Posts tagged ‘WK Radio’

5/1/09: The Reverb Brothers @ White Eagle Saloon, Portland (99/100)

May 1st, 2009

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99 days of live music on the wall. 99 days of live music. Take one down. Pass it around. No wait, don’t take it down. Fuck that. Put it up. I have done 99 days of live music in a row. I can’t believe it. 99 days? Seriously? What the hell is wrong with me?

Oh man, I can’t believe I’ve almost made it. Almost there. Oh, and I’m in Portland. What a way to close it out. I had meetings all day, and they were awesome. Yes, I just used the word “awesome” in relation to the word “meetings.” Believe it. It’s true. Meetings at the Portland office of the company I work for are like that: WK Radio. Coca-Cola. Levi’s. iPhone app developers. Like I said, awesome. I love the company I work for, and I don’t care who knows it.

So, when I first heard about the project here, I emailed people I knew in Portland asking for suggestions of bands to see. One was Ingrid from Kill Rock Stars, who I’d become friendly with via email during the project. She suggested I drop by the newly renovated Mississippi Studios for Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, who are pretty awesome. I was psyched at first. What a great day 99, I thought. Then I thought again. Hmm. I have all these people working to make Day 100 amazing back in NYC. And I’m in PDX. Shit. I should try and get back as soon as I can, I thought.

I mean, it’s way more rock and roll to go to a late show of a great band on the other side of the country. To stay out until 1 or 2am, then catch the 6:30am flight back to NYC, getting in at 3pm, then rushing right over to Fontana’s for any last minute details before the party. That’s fucking rock and roll as hell. But, also stressful as all hell. And while awesome in a super dramatic way to close out this project, just not a risk I was willing to take.

So I found a band playing in Portland at 5:30pm and changed my flight to the 10:30pm red eye Friday night. I’m not taking any risks. And what am I saying? Isn’t flying back from the complete opposite side of the country the day before the final day dramatic enough anyhow? Yes it is. Especially when I find out that the bar I’m going to see The Reverb Brothers perform is haunted.

Some people from the Portland office were telling me how the previous owner of the White Eagle would absolutely refuse to go into the attic. Something happened to him there, or he saw something that made him refuse to step foot up there. He would make his employees go up there instead, and eventually sold the place because he just couldn’t handle it.

Matt Z and I grabbed a cab to a really industrial section of downtown Portland, popping out at the White Eagle Saloon around 6pm. We walk into one of the oldest bars in Portland, which doubles as a hotel, restaurant and music venue. And it’s awesome. Old, off the beaten path, with character out the ass. The beer is awesome, the food is awesome, the people are awesome. My kind of place.

We get there and The Reverb Brothers are already on, and they sound great. It’s a 6-piece bluesy, Americana band of older guys who seem to just have a great time playing live, every Friday night from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. They concluded the first set shortly after we showed up.

Then, I grabbed Doug, the lead singer, telling him of the project. He was taken quite aback (I swear, this never gets old). I gave him the URL, told him to check out the site, and mentioned how I was racing back to NYC for the 100th show. He was all smiles.

The band started their second set and a few songs in, Doug gave me a great shout out. He said, “During the break, I was accosted by this guy named Nick, who’s sitting at the end of the bar. He is on a musical journey where he’s going to see 100 bands in 100 days. This is day number 99, and he’s headed straight back to New York today for the 100th show.” He gave out the blog URL, I waved to the crowd, grabbed a couple more beers with Jerome, Matt and Tatum (from the Portland office), watched the end of the set and grabbed a cab to the airport.

Which is where I sit. Waiting to board by overnight flight to NYC. For day #100.

Holy shit, this crazy journey is almost over. I’m not sure whether to be happy or sad.

See you in New York.

3/22/09: Great Elk @ Rockwood Music Hall (59/100)

March 22nd, 2009

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What a beautiful day: sunny, 50s, and a bit windy. The perfect day to see music at Rockwood Music Hall, where the front window lets the sun pour into this tiny, intimate club. And there I was, ready for some one, two, three o’clock, four o’clock…um, folk. Yes, another daytime show. Thank you, thank you, thank you Rockwood. This means I get to relax at home tonight, maybe make some dinner, tidy up the apartment – you know, normal life stuff.

But first, Great Elk. A band I knew nothing about 24 hours ago. I literally picked them off a list of artists playing at Rockwood starting at three today. After a listen to their myspace page, they seemed a good choice. Plus, a band with an animal name is often a safe bet. See Deerhoof, Animal Collective, Band of Horses, Panda Bear, Grizzly Bear and Dr. Dog, to name a few. Ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but what did I have to lose?

Check this out. On the walk to Rockwood, I think I passed Adam Yauch(MCA), but I couldn’t be sure. If it was him, then I missed my chance to ask if he and the rest of the Beasties were actually following my Twitter. Or if it’s just some dude in marketing/PR (most likely).

I got to Rockwood a few minutes before four, and some guy who isn’t Great Elk was still on stage. I didn’t feel like seeing anymore music than was absolutely necessary today, so I wandered around the neighborhood for a few minutes. I returned in perfect time, grabbed the exact seat I sat in last time I was at this venue (for Pete and J) and ordered a $3 Coke. No beers today. Can’t do it.

I have to admit that while I was happy to be knocking out some day music, this is the first time I did that while being able to see the sun, which is bit weird. Music is supposed to be played at night, in dark clubs, with mood lighting and shit. Unless you’re at a festival. And Rockwood is the kind of place that makes avoiding the sun impossible, since the windows run the length of the club.

The songs were simple, yet not simplistic. Paul’s (vox/guitar) guitar work reminded me a lot of old Son Volt (circa Trace, Straightaways), and I liked the dropped D and dropped C tunings. The songs didn’t necessarily sound like Jay Farrar songs, just the guitar. I think it also helped that Patrick (guitar) captured a great pedal steel sound without having a pedal steel – just a glass slide, volume pedal and look alike Tele. They were sans rhythm section for today’s show. Which was fine with me. I could use some calm, peace and quiet today after that Cut Copy/Matt and Kim show, and post-partying with Ryan and Erin last night.

As nice as it was, a couple songs in it was really bugging me who these guys reminded me of. Ok, I identified some of the guitar work sounded like old school Son Volt, but couldn’t figure out the voice. Part of me heard traces of Damien Rice here and there. But that wasn’t entirely it. There may have been some Jack Johnson in there, but I blocked that out since I hate him and wouldn’t be able to enjoy the show.

Ok, I know it’s annoying to compare artists to one another, but that’s just what happens. Most of the time, you hear something and think, “Hmm, where have I heard this before?” Rarely are there bands that don’t show their influences in some way or another.

I settled on the weird Son Volt/Damien Rice combo so I could get past it and enjoy the moment. Which I did. Until the moment passed, and Great Elk ran out of time. They thanked us. I thanked them, for the show and free CD (Thx Paul, go to radio.wk.com, Tues @ 2pm). Then headed home, to enjoy my Sunday night.

2/18/09: Sam Roberts Band w/Mother Mother @ Bowery Ballroom (27/100)

February 19th, 2009

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This was a big day for the 100 Bands project.

Had my first bit of real press, “Seeing 100 Bands in 100 Days” by Foster Kamer, on Blackbook mag online (thanks again, Foster). Which resulted in the biggest day of traffic for the site. Blitzen Trapper is now following my Twitter (I added them, they added me). I talked to some people about starting to do a weekly radio show about the project for WK Radio (radio.wk.com). And the Sam Roberts Band and Mother Mother blew the roof off Bowery Ballroom. 

Day 27 = a good day

My friend Dan shot me an email a few weeks ago after checking out the site. He saw the Mother Mother and Sam Roberts Band show in the Upcoming Shows section and wanted in. So he pulled the trigger, got the tickets, and tonight was the show. But first, I headed over to the design shop Dan started with his friend Andre - Dress code - to check out their office digs.We hung there for a bit and he showed me some of the work they’ve done. Really happy for these guys since opening their doors a couple years ago. Big ups. 

We quickly hit up a sandwich shop called Tiny’s for some pre-show grinders, and then made our way to the Bowery. Mother Mother (not to be confused with Mother/Father) was already on when we got there, so we quickly headed upstairs. I have to say, Mother Mother was a surprise. I thought they’d be some typical-looking indie rock band, but instead, I got some combo of that and the B-52s. Ryan, the lead singer, was sporting some pompadour/mohawk combo. Molly and Jasmin (keys/vox) were in matching black dresses. And Jeremy and Ali (rhythm section) looked like indie rock guys. I am not trying to make it a practice to comment on the “look” of bands. But when it’s part of their thing, it’s hard not to. Listen, I come from the Replacements mentality where a pair of jeans and a t-shirt are good enough…but whatever. Mother Mother looked great, and sounded better.

We caught most of their set, which was tight, solid and fun. But then it was time for the Sam Roberts band to hit the stage. And man did they hit it, with authority. I remember someone (a read of this blog I think) telling me that I was in for a treat with this show. Whoever you are, you were right. Sam Roberts brings it and brings it hard. The lights, the energy, the constant barrage of hard rocking songs. Man, what a show these guys put on. Neither Dan or I really knew what to expect from this show, and we were both pretty blown away. And the Bowery wasn’t even sold out that night.

Well, your loss if you weren’t at this show. But next time Sam Roberts rolls through town, grab a ticket and get ready for a great one.