Metric in Action!

Touring in support of their fifth release, Synthetica, Metric played the album almost in entirety (only three songs did not appear on their setlist); they added just a few older, fan favorites. The first stop of their fall tour, the Canadian quartet thrilled an enthusiastic audience despite a few technical difficulties.

The band was greeted by delighted cheers and applause when they graced the stage. Emily Haines (vocals, synthesizer), James Shaw (guitar, keyboard), Joshua Winstead (bass, keyboard), and Joules Scott-Key (drums) waved to the Rochester crowd, approached their instruments and played the first track of Synthetica. They played the first 3 tracks from the album in succession and the audience cheered at the start of each song and gleefully sang along with Emily. “Youth Without Youth,” the first single of the album, is a great live track as Emily commands “on the count of three jump with me…” and the excited members of the audience happily obliged.

All was going well for the band as they methodically transitioned to the next song on their list. The upbeat and extremely catchy drum riff of “Lost Kitten” filled the air; the crowd roared and again sang along. About a quarter ways through the song the effects went haywire and decided to keep its own beat, Emily turned to Joules and motioned for him to stop. While the gents attempted to mend the machine, Emily apologized and for the first time had a chat with the audience, “How are you,” she began. In a stream on consciousness Emily blissfully noted that the show was the first of their fall tour, thanked the audience for the warm reception, mentioned how she and the guys just left their studios in Canada and asked if there were any Canadians in the room. A few hands shot in the air as the fans from her native land jumped and shouted in response. “Sprinkles in the mist,” Emily joked. She then turned to James, “ok, we’ll just move on,” she noted. They left the song in the dust and commenced everyone’s favorite track from their third LP, Live It Out, “Empty.”

“Dead Disco” had to make an appearance this night and luckily it did. Upon the first few notes the crowd erupted in cheers as Emily jokingly approached the mic and coifed her hair in preparation. They closed the set with loud number “Stadium Love” but quickly returned for their encore. After two songs, Josh and Joules left the stage as James and Emily remained. James reached for his acoustic and played background as Emily again thanked the
crowd and again went on a stream of consciousness tangent of how-in the moment with James on the acoustic with all becoming calm-felt like Willie Nelson. And confessed her love for Willie. (I mean, who doesn’t!)

Soon enough Emily began a slow, acoustic version of “Gimme Sympathy,” to which the audience sang with her. “Sounds good,” she added as the room almost overtook her on the mic. When the song was almost finished Josh and Joules jumped back on the stage, clapped and sang along as well. They ended the song with a bow, again
waved goodbye to everyone, jumped off the front of the stage and shook the hands of the fans in the front row. One fan was disappointed that she could not share in this moment, dipped below the barrier and bounded over to shake Emily’s hand. The singer obliged and extended her hand before leaving for the night-can’t take mothers anywhere sometimes.

Though disappointed that the band decided to not play more tracks from previous albums, several fans shouted for “Hustle Rose”-a song I desired to hear as well-Metric sounds great live.

Setlist:
Artificial Nocturne
Youth Without Youth
Speed the Collapse
Dreams So Real
Lost Kitten
Empty
Help I’m Alive
Synthetica
Clone
Breathing Underwater
Dead Disco
Stadium Love

Encore:
Monster Hospital
Gold Guns Girls
Gimme Sympathy

STRFKR Live

Read Live Review @ Blurt!

Upon the release of their sophomore album, Reptilians, the Portland eclectro-pop-dance-rock band STRFKR hit the road with Seattle rap trio Champagne Champagne. The range in musical genres may seem wide to some, but both bands melded together well on the stage as each knew how to put on a highly energetic show. However, not all dance music lovers are rap lovers so some STRFKR fans bore stoic faces until the dance party started.

So, fans of great dance music, familiarize yourself with STRFKR and rap enthusiasts, be sure to check out Champagne Champagne!

All images © all rights reserved.

Back in Black: Interpol

Read Live Review @ Blurt!

Interpol is finally back with the latest, self-titled LP and their first show took place in Rochester, NY of all places. Lucky for me, I was there! This was my first time seeing the NYC quartet in action so I was slightly saddened that original bassist, Carlos D, would not be there. Nevertheless, and naturally, Interpol sounded great. New songs were played this night and the fans loved it. But of course, “classic Interpol” reigned as the crowd pleasers.

All shots were taken on B&W film, 100 ISO; 28mm wide angle prime with the Minolta XG-1…

Cold War Kids Live…Need I Say More

Read Live Review @ Blurt!

They were amazing, as I expected! However, the night began as a comedy of errors; not for the Kids…but for me. Several minutes were wasted by aimlessly driving through the twisting one way streets of downtown to reach the Music Hall. Then I searched for a close, but free, space to park. Twenty five minutes later we approach the closed, locked doors as security watched us stand in the cold (they were letting people in a few at the time). There were only four of us out there…

After a short wait we were allowed to enjoy the warm air of the club. First a bag check, then ID dude, then tickets. Three checkpoints. Excessive. Yet, after a brush with ID dude—his poor communication skills coupled with a certain writer forgetting her ID equated to the security guy puffing out his chest in my face in an attempt to intimidate said writer—then I was in the club. Sheesh! But after it was all said and done, Cold War Kids made my night!

Photo note: As they are used to the Californian sun, CWK must like to take a break from glaring lights when they perform live. The stage was REALLY dark while in the pit…didn’t walk away with many images. All shots were taken on B&W film, 28mm wide angles lens with the Minolta XG-1…

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Matt & Kim's on FIIRRREE!

Article & Images Published w/ Blurt Magazine

Matt and Kim 8-6-08
Bug Jar • Rochester, NY
By April S. Engram

The patrons of Rochester, NY’s Bug Jar do not often break out into riotous form full of moshing, shoving, hoisting friends on shoulders, jumping on stage and the lead signer leaping into the crowd to dance with fans… but then again it’s not everyday that Matt and Kim takes command of its stage. 

With album number two soon to be released, Matt and Kim still find themselves touring continuously behind their 2006 self titled debut. The duo took a detour from their larger tour with CSS and The Go Team to humble the faithful in Rochester, NY. Opening act Ice Cream Social, a fellow electro-synth based band, filled ears with lyrics such as “We all wear glasses,” and sights such as hot red, tight jeans, a fanny pack and convulsive dancing. Then it was time for Matt and Kim to take control. 
The couple/duo keeps everything simple. The band name, short and sweet – we know who they are. The sounds, alt-punk, dance and rock, are shelled out in short, fast-sometimes lyric-less-tracks. And of course the instruments: just drums and keyboard/synthesizer. The fact that out of such a straightforward equation Matt Johnson (keyboard/vocals) and Kim Schifino (drums) manage to make such a volume of melodious noise is compelling…not to mention the fact that they seem to bear permanent smiles. 

Matt and Kim always makes sure to set up as close as they can to the edge of the stage. And from the audience standpoint, once you are pushed to the brim by ravenous fans, you can easily reach out and give Matt a high five, which one person did. Matt made sure to start the evening off on a dramatic note as he asked for the lights to be turned down, stood atop his stool, asked the crazed crowd to “turn it down a level…just one more” and introduced his band. As if we didn’t know. 
But their humbleness is of course part of the charm. After a quick run through three songs, Matt again chatted us up. After a second request to “turn it down a level… just one more” Matt shared a tale of the band’s trials crossing the border and Kim’s innate uneasiness, and inexplicable nervous laugh when being asked questions (which he of course imitated). 

With everyone in the room already hot and sweaty, Matt decided to slow things down, switch to his keyboard and take a breather. (His keyboard had been malfunctioning.) Yet he did not want to keep the crowd waiting so Matt resorted to using a synth and played the fastest song of the night and that is when the crowd got even nuttier. About six people shoved their way to the front and even I got caught in the riot and found myself collided into and sweated upon mercilessly. By the time that track was over a backup keyboard was making its way to the stage so Kim stood on her stool and took a moment to bid hello to the audience. Her first words: “I don’t really sound like that when I laugh.” 

