Category Archives: san diego

Review: Wolf Parade; July 20, 2008 at Canes; San Diego

Wolf Parade - July 20, 2008

It was Sunday night at Canes and indie rock heroes Wolf Parade were about to perform, yet the crowd didn’t seem excited at all. The stripped down guitar and tribal trashcan percussion of opening duo Listening Party had been received with polite but moderate enthusiasm by an audience where those wearing backwards hats and polo shirts vastly outnumbered the people with the tight jeans and flat-ironed hair. As the crowd quietly milled about the venue between sets, it seemed as though Wolf Parade could expect a similarly tepid reaction. But when the Montreal quintet finally took the stage and the first notes rang out from the amps, they were met with a fanatical and frenzied reception that was anything but lukewarm.

Beginning their set with “You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son” and “Soldier’s Grin”, the opening tracks off 2005’s Apologies To The Queen Mary and 2008’s At Mount Zoomer, respectively, Wolf Parade were a well-oiled machine, nimbly maneuvering their songs’ wild mood swings and ever-changing time signatures without missing a beat.

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Review: The Loons; July 19, 2008 at Bar Pink; San Diego

The Loons - San Diego

Saturday’s “Hipsters Revisited” at Bar Pink Elephant was a ‘60s themed event that promised music of the garage, psychedelic, and freakbeat varieties, all while making assurances that there would be “no weird shit or flutes”. They made good on these promises with some trippy mood-lighting and an assortment of DJs spinning appropriately obscure tracks from the period, but the real draw was a live performance by local retro-rock band The Loons.

Long blond hair hanging in his face, Loons lead singer Mike Stax commanded the stage with all the raw power of an anachronistic Iggy Pop as the band blazed through a set that recalled garage acts Love, The Sonics, and The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. After grabbing everyone’s attention with “Red Dissolving Rays”, Stax joked that, in honor of Gay Pride week, he was dedicating the song “My Time” to Texas, “the gayest state of all”.

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Review: Frightened Rabbit; June 23, 2008; Casbah, San Diego

Frightened Rabbit 3

Frightened Rabbit is one of the best bands out there that you can still see in a small club. They’re comprised of two brothers and two multi-instrumentalists: singer/songwriter/guitarist/whisky sipper Scott Hutchison, his brother Grant (who destroys drumsticks and provides vocal harmonies), and Billy Kennedy and Andy “Medusa” Monaghan who both alternate on keys, guitar, and bass.

Legend has it that as a kid, Scott was compared to a Frightened Rabbit for his lack of social skills, but you wouldn’t know it from this show. Hutchison’s between-song banter was often hilarious and he showed no shortage of the fabled Scottish charm; he even exuded silliness as he discussed a “plectrum” (pick) that someone had given him.

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The Silent Comedy – The Silent Comedy (Review)

For a band whose live performances are marked by their theatricality and infectious intensity, The Silent Comedy’s recordings can be surprisingly intimate affairs. Their debut full-length, Sunset Stables, emphasized narrative and restraint over whiskey drinking and foot stomping, and now, on their self-titled EP, they pick up where that record left off.

From the opening moments of maudlin country ballad “Daisy”, The Silent Comedy draws you into a rich world of broken bottles and shattered hearts. The song nimbly swells, retreats, then swells again, a ribcage barely containing the heart within. J. John’s vocals intertwine in a tender duet with I. Forbes’ gorgeous violin, and when he begs, “Break me, Daisy”, it’s hard to believe that she hasn’t done so already.

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Review: The Kills; May 19, 2008 at The Casbah; San Diego

The Kills - May 19, 2008

A fever descended upon the sold-out Casbah as the Kills took the stage, seducing the crowd with their unique blend of blues, punk, and sex. The band drew mainly from their new album Midnight Boom, tearing into renditions of “U.R.A. Fever,” “Tape Song,” and “Sour Cherry,” but still touched upon old favorites like “Fried My Little Brains,” “Wait,” and “Love Is A Deserter.”

Backed only by a drum machine, Alison “VV” Mosshart and Jamie “Hotel” Hince shared vocal duties, with Hotel playing the lion’s share of guitar. The songs dripped with danger and excitement, such as on “No Wow,” where the pair used their palpable on-stage chemistry to carry the song from its ominous, simmering beginning to an explosive conclusion that was equal parts sexual tension and musical release.

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