Category Archives: 00’s

Coheed & Cambria / Porcupine Tree / The Dear Hunter – Nautica Pavilion – Cleveland, OH – 08/26/2010 – Concert Review

Last Thursday evening progressive sci-fi rockers Coheed & Cambria headlined a triple bill with help from The Dear Hunter and UK’s Porcupine Tree.  The triple bill landed on a comfortable cool evening at the Nautica Pavilion, a perfect night to take in a show.  The venue sadly was not packed at all as ticket sales suffered but all who did show up that evening enjoyed three levels of prog-rock any aged fan could appreciate.

A fine mix of Coheed and Porcupine Tree fans gathered around the stage to give the night’s openers The Dear Hunter a chance.  The alt-prog act from Boston, Massachusetts took to the stage while the sun slowly crept away to open up the night.  Upon their first couple songs much of the crowd did not seem to pay attention but soon were sucked in to what sounded like a Mars Volta meets Queensryche.  Their set seemingly became more impressive through the lengthy songs to the point where people started turning their heads to the music.  Not being too familiar with their material I was impressed with what i heard.

UK’s Porcupine Tree took to a freshly vacuumed stage – yes, someone vacuumed the stage prior to them taking it – just after 9pm.  Older fans of the band, that started as just a concept in 1987, gathered around the stage and focused all of their attention to the band and the visuals being show on the backdrop.  Opening with “Ocean’s Razor” it was clear that I had never heard of them before.  I for some reason thought they were a newer act but was just a little bit wrong as I soon discovered they have been around for a little bit.

At one moment lead singer Steven Wilson asked everyone in the house if they sounded ok due to the position of the stage.  He then commented that everyone was treated to two shows – them and the Cleveland skyline.  Comically declaring “that’s one big reverb” got more than one laugh from the crowd but also hinted to the soundboard that they were not happy with their sound.

The videos that played behind Porcupine Tree was full of random clips and psychedelic light shows that periodically would sync up with the music.  At times I would almost fall into a musically fueled trance watching the screen trying to figure out what was going to happen next.  The prog-rock was almost a prog-jam during certain moments of their set was a lot more progressive than I anticipated but delivered a killer set.  I know I was not the only one impressed and I am pretty sure a lot of the younger Coheed fans went home later that night to check them out a little more.

The band thanked the fans for their support, thanked Coheed for their invitation, and then announced that it was the last night of their tour and that they would be retuning home.  For a band that has not really been plastered all over the radio it was refreshing to see an act 23 years in the making take the stage and play their hearts out showing no indication that they will be slowing down anytime soon.  I will be checking these guys out a lot more now that I saw them.

Porcupine Tree Setlist:
Ocean’s Razor
The Blind House
Great Expectations
Kneel & Disconnect
Drawing The Line
Open Car
Russia On Ice
Anesthetize
Trains
Blackest Eyes
The Start Of Something Beautiful
Way Out Of Here
Sleep Together

The headliners of the night, also known as Coheed & Cambira, took to the stage and opened with “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3”. Claudio Sanchez and crew tore up the stage with their sci-fi prog rock goodness to all of their adoring fans, well, those who decided to show up. The pit was sparse and the bleachers were not filled that all. It was almost depressing to see the turn out of the evening as many of the older fans who came to see Porcupine Tree headed out after their set.

Coheed did not let that bother them at all playing through with “The Suffering”, a song I sang along to as loud as possible. Continuing with selections from their latest release Year Of The Black Rainbow the band rocked out to “Year Of The Juggernaut” and the acoustic “Pearl Of The Stars” with Claudio whispering to the adoring crowd.  Starting strong the band had a couple of lulls in between songs but kept the momentum going with “Delirium Trigger” and closed out with the always amazing “No World For Tomorrow”.   With fans screaming for more the band took the stage for a couple more songs ending the night with one of my favorites “Wake Up” where the entire place sang along with lighters in the air.

Having seen Coheed many times in my time including last year at Bonnaroo I could not say this was the best show that I have seen by them but was far from terrible.  The fans sang along with practically every song but at times when Caludio turned the vocal duties over to the crowd it almost became difficult to hear them due to lack of a bigger fan base supporting guest duties.  I would have loved to seen more people fill up the venue that evening but at the same time was perfectly contempt with the almost seemingly intimate set.

The term “you get what you pay for” came to mind after the show’s end.  Three amazing bands took to the stage that night with long sets giving all who attended their money’s worth.  I do wish that some of the Porcupine Tree fans stayed a little longer to check out Coheed before calling it a night.  I am pretty sure they would have enjoyed what that amazing band had to offer.

Coheed & Cambria Setlist:
In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
Ten Speed (of God’s Blood And Burial)
Here We Are Juggernaut
The Crowing
The Suffering
Pearl Of The Stars
Everything Evil
When Skeletons Live
The Willing Well 1: Fuel For The Feeding End
Delirium Trigger
No World For Tomorrow
Encore:
Wake Up
Welcome Home

Let’s Talk About 311

So last night thanks to Cleveland.com I got to attend the 311 show at the Time Warner Amphitheater VIP style.  I was not planning on going at all but last week I “re-tweeted” a Twitter post that Cleveland.com put up for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the Unity Tour 2010 and I thought to myself “why not?”

A day later I got a message saying I won the tickets.  I was stoked.  I mean why wouldn’t I be?  Free is good these days plus I got to rendezvous with an old musical friend of mine.

311 and I go way back.  I am not trying to sound like one of those music trendy scraps out there who just say random things to impress others.  311 and I have been down (no pun intended) since I was in high school.  I have seen them many times live, owned countless overpriced bootlegs, was a member of their fan club before the internet existed, and even was knocked out at once of their shows at the Cleveland Agora.

I vaguely remember what happened but will always remember the incident.  I know I was in the pit of that show when a size 12 combat boot slammed into my head knocking me the hell out.  The next thing I remembered was my pal Philippe asking me if I was ok.  I think I said yes but I was more confused over anything trying to figure out why I was not in the pit anymore.  Apparently Philippe dragged the knocked out me from the pit and into an alley through some emergency doors.  He told me that I looked at him, smiled, and ran back into the pit.  And I wonder why my body hurts so much these days… (Additional note: I bought a 311 work shirt at that show and I still wear it to this day)

High school ragers were not only fueled by cheaply processed beer but also Grassroots and Music.  I remember when their self titled album came out in 95 my friends and I freaked out and basically listened to the album on repeat until the cassette wore out.  Yes, cassette.

We wore 311 apparel, did our best to emulate Nick Hexum and S.A. Martinez (sounds terrible when thinking about it these days), and might have stolen room number signs from various secret locations that said, you guessed it, 311.

In 96 Enlarged To Show Detail was released on VHS and we had competitions on who could watch it the most in a three month period.  I made it to 278 if I am not mistaken and my pal Brent surpassed 301 times.  We were addicted.

By 1999 though most of us friends were growing up, attending college, or maybe even raising babies.  311’s music style was growing up too and to be perfectly honest I lost interest in them.  I stopped wearing the shirts, the CDs collected dust, and I moved on to other things. I never stopped liking what they had done in the past but I just could not get into their material after Transistor (minus the cover of The Cure song of course).  311 kept putting out albums and touring obviously but I just did not care, that is, until those tickets I won reached my hands.

***Time Out – As I am typing this I can not help but grab my copy of 311’s self-titled record (yes, record) and throw it on the turntable…

It was a unseasonably chill night in Cleveland as I arrived to the venue.  Parking the car and walking the lot all I saw was kids who were either in college or never lost the college mentality pre-game it with beer pong games and jello shots.  Not into that anymore I walked past them and aimed towards the VIP entrance.

For the record, VIP is not that much better.  There is a little bar to the side that still charges you $42 for a beer as well as a private bathroom that some other VIP drunk ass will most likely vomit all over in (it happened later in the night).

After making it through a terrible set from a shirtless, shoeless, surfer boy band called Pepper I found out that the Offspring were not even playing the Cleveland stop of the 2010 Unity Tour.  I was bummed out as they were another band I used to really like in the 90’s but that is a whole other story.

While waiting for the headliner to take the stage I glanced at my ticket stub and realized I had box sets.  VIP and box seats?  That was a pretty good prize if you ask me…  I took my place in the box sets, which are not that good at all if you ask me, and took in a 311 show.

