Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pavement/Sonic Youth/No Age, September 30 at the Hollywood Bowl

I had been dating Jaime and she goes to a lot of shows and has a lot of contacts, including a friend who works at the Hollywood Bowl. I wasn't really planning on going to the show, since I had already seen my definitive Pavement show at the Coachella, and I can give or take Sonic Youth shows, but she got tickets and I was free that night so we went. The tickets were in a box at the front, just behind the VIP boxes, but still by far the best seats that I've ever had at the Bowl. I could actually look levelly at the band on stage. Even better, the tickets were free. It's good to know people. (Though it was hardly sold-out and the day of the show I found front-row-center tickets for just over face value.) The show was as I expected it to be, though Sonic Youth played their old stuff, from well before I had ever heard of them, and that was a bit of a treat. I'm always so hot n' cold with No Age: I've liked them sometimes but here they were a lot of noise. Notable is the schedule that all the bands were on. I thought it was a bit odd that the show was starting as late as 8, which meant they'd have to really keep it moving to make the inevitable curfew. No Age went on right at that time and I don't think I've ever seen a faster break-down and set-up between bands in all the shows I've ever been to. Lee turned around the digital counter from the stage that counted down how long the band had on stage, likely showing their displeasure at being rushed (though anything that makes Sonic Youth play tighter is fine with me). After Sonic Youth, we peed and got popcorn and were standing in line for a beer when Pavement went on, meaning there was about 15 minutes between the headlining bands. When they really want to move them through they can. Pavement probably play looser when they're doing a show where they don't have an early curfew but all the times I've seen them they're pressed for time, which is probably good since they'd probably be annoying if they were slacking too much. And at 11 sharp they were done and the show was over. I can't fault the Bowl for having a curfew, since it's probably more their neighbors' doing than their own wishes, but it's a shame you can't get a later show there, or one that doesn't seem like it's in a big hurry.

Pavement's set-list:
"Cut Your Hair"
"Gold Soundz"
"Shady Lane"
"Rattled By The Rush"
"Silence Kit"
"Date With Ikea"
"Spit on a Stranger"
"Heckler Spray"
"In the Mouth a Desert"
"Summer Babe"
"Stop Breathing"
"Range Life"

Sonic Youth's set-list:
"The Sprawl"
"Cross The Breeze"
"Stereo Sanctity"
"Hey Joni"
"Death Valley '69"
"Shadow of a Doubt"
"Brother James"
"White Cross"

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the XX/Warpaint, September 22 at the Palladium

I got the XXs' debut album because there was all sorts of talk about it and I wanted to see what the big deal was about. I thought it was a little sleepy at first but after listening to it (a lot) more I really got into it and got more out of it upon each listen, the mark of the best albums. I had caught a little of them at Coachella but knew that that venue was the wrong place for them, as well as the wrong time of day (you know, when the sun was out). Andrew and Rick were planning to go to this show so I got a ticket too. (Sometimes I follow but if it's about finding something new and good then I don't mind at all.) I wouldn’t have thought that that band would fill up the Palladium (or, much less, the Fonda or the Wiltern a few months before) but they did it. I also never would have thought that they would have the crowd they did: I thought they were a buzz band, something for hipsters, but the median age there was probably half of mine. The band members are young but does that translate to having a young audience too? Not that it matters (except for being the old guy in the crowd that we used to make fun of years ago). The show itself was fairly predictable, the band doing a run-through of the album, which is short enough, making for a fairly short show, though no more could be expected from a young just starting out who drew the card for a great album and a lot of acclaim. On their next tour they'll have more material and make a better showing at doing a proper headlining show. A lot of wearing black, a lot of dim mood-lighting, never playing with more volume or energy than you could get from the album -- nothing wrong with that but certainly no surprises. Warpaint opened. They’re a local band (though they've gone well beyond that in the time since) and they’d played around a lot but somehow I constantly missed them. They were tight and professional, more cool than cold, though either could have worked, featuring layers upon layers of low-key distortion, but they showed that they could easily be headlining that stage before too long. And they'll do it when they have more than an hour of material to fill it with.

The XX’s set-list:
"Heart Skipped A Beat"
"Basic Space"
"Teardrops" (Womack & Womack cover)
"Night Time"


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Scissor Sisters, September 11 at the Palladium

A review for this show without the G-word: Scissor Sisters are best known for their flamboyant party anthems but there’s actually a lot more depth to their music than that. One of their (relative) hits was a cover of “Comfortably Numb”, for Pete’s sake. As much as there is a range of emotions and experiences on their albums, in concert it’s all flamboyant party anthems. And it makes for a pretty great party. The band know how to bring it, and they’re actually more of a well-rounded rock band than one might expect. In the studio Jake is clearly the frontman, surely one of their best assets, one of the funnest and most unique singers in rock today (especially since Erasure never had much interest in being fun), but live, Ana takes center-stage, probably more than she should -- she’s good at being back-up but seeing a confident, aggressive woman on that stage kinda works against their image. And Jake looks better in tight, black leather. The rare band that can rock a tiny club as much as hold down a slot at a festival -- the Palladium maybe being a split between those two, and a good venue for them. The only bummer from that night was Casey Spooner doing something that might be called opening, though all he did was sing -- barely capable at that -- with moldy, pre-programmed beats and none of the music engaging at all. His suit easily upstaged him. Luckily, he was smart enough to not out-live his welcome (or maybe we just got there late) and applause was polite for him, but maybe that was just because everyone wanted him off the stage. Or maybe he has a deal with West Hollywood, all of whom showed up that night. Noa and I (fresh from dinner at Roscoe’s across the street -- some of the only breasts we saw that night) were clearly the only straight ones there. Sure were a whole lot of dudes there that were really... happy.

Scissor Sisters’ set-list:
"Night Work"
"Any Which Way"
"She's My Man"
"Something Like This"
"Whole New Way"
"Tits on the Radio"
"Harder You Get"
"Running Out"
"Take Your Mama"
"Kiss You Off"
"I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
"Skin Tight"
"Skin This Cat"
"Fire with Fire"
"Paul McCartney"
"Night Life"

"Comfortably Numb" (Pink Floyd cover)
"Invisible Light"
"Filthy/Gorgeous" (with "Electrobix" snippet)


Saturday, September 4, 2010

FYF Fest, September 4 in Los Angeles

I didn't go to the FYF Fest festival. It's not even right to write a review of it here but I had bought the ticket so maybe it still counts. I've never flaked on a concert but sometimes there's nothing you can do. I couldn't do laundry two nights before so I had to do it that morning, which made me a little late to leave to Anaheim, where I had to go to register for the half-marathon I ran the next day, and there was traffic on the way there, then a bit of traffic on the way back, I went through downtown when I should have taken the 605 to Pasadena, then a little while on the train to get there, and I was at the festival at 3, to see Best Coast at 3:30, but I had to leave at 4, and it could have worked if I would have been able to get my ticket quickly and cruise right in but when I stepped off the train, the line for will-call was almost to the train, at least three hours (there was some chick about a third of the way up that was complaining very loudly on her phone that she had already been in line for an hour) and I knew that there was no time, since it took me 20 minutes just to find out that the will-call line was the one I was supposed to be in. Oh well. I heard it was a great festival except for the lines for everything. It was a great line-up, with a lot of bands I'd heard about but hadn't actually heard. I hop to go next year (if they even have). And they refunded my money so no harm, no foul. I got to ride the Gold Line for the first time and it was an adventure to go on. And the race on Sunday went real well but that's another story.