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Friday, October 26, 2012

Paul Collins Beat, The Girls, Pretty Pretty

Paul Collins Beat is the name of Paul Collins and his backing band - in the case of his show last night at Ace of Cups, three Australian dudes.

I had never heard of Paul Collins, nor did I know his influence on modern music. This dude has been around the block a few times, and you can tell he's a pro and takes his music seriously (while having a good time playing it). His stage demeanor is humble and modest born out of seeing it all before.

I can't name any specific songs, as I said, prior to last night, I knew nothing about the man or his music. But I'm certainly going to investigate his extensive catalogue after witnessing his performance.

His musical style at this show was mostly pop-punk/power pop - catchy chorus', fast guitars, rhythm guitarist and bassist providing back-up vocals on the chorus'. Songs about girls and good times.

Middle band was The Girls, which has 5 members and only two of which are women. They were excellent as well. I saw them play at Carabar a few weeks ago, where I wasn't impressed, but they brought a lot more energy to this show.

My date and I couldn't help but laugh at the make-up of the band. Like I said, the music was excellent, but band seems to be made up of an irregular cast of misfits; from left to right...

  • The bassist seemed to take playing the bass VERY seriously. Even when his strap fell off and a roadie/fan was trying to help put it back on, he didn't miss a note. 
  • Jessica Wabbit (or Rabbit, she played in another band that I reviewed here) is the pixie-sized singer/guitarist who has an incredible voice. Her between song banter consisted of one-line zingers and taking her shirt off, and telling The Angriest Tambourine Player to take her shirt off as well.
  • The Drummer was an ogre and really kicked ass on the drums. 
  • The Angriest Tambourine Player was just that - an angry tambourine player. She also sang some back-up and danced; all while scowling. Which was kind of impressive considering how energetic she was.
  • Lastly, the second guitarist was Metal Dude who looked like he was in the wrong band. He was super into the music, though, and looked like he was having a blast. 
The opener was Pretty Pretty, a rockin' 3-piece punk band that I definitely want to check out again. You can listen to some of their songs on Bandcamp for free. I wish I could say more about them, but not today.

For more on Paul Collins and The Girls, hit the following links;
Paul Collins' official website - and his myspace page

The Girls on Bandcamp 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sleep Fleet at Carabar

One of the best things about where I live (and there are a lot of cool things) is that I can walk to Carabar in approximately 7 minutes.

So when I heard that Sleep Fleet not only relocated from Dayton to Columbus, but is also playing a show at Carabar, I made it a point to attend. The bassist for Sleep Fleet, Nick, is a former co-worker of mine, has one of the best mustaches in the city, and knows more about cars than I ever will. Seriously, the dude is a mechanic. I used to ask him questions all the time.

This Is My Suitcase opened and I assume they performed well, as I missed all but the end of their last song.

Sleep Fleet was the wiener between the buns (so to speak), and performed... I don't even know... noise punk? Nah, that's stupid. No point being that specific to label anything. I hate labels. Sleep Fleet blasted out some loud, obnoxious, feedback filled, sonic destruction.

I loved it.

Sleep Fleet killed it.

See these dudes every time they play. Also, Nick has an awesome mustache and loves talking about mustache upkeep and styling. He even told me his secret to his up-twirled mustache. I won't reveal it, simply because it is THAT awesome.

He also convinced me to regrow my beard.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Buzz is a good thing.

I was hanging with Michelle at Ravari Room a few weeks ago and met two of the guys from Sundown. One of them asked me if I knew of the band and I replied that I had heard of them, but hadn't listened to them yet.

He looked visibly disappointed upon hearing this.

Look, in this town, where you can throw a rock in any direction and have a 50% chance of hitting someone who is either in a band or doesn't care about local music at all, meeting someone who has at least heard of your band shouldn't be cause for disappointment.

That's called buzz, son, and a lot of bands would kill for it.

I don't know if Sundown has even put out any albums, EPs, singles, or splits. I don't know anything about them other than what I gathered from meeting these two dudes.

