Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Helmet & Local H @ Visulite

Is is 1996 again?  What a line up!  Two great bands from my youth, together, in a small venue, a mile from my house.  Couldn't get much better.

I got in early for a spot down the front (after last years' Helmet show that was packed, I wanted to make sure I had a great spot).  It's been a while since I'd seen Local H (8 years to be exact) and time to see how new(ish) drummer Ryan performs with Scott.  As usual Local H pull off a great set.  While I was not familiar with their newer material, their sound and performance is infalable.  Lucas seemed to be having a good time, and enjoyed the interaction with the small crowd.  As Good As Dead is one of my favorite albums of the last 20 years, and hearing Eddie Vedder and High Fivin' MF again is a live music highlight for me.  Heard some people surprised that they didn't get Bound For The Floor, but the reality of the night was Local H had a shortened, opening set, have just finished touring As Good As Dead, night after night playing the same album, and have an extensive catalogue.  There are tons of songs I wanted to hear, but was really impressed with what I heard.

Local H - killing it as always

What a difference 16 months makes to a crowd.  Last year the Visulite was packed to the rafters as Helmet toured Betty.  this time I could be blasted right in front of the stage in comfort, as the crowd was relatively sparse.  But Helmet did as Helmet does and played some good, loud, chunky rock.  I lot of cuts from the new Dead To The World album dominated the main set.  For me it was the Encore that got it to kick off.  Unsung was brutal, while "audience request" Wilma's Rainblow was fantastic.  Got to hear Just Another Victim again - such a good song.  Yet the piece de resistance came on the very last song.  The swirling guitar intro of In The Meantime, following by that brief reprieve, only to be hammered by that only-a-Helmet-riff is just awesome to hear live.  4 minutes of pure musical ecstacy.

When the set was over I hung around to see if I could get my hands on a setlist.  I was unsuccessful , but saw something that made me a bigger Helmet fan.  While shaking hands and greeting fans down the front, a mom bought her 7 year old son down the front.  Apparently a huge Helmet fan, this was not his first show, but Paige and the band went out of their way to meet this kid, talk to him, graciously thank his mum for bringing him. and give him a bunch of picks and drumsticks.  The kid looked like he was on cloud nine.  It has been a long time since I'd seen someone that happy.  One of life's great moments to witness.

Helmet Setlist
Like I Care / Exactly What You Wanted / Life Or Death / Bad News / Speechless / Drunk In The Afternoon / Overrated / Red Scare / I ♥ My Guru / Sam Hell / So Long / Beautiful Love / Bury Me
Encore: Unsung / FBLA II / Wilma's Rainbow / He Feels Bad / Just Another Victim / In The Meantime

The Crap Facts:
This is my 415th concert.
This is my 10th concert at The Visulite.
This is my 54th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 60th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 222nd concert in the USA.
This is my 5th Local H concert.
This is my 4th Helmet concert.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Runway 5k

The idea of running a race on an airport runway seemed too novel to not do at least once.  And so on a cold and frosty October I dragged myself out, pre-dawn, to the American Airlines repair hangar at Charlotte Douglas to run in the 10th Anniversary of the Runway 5k.

I had been running pretty regularly before the race and felt pretty good about getting under 30 minutes (my regular pace).  Because of a delay in the start I coldly watched planes take off on the runways surround us, until just after 9am, when the race began (an hour late).  It was nice to run a flat surface the whole way, and the thrill of seeing planes take off and land as we ran past never waned.  Was also great to run beside the terminal as planes taxied around the airport.  

I was absolutely stoked to cross the finish line and find my chip time was 26:38 (gun time of 27:14).  Under 9 minutes a mile is faster than I've ever done.  I definitely think have other people around me helps me pick up my pace.

I'm not sure if I'd do it again next year, or look for a different race to run.  Time will tell.  In the meantime I will bask in the glory of coming 321st out of 2097, and 32nd in my age group (out of 125), and a mere 10:38 off the winning pace.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Henry Rollins @ McGlohon Theater

Wow!  6 years between Henry Rollins shows.  But when he comes to town one month before an election, how are you going to turn that down.

Another great 2 plus hours of opinions and stories from someone I spent so many years admiring as a great band leader.  Stories varied from Trump (obviously), Rollins' political left leanings, his friendship with Ru Paul, his first Ramones show (the first time in 8 shows that I've heard Henry tell the same story), travelling and many other topics - all from memory (again, as usual).

This has been a favorite show of Rollins that I've seen in the US.  While political, he also told many a great personal and travel stories, which have been lacking for me in shows I've seen in Las Vegas.  His Australian shows I saw in the 90's had no real political skew, just stories of travel both personal and with Black Flag and Rollins Band.

Like reviewing most orators / comedians I find it hard to write about what actually happened during the show when it comes to actual content.  It is definitely a "you had to be there" moment.  Needless to say Rollins' manic delivery and ability to jump from one subject to another kept a full McGlohon Theater entertained all night long.  Look forward to seeing him again (sooner than in 6 years).

The Crap Facts:
This is my 414th concert.
McGlohan Theater is the 117th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 53rd concert in Charlotte.
This is my 59th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 221st concert in the USA.
This is my 8th Henry Rollins concert.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Cult & The New Regime @ Fillmore

Show starts at 8pm and I can't see any sign of an opening act, so I'm there just after 8 and The New Regime is on stage.  I assume people felt the same way I did as there are quite a few people here to see this opening act.  Straight forward rock, which got better as the set went on.  An energetic start that The Cult can build on.

It's only taken another 6 years to see my 3rd Cult show (not like the 15 years previously), and they still have it.  Wild Flower is a great opener. All the crowd is familiar with this song and the place is jumping early on.  While I like a lot of the early 90's Cult, they played a great mix of new and old, with the stuff from the newest album, Hidden City, being really good.  But that set ended with a perfect crescendo of Sweet Soul Sister, Firewoman (my fave Cult song), Phoenix and the fantastic She Sells Sanctuary.  Ian Astbury did everything he could to keep the energy up for the whole set, including banishing the statuesque bouncers from the front of the stage and having the distracting TV's turned off (that annoys me more than anything at the Fillmore).  And his stage presence is one of experience, and a love of what he does.  I'd forgotten how good a Cult show was.  Only a 2 song encore, but Love Removal Machine had everyone leaving on a high.

On a side note from the concert, tonight was the worst night of protesting, which unfortunately turned to rioting, in Charlotte, after the police shooting of Keith Scott.  Amy had texted me during the show telling me to avoid downtown.  I have to drive through there to get home from the Fillmore, but found a way to skirt the edge of the city.  And thankfully so.  While the area I drove though was eerily quite, except for the buzz of activity of first responders awaiting the worst at the fire station on Church and 9th, I could see a lot of police lights throughout the city.  When I got home I watched it all unravel on television, and drove only 3 blocks away from where the worst of it took place.  Let's hope the city and its people can come to a peaceful outcome sooner rather than later.  And most importantly that real protesters get their message across and not suffer injustices that are a consequence of rioters.

