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Archive for the ‘Fleetwood Mac’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 29, 2019] Petal

A little under a year ago, I saw Petal perform solo in Bethlehem.

Petal is the creation of Kiley Lotz from Scranton, PA.  She has released a few albums and an EP (all on bandcamp).  Her recorded output has a somewhat heavier alternapop sound–there’s some great bass on her records.

I really enjoyed her solo set–her voice was beautiful and her songcraft was really great.  But having listened to her records, i imagined she’d be even more fun with a band. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BAILEN-NonCOMM 2019 (May 14, 2019).

A couple of years ago I had a pass to NonComm, but ultimately I decided not to go.  I had never been to World Cafe Live and, while it sounded like a fun time, it was just so many mid-week nights and lots of leaving early, that it sounded more exhausting than fun.

I have now been to World Cafe Live and I can imagine that the (less divaish) bands are hanging around talking to people (and radio personalities) which is probably pretty cool.

I love the idea of these sorta personal concerts, too.  But I have since come to see that they are 20-45 minutes tops.  Hardly worth driving 90 minutes (one-way) for.

But since the shows are streaming you can watch them live.  Or you can listen here.

Bailen is a trio made up of siblings Julia, Daniel and David Bailen.  The have an interesting mix of rock and country with folk leanings all serving as a backdrop for their stunning harmony vocals. 

They opened with “Rose Leaves,” which features lead vocals fro Julia and lovely harmonies from David.  Those harmonies continued on “Something Tells Me” in which both of them sang the whole song in perfect synchronicity.

“Going on a Feeling” is a much faster song with, again, dual vocals for the verses and then some cool Fleetwood Mac-esque vocals for the chorus.  There’s some really gorgeous wordless-harmonizing during the middle of the song and the a fairly rocking guitar solo from Julia.  That’s Julia on guitar for all of the songs as well as Daniel on bass and his twin David on drums.  So they’re sort of like the mixed-doubles version of Joseph.  Daniel says they couldn’t find any friends to be in their band, so it’s just family members.

After a jokey “thank you for choosing NonComm over ComicCon,” they play “I Was Wrong.”  The song has been getting a lot of justified airplay on WXPN and I really like it.  I really like the riff and the way it counterpoints with the smooth chorus.  It’s also catchy as anything (and their voices are stunning–even live).

It’s fun to hear a young band play a festival like this and talk about meeting some of the other bands.  I think it’s David who says, “we’re technically opening for Morrissey… with some stairs involved.”

“Your Love is All I Know”  sounds even more Fleetwood Mac the way the guitar and drums open the song.  There’s some country leaning in the sound,  but then another ripping buzzing rock guitar sound rocks the ending.

Their set ended with “Not Gonna Take Me.”  One of the guys sings the main lead vocal.  But when Julia adds harmonies after a few verses, it’;s magical once again.

I can see Bailen getting huge and yet, I can also see them being too hard to market.  Which is a shame because their music is superb.

[READ: May 3, 2019] “The Second Coming of the Plants”

The July/August issue of The Walrus is the Summer Reading issue.  This year’s issue had three short stories and three poems as special features.

I have enjoyed Gartner’s stories in the past. I liked the premise of this story but felt that, even at its short length, it was too long.  I get that the over the top language is done for effect, but plants can be boring too.

The premise of the story is that plants have taken enough from people and animals and are ready to dominate the earth.

There are three parts to the story, with the first being “Twilight of the Insects.”  This section is very long compared to the other two.  In this one, we hear about the plants kingdom’s rage.  Rage at letting “the insects carry on our fornication for us.”  Especially since “some of us virtually all vulva and vagina, penis and gland.”  They are the true hermaphrodites. The Mighty Hermaphrodites! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 4, 2018] Beat Root Revival

I had called BergenPAC to see if Brian Wilson would have an opening act and I was told it was Beat Root Revival.  I hadn’t heard of them and they sounded interesting, so I had hoped to get there in time to see them.

I didn’t quite know where BergenPAC was, so we arrived in Englewood a little later than I intended.  We also needed to grab a slice before the show–it’s awkward to have to drive through dinner.  So we walked in during the duo’s first or second song.

So just who is this band (which I misunderstood as Beet Root Revival at first).  They describes themselves:

Beat Root Revival are a multi-instrumentalist roots duo, combining elements of Folk, Blues, Country and Rock n Roll to create a foot stomping, melodic sound, made up of power house harmonic vocalists Andrea Magee and Ben Jones.  Originally from England and Ireland, Ben Jones and Andrea Magee came to the USA 3 years ago like their ancestors before them, looking for a new life and to share their music far and wide.

And that really sums them up nicely. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 20, 2018] Judas Priest

Judas Priest was one of my favorite bands when I was a kid.  I remember being very excited when Screaming for Vengeance came out.  I even liked Turbo (“Turbo Lover” may be a terrible song but it is sure catchy).  But then by 1988 I had stopped listening to them, thinking that they’d gone all synth.  I moved on from JP to more heavy music, but I returned to JP’s earlier more progressive-sounding rock quite a lot.  Which means I missed the outstanding “Painkiller” and the whole “Ripper” Owens period.

I even saw Rob Halford live with his band Halford in 200o (opening for Queensryche and Iron Maiden).  I decided I wanted to see this essential childhood band especially since they had a new album out that had gotten decent buzz.  I knew it wasn’t all the original members.  Bassist Ian Hill was still there with Halford.

The drummer Dave Holland was replaced by current drummed Scott Travis in 1989, so he’s a veteran of the band.

Original guitar maniac K.K. Downing left in 2011 and his replacement Richie Faulkner has been accepted into the Priest fold.

And then there was Glenn Tipton, the other original member and part of the twin guitar attack.

So 3/5 original members is pretty good for a band that started in the mid 1970s.  Then Tipton revealed that he had Parkinson’s and would not be touring with the band.  Ouch.  I wondered if it was still worth gong, and I was soundly criticized for doubting the Beast which is Priest.  He was replaced by their engineer Andy Sneap. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 2, 2015] Helvetia

2015-10-02 21.51.07After Clarke finished his set, he removed his tambourine from the hi hat and took his guitar.  And then Helvetia came out and used the same tiny drum set.  It turns out that there is all kinds of connectivity between Clarke, Helvetia and Built to Spill.  Clarke’s record was released by Brett Netson’s label.  Brett Netson is the second guitarist for Built to Spill.  And, as it turns out, the bassist and third guitarist for Built to Spill (Jason Albertini and Jim Roth) are the two guitarists for Helvetia.

I had never heard of Helvetia.  So imagine my surprise that they released their 8th (!) album that night.

As the band was setting up, Zeke Howard, the drummer, projected a cool swirling pattern on his drum head.  Which I can assume only we in the front could see since his kit was so small (see the swirl here).  About mid way through the set, the projector had moved a bit and I think a helpful fan straightened it out for him. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 7, 2015] The Decemberists

2015-04-07 22.33.06I’ve liked The Decemberists for a pretty long time but never saw them live.  I’m not really sure why I never had.   Sarah has become a fan over the years as well, and they had moved to the top of her must see list.  So when I saw they were playing at the beautiful and acoustically pristine Academy of Music (and it was so close to her birthday), I jumped on the chance to get tickets.

Somehow, the pre-order tickets from the band didn’t pan out, but I was able to get some pre-order tickets from the Kimmel Center and the seats were awesome.  In a box just above floor level about fifteen or sixteen rows out.  The box was very cool, as there were wooden chairs to sit on and there were all of six of us in this box.  Probably one of the best views I’ve ever had a at a show.

2015-04-07 21.01.43The show started with Colin Meloy and his guitar.  He played the opening song from their newest album, “The Singer Addresses His Audience,” a meta- song that seems even more meta when he is actually addressing you.  The song started slowly and then the two backing vocalists came on and sang along with him.  Then some “statues” were lowered behind the stage.  And as the rest of the band came out, the “quilted” cover of the album was lowered into place

I was sure they would play a set heavy with new songs, so I was surprised when they launched right into “The Infanta,” a rollicking song that really got the crowd going.  And then Colin spoke and proved why he is such a good frontman. He was very funny, suggesting that we could sit or stand, it was up to us–the seats did look comfortable, after all.  He advised the people in the way top (where we were seated for Neil Young) to not stand, because he was worried about their safety.  And then he looked over to the side and saw the front box seats–set off from the rest and seemingly very VIP and informed us all that the Duke and Duchess of Pennsylvania were in the house tonight.   On the other side of the stage in those same seats, he told us that the royalty from Pittsburgh could not make it. (more…)

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black-holeSOUNDTRACK: BLACK MOUNTAIN–In the Future (2008).

black-mountainAn ironically titled disc, surely.  Black Mountain is a Vancouver-based band that specializes in 70’s era psychedelia with a heavy dose of Black Sabbath.  Yet, like Dungen or other bands that tread this “revivalist” style, they don’t mimic the sound..they definitely sound contemporary, but the vibes of the 70s are constant.

Black Mountain features two singers: Stephen McBean and Amanda Webber.  Webber’s voice in particular harkens back to an amalgamation of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Nancy Wilson and the collective voice of Fleetwood Mac. McBean sounds like several singers of the era too.

“Stormy High” opens the album with the best Black Sabbath riff that Sabbath never wrote.  It sounds like something straight out of Sabotage.  “Angels” slows things down into a kind of Bad Company vibe, complete with trippy 70s keyboards in the middle of the song.  “Wucan” sounds more contemporary (the vocals in particular remind me of something, but I can’t place it) and “Stay Free” is a nice acoustic ballad.  “Queens Will Play” gives Webber the spotlight and the song in particular sounds like a wonderfully creepy take on Fleetwood Mac.

Although some of the songs are longish (6-8 minute), most of them are fairly brief.  Except, of course, for the 16 minute “Bright Lights”.  I think it’s fair to say that 8 minutes could be cut off of this song and it would still be great.  The middle riff-tastic part is really fantastic, but the opening and the noodley keyboard solo could easily be lopped off.

The disc also came with a bonus disc of 3 songs.  Each one adds to the mythos of this fascinating band.  I’m curious about their debut release as well.

[READ: November 8, 2008] Black Hole

My friend Andrew loaned me this book.  I had recently read an interview with Charles Burns in The Believer (and more abou that in a moment), which excerpted this book.  It looked really good, but then I promptly forgot about it.  And Andrew filled in the gap for me.

Charles Burns’ work appears in astonishingly diverse places.  I know him mostly because he is the cover heavy-metalartist for The Believer, (his interview in that magazine is pretty great) and his been since its inception. But I also know him from the early 80s when he was an artist with Heavy Metal magazine–when I did a search for this magazine, this was one of the results, and I distinctly remember it being in my magazine collection (gosh, some 25 years ago?). (more…)

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