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Alt-J First Ave Sept 7,2013; An Awesome Wave

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Sunday, September 8, 2013 by sir minivan dad

Alt-J, By Terry Scott Niebeling

Alt-J, By Terry Scott Niebeling

Alt-J blew people away at the First Ave venue last night, expectedly.  So what I will tell you is, if you can see them live, and you don’t take the opportunity, you are missing out.  Not to be presumptuous, but it’s factual-sorry.  

And that is about all I can say.  I mean I could tell you it was spiritual, it was enlightening, and it was something of a great act to witness, but you already know that.  I could really, but who is going to believe me?  It was all of those things and more.  They simply put on a great show, there is no doubt in my mind as to the reason why Alt-J sold out the Main Room both nights; not to mention the latter added date of Sept. 8th, it’s because they are truly amazing artists.  They take a simple yet classical sound and make it new, heavy, complex, and refreshing.  Seeing Alt-J makes me think of, if it were somehow possible, seeing Led Zeppelin, or Radiohead, maybe even Pink Floyd, before they became über famous/timeless, and impossible to see live. The crowd at First Ave got a stand up treat from this band on the rise.  Take the time to listen, and check them out in person.  It is something I won’t soon forget.

***

(Take in my words and the mediocre photos my Windows Phone could afford, and enjoy. That’s all you need to know.  There are more amateur camera phone photos and words below about time leading up to the show, thoughts, and lucky people getting in.)

Lord Huron opened to much delight.  Starting slow and eventually garnering enough energy to bring the lion’s share of the crowd into their set, and possibly into their loins.  I tweeted, before LH started getting a bit flashy, the tweet read something along the lines of “opening bands are like commercials while you wait for your favorite show to start.”  I could give a shit less about an opener band, especially at an Alt-J show; however, I was almost eating my words 10 minute later.  Hit me up at on Twitter:  @sirterryscott.  

How I came to love Alt-J:  

The story goes I went to smoke some with a friend after work and she would play An Awesome Wave over and over again.  One night I caught on, I said, “Play that song again.”  She did, then I inquired as to who and what they were.  I was amazed.  She had ripped the song from a torrent and sent me a downloaded copy.  I never actually used what she had sent me, I was occupied with pressing play and repeat play on Youtube, of Breezeblocks.  In turn I had found out the meaning to the song, and I had become entranced by the harmony, wave of sound, and sonic power of Alt-J.  89.3 The Current started playing one, then two, then three of their songs.  Now they play most of the album.  A friend later Facebook messaged me and gave me the scoop on the First Ave show.  Knowing they would sellout the venue I waited til the moment they became available, and then I made my purchase.  I should have bought 6, the limit, but I bought 3 instead.  I could have doubled my money.  I didn’t have enough dough that day though.  A few hours later all of the tickets were gone and I sat in satisfaction at my quick choice.  And that is how I got into the show.

By Terry Scott Niebeling

Putting up the Triangles, By Terry Scott Niebeling

Standing outside in line people came up to me asking for tickets.  The interesting thing was there weren’t really any scalpers, but there were people asking for tickets.  A show so coveted that people bought the tickets for themselves and actually went to see good music.  Wow, some tickets online were as much as $200.  It must have been 5 people walked up and inquired.  By this time I had already bummed two cigarettes and a RedBull from some complete strangers ahead of me in line.  I was feeling great waiting in line at 7:30 pm, plenty of time to take in the hot night.  At home earlier while indulging in homework and horror films I sat on the couch sweating in our AC lacking one bedroom apt.  The fan blew its best, but it didn’t really help.  Sweat beaded and crawled down my face.  I changed my shirt a few times.  I took a shower and brushed my teeth.  I spoke German.  And then I went to wait in line.

????????????????????

With the extra two tickets I felt almost over prepared, which by my standards is almost impossible.  I waited until the day before to start the bidding.  Three people in all contacted me.  The tickets went to the most passionate.  Also, a few people whom I spoke with were too intimidated to bid on them, so I figured they must not have wanted to go really.

The lucky guests I brought drove two hours to get here on word of a promise to get tickets.  I thought of them as I waited in line.  I asked those who inquired about extra tickets how much they would pay.  They wouldn’t say, I am not sure if they got in.  I was about 15ft from the door when my guests arrived.  They were in disbelief, literally exalted at the idea they would see a band they loved.  Having been burned twice before T. was so happy.  I think as we came closer to actually getting in her spirits piqued.  She handed me the money the moment she arrived.  I enjoyed this.  The sky was pink, the line was long, and the day was cooling off.  Heat became a friend of every nook, cranny, and crevasse throughout the city proper.  The bike ride and the light material of my black button up were comforting.  The sunset stood aglow over the Hennepin Ave Bridge as I crossed 3rd Ave, over the Mississippi, past pedestrians, and aside cars.  A glacier like cloud hung over the sun; a sort of arrowhead array of bright lights contrasting with deep purple clouds shadowing certain parts for quiet a large puppet show etched across the darkening horizon.  A line of clouds, directly above, shown soft and full, as they slipped through the sky.  Planes took off going in two different directions.  I biked South-ish to First Ave. to wait in line.  I watched the ground below slide past; rocks and broken glass reflected on how they had come to where they lie.  They watched all appreciatively as I went by.  

Alt-j set list. Talk to your boy.

 

I was just biking to see a band I had wanted to see since I first heard a song.  

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Concert Review: Mogwai, Women @ First Avenue

Posted in Concert Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 by Ryan Buege

Mogwai live at First Avenue
Famed Scottish post-rock quintet Mogwai were in Minneapolis to play First Avenue this Sunday, May 10th, and we were there to witness the maddening bliss. Though the band were kind enough to devote ample time to songs from each phase of their illustrious career, they focused on their recent album The Hawk Is Howling, injecting each song they touched with live intensity and jazz-like freeform emotional energy that no other post-rock band can match so confidently.

Not surprisingly, the performance was a vocally quiet one, with Barry only stepping out from behind the keyboards for unaffected  vocals on one song and little on stage banter other than a ‘thank you’ here and there. Instead, ‘Gwai played to their strengths by delivering a set that boldly emphasized the aural extremes at which they excel. For me, the most engrossing moments of the set were both the most reserved and the most bombastic. Whether it was the reserved cadence of “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead”, the epic buildup of “Killing All the Flies”, or the oppressive heaviness of “We’re No Here”, each song was alive with an other-worldly, surging energy that true musicians live to create, and the crowd was receptively feeding off it every second of the night.

Additionally, it was Stuart’s birthday that night, and the band was in notably high spirits throughout their performance; sometimes maybe even a little bit too much so, as there were some miscommunications that resulted in a light-hearted, alcohol induced fumble or two (namely when they veered off the planned setlist without letting Dominic know what key they were changing into). Nevertheless, the crowd was in such good of a mood to finally see the band after their late cancellation last September that any mishaps were quickly forgiven. In fact, the adoring applause enticed the band to return to the stage for two whole encores before Stuart received a ceremonial birthday pranking and the lights came on to send us on our way back out for a post-concert brew.

The fuzzy, lo-fi psychedelic Canadian indie rockers in Women did an excellent job building anticipation for the headliners. Never having seen them before, I was very impressed with the way in which they were able to transform a simple little ditty into an explosive psychedelic brain melter within a matter of seconds. With their jagged rhythms and pounding beats, they inject something very fresh and different into the lo-fi sound that I’ve been hearing proliferate through the indie scene in the last two years. Truth-be-told, the only band that I’ve seen capable of similar feats is our local boys in Vampire Hands, and from my point of view a comparison to Vampire Hands is just about the best compliment you can give to a modern experimental indie rock band.

As always, we were fortunate to capture a slew of exclusive Mind Inversion media at the show. Among the goodies we collected are 3 live videos from Mogwai’s set, 1 live video of Women, and too many photos to count right now. It’s all below!

