Posts tagged ‘SXSW’

100 Bands in 100 Days documentary got into SXSW 2011!!

February 11th, 2011

That’s right. The short documentary about this long musical journey has been accepted into this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, March 11 – 19, 2001 in Austin, TX. I can’t think of a more perfect place to relive those amazing 100 days than at a festival like SXSW.

This. is. gonna. be. fun.

Official screening dates/times to be posted on 2/15/11

4/5/09: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band @ Bowery Ballroom (73/100)

April 5th, 2009

Picture 1 of 5

Back to life. Back to reality. Back to the Bowery Ballroom.

After a week in Europe, visiting Sunshine, seeing a wide variety of bands in venues totally new to me in great cities like London and Paris, it’s back to the grind in NYC. And I’m sorta bummed about it. Even if this week is looking like it could be a really good one. It’s not because I’ve seen 73 straight days of live music. I think I got the post-vacation blues. Luckily I was able to chill out most of the day and recover from jet lag. And even luckier for me, the Bowery is only a 3-block walk from my apartment. Not the hour long jaunts of London and Paris.

Tonight was Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band from Seattle. I learned of them from old high school I recently reconnected with, then noticed they were playing a show at Bowery with Bishop Allen. How’s that for instant gratification? Plus, Bishop Allen’s not bad, either. I have one of their records, there are some good songs. But I was more interested in MSHVB.

I rolled my ass off the couch around 9pm, threw on some clothes and stumbled over to the Bowery. Walking into the club, I felt at home – like I was stepping into my basement for some Sunday night tunes. Of course, I wasn’t in my basement because I live in a 350 square foot apartment in Manhattan. The only thing in my basement is the boiler, and probably a shit load of rats.

The first band Team B just finished when I walked in. All I saw was them breaking their gear down. No biggie. I was looking for a quick night tonight since jet lag was beginning to kick in.

Twenty minutes later, MSHVB (which is not a very easy acronym to type) was on stage. Just looking at them, it seemed like they were going to be fun. They wore matching outfits, one of the guitar players had fashioned a headband out of what looked like spare material, and the female keyboardist/percussionist was holding big, stick thingys. They smiled a lot, bantered with the crowd, and seemed really nice. But when it came to the songs, they were all business.

Big thick, Gibson riffs. A little bit prog rock, a little bit garage and roll. Think Yes mixed with the De Stijl-era White Stripes (when they were interesting), Black Mountain and somehow, somewhere, a little bit of Led Zeppelin. Plus other references I can’t think of. See for yourself below.

This video is from the show:


This one is from SXSW (not mine, but I wish it was):


Well…it happened again tonight. I was on my couch. Not in the mood to get dressed and head out to see a band. But once I got there, and they MSHVB was on stage doing their thing, I was happy. I ignored my jet lag for an hour, took it in – and it was fucking great.

Sorry, I’ve been trying to control my cursing more lately (wait, I did say shit earlier, too – damnit). But MSHVB were that good. I even bought the CD afterwards. And I wasn’t the only one. The line at the merch table after their set was how every band wants to see it – packed.

I put my new CD in my pocket, walked upstairs, stopped for a moment and looked at the stage – trying to figure out if I could manage another hour and a half of music tonight. Bishop Allen, or not? Hmm. I thought, “Maybe.” But my jet lag said, “Hells no.” So I listened to the jet lag and went home.

3/14/09: Lookbook @ First Avenue & 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis (51/100)

March 14th, 2009

Picture 1 of 3

Here I am, back on an airplane for a 7am flight to NY, less than 24 hours after I got to MN. Officially my shortest ever trip home. But a necessary one. As I wrote yesterday, this was a last-minute trip to see my ailing grandmother. And while I’m not going to go into details, but she wasn’t looking her best. Yet, still seemed excited to see me.

It’s never easy to see someone you love – who you last saw in good spirits over the holidays – laid up in the hospital bed. But as I mentioned before, my gma (as I call her) is a stubborn woman. Her body may be fading, but her mind is still sharp, most of the time.

I spent nearly an hour with her, much longer than I imagined I would. I didn’t want to wear her out, but she was up for it. So my mom, sister and nephew hung out as long as felt right. And we weren’t the only ones. Gma had lots of visitors today. My cousin Angie came to see her this weekend from the other coast (San Diego). She and my uncle Andy were in the room when we arrived. Then they left, we spent almost an hour, and then we left gma to get some rest.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had to stop writing this for a good 10 minutes as I put my hat over my face and let out what I hadn’t been able to since seeing my grandma in the hospital. I kept it together in front of her, the rest of the day was family time, and then I went out to catch a band. I got home after midnight and went straight to bed since I had to get up at 5am. I simply hadn’t had time to let it out, until now.

I was fortunately able to round up some old friends to catch Lookbook with me. I got Johnny Wess, Rooney, his friend Nabeel – and Matt and Sarah for pre-show drinks (thanks for the drinks and donations everyone). I was equally as luck to be going to my favorite Minneapolis venue: First Avenue & 7th Street Entry. The only place worth seeing music in MN, if you ask me. Other venues get decent acts, and sound good. But they’ll never be First Ave.

This is the club where my parents saw Ike & Tina Turner when they were dating (called The Depot then). The club where Purple Rain was filmed. The club for who my friend PJ and I delivered comp tickets and calendars to local coffee houses and record stores in high school – in exchange for free tickets. The place I saw Pavement. And where I saw Radiohead on the Bends tour.

I missed the stars painted on the side of the building, each tagged with the bands that have played there: from Nirvana to Tool to Squeeze to Rod Stewart (flip thru pics above). I missed the rude, heavily pierced staff and checkered floor. I didn’t miss the shitty bathrooms though, that’s for sure.

Tonight’s show was in the 7th Street Entry side, a room/venue attached to First Ave, where lesser-known acts that haven’t made it to “Mainroom” status play. For those of you in NYC, imagine if the Mercury Lounge were attached to the Bowery Ballroom.

Earlier in the Mainroom they were hosting a “SXSW Sendoff” showcase, featuring a bunch of local bands who are headed down to Austin. That started at 5pm, so by the time I got there, it was pouring out. Bummer I missed this gig. Could’ve been a good one

But that’s ok because Lookbook was good, too. They are stripped down, electronic-based duo consisting of Maggie Morrison on vocals, and Grant Cutler on beats/loops and occasional guitar. Think Glass Candy on Valium. They also happen to resemble Kevin Drew and Feist, sort of. Which doesn’t really have any real bearing on the music, but still worth mentioning.

The first half of their set was nice, albeit a bit quiet and samey. The good news is they did pick up it halfway through. Bad news is the crowd never stopped pouring into the Entry. Clearly, Minneapolis wanted to keep the “SXSW Sendoff” going for hours, as a DJ set was up after Lookbook, to be followed by Vampire Hands after that. But I had to get home. I had an early flight back to NY, and Public Enemy to look forward to Sunday night.

Goodbye Minnesota, and gma, I hope to see you again, soon.