Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stellastarr* at The Newport Music Hall

It was not my intention to go to any shows yesterday. In fact, at 3:00pm EDT, I had no idea that I would be going to see Stellastarr*. Sometime yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call from my friend John informing me that he had four free tickets to the show. I cancelled my plans and accepted his offer almost immediately. I had been thinking about going, but without tickets and with my money a little limited these days (bills, bills, bills), I had already disregarded the notion. Quite a turn of events!

As far as we knew going into the event, only two bands were playing: Editors and Stellastarr*. This was, however, not the case, as we quickly learned. The first band to mount the stage was Mobius Band. They played so early that there was only a handful of people there. To be honest, no one missed much. They were an okay band, a decent opening act I guess. The problem was really not their fault as much as it was the venues. I really think they did a poor job of mixing the sound for these guys. There was way too much high and low end and not enough mid-range. It crapped up their sound a lot, made it really fuzzy. I'm sure they're an alright band; it just wasn't their night, I guess.

Next up was South, a band out of the good ol' UK. They were pretty good. Nothing incredibly spectacular or anything, but they were very talented, and I especially liked the dueling vocals they had going for them. But yeah, other than that, there's really not much to say about them. They were just good.

Now Editors finally took the stage. I had been previously warned that their sound would be similar to Interpol, who I happen to pretty much abhor, so I wasn't expecting much, and they met my expectations. It's not that they're a terrible band. They're not; in fact, their instrumentation was incredibly together. They're very tight. It's just that, for one, I don't like monotone vocals. It gets on my nerves so easily. Second, I felt like every song was the same song as before, same chords just in a different pattern. The songs even followed a very similar formula each time: start with a drum or guitar fill, two verses and refrains, and then bang on everything. Repeat. Granted that's a pretty standard formula, but they didn't even attempt to meander away from it for anything. The set dragged on; I wasn't into it at all. I was grateful when they finally were done. Maybe I'm harsh, but I just couldn't stand it.

At long last, it was Stellastarr*'s turn. The stage was set with pieces of white cloth draped all over the stage, which gave them a really cool presence. I wasn't expecting that. One thing I enjoy a lot about Stellastarr* is how energetic their live shows are. I don't think you really get the feeling from the record that they would rock out as hard as they do, but their live performance is just outrageously hyped up. They bring the crowd right in, too. I don't really ever dance around at shows, but even I had to move around a little bit. I couldn't help it. And of course they saved "My Coco" for the encore. I could have seen that coming a mile away. What I was surprised by was that they followed it right up with "Pulp Song," which, admittedly, I had completely forgotten about. Those two songs were like icing on a super awesome cake. I left The Newport a bit tired, a bit hot, and a bit raspy, exactly as I should be after a good show.

I guess the overall show wasn't so bad, although it took waiting through bands I didn't necessarily enjoy to get to the good stuff, but it was definitely worth it.

For a completely different opinion of South and Editors, visit

Once again, I digress back to Sufjan Stevens. Okay, this isn't exactly news about him per se. Today I bring you a little 50 states humour. Kevin over yonder at Random in NYC has been compiling submitted track listings for what he refers to as "hypothetical Sufjan Stevens albums" for states he has yet to do. Some of these are just ridiculous. Here are my favourites from each one he has up so far:

From New York, New York - It's a Helluva State!:
"Suburban Tracksuits Represented by a Collection of Swishing Noises (Long Island Lolita! I Hear You!)"

From Connecticut: The New England Tri-State!:
"Stratford-on-the-Housatonic or William Shakespeare Lives on in the Rivers of Connecticut"

From Indiana: We're Proud to be a Hoosier Even if we Don't Even Know what One is!:
"If You Ain't Rubbin' You Aint' Racin' or How I Love NASCAR"
"My Ex Took My Broaster"
"John Mellencamp or is it John Cougar Mellencamp or just John Cougar or is it just Mellencamp?"

From Massachusetts: A State At Bay:
"Marriage: It's Legal for Everyone Here"

From Florida, the Sunshine State, Welcomes You:
"Jacksonville" (That's just too funny. I hope he actually does this one.)
"After Surviving an Alligator Attack, My Great Uncle is Run Over by an Airboat, and We Grieve for Him"

From Texas: The Lone(ly) Star State:
"Old El Paso is Not Just a Brand of Condiments, They Also Have a Pretty Good Basketball Team"

Wow, yeah, some of them are absurd, and I like that. You can submit your own to him, too, so just go over there and check them all out. And hey, if someone wants to conspire and come up with some sweet sweet Ohio song titles, let me know and I'll contribute.

How about some real news now? Looks like six record labels in Canada, including Linus Entertainment and Anthem Records, have the right idea. They've split from the Canadian Recording Industry Association, citing that they want up-and-coming artists to have more support. Good for you guys up north. Hey, what do you think Sufjan songs would be titled if he wrote about Saskatchewan? Is that even how you spell it?

Sad news over on the Mew front. Bass player Johan Wohlert has parted ways with the band to take care of his new family. Now that's a guy with his priorities straight. The band has already found a replacement, so things should run smoothly during the transition.

Someone buy these guys a card, because Boards of Canada have hit a milestone: their first music video! Awww! So cute! They're growing up so fast...

Well if there's one man in indie folk who is incredibly elusive, it's Damien Jurado. Consider yourself lucky, then, if you made it to The Troubador in Los Angeles to see him come out of hiding for a few songs. If you're like me and were unable to attend, this little ditty over at Prefix will give you at least some insight into what it would be like.

A few sweet interviews to read if you're bored:
Isobel Campbell with Chartattack
Ben Gibbard with Harp Magazine
Of Montreal with The Athens Exchange

A big huge thank you to The Guardian for confirming my suspicions: the boy band fad is over!

Matt thinks you should listen to Tilly and the Wall's new album, Rainbows in the Dark.

And last but not least, I would like to extend a very happy birthday to Music (for Robots). The blog just turned two years old and is celebrating with a mix for your listening pleasure. Indulge!

Upcoming Columbus Shows
04.14 Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, The Slide Machine, and Moonlight Chemist - Skully's Music Diner
04.15 Switchfoot and Lovedrug - The LC Pavilion
04.17 John Vanderslice, Wooden Wand, and Eric Metronome - High Five
04.20 Invisibile Children Benefit featuring John Reuben, House of Heroes, Everyday Sunday, and Secondhand - The LC Pavilion
04.21 Heavy Mole - High Five
04.21 Enon - Little Brother's
04.29 The Bell Orchestre and Snailhouse - The Wexner Center Performance Space
05.10 Prefuse 73 and Edan - The Wexner Center Performance Space
07.06 Panic! At the Disco, The Dresden Dolls, and The Hush Sound - The LC Pavilion
09.27 Built to Spill - Newport Music Hall

Okay guys that's it! I think I'm going to do some laundry now. See you again soon!


Anonymous Sherman said...

First! Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!

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