• Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Town Ballroom

    19 Oct 2012, 14:35

    Mon 15 Oct – Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tony Conrad

    Well, I guess I can cross another one off the bucket list. I finally saw God's Pee live a couple nights ago, and it was as intense as expected. Like my last visit to the Town Ballroom, it was a chilly gloomy night, a precursor of sorts to the chaos of sound that awaited. This also marked one of the few times I've been back to the city of Buffalo since I moved in the summer. I came with my girlfriend, and we set up right below the projectors, which were a few rows up. She wanted a place to sit if necessary, and was concerned about the volume, but honestly, it's hard to find a bad position in this venue, and I could see everything with almost no problem, so I was okay with it.

    Again, as before, things moved in a pretty efficient fashion, quite different to most of the other venues I've been to in town. That's one thing that's hard to fault the Town Ballroom for. I expected the show to be packed, and by the time Godspeed went on, it was getting there, but it seems a good deal of people skipped on Tony Conrad, who opened the show. I'm not surprised, given the headliner's status nowadays, but it always disappoints me to see such disrespect afforded to people who pour their hearts into their work, even if the results are less than stellar. Which, in all honesty, was the case here.

    Professor Conrad went on stage around 7:45 (doors were at 7), with six other string players in tow to make up a septet. Conrad was obviously on violin, as were two others, one guy played cello, another contrabasse, yet another either an electric cello or 3/4 bass, and I think there was also a viola in there. Conrad also used what looked like a bow combined with a mallet to strike some stringed instrument, which he also bowed at one point. The band was told that they had until 8:30 to play, and they filled those 45 minutes with a largely shapeless, droning, harsh noise wall of minimalism. There were points where it was almost quite literally ear-splitting.

    As harsh as the performance was overall, it was not without its moments. The players were talented in extended techniques, especially Professor Conrad himself. At one point he was bowing the violin near the head, and then he began unstringing it, making for the most interesting moment of the performance, in terms of sound. My girlfriend and I both remarked at the end of the performance that we should have used earplugs, and it was true, but my ears recovered quickly, in time for Godspeed You! Black Emperor to take the stage.

    A seemingly typical Town Ballroom quick takedown and setup occurred between sets, and I took a restroom break, only to come back and hear the opening drone from F#A#∞. The lady asked me if I'd hear the announcement about Sophie. She had a family emergency relating to her father, so the band would be performing without a violin. It was sad to hear, but nice to see the band soldier on and dedicate the show to Sophie's dad.

    For the most part, the lacking violin didn't harm the songs in a great way, other than "Mladic," which was a wall of noise with its main melody stripped away. The opening "Hope Drone" was wonderful as each band member came on stage and began adding layers. My pulse quickened when all the layers began meshing and "HOPE" began flickering on the screen: it was when reality began to hit; I was finally seeing Godspeed live, after so long of thinking it would never happen.

    As noisy and oppressively loud as "Mladic" was, it was still wonderful to hear and to feel the incredible power of the Middle Eastern rhythms. New drummer, Tim Herzog, was especially impressive, in this song, and all the others, beating the drum kits with near reckless abandon. When "Mladic"'s feedback dissipated, there was a moment of quiet before the familiar "Murray Ostril" dialogue began. The audience erupted in cheers to welcome the opening of "Monheim." Played pretty much perfectly, this song that I know as well as an old standard was a delight to experience.

    Once again there was little time to catch our breath after the end of "Monheim" before Tim began hammering the drums again to herald the oncoming "Behemoth," Godspeed's newest song. And what a song it is. Tim certainly got his workout in the first part, playing the same heavy as shit drumbeat for roughly fifteen minutes as Dave, Moya, Efrim, Mauro, Thierry and Aidan worked up a torrent of noise and melody. The second part of the song was a long passage of spaced out ambiance, that was honestly too long. Normally I enjoy these parts of Godspeed's music as much as any other, but here the mind wandered. As was to be expected, the pace picked up as the song approached its climax, but again the crescendo section seemed to last longer than it should have, with many measures repeated seemingly for the sake of repetition. At 45 minutes, the song is as long as many albums, and it may grow on me with time, but at this point, I think it still has a few kinks to work out.

    The band finished with another crowd pleaser in the form "The Sad Mafioso." The extended intro was interesting at points, but was another moment of the band overindulging a bit. The rest of the song was as great as expected, although it was still difficult to pick out the nuances when things really started flying, as the volume was still louder than it should have been. The band ended "The Sad Mafioso" with a wall of noise and feedback, and walked off stage one by one, leaving Tim to fiddle with the amps a bit, and Dave to sit back with a beer and watch the projections fizzle into static. Finally, out of the noise, came the slowed down sample of "By My Side" from Godspell: "Where are you going, where are you going?," appropriately mirroring the opening my mimicking the closing of the first album. As this was playing and Dave left the stage, the Town Ballroom's house music began playing, giving it an eerie, odd feeling that seemed to sum up the night.

    So, yes, it was a good show, with few spotty points that dragged it down from being great. I was thinking that this would easily top seeing Thee Silver Mt. Zion, even though the latter band is my favorite, and I enjoy their music more than Godspeed's. I was wrong, however, as the intimacy of TSMZ, even in their louder rock phase wins out over the current just a bit too big style of the reformed Godspeed. I still wish I could have seen them in their heyday, but this is an acceptable replacement, and I am content.

    Setlist:

    "Hope Drone"
    "Mladic"
    "Monheim"
    "Behemoth"
    "The Sad Mafioso"
  • Colin Stetson at Soundlab

    4 Abr 2012, 16:44

    Sun 1 Apr – Colin Stetson, Sarah Neufeld

    What a fantastic show. Heading back to Soundlab for the second time in less than two months (I don't go to many shows, so these were pretty close together), it was nice having an idea of what to expect this time around. I arrived just before door time, but as with the Silver Mt. Zion show, the doors were already open. There were about a half-dozen people in the venue at this point and a few staff members. Colin Stetson's bass and alto saxophones were on stage, but the tenor wasn't present. Anyway, I heard that Sarah Neufeld was going to go on around nine, but not wanting to end up in the same position I did when I saw Colin in Ithaca last year, I hung out near the stage to wait out the hour, like a bit of a creeper :P. No back-of-the-room blues for me this time!

    A coworker showed up with some friends of his and we chatted for a bit, but they went off to do their own thing. Sarah and Colin came back from wherever they were at about 8:30 and retreated to the dressing room for some privacy. Around 9:00, Colin came out to set up the merch table and about fifteen minutes later, Sarah came out to start her set after a brief tune-up. Soundlab has a capacity of about 200 or so, but it wasn't even half-full. Some people even stayed in the alcove seating off to the side during the opening set.

    Sarah's set consisted of some half-dozen solo violin pieces which were rather lovely on the whole, and lasted around half an hour. Like Colin, she played with no loops or backing tracks, but the compositions still seemed pretty filled out with plenty of interesting harmonics and multiple stops. Some pieces had a bit more of a jaunty, dance-able feeling to them. She really is a very talented violinist. I recognized one piece, which was probably "Scalpel/Stradivarius" (it's on youtube if you're interested). It was hard to tell exactly how many songs she played though, as there some pauses that seemed like the ending of the composition, but then she would begin playing again. I'm curious if she plans on ever recording and releasing an album of these solo works. At one point, Sarah remarked on how empty the venue was, saying that she really couldn't see anyone's faces, but that she knew there were about four people out there.

    Colin started up his set some fifteen minutes after Sarah's ended. He opened with "In Love and in Justice," which I thought was a bit of an odd choice, but it set the mood for the evening pretty well. Next up was "Hunted 1," which was intense. After the song, Colin took a moment to stretch his arms and catch his breath. He remarked that he hates doing that one first thing, "but it's either shoot me now, or I shit all over it later." There were some other amusing moments throughout the night like his t-shirt with a picture of a flying kitten complete with wings and when, upon setting down his beer after taking a swig, it foamed out onto the stage; "Uh oh! That was my fault. Yep, overflow."

    Colin played three songs on the alto sax: "The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man," "A Dream of Water," and a new one that he didn't name. The new one was kind of similar to "Righteous Wrath," only with some of the "screaming" that Colin uses in other songs. I thought of it as "Righteous Wrath, Part 2." There were a couple other new songs that didn't stand out as much, as their melodies were similar to others, but I do remember one where the "singing" through the saxophone part sounded kind of bluesy and vamped (EDIT: It's called "This Bed of Shattered Bones" and can be heard on a Dronecast podcast of a Stetson show. [EDIT 2: It's now called "High Above the Grey Green Sea" and is set to be released on New History Warfare Vol. 3.).

    "Hunted 2" was also full of intensity, but not as much as the first, which kind of makes me wonder if I have them mixed up, because when I first heard them on a CBC set, the second was definitely the longer, more painful sounding one. Then again, Colin could have changed them since then, so who knows? Anyway, my favorite part of the set was the back-to-back of "Home" and a monstrous version of "Judges." And they were literally back-to-back as Colin barely breathed between them. "Home" was just as sweet as the album version, with some extended passages. It may just be the trance-like, meditative atmosphere of the show, but "Judges" also appeared to have certain passages extended and repeated. Regardless, it was probably the best version of the song I've ever heard. During the middle section that references "Home," I heard somebody mention that the clicking valves sounded like horse's hooves, which I thought ties in perfectly with the album concept.

    Colin closed with another seemingly extended version of "Part of Me Apart from You," the same closer he used in Ithaca. A beautiful song, but with some of the newer songs having similar melodic lines, it kind of lost some it's potency here. Hopefully that's not the case when New History Warfare Vol. 3 comes out. Again, like the Silver Mt. Zion show, there was no encore, but the silver lining was I was able to catch the last bus home. Overall, it was a great show, though I thought the set Colin played in Ithaca was little more varied and balanced. The presence of "Home" and the amazing performance of "Judges" do kind of make up for it, though.



    In Love and in Justice
    Hunted 1
    The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man
    A Dream of Water
    Home
    Judges
    New Song
    Hunted 2
    New Song
    New Song
    Part of Me Apart from You
  • Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra @ Soundlab

    18 Feb 2012, 16:53

    Fri 17 Feb – A Silver Mt. Zion, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Poverty Hymns

    I've been waiting over five years for this one, kids, thus there was a lot of anticipation in the months between the show announcement and last night. For the most part, it was definitely worth it, but it was not a perfect show. Then again, it was a bunch of messy and messed up humans getting together in a room for a night of music. Thankfully, that can never really be perfect.

    I went to the show with a coworker, who, as of this writing, I'm pretty sure bailed on me. We arrived nice and early to find that the venue doors were already open, apparently unintentionally, but it gave us a chance to come in from the windy chill. Thierry was already manning the merch table, so I took the chance to chat with him a bit and pick up the two albums I didn't have. I wanted to get the single, but, without a turntable, I couldn't justify it to myself. Efrim, Jessica, Sophie and Dave were also milling around the venue for setup and probably soundcheck. Coworker and I decided to go down the street to get a couple beers as Soundlab's bar wasn't open yet. When we got back, a line had formed with some two dozen or so people, compromising my intended stage position a bit. Ah well...

    Soundlab is pretty tiny, being basically a floor, the bar and some alcove seating off to the side. I'd estimate it has a capacity of about 200, so quite intimate. All the band's gear was set up on stage at the start, as well as the gear for opener Tristan Trump (AKA Poverty Hymns). Among his gear was a series of lamps that played host to his interesting visual effects. He played three songs, all of them solo guitar pieces built up with loops and effects to create some nice ambient textures. A good way to lull the audience into a false sense of security, especially if they weren't familiar with A Silver Mt. Zion's current stylistic track. Anyway, back to the lamps; whenever Trump would play notes on his guitar, the lamps would flicker to life. Thus, in the infancy of the songs, there was a lot of flickering of incandescent light bulbs. As the loops grew and the songs gained in force, the light became more steady. Definitely a pretty novel idea. In between each of Trump's songs the sound guy kept bringing the house music back on, which Trump was fortunately somewhat light-hearted about.

    With the somewhat late start, Thee Silver Mt. Zion didn't take the stage until about eleven. They played for a little over ninety minutes, but didn't do an encore. I don't know if the late start had something to do with it, or if the band were perturbed by the audience, or perhaps just some other general discomfort. Slight let-down, there, but what they did play was awesome enough to make it a good night. The band stuck largely to their most heart-string-pulling songs for the set this night. There was the sweet beauty of "There Is A Light" and "What We Loved Was Not Enough"; at one point Dave lost his glasses while drumming, which I'm pretty sure was in the latter of those two songs. That tender sweetness carried over into "BlindBlindBlind," which closed the set and featured a significant contingent of the audience singing along to the closing lines of "Some hearts are true."

    Opposing those three songs there was the massive "13 Blues for Thirteen Moons," which opened the show with a powerful thrust and a fantastic groove. It's really impressive how lively this song is with the smaller band. Although Soundlab's sound quality leaves something to be desired, the breakdowns in this song put the studio version to shame. "Black Waters Blowed/Engine Broke Blues" was a standout of the night and one of many moments where tears were stinging in my eyes. The free improv segments were immense as was the transition between the song's two halves. Then there was "Take Away These Early Grave Blues." The live videos don't do this one justice. It was another one of my favorite moments of the night. Thierry and Dave's awesome rhythms were the perfect counterpoint to the caterwauling leads that came courtesy of Efrim and the ladies.

    After the show, I shook Dave's hand and told him that I thought it was a great performance, but I was a little bit too star-struck to strike up any more of a conversation, which is a bit of a shame. However, there were many points in this night that made the five year wait worth it, not the least of which was the fact that it actually happened at all. Hopefully some day I will get to see them again.

    Setlist:

    13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
    There Is A Light
    What We Loved Was Not Enough
    Black Waters Blowed/Engine Broke Blues
    Take Away These Early Grave Blues
    BlindBlindBlind
  • 2012, Here We Come

    17 Dic 2011, 1:56

    As 2011 winds down, it's time to look into the future towards new music releases in 2012. Some of these are confirmed, others are speculation/hopes and some are possibilities. Will be updated!

    Dirty Three - Towards the Low Sun
    Earth - Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II
    Tindersticks - The Something Rain
    A Silver Mt. Zion - TBA
    British Theatre - TBA
    The Pirate Ship Quintet - TBA
    Animal Collective - TBA
    Elfin Saddle - Devastates
    Eric Chenaux - Guitar & Voice
  • Timber Timbre at Town Ballroom

    30 Nov 2011, 16:28

    Tue 29 Nov – Timber Timbre

    A perfect night for a Timber Timbre show: dark, misty, a light rain falling and a windy chill. I hopped a bus downtown to visit the Town Ballroom, a venue I had never been to before. I was a bit leery, as it seems the place plays host to mostly larger acts and Timber Timbre seems more suited for an intimate venue. In a way, this ended up being substantiated, though it was still a pretty good show. After some odd occurrences outside the venue, a small crowd trickled inside.

    The Town Ballroom isn't quite as big as I was thinking, though it does dwarf the Tralf and Mohawk Place. There are three levels to the performance area, but as this was a rare seated show, most people aimed for the floor as that's where the chairs were. Even during the main set, the audience was fairly spare with nowhere near all the seats on the floor filled, and a handful of people in the upper levels for some reason. There actually ended up being three bands for this gig, and equipment for all three were present on stage from the get go, but it didn't appear too cramped. A big plus for the show was that everything was done in a timely fashion. The first band went on pretty close to 8 o'clock on the dot.

    That first band was actually a two person configuration of Toronto's One Hundred Dollars, consisting of vocalist Simone Schmidt and guitarist Paul Mortimer. Anyway, their sound was reminiscent of old school folk and country, with Simone's shy tremulous vibratos and Paul's twangy textures and solos. At one point Simone rambled out a convoluted origin for one of their songs, an original amongst many covers, which was semi-amusing. For their final two songs in a half hour set, they let their hair down so to speak, and got a little louder, but it wasn't unwelcome. In the first of those two songs, Simone put her guitar down and just sang to Paul's accompaniment, putting her stage fright front and center, but really humanizing and authenticating their music.

    A quick breakdown and setup with a soundcheck brought the The Mordaunt Sisters to the stage. A quintet made of up of sisters Mallory and Kelly Mordaunt, Eric Kendall of The Stay Lows, and Bryce March and Michael Ozimek from Chylde, the band featured electric, acoustic and lap steel guitars, drums and keyboards while the sisters provided vocals (Mallory on lead and guitar and Kelly on backing and keys, I believe). To me their sound was most similar to HṚṢṬA but with more emphasis on the folk vibe than the thick textures of that band. They played roughly a half dozen songs, including the three songs on their demo (Bandcamp), clocking in at a little over half an hour. They're pretty good, but this was a terrible venue for them and the sound guys really muddled their set. Drums and guitars were too loud in the climactic sections of songs, drowning out the keys and vocals, but gelled nicely in the quiet parts.

    Being such a large group, comparatively, the Mordaunts took longer to break down, so the time between the second and third sets was slightly longer, but still fairly prompt. Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen, and Simon Trottier set up in the mid to back of the stage in a bit of a semicircle, with attention-grabbing red lights placed among their equipment. Their set seemed a bit short, but with two openers it was understandable. They launched into a tirade of looped effects and noises, a technique they would use for song transitions later in the set, before kicking off with "Bad Ritual." They drew mostly from Creep On Creepin' On which was to be expected, and even the older songs were adapted into its fuller style. The band played with arrangements a bit, slowing things down or altering melodies, so it was always interesting to see what was new. As the set progressed it seemed audience and band both got into it more and a bit of rapport developed between the two. A heckler kept calling for "Demon Host," and during the encore got his wish, which was definitely a crowd favorite. Said heckler also demanded "Home," after getting his request fulfilled, to which Kirk replied: "Do you have a gun? Because the only way we're playing that song is if you have a gun." Then during the opening of "Trouble Comes Knocking," he mimed his guitar as a gun, aiming at the loudmouth. Besides "Demon Host," "Woman" was the standout from the show, closing the main set in excellent form and giving Trottier and Kirk some wicked guitar moments.

    Overall, a good show, marred by a few bad bits. I can't see myself having a reason to return to Town Ballroom unless I really like an artist playing there, but then again, I go to shows for the bands, not the venues. And with Mordaunt Sisters, I have a new act to keep an eye on.

    Bad Ritual
    Too Old to Die Young
    Until the Night is Over
    Obelisk
    Creep on Creepin' On
    Lonesome Hunter
    Black Water
    Do I Have Power
    Woman
    -encore-
    Demon Host
    Trouble Comes Knocking
  • Colin Stetson and Helado Negro at Delilah's

    22 Abr 2011, 13:02

    Thu 21 Apr – Colin Stetson, Helado Negro

    About a month ago I learned of this show happening, and, being enamored with Colin Stetson's new record, I decided I had to go. I took time off from work and hopped on a bus, going halfway across the state, from Buffalo to Ithaca. Shows at Delilah's take place in the restaurant's lounge; a small room upstairs with a bar on the side. It was definitely the smallest venue I've been in, at least since I was a kid. There were a series of couches arranged around the perimeter of the room that the first people to arrive took to, me being amongst them. Actually, I think I was among the very first; when coming up the stairs, I could hear Colin warming up a bit and the only people that seemed to be up there were him, the sound guy and Roberto Carlos Lange, aka Helado Negro. Most of the people who came in later (of which there seemed to be a steady stream of as the show went on, even part way through Stetson's set) grabbed chairs that were stacked up around the room, so that for Helado Negro's set, most of the venue was seated.

    Shortly after nine, Roberto took to the stage, standing behind a microphone and a few samplers and synthesizers. He proceeded to lull the crowd into a hypnotized groove, playing largely chilled-out electronica with reverbed Spanish vocals. At some points the music reminded me of later Animal Collective, but with a more reserved vibe; definitely some cool stuff. He had some records for sale, and I was considering the possibility of picking something of his up, but I decided it would be better to check it out and if I liked it, get it later.

    During the opening set, as I mentioned above, there were still a fair number of people clambering in, and some of them decided to stand right in front of those of us who were sitting. It was all right at first, because the two girls standing near me were at least trying to be courteous and stay out of the way. However, more than halfway through Helado Negro's set, they were joined by a tall, black girl who was a friend of theirs and was one of the most outright obnoxious people I've run into in some time. She stood directly in front of me, taking no heed of what she was doing and loudly disdained the people who were seated (most of the audience). It's not like we were disrespecting Roberto; he said it was kind of nice and joked that he now knew what a movie screen felt like and that he could gaze deeply into our eyes. Anyway, due to some people being disappointed with the show or with their seats, I managed to obtain a better position for the remainder of the opening set.

    After the house lights were turned up and Roberto began to dismantle his equipment, the audience began clearing the floor of chairs, obviously preparing to stand up for Colin's set. I guess I was too slow, or too distracted with my mission of getting to speak to Colin when he wasn't in the middle of selling records to someone, but I ended up near the back of the floor for a good deal of the headlining set, and thus had a hard time seeing things.

    Colin entranced the crowd even more than Roberto did, opening with the one-two punch of "Awake on Foreign Shores" and "Judges." "The Stars in His Head" was even more impressive, fully revealing the range of the man's immense talent. Stetson kept his set nicely diversified, incorporating both heavier pieces, like the aforementioned songs, and quicker, more upbeat numbers like "The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man" and "Clothed in the Skin of the Dead." Stetson's set yielded some amusing moments as well. At one point between songs, he asked the audience if they were from Cornell, and when he heard several people say no, he wondered if there was some animosity between those form Cornell and those not (I don't know if he was aware that Ithaca is also home to Ithaca College) and remarked that his parents had met while both attended the school. Also during the combination of "Stand, Walk" and "Red Horse," an older gentleman appeared to leave the venue, saying something to the effect of "So this is what the kid's are into these days." Yes, my good sir, this is what some of us are into these days. I kinda have to wonder what he expected; perhaps a nice, smooth-jazz set. Later in the set Colin announced that he was going to play a new song, "To See More Light." What he played seemed familiar, but I can't remember if it more closely resembled "Time is Advancing with Fitful Irregularity" or "And It Fought to Escape." Either way, parts of it seemed twisted and slowed down, so it may have been some sort of rewrite or rearrangement and the last several minutes were definitely something new: some of the darkest, most disturbing music I've heard him play. Colin also closed his main set with a new song, "Part Of Me Apart From You," this one veering a little closer to "Home" from the newest record in terms of its composition and emotional content, being a little brighter and more hopeful. Obliging chants of "one more song," Colin came back to the front of the room (as there was no stage) and said that a good friend of his passed away the day before, and I assume he meant Gerard Smith from TV on the Radio. He dedicated the closing song to him and played a stunning rendition of "In Love and in Justice," whose transcendent drone actually made the air in the room perceptively vibrate as it was felt as much as heard. I had been slowly jockeying my way into a better position as the show progressed and since several people left before the encore performance, I had a good view for it and could also see a number of people standing transfixed with eyes closed as the sound washed over all.

    And then it was done...a fantastic show. I accomplished my mission after the show, going up and congratulating Colin and helping him explain to an older woman that all the sound he made was coming just from him and his instrument with a bevy of microphones to pick it up; no "attachments" needed. I also bought myself a physical copy of New History Warfare Vol. 1 and got Colin to sign my my copy of Vol. 2 that I had brought with me from Buffalo. Thus, overall, a satisfying and cathartic experience.

    Awake on Foreign Shores/Judges
    The Stars in His Head
    The Righteous Wrath of an Honorable Man
    Clothed in the Skin of the Dead
    Stand, Walk/Red Horse (Judges II)
    To See More Light
    Part Of Me Apart From You
    -encore-
    In Love and in Justice
  • Tortoise at the Tralf, May 29, 2009

    31 May 2009, 14:12

    Fri 29 May – Tortoise
    Wow. That's all I've got to say. Seriously, though, it was a great show. I had a good view of the stage, just slightly stage left, close to the soundboard. Upon first arriving, the Tralf seemed rather empty, at least compared to the Explosions in the Sky show. There was no line at the door and it was easy to find a good seat. The crowd did trickle in, though, and by show time, the room was sufficiently filled.

    Lazlo Hollyfeld, the local boys, brought some appreciation from the audience. I've no idea how many songs they played, since many of them just blended together, but they played for 45-60 minutes. Most of the music was fairly grooving, upbeat stuff, although I was kind of surprised to see them all stick to one instrument each. I thought they were more variable. I liked their performance well enough, though it wasn't really stunning. Before their last song, the bassist, who seemed to be the band's spokesman, explained that they had been together for nine years and, whenever anyone asked them about the lack of a vocalist, they put on a Tortoise record, then said what an honor it was to share the stage with them.

    I expected a longer wait between the two bands, but within fifteen minutes, Tortoise came out to tune their instruments and then were back on stage to start playing in about ten more. Here's my recollection of the setlist, although after seeing the video on Artvoice, I know it's out of order. Any help, please?

    High Class Slim Came Floatin' In
    Prepare Your Coffin
    Unknown>Dot/Eyes
    Minors
    Eros
    The Fall Of Seven Diamonds Plus One
    Seneca
    Gigantes
    Swung From the Gutters (fake)>Dan Bitney freestyle>Swung From the Gutters (full)
    The Lithium Stiffs>Crest
    Charteroak Foundation
    (Encore)
    Yinxianghechengqi
    In Sarah, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Women and Men
    Monica
    Salt the Skies

    The one-two opening of "Slim" and "Coffin" was perhaps a bit predictable, but great nonetheless, especially for getting the crowd going. With the transition from "Unknown" into "Dot/Eyes," it seemed clear that a majority of the crowd knew the band's back catalog and sent up a cheer nearly every time they recognized a song. "Minors" was a bit down tempo, fit well with the rest of band's songs and led nicely into "Eros" which really whipped the audience into a dancing frenzy (at least in as much as people will dance to Tortoise).

    Apparently, I've just found out that "The Fall Of Seven Diamonds Plus One" was played between "Eros" and "Seneca," and I forgot about it. Oops. "Seneca," like "Eros," received a great response, showing that the Standards material was well-liked. Most of the crowd seemed to really get into clapping along with the band at the song's end, which I think went a long way towards them loosening up as the set progressed. "Gigantes" was my favorite of the new tunes brought out. It was very pretty and uplifting with some great distorted marimba lines and the sky blue projection fit in extremely well with the mood. Just before they played, John Herndon announced that they were trying out some of the new material, so it may be a bit sloppy, but that certainly didn't appear to be the case.

    The band then launched into "Swung From the Gutters," getting maybe one bar in before everything dropped away except the drums. Then Dan Bitney engaged in a bit of awkward, cheesy freestyling, calling out his bandmates' names and duties. Then "Swung From the Gutters" began in earnest, once again earning the band a hefty amount of applause both at the beginning and end of the song. "The Lithium Stiffs" flowed into "Crest," as was to be expected, riding momentum off the previous song. "Charteroak Foundation" followed, rounding out the main set nicely, but not going over quite as well as the more recognized material.

    After a short encore break, the band came back on stage and Herndon announced that they were going to play "at least one more song." Turned out to be four, but I don't think anyone complained. The encore started with "Yinxianghechengqi" which, with its two bassists creating an awesome low end, shook the venue and revved everyone up for even more. "In Sarah, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven..." again wowed the audience, only to further be impressed by a stunning performance of "Monica." It seemed like the show would end on this rather high note, but once again, Herndon grabbed the mic and made as though to introduce the next song before trailing off and letting it speak for itself. Closing with "Salt the Skies" solidified the performance as one made of awesome and the entire crowd seemed to agree, launching into a raucous ovation when the first notes sounded.

    Overall, an amazing show, that, in my opinion blew last year's Explosions in the Sky concert out of the water. The only things that would have made it even better were if the band managed to slip "I Set My Face to the Hillside" in to the list and if there wasn't an annoyingly-voiced girl shouting through two or three songs on my right side part way through. Oh, and kind of surprised there wasn't a merch table. It would have been cool to snag a shirt and I was hoping the new album might be available. Oh, well.

    The Beacons of Ancestorship tour is off to a great start.
  • Anticipated Releases of 2009 *UPDATED*

    2 Ene 2009, 22:48

    It's 2009 and in celebration of this and some other cool stuff, I'm redoing this journal entry. So here's my current list of anticipated records from the new year. As before, updates should be expected. As well, these are all releases that are coming out sometime this year. I don't want to get into any speculation here.

    Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion - January 21
    Bell Orchestre - As Seen Through Windows - March 10
    Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project - February 14
    Land of Kush - Against the Day - March 17
    Mono - Hymn to the Immortal Wind - March 24
    The Witchies - Title TBA
  • Anticipated Releases of 2009

    14 Dic 2008, 19:20

    So far, little of 2008 has caught my attention. Maybe it's just the mass of stuff out there, or maybe it's because of how cluttered the year has been. Regardless, at this point, with 2009 just 18 days away, I've got a list of my most anticipated releases.

    Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
    Bell Orchestre - Title TBA
    Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project
    Mono - Hymn to the Immortal Wind
    The Witchies - Title TBA

    Expect updates.

    Oh, and these are all pretty much confirmed to be coming out sometime this year. I don't want to post anything speculative on here, even though I have heard a few rather enticing rumors.
  • iTunes A-Z

    23 Feb 2008, 23:46

    A

    First: Absent Without Leave

    Favourite: Always the Runner
    
Last: Audrey



    B

    First: Bad Company

    Favourite: Bell Orchestre

    Last: Broken Social Scene



    C
    
First: Calexico

    Favourite: Caspian

    Last: .cut featuring Gibet

    

D

    First: Daniel Lanois

    Favourite: Do Make Say Think

    Last: Dredg



    E

    First: Eddie Vedder
    
Favourite: Explosions in the Sky
    
Last: Explosions in the Sky

    

F

    First: Fallujah

    Favourite: Frankie Sparo
    
Last: From the Sky



    G

    First: Giants
    
Favourite: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

    Last: Gregor Samsa



    H
    
First: Hangedup
    
Favourite: Hrsta

    Last: Hrsta

    

I

    First:
    Incubus

    Favourite: Incubus
    
Last: Isis

    

J

    First: Jatun

    Favourite: Jonny Greenwood

    Last: Joy Wants Eternity
    


    K

    First: K-Branding

    Favourite: Klum
    
Last: Klum

    

L

    First: Le Fly Pan Am

    Favourite: Le Fly Pan Am

    Last: Lyle Lovett



    M

    First: Magyar Posse
    
Favourite: Mogwai

    Last: My Bloody Valentine



    N

    First: Neil on Impression

    Favourite: Neutral Milk Hotel

    Last: Neutral Milk Hotel



    O

    First: Oceansize

    Favourite: Oceansize
    
Last: The OneUps

    

P

    First: Parhelia
    
Favourite: Pearl Jam

    Last: Primus



    Q

    First: Qua
    
Favourite: Questions in Dialect

    Last: Questions in Dialect

    

R

    First: Rachel's

    Favourite: Radiohead

    Last: Russell Cox

    

S

    First: Sackville
    
Favourite: Sigur Ros
    
Last: Sweek

    

T

    First: Talk Talk

    Favourite: Tortoise
    
Last: Tunturia

    

U
    
First: UNKLE

    Favourite: UNKLE

    Last: UpC DownC LeftC RightC ABC + Start



    V
    
First: -
    
Favourite: -

    Last: -



    W

    First: We vs. Death

    Favourite: Wilco
    
Last: worriedaboutsatan



    X

    First: XOC

    Favourite: -

    Last: XOC

    

Y
    
First: Yasunori Mitsuda
    
Favourite: Yndi Halda
    
Last: You.May.Die.in.the.Desert



    Z

    First: Zas

    Favourite: -
    
Last: Zas

    

#

    First: 1-Speed Bike
    
Favourite: 65daysofstatic
    
Last: 65daysofstatic