Jimmy Eat World - Chase This Light
Saves The Day - Under The Boards
The Format - Dog Problems
Nada Surf - The Weight Is A Gift
and Boh Rhap at Fall Formal - 300 or so drunk girls in cocktail dresses/dress suits singing and screaming it to each other while jumping up and down in unison and being completely in love with the world.
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals At DAR Constitution Hall, 10.30.07.
There were no opening bands on this date, and people were still filing into their seats as Ryan Adams and the Cardinals took the stage. They began without fanfare, and played three or four songs before Adams even addressed the audience. Even then, all he said was a simple, "Hi, we're The Cardinals." The night was divided into two sets, with an intermission-like break halfway through. The majority of the material was from Adams' last two or three albums with The Cardinals, and included:
why do they leave
spacewolf's birthday song
please do not let me go
the sun also sets
when the stars go blue
shakedown on 9th st
goodnight hollywood blvd
encore: easy plateau
After about five songs, Adams stopped and announced that it was time for JG's nightly joke ("I went to a hospital cafeteria. They were serving broken leg of lamb.") and that it was also guitarist Spacewolf's birthday. So a punky birthday tune was sung, and then the set was resumed.
There was a lot of fake smoke throughout the show, and there was also a black backdrop with hundreds of pin lights that shone various colors during the night.
There were long breaks between many of the songs when Adams spoke into a mic to his band's earpieces. The audience took these opportunities to shout requests, eventually irritating Adams enough that he went offstage to get a megaphone. He then proceeded to shout at the audience, "No! A little more to the left. Cross your arms like that! Be a different color! Lean the other direction!" Unfortunately, the audience never took the hint. There was even one man who shouted for "Summer Of '69." The rest of the crowd immediately gasped and booed him.
Although Adams was not very interactive, his performance was perfect. Despite downing a number of beers and other beverages, he was on pitch and wonderful to listen to. I would definitely go see him again.
I'm about to go have a conversation with someone important to me. Depending on the outcome of this conversation, I will either be taking on a whole new direction and outlook on life, or things will stay the same with just a vague hint of what might have been.
The Academy Is..., Armor For Sleep, The Rocket Summer, & Sherwood at Amos' Southend, NC, 10.20.07.
It's a rare event when I'm super stoked to see every band on a tour bill, and that was the case with the Sleeping With Giants Tour. I love every band on it, and every one of them put on a stellar show last night.
Sherwood were first up, with their mic stands wrapped in fall leaves and their keyboard adorned with sunflowers. While their keyboardist was by far the most energetic, the band played their usual spot on performance. Vocalist Nate Henry hit every note, even the extended high ones. Their setlist included:
Never Ready To Leave
Learn To Sing
The Best In Me
Middle Of The Night
Song In My Head
While it was a bit sad that there was only one track from Sing, But Keep Going, the slowed down version of "Song In My Head" that they performed made up for that.
The Rocket Summer was next, and Bryce Avary got the crowd moving in no time. He played:
Break It Out
Around the Clock
Do You Feel
So Much Love
So, In This Hour...
Avary bounced back and forth between guitar and keys effortlessly, getting the crowd to clap and dance right along with him. There was one point where he left the front of the stage to go play drums to intro a song. It's cool to see him put into practice all his skills. I wish he could have played a longer set; I can't wait to see him perform again.
Armor For Sleep was the direct support for the night. While less mobile than The Rocket Summer, Ben Jorgenson and company delivered an impassioned set that included some of their best tracks, as well as a few new ones:
The Truth About Heaven
Remember To Feel Real
Smile For The Camera (new)
Dream To Make Believe
Stay On The Ground
Awkward Last Words
The Academy Is... took the stage to the sound of a couple hundred screaming girls, and they played like I've never seen them play before. They had an incredible light show, and frontman William Beckett strode around the stage like he owned the place. When I've seen them in previous years, Beckett used to strut more like a diva, but he has grown into his own presence and performs with heart that is not seen in many modern frontmen. They played many more cuts from Almost Here than I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise. Songs included:
LAX To O'Hare
Sleeping With Giants (Lifetime)
Bulls In Brooklyn
The Phrase The Pays
We've Got A Big Mess On Our Hands
Everything We Had
Down And Out
It was easy to envision this band filling up arenas: they already play as if they are facing that big a crowd. And I'll be the first to admit, I'm not a big fan of Santi. However, all the new songs sounded great live - they fit the band's performance style and are pulled off with flair. This band is going to continue to grow for a long time to come.
I met Bryce after the show.
Next time you see him ask about the "Don't Mess With The Rocket Summer" shirt - it was my friend's idea. Bryce said they couldn't get them for this tour, but let's try for the next one!
"Tinker Day, observed since the 1880s, occurs in October. It became an official holiday in 1895. The surprise element, which was introduced in 1899, adds to the excitement of the day. After the president's official declaration, classes are canceled and students, faculty, and staff hike Tinker Mountain attired in zany costumes for songs and a traditional picnic of fried chicken and Tinker Cake while performing skits."
There's a ton more photos up on my Facebook. Oh, how I love my school.
Also, my friend Lesley got me to thinking about the best shows I've ever seen. Here are my top 5:
1. Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, & Kevin Devine at Rams Head Live.
This was Brand New's first tour on The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me. It was also the first time I got to see Kevin Devine, and he didn't disappoint. Manchester blew me away again - it was the second time I saw them. I'll never forget how they closed the show with everyone onstage playing "Welcome To Bangkok." It's the best thing I've ever seen at a show.
2. Wilco at the 9:30 Club.
The second time I saw Wilco. I had the biggest stroke of luck in my life - I had a photo pass for their opening band, Melomane, and when I went to pick it up at the guestlist window, Andi told me a guy didn't want his Wilco pass, so she let me have it. I almost couldn't breathe when I was shooting.
3. Moneen, Alexisonfire, A Change Of Pace & Cancer Bats at the Ottobar.
Moneen is one of my favorites to see - their singer is just all over the place crazy. Couple that with the fact that the Ottobar is such a small venue...he was literally bouncing off the walls. Got Dallas Green onstage for "The Passing Of America," and played "The Day No One Needed To Know," which they don't do very often.
4. The Matches, Minutes Too Far, Crash Boom Bang, & Pictures In PIeces at Providence Rec Center.
Providence is a bitty little gym near my house. CBB & PIP are two of my favorite locals and some good friends of mine. Minutes Too Far was surprisingly good, and their drummer made faces at me the whole time. The place felt like it was going to fall down when The Matches played they were so energetic. One of the most entertaining shows I've been to.
5. As Tall As Lions & Army Of Me at Chain Reaction.
It was good to see Army Of Me while so far away from home. It was also the first time I'd seen them since Citizen was released. It's also the best I've ever seen ATAL play, and they played all my favorites.
The opening band was Single File, a three-piece from Denver with incredibly catchy garage pop. Their singer had an excellent voice, and they were fun to watch. They played a half hour of songs from their album No More Sad Face, including:
My Best Defense
The Grocery Store
Melody Of You
Look At Me I'm Crying
Zombies Ate My Neighbors
"Velcro" is easily their catchiest song, reminiscent of American Hi-Fi style pop. About halfway through the set, the guitarist and bassist switched instruments and continued on with the set. Both were equally proficient with the two instruments. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this band.
The direct support was Saves The Day's new labelmates, Dr. Manhattan. They had an interesting setup: the drum kit had a shirt strapped to the front that read "CRUNK OR DIE!" and the keyboardist also had a kick drum propped up on two tupperware bins to beat on. Now, the songs these guys write are really interesting and inventive. However, most of the band was clearly chemically altered, and kind of embarrassing to watch. It was neat to see the keyboardist jumping around and banging on his drum, but the singer and bassist were just making fools of themselves. Hopefully they'll learn to grow up a bit - they have potential to have a powerful show.
Finally Saves The Day came on. David and Chris took their seats to a screaming crowd, who immediately began shouting out requests. Throughout the show they kept reiterating that they would take requests at the end, but that they would play a prearranged set first.
Everything was spot on. While Chris' voice has gotten more nasal over the years, he still hits every note. He's also still clearly passionate about his music, even the oldest songs. The set drew from Saves The Day's entire catalog, including Can't Slow Down and a number of b-sides. Songs included were:
This Is Not An Exit
Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
Radio (new song)
Three Miles Down
Stay (new song)
Don't Know Why
Take Our Cars Now
*break before requests*
All I'm Losing Is Me
Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots
Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off To Heaven
Shoulder To The Wheel
At Your Funeral
Jessie And My Whetstone
At one point, David had a look of complete astonishment on his face as the crowd finished a verse for Chris without his help. Saves The Day is another band whose fans are completely devoted to them. Chris was overwhelmed at the number of requests and the intensity of the requesters. On songs from Stay What You Are and Through Being Cool, I could barely hear Chris over the crowd, even though I was standing three feet away from him. The new songs sounded really good; "Radio" in particular sounded like a return to the sounds of Stay What You Are and Through Being Cool.
Note to showgoers: if you plan on getting completely drunk, please stay at the back of the venue. The kids who got there early to get a front row space will not appreciate it when you push your way in, spill beer all over them, and sing loudly in their ears while pumping your fist. Also, an acoustic show is not the place to attempt to crowd surf or stage dive. Thanks.
Other than that, it was a great, intimate night where it was easy to see the love of the crowd for the band, and vice versa.
I think it's interesting to note that in all the live recordings of Brand New I've ever heard, you can barely hear Jesse Lacey over the singing of the crowd. The dedication and passion of Brand New's fans never ceases to amaze me.