Category Archives: Live Shows

Japanther – Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt – CD Review

I didn't know Shaun White was in a band...
I didn't know Shaun White liked ice cream...

Japanther, an amusing, Brooklyn, experimental, trash punk rock act has recently released Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt on Wantage Records.  This twosome do-it-yourself band has been going strong for over seven years thanks to their inimitable style and rareness.  If you are artsy or into performing arts, chances are you may have already heard of this duo.  Far from being in the spotlight, they hold their own having played shows in famous NYC museums and venues but have caught a taste of mainstream recently opening for Against Me!

I heard their band name before I ever actually heard their music and I must say after checking out Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt I have to say this is a weird yet interesting band reminding me of Negativeland meets the Dead Milkmen.  It’s good though in the sense that the duo, art school heroes, do things all by themselves with limited assistance.

Opening tracks “Um, Like Your Smile Is Totally Ruining Me” sounding like a high school basement project and the unusual “Bloated Corpse” made it clear that these guys are in their own little world.  Their sound is not what I thought at all but I found myself enjoying it.

“Bumpin’ Rap Tapes” was a cute friendless love track with lyrics that reminded me of something I might have written back in the days of high school hell.  The cover of New Bad Things “The Dirge” entertained with under processed rock, but just wasn’t enough for me.

I was impressed to see that legendary Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud was not only the executive producer of their album but also contributed some of his poems for use in “Africa Seems So Far Away” and “I Thee Indigene”.  Both tracks were spoken words of sorts with strange beats accompanying Penny Rimbaud reciting his works.  Perhaps boring to some but when you are a fan of William S. Burroughs or spoken word in general, like I am, you tend to like stuff like this.

MC Spank Rock from Baltimore added his style to “Radical Businessman” an indie sounding track inspired from actual events of MC Spank Rock getting arrested.  “Before The Sun Goes Down” closed out the CD with a track I favored over the rest.  The song was a little more punked out over the previous.

The CD may not seem too exciting at first listen but then again this band is more of a DIY performing arts band and probably could care less what anyone thinks.  They are known to take their music to the next level with interesting live shows that have featured synchronized swimmers at one show and puppets fighting at another.  Not knowing this in advance may really stray you away from their material but once you see a clip of a live performance you can start to understand what the hell is going on…maybe.

The following videos are from previous releases. After viewing them I really see that Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt really strays in a different direction and I am thinking it was a result of Penny Rimbaud working with the duo.  From what I have seen I think it would be best if I checked out Japanther’s catalog.

Beastie Boys and special guests to play Youngstown, OH 10-29-2008

Beaste Boys ugre you to vote this year.
Beaste Boys ugre you to vote this year.

Thanks to my pal Matt (who I seem to thank a lot) I learned that the Beastie Boys are coming to Youngstown, OH on 10/29/2008 with special guests Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, and Norah Jones.

The Beastie Boys are counting on you to rock the vote this year.
The Beastie Boys are counting on you to rock the vote this year.

This is the first time the Beasties have even come close touring in Cleveland since 1998.  I saw them last year and even got to interview them at the Virgin Mobile Tour.  I have to saw they are still awesome.  My interview was not much of an interview as much as us just shooting the you know what…  I really need to post that on here one day.  Their live show was incredible.  It was my third time seeing them live.

So now I am trying to figure out if I should go…  I have so much going on late October.  Decisions decisions…  Pre-sale starts tomorrow at 10am.  Password is VOTE.  Go to their website for more info.

Unwritten Law – Live & Lawless – DVD/CD Review

California punk rockers Unwritten Law have recently released their second live DVD for your visual and listening pleasure. This time around the band has teamed up with Suburban Noize Records to release Live & Lawless, a CD/DVD release that is more of a celebration of their success as a modern punk rock band rather then just another live show.

Recorded in March of 2008 at the historic Key Club on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, the band consisting of singer Scott Russo, guitarist Steve Morris, bassist Pat “PK” Kim, and temporary stand-in drummer Dylan Howard, make a point to play their hearts out to their hardcore fans.

Unwritten Law
Unwritten Law

Formed in the early nineties, Unwritten Law first started out as a speedier punk band but throughout the years they took different approaches to making music, and soon matured into more of a hard rock act. 1998’s self titled album had a couple of tracks that were put into heavy rotation on the radio but nothing more than that. In 2002, the band came out with Elva and their song “Seeing Red” became a chart topping hit.

Just one year later, the band was approached accidentally by VH1 (they meant to call Jimmy Eat World) to see if they would play some acoustic tracks. The result was Music In High Places, a part studio part live acoustic album that coincided with a separately released DVD called Live In Yellowstone.

Live & Lawless is the band’s first start-to-finish live DVD. This release also comes with a CD full of the tracks the band played that night in Hollywood. The CD has seventeen tracks plus a bonus track. The DVD covers the twenty-two song set and also contains some bonus footage.

The show starts with the band on stage in full force playing “Underground”. One of the first things I notice is that there are no bouncers in front of the stage and to me that is a nice thing to see. This show is strictly the band facing the fans. Hit songs “Teenage Suicide” and “Calin” were played to approving fans as they sang along as loud as they possibly could

The acoustic version of “Rest Of My Life” featured just Scott Russo and the crowd. His voice was on point throughout and did not crackle or show any signs of being tired even though sweat was dripping off his forehead. The rest of the band slowly snuck on stage where they smoothly depart into “She Says”. The crowd erupted as soon as they sang the refrain to the song.

“Before I Go” is a bonus treat to the crowd as the band starts a mini acoustic session with the entire band playing their acoustic instruments. I love the way this song sounds. They continue with “Elva” and surprisingly “Shallow”, a real old track by the band.

This was the first time I had heard the old school song performed acoustically and Scott Russo even admitted to the crowd that is was a special song they were going to play. I must say the song brought back some memories. Hearing the band slow the track down a bit and play it unplugged just made it that much more enjoyable. The only sad thing about this song is that I would guess two thirds of the crowd may never have heard this before. Arms waving and smiles were among the many but when it came time to sing along there was not as much partaking.

Before engaging in “Save Me” front man Scott Russo took a moment to spread some love to all the sardine packed fans in the front row. He asked everyone for some crowd participation before starting the song and just about everyone complied. With big thank yous it was clear that the concert was coming to an end.

Making this show even more memorable to myself, the very first song the band ever wrote, and one of my personal favorites, “CPH” closed out the show. Nothing like an oldie to wrap things up, especially when it was one of the first songs I heard as a teenager that caused me to become an Unwritten Law fan.

DVD bonus features included the music video for “Shoulda Know Better” as well as a intimate interview session with questions coming from the fans who were actually at the DVD shoot that evening. Hearing the story from Pennywise about Fletcher jumping a van into someone’s backyard was amusing. The band answered questions individually, shared their influences, decisions to change up their style, and even some more personal stories. The answer to how would Pat “PK” Kim look if he were bald had me laughing out loud as the bassist drew up a picture of himself.

There was not a dull moment throughout the entire live show. This DVD is pure evidence what a punk rock show should be. Seems like only yesterday a young punk rock me was in the crowd checking out Unwritten Law singing all of the songs they sang at the top of my lungs. Over ten years later, they still have it and show no signs of tiring out one bit.

Here’s a couple of clips from the DVD just for a small taste:

Clutch – Full Fathom Five: Audio Field Recordings 2007-2008 – CD Review

Rock act Clutch has recently released Full Fathom Five: Audio Field Recordings 2007-2008, a CD including many of the live tracks that appear on their first ever live DVD.  The CD and DVD appear to be aimed towards the Clutch fan base as it is being sold only through Clutch’s official website, Merch.Com, and other Clutch websites. So far both releases are not available in retail chains.

Where Clutch has released live albums before, this is the band’s first live DVD to be released and also is their first release under the band’s own label Weathermaker Music.  Clutch plans on releasing further material on their own label.

Clutch
Clutch

Formed in the early nineties, Clutch was not your typical rise-to-the-top rock band.  Gaining early commercial attention was something the band seemed to never worry about.  Starting off selling out small clubs, they, through hard work and perseverance, soon found themselves selling out larger shows and were later headlining tours.  Their sound is that of metal, stoner rock, and even a little blues mixed up. Their solid sound seems to lure in new fans with every release.

Speaking of fans, famous skater misfit Bam Margera labels himself and hug fan of Clutch and even helped direct the video for “The Crowd Goes Wild” for the band.  As a return perhaps, Clutch played live for Bam Margera and a few lucky attendees on a ski slope on a past episode of Viva La Bam.  That is about as mainstream the band has ever been as they really do not care for the predictable rock band approach.

If you have never seen Clutch live, you need to know that they are here to rock.  They do not have fancy stage setups nor do they pause a lot in between songs.  I can say this from experience as once I heard them through the doors of the House Of Blues in Cleveland. The show was sold out and my only way in fell through (it sounded great).  I also can say that a year later I went back to the same venue with ticket in hand (visually just as amazing).

The CD and DVD capture tracks played by Clutch on four separate occasions in New Jersey, Pittsburgh (Mr. Small’s Theatre, one of the coolest venues I have ever been to), and overseas in Sydney.  For a review of the DVD check out what Charile Doherty, a Blogcritics.Org writer had to say about it.

Starting off the fifteen track CD was “Dragonfly” a rather grungy track with Neil Fallon roaring throughout as the guitar riffs landed heavy and the drumming was stern.  I especially got a kick out of the track originally found on Elephant Riders going into a little jam session and then unexpectedly slammed into From Beale Street to Oblivion’s “Child Of The City” without even missing a beat.  Upon the completion of these two songs, the crowd went spastic.

“Texan Book Of The Dead”, the first single off the CD, showed Nail Fallon’s voice struggling a tad but hardly noticeable to the point where the song was dire sounding.  “Oh Eee Oh Ahh Ahh” was sung during the track reminding of Alvin & The Chipmunks.  The song is currently in heavy rotation on SiriusFaction Radio.

“The Mob Goes Wild” was nowhere even close to sounding like the studio recording with a slowed down chorus but I loved the organ playing and just the energy that could be felt throughout.  Sometimes a change in tempo and pitch is a good thing.  “Cypress Grove” simply rocked out with help from some sick harmonica playing.   Once again there was a mid song jam session making for an incredible listen.  “Ship Of Gold” and “10001110101” were two other favorites of mine that I enjoyed profusely.

The only vice I have with the performance was that the band really only focused on material from 1995 onward.  Many of the songs played were welcome to my ears but I was kind of hoping to hear a rare track from Transnational Speedway League.  We can all dream, can’t we?

This CD is just a sample of the twenty song live DVD that was released showcasing their abilities.  I now have to go out and order the DVD because after hearing this I need to see it.  Hell, any fan of solid rock music should check the DVD out and if for whatever reason you have no DVD player then this CD should at least give you a small fix of what Clutch is capable of doing.  Do yourself a favor and order the CD or the DVD today by heading over to Clutch’s website, you won’t regret it.

For your viewing pleasure “Texan Book Of The Dead”:

Here is the video that Bam Margera directed, “The Mob Goes Wild”:

Missed Festival, Wedding, & 3OH3!

I’ve had a few days off now and it all comes to an end in less than 5 hours.  I took some time away from work to be with friends as one of us was getting married.  I normally do not like weddings as they are very formal and of course I am not a church goer.

I feel like I canceled some plans too in order to attend the wedding.  I thought I told Matt that I was going to hook up with him sometime this weekend as he and his friend were going to be in Kent for We The People Fest.  I told Matt that my wife and I were possibly going to see Hawthorne Heights and Ben Taylor play at the fest on Friday and also check out the rest of the event but in turn we decided to crash the wedding rehearsal party.  Saturday was an all day event for the wedding, and Sunday we were too pooped to go out there and see the final day, plus the Cleveland Browns were playing. (Finally, a win!)

Sorry Matt…  I hope it was a good time. I hope you can forgive me and tell me a little about it…if you went.

I am sorry too, Chuck Norris, as I know you were speaking on Sunday.  I know you wanted me to be there.

So let me tell you a little about the wedding…

My friends Sam and Ryan decided to tie the knot.  Sam is a few years younger than me and I have known him for a while.  He grew up in the same city as I did.  I met him through friends and thanks to beer and punk rock music we became friends.

Sam met Ryan, they fell in love, and got married.  They had a wedding locally and my wife and I were invited along with plenty of friends. The neat thing about the wedding is that it was sort of a punk rock wedding with a lot of guests being in local punk rock acts at one time or currently.  Sam wore Chuck Taylors as did the groomsmen and when the happy couple entered the reception hall “Hey Ho Let’s Go” was played.

I sat at a table with my friends who some were also members of The Facials.  They are a Cleveland punk rock band that has played tons of shows in Cleveland and Akron as well has opened for Rancid and UK Subs.  They are currently working on a new album and I will be sure to share it once it is pressed.

Also as the wedding were friends of mine who were once in the now defunct punk acts such as the Narcoleptics X5, the Beat Kids, and Novallos.  Its been a while since some of the bands played local shows.  It was awesome to see that even that some of the bands separated that they still remained friends.  The groom was actually a member of all three of the bands.

At one time during the day, the former drummer of Novallos, Ryan,  was sitting next to me at a bar in between the wedding and reception, and we were talking about how he moved to Colorado and recently moved back.  Before long we started talking about music.  He asked me if I was at the Warped Tour this summer and when I said I was he asked if I saw a band called 3OH3!.  I said hell yes.

I told Ryan that I loved 3OH3! and caught their entire set at the Warped Tour.  Knowing that they were from Colorado I already knew what he was going to tell me.  He knew them.  I was stoked to hear Ryan tell stories about them. He then told me that they would be playing in Cleveland in November and asked me and my wife if we wanted to hang out with them.  I thought that was pretty awesome.  We shall see what happens.

The band is relatively new but has been making a strong impact on many music lovers.  Their mix of emo, punk, and crunk really made me a fan.  I reviewed their debut Want and will post it in my archives on here.

If I do happen to kick it with 3OH3! I will be sure to let you all know how it was.