion Setlist
The Day That The Earth Stalled / Wrong Way Kids / God's Love / American Jesus / Let Them Eat War / The Resist Stance / Infected / Meeting Of The Minds / Do What You Want / Cyanide / Before You Die / We're Only Gonna Die / Los Angeles Is Burning / Sorrow

Now while I don't like Rise Against, I certainly was in the minority at the Joint on this night. The crowd was ablaze and knew every word to every song (but they were also MUCH younger than me). There were some good moments (State Of The Union), but all the cross stage skipping got a bit samey for me.

While I probably won't go back to see either band, I will give props to Rise Against for the respect they give other bands. These guys are huge Bad Religion fans, as well as Rancid fans - who opened for them last time - and were completely humbled that both bands would open for them. Good on them for having a great support act that some people may want to see as much as, if not more than, them.

Rise Against Setlist
Satellite (World Premiere) / Chamber The Cartridge / The Good Left Undone / State Of The Union / Re-Education (Through Labor) / Survive / Prayer Of The Refugee / Audience Of One / Like The Angel / From Heads Unworthy / Help Is On The Way / The Dirt Whispered / Architects / Savior
Encore: Swing Life Away / Hero Of War / Entertainment / Ready To Fall / Give It All

The Crap Facts:
This is my 314th concert.
This is my 10th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 109th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 109th concert in Nevada.
This is my 121st concert in the USA.
This is my 3rd Bad Religion concert.
Bad Religion are the 750th time I've seen a band.
This is my 2nd Rise Against concert.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Death Valley National Park

It's hard to believe that we have lived in Vegas for nearly 8 years and never made it to Death Valley. With a day off work, Amy's mum in town celebrating her and my birthday, and Amy still well enough to travel before the boys arrive next month, it was a good time to make the journey.
It is still relatively cool in Vegas and we knew Death Valley would be warmer, so timing was also right weather wise.

We left early for the 2.5 hour drive north-west. It is a fairly non-descript drive through the desert all the way and not much fanfare when you get to the park either. But the National Park itself is awesome.

Our first stop was at Zabriskie Point. This small hike leads to the overlook where you see the 200 square miles of salt flats that Death Valley is known for. A magnificent start to the days proceedings.

We then drove on to the Furnace Creek Visitors Center to get some ideas of what to do. We quickly found out that we wouldn't be able to do everything in 1 day and will have to make the journey back some day to see the northern and western parts of the park. We drove about 28 miles to the northeast to Stovepipe Wells Village, where stopped for lunch. Only a mile further was the Mosaic Canyon, where we stopped and did our only real hike of the day. We spent just over an hour making our way through a moderately elevated trail. It was nice to be out of the car, but certainly warmer than I expected.

Amy, Mom & I at Mosaic Canyon

Back the way we came, again past the Visitors Center and on to Natural Bridge. Again we got out here and walked the short distance up to the bridge. We didn't go further as we wanted to see more and time and daylight were running out.

Natural Bridge at Death Valley National Park

Our next stop was at Badwater. This overlooks the salt basin which, at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in the USA. Just a vast expanse of salt flats that go nearly as far as the eye can see. There is a significant increase in temperature here and we walk out for about a mile to try and get an idea of how big this is. Pictures taken do not do it justice.

Amy & I at Badwater Salt Flats

We continue 55 miles to the south, to the Park's exit near Shoshone. Ashford Mill and Jubilee Pass are supposed to be areas where the flowers bloom, and are said to be a spectacular sight. We are here probably 3 weeks to early to sees this, but that gives us another reason to come back.

The only thing less exciting than desert scenery on a drive, is the desert at night. We took the drive back through Pahrump before getting into Vegas around 9pm. A great days exploring and definitely a place I would want to go back to, though next time I want to check out Scotty's Castle. Another US National Park to take off the bucket list.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Black Keys & Cage The Elephant @ The Chelsea

There was no way I was going to miss this show. 2 of my current favorite bands on the same bill, in an a venue holding its first ever show.

With the Hills and Spoon we got to the Cosmo early to sell Amy's ticket. Unfortunately pregnancy doesn't allow her to be on her feet for long periods. (Weezer almost killed her). It took a while, but we found a punter who bought the ticket and we joined the seemingly mile long line to get in. It took forever to get in but we caught up with the Hills near the front of the stage. Spooner made the grave mistake of then lining up for drink. Seems like this venue has some kinks to work out. As it turns out the venue is a cavernous ballroom and while the flat floor was not ideal for some, it was certainly nice to have carpet underneath.

Cage The Elephant came out all guns blazing. They played only a short set, with a good mix of the first and new album. I love this band. There music is great and they have a passion for it as well - which extends to there performance. As an opening act, the set was short but finished in a blaze of glory as singer, Matt Shultz, dived into the crowd as was carried all the way through the venue, into the bleachers and finally out the back of the ballroom.

