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Archive for the ‘Torres’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 18, 2021] Torres

This was my third time seeing Torres.  I had actually bought tickets for this show back in December of 2019.  She was going to be touring the album Silver Tongue, which I never got.  In a way I’m glad the show was pushed back to 2021, because her latest album Thirstier is outstanding.

Mackenzie Scott has fallen in love and Thirstier is a happy album.  And Mackenzie is ripping it up on stage.  She’s been wearing essentially workout clothes and she comes off stage covered in sweat.

Her band was amazing keyboard/synth player Erin Manning, was terrific even though I could never really see her from where I was.  Bryan Bisorti rocked out the drums and J.R. Bohannon played pedal steel and matched her on lead guitar. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 18, 2021] Sarah Jaffe

I had convinced myself that the opening act for this tour was Sarah Jarosz.  Probably because I would like to see Jarosz and I knew that she was touring at the same time.  Although sonically it didn’t really make any sense (and I assume that Jarosz is probably bigger than Torres.

But anyhow, a few days before the show I confirmed that the opening act was Sarah Jaffe, whom I had never heard of.

Jaffe came out of stage and proved to be a versatile musician.  She sang, she played guitar, she rapped, she played synth pop.  All within a brief opening set. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: October 18, 2021] Frankie and the Witch Fingers / Acid Dad / Hooveriii

Over the quarantine, I have discovered the good fun of the Levitation online concert series and The Reverberation Appreciation Society.  I’ve enjoyed some great concerts from psychedelic garage bands.  So when it was announce with little fanfare that two bands I have really gotten to enjoy: Hooveriii and Acid Dad were going to be playing at PhilaMOCA with Frankie & the Witch Fingers (who i didn’t know), I was really excited at a chance for a night of psychedelic fun.  Then it turned out to be on the same night as the Torres show.

The Torres show that I bought tickets for in December of 2019!

It was a really hard choice to pick which show to go to.  Even though I had tickets for Torres already, they weren’t that expensive and I bought them almost three years ago!  I spend the week before this show trying to decide who I wanted to see.  I had seen Torres twice before (she’s amazing live).  I had never seen any of the other three.  Up until that morning I was still trying to decide.

Then as the morning struck, I decided that I would go to this show.  At work, I watched some live footage of Frankie and then i watched a recent live show from KEXP with Torres.  And after listening to the interview with Torres, she won out.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see all three bands together again, but I’m sure that at least the two openers will be back around.

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[POSTPONED: November 14, 2020] Torres / Sarah Jaffe [rescheduled from May 19; moved to October 18, 2021]

indexTorres is a wonderful musician who I feel has really gotten the brunt of the industry and now the coronavirus.  She really counts on shows and it’s a real shame that her shows keep getting postponed.

I have seen Torres in a small, intimate show (which was amazing) and then in a slightly larger venue (which was excellent in a different way).

I didn’t think I ‘d need to see her again, but I follow her on Instagram and was really interested in seeing her new show (especially in a different venue).  I haven’t heard all of the new album, but I did like the first single.

Sarah Jaffe is a singer from Texas.  She seems to play a lot of different styles, from folkie (“Clementine”) to more pop rocking (“Glorified High”). I enjoyed the few tracks I listened to and imagine she’d be a fun live performer.

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[POSTPONED: May 19, 2020] Torres / Sarah Jaffe [moved to November 14]

indexI have seen Torres in a small, intimate show (which was amazing) and then in a slightly larger venue (which was excellent in a different way).

I didn’t think I ‘d need to see her again, but I follow her on Instagram and was really interested in seeing her new show (especially in a different venue).  I haven’t heard all of the new album, but I did like the first single.

Sarah Jaffe is a singer from Texas.  She seems to play a lot of different styles, from folkie (“Clementine”) to more pop rocking (“Glorified High”). I enjoyed the few tracks I listened to and imagine she’d be a fun live performer.

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SOUNDTRACK: TORRES-“Dressing America” (2020).

I’ve really enjoyed Torres’ music over the years.  I have seen her in concert twice and her live set is riveting.

Her earlier music was very intense and it seems as though her newer music is a bit more poppy.  This new song has a wonderfully catchy melody and her voice sounds fantastic.

Over a gentle guitar, she sings quietly in her lower register.  The song slowly builds up with keyboard swells and a quiet drum.

As the song heads into the chorus, she hits a lovely falsetto “to you” before the sweet chorus

I tend to sleep with my boots on
should I need to gallop over dark waters
to you
on short notice

The chorus has a fantastic delay between the falsetto “to you” (like in the bridge) and the “on short notice” that adds some nice drama.

It’s remarkably catchy (and the video is really sweet too).  I’m looking forward to the album and to seeing her live this Spring.

[READ: January 15, 2019] “The Sail and the Scupper”

This story begins with an epigram from The Canadian Press:

Massive numbers of dead starfish, clams, lobsters, and mussels have washed up on a western Nova Scotia beach, compounding the mysterious deaths of tens of thousands of herring in the area.

Ohm takes this idea and makes an unexpected story out of it.

The story is set in a bar.  A lobster named Homer enters and the bartender (a clam named Lewis) tells him he missed happy hour.

This sounds like the set up to a joke, but it is not.  Lewis looks around his empty bar that only last summer was brimming with herring–slapping fins, endlessly chattering.  The herring were always hanging around the newspaper reporters (like Homer) who were always stationed in this bar.  They were always trying to get scraps of information about what was happening to the water.

Soon enough they were itching for Direct Action. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 28, 2017] Torres

I saw Torres play Union Transfer about four months ago.  She opened for Frightened Rabbit and I really enjoyed her set.  So I was pretty excited to see her at Boot & Saddle, where she was headlining.

I didn’t realize it was the first night of the tour for her new album Three Futures–she claimed to be very nervous.

It was quite a different show and Torres herself, Mackenzie Scott, was quite different.  At Union Transfer, she seemed kind of distant and aloof.  And it was a really effective persona–she really wowed the crowd who may not have been there to see her.  But at this show some of that veneer dropped away–there were some jokes and some smiles.

Torres’ previous album, Sprinter has some great noisy guitar stuff.  The new one has more synth and a much more spare, but interesting, guitar. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 28, 2017] Aphra

Up until about a week before this show, there was no support act listed for Torres.  And then a few days before the show, it was announced that The Dove & The Wolf, a Philadelphia band, would be the support.  I’ve heard rumblings about this band, and I was looking forward to seeing them for myself.

Then I saw that they were starting the tour on her second night, not our night.  A day or so later it was revealed that our opening act was another Philly musician named Aphra.

My night was surprisingly hectic getting to the show, so I walked in a few songs into Aphra’s set.

She had an electric guitar and was singing along to it.  The volume didn’t balance well for some reason and I didn’t really like the song all that much.

But after she took off the guitar she switched to a more electronic sound and for those last two or three songs, she sounded great. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 1, 2017] Torres

I really liked Torres’ album Sprinter and Bob Boilen had said that she was  great live performer so I was pretty excited to see her live on this tour.  I wasn’t exactly expecting a lot of power because while her music has a distinct intensity it never seemed like it would be huge.  But man, Mackenzie Scott has an amazing presence, and her band was fantastic.

The biggest surprise for me came as the show began because Torres has new music out and it’s quite different from the songs I know.  It’s much more synth heavy, with a very different vibe.  The songs on Sprinter bubble under with intensity, but the new ones have a kind of sinister keyboard layer over the top.  She also sings a bit more quietly on these songs.

What was interesting was that the newer music allowed her to do some interesting things on stage that reminded me of the choreography of St. Vincent (albeit much more subtle).  She made small movements with her hips or shoulders.  She really absorbed the attention of the audience.  I loved that at times she just stood with her back to us, shadowed by lights as she waited for the songs to build.

I guess she played around nine song (there’s no setlist online).  She played a couple of new songs and then a bunch off of Sprinter.

She didn’t speak much but she did say at one point I’m pleased to be here in front of you as Torres.  For this music is not all about her.

