Ghetto Cowgirl and Tramps & Thieves

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, March 27, 2010 - 11:57:30 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
The fun weekend of music certainly continued tonight. Unlike last night our timing in leaving was a lot better, although we technically just rolled into Teakwoods before Marc & Thomas started.

Photobox ImageThe half of Ghetto Cowgirl acoustic was an absolute blast! Fun fact, tonight was four years and 11 months to the day since the last time I saw Marc & Thomas play (excluding Yucca Open Mic the other week). Between Norman's stage banter and Laufenberg's pedal board, I'm happy to report that not much has changed in all that time. [smile]

Awesome setlist. The one set list surprise to me was No Sound, which I can't say how much I loved. All of the acoustic favorites were there - Ten Tons, To The Point, Same Sad Story, Don't Care - well, the entire set list were the acoustic favorites in my mind. The only two that seemed unfamiliar (acoustically) to me were Thing Like That and Bar Room. The former being and interesting swing version. And the latter having a solo from Thomas that really blew me away.

It was definitely an hour of laughs, which I guess goes without saying when you have Thomas and Marc on stage together. And I must say that Teakwood's PA is certainly perfect for the acoustic gigs.

Definitely having had seen The Black Moods last night, and watching acoustic Ghetto Cowgirl tonight, we both had a huge sense of how awesome it is to be back in the desert!

Tramps did a great and fun set. Emmett mentioned last night's Peacemaker's gig which I had completely forgotten about. Apparently it went well. During Tramps' set we had a cool music chat with Thomas about Loretta and local music in general. And the fact that I always have my iPod on me came in handy tonight.

Fun times at Teakwoods Tavern & Grill. Yet again!

Here's To Black Moods!

Strange Young Things & The Black Moods @ Martini Ranch

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, March 27, 2010 - 02:32:08 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
So last night was a hell of a lot of fun.

We were actually going to swing by Teaks before the show and catch 45 minutes of Dead Hot Workshop. Thanks to Wordsmith on Tivo, we didn't get off the couch until 9:15, and after getting gas, it was clear by the time that we should abort and just go to Martini Ranch. Parking was a bitch, but amazingly we got one right outside of Martini Ranch.

Photobox ImageIt was a good thing that we aborted the Dead Hot idea. As we were waiting to get in we could hear Corey singing. If we'd known we certainly would have gotten our asses out to Martini Ranch earlier. No idea what time he started playing, but we were at least in time to hear Dirty Mothers (apparently by request for Chico) which was pretty awesome.

Photobox ImageAs much as I love seeing Strange Young Things at places like Yucca, seeing them on the Martini Ranch stage with the light show they had was really something!

It's been a long as time since I've seen The Black Moods. The last time was May 13 2006, which was one of their final shows. It may have been their second last show actually. So it was pretty exciting to see them back together. And they played a very nice mix of new and old. I'd heard that the set list was all new stuff, however it was an equal mix of new songs and the old ones. Josh also announced that they're working on a new record. Not news to me, but the public announcement definitely confirms that.

The new songs (some of which I'm familiar with) sounded great. And I don't think I could have been any happier with the old favorites that made the set list (It's A Drug, Sick In Bed, 7 Day Binge, Frontline, Tall, The Black Moods, Star Of Your Movie and Virginia). Particularly seeing Frontline was pretty awesome!

I got some good photos, the following two totally being the pick of the bunch:

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I'm pretty impressed by how well the photos of Chico came out. And that one of Josh would definitely have to be the best Josh Kennedy action shot I've taken to date!

I was having too much fun to worry about video, but I did get 7 Day Binge recorded.

There is another gig later in April at Martini Ranch scheduled. I can't wait. And really hope they have Strange Young Things open again! Here's to black moods...

Road Trip

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 04:56:01 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music)
Just saw that the Blossoms are playing The Coach House on Saturday. What's that? Like a 6 hour drive? Road trip anyone? [wink]
Now Playing: The Blaze - Guest DJ Week

The Black Moods

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 12:06:00 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
One night to go - the big show at Martini Ranch. Strange Young Things and The Black Moods. It's going to be a hell of a show and a party I'm sure! Really looking forward to it!

We saw Josh and Bobby last night (where Josh confirmed that we'll be there tomorrow night). They busted out a new cover - No Excuses by Alice In Chains. Such a good choice for those two, I hope they keep doing it.

We also chatted about the Ashbrook, and Josh told us how he almost lost the CD he had to rehearse off, and did loose the set list / track list for the CD. Hilarious story, since we know exactly where that is! [smile] Funny stuff!

Guest DJ Week On The Blaze

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 02:29:19 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
So I really gave it to The Blaze regarding the website and lack on information on Guest DJ Week. Credit where credit is due, the schedule was updated a few days later. So why was I so harsh? It wasn't to be negative, it was purely through frustration, because Guest DJ Week is so good.

I've been listening each day, which I guess is easier being on the Arizona timezone. From the outset, there were only two guests listed that I were familiar with (other than Phoenix New Times writers), both of which I funnily enough know (to whatever extent) these days. But with that said, I've gotten something out of each hour thus far.

