• First stop: Casbah!

    19 maj 2012, 09:54

    Fri 18 May – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Darcys

    Was great that they started their tour here…hehe you could tell from the first few songs that they hadn't played live in a bit…could barely hear Alec's voice during the first few songs…but once they found their groove it was awesome!

    They played all the good stuff from the new album (Same Mistake/Hysterical) as well as all the classics from their debut album and Some Loud Thunder.
    Crowd was great, we were all dancing our ass off…not sure why Casbah didn't have their fans on…was drenched in sweat after the show.

    Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah at the Casbah

  • They take it to "eleven" on the dail!

    24 jun 2011, 01:51

    Tue 21 Jun – Thao & Mirah, BOBBY, Led to Sea

    Dual drumming…check
    3 on 1 drum…check
    Wii-mote drum…check
    Thao boot stomping…check
    Seeing the musical madness and complexity of "Eleven" all come together by everyone going in different directions…CHECK!

    Was a great show, I couldn't stand "eleven" as their first single off this album, as it sounds so musically different from everything else on it (and anything Thao has done beforehand), but seeing it live as converted me…so many of the songs on Thao & Mirah sounded so much better live, especially the harmonies. Thao's guitar work (and drumming!) are a sight to see. Was nice of them to play some of Thao's older Get Down Stay Down tracks as well.

    Can't wait for her to come back to the Casbah again!

  • They have a drummer now!

    10 okt 2010, 10:59

    Sat 9 Oct – Phantogram, Josiah Wolf

    Just gonna keep this short, they have a drummer now and sound so much fuller now! No more of that shitty beat box! Can't wait to hear them all together on a studio album now, some of the album cuts just sound no where near as good as their live stuff now thanks to that drummer!Phantogram
  • Sondre loves his airports!

    30 sep 2009, 06:47

    Wed 23 Sep – Sondre Lerche

    Sondre did a long monologue about Lindbergh field…and then proceeded not to go into "Airport Taxi Reception"! That woulda been the perfect segue! It was nice to hear an artist that actually tries to learn something about the city he's playing in.

    Was my first time seeing him live (Sorry, but last time he played here it was against Broken Social Scene, they're always gonna win!). Was surprised it was just him, no backing band, but he sure can wail away on that guitar! Was really a rather intimate show when you think about it.

    Most of his set consisted of material from his new album "Heartbeat Radio". I was kinda hoping he would bounce around his back catalog more, but he did play a few oldies. In retrospect I'm kinda glad he played more of his new stuff, it made me appreciate his new album more, which going into the concert I was kinda lukewarm on.
  • The Early Bird Special

    26 jun 2009, 07:44

    Sat 30 May – St. Vincent

    For some reason or another (mostly because 3 other bands were scheduled to play later that night) lil ole Annie of St. Vincent had to have her show bright n early at 5:30 pm on a Saturday…an ungodly early hour for a show at the Casbah.

    The opening band was "Pattern Is Movement". Two kinda chunky bearded fellow who could have sorta been mistaken for twins. One fellow he played keyboards, and the other drums. They were alright as far as opening bands go…I tend to wonder about bands that have chunky drummers…shouldn't they by default be rather thin with the amount of movement they have to do? Then again, he was putting full glasses of beer on his drums during the quieter parts of songs, that could explain a bit.

    Once they got all their equipment offstage (which seems to take forever, they didn't seem to USE all of that equipment when they were playing) some jerkoff wanna-be pro photog sneaked into my front row spot. The worst part was, he was carrying this huge heavy camera bag with him while trying to shoot, and kept swinging it into me! Seriously, you don't need ALL OF YOUR LENSES with you when shooting a show. The least he could have done was put the bag down on the huge flat speaker or the floor in front of him, nobody would have fucked with it.

    On with the show! Little pixie Annie comes onstage, hair all aflutter (I seriously just downloaded and took a chance on her album because I liked her hair on the cover of her newest album) and welcomes us to "the early bird special, 2 for one, all you can eat!"

    By this point the Casbah was sweltering, as it was still hot out…hell, it was still light outside, which is really kinda a trip from inside the Casbah, I'm not used to it! She played a buncha stuff off her new album and some good picks from her first one as well.

    I think the humidity of the room may have contributed to some technical difficulties, as her mike was giving her the electric kiss a few times during the show

    Halfway through the show another jerkoff manages to slip his way in front of me, dragging his girlfriend with him, so now I've got not only his rank smelly hat in my face, but he goes to make out with his woman every 5 minutes or so. Thankfully they left before the encore.

    My only complaint with the performance was that she kinda utilized voice changing devices a little too much…she has a wonderful voice that doesn't really require that kinda stuff I think. She ended the show's encore with "Your Lips are Red", which just happens to be one of my fav St. Vincent songs. It starts off rather rough and tumble… and the lapses into nice hazy floating end, the perfect way to come down from a good rock show!
  • Dancin Birds

    26 maj 2009, 06:39

    Thu 21 May – M83, James Yuill, dj lord nelson

    Had no idea what to expect from them live. I'd seen them play once on Conan or Letterman, one of those late night shows, and they seemed to sound just like their album. One can never tell from those made for TV appearances, they're all prerecorded and time constrained and whatnot. I was supposed to go with a friend of mine who is a big fan, but she couldn't make it, so I had to brave the Belly Up alone.

    I decided to sit on the right side of the stage this time. Usually at the Belly Up I sit on the left, or just stand right in the front of the stage. As much as I love rocking out in the very front of most venues, Belly Up has chairs to sit in! I decided to give the right a chance this time, as the seats on the left side are almost tooo close. If there is a keyboardist or some other big device is on that side, it pretty much blocks your entire view! It was the right choice this time, had I chosen the left side, I would have been staring at the lead singer's ass all night…that's not what I paid to see!

    Opening act was James Yull, he combined keyboards beats with an acoustic guitar. He was alright, some tracks felt a little overproduced, very dance club-ish. It was strange to see people "dancing" at the Belly Up for a change, although a majority of the suburban middle class cracker whitey audience just stood there…probably for the best now that I think about it. At the very least drunken dancing blonde birdies gave me something to look at while we waited for what we all came to see.

    So that guy's finished. M83's set up is pretty cool. The usual keyboards and MacBook Pro's…but the drummers set up was something else. His set of what I can only describe as megadrums were on an elevated platform, which was surrounded by this curved plexi-glass wall, which would bounce whatever sounds he made back at him and amplify the hell outta the drums, which is pretty sweet considering how subdued they are on the studio versions. I'd say the star of the show was the drums, but I'm weird like that.…I always dig the drums, and find myself always stomping and jigging about trying to play along with them via my feet.

    So the show finally begins and they start with one of their ambient songs. He's off in the corner, I can't even see him behind his computer, so I'm starting to worry, where the hell is the rest of the band…this isn't gonna be one of those lame shows where we just watch some guy twist knobs on a computer all night is it? ZZzzzz…at least the birds are dancing, that'll keep me entertained. 2nd song starts and the rest of the band appears, lead singer busts out his guitar, and all is well with the world! They went on the play a bunch of stuff from their newest album "Saturday = Youth". They played pretty much everything I wanted to hear.

    Encore was something else, a long beat and fuzz heavy song (maybe "Guitar and a Heart", I'm no good at remember what people play) that had everyone "getting jiggy with it" as our Scientologist friend Big Willy Style is apt to say. The birds got so into it that they all jumped onstage, much to the chagrin of the bouncers, who after a few mins came out and tried to shove them all offstage…funny thing was, they missed the original gal who got up there first (maybe they thought she was part of the band) so she was onstage for another minute or so before security realized she was not the 5th Beatle. Random birds would try and get back onstage, one douchey guy tried his luck, we were all glad to see him go :P

    And like that, it was over! What started with a whimper ended with a bang, I left satisfied!
  • A middle Cyclone, with a chance of Chocolate Rain

    4 mar 2009, 07:49

    Tue 3 Mar – Neko Case MySpace Secret Show

    **I put way too much back-story into this, if you wanna see what songs she played, scroll dooooooooown**

    Once upon a time, about two years ago, Neko Case played the Belly-Up tavern. I was quite excited to go see her, as I had fallen in love with her alterna-noir quasi country sound that nobody else seems to have.

    My work at the time was a few minutes away from the Belly-Up, but for some reason I kept putting off buying tixs. Finally the Friday before the show, I stopped by, and to my horror was told that the show had SOLD OUT! (I even had a hot date lined up to go with!) I vowed, should she come back to S.D., I would not let her slip through my fingers again.

    Fast forward to 3 days ago. Logging onto myspace and wondering why I'm even keeping that account, I was greeted with a message: NEKO CASE TO PLAY FREE SECRET SHOW ON TUESDAY IN SAN DIEGO!

    Holly Shit! I had just been complaining that Neko had only released east coast tour dates, and suddenly she was to not only play San Diego in a few days, but for free! To top it all off, she was playing the Casbah, the perfect small venue for her! I had just seen fellow New Pornographer Carl Newman play there the week before, would have been cool to see them do a small show together.

    Now the problem was just getting a hold of the tickets. Thankfully I checked out the Casbah's site a day before and found out they would start giving out wristbands at 3pm. This also provided a bit of a problem: how to get some sorta break at work to be able to run downtown and possibly stand in line for an hour?

    I spent most of the night and the day at work trying to come up with a good excuse. Maybe I shouldn't even bother, just show up after work to get one, surely she won't sell out that fast right? But it's a deadline day, what if I don't get out until well after 6pm?? Finally I came up with a pretty good excuse:

    I'd been doing some freelance work that week and still hadn't taken my lunch break. After some last minute hemming and hawing about whether to go through with it or not, I got up, told my manager I was "going to lunch downtown, I have to pick up some materials from my client, I'll be back in about an hour". He fell for it hook, line and sinker.

    Making good time from PB to Kettner Avenue, I was quite surprised to see quite a line snaking around the Casbah. Cursing the slow city traffic, I found parking and ran down the incredibly steep Laurel Ave. and got my place in line! Shot the shit with fellow music fans for a whlie, and waited…and waited…and waited.

    Starting to get nervous now, c'mon guys, I told my boss I'd only be an hour! Finally, they had out our coveted TurboTax sponsored wristbands, and I skedaddle back to work! Put in a few more hours, and then ran back to the Casbah.

    Already another line had formed, although this tme I was closer to the front. Started chatting with some fellow fans, two of which didn't have bands, and left rather disappointed. The couple we were talking to had been first in line to get the wristbands, they'd been there since 1pm that day.

    Some guy with a handycam was interviewing fans…hmm this guy looks familliar, and he sure has a really deep voice. I know I've seen him somewhere. Then it hit me! CHOCOLATE RAIN!! It was the god damn chocolate rain guy! An internet meme in the flesh!

    Turns out he's currently a corporate shill for Myspace/TurboTax. He was interview fans asking them "What was the best thing you've ever gotten for free", (cuz apparently TurboTax is free) to which most everyone replied "sex". He asked us what we thought of Neko and that was about it. He was rather quiet and didn't seem phased by the random singing of "Choocolate Raaain" by random people as he went down the line.

    So we waited, and waited, and waited. We played a little game of "guess which company's airplane will fly by next". (The Casbah get's routinely buzzed by Jetliners landing at San Diego's airport.)

    Finally the line moves! Despite being nowhere near the front of the line, I manage to get a spot right up in front/right side of the stage! Neko and crew head up on-stage. Look at that hair! It glows with a fiery radiance when the slightest tinge of red light is shined on it. Kelly Hogan sure is a cute little thing. And here we go:

    People Got a lot of Nerve
    Maybe Sparrow
    Deep Red Bells
    Hold on, Hold on,
    I am an Animal
    That Teenage Feeling
    Wish I was the Moon
    The Tiger has Spoken
    Margaret vs. Pauline
    Red Tide
    Middle Cyclone
    Don't Forget Me
    This Tornado Loves You

    I'm pretty sure that's what they played, although I know for a fact it's not in the right order. They didn't play too much from the new album as "we haven't got it all down yet, it scares the crap out of us to play it live." (was disappointed they didn't do "Prison Girls") Her voice is amazing live, and she gets it to sound pretty much exactly as it sounds on the album. They played a good mix of their "deep cuts" from previous albums, really couldn't ask for more.

    The in-between song banter was hilarious. Some highlights:

    "Boobs ruin everything"

    Someone shouts out Neko I love You!
    "That's what you say now, but tomorrow morning you'll be just like "ughhh, where are my pants?"

    'Who's the Boss' is really funny on Vicodin"

    And like that, it was over! No encore, which was a bit of a surprise, but considering they were suffering big jet-lag having just arrived from Europe, and the fact that the show was free, we'll forgive them. Show was over a little after 9pm, which is a miracle for a Casbah show, which typically get out at midnight or even later.

    I feel quite lucky to have seen this. Thank you so much Neko for coming down here and doing this for free, it was the perfect early b-day present! I doubt she'll be playing such a small venue around here again. While I love The Belly-Up, it's just not as intimate as good ole Casbah.

    Oh, and before all you under 21 kids bitch and moan about being denied entry. If it HAD been all ages, your chances would have been close to nil for getting a ticket. I barely managed to snag one with just the 21+ crowd to compete with.
  • He's Quite Familliar with the I-5

    26 feb 2009, 08:28

    Wed 25 Feb – A.C. Newman, Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

    I gotta say, the new material sounds so much better and fuller live! I'm fighting off the beginnings of what may be a cold, so I felt awful, but once they got on stage, I was temporarily cured....hallelujah!

    He played a good selection of songs from both his first album and the new one. Some of my faves were the opener "Miracle Drug", "Young Atlantis", and the first song from his "encore" "On the Table" I can't stress how much better the new material sounds live…on the album it felt kinda flat, but played live, it's got some punch!

    Fun Facts: "The Heartbreak Rides" is a song about Interstate 5. Newman also finds whistling while playing live to be quite a challenge, and wonders how Andrew Bird can pull it off.
  • Bambi's dead

    2 dec 2008, 08:32

    Fri 28 Nov – Deerhunter, Times New Viking, Nite Jewel

    This is a partial set list, I can't remember everything they played and have very little memory of what order they played it in (with the exception of the first and last songs)...sad really considering the set list was on the floor a few feet from me. Here's a few that I know of:

    Like New
    Saved by Old Times
    Never Stops
    Nothing Ever Happened
    Backspace Century

    From what I've read, Deerhunter shows can get pretty crazy, but much like their new album, they didn't get too out there. (Other than dropping an amp on the female guitar player, hehe, that was a close one.)

    This was fine with me, I came for the music, not the theatrics, and on that point Deerhunter did not disappoint! I got a glance at the set list before the show and was quite happy to see they were playing all my favorites, especially Microcastle, which is probably my fav Deerhunter song currently (it's also a nice slower, quieter was a nice break from the usual ear bursting wall of sound.) They played the transition part a little differently from the album version, it's was probably smoother, I liked it! The only complaint I could have would be the levels on the vocals during the show. On some songs it was fine, but especially on those shoegazy wall of sound-esque songs, the vocals almost get completely drowned out.

    It was interesting to see everyone who made up the band, and to see just how lanky Bradford Cox is in person. Man I used to get teased about being skinny, but this guy must really have it rough. He's got something called Marfan syndrome, that usually results in long skinny limbs. I don't know how anyone would have the balls to give him shit about it though, especially after seeing him play live, he's damn talented.

    They closed with an extended version of Backspace Century, the perfect closer...complete with false ending!
  • I don't even know how to describe this.

    2 okt 2008, 06:44

    Wed 1 Oct – Sigur Rós, Parachutes

    Amazing & surreal....easily the best show I've seen in my life!