Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Incoming: Roger Waters at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Roger Waters stopped by the Staples Center and the Honda Center in 2010 to blow your mind and ears with his elaborate recreation and stunning production of the classic Pink Floyd album The Wall.

The scale will become even larger as Roger Waters returns once more to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday May 19th. Make sure you get tickets this Saturday on November 18th at 10am here. You will never forget this show.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Hum at the Record Bar

After two stellar shows in Illinois, Hum quickly sold out their show at the Record Bar in Kansas City as a warm up to their Fun Fun Fun Festival set. While I wasn't feeling well for a number of days, I booked a last minute flight to Kansas City when I saw Hum added an early show. Two sets of Hum would provide me enough adrenaline and positive energy to get me through this tumultuous year.

The Life and Times
Bringing back good memories of their reunion shows of 2008/2009, The Life and Times once again opened both sets. Sonically, The Life and Times are a good fit to open for Hum as they fall somewhere in the post rock world with shades of Burning Airlines.

After absorbing two of their sets, my appreciation for the band definitely grew. Bassist Eric Abert was pulling double duty switching between his Realistic keyboard and a Schecter baritone guitar while drummer Chris Metcalf pummeled his drum kit while occasionally adding some keyboard work.

Lead singer and guitarist Allen Epley had his hands full between slashing away on his guitar and belting out the lyrics. Epley mentioned they have a new album due in January which I will definitely check out.


Early Show

The familiar haunting metallic swoosh of noise that kicks off "Suicide Machine" immediately confirmed that it was the right decision to fly out for the show. I was positioned directly in front of bassist Jeff Dimpsey and able to see him attack his G&L bass for the song. Guitars would roar and cymbals were smashed for "The Pod" and the crushing riff of "Iron Clad Lou". Tim Lash triggered the opening notes of "Green To Me" on his Fender Big Apple Stratocaster.

"Stars" made an early appearance in their set and still rocks no matter how many thousands of times I've heard the song. It was very impressive to see Lash And Talbott lock in on the furious metal breakdown. "Ms. Lazarus" was pure aural bliss as Bryan St. Pere crushed his drum kit making me wonder if it could withstand two sets in one day.

Continuing to visit Downward Is Heavenward, "Comin' Home" was another bombastic blast of guitars, bass and drums. Having seen a number of Hum reunion shows, it was evident that their playing was sharper and even better rehearsed. The detuned crunch of "Cloud City" rattled my bones as I was in awe of St. Pere's drumming at the end of the song along with the extreme coordinated precise riffing by Dimpsey, Lash and Talbott.

The deceptive quiet notes of "I Hate It Too" soon devolved into the epic rumble of guitars that served as the final blast of those attending the early show. Unfortunately due to time constraints, "I'd Like Your Hair Long" and another song were omitted. It was almost unreal to think I would see a similar set in just a few hours after.

Late Show

A vortex of swirl in the form of "Little Dipper" kicked off the late show and it seemed that Hum had even more energy. Talbott was using both his Ampeg and Orange heads simultaneously for the intoxicating wall of noise with a distinct MXR Phase 90 coloring. The transition to "I'd Like Your Hair Long" had me elated as they are both my favorite songs from "You'd Prefer An Astronaut".

My elation soon went off the charts when they played "Winder" which is one of my favorite tracks from Electra 2000. Extra points goes to St. Pere for recreating the vicious drumming at the tail end of the song.
It was almost a dream setlist as they ripped through "The Pod", "I Hate It Too" and "Green To Me". The other unreleased song in Hum's cannon is "Inklings" which seems to undergo minor revisions each time I hear the song live but rocks regardlessly every time .

The super detuned portion of the show was fantastic as they blasted out "Cloud City" and another personal favorite that hits close to home "The Scientists". It all seemed to end in a flash as they wrapped up their set with "Comin' Home" and "Iron Clad Lou". Hum was fully prepared for their set at Fun Fun Fun fest. One can only hope for more Hum shows in 2012 and the possibility they will release an EP with "Inklings" and "Cloud City". Also, make sure to check out Matt Talbott's label Earth Analog which released Dibiase and New Ruins.

Hum Setlist Early show (11/4/11)
"Suicide Machine"
"The Pod"
"Iron Clad Lou"
"Green To Me"
"Ms. Lazarus"
"Afternoon with the Axolotls"
"Comin' Home"
"Cloud City"
"I Hate It Too"

Hum Setlist Late show (11/4/11)
"Little Dipper"
"I'd Like Your Hair Long"
"Afternoon with the Axolotls"
"The Pod"
"I Hate It Too"
"Green To Me"
"Cloud City"
"The Scientists"
"Comin' Home"
"Iron Clad Lou"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

OMD at Club Nokia

I missed quite a number of concerts during my medical hiatus. One of the shows that crushed me the most was the return of OMD at the Music Box in March. OMD is touring in support of their latest album The History of Modern is their first album with the original line up since 1986.


Hailing from Australia and trying to break out stateside,Washington kicked off the evening by warming the crowd up with a batch of tunes. Their lead singer Megan Washington vocally reminded me of Gwen Stefani. Washington has a new release Insomnia in the works.


Under the cover of a dimly lit stage, a slow wash of synthesizer pads circulated throughout Club Nokia as OMD took the stage for "Dazzle Ships". Firing up the Delorean back to 1980, "Stanlow" had Andy McClusky quip "doesn't every band open with a song about an oil refinery?". OMD surgically stacked their setlist and immediately ignited the audience with the chirping synthesizers of "Messages" as McClusky strapped on his Fender Jazz bass.

Seeing that that crowd was in the age range from late 30's to 50's, it was impressive to see most of the dance floor go absolutely nuts for "Tesla Girls". OMD never let up the whole evening by working through "She's Leaving" and "History of Modern (Part 1)". Paul Humphreys took center stage for "(Forever) Live and Die" which was bolstered with a saxophone solo by Martin Cooper.

Arguably one of their biggest hits "If You Leave" had McClusky reminisce about going to Paramount pictures and writing the song for "Pretty In Pink". Humphreys continued to display his timeless voice for "Souvenir" as the crowd enthusiastically clapped along. A double shot of "Joan of Arc" and "Maid of Orleans" sounded flawless and had McClusky interruptive dancing vigorously across the stage.

McClusky prefaced their new song "Green" as a fantastic before renenergizing the crowd by going down to the front rail to greet fans as he sang. The hits just kept coming as "Talking Loud" and "So In Love" had the crowd still moving their feet. "Locomotion" was recreated perfectly with its steel drum like synthesizers.

The digital cameras popped out en masse during "Dreaming". "Sailing on the Seven Seas" had another classic McClusky quip when he deadpanned "Even if you don't like it..it is a brilliant song". The classic synthesizer plinks of "Enola Gay" were rapturous had McClusky warn the crowd that they better not be tired.

OMD reemerged to kick off their encore of "Walking On the Milky Way". McClusky told the crowd that they got in trouble for not playing "Secret" back in March and I was glad they played it as it is one of my favorite songs from them.

McClusky took us down memory lane one more time stating he remembered playing "Electricity" at the Whisky A Go-Go nearly 31 years ago. If you own a synthesizer or enjoy dancing then do not miss OMD who are one of the most energetic and vital synthpop bands from the '80s.