Friday, April 26, 2013
Many songs were familiar from the Downtown/Union repertoire, but here sounded more emotional and personal. I was particularly intrigued by his final song which was based on his own experiences in Cambodia as a child and the historical upheaval he experienced. It's tale of terror, violence and flight reminds me of the Arcade Fire song "Haiti" about Régine Chassagne's similar situation, whose sad commonality is not restricted to a single location.
I spoke to Bonorath afterward about it and he related the story of his family's middle-of-the-night getaway from their home in Cambodia and their ultimate arrival in California. A harrowing tale. His ability to express all this in song is clearly his release and I'm happy he shares it with us. Oh, and he's a pretty descent guitar player on top of that.
My buddies, Haunted Summer were on second and I stayed to listen to a few song before I had to huddle in a pow-wow business meeting (music is a demanding mistress). But from what I heard it is getting stronger and more definite each time I see then. The sexy, head trip music of Bridgette and John seems to take shape somewhere in the space between your ears. They feed you all their hypnotic sounds and leave your brain and senses to figure it out and put it all together making you feel like a collaborator. It's feeding your head in the finest sense. (Look, in the photo above, they made the lights melt!) Just about the time you pass Saturn you lose all earthly connections. Here's a link to some Haunted Summer music.
This was counter balanced by the heroic blast of rock and roll provided by The Happy Casualties. If you think you've heard this band before, you owe it to yourself to go see them again, because they are really on a roll right now. Confident, almost brazen, they command the stage with a strut and determination to envelope you in their blast of hot rock. Look forward to the new record they're working on. It could be a game-changer. Congratulations!
Sorry I had to duck out before the final band, Circus Atari Acrobats, because it sounds like more in the genre of "Illuminati Puppet Rock", which, as if you couldn't tell, is a genre I like. This is a week of night-after-night shows so I had to leave, as I must pace myself...or die.
Meanwhile, Todd sat alone at the bar...er, wait a minute...
Posted by Brad at 1:34 PM
Saturday, April 20, 2013
But it was the music that transported me out of myself and when Rob started with a new song that was bursting with rapid-fire lyrics, you had to let everything go and just LISTEN. Despite the bar chatter, he persisted and sang two songs alone, the second being "Counterbalance". Now, shorn of facial hair (see above), his expressions are more readable heightening the raw emotion of the songs.
As soon as I arrived home that night and turned on the TV, Watertown, Massachusetts was under siege, and the whole night took on that surreal quality that lasted well into the next night. The pastoral beauty of the Many Embers set contrasted with the anxiety and violent activity going on around Boston at the same time was a mind-fuck and I'm still not sure if my feet have landed back on the ground.
Posted by Brad at 10:34 AM
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wardell played next (good singers, tight band), and after a couple of songs I decided to explore some of the nooks and crannies of The Redbury and see if I really was in a library. The bands play on the outdoor rooftop that sits between the twin towers that house the hotel portion of the building. Even though the structure is new, it has a vintage feel. The indoor bar is in the "library" portion of the layout. That's "library" in the Hollywood sense of the word. Fake books, artfully arranged on shelves with candles (electronic?), and even a full body skeleton standing between some shelves. It kind of had a "Davy Jones Locker" feel. Pool tables and clusters of seating areas dot the room.
Bradley, with his gruff baritone and natural stage swagger, can't help but bear comparison to The National, and the music has a similar dark tone, but what sets them apart is their songwriting that stands on par with that famous band. There's a hint more pop in NO's songs, but a similar urgency and restlessness keeps the music just edgy enough. And the rest of the band more than hold up their end. Their playing is polished and passionate, never mechanical, and they sing harmonies that make the songs soar.
It was all over by 9:45, making for an early night and helping me to be sure to get over to Taix Lounge tonight (Apr. 18th) for Many Embers at 10:30. MUST SEE MORE SHOWS! MUST WRITE MORE!
Posted by Brad at 9:30 AM