Sunday, October 17, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
It is hard to believe that I have managed to catch The Morning Benders almost twelve times dating back to November 2007. The amount of musical growth from each gig attended was impressive. When I last saw them in January 2009 at the Detroit Bar, they had completely retooled all their songs from their superb debut album Talking Through Tin Cans.
When I interviewed lead singer and guitarist Chris Chu in May of 2008, Chris mentioned he wasn't interested in making the same album twice. This becomes very apparent with the release of their stellar sophomore album Big Echo. The packed Detroit Bar was evidence that other folks were interested in checking out their new tunes.
Miniature Tigers had some major support at this show as it seems all their parents made it up to the front row to cheer for their respective children. Unveiling a handful of songs from their upcoming album, Miniature tigers worked through a ten song set infused with bits of different musical genres.
"Gold Skull" had lead singer Charlie Brand jump into the crowd for an informal dance party. I also gave Miniature Tigers points for switching up musical assignments as Algernon Quashie and Rick Schaier were trading back and forth between drums and guitars. My attempts to snap a picture of the setlist was thwarted due to the fact it was on Brand's cell phone. Gotta love technology.
The line up for the The Morning Benders has evolved once more as Chris Chu is now joined by his brother Jon on guitar. The dense ghostly reverb of "Stitches" slowly built via the combined guitar powers of Chris and Jon. Chris was using a Hofner hollowbody guitar and passed along his Fender Telecaster to his brother.
The howls from crowd after the first song seemed to genuinely surprise Chris as the Detroit Bar wasn't nearly as full and vocal when they played less than a year ago. Ambient noises gave way to the percussive chugging chords of "Promises" with wavering vocals by Chris. The crowd even sang along to "la-da-da-da" vocal hook as Julian Harmon quietly tapped on his drums.
I was extremely envious of Tim Or's black Rickenbacker bass that sounded as beautiful as it looked. Rick Schaier from Miniature Tigers assisted the Morning Benders by adding some keyboards to round out their mix. "Cold War" seemed to warm up the crowd with its dance inspiring guitar chords and the sticky sweet vocal coos.
The hard driving bass line and thumping drums of "Hand Me Downs" were the main ingredients of song vividly colored by dispatches of reverb delayed guitars. Lighters and cell phones illuminated the Detroit Bar during "Mason Jar" as Schaier even got into the act with a lighter of his own while playing the keyboards. "All Day Day Light" shone exceptionally bright with its foot tapping beat and hollow reverb guitars.
The last sing along of the night was the best, as "Excuses" inspired the usually stoic Detroit Bar crowd to join Chris's harmonious vocal parts. It was not too surprising that they avoided their older material but it was impressive that they covered most of their new album. I will catch them again when they open for Broken Bells in a few months.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Check out my photos of The Submarines and The Morning Benders at the Detroit Bar for OC Weekly. The Morning Benders and The Submarines will be back at the Troubadour on February 28th.
Monday, July 21, 2008
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.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
The line of fans snaked around the Wiltern going well past the Denny's as The Kooks and The Morning Benders traveled up the coast to play another sold out show. Both bands sounded great at the House of Blues San Diego and I had even higher expectations for this particular show as the Wiltern usually sounds great.
The Morning Benders
It is hard to believe that this was the tenth time I have seen The Morning Benders since I originally caught them at the Viper room in November of 2007. The Morning Benders continue to impress me every time I see them live. Chris Chu (Vocals/Guitars) had an aura of confidence surrounding him as he charged through "Loose Change". The Morning Benders played a similar set but I have to mention that "Patient Patient" may have surpassed "Damnit Anna" as my favorite Morning Benders song. The Los Angeles crowd reacted just as strongly as the night before in San Diego and I honesty wasn't surprised. I can't recommend their debut full length album Talking Through Tin Cans any higher as it will finish in my top 10 releases of 2008.
The Kooks have deftly avoided the sophomore slump with the release of new album Konk. "Mr. Maker", "Do You Wanna" and "Sway" are some of my particular favorite tracks on the album. I also recommend you pick up the bonus disc version that has an extra nine tracks. As much as I love catching shows in San Diego, The Kooks kicked into another gear for the Los Angeles crowd as the pit at the Wiltern was actively moving and dancing around. Luke Pritchard (Vocals/Guitars) fed off the energy from the crowd as he frantically paced the stage. The setlist for this show was similar to the House of Blues San Diego show but I wasn't complaining as it was a good mix of old and new material. The white screen behind the band changed colors throughout the evening to add a striking visual element to the auditory delights of the night. Dan Logan (Bass) has done an admirable job replacing Max Rafferty as if he has been playing with the band since its inception. "Shine" was the highlight of the night with a good majority of the crowd singing along. Luke's acoustic encore resonated with the crowd as he managed to make the Wiltern as comfy as the Troubadour with his demeanor. I hope you have tickets when they hit your town because the venues are only going to get larger.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Kooks kicked off their U.S. tour at the House of Blues San Diego in grand style with the help of The Morning Benders. I was excited to see the bands in action again as I previously reviewed and enjoyed both bands at the Troubadour and Echo.
