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Archive for the ‘The Fillmore Philadelphia’ Category

[ATTENDED: November 14, 2019] Emily Reo

I hadn’t heard of Emily Reo before this show.  She was supposed to open for Charly Bliss back in June when the show was postponed.  Reo opened on the rest so it was nice she was brought back for this extra show as well.

Emily joked about mid-way through the set saying she hoped she requested the day off from work…otherwise she might not have a job tomorrow.  Not sure what her job was, but that was certainly endearing.  It also made me want to buy a CD (or a cool shirt) from her, but the line was massive (good for her).

Emily Reo is a musician and recording engineer from Brooklyn.  She has been putting out music for ten years. and has about a dozen releases.  Most of the songs in this show came from her newest album, 2019’s Only You Can See It.

I don’t remember the names of her live band mates, (sorry guys), but they played a simple drum, bass and guitar foundation for the synths and vocals that made up the bulk or Reo’s sound.

Reo had a keyboard rack in front of her.  But I was really intrigued by her voice.  In addition to being powerful with a  decent range, she multi-tracked her voice throughout the show.   I couldn’t tell if the extra vocals were prerecorded or modified live, but her backing vocals often had some kind of processing on it (or just a simple echo) to make her voice seem huge.

You can hear some of the vocal tracking (and a nice guitar solo) on “Sundowning.”

I loved the drumming in “Fleur.”  In fact, I liked the drumming in a lot of the songs–a lot of toms and interesting patterns.  She has some really cool vocal melodies on a lot of these songs like the really fast chorus vocals in this song.  Although I can tell I was too close because in the videos you can’t really hear her vocals all that well.

Ghosting” has some great high notes that really showed off her range.  There some more complex drumming in the middle.  She also does a few different vocals styles in this song.

After a few songs I saw her pick up a keytar.  If you play a keytar I’m going to be pretty excited.  If you use it as a midi-controller, creating all kinds of interesting sounds while also playing the main keyboard lines, I’m going to be super impressed.  This happened in “Balloon.”  Many times, the vocals were all kinds of processed, giving the a very cool robotic sound.

She played one song from 2013’s Olive Juice.  “Peach” sounded very different, including using a programmed drum pattern (the live drummer did join in, but the dominant sound was the electric drum). It was also the simplest song of the night (the chord progression of the verses was so simple as to be almost a joke).  The bridges has some cool sound effects thrown on top, but overall it makes me think that this album isn’t as strong as the newer one.

Once again, though I am really bummed by the lighting.  That magenta–barf.  They had even brought their own lighting projector which sent shapes on the wall behind them.  But it couldn’t defeat the pink.

I loved the guitar riff and build up in “Candy.”   There were also some interesting vocal filters (and you can actually hear the vocals in this video) for this song.  The drums were quiet but were cool with lots of little clicks and pops.  “Strawberry” started with a sequencer playing a line of keyboard notes.  New sounds were slowly added as the song grew more complex. until it resolved in a simple melody with a prominent guitar riff and layered vocals.  The most memorable part of the song came at he end when, through a filter that sounded a bit like a megaphone, she sang lyrics that were almost like a cheerleader:

what do you deserve from me
n-o-t-h-i-n-g
why do you always have to be
so c-r-y-p-t-i-c
save the calls for my kitty
c-h-a-r-l-i-e
wish you had earned that PHD
in r-e-s-p-e-c-t
how many girls in this city
are getting t-i-r-e-d
finding a sense of security
through h-i-d-i-n-g
wish i could swim but i’m in your teeth
b-l-e-e-d-i-n-g
wish you had earned that PHD
in r-e-s-p-e-c-t

And who doesn’t love songs with lyrics that you have to spell?

Interestingly, the Charlie might be the person in my favorite song, the set ending “Charlie.”  The song was a slow burner with some big soaring vocals and terrific harmonies.

She was an enjoyable opening act and I ‘m glad to have heard her.

One observation about her voice.

On record she has a delivery that I’ve noticed a lot of women seem to have lately and I can’t decide if its an affectation or an accent or an age thing or what.  The women who do it are not from the same place, so it can’t be an accent).  You can hear it in the way she sings the first line of “Sundowning.”  From 30-40 seconds, the lines “something familiar caught in a smokescreen / locked in a mirror.”  The way she sings the word “mirror” is weirdly affected.  You can also hear it from 2:55- 3:00 in “Ghosting” (“from a hollow tree / I’ve been spirit hosting”).  Other singers who have this kind of delivery include Margaret Glaspy (who is from California).  At around 48 seconds in “You and I,” listen to the way she sings “out on parade” is that same delivery but so excessive it’s practically slurred.  And around 1:40 ” I think you might be harboring a heartache” is just full of that delivery.  What is is called?  Also SOAK (who is from Northern Ireland and may actually have an accent in her delivery), but the way she sings “B a noBody” has a lot ofthat delivery in the first lines and in the way she sings “c’mon c’mon.”  Perhaps it’s generational.

SETLIST

  1. Sundowning *
  2. Fleur *
  3. Ghosting *
  4. Balloon *
  5. Peach ⊗
  6. Candy *
  7. Strawberry *
  8. Charlie *

* 2019 = Only You Can See
⊗ 2013 = Olive Juice

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[ATTENDED: October 27, 2019] Sleater-Kinney

I saw Sleater-Kinney in New York City in 1999 and 2000.

Back in those days I didn’t try to get up close to the stage and I have one or two pictures of them from far away.

When S-K made their reunion album in 2015, I didn’t feel compelled to see the tour because I had seen them twice already.  I now regret it because it was at Union Transfer and that would have been an amazing place to see them.  Although looking at that setlist, aside from songs of that new album, I didn’t miss a whole lot that wasn’t played at my show, so my regret is now low.

There were some weird things going on with this tour before it even began.  People didn’t like the new record.  Then, amazing drummer Janet Weiss abruptly quit a few weeks before the tour started (I saw that people actually asked online about getting a refund (!)).  And my show had the weird detail of being listed at two venues.  Was it at the main room of the Fillmore?  Or was it in the tiny Foundry (as their site listed).  Now The Foundry would have been an insanely wonderful place to see them, and I wondered if the new album wasn’t selling or that without Janet, maybe they could only fill The Foundry.

But clearly that was a mistake because the Fillmore was well crowded (but not packed).  I have been really down on the Fillmore as of late because super crowded shows there really suck.  But I managed to get a good spot around nicer people and was close enough that I wasn’t in the halo of the bar, so it was all good.  And the sound in the Fillmore is outstanding, of course. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 27, 2019] Joseph Keckler

When I bought tickets for Sleater-Kinney ages ago, I don’t think they’d announced an opening act.

Then the opening act was supposed to be Shamir whom I’d seen on a Tiny Desk Concert and enjoyed.  His dance music seemed very different from S-K, but the S-K album is pretty different itself.  Then Shamir dropped out and I didn’t hear about the new opener until a few nights ago.

I looked up Joseph Keckler and I kept seeing this review from the New York Times which called him a “major vocal talent” which I thought was a weird phrasing.  As if they didn’t really know what noun to use to describe him.  I looked for a song briefly and found him to be rather operatic, but didn’t really pursue it very much for whatever reason.

So I had no idea what to expect when he came out on stage.  But wow, he blew me away. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 20, 2019] Vida Blue

I had seen two of the Phish guys’ side (or solo) projects, which meant I actually got to see them, and not just see them from a mile away.  Mike Gordon did a solo tour which I caught, and I’ve seen Trey Anastasio with his band and solo.  I assumed that would be it for small projects.  Fish has a band, Pork Tornado, but it’s been on hiatus since 2002 and Page McConnell has released a couple of solo albums, but his band Vida Blue stopped touring in 2004.

Until now.

Page announced that Vida Blue was going to reunite for THREE shows (although possibly more now).  And one of those three shows was in Philadelphia.  So of course I bought a ticket to see Page up close.

Driving into Philly has become something of a nightmare now that Girard Avenue is closed.  Especially if you want to get to the Fillmore.  Traffic and detours add at least ten minutes.  I had left early but still managed to get to the parking lot after 8 for an 8PM show with no opening band.  I was furious.  So I ran into the place and found out that they hadn’t started yet, phew.  Also, everyone seemed to be milling about, so I wended my way up near the front and got an amazing spot.  My only regret is that I didn’t keep going into that one last free spot in front of that one because it turned out the people around me were the worst people in Philadelphia. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 13, 2019] Babymetal

I first heard of BABYMETAL back in 2014 when they were a massive WTF in the music scene.

Here was a band that played heavy heavy music but the singers were teenage Japanese girls who were totally kawaii and who sang in a distinctly pop style.  The 17-year-old metal purist in me would have been infuriated by this abomination to metal.

But my adult self things this is an amazing amalgam of style and one that is designed to shake people out of their comfortable bubbles.   Even if you balk at the singing style (and the dancing), the music is really really heavy.  Like, impressively heavy.

But the juxtaposition doesn’t end there.  Between the heavy music comes occasional moments of synthy pop goodness.  It made my brain explode the first time I watched the video for “Gimme Chocolate.”  By the time I watched it a second time I was hooked and was determined to see them live.

Back in 2016, I somehow missed that they were playing the Electric Factory.  I was seeing Mastodon there two nights before their show but when I asked if there were any tickets left, they had sold out ages ago.  Boo!  [Looking at that setlist I see they played seven different songs last time!]

So, three and a half years later they finally came back into town and I bought a ticket right away.  Actually, I was supposed to be away for the weekend so I bought a ticket for Sunday in New York City.  This would have been so much work because I would have just come back from a camping trip, I would have had to drive into NYC to a place I’ve never been and it was a Sunday night.  So I was glad the trip was cancelled and I could go on Friday night after all!

I arrived and ran past the merch hoping to get a decent spot, but it was pretty packed.  I managed to get behind some short people and all was well for the opening band.  Then, when Avatar left, somehow 200 people pushed their way in front of all of us who felt like we were packed in pretty tight already.  I didn’t step back at all but somehow twice as many people were in front of me.  Woah. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 13, 2019] Avatar 

I have grown to really dislike the Fillmore (which is not how I felt almost exactly three years ago).  The sound is always excellent and it’s a nice big stage, but I feel the venue is too big and, more often than not the crowd is really unpleasant.  I’m sure this is because I’m a priss, but I don’t need rude people around more interested in the bar than the music, me pushing for no reason (a mosh pit is a good reason to push, but not much else is), and talking through a show.  It’s especially irritating with quieter bands.   Fortunately, Avatar is not quiet.

I had not heard of Avatar when it was announced that they’d be opening for Babymetal.  I didn’t really know who would pair up with Babymetal’s brand of JPopMetal.  Rather than going for another Japanese metal band (of which there are dozens of great ones to choose) they went with a more theatrical outfit.  And if Babymetal’s stage show weren’t as spectacular as it was, Avatar would have blown them away.

Avatar is a metal band from Sweden.  They formed in 2001. They started out as a “melodic death metal” band.  I’ve never quite understood this phrase, but Wikipedia tells me

The genre combines aspects of traditional heavy metal [like] fast riffing and harmonic guitar lines, with the heavily distorted guitars, fast double-bass drum patterns and occasional blast beats of death metal. The vocal style typically combines harsh screaming and growling with melodic singing.

On their first two albums, singer Johannes Eckerström emphasized the growling vocal style.  They became more melodic (with some growling and some singing) and then for their fourth album, Black Waltz, Eckerström added a “Clown” persona.

Since then, the Avatar show has become a, quite frankly, amazing spectacle. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 26, 2019] Astronoid

I had not heard of Astronoid until I saw that Frost Giant was playing this show with them.  I actually had tickets to Bad Books this same evening and I posted a poll to see who I should check out live.  Of the 5 replies (including one from someone in Astronoid), 4 said Astronoid.  Sorry Bad Books.

Astronoid are from Boston and they play what has been described as “a buoyant mix of metal, thrash, punk, prog-rock and shoegaze.”  They cite as influences the Norwegian black metal band Emperor and the Danish band Mew (two very different bands indeed).

And all of that is evident in their music and their set.

They played every song from their new album (not in order) and a few from their debut from 2016.  The crowd around me was definitely more excited by the older stuff, but the guy next to me seemed to know every drum part to every song. (more…)

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