The 1975 >> Sex on Sunset [Hollywood Palladium]

The 1975 >> It’s Tuesday night in Hollywood. The theatre is packed to an uncomfortable level of what feels like negative personal space, causing me to run upstairs to watch the mob from above instead of being pummeled in it.  The main lights are off, the spotlight is on. The wannabe 90’s grunge crowd of post-Bieber adolescent girls is rushing the stage. The main band hasn't even come out yet.

The 1975 >> Hollywood Palladium

Then it happens. First walks out Adam Hann, who takes a last sip out of his red cup before putting the guitar strap over his shoulder, followed by George Daniel on drums and Ross McDaniel on bass. Lastly is Matt Healy, the English vocalist who stumbles on stage pounding a half-drunken bottle of red wine. Despite his impenitent level of inebriation, he grabs the mic and belts out his first couple of songs as if vocal muscle memory has surpassed his stupor. He nails every song, though can’t seem to speak beyond slurred sentences between sets.

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‘We want Sex!’ yelled the underage crowd as often as possible, especially when Healy walked off stage a couple times to what I presume was a vomit break. Whatever happened back there I will never know, though I must say it never affected his performance or the beauty of his Jon Snow-like locks of hair. I’m both impressed, and slightly concerned for his well-being. Maybe it was the young audience bringing out the maternal instincts in me, but I truly hope he takes care of himself before the band explodes even more. Considering Healy’s parents are known British actors, my guess is things can go either way.

The 1975 >> Hollywood Palladium

Seeing as The 1975 was virtually unknown a year ago, to selling out back-to-back shows in one of LA’s bigger concert halls [with Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Ellie Goulding among the audience], I can’t blame the group for handling the fame the way they are. Having seen them at Coachella earlier this year, I must say the level of innocence has dropped significantly over the months. But, hey, they’re young, they’re hot, and they know how to put on a good show. I’ll leave this part off with the fact that I’m proud of them, though I hope someone is looking out for their well-being.

The 1975 >> Hollywood Palladium

I was impressed that every song sounded on par with the album. This is truly a good live band, and not just a studio-created piece of pop crap. I loved that Healy played a pink guitar during ‘Girls’ and then got passionately involved with his song about well, him, titled ‘Me’. I got a good taste of ‘Chocolate’ and ended with ‘Sex’ [hmm, I’m starting to see a connection here]. Despite mistaking the mic for his wine bottle on at least one occasion, the band as a whole never missed a beat.

Confirming on stage that they will be moving to LA—or Los Angeleeese as I learned is the pronunciation in a Manchester accent—ahead of their second album release, I’m happy that the band still has plenty of energy to be producing albums often enough to keep the momentum alive. I definitely am looking forward to what’s next. Perhaps a duet, anyone? I’d be happy to make recommendations.

I’ll end with a quote from the one-and-only Matthew Healy:

‘How many of you have seen us play before?’ <woo!> ‘How many of you haven’t seen us play before?’ <WOOOO!>. ‘Welcome to the revolution! Just kidding, it’s me drinking.’

Danielle

Danielle

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Party RAC-ing with The Knocks in San Francisco [The Warfield]

The Knocks & RAC >> Sometimes you just need to say F it. Screw chicks and screw hanging with the homies. Sometimes you just need to dance like no one’s watching, Flashdance style. Luckily for me, last Saturday night The Knocks and RAC were kind enough to drop in to the Warfield and provide me that very dance party. A very young dance party where I felt like the creepy old guy who still cruises high school parties when he comes home from college for Thanksgiving probably 3 years after he should’ve cut that out. Regardless, heck of a fun night and here’s how it went down.

The Knocks >> San Francisco

Their opening band was called Speak and as a late arriving crowd tardily strolled in they played, what I considered teen pop rock reminiscent of a high school battle of the bands with a strong One Direction influence. That’s not to say they weren’t talented, the lead singer for one would come out later with other bands and add some strong vocal contributions. They just seemed young and serching for their own voice. Also some of the skinniest jeans I’ve ever seen. I’d even go so far as to call them anorexic jeans.

After they finished up The Warfield quickly filled to capacity almost simultaneously with The Knocks appearance on stage. I was starting to get excited as I’d never seen them before and didn’t know much about them but could feel the buzz in the young crowd.

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The Knocks is made up of two guys, B-Roc and Jpatt, and the anticipation grew as they wheeled out their equipment which can only be described as a jungle gym of keyboards, drum kits and DJ equipment. It was pretty wild; it like was one of those dueling piano bars in Vegas only hand made for the electronic age. Songs started slowly but they quickly both got up to speed adding a beat here a drum kit there, overlaying vocals and continuously adding more to what I guess you could call remixes. I was expecting almost a rap battle of sorts but it evolved more in to a jazz like compliation feeding off each other in a hip hop and electric inspired orchestra. Two female dancers appeared on stage about the 3rd song and the party was on from there. The tempo and intensity of the jams increased exponentially as did the pelvic thrusting and twerkin of the fly girls on either side of them. My favorite songs were 'Brightside' and 'Dancing With The DJ' which I guarantee most of you would recognize given a listen. They definitely got the crowd energy up and bodies moving, and had the building well prepped for headliner RAC.

RAC >> San Francisco

I thought I was familiar with RAC, and by familiar I mean I knew 2 or 3 songs and had put them on shuffle on Spotify a few times. I could not have been more off or more pleasantly surprised and a ringing endorsement of why you need to see live performances to really understand someone’s music. I thought R.A.C. was a DJ. Whoops! Well I am not totally wrong theres is a DJ and mixing element to their music but when 5 people came out on stage with a full instrumental ensemble I was lost. Everything I’d seen on Spotify or SoundCloud always had said RAC Mix or RAC Remix but they actually perform the songs its not just adding beats over radio favorites. It’s kind of a cross between live DJ remixing and live band covers all with a unique light upbeat twist that makes you like songs you already liked even more. I know that might not make much sense, so you’re welcome. Now you’re exactly where my head was at as they started to perform. To confuse things even more they also have quite a few original jams that blend so well with what they’re doing its often hard to tell where one song ends and another begins. They started off with versions of Two Door Cinema Club’s 'Something Good Can Work' and their original single 'Cheap Sunglasses'. After that I pretty much stopped paying attention which song was which and got lost in the party with the rest of the twenty-somethings and danced my feet off as best a 31-year old white guy can.

Both The Knocks and RAC really brought their A-game and finished of the las stop of their tour on a high note. Whether it was all the teens rolling face, the couples sucking face, or me awkwardly dancing off beat, one thing all in attendence had in common was we had a blast and left with smiles on our faces. Like I said, sometimes you just gotta say F it, and dance!

Charles

Charles

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Method Man & Redman >> The Smoker’s Club in Tempe [Marquee Theatre]

Method Man & Redman >> puff puff passed through the desert on Wednesday for a killer show at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe. The Smoker's Club Tour was stacked on a bill that also featured B-Real of Cypress Hill and Mick Jenkins.

Method Man & Redman >> Tempe'Da Rockwilder' duo took stage shortly after a B-Real set which mainly consisted of B-Real verses from every Cypress Hill stoner anthem you know and love. Perhaps the intermission was only 15 minutes but it seemed damn near 15 hours in stoner time added to the anxiousness caused from never having seen Method Man and Redman perform together live in Arizona.

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Red and Meth crushed it. They brought it hard and raw as expected and it looks like they haven't aged at all since I first got into their collaborations. I remember like it was yesterday although it was almost 20 years ago when I was building my CD collection and spent my allowance on the soundtrack to The Show. Track 7. 'How High'.

How High? So high that I could kiss the sky. How sick? So sick that you could SUCK MY DICK!

They had the entire jam-packed Marquee crowd spitting lyrics in unison to all of my favorite co-created verses over the last few decades in addition to the solo tips they teased with sporadically throughout the show. Red threw in some gold nuggets from Muddy Waters and Doc's Da Name 2000 while 'M-E-T-H-O-D Man' was all over the place with his own productions and mad shit from his tenure with Wu-Tang. At one point, he led a tribute to the one and only Ol' Dirty Bastard by having us all sing along to 'Shimmy Shimmy Ya'. I've seen the entire Wu-Tang Clan as well as individual members do this live at shows before but the bonus this time when Meth incited a riot in the form of a hip-hop mosh pit that certainly rivaled some of the craziest ones I've ever been  a part of at any punk show.

[related: Wu-tang >> Coachella 2014]

Individually, Method Man and Redman are superb but as a duo they are even more spectacular. Snaps to them still bringing it the trillest after all these years and to hopefully doing it for another 20.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4..3, 2 murder 1, lyric at your door! Tical bring it to that ass raw, breakin all the rules like glass jaws!

Go get after this bill on tour if you have an opportunity this year. You'll have the fucking blastest blast. I promise.

marc

marc

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Primus and The Chocolate Factory >> Pure Imagination in Atlanta [The Tabernacle]

Primus >> What a trip this tour is! Roald Dahl would be proud! The Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble tour played The Tabernacle in Atlanta this past Saturday night and it was an epic show.

Primus >> Atlanta

The Tabernacle was once a church, then it became House of Blues, and now it is a concert venue and bar. It has three levels, having balcony seats that were all filled and a standing room only floor below and above. This was the perfect setting for this entertaining show. If you have never seen the Gene Wilder movie version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory watch it before you see Primus. You will figure out why after seeing this tour. It is amazing what an imagination the members of Primus have. I have never seen a xylophone solo at a rock concert before, and this one had three!!!

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Standing room only at the sold out show and I was there to witness 2 cello solos and 3 xylophone solos all at one concert. The crowd responded enthusiastically to Primus throughout the set. Primus had broken the show into 2 different sets and each set satisfied the crowd. The first set performed was purely older Primus material. The stage reflected the basic of a talented band with their instruments to entertain the audience. Good lighting of blue to white was used very well and the sound was great as well. They’re one of those bands who everyone has heard or knows of at least one song; but no one ever really remembers until they see them play live. Primus has been described as metal, rock with electronic, hard core rock ‘n’ roll, and a stylish funk rock, no matter what you may consider them it is all rock ‘n’ roll. This is why they are a truly one of a kind band.

Primus >> Atlanta

The second set that Primus performed was to support their latest album Primus & The Chocolate Factory With The Fungi Ensemble, the music on the album is Primus doing music from Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. They have definitely funked the music up and it now is what, in my opinion, is what Roald Dahl had in his mind when writing the book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. There was a 40-minute wait time in between the sets, since this was a completely different set than their first. More props, a background screen for projections, and costume change along with different instruments added to the stage. The audience at the sold out show was patient throughout this long wait. It was actually the best time to visit the merchandise booth in one of the rooms off the second level. Once the curtains opened a roar from the energized crowd came and the madness began and it was wonderfully weird.

Each member of the band entered the stage in their character and stayed in the character while performing with their instruments. It was more like being in a theater watching a musical or play than it was a rock concert. The talent of each member with their instrument was shown all throughout the set. Of course there was a drum solo and a guitar solo, but Primus included cello solos and xylophone solos as well! This was a magical sight to see someone in a rock band to pound out a fantastic xylophone solo three different times in three different songs. Then there were the cello solos in two different songs and it was fitting to have it in the show.

On each side of the stage there were large inflatable mushrooms [another reason setting of the stage took so long] along with smaller light mushrooms. No candy factory stage would be complete without lollipops and candy wrappers covered a couple of the front equipment on stage. This was a stage setting to tell the story on. I enjoyed the book and the movie so my excitement level was at an all-time high once the curtain opened. There were multi-colored Christmas lights surrounding the raised drum platform. There was a clear tarp over the windows behind the stage on each side of the graphic screen that was up and it made the widows behind in stained glass a very eerie darker feel to them. Blue-ish and purplish colored spotlights were used on these clear tarps and around other parts of the stage set as well. I found this to be an exceptional way to use lighting. The graphic screen throughout this set performance had images of Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory movie. It worked very well the parts of it used were mainly the music and singing parts in the movie. I just wonder how much the band spent in getting the rights to use the movie. I loved the use of it.

Primus >> Atlanta

Primus vocalist Les Claypool entered the stage as Willy Wonka and the crowd got loud! The Willy Wonka character was a mish-mash of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp befitting since both actors portrayed the character in films. To the audience in attendance, we all knew this was a special performance and one that will be listed as one of the best we all have ever seen. The music began and it was rockin! Oompa Loompas of course were part of the show. I never really thought that Oompa loompas were creepy or frightening until these two Oompa Loompas approached the middle of the stage. With overly large heads wearing white overalls and green and black striped sweaters, I became afraid of them. In fact, I think that American Horror Story should do a season on them alone. I was scared of them.