But I've heard of them. Their name is in my head. Which means I will, at some point, go to a show they are playing or look them up on bandcamp or something.

Actually, they are playing tonight, and Michelle and I are already planning to go. She's friends with the dudes in Psychic Wheels, who are also playing.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Secret Cities at Ace of Cups

You know what grinds my gears?

Unknown bands that never say what their name is.

The band (I'm assuming local) that opened for Secret Cities did not mention their name. Not before their set, not after their set, not even during their set. They mentioned that they have a CD for sale, "For two dollars, but you might be able to talk us down."

There are several reasons I'd like to know a band's name; if I like them and want to check 'em out later, if I despise them and want to be able to avoid them as if they were an airborne plague of HIV.

Whatever this band was called, they sat squarely in the latter encampment.

The drummer would periodically quit drumming, mid-song, to play what sounded like one of those little Casio keyboards you get out of the back page of a Boy's Life magazine for selling enough subscriptions or chocolate bars. It probably was an expensive piece of equipment, but that doesn't matter. He stopped drumming to play a ridiculously simple drum beat that was probably one of the pre-set beats on the thing already. 

I'm having trouble explaining this adequately, I think...

He could have played the exact same beat, that would have sounded a million times better, if he hadn't of stopped drumming to fool around with the shitty keyboard.

Lyrically, it was banal, ball-less, ballad, bullshit.

These dudes were, without doubt, the worst live band I've seen in my memory. 

However, the bassist, when not speaking to the crowd in a condescendingly faux-humble tone, was pretty good at playing his instrument.

The saddest part, was that the majority of the 30 people in attendance were friends of this band, and didn't stick around for Secret Cities.

Secret Cities is a three-piece from Fargo, North Dakota that is currently on a U.S. tour. They stopped at Ace of Cups on Wednesday, which sucks, because Wednesday is the worst night of the week for a live band to play in this city, and their opener was God-fucking-awful.

Secret Cities was very good. Their music was tight, they were humorous, "This next one is going to take you to a dark place. So hold your best girl close... and kill her." 

Unlike the first band, who seemed to try to be everything they could (and badly), Secret Cities knew exactly what they were trying to accomplish musically, and did it with gusto.


Myself and Random Black Guy had to ask 6 or 7 people before we found someone who knew who the band was.

Btw, Random Black Guy agreed with my assessment of the first band, and we agreed on how good Secret Cities was.

If they come back to Columbus (I hope they do, even though they were showed little love by a shitty crowd on a Wednesday night) I definitely recommend catching them. 

They even have a hot keyboard player; "We have stuff for sale over there and our hot keyboardist will be there too!" "No I won't." "Yes you will."

Secret Cities on Facebook

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nothing mainstream is punk. Nothing.

This article states that a song by Taylor Swift is "punk."

The article itself states that it could have been an Avril Lavigne (hereby called "Anal Ravine") song, as they both have the same song writer, and this song sounds exactly like an Anal Ravine song. There is absolutely nothing punk about this. Punk isn't about angry rich girls who are sad about a made-up boyfriend breaking up with them. It's about social, political, and cultural values. Usually, about how those values need to change in a violent way. It's about anger at the system. How many Black Flag, Clash, Sex Pistols, Subhumans, Total Chaos, Rancid, NOFX, Agent Orange, Sloppy Seconds, GG Allin, or Pennywise songs were about a breakup?

Check out the link. Write Ann Powers, and tell her that she doesn't speak for punk music. She has no fucking clue what punk music is. She's a fool, a charlatan, and an idiot who wrote a steaming pile of shit in order to try to equate corporate mainstream crap with a sub-genre she doesn't understand.

Here is what Ann Powers thinks punk music sounds like.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Divine Fits at Ace of Cups

I gotta admit, I'm a big Sam Brown fan. He's the sole reason I was excited about this band and this show. First with the New Bomb Turks, then later I got into Gaunt (which is kinda backwards, since he was in Gaunt before the Turks; but hey, these things happen) and I just got The Sun's DVD on Friday, but have yet to check it out. I actually didn't know Brown was in The Sun when I purchased it. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Lets be clear; there is a lot of buzz about this band. Pitchfork and Rolling Stone both have hard-ons for the Divine Fits... and they haven't even released an album yet. They're being called a "super group," which I find amusing because the vast majority of people haven't heard of any of the band the members have been in. Expectations among the elitists are high, so how were those expectations met?

Opening band was Connections. They played indie-pop, have 4-6 members, and that's about all I can tell you. I didn't pay them enough attention to give an accurate assessment. Perhaps in the future.

The Divine Fits...

The lads (calling a band, "the lads," is a music writer cliche) looked like they had a lot of fun on stage. Which is always nice, because music is emotional and the emotions of a band come out in their performance.

Dan Boekner (of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs) did most of the singing and interplay with the audience. After the first song, he named dropped Brown and the crowd cheered (as they damn well should). After that, there wasn't a whole lot of talking other than Boekner happily exclaiming that this was the band's fifth show ever.

Speaking of Boekner; the best word to physically describe him is "spindly." After the Divine Fits finished, they left the stage and walked past me; Boekner happily slapped me on the back as he passed and I was slightly worried his arm might break off.

I'm not knocking the guy; he seemed genuinely happy to be there, playing in this little club for 150 people. That's really cool.

Divine Fits played around 12 songs; which is short considering the longest song they played was a cover of Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky." Or maybe it just seemed short because I was having a good time?

Musically, the songs reminded me a lot of Spoon, which is Britt Daniel's regular gig. This surprised me because the two singles that have been released don't sound anything like Spoon. 

Okay, so here's the skinny; The band enjoyed themselves. The audience enjoyed themselves.

For 15 bucks, I believe I got my money's worth.

Monday, July 2, 2012

One of the greatest quotes of all time

"Children should not be allowed to create music, their pathetic feeble inexperienced minds can do nothing but cling to dull dimwitted jams of verse chorus verse pastiche conjured with the artistic equivalent of a McDonald's fry cook... blind do their voices relentlessly call out, drowning the sublime with their mediocrity. And so entails the horrors of modern day musical society... LMFAO's and Arcade Fires, Lady Gagas and Flo Ridas, Kurt Cobain's and Radioheads, white panics and cetera et cetera.

And to think, these pretentious children categorize themselves into generic little clubs waving their subgenera flags to proclaim unity, calling themselves rappers and punk rockers, indie rockers, emo metal heads, experimental blah blah blahs

Ha! I have had enough...Come Vivaldi, let us make haste and spin the world round with beauty" - Ben Whitney

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Carabar and "Post Rock"

Tonight I went to Carabar to buy cigarettes and a beer. I didn't realize it would be crowded, since Carabar doesn't promote any shows ever, and I hadn't heard of any of the bands playing before I got there. Couple things...

Carabar is pretty awesome for 3 reasons. The first is that it is two blocks from my apartment. The second is that Carabar's food is ridiculously good. The Helen Killer Cafe kills it. Taco Tuesday is possibly the best kept secret in Columbus. The Black and Blue burger is unlike anything you've ever had, and is delicious. It's vegan friendly with seperate fryers and cooking area for the vegan options. The third is that, when you actually, finally, get the attention of a bartender (not their fault, the bar is always crowded with "it's my first time at a bar" fuckbags that don't know to exit the area after they get their draft), they're friendly and nice and pour damn good drinks.

Tonight's band line-up was a series of rock bands. Unfortunately, at least one of these bands want to label themselves as "post-rock," a completely meaningless label that is used by hipster musicians and hipster non-musicians to describe progressive rock music. Oh! Your band plays melodic rock instrumentals? No "rock" band has ever done that before, so it MUST be, "post-rock," right?

 No... no band has done that before; Rush, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Joe Satriani, The Grateful Dead, or a hundred other bands that don't give themselves the pretentious and idiotic label of "post-rock," have ever done that before. No. Fucking. Way.

But anger at the semantics used by fools aside, I got there in time to catch a band called, "If Trees Could Talk." As my brotha J-fi said, if trees could talk, they would tell us to stop killing them; but that's not important right now. If Trees Could Talk the band was pretty damn good. They played tight (a couple mistakes but nothing to write home about) and heavy, and had a strong crowd that dug their music. I liked them... a lot.

The next, and headliner (I assume) was The End of the Ocean. The End of the Ocean was also pretty good, but they are the ones I point my "post-rock" ire at. I'm pretty sure it isn't "post-rock," to have two pretty girls in your band. Because other than that, there was nothing remotely close to "post-rock," about them. They played hard rock instrumentals; using two guitars, a drum, a bass, and a keyboard. Does that really sound like something that hasn't been heard a thousand times before in rock music? Does that sound unique? Perhaps if you've never listened to rock music. If that's the case, I can't really say. I can only speak for myself and the majority of people in the entire fucking world.

The End of the Ocean is a good live band; I have nothing negative to say about their music at all. They had good energy that translated to the crowd; a lot to say of a band that plays only instrumentals. I enjoyed it, if only slightly less than I enjoyed If Trees Could Talk. But Christ Jesus on a pogo stick; no band should ever, EVER, EVER, call themselves "post"-anything. It is the mark of... well, of a mark; a sucker, a fool, a nincompoop.

It's a term that makes no sense. Post-Rock. Think about it for a minute. But not too long, I don't want anyone to have an aneurism while trying to understand the implications of Rock music that isn't actually Rock music, but is supposedly something AFTER Rock music.

Labeling yourself as "post-rock," is like tying a pretentious noose around your own neck. Let other, small-minded people put labels on you. That's what small-minded people do. But once you start labeling yourself and your own art, you've willfully put a cap on your own creativity.

All that being said, this show was the kick-off of a CD release and a national tour; I wish all of you the absolute best. Like I said, talented musicians playing good music.

I don't have links as my internet connection at this time is all kinds of awful, but I do know that you can hear them on both Spotify and Bandcamp and they have a Facebook page as well. I recommend giving them a listen, and buying their stuff.

Helen Killer Cafe at Carabar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ember Schrag - The Sewing Room

The Sewing Room is a full length album due out on July 10th of this year, and available now for pre-order (only $12) from Edible Onion Records. It is a beautiful, folksy album, that shows off the gorgeous voice of Ember Schrag through twelve haunting ballads. The first 100 copies are in handmade books that are so ridiculously cool that it makes you wonder why more albums aren't made like this.

The tempo is slow and the mood is a little dark, but not depressingly so. Slightly unsettling ballads that are both vivid recollections, but at the same time are coyly vague about just what exactly is going on. She doesn't spoon-feed the listener her thoughts or emotions; she forces the listener to make conclusions on their own, to think and imagine and decode the songs purpose. With each listen, you will hear something different that wrinkles what you thought previously. That's a wonderful talent to have, and Schrag performs it skillfully.

Schrag's voice is... enchanting. It's sweetly soft, incredibly rich, adorably simple, and cunningly complicated.

Within Ember Schrag's The Sewing Room, each song tells it's own story, and each sounds poignant and personal; telling tales of love, loss, wonder, and woe. It's worth mentioning that while the songs all sound similar to each other, none of them sound the same; each is obviously unique. That's rare these days where many bands and singers and songwriters pick a sound they are comfortable with and stick to it completely, to the point that all their songs sound the same and therefore disposable.

Also impressive is that the songs range in time from 1:42 to just over 4 minutes, with most running around 3 - 3:30. Unlike many other indie singer/songwriters, Schrag doesn't give in to creating overblown, long-winded, increasingly boring 5 minute songs in order to appease her own ego. While her voice is certainly what takes center-stage on the record, the backing music provided by an apparently rotating group of musicians (P.G. Six, Jonah Sirota (The Chiara Quartet), Amy Denio, and Alex McManus (The Bruces, Vic Chesnutt, Lambchop), Philip Gayle, Jay Kreimer, Max Johnson, and Gary Foster) is given ample opportunities to shine.

