Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I've been to three shows since Saturday... and I wanted to wait until after tomorrow's Phoenix Symphony concert but part of me sees that as merely an excuse to put this off... partially because it'll just be another few days before Erase Errata and who knows, for various reasons I may go see Ambulance LTD/Autolux and/or Ash.

At any rate Saturday was the Violet Burning. Michael said that sometimes one was in the mood to just play slow space-rock songs... which is what we got... which is not at all a bad thing. I had not heard any albums since their self-titled in 1996 but that self-titled is one of my favorite albums ever. They opened with 3 songs from there (actually the show began with Mike alone playing Blind) and closed with another (Goldmine) so it didn't really matter what else they played; I was happy. The openers were the Love Blisters (fronted by the cousin of one of my sister's friend that I'd seen before (I had seen my sister and her friend, not either the band nor the cousin)) who had several pretty good songs and a few alright ones. Next came Everett who I think is the house band (the show was at a church; as a friend I ran into the next night (who thought about going to the Violet Burning show but didn't) pointed out, it had been a long time since I've seen a show in a church... and that's not a bad thing.) They played a short set but what I got from them was that they were your basic post-Prickett Vineyard-esque P&W band. They covered Radiohead's Creep, though tellingly they used the lyrics from the radio version and - more damagingly - they played the last chorus loud.

Sunday night was the Futureheads. The opening band were the Lashes from Seattle... I think I actually like them best of the openers. I didn't really pay attention to the High Speed Scene (what I heard didn't catch any interest) but I got a promo CD so I'll try to give it a listen to see if I missed anything. The third band was the Shout Out Louds, a Sweedish band a friend described as sounding like New Order b-sides. They weren't bad. The Futureheads played, according to them (and it makes sense) every song that they know... which lasted around 45 minutes. They were fun enough.

Pretty Girls Make Graves were at the Old Brickhouse Grill on Tuesday night; I went over directly from work so I had a burger there, which was surprisingly good. The only problem was I had it during the opening band, the Stiletto Formal, a local band who probably got the best reception of the night. I'm not sure who to compare them to right now but they have a cellist much like Cursive did when they were around and at times they made think of the Mars Volta in that their music and live show were wild... for now those two points of reference will have to do... but I'll see them again so I can refine my comments. Kill Me Tomorrow were next; they were almost entirely post-guitar expermental rock... or at least post-guitar leads. It was all very rhythm-based with no real lead... the guitar was most often used for weird accents and noises. Dios were next; I have now seen them 5 times. This was the most aggressive mix for them I've heard and I can't remember hearing Nobody's Perfect (their closer) with an outro guitar solo like that before.

PGMG was actually disappointing. I've seen them play much better before, even while rather drunk. The main problem was that their setlist didn't seem to interest the crowd. They played the first 5 songs (that have vocals) from The New Romance, This Is Our Emergency, four or five new songs and closed the main set with The Get Away... and while that is a great song it isn't a powerhouse live. They walked off and the crowd walked away. Andrea kept looking back holding up a finger trying to tell us that they were going to come back and play another song... and eventually the remaining crowd was able to work up some noise... and went crazy when the band came back and played Speakers Push the Air.

I don't mind playing new songs live - it has been a while since their latest album - but especially when you haven't been to a city for over two years (they tried last year but the show was cancelled; I've seen them elsewhere) you don't ignore the old material. I mean, sure, whatever, it's their band, but I don't get it. I can understand being sick of playing the old songs over and over and having the crowd only want to hear the old stuff ("Shine is dead") but that's the business. Hardcore fans who've seen the live show plenty and are themselves sick of the old songs are few and far between... especially in a city you never visit. I'm not going to say that the new songs weren't good... but I really don't remember them.

I am totally serious when I say that I want bands to do what they want, what makes them happy - this is the best way, in aggregate, to get a large supply of new, interesting music - but inevitably this will, in some cases, lead me to be less interested in an artist. If that's the kind of music Liz Phair wants to play now then good for her... but damned if I'm going to listen to it. If that's the kind of live show PGMG wants to put on, good for them... that just means I'm less likely to drive to San Diego again to see it (though who knows, the show probably would've been much better had I heard the songs beforehand... we'll see once the album comes out and I listen to it via Rhapsody.)


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