Big Talk 7/20/15

(a) setlist

  1. What Happened to Delisa?
  2. La Rue D’Awakening
  3. White Dove
  4. Getaways
  5. Hold That Line
  6. Animal Husband
  7. The Void
  8. Cocktail Party
  9. What The Night Can Do
  10. I’ve Been Sentimental Lately
  11. Living In Pictures
  12. Replica
  13. Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers cover)
  14. Another Satellite
  15. Neon’s Not Enough Light

(b) highlights

  • the band kiiillllllled it – probably my favorite show of the second album tour
  • RVJ, does that even need to be said at this point, I wonder
  • the Troubadour just has an awesome set up – killer sound, great lighting, solid stage set-up
  • the crowd was so much better than the night before – people were actually moving and dancing to songs that had only just come out that day
  • lines like, “Oh, the mic is hot. This band is hot.” ” we’re Big Talk and we’re from Malaysia!” “Old Pinkie (the guitar) is out of tune.”
  • I took probably my favorite photos at a show ever! mostly due to the Troubadour’s lighting and set-up, thx Troubs.

(c) lowlights

  • really really really wish I could’ve heard “Katzenjammer” live just once

(d) overall thoughts

This show felt like the perfect set-up for the band to shine. Ronnie was totally “on” all night, the audience was receptive, and every song just felt like so much fun. It made me so happy that it finally felt like people were getting what the Big Talk schtick is.

The Troubadour is freaking cool and every show there feels special. The stage juts out a bit like a diamond and there’s a beautiful balcony that overlooks the space. The production level was higher than previous shows, which – along with other factors – really highlighted the performance aspect of the band. While San Diego felt like a jam-band session, this gig was all about performance. Whether that was with in-between song jokes or really letting the new songs breathe, this felt like a show. Ronnie Vannucci basically needs his own comedy hour at this point, and everyone else at Big Talk plays their role well. A part of me wishes Big Talk would do a full tour, even just 10 cities or so, just so they can really get into a rhythm and mix up the setlist; it’s in variety and different circumstances that Ronnie most shines, I believe.

After the show, I talked with other Big Talk and Killers’ fans, which was cool, and chatted again with Ronnie and Taylor – basically the best dudes of all time. Full stop. Period. I will fight anyone who disagrees that Big Talk isn’t awesome and definitely hurt anyone who says anything against those dudes, but oh wait, no one can say anything bad about them or has because they’re wonderful, the end.

Bottom Line: I love Big Talk, I love Ronnie, I love Taylor, I love all of them, I love Big Talk and Straight In No Kissin’, and I just can’t help it.

Big Talk 7/19/15

(a) setlist

  1. What Happened to Delisa?
  2. La Rue D’Awakening
  3. White Dove
  4. Getaways
  5. Hold That Line
  6. Animal Husband
  7. The Void
  8. Cocktail Party
  9. What The Night Can Do
  10. I’ve Been Sentimental Lately
  11. Living In Pictures
  12. Replica
  13. Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers cover)
  14. Another Satellite
  15. Neon’s Not Enough Light

(b) highlights

  • RVJ, duh
  • that setlist!!! finally got to hear some older Big Talk songs I missed on the first go-around
  • getting to chat with the guys; there is no sweeter person on Earth than Taylor Milne, I swear to God
  • the Casbah is basically a bar – so tiny and so intimate; I get Bunkhouse vibes from it

(c) lowlights

  • there was an asshole drunk heckler yelling during, before, and after songs who I actually had to yell at – who even does that?? at a small intimate show?? go home.
  • the crowd was subdued – why why why why do you pay to go to a concert to not move, why why, I will NEVER understand this

(d) overall thoughts

I was super lucky to even be at this show. My brother was getting married later in the week, so I got to fly back home to LA and took a quick train down to San Diego to see Big Talk. The show was stupidly intimate and small – it was pouring outside and I swore you could hear the rain pattering outside in between songs. The stage was barely a foot off the ground, so you were RIGHT there during the performance. It was freaking cool.

Last time around seeing Big Talk, they played the entirety of their new album Straight In No Kissin’ with one old song, so I was pretty psyched to hear classic tracks like “Getaways” and “Replica,” among others. The newer Big Talk album still hadn’t been released at this point (it came out the next day!), but I still strangely felt so familiar with all the new music. A mix of Tom Petty, perhaps even the Beach Boys, and the usual Big Talk sound combined to make that good ole fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Ronnie’s voice worked perfectly with those tunes and it was clear that all the guys played well together; wordless head nods and seamless transitions gave off a solid jam-band vibe to the show.

