Ringo Deathstarr at DC9
I hope that Ringo Deathstarr were going for the discothèque look on purpose. This couldn't possibly have been an accident.
The disco look is not the least bit suited to the band's music. Okay, sometimes they get a little funky but just a smattering here and there. More of their songs are either in a dream-pop vein or a more vicious alt-hard rock style (seeing as how we're breaking out the foreign characters today, think Hüsker Dü?) All of it distorted and twisted a bit too far for comfort. Let me put it this way, one of their new songs is called "Chainsaw Morning". In the song they keep chanting that phrase, not in a harsh way, but it's dang unnerving. Can you think of a pleasant interpretation of that lyric? Me either.
So yeah, the disco look is all wrong for them. They need something more melancholy and seedy. Perhaps a horror-movie set?
Nobunny at Baby's All Right
I have been a little bit disappointed with some of Nobunny's more recent albums, but damn is he ever a great live performer. So many of the songs which seem a little too mellow on record take on new life when he's belting them out in person. Unless you're deathly afraid of dirty kleenex you should go see him live. Soooo much fun!
Big Ups at Baby's All Right
Big Ups have a quiet-loud style which you don't hear too often in punk circles. The nice thing about that is that the "quiet" part is that you can actually understand what they're saying. Or maybe more to the point, the band has to write lyrics which mean something because if they don't the audience will figure out how silly they are. Big Ups are definitely not silly. They sing about life and death, about modern-day information overload, and generally serious stuff. Then they get to the loud part, singer Joe Galarraga starts doing yoga and punk rock at the same time, and the crowd shifts into raw survival mode.
Someone shot a video of this show and I'm in it! Sorry about getting in the way of the camera at 1:58 there. Anyway, if you want to check out Big Ups live without being bruised and beaten then either stand near the back of the room or watch that video (or this one).
Lady Lamb The Beekeeper at Glasslands Gallery
Silly me, I just wrote something about how how hard it is to take photos at Glasslands, then I took some photos at Glasslands. Silly me. I guess they turned the lights up a bit this time? Not much, but a bit.
I was introduced to Lady Lamb the Beekeeper during her time as a solo artist. She's this little lady with a really big voice. When she sings with soul she just blows people away, and she has decent guitar chops too. Obviously quite a few people aside from me have become quite impressed with her over the years since she is now headlining at venues like Glasslands.
Seeing her with a band is a little different than catching her solo show. The fellows in the rhythm section don't sing (probably just as well) and only play on some songs. When they do join in they add a sense of urgency to the music, making it a bit less like folk and a bit more like rock. This makes the pacing is more predictable, which also makes the music less personal. You know she isn't going to draw out one particularly noteworthy lyric or stop the song to crack a joke or anything like that. With the band it becomes less of a performance and more of a show.
Perhaps that is what happens when an artist goes from playing small rooms to headlining at medium-sized venues and touring Europe. Artists have to change and grow, such is life and all that. And as a side note I don't recall seeing her play banjo before either. Of course changes like that can alienate lazy old fans who still want to see the exact thing they're used to seeing. Perhaps aware of this, Lady Lamb The Beekeeper does some songs in the old solo style, some of the new accompanied style, and occasionally does something totally different like playing that banjo. That's probably the right compromise.
Herbcraft at Saint Vitus
Here is a short photo set of a band which played a short set. Or at least I think they did. Herbcraft's songs flowed so cleanly into one another that I can't even say how many they played. Three? Four?
Herbcraft are a two-piece from Maine who have been around for a couple of years so they've had the time to fine-tune their sound. Their music is mesmerizing, with layers of intriguing rhythms supporting ephemeral vocals and vaguely Eastern guitarwork. Unfortunately this sort of music is not conductive to keeping track of things like song counts or time. Especially when it is done so well.
On a side note the Saint Vitus calendar originally listed the show opener as "Herb Craft". So did this site's calendar because I got the listing from Saint Vitus's website. When I finally got around to checking the band out on Facebook things got interesting. Apparently one Mr. "Herbert Craft" is retired and lives in South Carolina. He probably does not play in a psych-rock band. A second "Herb Crafts" claims to be a shoe designer for Vans (wrong venue!) The third and last Herb Craft has no profile picture and no public info. He (?) is a Facebook ghost.
Electric Tickle Machine at Don Pedro
What's blue and electric and tickles? The amps at Don Pedro if you stand real close. As for the band Electric Tickle Machine, they don't have the sheer auditory firepower of some of those punk bands I keep going to see, but they're all right. They have enough energy, especially the cheerleader guy, and a few really good songs.