Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks in Edmonton April 8th 2014

I've come to the conclusion that I am no damn good at writing concert reviews, so from here on in, they will be short, and will just include a few words with pictures and such.

Now, having said that. On Tuesday I went to the Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks with Speedy Ortiz double bill at the Starlite Room.

This was my first time seeing opening band Speedy Ortiz in concert. They were alright, a wall of noise coming at you. Seeing the guitar player Matt Robidoux strum his guitar with a pair of pliers is something I have never seen done before. Lead singer Sadie Dupuis sounded good. An interesting band.

Speedy Ortiz at the Starlite Room.

Headliners were Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks who are on tour for their new release "Wig Out At Jagbags" which is a great album by the way. This was my second time seeing them in concert and again another great performance.

The band seemed loose and appeared to be having a lot of fun on stage. Lots of banter between songs with audience and amongst themselves. They just come across as not taking themselves so serious, which was cool. Stephen and The Jicks performed material from pretty much all their albums including a couple of covers. A bang on version of the Rush song "Fly By Night" sung by drummer Jake Morris. Another cover they did was Jane's Addiction "Mountain Song" which also sounded really good, the song wasn't on the setlist but was performed during the encore.

All and all this was a great show. I was a little surprised by the smaller then expected turn out, but being a week day I guess that is to be expected. Good times!!!

Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks at the Starlite Room.

Setlist from show.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Against Me! in Edmonton March 28th 2014

Last Friday I went to the sold out Against Me! concert at the Starlite Room here in Edmonton. The opening bands for this show were Cheap Girls and Laura Stevenson. Sadly I missed Cheap Girls as I was stuck in the line up to get into the venue. By the time I got in they were done, from what I could hear while waiting, they sounded good.

I did get to see Laura Stevenson from Long Island, New York plays a folk/rock style of music. I had never heard of her before, but thought she and her band put on a good show.

Laura Stevenson at the Starlite Room.

Next up were headliners Gainesville, Florida band Against Me!. This was my first time seeing the band in concert, having just started listening to them in the past year after reading the Rolling Stone article about lead singer Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) coming out as transgender. To read this article, click here.

I picked up the new Against Me! album Transgender Dysphoria Blues when it came out. It's a great album which intrigued me enough to see them live. I had listened to some of their earlier albums before as well, but have to say the new album is my favorite.

Against Me! hit the stage rockin' to loud applause from the sold out audience opening with a new song "FuckMyLife666". This line-up of Against Me! included Atom Willard (RFTC, Social D) on drums, Inge Johansson (The (International) Noise Conspiracy) on bass and long time guitar player James Bowman and of course Laura Jane Grace on vocals and guitar. Laura's voice sounded great, lots of grit and attitude. And the rest of the band were tight as well. The whole band seemed to be on, and having a good time performing, although, early in the show, some guy got up on stage and tried to kiss Laura. That didn't go over well, with Laura saying "sorry dude, I don't wanna make out with you". Lucky for the stage invader he didn't get his ass kicked.

The band mixed up their set quite well doing songs from almost all there albums. I listened to their album "New Wave" which I don't care for at all. But, live the songs they did "Thrash Unreal" certainly sounded better live then on record. I don't know all their records that well, but I do know they did "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" from their album White Crosses. And of course they did about a half dozen from their latest release including the first song of the night as well as "True Trans Soul Rebel", "Black Me Out", "Unconditional Love" and the album title song. All and all this was a great show, better then I was expecting. The crowd ate it up, stage diving, singing along, pumping their fists in the air and just having a good time. Good times!!!

Against Me! at the Starlite Room.


A couple of videos I found on YouTube from the show.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Iron Man - Tony Iommi Book Review

I recently finished reading the 2011 Tony Iommi auto-biography Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. This was a great read, I thought I knew a lot about Black Sabbath, I guess I did, but what I did find interesting was reading about the later years of Sabbath. Everyone has read lots about Black Sabbath and the Ozzy years, but not really much about the years with Ronnie James Dio and all the other singers that have been in and out of Sabbath during 1986 and 1995. I enjoyed reading about the 1983 Black Sabbath album "Born Again" that was done with Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan.

Tony Iommi tells some interesting stories of drugs, groupies, band managers, losing the tips of his fingers while working a factory job as a teen, growing up with little to no money. It is a quick read and told with honesty and a sense of humour. Highly recommended. There is a revised edition out now that tells about his battle with lymphoma (cancer).

In concert news...Black Sabbath will be playing in Edmonton on Tuesday April 22nd at Rexall Place.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Charlie Musselwhite and Ruthie Foster Live in Edmonton March 17th 2014

On Monday night my buddy Hurl and I went to the Charlie Musselwhite and Ruthie Foster concert at the Jubilee Auditorium here in Edmonton. This was my first time seeing both artists.

I have always wanted to see Charlie Musselwhite live, and on this evening I was finally getting my chance. I was happy to see that Charlie was the opening act for the show, as I wasn't in all honesty, cared whether I saw Ruthie Foster or not.

Charlie Musselwhite and his band hit the stage right on time and ripped through an hour long set, which ended with the audience giving him a standing ovation, which brought him out for an encore. Charlie just earned himself his first Grammy Award (Best Blues Album) for his album that he did with Ben Harper called "Get Up!" that came out last year. It is a great blues album and a well deserved award for this harmonica playing blues legend. At seventy years old, Charlie Musselwhite is looking healthy and sounding awesome, his voice was strong as was his harp playing. His back up band was quite good as well, especially guitar player Matt Stubbs. Charlie's style of blues went from down south delta blues to old school Chicago blues. All and all a great performance by Charlie Musselwhite and his band. Would love to him perform in a bar or outdoor festival setting.

After Charlie's opening set, he was out in the lobby signing autographs. I picked up his latest release "Juke Joint Chapel", a live album that came out in 2012.

Charlie Musselwhite at the Jubilee Auditorium.

Headliner of the evening was Texas native Ruthie Foster, this was my second time seeing her in concert having seen her open for Taj Mahal years ago. I only stayer for about forty-five minutes of her set. What I saw and heard was alright. She had a three piece band that were good. Ruthie was engaging with the audience a lot, telling stories and such, she did a few cover songs, one of them a Lucinda Williams song "Fruits Of My Labor". The lady has got a great voice, she can sing gospel very well and has a decent voice for the blues as well. She was good but not an artist I would go out of my way to see again. This show was not well attended at all, maybe about 700-800 people in a venue that holds 2500. Good times!!!

Ruthie Foster at the Jubilee Auditorium.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cro-Mags in Edmonton March 8th 2014

On Saturday night my brother Citrus and I went to the Cro-Mags concert here in Edmonton at The Pawn Shop. This was the second night of two exclusive Canadian dates. The Cro-Mags are a New York hardcore band that have been around in one form another since 1981. While I never followed the bands career, I recall reading about them in Kerrang magazine back in the mid eighties. They always looked very menacing and tough in all the pictures I saw of them. I listened to them once back then and they weren't really my thing as I was more a metal head then a fan of the punk thing. They were one of the first bands thought to meld the metal and punk music together.

Now many years later, I appreciate their music and what it stands for, especially there first album The Age Of Quarrel. That album is a classic in the hardcore scene. I had never seen the band live before, and when my brother heard about the show, he said he was going to come up from Calgary for it. So I figured I would check the show out with him. The last show my bro and I went to together was the Terror show, another hardcore band, that show was off the wall for intense and violent. So, I wasn`t sure what to expect for this show, as Cro-Mags shows have been known to be violent affairs sometimes. Therefore we made sure to keep our distance from the dance floor. Hence why the pictures we got aren`t all that good.

The line up for Saturdays show were three local bands opening which were Ringleader, Tarantuja and Etown Beatdown. We missed the first band Ringleader and caught the rest of them, which made for a long night of loud hard fast music. All the bands were alright, but everyone was waiting patiently for headliners Cro-Mags. Whom didn`t hit the stage til one o`clock in the morning.

The Cro-Mags line up for this show was a who`s who of the New York hardcore scene, with original singer John Joseph McGowan on lead vocals, A.J. Novello (Leeway) on guitar, Craig Setari (Sick Of It All) on bass and Mackie Jayson (Bad Brains) on drums who has been playing with the Cro-Mags off and on since 1984.

The show was a quick fifty minute concert with the band playing pretty much all of the The Age Of Quarrel album. They did do one song from their second album Best Wishes, the song they did was Crush The Demoniac, it was weird for this line up of Cro-Mags to play this song as lead singer John Joseph wasn`t even a member of the band for this album, nonetheless they did this song, during this song, a member from the crowd, a long haired freak whom I had just had a smoke with outside earlier in the night, jumped up on stage and grabbed the mic and sang this song. In which he did a very good job of.

All and all the show was very good and not near as crazy as I was expecting. It was an older crowd of old school punkers and hardcore guys. The band sounded good and seemed to really appreciate the non violent crowd and all the accolades the crowd was showing them. I`m glad I went to this show, and big shout out to my brother for coming up for the show and making the whole day an awesome time from the long walk, the record shopping and hanging out, good eats and topping the night off with a great concert. Good times!!!

Few pictures from the show taken by my brother.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

RIP Kelly Holland (Cry Of Love)

Just read about this. Rest In Peace Kelly Holland. Kelly was the lead singer in the southern rock n' roll band called Cry Of Love that had some success in 1994. There debut album Brother was a great rock n' roll record. Sadly that was the only full length album they put out. To read more about Kelly Holland, checkout the link by clicking here.

I remember seeing this band in 1994 at Peoples Pub here in Edmonton. I looked after their merchandise booth for them. Great show too.