The Cult Setlist
Wild Flower / Dark Energy / Rain / Horse Nation / Hinterland / Lil' Devil / Gone / Rise / Birds Of Paradise / Deeply Ordered Chaos / Sweet Soul Sister / Fire Woman / Phoenix / She Sells Sanctuary
Encore: G .O.A.T / Love Removal Machine

The Crap Facts:
This is my 413th concert.
This is my 17th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 52nd concert in Charlotte.
This is my 58th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 220th concert in the USA.
The New Regime are the 486th band I've seen.
This is my 3rd Cult concert.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dinosaur Jr & Cloud Nothings @ Neighborhood Theater

By the Rule of Erik, I have technically seen Cloud Nothings.  That is, I caught the last 3 songs of their set.  More importantly, I've see drummer Jason Gerycz.  Holy shit!  What a force to be reckoned with.  What he did with his minimal kit was mind blowing.  It has continued my week of seeing awesome drummers (Whig's Julian Dorio, Helms Alee's Hozoji Margullis and Melvins' Dale Crover).  His drumming as well as the ridiculous heat inside the Neighborhood Theater (my first gig here - bad first impression), led me to the bar where only water could save me. And even that wasn't enough.

Tonight's show is sold out and it's still 85 degrees at 8.30pm when I go inside and the one giant roof fan is not reaching everyone in the venue.  By the time Dinosaur Jr came onstage at 9.15, I had lost 10 lbs in sweat and, sadly, was wishing this was all over already.  However once I heard The Wagon, 5 songs in, I was settled in, even though I was really uncomfortable.  I am a big fan of 90's Dinosaur Jr, so Feel The Pain and Start Choppin' were great songs to hear.  And I had til near the end to hear the ripping version of Freak Scene (in my 25 songs of all time).  Jr left the stage after about 80 minutes, probably suffering from the same heat the crowd was.  They were coaxed back on to play Get Me and then took requests from the audience before Mascis told the crowd Murph wanted to play Just Like Heaven.  A great closer, such a unique take on a Cure song that finishes in right in the middle of a chorus.

Overall a great show from Dinosaur Jr, on par with last year's opening set for Primus.  And despite the heat (from which there was no real relief even after leaving the venue), the Neighborhood Theater is a good set up.  The slanting floor in front of the stage made viewing possible from anywhere, I saw people in seats upstairs and then there was a risen flat standing area next to the stage.  I was in front of the mixing desk and was grateful for earplugs tonight, though they came out for the favorite songs.

Dinosaur Jr Setlist
Bulbs Of Passion / The Lung / Goin' Down / Love Is... / The Wagon / 12 / Watch The Corners / Pieces / Tiny / Feel The Pain / Little Fury Things / Start Choppin' / I Walk For Miles / Freak Scene / Gargoyle
Encore: Get Me / Just Like Heaven (Cure cover)

The Crap Facts:
This is my 412th concert.
Neighborhood Theater is the 116th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 51st concert in Charlotte.
This is my 57th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 219th concert in the USA.
Cloud Nothings are the 485th band I've seen.
Cloud Nothings are the 400th time I've seen a band in the US.
This is my 6th Dinosaur Jr concert.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Melvins & Helms Alee @ Amos

It is not as often that I go to a gig, nowadays, and catch the opening band if I don't know who they are.  But not knowing what time the Melvins came on I got to Amos not long before Helms Alee took the stage.  This in part was due to the fact that I got a parking spot out the front of the venue - a miracle for South End.  I did read the parking signs 4 times before I was sure that my luck was real.

Helms Alee had me from the start.  Their first song swung between metal riffs with guitar player, Ben Verellen, screaming vocals to the melodic harmonies of bass player, Dana James, and drummer, Hozoji Margullis.  Margullis continued this week's trend of amazing drummers (even before Dale Crover takes the stage).  The rest of the set, though not vocally mixed well, definitely won over the Charlotte crowd.  Helms Alee are a great band, who fit the opening bill of a Melvins show perfectly.

I love a Melvins gig.  This is the first time Melvins have played in Charlotte in the 3 1/2 years I've lived here, so it was nice not to have to drive to the Cat's Cradle to see them this time.  Melvins are the band that no one else sounds like.  In their own world - blistering rock riffs - impeccable drumming, and, of course, a different bass player since the last time I saw them (Red Kross/OFF!'s Steve McDonald).   Having said that, I was ready for the 10 minute Eye Flys opener to be finished.  Straight into Kiss' Deuce and then a favorite of mine, Queen.  As usual there were a lot of songs I didn't know, but it seems they played something from 9 different albums including 3 from the new Basses Loaded.  The set finished with Helms Alee coming back on stage to play Night Goat and then both bands doing an acapella Take Me Out To The Ball Game (not what I'd expect to hear at a Melvins show - but that's to be expected!?!).

Another musically sound performance from the Melvins.  Again I didn't get Honeybucket (that's 8 shows - you'd think I'd hear it at least once), but that means I'll be back again when they are in town.  Unfortunately that is not likely to be this venue, as it was announced last week Amos' will close in January.  Apparently this is in the name of progress, but with the Chop Shop and Tremont closing recently and the forecoming closure of the Double Door Inn, it is sad to see a great venue, that plays a good variety of bands (not necessarily what I like), close.  I expect to see another set of condo/apartments being built on this space this time next year - like that's what this city needs!

Melvins Setlist
Eye Flys / Deuce (Kiss cover) / Queen / The Kicking Machine / National Hamster / Mr. Rip Off / Halo Of Flies (Alice Cooper cover) / Sesame Street Meat / Hideous Woman / AMAZON / Onions Make The Milk Taste Bad / The Decay Of Lying / Night Goat (with Helms Alee) / Take Me Out To The Ball Game (with Helms Alee)

The Crap Facts:
This is my 411th concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Amos.
This is my 50th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 56th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 218th concert in the USA.
Helms Alee are the 484th band I've seen.
This is my 8th Melvins concert.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Whigs, The Sammies & Jason Scavone @ Visulite

The Whigs are a must see band.  They put on a dynamic show and have one of the greatest drummers, Julian Dorio, going around.  So a return to the Visulite was a no brainer.  A saw them here last year and was blown away seeing them in a small venue.

It is rare that I get to a show early, But I met Sanders at the venue before the first band had even started.  Jason Scavone is a local Charlottean, who opened the night.  There was a bit of Jeff Buckley in his melodic soft rock.  For me, nothing stood out in Scavone's performance but it was well received by the growing audience.

The Sammies then came on and, after a slow start, got progressively better and rockier as the show went on.  Sammies lead singer is a big man and his size fills the stage.  And their sound, reminds me of The Godbotherers.  While at first I wasn't taking notice, by the end I was captured by the sound and presence of this band.  As was The Whig Parker Gispert, who was getting into it just behind where we were.

The Sammies Setlist
Uniform / NCTA / Secretariat / Boy Georgia / Harlem Dreams / A Lot / White Blotter / Kings Of The Hoedown / Prom Queen, Prom King / Falling Out / New Idea / Trainwreck

Dorio entered the stage to the sounds of the Atlanta Brave's tune, to which the knowing crowd (not me), gave the chopping signal to.  Dressed in a Braves jacket and baseball mitt, he had a quick game of catch with the crowd before the rest of The Whigs came out.  Sanders caught one - said he was relieved not to be the one who dropped a catch.  From the outset of Already Young, The Whigs were on fire.  This was going to be another great set.  Gispert has a great stage presence, to look at him reminds me of Nick Cave, and his lurching moves and guitar playing are befitting of his tall thin frame.  It's hard not to watch him, until you see Dorio playing the drums.  He has such an ease about him, he almost looks bored.  No song is drummed the same, but even when a stick breaks, Dorio never misses a beat.  5 songs in the set came from Mission Control, the 1 Whigs album I own.  It was nice to hear songs I was familiar with (Like A Vibration, Right Hand On My Heart, etc).  Gispert finished the set by telling the crowd that he was once told to "..never thank the opening acts, or inform the crowd of the last song.  So I'm going to do neither."  Staying Alive, was the showstopper.  A song with so much energy, and a perfect crescendo to a rocking song.  The two song encore ended with a Friday Night, and the crowd responding to all of Gispert's cues.

This is the 3rd time I've seen The Whigs, and they get better each time.  I hope for there sake that the near future will bring them bigger venues.  For my sake, I'll take them at the Visulite any day.

The Whigs Setlist
Already Young / Waiting / Right Hand On My Heart / Hit Me / Like A Vibration / Production City / Unknown / Modern Creation / Written Invitation / Technology / What's The Point If There's Not One  / Need You Need You / Violet Furs / Staying Alive
Encore: Unknown / Friday Night

The Crap Facts:
This is my 410th concert.
This is my 9th concert at Visulite.
This is my 49th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 55th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 217th concert in the USA.
Jason Scavone is the 482nd band I've seen.
Jason Scavone is the 100th time I've seen a band in North Carolina.
The Sammies are the 483rd band I've seen.
This is my 3rd Whigs concert.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bush & Chevelle @ Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater

I could hear Chevelle from the parking lot as I walked into the Charlotte Metro CU Amphitheater (formerly the Uptown Amphitheater).  Sound was good, and the area close to the stage was pretty full, the general admission area, where I have tickets - not so much.  I usually have a seat at this venue but went for the $15 ticket today.  I walked around to the concession area and sidled up to a spot that was like being side stage (same level as the stage and side on to the band.  Great view, but unfortunately a horrible sound.  I wasn't worried as I don't know any Chevelle songs, and was content to see the band do their thing, as well as to watch the crowd, who were well into it. Chevelle had a good energy and maybe I'd tell you more if I had of been in a better spot.  Usually I will know at least a song, but nothing they played was familiar to me, but I was definitely in the minority.

Chevelle Setlist
An Island / Take Out The Gunman / Last Days / The Clincher / Vitamin R (Leading Us Along) / Closure / Joyride (Omen) / Sleep Apnea / Hats Off To The Bull / Still Running / I Get It / Door To Door Cannibals / Face To The Floor / The Red / Forfeit / Send The Pain Below

I stayed in the same spot for the start of Bush, just to see them close up.  Unfortunately for me they started with Everything's Zen, which sounded tinny from the side of stage.  Immediatedly I moved back to the lawn area, where the sound was like a concert should be.  The Chemicals Between Us was a good number, and the start of Gavin Rossdale really cutting loose with his energy.  He looked like he was having a ball, dancing like each of these songs were his favorites.  Monkey and Swallowed were also highlights.  I also liked the video input with each song - particularly the words and drone fottage that went with The Only Way Out (a song I don't know well).  The set finished with Little Things which saw Gavin come into the crowd.  After weaving his way through the seats up front, he made it all the way back to the lawn.  People were running from everywhere to join him.  He escaped the crowd and ran right past me on his way back to the stage.  Was thinking about how other times I've seen lead singers get into the crowd, and how that crowd love to sing into the mike, this time while he sung all I could hear were girls screaming.  An encore included a 16 Stone three play as well as an amzing cover of REM's The One I Love (Gavin's voice almost replicating that of Michael Stipe).  A solo Glycerine from Gavin had the crowd singing along, with the band rejoining hime to finish with Comedown, as I pulled my old man move and snuck out to beat the traffic.

Really good show, but I definitely wont go into that side stage area again.  Can't believe I hadn't seen Bush before, but definitely worth the trip out.

Bush Setlist
Everything Zen / Just Like My Other Sins / The Chemicals Between Us / The Disease Of The Dancing Cats / The Sound Of Winter / Greedy Fly / Monkey / The People That We Love / Swallowed / Eye Of The Storm / The Only Way Out / Insect Kin / Little Things
Encore: Machinehead / The One I Love (REM cover) / Glycerine / Comedown

The Crap Facts:
This is my 409th concert.
This is my 4th concert at Charlotte Metro Credit Union.
This is my 48th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 54th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 216th concert in the USA.
Chevelle are the 480th band I've seen.
Bush are the 481st band I've seen.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Flag & War On Women @ Orange Peel, Asheville, NC

Sunday night drive up to Asheville to see Flag.  I'm pretty excited.  I've seen Keith Morris go wild with the Circle Jerks twice, love his OFF! stuff, and after seeing a second rate Black Flag a couple of years ago here in Charlotte, I was hoping for some redemption.  Have also seen Dez perform with The Misfits.  Was looking forward to seeing 4 Black Flag members and Descendants' Stephen Egerton and see how the'd interpret some of the greatest punk/hardcore songs ever.

I left home early in an attempt to get to the, so far ever elusive, Bridges BBQ in Shelby.  Supposedly the best BBQ in North Carolina, the restaurant has never been opened whenever I've driven to Asheville this way.  Tonight was no different.  By the time I got there at 6.30pm the parking lot was empty and the sign on the door said they had run out of BBQ for the day.  Next time! Though probably not as luck would have it.  I did end up at Hana in downtown Asheville after scoring a parking spot on the main drag halfway between the restaurant and the Orange Peel.  Hana was great, a bit of sushi, a Singha and a yellow Thai curry.  Not the BBQ I craved but still a good meal.

I got to the Orange Peel just as War On Women were beginning.  This off-beat, angry, punk band had plenty of angst in their performance, and a great message to go with it.  Not sure of song titles, but the ranty song about the crap women put up with from douchebags was great.  And they new their crowd when they bagged out HB2 and the hope of a change in North Carolina government.

Flag came on to little fan fare, but were blistering through all Black Flag's best songs in no time. Obviously an older group of men, no longer have the energy to move like a Black Flag song does, that is except for Chuck Dukowski.  Man, he was having a blast.  All the songs sounded as ferocious as they should be.  I knew all but the Clocked In and the Circle Jerks' Don't Care, otherwise it was one anthem after the next.  Revenge opening the set was killer, and it never slowed down from there. Chuck pounding the bass before No More was spectacular. Loved hearing the drumbeat to start Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie, and then Keith took a break after Rise Above.  Dez took over on vocals for 5 songs ripping through Thirsty & Miserable and Six Pack (amongst others).  Keith then came back and finished the set with a highlight Nervous Breakdown as well as Louie Louie.  A two song encore saw Keith and Dez share the vocals before leaving stage.  Normally I'd complain about only a 1 hour set, but this was 24 amazing songs that left me and the crowd hoarse. Glad I made the drive.

Flag Setlist
Revenge / Fix Me / Police Story / Don't Care (Circle Jerks cover) / Depression / I've Had It / No Values / My War / No More / Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie / White Minority / Jealous Again / Wasted / Clocked In / Rise Above / American Waste / Spray Paint / Thirsty & Miserable / Padded Cell / Six Pack / Nervous Breakdown / Louie Louie (Richard Berry cover)
Encore: I've Heard It Before / Damaged I

The Crap Facts:
This is my 408th concert.
This is my 1st concert at The Orange Peel.
The Orange Peel is the 115th venue I've seen a concert in.
This is my 4th concert in Asheville.
This is my 53rd concert in North Carolina.
This is my 215th concert in the USA.
War On Women are the 478th band I've seen.
Flag are the 479th band I've seen.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Cure & The Twilight Sad @ Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA

So night 2 of The Cure saw Erik and I leave Charlotte around 11 am to drive down to Atlanta.  This is the first time I've done this drive (this way), and I gotta say - not sure how I kept awake the whole trip.  It is dull!  We checked into the Midtown Hilton and had a rest before the nights activities.  After a quick dinner at  the Trader Vic's in the hotel, we drove the 8 miles down to Lakewood Amphitheater without the hassle of the traffic we encountered coming into Atlanta.  Not knowing the area we took a spot in a parking lot when Google Maps said we had arrived at the destination.  We were taken for $20 but later on tonight that will seem like a bargain.

Once inside we tried to see if we could get upgraded seats (which they were offering in Charlotte last night) but the show was sold out, so we went for our spot on the general admission lawn.  I didn't know that the tickets had gone on sale and this was all that was left by the time I got tickets.

We picked our spot about 3/4 of the way back, dead center, and made ourselves comfortable for the last half of the Twilight Sad.  Again I've heard nothing from this band that I particularly like, but it was good to hear how humble they were playing in a venue of this size, opening for the Cure.

The Twilight Sad Setlist
Reflection Of The Television / Last January / Drown So I Can Watch / Don't Move / It Never Was The Same / There's A Girl In The Corner / And She Would Darken The Memory

The Cure came on as the sun was still out, which felt a little weird, protecting your eyes and trying to see them as they played.  we were in the same spot and had plenty of room to move and Erik and I didn't draw in our usual freaky crowd.  Tonight's set is a lot darker (a stack more from Disintegration) and not as poppy/fun as last night's.  But it's The Cure, so you know it's all good.  It wasn't until Lovesong that it was actually dark and felt like a Cure show.  Being directly in front (as compared to the side last night) gave a whole new perspective to the entire light and visual show.  Just Like Heaven got the whole crowd dancing for the first time and sounded just great.

For me, it all kicked off from the first encore.  Shake Dog Shake was one I wanted to hear desperately and it didn't disappoint.  With the flute tied to the Robert Smith's mike stand you knew when he picked it up, Burn was next.  An underrated song from the Crow soundtrack, I'm glad I got to hear it both nights.  Then my all time favorite, A Forest, finished it off.  Not the spine tingling moment I had last night, but such a great song.

A quick break, and the still heavily clothed Smith (it's not as hot as last night but we aren't under the aluminum roof like last night) spoke of feeling like he was playing an "out of tune radiator" each time he changed guitars, before launching into Lullaby, which got the loudest reception for the night.  Fascination Street and Wrong Number were splendid follow ups.

The 3rd encore started with The Walk, which was as good as last night.  And then the lively Doing The Unstuck, before the crowd went apeshit for Friday I'm In Love.  The mood of the crowd and the band was on the up all night and you'd think after 9 songs in 3 encores that would be a great way to end it, but no, there was more to come.

The Perfect Girl was the start of the end.  This Kiss Me song is not one I was familiar with, but there was no denying the beginning of Hot Hot Hot!!!  Man, it sounded so good!  Straight into Close To Me.  It was just one iconic song after another.  Why Can't I Be You was another smashing rendition, all to be closed out with Boys Don't Cry. Last night's show was out of this world fantastic and was always going to be hard to top, but tonight's show was great for many different reasons.  13 songs out of the 31 weren't played last night.  The cooler-ish weather made it more comfortable.  And just seeing a great band in a new venue/state was exciting.  If I didn't have a family, I would have seen a ton more shows on this tour.  I will have to settle for the next time around.  I can't wait!

The Cure Setlist
Plainsong / Pictures Of You / Closedown / High / A Night Like This / Push / In Between Days / Last Dance / The End Of The World / Lovesong / Just Like Heaven / Jupiter Crash / From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea / Want / The Hungry Ghost / Prayers For Rain / Disintegration
Encore: Shake Dog Shake / Burn / A Forest
Encore 2: Lullaby / Fascination Street / Wrong Number
Encore 3: The Walk / Doing The Unstuck / Friday I'm In Love
Encore 4: The Perfect Girl / Hot Hot Hot!!! / Close To Me / Why Can't I Be You? / Boys Don't Cry

The Crap Facts:
This is my 407th concert.
This is my 1st concert at Lakewood Amphitheater.
Lakewood Amphitheater is the 114th venue I've seen a concert in
This is my 1st concert in Atlanta.
Atlanta is the 49th city I've seen a concert in.
This is my 1st concert in Georgia.
Georgia is the 13th state I've seen a concert in.
This is my 214th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Twilight Sad concert.
This is my 5th Cure concert.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Cure & The Twilight Sad @ PNC Pavilion

Yay!! The Cure are touring again.  And less than 2 years since I saw them at Riot Fest in Chicago.  We had Erik and Shelley fly in from Vegas for a few days, specifically to come and see this show.  They had been to the Hollywood Bowl earlier in the tour, and were so excited again it was infectious.  Also Mike & Laura were coming too.  It was to be a awesome night.

I had read some reviews from the previous nights show at the PNC Pavilion (Weezer) and all talked about the trouble everyone had with parking and taking forever getting into the venue.  Because of this we left for the venue early and with absolutely no trouble at all we glided unstopped into the venue.  So well before The Twilight Sad started we were able to get a beer to combat the 90 degree weather.

We met Mike & Laura at our seats and saw the start of The Twilight Sad.  I liked their first song - very Ride-ish.  However, the next 2 were relatively similar, and we left in search of food.  I could hear more of the same as we bought dinner and a shirt.

Twilight Sad Setlist
Last January / Alphabet / Drown So I Can Watch / It Never Was The Same / There's A Girl In The Corner

I was, however, definitely back in my seat and ready when the Cure came out on stage and I was spellbound from the first notes of Pictures Of You.  We were about as close as what we were for Riot Fest and the band looked and sounded great.  What I can't understand is the amount of clothing the band was wearing.  It was so hot in the audience, they must have been dying up there.  I can't remember the moment he said that they decided to do only singles (or should've been singles) tonight. It could only mean one hit after another and the Cure did not let down.  Just Like Heaven got the first real big cheer for the night, but for me every song was a stand out.  In Between Days is a favorite and the back to back Lullaby / Fascination Street, but my first live Hanging Garden was unbelievable. They then finished their set with my favorite song, A Forest.  I had a "hair standing on the back of my neck" moment hearing those first chords.  It happened again in the same song as Robert Smith screamed "Again and again and again and again.....".

I was beside myself and elated.  I had not felt this good about a show since The Cure at Coachella 2009.  A new song, It Can Never Be The Same, opened the encore followed by The Crow soundtrack song, Burn, which I'd never heard live.  It was as good as you'd expect.

The second encore had the appropriately names Charlotte Sometimes, another song I was hearing for the first time.  Straight into the upbeat Primary, you'd never imagine this show could get better.  But of course it did.

Another new song, Step Into The Light, before blitzing through Never Enough, alt.end and Wrong Number.  But wait the biggest songs were yet to come.

A 5-song-4th-encore.  Unheard of before. My first ever Lovecats opened this set and was as quirky as I'd hoped it would be.  By the time the 33 song night finally ended with Boys Don't Cry, I was spent, yet on such a high.  This easily enters the top 10 of all time concerts seen.  I have rated it above the Coachella set into number 4 (behind Cure 98, McCartney Cochella 09 and Nirvana BDO 92).  I know we aren't going to be as close to the stage tomorrow in Atlanta, but I am so psyched to be doing this 2 nights in a row (I wish I could have done more).

Cure Setlist
Pictures Of You / High / The End Of The World / Lovesong / Mint Car / Just Like Heaven / Catch / The Caterpillar / The Walk / Let's Go To Bed / Sleep When I'm Dead / In Between Days / Doing The Unstuck / Friday I'm In Love / Freakshow / Lullaby / Fascination Street / The Hanging Garden / A Forest
Encore: It Can Never Be The Same / Burn
Encore 2: A Letter To Elise / Charlotte Sometimes / Primary
Encore 3: Step Into The Light / Never Enough / alt.end / Wrong Number
Encore 4: The Lovecats / Hot Hot Hot!!! / Close To Me / Why Can't I Be You? / Boys Don't Cry

The Crap Facts:
This is my 406th concert.
This is my 2nd concert at PNC Pavilion.
This is my 47th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 52rd concert in North Carolina.
This is my 213th concert in the USA.
The Twilight Sad are the 477th band I've seen.
This is my 4th Cure concert.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Wombats @ Amos'

Not sure if I'd consider myself a Wombats "fan" before this show, but This Modern Glitch was definitely a good enough album to come out and see them tonight.  And so glad I did.  After fluking a great parking spot in South End (I should've bought a lottery ticket straight away I was so lucky), I was kind of surprised entering a two-thirds full Amos (after such a poor turn out for Bloc Party last month).  I also only had to wait 5 minutes, after getting a spot half way back, near the mixing desk, for The Wombats to hit the stage.   I think a Wombats song definitely has a a distinct sound, a great combination of rock, with a synth sound that you rarely hear.  The enthusiastic crowd was having fun from the start, as was the band were in their element.  It wasn't until the 4th song, 1996, did I finally hear something familiar.  Patricia The Stripper was a fun song and I, as well as everyone in Amos, loved Techno Fan.  By the time they finished with Tokyo, the crowd and band were in full swing, and there was a great buzz about waiting for an encore.  The last song was the one I'd been waiting for all night, and one I'd have paid the price of admission alone to hear.  Lets Dance To Joy Division is 3 minutes of pop perfection.  A better ending to this show you could not have hoped for.

4 years ago I wanted to see The Wombats at the Book & Stage at the Cosmo in Vegas, but had taken my mum to see Santana that night instead.  I'm glad the chance came again for me to see them, and I'd definitely go again.

Give Me A Try / Jump Into The Fog / Moving To New York / 1996 / Be Your Shadow / Your Body Is A Weapon / Patricia The Stripper / Pink Lemonade / Techno Fan / Emoticons / Curveballs / The English Summer / Kill The Director / Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)
Encore: Greek Tragedy / Let's Dance To Joy Division

The Crap Facts:
This is my 405th concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Amos.
This is my 46th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 51st concert in North Carolina.
This is my 212th concert in the USA.
The Wombats are the 476th band I've seen.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Bloc Party, The Vaccines & Oscar @ The Fillmore

Where are you Charlotte?  It's Bloc Party!  I know it's a school night, but this turn out is feeble.  All the more room for the rest of us, but hope this doesn't stop the band coming back on the next tour.  I got to the Fillmore early (I think willing an early start so I could go and see Screaming Females at The Station afterwards) and the curtain blocked off half the venue, indicating not a lot of people coming to the show.

I stood near the back for Oscar.  The art-pop musician and his band didn't really do much to catch my attention.  Same goes for the Vaccines.  I had heard some hype about this English band.  But not unlike last weeks Silversun Pickups show, they put on a good show, but nothing that set them apart (again, for me only).

Because of the smallish crowd, I moved closer to the stage for Bloc Party and found myself a great spot, leaning against on the the posts,  people back from the band.  After Kele finally solved a feedback problem, the band launched into Only He Can Heal me from their latest Hymns album.  The audience listened intently, like they were sussing out how the new stuff sounded.  Then Hunting For Witches got the crowd in the right mood for the rest of the evening.  The band played a good mix from all of their albums.  Obviously a lot of new stuff with a new album to promote, but Positive Tension, Song For Clay (Disappear Here) and Banquet were fantastic.  And the four song encore was as close to perfection as you can get.  Waiting For The 7.18, Price Of Gas, Ratchet (fast becoming one of my favorite songs, and an absolute barn-burner live) and lastly the great Helicopter to finish of the night.

It had peen 4 years since the last Bloc Party show and their live shows are getting better.  Again I hope crowd numbers don't stop them coming back, because this is a great band who put on a show. Kele has a great stage presence, and the band is tight, and the music energetic and fun.

I left the Fillmore and drove over to the Station.  I'd heard it was more of a later night venue, and thought I may have been able to catch the Screaming Females, but as I got to the front door, the band had just finished up their set.  I, and they, were in Asheville last night.  I should have gotten off my lazy arse and seen them there.  I'm sure there will be a next time.

Bloc Party Setlist
Only He Can Heal Me / Hunting For Witches / Positive Tension / Virtue / Song For Clay (Disappear Here) / Banquet / One More Chance / My True Name / Exes / So He Begins To Lie / Octopus / The Love Within
Encore: Waiting for the 7.18 / Price Of Gasoline / Ratchet / Helicopter

The Crap Facts:
This is my 404th concert.
This is my 16th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 45th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 50th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 211th concert in the USA.
Oscar are the 474th band I've seen.
The Vaccines are the 475th band I've seen.
This is my 5th Bloc Party concert.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Silversun Pickups & Foals @ The Fillmore

I dont really know Silversun Pickups, but they must be ok if a band as good as Foals are opening for them.

I caught the last song of opening act, Joywave, and wished I'd gotten to the Fillmore earlier.

The Foals came on to an almost full Fillmore and from the get go were a giant wave of energy.  I am only familiar with the Antidotes album so when Olympic Airways came on early in the set, I was in my element.  Red Socks Pugie was the only other recognizable song for me, but the whole set had great songs.  And the bands energy collectively was only surpassed by that of their singer, Yannis.  I would love to see him do more songs where he doesn't play the guitar, because it looks like he has a restraining belt on with it, and who knows what would happen if he'd just cut loose.  It is time for me to discover more of Foals catalog, because this is one great rock band.  I also love the fact that I've seen them in the Visulite and the Fillmore, after they have just completed a sold arena tour through Europe earlier in the year.

Foals Stelist
Snake Oil / Olympic Airways / My Number / Red Socks Pugie / Spanish Sahara / Providence / Birch Tree / Late Night / Mountain At My Gates / Inhaler / What Went Down

While I didn't get near the same vibe from Silversun Pickups, it was clear we were at their show.  The crowd were hanging on every word of every song.  I know not a lick of their stuff, though I was told I'd know Lazy Eye.  it was the last song of the set, and I didn't know that till I saw it on  A good band who have a loyal fanbase, but for me the bands came on in the wrong order tonight.  Bring back Foals soon.

Silversun Pickups Setlist
Cradle (Better Nature) / Well Thought Out Twinkles / The Royal We / Nightlight / Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance) / The Pit / Substitution / Friendly Fires / Latchkey Kids / Panic Switch / Ragamuffin / Lazy Eye
Encore: Kissing Families / Dots & Dashes (Enough Already) / The Wild Kind

The Crap Facts:
This is my 403rd concert.
This is my 15th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 44th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 49th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 210th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Foals concert.
Silversun Pickups are the 473rd band I've seen.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Kevin Smith @ Comedy Zone

So I stumbled onto this show by mistake.  Picked up a Creative Loafing at Laurel Market on Friday, which I'm at randomly on a Friday.  This was one of their highlights for the upcoming week.  New nothing of it.  They had only advertised an 8pm show, but that was sold out and this 10.15 show was added.  After a couple of calls to Mike we had 2 tickets and only had to wait the weekend to see Kevin Smith.

Not being 1005 sure where the Comedy Zone was, Mike and I got there a little early, scoped out the sign and went and sat at La Revolucion and had a beer and a couple of tacos before the show.  Half way through dinner a line started to form around the bar, for us to finally realize that to get into the Comedy Zone you had to go into the basement of the restaurant.  We didn't get in until 10.45, due to the first show running long.  It's gonna be a late night.

We were one of the last seated so it wan't long after that Kevin Smith hit the stage.  Like the Jim Jefferies review from November, I'm not going to try and recreate jokes, but needless to say it was another funny night.  Unlike Jeffries, Smith just tells stories from his life.  And it's a (self-admittedly) good one.  He told us that he was going to tell a story to get comfortable on stage and then open the floor to questions, which he stated, due to his ranting tangents, would only be 2 or 3.

His opening story was about his texting relationship with his daughter and then the audience asked him about:
1) What he thought about, and what were the chances of him directing a blockbuster like Superman v Batman.  The movie he loved, the thought of directing something like that does nothing for him.  He prefers to shoot dialogue/feeling scenes rather than the explosions and effects that goes into a large budget movie.
2) How he works with his Directors of Photography.  He had a friend do it for the longest time until success came knocking, and Harvey Weinstein would only let him use a particular DP for Dogma.  It was great how he made a tragedy - telling his current DP and also girlfriend at the time (Joey Laurence Adams) that they would have no part in the movie.
3) What people he wished he could sit down and smoke a joint with.  While the answers of George Carlin and Alan Rickman were not surprising, the stories that went along with them were heartfelt and funny.
All those stories also had their side tangents.  I can't remember what went with each story, but antic-dotes of Jason Mewes, directing the an episode of Netflix's Flash, getting Johnny Depp to be in Tusk, being an extra on Law and Order and Ben Affleck just made it all the more funnier.

I also liked the whole message that he had.  If you have a passion for something, take the risk and do it.  He wrote, self-funded, directed, shot and then tried to get Clerks released when he started.  All because he loved movies and comics and thought that no-one was making these things for his friends. That initial risk has paid off into, what Smith says, a life that not even he could have dreamed of. Definitely food for thought.

At 1.30 am we had laughed ourselves senseless and left the Comedy Zone for what had to be one of the funniest Monday nights in a long time.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Pearl Jam @ Bon Secours Arena, Greenville, SC

Man this is a good show, even better than when I saw them a couple of years back in Charlotte.  But in light of what happened a few nights later in Raleigh, I am a little bit disappointed in the band, and for their fans.

I drove down to Greenville amidst a family virus crisis.  One of the boys has had it, Amy and the other one got it today.  I need to get out of town (be as far away from the bug as I can) and have some fun - I'm sure my turn is soon.  

Greenville on a Saturday night is a madhouse.  I thought I'd sit at a bar and get some dinner, but there was so many people around I couldn't even get into Jersey Mikes.  I ended up walking the half mile to Bon Secours Arena and paying to much for barbeque inside the arena.

I couldn't believe my seat.  3rd row, on the side, about half way down the arena.  After talking with folks around me, it turns out I am sitting with Ten Club members, who have been for 16 plus years.  Ten Club tickets get sold in pairs, and with 17 seats in the rows, I scored a great seat with some hardcore Pearl Jam fans.  Just after 8 the band came on and opened with Corduroy.  They then went straight into Go, Animal and Daughter.  The crowd was delirious.  Because I'm not the huge fan everyone surrounding me is, it took Eddie Vedder to say, after Indifference, that they had just played the Vs album from start to finish.  Apparently never done before.  There were still 6 more songs to finish the set, toped off with an awesome Spin The Black Circle and Do The Evolution finish.  A quick break before the encore.  Highlight here for me was Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb.  If most band's finished with Porch, you would think you had just seen a great show.  But Pearl Jam weren't finished.  A second encore started with the band playing Last Kiss to the crowd sitting behind the stage.  Better Man was fantastic and obviously a crowd favorite.  Vedder is almost drowned out by the crowd when it comes to singing this song.  And the ultimate 1-2 Pearl Jam punch as they went into Alive.  For me this is one of the great live songs, the whole song is a spine-tingling event.  Someone in the crowd was holding a sign saying Alive saved their life.  Vedder left to stage to hug that person.  The Who's Baba O'Reilly saw the band winding down and fan's collecting tambourines thrown into the crowd by Vedder.  Yellow Leadbetter finished the night, and when the lights came, there was not an unhappy person in the 15,000 crowd.  Three hours of great music.  Pearl Jam still know how to put on a great show.

Vs Set: Go / Animal / Daughter / Glorified G / Dissident / W.M.A. / Blood / Rearviewmirror / Rats / Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town / Leash / Indifference
Mind Your Manners / Swallowed Whole / Sirens / Let The Records Play / Spin The Black Circle / Do The Evolution
Encore: Future Days / Nothingman / Given To Fly / Present Tense / Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd cover) / Lightning Bolt / Porch
2nd Encore: Last Kiss (Wayne Cochran cover) / Breath / Comatose / Better Man / Alive / Baba O'Riley (The Who cover) / Yellow Ledbetter

The Crap Facts:
This is my 402nd concert.
This is my 1st concert at Bon Secours Arena.
Bon Secours Arena is the 113th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 1st concert in Greenville.
Greenville is the 48th city I've seen a concert in.
This is my 3rd concert in South Carolina.
This is my 209th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Pearl Jam concert.

As an aside, I mentioned a disappointing factor in the following days of the concert.  Unfortunately the current Republican run state of North Carolina has introduced a somewhat controversial, and in my opinion homophobic, bill aimed at taking away rights for members of the LGBT community.  The HB2 Bill has many opponents, and has been the media's controversy du jour for some time now.  This bill went into law, under a special session, on April 1 - two weeks ago.  On Tuesday, a day before Pearl Jam's show in Raleigh, the band cancelled the show in protest of said bill.  I think this is an extremely poor decision.  One thing I learnt last Saturday is the dedication of the Pearl Jam fan.  These are people who LOVE this band and will follow them to the ends of the earth, in a Grateful Dead-esque way.  Of the people I spoke to on Saturday, few were actually from Greenville.  Many had traveled far an wide to see the band, and were continuing to do so in Virginia, Raleigh and Columbia in the next week.  I feel that cancelling the Raleigh show would have really hurt these people.  Not the state government, they could give a flying fuck if Pearl Jam show up or not.  But those who have paid for flights, hotels, car rentals, not to mention all the staff that work the at the arena.  How much did the cancellation cost them?  This tour went on sale in January.  The bill had been passed for 2 weeks.  You wait til the day before to cancel.  Dog move!  And what is your follow up on this? Sweet fuck all!    Pearl Jam's protest will go the same way as the band's stance on Ticketmaster and their fees back in the day.  Didn't stop me paying $15.55 on top of the $71 advertised price of this ticket (or 21% extra).  If a band like Pearl Jam want to protest something like HB2, PLAY in protest.  Bands like Silversun Pickups, Bloc Party, Flag, Duran Duran and Against Me played in North Carolina with the next 3 months and made their voice and opinion heard by being inclusive of Equality NC, encouraging people to vote and expressing their opinions to their fans.  Pearl Jam missed a great opportunity to get that message to a larger audience still.

And I didn't even have tickets for the Raleigh show - imagine the rant if I did.

Disclaimer: I was happy when Bruce Springsteen pulled the same stunt a few weeks earlier, knowing some people who supported HB2 were making the trip from Charlotte to Greensboro to see him.  In hindsight, that spiteful thought was wrong.  Springsteen could've played and shoved it in their faces during his show.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Elizabeth 8k Road Race

Something I thought I'd ever do is run in a road race, but after my weight ballooning to 247 pounds in January 2015, I decided to go on a fitness kick.  I eliminated a lot of sugar out of my diet and started exercising somewhat regularly and have worked my way to running 5 miles / 8 kilometers.  Actually today was only the 2nd time I'd run that distance on the road.  Plenty of times had I done it on a treadmill, but only in the last month did I learn the difficulties of running on the road.

Today was the perfect day for the race.  Temperatures was cool and I had hoped to get the race done in under 50 minutes.  I had also said that I didn't want to be overtaken by anyone pushing a stroller after the first mile (those fit moms can take off early, but after that.....).  Starting near the Rec Center on Hawthorne Avenue I made the rookie mistake of trying to keep pace with everyone, and when I hit the first mile in 9:01, I thought I might have a heart attack.  My 2nd mile was 9:04, but I'm sure I was boosted by seeing Amy and the boys cheer me on halfway day Greenway Ave.  I thought the 3rd mile I struggled, even though it was the long flat run along Vail Ave, but still pulled at 9:18 mile.  Mile 4 was the killer.  A few hills (minor but this is me) but I wish they had of been earlier.  And then it happened.  I was passed by my first stroller.  I can't begin to tell you how deflated I felt.  And then moments later a dad passed me with a double stroller.  Bummer Days!  Near the end of Kenmore Ave (after a long, slow climb) I finally hit the wall and had to walk a little.  Fortunately moments later I turned onto 5th Ave and spotted my family again.  This was the inspiration to get me running the rest of the race.  As the race came close to an end near Upper Independence Park, I continued at the same pace - you know how you see people pick up the pace as they near the finish line - I call Bullshit!.  I had nothing more I could give and was just happy to cross the line (not before another stroller overtook me within the last 100 yards of the race).

