Part of the reason I was so excited for this year's Voodoo Experience Festival in New Orleans was because I was finally going to get to see the legendary Fishbone live. How I missed them all these years is beyond me. I'd heard their live show was non-stop energy and, as I was on three hours of sleep and no coffee when I arrived for their 1:45 PM set, it would be a good test.
To set the tone, the band started crowd surfing almost immediately (as you can see, and much to the chagrin of the security guy who'd obviously, wasn't informed in advance). But even being passed around on the hands of the audience, lead singer Angelo Moore never missed a beat. Sometimes video can capture the essence of a show better than photos, but this was one of those shows that the essence was obvious, not matter the medium. (You can see the rest of the photos from the set here.) Truly one of the top 10 shows of all time, no doubt.
A documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone came out in October to rave reviews. The band hit the stage of Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, and as par usual, brought the house down.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
The gritty sound of Garbage will hit the streets again in May with the release of a new record, Not Your Kind of People, their first in seven years.
Not Your Kind Of People will be the fifth studio record from Garbage and will be released on the band's label STUNVOLUME. "It has the same kind of adventurism that we had with the first stuff," says Garbage guitarist Duke Erikson.
Europe will be toured in the spring, and US dates will follow. "Thinking about going back on the road is both thrilling and terrifying in equal measure," says Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson. ".........but we've always enjoyed a little pain mixed in with our pleasure."
Friday, January 27, 2012
When I was in undergrad, I was finally free as a bird to explore NYC on my own without supervision, so you can be sure that I took full advantage. One place I would always hit was Porto Rico Importing for some coffee and then Bleecker Bobs just down the street. Being a poor student, I tended to browse more than anything (the shirt above is one of the few things I could afford when I did buy). But I can't tell you the things I learned in that store about music; I felt like I'd found my mothership you might say.
Sadly, the NY Times reported today that Bleecker Bob's is closing now in April. And while I get the whole economy reality/record stores are having trouble like everyone else, it's becoming a Starbucks. Cause that's just what the NYC needs, another fucking Starbucks (shakes head).
RIP BB, your three minute records really did teach me more than I ever learned in school.
It’s all over but the reverb.
Two New York City musical mainstays — Bleecker Bob’s Golden Oldies, a record store in Greenwich Village and Southpaw, a performance space in Park Slope — are calling it quits. And what will replace them may provide fresh evidence that the city has traded its longtime rock ’n’ roll edge for something mellower, and a bit corporate.
Southpaw, which will close its location at 125 Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn in February, will become a New York Kids Club, an activity center for children.
And Bleecker Bob’s, which will close its store at 118 West Third Street at the end of April, will become a Starbucks, according to a manager, Chris Wiedener.
“It’s kind of disappointing,” said Giancarlo Caccamo, 19, a customer at Bleecker Bob’s on Thursday evening, upon learning the news. The vinyl records that pack the wooden bins and milk crates in the cluttered, narrow space are an increasingly endangered species, said Mr. Caccamo, who was in search of a record by Mott the Hoople.
The store’s closing seemed to sound a death knell for vinyl itself. “I just love the warm fuzz that you get,” he said. “There’s nothing like that sound.”
Javier Medina, 43, who began shopping at Bleecker Bob’s in the 1970s and has worked there as a salesman for the last decade, was more concerned about the loss of a piece of history. “This place should be a landmark,” he said while chatting with Gary Rookard, 53, who sells glass pipes on a table outside. “Everybody in the world knows it.”
Mr. Rookard, a 35-year Village resident, agreed but said the change fit the area’s continuing pattern of gentrification. “All that will be left down here are A.T.M.’s and bars, if anything,” he said.
Bleecker Bob’s, which began as Village Oldies Records in 1968, on Bleecker Street, and moved to two other locations before ending up at No. 118, had many rock ’n’ roll moments. Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, tended the register there occasionally, as did Frank Zappa, according to employees, who said both musicians were friends with Bob Plotnick, the store’s owner.
