The infrequently-updated site blog, featuring a range of content including show reviews, musical musings and off-color ramblings on other varied topics.
Electric Gardens Festival
(feat. Fatboy Slim)
January 23, 2016
Damian Gelle and Anton Marmot met in London in the '90s over a mutual love of music and enjoying the hedonistic spoils the capital has to offer. They decided to go into business dabbling in event promotion and all things electronic until 2004 when they had their “eureka” moment. What London needed was an electronic music festival in the heart of the city and the location they chose was right on their back door step - Clapham Common.
Over the next ten years SW4 became the “largest electronic festival” in London, and continues to this day playing host to 70,000 people across 2 days featuring the crème de la crème of the electronic world providing the soundtrack.
Fast forward to 2014 and leave the ole world, Mary Poppins, and bad weather behind: The pair decided to return to their motherland Australia and the festival bug has proven hard to shake for both. Hence, Electric Gardens was born.
The 2016 large scale, multi-stage Down Under incarnation of the event took place in the lush surroundings of a subtropical botanical garden in the heart of Sydney: Centennial Park on lands that were traditionally in the custody of the Gadigal clan.
After strolling past a variety of wildlife that has its home in Centennial Park including pelicans, black swans, mallard and white ducks, and purple swamp and common moorhens, one was welcomed by a another species: The common drug sniffer dog and their uniformed Herrchen.
Beer gardens and well maintained, ample chill out zones for people to eat, sit down, and relax while being still able to pursue the proceeding on the stages was a nice touch and something that is rarely found and executed in this manner at other festivals. Rows of food trucks offered fare ranging from ice cream to Mexican via organic Asian food to the staples of pizza and burger. ‘Twas nice to see that Electric Gardens was providing healthier nutrient-dense options and that with Sea Shepherd Australia, Electric Gardens has found a support-worthy charity partner.
Headliners included Bedrock Records founder John Digweed, cue Trainspotting soundtrack, playing a set of upbeat progressive house and trance. His punchy distinctiveness and earthy rhythms also dominated one of the aftershow parties.
50% of the Grammy Award winning duo Deep Dish in the form of the Iranian born DJ Dubfire followed with a set of jet-black polished chrome techno, which was a nice change of pace and mood – starting off techy and evolving into a brooding, heavy yet minimal techno extravaganza.
Finally, Norman Cook in his EDM alter ego Fatboy Slim. The ex-Housemartins smiley aficionado had the masses congregate in front of the main stage itching for a good stomp and the vibe instantly went up. It was what the day was building towards and the anticipation was palpable. Not unlike a dance music conductor with a Hawaiian shirt fetish, he proved to be an MC in its purest form, signaling the crowd to the meter and pauses of the dropping big beats. Fatboy Slim juggled his signature big beat with more contemporary fare, throwing in crowd pleasers for good measure. In unison with the visual aesthetics and oversized glow-sticks that were handed out, his set created a pulsing mélange of sound and spectacle. Teasers and allusions to his hits peppered with a sheer endless stream of classics from all genres formed the foundation of his set, including an homage to the Thin White Duke – right here, queen bitch, Rebel Rebel, right now, rockafella skanking into the night.
In many ways, Fatboy Slim’s set signified the essence of Sydney’s Electric Garden Festival: An enjoyable, well orchestrated event with the right amount of well-trusted elements, engaging and uplifting.
Photos by KAVV
The Security Project
The Center for the Arts Natick
When I was first informed that this show was being put together I immediately started to recruit some of my friends to get tickets. Having seen Peter Gabriel during his tour for the second solo release (aka Scratch) I knew the show would be a fascinating trip back into my early days as a Genesis/Gabriel fan. Also, having been inside TCAN in the past I knew this room would be amazing to catch this show as it is intimate and the acoustics are great.
The Security Project lineup includes Jerry Marotta on drums, Jerry was in the studio on drums for Peter Gabriel's second, third and fourth records. Trey Gunn on the Warr guitar who's had the distinction of playing with King Crimson for almost ten years. Michael Cozzi on guitar who spent years touring with the UK band Shriekback. David Jameson on a custom keyboard setup that also uses iPads and iPhones in the control scheme, the Eigenharp is also used to create some of the more amazing sounds generated by this band. David also performs in the band Beyond The Wall. Last but certainly not least is vocalist Brian Cummins who has been touring with the UK band The Carpet Crawlers and had just finished up a 40th anniversary of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour.
The show opener was Casey Desmond, a former Voice contestant from Boston whose parents were from the Boston band Bentmen. Casey's set was filled with vocally driven pop drenched in keyboards. Casey also filled in marvelously for Kate Bush during the "Don't Give Up" duet with Brian later on in the evening.
The nights material focused heavily on the music from Peter Gabriel's first five solo records but did dip into the Genesis catalog as well (see set list) with the excellent renditions of the first three tracks from that amazing record.
The entire night was a showcase of talent, the band excelled at playing the material that others would shy away from due to the complexities of the music. Some of the highlights of the almost two hour show were the aforementioned duet with Casey Desmond, Trey Gunns solo was incredible, Jerry Marotta showed why he is one of the top rated drummers around with an amazing sound and a recording resume to die for. Another was the remarkable, new to me, instrument the Eigenharp prominently featured in the song Biko. Evidently it uses velocity sensitive multi-expressive keys, each of which act like a 6-way joystick. This allows simultaneous pitch bend and modulation of each note played.
The band having just finished up this tour are planning a return in the October / November time frame. If you are a fan of Genesis or Peter Gabriel, do yourself a favor and catch one of these shows you will not be disappointed.
1- Lay Your Hands on me - 1982, Peter Gabriel (4th solo release aka Security)
2- I Don't Remember - 1980, Peter Gabriel (3rd solo release aka Melt)
3- Family Snapshot - Melt
4- No Self Control - Melt
5- The Family and the Fishing Net - Security
6- I Have The Touch - Security
7- Moribund the Burgermeister - 1977, Peter Gabriel (1st solo release aka Car)
8 - Solsbury Hill - Car
9- The Rhythm of the Heat - Security
10- Don't Give up (with guest vocalist Casey Desmond) - 1986, Peter Gabriel (5th solo release titled So)
11- Mercy Street - So
12- San Jacinto - Security
13- Intruder - Melt
14- Here Comes The flood (including Trey Gunn solo) - Car
15- The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway - 1974, Genesis (The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway)
16- Fly on a windshield - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
17- Broadway melody of 1974 - The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
18- On The Air - 1978, Peter Gabriel (2ne solo release aka Scratch)
19 - Biko - Melt
As fans many draw a close relationship with their favorite artists. For whatever reason a personal statement shared within this realm seems to strike many in a very serious way. there are many musicians that cross realms of art into new ventures to varying degrees. it could be argued that no one before, since or possibly ever has done it with the conviction, lucidity, intelligence or poise the way David Bowie did in his lifetime.
This is a goodbye to a true artist that is both academic and personal to me.
The fact is it would be hard to say whether music and the arts would have played quite the role in my life as they have if not for Bowie. He showed what confidence and intelligence can create. With the knowledge of what he reperesented i was drawn to him from a young age.
I recall seeing the video for "Let's Dance" on MTV and being mezmerized. I couldn't explain what it was that made it work. It was a song that seemed all too simple almost innocuous compared to the hip hop and metal that i would generally listen to. The hooks were simple yet they burrowed into your brain. The video itself was something almost obscenly 80's bright and dancey. Yet there was something unexplainable about the person presented as the singer. something almost alien he stood out beyond the other people in videos at the time. He stood tall with a flexible face that showed something intense.
These few sentences could be said about any representation of David Bowie. He alsways was able to illicit something with an incredibly modest economy of words, yet could be verbose and hyper literal. He always stood beyond whatever was going on in popular culture at the time. Stood as an outlier, a true alternative nothing could actually compare and nothing could touch him.
Those feelings are exactly why for some almost unexplainable reason his death hit me so hard. in an almost childlike naievity on my part i almost believed he would never die. He never seemed of this world to begin with. He spoke of being a spaceman a martian and these things felt true to him. Bowie seems intrinsically drawn down the path of opposition in art and seemed capable of making it a road for eveyone to travel after him.
To think he could've been something smaller than a blip in musical history. His reinvention made him and gave him the fame that he had. Very few artists have truly reveled and almost relied on reinvention. With each Bowie album one could never be certain what expect. Whether it be the alien folk of Space Oddity, the biggest glam band in the world as Ziggy, or the plastic soul star of Station to Station. All of these thing were merely beginings, yet all were complete ideas coalesced into music that stands outside of time with a presentation to match.
Truly his music was just part of a public persona that belied his impact in every other cultural medium. While his music is what he is best known for nothing can take away his painting, acting and even a lasting impact on video games. These were generally looked at as musings to music fans but every plunge into a new medium showed another side of Bowie showed another impression of the artist as a man. Even his contribution in music is relatable to acting. No role lasted too long once it showed a chance at becoming stale it was jettisoned for something new something that felt interesting.
Bowie managed something that no artist has even with his final goodbye of an album, the recently released Blackstar, he continued to show what he was truly capable of. It is an album outisde of time yet absoulte in how precise it's message is. This was his goodbye something simple yet intricate not played for cheap record sales. The man knew he was leaving us but gave us a farewell only he could.
David Bowie influenced many facets of my life, he introduced me to new ideas of how music could be presented. He gave me confidence to try and show different facets of my personality through my art, in whichever form that would take. he gave a lasting influence to any artist to follow their ideas alone and leave everything and everyone else behind, if need be, to follow their muse and no one elses. His music was an early bond between my wife and I, a bond that grew into something truly special.
Bowie is, not was, a person who lived outside time and gave himself to the world. The starman can now return home, can stay there and rest well knowing that his influence will be everlasting upon the world's culture.
January 3, 2016
The Factory is a purpose built, dedicated live entertainment venue. Comprised of differently sized performance spaces it hosts an array of live music and performances-- from international rock concerts to intimate cabaret shows, film and dance events--sometimes even simultaneously.
Mike Palm and his two partners in crime held court in the confines of the intimate performance space downstairs, which proved to be a suitable forum for their reverb-drenched, fuzzy, angst-ridden pop-punk.
When Agent Orange started out, they were ahead of their time: They pioneered a distinctive melodic sound and thereby laid the foundation for what was to eventually became labeled as "pop punk" some 10 years later - cue The Offspring's bloodstained plea to come out and play.
Sure, the biggest reference was definitely "surf culture" grounded on a reverb-drenched guitar, but calling Agent Orange just a "surf punk" band would not do them justice.
Apart from having a knack for "spy-vs.-spy" melodies, a preference for the Fender amplified "wet" spring reverb, love for Blue Oyster Cult and a poppy appeal, the alienation and at times Wipers-esque melancholy that pervades their oeuvre is what made their songs a tad more compelling than those of their peers.
With surf culture being an Australian birthright and part of the national fabric, it does not come as a surprise that Agent Orange possess prime real estate in the soul of Australian punk rock aficionados.
The audience lapped up every chord as the trio delivered a good selection of songs around the classic hits of the Living in Darkness era, inevitable cover versions and ornamental, rolling instrumentals paying homage to the likes of Dick Dale sprinkled with more recent compositions.
Photo by KAVV
Newtown Social Club
December 26, 2015
The Germs play their first show ever opening for The Zeros, followed by The Weirdos.
A wet dream come alive for any KBD-style punk rock aficionado.
A 17 year-old young hopeful named Robert Lopez was playing guitar for The Zeros.
Fast forward 24 years.
Robert releases a 7" called Esta Bien Mamacita under the moniker El Vez, mixing an Elvis Presley homage with his Latin-American musical heritage.
The 7" is released on the independent garage rock and punk label Sympathy for the Record Industry.
A promotional copy of the aforementioned slab of vinyl found its way to groundbreaking Placebo Radio Show, a radio show moderated by the affected, rumbling voices of the Toyota Herges bros, the more agreeable input of the lead singer of ABC Diabolo and other luminaries from Germany's smallest Federal State.
Placebo often provided the first German coverage to international punk, hardcore and other fringe acts.
It was the first time yours truly was exposed to El Vez.
Fast forward another 24 years.
Boxing day, 2015.
El Vez materializes in a Santa suit, flanked by his charming back-up singers, The Elvettes, and sustained by a stoical, tight backing band.
High kicks, splitso jumps, costume changes, an array of cover versions and medleys with altered lyrics to suit his mild political activism.
A potpourri of pop and rock quotations.
Robert Lopez, baby boomer who recently legally qualified for "senior discounts," is pulling it all off with ease and gusto.
Si - not unlike a quesadilla it is intentionally cheesy at times, but overall his energetic show is like Mexican cuisine: Well done basic staples, the occasional flavourful kick and a colorful presentation.
Photo by KAVV
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The piece ended rather suddenly, almost completely without warning. The conductor held his position for a moment, then slowly brought his arms down. The theater erupted with applause as the ... read more
Saves the Day and Bayside decided to team up this Fall to deliver a thrilling show fans of either could appreciate. Joining them on the tour are I Am ... read more
The World/Inferno Friendship Society recently started their US tour supporting their new album, The Anarchy and The Ecstasy, with sci-fi-psychobilly (psy-fi?) band, The Phenomenauts. You could not ask for a ... read more
Last Thursday, The Purple Turtle in London's infamous Camden held what is likely to be the most fun headlining show I've seen this year. Cannabis Corpse, fresh off the back ... read more
Motley Crue and Poison live, Target Center, Mpls, MN, 6/24/11 The New York Dolls opened the show but I couldn’t tell you damn thing about them. The girlfriend and I literally ... read more
Read Midwest Hell Fest Wrapup-Day 1 here. Despite intermittent sleep, I wake up feeling fairly well rested. If memory serves correctly, I’m somewhere deep within the confines of enemy territory—Wisconsin. ... read more
After losing a year of my life behind the wheel, I finally arrive at my destination: Kimberly, Wisconsin. Upon walking into the hotel—and I use this term loosely—lobby, I am ... read more
After a long wait and two opening acts—the clock struck 9:30 and Fun took the stage, while the boys and girls cheered. Suddenly, the beautiful overture to “Be Calm” opens ... read more
200 bands, seemingly as many beers, and only three nights. Where do I begin my recap? My stomach is still shrunken from not eating right, and I continue to drink ... read more
Let me start off by saying that I love all three of these bands, and I have been looking forward to this show since I got confirmed to photograph it. ... read more
Portugal. the Man is a Portland, Oregon based experimental indie-rock band, fronted by native Alaskan John Gourley. If you haven’t heard the story about this up and coming group, Gourley’s ... read more
I don't know how many of you have heard of Moving Mountains. A band from Westchester, NY, they are fresh off a tour with Thursday, about to embark on a ... read more
I hit the 500 review mark last week with my Narrows review. That's a lot of reviews. Sometimes I get burnt out with all the stuff coming through, especially when ... read more
So I just got done watching the season finale of Scrubs. It was Zach Braff's final episode. His character is saying goodbye, but I think they gave it a nice ... read more
Two months ago I had high hopes for the Cleveland Browns. Now I am left with a fairly mediocre season. We shall see how the remainder plays out. I'm looking ... read more
Might as well has this here too, it's been three years since I wrote it. I think it still holds true. Space for rent. Your ad here. My name is ... read more
I forgot to post this prior to week one, but given the outcome of that game, maybe it was for the best. Anyway, the Browns season is underway and that ... read more
Over the weekend a band that was very dear to my heart announced their sudden breakup and played their final show. I first became acquainted with Life Long Tragedy over ... read more
I was yelled at again for writing this, and since I am applying for a job at a local newspaper, I don't really want this hanging over my head. Sorry ... read more
Last night my band played with Souvenir's Young America, City of Ships, and Monolith at Siren Records in Doylestown, PA; it was a fun time all the bands played real ... read more
If you didn't hear the news, Roy Scheider died this week at the age of 75. Jaws is one of my all-time favorite films. I am extremely sad. I fully ... read more
They could make me look not so good to certain people. Nobody read them anyways. read more
So, back when Cave In's Until Your Heart Stops dropped on the hardcore masses several years back, I had the chance of catching the band at Middlesex County Community College. ... read more
I broke out my CD for the Gehenna- The War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness and saw something that always made me smile. Allow me ... read more
Hello. Some of you might remember (or have participated in) my experiment over the summer collecting people's wishes on this page. I got over 160 entries and published them all ... read more
Imagine being in this kid's place... Interview w/ Henry Rollins read more
Even though it is just a joke, I'd still vote for Stephen Colbert for president before I'd vote for anyone else for running, outside of the longshots that have no ... read more
Dear Atreyu, Please stop. No seriously, please stop...now. - File has been removed. It was up for a month. It was the band's cover of Faith No More's "Epic." - ... read more
I woke up today at 5:30am to get my ass to the store to open it for what I figured would be another boring Sunday at work. Work has been ... read more
So the man that founded Factory Records and helped Joy Division become as huge as they did through hype died today. Not alot of people repect what Wilson did for ... read more
Yesterday during rush hour traffic on 35W the bridge than spans the mighty Mississippi fell. There was no earthquake. There was no terrorist attack. The bridge just buckled and toppled ... read more
Part 1: Mission Statement, Introduction, and first terribly nostalgic musing A number of years ago, a few friends of mine, myself, and people who would quickly become my friends used ... read more
Shook Ones, for the uninitiated, are a melodic hardcore band from Seattle, Washington. Their debut LP, Sixteen, had some serious Kid Dynamite aping going on, without a doubt, but it ... read more
Remember when the idea of Friday the 13th used to be scary? Maybe its because I am a grown adult, but there just does not seem to be any horror ... read more
You have no idea how wonderful it is to be finally typing these words. Not that my work is done: a SPB staffer's work is never done! But seriously: typing ... read more
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