In the movie version which was on the graphic screen, there is a magical boat ride, it is actually one of the iconic scenes of the movie and Primus was in all glory while performing ‘Pure Imagination’ with this famous scene being shown behind them. Multi-colored lights were used effectively through this performance. This show was psychedelic and fun! I hope to see more performances like this from other talented bands. In two words: Pure Imagination!

 
Tiffini

Tiffini

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Bonobo >> To Dance, To Sway, To Be a Man and Not a Chimp in San Francisco [Regency Ballroom]

Bonobo >> To be honest, until recently, I wasn’t quite sure who or what Bonobo is. Is it a guy? A band? A clothing brand? A type of eggplant? Who the fuck knows? I had seen the name thrown around and was aware that he/she/it/them was popular but never really bothered to explore. My interest was only caught when I saw he had done a Boiler Room Set and was coming to town, and I always enjoy the Boiler Room stuff. Well after his DJ set at the Regency, Bonobo has one more fan. Now when I meet people who I know will like his music I say ‘Have you heard of Bonobo? Well, it’s this one dude named Simon who makes really smart and extremely genuine chillout and he’s definitely not a type of eggplant’.

Bonobo >> San Francisco

Some of you, like me, hear chillout and imagine really shitty, gross, pseudo-intellectual, boring, slow House music they play at wine bars. It is usually as played out and generic as the fucking tomato basil bruschetta you are eating. It’s the kind of music you listen to when you’re sitting on a mannequin display in an all white clothing boutique holding your girlfriend’s purse waiting for her to FUCKING PICK AN EARRING ALREADY! Bonobo is a different breed. It’s unpretentious; you can dance to it or at least rhythmically sway to it. It simply sounds good, and genuine, and real. It sounds like he cares about evoking an emotional response out of the listener, that he cares about making you feel happy instead of just trying to make you feel cool. Bonobo doesn’t make the kind of music that skin tight Armani Exchange V–neck, pointy snake skin boot wearing, greasy ass 45 year old bachelors listen to while they  spray cologne on their balls and get ready to go out.

The BPM’s of his music are higher than most chillout stuff as was the general energy of his set, which is a good thing as that, along with Simon Green’s ability to dynamically layer, build up and schedule the different tracks of a song maintained the listener’s interest.  Usually my ADD prevents me from liking most house derived genres, especially the really deep zombie shit; but Bonobo’s arrangements, choice of often hip-hop inspired beats, and the sheer melody of his songs kept me in the game for his entire set.

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The crowd around me backed up everything I have just described. They were cool, in a cool way. They all looked like individuals, dressed and styled uniquely, who came to have fun, to dance, to listen to good music, not just to shoot Fireball and ‘get that dick wet brah’. The place was packed to the gills, he is clearly popular enough that I should have known who the fuck he was. And even though you had to start club walking the moment you went through the doors, the room lacked any claustrophobia, or anxiety, or stressful energy, the types of feelings you might have at a sold out Dubstep or Dutch House set. All due in no small way to Bonobo’s melodic take on post party chillout.

His elegant and simple stage set up added to this refreshing air of unpretentiousness that was the highlight of the evening for me.  A spotlight never was on Simon, in fact I have no idea what he looks like even though I was only a few feet away. The whole night he stood in complete darkness, backlit by the simple elegant colored lights that reacted to his songs as they progressed linearly. The bassline, beat and melody would grow in complexity as time went on, and in turn the lights shift in intensity, color and direction. Combined with the music, the experience was euphoric.

If you have read my previous articles, you might be surprised that I actually truly appreciate the finer things in life. Regardless of how many times I use the word ‘fuck’ or talk about people’s balls, I’m a classy motherfucker and I enjoy things that are special and beautiful and in turn show a bit of class. This Bonobo set was just that. It was clever, elegant, worthy of appreciation, artistic and concerned with the aesthetics. And because I found Bonobo, I can finally retire that Zero 7 CD I bought when I was in college.

As an afterthought….a bonobo is a type of chimpanzee, and that in the late 70’s, Jane Goodall observed a chimpanzee civil war over territory that involved acts of kidnapping and murder. You’re Welcome.

Carmichael

Carmichael

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Metronomy >> Lo-Fi Swedish Electronic Cruise Guitar Pop in San Francisco [Regency Ballroom]

Metronomy >> This is a band about growth. If you can even call it a band, rather, Metronomy is the evolution of Joseph Mount tinkering with a shitty drum set and crude music software in his childhood bedroom to playing the Regency Ballroom with his band in matching white suits playing a catalog that spans 8 years.

Metronomy >> San Francisco

It is no surprise that 8 years, 4 albums in, you might not have heard of them before. Metronomy is what I call a car commercial band. Although their songs have never actually been in a car commercial, they hold that special place where they are popular enough, and the song is catchy enough to see some mainstream use, but in general, no one really knows who you are due to your Indie sensibilities.  The turnout at the Regency would attest to that, as only the faithful seemed to come out this evening. Joseph and his ilk are very talented musicians; their compositions are complex, catchy and original. However it has always been challenging to put a finger on what type of band they are, what their music is, and thus it has always been difficult to become any more than a casual listener.

One could pick any Metronomy song and compare it to Kraftwerk, or Hot Chip, or Fleetwood Mac or Joy Division or the Beach Boys or Stephan Malkmus or Pharrell or ABBA all in the same album! And while a band should be able to surprise you, there is a line that can be crossed, in which your listener has no idea why they are listening to you. If I am in the mood to listen to a certain something, I can almost never pick an entire Metronomy album to satiate that fix. On top of this, it takes a deft hand to mix Lo-Fi rock and electronic music effectively and I never felt Metronomy was able to ever truly do this [listen to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and Oracular Spectacular for prime examples of doing this well].

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This has been true for me until their latest album Love Letters. In my humble opinion, this is the only album of theirs you should listen to. Listen to Metronomy’s remixes, listen to a few tracks from their other albums, but Love Letters is the first true masterpiece from this band. This album feels like Metronomy has become a band, understands and uses its influences and Joseph’s ingenuity to create a cohesive sound. That’s not to say the album is predictable. The first track, ‘The Upsetter’, sounds like a Bowie song with a 1989 Casio keyboard drum beat. Believe me when I tell you that’s a very good thing. The very next track is a sinister sounding modern R&B with song with multiple pipe organs and Doo-Wop background vocals. However, this time around there is a maturity and an aesthetic to the songs that sync with one another to create a singular style.  I can finally place Metronomy in a genre and that genre is Lo-Fi Swedish Electronic Cruise Guitar Pop Written By An English Songwriter In A Post-9/11 World…which would have been my favorite section of Tower Records if they still existed.

Metronomy >> San Francisco

As the Metronomy graced the stage, stylish as fuck in their matching suits, with an art deco pink and blue cloud Backdrop that looks like it was stolen from the set of Metropolis in 1927, you got the sense that they cared about the showmanship of it all. That they knew we were here to see a show and not just listen to music. All members are multi instrumentals [as they had to be, remember when I said their songs are all over the place!] which was fun to see as they moved around the stage from song to song. However, regardless of the production and design decisions, every member of Joseph’s crew are incredibly charming; from the tall Grace Jones like Gbenga Adelekan running a train on the Regency Ball room with him on one end and his bass guitar in the middle to Anna Prior’s magma-like red hair bouncing around as she slammed on the drums. Yes I know…it’s cliché….a hot chick drummer….but seriously it was fucking hot.

While it may be unlikely I will try to catch them again live, I will continue to listen to Love Letters, and you should too.

Carmichael

Carmichael

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The Knocks >> coming to San Francisco next Saturday NOV-15

The Knocks >> are coming to San Francisco next week to play a show a The Warfield. Having spent the majority of the last month on tour in support of RAC and St. Lucia, both recently at Life Is Beautiful, The Knocks are ready to deliver some fun, feel-good Classic dance jams.

The electropop-ish duo consists of Jpatt and B-Roc of NYC and appear to have figured out the formula for making anyone move their feet, shake their asses and enter perma-grin mode with the recently dropped banger 'Classic', which has an accompanying video that featuring what it would like to see girls from The Sims come to real life and sing the insa-classic track.

If you're in or around the city next Saturday night, definitely get your ass to The Warfield to check these guys out and prepare to get our 'Classic' on and maybe you'll stumble upon a cheat code that gets you into that Sims pool party.

marc

marc

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