Category Archives: Music

With The #3 Pick, MBP Selects Bonnaroo X’s…


Here’s my second post talking about Bonnaroo X, my favorite performances and their best songs. Without further ado; the third best performance I saw (hailing from the “This” Tent…no seriously):

Home of mushroom fountains, insane heat, naked people, phenomenal music and the worst physically manifested Abbot and Costello inspired mind-f*** ever

3. Florence and The Machine (Come on, it has to be “Dog Days”) as the Oklahoma City Thunder circa 2010-2011

I know I know, “didn’t OKC lose in the Western Conference finals 4 games to 1 in largely unimpressive fashion? Did Bonnaroo suck or something?” Hardly, in fact Bonnaroo exceeded my expectations in unexpected ways. I went in dreading the heat, dreading the lack of showers and dreading the porta potties. I thought if things were going to go well these things would have to at least be somewhat ok. I also dreaded that Oklahoma City would be too young this year, Durant too exhausted and people to cocky about what this team could do after 2010’s breakout season. They would have to mature and Durant would have to be Durant in spite of playing a year straight of basketball coming in. In fact, all of the things above somewhat materialized (Durant began the season exhausted, I didn’t shower for 120 hours, OKC looked young at times, and the porta potties absolutely did suck). The beauty is that both the Thunder and Bonnaroo managed to overcome those issues to be big successes. It just took me a little reflection to fully grasp it.

You think I'm the first to compare her^...

to him^?...

Florence and the Machine embodied this. Going in I cautiously expected great things after seeing them perform live online. Florence, like Durant, seemed like a great front-woman, energizing the crowd with her performances while managing the live vocals well (a difficult thing to do consistently when you sing like she does). I believed out of all the groups F & M had the most potential to be both great and disappointing. They started out well enough. We were reasonably close (about 2/3rds of the crowd was outside the tent, behind us in the open air) so we could hear the music and catch glimpses of the stage and Florence’s performance. The problem was, on a couple of occasions, she had to drop her voice an entire octave, altering the choruses of popular songs like Dog Days. This was like Durant altering his game early in the season (when he was missing shots like crazy) because he was worn out from leading Team USA to FIBA Gold during the summer. Florence has been touring pretty hard lately (while opening up for U2) so I’m guessing her voice has been worn down by the insane schedule. By dropping it an octave in parts she could conserve her voice while keeping the song from being too drastically changed. It wound up working out. While I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get the full brunt of a high pitched “Dog Days” chorus, the song was still fantastic, the musicians were great and the overall performance had the crowd going bonkers. Meanwhile OKC adjusted their lineup, added Sam Perkins late in the season and won the first two playoffs series of their young careers while Durant largely got his mojo back. They got to where we expected and hoped they would be, they just did it in a somewhat different way.

John Calipari's opinion of the NCAA's so-called "rules" and "bi-laws"...

That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for:  “Hope Solo said the US Women’s 2-0 victory in the first round of the Women’s World Cup was the first time she’s had fun in an international tournament. I guess two Olympic gold medals just weren’t very “fun” for Hope?,” “Kentucky just signed John Calipari through 2019. So, if we’re keeping score kids, if you want to earn millions as a coach, leave two teams (three?) shamed with vacated Final 4 seasons and do it with relatively few repercussions; coach college basketball…,” and “The Halfwits are keeping a long run of July 4th beer ball games going this year on Sunday…it may prove to be the least athletic display of ‘sport’ in, well, ever.”

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Bonnaroo X: Ho…ly…S***


The Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee is a blend of emotional extremes. You have your highs: bands bringing their “A-game” to every performance, constant high quality music from noon until 5 AM every day, phenomenal food and beer if you choose to partake (and can afford it) and a level of organization that Woodstock couldn’t have remotely dreamt of. You also have your lows: having to make a choice that (I imagine…) is like picking between children when favorite artists play simultaneously, the incredible ability of people to make porta-potties 20 times more disgusting than they already were, consistent 95 degree temperatures and a serious lack of hygiene. Honestly, it’s a lot like being a fan of a sports team. You have your Championship years (Band of Skulls coming out of nowhere on the first day to bring down the house) and your 2-14 seasons (literally being blinded by the rotting stench of the plastic sweat dome of terror your just bared your goods in). It is a give and take kind of thing, but by the end those highs out weigh the lows substantially.

