Monday, August 24, 2015

Live music review: Appropriately our final Red 7 show was Death and they rocked

Once obscure punk pioneers Death came through Austin last Thursday, playing one of the last Red 7 shows before the venue shutters permanently on August 28. While the name of the band fit the venue's situation to a T, Death actually play an upbeat, rocking show bolstered by guitarist Bobbie Duncan, a session player from New York who joined the group when they reformed in 2009. The rest of the group, Bobby and Dannis Hackney survived founding member, David who ...Continue reading

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Live music review: Incubus and Deftones packed Austin360 Amphitheater Monday

If you thought legacy tours were a fading trend, guess again. Case in point, TheIncubus/Deftones/DFA 1979 performance at Austin360 Amphitheater on Monday sold-out well in advance of the date. The alternative rock bands from Southern California who were both popular in the early 2000s have different aesthetics and backgrounds. They also draw different crowds. The heavier, more metal Deftones led by Chino Moreno attracted a sizeable Latino contingent while the Calabasas (West LA suburb) bred Incubus' core fan appeared to be white, anglo-thirtysomethings reliving their college days. Thus the co-headliners played... Continue reading

Live music review: Intense Canadians Metz destroyed Red 7

Last May during LEVITATION aka Austin Psych Fest we got the chance to chat briefly with Hayden Menzies of Metz. The drummer was excited about being in Austin again to perform. The noise-punks from Toronto have been to Austin three times this year including their intense, captivating set at Red 7 last Saturday. It was one of the final shows for the venue that will close its doors on August 28.

Shortly after arriving at the venue we bumped into ...Continue reading

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Live music review: Snow Tha Product Brought Woke Nation to The Parish

If you are one of my seven subscribers then you know hip-hop shows are something I rarely review. The sad fact is most rap shows are not compelling to the audience (for various reasons) and therefore a challenge to cover. Atlantic Records' Snow Tha Product proved to be an exception to that notion akin to previously mentioned acts, Devin the Dude, Jurassic Five and Wu-Tang Clan. I know that is heady company for a relative unknown but this artist has worked with notables Tech N9ne, Too Short and Lupe Fiasco. The latter cut short his Fun Fun Fun Fest set (when his mic failed) before I could see enough to give him a real review. 

On Friday last week at The Parish, Snow and Audio Push  entertained over 200 fans on her Rest Comes Later tour. A good portion of those fans made their way over to her "WOKE" merch table after the set. WOKE is Snow's brand. Her fans are called Woke Nation and they grab anything the rapper from California (now Texas) puts the logo on. 

Though the Mexican-American rapper born Claudia Feliciano has stunning good looks, it is her chop style of delivering verses and a rough and tumble aesthetic that she uses to propel her career. She refuses to exploit her own sexuality. Not only does Snow challenge the notion of what a Latina artist is, but she brings an awareness of the glass ceiling every woman faces with her. 

“There are two sides to me. I want to go hard with tracks like “Holy Shit,” but there are female subjects that I want to talk about too,” Snow says. “The only thing I’m not rapping about is sex. There are plenty of other rappers to do that.”

Before she began her set, Snow let the crowd at The Parish know her voice was failing from the rigors of the tour. So she went as hard as she could for as long as she could with her hype man, dancer and DJ behind her. She lead the audience in sing-a-longs, crowd surfed, got her dancer to crowd surf and fast rapped her way through a roughly 45 minute set before her voice gave out and she laid down her microphone. 

The subject matter in her songs is real but not with the pseudo-gangsta attitude so many hip-hop artists employ. Her message feels real because it IS real. The tracks have an edge to them. Snow flows in both English and Spanish, staying true to her roots while exploring themes Latinas (and others) can relate to. Atlantic likes to compare her to Lauren Hill but I think she has more in common with Frida Khalo with her self-deprecating demeanor and sharp wit. 

Check the track below. I think you might like it. 

Special thanks to Kim Sorin

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Live music review: Touchpants jams and lowbrow gags with Phish drummer Fishman

When we learned drummer Jon Fishman (Phish) scheduled his musical comedy side project,Touchpants Monday night at The Parish before his "other band" was slated to play the Austin360 Amphitheater Tuesday, we hardly knew what to expect. Was this going to be a revelation like Tenacious D or akin to Macaulay Caulkin's ill-advised Pizza Underground? The answer was both. Lowbrow, often offensive shock humor was tempered by what amounted to a killer jam act anchored by Fishman's clock-like precision timekeeping. Colby Dix handled lead guitar (and some vocal) duties while his comedy partner Chris Friday delivered... Continue reading

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Live music review: Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson revisit 90s at ACL Live

It seems as though everything 90s is cool again. Electronic music, flannel, Dave Grohl and a legacy act tour featuring two of the most popular bands of the era,Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson. Musically the groups have little in common apart from topping the Billboard charts around the same time. Both acts chose stage designs true to their personas. Shock rocker, Manson went with an uninspired but theatrical production while the Pumpkins' Billy Corganopted for a simple stage design choosing to allow his music to be the centerpiece of the performance at ACL Live on Sunday evening.

Manson opened his set with... continue reading

Monday, July 13, 2015

Live music preview: The inimitable Buddy Guy returns to ACL Live Friday

Photo: Matt Roberts / Getty Images

Blues guitar legend Buddy Guy returns to ACL Live this Friday, July 17 for his only Texas stop on the current leg of his tour in support of "Born to Play Guitar" which drops July 31. The new material has some Texas connections with collaborations from Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) and Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top). The album will be released on Silvertone/RCA Records. The record follows Guy's most successful release in recent years, 2013's "Rhythm and Blues" that reached number one on the Billboard Blues Album Chart.

Guy's shows are... Continue reading

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Interview: Sweet Spirit on local music industry woes, touring with Spoon

Examiner caught up with Sabrina Ellis the front woman for Austin buzz band Sweet Spirit over the holiday weekend. Ellis answered a few questions about touring with Spoon, new material the group is releasing and she had lot to say about the challenges facing the local music scene. Ellis is dynamic on stage and an intelligent, funny young woman when she is not rocking fans' socks off.
If you are not familiar with the band, you may have heard about their previous incarnation, Bobby Jealousy or their garage-punk project, A Giant Dog. Perhaps you heard about this fantastic live band opening for Spoon on a recent tour? Or maybe this is the first you have heard of one of Austin's best... Continue reading

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Live music review: Dawes returned to Austin bigger and better

Photo: Tammy Perez

When Dawes front man Taylor Goldsmith addressed the audience at Stubb's BBQ last Thursday, he recalled the band's first visit to Austin in 2009 when they opened for Delta Spirit. Later in the set it was with genuine awe he informed the nearly sold-out venue this was their biggest audience ever in Austin. The observation could just as well be that of the arc of growth Dawes has earned. Their new album, "All Your Favorite Bands" is number one on the Billboard folk chart and working its way up the Billboard 200 (currently 37) less than three weeks after the record dropped. This will be their best-selling work at this rate.

The band arrived with a talented new member since their last stop in Austin... Continue reading

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Live music review: Musical genius Brian Wilson and friends graced Bass Hall

Photo: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

It is difficult to know what to expect when Brian Wilson comes to town. The Beach Boys founder has been waging a long and public battle with mental illness while producing a body of work any musician would envy. If he is crazy, he's a crazy genius, a savant of sorts. Touring in support of his new album, No Pier Pressure Wilson was joined on this tour by fellow Beach Boys alums, Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin.

Tuesday's performance was moved from the cavernous Erwin Center to the more appropriate Bass Hall on the University of Texas campus and featured no less than 11 band members including... Continue reading at