Monday, May 14, 2012

Week of Music 2012 - Midwest, USA

This week has been an incredible mix of live music for me, and of a ton of different styles. I listen to a lot of different genres of music, so this should give you a feel for how eclectic my iPod is. I won’t review each one in depth, but I wanted to let some people know what I’ve been listening to these days.

May 5th – Yanni in Moline, Illinois. I’ve been a Yanni fan for years (yeah, really. Long-haired guys stick together.) This is the fifth time I’ve seen him live, and while it wasn’t the best time, it was pretty darn good. He played with a smaller live orchestra than previous tours, but still put on a great show. Sure, he prances around the stage a lot, but he loves what he does and he’s actually good at it. Great show made even more awesome by sitting between my nephew and father, who were both cracking wise most of the show. Also hilarious, there was a 15 year old girl in front of me (who clearly had been forced to attend by her embarrassing mother) who hater her life because she sat less than a foot from my screaming loudly self. Hahahaha. Loved it.

May 5th – House party in Davenport, Iowa. Coach and I met up after the Yanni concert to see some friends of mine play a house party. Kings are a local band featuring members of a band I used to play in a few years back. Great guys and really good music. We also saw Haddonfield, A Casual Affair, and Words Like Daggers. Those were the loud groups. There were also two rappers from Chicago spittin’ rhymes – Errol Hemm and Milky Way. Great house party filled with every cliché known to the modern universe. Metal, rap, d-bags, hipsters, girl fights, homeless people, police, illegal substances, underage drinking, peeing in corners, loud break-ups, public hook-ups, computer wreckings, bottle smashings, etc. You name it, it was there and awesome.

May 7th – Mastodon and Ghost in Maplewood, Minnesota. Ghost is a terrible band that somehow became famous for their schtick of wearing monk robes while playing and the lead singer wears a skeleton mask and is dressed as the pope. Worst gimmick ever, especially when your music isn’t worth a crap. They sound like a watered-down King Diamond without actually having King Diamond on vocals. Opeth had to cancel due to the singer having some sort of head injury and being rushed to the emergency room in St. Paul. No matter – I don’t like them anyway, plus it meant Mastodon would play longer. They played a fantastic show, even playing some songs they hadn’t tried in a while to fill the time. The muppet guitarist had some voice problems, but was drinking hot tea and managed to pull off an excellent performance, despite being a little scratchy. Amazing band that I love to see live. Also, they have some of the best merch in music today.

May 11th – Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve liked this somber rock band for a few years now, since my friend Babo recommended them to me. Live, they’re extremely somber and it always amuses me to watch people move and sway as their form of rocking out at a live show. Really amusing. D.Rough went with me and she was equally amused. They actually sound pretty good live, much better than I even expected. But it was sort of a downer. We missed the other bands that played with them, but it was for a good cause (delicious dinner that went longer than we expected).

May 12th – Saltee and Steve Kaul and the Brass Kings in Minneapolis, MN. M.Giant invited us to come see his old instructor play this show. I was very interested when he told me Saltee is a Cello, Guitar, and Beatbox trio. Really an interesting mix of sounds from this group. They played a few covers I recognized and few originals. They also hired some break dancers for a few songs which was pretty interesting to watch. Great dancers and the crowd loved it. I was impressed with this band, but I do have issues with “jam bands”, which these guys fell into the category of. The opening band, Steve Kaul and the Brass Kings was kind of a fun bluegrass band with a steel guitar, a washboard, a washtub bass, and a fiddle. I really liked these guys a lot.

May 13th – Meshuggah, Baroness, and Decapitated in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I ended up missing Decapitated for a list of reasons, but I did manage to catch Baroness. Which I’m regretful of. I loathe this band. I’m sorry. This band shouldn’t have been on this tour and they’re basically a singy indie rock band that happens to be playing with their amps on 8, rather than 6. That’s the only difference. Singy and boring. That’s Baroness. (This I'M SURE will incite a lot of people, but I’m sorry I have my own opinion about this band. Clearly, it isn’t because I’m not open to new styles of music – see above, morons.) I drank as many drinks as I could during their set just so I’d have something to do rather than get mad that I had to keep listening to them. Luckily, First Avenue in Minneapolis is GREAT for people-watching. However, Meshuggah is an incredible band. I have no idea how they do what they do. So technical and always incredibly tight. No slop at all. Just robot-like drumming, brutal vocals, and a wall of 7-string guitars crushing you down and then chopping you up with surgical-precision percussive rhythms. I continue to proclaim (and have for years) THIS band is one that makes me want to stop playing music all together. I’ll never be able to play this and it is so advanced it makes me not even want to try. I’ll be content to sit back and shake my head in amazement, grinning from ear to ear. LOVED this show.

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