Concerts | The Audio Perv - Part 2
Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category
11 Oct
2012

By Ace Ubas

Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide has been going on since 2010 and its mission is simple: bring together artists from all over the country to bring their perspective on music in one place for a four-day music festival. This year, they’ve got a musical melting pot that includes acts from the UK, Sweden, Iceland, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Israel, The Neatherlands, and even Estonia. It’s a great opportunity for fans of music to discover something new that exists all throughout the world.

Voxhaul Broadcast (USA)

Los Angeles natives Voxhaul Broadcast opened up the stage located in the Taix Champagne Room on Friday night. Mostly everyone in the room was already familiar with them, evidenced by their singing along to the lyrics and dancing around to their mix of garage rock and classic rock and roll. Right from the start of their set opening with “Turn the Knife,” exuberant frontman/guitarist David Dennis commanded the stage by bouncing around the stage and occasionally screaming notes with a classic 80s style falsetto. Voxhaul Broadcast is a band that is well-known to the local music scene and they showed why while proving that they’re ready for a bigger stage. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of having never seen them live before. Shame on me.

Immanu El (Sweden)

As a huge fan of the post-rock genre, it was great to see a post-rock band from Europe make their way State-side. Sweden’s Immanu El was one of the bands I was excited to see most and they definitely did not disappoint. Despite technical issues before their set, they managed to overcome them with a solid set at the Taix Front Lounge. Led by brothers Claes and Per Strangberg, Immanu El presented beautiful Explosions in the Sky-esque reverb-heavy guitars with soothing vocals that are reminiscent of Jonsi from Sigur Ros. The juxtaposition between aggressive instrumentation with the soft vocals create a wonderful and layered soundscape that surely stirred all kinds of pleasing emotions.

Sudden Weather Change (Iceland)

Having had the pleasure of seeing two of Iceland’s top acts this year in Of Monsters and Men and Sigur Ros, I learned two things: Iceland is a country that needs to be mined and excavated of its music scene and you can never go wrong seeing a band from Iceland. After walking over to The Echo, I took a chance at seeing Sudden Weather Change – and I was glad I did. The quartet delivered a blistering set full of psychedelic/noise rock tunes akin to early Sonic Youth and Pavement. While the hooks aren’t as stark as you would expect them to be, they still delivered some nasty guitar riffs with a stout and tight rhythm section that seemed to energize the crowd. Embarking on a brief West Coast tour after Culture Collide, don’t be surprised to see Sudden Weather Change as one of the bands to watch out for next year.”

Royal Teeth (USA)

Little is known about New Orleans quintet Royal Teeth other than the fact that they’ve played festivals such as CMJ and SXSW in the past, so they’re no stranger to that circuit. Lead vocalist Gary Larsen and Nora Patterson charmed the crowd with their southern hospitality, inviting the crowd to repeat certain lines in the songs or provided vocal harmonies. Their infectious pop tunes are definitely radio-ready and won’t be surprising to see some of their songs gain some kind of mainstream success (TV commercials, TV shows, etc.). Their songs are filled with catchy synth melodies and other than the drummer, two other members provide percussion that give greater depth to their rhythm. At one point during the last song, Larsen jumped into the crowd with a floor tom and started pounding on it much to the crowds approval. It doesn’t take much for Royal Teeth to have a high likeability.
(photo credit: Holly Crawford)

School of Seven Bells (USA)

School of Seven Bells was easily one of the bigger name acts for the night so seeing them only play for half an hour was certainly a disappointment. But that didn’t mean their set did as well, making most of their time limit by playing six of their best songs in their catalog. They opened with the hypnotic “Windstorm,” however, Alejandra Deheza’s vocals seemed lost in the mix and was barely audible. But that improved with “The Night,” an atmospheric number that summarized what SVIIB are all about: electronic-tinged shoegaze rock that creates an ethereal experience. Electronic elements are stronger on songs such as “Scavenger” and “White Wind,” causing the crowd to dance with electronic percussion and sampled vocals. “Low Times” was easily the best song of their set and also their most haunting as Deheza’s vocals and guitarist Benjamin Curtis’ guitar riffs have the ability to engulf your body and cause chills, especially when the word ‘predator’ was spelled out. They ended their short set with fan-favorite “Half Asleep,” a song with beats are even more pulsating live than on record. Think M83 but with Portishead’s trip-hop style sprinkled in there. Once again, they never fail to put on one hell of a show.
(photo credit: Holly Crawford)

Zola Jesus (USA)

Zola Jesus was another of the bigger names playing on Friday night, playing a longer set than most of the bands that have played. During their set, Zola Jesus’ Nika Rosa Danilova announced that it was going to be her last show as an Los Angeles resident. There’s no doubt that the local arts community will miss her presence, but she made sure she left with a lasting impression. What makes her shows very impressive is how she moves along to her own music, never standing still and always going from one stage to the other, and making her performance that more dynamic. Opening with “Avalanche” and “Hikikomori,” Danilova displayed her immensely powerful voice backed by tribal-esque percussion and a violin that added a dramatic and classical aspect to her set. The piano-driven “Lightsick” was a perfect example on how Zola Jesus can be so mesmerizing and captivating with a simple arrangement and repetition of the chorus. It was a great example of how her goth/dream pop sound fused perfectly with hip-hop inspired beats and blips. While she doesn’t do much chatting with the crowd in between songs, she still manages to incorporate them in her performance by jumping into the crowd and dancing with the surrounding fans during “Seekir.” There’s no reason for banter or dialogue with Zola Jesus; the interaction between the crowd and performer is there with the music and her body language. She’s even stated in interviews that she likes to be in the crowd rather than talk to them. Now that’s a genuine performer.

04 Oct
2012

By Ace Ubas

When you’re a band that’s trying to make it, there are a couple of signs that show how successful you are. For example, you may have a hit single that is being played in radio stations across the country. Or, when you sell out a show in a big market city such as Los Angeles and the demand is so high that a second show has to be added – which also sells out. In this case, it is Denver natives The Lumineers who can be considered this year’s Mumford & Sons – a band that seemingly came out of nowhere, only to make a gigantic impact upon the music scene. And while the former has been quoted as saying that the latter ‘opened doors for them,’ Tuesday night (the second of back-to-back shows) at the Fonda Theater proved why they’re on their own path to success.

But before they took the stage, openers/tourmates/fellow Denver-natives Bad Weather California (read our interview with them here) warmed up a crowd that was still pouring into the venue. While the summer is technically over, their surf rock/punk-tinged-rock-and-roll brought some delight to those unfamiliar with them.

The majority of their set consisted of songs from their latest album Sunkissed which included “I’ll Reach out My Hand to You” and “Stand in My Sunshine.” Those songs encompassed what they’re music is all about: they’re simply feel good music. The jangly guitars are reminiscent of a modern take on Afro-pop ala Vampire Weekend while the pace and rhythm driven by the percussion brought to mind the rockabilly style of the 50s. Chris Adolf’s also showed off his charm by getting most of the crowd to do vocal melodies during “Let It Shine.” I think my friend said it best when she described Bad Weather California as the offspring of Dick Dale and The Beach Boys. That’s surely more than enough reason to see this band live.

At 10PM, the curtains jade-colored velvet curtains lifted to reveal The Lumineers, who expectedly drew a loud cheer from the crowd. While the core of the band consists of lead vocalist/guitarist Wesley Schultz, cellist Neyla Pekarek, and percussionist Jeremiah Fraites, they brought along two additional members for the tour: Stelth Ulvang (mandolin/piano) and Ben Wahamaki (bass). They immediately jumped into up-tempo opener “Classy Girls” followed by the piano-driven “Submarines,” which immediately brought the crowd the sing along for the rest of the night.

With the upbeat style of folk-pop that The Lumineers play, it’s hard not to clap and sing along. It shows a lot when a band doesn’t have to ask the crowd to participate when they automatically do it especially on a call and response song like “Big Parade.” But it is even more telling when a band has to ask the crowd to please put their cell phones away. When Schultz asked to do so during the song, it was a reminder that we may have forgotten what an actual concert experience is like. We’re there for an experience; to feel music through our natural senses and not through a lens of a camera or a cell phone. People pay money to see a band live to feel more intimate and personal with the performer, and to enjoy the moment. And most importantly, it’s to show a sign of respect to those on-stage giving us their time.

But I’m beginning to digress so let me get back to the actual show. There’s no question that “Ho Hey” is one of this year’s hits due to its infectious melodies and viral music video (think Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros). While it is already catchy on record, it is magnified ten-fold live. It’s the type of song that’s one-big sing-along in a hold-on-to-your-significant-other kind of way. Verse-for-verse, chorus-by-chorus, the crowd was there every note of the way. Not only did it show the uncanny communication and relationship between the band members, but also between the band and the crowd that showed what a real concert experience is all about.

It hasn’t even been a year since their debut album has been released, but it was a pleasant surprise to see them start playing some new songs. Apparently one song is “so new, it doesn’t even have a name yet,” Schultz exclaims. But it allowed Pekarek to take on lead vocal duties, which is lacking on the first record. Hopefully her soothing vocals show up a lot more on the new material because since she is more than capable to be front and center.

For a band with a headlining gig that only has one album to their name, it’s expected that covers make their way into their set. They did a cover of Sawmill Joe’s “Ain’t Nobody’s Problem,” with a stronger hint of bluegrass and faster paced. But the real highlight was their thumping cover of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” whose vocals Schultz strongly resembles.

For their encore, they decided to use other platforms than the stage to perform on. They disappeared from the stage only to reappear from the second story side balconies (three members on one side, two on the other). Once they got the crowd to hush down, they performed a stripped-down version of “Darlene” that saw the crowd instinctively stomping on the hardwood floor to provide a rhythmic backbone for the song. Back on the main stage, The Lumineers brought out Bad Weather California for the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (Ed: video at the bottom of the post) for another big, cathartic sing-along. The night ended with Schultz solo on stage to perform Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather.” While nothing was wrong with his cover, it felt out of place as the official set closer because the last two songs were more of a grand spectacle that should’ve ended the night.

Otherwise, The Lumineers played a near-perfect set showing that this newfound folk-revival that has been on the rise is here to stay. But what puts them at the top of the genre is their genuine demeanor through their music and personality, while re-establishing the intimacy and personal connection between a band and their audience regardless of the size of the venue.

Set list:
Classy Girls
Submarines
Ain’t Nobody’s Problem (Sawmill Joe cover)
Big Parade
Flowers in Your Hair
Ho Hey
Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bob Dylan cover)
Dead Sea
Charlie boy
Slow It Down
(untitled new song)
Stubborn Love
Flapper Girls

Encore:
Morning Song
Darlene
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones cover)
Boots of Spanish Leather (Bob Dylan cover)

03 Oct
2012

By Cassandra Paiva

Royal Teeth took the stage at T.T. The Bear’s in Cambridge, MA without any real expectations, just to put on a fun, high energy show. They had only been to Boston once prior, opening for The Kooks at House of Blues in May. Online radio station RadioBDC loved them as openers, so they decided to pick them up for their band breaking “+1 Series” as headliners.

Since T.T.’s is in the heart of college town, and it was a free show, the audience was mostly 18-25 year olds (with a few crowd members in the upwards of their 50s in support of the opening band, Cooling Towers). The room was already pretty buzzing, as the tiny venue is beyond intimate. Having seen Royal Teeth open for a crowd of about 2,000 people in a bigger venue and then again for a crowd of 20 people in a medium sized club (grossly undersold, but I was ecstatic to be a part of it), I knew how well their performance would translate for the room of a little over 200.

With only an EP out and their single just making its mark, not many people knew their songs, but that didn’t matter, as everyone was dancing and having a good time. Plus, after Royal Teeth’s captivating performance, I have a feeling the Boston scene will be prepared for the next time the band comes around, which should be within the next half year because they’re currently working on a full length.

What the night had in store for us, the band didn’t even know, as they ripped through the whole of their material, literally playing every song they had prepared for their live shows. Mixing it up with newer songs “Tiger Shark,” “Nawlins,” “Like I Do,” and a few others that names weren’t spoken of (that’s just how new they are), older songs “Stay” and “Story,” cover songs Queen’s “Under Pressure” and The Knife’s “Heartbeat” (on the EP), and all four other songs off of their EP Act Naturally, every song seemed to flow perfectly, as the audience got more and more into their comfort zone to let loose. The band was so impressed with the audience’s interaction that they fed off of it with every driving drumbeat, every rhythmic guitar riff, and every smooth bassline.

While their rhythm is infectious and lyrics and oohs and awws are deliciously catchy on recording, their live show is where they really shine and demonstrate their true talent of making people dance and have a good time. They are very percussion heavy, with a full drum kit, synth drums and mini kits, and lead singers Gary and Nora each with a stand-alone drum. This along with the alternation and blending of the female/male vocal element enhances their stage presence as they jump around, banging furiously and fervently and dancing with one another. And you can’t forget their eye catching bright colors and the confetti cannons, which provide fun visuals to go along with the fun sound.

Ending with their single “Wild,” Gary did his traditional thing, took his drum into the crowd, took videos with other people’s phones, and jammed along during the bridge while percussion/keys player Andrew ran out with a drum and exploded a confetti cannon over everyone while they danced and sang. Usually, this marks the end of their set, however, the audience wasn’t satisfied and what came next was a surprise.

Cheers of “encore” and “one more time” rang through, and since the band had already played all of their material they came back on stage a little unsure of what to do. They hadn’t prepared an encore, so a little overwhelmed by all the praise, they told us they’d play a new song they were working on and then “Wild” again. Since they had never played it twice in one show, they told us we were one of their best crowds and they were humbled and excited to be playing for us, before breaking into the best ending of the night possible.

Here’s “Wild” the second time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4_e3wWRSAs

And here’s their cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RLb2ic4T-0

25 Sep
2012


By Matt Arena

The 2012 summer festival season has been a great one. Though at times it may have felt more like a Jack White/The Black Keys festival tour, there were some rather pleasant surprises. The inaugural year for Firefly Festival was quite possibly the best of the summer, and the incredibly well organized (and Metallica curated) Orion Music + More Festival both prove that you don’t need to stick to any of the major mainstays to have a great weekend of music. Closing out the festival season with its second year back from hiatus was late September’s Music Midtown. Though once a popular stop on the festival circuit in the early 2000’s, it took a couple years off and resumed as a one-day test run of sorts last year. It was successful enough not only to warrant another go this year, but to spread it to two days. Booking two major headlining acts like Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters no doubt helped too. Add to that hometown and down south rap legends like T.I. and Ludacris, and it seemed impossible for Music Midtown to be anything other than a rousing success.

With a rather short first day (the first act came on at 4 pm), there wasn’t the lull that sometimes comes with the early acts. Though they do tend to be some of the most underrated ones on the bill, Music Midtown instead decided to jump headfirst into the deep end of the pool on day 1, with T.I., Avett Brothers, and Foo Fighters all crammed into one night.

Though Van Hunt and Joan Jett had each played their respective sets, the crowd didn’t really seem to ignite until T.I. took the stage. A hometown hero at this point in his career, he came out with one of his most popular (and earliest songs) ‘Rubberband Man.’ At this point the crowd had swelled to its largest size of the day, reaching as far back as the hill a mere few feet away from the entrance. Though that may be more of a statement about the size of the park itself, it was clear that T.I. was the first act of the day to have a real pull. He then went into his smash hits, ‘Whatever You Like,’ ‘What You Know,’ and ‘Live Your Life,’ which all got the teeming crowd from as close as the front to as secluded as the VIP area dancing wildly.

Just minutes after T.I.’s set ended, The Avett Brothers kicked into their performance on the second stage. Though they definitely had a dedicated crowd already waiting for them, the short lapse in time between sets didn’t really allow for T.I.’s entire crowd to find their way over too quickly. But those that were there obviously had come solely for The Avett Brothers. With their old-school-bluegrass-meets-modern-rock sound, they bridged a gap between straight country and alternative rock fans. Equal parts Mumford & Sons and The Black Keys; though The Avett Brothers have been around longer than either of those two bands, their sound definitely found a home with such a southern crowd. A rock/bluegrass act following a rapper may not seem like a formula for success, but Atlanta’s well-known diverse musical tastes allowed for both artists to receive a lot of love from the crowd.

Soon enough night had fully come and it was time for Foo Fighters to take the stage. At this point, Piedmont Park had become a seemingly endless sea of people, with the crowd spilling over almost into the second stage. Festivals stalwarts at this point in their careers, Foo Fighters came out of the gate with one of their newest, heaviest, and best songs in ‘White Limo.’ It’s a literal screamer of a track that announces their presence in the very best way possible. Shrieking vocals, ear splitting guitar riffs, and thundering drum beats, it’s possibly the only way to open a Foo Fighters show. With an almost endless amount of hits, you’d be hard pressed to find someone that didn’t know a single song in the set list. Famous for their marathon shows and passion for playing as long as possible, Dave Grohl kept the banter to a minimum. “Do you guys want me to talk or do you wanna hear us play some fucking songs? Because they only let us play two hours, and we came here to play some fucking songs!” The crowd’s roar of approval was met with a string of some of their biggest hits, ‘All My Life,’ ‘Rope,’ ‘The Pretender,’ ‘My Hero,’ and ‘Learn to Fly’ all came out in a row. Most bands would be hard pressed to find that many hits in an entire set, let alone in the first half hour. They also found time to work in some of their new material, though Wasting Light is about a year old at this point, it really speaks to the quality of the album to see the non-singles still in heavy rotation. After ‘Walk,’ Grohl introduced his band, giving each member a moment to show off their skills, which built up into a full on jam session, which quickly turned into a Van Halen cover. After the crowd realized that they were actually playing ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ Grohl stopped, warning the crowd, “you don’t want us to start playing covers, man, we’ll be here all fucking night!” and then proceeded to give the crowd the rest of the song. Their older material was by no means ignored either, with ‘This Is a Call,’ ‘Hey Johnny Park!’ and the Taylor Hawkins lead vocal track, ‘Cold Day in the Sun.’ After a great cover of Pink Floyd’s In the Flesh, they resumed diving into their big catalogue of hits. ‘Best of You’ and ‘Times Like These’ both preceded a surprise guest appearance by Joan Jett for ‘Bad Reputation.’ Closing the set with their biggest hit, and possibly the greatest closing song in history, ‘Everlong’ had the crowd nearly drowning Grohl out completely. Of course a crowd sing-along to ‘Everlong’ isn’t the first or last time it’ll happen, it’s always a surreal moment to hear over 50,000 people all shouting the lyrics so such a legendary song in unison.

