Sunday, February 26, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: Mr. David Viner

Finally, my first misnomer! Or is it?...

Perhaps better stated as Artist of the Week, Mr. David Viner is a solo blues-folk troubadour cavorting about in the United Kingdom, particularly merry old England. He does however have something of a band with him, and it includes one American by the name of Ben Swank, whom you know from the Soledad Brothers.

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Viner is not a stranger to the American shores. His two albums can be picked up here (somewhere), and the first one was heavy on Detroit and Garage Rock friends. I belive it was even recorded at Jim Diamond's studio in Detroit, but I am too lazy to look it up for sure.

Anyway, check out the song "Sick and Tired" on my page, then travel over to Viner's My Space page and official site. You will not be dissapointed. And petition him to play in the States!


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: The Hard Lessons

You may have noticed before I started doing band of the week, that one of the long time Top 8 friends were the Hard Lessons from Detroit. Well, the kids are back, thanks to some new tunes and a tour that makes a stop at the Trash Bar in Williamsburg on Friday night. Get there early - they go on at 9. There will be free beer. What more do you need?
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Check out "That Other Girl" from the Lessons' debut album Gasoline on my page, then go to their page and official site to hear more tunes and get the latest. Class is in session.


Dirtbombs Double Deluxe Weekend

The Dirtbombs; Be Your Own Pet, The Size Queens
Hoboken, NJ – February 17, 2006

Their first gig since the big show with Blanche in Cleveland for Thanksgiving, and with Mick suffering from the flu, this was not setting up to be the best of Dirtbombs gigs. But all hesitations went out the window with the opening chords. Another furiously fun night with a decent crowd, and ending again with the “Granny’s Little Chicken” jam.
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Mick and Ko of the Dirtbombs

Opening act Be Your Own Pet can’t have a collective age of more than…10. These teens play punk reminiscent of old LA hardcore bands with not one iota of similarity to contemporary teens playing “punk” (AKA whiny emo boys in make up). However, I thought they were a little hardcore for my tastes.
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Be Your Own Pet

The first band of the night was the Size Queens, doing their first ever performance. The best way to describe them would be the Dave Matthews Band meets the Woggles with a hint of Soul Coughing. Take that for what you will but I liked it. Though it is worth noting that the lead singer said this would be the only show of the Size Queens as they’ve been contacted by someone saying they can’t use that name. There was a solo act when we got to the venue, some young kid doing the BBQ/Biram thing but with total metal screaming voice. Great guitar but the voice is overdone.

The Dirtbombs; Be Your Own Pet, Les Sans Culottes
Brooklyn, NY – February 18, 2006

The first time the Dirtbombs played Southpaw, they opened up for the Raveonettes and made a hell of an impression on an audience that clearly had a bunch of hipsters who had never heard them before. 10 months later, the Dirtbombs returned to headline their own show, a Saturday night show no less, and they packed ‘em in like Dino used to do in Vegas. Maybe it was the sound set-up, maybe it was the venue and the night, maybe it was the booze, I don’t know…but this Dirtbombs performance seemed like the best yet. Of course, there is some bias here…I handed Troy a list of songs for them to play and it got the whole band laughing. I didn’t mean to make it seem like it was a demand for all those songs, just one or two…I got sick of shouting out for “Encrypted” all the time. Mick tried to play “Kiss Kiss Kiss” as requested (maybe in honor of Yoko Ono’s birthday), then he did indeed bust out “Encrypted”. (FYI, the Dirtbombs take single requests for free, 2 songs for 20 bucks, and a package deal for 50 but you must submit it in a writing…this is a joke, do not harass the band like I did). The other highlight of the night was, in place of the “Granny’s Little Chicken” jam, a rock-out on “I Can’t Stop Thinking About It”.
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The Dirtbombs at Southpaw

Be Your Own Pet seemed improved from the night before, but again, maybe they didn’t change a beat, and it was everything else around them. Though they were subjected to some jerkoff ridicule from the crowd, so maybe they fed off it.
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Be Your Own Pet

Les Sans Culottes (“The Without Pants”) really turned out to be the best kind of opening act for the Dirtbombs. A pop garage rock octet from New York but faking it as Frenchies, and whose lead male singer looks EXACTLY John Lennon (there’s the Yoko Birthday thing again), there is something quite fun about French garage rock. The cover of “These Boots Are Made For Walking” was icing on the cake.
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Les Sans Culottes

All Photos by Roxxan Hanson

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When The Devil Is A Bigger Hero Than God

Flogging Molly; Scotch Greens, The Rolling Blackouts
@Nokia Theater Times Square
New York, NY – February 16, 2006

While still a professional and thrilling Celtic-based punk band, Flogging Molly has expanded their live sound, ushering in an era as a major rock band. The gig now runs nearly 2 full hours, and though they have 3 full albums of material to choose from, the band explores new territory with a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” and return to an old favorite of theirs from their starting days at Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles: “Delila”. Another highlight: Fiddler and flutist Bridget Regan showing off vocal talents on “Factory Girls”.
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Front man Dave King is as charming and Irish as ever, waxing poetic on everything from Dick Cheney’s itchy trigger finger to a discourse on who in Ireland was a bigger hero than God…The Devil. He’s also looking more and more like Elvis Costello every time I see him.

I didn’t give the opening acts a fair listen but they seemed a little too harsh for my tastes.

A note on the venue: This was my first time at this brand new major New York City venue and it was an odd one. Very sleek and very clean, almost to the point of being sterile (save for the roach traps visible on the ground), the Nokia Theater in Times Square relies on electronic visuals on the outside and in the halls (making for cool marquis) and a weird set-up for the audience: 3 levels. The lowest level by the stage is a typical floor but with wide swaths on the side. The middle level is also standing room only but it holds the two-sided entrance/exits. The top, highest level is for seats! Basically, the Nokia Theater looks like it was built out of someone’s dream. It isn’t exactly ideal, but the set-up, awash in blue and green crystals, is something for the eyes.
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Photos by Roxxan Hanson

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: Electric Six

Here's one band whose gig will not be stricken by the Band of the Week curse. Why? They've already played! Ha!

Detroit's Electric Six - the world's greates disco-rock/disco-metal whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-them band - played the sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night before the Blizzard of 2006 really got underway and will be playing another sold-out show there tonight. They will also be playing a sold-out show at Maxwell's tomorrow night.
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Check out "Dance Epidemic" from the finally released in the USA album Señor Smoke on my page, before heading over to the E-6 My Space Page and the Official Six page.

Dick Valentine may be God.


Saturday Night Dance Party

Electric Six; She Wants Revenge; Rock Kills Kid)
@Bowery Ballroom – February 11, 2006

The Six have become something of a regular fixture at the Bowery Ballroom and there isn’t a more fitting time to see them than on a Saturday night. Traveling at the beginning of what turned out to be a blizzard packing 25 inches of snow may not be the most encouraging thing, but with the train station exit right outside the door, what’s to worry about? It was a packed house (including the usual idiots who need to mosh or at the very least touch everyone around them). Though they didn’t play “Electric Demons In Love” or “Radio GaGa” or “Rock Show”, E-6 still delivered the goods. Lead singer Dick Valentine even gave a brief lament for the now cancelled CBS show Love Monkey (Good riddance I say).
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Electric Six

Two California bands opened the show. She Wants Revenge is a band that sounds just like Interpol but looks nothing like them (they look like one of those downchord post-grunge bands like Staind). Rock Kills Kid sound just like the Killers and look just like them too. She Wants Revenge have a striking sound live while the latter offer good dance rock hits but god awful emo ballads. Also, message to the lead singer of Rock Kills Kid: Saying “Fucking” in the middle of “Put Your Hands Together” does not make you tough.
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She Wants Revenge

(Photos by Roxxan H)


Monday, February 06, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: The Mooney Suzuki

This Friday at Southpaw come see one of New York's biggest bands: The Mooney Suzuki. They broke through a few years ago when the garage rock revival exploded with the Electric Sweat album. A couple years ago they turned a little more slick with their Alive & Amplified record, and they recently tested out some tunes at Sin-E under the guise of the "Patchwork Family".
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This band has always had the rock snobs, scenesters, and legit fans brewing so it's time to come see for yourself. Before you head on out, check out their now classic "In A Young Man's Mind" on my page . And don't forget to check them out on their page and their official page.

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England Born and England Inspired

Holly Golightly; Billy Filo & The Ringers)
@Maxwell’s – February 4, 2006

My fifth time seeing Miss Golightly proved to be the best yet, maybe because she had her full regular backing band from England with her for the first time. Featuring an excellent blues guitarist who looked like a little George Harrison, the Golightly outfit was as solid and tight as ever.
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(Photos by Roxxan H)

Opening act Filo & the Ringers were excellent power pop rockers inspired by the Jam, Clash, and Buzzcocks.

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Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Violet Hour Resumes in 2006/Raconteurs Site Up

The Violets/Dayglow – CBGB’s Lounge – February 3, 2006

For one night only, the Violets replaced their drummer and bassist with a synthesized keyboard and made smooth pop music. Dayglow is a little too dark and dreary for a rock n roll band.

The Violets: A

Dayglow: C
The official Racontuers website is finally up and running - and it's quite neat. Check out the very good first song "Steady As She Goes" as well as the not-as-good but musically intriguing "Store Bought Bones". I was hoping this band would cover "Ballroom Blitz" and this is probably as close as it will get.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Februray: The Month Rock Built

Well let's not get so dramatic but there is a ton of stuff in Februrary including some last second surprises.Last night's Isaac Hayes show was postponed so nothing here will be behind the times:

The Violets will be playing CBGB's lounge tonight and The Continental next Friday (good opportunities to bid farewell to these hangouts). Holly Golightly is playing Maxwell's late show tomorrow while Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins play the Orensanz Center for the Arts on Sunday.

Next week, Lennon plays two nights at Pianos while Mission of Burma plays Bowery Ballroom on a busy Friday night. Also that night, the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are at the Knitting Factory. And also that Friday night...just added - the Mooney Suzuki were slipped into a show at Southpaw. I'll be there.

The middle of Februray is killer: 3 nights of Electric Six (Saturday and Sunday at the Bowery and Monday night at Maxwell's); Lou Reed at Crobar on that Monday; Cat Power at Town Hall on Valentine's; Flogging Molly at the Nokia Theater and Jonny Lives at the Mercury Lounge on Thursday Night, and a weekend with the Dirtbombs at Maxwell's and Southpaw, while the Sirens play Magnetic Field and Fontana's respectively on those same two nights. Also that Saturday, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Elefant at Webster Hall.

The month draws to a close with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs playing 3 nights (Thursday the 23rd at Maxwell's, followed by two nights at the Bowery) and the Hard Lessons playing the Trash Bar on Friday the 24th.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New York City Clubs Biting The Dust

As you read on here, the Charleston packed it in. The C-Note and Luna Lounge, places I've reported on gigs from last year, are both gone. CBGB's is being put out of its mangled misery next October. And now the Continental is ending its live music component. The Continental was the runner-up to CBGB's 'lo these many years, but I only have had the opportunity to go the last CMJ fest.

And beyond rock clubs, as Brooklyn Vegan also mentions, is the end, the horrible, horrible, wrong end of the 2nd Ave Deli. From now on, when anyone laments to you the loss of CBGB's, tell them the Ramones and Talking Heads stopped playing long ago, but the Pastrami on Rye was supposed to last forever!

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