Posts tagged ‘Shout it out loud music’

5/2/09: 100 Bands in 100 Days Final Show with Takka Takka, Anamanaguchi & Right on Dynamite @ Fontana’s (100/100)–PART 1

May 3rd, 2009

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The 100th show: Part 1

Wow. I have no idea what to say about this party. What an amazing, amazing night.

I will start off by saying thanks to Al Risi from ARMM and Francis Garcia from Shout It Out Loud Music for throwing me such a kick ass party. Thanks to Right on Dynamite, Anamanaguchi and Takka Takka for rocking the house all night. Thanks to Bruce Ashley of Company X and his film crew for documenting every last second. Thanks to Sunshine for flying in from London, Brent for flying in from San Fran, John for flying in from Minnesota, Tim for driving down from Massachusetts, and everyone else in NY who came to Fontana’s last night to help celebrate the culmination of 100 consecutive days of live music with me.

This was the coolest party I’ve ever been to and been a part of. Here’s how it all went down. And just so you know, this is going to be a long post, so get comfortable.

Pre-show madness

I got a call around 4pm from John, one of the DPs from Company X who was filming the night. He was outside my apartment, waiting to jump in a cab with me to film an interview on the way to the venue. I was headed there early for Right on Dynamite’s sound check, and to practice a song I was going to perform with them after their set. The other two bands were coming in from out of town, so they wouldn’t be able to sound check this early.

I stepped out of my apartment, and John already had the camera going. We hopped in a cab, did a quick interview on the ride over, then he jumped out of the cab at Fontana’s. When I went inside, Al was already there, and John did a short interview with him as well. I did sit around for few minutes just waiting – the calm before the storm, if you will. Then Right on Dynamite showed up and it was on.

We headed downstairs where Bruce and his crew had been setting up all day. That’s when I realized how real tonight was going to be. I mean, there were multiple cameras set up, including one a fucking dolly in front of the stage! They brought their own lighting for the stage, to spotlight the bands, etc. It was out of control, in an awesome way. They even had like 3 or 4 Flip cameras on tripods. Unbelievable.

I did a little setting up of my own by hanging some pictures my friend Alan shot for me of the more tangible items I’d collected along the way: wristbands, ticket stubs, flyers, my little written record opened up to where Les Paul signed it, my nasty ass earplugs, camera, and so on. I even had a bunch of commemorative posters made up for the night and set them up for sale, too.

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Right on Dynamite started their sound check and that was one more reminder of how real tonight was. And then I got nervous, too. Earlier in the week, my friend Brent suggested that I play a song during the party. He suggested “I’m so tired” by the Beatles. I don’t know if he imagined I’d take him so serious, but I did. After he said it, I immediately IM’d Al and had him ask the band. They were totally into it, practiced the song at rehearsal all week, while I did a little practicing at home. And tonight, I was going to do it in front of everyone at the party.

What am I nuts? I’m a guitar player, not a singer. But the song was so fitting that I just had to do it. Fuck it, right? After ROD sound checked, it was my time to get up on stage and run through the song with them. It went pretty well actually, but I was still nervous as hell about playing it tonight.

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Calm before the storm

By 6:30 the venue was set up, ROD had finished with sound check and now I finally got a moment to sit and relax and take a few deep breaths before everyone started to arrive. We actually had to clear out of the room by 6:30pm since there was a band who actually had a gig that night at Fontana’s, who I’m sure were saying “WTF?” when they saw all the film equipment, etc.

Oh, wait. I forgot. I didn’t get to relax yet. I still had to do an interview. I thought it would be some hand held interview like Al did earlier, boy was I wrong. This shit was really official. They had an area set aside that was pre-lit with two cameras. I sat down and we did about a 30 minute interview. Itwas a lot of fun to be able to reflect on the project just before celebrating the end of it.

Ok, so after that I actually did get to relax a bit. Al had run home to change and print out the guest list, etc. Francis took off for a bit too, I think. And it was finally just Sunshine and me, relaxing in a booth upstairs having a drink. But not for long…

Continue to Part 2

4/29/09: The Megan Wolf Project @ Fontana’s (97/100)

April 30th, 2009

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It’s all happening.

The final day is finally near. Which means, the final event/party/show is also near. I haven’t talked about it much yet, but here’s what’s happening. My friends Al from ARMM and Francis from Shout It Out Loud Music are sponsoring the 100th day. They booked Fontana’s as the venue, three secret bands (to you, not us), and we invited who I could. It’s a small venue, so the list is tight. If I was unable to get you in, I apologize in advance.

Tonight we all met up at Fontana’s for a quick walk through of the venue. Francis has a video crew coming as well, to document the night/project. So they had to do a quick tech scout of the room. We talked details, met the contact at Fontana’s and so on. The planning for this event has mostly taken place via email, phone calls, etc. I’ve been in daily contact with Al and Francis, and they’ve been doing all the legwork behind the scenes.

This was the first time we’ve all been in the same place together since…hmm…since the Holly Williams show at Joe’s Pub, I think. Al and I have seen plenty of shows since then. And Francis and I saw Headlights and The Love Language last week at Bell House. But, anyhow.

We met up at Fontana’s tonight to hash everything out: talk sound check times, lights, cameras, and a rough agenda for action. But, before any of this went down, I had to head out to the other side of the fucking country for a quick in my company’s Portland office. Yes, you heard that right. Not only that, but Sunshine got back to NYC tonight, too for a two week trip. So basically, she was getting in, and then less than 12 hours later, I was leaving for two days.

Me: Hi, Sunshine.

Me: By Sunshine.

As long as I was already at Fontana’s for the walk through, I figured I’d make whomever the first band playing my 97th band. Fuck it, right? I was there. And trying to make it so by the time Sunshine got back from the airport, I would have my music done for the night. And it almost worked out perfect. Almost.

We wrapped up our walk through at Fontana’s just as the first band of the night, The Megan Wolf Project, was going on. Just then, Sunshine called to say she was jumping in a cab at JFK. Damnit. Not enough time for the band to play. Hmm. I told her to just take a cab to the club, I’d meet her there, and the band would hopefully be done in time and we’d head home. She agreed, and I headed down to check out the band.

Megan saw us scouting the place out beforehand and asked us who we were. I told her about the project, and that I was on day 97, and she was thrilled to be part of the end of the project. Even giving me a shout out a few songs into the set. She was a really nice, was very pretty and had a nice voice, but I just wasn’t sure what to do with the music.

It wasn’t off-putting. It just didn’t do much for me. Not a whole lot to grab onto. Maybe I was preoccupied with the upcoming 100th show, or trying to time out right with Sunshine getting to the venue, or the fact that I had to leave for Portland in the morning – but I remember very little about the actual music from the band. It was fine, just not memorable.

About halfway through the set, Francis, Al and the director Bruce’s crew had to split. Bruce hung out and had a beer. We bullshitted about the night, and he snapped off a few shots of the band. Then, with two songs left, I got the call from Sunshine.

Sunshine: I’m outside.

Me: Shit.

I headed out, grabbed her, carried her luggage inside, begged my way out of paying the $7 cover just for the last song, and we headed downstairs so I could complete the 97th day.

Whew.

Day #98 and Portland, here I come.

4/7/09: The Antlers @ Music Hall of Williamsburg (75/100)

April 8th, 2009

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Not sure what to write today, to be honest. I’m sorta in rough shape and not feeling too terribly creative. Or much like a writer. Or much like a human. The show was good, but I was in rough shape for it.

Every year, the company I work for throws a party on the day the agency was started: April Fools Day. This year, the party was pushed back until the 7th for whatever reason, and the budget was scaled back considerably, because of the recession. How scaled back? Well, a couple years ago, for the agency’s 25th anniversary, we were flown out to Portland for a 2-day party the Beastie Boys performed at. If that’s any indication (of course, that’s the extreme).

This year, we basically played drinking games (flip cup, beer pong) in a huge room on the 3rd floor for like eight hours.There was also a live karaoke band, which was cool. Entirely too loud, but that’s just because of the space. It was basically a lot of day drinking, and then I ran out see The Antlers later that night.

I texted my friend Jeremy from the party to see if he wanted to check out the show with me. I had gotten on the list (thanks Francis) and was really looking forward to it. I hopped in a cab around 8:30pm, and headed towards Brooklyn. The cab driver took me for a ride, saying he didn’t know Brooklyn. Which I find to be bullshit since Williamsburg is right across the bridge. But whatever. I made it, grabbed a slice at my favorite pizzeria and then headed to the club. Meeting up with Jeremy pretty much right away.

The club wasn’t super crowded which was nice. We managed to get right up to the front of the stage. I was literally leaning on it as I took most of the pictures above. And man, the Antlers are pretty great. Their sound is so thick, and dense, you could swim in it. One look at their pedal boards lets you know why:

And their songs are just really nice – the kind you can close your eyes and soak in. Just don’t close your eyes after you’ve been drinking all day like you’re in college again, because you might fall asleep or fall over. Just saying, you know, that’s what I hear.

I’d heard some of The Antlers’ new record before the show, but had never seen them. They’ve been getting good press lately, like this great write up in Pitchfork. So I think it was one of those, “you’ll be hearing a lot about these guys soon” type shows. And their record is self-released, which is totally cool.

They played for about an hour, then left the stage to make way for the headliner. At which time, I left the club, leaving Jeremy behind to watch Here We Go Magic solo. Who I would’ve liked to see. But I just had to get home and get some sleep.

Sorry Jeremy.

Sorry Here We Go Magic.

Thanks Francis.

Rock on Antlers.

3/12/09: Ringo Deathstarr @ Death by Audio (49/100)

March 13th, 2009

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There are venues in NYC that you have to jump on tickets immediately when they go on sale, since there are so many people with good musical taste here. And then there are the venues most people don’t know about at all, where bands you probably haven’t heard of perform before they make it to the other venues. Death By Audio is one of these places – and they make cool boutique guitar pedals, too.

Imagine a cab ride to a deserted street in Williamsburg. A non-descript building with music faintly wafting out from behind a cracked open door. A rundown space with crack house, squatter-like qualities. Water leaking from the bathroom, broken ceiling tiles, graffiti stained walls, hipsters and cigarette smoke everywhere. DBA feels like a true underground rock venue, with the good and bad qualities that suggests (i.e. you give up good sound for exclusivity).

By talking about it, I sort of feel like I’m giving something away. But there’s a myspace page, so how much of secret is it really? I have to say I was expecting a bit more, to be honest. I like the idea of this place though. A shitty, rundown building where you don’t have to deal with the regular bullshit you get at music venues – mainly bouncers, crowds and rules.

I headed out to DBA to check out this shoegaze band Ringo Deathstarr that Francis told me about last night (Francis being a friend of Al’s who I met the night before, and heads up Shout It Out Loud Music). So my friends Charlie and Thomas headed out there and met up with Francis around 10pm.

Walking into DBA was kinda weird. Everyone was acting incredibly cool. Noticing when you walk in, but acting like they didn’t. First band on was Grand Mal. They weren’t bad. Country, rockish. A bit like Supergrass, but “not so super, grass” as Thomas put it.

I was still processing, still trying to soak in the place. Watching people act like they’re not enjoying themselves. A little foot tapping, but not too much. Don’t want to ruin that “I’ve been here before, and I’m not that impressed” vibe.

Random sighting: DJ AM, the guy who was in that plane crash with Blink 182’s drummer Travis Barker. Thomas pointed him out. We’re about 90% sure it was him.

We grabbed some $3 PBRs from the “bar” and hung in the back room. A room littered with random furniture that looks like it was left on the street, or torn out of a minivan.
The next band The Depreciation Guild came on. A band with a better light show than anything else. They photographed better than they sounded. The guitars, wall of sound was cool, but the vox were a bit pretty and wimpy for me. But make sure to flip through the pics above – they came out pretty good.

While waiting, Francis and I bullshitted with Elliot, vox/guitar for Ringo Deathstarr. Francis is planning a showcase with the band at South by Southwest next week. Which should be fun considering the band, and Francis, are both from Austin. Then Elliot split off to set up his arsenal of guitar pedals. A little while later Ringo was ready to play.

And man, they fucking killed it.

This is a great band. I’m not going to parse words here. They rock loud. They rock hard. And their sound surrounds you. Imagine My Bloody Valentine meets Sonic Youth meets the Jesus and Mary Chain. A huge, thick wall of sound. Great light show/visuals. Their songs were a bit short for shoegaze, which didn’t bother me, but Charlie and Thomas knocked them for it.

They played two handfuls of songs, each one thicker and fuller than the next, until around 1am when they announced their last song. The show ended, we finished our beers, left the indie bizarro world, and then headed out into the night, desperate for a cab back to reality.