Archive for April, 2013

Setlist (Thursday, April 25th)

Posted in Setlists on April 25, 2013 by occupyairwaves

Alkaline Trio – “The Torture Doctor” – My Shame Is True

Saves The Day – “Eulogy” – Sound The Alarm

The Menzingers – “Burn After Writing” – On The Impossible Past

Phoenix – “The Real Thing” – Bankrupt!

The Flaming Lips – “Look… The Sun Is Rising” – The Terror

Pixies – “Here Comes Your Man” – Doolittle

R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion” – In Time: The Best Of R.E.M. 1988-2003

Laura Stevenson – “Bells And Whistles” – Wheel

Paramore – “Anklebiters” – Paramore

Team Spirit – “Teenage Love” – Team Spirit EP

Swingin’ Utters – “Poorly Formed” – Poorly Formed

Mates Of State – “Son Et Lumiere (The Mars Volta Cover)” – Crushes (The Covers Mixtape)

Frank Turner – “Recovery” – Tape Deck Heart

Eddie Money – “Two Tickets To Paradise” – The Best Of Eddie Money

Manchester Orchestra – “I Can Feel A Hot One” – Mean Everything To Nothing

MGMT – “Electric Feel” – Oracular Spectacular

Concert Review – Muse (IZOD Center, April 19th, 2013)

Posted in Everything Else on April 23, 2013 by occupyairwaves

ImageI remember reading from a reliable survey a year or so ago that British rockers Muse were charted as the number one band in terms of spending the most money on their live performances (stage effects, lighting, lasers, moving platforms, etc.). If you have ever attended a Muse concert, you won’t find this statistic surprising in the slightest. Seeing Muse live is the most out-of-body experience I have ever gone through, and after the show (this being my second Muse concert), I drove home trying to discern if what I witnessed had actually just happened…

Last Friday, April 19th, was my first time attending a stadium show in the general admission section, and I think it’s safe to say I won’t be able to fully enjoy a stadium concert again unless I’m in GA. That being said, I was already in a state of disbelief before the show even started. Biffy Clyro, a Scottish rock outfit, were scheduled to open the show, but due to an illness within the band, they were unable to make it out. Dead Sara, a female-fronted blues rock band from L.A., filled in as replacements, which made sense since they had already opened for Muse for a good chunk of the US leg of their tour. I quickly realized this was a blessing in disguise because even though I had previously never heard of Dead Sara, they blew anything I had ever heard by Biffy Clyro clean out of the water. These guys really knew how to rock. From alt-rock opener “Sorry For It All” to blues rock masterpiece “Blue Was The Feeling For You,” Dead Sara had astounding stage presence and stamina, and by the end of their short six song set, I knew instantly that I needed to get my hands on a copy of their CD. They’re one of the few bands these days that keeps rock n’ roll alive, due in large part to front-woman Emily Armstrong’s overwhelming howl when she’s on the mic.

After a brief interlude, it was finally time for the main attraction. To the tune of “The 2nd Law: Isolated System,” the final song off of Muse’s most recent album, The 2nd Law, an enormous inverted LED pyramid slowly descended from the ceiling of the stage (see picture above). It finally reached the stage and lit up, illuminating the entire arena. After a very bombastic intro, the pyramid once again rose, revealing the trio underneath, who went straight into “Supremacy,” the powerful James Bond-esque opening track off of The 2nd Law. The crowd instantly went nuts.

Speaking of the crowd, to go off on a quick tangent, I have never seen a more diverse group of people at a concert. The fans around me ranged from kids my age to middle-aged parents (some who even brought their young children), but everyone knew the words and sang along with frontman Matt Bellamy. This also proves an older point I once made that since Muse has transcended the boundaries of being defined by any one particular “genre,” everyone is bound to like at least one of their songs, which explains why I was surrounded by such a motley crew.

After Muse let their audience know they were coming full force, bassist Chris Wolstenholme began the vicious slap bass intro of “Panic Station,” the band’s first funk song, also from The 2nd Law. It’s one of those tunes you just can’t help but groove to. Then came an onslaught of fan favorites, including “Supermassive Black Hole,” “Resistance,” “Hysteria,” and “Knights Of Cydonia.” With each new song, the band seemed to grow in bombast and bravado, to the point that I thought they literally couldn’t go any further.

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When Muse perform live, they stick very close to their studio recordings, but with an added drive that really gives the songs a huge boost. They also add unique outros and intros to their songs. At Friday’s show, Matt rocked a Star-Spangled Banner intro to “Hysteria,” as well as the beginning of “House Of The Rising Sun” before Chris kicked off “Time Is Running Out,” a classic off Muse’s Absolution. For the band’s last song before their short encore set, a giant roulette wheel appeared on the LED screens surrounding the stage, and depending on the result, Muse would either play “New Born” off their early album, Origin Of Symmetry, or “Stockholm Syndrome” from Absolution. The audience was treated to the raucous latter track, which when played live, bordered nearly on all-out metal. Speaking of unique outros, the band followed up “Stockholm Syndrome” with the outro of Rage Against The Machine’s “Freedom,” and the crowd went crazy. Rage is reported as having always been Matt Bellamy’s favorite band, so it would make sense the band would still cover their tunes after all these years.

For their encore, Muse returned to the stage to play two more songs, the first being “Starlight” off Black Holes & Revelations, yet another huge crowd pleaser. The band decided to close the show with “Survival,” their less-than-satisfactory anthem from The 2nd Law, which was used as the official song of the London 2012 Olympics. Whether it was for commercial reasons or just a poor decision, I was rather disappointed Muse chose to end the entire show with this song rather than an older classic (I would have preferred Origin Of Symmetry‘s “Plug In Baby” personally).

Despite this drawback, the only other complaints I had with the show were minimal in comparison. A small fight broke out between some drunk adolescent and a parent who was trying to protect their kids, but luckily the event staff promptly kicked the inebriated individual out of the venue. Also, as the band went into “Uprising” off The Resistance, Wolsetnholme suffered a bass malfunction and had to switch basses halfway through the song’s intro. Just goes to show that no one’s perfect live. When Chris began pounding out the distorted riff of the song’s intro with his fresh bass, the crowd roared with approval, and the show went on.

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There were so many incredible high points throughout the night that I had trouble deciding what my favorite moment was. There were the 7+ glorious minutes of “Knights Of Cydonia,” my all-time favorite song that never fails to disappoint, especially with the chilling harmonica intro. There were also the brief instances of what felt like mini-raves during two of Muse’s newer electronic jams, “Follow Me” and the surprisingly amazing dubstep breakdowns of “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable.” However, I think the highlight of the night came during the blistering ending of “Uprising.” In true Muse fashion, Bellamy became violently unstable while ripping a solo on his guitar, at which point he took the guitar off his shoulder and proceeded to heave the instrument with full force straight through the bass drum of drummer Dominic Howard’s set. I had only ever seen Muse destroy their equipment in YouTube videos, so to see this kind of raw chaos live was pure entertainment. It also made me realize how strongly Nirvana played a role in Muse’s career.

Despite the lack of a replacement bass drum head, the band came back out for their encore, and Howard confidently rocked on with a gaping hole in the front of his kit. To see Muse live again was really a treat, and as I said, there is really nothing quite like it. The combined strength of Bellamy, Wolstenholme, and Howard creates such an overpowering dynamic onstage that it makes you wonder how this band could ever get any bigger than they are. I left the arena that night with tour poster in hand, completely satisfied. Without a doubt, it was that kind of passion and electricity that Muse put out every night for their fans that elevated them to becoming one of the biggest bands in the UK – and the world.

-Joe MacPhee

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Full Setlist:

(Intro) The 2nd Law: Isolated System

1. Supremacy

2. Panic Station

3. Supermassive Black Hole (Rage Against The Machine’s “Revolver” outro)

4. Resistance

5. Hysteria (Star-Spangled Banner intro, AC/DC’s “Back In Black” outro)

6. Knights Of Cydonia (Man With A Harmonica intro)

7. Monty Jam

8. Explorers

9. Follow Me

10. United States Of Eurasia

11. Liquid State

12. Madness

13. Time Is Running Out (House Of The Rising Sun intro)

14. Undisclosed Desires

15. Stockholm Syndrome (Rage Against The Machine’s “Freedom” outro)

16. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable

17. Uprising

Encore:

18. Starlight

19. Survial

Setlist (Thursday, April 18th)

Posted in Setlists on April 19, 2013 by occupyairwaves

Biffy Clyro – “Spanish Radio” – Opposites

Gold Fields – “The Woods” – Black Sun

Wavves – “Demon To Lean On” – Afraid Of Heights

Cold War Kids – “Miracle Mile” – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Swingin’ Utters – “Brains” – Poorly Formed

NOFX – “Linoleum” – Punk In Drublic

Green Day – “8th Avenue Serenade” – ¡Tré!

Jawbreaker – “Want (Live)” – Protect: A Benefit For The National Association To Protect Children

Saves The Day – “Anywhere With You” – In Reverie

The Postal Service – “We Will Become Silhouettes” – Give Up

Owl City – “The Saltwater Room” – Ocean Eyes

Fiona Apple – “Criminal” – Tidal

Liz Phair – “Mesmerizing” – Exile In Guyville

Muse – “Knights Of Cydonia” – Black Holes & Revelations

Setlist (Thursday, April 11th)

Posted in Setlists on April 11, 2013 by occupyairwaves

Blink-182 – “Reckless Abandon” – Take Off Your Pants And Jacket

Balance And Composure – “Say” – Braid / Balance And Composure Split

David Bowie – “The Next Day” – The Next Day

Fall Out Boy – “Thnks Fr Th Mmrs” – Infinity On High

The Postal Service – “Sleeping In” – Give Up

The Strokes – “All The Time” – Comedown Machine

Rocky Leon – “Quit Your Whining” – Quit Your Whining EP

Cold War Kids – “Lost That Easy” – Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Team Spirit – “Jesus He’s Alright!” – Team Spirit

All Of A Kind – “Setting To The West” – Tired Times For Relevance

Green Day – “X-Kid” – ¡Tré!

Weezer – “Holiday” – Weezer (The Blue Album)

+44 – “Make You Smile – When Your Heart Stops Beating

The White Stripes – “Conquest” – Icky Thump

Nirvana – “Territorial Pissings” – Nevermind

“Paramore” – Paramore

Posted in Album Reviews on April 10, 2013 by occupyairwaves

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The first time I saw Paramore live, they were doing an early set at the V Festival in Baltimore, supporting their album, Riot. My sister and I couldn’t stop laughing at them and how they choreographed their head bangs and all had matching hair. The funniest part was when they announced they would be playing a “slow song,” since we thought all their songs were relatively slow and boring as they each had a breakdown-ish part. Fast forward a few years and I would be shelling out almost  a hundred bucks to see them with a girl who I wanted to date at the time. That wasn’t the only reason I liked them though (well, maybe it initially was…). They had just released their third album, and I listened to it four times in a row in one night, and by the second play through, I was a Paramore fan. This was the last tour they would do before the founding Farro brothers – Zac and Josh, who play drums and guitar, respectively – would leave the band in an extremely controversial display of angst and emotion. In brevity, I was dismayed when they released their next single because you could seriously hear the departure of the brothers in their work. It simply lacked a je ne sais quoi prevalent in the band’s former work. I’ve indulged my memories far more than you’ve probably cared to read and far less than I’ve felt like, but I feel you should know this:

I am going into this review with a very closed mind. That being said, I will now listen…

The first track, “Fast In My Car,” sounds very poppy, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. It reminds me of No Doubt or later career Weezer. I’m a sucker for 90s pop rock, so the album started things off in a nice way for me. Definitely different from what I was expecting. The second track, “Now,” is the first single for this record. I’m not a fan at all; Hayley’s voice sounds whiny and overproduced, and I don’t like the style of the track. It’s just shrill to my ears and bad rock music. I digress; the next track sounds very poppy also and talks about leaving things behind, moving on, and “Growing Up.” I feel like it’s about Hayley’s core fans who only like her band for their early emo work and will likely abandon them after this release. Her reaction is basically that she needs to do this for herself, not them. The ending of the song hearkens my ears to The Postal Service, which is pretty cool. The following song, “Daydreaming,” starts off with a very Cranberries-esque sound, and I overall enjoy this song a lot. The next song also deals with “Moving On,” and I’m sensing a theme to this album. It’s a really good song, yet the album continues on with a pop style, and I must confess the whole experience began to feel rote at this point. I felt like it was homework listening to parts of this record; the rock aspect of Paramore has certainly fled this album. The bass truly shines though. One of the high points of the record was the sequel to one of their songs off Riot (“Let The Flames Begin”), which they eloquently titled “Part II.” “Last Hope” is another Cranberries-inspired jam that I enjoyed. “Still Into You” is  a garbage pop song and devalues the album a few notches for being included on it. It also reminds me a bit of No Doubt though, which is nice. “Anklebiters” started with feedback and loud drums, so I was surprised when it turned really poppy. But it is by no means bad. The next couple of tracks echo earlier ones, and I had to take a break from listening at this point. The album ends with “Future,” a lengthy jam, and I’m unsure whether the fade out/in was a nod to The Smiths, a mastering error, or just experimentation, but I didn’t find it prudent.

The overarching theme of this record to me is that change can be an awesome thing if you accept it, and not to stay in the past. Definitely a good message, and I’m not sure if it’s one I’ve fully gotten in my own life, which is probably why this history major wasn’t too fond of this album on the whole. Despite containing many strong parts (especially the interludes), I found its sugary pop moments and long length too much for me.

-Matthew Koerner

Recommended Jams: Daydreaming, Hate To See Your Heart Break, Anklebiters

Setlist (Thursday, April 4th)

Posted in Setlists on April 5, 2013 by occupyairwaves

Alkaline Trio – “I Wanna Be A Warhol” – My Shame Is True

Biffy Clyro – “Black Chandelier” – Opposites

Green Day – “Walk Away” – ¡Tré!

The Postal Service – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” – Give Up

The Menzingers – “Good Things” – On The Impossible Past

Gates – “To Those Who Fell…” – You Are All You Have Left To Fear

Balance And Composure – “You Can’t Fix Me” – Braid / Balance And Composure Split

Frank Turner – “Recovery” – Tape Deck Heart (Out April 22nd!)

David Bowie – “(You Will) Set The World On Fire” – The Next Day

Alkaline Trio – “Continental” – Good Mourning

Alkaline Trio – “Help Me” – Agony & Irony

Nirvana – “Blew” – Bleach

Taking Back Sunday – “MakeDamnSure” – Louder Now

Violent Femmes – “Blister In The Sun” – Violent Femmes

“Comedown Machine” – The Strokes / “My Shame Is True” – Alkaline Trio

Posted in Album Reviews on April 4, 2013 by occupyairwaves

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It seems like only yesterday that NYC rockers The Strokes released Angles. But the band is already back with their fifth studio album, titled Comedown Machine.

The overall feel of this album is the same feeling you get from looking at the album artwork (see above); I would describe it best as a feeling of mediocrity. Album opener “Tap Out” starts off with the beginnings of what might have been a wicked guitar riff, but it unexpectedly turns into a slow groove that lasts for the entire song. “All The Time” sounds like pretty classic Strokes to me. No wonder they picked it as the album’s first single.

While listening through this album, I began to miss the quirky, yet not entirely goofy sound that The Strokes encapsulated with their best hits, like oldie “Last Nite” and the more recent “Under Cover Of Darkness.” I got a little bit of these vibes from “Welcome To Japan” and the groovy bridge of “Slow Animals” off of the new album, but it wasn’t very fulfilling. “50/50” deserves to be pointed out as well because it’s actually a good deal heavier than most of the Strokes that I listen to. The rapid drumming and harsh vocals from Julian Casablancas (though mostly due to the overdrive effect on his mic) contribute to the punk vibe of the song.

Unfortunately, this ends the positive criticism of Comedown Machine. The rest of the album is, simply put, very bland and not worth a second listen. The Strokes steal a few tricks from Radiohead and The Killers, though they are unable to compete; Casablancas’ falsettos on “Chances,” “Tap Out,” and most of this album are nearly unlistenable. The band tries to go for their quirky sound on songs like “Partners In Crime” and “One Way Trigger,” but they overshoot and come across as just plain goofy. And I’m really not sure what they thought they were doing by choosing “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” as the closing track. They really go out with a whimper on this one.

Comedown Machine has at most a handful of tracks that may sneak their way onto your iPod, but if you’re looking for some advice on this one, I would avoid buying the full album unless you’re a die hard Strokes fan.

-Joe MacPhee

Recommended Jams: All The Time, Welcome To Japan, 50/50

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ImageDescendents drummer Bill Stevenson was in charge of production for My Shame Is True, the latest Alkaline Trio offering. He has produced many great records, and his work on this record is certainly up to par.

The record opens with “She Lied To The FBI,” a very Ramones-inspired track that sets a nice pace for the record. My biggest gripe for this record is the vocals. The reverb makes most of the faster songs’ lines unintelligible. “Kiss You To Death” slows things down after three speedy punk jammers. I have to say the music on this feels like a solid return to the Alkaline Trio of yore, yet it’s not a total regression; it’s like an alternate progression. Let’s pretend that Agony And Irony never happened. This record could have been the more independent followup to Crimson. “The Temptation Of St. Anthony” contains a groovy bass break, which is surrounded by extremely tight drumming and guitar. There is a very dark mood encapsulating the record. The music is some of their most frenzied, along with somber ballads. The artwork also projects a gothic Andy Warhol vibe. No pun intended, as they have a song sharing his namesake.

“Midnight Blue” is easily my favorite track on the album. Guitarist Matt Skiba’s croon is full of yearning and remorse as he laments his lost love. The tambourine shake is nice as well. “Young Lovers” is another great track towards the end of the record. These latter album tracks provide a nice contrast from the emo chaotic storm in the middle of the record.

These lyrics make sense unlike most of the lyrics of the past couple of records, and knowing that Matt just went through a divorce adds merit to songs like “Until Death Do Us Part.” This was definitely a good record and a fine addition to Alkaline Trio’s discography.

-Matthew Koerner

Recommended Jams: Midnight Blue, I’m Only Here To Disappoint, Kiss You To Death