Friday, October 31, 2008

The Kooks at the Hollywood Palladium

Luke Pritchard (Vocals/Guitar) sounded like he fully recovered from a respiratory infection that forced The Kooks to cancel their in-store performance at Fingerprints records when I saw their show at the House of Blues Anaheim. I was interested to see how they would sound at the newly redesigned Hollywood Palladium.

The Whigs

It was the final night of tour for the combination The Whigs and The Kooks. The Whigs will be joining the Kings of Leon for a batch of East coast dates before bringing in the new year in their hometown with Band of Horses.

A paperplate made for a makeshift setlist at the feet of Tim Deaux(Bass) as they opened up their set with "Violet Furs". The Whigs were even tighter on this particular night as they blasted through "Like A Vibration" and "Technology". Parker Gispert (Vocals/Guitars) later got behind his Yamaha keyboard for "Nothing Is Easy" while Tim picked up a Fender Telecaster. "Already Young" was the standout track of the night as Parker crossed over into the realm of Nirvana as he sounded similar to Kurt Cobain. I also noticed the acoustics in the Palladium have dramatically improved as The Whigs sounded pristine.

The Kooks

I have to give credit to Live Nation in their redesign of the Hollywood Palladium. The vibe has transformed to that of the Wiltern with LCD screens by the bars and a much tidier appearance. I also wasn't strip searched when I entered the Palladium which was a good thing. The Palladium also installed some foam in the ceiling to improve the acoustics which used to be another reason not to go to the Palladium. I hope they fixed the plumbing that caused the cancellation of the Morrissey shows in October of last year.

The Kooks always come out with their guns blazing as they tore into "Always Where I Need To Be" which they later played on the Jay Leno show the next night. Hugh Harris (Guitars) continues to dazzle me with his playing skills as his solo for "Ooh La" was wiry tight. Hugh later used a lighter as a slide for "I Want You" for some bluesy feedback. The crowd was singing along for "She Moves In Her Own Way" as Hugh methodically fingerpicked the notes while engaging his Boss Octave pedal.

Luke mentioned that when they started the band the goal was to make people dance as he succeeded by playing "Do You Wanna" with its hi-hat shuffle. Tim from The Whigs came out to assist during "Shine On" as Luke gave him a hug to thank him for touring together. The encore came too quick as Luke and his acoustic guitar played "Seaside" and "Princess of My Mind". Hugh came out for "See The Sun" and added some background vocals. "Sofa Song" delighted the female fans in the front as Luke came down to the rail and went quite far into the crowd barely missing a note as he sung. The Kooks will finish up their tour supporting Konk in Japan and the rest of Europe.

The Kooks setlist at the Hollywood Palladium (10/28/08)
"Always Where I Need To Be"
"Eddie's Gun"
"Ooh La"
"Time Awaits"
"I Want You"
"One Last Time"
"She Moves In Her Own Way"
"Mr. Maker"
"Do You Wanna"
"Shine On"
"See The World"
"You Don't Love Me"
"Princess Of My Mind"
"Jackie Big Tits"
"See The Sun"
"Stormy Weather"
"Sofa Song"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age at the Avalon

I get a lot of emails about upcoming shows but a secret show involving Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters is a seismic event. It turns out that Research In Motion was throwing a launch party of their latest phone, the Blackberry Storm.

I only knew about the Blackberry Storm because they were using the new Killers song "Human" for their commercial. Apparently they still had some money left after paying the Killers because a private party with the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age couldn't have been cheap.

Queens of the Stone Age

"You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire" kicked off things as Queens of the Stone Age showed no signs of rust. Joey Castillo (Drums) and Josh Homme (Vocals/Guitars) have been on tour with Eagles of Death Metal while I just saw Michael Shuman (Bass) a few days ago melting faces with Jubilee. The crowd started to warm up gradually throughout the evening as "3's & 7's" was familiar to those who bought the expansion pack for Rock Band.

The highlight of the night was hearing the foreboding bass line of "Mexicola" from their self-titled debut album. My copy of their first album is the first version released on Loose Groove records created by Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam. Josh had a Fender Telecaster deluxe for the jangling chords of "Go With The Flow" that woke up the audience. "Little Sister" and "Sick, Sick, Sick" back to back was stunning. Troy Van Leeuwen (Guitars) went crazy during a wah drenched solo for "Song For The Dead". It was a solid set considering they barely had any time to rehearse. I have to reiterate that hearing "Mexicola" was mind blowing since I used to play that whole album on my guitar all the time.

Queens of the Stone Age Setlist at the Avalon (10/29/08)
"You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like A Millionaire"
"3's & 7's"
"Misfit Love"
"Burn The Witch"
"Turnin' On The Screw"
"Go With The Flow"
"Little Sister"
"Sick, Sick, Sick"
"Song For The Dead"

Foo Fighters

I was lucky enough to catch the Foo Fighters at the Troubadour earlier this year. This show ranks a little higher as it was a full blown rock show by Dave Grohl (Vocals/Guitars) when he fired up his custom blue Trini Lopez Gibson guitar. A few of the main rock staples were quickly dispensed as the Foos played "All My Life" and "Times Like These". The full band came out during "Long Road To Ruin" as I still didn't hear the cellist amongst the massive heaps of guitars due to the addition of Pat Smear on guitars.

