Archive for the ‘Janis Joplin’ Category

[ATTENDED: November 21, 2016] Kings of Spade

kosI hadn’t heard of Kings of Spade before this show.   They are a four piece from Hawaii–billing themselves as blues rock, although they play a lot more.  They make for an interesting looking band.  The bassist (Tim Corkerand) guitarist (Jesse Savio) (not Hawaiian natives) have long beards and look like they’re from the North East (which they are).  The drummer Matt Kato and singer are Hawaiian natives.  Singer Kasi Nunes has a bright red mohawk and a voice to match.

I missed the first song, (it’s an hour to the theater, give me a break), but the band played a solid set after that and boy were they good.

The band plays off of each other really well.  The bass and drums are really tight, keeping time changes and shifts totally spot on.  They have a few songs that absolutely rock out and then stop on a dime to switch to a different genre.  “Way She Goes” is a full barrel rocker until the middle when it shifts to an almost reggae beat.

Overall, their set is full of really catchy grooves and foot-stomping (well, as much as you can when you’re seated).

After a few songs, Savio commented about how different it is playing in a club versus a theater.  I knew they had recently played with King’s X at The Stone Pony.  The Sellersville Theater is about as far as you can get from it–and I’ll take the civilized Sellersville over the rowdy Stone Pony (although it is weird to sit during a rocking show).  He said that the biggest difference was the noise level and alcohol consumption.  And that there were tables here.  But he also said that we were so quiet and respectful during the songs–which was cool, don’t worry–but it was so quiet that he could hear the drummer humming along.  And he never knew the drummer hummed before.  As long as we were loud after the songs (and we were) he was cool with it.

2016-11-21-20-47-15While it’s hard to take your eyes off of Nunes and her giant mohawk, guitarist Savio is a great player to watch. He switches effects–from distortion to wah to some other interesting sounds including a talk box without ever losing the essential feel of his playing–bluesy, grungy bar guitars.  And his soloing is in the bluesy tradition of grooving and not showing off.  It led to some really great jams for a band whose songs are relatively short on record.

And Nunes is much more than her mohawk.  Man, does she have a powerful voice.   Sellersville is a fairly quiet theater anyhow, but there were a few times when she held a note and slowly moved the microphone away but I could still hear her even un-miced.

It was clear that they were having fun.  Nunes introduced a song about losing someone and then Savio played the intro to a different song.  He laughed and said, remember that intro for the next song.  This one is about the War of 1812.

2016-11-21-20-47-26Before introducing their song “Ronda Rousey,” she asked if anyone was into ECW.  A few people cheered and when they asked who would win on Dec 31, they were shocked when the person said Amanda (I didn’t know what they were talking about).  Nunes said that they love Ronda and wrote a song about her.  It rocked.

Some of their songs are super catchy, like the all out rocker “Strange Bird.”  And “Boys in My Band” from thier first record is pretty great, too.

When they were about done, they said they had one song left.  And then retracted that and said that the stage guy was holding up two fingers–two songs.  They apologized and said they’d keep us entertained for 8 minutes (which they did).  Savio said that he’d be anxious to hear King’s X as well–in fact that’s who he’d come to see even though his band was playing.

For the final song, Nunes said she wrote this song in the 70s and they launched into a great cover of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart.”  It sounded great.  They got the perfect guitar sound for th esolos and Nunes totally handled the tough task of singing like Janis (although she didn’t do the big scream at the end–save your voce!_)

The band doesn’t even have an entry on Setlist (someone needs to get on that!).  So I don’t know the setlist.  But from listening to their two CDs on bandcamp, I recognize these songs from the show.  Their record is good, but man their live show is tremendous.  Check them out if they play near you–and don’t be late!

2016-11-21-23-15-34They were also nice enough to take a photo with me (I’m not from Hawaii so I couldn’t do the hand gesture).
Boys in My Band
Take Me
Strange Bird
Ronda Rousey
Way She Goes
Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin cover)


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hiro1SOUNDTRACK: ASAF AVIDAN-Tiny Desk Concert #340 (March 2, 2014).

asafAsaf Avidan is a 33-year-old, Israeli singer, formerly with a folkish rock band called Asaf Avidan & The Mojos.  He has since gone solo and is touring the States.   His voice is the most notable thing about this performance—it’s feminine, but not in a conventionally feminine way.  It’s got a husky Janis Joplin vibe or maybe that weird Billie Holiday thing that she does.  And yet Asaf Avida is (clearly) a man and when he belts out songs, his voice is incredibly powerful.

And yes indeed, he knows how to use his voice very well.  His voice would be unconventional even if he was a woman—it’s creaky and crackly, it warbles and rises and swoops and yet it is very powerful nonetheless.  And I can see it being very polarizing.  I didn’t like it at first but it really won me over.

“My Latest Sin” is a slow finger plucked song (the guitar is beautiful) and most of the song is pretty quiet, but man can Asaf belt out the lines when he wants to. “Different Pulses” is a more robust song musically (even though it is just him on guitar). When he sing the “oh ho” part, he hits some real falsettos, but is still very powerful.

The way he mixes up his incredibly high pitched voice with the gravelly and growly makes this an incredibly engaging performance.

As he introduces the third song, “Reckoning Song,” he explains that it was remixed as an ambient song–which he hates.  He had asked the remixer to take it down, but the guy refused.  And it has since hit 150 million hits.  He’s grateful for the attention, although he still hates the remix. His version is quiet and powerful with some beautiful catchiness.

I’m very intrigued by this fellow and want to hear more.

[READ: June 20, 2014]  Johnny Hiro Book 1

This book collects the first three Johnny Hiro stories (from 2007-2008).  It was originally published by AdHouse books with the cover that you’ll see below.  This Tor reprint is identical (as far as I was willing to investigate).

I was immediately intrigued by the cover and the title.  I loved the play on Hero and Hiro and when I saw that a Godzilla type monster attacks them on the first page, I was sold.

So Johnny Hiro is an average Japanese American kid living in New York.  He has a bad job as a sushi chef, but he has a beautiful Japanese girlfriend who loves him very much.  Of course, when the first story opens and Mayumi is pulled away by “Gozadilla,” things aren’t looking that good for him.

But here’s some wonderful things that do happen in the story: Johnny rescues her while wearing her Hello Bunny slippers (she’s concerned that he will stretch them out); we learn that Gozadilla is mad at her because her mother stopped him in 1978 from trying to rampage Tokyo (so this is a revenge mission) and, best of all, they are saved because Mayumi calls Mayor Bloomberg for help (she got his number from the phone book because of an article in the New York Times).  Oh and the monster attack has left a huge hole in their exterior wall. (more…)

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