Archive for the ‘OUT OF BOUNDS!’ Category

We knew this would be a day we would never forget, but we had NO idea it would mean this – a band outta Nevada completely captivating us, PLUS our own Eugene homies in one of our fave venues???  But it was just a typical Friday night in Eugene, I should know by now that the unexpected and amazing and ROCK YOUR F&&CKING SOX OFF is standard fare, right? so, let’s hit it as hard as we were hit, right?!

Moondog Matinee (Pete Barnato – lead vox, guitar; Adam Carpenter – bass; Ben Ingle – drums; Steve Widmer – rhythm guitar, Travis Axe – lead guitar) – if I have any credits wrong you guys will let me know, k???)

           If you could have heard it, there would have been FOUR JAWS DROPPING when this band opened their set – photographers Jeanice Marvel and Rachel Gargus with our good friend Daniel G. (who prefers to remain relatively anonymous making the sole male component of our table) and yours truly taken aback as four guitars started wailing – should make for a much more seriously HEAVY sound and could easily get overdone, but not these guys… and the vocals from Peter? He matches them lick for lick, very nice!  Ben does awesome drum work, strong and steady, absolutely perfect!  Their energy was incredible and we absolutely got it – the audience nearly gave a standing ovation after every song, we were completely undone.  It was lust at first listen!  Call them primal grassroots rock, heavily laced with serious, almost gospel, R&B.

Travis Axe (gotta be a trade name!!) on mouth harp…

Photographer Rachel says Peter reminds her of Steven Tyler and I can hear that, with maybe just a tad less flamboyance (just a tad, Peter will RIP you with his stage presence, trust me) but I could definitely see that raw edge on the vocals, definitely.  It was also nice that the sound is new and fresh and not just a rehash of what has been done better before.  We also loved the Roland keyboards, with Adams’s bass snapping and the guitars screaming – it was perfect! We loved their cover of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” and bought two CDs before I had a chance to chat up front man/lead vox Peter.  I asked him brutally, “What do you want to say to Eugene?” His answer was simple and beautiful, they were completely surprised by how friendly everyone was in Eugene and wanted to tell us that and how much they appreciated that.

to which we say, “Thank you for coming to see us and gracing us with your presence”… and thank you, Eugene, for being so awesome!

                               

Eugene’s Own – STRANGE DICHOTOMY (yes, I’m gonna promo them of course!) 

(Greg Gillispie: vox, guitar;  Luke Martyn: bass, vox; Jason Rowe: drums; Kyle Brewster: guitar)

              

I have always loved these guys from the first time I saw them doing one of their acoustic events at Cosmic Pizza (never discount any man with a serious vision!) – it was absolutely awesome to see them at this first “club” event in Eugene, thank you for inviting us to be a part (not apart) of this Greg!   Seeing Luke stomping around with his bass is always worth taking the trouble to get out of the house (if you were couch sitting watching the tube I will label you “LOSERS” without qualification, take it up with me personally if you wanna) this band has some serious sound.   They capture what is “Eugene” in its essence – they don’t WOW you but instead woo you with their subtle rhythms and beautiful melodies…

But we had to run out (and miss S.F.’s Giggle Party, our loss I am absolutely sure) to catch Johns Eastman’s b-day party with Eastman Band at Goodfellas… and me without my trusty notepad??? I guess the photos will have to tell the story for me…
       

You guys are awesome as always (I think you have to be really bad to be unusual at this point, ok?!) – and we will continue to follow you and be looking for you on something besides the local circuit, right?!!

find all of these bands on their homepages, FBs and ReverbNation pages… and always GO SEE LOCAL LIVE BANDS!!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

  This was such an amazing show, I hardly know where to begin!  We came early (as usual) to the event, to be as close to the first in line as possible for a general admission show, and our first time at the historic Hawthorne Theatre.  While hanging out on the corner of Hawthorne and 39th Avenue (aka Cesar Chavez Blvd), dodging Tri-Met buses, bicyclists on elevated bikes (how do they get on those things?!) and pedestrians, we had a chance to chat with other folks who showed up to get front-row spots (forget seats – the Hawthorne doesn’t have chairs!) which is all part of the event itself.  Nevertheless, by the time we got in (doors opened promptly at 7:00) and got situated at a standing table in the 21+ area for a relatively clear shot of the stage), we were ready to be pummeled – and we were!

