Articles

  • Shonen Knife, 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis, Nov. 11, 2011

    18 nov. 2011, 0h55m

    少年ナイフ a.k.a. Shonen Knife played 7th Street Entry last Friday. It was the most fun show I've seen in a long long while.

    7th Street Entry is a very good place to see Shonen Knife. It's a fairly small club with a low close stage. Unless you flew to Japan or something, you couldn't do better for seeing them.

    The Blind Shake

    The Blind Shake were great. They are a local band. They are, simply, a great high-energy live band. I'd definitely go see them again. They addressed this issue after coming onstage and before starting up: "We're from here." (Translated: come see us!)

    They are a sort of loud aggressive stomping garage rock, with a pretty fierce preciseness to how they played. I loved their double detuned Danelectro guitar sound. This video conveys them well, though the sound muddies up in the louder parts.

    Heavy Cream

    There has been an interesting similarity in some recent shows I've seen. A distinct contrast between a formidable and intense frontwoman presence during songs, with a different shyer or more reserved or milder or more regular-person presence in between-song stage patter. Marissa Paternoster with Screaming Females, Yasuko Onuki with Melt-Banana, and Jessica McFarland with Heavy Cream all do some variation of it.

    Here's the video for their pop single. And then, for capturing performance, maybe this one.

    I liked this band. I'd go see them again. I don't remember so much about their performance, a week later, partly I think because there was a bit of lessening in audience energy during their set. Audience enthusiasm is just so vital, for actually making a great performance. Which point brings us to Shonen Knife.

    Shonen Knife

    Shonen Knife came out to the Shonen Knife Intro Ditty. They paraded around some banners. I don't know what the banners said. Probably "Shonen Knife."

    The setlist was (I might have gotten the order of some songs wrong here): a bunch of Shonen Knife songs.

    There was a Shonen Knife song. And then another. And then another. And then, maybe, the one about being a cat. And then another song. At somewhere around this point, the crowd came crashing into me. They had all set about dancing, and announced their collective presence about it.

    My favorite song was Antonio Baka Guy. That was second to last. The slow sludgy part was extra slow and sludgy.

    I also really liked Perfect Freedom. Which is a riff rocker questioning the Sex Pistols. I can't make out Shonen Knife politics. I don't suspect many people can.

    I also liked, as another recent song, Capybara. Which has more lilting island rhythms.

    After the show was over, the band went away. I think they paraded around some banners first. I don't know what the banners said.

    Then they put on the Ramones Intro Ditty. And the Osaka Ramones came out. The Osaka Ramones wear leather jackets and stuff.

    The setlist was a bunch of Ramones songs. Blitzkrieg Bop, Beat on the Brat, Pinhead, Rock n Roll High School, the KKK Took My Baby Away. Songs like that.

    There was more singing along. There was more dancing about. I walked away from the show reeking of beer. Somehow, Pabst's Blue Ribbon got spilled all over my head. A fun time was had by all.

    [Shonen Knife does tour blogging. About Minneapolis, Emi, Ritsuko, and Naoko.]
  • Screaming Females, Minneapolis, Oct. 21

    22 oct. 2011, 23h17m

    Screaming Females played to a (what the fuck?) one-third full house at the Triple Rock on a Friday night.

    First band The Pinch played enjoyable surf punk. They've obviously been in other bands before, but this was their first perfomance as this band. The frontwoman played driving traditional rhythm on a Danelectro. Her blue dress and brown cowboy boots gave the impression that their surfing beach is actually out on the prairie somewhere. The keyboard player does Exene-style discordant singing.

    A fuzzed-up distortion-pedal psych-rock revival is in full swing now. The (relatively) cleaner Dick Dale or Link Wray tone is historical root to later 60s psychedelic rock, and it makes The Pinch sort of, appropriate, to open this show.

    Puppies And Trains is a Minneapolis power trio with a bit of math rock and post-punk fracture to it. The songs seemed very well written. They've got the hot and biting SG guitar tone. The bassist jumped around somewhat like a 40-year-old Tommy Stinson. (Which, actually, Tommy is himself now.)

