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Friday, November 27, 2009

The Meat Puppets @ Bowery Ballroom 11/25/09

And we're back again for the 20th installment of the Jay Porks Never ending concert series. Tonight takes us to the Bowery Ballroom in New York City to see the Meat Puppets! I love this band so much, and I hope you people do too because they're awesome and totally worth going to see. When I strolled into the place, I pulled out my iPod Touch and started taking notes.

Got to the Bowery around 7:30- I saw a poster that said the Meat Puppets don't come on until 1030. I am really early it's not even eight and I already had a beer and smoked a cigarette after I came in and got stamped and wristbanded and all. I don't even think the doors officially open until 8 o clock. This is going to be a pretty long and great night withstanding this being first time the effects of a show the night before might be getting to me. When I see people moving in I'll head to the merch table and claim my poster. I don't think this place is sold out, although there are a few people here who are early just as I am. I wonder how awesome this night is going to be. The Meat Puppets, My 6th time. The show doesn't start for 2 and a half hours! The suspense is killing me And I know how they get down already- come on close to 11 and get off around 1. I just heard someone say they're opening the doors. Let's do this.

When I walked in I passed the merch table and saw a dude wearing a Devo tee shirt working the table I said “cool shirt dude, is Moped around?”, Moped being the person who Dennis (a friend of mine who usually does the merch and works everything Meat Puppets related) told me has my poster. He said he was also waiting for him to come over and if there was anything he could have helped me with, I said I'd be back and headed to the main floor which had like 4 people there. So I just walked away from this dude wearing a cool Devo tee shirt who could have definitely halped me with something, I would find out later during drum check, that this cool dude is actually the new drummer in the Meat Puppets: Shandon Sahm... who we will get a little more into later on.. Anyway, walked back in, leaned myself on the stage and turned to see Cris Kirkwood walking in my direction, so I was like “there he is!” in the obnoxious way I talk before getting serious and asking him “How's” the tour going?” Cris said “It's really cool man been great”-as he looks around- “we got three great bands tonight. I hope more people show up for Dynasty (Electric)”. I said told him how I thought they were cool last time they opened for the them and then he went on to talk about Elmo Kirkwood, Curt Kirkwood's son and member of the band Kirkwood-Dellinger, who were up after Dynasty Electric. Cris: “My nephew's band is really rounding out and he's a beast on guitar man. He's playing is getting so much better-like, me and brother have been playing together for years and this kid just sits around playing and we look at him like dude how'd you do that?” He seemed excited, didn't wanna keep him from any pre-show rituals.

First up is Brooklyn's own Dynasty Electric. With Jennifer DeVeau (lead vocals, synth, theremin) and Seth Misterka (vocals, guitar, saxophone, laptop) doing about a 40 minute set that was pretty cool(this being the second chance I've seen them) I can say I like a few of their songs now, and a band like this is usually a little too electronica for me. I was the only one who knew who they were because they opened for the Meat Puppets in June at the Mercury Lounge. I was explaining how cool the theromin is to the unfamiliar spectators of this band. When they came up on stage I said to the guitar player “You guys got the theromin right?” and he said yea and kind of looked happy that at least one person thought they were kind of cool. One example of them being cool is they covered Shocking Blue's “Venus”, which was awesome as they played to about 9 of us who were there. I have a picture that looks like that both band mates tried to get into the show for which was cool. Maybe late arrival for the rest I guess, but they're missing cool stuff .

After they went off I ran out to smoke a cigarette on the way back I saw another dude working the merch table and I said “Moped?” and he goes “Yea” and I was like, “I'm Jay Porks from Staten Island, Dennis told me to come see you” and he was like yea I got something for ya, you're on the list as he hands me an autographed Sewn Together Meat Puppets poster. Shout outs to Dennis, Moped and the Meat Puppets for being so cool!

Kirkwood-Dellinger was so much cooler than I thought they would. They were almost groovy at times- Elmo Kirkwood is a frigging beast with it. The stuff he was doing was pretty interesting and noisy. He didn't have as many pedals as his father, but was an absolute monster. There whole band was well rounded, as they switched instruments after every couple of songs. Played from like 930 to about 1030 probably a little after. Then, a warm moment, as I turn to take a look at the crowd about halfway through their set, there leaning on a pole about 15 feet away, is Curt Kirkwood looking on as a proud father watching his son become a rock star. After they went off we all sat in suspense awaiting that proud father to hit the stage with his great band, The Meat Puppets!!!

