Friday, April 30, 2010

Shearwater at Spaceland

Jonathan Meiburg wryly pointed out "Last time we played Los Angeles, we played at the Forum". Even though Meiburg was telling the truth, it seemed almost comical as Meiburg stood on the Spaceland stage to those who didn't catch Shearwater open for Coldplay in 2008. Shearwater is in the midst of touring to support their latest release, The Golden Archipelago.

Wye Oak

Wye Oak captivated my attention early with their minimal setup but expansive sound. Besides being named after the Maryland state tree, Wye Oak consists of Andy Stack pulling double duty on drums and keyboards while Jenn Wasner handles the vocals and guitars. Merge Records recently released their new EP My Neighbor/My Creator. Members of Shearwater came out to assist Wye Oak with trumpet and saxophone during the scratchy guitars of "My Neighbor" carried by Wasner's yearning vocals.

"Family Glue" from their first album, If Children was dedicated to their sound guy and tour manager with the slow churning build up of guitars and drums escalating to the point of an noisy sound eruption before folding back into itself for an introspective ending. The shimmering guitars of "I Hope You Die" were impressive but Wasner's vocals are the centerpiece of the song with her repeating "I hope you die". Another highlight was their cover of The Kinks "Strangers" with an assist from Jonathan Meiburg. I will definitely be looking out for their new full length album when it comes out.

It is with great irony that a pentagram is drawn into their exceedingly high drum cymbal, because the music of Shearwater can only be described as heavenly. Fronted by avid ornithologist Jonathan Meiburg, Shearwater kicked things off with the urgent piano stabs of "Black Eyes" from their glacial third album The Golden Archipelago. The tropical percussion of "Landscape at Speed" was hypnotic as Meiburg added delicate sheets of metallic guitar squalls to the building tension.

"Castaways" has Meiburg stretching his vocals far and wide in part with the undulating waves of music underneath. It is easy to see how this type of music can transport you to far away places with the right set of headphones and a good record player. Fingerpicked reverb notes of "Meridian" conjured more images of water as the members of Shearwater banged on their instruments for extra murky sounds. The water imagery did not let up with the aqua themed "White Waves" but the overall volume was cranked up with a collision of cymbals and dirty guitars. Amazingly, Meiburg's voice still rose above it all.

After some twiddling of one of his guitar amplifier knobs, "God Made Me" toned things down slightly with Kimberly Burke navigating an upright bass. "Corridors" was a call to arms with its military stomp and washes of noise. Meiburg returned to the keyboards for "Hidden Lakes" as percussionist Thor Harris took up the oboe.

After quickly dispensing "An Insular Life", the opening notes of "Rooks" elicited a number of cheers from the appreciative crowd. Members of Wye Oak returned throughout the evening by helping out with percussion on "Century Eyes". "I Was A Cloud", "Seventy-Four, Seventy Five" closed out their main set. Using a capo on his guitar, "Hail, Mary" perfectly sealed the evening festivities as Shearwater waved goodbye.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How to Destroy Angels

Nine Inch Nails at the Wiltern
I received a mysterious email pointing me to this. How To Destroy Angels appears to be the new project involving Mariqueen Reznor and Trent Reznor. A self-titled six song EP is to be released this summer. The tell tale sign besides the picture is the inclusion of the Korg MS-20 in the video which Mariqueen tweeted about here.

Avi Buffalo at Fingerprints Records

Check out my pictures of Avi Buffalo at Fingerprints Records over at OC Weekly.

My review is also over at OC Weekly.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders at the Troubadour

Taking a break from drumming in one of the bigger rock bands on the planet, Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins reassembled his trusty Coattail Riders to record a sophomore album Red Light Fever. The Troubadour was packed with folks eager to check out the new tunes and secretly hoping for some special guests.

Dios Malos

It was fitting that Dios Malos would play on 4/20. Dios Malos continue to pound the pavement in support of their hazy, sun baked new album WE ARE DIOS. Joel Morales gently strummed his black Gibson Les Paul for shimmery THC laced chords backed by the low end Rickenbacker thump of John Paul Caballero.

Since the front row of fans were drummers, they talked amongst themselves stating that Patrick Butterworth was more than capable of holding down a beat and almost restraining himself from going berserk on the drums. They ended their set with a ramshackle cover of "Nervous Breakdown" by Black Flag with Caballero on vocals.

Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders

Drumming while singing is a herculean task that shouldn't be taken on lightly. Taylor Hawkins made it look incredibly easy perched behind his shiny orange Gretsch drum kit. My suspicions of being surrounded by drummers were confirmed when the air drumming commenced around me during "I Don't Think I Trust You Anymore".

Hawkins doesn't shy away from his influences. Each of the songs on the new record come off as a loving tributes to some of his favorite bands. I couldn't help but think Hawkins was making a sequel soundtrack to Fast Times at Ridgemount High by touching upon the sounds of Cheap Trick, The Cars and Styx.

Rifling through songs like "Louise", "Hole In My Shoes", and "You Drive Me Insane" had Hawkins dripping in sweat slamming the skins. Hawkins has assembled a solid band anchored by former Jane's Addiction bassist Chris Chaney who played with Hawkins in their Alanis Morissette stint. Gannin Arnold was phenomenal on guitar, deftly soloing like it was '80s but without the unnecessary flash.

"Way Down", "It's Over" and "Sunshine" closed out their main set that with fists pumping in the air showing signs of approval from the crowd. Hawkins said he needed a two minute break before bringing out some friends which got a large ovation. A beautiful blue left handed Gibson SG was plugged in for Eliot Easton of The Cars fame as he came out for muscle car growl of "Not Bad Luck".

Hawkins didn't rely to heavily on his lyric cheat sheets for a stellar cover of The Cars "You're All I've Got Tonight". While I thought Dave Grohl was still on tour with Them Crooked Vultures, he magically appeared to sit behind the drums for "Your Shoes" as Hawkins did a little bit of air drumming himself. "Cold Day In The Sun" had Hawkins place the vocal microphone back in front of Grohl for some added harmonies.

Grohl and Hawkins exchanged handshakes before walking off the stage to thunderous applause. It wasn't surprising to see the crowd not move after the lights went up and the house music started to play. Drum heads and drum sticks magically appeared in hopes of being autographed. Make sure you check out some of the new Taylor Hawkins tunes via their awesome 8-track player.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Muse at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas

Spectacular? Epic? Mind Blowing? All of the above? Definitely! Muse delivered an arena rock spectacle at the Mandalay Bay Events Center to a sold out crowd in excess of 11,000 screaming fans. If you don't have tickets to see Muse close out Coachella on Saturday, scalp them now.

Silversun Pickups

Remember that little band from Silverlake that used to play Spaceland a few years ago called Silversun Pickups? I flew to Vegas to see Silversun Pickups back in 2006 when they opened for Wolfmother at the Joint. I really doubt Silversun Pickups will be opening for many more bands judging by their arena rocking performance.

When Brian Aubert told the crowd, "Hi! We are Silversun Pickups" a huge roar came back from the audience to which Aubert laughingly responded "Oh stop it!". It is these type of self deprecating comments that help endear Silversun Pickups to their fans. It also doesn't hurt they have an arsenal of rocking tunes. "Growing Old Is Getting Old" and "Well Thought Out Twinkles" easily filled the arena with their dense rock textured tunes.

Maybe it was due to their abbreviated set time, but "The Royal We" was absolutely smoking since it was being played at twice the recorded speed. "Future Foe Scenarios" and "Substitution" kept the energy high as Joe Lester's keyboards filled the arena only to be eclipsed by waves of Aubert's feedback. Christopher Guanlao was rocking his elevated cymbal and LA Laker purple colored drum kit while Nikki Monninger used her trusty Gibson Firebird bass.

Aubert later instigated an informal light show by splitting the audience in half and telling everyone to use their flashes at once since they "couldn't afford their own light show". "Panic Switch" and "Lazy Eye" closed out their set to a large ovation that seemed to shock even them. I probably was the only one not surprised. I only hope Silversun Pickups play one last Los Angeles date before they head back into the studio.


Muse destroyed when I caught them closing out KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas in December 2009. Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenhome, and Dominic Howard have been playing together as Muse for nearly sixteen years and their musical chemistry is top notch. Are they one of the best live bands out touring today? I would say so.

Three towering skyscrapers loomed largely on stage that quickly illuminated when the lights went down. The curtains surrounding them dropped to reveal each band member perched up high inside each skyscraper. Bellamy used a mirror to reflect a laser that was shooting up from beneath his platform for a radical visual effect. The fuzzy bass line of "Uprising" boomed loudly augmented by theremin like synthesizers.

It was difficult to absorb the music, lasers and the various images projected on the skyscrapers. All of your senses were being assaulted and the buzz of the crowd grew with each song. The majestic piano notes of "Resistance" faded to the galloping drumming of Howard who would flash the occasional smile. Dipping back into their old catalog, "New Born" was phenomenal with Bellamy crushing the guitar riff. The thing that blew my mind was Bellamy closed out the song by playing the riff of "Head Up" by fellow record labelmates, Deftones.


"Map of the Problematique", "Supermassive Black Hole" were flawless as the lasers continued to blast through the arena. Bellamy wasn't done with his various riff homages by sprinkling in some Led Zeppelin and AC/DC riffs into their set. "Hysteria" seemed to make the earth rumble with its ground shaking guitars, booming bass and roaring drums. Bellamy would grab the megaphone for a spell while playing the piano for the distorted vocals of "Feeling Good".

Donning a bizarre hybrid keytar, Bellamy tapped out the synthesizer swells of "Undisclosed Desires". It seemed that the entire crowd clapped along to the intro of "Starlight". A blistering one two punch of "Time Is Running Out" and "Plug In Baby" closed out their main set with a minor homage to Kurt Cobain with a dose of the "Negative Creep" riff.

A three song encore of "Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1:Overture", "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Knights of Cydonia" was more than anyone could ask for capping a nineteen song set. Muse are closing out their tour with two nights at the massive Wembley Stadium in September. Vacation anyone?


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Revolver Golden Gods Awards at Club Nokia

I had an enjoyable time checking out the Revolver Golden Gods Awards show last year at Club Nokia. It had a few bumps and bruises, but it was excellent to see the Heavy Metal community rightly celebrated. The line up for this year was very strong and the list of appearances was extremely impressive.

Contrary to popular belief, I am unable to attend every concert that piques my interest. Since I was unable to attend, I sent Capital M to photograph the black carpet and check out Hard Rock Chick's report on the proceedings here.

Ozzy Osbourne

Rob Halford of Judas Priest


Chino and Abe of Deftones

Rob Zombie and John 5

Lemmy from Motorhead and Corey Parks


Jerry and Mike from Alice In Chains

Scott Ian, Pearl Aday and Brian Posehn

Zakk Wyde

Vinnie Paul from Pantera and Hellyeah

Jim Hirota and Emily Burton of Fireball Ministry

The Donnas

Andrew WK

Robert Englund of A Nightmare on Elm Street

VH1 That Metal Show hosts Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson

Fear Factory

Brian Posehn All-Star Band

Lemmy, Slash and Dave Grohl

Rob Zombie

And the winners are...

Metal Blade Golden God Award: Rob Halford (presented by Ozzy Osbourne)

Epiphone Best Guitarist Award: Zakk Wylde (presented by Kerry King of Slayer)

Ferret Music Best Underground Band Award: Dillinger Escape Plan (presented by Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie)

Liquid Metal Best Vocalist Award: Ronnie James Dio (presented by Jerry Cantrell and Mike Inez of Alice in Chains)

Samson/Zoom Best Live Band Award: Metallica (presented by Scott Ian of Anthrax and Allison Robertson of the Donnas)

Guitar World Comeback of the Year Award: Alice in Chains (presented by Phil Bozeman, Ben Savage, and Alex Wade of Whitechapel)

Roadrunner Records Honorary Headbanger Award: Robert Englund (presented by Kat Von D and Jim Rota and Emily Burton of Fireball Ministry)

Just Cause 2 Hottest Chick in Metal Award: Maria Brink of In This Moment (presented by Marta of Bleeding Through and Corey Parks of Nashville Pussy and Chelsea Girls)

Drum Workshop Best Drummer Award: Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold, accepted by his family (presented by Vinnie Paul of HELLYEAH and Pantera and Joey Jordison of Slipknot, Muderdolls and Rob Zombie)

Splatterhouse Lifetime Achievement Award: Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead (presented by Dave Grohl)

BallHype Most Metal Athlete Award: Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis, and Corey Procter of the Dallas Cowboys and the band Free Reign (presented by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth)

Harley-Davidson Album of the Year Award: Alice in Chains (presented by Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson of VH1 Classic’s “That Metal Show”)