Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bruised and Battered

So the hard facts of college life necessitate saving money sometimes and that means I unfortunately can't go to every show I'd like to; all of you have to suffer accordingly because you miss my voice and extrapolations on the world of live music. Nonetheless, an addict can't stay away for too long and I found my way last week to a show capable of reinstating a love of music in a deaf person. If you don't know Mastodon, look them up, and if you are aware of their existence, please drop whatever you're doing, give Crack the Skye a listen and imagine what I went through last Monday. No matter that I hadn't been to a true, badass metal show in years, the power exuded from that stage made me a metalhead through and through. Before the show, my friends and I kidded ourselves and decided that we were going to sit back and watch them make the beautiful music they produce. After all, I'm getting old and the mosh pit is no country for old men, but the minute I made it into the show I couldn't help but get evil and throw elbows with the best of them (or at least try and keep up).
Before I sing Mastodon's praises any more, I have to give it up to Between the Buried and Me. I first listened to them about an hour before the show and was intrigued by their smooth transitions from melodic rock to thrash. Tommy Rogers opens up Colors with ease before it becomes apparent he is more than a pretty voice, but I wondered how that would translate into a show packed with bloodthirsty fans wearing black t-shirts. Truth be told, it was great even though I was both a little too tipsy for coherency and moving way too fast to really take it in, but their ability to play down the mania at any point made for much needed breaks from the pit. But no one told Mastodon their fans might appreciate a break, so when they took the stage the whole show got a step darker and more hectic. The pit transformed from a group of kids just pushing off each other into a mass of bodies intent on making their own space where there was none. Pardon my negativity, it sounds like I had a bad time, which is far from the truth.
Don't get me wrong, I thought the show was amazing, but I haven't been that battered from a show in a long time, so I'm capitalizing on my right to complain. We all know the stereotypical metalhead with the studded jacket and a Slayer shirt, the one you're supposed to be scared of, so I was surprised to see compassion in the pit. When I lost my balance in the pit and tripped over own shoes, I thought I was a goner looking at the bottoms of those combat boots but my guardian angel must all like metal. I was caught by an innocent bystander who snagged my hat, picked me and threw back to the sharks with only the advice, "Watch your hat, bro!" Thank goodness we have intelligent folk like him in the world. Anyways, my point is that only under the formative wing of those brilliant lunatics could such a stellar moment occur, so I'm forever grateful to them for keeping the mayhem somewhere in between watching paint dry and a hospital bed.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


This incredibly large band took on the small stage at the Someday Lounge Saturday playing their second show of the night for their album release "Hunger and Thirst". The band opened with a video that captured the size of the band while playing "Starting Over Bad Habits" from their new album. The start of the show was slow with the presentation of the video and the band getting into a huddle before playing. Immediately after breaking the band huddle, Typhoon broke out, from what I could count the 12 person band across the stage and began the much anticipated show. Being an album release show in the bands hometown, the crowd was full of enthusiastic fans but Typhoon kept to their music and played through their set. Without too much talk about the new album on stage, Typhoon would play two or three songs before talking to the crowd about the album or the next song that they were going to play, unlike their second opener who stopped between each song to talk to the crowd. This was surprising because this show was so highly anticipated and the announcing of the album release was highly publicized with music commentaries in the Portland Mercury and Willamette Weekly. Typhoon was no doubt entitled to stop and discuss each song that was on the album but chose not to and pleased the crowd with their extensive range of music.
Typhoon was able to make a lot of space out of such a small stage with as many band members as they have. Despite a well deserved slow start to the show, Typhoon had a great stage presence and did put on a show that was equivalent to the amount of hype that was given about their album release and show. Had they not performed so well one could only question the press building up their show but that was not the case here as Typhoon rocked the house at the Someday Lounge. Though this band has been around for more than 5 years, I would say that this is a young band on the verge of becoming something a lot bigger than their local and small tour fan base. Typhoon is a band made up of very creative musicians that is something to see live for their Soul/Healing & Easy Listening/Black Metal music and their unique collaboration of 10+ musicians on stage at once.

To follow Typhoon and see when they are coming near you check out their website:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What A Man

Well said Ian, that show was unbelievably dope, and though I would agree that we all could all use a little more Bonobo in our lives (he should have played 'til the curfew), I have to say what we got was a hitlist of cuts from all of his albums. The fact that we got Dinosaurs and Sugar Rhyme (off Animal Magic) early in the show tells a lot about his song choices, and in no way did the show fall off from there as he jumped right into the heavy hitters Kiara and Kong before bringing out the beautiful Andreya Triana. Without a doubt she stole the audience's hearts from her bandleader, especially mine, with her soulful renditions of tracks from Black Sands. Most impressive was her ability to take over the tracks Bajka sings on from Days to Come and make them hers. It's hard to take another singer's tracks and own them like she did, especially trying to fill Bajka's shoes after her spirited perfomance last time Bonobo came to town, but she came through and sent chills down my spine during Between the Lines.
Enough about her and her loveliness because I could ramble all day about it, so let's turn to the man himself, Simon Green, the master Brit here to recolonize American hearts with the magic of electronic music. To avoid the burden of repitition, I'll leave out specifics about lighting, stage presence and all that jazz, but I would like to congratulate Mr. Green on being the man we should all aspire to. I've got mad respect for anyone with the skills and the balls to go on stage in front of countless strangers and play their music, but with most producers the show is always self-centered. Halfway through the first song of the encore I realized that Simon wasn't even on stage, he had stepped back, given his bass to his four-eyed doppelganger, and left the band do the rest. What a man to know the fans already love his music and to give the glory to someone else. Not many musicians are comfortable and humble enough to do something like that and that lifts the man up my book. I mean, I already loved the music he puts out enough to go see any Bonobo show in the area, but it makes me even more willing to knowing he understands the dynamics of a damn good show. At once a producer and a band, Bonobo has a unique place in the electronic music world, but Green parting words to the crowd "Thanks, we are Bonobo" exemplified his evolution from a solo musician to something more, something much doper.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bonobo 4-24-2010

Coming from the UK and putting on one hell of a show; Bonobo came on stage at the Wonder Ballroom with his live band and performed a fantastic show; playing songs from his new album "Black Sands" and previous albums like "Days to Come" and "Dial "M" for Monkey" Bonobo jumped right into his set and captivated the crowd with his wide range of mixing abilities and his use of a live band which rocked the house; especially the lead singer Andreya Triana (who even left the stage at one point and joined the crowd).
Being inside the Wonder Ballroom on a stage with limited space and lighting, they were able to captivate the crowd with his awe-inspiring and ambient music using warm red and cool blue lighting. With great use of space and lighting Bonobo played a wide range of his music and including a spectacular claranet and drum solo from the band that transformed into a duet leading into the last portion of the set. After his set Bonobo was quick to return for an encore not leaving the crowd in suspense. Playing several more songs Bonobo and his band was able to rev up the crowd one more time intto a heightened explosion of dance. Bonobo and his band put on a spectacular performance and showed just how good live music can be. The only negative part of the show was that it was too short and ended 15 minutes before the allowed curfew, but that may be because no one wanted the music to stop.

To follow this band please go to their official website at:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pretty Lights

Dub step lovers if you are have not seen Pretty Lights yet you should because you are missing out:

Pretty lights puts on one amazing light show that dazzles the eye and makes you foam at the mouth while you dance to his heavy bass lines and his tinkering highs. Just listening to Derek Smith's music alone does not do justice to the level of a performance that you get when you see him live. If you enjoy any of the Pretty Lights albums, which can be downloaded for free at the website, then you are missing out on Pretty lights mind blowing show when you see them live.
For Pretty Lights Portland show Derek set the stage with his tables in the center and drummer Cory Eberhardt, to the left. Instantly the two got the crowds attention when the lights were turned off and Derek and Cory walked on stage to and already hyped crowd. They could not have started the show any better by playing Lonesome Street. Matching his light show with the pixilated screen that was placed as the back drop Pretty Lights performed a show for one to remember pushing them into my personal top 5 live shows to see. It appeared that the light show was carefully matched with the video that was played showing Derek's ability to pay attention to small details to create the best show possible. Along with his phenomenal light show Derek put down many of his better tracks like: At Last I am Free, Cold Feeling, Fly Away Another Day Take the Sun Away as well as songs off his newest album "Making Up a Changing Mind," I Can See it in Your Eyes and Future Blind. Beyond that Pretty Lights put together an amazing set list and left the crowd pleading for more but it was well after curfew and they ended the show playing, More Important Than Michael Jordan and there could not have been a better track to end such a mind blowing night.
Performing a show very professionally with a incredibly detailed light show and the ability for Derek to feel the crowd by selecting the best songs possible, Pretty Lights may set your standards very high in comparison to other live shows. Though Derek was very professional throughout his performance he was also able to act very casual and smoke on stage when the opportunity granted him the chance. I can not see anything that would make me say that Pretty Lights is a bad show, simply because of the brilliant performance that Derek and Cory put on; if Pretty Lights happens to be playing near you I would recommend seeing that show because you will not be let down.