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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Matt & Kim, 06/15 @ MusicBox, Hollywood

As if an animated-elastic-tiger had twins and named them Matt & Kim; the irreverently playful synth & drum duo bounced into Hollywood's MusicBox Theatre, spreading their audaciously fun brand of Indie-Pop. This outing for the Brooklyn based twosome, was in support of their third and latest album “Sidewalks,” though shared album representation with "Grand" as well as their self titled release.

The flashing lights and theme to the movie Rocky marked Matt & Kim’s triumphant return to Hollywood and the MusicBox’s stage. After a victory lap, the dynamic duo started into “Block after Block” followed by “I Wanna.” Adding to their infectious exuberance, one of the most intriguing points was their atypical periodic interaction with their drums & synth: Kim’s dancing on her drum kit / Matt’s jumping & standing on his seat, and both of their running around the stage. Playing everything from their most recognizable hits, to the tunes not-as-easy put your finger on; their entire set expressed a playful buoyancy from nearly the first note to the encore’s close. The exuberant connection with their audience was definitely symbiotic.

Turning up the audience's excitement, the duo launched into "Lessons Learned," a song memorable for numerous reasons (not least of which being the music video showing the two of them sans-clothes/bearing-it-all in Manhattan). Rolling on into "Cinders," "Yea Yeah," and a dozen more the band definitely gave the audience more than a cookie cutter performance.

Moving to the evening's close, the climax hit with a frenetic rendition of Matt & Kim's latest anthem "Daylight." Between confetti falling in the theatre, Kim's instructing all the guys to take their shirts off and swing them above their heads, and the throwing hundreds of balloons out to the audience to blow up and release, the concert was essentially a very fun party hosted by Matt & Kim...

Clovis IV: Photos & Review

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Flaming Lips, 06/14 @ Hollywood Forever Cemetery

When I heard the Flaming Lips were coming to the Los Angeles area, I was excited to see them again, this time outside of the festivals that they've been playing in the last few years. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect of the two special events at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. What I knew though, was that the band would be preforming "The Soft Bulletin" & "Dark Side of the Moon" on June 14th & 15th respectively; allowing the full albums to be presented as their unified concepts.

Upon arriving at the cemetery for the June 14th show (insert witty double-entente about FaceBook checking in at a cemetery) - an obligatory stop was made at the memorial of Johnny Ramone - just adjacent to the Fairbanks Lawn, where the half-dome stage stood at the far end the lawn, scattered with a few thousand people on blankets. Making our way down to the stage we passed multiple art installations; ala a tree raining light, the giant mirrored spinning orbs - beautiful, with a very Alice in Wonderland/Wizard of Oz vibe.

The show was less of a standard concert, and more felt like a do-it-yourself kind of event; unusual for a larger band. Before the show/during set change to their gear, lead singer Wayne Coyne was very personable, chatting with the audience. You get this overwhelming sense that he's just a really good guy.

As the set started ramping-up with the band's swirling wall-of-noise intro, Wayne climbed inside the giant bouncy hamster-ball until the apex, when the crew spun him down the ramp & out onto the raised hands of the audience - and the set began.....

In parallel, launching into "Race for the Prize" they continued track by track in-album-order, and the confetti rained down down - bright as day, with the neo-psychedelic rock tunes and an overall and warm-hearted vibe. A few songs in, Wayne shared the first of a few stories with the audience. This one, about "The Spiderbite Song;" taken from a very near-miss that band-mate Steven Drozd had when he got a poisonous spider bite and nearly had to have his hand amputated. The story was anecdotal for making the most of everything & appreciating even the small things like having hands.

The tunes all flowed really good, but the experience was amplified by an amazing LED wall-of-light: sometimes just colored light and sometimes projecting visual clips of the band playing live. The imagery was of such discordant random themes as giant eyeballs, naked woman silhouettes, and the obligatory teletubbues. Random, but awesome.

