concert: dave hause @ local 506

dave hause @ local 506

dave hause @ local 506

Yesterday in the course of my evening, the following things occurred:

  1. I saw a woman walking a ferret.
  2. While I was talking to Trav on the phone between sets, I saw a dude dressed all in black, hood up, big black combat boots, denim vest with the Misfits logo sewn on the back, walking down Franklin Street … cheerfully playing a ukelele.
  3. Mid-set, Dave Hause invited an 18-year-old ECU student named Reed to come up on stage and play us one of his originals. Reed did. He was actually pretty damn good, and not just pretty damn good for an 18-year-old. Just pretty damn good.

So it was sort of a weird night, and also: keep on being you, Carrboro / Chapel Hill, I wouldn’t want you to be anywhere else ever, and yes, recurring theory confirmed: everything needs more Dave Hause, and will be more interesting and happy and hilarious when said Dave Hause is applied to your life.

Dave played a spectacular set even before we had impromptu underage punk singer/songwriter hour, mixing up songs from 2011’s Resolutions and last year’s Devour — hitting all my high points and really digging in for me how wrenching and gorgeous Devour is. (Dave could come on stage, play only “Time Will Tell” and “Pray for Tuscon”, and then close with either Kathleen Edwards’ “The Cheapest Key” or Patty Griffin’s “Long Ride Home”, and I would consider it a successfully attended Dave Hause show. I’m always glad when I get more.) There’s just something — there’s something that’s so raw about all of Dave’s songwriting, no matter the topic, and how hopeful all his choruses sound inside that rawness. I listen to all his songs about fucking up and hurting people and hurting yourself, and I just walk out of the set feeling cleaner and more peaceful and more alive, like the rawness of Dave’s lyrics is a metaphorical exfoliant for my heart.

Well, I guess it’s been a while since I wrote a really dumb sentence trying to explain why I loved a musician. So there’s my contribution for this calendar year.

Anyway, it was perfect. Even if I hid in the bathroom during “Long Ride Home” so I could weep in private.

northcote @ local 506

BAЯRØИ @ local 506

Tours headlined by a certain segment of the folkpunk community always come with equally tasty folkpunk openers, mostly earnest guys in their late 20s and early 30s who wear Chuck Taylors and stomp a lot and sometimes can’t quite sing, but absolutely write sharp and scathing lyrics and hold acoustic guitars like they had an entire fully electric band behind them. I love this genre, I love these boys, and last night — Northcote and BAЯRØИ — were no exception. Lovely and stompy and scathing.

Full set here.

concert: rogue band of youth LP release show @ nightlight

rogue band of youth @ nightlight

rogue band of youth @ nightlight

rogue band of youth @ nightlight

Rogue Band Of Youth are part of the Pot Luck Foundation, a loose collective of Triangle musicians who all play in each other’s projects, loosely. They celebrated at the Nightlight last for the release of their debut self-titled LP, and they were fantastic, all melancholy folk ache and echo.

Beautiful music, lovely night.

hospital smokers @ nightlight

t0w3rs @ nightlight

jphono1 @ nightlight

Openers were more Pot Luck members and friends of members — Hospital Smokers, yet another side project of Reed Johnson (Schooner) and Maria Albani (Organos) to play songs that don’t fit Schooner; T0W3RS, Derek Torres in solo showman electro-pop mode; and JPhono1’s lovely looping guitar and banjo.

It was good. You can see it here.

the first album i ever bought: oasis – what’s the story morning glory?

typhoon @ cat's cradle

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama– just up the street from a local record shop.  It was close enough that I could walk to it after school or on the weekends.  It was a couple of doors down from where my father worked and next door to a pretty good sandwich shop.  We lived north of the river, which wasn’t nearly as developed back then as it is in the present-day tornado-ravaged and condo-stuffed Tuscaloosa.

My most-prized possession back then was a clunky black Sony Discman that ate AA batteries like candy.  I was practically attached to the thing.  On the bus, in the backseat of the car, walking around the neighborhood… I usually had my headphones on.  Music was my first love and I’ve been in a steady monogamous relationship with it since I could carry it everywhere I went.

Before the Discman, I used to just tape songs off the radio.  When it came to discovering new things, though, my go-to source was television.  At this point, I was already losing touch with MTV because they started running actual shows instead of just videos.  (I hated MTV before it was cool…)   Suddenly, a new channel appeared really high on the dial.  It was “The Box”.  I was hooked.

Do you remember “The Box”?  Some people I mention it to do– most don’t recall it.  It was a strictly music video channel that allowed the viewer to request the next video by dialing a 1-900 number and punching in it’s code.  The names of the videos scrolled the bottom of the screen and you would jot down the code and dial the number.    You never really knew what was coming next on “The Box”.

The next video up that night was “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis.  At this glorious moment in music history, Oasis weren’t just huge– they were the biggest band on the planet.  This was my first exposure to them and it wrecked my brain.  It looked so different than anything else and the name of the song just sounded SO DAMN COOL to me at the time.  (Honestly, it still does.)  One of the first things you see is a dude (Bonehead was his name, to be precise) playing a fucking melodica!!!  And the guy looks like John Lennon!!!  Then the guitars kick in, the vocals soar… and seven and a half minutes later it has to end.  You see, songs have a beginning and an ending.

Or do they?  Could it not just go on forever?  Well, on “The Box”, it technically could… hence the ridiculous phone bill I ran up by requesting it over and over.  Perhaps it would be cheaper to just buy the CD.  So the next day, I walked up the street and purchased what still stands as one of my favorite albums.

It was “What’s the Story Morning Glory?” by Oasis.

I went on to buy plenty of embarrassing and downright horrifying things after that, but I can stand proudly behind that record.  It is still one of my favorite CD’s to put on in the car and sing along to.  “Champagne Supernova” sold me, but sooner or later every song on the disc shoved it’s way into my brain and my emotions.  “Wonderwall” became a staple on the radio, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” became one of my favorite songs (ever)… and “Champagne Supernova” even became the de-facto slow-skate song at Super Skate– the local rollerblading spot.

Music has this amazing power to make you feel cool– this record made me feel alive.  It made me want to play music.  It was one of a handful of albums that I often practiced to when I wanted to feel like a real badass.  Put it on for me today and I could probably drum the whole record from muscle memory.

That black CD stayed in my black Discman for a long, long time.  I finally got to see Oasis in Vegas in 2001.  I managed to grab a setlist and I got it signed by the band as they loaded into their buses.  I told a very, very abbreviated version of this story to Liam Gallagher as he signed my setlist.

His reply?  “Thanks, mate.”

Music never lets me down.  Not then, not now and not ever.

Reed Watson lives in Florence, AL and plays drums for Belle Adair and The Pollies. 

concert: wild moccasins @ local 506

wild moccasins @ local 506

Houston’s Wild Moccasins were great on Thursday night; smart songwriting and hella mad stage presence. Loved loved their set.

But damn it’s been a while since the 506 was a sucking black hole pit of no light like that. Didn’t miss it.

review: epiphanie bags “sydney”

epiphanie camera bag

I have been engaged in a long battle to find the perfect camera bag / purse — and over the winter, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I really needed a camera bag, and I needed a purse, and those were separate things. A purse I could still shove my camera into if necessary, but primarily, I needed a dedicated camera bag, and all the ones I had tried (made for the purpose, altered by me for the purpose) weren’t exactly what I needed. The space was too small, the bags themselves were too bulky, they didn’t have pockets, they hurt my back to carry, whatever. Long story short: camera bags, troublesome.

So I found a purse — a Baggallini hobo bag I have treated abysmally and which has stood up to it — and I bought myself an Epiphanie Bags Sydney style bag as a late Christmas present.

I’m in love.

After a lot of flipping between the various bags Epiphanie makes, I settled on the Sydney for a few reasons: I liked the shape of the main space, I liked the pockets, I really liked the iPad pocket on the back. And I really, really liked the straps – you can carry the Sydney cross-body, on your shoulder, or as a backpack. And for festivals, especially ones like Hopscotch, where you’re slogging 20-30 pounds of gear back and forth across Raleigh, because eff you Five Star, on days that can run 14 hours? The idea that I could have all that weight distributed on both shoulders was a dream. I can’t wait to not hurt like crazy on the Sunday after Hopscotch. Or, well, hurt slightly less than crazy. My feet might hurt but my back won’t.

For me, the five front pockets are used for, separately, business cards and lens-cleaner type things, memory cards, various personal stuff (lip gloss, reusable shopping bag, tampons), and the top horizontal pocket holds my ear plugs, my pass holder, and when I get to a show most often my phone — the three things I need most working a job and they’re incredibly easy to access. All the pockets are deceptively large, too. I could squeeze a lot more into them if I wanted to. I’m trying to pack lighter, though, so.

The main compartment I have divided in three — one for a long lens & my 50mm, one of my camera with the Tamron 24-75mm attached, and one for anything else: another lens, my wallet, a notebook. My only complaint here was that, due to the Sydney’s narrow width (which I love; it sits really closely on my hip, which was another reason I picked it out) and its corresponding depth to make up for the width, the dividers were hellacious to place properly. It took me forever because they kept fastening to places I didn’t want them to, and it’s still not a perfect set up, but it works.

epiphanie camera bag

I got the bag and it was great for two shows locally. But the real test was when I went to Atlanta for Panic! — I needed the Sydney to double as a purse for travel, because I didn’t want to check my suitcase. Which meant it had to hold all my camera gear, but also a travel makeup bag, two Moleskines, my wallet, and my iPod. That’s what’s in the photo above — a lot of what I easily carried in my Sydney flying from Raleigh to the ATL, not including the Tamron 24-75mm I took the shot with. It was a little heavy, but I can deal with heavy if I don’t feel like the bag is going to collapse immediately. The Sydney doesn’t feel that way. It’s deeply sturdy, and that’s awesome.

And I just need it to hold that much when I’m hauling things and actually in the airport / on the plane — once I get where I’m going, I can pull Moleskines out, I don’t always need the makeup bag (though it’s nice to have), and it becomes again a thoroughly functional camera bag that isn’t a pain to haul to a show or through a festival.

So that’s my conclusion: Epiphanie’s bags are expensive — and for the quality, not that expensive at all, really — but so far I’ve found the Sydney to be exactly what I needed, and well above it for the cost.

concert: typhoon w/ PHOX and wild ones @ cat’s cradle

typhoon @ cat's cradle

I started crying two and a half minutes into Typhoon’s set and didn’t stop until they finished playing. It was was an extraordinarily beautiful show, White Lighter is even more powerful live, the crowd was incredibly into the set, and when I took my earplugs out at the end of “Young Fathers”, mid set, for the chorus at the end, I thought my heart was going to explode with how stunning the combination of the band and the crowd chanting i just called to tell you, i just called to say — learned all your mistakes, passed down through generations. Like, seriously, buckets of weeping.

PHOX @ cat's cradle

wild ones @ cat's cradle

PHOX and Wild Ones — PHOX from Wisconsin, Wild Ones from Typhoon’s hometown of Portland — are opening on this tour, and they were both excellent as well. I’d caught PHOX opening for Blitzen Trapper back in the fall, and they were even more polished and charming this time around; catchy two-guitar pop songs with well used hand claps and a great stage presence. Wild Ones, who all appeared to be about 16 years old in the best possible way, play gauzy electronic pop-rock with an electrically compelling frontwoman, Danielle Sullivan. I loved both sets.

Loads more photos on Flickr.

I leave you with this great rainy video of Kyle from Typhoon and Danielle from Wild Ones covering John Prine’s “In Spite Of Ourselves”, because just yes please. (This one’s particularly for you, baby. Love you.)