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[POSTPONED: September 21, 2021] My Chemical Romance [rescheduled from September 22, 2020; moved to September 20, 2022]

indexOn April 16th, My Chemical Romance decided to postpone their tour once again.  And I’m glad they postponed and didn’t cancel because I have great seats.  But I realized that my son was a freshman when I ordered these tickets and he will be a senior when the show actually goes on!

My Chemical Romance is postponing our 2021 touring plans until 2022.  We are deeply sad, but those emotions are only a fraction of the depth of feeling we have all experienced watching the suffering and loss of the past year.  We just want to be as sure as we can be that everyone is safe.  Refunds will be offered to anyone who wants them.  We are sorry if this is disappointing, and we REALLY can’t wait to see you in 2022

I enjoyed My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade album quite a lot, although I haven’t listened to all that much beyond it.

I wasn’t really aware that they’d broken up because my son and his friends like them and listen to them on trips (sometimes).  When this tour was announced, I thought it would be so much fun to go to see this massive spectacle (which I assume it will be).

I bought a ticket for me, my son and his friend and the seats were great!  I was really excited about the show and was hoping that it wouldn’t get postponed–end of September seemed like maybe we’d be out of lockdown.

Then on June 16th, it was announced that the tour would be pushed back to next year.  I am getting rather concerned that rescheduled dates are going to be on the same night.  Turns out this sow is the day after the Pet Shop Boys show.  But since I had great seats, I’m glad we get to keep them.

One more year just builds up more anticipation.

 

[ATTENDED: September 18, 2021] Soccer Mommy [moved from March 30, 2020]

I was supposed to see Soccer Mommy open for Phoebe Bridgers a few years back.  I felt sick on the way down to the show so I wound up coming home instead.

S. bought me her CD for some holiday in 2020 and I thought it would be fun to see her live.  I was supposed to see her back in March of 2020, but the show was pushed back until September 2021.   And in that time, something big must have happened to her because this show sold out! And the crowd was really intense about her.

As soon as Sophia Regina Allison (who is Soccer Mommy) came on stage, the crowd went bananas.  It was kind of funny because Sophie is so low key.

She had a pretty full band with her. I stood in front of her lead guitarist who really made some outstanding noises –a component that made her songs even more interesting to me).  Her new bassist (this was his first tour with them) had an amazing sound–buzzy and noisy but groovy at the same time.  Guitarist-keyboardist Rodrigo Avendano on the far side added some great textures and drummer Rollum Haas whom I could not see because I giant cymbal was in the way, played some amazing fills and really added a lot of intensity to these songs.

What I’m saying is that the album is good, but live, the songs were amazing.

Soccer Mommy only has two albums out.  Most of the songs came from the new(ish) album Color Theory.  I have to say that I was really surprised she played “Circle the Drain” second because I thought it was her big hit and would come at the end.  She must have a lot of hits that I don’t know about.

I had a hard time getting clips of Julian Powell because of the way he was hiding behind the carboard TVs, but I loved the way that he and Sophie harmonized the guitar licks on “Crawling in My Skin.” Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: September 18, 2021] Squirrel Flower

I had heard of Squirrel Flower from All Songs Considered and I was interested in seeing her live.  So I was pleased when she was announced as the opening act for Soccer Mommy.

Squirrel Flower is the stage name of Ella Williams who has been releasing music under this name for about six years.

The show started a little late, so when Ella and her band came out, we all cheered, until we realized they wee just setting up the gear and setlists.  A few minutes later Ella came out by herself and sang “I’ll Go Now.”  It was a remarkably slow song.  She payed stretched out chords and sang slowly over them.   A few minutes in, she bent down and did something at her feet and a looping melody began–I couldn’t tell if she played it live, but it did have a not that was a slightly off.  The song ended and everyone cheered.

She apologized for the “fake out” earlier and then started “Desert Wildflowers” in that same slow style. Continue Reading »

[POSTPONED: September 18, 2021] Sinéad O’Connor [rescheduled from April 5, 2020 moved to May 13, 2022]

indexI had heard a while back that Sinéad was postponing this whole tour for non-COVID reasons (or maybe they are, they were just listed as health reasons).  But there was no official word from the venue until April 14th.

City Winery must reschedule the Sinead O’Connor show originally scheduled for 4/4/2020 & 9/18/2021  The new date is 5/13/2022 (Next Year).

Which is fine.  I can wait.

I have seen Sinéad O’Connor four times. although the last time was in 1998.

I assumed I’d never see her again for a whole host of reasons.

I was pretty stunned to see that she announced a U.S. tour.  She was playing at City Winery in Philadelphia.  I have never been there.  Then I saw how much the tickets were!

I loved her voice back in the 90s, but since then she has gone all over the place (literally).  I wasn’t sure she even sounded any good anymore, so I balked at the price and opted not to get tickets.

I have since heard that her show was really good.  I’m not sure how upset I am about missing this, but maybe if she reschedules it will be at a larger (cheaper) venue.

sine

 

[ATTENDED: September 14, 2021] The HU

The HU are from Mongolia. I saw them in this same venue two years ago.  They haven’t released much in those intervening years, but I enjoyed the first show so much I wanted to see them again (plus, I was pretty delighted that they were back touring the States). on the left side in front of Temuulen Naranbaatar a.k.a. “Temka” who plays the tovshuur (a two or three string lute-like instrument).

But I knew I wanted to be on the other side for this show.  And so I set out to stand in front of Enkhasaikhan Batjargal a.k.a. “Enkush” who played lead morin khuur.  This was pretty exciting as I really got to watch him play the solos.

The two guys in the middle are the main singers.  Galbadrakh Tsendbaatar a.k.a. “Gala” is credited with “lead throat singing,” which I love.  His voice was incredible.  He also played the morin khuur with a gorgeously carved horse head at the top.  This instrument is two-stringed and you play it with a bow.

And Nyamjantsan Galsanjamts a.k.a. “Jaya” who was sort of the lead singer, although Gala sang lead as often.  Jaya’s main instrument was, fascinatingly, the jaw harp which played a significant role in several songs.  He also played the tsuur (a Mongolian flute).

There are technically four guys in the band, but for the tour they had four extra guys supporting them.  The touring guys mostly hung at the back, although occasionally the guitarist Jambaldorj Ayush a.k.a “Jamba” would come up front.   In the back on the left was Batkhuu Batbayar on bass.  Then there were the two drummers.  Sitting at the full kit was Odbayar Gantumur a.k.a “Odko.”  The final player, and one I could see occasionally was Unumunkh Maralkhuu a.k.a “Ono.”  Ono played two large drums.  Mostly they were an accompaniment to the main drum, but occasionally they were the only percussion.  Those drums resonated loudly. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: September 14, 2021] The Haunt

I was pretty delighted to see that Mongolia’s The HU were coming back to Philly.  I really enjoyed their set last time and figured they’d be just as fun this time.

This year’s opening band was The Haunt, who I’d never heard of (and it’s VERY hard to find them online because there’s all kinds of Haunt-named bands).

And here’s a fascinating bit of history

The Haunt, formerly known as AnastasiaMax are from South Florida. The band consists of siblings, Anastasia Grace Haunt (lead vocals), and Maxamillion Haunt (vocals, guitar and production), alongside Nat Smallish on bass guitar (formally Beach Day), and Nick Lewert on drums (formally Ethan Bortnick).

I can’t guarantee that those last two were the rhythm section.  he mentioned their names, but all I remember is that the drummer was nicknamed “waffles.”

I arrived in the middle of the first song (I hate the parking around TLA) and managed to get past the clustered people after a song or two.  But right from the start I was impressed with the sound of the song “Constant.” Continue Reading »

[POSTPONED: September 12, 2021] Andy Shauf / Faye Webster [rescheduled from May 1 and December 17, 2020; moved to March 31, 2022]

indexThis show appeared and then disappeared.  In May, Andy’s own website it was still an active date until you clicked on it and the ticket sales said March 2022.

Maybe in 2022 Andy will come back around.  He was supposed to play a show in NJ as well, but there was none listed in May.  We’ll see.

Postponing shows until December seemed like a safe bet.  My calendar was pretty free and I was hoping to see shows by now.  I’m not sure if I’d rather have gone to Philly or Asbury Park, though.  Well, next year will held me decide, I’m sure.

Andy Shauf is a Canadian singer songwriter.  He sings quiet, introspective songs.  He was playing at Union Transfer at the beginning of Mat and then in New Jersey in the middle of May.

I was introduced to his music from a Tiny Desk Concert in which he never really moves.  He has very long hair which also never moves.  His songs are really very pretty and well constructed.

It’s his voice that I find utterly fascinating.  He enunciates in such an unusual way.  The way he emphasizes certain vowels defies his Saskatchewan upbringing.  He sings not unlike Margaret Glaspy and other newer sings who stress their vowels in an unusual to me way.

I really enjoyed his Tiny Desk and I enjoyed reading about the album The Party which sounds like the worst party ever.

Since then he has cut all of his hair and looks totally different–I wasn’t even sure it was the same guy.

Faye Webster is a singer from Georgia who actually has a similar singing style to Andy, which is fascinating.  She sings low key torchy ballads and would be a perfect opening act for him.  I’m going to have to listen to a bit more from her.

He’s the kind of musician that I would think about going to but probably wouldn’t, and then I’d wish I had.  Well, now I have two more chances.

His initial itinerary fascinated me:

Boston, Brooklyn, Philly, D.C., North Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, Alabama, Indiana, Pittsburgh, New Jersey, upstate New York.

The rescheduled shows keep the same basic set up except that now Philly is the day before NJ–I wonder what changed that plan.

shuaf

[ATTENDED: September 10, 2021] Almost Queen

S.’s co-workers invited her to see Almost Queen with them late in June.  She agreed, thinking it would be a fun night out.  As September approached, she realized that the friends had a slightly different plan for the evening than she did, and realized that she couldn’t ride down with them.  So she asked me to come along.

I was game, of course.  I have never intentionally paid to see a tribute band before.  But since this was a band that I would never be able to see live (Queen last played in New jersey in 1982–although the version with Adam Lambert had played here more recently), I said why not.

I was intrigued that a cover band had two opening acts, also cover bands: Philadelphia Freedom, The Elton John Tribute and The Unforgettable Fire: The U2 Tribute.

However, the combination of Friday night plans and Friday night traffic meant we got to the Stone Pony during the final two U2 songs (“One” and “Bullet the Blue Sky”–a rather odd final song I thought).  They sounded good from the street, but I have no real opinion of The Unforgettable Fire.

The place was PACKED and there was no vaccination requirement (good grief).  This is my third Summer Stage show in a few years and honestly, unless there is something really amazing playing there, I don’t think I’d go back.  The crowd is just terrible–filled with drunken Jersey dudes and dudettes.  If this was a band I really wanted to see I’d have been really annoyed by them all.  Fortunately, this was a fun tribute act and I was happy to just kick back and enjoy.  We somehow managed to find our group (amusingly, I told S. to have her friend hold up her phone and wave it.  Immediately someone did and we followed the light only to realize that it wasn’t her friends, but the person standing right next to them–weird). Continue Reading »

[CANCELLED: September 9, 2021] Bachelor

indexBachelor is the lockdown-inspired collaboration between Palehound’s Ellen Kempner and Jay Som’s Melina Duterte.  Their song “Stay in the Car” is one of my favorites this year.  I was excited to see both of these great women in a small venue like The Foundry.

Then on Friday August 13th, they sent out this message.

Unfortunately, the Event Organizer has had to cancel your event.

With this follow up on their Instagram

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Bachelor will no longer be hitting the road for the following shows. However, Ellen will still be supporting @lucydacus as @palehound on the first leg of her tour. Tickets for our headline shows will be refunded at point of purchase. Please get vaccinated and stay safe.

So that was a bummer.  Hope they can rebound and do more shows next year.

[ATTENDED: September 5, 2021] Avatar

When Avatar announced they were playing TLA I knew I wanted to see them again.  When they opened for Babymetal, I was blown away by what a show they put on–for an opening act.  I imagined that when they headlined, it would be even more amazing.

It wasn’t more amazing (I was actually more impressed by their lights last time) but it was certainly a lot of fun–an even more fun since the audience was there to see them.

Their gear was set up and then a small drumkit was brought to the front of the stage (which was pretty unusual).  Then the five of them walked out and stood in a tight v formation.  After a lengthy pause with all five of them staring at us, drummer John Alfredsson began hitting out a loud snare beat.  Then the guitars started playing and singer Johannes Eckerström–dressed like a ringmaster, his face covered in white paint with (scary) clown makeup on–began singing the fantastic growling anthem “Colossus.”  The band played the entire sing in that tight V shape and from my vantage point when both guitarists played the same solo it was like a multi-armed beast on stage.

They followed that up with “Let it Burn” and then the stage went black.  The crew removed the tiny drum set and the band left the stage briefly while Alfredsson climbed up on top of his full sized kit.  When the band came back out they utilized the full stage and when they started “Silence in the Age if Apes” (the actual first song on the new album) the full synchronized headbanging extravaganza was under way.

Both guitarists take some time to show off, although never for too long.  In fact, when they started soloing, it was usually over by the time I had the camera ready.  Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström (“he’s single, ladies”) both took turns at the front of the stage.  Although it was Jarlsby who stood up front to play the slow pretty intro of “Bloody Angel.” Continue Reading »