In the late 1970s, the store sold punk rock records when few other shops did, customers and employees remembered. Even the building itself, near Macdougal Street, brushed up against fame: in the 1960s, it was also home to the Night Owl Cafe, where the Lovin’ Spoonful often played, Mr. Wiedener said.
What kept Bleecker Bob’s going for years was the back of the store, which was leased to a tattoo parlor, among other businesses, which helped pay the rent. But the last subtenant was a comic book store, which closed in 2008, Mr. Wiedener said, making it difficult to continue.
“I’m sorry I personally couldn’t have done more,” Mr. Wiedener said as he priced a new batch of records, including Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy” ($20).
The landlord, Greenwich Realty Associates of Long Island, did not return a call for comment. Neither did Starbucks.
Southpaw, meanwhile, will close on Feb. 20, after a four-day series called Americana Pie, which will feature bluegrass and alternative country music.
Its neighborhood, which was fairly dangerous a few decades ago, has rapidly added upscale shops and restaurants and become a magnet for families.
Despite the area’s changing face, Matthew Roff, one of Southpaw’s owners, says he was not having a hard time filling the club during shows, which took place most nights.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into keeping a business like this going,” he said. “I don’t think any place in New York for live music is really bringing in enough revenue these days.”
Like Bleecker Bob’s, Southpaw can also lay claim to memorable moments, including the time Bob Dylan dropped by — as a patron, not a performer — and the night the comedian Dave Chappelle jumped onstage to perform an impromptu two-hour riff on a newspaper someone had handed him, Mr. Roff said. The 7,500-square-foot space also staged Latin music and a popular Saturday night dance party.
Mr. Roff will now focus on Public Assembly, a Williamsburg club he owns, but he will not leave Southpaw entirely: he will sublet the space, which opened in 2002, to New York Kids Club.
He signaled that Park Slope’s changed vibe meant that concert places were no longer viable there. “You don’t want the venue you created, your baby,” he said, “to be mishandled.”
Monday, January 23, 2012
I first saw Palomar a couple years back when they opened for The Wrens at their two-night 20th anniversary throwdown in NJ at Maxwells. Comprised of three woman and a guy drummer, they played great kick ass songs with running streams of power pop and folk, and harmonic melodies that wrap around you and hold you tight.
Since their inception in 1998, Palomar has released four full-lengths and one EP. Sense & Antisense, their fifth full-length, contains contributions by the likes of Charles Bissell (The Wrens guitarist/vocalist), Roman Kuebler (Oranges Band), and Jed Smith (My Teenage Stride), among others.
Says the band about the album:
Sense & Antisense is an album not about boys and girls, but husbands and wives, and not about cars, but car payments and re-financing home loans. The album is about the anxiety that comes with sitting in hotel rooms preparing for work meetings; lying awake at night, pregnant and worrying about how having kids might ruin your life; going to high school reunions; the ennui of sifting through relationships to find the ‘right one’ and then living and working with the right one. This is an album about a girl band that grew up.Palomar's Sense & Antisense comes out tomorrow, and they're pairing up with Nada Surf for a double record release party tomorrow night at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, so get there early!
A lot of bands are reuniting but Pulp's website is one that's done it with creativity than I've seen in some time. Check it out...Pulp People.
The announcement that Pulp is one of the reunited bands playing Coachella this year sent a lot of music fans into a joyous frenzy, so the additional US shows released-one on each coast thus far, with the NYC date preceding Coachella-should send them right into the stratosphere. No announcement of on-sale yet though, but it is interesting the date isn't even on the Radio City Music Hall website yet...
4/11: Radio City Music Hall, NYC
4/13: Coachella, Indio, CA,
4/17: Warfield, San Francisco, CA
4/20: Coachella, Indio, CA
5/4: SOS Festival, Murcia, Spain
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
We Interrupt Your Music News for the Following....Fight Protect-IP and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
Tell Congress not to censor the internet NOW! - fightforthefuture.org/pipa
PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting "creativity". The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites-- they just have to convince a judge that the site is "dedicated to copyright infringement."
The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year — that's for a fix that won't work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.
Monday, January 16, 2012
NPR and its streaming of new records in their entirety is such a blessing. And a money saver! And a great way to start off a new week!
Yesterday, NPR began streaming The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, the seventh record from Nada Surf, and Clear Heart Full Eyes, the first solo record from The Hold Steady lead singer Craig Finn. Surf lead singer Matthew Caws and the boys display their signature catchy-as-hell guitar hooks ("Jules and Jim" for instance) and power pop beauty ("Looking Through," the chorus of "No Snow on the Mountain"). Finn takes on a bit more of a country-fried feel in spots on this vacation from THS and the testosterone-laden hooks of THS guitarist Tad Kubler, but his story telling of the down-and-outers and Jesus are still in abundance. This one may take a couple of spins, but it's got potential.
Both records drop for purchase on 1/24.
The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy-Nada Surf-NPR Stream
Clear Heart, Full Eyes-Craig Finn-NPR Stream
Friday, January 13, 2012
I'm not a big football fan (baseball's more my thing), and up until this past weekend, I wasn't even sure who Tim Tebow was. But I do love a funny satire and this is one of the better ones I've seen of late. Ladies and gents, I give you Jimmy Fallon doing a mashup of David Bowie and Tim Tebow to Bowie's "Major Tom."
Of course, someone should have told Fallon that he also mashed up Bowie styles (makeup from the Aladdin Sane period, outfit from Ziggy Stardust) but maybe that was intentional too?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Fans of Bruce Springsteen are chomping at the bit, eagerly awaiting the new E Street Band tour dates to be announced. This time out will be especially poignant, as this is the first E Street tour ever without "the Big Man," Clarence Clemons. Clemons, who passed away in June of last year, would have turned 70 today. In honor of that, we give you one of the greatest E Street Band showcases of Clemons wailing away on his horn, "Paradise by the C."
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Joy Formidable announced headlining tour dates today for March 2012.The band will be supported on all dates by A Place To Bury Strangers.
TJF's debut full-length, The Big Roar came out last year.
The bands comes to DC on 3/26 at the 930 Club. Tickets go on pre-sale tomorrow and on general sale Friday. From TJF Facebook page, "Looking forward to seeing you again before we (briefly) disappear to finish our 2nd record."
(See the rest of the photos from The Joy Formidable's tour with the Foo Fighters and Social Distortion last year here.)
The Joy Formidable with A Place to Bury Strangers Tour
Mar 12 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
Mar 13 - San Francisico, CA @ The Independent
Mar 14 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Music Box
Mar 17 - Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theatre
Mar 19 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Café
Mar 20 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
Mar 22 - Bloomington, IN @ The Bluebird
Mar 23 - Cincinnati, OH @ 20th Century Theatre
Mar 24 - Atlanta, GA @ Masqureade
Mar 25 - Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
Mar 26 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Mar 28 - New York City, NY @ Terminal 5
Mar 29 - Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Mar 31 - Montreal, QC @ Cabaret Mile-End
Apr 02 - Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace
Monday, January 9, 2012
I discovered At the Drive-In by accident. Jim Ward, one of ATDI's founding members, was opening for Rhett Miller a few years ago at the Black Cat (you can see the shots from it here). It was one of those "get there early/fall in love with the opener you know nothing about" instances that I love. Ward played with this incredible combination of delicacy and metric ton of power that I was dumbfounded. I can count on one hand the number of musicians playing acoustic guitar and singing that have held my rapt attention for a full set-Ward is most definitely one of them.
So imagine the wonderful surprise to read the following a few hours ago:
¡ ATTENTION ! To whom it may concern: AT THE DRIVE-IN will be breaking their 11 year silence THIS STATION IS …NOW…OPERATIONAL
Ward with an acoustic that was electrifying...I can't wait to hear it plugged in.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Photographer Zoran Orlic Captures the Beauty of Mavis Staples, Nick Lowe, and Wilco Rehearsing "The Weight"
"The Weight" by The Band is one of those songs that's been around so long that it's taken for granted. There is the recorded version on Music From Big Pink, and everyone and his mom has recorded it. But everyone in the music-sphere has been aflutter about it all over again today, thanks to a rehearsal video shot by Illinois photographer/videographer Zoran Orlic.