The week technically kicked off with Leah Miller with Sarah Ventre on Point Of Ventre on Sunday. Despite it being two hours pretty much of the Gin Blossoms with much talk of Doug Hopkins and some of the older scene scattered in there, it was pretty much a disheartening two hours. That whole 90's scene is how I got into everything, and you'd expect that it'd be a dream two hours coming over the airwaves (or technically streaming over the internet [wink] it's still just easier even though now I live within The Blaze's AM range) for me. But it really just made me mad. The focus wasn't on nothing more than how great Mill Avenue was, and virtually disregarding everything after Mill Avenue fell. The amount that it wrote off the old school musicians that are still out there night after night, the incredible new bands that are coming up through the scene, the venues and owners that are still giving these bands a home and everyone else in this town that gives a shit and supports local original music, despite the fact that it's no longer 1988 with the Del Montes playing at Long Wongs every Tuesday.

Leah's entitled to her opinion, but to get on a local radio show and simply lament your hey day and write off the later scene is in my mind pretty bad form. This is the second time I've heard her do this (both on the same local music radio show). I'd kept my thoughts to myself the first time around, but I don't see any point in doing so at this point. For a long time I looked at Leah as a local music supporter and afficiando. Clearly that was misplaced.

The upside is that it gives me even more respect for those supporters that didn't lay down and give up on it because some things about the scene changed. There are plenty of sed supporters out there. No one anyone is happy about Mill Ave, but there are plenty of people who didn't get over it after Mill Ave, and they're the reason why we're seeing music at least 3 times a week, and on many nights have delimas on who we're actually going to pick to see.

If you're not part of the solution, you're just part of the problem.

We did get a mention during the show. And I hold no ill will to Sarah for calling me "Chris". [wink] Luckily Katie doesn't know anyone called Chris, so I don't have any reason to get suspicious. [smile] ha!

First up yesterday was Chris Bianco, who played a nice mix of local and non local tunes. Of particular note were his last 3 picks - Lead Thoughts (Dead Hot Workshop), This Life (Jason Longo), Midnight Radio (Greyhound Soul). Great picks. I've heard Dead Hot a lot on The Blaze often listening to Point Of Ventre, but when you're not expecting it it's pretty exciting to hear a Dead Hot Workshop tune on the radio, even if it is on The Blaze. Points to Chris also for mentioning Teak's and the Dead Hot show on Friday.

I got a lot out of Chris Hansen Orf's hour, largely because he played a lot of artists that I hear a lot about here (especially out here talking to people) but don't really know well at all. Uncle Tuepelo, Calexico etc. Plus within the first 10 minutes, Chris went on to state that the scene these days are better than when the whole scene existed between 5th and University and every band sounded like the Gin Blossoms. What a refreshing point of view Chris! [smile] Not that a lot of the bands that "sounded like the Gin Blossoms" (or moreso came up in that scene - "sounds like the Gin Blossoms" is more a stereotype than everything) aren't a lot of my quintessential Tempe favorites, and I don't think either period is technically "better", but it was a delight to hear after Sunday! In all it was a good hour of artists that I know that my favorites are influenced by. Which makes for great radio - having someone hand pick this stuff for you, without having to go and do all the work. I don't know how much will become my favorites necessarily, but was quite useful and gave me a bit of an education that I was looking for.

Today the guys from AZPunk was another really cool hour. Not because I'm in the punk scene, but because there was a lot of talk about which was quite interesting, both from a music and a tech perspective. And we've been throwing around ideas for a local music website / portal for quite a while now. Plus, it's just nice to hear from people who have similar ideas and passions that have gone ahead, done it and been successful. Again, great radio in my mind.

More to come in the following days I'm sure...
Now Playing: The Blaze - Guest DJ Week

Get Yourself Back To School

Cool video from St. Pattie's Day

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 05:19:58 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Here's some of the cooler video of Strange Young Things from St. Pattie's Day....


That's Rock N' Roll

Stephen Ashbrook @ Martini Ranch

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, March 20, 2010 - 11:17:54 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Photobox ImagePretty cool night of music tonight. It was a weigh up between Muddy Violets or Stephen Ashbrook. The latter which we wanted to do, however due to finances and that we've seen Ashbrook a few times, we decided on the former. However, a phone call earlier this afternoon, and getting added to the guest list saw our plans change.

Photobox ImageWe had thought that Stephen was bringing his band down, as there was an announcement that the show was going to have a "new guitarist". However, the phone call informed us otherwise - Josh was playing guitar.

It was a really cool show. Stephen clearly remembered me from the last show - or maybe it was the first show we saw in AZ, and from stage questioned my decision not to wear my Dead Hot tee.

The band consisted of Thomas and Curtis (as usual), and was my first time seeing Ashbrook with a guitarist. Josh did a stand up job, as if that needs to be said. On talking to him he had minimal rehearsal time (a few hours before the show), and watching Thomas instruct him on certain songs from the other side of stage was nothing short of entertaining.

We hung out for a bit, but before long I had spent too much time in Scottsdale and hence we headed off, deciding along the way to hit up Teakwoods. We walked in right before Muddy Violets were starting, so it was impeccable timing. And pretty cool to see Stephen, and still make it in time to see Muddy Violets. Teakwoods was such a good way to relax and shake off the effects of Scottsdale. Muddy Violets were full band acoustic. Which is pretty much an oxymoron. It makes me think of Norman and Rock Pig - "the most aggressive acoustic heavy metal". At one point I did question how much it would be different with electric guitars. [smile]

Good set, and we were glad we opted for heading to Teakwoods instead of going straight home. Tonight I definitely noticed Brandon's ridiculously fast strumming speed. Once the band had finished, Brandon closed out the night with their bass player, with a bunch of quite impressive songs.

So it was a pretty cool night, especially since we ended up catching both Ashbrook and Muddy Violets.

From The Show Conflicts File

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, March 19, 2010 - 12:53:17 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Direct from the 'regrettable show conflicts' file - Dead Hot Workshop were originally scheduled to be playing at Teakwoods tonight. A week or so ago they were re-scheduled for next week. Which admittedly does free us up to see Shelby James & The Crying Shames tonight.

The terrible news however is that next Friday is the big Black Moods show at Martini Ranch, with Strange Young Things opening, which takes precedence over everything. Which is really saying something, but it's extremely rare that anything trumps Dead Hot Workshop! The more concerning news is that we're lead to believe that Thomas and Marc are going to open things up - we can only assume, at least until we get confirmation, that that has also been rescheduled also. Now that really hurts. Though, if Strange Young Things don't go on til 10:30, we might be able to work something out! [smile]

Take Your Aesthetic Atrophy...

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, March 19, 2010 - 12:12:11 am
(Posted Under: Rants, Music Music, Phoenix New Times)
And you know what can you do with it.

This is a follow on from the last post. I could have written it a few weeks ago, but got over it, however the events of the last post have me fired up enough to do it.

I don't have any issue with the primary underlying sentiment - be open to new music. That's a great one, and who can argue with that? We all have friends who like pretty much two bands, and we all know how tying that can be. Similarly, Cizmar's first article (The Scourge of Aesthetic Atrophy, and the Top 50 Albums of the Aughts - Phoenix New Times, Dec 31, 2009) wasn't too opossable, and more or less carried the simple message. It would have been fine if 'aesthetic atrophy' had ended there. But it didn't.

There are so many things wrong with the follow up article. It started with a huge problem from the outset - the title. "Nothing Not New: I'm No Critic But I'm Also Not a Fan. I'm a Listener". Maybe it's just me, but what is the point of just listening to music? Any sort of art form is suppose to illicit a response. Negative or positive. But a response. I'm both a fan and a critic, probably both equally as passionately. I know what I like, and I know what I don't like. I've been listening to music for the last 32 years, so you would hope that I would.

With that said, I don't think my music tastes could be classed as anything but confined. At least as far of genres go. Throughout the years there have been slow periods here and there, but overall, and especially of the last 5 years, there has been a lot of variety in new music, and at many times, old music that was new to me. Similarly they've been numerous bands that I've written off initially, only to become a fairly big fan of later down the track. There are several instances of that all over my blog. But y'know, it's all related, all tied together (typically geographically based - ie: local Tempe music or projects) and I listen to it and like it for a reason - not for the sake of listening to new music, nor to be a "listener". The implication that there is going to be any worth in me listening to the next Nickleback record that comes out is just ludicrous. And unneeded. There is a remote possibility that there it may have a song that strikes a chord with me - but with the amount that I currently listen to, do I need to loose 40 odd minutes of my life to find out? Considering that I'm not a fan of Canadian music, any previous Nickleback works, or any bands related to Nickleback? In my opinion, no. And I'm fine with that.

And then there is Bennett's definition of being a critic, and the implication that is wrong. News to the wise - I am infallible in my ascribing opinion. I am always right when it comes to my opinion. Why? Because I'm listening to music for me. I'm not listening to it for anyone else. And anyone on the receiving end of my infallible opinion can take it and form their own opinion. Probably an infalliable one. Anyone who takes my infallible opinion and takes it for gospel without any thought simply needs to grow a pair. It doesn't bother me terribly whether you agree with my opinion or don't. I wouldn't have survived this long with my musical tastes if I did. If we agree, that's great, we've got some cool musical common ground. If you don't, then we don't, that's cool man. My opinion that Dead Hot Workshop is one of bands to grace a valley stage is 100% correct. If your opinion is that they're not, you're 100% correct. It's a fucking opinion! And is perfectly valid when they're honestly believed by the opinion holder. Nothing shits me more than fence sitters without an opinion, and sadly the article is advocating just that, encouraging us to be "listeners". If you don't have an opinion on artistic expression such as music, you're just missing the point.

