On most days “Say Hi” is one of my top 5 favorite bands.  When it comes down to what do I want to listen to today? the dry, humorous, off the beaten path, yet geniusly poignant lyrics of Eric Elbogen are often my first choice.   Plus, I really enjoy his voice and the music that he plays to go with it.   When we saw him perform this summer at a park in Seattle, he sang a new song from his upcoming album, so I knew there was one on the way.   “Um, Uh Oh” is finally here.

We waited until the night of the show to get it, I enjoyed doing that so much the week before at a different concert that we just decided to do it again.   That way we heard all the songs live first and got what I like to imagine as an added flavor or something silly like that.  I so much enjoyed the show/album release party.

Eric E sat front and center at a drum set with a microphone and guitars within reach.  It was really fun to watch him play, change instruments, and just sing like he does.   I don’t think he ever puts on any kind of pretense, he seems very genuine and his music is quite heartfelt.  Also good, I want to make that point clear.

Earlier albums had really fun songs all about vampires (pre-Twilight), spaceships or robots(“Your brains vs My Tractorbeam) and love; or some form thereof.  This latest one seems to be about more personal or grown up material like dating and the after-effects of dating, and still (thank goodness) love.

This was not a stand still and listen to music event, most of the audience including Tac and I, were totally dancing (we are not talking about boogieing down here).    At the end of a song, Eric E told us that we had just heard the last song of the show, and that he would now play the encore.  Apparently he has talked to the audience at previous shows about how he feels about encores, I have not been to those shows so I don’t know exactly what he said, but I do know that I think encores are lame and a big waste of everyone’s time.   It was cool.   They start their tour next month, and I highly recommend this show to almost every person that I know.

And I can’t end without saying that we really missed our friends Scary Larry and Amber.  Larry introduced us to Say Hi, and I am uber grateful that he shared.

Also, our friend Darren was there so that was fun.

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I have known that White Lies were coming out with a new album, I have even checked their website occasionally to see when.  But I have a gift for forgetting all kinds of things, especially when that thing is a number.   So “Ritual” was released and concerts were scheduled and i was somewhere in the fog….literally people…clouds, rain and drizzle; nonstop.

What surprise and joy then, when I checked Neumo’s calendar (because I was feeling anxious about forgetting the date of Say Hi’s show) and saw that White Lies was playing the very next night.   Definitely one of those bands I figured I would never get to see, until…I moved next door to Seattle.   And even then, who would have thought they would play in such a cool, smallish venue.

Thanks to Tac’s friend Matt we found out that Ships would be the opening band.  Here’s how I usually end up feeling about the opening band: Grrrr-Arggg!   But we looked up Ships and they were good, so we got there on time and everything.    We totally enjoyed their music and  positive happy vibe.   The singer reminded us of Andy from Parks and Rec when his beanie would fall over his face and he  just kept singing all the louder.   I hope to see them again.

I love to feel the mood of the crowd change  and grow excited when the headlining band comes out.   There is so much about live music that is felt along with being heard: the floor moving, the music vibrating in your heart, anticipation, brief moments of stillness.  I always try and remember those feelings, they make for very effective anti-depressants when needed.   White Lies came out and very much astounded me with their sound.

They sounded so full and loud, but really clean and crisp too.  Harry McVeigh’s voice was more amazing and rich even than it is on their records.   There were 5 guys onstage playing a lot of music, often switching from one instrument to another.   The mix of 80′s-esque keyboards,  with a strong guitar presence was  heavenly.

We bought the new cd at the show that night, normally i like to have listened to a new album before seeing the show, but this was so cool that I’m glad we did it that way.   Hearing the new songs for the first time in such a perfect setting, played a bit harder I think, than the recorded versions, made me love them all the more.

I was afraid briefly that I wouldn’t hear “Unfinished Business,”  but they were saving it for the encore.   And yes, it was perfect.

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I think my emotions can best be described by Buddy the Elf right now:                                                                                                                                “I’m in love, i’m in love and I don’t care who knows it”

Tac and I saw The Smashing Pumpkins on Friday night, and they (Billy) were so good.   I wasn’t sure what to expect that night, so I tried to hold off my anticipations with a good ol’ fashioned tabula rasa.  But oh, they came on stage and just started playing and Billy was singing and he sounded just as marvelous as he ever did.   His voice has lost none of its beautiful razor.

They pretty much rocked all night, things were not folksy nor too mello (I really like his mellow stuff, thats why I added the italics on the too).  They even did a harder version of Stand Inside Your Love, which I would have thought unlikely to please so much, but it totally did.   They played lots of old favorites like Bullet With Butterfly Wings, Today, Cherubrock, Drown, Eye (that is a really hot song), Ava Adore,and Zero. They really got the crowd going with those.

We also got to hear some of the new songs, and I was so happy to like them.   At one point Billy introduced the concept of “new music” to us, I get the feeling he gets tired of people only wanting to hear about the old stuff when he is excited about creating new music also.

But, I want to get back to Buddy the Elf:  Spangled; one of the aforementioned new songs was lovely.   I have watched the clip of it on youtube  so many times since then.  I feel the joy of a confused guy who thinks he’s an elf and he’s madly in love!   Mostly it just feels so good to be enjoying Billy Corgan’s music again so much, especially a new song.  I’m pretty jazzed right now.

Well if you listened to the song just now, then know that I was one of the woo hoo-ers.   Also, this gives me the chance to complain about jerks who yell dumb things when nice songs are playing, and chatty girls who will not stop talking even though they are right next to me and I  nicely ask them to be quieter.  Seriously, if you want to go out with your friends and talk it up all night, there are more comfortable ways to do it than standing on your feet for four hours in a crowded sold out room trying to talk over the person that is singing up on stage.

So to recap:  I had a great time, I will be listening to The Pumpkins a lot more again, and *THANKS* to Tac for taking me to an awesome concert.

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Bloc Party Concert.
Image by _e.t via Flickr

Every time I go to a concert I leave with questions.    I want to know about the rules of encores.  Have they evolved?  Have bands always been expected to do an encore performance like they do now?   Is it just part of the show, is that part of what we the ticket holder have purchased?   Does the band plan what they will play, and more specifically do they hold out certain songs for the encore, and if so are we the audience under the obligation to “earn” the encore presentation by cheering and clapping until they come back out?  How long should we do that?   Do bands like to use the encore as an opportunity to play some of their more obscure songs because they are just there on their own time, so people can’t really be crabby if they hear things they they are not familiar with?   Are bands sick of it, yet feel like they have to perform one or the audience will be cheesed off?

Is there a science, so to say, about the encore?

Seriously, this is what I am thinking about after a concert?   Well yes actually, amid the whoo-hooing, happy clapping and the general debate with oneself about do I want to spend $ 20-30.00 on concert t-shirts n’stuff.   (At the Mew concert the other night I actually bought a hoodie sweatshirt, which is a first for me because I am pretty cheap.  Its way cute and I basically love it.)   But I want to know if anyone else thinks about this as much as I do.

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_Mew Live Concert @ Botanique Brussels-4222
Image by Kmeron via Flickr

Mew played in Seattle a couple days ago and we finally got to see them!  No car crashes this time  (Last month we wanted to see Say Hi and Tac got hit on the freeway that day so we didn’t go).   We totally owe it to Scary Larry who gave us the heads up that Mew would be here.

The show was at Nuemos, which is a medium sized club.  It was so wonderful to be in a venue like that, and not at some huge place with lots of annoying people everywhere.  The audience was great, it was a bunch of Mew fans.   We got there about 15 minutes before they came out, and then the lights dimmed and the band came out and started the night with Into to Palace Players.  Everyone was just dancing and swaying and really happy to be there.

After Palace Players they played a longer cool intro to Special.  I love when bands start songs off different than normal, and everyone is listening and waiting to figure what song it is, and then when they play a recognizable beat everyone starts cheering.   After that I lose track of the order of things.  I’m not good at remembering things like that when I’m so busy having a great time.