The Meat Puppets fail to disappoint once again. They hit the stage at about 11PM.  Meat Puppets have a new drummer, the aforementioned Shandon Sahm(The son of legendary fiddler-singer-songwriter Doug Sahm of The Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados Small world isn't it?) The place is still not packed out at this point-but there are a lot more people than before, the crowd had a nice roar going when came out. I'm right in the middle leaned on the stage because they took the two amps in front of me away so I had plenty of room to put my note pad and camera down. Good times front row. They kicked off the set with “Plateau”, it was right at these first chords that for the first time of the night I'm past feeling tired and way too deep into feeling: “Wow this is freaking awesome” to even think about it. After that another favorite of mine in “Commin' Down” and that's when things started getting cerebral in a sense that everyone in the place had, for lack of better term given themselves to the music at this point. “Touchdown King” is a song off the 'Monsters' album (they're most interesting album-in a good way) that's been a staple in their live set for years now-so they drift off into oblivion in the middle of it. It's a blissful switch from song to outer space to song throughout every Meat Puppets set. They got into “Station” next-on the video you hear me say 'Station' before the song starts on the video because I saw Curt point to Cris(which is also on the video), signifying that this is the one he sings lead vocals. “Go to your head” was the first song of the night they played off the new album 'Sewn Together', which is an awesome record. The dude next to me asked me if I heard it and what I thought and I explained to him the intricacies of the greatness of the album. Then I saw Shandon tell Cris “Oh Me”, and off we went. The crowd is building as the night go on-I can't see it but I can feel it; the room getting smaller and everything being louder. “Up on the sun” was awesome, I should have taped that one but my arm would've got tired I think it ran about 8 minutes. That's when stuff started getting lost in the little light show we had going on-I'm not sure if they bring a light show or they just use whats there when they show up but you notice some of the pictures just look like cartoonish almost. Then a change up-I've seen it on YouTube but never personally, they jumped into “Sam” and for lack of a poetic description here: That sh!t was crazy! Who can keep up with those lyrics? (It's faster than R.E.M.'s "It's the end of the world as we know it", a song I have karaoked successfully without lyrics.. ) I tried and failed and for a dude with no voice I was getting it in. I must have screamed out “Attacked By Monsters” 5 times-I really wish they'd play that once when I see them-I've said before I bet they can't play it live. After 'Sam' they went into “Monkey and the snake” before doing “Light”, another one I don't recall ever seeing live personally-so I got that one too. “Aurora Borealis” was the yin to the yang of “Light”, a twangy, instrumental tune that makes you close your eyes and differentiate each instruments sound, switch back and forth from bass to guitar. Amazing. And if it couldn't get better-”Backwater” smacks everyone in the face. There's a light mosh behind me as I get bumped into every now and then. They got into “Lake of fire” fairly quickly after that, where when Curt was slowly strumming I said “Lake of fire already?” and they rocked it with that one-the extended version. Clocked at 6 minutes with the noise fest jam type ending of the song they always do. Shandon Sahm is the real deal too-I noticed it during lake of fire that he was fitting in just fine. With his cool Devo tee shirt on. After that they said goodnight and went off stage.

Not so fast my friend. They came back out, with, as introduced by Cris Kirkwwod “ladies and gentlemen New York's own Ted Marcus”, who had been fired from the band a few months ago as told to me by Shandon.  Before the set after he was doing a little drum check when I screamed "Where's Ted?".. He came over a few minutes later  and asked "You screamed where's Ted right?" and introduced himself.. he also said that Ted was in the building, to which I replied “yea, because he knows the chick from Dynasty Electric right?” and Shandon's like  “yea.." bewildered look on his face.. "how'd you know” and I said “That's what Cris told me back in June when I caught both nights at the Mercury Lounge. He told me thats how they got on the bill that night”.. He seem surprised of me being in the know, but shook my hand and asked me my name and stuff. So they came back out with Ted to play “Rotten Shame”and another song I didn't write down. I know they played “Lost” tonight, and they also played a song mid set called "Be Real" which is written by Doug Sahm-it's all a trip man when you go to these Meat Puppets shows.. you never know what's next... for example: the  final song of the night, which I got on tape, ATTACKED BY MONSTERS! Yes! I updated my Facebook with that as soon as I got out-it got crazy in there when they broke into it-the guitar parts in the song have so much stuff going on the mosh behind had gotten rough and empty beer cups were tossed on stage by this one drunk douchebag. As they neared the end of the tearing down the house with this song, the Sahm starts kicking his drum set around, and I thought that was so fucking awesome I started screaming “yea!!” and he stacked up his drum set in the middle of the stage and walked off as Curt Kirkwood was at the amp.. slowing turning it down....and down...and down...until the noise was gone and the only sound left was roars from the crowd and a “Thanks a lot, goodnight”.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Pixies at Hammerstein Ballroom 11/24/2009

It's been a while but we're back in full force for the next couple of weeks and tonight, the 19th edition of the Jay Porks Never ending concert series brings us to Hammerstein Ballroom 311 West 34th street, or as the outside of the building indicates: The Manhattan Center. Tonight we are here to see the one, the only The PIXIES, who on tour celebrating their 20th anniversary of the release of their major label debut 'Doolittle'. The Pixies are a phenomenon of proportions which I thought had passed me by already, broken up for over a decade, who would've thought the opportunity to see them would present itself, and yet so timely-Last show I went to was the Breeders just days after this tour was announced in August. Three NYC dates were announced, Novemeber 23th, 24th and 25th, taking a look at my concert calendar, the Tuesday night, middle show is where we land (Meat Puppets @ Bowery tomorrow night)-$50 any of the nights with no opening acts listed. Who could NOT be there? Doors open 6:30, show at 8pm.

Was twenty minutes after seven when I stepped out of a cab, on a rather chilly NYC late afternoon turning into night-I stand in front of a movie theater across the street from the venue which is flooded with a mob scene in front of movers and shakers, people headed in headed out, event staff making life a little harder for everyone-the norm. I take it all in, get my stuff together(camera and notepad out of the back pack and into the pockets) and head across the street and step on up to the door where the event staff asks me “Sir, do you have a cigarette lighter on you?” Myself, somehow overcome with a sudden honest Abe demeanor, replies “yes I do” as proceeding to hand my lighter over to be thrown in the garbage. I don't care that the dude threw it away, its his job-but why would I say that I had one? It had a flashlight on it too. Damn. Anyway, continuing in I found the merch table and beer. Get a $7 beer(and then they put it in a fucking dixie cup whats up with that??), and start pondering on what I'm gonna spend my money on at the merch table. There was a few $35 and $40 tee shirts to choose from. I was settled on the shirt that has these tour dates on them-but then I saw a hoodie. I asked if the XL would fit me and I took a look at it. It's cool its brown and it has a 'P' on it, that $60 is feeling snug as I change and check my bag. This hoodie is kinda tight-but I'm still loving it.

One odd thing about the merch table is that I notice they were also selling “Jay Reatard” stuff. Then all of a sudden I hear a band sound checking at like 7:40. Walk in and I see three dudes on stage. The lead singer and guitar player (playing of those flying V's, cheesy) has long hair in front of his face, the bass player looks bored out of his mind and the drummer smiles a lot. At about 8 o clock when I realized that the Pixies were obviously not coming on stage at 8-I turn to somebody next to me, and I ask because I need to be 100 percent sure, I'm like “Who the hell are these guys?” and it was in fact, Jay Reatard. I mean, I tried to sit there and listen to it but it's a tough spot to be in being the surprise opener for the Pixies, I just looked at the ceiling pissed every time they started another song. Soul reason being that they weren't the Pixies, myself and I bet a few others who have never heard of him before didn't really give them a chance. They didn't suck, they did some things that were interesting...sort of. They played til about 840, then the roadies tore down the set and prompted it for the one, the only, Black, Deal, Santiago and Lovering-The Pixies!

