Monday, February 27, 2012

Tomorrow: Tennis @ Grog Shop

Tennis is coming to town tomorrow night at the Grog Shop ($10/$12).  Bright, smart and sunny pop.  I bet these guys will be great.  More details over at the Grog Shop site.


I bet these guys had so much fun filming this video…

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Heartless Bastards Album Review

Very well said by I Rock Cleveland - the place to go for spot-on album reviews.


"Not to be outdone by that other throwback rock band birthed in the Buckeye State, Erika Wennerstrom and the Heartless Bastards have put together the kind of cohesive, all-purpose rock album in Arrows  that’s rarely heard these days.  Whether they’re playing back room blues, a honky-tonk shuffle, or a boogie inspired by Marc Bolan and T Rex, Wennerstrom’s voice and her bandmates accompaniments are up to the task."

(Continued... I Rock Cleveland | Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock)

I've loved Heartless Bastards since I saw them live back July 2010.  And now with an excellent new album out, I'm hoping for another go-round.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Video Tuesday

Here's a pretty chill group of songs & videos for this late-February week.  Starting off with my favorite genre - a travel video! The Head and the Heart once again makes me want to go on our with a band with their video for Down in the Valley.  Next up is the video for Crystalfilm by Little Dragon - a little bit weird, but what I would hope.  Finally, a spawn of Cut Copy, Ben Browning is branching out on his own with I Can't Stay.  But make sure you stay for the bonus below…  (seriously)

When I say to watch this video, I mean go full-screen *watch* it.  It's stunning.  I have no idea who Cold Specks are, but I'm just about to find out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Article: Katy Perry Shows How The Problem With The Major Labels Is Economics, Not Piracy

Probably the only way you'll see Katy Perry mentioned on this blog. ;-)

Katy perry 20080722 439927

Katy Perry Shows How The Problem With The Major Labels Is Economics, Not Piracy | Techdirt

"once again, the "problem" has nothing to do with the "music industry" failing... or even that musicians aren't able to make money any more. It's all about the bad economics of the record labels. They set themselves up to fail this way, focusing solely on that one slice of the pie, and not moving very quickly to adapt when the market shifts. Instead, they seem to have kept up the inefficiencies associated with making such a "hit" album, without figuring out a way to profit from the results. "

(Continued... Katy Perry Shows How The Problem With The Major Labels Is Economics, Not Piracy | Techdirt)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Video "Tuesday"

Not a huge MIA fan, but I'm digging this bad-ass video for Bad Girls.  Though Fallout by Neon Indian is pretty bad-ass too.  I'm just left speechless by the Miike Snow's WTF video for Paddling Out

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blind Pilot (2/9/12)

Now I see why kingofthecastle7 so emphatically recommended Blind Pilot.  What they're not is edgy, political or hipster.  What they are is mature, sincere and romantic - a nice change once in a while.  I've talked about bands that have a hard time crossing that threshold of a great show without prior knowledge of their songs.  Blind Pilot did a great job on that scale, and going forward I have an even stronger connection with the music after such a great show.

Blind Pilot (2/9/12)

To describe their music, I'm going to defer to the more eloquent  "Most Blind Pilot songs start softly – acoustic picking, Israel Nebeker’s easy, endearing vocals, a toe-tapping rhythm – and casually build to a gentle chug, like a dependable train pushing across the immense, American landscape. Soon come the full band harmonies belted out soulfully but not showily. It’s from-the-heart music meant to love on first listen and for faraway, changing times." (Continued... Video Session: Blind Pilot : LaundroMatineeExactly.

Blind Pilot (2/9/12)

Here's a sampling of some of my favorite songs… of course you can watch the entire show over at kingofthecastle7.

Here are the rest of the photos:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tomorrow: Defend Music Night!

It's a big night for live music in Cleveland tomorrow night.  Details from and down below.  More details here:


I Rock Cleveland | Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock

"Still, the issue is far from settled, and that’s why ten of the member clubs in The Cleveland Music Club Coalition have banded together to host an event they are calling Defend Music Night.  Taking place this Friday, Defend Music Night will not only give you the opportunity to rock out at venues like The Happy Dog, Beachland, Brother’s Lounge, and Now That’s Class, but also give you the knowledge needed to become a part of the cause.

Defend Music Night: Friday, February 10th:

Beachland: Outlaws I&I, We the People, GS Harper
Brothers Lounge: Reese Daily, Justin Gorski
Garage Bar: Restless Habs, Drunken Bishops
Happy Dog: Herzog, Bill Fox
The Harp: Brent Kirby
Now That’s Class: Woolen Kits, Puffy Areolas, Smooth Brain
Prosperity Social Club: Martini Five-O
Peabody’s: Tenafly Vipers, Not So Good Ol’ Boys, Jason Charles Miller, Scattered Heart
Roc Bar: Patrenzo, Kennedy & Keilyn, Veeno, Treazon, Dasanto, Soul Kryziz, Zup
Rockstar: Snipez, JMO"

(Continued... I Rock Cleveland | Indie Rock, College Rock, Alt Rock, Modern Rock, Cleveland Rock, and Rock)

Cleveland music clubs rally against city tax |

"We want to put the spotlight on the threat that the admissions tax poses to local clubs and the musicians," said Sean Watterson, owner of the West Side's Happy Dog. "We want more venues to open. It allows creative musicians to play here instead of moving to New York or Nashville or Chicago or Los Angeles."

(Continued... Cleveland music clubs rally against city tax |

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tomorrow: Blind Pilot @ Beachland Ballroom

Tomorrow's Blind Pilot show comes *highly* recommended by kingofthecastle7.  I mean like, he lit up telling me about them.  I think this show would have caught my attention anyway - but it's always great to have a personal recommendation… and I'd hope so, as that's the entire point of this blog.  Beachland Ballroom / 8:30 / $15  (The Barr Brothers opening - nice stuff as well!)

Blind pilot

Check out an official, and a live video - for the full spectrum.

Video Tuesday

After blowing through 10 concert reviews straight, I don't feel so bad about being a day behind here.  Feels *so* good to be caught up - and just in time for some more shows this weekend!  Until then - here's some great stuff.  I've really been digging the new Class Actress stuff and here's a mediocre video for Bienvenue (the song makes up for it).  Next up is First Aid Kit with Emmlou.  Finally, Justice with a sweet tits video for On'n'On.  …and a bonus.

Walls' Into Our Mist - a sweet "how it's made" video.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Estelle (2/2/12)

I've been digging Estelle's American Boy (w/ Kanye West) for *years*.  Since then, she's dropped a couple singles, but not much since.  I was thrilled to see she was coming to Cleveland - and that it would be in the smaller Cambridge Room at the House of Blues.  After a bite to eat at Chinato before-hand (mmmm), we showed up ready to dance.

We caught the end of Luke James set and his big single, I Want You.  Man has got a voice (and a body & smile to match).  Impressive.  We settled in with drinks and waited with anticipation.  From the moment she was announced, I immediately realized how lame the crowd was going to be.  I'm talking - barely clapping.  Then once the music started no one barely moved a hip!!  I'm used to this at these indie rock shows, but this R&B / Rap show was even worse!  I was stunned.  Just stunned.

Estelle (2/2/12)

Luckily, equally as stunning was Estelle.  She had a swagger and confidence about her that matched her talents.  I have to give her credit for working that crowd as best she could - lesser artists would have given up.  She provided a full night of great songs, a few covers, and insight that left any conscious person wanting more.  The juxtaposition of that crowd to her performance was just amazing.

Estelle (2/2/12)

Also working against her was this seemingly self-proclaimed MC, someone from one of the local radio stations I believe who kept cutting in on her.  I really have never been more embarrassed of Cleveland as a audience than I was at this show.  At the same time, Estelle has solidified herself as one of my top favorite female performers after being able to shine through that debacle.  I just hope she hasn't given up on us.

I did catch a clip of American Boy (interrupted of course):

Acoustic Cafe Tour (1/29/12)

Erin McKeown with Carrie Rodriguez & Kelly Joe Phelps - at Nighttown - YES PLEASE.  This was another year of a traveling Acoustic Cafe tour supporting artists and the Acoustic Cafe radio program.  While I guess Carrie Rodriguez has at the "helm" this show was really about Erin McKeown for me.  Having seen Erin several times before, I was really excited to see her in this venue - which I had actually already seen Carrie Rodriguez. I wasn't too familiar with Kelly Joe Phelps - but was willing to learn.

The first half of the show had each artist performing a couple songs of their own, typically with a transition parter to then perform their own set.  Not bad.  The second half was all three performing together.  I'll reluctantly admit that things did seem a bit off… like Erin & Carrie were really trying to work things up - but Kelly gave off this old grump mentality.  I only note this because I've seen how good these kinds of shows can be - and this wasn't quite there.  But then, I could see just about anything at Nighttown and be super-pleased in that venue.

Check out some pics, and there's a clip of an article talking about the tour below...

Acoustic Cafe Tour (1/29/12)

Acoustic Cafe Tour (1/29/12)

Carrie Rodriguez helms "Acoustic Cafe" tour

Austin singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Carrie Rodriguez will host the third annual "An Acoustic Cafe Evening" trek, sharing the stage with Kelly Joe Phelps, Erin McKeown and Pieta Brown along the way.

The singer/songwriter-focused road trip, inspired by the syndicated radio show "Acoustic Cafe," gets underway Jan. 24 in Ann Arbor, MI, and cruises through the Midwest, stopping by clubs and theaters in 11 cities. The schedule is currently slated to wrap up Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.

Rodriguez will host and perform each evening, as will Phelps. McKeown will be part of the line-up through Jan. 30, after which Brown will join the tour."

(Continued... Carrie Rodriguez helms "Acoustic Cafe" tour)


He's My Brother She's My Sister (1/26/12)

As I mention before, these guys have toured with Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic fields before, and I can see the symbiosis.   He's My Brother and She's My Sister is definitely a slightly-off the center party band with amazing energy and creativity.  They were just beaming good energy… but we'll get to that.

The night started out early - particularly so I could catch both opening acts and grab a bite to eat. I do want to make a point to say how GOOD the new menu is at the Beachland.  My friend Carrie & I tried three different things between us and they were all amazing.  I'm excited to eat there again!

OK… back to music.  I've seen the local Lowly, the Tree Ghost before - and they're fun to listen to.  Definitely a solid local band that has the big chamber-folk thing down - but with some room for polishing.

Lowly, the Tree Ghost (1/26/12)

Next up was my first time seeing Shivering Timbers - finally!  This band out of Akron has been eluding me, to my detriment.  These guys have the dark, sultry folk thing down pat, and Sara Benn's voice was superb.  I'm just now getting familiar with their stuff - but anxious to see them again (and again).  Looks like there are plenty of opportunities!

Shivering Timbers (1/26/12)

By this time it was a well primed evening when He's My Brother She's My Sister just took it home.  Again, another strong female voice (swoon).  Throw in a painted upright bass, a top hat, some glitter, and a person tap dancing on a drum and I'm sold.  A total party, and I was thrilled to see some people dancing to this.  Go see these guys!

He's My Brother She's My Sister (1/26/12)

He's My Brother She's My Sister (1/26/12)

Akron/Family (1/19/12)

This was a particularly exciting show, as I had family visiting from back home and was very excited to take them to a show at the Beachland!  Especially being Akron/Family, who I thoroughly enjoyed last time I saw them.  Leave it to this scenario (where I'm showing someone the Beachland for the first time) for it to be a completely different experience than normal.  We walked in to the band being set up in the middle of the floor.  Case in point:

Akron/Family (1/19/12)

It was an interesting setup and it played nicely with the crowd - but this was a completely different experience than before.   Last time it was just this amazing non-stop jam session.  This time, there was much more engagement with the audience (which always makes me a little nervous).  I think part of the issue was that there were just generally less people than last time (and in a larger space).  That didn't stop Akron/Family from rocking out though.  They were as avant-garde as ever… I'm not sure my guests entirely appreciated it, but I still did.  I'll be looking forward to a  new release from them coming sometime soon.

Akron/Family (1/19/12)

Akron/Family (1/19/12)

Caveman (1/15/12)

Caveman was another last-minute discovery, and another show at the Happy Dog.  Though I was hoping that the sunnier, pop/electronic aesthetic would play better at the Happy Dog.  It did, but I have to admit that since that show, I like these guys even more - and now I'm even MORE excited for their return at the Beachland Tavern (Wednesday, March 21st).  Check out some photos - and then a clip from my favorite song of theirs, Thankful.

Caveman (1/15/12)

Caveman (1/15/12)

Now download a copy of it for yourself for free.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Greycoats (1/12/12)

In a last-minute decision, I chose to go see the Greycoats at the Beachland Tavern instead of Langhorne Slim at the Grog Shop.  Having seen Langhorne before, and with some sweet new singles by Greycoats - I thought I'd try my luck with the dark horse.

Opening was Winter's Warm who played with no drummer - not bad, but not fair to review with missing a third of their band.  Next up was ME.  Now I wish for the life of me I could find a website for them (realize how hard searching just those two letters are), because I would love to know when they come back.  An extremely quirky duo, with an alternative swagger that was raucous and unapologetic.  These guys made the night for me.  Anybody know them?

ME (1/12/12)

ME (1/12/12)

Thankfully ME was good, because Greycoats were meh.  They did play a song from their upcoming album that would give me some hope, but I can't imagine seeing these guys again.

Greycoats (1/12/12)

Beachland Tavern (1/12/12)

Theophilus London (1/11/12)

Finally, getting into the new year.  As I mentioned, I was late to the Thesophilus London game, so I didn't have a lot of context coming into this show.  This was one of the situations that with the right crowd it could have been an amazing performance, but not nearly as many people were there as I would have expected.  The overall performance was decent (sans crowd contribution) but not much to write about, though you can get a much more emphatic review of this show over at TVD Cleveland if you're interested.  (btw, the crowd looks great in these photos, but directly behind me was sheer emptiness)

Thesophilus London (1/11/12)

Thesophilus London (1/11/12)

Machine Gun Kelly (12/15/11)

I'd been waiting to catch Machine Gun Kelly for some time - as I think it's a straight-up guy who I'm glad loves Cleveland so  much.  I missed his last performance at the Grog Shop and was really excited to see him perform at House of Blues, now supported by Diddy.  But the night ended up being a longer story than I'd put here, but I basically got to House of Blues late, only catching a couple songs before the show was over.  From what I saw, it's what you'd expect... but it's a little consolation that MGK'd be proud knowing I raged. I would still like another chance for a truly Laced Up experience.

Here's another crappy iPhone photo:

Machine Gun Kelly (12/15/11)

Beirut (11/30/11)

I suppose that since this post is about Beirut, it should be some extensive review about an awesome show by a stunning band.  And I guess it could be - but this show left me a little salty for paying $30+ to see a band perform for about an hour.  Granted, they performed *very* well - so much that I would recommend & probably see them again (for less, or at least a different venue) - but in keeping up with my catching up, you're getting a couple crappy iPhone pics (courtesy of HOB Cleveland's no camera policy).

Beirut (11/28/11)

Beirut (11/28/11)

Herzog (11/23/11)

I'm about to start the grueling process of catching up on some shows that I've seen, but not written about.  The sad thing is that I'm reaching all the way back to late November here - though things were quite slow through the holiday, which means I've probably been behind by more shows at previous times (just my own self-pacification).

So the last Herzog album has been winning me over.  To see they had a new album coming out, and that the CD release show would be at the Happy Dog was thrilling.  However,  some happy-hour drinks and a really late show at the Happy Dog left for not much of an attention span (not to mention the on-going, excessively loud sound issues) - so not much to wax poetic about this show.  I did grab some pics though...

Herzog (11/23/11)

Herzog (11/23/11)

Herzog (11/23/11)

Though not to do Herzog a complete disservice, you should listen to a new track "Fuck This Year" over at Here's the rest of the pics...


Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Dø - The Calendar

Just posted about The Dø on this past Video Tuesday.  Let's follow that up with a live performance from The Best Fit Sessions.  Again - I think these guys are superb.