The Good...

The Bad...(this is fake, but really not that far off)

For the next few days I’ll post my top 4 Bonnaroo X performances (plus a couple of honorable mentions) roughly 1 at a time. In addition I’ll list my favorite song of theirs and a corresponding (think: “major stretch”…) analogy from the sports world. I also apologize for the delay. I was moving my girlfriend up to Boston this past weekend and between that and Bonnaroo it’s been a little insane (we caught a game at Fenway too, a first for both of us…a post on it is in the works).

But enough about that (just kiddin Sar, kisses), here are a couple of honorable mentions and my number 4 pick from Bonnaroo:

Honorable Mentions: Bassnectar as the Arizona Diamondbacks circa 2001 and STS9 as the VMI Keydets men’s basketball team since roughly 2006

While I admittedly didn’t stick around for the entire set of either group I felt I had to mention both. Bassnectar does some truly incredible things with a relatively limited set of musical accoutrements on stage, literally making your heart feel like it will beat right out of your chest the second the music starts. Even as I walked away exhausted through the massive throng of dancing bonnaroo revelers and out into the relatively open air of Centeroo I could feel the sub woofer vibrations knocking around my…insides. Bassnectar’s a one man version of the 2001 Diamondbacks because he does so much with so little. Arizona won the World Series with a two man rotation that year and made the Yankee’s vaunted and financially blessed juggernaut look relatively meek in the path of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. It was more with less, much like Bassnectar, and like Bassnectar those guys literally thundered through the Yank’s lineup relatively un-encumbered (the Yanks didn’t score more than 2 runs in any of their starts). Plus there was that whole blown save by Mariano which, while it was only a bloop single, shook me right to the core. Now excuse me while I go throw up in a porta potty.

The difference? This doesn't trigger my gag reflex...

I actually caught more of STS9 (they wound up being my last show of the whole epic weekend) and got to get a full live taste of what I had sometimes listened to while studying for 3 years in college (my roommate turned me onto them late in my freshman year). I always knew they were unique because of a couple of distinct things. The first distinction is their electronically infused dreamy yet energetic sound, which is described by the band as “post-rock dance music,” whatever that means. The second distinction is that they use a lot of real instruments (i.e. guitars, drum kits, bongos, bass guitar in addition to multiple key boards) to produce their sound. This is why STS9 so embodies the mindset and style of play of the Keydets over the past several years. VMI runs a high powered ridiculously fast paced up and down brand of basketball that essentially operates under a “five seconds and shoot” mantra. This results in some wildly entertaining and high scoring games, with both teams usually breaking the 100 point threshold easily (the Keydets have led the nation in three pointers and scoring the last five years). In a 40 minute (college) basketball game those kinds of averages are pretty remarkable. It’s also completely unique. No team in division I plays quite the same brand of ball, and while some times they lose it seems like it’s always a hell of a ride no matter what. I get the same impression about the unique style of STS9.

The difference? These guys don't do a whole lot of "losing"...

4. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (My girlfriend’s choice: “Ooh La La”) as the University of Vermont Catamounts from 2001 to Now

This is a somewhat more literal analogy. Both the band and basketball team (obviously) are from Vermont but they also can trace the success of their career arcs to a pretty parallel time frame. Potter was discovered at St. Lawrence University singing on campus in 2002 by a fellow band member and left school relatively soon thereafter to form the band. Their major successes came in 2006 and 2007 with songs like “apologies” and “falling or flying” before gaining notoriety recently for “Paris (Ooh la la),” which they closed with at Bonnaroo. Likewise, the Catamounts basketball team first burst onto the NCAA tournament scene in 2003 as winners of the America East conference before beating #3 seeded Syracuse in the first round of the NCAAs in 2005 (Vermont’s third straight appearance). Vermont also made the NCAAs last year as conference champs and won the regular season handily this year before being upset in the conference tourney. Needless to say the parallels are uncanny.

