Thursday, July 29, 2010

Robyn (7/17/10)

This is going to be a doozy - as this was possibly one of the best concert experiences I've ever had.  Maybe it was the relaxing couple days prior in Risingsun, or the fact that this was a first concert road trip with Matthew, or an on-going series of coincidences that night that made everything work out perfectly.  The fact that Robyn put on a stellar performance only solidified the whole experience.

I would normally start with the opening band, but this trip starts out with dinner.  In a quiet, and surprisingly vacant downtown Pontiac, we wandered (accidentally) into one of the few open establishments (The Liberty), looking to grab a bite to eat, which also happened to be a gay bar.  Casually minding ourselves, none other than Robyn happens to walk in shortly after us!!  I was giddy, but kept my composure.  I considered a quick hello on our way out, but she seemed steeped in conversation with her posse so we didn't interrupt.

Robyn (7/17/10)

After a decent meal, we walked down to The Crofoot and was stunned at the quality of the venue.  Great layout & sound, multiple patios, multiple bars and levels, etc.

Robyn (7/17/10)

We found some seats on the balcony and watched the first two openers.  Stereoluxxx, a two-person act from Flint, MI started the night and really set the tone for what was going to be a party.  They embraced their electro-pop sound with all it's flair and flow.  You could just feel the excitement coming from them, as they were elated to be opening for Robyn.  I think they sounded great and I'd love to see them come to Cleveland.

Stereoluxxx (7/17/10)

Second up was Letterbox.  Not bad, was danceable and enjoyable enough, but it was pretty hard to top the genuine excitment of Stereoluxxx.

Letterbox (7/17/10)

Then we moved down to the stage for Robyn, surprised we were able to walk right up.  This was her first stop after her appearance at the Pitchfork Music Festival, of which she claimed Pontiac was all the more fun.  I could see why.  This crowd may not have been as big, but they were fierce.  Still in shock that she didn't pull a bigger audience, I couldn't have been happier with the turnout (for our sake, not for hers).

Robyn (7/17/10)

Robyn just lit up the stage.  Her dancing, style, and beats were all top-notch.  I feel like Robyn is the real deal and is throwing down pop tracks that don't need the pomp & circumstance of other pop artists.  Robyn had an early rise to stardom early in her career with "Show Me Love" but eventually split with the major labels and started up Konichiwa Records to showcase her new, more electronic sound.  Good move.

Robyn (7/17/10)
Robyn (7/17/10)

After the show, we hung around for some after party event... got bored and walked around, eventually getting kicked out of another part of the bar (a "private" party), and just happened to walk outside as Robyn was walking to the bus.  We proceeded to get autographs and profess our adoration (or at least I wanted to).  It couldn't have been better timed - or provided a better ending to an already perfect night.  Legendary.

Robyn (7/17/10)

It's hard to even explain how great this was... If you haven't had much experience with Robyn, check her out and get to know her stuff, then watch this below and you'll see the awesomeness.  Or just watch it now, and you'll still see.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Video Tuesday

Got a lot of updates coming, including a little video of my own (which is why it's what's taking so long). In the meantime, enjoy some Dan Black (coming Aug 8th), Rogue Wave (coming Aug 3rd), and Kele (just because he's cool).

 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Burning River Festival This Weekend

There's LOTS going on this weekend... and I have some great shows still to post, though it's going to be today unfortunately.  In the meantime, check out all the deliciousness happening at the Great Lakes Burning River Festival!

There's going to be lots of music options there, but none that I could explicitly recommend at this point.  Though with a couple Xmas ales in ya, it'll all sound great.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kid Cudi Downtown Tonight!

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Wolf Parade (7/15/10)

One of the best things about not going to Pitchfork this year is that I get to see some of my favorite bands on their way to Pitchfork. As such was the case with Wolf Parade.  What makes this such a perk is that I get to see an entire set vs. the shorter festival sets.  I couldn't have asked for a better scenario for this to happen than with Wolf Parade.  These guys have been a long-time favorite of mine, ever since seeing them open for Modest Mouse waaay back.  The've slowly released new material and I've enjoyed every album they put out.  Seeing them at the Beachland is a little mini dream come true.

Opening were the Moools from Japan.  I can't say these guys were great, at least vocally, but they really did know how to rock out a jam session.  I'm sure the some of the rock-philes would probably love these guys.  I guess it's not every day you get to see a rock band from Japan.

Wolf Parade modestly walked on stage and began to cycle through a set of songs of which I knew almost every one.  Their sound is phenomenal, with distinct vocals, heavy guitars and all kinds of synthesizers which all together make their sound wonderfully original.  Their power and energy was something to behold, and the show was everything I was hoping for (including a great crowd).  I'm was glad to hear a mix of stuff, including some really old tracks.  However, Expo 86 is as strong of an effort as any from them.  I'm already ready for the next album and tour.

(apologies for the poor pics - virtually no lighting)

Wolf Parade (6/15/10)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Carolina Chocolate Drops (7/14/10)

This was the first performance of the Summer Concert Series at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Only having caught one (awesome) show last year, I was determined to make as many of them as possible this year.  The lineup is amazing, and kicking it off with the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

I'd missed these guys in the area several times before, but I couldn't have asked for a more perfect experience for my first time seeing them.  I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves, along with a little video treat at the end...

Carolina Chocolate Drops (7/14/10)
Carolina Chocolate Drops (7/14/10)
Carolina Chocolate Drops (7/14/10)
Carolina Chocolate Drops (7/14/10)

Make sure to catch the Free Energy performance tonight!

Rani Arbo & Daisy Mahem (7/13/10)

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No photos on this show, thanks to the militant venue that is Cain Park.  While I completely understand that policy, it equally irks me. Anyway, this was one of their $2 Tuesday performances.

It was a gorgeous evening and we biked up for the show.  After arriving, I quickly questioned why more people weren't in attendance - especially at that price.  The music of Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem was decent, a bit more focused for families with children (as punctuated with the Purple People Eater song), but a worthy night none-the-less.  Cain Park is definitely a gem in the city of Cleveland Heights.  I look forward to supporting this venue into the future.

But the best part of this night was swinging by Melt on the bike ride home.  :-)

Small Black (7/8/10)

Going to the Grog Shop on this night was a last minute decision, and a memorable one, though not entirely because of the music. This was the same night that LeBron chose Miami.  While some may say this was a sad night (week/year/millennia) for Cleveland, this show stands as testament to a Cleveland that I find more grounded and appealing - one that supports an amazing live music scene - and one that will never go away.  No one at this show could care less, and these were the kind of people I wanted to be around on a night like this.

Cleveland's own Dreadful Yawns opened.  I can't believe I haven't caught these guys live yet.  They sounded great and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.  Hopefully they have some new music coming out soon, but you can get some free MP3's from their page at Exit Stencil.

Dreadful Yawns (7/9/10)

Beach Fossils were up next.  These guys were a young bunch of guys.  Not bad, though I liked their self-titled album a bit more than their live show. I think with some time and refinement, these guys could be a lot of fun.

Beach Fossils (7/9/10)

Small Black ended the night with a high-energy performance in almost total darkeness, minus the multi-color glowing rods along the front of the stage (I love props).  Lots of fun, a little dance party.  Their EP is some synth-pop/rock goodness.  You should check it out.

Small Black (7/9/10)

No One Knows about Persian Cats [Movie]

This looks like a great film... showing at CIA this weekend.

NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT PERSIAN CATS

KASI AS GORBEHAYE IRANI KHABAR NADAREH

Iran, 2009, Bahman Ghobadi

Contemporary Tehran’s underground indie rock scene is the focus of the new film by the Iranian-Kurdish director known for his road movies and music films (A Time for Drunken Horses, Turtles Can Fly, Half Moon). Shot clandestinely without government consent, this defiant, eye-opening movie follows a young female singer and her musician boyfriend as they try to find potential band mates and then a way to leave Iran and tour Europe. Co-written by once-imprisoned Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi (Ghobadi’s fiancĂ©e). “An exhilarating examination of a leading Iranian criminal enterprise - music. More than 2,000 bands are said to operate clandestinely in the capital of Tehran, risking prison to play together.” –The Wall Street Journal. Cleveland premiere. Subtitles. 35mm. 106 min. www.ifcfilms.com/films/no-one-knows-about-persian-cats Show Times

Jul 24 (Sat) - 7:10PM
Jul 25 (Sun) - 8:00PM

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Video Tuesday (7/20/10)

This week I'm focusing on videos from bands who will be performing this week.  First up is Free Energy, who'll be performing at their fancy-free sound to the Rock Hall on Wednesday... wait for it... for free.  Second is Cincinnati's own Heartless Bastards, who will be at the Beachland on Thursday night.  This song is unfortunately from their older release, but you'll get the picture.  Finally, someone near and dear to my heart...  Joan Armatrading will be performing at the House of Blues on Saturday.

FREE ENERGY "Bang Pop" from Free Energy on Vimeo.

MOG Now on iPhone (& Android)

Bummer!!  I've been excited about this for a while, but should have known it would be an additional charge to use MOG on the iPhone ($10/mo to be exact).  Guess I'm canceling that service.

MOG Launches All-You-Can-Eat Music Service For iPhone And Android
by Jason Kincaid on Jul 20, 2010

After months of waiting, it’s finally here. Streaming music service MOG has launched its mobile applications for Android and iPhone, giving subscribers unlimited access to its library of 8 million songs, which can be streamed or downloaded over both 3G and WiFi. If you listen to a lot of music, or just like being able to listen to music on-demand without having to sync to your PC, this is definitely worth checking out. Access to the mobile service costs $9.99 a month, but MOG is offering free 3-day trials when you download the apps (no credit card is required)."

(Continued... MOG Launches All-You-Can-Eat Music Service For iPhone And Android)

 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

(Free) New Song from Cut Copy!!

Cut Copy had one of the top albums of 2008, and possibly 2009. Very excited to see they have some new stuff coming out.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Rock Hall Series Begins Tonight!!

Last year, I was only able to make it to the Charilift performance as part of the Rock Hall Summer Series, which I gushed about. Going to try and make all of them this year, and I can't think of a better way to kick it off than with The Carolina Chocolate Drops. I've missed these guys the last couple times in the area, but not missing this.  Opening is our own Lighthouse and the Whaler.

Go support the Rock Hall and live music in Cleveland.  The weather, the view, and the music should be superb!

Here's the rest of the shows (individual links below):

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Celebrate Summer in the City with the Rock Hall

The Rock Hall's Summer in the City free concert series starts later this month, and we hope to see you there! The series features some of the most buzzed-about bands on the rise. Summer in the City begins Wednesday, July 14th, and will be held rain or shine.

2010 Concert Lineup

Wednesday, July 14 - Carolina Chocolate Dropswith Lighthouse and the Whaler

Wednesday, July 21 - Free Energy with Founding Fathers

Wednesday, August 11 - Deer Tick with The Modern Electric

Wednesday, August 18 - Trans Am with Mega Chu

a little tip... if you can only make one - make it Deer Tick.  ;-)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Video Tuesday (7/13/10)

Another eclectic mix for this Tuesday. First off is a fun lil' video from the Irish Electro-Pop band, Two Door Cinema Club. Next up, be dazzled by the guitar stylings of the Mexican wonder duo - Rodrigo y Gabriela (amazing). Finally, the new single from the first solo album by Killers front man, Brandon Flowers. Good for you Charlize... Lucky.

Rocky Votolato (7/7/10)

What originally stood out about this performance was that it was a house concert.  Particularly because I think the concept is *awesome* and would love to host my own at some point (soon).  From the beginning, I paid attention to the details of the setup and execution.  While that was happening, I started listening and really liking Rocky Votolato.  It became as much about him as being part of this house concert experience.

The performance location wasn't at all what I expected.  I'd only been to one other house concert, and this was probably back in 2003/04 when I saw Girlyman for the second time.  That was more of a formal, suburban affair, with seats, wine and cheese.  This night was a floor and a keg, and the occassional bottle of Makers Mark making the rounds.

Rocky Votolato
Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato was charming, humble and an amazing singer/songwriter/performer.  He had much more material than I was expecting, and quite the dedicated audience - for good reason.

Rocky Votolato

Afterward, we hung out a bit and got to chat with him. I even bought a copy of his new True Devotion LP (Barsuk) and even got it signed. You should get your own (from Insound).

Monday, July 12, 2010

In A Dream - Skybox

I saw that kingofthecastle7 just posted the clips from Skybox (6/22/10).  Ah, it takes me back.  Make sure you catch these guys - whenever you can.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Kent Heritage Festival (7/3/10)

I was just in Kent to visit my friend Tim and hang out at the Kent Heritage Festival.  One of his friends suggested we should go to the Water Street Tavern and catch Costley Ct. Never heard of them, but what the hay. These guys were a fun little local band.  They kept the party hoppin', though I don't think that's hard to do in Kent for some reason.  Here are a couple pics.

Kent Heritage Festival
Costley Court (6/3/10)

 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Young Mammals / Prisoners (7/2/10)

The more time I work on this blog, the more people I get to meet... I was contacted by a promoter for this band, Young Mammals.  Along with a personal contact came a free download of the album.  As usual, that always gets my attention.  I checked them out and they sounded great.  An fresh, young sound out of Texas.

There was a dilemma however, this was the same night as my long-time favorite - Dar Williams.  I think I would have dropped Dar in a second (I've seen her enough), but then I realized I could make both shows in one night (gotta love Cleveland).

We unfortunately missed the Cloud Nothings opening, but made it in time to catch the Young Mammals.  This was Rock & Roll.  A welcomed intensity (a little more than I was expecting).  Check them out:

Young Mammals (6/2/10)

Next up was Cleveland's own Prisoners. I knew I had seen them before, but didn't realize until I searched my own blog to realize it was just at Record Store Day. They were great... another superb Cleveland rock band.

Prisoners (6/2/10)

After the show, I got to hang with the promoter (Hey Mike!) and the band. Great people... Great Bar.

Bathroom Quote

 

Dar Williams (7/2/10)

The first of two shows last night... Dar Williams has been one of my long-time favorite artists, and I'm happy to see her any chance I can.

Sara Watkins opened, who you may know from her stint in Nickel Creek.

Sara Watkins (6/2/10)

Dar was as charming as ever.  I can't say this show was as good as others, but she's already won my heart.

Dar Williams (6/2/10)

Overall, a great night of some singer/songer & bluegrass performances... but this show was just the beginning!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Video Tuesday (7/6/10)

Whoops, not quite Tuesday anymore.

First up is Rocky Votolato, who's performing at a house concert tonight. Next is the new video from Fang Island, who's coming in August, and finally a Rusko video, showing how much fun it is to be a touring DJ.

Rocky Votolato - White Daisy Passing from aaron wesner on Vimeo.

Rusko - Hold On (feat. Amber Coffman) from Mad Decent on Vimeo.

"The amazing new single featuring Amber Coffman gets an official video- shot over a 5 day period while doing about 8 shows in the UK, "Hold On" documents the chaotic pace of life on the road for Rusko."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Zender Agenda on Spangle Magazine

My monthly roundup for must-see shows in Cleveland has just been posted for July over at SpangleMagazine.com.  Check it out, if you don't already.

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The Boombox Returns

I knew it would only be a matter of time until history repeats itself.

Roundup: Master Blasters | Wired.com Product Reviews

The Boom Box Stages a Comeback

Share your playlist. Loudly. A new era of boom boxes is upon us, and they'll have you jamming like it's 1989."

(Continued... Roundup: Master Blasters | Wired.com Product Reviews)

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Friday, July 2, 2010

2 Great Shows Tonight

There's probably more than that, but these are the two I'm going to try and make...

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Beachland Ballroom:

The Happy Dog

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These shows couldn't be much further apart in style and genre... demonstrating diversity of options we have going on here.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Cyndi Lauper (6/29/10)

This was a great show...  I've seen Cyndi Lauper before (way back in 2005), so I know she's a great performer, but I was unsure how this whole Memphis Blues album would integrate with a more traditional Cyndi Lauper performance.  I have to say, she pulled it off very well.  The first half of the show was all blues (the whole album?).  While this may not sound appealing to the more traditional fans, she sounded like a true blues performer.  I can see why she's been wanting to do this album for the last couple years.  After the blues, she followed up with her traditional set, covering all the Cyndi standards.  The band was great, her voice was great, and Cyndi continues to be an amazing performer.

Cyndi Lauper (9/29/10)