AM & Shawn Lee @ Turf Club

I first heard of Shawn Lee a few years ago through a feature on iTunes called "Indie" electronic artists.  Through that, I ended up buying his Voices & Choices album.   Most recently I saw a feature on Spotify for AM & Shawn Lee's new album, Celestial Electric and have been listening to it pretty regularly.  So when I saw they were coming here, I figured it was a pretty rare opportunity to see him/them live.  

They were playing the Turf Club in St Paul, which I'd never been to.  So when I showed up that night I wasn't sure if I was actually in the right place.  I saw a band playing, most likely the opener, but it looked just like a bar which happended to have a stage.  Well, that's exactly what it is, a bar with a small stage.  I guess the other thing that threw me of was the fact that there was no one there.  There was literally 20 people there.  The stage is small, but the bar itself is pretty big, so not having people there is pretty noticeable.  I was able to secure a seat at the bar right up front which was awesome.  

The funny thing about small venues is you get to watch the actual band setup.  It's not like larger venues where they make this grand appearence after the crew sets up the stage.  So I sat there and watched the bad setup and then they just jump into playing.  I think the sounded great.  The album is pretty low key, and the set was basically the whole album.  The crowd was pretty responsive to the band, at least what crowd there was.  It even prompted a few people to get up and dance.  Although that seemed a little weird, again since there was no one there.  

After the show, AM and Shawn Lee were near the merch table and I thought about getting a picture with them, but opted not.  On the way home I realized I should have just had them sign my ticket.  I haven't done that in a long time

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Phantogram @ First Ave

I probably would have never got a ticket to see Phantogram at First Ave, had it not been for seeing them at Lollapalooza.  The dudes I went to Lollapalooza with really liked the band and said we should go check them out.  So that Saturday afternoon we did, and now we're fans too.  So naturally, when I saw they were coming here to First Ave, I figured I'd go see them again.  I brought Brendan and Colin along, who both enjoyed the show as well.  The band didn't really talk that much during their set, but when they did, I couldn't understand a word they said.  Maybe it's because it was nearly sold out, or I'm just about deaf.  Either way, it didn't matter much, because the music sounded great.  And thanks to B&C, I found a new money saving deal.  $3 tall boys at the Depot, till 11PM.  And here I thought the $4.75 ones in First Ave were a good deal.  

UPDATED 20111117: Phantogram's First Avenue show filmed by Vice Some much better video of the show along with some video footage of First Ave and Minneapolis.

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Battles @ Fine Line Music Cafe

It's nights like this that I wish I lived downtown.  Dinner at a friends apartment, then drinks a couple blocks away, and best of all, I was able to sneak off and see Battles at the Fine Line, and run back and meet my group afterwards.  Being able to walk home would have been the icing on the cake, but alas, a drive back to the burbs was required.

This was my first time at the Fine Line.  So I was pretty amazed how small it was.  The bulk of my concert going experience is at the First Ave Mainroom, which I always considered small.  But now that I've gone to a few other venues, I suppose it's pretty big compared to the other "small" places.

The Battles show was great and the music was awesome.  They played a lot off of Gloss Drop, which worked for me, since I really like that album.  Of course I was jazzed when they played Ice Cream, which is my favorite song of theirs.  They even stretched it out and made it into a 10 minute song.  I wondered how they were going to do the vocals on some of their songs, like Ice Cream.  Well, they had 2 life size screens behind them that had giant heads singing the lyrics.  Not that one of these guys couldn't have just taken on that role.  I mean each guy seemed to be multitasking the entire time, and doing it really well.  I can't even play one instrument, but these guys were playing at least 2, and sometimes at the same time.  Crazy and impressive!

I tried getting my group I left to join me, because I think they would have really liked it.  I mean, you really couldn't stand still at a show like this.  

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Chromeo @ First Ave

The last time I saw Chromeo was at the 2008 Lollapalooza.  Which at the time, I really liked Chromeo, but didn't feel they were all that great live.  Maybe it was the fact they were playing during the day, or it was really hot out, but it just wasn't doing it for me.  That was exactly the opposite this go around at First Ave.  The set was around 90 minutes, but it seemed to fly by.  Matt attended this one with me and loved it too.  The initial "Chromeo" chant, quickly followed by "Fancy Footwork" set the tone for the show.  It was awesome.  I guess I didn't realize how many great songs they have, but almost every song they played I was like "Oh yeah, I like this song too!"  

The band was just here a year ago, and said even though the last show was great, this one was even better.  And it showed, the place was packed and it seemed like everyone there danced the entire time.  They even claimed that if they do a live album, they'll record it at First Ave.  

Supposedly Chromeo are going to get their very own star too.  I'll have to get a pic of that when it goes up.  If they come back again next year, I'm definitely going.

UPDATED 10/20/11: A star is born!

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James Blake @ First Ave

This review from City Pages is as close as I got to this show last night.  I was suppose to run home from my soccer game, shower, and head up to Mpls for the show.  Unfortunately, when I got home I had to run to Urgent Care with the little one.  Turns out she had a double ear infection.  :( That explained the uncontrollable crying that morning which woke us up early.  Oh well, at least she's on the mend, I was able to get to bed on time, and I saved some beer money for Chromeo on Tuesday.
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Toro Y Moi @ Triple Rock Social Club

I really didn't know what to expect with this show. I've really enjoyed listening to Toro Y Moi on Spotify but didn't know how well it would translate live. The music is a bit more on chill side, but I was glad to see the energy come through to make for an entertaining show. I recorded them doing "Still Sound" which is my favorite song, as well as the intro and outro. The music sounded great, although crazy loud, and the crowd was really into it.

Speaking of the crowd, they were great. People were really cool and polite. Which isn't something you necessarily see at a concert. The show was sold out and it was definitely packed inside, but every person that had to shimmy by me said excuse me, and politely slid by. Not once did someone bump me out of the way. That was actually pretty refreshing.

This was my first time seeing a show at the Triple Rock too. The more times I see bands in small venues, the more I appreciate that sort of setting. Triple Rock really radiates that 'hipster' vibe, so to celebrate I ordered a couple PBR Tallboys. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but then again I'm not that picky with my beer.

Another solo show for me, and another late night, but again, totally glad I went.



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Mad Professor @ The 7th St Entry

The next morning my car still smelled like pot. Which is pretty amazing considering, one, I don't smoke pot, and two, you're not allowed to even smoke in bars. And yet, people were lighting up all over the place last night. This certainly didn't detract from the show. Don't get me wrong, the music was great. 'Dub' which is what this type of music is described ase.  Which is basically reggae music with tons of bass, and really trippy. And I mean TONS of bass. So much bass that my face was vibrating. I loved it.

I actually saw Mad Professor at First Ave years ago, because I loved the No Protection album he did.  I even got his autograph on the CD cover at that show.  And although I didn't hear any Massive Attack during this show, I think being at the Entry really made it a totally different experience.  I've never seen a show there before.  Being able to be 5 feet from the performer was something that I've never done.  Even got to shake his hand after the show.  He did some original stuff, some dub versions of Bob Marley, and played a song that made me smile.  It was You Don't Love Me (No No No), which I knew from the Party Girl soundtrack.  The wife definitely would have freaked out with that one.

The crowd was pretty interesting, lots of white people dreads.  Lots of weird dancing, and like I said before, tons of pot.  All in all, a great show.


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Morcheeba @ First Ave

What better group to see at my first show at First Ave since I moved back to Minnesota.  Even better the original lead singer was back with the band.  The wife was suppose to attend this with me, since we've been following Morcheeba since their first album back in 1997.  At the last minute she decided she'd rather get to bed at a decent hour.  Silly adult responsibilities.  So my buddy stepped in to save me from going solo.  They played all the songs that I was hoping for, which made it a great show.  


(Coming Soon)
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Caspa @ First Ave

One of the great things about the First Ave twitter account is that they tell you when the set times are for the night.  But when I show up at 10 PM in preparation for the 11 PM set time and there's only 100 people there, it's a bit concerning.  The Foo Fighters are playing at the Excel the same night, so maybe thats part of the problem.  So I'm a little concerned when First Ave is only 10% full.  It did fill in a little once Caspa came  on, but "fill in" means another 50 people.  But once the music started, it really didn't matter how many people were there.  The crowd was totally into it.  I was really hoping to hear stuff off of his album,
"Everybody's Talking, Nobody's Listening", but, no.  He did tease a bit early on, but never followed through.  He stuck to the big name dubstep mix playbook.  Not that I was complaining, since it was still pretty awesome, but it would have been nice.  
This was also my first show I've attended solo since 1998 or so. But once the  music started, all that didn't matter.  The more I listen to dubstep, the more I realize how much I love it.  This show only confirmed that.  I heard a lot of the big dubstep songs that I typically hear on Pandora. No surprise there was a little Skrillex mixed in there.  It was a great 90 minute set.  
Towards the end, Dread MC took a cell phone pic of Caspa with the audience.  I was hoping I was in it, but it looks like I was just out of the shot. 
Long story short, I was a little concerned when I got there, but in the end, I was glad I went.  It was a great mix!


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Basilica Block Party 2011

This is one of those events that I wish we lived in downtown Mpls for.  Such a cool setting to see some live music with a bunch of friends.  It amazed me at how many people we ran into that we knew.  Plus, this was a rare occasion of the wife attending a show with me.  Loved it.

We ended up getting there shortly before the headliner, which we were there to see, Ray LaMontagne. Although I'm not a big fan of his type of music, I gotta say the guy sounded great.  With the Mpls skylline as the backdrop and the perfect weather, it made for a really cool night.  

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Wiz Khalifa @ The Cabooze

Initially I was pretty excited about attending this show.  I've enjoyed all the singles Wiz has put out, and even the songs that my brother-in-law had me listen to.  Plus it was an outdoor show, so how could you go wrong?  


When we get there, there's a ridiculous line to get into the concert area, which isn't so unusual.  (Side note, it always amazes me the amount of white dudes at rap shows, that go out of their way to sound like a hip/tough/cool black guys.  It's pretty comical) However, it gets a little concerning when you're pretty far back in line and the show starts.  Lucky for us there were 2 openers, so it wasn't a big deal after all.  The funny thing was though, once we got in, we couldn't tell they were openers.  Shows how much of a fan we were. ;) So while we're waiting for the openers to finish up, we're trying to get a decent spot to watch from.  Unfortunately the Cabooze outdoor stage is in their parking lot.  Not ideal for a short guy.  Needless to say, I couldn't see a damn thing.  

Now all that still hasn't really spoiled my time.  But then I make the mistake of saying "hi" to the girl in front of me while I'm ordering a beer.  As I'm waiting, her boyfriend and his friend, who are standing around the corner of the bar from me, are staring right at me.  At first I didn't really notice them, I mean these 2 guys are just staring at me, not saying a word, just staring.  When I do a double-take out of surprise, I get the typical tough-guy "what?!" from them.  To which I reply "what?", to which they reply "what."  This could go on all night. So I shake my head, wait for my drink, and ignore them.  In the meantime, the girlfriend is now back with them and getting the 3rd degree on what she said to me, and why was she talking to me, and so on.  I guess they have a pretty solid relationship, when saying "hi" to a guy elicits such a response.  But I guess when you're dating a skank, drunk at a rap concert, and wearing a wife-beater, you do as the Romans do.  In the end, nothing happened thankfully.  The kicker though, was as she's pleading for forgiveness, says, "...he's totally ugly, please, you are so much better looking than him."  Ugh. Thanks.   

The show finally starts, but now I'm standing in a sink hole, can't see shit, watching over my shoulder to make sure the Latin King wannabe doesn't try something.  

Of course Wiz ended with Black and Yellow, so that was cool.

Video to come.
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Lollapalooza 2011

This was my 3rd trip to Chicago for Lollapalooza in the last 4 years, and by far the best. My brother-in-law and I decided to take the Megabus from Mpls to Chicago this time around. For $26 round trip, it was hard not to pass up. However, 8 hours each way on the bus was not fun, but we managed to keep sane by watching hours of TV on my laptop. We stayed with another brother-in-law which helped make the trip even more inexpensive. So not only was this the most fun Lollapalooza I've attended, but it was also the cheapest!

Friday morning we got up and met everyone downtown for lunch before heading off to Grant Park to meet up with the BIL's friends. Our first stop was The Naked and Famous followed by Delta Spirit. Conveniently all the bands I saw Friday were all on the south end of the park, which saved me a ton of walking and maximized my viewing time. From here, I took a detour from my normal music festival routine.  I sat in the middle of the baseball fields, drank, and listened to Foster the People and then White Lies, until we finished a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of rum. With large beers being $7, this ended up saving me a ton of money. So that was awesome. From here, I/we pretty much camped out at Perry's stage the rest of the night. We caught the end of Feed Me, then saw The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 set. Or at least the beginning of it. We managed to work our way a little closer, but the closer you got, the hotter, sweatier and crazier it got. After awhile, we ended up bailing to take a break. We rejoined the tent for Skrillex, which was pretty amazing, although it was now even hotter. During Skrillex's set, I lost the rest of the group, as I tried to make my way as close to the front as I could. I think I made it about 3/4's the way through the set before I decided to bail. Emerging from Perry's completely drenched in sweat, (it looked like I got caught in a downpour) into the daylight, among people that were dry and not dancing, was quiet a shock to the senses. At this point my phone had also died, so there was no way to easily meet up with everyone. Luckily I ran into one of the guys and we headed over to Crystal Castles. Working our way to the front of the crowd I rubbed up against a girl and could hear her say "eeewwwwwww, nasty" or something like that. You do look a little out of place when you're the only one in a crowd that's wet and there isn't a cloud in the sky. I'm not a huge Crystal Castles fan, but they put on one hell of a show. They are probably better suited to play when it's dark, but it was an awesome set nonetheless. Afterwards, the guys and I all headed to the opposite side of the park for Coldplay. But as we arrived at the Bud Light stage, I started to realize, I had no desire to see Coldplay. Even if I'd already seen Girl Talk four times before, a fifth time would be better than Coldplay. So I left the guys and jogged all the way back to the south end, and caught the whole Girl Talk set. I was really glad I did, because it was a typical fun, sweaty, dance-the-whole-time, Girl Talk show. If anything I was wearing was dry, it certainly wasn't now. Easily one of the best times I've had at Lollapalooza. Surprisingly, I found the blue line without getting too lost, and made it home safely that night. I guess when you're BIL tells you that you used the word "awesome" 17 times to describe your day, you must have had a good time. ;)

Saturday started off just as well as Friday. We took the train in, grabbed some lunch and headed into the park. First stop, Phantogram at the Sony stage. I'd never heard these guys before, but I'am glad I saw them. Great set, great music, and will definitely pick up some of their stuff to add to my music library. Plus the lead singer is hot, so they were easy to watch. Pretty much anything that's electronic and up tempo, will easily win me over. :) From here, we headed to Perry's to catch Super Mash Bros. At this point is where I make a terrible decision to join the boys with their money saving drinking. I did enjoy the SMB set, but you can definitely tell they aren't as refined as Girl Talk in the whole mashup game. But I guess that's why they're playing at 2:45 and Girl Talk played at 8:45. We make it through the SMB set, and head off to some shaded grass near the BMI stage to listen to The Chain Gang of 1974 and to finish off the smuggled-in bottles. That little voice in the back of my head is telling me I need to be a little more careful than yesterday, but unfortunately I didn't listen and I went from sober to smashed in no time. The only smart thing I did do, was head straight home to sleep it off. Unfortunately, that meant I missed 6 hours of Saturdays better sets, which was a bit disappointing. I missed Atmosphere, Chuckie, The Glitch Mob, and Pretty Lights. I'm an idiot. Not only that, but I also missed out on a party that night. Again, idiot.

You'd think sleeping from 4PM Saturday until 10:30AM on Sunday, a person would be fine and avoid any possible hangover, but you'd be wrong. I still felt like crap, and ever more like a dumbass. Long story short, I stay home for a little while longer, as everyone else heads off to the park. I finally pull my shit together and get to the park around 4. Just in time for the rain of course. I'm probably there no more than 30 minutes before it starts raining and it proceeds to rain for the next half an hour. From here on out, it really isn't fun. Everything is muddy, and what's not muddy is either wet, or an actual pond. People get stupid and think because they're covered in muck, everyone else should be too. It sucked. We caught a bit of the Arctic Monkeys, and we probably would have seen more, but our choice spot on the hill was ruined because it was right in front of a 50 yard long lake. This drew people to use it as a slip in slide, or a pool, or a way to piss off everyone on the hill. So we headed over to Perry's to watch Modeselektor for a bit. It was at least a little more tame there, people were dancing in the mud, but we're able to restrain themselves from splashing everyone in their wake. We all kind of went our separate ways, me to Deadma5 and everyone else to Foo Fighters. But before we could see our headliners, we first had to rescue a couple of VIPs from getting booted from the park. A small detour later, and back to our respective main stages. Just as I get to the main stage and after inhaling a lobster roll on the way, it starts pouring. I really don't care if I get wet, but I get really paranoid about my iPhone. Those things will die if you sneeze on them wrong. Once the rain passed, I had to hold my iPhone the rest of the night because my shorts were so wet, it would have surely screwed my phone being in my pocket. Deadmau5 put on a pretty awesome show. He played his huge songs, Raise Your Weapon, Ghosts-n-Stuff and Sofi Needs a Ladder. His set was pretty amazing, with the lights and video better than most shows I've seen. Again, the only downside was the mud. Protecting my iPhone from the mud getting splashed and kicked on me, felt like I was saving a kid from a burning building. Once the show ended, I headed out and collected my party and headed home.

Aside from the blackout from Saturday through Sunday and the rain and mud on Sunday, the weekend was pretty awesome. I really can't wait until next year...but first Coachella!

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Girl Talk @ First Ave

Girl Talk was awesome, no surprise.  This was the 4th time I saw Girl Talk live and it was the 2nd of 2 sold-out shows at First Ave.  Again, Eric was my date for the night and we both had a blast.  I have to say this was probably the best show I'd seen of Girl Talk.  The energy and the setting were perfect.  I think he ended up playing at least an hour and a half or more, but we could have stayed a lot longer.  What an awesome show!

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Cut Copy @ First Ave

I really enjoyed Cut Copy's newest album, so I was really looking forward to this show.  I wasn't disappointed at all, they put on a really energetic and fun concert.  Most of their set was off the new album which was great.  A buddy of mine went with with me, because as usual, the wife had no desire to go.  Even a Saturday night and a babysitter couldn't convince her otherwise.  No worries, Eric and I had a great time.  I'd probably go to see them again because their music is so upbeat and they have a live show to match.

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Amy Winehouse September 14, 1983 – July 23, 2011

This was the one and only picture I took of Amy Winehouse back in April of 2007 while I was at Coachella.  I was attending my second ever Coachella with my buddy, and suggested we swing through to see her.  Her album 'Back to Black' had just been released here in the US in March of 2007, just a month before Coachella.  She was playing the Gobi tent, which is by far the smallest tent at Coachella.  As you can see from my picture however, we weren't even under the tent, as it was packed and impossible to get any closer.  I actually joked to Mason that we should check out here performance because she's been known to perform drunk and get a bit out of control.

It's pretty sad to think, that was 5 years ago and it only got worse from there.

Here are some of the videos of her performance at Coachella 2007.
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Sia @ First Ave

This school night wasn't as late since she started at 8:30, which was nice to get home at 10:30.  I'm not a huge Sia fan, but was pretty surprised how many people were at the show.  I'd guess that it was almost sold out.  Molly went with me again to this show instead of the wife.  She even scored a poster for her apartment! I'm starting to get the feeling that the wife has no desire to attend concerts with me... ;)

Sia definitely has a great voice and she had a great rapport with the audience, which made it an enjoyable show to attend.  Although her Australian accent and my deafness prevented me from understanding her a lot of times, I did manage to catch a few of her jokes.  The first was when someone gave her a gift, which was something that went on throughout the whole show.  The gift said "If you ever meet the band Muse, please give this to them". Pretty funny.  Later in the show she gave an explanation that helped me understand the almost sold out crowd.  She explained that she had written a song for the Will Smith movie, Seven Pounds, which they didn't use.  So then she wrote another song for the same movie, which they also didn't use.  However, the movie Twilight used it, and now she's "rich"!  Guess that explains it. ;)  She ended up playing that song during her "fake encore" as the last song.  The first encore song, was 1 of the 2 songs I really knew, "Clap Your Hands".  

I also managed to remember to clear my phone off this time so I could take some video:


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DJ Shadow @ First Ave

The set mostly followed the same set from this years Rockness Festival, which you can find here, so I kind of knew what to expect.  I was pretty impressed with the ball\globe\sphere that he played in, and the accompanying animations.  Here's some video on YouTube that shows the ball in action, and here too.  The video of him on the ball is live video of him from inside the ball.  Crazy! Can't say I've seen anything like it at a show.  I caught his intro and opening on my iPhone, but unfortunately I didn't have enough space, so it didn't save.  Doh! :( Luckily I was able to get some pictures though.

A little late for a school night, but I was glad I caught the show.  It was one of my bucket list concerts, so I can finally cross it off my list.

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