VIDEO: Mogwai, “We’re No Here” (live at First Avenue, 05/10/09)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

Mogwai live at First Avenue(Mogwai)

VIDEO: Women, Live at First Avenue in Minneapolis, MN, 05/10/09

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

Women live at First Avenue(Women)

VIDEO: Mogwai, “I Know You Are But What Am I?” (live at First Avenue, 05/10/09)

Epic a/v content after the jump! I’ve still got another video excerpt of “Like Herod” from the first encore (which I’ll give a C on visuals, but a B+ on audio) and tons of photos… Continue reading

Concert Recap & Video: Cannibal Corpse, The Faceless, Neuraxis, Obscura @ Station 4

Posted in Concert Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on Monday, April 20, 2009 by Ryan Buege

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN

The infamous death metal superstars in Cannibal Corpse were gracious enough to bring the prestigious death metal package they’re headlining with The Faceless, Neuraxis, and Obscura to the Station 4 metal club in St. Paul, MN on Friday, April 17th. Throughout the night, the music in the air was of the most savage kind imaginable; brutal-fucking-death metal in layman’s terms. Predictably, my mind and body both took on a lot of abuse Friday night, and it has taken me a few days to come back to my senses enough to finally put this post together.

Obscura came highly recommended from several “internet” friends of mine, and I was pretty bummed when traffic kept me from missing the first half of their set Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(sorry for the lack of photos because of this). Even as the openers, their technical death metal commanded the attention of the already fully packed venue and their skills especially shined on some of the heaviest tracks from their newest Cosmogenesis. French-Canadian hardcore/tech-death mainstays in Neuraxis   followed suit with an incredibly tight set, despite the fact that their bassist was still held back in Canada due to a visa dispute. The band were probably pretty excited to be opening for Corpse either way, and just turned the distortion a bit higher to compensate for the lack of low-end. Personally, I was most impressed with the opening set from the young technical death metal band The Faceless on Friday; having spent the last half of a year on the road opening for some of the best death metal bands in the world, the band seems to be operating on another plateau of confidence these days and it shows. Their set was perfect, and I’ve got nothing else to say besides that. Cannibal Corpse came out on stage to the kind of  maniacal, rabid  crowd that only the most extreme cult bands can be proud to call their own. This is a band is still referenced as one of the most overtly violent and sexual bands in history; they pioneered a style that a million death metal bands have tried to emulate, and their set that night was as vulgar, vicious, and violent as they could make possible. During their performance, Corpse proved their still on top of theirgame and had the crowd going crazy for songs from all eras, from Tomb of the Mutilated and Butchered at Birth on to the newest Evisceration Plague. It was an impressive performance that had the crowd and band band feeding off each other in a celebration of the sickest side of metal .

Despite being scared for my safety more than a few times, I was brave enough to stick my arm out and snap a few photos as well as videos of Cannibal Corpse’s “I Cum Blood” and “Hammer Smashed Face” and “Xenochrist” by the Faceless. The media portion of the recap continues below!

VIDEO: Cannibal Corpse, “I Cum Blood” (live at Station 4, 4/17/09)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

Cannibal Corpse live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Cannibal Corpse)

VIDEO: The Faceless, “Xenochrist” (live at Station 4, 4/17/09)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

The Faceless live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(The Faceless)

Neuraxis live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Neuraxis)

Neuraxis live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Neuraxis)

Neuraxis live at Station 4 in St. Paul, MN(Neuraxis)

Fans of Corpse, don’t stop reading now.. We’ve got a full live video of the cult classic “Hammer Smashed Face” waiting for you right after the jump! Continue reading

Review: Los Campesinos!, We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , on Monday, January 12, 2009 by Erik Burg

lc_-_wearebeautifulwearedoomedLos Campesinos! new album “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” is an exciting and fun album from a group whose initial LP “Hold On Now, Youngster” was a let down after a series of excellent EPs. The six family members from Wales, all bearing the awesome last name of Campesinos, rebound extremely well on this LP thanks to the title track and other heartfelt songs of typical indie pop noir. Though lyrically and idealogically (sic) typical of what you might expect from this type of music, Los Campesinos! continues to be unique in the way their vocals are presented and executed.

In line with all of their other releases, the band utilizes two vocalists equally on every track; one guy and one girl. There are certainly other groups out there that track vocals in the same sort of manor (see dirty projectors or fiery furnaces) but it’s the way Los Campesinos! present their lyrics through this unique format. Many if not all of their songs touch on love, sex, and any or all topics surrounding subjects, so using the vocals of opposite sexes allows for story telling and funny lyrical quips to be a strong asset for the group.

The title track from “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” is not only the most stellar of all the tracks on the album, it plays perfectly well into what I was just describing. You can guess for yourself what the topic of the song is all about, but even though it seems cliched and over-done. The group makes silly teen love and depression a fun topic again. Yes, I do realize that last statement is ridiculous. But as I mentioned, the two view points of the guy and the girl are presented in a way that is interesting and fun enough to make this track one of the most heartfelt and enjoyable tracks floating around right now. The harmonies created by the vocal duo make for a triumphant crescendo at the end of the track and really set the tone for the entire album. The best example of this type of music is displayed perfectly well near the end of the track, as the music builds the two vocalists shout at the same time “We kid ourselves there’s future in this fucking, but there is no fucking future!”

If you’ve heard anything from Los Campesinos! in the past you have a pretty good idea of what to expect, but it’s a great thing to hear them return to their sound on their first two EPs instead of the obviously over-produced “Hold On Now, Youngster.” The fun-loving kids from Wales deliver a stellar sophomore album (not many times do you hear that, ha) and will without a doubt expand their already growing fan base with this album.

Check ‘Em Out: mp3s  “You! Me! Dancing!” “C Is The Heavenly Option”

8.2/10

Review: Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavillion

Posted in Music Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, January 8, 2009 by Erik Burg

Pretty Much Amazing: “Take the time to really listen and understand what direction Animal Collective is trying to go. If you do, I think you’ll find a band you can really get behind: A band that makes music for music lovers.”

Pitchfork: “Although it will be tagged as Animal Collective’s “pop” album, Merriweather Post Pavilionremains drenched in their idiosyncratic sound, a record that no one else could have made.” “But Merriweather feels like a joyous meeting in a well-earned, middle place– the result of all their explorations pieced together to create something accessible and complete.”

merriweatherpostpavillion

Not much has been left unsaid about Animal Collective’s newest album Merriweather Post Pavillion. Those two quotes above give a fine example of the kind of perfection and praise that this album is receiving, and has been receiving for weeks now.

My personal history with Animal Collective has been a bit rocky, I have to admit. At first I hated the group for their music, it was just so weird and different and felt so disjointed upon first look, but when I took the time to listen to an album all the way through it became quite apparent that they truly were making music for music lovers. And Merriweather is no different, an album steeped in more harmonious vocals and musical clarity than any of their other works, this disc is one of the most impressive I’ve heard in a very long time. 

Tracks like “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” are monstrous songs that will catch you by surprise if you’ve never listened to Animal Collective before. As the P4K reviewer said, this disc is certainly their “pop” album, and that’s why it has so much potential. “My Girls” is their most accessible track to date, but that’s not to take away from it because it’s probably going to go down as their finest track ever laid down as well.  “Brother Sport” reminds listeners of AC member Panda Bear’s incredible album Person Pitch released in 2007. 

animal_collective_says_boo

It really would be easy to go on about Merriweather for thousands of words, but there would be no reason, because like any other Animal Collective album this just has to be heard and an opinion formed on your own, not through reading this review or another number of the thousands now out there. All I can say fro sure is that this is AC’s best album, most accessible album for first time listeners, and and album that will be talked about for years to come. 

9  9.5  10/10