Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fucked-Up & Pissed Jeans: Kung Fu Necktie - Philadelphia, PA (1/21/09)

Well. This was my introduction to the relatively new Philly bar/music venue “Kung-Fu Necktie” (tried to find a definition…I think it’s a pretty graphic executionary move). The bar is located literally under the subway tracks in Northern Philly (Fishtown). I went with a few friends to see two bands - Fucked-Up and Pissed Jeans (if those names aren’t punk rock I don’t know what is). The show was sold out. Given the “character” of the bands scheduled to play and the rumored smaller size of the venue…we knew the night would be “interesting” to say the least. Ohhhh boy we got out moneys worth. Or at least Chris did as I still owe him $10 for the ticket. (GONG!) So here’s the play-by-play - We walked into an already crowded bar. They had such a great DJ/soundsystem we thought the show already started when we approached the bar from the outside. Turns out it was just some obscure hard-core record being pumped. We grabbed some adult-sodas, shot the shit blah-blah-blah. Members of both bands were carrying amps and instrument casings through the crowd. Pretty normal for a small venue engagement punk rock or folk rock or yacht rock. Right before PJ began to play the place got insanely packed from the bar to the stage (30ft) and with the ramp-slope up from the bar to the stage we couldn’t actually see PJ play from the edge of the bar…and I’m 6ft-1. They sounded great in true noise/rock style. I couldn’t discern the songs from the last album (Hope for Men – Download “I’ve Still Got You”) with the new tracks peppered in. What ever the last song played was…it was pretty damn rockin. Might I add the sound a KFN was surprisingly good even for a feedback junkie like Pissed Jeans. After PJ finished they crowd thinned out a tad (“a tad”…I never write that) and we grabbed a few “fresh-ones” to get ready for Fucked-Up. We were able to move forward a bit to have a level view of the band…not that it would matter (you’ll see). The lead singer (Damian Abraham aka “Pink Eyes”) was a presence in size and voice…and wit. He came on stage wearing basketball shorts and a leather baseball cap. FU is Canadian so he made some Canada jokes as expected, talked about Obama etc. He was funny as hell and talked for a good 10min before “Son the Father” (the lead off track from the new album) kicked off like a punch in the throat. Amazing sound. The “pit” was in full force. No one was safe. I’m getting too old for that shit anymore however I was so amped up I wanted to throw my PBR down and sock the person next to me. Problem was the person next to me was 2ft shorter…and female. I have the latest FU album (see my review from 12/12) but to be honest I don’t know the names of most of the songs (some bands are like that for me). I think they played a good number of tracks from the early releases. OK. Here’s where it gets interesting. It was not long after the first few songs that Damian (now shirtless) jumped off the stage in mid lyric and pushed through the THICK crowd making his way to the bar. The mic was on a cord that must have been 100fit long and an inch thick (insert penis joke here). He was wailing into the mic, giving skinny hipster guys noogies, throwing the mic in peoples faces to sing along. Ol’ Pink Eyes then climbed up onto the bar. The whole time this was going on the band didn’t pause for a second and was cranking out rock like woodchipper. It was a sweaty punk rock scene. Reminded me of Bouncing Souls shows from high-school. Anyway, so when he was up on the bar I tried to get a phone-pic. The only one that came out ok (you could recognize shapes) was the one above. He barreled back through the crowd…sang another song or two…then came back to the bar. He took a candle and poured hot wax on his man-breasts then tried to stick the candle to his forehead. Awesome…I mean awful…awfully awesome.

The moral of this story is. If you every have a chance to see Pissed Jeans or especially Fucked-Up in a small venue…do it. If you think you’re too old for certain shows…shaddup…please go…just stand in the back and listen…make “back in the day” comments to anyone standing around then gauge reactions.

To give you a taste of what we experienced check out this Rhapsody link from a 12 hr show in NYC and a video link from Pitchfork TV.

What a fucked up show…I nearly pissed my jeans. HA! (crowd boos)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Album Review: Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

Beard-Rock alert (air-raid sirens sound) So I read up a lot about the band Fleet Foxes compiled with a number of recommendations from my friends/relatives who I trust. Seeing as they will be on SNL this weekend I thought I’d get my review in. I guess I was a “late adopter” for this band. I had downloaded a few of tracks a while ago then recently “completed my album” in regards to the self-titled debut LP. When you listen to Ragged Wood…lets be honest…it sounds like it could have been pulled from an older My Morning Jacket album like It Still Moves (kick-ass record btw). There are similarities between the lead vocalist and Jim James from MMJ on certain tracks. I’m still trying to get past that. That said Ragged Wood is phenomenal song. There is a Grateful Dead-esque break in the middle which I surprisingly enjoy. The album as a whole is fantastic but nothing new or earth shattering in my opinion. The music is on the mellower side but sonically perfect. White Winter Hymnal has a very unique sound and vocal harmony which is epic in scale. Tracks like Blue Ridge Mountains, Your Protector and Oliver James tell stories that one can visualize with great detail (depending on the strength of you imagination). If that makes any sense. When I listened to the album in its entirety recently I was cruising down the PA turnpike towards the western burbs with snow flurries coming down. It was the perfect setting as the album reminds me of driving through the country during the autumn or winter. I feel like the album is seasonal…like a September-March album (??). Most of the time when I think “seasonal” I usually concentrate on albums that would be summertime hits (Beach/Backyard BBQ/Shoes/Pong). This album I’m not sure I could pump when it’s 78 and sunny (maybe at night when it cools to 66 degrees). Is the album worthy of the top ‘08 rankings? Ofcourse. I love the album and strongly recommend you pick it up as you won’t be disappointed. There are a few tracks off the previous Sun Giant EP which are "easy-on-the-ears" as well (Mykonos/English House). Does the Fleet Foxes self-titled LP warrant the #1 top-spot on PM’s ’08 album ranking? I personally don’t think so but not many people agree with my top ’08 picks (hence why I encourage comments). Maybe the FF album is like one of those movies that gets so hyped up that it lays down a sub-conscious bias or unrealistic expectation when finally viewed. Or maybe I’m just a bad critic. Meh. Go Eagles.