Friday, April 28, 2006

Concerts With Brian

Today we have a special concert review from A4D correspondent Brian, an old friend and roommate who taught me to love Zepplin and not so much Rush.

Hello all. My name is Brian, and I'll be your server today. Last week, I went to see Elbow at Webster Hall here in NYC. I had first heard them a couple years back when Josh played me some tracks off of Cast of Thousands, their second album. It's a really enjoyable record, and their latest release, Leaders of the Free World, is also quite good.

But seeing them live gave me a whole new appreciation for their music, because they were easily one of the best live acts I've ever seen. Singer Guy Garvey has a brilliant, clear voice and served up plenty of British humor between songs (Elbow hail from Manchester). Opening act Cloudroom had an interesting new wave sound, but were definitely less polished then the headliners.

The show got me thinking about some of the other great concerts I've been to in my day, so here's a sampling, in no particular order:

Built to Spill - It's tough to pick a single show, since I've seen them so many times. But if I had too, I'd go with the special NYU concert they did at Irving Plaza circa 2001. I had already seen them three times on that tour, but on that particular night Superchunk opened, and they rocked the shit out of the place. It was special, because I saw Superchunk twice after that and they were never as good as that first time.

Mercury Rev - I never was a big Mercury Rev fan, but Josh is, so I heard my share of their music over the several years that we were roomies. When All is Dream was released (an album that I did rather enjoy), Josh convinced me to go with him to see their show at Irving Plaza. I'm glad I did. They really delivered.

Dada - This one was completely unexpected. I was there to see Wheat(who I had seen a couple of times before), and Dada opened. I had never heard of them before, but they completely blew me away. They are, to this day, quite possibly the tightest band I have ever seen live, and have a huge sound for a three piece. They completely outshone Wheat, whose material, in my opinion, had taken a turn for the worse. I subsequently picked up Dada's Live: Official Bootleg Vol. 1, which was recorded on that tour, and recommend it to everyone.

Grandaddy - for a bunch of sloppy looking dudes, they really execute on stage. I saw them at Warsaw in Brooklyn on the Sumday tour.

Iron and Wine - Sam Beam makes it look effortless. Saw them at Webster Hall after Woman King was released. Band of Horses opened, whose album you can see in rotation here at A4D. I like their stuff, but their live show left a little to be desired.

Corrosion of Conformity - Wow, I'm really reaching back on this one. This was circa 1998 I'd say, when The Academy was still an active venue. Original bassist Mike Dean had just rejoined the band for Deliverance, the album that started a new era for the them. Their new sound, which was just crunchy, heavy, big southern rock, was a joy to experience live. I even got involved in the mosh pit, and had the pleasure of throwing a crowd surfer to the ground after he kicked me in the head. Ah, to be 20 again.

Honorable mention goes to Mogwai, who I probably would have enjoyed more if the sheer volume of their amplifiers hadn't caved in my chest cavity and shattered my skull.

That's all for now. Maybe I can get a thread started here, as I'm sure the brothers Mueller have many a concert tale to tell.


At 4:50 PM, Blogger josh Mueller said...

Great show! I remember in particular those Mercury Rev and Mogwai shows where the sound just seemed to envelope the entire room. Some my favorite shows included a Ween gig that was kind of sexy and fun. I also remember an Afghan Whigs show that was sexy and sweaty- the walls were dripping due to a ton of folks dancing and grooving in a very small club in Syracuse. I saw a ton of good shows living in London including Nina Simone at the Babrbican as well as Rachels in a church. Guided By Voices in a beer and sun soaked performance at Coney Island one summer. The National opening up for Pernice Brothers a while back. Firewater at the Bowery Ballroom. Oh, I could just go on and on.


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