Gramatik – The Agora – Cleveland, Ohio – April 6th, 2014

Gramatik (https://www.facebook.com/gramatik ) will be showing and performing at the Agora Theatre and Ballroom (5000 Euclid Avenue, in Cleveland, Ohio) on Sunday, April 6th. This concert is in support of his latest release, The Age of Reason. Torture is one of the singles on the album that distinguishes Gramatik from other performers, while Brave Man (featuring Eskobars) is a tremendous track that rivals prog-rock in terms of sheer epic feel. Gramatik’s music transcends genre distinctions, ensuring that any fan of EDM, trip-hop, trance, and solid tunes will find something that they can appreciate. Bluestep is grungy while having an electronic sheen, describing New York City (Gramatik’s stomping grounds) perfectly. Continue reading “Gramatik – The Agora – Cleveland, Ohio – April 6th, 2014”

Fun Fun Fun Fest Review

Fun-fun-fun-fest-logo-2011Fun Fun Fun Fest is a festival weekend like no other.  I arrived around 4:30pm on Friday to find comedian Patton Oswalt doing a standup routine inside a sweaty and claustrophobic tent.  Outside of the tent was the orange stage which had Johnny Marr doing How Soon Is Now amongst other hits from the group which he played guitar, The Smiths.   The sound was clearly bleeding into the tent as Oswalt joked how this situation is probably Wes Anderson’s wet dream.  Surreal, indeed.  I skipped the Friday night closing performance by Snoop Dogg to catch Sarah Silverman, Doug Benson, and Kyle Dunnigan perform a night set at The State Theater in downtown Austin.  Kyle Dunnigan almost stole the show, Benson was stellar, and Silverman ended the show with a new song about “the difference between a diva and a cunt.” to uproarious laughter.  It was an intimate performance where no camera’s were allowed and the audience rounded out to about 250 fans.

My Saturday started with Dick Lucas leading the legendary anarcho-punk outfit, Subhumans as they played their classic From the Cradle to the Grave.  “He plays with the energy of a 25 year old.”  That’s a phrase I kept reciting throughout the festival.  It seems appropriate because next up on the black stage was Body Count.  I got to meet Ice-T right before the performance as he was doing a press shoot which made my day. He was both cool and cold as ice, living up to his gangster mystique.  Body Count raged with ferocity through a set consisting of both newer jams and older classics.  Just incase anyone thought playing an officer of the law on television made Ice-T sympathize with the men in blue, it has not.  Ice noted how the Cop Killer controversy started in Austin before saying that all cops could “eat a bowl of dicks”.  The audience cheered and chuckled.  Ice-T’s wife Coco, infamous for her gigantic posterior and hour glass figure attracted much attention both from males and females alike as she smiled, watching Body Count thrash out.  I skipped Judge in anticipation for an Ice-T solo set and pop-punk mainstays, the Descendents, both of whom played at the same time.  I started off at the blue stage for Ice-T before jogging to the black stage for singer Milo and his Descendents.  As I heard Ice-T bust into New Jack Hustler, I sprinted back to the blue stage, singing his lyrics in a whirlwind as onlookers gave me puzzled looks.  I have been a dedicated Ice-T fan for 22 long years,  ever since my mom bought me his Freedom of Speech album before hearing the profanity laced lyrics and marching right back into the local music store for a refund.  I jumped up and down with glee as Ice-T did OG:Original Gangster, 6 in the Morning and a slew of golden era classics.  Once again, I then ran back to the black stage, using my access to get onstage as the Descendents went into the latter part of their set.  It was a great moment to be within an arms reach of grinning guirarist, Stephen Eggerton.  The band was having so much fun; the set was like one big family reunion where everyone knew the lyrics and sang them with a sense of ownership.  At one point, I watched as a blind man with a white stick did a stage dive, followed by a guy in a wheel chair who was crowd surfing while the audience held him up.  Awesome is the only way I can describe the Descendents set and the backdrop of audience vitality.

That night I caught Cro-Mags do a set in the back of HolyMountain, a local Austin club.  I was called a hipster douche bag by an obese bearded fellow and accidentally punched in the ear by a wild mosher as the Mags did a set that was almost exclusively songs from hardcore favorite, Age of Quarrel, mixed with a few Bad Brains covers such as Fearless Vampire Killers.  John Joseph  at 51 years of age, is in fantastic physical condition and has the energy of a hungry wolf pack.    The Krshna Conscious singer mentioned how he would be back in Austin soon to run an annual triathlon.

