Monday, September 30, 2013

Surfer Blood @ Visulite

Unfortunately tonight's show, crowd wise, is a complete contrast to the night I saw the Surfer Blood open for the Foals here in May.  This Monday night hardly bought out 50 people to see another great, if not extremely short, show from Surfer Blood.  Flying solo, I myself only decided at the last minute to go to the show and literally walked in the door, got a beer and a spot down the front and the band came on.  They seemed more comfortable on stage this time, probably because the weren't avoiding the Foals' gear.  I only knew the songs from Astro Coast, but the unknown songs, presumably from the brand new Pythons, were just as good.  John Paul's wander through the crowd during Take It Easy was as endearing as it was awkward.  My only detraction from the show was its length.  I know I live really close to the Visulite but to be out the door, see a show and back in the house within an 1 1/4 hours is pretty disappointing.

Neighbor Riffs / Twin Peaks / Squeezing Blood / Weird Shapes / Floating Vibes / Miranda / Voyager Reprise / Take It Easy / I Was Wrong / Say Yes To Me / Demon Dance / Swim / Drinking Problem
Encore: Gravity / I'm Not Ready / Anchorage

The Crap Facts:
This is my 366th concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Visulite.
This is my 16th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 17th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 173rd concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Surfer Blood concert.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mudhoney & Cheap Time @ Tremont Music Hall

Why has it been nearly 15 years since I've seen Mudhoney?  That is ridiculous!  I suppose the just don't play in Sydney, northern England or Vegas.  Mind you, this is their first ever show in Charlotte - on their 25th Anniversary tour.  Anyway I'm glad to be back a the Tremont seeing them again.

Cheap Time opened and I arrived not long after they started.  It felt like they were going through the motions, but the audience was not over enthusiastic - was it chicken or the egg?  A relatively straight forward rock band filling in the time while we all waited for the main event.

Mudhoney came out and started with their new single I Like It Small and from the get go were into it.  For a band who had been playing some of these songs over 25 years they had an energy and exuberance about them that was captivating.  Something I remember from seeing them previously.  Last time I saw them in 99 when Rocket From The Crypt opened (and RFTC were amazing), Mudhoney made them look dull in comparison. So many favorites throughout the night Who You Drivin' Now?, Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More, Flat Out Fucked, Get Into Yours.  But none better than Touch Me I'm Sick - it is one of my top 20 songs of all time and for 2 1/2 minutes I was in pure heaven.  An encore that included Here Comes Sickness, Hate The Police and Black Flag's Fix Me just left me wanting more.  Lets just hope I see them again before another 15 years goes by - we'll all be too old by then.

Mudhoney Setlist
Poisoned Water / I Like It Small / You Got It / Suck You Dry / Who You Drivin' Now? / Get Into Yours / F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers) / In This Rubber Tomb / Judgement, Rage, Retribution & Thyme / Flat Out Fucked / Sweet Young Thing (Ain't Sweet No More) / No One Has / Touch Me I'm Sick / What to Do With The Neutral / I'm Now / The Final Course / Ghost / Chardonnay / The Only Son Of The Widow From Nain
Encore: Here Comes Sickness / Hate The Police (The Dicks cover) / Fix Me (Black Flag cover)

The Crap Facts:
This is my 365th concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Tremont Music Hall.
This is my 15th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 16th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 172nrd concert in the USA.
Cheap Time are the 432nd band I've seen.
This is my 3rd Mudhoney concert.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite @ The Fillmore

This show ended up being redemption for me.  Many years ago I saw Ben Harper in Vegas and unbeknowst to me it was for some animal benefit.  We were herded (no pun intended) in the back of the Joint while tables at the front were served a meal as Harper tried to play.  The sound was atrocious, and the short set left me feeling severely disappointed.

Tonight couldn't be any more different.  What a great night!  An early Sunday night kick off (thanks from the old man who has to get up and look after the twins in the morning).  The band came out to rapturous applause which they seemed quite humbled by.  And from the first song, Get Up!, things were great.  While not a lot of sings were familiar to me (except the Innocent Criminals Homeless Child), Harper, Musselwhite & band played tight old school R&B.  I kinda thought Musselwhite's harmonica was a little limited, but his gravelly vocals really authenticated the blues sound.

Highlights for me were I'm In I'm Out & I'm Gone, I Ride At Dawn and Long Distance Call.  But the piece de resistance was the encore's final All That Matters Now where Harper sang acapella without a microphone.  The crowd was near silent (there's always some dickheads aren't there) and his voice boomed and then the crowd sang back.  Brilliant!

Just a question for some show goers - Why do you pay good money to see a great band and then spend the 2 hours talking about useless crap or reading your cell phone?  SHUT THE FUCK UP AND PAY ATTENTION!  Half a dozen times I had to move away from different people who had no interest in being there or were so busy watching the show through their phones  They completely missed the experience.

Harper stated a couple of times that they'd have to come back to Charlotte soon - I hope he meant it.

