Concert Pics

Delta Spirit are my latest addiction. Their recent release, History From Below, is my most listened to album of 2010 so far and also my favorite. I ventured out to Masquerade in Atlanta to see these songs come to life and my expectations were fully exceeded.

Delta Spirit opened with a few verses of “People C’mon” from their previous album, Ode To Sunshine, before diving headlong into their latest single, “Bushwick Blues.” It was a perfect transition from old to new and the beginning of a night of music that celebrated lead singer Matthew Vasquez’s birthday at the stroke of Midnight.

Highlights of the set included the jaw dropping 3-man percussion on “White Table,” the intensity in “St. Francis,” and the quiet emotion of “Vivian,” a song about Matthew’s grandmother passing away. The song is special on the album, but chills were sent up my spine in hearing the clashing cymbals and drums behind Matthew’s angry vocals: “I know it’s hard to deal with the pain/ The yellow from your liver giving out.”

As the night wore on, the band slowly turned the birthday party into full force on stage, knocking back their fair share of cold ones and cover songs by the likes Louis Armstrong, Pink Floyd, and an encore kicked off with Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

I took my brother-in-law to this show, a guy who had never heard of Delta Spirit. They won him over playing a trashcan lid and he’s now in possession of Ode To Sunshine and History From Below. Like me, he’s got ’em both on repeat.

And speaking of covers, here’s a favorite:

Delta Spirit – Duncan (Paul Simon cover from their Daytrotter Session)

And here is a fan video of “White Table” from the same show:

And here are the rest of my pics:

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After one of the worst cubicle occupied days in recorded history on Wednesday, I drove to downtown Atlanta to witness some rock show. I was in search of mental balance and emotional prosperity.‚  What is the remedy for such a plight? Three-piece harmonies. That’s what The Moondoggies and Blitzen Trapper delivered in two magnificent sets.

Whoever paired this group together at this venue, allow me say “thank you.” As a recent transplant to the Atlanta burbs from Northern California, I walked into my first ever show at Variety Playhouse and was surprised with one of the best sounding venues I’ve ever been to. I quickly grabbed a Dogfishhead 60 Minute IPA (also kudos for having multiple IPA’s, including high gravity beers on tap) and made my way to the stage as The Moondoggies jammed their way through “Changing.”

The crowd began filling in and became instantly enamored with this unassuming Seattle band. “Love the Moondoggies!” shouted one fan between songs, to which lead singer Kevin Murphy replied, “Thanks,” in his dry, chronically sleepy demeanor.‚  When I say sleepy, I mean it.

The Moondoggies tore through tight set of American folk, blues, and gospel-inspired songs, reminiscent of great rock music from bands like The Grateful Dead and The Band, with such lethargy that I wanted to pull out some folding chairs to make it more comfortable for them. Maybe offer a 5 hour energy and quick back rub between songs. Stage presence isn’t what you need from a band like this, however, because their music and vocal harmonies deserve to own the spotlight without distractions. The Moondoggies will create serious waves with the release of their sophomore album, Tidelands (Sep 14).

And then the main course rolled on stage. My first taste of Blitzen Trapper at a real venue (SxSW outdoor stages excluded). We crowned their ’08 album, Furr, the best album of the year and Blitzen Trapper are now touring on the heels of the recent release, Destroyer Of The Void. To surpass the brilliance of Furr would be an impossibility, but Destroyer is far from a let down. There are several marginal and sub-par reviews floating around the web right now, but I’m betting that none of those critics ventured out to experience the material in the live setting. It’s too bad because it shines.

Blitzen Trapper proved that they are expert musicians, led by principle songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist/ lead singer Eric Early. Their set, dominated mostly by material from Furr and Destroyer, toggled back and forth between the full band, Early solo, Early with red-headed Marty Marquis, and then back to full band. Each song was executed with perfection, including some of‚  my favorites from the ’08 release like “Black River Killer,” “Furr,” and “Not Your Lover.”

After hearing the new tracks in concert, Destroyer In The Void carries much more weight. “Love and Hate” is now a favorite track after seeing Early and band crank through this glam-rock gem.‚  “The Man Who Would Speak True” and “Sadie” blended in perfectly with the folk-rock songs from Furr, and although they may sound like B-sides from the last album, they are still incredible songs that hold their own. To appreciate Blitzen Trapper is to stand in a crowd and watch them hit each note with precision and nail every vocal harmony. I’ve had their complete discography playing straight through each day since the show.

Downloads:

Blitzen Trapper – Heaven and Earth

Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer

Blitzen Trapper – Gold For Bread

Blitzen Trapper – Furr

The Moondoggies – Changing

The Moondoggies – Fly Momma Fly

More pics:

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Big Boi in Atlanta

HearYa covering hip hop? When free drinks are involved, yes please.

