atal acoustic

July 31, 2009

7/28: Looney Tunes.

On Tuesday, I went to hear As Tall As Lions play acoustic in West Babylon at a CD store I’ve heard so much about over the past couple years- Looney Tunes. The only cost had been the pre-order of You Can’t Take It With You, which made it even more worth it, since I would have pre-ordered anyway.

1. Circles
2. Stab City
3. Sixes & Sevens
4. Go Easy
5. Song For Luna
6. A Break A Pause
7. Duermete
8. Acrobat (Encore)

It was awesome to hear acoustic versions of songs like Stab City and Circles, and the new songs sounded great, too. Dan’s vocals sounded better than ever, Julio’s facial expressions were just as outrageous while he played his acoustic guitar as they are when he plays bass, and Cliff’s incredible drumming ability wasn’t any less apparent, even though he couldn’t go all out. In between songs, they made fun of each other and told stories about songs, making everyone laugh, as well as giving us beautiful music to hear.

After the short set, there was a signing. Saen in particular was very interested to hear what everyone had to say, and had no problem talking in length about things. That’s always so refreshing when talking to a musician who you respect so much.



wilco, a little late.

July 30, 2009

7/18: Dutchess Stadium.

I haven’t had time to update lately, since I was busy at NGW for a week, but I ended up going to see Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band and Wilco at Dutchess Stadium a week and a half ago! It was an incredibly last minute decision, but one I’m glad I made.

I arrived with two friends of mine, blanket in hand, and we sat near the stage, waiting for Conor’s set to begin. When it did, we left our comfortable spot on the ground and easily made our way to the front. This particular crowd consisted of mainly adults, the majority of them there to see Wilco, making it a much more different experience than previous ones this month at Conor Oberst shows (Hardly any teenaged girls to scream at him to take his shirt off this time, which was nice).

1. Slowly/Oh So Slowly
2. Sausalito
3. Nikorette
4. Get-Well-Cards
5. Spoiled
6. Moab
7. Cape Canaveral
8. Air Mattress
9. Danny Callahan
10. NYC-Gone, Gone
11. Souled Out!!!
12. Big Black Nothing
13. I Don’t Want To Die (In A Hospital)

I was pleased to hear such a long opening set, and thought the sound was fantastic, though I felt that there was much less energy on stage than I had seen from the band at both Toad’s and Battery Park.

I’ve only been listening to Wilco for a short time, so I wasn’t familiar with most of the music they played, but I was completely blown away by their performance. I was able to lie down and star gaze during some of the set, and stand up in awe of the lights and the band’s stage presence during the rest of it. When it was all over, the crowd was still craving more, which brought on a double encore! I wish I had known the words to sing along, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying every moment of that set. I’m sure that won’t be the last Wilco show I attend.

City of Molotov

July 13, 2009

Just listen.

a weekend of oberst

July 6, 2009

Friday and Saturday were days/nights well spent, as I was finally able to see Conor Oberst, a musician whose work I have loved and respected since third grade, twice this weekend. Though it is not at all an exaggerated statement to say I have been a loyal listener for seven years of my life so far, until Friday night, I had never seen Conor perform, as Bright Eyes, or with the Mystic Valley Band.

Friday: Toad’s Place with Michael Runion and Deep Sea Diver.
The venue unfortunately reminded me of the Crazy Donkey in Long Island in more ways than I would have liked; brick walls, a sports game on a flat screen television near the stage, and sound quality far from impressive. It wasn’t horrible though; It was at least a nice size and in a great location. If the crowd had been more to my liking, the venue undoubtedly would have been as well.

I was rather bored during Michael Runion’s set, but was pretty impressed with Deep Sea Diver, a band with a fantastic female vocalist. An enjoyable set, but not mind blowing by any means.

Conor’s set with the Mystic Valley Band was of course the best of the night. Everyone was anxiously waiting to see him walk across the stage under the bright colored lights. When he finally did, it felt unreal to be only a few feet away. He wore a large black hat that covered his eyes most of the time and kept his dark hair plastered to his forehead. He provided a vague explanation for its existence, perched atop his head, but it was hard to comprehend with his mouth so close to the mic.

The first four or five songs were played with no pause in between, and I began to wonder if all the negative comments I had heard made about Conor’s personality- not having met the man myself, I can’t say whether or not anyone’s perceptions of him are true- meant he would not utter a single friendly word on stage to the crowd. Fortunately, I was mistaken, as he did begin to talk after each song, though it was evident he was shy.

I was not surprised to find that not a single Bright Eyes song was played, though admittedly I felt rather disappointed. It was still a fantastic set; The Mystic Valley Band is made up of a bunch of extremely talented musicians, and Conor’s voice was just as impressive in person as via mp3.

The only down sides were that most people in the front were just standing around in my area of the crowd, and many inebriated “fangirls” refused to stop screaming that Conor should take off his hat so that he could look sexy; even in the middle of Lenders in the Temple, an acoustic song, completely ruining the mood. Still a great show.

Saturday: Central Park Summerstage with Jenny Lewis.
A drastically different atmosphere than that of the show I had attended the previous night. I arrived an hour early, and immediately upon entering the appropriate section of the park, had to take careful steps in order to avoid disturbing the massive amount of people sprawled out on blankets with picnic food, books to read, and friends to share conversation with. It was difficult to navigate through the grass at times, for there really were a lot of people there.

