Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blank Fritz at The Ghost Room

You may have heard by now that The Ghost Room is closing but it hasn't closed yet! That's one, of many, reasons you should make the trip down to 4th street tonight. If you've been reading this site for as long as I've been writing it then you know that I'm a fan of Bill Baird, he's the dude behind Sunset and was once a member of, the now defunct, Sound Team. Well, now you need to be on the lookout for Blank Fritz. It's Baird's newest project and I'm going to say tonight at The Ghost Room is Austin's first chance to see Blank Fritz. I'm not entirely sure that's true but I'm going with it. Cover for tonight's show is a mere $5 and Ghost Room drinks are inexpensive and powerful. Also, the room sounds impeccable they don't get a lot of good bookings so when they do you should make the effort to check it out. Like I said the room won't be around much longer, chances are you can already buy a condo on spec that will soon be where the venue is.

Sunset - Lunar Eyes video via YouTube

In addition to a new moniker for Sunset, in the form of Blank Fritz, the band formerly known as Moth Fight! will also be performing with their new moniker Spells. Personally, I think "Moth Fight" was easier to google than Spells but "Blank Fritz" is WAAAAY easier to google than "Sunset". If you're thinking of forming a band you should consider how easy your band's name is to google. Even if you're anti-technology and only want to release your music on 8-track, we bloggers use search engines to write about your band sooooo, yeah make it easier for us to find you.

I mentioned how the drinks are inexpensive well, guess what? If you bike to the show tonight they'll give you Lone Star for a $1. Just let the bartender smell you, that should be proof enough. Check here for full details on tonight's show including give-aways, video projection and other musical acts.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bloggy at the Movies: Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D

This morning I had the opportunity to see Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 3D, which opens in Austin this Friday. It is the latest film from, director Werner Herzog, who was given a rare opportunity to film inside a pristine cave in France. This cave was discovered a few years ago through independent exploration by a handful of people and once inside they found, what is believed to be, the oldest, preserved drawing on the planet. The original, natural entrance to the cave system was closed up by the disintegration of a cliff keeping the cave untouched and unseen by human eyes for centuries. Some of the oldest drawings in the caves have been dated at over 32,000 years old and still look very fresh due to a protective layer of calcification.

The subject of the film is fascinating but I was equally fascinated by the documenting of the cave. There are many moments in the film, which had me wondering how a shot was captured or what the filmmaker had to go through to get into the spaces, in which they are shooting. Some of this is covered in the film itself. In order to keep the cave in pristine condition there were many restrictions placed on Herzog including, limiting his crew to 4 people and only allowing them a certain number of days and a limited number of hours within each to shoot.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams - Trailer video via YouTube

Cave of Forgotten Dreams is the first film I have seen that was fully live-action in 3D and it doesn't always work out perfectly. However, if you have the opportunity to see it in its intended 3D I recommend it. There are some low-lighting shots, in which the 3D looks grainy and can be a bit distracting but there are also some outrageously beautiful shots that look like you could reach out and touch a stalactite. Luckily, those of us in Austin can choose to see the film in either 3D or 2D.

For those of you who only have vision out of one eye you can see Cave of Forgotten Dreams in 2D 35mm projection at the Regal Arbor Cinema starting Friday. For the rest of you, I would suggest you shell out a couple of extra dollars to see the film in, often breathtaking, and always mesmerizing, 3D at the beautiful, new, downtown art-house theater Violet Crown Cinema. The theaters are small but the screens are huge. If you sit in the front row in the comfy, reclined chairs you will feel like you're spelunking without those uncomfortable harnesses.

If you haven't been to Violet Crown Cinema yet, you should know they don't show trailers before the films and the start time is firm so if you lollygag in late you're going to miss the film's setup. Also, you can park in the garage attached to the building and they'll validate your parking ticket, which boils down to $15 worth of free, convenient parking. They also have a beautiful and well-stocked bar/lounge area so arrive early, have a cocktail and appetizer but not too many cocktails the 3D might make you sick if you're drunk.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mogwai Review in Words

I always like to put "in words" in the headline of posts that won't feature any pictures or videos. I know you have a short-attention span, so that's your flag to skip over this post or be prepared to read lots of silly letters strung together. Last night I went to Stubb's to see, the legendary, Mogwai. I know it was a Monday night but I was surprised and a little disappointed that the venue wasn't packed to the gills. I guess Mogwai didn't get a high enough rating on Pitchfork for Austin's hipster-syndicate to throw their jorts on and attend the show. Now that I have all of that bitching out of my system let me tell you about the actual show. I had never seen Mogwai before and I sort of discovered them backwards. I have been a fan of Sigur Rós and Explosions in the Sky, which lead me back to Mogwai. Before seeing them perform I was under the impression that their music was very technical, proggy, math-rocky and while this assumption wasn't completely unfounded, now that I have seen them live I have a different impression. Like Sigur Rós and Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai are not trying to be technicians who graph out perfect song structure and play along to a click track, they are musically emotive. They manipulate their instruments trying to make the audience cry while they are pummeled with waves of harmonic feedback. They perform rock-symphonies, in every track, soundtracking the movie that is the experience of being at the show. I couldn't tell you which tracks were played or which tracks I wish I'd heard them play because I was so mesmerized from start to finish that the 60+ minute set seemed to breeze by as I was trying to figure out, which instrument was making which sound. In short, I'm sure that Mogwai is not for everyone but if it's not for you then we can't be friends anymore.

