Little Lies and Massive Dreams

My name is Bear. I play in a band called Talking About Commas and live and work in Providence, RI. I like music.
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Oct 29, 2010

Phish, back in the Ocean State

After seeing Phish 73 times in 19 different states in the past 16 years it was a treat to get a show that was only 4 miles from my house. Love it. Before the show I went to a little BBQ hosted by some friends on the west side of town and then we all cabbed it (30 year old phish fans are quite responsible you know) downtown. Providence was going off, gone were the huge police presence of years before and we were allowed to roam the streets around the venue. Even Trinity brewhouse set up a huge pre-post party tent with a band playing dead covers and general classic roll awesomeness.

A couple minutes before show time we headed in to find a nice spot on the floor. I love the floor but I am also 6’3’’ and don’t ever sit during Phish shows. Anywho, the vibe was pretty cool inside the Dunk, security was lax and wristbands made the floor less susceptible to poachers so there was plenty of dancing room. The boys kicked off the night with a rare first set “Down with Disease” which was followed by a fairly straight forward set that included some of my personal faves like “Funky bitch”, “Fluffhead” and “Moma Dance”. After a solid first set I was looking forward to the boys opening it up a bit more during the second frame, and that they did.

Phish jump started the second set with this fall tour's first "Rock and Roll" which kept up the energy before segueing perfectly in to "Carini", which gelled in to an atypical major key jam before giving way to "Mike’s > Sanity > Weeks" sando (see the video below of Mikes > Sanity). This was only my third "Sanity" and my first since 1998 and it was on fire. More of a fun song than musically demonstrative one but still, I had a big grin the whole time. The set meandered from there for a bit before culminating with an outstanding "2001 > Loving Cup" closer that got the whole crowd back in to the show. Overall the boys are playing the best since they have since the return and man it looks like they are having a blast, judging by Tuesday’s Manchester show, this weekends Atlantic City 3-night run is something I’m regretting missing. Oh well, There’s always Worcester!

Opener/s: none
Venue Info:
beer sitch:
$7 Budlights, brutal.
: pain in the ass. Some parking garages are around and random lots throughout downtown PVD
layout: arena
14,000 (sold out)

Set 1: Down With Disease, Funky Bitch, Fluffhead, Roses are Free > Rift, The Moma Dance > Ocelot, NICU, Sample in a Jar, Julius
Set 2: Rock and Roll > Carini > My Problem Right There, Mike's Song > Sanity > Weekapaug Groove, Suzy Greenberg, Light, Character Zero, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Loving Cup
Encore: First Tube

Oct 25, 2010

My Morning Jacket re-opens Portland's State Theatre

Last Friday My Morning Jacket was the first band to play the newly renovated State Theatre in Portland, ME. I never went to the old theatre but this place is pretty cool. It reminds me of a cross between Lupos in PVD and The Flynn theatre in Burlington. An old theatre with an open dance floor and a small balcony set pretty far back in the room. Portland is always a good time for me b/c I have a bunch of college buddies that live there. I drove up on Friday, pregamed at a buddies and a crew of 7-8 of us headed downtown.

The band hit around 8pm and did not let up for a good 2.5 hours. “Wordless Chorus” opened the show with Jim James scampering around the stage with a cape on, fully using the eerie backlighting to present a ghostly visual along witht the songs ghostly chorus of “Aaaaahhhhs”. Since I was in party mode most of the night I was focused more on energy and fun than disentcing anything musically. The band played a handful of new songs that didn’t reel me in upon first listen but probably will with time as MMJ usually does with me.

Highlights for the show for me we the monstrous singalong “Mahgeeta”, the reggae-ish bounce of “Phone Went West”, the improv and build up to “Dondante” and of course the balls to the wall 2nd encore “One Big Holiday” that may rival “Tweezer (Reprise)” as the best concert closer ever, IMO. Just getting people all in a frenzy, the energy in that room was fantastic. The Jacket are in the midst of a 5 night run in NYC where they will play a different album in its entirety every night. Other than that you’ll just have to check them out next tour, which I strongly urge you to do if you want to see, as my buddy put it “The best rock and roll band in the USA today….the new Pearl jam.”

1: Wordless Chorus, Gideon, The Way That He Sings, Heartbreakin Man, They Ran, Golden, Chills, Evelyn Is Not Real, Anytime, Mahgeetah, Carried Away, Wonderful (The Way I Feel), I'm Amazed, Circuital, Dondante, Smokin From Shootin, (end of) Run Thru, Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt.2, (end of) Lay Low
Butch Cassidy, Steam Engine, Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt.1, Off The Record, Highly Suspicious, Phone Went West
One Big Holiday

Opener/s: none
Venue Info:
beer sitch:
$5 micro brews and $3 MGD tall boys. Not bad prices but long ass lines.
: there are garages and a small amount of street parking. I walked from my buddies gf’s house.
: theatre, with an open floor. Seats in the back of the floor and balcony.
1,450 (sold out)

Oct 22, 2010

Seeing Pavement Live, finally...

Stephen Malkmus was the only artist I could think of in which I thought that their solo career was better than the band that made them famous. That thought may be in jeopardy now. Last night I saw Pavement, and they effing killed it. The highly anticipated reunion tour rolled through Boston's Agannis Arena and by all accounts, the band is playing better than they ever have.

They relied heavily on their first two albums which at first I wasn't that fond of (I like the last two albums best) but then I realized how good the songs were. Off kilter, lo-fi indie rock icons like “Summer Babe” and “Gold Soundz” converted to full on arena rockers executed with purpose and precision. The band threw in some instrumental deep tracks that provided fluidity to the set and generally abrasive album songs like “Conduit For Sale!!!” amped up the crowd to huge energetic proportions. As much as this tour may me a money maker, it is surely not gimmicky. Hype-man Bob Nastokovich's stage banter, unique backing vocals and solid percussion made sense to me finally and Spiral Stairs' rhythm guitar and pop sensibilities were a nice counter to Malkmus' free associative approach.

Highlights of the night for me was hearing the mellower “Stop Breathing” and “Here” attain a level of beauty I hadn't noticed before. The “Fin > Cut Your Hair” closer showcased the often regarded as sloppy band's ability to explore sounds and jams with preciseness. If you are a fan of Pavement I suggest you get to a show while you still can and see nostalgia come alive like you've never seen it before.

Jenny Lewis and her new “Jenny & Johnny” band with boyfriend Johnny McPinkShirt kicked off the evening with what sounded like their whole album front to back. The only old track was "Next Messiah" which would have been good except for Johnny's distorted, treble heavy acoustic guitar sound. If Rilo Kiley (Take-offs and Landings/Execution of all things era) is a 10, this current incarnation of Lewis is a 3, tops.

Pavement: Silence Kit, Starlings of the Slipstream, Two States, Trigger Cut, In the Mouth a Desert, Stereo, Date w/ Ikea, Stop Breathin, Gold Soundz, Conduit for Sale!, Loretta's Scars, Grounded, Summer Babe, Frontwards, Unfair, Chesley's Little Wrists, Heckler Spray, Fight This Generation, Perfume-V, We Dance, Brinx Job, Fin > Cut Your Hair
Encore: Rattled by the Rush, Kennel District, Range Life
Encore 2:
Spit on a Stranger, Shoot the Singer (1 Sick Verse), Here

Jenny & Johnny: Scissor Runner, Committed, My Pet Snake, Just Like Zeus, Straight Edge of the Blade, Slavedriver, Just One of the Guys, Big Wave, Animal, The Next Messiah

Opener/s: Jenny & Johnny
Venue Info:
beer sitch: $7 bucks for harpoon IPA, $6 for Bud or Bud Light. Plastic pint cups.
parking: There are a couple garages around the arena that charge $20 I think. But there is plenty of street parking south of Comm Ave if you don't mind walking a couple blocks.
Capacity: 7,200. The seats at either end of the arena were blocked off so it was probably more like 5,000 or so. The show was technically not sold out but the seats looked filled.

Broken Social Scene @ The House of Rules, Boston

Broken Social Scene is really fun to see live. They could be this really obnoxious hipster collective that takes themselves too seriously but they don't. They know about the towns they play in, they banter with the front row and even crack each other up with inside jokes on stage. Musically, they share the wealth for the greater good even though Kevin Drew is clearly the frontman. They come to party and they do not disappoint. I last saw them in 2006 at the Greek in Berkely o/f Bloc Party (Currently auditioning for VH1's Where are they now?). I also saw the Kevin Drew “solo” tour in 2008 so it was nice to see a full band headlining show.

They started the show with Kc Accidental, the opening track on You Forgot it in People and set the tone for what was to come. Although relying heavily on Forgiveness.. and the Self titled, the band busted out some gems like “Anthems”, “Looks Just Like the Sun” and "Cause = Time". If you haven't seen BSS before it can be a little overwhelming. There are as many as 10 people on stage all rotating between percussion, keyboards, basses and guitars. There are even 2 guys that play flute, sax and coronet. With such a huge prduction, its amazing how tight and legit they are on all the instruments. Nothing sounds cluttered, its all just adding layers to benfit the greater good.

Touring female singer Lisa Lobsinger was up to the task of singing Feist, Emily Haines and Amy Milan's lines and added her own impressive stamp on "Anthem...", "7/4 shoreline" and "All to All". Guitarist Andrew Wynn even sang worthy lead vocals on “Looks Just Like the Sun”. While each member was capable to step up to the plate, fun hijinks (like running around the stage, singing in the crowd and even crowd surfing across the whole room - see pic of Kevin Drew) were not distractions.

Openers the Sea and Cake were steller. Its obvy BSS are big fans as 4 different members sat in with them and kevind drew gave a nice introduciton. Singer Sam Prekops haunting yet upbeat voice is truly a treat live. I didnt know much of their material but the "Parasol" closer made me realize i need to listen to more Sea and Cake.

BSS Setlist: KC Accidental, Texico Bitches, Cause = Time, 7/4 (Shoreline), Fire Eye'd Boy, Forced to Love, All to All, Stars & Sons, Sweetest Kill, Guilty Cubicles, Superconnected, Art House Director, Hotel Play Video, Lover's Spit, Romance to the Grave, Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl, Ungrateful Little Father, Meet Me in the Basement, World Sick, Water in Hell
E:Looks Just Like the Sun, Chase Scene, Pacific Theme, Ibi Dreams of Pavement

Opener/s: The Sea & Cake
Venue Info:
beer sitch: $6 PBRs, savages in this town
parking: free parking is available around the venue easily unless the Sox are playing (which they were, against the Blue Jays, and Kevin drew wouldt shut up about it). Fenway is literally across the street.
square, club type room with GA floor and 1st balcony, seats in 2nd blacony.
Capacity: 2,425 sold out

Oct 1, 2010

Worlds are colliding: BTS takes on the Dead

So I'm going to see Built to Spill on Saturday night at the new Met cafe in lovely Pawtucket on Saturday night. I can't friggin wait. Not only is this a brand spankin new venue (RI translation - "It's the new Met cafe, which is where the old Blackstone Club used to be) only 2 blocks from my house but these guys are in my top 5 to boot! Anywho, I was looking at some set lists from this tour to see what they've been playing and I keep seeing "Ripple" pop up. I found this clip of the song on Youtube. I think it's pretty cool and I like how they put their own spin on in and basically bail on the famous acoustic guitar intro - which is also the vocal melody. Bravo boys, bravo. See you on Saturday!

EDIT: Saw the show, it was great as usual. The new venue reminds me of the old Lupos w/out a blacony. Here's the set lists.

10/2/10 The Met, Pawtucket, RI
Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup, In the Morning, Hindsight, You Were Right, Reasons, Planting Seeds, Ripple, Stop the Show, Else, Time Trap, The Weather, Pat, Carry the Zero
Encore: Randy Described Eternity, Car, Conventional Wisdom

Opener/s: Revolt Revolt, Pretty & Nice
Venue Info:
beer sitch: $5 bucks for harpoon IPA, $2.50 for a Gansett, nice.
parking: Plenty of street parking
Capacity: 515, probably half full.