Thursday, March 20

News: The Republic Tigers Announce Tour, Do Letterman

Hot off a successful trip to SXSW, SSM faves The Republic Tigers will hit the road this spring in support of their forthcoming debut LP Keep Color, out May 6 on Chop Shop Records. The band are sticking to the eastern portion of the country for now, but I'm sure they'll head out west soon enough (perhaps this summer?). And, on May 7, The Republic Tigers make their TV debut with a slot on The Late Show with David Letterman. Full tour below:
Apr 8 2008 8:00P
Jack Rabbit Slim’s Albany, New York
Apr 9 2008 8:00P
Kirkland Arts Center Clinton, New York
Apr 10 2008 8:00P
Iron Horse Northampton, Massachusetts
Apr 11 2008 8:00P
Toquet Hall Teen Center Westport, Connecticut
Apr 13 2008 8:00P
Great Scott Boston, Massachusetts
Apr 14 2008 8:00P
Southpaw Brooklyn, New York
Apr 15 2008 8:00P
Bowery Ballroom New York, New York
Apr 17 2008 8:00P
DC9 Washington DC, Washington DC
Apr 19 2008 8:00P
Salem High School Plymouth, Michigan
May 7 2008 10:30P
David Letterman New York, New York
Photo by the great Forester, who finally posted pics from The Republic Tigers' show at Spaceland.

Live: RAMP @ Crash Mansion -3/15/08

Last Saturday night, I caught '70s underground funk legends RAMP at Crash Mansion. Sampled by Tribe Called Quest and PM Dawn, RAMP recently reunited after a three decade hiatus, and have been touring Europe and select U.S. venues. They were great, funky, fun, and awesome for dancing. Drummer John Manuel and guitarist Landy Shores were standouts. Their only release - 1977's Come Into Knowledge - is available at Amoeba Records in vinyl (and maybe CD, too).

Tuesday, March 11

Live: Cut Copy @ The Echo - 3/10/08

Cut Copy played a sold out show at The Echo on Monday night. I arrived with an extra ticket and had no problem selling it to one of the 100+ hopeful concertgoers queued up outside the venue. After a quick face-value transaction, I slipped inside to catch the end of openers Walter Meego, who are definitely worth checking out.

After a brief equipment change, Cut Copy took the stage and got right down to business, blazing through an almost non-stop 45 minute set. They played a ton of new stuff as well as selections from Bright Like Neon Love. For as much live instrumentation and vocals they use, Cut Copy are still a dance act at heart, and the amped up crowd thrived on the band's tight, sleek energy. I'm usually not a fan of sweating at shows, but dancing and clapping to Cut Copy is an exception I'll always make.

Partial Setlist:
"So Haunted"
"Hearts On Fire"
"Lights and Music"
"Time Stands Still"
"Going Nowhere"
"That Was Just A Dream/Zap Zap"

Upcoming Shows:
Mar 12 2008 8:00P
Karma Lounge - Modular SXSW Showcase Austin, Texas
Mar 15 2008 8:00P
Studio B New York, New York
Mar 17 2008 8:00P
Mercury Lounge SOLD OUT!! w/ holy ghost and fever New York, New York
Mar 29 2008 8:00P
V FESTIVAL Sydney Sydney, New South Wales
Mar 30 2008 8:00P
V FESTIVAL gold coast gold Coast, Queensland
Apr 5 2008 8:00P
V FESTIVAL Melbourne Melbourne, Victoria
Apr 6 2008 8:00P
V FESTIVAL Perth Perth, Western Australia
Apr 23 2008 7:00P
Scala London, London and South East
Apr 25 2008 8:00P
COACHELLA Indio, California
Apr 26 2008 8:00P
MEZZANINE w/ simian mobile disco & black kids San Francisco, California
Apr 28 2008 8:00P
DOUG FIR LOUNGE w/ black kids Portland, Oregon
Apr 29 2008 8:00P
Richards On Richards w/ black kids Vancouver, British Columbia
Apr 30 2008 8:00P
NEUMO’S w/ black kids Seattle, Washington
May 2 2008 8:00P
URBAN LOUNGE w/ black kids Salt Lake City, Utah
May 3 2008 8:00P
LARIMER LOUNGE w/ black kids Denver, Colorado
May 5 2008 8:00P
WAITING ROOM w/ black kids Omaha, Nebraska
May 6 2008 8:00P
7th Street Entry w/ black kids Minneapolis, Minnesota
May 7 2008 8:00P
ABBEY PUB w/ black kids Chicago, Illinois
May 8 2008 8:00P
MAGIC STICK w/ black kids Detroit, Michigan
May 9 2008 8:00P
LEE’S PLACE w/ black kids Toronto, Ontario
May 10 2008 8:00P
Cabaret Musee Juste Pour Rine w/ black kids Montreal, Quebec
May 12 2008 8:00P
PARADISE w/ black kids Boston, Massachusetts
May 13 2008 8:00P
STUDIO B - w/ black kids Brooklyn, New York
May 14 2008 8:00P
Bowery Ballroom w/ Mobius Band / T&T (Tim Goldsworthy & Tim Sweeney) New York City, New York
May 15 2008 8:00P
BLACK CAT w/ black kids Washington DC, Washington DC
May 16 2008 8:00P
PURE w/ black kids Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 17 2008 8:00P
SONAR - w/black kids Baltimore, Maryland

Monday, March 3

Live: Grizzly Bear @ Walt Disney Concert Hall - 3/1/08

On the first day of March, I trekked down to the Walt Disney Concert Hall with Kfuture and aspiring MC Greater Good for a very special evening with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Grizzly Bear. As you may recall, we were able to score front-row tickets through some Ticketmaster screw-up. My god, these were the best seats I've ever had for anything. If I had been so daring, I could have reclined and propped my feet up on the stage, which was only about three feet high and right in front of us. Unreal.

We arrived about three minutes before the Philharmonic started. Conducted by Joana Carneiro (who put the whole night together), the Phil performed Boccherini's Ritirata notturna di Madrid, Britten's Four Sea Interludes, and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. The first piece featured dueling percussionists, one of which was right in front of us. It was incredible to watch the musician start by tapping the drum with his fingers and then eventually escalate to annihilating the skins with sticks à la Explosions In The Sky. Also great was the ability to watch Carneiro's face throughout the performance and filter out the sound of each particular instrument. I knew the Phil would be top-notch, but now I'm definitely going to make more of an effort to attend their performances.

Anyway, the Phil was great, but the main event was Grizzly Bear. We snuck out for the intermission and when I returned the stage had been transformed for Grizzly Bear's set. Directly in front of my seat was Chris Taylor's insane vocal/bass/clarinet/flute/accordian/sample/delay/looping/feather rig, with which he produced myriad sounds and layering, and much of the band's atmospheric elements. To the right of him was Ed Droste, who has the strongest and purest set of pipes in the group and also played some great riffs on his Telecaster and autoharp. Next was Daniel Rossen, the veritable anchor of the band with regard to rhythm and vocals. Finally was drummer Christopher Bear who ran some delays on his kit and also triggered a variety of samples/synths. Everyone sang.

The performance was beautiful and complete, featuring the tracks "Easier", "Little Brother", "He Hit Me", "Knife", "On a Neck, On a Spit", and "Shift", among many others. Each track was executed with near-masterful technique and the sounds blended perfectly (certainly a result of the performance itself and the acoustics.) Grizzly Bear seemed relaxed and calm, and very very appreciative of the venue and crowd. Taylor even remarked that he wished his clarinet teacher had been there.

It was an incredible evening overall, definitely to become a highlight of the 2008 Los Angeles concert season. And it is so inspiring to see the WDCH booking bands like Grizzly Bear, Cornelius and Neko Case both with and without accompaniments from the Philharmonic.

FYI: The WDCH is extremely strict about photography, which is probably a good thing overall. I was able to squeeze off a few shots, posted below. Also, L.A. Times article here, source of the top photo.

Saturday, March 1

Live: Cat Power @ The Wiltern - 2/29/08

On Leap Day, The Lady Doc and I caught a beautiful performance by Cat Power at The Wiltern. We cozied up in some excellent Loge seats just as the opener finished. Awhile later, The Dirty Delta Blues Band took the stage and proceeded to warm up the crowd with their easy, fluid chops. As good as they were, everyone was obviously awaiting Chan Marshall's first appearance. Thankfully, a glowing chanteuse entered stage left and immediately got down to business. Marshall treated us to a polished, golden-throated selection from her catalog, lulling the crowd into a serene state of consciousness. What I love about Marshall is how she forgoes the convention of most female vocalists who constantly belt it out. Instead, Marshall relies on subtle beauty and restraint, and she does so to perfect effect.

Check out her recent appearance on Morning Becomes Eclectic. And, for related work, do pick up SSM's highly-recommended You Follow Me, by Nina Nastasia and Jim White, who happens to be the drummer for The Dirty Delta Blues Band.