Posts Tagged ‘ 529 ’

[VIDEO] JEFF the Brotherhood at 529, 12/31/2010

Here’s a couple of videos from last night’s awesome JEFF the Brotherhood show at 529.  The first video is of them performing Castle Storm cut “I Don’t Need Your Tas-T,” and the second is them wrapping up an epic version of Heavy Days’ “Mind Ride” to close the show.

Happy New Year.

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[Live Review] Marnie Stern at 529, 10/28/2010 (setlist)

Above is a picture of Marnie Stern’s setlist from last Thursday’s show at 529.  Most of those songs are from her recently released self-titled album, which is good.  I think it’s probably her best album to date, and I thought the first two were both pretty incredible.

This was also the best show I’ve seen her play (an honor that’s also drawn from a pool of three).  She’s always seemed to enjoy herself on stage, but there was an energy up there on Thursday night that I didn’t really see either of the times I had seen her previously.  It might have something to do with her current backing band, with whom she seems to have a lot of chemistry.  They tore through her very complicated songs without any real difficulty, and the banter between her and bassist Nithin Kalvakota was an obvious sign that this is a group that enjoys touring and playing together.  It’s enough to make you almost forget superhuman Zach Hill drums on her records.

All that positivity adds a new shade to her songs, too.  There’s some heavy material on the new record (she’s said that at least two of the songs deal with an ex-boyfriend that committed suicide), but her live presence is far from depressing.  Her confession that “all [her] ex-boyfriends have treated [her] like dirt” raised an eyebrow, too.  This actually worked in the music’s favor.  Instead of undercutting the songs, it just complicated them a bit.  Her lyrics are already great at dealing with ambivalence, and the positive vibes mixed with the weightier content just brought that out even more.

Of course, you can enjoy her music without getting all egghead, too.  She’s one of the most exciting guitarists in indie rock right now, and it’s just straight up fun listening to her play.

Live Review: Psychic Steel, Fielded @ 529, 8/16/2010

I hadn’t planned on writing anything about last night’s Psychic Steel/Fielded show at 529, but I was so impressed by what I heard (and so disappointed in the size of the crowd) that I feel obligated to.

Fielded is the solo project of Chicago’s Lindsay Powell. Her live setup includes two keyboards, two microphones, a laptop, a sampler, and other toys. That collection of gear suggests an icy, mechanical performance, but what Powell delivered was quite the opposite. Vocals are the heart of her songs, with her own powerful voice usually joined by sampled others that create the effect of a choir. She’s similar to Bjork in that they both have a set of pipes that they’re unafraid to take to big, dramatic places. She does all this over minimal soundscapes reminiscent of dark ambient or Komische Musik. Fielded’s Sound Cloud page labels her music as “Horror/Gospel,” and I think that’s an appropriate, succinct description.

Psychic Steel is another solo project from Chicago (sole member Seth Sher plays with Powell in another band, Ga’an). He played from behind a drum kit, with a synth set up to his right. His songs blended loops of his voice and synth (which appeared to be done live) with live drumming. It’s almost like a cross between Zach Hill’s solo stuff and the synth work of artists like Oneohtrix Point Never and Stellar OM Source. Solo drummer acts tend to get boring or wanky, but Psychic Steel’s set last night was neither. My only real complaint is that his set felt too short.

Hopefully they’ll be back in Atlanta soon.  Maybe next time they’ll get to play in front of more than 15 people.  Click those links and check out their music.  If that piques your interest, you can get a free Ga’an album here.

live review: JEFF the Brotherhood, The Coathangers, Heavy Cream @ 529

[EDIT:  This review was shared with Dead Journalist and can also be found here.]

The B.o.B. show at Center Stage wrapped up before 10:30, so I had plenty of time to get over to 529 for the stacked line up of JEFF the Brotherhood, The Coathangers, and Heavy Cream (I missed WYMYNS PRYSYN).

Nashville’s Heavy Cream plays aggressive, catchy punk anchored by an intense frontwoman who looks like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, but wails like Glenn Danzig on Walk Among Us. It’s awesome.

Atlanta locals The Coathangers took the stage next. This was the seventh time I’ve seen them play in 2010, and the setlist has been more or less the same every time. It’s a testament to how strong a live band they are that I’ve never been bored once. If you’ve only heard the albums, you really ought to see them live to get the whole picture. The songs are more raucous live, and they’re remarkably tight for a band that’s been learning on the fly since they got together a few years ago. They start shuffling around instruments about 3/4 of the way through their set, giving drummer Stephanie a chance to come out from behind her kit and go wild for “Cheap Cheap.” Guitarist Julia then gets the same opportunity on “Don’t Touch My Shit,” putting down the guitar because one more instrument would just be overkill anyway. They usually close the set with that, because where do you go from there?

JEFF the Brotherhood (also from Nashville) headlined. The band, which is made up of brothers Jamin and Jake Orrall, has improbably become the most interesting project associated with disbanded Nashville band Be Your Own Pet. When drummer Jamin left BYOP a few years ago to play in JEFF with his singer/guitarist brother Jake, it seemed like a bad career move. BYOP had the critics, Thurston Moore, and overseas audiences in their pocket, and Jamin left to play weirdo punk in the basement with his brother. They gained an audience both in Nashville and out on the DIY circuit, though, and now BYOP has broken up and JEFF is a legitimately emerging indie band in their own right. It helps that last year’s Heavy Days is their most accessible (and best) release to date, but much of their success has got to be due to what a fantastic live band they are.

JEFF’s sound is a combination of catchy stoner riffs, krauty jams, and faux-dumb lyrics that sound like an absurdist take on the early Ramones records. This stuff is made for sweaty basements and tiny rock clubs. On Saturday night, 529 was about as active as I’ve ever seen it. Heavy Cream and The Coathangers had strong receptions, but people started losing their shit over JEFF. Nearly everyone was moving, and there were more than a few crowd surfers.

The final song found the brothers locking into an krautrock rhythm while Jake moved out through the crowd and into the adjoining bar room. He nonchalantly played from atop the bar for awhile before deciding to make his way back to the stage, keeping the groove the entire time. Once he was back on stage, things got heavy again, and those that were still left at 2AM responded appropriately.

JEFF won’t be in venues this small for very much longer. Seek them out while you still have the chance.

Plenty of good shows this week

No more monthly show calendars. Too many changes and omissions that I don’t notice until it’s too late. I might start doing weekly previews, or I might just put up a preview when there’s something I’m particularly excited about. There’s a lot going on this week, so I figured it was worth a post.

-529 has an promising bill tomorrow night. Popular locals Carnivores headline, with intriguing support in the form of Brooklyn’s Dinosaur Feathers and Raleigh’s Lonnie Walker. I had mixed feelings about the last Carnivores set I saw, but I generally like the band and know they’re capable of better. And the openers sweeten the deal considerably.

-There’s a couple of solid options on Thursday. King Congregation plays a free show at Star Bar, while Young Orchids play The Earl with support from Chattanooga’s Moonlight Bride. King Congregation is pretty raw, Moonlight Bride is polished.  Young Orchids are somewhere in between.  Make your decision accordingly.

-Friday’s best option is Thomas Function at Star Bar. They’re exactly the kind of punky, hooky, bullshit-free garage rock that sounds right at home on Star Bar’s stage.

-Saturday has the unbeatable lineup of JEFF the Brotherhood, The Coathangers, and Heavy Cream at 529 (WYMYNS PRYSYN plays, too, but I can’t vouch for them as I haven’t heard ’em). Batusis, featuring punk/proto-punk lifers Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls) and Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys, Rocket From the Tombs), should be great at The Earl, too, but you can catch them at Criminal Records for free earlier that afternoon. Attention System plays a free in-store at Criminal on Saturday as well – they play at 4, Batusis at 5.

Boris plays the Masquerade on Sunday. Russian Circles open. Boris is probably one of my 2 or 3 favorite active bands, so I’m kind of cranky that I’ll be out of town for this one. If you’re in town and have even a passing interest in either heavy or experimental music, you have no excuse for missing this.

live review: Future Islands @ 529, 7/19/2010 (setlist)

I guess a lot can change in a couple of months. When Future Islands played 529 on a Saturday night back in May, they played to a respectable but far from capacity crowd, many of whom seemed to be there for headliner Balkans. Last night was a different story. Future Islands were the headliner and clear main attraction, and they packed out 529 with moving (if not totally dancing) bodies. If it wasn’t a Monday night, I’m sure things would have been even better.

So, what has happened in those last two months? Word of mouth, probably. When they played here back in May, In Evening Air had just been released, and the positive reviews were just starting to come in. Since then there’s been more reviews, interviews, and profiles written, and their live show has prompted some to declare Sam Herring one of the most interesting frontmen in indie rock. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who caught them back in May showed up again last night, and that more than a few of them brought along friends.

If they keep playing shows like last night’s, the crowds are just going to keep growing. Herring is so interesting to watch and hear that even the slower songs like “An Inch of Dust” maintain the intensity, and the more upbeat ones like “Vireo’s Eye” or “Walking Through the Door” feel even more cathartic than they do on record. I haven’t been shy about how much I love In Evening Air, but it was nice to see some old songs pop up last night, too. They encored with “The Happiness of Being Twice” and “Little Dreamer,” the latter of which they played with all the house lights up in the interest of a more communal experience. Herring said they want to be open about what they do and how they’re doing it, so up went the lights. It was a nice moment, and an affecting way to end the show. Herring described “Little Dreamer” as a sad story that used to be a happy one, and it’s hard not to connect it to the breakup narrative that keeps popping up in the press surrounding the new album. It’s a reminder that no matter how over the top Herring might go on-stage, the emotions he’s expressing in capital letters are still genuine. It’s more than just showboating or empty performance art. When he thanks the audience for showing up and sharing in the experience, there’s no doubting his sincerity.

Setlist after the jump.

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All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, Grabass Charlestons, The Takers @ 529, 5/12/2010

Grabass Charlestons

I’m in a hotel room down in Alabama, so I’ll keep this brief. Just wanted to get this up before it was too old.  Some pictures and a few thoughts below.

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