The infrequently-updated site blog, featuring a range of content including show reviews, musical musings and off-color ramblings on other varied topics.
Well here we are into the first part of May, and I'm wondering where the fuck March and April went. I apologize for dropping the F bomb on you in the very first sentence—though I suspect if you've decided to read a column about hip-hop that you’re at least somewhat into rap, and thus are quite familiar with offensive language, of which, the F word is perhaps the least insulting—so let’s just plow forward here and pretend that everything I just wrote wasn’t a poorly disguised attempt to get my word count up. Truth is I’ve been busy with a couple things not (directly) related to rap that have resulted in my two-month absence from this column. I recently went deep down a neo-grunge/nu-grunge/grunge revival/grunge punk/grunge anything Spotify rabbit hole that strong-armed its way into the corner of my listening space that’s normally dedicated to rap mixtapes. But the biggest deterrent to me getting this done comes as the result of my very real and very serious basketball addiction – a deep-rooted fanaticism that every year during these same months takes precedence over even the most important things in my life. When it comes to watching Tyus Jones play in the Minnesota State Boy’s Basketball tournament, or seeing Chris Webber reunite with his Fab 5 teammates at the Michigan vs. Louisville NCAA Championship game, I will do stupid things like miss family member’s birthdays or forget to feed the cat for days on end. And now that were already into the second round of the NBA playoffs, where there’s a game on every night for the foreseeable future, I very well could damage my health by forgetting to sleep or eat properly, let alone remember trivial things like how there’s too many rappers.
In the (Sort Of) New Mixtapes department…
Quelle Chris – 2 Dirt 4 TV episode 2: Niggas is Men
This one is tricky as far as classification goes. It was originally unleashed as a free download back in March, but has since been released in physical form with a price tag attached to it. For the purpose of this column, I’m calling it a mixtape since I got it back when it was a free and that it’s advertised as a prelude to Quelle’s “proper debut” on Mello Music Group. Niggas Is Men is the second episode of the Quelle Chris’ 2 Dirt 4 TV series. The production is handled by Stifu, Messiah Musik, and of course, Quelle himself. The majority of the songs feature verses from Cavalier, so even at 14 songs long, Quelle’s oddball delivery doesn’t wear-on as much as it did on his debut full-length, Shotgun & Sleek Rifle. “Natural Flavors” has the captivating buzzed-out bass beat that invokes the same feeling of intrigue I got when I first heard The S.O.N. EP. Tracks like “Greene Eyes”, “Good Days” and “Long Tokes” are the type of head-nodders that rely heavily on raw sample loops. As long as Quelle Chris keeps making music, you can count on me to cover it.
Skip Rage – Rowdy Babe$ & Cold Beer
I swear, sometimes I don’t know why I even bother with some of this rap shit. I mean I am clearly not the target market for any of this, yet I feel some weird obligation to give all of it a try. Skip Rage is from the new school of New Yorkers that do rap music in a way that is anything but stereotypical New York rap – you know, “the new New York” or whatever. Rowdy Babe$ & Cold Beers, as you may have guessed by looking at the name and cover art, is on some straight spring break shit. It’s void of any lyrical substance, it has dubstep beats, it has chopped & screwed hooks, and its’ ripe with virtually every current rap cliché possible – poppin’ Molly, smokin’ weed, sippin’ syrup, replacing vowels in words with Vs or Xs, gettin’ dat pussy, getting’ dat money, etc. Take for example the hook from “Blvck Bandana”, a track which features a verse from Ninjasonik’s Telli and production by SpaceGhostPurrp: “Ratchet-ass bitches – they can eat a dick/A trill-ass bitch is who I’m fuckin’ with.” Skip Rage is exactly the reason parents and politicians hate rap music. He’s also kind of why I love it. But please don’t tell that to my mother, girlfriend, employer, or anyone who might have an ounce of respect for me.
