Tag Archive: concert


I just got back from the show. Even though I’m physically tired, my brain is still wide awake, so I might as well write a blog about it…

The day began with me doing a little shopping. First I went to Target and used a coupon I have for 5% off a whole day of shopping. I bought a pair of Converse, in the hopes that they will be more comfortable for standing in one place all day at work than athletic shoes, which seem to only be comfortable when you’re moving around. I also got a pair of shorts, some Sudafed, and a CD by a band called Walk The Moon. I’d never heard of them, but it looked really cool and was only $7.99, so I decided to check them out. I listened to a few songs on my phone and was sold. They’re kinda dancey, maybe like a cross between Foster The People and The Killers, but with a dash of punkish guitar, and some really sweet falsetto vocals. It might not ever be one of my favorite CD’s, but I’m pretty sure it will get plenty of spins whenever I’m in the mood for something fun.

After Target I went to Amazing Savings. I chat a lot with the girls that work there, and when I told them it was my birthday they gave me 10% off. Not too shabby. The highlight of my grocery purchase was undoubtably a frozen treat that basically amounts to a Rice Crispie Treat but with chocolate ice cream in the middle. Why did no one think of this sooner? I came home and listened to some music and did a little doodling and then got ready for the evening.

I met up with James and Nici outside of Doc Chey’s, but evidently they’re closed on Wednesdays. Sarah was running a little behind, and just as I was about to call to tell her they were closed she came walking toward us. I was still in the mood for noodles, so we opted for The Noodle Shop right down the street, which was pretty good. We all split a crunchy squid appetizer which was incredible. I got the chicken Pad Thai, which while it wasn’t amazing, was pretty good. Sarah paid for dinner and James and Nici gave me their usual random WTF-inducing Dollar Store birthday presents, which this year consisted of a box of Fiddle Faddle and some silly string. They left after dinner and Sarah and I headed to the Orange Peel.

We got there pretty early and just hung out for a while. A girl approached us and asked if the seat next to us was taken. We started talking and she mentioned how she’s here in Asheville for a summer internship and doesn’t have any friends, so she always ends up going to concerts alone. We chatted some more and exchanged numbers and talked about the possibility of going to see a show sometime. Midway through the opening band’s set she left to go to the bathroom and I never managed to track her down again. I sent her a text, so who knows, maybe she’ll make good on that and we’ll go to a concert soon.

The opening band was called Delicate Steve. Horrible name aside, they were pretty good. Their sound is an interesting mix of jam band, spacey prog rock, and a little of the Vampire Weekend style ethnic yacht rock. For the most part they were instrumental, and on the few songs that did have vocals they were mixed so low you couldn’t hear them. Their lead guitarist was absolutely incredible, using all sorts of weird sounds and tones in conjunction with blues based soloing and some slide work. The rhythm guitarist switched to synthesizer for several songs, and they had a lot of loops and samples thrown in for good measure. A few songs sounded like The Mars Volta, while others were closer to the sort of stuff that you would expect from a band opening up for Yeasayer. I’m not sure how well their sound would translate to a recording, but live it was a great experience.

During the intermission I made my way closer to the stage, while Sarah hung out in the back. When I had gotten about as close as I could I decided to just settle in and take in my surroundings. I noticed two girls, one of whom immediately caught my eye. She was extremely short with curly brown hair, with a bright red streak in it. She had a beautiful tattoo of what looked like a hummingbird on her back, but it was hard to tell because it was partly covered up by her shirt. I kept my eye on her throughout the show and decided that when it was over and I wouldn’t have to scream above the music I would say hello and tell her that I liked her tattoo and then hope for the best. However the very second the music stopped her and her friend headed straight for the back and I lost them. Oh well, maybe I’ll write a “missed connections” ad on Craigslist 😛

So by now you’re probably wondering when I’ll quit rambling about nonsense and talk about Yeasayer. Okay here goes…

Yeasayer put on a very fun, high energy, larger than life type show. There were crazy laser lights and giant mirrors, strobes and colored spotlights that blinded. The vibe was absolutely huge, it reminded me a lot of the Bear In Heaven concert I saw a few months ago. They played a pretty good mix of songs from their first two albums and songs from their upcoming disc, but they tended to focus more on the dance and rave oriented songs and shied away from ballads and their more middle eastern sounding stuff. Their new material sounds really solid, with a few unexpected sounds. One song featured a very prominent bassline and some weird percussion. Another new song was built around vaguely Latin sounding bongos, but then out of nowhere the song was taken over by keyboards that sounded like they were ripped straight out of “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails. I found it rather curious that their percussionist was standing the whole time, usually letting loops and synths take the place of the kick drum, and focusing instead on snare, bongos, and various pads and triggers. The primary singer also played a little percussion here and there, banging on a synth drum and shaking a tambourine when he wasn’t dialing up sounds on an analog synth or wandering all over the stage. The other singer usually played guitar, switching to keyboard on a few songs. When he played guitar it was usually so buried in effects that it didn’t even sound like a guitar. The same can be said for his vocals, as he often sang through a harmonizer and various other effects. There were a few songs where the two singers formed a three-part harmony with the bassist, recalling their early days in a vocal quartet. After a rather lengthy set they performed an encore consisting of two new songs and two old songs. The crowd was heavily into things from the very first note, and the band played off that energy. While it would be difficult to say that they “rocked” in a conventional sense, their performance was intense, fun, and full of great grooves and top-notch musicianship. The songs from their debut album were given new life and room to breathe, the songs on their second album sounded much better live than on CD, and based on the new songs they played, I’m eagerly anticipating their next album.

So yeah, that’s about it. Now to wind down and attempt to get some sleep before waking up dreadfully early for work. The End.

 

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At some point during the writing of this entry, assuming I put my usual care and time into writing a novella of an entry, the clock will strike midnight. While I wasn’t technically born until sometime around 7:00, nonetheless the new day will be the beginning of a new year for me. Continue reading

Just got back from the show, thought I’d write a little review while things are still fresh in my mind. So here goes…

At the last minute my friend Sarah decided to go with me. We got there kinda early, and the mostly empty building was reverberating with the sounds of a mellow, spacey electronic soundscape, which we later realized was provided by the first performer…

The opening act was just one guy who went by the name Doldrums. I’m still not sure exactly what I think about his music, nor do I have any idea how to classify it. It had all of the elements of dance music – drum loops, synthesizers, keyboards, samples, digitally effected vocals – but in no way was it dance music. His compositions took pretty abstract forms, with jerky transitions and no apparent structure. His beats were rather subdued for the most part, definitely not something you could dance to. When they did occasionally move to the forefront they were still mostly undanceable – very irregular rhythms with touches of tribal drums and lots of stops and starts. His samples were mostly annoying, with a helicopter sample reappearing entirely too frequently for my tastes. His vocals were flat-out horrible – high-pitched and nasally, drowned in reverb, and run through so many vocoders and effects that he often sounded more like a text to speech program set on “Japanese woman” than a lanky white boy with a hipster haircut. For stretches of a minute or two he would start doing something that sounded really cool, but ultimately it would morph into something painful to listen to. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, since he is clearly trying new things and attempting to do something unique, but it just didn’t work. Sarah absolutely hated his set, and more than a few members of the audience walked away, preferring to sit outside and chat or get drinks at the bar to listening and trying to figure out what the hell he was doing. So the overall verdict is his music is creative and definitely different, but not something I (or a large part of the audience) would ever want to listen to again.

The second act was a four piece band called Blouse. They had a girl singer who played guitar, another girl who played keyboards, and two guys handling bass and drums. Whoever was running the soundboard mixed them horribly – the vocals were buried and the keyboards were so loud that they almost hurt my ears when she played higher notes. The frontwoman (is that a word?) was constantly bending down to adjust her monitor and her effects pedals, and on one occasion she apologized for things not sounding quite right. But in spite of technical difficulties they kept on and managed to give a pretty good performance. Their sound was very dark, yet atmospheric, sort of like a mix of The Cocteau Twins, Fever Ray, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The singer’s voice, although hard to discern from the mix, had a certain sweetness that made me think that at some point in time they would break out into a huge pop chorus, but that never really happened. This isn’t to say their songs weren’t accessible, they most definitely were, just not in a mainstream rock sort of way. The rhythm section was tight, the keyboard textures were usually pretty interesting, and the guitar tones ranged from jangly to full-on distortion, sometimes in the same song. I was especially impressed with the drummer’s use of synth pads and triggers in addition to acoustic drumming. Fans of some of the more abstract New Wave stuff coming out of England in the early 80’s, the shoegaze movement, or 90’s alternative rock would probably like them a lot. While they didn’t blow me away, I enjoyed them.

By the time the headliners took the stage there was a pretty big turnout. After a false start and some tinkering with the light fixtures behind them, they finally kicked things off in grand fashion. A keyboard arpeggio and crashing drums set the tone for their set, which was somewhere in between arena rock concert and rave. The singer spent a lot of time playing with a Kaoss pad and a few other synths and loops, and frequently played bass on songs where the usual bassist switched to guitar. For those who aren’t familiar with Bear In Heaven, they build their songs around synth loops and arpeggios, and at times sound like they’re more content to jam on a groove than construct a pop song. Live this translated even better than I had expected, they managed to pull off a huge grandiose sound with such minimal instrumentation. Their drummer is flat-out amazing, often sounding like three drummers at once. He really pounds the shit out of his drum set, but is still able to lock in perfectly with all the loops and play amazingly intricate and unconventional rhythms. They have a knack for taking the most otherworldly sounds and beats and fitting them together into a long, deep groove that practically dares you to surrender to the music. The combination of strobes, colored lights, LED track lighting, lasers, and smoke machines made for a very visual experience as well. The whole spectacle had the vibe of a great party, except instead of a DJ you had an amazing live band. Even after being a fan for a few years, I’m at a loss for words. They definitely take things to a new level with their energy, top-notch musicianship, and all-powerful groove. Bloggers and hipsters like to toss around a lot of big words and name drop obscure Krautrock and industrial dance bands, but experiencing these guys live gives on the feeling that they are one of the few bands out there who are truly doing something unique that defies easy classification.

After the show I picked up a copy of Bear In Heaven’s newest album, I Love You, It’s Cool. The packaging and artwork on the vinyl release is pretty great. I just downloaded the mp3 copy and I’m almost through my first listen as I’m writing this. It’s a little different from their last album, and not nearly as huge sounding as their live show, but so far it’s very good. Most of the stylistic detours they take are successful, the production is crisp and fits the tone of the music perfectly, and the songs sound just as strong as on previous releases. If you’re already a fan, definitely pick up the new album. If they come anywhere near you, by all means go and see them. If you’re not a fan, their live show could most certainly win you over. And if you’re not familiar with them, what are you waiting for? For once the assclowns at Pitchfork got something right – Bear In Heaven is one of the most original and important bands currently making music.

 

I finally dusted off the ol’ youtube account and uploaded a few videos from the concert last night. I have a few more, but I found them to be lacking in sound quality, so we’ll stick with these…

 

First some songs by the opening acts…..

 

 

And now a few by The Lemonheads…