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Archive for the ‘The Foundry’ Category

[ATTENDED: November 30, 2018] Protomartyr

Protomartyr’s second album Under Color of Official Right was one of my favorite records of 2014.  I loved the noisy music that the band made while singer Joe Casey yelled his abrasive ideas at us.

They had an interesting look too, with the band looking like, as I heard described, three kids who called up their old hard-ass teacher to jam with them.

Casey looks not unlike some random drunk guy who felt compelled to get up on stage and just yell at people.  He always had a beer in his hand and had at least one in his coat pocket.  He stared us down, but also made a couple of funny jokes.

The crowd was absolutely devoted though and the slam dancing was fast and furious (despite the sign at the entrance which said there was to be done of that).  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 30, 2018] Preoccupations

Preoccupations is a band from Calgary Alberta Canada.  They were originally called Viet Cong. They put out a stunning album called Viet Cong and then met all kinds of grief for the name (shows cancelled, etc), so they changed it to Preoccupations.  It’s amazing that a band as minor and indie as them would get so much grief, but whatever.

The name is different but the sound is mostly the same–abrasive angular guitars, washes of synths and/or feedback and what I will describe as lead drums, because the power and rhythm of Mike Wallace often distinguishes the songs from each other.

But despite the abrasiveness, they are not just a band of noise.  There is melodicism in many parts (interspersed with great unusual sounds from both guitars).  Plus the lyrics are really good as well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 30, 2018] Rattle

When I got my ticket for Protomartyr, I had not heard of opening band Rattle, a duo from Nottingham England.

When I got to the stage I saw that there were three drums kits up there.  I assumed that there would be minimal time between bands playing, which was true.  One thing I didn’t realize right away is that the drumset that was set up closest to me actually had two stools, one on either side of the bass drum.

It turns out that Rattle is a duo that plays exclusively drums and percussion.  And they share the drum kit and cymbals.  It was mesmerizing and fascinating.  I especially loved near the end when each drummer hit the same cymbal. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 27, 2018] Graham Coxon

I’ve been a fan of Blur since the beginning (I always picked them over Oasis).  I have never seen them live and it seems like I never will.  And while I enjoy Gorillaz I’m not going to see them live either.  So Graham Coxon solo was a wonderful draw for me.

My big attraction to Blur is Damon Albarn’s voice, but the music, especially Coxon’s guitar, is really fantastic too.

Coxon has released a bunch of solo albums.  I bought the first two.  The second one, The Golden D was an experimental noise fest (for the most part) and I didn’t listen to anymore after that.  Well, from what I gather, the rest of his solo albums were folk songwriting with some fantastic finger-picking guitar work.

I didn’t know what Coxon would be playing on his tour (I had no idea he had released 8 albums and done the sound track for the TV show The End of the F***ing World.  So I looked up a review of his live show.  The one I read was from The Telegraph back in 2014, so maybe I shouldn’t have counted it but the crux of the review was that there were

two substantial sets in one evening, the first showcasing his singer-songwriter skills in an acoustic session, the second allowing him to let rip with the abrasive, surly grunge-pop sound that, back in the day, put a deliciously destructive mark on Blur’s melodies.

The second half of the evening saw Coxon kick away his stool and unleash the beast. The first three numbers were aggressive freak-outs, as if he was deliberately trying to dispel the lo-fi contemplation of what had gone before.

It was this duality that sold me on seeing the show.  I wanted to experience Coxon’s loud noisy breakouts live and in person.  And in a venue where virtually nobody goes (The Foundry’s capacity is 450, but there’s couldn’t have been more than 100 people there) it seemed like a great opportunity to see this musician up close.

Rolling Stone announced a rare North American solo tour: The two-week, 10-date trek marks Coxon’s first acoustic one-man shows in North America.

Had I read the rest of the piece about his new tour–his first in the States in nearly a decade, I would have seen:

Each gig will feature Coxon and his acoustic guitar mining songs from his eight solo records as well as music from his score for Netflix’s The End of the F***ing World.

Not that this would have changed my mind, but I wouldn’t have been expecting freakouts.

When Coxon came out he had an amusing nebbish quality about him.  One would never have guessed that he was part of one of the biggest bands in the world (and had played a sold out Madison Square Garden just three years earlier).

He sat down, asked us what we did today and seemed to think about what he would play.  He has a booklet at his feet which contained…what?  Lyrics?  Chords?  Recipes? He flipped through pages but never actually seemed to consult it during the songs.  He said “there’d be no surprises because he’s playing the same setlist every night and we all knew the setlists, because it’s online the second the first note is splayed (although as I write this, my show’s setlist is not online).  He did say that “for us” maybe he’d change it around a bit.

(more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 27, 2018] Rosali

Rosali opened for Graham Coxon.  She is a Philadelphia-based singer songwriter with two albums out (her last album got some pretty glowing reviews).

She has a lovely voice which reminded me of Aimee Mann.  In fact, a number of times I thought that she might be singing an Aimee Mann song.  But the problem was that there were no hooks in her songs.  There was nothing to hold on to.

She also had very little stage presence.  She stated as much, confessing that stage banter wasn’t her thing.  No kidding.  One time she asked if anyone watched the news today, after some mild boos, she didn’t follow it up.  Every other time that she tuned, she was basically quiet.  In fact, she never said her name, the most basic thing you do when tuning your guitar.  (I arrived a few minutes late because of the incompetent staff, so maybe she had introduced herself before I got there, but I’m not entirely sure it was her). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 12, 2017] Public Service Broadcasting

I first saw Public Service Broadcasting on their amazing Tiny Desk Concert.  I was blown away that J. Willgoose, Esq. and Wrigglesworth could make such complex and satisfying music with just the two of them (all the while projecting visuals behind them that matched the songs perfectly.

I instantly put them near the top of the list of bands that I wanted to see live.  But I also put them very high on my list of bands that I’d be unlikely to see live since I assumed they played primarily in the UK (whether they have recently played festivals).  Plus, how likely were they to come to the US to tour their most recent album which is all about coal mining in Wales (seriously–and it’s fantastic).

Well, when I saw that they were playing The Foundry, I bought a ticket immediately.  I figured that the show would either be unattended or sold out.  Well, sadly for the band, it was barely attended, but luckily for me, that meant I got to hang out right in front of the stage (and even meet the guys afterwards).

But even if there were only 100 or so people, the band didn’t act like the crowd was puny (because everyone there was really into it).  They played an amazing show and I’m thrilled to have seen it.

In the way of bands who don’t have roadies, all three guys were there to tune up their gear for about ten minutes before they ultimately left the stage and then came back on fresh and new.  It gave them time to put up the test pattern above.

I parked myself right in front of J. Willgoose, which was awesome seeing everything he did.  I joked with my friend Marcus (who has seen the band 6 times in the States and was going to Brooklyn the following night to watch them again) that I didn’t know where to stand.  J. Willgoose overheard and said it didn’t matter because they didn’t do anything interesting.  This was utterly false, as it was great watching everything that J. Willgoose did with guitars, keys, foot pedals, and so much more.  He even played percussion.  I only wish I had been a little to the left because I was actually so close, his keyboard was blocking some of the rest of the stage (the horrors). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 12, 2017] Fire is Motion

A few days before the Public Service Broadcasting show, I saw that a local NJ band (based in Union), Fire is Motion, was set to open for them.  I went to their bandcamp site and really liked what I heard.  I wrote to the band to see if they were going to be bringing any merch to the show, and Adrian wrote back that they were and to thank me for listening.

I was looking forward to seeing them, but when I arrived at like 8:05, they had already started–who knows how many songs I missed.  Such punctuality in rock!

But the remaining four or five songs were really good–bigger and more complex than their recorded sound. And the band sounded really tight. (more…)

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