Tag Archives: Concert Review

Show Review: Daughter Makes Seattle All Emotional

image

“Indie Folk” is the genre label often tossed on British band
Daughter. But labels never do anything justice. Daughter’s music, to quote
someone I hardly know, is mildly terrifying and deeply liberating. Its
bleakness threatens to eat the world up, but it also radiates hope. Gun to my eye, I’d label Daughter’s music as Indie Emotional. Yup.

Halfway through their set last night, a fan in the
crowd said, loud but respectful, “Thanks for what you give us.”

The Neptune was sold out, and we all stood shoulder to
shoulder feeling emotional as Daughter blessed us. Back
to back heat. Their music is relatable in an embarrassing way. It exposes our
inner natures, our unspoken thoughts, our underlying values, and all the associated darkness.

image

The set list comprised a lot of songs from latest album “Not
to Disappear,” but made room for fan favorites. The opening chords of Youth, by and far Daughter’s most
popular song, met with an immense cheer. Masterpiece.

The light show kept pace with the music, flashing-exploding at
the violent parts and glowing at the low-key parts. Various shades of purple and
blue played a dominant role, and oddly embodied Daughter’s whole vibe pretty
perfectly.

Frontwoman Elena Tonra’s voice sounded just
as rich and beautiful in person. I know, impossible right? Throughout the show
I stood staring astounded. Emotion dripped like honey from every word. The
memory haunts me, but in a good way.

I started listening to Daughter at the emotional age of 15.
Yeah, it was totally hardcore. “The Wild Youth EP” soundtracked most of my adolescent
conundrums and setbacks and victories. I didn’t have a beard back then. Woah.

image

Well, here I am now, five years later, bearded, a couple
inches taller, and I love Daughter even more. I grew with their music. I grew
to their music. Seeing them live, wow. What a privilege. I went to high school
in a small town up on a secluded hill in South India. I never ever even dreamed
I’d see Daughter live. They were just another option on my iPod Touch.

They’re so much better live. The music, unbounded by a
recording, burst forth wild and triumphant. Yeah, triumphant. Plus, the guitars
resonate. Arena music in an intimate environment. Outer space guitars, man.
Outer space vocals, man. Outer space, man. Seeing them all up there, doing
their thing, perfectly on time with every element, holy cow.

Listening to Daughter on Spotify will never be the same—The
divine memory of their live sound will forever haunt and augment.

I’m so emotional.

~Pranav Shivanna

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Live Review: Loud Rock Reigns at Showbox SoDo

On Thursday night I had the opportunity to see a show at the Showbox SoDo featuring indie rock titans Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Death From Above 1979.  The spacious converted warehouse provided a nice backdrop to one of the loudest concert experiences I’ve ever had.  Seriously, if you’re seeing a show here any time soon, bite the bullet and spring for some earplugs.  You’ll regret it if you don’t.  I tend to prefer more intimate concert experiences; smaller, sweatier venues are really more my style.  The SoDo isn’t that at all, with its high ceilings and air-conditioned floor.  Still, the show was a good one.

The openers for the two main acts were L.A. punk duo Deap Vally, who brought a lot of energy into a raucous, noisy set.  Featuring Karen O-like wails from lead singer Lindsey Troy, the band crashed through a tight set, capped with standout closer “Royal Jelly”.  Deap Vally is touring behind their sophomore LP, Femejism, and they injected a lot of life into the smaller crowd, as people clearly there for one headliner or another started to trickle onto the main floor.  There were plenty of reminders that they were an opener; they played in front of a looming DFA1979 graphic, and mentioned their opener status multiple times.  However, they did a great job in that role.

image

The second act of the night was Death From Above 1979, another duo, but this time one from Toronto.  These two have been revered in the indie scene since the release of their debut LP, 2004’s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine (which I would absolutely recommend giving a listen), and even though they’re both well into their thirties, they brought an incredible energy to the set.  Drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger screamed his heart out and thrashed his kit, and bassist Jesse Keeler kept an unreal air of cool as he tore through some very technical and challenging riffs on his heavily distorted and booming bass.  Though it was during these guys’ set that I started to notice exactly how loud it was in the venue, I didn’t really care: they absolutely killed it.  They put an extended middle section into You’re a Woman… single “Romantic Rights”, which turned out to be probably the highlight of the night, as they built the anticipation up for almost two minutes before laying into another incredible minute of the track.  As they left to an impressive light display, it was clear that the bar for the next band was set very high.

Finally, out stepped the true veterans of the night.  Around since their formation in 1998, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were the elder statesmen of the evening, and their set started to show signs of fatigue.  The band hasn’t released a new album since 2013’s The Spectre at the Feast, and although that record is a decent one, it has started to become apparent that they need some new material.  Though they did well at the start (with the highlight track from Spectre, “Let the Day Begin”, breathing some life into the set), the rest of the set was less than inspiring.  Noise fatigue had started to settle in for me, and going from the incredible energy of DFA1979 to the more subdued, bluesy BRMC set was not a great transition for the latter band.  They put on a brave face, but their set, and likely their audience as well, are starting to get tired.

image

The show was punctuated with some great lighting as well, setting an ominous tone for BRMC’s set that works well for their style.  It was a good show in a big venue, and even though I felt the SoDo’s size for every second of every set, I had a blast.

A good show for listeners of: The Black Keys, The Dead Weather, Japandroids, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Sample Tracks:

Deap Vally: “Royal Jelly”

Death From Above 1979: “Right On, Frankenstein!”  “Romantic Rights”

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: “Let the Day Begin”  “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”

John Morse

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org! 

Live Review: Panama Wedding, Griswolds and Magic Man bring down Neumos

The other night I saw three electro-pop bands that, if you so choose to listen to, might make you break out in a happy dance. Yes, the good vibes were all around the other night at the Neumos when I was able to see Panama Wedding, The Griswolds and Magic Man. The stop in Cap Hill was part of their “Hotline Spring Tour” and I was little disappointed that it included no Drake covers. Truth be told, I hadn’t done much listening to these acts but what I got was pretty much what I expected. Throughout the show, the bands delivered high-tempo tunes that made everyone hop around.

First we had the synth-heavy, melodic guys from Brooklyn, NY and honestly I thought they out-performed everyone else that would later come on that stage. Panama Wedding hasn’t really released that much music, but they’ve done pretty well with their two EPs. What makes this band really fun to see is their frontman, Peter Kirk, who’s voice is just really purely beautiful. Their music isn’t too complicated but it doesn’t feel like it has to be. The highlight of the show for me was “Uma”, a song that is just way too fun to sing along to and one that’s been stuck in my head since the other night.

Next we had a couple of Aussies who did their best to follow P-Wed. The Griswolds have done pretty well with their debut album Be Impressive that was released last year. Frontman Christopher Whitehall has got electric pink hair that tells you right away that this guy gets freaky with it. This band seems like they’re going to become bigger and bigger because their songs are just like really fun, guilt-free, cruelty-free pop music.

Headlining this mutha was Magic Man, a band out of BOSTON (MY HOMETOWN!) that has a way bigger following than I was aware of. Their frontman, Alex Caplow, was not about to be out-hyped by the Griswolds. He came out fiery and made this band go. Sonically, they don’t differ too much from the other bands, which I guess makes sense because they were touring with them… Huh. Anyways, fun show that you didn’t really need to think about. Just dance!

At the end we got a surprise crossover of all three bands who did a joyous rendition of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix)”. This was a lot of fun that featured one mysterious band member spitting absolute fire emojis. After the bands had left the stage, my face was covered in smiles so I’d say the whole thing was a good experience. Overall, this show was great fun but like not really life changing, you know? I’d check these bands out if you aren’t afraid to admit that you like pop. 

Similar to CHVRCHES, Walk the Moon or St. Lucia.

Winslow Lewis is a first-time guest blogger who also DJs for Rainy Dawg Radio. Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Years & Years first Seattle show: sells out the Neptune

image

For a British electronica band that was founded in 2010, released
their first single in 2012, and signed to Polydor Records in 2015, releasing
their debut album just this past July, we expected Years & Years to
have a pretty humble audience size.

But when we walked into Neptune Theatre for Years & Years’
first show in Seattle, we were shocked. Every nook and cranny was packed with a
person. There was hardly room to breathe, let alone dance, but the crowd was
there for a reason and that was to groove all night.

With a upbeat, dance vibe, the British trio ties together their
90s R&B influences with modern dance pop, reminiscent of fellow contemporaries,
Ben Khan, Kwabs, and
Iyes
. You catch the more somber tempo with songs like “Take Shelter” and “Real”
that have a James Blake balladry to
the melody and R&B hint to them—songs that have a great visceral feeling to
the lyricism and background beat. And using their set time to play the entirety
of their debut album Communion¸ that
visceral feeling lasted the entire night.

But where Years & Years thrives is in frontman Olly Alexander’s high pitched, well
controlled vocals in tracks like “Worship”, “Ties”, and “Border”—songs that are
subtle in their background instrumentals and hints of synth. They’re songs that
focus solely on the act of listening to his voice smoothly sing every lyric,
and although aren’t explicit in working as a dance pop song, they cause your
body to move.

The song that Alexander executes best is a wild card on the
album, “Foundation”. Not a dance song at all, but also not a soft ballad, this
song has overlaying synth and a mystical, almost surreal instrumental overlay.
Yet, it’s even better life with Alexander’s yearning, almost pleading vocals
that give you chills as he bends over his microphone on stage in front of a
packed theatre of wide-eyed fans.

In a live show, the trio flows well, leaving a brilliant
stage presence–making it no surprise that just in the past year, the band has
been nominated and won a handful of awards and topping charts across the UK. The
synthesis and connected energy between the performers and audience was almost
electric, everyone on-stage and off moving together in synchrony.

There’s something about this trio’s music that is unlike any other electronic-pop artist. Perhaps it’s the ‘90′s R&B influences, perhaps it’s the subtle way
the dreamy synth and smooth vocals work to make you dance almost subconsciously—
or maybe it’s the way the artists are compassionate and human enough to pull
two men up on stage to watch a marriage proposal play out, bonding the
community within the theatre ever more so.

Whatever it is, we were honored to see a band keep the
energy up among their fans for the entire set as that’s a feat in itself, and
when they finished their last encore, we were sad to see them go.

But we’re excited to see what they have for us next.

image
Ariana Rivera



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Ben Rector : Neptune Theater sells out

When we were offered the opportunity to cover a Ben Rector
show, we couldn’t pass up the chance. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the 29 year-old
musician began playing piano at a young age, picking up guitar additionally
later in high school. After becoming the youngest person to win a pop award
Grand Prize of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest due to a self-titled EP in
2006, Rector knew he had a shot. After playing 200 shows and releasing two
full-length albums during his college career, Rector made the transition to Nashville
to give his career the full effort.

And it’s worked: releasing three more albums after that,
Rector has recently topped Billboard 200 charts and has sold out shows across
the country.

image

But what makes Ben Rector so likeable and so popular? His
music stylistically is simplistic and predictable with expected catchy tunes
and lyrics we can all relate to. And within the last 10 years Rector has been
in the industry, he hasn’t made waves of unique change among the pop
singer-songwriter genre. With a pretty standard voice that can sometimes reach
heights in his range (in tracks like “Paris” on the most recent Brand New album), Rector is a
boy-next-door sort of artist.

What makes him memorable, however, seems to be just that. His
ability to combine American folk rock, jazzy soul, and piano pop into one
feel-good pie of feelings for the heart is exactly
what makes Rector top the charts. Versatile in terms of range and skills, the
Tennessee-based musician is able to switch easily from catchy pop tunes with
echo-ey vocals, like popular song “Let the Good Times Roll,” to more heart felt
ballads, like new track “The Men Who Drive Me Places.”  

And his versatility and heart shows. When Ben Rector steps onto
the stage at a sold out Neptune Theatre,
the crowd roars. When we looked around the famous Seattle venue, we couldn’t
believe our eyes to see a completely jam packed theatre, with each crowd member
joyously grinning from ear to ear at the sight of the Nashville artist.

Beginning the show on the piano, the indie pop singer-songwriter
plays renown track, ”Brand New,” a piano pump-up song that hypes up the entire audience.
Throughout the entire show, Rector switches back and forth between guitar and
piano, moving around the stage, and engaging the crowd the entire time,
grateful and in awe of so many people in front of him singing his songs.

image

“It’s awesome that you’re singing my songs,” he says
grinning. “These aren’t on the radio, which means you had to go out yourself and
find my music. Thank you for that.”

And it’s true, track after track, both slow and fast,
everyone joins in on lyrics. He plays a repertoire of songs on his setlist,
including popular songs, “The Beat,” “Make Something Beautiful,” “Fear,” and of
course “Let the Good Times Roll.”

It isn’t just originals however, Rector, with his boyish
preference for jazz sneaks cover songs into his performance, stating, “I get
bored doing my own stuff after a while, sometimes I like to mix it up.” Yet, regardless
of whether he plays own music or not, he is still loved among the crowd of
listeners before him, and he reciprocates that love fully. As he plays, both
guitar and piano, we see the passion and joy he derives, not just from the
music, but from performing. And as he engages his audience members, teasing,
laughing, and exchanging jokes, we see an artist who is driven by the love of
performance. At the end of the show, as Rector discusses how impatient he gets
at encores because he just wants to be back out with the audience, we almost
feel enveloped by his presence, as if in this hour of time with him and in an
theater full of other people, we’ve become close friends with the artist
himself.

Rector dances his way out of the crowd, leaving everyone on
a high, joyful in anticipation of his next album to come.

And although this artist isn’t experimental in his
composition or melodies or lyrics, we have come to the conclusion he does
create feeling for the listener, and since that’s good for everyone
else who’s helped him top charts, that’s good enough for us to give him a
thumbs up.

Take a listen to his latest album Brand New and follow his tour now.

image


Ariana Rivera



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Kacy Hill- Quirky new artist takes Barboza

When 21-year-old soulful artist Kacy Hill was 16, working as a wedding
photographer in Scottsdale, Arizona, she probably never expected she would
become the face of American Apparel, and a common face in Kanye West’s music
videos and stage tours.

image

 But when Yeezus heard the incredible subtle and versatile voice the
young artist had, he couldn’t resist signing her to G.O.O.D. Music—a label with
renown artists such as Malik Yusef, John Legend, and Pusha T.  

And although young, Hill has a mature voice, and as a new artist, has
definitely hit the jackpot by touring with fellow prominent artist, Jack Garratt.

Coming out onto the stage of small bar venue Barboza Monday night, the tall, slender,
and beautiful redhead dons a red velvet jumpsuit bedazzled at the neck and ankles.
Although Hill looks very mature, she exudes a childlike joy, giggling at the
audience members, still unsure of how to properly control a stage.

 “I feel like I’m performing in my living room,” she exclaims, as the 200
participants of her show cheer her on in the small but cozy basement of the
Barboza stage.

Hill’s band is a three-man band, consisting of only her at the mike, her
keyboardist Max—a tall hipster with purple hair and incredible style—and her
drummer Val, an incredibly talented woman with the same amount of style as the
other two, both donning a white turtleneck sweater and black blazers.

Hill’s bandmates are obviously older than her and smile
affectionately at both Hill  and each
other as the young artist stumbles awkwardly through track introductions and
audience banter, giggling, “Seattle, you are just so pretty, it’s so nice to
see your pretty faces.”

She is cute yes, but there is no denying the incredible power Hill holds on
stage with her voice.

Singing tracks off her EP Bloo,
including her famous single “Foreign Fields,” Hill’s voice is almost the exact
same as on the EP—a quality almost never found in artists that delve into the
electropop genre. It’s excitingly refreshing to see such a young artist , although
lacking of clear and confident stage presence, still maintain so much control
and soul in her dreamy voice. Her modeling past also shows, because even if Hill
can’t sweet talk her audience with suave charm, she does consistently look beautiful,
knowing her angles and light.

image

And although on a label that has had and still has artists that are big
in the hip-hop world, Hill’s soulful voice, reminiscent of Florence Welch (Florence & the Machine), James Vincent McMorrow, and even FKA Twigs, is a huge stepping stone for
G.O.O.D. Music. And maybe Kanye West signed her with an intent, adding her and
fellow singer songwriter Mr. Hudson, hoping to have artists like John Legend
influence these new artists to create more soul in their sound and diversity of
genre within the label.

Whatever the reason, we’re glad for it, because Kacy Hill is on the
come-up. With the announcement of the progress of a new album in store with the
collaborative assistance of fellow touring artist Jack Garratt (who helped her write the infamous song “Foreign
Fields” on Hill’s EP thanks to producer Rick
Rubin
), the artist still has a lot to show us.

We see a lot of potential for an excellent debut album, especially using
her current EP as a marker for her composition style. Music-wise, Hill knows
what she’s doing, or at least how to use her resources, combining well-executed
electronic production with soft, delicate vocals.

Are we converted to this model turned-singer? We think so, and once you
listen to her EP, we’re sure you will be too.

image


Ariana Rivera




Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Jack Garratt – British artist blows up Barboza

Last year when we talked about Jack Garratt with his newly
released EP, we were in love. There was something about the vibe of music that grabbed us, maybe in the way Garratt labels himself as “neo-modern.” Nonetheless, we liked the hints of R&B in his electropop
indie rhythms and his multi-instrumentalism, linking in electric guitar
with piano to add a sense of funk and blue to the synth he overlays in his
tracks.

And with songs like “The Love You’ve Given,” we see other influences in Garratt’s
work —Disclosure, Mumford and Sons, and James Blake, especially in
terms of the falsetto Garratt executes under the atmosphere of drawn out piano
melodies.

With the release of Garratt’s debut album Phase, this artist has been swept up in
a sea of praise, winning awards including the British Awards Critics Choice
prize and the BBC Sound of 2016 (an award prominent artists Ellie Goulding and
Sam Smith both won early in their careers).

image

And seeing the one-man-band in the flesh work his magic on
stage Monday night at Barboza is a cerebral experience, flitting around between the three instruments
he plays and the microphone into which he croons and sometimes screams into.
His vocals live are a more gritty, throaty, and almost harsher version of the smooth
soft vocals on his record, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—everything is
merely heightened and made more raw. As he sings fan favorites on the record,
like “Breathe Life,” “Weathered,” and “Chemical,” the crowd is invested. As Garratt
dances around on stage, with a vibe similar to Michael Jackson or Prince, the audience grooves around on the floor, equally as emotional as him.

Garratt takes a moment during his show to chit chat with the
small 200-member audience of Barboza, and point out that he was at the smallest
venue on his tour, highlighting how big he is already. As the British-born
artist swaps between up-beat and slow tempo tracks, the mood of the room
oscillates, as well, between happy-drunk and somber thoughtfulness.

A moment occurs in which the artist sets down everything, to
inform his audience his intent to play a new song never recorded before. The
new track that Garratt continues to unfold for his fans is not memorable in
terms of lyrics or melodies, but is in the emotions Garratt exudes in the song’s
execution. As he closes his eyes and powerfully plays chord after chord on his
keyboard, we see how much this yet unnamed song means to him. The audience
stands silent, no whispers in earshot, swaying in awe to the range of the
artist’s vocals and the way he performs his composition.

image

Not a fan of encores, Garratt plays his most popular track
as his last, the 2014 “Worry” that he played after winning the Critics Choice
Prize, and happily exits the stage. He’s an upbeat guy, giving into the
audience banter, teasing them about the British jokes they make, and telling
anecdotes about each track he plays.

The new album Phase? It’s well written, well-produced and
exactly what we would expect of Garratt with heavy drops and synthy electronic
in track likes ”Coalesce (Synesthesia Part III)” and “Lonesome Valley,”  and powerful vocal switches in “Fire,” and “Surprise
Yourself.”  A bit generic, the album almost
makes us wish Garratt experimented a little more in terms of composition, but
it makes sense why he wouldn’t want to with a debut.  Yet, there is no doubt Garratt knows how to
perform and with good reason, playing festivals and shows in the UK and acting
as a BBC favorite in the in-studio videos.

We can only wait and hope now with anticipation to see what
Garratt throws at us next in the coming years, because it’s only a matter of
time before he starts following in fellow UK artists Sam Smith and Adele’s
footsteps and accepts a Grammy for his talent as an artist and producer. We
also hope to see a second album soon with a little more to show in terms of
experimentation with his skills.

Check out the album Phase
and be sure to follow his tour, both in the US and UK.

image
Ariana Rivera

Concert Review: Madeon and his Pixel Empire

“Would you like to hear some of the new music I’ve been working on?”

image

It’s not his first time touring the States, and it probably won’t be his last, either. Meet Madeon, the stage name for 21-year-old electronic prodigy Hugo Leclerq. Having made a name for himself in the past year following the release of his chart-topping album, Adventure, scoring production credits with Lady Gaga, and performing at enormous festivals like Coachella, Leclerq didn’t wait long before starting off another coveted tour around the United States. After stopping by Seattle for not one, but two performances last year in September, Madeon chose this time to play at Foundation for a small DJ set gig before kicking off his big Pixel Empire Tour down in Portland, Oregon following the MLK weekend.

That didn’t stop me from following him there anyway.

Madeon, of course, wasn’t alone. Joining him on his tour this time was Skylar Spence, the stage name for a certain Ryan DeRobertis. The vaporwave artist, formerly known as Saint Pepsi, has also made a name for himself over the years. It quickly became clear why Skylar Spence was Madeon’s opening act: DeRobertis’ nu-disco synth sounds match well with Leclerq’s own style of house music, since both are very pop-driven. Skylar Spence, it seemed, was to be the appetizer to Madeon’s prepared main course.

But half an hour after DeRobertis had left the stage to applause and cheers, the star of the show was still nowhere to be seen. Just as the impatient whispers of the crowd had begun to grow into a muffled roar, however, three large screens flickered on to display an iconic diamond amid a crowd of cheers.

image

To have the crowd wait in suspense for such a dramatic entrance reveals Leclerq’s talent as both musician and entertainer who doesn’t fail to deliver as the artist Madeon. Standing center stage and an outline of the Adventure diamond logo flashing vivid scenery behind him, the set began with “Isometric”, the intro from Adventure that immediately had fans – including myself – jumping up and down in anticipation. The rest of the night was filled with jumping, since Adventure is mainly glitch-hop, pop, and disco-inspired; even slower-paced songs, like “La Lune” or “Innocence”, possess a strong, dance-driven beat. The energy in the room somehow stayed alive and never slowed, due in part to Madeon’s own enthusiasm as he danced to the melody or hopped in time with the manic rhythm of his own tracks.

Props must be given to Madeon not just for his passion, but for his ability to mix such an incredible set. Crowd favorites like “Pay No Mind”, “OK”, and “Nonsense” blended consecutively one after another to the point where their transitions seemed near non-existent. Giving recognition to older tracks like “Pop Culture” and “Shuriken” from his earlier days, the set celebrated Madeon’s growth overall as an artist, and nothing impounded this theme of his Pixel Empire tour more than when he introduced live exclusives like “Albatros” and the newly produced “Together”.

An encore, being inevitable, led to an eclectic, upbeat medley of his set that ended the concert with an electrifying finish. On the drive back to Seattle, Adventure ended up being blasted on repeat, and for good reason. When you stop by the Pacific Northwest again, Hugo, I’ll be waiting.

image
Wendy Kang



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Positivity, Aspirin, and Pizza: A Review of Modern Baseball’s Show at Neumos

image

Modern Baseball
bassist Ian Farmer had a shit-eating grin that just couldn’t be wiped off his face during their
entire set at Neumos, and I think that sums up fairly well how the night went. A mix of good vibes and melancholy music made for a fantastic evening.

This is the first show I’ve been to in a long time where I was completely blown
away by the openers. The first band, Tiny
Moving Parts
, kicked off the night with a bang, playing their blend of math
rock, emo, and post-hardcore. Their musicianship was phenomenal all around, but
drummer Billy Chevalier in particular had the crowd in awe. Jeff Rosenstock and his backing band
were next to take the stage. Their blend of old-school punk and new-school
pop-punk kept the energy rising, and they even threw an on-the-fly cover of
Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” into their set. The final opener, PUP, killed it (they killed my ear
drums too; they’re seriously the loudest band I’ve ever seen). They had some
good banter with the crowd as well, making jokes at the expense of Portland and
its seemingly endless gauntlet of vegan food joints.

By the time Modern Baseball took the stage, they crowd was
pumped. They kicked off their set with their mid-tempo jam “The Weekend”, a song
about fucking around on the weekends with your closest friends, and it set the
mood perfectly for the rest of the evening. The crowd sang along to every word
of “Re-Done” (my personal favorite song in their discography), and two songs off
their new EP, “The Thrash Particle” and “Revenge of the Nameless Ranger”, sounded
fantastic.

The boys from Philly played all of the fan favorites off their most recent full-length album, 2014’s You’re
Gonna Miss It All
, and closed out their set with an ass-kicking rendition
of their hit “Your Graduation”. The bassist and drummer from Jeff Rosenstock’s
band joined Modern Baseball for the tune so drummer Sean Huber could run around
the stage, crowd surf, and play frontman for a song. They returned for one
encore and played a cover of The Killers’
“Mr. Brightside”.

There was one moment in particular that stood out to me that
night. Near the end of Modern Baseball’s set, guitarist and vocalist Brendan
Lukens
sincerely thanked the crowd for coming to the show and brought up the
topic of their recently cancelled shows. The band chose to cancel some tour dates
in England and Australia this past summer so Lukens could focus on taking steps toward improving
his mental health, as he has dealt with a lifelong struggle with anxiety and
depression. For a brief but beautiful moment, the crowd erupted in support of
Lukens. Even though the lyrics of Modern Baseball songs often aren’t the
happiest, the concert had a very positive vibe, and this small part of the show
made that positivity personal.

image

Catch Modern Baseball if they come to a city near you as they
make their way through Canada and the East Coast this winter. You can find a list of their upcoming tour dates here.

-RJ Morgan

image
RJ Morgan

Secondhand Blitzen Trapper High – A Concert Review

“If I seem relaxed, it’s because
you can’t really walk through the dressing room without getting a secondhand
high. That ‘secondhand Blitzen Trapper high’,” explained Phoebe Bridges, the
opener for Blitzen Trapper at the Neptune, midway through her set. 

And what a
set it was. I had only heard two of her songs before, so I wasn’t sure what to
expect. But her acoustic folk sound, phenomenal voice, and sweetly depressing
lyrics blew me away. Whether it was playing a song off her Killer 7”, or the best rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On
Fire” I’ve ever heard, she nailed it. The $18 ticket price would have been
worth it if she were the only performance. If you’re looking for some good
acoustic music, definitely check her out. She also has silver hair, making her
look kinda like Daenerys Targaryen, so that’s a plus.

Then came
Blitzen Trapper, Portland’s slice of musical excellence. If you aren’t
familiar, check out my rundown of the band here. They opened with “Rock and
Roll (Was Made For You)”, playing it much louder, faster, and heavier than the
album version. This was a trend that continued throughout the show, making
every track sound noticeably more rock-ish than I was used to. But it sure did
sound good. The second song played, “Fletcher”, is my personal favorite and the
“grunge” that the song was performed with was a pleasant surprise. It was
somehow better than the album version, which I didn’t think was possible.
Blitzen Trapper really turns it up to 11 when they perform.

image

I’m not
going to bore you with their entire set list that night (it was quite long),
but I will say that nearly every song was highlighted by a guitar solo from the
main vocalist and guitar, Eric Earley. These are rare on their recorded music,
making the live performance a treat for fans. The band was really into the
show, and it was apparent by their superb playing and high energy. But the real
highlight of the entire show was the coolest version of The Beatles’ “Come
Together” that has ever graced my ears. The song had an almost bluesy tone to
it, while mixing in Blitzen Trapper’s strange country style. Blitzen Trapper,
if you’re reading this, record a cover of that version right this instant.

Finishing
their official set list was “Furr”, “Black River Killer”, and “All Across This
Land”. The latter two tracks, which are from an old album, were performed with
a style more akin to that of their new album, leaving me with an appreciation
of their ever-evolving sound. They don’t sound exactly like they used to, but
they don’t sound too different, either. Their sound doesn’t seem to want to
settle, and that’s okay with me.

image

The
obligatory encore was started off with a great cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “If I
Needed You”, surprising the drunk man next to me so much that I had to duck to
avoid his fist-pumps. They played quite the long encore, even including another
The Beatles song, “You Never Give Me Your Money”. This time, I was the one
doing the fist-pumps.

Despite the
intoxicated Melissa McCarthy-lookalike next to me invading my personal space a
few too many times, I loved the show. My only complaint about the band is that
they had little stage presence. They didn’t really talk to the crowd much, which
was balanced out by allowing more music to be played. If their music didn’t
blow me out of the water, I would have been mildly disappointed. Luckily, they
sounded better than I even expected. If you have a chance to see them live, do
it. Also, Rainn Wilson wasn’t there. Real bummer.

image
Niles Kyholm



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!