Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bloodcat Love at the Detroit Bar

The Detroit Bar was rocking again as Bloodcat Love continued with their month long residency. I unfortunately arrived late and missed Rumspringa but heard they played a good set.

Bloodcat Love

Bloodcat Love delivered another tightly spun set of hip shaking infectious rock. I can't say enough about Bloodcat Love as they have really honed their sound and sounded even tighter on this particular night. Myles was all over the Detroit Bar as he would frequently grab his microphone stand and wander out into the crowd in the midst of his performance. I will go into detail about the use of guitar pedals and guitar tones that Bloodcat Love use in my review of their last show but was impressed with the Crowther Audio Double Hot Cake and Electro Harmonix Micro Pog. I have previously spotted the Crowther Audio Hot Cake in quite a few good rigs including Autolux and The Jesus And Mary Chain. "Dirty White Fingernails", "The Fever", "Gold and Tar" rocked in their usual fashion. I also have been digging their new tunes "Baby 5" and "I Promised You A Lie". I also have been hearing rumblings of new EP which is in the final mixing stages. Hopefully, I will have more information when I post the last review of their Detroit Bar residency.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Duke Spirit at the Hammer Museum

I really regret missing The Duke Spirit when they opened for Queens of the Stone Age at the OC Fair back in 2007. The Duke Spirit teamed up with IO Echo for a packed to the rafters night at the Hammer Museum for the "Also I Like To Rock" series sponsored by Indie 103.1.

IO Echo

IO Echo is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Indie 103.1 has been supporting IO Echo dating back to August 2007 when I saw them at the Viper Room when they played a Monday Night Check One..Two showcase. When I caught them in November of 2007 at the Viper Room, I was impressed by their growth as a band. On this particular night, IO Echo completely won over a new audience with a fine tuned set of their post-punk goth spiked tunes. Leopold Ross (Guitars) was a whirlwind of hair as he bashed on his Fender Telecaster and ventured on top of the speakers. IO (Vocals) was all over the stage with the only restraint being self-entanglement with her microphone chord. Salvatore Romano (Keyboards) had a two layered keyboard setup consisting of Korg Triton and a Roland keyboard to add various layers and pads to their ethereal tunes. "Addicted" was a crowd favorite with its driving semi-fuzzed bass line and tight wire guitars. "I Want You (She's So Heavy) was also warmly received as their set came to a close all too soon. IO Echo needs to release a full-length album soon to continue to capitalize on their stream of steady buzz.

The Duke Spirit

Liela Moss (Vocals) is so captivating that it hard to take your eyes off her. While Liela is striking in her own right, The Duke Spirit has the musical punch to knock you off your feet. Neptune is The Duke Spirit's latest musical offering that begins with the hymnal "I Do Believe" before shifting into overdrive with the roaring "Send A Little Love Token" that sounds like a Queens of the Stone Age song if they were fronted by a female. This might be due to the fact that their album was produced by Chris Goss who has worked with Queens of the Stone Age associated project entitled "The Desert Sessions".

The Duke Spirit did not relent during their performance at the Hammer as they nailed "Lassoo". A combination of Gibson Firebird and an Epiphone hollowbody guitar dialed in the appropriate fuzz and blues tones that were impressive as they meshed together. Luke Ford (Guitars) and Robin Ford (Guitars) had an impressive collection of fuzz pedals incorporating a Fulltone Soul Bender, Pro Co Rat distortion pedals and an extremely rare Colorsound Tone Bender.

Liela continued to work the crowd as the ever present tune on Indie 103.1 "The Step and The Walk" was absolutely joyful. Delicate chords and twinkling melodies of "Sovereign" gave the audience a chance to breathe as Liela displayed her impressive vocal range. "This Ship Was Built To Last" was a droned out fuzz masterpiece that ebbed and flowed like the morning tide. "Neptune's Call" and "Cuts Across The Land" capped a perfect evening of free fuzzy rock courtesy of Indie 103.1.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

Supergrass at the Avalon

In the midst of a US tour opening for the Foo Fighters, Supergrass descended upon the Avalon for a special headlining set in support of their new album Diamond Hoo Ha. Supergrass barely made it to the venue in time as, Gaz Coombes (Vocals/Guitars) needed a police escort to the venue as he was cross-town at the UCLA for the taping of the VH1 Rock Honors playing with the Foo Fighters.

