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Archive for the ‘Bethlehem, PA’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 4, 2022] Built to Spill

I know that a Built to Spill show is going to be great.  But sometimes the crowd makes it hard to enjoy.  I was fairly sure this show would be poorly attended, and yet there were a lot of (drunk) people who knew Built to Spill very well.  Are they more popular than I realize?

I had seen them just four months earlier, but the opportunity to see them again at the reasonably close SteelStacks in Bethlehem meant that I was going to see them again.  I enjoyed his new lineup.  This is the third, possibly fourth lineup I’ve seen play with Doug.  Melanie Radford is now on bass (she also plays in Blood Lemon) and Teresa Esguerra on drums.

I love that Esguerra was on the side of the stage facing the other two (that’s how his band was set up with the previous trio as well).  This allowed for Esguerra  and Radford to communicate with each other while Doug was jamming.  And they had outstanding chemistry.

I hadn’t really gotten to see Radford much during Blood Lemon, but she totally let loose with Built to Spill.  Her bass playing was great and her sound was outstanding.  She also seemed to create some of the second-guitar melodies (instead of the bass lines) to make the songs sound even fuller. And then she would jump back with her hair flying a smile on her face.

I had seen Esguerra with Prism Bitch, but she was even more impressive tackling songs that I knew.  She was fast and powerful and seemed to be the engine pushing the songs forward not just keeping pace with them. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 4, 2022] Wetface

When I realized that I was going to be late for this show, I hoped beyond reason that Wetface would go on first and I would miss his set instead of Blood Lemon.  I realize that Blood Lemon bassist Melanie Radford plays bass in this incarnation of Built to Spill and probably needs some downtime between sets, but I really did not want to sit through Wetface again.

I considered leaving the room and looking at merch or just going for a walk but I didn’t really want to lose my place.  Although, realistically, my place kinda sucked because the people around me were awful.  I should have stuck with my guts.

The drunken Bethlehem crowd absolutely loved Wetface.  And I’m going to say that I found him more entertaining at this venue than the first time.  Perhaps because my expectations were so low.

He had a lot of technical difficulties which he played up and which he had fun with.  I also got a kick out of him throwing his last three T-shirts (that’s all that left of my merch) into the crowd.  “But, hey, they are all smalls, so if you’re a big person and you just grabbed that shirt, I am happy for you that you got something free at a concert, but kindly give it to someone who will fit it).

He played a song and when it was done, someone requested that he play it again.  So he did.

I am quite aware that I need to lighten up at shows, but yes, I would have been very happy to have missed this set.

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[ATTENDED: September 4, 2022] Blood Lemon

I had seen this very lineup just a few months ago.  I assumed that seeing the show in May and then in September would be a different experience.   I was especially excited to see Blood Lemon again because I missed most of their set last time.

Unfortunately, the traffic into Bethlehem was terrible (there was a torrential downpour as well).  And between that and the loud, drunken crowd all pressing to get in, I missed half of Blood Lemon again.  The lighting was much better for this set, so it was nice actually seeing consisting of singer/guitarist Lisa Simpson, singer/bassist Melanie Radford and percussionist Lindsey Lloyd.

The sound seemed to be a little off.  Or, maybe it was just that there were some remarkably loud talkers at this show.  The last time we went to shows here, the crowds were good.  I’m guessing this was a college night/end of school year/loud rocking band kinda show.  Because this crowd was really shitty to be around.

They didn’t even seem to show much respect when Blood Lemon called Doug Martsch out on stage to jam with them on their last song.

The band was great again, and the few songs I heard made me really want to see them again–an actual full set even!

This show wasn’t even listed on setlist, so I’m just guessing their set was something like this.

  1. Master Manipulator ß
  2. High Tide
  3. Perfect Too
  4. The Stone Castle ß
  5. One More Time ß
  6. Her Shadow
  7. Burned ß
  8. Whistleblower ß

ß Blood Lemon (2021)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: October 30, 2021] Lotus Land [rescheduled from April 20; and October 30, 2020]

I really had intended on seeing this band once they finally settled on a date.  But October 30 is just too close to Halloween to be taken seriously as a concert night out.  Especially for a cover band.

I’m sure they’ll be back. Or better yet, maybe they’ll play somewhere even closer to me.

~~~

It seemed like as things started to open up that smaller venues like this might have shows.  of course, the concern was–is a smaller venue better since you’ll be so much closer to everyone.  I thought maybe they could have this outside–even in October.  I guess not.

I have no interest in seeing tribute bands.  If I can’t get the real thing, then I won’t get it at all.

However, this Rush tribute band intrigues me because in the pictures they both use doubleneck instruments and their ads say they play mostly late 70 and early 80s Rush.  This is a period I’ve never seen live and I think it might be fun.  Plus they are very highly praised in their reviews.

I put this on my calendar as a show to see if there weren’t much else going on at the time. Well, it turned out to be a hugely busy concert month so I probably wouldn’t have gone.

However, Lotus Land seem to tour up and down the East Coast pretty much constantly, including this rescheduled show in October.  I suspect I’ll be able to see them some time in the not too distant future.

 

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[NOT ATTENDED: July 29, 2021] Bright Eyes / Lucy Dacus [rescheduled from June 16, 2020; couldn’t attend, vacation]

indexThis is one of the first shows that actually went on as (re)scheduled.

It also happened to be the week that we took a vacation.  Oh well,

~~~~

I’ve never been much of a fan of Conor Oberst.  Although after seeing him in Better Oblivion Community Center, I gained a new respect for him and foudn I actually liked him.

I don’t know a lot about Bright Eyes (except that the songs sound strangely like The Replacements to me).  I wasn’t planning on going to this show (even though Steelstacks is a cool venue).

However, I kept getting notifications that Lucy Dacus was playing at Steelstacks.  I have seen Lucy a couple of times and would be more than happy to see her again.  When I got the notification, I assumed it meant she would be playing inside in one of the smaller venues (which would be outstanding).  I didn’t realize it was because she was opening for Bright Eyes.

This show was in fact postponed until next July–over a year away.  I have no idea what my calendar will be like then, but I think maybe by next July, I could be ready for Conor and Lucy again.

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[POSTPONED: June 27, 2021] Mountain Goats (solo) [rescheduled from June 4 and October 12, 2020; moved to September 26, 2021]

indexI thought this date might go on since things are starting to reopen, but presumably it wasn’t going to be 100% capacity, so it was pushed back just a few more months.

Unfortunately, the new date conflicts with another show, so 18 months of waiting for nothing.

When this show was rescheduled there were still a few chairs left. Musikfest Cafe seems like  a pretty safe venue–lots of distancing available.  But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to a show yet.  Having it postponed, made the decision for me.

I like The Mountain Goats quite a lot.  I think John Darnielle is a great songwriter.

I’ve never seen them (or him) live and I’ve often thought it would be an enjoyable night, but they’re usually just under my radar.

I’d usually prefer to see a band rather than its lead singer solo, but in this case, I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference to me.  Seeing him at the Musikfest Cafe would be pretty fantastic–a great venue with excellent acoustics.

The biggest surprise to me is how quickly his shows sell out.  If this one hadn;t sold it, it was very close, by the time it was postponed.

2425316-1591535737

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[POSTPONED: October 30, 2020] Lotus Land [rescheduled from April 20; moved to October 30, 2021]

indexIt seemed like as things started to open up that smaller venues like this might have shows.  of course, the concern was–is a smaller venue better since you’ll be so much closer to everyone.  I thought maybe they could have this outside–even in October.  I guess not.

I have no interest in seeing tribute bands.  If I can’t get the real thing, then I won’t get it at all.

However, this Rush tribute band intrigues me because in the pictures they both use doubleneck instruments and their ads say they play mostly late 70 and early 80s Rush.  This is a period I’ve never seen live and I think it might be fun.  Plus they are very highly praised in their reviews.

I put this on my calendar as a show to see if there weren’t much else going on at the time. Well, it turned out to be a hugely busy concert month so I probably wouldn’t have gone.

However, Lotus Land seem to tour up and down the East Coast pretty much constantly, including this rescheduled show in October.  I suspect I’ll be able to see them some time in the not too distant future.

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[POSTPONED: October 12, 2020] Mountain Goats (solo) [rescheduled from June 4; moved to June 27, 2021]

indexWhen this show was rescheduled there were still a few chairs left. Musikfest Cafe seems like  a pretty safe venue–lots of distancing available.  But I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to a show yet.  Having it postponed, made the decision for me.

I like The Mountain Goats quite a lot.  I think John Darnielle is a great songwriter.

I’ve never seen them (or him) live and I’ve often thought it would be an enjoyable night, but they’re usually just under my radar.

I’d usually prefer to see a band rather than its lead singer solo, but in this case, I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference to me.  Seeing him at the Musikfest Cafe would be pretty fantastic–a great venue with excellent acoustics.

The biggest surprise to me is how quickly his shows sell out.  If this one hadn;t sold it, it was very close, by the time it was postponed.

2425316-1591535737

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[CANCELLED: July 31, 2020] The National

indexI like The National quite a lot.  Although sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes their songs can be more than a little dour.  But they also have a tremendous sense of humor–they have done three songs for Bob’s Burgers after all.

I never really considered seeing live them until my friend Armando told me how great they were in concert–one of his favorite live bands.  Since he and I both love seeing Phish and Pearl Jam, I figured I should put them on my list.

When I saw they were playing SteelStacks, I immediately grabbed a ticket.  Nevermind that S. and I were going to be leaving for the Newport Folk Festival that evening (probably). I didn’t think that one through, but I remained optimistic that I could pull it off.

We saw Julia Jacklin open for First Aid Kit tow years ago.  About her set I said

Jacklin is not a partier, but nor is she a downer either.  She is thoughtful and inquisitive.  Her music, even live, is fairly spare–except when it’s not–and she sings pretty quietly–except when she doesn’t.  She was charming and funny–delightful in an opening act.

When the Newport Folk Festival was cancelled on April 29, I was very bummed.  My silver lining was that I might get to see The National.  However, on June 10, The National announced that they would be cancelling their tour.

Well, now I certainly hope they come back next year.

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[POSTPONED: June 16, 2020] Bright Eyes / Lucy Dacus [moved to July 29, 2021]

indexI’ve never been much of a fan of Conor Oberst.  Although after seeing him in Better Oblivion Community Center, I gained a new respect for him and foudn I actually liked him.

I don’t know a lot about Bright Eyes (except that the songs sound strangely like The Replacements to me).  I wasn’t planning on going to this show (even though Steelstacks is a cool venue).

However, I kept getting notifications that Lucy Dacus was playing at Steelstacks.  I have seen Lucy a couple of times and would be more than happy to see her again.  When I got the notification, I assumed it meant she would be playing inside in one of the smaller venues (which would be outstanding).  I didn’t realize it was because she was opening for Bright Eyes.

This show was in fact postponed until next July–over a year away.  I have no idea what my calendar will be like then, but I think maybe by next July, I could be ready for Conor and Lucy again.

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