Tag Archives: live music

Neko Case, can we be friends?

NEKO CASE LIVEMaybe I just have a weakness for Titian songstresses: Florence Welch, Tori Amos, Bonnie Raitt, Bette Midler, but I thought Neko Case was the cat’s pajamas when she blew through town the other night.  Even though she felt shitty complaining of a cold, she filled up the whole room with her velvety bourbon-flavored sound.  NEKO CASE FALLONNeko’s total transparency makes for such an appealing live experience.  Without any trepidation she launches courageously into acapella.  The sound is as clear, piercing, warm and authentic as possible.  Nothing blocks the transmission of energy between Neko and her audience.  When she speaks to her devoted fans, it’s like she’s sitting at the next bar stool.  She banters with her band with what seems like sincere and jovial camaraderie.  The dynamic feels intimate, as if you are backstage after the show.  Maybe that explains why people shouted requests from all over the theater?  I have never heard so much aggressive requesting at any show I have ever attended ever.  It’s not a piano bar people.  (And enough with the Freebird.  Tiredest joke ever.)Lately, I’ve been really fed up with the rude-ass behavior of my fellow attendees (ehhhhem MGMT douches), but at Neko’s show my boldly printed vintage jumpsuit was enthusiastically appreciated by at least three separate sets of fawning complimenters, (not even including the cute pedicab driver on the street afterwards).  This is not intended as a humble-brag, I’m just highlighting that in Neko’s tribe the women support wild jumpsuit wearing. NEKO CASE LITTLE BIRDNeko Case is on tour now.  Please go see her.  She is sublime.  Afterwards you’ll wish she was your best friend.Neko Case on her horse farm in rural Vermont

The Most Annoying People at the Rock Show

BUTT GRABThe guy who leads his girlfriend around by the ass.FLAILING BITCHES

The woman who over-enthusiastically dances to the band’s two hit songs and then texts, talks loudly, and gets sloppy-ass drunk for the remainder of the show.

BRAD PITT DORK DANCEThe interpretative dancer who gesticulates in accord with the lyrics.  RAISE THE ROOF

The slutty underage Forever 21-clad girls who skank around the drink line begging guys to buy them beer.



Rodrigo y Gabriela + The Colorado Symphony + Red Rocks = everything

ROD Y GAB PLAY TOGETHERWhen two forces as reliably fantastic as Rod y Gab and Red Rocks combine together, you know you are going to get a killer show.  Add the Colorado Symphony to create a fuller, richer, more substantial outdoor amphitheater sound and you’ve got yourself one sublime music miracle.RED ROCKS SOLD OUTI’ve been a fan of Rod y Gab for several years now, and the first time I saw them was in some little standing-only venue which probably wasn’t even sold out.  Here we are a few years later and they’re selling out Red Rocks.  Good for them.  Rod is still a machismo dickhead who won’t let the luminescent Gab sputter out a few heavily accented words in English before trampling over her words with her guitar.  His fear that she is just too good, too beautiful, and too respected to stay with his ass is palpable and frankly probably somewhat legitimate.  Rod expertly plays guitar, but without Gab’s creative percussive techniques, he would be lucky to be playing open mic nights.  Just saying, guys with guitars are a dime a dozen.  Dickheads with guitars are a dime per hundred.  The couple creates a stringy symbiosis and it’s a credit to them both that they can sustain a personal and professional relationship without imploding. GABThe two Mexican metalheads rapt the sold out crowd for more than two hours.  The setlist was a healthy mix of old and new, but it doesn’t really matter what the duo plays.  Fans come for the mastery and display of their unique and personalized technique.  The concert was taped for broadcast on Mark Cuban’s AXS TV, so if you want to see the show it is available to you.  Even better, do what you can to see Rod y Gab in person as nothing compares to the live experience.  It was one of the most romantic and magical shows I have ever had the pleasure to attend.  ROD Y GAB BW


festival faceoff: coachella v. pitchfork

PITCHFORK 2013The music = Coachella

The sheer volume of performers means Coachella owns the title for superior festival line-up.  From the obscure, to the mainstream, to the reunited, Coachella serves up a summer’s worth of concerts in three compact tightly scheduled 12+ hour days across a polo field of stages.  Pitchfork hosts a number of specifically well-cultivated acts spaced temporally further apart on three different stages situated relatively close together.  Even though Coachella has more musical opportunities, there is no way to see every artist which leads to inevitable disappointments.  Know what wasn’t a disappointment?  The Breeders playing Last Splash from beginning to end at Pitchfork.COACHELLA 2013

PITCHFORK 2013 CROWDThe people = Pitchfork

Chicago gets away with unacceptable bullshit (shitty weather, crumbling infrastructure, violence), but the city’s still beloved because of the charm of its people.  Chicagoans take no shit, but they aren’t fucking L.A. assholes either.  Their midwestern mamas taught ‘em right.  The crowd peppered the days with “excuse me” and “thank you.”  Unlike, Coachella, everyone doesn’t stand thisclose at PitchforkPitchfolks mostly keep a reasonable and respectful distance.  In contrast at Coachella, a bitch had her saggy left tit on my shoulder for the entire Foals set.  Even the cops were nicer at Pitchfork.  In a surprisingly good-natured gesture two cops eye-fucking my friend and I pulled out perpendicularly to block traffic so we could strut the crosswalk unscathed.  (Hey Chicagoans – you all walk – stop at the crosswalks.  Crossing the street I felt like a fucked-up sequined version of Frogger.  G-Sus.)


Don’t fuck with Chicago when it comes to food.  We happily feasted on $5 vegan corn dogs and waffle fries from The Chicago Diner stand.  I was introduced to the beauty of Jeni’s ice cream at PitchforkPitchfood reigns.  Coachella offers the poisonous churro, lukewarm water, and chunder-inducing garlic fries.PITCHFOOD

The drugs = Coachella

Basically, people are eating their own hair at Coachella.  Everyone is super fucked-up.  An extremely permissive attitude permeates the polo grounds from security to the fans.  In comparison, at Pitchfork I was lying in the grass extremely faded on edibles listening to Wire when these annoying kids settled in next to us.  One of the girls was one of those narrator-types who wove the word “literally” inappropriately and excessively into every sentence.  “My weed is literally in the grass you guys.” Dude responds, “I want to be rolling so hard that I can’t feel my genitals.  That’s how bad I want to be be rolling right now.”  Obviously, these kids were killing me.  As I lay there contemplating this hell of my own making, I heard a stern female voice say, “What’s in the bag?”  My heart stopped and I kept my eyes closed.  A few beats of silence followed.  Then I heard the annoying nasally girl whine, “She literally just took our weed.  At least we only have an hour and a half left.”  She literally reassured the group.  “She’s totally going to smoke it.” Dude replied.  I have never seen security take anyone’s weed at any show I have ever attended until I overheard it happen to Chicago’s most annoying hipsters at Pitchfork.  I smiled inside at the thought of the security guard blunting up their sack after a hard day’s work corralling doughy bearded white boys around Union Park.  I’m not mad at you Sister Security.PITCHTREE

The Fashion = Coachella

Bless your heart Chicago, style has never been your strength.  I ask you manboys, what is with the super tight denim cutoffs?  This is a very strange not-at-all flattering early 70′s look to resurrect.  Newsflash: 99% of all men look like boys in shorts.  Shorts are a dignity issue.  Dress like a fucking man.  Mostly, it was just a vast sea of unoriginality among all genders.  Don’t worry, we were an island of freshness as I insisted on teasing my reluctant friend’s hair into a major modern beehive.  Coachella breeds its own version of annoying conformity that I wouldn’t at all consider a creative expression unless you consider the art of the coochie cutter the bastard cousin of couture.  However, at least the Coochellites try.  In Chicago, bitches think khaki shorts constitute a style statement.PITCHFORK 2013 JENA

Pitchfork 2013 = sunday



Pitchfork 2013 = saturday



Pitchfork 2013 = friday



the xx on mda

ROMY MADLEY CROFT XXRecently,  I went to see The xx with some friends.  One of those friends offered me MDA, no extra M.  It’s what the kids are doing now.  It has been a hot minute since I rolled, and I’m usually not a fan of taking pills at shows, but for The xx it seemed appropriate. ROMY MADLEY CROFT XXWe guzzled down the tabs before the opening band started.  The pace of the show was rather sluggish.  There was a lot of waiting for the band and for the drugs to kick in.  XX LIVEWhat I also should have probably remembered is that ecstasy and its cousins tend to give me the party pukes.  Generally, this is more of a problem when I rail rather than swallow, but with no food, the sweltering heat, and the intense crowd, the pukes came on hard and fast.  The line to the ladies room was super long so I walked upstairs and tucked behind some ducting.  Classy, I know.  (Bonus points shall be awarded for not getting a drop of puke on my white vintage slip and Frye boots.)

ROMY XX FILLMOREAfter I regained my composure, I returned to the main floor to join my friends.  Then I knelt down and puked again – all water – and I think I got a little on my flip-flop wearing friend’s foot.  So I owe you a pair of shoes, sorry about that.  Then I stood up like the badass bitch I am and enjoyed the show.  Undignified ralphing aside, this trip provided an extremely valuable shift in perspective that I greatly needed.   MDA

For those of you who care less about my drug use and more about actual music.  The set was short.  I can’t be sure considering my condition, but I think they played a little over an hour.  Both at Coachella and at this show, The xx played this disappointing stripped down version of Crystalised.  The set list is heavy on Coexist, which is the lesser of their efforts in my opinion.  I enjoy how their shows feel more intimate and less theatrical.  This band is about the music and generating an atmosphere of sincere emotional response from the audience even if they often seem personally disconnected while playing. ROMY AND OLIVER

Sunday with Robert Smith