Friday, October 27, 2017

Superchunk & Bat Fangs @ Neighborhood Theater

Superchunk Setlist Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 434th concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Neighborhood Theater.
This is my 67th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 76th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 239th concert in the USA.
Bat Fangs are the 497th band I've seen.
This is my 3rd Superchunk concert.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Spoon & Late Bloomer @ The Fillmore

After the fiasco of unsuccessfully trying to get into the Descendents show early in August to catch Late Bloomer, I got to the Fillmore just after 8 to catch this local Charlotte band play.  Great gig and a sound well suited to the headliners (not sure how it went with the Bronx/Descendents crowd).   I remember being indifferent when I first saw them open for the Screaming Females when I first moved to Charlotte.  This time, like the rest of the crowd, I was getting into it the longer the set went along.

Crowd size was a bit disappointing (curtain across the back of the first step up) but it is Charlotte, and it was a school night, so......their loss, and more room for me.  After a moody keyboard beginning, the band came out with all guns blazing.  Spoon were appreciative of those who came back after a washed out show in August . I was happy for the rain that night, as Amy was out of town and I would have missed it.  Do I Have To Talk You Into It set the tone for the night.  Fun, energetic and a well oiled band.  As is standard now, I was not familiar with any of the songs, and they didn't play the 2 songs I know (You Got Tour Cherry Bomb and The Way We Get By), but everything sounded great.  Inside Out and Beast & Dragon early on were the standouts.  A four song encore for their last show on the tour had the crowd in raptures. I liked Hot Thoughts in their "mini-set".

I saw Spoon at the Big Day Out in 2008 and on the strength of that show and the 2 previously mentioned songs, I came to this show.  And I'm so glad I did.  Spoon have their own unique sound and a stage presence which shows they love what they do.  Look forward to catching them again someday.

Spoon Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 433rd concert.
This is my 23rd concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 66th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 75th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 238th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Late Bloomer concert.
This is my 2nd Spoon concert.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dinosaur Jr @ Orange Peel, Asheville, NC

Another Dinosaur Jr show.  And another drive to Asheville (the 2nd in 2 weeks).  Had a really smooth drive up there - I love my new dad van!  I had dinner with the family in Charlotte first and arrived as Easy Action were finishing their last song.  Was bummed.  They were pretty good earlier this year in Carborro.

As usual Dinosaur Jr straggled on stage to not a lot of fan fare, and in went the earplugs.  Not sure if I was tired from the drive, but it took a while for me to get into it tonight.  All the right ingredients were there.  I was 4 rows from the stage, right in front of J Mascis, and the crowd was a good enough size that everyone had their own space.  But it wasn't until Out There that I started really enjoying the night.  Fell The Pain was frenetic and wild.  It was also great to hear Get Me and Start Choppin' again - Where You Been is my favorite Dinosaur Album.  And before the set finished with Gargoyle, they played an all time favorite song - Freak Scene.  I got goosebumps - again!  A 2 song encore was topped off with another blistering version of the Stooges TV Eye with Easy Actions' drummer and singer joining the fray.

I'm so grateful to see one of my favorite bands twice in one year, even if I had to drive a combined 500 miles to see them - and on a school night (thank you wifey and Uber job).  If my ears hold out I hope this is the 8th of many more Dinosaur Jr shows I get to see.

Dinosaur Jr. Setlist The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC, USA 2017, Get a Glimpse of What Yer Not

The Crap Facts:
This is my 432nd concert.
This is my 2nd concert at The Orange Peel.
This is my 6th concert in Asheville.
This is my 74th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 237th concert in the USA.
This is my 8th Dinosaur Jr concert.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mastodon & Eagles Of Death Metal @ The Fillmore

I am very aware that 3 days after the shooting spree that killed 58 people in my previous home city of Las Vegas, I am seeing the band, who, with their fans, suffered from a terrorist attack while they were performing in Paris in November 2015.  It's not often I get nervous, but tonight is definitely the exception.

The Eagles of Death Metal, on the other hand, are not.  They are ready to rock like it's no one's business.  From the outset when Mastodon's Brent Hines joined for the opening song I Only Want You EoDM decided this was going to be their best show ever - which I'm sure they do every night.  Frontman Jesse Hughes was a ball of energy, bouncing, pogoing and dancing from one side of the stage to the other.  While I don't know any EoDM songs (yet) there is an engaging energy that bursts into the crowd, and a four-on-the-floor rocking beat which gets any crowd moving.  Jesse Hughes is a showman in the vain of Vintage Trouble, Hives, Cage the Elephant and, of course, Iggy.  His enthusiasm and the the great music make for an awesome show - and a challenge for a headlining band.

Eagles of Death Metal Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

Mastodon had a crowd full of loyal fans and they were happy to oblige them with over 100 minutes of  heavy, sludgy rock.  While most songs came off the unfamiliar to me new album, Emperor of Sand, (I should know this from the last time I saw them and The Hunter dominated the set), there was plenty of familiarity throughout the show.  Divinations & Crystal Skull back to back got me started. and I really enjoyed Black Tongue, Colony of Birchmen and Oblivion through the middle of the set.  I began to tire near the end of the night and a lot stuff sounded a bit samey, except for the excellent Crack The Skye.  Mastodon do a great job of creating their unique sound, but unfamiliarity leads to you only to appreciate the musicianship instead of enjoying the songs.  I wish I'd heard Emperor of Sand before tonight.  Would have made for a better show for me.

Mastodon Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, Emperor of Sand

I walked into the venue to hear only the last song of Russian Circles.  I wish I'd gotten there earlier to see them, cause what I heard sounded great.  After 13 years I got to see only my 2nd Eagles Of Death Metal show (back in 2004 thew killed it opening for the Strokes in Vegas).  Tonight they were even better.  And again Mastodon keeps metal relevant.  Great night all round.

The Crap Facts:
This is my 431st concert.
This is my 22nd concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 65th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 73rd concert in North Carolina.
This is my 236th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Eagles Of Death Metal concert.
Eagles Of Death Metal are the 100th different band I've seen in Charlotte
This is my 5th Mastodon concert.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trevor Noah @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville, NC

I didn't realize Trevor Noah was coming to Charlotte in February or I would have taken the easy option, but thanks to Uncle Drew, Amy and I took advantage of staying in Asheville for the night.  We drove up in the early afternoon and spent time meandering around the River Arts District.  Some great galleries up there, and plenty of gift ideas for Christmas.

We checked into the Double Tree near the Biltmore (thanks to Amy's Hilton points, as hotels are ridiculously priced in town), with enough time to clean up and Uber back into downtown and catch dinner.  We walked passed Zambra when we were here for Nick Cave in June, so opted to dine there.  What a great choice!  The tapas was fantastic, and while some food was slow coming, we had a great seat watching the kitchen go bananas.  We've always wanted to try Curate, but am more than happy we found this place around the corner from the venue.

As usual I'm not going to retell jokes that Trevor Noah told in his 1 1/4 hour stand up show.  Needless to say he was funny, and knows his audience.  He told some great American stories from a foreigner's perspective (very relatable to me) and some good political stuff, while, surprisingly, going relatively easy on Trump and his administration. 

A sleep in - ahhh no children.  A quick breakfast at Well Bred before we drive back to Charlotte.  A nice quick getaway.  Something we should do a little more often.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Litchfield Beach, SC

From the 19th to 26th August we spent our 4th annual summer trip to the beach back at Litchfield Beach.  This time we had the added bonus of seeing the solar eclipse in totality (ahh....that's why the rooms are scarce and more expensive).  Besides that it was beach and pool time with plenty of visits to a couple of restaurants and our favorite ice cream store.

Quigley's Pint & Plate - a good first night dinner, overlooking a pond with alligators.  )A sentenceI never thought I'd type.)
Hanser House - just outside the resort.  Good food, but we left it too late and the boys turned hangry waiting for food.
Chive Blossom - a favorite from last year, great to sit outside and enjoy a fantastic meal.
Habenero's - pretty sure we'll find a better Mexican restaurant next time

 Solar Eclipse -  21 August

Litchfield Beach Solar Eclipse -  21 August - same day last year this beach was ours alone.

L, Mom & B

 L, Dad, B and Mom

Friday, August 4, 2017

Descendents & The Bronx @ The Fillmore

Thanks to some lawsuit Ticketmaster lost, tonight's show is paid for by them and a chance to see the Descendents close up in a small venue, after seeing them from a distance at Riot Fest in 2014.

In a twist of fate against rock and roll, I had the hardest time getting into the Fillmore tonight.  As I was driving in, Kidz Bop fans were leaving the amphitheater out the back.  Traffic was chaos.  Then it seemed the Fillmore was light on staff taking tickets and doing security checks, so I missed Late Bloomer, who I wanted to see again after seeing them open for the Screaming Females in 2013.

So first up was, for me, the unknown Bronx.  From the get go I thought this band was special.  Singer Matt Caughthran was up for a good night, and it showed from the outset.  His bouncing/stalking/rocking out from the first song set a high standard for the night's energy.  It took only 3 songs for him to dive out into the crowd and by half way through the set he was back in the crowd, controlling the pit, blasting out 4 songs.  All the while the rest of The Bronx delivered a faultless, driving beat that forced energy into the Fillmore.  I knew nothing about this band before I came in (and I don't wanna be the guy on his phone typing song names to try and remember what was what), but you can bet that I am going to look for more of their stuff to listen to, and hope they come back, even if it's as Mariachi El Bronx, real soon.

I don't remember The Descendents being that big in Australia.  Maybe I was too young and not yet into punk.  But as my music awareness expanded, you hear of the importance of this band.  That's what I came to see more of tonight.  Starting with Everything Sux, The Descendents spent the next hour blasting out song after song that people around me remembered with fondness and belted out at the top of their voices.  I Like Food is the only song of their's I actually know - and I got my 15 seconds of bliss about 2/3rds of the way through the set.  While The Descendents had a ferocity that defied their age, it was a little amusing to see  singer Milo use oxygen between songs.  

A great high energy show from both bands, who I would see again any time they passed through town.

Descendents Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, Hypercaffium Spazzinate

The Crap Facts:
This is my 430th concert.
This is my 21st concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 64th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 72nd concert in North Carolina.
This is my 235th concert in the USA.
The Bronx is the 496th band I've seen.
This is my 2nd Desecendents concert.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Primus & Clutch @ CMCU Amphitheater

To tell you the truth, I wouldn't know a Clutch song if I fell over it.  I know Neil Fallon did an awesome version of American Waste on Rollins' West Memphis 3 CD years ago, and that was enough to get me to their Primus opening slot.  As usual for the outdoor show, rain in the area was trying to put a dampener (no pun intended) on things.  The rain eased to a drizzle and Clutch hit the stage as I walked from my car into the venue.  I went side stage (where I watch the poorly sounded Bush last year).  A few core fans there had the benefit of a new, extra speaker, so the sound was great.  I still don't really know a Clutch song, but they had the crowd engaged in their 75 minute set (Pretty long for an opener, right?).

Clutch Setlist Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, Psychic Warfare

Before Primus came on I tried to take advantage of the $10 seat upgrade offer the venue was advertising.  I assumed as a single I'd be good for an OK spot.  But apparently you can only pay with a credit card on your phone, and I'm too old and paranoid for that.  However, they accept cash only for a VIP seat upgrade.  What? Considering the amount of empty seats in both sections, sounds like a policy that needs to be reviewed.

Primus came out and it didn't take too much to realize they were going to rehash setlists from the last 2 times I saw them (last year with Tool, and the year before with Dinosaur Jr).  While their visuals that accompany the songs are great, it is time to mix it up a bit - new videos or how about adding some different songs to the playlist.  Frizzle Fry was the first great song for the night for me.  And Mr Krinkle is an all time favorite, so there is no denying the joy of that video / song combination.  Damned Blue Collard Tweekers got the crowd out of a mid-set funk and the new song, The Seven, is as Primus-y as you can get.  Except for the intro to The Seven, and Claypool having a dig at drummer, Alexander, for missing the end of Mud, audience interaction was at a minimum.  Only an extended Southbound Pachyderm was played as an encore and I didn't feel that the show had all the energy you usually find at a Primus gig.  We'll let them off with this being the first show of the tour - but I hope it gets better for the crowd's sake.  Don't get me wrong - I'll come back until I hear Tommy The Cat again, but lets hope that is sooner rather than later.

Primus Setlist Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, 2017 Summer U.S. Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 429th concert.
This is my 8th concert at CMCU Amphitheater.
This is my 63rd concert in Charlotte.
This is my 71st concert in North Carolina.
This is my 234th concert in the USA.
Clutch is the 495th band I've seen.
This is my 9th Primus concert.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Deftones & Rise Against @ CMCU Amphitheater

Ahhh! Rain and the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheater go hand in hand more often than not.  This is the 3rd time I've stood in the rain for a show here (Violent Femmes/Barenaked Ladies & Weezer), and 2 other times we didn't even bother to turn up (Counting Crows & Ray LaMontaigne).

As per usual I see Rise Against because of a good line up.  However, they are growing on me.  Some great energy tonight and a lot of humble appreciation being thrown to the crowd for coming out in such horrible conditions.  I actually sat in my car for 15 minutes deciding whether I'd go in or not.  Definitely glad I did.  Ready To Fall kicked off the frenzy of Rise Against fans (these are some loyal people - the girl I was next to was talking about this being her 12th show - she happened to be in Charlotte for work and is going again next Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida).  A few other songs I was familiar with like Savior, Re-Education and Prayer For The Refugee littered the 50 minute set.  A couple of new ones thrown in as well fit in quiet nicely to Rise Against sound.

Like a lot of the older people in the crowd, I waited in the rain for the Deftones - some of the Rise Against kids left early (not knowing the greatness that came before their time).  From the get go the Deftones brutal sound had the crowd amped.  My Own Summer (my favorite song of theirs) was the 2nd song played and it sounded great.  Chino was on fine form, letting everyone know it was his birthday.  He played the crowd well, getting off the stage a few times to the delight of all nearby.  Rosemary was awesome, as was Knife Prty and Change.  I love Deftones use of the quite/loud dynamic, mixed in with slower and faster beats.  And Chino is a great frontman - better when he's not playing the guitar.  Age has not wearied the Deftones.  This show was as intense as any of the other 4 I've seen dating back to the Australian version of The Warped Tour in 1999.  With that in mind, I can't wait til they come back through Charlotte.

Deftones Setlist Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, Till the End

This is my 428th concert.
This is my 7th concert at CMCU Amphitheater.
This is my 62nd concert in Charlotte.
This is my 70th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 233rd concert in the USA.
This is my 5th Rise Against concert.
This is my 5th Deftones concert.
Deftones are the 50th band I've seen at least 5 times.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tegan & Sara @ Fillmore

So my knowledge of Tegan & Sara is limited to a few tracks from The Con & So Jealous.  However they were so good at Riot Fest in 2014 (my surprise pick - I wanted them to be good, and they were great) that I had to see them do their on show, in a small venue.  Needless to say, since those albums they have more of a pop sound to them.

The band came out to I'm So Excited blaring.  A more appropriate song for the crowd at the time, there has never been.  Everyone was hyped, and from that moment on Tegan and Sarah could not (ad did not) do wrong.  You could tell that circle of energy was happening.  The band has enjoying themselves, so the crowd was getting into it, so the band was having a blast and so on.

Banter between songs was good enough for any comedy club, and the girls' connection with the audience was heartfelt.  The music had the Fillmore non-stop dancing.  The Con and Nineteen were highlights for me, but the whole set was outstanding.  Throw in Walking With A Ghost during the 3 song encore, and you have one of the great pop shows I've seen.

While the direction of the music wasn't what I expected, it made their Riot Fest set even the more better, by playing what was appropriate for that crowd.  Fun was had by band and crowd alike.  While their musical style was not what I'd usually listen to, I'd have no hesitation in seeing Tegan & Sara again.

Tegan and Sara Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, Love You to Death

The Crap Facts:
This is my 427th concert.
This is my 20th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 61st concert in Charlotte.
This is my 69th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 232nd concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Tegan & Sara concert.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville, NC

This is the show I have been waiting over 20 years to see again. And with mum in town to look after the boys, I even got Amy to come along.  We got to Asheville with enough time to have a quick bite at Southern Kitchen & Bar, after scoring an amazing parking space in front of the restaurant, around the corner from the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.

I was told the show started at 8, so of course I was in my seat 10 minutes early, which therefore lead to the Bad Seeds coming on stage 20 minutes late.  While the band started with 3 tracks from the unknown-to-me Skeleton Tree, it was clear that Nick Cave owned the stage.  He has that "it" factor, that won't let you take your eyes off him.  The crowd (yea, I'm not the oldest) erupted when the inevitable "I wanna tell you about a girl..." line preceded From Her to Eternity.  I was hooked!  Tupelo followed, the Jubilee Street, a song I was not familiar with, delivered the greatest line of the night (and one I'll use from now on) "And a ten ton catastrophe on a sixty pound chain" The Bad Seeds then played the stunning 1-2 of Ship Song and the ever-beautiful Into My Arms.  Oh!, then it got better.  From the first chime of Red Right Hand I got chills all over.  Such an awesome song.  Between his smooth voice and the cacophony of instruments, Cave stalked the stage.  And his improvised Trump lyrics - spot on.

