Friday, August 24, 2007

Camera Obscura @ South Stree Seaport - Aug 25, 2007

This is lovely, but very odd

Those were some of the first words Tracyanne told us tonight before starting with their lovely Come Back Margaret off of their even more lovely and latest album Let's Get Out of This Country. She was in a really good mood tonight, being funny and pretty talky between songs... did she have a couple of those infamous frozen margaritas at the seaport? We did!

So, why the comment? The River to River shows at South Street Seaport are the best free shows in the city during the summer. That's what everybody seems to agree with, including the bands that let us know so during their sets. And it has to be very nice from their view. It's an outdoors venue in front of a couple of fancy buildings, which are part of the Financial District area, between a couple of big ships, and a road that goes straight to the Brooklyn Bridge. Lovely, right? With Camera Obscura's melodies it was even more...

Camera Obscura is one of the cutest bands out there playing some of the cutest pop right now. Their latest album, Let's Get Out of This Country, was one of my favorite albums last year, and together with highlights of their previous Underachievers Please Try Harder they were the perfect soundtrack to a calmed night out in the city. The show was excellent and even better than last time I saw them at Warsaw. They played almost the whole Let's Get Out of This Country leaving out only I Need All the Friends I Can Get, and they played some classics their fans cheerfully appreciated, including Teenager, Keep it Clean, Suspended from Class, and Books Written for Girls. We couldn't have asked for more.

Their interpretations in a live setting are a bit different from the recorded ones, in a good sense. For example, Tracyanne doesn't sing exactly as the CD you have in your house (you don't have it?). For the end of some of those catchy choruses you've memorized, she sometimes, after singing high, would cut the verses coolly bringing down her voice to your surprise. My description might be inaccurate, but it actually made the songs sound kind of cool. And they have fun and play with their songs. They for example finished their song Let's Get Out of This Country adding a couple of lines from Paul Simon's You Can Call me Al... a nice touch.

They finished their set, with Razzle Dazzle Rose, which is probably my favorite song of theirs. Razzle is the last song of their new album and it's such a good last song that it makes (me) want to play the whole album again. It left you the feeling that what you just heard was something you need to let be part of you (again). No wonder why they chose it to finish... it made us clap for more, it made us clap hard for an encore.

The encore was of course a gift to their old school fans. It was a couple of songs from Underachievers. One of them, probably my second favorite of their songs, Books Written for Girls. I love this song and you should listen to it if you haven't. It's just a very pretty song. I have no idea what the lyrics say but its music and Tracyanne's voice are so gorgeous that they have to be likewise. I hope.

Funny how one year ago Camera Obscura was this unknown band I was seeing too distant to get to know, but now I feel I've known it for ever. Thanks for the show! [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

Camera Obscura's Links: Stream Let's Get Out of This Country, Official Website, Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Thermals @ Maxwell's - Aug 10, 2007

This machine kills fascists

Last year, without much emotion (except two great songs), I heard the new and third album of a Punk/Rock band called The Thermals, now I am a new fan. The music they make doesn't fall in my favorite genres of music, so it wasn't hard not to pay much attention to them, but a couple of months later I regreted it. I saw them play the Bowery Ballroom and as I left impressed that day I promised I was going to hear more their stuff, and I did.

The Thermals is a great band: a tireless drummer, an awesome bassist with a particular haircut and a singer/guitarist with the voice of a true rocker. Hutch Harris, the singer, sings with the intensity of a revolutionary politician when giving a speech to his followers. We followed. Kathy Foster is the bassist, and man, what a bassist! I have no idea about technicalities when playing the bass, but she looks like having fun more than his fans and I do appreciate that. Her haircut adds a bit more of entertainment to the show because she jumps/bounces all the time as her blond curly hair in front does it too from side to side like a tight spring. Lorin Coleman is the drummer and together with Peter Bjorn and John's drummer they are up for the award to the best drummer this year in my mind.

I was very lucky of seeing them again in such a small venue like Maxwell's. Although people here were not as excited as New Yorkers at Bowery, dancing and fisting were not missed. Thermals played almost all The Body, The Blood, The Machine, a cover of a Built to Spill song, as classics now I recognize, but when they played Here's Your Future and A Pillar of Salt everybody got so excited that I didn't hesitate to join the crowd in front to pog like teenagers. This time the fantastic I Might Need You to Kill and their old songs from their first two albums stayed in my head so long that I had to buy one more album the next day (Fucking A!). Pretty good so far, especially after the show.

Now when I listen to the latest album, and especially after hearing it live again not taken by surprise, I feel one more time all The Thermals wanted to transmit with it... I feel the protest and boycott that everybody was hearing song after song a while ago when I was dea for them. I realized that The Body, The Blood, The Machine didn't only give me two great new songs, but a whole great new band... I just didn't want to notice it.

P.S> Hutch's guitar had a phrase written on it that he kept showing to the audience... I think it was "This machine kills fascists".


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

The Thermals' Links: Official Website, MySpace, YouTube, Sub Pop

Friday, August 10, 2007

Daft Punk @ Keyspan Park - Aug 9, 2007

Human After All

If you have a strong headache and you have a Daft Punk show to attend, don't ever doubt about it: Go! It might not seem initially as a great idea, but believe me, it would become the best live act in the electronic music business you would have ever seen.

A couple of curtains were hiding the pyramide where Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo later stood stand and did their things. The stage setup is so captivating tho... you are not gonna want to go to the bar to get a new drink once your first one is over, nor even turn to talk to your friends. Your energy will actually be fully absorbed because either you will be staring at the million of cool images that will be shown on the pyramide and the curtain of tiny LCD screens, or you will be dancing like the break dancer you never were. I did both!

Cred: therayan

I wasn't aware of how good DJs Daft Punk are. They made all the songs sound as if they were all excellent and not even one was a weak one. I love their first two albums, Homework and Discovery, as everybody else does, but not so much their third mediocre effort Human After All, also, as everybody does. Thomas and Guy-Manuel do not only mix masterly their songs, they really really mix them. I was very impressed when several times I was hearing three different songs, and by that I mean three different beats with three different lyrics, sounding so perfect one on top of the other one (and sometimes on top of another one!).

I took notes cause I wanted to talk about it, so in the middle of my jumping and singing, this is what I heard: They started with a slow version of Robot Rock, which had snippets from Oh Yeah teasing us all the time. But they did not keep going with that one. No, they gave us Technologic instead. They did that trick a lot. Like giving us the chorus of some of their better songs just to make everybody go crazy momentarily for then throw us another awesome song, just not as well known. It so f*cking worked!!!

I don't like ambiguity, so here's some notation for the rest: If I write a slash (/) that means that the song right before and the song right after that symbol were one played ON TOP of the other, but if I write a dash (-) that means there was a regular mix. I am sure I am missing stuff in what I am about to write, because the mixing was so clever and I couldn't stop dancing and enjoying myself, but anyway here is the awesomeness I am talking about:
Television Rules the Nation / Around the World / Too Long - Steam Machine - Around the World / Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Rock 'n Roll / Too Long / Face to Face / Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Nightvision - Aerodymic / One More Time / Aerodynamic / One More Time (holy shit! this was hot!) - The Brainwasher - The Prime Time of Your Life - Rollin' & Scratchin' / Rock 'n Roll - Da Funk - Human After All - Burning.
Hell, try to do that home (or wherever!) and if you can make two of these songs sound good one of top of the other one like layers in a tiramisu, let me know! (liar!)

Cred: Dilips

They left their throne but not for long. I was wondering the other day if they had A/C up there where they play and they better do, because wearing those jackets and helmets in warm weather is no joke. When they came back for the encore, they were wearing different clothes. Everybody went even crazier... take a look:

Cred: Dilips

The bass was sooo strong I was vibrating. I was afraid of becoming a resonant medium and explode. I might be exaggerating with the explosion, but not with the bass, seriously tho. They played Human After All, One More Time one more time, but fully, a cover I don't remember and Music Sounds Better with You (by Stardust). What a style ah? Music Sound Better With You... they are so right!!!

Cred: lookatmyhairCred: tixgirlCred: therayan

Best show of the year? Top 3 for sure. My headache was gone two songs into the show, but then my ears were the ones affected... they are still ringing. It was soooo worth it. [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

Daft Punk Links: Official Website, YouTube (recommended), MySpace, Flickr (recommended)

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Police @ Giants Stadium - Aug 5, 2007

The question is... you wanna sing tonight?

I have two CD wallets I brought with me from Colombia three years ago. One was very empty with the CDs of all those bands (4 only!) I had seen back there, and the other one full of CDs I was sure I was never going to see. The Police is now part of that first wallet, a wallet that is not empty at all anymore.

I really like their last album before breaking up, Synchronicity, and had the pleasure of hearing live great songs off this album such as Synchronicy II, Walking in your Footsteps, King of Pain, and probably some more I don't remember right now. It was very cool when their scenario took the colors of the cover of that album. It was like going back in time... to a time I was not really part of, but for the moment I wished I was...

The Police, together with The Smiths, are the bands I though would have the most difficult time playing together again, but with these guys it went smooth. It was very unlikely fans were going to see them tour again, 23 years later, but their prays were heard. The guys probably needed some money, but who cares? they are totally worth it (Thanks Cecilia!).

I already said I love Synchronicity, but this time, it was their even more classic songs which blew me away. Of course I'd heard those songs before, several many times, but maybe because the show was really good and I don't really know the albums those songs are part of, they were pleasant surprises. I need to get them! Anyways, it was a stream of hits, one after the other one. Take a look:

Message in a Battle, Synchronicity II, Walking on the Moon, Voices Inside My Head/When the World is Running Down, Don’t Stand So Close to Me, Driven to Tears, Truth Hits Everybody, Bed’s Too Big Without You, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, Wrapped Around Your Finger, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, Invisible Sun, Walking In Your Footsteps, I Can’t Stand Losing You, Roxanne, King of Pain, So Lonely, Every Breath You Take. Encore: Next to You

So, if you have their compilation Greatest Hits and you randomize it and add some other songs, then you would have one third of what we lived that day. The other two thirds were people's energy and the band's excitement of playing for their fans one more time... you are never gonna get that on your iPod!

The band sounded tight, like they hadn't been gone for long. Sting was awesomely playing his very old looking bass (without the jumping), Andy Summers still kicking ass with his solos and awkwardly doing his scissor-like jumps, and Stewart Copeland delighting us with all that percussion he had around. I was glad it was only them and not a full band of strangers filling in with their sound a space we wanted to be filled in by the ones and only ones, The Police.

We kept singing Sting's eeeeeaaaa oo-oo-oo while in traffic getting out of the mess that Giants Stadium is... it certainly helped. [photos of the show]


Were you at the show? How did you like it?

The Police links: Stream The Police (Disc 1), Stream The Police (Disc 2), Wikipedia, Sting, YouTube