You can visit Ember Schrag's official website here
Or Awesome indie label, Edible Onion, here

Here is the track list, with a few links to some downloadable content.

01. Jephthah's Daughter [mp3]
02. Sutherland [mp3]
03. My Brothers Men
04. La Maria
05. I Ain't a Prophet
06. In the Alley
07. Frauleh Jekketheka
08. The Sewing Room
09. Dark Lion Lover
10. Your Words
11. Houston [mp3]
12. April Night

And here is a live video!

[edited by Michelle Rucker]

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Lackluster Road Trip; SXSW 2012

Columbus' own Lackluster went down to Austin, Texas, to play a show during the SXSW musical festival.

Lackluster's main troubadour, Jon Hayes, is guest blogging today about his adventures to and from Austin.

Day 1
So, we've packed up the van the night before. Jimmy keeps it at his place so we can pick up the drummer in morning after I donate plasma. Let's get this one thing straight, since a gas station attendant found my pre-paid visa card from the plasma center "admirable." I don't give plasma for fun. I do it because I have lots of it and it's worth something; that and the van doesn't run on plasma, so it's a necessary step. 

So we continue on to Springfield, Missouri for our first stop. Springfield is a nice town. It's supposedly a big one, but it looks to actually be about the size of the small suburb of Columbus I'm from. My hometown consists of roughly 25,000 people the last time I bothered to look at the welcome sign. Springfield boasts ten times that, but gives the impression that 90% of them are on vacation somewhere. 

Aside from that, the most recognizable thing about Springfield is that there is zero garbage to be found anywhere. The door guy said they had a homeless problem, but appears the homeless there are keeping things tidy, which is hardly a problem. We ran into one homeless guy. He carried a neatly folded blanket and turned down money, only asking for a cigarette. 

The venue was nice, the sound was not, and we played to practically no one so it didn't matter. The first band said they'd bring 50 people. They brought maybe 5 and bailed as soon as they were done. This behavior tends to piss me off a bit. So you gotta wake up early in the morning? So what? Take 45 minutes to support the band who gave you the show, and who you lied to about your draw. 

Afterwards we continued our trip to Austin, driving through the night.

Day 2
We roll into Austin around 2pm. We throw all of our gear into the hotel room since we plan on heading downtown as soon as possible. We're immediately greeted by "The Masters," upon arrival. They're a rap duo from Oakland who have a slight scent of Outkast to them. They're nice guys, so we tell them we'll give them a lift. We all head down in the van. 

Now, if you've never been to Austin for SXSW let me explain something to you, it's enormous. Are you from Columbus? Do you think Comfest is too big? This is big. It takes about an hour to go the five miles from our hotel room to the downtown area and park. Austin closes just about all of its downtown area, which is about the same size (if not slightly larger) than Columbus. The 3 streets that I stayed on for the majority of our trip were taking up by nonstop venues. In fact, aside from the occasional gift shop, it was pretty much 3 solid streets of bars... with bars stacked on top of them. Every one of them had a band playing. 

At first this seemed incredible. I thought I was about to hear some amazing music from all over the country. What I actually heard was the same music, modern rock, from all over the country. I almost killed myself, but fortunately heard a band from Chicago called "The Break." they had a faint sense of early Fountains of Wayne about them, and certainly stood out in the crowd. 

Almost no bars down there have patios, which forces you to sit in a bar and finish your beer before stepping outside to smoke. If you have a tab running this can be a problem, since the musical onslaught happening just outside can make you forget that you have a beer and credit card waiting for you inside. Fortunately the army of crappy modern rock bands sent back inside with a quickness. 

Afterwards, I headed over to the Dizzy Rooster to catch The Andy Shaw band. Don't let the name confuse you, there are 3 members of the Shaw family in this band. I'd never heard them play before, which is odd because they play all over Columbus all the time. I think they play something like 12 shows a day, but the rock I hide under at home is cool and comforting, so this was my first listen. They were fantastic. They had a tinge of reggae to them, which I can only typically take in 10 second doses like once a year, but they were fantastic. I definitely look forward to catching them around town. 

Almost immediately afterwards we head across the street to catch Phantods. A great thing about SXSW is that's it's a terrific equalizer. You have your big names roll into town in an effort to steal some thunder, but for the most part no one is any bigger than anyone else. The great thing about this is that people are constantly walking into different bars to listen to whoever might be playing, so you're almost guaranteed to be playing to a great crowd if you're in the downtown area. Phantods killed it, even busting out a "My Sharona" cover. If you've not listened to this band yet, you must be living under the rock next to mine. Go check them out. Take your rock with you if need be. 

Afterwards I hand out what's left of my free merch to people on the street and we head back to the hotel. After getting back to the hotel I decide to set some fireworks off in the parking lot. Okay, I decided to set off some smoke bombs I found in the van. There was a band hanging out a few floors up that yelled down to us from above. We spent the rest of the night drinking with them, trading band stories, and setting off some more "toddler safe" fireworks. The band was "Deerpeople." They didn't bug us to listen to their music. We reciprocated. Instead we just hung out. 

Let me say that we're not "friends" with a lot of bands in Columbus. We know people in bands, we talk to people we know in bands when we see them out, but we never hang out with them in our free time. 

Why? I don't know. I just get the impression that most musicians I meet around here are either suffocatingly pretentious or insanely jealous of anyone who gets the slightest bit of attention. We don't get much attention, but we do get the slightest bit, so that includes us apparently. We're really not jerks; we just really don't like jerks. I should note that none of the Columbus bands I talked to down in Austin are in this category. Andy, Chris, and Jim Shaw are some of the nicest people you're likely meet who aren't being paid to sit behind a counter or on the other end of phone line to be that way. Oh, their guitarist's name is John Liberatore. Not only is he also nice, but he has the most awesome non porn star name ever. I'm assuming it's pronounced "liberator." I didn't ask. 

Day 3
We played early. I mean, we played first. I normally dislike this, as do most bands, but I was optimistic since we were in Austin after all. I wasn't disappointed. We had a nice crowd, a couple people taking cell phone pics, and some generous feedback afterwards. Oh, and the sound was freaking unbelievably good. That's not just our show. The sound EVERYWHERE was incredibly good. 

But anyways, we leave our gear in the back room at the venue and venture off to take advantage of corporate giveaways that aim to take advantage of us. We eat and drink for free, and by that I mean we eat and drink things that can be (and are) tossed out of the back of a truck. I don't mind. 

I sit and watch an outdoor two stage spectacle for a while. Two stages, one band plays the other sets up. The bands seem to be in competition to out dress one another, but sound exactly the same. We recall the Deerpeople had mentioned they were playing at 8pm just out of the downtown area, so we all jump in the van to head down there. They put on a helluva show. For the last song the singer strips down to his unmentionables and climbs on the bar. This might not sound like the most intriguing thing in the world, if you regularly strip down to almost nothing and climb on things, but this fella personifies this behavior and the rest of the band makes music to back it up. I wanted to say there was a hint of Decemberists and Arcade Fire there, but it was actually more like Deerpeople are the ones who won their balls in some late night drunken bar wager.

We hung out for a minute after before they had to head out to play another show. Note to self, book more shows at SXSW next year. While hanging out on the patio I get an e-mail from a lady asking if we'd like to play this bar. The bar is right up the street. Half our gear is still downtown. The other half is back at the hotel. So, I call. The lady has no idea what I'm talking about. Never mind that she sent ME an e-mail. She says she'll pass on our info to the event coordinator. That guy calls me back, but I missed the call. So, I call back. I get voicemail, but it says something like "You've reach Pure Lame Label and Promotions..." I don't leave a message. We decide to go meet these people in person since it's right down the street. 

