Monday, June 28, 2010

New Music: Buke And Gass

On Sunday afternoon we stopped in at the Bang On A Can marathon to catch the Talea Ensemble play the epic "Professor Badtrip". After Talea had completed their epic performance, we greeted some of the members stageside and were about to shmooze it up a bit, when we were completely distracted by the ensemble that had just taken the stage. Mesmerized, we returned to our seats to discover that the onslaught of noise coming from the stage was not only some of the coolest we had heard in a while, but was also (shockingly) being produced by only two players! Enter Buke and Gass.

The Brooklyn duo deliver a style of music that almost undefinable. To start with, each player (in addition to being a multi-instrumentalist) plays an instrument that was self created: a modified baritone ukelele (Buke) and a guitar/bass (Gass). However, there's much beyond the unique instrumentation to be enjoyed about this duo.

For one, they create so much noise on stage that you'd be easily forgiven for guessing that it was a trio, or even a four piece, playing on stage. Moreover, they enlist a unique sense of melody and composition that is reminiscent of the works of Dave Longstreth. However, despite their melodic and compositional intricacy, the band manages to keep their experimentation to such a level that their songs maintain a poignant immediacy normally reserved for pop music.

Needless to say, after seeing the pair's ridiculously great set, we immediately picked up their self-released CD, and headed back stage to meet the band. They were undeniably gracious, and had the air of a band that is just on the cusp of greatness, and just barely starting to realize how much people are enjoying their tunes.

It should be noted that we're most certainly not the first to notice their pair: during our chat, we discovered that they have a new record on tap with The National's Brassland Records for September. While they don't have any more shows scheduled at the moment, they are in the process of planning a tour around the release. Needless to say, you should get out there and check them out when they do. In the meantime, enjoy "Medulla Oblongata" from the forthcoming full length, below.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The London Souls Played Bowery Ballroom - Pictures, Review

It's a rarity that we walk into a room at a friend's invitation and stumble upon a band that not only have we never heard of, but that's completely fantastic to boot. And yet, at the Bowery Ballroom last Thursday, that's exactly what happened. We caught The London Souls headlining a gig, and were completely blown away by what we heard.

The London Souls are a trio, consisting of three fantastically well balanced talents. As a unit they are indescribably well attuned to each other, and the chemistry is undoubtedly the foundation of their set. Each band member is wonderfully technically talented, and all members perform vocal duties in turn.

And yet technical skill is just the tip of the iceberg for these New Yorkers: they've been playing together for quite some time, and it shows. The onstage rapport and intuition that they put forth was palpable, as each member seemed to intrinsically know where seemingly chaotic moments would head next.

All of that aptitude was underscored by a set of originals and covers that ran the gamut from blues inspired psychedelic rock, to Kinks-like doses of melody and harmony. After a set that was already unquestionably blowing our minds, we were taken to the next level when the band delivered an encore of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows".

In short (if you didn't get the idea already), The London Souls are our official nomination for "best band you haven't heard yet". They deliver a live show that is one of the best we've seen in quite some time, and have a style that is simultaneously referential of their roots, and completely their own. More importantly, we get the distinct feeling they're on the verge of something big, so if you want to see them in a reasonably sized room, we'd recommend you do so while you still have the chance.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frightened Rabbit and Plants And Animals Coming To Terminal 5 In October

Plants and Animals at Bowery Ballroom, from the HAD Archive

As recently as last week, we mentioned that Plants and Animals were destined to play bigger and bigger rooms, and it seems we were right on target. In what is looking to be a live rendition of our Top Records of 2008, the band will be joining Frightened Rabbit at Terminal 5 on October 30th.

While we can't say we're exactly stoked that these bands will be in what is probably New York's most sonically vacuous concert hall, we can say that we think it will be a massively exciting bill to catch live. Both bands are incredibly passionate in the live environ, and to have them on the same stage, well, it should be one to write home about.

Tickets go on sale this Friday at noon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Walkmen Deliver Cover Art For Lisbon

We were already pretty damn excited about the upcoming Walkmen tour and subsequent record, Lisbon. So, it's not exactly a shocker that the receipt of this ultra pretty cover art has us champing at the bit even further. Now the big question on our mind is if the music will be as dreamy and light as that ultra purty cover. Can't wait!

Scott Pilgrim Features Beck and Broken Social Scene, Promises To Be Epic

We have to admit, we winced a little when we saw what was going on with the Scott Pilgrim movie: not only were they condensing all of the amazing comics into one single movie, but they also picked indie "it boy" Michael Cera to play the movie's eponymous protagonist. Well, now we're reconsidering our skepticism.

Just over the wire is word that the soundtrack will be graced by the likes of Beck and Broken Social Scene. Both artists have been commissioned by the filmmakers to provide the soundtracks to Scott's band (Beck) and his nemesis Crash and The Boys (BSS). Granted, a soundtrack does not a movie make, but we're thinking this may come pretty damn close.


Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) track listing:
1. We Are SEX BOB-OMB – SEX BOB-OMB (Beck)
2. Scott Pilgrim - Plumtree
3. I Heard Ramona Sing - Frank Black
4. By Your Side - Beachwood Sparks
5. O Katrina! - Black Lips
6. I’m So Sad, So Very, Very Sad – Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene)
7. We Hate You Please Die - Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene)
8. Garbage Truck – SEX BOB-OMB (Beck)
9. Teenage Dream - T. Rex
10. Sleazy Bed Track - The Bluetones
11. It’s Getting Boring By The Sea - Blood Red Shoes
12. Black Sheep - Metric
13. Threshold – SEX BOB-OMB (Beck)
14. Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl - Broken Social Scene
15. Under My Thumb - The Rolling Stones
16. Ramona (Acoustic) - Beck
17. Ramona - Beck
18. Summertime – SEX BOB-OMB (Beck)
19. Threshold 8 bit - Brian LeBarton

Portugal. The Man Played The Fillmore - Pictures, Review

Portugal. The Man played the Fillmore Friday night, and Hippies Are Dead was there for the show! Amidst swirling smoke, an epic light show, and droves of sufficiently intoxicated college students, the band from Alaska delivered quite the solid set.

While the lighting choices obscured the band for much of the time, that didn't change the fact that they were clearly well rehearsed, and intent on bringing the rock to their fans. The unfortunate part was that sometimes it seemed that the fans were intent not to notice.

Between the glow of cell phones, frequent Visine pit stops (really people? it's San Francisco!), and facebook updates, many of the audience members seemed to not quite comprehend that the reason they were there was to see a rock show.

Nonetheless, Portugal. The Man stood strong, and delivered on their rock and roll promise, which has recently garnered them a major label deal. While we have to say the audience left something desired, we were glad to see the band didn't seem to notice.

Pictures By Rick Audet
Many more photos at the HAD Archive

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hippies Are Dead Presents 5th Annual Freedom Fest At El Rio!!!

You know we love live music here at HAD. But you know what we love even more? Live music on a holiday weekend at a sick-ass bar with a monstrous back patio. For that very reason, we are honored to present the 5th Annual Freedom Fest at the always lovely El Rio this July 4th Weekend.

The set will include a lot of musical awesomeness, starting off with some chill acoustic jams from With Child, followed by full band sets including Sands, Finn Riggins, and Slow Trucks. What's more, it's on the Saturday before the 4th of July, so you have absolutely no excuse for not coming out an getting your party on. Come on, join us, celebrate independence, it only comes once a year, and unlike Christmas and there are fireworks!

See you there!

Oh, By The Way: This Year's Outside Lands Looks Fantastic

Yes, we know the Outside Lands lineup dropped a while ago: calm yourselves. The fest isn't happening for another two months, and we're certainly not going to subscribe to this "give it to me now" internet culture that all you kids seem so keen on. Nope, not one bit!

That being said, we'll just come out with this: the lineup for Outside Lands 2010 looks fantastic. As always, it's a pretty solid mix of acts and genres, with a "something for everyone" vibe. At the same time, it features a triumvirate of three of our favorite bands of the modern era: Kings Of Leon, The Strokes, and Phoenix will all be making appearances at the fest.

Yes, you read that correctly. Never mind that the re-formed Strokes alone would be enough to get us out there, add in two of the most solid live rock bands playing today, and suffice it to say, we'll be in attendance. On top of those three, we were more than a little psyched to see My Morning Jacket, Cat Power, and our recent faves Dawes all in the lineup.

In a change from previous years, the fest will only be a two day affair, which is actually probably a blessing for all of those folks coming from work on Friday. While it does make the fest slightly less epic, it also makes it a lot more manageable for a lot of folks, which is nice.

Anyway, as you can see, we're very psyched, and you can bet we're going to be there. We're guessing you will too - seriously, Julian asked us to invite you. xoxo.

2 AM Club Played Rickshaw Stop - Pictures, Review

It should be remembered (seriously, people) that the sordid history of rock and roll was built on the backs of sixteen year old girls. Whether they be screaming for Elvis, fainting for The Beatles, or giving hummers to The Stones (okay, hopefully those girls weren't sixteen), the praises of the young ladies have always gone hand in hand with great rock and roll. So it was that we stumbled into the Rickshaw Stop on Monday night to see just what was happening with 2 AM Club.

Describing the band is a bit of an enigma, as they seem to fall somewhere squarely in the middle of everything. They're not sacharine enough to be a New Kids or Backstreet knockoff, but they also aren't edgy enough to come across as a genuine rock band. Instead, they rest comfortably in the realm of a band who are adept at their instruments and give a solid, if a bit contrived, performance.

Regardless of where you want to place them in the genre spectrum, you can definitely be sure of one thing: these guys can sell some fucking tickets. The room at Rickshaw was packed to the gills, most notably with that ever-important demographic: the sixteen year old girl. There, pushing to the front, screaming, raving, and loving the tunes.

And really, that's what it comes down to: We're not sure exactly how we feel about 2 AM Club: Will they be the next Maroon 5? It seems possible. The vibe in the room was that of a band that was about to explode. Granted, it was a band with choreographed dance moves, but if you think Jagger doesn't choreograph his shit, then you're just naive. What we do know is this: they got a room of people jumping out of their skins about what they were hearing, and that's something we can support with reckless abandon.

Photos by Rick Audet

Many more photos at the HAD Archive

Portugal. The Man Contest Winner!

We're happy to announce that Julia from Berkeley won tickets to catch Portugal. The Man at The Fillmore tonight. The Bowie song that Portugal. The Man has been covering that won her the tickets? "Moonage Daydream" Check out the vid above - Yup, it's a doozy. Thanks to everyone who entered!

New Walkmen Record Lisbon On Tap For September, Summer Tour

The Walkmen at the Guggenheim last fall, from the HAD Archive

Well, this is certainly exciting. While details are still sparse at the moment, we'll tell you what we do know: The Walkmen have a new record on tap for September 14th, and that new record is called Lisbon. Culled from 44 songs wrtitten over two years, the 11 track album was recorded in both New York and Dallas. And, well, that's it.

Yes, we know it's not much, but we're still pretty damn thrilled. On top of the album news, the band have also lined up a series of summer dates. We're assuming this means a good solid taste of the new material, so you can bet we're going to get out there. Win.

The Walkmen Summer 2010 Dates
7/2: Taste of MN, St. Paul, MN
7/4: 80/35 Festival, Des Moines, IA
7/17: XPN Music Festival, Philadelphia, PA
7/31: Osheaga Festival, Montreal
8/6: Lollapalooza Festival, Chicago, Illinois
8/12: Governors Island, New York, NY (with Grizzly Bear)
8/25: Islington Academy, London, UK
8/27: Leeds Festival, Leeds, England
8/28: Reading Festival, Reading, England
9/9: Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, BC (with The National)
9/10: Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, BC (with The National)
9/12: Music Fest NW, Portland, OR
10/28: 02 Academy, Glasgow, UK (with The Black Keys)
10/30: 02 Academy, Newcastle, UK (with The Black Keys)
10/31: 02 Academy, Leeds, UK (with The Black Keys)
11/2: 02 Academy, Brixton, London, UK (with The Black Keys)
11/4: Rock City, Nottingham, UK (with The Black Keys)
11/6: 02 Academy, Liverpool, UK (with The Black Keys)
11/7: 02 Academy, Bournemouth, UK (with The Black Keys)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

EELS Drop New Track From Tomorrow Morning

The latest from EELS, Tomorrow Morning, doesn't drop until August 24th, but that doesn't mean you have to wait: the band has dropped the first track from the record, and it's a doozy. Uncharacteristically optimistic, "Looking Up" employs Mr. E's recently-preferred vocal distortion along with a peppy boogie-woogie piano line. Oddly, the end result is something that reminds us slightly of vintage Stones, with Mick taking a hiatus. Sadly, it doesn't seem to move past it's initial vibe - to say it's compositionally simple would be an understatement.

Still, if the track is any indication of the feel of the new record, we're quite happy to hear that Mr. E is back in his rock place. The record is being accompanied by a world tour, which makes landfall in North America in early September (dates below). We've got our fingers crossed that this will be a serious rock show - it's been far to long since we've seen EELS crank it to 11.

EELS Fall 2010 North American Dates
Sep 22 World Cafe Live Philadelphia, PA
Sep 23 The National Theater RICHMOND, VA
Sep 24 The Royal Boston, MA
Sep 25 Terminal 5 New York, NY
Sep 26 9:30 Club Washington, DC
Sep 28 Le National Montreal, ., CANADA
Sep 29 The Mod Toronto, ., CANADA
Sep 30 The Crofoot Theater Detroit, MI
Oct 1 The Metro Chicago, Illinois
Oct 2 The Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI
Oct 3 First Avenue Minneapolis, MN
Oct 5 The Odgen Theater Denver, CO
Oct 6 The Complex Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 8 Roseland Theater Portland, OR Find Tickets
Oct 9 The Moore Theater Seattle, WA Find Tickets
Oct 11 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA Find Tickets
Oct 12 The Henry Fonda Theater Los Angeles, CA

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Contest: Tickets To See Portugal The Man At The Fillmore

As we stumble out of bed to greet you on this Wednesday morning, we have some fantastic news: we've snagged a pair of tickets to catch Portugal. The Man at the always lovely Fillmore this Friday night. The show finds the band on an unquestionably upward trajectory, and should be packed to the gills.

So, how do you snag tickets to this lovely show? Easy: send an email to answering this question: What classic David Bowie track have Portugal. The Man covered live? We'll pick the winner from the entries at random, and notify you by Thursday afternoon!

Good luck!

Friday, June 11, 2010

David Byrne Delivers TED Talk

And yes, it's as good as you'd think it would be. Byrne (in addition to being an awesome musician) is a fantastic thinker, and this talk only serves to support that position. In the sixteen minute oratory, he gives his own insights on music venues, and their affect on how music is composed.

This is particularly fascinating when one considers its context relating to Byrne's transformation of a building into an instrument two years back. As always, David, you continue to impress. Check out the vid above.

Jeff Tweedy Produces New Record From Mavis Staples

Picture by Spencer Tweedy, hoisted from his excellent blog

Leave it to Jeff Tweedy to take all of his rock and roll cred and retroactively apply it to a fantastic vocalist that trumps him in experience by more than a few decades. Put differently: Tweedy has just produced a record, entitled You Are Not Alone, for R&B legend Mavis Staples.

After reading this fantastic interview over at Pitchfork, we're more than a little excited about the record. Not only was it recorded in Wilco's loft with the Wilco gang present and accounted for, but it contains new compositions from Tweedy as well. In short, it should be a very, very, fun record - and sound great to boot!

While we have yet to hear any material from the album, we will say this: we're waiting with bated breath. Tweedy and Co. have been producing some great material as of late, but in some ways have drifted a bit from Wilco's country roots. It'll be great to hear Tweedy at work with an artist who's truly a part of the foundation of American music.

Ted Leo Covers Tears For Fears To Great Success

This clip has been up for a while, but we just stumbled upon it after the recommendation of a friend. In short, it is a positively stellar version of Tears For Fears' classic "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", covered by the amazing Ted Leo. The song is unquestionably delivered in Leo's signature style, but in this case that's a very good thing, and it isn't hurting things one bit that the song is killer as well.

The track is part of an ongoing project by the Onion AV Club called "Undercover", in which they get bands to come in and select a cover song from a list. Once the song has been picked, it's crossed off, and the list becomes that much smaller. While some of the numbers are a little questionable in quality, there are some gems as well. Our frank opinion is that the Ted Leo number takes the cake, but let us know what you think. Check out all the tracks here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Plants And Animals Played Bowery Ballroom - Pictures, Review

Last night we endured the rain to stop in and see one of our very favorite bands, Plants and Animals, play the biggest room we've seen them in to date: Bowery Ballroom. Frankly, we couldn't be happier we did - the band delivered an amazing set that not only demonstrated their consistently expanding musical palette, but also made a solid traversal of both of their (fantastic) records.

Openers Lost In The Trees hit the stage at 9 o'clock, and delivered close to an hour of intricate, exceptional musicianship. The set was an amalgam of an incredible array of styles, ranging from folk, to blues, to rock. Moreover, the band demonstrated an incredible ability to navigate the stylistic variations seamlessly as a unit.

That navigation included not only expert technical skills, but a fair dose of multi-instrumentalists, as at least half the band managed to switch instruments at least once during the set. Combine that with the band's closing, unmiked performance in the middle of the ballroom floor, and you've got yourself one hell of an enjoyable opening set.

Plants and Animals hit the stage a little after ten, and were immediately in top form as the band launched into an explosive version of "Undone Melody". However, the set was not to follow the La La Land dominated form of their April show at Union Hall. Instead, the band immediately delved into some Parc Avenue tracks with a fantastic version of "Good Friend".

The set continued in much that manner, ebbing and flowing between the band's records. The variation served not only to contrast the two, but also find the spots where they connect and share momentum. Apart, La La Land can seem a bit like its own beast, but when sharing a setlist, the sonic unity becomes much clearer.

The band has clearly been honing their craft even further on tour, and is expanding their sound and stage presence to account for growing venue size. We've always been blown away by Plants and Animals' interplay and ability to create epic rock music that seems far larger than a trio might indicate, but last night the band made it clear that they've taken their already impressive skills and ramped them up a notch. "Feedback In The Fields" was amazingly driven, and "Mama Papa" took the already rocking album version to a new level.

As the show came to a close, Lost In The Trees joined the band on stage to sing an epic chorus of "Bye Bye Bye" that made it seem as though that might be it - it seemed somewhat un-toppable. Yet anyone who thinks as much would be naive: the band quickly returned to play the most epic and frenetic version of "Mercy" that we've ever heard. Convincing the crowd to join in on the chant of "M-E-R-C-Y", Plants and Animals left us with absolutely no doubt that they're more than ready to take on the world, and frankly, we can't wait.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

The Return Of The Strokes As Venison

Okay, we'll admit, this is basically a complete repost from our Strokes-obsessed pal over at Music Induced Euphoria. That being said, we think it more than deserves it: The Strokes are in the UK for a number of planned festival-comeback appearances, but the comeback has now officially arrived.

In a 500 person room, The Strokes (under the name Venison) delivered a set that spans the entire length of their career, and gave little doubt that they are, most certainly, back. What can we say? Our fanboy hearts are aflutter. Yay.

Lots more vids on youtube, and the setlist here.

Ryan Adams Drops "Sci-Fi" Metal Concept Album Orion

While we were busy writing something else up on Ryan Adams this morning (forthcoming), we stumbled upon the image above at his website. No, we're not sure what to make of it either, but in short: it appears that Mr. Adams has released a "Sci-Fi Metal Concept Album" entitled Orion, which is available exclusively via an (already sold out) vinyl record on his website.

The project is apparently the product of Adams and long time collaborator Jamie Candiloro, and marks (in theory) Adams coming out of his rock and roll "retirement". While that's all well and good, we have to admit that we're a little skeptical. Adams other "alternative genre" experiments (The Finger,WereWolph, Warren Peace, etc.) have never made a huge impact on us, and have always felt more like novelty experiments than genuine musical pursuits.

That being said, we're not going to write it off right away: Adams is a man of many talents, and it's entirely possible that he put those talents to work and created a brilliant record. Given that the record's already sold out, it seems like we're going to have to seek out other alternatives to hear its greatness - we'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Broken Social Scene At The Center Of A "Rock Show Romance"

We're not exactly sure what to make of this, but given lead singer Kevin Drew's heart-on-sleeve, romanticism, we're not exactly shocked to see Broken Social Scene at the hub of a new last-chance-at-love romantic drama.

Apparently based around the departure of a girl from a boys life and one night at a Broken Social Scene concert, the preview (above) for This Movie Is Broken appears to include just about every lost love cliche in the book.

That being said, it apparently contains massive amounts of Broken Social Scene live footage, and that's definitely not something we can argue with.

Ted Nesseth (The Heavenly States) Played The Makeout Room - Pictures, Review

We had been hearing fantastic things about the live sets that Ted Nesseth had been doing solo, so on May 29th we decided to stop in at the Makeout Room and check out his latest bid into the world of playing a small room with only a guitar and his voice.

Technically, the set wasn't completely solo, as Nesseth was joined on stage by a keyboardist. However, we have to say that Nesseth's playing and voice both were in top form, and the presence of backup of any kind was hardly necessary.

The set was comprised primarily of tunes that were new to our ears, and according to Nesseth, some may be destined for the next record from The Heavenly States, while some may remain solo pieces. Either way, there was no question that Nesseth's muse is alive and well, and the under-an-hour set left us hungry for whatever comes next.

More pictures at the HAD Archive

A Few Thoughts Arcade Fire, Spoon, and Madison Square Garden

If the recent sellouts of Radio City by the likes of The National, Vampire Weekend, and Spoon weren't enough to convince you that indie had gone mainstream, this is sure to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. By now you've almost certainly caught wind of what is promising to be the summer's "must see" indie show: Merge Records has taken their two most chart-conquering acts, and for one week in August will send Arcade Fire out into the world with Spoon to play a series of what can only be called very large venues.

For New Yorkers, this means a night at Madison Square Garden; perhaps the most "you've really made it" venue in the world. The gig falls in the middle of a week of shows down the east coast, and is perhaps the closest we've seen an indie gig ever getting to being part-of-the-mainstream. Never mind the vacuous size of the venue, the show also sports a $60 ticket face value, an American Express presale, and all the wonders of dealing with the monstrosity that is Ticketmaster.

Sure, it's always great to see fantastic bands make it big, but at the same time, it's a shame to see their success translated into membership in the all-to-ubiquitous clear channel machine. Don't get us wrong, we love the new Spoon record, and if the white label 12" that dropped a while back is any indication, the new one from Arcade Fire promises to be a gem as well. That being said, we sure wouldn't mind if someone in their management would take a hint from The Clash and realize that doing 17 nights at a small venue with reasonable ticket prices is by far preferable to one night in an enormous room.

Arcade Fire and Spoon Summer 2010 Dates
Aug 2 Mann Centre for the Performing Arts Philadelphia, PA
Aug 4 Madison Square Garden New York, NY
Aug 8 Lollapalooza Chicago, IL
Aug 9 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
Aug 11 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Atlanta, GA

Tickets to the New York show go on sale Saturday

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ok Go, Earl Greyhound, and Grand Lake Played The Fillmore - Pictures, Review

After being super stoked on Ok Go's Williamsburg rock show, we couldn't help but be incredibly excited when the offer came through for Hippies Are Dead Records' own Grand Lake to open for the band at San Francisco's legendary Fillmore. Needless to say, our pals in Grand Lake were more than a little stoked themselves. As such, we headed over to the Fillmore to catch what would end up being a night of fantastic music, as the two Californi bands were joined by New York's Earl Greyhound.

Grand Lake opened the show, and what can we say? It is our distinct opinion that they fucking nailed it. Playing to a crowd of wonderfully enthusiastic Ok Go fans, the band ran through much of their full length Blood Sea Dream.

As usual (Okay, look, We signed them to our label - we fucking love them), Grand Lake played a set that transcended their on-album energy, and took the already solid songs to a new level of awesomeness. Guitarist Jameson Swanagon was in particularly top form, tearing through his guitar lines with edgy enthusiasm.

We hadn't seen the band since last December, and frankly, they've grown quite a bit. In addition to adding a fourth member (Swanagon's wife Danae) on samplers and synths, the band has also tied down their live arrangements to match the record in their fervor.

In short, Grand Lake is continuing the upward ascent that we've been observing over the past couple of years, and we couldn't be happier that we're riding it with them. In addition to the Blood Sea Dream tracks, the band also debuted a new song, and we'll just say this: get out there and see them, because it just keeps getting better.

Grand Lake was followed by Brooklyn's Earl Greyhound, who delivered what can only be described as a set of epic rock and roll. The trio delivered a sound that was so big that it was shocking, especially given their simple stage setup. Combine that with an uncanny stage presence, and you had a rock vibe that harkened back to the Fillmore's heyday,

While the band's hard rocking style wasn't exactly to our taste, there's absolutely no question that Earl Greyhound can deliver live. Their set is completely tight, and filled the big room of the Fillmore perfectly. Put differently, we're probably a little too candy cane around these parts to rock this hard, but if you love you some hard rock, do not fail to check these guys out.