Termanology – Hood Politics 7
In what is already the seventh edition of Termanology’s Hood Politics series of tapes, the Boston emcee continues to prove his worth – maintaining a mutual respect amongst his contemporaries, as well as positioning himself, should he be given the chance, to take a run at the mainstream. The tape's early bid for best track finds Term teaming up with longtime 1982 partner beastsmith Statik Selektah for “I Fuck Fans.” Statik lends the track some extra mileage with his flawless record scratching. Raekwon, Method Man, Cappadonna and others join Term on the posse cut “Men of Respect.” The song is held together nicely with some hard-hitting boom-bap courtesy of Mathematics. Midway through tape, once again with Statik behind the boards and on the cuts, “Something Special” shows Term flexing hard-edged street rhymes redolent of past releases like Fizzyology. I’m not much for the softer R&B or dance-y infections that show up throughout the tape, but that’s likely the route that will take Termanology to the next level, should it happen. At 20 tracks long there is definitely some filler here, but it’s worth the download just for the 10 or so bangers.
Western Tink & Beautiful Lou – Mobbin’ No Sobbin’
My initial reaction is to call this blogger-approved rap, which, yes, I do realize is ironic considering I’m talking about it on a blog. I’m just saying that much in the same way that Fucked Up or Iceage are punk bands applauded largely by not-very-punk indie rock websites and their readership, Mobbin’ No Sobbin’ strikes me as the type of rap that would get favorable attention from outlets where the people writing about it don’t normally like rap music that isn’t, for lack of a better term, weird. To further my point, Beautiful Lou’s most popular beats to date are the ones he has done for Lil B and Kitty Pride & Riff Raff. After a lackluster start the tape begins warming up with “Gity Up.” Western Tink goes hard over Lou’s fuzzy, screwed trap beat: “Fuck the laws, fuck the rules, fuck your family, and you’re dead homies too.” One of the best songs comes mid-tape with “Bounce Back,” an infectious stripper pole-ready jump track that commands neck snapping from the listener. The song accurately encompasses the tape as a whole – it’s bass-heavy Texas rap where everything is at a favorable level of loudness that borders on distortion. Mobbin’ No Sobbin’ is a solid tape front to back and totally worth the download.
Various Artists – New York Renaissance
Whether or not you believe that New York was in need of a rap “renaissance” probably depends on your history of seeking out and actually listening to rap music, what region of the country you prefer your rap music to come from, and/or if you only hear what’s on the radio or MTV Jams and BET. Personally, as someone who never quit listening to rap—especially boom-bap—I don’t think New York (or East Coast for that matter) rap ever went away. That being said, I’m thoroughly excited about New York’s current crop of underground up ‘n’ comers, even If I’m hesitant to treat them as some sort of hip-hop messiahs. New York Renaissance is compilation of said newbies, curated by NYC radio station Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg. If you’re already hip to Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$, Smoke DZA, Troy Ave, Flatbush Zombies, Harry Fraud, A$AP Rocky, Oddisee or Homeboy Sandman then you’ll probably dig it. If you’ve never heard of these names or listened to any of their material, then you should at least see what all the hype is about. I’m kind of wondering where Mr. MFN eXquire is on this thing, but other than that I don’t have many complaints. I like Smoke DZA & The Kid Daytona’s song simply because it’s called “Arn & Tully,” which is a reference to one of the greatest tag-teams in the history of professional wrestling. And the live radio freestyles will appeal to fans of hip-hop radio shows.
My partners in crime and I have just released new issues of two different zines. HotDogDayz is 40 pages, front to back; primarily image-based - photos, found items, art, etc.; and photocopied - mostly in color. The Soda Killers, a rap, punk and graffiti affair, is 48 pages, front to back; with record and show reviews, graffiti flicks, and more; it's a cut 'n' paste layout; photocopied - mostly in B&W, with some color. Both are issues #3, and both are available for free, trade, or donation.
