Archive for the ‘Show Review’ Category

So I got back into town on Sunday after spending most of the week in San Francisco. I was in SF for the Asian Man Records 15th Anniversary Party (“AMR15”). When I found out that Slapstick was reuniting for it, I knew I had to be there. I signed up for the waiting list back in January. In February, I was able to get tickets to the Slapstick and Sundowner shows. Then, in April, they announced that the Broadways would also do a show and I snatched up a ticket for that one too. I was set, three shows in a city I’d never been to before. Of course, the concert tickets were just a small part of the whole package. I would have to fly to SF and book a hotel. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. Was it going to be worth all the expense? Looking back, it was totally worth it.

June 15, 2011 – Slapstick, MU330, The Chinkees @ Slim’s

Slapstick played Wednesday night at Slim’s. MU330 and the Chinkees opened. Slapstick was getting all the hype for this one, but apparently it had been about a decade since the Chinkees had played a show. I was a big fan of them in college but I never got to see them. Mike Park and the rest of the band gave a great performance. I feel bad for Mike though, he was wearing a suit the whole time, he must have been sweating a storm. At one point, Mike invited Matt Skiba to come up. Matt was clearly drunk but quite hilarious. Mike graciouly requested that Matt skank to a song. The Chinkees played Operation Ivy’s “Bankshot” while Skiba skanked along. It was ridiculously awesome. Mike also talked about how excited he was about having Slapstick play and how he didn’t know if it would happen. He mentioned that Matt Stamps is now a lawyer in Seattle, crazy. It was obvious that Mike was just as excited about Slapstick as all the other fans there.

The Skiba skank:

MU330 came up next and worked the crowd into the frenzy. I always liked their sound, very different because it’s ska but with a lot of double bass drum. For “La” they invited a member of the audience to come up and play guitar, that was a nice touch. Also, you could tell that Dan Potthast really enjoyed the gathering. He told a story about how he would sneak into Skankin’ Pickle shows back in the day when he was underage by pretending to be their roadie. He also gave a shout out to John from “Hi My Name John” who apparently was in the crowd. Dan said he felt like he was on “This Is Is Your Life.”

Slapstick capped off the night and turned the place insane. I never got see them back in the day because I was too young. Regardless of how they played, I would have been pleased just to be there. Thankfully, the guys gave a strong performance. I guess Dan Andriano and Brendan Kelly have had plenty of time to hone their stagecraft over the years. It was weird to see all these guys onstage who I associate it with other bands, e.g., the Honor System, Alkaline Trio, and the Lawrence Arms.  It’s like Slapstick has become this retroactive super group. I normally would have gone crazy in the crowd but I was a little tired from walking around SF all day. I observed the show safely behind a strategically placed column. My personal highlight was getting to see them play “My Way” and seeing the back and forth between Brendan and Dan Andriano. There were a few appearances from drunk Skiba who came out to harass Dan Andriano and Brendan Kelly. Brendan remarked that Matt was so drunk that Brendan now knew how Chris McCaughan feels during a Lawrence Arms show. I guess a few wise guys in the crowd were shouting Lawrence Arms requests, Brendan thought it was kind of funny because it’s usually the opposite. He said he was glad that people were finally requesting songs by his current band. He also talked about how weird it was to be up there, having to sing embarrassing songs that he wrote as a teenager to a room full of people. It is pretty weird when you think about it. Regardless, I’m glad that Brendan and the rest of the guys indulged the fans for one night. Some videos uploaded to YouTube by the fans:

Some drunk rambling by Skiba:

Here’s a recap from Squid Pro Quo.

June 17, 2011 – The Broadways, Bomb The Music Industry, Ratasucia, Spraynard @ The Bottom of The Hill

The Broadways played a matinee on Friday at the Bottom of the Hill. Bomb The Music Industry, Ratasucia, and Spraynard opened. I didn’t get see any of Spraynard’s set because the line to get in was ridiculously slow. It was a little weird being at Bottom of the Hill because it was the only venue I had heard of before. Avail’s Live at the Bottom of the Hill is one of my favorite albums so I was quite aware of this place. The first band I got to see was Ratasucia, Dan Hanaway’s new band. These guys are faster and heavier than what Dan had been doing before. At some points they reminded me of the Misfit and at others like Soundgarden. The crowd clearly wasn’t familiar with the music but the band was great nonetheless. I’m sure I’ll see them some more in Chicago.

Next came Bomb the Music Industry. I was completely unfamiliar with this band, but I was clearly in the minority there. Most of the crowd knew the band and were eager to show it. The relatively calm crowd went nuts when these guys took the stage. I mostly just tried to survive while everyone else was going crazy. Towards the end of the set, the singer jumped into the pit with the mic in his hand and I somehow got sucked into it. They were a fun band, but I was saving my energy for the headliner.

I  somehow managed to get right up front for the Broadways. That was a mixed blessing because the crowd was losing it behind me so I spent the set just pinned up against the stage. Brendan was talking about how people ask him why the Broadways broke up and he said it was because no one ever went to see them. He said that probably every Broadways fan in the world was right there in that room. He also talked about how after Slapstick, he wanted to be in a super political punk band and that’s why they started the Broadways. I’m so used to seeing the Lawrence Arms live, it was kind of weird to see Brendan and Chris onstage while Dan Hanaway was doing most of the singing. With Ratasucia and the Broadways playing, this show was definitely Dan’s time to shine. I don’t think I realized how much Mr. Hanaway meant to the songs of the Broadways until this performance. The set was great and I’m glad I finally got to see the Broadways live. Anyways, here are some videos I found on YouTube:

Here’s a recap from Squid Pro Quo.

June 18, 2011 – Sundowner, Brendan Kelly, Kepi @ Thee Parkside

Sundowner headlined at Thee Parkside on Saturday night. Kepi, Mike Hale, and Brendan Kelly opened. This was my first time seeing Brendan Kelly solo. It was nice to hear some Lawrence Arms songs while being able to relax. Brendan also played a few songs from the Falcon. The songs were great but the stage banter was also entertaining. He explained the story behind a few of his songs, it was like a punk rock Storytellers. For example, he explained “Unicorn Odyssey” by the Falcon. He said that the song was about an old bandmate of his who lived under the bed of his girlfriend. This guy sounded super shady, he broke into his parent’s place to steal his old Nintendo. I guess he also took his gf to a Lawrence Arms practice right after she had an abortion. Brendan mentioned that she looked gray. The crowd greeting this one with an audible groan, to which Brendan replied “I told you they would be good stories, not funny stories.” The heckling from the audience was great too. Someone requested “Dance of the Doomed” but yelled out “Dancing With Dudes.” Brendan was more than happy to oblige, he played the song and changed the lyrics to fit the new title. While Mike Park definitely deserves the MVP for AMR 15, I’d say Brendan is a close second for playing shows with 4 different bands in 4 days.

For Sundowner, Chris did a solo set on electric guitar. It was pretty much like the last time I saw him at Subterranean. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as song selection. He did forget the lyrics to “Jackson Underground” and gave up on it halfway through, but otherwise he had a good performance. He mentioned that “Sea Of Lights” is loosely about the L&L on Clark and Belmont. You could tell there were a lot of Chicagoans in the audience because every Chicago reference got a cheer from the crowd. Anyways, a good show and I’m looking forward to the Sundowner vinyl release party at Bottom Lounge in a few weeks.

So yeah, AMR 15 was amazing. I’m pretty sure that Slapstick will never play another show, but if they do another one of these in 10 years, I’ll be there.

FYI, there’s a ton of photos, videos, and other things over at the AMR15 Facebook page.


I had been eagerly anticipating this show for quite a while and it did not disappoint. After finishing a beer at Estelle’s, I headed to Subterranean at about 9:15. The show started at 10:00 but I wanted to get there early for a good spot. Luckily, the crowd was sparse at the time and I easily got a spot right up front near stage left.

Matt Pond

Matt Pond was first up for the night. He was accompanied just by a guitarist and a cellist. I knew I was going to enjoy this show more than last time because I prefer Matt’s quieter songs. The highlight of the set was when Rocky came out for a performance of “New Hampshire.” That’s my favorite song so it really doesn’t get much better than that. Matt played a full set, but the crowd still didn’t want him to leave.

Rocky Votolato

This was my fourth time seeing Rocky Votolato. I think it’s getting to the point where if he plays in Chicago, I have to be there. He gave another strong performance. He said he was coming out with a new album soon and played a couple songs off of it. During the set, Matt Pond came out to return the favor from earlier by joining Rocky for “White Daisy Passing.”  The best part of the set was “Suicide Medicine” because it got the whole crowd signing along, I love that. Anyways, it was a good time and I’ll be there the next time either of these guys play again.

SXSW 2011 – Recap

Posted: March 25, 2011 in Show Review

SXSW was a little different for me this year than in years past. I brought my girlfriend whereas in the past I was just by myself. Also, I was more social this year, meeting up with friends for lunch and dinner, instead of just going music-crazy. I saw less bands than I did last year but I still had fun.

Thursday, the first day for me, I saw Givers @ Fader Fort, Owen Pallet and Telekinesis @ Mohawk, The Lonely Forest @ Klub Krucial, The Antlers @ Parish, and Ted Leo @ French Legation. I really enjoyed all those bands. I only saw a little bit of Givers because I was enjoying the many wonders of the Fader Fort.  I missed Telekinesis at Schubas so they were a must see, although it was hard to see since the inside of Mohawk was packed. I decided to see the Lonely Forest instead of the Joy Formidable because I figured it would be less crowded. The funny thing is, The Lonely Forest is opening for The Joy Formidable when they playe Lincoln Hall next month. I made it in to see the Antlers despite the somewhat intimidating line. They played nothing but songs from their new album, I can’t wait to pick that one up. We made a quick pit stop at the car before heading over to see Ted Leo at French Legation. It was good performance and it was really nice to sit in the grass and enjoy the music. I was burnt out by the end of the day. I wanted to see Sondre Lerche but I didn’t have to energy to make it. I had been up since 6 AM and I just wanted to rest.

The next day I was hanging with my cousin, who is under 21, so I tried to stick to all ages shows so he could hang out. We spent a ton of time at Mohawk where we saw Tristen, Wye Oak, and An Horse. I really liked An Horse, they are from Australia and they remind of Tegan & Sara. I think they even toured with Tegan & Sara once. After that we took a break for a while before we made it to Pitchfork Offline for Edwyn Collins. Then we tried to go to Fader Fort but gave up after seeing the line. My cousin eventually left so my girlfriend and I stopped by the IFC Crossroads House, where we got to see Fitz and the Tantrums. I’ve heard a lot about them but I’d never actually heard their music. I thought they were really good, very tight performance, I’d definitely see them again. After that my girlfriend and I went out to dinner with some Austin friends. We headed back downtown later that night to meet up with some Chicago friends at Beerland. I don’t remember who was playing there but it was a good time.

By Saturday we were pretty tired so we just saw Deer Tick at Mess With Texas and hit the road to Houston. It was pretty cool, they played “Been a Son” during soundcheck. Overall, it was a great time again and I’m sure I’ll be back next year.

This was probably the best show I’ve ever seen at Lincoln Hall but I don’t really remember too much of it. I did get there a little early so I could be sure to grab a good spot.

Tim Kasher

This was my fourth time seeing Tim this year but the first time I didn’t see him headline. The kids didn’t seem to be into Tim Kasher as much, but then again he was the opener. I have a feeling that many people didn’t know who he was. However, I saw some kids singing their hearts out, especially the kids wearing glasses and plaid shirts. It was a solid performance by Mr. Kasher. He played most of the songs from the album and he did covers of Bowie, The Good Life, and Cursive. Also, he still hasn’t had a haircut since July. I’ve seen him four times in six months and I’m still not sick of him.

Here’s a photo I took:

Tim Kasher set list:

  1. “Bad, Bad Dreams”
  2. “No Fireworks”
  3. “Just Don’t Get Caught”
  4. “There Must Be Something I’ve Lost”
  5. “Empty Bed” (Good Life cover)
  6. “Cold Love”
  7. “Surprise, Surprise”
  8. “Soul Love” (David Bowie cover)
  9. “A Grown Man”
  10. “Driftwood: A Fairy Tale” (Cursive cover)
  11. “I’m Afraid I’m Gonna Die Here”

The Hold Steady

I’d been looking forward to this since the day it was announced. The Hold Steady is probably my favorite live band. Lincoln Hall is my favorite live music venue. It was bound to be epic and it did not disappoint. It’s funny that one of the last shows of the year would be one of the best.

I was really bummed out that the Hold Steady didn’t play this summer and I was slightly disappointed by their show at the Vic. This made up for all of that.

I had been listening to their music all week. “Hornets! Hornets!” had been stuck in my head all day, especially that line that goes “She said I really like the crowds at the really big shows, people touching people that they don’t even know.” I thought it’d be the perfect song to start the night (because you can’t start with “Constructive Summer” in the winter).  The song started with Craig speaking into the mic, “She said always remember . . . ” The crowd went crazy. At that moment, I knew it was going to be an amazing show.  Hold Steady shows are always a good time, but this one was especially so because of the length of the set and the songs that were chosen. I’d say that they played about 95% of my favorite Hold Steady songs. There was a lot of jumping up and down, a lot of singing along, and a lot of drinking. It was definitely a great time. It was really cool seeing them in a venue this intimate (Lincoln Hall holds 500 whereas HOB holds 1300, the Vic holds 1400, and the Riv holds 2500).  I don’t know if the performance could ever be topped, but the next time they come into town, I’ll definitely be there.

The Hold Steady set list:

  1. “Hornets! Hornets”
  2. “Hurricane J”
  3. “Girls Like Status”
  4. “The Swish”
  5. ‘Rock Problems”
  6. “You Can Make Him Like You”
  7. ‘We Can Get Together”
  8. “Cattle and the Creeping Things”
  9. “Navy Sheets”
  10. “Chips Ahoy!”
  11. “Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night”
  12. “Stuck Between Stations”
  13. “Southtown Girls”
  14. “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”
  15. “The Smidge”
  16. “Stevie Nix”
  17. “Most People Are DJ’s”
  18. “Constructive Summer”
  19. “Massive Nights”
  20. “Slapped Actress”
  21. “Sweet Part of the City” (encore)
  22. “Sequestered In Memphis”(encore)
  23. “Stay Positive” (encore)
  24. “Killer Parties” (encore)

You can also check out a recap of the show by MeanLittleBumbleBee.

She even has a video of the first song up on Youtube: