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[ATTENDED: August 27, 2019] Okilly Dokilly

When I heard about Okilly Dokilly from The Simpsons, I knew that I would like to see them live.  So, when it was announced that they would be playing with Mac Sabbath (who I’d never heard of), at a venue fairly close to me, I grabbed a ticket.  Hilariously (although not for me), this show apparently sold so poorly that by a week before the event, the venue was literally giving tickets away.  So I signed up for free tickets and then couldn’t get anyone to go with me.  Oh well.

When I saw their video for “White Wine Spritzer,” in the credits of The Simpsons (clip at bottom of page), I loved the idea of a heavy metal band comprised of many Ned Flanders (technically: Head Ned (vocals), Dread Ned (drums), Shred Ned (guitar), Bed Ned (bass) and Zed Ned (synth)).  But I was a little disappointed that the vocals they chose to use were so cookie monster/growly.  I mean, it makes huge comic sense to have Ned sing like that, but it’s disappointing to not be able to understand all of  the lyrics which are “75 per cent made up of Ned Flanders’ quotes.”

But this band is dedicated to their craft 100%. Continue Reading »

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[ATTENDED: August 27, 2019] Playboy Manbaby

When I heard about Okilly Dokilly from The Simpsons, I decided that I would like to see them live.  So, when it was announced that they would be playing with Mac Sabbath (who I’d never heard of), at a venue fairly close to me, I grabbed a ticket.  Hilariously (although not for me), this show apparently sold so poorly that by a week before the event, the venue was literally giving tickets away.  So I signed up for free tickets and then couldn’t get anyone to go with me.  Oh well.  [The band did sell out venues in Florida, so it’s not like no one goes to see them].

Of the three bands, Playboy Manbaby was the one I was least interested in.  But in the end, they were the band I enjoyed the most.

Playboy Manbaby is from Phoenix. Okilly Dokilly is also from Phoenix (and PM used most of Okilly Dokilly’s gear).

They usually have horns, but for this show (and tour?) they were a four piece:  Robbie Pfeffer on vocals, TJ Friga on guitar, Chris Hudson on bass, [with a Big Gay Ice Cream shirt on] and Chad Dennis on drums.  Unlike the other two bands, this band didn’t have a gimmick, they were just a kind of goofy, fun punk rock band. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 24, 2019] Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

I recall being puzzled by the name of this band back ages ago when they were sometimes known as Ted Leo + Pharmacists.  It seemed like a cataloging nightmare.  But I can get over that and simply enjoy that Ted has fun with his band name (sometimes written as (TL/Rx)).  But this night they were billed as Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.  The Pharmacists have, as of late been a six piece:  Chris Wilson on drums, James Canty on guitar and keyboards, Marty Key on bass, Ralph Darden on guitar, and Adrienne Berry on saxophone and vocals and percussion.

After the bristling punk of Control Top, I wasn’t sure what Ted Leo would bring.  I know he has roots in punk, but surely not that much punk.  And, thankfully, he didn’t try to match Control Top, because that’s not his thing.  It is awesome that he brought them along, though.

Ted’s older songs were punky in the way that Billy Bragg’s early songs were punky–literate, angry and thoughtful–all to a catchy melody.  His newer songs are a bit more reflective (doom folk he called it).

He and the band came out and set things up and when he picked up his guitar people clapped and shouted.  He put a finger up–patience–and then they all left again for a couple of minutes. My only gripe about the show was that they made Control Top cut their set one song short because of time, and then Ted and Co. waited about ten minutes after their gear was set up to come out on stage–they could have played that one last song.  But that’s okay, Ted made up for it.   Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 24, 2019] Control Top

I have wanted to see Ted Leo for a while.  In fact I almost saw him July 1 at Boot & Saddle, but that was a hectic week for me.  The opening band for that show was Tact, a Philadelphia band.  I was sure that after missing that show I’d have to wait a while for him to come around again.

But then he announced a brief tour that stopped in his once home state of New Jersey.  And I got to go to White Eagle Hall.  I love the venue.  It has great sound and it’s pretty close.  But man the lighting is terrible for taking pictures.

The opening band for this little tour was Control Top, another Philadelphia band.  Philly has been producing some great bands of late and Control Top is definitely one of them.

I was surprised by this billing because they couldn’t be any different.  It’s true that Leo has roots in the punk scene but Control Top is pure screaming punk through and through. like on “Black Hole

I listened to their album before the show and was pleased by their roaring sound and the intense vocals of Ali Carter.

But I was totally unprepared for the guitar theatrics of Al Creedon.  He didn’t do anything fancy but the noises that he wrung from that guitar were just unbelievable.  Even moreso was that he could come out of squalling noises like in “Type A” and jump right into a pretty or unexpectedly light riff.  Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 23, 2019] Tame Impala

I’ve liked Tame Impala since they first came out back in 2010.  I more or less pit them in a category with Dungen because of the jamming psychedelic sound and high-pitched vocals. I really enjoyed Innerspace and thought Lonerism was really good too.

When Kevin Parker (he makes the records himself and then tours with a live band) put out Currents in 2015, I thought it had some great songs and that the cover was quite an iconic and unforgettable image.

Then about a year ago I discovered that Tame Impala are HUGE!   People love them!  They even headlined Coachella.

How did this happen?  Not impugning the band in any way, but they are not a typical pop band.  Nor are they super catchy like Foo Fighters (another improbably popular band).  They’re even from Australia, for crying out loud.  But their fan base in the States is massive.

So I’d had them on my list to see for a while, but in recent years I’ve heard their live show is spectacular.  When I saw they were playing the Mann Center I was sure to get a ticket as close to the stage as possible.   And a couple days before the show it turned out the show sold out–that’s 14,000 people.  Wow. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: July 28, 2014] Beck

It was five years ago that S. and I saw Beck live.

For that show, I went in with lowered expectations.  I thought the show was going to be a lot of Morning Phase, a mellow album he had just released, but it turned out to be a ton of fun.  S. remembers it as one of her favorite concerts ever.  So when I saw that he was touring and coming to Holmdel, I was excited to get tickets.

Then I saw how much they were.  Tickets were over $100 for most normal seats and the front section was well over $100.  So there was no way I was getting tickets for that.  Then I remembered the awesome feature at PNC Bank Arts Center.  If there are seats available before the show you can upgrade a lawn seat for $20.  So we bought $30 lawn seats and then a few days before the show, we took advantage of the upgrade and for $20 more, we were moved to Row N!

And Row N is a great vantage point.

Needless to say, our expectations were pretty high for this.  And Beck did not disappoint.  Well, maybe a little. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 20, 2019] Cage the Elephant

I was rather surprised that Cage the Elephant were co-headlining this tour with Beck.  I assumed that Beck was the clear headliner–and yet the (younger) crowd seemed to be there more for Cage.  I also didn’t realize that they had collaborated recently on the song that this tour was named after).

But the biggest confusion for me was that I didn’t know who Cage the Elephant were.  They were part of that trend of bands that had three words with The in the middle. Like Pedro the Lion, Jukebox the Ghost, Minus the Bear and Young the Giant.  I assumed that I had no idea who Cage the Elephant were or what hey even sounded like.

But then I was surprised to discover that I really liked two of their songs but had no idea it was them: “Ready  to Let Go” and “Mess Around.”  After figuring that out, I was looking forward to them but really had no idea what to expect.

Well, they went on about ten minutes late (which was annoying, since they’d had 30 minutes to get ready).

Their stage set up was like bleachers–a guitar drum and keyboards on the top and a guitar vocals and bass on the floor.  Then the lights went down and the stage burst into flames! Continue Reading »