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[ATTENDED: August 22, 2021] Wilco / Sleater-Kinney / NNAMDÏ [rescheduled from August 23, 2020]

I saw Wilco five years ago and it was one of the best shows I’d ever been to.  The band was amazing.  The live versions of their songs were tremendous and they played thirty two songs (two encores).

They were top on my list of bands I wanted to see again.  But they didn’t come close to us until this double headline tour last year which became this year.

The bad thing about the double headline is that neither headlining band plays a full set,  I assume this is nice for the bands, but who knows.   What this mean logistically is that the band played twelve fewer songs at this show.

But those twenty songs were fantastic.

They started with the most appropriate song for a post-pandemic tour “A Shot in the Arm.” And yes, that was all we needed.  Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 22, 2021] Wilco / Sleater-Kinney / NNAMDÏ [rescheduled from August 23, 2020]

I saw Sleater-Kinney two years ago.  This was the tour where Janet Weiss had just left the band and I think there were some weird feelings floating around.  The show was odd since they weren’t a trio, but I came away thinking that they sounded amazing.

Last tour the had three additional players: Angie Boylan (drums), Katie Harkin (guitars/keyboards) and Toko Yasuda (keyboards).  This time, their backing band was entirely different.  Almost up front with Carrie and Corin was third guitarist Fabi Reyna (who started She Shreds magazine and was a major force on stage).  Then in the back row was Galen Clark on keys, Bill Athens on bass and Vincent Lirocchi on drums.

I saw S-K 21 years ago when they were a punky trio and while I would have loved to see one more set with Janet on drums, this new set up is really great live.  It allows them to explore in very different ways.  Having Fabi play a series of piercing high notes throughout most of the songs added a nice edge to all of the songs.  She also seemed to allow Carrie a little freedom to move around a bit more (something Carrie seems to be really enjoying).  Plus, now that they have a bassist (!) and a keyboardist, they can make all kinds of sounds.

I was surprised that they announced a tour with Wilco because they sound so different.  Although I know that Carrie and Jeff worked together on Portlandia, and that they are buds.  I feel like many of the Wilco fans had no idea who Sleater-Kinney were.  But there were plenty of S-K fans there to rock. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 22, 2021] Wilco / Sleater-Kinney / NNAMDÏ [rescheduled from August 23, 2020]

NNAMDÏ is Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, an American multi-instrumentalist born in California to Nigerian immigrants now based in Chicago.

I had not heard of him, but I was really intrigued to see what his set would be like.  I can honestly say it was nothing like I expected.

Earlier in the tour NNAMDÏ fell off a scooter or skateboard and broke his wrist.  He missed a few dates and then was back on the tour.  NNAMDÏ plays guitar but he had to get a replacement for the tour.  He told us the replacement learned all of his parts in like a day.  And the parts were all over the place.  Because NNAMDÏ’s music is about as unclassifiable as Thundercat’s.

I felt like he was digging into prog-rock territory and yet I guess it would be more accurately labelled as jazz with rapid time changes, incredibly fast parts and wicked jamming.   And yet the roots of most of his songs were a kind of pop/R&B vibe. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 20, 2021] Green Day: Hella Mega Tour: Green Day / Fall Out Boy / Weezer / The Interrupters [rescheduled from August 29, 2020]

I loved Green Day’s Dookie when it came out.  I also really liked American Idiot (and a bunch of stuff in between).  But it was pretty wild when my teenage son became a big fan of Green Day (especially American Idiot).  I’ve never seen Green Day live before–which I’m guessing I now regret since they were fantastic live.

The most interesting thing to S. and myself was that they opened their part of the set by playing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” over the speakers at full concert volume.  Not Green Day playing it, but the actual original version.  And the crowd went utterly bananas.  Singing along at full volume.  The lights even went bright and dim accordingly.  It was a pretty amazing moment to hear an entire arena singing along to a song.  And it really got everyone pumped.  It was a pretty genius idea and I’m surprised more bands don’t do it.

They followed this with Ramones’ “Blitzkreig Bop” which went over although not quite as well, but it segued into a kind of mashup of “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Blitzkrieg Bop”, and “We Will Rock You” played behind a series of clips from Green Days shows old and new.  It was clear they were preparing for A SHOW.

They came out on stage to lights and video and started out with two songs from American Idiot.  And the crowd was berserk.  “American Idiot” and “Holiday” was like a one-two punch of wonderfulness for my son.  And there were fireworks and explosions and big lights and it was a great start.

I never knew that Billie Joe Armstrong was such a great and engaging front man.  I was especially delighted that he acknowledged that many of the fans there were from New Jersey.  I mean, sure we were in Philadelphia, but there were lots of NJ folks there and he really won us over by dividing the crowd into the Philly and NJ sides to see who could be louder.  This was especially cool for my kids, I think. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 20, 2021] Fall Out Boy: Hella Mega Tour: Green Day / Fall Out Boy / Weezer / The Interrupters [rescheduled from August 29, 2020]

Both of my kids are pretty big Fall Out Boy fans (naturally, my son likes the older songs and my daughter likes the newer songs).  I really only know them from my kids playing them.  This means, however, that I know most of their popular songs.  So while I wasn’t looking forward to this set as much as the other two, I was looking forward to a couple of songs (I suspected that the “Light ’em Up” song would have excellent pyrotechnics, and I was right).

So after Weezer, we ran off to Chickie and Pete’s to get some fries and made it back to our seats in plenty of time (we somehow just beat the crowd).  A dark cloud floated over the stadium as we were enjoying out fries.  So I looked at the weather app which assured us that there was no chance of precipitation, and moments later the skies opened up and dropped bucket loads of water on us.  We were soaked!

The main concern was that the posters would get wet (they got a little wet but nothing too bad).  As we tried to stay dry, Fall Out Boy came out and we quickly forgot about the rain.

They had a very cool set–it looked like a hole dug into the earth or something (it was a little hard to focs with all the rain) and a video screen in the hole which showed a series of videos that seemed to be telling a story.  In fact, when the set started a narrator told us something (I couldn’t follow it at all) that I assumed had to do with the narrative. Continue Reading »

[ATTENDED: August 20, 2021] Weezer: Hella Mega Tour: Green Day / Fall Out Boy / Weezer / The Interrupters [rescheduled from August 29, 2020]

After The Interrupters, we decided to get some snacks.  Who would have guessed that snacks could take so long?  Well, any reasonable person could have.  But we waited for French fries (not realizing that Chickie and Pete’s was just down the way with tons of fries for the taking).  We gave up when it was a few minutes before Weezer was supposed to go on and then, as we were heading down the stairs, the unmistakable sound of Van Halen’s “Jump” playing over the speakers.

This was the key for the Weezer to come out on stage with six bass drums (spelling out Weezer), giant teal lightning bolts, a light up W logo and a video screen.

When I saw Weezer headline two years ago, the set was amazing–set changes, fire, lasers!  This one was a little less amazing, but, heck if you’re the first of three bands and you only have an hour, you don’t have time for fooling around.

The band released Van Weezer a few months before the show and it was clearly designed to let Weezer Rock out a bit more–or at least to give Rivers Cuomo an opportunity to sport a mullet and mustache.  He was also wearing a big black leather jacket and playing a flying V guitar.

And so the early part of the show was pretty heavy with the new.  “Hero” and “All the Good Ones” sandwiched one of my favorite songs from the early 2000s, “Hash Pipe.”  “Beverly Hills” also rocks and Brian Bell plays a fun talkbox solo, which everyone likes.

Then Rivers introduced “The End of the Game” by talking about the wicked riff that starts it (classic heavy metal hammering riff).  From there, the band dove deep and the fans went crazy.  The jacket came off around here and he was wearing a white ringer T (the video screens showed off his painted nails).

“My Name is Jonas” was one of five songs from their debut.  It was followed by a rocking “Pork and Beans” with a nice promo for Weezer’s own brand of pork and beans on the video screen.

For a set that was heavy on the first and last albums, they did manage to throw in one song from a bunch of other ones too.  The noisy “Feels Like Summer” from Pacific Daydream was followed by the new hit single “All My Favorite Songs” (off of OK Human).  I wondered if the band felt weird about playing the song that was essentially a Rivers solo song.  But it was fun and we all sang along.

Then it was back to the debut again for “Undone” and the rather surprising “Surf Wax America” (of all the debut album songs, I wouldn’t have expected this one).  And, this is the first time I’ve seen them play it in three shows.

I was pretty delighted when they started “El Scorcho” (because I’m a Pinkerton junkie) but had totally forgotten about the line “I asked her to go to the Green Day concert.”  How cool is that?  Obviously the crowd went nuts for that.

The Green album seems to be quite a popular release too, so “Island in the Sun” went over like gangbusters.  Then came the moment everyone was waiting for.  The hit single that was 100% ironic and is now 100% unironic as everyone sang along full bore to Toto’s “Africa.”  Rivers even got to hit the giant floor tom (which I thought was decorative) for a mini drum solo with Patrick Wilson (whose drumming skills are really top notch).

Interestingly, it started raining about 30 minutes after they were singing about the rains down in Africa–almost perfectly timed.

After one more dip into a different album (the black album) for “California Snow,” they ended with two more from the debut.  The crowd went nuts for “Say It Ain’t So” and even more nuts for “Buddy Holly.”

Rivers seemed to have a lot of fun with us–even if he didn’t smile very much (how can you tell behind that mustache?).  I assumed that this would be a kind of nostalgic set of all classic tracks, but they played six songs that I hadn’t seen them play before.  There were plenty of big hits mixed in as well, and it pushed everyone’s happy buttons.

Although both of my kids said it was their least favorite set.

Hella Mega, August 20, 2020
Jump [Van Halen taped intro]
Hero √
Hash Pipe
All the Good Ones √
Beverly Hills
The End of the Game √
My Name Is Jonas
Pork and Beans
Feels Like Summer Φ
All My Favorite Songs ⊕
Undone – The Sweater Song
Surf Wax America Bϖ
El Scorcho ρ
Island in the Sun
Africa (Toto cover)
California Snow Blϖ
Say It Ain’t So
Buddy Holly

 

PNC Bank Center, July 20, 2018 Sands Bethlehem, December 3, 2016
Buddy Holly California Kids [white]
Beverly Hills  Hash Pipe
Pork and Beans My Name is Jonas
Undone – The Sweater Song (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To [rad]
(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To [rad] Pork and Beans
Perfect Situation Wind In Our Sail (Live Debut) [white]
My Name is Jonas Jacked Up [white]
El Scorcho ρ Perfect Situation
In the Garage Bϖ Thank God for Girls [white]
Why Bother? ρ Beverly Hills
Happy Together with a snippet of Green Day’s Longview Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori (Live debut) [white]
Keep Fishin’ (Brian Bell sings lead) ≅ Undone – The Sweater Song
Island in the Sun (Rivers solo) Island in the Sun (with Rivers’ acoustic solo version of Kiss’ “Beth”)
Take on Me (Rivers solo) King of the World [white] / Only in Dreams Bϖ [white]
Burndt Jamb ≅ Say It Ain’t So
Hash Pipe encore
Feels Like Summer [pd] Φ El Scorcho (Rivers solo on piano for first verse) ρ
Africa Buddy Holly
encore
The Good Life ρ
Say It Ain’t So
Paranoid (Black Sabbath, partial)

Songs from:

Weezer 1994
Pinkerton 1996
Weezer 2001
Maladroit 2002
Make Believe 2005
Weezer 2008
[rad]= Raditude 2009
[white] = Weezer 2016
[pd] = Pacific Daydream 2017

Bϖ = Weezer (blue album) (1994)
ρ = Pinkerton (1995)
Gϖ = Weezer (green album) (2001)
≅ = Maladroit (2002)
⊗ = Make Believe (2005)
Rϖ = Weezer (red album) (2008)
[rad]= Raditude 2009
[white] = Weezer 2016
Φ = Pacific Daydream (2017)
Tϖ = Weezer (teal album) (2019)
Blϖ = Weezer (black album) (2019)
⊕ = OK Human (2021)
√=Van Weezer (2021)

[ATTENDED: August 20, 2021] The Interrupters: Hella Mega Tour: Green Day / Fall Out Boy / Weezer / The Interrupters [rescheduled from August 29, 2020]

I bought tickets for this show in September of 2019.  I knew it would be a ton of fun for the whole family.  And I was right!

All four of us loved the show (even if we got poured on mid set).

We arrived plenty early, but didn’t realize the super long line was the merch line.  So we were a little late to get on line.  But since there were four of us, we could take turns and the hour (!) wait didn’t seem all that bad.  Especially since we snagged some Federal Donuts (yum) mid-wait.

The only downside to the wait (I mean, it kept us out of the sun), was that we missed the first two songs by The Interrupters.  Well, actually we could hear them just fine, we just couldn’t see them.

We headed down to our seats during the fourth song and really only paid attention to them when they started the song after that.  Which happened to be their cover of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” which was a ton of fun. Continue Reading »

[POSTPONED: August 19, 2021] Ty Segall and the Freedom Band [rescheduled from October 2, 2020; moved to June 24, 2022]

Another postponement, but in the meantime, Ty has released at least one album, and there will probably be more by next June.

index

Ty Segall is one of the more prolific artists out today.  He’s in about a dozen bands, and he releases a solo album (or two or three) a year.  He plays a garagey rock that has lots of energy and fuzz.

I can’t say I like all of music mostly because I haven’t even heard most of it. But everything that I have heard I’ve enjoyed.  And every live videos I’ve seen of him makes me think that his live show is not to be missed.

I was hoping to see him playing with his band Fuzz also this year, but that was postponed as well.  It’s interesting that Fuzz was going to play at the tiny Underground Arts while Ty and his Freedom Band were going to play at the much larger Union Transfer.

I hope both shows go on as planned–it would be a fun co

tysegall

[POSTPONED: August 19, 2021] David Gray [rescheduled from to August 20, 2020; moved to October 18, 2022]

My August was filling up pretty quickly so I assumed I wouldn’t be going to this show anyhow, but now that it’s in 2022.  Maybe…?

~~~

indexDavid Gray is pretty uncool–definitely “old person” music.  However, White Ladder is a pretty solid album.  When he announced this show, I asked S. is she might want to go.  We both had the same reaction.  Maybe… if it’s convenient.  Well, the Mann Center is anything but convenient, so there’s no way we were going.

I really shouldn’t even post it here, but since I’m including anything I even considered going to, here it is.

[CANCELLED: August 17, 2021] The Decemberists: 20 Years Before the Mast [rescheduled from August 18, 2020]

indexOn March 17, The Decemberists officially cancelled this tour.  I had SUCH GOOD SEATS FOR THIS SHOW!!!!  If They are cancelling a show in August, it doesn’t bode well for the rest of the summer.

* Tour Update * We were really hoping against hope to be able to bring this 20th/21st anniversary show on the road this summer. And while there’s every reason to be optimistic about the state of the pandemic and the possibility of live shows in the future, we don’t think it’s going to happen in July and August of this year. There’s so much uncertainty about playing these shows safely, especially the indoor ones, that we thought the best decision is to cancel. Yeah, we’re bummed. Refunds are available now at point of purchase. We plan on touring next summer; whether that will be in the vein of a similar tour or something new altogether, it’s too soon to say. We promise to be out there again, seeing all your shining, singing faces — covered or uncovered. In the meantime, we’re putting together a different kind of anniversary celebration, and we’ll be in touch on that soon. Yours, The Decemberists

I’ve been a fan of The Decemberists for years and I am surprised by how few times I’ve seen them.  We were supposed to see them two years ago and then Colin Meloy’s voice went out just in time for our show, so that was cancelled.

I was surprised that this tour didn’t include a stop in Red Bank, but a show at the Met in Philly is almost as good.

I was really really hoping that this show wouldn’t be postponed–it seemed like a milestone date somehow.  Plus, I had AMAZING seats.  Fortunately, the show was postponed to exactly a year minus a day away (as many shows tend to be) and my amazing seats are still good.

Here’s their official word on the postponement from May 27:

Adored Mailing List Recipients,

As you might remember from previous emails, there was some discussion over whether or not 2020 was *in fact* the 20th Anniversary of The Decemberists. Did the band start out in 2000? Or was 2001 our proper debut? There are recollections of Decemberists shows happening in 2000 in some form, and yet our first website and logo proclaimed us “Est. 2001” — for reasons lost to time. Well, we’re happy to report that that controversy is settled once and for all, and it only took a global pandemic to do so.

And so: Twenty Years Before the Mast, The Decemberists’ 20th Anniversary Tour will be coming to your town in the summer of 2021, not this summer.