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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.