What isn’t is the dynamic end to their major 2011 performances. The Catamounts faltered, but Potter and the Nocturnals most certainly did not. In front of a great (and massive) day crowd on the main stage Potter pulled off her best Janis Joplin impersonation with a cleaner (read: not as raspy) musical sound and truly came off like a rock star. I’d never even heard of herbefore my girlfriend circled her as a must see prior to the festival, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t miss out. In a gorgeous white dress that accented her long straight blond hair Grace embodied all that is in her name, sweeping across the stage with thunderous vocals while alternating between a guitar and a piano easily. Like the Catamounts in ’05, this little group from Vermont made some thunderous noise on the biggest stage. Bravo.

Like I said; Janis Joplin…except wayyyyyyyyyyyy hotter
That’s all for now folks. Tune in next time for: “I’ll give you a hint on number 3: female lead singer, crazy lyrics and lots of awesomeness,” “Mark Cuban has said that he wants to do super cheap/free beer days if he gets to own a baseball team by allowing beer ads that stretch across entire sections of seats. So basically, we should boycott the MLB until this happens,” “The Nats are above .500 this late in a season for the first time since the end of the ’05 season and Washington couldn’t be…any less interested” and “Kyrie Irving just became the first 1/2 and done number 1 overall pick in NBA history. Remind me again why this rule exists?”
 

Slippin’ and Slidin’


Posted because everyone should know this song.  A beautiful rendition of “Slippin and Slidin” by the very talented Justin Townes Earle, a NY based singer-songwriter.

Dave Grohl: Mr. Rock n Roll


Where is rock n’ roll?  What music do you hear on the radio these days that you’d classify as rock n’ roll?  I have a hard time classifying anything that comes from my car stereo these days, mainly because there are just too many elements that go into that singular sound emanating from your radio.  There’s an r n’ b hook with a reggaeton beat and a funk bass line with some whirling classic rock keys.  What is that?  I don’t know.  Most of it hurts my senses.

What I do know is that there’s a guy still leading the charge on the war against beat machines and the auto tune army.  He goes by the name of Dave Grohl.

I'm smiling because I'm sitting on a pile of cash in which I earned by melting faces. Kisses.

Most people know his back story, iconic drummer for the legendary ‘Nirvana’ and front man for rock-gods ‘The Foo Fighters’.  Also he has a list of about 1000 side projects that are 100x better than any shit anyone else can come up with including ‘Queens of the Stone Age’ and ‘Them Crooked Vultures.’  But he has managed to transcend into the mainstream and remain in the spotlight for almost 20 years as a rocker.  People know his name as a drummer, they know his name as a guitarist and as a singer.  Fuck, they know his name from being playing the Devil in Tenacious D’s “The Pick of Destiny.”  His lyrics are honest, his guitar playing is hard and his voice growls like a black t-shirt wearing bear.  He is rock n roll.

I want to be friends with Dave Grohl.  He cracks jokes on stage, is constantly snapping his gum and usually has a red solo cup full of beer next to him.  He is the body of rock n roll.  From his mop of a hair to obscure tattoos and unkempt beard, the man has the look and the music to back up anything he says.  Here’s some of my favorite Foo/Dave Grohl videos. Enjoy:

“Everlong” might be the best song Grohl has written. An amazing hard rock love song that can’t be classified as a ballad because if you couldn’t hear the words you’d think you’d be headbanging just as hard. Here Dave goes solo for the first 3/4 of the song in the middle of the 90,000 seat Wembley Arena where Foo Fighters sold out two consecutive shows. Rock.