The Morning Benders

The Morning Benders continue to tour endlessly in support of their outstanding debut album Talking Through Tin Cans. I was unable to catch them a few weeks ago opening for We are Scientists at the El Rey. The Morning Benders also wrapped up a successful tour opening for the Kooks and recently has released a batch of cover tunes entitled The Bedroom Covers where they cover such artists as The Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac, and The Cardigans. They didn't play any covers on this particular night but covered a good portion of their album. "Patient, Patient" is one of my favorite tracks from their album and was replicated nicely at the Avalon. The large amount of touring has enhanced their live show as they have slightly altered their tunes by adding extra notes as Joe Ferrell (Guitars) was huddled over his "Britney Spears" Telecaster. The Morning Benders will be back in town on August 7 at the El Rey with Airborne Toxic Event and Radars To The Sky. You can also download their covers album for free from their blog.


I last checked in with Supergrass when they were opening for Radiohead at the Hollywood Bowl. Supergrass continues to churn out impressive straight up British rock that is admired by musicians but criminally overlooked by the masses. You know you are at a rock show when the band has their name suspended above the stage in bright lights. "Diamond Hoo Ha Man" was a fitting opener to their set as they blazed through the tune. Gaz had a sweet Red Gibson Hollowbody howling as his power chords rippled through the airwaves. The bouncing bass line of "Bad Blood" filled the room before Gaz kicked it into overdrive accompanied by some electronic effects by Rob Coombes (Keyboards).

Supergrass didn't need a flashy sign with their name on it because their songs are flashy enough. Gaz switched to a clean acoustic guitar tone as he strummed the chords of "She's So Loose" from their debut album I Should Coco to the roar of approval from the crowd. "Rebel In You" was another rocking tune from their new album that featured some Rhodes keyboard work similar to Supertramp. Danny Goffey (Drums) positively shined with his lead vocals on "Ghost In You". I was thinking that Danny might need to sing more often. The ska influenced riff of "Brecon Beacons" melted into a hard rocking riff during the chorus to further cement my appreciation for the songwriting skills of Supergrass. A cowbell made an appearance with "Outside" as the vocal harmonies were out of this world. "Moving" had the crowd in the palm of Gaz's hand as he switched back to his acoustic based guitar tone.

Gaz switched to a Fender Telecaster for a scintillating version of "Sun Hits The Sky" from their In It For The Money album. Supergrass strategically ended their main set with "Pumping On Your Stereo" before darting off stage. Chants of encore continued until the members of Supergrass returned to the stage. Supergrass came back with their biggest hit, "Alright" replete with bouncy piano keys. Their roaring cover of The Police’s “Next To You” surprised me but it blended nicely into their set. "Caught By The Fuzz" was an ironic closer to evening because Gaz would not have made it to the show if it weren't for the police escort. I now wonder if they threw in the Police cover as an inside joke.

Albert Hammond Jr. at Spaceland

Como Te Llama? is the new album by Albert Hammond Jr. that completely caught me off guard. I loved Albert's first album Yours To Keep and was surprised that he released another album so quickly. I caught Albert twice on his last tour at the Troubadour and House of Blues Sunset. The line wrapping around Spaceland confirmed I wasn't the only person who was eager to check out Albert playing some new tunes from his new album.

The Shys

It has been a little while since I caught up with The Shys. They played the San Diego Street Scene show a few years ago and played a solid set. The Shys are gearing up to release their new album You Will Never Understand This Band The Way That I Do. The Shys have stylistically shifted their look and sound to a bluesy Americana rock sound in the vein of The Walkmen. Kyle Krone (Guitars/Vocals) had a slick Fender Jazzmaster dialed in with a lot of overdrive and dirt. "The Hangman" was a new tune that had plenty of bite with knife-sharpened guitars. Chris Wulff (Guitars) had an Epiphone Guitar with a MXR Micro amp to boost his solos as he added some flash to the tunes. "Savior" had a rocking drunken ragtime feel to the tune as a shot of whiskey should be imbibed while listening to the song. "Call In The Calvary" from their prior album Astoria sparked my memory quickly with its hard driving kick drum and slashing guitars. The Shys will be at the Troubadour on July 29 for a record release party.

The Parlor Mob

A Rickenbacker Bass, Orange Amplifier, sludgy guitar riffs heavily influenced by Black Sabbath with a dab of Pink Floyd make up the musical composite of New Jersey rockers The Parlor Mob. Mark Melicia (Vocals) had a vocal range close to Ronnie James Dio and Ozzy Osbourne that blended perfectly with their bottom heavy riffs. I wasn't surprised to see them on metal powerhouse Roadrunner records. While comparisons to Wolfmother will likely haunt them, I enjoyed the fact they had two fleet fingered guitarists who would solo together at various points. The Parlor Mob is touring behind their album And You Were A Crow. If you check out their Myspace page, they have some awesome videos giving you a tour of their gear setup. I was checking out David Rosen's setup (Guitars) that was rich in Electro Harmonix pedals blaring through his Ibanez Jetking.

Albert Hammond Jr.

An Olympic White Stratocaster was perched in a guitar stand in front of a Fender Deville amplifier, as the crowd grew anxious for the appearance of Albert Hammond Jr. The stuttering drumbeat of "101" backed by the needling guitar lines was the perfect way to kick off the evening. The tremolo guitar picking of "G Up" proved to be disorienting to your equilibrium as Albert nailed the song precisely. The ping-pong match of old and new songs continued as the propulsive bass line of "In Transit" blared over the Spaceland speakers. I forgot how much I enjoyed Albert's first album and how impressive Albert's live show was. I wasn't too familiar with the new songs but they easily worked their way into the setlist.

"Bright Young Thing" had Marc Eskenazi (Guitars/Keyboards) pounding on the keys for the bouncing piano riff before switching the patch to a lush organ. I quickly realized I was singing along to the tune. Albert had a few Jekyll and Hyde overdrive/distortion pedals at his feet while holding his trademark Olympic White Stratocaster. "GfC" was significantly heavier with the opening guitars being doused in overdrive. They launched into heavy vocal harmonies for the intro to "Rocket" as Matt Ramano (Drums) performed an impressive marching band beat behind the song. Spaceland was absolutely packed and space was a premium as few people had room to move let alone dance.

Things got funky as the slithery beat of "Victory at Monterrey" couldn't help but make you dance. Albert has succeeded in making an album that is different from his debut but still characteristically sounds like Albert Hammond Jr. "Holiday" and "Everyone Gets A Star" knocked off a few more tunes from his debut album. Albert wound down his set with "Borrowed Time", "Lisa", "In My Room" and "Feed Me Jack" for a set that clocked in just shy of sixty minutes. Albert Hammond Jr. is currently touring in Australia and looks to swing back through the states to promote the album. I just hope I get to hear the Strokes next album prior to Albert releasing his third solo album.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nine Inch Nails Private Rehearsal Show at the Forum

Photos Courtesy of Capital M_

I am lucky to have some good friends and readers. I can testify that real people actually win on KROQ as did my friend (thanks J) who was kind enough to invite me to the Nine Inch Nails private rehearsal show.

I thought I was done visiting the Forum after seeing Coldplay, but would gladly make the exception for Nine Inch Nails. After securing a spot on the rail slightly right of center I anxiously awaited for the lights to dim. Security for the show was extremely strict as I couldn't even use my cell phone to take notes.

The show was surreal. It was a bombardment of the auditory and visual senses as Trent Reznor orchestrated a stage show that is light years ahead of the prior "With Teeth" tour. It was the debut of the semi new line up with Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Bass) and Robin Finck (Guitars) returning to the line up. Josh Freese (Drums) pounded away the opening drum beat for "1,000,00" as Robin Finck sliced out the cutting guitar riffs on his first of many Gibson Les Pauls. Trent was using a slew of different vocal effects on the songs as he squeezed a trigger mounted on his microphone stand.

"Head Down" is easily my favorite track of the new album and sounded huge live. Robin had switched to a Danelectro baritone scale guitar for the sledgehammer guitar riff while crushing his wah pedal. Trent had a remote Novation SL that unleashed a storm of 8-bit glitches for the breakdown of the song.

A large screen of lights dropped as an assortment of Lemur controllers, keyboards and laptops were assembled for a mini electronic set. "The Warning" was a twisted electronic gem with added delays and echoes. "The Great Destroyer" was mind blowing as it happens to be my favorite song from Year Zero. The lights went out for a few seconds before roaring back in for the glitch filled storm of noise.

A batch of different instruments hit the stage as the band had light screens in front and behind them for a few tracks from the instrumental collection of Ghosts. Trent was playing an orchestral sized Xylophone and Josh had a junk kit consisting of an empty water bottle and various pots and pans. Robin played a flute and mandolin. The visuals were stunning as it looked like they were playing in the rainforest. "The Greater Good" was similar to the cutting edge visuals from the "Only" video.

"The Big Come Down" had strips of swinging lights surrounding the band members as Robin was whipping his dreadlocks around while head banging. "Survivalism" incorporated elements of the video as a few cameras mounted on the stage filmed the audience members on the rail. "Echoplex" has to be incorporated into their set every night as Josh interacted with the visuals in a similar manner to the rehearsal footage. I don't think I will ever see "Hurt" performed in such a quiet manner again as Robin had a nylon string guitar while Josh pounded heavily on the drums.

It was such a surreal show in that you were blown away trying to take in all the visuals and the music. This will easily be one of the best shows of 2008. I left out a lot of details as I don't want to ruin too much for you but can easily say the production value of this tour is worth the ticket price alone. The "Lights In The Sky" tour is the must see concert tour of the year.

Nine Inch Nails private rehearsal show setlist(7/19/08)
"Letting You"
"March of the Pigs"
"Head Down"
"The Frail"
"The Wretched"
"Gave Up"
"The Warning"
"The Great Destroyer"
"1 Ghosts I"
"25 Ghosts III"
"19 Ghosts III"
"The Greater Good"
"Terrible Lie"
"The Big Come Down"
"31 Ghosts IV"
"The Hand That Feeds"
"Head Like A Hole"
"The Good Soldier"
"The Beginning of the End"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Port O'Brien at the Detroit Bar

The semi-infamous maraca toss at the MGMT and Yeasayer show at the Echoplex overshadowed the fact that Port O'Brien played an extremely tight set. It was unfortunate that a majority of the crowd was still stuck in the rain for their performance. Port O'Brien recently embarked on a mini tour of the West Coast with help from The Builders and The Butchers that included a stop at the Detroit Bar.

The Union Line

The local collective of The Union Line were playing as I walked in to the Detroit Bar. The Union Line are musically located a few houses down from the Cold War Kids and the Delta Spirit. Dixie Bruce (Vocals/Guitar) had a Gibson Hollowbody to coax out their reverb soaked bluesy tunes. They had a Nord Electro keyboard setup for a variety of organ and Rhodes keyboards. Jojo (Guitars/Vocals) had his own Gibson hollowbody to add their collective sound and shared some vocal duties. I only caught a small portion of their show but they will be back at the Detroit Bar on Oct 9th.

The Builders and The Butchers

The Builders and The Butchers hail from the musical hotbed of Portland. Their gear setup was minimal to say the least but they showed less is more with an intense performance. I was laughing before they even started as Harvey (Banjo/Mandolin) soundchecked the '80s cheesy arena classic "The Final Countdown" by Europe on his mandolin. Ryan Sollee (Vocals/Guitars) was singing like he was possessed as he frantically strummed his guitar. The Builders and The Butchers showcased a number of tunes from their self titled release. Their music reminded me of being at the Disneyland Country Bear Jamboree crossed with the speed of Space Mountain. Ryan also used an oil funnel and a megaphone to alter his voice during their set. The crowd ate up their set and demanded an encore that had some banjo as The Builders and The Butchers threw together one last song. I almost forgot to mention everyone from the bar got up from their stools to move in front of the stage after hearing only a few notes from the band.

Port O'Brien

A large wooden crate was mysteriously lying in front of the stage as Port O'Brien was setting up. "Whiskey Song" started the evening with a quiet note as Ryan Stively (Bass) was playing a handsaw with a violin bow for a spacey theremin like effect. Joshua Barnhart (Drums) was crouched on the floor activating his harmonium for a lush effect. Van Pierszalowski (Guitars/Vocals) was strumming his Takamine Acoustic to quietly introduce you to the world of Port O'Brien. All We Could Do Is Sing is Port O'Brien's latest release and is one of those albums that you need to listen to from start to finish, as it is a series of miniature stories cultivated into on book. "Don't Take My Advice" picked up the pace as Van was starting to really warm up his vocal cords. The electric guitars started to turn up during "In Vino Veritas" as the group encouraged the crowd to sing along to the hymn like song. The tune of "Fisherman's Son" was like a slow pressure cooker that would eventually boil over with high energy, as Van would lose his cap because he was rocking out too hard. Cambria Goodwin (Banjo/Keyboards) was fighting off catcalls from some drunken female patrons but didn't miss a note on her banjo. "Stuck On A Boat" turned things up a notch as Zebedee Zaitz (Guitars) recklessly hammered his Rickenbacker while Van thrashed on his Fender Telecaster. The wooden crate would be finally opened like Pandora's box revealing an assortment of metal pots and pans that enabled the crowd to assist in a raucous version of "I Woke Up Today" with the help of some members of the Delta Spirit. Port O'Brien will be back on tour with Bodies of Water in August before playing the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco.