Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Classical Arrangement

I've heard the things you've spoken
The conviction in your eyes
I believe that you believe them
But I can't empathize
You wanna live life your way
And not let others do the same
The world turns to a desert while you pray for rain

I'm glad you found your answers
In your parents' fairy tales
Spin around in circles with no wind to push the sails
Mythology and magic, religion's all the same
The world turns to a desert while you pray for rain

And I have faith, I have faith in me
Faith in things that I can see
And I have learned some things about devotion
Stop judging me and I won't judge you
We're all looking for our own truth
And we are only tiny droplets in the ocean
Drops in the ocean

So I got Dillinger Four's new LP in the mail the other day. I actually got about 8 LPs in a 2 day span from friday-saturday, which is always fun. I haven't even had the time to listen to all the awesome new music I got, (Fucked Up, Two Cow Garage, Weakerthans, Lagrecia, Chuck Ragan/Austin Lucus (more on those two later!), Ghost Mice/Andrew Jackson Jihad, Mischief Brew!!!) but back to D4. Honestly, this album is stronger lyrically than it is musically. Musically its a pretty standard D4 album, lots of gruff midwestern pop-punk, but less hardcore sprinklings than their first two full lengths. So its a pretty solid "progression" from Situationist Comedy. But this album boasts some pretty strong lyrics which is what puts it in the top 10 albums of the year for me (right now its #6 on my preliminary list). The above example is one of my favorite songs on the album. Its incredibly minimalist instrument for the majority of the song puts the emphasic on the lyrics, a scathing attack on religion, a theme that pops up previously on (what I consider) the album's best song ("Ode to the Great American Snake Oil Distributor"). Further standouts are "Fruity Pebbles," a Paddy sung ode to a fallen friend, the opening track "Jingle for the Product" (I'm a sucker for whoa-ohs), and the closing track, "clown cars on cinderblocks" whose lyrics I feel such an emotional connection to, I'm gonna post them, and you can't do anything about it!

December drags on
It's thirty-one days too long
This silence is killing me
I fear it when I'm tryin' to sleep

It's been one thing then another
Taking all the strength that I can muster
Not to pull the plug
When did I run out of luck?

Watching for the double-cross
I always knew I wouldn't escape without a scratch
Felt my feet on solid ground
Until I saw those fingers
Your fingers
Were crossed behind your back

Drown the pain with cheap champagne
And wake me when it's time to go
I'm far to faded to celebrate it
This clock is moving way too slow
One more year like this one
I could never make it on my own

I smoked my last cigarette
I emptied any bottle that dared cross my path
Lying in this spinning room
I contemplate the remnants of my life
And curse away the past

Drown the pain with cheap champagne
And wake me when it's time to go
I'm far to faded to celebrate it
This clock is moving way too slow
One more year like this one
I could never make it on my own

I'd offer up a sacrifice
If I thought it would do any good this time
I recognize the pain I've caused
But I can not pay these crimes
I'm not sure I expect to be here New Year's Day


In other news I totally didn't have the time over the weekend to make a post regarding the complete and utter awesomeness that was The Revival Tour. I went down to the good ol' Marquis Theater on Thursday by myself (as usual) and it was on the most fun shows I've been in a while. It was also nice to be up front and watch the music without fear of being crushed. Its been a while since i've been to a non-punk show. The show started at around 8 with all of the members currently on the tour (Chuck Ragan, Ben Nichols, Tim Barry, Austin Lucas, and Jon Snodgrass) playing a few songs together before splitting off an allowing each member to play individually before everyone coming back together at the end. Of course there was contributions between a few of the members at times (especially Chuck and Austin) and that added to the overall brotherly comraderie feel to the tour. Austin Lucas looks like like the last person you'd expect to be playing traditional folk/country, but the former crustie played some amazing tunes from his forthcoming album on Suburban Home (and at times yelling at Virgil, who runs the label and its sister Vinyl Collective, to clap along) as well as his split with Chuck.

Jon Snodgrass played next, and also played considerably well, and had a sizeable amount of fans in the audience, due to Drag the River being from Colorado and all. I really need to check out more of their music...Tim Barry, who was is always a treat came up next with his simple songs (with simple boring chords to quote him) infected with Richmond, beer, and traveling. He has a penchant for talking alot though, which is perfectly fine, it adds more personality to the performance. And Tim is certainly a man with a lot of personality. He briefly mentioned the Iraq Veterans Against the War, who had a table in the back, and how amazing and important they are in general. The veterans there even joined him on stage for "South Hill", and that was pretty cool. Ben Nichols of Lucero (whose album Nobody's Darlings is goddamn amazing), who looks pretty damn funny with a full beard, did his best to get through his set, despite how visibly drunk he was (and that only intensified over the night, haha).

Chuck Ragan came out (by came out I mean got up off of the box he was sitting on on the side of the stage most of the night) and went straight into his passionate folk songs from his debut full length, some from his Austin Lucas split, and even a Hot Water Music song (God Deciding!) and some folk standards. He played the longest of the night, since he was technically the "headliner" and ring leader of the whole tour. After he finished his "solo" set, he was joined by the rest of the tour members for a few more group songs. I began to get antsy, as I had to catch the 12:06am bus back to Boulder, and time was getting short. However as that time approached, they still weren't finished, and it was too much fun to leave. I made a good decision, and it was totally worth watching that extra 15 minutes of show in exchange for 45 minutes in the bus station.

Finally, the Masters of Suspicion super awesome Misfits cover show is shaping up pretty good. We have about 17-18 songs down, and a couple more that are rougher than the rest that we probably won't play. In addition to the Soulquarium basement party show, we will also be playing at the Bulldog Bar in Denver right before. So that will be interesting to say the least. Hopefully we can get a good turnout. Cause honestly, who doesn't love getting drunk and playing/listening to the Misfits? I sure do!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We Found Our Own Reasons To Sing

I nearly died on the highway driving fast through the rain. I was determined to get there as early as possible and get just left of center at the front of the stage. to hell with the wait. I struck up a conversation with some people from Parker about how shitty the barricade being there was, and then we talked about previous shows.

Future of the Left started at 8pm sharp. Their post-punk/indie style kind of bored me for most of their set, but there were a couple songs that got me nodding. Their bass was way to fucking loud, it drowned out the guitar and the singing. and I happened to be right in front of his monitor. Their last song was my favorite of their set, even more so when their bassist climbed over the barricade (and myself) played in the middle of the impromptu pit, and the proceded to pull himself up (with some help from the audience) into the balcony and play up there. It was astounding.

Before Ted Leo + Pharmacists began their dance friendly set, I was tapped on the shoulder by a girl who recognized me from the Streetlight Manifesto show that I went to on my birthday the week prior. We struck up a conversation, and I turned out she and her friend had come to the Gothic by the way of bus from Boulder. I told them I avoided coming to Englewood via bus like the plague, and offered them a ride back to Boulder after the show. I just couldn't let them wait for the bus in the cold following the show, like I had done so many times before. Ted Leo and company (his pharmaceutical company of course) went through a great set, even though they didn't seem to have that many fans. I shook around like a epilleptic through every song. I only recognized a few, and even less by name. "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone" and some songs from Shake the Sheets were the highlights.

I began to get anxious as they began setting up their gear. The last two times I had seen them were lackluster and dissappointing to say the least. But I still had hope, despite what some of my friends asserted. I knew they still had it in them to pump out a great show. My nose even miraculously cleared up, no longer impeding my singing ability in anticipation for the main event. Their roadies had a problem with one of the amps creating some godawful feedback, and once that was sorted out and everything was soundchecked.

Under red light, they grabbed their instruments and busted straight into "Cliche Guevara" and at that moment I knew the night was going to be amazing. They followed up with 3 songs from New Wave, including the worst song they've ever written. However the worst was over. They followed up with 4 songs in a row from Reinventing Axl Rose, and in that span, I almost lost my voice and passed out from sheer excitement. They were doing what they do best: not stop. They just pound through their set to fit as many songs in as possible, and keep the energy going at a maximum. As Tom strummed the opening notes to Miami, a song I hadn't seen them play in years, that excitement only grew. I took a break from singing for the next song, rocked out like a maniac for "Americans Abroad,"and then took another break during Borne On the FM Waves of the Heart. Good thing as the next song was the not often heard "TSR." following that short yet triumphant burst, they closed their "official" set with some less energetic tunes, but included "Pretty Girls" which I've never seen them play ever.

They took a long break before their encore, and Tom came out alone and played a song from his "solo" album, entitled "Only Cowards Sing at Night." With its chorus of "come back home johnny, come back home from Vietnam" its a clear jab at the McCain Train (wreck). What happened next caused me to audibly yell "oh my fucking god!" as they started playing "The Disco Before the Breakdown." The only surprise encore song that has topped that was when they played "What We Worked For" in Boulder last year. They closed the night out right with two of the greatest sing alongs they have written: "Sink, Florida, Sink" and "We Laugh at Danger (And Break All The Rules)." sadly, no one took the iniative to bum rush the stage as is typically appropriate, but it didn't matter. I got Andrew to hand me the setlist, I made my way to the merch booth, found my new acquaintences and flew back to boulder to write this.

Fuck the haters. This band means the world to me.

Cliche Guevara
New Wave
White People For Peace
Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
Reinventing Axl Rose
Those Anarcho Punks Are Mysterious
Walking Is Still Honest
From Her Lips to God's Ear (The Energizer)
Americans Abroad
Borne On The FM Waves of the Heart
TSR (This Shit Rules)
Pretty Girls (The Mover)
Don't Lose Touch
Thrash Unreal
Only Cowards Sing At Night
The Disco Before the Breakdown
Sink, Florida, Sink
We Laugh At Danger (And Break All the Rules)

Friday, October 10, 2008

In Defense of Denver

Dispatch from the front:

So I went and saw Street Dogs last night. surprisingly this was the first time i've ever actually seen them headline and not open. So that was pretty cool I guess. I got to the Marquis right before locals Frontside Five started the night off right. I see them pretty regularly opening for other bands, and every time they seem to get better. However, I was surprised to see that they're singer was not present, and their two guitarist had taken over lead vocal duty. Even more surprising was when their singer actually came up to sing for one song ("Drinkin' Until Dawn"), but then left right after. I don't quite understand what the deal is, but whatever, good times. Especially the Minor Threat and Naked Raygun covers! ("I Don't Wanna Hear It" and "Rat Patrol" respectively). Their covers set the stage for the night, as every single band would at least cover 1 song.

Flatfoot 56 came up next, and I had never heard anything about them except that they were kind of like Chicago's Dropkick Murphy's, in the same way that The Tossers are Chicago's Flogging Molly. Armed with distorted guitars, drums, a mandolin, and bagpipes, they kept the energy in the room at a high their whole set. Although their "frontman" kinda annoyed me with his, shall we say, overt macho-ness. They played some good tunes, but kinda seemed like dicks. Maybe just their main guitarist/singer. Whatever. In addition to their mid-set Cro-Mags cover, they ended their set with "Amazing Grace," but not after first making the room split, and run at each other like punk Braveheart.

fuck you Time Again, and fuck your Pennywise cover.

Hooray for Street Dogs! They wasted no time coming out after everything was set up, unlike most headlining bands, and ripped right into "Mean Fist," the first track off of their new album. The kept the pace going with a great mix of new, standard, and old school. The ongoing joke between my friends and I is that the Street Dogs always play the same set everytime we see them. With a new album, this show broke tradition with a healthy amount of songs from State of Grace. and they didn't close with "Fighter!" crazy right? I know! Mike was charismatic and talkative as always, dedicating songs to fallen friends and fallen soldiers, and lauding the "unity pit" that was going nonstop. At one point Mike stated something about them "being a band since 2003" and I looked at the banner behind him, and it stated "Street Dogs est. 2002." Nice. I almost considered not going to this show because I figured I wouldn't be missing much, plus Masters of Suspicion and I need to practice the Misfits (little more on that later). However, I think I made the right decision, goddamn I love Street Dogs. I even got to get on stage and sing "Borstal (Boston) Breakout!"

I grabbed the setlist, and its the most detailed one I've ever seen. Not only did the put all the details for the show (venue, openers, date, etc), they put the tuning for every song next to the title.

Not Without A Purpose
Kevin J O'Toole
In Defense of Dorchester
Back to the World
Drink Tonight
Two Angry Kids
Final Transmission
Tobe's Got A Drinking Problem
Katie Bar the Door
General's Boombox
Justifiable Fisticuffs (on the set list marked as "audible old school" as they took requests, haha)
Rise Above (Black Flag)
Savin Hill
Borstal (Boston) Breakout (Sham 69)

In other news, The Masters of Suspicion, my roommate, and I will be covering The Misfits all night at our Halloween party, so that will be pretty fucking sweet. There was also talk of covering other bands as well, but we will see how practice goes (once we get going of course). I'll post audio from their most recent show at the Buffalo Rose at the bottom.

O Pioneers!!! new album, Neon Creeps, leaked, and its at the top of the list for albums of the year for sure. I have a copy (hopefully) in the mail system somewhere for me...

The Masters of Suspicion
Sloppy Seconds: Live 10/2/08 at The Buffalo Rose, Golden CO

1. Kenny G Experience
2. Alchoholocaust
3. No Scrubs
4. Stool Pigeon
5. Intervention
6. Give My Love to Rose
7. 1000 More Fools
8. Fistfuck
9. Larry Walker
10. Uncle Benny
11. Heaven Is A Place On Earth
12. Fisticuffs
13. Lager Lullaby
14. Fools and Kings
15. Gunslinger