The crowd was objectively sub-par and I think the band was kinda down about it, but it was no bother. Everyone killed it, I had a great time, and even got to chat a bit with the guys. Ronnie vaguely prepared me for a coming surprise for their Jimmy Kimmel performance later in the week, and Taylor chatted a bit about the setlist and songs he liked. Couldn’t ask for nicer dudes and more enjoyable tunes.

 

Bottom Line: Big Talk are freaking awesome and I will literally murder you if you interrupt Ronnie Vannucci Jr. while he’s speaking on stage, bye.

Note: I took roughly a million photos, didn’t edit any of them, none of them are perfect, but I put them up because they were my experience and that’s cool. You’re welcome.

U2 7/18/16

(a) setlist

  1. The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)
  2. The Electric Co.
  3. Vertigo
  4. I Will Follow
  5. Iris (Hold Me Close)
  6. Cedarwood Road
  7. Song For Someone
  8. Sunday Bloody Sunday
  9. Raised By Wolves
  10. Until the End of the World
  11. Invisible
  12. Even Better Than the Real Thing
  13. Mysterious Ways
  14. Elevation
  15. Ordinary Love
  16. October
  17. Every Breaking Wave
  18. With or Without You
  19. City of Blinding Lights
  20. Bullet the Blue Sky
  21. Pride (In The Name of Love)

Encore:

  1. Beautiful Day
  2. Where The Streets Have No Name
  3. One

(b) highlights

  • this was my first time seeing them!!!
  • U2 is INCREDIBLE, haters may proceed to the LEFT, BYEEEE
  • so so SO many great ass songs, like look at that encore, LOOK AT IT
  • making fun of Bono while also worshiping Bono is like my favorite thing to do ever
  • their production notoriously costs about $2947203 million dollars but damn, it is so worth it – I can’t even describe how intricate and unique the use of art and screens and projections was during this show, like wow
  • “Ordinary Love” was dedicated to Nelson Mandela because it was his birthday; then Bono just started naming people like Desmond Tutu and Yo-Yo Ma and like Angelina Jolie or whoever, saying they were all in the crowd tonight; like can you imagine what the U2 VIP guestlist must look like
  • Bono was top-notch Bono-y, I loved it

(c) lowlights

  • would’ve liked to hear “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” 😦 but damn that setlist was so good, so this complaint is a very minor one

(d) overall thoughts

I fell in love with U2 the summer of 2005 pretty much on accident. They, like the Beatles and the Beach Boys, had kind of always existed in the world I grew up in, but I somehow became enamored with their Best Of (1980-1989) when I was 14. I’ve heard for years that their live shows are next-level and with crazy cool production, so I was freaking psyched for this. And I totally was not disappointed.

I feel like a minority in saying that I actually enjoyed U2’s last album Songs of Innocence (and not just for the William Blake reference!) because most of the songs were genuinely great and, oh, sorry, I’m not gonna hate on a super popular band for literally GIVING ME THEIR ALBUM FOR FREE. (Why was everyone such a dick about that Apple thing? I really don’t get it. You got a free album. It’s a standard setting on iTunes for albums to NOT download, so you had to go OUT OF YOUR WAY to make sure iTunes put that album on your phone. Everyone is a douche, bye.) The newer material told a beautiful story that not only Bono spelled out for the audience between and sometimes during songs, but the visual story-telling with the projected artwork and jumbo screens was seriously awesome.

My friend and I were the youngest people in the crowd who weren’t there with their parents, but the crowd – for the most part – was pretty damn into it. Belting out the appropriate numbers (“Pride,” “Where the Streets,” and “With or WIthout You”) with everyone cheering and waving their arms made me wanna close my eyes and just listen to the individual notes. It was impossible to not smile throughout.

Also, hearing “One” for the first time almost exclusively reminded me of my favorite Noel Gallagher quote of all time: “(to Bono) Shut the fuck up about Africa and just play ‘One’!!”

Bottom Line: U2 is amazing, providing true evidence that showmanship is not dead, and everyone wants to be a hater for no reason because people don’t want to be reminded that their stupid lives are inherently better than poor kids in Africa, so everyone shits on Bono when he’s a wonderful man and his band is great, so SUCK IT.

Note: I took 14,283,382 photos, you’re welcome.

Morrissey, Blondie 6/27/15

(i) lineup

(1a) Blondie
(2b) Morrissey

(1a) (Blondie’s) setlist

  1. One Way or Another
  2. Rave
  3. Hanging On the Telephone (The Nerves cover)
  4. Call Me
  5. Maria
  6. A Rose By Any Name
  7. Rapture
  8. Heart of Glass
  9. The Tide is High (The Paragons cover)

(1b) highlights

  • dude, it was BLONDIE
  • Debbie Harry KNOWS WHAT’S UP
  • the Gay Marriage Act had just been passed in that week, so Debbie was up there with her rainbow flag and dancing around, celebrating it; it was adorable
  • apparently Debbie Harry was turning SEVENTY three days before the performance, which is PSYCHOTIC to me because she still sounded so, so good
  • a whole marching band came out during “The Tide is High,” like how precious is that

(1c) lowlights

  • I brought my nice Canon Rebel XS, but we had super far back seats in MSG and there was no jumbotron or feed whatsoever, so Blondie was, uh, super small for everyone in my section

(1d) overall thoughts

Seeing a super iconic artist like Blondie open for someone I love so much in crazy famous venue like Madison Square Garden is something you don’t forget. After all these years, the band still sounded strong. Yeah, their young, punky days have been over for awhile but there’s nothing like hearing “Heart of Glass” and “The Tide Is High” in Madison Square Garden regardless of everyone’s age. Blondie, and Debbie Harry in particular, totally killed it.

Bottom Line: Debbie Harry was 69 years old for this performance and more interesting than half the boring ass Brooklyn-based, leather-jacket-wearing, mediocre-ass opening bands I’ve seen in NYC.

(2a) (Morrissey’s) setlist

    1. The Queen Is Dead (The Smiths cover)
    2. Suedehead
    3. Staircase at the University
    4. Ganglord
    5. World Peace is None of Your Business
    6. Speedway
    7. Kiss Me A Lot
    8. Alma Matters
    9. I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
    10. Everyday Is Like Sunday
    11. Istanbul
    12. Will Never Marry
    13. I Will See You in Far-Off Places
    14. Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed
    15. Kick The Bride Down the Aisle
    16. Neal Cassady Drops Dead
    17. The World is Full of Crashing Bores
    18. The Bullfighter Dies
    19. Meat Is Murder (The Smiths cover)
    20. What She Said (The Smiths cover)

Encore:

  1. Now My Heart Is Full

(2b) highlights

  • MORRISSEY!!!!!!
  • “THE QUEEN IS DEAD”!!! I WAS DEAD!!!
  • seeing the entirety of Madison Square Garden literally light up as the whole crowd belted out “Everyday Is Like Sunday” along with Moz will forever be burned into my retina; such a beautiful, wonderful, almost serenely perfect experience
  • “Ganglord” is stupidly funny to me and it’s totally not supposed to be, but I can’t get over it
  • all of MSG went “meatless” at the request of Moz, which I thought was cool, and “Meat Is Murder” was AMAZING
  • Moz took off his shirt and threw it into the crowd at the end, which I’d only basically read about in books at that point, so that was next-level living a dream

(2c) lowlights

  • at one point in between songs, Moz referenced how bright the theatre was, saying, “there’s a light in here…that never goes out” BUT THEN DIDN’T FUCKING PLAY “THERE’S A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT” LIIIIIKE, WTF?????!!!!???
  • again, there was no jumbotron or live feed, so Moz was like an inch tall – so much for bringing my nice camera for pics -____-

(2d) overall thoughts

Morrissey is basically a god to Smiths’ fans and to the rest of the world who doesn’t find him super insufferable, myself included. I’d been looking forward to this performance forEVER because Morrissey (of course) had cancelled a show at Barclays Center in Brooklyn a year earlier that I was supposed to go to. I was pretty freaking relieved more than anything that MSG agreed to go meatless and Moz actually showed up.

On one hand, this was an incredible performance and definitely one I’ll never forget. There seriously isn’t a better feeling than waiting for him to come on-stage and seeing the Queen give two middle fingers while “The Queen Is Dead” starts playing. Like, my freaking breath caught in my chest, I could barely stand it. The crowd was mostly really responsive and the stage design and lights were really solid. But on the other hand…I feel like Moz actively tries to annoy the crowd. It’s as if he performs better knowing everyone is annoyed with him. He played so much new material from his newest album World Peace Is None of Your Business, which I actually wouldn’t at all mind…if the album was actually good. (That’s mostly unfair – the album is fine, but nowhere near his previous works, but I digress.) Like, why not play “Hairdresser On Fire”? Or another solo song that everyone knows and loves and can dance too. I’m not saying I want an hour-long performance only of Smiths’ covers, but how fucked up can you get when you seriously reference a Smiths’ song in your between-song banter, but then not play it???? I love you, Morrissey, but my god.

Bottom Line: The memorable moments outweighed the bad at this Moz performance and at least he didn’t run off stage this time! Also he took off his shirt! What a time to be alive!

Joywave, The Kooks 6/24/15

(i) lineup*

(1a) Joywave
(2b) The Kooks

*Atlas Genius played in between Joywave and The Kooks and they were alright – nothing good or bad to report either way. Just filler.

(1a) (Joywave’s) setlist

Setlist.fm doesn’t have the details, but I remember them playing maybe 5 or 6 songs. “Destruction,” “Tongues,” “Feels Like a Lie,” “Now,” and “Somebody New” were definitely ones I remember.

(1b) highlights

  • all the aforementioned songs
  • I love the Central Park Summerstage shows – cool environment, good food, generally a nice venue space

(1c) lowlights

  • the crowd didn’t move, as always; as if the entirety of New York is incapable of getting into a band or performance they didn’t immediately pay to see

(1d) overall thoughts

Joywave is best when they feel they need to earn the audience’s respect, I think. They work so hard to make even the most dead crowd move and get into the music. When the audience doesn’t respond, everything just becomes funny. I really remember Daniel calling out New York City crowds for being too cool to dance and my friends and I overcompensating by being super into it, which is always the best.

Bottom Line: Would definitely recommend not only seeing a band play in this Central Park venue, but everyone should absolutely see Joywave live if only for the small chance they play “Destruction” twice.

IMG_20160329_185931

(2a) (The Kooks’) setlist

    1. Around Town
    2. Ooh La
    3. She Moves in Her Own Way
    4. Seaside
    5. Always Where I Need to Be
    6. Sweet Emotion

Encore:

  1. Naive

(2b) highlights

  • again, the environment – the middle of Central Park is so beautiful at dusk
  • they didn’t play for long, but the whole crowd was super into it – again, my surprise as hugely popular The Kooks have become over the years
  • the sound and lights were on-point, which can be difficult in an outdoor venue – major props

(2c) lowlights

  • nothing really bad to say

(2d) overall thoughts

Much like their Firefly performance, The Kooks brought such a large sound to their Central Park stint. It’s funny – I remember thinking their set was so full-bodied and resonant with the crowd for just under an hour, but setlist.fm claims they played only seven songs. Isn’t it funny how having a good crowd with solid as hell songs can make me remember the experience differently? Hope The Kooks get even better and continue to put out even bigger sounding songs.

Bottom Line: The Kooks are cool and I swear I’m gonna find out how so many young people have embraced them nearly ten years after they debuted.

FEAT-thekooks-summerstage-24June15-emilytan_5

Photo by Emily Tan

The Killers, Cold War Kids 6/21/15

(i) lineup

(1a) Cold War Kids
(2b) The Killers

(1a) (Cold War Kid’s) setlist

  1. All This Could Be Yours
  2. Miracle Mile
  3. One Song at a Time
  4. We Used to Vacation
  5. Audience
  6. First
  7. Louder Than Ever
  8. Hot Coals
  9. Hang Me Up to Dry
  10. Minimum Day
  11. I’ve Seen Enough
  12. Drive Desperate
  13. Hospital Beds
  14. Something Is Not Right With Me

(1b) highlights

  • seeing Cold War Kids in a festival setting for the first time
  • realizing that the token Cold War Kids’ intimacy and jam session-vibe live isn’t lost on a massive stage; their passion and fun was completely still there
  • the setlist killed and the crowd was totally into it

(1c) lowlights

  • apparently their piano broke before the last song? the band was down about it, but admitting full ignorance here, I totally did not notice

(1d) overall thoughts

When you’re standing in the sun all day, waiting at the main stage for the headliner to come on, you’re willing to sit through some garbage acts. Luckily, thank god, I didn’t have to deal too much with that because my Cold War Kids played a mid-day set and totally killed it. Their newer material from the album Hold My Home really resonated with the audience and I was happy they had such a good-sized crowd. Their passion and live fervor didn’t get lost in the open field and on the big stage; in fact, it gave them more room to move around and let the songs breathe a bit. So many mid-level bands phone in festival performances when they aren’t at the top of the bill, but Cold War Kids don’t deal with that mess. They showed up, performed super well, and definitely made more fans that day.

Bottom line: Seeing Cold War Kids is always a complete joy, and seeing them for an hour in the middle of a Delaware field on the hottest and longest day of the year was no different.

(I’m in this pic!)

cwkfirefly1
Photo by: Ilya S. Savenok

(2a) (The Killers’) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Human
    7. Somebody Told Me
    8. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
    9. The Bucket (Kings of Leon cover)
    10. For Reasons Unknown
    11. From Here On Out
    12. A Dustland Fairytale
    13. Use Somebody (Kings of Leon cover)
    14. Read My Mind
    15. Runaways
    16. All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:

  1. This Is Your Life
  2. When You Were Young

(2b) highlights

  • “This Is Your Life” is always such a beautiful song and wonderful experience live – Brandon gets the crowd to wave their hands before the last bridge and it’s so freaking beautiful every time
  • seeing The Killers front row at huge festivals with gigantic crowds is always a memorable experience; it’s so great seeing how far they’ve come from their little Vegas roots

(2c) lowlights

  • Kings of Leon’s set was cancelled the day before at Firefly because of the weather; The Killers thought it would be cool to cover a few of their songs so people could still see them; I liked Kings of Leon’s first two albums but haven’t liked anything they’ve done in awhile; I paid to see The Killers, not Kings of Leon, but whatever
  • the band came on late, why why why are they always so damn late
  • I was so tired and it was so hot and the weekend was so long, I kinda lost it at different parts of the set

(2d) overall thoughts

I’ve seen The Killers headline many festivals many times and even though this wasn’t one of my favorite experiences, I know I can’t complain because it was really solid performance. Most of my complaints have little to do with the band and mostly to do with the circumstances (namely, the weather was awful and the Firefly promoters were pretty damn disorganized all weekend, which sucked for a lot of us). So, I’ll just say this: being front row at a festival where your favorite band is headlining and closing out the weekend playing an awesome set is kind of a dream. The Killers were showmen, added so much to the experience, and I got to hang out with all my friends seeing great live music all weekend. What more could anyone ask for?

Bottom Line: Being a part of 30,000 people waving their hands in the air during “This Is Your Life” is probably one of the best feelings ever, and also Kings of Leon are passed their prime so let’s stop giving them a spotlight please thanks.

Note: I took photos of both Cold War Kids and The Killers but my phone malfunctioned at the end of 2015 and for some reason, all the photos from this weekend were lost except this one below.

20150620_214653

The Killers 6/20/15

(a) setlist

    1. Mr. Brightside
    2. Spaceman
    3. The Way It Was
    4. Smile Like You Mean It
    5. Bling (Confession of a King)
    6. Human
    7. Somebody Told Me
    8. Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
    9. The Rising Tide
    10. Shot at the Night
    11. For Reasons Unknown
    12. From Here On Out
    13. A Dustland Fairytale
    14. Be Still
    15. Read My Mind
    16. Runaways
    17. All These Things That I’ve Done

Encore:

  1. Uncle Jonny
  2. Jenny Was a Friend of Mine
  3. When You Were Young

(b) highlights

  • UNNNNCCCLLLLEEEE JJJOOONNNNNNNNYYYYYYYYY!
  • “Be Still” – “dedicated to the fans” – WOW
  • seeing “The Rising Tide” live for the first time; it’s a song rarely played live that really needed its moment to shine, and it definitely shined here
  • the entire show felt so special with so many unexpected moments; I constantly felt like my heart was going to burst
  • the part when I was having such a good time and going crazy that my phone in my pocket posted a Facebook status, called three people I haven’t spoken to in years, changed my clock to military time, and changed wifi networks
  • Ronnie Vannucci in tiny Atlantic City shorts, byeeeeeeee
  • did I mention they played Uncle FREAKING Jonny for the first time since 2007!!!!!

(c) lowlights

  • Borgata Festival Park is the worst place on Earth, never go there ever, please do not give them money; their security guards are pointless, rude, idiotic, and waiting for this show was one of the worst experiences e.v.e.r.