Day 2 started off a bit earlier, but as a whole was much more loaded with quality acts than Day 1. From the moment gates opened there was quality music to be found, as Atlanta natives O’Brother started off on the secondary stage. One of the loudest, heaviest, and head-bangingest (yes, that’s a new adjective) bands out there, O’Brother brings a whole new take on progressive rock. Sometimes ambient and other times a wall of screams, they’re able to use a bevy of sounds to warp and thrash their songs to life. Playing tracks off their stellar debut album, ‘Garden Window,’ they were hands-down the most underrated act on the bill. Tracks like ‘Lo’ and ‘Poison!’ sorted out the metal heads in the audience, as heads were quickly banging and if it weren’t for the early set time, one could easily imagine massive moshpits forming. They closed with the two part ‘Machines,’ which starts off like a punch to the face, then dips into a subtle throbbing before coming back with one of the best breakdowns and riffs in recent memory. If anyone left Music Midtown not a fan of O’Brother, they definitely did something wrong.

Up next on the main stage, was Civil Twilight. Hailing from South Africa, they’ve developed success quite well in the US, due to their unique sound. Sometimes piano rock, other times incredibly atmospheric, it always works. Their latest album Holy Weather saw a development of their sound, further venturing into a light electronic piano-rock territory. These songs sounded great live too, with ‘Fire Escape’ being a definite highlight of the set. Being the first act on the main stage, they roped in quite an audience and no doubt garnered that much stronger of a fan base.

Another big pull for the festival was Ludacris, another Atlanta grown southern rapper who had a myriad of fans awaiting his set. Playing with a live band (a rarity for the rapper), it definitely helped his sound. Rappers that utilize a live backing band sound that much better, as having an actual person play the parts instead of using a backing track is always the way to go. Though he seemed to lack the presence and energy that T.I. brought the day before, he had the crowd just as enthralled. With an eight album catalogue to pull from, Ludacris reached as far back as his very first hit with songs like ‘What’s Your Fantasy’ and ‘Southern Hospitality.’ Not only was the crowd into it, but backstage Civil Twilight’s Steven McKellar and Florence Welch could be seen dancing along too. His established collaborative work came into play too, as his popular songs with other artists made appearances too. And I’d be lying if I said hearing a crowd roar back the lyrics to ‘Move Bitch’ wasn’t one of the most entertaining things I saw all weekend. Ok maybe I did too.

Again with a rapid shift in genres, Neon Trees were up. The pop band has grown exponentially ever since their first album and continued it with the success of their second album, ‘Picture Show.’ Though a physical fireball of energy, the band seems to lack the musical punch on stage that most seem to have when performing live. The songs feel somehow lower, as if someone turned down the dial on the drums and guitar. Lead singer Tyler Glenn’s vocal work always impresses though, as he manages to belt out the lyrics while whirling around the stage like a spinning top gone rogue. Their earlier material is definitely lighter on the pop elements that seemed to have invaded Picture Show, so songs like ‘1984,’ Sins of My Youth,’ and ‘Animal’ came across much better than the newer tracks. Regardless, the crowd seemed to eat it up, yelling before ‘Animal’ even started and singing along to nearly every word to the catchy ‘Everybody Talks.’

Florence + The Machine were up next on the main stage, and though at first dealing with some technical difficulties, Flo’s charm kept the audience on her side and she continued into a very well received set. Her earth-mother vibes come out not only on the songs, but the way she carries herself, floating around the stage like a heavenly Poison Ivy. While it does get to be a bit much, not only her moves but the similarity of her songs, the crowd didn’t seem to care as her fans up front matched her energy with an almost alarming level of passion. Florence is most definitely a talented singer, but if you’re not a fan before seeing her live she isn’t one of those acts to change your mind upon seeing her perform.

Closing out the festival was Pearl Jam. Their reputation for being one of the hardest working and best live acts out there precedes them, and they somehow managed to eclipse it. Lots of bands were popular in the 90’s, but you’d be hard pressed to find one that’s still as respected, loved, and downright rocking as Pearl Jam is. They’re one of those bands that live for their hardcore fans, evidence of this by the unparalleled amount of diversity in their set lists. People see them countless times and very rarely ever see the same show twice. While this is a bonus for hardcore fans, they run the risk of alienating the more casual audience members, especially at a festival. But that wasn’t the case at Music Midtown. They had a perfect mix of hits and b-sides, and speaking from the standpoint of somewhere in between a casual and hardcore fan, it wasn’t remotely boring even for a second. ‘Elderly Woman Behind The Counter in a Small Town,’ ‘Better Man,’ ‘Do the Evolution,’ and ‘Even Flow’ made early appearances in the set and had the swelling crowd in a trance. Being able to hear songs like ‘Alive’ and ‘Black,’ ones that are so famous it gives that immediate giddy sensation of “hey, hey it’s THIS song!” is truly something special. Pearl Jam showed why they’re such a respected live band and why they were chosen as the anchor for Music Midtown. Plus hearing ‘Jeremy’ live is finally something I get to check off my concert bucket list.

All photos courtesy of Matt Arena

24 Sep
2012

By Michel Dussack

Rock bands don’t play Radio City Music Hall very often, but when they do, it’s almost always a show that’s memorable forever. Canadian indie rockers Metric’s show at the historic New York venue on September 23rd was no exception, and while being confined to an area in front of a seat may have stifled the crowd a little, the band was firing on all cylinders. The band’s 18 song set was based heavily upon their 2012 release ‘Synthetica’ and 2009’s ‘Fantasies’, though a few older songs and a very special cover would wind up in the set as well.

Backed by an array of cubes of blue light Metric, led by vocalist Emily Haines, kicked off the night by performing the first three songs of ‘Synthetica’ in order, with single ‘Youth Without Youth’ receiving the best crowd reaction of the three. A couple of tracks later, fan favorites ‘Empty’ and ‘Help I’m Alive’ set the crowd into cheers and many finally realized that indeed it is possible to dance and jump up and down in the space between your seat and the seat in front of you. Metric followed with another trio of new material including the phenomenal title track from their latest album before kicking into another miniature set of older material.

Of particular note was ‘Dead Disco’ extended to about seven minutes thanks to some added instrumentals and guitar solos courtesy of James Shaw, and the show closer ‘Stadium Love’ during which the entire venue seemed to be vibrating with bass. As the band walked off stage, a giant countdown clock appeared to mark their return. Now, don’t get me wrong, everyone always knows encores are coming at concerts, but to me, this seemed to cheapen the effect even more. Long gone are the days where encores were a spontaneous occurrence for a crowd that desired it, replaced with shows planned to the minute.

After performing ‘Black Sheep’ (from the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack) and the classic track ‘Monster Hospital’ came something that nearly no one expected. As Emily began to talk about her brother’s influence on the music she would listen to at a younger age, crew members began to set up a second microphone for the next song. Emily quickly introduced none other than the legendary Lou Reed to the stage to perform ‘The Wanderlust’ with the band, however it didn’t stop there. Next the band and Reed performed a cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’, something that I doubt a single person in attendance of the show will forget.

A raucous performance of ‘Gold Guns Girls’ was next and after it was over drummer Joules Scott-Key and bassist Joshua Winstead departed from the stage. Emily and Josh performed an acoustic version of ‘Gimme Sympathy’, and as the crowd joined in and harmonized on the song with Emily, it was obvious that this nigh was just as special for Metric as it was for their loyal fans.

Metric’s setlist
1. Artificial Nocturne
2. Youth Without Youth
3. Speed the Collapse
4. Dreams So Real
5. Empty
6. Help I’m Alive
7. Synthetica
8. Clone
9. Breathing Underwater
10. Sick Muse
11. Dead Disco
12. Stadium Love
Encore
13. Black Sheep
14. Monster Hospital
15. The Wanderlust (with Lou Reed)
16. Pale Blue Eyes (The Velvet Underground cover with Lou Reed)
17. Gold Guns Girls
18. Gimme Sympathy (acoustic)


23 Sep
2012

By Cassandra Paiva

“The power of three compels you” seemed to be the motto of the night as the Triple Threat line up took their tour to Boston to rock the night away at House of Blues.

The only band on the bill that isn’t a trio, five piece band Young Guns came all the way from London to open their first US tour. Their sound was very appropriate for the bill, altering between heavy, thumpy bass lines and rhythm rock with a slight tinge of British punk rock.

For the fifth show of their first US tour, they were pretty impressive, demanding the crowd’s attention as water splashed from a rattling cymbal and frontman Gustav Woods ran and jumped around the whole stage, occasionally firing the crowd up with chants of, “Boooostooon!” The second song intro riff almost sounded like “Hitchin’ A Ride,” which then prompted the comparison of Woods’ voice to a British Billie Joe mixed with bit of Tim McIlrath of Rise Against.

Kyng came next, starting off really heavy metal and somewhere around mid-set completely flipping a switch and turning into a soulful, half bluesy/half classic rock band. Their first set part hinted at traces of early Soundgarden blended with Alice in Chains and their own unique split melodies and harmonies. “Bleed Easy” was a stompy jam with a killer bass line that resolved into harmony that kept the audience dancing. Contrarily, “Takes Its Toll” was where the classic rock, down south bluesy-ness kicked in with powerful vocals and softer guitar.

Highlight set of the night, Sick Puppies came on in a whirl wind of rock. An intro of a mash up of their songs and TV clip audio set the stage as each member took the stage before lead singer, Shim Moore ran out with a pair of SP underwear on his head (available at the merch table). Starting off unusually slow with Tri-Polar single “Odd One,” the diehard SP fans in attendance were slightly thrown off. However, to their delight, bassist Emma Anzai was singing more of the backing vocals than usual.

Dressed Up As Life favorites “Cancer” and “My World” followed, picking up the pace as Moore started his playful demands with the crowd, “When I say kicking, you say… SCREAMING, I want to hear you!” Another DUaL single, and the song that put them on the map, “All the Same” left the audience singing every word wholeheartedly.

Being the enthusiastic frontman that he is, Moore announced that he wanted to meet everyone, so they’d better buy merch and enter for a chance to listen to their upcoming album backstage after the show. Then he broke into “Maybe” which continued the slew of slower songs, but consisted of Moore’s weird faces and interpretive hand gestures and Anzai’s powerful echoing vocals. A cover of Tears for Fear’s “Mad World” followed, starting eerily a cappella and slowly growing into a fully amped up, rock and roll version that was equally as good as the original.

After getting all of the slower songs and ballads out of their system, “Riptide” kicked off the nonstop rock portion of their set. Anzai’s heavy bass line and Mark Goodwin’s hard, pounding, rolling drumbeats gave an additional power to the song that can’t be heard on the recording. With an outro of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” SP initiated that they were about to get even crazier, especially when they broke in to a short instrumental tease of a newly recorded song. If it’s any indication of the rest of the album, it’s going to sound heavier than T-P and more like DUaL.

With a cry of, “Don’t you fucking bitch out,” Moore instructed the crowd to raise their arms above their heads and lower them on to the person in front of them because the whole place was about to jump. Breaking out into one of their old school jams, “Nothing Really Matters,” I swear the whole place was shaking and everyone was in the air. Moore didn’t think that was good enough, so the band demanded more from the crowd with a rip roaring combo of “War” and “You’re Going Down” until the audience was collectively gasping for breath and commenting on how amazing the performance was at the same time. Usually they start their sets with “War,” but moving it to the middle of “Nothing” and “Going Down” proved to be a real “triple threat” of crazy rock and roll that made their set the most exhilarating of the night.

With dry ice was blowing through trying to cool the place down, mysterious covered set pieces were being rolled on stage as Seether prepared to come on. After all was revealed, a mic stand wrapped with lights and pressure gauges, a giant jukebox with a meter that diminished as the set unfolded, and a car dashboard with a flying V hood ornament decorated the stage.

One by one the members took the stage, first, drummer John Humphrey, then bassist Dale Stewart (wearing a metallic skeleton mask), and finally singer/guitarist Shaun Morgan, breaking out into “No Jesus Christ.” From the first notes, the audience was into it, entranced by their dim lit backdrop. “Gasoline” and “Needles” started massive sing a longs over driving drumbeats and raging riffs.

Amongst a wave of screams, first single released as Seether “Fine Again” unleashed a ringing guitar and traces of post-grunge rock with an elongated outro that kept the audience going. Keeping us transported back a decade, “Pig” followed with throaty screams and drop bass.

Rolling out a weird chair contraption complete with a skull and bubbling liquid, Stewart traded his bass for guitar, sat in the chair, and made things a little sweeter with “Broken” which the audience completely ate up, singing every word.

Humphrey got his chance to shine with what felt like a 5 minute drum solo, banging and clanging with so much passion and energy.

Getting into their newer material, “No Resolution” started with a whirring guitar solo and a more radio-friendly sound than the first half of their set. Coming with a “disclaimer, because this is the first time playing this song live” the band treated us to “Here and Now,” which in the end didn’t need the disclaimer because they played it flawlessly.

Continuing on the path of singles, “Tonight” and “Country Song” followed. The latter causing an uproar in the crowd with its “Dead or Alive” reminiscent, foot tapping intro, done with two guitars, before erupting into hard rock and Stewart trading back to his bass.