After Earl Greyhound and a short interlude, Ok Go took the stage to riotous applause. It was clear that the fans couldn't wait to see their rock idols on the Fillmore's legendary stage. They would certainly not be disappointed, as Ok Go's well timed live show, unquestionable stage presence, and bulletproof setlist all served them perfectly in the hallowed hall.

While there's not necessarily a lot of setlist variability night to night with Ok Go, we have to say that the Fillmore show felt markedly different than the New York one. While New York had the feel of a balls to the wall rock show, San Francisco felt much more like an intimate show, aimed squarely at fans.

Perhaps this was most evident when lead singer Damian Kulash descended into the crowd, donned a fans hat, and spent a number of moments immersed in the crowd. Quite simply, it was a fantastic moment that gave a clear illustration of how much mutual love there is between Ok Go and their fans.

In short, this was one of the most uniformly epic rock shows we've seen in quite some time. A night where all three acts on the stage deliver bulletproof sets is unusual. What's even more unusual is to catch three bands that are all clearly on an upward career trajectory, albeit at different stages in their careers. For those at the Fillmore on a Wednesday night in May, that's exactly what they got.

Many more photos at the HAD Archive

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pretty Lights, RJD2, and Chiddy Bang Played Terminal Five - Pictures, Review

Across a sea of scantily clad teenage girls in neon spandex, desperate screams for beer and ecstasy float through the crowd. This was the first sold out Bowery Presents venue with virtually no line at the bar. Immediately after ordering the first drink a kid wearing jean shorts and an American flag headband approaches asking if we would buy him a beer. After saying "no" to the beer offer, and also informing him we didn't know where to score any ecstasy, he goes back to chewing on a glow stick. The first of the nights three acts takes the stage.

Comprised of Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege, on vocals; and Noah Bernstien (aka. Dan Summers), this Philadelphia based Hip hop duo Chiddy Bang has been described "a hipsters wet dream". Anamege showed aesthetically pleasing vocals with impressive control live. What was disappointing were the two played almost entirely to a back track on Berntiens Macbook.

As the two cruised through their very liberally sampled catalog featuring the likes of Radiohead, Passion Pit, and MGMT, to name a few. Their mass popularity among the hipster youth becomes abundantly clear and very easy to understand. The crowed erupts to the familiarity of MGMT's "Kids", as the two arrive at their break out hit "Opposite of Adults". Two girls in matching face makeup, and borrowed Jane Fonda aerobic fashions start making out with a gangly boy significantly shorter, and significantly less physically developed (though I assume roughly around the same grade, possibly juniors).

Waiting for RJD2 to take the stage, conversations begin among the small minority of the +21's. "Could it be that we have the same musical maturity as this spandex teen orgy?" The realization that the event was a fund raiser promoted by , began to solve the age mystery; the crowd was not a representation of the music, it was a representation of Brobible's demographic. RJD2 (Ramble John "RJ" Krohn) walks out behind a mass assortment of turntables.

To our ears, his live audio and visuals were not what he deserves as an artist. Treated as almost a half-time show, it was as if the light and sound techs turned him down and walked away. Bouncing around 5 turntables, RJD2 was the only artist playing primarily on vinyl (For this, at the least, the man should earn a few lasers).

Doing what DJ's are meant to do, layering a wide range of various samples, he proved himself as a craftsman. Covering a solid collection his work, RJD2 kept a good energy going (even with the light and sound handicap) playing crowd favorites from his original "Deadringer" album, and a personal favorite, "Ghostwriter".

During the break for Pretty Lights, we began to wonder if the promoters skimped on the lighting for the show, this would prove rather disappointing considering the headliner, "Pretty Lights". Eventually a loud base speaker began to rumble, then thousands of blinding LED lights begin to fuse with hundreds of multi-colored lasers.

Pretty Lights is mainly one producer, Derek Vincent Smith, who when playing live is accompanied by drummer, Cory Eberhard. The two do their job, create a sensory mind fuck leaving the crowd with only one option, to dance.

Words By Adam Johnson
Pictures By Giacomo Fortunato

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive