I had the pleasure to see some more live shows in the last week from my previously mentioned Ticketmaster shopping spree. So here are two mini reviews before some tunes of da week!
JIMMY EAT WORLD
Not many people are interested by what Jimmy Eat World has to offer. Most know them from their one summer of popularity in 2001 with songs like The Middle (I think we all know that chorus it just takes some time, little girl in the middle of the ride, everything, everything will be all right!) and Sweetness (I was spinning free whoa – wo -wo- wo with a little sweet and simple numbing me). But actually Jimmy Eat World have been around for almost two decades, and along the way have acquired an extremely loyal fan base who know they have so much more to offer then the sugar pop of that one single that put them in the lime-light for a bit. The truth is, Jimmy Eat World is probably not for everyone. Their sound has not evolved that much, but it remains the perfect soundtrack to your teenage years. The perfect blend of polished meets gritty with lyrics reflecting accurately every important moment in your life from 14 to 25. The first kiss. The first heart break. The fights with your parents. First loves. The parties. The road trips. Loss. Depression. Happiness. Jim Adkins is a talented songwriter and pours his heart into every word he writes. It’s simple, but so, so effective. And for those who love it, WE REALLY LOVE IT. So that prelude was to explain that going to a Jimmy Eat World concert is like going to group therapy. Us fans, who have followed them through every album, no matter how much it gets panned from critics, no matter that you barely hear them on radio, we stick with them ’cause they have a place in our hearts that won’t go away. And they know this. So they tour, a lot. And can still fill large venues so we can all sing our 15 year old hearts out and forget about our adult lives and remember the simpler times (that seemed oh so dramatic at the time). The vibe at the Commodore on Saturday was buzzing. You could feel right away that this show was going to be good. And holy shit was it ever. The guys came out feeling the same vibe we were, because they bursted right into old faves and we all went nuts. When seeing a Jimmy Eat World concert, you will find that Jim Adkins’s voice can quickly get lost with the amount of singing coming from the spectators. We all shout with him, reliving every memory we associate with every song. These guys were friends before they even started the band back in ’93 and you can always tell on stage. They genuinely care for one another and always have fun. Since it was the anniversary of Bleed American (their most popular album), we were treated to songs not played live, like Cautioners. I teared up twice, once during the mandatory sing-along of Hear You Me where we all clutch to each other and sing so loudly, and when they surprised us by playing 23, an epic swelling 7 minute piece about growing up. Gorgeous. Okay wait there was a third time, during my fave nostalgic tune “Work”. Byron and I were having so much fun we even joined the mosh pit at one point. Jim Adkins stated after the third song that “this is one of the best times we’ve played in Vancouver”, but after the encores and our excessive yelling he smiled and stated “actually this is one of our favorite shows we’ve ever played”. Don’t worry Jim, it was one of our faves too. All of us devotees know that concert was one for the books. I will cherish the memory of that night. Also Jim Adkins – what eternal fountain of youth do you drink from? The man does not age.
*** honestly I could list like 30 songs here. Check out the whole Clarity album if you have the chance.
NEON INDIAN AND SLEIGH BELLS
Yesterday in an exhausted stupor, I willed myself to get my ass downtown in the rain to see Sleigh Bells, even though I leave today for Sasquatch Music Festival and will be seeing them on Saturday. I didn’t know anything about the opening band so checked them out while I was getting ready and wasn’t really impressed. But live they are great! Way more powerful. It’s a dance party. The “band” is really Alan Palomo and his various keyboards, but he brings along a drummer, guitarist and second keyboardist on tour. This dance party is the kind of dance party you have at home when you think no one is watching and you think you are busting some amazing moves until you catch yourself in the mirror and realize you are the definition of “white people dancing”. But Alan doesn’t seem to care, cause he was busting those exact moves in a 90’s stripped dress shirt and bouffant hair cut like we were on the set of In Living Color, and dare I say it, looking kind of cool? His nerdy charm won me over. Plus he made a joke about the weather network AND about him and his band in competition of who has their sleeves rolled up the most. Also – he looked EXACTLY like college Ted Mosby which was so hilarious. Same demeanour, same vibe, slightly pretentious but yet somehow lovable, AND THAT HAIRCUT!
Sleigh Bells came out shortly after, and for those not familiar, do yourself a favour and get acquainted. Because they are AWESOME. Like The Kills, the band is a boy and a girl, the boy being Derek E. Miller and the girl Alexis Krauss. Derek serves as the guitar player with Alexis on vocals. And like the Kills, their setup live is pre-recorded tracks with Derek playing live guitar. That is where their comparison stops. Sleigh Bells are LOUD. But in the best way possible. It’s chaotic but man does it ever hit you hard. I have been dissatisfied listening to them with my shitty headphones so I was having a musical awakening finally hearing this dirty, crunchy, deep, intense wondrous duo live. I wanted to rip my clothes off and jump in the crowd. That’s what this type of music does. These two have a great stage presence and have PERFECTED their live show. They had a great light show behind them only heightening every hard punch they gave you. Miller actually was the guitarist for hardcore band Poison the Well and he’s not shy to stick to his roots and give ‘er hard. His mere presence reminded me of my period in high school where I used to blast Poison the Well, Thursday, Finch and Thrice from my sea-foam Honda Civic (me being one of the few who had my driver’s license at the time because I did it in Alberta). I’d roll up at school, open the door with a piece of toast in my mouth and binders falling everywhere and this music BLARING. Not much has changed, I’m usually late and still a disorganized klutz. Either way, this was a true experience and I am SO HAPPY I made the effort to go out and see em’ before the bigger show at Sasquatch. And I will go see them again, it was that good.
And now – a special edition of Tunes of Da Week – Sasquatch time! 4 days of epic music all in the most gorgeous outdoor backdrop is any music lovers dreams. Here are some of my fave songs from some of the acts I’m most jazzed to see! Yes I will spare you more Sleigh Bells songs :)
Everlong by Foo Fighters
Who doesn’t like the Foos? They are like the Switzerland of rock. Also, who doesn’t respect and love Dave Grohl? The man is smart, funny and ridiculously talented. God I wanna hang out with Dave Grohl. I think we all went through a Foo Fighters phase, and this song still stands the test of time.
Lover (I don’t have to love) by Bright Eyes
I’m 50/50 on Bright Eyes. Sometimes it gets a little too emo for me, but sometimes you need that emo. That being said, Conor Oberst is such a talented songwriter, his lyrics are truly something to behold. And there are quite a few songs of the years from him that have made it on my ipod that I hold dearly to my heart. So I’m really excited to see what he has to offer live. This song, despite it’s depressing subject manner, is the right amount of sexy and dark.
Boy With A Coin by Iron & Wine
I actually don’t know Iron & Wine that well, but from what I’ve heard it’s always been stellar so will be good to check em’ out and motivate myself to dive deeper.
Detroit ’67 by Sam Roberts Band
I’m in no way a giant Sam Roberts fan, but this is a Canadian who does it right and damn well. It’s fantastic. If there was ever music to back up beers, outdoors, sun and rock n roll well Sam fits the bill. So I anticipate being semi-drunk in a crowd of Canadians singing along with our homeboy. Plus I can’t deny those gorgeous eyes and killer beard.
Audience by Cold War Kids
What, another Cold War Kids song? I don’t give a fuck. I love them that much. Already getting butterflies just for them to be blessed by their talent again. Someone hold me!
Other bands that I’m looking forward to – City and Colour, Matt & Kim, Foster the People, Death From Above 1979 and Wavves (yup this kid sold me last time with his surfer music that is best described as noise live).
What am I most looking forward to though? Riding with Team Whiskey Sunrise f. the Rum Baron (aka me, Jordan, Byron and Sean), meeting up with Drew and Aaron after the border where Byron and I will probably be interrogated due to our shady passports, debating far too long at 10:50 pm at some US grocery store of what booze and food to buy, bickering setting up a tent at 2 am, passing out and waking up at 8 am to sun and shotgunning beers. Let it begin!