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Archive for the ‘Rush’ Category

[POSTPONED: July 10, 2021] Primus / Wolfmother / The Sword [rescheduled from June 19, 2020; moved to October 1, 2021]

indexOn April 27, Primus gave us some hope by pushing back this tour just a few months:

Finally, the clouds are parting, the planets are aligning, the dough is rising…whatever metaphor floats your preverbal boat, PRIMUS is going on tour again. We were poised and ready for a massive, bent-rock extravaganza when the gremlins of covid came and yanked the rug out from under us all. I personally have been climbing the walls like a shit-house rat and, after my first season off in 30 some odd years, I’m very anxious and excited to stand in front of the microphone with my four string piece of furniture and belt out some girthy ditties to sweaty throngs of punters.
C’mon Down,
Les Claypool

I’ll be there

~~

I’ve been a fan of Primus since their first album.  And yet I never saw them live once they started to make it big.  I’m not keen on the frat boy fanbase they inexplicably developed, but what can you do.

I’ve wanted to see them for a long time and I’ve had a few shows snatched out of my hands.

I did get to see them recently, although it was for a new EP, so they didn’t play a lot of the old stuff like I’d wanted to hear.

Of course, when they announced this tour: A Tribute to Kings, in which they’d be playing all of Rush’s A Farewell to Kings (possibly my favorite Rush album, depending on the day), I knew I’d have to go.  Since that album is relatively short, I assumed they be playing some good old Primus songs too.

Wolfmother is a band I didn’t know.  I listened to a couple of songs and they sound like a pretty classic late 80s metal band with a loud, high-pitched vocalist.  I would have loved this band back then, and while I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them, it would be fun to relive a band like this live.  The band is from Australia and has an utterly fascinating history of in-fighting and replacements (Wikipedia has a page devoted just to Wolfmother band members).

The Sword is another retro-metal band, sounding an awful lot like Black Sabbath and other classic old school metal groups.  Once again, I would have loved them back in the day, and would no doubt enjoy rocking out to them live.

I hope that the rescheduled date is not too far off, but I’ve waited forever to see them, so I can wait a little longer.  It would be fine if the opening bands stayed with them, but if not, that’s okay too.

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[POSTPONED: March 18, 2021] Fu Manchu / Speedealer [rescheduled from May 9, 2020; moved to March 24, 2022]

indexThis concert was never formally cancelled it seems (as of last week you could still get tickets for it).  But Fu Manchu officially cancelled all of their shows on the tour.  No word yet if they’ll be back, but I hope so.

Fu Manchu is one of the great stoner rock bands.  They have been around for thirty years with a similar fuzzy, grungey sound.  I missed them the first time around but because more keenly aware of them when their 2018 album Clone of the Universe featured not only an 18 minute song, but also a guitar solo from Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Their early stuff is really catchy and I wish I had known about them for longer.  They seem like they’d be a really fun live band.

Speedealer was originally called REO Speedealer, which I love.  They were told to cease and desist from REO Speedwagon (imagine that).  They play a kind of aggressive garage metal.  They have a punk edge and the lead singer has a growly punk voice that is clear enough amid the roughage.

I feel like they don’t quite pair with Fu Manchu (they seem a bit too aggressive) and would pair better with Monster Magnet.

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SOUNDTRACKGABRIEL GARZÓN-MONTANO-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #147 (January 19, 2021).

Gabriel Garzón-Montano did a solo Tiny Desk Concert a few years ago, as the blurb quickly points out

If Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s solo Tiny Desk back in 2017 was an exercise in restraint and vulnerability, his home set is the polar opposite. It beams ingenuity and unveils multiple layers, figuratively and literally.  In this performance he brought the full band, sporting all white from mask to toe and bringing to life all the sonics we hear on the record, last year’s genre-snubbing Agüita.

They play three songs.

Garzón-Montano morphs into three different characters from Agüita and stretches the boundaries even more, adding salsa flavor to “Muñeca” and delivering some bonus bars on the set opener, “With A Smile.”

“With A Smile” opens with just his face surrounded by flowers as he plays a pretty acoustic guitar.  The flowers move away as the Gracie Sprout’s harp adds more pretty notes.  As the song moves along with Gabriel’s soft and sexy voice, Itai Shapira’s bass and Lenny “The Ox”‘s drums come thumping in.

Like the rest of his band, Gabriel is in all white, including white Uggs and a long white coat with tails.   The only color is from the sweater underneath.

At the end of the song he raps in Spanish, which has a really nice flow.

Taking advantage of of the rare opportunity to gather musicians in quarantine times, he says “It’s like being a child who’s allowed to do what they always wanted to do when they didn’t wanna get up for school, and it’s also felt like an adult who didn’t know what to do at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m focusing on oscillating between those states with ease.”

For “Muñeca” he takes off the big coat and shows off the colorful sweater which has a fascinating cut, including tails.  For this song, it’s a trio of bass and Daniel Rodriguez on drums. Rodriguez plays a funky middle with conga and cowbell as Gabriel gets up and dances.  He picks up the guitar again at the end of the song for a little strumming outro.

Before the final song, Gabriel moves to the piano.  He takes off the colorful sweater to reveal a sleeveless shirt underneath (which shows off his tattoos).

“Tombs” features the KROMA Quartet and everyone else on synths.  Nicholas Semrad plays the lead, but everyone else adds melody.  It’s a delicate song with an interesting and slightly creepy synth melody.  About half way through this six minute song he gets up and picks up an electric guitar.  He and  Justin “Jhawk” Hawkins play a harmony solo together, which sounds pretty cool.

I am quite intrigued by this singer, and I love the description of genre-snubbing.

[READ: February 28, 2021] Pops

I have often said I wanted to read more books by Michael Chabon.  And after finishing this I realized that the only novel by him that I’ve read is Kavalier and Clay and that was 21 years ago.  So maybe it’s time to get into some of these other books.

Pops is a collection of (very) short essays.  Most were written for Details Magazine (which folded in 2015), one for GQ and a final one I’d already read in the New Yorker.

“Introduction: The Opposite of Writing”
It’s not too often that you really enjoy an introduction, but this one was pretty great.  In it, Chabon talks about when he was an up and coming writer and he met a well-established Southern writer.  This writer told him that the secret to being a good writer was not having children.  That for every child you have, you will lose one book.

Chabon had no children with his first wife but has had four with his second wife (the writer Ayelet Waldman).  So clearly they have lost eight books between them.

The writer’s argument was that children take away time from novel writing and that novel writing takes away time from children.  Chabon had always felt that his father was not very present (as one of the essays says) and he promised to be much more involved in his children’s lives).  These essays suggest that he was.  So how did he find time to write?  He does not say. (more…)

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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: June 19, 2020] Primus / Wolfmother / The Sword [moved to July 10, 2021]

indexI’ve been a fan of Primus since their first album.  And yet I never saw them live once they started to make it big.  I’m not keen on the frat boy fanbase they inexplicably developed, but what can you do.

I’ve wanted to see them for a long time and I’ve had a few shows snatched out of my hands.

I did get to see them recently, although it was for a new EP, so they didn’t play a lot of the old stuff like I’d wanted to hear.

Of course, when they announced this tour: A Tribute to Kings, in which they’d be playing all of Rush’s A Farewell to Kings (possibly my favorite Rush album, depending on the day), I knew I’d have to go.  Since that album is relatively short, I assumed they be playing some good old Primus songs too.

Wolfmother is a band I didn’t know.  I listened to a couple of songs and they sound like a pretty classic late 80s metal band with a loud, high-pitched vocalist.  I would have loved this band back then, and while I wouldn’t go out of my way to see them, it would be fun to relive a band like this live.  The band is from Australia and has an utterly fascinating history of in-fighting and replacements (Wikipedia has a page devoted just to Wolfmother band members).

The Sword is another retro-metal band, sounding an awful lot like Black Sabbath and other classic old school metal groups.  Once again, I would have loved them back in the day, and would no doubt enjoy rocking out to them live.

I hope that the rescheduled date is not too far off, but I’ve waited forever to see them, so I can wait a little longer.  It would be fine if the opening bands stayed with them, but if not, that’s okay too.

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: May 9, 2020] Fu Manchu / Speedealer [moved to March 18, 2021]

indexFu Manchu is one of the great stoner rock bands.  They have been around for thirty years with a similar fuzzy, grungey sound.  I missed them the first time around but because more keenly aware of them when their 2018 album Clone of the Universe featured not only an 18 minute song, but also a guitar solo from Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Their early stuff is really catchy and I wish I had known about them for longer.  They seem like they’d be a really fun live band.