The boys, who are all almost 40 with the exception of P-Nut (36), took the stage just as the sun was saying goodbye to the day.  They all looked very youthful as they did 15 years ago and almost the same except this time there was no bleach blond hair.  More importantly they sounded amazing and I am not just saying that as well as were genuinely excited to be on stage.  They were on point for all of their songs regardless if I knew them or not and were all about the crowd.

It was not until 5 songs in when the band dished out “Taiyed” that I started feeling like I actually belonged there.  Immediately after they dropped into “Plain” followed by their first chart breaking hit “Down”.  During those songs I started having non-drug induced flashbacks of the times I previously mentioned.

Shortly after all the members of the band minus Chad Sexton left the stage so he could beat on the skins for a while.  He put on an amazing drum solo that lasted at least 15 minutes and to make the little segment cause for more applaud, the rest of the band came back out and joined in on a synchronized drum circle of sorts.  Kind of jam band if you ask me, but it sounded great and all the fans loved it.

The remainder of the night again consisted of a good blend of older and newer material.  I do not think at any time did I not see movement in the huge crowd.  Song after song people were jumping around having a good old time just enjoying themselves.  The band really pushed forth a solid set and delivered just as good of a show as when I saw them almost 15 years ago live.

This was a shirt at the merch booth and I am kicking myself in the ass for not buying one...

During that show all these juvenile memories of my friends and our love for 311 hit me.  I could not help but shoot a few texts to a couple of the guys who I remain in touch with letting them know where I was that night.  It was a good night indeed thanks to a one time unknown Omaha act that has been rocking out since 1988.

311 Setlist:
Jackpot
Sick Tight
Mix It Up
Freeze Time
Taiyed
Plain
Down
Hostile Apostle
Brodels
Applied Science
All Mixed Up
Livin’ & Rockin’
Come Original
Eons
Hey You
Never Ending Summer
Nix Hex
(bass solo)
Off Beat Bare Ass
Amber
Creatures (For a While)
Encore:
Beautiful Disaster
F*ck the Bullshit

Leatherface – The Stormy Petrel – CD Review

Unknown to some but adored by many, Leatherface is back with their ninth release this time around on No Idea Records.  The UK punk rock band holds the title for being not only an influence on many current bands of today, but also in shaping DIY punk rock.  Formed in the late 80’s, Leatherface continues to rock on The Stormy Petrel.   This is the bands first release in over six years.

Having been a fan of Leatherface for years now I really was curious to see if they band still could contain their sound still and I will say that they have not lost their punk / folky  / post-hardcore edge.

The best way for me to describe The Stormy Petrel is to imagine what Gaslight Anthem might sound like if a tired Lemmy from Motorhead fronted the band.  Of course I am not saying it sounded exactly like that, but with gruff vocals on top of catchy melodic guitars I could not help but find the similarity.  The combination of the soft spoken singing of Frankie Stubbs, the last of two original members (Dickie Hammond being the other) I might add, and appealing rock jams just kept inviting me to listen to the album over and over.

I also liked the symbolism encased in the album’s title as it is in reference to a bird called a storm-petrel who sadly is threatened by human activity.  If you want more information about what storm-petrels are all about you should click HERE.  Don’t ask me how I knew this, let’s just say I love the Discovery Channel.

Looking deeper into the meaning I also discovered The Stormy Petrel refers to Joseph Hodgson, a man named a hero over a dozen times yet to this day has no tribute for all he accomplished.  Check out HERE and HERE for more interesting information about this man who was passed up in the history books.

“God Is Dead” started off the CD and I found myself immediately digging what I heard.  The lyrics were a little bizarre speaking of burying someone of a higher power in a shed but it was enjoyable to listen to as was the refrain that begged to be sung along with.  “My World’s End” just maintained my interested with a little more punk rock edge to it.  The music was not too overbearing and just fit perfect with Stubbs’ vocal strain.

The song “Broken” really proved upon my earlier music comparison as the music mirrored something Gaslight might play.  Perhaps one of my favorite tracks on the album, I could not help singing along with the uncanny track.  The following track picked things up a bit with “Another Dance” proving this album was emotionally all over the place.  Other tracks worth mentioning were “Diego Garcia”, “Monkfish” and album closer “Hope”.

