Sunday, April 30, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins

Jenny Lewis, leader of Rilo Kiley, has branched out to form a not-so-on-the-side project. Backed by the Watson Twins, Jenny sings classic alt-country ballads with a voice and style that recalls the great women of country from Patsy Cline to contemporaries like Neko Case.
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Listen to the bone-tingling, soul-warming “Rise Up With Fists!” on my page before heading over to the official page and official site.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: Mondo Topless

The greatest band to ever come out of Philadelpha, Mondo Topless has a new album coming out soon and anyone who won't own a copy is a no good mental case.
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Listen to the brand new "Louise" on my page before going to the band's page and their official site.
Unrelated note: 2 weeks ago my band of the week were the Soledad Brothers. Well they cancelled their remaining tour dates and based on reported comments at the last few gigs and some other looks the band has called it quits after about a decade's existance. Sigh. The band had been scheduling a hiatus with lead guitarist Johnny Walker going to into children's psychiatry for his M.D. (that's right, it's DOCTOR Johnny Walker to YOU).

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: The Come Ons

I've been waiting to do this one since I started this Band of the Week thing. Now on My Space, and still doing their thing, the Come Ons from Detroit Rock City are the ultimate cohesion of rock, garage, soul and dance. Shake your butt and bob your head, this is good time fun. From what I can tell, the later sounds have been getting smoother and silkier and it still sounds fine. The band is taking new chances all the time, and considering the resume of the band members (The Dirtbombs, Sunshine Doray to name drop just a little), it's all looking good.
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Check out "On and On" from the new album on my page, then head on over to the band's page and their official website to get all caught up. You won't be sorry.

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Rising To The Rock N Roll Challenge

The Black Hollies
@Magnetic Field
Brooklyn, NY – April 15, 2006

With Mondo Topless canceling due to personal business, it was up to the Black Hollies to take it all on their own shoulders for a Saturday night of rock n roll and they lived up to the task. Showing marked improvement from the first time I saw them last September, the Hollies were tight on the riffs and smooth in execution though the lead singer still needs some work on the vocals. One of the guitarists showed off some unsuspecting soulful vocals for one number. In fact, the Hollies are sound almost identical to the band I saw them open up for last September, the Greenhornes. That’s not such a bad thing.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: Soledad Brothers

If you just missed them this past week at the Mercury Lounge, tough break. You've missed a heck of a show. Originally from Toledo, Ohio, the Soledads have made their way to Detroit and England and all points in between, or so it seems. Armed with a brand new album, featuring a stellar opening single with a hilarious video featuring Dan John Miller and Amy Gore, it's one more trip to the Rock N Roll church and the Gospel according to the Soledad Brothers.
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Listen to that fine single, "Good Feeling", on my page then go to the Soledad's page, and their official site, for more fun stuff.


"All You Bitches Just Went To Toledo"

So says Swank.
Soledad Brothers; Heartless Bastards, Beat The Devil
@Mercury Lounge
New York, NY – April 8, 2006

Finally, I see the Soledad Brothers. I was supposed to see them the Friday following the 2004 election but I had too much of a case of the blues. Little did I know that the Soledad Brothers are the cure for what ails ya. Guitarist and lead singer Johnny Walker, drummer Ben Swank, guitarist/vocalist/saxophonist Oliver Henry, and now along with organist and Frenchman Dechman, comprise one of the best rockin’ outfits tearing it up today. Whether it “I-75 Boogie”, “The Gospel According to Johnny”, “Cage That Tiger”, or “Going Back to Memphis” (which may arguably be the best live blues jam song written in generations), the boys from Toledo offer rock n roll at its finest.
IPB Image
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(Photos by Roxxan H)

Heartless Bastards are another Ohio rock ensemble, from Cincinnati. A lot more downchord than the Soledads, the Bastards begin their songs with riffs reminiscent of the Pixies but their able-voiced lead female singer/guitar player, Erica Wennerstrom, takes the band on a pop journey, including sparks of early 60’s melodies. It’s a neat mixture of dark and light but it’s a little underwhelming. The first act we caught of the night, Beat The Devil, is an art-house spoken word cabaret act that gets a little metal. It also gets a little dull.

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Saturday, April 08, 2006

Plaid Cowboys

The Raconteurs; The Muldoons
@Irving Plaza
New York, NY – April 7, 2008

Talk about a night of full circle. The most anticipated project in recent history made it’s American debut in bombastic style but was humbled both by its own hubris and its opening act. Let’s delve into this. The Raconteurs are the first side-project for Jack White since Loretta Lynn’s Do-Whaters and the first to be taken as a serious stand-alone band to remain around for a long time. The rhythm section of the Do-Whaters, who are also the boys from the Greenhornes, drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist “Little” Jack Lawrence (whom we also know from Blanche), are now the rhythm section for this band. Co-leading the band with Jack in vocals, guitar work, and song writing is Brendan Benson. The ultimate Detroit (with respect to Cincinnati) Supergroup has arrived, though Jack has moved to Nashville and is hailing the band as coming from there (or at least, so it appears). The Raconteurs released their first limited edition single last month, cut a video for it, and then did a handful of shows in England (how any legitimate American rock artist must start out) and a couple of radio shows. Then they announced their North American debut with this show at Irving Plaza. The gig sold out amazingly quickly and the hype was on. So we come to the show. The bouncers are absolutely paranoid about picture taking, on orders of the “management” (and later changed to the “band”) and there is an unfortunate but understandable barrier set-up between the crowd and the stage. It is apparent that Jack White is prepared for the explosion of the White Stripes to happen all over again (or something less flattering is afoot). But the crowd turned out to be fairly decent, no moshing or crowd surfing, but far from dull. And so the band took the stage to the sounds of old Western cowboy themes (including the theme used in Kill Bill Vol. 2) dressed in plaid as they’ve been known to do, a giant lush “R” and huge metal lamps hanging behind them, and the Plaid Cowboys let the show rip with their grooving blues-rock number “Level”. All night the band fluttered between out-right hard-rocking 3-chord rock and almost-progressive jam-like arena rock, with a ballad or two thrown in for good measure. The Raconteurs are meant to recall the hard rock bands of the 70’s with a fresh perspective (though their covers of the Flamin’ Groovies, Love, and Ron Davies indicate a respect for the less commercial music that inspired these guys and their peers). The penultimate song “Blue Veins” is an ode to Zeppelin/Floyd blues but with a stark presence of latter-day blues men like BB King and Buddy Guy – it was a surprisingly smooth and soulful blues epic rather than the nitty gritty dirty raw nasty blues we’ve come to expect from Jack. And in less than an hour, the show was over. A packed, celebrity-filled crowd, rock snobs, hipsters, rockers, stringent rules – you couldn’t get more hyped than this…but the Raconteurs delivered and delivered more than what could be asked for.

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Dan Fertita is the able keyboardist who plays with the band live but gets no credit.
(Photos by Amauriaguiar)

But how is this full circle? The opening act were the Muldoons. Drummer Brian Muldoon was Jack’s teacher in his upholstery shop lo’ those many years ago in the 1990’s and was Jack’s first recording partner in the band fittingly called The Upholsterers. Brian has two sons, one middle-school aged - Hunter, the other elementary school-aged – Shane and he has taught them well in the school of rock. Jack produced their first single for Ben Blackwell’s Cass Records, and the trio played their first shows ever for the White Stripes last year. And here they are, making their New York debut, opening for Jack’s latest thing. Little Shane may not have the soothing voice, but it is a treat live, especially visually – what with his little tie, his little fingers on the neck, the little strap falling off his little shoulder, and his great ability to emulate all the great rockers as he crashes to his knees and plays the guitar behind his head. Older brother Hunter is shaping up to be an excellent three-cord guitar monster, best showing his chops on “Red and Black” and similar sounding songs. When the band took things to an all-out punk level, it seemed a bit much after awhile, but there is nothing to scoff at with these kids and their Dad. This was a smart and fun way to open up this full circle night.
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(Photo by Laura of The Modern Age)

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Rob Jones Poster sold at the gig

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"That song was about loving your bother…this song is about forgetting…where you buried your girlfriend.”

Scott H. Biram; Hazmat Modine
@Mercury Lounge
New York, NY – April 6, 2006

Opening up for the Legendary Shack Shakers, Mr. Biram returned to New York with a full-on beard, a little rubber chicken on his mic stand, and the same brash attitude of his “dirty old one man band”. Sporting a Jimi Hendrix t-shirt and singing a range of blues/country/metal songs which can best be described by Biram himself at one moment in the show: “That song was about loving your bother…this song is about forgetting…where you buried your girlfriend.” Last time Biram was here he was headlining a Monday night show, coming to town pretty much by his lonesome, which helped fuel his combative “fuck you all” attitude. On this night, he was surrounded by a bunch of Texas and Shack Shaker friends, so we got to see for the first time a happier, nicer, more comfortable Scott Hiram Biram, whom Jesus still loves, and we love probably even more.
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(Photo by Roxxan H)