"You'll see him in your nightmares
You'll see him in your dreams
You'll see him on the internet
You'll read his angry little tweets"

The Mercy Seat was also out of this world.  And the encore....Oh My God!  Starting with the fact that everyone was craving more, Cave started with The Weeping Song, straight into Jack The Ripper, and then sent the crowd and band into a frenzy with Stagger Lee.  It was phenomenal!  He then finished with the quieter Push The Sky Away, but in accordance with his repoire with the crowd throughout the show, he sung the song while climbing through the crowd, ending up about 5 rows in front of us.

And absolute marvel of a night.  I thought Flaming Lips would be hard to beat for a show, but Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds blew them away.  It was easy to drive back to Charlotte after the concert, I was so pumped.  I will make it a mission not to wait 21 1/2 years to see the Bad Seeds again. I think we even turned Amy into a fan.  She said it well, saying while it's not usually the music she'd listen to, there is no denying Nick Cave is a mastery of the English language.  A modern day poet!

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds "Push The Sky Away"

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Setlist Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville, NC, USA 2017, Skeleton Tree

The Crap Facts:
This is my 426th concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
This is my 5th concert in Asheville.
This is my 68th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 231st concert in the USA.
This is my 3rd Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds concert.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Paul Simon @ CMCU Amphitheater

I do like it when I get a chance to see a show with mum when she comes to town.  We've seen a couple of great ones before.  Namely Elton John and Santana.  This is another one to add to the collection.

Because it was at the outdoor CMCU Amphitheater, Amy decided not to come in order to not to enforce her rain curse on us.  So I actually went to a concert with my mum and in-laws (I sound like a kid).  I got my usual seats about 20 rows from the stage, just left of center.  And as always these were great.

Paul Simon walked out to a standing ovation and then proceeded to dazzle the audience song after song from the beginning.  I wouldn't say I am a fan of his, but there are the songs that just about everyone knows, and there was plenty of those scattered through the set for me.  

Boy In The Bubble was a great start.  America was a song I didn't realize I knew.  My highlight half way through the set was Me & Julio Down by The School Yard.  When he finished with a couple of Graceland hits, Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes and You Can Call Me Al, the crowd was going crazy.

A 3 song encore before he cam back out with a mellower Questions For The Angels, and we started heading for the exit.  He did play Sounds Of Silence as his only song for a 3rd encore, but fortunately he skipped the song I really wanted to hear - Mrs Robinson.

Never really thought I'd see Paul Simon, but this was a good show.  His voice is fantastic - he sounds no different than I remember hearing on record.  Clocking in at over 2 1/2 hours, another veteran performer has shown stamina and showmanship that is definitely lacking with some of today's bands.

Paul Simon Setlist Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, 2017 U.S. Summer Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 425th concert.
This is my 6th concert at CMCU Amphitheater.
This is my 60th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 67th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 230th concert in the USA.
Paul Simon is the 494th band I've seen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Franz Ferdinand @ The Underground

8 years ago I got to see Franz Ferdinand at Coachella, so I was a little surprised to see them at a small venue like The Underground.  It least the venue was filled.  Quite a nice bar, and a great sound in the venue, but again with a VIP area.  Give me a break.

Franz Ferdinand walked out to rapturous applause and set the tone of rock from the the first song. Do You Want To was an early favorite as the band excelled in their jumpy stop-start then changing tempo sound.  The crowd and band were feeding off each other well.  The more the crowd was into it, the more the band had fun.  That circle continued to the build up of Take Me Out - where the place went nuts.  Ulysses finished off the main set, but Franz Ferdinand were not done.  A 3 song encore was topped off with a wildly loved This Fire, sending the crowd into one last final frenzy.

Very glad I came to this show.  While I'm not an avid listener to Franz Ferdinand they were so good at Coachella that I wanted to see how they'd do in a smaller setting.  Tyey definitely did not disappoint.

