Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Everlast at Antone's

Saturday night was a real treat for me as one of my all time favorite artists, Everlast, played a show at Antone’s. Having been a fan of Everlast since the House of Pain era, and then a fan of his bluesy alternative rock solo projects, it is a wonder it has taken me over ten years to catch one of his concerts. If he was as good back then as he was Saturday night, I really missed out.

Opening for Everlast were Brooklyn natives and long time music scene veterans, The Lordz of Brooklyn. You may have caught them on Fuse as I did this summer, with their music documentary style show called The Brooklyn Way. The show chronicled the group from their early hip hop days of the 90s, to their struggles with the industry and coping with family life. It wasn’t but a few episodes, but the show did a good job of telling their story and conveying so much emotion that the viewer had to pull for these guys and all they have been through. Had it not been for the show, I can’t say I would have heard of them or have liked them as much. Good for Fuse.

The Lordz of Brooklyn were the only opener for Everlast Saturday, making it a short but sweet concert. When they took the stage, they came out ready to play with lots of confidence and the energy of a younger band. I did not know what to expect other than the theme song The Brooklyn Way, being it was the theme for their television show. Having performed that, covering a Run DMC song and the punk rock classic I Want to Die, they did what an opening band is supposed to do. The crowd enjoyed their set, the band left sweaty and tired, and everyone was enjoying themselves. My friends and I got a kick out of their cool Brooklyn accents and their names for each other, like “Tony Salami”. Check out this clip of the Lordz playing their song The Brooklyn Way.

After the Lordz of Brooklyn were done, I finally got see Everlast live. The intro he came out to was the Superman theme song. I thought that was a little much but pretty funny. He came out looking a little older than I remember, but still cool and sounding as good as his CDs. His gritty, raspy voice is great for the blues rock genre he is in and Antone’s is the place for that sort of thing.

Early in the set he performed an acoustic song called Broken, which had good use of organ and harmonica. It was his best song of the first half of the show I thought, but Endz really got the crowd excited as well as Black Coffee. Everlast really didn’t say too much between songs, except for one instance where he said “The banks scare you and it is a land grab. I don’t give a fuck about a Democrat or Republican” right before he sang Stones In My Hand. Shortly after, he took a small break or intermission as they say.

Right after his intermission, Everlast performed his hit Black Jesus, one of my favorites. After a few more blues rock songs of his, people started to yell “What its Like”, referring to his most popular hit off his first solo album, “Whitey Ford Sings the Blues”. He responded by saying “ya’ll think you know what's coming next, but you don't”. He then started Put Your Lights On, minus Santana of course. He concluded by thanking the crowd for coming and saying it won’t be another four years before he comes back to town. He then ended with an awesome live rendition of What Its Like. If you weren’t there, check out a clip of what you missed:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rock y Roll Dia 08 Coming November 1st

2008 Rock y Roll Dia Poster
This is my first year to attend Rock y Roll Dia, an interactive community outreach event and concert. With two years under its belt, this year's Rock y Roll Dia will be its best yet. While previous acts were what I consider to be honorable mentions at best, with the exception of maybe
Mexico's Jumbo, it had not garnered my interest enough to go. This year is a completely different story.

Headlining will be Venezuela's own Los Amigos Invisibles, who are known to many outside the Latin music world as the group David Bryne signed to his Luaka Bop label. I got to see Los Amigos for the first time in March during a free show at The Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC). Having heard only a few songs from them at the time, I had no idea they were so funky. Even if you don't understand Spanish, you can understand live Latin funk and good times. Mix their music with a little cocktail or chela (beer for you gringo friends and coconuts). Here is a video clip for you if you aren't familiar:

Recently added Monte Negro will certainly bring a great rock element Rock y Roll Dia didn't have without them. I got too see them live at SXSW for the first time at the Batanga showcase I worked and again this summer at Antone's on the Circo Rocktastico Tour. They are great live, sounding just like they do on CD with all the energy of their fast paced music. Kinski, lead singer, is great front man and doesn't sound like any other mainstream act out right now. They sing in both English and Spanish, even covering Bob Marley's Give Me Love. You may have seen that video on what used to M.E. TV's best show, Sonido Boombox. They were on M.E. before they were on MTV3 even, on their Discubre (discover) and Download segment. Don’t get me started on MTV3…..uuugghhhh.


The local representation comes from Michael Ramos and his eclectic band, Charanga Cakewalk. Many Austinites are plenty familiar with Charanga, especially with the M.E. Live taping for my favorite Charanga Cakewalk song La Negra Celina. To me, they are mix or regional Mexican, cumbia, Latin Jazz and Carribean. It's hard to explain, but fun to listen to and watch live.


Finally, the last group added to the bill will be Los Hollywood from (you guessed it!) Los Angeles. Given who is behind Dia, I should have expected some sort of LA injected into this. Just from listening to their music online, they sound like a younger, Latino version of No Doubt circa early 90s. Los Hollywood sings in both English and Spanish, so they too are gringo friendly while keeping it true to their roots so to speak. This group and this party, while being a Latin Music showcase, is for everyone. I hope to see you there.


Be sure to come early and get your tickets now, as it at The Mohawk and should sell out. Tickets are available on CD Fuse and you can find more info on the pre parties (whoot whoot!) on the Rock Y Roll Dia Myspace or on Do512. If you want to hear some of the music by these artists, you can listen to Rock y Roll Radio and check out the various shows from your computer. I don't normally plug or promote upcoming shows but my company, Gwizsk Design, are sponsors and the web marketing team for Dia. I say this in the spirit of full disclosure and just wanted to share this great event with you all. I will be posting another blog a couple days or so after the show in case you're lame and miss Rock y Roll Dia. You can read about what a great time it was for all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Carolina Liar & Some Power Pop Bands at Emos'

Thursday night The Academy Is show at Emo’s was the ultimate teen rock fest of a concert. I might as well have been a parent. As a matter of fact, this show had more parents there than ACL (not really). Upon arrival, I was starting to wonder if I was in the right place. I showed up to see one of my favorite new bands, Carolina Liar.

When I first got to Emo’s, Hey Monday had just started their set.

They were the second band to go on and already had the crowd excited. I first heard Hey Monday on a Fall Out Boy mix tape I was sent this summer. I know I can’t be the first out there to say this publicly, but one can’t help but draw Paramore comparisons. If Paramore had a younger sibling, Hey Monday would be it. That being said, being compared to Paramore is not a bad thing. Anytime a young Alternative Press looking band of guys has a young female lead, like Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday, Paramore is who you are judged against.

Hey Monday was received well by the young crowd. Their music was a little young for me, but I can see why the kids love it. Their music is fast, energetic and catchy. It is all about the hooks and sing alongs in this young power pop genre. Hey Monday has all those elements. Listen to How Long? and see for yourself. It is their best song off their album “Hold On Tight”.

After Hey Monday, Carolina Liar came on. With the shirts they were wearing, they could have been called Carolina Boy Scouts. I dig the band, but I didn’t quite get the outfits. One of their guitar players looked like the guy who played Stiffler on American Pie and had the hipster headband on. None of the band matched their lead singer, Chad Wolf, who was in a blue cub scout uniform. He also looks a little bit like Jesus with a scarf.

The unusual choice of wardrobe is the only negative thing I have to say about Carolina Liar or their set Thursday. Their radio hit I’m Not Over has been playing on 101X locally for some time now and I sing to it in my truck. Their sound is more indie rock/alternative compared to the rest of the bands on the bill. How they got on this tour or this show baffles me.

Carolina Liar sounded just as good as they do on CD Thursday. Scot Wolf is a phenomenal singer and song writer. He doesn’t lose a step or miss a note live. At least he didn’t Thursday night. He epitomizes what a rock front man should be. He woos the ladies in the crowd while flailing his long hair and scarf, often dropping to his knees. Backed by a good band and great keyboard sounds, Carolina Liar stands out from an over saturated market of indie bands. His best expressions and rock star moves come during Show Me What I’m Looking For and what sounds like an 80s hair metal ballad, Coming to Terms. On Coming to Terms, the key board and over all vibe remind me of old Motley Crue ballads or even bad Cinderella songs. I loved it. The power ballad needs to be brought back to rock. I dug it all.

The young crowd also loved Carolina Liar and sang along to I’m Not Over as they concluded their set with their big hit. It will soon be a timeless classic that Bob plays in his radio station years from now. I still hear it on 101X now. In case you live under a rock or missed the show, check out this clip from the show:

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Sword Rocks the Earth at Stubb's

Saturday night the rock God’s of the Earth touched down on Austin and brought us my absolute favorite metal band, The Sword. The Sword hail from Austin, so I guess this was a homecoming show for them after touring with Metallica overseas. Saturday night at Stubb’s, they opened for Clutch. They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves in the black t shirt world.

Saturday couldn’t have been a better night for The Sword. Stubb’s outdoor is the best venue to see a show in Austin…when the weather is nice that is. The last time I saw the Sword was in January at Emo’s. At that time their latest album "Gods of the Earth" was not out yet and they only performed a couple of tracks off the album. After months of listening to it since its spring release, I was more than ready for this show. I knew in January they were playing some serious next level music. At this point and from here on out, they are so far ahead of everyone else.

How Metallica and Clutch could let them open baffles me. On one hand they get to play with The Sword and help draw in new fans, putting together a better show. On the other hand, the one I consider to be the stronger hand, The Sword will one up you. Maybe it is to pass the torch and for The Sword to live out their dreams of playing with those guys. Still, playing with either of those bands is a testament to the respect they have in the metal world.

As soon as they came on, they played their Gods of the Earth album intro, making the crowd scream and throw up their metal horns. By that point it was dark outside with only the stage lights keeping them visible to the packed crowd. Their title track Gods of the Earth, the third song on their set, got the pit started. It pretty much continued throughout the rest of the set. My body was a little sore from just being in there for fifteen minutes. I know better, but that rush one gets when your face is rocked off overcomes you and you have to get that energy out in a pit.

The Sword didn’t really say much. They did introduce the band at one point, and said “this is an older one for you” before breaking into their Guitar Hero II song Freya (By the way, that is the only song I can play on expert. I can’t be touched on Freya). What else took me by surprise was that they did a Kiss cover right before that. I don’t listen to too much Kiss, so I honestly didn’t’ recognize the song. I just found it funny given that I tell people who never heard of The Sword that they came from the seventies as the demon rock child of Black Sabbath and Led Zeplin. Kiss is more of old style camaro mullet rock, but whatever.

Overall, this was the best I have ever heard The Sword play. They get better every time I see them. I become a bigger fan every time I hear them. Not since Rage Against the Machine or early Metallica (Kill Em All & And Justice For All era) have I been this excited about a band. I even started a Sword tattoo I am going to base a sleeve around.

I did not stay for Clutch Saturday. I had other obligations downtown Saturday night, but I heard from friends who stayed that they were good. I was wondering who stayed as I saw many people leave after The Sword finished. Plus, I have seen Clutch before in San Antonio at The White Rabbit a long time ago. One Clutch show was good enough for me. As for The Sword, I can’t get enough. If they come to town, I’m there. If they put out a new album, I buy the CD and the vinyl. If you don’t like metal, The Sword will change that. I know fans Saturday who were seeing them for the first time, will see them again. In case you are lame and missed the best concert this year, here is a clip of the show for you: