All posts by hokey

A New Quick High Note: My Album For RPM Challenge

Hokey Air Travel Album Cover Front

Real quick y’all.  I’ll be regurgitating some tasty concert action from the last month, as well as spurt up some SXSW swankiness going on this week, but in the meantime, I actually have my RPM Challenge album up.  Yup, for 2013, I did an album in the month of February.  Now, I didn’t have extra time to put some pizazz on it, but I did crank out enough to call it an ‘album’.  So there’s that.  Head on over to my real life blog for a little more on the process.  Check out the tunes rightcheer:


White Denim Rolls On Through On A Bonaroo Trip

Whew, what a rough start to the month of November.  A festival and couple of concerts under my belt and I still had energy for one more show for the start of the week.  I closed out my marathon checking out White Denim at Antone’s along with some other Bonaroo alumni.  Now there were some ups and downs but man, I can watch White Denim play for hours on end.

So this Bonaroo thing had an emcee that was also a comedian on the stand up portion of their festival.  I forgot who her name but was, but that was in part to the fact that nobody was really laughing at her jokes.  I’ll give her credit, though, she plowed on through with a cute smile and kept the pace of the show moving.  Kudos to whomever that was.

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Asherel got on first.  So another show and another hard rocking opener.  I’ve lucked out to some real curtain jerkers here recently.  Asherel had that flavor but more on a blues side.  I also really dug the rhythm guitarist mesh hat.  I have to admit, my head banged just a wee bit.

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Next up was Maps & Atlases.  Who are they?  Well think if instead of selling out, Kings of Leon went granola and heavy indie.  That’s Maps & Atlases.  I definitely got a prog rock feel out of these guys. The sentiment is sweet and calm and everyone should check these guys out.

So this is my third time seeing White Denim.  The first time blew my mind and the second one kinda left me wondering what happening.  Well, the third time saw them return to form for me at least.  Although I have this one nagging feeling.

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They are a jam band and they rock out really well.  But the progressions between the songs are the same.  I think the same chain of songs first time around was alot like this time.  The switch over from Don’t Look That Way At It to It’s Him to At The Farm is way too familiar.  Now, it’s not a big deal, but I’d like to see them grow just a bit more and be able to flow between all of their songs.  That’s all.

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And that’s my only gripe.  I still walked away happy and entertained, even though comedian lady tempered it just a bit.  This will be the last time I say this: go see White Denim.  It’s fun and you will be happy after as well.  Heck, you might as well do it a Bonaroo.

The Black And White Years Smell Good

So on November 9th, I was already recovering from both a full Fun Fun Fun Fest and a private whack out with Primus in 3D.  It was not enough to keep me home, however, as it was a day for an intimate performance with The Black and White Years at Lambert’s BBQ.  The last show for the year for those guys saw the debut of some new songs and a good stream of their known jams.  I was there in full tow and got the whole experience.

Okay let me talk about Lambert’s BBQ first.  It’s a downtown Austin food joint that somehow had enough room for an upstairs event space.  One look at the menu revealed a downtown city expensive meat selection.  Nope.  I think the drinks might have been expensive but I don’t really remember.  The event space had a loud ass PA system so I was happy to hang in the back and not have to pay attention too much.

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On to the tunes.  Hundred Visions opened up and they blasted my ears right off.  In a good way.  Sometimes you just need some straightforward rock and roll and Hundred Visions gave that to me.  I really have nothing else to say.  The Light That Starts The Day says all that there needs to be said.

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So with some heavy duty riffs out of the way, it was time to get quirky.  The Black And White Years got up on stage and kind of awkwardly jerked their way to some funky grooves.  I like to think of them as some kind of stuttering 80s break dancer.  Sure they may look a little off, but man can they move.  It’s most evident on songs like Up! and Steady As It Goes.

They closed out their set with a couple of upcoming songs and we were on our way.  I tend forget just how unassuming an small intimate show could be.  The smells of the BBQ didn’t distract me too well.  Hundred Visions kicked me in the pants and The Black and White Years stood me back up and slapped me silly.

Primus Jumped Out Right At Me

Primus hits real close to my 90s kid routes.  It was about the time in high school when I discovered this band and I’ve always identified with the quirky and technically proficience of the group.  Let by Les Claypool, this band found a way to drive home some hard rock while doing it in a fashion that is not of this planet.  These alien rockers were in Austin on November 7th and I finally got to see them, in 3D nonetheless.

Bass Concert Hall is on the campus of Texas University.  Actually it’s right behind the football stadium.  It’s reserved for stand up comedians and classical music so having a band like Primus be there does not fit in.  That’s perfect.  It set the tone right off the bat.  I think the best part of the venue for me is that I could sit down in actual seats.  It didn’t last long, but it was nice during the intermission.

I needed the rest too.  The 3D experience part of it was lively and dynamic and did not strain my eyes at all.  There was a sensory overload but the intermission, and the Popeye cartoons that were played during it, helped keep things in check.  The graphics matched was played during the song and evenly distributed the 3D portion with 2D background.  Yeah, it was neat.

But what was neater was Primus.  Neater to the extreme.  Les Claypool’s bass lines border on schitzophrenic and rest of the band kept up like the old pros that they are.  Green Nogahide was their latest release and they inserted tunes from that without being too overbearing.  Lee Van Cleef is my pick from the new set, mainly because of the name.

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My favorites included the rousing closer Tommy the Cat and selections from the Brown Album.  Tommy the Cat showcases Les’s playing the best out of all the songs and is long enough to provided the rest of the members to breath.  Songs like Over the Falls come from the Brown Album and remind just how often I jammed that in my beat up Oldsmobile back in the day.

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The 3D experience was great but what was even better was finally punching Primus off the concert bucket list.  The off center style that they exhibit make much more a study of how alternative music can really be alternative.  After enough listens, it starts to become normal.  That’s when you need to take off the 3D glasses.

Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012

Okay it’s been over a month since Fun Fun Fun Fest and now I’m finally getting down to writing about it.  For the uninitiated, Fun Fun Fun Fest is a music festival in Austin, Texas that takes place in the fall.  Amongst the bajillion music festivals in the Austin area, this one seems to be the most alternative and wacky.  That’s two things that are near and ear to my heart.  Last year I went with a day pass, but this year I plunked down some change for the 3 day pass.  I’m glad I did.

Since it’s been awhile I’m going to pick out some highlights from the days.  Yeah, there’s tons of video online but I think the highlights are enough.  The 3 day event featured music from the alternative, hip hop, techno, and metal areas of music. Plus, I got to sample some other mainstream type things like half pipes and professional wrestling.  Let me hit that up first.

I’m not a big skater or biker so the half pipe didn’t appeal to me too much.  I did enjoy the other peeps bouncing up and down the ramp during the shows, however.  The wrestling was more my kind of style.  Anarchy Championship Wrestling is a local independent type promotion and they had a ring setup right next to the ramp.  It’s all in good fun and was way more than I expected with a wrestling drinking game match.

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Now on to the music.  First day’s highlights include The Dum Dum Girls, Tia Carrera, and speical performance by The Black Lips with Val Kilmer.  Yeah, that Val Kilmer.  I’m conflicted about who was the biggest highlight of the day:  Santigold or Run DMC.  When I think about it, I think Santigold will get the nod.  Run DMC almost did a medley of songs and finished fairly early.  Plus they were really pimping Jam Master Jay’s kids and their DJ careers.

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Yeah it goes to Santigold.  The songs were deeper and they stage show actually impressed me.  It takes alot for me to praise a stage performance but Santigold had a good showing without over powering the music.  Speaking of the music, the live band made swallowing some of the beats more palatable.

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Day two saw some other great tunes.  The highlights for me include Real Estate, Love Inks, Daughn Gibson, and Power Trip.  Refused’s reunion closed out the night and blew me away.  I didn’t know that Swedish people could do heavy metal so well.  The unfortunate part about was the Black Stage was way at the end and we had to walk that way to get to the bus.  So we lapped the venue just to get home after that.

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The big highlight of day two was Public Image Limited.  John Lydon’s post Sex Pistols band was a little more 80′s and a little more mainstream.  He kept the crazy eyed look though.   That said, he didn’t keep up his waistline.  Man that guy was huge.  But the songs were very melodic and had me humming them well after the festival.  Also, the guitar player was amazing.

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The last day marked a fat middle with some less then enthusiatic book ends.  The highlights for me include Black Moth Super Rainbow and Balmorhea.  A Place to Bury Strangers blew me away with their explosive set.  De La Soul talked WAY too much during their set and I’m sad I sat through it.  But it allowed me to see AraabMUZIK up close and for the third time.  This time I saw a whole set.  Bosnian Rainbows suprised me as it really was a reschedule of Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s new group.  Yeah he has a new one and it was great, even though lead singer lady Teri Gender Bender bent weird on stage.

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The last day’s highlight for me is a little known band by the name of Valient Thorr.  Basically it’s a bunch of bearded dudes doing to some good ole fashioned rock and roll.  Their syncopation reminds of some 70′s jams from bands like Ram Jam.  The lead singer, Valient Thorr himself, is what really had me rocking.  They guy had the crowd in the palm of his hands.  He was bouncing all over and even climbing the rafters way up high to rock out.  It was nearly impossible for anyone in the dirt not to follow.

And that’s Fun Fun Fun Fest.  It was less grimy than last year, but we had enough most pits to kick up some dust.  The food and beer situation was weak and they need to get better at it.  The eclectic selection, however, needs to stay put as it was the perfect of unknown and classic music makers from a wide swatch of the musical spectrum.  Seriously, if you get a chance, get the tickets and head on out.  You may even get hit by the taco cannon.