All pictures by Lizzbeth Tamburri.

I was greeted Sunday by Kathleen Hanna’s The Julie Ruin.  What was once Kathleen Hanna’s solo electronic project is now a fully blossomed band.    I watched a few songs and then wandered over to the squared circle for Austin’s own local wrestling promotion, Anarchy Championship Wrestling.  These guys are no Bret Hart’s or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s but what they are is quality yet campy entertainment, and after all, isn’t that what professional wrestling is all about.  They curse each other and hurl bodies towards the audience.  At one point, during the Cro Mags black stage performance, two of the wrestlers start moshing in the ring.  These guys and gals are a staple in Austin, appearing once a month at music venue, The Mohawk and annually at the Fest where onlookers are either puzzled, amused, or excited to see the pugilists throwing each other around with hip tosses and drop kicks.  After the wrestling, I watched Killer Mike and the sound guys fumble around the skate ramp for what was either supposed to be Mike rapping and or dj’ing.  It was rather confusing.  He spit some accapellas for the crowd before descending upon them, announcing that it was time to smoke weed with his fans.  Nobody seemed too aggravated.

I watched Deltron 3030 on the blue stage which was packed with performers including an orchestra, Del The Funkee Homosapien, Dan The Automator, and their dj, Kid Koala.  The set had a jovial circus vibe going on as Del kept his calm, busting flows over the madness.  Next up was The Locust, a band that has been performing extreme music since before half of the audience was born.  The set was short and spastic, loud and fast.  I wouldn’t expect any less.  It was great to finally see them.

I skipped Good Life Café hip hop veterans, Juraasic Five to catch the master’s of metal, Slayer.  Although Dave Lombardo has moved on and Jeff Hanneman has passed away, these guys still have high voltage power and riffs that could penetrate steel walls.   They played some newer songs and classics from Seasons In The Abyss such as “Dead Skin Mask” and “Hallowed Point” before closing out the night with earth shattering anthems, “Angel of Death” and “Reign In Blood.”

Fun Fun Fun Fest represents the diversity of Austin’s wide ranging artistic pallet.  Whether you are a die hard metal head, a connoisseur of comedy, or a fair weathered fan of trending indie rock, you will not be bored at this fest.  The promoters work hard putting this buffet of sounds together that caters to people from all walks of life.  Every year thousands of fans await the yearly lineup and I can tell you this, I am one of them.  I can’t even guess who will headline next year but here’s to hoping its R Kelly.

 

-David Saint Timbercrest

Follow me on Twitter, @mchomelesstwit

 

 

Chelsea Wolfe Show Review – Austin, TX – September 6th, 2013

Chelsea 3Chelsea Wolfe is an anomaly.   She may be the only artist in history to cover songs by both Biggie Smalls and Rudimentary Peni. Her music is hauntingly tragic and the vocal accompaniment is often stunningly airy, a perfect soundtrack for the death and decay of fall. Last time Chelsea Wolfe was in town she did a minimal acoustic performance but on this evening the full band was brought along to promote her new album, Pain Is Beauty.
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   She started the set with new song, Feral Love.  The opening strings are perfect for a funeral procession as Chelsea utters, “Your eyes are black like an animal.”  Ms. Wolfe would not be unfit to play on a black or doom metal bill and I don’t doubt that she has.  Feral Love reminds me of Bjork after being trapped in a room, secluded with only Candlemass and Paradise Lost records.  Also early in the set was We Hit A Wall, a trudging, doomy folk anthem from Pain Is Beauty that walks you across a circular apocalyptic landscape of abysmal sonic despair.   Her ghostly visage and shy yet piercing eyes light up the stage as people scream adorations between songs.   About halfway through the set Chelsea Wolfe brought the wrath of Demons from 2010’s Apokalypsis, a song she earlier recorded on The Grime and The Glow.

 

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This rendition brought the energy to a new level.  Another standout track was her take on Rudimentary Peni madman, Nick Blinko’s disturbingly penned Echo.  The original song clocks in at 1:07 but Chelsea stretches every syllable as the band plays slow and heavy.  A far cry from Peni’s version, Chelsea is more influenced by the lyrics of Blinko than the chaotic punk music of his band of misanthropes.  The words to Echo are simple and tortured. “Language of agony, torment in sound. Weeping of ancestors formed into words. The echo of anguish, primeval sorrow.”  Perhaps Chelsea Wolfe has found a kindred soul in Nick Blinko, whose poetry she repeats with the conviction of a nun.
Chelsea and the band sweated through the set on this hot Austin night.  Her fan base is loyal and grows as Wolfe’s music has progressed in interesting directions.  I was a casual Chelsea Wolfe fan before this show but I can now be counted among the aforementioned loyal fan base.