The Morning Benders
After recently catching their successful record release party at the Echo, I was curious to see how The Morning Benders would fare in front of a larger audience thirsty for the Kooks. The Morning Benders quenched the thirst of the audience with a hearty selection of tunes from Talking Through Tin Cans. The House of Blues soundsystem was in perfect tune with The Morning Benders as the mix was simply majestic. "Crosseyed" had a slower then usual intro before quickly picking up speed. The Rhoades keyboard was loud and clear for a bouncy version of "Boarded Doors". I heard some girls behind me debating about which band member was cuter during "Grain of Salt". The Morning Benders breezed through their set like touring veterans, as I felt sorry for their merch guy who was swamped at the end of their set. The snowball effect continues to amplify the buzz for the Morning Benders.
It didn't take long for the chants of "The Kooks" to start from the balcony of the House of Blues. It started to feel like a sold out show as the floor was completely packed and the crowd was anxiously waiting. The slashing chords of "Always Where I Need To Be" kicked of their set as the crowd started jumping up and down near the front of the stage. Luke Pritchard (Vocals/Guitars) was thoroughly enjoying the larger stage as he often walked back and forth while dancing around. The Kooks wisely arranged their setlist by alternating new and old songs into the mix. Hugh Harris (Guitars) had his trusty Gibson hollowbody guitar firing on all cylinders as he demonstrated his advanced guitar wisdom. Luke switched to an acoustic guitar for a lush version of "Sway" from their new album Konk. Luke dedicated "See The Sun" to a trio of girls up in the balcony as all three were wearing matching new Kooks shirts. Paul Garred (Drums) was a madman behind his drum kit with cymbals consistently moving. Hugh also impressed me when he went behind the keyboards for "Shine" as their roadie filled in with some acoustic guitar. Luke came back out by himself with an acoustic guitar as he tackled "Seaside" and "Jackie Big Tits" to the delight of the crowd. I was glad I had a ticket to the next night at the Wiltern.
The Kooks setlist at the House of Blues San Diego
"Always Where I Need To Be"
"One Last Time"
"I Want You"
"She Moves In Her Own Way"
"See The Sun"
"Do You Wanna"
"See The World"
"You Don't Love Me"
"Jackie Big Tits"
Monday, May 19, 2008
The debut full length album from The Morning Benders has finally arrived and was celebrated with a record release show at the Echo. Talking Through Tin Cans is currently in heavy rotation on my ipod and I was looking forward to catching them prior to their sold out cross country tour opening for the Kooks.
An illuminated bass drum and an assortment of percussive instruments on a stand were cluttered on the stage as the dynamic duo of Rumspringa appeared on stage. Joey Stevens (Guitars/Vocals) plucked out ringing notes on his Fender Telecaster with the help of some metallic finger picks for a dirty scratchy tone for their Americana inspired rock. The interesting twist they provided was Joey's adept use of 2 Boss Looping pedals that would sample various phrases as he would stack his loops to provide a slice of the psychedelic. Itaru de la Vega (Drums) kept the music floating along with a steady cadence. Rumspringa had a strong contingent of fans stationed in front of the stage cutting loose and dancing around. I may have to check out their residency at the Echo in June to get another dose of their rollicking tunes.
Dawes looked and sounded familiar from the start. It turns out that Dawes is a good majority of the band Simon Dawes who I previously saw open for Wolfmother in Las Vegas. Taylor Goldsmith (Guitars/Vocals) led Dawes through a sharp Americana influenced rock set as he coaxed some bittersweet solos from his Fender Stratocaster. Wylie Gelber (Bass) was situated close to the drum kit to lock in his bass lines. One of the many songs that caught my attention was "When You Call My Name". Dawes only has one song posted on their Myspace page but I assume are working on a full length album as they played an eight song set.
The Morning Benders continue to impress me every time I see them. Talking Through Tin Cans will most likely fall into the top 10 indie albums of the year as each song on the album packs a healthy pop punch. Tim (Bass) has switched from a Fender Bass to a super slick black Rickenbacker bass to give the Morning Benders a sharp rounder low end sound that meshes perfectly with the duel clean guitar attack from Chris Chu (Vocals/Guitars) and Joe Ferrell (Guitars). The Morning Benders worked through a good portion of their new album along with a few B-sides. "Patient Patient" was one of the many highlights for me as I enjoy the wobbly rotating Leslie speaker simulated guitar solo. "Waiting For A War" was fierce as Tim stepped on his Boss Turbo Distortion pedal during the song that forcefully shook the Echo. "Boarded Doors" pure ear candy as Chris would rake his guitar strings while Joe filled in the blank spaces with some Rhodes keyboards. In my interview with Chris and Joe, I mentioned how much I liked the recording of the drums so I will have to give credit to Julian Harmon for replicating the consistent shuffle that is on the album in a live setting. Since The Morning Benders will be opening for the Kooks on their US tour, I imagine they will continue to win over many new fans. It will be interesting to hear them on some decent soundsystems as they have a lot of nuances in their sound that sometimes gets lost in the mix. I hope you have your tickets to one of their shows because most of the dates are already sold out.