• The Brother, Sister & Holy Ghost Show

    Mar 1 2008, 20h11

    Fri 10 Nov – Adrian Belew, Saul Zonana

    Concert Review - Adrian Belew Power Trio
    The Brother, Sister & Holy Ghost Show
    Slim's - 2.23.2008


    The first sign of dedication to the music of Adrian Belew I witnessed this night was seeing about 30 people standing in the rain outside of Slim's waiting for the box office to open. The next sign of dedication I witnessed was to hear how far some people travelled to see this show. One man I stood next to in line flew in from Kansas City. I overheard another say he came from Houston. And yet another said that she had driven from Tahoe, where she saw the same band's performance the night before. Once the doors opened the stage was immediately swarmed. People knew it was important to be as close to the stage as possible to be best able to scrutinize the mastery of guitar wizard Adrian Belew.

    This was to be my third time to watch the Adrian Belew Power Trio perform live and I was extremely excited. It has been nearly 15 months since the last time they have been to the west coast. Well, I tell you, the wait was worth it. The anticipation combined with how much more excitable their musical skills have become literally blew me away this night. I knew it would be great, I just didn't know how great.

    I wasn't moved to tears tonight the way I was at The Waterboys concert in October. And I didn't start to wander into a hypnotic mental trance the way I did last week at Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, but something else spiritual did happen to me during tonight's concert. I was standing face to face with POWER. And I don't mean that in a light or filial sense. When Adrian Belew walks on stage he comes out with POWER radiating out of him; out of his eyes, out of his smile, out of his demeanor, and it is undeniable that he feels healthy, but more so it was undeniable that he is happy and loved. I don't mean this in any sappy sense either. The guy, dressed subtly in dark brown, radiates energy (and confidence) like a god.

    When his band mates come on stage they too are confident and grounded. And they are united. They are Adrian's "back & side men", sure, but they are more. There is something else going on here than just musicians playing music. If i hadn't heard this idea from Adrian himself I may not have gotten this deeper realization tonight. These "kids", Eric and Julie Slick are not just happenstance sessions players Adrian found that were looking for work. Eric and Julie are brother and sister who have been listening to and playing music together since they were small children. They grew up in a house of music lovers. They know each other extremely well and know how to read each other. Their unity together, and with Adrian, is uncanny and powerful. There is never a missed note or beat in the shows I have seen.

    It's hard to isolate highlights of the night because the crowd knows the Belew catalog so well; he storms in with his own "Writing on the Wall", then King Crimson's "Dinosaur" then moves into his own "Ampersand" where he begins his first improv of the night. Improvisation is a hallmark experience of every Belew and Crimson show. The improvisations tonight seemed to be lengthier and a little more animated than I recall them being before. For one thing, Adrian stood and played more during this show than I remember from the 2006 shows. Still, the space he has to move about in is limited to a small circle due to the amount of distortion contraptions and pedals he is plugged into. Also being a photographer I'd like to see him have more space to bend, gyrate and hop around in, but still, maybe that is not really necessary.

    Oh yeah, it's not really necessary because the barefoot dancing muse of the band is bassist Julie Slick. She is one to watch. I was strangely fortunate to be forced to take a position next to the stage on her side this night. My desire was to stand next to drummer, Eric's side of the stage thinking that it would be easier to photograph all members of the band from that angle. Well, standing in front of Adrian would have offered the best vantage point, but I digress. Julie is a magician when it comes to playing bass guitar. Or maybe psychic surgeon is a better description. The way she reaches into the instrument with her powerful and dexterous fingers to elucidate some of the most complexly written bass lines out there is genuinely phenomenal. If I were deaf but could sit and watch her play, I think I'd still hear the music, she dances it to life as if it were as simple as breathing.

    Eric on the other hand, and side of the stage, who I could not see as closely, is rumored to be just as remarkably life giving to the music. Fortunately someone posted some video of him playing on YouTube and I was able to watch more closely how delicately yet equally powerfully he meets the needs of all the compositions that Adrian has written. He sits perfectly upright at his drum set - spine erect and straight but his arms wail away like a multi-armed deity on his drum set. He was sensitive, stoic, solid and grounded; immovable by any external distraction. And he looked only two places; at Adrian and at Julie. He truly is the anchor of the trio.