(d) overall thoughts

Saying the weekend of June 18th-21st was an adventure is a bit of, uh, an understatement. My friends and I spent the 18th and 19th in Delaware at the Firefly Festival, the 20th in Atlantic City in New Jersey, and went back to Firefly on the 21st. I would definitely not recommend doing that if anyone is considering it…

Anyway, the wait and line for this show was a nightmare beyond belief, but none of that ultimately mattered. It was so hot, so sticky, so New Jersey, but damn, this show was like a sneak attack in the end – no one saw it coming, but it ended up being one of the best Killers shows I’ve ever seen. Sometime toward the end of 2014 and for a lot of 2015, I mentioned time and time again to my friends (and anyone who would listen) that The Killers should play one of my favorite songs live, “Uncle Jonny.” They hadn’t play it live since 2007, but they did it. They freaking played it and I totally lost it. Before that, that played “The Rising Tide,” a virtually forgotten track on their last full album Battle Born. It was never forgotten by fans, so hearing it live made it so energized and brought another part of that album alive for me.

Perhaps the most emotional moment for everyone dropped with “Be Still.” For honest to God the first time ever, the band acknowledged the hardcore fans who travel from everywhere and have been following The Killers for a long time. Brandon dedicated “Be Still” to all those people – which obviously includes myself – so hearing one of my favorite Killers song ever along with that dedication was a truly meaningful and poignant moment for me and all my friends. And I will forever be incredibly thankful for that. The Killers were still technically on “hiatus” at the time, so seeing them without a real album to promote and just playing together at a random casino in New Jersey was unexpectedly wonderful.

Bottom Line: Pretty much the only reason I continue to drag my ass to Atlantic City to see The Killers is because, every once and a while, an incredible and memorable show like this one drops and makes everyone’s hearts burst.

We Are Scientists 5/11/16

(a) setlist

First set:

    1. Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt
    2. This Scene Is Dead
    3. Inaction
    4. Can’t Lose
    5. Callbacks
    6. Cash Cow
    7. It’s a Hit
    8. The Great Escape
    9. Textbook
    10. Lousy Reputation
    11. Worth The Wait
    12. What’s The Word

Second set:

  1. Rules Don’t Stop
  2. Buckle
  3. Chick Lit
  4. Classic Love
  5. I Don’t Bite
  6. Dumb Luck
  7. Impatience
  8. In My Head
  9. Make It Easy
  10. Nice Guys
  11. After Hours
  12. Too Late

(b) highlights

  • seeing the entirety of the CLASSIC album With Love and Squalor
  • Michael Tapper, the original drummer of WAS who played on the first album, came back to play the first set with Keith and Chris – this was the first time they all jammed since 2006/07ish; this made me strangely emotional because the first few times I saw WAS live, Michael was their drummer
  • that classic Keith and Chris between-song banter gives life to my soul
  • the entire second set was ON.POINT.
  • the crowd was shockingly good – seemed like everyone knew the new songs as well as the oldies
  • Keith Carne, the current WAS drummer, always freaking kills it
  • the phrase of the night: “it’s not a We Are Scientists show unless Keith breaks something and then we fear for his life”
  • “Too Late” is a brand new song, but somehow the perfect set closer, freaking loved it

(c) lowlights

  • wish they had played my current favorite song on the new album, “We Need a Word”

(d) overall thoughts

The first time I saw We Are Scientists, they opened for Arctic Monkeys (!) at the Henry Fonda in LA on March 15, 2006 (!). For 10 years, I’ve loved watching these dudes perform – anyone who’s seen them live would certainly agree. This show at Irving Plaza was a special 10-year anniversary celebration for the release of their debut album With Love and Squalor – the album that made a lot of people fall in love with them. Even better – the band still played a full set immediately following that With Love and Squalor performance. How sick is that?

Adding a wonderful flourish, Keith Murray and Chris Cain played With Love and Squalor with their original drummer Michael Tapper, who left the band before their second album was released in 2007. It felt like a strange blast from the past seeing him, and – in a bizarre way – made me realize how much We Are Scientists have stayed the same over the years. Yeah – they’ve grown as performers, musicians, and songwriters, but they’re still the same lanky dudes singing the same songs and making the same jokes. And that’s why they’re so awesome. It’s all fun in a familiar way, like hanging out with old friends.

