Friday, April 27, 2012

Psych and Moontower Fests, Respectively

Psych Fest starts tonight and Moontower Comedy Festival continues. Meanwhile, I feel like hanging out on the sofa in my underwear with Miss Paws and Mr. S. I guess I've gotten old Austin. I don't really know when it happened but for some reason it feels very official today. My joints ache and I just want to stay in, don't judge me, it could happen to you too! For those of you who aren't sad, old men like me I'll highlight some things for you to enjoy, while I'm in bed with The Hunger Games books.

Peaking Lights headline the Beauty Ballroom tonight. People fucking love that record and with Sleep Over and Ringo Deathstarr also on the bill tonight, Beauty Ballroom could be a great one-stop destination for some trippy-ass tunes. At this point in the game, you can not buy tickets to Psych Fest online but you can pay $45 at the door, which gets you access to ALL of the shows within a single day. You can find the complete line-up here. That may seem steep but it's pretty fair considering how many bands you'll have the chance to see.

Peaking Lights - Hey Sparrow video via YouTube

As far as the Moontower Comedy Festival goes, tonight and tomorrow are the last nights so at this point it would be pretty silly of you to buy a badge if you haven't already. I would suggest you commit to a venue and buy an individual ticket. Tonight, I would suggest you check out John Mulaney at the Parish or JB Smoove at the Mohawk. If you bring a friend of a different race to 29th St. Ballroom tonight for W. Kamau Bell they're doing a 2 for 1 admission.

There's tons of other elements to both of these festivals so, if you feel like hitting the town this weekend you shouldn't be want for things to choose from.

W. Kamau Bell - Two Questions That you NEVER Ask Black People About Their Hair video via YouTube

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Hospitality and Eleanor Friedberger at Frank

With all of the festival hub-bub this weekend it's easy to overlook some of the other quality events going on in Austin. Especially when said events take place in a gourmet hot dog restaurant in the warehouse district. Well Bloggy-faithful, I'm here to point you in the right direction, which isn't to say those festivals are the wrong direction, this is just another choice for you. Hospitality have released an indie-pop confection of a record that have been on repeat at Bloggy-HQ throughout most of the year. I had the chance to see them during SXSW this year and they truly delivered. Their songs have great melodies and you'll find yourself humming them for days after listening. In a live setting they sound even better than on the record. The vocals are on point and the band is a cohesive, well-rehearsed unit. As far as the venue is concerned, Frank actually has great sound, especially when you consider it's a restaurant. However, it is a cramped little space and you will have to wade through the crowd and squeeze by the stage if you need to use the bathroom so, don't drink too much. Tickets are quite reasonable at around $12 and look on the bright-side, you won't have to deal with 6th St. on a Saturday night.

Hospitality - Friends of Friends video via YouTube

The ticket site lists Eleanor Friedberger as the headliner tomorrow night, which shouldn't surprise me since she has been around a lot longer and she played after Hospitality at the Merge Records showcase during SXSW. Her set is a lot quieter and more intimate than what you will hear from Hospitality. She performs solo, just herself and a guitar. Here lyrics are intimate, clever, coy and occasionally bitter and biting. During her SXSW set she informed the audience that she was going to play quietly so that they would be quiet. I would expect she'll try the same thing at Frank tomorrow night and I hope that it works. As I mentioned, Frank is an intimate performance space and when someone is talking it is very disruptive to the performer and the audience. The performer can plainly see the audience so I wouldn't be too surprised if Friedberger called people out.

Eleanor Friedberger - I Won't Fall Apart on You Tonight video via YouTube

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lee Fields and the Expressions at the Continental Club

With everything going on in Austin the last couple of weeks, tonight's Lee Fields & the Expressions show at the Continental Club really snuck up on me. Thankfully, I bought myself and Mr. S. some tickets as soon as the show was announced. I know a lot of you have other plans tonight but Lee Fields doesn't go on until 11:30p so you should consider working this show into your schedule. If you're a fan of Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones or soul music in general then I bet you'll be thoroughly impressed with Lee Fields. If you can't make it out to tonight's show then you should at least check out Lee's latest album Faithful Man, it's an instant classic. My particular jam is I Still Got It. In the meantime here's a live video fo the title track courtesy of Your

Lee Fields - Faithful Man video via YouTube

I'm not entirely sure what the ticket situation is for tonight. I know that the buy ticket link is no longer on the Continental's page but that doesn't mean it's sold-out. They are pretty old-school so I would suspect that you can pay a cover charge to get in. The tickets were $17 so bring a $20 for sure. If it is sold-out, I would think they would list that on their site but like I said they are pretty old-school so, who knows? When I bought my ticket online I was sent to a PayPal page if that gives you any idea.

Lee Fields - You're the Kind of Girl video via YouTube

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fesitval

The Moontower Comedy an Oddity Festival kicks off for the first time every tomorrow evening with comedy showcases all over the city. The festival will run from Wednesday night through Saturday night with a lot of the comedians performing a few times so everyone will get a chance to see them perform. I've made a Spotify Playlist so you can preview some of the acts who will be performing but there are many who are not on Spotify. The comedians range in age, experience and exposure and their styles are just as varied. If you'd like to attend all or part of the festival, there are three different levels of entry available. If you just want to buy your way in to a specific performance there are Individual Tickets. At the mid-level, you can purchase the You Betcha I'm Somebody pass, which even included parking downtown. Lastly, you can be a baller and go for broke with the Hell Yeah I'm a VIP pass. The VIP pass will get you guaranteed first entry into ALL of the shows, including the biggest events happening at the Paramount Theater. You can find the full line-up for the festival here. In the meantime, here's one of my highlights:

Maria Bamford - Sex Hole video via YouTube

Since this is the first year for the Moontower Comedy Festival I really don't know what to expect. The venues are scattered throughout the city so be sure to plan accordingly. I know that there are nights when I will want to catch sets at Cap City Comedy Club followed by sets downtown. If you're doing the same make sure not to plan back to back sets without any gap in between.

Who are you most excited to see? Are you planning to get passes or simply buy your way in to individual events?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Bear in Heaven with Doldrums and Blouse

Tomorrow night at the Parish is one of the most solid indie-rock triple bills I've seen in awhile. All three bands played at SXSW this year so, expect to hear some clever quips about how they have only been gone a few weeks. I saw both openers this year and personally, I might switch their time slots if it were up to me. However, I will say that Doldrums is more high-energy, which is much more akin to the headlining band. Also, what do I know?

I'm a big fan of the sounds that Blouse produces. Their record has a lot more moody effects than they do in a live setting but it all comes across as very woozy. It's slow-rock through a cough syrup haze and I'm totally into that.

Blouse - Ghost Dream video via YouTube

Of course, headlining this solid triple-bill tomorrow night is Bear in Heaven. Their latest album, I Love You, It's Cool is their best yet. Their songwriting is tighter than ever, the melodies catchier and the beats are ass-shake inducing. Also, they sound more like the Pet Shop Boys than ever before and there ain't nothin' wrong with that.

If you want to check out this great show tomorrow night you should grab some tickets now because tomorrow you'll be paying day-of-show prices.

Bear in Heaven - Reflection of You video via YouTube

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Review: Shabazz Palaces and !!!

Last evening, Mr. S. and I went down to ye olde Mohawk to enjoy the sounds of !!! and Shabazz Palaces. We arrived shortly after !!! had already taken the stage. The crowd wasn't packed but it wasn't thin either. There were 6 people on stage propelling and insistent sound from the stage causing the audience to gyrate maniacally. By the time we found our spot on the front balcony the lead-singer had managed to scale the speakers and was on the side terrace singing in people's faces and moving like one of those boys in the cages at Rain. His shorts were shockingly short and people below MAY have seen his balls but that is unconfirmed. The band tore through a wide array of songs from their career mixing up classics with unreleased songs, all of which were bursting with energy. I have never been a huge fan of !!! records and I wasn't super-interested in catching their set last night but by the time they were through I felt like a fool. They have a ridiculously fun energy and I look forward to their next show.

The energy for Shabazz Palaces' set was much more subdued but extremely entertaining nonetheless. They had two people on stage, one armed with a laptop and a drum machine. The other with bongos, a tom drum, high-hat, MPC and a couple of African percussion instruments. They took a couple of minutes getting all of their levels the way they wanted them but once they started the first song they played music wall to wall for over an hour. There was no in-between-song banter, there were no flashy lights it was simply a captivating live performance. The audience was extremely attentive with little-to-no talking. I was also incredibly impressed with how enthusiastic the crowd was. Part of me expected that a lot of people were at last night's show for !!! and that they would leave once their set was done. I was pleasantly surprised to find this was not the case. There were people in the crowd who were only marginally familiar with Shabazz Palaces but I feel like the majority knew at least some words to some songs and many people knew all the words to all of the songs.

I've been a big fan of Black Up and I have actually seen Shabazz Palaces perform at SXSW but at that point I didn't know their songs very well. Last night the songs took on a different shape, I felt an energy in them that I hadn't felt before and I know I'm not the only one. No one uses the sounds that you'll hear on Black Up and hearing those sounds reproduced live makes them sound that much more profound somehow. I am convinced that Shabazz Palaces exist on another plane, in another dimension and we are lucky to receive their transmissions.

After the show I told Mr. S. that I hope Black Up becomes a point of inspiration for the next generation of hip-hop. It is powerful and different enough to spawn a brand new movement in hip-hop and I embrace that potential whole-heartedly.

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