"Let It Die" had a slew of instrumentation going on but I was laughing at the incorporation of a triangle into the song. The guitars were crushing for "Stacked Actors" as the Foo Fighters must have tuned down to "A" for the bowel shaking riff. Taylor Hawkins had his moment in the spotlight during his '80s metal drum solo that ended with some intense cross over drum rolls.
Dave did have quite the comedic exchange with Taylor in between songs as they "expressed" their love for each other. Dave cautioned Taylor not to "Be weird about it.

Things went acoustic as Dave dusted off "Marigold" which had Chris Shiflett (Guitars) play an orange Gretsch guitar. Taylor tapped into his inner Phil Collins as he sang and drummed during "Cold Day In The Sun". Rami Jaffee (Keyboards) proudly displayed his Casio SK-1 after being introduced by Dave who admitted they only used the best gear. Dave said he would meet everyone at the bar after finishing up with "The Pretender". The Foo Fighters have hinted they will go on hiatus for awhile but I imagine they might come out for the KROQ Acoustic Christmas show next month. They also didn't hand out Blackberry Storm phones in case you were wondering.

Foo FIghters setlist at the Avalon (10/29/08)
"All My Life"
"Times Like These"
"Learn To Fly"
"Long Road To Ruin"
"Let It Die"
"Stacked Actors"
Drum solo by Taylor
"My Hero"
"Cold Day In The Sun"
"The Pretender"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Kooks at House of Blues Anaheim

The kids in Anaheim are alright. It was a sold out show at the House of Blues Anaheim, as The Kooks made their first appearance in Orange County touring behind their second album Konk.

The Whigs

It was going to be an early night as The Whigs hit the stage close to eight o'clock. Mission Control is their latest album and a southern fried blast of rock. Their songs held up well in the stripped down format when I saw them at Fingerprints Records the day before.

"Technology" from their debut album Give 'Em All A Big Fat Lip played twice as fast as the recorded version jump started the audience. Parker Gispert (Vocals/Guitars) had his Gibson hollowbody guitar wailing away as they rambled through the foot tapping jam of "Like A Vibration". Tim Deaux (Bass) was adding background harmonies while plowing away on his Gibson SG bass. Julian Dorio (Drums) had his mop of long hair whipping throughout the whole set as he throttled his drum kit.

The younger leaning crowd seemed to appreciate their set hard driving set, but Parker did get quite a response when he asked the crowd if they were ready to see The Kooks. "Need You, Need You" had some screaming guitar octaves and jangling chords that slightly reminded me of Nirvana. The sound was mixed well at the House of Blues and the floor became really crowded as The Whigs closed out their set.

The Kooks

It has been a busy year for The Kooks. I caught them earlier this year at the Wiltern, House of Blues San Diego, The Echo and the Troubadour. They have come a long way since I saw them at Spaceland two years ago.

The Kooks wasted no time getting everyone dancing as Hugh Harris (Guitars) hammered out the chords to "Always Where I Need To Be". A line of females was permanently glued to the front rail with their eyes fixed on Luke Pritchard (Vocals/Guitars). It so happened that I ran into the same girls who attended the House Of Blues San Diego in which Luke dedicated a song to them.

"Sway" had Luke switching to a mini acoustic guitar that sounded twice as big as its size while Hugh was operating on his Gibson gold top. Paul Millard (Drums) was all business in his suit and tie on the drums filling in for Paul. "Time Awaits" was rearranged when the Kooks slowed down the tempo mid song before kicking it up a notch for a guitar feedback outro. Luke had a capo on the 7th fret during "One Last Time" as Hugh was crouched over his pedalboard concentrating on playing the quick guitar fills.

A few lighters popped up in the crowd during "Seaside" as Luke was on stage by himself for the encore. Luke deviated from the printed setlist as he offered up a new tune entitled "Princess of My Mind" in which he employed a capo on the 4th fret. The crowd tried in vain to have Luke sing "California" which is an older B-side that he could barely remember by singing only a few lines. "Sofa Song" brought the house down as Luke jumped into the crowd in front of the barricade as even the people upstairs were caught dancing along. I would say the Anaheim crowd was Konked after the end of their set.

The Kooks setlist at the House of Blues Anaheim (10/27/08)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jubilee at the Meeting of the Minds Arts and Music Festival

Jubilee made its US debut at the Meeting of Minds Arts and Music Festival in Chino. I was originally skeptical about a free show in Chino, but made the trek out. It was well worth the trip as I caught Earthless, Casket Salesmen and a ripping set by Jubilee. I also ran into the good folks at L.A. Record and Inflight at Night.


