Saturday, November 8, 2008

Electric Six/Local H, November 8 at the Casbah

I wouldn't even have put together this combination, especially with Local H, who had a hit back in the day, opening for the Electric Six, another, almost equally obscure band, but I’m a fan who would see either of their individual shows so this was a no-brainer for me. But I don't care about their popularity, as long as they're doing a show near me. I had something going on the night of their L.A. date but luckily bands don’t jump too far for their next shows. In this case they were playing the Casbah in San Diego, the same place the Electric Six played almost exactly a year ago and where Local H headlined their own show just a few months ago. Brian got tickets again and brought along some friends, a few who hadn't seen the Six and none of whom had ever seen (or heard) Local H. I tried to convert them into fans but, as so often is the case, they were too drunk by the time the bands went on to be able to appreciate it. But the Electric Six did their show, which was very similar to the last time we saw them, just with some new songs (and Dick had a new cape for the opener (“Flashy Man”), over the cape for the next opening song (“It’s Showtime”)), which isn't a bad thing, since it's always a fun show. If they were a local band who weren't signed and they played a place down the street every week, I'd be there every week.

Local H do their own show and I wonder how many fans they shared with the Six (besides me). I saw a lot of Local H T-shirts in the crowd. Local H generally like to piss off their own fans, who are usually too drunk to not be morons by the time the band take the stage (there’s a group of people that “High-Fiving MF” was written for), but here, having an abbreviated opening slot, they knew they weren’t going to make anyone happy. So they played some stuff off their new album, stretched out a lot of songs a lot longer than they needed to be, threw in a Pixies cover, skipped their one hit (the “Copasetic” song), and made me deaf for a few days (though the Six helped out with that as well).

Local H's set:*
"Heaven on the Way Down"
"BMW Man"
"Back in the Day"
"Michelle" (might be in a different order)
"Simple Pleas"
"Hands on the Bible"
"California Songs"
"Fuck Yeah, That Wide"

Electric Six's set:*
"Flashy Man"
"It's Showtime"
"We Were Witchy Witchy White Women"
"Down at McDonnelzz"
"Gay Bar"
"Slices of You"
"Dirty Ball"
"Rock n' Roll Excavation"
"Improper Dancing"
"Danger! High Voltage"
"The Future is in the Future"
"Heat is Rising"
"I Buy the Drugs"
"Dance Epidemic"
"Germans in Mexico"

"Gay Bar Part Two"
"Lenny Kravitz"
"Formula 409"
"Dance Commander"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

TV on the Radio, November 6 at the Wiltern

A TV on the Radio show can be a lot to take in. Even if you're familiar with their music (and that can be a lot to ask for since there's so much going on in every song, and usually so much weirdness, as beautiful and mesmerizing as it can be), they still change up every track in concert like they're mixing it for the first time. It can be a challenging experience but rewarding if you can get into it (which isn't always a guarantee). Very bass-heavy music, very unpredictable, and very experimental, which is what I love about it but it's better to put it on in the background and let it crawl into your consciousness, rather than giving it your full attention all at once. It also didn't help that the sound in the place couldn't make the vocals less muddy but it might have just been the disadvantage of being in the balcony, where I was (since it took me so long to get around to getting a ticket. I didn't think the floor would sell out but it did, though I didn't mind being able to sit during a show). It wasn't a bad performance, it was just hard to get into. I can't say I recognized too many of the songs, or they were just remixed beyond recognition (though of course I could discern personal-favorite "Hours," crowd-pleaser "Wolf Like Me," and closer "Staring at the Sun," which sounded better in San Diego). I couldn't find a set-list online but in the reviews of it I read, apparently Karen O and Nick Zanner (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) came out on a stage (and I didn’t recognize them), along with a crowd that included openers the Dirtbombs, to play along to one of the songs.

The Dirtbombs were a revelation. Playing dirty scuzz-rock that didn't quite seem to fit the environs of the Wiltern (especially since the sound-system in the place couldn't handle the volume) but they were great. No fat on their bones and they tore through it. I've rarely understood the need for two drummers, especially if they're playing the same thing (not one drummer then a percussionist) but they know better than me. For fun, at the end of their set, each member left the stage individually, first the singer then the guitarists, breaking down and taking their instruments with them as one drummer took his floor tom and jumped into the audience while playing it, the other drummer keeping the beat. Then, when their own instruments were cleared, the rest of the band came back to break down the remaining drummer's kit, while he was still playing and the other drummer was standing on the bass drum and helping keep the beat. They kept taking parts of the drum kit away, one piece at a time, until it was just the drummer with the last of it and then they were done. It was a fairly silly gesture but something I've never seen and a lot of fun. I would like to see them again, hopefully in a bar or small club, which would be a lot better suited for them, if not for the headlining band as well.