Nifty lookin' concert posters from local designers Aesthetic Apparatus. Pretty pretty.
This has gotten ridiculous.
Alright, enough is enough. It's been a month & a half since that big string of First Avenue shows, and I've still only managed to cover one of them. So with Ted Leo out of the way, it's about time that I finally posted the pix (which aren't that great anyway) & recapped the others, though I wonder how accurately I'll be able to recall their details. I'll try my best to be brief.
Sunday, June 12th - Big Ticket faves Spoon and Stephen Malkmus in back-to-back shows at First Avenue. JRDN & I arrived towards the end of The Clientele's opening set (yawn) & found a decent place in front of the stage-right staircase (where I could actually see over most of the audience). Spoon's stage set-up was simple yet very cool, with two giant china balls at each side of the stage to that illuminated the band with diffused light. The set opened with "The Beast & Dragon, Adored" & was dominated by songs from Gimme Fiction, though the band also played plenty of older material (including "Fitted Shirt" & "Car Radio", thank god). All in all, a typically tight set of rock from Spoon that was quite enjoyable, though not quite as much fun as last year's show at the much smaller & more intimate 400 Bar.
After the all ages crowd made their way through the exits, JRDN & I met up with some of JRDN's pals for some grub at Pizza Lucé downtown, where Jim B eventually joined us before heading back to the Ave for the late show.
Aside from the drunken assholes on the balcony that caused a ruckus, sniping at S.M. throughout the night until they got thrown out, I actually enjoyed the Malkmus & the Jicks set. No it wasn't mind-blowing, and it was probably rather slack coming off a big weekend run in Chicago (they were almost sold out of merch), but as I had been foiled in my attempts to see S.M. on several past occasions, I had a good time anyway. Besides, a loose performance from Malkmus shouldn't really come as a surprise. The Jicks also focused heavily on songs from this summer's Face The Truth & rightly so. Anyway, if you want a different or more timely/accurate account of the nite's events, How Was The Show has got you covered. For sh**s & giggles, here's a track off Face The Truth courtesy of our friends @ Matador:
MP3 Stephen Malkmus - "Baby C'mon"
Yeah, they rocked this one out. Or at least I think they did. Whatever.
The day after the TL+Rx gig, the First Avenue mainroom welcomed yet another of my favorites, Olympia WA's riot grrrl/indie rock stalwarts Sleater-Kinney. It was my first time seeing a S-K show, and since I had previously raved about their recent Sub Pop debut The Woods, I was pumped for the event. I came straight from the jobby-job & ended up missing opening act Dead Meadow entirely, but I was able to find a nice elevated position on the stage-left railing that suited me nicely. Similarly to both Spoon & Malkmus, the gals started their set with Woods opener "The Fox" & played most of the new album throughout the show. I reached a number of conclusions as the set went on, the first of which was that these ladies rocked even harder in person than they do on their latest record, which is no small feat. Second, I had guitarist/vocalist Corin Tucker & guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein confused with each other, but now I've been set straight (boy, did I feel dumb). Third, drummer Janet Weiss is an absolute womanimal on the skins. I mean, holy crap people (boy, was I impressed). S-K played a monster set & a multi-song encore, leaving me a rather satisfied young(ish) man.
MP3 Sleater-Kinney - "Jumpers"
So Sub Pop has made available a second free Woods download, the bipolar "Jumpers" that oddly precedes the very (ironically?) cheery "Modern Girl" that marks the album's midpoint. This track can be chilling at times (depressing imagery much?), but it still manages to rock out. On a completely unrelated note, have ya seen the band's blog on their re-designed website? Well, it's nothing much to look at, it hasn't been updated in a month, & c'mon ladies, enable those comments already. Sheesh.
When the S-K show let out, I snuck out the side door & got a discount for crossing over into the adjoining 7th Street Entry, where NYC comedian Eugene Mirman was performing a late nite set with fellow comedian & SNL writer Leo Allen & a couple musical acts. After a semi-long wait (and a couple beers), Brooklyn-based songman Langhorne Slim took the stage & played a soulful-yet-amusing set to a pretty sparse audience. I saw his album When The Sun's Gone Down kicking around the used bins a while back, so perhaps I'll check it out & give it a listen at some point. Leo Allen followed with a short set of stand-up, after which he introduced Mirman. Eugene performed material from his comedy cd The Absurd Nightclub Comedy of Eugene Mirman as well as new material, including some visual aids (video projection) & recorded audio (telemarketing calls from anti-gay marriage telephone companies, which I've heard him play before on Air America with father-to-be Sam Seder). Mirman was very funny, but I skipped out on final act The Double as it had gotten mighty late by then.
Thank god that's over with. Now I need to get going on my (two weeks overdue) recap of the Constantines/Oxford Collapse show at the 400 Bar back on 7/17, to be followed by my personal take on the Emmy nods & the wholly unnecessary task of finally writing up my thoughts on ROTS, which may well end up being the most delinquent Star Wars "review" of all time.
Jeez, I hate catching up.