With more of a melancholy feel throughout, the album was still a good listen from start to finish.  At times the lyrics seemed to repeat too much on tracks but it was not enough to turn me away.  It’s nice to see that this band is still putting out worthy material to listen to and what’s even better is that the band is currently touring in support of the release.  To hear that a 22 year old band is still hitting the clubs and playing out just proves that you are never too old to do what you love.

Look for Leatherface to play May 9th at Now That’s Class in Lakewood with very special guests Ninja Gun, Dead To Me, and Cleveland’s F*cking Cops plus others.  Doors are at 9pm and I am sure there will be a healthy crowd there that night so make sure you get there before it sells out!

UPDATE: Sadly Leatherface had to cancel their Cleveland stop due to an uncontrollable situation including border control. Should I find any more information out I will be sure to post.

Ben Folds & A Piano – House of Blues – Cleveland, OH – 04/15/2010 – Concert Review

Every once in a while I like to go to a concert to enjoy it and not worry about trying to take a ton of pictures and take notes to try and make a vivid review of my experience.  Honestly I do not mind doing it but sometimes it is nice just to sit back and soak in a performance by a great musician.  Thanks to my pal Matt from that Addicted To Vinyl website, I got to do just that enjoy an amazing performance by one of my favorite pianists out there, Mr. Bed Folds – and yet I could not help but write a little something about it.

It’s been years since I actually waited in line for a show before the doors opened but only because I needed to try and score a good spot for Matt and special guest.  A lot has changed over those years too come to think.  Back in the day I used to park blocks away from a venue for free or cheap parking and then wait upwards to an hour just to get a close spot to the stage.  These days I am feeling rather pretentious as I hand my keys over to a valet just around the corner and mosey in a venue whenever I feel like it.

I don’t need to be close to the stage anymore.  I have been there and still have scars to prove it.  I am perfectly contempt hanging in the shadows soaking in a live show.  In other words – I am getting older.  I am not old yet but you can bet your ass when I am old I will still be going to shows.

Matt Pond opened up the night for the sold out crowd at the House of Blues in Cleveland.  I am not sure really how I felt about his performance.  He was talented and had a singing style that kept reminding me of The Verve Pipe but it just lacked oomph.  With just Matt Pond and a guitarist on stage it didn’t have that energy needed to warm up the crowd enough.  Luckily with good conversation and a couple of PBRs the opener thanked the crowd and left the stage.

With just a piano on stage and also a black mat with a couple mics surrounding it, Folds casually walked onto the stage and the place erupted in cheer.  The more modern day Elton John, but much more vulgar, took a seat on his stool, greeted the crowd and began playing “Free Coffee” followed by “Annie Waits”, a song I should add was deemed “my jam” my our special guest of the evening.

I was thrilled to hear “All You Can Eat” which might be one of my favorite songs by Folds.  As I sang along I just was happy and enjoying myself with good friends and amazing music.  Of course that had to be interrupted.  Every single time Matt and I hang out something stupid happens.  I will explain in a moment.

Not only is Folds an amazing pianist but he is also a story teller and just hilarious to listen to.  Throughout the night in between songs I found myself cracking up at his remarks and comments be it him talking about the next song that he would play or just responding to the crowd.  It was not just the man on stage those being funny, there were some witty folk in the crowd as well.  I still laugh to myself at the fan who loudly and randomly said “Hi Ben” that just about caused Folds to even lose his concentration.

I might as well mention the other kinds of fans that were there…you know those fans.  The ones that pay money to see an artist and just talk through the whole set.  The ones that scream stupid things at the wrong moment thinking they are funny but results in a pissed off surrounding crowd.

Sadly I had a group of loud mouthed supposed fans behind where I was perched and they just had to lose all control of the volume of their voice and talk about how good their dinner was.  I finally could not take it and turned around and asked nicely for them to lower their voices so I could hear Folds play, you know, the guy who the tickets were purchased for.  I thought everything was fine and they seemed to agree until a hot head in the gang started yelling at me.  I did not take that kindly, exchanged some more words with “F”, “S”, and “A” being the first letters of those words and finally turned around.  They kept a respectful level of chit-chat after that.  I was so pissed off that I missed out on a couple of songs and apparently during my incident Folds was taking requests from the crowd on what songs to play next.

I was not the only one who had this issue either.  From all over the venue you could hear people screaming “shut up” to people who apparently like to spend money to sold out shows just so they could ignore the music and talk loudly.

So by the time I focused on the show Folds was holding a maraca in head and started playing the fake version of “Bitch Went Nutz” using the maraca and his fingers on the microphone to aid in a percussion of sorts.  It was awesome and it just got better from there as Folds played a brand new song from his up coming album he has been recording with Nick Hornby.  The song was called “Levi Johnston’s Blues” and is was all about Sarah Palin’s daughter’s former fiance.  I laughed my ass off during this song and well as nodded my head along with.

Another highlight to the evening for me was when Folds played “Steven’s Last Night In Town” a stagehand ran out with a tom drum so that Folds could play the ending beat.  While beating on the tom Folds and stagehand made way to the black mat I spoke of previously and as Folds played the tom the stagehand kept bringing out pieces and parts to the set until it was a full kit and Folds then played a crowd approving drum solo.

Instead of returning to the piano Folds took it upon himself to play “Hiro’s Song” while playing the drums.  He also added in a little freestyle song in so that no one would be able to sing along.  He then returned to the piano and played “The Luckiest” followed by the always amazing “Rock This Bitch”, which was requested by a fan.

The crowd helped with “Not The Same” adding a chilling harmony at Folds’ request.  Leave it to some drunk ass who sung out of key on purpose for a brief moment to piss off, one again, his surrounding neighbors.  “Shut the f— up” was screamed at the moron by another fan which apparently got some other drunks excited and they started shouting out stuff.  Way to go drunk-tards of Cleveland for adding your spice to an amazing song.  Seriously, thanks.

Playing “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces” Folds just beat the hell out of his piano as the crowd went nuts.  I am always in awe watching him play live, it is something that needs to be seen.  Striking the last note of the song Folds took his stool slammed it on the piano and left the stage.

Luckily he returned for an encore as it was apparent the crown was not done just yet.  Playing “Rockin’ The Suburbs” the crowd once again erupted in approval and sang along.  Ending the near two hour set Folds merged into “Song For The Dumped” and upon finishing it thanked Cleveland and left the stage.

It was a great concert, the kind where you leave satisfied and talk about the show all the way to your car, or to the valet in my case.  I was thrilled to hear so many Ben Folds Five songs played as well as hearing some of the other tracks from albums like Rockin’ The Suburbs and Songs For Silverman.  I can admit I was not the biggest fan of Way To Normal but regardless I enjoyed the selections he performed from that release as well.  Folds was on top of his game as always and put forth a great solo show to all.  I can not wait till he comes back next time, hopefully with Nick Hornby…that would be amazing.

Here’s a review of a Ben Folds performance at an over sized venue and free for students resulting in even more annoyance for the true fans.

Set List:
Free Coffee
Annie Waits
Sentimental Guy
Effington
Time
Landed
All U Can Eat
Brainwascht
Gone
Bitch Went Nutz (Fake Version)
Levi Johnston’s Blues (new track featuring lyrics by Nick Hornsby)
Picture Window
You Don’t Know Me
Still Fighting It
Zak and Sara
Steven’s Last Night in Town (Ben Folds Five Cover)
Hiro’s Song
The Luckiest
Rock This Bitch
Emaline (Ben Folds Five cover)
(Unknown)
Army (Ben Folds Five cover)
Not the Same
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces (Ben Folds Five cover)

Encore:
Rockin’ the Suburbs
Song for the Dumped (Ben Folds Five cover)

Bad Religion To Release Live Album & Give It Away For Free

Thanks to Matt for posting this one out to me…

Punk rock legends Bad Relgion (BR) recently announced on their website that they will be recording a live album and giving it away for free to all their fans.  The album titled 30 Years Live will be recorded during BR’s 2010 tour and given away to all fans who sign up on their mailing list.  If you are a BR fan, make sure you sign up so they can email you a link to the album for download.

Oh and if you have not heard yet BR will be playing back to back shows for a month starting March 17th.  Sadly they will not be making it this way, but how awesome is that?

Bad Religion 30th Anniversary Celebration from Bad Religion on Vimeo.