Tag Archives: Concerts

Concert Review: Wilco @ The Electric Factory (Philadelphia)

Website: WilcoWorld.net
Opening Act: N/A
Venue: The Electric Factory
Date: Saturday, April 10th, 2010
Last Wilco Review: Wilco: 7.10.2009 @ Delware

Let’s start this review by stating the obvious, I really like Wilco. The last (and first) time I saw them was in a minor league baseball stadium in Wilmington, DE. It was an excellent show, but it felt a little disconnected since it was such a big outdoor venue. When I received word about a show at the Electric Factory I jumped at the tickets. Normally I start a concert review with my thoughts on the opening act, but Wilco did not having an opener. Did I mention how much I love this band?

We attempted to get seats in the upper section of the Electric Factory but it was packed. On my way down I saw the security officer from my Cranberries review. We exchanged pleasantries and I went off to find a suitable place to stand. We found a nice spot off to the side next to another staircase.

Tweedy and company went on stage at 8:30 PM. No chatty introductions, just a quick hello and down to to the rock. They opened with “Wilco (the song)” and it became clear in those opening moments that while Wilco is Jeff Tweedy’s band, Nels Cline has become the whole show. Tweedy is certainly no slouch, churning out tune after tune (we left at the three hour mark), but Nels Cline was a sound monster the entire night.

After the third or fourth song, an older gentlemen in a red sweater and tan hat start to smoke up (weed) right on the staircase that we were all standing next to. I was kinda shocked he wasn’t trying to hide in the crowd a bit more; he was out in the open with his cheap skunk weed (and security was most definitely in force last night). The pot head was not the issue but I decided to call him “original sin” because as soon as that smoke hit the air, every degenerate loser in the place converged on the staircase next to us. A small group of middle aged women (that I am convinced didn’t even know the band) talked the entire night. Tweedy (politely) told the crowd to be quiet a few times, these women didn’t take the hint.

The band played just about every song I could think of including material from “Mermaid Ave” I love the current line up’s reinterpretation of older material (with Cline and drummer Glenn Kotche) as it sounds infinitely better: tighter, better fills, and of course more practiced.

At the 90 minute mark, the stage crew came out (with Wilco not taking a break) and added some lamps and mood lighting. The show shifted to softer, acoustically driven material. This is when the situation with the talking ladies came to a boiling point. One of the members of my group politely asked them to listen to the music and they balked. After some words exchanged, the loud mouths finally stifled themselves and we really set into a nice undisturbed grove. Going into the evening, I was secretly hoping they would play “Airline to Heaven” which I have heard only live tracks and I really like the work that Cline does on slide guitar. As we entered 150 minute mark, I didn’t think it was going to happen (because the music start to pick up the pace), but then “There’s an airline plane…” – I was now satisfied.

As I mentioned, at the three hour mark, we decided to go. I heard every song I wanted to hear and then some. The band sounded unbelievably great. I also want to mention Pat Sansone who is Wilco’s other guitarist and while he may be overshadowed by Cline, he is a tremendous guitar and keyboard player, I was watching this guy all night and he was working his ass off. If you haven’t seen the band play live via concert or the multitude of DVD’s that are available, you don’t know this band. I would tell you to go out and get tickets, but they are probably sold out. Go buy this

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Concert Review: The 88 @ The North Star Bar, Philadelphia

Location: North Star Bar
City: Philadelphia, Pa
Date: March 4th, 2010
Opening Act: (Don’t know the name)

[Opening Acts]

The last time I stepped foot in the North Star Bar was about a decade ago and I happened to meet John Mayer before he got huge. I was excited to return to the venue to see the excellent, yet under-rated band The 88. We walked into the stage area (which holds no more than 100 people) and saw the merchandise table. My friend Mark struck up a conversation with the girl running the table and she ended up hanging with us for most of the night (she was a good sales person because I ended up buying 2 CDs and a t-shirt for my wife). She let us know The 88 was going to be the third act of five hitting the stage and she didn’t know the first two.

I don’t know the names of the acts, and for their sake I am glad. The first band was an odd collection of college students. A mostly female band with a big burly lumberjack looking guy playing bass. No guitar or piano player, but they had a girl playing a xylophone (or something close to it). The lead singer had a voice similar to Corinne Bailey Rae – it was beautiful, but the songs were terrible avant-garde, self indulgent, and messy. I think the singer could really make something of herself if she ditched the noise and found a more mellow, melodic act to work with.

The second band was called “Bla” or “Bla Bla” or something like that. The act was comprised of a large greasy looking fellow in a cloth trench coat looking thing and a girl that played tambourine. She did some spoken word poetry while he played the keyboard. He then took the lead and sang a series of increasingly terrible songs. I had the distinct feeling that I wasn’t in on a larger joke because nobody could be that bad by accident. Kudos to them for having the balls to get on stage and do it, especially before an act that was actually talented. All I can say is good luck with whatever it is you think you are doing (besides wasting people’s time).

[The 88]

After enduring the two openers, The 88 quickly came on and melted my face off. The kid running the sound board had the band SUPER LOUD (my ears are still ringing). For the first few tunes, it was very hard to pick up any of the nuances of the music since it all mushed together. The sound engineer improved things a bit when the band played a slower tune.

The 88 focused on songs from what I am guessing to be their most popular album “Over and Over”. That suited me just fine since I knew those songs the best. My friend Mark kinda knows the band (this was the third time he had seen them in the last 8 days). He let me know the new material they were trying out. Tunes like “Nobody Cares” and “Hide Another Mistake” were the high-points for me, but the new material sounded great. Even though there was maybe 20-30 people in the bar, lead singer Keith Slettedahl worked his ass off, dancing around the stage and hitting his trademark high notes.

The set was short and sweet, as the band had to make time for the two other acts. Keyboardist Adam Merrin quickly struck up a conversation with Mark and I got a chance to talk to him and Keith. Adam politely listened while I told him my boring story about how I discovered the band through the TV show “How I Met Your Mother”, interestingly enough Adam mentioned that show star Josh Radnor was really a big fan and might have had something to do with their songs being used. Adam and Keith were very nice and gracious people and as we walked outside to get our cab, we saw Keith quietly getting back on the bus to (presumably) prepare for another show (they played 27 out of 30 days in the last month).

I enjoyed the concert and really respect The 88’s stage presence and work ethic. Check them out if you get the chance.

Here is a small clip from my crappy cell phone camera:

Here is video for a better idea of their sound:

[A Side Story]

The girl running the merchandise table had a very “Philadelphia” attitude and I immediately thought “she would be perfect for my friend Sean“. I have never tried to pull this move for him before, but a girl that I knew who I have been thinking about hooking him up with recently started dating someone, so I decided to not miss another chance. I casually mention him and then pulled up a picture on my phone, she then proceeds to tell me she preferred the company of women and I felt like a total scumbag. The girl could not have handled herself with more class but I felt like I knob. Serves me right for not minding my own business.

🙂

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Concert Review: John Mayer @ The Wachovia Center, Philadelphia Pa

Headline Act: John Mayer
Location: Wachovia Center
City: Philadelphia, Pa
Date: February 21st, 2010
Opening Act: Michael Franti and Spearhead

[Pre-Concert Logistics]

Having been to concerts at the Wachovia Center before, the only issue I had was when I purchased the tickets, my only delivery option was will-call which meant we had to stand in line to get them (I bought the tickets months ago). The long line moved fast so it wasn’t a big deal. We were lucky to get good seats (third row) and getting down to the floor to our seats also was not as easy as it should have been, but again, not a big deal. One last thing: I have to throw in my gripe about people standing in the front rows so you have no option but to stand if you want to see. Now that it was said, I will move on.

[Opening Act]

I have never heard of Michael Franti and Spearhead before tonight. The band had several backup singers and a high energy vibe. They reminded me of a summer bar band: bright summery tones, an eclectic mixture of musicians who just seemed to enjoy playing. Franti ran out into the crowd several times and brought up little kids on stage to dance. Nice friendly people, good tone. In between sets, the band came to the front of the stage to sign autographs, which was pretty classy.

As for the music itself, as I said – summery pop music with island influence. They weren’t the greatest band I ever saw in my life, but they were very good. I appreciated that the booking agents didn’t hire some Mayer singer-songwriter wannabe to bore the crowd. I would like to see this band outside and near water – I can see the summer concert series at the Pier in their future.

[John Mayer]

John Mayer came on at 9:30 PM. He kicked the show off with a song from the newest album – “Heartbreak Warfare” All of the tunes from “Warfare” sounded better live (with the exception of the “Crossroads” cover which should just be buried). By the third or fourth song, Mayer started to banter with the crowd and read a sign near us that said “I can play Belief”. The sign was held up by a boy no older than 11 (his name was Austin). Mayer brought him right up and to the delight of the crowd, Austin totally nailed it. After a few minutes, he allowed the kid to leave but gave him a cherry red Fender guitar to take home. I always thought John was a decent guy and that was a very cool thing for him to do.

The night continued with Mayer showcasing his extraordinary guitar skills and light banter with the crowd. Every song and every jam was excellent. At one point he teased playing “Stop this Train” but the crowd pushed for “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” (which was great) – I was bummed that he didn’t play the other song because it is one of my favorites, but the crowd must be appeased.

I can’t say enough good things about the show. Mayer is a professional and gives the audience a fantastic show. We left at 11:20 PM and he was still going. I don’t know what time he finished but I was pleased and satisfied with the two hours I watched. Take my advice: Stop reading the tabloids and just listen to the guy’s music, go out and buy his live DVD to see what kind of musician he really is. You won’t be disappointed (unless you want to be).

UPDATE: I also want to make note of one of Mayer’s other guitar players Robbie McIntosh. McIntosh played with a slew of bands including the Pretenders and Paul McCartney. He is an excellent guitar player that (of course) gets overshadowed by Mayer. If you happen to catch future shows, watch this guy play, he is fraking fantastic. Mayer also scores massive points for bringing Steve Jordan from the Trio project on the road as his primary drummer. That guy is AWESOME!

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Concert Review: The Cranberries @ The Electric Factory

Date: November 17th, 2009
Location: Philadelphia, Pa
Venue: The Electric Factory
Opening Act: Griffin House

[Opening Act: Griffin House]

I wish I could say something about Griffin House, but the man didn’t make much of an impression. He didn’t sound terrible and the music was pleasant enough. He just didn’t stand out: House sounds like every guy who ever picked up an acoustic guitar and made nice sounds. I will give him marks for attempting to engage the audience and making note that he was a fan of the cranberries when he was a teenager. It was a nice touch. He left the stage in a timely matter, not overstaying his welcome, and that’s it.

[Venue Information]

After Griffin House left the stage I remarked to my wife that the sound was very cloudy. It was hard to hear although the volume was fine. It just sounded washed out (music and talking). While that was a big issue, overall we had a good time at the Electric Factory. I have been there in the past and it had been hotter than hell, but it was very comfortable last night.

We ended up in the upper section by the bars, waiting for friends. I scouted the area and picked out a spot that gave us a clear view of the stage. We were close to the security guard: I mention this because the guy was EXCELLENT. Our clear view depended on people not standing in a restricted area; at another show, the guards would just let them creep over, but this guy was on the ball – ensuring our awesome view. On top of that, at one point in the night he gave my wife a stool to sit on (completely unprompted). He didn’t yell at people – he was polite but stern and he made my night way more enjoyable. On our way out I hooked him up with a tip because he restored my faith in standing room shows (positive reinforcement!). This guy was a total asset to the Electric Factory.

[The Cranberries]

The Cranberries came out very quickly (no 45 minute wait between sets). They began the show with a tune I recalled, but have no idea what the name was. When Dolores O’Riordan pointed the mic at the audience to sing, I realized that I really don’t know many Cranberries songs besides “Linger”, “Ode to My Family”, and “Zombie”.

Luckily for me, the band wasn’t stingy with their known songs. They mixed up the set well between slower and more rocking tunes. O’Riordan jumped and shimmed across the stage like a girl half her age (she is almost 40). Her voice sounded great (I noticed she was using an echo effect for many of the songs, which sounded cool), and she made an effort to connect with the Philadelphia crowd; I think she has family in the city but I couldn’t make out what she was saying. Good amount of chatter, but not too much.

The band sounded great, they obviously knew their way around the songs. Dolores played a few tunes from her solo album and the band provided back up. The new material sounded good, but not mind blowing. I decided once they played “Zombie” I was going to leave and beat the crowd out. Before we left, we heard an excellent version of “Salvation” – I had completely forgotten that song. Soon enough “Zombie” was played and we said good night to our friends and left.

[Conclusion]

I had an excellent time at the show: The band sounded great, the employees at the venue exceeded their job function to enhance my concert going experience, and I got home a decent time… which is good because I had to cancel my day off today. I will leave you as I left the venue last night:

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Concert Review: Neko Case @ The Kimmel Center

Concert: Neko Case
Open Act: Jason Lytle
Concert Date: July 29th, 2009
Venue: Kimmel Center – Verizon Hall

I got turned on to Neko Case through her side project The New Pornographers. Truth be told, I never took the time to single her out and find out if she did any solo work until her most recent album “Middle Cyclone” was released. I noticed a review in Rolling Stone Magazine and it was very positive (although I am now under the impression that they never give completely negative reviews anymore, but that is for another day) – so I checked it out and agreed. I noticed a poster in the city last month promoting the concert and that brings us to the review….

[The Venue: Kimmel Center – Verizon Hall]

Both Kimmel venues that I have seen shows at were beautiful in their own way. The Verizon hall is modern and clean. We had a great view of the stage. Nothing bad to say except for the little Nazi usher lady who yelled at me for checking my cell phone during the opener (she stayed and watched me shut the phone off and put it in my pocket like I was in 2nd grade).

[Open Act: Jason Lytle]

In my musical reviews, I have been trying not to be overly negative because it overpowers the writing and it calls into question my mental state during the time of the concert (perhaps I was having a bad day to have such a negative reaction, etc etc). I was having a fine day yesterday when I sat down for the concert and I will say Mr. Lytle’s band and music were not to my taste. The reasons:

1. The entire set was sad bastard music – droning and whining
2. The whole band was sitting – their music was so soul sucking that even they didn’t have the energy to get through a 40 minute set
3. Lytle used some kind of drum machine/backing track in between songs that was annoying, this device was also used during the songs which I thought was a cop out.
4. The guitar player in the band didn’t look like he had much to do. He put in a couple of fills, but it was clear to me that this guy was lazy AND the songs didn’t have the bones for any layers.
5. The lyrics were terrible: Rhyming sky with why and dry… very 2nd grade.

On the positive side, his drummer looked like the dude from the hangover:
Hangover Guy:

Drummer:

In this clip that someone on youtube posted, at least the man is by himself and doesn’t have a lazy band or terrible drum machines to distract the audience. It still isn’t good.

Jason mentioned that he made a point to watch Neko Case and her band every night which I thought was nice, but it is obvious he isn’t learning anything.

[Main Event: Neko Case]

It took a while for the stage crew to get out all of the band’s equipment (I counted 13 guitars and 1 stand-up bass) and get them tuned and set up. The wait was worth it: Case came out ready to sing. Belting out many tracks from her newest album, the aforementioned “Middle Cyclone”, Neko was in top form. In the reviews I have read, it seems that backup singer Kelly Hogan is considered the secret weapon of the show… I disagree; it is steel guitar player Jon Rauhouse that controls the sound and mood on the stage. Regardless of who the secret weapon is, Case’s band has many bombs they can drop.

The set list was focused on Case’s most recently material for the most part, which was good, but I would have liked to have heard this band’s interpretation of Neko’s older country flavored tunes. While her archival material may have been missing, they were not without, I think I counted 36 songs performed- which considering the way Case and Hogan were singing was pretty impressive. The stand out performance of the night was “This Tornado Loves You” which closed the set before a round of encores.

The banter between Case and Hogan was entertaining and lightened up the mood between some of the heavier songs (take note Jason Lytle – they knew how to mix up the tone for the audience). The crowd was also very respectful to the band which enhanced my enjoyment of the night. Bottom line – if you want to see a female singer who can actually sing her ass off and write excellent songs (and knows how to assemble a damn fine band) – go see Neko Case.

