Tuesday, May 19, 2015

We Want The Airwaves...

A BENEFIT FOR KCPR:
SHANNON AND THE CLAMS
SWIMMERS
DOG PARTY
SLO BREWING CO, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
16 MAY, 2015
With members of Dog Party and Swimmers ensconced in studies at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, a benefit for their radio station KCPR was a natural, kicking off the current fundraising drive. Bay Area surf-soul-punk titans Shannon and the Clams headlined the all ages do at San Luis Obispo's SLO Brewing Company, and a sweaty evening was had by all. It was just in January that we last caught up with Dog Party, and they got the ball rolling in style with the big takeaway being a preview of Volume IV, their forthcoming LP on Asian Man Records, with Burger Records doing the cassette duties. "Dead Man" was the first new blast, and fit in perfectly with their catalog to date. Calling out a friend's 21st birthday, "Flamingo Go" set the moshing in motion, and it didn't abate through "Lost Control". Late set highlight included a pair of Swimmers brought up for a tune (Swim Party?!).

Oakland's Swimmers, (formerly Emily's Army), were the new-to-me takeaway of the evening. Scheduling conflicts meant missing them at Burgerama, but fortune smiled on this night. From the first song, they were a blur of motion, bringing to mind the energy level of the much missed At The Drive-In. Pausing between songs to ensure audience safety, they immediately ratcheted the energy levels back up, with crowd surfers ping-ponging between the support beams. Finishing off with a high energy take on the Cure's "Boys Don't Cry", it was a memorable introduction. Bonus points awarded for the skate deck serving as a pedal dock.

As evidenced by past gigs, Oakland's Shannon And The Clams have a gift for The Show, and this was a rare opportunity to see them shorn of the spectacle, just the trio in small club, up close and personal, and it was all of that and more. Keeping it tight and wired, they never let the intensity lag, and considering the energy from the stage throughout the night, that was no small feat.

SHANNON AND THE CLAMS






SWIMMERS










DOG PARTY
 
"Swim Party"

Monday, May 4, 2015

Waxahatchee Takes LA, pt II

WAXAHATCHEE
GIRLPOOL
UPSET
THE ROXY, LA
28 APRIL, 2015
A rare incursion to the west side of LA found us checking out the refurbished Roxy on, as they say, the fabulous Sunset Strip for the Waxahatchee tour, with support from Girlpool and Upset. Well into day two of major sleep deprivation, all it took was a quick pre-show visit to Mel's Diner to put things right. Just weeks ago we saw Upset in a beach side rec room, and the graduation to the same stage Bruce Springsteen laid waste to 40 years ago was a thing to behold. And hold their own they did, careening through their set to an already stuffed house.

Having seen Girlpool primarily at house parties or all ages spaces, the question was how the transition to a full bar show would go, especially given the intimate nature of their music. Having done tours opening up for Jenny Lewis, and now Waxahatchee, it turns out there was not a worry to be had, as they dialed up the sass, and kept their focus throughout the Talky McTalksters, and emerged unscathed from the "typical LA audience". Bonus points for spilling the beans on being part of the as-yet officially announced FYF lineup for 2015.

As for Waxahatchee, the big news for this tour was the super sizing of the lineup to a quintet, and the onboarding of Allison Crutchfield (Swearin') to round out the lineup. On the heels of 2013's Waxahatchee/Swearin' tour, one held out hope, and for those who never got to see the sisters together onstage in their PS Eliot days, it was a dream come true. Obviously there was no hitch in the getalong stylistically, and the skeleton of the set was built around the brand new Ivy Tripp, beginning with the double-shot of "Breathless"/"Under A Rock" and ending with "Bonfire". "<" and Cerulean Salt's "Lips and Limbs" got hypercharged readings as well. Katie returned to the stage after the main set for a brief multi-song acoustic encore, touching on material new and old, holding the now-tamed audience rapt.

WAXAHATCHEE


GIRLPOOL

UPSET