Search This Blog

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Band Touring as "Guns N' Roses" at Izod Center 11/17/11

The band currently touring under the moniker of Guns N' Roses hits the Izod Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in Dirty Jersey tonight for the 61st edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series. The Izod Center: Home of the... well, actually no pro sports teams play here anymore since the Devils moved to Newark and the Nets are moving to Brooklyn (when the NBA Players Association caves and takes that deal). So upon walking in after 8PM the banner hanging from the ceiling was commemorating Bruce Springstein's 50 consecutive sold out shows. It's New Jersey, that banner should say “Will be sold out for the rest of life”. Anyway, you may have noticed my “touring under the moniker” pun back there. We all know the story, I shall not bore you with it once more. Axl is touring, performing the hits of Guns N' Roses with no Guns, and the lone Rose being himself. The only remaining member of the band besides Rose is Keyboardist Dizzy Reed-or who I like to call “The Man Who Killed Rock & Roll”. Doors were at 7PM, and show was listed at 8PM We got to our seats in section 206 Row 20-and let's look on the bright side, at least we weren't in the last row! (we were 5 rows away from it). Those steep steps were a killer. But finally at our seats little after 8, let's do this-it should be interesting to say the least.

It was brought to my attention via Twitter en route to Izod Center that a band called “Asking Alexandria” was to open tonight. Found some post that mentioned the band was “Handpicked 24 hours prior to the show by Guns N' Roses”. Not for nothing, the Axl Rose interview on That Metal Show-whatever show they were at had Buckcherry opening, we get saddled with some band from England I've never heard of.

I kept an open mind up until about they went on after 9-then I heard their songs. Oklahoma got Hinder as an opener-now that's pretty bad, but halfway through this second song I'd kill for Hinder right now rather than this craptastic fiasco. I don't understand a word this dude is saying besides his greeting to the crowd, which me and Pam interpreted as “Hello New York”. I sure hope we heard that wrong. Anyway, with all the screaming the lyrics were incomprehensible. I don't get the whole deep voiced screamer lead singer thing that's become a trend in bands people surround me enjoy. Just vocal wise let's take Mastodon for instance, (not comparing their sound other than the screaming)Mastodon I'm not into because they're a little on the heavy side for me. But Mastodon opened for Alice In Chains and Deftones-Mastodon opened for Soundgarden at the Gorge in an inconceivable for that band sandwiched between the Meat Puppets and QOTSA. Shit , Reverend Justito and even Cris Kirkwood for that matter speak highly of the band. They have acclaim critically and socially. What does Asking Alexandria have? Axl Rose likes them?? If this is what Axl is into then I never wanna get a hold of his iPod. Pam and I discussed if Axl picked a band this band to ensure that his band looks good. But that can't be, the “GNR” reviews from this tour have all been positive. To make a long, really horrific story short-Asking Alexandria, I can make better music than your band. If this was a Tweet, I'd add a hashtag right before the word 'fact' to end that last sentence.

They went off a little before 10 and now we have the wait... the infamous “Will Axl come out?”. The ambiance of this band is it's tendency for the unexpected. They were once labeled the world's most dangerous band.. then they (Guns N' Roses) morphed into He(Axl) and he became a recluse spending 15 years on a secret album with 2 good songs on it after all that. Who knows if this lunatic loses a contact lens before the show and freaks out or something? What if he looks in the mirror on his way out to stage and says “Holy Sh!t I'm Kid Rock” and lights himself on fire? It was an interesting HOUR, but at 11PM the lights went down and it was time to see what we had on our hands-ladies and gentleman, the band currently touring as GUNS N' ROSES!

They had some AWESOME pyrotechnics going on.. and a stage equipped with this staircase... Kicked it off with “Chinese Democracy” which is the title track from the latest effort(the one that took 15 years to make) and its one of the two songs I like, so I taped. Next was “Welcome to the Jungle”, which I purposely wasn't in record-mode for because I wanted to experience this one hands free, you know, like a regular person(besides I know video will turn up- there's a guy a row in front of me with a camcorder-not a little camera, I'm talking screen folded out and all. And he's not even using the hat on his head to block!). Now I don't know if it's the acoustics in the spot I was sitting, or maybe the three guitar onslaught is just overwhelming-but I wasn't hearing his vocals that loud. I hear the band loud and clear-and hey give em credit, no one ever called them bad musicians.. they rocked that sucker out... when they jumped into “Mr. Brownstone” after “It's So Easy”, I was taping and growing frustrated, I hear myself turn to Pam and say “I can't hear this mother f#%ker!”. They got into “Sorry”, and continuing into the next two I'm watching this band like “Wow these guys are tight as hell” then looking over at Axl Rose thinking “What a douchebag”. Then it occurred to me, I probably only like 6 or 7 “Guns N' Roses” songs.. what the hell am I doing here? I'm no die-hard. I was hoping for a train wreck-and they're not complying with my expectations. I think I'm more of an oddball than Axl at this point, being upset about being impressed by the guitar work of “BubbleFuck” and DJ Ashba(shouldn't it be Guitarist Ashba?). But as technically impressive as anyone can be-hell, you could put Eddie Van Halen and Clapton up there-just stop calling it Guns N' Roses. And I don't want to do the whole “it's not GNR without Slash and Duff”.. but if I'm going to get lectures on Sublime w/Rome not being real Sublime and Alice In Chains w/ Duvall not being the real Alice In Chains-then EFF all you people I'm gonna give that same lecture when given the chance-especially when those two bands have more original members in them then the current band I'm watching. The essence of “cool” that is Slash cannot be matched by “Bucketfoot” or whoever you bring in there.

“Better” is also off the new record, and the other one of the two that I like from it (so technically this new Axl band is two for two on stuff they recorded tonight). I taped it, and at this point of the night I really think it's me being a mile away in the 200 section causing harm to the vocal acoustics, because it is skewed as hell up here-and everyone's tweeting about an awesome time. It has to be me. I mean I loved “Rocket Queen”.. but these little instrumental jams they do with each individual band member leading into some cover of another song does nothing for me. I got an idea Mr. W. Axl Rose, why don't you come out and sing “My Generation” instead of Stintson? Do that little “hey-hey-hey-yea-ya” thing you do, you know, the one you ruined “Knockin' On Heaven's Door” with. Dizzy Reed on keys doing leading “Baba O' Reilly”? Imagine Axl screaming the lyric “Out here in the fields!” in that Axl Rose voice-wouldn't that have been awesome? But no, instead this is sort of killing time while Rose continuously runs off stage to change cowboy hats. He had two white ones and two black ones at least.

I mean, they didn't go off til 1:20AM or something, that's 2 hours and 20 solid minutes before the encore, which neither Pam nor I were interested in. So yes, most likely pushed a 3 hour set there-but everyone on stage is a professional musician who I had no doubt would make it through the show, everyone besides Axl. If they would've played 20 minutes it would've been marked as a Win. Axl Joked midway through the set “Yea, I know how you feel I was hoping I'd make it here too” or something to that effect. That's funny? Tell that to the 10 thousand plus fans with tickets starring at them all day hoping you don't freak out and move to South America in search of 'yage' or something. I thought there was no chance this tour made it to the tri-state area, a miracle in it's own right.

Tonight at Izod Center was an absolutely amazing night for Die-Hard Axl Rose fans. You know, women in their 50's plastered up with make-up attempting to hold on to their youth with their Harley riding husbands right by there side. And hey I'm glad to have say I at least saw it.. so I know to like.. make sure not to go next time.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Meat Puppets @ Mexicali Live Teaneck, NJ 11/6/11

It would've been Doug Sahm's 70th Birthday today, and what better place to start the 60th edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series the trekking out Teaneck, NJ and Mexicali Live for another shot of the Meat Puppets! They fried hearts and minds this past Friday at Le Poisson Rouge in the city, and upon purchasing the tickets I figured this venue was a lot closer than it was-so how can I turn up this up? 15 bucks? Then to sweeten the deal, my father (Call him anything besides Sr. Porks-he'll kill you) offers to drive me up to the place, bout an hour from my house. PLUS with have Pam(sans van) meeting me here to take in the epic madness that is this band, and she offered to drive me home afterward. Although I've yet to find a cool name (like Pam-Van) for the new Volkswagen Jetta, but I'm sure one will come to me. Anyway, doors are at 6PM, show's at 8, I roll up front around 7-it is party time my friends.

I don't know where they found this place, hidden in the depths of northern New Jersey lays this really cozy, cool music venue/bar/restaurant. I mean, even though I don't plan on eating, as a fat guy it's good to know food is at least available. The have tables set up where you can order dinner and watch from there, but the standing room in front of it would kill your view. Upstairs had a few tables and looked like it could've been a sweet spot to film from, but again you need to order stuff to sit at a table-pshht, please. Saw Elmo Kirkwood at the merch table, had to go over and compliment him on the fine performance I got to witness on Friday.. Shandon passed by, I patted him on the back as I ran out to meet Pam-Curt and Cris where down the block by the van.. In time I'll make it there, in time.

We settled in and actually decided to see what this first band 'Jounce' was all about. Their twitter page describes them as “Not unlike Kings Of Leon”.. Well, that would explain me not exactly being blown away, I mean they were tight and all-lead singer was playing bass.. They played from like 8:03 to 8:49.. but the more interesting part came outside afterward while I was smoking a cig talking Puppets with fellow fans, this dude in the group upon google search says “Hey man you know who the lead singer of Jounce is? It's that kid from the show 'The Adventures of Pete and Pete' that used to be on Nickelodeon in the 90s”.. Now that's hilarious-I mean in good way. I liked that show, and maybe had I known this previously I would've cared a little more about their set! Danny Tamberelli. Wasn't he in those Mighty Ducks movies too? Now he's opening for the Meat Puppets-not a bad deal at all.

Next up was Black Box Revolution, going with the 2 man line-up just drums and guitar. The lead singer had this voice that sounded exactly like Iggy Pop to me-maybe I'm crazy. And during their set I saw someone who was in the posse of laughter outside that was the Pete and Pete discovery standing near by-I leaning in and said “So what-is the dude in this band from the show 'Are You Afraid of The Dark' or something?”. ZING. A timely punchline is one of my strong points. Anyway, these guys played from like 9:09 to 9:50ish..

Main event time: At 10:04 out stroll the legends themselves, THE MEAT PUPPETS!

This whole set had a different feel, even with a lot of the same songs from the other night. I mean, maybe it's Mexicali Live in the air-because after “I'm a Mindless Idiot” and “Coming Down”-we had ourselves a good old fashioned ho-down going to the right of me and Pam. We had a nice spot along the wall so I could take video from way closer than the other night-maybe a bit too close but at least tall people didn't dominate the front row. And I'm right in front of Elmo, who jams out with Cris on this side of the stage. Every time I'm in front of Curt I leave not being able to hear for days, figured a new method should be employed here.

I'm pissed I didn't get it on film, but that had to be a plus 10 minute version of “Up On the Sun”.. it was crazy, it just kept blasting off into space. See that's the thing about this band-every show, every song, every time Curt backs away from the mic and lets loose it's like we blast off into space.. I've never taken LSD, but I'm pretty sure the psychedelic euphoria I experienced tonight is up to par as far as intensity. With no ceiling tonight, they can really get jam out for extended periods on songs. Clocked an 8 minute version of “Backwater” later on in the set. Even with the same group of songs all of this is new to me, and this is my 9th Meat Puppets show.. Guessed I'm hooked on that drug called good music.

Pam was amazed at my ability to hold a camera and type songs down on my iPod trying to get the whole set list. “Sam” got hectic-this dude was really getting down with his bad self over there, and after the song he looked at me and recited the lyric “That's the way Sam plays around”. Rock on brother-it's all good times. “Where Does a Little Tear Come From”, (which people are crediting to George Jones, but he had just as much input writing the song as did Perry Como-so it's your decision on that one. Great song either way went into, again, on of my favorites they've been playing on this tour- “Open Wide”. When “Sloop John B” started, I turned to Pam and said “it's this right into Lake of Fire”-which is exactly what it was. Lake of Fire had this siren-like guitar effect going at the beginning, which I screaming 'Mind Boggling!' to. Clocked it at 10 minutes and 10 seconds-they rock that bitch out. And here's one thing I find amazing, Curt throughout the show was walking over to Cris and Elmo, while playing and having like, conversations with them. I can't hear myself think, these guys are flying us full speed into outer space while discussing things. I could barely talk and walk at the same time! Genius's. They ducked off at 11:45.

Came back out a few minutes later, and Curt announced that it was(would have been) Doug Sahm's 70th Birthday today to a load roar of the crowd, as anyone with Wikipedia knows that the drummer of the Meat Puppets, Shandon Sahm is the son of Doug. So they played another fav of mine-”Hey Baby Que Paso” before Curt went over to the drums and was talking to Shandon before giving him a hand wave and walking away to the mic saying “Let's get Shandon to sing one!” and everyone in the building was on board. So out comes Shandon from behind the drums where Curt takes over after handing his guitar off to him. Awesome, this should be fun. Never seen Shandon sing before-if anything this could be kinda goofy. Goofy it was NOT. Wow! Shandon went totally IN on “She's About a Mover”, a Sir Douglas Quintet song, one of the many Doug Sahm projects. And Curt held his own behind the drums as Shandon destroys it over there in Curts spot. When it's solo time he screams “Play some solo Elmo!” to which Elmo shreds for a few. Listen to that video I posted one time and tell me that's not in your head all day. Shandon says “That was for Pop!” and Curt comes out and says goodnight to us.. Great song, great end to an amazing night.. it was about Midnight.

I got what I'm calling a partial set list because I think I'm missing one or two here that I didn't write down... And I have video of what I think was “Going to Graceland” that I kept rolling into “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”, but I'll need to upload it and have some troll correct me just to be sure. What a two show stretch.. Wish there was another show in town I could catch-I could do this every night of my life!

Partial Set List missing a song or two probably

I'm a mindless idiot
Coming down
The monkey and the snake
Up on the sun
Touchdown king
Where does a little Tear Come From
Open wide
Oh me
Seal Whales
-Going to Graceland(?)
Wasted days and wasted nights
Sloop John b
Lake of fire

Hey Baby Que Paso

She's About A Mover (Shandon sings/guitar, Curt on drums)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Puppets Take Manhattan! Meat Puppets 11/4/11 @ Le Poisson Rouge

The Meat Puppets return to NYC in this edition( the 59th) of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series which takes us to "Le Poisson Rouge" at 158 Bleecker St. Doors are at 6:30- show's suppose to start at 7. The deal is, there is a "dance party" scheduled at this same venue at 11PM. Lets see how this plays out.

Never been to this venue before. Found the place at almost 7 and headed in to check the room out. You walk in and the stage is immediately at the door to your left. Bar along the back, nice cozy room here. There are tables, but those are at a 2 drink minimum-and at this place that means $24. Seats not worth that much- especially with the 11pm party-it's already 730. I've stood for way longer than this before-this day in history-fat guy passed on seat.

Chatted with Elmo Kirkwood, Curt's son, outside the place before his friends showed up. Elmo used to have a band called Kirkwood-Dellinger that broke up and for this leg of the tour, he's with the Meat Puppets as a 2nd I told him- " to add a little extra oomph to this party".. I went to hang by the merch table after that, chat with some fans and hopefully run into some of the 100000 people I've been telling about this show for weeks. Noticed Curt walking around outside having a conversation with someone, and Cris also walked by me outside.

Found drummer Shandon Sahm inside. We got to talking a bit before he went backstage. Then Cris came out and was taking pictures with a few folks. I didn't wanna go over there at first because I remember the first time I met him-and I woulda been pissed if someone who's already met him several times came over and ruined my glory. So when the smoke cleared I walked over, we got to talking. The show at the Gorge was brought up, and Cris says to me “You know what band I was really diggin? Mastodon!”. Where ever I go, Mastodon will follow me. So he heads backstage, and is holding the door open for me, like to come in. REALLY?!?! Is this real life right now? So I head back there to see a relaxed Curt smoking a cig, Cris goes to pluck his bass around and Curt was saying how they had to go on asap after Dex Romweber Duo(the opening act I missed, but had SEVERAL people on the line tell me that Dex was the greatest thing since sliced bread, so Sunday I'll pay attention) because they had to be off by 10. Noticed Curt's Les Paul behind me-this will be the first time I've seen them live on the east coast where he isn't using the teal Strat. Interesting. Dex came backstage as he was finished, it was a little past 8 and I told the boys to have a good set as I was to run out for a smoke before they kicked things off. Before I left, I ran into Sean Yseult, The original Bass player from White Zombie. Cool chick too.

