June 15, 2011

Mad Caddies @ Velvet Jones ~ June 11, 2011


It's hard to write a review of a show when you are attending more for the party the band brings than anything else - but I'll try.

The Caddies are a local reggae ska punk rock band that specializes in upbeat, fast paced, ornate party friendly tunes. And they brought it to Velvet Jones Saturday night.

Velvet was packed and rowdy. The Caddies came out strong and immediately got the pit (yes pit) rolling. They played a nice montage of their work, with their faster paced songs definitely being the crowd's favorite. The crowd sung all the words to all the songs as they danced their lil' brains out.

I was not disappointed in the party - or the music!

(I said I'd TRY....

June 11, 2011

The Mutineers with Brothers Young, Hurtbird, and Chris Story XXXperience @ Muddy Waters ~ June 9, 2011

Unexpected Experience

Santa Barbara is lucky to have such an eclectic variety of music to see live. So much so that it can sometimes make picking and choosing which shows to see an ordeal. But it was time for me to finally check out local one-man-band-around-town Chris Story.

The Chris Story XXperience is actually a two man band, with Chris on drums, guitar, and lead vocals (all at the same time) and Dakota Serge on stand up bass. The two create music that is reminiscent of old 50's tunes full of humorous lyrics. It was a rockabilly good time complete with audience participation that really added to the merriment.

My duty done and my rockabilly fix met, I was left to meander through the rest of the night. But I was unexpectedly drawn back in by the sound of the out of town band Hurtbird. From the other room I heard what sounded like samples, keyboards, and the beginning of a rap number... This wasn't rock. Curious I went to investigate.

Hurtbird looked like the IT department at my day job and had a sound that is difficult to assign to a genre. The enigmatic sound was composed of an MC spitting out fast paced poetic verses, backed by a live band with heavy drum beats, thick guitars, atmospheric keyboards, and a second flavorful vocalist belting out choruses that filled a void I didn't realize was there, all infused with the occasional sound sample. They were dynamic on stage and confident in their ability to blow your mind. And indeed they did.

Who knew such an random assortment of music could exist in one local show case. I was very pleased with my choice in shows that night and left with a greater exxxperience than I expected.

[Unfortunately, it was a school night and I had to bail out before the last two bands. Not my fault - they were running late! And I get tired.]

June 7, 2011

The KjEE Summer Round Up @ The Bowl ~ June 3, 2011

Where The Party People At Yo?

I went to the local Santa Barbara KjEE annual summer festival concert expecting a true musical experience. FAIL.

Maybe I had my hopes up too high. Maybe I was still too elated from experiencing one of the headlining band's outstanding performance the night before. Maybe I forgot how the Santa Barbara Bowl gets during a day long alternative rock festival when most of SB is out to be seen rather to see new music. Maybe it wasn't me. Maybe...

The show kicked off with Foster The People, definitely the best performance and crowd of the day. The young boys in Foster flirted with the crowd as they danced their way through a full set of poppy indie rock. The band was young and energetic, as were their songs and fans. They proved their talent as they switched musical instruments rotating between keyboards, percussions, and guitars. They kept the crowd pumping and had the fans belting out the lyrics to "Pump Up Kicks" along with them. A genuine good time.

It all went downhill fast from there.

I barely saw Peter, Bjorn, and John since I was mostly navigating through the large swarm of people in the beer garden. The chatty people there pretty much remained there through the next act as well.

Manchester Orchestra took to the stage looking grumpy. And apparently they were. Coming from an intimate LA gig the night before (which I was lucky enough to attend) to the glare of the sunlight and chatter of the party goers in the pit proved to be to much for the artistic band. The lead singer tried to engage the small crowd but had the "Bueller" effect. Reasonably upset, the band cut out in a huff after less than thirty minutes. I was BUMMED. But the party people hardly noticed.

As it got dark and the beer sales ended, the crowd settled in to watch the headliner Cage The Elephant, who brought the rock. It was loud and visually stimulating, just what the crowd wanted. The singer dove into the pit, flailed around on stage, and wailed his lil' heart out. Rock star.

The night ended and I was more annoyed than enlightened from the experience. Maybe it is me...

June 5, 2011

Manchester Orchestra @ The Music Box At The Fonda ~ June 2, 2011

Lost in The Music

I just got turned onto Manchester Orchestra and immediately became obsessed. Their latest LP, Simple Math, is a concept album that is definitely more mature than their earlier two, utilizing a children's choir and a 12 piece orchestra, but all three albums are golden

So as a new found MO junkie, I went into the show super stoked and not wanting to come off my high. They left me even higher.

Opening with "Simple Math," a bold move, MO exploded on stage. They moved immediately into "Everything To Nothing" from their second LP. I remember thinking, as they went seamlessly from one engrossing song to the next, that I wanted to memorize the entire set list... But I got lost in the music.

They hit the crowd mid-set with what Andy Hull (the lead singer) called their "one-two punch" which consisted of an insanely sped up version of "I've Got Friends" followed immediately by an intense rendering of "Shake It Out." The musicianship was amazing; the sound was full and heavy. The theater felt intimate, the crowd sung out the lyrics to every song with earnest, and there was pure rapture in the air. So engrossed was I in the music that I noticed when Andy messed up the lyrics to "The River" and cared - a lot. Then the crowd followed by messing up the lyrics to "Only One" - I cared there too.

With little talk in between songs, and coming at the crowd with one hit after another, Manchester Orchestra fully bombarded my musically palate, leaving me completely satiated.

Set List

Photo by P.Viani