July 28 will be a hot night at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco as Henry Rollins and Xcene Cervenka and their respective bandmates kick off an 18 stop tour of the U.S.
Having actually spoken with both artists this year, albeit seperately and in a different context, I can tell you I am already checking tour schedules and flight schedules to see if we can cross paths . This promises to be an extremely rowdy time guaranteed to cause more than one listener to wonder if they had traveled back in time to the 80s.
According to Pollstar "X will feature its original lineup of Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake, and the Rollins Band is back with the same formation that recorded the 1994 album Weight - frontman Henry Rollins, bassist Melvin Gibbs, guitarist Chris Haskett, drummer Sim Cain and producer/sound man Theo Van Rock."
Now if we could only get Hank III to open a few sets for them. It would make for some interesting backstage conversations. Hank could compare tattoos and talk about his penchant for playing "Black Flag" tunes with Henry, and could swap tales about the troubles of trying to fit a standup bass on the tour bus with Exene.
Well, to answer the band's question posed, no I am rather bored thank you.
I liked this music better when it was new, in the 80s, and the bands that were doing it were more inventive and daring both musically and lyrically (and hair-stylistically as well I suppose). This, this just sounds like a re-gurgitation of those bands and their music into a putty colored melange of turgid bull plop. Overall I hear strains of the Cure, The Smiths, some Ultravox, a little INXS and a couple bands I just can't quite put my finger on (Simple Minds?). Don't get me wrong, I love most of those bands, that era, and those sounds, and I love new wave bands in general, but this disc just doesn't rise to the occasion.
Even the songs listed on the label as being the "feature" tracks, "Paralysed" and "Hide Away," aren't really edgy enough or distinctive enough to elicit much enthusiasm. I don't know what they did to earn "Band to Watch 2006" from Rolling Stone and Alternative Press but I hope that it was for something other than this disc. I think for this band to succeed they will need to reach beyond the 80s for their inspiration or Molly Ringwald will start having to make teen films again.
Hailing from Northern Ireland but formed while attending university in Scotland, Snow Patrol is currently touring in support of their fourth album, Eyes Open, released on May 1. Kind of a lesser known brit pop band, Snow Patrol's music is very similar in sound and genre to such bands as Coldplay and Radiohead, although their music isn't quite as depressing.
According to the band this was their fourth time playing Austin, and judging by the turnout they have attracted quite a local following. Based on the number of prom dresses in the audience it appears that all their work to get their music onto TV shows is paying off by attracting that all important young "O.C." audience.
Snow Patrol played a tight show, covering most of their new album, including of course "Hands Open" and "Chasing Cars," as well as songs from their previous releases. This was a night of squeaky clean brit pop fun and the audience really enjoyed the show.
Special thanks go out to George Ibbetson, Snow Patrol's road manager, for scoring me the camera pass and access to the VIP area. I wish I had brought my better camera setup for it. To check out show photos of Snow Patrol take a look at our photo gallery.
Opening for Snow Patrol was The Duke Spirit from London, fronted by the cute Liela Moss. Formed in the U.K. in 2003, this five-piece band has a fuzzy sound similar in texture and tone to the Pixies, and Liela's voice reminded me a little of Nico and Exene Cervenka. With more of a rough edge than any of the other bands in the showcase, they had a neat buzzy raspy sound, crossing straight ahead rock songs with a noise filled ethereal droning.
Augustana followed The Duke Spirit's set with a neat set. Formed in California, lead singer Dan Layus has a tremendous voice. At times the band's sound, and Layus' voice, were distinctly reminiscent of the bands Live and Counting Crows. They too appear to have developed a local audience, with many of their songs being greeted enthusiastically by the crowd.
Being a metal head, I shouldn't like country right? Well when it is David Allen Coe, country is cool. Often referred to as "Outlaw Country", his most mainstream song is "Take This Job and Shove It" (even tho his performance isn't the one that made him famous) but anyone who has been in a hole in the wall bar with a juke box knows the song "You Never Even Called Me By My Name". I have yet to be in a bar after midnight when this song come on and not seen someone singing it, from the Punkiest Punk to the most uptight Yuppie.
If you are a fan of Pantera you will also know one other of his songs at the very least. "Jack Daniels If You Please" was often used as a warm up occasionally played during their shows. Dimebag was a huge Coe fan, and rightly so. When I heard Dime, Vinnie and Rex were releasing an album that had Coe on Vocals, I must say I got mildly excited. I love the Southern Rock Genre, unfortunately the majority of that is older than I am. What a perfect match (in my mind at least) for another great mix of Metal and a little dash of something else. This album is heavier than most southern rock you will ever hear, and it at times rivals some of the best thrash bands. Dime has some incredibly hard riffs at times.
Between the Humorous "Cowboys do more Dope", the sweet sounding ballad "Arizona Rivers", the catchy title track "Rebel Meets Rebel" and the heaviest track (featuring Hank Williams III) "Get Outta My Life" this album spans the genres of Metal, Rock, Country and Blues. And all the Genres Blend together Seamlessly. I honestly can say I really love this CD.
One side note, this may be the last recording with Dime on it, so if you are a true Die-hard CFH, you must buy this. This album defiantly comes from the hearts of 4 Cowboys From Hell. The hardest part is knowing this is a one shot album.
1. Nothin' to Lose
2. Rebel Meets Rebel
3. Cowboys Do More Dope
5. Heart Worn Highway
6. One Nite Stands
7. Arizona Rivers
8. Get Outta My Life
9. Cherokee Cry
11. No Compromise
12. N.Y.C. Streets
All month long VH-1 has been celebrating what they call Metal Month. The month will end in an awards show that I'm pretty sure Jethro Tull will not win an award at. Super Group debuted this past week (and it was mildly amusing., but can someone tell me, did Sebastian Bach try to have surgery or is that just age?). They have a 4-part documentary called Heavy: The Story of Metal. I have seen the first episode. While I feel that they are kinda on track on how the music spread the way it did, I think they had a bit of narrow-minded-ness. To them Metal spawned from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. While in some respect I can see that, Metal also spawned from Alice Cooper (grandfather of the now Goth Movement) and even as much as I regret saying it (Dynasty anyone), and Kiss (forefathers of the glam movement). The series episode titles seem to cover it all. "Welcome To My Nightmare" (episode 1), "Looks that Kill" (Glam Episode), "British Steel" (70s British Rock), and "Seek and Destroy" (as they word it, "A walk on the dark side").
One thing I notice (and perhaps that will change this evening) is that the heavier end of the spectrum is left in the lurch. While I love the mainstream glam as much as the next gal, I must say there has been little to no mention of harder stuff. Everything they are playing is mainstream safe music. I think something like this would have been better suited to FUSE rather than VH-1. I have yet to hear a mention of the heavier side of metal, even the skater punk music of the 80s (hell Suicidal was in Encino man), the thrash end has been well, vanilla, and heaven forbid I have yet to hear a mention of death metal. I don't know if they feel playing Some Kind of Monster covers their butt on that end, but if you didn't like Metallica before, watching them cry will make you like them even less.
Anyhow, I'm babbling, Rock Honors will be Wednesday May 31, 2006 and the honorees are Kiss, Queen, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard. No mention which members will be in Kiss makeup. Am I thrilled with the choices? Not necessarily. Will I watch? Yes. Bands performing that evening will be Foo Fighters, All American Rejects and Godsmack. There is also an Air Guitar Championship.
I think for nostalgia's sake it will be fun. The whole month has been. But as always I'm left feeling a bit miffed that many of my favorites have been left by the side for the vanilla side of rock. The month is almost over, but if you find yourself sitting around the house doing nothing this holiday weekend, kick back and relax with the older stuff. Nothing ground breaking here. You may find some laughs. Of course remember to watch the Pantera BTM Friday night. Our touch of sprinkles on the vanilla sundae of Metal.
Hank Williams III and his music are simply incredible. Were it not for his outspokeness and general dislike for the mainstream music industry, he could easily be filling stadiums with slick overproduced pablum either for Nashville with his country roots, or in L.A. with his rock and roll. Luckily Hank would rather present them both with a big "fuck you" and play his music the way he wants to, genres and big business be damned. Hank is one of the freshest voices in music and to hear him sanitized and packaged would be tragic. The last thing he needs is to be "molded" into someone else's perceived image to fit a genre.
It was a strange and varied crowd, even by Austin's "keep it weird" standards, that showed up to welcome Hank back to Austin. Country folk, city folk, punk folk, and redneck folk, it made for an odd mix for a musician who is known for standing genre labels on their end. Playing a full set at La Zona Rosa, rather than the short set he played at SXSW 2006 over at Antones, Hank was on stage for at least 2 and a half hours.
Opening with an hour of country and bluegrass with a mix so sweet it sounded just like his CDs, this part of the show would rack them in at any honky tonk in Texas. He played most of the new album, starting with the title track "Straight to Hell" and blew through other tracks like "Drinkin & Smokin" and "Pills I Took," barely slowing it down for "Country Heros." He covered at least one Johnny Cash song, and used other songs from his first album to fill in. Backed up by That Damn Band with pedal steel, standup bass, fiddle, and drums, this was a smoking set of bluegrass and old time country. Hank's voice is spookily similar to his grandfather's, so much so that when he covers his grandpa's work, it's virtually indistinguishable.
After an hour of fine country music in which Hank seemed to be channeling his grandfather's spirit, the band began to transition from being That Damn Band into Assjack, and for 20 minutes we were treated to a slice of southern fried rock & roll guaranteed to make any "freebird" yellin redneck rockers in the audience proud of their heritage.
When the morphing was completed we were left with a stripped down 4 peice punk/thrash band that would have felt right at home at any skate ditch in Santa Monica. The band even covered Black Flag's "No Values." Incredibly the punk extravaganza lasted an hour, and when it was over the band and the crowd were bleeding, sopping wet, and exhausted. The only person who seemed to still have energy left was Hank.
If you want to see one of the most talented andmost controversial performers of our day, one your parents wouldn't have let you listen too, this is the man to see. To see more of Hank check out the photos frm his show in our Photo Gallery
Opening for Hank was the punk band The Murder Junkies fronted by singer Jeff Clayton of Anti-Seen. The last backing band of the late G.G.Allin, famed more for his on-stage antics than his musical talents, the band continues Allin's self-destructive traditions, the highpoint being Clayton's ramming a chunk of broken glass into his forehead until he had a nice stream of blood flying into the mosh pit. The title of one of their songs probably sums up their set best "Raw, Brutal, Rough & Bloody."
Watch for my next show review, Snow Patrol at Stubbs Bar-B-Q, on Monday.
No longer the little label that could, Roadrunner Records signed Megadeth on May 16. What does that mean for those of us who yearn for the Vic of old? Well, I am pretty sure we will NOT be hearing a new version of "Crush." Of course Big Dave has always been best at times of political strife, as well as when he can really get angry about something. Well, times of political strife are here, so get angry, Dave, and hit us hard.
Mustaine says of his new home "It is exciting to be some place you are respected, understood and appreciated. The truth is there's a lot of people I've known there over the years. I'm stoked we're all coming back together again to work on this project."
Megadeth is in the process of planning Gigantour 2, and the line up is still pending, but let's all hope Dave and the boys are able to get angry enough to hit us with some hard core old skool thrash.
Before heading off to Europe on tour, Rock Legend Alice Cooper checks in with Jeff Barringer on our first club kingsnake podcast interview to talk about snakes (natch!), rock & roll, and Britney Spears. Take a listen on our Podcast Interviews Page or download the MP3 and take it with you.
Sunday, the second and final day of Coachella, brought the same early wakeups and heat the first day had. Everyone had crashed fairly early the night before, and we'd had little time to exchange stories of what sets were best, what injuries were witnessed, and who we wanted to catch the next day. Luckily, we could head off into town again, for coffee and bathrooms, and to have these discussions. The day ahead appeared to be busier than the first, which was intimidating, especially since the weather was supposed to get at least 10 degrees hotter than it had been. But we were as ready as we could be, and we headed in early to catch Be Your Own Pet, who I had thought had one of the opening slots.
Turns out they weren't on until 1:00 so we wandered around, got our photo taken by Spin magazine at their booth, all the while I could hear this phenomenal band playing. They were instrumental, well, not even really instrumental, mostly chill-out DJ type beats, which I quickly fell in love with. I found out it was the Octopus Project, a band I'd never heard of before, but headed off to pick their album up at the Virgin store, which had surprisingly cheap CDs (and vinyl! Which I sadly had to resist). It was surprising to realize how many bands I didn't know that were playing, when I had been checking out the website months earlier dreaming up ways I could get myself to California I thought I had known the majority. But really, that ended up being one of the great factors of the entire experience, getting into so many new bands, either by just catching a bit of their set, or having people tell you about them. The same thing happened once we decided to mosey over to Be Your Own Pet's stage, a band whose energy was spilling out of their tent was playing. We got closer and saw three guys in all black, with red accents like ties or trim, rocking out harder than I thought possible in the heat. You couldn't watch them and not start moving yourself, their energy simply diffused into the crowd. These guys were the Infadels, and they played hard and fast, pumping out a mixture of electro, charged vocals and rock. We enjoyed the last bit of their set until we got over to Be Your Own Pet.