Rehearsing prior to a Wilco and Nick Lowe show last month at the Civic Opera House in Chicago, the video, that includes Wilco, Lowe, and recent Wilco-collaborator, Mavis Staples, who also appeared on the original track with The Band and her family band, The Staples Singers, seems rather spur of the moment. Given the cramped room everyone was in, and the working-up of parts as they sang, how did this piece of beauty really get caught on film exactly? I was curious, I know others were curious, so I said, "What the hell," and contacted Orlic to ask.
It turns out that it was, in fact, a fluke. Orlic, who has been a "fly on the wall guy in the studio" and such with Wilco for many years now, says he saw Staples there that night, one of the five nights the band was performing at the Civic, and decided he'd hang out to see what might happen. "I saw Jeff [Tweedy] take everyone to the rehearsal room. They were trying to find Nick and I was 50 feet away when they began singing." When Lowe came in, Orlic said he started filming, using a small mic and the video feature on his Canon 5D/Mark2 DLSR camera and "praying the audio was ok because there had been no time to check anything."
Everyone involved clearly recognized how special the moment was. "My heart was pounding throughout," says Orlic, hoping he was able to capture it all, and the smiles on Lowe and the Wilco members are broad throughout. Orlic said he showed the video to another music industry person last week and the man's reply summed it up best: "Look at Wilco, it's like they've been reduced to children." For a band like Wilco, one who has played with a ton of greats in its career, to have such a response proves how witnessing musical feats of beauty like this can make you love music all the more. I know the hairs raised on the back of my neck when Nick Lowe came in the song, and in the words of a friend, "I'm having some very crazy days at work right now, and those 4 minutes and 58 seconds I just spent watching recharged me for the next crisis."
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Guided by Voices' Greg Demos Proves to be as Unsinkable as Fats Domino on "Late Night with David Letterman"
Fats Domino may be unsinkable, according to Guided by Voices, but bassist Greg Demos proved he was just as much last night during the band's performance of "The Unsinkable Fats Domino" on Late Show with David Letterman. Slipping on his butt after a usual rock star move, Demos got right back up quick and laughed it off, all without missing a beat (well sort of).
At the very least, he provided good advice to all bands who wish to play on Letterman: rock out like a bad ass while playing, just be sure to wear rubber soled shoes.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Sadness on the mom and pop store-front...My some-time employer reported today that long-time Dupont Circle record store, Melody Records, here in DC, will be closing this winter after 34 years in business.
Jack and Suzy Menase opened the store in 1977, and moved it to its current Connecticut Ave. NW location in 1979. "While we wish that we could continue indefinitely, technology, the internet and the economy has taken its toll, and we have concluded, unfortunately, that it is not possible to survive in this environment," the Menases wrote in their letter.
Melody had an interesting collection that included rock, classical, jazz, and others, a true old-school record store, and you could usually find at least one record by even the most far-flung artist. I love the convenience and speed of downloading but getting lost in the stacks of a good-size record store was always a treat, and often, an adventure. More than once, I would hear something over the speakers and the next thing I knew, I was the person buying the Beta Band EP.
So if you're in the neighborhood, stop in and pick up something at Melody, give the Menases a little more for their retirement. Great job folks, you will be missed.
Monday, January 2, 2012
My piece on the 2011 best concerts, in photos went live today over at the WCP, so go check it out! Erica Bruce’s Top 10 Concerts of 2011, in Photos.
One shot that proved the Marginal Man show was definitely "The Show for the Best Bruises," one I didn't include in the WCP piece is below: my own bruised gams from that show, the result of being at the front of the mosh pit and repeatedly thrown against the stage. I do not really recommend it, but the street cred is nice.