Minneapolis, MN, 4/20/13
Despite being fairly worn out from the previous evening—one which had me visiting three different venues, seeing six different bands, and imbibing at least twice as many beverages—I managed to pull myself together enough to get out and partake in one of my favorite days of the year: Record Store Day
By the time I arrived at Extreme Noise, the place was busting at the seams with people; spikes, studs, patches, and an abundance of black clothing in tow. You couldn’t swing a dead cat (or a white guy’s dreadlock) without hitting someone who plays in a local punk band. Extreme Noise is a volunteer-run co-op record store that deals primarily in the vast subgenres of punk and hardcore, with a stitch of metal thrown in—usually something in the realms of black, death, or thrash. That being said, there was a used copy of Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience in the CD bin. I don’t know what’s weirder; that Extreme Noise had it, or that some idiot got rid of theirs. Anyway, it’s not unusual to find records priced at say, $9.37 or $13.57 or a similarly odd yet cheap price. Although I’ve known several people that have volunteered there over the years, I’ve never asked the question, but if I had to guess I would say it’s based on some mathematical equation that’s devised to not charge the customer any more than the distro price plus whatever it takes to operate the place.
As they have for the past few years, they had a hot dog roller from which they were serving up piping-hot veggie dogs. For the second year in a row I narrowly escaped the double-dog, despite the playful nudging of the two guys handing them out. One of which, I recognized as the bass player from Kontrasekt. Instead I had a Roundy’s cola, which is something, I can say with 99% certainty that I will never do again. I love a good cheap cola, but it appears Roundy’s only falls into the latter half of that category. I’m not sure how many bands were supposed to play, but I ended up missing all of them, save an earful of Scaphe every so often whenever someone would open the door to the backroom where they were playing. Midway through my mission of browsing every single record in the store, I stopped to have a great basketball conversation with one of the volunteers. Punks who love basketball are some of my favorite people. After an hour or so, I left with a grip of new vinyl and zines under my arm. My only regrets are missing the bands, and not adding the discography LP of ‘80s Italian hardcore band Stinky Rats and the Rival Mob’s Mob Justice to the pile. Save something for next time I suppose.
My next stop was Fifth Element, the all hip-hop store owned and operated by local-gone-national-gone-global juggernaut, Rhymesayers Entertainment. Parked in front of the store for the day, the World Street Kitchen food truck was selling tasty treats like tofu burritos and shrimp tacos. I stupidly abstained from any of their delicious-looking items, citing caloric restrictions as my lame-ass reason. This is something anyone who takes one look at me would know is total bullshit, but it makes me feel better about myself to pretend. As with years past, inside the store was a zoo of kids, draped in designer tees, New Era caps and colorful sneakers. I considered snagging the Nametag & Nameless joint Namesake or re-upping a copy of the Micronauts’ classic ’00 album Obelisk Movements to CD but was deterred by incredibly long lines at the register. After milling about, I decided to bounce, but not before catching a DJ set by Noam The Drummer, who spun all selections from the store’s used bin.
My third and final stop of the day was Hymies Vintage Records. Hymies, a mom and pop store in the truest sense of the term, is one of the Twin Cities premiere destinations for vinyl novices and collectors alike. They have a ginormous selection of music, in wide variety genres, and the product turnover is pretty frequent. It’s the kind of place that will have you asking where the hand sanitizer is on the way out the door. Needless to say, they go all out for Record Store Day. They had two stages alternating live music all day—one inside in the back of the store, and another outside. On the side street next to the store they constructed a mini block party so to speak. In addition to the stage, there were various artists’ booths and a beer tent sponsored by nearby pub, Merlin’s Rest. It was the kind of happening where you can get posters, pottery and Pabst Blue Ribbon. (The three Ps?) There were several boxes of cheap 45s and 10 cent LPs, but I steered myself as far away as possible, therefore making it easy to resist the urge that would no doubt have me picking up a bunch ancient big band records and musty Christmas albums that would never get spun. I considered dropping a couple bucks on cassettes of Keel’s The Right to Rock and Dokken’s Breaking the Chains but truth is I probably already have those leftover remnants of adolescence rotting in a storage bin in the garage. Instead I opted to spend my remaining cash on tallboys in the beer tent, where I ran into and subsequently enjoyed ridiculous laughter-filled conversation with several friends. To hell with calorie counting!
Poster artist DWITT said it was the largest Hymie’s RSD event he’s ever seen. Even though it was pretty chilly, it was the nicest weather we’ve had in a long time, which probably contributed to the large crowd. The local music community was out in full force. Despite the numerous bands that played, I spotted Toki Wright flipping through records alongside members of Pink Mink, while dudes from the Doomtree stable chatted with local street artists. I caught sets by an unnamed singer songwriter, rap group Big Quarters, and indie soul act Southside Desire. In between acts, DJ Truckstash (who by day is the area’s most well-known PBR rep) spun records by The Animals and the Fat Boys, in addition to a bunch of rockin' country tunes from his eclectic mix of 45s.
Shaved Women – Self-Titled LP (Rotted Tooth, 2011)
Milk Music – Cruise Your Illusion LP (Fat Possum, 2013)
So Much Hate – How We Feel LP (Norwegian Leather, 2007 [reissue from ‘87])
No Power – No Peace LP (Sorry State, 2013)
Boston Strangler – Primitive (Fun With Smack, 2012)
Cokskar – Reptitive Stress 7” (Self-Released, 2013)
Raw Meat – Self-Titled 7” (Vinyl Rites, 2013)
Wild Child – Self-Titled 7” (Deranged, 2013)
Aseptic zine – Issue #2
More Noise zine – Issue #6
More Noize zine – Issue #9
Maximum RockNRoll zine – Issue #360, May 2013
The Men live; 7th St Entry; Minneapolis, MN; 4/12/13
On just the third night of their North American tour, Brooklyn-based band The Men landed in Minneapolis for a packed-in show at the world famous 7th St Entry. Despite being an 18+ event, the 30 to 40-something crowd was out in full force; a welcomed contingent that’s become increasingly more prevalent at shows around the Twin Cities in the last 10 years or so. In the moments before the The Men were to play, you could feel an anticipatory energy make its way around the venue. The smallish room, which was already nearing capacity, seemed to become even stuffier as empty glasses began piling up on any available flat space and drained tallboys dropped to floor at an alarming, yet smile-inducing rate.
Without so much as a polite nod, The Men took to the stage and went right into a newer, as of yet unrecorded song, “Dark Waltz.” The crowd wasted no time getting into the act, as bobbing heads and gyrating bodies took over the floor area in front of the stage. The band moved quickly into an especially raucous version of “The Brass.” It was one of what would be a large number of songs from their new album, New Moon.
Despite the tight confines of the Entry stage, the five-piece found plenty of room to thrash about, which seemed even more impressive considering the presence of a Fender Rhodes piano. It appeared as though Ben Greenberg has joined Nick Chiericozzin on guitar duties for this tour, while Kevin Falkner picked up the bass, and Marc Perro’s concentration is primarily the keys, save an acoustic guitar or harmonica moment here ‘n’ there. (The Men rotate instruments at a rate that makes it particularly difficult to follow along, so forgive me if I reported some of this in error.)
At the end of “Without a Face”, Chiericozzi took a pull off of a bottle of Jose’ Cuervo tequila and comically stated, “It’s the third night of tour, which means my guitar is finally staying in tune.” He then paused, as if to contemplate his next thought before continuing, “We ran out of weed this morning…and I smell weed like, right here…so, like….I will be here, ya know…hint, hint.” They then slide gently into the smooth tones of “The Seeds.”
The room really started to heat up by the time the band hit the middle of their set, which included “Candy” from last year’s breakout album Open Your Heart, and rollicking versions of “I Saw Her Face”, “Electric” and “Freaky.” Chiericozzi and Greenberg traded soaring guitar solos in impressive fashion, as Faulkner and drummer Rich Sammis keep things moving along at punk rock clips. When the band concluded their set with “Open Your Heart”, faces were sweaty, clothing had been removed, and half-drank beers had been flung; leaving the floor a slippery mess, the likes of which were complicated for the buzzed-up masses to navigate.
At the request of the boisterous audience, The Men returned to the stage once again for an encore. Striking dangerously close, but never veering off completely into jam band territory, they played a lengthy medley comprised of “Supermoon” from New Moon and “Night Landing” from 2011’s Leave Home.
Without a Face
I Saw Her Face
Open Your Heart
“The Men are like a punk band that decided to be the Allman Brothers…in a good way…if that’s possible.”
“The Men are like a punk band that wanted to put out a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young record on SST.”
“I can’t see the drummer, but I know he’s not wearing a shirt.”
Personal disclosure: I am not confident that the setlist is 100% correct, as I’m not 100% familiar with The Men. On top of that, my notes, which were written in complete darkness, became nearly unreadable once someone spilled beer all over them. That someone may or may have not been me.
(This review contains copious spoilers: if you intend to read the novel yourself, proceed with caution. We're posting it as a blog since it's not strictly music-related, despite being written by a prominent musician. Now read on!)
Joining the vast array of musicians-turned-novelists (wait, what?), Davey Havok of AFI fame throws his hat into the ring with this, his first book. Pop Kids is inspired by "pop stars, fashion models, celebrities, internet porn, social networking, reality TV, sex, drugs and vegan banana bread", and stars a cast of teenagers with dubious nicknames.
It's always a bold move when artists make the jump from one medium to another, and personally I've always treated the move with a little suspicion, like when Michael Jordan reinvented himself as a baseball player after his first retirement. It's not always a given that talents in one area translate to similar skills in another, and I'm not entirely sure this is the case with Pop Kids.
The first thing that hits you about this novel is the sheer amount of branding. Within the first few pages I was left wondering if the product placement was intentional: McQueen, iPhone, San Pellegrino, Hello Kitty and others are names that occur almost as much as those of the protagonists. Maybe this is Havok's way of highlighting the brand-obsessed youth of today and the commercialised culture that dominates the LA scene, but it becomes particularly wearing as the novel plays on.
Then you have the characters: rarely can I remember reading a book with this many unlikeable creations. It's not that they're all obnoxious ciphers, but mostly that they're paper-thin and two-dimensional, to the point where I could barely summon up the energy to remember who was who after yet another exhausting chapter of references to "MK", "Score", "Lynch" and other self-created nicknames (do you know anybody who successfully made their own nickname work?). The protagonist's constant references to veganism and straight edge were both twee and proselytising in equal measures: either we get saccharine lines like "a fresh, locally baked low-fat cranberry scone from Cherie Cherie is waiting for me in the breadbox", or we get preachy asides like "my guests begin poisoning their minds and bodies [with alcohol]". Havok has said in promotional material that Score, the lead character, is not meant to represent the author, but it's hard to not take this view the more these references are shoehorned in.
An unaddressed issue with Score's prominent opposition to alcohol is his nonchalance when it comes to taking advantage of the drunken state of the girls he's sleeping with: "Gross. Wine is just unacceptable. [...] the alcohol could encourage a second round of activities". Perhaps this is just to make a point of the contradictions and confusions of being a teenager, but it still felt like an ugly trait in a character knowing Havok's hardline stance on alcohol.
Similarly, there's a scene midway through where Score, who makes constant references to "Moz" in place of "God", and whose brother's beloved Smiths t-shirt is a prominent plot element, has to go and google Johnny Marr to find out who he is. While Havok is quick to address the "mortification" of his lead character, it feels quite hard to swallow: a huge Smiths fan treating Morrissey as his deity who's never heard the name Johnny Marr before? Giving Havok the benefit of the doubt and assuming he's using this to make another point about the vapid, bandwagon-jumping hipster crowd, all this serves to do is to make the protagonist even more obnoxiously unlikeable.
"I awake to her opulent gaze. In here, here eyes have wildly waxed to an almost golden hue".
- Pop Kids
Characters aside, the actual text of the novel is another difficult challenge. Passages are littered with purple prose, with a highlight being this gem: "I awake to her opulent gaze. In here, here eyes have wildly waxed to an almost golden hue". Without playing the literary snob card, this kind of prose is the sort of thing written by people who really want to call themselves "writers", believing that overly-flowery language and clever reappropriation of obscure adverbs marks them out as a modern-day Wilde. In spoken word readings by Havok from the novel, these passages come alive a little and are granted depth and feeling by the singer's rich, deep voice. On paper, though, they feel overwrought and mood-breaking.
One thing that has to be addressed is the fairly poor attention to detail when it comes to proofreading the text. This is a first edition so of course there are errors that go unnoticed, but the sheer amount of misspellings and poor grammar become hard to ignore as you read: "security breech" was one of my favourites, but there were plenty of references to people: Vanessa "Hudgins", Miley "Sirus", "Agnes Dean" (I presume Agyness Deyn), "heroine" (meaning the drug). Similarly, there's flagrant apostrophe abuse too: "the Hugh's classic" (referring to John Hughes' The Breakfast Club), "Dad make's fresh pesto", and perhaps worst of all, a reference to the musical, "Cat's". Nobody's perfect and errors happen but this doesn't help the feeling that the book is a bit of a vanity project, with little strict editing that it could've benefited from.
The part I've left till last to discuss is the plot. That's because it's by far the least prominent part of the novel: there barely is one. There are seventy chapters in this book. Seventy. But barely anything happens for any of them. There are so, so many copious sex scenes that I genuinely don't want to even contemplate the topic for at least the next week. Had I known before picking this up that it would've been a kind of underage scene kid version of Fifty Shades of Grey I wouldn't have bothered. Constant euphemisms around "glittering joy" or "French dressing" (semen) or "my Producer" and "production house" (penises) make these some of the most awkward and cringeworthy sex scenes ever, not helped by their repetitive frequency. It seems like every other chapter has a girl giving Score an unexpected blowjob in a cinema projection room, or an all-out orgy of seventeen-year-olds watching communal porn. I honestly found myself gritting my teeth as yet another sex scene came up, wondering if I could just skip the chapter.
The story revolves around these illicit "Premieres", which start off as underground film screenings and quickly devolve into free-for-all swingers' clubs made up of local teenagers and even one of their teachers. There's also a somewhat pointless subplot which sees local churches mysteriously burning down, but this is spoilered almost from the opening words as we see the protagonist burning down the cinema at the "end" of story, leaving little mystery as to who was burning down the churches, too. This attempt at Pulp Fiction-esque non-linear narrative is poorly rendered: the novel ends without a clear circular reference back to this point meaning I had to re-read the prologue chapter again to remind myself what happened.
I had expected a grand denouement: there's an unexplained murder (or is there?) and nothing seems to come of it, and we never hear whether Score gets implicated for his presumed role in burning down public buildings. The closest we get is a moment where our hero is hauled into the principal's office, but manages to come out of it unscathed and unchallenged. I genuinely wanted to see him brought down and made to own up to his illicit activities, which probably says something about my weariness with the whole thing by this point. Honestly, the book could've been half its length and still wouldn't have made much of its weak story. I finished the book feeling no warmth toward any of the characters, no interest in what they did next, and a strong desire not to see the words "San Pellegrino", "faded vintage tee" or "oral joy" again for the rest of my life.
We know there's a sequel coming up (or at least other books by Havok). I can say with conviction that I won't be reading it unless some serious editing takes place next time. This smacks too much of self-indulgence: the plot is dull and almost in the background; the characters aren't well-observed and lack any depth; the writing is sloppy and overblown. There are some interesting moments (the repeated, obscure references to moths filling Score's mouth and escaping at inopportune times is genuinely interesting and creative) but these are forced into the background by the loud, dumb sex scenes and their spinoff dramas.
In Havok's defence, he's hardly positioning the novel as a piece of classic literature or everyone-must-read-this mainstream bestseller. It's clearly aimed at an underground/alternative audience with familiarity with the subject matter. Havok's press interviews suggest he's written the book to try to imagine what his youth would've been like in the age of smartphones, the internet and social networking. I therefore expected intelligent and cutting portrayals of disposable culture, empty pop culture sentiment and youthful obsession. Instead, it just doesn't quite manage to make any profound point or statement: it presents some 2D characters and a brief look at their privileged lives, tries -- and fails -- to set up a compelling plot, and then strings these things out like paper dolls, baldly demonstrating that there's almost no substance or glue holding them together. We don't get any sense of something being explored or revealed, except that teenagers sometimes put private stuff on the public internet. We don't feel like the modern sense of blasé, seen-it-all-before attitude has any real impact or meaning. We don't learn why we should care about anything that happens in the text.
Much of the sex scenes feature men urgently pleasuring themselves before finally dumping a wad of "joy" on a couch for someone to clean up later. This feels like an apt metaphor for Pop Kids: masturbatory, self-indulgent, tacky and in need of a cleanup.