Be Your Own Pet hit the stage and pummeled right into their first song. The front woman Jemina had a real I-don't-give-a-fuck sort of attitude, possibly trying to be our generation's Joan Jett (but sans guitar). She danced until I thought she might fall over, thrashing her bleached blonde hair all over the place and dancing much like Thora Birch in the opening scene of Ghost World (maybe one person will know what I'm talking about here). Anyhow, the crowd didn't seem to feel them too much, me and two other girls I could see were really the only ones dancing, everyone else, including my less than pleased boyfriend, weren't too impressed. They're fairly young, with a garage, raw punk sound that they smooth out for some songs such as "Adventure." They're up and coming and fairly amateur which was obvious when drummer Jamin's kick pedal fell off several times during the set, while Jemina would try to cover with surprisingly ditzy-sounding jabber. Although I feel I'm being a little harsh about them, I really do love BYOP; I'm not sure if it's their fun punk vibe that reminds me of being 14, or their ridiculously easy to dance to and yell along with lyrics (see: "I'm an independent mother fucker!" off "Bunk Trunk Skunk"). Anyway, they finished their set with Jemina announcing "it was a dangerous song, so be careful," then her screaming for about a minute and half, dropping the mike and walking off stage.
Next up was Mates of State, a husband-wife duo, who integrate keyboard and drums together making the cutest (sickeningly cute, at times) tunes you've ever heard. They were very humble, Kori giggly like a school girl every time the fairly large crowd they'd pulled in would go crazy for them. They thanked us more times than I can count for coming out and would also continually remind us "they were Mates of State!" I always find it really great when bands remind you of their name in between every other song; it makes them seem so down-to-earth, which is always refreshing. They were playing a bigger stage so we were in the direct sun for their whole set, which made it drag on a little bit. They finished up with Jason coming out from the drum kit and serenading us with Kori's keyboard accompaniment, while he gripped the microphone with both hands and loomed over it. It reminded me of a nervous kid in grade 3 forced to sing the national anthem solo to a packed auditorium, his mannerisms were so shy and nervous.
After Mates we wandered over to see a bit of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, but didn't hang around too long since the boyfriend wanted to get a decent spot to see Metric. Ted Leo had sounded pretty great, and afterward we heard nothing but good things about their set. Getting to a decent spot for Metric, I wasn't expecting too much, having seen Emily fall over the stage drunk enough times back in Toronto. But they came out, and we were both very pleasantly surprised. They didn't play too much off the newest album Live it Out, which I was pleased with, not being too fond of it. They delivered hits like "Combat Baby," "Monster Hospital," "Dead Disco" (in a killer extended dance version) and "Poster of a Girl." The crowd loved them, everyone was dancing, and I noticed it was one of the friendlier crowds we'd encountered over the weekend. It was most definitely one of the better sets of the weekend, with Emily thanking the crowd just before the last song for "cheering for the underdog" which was a sweet sentiment, but far from the truth when you look at the packed tent of adoring faces they were playing to.
Pleased from seeing Metric but the dance fest the weekend had turned out to be was beginning to drag us down a bit, we headed over to Sleater-Kinney. They played the main stage just as the sun set, which was a lovely sight to see, but the girls seemed a little less energized then I had expected. I didn't blame them with the heat and all, but by watching their faces on the big screens and the way they played really screamed "We wanna get the hell out of here!" to me. I thought it was great to see them though, being a long time fan, they were probably one of the first bands I got into when my interest in punk rock and feminism begin to bloom.
Staying at the main stage we made our way closer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to come out, which in the heat and tight crowd got a little unbearable so we made our way to the back. The set they played with essentially the same set I had seen a couple weeks earlier in Toronto, but I always love their performance. This was my boyfriend's first time seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs though, and it was nice to have someone to sway with during "Maps." After the YYY's fantastic set, we were beat. After getting some food, we ended up laying down in some shade and sleeping right through Massive Attack (whose set was almost too boring to be music sleep) but unfortunately also through a few bands I really wanted to see (The Go! Team, Mogwai and Coheed and Cambria). We also snoozed right through Madonna, who I would have liked to get a peek at just to be able to say "Oh yeah, I've seen Madonna!" Alas I later heard she played a four song set (after much technical difficulty delay) to approximately 30,000 people. Needless to say, I was glad I wasn't in that mess.
We woke up and shuffled forward through the masses to see Tool, who I've never really been a fan of, so didn't care to see at all. Their set was exactly what I expected from everything I've heard about Maynard's pretentious, asshole personality, but it was missing the really impressive performance aspect. I've heard about acrobats and crazy light shows, but we got big screens playing clips from their music videos. For me, it was more entertaining to watch ridiculous Tool fans, with them either doing crazy interpretive dancing or rocking out with their joints to "Sober." The one thing I was really blown away by was Maynard's voice, which sounded just like any recording of Tool I've ever heard. He didn't miss one note, which for a while convinced me maybe he was lip synching until I was informed apparently it was in a completely different key than the record was. Tool fans are fanatical, and it's this that has led me to determine Tool is our generation's Led Zepplin. So to me, this set was overly boring and got me quite ready for bed, until my boyfriend decided he'd had enough as well and we could skip off.
But during this Tool performance I'd been missing Art Brut, an amazing brit pop rock band that I had wanted to see really bad, but apparently Art Brut loses to Tool when it comes down to it. But I'm thinking maybe we'll be able to catch one last song, so we run over to their tent. To my surprise (very, very pleasant surprise) Art Brut had a number of songs to go, since they had their set pushed way back by yet again more difficulties and decided they weren't going to cut it short. From what I understand Coachella has tight rules about not performing past midnight, or else there are enormous fines, so bands must end at midnight or else.
But Art Brut being the young, zealous Brits they are kept going in a very punk rock fashion. After flipping off the stage manager who was frantically trying to wave them off stage after telling them they had one more song at the max, singer Eddie Argos informed the crowd they had three more songs! They even stopped "Emily Kane" for Eddie to interject and tell the story of how Emily heard the song and called him, which made him realize that he was no longer in love with her! He was simply in love with the idea of being in love at the age of 15! (Yes, all these exclamation marks are necessary for me to convey the energy Art Brut delivered!) The banter in between songs and stage presence they had was enough to have us laughing so hard we were crying and dancing our exhausted legs so fast they gave out from under us. With Eddie finally giving in to the man and heading off stage, the rest of the band continued playing, getting to the point where they were just making noise. Drummer Mikey continued to triumphantly flip off the stage manager and would do a mini drum roll then point to the audience who would go nuts. This went on back and forth for another five minutes or so, until they finally packed it in as well. Art Brut, even with the few songs we saw them perform, definitely stole the entire fucking show. And I can't wait to go back next year.
Hank Williams III is indeed going straight to hell.
Initially I had a hard time trying to decide if this was a serious album or a caricature of the country music genre. After two or three listens I am convinced that it is a serious album. Lyrically it is as dark, destitute, self-destructive and morbid as any death metal album I have heard, and yet this album has a pure classic country sound, too far beyond alternative to be considered alt-country, done in a style that harkens back to his grandfather's era and roots.
This is not an album for minors, and in fact it might be a little rough for actual miners as well. Hank III seems to be aiming to be pegged as the blackest sheep in the Williams family and he hits that mark here. Songs abound about drug and alcohol abuse, and murder, death, and suicide. This is all of country and western's self destructiveness, compressed into one single release. Hank even takes time in the liner notes to jab a sharp stick at the Grand Ole Oprey and the Country Music Association.
If Hank lives as he writes, he is indeed going straight to hell.
I loved every song on this album. This is a must-have and needs to be place right next to Johnny Cash's final releases. Songs like "Country Heros" and "My Drinkin Problem" should be considered instant classics that cross genres. "Satan is Real/Straight to Hell" starts out like an old time gospel tune then rapidly turns into a romp & stomp hoedown. "Thrown out of the Bar" will make you want to get up and dance. "D Ray White" probably could have done without the echo effect but is excellent otherwise. "Louisiana Stripes" is just unreal. "Smoke & Wine" is a wonderfully bouncy pick fest set to a chorus of "I'm drinking & drugging, I'm having lots of fun, I always carry round a loaded shotgun," and "My drinking problem" with "My drinking problem left today, she packed up all her things and walked away" is an unbelieveable honky tonk. Hanks band is incredible, with Andy Gibson on steel, Joe Buck on the stand up bass, and Donnie Herron on fiddle.
Even if you are not a fan of country music, this is one album worth owning.
"My Drinking Problem"