Sunday, March 30, 2008

Le Loup/Ruby Suns 7th street 3/29

It is a cool feeling seeing a band that you can tell is at the starting point of its upward trajectory. Over my concert lifetime, I have seen bands at every level of this career spectrum. I have seen the bands who have reached the top and are coasting (pretty much any classic rock show I have ever seen sans Neil Young, he is a maniac), bands who are sadly on their way down (Soul Asylum outdoors surrounded by thousands of middle class yuppies at the Taste of Minnesota) and bands who are at their peak (Arcade Fire and LCD SOUNDSYSTEM and the National come to my mind). Seeing The Ruby Suns and Le Loup Saturday night at the 7th street entry, I couldn’t help but think that these two bands are going to be playing to bigger crowds and bigger rooms the next times that they visited the Gopher State.

To start their set, the lead guitarist of Le Loup took a page out of Spinal Tap and showed why hometown crowd pandering (along with encores) should stop. He stepped up to the microphone and told the crowd how they were excited to be here because they had never been to Milwaukee before. After a couple people yelled to correct him, his bandmates helped him in clarifying where they were. (Maybe it is true that the coasts think the Midwest is meant for flying over? Ha) This awkward and funny moment was followed by nearly an hour of amazing music. I can say that they didn’t make any more mistakes the rest of the night. Le Loup is a “collective” based out of Washing DC. Led by singer Sam Simkoff, they were 7 people strong for their set. The band and their sound made it seem like the Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene being fronted by the little guy from Hot Chip. Simkoff was energetic and frantic, singing through most of the songs from the highly praised debut album, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly. The songs, recorded alone by Simkoff in his bedroom, came alive with spark and vigor with his crack band churning behind him. The band was excellent and as they continue to grow, they definitely have enough talent and sound to fill stages much, much bigger than the one they blew away at the 7th street entry Saturday night.

The openers were New Zealand based band The Ruby Suns. The three piece seemed a little off, which they admitted (blaming on the pasta they ate before the show), but still sparkled with their infectious world beats and electronic flourishes that sounded like Animal Collective covering Os Mutantes. The band was supplemented by a drum machine and a sampler and usually had all three singing while playing guitar, bass, keyboard and stand up drums. Anyone who knows me well knows I love stand up drums, and tonight was no different. The lead singer would program a beat in the Boss SP 404, play some drums on the drum machine (live sampling) and then have the two ladies in the band join in with their bass and keyboards. He would play swirling psychedelic-Tropicalia guitar and sing soaring harmonies. He would take a break from guitar to pound some tribal drums during most of songs. The effort they put in was very impressive. Like I said, they were not quite firing on all cylinders, but I saw a lot of potential from them. There music was upbeat and infectious, and I think the small crowd on a cold Saturday night in a windowless dungeon did not bring out the best in them. Hopefully next time I see them it will be in a more inviting surrounding.

I see very big things in the future for both of these bands. Like I said at the top, I feel like some day I will be standing in a large crowd waiting for one of these bands to come on and will have to wax nostalgia to the young whippersnappers who missed out on seeing these two great bands “before they were big”.

Get off yr ass (A subtle reminder of the cool shows the week of 3-31)

Here are some cools shows coming towards MPLS-St. Paul the week of 3-31

Vandaveer- Kitty Kat Club 9pm
Washington DC based folk troubadour brings his hushed melodies to the venerable Dinkytown bar.

Etta James- Mystic Lake Casino 7:30 $35-$44
Yes, you would have to drive to Mystic Lake (don't ask me for direction, I have no clue), but you would get to see a living legend.

Big Trouble/Solid Gold/Kid Dakota/The Alarmists- Varsity Theatre
One of the most fun looking lineups of the week. Indie Rappers Big Trouble, dance rockers Solid Gold, moody rocker Kid Dakota and alt rockers The Alarmists all offer great music from three very different genres. This would be a great show for the middle of the week.

Plants and Animals- 7th Street Entry
This band, who I have professed my admiration for, will bring their show into the 7th street entry. Very high recommendation.

Vampire Weekend/YACHT- Triple Rock Social Club 9pm VERY SOLD OUT
If this is the first you are hearing about this, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are not getting in. These afro-pop indie rockers decided to keep this gig at a smaller venue, so if you are in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood Thursday night, watch out for the invasion from hipster hell.

Nada Surf/Sea Wolf- First Ave
Two indie pop bands. One is newer and one is older, both will be bringing the quirky melodies to First Ave Thursday night. Nada Surf may have seen better days as far as record sales go, but they still are putting out solid albums. Sea Wolf's newest album, Leaves in the River, is a great Wilco-esqe slow burning roots album.

Treehouse Records Birthday Party- Turf Club 9pm
Michael Yonkers/Paul Metzger/The Hypstyrz/Vampire Hands/Chooglin
Very cool and eclectic lineup celebrating the birthday of one of the best record shops in Minneapolis.

The Wars of 1812(CD Release show)/Jeremy Messersmith/Chris Koza- Varsity Theatre 9pm
The CD Release show for this Americana-roots rock band out of Minneapolis. Both openers are quiet folky types who will work out nice in the classy setting of the Varsity Theatre.

Why?/Heirospecs/Gospel Gossip-7th Street Entry 9pm $8
Solid bill from top to bottom. Gospel Gossip brings their female led Jesus and the Mary Chain rock while the other two bands show off their indie hip-hop/rock blends.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Instant replay (Checked out)

This is a new feature where I will give a snap judgement review to some of the new cd's that the wonderful Hennepin County Library system borrows to me.

Times New Viking Rip it off
Apparently when they named their album, Times New Viking was trying to accurately describe what they have done to the musical legacy of Guided By Voices. This album, from a band I have mentioned before, is very good at what it does. Like all music that is a derivative, you have to take it with a grain of salt and try to look past the larceny and enjoy the product. Like I said below about the Raveonettes, at least they are mimicking a classic sound.

On the back of the CD , straight from The Last Waltz, is a message from the band saying “Please Play Loud”. I found out this was not a subtle attempt at irony or a in-band joke. It is pretty much your only option you have with this disc. My biggest complaint about Rip It Off is the way that the wall of distortion encumbers the melodies, both of the music and the vocals...literally, nothing is spared here folks. I thought my speakers had blown out, they cranked it up that much. Maybe they have seen Spinal Tap too many times. I want 11!!! (I will take a minute here to acknowledge here that other people have said this scuzzy rock with little/no production makes this record charming and even more endearing. I disagree)
That being said, they have some good rambling GBV/Pavement type sloppy rock numbers that are actually really good. The sad part is, they sounded better to me in the corner of a small record store last month with no sound system than they do on record. I think that this is a good CD to be played loud (outside?) where the noise will translate better than my bedroom. The thing I cannot get over as I listen to this CD is that I think they are really good band, but I think this goes to show that DIY/lo-fi is not always as cool or indie or hip whatever as some people make it out to be. Call me old fashioned, but sometimes, for at least a couple songs, it is nice to be able to distinguish between the instruments coming from the white noise. I can't say they didn't warn me, but that doesn’t fully quell my disappointment about the overblown nature of this CD that is so close to being something I would really love.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Instant replay (Checked out)

This is a new feature where I will give a snap judgement review to some of the new cd's that the wonderful Hennepin County Library system borrows to me.

The Evangelicals "The Evening Descends"
I had gotten a little bit of advance buzz for this CD from a couple different places. Most had mentioned their being from Oklahoma and somehow relating them to the Flaming Lips. I think this is a valid argument, although there are a couple of differences. The main way I think they differ is that the Flaming Lips seem to create their sounds to simulate a good drug trip, where this music seems like it is the dark underbelly of a drug trip gone wrong. It has a drony-jammy vibe to it, along with the Band of Horses esqe vocals. The themes range dark and paranoid to offbeat and whimsical. It often came off to me as a soundtrack to the apocalypse, if the apocalypse was slow and you could see it coming for days and do nothing about it. While listening to this album, I felt the quasi-dark undertones that reminded me of the latest Burial album (not that it sounds like Burial, just the mood) or a Cormac McCarthy novel. I think this CD will defiantly nicely slide into my "after midnight" rotation of dark, moody music that seems to thrive in a dark and cold room with only a candle lit.

Grade: 6.8

Aly, Walk with me

The Ravonettes are a band that has elicited numerous contradicting emotions from me regarding their musical endeavors. I was a fan of their first two CD's, especially Whip it on (and the song "Do you believe her"), and I probably hit a peak when I saw them open for the Strokes at First Avenue a couple years ago. Although I admit it was an interesting change of pace, they lost me with the 50's Phil Spector rip off Pretty In Black. So I was surprised to hear the new single, "Aly, walk with me", and realize that they are back to the Jesus and the Mary Chain thief’s that I once loved. One a side note, I wonder if the Reid brothers ever catch on of these bands so openly stealing their style and shake their head. On this particular venture, they even steal the whole non-talented stand-up drummer routine. (Don't tell Bobby Gillespie, he'd break some skulls). Either way, I will take bands ripping off the J&MC any day over say, a genre of bands bowing at the altar of Yes. Here is a live version of the first single from their new album Lust Lust Lust.

If you are interested in seeing the Raveonettes....too bad, you missed them. They were here last week. Sorry.

Beach House/Papercuts/Now, Now Every Children @ the Entry

Last night I was again at the 7th street entry (I feel like I have been living there, although if I did I would install another bathroom) to see a nice little triple bill of indie-pop bands. The show featured two national co-headliners, Beach House and Papercuts, along with local band Now, Now Every Children.

As I have mentioned before, this is not my first experience with young indie popsters Now, Now Every Children. This time they still seemed mildly shell shocked at the prospect of being on stage, but they had a nice, well devolved sound. The lead singer had a great voice (think classic indie female) and the band had some good songs with their classic guitar, bass, keyboard and drums set up cranking out somewhat dark arrangements. Again they did not blow me away, but for what they were doing, I think they have a lot of potential.

Next up was Papercuts, who I was looking forward to seeing most out of the three bands. My friend Bill from Sarcastic Tears had gotten me into their newest CD, Can’t Go Back, which had been a slow grower but eventually become a CD I like a lot. The problem was they have slightly changed their sound from the CD. I have no problem with change, but this refashioning changed the core of what made their CD so good. Gone were the soft edges and the light melodies. In their place were more rigid structures and a heavier, more droning melodic sound. This should not be a surprise considering who they have been touring the country with. Beach House is a lo-fi chamber pop band with dreamy and stretched out melodies (and the lead singer/leader of Papercuts is also their touring drummer). Papercuts were still good, I was just a little surprised with the change indirection. Although all of the songs (both new and rearranged from the record) were good, I hope when the tour is over they go back to the warm folk pop of their record and leave the cold droning rock to bands like Beach House.
I think I have probably tipped my hat to my thoughts on Beach House while writing about the Papercuts. I think Beach House is a good band, possibly a great band, but not for me in a live setting. As I sat their listening to the slow build of the songs with programmed drums leading the Guitar/keyboard duel, I could feel my eyes glazing over. It dawned on me, like it often does at shows of this nature, that I wished I was at home listening to this CD in my room(maybe i need xanax or something, but Ineed entertainment to keep me going). When the two members of Beach House came out, dressed in his and hers white Gram Parsons outfits, they had the house lights turned low and used disco ball type lights. This set the mood for the rest of the show. He played effects laden licks on his natural finished Strat while she kept the pulse with her synthy keyboard leads. Jason Quever of Papercuts sat behind the drum kit, but did more tambourine shaking and bass drum kicking than actual drumming (they employed programmed drum beats from a drum machine for every song). She sang very pretty Nico like vocals which, like other dreamy pop bands like Sigor Ros, often felt more like another instrument to the song than a decisive vocal part. Overall, I can’t say the show was not good; it just was not for something that was me on this particular Tuesday night. I think for different reasons I will return to the CD’s of each band and enjoy them in the ways that I simply could not last night.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Salute Your Solution

So the Raconteurs are not my favorite band by any stretch of the imagination, but I can confidently say they are pretty good. Coming from someone who is a fan of the two main contributors (Brenden Benson/Jack White) main bands, I think it is more of the same....which is good. White’s blues rock and Bensons 60's pop have a easy way of blending together. Since they put out there video with the intent of us bloggers(yes, we are a secret society, handshake and out Masons, soon it will be us running the world) posting it, I figured I would be a lemming and follow the lead. I thought the idea was cool, and the stop gap black and white video (it is thousands of pics flashing very fast....obviously created by someone who has much more patience than yours truly) is an interesting touch to this jerky rock number they have chosen as the first single. Without further ado....


Since Jack White’s “other” band is not in need of publicity, I thought I would use this opportunity to give a shout out to an album that I feel is greatly underappreciated....Brendan Bensons 2005 disc The Alternative to Love. His unwavering love for power pop and 60's British rock soaked in harmonies never ceases to amaze me. This is a disc that I come back to time after time, year after year. Check it out if you get the chance.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Plants and Animals "Good Friend"

Here is "Good Friend", a great song from arguably my favorite new band right now, Plants and Animals. Their wonderful debut record, Parc Avenue, is out tommorow (Tuesday the 25th). What the hell is in the water in Canada? Soon kids are gonna pack their bags and head off to be a rock star under the bright lights of ...montreal?!

Check out these guys next Wed. April 2nd at the 7th street entry.


Great song from the new Why? album entitled"Alopecia". This particular gem is called Hollows. Check it out.

"I curse the last 6 months for hiding behind a mustache" Gotta love it.

Check them out with another ALOA favorite Gospel Gossip next Sunday April 6th at the 7th street entry.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Get off yr ass

Here are some cools shows coming towards MPLS-St. Paul the week of 3-24

Black Mountain- 7th street entry 9pm $9.50
Stoner rock performed in grandiose fashion. These psychedelic rockers will take you on mystical classic rock/prog 8 minute journeys. Bong not included.

Beach House/Papercuts- 7th street entry 9pm $7.50
Two pretty purveyors of what pop music should sound like. Papercuts come from the folksy side of the coin, while Beach House fill empty spaces will layers and layers of shimmering noise. Good music for the transition from gloomy winter to sunny spring, too bad it is in the dungeon of 7th street.

Boredoms- First Ave 9PM $11
Influential Japanese noise rockers bringing whatever it is they do to the main room.

Gary Louris/Vetiver State Theatre $20-25
Legendary local alt-country rocker Gary Louris (Jayhawks) playing from his pretty and polished new solo album. Opener Vetiver bring the freak folk for all those inclined. While I will not argue these are two great artists, I would be open for a debate about steep ticket prices. I will let you make that decision for yourselves.Wednesday
The Cribs-Ra Ra Riot- Varsity Theatre 8:30pm $15 The Cribs come from the long line of punk influenced British rockers. Ra Ra Riot are from the New York post-punk indie rock scene. Both fit into stereotypes, but that does not take away from either one of these bands and the great music they create.

Black Moth Super Rainbow 7th Street Entry 9pm $9.50
Spaced out weirdoes bring their Flaming Lips psychedelic pop to the Entry. Acid not included.

Making Music with Darren Jackson (Kid Dakota/Hopefuls)- The Whole at Coffman Union FREE
A cool series where they take local tunesmiths and do a interview and Q/A to dissect their songwriting style. A couple songs are usually thrown in for good measure.

MPLS Drunken Spelling Bee- 331 Club
Doesn't this sell itself?

Mute Era MC/VL The Blind Shake Birthday Suits -The Whole @Coffman Union
Four highly regarded Minneapolis bands rocking the U of M campus. Noisy rock for The Blind Shake, punk for the Birthday Suits, old school Beasties type rap from MC/VL, not sure about Mute Era.

Jason Collett- Turf Club 9pm TBA
Another member of Broken Social Scene branching out(they are like a cult…they never stop). This time it is Collet with his solid Americana based rock and roll.

Headlights/Evangelicals- Nomand 9pm $6/$8
Don't know a ton about these two bands, but I have liked what I have heard. Headlights seem like a poppy/majestic Yo La Tengo/Postal Service type outfit. The Evangelicals come across like a spaced out My Morning Jacket/Flaming Lips spin off (I'd know more if the library got on its horse and got me the CD I have had on request forever).

Le Loup/Ruby Suns- 7th Street Entry 9pm $7.50
Le Loup is described as a "collective", which can only mean something awesome right? Banjos, electronic loops, soaring songs....are you sold yet? If not, fork over the 7.50 and see if they can sway you. Openers are buzz band Ruby Suns (fresh off a best new music nod) who are the bottom half of a pretty sweet bill.

S. Malkmus/Jicks 1st Ave

Stephan Malkmus, long standing godfather of the "indie" scene, came to First Avenue Wednesday night with his ever changing backup band the Jicks to play from his newest album "Real Emotional Trash". Malkmus, who rose to fame spinning literary, angular rock tunes as the front man of Pavement, has taken a left turns of sorts in his solo endeavors. Where Pavement was an amalgam of his witty lyrics and Fall like post-rock guitar riffs, the new material he has been putting out for the better part of the last decade, has been stretched out musically and trimmed down lyrically (often veering dangerously close to jam band-esqe).

The Jicks, featuring new drummer (and former Sleater Kinney skin pounder) Janet Weiss, showed great musical chops during the 90 minute set. They played almost all of Real Emotional Trash and smattered in other Jicks favorites from years gone past. Malkmus, refusing to take the mantle of aging rocker, was witty and playful throughout the show and kept the devoted audience’s attention all night. Personally, I found myself losing focus of the band during the more jammy sections, only to be drawn back in by Malkmus’s playful demeanor and crack songwriting skills. He has no doubt improved as a guitar player, but during one of the multiple 8-minute songs, I found myself wishing he would just get back to the verses/chorus, where he really shines. Overall, I thought the Jicks put on a good show, but I think I have had live fill of Malkmus until he finally delivers on the perpetually desired Pavement reunion.

Opener John Vanderslice was very good, as I would expect from someone who has delivered album after album of solid indie/pop rock and roll. He was trying his best to an inattentive crowd who was waiting for their hero to take the stage. It is too bad when crowds are so focused on the headliner that they talk over/ignore a great act and miss out on seeing a good music.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gutter Twins

Saturday night my friend William from the blog Sarcastic Tears hooked me up with a promotional ticket to the Gutter Twins show. How could anyone turn down seeing Mark Lanegan (and Greg Dulli) for $1? That would be crazy, my friend. Thankfully, someone noticed that it was an early show (but, luckily, not all ages) and that the music started at 7:30. They had to rush the show so they could have let the hormone fueled teens in for the "Too Much Love" dance party and grind their sweaty, ecstasy filled bodies against each other. God know these young burgeoning hipsters need a place to show off their ironic threads, or they might EXPLODE!!! But back to the show.

Great Northern opened up to little excitement from the very small crowd. I bet there were no more than 100 people there for their set. Judging by the crowd that swelled near the end, I don't think many people realized that the show was starting/ending early. Great Northern were a run of the mill brooding/melodic indie rock band. They had the swelling chorus, the male/female vocals, and some catchy songs, but I couldn’t get into it. I ended up spending most of their set playing Tetris.

The Gutter Twins came on at 8:30 on the dot to a smoked filled stage and some dramatic background music. From the moment they stepped on stage, the two singers showed how they are polar opposites. Greg Dulli was strutting and smoking, with a Cheshire cat grin sprawled across his face. Mark Lanegan came out with his head down and a grimace on his face. He smiled literally 1 time in the 90 minute set. He seemed tense and uncomfortable, holding his microphone stand for dear life for the majority of the show and addressing the crowd one time. Dulli, on the other hand, was the ultimate showman. He let out multiple "c'mon motherfuckers" and pranced around the stage with his ES-335. He spent one song sitting on a stool at the front of the stage smoking and crooning like a sleazy Frank Sinatra. They played most (all?) of their great debut record Saturnalia. They alternated between brooding and funky, with Lanegan’s smoky baritone taking the lead often and Dulli adding in his typical sexy alt rock styling’s. The ultimate highlight for me was in the encore when they were running through their old catalogs and they played two Mark Lanegan solo classics: "No Easy Action" and "Methamphetamine Blues". He is such an amazing singer/songwriter. It made me want to see a solo Mark Lanegan that much more. After watching the whole show, I was very impressed with Greg Dulli, but I could not get over how cool Mark Lanegan was. He was not there to show off; he was there to sing his songs. I can see how he was addicted to heroin. It looked like being on stage was an excruciating process for him. It is such a contrast to see a man with such a rich and powerful voice to seem so mild and timid on the stage. When the last notes were still ringing out and the other band members were saying thank you to the crowd and soaking in the cheers, Lanegan made a beeline for the dressing room, head down to the floor.

Overall, I thought the show was great. The ying-yang of charismatic Dulli and mysterious Lanegan was nice visual contrast to accompany the simmering post-grunge rock and roll that these two and their band were pummeling the crowd with. Too bad for the half drunk latecomers, they missed a hell of a show.

A cool review of the record by my friend (and ticket benefactor) Bill is HERE.

Vacation/DFL District 46 convention

Robyn and I spent the last week on vacation up north. It mostly consisted of drinking, sitting in the hot tub (in our cabin, no less) and watching DVD’s (Mostly Curb Your Enthusiasm and the Star Wars Trilogy). It was an amazing week. I don't think I have ever just gone away with the sole intent of relaxing, but I defiantly warmed to the idea very quickly and I had a wonderful time with Robyn. I got back Friday night so that Saturday I could wake up bright and early and do my democratic duty.

Since I volunteered to be a delegate at the Caucus on February 5th, I had the honor of representing my neighborhood and my 3rd Congressional District. I will not go into all of the (very very) boring details, but I will say it was an interesting experience. A small preface to what I am about to say: I have every intention of participating in these events in the future and think grassroots politics are essential to democracy...they are just fucking exhausting. I was there by 9:30 and left at 3:30 with the events still rolling along. Now, I am not saying the process should be streamlined to 30 minutes, but there were some glaring reasons why the average (read: non political junkie/crazy person) skip out on these. For the first half, it was like the most excruciating business meeting you have ever been to run by people who were speaking another language. They did express joy in all of the new people, but they really did not try to making the event feel welcoming. My favorite part was when the new people were getting yelled at for not following the rules and the kid by me yelled back "I thought this was the Democratic Party, not the Fascist Party".

Like I said, it was a good experience, but it was one of those things where you felt like you were watching the prom from outside through the window. I think next time I will be more prepared and have a better understanding of what is going on. I'm sure it was frustrating for the people running the event to have so many neophytes crowding their club meeting, and I felt a little like they were making it just complicated enough that they would control power, but that could have been me thinking delusional because I wanted lunch and I was locked in a high school gym. In the end, my sub-caucus was for Al Franken for Senate, Ashwin Madia for the 3rd Congressional seat, and the cause I supported was ending the war in Iraq. So, if anyone if still reading this, I am sorry it was so long, but I had to fully express this 6+ hour extravaganza.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Black Lips

Going into the Black Lips show at the 7th street entry, I did not know what to expect. I had heard the wild stories involving booze, drugs, peeing in their own mouths(yes, you read that right), fighting each other and other run of the mill rock debauchery. I had also heard that they had mellowed out and concentrated more heavily on their scintillating mix of Nuggets-era rock and psychedelic grooves. The show ended up providing a little of both. Who would have guessed that a Black Lips show would be out weirded by an opening act?

I missed the local band France has the Bomb, but I arrived just in time to see Quintron and Miss Pussycat and their vaudeville boogie rock. The Quintron portion of the group was a mid-30's animated rocker sitting behind a wall of instruments. He played a Hammond Organ with a car grill on the front into a vintage Leslie speaker. He also had some homemade noise makers, drum machines, and a hi-hat cymbal to round out his indie-boogie sound. He was a mix between John Cleary's New Orleans funk and Mark Mallmans baroque pop antics. Miss Pussycat was a Nico-esqe side woman who sang and played maracas. By Nico-esqe, I do not mean she had any of the talent or visual appeal of Nico, only the role. Kind of like I was a Micheal Jordan-esqe basketball player. I was attempting(and failing) to reproduce a role someone else had done before me. She looked like a transsexual version of Cameron Diaz and her voice sounded like someone choking a cat. ANYWAYS....Quintron and Miss Pussycat were ok, although I would say the kitschy factor got a little old near the end. He was a funky keyboard player but seemed to be short on unique ideas(which is probably why he brought her into the one could say it wasn't different, that is for sure) Also, there was a idiot kid who was too drunk to stand who thought it was funny to run into everyone, who was kicked out about 10 minutes into their set(probably lucky for him....I think if someone would have punched him, they would have drank for free the rest of the night). They ended their set with a puppet show.....yep, a puppet show. To be fair, the puppet show was actually pretty funny and ended with santa murdering a witch museum opperator with a machine gun to save a girl who had been turned into a statue, but still...come on. This kind of sums up their approach. It was funny, but I just wonder what the point of being so wacky is? Do you want to be a joke?

The Black Lips were quite an enigma. Their three frontman all had quite unique looks. The Bass player had a mustache like Danial Day Lewis in Gangs of New York and a preppy shirt. The rhythm guitarist looked like a run of the mill indie rocker, until he removed his winter hat to reveal a Monks inspired shaved top of his head. The lead guitar player had a sideways cocked baseball cap and a full mouth of gold grilled teeth that screamed "gangster rapper". After all of the anticipation of a wild show, they kept their antics to a minimum. They smoked a joint onstage, threw some beer at the crowd, spit loogies up and tried to catch them in their mouth(they usually ended up on their face), but mostly they just played their trippy classic rock from their most recent(very solid) CD Good Bad Not Evil. I though they played a great set and think that if they ever get too old for their wild ways, they will be easily be able to rely on their significant chops and song writing ability to continue on. For the time being, they are happily living out the rock and roll lifestyle and carrying the torch they took(stole?) from the Sonics and the 13th Floor Elevators.

PS: The Black Lips did dedicate a song to local hero Micheal Yonkers, which was very cool.