Guitarist Cameron Kapoor stood in the back playing all kinds of great noises.  While it was hard to take my eyes off of Scott, Kapoor was great to watch–he had a bank of keyboards and effects and his squealed and squalled some noises all the way through.  Sometimes loud, sometimes just quiet textures, he really gave the songs a great sonic landscape.   Erin Manning played keyboards and sang backing vocals.  Her sound seemed much more notable on the new songs where Scot played only solos.

Drummer Dominic Cipolla play a mix of electronic and analog drums that perfectly fleshed out the rest of the songs.

As far as the setlist, there were two new songs including her new single “Skim.”  I really enjoyed the sounds she squeezed out of her guitar between verses.

Then there was the dramatic change in sound for Sprinter’sNew Skin,” and that’s when it really kicked in just how powerful she was live.  Her new songs may not employ the same techniques, but she hasn’t lost any of that intensity.  And she plays her guitar sparingly but effectively: (I love watching her fingers in the dim light here).

Her deep powerful (sometimes vulnerable) voice really came out.  By the time she got to “Sprinter,” the intensity level was through the roof.

But the song I’d been waiting to see was “Strange Hellos.”  This is the first song I’d heard by her and I loved the way it started so small and simple and turned into a huge raging song.  And live it’s even better.

She has the audacity to slow down that first section even further.  It’s amazing to hear the lengthy pauses between notes as she just stares at the audience daring us to interrupt.   And then the song proper starts and it rocks.  Her voice is strained to breaking as she sings along.  But it’s the end of the song–and the show–that was utterly memorable.

The show was great and I’ve just gotten a ticket for her show a the more intimate Boot & Saddle later his year so I can get another full dose of her intensity.

(more…)

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CoverStory-2-22-16-879x1200-1455509711 SOUNDTRACK: JULIEN BAKER-Tiny Desk Concert #513 (March 7, 2016).

julienI had never heard of Julien Baker before this Tiny Desk Concert.  Indeed, she looks young enough that perhaps this is her first concert (it isn’t).

Baker plays a lovely, slightly echoey, but otherwise very clear electric guitar.  Her tone is so clear and quiet.  And her voice is also incredibly delicate.  Watching her play and sing it’s amazing you can hear anything at all, and yet she does not wilt in any way–her music is delicate but not whispered.

As with many players these days, she uses a looping pedal to great effect.  For the first song, “Sprained Ankle” she loops the lovely harmonics at the beginning of the song and then allows for the multiple layers to play.  Her vocals are as gentle as the harmonics, and yet, again, not whispery.  At barely 2 minutes, the song leaves you wanting more.

She talks about doing a new song for them called “Sad Song #11” since “I already have ten sad songs.”  She thanks everyone for their “courteous laughter.”  And then plays another beautiful song now officially titled, “Funeral Pyre.”  She has a very nice way with words: “Ash for a decorative urn you keep on your mantelpiece like a trophy for everything.”  There’s a beautiful layered guitar solo at the end too.

The introductory guitar lines from “Something” are really lovely–her sound is just so clear–and once again, the song is beautiful and haunting with her repeated lyrics sounding more powerful with each go around.

The blurb about the show references Torres, and I totally see the deference.  They don’t sound anything alike in that Torres is brash and loud, but they have that same up-close and intimate vibe.  For Baker, it makes you want to lean is as she sings.

[READ: February 17, 2016] “sine cosine tangent”

I have always meant to read more from DeLillo, I just never do.

And while I have enjoyed all of the things I have read by him, I didn’t love this story so much.  Okay, I’ve since found out that this is an excerpt, which changes things.  I’ll keep my review the same but with bracketed realizations pertaining to the novel.

This is the story of a young man (his age in the story is unclear to me, and I’m not sure how much distance separates the present from the past [presumably this is covered in the novel]) and his relationship with his father.  His father is a successful businessman but the son says that he “shaved a strip of hair along the middle of my head, front to back, I was his personal Antichrist.”

His father left when he was 13, although he never found out why.  Years later, he sees his father, Mr Ross Lockhart on the TV, discussing the ecology of unemployment in Geneva. (more…)

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