November 21, 2011

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings @ SOhO ~ November 19, 2011

A Whole Bunch of Soul

Sharon Jones is tiny. I mean like 4 foot nothing. For that much voice to come out of such a pint sized person is truly a marvel of nature. But it does, and in abundance.

Playing in a sold out, packed house, one had to fight to get just the tiniest glimpse of the Sharon Jones – I mean really fight, elbows and all. And where did all the damn tall people come from?! …Or one could surrender to the funky sounds, dance, and accept that you could only see the top of Sharon’s hair like a shark in the crowd. So surrender I did.

The band was amazing. The Dap Kings (and the Dappettes) came out first and warmed up the crowd. The soul funk styling’s of the Dap Kings is reminiscent of classic 1960’s R&B, part of the revivalist movement that brought about singers like Amy Winehouse. Classic and deep. As anticipation built, my friend excitedly exclaimed “I feel like Jay Leno is gonna come out!” Keeping it classy.

When the shark herself finally came out it was like a tidal wave hit. The crowd instantly got moving, and responded to Sharon’s every wail. The music was so uplifting, her voice was so majestic, that people danced till they were a heaping puddle of smiling sweat. And dance we did for the next 2 hours to the funky soul.

If you didn’t come in a fan of Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, you definitely left one.  And left with a lil’ bit more soul because of it.

November 14, 2011

We Were Promised Jetpacks @ The Music Box ~ November 10, 2011

photo by p.viani
Before It Becomes Uncomfortable

It’s all about the build up, and We Were Promised Jetpacks knows how to build up the tension. 

The young Scottish indie rock band stands apart from their peers in their ability to build beautiful crescendos, climax, crash, and build again all in one 5 minute song. They are not about the quick and dirty 3 minuter.  

Seeing the band live at The Music Box, allowed me to physically feel the build up and both hope for and dread relief. I got to see how singer Adam Thompson approached the microphone, as he predominantly stood four feet away and belted out lyrics in its general direction, creating a sorrowful wailing effect with a unique Scottish flavor.

Although not interacting directly with the crowd (which I didn’t mind), WWPJ drove the crowd into a frenzy throughout their hour long set, playing songs off both their albums.

The set ended without circumstances or encore. I guess it was just all about the build up.

Raiders @ Oakland Colosseum ~ November 6, 2011

November 8, 2011

Day 3 Review of New Noise Festival 2011

What Dreams Are Made Of

I was looking forward to day three most of all! Can you say reverie?

Russ Rankin of Good Riddance fame playing solo at a coffee shop in Santa Barbara is dream worthy to a punk rock girl like myself. I wasn’t disappointed.  A very humble Rankin, fighting a sore throat, took to the corner (there’s no stage at Muddy) with nothing but an electric guitar. His voice held on as he lamented his way through his solo songs with heart and honesty, explaining the meaning and purpose of each song as he went. He made me remember why I love punk rock. It inspires action, deep thought, and rebellion. Not to mention, no one writes a love song like a punk rocker.

Due to the buzz around the headliner at Savoy, I elected to skip the other acts to post up for Vokab Kompany. I was glad I did. Consisting of 2 MCs, a female vox, a violinist, a hot bass player, a sax, a guitar, and drums, the band was electric. The intensity was palpable and infectious. With heavy riffs and hard-hitting lyrics, Vokab rocked the crowd. There wasn’t a corner in Savoy that wasn’t infected.

It was a night for the ages. One that will repeat over and over in my dreams. Don’t wake me.

Day 2 Review of New Noise Music Festival 2011

Free Flowin’

Sometimes you have to go with the flow – as long as the flow is going in the direction you want to go. And my flow was leading me to a ton of rad new music.

The night started as planned at SOhO to check out singer/song writer Ralph Torrefranco’s upbeat melodies. Then quickly flowed down State Street to the Whiskey/Velvet/Savoy sector.

I bounced around the tri-factor of clubs, until settling in (unbeknownst) to Savoy for the evening – the lines were building at the clubs and I did not want to miss the headliner at Savoy. Portland’s Wild Ones provided eclectic upbeat tunes, followed closely by SB’s The Mutineers’ bluegrass sound.  By now, Savoy was packed with music fans eager to explore new music.

Typhoon’s 12 members took to the stage and immediately filled the club with horns, strings, and percussions.  The intensity of emotion that protruded from the music was tangible through the crowd. The band was extremely talented and worth spending the majority of my night at one club waiting for them to take the stage.

On the return flow back up State Street, I was able to jump into Velvet to catch 2 songs by the Mad Caddies, then Whiskey to catch the end of Blazing Haley’s set.

I love going with the flow of New Noise!

Day 1 Review of New Noise 2011

Oh What a Night!

I started off at Muddy Waters, where the chai latte is delicious and the crowd is young and serious.  I was just able to down a chai and catch half of Kat Devlin’s heartfelt acoustic set before having to jet off to the next stop.

The Phantogram show at SOhO was packed to the brim with curious music seekers. And we were witness to a great electronic music and laser light show. Bass heavy trip hop beats filled the room, and although the vocals could have been louder, the band mesmerized the crowd into a trance dance that lasted a full hour.

Leaving that show a bit early to catch Deer Tick at Velvet, I was pleasantly surprised to find Velvet filled to capacity and a waiting line to get in - at midnight on a Thursday in Santa Barbara! Way to be SB! I knew I was in for a good time. Deer Tick came on loud and strong. The sound was perfect and their set was upbeat and heavy on the country tip. Perfect way to end the night.