The next tune to really stand out was "Waitin' for a Superman." This was an emotional trip that they took the audience on; nearly having everyone in tears before the song ended. It was written about Wayne's father's battle with & succumbing to cancer, however it applied in a much broader sense for him, in retrospect. In part of the story, Wayne commented on mortality and his good friend Elliott Smith's chronic depression, which ended up bringing about his death. It also served as reassurance for those who are down to hold on the best they can - that things do get better. Beyond akin to a counseling appointment at this point, the song was even better/more emotionally packed, knowing the back-story.

Finishing off the set (and the album "The Soft Bulletin"), the band turned to the encore which consisted of a three additional hits "She Don't Use Jelly," "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," "Do You Realize," of which, all the audience went wild to...

Race for the Prize
A Spoonful Weighs a Ton
The Spark That Bled
The Spiderbite Song
What Is the Light?
The Observer
Waitin' for Superman
Suddenly Everything Has Changed
The Gash
Feeling Yourself Disintegrate
Sleeping on the Roof
She Don't Use Jelly
The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song
Do You Realize??

Clovis IV: Photos & Review

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Widowspeak cover Chris Isaak

Widowspeak release a cover Wicked Game by Chris Isaak on their new single out on Captured Tracks on June 21st. I heard it live and the recorded version sounds great too. Click here to have a listen. The a-side "Gun Shy" is a real treat and a nice direction for the band.

Brooklyn Director Christopher Arcella releases debut film to DVD

Independent Brooklyn director Christopher Arcella releases his film Giver Taker Heartbreaker, to DVD. This final version is 89 minutes long, quite a bit tighter than the original 116 minute cut. We attended the premiere in Brooklyn last year and loved the film. You can know pick up a copy for purchase via Amazon here.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

Yuka VS. tUnE-YarDs! Yuka Honda of If By Yes and Cibo Matto interviews Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs

Yuka Honda of If By Yes and Cibo Matto interviews Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Honda invited Merrill to her house for lunch after her show at Williamsburg Hall of Music. Merrill talked about finding her musical roots in puppetry, how horns were first implemented on her new album, w h o k i l l, and how she was first introduced to African music. Read the interview here.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Man Man, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers Williamsburg Hall of Music 6/1/11

Last time I saw Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers she killed it at Brooklyn Bowl in early January 2011. Since then the band have toured the US twice. Once with Acid Mothers Temple and currently closing out another US tour with fellow east coaster's Man Man. Shilpa and her band of Happy Hooker's have given a new meaning of the word tight. The band were amazing. The songs were still energetic but even more incredibly tight. Each member of the band felt so comfortable with the songs they have each added little nuances. At the end of their set Man Man's brass section joined Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hooker for a bone crushing version of "Liquidation Sale." The band left the stage and Shilpa played a new tune called "Pipe Dreams, Ponzi Schemes" (See video clip on bottom of this post) by herself with her harmonium the lyrics went "Well I got my free will and nobody's gonna be my man/so thank God if all I take is your money." The band returned and played an new song called "The Burning Bride" which was a real treat. She thanked her friend Ratso for naming the song. They ended their set with a punk rock cover of Red Kross's "Neurotica!"

I had never seen Man Man before. I've seen Man Man's front man Honus Honus perform with Mister Heavenly with Islands' Nick Thorburn, Modest Mouse's Joe Plummer, and actor Michael Cera. As I I noticed a large majority of the fans were dressed in warpaint and yielding kazoo's, I knew I was in for a treat. Man Man's stage set up looked like the film set of Steven Spielberg's E.T., with bikes, television sets, child sized drums kits set behind a glowing star back ground. The bands music was so complex with sudden changes and very diverse sounds at times it sounded like Sonic The Hedgehog, The Smurfs, Pirates of The Caribbean, Tom Waits, Gogol Bordello and even the soul group The Dap-Kings! I have a lot of mental processing to do and tons of catching up on hearing Man Man's new album Life Fantastic, as well as their past LPs.

Both bands put on amazing high energy sets.

Photos & Review by Kevin Serra

My Favorite NYC bassist Nick Hundley of Shilpa Ray!