Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kaki King, The Mountain Goats @ Troubadour

Troubadour has to be one of my favorite venues. I love the size of the place and the intimacy it provides and best of all, no kids!

Kaki King
was good, just like she was when I saw her at the Roxy. It kind of sucked that she was the opener, so she didn't have as much time to interact with the audience or do any encores, so her set seemed a little more rushed than the last time. Her performance was still great and I loved hearing about her youtube fears. Her show was pretty similar to the last show, but this time instead of the Fashion Tattoo cover at the end, they did a cover of Dogs and Horses by the same band, which wasn't nearly as good.

Mountain Goats
had a great funny intro to the tune of New Edition's Candy Girl. I thought, "OK, good intro. Maybe this won't be so bad." I didn't really have very high expectations with a name like Mountain Goats. W thought they would sound like Band of Horses. I WISH they sounded like Band of Horses. The singer was pretty dorky, but he was amusing. The singing style reminded me a bit of Silver Scooter with the nasally voice that kind of talked through the songs, which wouldn't be so bad if the lyrics were really clever, but they weren't in particular. The lyrics didn't really stand out and I THINK he was singing about everyday things, but I couldn't tell because it was so boring after awhile, I kind of zoned out a bit. They were talented, but not catchy enough for us to stay and enjoy it, but not so bad that we could leave. They were just really bland. I've never seen such a bland band. So, we just stayed because we kept hoping Kaki King would come back out because they collaborated on an album together. Every time she came out, we perked up because they have great chemistry together. The music they played together was infinitely better than anything Mountain Goats played alone. One of their best songs was Supergenesis.

That was the last song they played together. People were actually bobbing their heads and genuinely enjoying the Mountain Goats. I just didn't get it. I didn't find the music appealing at all. We left during their encore. I couldn't take it anymore, especially after I realized drinking didn't help, instead it made me almost fall asleep through one of their songs. I wouldn't actually slept through it if W hadn't woken me up by poking me and telling me that she just slept through 3 of their songs. I regret that we didn't leave sooner.

Sophie Milman @ OCPAC

She performed at Orange County Performing Arts Center: Samueli Theater, which was much nicer than I thought it would be. It was set up kind of like an intimate little jazz club, except the seating arrangements weren't that good. At Catalina Jazz Club at least all the seats are set up facing the stage. There were a few empty tables. I think they should've had 2 people per table because they were so small, but I understand that people want to be closer. They should have offered the option of sitting closer or at an empty table because 4 people to a table seemed pretty crowded and inconvenient with 1 person's back facing the stage.

So, I had only seen one youtube of Milman singing before I had gone to the show. It was a gift for my friend, so I didn't really know what she sounded like. F said he really disliked how she was singing through her teeth. I thought it sounded a little weird and I really couldn't understand much of what she was singing, but I was so used to not really hearing bands' lyrics that I didn't pay too much attention to that. I did like her Russian jazz song and her cover of "It's Not Easy Being Green." The jazz band was really really good. I thought the drummer was really unique and used things I haven't seen too many drummers use.

Check out some of her music at myspace.

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Bloody Valentine @ Santa Monica Civic

I went to the show, so W wouldn't have to go alone and just to say I saw My Bloody Valentine live.  It's like saying you saw Radiohead live.  Anyways, I hadn't really listened to the CD until I got back from Austin.  I've been listening to the CD nonstop for about 2 days to prep for the show.  I was surprised that I've actually heard some of their music before.  From the CD (mostly songs from the Loveless album, which W says is their most popular album), it sounded like ambient vocals with shoegazey guitar.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  When Z said that I should double up on earplugs and that they tend to play at 132 decibels (apparently that's like having a jet engine near your ear), I thought he was overexaggerating...until I got inside and heard the opening act (I'm not sure who it was, but I think he was called Spectrum).  It was already much louder than expected and MBV weren't even up yet!  I felt especially bad for W because all she had was Kleenex for her ears.  She had forgotten her earplugs.  Her ears were still ringing the next day.  There goes a decibel of hearing.  I've never been so thankful for earplugs, but even my hearing felt muffled after the show (luckily, no ringing) and I woke up the next morning still slighlty muffled. 

He had heavily distorted guitar and extended experimental pieces.  They sounded good, but they all melted in together after awhile, but the last song he played, wow, it hit such a high loud note.  He hit a decibel I didn't even know still existed in my hearing. 

My Bloody Valentine
So, the first half of the set list was pretty catchy and everyone knew the songs.  I enjoyed them and then I'm not sure, but it seemed to get progressively louder and more abstract as the night went on.  The last song, wow, was like nothing I've ever experienced.  It was just this mind numbing constant guitar and drum breakdown that went on for what felt like 20 minutes.  Everything was vibrating and I could actually feel wind even though we were indoors!  I felt like all my organs were being rearranged and my legs started getting wobbly.  It was like a rocket was trying to take off in front of our faces to escape the nuclear attack was occurring right next to it.  This guy standing next to me was telling his friends earlier that he was going to take out his earplugs for his favorite songs, but even by the end, he looked like his head was going to explode. 

I've never been to a show where I was afraid for an encore.  And where everyone cheered at the end about SURVIVING.  I wasn't quite sure how I felt about the show, but I think I enjoyed it.  It was definitely one of the most memorable shows I have ever been to.  I just don't understand why they felt the need to torture their fans. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Silversun Pickups, Okkervil River, Gnarls Barkley, Band of Horses, Foo Fighters @ ACL

Silversun Pickups
were pretty good live. The sound was terrible though. It made me wonder if I'd forgotten how outdoor concerts were supposed to sound like. The singer's speaking voice was SO different from his singing voice. I had always wondered if there was studio work done on it, but apparently not.

Okkervil River
They didn't sound bad live, I just think they're not really a large audience type of band. Their music is too mellow and not singalongable, which taught me that maybe I shouldn't see a band live unless they have music that's easy to sing along with. But then again, Ratatat has no lyrics and they were still amazing live. So, I guess sometimes my choice in live bands will be hit or miss. I just haven't missed in a really long time, which made me really question my choice in live bands.

Gnarls Barkley
I wasn't THAT excited to see him, but I'm glad Z wanted to see him so badly because that forced me to go. He was surprisingly good and really got the audience going. He's a really good frontman. He had a great bluesy voice and DJ Dangermouse looked totally badass even in a sequin jacket! They ended with a GREAT cover of a Radiohead song, which was really cool because I just saw Radiohead live doing same song a few weeks ago. Gnarls Barkley is definitely a stadium band and he seems to have an affinity for the F-word.

Band of Horses
There were too many people there. We couldn't really see them, so we just sat in back and listened. They still sounded good live. I loved hearing The Funeral and No One's Gonna Love You live. I must thank T for introducing me to this band. That last song always makes me so sad. I regret not being able to catch the last song because we had to leave early. Luckily, we could hear it as we made our way to Foo Fighters.

Foo Fighters
It was already really crowded even though we got there early. I have to see this was the best show I had seen all day. The sound was really clear and sounded just like a CD. Huge difference compared to Silversun Pickups earlier. I didn't realize they had SO many singles and it's funny to think about how you hear some of their singles SO much that you actually learn all their lyrics without even trying. I feel like their most popular songs were Everlong and My Hero. Sounded SO great live and I loved how they got everyone to scream along to My Hero's chorus. I was shouting at the top of my lungs. I love that song! and I was really surprised I was able to sing along with almost all of Everlong and I've never even tried it before! And then there was a triangle solo, which trust me, is more complicated than you would think. And they kept pausing near the end of their songs and then starting up again, so after awhile, I would just wait until I was sure they were completely done before I started clapping. They were on for almost 2 hours! I think they were just slotted for one. I loved how at the beginning they pretty much said they were going to play until the cops shut them down. And then they kept saying "Do you want to hear one more song?!" They did that several times. So, I wasn't sure if they were going to come back out for an encore, but they did. I'm sure they would've satisfied everyone if they had just played one encore song, but they did a couple.