While she made us laugh with her own tale defending her actions against Matt’s words, the latter set up his keyboard and was raring to go again. The duo plowed through fan favorites, “Yea Yeah,” “5k,” “Silver Tiles,” and “Grand.” About halfway through their set, the sound man requested that Matt open the rear door – and make sure that no one jumped on the stage from outside – since it was so damn hot. Unsuspecting smokers standing just before the door got a nice surprise: a free dance party as they too started dancing. 

However, a Matt and Kim show would not be complete with out audience members leaping on the stage. So when Matt announced that they were going to play the last song of the night, the crowd decided to make it the most memorable song of the evening. Someone from outside jumped on the stage and immediately people inside the club followed suit. As a dozen people shoved and elbowed their way onto the small stage, Matt and Kim ended their last song with a bang and the audience roared. But Matt wasn’t done yet. e immediately asked the DJ to turn up the dance music and jumped beside one delighted fan and began dancing while Kim was chatting away in the back of the room. 
Like a sonic boom, Matt and Kim hit us quickly and fiercely with their tunes. Though the set was short, approximately 35 minutes, it was the “bestest, shortest set” I’ve seen in some time.

Modest Mouse ROCKS Live!

Article & Images Published w/ Blurt Magazine

Modest Mouse did an amazing job live. My first time seeing them live and in action, I want to see them again already! Check out their photoblog run by Photographer Pat Graham. The lucky devil is photo-documenting their tour…jealous! And click above for the full review of their outstanding performance!!

DCs Le Loup in Action

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Le Loup
Bug Jar, Rochester, NY – 05.03.08
Filter Grade: 88%
Hard rocking septet Le Loup ended their two-month-long tour in Rochester, NY’s Bug Jar. Don’t let the name fool you, not from France—as some ask upon hearing the name—the band hails from Washington, D.C.; the only European addition to this outfit is the occasional French horn. Meaning “fear not,” the band’s name was inspired by the artwork of James Hampton and after one year of solo efforts, just two years after the creation of Le Loup, Simkoff and the band of musicians he corralled are garnering a reputation for excellent, kinetic live shows. And this night, Le Loup definitely closed this tour with a loud and explosive bang.

A sizable crowd gathered at the Bug Jar to see what this D.C. band was capable of and the spectators were in for a good show. Members of Le Loup were scattered about the bar/club, taking in the sounds of the opening bands or enjoying a quiet drink till finally the moment came for them all to close the night. Sam Simkoff (Banjo, Keyboards, Lead Vocals), Christian Ervin (Computer, Guitar), Mike Ferguson (Guitar, Vocals), Nicole Keenan (Keyboards, French Horn, Vocals), Dan Ryan (Bass, Percussion, Vocals), Robert Sahm (Drums, Percussion, Vocals), May Tabol (Guitar, Vocals), and Jim Thomson (Guitar, Vocals) all managed to fit themselves and their gear on stage and leapt into their set.

Promoting their debut The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly—the title is also derived from a work by Hampton—Le Loup effortlessly blends their countless instruments (three electric guitars, one bass, a banjo, keyboards, French horn, drums, tambourines, drum machine and pedals) to create an electro-experimental sound that includes vocalized harmonies, hand claps, crunchy and airy guitars and even a drumstick banged on a water jug. That’s right, a jug; but somehow Le Loup makes it all meld perfectly together and creates a unique ethereal wave of music that rises and falls, complementing Simkoff’s vocal stylings.

Simkoff put on a passionate performance and could not stand still for the entire set as he feverishly danced and leaned into his mic. Like Simkoff, two audience members also had “dance fever” though their motivation may not have only been influenced by the music as they violently threw their bodies about for the entire performance. At times their “dancing” proved distracting to the performance taking place on the stage but Le Loup’s beautiful set drifted us away from those two. The band played from their debut as well as some unreleased songs and shelled out a great show as they cruised through such songs as, “Sea Took Me,” “To The Stars! To the Night!,” “We are Gods! We are Wolves!,” and “Outside of This Car, the End of the World.”

Le Loup closed the evening with the lengthy “I Had a Dream I Died,” Simkoff was not quite ready to end the song as he motioned to his band mates “one more.” He sang the last few words before pointing his finger in the air again and said, “one more” then he was ready to end the set. Simply listening to Le Loup’s fantastic debut does not do them justice, they are damn good live! The seven person strong band wonderfully balances quiet, emotive sounds with explosive crescendos that will pull at the heart strings and make you want to dance simultaneously.

VHS or Beta and Tigercity Shake Up Rochester

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VHS Or Beta
Bug Jar, Rochester, NY – 04.05.08
Filter Grade: 82%
It was time to dance and shake off the winter doldrums. Finally, the mounds of snow have melted away with spring encroaching upon us and VHS or Beta brought their touring mates, Tigercity, to shake up Rochester’s Bug Jar with some sweaty, pop, hooked-filled, dance-rock beats…at least that was supposed to happen. After two lackluster openers, Tigercity got the small club dancing and ready for the headliners, VHS or Beta. Yet, through miscommunications, the quintet was without instruments, so what is an electronic, rock band to do…go acoustic of course.

Tigercity proved to be sanctified as they resurrected the evening with their electro-rock, disco influenced tunes. The Brooklyn four piece, touring with VHS to promote their 6 track EP, Pretend Not to Love, unleashed their full EP as well as unreleased songs. Joel Ford (bass/vocals), Aynsley Powell (drums), and Andrew Brady (guitar) put on a flawless performance as Bill Gillim (lead singer) could not contain himself as he hypnotically moved about the stage while hitting those high notes. The tall, scruffy faced Gillim caught audience members by surprise when he managed his Gibbsian (as in Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb) high pitched, falsetto voice. The band shelled out the perfect compliment: catchy bass, spacey keyboards, drum loops and funky guitar; the spectators delightfully danced.

Gillim beckoned for the audience to move closer as he wanted to “crowd surf” of course, the quick one liner was indeed ironic as there were not enough bodies in the audience to carry a mid sized dog across the room. Nonetheless, the guys put on a great show for us few and chatted up the thickening crowd they were drawing from the bar. Tigercity managed to get the modest crowd moving with the fast favorite “Are You Sensation;” the quartet revved the crowd up for more dance tunes from VHS or Beta. Members of VHS were scattered about the venue, equally enjoying the tunes; yet, when it came time to perform, only lead singer Craig Pfunder and guitarist Mike McGill approached.

When one of the opening acts stated, “and later you’ll have a special acoustic performance by VHS or Beta,” I thought it was a harmless joke. Yet, as Pfunder stepped up on the platform and began setting up chairs, the harsh reality was now comprehended …VHS or Beta was indeed about to churn out an acoustic performance. However, worries were abated as Pfunder and McGill pulled off a sound performance, though quieter than preferred. Pfunder and McGill filled the void of missing instruments and band members by chatting with the crowd between each song. With guitars borrowed from other bands, it took the guys a few minutes to get the sound and mic just right, Pfunder modestly asked the crowd, “we’re VHS or Beta…so do you know who we are,” the crowd cheered a resounding yes.

As the lead singer again apologized for their missing equipment, which did not find its way to Rochester though they did, Pfunder looked at McGill, confirmed which song they were going to perform and began “Burn it All Down.” Mark Palgy (Bass) jumped on stage to film VHS’ first time ever, “and last” Pfunder added, acoustic show while Mark Guidry (drums) and Chea Beckley (keyboards) joined the audience. Pfunder still sounded flawless and sang fan favorites from their new release Bring on the Comets and their 2004 release Night on Fire. After finishing a song Pfunder asked for the time as someone shouted 1:36, he shared “we just have a time for a song or two,” to which the crowd lamented. “Unless you want us to go on,” Pfunder teased as an audience member responded “I can listen to you guys all night!”

Regardless of “technical” difficulties, VHS of Beta entertained the delighted and appreciative crowd who did not want Pfunder and McGill to leave the stage. They did pull off an excellent show regardless of their missing gear. I am still secretly pouting and kicking dirt like a school girl since I did not get to see the rocking show I anticipated, ‘tis the curse of living in a semi-small town, bet that wouldn’t have happened at Bowery Ballroom!