You don't need words when you rock as hard as Earthless. A power trio hailing from San Diego, Earthless brought their instrumental psychedelic sludge rock to the forefront with massive guitar riffs, pummeling drums and bowel shaking bass. I didn't catch any song titles but didn't need them as I wrapped up in their dense sonic fog.

Isaiah Mitchell (Guitars) had a vintage tape echo to tweak his fuzz heavy drone. The dynamics of the band were apparent as Mike Eginton (Bass) was locked in a tortuous rhythm with Mario Rubalcaba (Drums). Mike's Rickenbacker bass danced around Mario's thunderous drumming. Earthless just released a double album Live at Roadburn on Teepee records. The overall sound was mixed well for an outdoor event but I imagine it would be even more intense in a small club with the volume dimed. I will catch Earthless again.

Casket Salesmen

The whole festival was put together by Phil Pirrone who happens to front the Casket Salesmen. I have to give credit to Phil for organizing a free festival in the Inland Empire. The overall vibe was chill but I am sure he hoped for a larger turnout.

The Casket Salesman mined a spacier psychedelic rock with Phil climbing up and down the fretboard of his bass. Phil had a spell of bad luck in that he broke his bass string on the first song. Mike from Earthless was kind enough to loan Phil his Rickenbacker bass for the duration of the set as the intensity of their set picked up. Phil had mentioned that it would be their last show for awhile possibly insinuating that the band was going to break up. "Dr. Jesus" was significantly trippy and groovy at the same time. I also commend Phil for making sure his band did not go over the alotted time because he wanted all the bands to be able to play their full set.


I have been waiting awhile to finally catch Jubilee ever since I heard about their formation. Jubilee is comprised of Aaron North (Vocals/Guitars), Michael Shuman (Vocals/Bass), Jeff Lynn (Guitars) and Troy Petrey (Drums). You may know Michael Shuman as the source of the rumbling low end for Queens of the Stone Age while Aaron North used to shred, jump around and cause havoc during his stint in Nine Inch Nails. Jubilee released an EP Rebel Hiss on Buddyhead records as well as being involved with Topspin Media who offer a digital subscription for all their recorded output.

Jubilee took a little while to set up as Aaron seemed to be having problems with his Ground Control switching system. Aaron opted for the low-fi approach by pulling a few pedals out of his rack and took out his frustration on his guitars and amplifier as Jubilee tore into "I Don't Have An Excuse". Jubilee started to hit their stride during "Rebel Hiss" as Aaron proceeded to break out his trademark high kicking stomp across the stage. The element of danger seems to be the major calling card of Jubilee.

Jeff was deftly handling the soundscapes while Aaron thrashed on his assortment of Fender guitars. I particularly was impressed by his modified Fender Cyclone with Fender Jaguar pickups. Michael's disturbing bass tone is attributed to his Gibson Ripper Bass. Jubilee mixes elements of hardcore, punk and straight up rock for a confrontational aural assault.

"Frown Town" resonated loudly as I could imagine they were referring to Hollywood. Jubilee finished strongly by closing their set with "The Fuzz Are Down" which had all the members of Jubilee screaming at the top of their lungs at the audience backed by waves of noise. Jubilee will tackle their hometown on November 1st when they open for Shudder to Think at the El Rey. Check out Jubilee's prior exploits in the UK over at Isolate By The Hour.

Jubilee setlist

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Whigs at Fingerprints Records

It was barely a month ago that I caught The Whigs at the Detroit Bar opening for Tokyo Police Club. I did pick up a copy of their latest album Mission Control which has crept into major rotation with its rambuncous guitars, and southern fried vibe.

Originally billed as a combination in-store at Fingerprints Records with The Kooks and The Whigs, The Kooks had to cancel due to Luke Pritchard's entanglement with a respiratory infection. I recommend Luke starts a course of Levaquin 500mg for at least five days.

It was a stripped down affair as Parker Gispert (Vocals/Guitars) warned the audience that their songs are normally played a lot faster before embarking on a bluesy version of "Like A Vibration". Parker had his full pedalboard in front of him that included two Boss Blues Drivers. Tim Deaux (Bass) opted for a Fender Telecaster guitar instead of a bass as he used a glass slide to fully bring out the southern rock in the Athens, GA trio. Julian Dorio (Drums) had a minature drum kit with the bass drum strategically covered by a Whigs t-shirt.

The galloping rhythm of "Production City" was missing the harmonizing background vocals but still rocked nonetheless. Tim offered up some more glass slide guitar work for "Right Hand On My Heart" which breathed some new life into the song. I was impressed how well the songs stood up in their slower pace.

All of those in attendance were also treated to free tickets to see The Kooks and The Whigs at the Hollywood Palladium to make up for the cancelled appearance which brought out some vocal cheers from the crowd. I hope Luke gets better but I know The Whigs will be at full strength for these upcoming shows.