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  • Best shows, in order

    Jun 11 2008, 2h48

  • A One in a Million Sort of Show

    Abr 7 2008, 20h35

    Fri 4 Apr – Jens Lekman, The Honeydrips

    Saw Jens Lekman with (at least part of) The Honeydrips at the Dise last Friday. The burning thought that has stayed with me since that night was this sort of show really is a rarity for me. Since rediscovering my passion for music, I have been to a lot of concerts, but that night was really something special. It is so rare to see a conert that is so moving and so uplifting, and this was a perfect example of such a show. Without a doubt one of the best ones I've been to.

    Honeydrips opened, although something was clearly up, as they were running on half of the usual (wo)man-power. With just one member, it was an incredibly stripped down gig. The male member (no idea on names) had all of the music playing out through is Mac, and stuck to simply holding Jens guitar as more of a safety blanket than anything. All the problems aside, he put on a very good short (~30 minute set) of some lovely little Swedish pop songs. Nothing expectionally remarkable, so I won't exactly dwell on it. However, a pleasent warm up for the amazing specatle to come.

    Jens was on next, rocking a slightly stripped down band compared to the last tour. He sang and played guitar and keys. He was backed by 2 Swedish girls playing bass and drums, 2 female Americans on chello and violin and a Swedish dude playing DJ for the night. While smaller, everyone was very talented and meshed together perfectly. Set list (as far I could tell) is as follows:

    I've Leaving You (Because I Don't Love You)
    The Opposite of Hallelejah
    A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill
    Black Cab
    It Strange Time in My Life
    Your Arms Around Me
    New Directions (New song)
    You Are The Light (by Which I Travel Into This and That)
    A Postcard to Nina
    Maple Leaves
    Sipping on the Sweet Necatar
    Encore:
    A Higher Power
    A Little Lost (Arthur Russell Cover)
    Shirin
    Friday Night At the Drive-In Bingo
    Pocketful of Money

    The first few songs were total powerhouses. It is remarkable to see just how into it the entire band was. From a mini-song sample/dance break in "Opposite" to everyone bouncing to the heartbeats in "Hammer Hill" to everyone running around the stage like airplanes in "Nectar" everyone right down to the stoic DJ seemed like there was nowhere else they would rather be. This sort of passion and geniune fun is hard to find in bands, at least the ones I have seen. I have never seen so much raw energy and enjoyment quite the way I did that night.

    What also really shines live is the stage prescence that Lekman brings. He is such a funny person, and all of his between song banter had the crowd in stiches. The high point of the main set was "Nina" which ran almost 10 minutes, and the song switched off between the verses and the hilarious story that the song is based off of. He is an amazing story teller and songs like this help him shed the "Swedish Stephin Merritt" label he is often saddled with. This fantastic show would get bumped to the next level once the encore kicked in.

    The whole band (sans DJ) came back out and launched into a lush version of "A Higher Power" after which the bass player and drummer left. Armed with just his string section, Lekman moved to some obscure African instrument (complete with a funny story about airport security and wikipedia) and did a beautiful version of Arthur Russell's "A Little Lost". Once that was done the string section left and Lekman treated us to encore number 2.

    After a stripped down version of "Shirin", Jens asked if we could fill in for saxaphone on "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo". So a packed Paradise whistled and clapped along to his quirky tales of life in Sweden. He ended on "Pocketful of Money" which had more auidence interaction. We all snapped, clapped and whistled our way into the sunset. Afterwards, an incredibly humble and appreciative Jens thanked us all and brought out his DJ to play a short set for us. Sadly, neither my legs nor my girlfriend's could take any more standing and we headed out.

    The energy that Jens and friends brings to their shows is infectious to say the very least. It was all I could do to keep from skipping down Commonwealth Ave. on my way back to the car. As lame as it sounds it is very true. For how sincerely flattered he seemed for all of us coming, it was us who should be the flattered ones. I had only found out about Jens when "Night Falls Over Kortadala" blew up, but I feel like I have personally known him for a long time now. That is the sort of emotion he is able to convey through his music and general presence. I have never left a show and felt so happy and fufilled as I did on that chilly Friday night. A truely memorable experience that I would urge everyone to try and take part in and one I can't wait to repeat again next time he graces us with his presence.
  • Good show, crowd... not so much

    Abr 7 2008, 3h29

    Sat 5 Apr – Explosions in the Sky, Lichens

    Doing this show before I review the Jens Lekman show from the night before. Got to Lupos at around 6, the line was nuts, probably 2 blocks down and around the corner. Waited for a while for it to go down, including some dude passing out and a few unlucky people getting tosses before the show even started. Finally, out came Lichens, aka Rob Lowe of TV on the Radio and we were ready to rock.

    Lichens performed a roughly 30 minute piece of very intense yet delicate drone. All too short, but still a tremendous opener. Now, sadly this set creates my first of 2 major gripes with this show. I know a lot of the people at this show found of about Explosions in the Sky thanks to Friday Night Lights. And I am cool with no, no indie cred bullshit here. I honestly didn't find out about them til after that movie came out either (although, I've never seen FNL). However, there were a lot of bros and the such that really didn't know how to act at a concert like this. Mainly, people who didn't know when to stop freakin' talking. I paid to experience Lichens, not listen to you go on and on about how stoned you were last weekend and the "deep" talks you had with your ex. It's rude at any show and just generally obnoxious.

    Anyway, after a wait, Explosions came out and tore the house down. I hadn't listened to them in a while (I've lost a lot of interest in the genre) but remembered why I was such a big fan of them. They pour so much emotion into what they were doing, and reminded me why I loved them so much in the first place. Very balenced set list consisting of the best from all albums, this is what I was able to put together:

    Catastrophe and the Cure
    Greet Death
    Yasim The Light
    The Only Moment We Were Alone
    The Birth and Death of the Day
    Welcome Ghosts
    Your Hand in Mine
    Memorial

    Perfect set list and an expectation shattering concert. Also it was very nice to see Micheal rocking the same Mono shirt that I own. After an incredibly loud and persistant 5 minute ovation, Muanf came down and explained the bands no encore policy and thanked us again for coming out. I already knew there wouldn't be one, but the extra thank yous (there are all a very humble bunch despite their reletive popularity) and was satisfied with his explanation.

    To bitch a little more though about the crowd, I wanted to just bring up the people who insisted on pitting during the crescendos of some of the songs. I don't like being the kind of person who whines about how other people have fun, but there is a time and place for everything. Much like the Girl Talk fiasco in Boston last September, some people seem to think pitting at shows that don't call for it is ok. While those few people might enjoy themselves, the rest probably feel like I do and find it as annoying as they do distracting.

    Anyway, those beefs aside I went with rather low expectations and ended up having a great time. After missing them at the Middle East last March, I finally can sleep better knowing I got to see them live. And it was worth every second and penny. Highly reccomend seeing them live, especially anyone in Europe lucky enough to catch them with the amazing Eluvium.

    Rocking the 2 Brown Spring shows next weekend. Lupe Fiasco and Vampire Weekend on Friday and M.I.A. and Girl Talk on Saturday. Hope to catch some of you guys there, should be an awesome time.
  • ...WOW.... (quick review)

    Mar 30 2008, 18h10

    Sat 29 Mar – Boredoms with Northampton Wools (featuring Thurston Moore and Bill Nace)

    Got to the Paradise up in Boston right around when doors opened. Apparently it was Earth Hour or some nonsense, so they were using only the lights that absolutely needed to be on. Extremely lame having to stand in the dark for an hour, and I am amazed that a club simply doesn't have bottled water on a Saturday night. Anyway, club issues aside, let's get down to the 2 shows.

    Northhampton Wools is a experimental/noise band consisting of Bob Nace and Thurston Moore, who yeah was in that band Sonic Youth, who were kinda good. Anyway, the two of them do a bunch of stuff with guitar feedback, plucking dead strings, running stuff over strings and the usual Moore "attack the pick-ups with sharp, pointy ****". It was actually a good block of noise, but ended after exactly 30 minutes (9:30), with Boredoms not scheduled to go on til 10:15. The wait was brutal to, nothing on that stage needed what ended up being a near hour to set up. The one thing of note though, when the tarp came off the 7 neck guitar it produced probably the loudest pop I've heard for an inanimate object.

    FInally Boredoms comes on, and just.... wow. Before I start gushing, I just want to say I was never a huge Boredoms fan. I've heard some stuff, and mainly went because a good friend wanted to. That being said, if you get a chance to see them life, there is no excuse for missing it. Typical set up of Eye on assorted noise making/light theramin/7 neck guitar and screaming/chanting. Other 3 drummed, with Yoshmi playing spider-woman and also handling bass pedals and keyboard. They played for roughly 2 hours (with encore) and words just won't do justice to the show. They bring such insane engery to the show and are able to sustain that over the full duration of the show. The rather long set didn't see to bother anyone, the entire crowd was so into it right up until the end. Also, aside from maybe A Place to Bury Strangers, who I saw the week before, it was worth mentioning just how loud they are. With al 3 drummers working their cymbols are hard as possible and Eye flipping out oh his gong guitar with feels less like a show and more like sitting on an airport tarmac.

    Still ringing ears aside, Boredoms might be the best single set I have seen so far this year. If you have any love for noise rock/experimental/etc this show is a total must see. Sonic insanity, and the very best kind.