A video screen type backround the stage has, began to roll before 9:10 showing a video. The clip is “Un chien andalou” in its entirety. I know, I know-What the hell is that you're asking. It's a surrealist film from France -short about 15 minutes long and it came out in like the 1920's. The first scene is an eyeball being sliced open, hence the lyric from the song “Debaser”, when Frank Black says “Slicin' up eyeballs I want you to know”. I looked it up a few months ago and was fascinated by the deep underlying of the song. And I'm not the only one who knew what I was, in fact I was probably more out of the loop then most people as I heard it being explained to others around me by each other. A shrieking simultaneous gasp through the crowd when the eyeball gets sliced open(the same people who have watch every version of SAW to ever come out) and I gotta tell you-though spacious, where I was standing was a tight squeeze and I wasn't even that close. The tall people in front of me were pissing me off, don't they know I have video to take? And this is in the wake of people bloggers saying the monday night show was over sold and that Livenation should be ashamed of themselves. I didn't think it was “over sold”, just tight up at the front not to mention very hard for me to navigate my hand held camera device, I got some really crappy video but the sound is awesome. They came out eventually and Kim Deal screams out “B-Sides!” right before they kick off the night with “Dancing the Manta Ray”, “Bailey's Walk” and “Weird at my school”. The way Joe Santiago and Frank Black sort of trade explosions of noise with every chord-the way the sound meshes is brilliant. Music is so much better live. The harmonies Deal and Black kicked out on every track was, if not better, than equal to the swiftness it was 20 years ago and on some songs you get Deal's voice in the same exact key as Joe's guitar combining the two elements to one. They did “Manta Ray” (not to be confused with “Dancing the Manta Ray”) before they kicked off the album part of the set with “Debaser” and proceeded to rock that shit out, Doolittle in listed order. “tame” came next-these songs were almost obnoxiously loud and we were loving every second of it. “Wave of Mutilation”, “I bleed”, “Here comes your man” followed with jokes in between songs by Deal-like when she said “Anyone here last night?.....Yea, we're doin the same thing” and she kept saying “We're almost through side one”. It got nuttier in there when “Dead” came on-the jagged guitars stabbing through all attending and Lovering and Deal pounding out rhythms. “Monkey's gone to heaven” was cool”, and I love “Mr. Grieves” and “Crackity Jones” so I'm glad I got video of those two back to back. “La La Love you” was fun, the only song where drummer David Lovering sings lead vocals. Then we got into the extended version of “No. 13 baby”, that one went long it was so awesome. We took a trip far away from that song with the melding of noise between guitars, like the aforementioned of trading explosions. Finishing out the set was the rest of the record, “There goes my gun” followed by a crowd sing along “Hey” (words from the song scrolled on the screen in the back ground), “Sliver” and “Gouge Away” before they pretended to say goodnight. They took a bow and went off with the screen showing a picture of the four of them together. This was freaking incredible- I mean I wouldn't blame them if they didn't come back out.

But they did as Kim Deal screamed “More B-sides!”, as they played the UK Surf version of “Wave of Mutilation” and “Ed is Dead” before the smog machine starts to really fill the place and we get into “Into the White”. At this time the screen had a visual that was hypnotic-strobe light effect along with the smoke clouds on the lights I swear it was an epileptic seizure. It was insanity, I was floored after into the white-what a moment. Then they went off again only to come back out to play, and correct me if I missed one in the midst of taking in all this, “Caribou”-which was very, like, make the crowd lean in sync like trees in a forest when the wind blows. “Broken face” and “Plant of Sound” to end the night-and someone needs to hit me up and let me know which one I missed because I know there's one that I'm leaving out, I didn't have enough room to take notes.

Overall it was so worth it. I'm so glad I got to experience that at least once before I die. They were on my list of bands I must see before I die. Check. Right now cutting up the video into pictures the songs are bringing me back to the moment as I listen-it's really cool. It was an amazing show, from the instrumentation to the light show to the vocals to the songs to the atmosphere. It all melded into a unique beauty-just seeing that fog as the drum beat to “Into the white”. Just indescribable.

Now in a few hours I'll be back here to tell you people how the Meat Puppets Wednesday November 25th show at the Bowery-there's already a autographed poster waiting for me!