New Terrain really stands out in my mind as so awesome!  They amazed me with the amount of work they did on stage to make that song happen.  Several of them were singing different things at the same time, cupping the microphones differently in their hands to change the sounds.  They were intense in the layers they created, and I loved it.

Louise Louisa was phenomenal.   Towards the end of the song Jonas Bjerre’s voice was all that could be heard (or its all I heard) as he sang out soft and at the same time loud in perfect pitch the words:

“I’m in a car, I don’t know where we are headed for. Stay with me, don’t want to be alone.”

It was beautiful.  The light shone on his face as he was singing, and I was pretty much entranced with it all.  It will definitely be a sweet moment to remember in my life.

You know when you hear a band live for the first time, and you get that wonderful fuzzy feeling because you know for a fact that they are as good as they sound from the studio?  I got it.   The show was awesome.  When it ended and then they came out a little later for an encore, I was thrilled and figured we would be lucky to get 1 or 2 more songs.   They came out and started playing Circuitry of the Wolf really loud and hard.  Seriously, WOW!

Then, they went straight into Chinaberry Tree and so on for around 45 minutes.   Tac and I made a list of the songs we are pretty sure they played- just for you Larry.

  • Intro to Palace Players
  • Special
  • Reprise
  • Apocalypso
  • Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy
  • Zookeepers Boy
  • Repeater Beater
  • Envoy to the Open Fields
  • New Terrain
  • Beach
  • White Lips Kissed
  • Louise Louisa
  • Am I Wry, No
  • 156
  • Silas the Magic Car
  • Circuitry of the Wolf
  • Chinaberry Tree
  • Fox cub
  • Saviours of Jazz Ballet
  • Snow Brigade
  • She Spider
  • Hawaii

and probably more.

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Tac and I don’t get to as many concerts as we would like. Our children’s main reference in regards to concert attendance is seeing me get really excited because “so and so” is touring, then watching as I try to put together some kind of plan for how we could travel 100′s of miles to see “so and so” while still getting kids to school and husband to work, and then the inevitable pout of despair as I realize its hopeless.

From this they have inferred that it must be pretty fun to see live music, and they would like to see some for themselves. Taking them to a concert would be dangerous, sometimes illegal, the boys would whine and make us miserable, and it would be embarrassing.

I compromised with them by finally telling the boys they were too young; sorry, and promised Emma that if Seve vs. Evan ever came to town I would take her. I knew they would be at an all ages venue, and figured out of all the bands Emma and I both love they would be the safest (clean, fun, all around good time, etc..)

She made her own t-shirt for the night, it was so very cute. It was brown with a green Seve robot and a red Evan robot. We had a really good time, Tac was in Sun Valley so he couldn’t come, and while he asked me nicely to get him a shirt I totally forgot, so once again “sorry honey.”

We stood up front because Emma couldn’t see past all the overly tall teenagers. This was fun, but proved dangerous as said teenagers started a pit right next to us. One of them fell into me, causing me to fall into Emma, shoving her into the speaker. Luckily we had one of our own overly tall teenagers because my “baby brother” Kyle (he’s at least 1/2 foot taller than me) watched over us after that.

Seve and Evan sounded great, pretty much exactly like they do on their cd’s. Seve had a keyboard and a microphone, and Evan had the drums. I hadn’t noticed until then how much drumming there is in their music, Evan was impressive. Seve sang, played and talked to the audience like he does it all the time, but afterwards he told Emma that he had been a little nervous. He was really nice to the youngest member of their audience.

Emma has now been to a concert, her little brothers have Seve vs Evan pins; one on his backpack, the other on his “Wall-E” hat.

Somehow, S vs E fit perfectly in my music puzzle. Shoved in there somewhere between Muse, The Pumpkins, and Mew, underneath AquaLung, Say Hi, and Silversun Pickups is a little indie band from Utah. Honestly, I don’t know how anyone could not like them, especially if you have kids that you want to brainwash into liking cool music…they won’t be able to resist. Play a fun little video game on their site and listen all at once, Seth and I have been playing it lots today.

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