Archive for the ‘Union Transfer’ Category

[ATTENDED: March 26, 2022] grandson

My son got me into grandson a couple of years ago.  I really like his debut album, death of an optimist.  I promised that if grandson toured, I’d grab tickets.  I bought the tickets for this show a while ago and had no idea that in the interim, grandson had become (in relative terms) really popular.

He wrote the theme song to Suicide Squad which had apparently upped his profile and, he was also opened for Imagine Dragons which is pretty massive exposure.  So good for him.

It also meant that this show was much more crowded than I thought it would be.  We arrived pretty earlier, but the merch line was crazy long.  By the time we got into the show it was pretty crowded, but I know Union Transfer, and I know where there’s a good spot to get you closer to the action. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 26, 2022] Oxymorrons

I hadn’t heard of Royal & the Serpent.  When I looked them [her] up, I saw something that suggested that she had maybe worked with grandson–that he had produced something for her?  But I haven’t been able to find it since.  Whatever.

When I listened to her before the show (singer Ryan Santiago IS Royal & the Serpent–they are both parts of her personality), I thought she sounded an awful lot like grandson sonically.

When they started, first her drummer came out on stage.  She crouched by the drums waiting.  Then her guitarist,  Brent Burdett, came out, his hair was died blue and pink and he seemed very tall.  Especially compared to Royal who came bouncing out to their 2021 song “I Can’t Get High.” (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 26, 2022] Oxymorrons

My son C. has been a big fan of grandson for a while now.  I knew that we’d be seeing him whenever he came to town.  This was also his first exposure to Union Transfer, so I thought it would be super fun for both of us.  And it was, but it wasn’t as I expected.

After getting forced to the back for girl in red, I thought we’d want to arrive earlier.  But I also knew that this show hadn’t sold out  so I imagined we could stroll in at 7:30 and get right up front (there were two opening bands after all).  But when we walked in, the merch line was ENORMOUS (and slow) and the room was already a little full.

Well, we waited for mech (good decision) and heard Oxymorrons start their set.  We walked in during “Think Big” and, even though it was crowded all the way to the back, I found my favorite spot stage right was open, so we slunk our way to that corner and were within a reasonably close distance from the stage.  Sweet.

Meanwhile, Oxymorrons were on stage ripping it up. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: March 22, 2022] They Might Be Giants [rescheduled from March 13, 2020, September 8, 2020, April 15, 2021 and March 22, 2022]


Fifth time’s the charm?

After what seemed like a wholly sensible rescheduled date of March 22, 2022, the virus reared its head again, and TMBG decided to push things back one more time.  This time they broke their tour into small chunks to avoid having to cancel a huge tour in the future.

Hello everyone. We have rescheduled all of our Spring 2022 shows. The new batch of shows begin in June and run all the way to May 2023 (proving that 2020 is the first year to last for three!).

And the venue has added

Hello! Thank you for purchasing tickets to see They Might Be Giants. We know that this has been a journey and after two+ years their long awaited tour will finally happen! The Philly show scheduled for March 10 has been moved to June 16 2022.


This show was originally scheduled for March 2020 and it now being rescheduled to March 2022.  It’s hard to believe that it will be two years.

So, with no opening date in sight, this is where we ask you for a big favor. Without a doubt our biggest expense has been refunding tickets for shows with new safe dates in 2021/2022.  The They Might Be Giants show has been officially moved to March 10 2022! With a date this far out, it ensures there will be no issues with TMBG touring and most important – we are near guaranteed to have a safe and normal show (finally!)

This was one of the first shows that was postponed because of the coronavirus.  The new date was scheduled very quickly and, as it turns out, too soon.

Now, like most shows, it is being pushed back about a year from its original date.  Boy I hope it holds out.

I am still very much looking forward to it.  Don’t give up on us yet, Johns!

March was going to be a very busy concert month for me.  This was to be the first of four shows in five nights.  This show was going to be for me and S.–a night of They Might Be Giants performing Flood!

It turned out to be the first of dozens of shows cancelled or postponed by the coronavirus.

Obviously, my main concern is for everyone’s safety, including the bands!

My selfish concern though is that once the shows are rescheduled that all of these shows will be scheduled on the same day!

Let’s hope the rescheduled dates also do some social distancing.


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[DID NOT ATTEND: May 19, 2022] Touché Amoré / Vein.fm / Militarie Gun / Closer

I didn’t know what Touché Amoré sounded like.  In fact, I thought they were a dance band.  When this show was announced, I discovered that they were not a dance band at all.  But in fact, rocked pretty hard.

I was definitely interested in the show, but decided not to get tickets right away.  Then several other interesting shows were announced for the same day, so I never bothered.  But I still think they’d be interesting to see some day.

I’d never heard of vein.fm (formerly Vein).  Apparently, they are a hardcore/screamo act

I’d also never heard of Militaire Gun, who are apparently a post-hardcore supergroup (made up of bands I’ve never heard of) that draws major inspiration from the melodic post-hardcore of the ’90s as well as more alternative-leaning acts.

And Closer is a screamo act from New York City.

Four bands is a long night, but I imagine it would have been a good show.

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[ATTENDED: March 16, 2022] Girl in Red

My daughter, T., became a huge fan of Girl in Red a little while ago.  When Girl in Red announced a show at my favorite club, Union Transfer, I knew I had to get tickets.  So, I got this pair back in June of 2021.   It seemed like the show was a lifetime away.

And then it finally arrived.

Our friends had recently gone to a show there and had arrived at 5 (doors opened at 7) to ensure a prime spot.  I have been to Union Transfer dozens of times and have never arrived earlier than 7:30 and always gotten a decent spot (sometimes right at the front).

But I’ve clearly never been to a sold out Girl in Red show.  Because we arrived at 7:30 (a wee but later than I wanted to, I admit) to find a huge line outside!  (I’ve never seen that before).  By the time we got in, the place was packed!  The one okay thing about this is that we decided to get merch first since we had no hope of getting any closer.  The other okay thing was that Girl in Red fans seems to be pretty short, so even though we were pretty far back, we could see the stage pretty clearly.

Girl in Red’s band came out–five guys dressed in black–and made a U at the back of the stage.  They started playing music and Marie Ulven bounced onto the stage and just started rocking all over the place to “You Stupid Bitch.”  Swinging her hair and bounding from one side of the stage to the other.

The crowd was insane from the get go.  They screamed and yelled and sang along.  A girl behind us must have been told that it was important to shriek at the top of your lungs at the end of each song because she did so in the exact same pitch and frequency (one long, two short) after each song.  T. and I decided that she sounded like when a fox screams at night–that ear piercing, spine chilling sound. And, she was perfectly at ear level with me.  Good grief.

I knew most of Girl in Red’s album from multiple in house plays, but I clearly didn’t know what the big songs were going to be because she played “girls” third and I thought sure that was going to be a much later song.

Before introducing “we fell in love in October,” she told us that she had a new girlfriend, although they didn’t fall in love in October.

The ban left and she brought out her acoustic guitar to play “I’ll Cal You Mine.”  It was great to hear her sing without the rest of the band.

I also assumed that “Serotonin” would be the big set ender, but she played that right in the middle  It sounded fantastic.

Her band was really great, too.  Her lead guitarist was really quite impressive and her bass player was a lot of fun, jumping around.  But really, none of us were looking at them.  She did acknowledge them a few times and when she spoke to them, her Norwegian accent came out on force.  Her normal stage speaking voice is completely un-accented.  I was amazed at how non-Norwegian she sounded until it slipped out.

She talked about an old racist homophobic uncle that she had who told her to make her songs “less gay” and we all mocked him.  She said she used to think that he was old and couldn’t change.  But there are plenty of old people who are neither racist nor homophobic.  So there.

For the remainder of the show she kept the energy high.  Even in the somewhat more mellow songs, the energy remained high.

When she ended the show with “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend,” the crowd, which I didn’t think could get any more wild, ramped it up even more.  And when Marie dove into the crowd at the end of the song the place erupted.

The song faded when she got back up onstage and some people even started to leave, but she told us it wasn’t done yet, and she grabbed a water bottle and doused the front row and sang the chorus a few more times.

It was quite a show.

And even though it was kind of short (relatively speaking), it was the the perfect length for the amount of music she has released and it got us home at a fairly reasonable hour on a school night.

The stage for the show was flanked by large banks of really bright lights.  Not an expensive display, I wouldn’t think, but very effective.  And I left the show thinking that girl in red could easily be playing much much bigger venues.

  1. You Stupid Bitch
  2. Body And Mind
  3. girls ©
  4. .
  5. i’ll die anyway.
  6. we fell in love in October §
  7. I’ll Call You Mine (acoustic)
  8. hornylovesickmess
  9. Serotonin
  10. bad idea!
  11. 4am ©
  12. dead girl in the pool. 
  13. midnight love
  14. Rue
  15. Did you come?
  16. I wanna Be Your Girlfriend. ©
© chapter 1
chapter 2
§ A Collection of Every Song I’ve Ever Posted on Soundcloud

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[ATTENDED: March 12, 2022] Holly Humberstone

I thought there was some excitement that Holly Humberstone was opening for Girl in Red, but it turned out that T. had never heard of her.

Well, I was impressed by her.  She played guitar, keyboard, piano and created live beats on the drum machine while singing.  And her voice was really lovely too.

Her songs are on the pop side but with some good loud guitars from time to time.  “Please Don’t Leave Just Yet” was the synthy song (that featured sped up samples of her voice trilling in the background.  I enjoyed the way she jumped from the synth rack to the piano mid-song.

Humberstone has a couple of EPs out.  And I had to laugh when she said she was going to play the first song she’d ever released–way back in 2019.  But it was a sweet song she’d written for her sister called “Deep End.”

She also played a new song called “London is Lonely,” which was far more plaintive than the other songs and showed Holly’s range. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 12, 2022] Daughter of Swords

I first heard The Tallest Man on Earth back in 2014.  I had a ticket to see him play Union Transfer in November 2018.  But I had to skip that show because of a Scout hike that I was asked to go on.

I promised myself I’d see him the next time he came to town.  That was October 2019.  But at the least minute he had to cancel the tour because of personal problems back home in Sweden.

He rescheduled the show for 2020.  The show was on my birthday, and I like to spend the day with my family.  I bought at ticket anyway, just to see how the day went.  And then Covid struck.

He rescheduled the show for March of 2021, but that had to get pushed back as well.

And here it is, March of 2022, four and a half years after the initial date, and I finally got to see him.  Interestingly, four and a half years isn’t really that long given who infrequently some other bands tour.  But for him, that’s a lifetime and a half.

The Tallest Man on Earth is Kristian Matsson, a Swedish folksinger with a great guitar picking style and a deep powerful gritty voice.   The lights went down and the stage was full of pointy shards of plastic (?) standing upright as a backdrop.  They were primarily white, but I loved the way the lights played off of them changing the colors of the stage.

After a recording of a Swedish song, Matsson came out on stage.  I don’t know if he is usually solo (I assume so).  He was dressed in a white T shirt with light pants that were rolled up.  And he scampered and leapt around the stage with lightness (if not always grace).  He capered.  From one side of the stage to the other, he checked in with the audience while he was singing.

He played two songs on electric guitar (“The Foothills” which I think is new and “The Gardener,” which is very much not new).  His voice is deep and gruff and incredibly powerful.

After two songs he switched guitars.  This time to an acoustic 12 string.

There’s something really fantastic about his guitar playing that just fills a room.  With just the one guitar (okay, like a dozen guitars, but one at a time) his songs never sound like a guy with a guitar.  He has a very percussive style of play and he uses a lot of opening tunings so his notes ring out and fill the room.  It’s pretty wonderful.

He also let us in on a secret.  After the third song, he stopped to tell us that his nail had come off. He told a lengthy story about himself and Jose Gonzales and how they both glue extra fingernails on the tips of their fingers to help the with their playing style.  And one of them had just popped off so he needed some glue.  He told us that he took off the nails at the end of the show so he could look normal, but that he couldn’t play without them.  So we waited while he talked and fixed his nail(s).

Then he switched over to an acoustic six string for the next couple of songs.

Joking that SHE doesn’t need fake nails, he called Daughter of Swords to perform a lovely duet of The Velvet Underground’s “I Found a Reason.”

When Alexandra left the stage, he went over to the piano that was at the side of the stage for There’s No Leaving Now.”

With a new six string acoustic, he played a few more songs like the fantastic “1904” and “King of Spain.”  Then he brought out his banjo for “Somewhere in the Mountains, Somewhere in New York.”  And he ended the set with an electric and electrifying version of “The Stranger.”

When he came back out for the encore, he sneaked around through the sculptures, hiding behind them and peeking out above them.

He started the encore with “The Wild Hunt,” and we all sang along.  Then he ended the show with piano version of “Like The Wheel.”

At the end of the song he stood on the piano and waved to everyone in turn, rotating to make sure he got everyone.  And then he leapt off the piano and scampered off stage.

What a fun show!  (I didn’t even need to mention the group of ten drunks behind me who were talking really loudly about New York and their drinks and who knows what else.  They sucked).

  1. The Foothills
  2. The Gardener
  3. Wind and Walls
  4. Dark Bird Is Home ♠
  5. Rivers
  6. A Lion’s Heart
  7. I Found a Reason (The Velvet Underground cover) (with Daughter of Swords)
  8. There’s No Leaving Now (piano)
  9. The Running Styles of New York ♥
  10. I’ll Be a Sky ♥
  11. 1904
  12. Love Is All
  13. King of Spain
  14. Revelation Blues
  15. Somewhere in the Mountains, Somewhere in New York ‰
  16. I’m a Stranger Now ♥
  17. The Dreamer §
  18. The Wild Hunt
  19. Like the Wheel (piano) §

♥ I Love You, It’s a Fever Dream (2019)
‰ When the Bird Sees the Solid Ground EP (2018)

♠ Dark Bird is Home (2015)
⊗ There’s No Leaving Now (2012)
€ The Wild Hunt (2010)

§ Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird EP (2010)
⊄ Shallow Grave (2008)


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[ATTENDED: March 12, 2022] Daughter of Swords

In my head, I thought that a show that started at 6:30 would be over in plenty of time for me to make a show that started at 8 a few blocks away.

I guess I hadn’t counted on Wet Leg having an opening band (of course, they couldn’t really charge a full price ticket for 45 minutes of music, right?).  So Wet Leg ended at roughly 8:15.  It took me about 10 minutes to walk to Union Transfer and get situated.  I saw the end of one Daughter of Swords song and by the time I found the much closer spot where I wanted to stand, she announced that she had one song left.

So I saw the final Daughter of Swords song. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 9, 2022] Animal Collective

We had seen Animal Collective open for Fleet Foxes back in 2017.  Their set was fin and weird and I came away thinking that they’re probably even more fun and weird when they are headlining.

This show made me realize how little I know about Animal Collective.  I couldn’t even have told you many song names before the show.  So I guess I didn’t really know what to expect.  Which is apparently good because I gather that every show is different, so no expectations are preferred.

For instance, I thought that each member of the band sang lead.  And while that is sort of true the majority of the songs were sung by Avey Tare, who stood up front and played guitar and bass and occasional keys.  But it was drummer Panda Bear who lead of the night with the vocals.  And to my left, behind a tie-dyed tapestry was Deakin, the keyboardist and occasional guitarist who sang back up and an occasional lead.  The only one who didn’t sing (I don’t think) was Geologist, who stood in front of his array of gear (including a hurdy gurdy) creating the foundation of most of the songs while the other three noodled.

Animal Collective songs tend to be weird… maybe or maybe not in a bad way.  At the same time, their live show tends to be a little weird too.  But it is  firmly controlled chaos.  You may not know what they are going to do next, but they certainly do.

As the one review (from The Key) notes:

Most of Animal Collective’s set was a will they or won’t they play “the hits” — namely “My Girls”, or even “Leaf House.” Several times in the set and the encore it felt like there were about to just fall into those songs but pulled back at the last second.

I knew in the back of my head that Animal Collective had “hits,” but I had no idea what they were.  So I was just there to kick back and enjoy the show.

Every song had a video projection behind it–each video was different and seemed to have something to do with each song.

They played five songs from their new album.  It was interesting to judge the popularity of each song by the reaction of the people around me.  There was one woman who sang along to every song (even the unreleased ones).  Some parts were super catchy, but just about all of the parts were danceable in someway.  I was especially intrigued by the songs that featured multiple backing vocals–often Panda Bear singing or almost yodeling.

The crowd reacted very positively to “In  the Flowers” (the only song from Merriweather), and as the song built to its super catchy midle section everyone, including the band, was bouncing around to the track.

I really enjoyed the visuals in back of Passer-By as well.

There was a big reaction for “Chores” a rather weird song from Sung Tongs that was a lot of fun.  Deakin came out from behind his keys to dance around with his guitar and even Geologist, who always seems too busy to dance was bopping his head around.

I really enjoyed their lengthy song “Defeat (Not a Suite)” which I gather is the new thing they are working on (or something).  It’s not available anywhere,   It started with Geologist playing the hurdy gurdy and Panda Bear playing drums with his hands rather than sticks.  It was slow and warbly as it built over fifteen minutes (!) and Panda Bear sang somewhat operatic lines behind Avey’s lead.   The middle had a church like feel to it from Deakin pipe organ effects, and towards the end, there was a part with just Avey and Panda singing wordless melodies while Geologist was making all kinds of cool spacey effects.  I wasn’t sure if it was one song or a bunch of songs (sometimes it’s hard to tell with this band). but it did feel like a cohesive piece and it was pretty wonderful.

They ended the set with “Applesauce” one of their more popular songs.  And then they took a break.

They came back and played two more unreleased songs and then the crowd went absolutely berserk for “The Purple Bottle.”  I didn’t know the song but I quickly caught on why this song was so much fun and such a great show ender. Any song that has a section that features a section like

Then I go and take some pills
Cause I can’t do all of my do’s and still feel ill
You get that, woo!
You get that, woo!
You get that, woo!
You get that, woo!
You get that, woo!
You get that, woo!
You get that, woo!

In which the audience gets to “woo!” is going to be a huge hit and boy was it a fun rollicking song.  What a fun night of music.

I happened to check the show they played in Sayreville–the other place I could have seen them and the setlist was almost entirely different.  I guess you never know what you;re going to get at an Animal Collective show.


2022 2017
Screens Lying in the Grass
Cherokee © Kinda Bonkers
Broke Zodiac ¢ Sweet Road ¥
Dragon Slayer © Bees ƒ
Genie’s Open ¢ 

(interpolation of Trains Across The Sea by SilverJews)
Daily Routine π
In the Flowers π Guys Eyes π
Passer-By © Water Curses ϖ
Chores § Summertime Clothes π
Strung With Everything ©
Car Keys ©
Defeat (A Not Suite) ¢
King’s Walk ¢
Stride Rite ¢
The Purple Bottle ƒ


© Time Skiffs (2022)
‰ The Painters EP (2017)
¶ Painting With (2016)
≅ Centipede Hz (2012)
⊗ ODDSAC (video album) (2010)
π Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)
ϖ Water Curses (2008)
§ Strawberry Jam (2007)
ƒ Feels (2005)
¥ Sung Tongs (2004)
¢ unreleased


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