Get Up! / I Don't Believe A Word You Say / The Blues Overtook Me / Don't Look Twice / When It's Good / She Got Kick / I'm In I'm Out & I'm Gone / Blood Side Out / Homeless Child / I Ride At Dawn / I'm Goin' Home / Long Distance Call / When The Levee Breaks
Encore: We Can't End This Way / Long Legged Woman / You Found Another Lover (I Lost Another Friend) / All That Matters Now

The Crap Facts:
This is my 364th concert.
This is my 4th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 14th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 15th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 171st concert in the USA.
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite are the 431st band I've seen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The National & Frightened Rabbit @ The Fillmore

Tonight I am ticking off a bucketlist band.  I own 2 National albums and think they are great and have always wanted to see them live.  As far as I'm aware they never came to Vegas whilst I lived there.

I walked into a relatively full Fillmore in the middle of the Frightened Rabbit set.  I found a spot on the 2nd tier in the middle.  Great view but the sound was terrible (this is where we were for Gaslight Anthem as well).  I hear great things about this band, but tonight I fail to see it.

The National come out after showing their backstage warm-up live on a screen behind the band.  An interesting concept.  The National play a very moody, atmospheric rock - a lot mellower than I usually listen to - but I think they are great.  Even the songs I don't know.  It took 3 songs for recognition with Bloodbuzz Ohio.  Again the sound is not great.  Is it where I'm standing?  This is where I stood for Gaslight Anthem, and Rancid down the front last night was great.  There is not much interaction between band and the audience - it almost feels like the band is going through the motions.  Great renditions of Abel & Squalor Victoria (the other 2 songs I knew) and after 20 songs the band left the stage.

To me it feels like a completely different band came back for the encore.  Singer Matt Berninger came out into the crowd and covered the entire Fillmore for Mr November and was briefly back on stage before get back in the crowd and out the exits to to sing Terrible Love.  The group then finished with an awesome acoustic / accapella version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.  And then it was over.  It seemed that the crowd and band were just starting to ramp up for the evening, and then they left.

The National Setlist
I Should Live In Salt / Don't Swallow The Cap / Bloodbuzz Ohio / Mistaken For Strangers / Demons / Sea Of Love / Afraid Of Everyone / Conversation 16 / Squalor Victoria / I Need My Girl / This Is The Last Time / Brainy / Abel / Lucky You / Slow Show / Pink Rabbits / Graceless / England / About Today / Fake Empire
Encore: Sorrow / Mr. November / Terrible Love / Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

The Crap Facts:
This is my 363rd concert.
This is my 3rd concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 13th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 14th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 170th concert in the USA.
Frightened Rabbit are the 429th band I've seen.
The National are the 430th band I've seen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rancid & Tim Timebomb @ The Fillmore

It was as if the forces were working against me to get to this show.  I wanted to get in to see Tim Timebomb & Friends (Tim Armstrong pulling double duty) but as I'm walking out the door, a neighbor needs a lift to the hospital as it appears his 4 year old has attempt a couch headstand only for the dismount to fail with him nearly breaking a coffee table with his nose.  Poor kid was a mess, but his dad had it under control.  After driving them to the hospital (only a mile away) and walking home I get in the car to take off.  It's only halfway there that I realize I have forgotten tickets.  Really!  Serves me right.

However I made it in the door as Tim Timebomb were playing their first song.  A good hour of punk and ska covers and originals was a great warm up for what was to come.  From NoFX's Bob, to California Sun to an Operation Ivy cover, I'm so glad I made it in time.

I will forever argue that there is no such thing as a bad Rancid show.  This is my 5th Rancid show, and I never leave unhappy.  With Roots Radicals being the opener, a surprisingly not sold out crowd starts a wild 29 song set.  All my faves got played, Fall Back Down, Olympia WA, and Time Bomb to finish off the set. Again, this year, I am at a show celebrating a milestone for a band (20 years of Rancid), yet they perform like youngsters who are ready to impress for the first time.  Great energy!  A 3 song blast encore ends with Ruby Soho - just the song to get a bunch of people buzzing before leaving the show and begin craving the return of Rancid.  I am definitely one of them.

Rancid Setlist
Roots Radicals / Journey To The End Of The East Bay / Maxwell Murder / The 11th Hour / Last One To Die / Dead Bodies / Old Friend / Hooligans / I Wanna Riot / Nihilism / Black & Blue / Fuck You / Gunshot / Listed MIA / The Wars End / East Bay Night / Salvation / Bloodclot / Rejected / It's Quite Alright / Fall Back Down / St. Mary / Olympia WA / Something In The World Today / Tenderloin / Time Bomb
Encore: Radio / Black Derby Jacket / Ruby Soho

The Crap Facts:
This is my 362nd concert.
This is my 2nd concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 12th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 13th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 169th concert in the USA.
Tim Timebomb are the 428th band I've seen.
Tim Timebomb are the 350th time I've seen an American band.
This is my 5th Rancid concert.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Black Flag & Good For You @ The Chop Shop

I gotta say I was slightly nervous going to this show.  A couple of years back I saw Bad Brains and was really disappointed...but it's Black Flag.  Some of the greatest songs of all time.  I had to make sure I wasn't missing a chance of a lifetime.

Got to the Chop Shop at 8.30pm - the time I was told the show would start (I'm old I need to know these things) - only to see a sign at the door saying opening band starts at 9pm, and then they didn't come on til 9.20pm. FAAARK!  While Good For You is another Greg Ginn band I wasn't overly impressed.  I thought the drumming was kinda week and singer Mike Vallely's Morrison-esque swagger did not invoke the same stage presence.  I saw the whole hour - a long time for an opener - but by the end the crowd thinned out, disappearing to the smokers patio.

After a small wait - the same band walked out but with Ron Reyes now taking over vocals.  From the opening notes of the first song, Revenge, a small section of the crowd went overboard in a mosh pit that had everyone taking stock of where they were.  I think I have a good knowledge of the Black Flag catalogue and a great amount of songs I love were played tonight - Depression, TV Party, Six Pack, Fix Me, Police Story, Rise Above amongst the better ones.  Gimme, Gimme, Gimme didn't have the punch it should have.  And there were some new songs (?) that seemed better suited to Good For You.  The did end strongly with a great Louie, Louie rendition.

Overall a good night.  My first visit to the Chop Shop - I like this venue and can't wait to see some more stuff here.  Again my expectations were pretty high, but Black Flag today is only 2 members of a band that were a force 30 odd years ago.  While it was good to hear these songs, I felt the ferocity was lacking and some of the songs I have heard covered by other bands (eg Pennywise, Circle Jerks) better.

But at least I can say I've seen Black Flag.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 361st concert.
This is my 1st concert at The Chop Shop.
The Chop Shop is the 100th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 11th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 12th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 168th concert in the USA.
Good For You are the 426th band I've seen.
Black Flag are the 427th band I've seen.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Muse & Cage The Elephant @ Time Warner Arena

So I think technically this is my first real arena rock show.  I've seen bands in big venues (Tool, Pantera, Rage Against Machine, Midnight Oil etc) before but not a show with a large arena in mind.  While I have an interest in seeing Muse, and finding out why they are so popular, my main interest in the show is to see the awesome Cage The Elephant.

Amy & I met Mike and Laura at Villa Francesca for a quick snack before the show started.  When I say quick, when your babysitter arrives 25 minutes late and the opening band is the most important part of your night, you scoff down the food and skoll your drink to get to the venue.  Good food though, will come back and try it properly one day.

Was surprised to arrive at the venue and see the whole top floor curtained off.  Seems like Charlotte may not love Muse like the rest of the world.  We were close to the back (at the top of the U shape) but seats weren't too bad.  I just kept thinking about all those shows I missed in Vegas because of my reluctance to get into a big venue show.  Oh well! - lesson learnt - at 40.

Cage The Elephant came out and did what they do best. Rocked it!  Man I love this band!  While an arena is not suited to their shows - a more intimate setting I think gets Matt Shultz' going - CTE worked with what they had and gave it everything.  From the back the sound wasn't so great but songs like In One Ear, Back Against The Wall, Tiny Little Robots and Ain't No Rest For The Wicked (yeah I'm a huge 1st album fan) are just superb live.  But the performance adds to these songs.  The band plays tight while Shultz channels his inner Iggy Pop to explode all over the stage and shake up the Muse-waiting crowd.  I am getting more and more used to the new single, Come A Little Closer and thought It's Just Forever fit perfectly into the set.  I hope they come back through Charlotte soon - maybe tear up the Fillmore or the Chop Shop.  Just read that they are opening for Foals in England early next year.  What I wouldn't give to see one of those shows.

Cage The Elephant Setlist
In One Ear / It's Just Forever / Aberdeen / Tiny Little Robots / Back Against The Wall / Teeth / Ain't No Rest For The Wicked / Indy Kidz / Come A Little Closer / Shake Me Down / Sabertooth Tiger

Except for Kings of Cydonia I am Muse illiterate.  Not sure how that happened but Mike assures me that as much as Cage is perfect in a club setting, Muse is made for an arena - and boy was he spot on.  Not only did I see an hour 40 minutes of great musicianship, but my senses were overloaded by the visuals.  Matt Bellamy's voice is incredible - a range which made me wonder if I was at Queen show at some points.  Not to mention the sounds he gets out of his guitar.Wild!  I think because my knowledge was limited, some songs sounded a bit samey to me, but Supermassive Black Hole, Kings Of Cydonia and Madness were favorites of mine.  Not sure I'd go out of my way to look for there albums but definitely glad I got to see them live.

Muse Setlist
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable / Supremacy / Panic Station / Supermassive Black Hole / Plug In Baby  / Resistance / Hysteria / Knights of Cydonia / Monty Jam / United States Of Eurasia / Follow Me / Liquid State / Madness / Time Is Running Out / Undisclosed Desires / Stockholm Syndrome / Agitated / Uprising
Encore: Starlight / Survival

The Crap Facts:
This is my 360th concert.
This is my 1st concert at Time Warner Arena.
Time Warner Arena is the 99th venue I've seen a concert.
Time Warner Cable is the 50th venue in the US I've seen a concert.
This is my 10th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 13th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 167th concert in the USA.
This is my 4th Cage The Elephant concert.
Muse are the 425th band I've seen.