It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve actually gone to see a show. I guess you can say Noisette counts because I saw the Dodos and Pillowfight, and I guess I saw a few other bands perform over the last few months, but they’ve all been part of some festival or other event. To actually go see a band or someone else perform? Embarrassingly, that might be when I took my mom to see Michael Buble. And before that, the New Pornographers in 2010. Inconceivable! This is a dry spell I’m glad to be ending.
In any case, learning about JJAMZ was a semi-random journey of chance. I’ve been a huge fan of bands like Phantom Planet, Rilo Kiley, The Like, Maroon 5 (when they wrote Songs About Jane), etc. ever since late high school. Seeing each of these bands either split up or, in the case of Maroon 5, slowly degenerate in quality over the years, has been a depressing process. Thus, when I learned that there was a band that sounded like a mix of these bands, I was excited. For whatever reason, I didn’t continue to look into the band until my friend, by chance, sent me an article about the band, whereupon I learned that this band sounded like a blend of some of my favorite bands of my younger years because it was made up of members of those bands. Needless to say, I bought the album almost immediately. The timing was perfect because they happened to be kicking off their tour in SF on Labor Day. Hurrah!
The San Francisco Film Festival kicked off last week. I know this not just by following general San Francisco news or by the fact that my sister’s been interning with the SF Film Society. No, I also know this because I was at the opening night party. It was a fun event with so much great food. The only downer of the night is that we met Benedict Cumberbatch (of Sherlock fame) and it turns out that he was kind of a butt.
In any case, the event I was most excited about was a live scoring of Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle shorts. The music and scoring was done by Merrill Garbus and the rest of Tune-Yards as well as local guitarist Ava Mendoza. Now, I’m not really that well-versed in classic films and film history. To my knowledge before the event, the only time I saw Buster Keaton in a movie was his very brief cameo in Sunset Boulevard. I later learned that his last film was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which I was obsessed with as a kid. Beyond that, I am not familiar with Buster Keaton’s work. Nor had I ever seen anything with Fatty Arbuckle in it before Monday. I was primarily excited by the thought of seeing silent films scored by a band like the Tune-Yards. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m a hipster.Whatever.
Well, I guess I have to thank the Tune-Yards for being an intriguing and unique band, because I would have otherwise missed out on a fantastic evening.
I had a lot of fun writing the last post. I realized that there are a lot of photos I have sitting around in my computer worthy of some serious story telling. Now, I can’t do this all the time. I don’t have that many pictures. But yesterday was my twenty-seventh birthday (I feel old) and this picture was taken on my birthday several years ago, so I felt like this was a fitting time to post this pic.
Back when I wanted to dedicate this blog just to music and food, I did actually have one post that I think I did a pretty good job on. That was my show review of the band Miggs. Well, I said it then and I’ll say it again now. I’ve been following that band for a LONG time. I used to watch them play shows at local Borders. They recently actually appeared on an episode of the Soup, so I feel like they’ve come a long way since then.
They had a show in San Diego on what I think was my twenty-second birthday. It was at this small venue I’d seen them at before called Lestat‘s. I brought a couple of college friends with me and picked up my brother from the dorms along the way. We were there ridiculously early, so ended up finding and falling in love with this nearby Mexican restaurant called El Zarape. We managed to get back to Lestats just in time for the show and it was quite a fun show. Having seen Miggs perform way too many times for me to count, I can say for certain that I definitely do not get tired of their live shows. They always add something new and that time they did not disappoint.
I share my birthday with another big fan from the area and we were all MySpace friends. Don, the lead singer, pulled both of us up during one of the songs to sit on the stage. It was kind of awkward to sit up there, but it was a lot of fun and made for quite the birthday memory. After the show, they even signed and gave me a drum cymbal. So, that’s the story behind this picture and my memorable twenty-second birthday.
It appears that I have abandoned this blog once again. Things got hectic for a while. They still are, but school’s almost back in session, so my level of procrastination will be on the rise. Anyway, I guess it’s been almost a month since I saw the New Pornographers and The Dodos. I actually meant to post and have had a pretty lengthy draft sitting around, but it just never happened.
What can I say about that show now? To be honest, I’ve forgotten many of the details, but man are they good live.
I missed the opening act and came just in time to see The Dodos. The only other time that I had seen The Dodos was when I went to their free show at Amoeba earlier this year. Their vocals kind of sounded muffled live at first. It was the same thing at Amoeba, but I just blamed it on bad acoustics then. Nevertheless, they sounded great and put on a pretty solid show. Played a lot of my favorites in their 45 minute set. Neko Case even came out and sang Walking (I think?) with them. I also ended up talking to this sweet, but drunk girl next to me. She was very nice, but she ended up talking to me during the second half of their set. I therefore missed them play a lot of my favorite songs. It’s nice meeting new people at shows, but GAAAH the Dodos!
Neko! Unfortunately, this was the least blurry picture I got of her at all during the show. She’s so amazing live! I want to see one of her solo shows so bad now!
The New Pornographers were next.
Okay, I have a confession to make. I have been a fan of the band for quite some time. I own all of their albums and listen to them semi-regularly. Nevertheless, I know the lyrics to one of their songs at best. I don’t know how or why this happened, but it is kind of a depressing realization to come to during a live show.
They’re also quite a large band. The last time I’ve seen three guitarists of the same band perform together on stage may actually have been back in the old Phantom Planet days (circa 2004).
Also, they’re a fairly well-known and well-established band that has been together for an incredibly long time. Why, then, were they SO AWKWARD between songs? They mumbled and giggled among themselves. It was so strange.
Apart from that, the band was amazing live. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to see them.
I have been following this band for over seven years and have seen them perform somewhere in the range of 30-40 times. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I’ve seen them at such a range of venues and with all different line-up variations. I’ve seen some good performances, but have also seen some bad. However, throughout it all, I’ve only been told one thing – just wait until you see a San Francisco show. It’s not that I haven’t had a chance to see one of these shows. I’ve had plenty of them. Nevertheless, for every SF show that I might have attended, something (slightly) more important would come up. Thus, after almost seven and a half years of being a Miggs fan, I finally got to experience a San Francisco show. Perhaps it was the atmosphere or the sight of old familiar faces, but this was one of the best performances, if not the best, I have seen them put on.
And before I begin, I must apologize for the poor quality of my photos. I don’t think iPhones were meant to take decent concert pictures. Maybe I should start carrying my camera around.
I managed to find a friend to go with this time around, which is good because I’ve certainly done my fair share of solo trips to see the band. I think I even went out to Long Beach to see a midnight show by myself once. I was certainly either a braver person back then or someone with much more stamina for shows considering I literally went to that show right after seeing Ozma play at the Glass House in Pomona. Anyway, the point here is that I had someone to go with this time around, which made the experience all the more pleasant. We had some catching up to do and spent most of the opening act talking about the World Cup and sharing our gripes about the responsibilities of being on the board of a law journal. I wasn’t actually overly impressed with the opening band anyway. They had great voices, but I don’t know. They weren’t doing it for me.
Miggs kicked off the show with “Let the Games Begin,” which, by the way, has been a fitting song to listen to during a summer like this (a.k.a. a World Cup summer for those of you living under a rock). They went through pretty much all of Wide Awake (minus a song or two, I believe). Speaking of which, they played “I Believe.” The show was quite the mix of the old and the new, and they certainly mixed some of their classics in to the mix. Most importantly, they played “Taste,” which is probably my all-time favorite Miggs song. (Trivia: they based the song on The Awakening by Kate Chopin). Other Miggs “oldies” included Into & Over You, Be, Superhero and so on. It was seriously a fun mix of songs.
Another highlight of the show? They brought out a violinist to play alongside them when they played Maybe (which I haven’t them play in forever). It sounded nice with that song, but they ended up keeping him around to play Nothing and Crawl Inside and it sounded gorgeous with Nothing. I. Love. That. Song. I was just thinking that morning that I would have been really sad if they had not played the song and it sounded oh so great with the violin.
All in all, it was a great show, and it was nice to be able to share the moment with all of the other hard core SF/California fans. Miggs will be continuing their tour for quite a while, including a few shows where they open for Maroon 5 and Kris Allen. If you miss them this time around, check them them out on their next tour. Follow them on Twitter or “Like” them on Facebook. Most importantly, however, check out their latest album on iTunes or Amazon. This is a band worth a listen and worth your time.
I have two summer shows to look forward to so far, maybe even three. I’ve had tickets for one for a couple of months now, but have been holding off on confirming until I knew I was working in the Bay Area this summer. The other was a similar set up. Didn’t want to get them until I knew which side of the state I’d be on. I’ve had a pretty dry run this school year as far as live shows go. The last one was Foreign Born during Noise Pop. This semester has been far too busy to even think about anything otherwise, but there were quite a few the last few weeks that I am kind of sad I missed (Beach House, Vampire Weekend, Love Is All, The Antlers, etc.).
She & Him
Going to see She & Him at the Fox Theater in Oakland on May 29. My uncle bought tickets for this a while back, but I am still totally excited. I love Zooey Deschanel and I’ve been totally obsessed with M. Ward for a while now (would love to see just Him one time, but I’ll save that for another day). Volume Two was even more disgustingly adorable than Volume One. All in all, I’m pretty excited.
New Pornographers and the Dodos
I have wanted to see the New Pornographers for a long, long time. One of those bands where I’ve had plenty of near misses. So glad that I’m finally going to see them. I heard the preview of the new album on NPR last week and am so excited for the release. I saw the Dodos do a live show at Amoeba in September (or was it October?), but I don’t know how much that actually counts. Seeing them perform together is going to be quite awesome.
Cold War Kids (?)
Third show may be Cold War Kids. They’re playing Music in the Park this year, but I also am going to be in SF, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s on a Thursday as are all other Music in the Park shows. I think it depends on my mood when the time rolls around, but even the boyfriend said he’s interested in going and getting him to go to shows is kind of a rarity. I’ve really wanted to see these guys, though, so if I can go I’ll be quite happy.