The infrequently-updated site blog, featuring a range of content including show reviews, musical musings and off-color ramblings on other varied topics.
Bombay Sweets, Pink Mink, Swami John & The Blind Shake
St. Paul, MN
February 19, 2015
No review, see photo gallery below.
Shonen Knife @ The Factory Theatre
January 24, 2015
Grin-inducing Japanese energetic, upbeat and catchy all-girl pop punk entertainment with the ingredients of a classic rock show: Shonen Knife are an infectiously enthusiastic trio and a lot of fun to watch. Songs with Descendents-esque novelty value about what food and drinks had been consumed earlier (“Banana chips” the entrée, “Ramen” was had for lunch, washed down with “Green Tea” – Osaka is not for nothing known as “Japan’s kitchen”). Their well-rehearsed live shows are a polished affair with choreographed dance moves, synchronized devil-horn throwing and headbanging in unison. Bubble-gum punk influenced ‘70s hard rock meticulously performed in a light hearted and upbeat manner. Enter Ramones, AC/DC, Buzzcocks infused with saccharine sweet 1960s pop group melodies, peppered with a lyrically simplistic content.
Band member introductions and polite explanations of how much they enjoy meeting us in “insert name of town of the night”-rock city. The politeness of the three ladies clad in shiny dresses was reciprocated by the audience who respectfully lapped up stage banter. Smiles all around.
Words: T, "era vulgaris"
Photo: Mike Higgott
How does one go to a show of a band that has been around consistently for longer that you have been alive and not have expectations? This along with possible experiences with the band could shape ones' perception of how good or band the band may be regardless of skill or consistency. Regardless this tour was announced and contains a little bit of everything in metal. 5 bands that play varied corners upon the genre spectrum. So with open ears but a bit of experience with each band prior i filed in to see what could be a very interesting night overall.
To begin the band that i knew the least overall about, Black Crown Initiate. The Pennsylvania band had just released their first LP and devoted their relatviely short set time to it. What came as a surprise it the band has quite varied but substantial sound. Deeply rooted in death metal but using atmospherics, acoustic instruments and various vocal tones to convey a strong spacious style of metal without going too far into the ether by the time the band finished thy had only played 4 songs but with the variance of styles contained in those songs it felt full.
Shortly thereafter Iron Reagan came upon the stage and anyone with prior experience in seeing some of the members prior (or other current) band, Municipal Waste, would be able to confirm the party hard fun as hell trainwreck that is on display. Iron Reagan doesnt change that part of the formula. This idea is only bolstered by the further lack of pretension in the bands songs and faster tempos overall. The band clearly had fun and made it hard to not have fun seeing them.
Exhumed is a band that has existed for quite awhile and has stayed true to frontman Matt Harvey's vision more so than nearly any other band. That is to say proper old school death metal with bits of grind played with ferocity and a griesome attitude. The band played through mostly old songs as they are touring upon a re-recording of their first album and this let everyone see what this band is from front to back. Best of all, considering the small size of the stage, the band kept their theatrics having a friend play a chainsaw wielding doctor and eventually using a guillotine to take off the guitarists head. While not on the massiv scale of say Gwar the theatrics felt consistent with the band.
Voivod came next, and while i fully respect and undderstand their place in metal (particularly of the Canadian variety) they have never really been my thing all told. There is certainly nothing wrong with this and honestly was waiting to eat my words. Meanwhile the most surprising thing was the energy the band showed while playing. The songs, were played with a strong sense of accuracy to the original recorded versions but did little to sway my initial though process. The band deftly switched from varying eras of their existence and closed with a song for their fallen member Piggy in their rendition of "Astronomy Domine" by Pink Floyd.
Finally came the final band Napalm Death. It is really tough to say something that hasn't already been expressed about this band (they have been around since 1981). Meanwhile they are a band that is relentlessly interesting, intelligent and energetic. So without much segway the band burst into a set of songs that kept the forward movement without sacrificing a broad spectrum of their songs. One thing worth noting and respecting is that within the week prior to this show Barney (Napalm's vocalist) broke his arm. Now as a band of older guys (main memebers Shane and Barney were born in the 60's) it shows tremendous will and respect for their audience to continue the tour and play as hard as ever. The band played some songs that one would expect (Scum, You Suffer) as well as songs off of their new album. While the band has never fully deviated from their initial grindcore style this type of set shows how much they've gornw and what kind of thoughts they've managed to insert within their initial framework.
Overall this tour is a must for any metal fan with varying types of styles on display and a list of bands that all play hard and show off their styles well. Regardless of age or overaching interest this could be a show worth seeing as it proclaims the forebearers of the genre and shows a deep interest in it's newer bands as well.
Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses @ The Enmore Theatre
November 23, 2014
The Newtown area was part of the land of the Cadigal band of the Eora people, who ranged across the entire area from the southern shores of Sydney Harbour to Botany Bay. It was through the land management methods of the aboriginal people that the extensive grasslands proved ideal breeding grounds for kangaroos. The lyric-sized Enmore Theatre, located in the heart of Newtown, is the longest running live music venue still operational in New South Wales.
Tex Perkins’ Dark Horses project started out as a vehicle for Perkins’ solo singer-songwriting endeavours, with Charlie Owens, one of OZ’s most heralded and prolific guitarists, playing an integral part. Over time it has morphed into something resembling a “real” band. The Dark Horses comprise aspects of the Cruel Sea and the Beasts of Bourbon (your humble narrator’s favourite Australian band, and the incarnation that gained Tex iconic status), which makes for an interesting mélange – one that is more on the reserved, contemplative, introspective and borderline delicate side compared to the often nihilistic approach of his other bands. Tex Perkins, the man who invented the sport of zone ball, a cross between Australian rules football and tennis, is never a letdown in a live environment: A charismatic, imposing figure on stage who knows how to entertain in between songs with witty, self-deprecating one-liners and banter.
Words: T, "era vulgaris"
Photo: Jason Ilagan
The Dwarves @ The Bald Faced Stag Hotel
October 8, 2015
Parramatta Road is the east-west artery of metropolitan Sydney. On its 23 kilometers long strip, the road is filled with pubs, shops, car yards and over 100 abandoned and derelict stores. Owing to this and its abrasively noisy traffic, it has rarely been considered beautiful. A local mayor described it as a "varicose vein." Former New South Wales premier Nick Greiner thought the road looked "like Beirut on a bad day." On a lighter note, Tess De Quincey, an Australian performer/director attested that "every chapter of Sydney's history has been written on Parramatta Road."
Not sure if the Dwarves’ show will find its place in the annals of Sydney’s history, but the place where Blag Dahlia and his comrades held court that night was the The Bald Faced Stag Hotel, one of the oldest pubs in Sydney, situated right there. HeWhoCannotBeFoundOnStage - neither a jock strap, nor a wrestling mask was to be seen that night. “Julius Seizure” and co. delivered though with their ongoing crusade against what is commonly referred to as good taste: Eclectic punk rock with an ear for melodies and lyrical content pervaded by what was accurately described by the title of their Sub Pop debut from 1990. While the bouncers tried their utmost to prevent young and hopefuls from entering and leaping off stage, it was Dahlia’s chosen means to exit the venue. Joyce Manor would not have approved.
Words: T, "era vulgaris"
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The Postal Service are making their rounds again in support in the Deluxe Edition re-release of their 2003 album, Give Up. Scene Point Blank had a chance to check'em out ... read more
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They could make me look not so good to certain people. Nobody read them anyways. read more
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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
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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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