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Archive for the ‘Pixies’ Category

[ATTENDED: March 23, 2019] Dilly Dally

I can’t believe it was actually two and a half years since I last saw Dilly Dally.  I was rather looking forward to seeing them again–their new album is great–an evolution but not a reinvention.

Then our Guster show was cancelled and placed on  this very night.  Coincidentally, in the same building!  Guster was going to play the large venue of the Fillmore while Dilly Dally was scheduled to play upstairs in the Foundry.

The Guster show was great, but since Dilly Dally started an hour later, I thought I’d see if they were still playing as we walked out.  The bouncer guy was rather surprised that I had a ticket for both shows.  But I showed him my ticket and with S’s blessing, I went upstairs to see a song or two (I was bummed and a little surprised they wouldn’t let her up since the show was more or less over).  The bouncer guy said they had the room until 11:15.  It was barely after ten when I went upstairs (S. said she didn’t mind waiting for ten minutes, but understandably, not an hour).

When I walked upstairs I could hear the unmistakable voice and guitar work of Dilly Dally. Dilly Dally are from Toronto and they were described to me as being like the Pixies meets Hole.  I can certainly hear that although they transcend their influences.  They play loud aggressive alternative rock that’s headed by Katie Monks’ snarling singing voice and Liz Bell’s sharp and catchy lead guitar work.  Bassist Jimmy Tony (in a striking silver sparkling short skirt) and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz lay down a low end that keeps the sound grounded. It was a drastic change from Guster.  As was the size of the crowd.  The Guster show was packed uncomfortably tight, but this show was more open and I was able to walk around.

They finished the excellent “Bad Biology” and I wondered how long I could push my luck–how many songs could I make S wait for.  And then Katie Monks told us that the next song was the last song.  Disappointing but very convenient. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 20, 2018] Pixies

I saw Pixies back in September 2017.  It was the first time I’d seen them in almost 30 years.  And they were fantastic.  They played 34 songs, nearly everything I wanted to hear.  I say nearly because they have not been playing any Kim Deal-sung songs.  Which is fair.  New bassist Paz Lenchantin played great (she’s a fantastic bassist) and sang enough like Kim (with her own unique spin of course) that her backing vocals were perfect.

So I assumed I’d never need to see them again.

Then it was announced that in a most improbable double bill, Weezer and Pixies would tour together.   I had seen Weezer a while back but came away disappointed with the show.  Not because of the band, but because of where I was and what I couldn’t see.  I also knew that there was at least one Pixies song that I wanted to hear (“Debaser”).  So I figured if I could get good seats for this show, I would go.

And I did.  Row G!

Pixies came out, the sun had not yet set, and just like last time, they said not a word and just launched into a blistering set of twenty-two songs.  Not bad at all for an opening (and therefore shorter) slot. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 23, 2017] Pixies

I saw the Pixies live at Giants Stadium in 1989.  They opened for The Cure and played a rollicking set.

I was a huge fan of their original albums and I’ve enjoyed The Breeders and Frank Black’s solo stuff to varying degrees.  I was intrigued when they reunited, but I wasn’t super psyched about it.  I didn’t really love the new songs they released–they were all fine, but I figured either I was past them or they had changed enough to make their new stuff less dramatic.

But when I saw that they were playing at the Stone Pony Summer Stage (the day after Autumn officially began), I thought I might like to go.  The face value  of the tickets was $37, which wasn’t too bad, but somehow after Ticketmaster got involved, the total was $59, which was way too much.  We were near Asbury Park during the summer and I stopped by the Stone Pony to buy a ticket at the box office.  But they were closed! (Closed Tuesdays, apparently).

It turned out that day of the show tickets went up to $52 (!).  Well, I was on the fence, and then while I was trying to find out what time the opening band went on (no official word except that gates opened at 5:30), I came across a ticket for sale on Stubhub for $20.  I’d never bought anything on Stubhub before, because I’d always heard the prices were crazy expensive.  Well, including fees, these tickets were less than face value.  Which is pretty awesome.  And I was all set.

For many people, the dealbreaker (ha) for this show was that original bassist Kim Deal as no longer in the band.  I had heard new bassist Paz Lenchantin and thought she sounded enough like Kim (especially in an outdoor venue) that it wouldn’t be all that noticeable that Kim wasn’t there.  What I didn’t realize and which I respect even if it meant that we lost out, was that they didn’t play any songs that Kim sang lead on.  Paz did all of the backing vocals and sang lead on the one song she sings on the newest album and the encore, but that was it. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 23, 2017] Sunflower Bean

As with most new bands, I first heard about Sunflower Bean on All Songs Considered.  I loved the psychedelic yet punky sound of the song “2013.”  And the entirely of their full length album Human Ceremony is really good–catchy songs with a great vibe.

I was really excited to hear that they were opening for the Pixies show–although I didn’t exactly see how their music would jibe with Pixies songs.

Well, I needn’t have worried.  Sunflower Bean rocks a lot harder live than on the record.  And their set included a number of new, heavier songs that complemented the night well.

Confusingly, this show stated that the Gates opened at 5:30, but they would not say anywhere what time Sunflower Bean went on.  I was sure they wouldn’t start at 5:30.  I assumed they’d start at 6:30, and yet that was still really early for a Saturday night show to end.  Because the day was really busy (Tabby had a piano recital earlier!), I managed to get to Asbury Park at 6:40 and drove around a bit to find a free parking spot.

The timing was perfect because Sunflower Bean went on at 7 and that gave me time to buy an outrageously over priced pretzel ($6) which tasted terrible. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 7, 2016] Dilly Dally

2016-11-07-22-06-13Although many of the shows I’ve attended recently have been by well established bands that I wanted to see for years, I really love seeing new bands who have grabbed my attention.  Especially in a small club.

Dilly Dally are from Toronto and they were described to me as being like the Pixies meets Hole. And I can certainly hear that.  They play loud aggressive alternative rock that’s headed by Katie Monks’ snarling singing voice and Liz Bell’s sharp and catchy lead guitar work.  Bassist Jimmy Tony and drummer Benjamin Reinhartz lay down a low end that keeps the sound grounded.

The band has one album out.  A great album (with an absolutely terrible cover) that juxtaposes angry and pretty quite nicely in just thirty some minutes.

When I saw guitarist Liz earlier talking to someone, I didn’t realize she was the lead guitarist (I barely knew what any of the band looked like).  And, in fact, I nearly crashed into the drummer about five times throughout the night as we kept walking past each other.  So I was delighted not only to see Liz strap on her guitar but to hear her making those great riffs sound just like the album.

I didn’t really think that Katie’s voice would sound quite so…primal live, but it does.  When they eventually played “Desire,” the track that opens with her snarling 1, 2, 3, 4, the sound was exact–like her throat really hurts after singing. (more…)

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  karlove5SOUNDTRACK: RAGA ROCKERS-“Slakt” [“Slaughter”] (1988), “Hun er Fri” [“She is Free”] (1988) and “Noen å hate” [“Someone to hate”] (1990).

ragaKarl Ove mentions many bands in his books.  Raga Rockers appeared twice in this one.  I can’t find a ton about them online, because they never really made it beyond Norway, but the Google translated version of their website says:

Raga Rockers is an ingenious rock ‘n roll band that has existed since 1982.

Today the band consists of: Michael Krohn (vocals, lyrics), Hugo Alvar Stein (keyboards / guitar), Eivind Staxrud (guitar), Arne Sæther (keys), Livio Aiello (bass) and Jan Kristiansen (drums).

The band came out of the punk community in the early eighties, but became such a “poppy” large parts of the Norwegian people have founded acquaintance with them.  Songs like “She is free” and “Someone to hate” is almost singalong classics! Their greatest triumph came perhaps in 1999 when they played for thousands of ecstatic Norwegians at the yellow stage at Roskilde Festival. (Reviews of the show by Dagbladet (which Karl Ove wrote for) and Dagsavisen–both are in English.

Despite their punk roots and the rather violent song titles, the songs are almost poppy–heavy guitars but simple chords and a singer who doesn’t sound angry at all.  In fact, if I didn’t read about their punk roots, I’d swear these songs are kinda goofy.

“Slakt” is a simple song, opening with a 4/4 drum and splashes of guitar.  The middle is a bluesy riff with a chorus of “ah ha ha”  The lead singer’s voice is mostly kind of deep–not quite what I expected from the heavy guitars.

“Hun Er Fri” is quite different from the others songs.  It’s only 90 seconds long and features a piano.  The chords are still simple the piano may be playing single notes in fact).  The lyrics are pretty much nonstop and kind of fast.  It seems like a silly pop trifle and I can see why it’s popular among their fans.  The first time I listened to it, I was surprised it ended when it did.  This bootleg live version is certainly fun.

rocknrollThese two songs came from their 1988 album Forbudte følelser [Prohibited feelings]

“Noen å hate” has a bit more of a metal sound, but is essentially the same kind of heavy rock with simple chord progressions.  There’s a good solo at the end.  A black metal band called Vreid has done a cover of this song (which really only sounds different because the Vreid singer is more growly).

This song comes from their 1990 album Rock n’ Roll Party.

And yes, they are still around.  They took a hiatus in the 2000s but came back with three albums 2007’s Übermensch, 2010’s Shit Happens and 2013’s Faktor X.

[READ: May 1, 2016] My Struggle Book Five

karlove 5ukI realized as I read this fifth book that I should have been keeping a vague sense of the timeline of these books.  Specifically, because he opens this book with this: “The fourteen years I lived in Bergen from 1988 to 2002 are long gone.”  So if he was born in 1968, this book covers roughly ages 19-33.

So my general outline for the other volumes:
Book Five: 1988-2002 (19-33)
Book Four: 1987 (18)
Book Three: 1968-1981  (1-13)
Book Two: 2008 (40) (with flashbacks to meeting his second wife in 2003 or so)
Book One: 2008 (40) (with flashbacks to his father’s death in 1998 or so)

What era could Book Six possibly be about?

We’ll find out next year in what is said to be the 1,200 page final volume.

So as I mentioned above, Karl Ove talks about the fourteen years he lived in Bergen.  And it made me laugh that he says:

The fourteen years I lived in Bergen, from 1988 to 2002, are long gone, no traces of them are left, other than as incidents a few people might remember, a flash of recollection here, a flash of recollection there, and of course whatever exists in my own memory of that time.  But there is surprisingly little.

And then he proceeds to write 600+ pages about that time. (more…)

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lifeSOUNDTRACK: FOO FIGHTERS-The Colour and the Shape (1997).

colourAfter the success of the debut album, Dave Grohl gathered a band and recorded the second album, The Colour and the Shape (British/Canadian spelling consistent wherever it was released).  The drums were recorded by a drummer (not the current drummer) but were eventually re-recorded over by Grohl.

“Doll” opens as a quiet 90 second intro.  It segues into the fantastic Hüsker Dü sounding “Monkey Wrench,” with one of the great super-long extended guitar riffs and a super long chanted single-syllable section ending on Grohl’s classic vocal cord shredding (whatever he’s saying) in the middle of the song.  “Hey Johnny Park” has a heavy opening and then some mellow verses.  The chorus is catchy with some cool harmony vocals over the top.

“My Poor Brain” opens with cacophonous noise and the segues into a rather delicate verse section.  Especially compared to the raucous punky guitars of the chorus.  “Wind Up” flips the dynamic with angry loud verses and a catchy chorus.

“Up in Arms” is a short song with a mellow acoustic first section and a fast second half.  Both are quite catchy and fun.  “My Hero” is yet another song in which Grohl finds multiple good parts and puts them in one song.  So while you’re enjoying the verses, don’t forget the catchy chorus coming up net.  Oh and the great bridge too.

“See You” is a jazzy folky number (quite short) which he says no one liked but him.  “Enough Space” opens with a lurching bass line and some really loud guitars.  The chorus is one of Grohl’s screamier moments on the record.  The verses are almost all bass guitar and remind me a lot of the Pixies.

“February Stars” starts with one of the quieter moments on a Foo Fighters record.   It builds over the first 3 minutes to a loud slow chorus.  “Everlong” is one of the bands best songs.  It opens with a cool little riff and big guitars.  The chord progression is wonderful and the gentle vocals at the beginning are fantastic.  Then comes that incredible hook of a riff.  No matter how many times I gear this song, I never get tired of it.

“Walking After You” is Grohl on everything–the whole band recorded it later for the X Files soundtrack.  It’s a lovely, gentle breakup song with a sweet riff and really nice vocals.  After “walking After You,” it’s surprising that there’s another song, (“Walking” seems like such a good album ender.  But “New Way Home” (which clocks in a nearly 6 minutes) starts out a little less than stellar and then turns out to end in a great fashion, with a loud fast repeat chorus of the “I’m Not Scared” section.

Amazingly, five singles were released from this album and it still holds up really well.

[READ: January 7, 2015] Life Sucks

In the beginning of the year I read a bunch of graphic novels from First Second, but never got around to posting them.  So here they are.

I wasn’t that excited to read this book because of the title–which seemed simply lame.  Interestingly, in the acknowledgments, she says it was originally called Night Shift (an equally poor title) and then someone else suggested Life Sucks.

Of course, once I realized the story was about vampires, the title was a little better and kind of funny.  Of course, I wasn’t all that excited to read a vampire story either (I loved Buffy, but vampires are kind of played out), but I enjoyed the way Abel focuses on some different aspects of the vampire life.  And of course, having a group of goths living nearby was a pretty great idea.

So the protagonist, Dave, is a vampire.   He was turned by the owner of The Last Stop convenience store, Lord Radu Arisztidescu.  But rather than being a brooding charismatic hottie, he’s a dorky kid (forever) who works at the convenience store.  He still gets grief from his boss who demands perfection in his “son” and who also has supernatural power over him to force him to do what he wants.  So, his undead life does indeed suck. (more…)

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