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Concert Review: Wilco with The Mystic Valley Band @ Wilmington, Delaware

I am going to start this review by letting you know that I had a fantastic time last night. There will be no pissed off rants about venues, crowds, sound systems, or a band’s attitude. This was the complete opposite experience to my last concert, so if you are looking for angry I suggest you move on, you won’t find it here today my friends. Simply put, The Wilco and Mystic Valley Band concert last night at the Bluerock’s stadium in Wilmington Delaware was an absolute joy to go to. I hit no traffic during rush hour, the parking was free, the stadium was clean and full of families and respectful concert goers, the sound was outstanding, and the bands were both in top form. Let’s get down to it.

[Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band]

I reviewed the MVB’s latest album last week in my Sunday Leftovers column and I mentioned that I didn’t really enjoy Oberst’s work under the Bright Eyes name and had overlooked his other work. Let me repent now: this guy is an excellent musician, song writer, and entertainer. On top of that, the bastard knows how to surround himself with good musicians. The Mystic Valley Band players are all top-notch; excellent tone, harmonies, and timing. I honestly thought that they sounded better than Wilco last night (and Wilco sounded great).

The band did a solid 50 minutes and kept to the more upbeat and fast moving tunes from Oberst’s last two albums “Conor Oberst” and “Outer South” which I respected. This was an outdoor show in a minor league baseball stadium – keep it rocking! He snuck in a few slower songs like “Cape Canaveral” and gave the revelers time to catch their breath. I have been getting on the Mystic Valley Band bandwagon pretty hardcore the last month and this performance sealed the deal. I hope Oberst doesn’t ditch the band and manages to keep this sound and concept going because it’s really good.

Behold the power of terrible phone video…

[WILCO]

When we walked into the stadium, we were give an official Wilco touring program free of charge. This book was put together very nicely and features art by the band, profiles of the road crew, and an interview of Jeff Tweedy by his two sons (which was great). I mention this because as I looked around I saw kids everywhere… and they were all well behaved, chilling, and listen to the music. Wilco has become a family friendly band (or have they always been one?) and it suites them and it suites me. I enjoyed the vibe they created and I felt like they really appreciated people coming out to listen. The whole experience makes me feel like when I have kids I can take them to shows like this and we can all have a good time.

Back to Wilco. They had a very good night. Nils Cline is my new guitar hero: we have been watching Wilco DVDs the last few weeks (which prompted us to look for tickets and finding they were playing Delaware two nights before the concert) and this guy is a fucking stud. Tweedy is a damn genius for recruiting this guy into the band a few years ago – I hope he never leaves! Wilco began with “Wilco (the song)” which is also the opening tune on the new CD. Solid opener that was upbeat and they kept the tempo going for the 95+ minutes (we heard that it was hard to get out of the venue so we opted to cut out a little early). I was very satisfied with the tunes and the variations they introduced. Personal standouts were Hummingbird, Impossible Germany (which some lady kept screaming for until she was appeased), You are my face, and my favorite Handshake Drugs (thanks to Cline’s ass-kicking guitar solos).

Tweedy engaged the crowd and looked like he was having a good time playing for the people. The Bluerocks have a celery stick for a mascot (both he and I questioned the meaning – something to do with Buffalo wings – I don’t get it), Mr. Celery was the butt of many jokes throughout the night. At one point he mentioned that seeing the celery stick made him hungry and the crowd, not missing a beat, tossed up some food which he and Nils gladly consumed.

I don’t know if eating your vegetables and rocking out with eight year olds captures the true heart of rock and roll, but it sure does sound good. If you get the chance, go see these bands, it will make the world great for a few hours.

Here is another terrible phone camera clip:

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Concert Etiquette

As a follow-up to my review of the Avett Brothers concert, I started to compile a list of reasonable expectations while attending a concert. Here is a list of commonly accepted rules of etiquette for a rock concert:

1. Put Down Your Cell Phones: Taking pictures or making a friend listen to a favorite song sounds like a cool idea, but you look like an asshole and nobody wants to see your phone wallpaper.
2. Don’t Invade People’s Space: If someone does, don’t let them ruin the show for you… unless it is a whole group of invading assholes and then ask nicely for them to tone it down.
3. People paid to hear the band, not you: Its okay to sing with the band when they are asking, but remember most people don’t want to hear your version of what is being played on stage.
4. Don’t make out: Nobody wants to see you express your love. Please stop it. Immediately.
5. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.: Stop talking. Nobody cares what you have to say.

Common items from the references that I don’t agree or care about:

6. T-Shirts: Most of the writers seem to be hung up on wearing the band’s t-shirt. I don’t do it, but I don’t think it is a big deal either.
7. Tall People: Once again, I don’t have an issue with a tall person at shows as long as they don’t move around too much. People will move around them.

Some of this comes down to personal research on venues and the band’s audience. The wife and I decided to stop going to summer outdoor concerts because the teenager factor was just too high. We starting going to smaller shows but the economy being what it is, 21 and older shows are becoming a thing of the past (a band isn’t going to miss out on potential ticket sales). Most older people have the same idea and try to find refuge in the restricted bar areas, but alas, they are too small to fit everyone.

If you read this, just remember that people over-paid to see a show, and they don’t want to be distracted by ANYTHING. Our job as concert-goers is to blend into the background and not stand out. It’s all about the music. Try to have a good time and don’t bother anyone, and if you are being annoyed, don’t choke-slam anyone either.

References:
Concert Etiquette from Rock Music 101
Rolling Stone
Spinner.com’s Guide
One Man’s Experience
Choke Slamming Teens

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Concert Review: The Avett Brothers @ The Trocadero

Artist: The Avett Brothers featuring Paleface
Date: Saturday, May 30th, 2009
Venue: The Trocadero – 1003 Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pa
Previous Review: Avett Brothers @ Bottle & Cork – 7.10.2008

In my last entertainment reviews, I feel that I have come off overly negative and harsh. In that light, I wanted to begin this review by saying the Avett Brothers sounded great last night. They proved to me once again that they are outstanding and one of the best live acts in the business at the moment. The entire band is full of energy and command outstanding stage presence. I will support this band for a long time and always recommend that people check them out. With that said, I had a miserable experience last night.

The Venue

It has been a long time since I have attended a concert at the Trocadero and I recall getting into a minor incident with a member of semi-boy band (I can’t remember their names but it was a twin fronted acted and it wasn’t Nelson) the last time I was there. Before we even entered the building, I was turned off: there was a long line to get in. The line moved fast, but we waited a bit to go since the doors opened at 8 PM and the show didn’t start until 9 PM. The Trocadero staff insisted on patting everyone down and this “slowed the line down” but when we got to the front the dudes barely checked our pockets. Once we got into the first door, the girls checking the tickets were sporting huge attitude which was just more fuel to the starting fire. We then noticed a huge line to get upstairs (where there was bars and a seating section). We opted to go up there in order to drink and get a better view. The few seats were already taken and the bar area was a sea of people – after spending $5.00 for a plastic cup of lager I lost half of it from people bumping into me (and now I had beer on me). Here is a huge problem for the Troc – you can’t see the stage from any of the bars. There is a balcony area behind the seating where the bars are but you can’t see the stage because there is a canopy over the seats. I also feel that they planned capacity for the show with that area included so when the show started it was WAY too crowded.

The Opening Act

Paleface started a few minutes after 9 PM. We were still in one of the bars blocked in and wondering what we should do. More people continued into the bar where we were standing and I wanted to get out of there because it was getting really hot. We eventually got down and caught a few songs by Paleface (I think there might be two Paceface acts: One is British and the other one is this duo). From what I saw, Paleface is best describes as a neo-dixie White Stripes. You have a male singer who plays guitar and a female drummer singing backups. Like Meg White, the drummer sang sort of out of tune in an endearing but rattling way. Reviewing Paleface the day after, I am inclined to be less harsh: I was already pissed off and the crowd downstairs was really annoying. They had energy and good stage presence but their songs sounded like a one long continuous hymn. I only heard a few, so I will give them a pass and say I didn’t see enough to form an accurate opinion.

The Main Event

There was a 20 minute break between Paleface and The Avetts. During Paleface’s set we found a place to stand on the ground level towards the left side of the stage in the back. We were all leaning against the wall and had a decent view of the stage. As the Avetts started to play, more people crowded the side area and it become more cramped and our views blocked. The Avett Brothers came out and sounded strong. Scott Avett broke a banjo string during the first song keeping with the tradition. During the second song, two girls were moving past me like they were going to go to the front. I positioned myself so they can pass but they stayed right in front of me. There were NO space. Even in standing room concert standards, this was very close. The more moronic of the pair proceeded to jump up and down getting her filthy hippie hair all up in my face. My wife shifted so I could get out from behind her (shouldn’t a girl care that she is basically grinding on a complete stranger at a fucking dixie concert?). I moved, annoyed, but claiming no harm no foul because I could see and this spot was a little better (I have a general rule not to get close to the stage at standing room only shows because annoying little brats keep pushing their way closer as the show goes on making it hotter and more crowded, so I am happy to stay in the back and listen – but this show I kept getting pushed up).

In my new spot, the little idiot starts to clap at the end of the song, but of course she has to do it jumping up and down and throwing elbows. I let this slide, but as the third song started, she start doing this through the entire song. So now this bitch is hitting me with her elbows in a frantic and constant spasm and is managing to get her dirty hair all over me. I turn around and ask her to stop doing that and she says “I am sorry…” – I start to cool down – “… that you are at a concert and don’t like the crowds (or something like that)”. I begin to verbally tear her a new asshole. She looks shocked like she didn’t know that she was an asshole, her friend pulls her back and I turn around and listen to the show. The side area that we were at was one of the few access points to the stage, so staff and crew (and Paleface too) were going back and forth; the crowd also started pushing forward to get closer to the stage. My friend eventually retreated to the back entrance and we followed shortly. During this time, the Avetts played “Paranoia in B-Flat Major”, “Murdered in the City”, “Will You Return”, and few newer ones – the band threw in new twists and harmonies to the songs which sounded great, but were getting washed out by an asshole who though people paid to hear him sing. When “The Ballad of Love and Hate” finished, Nate said he was ready to go and so was Allison. I danced out the door.

Conclusion

As I said, The Avett Brothers were fantastic, but the crowd and venue killed the show for me. Perhaps the sloppy bitch with dirty hair was right, maybe I don’t like crowds; I will have to think about that one. While I reflect, I will tell you that I won’t ever see a show at the Troc again and I am seriously rethinking my stance of shows without seats. I am looking forward to hearing the new Avett’s album coming out this summer and hopefully seeing them at a show with set seating, until then, I will stay home and enjoy them much more.

Read the blog as it was intended to be read: HERE

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Concert Review: The Shins @ The Electric Factory

Performance Date: Saturday, May 16th
Opening Act: Delta Spirit

My wife scored tickets for the Shins after her sister informed her they were coming to town. The show was sold out so we had to get tickets via StubHub, but thankfully we didn’t pay much more than street value, which was refreshing.

[Delta Spirit]

I don’t know much about Delta Spirit. I had read an article about them in Rolling Stone which proclaimed them the next big thing and I promptly ignored it. The lead singer came out wearing a fedora and I immediately wanted to punch him in the face. This isn’t the 90’s and you aren’t in the Squirrel Nut Zippers. My initial reaction was not changed by the opening song – the singer was just growling and mumbling.

Most of the set was spent with the singer screaming at the top of his lungs and the bass player flailing around the stage. All kidding aside, the band sounded good, but the singer needed to stop with that screaming and moaning shit. Overall, not a pleasant experience. I think these dudes will get better, but I won’t be sitting around waiting for it to happen.

If they sounded like this during the concert, it wouldn’t have been that bad. But the screaming…

[The Shins]

The Shins sounded great. The band was tight, the sound levels didn’t make my head bleed, the lighting was interesting and enhanced the show BUT….

The set list was not put together well. They opted to play several heady, long, slow paced songs that killed the mood in the crowd. Their faster paced songs were far and few between and by that point I was done. I applaud the band for introducing new material and attempting to set a mood, it was just the mood sucked.

The Shins are still a great band, the sounded great, but they need someone paying attention to the pace of their concerts and how the songs translate to a live audience.

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