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Archive for the ‘The Foundry’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 28, 2022] Son Lux

April 28th turned out to be a banner night of shows.  There were four I was interested in seeing–three of those I was really interested in.  It was very hard to choose especially since one of them was a show rescheduled to that night and I already had tickets to a different one.

I had seen Son Lux in an NPR Tiny Desk Concert (the NPR folks love Son Lux) and was blown away by all three of them.  Drummer Ian Chang is just amazing to watch as he plays all sorts of different things and in unusual rhythms.  But then I would notice that guitarist Rafiq Bhatia was making some incredible sounds out of his guitar and I would wind up watching him for awhile.  And all along, keyboardist and vocalist Ryan Lott would be singing and playing these heartbreaking melodies.

I knew I had to see them and since I had been waiting the longest to see them, they won out.

And it was amazing.  The band had just scored the film Everything Everywhere All at Once so there were some songs from that in the mix, but mostly this set came from their new trio of albums Tomorrows I, II and III.

The songs were gorgeous and soaring or quiet and meditative or jazzy and fun.  They each went far beyond their own length, with solos from all the members of the band.

At one point Ian and Rafiq played a wonderful interplay and Ryan just stood back away from his keys and watched as we all did.

The only concession to playing a “hit” is that they played an updated version of their song “Easy” which would be the closest thing they have to a popular song.  They even brought out local rapper Low G (I think) to do some freestyling over the middle of the song.

The rest of the set was wonderful and magical.

  1. Vacancy III
  2. Only I
  3. Prophecy II
  4. Plans We Made I
  5. Honesty I
  6. Easy £
  7. Last Light I
  8. Live Another Life II
  9. A Different Kind of Love III
    encore
  10. Unbind III

I Tomorrows I (2020)
II Tomorrows II (2020)
III Tomorrows III (2020)
£ Lanterns (2013)

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2022] Emily Wells

April 28th turned out to be a banner night of shows.  There were four I was interested in seeing–three of those I was really interested in.  It was very hard to choose especially since one of them was a show rescheduled to that night and I already had tickets to a different one.

I didn’t realize that I knew Emily Wells, but I had recalled her albums getting reviewed on NPR music.  I particularly remembered them talking about her album This World Is Too _____ For You.  And then just recently they had reviewed her new album Regards to the End and the song “All Burn No Bridge.”

Emily is a classically trained violinist, but she has morphed into a kind of electro-classical-pop singer.  The songs are full of rage but are also quite delicate.  She seems to thrive on tension.

Live, she was entertaining, but I was unprepared for how powerful her voice would be and how well it would play off the loops of synths and violins (and occasional percussion).

When I an Chang came out to play with her, he was quite restrained, but his additions lifted the song up even higher.

  1. I’m Numbers
  2. Come On Kiki
  3. Love Saves the Day
  4. All Burn, No Bridge
  5. Two Dogs Tethered Inside (with Ian Chang on drums)

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[ATTENDED: February 12, 2022] CHAI

I heard about CHAI from NPR. Bob Boilen had found them charming and said their live show was not to be missed.  But since they were from Japan I had to wonder how likely it would be to see them.  When they announced a tour, I grabbed pre-sale tickets even though I was sure it wouldn’t sell out.

It didn’t, of course, and it was scheduled opposite Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, so the two crowds couldn’t have been more different.

So here’s a brief histoy of CHAI

Chai was formed in 2012 in Nagoya, by twin sisters Mana and Kana.  Mana, Kana, and Yuna were in the same class at high school.  Yuna introduced the other band members to Japanese music that did not easily fit into the traditional definition of “J-Pop”, such as the band Cero or Kimyō Reitaro. After the members went to university, Mana became friends with Yuuki (originally from Gifu Prefecture, who had moved to Nagoya), and asked the four friends to form a band.  The band’s name comes from Russian tea (known as chai). Kana drank the tea with jam with her Russian literature professor at a Russian restaurant, which she thought was cute.

Cute is the key.  They wanted to make something that was neo-Kawaii.  Not as limiting as what people thought of as kawaii.

The band came out in brightly reflective rain jackets with hoods.  Underneath these were pink toile…outerwear.  Underneath those were a kind of jumpsuit that had short sleeves and pants.  In short, they were matching and they were a sight to behold.

Three of the women came to the front of the stage and faced away from the audience.  The fourth, Yuni, sat at the drum set.  She played a beat while electronic sounds swirled (I assume she was triggering, them, too, but who knows).

The other three women proceeded to do synchronized and, at times, wildly freeform “dances.” as they sang their hilarious song “No More Cake.”

Thank you for reminding me your daily makeup routine
But look at you
That’s way too much
That’s way too much
You’re not a cake
Look at you
That’s way too much
Your face is made up like a cake ha?

As the song neared its end, Kana was handed a guitar.  She walked up front and proceeded to play a noisy, wonderfully wild guitar solo.  Then she handed the guitar back and they finished the song. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 12, 2022] Su Lee

If you’re a fairly unknown Japanese band coming to America for the first time (some cities anyway), who do you invite for an opener?

Well, apparently, you pick Su Lee, a Korean singer who had a burst of success on Reddit with her song “I’ll Just Dance” (subtitled: ‘what my mental breakdown sounds like’).  That was in May 2020.  The viral success apparently allowed her to continue as a musician.

Lee was very funny and very very nervous.  This was her first ever tour and we were he fourth or fifth show.

She came out on stage, and shouted at us.  “This thing isn’t working!”  The ear piece–a technology she had never used before wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do.  She muttered and cursed a bunch and eventually it started working. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: February 1, 2022] Mother Mother

I I had never heard of Mother Mother before a few months ago.  They have been around for over fifteen years, but recently a few songs from their 2008 album blew up on TikTok.  Because I have teenagers, I found out about them second hand.

And I fell in love with the frenetic guitar and lyrics of “Hayloft,” which led me to explore more of their music.

Way back on April 29 of last year, I bought four tickets to this show for me, my kids and a friend.  It seemed like it would never get here.  Then it seemed like it might get cancelled or postponed, but it did go on, although not exactly as planned.

When I bought the tickets, the band was playing The Foundry.  The Foundry is an amazing intimate venue that hold 450 people.  I was super excited that they were there because whenever I’ve seen a band there, I’ve practically gotten to high five them.  So I was a little bummed when in December it was announced that they’d moved the show to TLA.  TLA is bigger (and I usually have a hard time getting there, but it was great tonight).  Of course, this is great for the band, as TLA holds 1,000 people.  And it sold out, so they doubled their attendance.

It also turned out that Mother Mother puts on a BIG show.  Big lights, big sound.  They used the whole stage.  And The Foundry’s stage is like the size of a dining room table, so the show would have been nowhere near as amazing. So good for everyone. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: December 11, 2021] METZ / Preoccupations

I saw METZ open for Modest Mouse four years ago and my ears might still be ringing.  I knew of Metz from their noise filled chaotic but amazing albums.

Their live show was less about the abrasiveness and more about their intense stage presence.  I knew I wanted to see them headline a show.

And then they announced it.  A headlining show at my favorite small venue (actually, this place might have been too small for them).  I was so psyched, until I saw that it fell on the same day as our holiday party.

Realistically there was no way I could go.  What a bummer.

Turns out later on, the band Stars announced their show for the same night and since I’ve never seen Stars, I would have picked them instead.  But what a drag when schedules can’t line up.

I’ve actually seen Preoccupations twice already, once in the Foundry opening for Protomartyr.  They used to be called Viet Cong, but wisely changed that name.  They put on a great live show.  This would have been a killer double bill.

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[DID NOT ATTEND: November 17, 2021] Tokyo Police Club / Nobro

This was the tenth anniversary tour of Tokyo Police Club’s Champ album.  I’ve never seen them live, but I’ve heard their shows were amazing.  Plus, they were playing The Foundry, one of my favorite small clubs.

I was pretty psyched to see them, but it turned out that this show was scheduled for the same night as a Starset show that I would be taking my son to.  Sometimes schedules just don’t align nicely.

One of the openers for this tour was the Toronto punk band with the great name of Pkew Pkew Pkew.  But on our leg was Nobro. (more…)

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[DID NOT ATTEND: October 27, 2021] Arlo Parks

I really enjoyed the songs I’d heard from Arlo Parks’ album.  But apparently I was too late in hearing about her tour.

I’m usually pretty on top of things when tours are announced but this one passed me by entirely and when I finally went to buy a ticket (not all that long after they went on sale, the only tickets left were selling for over $100–forget that).

A friend of mine went and told me that evidently tickets were made available just before the show, but I had long given up on this one. Her album made early everyone’s Best of the Year list so there’s no way she’ll play anywhere as small as The Foundry again.  (more…)

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[CANCELLED: September 9, 2021] Bachelor

indexBachelor is the lockdown-inspired collaboration between Palehound’s Ellen Kempner and Jay Som’s Melina Duterte.  Their song “Stay in the Car” is one of my favorites this year.  I was excited to see both of these great women in a small venue like The Foundry.

Then on Friday August 13th, they sent out this message.

Unfortunately, the Event Organizer has had to cancel your event.

With this follow up on their Instagram

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Bachelor will no longer be hitting the road for the following shows. However, Ellen will still be supporting @lucydacus as @palehound on the first leg of her tour. Tickets for our headline shows will be refunded at point of purchase. Please get vaccinated and stay safe.

So that was a bummer.  Hope they can rebound and do more shows next year.

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[POSTPONED: May 14, 2021] The Residents [rescheduled from May 1, 2020; moved to September 3, 2021]

index

It seemed like a May date would be safe, but now things are getting pushed back to the middle of the summer and the Fall.  This new date might happen.

The Residents are one of the most famous obscure bands in the world.  Many people have never heard of them.  Many people who have heard of them know that they wear giant eyeballs on their heads, but don’t know much about their music.  And some of us who own a couple of Residents records have no idea what their full output is like.

They’ve been around since the mid 1970s and have released some sixty albums covering all styles and genres, with the focus on avant garde sounds.  They are also hugely influential to all kinds of musicians.

When they play live, each band member wears a costume (usually the giant eyeball, but not always) and aside from the main composer for the band who died two years ago, no one really knows who is in the band.

I’ve heard their live shows were amazing spectacles, so I thought it might be fun to see them.I didn’t even realize they were still touring, so I was quiet surprised to see them coming to Philly in 2020.  I’ve heard their live shows were amazing spectacles, so I thought it might be fun to see them.  Because they’ve been around forever, I kind of assume they can play a larger venue, but again, no one has heard of them, so it makes sense that they were playing The Foundry.  But how big of a spectacle can you have at t The Foundry?

I suspected that cancelling their show might be the end of the tour for them (If the recently deceased member of the band was nearly 80, how old are the rest of them?  Who knows, they could all be in their 20s).  I’m glad to see the show is postponed, as I might just have to see what they are all about live.

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