Saturday, April 28, 2012
Throat issues and rockin’ anthems don’t exactly go together, but Snow Patrol made it work Friday night when the Scottish/Irish band brought its Fallen Empires tour to the Fillmore Auditorium. Lead singer Gary Lightbody apologized repeatedly. “We’ll do better next time, I promise,” he said at one point, about the fact that his voice was faltering, and “How do you guys deal with this altitude; it’s crazy?” he asked, clearly out of breath, as he sucked down water at every chance, sometimes in the middle of songs.
Add the fact that the band had periodic technical difficulties, and you’d think the crowd would have started chucking tomatoes. Not so. The show was a hand-waving dancefest, spirited and upbeat, and sometimes surprisingly so for a band often better known for its wistful, pensive ballads.
Credit Lightbody himself for keeping everyone happy. Sure, the rest of the band holds up their end of things – particularly guitarist Nathan Connolly and drummer Jonny Quinn, the latter of whom is responsible for driving home the points this endearingly earnest band is always making – but it was shaggy-haired Lightbody who came out with his hands spread wide to the crowd to start them off with a version of “Hands Open” that sent out sharp, crowd-pumping guitar ripples.
Read it all here, with more pictures:
More pictures here:
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Opeth is a Swedish heavy metal band from Stockholm, formed in 1990. Though the group has been through several personnel changes, singer, guitarist, and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt has remained Opeth's driving force throughout the years. Opeth has consistently incorporated progressive, folk, blues, classical and jazz influences into their usually lengthy compositions, as well as noticeable influences from black metal and death metal, most notably in their early works. Many songs include acoustic guitar passages and strong dynamic shifts, as well as both death growls and clean vocals.
Mastodon is an American Sludge Metal band from Atlanta, Georgia, formed in early 2000 and composed of bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, guitarist/vocalist Brent Hinds, guitarist Bill Kelliher and drummer/vocalist Brann Dailor. Many of their songs feature heavy and unique instrumentation with a mix of clean vocals and harsh screams.
Mastodon, by comparison, was heavier than an anvil. The Atlanta group played tunes from its most recent, “The Hunter,” dipping into melodic territory like “Dry Bone Valley” and “Octopus Has No Friends” before breaking out the electric lead single, “Curl of the Burl.” Mastodon’s musical prowess can’t be denied: every member plays lightning fast for most of its set, a veritable hand marathon basked in timed lights. The abrasive Brent Hinds is especially impressive on guitar, if not in his person-to-person relations. Still, Mastodon suffers from a similar dilemma as Opeth, presenting largely corny lyrics. Shouldn’t metal be held to same standard as rock ‘n’ roll? Just because of the bravado and speed behind the tunes, invoking Lucifer does not a great song make.
See pictures (10 of which are included in this blog) and read more here: http://www.heyreverb.com/2012/04/24/mastodon-fillmore-denver-photos-review/
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Combining poppier elements of bands like MGMT and Empire of The Sun, The NaF are all about clever songs and catchy power-pop tunes, with distorted synths and a combination of boy-girl vocals. But it’s also fair to say that a portion of the band’s commercial appeal probably lies with its very polished too-cool-for-school hipster chic.
It would be no exaggeration to suggest that the bulk of those responsible for propelling The NaF to the top of the charts are – much like the band itself – barely out of school uniform. Or at the very least, under the age of 25, and certainly not yet cynical or world-weary enough to start wondering about long term prospects and use-by dates.
Their refusal of all things feel-good only adds to the stylistic tension. There’s lots of mental anguish, psychic bruises and “Tearing at the seams” on ‘Frayed’; their most ecstatic hit tune, ‘Punching In A Dream’, concerns violent nightmares; and at the very least ‘Spank’ details a global pandemic, at worst a zombie apocalypse. ‘The Sun’ is all paranoia, recriminations and the terror of lost narcotic hours, while closer ‘Jilted Lovers’ teeters into all-out psychosis, with Alisa’s sublime coo cracking: “Voices in my head multiply/I am such a mess”. A classic case of ugly and beautiful: TN&F’s passive melodicism and aggressive innovation clash in a dazzling blaze of psych/sonic fireworks.
If you’re after atmospheric indie rhythms and electrifying live frisson, don’t miss out on southwest London trio. The moody vocal harmonies of Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft on tracks such as Crystalised and Heart Skipped A Beat (taken from acclaimed 2009 album XX) generate a seductively edgy magic, fuelled by creative guitar and electro production techniques.
Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/music/iTunesFestival/831246-itunes-festival-2010-the-xx-and-wild-beasts-are-rated-indie-talent#ixzz1t6dHb0M2
Sultry elodies and single note riffs reverberated over a tidal wave of rumbling bass, picked out by the husky voiced front-duo of Romy Madley-Craft and Baria Qureshi, while the band’s beat-master Jamie Smith provided a satisfyingly solid backstop behind them. Although the trademark black garb and drowsy composure were in place, there was an endearing bashfulness in the performance of the band, who seemed genuinely delighted with the crowd’s almost rapturous reception to tracks like Heart Skipped A Beat and Islands. The simplicity of The XX’s sound benefits from the exposure of a larger space, allowing their quietly emotive lyrics on modern love and loss to resonate with a glacial clarity. A difficult act to categorise, the band’s reliance upon throbbing beats and bass nods heavily towards the influences of urban music, and they have become renowned for their downbeat covers of r’n’b artists like Aliyah.
Read more: http://amyrosedawson.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-xx-at-roundhouse.html
Released in February of 1973, it was an instant flop, commercially speaking, but as with so many records adjudged to be iconic after the fact, it still found its way into the hands of the right people. Musicians who'd soon be instrumental in kickstarting Punk: artists in New York City, Cleveland and L.A., and across the pond in London and Manchester, and even Down Under in Sydney and Melbourne. Picking up the baton and bolting with it, those bands would in turn serve up sonic mentorships for thousands and thousands others down through the years. There's no guarantee that the budding young garage combo practicing in that storage shed down the street from you has heard Raw Power or either of its two predecessors, 1969's The Stooges and 1970's Fun House. But there's no question that the Stooges are in those kids' DNA in one form or another.
Read more: http://blurt-online.com/reviews/view/2045/
Thursday, April 19, 2012
New Zealand indie electronic ensemble the Naked and Famous make driving, melodic pop with an '80s post-punk influence. Centered around the talents of vocalist Alisa Xayalith and instrumentalist/vocalist Thom Powers, the band formed in 2008 and released two EPs before adding members to play live. In 2010 they released their debut album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, featuring the number one single "Young Blood."
As soon as I heard they were performing here in Denver, I purchased a ticket along with 1600 other people for this sold out show.
The Naked and Famous took the stage a little after 9:45 p.m., and played an hour-long set with very little talk in between songs, except to thank the crowd for their enthusiasm. From the opening song “All of This,” the band commanded both the stage and the crowd throughout the entire performance with their high-volume blend of distorted keys and effected guitars, punctuated by high-tech lighting and visual effects. High points of the evening included performances of “Frayed,” “No Way,” “A Wolf in Geek’s Clothing” and “Girls Like You,” all of which were met with great response from the crowd. The best was saved for last; the band finished with their strongest radio hit “Young Blood” at the end of a two-song encore.
Continue reading on Examiner.com The Naked and Famous sell out Denver’s Ogden Theater - Denver Local Music | Examiner.com
There haven’t been many bands from New Zealand that have become big in the U.S., and many may picture music from the country as gentle and fitting with the rolling hills of “The Lord of the Rings.” Wednesday night at the Ogden Theatre, New Zealand’s Naked and Famous came to Denver on a wave of synth to defy preconceptions. There’s a lot of glam and a lot of shimmery fuzz on that island nation. With its own poppy mix of shoegaze and post-punk, the group has gained a fan base over the last few years with songs in a long list of TV shows, and it’s clear that Americans have caught on to this Kiwi electro-pop sound.
The show was one that would really come with bursts of brilliance. The band would have sudden spouts of energy then dip into long, moody interludes between choruses. In these interludes the vocals and samples from drum machines could be anywhere from completely indistinguishable to far too loud. But when everything came together, like on “Girls Like You” and “No Way” the group shows it specializes in shiny effects over simple instrumentation coupled with sing-along hooks.
The packed crowd knew every song down to the last word –– hardly even needing the lyrics that sometimes splashed on the light board. When the band really let loose into a chorus, it was obvious with the chaos from fans that they were feeling it, too. At one point Xayalith reached down to touch the hands of the audience and the adoring crowd nearly yanked her off stage.
Pictures and more here: