Thursday, August 10, 2017

Article: Say hi to Songkick Travel

I’m a big fan of Songkick, and always use it when traveling.  Nice to see they’re making it even easier.

Songkicktravel

"That’s why we built Songkick Travel. Tell it when and where you’re going, and we’ll serve up the incredible concerts happening whilst you’re there.

You can even filter by your Songkick username to see which of your tracked artists are in town. Heck, you might even be sharing a hotel.

So if you’re planning your next city break / business trip / pizza pilgrimage, take Songkick Travel for a spin and unlock the live music scene."

(Via Say hi to Songkick Travel – Songkick.)

Video Day #tzachill

Ani DiFranco just released another (!!) new video off her new album Binary, for the title track.  Jon & Roy, my favorite Canadian folk duo, has a new album and a new video for Runner.  Ibeyi is back with a new album (coming out soon) and are dropping this new video for Away Away.

BONUS:  Van William (WATERS) and First Aid Kit put out this great new song (and video) for Revolution.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Drums (8/4/17)

I was already lucky enough to hit 2 free shows this week.  When The Drums appeared as a third, I was happy to take it!  I had already been eyeing this show anyway, because  I remember liking them when I saw them back in 2011.  Their new stuff has been pretty good and their sound was fitting right in with my current mood. I would say that they sound like what The Smiths would sound like if they grew up in California in the 90’s.  Really.  What a great night of music and friends.

The Drums (8/4/17)
The Drums (8/4/17)

Opening was NE-HI.  These guys were pretty good, and had quite the massive end to their set (video below).


NE-HI (8/4/17)

 

Little Dragon (8/2/17)

WOW.  After a mediocre Tegan and Sara show at HOB on Monday, it was so refreshing to be at this Little Dragon show!  Before we get to that, Xavier Omär opened.  It was just him singing with a DJ on stage.  There were some mixed feelings about his performance amongst friends, but he was really putting himself out there and I can respect that.

Xavier Omär (8/2/17)

So Little Dragon.  It has been a little over 7 years since I’ve seen them live (at the Grog Shop!).  I guess they were originally booked for the Beachland Ballroom this time, but changed venues for “production value.”  Based on the show they put on at House of Blues, I can kinda see it - if only for costume changes alone.  So musically, they were on fire. It was different, fresh, and passionate.  I even had in my notes, “the consummate alt art indie pop band.”  I guess was really feeling it.  And some of that may be due to the venue not being as full as for Tegan & Sara.  There was plenty of room on the floor for dancing, which also has much better sound than the edges of the space where you’re at (if you’re me) if it’s busy.   I already can’t wait to see them again.

Little Dragon (8/2/17)


Little Dragon (8/2/17)

Little Dragon (8/2/17)

I took a LOT of photos.  You can see the rest of them here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tegan & Sara (7/31/17)

Tegan & Sara are one of those bands that I was lucky enough to see back in 2004 at the Grog Shop (before I even started blogging).  I’ve seen them a handful of times since, but it’s really hard to top that early show.  My first documented time seeing them was in 2005, and I can’t believe that poor little video clip is still working!  Since then, the venues and albums have fluctuated.  This show at the House of Blues was not on the top of my list, but having a press pass is a luxury for the House of Blues.

Opening was Japanese Breakfast, a woman from Oregon who was the former lead singer for Little Big League.  I’e been enjoying her album, and it was great to hear that Cleveland is her favorite city in the US (to tour, I believe).  She talked about the basement shows, playing at a bowling alley (Mahalls!) and a skate park (Now That’s Class!), etc.  While I had been enjoying the album, the live performance was perfectly fine.

Japanese Breakfast (7/31/17)

Japanese Breakfast (7/31/17)

Tegan & Sara just came off a 5 day straight tour, and you could tell (especially from the photo trench).  I wish I could say something remarkable about this show.  Other then the fun inflatables on stage, I can’t really say there was much difference between this show and the others I’ve seen, particularly as they seemed to focus on their older songs for this show (tour?).  But then again, maybe I can blame it on the venue.  You can read Cleveland.com’s take on the show below as well.

Tegan & Sara (7/31/17)
Tegan & Sara (7/31/17)
Tegan & Sara (7/31/17)

(the rest of the photos are here)

"Tegan and Sara performed a range of their pop-driven indie songs, including 'Goodbye, Goodbye' and 'Closer.'

At times, this electronic edge was a little over-the-top; the duo threw in some unneeded synths and rocket ship sounds to the originally acoustic 'Living Room.' Really, the only acoustic song that the band performed was 'Call It Off,' and the crowd loudly sang along.

But besides their songs, Tegan and Sara always made time to speak up about things that mattered to them. They mentioned donating money to LGBT charities, off of an upcoming 'The Con' cover album they'll be releasing. And they repeatedly encouraged the crowd to check out their opening band, Japanese Breakfast, once they got home."

(Via Tegan and Sara mix stage banter and pop songs at Cleveland show (photos) | cleveland.com.)

The Shins (7/29/17)

I felt like something had been up with the Agora lately, as they’ve been scheduling some bigger names - like The Shins!  The first thing I noticed upon entering were the ominous metal detectors and bag checkers.  Blah.  Not cool.  And speaking of not cool - the space was sweltering hot on this evening.  But that’s not really why we’re here.

I was thrilled to be seeing the Shins this past Saturday, but I was equally excited to be seeing Tennis open!  These guys have been putting out some infections pop albums lately, and just keep getting better and better.  Her voice just felt effervescent and effortless.  I’m really looking forward too seeing these guys in a headlining show.

Tennis (7/29/17)

In preparation for this show, I went back through my Shins catalog and was reminded just how much I like these guys.  Though I guess it’s all about James Mercer, with the lineup changes lately.  But still - what a great songwriter and performer.  And that set!  Check out the shots and video, and catch a couple quotes from the local media below!

The Shins (7/29/17)
The Shins (7/29/17)

"One of the biggest highlights of the night was ‘Phantom Limb,’ a song which drew huge yelps as soon as Mercer introduced the song. Fans waved their arms along to one of the band’s best-known tracks. Mercer dedicated the next song to a friend due to join the Navy, and he exploded into ‘Simple Song,’ the first song to get the crowd jumping around. The tune concluded with Mercer raising his guitar above his head as he received a loud, standing ovation before the band departed the stage."

(Via Rousing Performance at the Agora Shows the Shins Haven't Lost Their Spark | Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.)

"But the highlight of the concert had to have been the combination of 'Sleeping Lessons' with a short cover of Tom Petty's 'American Girl,' seamlessly tied together with the similar chords that Mercer was strumming.

Overall, The Shins mixed enough new tunes to keep their act fresh, but threw in enough nostalgia to satisfy their long-standing indie fans."

(Via The Shins combined new and nostalgic for indie fans' delight at Agora concert (photos) | cleveland.com.)

Article: AEG takes over historic Agora Theatre on Friday

 Wait - what?  How did I miss this??

Agora

"Of course, the biggest impact will be the influx of AEG, the world's second-largest concert promoter, into a city alongside Live Nation, the world's largest concert promoter.

'We're excited about joining a market where we've not had a presence to date,'' said Trell, a native of Columbus who is intimately familiar with the legacy begun by LoConti in 1966, which included a Columbus Agora. 'We view it as an important market.''

'Hank [was] a guy who was revered in the industry,'' said Trell. 'His passing'' - LoConti died almost exactly four years ago after a battle with lymphoma - 'was very said.

'We're not looking to do anything to detract from the history or the legacy of the venue,'' said Trell.

Trell and Zitterbart both pointed out that the power of AEG means an opportunity to tap new and better bands for the venue. Almost like LoConti's storied 'Agora Circuit,'' where artists and bands played Agoras in various cities during the institution's heyday, AEG can use its multiple venues as a sort of circuit as well, making it easier to book artists for entire tours at AEG clubs and theaters."

(Via AEG takes over historic Agora Theatre on Friday | cleveland.com.)

I wish I could get excited about this…