Opening act Hazmat Modine were an invite of the Shack Shakers and it’s not hard to see why: An eclectic 7-piece band, Hazmat Modine starts out playing music best described as a cross between Klezmer and Cajun before turning into a full-on Cajun jazz blues band. Featuring a great trumpet player, two harmonica players, and one wacky tuba, this was a fine opening act though they ran a little long and the lead singer’s interaction with the crowd was cornball.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Major April Gig Update

3 days after I post the monthly calendar I get blindsided with all this:

  • The High Dials play Tiswas@The Annex this Saturday, the night after they open for Neko Case.
  • Danielia Cotton, who opened for Living Colour last year, plays the Knit on Wednesday the 12th.
  • Mondo Topless, the best band from Philadelphia, returns to Brooklyn on Saturday April 15th to play Magnetic Field. The Black Hollies will be opening up, they play Maxwell's the night before.
  • Scissor Sisters are playing two nights at Bowery Ballroom: Saturday April 22 which sold out instantly, and Sunday April 23, which still has tickets left.
  • Eagles of Death Metal, a month and a half after opening up for the Strokes at Hammerstein, will headline a night at Irving Plaza on Sunday, April 23.
  • The Blue Van are headling at the Mercury Lounge on a very busy Sunday April 23rd.
  • The Fatals, one of Cass Records' prize artists, plays Maxwell's on Wednesday, April 26.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Hear the Yeah Yeah Yeahs perform live at the 9:30 Club.

Also watch the video for their fantastic single, "Gold Lion"

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Monday, April 03, 2006

I Hate Missing Gigs

It's been so long for me now that I am resorting to posting other people's highlights from gigs.
Brooklyn Vegan has the scoop on this past weekend's Flaming Lips shows at Webster Hall.
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Go to this page to download an mp3 of the Lips doing Bohemian Raphsody on Saturday Night.
Watch the video for their new single, "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song"

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

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

Oh what a wild Rock N Roll week it has been and will be. A packed week coming up and we all thought it couldn't get any bigger when last week the Raconteurs announced they were just going to go ahead and make their North American concert debut right here in New York City at Irving Plaza this coming Friday. Who are the Raconteurs? Just about the most anticipated project of the last few years. The White Stripes' Jack White and solo artist Brendan Benson have teamed up for a dual songwriting/dual guitar lead and have a solid rhythym section to make the band stick: The Greenhornes' Patrick Keeler on drums and The Greenhornes' bassist/Blanche's autoharp & banjo player, Little Jack Lawrence.

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Check out the video for their first single, "Steady As She Goes" on my page. Then head over to their page, and their official site, for more visuals and sounds.

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Springtime for Rock N Roll

Springtime is the best time for Rock N Roll and this April is a doozy. The Flaming Lips kicked off the month last night, ending a two night stand at Webster Hall. Today, the Boss Martians and Bamboo Kids play a BBQ at Magnetic Field.

This first full of week of April is utterly insane. Tuesday alone is jam packed: She Wants Revenge kicks off a month of stellar shows at Irving Plaza while The Blue Van play Northsix and Jonny Lives play Sin-é. Also on Tuesday, New York welcomes Art Brut – the biggest band from England not named the Arctic Monkeys. Art Brut plays a two night stand at the Bowery Ballroom next week as well playing Southpaw a week from Tuesday.

On Wednesday, The Ponys play Magnetic Field while on Thursday, New York welcomes the return of Scott H. Biram to the Mercury Lounge where he will be opening up for the Legendary Shack Shakers. Neko Case plays a two night stand at Webster Hall starting on Thursday with Martha Wrainwright opening while on Friday, the honor goes to the High Dials.

Ah yes, Friday. If you don’t know by now, you’ve been living under a rock: The Raconteurs make their North American concert debut at Irving Plaza while just blocks away at the Mercury Lounge, their friends the Soledad Brothers begin a two night stand.

Take a breath for a few days then get ready for another packed week: Already mentioned for Tuesday the 11th was Art Brut. But there’s also Beth Orton at Webster Hall and Regina Spektor at Warsaw. The Sounds play Irving Plaza the next night while Gogol Bordello plays Warsaw.

Now come the set of already sold out big shows: Franz Ferdinand and Death Cab for Cutie play the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday the 13th and Friday the 14th. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah play the Bowery Ballroom on that Friday and the next night.

TV On The Radio plays a sold out show at the Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday the 18th while The Fiery Furnaces play the Bowery the next night. Also on Wednesday, Langhorne Slim plays Northsix.

The final week of April features Har Mar Superstar at Northsix on Saturday April 22nd, while MOTO invades New York, playing the Trash Bar on Saturday and the Cake Shop, the next night. Electric Six plays Maxwell's the following Tuesday and Irving Plaza the next night.

And that’s April for now. Stay tuned and get out there.

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