As I had told photographer Jeanice Marvel before the show, this would be an event of epic awfulness, or of epic awesomeness – I’ll let you decide!  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words… so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves (with some editorial comments of course!)

American Bastard – Bob Merritt — Vocals/Guitar, Lee Lovell — Bass Guitar/Vocals, Dane Haase — Drums/Vocals, Brandon Cook– Lead Guitar

   

While we only expected four bands playing, we were in for a treat – a premier showing of a Portland-based band opened.  These guys gave us some serious a$$-kicking hard rock.  The house sound was awesome for all of the bands playing tonight, and for the opening set it was no exception which is unusual, in and of itself – usually it takes a few minutes for the sound man to get everything all squared up but not in this case.  We loved this band, with their Ozzy-like sound and persona, everything was tight and hot (like we like it!) – loved when Dane flipped his sticks, I couldn’t help but giggle – sorry!  but it was cool! and Bob did an excellent job of making a connection with the audience.  The set was entirely too short for this band, which is one of the “local” groups competing to play in the 2011 PDX “Save The Rock” Native Noize’ Rock Fest – check them out here:  http://www.facebook.com/Americanbastard – and if you like what you hear, vote them in to play with Korn (one of our faves), Chevelle (another of our personal faves) and more here:  http://www.pdxrockfest.com/bob/#listing

Heart-Set Self DestructDave (Vocals/Guitar), Chris (Guitar), Dan (Bass Guitar) , Steve (Drums)

                   

This Chicago band had some serious energy (love Dave’s skunk-tail!) on stage, and yet more amazing thrash metal, especially Steve’s use of the double-kick on the bass drums.  Dave’s vocals are everywhere from a whisper to screamo (which actually works for them), and Dan’s bass is a droning magnet of power with Chris cutting the high-end on guitar. Reminds me a lot of a cross between Staind and Slipknot – and on stage?  Dan is seriously dangerous, he wields his axe like the weapon it was meant to be!  Jeanice was reminded of My Chemical Romance as well.  Still too short a set, but fun!

Anew Revolution – Joey Duenas (lead vocals), Frank Salvaggio (bass), Robert Urbani (drums), Jay Frederick (guitar)

         

Pulling bands from all spectrums and sections, this is an Austin band who is touring on the current Under the Skins of Angels tour – and we completely fell in love with them.  These guys f**king rock, bringing in the crowd with in-your-face, head-banging music that leaves no soul unturned.  Joey does killer vocals, and Jay absolutely rips with Frank on guitars, with Jay pounding on the drums.  An awesome set – we loved it!  Find them here:  http://www.facebook.com/anewrevolution

Saliva:  Josey Scott – vocals, Wayne Swinny – guitar, Dave Novotny – bass, Paul Crosby – drums, percussion

                                           

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, anyone who has followed alternative/hard rock for the past couple of decades knows these guys.  What was completely amazing was they not only have not lost their edge, they have improved it.  How can you say anything about legends?  They did everything right – everything was tight (kudos to the house sound again – you could hear everything crystal clear).  Think thrash R&B rock and you might have an inkling – they were just astounding.  Their cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” of course brought the house down, and closing with favorite “Always” followed by their new “Limousines” was perfection.  With their new album released, “Under Your Skin”:  http://underyourskin.saliva.com/, Saliva isn’t making a comeback – they are making sure you know they are HERE!

and FINALLY!!!…

FILTER  –   Richard Patrick – lead vocals, guitar;  Mika Fineo – drums, percussion; Rob Patterson – guitar;  Phil Buckman – bass

                                             

We were all so dead tired by the time they hit the stage at nearly 11:30pm on a Wednesday, we were about to drop where we stood.  But Richard wouldn’t let us – he literally challenged us, stating “I know you’re tired – so are we!”  But he wouldn’t let us get away with it anymore than he would let himself.  These guys absolutely rocked the house down (is it still standing???) – the musicianship was awesome  – Mika’s drums were amazing, Richard’s vocals are still perfect.  Rob’s guitars were totally tight with Phil’s bass, and their energy was off the scale!  Was Filter always thrash metal?  Who knows (or cares)?  They are now and they are amazing!  I love how Richard’s vocals blend with the lead guitar at the end of the verses in particular.

And I don’t think Richard got a chance to read the Hawthorne’s multiple signs stating emphatically that there would be NO CROWD SURFING… but we caught him here!!

