Archive for the ‘Bartees Strange’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 1, 2022] Car Seat Headrest

I saw Car Seat Headrest four years ago at Union Transfer and it was one of the least pleasant shows I’d been to.  The music was great, but the crowd was uniformly terrible–especially near me.  

I wasn’t sure if I’d want to see them again, but then my son got really turned on to them (I had nothing to do with it) and he really wanted to see them live.  I couldn’t pass that up, and I assumed the crowd would be a little different in this much bigger venue.

And, yes, the crowd was much better–although it felt really crowded in there!

The crazy thing is that the doors opens at 7:30.  We arrived at 7:25 to an enormous line.  And we didn’t get in the venue until after 8.  I asked my son if he wanted to get up front or get merch.  He chose merch–I think getting close will win out next time.  I would have loved to have been closer for sure.

The fascinating thing about Car Seat Headrest now is that lead singer and main Headrest Will Toledo wears a modified gasmask for the entire set.  It’s pretty neat as it has a microphone in it and the eyes light up to display emotions (cute eyes, angry eyes, heart and swirly lines).  The good thing is that Toledo sounds fine through this odd system. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 1, 2022] Bartees Strange

I saw Bartees Strange open for Lucy Dacus back in October.   I was delighted by how well he was received by the Car Seat Headrest crowd.

His set was very similar to that last one.  He exchanged out a couple of songs for newer ones, but the general vibe was the same.

He came out by himself, wearing a bright year rain slicker and started with a quiet opening of “Far.”  After a couple of minutes, the rest of the band came out and rocked out the rest of the song.

I’m not sure if he had the same band playing with him–I assume so.  He got the crowd moving with one of his faster songs, “Mustang.”  And, like last time, he followed it with the rap of “Kelly Rowland” with the memorable refrain: “Broke ass nigga but I got Versace dreams.”

Mixing it up some more, he followed that with the bouncing “Weights.”  He looked up at the audience and chuckled, “Oh, my mom’s here.”

Then he introduced the new song “Hold the Line.”  He wrote the song for George Floyd’s daughter, and it was quite a powerful moment.

He followed that with a cover of Lemonworld by The National.  I thought last time that it was kind of mellow but the chorus rocked pretty hard.

He introduced the “jazz standard” called “Boomer” and ripped the song through the venue with everyone dancing and singing along.

He ended the set with another new song, his new single “Heavy Hearts.”  It’s a bit more mellow, and I probably would have ended with Boomer, but the set was really solid regardless.

Bartees is a great performer and I’m glad to see him getting some attention.  His merch was also really cool.

2022 2021
Far Far
Mustang Mustang
Kelly Rowland Kelly Rowland
Weights Weights
Hold the Line [new] 17
Lemonworld (The National cover) Flagey God
Boomer Lemonworld (The National cover)
Heavy Hearts Stone Meadows


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[ATTENDED: October 21, 2021] Lucy Dacus

Lucy Dacus announced that she’d be playing Philly on the birthday of someone in my family.  Clearly I wasn’t going to go to the show.

That sold out pretty quickly and she announced another show the next night.   I grabbed tickets immediately.

I’ve seen Lucy two and a half times already (she played Newport Folk Festival but we only saw a couple of songs).

The only problem was that I didn’t know her new album very well yet.  The songs I knew I liked, but I hadn’t really dived into the rest of it.  And this set was heavy on the Home Video. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 21, 2021] Bartees Strange

Lucy Dacus announced that she’d be playing Philly on the birthday of someone in my family.  Clearly I wasn’t going to go to the show.  Shamir was opening that show.

That sold out pretty quickly and she announced another show the next night.  For some reason Shamir wasn’t going to open, but instead it would be Bartees Strange.  I have really loved Bartees Strange’s album and his Tiny Desk Home Concert was great.  So I was really excited to see him–I’m sure I’ll see Shamir again some day.

Bartees started the night with a solo rendition of “Far.”  It was good, and showed off his voice, but I was a little concerned that he was going to be by himself.

But I needn’t have worried, as the band barreled out for a rocking “Mustang.”  It got us all moving and showed off how great his band is. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACKBARTEES STRANGE-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #172 (February 22, 2021). 

WXPN has been playing the song “Boomer” a lot.  I really like it–it’s super catchy and fun.  I hadn’t heard anything else by him, so I was delighted to see he had a Tiny Desk Concert.

Bartees Strange and his band are in a basement, surrounded by electrical wiring and DIY sound-proofing, but also green plants that no doubt have names. In Falls Church, Va., the indie rocker is a stone’s throw from the much-missed Tiny Desk space in D.C., yet offers a set just as cozy and crammed.

And he starts it right off with “Boomer” which is just so catchy, with that slinky bass line from John Daise and that outrageously catchy chorus.  Dan Kleederman plays the guitar leads throughout while keyboardist Graham Richman plays rhythm.

The rest of his set proves that musically he is open to anything:

hip-hop bombast meets sprawling indie-rock riffs and mind-numbing electronic beats. “Sonically it doesn’t make sense,” Bartees Strange told NPR Music, “but it makes sense because it’s me and I think that’s like an important part of music – the person.”

For “Mustang” Richman hands Bartees his guitar and plays keyboard instead.  He says that Mustang is about where he grew up–Mustang, Oklahoma.  This time Bartees plays the pretty guitar riffs and Kleeederman adds slide guitar.

For his Tiny Desk, Bartees Strange keeps the bluesy rock and roll bravado of “Boomer” and the loping smooveness of “Mustang,” stripping down the drum kit to include a sheet music stand as an extra cymbal.

He answers the question of what has inspired him this year by saying he has been trying not not to pay too much attention to the transition, so he’s been focusing on music.  He loves Yves Tumor’s Heaven for a Tortured Mind. And Aaron Dessner for being the Indie rock Michael Jordan.

It’s in the back half where Bartees Strange does the switch-up, as “In A Cab” flows seamlessly into “Flagey God.” On record, these are louder and noisier songs that explore very different sides of his 20-sided die, but here, they become laid-back jazz club jams, deceptive in their ease, but beautifully ornate as the arrangements open up to his world.

“In A Cab” opens with a quiet but cool drum pattern from Carter Zumtobel and a sweet combination of guitar lines.  It segues quietly into “Flagey God” a more mellow song that has a great catchy guitar riff.

I’m going to have to check out the whole album.

[READ: April 15, 2021] Under the Pendulum Sun

I’m not sure how I heard about this book, but I saw a rave review and it inspired me to actually buy the book, sight unseen.  I didn’t realize the book was put out by Angry Robot, a publisher I have been recently introduced to and which publishes esoteric and unusual fiction, that seems to have a religious aspect.

So this fit right in.

This is a long book and it is written in an old style–slightly formal with lots of biblical components.  The writing at times felt stiff, but not unreadable.  And, this is the weirdest part, I simultaneously felt like the book was moving too slow and yet I felt like I was flying through the chapters.

Each chapter opens with an epigram.  Most of them are fictitious but there are some from real authors and these may or may not be real quotes.

The book opens with Catherine Helstone talking about how she and her brother Laon (how in the heck do you say that?  It plagued me for the whole book) grew up fantasizing about new worlds.  But neither one of the ever fantasized about Arcadia, the land of the Fae.

Now that they are older, her brother has left for Arcadia to become a Christian missionary–to convert the souls of the Fae–if they can even be converted.  Several years later, Catherine has now set off to find him.  She has a ship and his compass in hand. But the key to reaching Arcadia is to get hopelessly lost and then the entrance will appear.

Neat. (more…)

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