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.