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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Up-Coming Concerts

Happy holidays to everyone. I'm excited for some really big concerts coming up. First of all, The Decemberists are coming back to town in support of their new album "The King is Dead." The Decemberists are a great band live, no matter how suckish their last album was (rock operas seldom work.) Anyway, here's a download link to their new single, which sounds a lot like an R.E.M song. Makes sense, because R.E.M's guitarist played on the new cd. They'll hit town February 6th at the State Theater.

After that comes Young the Giant. Young the Giant are a great new band from California, and they seem like they could be the next big buzz band. Perhaps 2011's Local Natives or Edward Sharpe? We'll see. Here's an acoustic version of the great song strings and a link to their amazing Daytrotter session. Their debut album comes out in late January, but it's already getting rave reviews. They'll be in town February 13th at the 7th Street Entry.

Lastly, I'll be trecking out to Chicago with my dad in March to see Bright Eyes! I've always loved Bright Eyes and never had a chance to see them, so I'm really pumped. They're new album, "The People's Key," comes out in February from Saddle Creek (of course.) I love the direction Conor's taken the band with new single Shell Games and hope that the live show matches up to it. Hopefully tracks from "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn" can be played too now, because of the new album's electronic direction. Their show is March 15th at the Riviera Theater in Chicago.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Broken Bells at First Avenue - December 6, 2010

Broken Bells descended on First Avenue on Monday night in the midst of a very brief North American tour. Broken bells has been touring for nine months behind their eponymous album now, so it was no surprise when they put on one of the tightest and most true to the album shoes of they year.

Luckily for me and the rest of the sold out crowd Broken Bells dragged opening band Maps & Atlases along with them. Going into the concert I had a whopping one-song long knowledge of this band. Going out I had a T-Shirt and a CD. The thing that made Maps & Atlases so great was a mixture of stage presence, the desire to have fun, and great music. Looking like a foursome confused about what direction they wanted to take musically (the lead singer looked like a cross between Robin Pecknold [looks] and Ezra Koenig [clothes],) they blended their obvious influences perfectly and put on a great show. The voice was very similar to The Tallest Man on Earth, while the bass lines in many songs were strikingly alike to Vampire Weekend. Somehow this combination worked perfectly. A slew of auxiliary percussion and a dancing bassist didn't hurt either, and Maps & Atlases turned out as one of the best bands I've seen in a while.

Although Maps & Atlases set the bar extremely high Broken Bells far exceed them, although not with the same tools that their support act had used. What Broken Bells lacked in stage personality (Danger Mouse never looked at the crowd,) they made up for in light show, accuracy, and sonic beauty. I was surprised from the minute opener "October" started with the accuracy of the instrumentation and James Mercer's voice. I came in expecting the worst from James' voice and I was blown away. They played every song from their album, a new song, a Dark Night of the Soul Song, and a spot on Neil Young cover. Although some of the songs from the middle of their good but not great debut album dragged along, the covers and rarity by far made up for it, as those were some of the highlights of the show.

Broken Bells came, saw, and conquered in their first and very likely only Minneapolis appearance, converting me from casual fan to rabid believer.

Broken Bells Setlist First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN, USA 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LCD Soundsystem at Roy Wilkins Auditorium - October 23, 2010

Saturday night was the end of an era for me and the couple thousand people that came to the LCD Soundsystem show. This, in all likelihood, was going to be LCD Soundsystem's last show anywhere near here. Ever. Nevertheless, the show had a very jubilant feel, at least in the crowd.
Opener Hot Chip was one of the best warm-up bands I have ever seen, and they played a near-perfect set. All the hits sounded great, but Over and Over translated especially well. A steel drum was used, to my amazement, extremely well throughout their set on about half the songs they played. Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard's vocals contrasted perfectly, and the rest of the band served as great musicians and dancers. As it was throughout the night, the cave-like Roy Wilkins didn't effect Hot Chip's sound at all, and closer Ready for the Floor served as a great goodbye.

Hot Chip Setlist Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN, USA 2010

After about a twenty minute break, the lights went down and the magical opening notes of Dance Yrself Clean started playing, and members of the band walked on one-by-one. Then a crabby looking James Murphy, one of indie rock's high princes, walked onstage in unusually casual attire. No matter what his mood was the performance was great. As the opening song built up, so did the crowd, until the three-minute mark when everything exploded. It was actually like a bomb went off. From then on it was a huge dance party, with a few change ups here and there. Songs of off their first album got the strongest showing, and Daft Punk Is Playing at My House, Tribulations, and Movement were three of the highlights of my night. During Tribulations, a giant disco ball dropped down, the lights went off, and an amazing moment was created. A slowed down version of All My Friends didn't translate as well live, but since it's literally my favorite song it was still great. Home closed the set in truly emotional fashion, at least for the fans. Everyone knew this would be the last time we saw LCD Soundsystem, and the fans truly appreciated the performance. All James Murphy could do to say goodbye one last time was to give a disgruntled little wave. Regardless, it was one of the best shows I have ever seen and they will be sorely missed. Who can blame him for being a little tired anyway? He's only recorded three of the best albums of the decade, produced great albums, written movie soundtracks, and put on one of the greatest, most energetic live shows on earth.

LCD Soundsystem Setlist Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN, USA 2010

My camera would have blown out by the speakers, but here are some videos that I didn't take to give you an idea:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Flaming Lips at Roy Wilkins Auditorium - September 19, 2010

Well that was fun. Both bands that played at Roy Wilkins Auditorium Sunday Night, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and the Flaming Lips, entertained and amazed in different ways. Ariel Pink came on at exactly the scheduled time, 7:30, the first signal that it was going to be a good night. The second sign was that Ariel Pink was wearing a blue and red plaid woman's suit. The third sign was that the suit worked, and wasn't the weirdest thing about him. After their first song, Ariel Pink exclaimed "Thank you for coming to see MEEEEEE!" That pretty much set the tone for the rest of their 50 minute set, with Ariel Pink lying down near the end of the stage, acting like a diva, and playing air guitar furiously. It was fun to watch, and some of the music was decent too. "Beverly Kills" and "Round and Round," both from this year's great Before Today had the same punch live that they do
on record, even in the cavernous spaces of the Roy.

Ariel Pink
Next came the elaborate stage set-up for the Flaming Lips. From the get-go it was hard not to like them. Each member of the band set up their own instruments and reacted with the crowd, something that you rarely see. Then, as the lights went dark, each instrumentalist was born out of the screen and Wayne Coyne took a victory lap around the crowd in his giant hamster ball.
The Flaming Lips
The set was great too, although it seemed like the band was determined to drag every song out a couple of minutes longer than it had to be. Instead of this, next time, they should consider playing at least one song from The Soft Bulletin. Each song seemed to have its own gimmick though, which was fun. From laser hands to Wayne walking around with a strobe light strapped to his chest, there was never a lagging moment. All of the members seemed to be thoroughly involved with the show too. After closing with an emotional version of "Do You Realize??" the members left the stage. It wasn't until after they were gone that I realized how amazing the show they put on is, how much work, dedication, and energy it takes. That's not something you get from a lot of bands nowadays.

Laser Hands
The Flaming Lips Setlist Roy Wilkins Auditorium, St. Paul, MN, USA 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010 (Videos Only)

Sorry it took so long, but here are some videos from my amazing trip to Lollapalooza.

Wavves - King of the Beach

The Walkmen - The Rat

The Big Pink - Velvet

The New Pornographers - Moves

The Black Keys - Tighten Up

The xx - Crystalized

Spoon - Got Nuffin

Cut Copy - Lights & Music

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Basilica Block Party Day 2

Chester Bay

Best Moment: Chester Bay kept it fun throughout, and drew a much larger crowd than Robert Francis, the next act to follow. The ska-tinged sound was perfect for the atmosphere.

Worst Moment: After a while the sound started to get tiresome and the useless saxophonist
was annoying as hell, dancing around with his eyes closed mouthing the words to every song.

Robert Francis
Best Moment: There really wasn't one, this is one of the worst sets I have ever seen. It was so bad in fact that I didn't even care when he sat down right in front of me for one of his many "guitar solos."

Worst Moment: The whole set. Every song seemed to start with some motivational words along the lines of 'I'll pick you up if you're down,' and they got worse from there. Each song seemed to drag on for ever, featuring a guitar solo and some terrible humming/moaning.

V.V. Brown

Best Moment: Songs such as "Shark in the Water" that showed off the skills of her backing band were strong. She was the perfect act for people waiting for the Avett Brothers, as she changed up the pace nicely.

Worst Moment: Songs that featured mostly pre-recorded tracks weren't as good as other songs, but everything was pretty fun.

The Avett Brothers
Best Moment: Everything was great, but songs from Emotionalism and Four Thieves gone were stronger than I and Love and You stuff. "Colorshow" was great, as was songs I haven't seen live before such as "Weight of Lies," and "Distraction #74."

Worst Moment: "Living of Love" and "Pretty Girl From Cedar Lane" dragged a little bit, but everything was really amazing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Basilica Block Party Day 1

Here's a quick summary of the bands that played the M&Ms stage on Friday July 9th at Basilica Block Party.

Hunter Hero

Best Moment: The second-to-last song this "Battle of the Bands winner" played skewed away from their country tinged sound and took on a more enjoyable tone.

Worst Moment: The band seemed to be trying too hard. The bassist had an American flag pinned to his bass, and the lead singer looked like he was trying to be different, with two
stripes of black paint under his eyes.

Rogue Valley

Best Moment: Although their was a non-existent crowd, Chris Koza's crew seemed to be having fun. This was especially on second song "Red River of the North," where the band led a clap along for the few dozen people that were actually paying attention to them.

Worst Moment: After a couple of songs, the set dragged, plagued with slow numbers that failed to grab people's attention.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Best Moment: Grace Potter's backing band, the Nocturnals, captivated my attention for most of the set. The three men in the group all had color-coordinated suits and cool hair, and the chemistry between them was great. Grace Potter's voice was a force, and the audience quadrupled in size during her set. The drum circle was during "Medicine" was also extremely fun.

Worst Moment: Grace Potter playing a flying-V guitar as big as her was funny, but she even pulled that off.

Best Moment: I love Spoon, so I can't say anything bad about them. Their set was tight and loose at the same time. It flowed perfectly, and reverb and improv were used at the right time and in the right amounts. Britt Daniel's croon can't be matched.

Worst Moment: My one complaint would be that not enough tracks were played off of their best CD, "Kill the Moonlight."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rock the Garden 2010

I have so much to say about this event, too much in fact. So I will highlight the bests and worsts of each performer of this wonderful day.

Retribution Gospel Choir

Summary: Hard, boring, repetitive Rock and Roll.

Best Moments: When they walked on stage, because it meant that Rock the Garden had started. Alan Sparhawk's emotions while going through his dozens of guitar solos were also mildly entertaining.

Worst Moments: Everything else. Not a memorable sound, everything blended together and sounded the same. "Hide It Away," was a lone standout.

Ok Go

Summary: Energetic, Creative, Fun, Prince-infused Pop. A definite crowd pleaser.

Best Moments: Pretty much everything, my personal highlight of the day. Confetti was constantly shot out, and every member of the band was engaged. "This Too Shall Pass" and a version of "What To Do" played only on handbells were both amazing.

Worst Moments: The only lagging parts were the couple of slow numbers, but even those were hugely entertaining.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Summary: Practiced, synchronized, beautiful soul music.

Best Moments: A funky Woody Guthrie cover of "This Land Is Your Land," and new album track "I Learned the Hard Way." Sharon Jones was a dancing bundle of energy. Watching members of MGMT and Ok Go enjoy the set from the side of the stage, dancing and singing along.

Worst Moments: The middle of the set lagged, and the group struggled to give any sense of variety in their one and a quarter hour set.

Summary: Sloppy Yet Fun Electro Rock, No Stage Presence

Best Moments: Oracular Spectacular Hits "Electric Feel" and "Time To Pretend," and Congratulations tracks "Brian Eno" and "Congratulations."

Worst Moments: Lesser known tracks from the new album seemed to drag on forever. A fun band to hear live, not a fun band to see live, all Andrew VanWyngarden could manage to say after every song was "Thanks So Much." Overall an extremely enjoyable experience though.

MGMT Setlist:

Pieces Of What
Flash Delirium
Electric Feel
The Youth
Song For Dan Tracy
Weekend Wars
I Found A Whistle
Siberian Brakes
Time To Pretend
Of Moons, Birds, & Monsters
Brian Eno
It's Working

Someone's Missing

Monday, June 7, 2010

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at First Avenue - June 6, 2010

Wow. What a great night. Two of my favorite groups at the moment, Dawes and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, were playing at First Avenue on Sunday night. One exceeded my expectations greatly, and one fell a little short, yet was still one of the more fun bands I've seen.
Dawes came on at around 8:45, and everyone was a little bit restless. Once the four men were on the stage however, everything changed. Their country-tinged sound on record wasn't evident at all Sunday night, and you could tell these guys were going somewhere. Two new songs were especially good, but the highlight by far was "When My Time Comes." Kudos to 89.3 The Current for playing this song so much, as it created a truly spectacular moment. During the last chorus, Taylor Goldsmith turned his microphone towards the crowd and 1200 people sang the chorus. I had goosebumps running up and down my arms, and you could tell the band did also. It was truthfully one of the most spectacular moments I have ever experienced at a concert.
Next, after a short wait that included a massive influx of people near the front of the floor, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros trudged on. Edward was dressed like a modern day Jesus, and often his lyrics sounded like one too. Opening with "40 Day Dream," the party was started right away, with everyone dancing and singing along.
Unfortunately, the 10-piece then rattled off three of the strongest songs from their only album, "Carries On," "Up From Below," and "Janglin." After those highlights, the middle of the show dragged on a lot, with Jade (who is clearly the star of the show) even leaving the stage for minutes at a time. Finally, things picked up again near the end with "Come In Please's" amazing guitars and every one's favorite song of 2009, "Home."
After ending with "Om Nashi Me," which built up beautifully and ended with a bang, the band walked off stage. What happened next was rare, a second magical moment. Five of the men from the band, including Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe), came out and played the beautiful song "Brother." What made it particularly special was that Alex came into the crowd and sat down, urging all of us to sit also. He was only three feet away from me, and it was truly an amazing experience and a great way to end a fantastic night.

Set List:
40 Day Dream
Up From Below
Carries On
Desert Song
River Of Love (Jade Solo Song)
Come In Please
Black Water
Om Nashi Me


I wasn't able to take any videos for the show, but I'll post a couple that other people took.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gayngs at First Avenue - May 14, 2010

P.O.S., or Stefon as He's Known In Gayngs
The Gayngs Stage

First Avenue was less than half full for the first of two Gayngs shows on Friday night, but that didn't stop the 23-piece band from putting on a show. This was supposedly the first and last time the whole band would be together, and they seemed to be having a lot more fun than the crowd did.
The band, almost too predictably played the whole album, "Relayted", all the way through, but constant microphone problems marred the set. The sound worked best when Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Ivan Howard (Rosebuds) were the main singers, because their mics seemed to be the only ones turned all the way up. Songs such as "Cry" and "The Last Prom on Earth" were extremely strong, while tracks like "Faded High" and "No Sweat" lacked their album strength.
My highlight of the night "The Last Prom on Earth," with Justin Vernon switching between rapping in auto-tune and singing in a unusual deep voice. At the end, we were all showered in confetti. Everything seemed kind of false though, with only a smattering of people looking remotely interested, one could not help but to feel sorry for the band.

1. The Gaudy Side of Town
2. The Walker
3. Cry
4. No Sweat
5. False Bottom
6. The Beatdown
7. Crystal Rope
8. Spanish Platinum
9. Faded High
10. Ride
11. The Last Prom On Earth
12. No One Is to Blame (Howard Jones Cover)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yeasayer at First Avenue - April 27, 2010

The Blur of Motion That Is Sleigh Bells

First Avenue was the most crowded I had ever seen on Tuesday, and the venue change 3 months ago may have lead to an overselling of tickets. Nevertheless, Yeasayer rocked First Avenue with old, beautiful harmonizing and haunting choruses, and new, rocking love-song synth pop.
Almost everyone knows, according to the "cool" music blogs, that buzzed about opening act Sleigh Bells is pretty much gonna be the most awesome shit in the world in about three months. So, as Sleigh Bells walked on stage, you could tell who would be jumping on the bandwagon. About a dozen people were singing every word, bouncing up and down, and moshing obnoxiously during the whole set. I'm sure it was great for them, but it ruined Sleigh Bells for the rest of us. Live, Sleigh Bells' sound is lacking. With only two members, a back up, pre-recorded track is needed in the background, which takes away from the overall experience.
Next up was Yeasayer. From the minute the curtain went up and the stage began flashing green, you knew Yeasayer was a totally new band. When I saw Yeasayer last June, they were still technically touring for 2o07's All Hour Cymbals. The album is way slower paced than the knew one, and personally the show left my unsatisfied. With the new material from Odd Blood, Yeasayer's concerts have been turned into one big middle-eastern tinged party.
The middle of the main set was the concert's strongest point, with highlights such as "Wait for the Summer", "I Remember", "2080", "Tightrope", and "O.N.E" all packed into a space of six songs. The crowd, aside from being giant, was also crazy. Response to Yeasayer was amazing, and even the band themselves seemed bewildered at the response as people found a way to bounce up and down even on slower cuts.
A few of the weaker tracks from Odd Blood, such as "Strange Reunions," and "Love Me Girl" lagged, but overall the set was a huge success. The encore of Grizelda and Sunrise was perfectly blended, but Yeasayer decided to stay on and play one more song. It was easy to tell that this was a spur of the moment decision as "Red Cave" was sloppy and points.
Overall, Yeasayer pulled out the strongest tracks from both of their albums on Tuesday night and pleased a crowd that was ready to dance.

The Children
Strange Reunions
Wait for the Summer
I Remember
Love Me Girl
Madder Red
Ambling Alp

Red Cave

Monday, April 19, 2010

Summer Festival Season

Summer is coming, and that means festivals. With Coachella happening last weekend festival season has officially started. This year I will be going to three festivals, two small and one large. In Minneapolis I will attend The Current's Rock the Garden, which features MGMT, Sharon Jones, Ok Go, and Retribution Gospel Choir. I will also be going to Basilica Block Party, featuring Spoon, The Avett Brothers, Weezer, and a few un-announced acts. I'm crossing my fingers for Broken Bells. Finally, in August I will be going to Lollapalooza in Chicago. Lollapalooza has an amazing lineup, click on the link to see my custom lineup. Stay tuned and turn to this blog for all the reports of festivals around the mid-west this summer. Thanks!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Julian Casablancas at First Avenue - April 8, 2010

Julian Casablancas
Funeral Party

This blog is started off with a disclaimer, and it reads as follows: This was the darkest show I have ever been to, the photos and video aren't brilliant, but the audio is fine and it gives you an idea of the show. Now let's got to the important shi.
First Avenue was surprisingly not full on Thursday night, but the joint was still buzzing, a Stroke was in town. And not just any Stroke, Mr. Julian Casablancas was gracing us with his presence.
Before we get to Julian however, we must talk about the opening act Funeral Party. I came into First Avenue totally neutral on Funeral Party, having never listened to them before. Their live show is amazing, and the band are great performers, this is where their music belongs. Aside from the great performance, I could take or leave the music. All the songs seem to be sappy songs about breaking up, set to a rocking bass. Every song was pretty much the same, except for that the guitar was different. Oh well, enjoyable enough.
The setup for the main act took what seemed like an eternity, but when the lights finally went off the crowd was frenzied. Mr. Cool walked on stage wearing bright red jeans and a funky black leather jacket, his swagger was extremely evident. The first few songs started off rather dull, the lolling "Ludlow St." was kind of boring and "River of Brakelights" dragged on, but then...
The opening drums to possibly my favorite Strokes song, "Hard To Explain," hit the crowd, and right away the place was a whole different world. A frenzied crowd moved back and forth, up and down, and from then on, the night was phenomenal. Apparently this was the best crowd of the tour so far, and I don't doubt it after seeing videos from earlier on in the tour.
Another Strokes song, an alternate version to "You Only Live Once" called "I'll Try Anything Once" was a personal highlight of mine, although you can see nothing. See for yourself, or not as the case may be, below.
After that, the night seemed perfect. Saturday Night Live cover "I Wish It Was Christmas Today" rivaled "Hard To Explain" for the level of rowdiness. That closed out the main set, then the singer and his band came on for an encore which started with my favorite song from his solo album, "Out of the Blue."
Julian Casablancas' concert proved that he has it, hopefully the Strokes still will when I see them at Lollapalooza this summer. Although the lack of light was disappointing, the music made up for it and then some.

Set List:
New Song
Ludlow St.
River Of Brakelights
Hard To Explain (The Stokes Cover)
11th Dimension
I'll Try Anything Once (The Strokes Cover)
Left & Right in the Dark
I Wish It Was Christmas Today

Out of the Blue
4 Chords of the Apocalypse

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spoon at First Avenue - April 3, 2010

Britt Daniel

First of all, let's just start off by saying that this had all the makings of a magical night. It was the legendary club First Avenue's 40th birthday, which among other things meant free cake, and Spoon was in town for the second of two sold out shows. Last but not least, the fabulous Deerhunter were opening the show for Spoon, so it was a night for the record books.
Little know Londoners Micachu and the Shapes opened the show. Guitar, Mini-Guitar, Synthesizer, and Drums filled the stage. Vocals were impossible to make out, but were smartly used more as an instrument. Pitchfork describes their recorded sound as a "dissonant cluster," and live this is raised to a whole new level. With the synthesizer pounding through the crowd with the force of a bass, Micachu's sounds were hit and miss. The stand out songs were when a toy guitar was used instead of a real one, is this possibly a good sign? Anyways, the British trio weren't the reason I came, and it was enjoyable enough.
Next off, critic darlings indie act Deerhunter brought its dueling guitar sounds to the stage. The quartet beautifully played favorites such as "Nothing Ever Happened" from the amazingly well-received 2008 album Microcastle. Bradford Cox is an interesting character, interacting the crowd well and praising First Avenue and the city of Minneapolis. Deerhunter's classic blend of bass, two guitars, and drums worked perfectly, and I would see them again as a headliner.
As Spoon took the stage, First Avenue took on a new, more celebratory atmosphere. Opening with fan favorites such as "I Turn My Camera On," "Jonathon Fisk," and "The Way We Get By," Spoon had the audience hooked from the get-go. Brit Daniel was more talkative than the previous time I had seen Spoon, and the experience was all around more enjoyable.
New material from 2010's Transference fit in perfectly with older cuts, although they played only five songs from the album, leaving out two of my personal favorites, "Got Nuffin'" and "The Mystery Zone."
Spoon's catalogue has a lot of depth and it showed, the band played a 23 songs set including a standout cover of The Damned. Spoon continued pleasing the crowd and played two encores consisting of a total of five songs. Three of them came from Spoon's most commercially successful and most popular album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.
Spoon's victory lap continued on Saturday night, and the Austin based band probably even one over the few Deerhunter and Micachu fans near the front that were complaining about the amount of Spoon fans. First Avenue couldn't have picked a better band to celebrate their 40th birthday with, and Spoon proved that on Saturday night.

Set List:
I Saw The Light
I Turn My Camera On
Jonathon Fisk
Nobody Gets Me But You
The Way We Get By
The Ghost Of You Lingers
Stay Don't Go
Don't Make Me A Target
Love Song (The Damned Cover)
Who Makes Your Money
Back to the Life
My Mathematical Mind
Someone Something
Vittorio E
They Never Got You
I Summon You
Finner Feelings
Written In Reverse

You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

Don't You Evah
Trouble Comes Running
The Underdog

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Big Pink / A Place To Bury Strangers at First Avenue, March 18, 2010

The Big Pink
A Place To Bury Strangers

On Thursday night at First Avenue in Minneapolis, two of the hottest, but very different, indie rock bands right now came together for a spectacular show.

A Place To Bury Strangers, “New York’s Loudest Band,” manned the stage for 35 minutes with only two sources of light, both video projectors, transmitting surreal beams of light into the audience. Their title held true, and it was still deafening through my recently purchased earplugs. Stand-out track from 2009’s Exploding Head, "In Your Heart", was the only cut in which I could make out vocals. Nevertheless, ATBS were triumphant, and they made art out of deafening sound, using the simple lineup of guitar dripping with effects, bass, and drums to their advantage.

The Big Pink were my main reason for going to First Avenue on March 18th, and although they didn't receive great reviews from the Star Tribune or my dad, I enjoyed their set thoroughly. Opening with the single "Too Young To Love" from their breakout debut album A Brief History Of Love, the stage was clouded with tons of mist and a bevy of strobe lights. Songs such as "Velvet," "Crystal Visions," "Tonight," and "A Brief History of Love" were brilliant live, but the middle of the set became a bit dragged out. Massive indie hit "Dominos"closed out the set in raucous fashion, having the crowd actually involved in the set for the first time all night.