One of the bigger issues of contention with us is the inclusion of "avant-garde" as a type of music that the lack of appreciation thereof is a symptom of 'aesthetic atrophy'. The article goes on to imply that readers of the column can be helped (by the oh so wise New Times music writers staff) to overcome this. Arrogant much!?!? When it comes to "avant-garde" music, I have to quote my most respected songwriter / guitarists - "It all sounds like gibberish to me and I don't give a rats ass if they break up tomorrow". I don't know if there is anything more accurate than that to sum up this "avant-garde" music. It'd be interesting to hear his take on the New Times article if he were still around.

Avante-garde music blows. I should know, it's the latest "hip" music scene in the Phoenix area and I've been exposed to enough of it - both prior to moving out here, and as a result of moving out here. The irony of course is, with the amount that it is embraced around here, is it still techincally avant-guarde? [wink] On certain given nights around town you could be mistaken for thinking it was the status quo. It's horrible (read: my infallible ascribing opinion), and there are numerous bands that I'd rather chain smoke outside of Yucca or sit in the car than actually watch. It ain't my thing, and it ain't going to my thing. I won't mention any of the local offenders by name. Different strokes for different folks, and I'm all for them letting their freak flag fly. Plus, it just doesn't seem right to me to trash a local act unprovoked (and this beef is actually with the New Times, not any particular band). There are also musicians that I respect who are into such "avante-garde" bands, and I can respect that, but at the same time, it doesn't make me have any less of a negative reaction to the music.

And the biggest issue of the article is the sheer fact that both Cizmar and Bennett come off as preachy, self important, elitist assholes. I don't know, maybe that's the imagine the New Times music department is going for these days. And seriously a "ground breaking experiment"? I have no inherently issue with "Nothing Not New" project, but come on guys, let's be honest here - it's your fucking job. I don't know at what point reviewing nothing but new music wasn't the job of a music reviewer. So you not reviewing best of's - that's hardly a revolutionary slant nor is it anything close to "ground breaking". I don't think it's anything other than an excuse to write a preachy fluff article and attempt to coin a new phrase. It just ain't that clever.

Furthermore, it's makes it's going to be harder to give articles authored by Bennett credibility given the roll over response to the diagnosis of 'aesthetic atrophy'. I certainly know what my response to Cizmar (or anyone) who tried to give me a diagnosis of 'aesthetic atrophy' would be. And it would have been significantly different to Bennett's.

As they say, everyone's a critic. So don't be a critic. And you know what? Don't be a fan, either. Just be a listener.
I say fuck that! I'll continue to be a fan, and a critic. I'll continue to listen to music that gives me a rush, and vermently argue against the music that makes me want to puke. In other words, I'll listen for a reason, and have an opinion. And along the way will find some good new music. I always have, long before professor Cizmar coined 'aesthetic atrophy'. Who knows if the Phoenix New Times is going to be any help in that regard. Maybe if they start reporting on music rather than how clever they all are. One can only hope.

As for anyone that wants to diagnose me with 'aesthetic atrophy' - my top played album for the year is a disc yet to be released. But that ain't because it's fighting off 'aesthetic atrophy'. It's just that I know what I like - and I know who will deliver.

We're The New Times...

...And We Think We're So Clever

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 11:28:56 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
So in this house we've heard enough of aesthetic atrophy. We were over it when we first read it in the Phoenix New Times a few weeks ago. See Nothing Not New: I'm No Critic But I'm Also Not a Fan. I'm a Listener. Not unlike Cizmar's "Downtown Is Ovah", which was cute for about a lunch time.

The original beef began with the suggestion by the original article that there is a problem with rejecting Avante Garde music, with the so called coined term 'aesthetic atrophy' by Martin Cizmar. That beef soon turned into a beef around 'aesthetic atrophy' finding itself a wikipedia entry in record time, and it being referenced in more or less every following issue of the New Times.

Katie wrote a letter about it, and since we hadn't picked up a hard copy of the New Times today, so I just went to the New Times online to see if it had been published. It hadn't. While on the site, I took a look if there were any new music articles to check out. The review on the new Drive By Truckers caught my eye.

I'd hardly count myself as a huge DBT fan, but every song I have heard has pretty much blown me away. Saw them on Letterman last week, figured it was worthwhile reading the review.

Didn't get any further than two short paragraphs into the review before seeing 'aesthetic atrophy'. Hyperlinked. To the wikipedia entry. Excuse me while I fucking puke. The "we're the New Times and we're so fucking cool and clever" tone of much of what is written is so asinine.

Thoughts on aesthetic atrophy to follow...

St. Patties Day

Mark & Emmett, Los Guys, Strange Young Things & Hairforce

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosWednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:38:25 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Okay, so St. Pattie's Day was done in style by us this year. All centered around local music, of course!

RT O'Sullivans - Superstition Springs - Mark Zubia & Emmett DeGuerva / Los Guys

Photobox ImageI think it's the first time I've done anything for St. Pattie's Day, and it was a lot of fun! The day started out at RT O'Sullivans in Mesa, with Mark Zubia and Emmett DeGuerva. Getting their early in the day meant that we got a table reasonable close to the stage which was nice. Actually, Emmett spotted us when we came in, and signaled us to a table up the front.

Photobox ImageFollowing Mark & Emmett were Los Guys. Y'know, that Mark Zubia, he's is a hard worker. [smile] We'd questioned whether Brad and Jamie were going to get to see more of Josh Kennedy, however it was Tony Martinez on pedal steel rather than Josh on lead guitar. Which did make me think how Tempe is probably the only place in the world where the amount of pedal steel we see is okay. Definitely every time I've seen Tony play - and there has been no shortage of such times - it's never overbearing or something I get sick of. Which, generally speaking, pedal steel for me needs to be used in great moderation.

The most notable part of the set was when the guys did Planets, the old Chimeras tune. That was definitely cool, and not something that I would have expected. Other than Gasoline I've never seen any old Chimeras stuff played by Mark.

Photobox ImageThere was no shortage of green attire throughout the day. I was lucky enough to have my signature Hard Rock Green Day shirt to wear. Sans that, I don't think I have anything else green to wear. It was certainly a green day, green shirts, green hats, green beer...

It was a beautiful day for it too - very sunny day. Which prompted much moving around the table to chase the ever disappearing shade from the tables umbrella. All the same, it's hard to beat an outdoor gig on a sunny day. Plus, it made for some great photos and videos.

By the time Los Guys had finished their first set, it was time for us to head over to the Superstition Springs location for Strange Young Things. Our plan had been to come back afterwards and hopefully catch the end of Tramps & Thieves. We checked with the woman on the way out, to be told that we couldn't get back in if we came back - well, not without paying the $10 cover that started at 3pm. Pretty stupid, and Katie told her so. And they did seem pretty hardcore about that. PC was walking out as we were, and commented on us being troopers, having had been there for most of the day (much like himself). Which made for the us finally introducing ourselves to PC! Given how often we see him, it was something that needed to happen, and did today. So as we walked out, the bouncer stopped him to tell him that he couldn't get back in if he left. "I'm with the band. I get paid whether I'm there to play the second set or not." ha! [smile] I can only assume they let him back in. [wink]

RT O'Sullivans - Superstition Springs - Strange Young Things

Photobox ImageThe drive out to the Superstition Spring location was longer than I'd expected. We'd initially planned to see Shelby there at midday, however that changed, and with the distance, it was probably for the best when it comes to gas. We got there pretty much on 5pm, and attempted to confirm that Strange Young Things were on next before paying the cover. No-one knew. So we just took a leap of faith, and paid the $10. And hence were not disappointed as we heard Bang The Dash being played somewhere off in the distance - which prompted us to pick up the pace and find the stage.

Photobox ImageThe boys were in fine rock 'n roll form once we found the stage. Katie's "I'm With Coco" was not lost on the boys, getting multiple mentions from the stage. Seeing these guys play outdoors and on a big stage was really worth every cent of the cover, as was the fact that they played for an hour an a half, which is probably one of the longest sets we've seen.

Brad and Jamie were suitably impressed, which we enjoyed, given that they're more or less our favorite local band. The 5pm start time, plus it not being 21+ (I don't think) didn't stop the band from freaking out the normals, nor did it censor Corey, so it was great that Brad and Jamie got to see them in their usual element and not watered down. There were some problems with some of their covers, which does nothing but illustrate that they are the pure essence of a rock 'n roll band. Fuck virtuosity, just get up there, rock out and have fun! With that said, not a beat was missed with the originals.

Photobox ImageThe huge stage didn't stop Corey from leaving it multiple times, in pure Corey fashion. I was particularly impressed when Corey, with guitar on, grabbed the mic stand, walked to the edge of the stage, paused and then continued to jump off the stage. Y'know, just to do his 'singing in front of the stage' thing he does. Major impressive, and minorly concerning moments before (I had an urge to run up and grab the mic stand for him, envisioning a disaster of broken bones!). But he landed perfectly, and proceeded to do the rest of their final song (Lonely Hearts Are Wild) from in front of the stage.

At the end of the set their were some call outs for more. So it was surprising to me when they all exited through the back of the stage. It's hard to get these guys off the stage even when no-one is calling for more! But it wasn't long before they were all back on the stage and pulled out one of their new / in the works songs "School". An absolutely great hour and a half of rock 'n roll!

Throughout the performance I was glad to at least notice one waitress sporting a "Fuck Strange Young Things" sticker. We hung out for a while so that Brad and Jamie could meet Corey and purchase a t-shirt. We're like the fact that Corey's mug is going to be worn around in Ames, Iowa when they get back.

Scottsdale - Scottsdale Block Party - Hairforce

Photobox ImageAfterwards we took off for Scottsdale. In the car I noticed that I was kinda tired. I don't know if it was the beer and sitting in the sun all day, or being drained from an hour an a half of Strange Young Things. [wink] Probably both. It was a race to get their before 8pm to take advantage of the $5 cover (rather than $20), and we made it just in the nick of time. After a bit of a walk around, with no idea of when Hairforce was playing, we went to Dos Gringos for some food. For a Scottsdale place it was pretty cool, despite being extremely noisy. After eating, we killed time waiting for Hairforce. Unfortunately there wasn't that much to do, we saw a bit of Kinch (not a favorite, but they're huge in the valley for whatever reason).

Hairforce finally played at around 10:30pm, opening with Nothin' But A Good Time. Nice! Not only does Bobby Scott...err...Scotch [wink] look the part, I was pretty impressed by what a good Bret Michaels vocal rendition he does! I was already sold on this band (for a cover/tribute band) long before I'd seen them, but opening with not only a Poison song, but the one that made me a Poison fan was too cool! Surprisingly, on drums was Rich, making the lineup that of Violet Wild other than Josh. I'm not sure what is up with Rich - whether he's a new addition, or was just sitting in with them last night. We stayed for a bunch of songs (Nothin' But A Good Time, You Give Love A Bad Name, TNT, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Rock Me Like A Hurricane, Sweet Child O'Mine) before heading off because everyone was fairly tired after such a full day of music.
Now Playing: The Replacements - Alex Chilton

The Blaze - The Best Station For Local Music?

An Open Letter To The Blaze

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, March 15, 2010 - 06:34:03 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Rants)
Okay, this has been a long time coming...

I'm into local music. That shouldn't come as any shock to anyone that has spent more than 5 minutes looking at my website. And as such, I have an interest in The Blaze, Arizona State University's college radio station. Why? For the local music content of course. The station has been named Best Station for Local Music two years in a row. Mind you, I've been tuning in for local music long before they got that recognition from the New Times.

So, what's the problem? The increasingly 'halfed assness' of the station has gotten to an all time high for me, a listener who wants to listen, but has to jump through hoops to listen. It didn't seem to be a problem years ago. But these days, finding out about something cool on The Blaze is like pulling teeth.

The latest frustration to me is guest DJ week. That's right, it's March again. And guest DJ week is something I've been tuning in for since 2006, there is generally at least one really cool guest on. The problem is that, much like last year, there is absolutely no information on it. It's happening next week, and I only happened to be reminded of the fact by accidentally stumbling across a tweet from Jay Bennett (of the Phoenix New Times) mentioning that he's guest DJ'ing on the 25th of March. There is absolutely no information of guest DJ week on The Blaze's poorly updated website, nor on any of the many (unmaintained) Blaze social networking pages. If this year is anything like last year, then it might get posted on the website the day of the start of guest DJ week (if we're lucky, I suppose). Other than the sed tweet, the only other reference anywhere I can find about it is in this Up On The Sun post from last week's Phoenix New Times. Of course, the link therein links simply links to an Up On The Sun post from last year, not surprisingly posted by Martin Cizmar who DJ'ed last year.

So? Well this is on top of the having starred at the same out of date schedule on the website for the last year. The one that is up is from the spring 2009 semester (if not earlier, actually) and is completely out of date. At least one program on that schedule has not existed for an entire year.

Now, I know it's college radio, but come on! I'm not asking for big budget changes here. Just update your website! Honestly, it would take 5 minutes at the start of the semester to get the updated schedule put up. And if no one at The Blaze can do it, I find it hard to believe that there isn't a geek at from the Comp. Sci. department that could do it. You are a University after all. Admittedly I'm not well versed in college radio, but KJ has assured me that my expectations aren't exceeding what is reasonable for college radio. And since she worked at a high school station, which was run more professionally than The Blaze is at the moment, I feel pretty confident in my complaints. Plus, The Blaze just wasn't this bad years ago.

Ironically, this comes a day after tuning in for a local music show to be greeted by dead air. Given that was the first Sunday of spring break, the radio show not being on was not a surprise (that's usual), but dead air?

So to The Blaze - lift your game. There is little point in having a radio station if no-one can get information on when to tune in. Especially when there are listeners who want to tune in. And when you're advertised as "The Best Station For Local Music" (and ironically have not had any issues updating the website to announce that) you have more a responsibility to have your shit together. Knowing when to tune in shouldn't be comparable to pulling teeth.
Now Playing: Jim Bachmann - My Guardian Angel

A Bust Of A Weekend

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, March 14, 2010 - 11:57:04 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Well, it's been somewhat of a bust of a weekend.

Brad and Jamie were supposed to get in on Friday night for their Spring Break fun in Phoenix. Due to delays in Kansas City they missed their connector in Dallas, and alas were stranded there. We saw Violet Wild at Teaks on Friday night. The plan was to pick those guys up at hopefully they'd catch the end of the show. So much for that! Shame too, as it was a good show. I am developing a reputation as Bobby's tambourine coach, which is entertaining. [smile] The upside with the Brad and Jamie situation is that the band were done by midnight, so they wouldn't have caught much.

Incredibly the next flight to Phoenix they could get was on Sunday night - which just blows my mind! On Saturday morning they opted for getting a rental car and doing the Dallas to Phoenix drive (about 17 hours). Major American Airlines fail! Given that they'd driven from Ames to Kansas City to fly out, and drove from Dallas, they effectively only flew quarter of the trip! Since they weren't here on Saturday night, we skipped Los Guys at Teaks, but stayed up to see Strange Young Things at The Rogue Bar. We showed up at midnight, and we asked for an $8 cover each! FUCK THAT! I'd much rather see them at Yucca and give the guys $14 directly than do that! So we ended up just driving back home.

The kids got into Phoenix about 9am on Sunday, hilariously at least 12 hours before the earliest they could have gotten here by waiting for a flight! Tonight we went out to Frashers to see Josh & Bobby acoustic. Weird place, and it looked like tonight was going to be another bust, and it got to 7pm with no sight of them. However, they did show up, and surprising to all of us, played until 10:30pm. Brad really wanted to see Josh play, and certainly by the end of the third set could say that he had. [wink] Afterwards we headed over to Four Peaks to eat dinner. Thankfully they we still serving dinner. Having spent the last 4 hours at Frashers, Four Peaks was an awfully welcomed and comfortable change of location. I went with my standard - it's notable that Four Peaks chicken strips remind me incredibly of apartment hunting.
Now Playing: Domo - With Friends Like These...


(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, March 12, 2010 - 09:07:42 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Well it's been a long and productive day of cleaning in preparation from Brad and Jamie's arrival. The place looks pretty damn impressive, we should do this more often! There's a novel idea.

We also found the time to put stuff up on the walls. We've only been living here for 4 months. [wink] It's been on my to do list for the last 2 weeks, but hasn't happened. But now that we've got stuff up and looking cool, it makes me wonder why we didn't just do this earlier?
Now Playing: Domo - With Friends Like These...

Mark & Emmett / A Mountain

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosThursday, March 11, 2010 - 05:34:23 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
It's been a good day. At midday we drove out to Mesa to see a lunch time outdoor Mark & Emmett gig. It was a really nice day today, and perfect for it. Unfortunately we got there a little late due to traffic, but caught most of it. I hadn't expected there to be so many people out there. Pretty nice way to spend such a nice day. We sat up the back, I had the foresight to bring the camera and tripod and got some pretty nice video of it.

Had a cool chat with Emmett afterwards. It's surprising that he isn't completely sick of seeing us, given how many times we've seen him play in the last week and a half. However, he had a shit big grin on his face from stage when we rocked up and waved. Probably happy to see people under 60.

Photobox ImageAfterwards we stocked up on Vegemite taking advantage of $10 off at World Market, and then decided to climb A Mountain. I've wanted to do it for a long time, and we finally made it happen today. A fair step incline to begin with, though it got better after the initially part. Which funnily enough, is paved (well, black topped) and from the bottom it looks like the easiest part of the climb. Not so much. Some pretty nice views from up there.

Photobox ImageWe proceeded all the way up to the top, where the TV / radio (for the Blaze if I recall correctly) is, which gave more good views. Though, unfortunately the tower obsquired the view to the west, and we weren't came to climb over last few rocks, mostly because Katie was in flip flops and had done good just to make it this far. On the way up we obviously passed the 'A', and from up close it was quite easy to see where the away team had vandalized it (painted it purple) recently as we saw on the news. From the top it was also cool to look down into Sun Devil Stadium.
Now Playing: Marc Norman & Thomas Laufenberg - Don't Care

Marc & Thomas @ The Tap

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 01:17:29 am
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
It's been 4 years 10 months, and god knows how many days since the last time I've seen this. Marc Norman. Thomas Laufenberg. An acoustic guitar. A microphone. The Yucca Tap Room.

Thanks to the marvels of Facebook we heard that Marc & Thomas were going to play at open mic night at midnight - about 3 hours before it was set to happen. And hence is our brilliance behind living 3 minutes away from the Yucca. We rolled up at about 11:45. By the time the pair were ready to take the stage, it was obvious that we weren't the only ones who'd come out to witness this, even on short notice.

It was definitely all killer, no filler, the guys breaking out To The Point. Same Sad Story and Ten Tons - great picks for their set. Marc was the exact same form as I remember in 2005 - announcing that it was a gig, and keeping everyone informed once they reached the half way point (after To The Point), and their "encore" (after Sad Story). [smile] Glorious!

Good times. It needs to happen more - well, not necessarily the 3 song set at open mic, but you know what I mean. According to Thomas, it will, and in the very near future. [wink]

International Pop Overthrough - Night 3

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, March 7, 2010 - 10:10:03 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Last day of International Pop Overthrow in Phoenix today. We'd have liked to have seen Sugar High last night, but we couldn't really afford or justify the $10 cover each for each night.

We headed out to Scottsdale to meet Aaron before hand, for the Violet Wild gig. Only to arrive at American Junkie, killing time before discovering that the gig (well, Violet Wild opening anyway) was canceled. Which makes me thankful we saw them on Friday Night at 910. By which time it was about 4, so we decided to head straight from there to Hollywood Alley.

Grabbing a both, combined with the Alley's free wi-fi made for a good Sunday afternoon. The first band that we knew were Tramps & Thieves at 6. Leading up to that it was hit and miss with the bands. Admittedly, today didn't seem particularly well attended. Maybe it was the Sunday factor. But maybe it's because there should be more local draw cards vs. minor bands. It's a slippery slope I guess, having a festival to showcase new / less known bands is a good thing, but on the other hand, I'm not sure if how effective it is when there aren't many people to see it. Having a few more well loved local bands would probably make a difference.

Tramps did a nice little set. As Emmett said, early and sober tonight was a lot different to Yucca on Friday night. [wink] Up next was supposed to be Let Go, though a few days ago their slot changed to "TBA". Unfortunately, indeed they were no longer on the bill and weren't replaced by anyone. Hence next up were Domo - one of the bands we were definitely there to see. And weren't disappointed. It's only the second time we've been able to see them, and much like the last night, the experience leaves you wishing they played out a lot more. The set seemed to be all new songs (much like the last time we saw them at Yucca), a huge wall of sound that is really impressive coming from a three piece. I got pretty much the whole set on video, which was cool as we want to learn the new songs, especially Lawrence, Kansas.

The irony with that is that afterwards I asked Jason if he had a copy of Sweet Creepy to buy - thinking he was the one who runs their twitter page. Failed on that account, but (surely because it's the second time we've asked) he came by our booth later and handed us a CD-R and said "hope you enjoy this". Initially I just though it was a copy of the song "With Friends Like These...". Which worked out well, since on several occasions Katie has asked whether I had it on my iPod - which I don't. Sorted. Though, as it turns out, the CD handed to us appears to be the forthcoming album! Sweet! We've always been behind the game with Domo. Well, not behind the game per se, but certainly when it comes to owning their albums. Sweet Creepy came out 5 years ago, and we still haven't got a copy (though, not through lack of trying and systematically checking every Zia Records location in the valley), and it wasn't until we got to Phoenix that we picked up a full copy of Baby Mercury. So to have a copy of the new album (or what we believe to be the album) ahead of it's release next month is pretty damn sweet. And I can say that it's 14 tracks of power pop goodness that we've come to expect from Domo! It's nice that we'll have the opportunity to learn all the songs before the CD release party. Looking forward to buying a real copy at the release party, but love the fact we have this to tide us over.

Up next were The Lustkillers, a national touring band that looked remarkably like the Beat Angels had reformed. Not as catchy as them, but still the balls to the wall rock was enjoyed by myself. Sadly the sound levels were to the level of slight distortion which did kind of mar things some what. The band had brought their own lighting, which was cool and I wish they'd leave at the usually dark Hollywood Alley stage. There was a moment I thought we were watching Strange Young Things when the guitarist jumped off the stage and played a solo while rolling around on one of the Alley's tables. A move that I'm sure would have spoken to Corey Gloden.

The last band was a 60's psychedelic throwback band. We stayed for a couple of songs, but decided that it was time to make a move from the booth that we'd been sitting at pretty much for the last 5 hours. [smile]
Now Playing: Domo - With Friends Like These

Gig Of The Month?

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, March 5, 2010 - 03:54:58 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Live Shows)
As if the fact that The Black Moods are playing this month wasn't good enough as it is. But it just got better. Opening for them is Strange Young Things.

This folks is going to be a helleva gig!

Baja Wednesday

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosWednesday, March 3, 2010 - 11:25:41 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Photobox ImageFun night at Teakwoods tonight. I appreciate that it's a lot lighter when we get down there. Tonight the setting sun gave a cool desert ambiance across the stage for a good portion of the first set, which I really enjoyed. And it also made for some good photos. Set list wise the boys pulled out Time After Time which was a really cool addition to their set.

After the boys finished we didn't wait around much, heading quickly over to The Vig to see Scotty and Steve. I must say that I do appreciate that The Vig is a short jaunt down Indian School - and that Scotty & Steve play right after Josh & Bobby. It does make things economical fuel wise. If you're down in Phoenix anyway, why not make it a full night of music. Fun times.

Funny story - when we jumped in the car, we heard Water & Chemicals come on the radio - which seemed incredibly ironic, to the point where we considered running in to tell the guys. Trying to work out what the station was, and loosing the signal, things became obvious. The car parked in front of obvious have an FM transmitter and probably typically use 88.9FM for it. Entirely conceivable, because it's one of the few frequencies in the valley that doesn't have a station on it. It further made sense, as the people in the car in front of us were there to see Josh & Bobby. So despite my "hey, that's not my iPod, it's not plugged in" was true. it was actually someone else's, not the song getting a spin on the radio.


(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, March 1, 2010 - 07:52:28 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music)
Trolling the current list of Blossoms tour dates over the weekend, I noticed that they are playing the Temecula Valley Balloon And Wine Festival again this year.

Should we go? [wink] I know someone out there can appreciate this!

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