Speedealer was originally called REO Speedealer, which I love.  They were told to cease and desist from REO Speedwagon (imagine that).  They play a kind of aggressive garage metal.  They have a punk edge and the lead singer has a growly punk voice that is clear enough amid the roughage.

I feel like they don’t quite pair with Fu Manchu (they seem a bit too aggressive) and would pair better with Monster Magnet.

Read Full Post »

[POSTPONED: April 20, 2020] Lotus Land [moved to October 30]

indexI 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.

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: NEIL PEART-September 12, 1952-January 7, 2020.

When I was in high school, Rush was my favorite band, hands down.  I listened to them all the time.  I made tapes of all of their songs in alphabetical order and would listen to them straight through.

I still loved them in college, but a little less so as my tastes broadened.  But every new release was something special.

It’s frankly astonishing that I didn’t seem them live until 1990.  There were shows somewhat nearby when I was in college, but I never wanted to travel too far on a school night (nerd!).

For a band I loved so much, it’s also odd that I’ve only seen them live 5 times.  However, their live shows are pretty consistent.  They play the same set every night of a tour (as I found out when I saw them two nights apart), and there wasn’t much that set each show apart–although They did start making their shows more and more fun as the years went on, though).

One constant was always Neil Peart’s drum solo. It too was similar every night.  Although I suspect that there was a lot more going on than I was a ware of.  It was also easy to forget just how incredible these solos were.  Sure it was fun when he started adding synth pads and playing music instead of just drums, but even before that his drumming was, of course, amazing.

It was easy to lose sight of that because I had always taken it for granted.

I am happy to have seen Rush on their final tour.  I am sad to hear of Neil’s passing.  I would have been devastated had it happened twenty years ago, but now I am more devastated for his family.

So here’s two (of dozens) memorials.  The first one is from the CBC.  They included a mashup of some of Neil’s best drum solos:

But what better way to remember the drum master than with a supercut of his drum solos? From a 2004 performance of “Der Trommler” in Frankfurt, Germany, to a 2011 performance on The Late Show With David Letterman, to his first-ever recorded drum solo (in 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio), dive into nearly five minutes of Peart’s epic drum solos, below.

The best Neil Peart drum solos of all time.

I was only going to include this link, because it was a good summary, then I saw that Pitchfork ranked five of Neil’s best drum solos (an impossible task, really).  But it is nice to have them all in one place.

You can find that link here.

Starting in the 1980s Neil’s solos were given a name (which shows that they were pretty much the same every night).  Although as I understand it, the framework was the same but the actual hits were improvised each night.

Even after all of these years and hearing these drum solos hundreds of times, watching them still blows my mind.

  • “The Rhythm Method”
  • “O Baterista”
  • “Der Trommler”
  • “De Slagwerker,”
  • “Moto Perpetuo”
  • “Here It Is!”, “Drumbastica,” “The Percussor – (I) Binary Love Theme / (II) Steambanger’s Ball”

[READ: January 2020] Canada 1867-2017

In this book, Paul Taillefer looks at the most historically significant event from each tear of Canadian history.  And he tries to convey that event in about a page.  Can you imagine learning the history of your country and trying to condense every year into three paragraphs?

And then do it again in French?  For this book is also bilingual.

I can’t read French, but i can tell that the French is not a direct translation of the English (or vice versa).

For instance in 1869, the final sentence is:

This, in turn, signaled the start of the Red River Rebellion which would not end until the Battle of Batoche in 1885.

Neither Batoche nor 1885 appears in the entire French write up.  So that’s interesting, I suppose.  I wonder if the content is very different for French-reading audiences. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996-1998 (2014).

Danko Jones has released nine albums an a bunch of EPs.  Back in 2014 he released this collection of songs that he wrote and recorded before his first proper single (1998).

This is a collection of raw songs, but the essential elements of Danko are in place. Mostly fast guitars, simple, catchy riffs and Danko’s gruff voice, filled with braggadocio.  With a cover by Peter Bagge!

He describes it:

Back in the 90’s,the Garage Rock scene, as I knew it, was a warts-and-all approach that favoured low-fi recordings and rudimentary playing over any modicum of musical prowess in order to glean some Rock N’ Roll essence. However, once a band got better at their instruments, songwriting and stage performance, the inevitable crossroads would eventually appear. Deliberately continuing to play against their growing skill would only evolve into a pose. There were a lot of bands who did exactly this in order to sustain scenester favour. We did the opposite.

What you hold in your hands is a document of what we were and where we came from. We didn’t know how to write songs and could barely play but we wanted to be near to the music we loved so badly. We ate, slept and drank this music. We still do. That’s why we have never had to reunite because we’ve never broken up. After 18 years, we’ve stayed the course, got tough when the going did and, above all else, we have never stopped. This album is the proof.

The first two songs are the best quality, with the rest slowly deteriorating with more tape hiss.

1. “Who Got It?” a big fat bass sound with lots of mentioning of Danko Jones in the lyrics. [2 minutes]
2. “Make You Mine” is 90 seconds long.  With big loud chords and rumbling bass Danko says “one day I’m going to write a book and let everybody know how to do it.  Seems to me there a lot of people around who want to see if I can prove it.  I been a rock prodigy since the age of 20 and my proof… my proof is right now.”
3. “I’m Your Man” is a bit longer.  The quality isn’t as good but the raw bass sound is great.
4. “She’s Got A Bomb” is good early Danko strutting music.
5. “Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.”  He would name an album this many years later.  This song is fast and raw and only 90 seconds long.
6. “Dirty Mind Too” This is a fast stomping one-two-three song that rocks for less than a minute.
7. I’m Drinking Alcohol? This is funny because later he says he doesn’t drink.  I don’t know what the words are but the music is great–rumbling bass and feedbacky guitars with lots of screaming.
8. “Love Travel Demo” and 9. “Bounce Demo” are decent demo recordings.  “Bounce” has what might be his first guitar solo.
10. Sexual Interlude” “ladies it’s time to take a chance on a real man.  I’m sick and tired of seeing you women selling yourselves short, going out with a lesser man.
11. “I Stand Accused” Unexpectedly he stands accused of “loving you to much.  If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.”
12. “Best Good Looking Girl In Town” a fast chugging riff, “oh mama you sure look fine.”
13. “Payback” This one sounds really rough but it totally rocks.
14. “Lowdown” Danko gives the lowdown: “You want a bit of romance?  I got you an bouquet of Flowers and a box of chocolates.  Why you crying for?  That ain’t enough?  Me and the fellas wrote this song just for you.”
15. “One Night Stand” garage swinging sound: Danko is a one woman man and you’re just his type.
16. “Instrumental” is great.
17. “Move On” is a long, slow long bluesy track about love.

It’s not a great introduction to Danko, but if you like him, you won;t be disappointed by this early baby-Danko period.

[READ: August 10, 2019] I’ve Got Something to Say

In the introduction (after the foreword by Duff McKagan), Jones introduces himself not as a writer but as a hack.  He also acknowledges that having something to say doesn’t mean much.  He has too many opinions on music and needed to get them out or his insides would explode.  He acknowledges that obsessing over the minutiae of bands is a waste of time, “but goddammit, it’s a ton of fun.”

So this collection collects some of Danko’s writing over the last dozen or so years. He’s written for many publications, some regularly.  Most of these pieces are a couple of pages.  And pretty much all of them will have you laughing (if you enjoy opinionated music writers).

“Vibing for Thin Lizzy” [Rock Hard magazine, March 2015]
Danko says he was lured into rock music by the theatrics of KISS, Crue and WASP.  But then he really got into the music while his friends seemed to move on.  Thin Lizzy bridged the gap by providing substance without losing its sheen or bite.  And Phil Lynott was a mixed race bassist and singer who didn’t look like the quintessential rock star.  What more could Danko ask for? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 13, 2019] Crown Lands

Crown Lands are a duo from Canada.  As with a lot of rocking duos, they play riff-heavy rock.  But they change things around a bit.  In their bio they say they are huge fans of Rush, and while they don’t do anything as complex as Rush, you can hear the Rush influence all over their songs.  The size of Cody Bowles’ drum set, the little high hat fills, and some of the percussion.  And Guitarist Kevin Comeau plays a doubleneck Rickenbacker and some of the chord progressions are distinctly Rush-ian.  And yet you would never hear them and think you were listening to Rush.

Comeau plays guitar and bass pedals which add a really full sound to their live show.  Bowles has a really powerful voice with a truly remarkable range.  He can do Robert Plant/Geddy Lee high screams, he also has a lower register for the body of most songs.  And their stage presence is pretty great too.

The have two EPS out and are planning a finishing up a full length now.  Most of the songs from this set came from their unreleased record, and these songs are great. (more…)

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