Matisyahu wants you to apply to Sinai Scholars!
Applications are due by Tuesday, 1/24. That’s tomorrow, so don’t hesitate.
Matisyahu wants you to apply to Sinai Scholars!
Applications are due by Tuesday, 1/24. That’s tomorrow, so don’t hesitate.
The past couple of weeks I’ve written about seeing shows at the 40 Watt, so this week I’m not going to bore you with a long description of the pros and cons with the venue because remarkably the concert hall has kept things consistent. I believe this is what it has stayed around for so many years. It’s nice to reflect upon either attending or playing a show and knowing that to return to the 40 Watt would mean the exact same experience. It’s comforting. It’s soothing to know that no matter what condition the world around the 40 Watt is, the same grungy floors will always be as inviting as ever and the lights, dim and eccentric as they may be, will always beckon the newest talent or coddle the classics.
This week I attended the Walk The Moon/Fitz and the Tantrums show and despite both being relatively new bands, it felt like watching a timeline where old melded into new. Walk The Moon being an indie band with synth driven riffs reinforced by booming drums, and Fitz and the Tantrums providing a new school sound to the soul/jazz fusion popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
I’ll begin with Walk The Moon who played a surprisingly amazing show. I would pin their sound midway between ballad and “rager” and I didn’t expect a lot out of their performance. I was pleasantly surprised. As a new band playing for the first time in Athens, they were beyond excited to play for the crowd. The lead singer not only pounded the keys, but played a single drum for effect as well. The energy of each member, who often stopped shredding their instrument to get the crowd clapping unanimously to keep the percussion up, made the performance feel special. Too often I’ve gone to shows where the performers do simply that, perform for the audience. Walk The Moon brought the audience into the show and made them feel that we were just as integral to the sound as the sound level of the amps. Speaking of which, the 40 Watt did a perfect job of tracking the sound for the show. Each instrument and mic was wired perfectly. The only slight issue I noticed was the back-up vocals were a little too low, but the musicians made up for the turned down mic by adding a little extra “umph” into the song. These guys also covered Fleet Foxes which as an extra bit of unique flavor to their performance.
Fitz and the Tantrums headlined the show and they absolutely owned the stage. As a band without a guitarist, one would think they couldn’t keep an audience mesmerized without the strong power chords and deep solos, but Fitz managed to exceed my expectations. With Fitz, the lead singer, dancing and leading the songs, Noelle, the female vocalist and tambourine player, acted as the hype-woman for the group. Dancing, singing, playing the tambourine all while constantly pumping the crowd up , Noelle got the crowd into the groove and kept us there all night. By the end of the show, the entire audience was under the mind control of Fitz hanging on every word. Ending the encore with their hit single, “Moneygrabber,” Fitz begged the audience to kneel down as the song reached a quiet lull only to pop up as one gigantic force when the band exploded into the heart of the song causing a venue wide dance party. The ability of both bands to rope the audience in and get us to feel the music added enormously to the show’s success.
On a more technical note, even though the lights were run in-house, the technician did a fantastic job keeping up with the style of music. Merchandise, as always, was near the door. This time however, I noticed both bands try to plug their merchandise into the show. Both Fitz and Walk The Moon did an excellent job of slyly and subtly mentioning their merchandise without trying to shove it down the crowd’s throat. I appreciated their commitment to sell their merch without trying force additional sales on the audience.
This was the first time both bands visited the classic city and I believe they will be back. Throughout the show they commented on how welcomed they felt and made it a point to meet every fan who wanted to speak with them. It was nice to talk to both bands because they actually cared about the audience. For example, Nick, the lead vocalist from the Walk The Moon introduced me to the rest of the band late in the evening after I had met him earlier. The fact that he remembered my name, although a small feat, truly resonated within me because it showed that he cared. Knowing that the bands appreciated us as much as we appreciated them created this sense of camaraderie which permeated the atmosphere and made the entire night seem like a gathering of friends rather than a strict concert with a concrete separation between audience and band.
Overall, excellent show!
From the geniuses that brought you Barbara Streisand, Duck Sauce rallies with a relatively awful song with one of the most insane. sexual, clever…shit, no words to describe this.