Truth be told, I’ve consumed my fair share of hip hop growing up. I remember buying Kool Moe Dee’s Knowledge Is King solely because of the cover art then I’d regale my friends by spitting out the lyrics to “I Go To Work” in its entirety. I’m pretty sure I can still do it today. I also listened to my fair share of DMX, Jay-Z, Tribe Called Quest, and Outkast in college. Although a hip hop show isn’t typically an event worthy of requesting a hall pass from a sleep deprived wife at home with a toddler and newborn, I was excited to see what these Microsoft KIN Spot Event shows were all about – especially after our coverage of The Dead Weather in Chicago.

The event details were announced via Facebook and Twitter hours before the show and lines began forming outside of the Yaarab Shrine Temple in downtown Atlanta. Yes, shrine temple. As in those shriners that wear funny little hats in local parades. It’s an obvious choice for hip hop concerts. The temple was transformed into a club, complete with stage, DJ booth and several bars to fuel the party-goers. The event was top notch, but unfortunately, the talent was not.

Yaarab Temple Shrine

Jay Electronica opened up the evening and should have been left off the bill entirely. The majority of his time on stage consisted of chit chat. He preached about Hurricane Katrina and other political topics, then requested a show of hands for how many of us thought that all women liked to be strangled during sex.‚  Very few participated in the exchange, which wasn’t surprising given the number of women in attendance. If people had paid or were even paying attention, Jay Electronica may have been booed off stage.

A tattooed white rapper named Yelawolf took the stage next and was shockingly good. He strutted out, offered zero chit chat, and won over the crowd with lyrics that spewed from his mouth like machine gun fire. His set was focused, intense, and entertaining.

Yelawolf

Big Boi from Outkast was the obvious headliner, but I was surprised that the free event wasn’t at full capacity in his hometown. It felt half-full, but those that attended were buzzing about what Big Boi had in store. Little new material has been released and this was to be the first glimpse of Big Boi as a solo artist. I think I speak for most in the crowd (including a hip hop connoisseur that I invited as my plus one) when I say, “Meh.” Big Boi balanced the unfamiliar new songs with old Outkast fan favorites. Yes, he even performed “Ms. Jackson,” but Dre’s absence in those Outkast songs made them sound completely watered down. Of the new songs we were introduced to, I’d echo my earlier sentiment and say “they were just alright.”

Big Boi Kin

I’d sum it up as follows: The event itself was great. One artist was awful, one surprising, and one underwhelming. If I would have paid to see this lineup in concert, however, I would have had serious buyer’s remorse.

Here’s a video supplied by KIN:

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HearYa SxSW 2010 Day Party Pictures

by oz on March 23, 2010

We’re all still recovering from the best SxSW trip we’ve ever had. More posts will be coming about all the highlights, but here are a few pics from our party at Beauty Bar. The venue was at capacity nearly all day long and the party was surreal for me. The bands on our lineup weren’t selected for their popularity or “buzz” (although many are hugely popular and buzzworthy). We invited them because we’re huge fans of their work and words can’t express our gratitude to The Deep Dark Woods, The Mother Hips, Lissie, Joe Pug, The Low Anthem, Ben Nichols, Murder By Death, Gringo Star and The Love Language – and their management.

I’d also like to thank our co-host, Tim Sweetwood of Woods Entertainment for all his hard work in making the event a success. He’s a friend and supporter of HearYa and a great person.

Also a very special thank you to our amazing sponsors for their help in making the event happen. BEER NUTS has been a long time sponsor of our sessions and kept the crowd snacking. Manifest Digital was on site and will soon be releasing interviews from several bands at the party. The Masquerade will have my loyalty as a concert goer in Atlanta as long as I’m located here – especially with their upcoming dates featuring great indie bands like Local Natives.

If you were in attendance, thanks for stopping by. Many of you were there from start to finish which is a testament to your great taste in music.

My apologies go out to those that weren’t able to get in and to Gringo Star and Murder By Death.‚  My pictures of those two bands were horrible and not worth posting. If I can find images from other fans, I’ll be sure to post them.

The Deep Dark Woods

The Deep Dark Woods

The Deep Dark Woods

The Deep Dark Woods

The Mother Hips

The Mother Hips

The Mother Hips

The Mother Hips

Lissie

Lissie

Joe Pug

Joe Pug

The Low Anthem

The Low Anthem

The Low Anthem

The Low Anthem

The Low Anthem SxSW 2010

The Low Anthem

Ben Nichols (of Lucero)

Ben Nichols (of Lucero)

Ben Nichols at SxSW 2010

Ben Nichols

The Love Language

The Love Language

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