Full Moon Medicine @ The Southern Heights Brewery 02.10.19

The Southern Heights Brewery was a pleasant surprise on a cold and rainy Sunday. They were hosting an artist collective with a local writer, natural stone bolo-ties, vintage clothing, pottery, jewelry, and girl scout cookies. Plus they had a delicious Raspberry Sour on tap. Oh, AND live music!

We were only able to stay for one set, Full Moon Medicine, but really enjoyed it. They were having sound problems. First they were in a warehouse and second the sound board wasn’t really being run by anyone. It was a little bit of a mess but the band pulled through and made some great bluegrass-country-folk music with a banjo, stand-up bass, guitar, drums, and harmonica. I would absolutely try to catch this one again sometime.

Neko Case @ Bass 02/08/19

Neko Case is one of those artists that from first glance looks like she doesn’t give a fuck and has everything. She’s beautiful, her long thin legs stretch out tonight on the Bass Concert Hall stage in black leggings with white leg bones printed exactly where her own are under her skin. Her untamed, wild red hair is down and free. Her voice echos around the hall and the acoustics are perfect.

She seems perfect, yet all you have to do is listen to her to understand that she is like all of us, fragile, fighting to have the courage to be ourselves, to love and be loved. She said out to the audience more than once that she was nervous and working to get her rhythym. You couldn’t tell it though. That’s what makes her so incredible to watch and to listen to. You can feel universal struggle struggle that we all have in every one of her songs. Whether it’s an upbeat song like “I’m a Man” or a slower song like “Calling Cards”, she manages to make me feel like every song has a personal attachment.

The venue (not my favorite in Austin because they love rules for no reason and are very stuffy) was nice but it ate up the opener, Jennifer Castle, who just had an acoustic guitar and harmonica. I would like to see the Toronto based singer in a smaller venue. Her Joni Mitchell-like voice and folksy songs were just too slow and small for the large dark room.

I don’t have photos of the event because they threatened to kick you out if you took any. It didn’t stop the lady sitting next to me from using her flash and shooting video but whatever. Knowing my history, I would have been the one who got caught and I was with my rule-following man.

Check out Neko Case at the NPR Tiny Desk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwRcPEg1MyE

 

Hi, How Are You Day (1.22.19)

http://acl-live.com/calendar/hi-how-are-you-day

I’ve been delayed in writing a review for this shindig but I didn’t want to skip doing so because it was a wonderful night for both music and fundraising. I had the opportunity to volunteer and feel very lucky to lend a hand for a worthy cause. Some of the best music comes from pain and sadness but musicians should be able to afford and have access to mental health services when they are needed. The Hi, How Are You Project seeks to help offer that support.

From the website:

The Hi, How Are You (HHAY) Project was developed to educate people worldwide about the importance of mental health and well-being while promoting a culture of inclusion, HHAY Day features a global fundraising concert hosted at the Austin, Texas, ACL Live at the Moody Theater. The concert features performances by the The Flaming Lips, Built To Spill, Yo La Tengo, The Black Angels, Gavin DeGraw, Bob Mould, The Moth & The Flame, and Bob Schneider. 

One in four adults struggle with mental health. But, it only takes four words, one simple question to let someone know you care: “Hi, How are you?” HHAY Project founders Tom Gimbel and Courtney Blanton were inspired to create HHAY Day by iconic Austin musician and visual artist Daniel Johnston’s famous local mural “Jeramiah the Innocent,” which is painted on the corner of Guadalupe and 21st Street. The mural depicts a frog asking the ever-important question – “Hi, how are you?” Johnston has chronicled his struggles with mental health throughout his career.

I know some of you will be disappointed in me when I tell you I didn’t stay for the whole show. My friends who did texted and posted photos saying how great it was. I’m sad I couldn’t stick around but when I left around 11pm, Bob Mould and the Flaming Lips were still due to take the stage and I had to be at work early the next morning. I did get to see Yo La Tengo, Bob Schneider, Build to Spill, Gavin Degraw, and The Black Angels. They were all fantastic, bringing their pain of their own mental health or the loss of ones they loved to the surface through music to help us all deal with this heavy issue.

I especially enjoyed the Yo La Tengo set which seemed to really take the mental health theme to heart when deciding on their set list. My DidWeJam counter-part, Jenn, will be sad to know that our favorite, rode-hard-and-put-away-wet guitarist Brett Nelson who we saw play with Built to Spill in 2012 is no longer a member of the band. He’s been replaced by a tiny, lovely, much healthier looking, excellent female guitarist but I don’t know her name. She did not wear a t-shirt with Mother Earth on it.

Yo La Tengo

Built to Spill

The Black Angels

Paul Thorn (Tonight 1/18 at the Mystic or Tomorrow 1/19 at Cornerstone)

Before we start talking about Paul Thorn, let’s discuss how slow this year is starting for me musically-speaking. In past years, the Western Winter Formal hosted by The Easy Leaves at GAMH has been the musical kick-off of my year, but not this year.

The note from The Easy Leaves follows:

“Well, it hasn’t been easy, but after careful consideration we regret to inform y’all that the Western Winter Formal will be taking this year off. It was a tough call, but at this time it seems to be the right move as we focus in on finishing a full length album and cast our gaze onward to the year ahead. We’re gonna miss our annual winter rendezvous with all you Wild West types! And we’ll be back to San Francisco before to long to revive the tradition and look forward to many more Great American Times in the years to come ❤️🤠🌵❤️”

I was pretty disappointed that the show was cancelled, as were some of the other LOLMs. Funny enough, The Easy Leaves still ended up being the kick-off of my musical year, more or less; it just started about two weeks after it usually does. Full disclosure, I’m counting Jeff Tweedy as my first show of the year because he played 4 songs for us (acoustically) at the City Arts and Lectures gig where I saw him a week ago. However, last night’s show (which was my actual first show of the year) had The Easy Leaves (duo) opening for Branson Anderson opening for Corb Lund, so they still pretty much get slot #1 for the year.

But I digress… because what I came here to talk to you about is Paul Thorn. There is so much to say about this man, I don’t know where to start. He is entertaining AF and has THE BEST accent ever! His stories (with that accent) are more than enough for me; he doesn’t even need to perform music. But then he does and it takes me to a different place entirely.  And if you are really lucky (and I have been), he comes down into the audience and hugs (with permission) and touches (hands) and sometimes even dances with audience members.

The first time that I saw Paul Thorn, he was billed on this tour called Soul Salvation with Ruthie Foster. I had never seen either of them. I was new on my quest of 52 shows in 52 weeks and feeling some pressure. I called my partner in crime from a distance, Andee, on my way home from work to tell her about this show I was thinking about going to and so I went to GAMH instead of going home from work that night.

And what a night!!! There was Paul Thorn (who opened the show and made me so happy), then there was Jill Katz (who between sets turned to me — the total stranger next to her — and said ‘Aren’t you so excited?’ and with that one question, the foundation of a true friendship was laid that evening — and also, I was so excited!) and then there was Ruthie Foster (and she was amazing too, but this story isn’t about her).

I don’t know if it was at that first show that Paul Thorn introduced me to his song ‘Pimps and Preachers’ or if that came later, but listening to him introduce that song (and listening to my friend, Jessica, introduce that song as Paul Thorn) makes me smile every time. When I’m really really lucky, he plays ‘Snake Farm’ for me. And then there’s his song about how he doesn’t like most of the people he loves.

I can’t say enough how much you should go see this man if you haven’t already. It really is a feel-good show and his songs are both witty (lyrically) and entertaining (musically). There is a lot of love at his shows; I don’t know why but it’s a truth! If you need to fill up your love tank, go to one of these shows!

Maybe I’ll see you at Cornerstone on Saturday night.  If not, I’ll leave you with my favorite gem from Kate Wolf in 2017…

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The Districts with Duncan Fellows & Deeper

My friend bought into a sweet deal offered last year from Margin Walker Presents and gets two tickets to a show each month. This is the one she selected for January and I was the lucky plus one! Thanks Lauren!!!

This was an all ages, sold out show and I knew almost nothing about the band before I went except for a brief listen on Spotify. It was definitely a younger crowd and there was even moshing (that’s what they called it back in my day) during the Duncan Fellows set. I guess you could call moshing, it was more jumping in a group and felt a lot safer and jovial.

Duncan Fellows is a local Austin indie-rock band that I had heard of before but never gave much thought. They had a little radio play on KUTX but it hadn’t caught my attention. I’m glad I was able to catch them open the night up. They were great. In fact, of all three bands, they were my favorite! All of the dudes in the band sang along to the songs, even if they weren’t at a microphone and it gave me the feeling that these dudes really love their music and love being in a band together. They clearly have an Austin following and I am part of the group now too.

Deeper was a band I would not likely see again. It just wasn’t my jam. Honestly, the crowd didn’t seem to dig it as much either. The lead singer would yell all the lyrics rather than sing and it was just a little too hard rock for my liking but hey, if that’s your jam, check ’em out.

The Districts hail from Pennsylvania (Lititz area) and released their first album in 2012. This indie-rock band of dudes were great and provided a fantastic show. I thoroughly appreciated their respectful attire. The lead singer wore khakis with a tucked in shirt and the bassist also tucked his t-shirt into his jeans. Kids these days may be a lot of things but they aren’t sloppy… well, at least some of them were trying anyway.

Lee Fields and the Expressions on NYE

Okay, I know this show is sold out and I also know that if you don’t have NYE plans by now, then you probably don’t want to have NYE plans, but….

Last night’s show at The Chapel was *such* a good time. The energy was amazing! The music was dance-y and fun!

Quinn DeVeaux was such a surprise. That man was grinning from ear to ear the entire time he was playing and he and his band were great. In particular, the woman keeping beats really stood out for me; she was cute to boot so that could have contributed to her standing out. They are playing at Moe’s Alley (opening, but not for Lee Fields) on January 4th and I highly recommend this show (assuming it’s not sold out).

I don’t even know where to start with Lee Fields… The fabulous jacket. The super shiny button-down under it that was more unbuttoned then buttoned, the big gold cross around his neck or the way he sang and yelled and made oh-so-sure that the crowd was happy.

If I didn’t have plans for tonight, I think there’d be a good chance that I’d be standing outside The Chapel tonight trying to score a ticket to this show. Doors at 7. Show at 8, but you could skip M-tet in my opinion. They played music without words. I think most of you know that’s not my jam!

Happy 2019 y’all! Whatever you do tonight, be safe and make sure to hug and kiss your loved ones (consensual, of course).

 

REBUILDING BUTTE Tonight (December 27th) — A Camp Fire Relief Benefit at Neck of the Woods

UPDATE: I won a raffle prize… 3 bottles of Zinfandel for me!

It’s a slow week in SF, but I’d most likely be going to this show regardless because the line-up includes Ben Morrison & Alex Morrison (of The Brothers Comatose).  Other performers include Smokey The Groove, Hot Buttered Some (Members of Hot Buttered Rum), The Rowan Brothers, Deep Blue Jam  and there will be DJs spinning between sets.

So come out and support the folks that were burned out in the Camp Fire. Monies go to NVCL (same as all the other benefits I’ve posted) and really what better entertainment choices do you have tonight (unless you have tickets to Robyn Hitchcock or you made the mistake of purchasing California Honeydrops tickets for tonight instead of tomorrow).

If you haven’t seen Ben and Alex perform together before, it’s a real treat. They sound so good together, as only siblings can. Come out for what should be a fun night in the Richmond tonight!

Glorietta @ Scoot Inn

12/14/18 Austin, TX

This band has so much talent in it that you may have trouble figuring out who exactly is in it. That’s because they are our own Austin Supergroup! Don’t get too excited though, this was their last show… except for a special, secret festival in late March that they may reunite for. Nothing will ever be as good as this show was at the Scoot Inn though. It was like watching friends have a party on stage. It wasn’t like that. It was that.

The band’s music is touching and perfectly executed by this group of cherry picked all-stars. Some of it was original and unfamiliar and some of it was music from their own albums or bands. At one point they played WildChild’s song Expectations. I love Wild Child so it is hard for me to say that this band nailed it in a totally different incredibly tight way. Another highlight was when Jason Robert Blum (who I really didn’t know of before) sang a song about Wimberley, TX. It’s a small, quaint town along a crystal clear river in the Central Texas Hill Country and it was just beautiful. If you are not too concerned about video quality, check out the song here:

Toward the end of the show, “Grammy Award Winning” Adrian Quesada pulls out a bottle of tequila, but not just any bottle, a 3-foot tall, color-changing, light-up gallon of tequila. He said it was a gift from his dad and it has been sitting in his studio for a while. What better time to drink it than now. After a quick admission that Matthew is on the wagon (and stayed on while on stage anyway), the bottle began to be passed around and poured into each others mouths. Then David Ramirez sang Friends in Low Places, after toasting a couple that had just gotten engaged. Austin was loving it’s music that night and I love this music town.

The story they tell is that Matthew Logan Vazques (Delta Spirit) pulled everyone together to make an album in Glorieta, NM. and included Nathaniel Rateliff at the time, but he did’t tour with them. Instead, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Noah Gundersen, Kelsey Wilson (WildChild), David Ramirez, Adrian Quesada (Grupo Fantasma), and Jason Robert Blum took on a one-time-only tour this year. If you saw them, count yourself lucky. This is a fleeting moment and that’s why you always go to the show. I know I am glad I did.

ShinyRibs @ Waterloo Records

12/11/18 Austin, TX

Do you struggle to like holiday tunes? Do you feel like Christmas music is stuck in a misogynistic time warp with songs like “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Santa Baby”? Never fear, ShinyRibs are here!

Re-tooling some old classic (non-holiday) tunes,  the band breathes new holiday life into TLC’s Waterfalls song with the lyrics, Don’t Go Chasing Santa Clause, Please stick to the ribbons and bows that you’re used to. It fits so perfectly you will start to wonder why TLC didn’t write it that way. They played some obscure holiday songs that were not parody and in all, it was not “your fathers holiday music”. It was perfectly shiny and ribby and Kevin Russell may just secretly be Santa Clause.

Go pick up your gift at your favorite music store. (Mine is Waterloo Records, where the band performed.) The ShinyRibs holiday album is available now.

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