Archive for the ‘Sands Bethlehem Event Center’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 13, 2018] Modest Mouse

This is my fourth Modest Mouse show (NJ, Bethlehem, NJ, Bethlehem).  I wasn’t expecting to see them again so soon, but when they do three shows all within an hour of your house it’s a sign that you should go to at least one.

The fans were less obnoxious this time (although they were especially drunk, I believe).  The band had a different stage setup than usual as well.  Isaac Brock was in the middle of the stage instead of off to the right like the last few times.  This worked out very well for me as I had moved to the left side of the stage to get away from a really drunk and loud girl.  So I was right by Isaac and had the best view of him and his guitar (and his outfit) of any show.

Modest Mouse likes to test the fans’ patience.  They waited about 45 minutes before going on, which is a bit much, frankly.

But as soon as they come out the mood was lifted (especially with Isaac wearing a plaid onesie).

The main draw for me at a Modest Mouse show is the thought that I’ll hear songs I haven’t heard live before.  I didn’t know if that was possible on my now fourth show but amazingly, they played 8 songs that I hadn’t hear live before.  They have over 100 songs officially released, so I don’t imagine hearing all of them, but I have heard 55 songs at four shows, which again, is amazing. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 13, 2018] Tropical Fuck Storm

When a band names itself Tropical Fuck Storm, you know that they are not interested in radio airplay and that they are going for a particular sound.  I mean, you can almost hear their music from those three words.

And it’s a pretty accurate description.

Hailing from Australia, I was almost as excited to hear TFS as I was to hear Modest Mouse.  Even if, as the lights dimmed and the band came out, singer Gareth Liddiard said calm down, it’s only the support band from Australia.

TFS were fun from the get go, playing their noisy, feedbacky, sometimes catchy, totally rocking songs.

I didn’t know any of their songs, but I was delighted with them from the start.  Liddiard was a funny front man and his band was top-notch.  I stood right in front of Erica Dunn who started on keys for the first song, but she switched to guitar for the rest.  She wailed and soloed and made sonic explosions which were so much fun to watch. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 3, 2016] Weezer

2016-12-03-21-34-05Comedian Hari Kondabolu has a funny bit called “How Weezer Broke My Heart.”  He says that he was a huge fan in the late 1990s but when he went to the show a few years ago he discovered that their fanbase is still fourteen years old and that he was the creepy old dude–at 28!  But he rejects that and says that Weezer are the creepy old dudes–forty-year old men singing songs that teenagers can relate to is really creepy.

Well, my show was full of college students (and at least one dad who brought his daughter who was either too young to drive or maybe they bond over Weezer–I didn’t ask–but more on them later).  I may have been the creepy old dude, but since Rivers Cuomo and I are basically the same age, we’re both the creepy old dudes.

It was cool to like Weezer for about two years (circa 1996).  But before and after it decidedly wasn’t.  Nevertheless, I’ve always enjoyed them.  I often wish that Rivers Cuomo would write more substantial songs (musically and lyrically since he studied classical composition and graduated with a B.A. in English from Harvard) but it’s hard to deny how much fun his dumb songs are.

I thought about seeing them this summer, but decided against it.  However, when they announced they were playing in Bethlehem, a close venue that I like, I decided it was time to see them.  I’d been checking their recent setlists (to see what albums they were laying songs from–I try to never look at actual songs), and I was bummed to see that they weren’t playing anything from Pinkerton, the cool person’s favorite Weezer album.  In fact it seemed like the sets came mostly from their self titled albums (blue, green, red and white).

But whatever, because even if they weren’t playing my favorite album, I knew that they’d be playing a bunch of songs that I knew and liked, right? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: December 3, 2016] The Menzingers

2016-12-03-20-13-55I hadn’t heard of the Menzingers before this show.  I looked them up and saw that they were a punk band on Epitaph Records, which meant I knew what to expect–poppy punk, kind of like Rancid (without the ska-although I understand that they were formed out of a Scranton based ska-punk band).  And that’s a fairly accurate blanket statement of what they’re like–catchy songs with a kind of growly singer and lots of harmonies.

Their previous album was highly regarded and they have a new one coming out.  I was excited to see them.  I was also pretty excited to be at a show at the Sands again–my last show there was when I got a drumstick.  But imagine my surprise when there was a huge snarl of traffic getting into the venue.  I’ve seen a few shows there and have never seen traffic getting into the venue.  And then an enormous line to present tickets inside.  So I wound missing–well, maybe it was only part of the first song.

And that delay was because the show was packed.  Packed I say!  (I guess every college student in Bethlehem was there?).

I’m usually early enough that I can pick my place, but, wow, I was further back than I’ve been for almost any show I’ve seen lately.  And there was a pretty pushy crowd too.

So that kind of sucked.

But the band was good and a lot of fun.  (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 20, 2016] “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC

2016-09-20-19-37-57Back on June 16, 2015, Sarah and I took the kids to this very venue to see “Weird Al” perform.  He is (amazingly) still touring the Mandatory Fun World Tour, and he made another stop in Bethlehem en route to Radio City Music Hall.  I wasn’t planning on going this time since I know that his shows from the same tour are identical.  But when I learned that my friend Matt and many members of his family were going to go, it sounded like a fun celebration.  So we bought some tickets (not 3rd row like last time, although 13th row isn’t too shabby, it turns out), and met our friends for a fun night.

The Sands is a casino, and we were going to eat in one of the fancier restaurants lining the casino.  Well, PA state law says that a security guard must accompany minors around the casino.  So we got an escort to the Chinese Food place.  Then we sat down, were shocked at the prices–seriously shocked. I mean, it’s a casino, but c’mon it’s Bethlehem, there’s no way any Chinese Food is worth $28 a plate.  So we walked out (a first for me) and got escorted back to the food court where we ate overpriced food court Chinese Food instead.

Then we went in and were pleased with our seats and our neighbors.  And then the show started. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 2, 2016] Deftones

2016-08-02 23.24.33I tend to not go to metal shows all that often, but there have been a few bands that I’ve really wanted to see.  Mastodon was one and Deftones was the other.  I’ve loved just about everything Deftones have done since the super heavy “My Own Summer” and then the major turn they took into an almost shoegaze vibe on their later albums.  They are never afraid to experiment and their albums are always compelling.  Much of that is due to singer Chino Moreno’s voice.  He can whisper and sing beautifully and he can scream like nobody I’ve ever heard.  And all of that was on display last night.

Top it off with Chino being an incredibly charming and gracious frontman (who seemed to be more than enjoying himself) and you have an outstanding show.

The band sounded great.  I was right in front of guitarist Stephen Carpenter and it was amazing to watch the sounds he was making out of his eight string (8!) guitar.  I couldn’t really see bassist Sergio Vega all that well, although I was delighted that he was wearing a Smiths shirt and was singing great harmonies. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 2, 2016] Refused

2016-08-02 21.06.30I had never heard of Refused before this show.  I looked them up and saw that they are a Swedish punk band who supports pretty radical ideas.  The thing I missed though was that their most well known album, The Shape of Punk to Come, came out in 1998!

The band broke up right after that album (their 3rd).  They reunited in 2012 with much the same lineup (there had been some different band member in the original days as well).  Last year they put out a new album and here they were touring with Deftones.

From the little I’d read, it sounded like they were a hardcore band.  So I had very specific expectations.  But they were instantly dashed when I heard the very metal riffage that the guitarists produced. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 2, 2016] Spotlights

2016-08-02 20.18.11I have been pretty excited to see Deftones for a while.  I knew they had an opening act called Refused, who I didn’t know, and just recently they added a third opening band called Spotlights, whom I’d also never heard of.

I looked them up online and saw them described as doomgaze or sludgegaze, which I loved.  And when I listened to one of their songs that was a pretty good description–a shoegaze vibe but with some seriously heavy low end rumble and heavy metal crunch.

Seeing them live, it was a bit of a different story.  Some of the shoegaze vibe and cool subtleties on their record got a little lost in the wall of noise at the Sands Event Center.

This is not to say that the set was bad (it wasn’t at all) but that the live show had a different feel than the record.  Primarily in that the vocals were a little buried.  (They’re kind of buried on the record too, but in a different way). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 16, 2015] WEIRD AL YANKOVIC-Live at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center.

2015-06-16 19.58.17This is my sixth “Weird Al” concert, and this was the best one yet.  Indeed, this may have been the best concert I’ll ever see because I had third row seats, and I am certain I will never get the like of that again.  It was also T.’s first rock show.  (And C.’s second).  We used the big yellow ear muffs from the Monster Truck show and protected our precious kiddies’ ears.  S. and I opted not to wear plugs.  I decided not to because although it was loud, the sound was much better (and less painful) than when we saw Al in this venue two years ago.

I was supposed to get seats for my friend Matt and his family and I, but when I got the order in, I could only get 4 tickets, so he had to fend for himself.  He wound up getting VIP tickets, so although he was a few rows behind us, he did get a pretty cool pre-show extravaganza.  So we each had a win there. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 18, 2013] Barenaked Ladies

Sarah and I saw BNL this summer with our friend Megan, and the show was great.  That marked the fourth or fifth time that I’d seen them.  When we found out that they were coming through again (to the close to us and cool Bethlehem Sands) we thought it might be fun to see them again.  Especially with our friends Matt and Marisa who like them but had never seen them.  So we met up and had a very fun time.  We ate at Emeril’s Burgers and More.  The burger was good (although it took an incredibly long time for it to arrive).  The strange thing about the burger was that it was very crispy on the outside (which was good) but rather and odd shade of  pink on the inside (which may have been the lighting, but it was certainly pinker than usual for medium), but it was not juicy/bloody—how is something pink but not juicy?  It was weird.  But still rather tasty.

But back to the show.  Our seats were in Row 20, which was much better than our seats this summer. The pictures here are mine taken with my phone—they’re blurrier than I’d like, but not terrible.

And this show was a ton of fun and full of surprises.  They started with “Limits” an unexpected song from their new album.  And then they jumped into “Never is Enough” a surprise old song.  Ed always does an introductory rap (which no one ever includes in the setlists online for some reason).  This one, while not as good as the PNC Bank Center one was enjoyable.  Ed explained that he ran a half marathon that day on the Sands grounds.  Well, actually he ran a block but did cross the finish line (the band played along with Da Don’t Run Run).  It was very funny.  “Pinch Me” is the new crowd favorite.  Whereas they used to throw Mac and Cheese during $1,000,000, now they throw underwear.  And much hilarity ensues. (more…)

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