Let me know what you think because I’m absolutely speechless.
^Yeah, carved that…
In the spirit of Halloween and the imminent zombie apocalypse, I’ve decided to share a few songs that deal with the walking dead.
And of course…
Here are a few bonus tracks to add to your deathly playlist:
Motion City Soundtrack, perhaps more appropriately named “High School Power Pop Punk for the Kids Who Were Too Straight Edge to Actually be Punk but Not So Distraught As to be Labeled Emo Soundtrack,” graced the classic city with their presence this past Monday. Not being a huge fan, but knowledgeable enough to sing along with a song or two, I decided to heed my high school woes and quench my nostalgic thirst by heading to the 40 Watt to catch the show.
In typical 40 Watt décor, the lights were dim with the accent lighting dully illuminating the homely venue. Beginning shortly (45 minutes) after the doors opened the first act “Bearhands” took the stage. With short indie bursts, the band sprinted through nearly an entire album in only thirty minutes. Cloaked in hipster garb (homemade jorts and a pansexually tight shirt) the band ignited the evening, but I gained the most not from the music, but from catching up with the lead singer after the show. Fighting through a wall of quirky idiosyncrasies created by illicit substances or perhaps just the bizarre ticks of an indie artist, I managed to foster an impromptu interview. Although not offering much detail, the singer reaffirmed many of the facts I had learned in the music business program. We discussed guarantees vs. percentages for opening bands, the struggle to find the proper manager, the absurdly high price of touring on a bus, and the lucrative business of merchandise sales Side note: Bearhands’ lead singer designed most of merch, so…good luck selling those shirts!
Here is where I shout out to DB for providing me enough fuel to keep a conversation with a music business budding-professional burning.
Back to the show.
Motion City took the stage and with the first strum, the crowd took over vocals. It would have been nice to hear the harmony of the crowd with Justin Pierre, the lead vocalist, but the sound never seemed to permeate from the speakers. Poor sound management also muted the keyboard, an integral part of the Motion City sound. Disappointing audio paired nicely with the lackluster crowd. Even though many die-hard fans packed the club, it seemed as if they were performing at a chorus concert rather than pledging allegiance to their favorite band. Rigid bodies stood as stones belting out each lyric retrieving the catchy words from the depths of high school memories. But where was the movement? Where was the excitement? The disconnect between the enthusiastic voices and the lifeless bodies provided an eerie crowd setting, uncharacteristic of the usual 40 Watt concert goers. I felt like an anarchist, a leader of the counter-culture simply because I danced. I hate to say it, but shame on you patrons of the show, shame. At least Motion City ended the show with an encore performance of “Let’s Get Fucked Up and Die” and “The Future Freaks Me Out” (links to videos above).
Overall, decent show on behalf of the band, weak effort from the fans, and adequate set-up by the venue.
Concert grade: B-
As senior year inches closer and closer to the end of my youth, all I can think about is how much the future freaks me out. However, until graduation comes, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of my last few months here.
Motion City Sountrack tonight at the 40 Watt.
Concert review coming soon.
Of Montreal had been one of those bands sitting in my iPod nearly untouched for years; mind the occasional blast of “Gronlandic Edit” or “She’s a Rejecter.” Somehow I had managed to collect a nice portion of their discography, but for some reason never felt the urge to delve deep within 10+ albums. This changed as soon as I moved to Athens. The aura of the music scene provided an irresistibly shiny gloss over the entire town constantly beckoning all to experience the fruits of such bands as Of Montreal birthed from this mother-city. For the first three years I missed the eclectic bunch of rockers each and every time they returned home, but not this year.
Earlier in the semester, I had noticed that Of Montreal vowed to play the newly renovated Georgia Theatre. I had never seen the band, nor had been to the Athens landmark. This would provide the perfect opportunity to fulfill two self-declared rites of passage as a temporary Athenian. Unfortunately, as the school year became cluttered with academic chaos, I failed to purchase a ticket. Disheartened, but feeling capricious, I decided to venture to the theatre around 10:30 to see if I could manage to pick up a ticket. As if by fate, while standing outside of the venue a friendly-enough looking man approached me. “Hey, do you have a ticket?” he inquired. I shook my head implying that I had not yet purchased one. “Follow me,” he replied. Against my better judgment, but intent on seeing the band I agreed. Within moments I was wristbanded and engulfed by the colorful crowd drunk with…excitement. It turned out that the man I followed into the theatre happened run all of the tour merchandising for Of Montreal and needed to use his “+1.” After my admittance into the theatre, I never saw him again…nor the merchandise come to think of it.
The theatre made a fantastic first impression on me: ample space, brightly lit bars, and perfect airflow. Although mentioning the air seems uncharacteristic of a building, of my past concert experience, venues with poor ventilation can cause as much harm as drinking a gallon of moonshine. Speaking of alcoholic ambrosia, the bars were mobbed with people. Adequately priced tall boys of “Natty” seemed to be the drink of choice as noted by the cans strewn on the floor; not necessarily litter as it added to the college-town venue ambiance. The crowd seemed in good spirits and packed themselves tightly near the stage. Despite being close to capacity, there still seemed to be enough room to dance and wiggle to the front of stage where brightly colored lights accented the dark stage nicely.
The band took the stage and the crowd became one. Dancing and singing, Of Montreal fed the crowed and the crowd sustained them. “Indie” short films and dazzling patterns filled the projection screens behind the band, while actors of some sort in bizarre costumes acted out fights scenes in slow motion and other short acts betwixt the band as they jammed. Front man Kevin Barnes flirted with the audience with each note he sang while he strutted across the stage. Clad in girl’s garb, Barnes pushed the limits of his pan-sexuality to shock and captivate the audience simultaneously. Luring the crowd with his appearance, Barnes and the rest of the band kept them enthralled with thumping bass, infectious beats, and creative melodies. Sound quality seemed optimum, but often times the keyboard seemed lost in the organized cacophony of sounds.
Of Montreal had the crowd hooked from beginning to end. Despite the band’s energetic performance, I almost expected more since the performance was the first homecoming of the academic year. Yes, they pumped up the encore with an extended rendition of “She’s a Rejecter,” however they did nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary, ironic seeing how almost everything the band does could be considered as such.
Despite my yearning for a more personal touch to end the spectacle, I walked away satisfied knowing I had just witnessed legends of the “indie-glam-pop-baroque-psychedelic-whateverthehellyouwanttocallit” scene. Of Montreal threw people into a groove and brought people closer to the music. They succeeded in playing a unique show and entertaining the crowd. Even though the concert did not make it into my top five, it is no reflection on the band and I highly suggest seeing such an interesting band perform in ways stages rarely experience.
If you’re like me and have listened to nothing but The White Stripes the past couple of weeks, you’ll really dig of Montreal covering the classic, “Fell In Love With A Girl.”
The Hood Internet - VCR (click HERE to download)
I’ve crossed the 2 am threshold meaning I could be up for days. So instead of selfishly learning, I’ve decided to partake in the overwhelming selfless action of sharing music with my fellow peers who desperately need a break from the mind-numbing texts of our
bitchass important classes.
As crucial as Spanish literature, organic chemistry, and accounting are to our cognitive development, we often need to supplement such scholastic endeavors with some sophisticatedly dank tracks.
So I bring you a mash-up by Chicago’s own indie-hip-hop mixmasters, The Hood Internet. Included on this track: The xx, Freddie Gibbs, Elizabeth Harper (of Class Actress), and Telli (of the Brooklyn based hip-hop ensemble, Ninjasonik).
Some supplemental material to get to know all of the artists featured in this song:
Too Many Rappers - Beastie Boys (feat. Nas) (no download link so Youtube convert)
I can’t deny it. I’m feeling pretty damn beastie right now. Go ahead, ask me why…
Well, with the unfortunate news that the clean version of the new Beastie Boys album, “Hot Sauce Committee Part Two,” leaked, management decided to stream the “full explicit aka filthy dirty nasty version” on their website Stream the Album Here.
In classic Beastie fashion, the blackest whiteboys of them all, MCA, Mike-D, and Ad Rock bring the fire with their classic electro-industrial beats and that smooth tri-rap old school flow all the way from 1986 to 2011. So throw on those parachute pants, pop a 40, and coast.
***The album officially drops 5/3/11***