We arrive at the venue and I track down the event coordinator. He's wearing a pink silk shirt, hipster glasses, and a pony tail to provide visibility of his Bluetooth earpiece. I don't tell him he looks like an asshole. Instead I ask about the show. Apparently they had to shut down because their permit only allowed for music up to 70db. I've farted louder than that. 

Anyways, this resulted in the police showing up and shutting down the music. The bands all scrambled and they had nothing. We say we don't mind and we'll play, even though my singing is probably louder than that. He asks when we can be ready, and I say 11pm... which is in an hour. Amazingly we fight through traffic to the venue downtown, get our gear, fight through traffic out of downtown to our hotel room, throw the drums in the back of the van, and fight through traffic going back downtown. We arrive ten minutes early. It's a SXSW miracle. Wait, who's the other band talking to our event guy? This is a band from who knows where. They're dressed nice. We were clean at the beginning of the day, but we just ran all over town. We probably looked like garbage. The owner of the venue is out there as well. This is never good. He tells us that they asked this other band to play too and that they wouldn't be needing us after all. 

I'm pissed, but what can you do? He offers us a show next year, comps us a meal and drinks, and asks if there's anything else he can do. I look across the street, notice a huge stage with lights going and a band playing. I say, "Maybe. Do you know the owner over there?" We walk across the street and he tracks down the owner while I continue to look like I just got molested by a sweat monster. The owner of this other venue comes out. We exchange pleasantries and he tells me that, being 11:30 and that his permit only goes until midnight, he can't let us play but invites us to come back tomorrow. We have an Oklahoma City show the next day, so we have to decline. I go back across the street, grab a CD, and head back to talk to the guy again. I give him our disc; he commends me on my attitude and offers some sympathy for the mess across the street. I inquire about a show the next year. 

So, hopefully we'll have two shows. Neither place are likely to forget who we are. We go home. We hang out with Deerpeople again, drinking until 7am. Oh, they're awesome by the way.

Day 4
We get to OKC. 

The "headliner" is already there. They're from LA. they're all late 30's to mid 40's and look every bit ten years older than that. No worries though, they still manage to squeeze into black leather pants and rock Spinal Tap haircuts. 

We play our show to a receptive crowd. Another band from Portland goes on next. The crowd likes them too. The LA band takes the stage next. 

Now keep in mind that OKC is where the Flaming Lips are from. There are Flaming Lips posters on the wall. The Flaming Lips make awesome music. This band sounds like the most asinine rock you've ever heard. Every song sounds exactly the same, three chords, not even a one octave vocal range, and a drummer who either hasn't gotten any better since his second year of playing or is getting paid too much to care. 

The singer is a tool. He appears to be drunk, but I don't think he actually is. He just sways and mumbles. It seems to be a stage act. He rolls around on the ground a bit, throwing the microphone around. Note to other bands, sound guys don't like bands throwing their gear around.

The sound guy immediately dislikes them. In fact, the whole bar immediately dislikes them, as it's practically empty by their third song. The singer doesn't like the look of things. He demands that he be paid attention to, singling out people playing pool in the back, telling them to stop and "get the hell up here." No don't respond. He calls for action, demanding the patrons turn over every table in the place and rush for the stage. It's not happening. 

I can't watch anymore of this train wreck so I head outside. Not five minutes later Jimmy (our bassist) comes out holding Chris. Chris is a machine. It's the brain of our show. We'd rather have a human play keyboard instead of Chris, but the last guy we tried out flaked on us. Guess what his name was? 

Apparently the singer felt it necessary to climb on our gear, which was sitting off stage, and knocked over Chris. He appears to be broken. I plug him in. He powers up, and the meters run, but I can't listen to it. It runs on a hard drive, so I'd have to listen to every song to see if any damage had been done. This makes me upset. 

I go back inside. The second band offers their assistance in rectifying the situation, as does the sound guy. He cuts them a couple songs short. The singer walks off, down the hallway parallel to the stage, and I follow. when he turns around I'm there, towering over him by at least a foot. I express my disappointment in his actions. I don't yell, but he takes me seriously. He offers to do "anything" to make it right.  I don't press what "anything" means coming from a poor LA rock band, so I press for money instead.

We were offered a $100 guarantee for playing. I assumed they were too. Chris is more expensive to replace than that. I tell him to give us his guarantee. He obliges, and approaches the promoter to communicate this new transaction. At this point she takes his check, tears it up, and writes us a new one, for three hundred dollars more. I'm somewhat insulted these jackasses got paid more than we did, but at least I know what they're willing to pay. Next time I'll ask for more. 

Anyways, $300 is more than used Chris goes for on eBay... actually I just check; it's a little less than what Chris goes for on eBay. Still, at the time I thought it was more, so I offered to let him keep some of his band's money. After all, it’s not the whole bands' fault that he's an idiot. He insisted I take it though. So we left making $400 instead of $100, plus merch sales. 

The rest of the band apologized for their singer's behavior. They were nice enough guys, even if their bands sucked something awful. However, their guitarist felt that the most just resolution would be if they kept Chris, seeing as how they were paying for him. I was reluctant. First of all, our whole show is on there. There's something like 30 songs on there that I'd completely have to redo. I have backups, but still. It's a tedious process, and one I wasn't looking forward to doing again. 

It seemed as though the guitarist might pick Chris up at any moment and throw him on the ground, breaking him into a million pieces to prove some point. The singer interjected though, and they left. We waited until after they left before packing up, so their singer wouldn't break anything else of ours, and headed home. Chris appears to be working fine. I felt like Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber, tricking those truckers at the diner into picking up their tab. We weren't murdered miles down the road either. It was a good night.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Time for a new band

My first band was a short-lived (but long notorious) punk band called Third Trimester Abortion. My second band was a rap group (also notorious) called Hotsauce. We recorded, like, 30 songs. Ask, and I'll send you some. Third band was a country group that never got off the ground called, Kissin' Cousins. Kissin' Cousins had songs like, "You Crashed a Plane into the Twin Towers of My Heart," and, "She Left Me for our Son."

Now, I have determined the next band I start will be called, Moonwolf.

Moonwolf is a shitcore metal band that only plays covers of Xfactor1 and Bobaflex. Our band t-shirts are made from shirts we buy at Walmart and Goodwill that have wolves and Moons printed on them.

Try to come up with something better than that. I dare you.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Starlight Girls

Starlight Girls are a female fronted four piece group from Brooklyn, New York who play music that fuses different genres from previous decades into something new.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I thought it too before I started listening to this EP.

Hipster douche baggery.

I can't say anything about them personally, but I do know this...

This is great music!

Starlight Girls sound like the soundtrack for a B-Movie sci-fi/horror flick from the '50s mixed with 60's surf rock with some jazz flute thrown in. Organs, flute solos, breathy vocals; it all melds perfectly together for a uniquely pleasurable listening experience. My first thought was that it would be great to put on a mix tape for a Halloween party. But after listening more and more, I feel it's good for anytime; sticky-hot Summer nights, frozen Winter spiced-rum parties... there is a lot of stuff going on in the music that evokes different things. It's not terribly, technically amazing; but the composition is neat. I hear new and different things each time I listen.

Unfortunately, their only Ohio tour date is towards the end of March in Cincinnatti. I don't know, maybe Columbus (the "Indie Art Capital" of the Midwest, with the largest college in the country) should be amended into that tour. Just sayin'. I mean, Kobo or Circus or Ace of Cups would be absolutely great places for Starlight Girls to play. Hint Hint

Here are a couple tracks (posted with permission)

and a video!!!

Starlight Girls - Gossip from Black Sundays on Vimeo.

Starlight Girls are releasing a 7" EP on February 1st. I hope to get my grubby hands on a copy.

They also are working on a full-length album to be released... sometime. I'm not sure if a date has been announced yet.