Franz Ferdinand Setlist The Underground, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, 2017 North American Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 424th concert.
The Underground is the 120th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 59th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 66th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 229th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Franz Ferdinand concert.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Sonics & Dex Romweber Duo @ Neighborhood Theater

I was as excited for this concert as I have been forever.  Ever since seeing Jack White talk about Flat Duo Jets on the It May Get Loud movie I have wanted to see a version of this band.  And now Dex Romweber is opening for The Sonics.  The Sonics!  The original garage / punk band!  For Christmas I got a record player and a $50 gift voucher from Lunchbox Records.  Amongst other things I bought Here Are The Sonics, and rarely has another album got a spin.

Was surprised to see a small stage set up next to the bar, and the big room curtained off.  I got there right on 8pm as Romweber was due to take the stage and there was only a small crowd.  (Charlotte wouldn't know great rock if it blasted them in the face.)  He and his drummer then proceeded to school everyone in high speed 12 bar blues, surf rock, rockabilly.  And then every other song was an Elvis-esque slower number.  What a performance!

You know if Dex Romweber is your opener then you need to put on an awesome show to even come close to satisfying your fans.  And that is exactly what The Sonics did....

Sonics saxophonist Rob Lynd was interviewed for Creative Loafing this week and seemed excited to play for a now-home crowd in the story.  That was nothing.  His beaming smile lit up the room as he walked out on stage and never left over the next 90 minutes.  From the get go the crowd was having a blast.  (At one point I looked around and every single person in the small venue was dancing.)  Have Love, Will Travel is one of my favorite songs, so to hear it live was amazing.  A sped up Keep A Knockin', Louie Louie and the Kinks' Hard Way were 3 great songs in a row.  Boss Hoss and Money blew everyone away and to finish the night, Psycho, where everyone went...well...psycho.  After a quick break The Sonics were back on stage to tear through a 3 song encore, finishing the night with a wildly fun version of The Witch.

Overall only The Cure at PNC Pavilion last year can rate as good a show as I've seen in Charlotte.  Last night was amazing!  Dex Romweber and The Sonics are the perfect combination for a valued rock and roll show.  Anytime they come back to town or nearby, I'll be there.

(PS. Neighborhood Theater can you please do something about your air-conditioning.  I sweated buckets again last night before the bands even started.)

The Sonics Setlist Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 423rd concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Neighborhood Theater.
This is my 58th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 65th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 228th concert in the USA.
Dex Romweber Duo are the 492nd band I've seen.
The Sonics are the 493rd band I've seen.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Weezer @ CMCU Amphitheater

As always when I buy a ticket for Amy to see a concert at this outdoor venue, the weather turns for the worse.  Barenaked Ladies and Violent Femmes 2 years ago, and Ray Lamontaine and Counting Crows last year.  The weather, combined with Leland's illness, meant I ended up going solo.

Upon arrival I was charged $5 for parking, an unwelcome first after coming here for 25 odd shows in the last 4 years.  That and the sticker shock of a $14 Corona means, for me, the concert experience is slowly deteriorating (sorry, old man rant over....for now).  I had general admission tickets for tonight's show and that area was packed.  What surprised me was the amount of empty seats closer to the stage, and the lack of effort by the venue to try and get people to fill them.  Considering they will suck the money out of your wallet for parking and a beer, you'd think they's sell those seats for a few extra bucks to get the area in front of the band full.  I would've thought the band would prefer that, but that's why I'm an Uber driver and not the venue manager.

Because of the threat of rain I didn't arrive until Weezer were due on stage, missing Catfish and The Bottlemen.  Anyway 15 minutes late Weezer strode on and straight into the ever catchy Hash Pipe.  Followed by My Name Is Jonas, it was a great start to the show.  A mid-section lull was diminished by Beverly Hills and then Undone, Island In The Sun and Say It Ain't So.  And then they walked off stage.  It was just 45 minutes.  Are you fucking kidding me?  May they were coming back for another set?  Nope!  An encore of El Scorcho and Buddy Holly before signing off for the night.  Don't get me wrong, the songs they picked for the set were great, but one hour and that's it?  At least the rain held off.

Short sets seem to be a common theme for Weezer shows.  I've written that twice before.  I've always enjoyed Weezer's music and when they play live they are good, but when it comes to value for money, I think this might be my last show of theirs for a while.