All in all, it was an above average night, with APTSB greatly exceeding my expectations and The Big Pink playing a nice, normal, but typical set. Maybe the best part of the night was the fact that the concert let out well before 10 o' clock, with the 7:30 p.m. start time not being the trickery that it usually is.

Set List:

Too Young To Love

At War With The Sun



Crystal Visions

A Brief History Of Love

Count Backwards From Ten

Twilight (Electric Light Orchestra Cover)


These Arms Of Mine (Otis Redding Cover)


Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Avett Brothers At First Avenue, March 5th, 2010.

Oh my gosh. I had forgotten what a versatile group The Avett Brothers are. Their songs in the studio range from the bare bones of acoustic to the complexity of true pop. In a live setting, the result is even better.
First Avenue was packed with a wide range of people, from old Avett Brothers fans back when they were more of a country act, to new, indie rock oriented fans. Everyone was enjoying the show though, with Seth and Scott Avett pumping up the crowd and switching magically between slow and fast numbers.
They opened with "And It Spread," one of my favorite songs from the new album, "I and Love and You." Then finished the opening trio with a one-two punch of "Shame" and "Slight Figure of Speech." Those three songs are all worthy of being placed late in a set or even in an encore, so I didn't know where the magical brothers, joined by bassist Bob Crawford (full time,) cellist Joe Kwon (live only,) and a new live drummer, could go from here.
The Avetts filled the middle of the set with more acoustic numbers such as "January Wedding," "Traveling Song," and "Tear Down the House." The fans were still enthralled. Then they picked it up again. The short but rocking "I Killed Sally's Lover" sandwiched "November Blue" with "Kick Drum Heart," a song that they haven't played much on this tour, probably because old time fans see it as the bald-faced evidence of the bands departure from their banjo-acoustic guitar days. The fans loved it live though.
The highlight of the night came from my favorite track from the new album, "Laundry
Room." Seth stood right in front of us playing his guitar, and I could almost touch him he was so close to the end of the stage. Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon interacted in an amazing way, leaning on each-others backs and singing to each-other. The song slowly built up to an amazing acoustic finish that had the crowd jumping up and down more than they had been the whole night.
The amazing live band finished their main set with other highlights such as "Will You Return," "Go To Sleep," and "Matrimony." The fans screamed for an encore, and the band came striding back out for the all to obvious finale of "I and Love and You." It's a great song, but something such as "Talk On Indolence," "Colorshow," or 'Paranoia' would have been better to close out the show.
All in all it was one of the best shows I've seen, and it by far topped their concert at the Minnesota Zoo this summer. The Avett Brothers really seem to love eachother, constantly smiling at each other and helping each other out, and it reflects their musical talent. I'm glad I went to see these magical brothers a second time because they are one of the best live bands in the business today.

Set List:

And It Spread
Slight Figure of Speech
Traveling Song
Tear Down the House
Pretty Girl from Annapolis
Head Full of Doubt/ Road Full of Promise
Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms (Buck Owens Cover)
January Wedding
The Perfect Space
I Killed Sally's Lover
November Blue
Kick Drum Heart
Laundry Room
Will You Return
Where Have All the Average People Gone (Roger Miller Cover)
In the Curve
Backwards With Time
Go to Sleep

I & Love & You

I'll post a couple videos in about a half an hour.

Friday, February 26, 2010

My First Blog

Hi I'm William,
I hope the reason you're looking at this blog is because you're like me, and you love music. I want this blog to be the place you turn for photos, videos, setlists, and reviews of concerts in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area. My first post will be next week after the Avett Brothers concert, but until then I'll give you a list of concerts I've been to so I can show you my taste in music. I hope you keep reading, thanks.

Previous Concerts:
Weezer feat. Tokyo Police Club, Angels and Airwaves
Coldplay feat. Sleepercar, Jon Hopkins
The Killers feat. M83
Franz Ferdinand feat. Born Ruffians
Demetri Martin
Rock the Garden (The Decemberists, Calexico, Yeasayer, Solid Gold)
The Avett Brothers feat. Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers
The National feat. Buke and Gass
Phoenix feat. Chairlift
Wilco feat. Liam Finn
Monsters of Folk
Spoon feat. Jay Reatard
89.3 The Current 5th Birthday Party (Solid Gold, P.O.S., Mason Jennings, Lookbook, The Twilight Hours)