    I got the feeling from the sophisticated audience that most attendees were long term Crimson listeners and technical guitar players, although there were new comers to the music as well. One associate of mine that I made at the Santa Cruz show in 2006 brought his 10 year old son to this show and there was a young woman in the show that embarrassed herself by calling out songs for the band to play, like Radiohead's Creep, thinking that they had been playing covers all along. There are so many incredible songs in the Belew and Crimson catalog that I wish they had mixed up the set list a little more this tour. Alas, time constraints of the three prevented them from even having time to rehearse before the opening show in Seattle. One new song that appears on the set list is Neurotica from the King Crimson album, BEAT was actually hard to listen to. There was a tape feed of a lot of the background elements that the band played along to and over and it came across screechy on the Slim's sound system. Regardless, the audience seemed hyper excited that it was added to the set.

    Remarkably the concert ended at 10:40 pm, the earliest I have ever gotten out of a show at Slim's. It had felt like I had been immersed in a world of sounds that easily lasted three times that long.
  • Review of THE ROUNDHOUSE TAPES, Opeth - Live

    Jan 4 2008, 21h47

    Ground Control Magazine

    If the devil sang love songs, he'd sing with a voice similar to Mikael Akerfeldt's, the lead singer of Swedish death-metal band Opeth. Their songs are laden with a mixture of wrath and ire that flash back to emotional elements of despair and hopelessness, yet also burgeon with yearnings for love, forgiveness and respect. Progressive death metal masters, Opeth, produce some of the most emotional sounding melodic songs of doom out there.

    I've been listening to Opeth for a few years now and always feel that my soul is nourished better by their melodies than any other modelers of gloomy music around. I was excited to discover the recently released 2-CD live recording, The Roundhouse Tapes. This is one of the most unusual and delightfully surprising live albums I've heard in a number of years. Recorded at London's famous Roundhouse on November 9, 2006, the band surveys their 12-year recording history, including tracks from their debut album, Orchid, and the classic favorite album Still Life.

    What is deliciously striking about this album is that there are only nine songs on it. How many live albums have you listened to in which the musicians cram as many memorable tunes onto it as they can. The shortest song on this live album, "Windowpane," is just over 8 minutes long. Four of the songs are over 10 minutes long and "Blackwater Park" is almost 20 minutes long!!! Another thing that is amazing about this live performance is how close to the original versions the live renditions are. This is a selling point, I believe, rather than a detraction. To realize how polished this band's performance is in error-free live performances of their songs is a testament of their incredible musicianship; especially after having been on the road for a year and a half. I've listened to this album over 20 times now and when I listened to it with head phones on and could clearly hear members of the audience singing along to.

    What really makes me wish that I had been at this concert (or any other live performance of Opeth's) is the comforting way that Akerfeldt talks to the audience in between songs. I've never heard anyone during a live performance speak so calmly and matter-of-factly to an audience before. Especially strange is that this is during a death-metal concert where you'd anticipate the energy of the performers (and the singer especially) to be rather maleficent. He talks with the audience, basically introducing each next song, but with a casualness that is disarming. As if we were sitting in the living room of his castle back in Sweden listening to this performance. I almost picture him sitting on a settee with his feet on an ottoman, smoking a pipe and wearing a smoking jacket, his voice is so debonair and sophisticated.

    Opeth's sound has matured over the years with the integration of elements of jazz and progressive rock into their orchestrations. Their sound is very rich and mature now. Oh, and the ultimate highlight of the album is an almost 19-minute long rendition of “Blackwater Park.”

    This is a great album to own if you are a fan of Opeth, but it is also a great album to listen to as an introduction to their remarkable sounding catalog.

    Akerfeldt comments at the beginning of the third track, "This song has some lyrics that are absolute black metal nonsense. Just listen to the title and enjoy the song, ‘Under the Weeping Moon,’ thank you..." Most death metal bands will start and finish a song with insane death roars. Opeth though, burn you with death roar intros and in most songs surprise you with a turnabout midway into sweeter, enticing vocals and softer, yet more complex melodic interludes, sometimes using acoustic instruments.

    ~Daryl "Darko" Barnett
  • Concert Review - AS I LAY DYING

    Dez 1 2007, 16h52

    Tue 27 Nov – As I Lay Dying, All That Remains, Haste The Day, Through the Eyes of the Dead

    Concert Review


    Slim's - San Francisco
    November 28, 2007

    The writing on a t-shirt that a youth waiting in line for tickets to this nights show said it all; "EXHUME THE WRETCHED BODY FROM IT'S TIMELESS SLUMBER". The death-roars that singers of metal core and death metal bands use is the voice needed to awaken the dead. Tonight I was going to witness a perturbed spectacle, an obvious oxymoron of musical and spiritual intrigue - a Christian death metal band (hard core genre-ists, please forgive me if you feel I am generalizing the use of this term). I've listened to a variety of metal core and death metal bands over the past few years and actually enjoy the technical intensity and moods of gloom these orchestrations generate. I am by no means an authority that understands all that these musicians are trying to achieve with this music. That said, let me say that after this night of music I could discern a difference in the air from what it feels like to listen to Christian death metal compared to secular death metal.

    The evening started promptly at 7:31 with South Carolina secular deathcore band, THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD. Honestly, I thought this was one of the most amazing opening bands I have ever seen perform. The precision that these band members use when moving around the stage and the power-inducing, low squat stances they take when they do guitar solos in unison sent virtual shock waves of intensity into everyone that watched them. I think they must channel their energy straight up from the core of the earth into the power chords and doom filled rhythms they send into the room of energy and mood hungry warrior fans. The four front members move with military precision across the stage with a fluidity that exhibits practice and a type of spiritual unity. Their set included the songs "The Deep Dark Skies", "To Wage A War", and "Pull The Trigger".

    HASTEN THE DAY came on stage at 8:12 with a much different energy and sound. They play a more melodic form of Christian metalcore with two guitarists and drummer singing harmony and back up to the death roar shouting of lead singer, Stephen Keech. In comparison to the orchestrated and precise stage movements of TTEOTD, these guys seemed sloppy and uncoordinated, lacking a focus of energy in their movements. Despite that, these long haired rockers got the crowd moving and raising their hands in salutes to one of the lords or the other. One thing that blew my mind was the guitarist that did this extreme back bend while he soloed then pulled up straight and went into this maniac head banging - never losing a beat. Like he was possessed by some spirit! The flavor of sound in the air definitely took on a sweet aroma. One lyric I remember being able to understand was "Why are you so afraid? What are you afraid of?" Another memorable line was, "I will fight this war forever, until I die!" The natives were getting into the spirit. The waves of the tide in the body of followers were gathering strength.

    At 9:02 ALL THAT REMAINS took control of the room and brought the energy level to an amazing new level. Lead singer Phil Labonte acted like a combination manic-reprobate cheer leader, coach, quarterback and circus barker, running and bouncing all over the stage. Thankfully his long-haired guitarists were adept at extreme head banging. Otherwise I might have started to believe this band had hip-hop influences, the way Labonte wore an over sized baseball cap and kept doing chest and arm thumps to the crowd while he roared. Also amazing to me is that the audience knew the words to so many of ATR's songs. Labonte would shout out the names of songs so everyone could then join in with their own moderated death roar chants. Their set list included, "This Calling", "We Stand", "Become The Catalyst", "The Air That I Breath", and "For Salvation". At one point he shouted out, "Do you guys like death metal? Well, we are NOT a death metal band." I assume this was an attempt to clarify their Christian influence although the amount of times he used the F-word expletive made me wonder. Another time he shouted out, "Do you know what a circle pit is? Then open this place the Fuck up!" That was all it took. The waves of the tide of the body of followers became tidal.

    There is something soothing about these doom-ish melodies. The darkness echoes with the pain we carry in our bodies, our souls, our memories. There are times I actually feel moved to tears when this music loosens the things inside of me I no longer need to own or carry. With roars that would rattle the bones of the dead back to life I imagine that this is what Jesus' voice would have sounded like when He called for Lazurus to rise from the dead. Is that a hidden intent of those that shout Christian death metal songs? To awaken the dead in spirit from their slumber? I chatted with a man in the audience, Noah, a member of the Christian death metal band THE TRISTAR EMBODIMENT and he epitomized this roaring voice as a "battle cry".

    At 10:16 the waves inside Slim's went tsunami. AS I LAY DYING came on stage and I became witness to the most professional stage presentation and refined (yet completely chaotic) performance I have ever seen at this venue. These men come on stage with a power and confidence I've never seen before. Truly, like warriors standing at the edge of a battlefield they wield their weapons of destruction and shout with voices empowered by a belief that they have already won this war.

    Tim Lambesis is a hulking presence, dark, but only menacing to his enemies. I kept having flashes of visions of "Eric Draven" (from the movie The Crow) in my mind when I looked at Lambesis stand tall and brooding over the edge of the stage. Despite the fact that I was very familiar with their newest album, AN OCEAN BETWEEN US, had it not been for Lambesis announcing the titles of songs before singing them I was unable for the most part to recognize the songs. The volume they pumped out in combination with the roars of the audience singing along inside of this small venue turned into a messy blur. Their set included "WITHIN DESTRUCTION", "THE DARKEST NIGHTS", "FORSAKEN", "MEETING IN TRAGEDY", "I NEVER WANTED", "COMFORT BETRAYS", "THE SOUND OF TRUTH", "94 HOURS" and closed with "MEANINGLESS". At the beginning of the last song Lambesis invited everyone to climb up on stage and sing along. Crowd surfing had been going on all night but now there was a flood of people climbing on stage, prancing, singing and leaping back into the crowd. One young woman even lifted her shirt and flashed the crowd!

    I wish I was younger and stronger and felt well enough to swim in the body of humanity with the crowd during this performance - there was so much love and excitement in the room it was almost tangible in the air. I have never seen Slim's have such a full audience before and from my vista point in the rear balcony I could not see an inch of space where people stood that did not vibrate and move and dance in accord with the power of this music and these lyrics. It seemed to me to be a modern version of Christian revival meetings of old where the Holy Spirit descended upon the crowd and brought them insight, healing and rebirth. This music, through the intent of these performers sets these people free. Oh, and I never got a whiff of pot smoke in the club all night.
  • My review of this show for

    Nov 18 2007, 3h48

    Tue 6 Nov – Minus the Bear, The Helio Sequence, Grand Archives

    First there was Jimi Hendrix. Then Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl followed suit proving that the wild and cold winds that blow into Seattle off the northern Pacific Ocean foster the growth of intense and intelligent musicians. So tonight I anticipated greatness in hearing the much hyped, loved and praised band Minus The Bear at The Fillmore in San Francisco.

    Oh, and The Fillmore is the quintessential music venue in San Francisco. If you haven't been there before, you owe it to yourself to attend a concert there. Even my 78 year old mother has been there; I took her there 10 years ago to see Nancy Sinatra. The coolest thing about The Fillmore is the old guy at the door that greets you when you come in. He "welcomes" every single person that comes in that door. And the free apples! The place reminds me of the old days at Winterland.

    So I got nervous tonight when five men walked out on stage; three of them carrying acoustic guitars, another carrying a tambourine while yet another wore a harmonica brace around his neck. I got more nervous when these guys started to croon, hum and whistle harmonies that made it sound like the Beach Boys had come to town. I had listened to Minus The Bear's newest album, Planet of Ice, several times over the past two days and knew the energy would have to pick up. And boy, did it ever. Openers Grand Archives did manage to keep the attention of the first fairly large section of the crowd that appeared tonight, however.

    It was a generally polite audience; preppily dressed for the most part - mainly under-30's looking college kids I'd say. At one point I figured I was the oldest dude in the place, but later I did see someone that looked quite a bit older than me. In my last review I alluded the concert feel at The Independent to see High On Fire to be like that of a church gathering. If that church was the Church of Satan, then tonight I sort of felt like I was actually back at an authentic Christian summer camp. The complacent expressions on the innocent faces of the crowd during Grand Archives' set made me anticipate seeing hands raised above heads in the audience while people started to chant "Kumbaya." Thankfully, that didn't happen, and a very punctual seven or eight song set ended promptly. Later, Minus The Bear's lead singer Jake Snider asked the audience what they thought of Grand Archives. There was a soft murmur but no one shouted out what they really thought. Jake then said that they, "were good friends and that they loved those guys." Then everyone murmured a little louder. All-in-all, they were a good opener for this night's show. Their set was tight and you could tell they truly loved performing the songs they sang.

    Helio Sequence took our sound and emotional experience this night to new and welcome levels. A two man band (drummer & guitarist/vocalist) from Portland, Oregon, they create a deep and penetrating chasm of sound based in the methods of progressive rock and electronica. The audience was caught by surprise that two men could create this captivating and entrancing sound field—they were so good. Granted, there were recorded drum machine and keyboard synth backgrounds that they made use of to create this rich texture of experimental and borderline psychedelic melodies. Not having heard Helio Sequence before, I was quite impressed and would be tempted to listen to more of their music. As the lead-in band for Minus The Bear, these guys did a splendid job in raising the level of concentration and anticipation of the crowd. They may have earned many new converts this night.

    Like the fine working clockwork of a German timepiece, Minus The Bear came on stage at precisely 10pm. And the crowd was really ready for them. The band was primed with energy and the thrill in the crowd seemed to electrify them even more when they opened with the track "Knights" from Planet Of Ice. It amazes me how sharply practiced a band can appear when they do the same show night after night and still seem fresh and in love with what they do. These guys play complex music too! Surely they are one of the finest representations of new music that is being generated in the northwest. Jake Snider really does have a Dave Grohl look and personality that keeps the dynamics of their performance very exciting. Men and women in the audience seemed enchanted by his sex appeal. I was impressed by the methodical precision with which the three guitarists moved—between the rousing guitar-led choruses to the use of their electronic devices on the floor when certain songs moved into more experimental riffs and complex improvisations. This was one of the tightest performances I've ever seen. This audience knew the repertoire so well and there were many songs, like "Throwin' Shapes," "Dr. L'Ling," and "Pachuca Sunrise" where people giggled and gleefully sang along.

    Now I'm not sure I'm going to report this part correctly, but there was a guy named Marty whose birthday it was this night. He may have been the stage hand that kept bringing out freshly tuned guitars to the guys after every three to four songs. Anyway, Jake told us all that it was his birthday and sheepishly suggested we sing him "Happy Birthday" if we felt like it. There was no hesitancy in the crowd and a roaring version of the beloved melody rocked the place. Then Marty joined in on the next (and final) song with a saxophone that brought the richness of MTB's vibrant sounds to a whole other level. Let that guy play more, ok guys? They were back within a few short minutes, though, and leaped into a three-song encore with a rousing sing-along version of an obvious crowd favorite, "Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse." Absinthe had been filtered into the air through the melodies of the night and we were all abuzz like flies in a true honey warehouse...
  • Coheed & Cambria - San Francisco - 11.09.2007

    Nov 14 2007, 21h51

    Fri 9 Nov – Coheed and Cambria, The Fall of Troy, Clutch

    There is only one thing to say about the concert that I saw tonight. Claudio Sanchez. CLAUDIO SANCHEZ. CLAUDIO (EFFING HOLY OF HOLIES) SANCHEZ! I don't care about anything that has ever happened in my life before now that I have seen a live performance by the living, breathing freaking master of all minions of this world and the underworld, Claudio Sanchez of Coheed & Cambria. Is he a magical troll, or an omniscient ogre, or a giant of mythological legend come to life in the 21st century? Whatever he is or wherever he came from, he is an enigmatic embodiment of all great and powerful metal and progressive rock gods that have come before him. Well, that is not entirely true as he is a genuinely unique person and a huge crowd came out to watch him in adoration on Friday night.

    The evening started promptly at 7:30 with the hyperactive post-hardcore trio, The Fall of Troy. These guys were a perfect opening act and it was obvious that the huge fanbase that turned out for them were doubly excited that they were opening for Coheed & Cambria. They played a succinct set highlighting tracks from 2007's Manipulator album and other favorite songs like “Whacko Jacko Steals the Elephant Man's Bones,” “F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.” and “Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them.” Bands like this out of Washington state continue to surprise me with the innovative tenacity they exhibit through experimentation and adherence to musical traditions established by their forefathers (ala King Crimson & Rush). I saw no errors in the bands performance but Thomas Erak seemed to exit the stage too quickly at the end of the set and there was no time left for an encore.

    I don't know how many other people thought this, but I got the feeling from listening to Clutch's latest album, From Beale Street to Oblivion, that the boys of Clutch may be starting to feel their age. I was a little disappointed tonight to not hear the bit of the devil I heard in their earlier albums come out in the voice of lead singer Neil Fallon. Upon first learning their sound and repertoire I thought of them as a bit of a metal version of BTO (Bachman Turner Overdrive); there was a bite to the delivery of the lyrics. Tonight though they sounded older, slower and softer. Not that their set wasn't dead on and totally rollicking—in fact, their southern rock flavor really took shape tonight and they reminded me of listening to long jam sessions by Lynrd Skynrd in the days of my youth. They sustained the energy level tonight but I think that the younger crowd may have felt like this was a bunch of their fathers and uncles on stage jamming together.

    Seeing this concert was like watching a stadium show back in the 70s and the mood in the Warfield was like a comfortable house party where in a dream you win a contest on a radio station and you get to invite all your best friends over for a concert given by your favorite rock band. The rock star thinks you (and all your friends) are the greatest people on the planet and dedicates each song to you because he loves you so much. Claudio is like a shamanic teddy bear that you want to take to bed with you to tell all your secret prayers to before you fall asleep, hoping that he will take you to places in your dreams where you can do battle against all of your fears and win; and you will because he has the power to melt all your enemies with a look and a song. I think more so, he has the ability to help us discover these powers within ourselves.

    His personality is so contagious, and he must be the most confident person on this planet (for one reason that he has dared to grow what must be the most incredible head of hair on the planet)! The way that he will enshroud his whole head with his locks while looking downward, then with a mere flick of his forehead expose his face, contagious smile and glowing eyes. I don't know how many of the young fans in the audience were hip to the deeper meanings of the stories inside Coheed's concept albums (in my day, years long marathon discussions would go on amongst my Genesis, Rush and Jethro Tull fan friends when it came to deciphering the meanings of concept albums) but it didn't seem to matter that much. The Amory Wars theme was conveyed in the multi-tiered stage configuration and by the backdrop decorations that showed silhouettes of an otherworldly cityscape. Knowing that The Amory Wars are graphic novels I almost expected to see a more hardcore gathering of pimply adolescents. Contrarily there was a well-rounded blending of older fans that just appreciate solid progressive rock. Many seemed to enjoy the show and music solely on the worth of the beauty of Claudio's lyrics and singing. The set list consisted of: "No World For Tomorrow, " "Gravemakers," "Junesong," "Favor House," "Ten Speed," "The Hound," "Suffering," "Feathers," "Evil Medley," "Mother Superior," "Cuts Marked," "The Running Free," "IKSSE," and for the encore played "Welcome Home," and "Final Cut." Their set lasted just a few minutes short of two hours long!
  • Hot and Cold...

    Jun 23 2007, 9h37

    Wed 30 May – The Black Angels, Vietnam, Spindrift, Greg Ashley

    I really enjoyed this show, although I heard people say afterwards that none of the bands were fully spot on that night. This was my second time to see Spindrift, a band whose music I really enjoy. Their image is something that I feel a sort of identity with. It was not the complete band that I had seen previously perform at Slim's last year though. They played a short set because the opening performer started his set late. This was a bummer. Also, the lead singer did not have his hat on this night. I think that hat helps him channel the spirits of musicians that inspire him. I hope next time he brings it along.

    Vietnam's performance was the highlight of the night to me. I was familiar with their latest cd so hearing songs I recognized always helps. These guys are so creepy and moody though that they give off this aura of intrigue that just makes it so enjoyable to watch them. Very emotive music and lyrics. I thought there was nothing wrong with their set at all, but afterwards I heard others mention that they "were off".

    The Black Angels I knew nothing about, except that they were from Austin. Something that is starting to carry a lot of cred for me, the more I hear music from bands from that region. Being unfamiliar with their songs I was only able to have a first-time listeners experience. Overall I really, really enjoyed them and would come see them perform again next time they are here. I'd have to say that about all three of these bands. It was a great evening of psychedelic rock!
  • DEAD MEADOW @ SLIM'S - 12.8.06

    Dez 15 2006, 17h17

    Anyway, I would have paid to get into this show last night just from the description of the headliner’s sound (I had won free tickets); a blend of Hendrix and Black Sabbath. And boy were they ever! Anyway, let’s start from the beginning.

    The opening band was an 8 member mélange of performers called CITAY, from San Francisco. (Four guitarists, a drummer, a flutist/keyboardist, and two females that sang backup and performed with various percussion instruments – tambourines, small xylophones.) The leader of the band was a man that sang and everyone looked to for cues. I totally got a feeling of him being Dave Matthews-like – whether he held that opinion of himself or not, I do not know. But the music sounded a bit like that style but went further with some pretty audacious guitar solos that created a somewhat psychedelic San Francisco big family feel. Actually, by the end of their performance the following tags were floating around my head; Grateful Dead, college band, church band, neighborhood band… The girls were cute, sort of but there was a stiffness to their stage presence. No dancing or grooving. Maybe they were just nervous… Anyway, I enjoyed their music a lot.

    The second band was a six member band called SPINDRIFT. This band was groovy in comparison to Citay. If I were to pick a band’s image to match them to it would be Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band. The lead singer even had a bit of the beatnik look of the ol’Captain and wore a top hat that I have no idea how he kept atop his head of billowing hair. The performers of this band; 2 drummers, 3 guitarists (one who played a double necked bass/6 string), a keyboardist and one person that played a zither amongst other things I couldn’t identify. This band had more personality, well, at least the leader of the band did and this colored the overall feeling of the music they made. It was harder, louder and spookier than the first bands. I’m glad I made the association with Captain Beefheart early because it gave me a focal point. It is a little strange listening to bands you have never heard the music of before for the first time, but I think it is a good sign if you actually find yourself enjoying it. I definitely enjoyed this bands music. Whether I would purchase anything by them, I doubt that I would. I’d say they will become forgettable to me.

    The headliner, DEAD MEADOW was the last band to perform. Stage set ups between each band were quick this night and there was no delay in these boys getting right to the music. Curiously I noticed how each of the three bands this night had decreasingly less and less equipment on the stage. I was at the front at the right hand end of the stage and this was where the only microphone was set up for DM. The whole other side of the stage was wide open! And the large drum set (which had a psychedelic insignia decaled to it’s face) was set way back and was lit up bright. It was the brightest source of light on the entire stage for their whole performance, which made it really hard to photograph this band at all.

    Seeing this wide open space made me immediately think that this bass player must like to move around when he plays. I WASN’T WRONG! I don’t know who to compare him to as I’ve never seen anyone dance around like he did but it was not strong, determined moves that he made but light and lyrical, almost elf-like prancings that he performed. Like his music was lifted up from the earth through his feet. He was a maniac bass player though. As was the lead guitarist. They mangled their strings so severely during their set. There was a definite Hendrix vibe going on, many of the songs would have intros that sounded similar to almost being an exact Hendrix tune, and I would think, “Cover?”, but no, it would be there own. The lead guitarist had only a few floor peddles that he worked with; one that was similar to a whammy bar (I think – I’m not a guitarist so please don’t take my word for it!) that he would vibrate his foot on at quicker and slower paces. There was another box with just one button that would let out a machine gun sound after he lifted his foot from it. The coolest thing though was this box he had back on his amp. He only used it a few times but it was like some kind of feedback/distort wang thing that made noise like Hendrix would make.

    I didn’t get the Black Sabbath feel from their music and maybe that is because I don’t know Sabbath that well. Also, I didn’t have a clue as to what he was singing about. I was so close to the speakers on the stage that I was really flooded with the sound of the guitars, despite that I don’t think we were meant to easily understand his lyrics anyway. Oh, and the drummer was excellent. The two guitarists looked young enough to be his sons though. This band I would buy an album of. I’d like to explore their sound more. Overall it was a hellava rocking good night. Delighted I ventured out into the storm and was not disappointed in the slightest.

    Dead MeadowFeathersAt Her Open Door
  • The United Defiance @ 924 Gilman Street

    Nov 28 2006, 21h27

    i went to the Gilman Street Project on Friday night with my music buddy Steve. there were supposed to be 5 local bands playing but only 3 showed up, maybe because it was the night after Thanksgiving Day. there were not that many fans either, maybe 30 people in the whole place. still, the performers got into it - the charged energy of the building's history still excites even the most juvenile and inexperienced bands. not to say that the bands this night were either extremely, but the sense of honor and respect for "the place" was clearly expressed.

    anyway, i've started taking concert photos recently and this is one of the better of the night. the entire set, plus all my other concert photos, can be seen at my Flickr account. i also shot a short video and it is viewable at my YouTube locale.

  • my first DAMNED show...

    Nov 27 2006, 19h00

    14 Nov – The Damned, The Epoxies, The Adored
    makes me wish i had spent more time paying attention to who they were over the years.