The Nuggets are in town tomorrow night, which I'm pumped about. Unfortunately, seeing Manimal and company means that I'll miss Frontier Ruckus in concert. So I'll make "Nerves of the Nightmind" the SOW:
Late last month I saw Sleigh Bells at the 9:30 Club. Had been a while since I saw them at that venue (they did a co-headlining tour with CSS a few years back that was epic – though the area in front of the stage was so crazy at that show that I opted for a balcony spot this time around). Their most recent show I’d caught was at the Verizon Center opening for RHCP, so clearly this was a much better setting for their ass-kicking music.
Doldrums opened the show with some good dance music, though this being DC no one really danced to it, so the resulting vibe was a little awkward. As they changed over the stage for SB, I was surprised to see so few amps on stage. SB is the only band I’ve ever seen with more amps than Dinosaur, Jr. They literally had a giant wall of Marshall stacks the last time I saw them at 9:30. At that show, the music they played between sets was so loud that I needed ear plugs. This time around they played 90s RnB at a reasonable volume. Fortunately, when they finally came out the volume was just as loud and obnoxious as you would expect from the act. SB and DJ remain the only bands that I ever need or want earplugs for. In Spinal Tap terms, they turn it up to 11.
They are currently touring with a drummer and second guitarist. So that added a different dynamic than just having Alexis and Derek rock out on stage. The set started out a bit lackluster. They started with songs from Bitter Rivals and Reign of Terror (and not even the best songs off those albums) and Alexei’s voice sounded a little shaky. She would get better over the course of the show and the crowd slowly warmed up. I like all three SB albums, but Treats remains their best by far. From the balcony you could see noticeable differences in how the audience reacted to the different albums. Everything would be relatively calm, even with Alexis asked the crowd to dance with her, until a Treats song came on, at which point the crowd would erupt with such ferocity that I was thrilled to be in the balcony, away from and able to watch the ensuing mayhem. I’ve been to many punk and rock shows at 9:30. You’ve never seen a crowd go crazy until you’ve seen a Treats song live. “Kids” was the highlight of the middle of the set. They ended their set with “Infinity Guitars” and ended their encore with “A/B Machines” during which an obese elderly man (60+) crowd surfed. So that was amazing.
BYT review and pictures here. Venue pictures here.
I hit up the Lincoln Theatre last week to see Chris Cornell play a solo, acoustic show.
I’m not a big fan of the Lincoln Theatre. It’s getting good shows now that the 9:30 Club took it over, but it’s a logistical nightmare. It always takes forever to get inside the venue because they only have two people taking tickets (ex: I was in line for an hour after the doors opened for Janelle Monae’s recent show because the line moved so slowly). The people taking the tickets never have an operational QR reader to scan for Friends with Benefits points, so you always end up having to email them to get the credit on your account. And once you are inside, you are greeted with a CF of converging lines for the really small bathroom, bar, and food stands. The venue is pretty enough, but all of that leaves you pretty frustrated before the show even begins
Bhi Bhiman opened the show, also doing a solo, acoustic set. His songs were memorable, but they were enjoyable enough in the moment. The clear highlight of his set was his last number, a cover of Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life“ in which he got the whole audience to whistle the melody.
Chris Cornell hit the stage promptly at 9pm and went on to play for 2 hours and 47 minutes. I’ve seen Roger Waters play for 3 hrs, but he took a 15-20 minute break in the middle. This was by far the longest straight set I’d ever seen, and I never would have guessed it lasted that long, had I not checked my phone at the end of the show. It seemed to fly by. Chris played songs from throughout his career – mostly Soundgarden, but also Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, and his solo work. He also through in some amazing covers. His take on “Billy Jean” was slow and haunting. He took the lyrics to Metallica’s “One” and set them to the beat of U2’s “One” – something that sounds crazy in concept, but the result is something better than either original. And he covered “Imagine” in his encore, which also featured “Black Hole Sun” – which was one of my favorites of the night.
It says something impressive about his cannon that he played for that long and I can still list of songs that I would have loved to hear (starting the list with “Spoonman”). Did Soundgarden ever do an MTV Unplugged? Judging by Chris’ acoustic chops, such a show would be epic. His vocals were intense but not overpowering in a non-electric environment. You appreciate his voice during Soundgarden shows, but my goodness did they stand out during this kind of concert. He might be my favorite male rock singer of all time. His voice is ridiculously versatile.
I've been listening to a lot of Weezer Cruise 2.0 bands lately to prep. One of the bands that I'd never heard of before the lineup came out was Bleached. I really like what I've heard thusfar. So I'll make "Love Spells" the SOW: