Middlespoon at KUTX 98.9 Studios

Sharing a gender-bending message with fun dance pop, this duo was a dance party hiding behind a two-member band. In the quiet studios of KUTX the audience of 40 or so struggled to stay seated and when I closed my eyes, I was at Bonnaroo among a throbbing crowd of sweaty dancers. Think about a sort of social-justice themed Justin Timberlake without the big production dance moves, tho there were plenty of dance moves thrown. These guys were really fun. Surprisingly, the guitarist/keyboardist, Jinx McGee seems to be the quiet brain of the duo while singer, Alexander Beats provides the voice (often auto-tuned) and a vibrant personality to the band. These guys are more than a pop band. Their songs bring up social issues and share a support for the LGBTQ community. It’s got a great beat, you can dance to it, and you can be woke… all at the same time!

Case in point, check out this video of their tune HouseWife:

 

Novato Music Art and Wine (or whatever order) Festival this Weekend

Update: This is what you missed today

Hey All – It’s a free music festival this weekend. Two stages of music and one is being curated by KC Turner so you know there’s gonna be some good stuff.

The highlight for me is Birds of Chicago closing out today. If you haven’t seen them before, you really need to. [Yes, I say that about every one but I really mean it.] JT and Allison are an incredible pairing, both individually amazing and together… wow!!!

I have had the opportunity to see them in very intimate settings. I’ve spoken to them. They are some of the nicest people I’ve met. Their songs are beautiful. Allison makes me regret giving up the clarinet, though I totally hated it. Come see them today. It’s free and you won’t regret it. Also Robbie Fulks is playing right before them and though I have to confess that I don’t know who he is, I have it on good authority that he is impressive and worth it as well.

Full schedule for the HopMonk Tavern Stage – Grant Ave @ 7th St. – Novato, CA

Novato Festival of Art, Wine and Music
6/9/2018 Live Music Lineup:
10:00am: Delphi Freeman
11am: The Sam Chase & The Untraditional
12:45pm: Mad Hannans ft. Jerry Hannan
2:30pm: Rushad Eggleston 
4pm: Robbie Fulks
5:30pm: Birds of Chicago
6/10/18 Live Music Lineup:
10:30am: Caroline Sky
11:30am: The Coffis Brothers
1:15pm: Robbie Fulks
2:45pm: Diego’s Umbrella
4:30pm: Con Brio

Nicki Bluhm Tonight (6/8/18) at The Independent

It’s a Friday night. I hate going out on Friday nights. I know that’s probably weird but I like to stay in on the weekends and go out during the week. It’s better [for me] that way. So now I need to decide whether the fact that I haven’t seen a show since last Sunday and I haven’t seen Nicki Bluhm since last summer (and it was only marginally satisfying) are enough reasons to get me to go out tonight. There are still tickets available which is both a good and bad thing. I want my favorite performers to sell out, but I also want to be able to make last minute decisions about shows. I had someone recently question me as to how I can still get tickets to shows at the last minute; I think they don’t realize that I don’t usually wait til the last minute to buy tickets and I also think they may have been judging my musical taste.

So let’s see… Nicki Bluhm is amazing. She’s gorgeous and she wears these amazing (circa 70’s) outfits and she has some pipes on her. She used to play regularly as Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. She also used to perform as Brokedown in Bakersfield.

The Gramblers included her ex-husband, Tim Bluhm (also from the Mother Hips). The last time two times that I saw her with a band, it was after she and Tim split up. It appeared to be some (maybe all) of the former Gramblers minus Tim. The first time was at Kate Wolf and I thought they were great. I didn’t really notice any difference with or without Tim, other than the lack of sartorial flair on his side of the stage. The second time was at Stern Grove last summer and while I thought Nicki was great, I thought the band was terrible. They seemed like they were just going through the motions and I was glad that Fantastic Negrito had been such a good opener as I would have been borderline disappointed if Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers had been all the entertainment that day.

I think tonight she is playing alone though I can’t find any info on the show. Under event details, it just takes you to the buy tickets page. I saw her at the Independent playing alone a little over a year ago and she was pretty awesome, so I’m inclined to go to this show and see her again. She was a local girl (Lafayette) who has moved to Nashville so the opportunities to see her are fewer and further between. Also, there’s a rumor that a certain redhead is thinking about attending this show and I haven’t gotten to get my giggle on with her for awhile now, so that could get me out as well.

I would tell you that I was holding out hope that Nicki would bring Ben Morrison up onstage with her since she just recorded another song with The Brothers Comatose. Sadly, The Brothers Comatose are touring in Utah tonight. (I think they are in Utah, they may be somewhere else, but they are definitely not in SF.) Maybe she will bring Greg Loiacono up onstage with her again. That caused quite a stir when I saw her at the Independent. There was an audible gasp when she introduced him. For anyone who doesn’t know, Greg is another quarter of the Mother Hips.

So if you are looking for both eye and ear entertainment tonight, consider The Independent. Tickets are $25 which is a little spendy IMO, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Saint Vincent ACL Taping – May 14, 2018

This posting is overdue and I’m sorry. Since the show on May 14th I’ve been on 6 separate planes, a train from Paris to Amsterdam, traveled hundreds of miles by car and been in 7 different countries. Still, it’s no excuse, the Saint Vincent show was noteworthy and you all need to know about it!

The first thing that struck me was the stage set up for the taping. Most of the time artists forgo their large concert venue set-ups and take advantage of the intimate atmosphere of the Moody theater. Not this time. The stage was built up several feet with built in lighting fit for a large stadium. This “set the stage” for Saint Vincent’s performance, which was impersonal and mechanical. To be fair, I think that was the performance vibe she was shooting for, with flesh color masked bandmates and robot movements. Unfortunately I think the intimacy and vulnerability is what makes an ACL taping so special and she didn’t really break the wall until the show was almost over, during the encore.

Overall the performance was solid and she packs a powerful punch. It did leave me wondering if she has some performance anxiety and uses the “show” as a way to deal with that. Either way, it was a night I won’t soon forget.

Wild Child at the Melkweg in Amsterdam

So I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I’ll try to catch up and get back into the swing of things, starting with a review of a show I was fortunate to catch in Amsterdam last week.

We were traveling to Croatia for a wedding and decided to tack on an extra week visiting Paris and Amsterdam. When I checked into shows that we might go see I never thought I would be going to see a local Austin band. Unfortunately we missed KOLARS opening for Wild Child in Paris and they broke off from the tour to play another festival but I still ended up catching an incredible performance.

It was just the right amount of home away from home watching the band knock out familiar hits. The small venue, which is the smallest of three spaces at the Melkweg was fairly full with an attentive crowd. It included a nice mix of young locals, tourists, a few other Austinites and even Alexander’s (male vocals) aunt and uncle who live in the area.

When we were flying out the band happened to be on our plane and I had a chance to chat with Kelsey Wilson (female vocal lead) about the tour and their upcoming ACL taping. She said that she was a little nervous about it but the singer belted out her break-up ballads with emotion like a bohemian Adele. It was clear at their show that they are ready for their taping and it almost seemed like an ACL rehearsal. The band is tight and they know what they are doing. The only thing that needs to happen at their taping is for them to relax and enjoy it.

Overall I was really happy we made the time to go to the show. I was both proud and comforted by these Austinites performing so far from home.

Mouths of Babes — All the Feelings, All the Time (or at least tonight, June 3rd)

‘All the Feelings, All the Time. No Feelings Left Behind’  According to Mouths of Babes, this is the band’s motto.

I know I say this about *every* show, but you really need to go to this show tonight. Isn’t the motto enough?  These beautiful women are AMAZING! They played at Kate Wolf last year and I caught them performing a few times (plus I had the pleasure of sitting next to them during Dar Williams’ set before they joined her on stage). I thoroughly enjoyed them every time. Their repartee is so engaging; their songs are amazing and somehow they managed to look good, despite the incredible heat.

Digression Alert: The heat that broke my friends (and me) last year; we are not planning to go to this festival again this year — possibly ever again — though I tend to forget things that I swear I will never do again, like cut bangs into my hair. Don’t mention the bangs if you see me in the next few months, as I try to grow them out AGAIN! Do mention it if I tell you that I’m going to get my hair cut; sometimes I seem to need the reminder. 😦

And now back to your previously titled blog post…

If you still aren’t sure about Mouths of Babes tonight, you should check out this video for the song ‘Good for You’. I loved all of their songs, but this one sealed the deal! They also seemed genuinely nice when I met them and bought their CD, and they seemed so happy and in love with each other and that carried onto the stage with them, and that is always attractive to me (hello Shovels & Rope)

 

 

Tonight (6/2/18), I must choose responsibility over Okkervil River

You should not make the same bad choice!

I will admit that if Okkervil River were playing somewhere besides Bimbo’s, I might be more inclined. Bimbo’s has a terrible beer selection and I don’t like their two drink minimum policy (though I’ve never seen it enforced). I don’t mind buying overpriced beers if they are good (thank you Fillmore for the Fresh Squeezed Deschutes), but over-priced mediocre beers don’t really work for me.

Okkervil River, on the other hand, does work for me. I really enjoyed the show I saw in Austin during SXSW, though I was headachy for a portion of it. I definitely plan to see them again, but tonight will not be that night. This may be a bad call, but work is piling up and I also have to vote this weekend, so responsibility wins. Don’t get me wrong, I spent a good portion of today outside enjoying the beautiful weather, but I did it under the guise of ‘errands’, so it’s justified.

The Brothers Comatose TONIGHT (6/1/18) at the Fillmore!

You had to know that I was going to have to write a bit about my favorite local band headlining at the Fillmore (again) tonight! It’s their album release!

And you also should know that I’m supposed to be *in* the office on Fridays. It’s 9:18 and I’m still in bed, drinking my second cup of coffee. I need to motivate, but before I do.

Go see The Brothers Comatose tonight at the Fillmore. They are fun! You will dance! Well, you will if you are me.

10481972_10205841455208862_3985976036717082871_nSee how much fun they are!  🙂

I’m really looking forward to seeing them perform their new stuff, but I’m also hoping for some of my favorite old stuff too, including some of my favorite covers. If I had to pick, I’d say ‘Strings’ and ‘120 East’ and ‘Yohio’  and then for covers, ‘Dead Flowers’ and ‘Valerie’. I would really ask for ‘Beer’ for a cover, but they claim they would have to re-learn it or some such, so I know it’s too much to ask!

Also, it’s really too bad that Nicki Bluhm is in Colorado tonight. She’ll be back in the Bay Area next Friday. A timing tragedy IMO!

I may update this later, time permitting. In case I can’t, you should take this as all the encouragement you need.

 

Days like this, it’s hard to be me…

Okay, this is definitely a first world problem, but… how do you decide between The Eels at the Fillmore, Frazey Ford at the Independent and The Hackensaw Boys at Brick and Mortar?

I’ve never seen The Eels and I do like the music. I’ve wanted to see them several times in the past. I think the major reason for not seeing them is that their tickets are so spendy, and so spendy in a city where I don’t need to spend that much to be entertained. Tonight’s show is $39.50 before fees (though I admit that I rarely pay fees as I’m a box office kinda girl). I also know that Kurt will be at this show so I wouldn’t be alone (not that that factor has ever stopped me before).

Then there’s Frazey Ford. I love The Be Good Tanyas so very much and still kick myself for not going to a show in the city some 15 years ago because it was raining out and it was comfortable staying in. Grrrrrr! There is so much more that I could say about this, but I’ll keep that for my journaling.

Anyway… I only ever saw the Be Good Tanyas once and it was a less than ideal performance at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. I can no longer remember the details, but one of their instruments had been damaged in transit and HSB morning sets (all sets) are short ones, so it left me wanting more. And I’m still left there, wanting more…

Do I go see Frazey Ford tonight? She’s not The Be Good Tanyas and so I could be disappointed from the start. Further, I’m told it’s a partially seated show which is not my favorite, though I’ve done it before and enjoyed myself. That said, I’ve done partially seated at the Independent before for people like Lisa Loeb, who I absolutely love and who doesn’t tour very often.* I’ve also done it for Langhorne Slim (who I can’t NOT go to see). In these cases, I know that I would regret not going more than potentially having to sit (to be in the front) or stand in the back. I don’t know if there are still tickets and/or how much they are as it appears that Ticketfly has been a party to a cyber incident and has pulled down all their websites, including The Independent’s calendar. So this one is a big maybe…

Then there’s the Hackensaw Boys about whom I know absolutely nothing, except that Rod recommends them and says they are a good time. He’s never really steered me wrong. In fact, sometimes I think he knows what I like better than I do. He can definitely put it into words better than I can and here I reference his explanation to Stu about why I won’t be going to Jackie Greene (on June 9th at the Fillmore). The explanation: because I don’t know which Jackie Greene I will be getting. So true! So succinct! So sad, because as many of you know… I LOVE Jackie Greene! The Jackie Greene that plays his own music. He’s amazing! The other Jackie Greene bores me terribly though I imagine that he’s having a good time and I can respect that, especially since there is an audience for that Jackie Greene too. I just wish he would remember his other fans from time to time cause it’s been awhile and I think I had to drive to Napa the last time (which proves that it’s been awhile since I haven’t had a car in a couple years).

Okay, I digressed from the Hackensaw Boys. They are playing at Brick and Mortar which is easy and cheap. These are both reasons to go there. And again, I know I won’t be the only one there.

But then there’s my other option for the evening… to go home after happy hour and stay home. It sounds so damned appealing and I am still on east coast time, though it’s getting better, and I will be the only one there (if you don’t count Spike)…

So I have a decision to make, but first I need to get myself ready to go to work. Perhaps this blog will convince you to go out to one of these shows. Rumor has it (it might not really be a rumor), that one follower went to see Damien Jurado because they read my blog on Tuesday. I think he liked the show, but I didn’t get to check in at the end. I know I did! For anyone who doesn’t follow my live music antics on Instagram and/or Facebook, check out Naomi Wachira.

*You may be judging me for my love of Lisa Loeb, but as some of my friends (and former roommates) know, she may have been my first girl crush — not really, hello, Stevie Nicks and Linda Rondstadt. I am totally willing to admit to loving her and her music. I own at least 3 of her CD’s and listen to her pretty regularly. There’s a pretty funny photo somewhere that depicts my Lisa Loeb fangirl level, but I’m not sure where that ended up and it’s probably for the best.

 

 

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