All posts by hokey

Paul McCartney Blew The Lid Off The Frank Erwin Center



Sometimes for some shows, you pay the premium price of admission because the legend status the star brings in.  Most of the time what you get is a decent showcase of the classic songs and maybe a few new ones.  You’re also left wondering if the huge ticket price was a worth it.  Paul McCartney ended up doing two shows at the Frank Erwin Center and I sneaked my way into the 2nd show.  Paul did not fall into that category.  He put on a helluva show.

So this was my first time at the Frank Ewrin Center.  It will probably be the last, unless I’m desperate.  I’m not sure if the facility was well suited to serve cold beer.  They tried, but failed miserably.  Warm tepid beer all around!  I think it was an afterthought because of it being a school facility.  Besides that major issue, the rest of the place was decent.  The age is showing and I’m not surprised of the whispers of its impending demise as a building.

At any rate, I wasn’t there for the building, I was there for Paul McCartney.  So my wife asked who was opening up for him.  I didn’t know and didn’t bother to look it up.  I’m glad I didn’t because he really didn’t have an opening act.  Sure, some guy was out there spinning dance remixes to his songs but that doesn’t count.  Mainly because it sounds like every other bad dance remixes of classic songs.  People, usually old people, feel that just throwing a beat behind a song and speeding up the tempo makes it a dance track.  Nope, it just makes it tacky.  Stop it.

So he was off and we were presented with a retrospective slide show thingy that lasted about 40 minutes.  The photos and graphics blended nicely but I did catch some repeats.  Overall, I think opening festivities worked well in setting the stage for Paul but it by no means stood out on its own.  If any major act had a prelude to a show, this was the primo example of how to do one.

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Finally, it was time for Paul to come on out.  After about two songs, I knew it was going to be magic.  It reminded me alot of what John Fogerty did at his SXSW set this year.  Just a clean, cut, straight up performance of selections of Paul McCartney’s music catalog.  I was really getting into it.  Then the show unfolded in front of us.

Stage lights, lasers, moving stages, all helped set the mood to different songs.  I didn’t expect it at all.  So when the penultimate moment came and the damn stage nearly blew up during ‘Live and Let Die’, I leaped up and yelled “FUCK YEAH!”  I couldn’t help myself.  Coming down from that and riding out other great stage moments wiped me out.  I’ve rarely been to a show when I was wiped out afterward.  Especially when sitting up in the nose bleeds and not standing in general admission.

It was well worth it.  I recommend anybody who has a chance to see Paul McCartney to do it quick.  The guy is 70 and can still put on a helluva show.  If I can do that when I get that age, it would be real magic too.

Sigur Ros Eloquently Kicked Ass


It was only right that a weekday after my best man showed up for the weekend that I had the opportunity to relax and recover with the soothing sounds of Sigur Ros.  Welp, it mostly happened.  I’ve seen them before at the Uptown Tehater in Kansas City way back when and remember such a jovial, quiet style.  I guess I didn’t remember everything correctly.  They somehow managed to kick my ass in a completely eloquent style.

First off, let’s talk about the Cedar Park Civic Center.  It’s WAY up north of Austin and especially from where I live.  Apparently the arena hosts a multitude of minor sport teams from hockey and basketball.  Good for them.  More importantly, they have buffalo style chicken strips with a massive amount of fries.  While the strips were tasty, it was few.  I think they made up for it with the ginormous amount of fries that came with it.  Well that and the condiment cart that left lots of dippins free for the take.

First up for the night was the crowd warming Oneohtrix Point Never.  Okay, more like chilling.  His style, a laptop musician with experimental ambient beats, fits well at a local bar but just doesn’t translate well to an arena.  Oh, I enjoyed the beats and how they trickled out, but I left wanting more of an intimate situation with them instead of sitting way back in the arena hearing echoes bounce off minor sport achievement banners.  I will make a note to check a club headlining tour with this guy.

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Sigur Ros came up and kicked things off in their familiar, giant sheet with bright light set style.  I guessed that it was going to be that way for the whole show like in KC but was proved wrong (again) when the sheets came down and they opened up the show.  Boy did they open it up.  I was used to some of the classics, but I did not expect the full on harsh assault that existed in their new material.  Is it a reinvention?  Or mere evolution?  Doesn’t matter to me, they do it with such a  genuine emotion that I believe in whatetever feeling that they are trying to get across.  That’s a rare breed of band and you will not see it in even the biggest stadium sellers around.

It was a real treat being able to see Sigur Ros again.  Now, the next time they come, I’m not sure.  I know now what to get, in all of its sweet, genuine discourse but I’m not sure I want to ride it again.  The curtain thing is great but it’s been overplayed.  It’s all fantastic and I think everyone should go out and see it at least once.  But be sure to bring some tissue and perhaps extra napkins.

SXSW 2013 With A Twist


Oh what’s the twist?  Finally getting something knocked out.  Yeah, I went this year and am now just getting around to saying something about it.  This year’s take was different in the fact that I went all wristband and not the badge.  Did things work out as well?  Yes and no.

First off just check out the playlist of videos.  I uploaded dumped a whole bunch of videos this week on the YouTubes and they say more than I could right here.  Highlights included John Fogerty, Eric Burdon, Orange Goblin, Houses, Bear Mountain, and Black Pistol Fire.  It was another eclectic year and I didn’t bother trying to get into some of the bigger name acts.  That said, and what you could tell from the list, I did alright seeing both big and small acts.

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The only real downside with not getting a badge was missing out on the day parties.  Yes, it was more music, but it was also tons of free drinks and food.  It’s no wonder I survived this year and didn’t get sick like I did the last two times.  Oh, I still got mine, though.  Especially Tuesday night and Saturday.  But I digress.  The point is, the lows weren’t too low and I still managed to see some great acts.

I even got to see a KC buddy of mine’s band.  They drove all the way from KC (on tour) to hit up the Dizzy Rooster and rock out Saturday afternoon.  Good times were had by all who came to see Get Busy Living.  We even had room for them to crash at our place.  It gave me a good glimpse of what life on the road could be like.  That van was HUGE.  I can’t wait to see them again.

So that’s my short capsule review of SXSW 2013.  The usual suspects applies but it was just different enough that it sold me on next year already.  And I don’t have to feel pressured into getting the ginormous badge.  That is, unless I want to perform and/or sell my musical chops.  I guess we’ll have to see what 2014 will bring me.  Until then, enjoy the videos.

Tame Impala Requirs Ear-bibs


So I recovered from both The Hives and the bachelor party enough to make it out to Stubb’s to see some sweet psychedelic music from Tame Impala.  It was a tasty evening at Stubb’s even though I didn’t have any BBQ (a first for me there).  The opening act, The Growl, was even an unexpected surprise.  Although I’m still digesting them.

Yeah no food at Stubb’s. Nothing much to talk about for the venue.  If you haven’t been, you should treat yourself at least once to the venue.  It’s odd shaped and produces some decent on the fly BBQ.  The best spot is right in front of the soundboard, maybe off to the left where the tree grows.

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The Growl came up first.  I did not know what to expect.  I half thought it was some kind of grungy version of the psychedelic music Tame Impala jams.  Boy oh boy, I was wrong.  It was a much of some slow, rusty, drone type rock with a couple of blues songs (even a cover) tossed in.  I’m not sure how I feel.  It was different, but I can’t really recall any songs from their set.  I just remember the cool blues cover they did.

Tame Impala was next.  When you think of psychedelic music, you think of crazy, lava lamp like visuals with a pulsing guitar rhythm and some softly voiced dude murmuring over it.  That’s what I got.  And I loved every second of it.  It was an almost religious experience out there.  There were a couple of breaks in the action, though.

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A good indicator of how well a psychedelic band performs is in their long, solo jams.  Tame Impala had them, but it just didn’t quite hit with me.  It seems like they are still finding their solo voice.  Just take a listen to Elephant.  They slow it down and kind of fiddle around but it doesn’t exactly hit.  I have great confidence that with time, they will make it flow better.  It’s still and acceptable platform of rock.

So The Growl is like a fiber in my belly that leaves a taste that I’m still trying to figure out.  Tame Impala has some spicy burnt ends but the middle still seems rough.  All in all, it was a great meal to feast on at Stubb’s.  I just wish they had some ear-bibs at the front gate to catch the noise dribble’s.  That’s a thing, right?  Ear-bibs?

The Hives Helped Me Break Out


Woooo!  Man what a great way to get fired up for a bachelor party!  I hit up Emo’s on February 21st to see The Hives for the second time.  The opening acts helped support the banging, but it was The Hives that totally came through and jazzed me up for what ended up being a non stop abuse of all things excess.  I can’t believe I actually remember some of this so just bear with me and help me relive this outbreak.

I keep getting confused.  Is it Emo’s East, the New Emo’s, or just Emo’s  I have no clue so from henceforth, it will be called Just Emo’s.  And it really is.  I seem to remember a better beer selection there but apparently it waned out.  Oh well, I wasn’t really looking for something crafty, but I coulda used something more than what they have.

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I was there to see some music.  First up was The Act Rights.  I had to go back and listen to this song to get a good idea.  Very sweeping rock music.  It’s a little different but it doesn’t evoke any special emotion in me.  If anything, warm up perfectly fits.  Sweeping between a couple of hard rocks solos and then sweeping back to some rhythms.  Works for me.

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Flesh Lights were up next and we went from sweeping to seizures.  I think I get the lineup now.  The rock n’ roll good times of The Act Rights mixed with the obvious punk of the Flesh Lights culminates into our final Main Offender.  Yes, these guys moved the punk needle.  And while I’m not totally punk, I do appreciate more of the raw sound and not the lame-o mainstream sound.

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Finally, we got The Hives.  I barely remember them from a looong time ago but it was right around their first big phase here in the US.  Much has happened since and they seem to have dropped off the radar for me and the rest of the states.  It didn’t matter much to them though as they came out and totally owned the crowd.

That all goes to the grandiose bombasity of lead singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist.  The cocky was charm and he had everyone hovering about the basket.  The songs, of course, were that garage punky rock and roll that has always been their sound.  One can’t help but bob their head at near bangin’ speed during songs like Main Offender or Walk Idiot Walk.  The neck even hurt a bit afterward.

If ever there was a way to concentrate the energy from these acts and condense it into a tasty drink, the barker of that product would rake in millions.  I felt like I had ingested ample amounts and it carried through the bachelor party in Las Vegas.  The best part:  this was the only drink that didn’t give me a hangover.