Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem at the Starlight Theatre (September 28, 2007)

29 09 2007

Just typing out that title, “Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem” makes me giggle… I would say that I have no words to express what a momentous concert it was, but that is untrue.

After much shuffling of rides, I rode to the Starlight Theatre out in KC with my friend and fellow Music Committee member, Doug. We left Mizzou around 4:30, and after a quick detour into Kansas on our way to the show, got to the venue just before 7. Unfortunately, unlike some of my fan-boy friends, we were not among the first however-many to arrive and get these orange bracelets that allowed you to go down to the front.

(I should also note, for the uninitiated, that the Starlight Theatre is an outdoor theatre. Maybe Houston gives it away too easily by calling our outdoor theaters things like “The Miller Outdoor Theatre,” but I had no clue that I was gonna be outdoors in the Missouri chill for this one, which would be my only minor complaint… and even still, I choose to blame the weather.. stupid Missouri.)

We hit up ye olde merch table, bought some tasty $4 water, and assumed our position in the orchestra section.

LCD Soundsystem was the opening act, which really just seems so strange that THE LCD Soundsystem was opening for someone… but it was incredible nonetheless. They (James Murphy plus his touring band of Hot Chip guitarist Al Doyle, drummer Pat Mahoney, bassist Phil Skarich, and keyboardist Nancy Whang) started the set with “Us v. Them” off of LCD Soundsystem’s latest album, Sound of Silver. It’s a good, solid jam, but I was more excited when he followed it with the party staple of ’05 “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” off of the 2005 self-titled album. Continuing, they played “North American Scum,” the absolutely phenomenal “All My Friends,” “Someone Great,” and “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down.”

The energy in the crowd, most of them undoubtedly there for Arcade Fire, was pretty amazing. It is not often that you can look out on a crowd of more than a thousand people and see them all dancing, whether they mean to or not, to a band that most have never heard. I would credit it to James Murphy’s incredible emotional energy, which is almost as tangible in his video for “All My Friends,” his ode to the 1990’s rave culture, as it was live. Because, really, what is more universal than late nights with friends, dancing around on drugs, and bittersweet nostalgia?


Video for “All My Friends” by LCD Soundsystem

Arcade Fire was next on the Starlight stage. Televangelists screeched out of screens set up around the stage, growing into a cacophony that frenzied the crowd before the band took the stage as the pages of the famous neon Bible flashed on the screens.

The band (sans the incomparable Owen Pallet) took the stage and launched into what was one of the most visually spectacular shows I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. A set of pipes hung in the back as cameras placed about stage provided images of band members that were projected about the stage in brilliant contrast. The effect was strong as people left their seats and crowded in the aisles in order to be just that much closer to the band.

Arcade Fire is a very physical band to begin with, not necessarily in a “thrashing” sense, but they perform in a way that makes them seem as if they are physically pulling every note and word from some deeper place within themselves. Band members hammer away on the glockenspiel, pound on drums, and dance like the crazy, crazy Canadians that they are. They did a good job of playing from both their debut album, Funeral, and their more recent album, Neon Bible, and also incorporated a The Magnetic Fields cover (“Born on a Train”) into the set, saying that Kansas City, “seems like a train kind of town.”

Other highlights included the crowd-pleasing “No Cars Go,” as well as what I think is the greatest rock song of the year, “Intervention” – a song that Win said is “about the governor, or former governor, of me and my brother’s home state.” What state is that? Why, Texas, of course! (Fun fact: Win and William are from The Woodlands). But none compares to when the Fire played “Rebellion (Lies)” to close out the set… it is probably my favorite song I’ve ever seen played live.


“Rebellion (Lies)” live on Letterman

Arcade Fire setlist: Black Mirror, Keep the Car Running, Neighborhood #2 (Laika), No Cars Go, Haiti, In the Backseat, Born on a Train (The Magnetic Fields cover), Intervention, Antichrist Television Blues, Well and the Lighthouse, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), and Rebellion (Lies).

It was a brilliant show, all in all… the atmosphere, the energy, the sweat that covered my friend Danny as Win Butler walked through the crowd.

Downloads:
“All My Friends” – LCD Soundsystem
“Kick Out The Chairs” – MUNK feat. James Murphy
“Intervention” – Arcade Fire
“Rebellion (Lies)” – Arcade Fire

ALSO: Please look here and consider supporting Partners In Health, an organization working to provide free health care in Haiti, Regine’s birthplace.





Kaiser Chiefs = Sucka Bs

19 09 2007

Well while I’ve been waving my White Rabbits flag all over the place trying to drum up support for them, I was unaware that the Kaiser Chiefs had canceled their tour… I was wondering though why White Rabbits guitarist Alex Even was still bumming around town a few days after their show at Mojo’s.

via AntiMusic

“We’d like to apologize to fans in America and Canada, especially those who have already bought tickets, but something had to give. We’ve been extremely busy all year and had no time to focus on the future, we plan to have new material out as soon as possible and we’ve wanted to record all summer.

“This needs to happen before our European & UK shows at the end of the year so we can play a few of our new songs live, we’re keen to explore new ground, beyond the sound of our first two records, so we’re headed back into the studio to begin that process.”

Too bad, I’m sure that there were a lot of folks out there who were pretty excited when they saw the billing for this tour, and not only does it hurt the fans, but also the supporting acts, who are reportedly pretty bummed about the whole deal as well.

 

Cancelled Tour Dates:
September 18 – Dallas, TX (House Of Blues)
September 19 – Houston, TX (Warehouse Live)
September 21 – Nashville, TN (City Hall)
September 22 – Atlanta, GA (The Roxy)
September 24 – Chicago, IL (Cabaret Metro)
September 25 – Detroit, MI (Majestic Theater)
September 26 – Toronto, ONT (Carlu Theater)





Smoosh, Final Fantasy, and Bloc Party at The Pageant (September 14, 2007)

16 09 2007

After finally breaking down Friday morning on my way to Bio lecture, I decided it was about time I went to the Student Health Center – where I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and bronchitis, and they loaded me up with about 5 different prescriptions.
I took my medicine, started feelin’ pretty happy, and then hopped in ye olde Jeep and made a run for St. Louis in order to escape the horror that is parents roaming the hallways of Cramer Hall here on Parents’ Weekend at Mizzou.

We left town around 5 and made it into St. Louis around 7, ate at Bread Co. (Panera everywhere else) and then walked back down to The Pageant to see Smoosh, Final Fantasy, and Bloc Party perform.

The ticket said 8:00, which I assumed to be the door time, but when we got there, Smoosh was already a ways into their set. While they are nothing fantastic, for a couple of 12 and 14 year old girls from Seattle on synth, drums, and xylophone, they were pretty okay. Actually, maybe they were more than okay, but my appreciation of them was overshadowed by my jealousy… who on Earth could ever dream of opening for bands like Pearl Jam, Bloc Party, The Go! Team, Cat Power, Mates of State, among others, when you are only 12… that is straight up insanity. I must give them credit for being badasses… Asya (the keyboardist) evidently rocked so hard that she bled all over her keyboard and kind of grossed out Final Fantasy.

Asya of Smoosh (imagine her just bleeding all over right then… hardcore.)

Cranking ’em through like pros, Smoosh finished their set at around 8:30 and cleared the way for Final Fantasy (a.k.a. Owen Pallett) to take the stage. Now, while Owen Pallett may not necessarily ring a bell, I’m hoping everyone knows of Arcade Fire by now, yes? Well, simply, Owen is the violinist for Arcade Fire.
And he is crazy talented. And kind of a cutie. But also he is gay, unfortunately for me.
He was set up stage right, and I was down in front at stage left, so I don’t have any pictures of him.. but just imagine a cute little guy up there with his violin, singing while an artist created some of the most amazing picture stories on an overhead in the middle of the stage.

He played eight songs with the artist (one for each of “Final Fantasy’s 8 Schools of Magic”) and a few more just by himself.

Final Fantasy’s Eight Schools of Magic

“The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead

He was the best.. the only thing I can complain about is the fact that I was standing near the most dick-headed kids on Earth. For real. Fucking teeny-boppers had a sarcastic comment to throw at ANYTHING that Owen did – from the times that he sang into his violin (“Hey! Hey! That’s not a microphone! HA HA HA”) to the art that was being displayed. Midway through the show I wrote myself a note: “Remember to only go to indie shows from now on.”

For serious people.. he just wants to play his violin. That’s all.

So unfortunately Final Fantasy’s amazing performance had to come to a close, and Bloc Party took the stage, did a whole bunch of typical rock star gimmicky crap and then I felt cheated for going. Plus, the bouncer full on yelled at me for using my brand new camera midway through. At what level does a camera become qualified as a “professional?” When it is no longer a point-and-shoot? When it has a detachable lens? When I am a paid photographer?

I did manage to get a couple shots off though…

Anyway.. Bloc Party was okay. They played “Banquet” which is kind of the only song I like, and then during their finale Owen and Smoosh came back out and danced with Bloc Party, and Owen gave those jerk kids down in front cake, why? Because that’s what Jesus would do. Am I saying Owen Pallett is Jesus? Maybe I am.

Maybe I am.

Downloads:
The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead” – Final Fantasy
Sharks (with Final Fantasy)” – Cadence Weapon
Many Lives (49 MP)” – Final Fantasy
Helicopter” – Bloc Party
Banquet” – Bloc Party





The Narrator, Via Audio, and White Rabbits at Mojo’s (September 11, 2007)

16 09 2007

“Knock Knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“September 11th”
“September 11th who?”
“I thought you said you’d never forget.”

After a weird day spent hoarding craft supplies and trying to find a place to get my car washed, basically just completely ignoring the news in spite of my journalism major, I worked up the courage to venture out into the night and go see White Rabbits perform at the local down and dirty venue, Mojo’s.

If I can’t ignore media all day and then go see an indie rock concert on September 11th, then the terrorists have won. It’s just the American way.

My musical counterpart Danny and I met up with some kids he knows through The Maneater, and then hung out outside after paying our super cool $2 minor surcharge… damn you, Missouri! Being the youngest people at a concert is soooo not the best.

We talked outside while The Narrator played… we could hear them well enough even though we were outside, and it’s not as if any of us felt compelled to go in to hear more. I can’t pin down exactly what it was that was so unsettling about the lead singer’s voice, but it sounded like a mix between Voxtrot’s Ramesh Srivastada and Brent Katz of The Harlem Shakes… only in the worst way possible. Ultimately, the need to be warm outweighed our dislike of the opening acts, and we went inside as some local hardcore band was setting up. The townies seemed to like them well enough, but I was not diggin on them.

Eventually, they ended their set, but not as soon as I would have liked. Then it was time for Via Audio to take the stage. Outside on the deck, we had been ragging on Via Audio for basically having one of the stupidest band names since Hoobastank, but by the end of the night I was eating my words. They were so impressive and so much fun, it is no wonder that everyone from Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie to Jim Eno of Spoon is jumping on the Via Audio bandwagon. They, like their tour-mates White Rabbits, are out of New York and are making quite a name for themselves. Comprised of primary vocalist/guitarist Jessica Martins, guitarist Tom Deis, drummer Danny Molat, and bassist David Lizmi, they have a whole lot of diversity in their song styles and are all about swapping instruments. Pretty much, they are the cutest… well, except for maybe Final Fantasy, but more on him later.

Jessica Martins of Via Audio.

Finally though it was time for White Rabbits to take the stage, precipitated by the introduction of a piano, two drum kits, a third stand-alone mini-kit, two guitars, and a bass to the tiny Mojo’s stage.

Greg Roberts of White Rabbits.

White Rabbits, if you don’t already know, is a band that was started way back when, right here in lowly little Columbia, Missouri when vocalist/guitarist Greg Roberts and vocalist/pianist Stephen Patterson were students at Mizzou. After graduation, the two moved to New York and soon expanded the band to include guitarist Alex Even (from Jeff City, Missouri), bassist Adam Russell, drummer Matt Clark, and drummer number two Jamie Levinson. The six-piece has rightfully received great reviews for their first album out on Say Hey Records, titled Fort Nightly, and has even had an appearance on Letterman earlier on in the summer, where they played “The Plot” – an infectious stomp that is probably the strongest cut from the album.

Most of their set was pulled from Fort Nightly, but they are already debuting some of their new material, including a new song called “Sea of Rum.”

Set List:
“Kid on My Shoulders”
“Tourist Trap”
“Sea of Rum” (new)
“Take a Walk Around the Table”
“Navy Wives”
“Dinner Party”
“March of the Camels”
“The Plot”
Encore – “I Used to Complain Now I Don’t” and a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm”

Next up for White Rabbits is a tour supporting Kaiser Chiefs… keep up the good work, boys!

Downloads:
Sea of Rum (Live Daytrotter Session)” – White Rabbits
The Plot” – White Rabbits
Modern Day Saint” – Via Audio





We Just Won’t Be Defeated

12 09 2007

Definitive List of Great things that come in twos:
Animals on Noah’s Arc
Twinkies
Shoes
Batteries
Drummers for The Go! Team

… yeah. That looks about right.

If you’re wondering about that last one, allow me to inform you.

The Go! Team is a Brighton-based six-piece that has yet again brought the funky funky jamz with their latest release, Proof of Youth, out on today on Sup Pop Records. While the overall feel of the record is the same as 2004’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike, the sound is richer, more developed, and the frenetic energy of band leader Ian Parton harnessed and redirected into making this album one of the more exciting releases this year.


Their sound goes beyond typical indie rock fare – combining Double Dutch jump-rope chant vocals courtesy of female frontwoman Ninja, noise-pop guitar by Sam Dook and multi-instrumentalist Kaori Tsuchida, and driving drum beats served up by their two drummers: Dook and male frontman Ian Parton.
The effect is so strong that one cannot just listen to The Go! Team; you have to write a screenplay for a movie that will feature solely their songs as the soundtrack. You have to play hopscotch and then race to the monkey bars. You have to get up and dance around your dorm room while eating fruit snacks when you roommate is away studying.

The sound alone is reason enough to recommend this album to anyone, but what seals the deal is the artist collaborations and the track-to-track song strength. Artists featured on Proof of Youth include Bonde du Role’s Marina Ribatski, Rapper’s Delight Club, and none other than Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
“Flashlight Fight,” featuring Chuck D. is an all out assault – a swarm of cartoon bees that chases you until you jump into a lake and then hovers there above you, waiting. Other strong tracks include the single “Grip Like a Vice,” which claws it’s way out of the speakers demanding to be heard, and album closer “The Wrath of Marcie,” a song that grabs the audience and struts with them into the sunset.

While Proof of Youth is perfect as is, I cannot help but fear that when the next album comes that we will see The Go! Team having to bend to create an equally enjoyable album without sounding played out. But for now, I am happy to enjoy their company, and the feelings of childhood happiness that they evoke.





How much do I love Menomena?

5 09 2007

Answer: A lot, a lot.

Check out their latest video, this time for “Evil Bee” – probably my second favorite song on Friend and Foe.. although that could change based on the combination of this video and the line “Oh, to be a machine.. Oh, to be wanted, to be useful…” It gets me every time.

Where do all good things go? To Menomena videos evidently… the ones for “Wet and Rusting” and “Rotten Hell” are also pretty spectacular.. check them out. You know you want to.

Wet and Rusting:

Rotten Hell:





Mixtape

2 09 2007

Now that Labor Day is here and summer is definitively over, I present to you “Noise of Summer.” You can get it here.
* edit: it’s back up now, via MegaUpload (10/30/07)

Tracklist:

1. Hard Rain
2. Ambulance Ltd. – “Swim”
3. Awesome New Republic – “2k3012”
4. John Vanderslice – “Karma Police”
5. The Weakerthans – “Night Windows”
6. Apples in Stereo – “Can You Feel It?”
7. Aloe Blacc – “Are You Ready?”
8. Akron/Family – “Running, Returning”
9. Death Cab for Cutie – “Summer Skin”
10. The Blow – “Parentheses”
11. Federico Aubele – “Mona”
12. Girl Talk – “Hold Up”
13. Ghostland Observatory – “Silver City”
14. The Harlem Shakes – “Carpetbaggers”
15. Ratatat – “Tropicana”
16. LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
17. Animal Collective – “Fireworks”
18. Hard-Fi – “Tied Up Too Tight”
19. Basement Jaxx – “Everybody”
20. Stone Temple Pilots – “Sour Girl”
21. David Vandervelde – “Nothin’ No”
22. Beirut – “Scenic World”