I think people forget how long the Foo has been around. Heres “My Hero” circa 1995, only one year after the death of Kurt Cobain and the official end of Nirvana. I think it’s a little known fact that the first Foo Fighter album was recorded by Dave alone, he layered all the instruments on top of each other. It was the first music Grohl had made since the death of his former lead singer and turned into one of the biggest rock bands of all time. Love this video. Let’s put the band in a burning house and have a dude run in and save a bunch of shit. Hence, My Hero.

Here’s a little behind the scene footage of Mr. Grohl during the recording of the “Them Crooked Vultures” album. If you haven’t listened to them, stop what you’re doing and make it happen. I’m sure at some point I’ll be writing about them, cause they bloweth the mind. Just a funny video showcasing the normalness/humor of america’s greatest rock n’ roller.

-B-Squatch

Kevin Rath: Rock and Roll Prodigy or Black Jean-Wearing Poser? (Hint: It’s the first one.)


Heading back into the city after the USA-Argentina match in the Meadowlands (post coming soon), I was lucky enough to catch a live show by musician Kevin Rath at Kenny’s Castaways in NYC’s Greenwich Village. Castaways is a really fun little venue with bars on the first and second floor, a small stage with tables and seating for 30-40 spectators as well as standing viewing room on both floors for around 100-120 others. I arrived around 10:30 and, after telling the bouncer I was there for the show, made it into the venue without having to pay cover… score! Though I had already missed the first song, I felt the need to first grab a quick beer to quench my thirst before heading toward the stage to check out the music. Concert drinking advice: Though the beer menu is typically more limited for bottles than for draughts, I recommend bottles at concerts/shows as they are far less likely to spill as you are inevitable bumped or pushed by the enthusiastic (read: drunk) crowd. By the time I had gathered my beer and knocked back a round of shots with a few friends I had spotted, Rath and his band had begun their third song of the night, “Running Around Me”.

Listen to Great Music and Drink PBRs Until You Can't Feel Feelings

Before I get into the set list, let’s take a look at who’s who on stage:
Kevin Rath – Guitar, Lead vocals
Ben Vail – Drums
Kyle Saulnier – Bass
Rath and Vail are former classmates and friends at Ohio State who, in their sophomore year, formed the band Fourth & Fifth (an homage to the corner of 4th & 5th in Columbus, Ohio as well as the musical chords, fourth and fifth). Ben lives in Columbus while Kevin lives in Brooklyn, NY, so since graduation in 2009, the duo has largely been unable to play together. Kyle Saulnier on the bass was a guest performer for the night but you might see him again at more of Rath’s New York shows.

Rath, Vail and Saulnier

Kevin Rath’s music is a rock/blues fusion that combines the mellow vocal style of an artist like John Mayer [though a bit raspier and “bluesier”] with a catchy rock sound that varies from Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” to Ben Harper’s “She’s Only Happy in the Sun”. Overall, however, his music can be best compared to a band like The Black Keys or a male version of Mr. Airplane Man. (For the record, his influences are listed as Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, The Black Keys, Kings of Leon, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray LaMontagne.)

"Oh, Am I Melting Your Face? My Mistake."

On to the show! I managed to slip towards the front of the crowd and had a great view of Rath and company from the side of the stage. Whilst drinking a steady flow of domestic beers and shots of whiskey among friends, I didn’t miss a single song and was rewarded with a long set list showcasing Rath’s range. Kevin played some of my personal favorites such as “London” and the aforementioned “Running Around Me” as well as some brand new tracks titled “Love, Ohio” and “You’re With Me”. He ended on a high note with “Blues Jam”, a fan favorite that showcased some of Rath’s guitar-shredding abilities. If the crowd stuck around for David Kolker’s show (who you can see every other Saturday at Kenny’s), they were also treated to a guest appearance by Rath who, again, had an amazing guitar solo, this time during one of Kolker’s songs.
VIDEO OF KEVIN RATH’S PERFORMANCE:

Kevin Rath performs Untitled (Blues Jam) at Kenny’s Castaways, 3/26/11 from The Bird Superior on Vimeo.

In all, a great New York debut for Kevin Rath, who I personally hope to catch again soon in Greenwich Village and beyond. To hear his music and find out about upcoming shows (I don’t know why you wouldn’t after reading this review), check out the links below!

Kevin Rath Website
Kevin Rath Music
Facebook
Twitter

Set List
Arabian -> Your Mistake
All Over Me Now
Running Around Me
Clean
Love, Ohio*
I Got Mine (Black Keys cover)
Anything You Want
You’re With Me*
One in a Million
The Rain
Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover)
London
Eleanor
Encore: The Blues Jam
*New Songs

Citizen Cope @ City Winery- 3/16


Clarence and the Wine

D.C.’s “most soulful export since Marvin Gaye.   -The Washington Post

Last week I had the pleasure of catching my fourth Citizen Cope concert at the FANTASTIC City Winery in Soho.  For a hairy wonder like myself, I don’t often find myself in comfortable situations outside of picking daisies and flipping golf carts, but City Winery is one of the most uniquely welcoming places I’ve ever been to, and my new favorite concert venue.

I had seen Citizen Cope aka Clarence Greenwood in London (actually met him on his smoke-break) and twice in Columbus, Ohio.  This show was a wee bit different however as it was Clarence solo, minus the back breaking beats and horns.  This is where a true songwriter shines and Cope did just that.  Playing nearly his entire catalog of songs, Cope captivated the 300+ crowd of winos for nearly two hours.

The thing that gets me about Citizen Cope, besides his dreads and slurred speech, are his topics of songwriting.  The streets of Baltimore, crime, drugs, violence and love are all mixed into his uniquely twisted sound that manages to come out in this fluid beauty that no one else can sound like.  Trust me, girls love this stuff and girls often love pretty sounds, but Cope does it while appealing to everyone from sorority girls to street hustlers.

I’m almost positive he plays an out of tune guitar and he barely even strokes it as he moans about his gambling friend George or a night when he got shot in the eye by Judas.  If you’re looking for a real kick in the pants go take a listen to “Salvation”.  And if you’re looking to make kissy with your girlfriend, turn on “Sideways” or “Holdin’ On.”  She’ll melt.

The guys got it all, he appeals to everyone and he’s got this unique soulfulness that I’ve got a hard time finding in anyone else.  He rarely says anything on stage besides “thanks for coming” and you can’t find many interviews with the guy, so he’s a bit of an anomaly.  Theres one thing that we can agree on though, the dude knows how to croon.

Setlist

Salvation

200,000 in Counterfeit 50 dollar bills

Pablo Picasso

Bullet and  Target

Every Waking Moment

Back Together Again

Healing Hands

Hard Times Ain’t Hard to Find

Appetite for Lighting Dynamite

Dartagnans Theme

Holding On

Out on the Weekend

Suns Gonna Rise

Sideways

Hurricane Waters

If There’s Love

Fame

Brother Lee

Encore- One Lovely Day

If you don’t know him, go get him.  You wont regret it.

-B-Squatch

Have you heard of these guys? Seriously they’re SOO good. I’m a huge fan.


 

"Hey while you're over there, will you dust my Grammy's? That's right, all of them."

That’s probably what you’re going to be hearing from now on when a person brings up The Black Keys.  Now that they’ve scored every commercial from Cadillac to Bob’s Discount Furniture, The Black Keys have arrived.  After thousands of concerts and years of neglect from the radio, The Black Keys have broken into the main stream and into everyones iTunes library.  Chances are that 90% of the people buying their music now were turned on by the huge success of “Tighten Up” and the unrelenting assault on our TVs through the commercial medium.  These same people probably are oblivious to the fact that these guys aren’t newbs on the music scene, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been pounding the pavement for the better part of 10 years and have now released 6 full studio albums.

Excuse me while I fuck you with my guitar.

I’m jealous of these new fans, much like I envy anyone who get to start LOST from the beginning and are taking the ride for the first time, these fans now inherit an entire library of mind blowing rock.

It’s bittersweet having your favorite band launch into the celebrity stratosphere.  Never more will I be able to be that sweet-ass kid at the party who’s plugs in his iPod and with a stone cold death stare says “check this out.”   But there’s a bright side: there have been few silent moments where I have felt as proud as when Dan and Patrick beat out Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend for “Alternative Album of the Year” at this years Grammys.  Those bands generally get their toes sucked by the academy, and two guys without a schtick generally get over looked. Also:  A) Because I’m convinced that AF is a group of 20 weird Canadians that are just really good at banging on things in unison. 2) Vampire Weekend is the 2nd option on Google behind “Vampire Diaries” FAIL.  III) Dan and Patrick are real guys.  They thanked Akron, Ohio (where the boys grew up) in their Grammy acceptance speech and acknowledge their homeland at the beginning of every live show.  They’re also two of the most sarcastically funny bastards you’ll ever come across (See here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=few1dTMHZgw )

I drum and I drum good.

But enough of this Sasquatch-on-Man-Crush, these furry ears love one thing the most, that’s their music.  So here is 5 songs you may not have heard of.  For all you new BK fans (welcome to the fam).  Now you can pretend that you’ve liked them for more than a month.  Click the titles to listen.

1)  Thickfreakness

-The opening ‘waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaoooowwwwwwwww’ from Dan’s guitar makes every hair on my body (all 932,000,000,000 of them) stand straight up, leading into an opener of epic proportions. The title track of the bands 2nd album, Thickfreakness is just an excuse to rock.  All four times I’ve clawed my way into a Black Keys show they’ve blessed me with this as the opening track.  An incredibly simple song standing alone on Dan’s howl and guitar riff with Patrick’s vicious beats. Neck-snapping shit.

2)  The Lengths

Feeling mellow?  A little lovey-dovey?  This Sasquatch often does and The Black Keys have just the ticket.  The Lengths is a truly beautiful track with a sound that they’ve yet to revisit.  Off the “Rubber Factory” album Dan gives his best attempt to croon an unwilling lover.  Need a soundtrack for your next apology to your girlfriend?  Look no more.

3)  Your Touch

– “Magic Potion” was the bands first studio album (previously all their work was recorded in a basement and in an abandoned warehouse) and Your Touch was the first track to get some true recognition.  Let us not forget, this is a TWO man band.  Do yourself a favor, close your eyes, put this track on 12 and tell me you aren’t sonically pleased.  Dan’s supercharged guitar is louder than ever and Patrick surfs right on top of the melody, let us go deaf.

4)  Work Me

– Probably one of the coolest things any band can do is dedicate an entire album to one of their heroes.  What’s even cooler is if you can pull off that artists songs in a full album.  What’s even cooler than that is if you can get that artists wife on the album leaving a message on the boys answering machine saying how amazing the album was. Enter The Black Keys.  Work Me comes off the Chulahoma” record, a complete album of the late Junior Kimsbrough’s songs, one of Dan’s heroes.  Done in only the way the Keys can do, Junior’s wife, Mildred, left a voicemail for the boys which was left on the album as a hidden track.  In the message she says, “it makes me very proud.”  What have you done lately, Arcade Fire?

5) Stack Shot Billy

– Always a crowd favorite, you’ll be the cool kid at the party if you request this track.  Stack Shot Billy tells a terrifyingly awesome story about a dude getting popped in the back of the head by a guy wrecked on cocaine.  Don’t hold back Dan, there’s no kids listening.

Study up music fans, these guys are going to be around for a while.  Don’t get left behind, you’ve already got enough catching up to do.

-B-Squatch