Live Review

New 'Romance': Wild Flag stole our hearts at Great American Music Hall

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Despite the awesome spectacle (high kicks, guitar humping) and the resumes (Sleater-Kinney, Helium, the Minders) Wild Flag's music stands on its own. The indie rock foursome (don't call it a supergroup) from Portland, Oreg. and Washington D.C. ripped the Great American Music Hall to shreds on Saturday night, likely Friday night too, but I wasn't there. Read more »

Live Shots: Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Rickshaw Stop

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We all know the story: Some dude records an album in a basement, garners considerable Internet attention, tries to perform live, and totally blows it. Fortunately for the audience at the Rickshaw Stop on Thursday night, Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a bold exception to this emerging parable in modern music. Read more »

Live Shots: Anamanaguchi at Slim's

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The self-proclaimed “nerds” behind me in the will-call line at Slim’s Sunday night were lamenting the theft of their culture. “I hate it when hipsters try to act like us,” one said, with threatening hostility. “Because you’re not one of us, you don’t know what it’s like, and it’s not fucking cool.” Oh crap, I thought, looking straight ahead. Are they talking about me? Do they think I’m a poser, coming to this show because it’s hip? That I wear chunky orthopedics and thick rimmed glasses for the purpose of ironic style? I got my ticket and went inside as fast as I could, away from the geek toughs. Read more »

Youth Lagoon kicks off his first national tour at Bottom of the Hill

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My infatuation with Youth Lagoon is easy to explain. Youth Lagoon brainchild Trevor Powers and I have a lot in common. Like Powers, I’m an anxious kid who grew up in the scenic, laid back city of Boise, Id. The piano pop prodigy and I have our differences, though. For instance, I didn’t make one of 2011’s most surprising and heartfelt albums, The Year Of Hibernation (Fat Possum).

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The Damned celebrates 35 years of punk at Slim's

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The Damned first turned heads back in 1976. On Saturday night, the UK punk band took to the stage at Slim’s as part of its 35th Anniversary Tour and proved it's only grown better with time. Read more »

Live Shots: Soulwax at the Independent

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Whether more or less true in other places, the crowds at shows in the Bay Area can be disappointingly savvy regarding encores. They know that if the band says goodnight and leaves the stage, the show is only possibly over. Or if recorded music comes over the speakers, the show is likely over. And (of course everyone knows) that when the house lights come on, the show is definitely over. It’s a convention that the bands and audience both understand, but robs everyone of some fun. Which was why it was wonderfully surprising that the majority of the people at the Independent Thursday night stuck around clapping, shouting, and making noise 'till it hurt in an attempt to get Soulwax to come back out on stage. Read more »

Manchester Orchestra delivers the Southern riffs at the Regency Ballroom

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South by Southwest favorites White Denim helped draw a sizable crowd in support of Manchester Orchestra to the Regency Ballroom on the Friday before Halloween. The Austin, Texas locals did not, however, save for a few ripping solos and a lap around the stage that coincided with some lyrics about running (I think), perform memorably for the sparsely costumed audience. Read more »

A very Nobunny Halloween turns crazy, quickly

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It’s a little nerve-wracking going out in costume for a show when it’s not quite yet Halloween. What if no one else dresses up and it’s a scene out of Legally Blonde? Luckily the bands at Brick and Mortar (Zulus, Uzi Rash, Apache, Nobunny, Ty Segall) were slated to perform costumed covers, so I figured it would be safe. (Plus, I spent enough money making the damn thing to ensure I’d be living with my dad for an additional month--so I was gonna milk it.) Still, when I got inside the venue, I scouted to find some other outfits among black clothes and leather. A guy was wearing a 1994 USA Olympic Dream Team windbreaker (“Carl Mullen” he told me, pointing to one of the figures with a basketball). Another guy was dressed as Business Man Who Has Too Much To Drink, Tries To Mosh Too Early, And Is Never Seen Again, but this was easily topped by the best costume of the night: Totally Trashed Crazy Girl. Read more »

Hans-Joachim Roedelius celebrates his 77th birthday at Cafe Du Nord

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“What a cerebral evening,” a show companion observed as we exited Cafe Du Nord last night, pushing the doors open to a whoosh of cool fall air. Indeed. For the man who's seen it all, first as a child actor in 1930s Germany, then as a reluctant member of the Hitler Youth, and finally a pioneer of early experimental krautrock in the 1970s and ambient jazz, Hans-Joachim Roedelius (Cluster/Harmonia) was not the confrontational artist one might expect. Tall and bald with wire-rimmed glasses, he was erudite, pleasant, subdued. Read more »

Himalayan Bear turns out one of the greatest shows of the year at Hemlock Tavern

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Tuesday night, while all my friends tweeted incessantly about Male Bonding at the Rickshaw Stop, I was quietly preparing for Himalayan Bear at the Hemlock Tavern. After writing an article on Himalayan Bear’s Hard Times (Absolutely Kosher), I found myself obsessively revisiting the album. Read more »