Posts tagged ‘live music’

April 28, 2015

Austin Adventure | SXSW Day Three (part one)

Let’s all pretend for a moment that it hasn’t been four weeks plus and I’m writing about SXSW day three like it was just last week.

DAY THREE – FRIDAY MARCH 20 | PART ONE

After finding out that SXSW doesn’t really start till 2:00pm, Bowerbird and I were letting our morning be slow and relaxing, until we found out Viet Cong was playing at the Spin party at 12:30pm. We discovered this probably around 11:30am, which one might think isn’t enough time to get ready for life, but when I travel time moves differently. I’m capable of getting ready faster and apparently one does not need to account for traffic time. The weather outside was grim, but I figured it would clear up. So we got ready in a flash and called our Lyft driver. Coincidentally it was the same gentleman who drove us the day before, and now officially besties he told us about an amazing dive bar with badass burgers we had to check out.
Getting to the Spin party just as Viet Cong started playing, this is when we sadly found out people have to RSVP to parties for special entrance badges and crap. Disappointed but not discouraged, the Spin party was in the backyard of Stubbs BBQ. Parallel to the restaurant is a bridge that looks into the back area, so standing next to running tour buses, Bowerbird and I listened to what little was left of the Viet Cong set. We were also able to catch Metz, an amazing punk band that made me feel like I was fourteen again. Just a little punk kid listening to the music from outside, because I couldn’t get into the show. We had our own mosh pit going on as I danced and gleefully bumped into Bowerbird.

SXSW spin partyOutside the Spin Party

After Metz played we walked back to the main street to go and find that dive burger joint, and as we passed by Stubbs the singer of Viet Cong was maneuvering gear outside. Dan recognized him and musician to musician gave him props. We also mentioned how we weren’t able to get in but checked out the set from the bridge. The singer, Matt, totally commiserated with us, as he had played SXSW before without a clue as to how all the parties ran too. He told us he was playing later that day, and I mentioned how that was an invite only event. He then offered to get us on the list, and we exchanged info with no promises but a possible chance to check out the band at the Fader Fort.

sxsw day III

Walking on cloud 11, Dan and I couldn’t believe how our luck had changed, and we we’re just hours and a possible guest list spot away from seeing Viet Cong. We found the dive bar/burger joint, Casino El Camino and had some of the best burgers in our life. Totally worth the hype, and I’m a major burger junky. The bar has a great atmosphere too, this gothic classic horror movie vibe, like the original Wolfman and Frankenstein wife. They were playing this cult classic, 976 Evil, which looked bizarre and must be seen. Mid- burger bite we received confirmation for the Fader Fort list, utterly stunned and thankful, Dan and I just couldn’t stop smiling in astonishment.

Casino El Camino

We explored a few more shows ( no RSVP needed) and  met up with an old friend of Bowerbirds, before we decided to head back to the hotel as it was pouring rain. I was wearing leather shorts. Neither of us was properly dressed. Our Lyft driver back to the hotel was a Cellist who vented about the fact straight hipsters had been invading his favorite gay bar. He also proclaimed he wasn’t a heterophobe, which sent me into a fit of laughter because I had never heard the term. I had a lot of really amazing and a few really weird Lyft drivers. But Lyft drivers like him were priceless. He was really sweet, as he helped instruct me as to how to book him again in order for him to wait in the hotel parking lot while we quickly changed. As we got rain ready, our driver went to Starbucks and even picked me up a black coffee. He was epic! Chugging down the caffeine we were off to 5th street with only an hour to set-time and in peak traffic hours.

Racoon Mural

Alright, I’m going to pause real quick because our story continues well into the night and there needs to be some breathing room in this post. So click here for Part 2 (pending) – or go do something productive.

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November 26, 2014

Live Music Addict : Soko, Lucero & Kurt Vile

live music review soko lucero and kurt vile

I’ve spoiled myself with live music these past two weeks. I had purchased tickets to Lucero and Kurt Vile back in September, but when I saw the listing for Soko’s Bootleg show on Tumblr, I immediately purchased tickets.

Soko was a mixture of poetry and punk. Her energy infectious and sassy attitude charming. Razing the sound guy up in the rafters of the venue, her arms wide open with a request to turn up the volume. Childlike but stylistically mature, Soko’s vulnerability onstage is refreshing when female artists can at times look over rehearsed. At one point she invited ladies in the audience to jump on stage for , “I thought I was an Alien”.  As I hate to live with what-if’s, I maneuvered to the stage to dance. Once on stage, she started instructing girls to follow suite at take off their tops. Yes, Soko had freed the nipples. Considering the tech environment we live in, my bare chest was not something I wanted stored on a strangers cell phone, so I inched my way towards bailing from the stage. But fortunately while still onstage, Soko began the song and a handful of girls remained to dance with our tops on. This was a smaller group than those with their tops off, but us squares stuck together.  Although this was a unique aspect of her show, I don’t want it to be a defining moment of the night. It only illustrates the energy and influence Soko has on her fans, creating an intimate environment like everyone is a dear friend and these are some songs she just wrote taken from her diary. Making confessions in her French accent to the audience of who songs may be about, or forgetting the words, as her own emotional memories are brought to the surface through her lyrics and fans feed the singer her next verse.  Before running to the car, Soko was standing outside, and gently interrupting her conversation I told her I thought she was beautiful and authentic, because there are no two better words to describe this musical artist.

Fast forward four days and I’m in Echo Park ready to be transported back to Memphis while listening to Lucero. Anxious and on a mission to tell the members of Lucero about meeting Dave Cousar, I mustered the courage to approach guitarist Brian Venable and piano/accordion player Rick Steff. They were both incredibly kind, and Brian took note of my Muscle Shoals t-shirt. I had to show my southern pride! This was my sixth time seeing Lucero, but Bowerbird’s first. Every show I’ll inch myself as close to the stage as possible and swoon, hanging onto every word Ben Nichols sings.  This show was no exception. Lucero was the only band that played that night, starting the show with slower songs and then playing sad songs with a bit more electricity in the second half. It’s quite an accomplishment when not only does a band have enough strong material to fill 3 hours, but the fans watching love and can sing-a-long to every second of it. Far from a self-indulgent performance, a Lucero show makes you feel like you’re at someone’s backyard house party. Fans sent shots to the stage for Ben and the band to drink. Whiskey shot after whiskey shot, Ben was forced to admit he had to do a few songs before the liquor really kicked in. It’s more fun to be at a Lucero show then to ever read about one, so next time they are in your city go! They practically tour 300 days out of the year. Also don’t ever request Darby’s Song – there is a very strong reason not to, and you can click this link to find out why.

Finally I finished my musical fortnight with Kurt Vile. I had seen him at Coachella a few years ago.  Sitting on the plush polo field, the sun was setting and I listened to “In my Baby’s Arms” thinking of how much I wished Bowerbird was there to watch Kurt Vile with me. I was at Coachella working, and he was back in Los Angeles. Since that Coachella set, seeing Kurt Vile with my man has been on my musical bucket list. This time together we got to see him perform at an equally impressive but incredibly more intimate venue, the First Unitarian Church in Koreatown. I’ve seen Mark Kozelek and Iron & Wine at this venue and it’s by far one of my favorites in LA, except for that fact it puts me to sleep. The comfortable seats and amazing acoustics of slow and sentimental songs lulls me to sleep. My heavy head springing up towards the end of songs, and my one squinty eye revolting against the ultimate micro-nap. This by no means is a reflection of the actual performers, only that I really am an 80 year old woman trapped inside a 20 something body; and that it doesn’t help that these artist are on my Siesta Pandora station.

Back to Kurt Vile, he is a humble musician who lets his music speak for him. I imagine him as the rocker nerd in High School, with long hair and wearing his sister’s jeans, scribbling songs and chords in his chemistry notebook. He performs like it’s just him and the band on stage, dudes (and the one female drummer during the encore) jamming out for fun and we’re just lucky enough to witness it. Although he has grown to be a household name among the Pitchfork devotees, there is no ego on stage. Changing guitars between each song Kurt Vile approaches his microphone and adjust his gear like an eager teenager playing his first big show. The songs weren’t flawless, but they also weren’t coming out of a pre-recorded track either. The whole point of a live show is to experience the music you enjoy streaming or playing on vinyl in a new way, not to hear exactly what was perfectly recorded and mixed. Aside from begging my mind to not be so tired, the Kurt Vile show was everything I had hoped for down to the hand holding with Bowerbird. 

Extremely proud of this photo of Kurt Vile.

Kurt Vile Live Show Red Bull Sound Select

June 19, 2012

“Because Music Is My Heartbeat” says my shoes!

*Upcoming story on when I went to see this band a few weeks ago coming tonight to a blog near you!- well it didn’t come to you that night. But I have a bit of time now.

Wednesday May 23, 2012 was the Margot and the Nuclear So and So show, but this story begins the Saturday prior. Saturday May 19, 2012 I had a family gathering I needed to attend (happily) yet there were two fun events going on the same night, Cannibal Flower and Plants & Animals at The Satellite. Leaving the family gathering early after spending 4 hours with my cousins and Aunts, I drove to LA torn on what event to attend all down the 10. Finally I came to the conclusion I would hit up The Satellite, if I couldn’t find free parking then I would go to Cannibal Flower but that was my move.

When I pulled up to my normal spot about 30 mins from the headliners set and only 3 other cars were parked, I thought “This is either a small show, or I don’t see a new parking sign”. Turned out to be a small show, but mid headliner (Plants & Animals) set I spot the roommate of (at the time my crush) and semi-sort of- part time front desk person at the salon (my work) and her husband. Took me 8 minutes before I got the courage to walk up to the back of her to make sure I had made a correct identification, but once I did I was so happy. I was able to enjoy the show more as I now had a friend to dance with and just really enjoy the show.

Afterwards they invited me out to The Bootleg Theater to see a traditional Columbian band (or was it Ecuadorian) and just chill. So we did, as she has connections with the venue; so after a great night of conversation and tunes she kept telling me if there were ever a show I wanted to see at The Bootleg just ask. Little did she know there was a show I wanted to go to that very week. The next day I didn’t think much of the list invite to any show, but by Wednesday I was itching to see Margot.

Wondering Wednesday on the way to work whether to reach out to her or not, to my surprise she was working the front desk that day and I felt it was a sign. I asked mid-afternoon if she could get me in, and she happily shared how she needed to go there anyway. So I got to see Margot and the Nuclear So and So, amidst great conversation with the owner of The Fold/ promoter of The Bootleg and my friend; I would run into the stage to listen to my favorite songs and then back to conversation.

I love music, I love going to shows, and truly 98% of the time I always have an amazing night. Brave enough to go to a show by myself, but also know how much more fun it can be to be with friends that also love the music.