My official time was 47:16, so a lot better than I expected and I came 418 out of 804 people.  And only 21:10 behind the winner (Ha!).  I felt good about the race, but realize things could've been better had I not taken a walk break.  Anyhow, I now have some thing to aim for in next years race.  I want to get in under 45 minutes and finish in the top half of all contestants.  Lets just hope I can keep up the running and get fitter and leaner.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Book Of Mormon @ Belk Theater

Ohhhhh, I'm going to hell!  And there were a lot of people in the Belk Theater who are coming with me.

For Christmas I bought Amy tickets to see Wicked at Ovens Auditorium in January.  Because of Snowpocalypse 2016 the 1 show that was cancelled in the 3 week run was ours.  And due to Amy's work travel schedule, we were unable to get to another performance.  Ovens kindly refunded our money and we opted to use said money on The Book Of Mormon.  A show we'd both wanted to see for a long time.  As a fan of South Park, you knew this was going to be right up my alley, and I couldn't have been happier.

Oddly I had a near panic attack once we were in our seats.  Just left of center, 2nd row on the Mezzanine Level.  For the first time in a long time heights were making me uncomfortable.  It was a weird feeling to feel that way, while talking to myself about the illogical feeling.  Unfortunately it was a feeling that froze me to the seat in the interval, and didn't clear until after the show.

The show however is a scream, while in the same breath the most offensive statement publicly made about the LDS Church.  Now you know why I'm going to hell.  Yet, while the title suggests Mormon, all religions were metaphorically in the firing line.  I find comedy in general in a musical.  The fact that a normal conversation can lead to people breaking into song, sometimes the same song with different words on completely different tangents - just like real life.   When you throw in a topic as touchy as the one here, hilarity ensues.

I'm glad that this show is such a success.  Over the years I have stopped watching South Park, but the creators have taken elements of their cartoon and created a great musical.  Well worth seeing (even if it means going to hell).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tool, Primus & 3Teeth @ Bojangles Coliseum

Tool don't tour enough as far as I'm concerned.  It's been 4 years since Erik and I saw them at Mandalay Bay, at least this time they have bought a bigger lineup, including the great Primus.  This was always bound to be an epic show.  I was fortunate enough to get one of the general admission tickets for the floor (and not general admission in seats).

I got in early enough to see 3Teeth, apparently handpicked by Tool to open.  This industrial-rock band did absolutely nothing for me.  Song speeds were the same and there was nothing in them to spark any interest for me.  However their sound was bigger than what it should have been.  I stood in front of the drummer who only had a small kit.  His intense concentration made for great timing, but he barely seemed to hit the drums, yet the sound was booming.

Once 3Teeth were finished it was less than 20 minutes before Primus was on.  There I was 7 rows from the stage right in front of Les Claypool.  Again I was trapped into watching him bedazzle on the bass.  While it's great, I hate that I forget how great the other 2 musicians are and I don't really watch them.  Claypool was not very chatty between songs, seemed like he was trying to get through as much music in the 45 minutes Primus were allotted.  As is the case with the last 7 times I have seen them, Primus were awesome, and their set got progressively better.  From the opening Damned Blue Collar Tweekers, to Too Many Puppies, with the Mr Knowitall interlude, to my favorite Primus song Mr Krinkle, to the always-there My Name Is Mud and the closing Jerry Is A Race Car Driver  every song was better than the last.  Again I mention how great the 3 gel as a band.  It is spellbinding to watch and see.  Personally I'd a preferred a longer set from Primus, but there will always be a next time.

Primus Setlist
Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers / Last Salmon Man / Too Many Puppies / Mr. Knowitall / Southbound Pachyderm / Mr. Krinkle / My Name Is Mud / Jerry Was A Race Car Driver

It took Tool's crew about 40 minutes to clear and set up, before the band entered the arena and a SWAT-clothed Maynard took up his position in the dark at the back of the stage.  I had barely moved and was standing right in front of bassist Justin Chancellor.  I pretty much spent the whole show just watching the ease in which he handles these Tool songs.  Not easy, but to do so after Les Claypool has just killed it, is an awesome feat.  We know that Tool songs are long and complex and tonight there were only 12 songs over the 2 hours, so I was surprised they opened with a Led Zeppelin cover. Once in the swing this concert was a great as you'd expect.  Was overwhelmed to hear Opiate, as I have rarely heard anything from Undertow or earlier in the last 3 shows.  ├ćnema sounded amazing and the closing 46&2 was so powerful.  Not sure of the purpose of the intermission count down clock was.  Not sure why a band needs 15 minutes to come back for an encore, and then not be on stage and ready to go when that clock reaches zero.  Danny Carey opened the encore with a drum solo.  He is the drummer for Tool, so you know he's good, but again a back catalog as extensive as their's, I'd have preferred to hear one of those songs (Sober, Cold & Ugly, Prison Sex, Bottom......anyone).  Tool did finish with the incredible Stinkfist and the crowd was beside themselves.  Definitely the reaction of the night.

 Another great concert, despite the complaints listed above.  Primus and Tool are a great pairing for a show and I would have loved to see both play longer.  Hopefully it doen't take 4 years again.
Tool Setlist
No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover) / The Grudge / Parabola / Schism / Opiate / ├ćnema / Descending / Jambi / Forty-Six & 2 
Encore: Drum Solo / Vicarious / Stinkfist

The Crap Facts:
This is my 401st concert.
This is my 1st concert at Bojangles Coliseum.
Bojangles Coliseum is the 112th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 43rd concert in Charlotte.
This is my 48th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 208th concert in the USA.
3Teeth are the 472 band I've seen.
This is my 8th Primus concert.
This is my 5th Tool concert.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Davidson vs Duquesne @ John Belk Arena

Another grinding win for Davidson.  I'm not sure if I am getting better at watching and understanding basketball, or the Duquesne were just so obvious in their foul play.  At 38-36 at half time, I thought Davidson may not be up for the battle, but fears were eased as they pulled away by 17 with 5 minutes to apply.  Official crowd was 3,321, but these may be Panthers counting numbers (every game sold out, only half the stadium full), as I don't think there were half the crowds in the stands compared to the last 2 games.

Basketball may not be in my realm of sporting knowledge.  Regardless, I am now 3-0 for the Davidson Wildcats.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Davidson Wildcats 77 (Aldridge 22, Gibbs 21, Watkins 14) defeated Duquesne Dukes 66 (Gill 18, Colter 17, James 11).
Crowd: 3,321.