Monday, July 20, 2015

Primus & Dinosaur Jr @ The Fillmore

Is it 1995 again?  This is an awesome time warp to 2 bands that I discovered in my (ahem cough-cough) 20's.  A line-up that will be hard to beat for a while.

One thing I always forget to take to a show is earplugs - so obvious, and considering this is show number 392, you'd think I'd get my act together.  But one thing you know is Dinosaur Jr will be LOUD!, so this time I was prepared and from the very first notes I couldn't have been happier about having earplugs.  Mind you after a few songs, and hearing them break into Out There, the plugs came out to enjoy a wall of sound.  Feel The Pain and The Cure's Just Like Heaven were also awesome, but it was Freak Scene that did it for me.  This is a Top 25 all time favorite song and hearing/seeing it live is just the best. This was my 5th Dinosaur Jr show, and sadly the first in 10 years (when they killed it at a not-full-enough House Of Blues in Vegas).  Hope it doesn't take that long to see this classic line up again.

And that was just the opening act.

Dinosaur Jr Setlist (partial)
Back To Your Heart / Watch The Corners / Out There / Feel The Pain / Just Like Heaven (Cure cover) / Pieces / Freak Scene / Training Ground (Deep Wound cover) / Sludgefeast

Primus had been doing a lot of their Chocolate Factory record recently but, gladly, this was a regular(!?) show.  The crowd were buzzed and once the chorus of the first song, Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers, hit Primus owned the Fillmore.  As usual they had a great visual background to compliment the show - the video of Wynona's is Primus at it's best. Tommy The Cat is another of a top 25 all-time favorite songs but it was not to be played (disappointingly tonight), however, at my 7th show they finally played Mr Krinkle, a song I've waited 20 years live to hear - and it was everything I thought it would be.  One of my faults in seeing Primus, is that I can't take my eyes off Les Claypool as I watch in wonder as he pulls off the most interesting bass lines of any band I've ever seen.  I tend to forget how great Ler LaLonde and Tim Alexander are.  My Name Is Mud and Jerry Was A  Race Car Driver were a great finish to the night.  I moved side stage to watch the 2 song encore and get a different perspective of the show (actually I was positioned to get out the door as soon as the show was over to beat the crowds.

A superb night by 2 great bands.  I think it will be a while before I see a line up this good again.

Primus Setlist
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers / Moron TV / Wynona's Big Brown Beaver / American Life / Golden Boy / Mr. Krinkle / Jilly's On Smack / Lee Van Cleef / Drum & Whamola Jam / Eleven / The Toys Go Winding Down / Semi-Wondrous Boat Ride / Over The Electric Grapevine / My Name Is Mud / Jerry Was A Race Car Driver
Encore: Southbound Pachyderm / Is It Luck?

The Crap Facts:
This is my 392nd concert.
This is my 11th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 36th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 40th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 199th concert in the USA.
This is the 5th time I've seen Dinosaur Jr.
This is the 7th time I've seen Primus.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sam Smith & Gavin James @ Time Warner Arena

Finally, nearly 3 months later, I get to take Amy to see Sam Smith - her birthday present.  But before the entertainment, and taking advantage of a babysitter, we head to Dandelion Market for dinner.  Upstairs with all the cool kids, we picked a spot at the bar, ordered a drink and perused through the menu.  Food here is tapas so we ordered a bunch different things, only to find that the servings were huge.  Way too much, but what we ate was fantastic.  Downtown Charlotte certainly has more to offer than what it did when we lived here in 2002.

Wandered down to the Time Warner Cable Arena and got our seats (close to the same spot we saw Muse a couple of years ago) and Gavin James was already on stage.  People were paying the usual amount of attention to an opener, but I really felt for this guy.  On stage, alone, in a 15000 seat arena which was only filling up for the main event.  His original songs sounded good, but his best was a great cover of What A Wonderful World.

Sam Smith would not be a performer I'd see regularly, but the boss likes him and I can appreciate a good voice.  He seemed unsure of himself to start with, the size of the place was a bit daunting for this genuinely humbled young guy.  Once he realized how many people were into it and having a good time, Smith loosened up, enjoyed himself and unleashed an incredible voice.  Like Joss Stone, he has a voice that does not match what he looks like, or how he sounds when he spoke between songs.  With one album to his name, he played everything off it and threw in some covers.  Because I don't know his stuff his version of Amy Winehouse's Tears Dry On Their Own, segwaying into Ain't No Mountain High Enough, was my favorite.  Early in the set he did Amy's favorite, I'm Not The Only One.  Smith only had enough material for just over an hour, but finished his encore perfectly with his huge hit, Stay With Me, leaving everyone on their feet knowing they had seen a great singer relatively early in his career.

I initially was worried that the TWC Arena would be too big, maybe Belk or Ovens would be a better size.  I was proved wrong.  The place was as good as full and the sound Smith projected filled the room perfectly.  I'm glad we got the chance to see this show.

Sam Smith Setlist
Life Support / Together / Leave Your Lover / I'm Not The Only One / I've Told You Now / Nirvana / Like I Can / Restart / Tears Dry On Their Own / Ain't No Mountain High Enough / Not In That Way / Can't Help Falling In Love / Lay Me Down / La La La / Money On My Mind
Encore: Latch / Make It To Me / Stay With Me

The Crap Facts:
This is my 391st concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Time Warner Arena.
This is my 35th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 39th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 198th concert in the USA.
Gavin James is the 461st band I've seen.
Sam Smith is the 462nd band I've seen.
Sam Smith is the 900th time I've seen a band.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Barenaked Ladies, Violent Femmes & Colin Hay @ Uptown Amphitheater

I keep telling myself that I don't need to keep going to Barenaked Ladies shows, but they keep bringing such great opening acts, how can I not.  Tonight was no exception and here I am back for more.

Colin Hay is an Australian treasure.  Men At Work's Down Under should be our national anthem, and the outcome of a copyright lawsuit for that song is a sham.  Needless to say I was there in the rain before he came out to do a solo set.  Even though it was only a half a dozen songs, his voice and between song banter was well worth the time.  A great rendition of Overkill and the aforementioned Down Under were highlights.  Half an hour in the rain well spent.

As if the weather Gods were watching, the rain stopped as the first notes of the Violent Femmes for song, Blister In The Sun, rung out.  What a way to open a set.  One of the most anthemic songs of my lifetime was immediately followed by Kiss Off and the next 50 minutes was a reminder of the reason this is the 7th time I've gone to see the Femmes.  There were a couple of new songs I didn't know, but the incredible set was filled with one great song after another.  Big finish with Gone Daddy Gone and Add It Up had the crowd on their feet and everyone singing.  The Femmes could have easily been the headline act tonight as I think they are a band that deserve to be in the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame (though I don't see it happening).

Violent Femmes Setlist
Blister In The Sun / Kiss Off / Happy New Year Next Year / Love Love Love Love Love / Hey Nonny Nonny / Life Is An Adventure / American Music / Jesus Walking On The Water / Hallowed Ground / I Held Her In My Arms / Gone Daddy Gone / Add It Up

The Barenaked Ladies have a new record to promote on this annual summer tour and they do a good job of only sprinkling the new songs in with some of the trusted favorites.  For me the show started 6 songs in with Brian Wilson.  They bought Colin Hay out to do Men At Work's Who Can It Be Now? (which explains why he didn't do it earlier).  The Big Bang Theory Theme is a great novelty but the 3 song finish of One Wee, Million Dollars and the Barenaked Rap was the big highlight.  A quick 2 song encore finishing with Led Zepplin's Rock & Roll was a perfect finish to a great night.  I won't say I won't see them again - let's just see who they bring next year.

Barenaked Ladies Setlist
Get Back Up / The Old Apartment / Odds Are / Gonna Walk / Toe to Toe / Brian Wilson / Narrow Streets / Who Can It Be Now? (Men At Work cover with Colin Hay) / Piece Of Cake (Live Debut) / Passcode / Light Up My Room / Did I Say That Out Loud? / Duct Tape Heart / Pinch Me (With Colin Hay) / Big Bang Theory Theme / One Week / If I Had $1,000,000 / Barenaked Rap
Encore: Drawing / Rock & Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)

The Crap Facts:
This is my 390th concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Uptown Amphitheater.
This is my 34th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 38th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 197th concert in the USA.
Colin Hay is the 460th band I've seen.
Colin Hay is the 50th different band I've seen in Charlotte.
This is my 7th Violent Femmes concert.
This is my 4th Barenaked Ladies concert.