Main set ender, “Rise Above This” was encompassed by instrumental jams and smooth bass lines, before they teasingly walked off stage for a few seconds. Running back on, but not exactly as an encore, obvious crowd favorites, “Fake it” and “Remedy” closed the set. Massive sing a longs, fuzzed up guitar distortion, and a fit of rage that knocked over the mic stand and ended with Morgan lying on the ground continuing to sing and jam out resulted in a picture perfect finale to a night of hard rocking.

20 Sep
2012


By Cassandra Paiva

It was an all English lineup as the trifecta of bands met in Pawtucket, Rhode Island for a reunion of sorts.

See, Morning Parade and The Wombats have toured together a few times and have become real close friends. And Lovelife, which features members of the former band Viva Brother, have played a few shows with each band as well. Another fun fact is that this was the second time playing a show in Rhode Island for all three bands.

Lovelife hit the stage first with the same slightly pretentious swagger as, but different sound than their previous identity Viva Brother used to. Lead singer, Lee Newell still carries on in his frontman ways, but now dons himself in an all-black suit. The new member, Ally Young, is the American addition to the band, which is why they’re reinventing themselves by way of Brooklyn (this was their first show out of New York as the new band). Their synth pop beats were mostly typical and a bit recycled, but like most synth music, held some interest and danceability. Not to keep harping on it, but Viva Brother’s sound had more potential than this reincarnation as Lovelife. At least with VB, their sound wasn’t so generic, not saying they’re bad, just a bit too predictable. They opened their set with Internet released single “Brave Face,” which was entertaining, as they do have a good stage presence. I couldn’t really tell you the setlist, but it all sort of blended together in a dance-y whirlwind that built up the excitement of the evening.

By the time Morning Parade took the stage, the open floor was mostly full, to my and the band’s excitement. Thankfully the show schedule was running late, since unfortunately people usually try to skip the opening acts at this venue. Having seen MP twice previous, I was more excited this time to see them with original guitarist Chad Thomas, who wasn’t on the past two US tours. Chad told me earlier in the night a few of his tricks and what to watch for in my anticipation.

They started off strong with potential third single “Under the Stars,” which a few people in the audience seemed to know and sing along with. What’s great about MP is that they deliver the energy right from the get go, they don’t give you any time to ease into it, you just have to dance. Another great thing is that they like to include older tracks into their set, like “Marble Attic,” which was released in the UK, but not in the US. Since this is one of their oldest songs as a band, it really shows off how together they are, and also gives bassist Phil Titus a shot at the vocals for a chorus.

“Blue Winter” continued the nonstop energy, from both the band and the crowd. The way the band feeds off of the audience until everyone is dancing and moving around is exhilarating. Lead singer, Steve Sparrow’s vocals shine so bright in this song as he hits those raw falsetto notes of “winter.” The transition into “Carousel” brought a driving drumbeat that caused an uproar in the crowd, to which Sparrow addressed as “rowdy for a Wednesday night.” His statement was true, and mostly to their doing.

My personal favorite track and unspoken second single, “Us & Ourselves” followed, and blended and flowed perfectly. The harmonies that this band produces are so powerful, and on full blast in this song. So good that earlier Chad and I joked that in 20 years when they’ve been around and back, they could make an a cappella album. For even more crowd interaction, Sparrow subbed in “around the streets of Pawtucket” which the crowd ate up.

Another unreleased in the US track “A&E” started the crowd jumping which continued into obvious crowd favorite “Headlights.” MP’s go to closer “Born Alone” started soft and sweet and grew into an all-out raucous of whirring guitars, pounding keys, and heavy drums which left a bittersweet realization that their set was over.

I listened to the crowd continue to reel about how good they were and overheard the group in front of me say they’d never really listened to Morning Parade before, but now they’re in love. I’d chalk that as a win. My only complaint with the set was that it wasn’t long enough. I’m ready for that headline tour now, boys.

Still running really behind schedule, the original set times were delayed by probably 30/45 minutes. However, this didn’t stop anyone in the audience (and there was a wide range of ages), as the excitement levels were still almost to the ceiling (bravo, Wednesday night troopers). Whenever any member of The Wombats peeked out, bloodcurdling screams were heard across the room. I look back at my notes and see “teenage girls are hilarious,” but hey, sometimes they make for the best audiences, and slightly ashamed, I was there once.

By the time The Wombats took the stage at around 11:05, the crowd was bursting with anticipation. From lead singer Matthew Murphy’s leopard print shoes and his bright baby blue flower print guitar, to bassist Tord Øverland-Knudsen’s “I love to bang” drum kit shirt, and all of their long and wild hair, everything about them indicated that fun is what they stand for.

“Our Perfect Disease” rang through and the energy levels were extremely high on both ends. Tord started the clapping along early, which continued into “Kill the Director” and shouts of “this is no Bridget Jones.” Every chance the audience got was a massive sing-a-long, much like following tracks “Girls/Fast Cars” and “Party In A Forest (Where’s Laura?).”

Murphy joked around introducing the next song “Patricia the Stripper” saying, “This is a song about my mum.” With more crowd interaction, he suggested that everyone dance with the person next to them for “Schumacher the Champagne,” to which the first few rows complied. Look at that, The Wombats not only get you to dance, but they make you new friends too!

One sentence needs to be dedicated to the fact that Tord literally did not stop moving the entire show, making his way all the way across the stage multiple times (occasionally, comically bumping into Murphy) and this held especially true during crowd (and my) favorite “Techno Fan.” The lyrics “shut up and move with me, move with me, or, or get out of my face” never seemed so appropriate.

Soft strums introduced “Here Comes the Anxiety” before a killer drum beat by Dan Haggis carried it to the end. Continuing the fun, Murphy introduced “1996” as “My Heart Will Go On, by Celine Dion” which won massive appraisal. The silliness ensued when he tried to embarrass their tour manager Sarah by singing love ballad (and B Side) “Valentine” to her, in proclamation of their unrequited love.

A little break to catch their breaths occurred and Haggis mentioned that “aluminium” is a funny word and Americans say it wrong, and that his dad says “barth” instead of “bath.” The random and personal approach to the crowd was very endearing and refreshing. Then with an intro of, “we’re available for weddings, birthdays, and funerals,” “Little Miss Pipedream” continued the lovey-dovey segment of the show.

Joking that if anyone wasn’t asleep, they would be after “Elevator Jazz,” they picked it back up with a one-two punch and “Jump Into the Fog” followed by “Moving to New York” and an instrumental jam session, all major pleasers and dance floor winners.

“My First Wedding” brought Murphy to the front of the stage, outstretching a microphone directly over everyone’s heads to sing rip-roaring chant, “She’s not that beautiful.” With another instrumental jam and a little bit of a tease on keys, they played “Tokyo” as the last song of the set, which brought so many screams you would have gone deaf if you weren’t somewhat expecting it.

By the time the encore came on, it was probably 12:25, and I’m not too sure what the curfew is at this venue, but judging from the events that happened, I’m guessing 12:30. “Anti-D” kicked off the encore, and by this point, the crowd was in hysterics with happiness. Sometime during what is probably the band’s biggest breaking hit, “Let’s Dance to Joy Division,” the club shut the PAs off. Tord and Murphy were busy running around the audience, but when they returned to the stage, a slightly disgruntled Murphy ripped out his in ears and yelled, “fuck them, we’ll use our amps” before breaking into a full-on, no stops, end of set instrumental bash as he ran over to crank his amp even louder.

As if their music isn’t catchy, fun, slightly scummy, and delicious Britpop rock enough, the intensity that this three piece band has on stage and the way they interact with the audience are even more reasons why they are so underrated in America. If you ever get a chance to see them (note: they have a bunch more tour dates after this one), do it, especially in small, super personal clubs like the one I was at. You will rarely ever dance, laugh, and scream/sing more than you will at this show. The Wombats will keep you on your feet, and on your toes, and you really don’t want to put off seeing them much longer.

17 Sep
2012

By Michel Dussack

Last time Green Day were in New York, they announced a last minute pre-Halloween show at the super intimate Studio at Webster Hall. The band used that show as an opportunity to practice unreleased material and gauge crowd reactions to help determine what songs would make their new album. Several months later, the band announced that they would not be releasing just one new album; they would be releasing a trilogy of albums entitled ‘Uno!’, ‘Dos!’, and ‘Tre!’ respectively. For their latest intimate New York show, the band played Irving Plaza, a venue of great significance for them, as they had their first headlining show ever at the venue all the way back in 1994. Many fans won tickets to the show, which was also the official Nokia Music launch event, through Green Day’s Facebook page, though several hundred fans with quick fingers were able to purchase tickets online as well.

When Green Day took the stage at 10pm to the entire venue singing along with ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and proceeded to start the night off with ‘Welcome to Paradise’, it was clear immediately that this was going to be an amazing show. Back in October the band seemed focused on playing new material perfectly, especially since it was being filmed for a documentary, however at Irving Plaza, the band was there to have fun. ‘Murder City’ and ‘Know Your Enemy’ followed, and much to fans surprise there were no other songs from ‘21st Century Breakdown’ played for the rest of what turned out to be a 38 song set that lasted over two and a half hours.

New material followed with six songs from ‘Uno!’ making appearances as well as a single song from ‘Dos!’. Of particular note was ‘Let Yourself Go’, one of the most aggressive songs the band has written in years, and ‘Kill the DJ’ which was more fleshed out than the recorded version. What came next was a flurry of hits, obscure rarities, and even more obscure covers, some of which was planned on the bands setlist and some of which came on the fly. At one point Billie Joe Armstrong looked down at his setlist and laughed remarking that the band was “so far off script it’s fucking amazing.” This was a band having a blast on stage playing whatever they felt like, joking around, and during ‘King for a Day”, wearing ridiculous costumes.

Their main set closed out with ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ which seemed odd given the vast amount of more upbeat songs they could’ve ended the set with. When the band returned, it was only for two songs – ‘American Idiot’ and the Occupy Wall Street inspired ’99 Revolutions’ which will be on ‘Tre!’. Before starting the song, Billie thanked the crowd again, encouraged them to buy the opening band’s (Lipstick Homicide) merchandise, and seemed to relish the fact that it was an election year. As the band closed out their marathon set, it was clear that despite what anyone has said about their musical style changing throughout the years, they are still one of the best live bands around who consistently deliver at every performance.

Green Day’s setlist:

    Welcome to Paradise
    Murder City
    Know Your Enemy
    Nuclear Family
    Stay the Night
    Stop When the Red Lights Flash
    Carpe Diem
    Let Yourself Go
    Kill the DJ
    Oh Love
    Holiday
    Burnout
    Hitchin’ a Ride
    Scattered
    Letterbomb
    Highwell to Hell/Crazy Train
    Brain Strew
    St. Jimmy
    Boulevard of Broken Dreams
    2000 Light Years Away
    Only of You
    Disappearing Boy
    Christie Road
    Coming Clean
    409 In Your Coffeemaker
    J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)
    Brat
    Stuck With Me (with ‘86’ instrumental tease)
    At the Library
    Paper Lanterns
    When I Come Around
    She
    F.O.D.
    King for a Day
    Shout/(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
    Wake Me Up When September Ends
    Encore:

    American Idiot
    99 Revolutions

16 Sep
2012

By Malvina Rincon

Outside of the historic (and tiny) Troubadour in West Hollywood, disappointed fans attempted to get into the sold out show. Meanwhile, openers Deap Vally started the night with their bluesy-rock infused riffs as the lucky crowd with tickets began to trickle in for the headliners – The Vaccines.

The London-based quartet walked onto the stage to cheers from the anxious crowd before ripping into “No Hope” the first track from their, soon to be released, sophomore album Come of Age. With the new album already released in the UK and streaming on the band’s own website, it was unsurprising to find the crowd singing every line. The set continued with the first track from their debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? The high-energy ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’ touched familiar territory with the rest of the audience still in the dark with material from the new album.

Formed in 2010, The Vaccines have shot to rock ‘n’ roll stardom in a short amount of time with their punky, punchy songs. Their exciting live shows have gained them an increasing fan base as main singer, Justin Young, dominates the stage as he did at the Troubadour. Guitarist Freddie Cowan, with all of his Joe Strummer-esque swagger, is equally dominating as he teased the audience with his skillful guitar wielding on crowd favorites, like “If You Wanna” and “Post Break-Up Sex”. Like a good rock ‘n’ roll band, The Vaccines take part in the tradition of playing their instruments to eachother with Cowan taking lead and engaging bassist, Arni Arson and drummer, Pete Robertson. The women in the audience were particularly vocal in their approval as the temperatures rose, literally. The venue was so hot that, at some point, Arson had to sit down on the stage, bass on lap, with sweat dripping down his face and long, blonde locks.

Young’s theatrical stage presence had him singing with lazy vocals that seemed part of the act because he obviously feels the words of every song he sings. His vocals were at times reminiscent of Paul Banks (Interpol) on songs like “Ghost Town” and the Joy Division-esque “Bad Mood”, both from the new album. Young sang with a dark intensity as he drew in the audience with his telling facial expressions. Sneers hit the crowd like daggers, but none took offense.

A change of pace came with wistful “Wetsuit”, which provided the sing-a-long of the night. Arson’s heavy bass and Robertson’s steady beats provided a romantic atmosphere in the sweltering venue. As fans at the front looked up adoringly at Young, the band’s next song “Teenage Icon” never seemed more fitting. The audience was mostly made up teenagers who bobbed their heads, shuffled their feet, and clapped their hands in the air in excitement. There was no doubt that the new songs, met with the same fervor as older songs, are on their way to being classics for the band.

After many “thank you’s” throughout the night and apologies for waiting so long to come back to Los Angeles, the fifty minute set ended with “Norgaard”. The crowd, sweaty and flushed, danced and sang along without wanting to let go of the night. Like a hopped-up Buddy Holly, Young covered every inch of the stage and, for one night, The Vaccines turned the Troubadour into a sock-hop for the modern age.

Setlist:

No Hope
Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)
Tiger Blood
I Always Knew
Wetsuit
Teenage Icon
Under Your Thumb
Ghost Town
Post Break-Up Sex
All in White
Change of Heart Pt. 2
Blow It Up
If You Wanna
Bad Mood
Norgaard

16 Sep
2012


By Ace Ubas

Without question, The Walkmen have had an impressive spanning over a decade. Within that decade, they’ve released seven full-length albums and played almost half a thousand shows. Even for most of 2012 which saw the release of their latest album, Heaven, they’ve been relentlessly touring, opening for Florence + the Machine and playing numerous festivals across the world. On Wednesday night, the New York/D.C.-based quintet returned to Los Angeles to finish off the second half of their tour at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater.

Joining The Walkmen for a string dates and opening the night was Los Angeles five-piece Milo Greene. Many music blogs and publications have put the band near the top of their list as one of the bands to watch in 2012, backed by the release of their debut self-titled album. It also helps that they have been making a run at the late night circuit, having played on Conan O’Brien and David Letterman’s shows to broaden their mainstream exposure. And their performance in front of a hometown crowd proved why they are on a rapid rise. What those televised performances don’t show, however, is each band member’s impressive musicianship as throughout their 44 minute set, switching instruments numerous times.

They opened their set with “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and followed with a new unknown-titled song that featured post-rock-like guitar melodies (ala Explosions in the Sky), which sounded perfect in the open-air venue. On the slower, repetitive number “Silent Way,” guitarist Andrew Heringer picked up a banjo to add a more folk quality to their set. Electronic percussion added a new dynamic to the Marlana Sheetz-led “Perfectly Aligned,” where the rest of the band provided Fleet Foxes-esque vocal melodies.

While nearly every band member took their turns taking over lead vocal duties (minus drummer Curtis Marrero), Graham Fink sang lead on “Cutty Love” and showed that he is more than capable of being a lead. They closed the set with their single “1957,” which on record sounds like a Local Native track with the lingering guitar riff and percussive rim shots. But in a live setting, they’re definitely a lot more complex than that with multiple vocalists singing different verses and interweaving vocal melodies that transcend into the night sky. But before they exited the stage, things got a bit surreal and majestic during “What’s the Matter” where a few deer poked their heads and walked through the brush atop the hillside that provided the backdrop for the stage. As my friend whispered over to me after their set, it’s not often that you see a band draw out wildlife through their music, but Milo Greene’s folk-tinged rock certainly has that ability.

Going to the venue for the first time, I questioned for a minute or two whether a seated venue is appropriate to see a band like The Walkmen. But at the end of the night, they proved that they are perfect for any venue of any size. Guitarist Paul Maroon was the first to come out on the dimmed stage, playing a few guitar lines to open “Line by Line” as the rest of the band came out afterwards to a chorus of cheers. They opened their set with a couple of slower numbers from their latest album, following up the first song with “We Can’t Be Beat.” Frontman Hamilton Leithauser displayed his uncanny ability as a dynamic vocalist, howling the line “it’s been so long” with incredible range that saw his voice soar into the sky. The tempo picked up on the song “Heaven,” where the lyrics of maintaining a friendship resonated more vividly and emotionally in a live setting.

A brass quartet came out on stage for a trio of endearing songs – “Red Moon,” a stunning rendition of the lonely-themed “Stranded,” and “I Lost You.” The horns added a whole new dynamic to their songs that emphasized highly emotional themes embedded within. In a seated venue, it is a bit difficult to get up and move along to the music without hindering the view of others, especially with the songs played in the first half of the set and addition of a brass section. But that changed as drummer Matt Barrick played the opening beats to “Angela Surf City,” drawing nearly everyone out of their seats to jump up and down. At this point everyone stood standing for the rest of the night.

What’s most impressive about Leihauser is his stage presence, commanding attention through his sheer and raw vocal deliver while displaying his versatility. His unique vocal style easily brings to mind 60s rockabilly icon Roy Orbison, and that showed on “On the Water.” But it’s not only through the use of his powerful voice or by making his performance look effortless in a suave suit. He also does it through his charm and wit, jokingly saying “I expect half the people to leave after I say this, but Dave Matthews is right across the street” (who was playing at the Hollywood Bowl) and later when a helicopter flew over, “Matthews is taking off right now,” which drew laughs from the crowd.

For their surprising five-song encore, The Walkmen played a handful of older songs beginning with “All Hands and the Cook.” While they didn’t throw in “The Rat” (a song that most in the crowd kept shouting out) they did play another fan-favorite in “We’ve Been Had.” As soon as multi-instrumentalist Peter Bauer played the opening melodies on the piano-led song, nearly everyone standing was singing along to Leithauser.

Seeing a band like The Walkmen play in an open-aired venue surrounded by a natural environment was almost ethereal. You can’t helped but be drawn into the performance backed by a clear night sky that created a near-indescribable experience.

Line by Line
We Can’t Be Beat
Heaven
The Love You Love
Blue As Your Blood
Juveniles
Red Moon
Stranded
I Lost You
Heartbreaker
Love Is Luck
Angela Surf City
Louisiana
On the Water
In the New Year

Encore:
All Hands and the Cook
The Blue Route
Donde Esta La Playa
We’ve Been Had