I chose to sit down in the shade near the stage to watch Jenny Lewis perform. Having heard many of her songs before, it did not come as a shock to me that every single one was immensely better live; her vocals were exceptional, and she had a great group of musicians playing along side her. The set was an hour long and a perfect way to start the free show.

I walked around afterward and observed the diversity among the people, all there to enjoy the music amidst the beautiful breezy weather. The trees that surrounded and the blue of the sky helped to create a chill mood in the park, especially between sets. It felt so good to be there.

I thought Conor and the Mystic Valley Band had been great at Toad’s, but they were even better in the park. The sound was terrific and it was a much more relaxing show with a crowd I much preferred to that of New Haven’s.

The set list was as follows:
Souled Out
Air Mattress
Ten Women
Cape Canaveral
Big Black Nothing
One of My Kind
Reason #2
Lenders in the Temple
Difference Is Time
Danny Callahan
Roosevelt Room

(Photo Cred to Dylan)

Overall, it was a delightful weekend of music and I’m glad I was able to make it to two shows!

Co-Headlining Tour

July 3, 2009

I’m so psyched for this tour; As Tall As Lions, Dredg, and RX Bandits, July 30th, Irving Plaza. Though I’m going primarily for ATAL, who are only opening, I’m also really looking forward to seeing Dredg and RX Bandits as co-headliners. I just wish Good Old War were also playing the date I’m going..

Having mentioned Good Old War, I must say how incredible it is to watch their popularity grow, see their music spread as much as it has. Having listened to them since the start of their band, it’s a great thing to watch them succeed as much as they are. I’ve yet to meet a person who’s heard their music that doesn’t like it, probably because it’s impossible not to fall in love with their vocal harmonies. Bands of every genre seem to want them on their tour now, and I couldn’t be more happy for them; Dan, Keith, and Tim are great guys who really deserve it, and I look forward to all they have to offer in the future to us listeners; beautiful things are coming.


I hadn’t been to a general admission show since April, so this one really reminded me of what I’ve been missing out on these past couple months – dehydration, aching feet, ringing in my ears, and really being able to get involved and move around during the music; all of which being things I’ve missed.

Afuche opened, and were like nothing I’d ever heard live before – they had a tremendous amount of energy with facial expressions to prove it. Their sound was unique and seemed improvised at some parts, which I thought was great, and the transitions between songs, all with completely different time signatures, were smooth. They were smiling the whole time, making it evident that they were having a great time playing, and the crowd seemed pretty into them (I know I was). There was a great trumpet solo towards the end of the set that really got everyone going, and Julio from ATAL was jamming along with them on a percussion instrument throughout the set backstage. I was thoroughly impressed.

The Dig played next, and had incredible bass lines and pleasant vocals, but had a sound too familiar to me. I probably would have enjoyed the set more if they hadn’t taken such a long time to set up, making most of the crowd pretty restless. Not that I didn’t think they were good… just no better than good.

As Tall As Lions finally came on, well after 10:00, and opened with Circles, just as I had hoped they would. They had background singers all dressed in white who stood near the drums, clapping the beat to the song, but otherwise not doing much. It felt good to be one of the only people who knew every word to the new song. It was impossible to stand still, and I couldn’t help but throw my hands in the air at times, completely losing myself to the music. It was the perfect song to open with and woke up every person who had had an ounce of weariness in them prior to the start of the headlining set.

Rest of the set list:
-Song For Luna
-A Soft Hum (Maybe I’m Just Tired Hidden Track)
-Be Here Now
-A Break A Pause
-Ghost Of York
-Goonite Noises Everywhere straight into Into The Flood
-Milk and Honey
-Lost My Mind (Encore)
-Stab City (Encore)
As well as three new songs.
Surprisingly no Love, Love, Love (Love, Love), but that’s probably because everyone was screaming for Stab City throughout the entire show.

The bridge of Song For Luna, one of my favorite ATAL song climaxes, made everyone pound their fists into the air, and the crowd challenged Dan, carrying the tune even louder than he; “Sing into the moonlight, who could ask for more?” over and over again. Eventually, he stepped back from the mic and just soaked it all in, and everyone kept going, even when all the instruments stopped. It was similar to the feeling I always get at Anthony Green shows during Devils Song where everyone sings “We’re all in the same spot.” Afterwards, Dan joked that we would all have to get together before the next New York show to practice our vocals. Perhaps the most impressive part of the set, though, was when they played Ghost Of York, a song that everyone was able to sing along to and head bang to at all the right parts. At one point I just thought to myself, this is what happiness really feels like- and I was surrounded by it. Everyone felt it. It moved everyone. I closed my eyes and smiled, practically tearing due to the hauntingly beautiful vocals.

A set had never gone by so fast to me, and when it ended, I couldn’t believe it. I would have paid all the money in my pocket to hear just ONE more song, even half a song. It had to end at some point, though, and at least now I’m left with memories of one of the most enjoyable sets I’ve ever witnessed. I’m so proud to say I listen to this band, and look forward to seeing them again at the end of the month.