Photo gallery of the Mountain Goat & Oh Pep! at the Madrid

mtn-goats-05 For soaring harmonies and gorgeous music, there may be no finer venue in the metro than the Madrid Theater. In its intimate confines, Melbourne, Australia's Oh Pep provided charmingly wonderful music. The quartet won over hundreds of new fans as they opened for the emotionally charged, yet no less beautiful music of the Mountain Goats. It was an evening of sing-alongs and almost bursting into tears (at least for your photographer). The Mountain Goats [gallery link="file" ids="19012,19010,19011,19013,19014,19015,19016,19017"] Oh Pep! [gallery link="file" ids="19022,19021,19020,19019,19018"]

Spoon / Sweet Spirit at the Midland

spoon header Last night, I went and saw Spoon, with openers Sweet Spirit at the Midland in Kansas City. For all the things I thought about the show, you can read my review over at the Pitch. However, I ended up with a ton of good shots that didn't make it up over there, so check out the galleries below. Spoon [gallery ids="18390,18391,18392,18393,18394,18395,18396,18397,18398,18399,18400,18401"] Sweet Spirit [gallery ids="18402,18403,18404,18405,18406,18407,18408,18409,18410"] Spoon and Sweet Spirit are on tour together through June 2. You can find tour dates at Spoon's website.

Photos: Agent Orange / The Architects / Stiff Middle Fingers at the Bottleneck

agent orange logoFriday, October 24, California surf-punks Agent Orange played the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas. It was their first appearance around here since a wintery show at the Jackpot four or five years back, and this time, the crowd was much larger. Agent Orange was touring with Kansas City's the Architects, who brought their punk rock 'n' roll to the stage in spades. Openers Stiff Middle Fingers kicked things off with a high-energy set of old-school punk rock which I'm sure made the Agent Orange guys feel right at home. We've galleries of all three acts after the jump. Agent Orange [gallery ids="18060,18061,18062,18063,18064,18065"] The Architects [gallery ids="18054,18055,18056,18057,18058,18059"] Stiff Middle Fingers [gallery ids="18048,18049,18050,18051,18052,18053"]

Black On Black / Greys / Westerners at the Replay Lounge

Black On BlackMore shows need to be like this: all ages, over by 9:00pm, and cheap. I would go to each and every matinee rock show, schedule allowing. There's something wonderful about getting off work, eating dinner, and then seeing a couple of bands, and getting home in time to knock out a couple chapters in that book you're reading. Yes, I know this makes me old and lame, but yesterday evening's show at the Replay Lounge was fricking great. In addition to the situational things, it had that rarest of elements these days, wherein the bands didn't all sound alike. Don't get me wrong: I love a standard punk bill. However, opening the show was Lawrence's Westerners, who start out their sets sounding kind of funky, kind of jammy. It gets a few raised eyebrows on an "all-ages punk show" kind of bill, obviously, but the way this band gets progressively weirder as their set progresses never ceases to amaze. The couple of times I've seen them, Westerners kind of turn me off with the first few songs, but as they add in dischordant elements in the instrumentation, jamming out with distortion and so on, while rocking dual harmonies, I tend to watch in absolute fascination. They're exactly the sort of band that is essentially a totally different act at the end of their set, with me sitting there going, "Why can't they be like that with every song?" Greys are from Canada, and all I knew about them was that Black On Black had hooked them up with a couple area shows while they're on tour supporting their new album, If Anything. They played 25 minutes, and at the end, I bought their album. They're tightly-wound rock 'n' roll that walks a line with Hot Snakes on one side, and Nirvana on the other. The Nirvana comparison is due mainly to their bass player, who rocks Krist Novaselic lines left and right. He's also really fucking tall. It was at the end of their first song that I first thought, "Maybe I should buy their album." At the end of their second cut, it was "I'm buying their album." The trio is just faster than hell, and they didn't stop at all between song. There was no time to clap, because as one song ended, the next one started almost immediately. The punky garage rock 'n' roll is loud and heavy, rather than the usual tinniness most garage acts deal in. My face was flat-out melted, is what I'm trying to say here. Lawrence's Black On Black is the punkest band currently working. All-ages matinee show? Check. Posting all of their music for free download? Check. Refusing to follow sonic conventions? Check. No, seriously, they're a punk band in terms of ethos and practices, but don't hew to the standard "this is what a punk band sounds like" bullshit that so many other bands feel the need to do. They're heavy, they fucking rocking, and you can -- if so inclined -- pogo or mosh yourself stupid to their songs, but there's more to them than three chords and a snpotty attitude. Wade Kelly's voice can be melodic or barking, and the way he presents himself onstage reminds of no-one so much as Danko Jones: just pure self-assuredness, up there knowing that this band is fully-qualified to rock asses. Everyone on stage has that bearing, really. It's great to see a band that -- even playing to a couple dozen people at 8:30 on a Monday -- acted like the places was packed to the gills on a Saturday. [gallery ids="17837,17838,17839,17840,17841,17842,17843,17844,17845"]

High on Fire / Kvelertak / Windhand at the Granada

high on fire granada header In what seems to be unanimous agreement from all of the friends who were at Friday night's show with me, High on Fire was one of the loudest fucking concerts most of us have ever seen. Given that this is a crowd of musicians, mostly, that's not a small thing about which to quibble. For as loud as it was, and as much of a concrete box the Granada is, it sounded amazing. Every band was crystal clear, yet ear-splittingly loud. Indeed, though: High on Fire blew some hair back at the Granada. It's always wonderful when a an act's not touring in support of a new album. I mean, yes -- High on Fire released the two live EPs, Spitting Fire volumes 1 and 2, earlier this year, but it's not like they had an album of all-new tunes to flog. This meant they were able to play whatever, and it made for a set full of blazing rock 'n' roll. Setlist Fertile Green Razor Hoof Fury Whip Madness of an Architect Cometh Down Hessian Eyes and Teeth Fireface Rumors of War Baghdad Serums of Liao Slave the Hive Snakes for the Divine [gallery ids="17348,17349,17350,17351,17352,17353"] This show was the third visit for Norway's Kvelertak in the past year, and I can't quite figure out if they live up to the hype to which I've been subjected. The group's three-guitar attack presents a wall of sound, and their drummer knocks out death metal blast beats. Kvelertak have some serious punk rock fury going on, but halfway through their set, I kept getting confused, because it seemed like the rhythm section and singer were one band, while the guitarists were another, and they never quite figured out a way to marry them properly. [gallery ids="17354,17355,17356,17357,17358,17359"] However, Richmond's Windhand completely lived up to the hype. Obviously, I'm a big fan of their latest, Soma, but live, they're just astonishing. When they kicked on their amps and started ther wall of sound for their first song, I was knocked back, literally moved back a couple steps by pure sonic shock. Watching the band get into the groove of their songs was a serious pleasure, and it was a shame to only get to listen for half an hour. Seriously, though -- what a half hour. [gallery ids="17361,17362,17363,17364,17365,17360"]

AFI / Touche Amore / Coming at the Granada

Just discovered that I'd not uploaded pictures from last Thursday's AFI show at the Granada. It was the East Bay band's first tour in over three years, and anticipation was high. Goth kids, hardcore kids, rockers ... it was a lot of people in very dark clothes, and wearing an awful lot of makeup, lace, and mesh. Super-great show -- Touche Amore and Coming kicked things off really well. Touche Amore is always always always worth checking out live (first time I've been used as a stepping stone in the photo pit, too), and Coming was a pleasant surprise -- sort of like vintage AmRep stuff mixed with Deathwish-style hardcore. Go check it out -- the tour continues through November 2. Dates can be found at Punknews. [gallery ids="17113,17114,17115,17116,17117,17118,17119,17120,17121,17122,17123,17124"]