    The Underground Railroad to Candyland is a flat out dance-punk party band. They've got a keyboard player, an electric guitar player, an acoustic-playing singer/frontman, a bass player, and a trombone player. They all combine to create a fun jumping spastic racket. They seemed to have brought a number of fans there to see them more than the Screamales.

    After the set was over, they put on The Entertainer - Theme, and the band all hopped around the stage like monkeys. This is Artistic Statement.

    Screaming Females. Marissa Paternoster wore a plain black dress, with a bit of white trim at the collar. Plain dress nearly as in plain dress.

    The stand-out song was Lights Out, second to last before the encore. It's always nice when one of your favorite songs turns out to be the energy highlight in a show.

    At the end of the set, the Females (Marissa, King Mike) turned their pedals to squalling sustain, put their guitars in the hands of front row audience members, and walked off stage.

    This is Artistic Statement. You, too, can get Marissa Paternoster virtuosic noise out of an electric guitar. The audience members did a pretty good job of it, up till the band walked back in for the encore.

    Generally, though, the audience was pretty well comatose. A stand there and snap cell-phone photographs type of crowd.

    This made the show an unresolved combination of a) a jaw-dropping amazing show, a show to always remember, and b) more just a solid professional show from a very good touring band, and I'm very glad I went.

    Dick Dale - Let's Go Trippin'.
    The Underground Railroad to Candyland - Body of the Bird.
    L7 - Pretend We're Dead.
    Screaming Females - Lights Out.

    Fri 21 Oct – Screaming Females, The Underground Railroad to Candyland, The Pinch, Puppies And Trains
  • Wild Flag, Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, Oct. 3, 2011

    11 oct. 2011, 19h37m

    Mon 3 Oct – Wild Flag, yellowfever

    Wild Flag does not want to just take their old devoted fan bases down from the shelf, dust them off, crank the wind-up knobs in their backs, and set them to jumping about and singing along and such.

    I took myself down from the shelf, dusted myself off, cranked the wind-up knob in my back, and set to jumping about and singing along and such. Guy next to me, front row center, was doing the same.

    The singing along took me by surprise. The album had been out for, what, three weeks? "You don't have, to confess, to sleeping in the (mumble mumble)". Well, OK, I know that lyric. But I don't know all of them yet. Especially not in a deep down in my soul way.

    Opening band: YellowFever. I liked them. It was a good set. They are well suited to opening for Wild Flag.

    Standout song: Glass Tambourine.

    Audience: Enthusiastic, polite, restrained. Cheering and clapping, but not much dancing. This wasn't a wild show or anywhere near one. Oh well.

    Questions of an appropriate level of judgment swirl here. It will take time to work it out. This AV Club interview is very good about the issues. The way the album repeatedly talks about artistic re-creation, and I'd add in about the relation of audience and band? It was accidental, not an intentional theme:

    AVC: A number of the songs on the album, especially “Romance” and “Electric Band,” are about playing music and being in a band, or at least make reference to it. Did you realize that was becoming a recurring theme?

    MT: It’s true. That’s just actually wasn’t a conscious decision when Carrie and I were writing lyrics, but listening back to the record, and also just listening to us play, I began to realize almost every song was about returning, maybe having lost music and returning to it and making the decision, “I can’t leave it, and I love it, and it’s my life.” It’s really weird; it wasn’t a conscious decision at all. I guess it’s just what we were going through.
  • Pillar of Salt Mix

    13 oct. 2006, 5h58m

    I think it's about a theological question, and illness as metaphor, and politics.

    It's got a pretty good spikey Go4 dance thing going, until it starts thinking about it and gets the blues, and then it makes fun of itself. Then it kind of wobbles its way back to a bit of redemption. Like I said, it's about politics.

    At SendSpace (60 MB).

    1. Poster Children - This Town Needs A Fire.
    2. The Thermals - A Pillar of Salt.
    3. Magnapop - Emergency.
    4. The Soviettes - (Do) The Stagger.
    5. Gang of Four - Natural's Not In It.
    6. Cadallaca - The Trouble With Public Places.
    7. The Rogers Sisters - Zig Zag Wanderer.
    8. Lightnin' Hopkins - Jake Leg Blues.
    9. Hasil Adkins - Chicken Walk.
    10. The Cramps - The Way I Walk.
    11. The Fiery Furnaces - Two Fat Feet.
    12. Gang of Four - Paralysed.
    13. The Rogers Sisters - Delayed Reaction.
    14. Cease Upon the Capitol - Paralysis.
    15. The Smithereens - Behind the Wall of Sleep. Thanks to ACKthehack for reminding me of this one.
    16. PJ Harvey - This Is Love.
    17. The Stooges - Rubber Legs.
    18. The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control.
  • Call the Doctor Mix

    27 sept. 2006, 17h09m

    Take a simple guitar riff. Slow it down. Fuzz it up. Repeat it. Repeat it lots. Make it all dreamy and swirly.

    Whatever else you might say about it: it's a great rock 'n roll sound. The sound is nearly defining of a certain style of grunge-influenced alterna/indie rock.

    Put in some imagery. Insects biting you. Electric towers. Purple flowers. Candles being blown out. Blood. Vomiting. What have you.

    Make it metaphor. Make it metaphor for intimacy, isolation, love, loss. Death. All your big issues.

    I'd have to single out Lucinda for the metaphor prize. Especially the use I'm making of it, because, and get this: the way she makes it out, it jilted her.

    I like the Rogers Sisters one too, that you can interpret it equally well either way, and it's kind of nasty whichever.

    Call The Doctor
    Touch Me I'm Sick
    Love Buzz
    sooner or later
    Gone So Long
    My Morphine
    Those Three Days
    Bad Obsession
    Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
    Oxycotton
    Mutiny In Heaven
    Numb (Gimme Me Some More Dignity Mix)
    Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
    Another Girl, Another Planet
    Low
    Take You
    Hold You Down
    Emergency
    Listerine

    I've got this lingering chest cold. It makes me feel all weak and tired and achy.

    YouSendIt
  • X, Boston, August 19

    20 août 2006, 13h51m

    Getting There

    I ordered a subcompact, the rental car company gave me a Monster Truck. Not exactly my preferred parking in Boston vehicle.





    The Show Time

    Show not doors at 6:30, which caught me by surprise. Also a bit harsh on the opening band, who probably hadn't yet got their coffee and breakfast.


    The Riverboat Gamblers

    A straight ahead rock 'n roll band. Enjoyed them.

    All the teeshirts are black, all the guitars are black. This is not, like, "design". It's just what they got.



    He (left) wants to be your Joey Ramone. He also wants to jump around a lot, and climb all over the speaker stacks.

    He slipped climbing back up on the stage, and decided to stay there just sing a verse from sitting on the floor.


    The Rollins Band

    I've never seen him, don't know his music. It was interesting.

    He is the world's tensest man when performing. I think he shoots up about a quart of sarin nerve agent before a show.

    When they were setting up, I wondered what the odd square of four monitors was about. It's like his boxing ring. When he isn't singing, he just squats down in a balled up athletic position and writhes and grimaces and fist pumps in contracted pained joy at it.






    X







    Exene was in a mostly surly mood, with a little bit of flouncy coquettishness thrown in. Or maybe she's always like that.

    John was down to business. One of his maybe three audience chats was "What the guy from the Riverboat Gamblers said."



    Billy I believe is posing for his picture above. He never actually read a newspaper or held a conversation with the audience, while whatever it is that plays his guitar plays it, but he did say things to people in the front row and smile just all over.



    I never replaced most of my X albums from vinyl. It was amazing fun singing along every word of songs I've hardly heard in the last 25 years. "I like coffee I like tea..." My favorite song was The New World. I got the 4/4 singletime straight up and down "political" pogo going for it. Mr. Zoom liked it.


    The Crowd

    Comatose for the Riverboat Gamblers.

    A few Rollins Band fans moved up front for them, and genially (!) sung along, fist rolled a little.

    Quite energetic and hopping during X ;) But here it is 2006, and still those damn skinheads!
  • Saying Goodbye to Corin Tucker

    14 août 2006, 20h51m

    After the show, a big group from the messageboard waited together for the band to come out.

    I had a 5:15 a.m. flight home. I kept moving back how long I could wait considering travel conditions. Corin came outside at maybe 3:05.

    I just stepped up said I've got a taxi to the airport I had to catch. She said "awww". I said I planned to sleep for days when I got home, she said me too. I said it has all been just an awesome experience, and she said thanks. Then I said a quick goodbye to the messageboard group and got in a cab.

    The shortness of the recounted Corin conversation conveys nothing of it, the strength of the overall band/fan bond across these particular two weeks.

    I shed two tears during Let's Call It Love, two more for One More Hour, then a few more for the group hug.

    But I got in that cab and just cried. It was the perfect flawless meaningful affecting end to it all.



    [It wasn't exactly the end. I fairly literally ran into carrie_rocknrollfungal and Holly scrambling for standby flights at the airport. And Sharon was there dropping off Rachel, Rachel was on the same 5:15 Phoenix flight.]
  • Sleater-Kinney, Portland, August 12

    14 août 2006, 20h07m

    The Line

    After the first show, I went to bed at 3:30. Got up at 5:15. Walked over a river bridge and across town. Enjoyed the "Welcome Red Hot Chili Peppers fans" sign outside the Holiday Inn.

    It was always exciting, that make the last turn to the club, see if anyone is already there moment. Sharon and Todd beat me by 10 minutes, and another group first at 5:30. Props to them.

    Met Patrick from Maine I sent PDX tickets to, he was about three people below me in line. Had a beer with him not much before the show.



    Kids in Line at the Crystal Ballroom at 5 p.m. (thomk).

    Some of them you can't see way up front by the sign aren't technically kids. From the position on line and the people from San Francisco comment, this spot could have been right before Andy / Celeste / Korina / Nadya. After four days of trying for and getting front row, the final show was an odd day for them to feel the need to sleep in or want a more sedate spot, but so it goes.

    The Soundcheck

    Maybe fifteen twenty people went to the side of the club to listen to the soundcheck. From the loudness of the cheering on the city street after each song I would have guessed hundreds. Group shoutout loud enough to be heard inside for Milkshake 'n Honey. Request honored in the soundcheck. Request honored in the encore. Oh god this is a great one to be up close Corin side for.

    The Near Disaster

    OK I knew which floor to go to this time.

    About 5 minutes before doors, Carrie showed up outside, perhaps by chance but I'd guess to watch the spectacle. She slowly walked up the flights of stairs. She must have been nearly run over by dozens of sprinting fans of hers. "Final Sleater-Kinney Show Cancelled By Freak Fan/Guitar Player Collision. Band member Carrie Brownstein in stable and resting condition. Fan under heavy sedation." I just waved backwards at her as I blew by, thought "Sorry no time to stop and chat, I've got to see you."

    The Thermals

    Their songs lack dynamics: variety of beats and tempo and volume. Second night I thought they had overstayed their welcome under the heightened conditions.

    Eddie Vedder (of, you know, Pearl Jam?)

    We were worried about it when the roadies set up an acoustic guitar and a (yikes!) ukelele and what looked like SK plus him microphones. "Is there a place around here I can get some cheesy nachos for this set? Because, really, I got some attitude about this."

    I have said I never ever want to see SK members doing acoustic versions of SK songs, it would be plain wrong, and I was afraid about whose guitar it might be, that I might be getting it.

    Turned out to be short and very nicely done. A Woody Guthrie-ish call out Dick Cheney by name song. A roaring twenties style duet with Janet (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTJi5V0OB-Q, but major youtube suckage). The "there's no place in the universe I'd rather be tonight" statement.

    Sleater-Kinney


    Photo: Victor Gomez.
    Sit down, honey, let's kill some time
    Rest you head on this heart of mine


    A complete Woods set this time: Statement. A nice smattering of different early songs than the previous night.

    The first in line person got edged out of her front row center spot by another beyond the first night camerawoman, I felt very bad about that. The film crew had to do it, but I don't think the camerapeople really understood what it was, what it meant, what effort had gone into it, that they were taking away.


    The best no-holds-barred Corin belting I've ever had the pleasure listening to. Carrie brought along an extra bouncy pogo stick.

    Much better crowd behavior than the first night.

    It has been described in a number of places as moshing, but that's not the right description. Massed jam-packed unified enthusiastic swaying in time, plus pogo and thrash breakouts at all the right places.

    A woman slightly behind me called out for God Is A Number, I thought no way are they going to play that. Then shortly after they did. The guy on her right, her, and me on her left, we all shoulder to shoulder pogoed together to it. It was one of my favorite moments.

    Turn It On then One More Hour to close it, a short tearful group hug, then gone.
  • Sleater-Kinney, Portland, August 11

    14 août 2006, 19h43m

    Getting There

    Thursday was a bad day for travel.

    Tim made it from Manchester, but with stress and delays. I finally arrived at my hotel around 3:00 a.m.

    The Line

    Our group first on line, Sharon and crew second.

    Andy flying from San Francisco, Korina and Nadya after a 14-hour drive from San Francisco, Tim flying from the U.K., all showed up at around the same time maybe 6:15 a.m. I was the slacker, a failed hotel wakeup call at 5:00, got there maybe 8:00, plus Celeste at around 8:30.


    Photo: Celeste. Todd, Tim, Andy at 8:30 a.m.


    The weather was delightful for standing/sitting/lying/suncatching/sleeping on the sidewalk all day compared to 101 degrees. Some five of us more used to extreme heat bought various black fleeces from American Apparel as soon as the store opened.

    Jessica who got her PDX tickets from me was with Sharon, which I thought was cool.

    People in cars would roll down their windows ask "what band are you waiting for?" It is a bit unusual, that many people waiting for a band they have to ask "who??" (Celeste has got a cute song about this part of it: "Holy shit! Is it really Limp Bizkit?)

    The Near Disaster

    Andy knew the place, said it was spiral stairs to the third floor then straight back to the stage. I ran all the way up to the balcony/bar on the fourth floor, Celeste started getting carded to get in, I saw the balcony view and shouted turn around, turn around, ONE FLOOR DOWN!

    We must have recovered quick, because we still got front row spots. We watched a mad charge of people running to the stage just seconds after we got our spots established. The pre-positioned front center camerawoman thought it was the oddest thing she had ever seen, all those people crazy wild running towards you.

    The Poster

    Truly gorgeous. A girl with a Victorian hat and two tears in her eye, three swifts flying away, three fan buttons on the girl's jacket. Photo t/k?.

    The Thermals

    We saw the setlist, it was like a hundred songs long, didn't much like the idea of it. I liked them well enough first night. I thought the head-banging bassist was cute.

    The Crowd

    Really rude. Not the pushing forward from excitement, but the planned maneuvers to elbow past other people. I planted my arms on stage tried to give the camerawoman some room: where she was standing got really crushed. I saw some of what she was taking through the viewfinder: it was great, I hope the DVD or whatever it is will be is released soon.

    After a while I made my way back four rows then over through the madness then up front again behind Tim/Todd/Sharon on Corin side. It was a very very fun trip.

    Sleater-Kinney

    I have a difficulty putting that part of it in words. Again a Woods heavy show, with an excellent smattering of older songs. Turn It On last. Exactly what I'd want.

    S-K.net still down, Julia your best source of collected photos and setlists and reviews.
  • Sleater-Kinney, NYC, August 2

    6 août 2006, 20h22m

    This was the best and greatest Sleater-Kinney show I have seen. Therefore the best show by anyone anyplace ever. I'm not expecting it to ever be bettered.

    Front Corin-side especially was just madly moving.

    New York was always the most important and most meaningful of the shows for me anyways, more so than Portland. It was kind of what I was expecting, except more.

    A mostly Woods show, but Turn It On/One More Hour second encore, it's what I would have asked for.

    Here is Shomi, the woman with the awesome sk tattoo on her arm, sitting on the lemon yellow folding chair I schlepped from Philly. The color of the chair matched my sun parasol, you know. Apologize about the eyes closed, she takes great photos herself, including better photos of the tattoo.

    I'm an old guy, my S-K tattoo is small, but I got it after the announcement, and I had it placed right next to the scar. It might as well say "Unconditional Love". Memo to self should I ever need to be reminded of the concept.

    The Rogers Sisters opened, and I like them too.


    Photo: brooklynvegan









    Photos: brooklynvegan, me.