       

Their covers of ZZ Top’s “Gimme All Your Lovin” and Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” were fun, but of course we were blown away when they did “Hey Man (Nice Shot)” and as they closed with “Take A Picture” it was…yeah, it was epic. You have to see it for yourself (although I think you still had to be there to get the full effect).  Richard seems… not brittle exactly, but sharp-edged and defined… Like all the fluff and stuff has been burned off, and all that is left is what is at his core.   And then he came down to the merchant table to personally meet and greet anyone and everyone who wanted to… absolutely amazing!  Find them here (of course) http://officialfilter.com/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Taj Mahal Trio, Roseburg, OR June 21, 2011

Who wouldn’t grab the chance to see the legendary Taj Mahal performing at a FREE live concert in a beautiful, outdoor venue?!  Evidently, no one in Douglas County – I think every resident of Roseburg and its surrounding towns was there for the opening of Roseburg’s 2011 Music On The Half Shell, held at Nichols Bandshell in Stewart Park.

The park was filled to overflowing with folks ready to move and groove to the smooth sounds of this amazing trio.  It was a wonderful concert, so much so that Victoria (TCC editor/columnist in training) said, “I don’t usually like jazz music – but I really like these guys.  This music doesn’t remind me of elevator music!” (hey, she’s 14 years old, what can I say?!).

Taj Mahal Trio, Roseburg, OR June 21, 2011

TCC photographer Jeanice added, “If this music was playing, I’d be more inclined to get into an elevator!” (she abhors elevators, being more than slightly claustrophobic)  If I was one of these musicians, I’m not sure I would have taken those comments as complimentary at face value, but knowing the intended spirit, this was high praise indeed!

The crowd loved them so much they called for an encore, which the group was happy to give them – with the perfect weather, the river park and folks genuinely happy to be there, it was an all around great event.

Of course, I had to put in a plug for our local bands at this Out Of Bounds! event – so I made sure everyone there got a glimpse of one of Eugene’s most recently notable groups…

Eugene Bands REPRESENT!!

yep, that’s me sporting an Eastman Band t-shirt!!  3 generations of Lane County music fans are pictured – Laurel (TCC editor/columnist), Victoria (Laurel’s 14 yr old daughter), and Joshua (TCC photographer Jeanice’s son, 3 yrs old).  You can catch the Eastman Band live (with 3 Guys That Paint and Dave & Confused) on July 2 at The Black Forest – you know we’ll be there!

Cage The Elephant, Live at the McDonald Theatre, June 7, 2011

First, the story behind the story (a treatise on Murphy’s Law and how everything that could possibly go wrong, did…):

I went to buy a pack of smokes from the little grocer across from the LTD bus station downtown (a couple blocks from where I work)… I walk past what I recognize as the tour bus (with trailer) at the curb… as I’m walking past, someone pops out (I think it was CTE’s drummer)… I would ordinarily stop and engage in a brief impromptu meet-n-greet – but I don’t, because Brad (guitarist) had said we would have access passes and get to chat with the guys and take some pictures (see transcript of live interview June 3, 2011) – instead, I nod and smile, thinking, “I’ll see you guys in a few hours….” First mistake – ALWAYS trust your instincts (you’ll see this theme repeats ad nauseum throughout this story). An hour later, an email from the publicist tells me the meet-n-greet is off, and all we’ll get is a photo pass (for TCC photographer Jeanice Marvel) for the first three songs on CTE’s set.  I’m annoyed/irritated and all that. But ok, I got a phone interview and we have tix to the show.  We pick up the pass at 6pm at will call.  Right.

I jump in the car, grab grandson (Jeanice’s son – yeah, she’s my daughter – don’t hold it against me) from daycare, dash to my West Eugene home to throw him at my 14 yr old daughter who will babysit so we can attend the show.  Dash back to pick up photographer Jeanice from her work in Westmoreland, then head downtown for the concert.  In the car, I ask Jeanice, “So, you have your camera?”  “Yep.”  “Batteries?” I ask. “Yes!” she states. “SIM card?” I ask. “No…” she answers.  “WHAT?!!” I yell.  “I don’t have it, you have it” she retorts. “No, I don’t – I put it in your bag two days ago!” I yell.  “I didn’t look in the bag…” she answers.  We’re downtown at that point… so BACK we go to her house to get the SIM card.  I had sent her an email earlier that day asking if she had her camera – what I was THINKING was “SIM card” – but of course, I thought she would know when I said “camera” what I meant was “camera and everything necessary to operate the same.”  Right.

Dash back downtown.  Everything’s ok, we’re supposed to be at the will call box office window at 6pm and it’s 6pm as we pull into the Overpark at 10th and Willamette.  I grab the gate ticket (gotta love the new gates that run 24/7) and toss it, remembering just the last week when I was at the Floater show and the gates were up by the time we were outta there.  But it’s in the car, the ticket is in the car.  Easy-peasy – right?

We run to will call for the photo pass.  I remember seeing Jeanice has her work ID and keys bouncing on her belt as we’re running (ok, speedwalking) to the window.  Tell the window gal who we are and what we’re here for.  She can’t find us on any list.  WTF?!?!  Fortunately, I had actually followed THIS intuition and printed the email chain from publicist saying for us to pick up the photo pass at said window at said 6:00 p.m.  Present said hard copy to window… we are instructed to wait.  Several folks come to the window to pick up and/or purchase tickets.  Line to get in has now reached the corner.  I’m PISSED – I am ALWAYS the first person in line.  Control Freak = Laurel – no apologies here.  That’s where we get all the action – band members coming in and out, photo ops, etc.  But no – we are stuck at the wall next to the door at will call.  Owner of New Odyssey comes to will call window with someone’s keys he found.  I remember watching this… and wondering.  ::sigh::  You’ll hear more about this later.  10 minutes later, guy comes out of door, asks us for the name of the band we are covering.  Well, he didn’t say that exactly, but after several exchanges, we figure out that is what he asking.  ::rolls eyes::  More waiting.  More people coming to get tickets.  Line is getting longer.  I am pissed and annoyed and irritated, and GLAD I bought that pack of smokes.  I’m blowing clouds at strangers on purpose at this point (especially when one of the McDonald event staff presents two girls to the window to get access wrist bands – because they were CUTE?!!! – while we are cooling our heels and contributing to global warming waiting for the damned photo pass – still.  We finally get it, and get in line which is now halfway to the will call window) – still, no worries.  Right?

From that point, things got marginally better – they opened the doors, realized after about 5 minutes that the line was moving WAY too slowly so they started just shoving us through with a cursory once-over (“empty your pockets” “well, this will take awhile…” I start pulling out CDs, one for Brad of Floater, one CTE that the band was supposed to sign…  Security says, “OK – go”… ::laughs::)  and we are in – finally.  Head straight for the balcony (I don’t do floor – period) and grab the first row, center seats.  FINALLY – something that went right!  Right…

Halfway through the opening band’s set, Jeanice grabs me and asks, “Do you have my work keys?” I’m like, “wha?!” I remember seeing them on her at one point… but what point?  She is tearing her bag apart, coat pockets, under her seat.  I’m thinking, “were they even with you when we were waiting for 30 minutes at will call?  I remember seeing them… but where?!”  She is panicked, there is ID on that ring with the keys… and I’m thinking (yes, AGAIN), that I should have said something about her taking them off when I picked her up from her work. (did you hear the sigh?)  We don’t find the keys.  I’m thinking they must be in the car… and we will find them (that I do KNOW).   The rest of the show is absolutely SHADOWED by this.  I did mention I was already pissed, right?  Right.

(skip show which is reviewed below in detail)

We make our way out of the theatre when everything is sung and done and get in the car – do the cursory search and don’t find her work keys.  Nothing to do at this point, she thinks maybe they are in the theatre somewhere and she will call them when we get back to her house.  Okay, off we go… to the exit of the Overpark. (yes, the exit – that requires a ticket to get the gate to open, right?)  You already know what happens next, don’t you?  Yeah, so did I.  The gate is down and I canNOT find the freaking ticket… anywhere!  It is not where Jeanice is sitting, not in the backseat, not in the console…. WTF?!!!  I forgot to give the fae their donation for my CAR?!! I shove unresponsive buttons on the machine while folks behind me are yelling about holding up the line.  Finally, attendant comes along, gets someone on the speaker phone, I tell him what is going on, they open the gate.  Yea!  We are OUTTA there.

::sigh::

Get to my house, get sleeping grandson, get back in the car… and find the ticket on MY seat.  Not a lie.  Take folks home, drive back to my house.  It is 12:30 am and I have to be at the lawfirm office (where I do my day gig) by 7:30am this morning.

BUT!!!!  There is a silver lining, or pot of gold, or whatever you want to call it, to this story.  The concert was AWESOME – there is nothing like seeing bands playing live (in tiny venues or huge amphitheaters), and all three bands put on a helluva show.  AND – we got the most amazing pictures!!  And since one picture is worth a thousand words, the concert review will be a very brief recap (especially for CTE) – I will (eventually) shut up and let the pictures speak for themselves!

(note on the quality of the photos – Jeanice is currently shooting with a Sony Cybershot on a 3 second delay, so if folks on stage move you see the delayed result – if anyone has a DECENT camera they wanna turn us onto, appropriately priced, let me know please!  But with all that said, these pictures are amazing…)

Opening Band – Sleeper Agent (surprising!)

Let it never be said that there are no decent female-lead vocalist rock bands.  These guys just amazed me – there was a nice variety to their songs, but every one of them had a hard rocking foundation.  Alex “Kidd” Kandel does lead vocals (think Flyleaf) with a serious hard core punch. Setting her up are Tony “Tutone” Smith – (guitar and vocals), Josh “Junior” Martin (lead guitar), Lee “Grizzlee” Williams (bass guitar), Scott “Saga” Gardner (keys and samples), and Justin “Keyser” Wilson (drums). I so love that keyboards are coming back – it is, after all, my first (and primary) personal instrument!  These guys met and bonded with CTE in their stomping grounds of Bowling Green, Kentucky – which makes it three bands I’ve heard over the past week from that town.  It always makes me crazy that the audience just stands there like statues through most of the opening bands’ sets – their music was amazing!  Never mind the fact that, on the second to last song of their (entirely too short) set, they nearly blew out the house PA subs when Tony’s (over-hot) mic started feeding back on (what I suspect was the way over-amped) bass, resulting in a noise reminiscent of a jet engine taking off – NEXT TO YOU – and they just rocked on, finishing the set with virtually no bass running at all – AWESOME, you guys were great!!  Watch for these guys – I’m sure we’ll see more of them.

Sleeper Agent, McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR) June 7, 2011

      

Manchester Orchestra – Soporific…

Line up:  Andy Hull (rhythm guitarist/vocals), Robert McDowell ( lead guitarist ), Chris Freeman (keyboards/synth/drums), Jonathan Corley (bass), and Tim Very (drums).  I really wish I could be as enamored of this band as the rest of the media… but I can’t.  This is your basic hard rock band, mixing intros that are softly appealing with LOUD thrash (read moshing), going back to quiet, nearly solo, vocals.  Power chords do not make a band… but the crowd loved them!   What makes these guys stand out is the fact that three of the guys do vocals, and of course Chris on keyboards/synth/percussion – who has a small drum kit (sans kick).  I just can’t find anything to say about this band – maybe it’s Andy’s semi-falsetto vocals (reminiscent of Silversun Pickups).  They’re a good band – just not that good.  I do really like “Friends In All The Right Places” (which I remembered from the 2009 open for Silversun) – love that song!  I was seriously watching Chris doing headbanging while playing air drums, although that’s sometimes… weird.  He reminds me of a mad scientist – all you need is audio running with him cackling madly.  All in all, a decent band with good storytelling – but I felt like I was either being put to sleep during the slow/quiet parts of songs alternating with feeling like I was being pinned to the wall on the thrash parts.  ::shrugs::

Manchester Orchestra, McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR) June 7, 2011

    

Cage The Elephant – Spectacular!

That’s the only word to describe these guys – they put on an AMAZING live show!!  If you have never seen them, you absolutely have to.  It is something you will tell your kids – trust me!

I’m not even going to attempt to review their actual performance – these guys are professionals, every single one of them was outstanding and gave us everything they had – so you get just the impressions view here.   The floor (and most of the balcony) was packed to the walls by the time they hit the stage.  Seeing and hearing hundreds of fans screaming, singing, hands in the air clapping, pounding… it was… perfect.  No other way to say it.  I do wish I could see them in a better venue tho – the McDonald (while an amazing venue) SUCKS for sound quality – Matt’s vocals were nearly drowned out by the guitars… which is a shame, he has such an amazing voice, and the lyrics of the songs themselves can easily stand alone.  What I especially love about these guys (besides their raw energy) is that every song sounds different.  No falling asleep here, and the sound levels were significantly lower than what they were running with Manchester – I use ear plugs (real ones – not ‘foamies’) as everyone who attends live events should be doing or they really will be deaf by the time they are 45 years old.  Anyways, Cage takes a four-piece instrumental group (bass, lead and rhythm guitars, drums) and makes it sound extraordinary.  Brad’s rhythm guitar doesn’t ever hide (Jeanice noticed you, btw), Lincoln’s lead riffs absolutely rip, and Daniel’s bass runs undercurrent with Jared on drums to keep Matt from coming completely undone!  What left me absolutely gasping was Matt bodysurfing the pit (with the security trying desperately to reel him – sometimes unsuccessfully – back).  See that photo at the head of the column?  That’s Matt standing on the shoulders of someone in the pit (yes!)  – I’m not sure who was more surprised:  the crowd?  security? or Matt….  it was amazing, awesome, all those “a” words, with a few thrown in for the helluvit!

Cage The Elephant – McDonald Theatre (Eugene, OR) June 7, 2011  

yes, Matt is STANDING ON SHOULDERS IN MOSH

not sure if he is singing or just holding his hand over his mouth in awe here...

Security trying to disentangle him from the mosh...

they finally get a hold of Matt... and he's still singing!!

Cage The Elephant, McDonald Theatre, June 7, 2011

and then they toss him over the monitors!!!! (go Security!)

Wow!! (I was gonna say OMG!! but that’s been overdone of late, and I don’t text anyways!)  What an absolutely amazing sold-out show by both bands last night – I still have “Helene Beat” going in my head!!

I’d been to the Crystal Ballroom last year to see Silversun Pickups, but this was the first (and only, truthfully!) time I was out on the floor (I planned on dancing!) – gotta love the floating floor (we have our own here at the WoW Hall of course!) and the crowd was fun – had the full spectrum of ages, from kids (who couldn’t see anything for the adults crowding the front rows) bouncing with their middle-aged parents (who were out-bouncing the kids – probably because they could at least see!).  The sound was excellent but still way too bass-heavy.  Fun to feel the vibrations, especially through the floor, but that is more a benefit to folks who are deaf – which you probably were by the end of the night if you weren’t wearing earplugs!  But still – absolutely awesome!!  Let me know if any of you readers were at the show, I’d like to hear some other comments as well as share any pictures/videos.  =)

The Chain Gang of 1974

The Chain Gang of 1974 was excellent – superb musicians performing to as well as with the audience.  Take 1970’s British pop rock (think The Clash) and put it with a hard rock edge, then just dance your a$$ off!

Kamtin Mohager - The Chain Gang of 1974

Especially fun was when front man/founder Kamtin Mohager gently lowered the mic stand into the middle of the floor, then joined us packed sardines with a challenge of, “I hear Portland is The Dancing City – so let’s dance!”  We did – it was a blast!  If you ever have an opportunity to see these guys perform live, don’t ask – just do it.  The single “Wayward Fire” off their recently released album “Undercover” got 7 out of 10 in SPIN Magazine’s review, and you can purchase the CD on iTunes/Amazon.com or the limited edition white vinyl at amazon.com  Find them at http://www.facebook.com/thechaingangof1974; http://www.myspace.com/thechaingangof1974; and http://www.thechaingangof1974.com/.   You can also see a video of a recent live performance here:

Foster The People

But of course most of us were here to see Foster The People.  With their recent smash hit, “Pumped Up Kicks” rising steadily on all the national rock music charts, it was no wonder this show sold out.  After seeing youtube.com videos of some of their early live club performances, I was prepared for a less than adequate show as is so often the case with young bands.  I was blown away – these guys are F***ING AMAZING live!  With the addition of a couple new folks for the 2011 “We Knew Them When” Tour of Sean Cimino (guitar, keyboard, synthesizer, backup vocals) and Isom Innis (keyboard, piano, backup vocals)  to the original lineup of Mark Foster (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar, and percussion), Mark Pontius (drums and extra percussion), Cubbie Fink (bass and backing vocals), with Zach Heiligman doing some sampler, programming, and backup vocals (I don’t think Zach is touring with the band at this time).

Mark Foster of Foster The People

Energy was off the charts, these guys jumped/bounced/stomped on all the hard rock/dance tunes, with Mark (and Sean or Isom I think?) literally racing around the stage pounding on various drum pads, cowbell, whatever they could get their hands on.  Cubbie on base wailed backup lyrics (and I still think he’s hot),   What was really nice was the musicianship didn’t suffer as a result – this was the icing on a severely wicked piece of cake.  Pontius is a helluva drummer, sticks flying through the air on a huge drum kit when HE wasn’t racing around the stage as well!!  For a relatively young band, these guys were, simply put, perfect.

I got a chance for a brief meet-n-greet with Mark prior to the show (thanks for your time, Mark!!) and told him I loved his statement “It’s Foster the People, not Foster the Younger-Looking People” (see Billboard interview online at http://www.billboard.com/news/foster-the-people-attracts-hipsters-moms-1005187472.story#/news/foster-the-people-attracts-hipsters-moms-1005187472.story)  When I asked him what he thought of revising it slightly as “Foster the Younger-Looking Older People,” he laughed and said, “yeah – I like it!”

I do have one tiny minus – FTP started late and finished early (coming back for the encore performance of “Helene Beat” and closing “Pumped Up Kicks”).  I would have liked to see them perform more songs from their recently released “Torches” album at this show – call me greedy!!  If someone has the set list for this show and/or photos and videos please let me know – it was just impossible to get any pictures from where we were crammed in the middle of the floor (sucks being 5’2″).

I’ve chosen “Call It What You Want” as The Club Circuit’s theme song (lyrics below) – live video from SXSW 2011 here:

Find FTP here:  http://www.facebook.com/fosterthepeople; http://www.myspace.com/fosterthepeople; and of course their webpage at http://www.fosterthepeople.com/home.  I’m sure they’ll be back to the area soon – be sure to follow that so you can catch them live.  Their album is excellent as well (I’m not reviewing that here!)

Lyrics “Call It What you Want” (Paul Epworth, Mark Foster):

Call it what you want
I said just call it what you want
Yeah we’re locked up in ideas
We like to label everything
Well I’m just gonna do here what I gotta do here
‘Cause I gotta keep myself free
You’re ducking and moving just to hide your bruising from all your enemies
And I’m in the crossfire dodging bullets from your expectancies
We’ve got nothing to lose
You better run and hide
Yeah you’ve crossed the line
I’ve got a knife behind my back (just sayin’)
We’ve got nothing to prove
Your social guides give you swollen eyes
But what I’ve got can’t be bought so you can just
Call it what you want
I said just call it what you want
You’ve taken your words and you take your judgments
And stick them onto everything
If it don’t conform to what you were born into,
Then you run the other way
You say, “now what’s your style and who do you listen to?” who cares?
Well that rat race ladder-climbing fake-face smile’s got nothing on me

(these reviews are just brief overviews of shows held outside Lane County, Oregon)

A great show – the weather was perfect, the folks we shared the the sidewalk with (getting there at 1pm meant we were first in line and through the door of course!) were very cool, and we got to meet and exchange a few words with the opening band Kinch.  I caught Jim Adkins between trips to/from their bus and the club,  and newest fifth member, singer/keyboardist Courtney Marie Andrews stopped by to chat as well.

The Wonder Ballroom is a small venue (max capacity is less than 800) and similar to the Crystal Ballroom in set up, with a main floor area in front of a raised stage, and a balcony overlooking the floor.  We grabbed the front row center seats balcony seats so we had a perfect view of the entire show.  The venue has nice acoustics, with large baffle pads integrated into the decor.  If you haven’t caught a show there put it on your list.

Kinch (you can Google them for their FB, myspace, and other pages) was really good.  Front man Andrew Junker switches between keyboards and guitar with ease and grace.  The rest of the guys (Brian Coughlin, Jake Malone, and Wayne Jones) were equally proficient.  They’ve been touring with Jimmy Eat World most recently and fit in nicely.  An all-around decent set of guys and musicians.

Jimmy Eat World was, of course, amazing.  It’s always very cool to see a band perform live to compare to their studio work.  With Courtney doing some back up vocals and keyboards, the band was well presented – tons of energy, personal contact with the audience, and excellent musicianship.  While they aren’t at the top of my faves list, this band definitely makes it to my personal best of show.

Especially cool was Jim’s personal dedication to Portland of “Hear You Me” (which of course was written in tribute to the band’s friends, Mykel and Carli Allan, who would give the band a place to land when they played L.A.), and of course their encore performance of  “Sweetness” rocked the house, with the entire floor audience singing and moshing.

I love the energy of a live performance in a (relatively) large venue, where the audience and band personally interact and exchange as a central part of the performance – nothing compares!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.