Weezer Setlist Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 422nd concert.
This is my 5th concert at CMCU Amphitheater.
This is my 57th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 64th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 227th concert in the USA.
This is my 5th Weezer concert.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Midnight Oil & Boytoy @ Fillmore, Silver Spring, MD

I honestly thought this day may never come again.  It's been 19 years since I last saw the Oils (a hometown gig at the Ming in 98 - with my mum!).  Then they retired just after I should of seen them with Regs in 2002.  But now they're back.  And even that didn't guarantee anything.  I forgot about tickets going on sale and Atlanta had sold out before I got the chance.  A few weeks later I found a ticket for the Silver Spring show and bought it before working out how to get there.  Fortunately a free United ticket made it easy to get to DC.  So here I am! OILS!

Boytoy had an unenviable task of opening to a crowd dying to see the Oils again.  However, they handled it magnificently!  Their surf/rock sound was sharp and the 3 ladies from Brooklyn made the crowd forget why they were there for 45 minutes.  Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl was my favorite of the night.  Loved the no bass sound of their set.  Hope to see them come through Charlotte soon.

Boytoy Setlist The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD, USA 2017

I could not have asked for a better venue to see the return of the Oils than the Fillmore in Silver Spring.  I was up front in front of Bones and had a clear view of stage and the audience.  When they started the set with Profiteers and Progress I thought we were going to be in for an old school night.  The kind all Aussies who grew up on Head Injuries and Place Without A Postcard would want.  But we're in the US, and they have a different set of favorites here, and Midnight Oil were very accommodating to that.  Blossom & Blood was great but then there was a lot of slower stuff, like they were catching their breath.  It was not until the last third of the set, when they fired up Power & The Passion, that I was back into it fully.  Beds Are Burning set the crowd alight (no pun intended) and Blue Sky Mine closed out the main set.  The Dead Heart and Dreamworld was a great encore, but they weren't finished as they came back, much to the delight of the sold-out Fillmore and played Tin Legs and King Of The Mountain, which got the best reaction of the night.

Don't get me wrong, it was worth the flight to DC, the traffic to Silver Spring, and the shitty accommodation near the airport to see one of my all time favorite bands.  But remember, my dad had been playing Midnight Oil in our house for 40 years, and I loved all that early stuff.  As it is, a band with a large catalog can only play so many songs.  While I'd have killed to hear US Forces, Stand In Line and Don't Wanna Be The One, I think I'd have to head back to Australia to do so.  Great to see them back.  Hope they continue to tour - and maybe play at the Fillmore in Charlotte next time instead.

Midnight Oil Setlist The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD, USA 2017, The Great Circle 2017 World Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 421st concert.
The Fillmore is the 119th venue I've seen a concert.
Silver Spring is the 51st city I've seen a concert.
Maryland is the 15th state I've seen a concert.
This is my 226th concert in the USA.
Boytoy are the 491st band I've seen.
This is my 6th Midnight Oil concert.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Gogol Bordello & In The Whale @ Fillmore

You can never go wrong enjoying yourself at a Gogol Bordello show.  And tonight is no exception.

In The Whale had just started when I arrived and I'm so glad I saw all this.  This may be my new favorite band.  Rock n roll is not dead.  This 2 piece from Denver know what great music is, and how to get a crowd into.  Sure it is an unknown opening band, but in the end people were going mental.. Girlfriend was the highlight.  With the help of Gogol hype-man, Pedro Erazo, In The Whale bought the crowd, literally, to it's knees during Girlfriend, only to send them into a frenzy at the screaming last chorus.  It was absolutely wild!  I'm sure In The Whale left with a number of new fans tonight (but the Peyton rules, Cam sucks during the last song may have put a dent in that.

It was disappointing to see the Fillmore only half full tonight.  Charlotte will happily complain when good bands play all around us (Asheville, Carrboro, Greensboro, Atlanta etc) but when a great one comes through you get a piss-weak turnout.  This didn't matter to Gogol Bordello.  Actually I think they wouldn't care if no-one showed up.  They will have an awesome time regardless.  From the opening notes of  Break Into Your Higher Self singer, Eugene Hutz, was in full swing.  By Immigrant Punk he was too sweaty to have a shirt.  And nobody in the audience wasn't dancing.  Dogs Are Barking and Think Locally, Fuck Globally are familiar to me and definitely highlights, as was the friend they bought on stage to add a flamenco sound to a few songs - not sure who he was, but he was amazing.  A four song encore ended with Hutz throwing a drum into the crowd, stage diving after it, and standing above an adoring crowd, like that's what you always do.

I left the show upbeat and exhausted, I can only imagine how long it took the band to come down from that kind of 2 hour high energy.

