Tuesday, March 09, 2004

THE BAMBOO REVIEW: Becky Bamboo wears out her espadrilles:

Let's run down the stats:
17 performances
15 different bands
6 trips to San Francisco
2 1/2 tanks of gas
All in 10 days. I'm a little tired.

So here we go:

1) Elephone. Local SF band. Sounds like Radiohead, but not the wussy Coldplay/Travis school of Radiohead. They're more the Pablo Honey, break out the power chords Radiohead. I was grooving to them, thinking they were a nice local band to follow. You know, decent, with a couple of pretty good songs... until...
Until they busted out with this absolutely *killer* song that I can't find anywhere on their website. I actually had to Google it to make sure it wasn't a cover, it was that good. I will definitely be following these guys. Plus they were selling tacky thrift store neckties with "elephone" in puffy paint written on them. I can get behind that.

2) On the Speakers. This was my second time seeing these guys and they are really good. Basically it's one of the main guys from Creeper Lagoon (another local SF band) and at times you can definitely tell their roots. I wasn't able to get their EP last time I saw them and didn't get it this time either because they just got signed and Universal is re-releasing it. Good for them.

3) The Stratford 4. Another local band makes good - they've been recording their second album for Elektra with Ric Ocasek. Shoe-gazer stuff, good, but I needed more muscle and excitement to keep me awake that night.

4) The Stills. These guys brought it. The rock, that is. I only knew two songs of theirs going in and they played them second and third into the setlist. Despite being incredibly hungry and so tired I sat in a puddle of beer and didn't even notice my ass was wet, I stuck around till they finished. Either they were really good or I was too fucking tired to get off the floor... well, you decide. I bought their cd though.

5) Henry Miller Sextet. Um, yeah. Next!

6) Pigeon. Surprisingly appealing. I guess you just don't get that many tiny Asian women in pigtails playing in a shouty Pixies/Faith No More type band. They're young and local and I might just check them out again.

7) 28th Day. REM with a chick in the Mike Mills role and songs nowhere near as good. Next!

8) The Wrens. So I bought the Wrens album, Meadowlands, in December and it hasn't left my cd player yet. They were incredible live. They were so fucking happy to be up there and that enthusiasm was returned by the sold out crowd, who obviously loved them. Each band member took a turn at lead vocals, with the bass player and the lead guitarist doing most of the singing. They never lost momentum, keeping the crowd engaged with band trivia and comments about New Jersey, and adorably - clapping for each other ("like dolphins. No, wait, do I mean seals?") when they successfully finished a difficult part of a song.

9) Communique. I love these guys. They're one of the best local bands around, in my opinion. They're currently recording their first full length album for Lookout Records and I can't wait to hear it. They played mostly new songs, with one or two from last year's EP, including "Evening in the City" which I love. Very melodic, great harmonies, not afraid to rock out... good stuff.

10) Low Flying Owls. Like the most boring parts of The Doors but without the leather pants and the prospect of seeing full frontal male nudity. I would've fallen asleep if it weren't for the singer's mother (I'm assuming) shouting out "more Owls!!" after every song. Next!

11) Dead Science. No shouting moms. I actually did fall asleep.

12) The Wrens. Yes, again. And on the same day. That's how much I love these guys. This show was almost identical to the afternoon show, with a song or two swapped out on the setlist, plus a song from Silver as a favor to label owner, Cory. They told us how no one would sign them until Absolutely Kosher came along (they rival Spoon for the underrated band woe-is-me tale). As Morag put it, "old guys shouldn't be able to rock that hard!" Beg, borrow, or steal their albums and go see them live if you have the chance. I'm street teaming hard for them, y'all.

13) Patrick Park. Like a cross between Elliott Smith (but without the fragile beauty) and Ryan Adams (without the asshole brilliance). He was okay, and there was one song that I really liked. I'm not rushing to the store or anything though.

14) Liz Phair. She had on a tight hot pink long sleeved t-shirt and an artfully tattered long, pale pink, silk Stevie Nicks-esque skirt over jeans. Bracketed by "Flower" and "HWC," the setlist contained enough fan favorites (and personal favorites) for us to forgive the newer songs which stuck out (and not in a good way).

15) and 16) Rufus Wainwright. Identical setlists both nights, with the exception of an extra two song encore after the second show. It wasn't the best I've seen him, but even a less than brilliant Rufus show is still very entertaining. Elton John stories! Seducing straight boys stories! ("Easier than you'd imagine. I think we're all a little gay." Hell, if I were a straight boy, I'd sleep with him.) Plus you get to watch hot guys make out with each other in the audience. Which is nice. I miss Martha though (she's off recording her own record) and I think the backup vocals suffered from her absence.

17) Alexi Murdoch. Do you miss Nick Drake? Look no furthur. Alexi's got the sound, the voice, the tunes, and the talent to fill that void. He has some gorgeous songs and even got the audience to sing backup for him. He has an EP out at CD Baby and had better release a full album soon.

And that's it, folks. At least until Thursday, when I have another three days of shows in a row...

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