I might’ve jumped the gun when I ballooned up The Gaslight Anthem show last week. It just so happens that Alkaline Trio is exactly the same type of band, with the same type of effect between my friends and our respective circles — to an even bigger extent. After all, Alkaline Trio are one of those bands that have been releasing music (now on their 8th studio album, My Shame is True) throughout every phase of punk rock that’s been moderately popular in the 2000s.
Throughout the years, both Matt Skiba and Dan Andriano have broken off and meddled in other bands (Heavens, Dan Andriano solo, etc) but their anchor has always been firmly planted in Chicago’s Alkaline Trio, who brought their new album, Bayside and Off With Their Heads to the House of Blues on Friday night.
I can’t believe that I actually worried that The Joy Formidable would falter in recreating the sounds of their grandiose sophomore album Wolf’s Law. There’s some gentle harp pluckage here, electronic squiggles there – a more textured, layered sound than their wall of guitar-noise debut album. But at Wednesday’s jam-packed show at Fitzgerald’s, the Welsh trio took all that refinery and exploded it into a lead-heavy, pulverizing set that required no particular nuances – just pure grit and bombast and the manic pixie charisma of lead singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan.
Anytime The Gaslight Anthem tours, it’s an event for us. They’ve maintained the status as one of our favorite bands – putting out some of our favorite records since 2007. A core group of our friends always find a way to set aside an entire night to buddy up, throw our arms around each other’s shoulders, enjoy libations and sing along to some hearty and soulful punk rock songs.
And Thursday night’s stop of the Handwritten Tour at the House of Blues was no different.
You’d get the sense, watching nihilist, banshee-woman Alice Glass perform that Crystal Castles were bred for smaller, less-restrictive concert venues than the mighty House of Blues Houston. The band sure have had a meteoric rise in recent months, most likely due to our culture’s embrace of EDM, which Crystal Castles are not, however you dissect it, but their sudden stadium-status seemed counter to the band’s early
DIY ways. At Saturday night’s sold out show however, the duo, Glass and stoic synth/beat conducter Ethan Kath, alongside touring drummer Christopher Chartland, unequivocally flourished in the sold out 1,500 capacity setting, charging the crowd with an intense, hedonistic energy that made for one of the most memorable shows in recent memory.
Since we don’t really go to SXSW in any kind of professional manner, we thought we’d keep our recap of the week’s events in a similar fashion. All of these photos are from our personal Camera rolls, with a few appearances by our gr8 friends Eda and Coop.
We had a really good time this year, and it feels like we’re getting better and more efficient at seeing what we want. Granted, there’s always a few huge shows that didn’t work out in our favor (Justin Timberlake, etc) but we don’t give a feel after the fact. Our friends are all awesome and we had a blast seeing all of their enthusiastic faces, and I’m not going to sit here and name em off because that’s too cornball and personal, but mainly because we don’t want to forget.
Check out the slideshow above. For best results:
1. Full screen
2. Show Info, because I’ve written out descriptions for each photo.
Here are a few awards (via a group discussion):
Most Enjoyable Performance: Toss-up between Kendrick Lamar (YAWK YAWK) or Fall Out Boy Most Impressive Performance: HAIM – These ladies god damn rocked. So much guitar. Best Hair: Tegan and Sara. Tegan was glam and Sara had the best side part we’ve ever seen Cutest Moment: Hayley Williams and Chad Gilbert singing songs together Worst Moment: Sitting through Brook Candy’s set before Fall Out Boy Drunkest Show: Kendrick Lamar Best Musical Bucket List Moment: Watching Kenny Loggins sing “Danger Zone” and “Footloose” Strangest sightings: Aldon Smith (49ers), Waka Flocka in the street with 50 people in his posse, Riff Raff eating the continental breakfast and tweeting Riff Raff type inspiration while we watched Best Idea: Eating free Burritos and Tacos Worst Idea: Eating free Burritos and Tacos Stupidest Rumor: Daft Punk is playing at the State Capital
What could be nerdier than naming your band after a Mac keyboard command? How about letting loose your grip on your Fender Stratocaster to play … the casanets? And if those castanets were the percussive snap to your highly regarded single from your Mercury Prize winning debut album, well that would just be another day in the life of Cambridge four piece Alt-J, who brought the exploratory sounds of their lp An Awesome Wave to a sold-out Fitzgerald’s Sunday night.
Coheed and Cambria has kept busy for the last year. After their 2010 album, Year of the Black Rainbow, was met with lukewarm reviews from their fanbase, it seems like that was just the kick they needed to get things groovin’ again. In 2011, the band’s original drummer, Josh Eppard, left his new band (Terrible Things) and confirmed his reunion with Coheed and Cambria again, putting a heap of excitement back into the camp.
Co&Ca would then go on to release two albums in a year’s time, The Afterman: Ascension and The Afterman: Descension. The two parter brought plenty of fans back on board, myself
The last time Every Time I Die played at Warehouse Live, things didn’t go so well. They got into a very publicized brawl with our famed 5 Star Security and probably weren’t too keen on ever playing the venue again. But things change, and it’s now water under the bridge. The band booked a show at the Studio, a place that was soon to be a haven for mayhem, flailing bodies and heavy rock and roll. Buffalo’s own would bring along a slew of heavy bands to open in The Acacia Strain, Vanna, Hundreth and No Bragging Rights – all to ensure that security has their hands full.
I wasn’t really going to review this show, but I thought I’d do a quick write-up, if not to start weworemasks off in 2013 on a creative/productive note. Kendrick Lamar initially planned this show back in October, the week of Good Kid, m.A.A.d city‘s release. Since October, GKMC has flipped the music industry upside down, with folks throwing out huge hyperboles comparing it to Nas’ Illmatic and what not. But regardless, it’s a perfect debut for one of hip-hop’s most promising artists in years. The original date was postponed for a special December treat, with Kendrick performing two shows back to back at Warehouse Live and House of Blues, both of which were completely sold out to the brim.
Our third and final road trip concert in a month’s time was a special one. None of us three bears had seen Bloc Party prior to this show, so a trip to Dallas to retrieve our forgotten writer Jerome to see ‘em at the House of Blues was a must. The band’s currently on their full US tour routing in support of 2012′s Four, a grungy, but beautiful affair, and the band’s first since 2008′s Intimacy and their hiatus, which took place soon after.
We were pretty excited about this one, especially considering it’s the last big show of 2012. Why not go all out and make a trip to Dallas, only to return back to Houston at 3:30 a.m., right? YOLO, as they say.
[Note: It's been a while since we've seen a show as fans first, and due to a lack of press, none of us took photos. Apologies to the folks who had their photos ripped from Instagram. Hopefully the credit isn't too bad!]
The Faint are one of the biggest pioneers of the post-punk explosion of the 2000s, and with good and obvious reason. Records like Blank Wave Arcade and Danse Macabre ushered in new sounds and new waves (heh) of electronic music blended seamlessly with punk rock and indie, bringing together diverse crowds cross country in the process. And all of this from a band that originated in the heart of Saddle Creek, Omaha, Nebraska. After 2008′s Fasciinatiion, the band took to their own respective musical routes, quietly performing with side-act Depressed Buttons and DJ sets alike, leaving The Faint on a bit of a self-imposed hiatus.
Saddle Creek decided it was time for a reissue for one of the aforementioned records, Danse Macabre, which is 11 years old as of August 2012. And what better time for the band to hit a practice studio, refine their live show and take this behemoth of an album out on the road, performing it in its entirety for a full scale US tour (with a stop in our neighboring city of Austin, TX)?
Deftones have remained one of my favorite bands since I was in middle school. It was then that I discovered the furious Around the Fur, which ultimately led to White Pony – which changed my entire outlook on the boundaries of heavy music and how limitless it was. Since White Pony, the band that’s 2 years younger than me (that’s 24 for you math wizards) has released four great and strangely consistent albums, including the most recent, Koi No Yokan, which came out earlier this week on November 13th. The Texas stint of their current tour were the first dates after the release, so it was to be expected that the band’s set would lean heavily towards it, but that wasn’t the case.
[Note: Sorry for the weak photos. My main squeeze Sunbear wasn't in attendance. Oh and there was no photo pit, either!]
After plans of seeing Converge perform at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest fell through, our contingency plan was put in place. And it wasn’t too shabby – seeing a band we’ve been a fan of for years perform in an intimate setting (Fitzgeralds, Houston, TX) to a dedicated fan base sounded like a pretty good way to spend a Saturday night. Converge was on a full scale headline tour with Miami’s Torche and Norwegian metal outfit Kvelertak, supporting their brand-spankin’ new album All We Love We Leave Behind, which is a follow-up to 2009′s Axe to Fall. The band hasn’t hit Houston since 2009, and the thrill of seeing them for the first time is enough to build anticipation for what ended up being one of the best shows we’ve seen all year.
This will be the second time I’ve seen Laura Jane Grace front Against Me! this year and let me tell you, former teenage anarchists: She’s looking great. Dressed in a black tank, bra (a bra!), leggings, boots, and black eyeliner, Grace exuded a very cool Joan Jett vibe the second she walked on stage to massive applause. But the very instant the band counted off the opening march of “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” it was old-fashioned Against Me! albeit with a bigger bite with the new band dynamic.