Tag Archives: Frank Black

Top 20 Concerts Part 2

I should note that some of these artists I have seen multiple times, so I will only list my favorite concert from each particular artist.  Otherwise the top 10 could easily include multiple repeats.

Pearl Jam (May 2006 – Camden, New Jersey)

I’ve seen Pearl Jam a total of three times over the past few years, and I have yet to see a bad show by them.  Pearl Jam treat their shows like every single one is a special event.  Eddie Vedder is the Pete Townshend of lead singers – jumping across the stage and doing guitar acrobatics that lesser men would like downright silly even to attempt.   The last time I saw them in DC in 2008, they only made it about a minute into “Evacuation” before the band stumbled.  In the old days, Vedder might have walked off screaming.  Instead the band laughed it off, and went on to the next show like nothing happened.

I realize that I probably might get shit on for including Pearl Jam on this list by some people I know.  I still think that the lady at the concession lying when she said that drinks were no longer being served at the “artists’ request”.

 

The New Pornographers (October 2007 – 930 Club, Washington DC)

Twin Cinema is easily one of the best rock-pop records of the 2000s.   On record The New Pornographers have a lot of energy, but live they are well-oiled machine.   Neko Case and Carl Newman remain the band’s not-so secret weapon united in harmony, but it’s amazing to see them pull it off so effortlessly on songs like “All The Things That Go Make Heaven and Earth”, and “Use It”.  And when the coda for “The Bleeding Heart Show” kicks in, you wish it would go on forever.

 

Kings of Leon (October 2005 – Sonar, Baltimore MD)

In 2005, Kings of Leon were down right sleazy.  Not like the pretty boys and rock- pop cons you know today.  If the whiskey soaked songs, and dank of Sonar weren’t enough, the show included girls dancing on poles between sets and a magic show.  You could feel the sweat flying from the Followills foreheads as they blazed through countrified-punk versions of “The Bucket” and “Slow Night So Slow”.  Appropriately enough, they closed with the aptly titled, “Trani”.

The concert was awesome, but things turned sour later on, including being stuck in a traffic jam with the gas-tank on empty, and a fall down a flight of stairs.  (Both incidents turned out to be ok, but the gas tank was a close-call.)

 

The Black Crowes (August 2007 – Sonar, Baltimore MD)

Another show at Sonar. This is not really a criticism, but The Black Crowes are the best Rolling Stones cover band with original songs.  It was an old-fashioned rock and roll show at its best.  I distinctly remember it being the hottest night of the year – it was so fucking hot, and the compressed venue of Sonar only made it worse.  But somehow, it only seemed fitting to see the Crowes that way.

The Pixies (December 2009 – Constitution Hall, Washington DC)

I ended up going to this show at the last minute.  I got a phone-call in the afternoon from a friend telling me that an extra ticket was available.  So off I drove to DC during rush-hour to go see The Pixies.  I was almost late because I got lost to my friends house on the way – even though I had driven there at least 5 times prior.

This show was part of The Pixies “Doolittle Tour”. Prior to this show, I had never seen a whole album show, and was curious about how it come off.  The songs off of Doolittle are short and concise, so even the duds (there are really only about 3 off of an otherwise great album) are over before you know it.  The big songs – “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Here Comes Your Man” got the most response, but it was on “There Goes My Gun” and “Vamos” The Pixies really came alive.  The former proved that even in his mid 40s, Frank Black can still scream like a motherfucker, and the latter included an extended feedback solo that peeled the paint off of the otherwise stale Constitution Hall.

 

 

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Review: Pixies Doolittle Show Dec 1st DAR Constitution Hall – Washington DC

 

(Photo from The Washington Post – By Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

The Pixies 2006 documentary was aptly called LoudquietLoud.  Whether it was DAR’s acoustic’s or the Pixies’ playing – the show was one of the loudest I’ve attended in a while.   When the Pixies first got back together in 2004, I was excited but unsure whether I wanted to see them.  Reunions tours can sometimes be a bust.  

I’m under the impression that Frank Black (or is it Black Francis since we’re talking about the Pixies?) must have been sipping green tea with honey regularly for the past 20 years.  A 45 year old man should not be able to scream like he did during songs like “There Goes My Gun” or “I’ve Got Something Against You”.   But Black wasn’t the only member of the band who proved himself.  Perhaps because of the way the songs are written the songs simply cannot be performed half-assed.  That being said – the band seemed extremely tight as they shifted from their signature loud and quiet format -sometimes  several times in one song. 

Obviously, Black is the star of the show.  But as my friend Michael told me, “they’re like the Beatles of ’80s.  If one was missing, it wouldn’t be the same.”  After seeing the show, I couldn’t agree more.  Guitarist Joey Santiago is a master of the aggressive one-note style of playing – only letting loose on an extended version of “Vamos”.  Kim Deal and David Lovering proved that they are probably one of the most under-rated rhythm sections in rock.  

And to anyone who thinks that concerts where bands play entire albums suck – this show reminded me how great of an album Doolittle is. It gives the band and its audience something to celebrate.  Most reunions shows are just a greatest hits forum.  With the album-concert concept – bands are forced to play songs they probably never played.  It’s nostalgia without the bitter taste in your mouth.

And it also confirmed my theory that everytime I listen to Nirvana I hear a half-assed Pixie song.

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