The only negative thing point I have about the show has to do with how the band utilized the stage. If you've ever been to a show at Stubb's before, then you know the stage itself is quite large and I feel like Mogwai was trying to hide up there through most of the performance. One of the band members switches between playing keyboards and playing guitar and when he wasn't playing guitar there was a huge void, stage-center where he would have been standing. I feel like the guitarist who was hiding behind the speaker tower on stage left should have been setup at stage center so when homeboy who played keys played guitar (for 2 songs) he performed stage-left. Either that or instead of having homeboy on keys share the drummer-riser at the back of the stage, he could setup his keyboards at front, stage-right like most bands do.

As you can tell the show was pretty amazing since the only thing I have to bitch about was the fact that you weren't there and the visual aesthetics of the band's position on stage. Even the crowd was largely reverent, when the songs were quiet the audience was quiet and when the songs were loud, the audience was still quiet. You would almost think people went to the show to listen to the band last night?!?! Mogwai still has 3 more dates on their U.S. tour, including Houston tonight, so if you live in any of those 3 places make sure you check them out. Also, you can download a couple of songs from their latest LP, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will over on the band's Sub Pop page.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Planning Ahead: Endless Ticket Links

Last month, I feel like I spent a lot of time blogging about sold-out shows. It is for that reason that I have dedicated a post to helping you plan ahead a bit. Below you will find a list of artist names and venue names. If you click the artist name it will take you to the ticket-purchasing page, if you click the venue name it will take you to the venue's website. I have not listed the dates of the shows because if you're like me the artist is more important than the date. Get the tickets THEN plan how you're going to get there. I also haven't listed prices for the same reason. This list is not comprehensive, as far as listing every show coming to town. I simply combed through the C3 Presents ticket site, as well as Stubb's, Emo's, Transmission Entertainment (Mohawk, Red 7, Lambert's,), as well as the ticketing site for ACL Live at the Moody Theater. I checked out La Zona Rosa's site as well but didn't find anything noteworthy. I also noticed that the same site that sells ACL Live's tickets had a listing for Antone's. Generally speaking though, most all of the tickets you want in Austin go through Front Gate Tickets ticketing. So, now you've got my list and my resources. If that isn't enough for 'ya, feel free to comb through Show List Austin and Do512 as well. The links I've included in this post are just all of the noteworthy shows on-sale (not sold-out) as of this moment. Spend wisely and enjoy!

Emmylou Harris - Six White Cadillacs video via YouTube

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mogwai at Stubb's

I was watching Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (again) this morning and I noticed a Mogwai poster backstage at one of the clubs. I was immediately re-excited about tomorrow night's show. The same thing happened Friday afternoon when I realized the show as this coming Monday. I don't know if you're reading this from Austin but if you're not let me just tell you, we have had better shows on Monday and Tuesday night's lately than most cities have on Friday and Saturday. It's sort of wreaking havoc on my work schedule but I have my priorities in order: shows, family, friends, work. That's how it should go right? I'd rather see a good show than my family, I'd rather see my family than my friends and I'd rather hang with my friends than go to work. Besides, the good thing about a Stubb's show on a Monday night is it MUST be done by 10:30 at the absolute latest and is, generally, over before that. So, if you're like me and you have to work early in the morning you can still see Mogwai tomorrow night then wake up in time to punch the clock. In fact, unlike most of the shows I've written about recently, tomorrow night's Mogwai show at Stubb's is, inexplicably, NOT sold-out. To be honest, I'm kind of disappointed in you Austin, I feel like tickets to see Mogwai should have been gone a LOOOONNNGG time ago. Looking on the bright-side for those of you reading this and thinking, "Holy effin s! MUST. SEE. MOGWAI." You're in luck!

Mogwai - San Pedro video via YouTube

I don't say this of too many bands, who have been around more than a decade BUT if you have never heard Mogwai before, their latest album would actually be a great place to start. It's called Hardcore Will Never Die Out, But You Will and it's filled with unicorns, lollipops and bubble-gum doo-wop harmonies. Ok, most of that was a lie but the new album is effing spectacular and if you like Explosions In The Sky than you should have already been a Mogwai fan because it's pretty evident that there would be no Explosions... without Mogwai. You can head on over to SubPop if you'd like to download an Mp3 or two from the band to wet your whistle/grease your wallet.

Mogwai - How to Be a Werewolf (in Thirty Century Man) video via YouTube

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