FM 94.9 in San Diego does an excellent job supporting local music as well as upcoming acts. They have championed such acts like the Silversun Pickups, TV on the Radio, Ken Andrews and Sea Wolf during their "About the Music" series at the Belly Up. I enjoyed their Holiday show last year and was equally excited when they announced the line up for this year with Queens of the Stone Age, Pinback, Louis XIV, The Kooks, Mute Math and Rogue Wave.
Rogue Wave has been a favorite of mine since I saw them open for The Shins a few years ago at the Wiltern. I have an original copy of "Out of the Shadows" before it was re-released by Sub Pop records. Rogue Wave is touring in support of their latest album "Asleep at Heaven's Gate". "Lake Michigan" has rightfully earned a place on the airwaves and will ruminate in your mind with its catchy chords and sing along verses. Zach Rogue (Guitars/Vocals) sounded superb with his wistful vocals on "Publish My Love". I recently rediscovered "Descended Like Vultures" and have been listening to it frequently. After hearing a bouncy version of "Chicago X 12", I was thinking that I had to spin "Asleep at Heaven's Gate" more often to have it grow on me. FM 94.9 recently announced that they are sponsoring Rogue Wave for the "About The Music" series at the Belly Up and I will be there singing along.
Mute Math is a band I was not familar with. I will verify though that they put on an energetic live show. Paul Meany (Vocals/Keyboards) gets points for rocking the keytar. The world needs more keytar. I also can verify that Paul did a handstand on his Rhodes piano which is something you don't see at every show. Darren King (Drums) was a madman with headphones duct taped around his head as he physically assaulted the drums. Darren also managed to grab a drum and jump out into the crowd. The band played like their live depended on it. It was an entertaining show to say the least.
The Kooks were one of the main reasons why I wanted to attend this show as it was one of the few radio station shows they had scheduled for this year. I was impressed when I saw them at Spaceland back in October of last year. The Kooks are putting the final touches on their sophomore album entitled "Konk" which is due April 14th. After a lenghty intermission, The Kooks came out fiery hot. They played a handful of songs from "Inside In, Inside Out" like "Seaside", "She Moves In Her Own Way" and "Ooh La". I spotted many fans in the front row with brand new The Kooks shirts and singing along. The Kooks played with confidence beyond their years and sounded great despite having monitor problems. They played a new song "Time Awaits" that really demonstrated strong growth in their songwriting skills. I think 2008 will be a good year for The Kooks.
Louis XIV received a hometown welcome as they appeared on the dimly lit stage. Jason Hill (Guitars/Vocals) was strutting around the stage with his Epiphone Gibson hollowbody. They played an assortment of songs from their debut album "The Best Little Secrets Are Kept". "God Killed The Queen" featured some good call and response vocals flanked with a thumping bass line. "Finding Out True Love Is Blind" also had the crowd moving as James Armbrust (Bass) was plucking on his Rickenbacker bass. They also played a new song "Guilt By Association" which had an old Queens of the Stone Age wirey vibe to it. I think there set was cut short a few songs due to the delay in getting the stage set up. I will be seeing them three times in a few months as they are opening for the Editors.
Pinback is another band that I enjoy but seem to keep missing when they play a show. I saw them a few years ago with The Album Leaf at the Avalon in Hollywood. Rob Crow (Guitars/Vocals) was decked out in his awesome Venom shirt and Star Wars cap to appeal to the inner death metal nerd in all of us. Pinback is supporting their new album "Autumn of the Seraphs" on Touch and Go Records. Rob Crow and Zach Smith blend their voices and instruments well as they worked through "Good To Sea" and "Off By Fifty". Rob Crow was switching between his Gibson Les Paul and a Fender 12 string Hockey stick guitar. I was amazed when a full pit broke out for "Penelope" off their classic album "Blue Screen Life". Zach Smith was performing the bass olympics with his energetic bass lines. They will be back on tour in February and I will try and catch them again.
Queens of The Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age closed out the night in style with selections off their latest release "Era Vulgaris". "Sick, Sick, Sick" had the RIMAC shaking with its stuttering riff and earthquake drums. Mikey Shuman (Bass) was killing it on his Gibson Ripper Bass. Troy Van Leeuwen (Guitars) was playing his custom Yamaha guitar and a Fender Telecaster Deluxe. I also spotted Josh Homme (Vocals/Guitars) using a Clyde Fulltone White Wah Pedal. "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer" had its usual interlude where Josh incorporated some of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" into the song. "3's&7's" was another barn burner with the stage lights quickly flickering along to its foot stomping beat. Queens of The Stone Age blew out the arena when they closed their set with "Little Sister" and "Go With The Flow". I just wished that they had a longer set time to dip back into their older material but still a scorching set.