Cage The Elephant Setlist
In One Ear / Unknown / 2024 / Aberdeen / Back Against The Wall / Indy Kidz / Ain't No Rest For The Wicked / Around My Head / Shake Me Down / Sabertooth Tiger

The Black Keys then stepped it up a notch again. They were in fine form from the get go. Patrick Carney's drumming is powerful and dynamic and the driving force behind this 2 piece blues / rock band. Each song was better than the last with Shot Stack Billy and I'll Be Your Man personal highlights. Would of liked to have heard Have Love Will Travel, and we may have heard it if the relatively short set had of been longer.

Overall a great night. 2 great live bands in an OK venue - it will be interesting to see what other shows the Cosmopolitan will put on there in the future.

Black Keys Setlist
Thickfreakness / Girl Is On My Mind / Breaks / Shot Stack Billy / Busted / Act Nice & Gentle (Kinks cover) / Everlasting Light / Next Girl / Chop & Change / Howlin' For You / Tighten Up / She's Long Gone / Ten Cent Pistol
Encore: I'll Be Your Man / Strange Times / I Got Mine

The Crap Facts:
This is my 313th concert.
The Chelsea is the 85th venue I've seen a concert.

This is my 108th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 108th concert in Nevada.
This is my 120th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Cage The Elephant concert.
This is my 2nd Black Keys concert.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ Book & Stage

New venue. And one that is having BRMC play for free. Am I dreaming? Am I still in Vegas? Could this be too good to be true. Apparently not. The Cosmopolitan has a bar which they are treating as a sports book during the day and a music venue at nights (hence the name Book & Stage). They are featuring bands doing 1 or 2 sets a night in a mini-residency. And tonight its Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

It is an odd shaped stage, which sees the band separated from the crowd by the oval-shaped bar. But still it's free. A good size crowd packed into the small venue and the band were awesome. There was supposed to be 2 sets and I got there for the 10pm, and it went longer than expected and from I what I heard there was no return at midnight. Highlight for me was Spread Your Love, which the Cosmo had actually been using for their advertising campaign. Would love to have known what uncultured punters in the casino thought when they heard the song.

It will be interesting to see what other bands the Cosmo will bring in (I have already missed Fitz & The Taantrums), but I hope there are plenty more. It is a good mall venue, and you definitely can't beat the price.

Took Out A Loan / Red Eyes & Tears / Mama Taught Me Better / Ain't No Easy Way / Bad Blood / Beat the Devil's Tattoo / Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (Punk Song) / Awake / 1:51 / Berlin / Weapon Of Choice / 666 Conducer / Half-State / Six Barrel Shotgun / Shadow's Keeper / Spread Your Love

The Crap Facts:
This is my 312th concert.
Book & Stage is the 84th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 107th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 107th concert in Nevada.
This is my 119th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Black Rebel Motorcycle Club concert.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crazy Horse @ MGM Grand

If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all.

The Crazy Horse stole only 1.5 hours from my life and the ticket was free. Otherwise......

PS Could be the worst show we've seen in Vegas (and I've seen Barry Manilow & Cher)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weezer @ The New Joint

2nd Weezer show with us and the Hills. I can't believe it has been 5 and half years since we first saw them (back in the Old Joint). That was a great night.

2 albums from start to finish. One I love and one I am not too familiar with.

The night started with the Blue Album, and it was one great song after the next. This is my favorite Weezer album and it was kind of weird being at a show and knowing what the next song was going to be. Regardless it was all good. Buddy Holly, Surf Wax America and Say It Ain't So we great. It was funny that the guitarist started a song out of order - priceless were the looks the rest of the band gave him.

After a 20 minute break, where we entertained by a roadie's stories of the past (including photographic evidence), the band cam back onstage to do Pinkerton. Not as entertaining as the first set, but who doesn't love El Scorcho and Good Life. They then finished off the night with an unknown to me one song encore.

Personally I think they would have been better off starting with this album and finishing with the Blue Album.

Not quite as fun as the last show we saw, but good enough for me to want to go again when they return to Vegas in August to play at the Red Rock pool.

Blue Album: My Name Is Jonas / No One Else / The World Has Turned And Left Me Here / Buddy Holly / Undone - The Sweater Song / Surf Wax America / Say It Ain't So / In The Garage / Holiday / Only In Dreams
Pinkerton: Tired Of Sex / Getchoo / No Other One / Why Bother? / Across The Sea / The Good Life / El Scorcho / Pink Triangle / Falling For You / Butterfly
Encore: I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams

The Crap Facts:
This is my 311th concert.
This is my 9th concert at The New Joint.
This is my 106th concert in Las Vegas.
This is my 106th concert in Nevada.
This is my 118th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Weezer concert.