Score: 4 / 10
Tegan and Sara were appreciated by Albany, NY last month when they came to the Upstate Concert Hall, the first time they've visited since the duo released So Jealous, which was in 2004...literally almost a decade ago. "We need to come to Albany more," Tegan Quin declared after playing the first couple songs of sisters' set, which were mostly from their newest accomplishement, Heartthrob, their seventh studio album and most successful in terms of sales, debuting at number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Even though they played almost every song from Heartthrob that night, the girls also stuck to their roots, playing the infamous "Walking with a Ghost," a few from The Con and Sainthood and even added a cover to their setlist (Prince's "When You Were Mine"). They started the night with "Back in Your Head," with Tegan on guitar and Sara on keyboards, which is how it was most of the night.
Probably the biggest showstopper of the night was "Call it Off," a song that at first, seems like a throwaway but it's one of those songs where if you listen to it a couple times, you'll notice all of the idiosyncrasies in the recording...and they definitely pulled them off live as well. Another highlight was during their encore, where they compilled a medley of 9 songs from their various albums throughout the years. It was a good way to get other songs into the set that normally wouldn't have been able to be played due to time constraints. Some of the songs in the medley included "You Wouldn't Like Me," "Hop on a Plane," and "On Directing".
It's obvious on their recordings, but was validated during their live show, that Tegan is the stronger voice of the two. I'm not sure if it's a confidence issue or what it is, since they pretty much have the exact same voice being twins and everything, she's just way more present than Sara.
Since this was the beginning of the tour, the girls were a little rusty with harmonizing together. Not to mention, if it's the first time they're performing new material during tour, it's going to take some time to perfect things. Regardless, the sisters put on a great show and even called themselves out when they weren't on their a-game. They even re-started "Alligator" due to Sara confusing verses, by her exclaiming over the instruments, "No, I fucked up! I fucked up!" The other song they had some severe problems with harmonizing together was "Now I'm All Messed Up," one of my favorites from Heartthrob. It's nice to see a band that can make fun of themselves and be completely aware that they're human and sometimes, musicians will in fact, fuck up. The difference between a good and bad show, is how the band will deal with that. Showing their sense of humor and confidence in their talent, the two definitely prevailed and performed an animated and ecclectic show.
Medley (My Number/Monday, Monday, Monday/You Wouldn't Like Me/Superstar/Knife Going In/Hop A Plane/Sentimental Tune/On Directing/I Know I Know I Know)
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Fun. are back on the road selling out shows again. This time however, they didn't just sell out one show, but 3 nights at the illustrious Wiltern Theater in Los ... read more
Murder by Death are preparing the release of their 6th studio album, Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon, while celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their first LP, Like The Exorcist, but More ... read more
Well, it's high time that progressive music got a good, high-ish-profile awards show, and now, thanks to Prog Magazine, we have one. The bad news is that it stlil shows ... read more
Japandroids live, 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis, MN, 7/3/12 When a touring band starts their set by saying, “It feels like we’re back home, Minneapolis”, the natural instinct is to go ... read more
LeBron James is Four Titles and a Rape Allegation Away From Becoming Kobe Bryant: How the Miami Heat Winning is Bad for Basketball Now I know that we here at ... read more
Royal Headache, The Arrivals, Condominium live, Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis, MN, 6/9/12 It was with some intrigue and, admittedly, mostly trepidation that I made my way to the Triple ... read more
Hot Water Music just released their new album, Exister, and recently spent a couple nights in So-Cal to warm up the new songs before they head out to Europe this ... read more
There are a few cultural constants we all come to understand depending on where we come from, and growing up in Vermont is no exception. Amongst other things, many develop ... read more
Once again, fun. are on the road and Scene Point Blank was there to catch another great show. The band's playing the clubs in support of their sophomore record, Some ... read more
I had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual Musink Fest in Costa Mesa, CA--a festival blending live music and an appreciation for tattoo art--hosted by LA Ink star, Kat ... read more
Cursive recently began touring in support of their 7th studio album, I Am Gemini. I had the privilege of catching their show in Pomona, CA where they played a great ... read more
I know we don't usually review websites here at Scene Point Blank, but we just couldn't help ourselves after our editor in chief Loren received the following request: Hi,I'm Pheiné, ... read more
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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