Anyway time for the main event as around 8:30 out come the legendary Meat Puppets! Led off with “I'm a Mindless Idiot”, “Touchdown King”, “Plateau”, “The Monkey and the Snake”.. This place is rocking-the sound in here is amazing, I'm all the way in the back(of this tiny room) taping with the coat check guy behind me, who has already stated he doesn't care what the hell I film. Great. I didn't catch “Coming Down” in time to get but after that they kicked into a triple shot of “Sam”, “Lantern”(from the new record Lollipop) and a cover of “Wasted Days Wasted Nights”(Freddy Fender) -all of which are uploading to YouTube as I type these word. Lantern is a great track-glad they're playing it on this tour. And I'm so pumped about hearing Wasted Days Wasted Nights live. That was freaking amazing.

“Oh, Me” was even extra powerful with the filthy licks of Elmo Kirkwood filling out guitar parts to just let his father shred. I present example A as the 8 minute version of “Up On The Sun”, which towards the middle always gets crazy regardless, now has an added twang to it. This is my 8th time seeing the band and they get more intense every time. Lyrics get screamed louder, guitars get louder, songs get heavier-and every single second of it is magic. To go from “Up On The Sun” to “Seal Whales” seamlessly may seem somewhat challenging to the laymen yet the legends Kirkwood(and Sahm) make it look easy.

Here comes my favorite moment of the night: “Hey Baby Que Paso”...another Freddy Fender classic, and a song I've been singing to the kitchen staff a work since I saw video of them doing it at SXSW. Love that damn song. Taped it, followed by “Light” and “Open Wide”. Open Wide was insanity. Then, I was able to be the first to have a 'Live' version of the song “Orange”(off of Lollipop) on to YouTube. I'm a mad genius at work taping mad geniuses at work. “The Whistling Song” and “Shave It”-another newbie but goodie followed.

Closing in on 10PM now, and what else to do now but bust out the Perry Como? Yea that's right, my grandmother would be proud she loved Perry Como. Anyway, the song is “Where Does a Little Tear Come From?” and it's awesome. And afterward they had a little blues jam going for like a minute, and recognizing the time, and the chords sort of, I knew it was 'Backwater'- a face stomping version of Backwater finishing off at precisely 10PM. But wait, Curt puts his glasses on at this point, and we're jumping into another tune past curfew. Not one, but TWO no less. It was the Beach Boys “Sloop John B” which lead right into a blow your mind version of “Lake of Fire”, to end the night at roughly 10:10.

The mother fudging Meat Puppets-changing my life every time I see them. I don't even know how I can improve my state of mind any more than I did tonight by seeing the boys tear down NYC yet again. Wait, I know the perfect thing to top this off-How bout I see them again Sunday in Teaneck,NJ at Mexicali Live?? Two words: Hell yes.

Catch you early Monday morning-LATE!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ween @ Hammerstein Ballroom 10/31/11

Happy HalloWEEN!! The greatest night to walk around in New York City-people in costumes everywhere; Lions and tigers and bears oh my. And most importantly, the female version of every Halloween costume-something straight out of the Victoria's Secret catalog. Wasn't a hard decision at all to make the 58th edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending concert series “An Evening with Ween” at Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom. The “An Evening” billing means there are no openers for me to offend, so it's straight up doors at 6:30- show at 8 o clock. Pumped would be an understatement.

The line to get in already had stragglers on it at 5:30 when I got off the train. With a Quiznos across the street, I grabbed a sandwich (which was terrible-but this isn't Fast Food Confessions) and headed over towards the line. Figured I'd chat with my fellow Ween fans while we wait for doors to open since I'm not usually around people who know what bands I'm talking about. Everyone's got a different song they want to hear, or a different story about a past epic experience(like last year a Central Park). We share the common bond of acting like giddy little girls waiting to get in. One girl (who's was in a 'Where's Waldo costume NOT Harry Potter like every passer by thought she was) said she's had a boner for this show for weeks. Me too. . At about 6:45 they let us in, and I made my way to Section 103: Row D, Seat 5 and surveyed my view. There's pillars at the end of each row blocking the view of event staff, and the seats elevate every two rows so if I keep my camera close to my chest, I shouldn't have any incidents like at the Beacon

Shortly after 8 here comes Ween, walking out on stage in skimpy sailor outfits. It took me a couple of songs to get settled in, but "Homo Rainbow" was 2nd or 3rd- and it took me right back to Chef-Aid from South Park. I say "took time to settle in" because section 103 is being taken over by the crowd like a prison riot. The seats were like, individual(as oppose to movie theater style), so the first few minutes of the set we all were stacking up the chairs in each row creating a standing room only mezzanine section boarded off by towers of chairs. It was insane-the ushers have disappeared. It was like school with no teacher, like work when your boss is away, like inmates in a prison with no Warden.

The scent of pot is everywhere, and I'm looking around for where it's coming from. The couple next to me pretended it wasn't there's , although I watched them lighting bowls. It's cool, welcome to the "Jay Porks Hates You" club-you've joined a large group.

The place was crazy. Everyone jiving to the likes of "Mr Richard Smoker", "Transdermal Celebration" A bunch of us including me screaming for 'Put that Coke on My Dick', as I hear one guy telling his friend “That's my mom's favorite Ween song! It's gross” .Then after "Fat Lenny", just when I thought this place couldn't get any more rowdy, it was time for the roof to come off: "Touch My Tooter". Hell freaking yes!

I swear they must has ran through almost every song I knew the name of before 10 o clock. I couldn't even believe how on fire I was til for a while there. Dean sang us "Piss up a Rope".. And "Buckingham Green" with the green lights bouncing off smoke surrounding the Deaner-man am I glad that went down. they played "Bananas and Blow", which was good for the group 5 people with a costume theme: 4 bananas and one guy as a big bag of Cocaine-Halloween brilliance right there.

“With My Own Bare Hands” preceded “Spinal Meningitis” then “Your Party”. I've got to say, Ween throws some awesome parties-especially when I get to hear them cover Bowie's “Let's Dance”. Then caught by surprise with “Voodoo Lady” following, glad I still had my camera up and ready. Is it always a 10+ minute version of the song? Because my camera has it clocked at 12 minutes 8 seconds. Mind you that it's like, not even 10 o clock at this point.

After “Stroker Ace”, I went four straight songs I either didn't know the name of or I was just too overwhelmed (in a good way) to remember what the name of the song was. After that “Mollusk”, “Scrap the Mucas off my Brain” and “Push Th' Little Daisy's” brought me back to the realm of songs I can sing along too. Another song sneaked in before we got into “Roses are Free”, and they went off stage at 10:47. Wow, an Evening with Ween.. unbelievable.

Wait a second-ENCORE?! Hell freaking yes. Central Park last year they didn't encore due to park regulations-but non such elements here at Hammerstein. And besides, I honestly believe chairs would've been thrown off the mezzanine if they didn't come back on. These were some intense folk-the prison riot analogy was half kidding, but after a night of 'Ween and Other Drugs' (you love my puns), sh!t could've gotten dangerous up in Section 103. I believe it was a 3 song encore, the one I was really into and remembered was “She Fucks Me”. At 11:07 they bowed and officially said goodnight.

On Halloween 2011, Ween came to town and played a three hour set. It's 4:30AM as I write this sentence, and I'm still putting the pieces of my face back together that were melted off during the duration of this show. I got plenty of videos, and they'll be uploading to my YouTube page tonight and tomorrow. The audio is good. Check up for that.

Now we turn the page to November folks, and if I wasn't already moist you'll never believe what's on deck for the weekend. The legends, the one and only, THE MEAT PUPPETS! This Friday at Le Poisson Rouge 158 Bleecker St in the city and then I check them again Sunday with my friend Pam in Teaneck, NJ at a place called Mexicali Live. I will have more content from that weekend than I can even envision right now, but what I really envision is a nap before I have to head to work at Noon tomorrow. This was fun-check you soon. LATE