-David Saint Timbercrest

Follow me on Twitter, @mchomelesstwit

 

All pictures by Lizzbeth Tamburri.

Pentagram Concert Review – Austin, TX – 8/2

On Friday, August 2nd, doom metal pioneers Pentragram ripped through a set of the classics at Emo’s East in Austin,Texas. I expected the crowd to be bigger but the show seemed poorly promoted in the city. On the upside, attendance wasn’t too bad and those who came out had a blast. The moment wild man singer, Bobby Liebling, took stage, the crowd roared. He grinned and posed, loving every minute. The band which has seen many lineup changes over the years rushed right into fan favorite, “Sign of The Wolf” and didn’t hesitate to play “Forever My Queen” early in the set as well.

Black clad and long haired fans cheered and sang along to every syllable. “Be Forewarned” came towards the end of the metallic and grooving set with no filler in between. Bobby Liebling and the guys definitely seemed to be enjoying themselves and the atmosphere was celebratory. There is no denying that Pentagram are legends in the netherworld of heavy and extreme music. Pentagram is a band that has been plagued by trials and tribulations but Bobby Liebling is still kicking and hard at that. I didn’t know what to expect going into a Pentagram show. All of the members are new except the long-standing Bobby Liebling. It wasn’t the 1971 lineup but then again I didn’t expect it to be. The 2013 lineup is strong and can still outdo most members of the metal community with ease.

 

 

(Pictures by Lizzbeth Tamburri, all rights reserved)

-David Saint Timbercrest

Follow me on Twitter, @mchomelesstwit

Weedeater Concert Review – Austin, TX – July 3rd, 2013

Dixie Dave Collins is a fixture of stoner metal. He was a force to be reckoned with during his tenure in Sourvein and the legendary Buzzov*en in the 90s. He rocks the bass with a fury in Bongzilla and Hail! Hornet, all the while fronting the drug-fueled powerhouse, Weedeater.

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They brought their mammoth sound to Red7 in Austin on Wednesday July 3rd while playing the inside stage. Mala Suerte opened the show and are a local band that I think will garner some national attention in the near-future. They perfected the doomy sound and had a song called “Labyrinth of Solitude”. It doesn’t get much more doom than that. ASG also played. They have releases on Volcom and Relapse Records. They reminded me of a southern, stoned out version of Soundgarden. By the time they hit the stage I was pretty intoxicated and continued my adventures with alcohol as Weedeater hit the stage.

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The amps were large and the sound was even larger. The drummer of Weedeater went through movements that put me in a psychedelic haze. I had never seen anyone’s arms move like that before. Dixie Dave made agonizing faces as he beat his bass into a sickening frenzy. Not even Charles Manson could match those murderous contorted glances he gave the audience. All of the songs blended together into one gargantuan explosion of sobriety destroying metal. Near the end they did a rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s gun-toting, rebel anthem, Gimme Back My Bullets. Fuckin’ a. Go see this band live and get melted.20130217-022854-619750

-David Saint Timbercrest

Follow me on Twitter, @mchomelesstwit

 

Lemuria Concert Review – Austin, TX – June 15th, 2013

Lemuria is the quintessential modern pop-punk band. They aren’t a bratty band paying homage to Screeching Weasel or The Ramones. You will find no teenaged-inspired lyrics in their songs. They are a whole other beast. Taking cues from 90s emo, they combine pop sensibilities with indie intelligence, and a punk rock ethic. The music is smart and earnest. They graced the inside stage of Mohawk on Saturday June 15th and played to an intimate crowd of sweaty enthusiasts.

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The set was rapid-paced and maybe lasted about forty or fifty minutes. This was the record release show for their new album on Bridge 9, The Distance Is So Big of which they did a few new songs from that the audience seemed to really enjoy, myself included. I was also happy to hear crowd favorites that had people singing along. They did great renditions of “Dog”, “Dogs”, “Mechanical”, and “Lipstick” off of the melancholy album, Get Better. The set was closed out with an encore of “Pleaser” from their sophomore LP, Pebble.
This wasn’t the first time I have seen Lemuria and it surely won’t be the last. They give their all during every performance and the rising popularity they have attained is a testament to that. Some say that punk is dead but pop-punk is definitely a living, breathing entity every time Lemuria hit the stage.

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-David Saint Timbercrest

Follow me on Twitter, @mchomelesstwit

 

Best Coast Concert Review – Austin, TX, May 26th, 2013

Best Coast started their appropriately seasoned summer tour last night in Texas at Austin’s Mohawk venue to a sold out crowd.   Gal Pals from Austin opened up the show.  I had never heard of them before but was ultimately impressed with their set of songs that sounded straight off of a 60s Nuggets or Pebbles compilation.  They consist of two ladies (on drums and guitar) and write some catchy jams.

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Next up was Lovely Bad Things.  They are on tour with Best Coast and played a brand of pop-punk that seems hard to find these days.  I could see them fitting in on a bill with Lemuria or now defunct band, The Ergs.  The set was good and they seemed to have really nice stage chemistry.  I could tell they have fun playing together.

Best Coast plays sun soaked, beachy pop music with melancholy lyrics and hail from the city of Los Angeles. They started off the set with Sun Was High (So Was I) off of their 7 inch that goes by the same name.  Singer Bethany Cosentino made some serious scowls as her and Bobb Bruno jumped into a mix of songs from Crazy for You and The Only Place.  Bethany bantered about boob sweat and the classic television show Martin between songs.  The crowd ate it up and guys yelled their undying love for her.  Bethany amused them by yelling “I love you too” back at them.  At one point a guy in a Cro-Mags shirt did a stage dive.  I forgot what show I was at for a second.  This band has great stage presence and really connects with their loyal audience.  It’s difficult to believe they have only been a band since 2009.  Some of my favorite highlights were the songs “Boyfriend” and “The End” from their lo-fi debut, Crazy For You.   I have no complaints about Best Coast or their live show.  Go see them this summer.

 

– Follow David on Twitter: @mchomelesstwit

Remaining Tour Dates:

May 28 Dallas, TX Granada Theater
May 29 Nashville, TN Exit In
May 30 Birmingham, AL WorkPlay
May 31 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse
June 1 Raleigh, NC The Lincoln Theatre
June 3 Richmond, VA The National
June 4 Washington DC 9:30 Club
June 5 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
June 6 Boston, MA Royale Nightclub
June 7 New York, NY The Governors Ball Music Festival

July 17 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl with Belle & Sebastian

July 31 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
Aug 1 Milwaukee, WI The Rave

 

 

Of Montreal Show Review – Austin, TX, May 6th, 2013

Last night was Of Montreal’s tour stop in Austin,Texas. They played at popular venue, the Mohawk, to a mostly young and enthusiastic crowd clad with x’d hands and painted faces. Wild Moccasins from Houston,Texas opened the show with an energetic burst of indie dance music that fell somewhere between early Madonna and more modern acts like Beach House. The bass lines were steady and funky, creating a nice groove as the keyboardist/lead singer and guitarist created harmonious vocals over an atmospheric layer of pop sounds. They kept the crowd captivated, especially the front few rows where people danced and kept their heads bopping in unison. I could see this band being heralded as one of the hot new indie acts of 2013, so labels take notice. The set was an enjoyable surprise from an act that I had not previously heard.

Of Montreal was eagerly anticipated and came out in wildly chic, colorful garb. The set started with a mix of older and newer songs which had the die-hards singing along as the more casual fans passively watched from the upper deck. For those that do not know, Of Montreal is not just a live band but a total theatrical experience. There were costume changes and lots of performance artists, running on and off the stage in a chaotic manner. The theme for the night seemed to be Day of the Dead style masked avengers mixed with carnival-esque mutant/animal costumed creatures, coming together to do the Danse Macabre across the stage.

Feathers were shot from a canyon all over the crowd and at one point a masked performance artists crowd surfed his way to the balcony, much to the delight of onlookers. The soundtrack to the madness was Of Montreal’s remarkably upbeat songs that disguise lead singer Kevin Barnes often dark and introspective lyrics. They seem to channel a mix of David Bowie, Prince, and Elton John but with a unique, modern hipness. I was impressed by backup singer Rebecca Cash who sang lead vocals on one standout track that Of Montreal announced as being new. They played for about an hour and came out for an encore of hits from the record Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? Fans screamed passionately along to the lyrics of fan favorite’s She’s A Rejecter, Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse, Gronlandic Edit and Suffer For Fashion. These songs were the highlight of the evening as things turned into a giant dance party.