The second set featured four new songs off their most recent album, which only came out last week, Helter Seltzer. The crowd was loving every minute of it and I was elated to finally feel like everyone was dancing just as much as I was. I got a good feeling about this album; its reception is gonna be stellar. Ultimately, I’m so proud of these dudes and I’ll continue to support them as long as they keep making awesome tunes and making me laugh – which I imagine will keep happening until death.

Bottom Line: I’ve been a WAS fan for a decade and there’s no sign of stopping. Also, if you claim to be a WAS fan and you don’t sing “if you’re the night sky, then act like the night sky” during “Nice Guys,” then you’re lying.

Paul McCartney, Morrissey 6/19/15

(i) lineup

1a. Cage The Elephant
2b. Morrissey (!!)
3c. Paul McCartney (!!!)

(1a) (Cage the Elephant’s) setlist

    1. Spiderhead
    2. In One Ear
    3. Aberdeen
    4. Take It or Leave It
    5. Cigarette Daydreams
    6. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked
    7. Halo
    8. Telescope
    9. Back Against the Wall
    10. It’s Just Forever
    11. Teeth
    12. Come a Little Closer
    13. Shake Me Down
    14. Sabertooth Tiger

(1b) highlights

  • seeing Cage The Elephant for the first time and damn, they put on a show
  • “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” is a killer tune; loved it since I first heard it in 2008ish, I believe
  • they had a crowd four times the size of Morrissey’s crowd…and they were before him

(1c) lowlights

  • they had a crowd four times the size of Morrissey’s crowd…and they were before him
  • it was SO. GODDAMN. HOT.
  • I was legally one gigantic mosquito bite at this point

(1d) overall thoughts

Jesus, this band has a lot of fans and it’s pretty clear why. They have big songs, even bigger crowds, and some straight up memorable numbers. Great show.

Photos by: Joe Papeo and Joe Del Tufo

(2a) (Morrissey’s) setlist

    1. Suedehead
    2. First of the Gang to Die
    3. Alma Matters
    4. I’m Throwing My Arms Around Paris
    5. Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before (The Smiths cover)
    6. Ganglord
    7. Kiss Me A Lot
    8. World Peace is None of Your Business
    9. The Bullfighter Dies
    10. You Have Killed Me
    11. Speedway
    12. The Staircase at the University
    13. The World is Full of Crashing Bores
    14. Everyday is Like Sunday
    15. Meat Is Murder (The Smiths cover)
    16. What She Said (The Smiths cover)

(2b) highlights

  • MORRISSEY!!!11!!!1!
  • I cried when he walked out, I love Morrissey so much, this was the first time I was seeing him, I legit cried
  • every Smiths song. all of them. I was overwhelmed.
  • it’s a long story, but “Ganglord” is an inside joke with my friends and we died
  • MORRISSEY, GUYS
  • seeing “Everyday is Like Sunday” standing in mud on the sunniest day of all time in the middle of Delaware is never something I imagined would happen, but god, it did
  • MORRISSEYYYYYY

(2c) lowlights

  • the festival was selling meat literally at the closest vendor and we were all TERRIFIED Morrissey would smell it and walk off stage
  • Morrissey eventually got annoyed and walked offstage (but it was at the end anyway!! we think!!)
  • there were less than 100 people in the crowd. at the main stage. for Morrissey. the final act before the headliner. WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE.

(2d) overall thoughts

Seeing Morrissey live was a hugely emotional experience for me as a long-time Smiths fan and long-time Moz fan and I feel like maybe only a dozen others felt the same in that crowd in Dover. He sounded like heaven to me; I was beside myself every time a Smiths’ song played, and I’ll never forget that he was actually physically standing and singing right there in front of me. It was a dream. A very anxious dream where I prayed he wouldn’t storm off because Firefly was definitely not meatless and I’m pretty sure I ate a chicken sandwich that day and felt like is Moz looked at me, he would immediately know, but IT WAS STILL A DREAM.

mozfirefly

(3a) (Paul McCartney’s) setlist

    1. Birthday (The Beatles cover)
    2. Save Us
    3. Got to Get You Into My Life (The Beatles cover)
    4. Let Me Roll It (Wings cover)
    5. Paperback Writer (The Beatles cover)
    6. My Valentine
    7. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings cover)
    8. The Long and Winding Road (The Beatles cover)
    9. Maybe I’m Amazed
    10. I’ve Just Seen a Face (The Beatles cover))
    11. We Can Work It Out (The Beatles cover)
    12. Another Day
    13. And I Love Her (The Beatles cover)
    14. Blackbird (The Beatles cover)
    15. Here Today (The Beatles cover)
    16. New
    17. Queenie Eye
    18. Lady Madonna (The Beatles cover)
    19. Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles cover)
    20. Being For Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles cover)
    21. Something (The Beatles cover)
    22. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles cover)
    23. Band on the Run (Wings cover)
    24. Back in the USSR (The Beatles cover)
    25. Let It Be (The Beatles cover)
    26. Live and Let Die (The Beatles cover)
    27. Hey Jude (The Beatles cover)

Encore 1:

  1. Hi, Hi, Hi (Wings cover)
  2. Can’t Buy Me Love (The Beatles cover)
  3. Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)

Encore 2:

  1. Golden Slumbers (The Beatles cover)
  2. Carry That Weight (The Beatles cover)
  3. The End (The Beatles cover)

(3b) highlights

  • CAN YOU SEE THAT SETLIST, DO YOU HAVE EYES, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE HIGHLIGHT WAS, OH WAIT, THE WHOLE GODDAMN THING WOW WOW WOW
  • standing in a stupid muddy field in DELAWARE with 30,000 people, sobbing my eyes out with my best friends, watching a freaking LIVING BEATLE sing the most beautiful song in the world that even aliens in space have probably acknowledged its beauty, HEY JUDE
  • Paul McCartney having no clue whatsoever that he’s Paul McCartney
  • people who act like Wings is a real thing
  • when he would casually mention John Lennon or George Harrison or his “good friend Jimi” (Hendrix) or his “great pal Keith” (Richards)
  • the entire thing, seriously, I’ll never really be able to explain this perfection – it was seriously life-changing

(3c) lowlights

  • nothing.

(3d) overall thoughts

I really cannot underscore enough that this Paul McCartney performance was the greatest show I’ve ever seen in my life. Nothing will every really touch this show for reasons I can’t even put into words, but it really all comes down to a feeling. And that feeling is this: standing in a muddy Delaware field late at night with 30,000 people, covered in mosquito bites, so freaking tired from the hottest and longest day ever, being with my three closest concert buddies who I’ve all known for more than 10 years and who knowingly or unknowingly have gotten me through some of the toughest times in my life, crying my freaking eyes out, and singing in perfect unison “Naaaaa naaaa na na naaaaaa, na na na naaaa, hey Juddddeeeee.” That’s not a feeling you forget for the rest of your life.

The Kooks 6/18/15

(a) setlist

    1. Around Town
    2. Bad Habit
    3. Ooh La
    4. Down
    5. It Was London
    6. She Moves in Her Own Way
    7. Westside
    8. Always Where I Need to Be
    9. The Saboteur
    10. Sway
    11. Sweet Emotion
    12. Forgive & Forget
    13. See Me Now
    14. Junk of the Heart (Happy)
    15. Naive

(b) highlights

  • seeing the Kooks for the first time!
  • solid setlist and really good crowd
  • being one of the smart people and wearing rainboots to avoid the tons of gallons of mud that basically no one anticipated at Firefly
  • watching the show from a nice patch of grass and blanket

(c) lowlights

  • was totally covered in more mosquito bites than actual skin

(d) overall thoughts

This was the first day of the Firefly Festival – the Thursday before all the major action starts taking place – so everyone was still happy and alive. I loved The Kooks when they first came out, but I had never seen them, so this was a pretty cool opportunity.

I always loved The Kooks – clearly I was and still am fond of the mid-2000’s British indie alternative – and especially loved their 2005 album Inside In/Inside Out. I liked quite a bit of their later work, but hadn’t really pursued a lot of it. So, I was pretty shocked by the crowd’s reaction at this show. Almost everyone was super into every song – newer and older. In my mind, the band were still hanging out in the 2000’s, but I guess the joke was on me because The Kooks have secretly been rising under the radar. It was so refreshing to see so many people involved in the performance – and not just for the big hits and classics like “Naive,” “Ooh La,” and “She Moves In Her Own Way” but practically every song. How cool is that.

Bottom Line: The Kooks have apparently gotten huge over the years and that is such a cool thing to experience as a long-time fan. Wish them nothing but the best – their live show certainly is worth it.

Photos by: Claudia Heidelberger