Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Machine, B.B. King's, October 30, 2009

Ok, I saw The Machine again. I just really love Floyd, don't I? It wasn't enough that I've reviewed all their albums here already, but a tribute band twice in a month surely certifies my addiction. So what was different the second time? The venue (bad food, lots of alcohol), the set of songs they played, and a saxophonist for "Crazy Diamond," "Money" and "Us And Them." Fucking tasty. Show started at nine on the dot and went until half past midnight with one brief fifteen minute break in the middle. What does that mean? Lots of songs -- even Syd Barrett's "Dark Globe." Oh, and "The Trial"? Spot on. See for yourself.

Speak To Me/Breathe
Coming Back To Life
Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Welcome To The Machine
Keep Talking
One Of The Days

Dark Globe
Us And Them
Let There Be More Light
Have A Cigar
Final Cut
Happiest Days Of Our Lives
Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2
Wish You Were Here
Comfortably Numb


Waiting For The Worms
The Trial
Outside The Wall


Friday, October 16, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures - Roseland Ballroom - October 15, 2009

For a band with no album, singles and with only a rumored release date of November 23rd, you would think that seeing these guys would be as exciting as seeing an opening band you've never heard of. But this is no ordinary band. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Them Crooked Vultures is a supergroup consisting of Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss) on guitars and vocals, John Paul Jones on bass and keyboards, and Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters). To say that the show was awesome would be a gross understatement and I actually took the day off today because I am still reeling from the absolute fucking magnificence from last night. Dave Grohl, from where I was standing (which was right in front of JPJ) looked like Neo from the Matrix -- which is to say that he was playing so fast he looked like a blur the whole night. Josh Homme was churning out riff after solo after riff after solo -- and JPJ -- my god man -- he used numerous basses, plunked at them on some songs, picked at them on others, played slide on a special inclined model -- yes he played slide! -- played his portable key-tar, synths, and a beautiful piano outro. Oh, and the mandolin. It was awesome, purely fucking awesome. Mark my words, this is going to be one of the best rock albums to come out in a very long time. While they are technically a supergroup, they don't play like they're out to impress you with their outsized egos (re: Bono, Chris Martin, et al). They're goal was to play some rocking music, have a good time and seem very humbled by any and all applause. Aside from the weird "Interludes With Ludes" and the strangely melodic "Highway One," I can't single out any particularly strong tracks because they were all incredibly meaty boozy sludgy riff-a-fucking-delic rocking monsters. Lies! Ok, "Scumbag Blues" is tops for me. And "Gunman." And the fifteen minute holy shit jam to end the show. I would see them again in a nanosecond. I am starved for more. I pity those who haven't heard them yet. I am going to sleep now. If you love music -- not the media of music, the image of music, the corporate pandering that is currently dominant in music -- you will love this band, I assure you will love this band.


Dead End Friends
Scumbag Blues
Highway One
New Fang
Mind Eraser
Interlude With Ludes
No One Loves Me And Neither Do I

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue (2009)

Quite a bit can happen in fourteen years. I graduated high school, went to college, joined the army, went to war, got a good job with more pay and I'm okay. For the surviving members of Alice In Chains, they had to endure the deterioration of their good friend and lead singer Layne Staley to heroin addiction. Any music they may have made was effectively squashed with his death in 2002. So with the release of their new album, Black Gives Way To Blue, their last since 1995, people from all across the interwebs have been prattling about how dare they do such a thing, or how the album is or isn't solid, or how they are trying to replace Staley, or how they no longer sound like themselves anymore and blah blah blah. I could give a fupenny tuck what your rationale is, but he wasn't my friend and I didn't have to cope with his loss, so if they want to make music, so be it. That said:

It's a good album. It does sound like AIC. It has their typical assemblage of minor keys, crunching guitars, interspersed melodies and vocal harmonizing between new vocalist William DuVall and resident guitar hero Jerry Cantrell. It does not seek to replace Staley; it only eulogizes him lyrically. The title track features Elton John on piano and is a beautiful farewell. There's just tons of tastiness otherwise: "A Looking In View," "All Secrets Known," "Check My Brain" -- all heavy, all good. "Your Decision" and "When The Sun Rose Again" is reminiscent of the softer, more melodic stuff from their heyday as well. So you fucking naysayers can STFU already, go play Guitar Hero and listen to Godsmack. B

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Machine, Westbury Music Fair, October 2, 2009

The Machine is a Pink Floyd tribute band I almost didn't see on Friday night. Blame it on a blown fuse and difficulties with finding electricians, but thankfully the show started -- even if almost two hours late. That said, the band promised no breaks and sampled mostly on the safe side of Floyd's immense catalogue. I was hoping they'd play whole albums like Animals and The Wall as they did at B.B. King's last month, but as someone there told me, drink a few beers, close your eyes and you won't know you're not listening to the real Pink Floyd. So that's what I did and I'm happy. My only problem was their choice to cater more to the average Floyd Fan by playing more of the well-known songs (i.e. from The Wall) and by feeling the need to sample from many of Floyd's albums (which meant mediocre or poor songs from The Division Bell and Momentary made the cut). I was fairly disappointed when they played "Echoes" -- yes, the "Echoes" -- and ended the song at about 17-18 minutes right before Gilmour's famous guitar line builds up. Good god, why? They played "Fat Old Sun" and that solo was awesome, Jeff. I'm trying to play it on my guitar today without much success. These guys are from New York and play here often, but I know they travel around, so if you get the chance to see them, it's worth it. The guitarist/vocalist does a pretty close Waters imitation and a passable Gilmour.


Shine On You Crazy Diamond
Welcome To The Machine
Coming Back To Life
Speak To Me/Breathe
Fat Old Sun
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
One Of These Days
Pigs On The Wing
Pigs (Three Different Ones)
Hey You
Wish You Were Here

Run Like Hell
Comfortably Numb