concert: camper van beethoven @ the cradle

camper van beethoven @ cat's cradle

I went to a show Friday night; my first show of 2014. My first show in more than a month, in fact. It was hot, and full of people, and I had to wear both real pants and a bra, and these are all things that displease me in general: heat, humans, real pants*, leaving the house, acting like a normal functional adult-type person. But I had heard that if you went to a music venue and stayed long enough, there was eventually a show and people let you take photos, both of which are things that make me happy in general.

I knew next to nothing about Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker before I googled them on Friday morning at work. Certainly I didn’t know that they were fronted by the same guy, and certainly I wasn’t sure that two bands could switch out a few major players and sound different, but somehow, David Lowery does it and makes it work. I was utterly captivated by Camper’s long first set, all these almost-jam-band songs with not-quite-incomprehensible lyrics and thickly layered nearly symphonic sounds, thanks to Jonathan Segel’s fiddle playing. It’s not a set that should rock, precisely, because the beats are, well, offbeat, but it did, and I was completely fired up about it. I haven’t been that fired up about a set in a long damn time.

cracker @ cat's cradle

Cracker is a little more straight-forward, following a Camper set, but no less talented; that set rocked, and the crowd seemed to love all of it. It reminded me why I used to do this all the time: rock and / or roll, a pumped crowd, a great band. Those things fire my blood, and this show fired my blood completely.

camper van beethoven @ cat's cradle

I’m going to try and note a few things about lighting / shooting conditions for every show this year, as long as I remember or there’s something to note. Good stuff Friday, clean, white / blue / red, no pinks or greens. Red + green + orange light = the worst, and even the reds last night were okay. Shot entirely with the new Tamron 28-75 mm / f2.8 and it proved itself very worthy of the price it retails for and the price I scored it for. New go-to lens, except in cases where 1.4 vs 2.8 makes a large difference. Felt like I shot well. Felt like myself again.

Full set is here.

* 2014 may in fact be the year that I just dispense with all social niceties and simply wear a tank top, pajama pants, and my motorcycle boots to everything except work. I will keep wearing bras for the sake of vague propriety.

phuzz phest, day one

phuzz phest

phuzz phest: some army

phuzz phest: some army

phuzz phest: william tyler

William Tyler is a genius. Some Army made me wish I’d given MORE money to their Kickstarter. Mount Moriah’s new album sounds gorgeous live. Drag Sounds was my favorite discovery. Spider Bags are some of my favorite humans and musicians ever. And I kept seeing people I thought I knew, only to turn and see that it was just their Triad doppleganger. It was freaky and awesome.

Full set here.

hollis brown @ local 506

hollis brown @ local 506

hollis brown @ local 506

Hollis Brown, you guys.

Look. Y’all know that I basically don’t like to leave the house because I’m lazy and misanthropic and also because I’m old and I like to fall asleep in front of NBA games at 8:45 on weeknights. But I go out, for bands I really love, and I am generally rewarded.

Last night I went out to see Hollis Brown, and it was like I was being showered in kittens and diamonds and rainbows, it was that good. Their debut record, Ride On The Train, blew me away earlier this week, and it turns out that they’re even better live. Their rhythm section is fiercely tight, and it plays out into the guitars, as well — I told Mike Graves, their drummer, that he and Dillon DeVito, the bassist, were nearly metronomic in how tight they were, and that I meant it as a compliment, thoroughly. They keep lead singer Mike Montali and guitarist Jon Bonilla on track, and as the heart of the band, it allows the lyrics and the harmonies and, yes, Jon, the guitar solos to shine through. The drive of the rhythm section propels the songs at a pace that, last night, made a 45 minute set seem like 10 minutes, and leaves you wanting more.

They were really pretty incredible last night. Y’all need to get on this right away.

Full set from the night is here.