Heypenny @ Cosmic Charlies 2.19.11

Heypenny were a ton of fun. It’s no surprise that I was really into them midway through my collegiate career. Who would have thought it’d take me nearly five years to see them live?

My real takeaway realization was that Heypenny probably have the record for the longest I’ve ever seen a band keep such a high level of intensity, despite no help from the crowd. Much like Andy D, Heypenny were battling a crowd that was, for the most part, still seated in the back — but they didn’t care. They kept it going on all burners for the whole show. Their bassist was especially a madman. He danced and jumped his way through the whole set. When he knocked the microphone stand out of place, he grabbed it with one hand and played bass with the other, seemingly without missing a note.

Jovontaes @ Cosmic Charlies 3.6.11

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Jovontaes. I’ve seen them at CD Central instores, but I’m pretty sure this was my first time seeing them in a club. This way is much better.

Jovontaes threw a couple curveballs during their set, the majority of which pretty successful. In my opinion, they’re at their best when going through a long, drawn-out section before segueing into a strong riff. There were traces of Lou Reed and a bit of Black Angels. It’s not really my normal bag, but their set just proved why it’s good to switch up your bag.

To close, Jovontaes finished with their song off a new Lexington compilation tape. I can’t remember the name of the song, nor can I locate the name of the tape online, but it was one of the best of the night. “Killer Pilz” was the best of their set. It’s enough to make me want to snag Tape Loop vol 1 later today.

Andy D @ Cosmic Charlie’s 2.18.11

Do: go see Andy D

Do Not: go see Andy D sober with a crowd full of uptight people.

Andy D wound up playing two sets at his Cosmic Charlie’s show. The first was a really fun set that garnered very little love from the crowd, the second was a surprise encore at the end of the night. As I gathered from his Youtube videos, Andy D is a wild man in a jean jacket. His songs are half insane, half brilliant and always in your face. The problem is that when he’s the opener — as he was on this night — he’s playing to a 1/5 full bar of people who just got their first drink. So it took a few songs for us to warm up to him.

For me it took three songs before I was an Andy D fan. I think what really sold me is when he introduced a song with this: “This song is about my hypothetical friend _____. It’s not about meth, because when I wrote it I didn’t know she sold meth.” Genius.

Andy ended his set in a viking helmet and fur vest to some decent applause and cheers. It wasn’t until he showed up on stage after Big Fresh had finished their show that things really got going. This time when he leaned forward with the microphone, there was an actual crowd ready to shout back things like “God loves drunk chicks!” or “Ragnarok ‘n Roll!” I’m pretty sure that crowd interaction is about half the reason to go to an Andy D show. So see him with fun, enthusiastic people. Failing that, see him with drunk people.

Smith Westerns @ Al’s Bar 1.27.11

The Smith Westerns’ show at Al’s might have been the definition of a “mixed bag.” It was enjoyable, for sure, and the new songs are all great, but there were just so many extraneous elements that dampened the fun of the show. For starters, it’s impossible to review the band without talking about the sound — sorry, I meant without talking about how the band wouldn’t stop talking about the sound.

The sound at Al’s Bar isn’t great. We know that, guys. We all live in or around Lexington and have been to Al’s Bar more times than we can count. So when you take the stage, as the Smith Westerns did, and keep complaining about the sound, it really takes away from the show. Lead singer Cullen Omori compared trying to play through the soundsystem at Al’s as “trying to pee a grapefruit out your dick.” As frustrating as the low quality soundsystem might be, let’s be honest guys — you weren’t going to sound like ELO if you had a great system. You sound like a distorted garage rock band. You sound like T Rex. So suck it up and be as great as you can be. We’ll cut you some slack; we’re your fans.

Other than the band’s reaction to the sound at the venue, the show was pretty good. All the new material was a delight to have thrown full-force into into our faces. They put on a good show when they’re not whining, and it was a delight.

More photos after the break

Continue reading Smith Westerns @ Al’s Bar 1.27.11

Daniel Martin Moore @ CD Central 1.29.11

I showed up about one minute into Daniel Martin Moore’s instore session at CD Central and felt like a stampeding elephant coming through the back door. Apparently the PA was on the fritz, so DMM and company did this performance with no amplification — thus my embarrassment at the sound of the back door slamming shut. But all was well; the crowd was more respectful than any I’ve been a part of in a while.

This was Daniel’s third time playing at CD Central, and really I might argue that it was the best. He did a few older songs, a load of new ones and a cover of “My Rifle, My Pony and Me” from Rio Bravo. The real highlight of the set was his performance of the title track to his new LP The Cool of the Day. He sang while Dan Dorf played a beautiful keyboard accompaniment.

More photos after the break

Continue reading Daniel Martin Moore @ CD Central 1.29.11

The Kickback @ Al’s Bar 1.27.11

I didn’t really plan it this way, but this was a great show to have as my first of 2011 and my first in over a month. I knew almost nothing about the Kickback before the show, but quickly fell in love. Live, the Kickback are like a younger, more reckless version of the Walkmen. There’s energy being thrown at the audience nonstop — so much so that it made me sad to see that almost no one came within 10 feet of the stage.

There were one or two songs that really bowled me over, but unfortunately I’m a little light on their song titles. The one that really rocked me had a sharp, stabbing chorus that sounded like “Rob a house! Rob it!” but most likely wasn’t. It was a standout track in a powerful set.

Oh, and I’d be a failure of a nerd if I didn’t mention how great the lead singer’s Alpha Flight shirt was. Obviously I had to get a photo. Turns out that the band also has a song called “Alpha Flight,” so bonus points for that.

You Ain’t No Picasso’s top concerts of 2010

This was a pretty interesting year for concerts. Even after missing Bonnaroo for health reasons, I still caught a lot of great shows. However I think overall the top shows I caught this year didn’t quite reach last year. But, you know, I was finally able to see shows by Local Natives, Joanna Newsom, Deerhoof and a non-festival show by Sharon Jones. Not too bad of a year, you guys.

Matt Duncan (as Steely Dan) @ Cosmic Charlie’s [Original Post]

Wavves @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

Great Lake Swimmers @ St Matthew’s Church [Original Post]

Holy Fuck @ the Mohawk [Original Post]

Apples in Stereo @ Cosmic Charlie’s [Original Post]

Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

LCD Soundsystem @ Pitchfork [Original Post]

Idiot Glee @ Al’s Bar [Original Post]

Wax Fang (as Prince) @ Louisville Ballet Center [Original Post]

Mavis Staples @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

the Black Keys @ the Mohawk [Original Post]

the Magnetic Fields @ Buskirk-Chumley Theater [Original Post

Wooden Wand @ CD Central [Original Post]

the Morning Benders @ Emo’s [Original Post]

Robyn @ Pitchfork [Original Post]

Broken Bells @ the Mohawk [Original Post]

These United States @ Cosmic Charlie’s [Original Post]

Local Natives @ Stubbs [Original Post]

Besnard Lakes @ the Mohawk [Original Post]

Wolf Parade @ Pitchfork [Original Post]

St Vincent @ Pitchfork [Original Post

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ Forecastle [Original Post]

Robin Pecknold @ Memorial Hall [Original Post]

Janelle Monae @ Madison Theater [Original Post]

Man Man @ Cosmic Charlie’s [Original Post]

Sharon Jones @ Buster’s [Original Post]

Jim James, Daniel Martin Moore + Ben Sollee @ Lexington Opera House [Original Post]

Major Lazer @ Pitchfork [Original Post]

Phoenix @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

Big Boi @ Pitchfork [Original Post]

Of Montreal @ the Madison Theater [Original Post]

Joanna Newsom @ Memorial Hall [Original Post]

Deerhoof @ Northside Tavern [Original Post]

Les Savy Fav @ the Galaxy Room [Original Post]

The New Pornographers @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

Arcade Fire @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

Xiu Xiu @ Northside Tavern [Original Post]

Pavement @ Pitchfork [Original Post]

Porugal. The Man @ 20th Century Theater [Original Post

Grizzly Bear @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

My Morning Jacket @ KFC Yum Arena [Original Post]

Spoon @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

Lady Gaga @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

Green Day @ Lollapalooza [Original Post]

The Flaming Lips @ Forecastle [Original Post]

Handsome Furs @ St Matthew’s Church 10.23.10

I realized yesterday that I never put up my photos of the Handsome Furs in Halifax. The first 1/3 of the show was fantastic — and really the rest of the show was probably quite good, but I’ll never know because people started coming down the aisles and standing in front of our section to get a better view. So I watched about half an hour of their show sitting behind a crowd of people. But other than that, great show! We heard a lot of great new material and a good number of older songs as well.

More photos after the break

Continue reading Handsome Furs @ St Matthew’s Church 10.23.10

Matt Duncan @ Cosmic Charlie’s 10.31.10

When we were getting the “Come As You Aren’t” party all settled, I was just the tiniest bit disappointed that Matt Duncan had decided to cover Steely Dan. What little I knew about Steely Dan, I didn’t really care for. And really, I heard the same thing from a lot of people. Then how crazy was it that the crowd went absolutely mental for Matt Duncan’s band.

I guess the first most surprising thing was that there are actually a fair number of Steely Dan songs that people have picked up through osmosis without really being aware of it. There was “Do It Again,” “Reelin’ in the Years,” “Dirty Work” and “Deacon Blues,” all played with studio proficiency. I mean really, these guys had it down. They could take this on the road and entertain everyone’s mom’s (get your mind out of the gutter).

Maybe the best moment was during “Dirty Work,” where the crowd slowed down their dancing just a bit and yelled along to the chorus. Everyone in the band except the drummer stopped playing and led the crowd in a few choruses before jumping back in with gusto.

So much like when Wax Fang did Purple Rain, I found myself asking if it was reasonable for a cover show to enter my top 20 concerts of the year. And while it might not really be fair or make sense, I’m extremely tempted to let them do it — if nothing else, just for convincing me that Steely Dan is worth more than a second of my time.