Gogol Bordello Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 420th concert.
This is my 19th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 56th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 63rd concert in North Carolina.
This is my 225th concert in the USA.
In The Whale are the 490th band I've seen.
In The Whale are the 100th different band I've seen in North Carolina.
This is my 4th Gogol Bordello concert.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Dinosaur Jr & Easy Action @ Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC

Dinosaur Jr in Carrboro - ok, if I must!  On the night that UNC play in the NCAA Final Four I head into town for another blasting from Dinosaur Jr.

Easy Action are a rocking opener that the crowd seemed a little intimidated by.  Singer John Brannon has a confrontational look (not unlike my own Resting Bitchy Face) and it plays through in their music.  Driving, four-on-the-floor, rock n roll.  The way it's meant to be.

Somewhere between the car and the venue I lost my always-needed-for-Dinosaur-Jr earplugs.  Thankfully the bar at the Cat's Cradle were there to rescue me.  As usual the band casually appear on stage to no fanfare and just start doing what they do best.  Thumb opened the show, but for me it got cooking at The Wagon (one of a few songs where the earplugs have to come out)  Out There was fantastic, and I love the faster live version of Feel The Pain.  The Where You Been album was when I first got into the band, so Start Chopping was great to hear as well.  Plenty of plays from the the new Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not - which carries of that distinctive Dinosaur Jr sound.  Freak Scene was played near the end (which is an all time favorite song of mine).  And I thought a perfect way to end the night.  That is until some Easy Action joined the band for a TV Eye encore.  Dinosaur Jr playing The Stooges - I was happier than all the UNC students going nuts over their narrow victory in bars all around us.

I realized another piece of the live Dinosaur Jr experience for me tonight.  While J Mascis looks cool, calm and some may say uninterested, Lou rocks out a sweaty storm on the other side of the stage.  While in the middle Murph drives the yin and yang of the other 2 at the same time.  A visual juxtaposition added to the great music, makes for an awesome band.

Dinosaur Jr. Setlist Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC, USA 2017

The Crap Facts:
This is my 419th concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Cat's Cradle.
This is my 2nd concert in Carrborro.
This is my 62nd concert in North Carolina.
This is my 224th concert in the USA.
Easy Action are the 489th band I've seen.
Easy Action are the 250th American band I've seen.
This is my 7th Dinosaur Jr concert.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Flaming Lips & Clipping @ The Fillmore

No mention of an opening act anywhere so I didn't race to the Fillmore early.  I did walk in to the sounds of Clipping, a rap/electronica group, and instantly I was taken aback.  Generally I don't like a lot of rap, but this was good.  Clipping has an off-beat flow, and time changes, gradual and sudden, that sound amazing.  They worked well with the already there Flaming Lips props, and while their musical style makes for an unusual pairing with Flaming Lips, you can tell there would be a great mutual creative appreciation.  There is also a sense of humor in his lyrics that was relatable to the audience.  By the time his set had finished, the full Fillmore was lapping it up.  I would definitely go back and see one of their shows again.

This is my 3rd Flaming Lips show, and so far my favorite (though that 1st one in Vegas comes super close).  The Fillmore was packed to the rafters and within the first few bars of Race For The Prize was filled with confetti and beach balls.  Wayne Coyne looked like he was ready for a good time, while the band hid behind blowup stage props and streamers.  As they played There Should Be Unicorns, Coyne jumped on a full size stuffed unicorn and was dragged through the crowd, much to everyone's crushing delight.  He passed within inches of me, but I was not quick enough to get a picture.  Another prop the crowd soaked up was the "Fuck Yeah Charlotte!" balloons, which the girl in front of me was determined to get as many as possible.  Coyne got into his hamster ball and rolled out into the crowd to sing Bowie's Space Oddity, in which he was drowned out by the crowd going apeshit.  Highlight of the night - and maybe of all Fillmore shows.  Overall a great spectacular - now just a gig.  Visually and audio-wise it was sensory overload.  Do You Realize finished out the 2nd encore, and I bet people will be talking about that show in Charlotte for a long time.

The Flaming Lips Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2017, 2017 Spring Tour

The Crap Facts:
This is my 418th concert.
This is my 18th concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 55th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 61st concert in North Carolina.
This is my 223rd concert in the USA.
Clipping are the 488th band I've seen.
This is my 3rd Flaming Lips concert.
Flaming Lips are the 100th time I've seen a band in Charlotte.