November 5, 2011

New Noise Music Festival 2011 Picks ~ Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011

There Can Be Only One! …Maybe 3.

You got to go deep with this Saturday’s New Noise Music Festival line up.There’s rock, hip-hop, and DJs. Doing a little research will help you make theright picks, luckily I’ve done your homework for you!

Here are my picks for Day 3:

Russ Rankin(of Good Riddance; Santa Cruz)
Punk Rock Icon, solo
Deets: Saturday,9:30pm @ Muddy Waters
Soundslike: Acoustic punk rock (lyrically driven songs with fast guitar)
CoolFactor: Legendary. Seeing a punk rock icon live & solo at a small venue inSanta Barbara. So close to greatness.

Deep DarkRobot (Linda Perry of 4 NonBlondes; New York
Deets:Saturday, 11pm @ Whiskey Richards
Sounds like:Early Hole with a good singer
CoolFactor: Real rock. Lead by rock veteran Linda Perry of L7, you get nothingby rock and roll baby. Sexy.

VokabKompany (San Diego)
Electric Hip-Hop Funk
Deets:Saturday, 11:30pm @ The Savoy
Soundslike: A lite version of Jurastic
CoolFactor: Funky Fresh. Like nothing else you’ve seen in SB. Two fast flowingMCs back by funky electric beats. Very danceable.

Don't forget about the New Noise Block Party 1-5:30pm Saturday with local bands and vendors. First ever! Right out from the Arlington. Get in the local music community.

November 4, 2011

New Noise Music Festical 2011 Picks ~ Friday, Nov. 4, 2011

Decisions Have To Be Made.

Dude. Friday night of the New Noise Music Festival is hard for choices: Local party band?  Out of town big band music? Chill surf rock?  Ug! Why?! Why so many good choices! 

But it seems none would be a bad choice, so here are mine for Day 2:  

Ralph  Torrefrana (Santa Barbara)
Indie Pop / Folk
Deets: Friday, 8:30pm @ SOhO
Sounds like: A funky fresh version of Matt Costa
Cool Factor: Fresh face. Fresh sound. (Plus, the kid used to work with me at KjEE, so I got to show him some love.)

Noise Within (Southern California)
Rock / Metal
Deets: Friday, 10pm @ Whiskey Richards
Sounds like:  F’ing metal!   \m/
Cool Factor: Raw sound. With John Fahnstock of Snot, these guys know true hard rock. Keep it real.

Typhoon (Portland)
Indie Orchestra Pop
Deets: Friday, 11:30pm @ The Savoy
Sounds like: A young American version of Arcade Fire
Cool Factor: It’s big. Usually playing with 14 members, not only is the band big, so is the sound.

November 2, 2011

New Noise Music Festival 2011 Picks - Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

A Little Help Please!

Festivals can be hard to navigate, but there is one rule of thumb: explore! It’s a festival, bounce around and get out of your comfort zone!

Here are my picks for DAY 1:

Little Indian (Santa Barbara)
Singer Song writer / on the Folk tip
Deets: Thursday, 8:40pm @ Muddy Waters
Sounds like: A young, soulful Fiona Apple or Audra Mae
Cool Factor: On the pulse. A pint-sized girl with lots of attitude and talent just looking for someone to love… or devour. This girl has options.

Phantogram (Saratoga Springs)
Indie Electric Rock Duo (very popular right now)
Deets: Thursday, 10:30pm @ SOhO
Sounds like: A trippier version of The Blow or The Knife
Cool Factor: Bragging rights. A young band on the rise with atmospheric, trip-hop catchy beats in a small venue. Very groovy.

Deer Tick (Providence)
Indie Folk Rock / Blues / On the Country tip (just the tip)
Deets: Thursday, 11:15pm @ Velvet Jones
Sounds like: A countrified Bon Iver
Cool Factor: You were there. They are just freakin’ cool. Gritty, melodic, and real. You feel their pain

November 1, 2011

Evil Dead: The Musical @ The Center Stage ~ October 31, 2011

Welcome to the Splatter Zone 

Evil Dead set to music. Does it really get any better than this? 

If you are into the horror genre you know that The Evil Dead is a classic. Teenage kids go to a deserted cabin in the woods to party is just inviting mayhem. Add in an ancient book of the dead, and walla, a cult classic.

But a musical? That was interesting. And fun. Especially while sitting in the splatter zone.

The cast was young and full of talent. The dialogue was witty and adhered close to (lightly) that of the movie. Of course, the songs were a new touch.

Ash, played by a young Adam Quinney, grew into character as the play flew along, hitting all the notable hit lines like “this is my boom stick!” The masks of the demons/zombies (I have an issue with this definition) were remarkable and the musical acts were laugh out loud funny.

And each of the gore scenes set streams of fake blood gushing into the audience – if you upgraded to the splatter zone seats (ponchos were available for purchase). And if you felt you didn’t get drenched enough in blood, the cast came round and doused you more, actually using a baster.

Playing to a packed house on Halloween, this musical was a bona fide hit.

Well worth the dry cleaning bill later.

Blazing Haley @ Velvet Jones ~ October 28, 2011

He's My Brother, She's My Sister @ SOhO ~ October 26, 2011