May 26, 2009

Doves — Wonder Ballroom 22 May

Posted in concerts, music at 9:45 am by berzerkeleyan


Last Friday night Doves came past Portland to play a few tunes for us.  They had a great rapport with the audience, and managed to capture their “sound” live (if that makes any sense).  The music was supplemented by a backdrop of old 60’s British film clips (I regret forgetting my camera), which added a richness to the show.  Plus they played for an hour and 40 min.  In other words, they didn’t mail it in.

Here was the setlist (album in parentheses):

  1. Jetstream (“Kingdom of Rust”)
  2. Snowden (“Some Cities”)
  3. “Winter Hill” (“Kingdom of Rust”)
  4. Rise (“Lost Souls”)
  5. Pounding (“The Last Broadcast”)
  6. Almost Forgot Myself (“Some Cities”)
  7. 10:03 (“Kingdom of Rust”)
  8. The Greatest Denier (“Kingdom of Rust”)
  9. Kingdom of Rust (“Kingdom of Rust”)
  10. Ambition (“Some Cities”)
  11. Black and White Town (“Some Cities”)
  12. The Outsiders (“Kingdom of Rust”)
  13. Caught By the River (“The Last Broadcast”)


  1. Firesuite (“Lost Souls”)
  2. Here It Comes (“Lost Souls”)
  3. The Last Broadcast (“The Last Broadcast”)
  4. There Goes the Fear (“The Last Broadcast”)

For both longtime fans and newbies, it was a excellent survey of all their music.  I was especially pleased that they played songs from their first album.  It wasn’t the all-time best show I’ve attended.  But it was a solid showing by one of my favorite bands.

May 24, 2007

The Black Angels — Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

Posted in concerts, music, portland at 9:46 pm by berzerkeleyan

black angels button

The 60’s Revival seems to be in full effect these days. Lots of bands are now wearing their love of 60’s psychedelic rock on their collective sleeves. I don’t know if it’s a cyclical thing, the similarity of today’s political climate to back then, or both. But make no mistake, the intensity of the music and the subject matter of today’s revivalists mimics what came out during those turbulent times.

The Black Angels are probably the best example of the genre at the moment. I’d first heard them last year on Morning Becomes Eclectic, and was instantly hooked. You can hear their influences clearly: The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Velvet Underground, even some Black Sabbath. You can also sprinkle in more modern influences like Joy Division, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and what I call the Texas Indie Drone which, if you’ve heard bands like Explosions in the Sky and Lift To Experience, you know what I mean (it makes sense since they’re from Austin). It’s a heady blend of sound, one that I like very much. Their debut album has been in heavy rotation these past two weeks. So, naturally, I had to see them when they slithered through town.

I hadn’t anticipated going to see a band this much since last year’s Phoenix show. Fortunately, The Black Angels aren’t big enough yet to play at a large venue. So off to the Doug Fir I went, my favorite club in Portland. And they did not disappoint. Since they’re new, they spent the night playing almost everything from their debut album. The highlights for me were “The Prodigal Sun,” “The Sniper at the Gates of Heaven,” and their encore — an excellent cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Nice.

Live, they sounded to me like The Doors more than anything, but with a chunkier rhythm section. The band was fairly tight, and seemed to have fun confusing me by switching instruments with each other all night. They were all fun to watch, but the highlight for me (and for most of the crowd, I would imagine) was watching Stephanie Bailey pound on the drums. It was hot. I would daresay she was almost as sexy as this.

These guys are for real. If they don’t implode, and our current war continues to drag on, I anticipate great things for them. One thing’s for sure — they bring something live that can’t be captured on a CD. So if you have the opportunity to see them now, do it. Before they start playing exclusively in the arenas.

Concert rating (0 – 100): 86

September 25, 2006

Phoenix — Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR

Posted in concerts, music at 11:20 pm by berzerkeleyan

The set:

  1. Napolean Says
  2. Long Distance Call
  3. Run Run Run
  4. Consolation Prizes
  5. Rally
  6. Lost & Found
  7. Courtesy Laughs
  8. I’m An Actor
  9. Everything is Everything
  10. North
  11. Sometimes in the Fall
  12. If I Ever Feel Better
  13. Funky Squaredance


  1. Too Young
  2. Second to None

This was a great concert, for several reasons:

  1. This is one of my favorite current bands. I’ve been dying to see them for over six years. They would have had to have played two songs, spit on us, call us Dirty Americans, and walk out before I thought it was a bad concert. And even then I would have considered it “an artistic statement.”
  2. The venue was small, made even smaller by the low turnout. Maybe three hundred people showed up. I like intimate settings for shows. Plus, we were an enthusiastic bunch.
  3. They were tight tight TIGHT! Solid musicians.
  4. They clearly enjoyed playing for us, and with each other.

As sunny and easy going as their music is, they had us jumping around like dogs begging for snasauges. Even an old man like me was clappin’ like a fool. And I don’t normally do the group participation thing.

I regret not having enough money to get a shirt (too many vodka tonics; gosh that cute bartender made them strong). Now all the kids won’t know how cool I am. :(

September 8, 2006

Wait for it…

Posted in concerts, music at 10:05 pm by berzerkeleyan

Last night I met up with . She was in town for MusicFestNW — three days of concerts spread throughout various Portland nightclubs. We went to the highlight of the festival: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, followed by The Dandy Warhols. I had never seen either live, so I was really looking forward to a great show.

After suffering through the standard opening act, TBJM came on and played their set. Given their reputation, I watched them very carefully. I was not only riveted by the music and musicianship of the band, but I was also watching the leader, Anton Newcombe. For those not in the know, he sort of, um, has a reputation for very public meltdowns. In the middle of concerts. So anytime he approached one of the other musicians, or bantered with the audience, I sort of cringed a bit, half-expecting him to go off on something or someone.

TBJM played for just over an hour. And they were really REALLY good. After the standard break between primary set and encore, they came out again and began playing the one song I had been waiting to hear: “Evergreen” from “Methodrone” (1995).

And then…

…and then…

…Anton Newcombe walked off the stage in a huff.

It wasn’t clear what set him off. Either his guitarist was out of tune, or his own guitar was. I was obviously disappointed that he left before finishing the full set. It only reminded me of how frustrated most fans get when reflecting on what could have been. TBJM could have been one of the biggest bands out there. Their music is catchy and timeless. Instead, they’re everyone’s favorite train wreck.

To a certain extent, I got the full TBJM treatment, warts and all. I got to see them play for just over an hour, then implode. So for entertainment’s sake, I got my money’s worth. And fortunately for , she’s seeing them again tonight in Seattle. Hopefully they make it through the entire show tonight.

The Dandy Warhols…oh yeah, them. We left after a few songs. They seemed to be mailing it in. Sadly, everyone else lapped it up.

No matter. I saw who I wanted to see.