Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Concerts 2015: August

The Summer is almost over and so is my summer concert series of 2015. I'm glad I decided to start this, because I have a feeling you guys wouldn't have heard from me all summer due to my crazy work schedule and personal life the last couple of months. The summer usually is that way for me. When there's nice weather in the North East, we do not mess around! Anyway, let's get started with Laura Marling...

Monday, August 3: Laura Marling @ Town Hall - NYC
Opening Acts: Marika Hackman and Johnny Flynn

This was one of those concerts where all the stars aligned - the openers were fantastic and Laura Marling was enigmatic but inspiring and amazing, as she always is, I'm sure. It was a great show. They all obviously love working together and collaborating on covers and whatever else they choose. Marika Hackman and Johnny Flynn surprised me in a good way (yes, I haven't heard of Johnny Flynn until now, but apparently he has a huge following, don't know how he slipped under my radar,) and their music has been on my "recently played" list ever since. Marling is an intricate guitar player, as she is a singer and songwriter. You will not be disappointed if you ever get the chance to see her. To the left is a video of her performing "I Feel Your Love" from her new album that released this year, Short Movie

Wednesday, August 12: NOFX @ House of Blues - Boston, MA
Opening Acts: WAY TOO MANY
Not all concerts can be sunshine and roses. And that's okay. Honestly, it was just a misunderstanding between us and whoever is NOFX's PR person (if they even have one?) because what they should have advertised this as is a festival. Because that's what it was. A festival. It wasn't just a light hearted romp for a couple hours, this was an all day and all night event. We're starting at 3 and we're ending at 3...AM. So when I saw this advertised, it had NOFX on the bill with 5 openers - okay, that's a bit much but it's for the 25th anniversary of Fat Mike's Fat Wreck Chords, I can get into this. Then my boyfriend and I get to the show and find out from one of the bouncers that there are EIGHT openers. EIGHT. THAT'S A FESTIVAL. The thing also was, we are both in our late twenties and have full time jobs - we took Wednesday off and expected to be done around 6pm so we could drive home to Albany without issue and go to work the next day (Boston is about 3 and a half hours away). "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry," is the famous quote, I believe. And that's exactly what happened. We ended up being there way longer than we expected and we were dead tired the day after at work. But we pulled through because we still need to maintain our cred. We may be slaves to the man but during our down time, we will prove till our dying day that we still aren't :)
Anyway, there were way too many bands to list and keep track of, so I apologize I didn't get all of their names. However, I was really impressed with a band called Bad Cop/Bad Cop and here's a video of them doing their thing.

Monday, August 24: Beach House @ Upstate Concert Hall - Clifton Park (Albany), NY 
Opening Act: Romantic States 

I just saw these guys last night! So it's very fresh in my mind. I listened to Teen Dream this morning in memory. Speaking of that album, which also happens to be my favorite, I feel like they didn't play the powerhouses from that album - "Zebra", "Walk in the Park", "Lover of Mine"?! This is what I wanted to hear and they didn't play them. I wish I knew about the "set list creator" option they have on their website - they let their fans pick the set list for each show on the tour. For some reason, Albany decided to pick some lackluster duds, in my opinion. Regardless of that, they blew me away. Yes, Victoria Legrand really does sound like that. The lighting they use for their show is pretty awesome too - it felt like a basement show. Very dark, pastel lights flashing here and there, a disco ball in the middle of the room, you know, the usual basement show. From what I've heard of their new album, Depression Cherry, coming out this Friday, (you can stream the album on NPR first listen, click that link,) I'm
 pleased with the new songs. It's a lot more Bloom than Teen Dream, but it will do. Legrand's use of keyboards and synthesizers and Alex Scally's guitar pedal work is insanely impressive to me. They bring the sound that they create on their records to the stage very well using these tools. The opener, I have to admit, was pretty much Beach House's less cooler cousin, who were also from Baltimore and also a boy-girl duo. I don't want to rip on them too bad, because they were good, just nothing very interesting. Because Beach House requested no video to be taken (although I admit, I totally took a tiny clip of them performing "10 Mile Stereo" because it was awesome, but that will be just for me since they don't want video posted,) here are some photos from the night. 


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Young the Giant

Thanks to my Apple Music subscription, I've been listening to a lot of Young the Giant recently, a 5 piece from Irvine, CA. signed to Fueled by Ramen records (surprisingly. They don't seem like a typical FBR band). I've always loved their singles and "Apartment" is probably my best cover I can play on guitar. But recently, I've been listening to their entire discography and there's something there I didn't notice before. Lead singer Sameer Gadhia might be one of my favorite vocalists, in terms of timbre but I haven't decided if that's because I'm really into their music right now - time will tell.

They have two albums out, their first being their self titled and Mind Over Matter, which just released in 2014. Here's a song off of their sophomore album, "It's About Time":

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer Concerts 2015: July

July 10: Say Anything @ House of Blues - Boston, MA
Opening Acts: Cymbals Eat Guitars, Modern Baseball, Hard Girls

This show seems like so long ago but I remember it being absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, I didn't get to catch a lot of the openers although I did see Modern Baseball's set and they were good - your typical pop punk band in khaki shorts and eating pizza. Say Anything's string accompaniment definitely added something and I'm glad they decided to do it for this tour. Believe it or not, Hebrews has grown on me. I wouldn't say it's my favorite or one of their best, but I can accept it as a solid effort that Max Bemis wanted to create. The last time I saw them, Hebrews just came out that week, I think, and the songs on that album sounded weird without the string accompaniment, since they were made to include that. The songs definitely had a different vibe this time. Say Anything are always a good band to see live - a lot of energy, heart and interaction with the audience. Video is of Say Anything performing "Woe".

July 11: Weird Al @ The Palace Theatre - Albany, NY
Opening Acts: None
This was my first time seeing Weird Al and I know I was in the minority at this concert. There were so many fans in the audience who knew the rhythm of a Weird Al concert - the polka, the costume changes, the skits he pre-records and shows on stage. Being 55 years old and still rocking out, Weird Al doesn't seem like he's slowing down any time soon and I think he and the fans are just fine with that. Here's a video of some of his polka he did in Albany.

 July 27: Motion City Soundtrack @ Upstate Concert Hall - Clifton Park/Albany, NY Opening Acts: The Spill Canvas

Not the first time I've seen Motion City Soundtrack, but they were way better this time around than the last. This was part of their Commit this to Memory 10th Anniversary tour so of course, they played the entire album from beginning to end. I did get a chance to check out the Spill Canvas and I hate to say it but they weren't the best. I feel like even with age, Motion City Soundtrack is a band that is still making good music. Well written lyrics and good melodies (like "True Romance"! I've been on kind of a kick with that song). Here's the Minneapolis five piece playing "L.G. Fuad" for a little while.

July 29: Interpol @ Upstate Concert Hall - Clifton Park/Albany, NY
Opening Acts: Hundred Waters 

This was my first time seeing Interpol and I loved it! It was also another chance to check off a band off of my "must see live before they break up or retire" list. Interpol have been comeback kids lately, with their stellar album El Pintor from last year, which was also their first effort that did not have founding member and former bassist Carlos D's influence (who had a huge role in their songwriting). Surprisingly, they delivered a well executed, Interpol-esque album and it's what they mostly played at Upstate Concert Hall, which was expected. They also weren't afraid to throw in some Antics songs either - including "Evil", "Slow Hands" and "Take You on a Cruise"

Shows for August include: Laura Marling, NOFX and Beach House!
One more month to go! Summer has gone by so quick.