This was an impressive Monday evening event for Austin. The crowd was packed in tight and all jams were up to par. Nothing was mediocre and I would suggest to anyone that hasn’t yet, check out Wild Moccasins and Of Montreal live when they play a city near you.

Of Montreal Show Review

– Follow David on Twitter: @mchomelesstwit

Kyle Gustafson/FTWP
Kyle Gustafson/FTWP

Adventures in Time and Space Tour – Figure, House of Blues, Cleveland, Ohio – March 8th, 2013

As an update to the original flyers and show information, Eric Evasion replaced 2Rip. Signs explaining the change in lineup were present through the front of the House of Blues.

Sean 2:16 immediately preceded Figure, and created a high-energy set that blended the bluntness of dubstep drops with popular culture (Pokemon clips) and samples from top-20 EDM efforts (Benny Benassi, Skrillex). The flow of the set kept the energy high, but the venue’s sound seemed incredibly low throughout the entirety of Sean 2:16’s set. The verdict is out for Sean 2:16 for this reason; keep an eye on him at http://www.facebook.com/Sean2sixteen .

The House of Blues became decently filled for Figure’s set. A substantial contingent of attendees came back into the venue during the switchover from Sean 2:16 to Figure. From the initial notes of Figure’s set, listeners were absolutely floored by the booming bass and electricity that flowed through eir set. Figure’s set was bolstered through the inclusion of a continual visual element; this graphical representation of eir music provided a full package.  Figure’s placement at a level above the stage created a larger than life feel to the performer. There was no lack of energy during this headlining effort; the audience furtively ate up everything that Figure offered up. No matter how gritty or grimy Figure got, there was a good vibe emanating throughout the venue; the audience was even able to maintain a pit for an extended run.

For those individuals that were unable to make a date on the Figure tour this time around, check out eir Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/figure) for a twenty-two minute touching upon the styles and the overall feel that is to be expected on the Adventures in Time and Space Tour.

Figure’s review: 9.1/10

images – Figure, House of Blues, Cleveland, Ohio – March 8th, 2013 / Opening: Eric Evasion, Sean 2:16 / http://www.facebook.com/imfigure

Rockapalooza 2012 Ohio Review (September 8th, 2012)

 

Rockapalooza 2012 was a tremendously interesting concert. The fairgrounds themselves were large and spacious, while the different stages were all placed in very close quarters. This means that there was a more cohesive flow to the concert, but that there was some serious sound pollution if individuals were not standing straight-on to the stage. There were a set of different scenes that were present here, culminating in a rock and a rap side to things.

Attendees had a number of drink and food options – Domino’s Pizza and Subway provided the food, while water, pop, and alcoholic beverages were all present. A ring of bands selling their wares surrounded the action and allowed for fans to meet their idols. While bands were playing throughout the entirety of the day, I felt that the show kicked into high gear as the sun went down. Youngstown rapper Mood (not related to the Hi-Tek protégés from the early 2000s)performed to a packed rear stage.  The overall energy exerted by Mood was off the chart, but it seemed like ey was struggling to keep from being winded at points. While there were some interesting freestyles presented during eir set, I feel that Mood’s evolution will make for an overall stronger live effort.

Machine Gun Kelly went up against The Devil Wears Prada. By this point of the concert, the side stages had by and large closed up. Going through eir version of Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff”, MGK was able to interact nicely with eir hometown audience. While there were a wide variety of tempos broached during the MGK set, I feel that the slower efforts did a little damage to the overall energy of the set. MGK has a tremendous stage presence and ey is one of the few performers that can project themselves from the front row back to the end of the crowd.

The Devil Wears Prada flipped the vocal-dominant stylings of MGK, in that their instrumentation was highlighted through their set. While they too were stellar at speaking to the crowd, I felt that the intricacies of their arrangements were the main driving force. The dynamic was fluid and continued to shift through the entirety of the set; a guitar line would be replaced with a stand-off between the drums and vocals, shifting again to something entirely different. The earnestness of The Devil Wears Prada showcased that the band appreciated being there.

 

Rockapalooza 2012 Ohio Review (September 8th, 2012)  / Summit County Fairgrounds /