Sunday, March 18, 2012

Show Review Mashup - The Walkmen, Mates of State & The Black Keys

Hey yawl. So I've been to a ton of shows as of late and have been slacking on the reviews...I know. I recently saw The Walkmen at Union Transfer in Philly, Mates of State at Le Poisson Rouge NYC and The Black Keys at Madison Square Garden in NYC. I have some photos and quick video snippets to give you a taste of the experience for each. Lets start with Mates of State.

Mates of State @ Le Poisson Rouge NYC - 2/17/12 

I've never been to LPR. I've walked by it many times and never knew what it was (mysterious marking's above the doorway). Its right on Bleecker Street in the heart of the douchebaggery district of bars (Kenny's Castaways, The Back Fence, Thunder Jacksons, I could go on). The first time I heard about the venue was oddly on Pitchfork TV when they featured Dead Man's Bones, a band featuring Ryan Gosling and his buddy Zach Shields. Yep.

The venue itself is pretty cool and intimate. Reminded me of the old Knitting Factory on Leonard street or North Six in Williamsburg. I hadn't seen Mates of State in a few years and what a better way to reunite. My "beyonce" Tracy had never MOS so we were pretty pumped. The show was awesome. When I saw them on the last tour they were good but they had string players and Kori played mostly piano tunes off the new album so I was a little thrown off as it wasn't what I was used to. This time around they got back to the fun roots of kickin organ/drums....with a little muted guitar and a trumpet. It was just a better arrangement, sounded a lot better and was just a lot more fun to see/hear.

They played all of their up-tempo hits like Whiners Bio, For The Actor, Goods and of course Palomino which was amazing. It was so much fun to see them up close again. The best part of the show involved a guy in the audience...bigger than me...absolutely immersed and excited about the show. Normally you get pissed then the tall-guy stands in front you at a show but he was so into one minded. Net-net, great venue, great showing by one of my favorite bands of the past decade. Set list is below.

1.        For the Actor 
2.        My Only Offer 
3.        Maracas 
4.        Now 
5.        At Least I Have You 
6.        Whiner's Bio 
7.        Unless I'm Led 
8.        The Re-Arranger 
9.        Sway 
10.      Think Long 
11.      You Are Free 
12.      Get Better 
13.      Basement Money 
14.      Ha Ha 
15.      An Experiment 
16.      New song 
17.      Palomino 


18.      Goods (All in Your Head) 
19.      Mistakes 
20.      Proofs

"An Evening With The Walkmen" @ Union Transfer Philadelphia - 3/3/12

I've been to many Walkmen shows over the years and I have never been disappointed. They always play a representative sample from the entire catalog. I always walk away feeling changed for the better (if that makes any sense). When I heard they were playing a one-off show in Philly at the new venue Union Transfer I was pretty excited. My cousin, bestie and show buddy Danny alerted me and I immediately grabbed tix. 

From what I understand Union Transfer was opened by the guys who run the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. The Bowery Ballroom is still my favorite venue and mainly because of the sound. Union Transfer just kicked it to #2 in that department. It was truly the best sounding show I've been to yet. Back in the day the space was an old spaghetti warehouse or mail depot or something but what ever they did to develop into a music worked. Unreal. The Walkmen never sounded so good and we were not in the best spot (against the wall to the left of the stage).

The show was played in two acts like a Broadway play...which kinda fits the bands persona. They played all of the tracks I wanted to hear including some rarities/b-sides. They played some new tracks also which were so rockin. Couldn't find the setlist but here is one from a recent show in San Francisco to give you a good idea.

First part
1.        What's In It For Me 
2.        The Rat 
3.        No Christmas While I'm Talking 
4.        Little House of Savages 
5.        The Blizzard of '96 
6.        We've Been Had 
7.        My Old Man 
8.        In the New Year 
9.        Stranded 
10.      Love is Luck (New Song)
11.      Dreamboat (New Song)
12.      Love U Love (New Song)
13.      French Vacation 
14.      On the Water 
15.      Angela Surf City 
16.      Hang On, Siobhan 
17.      Dónde está la playa 
18.      Red Moon (with horns)
19.      Canadian Girl (with horns)
20.      Louisiana (with horns)

Second part
21.      Your Southern Soul (new song, Hamilton solo)
22.      138th Street (Hamilton solo)
23.      Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me is Gone 
24.      Rue the Day 
25.      I Lost You 
26.      Woe Is Me 
27.      Wake Up 
28.      Unknown Cover 
29.      Thinking of a Dream I Had 
30.      Heartbreaker (New Song)

I wish I had a better shot of the backdrop as it was an old-timey photo of ballet dancers. It may have been in the liner notes of You & Me as it looked the same style. The whole experience was just amazing. The mood, lighting, crowd, sound...the band interacting with the crowd etc. Some of the guys in the band are either from Philly or currently live in Philly so there we a lot of shout outs/local banter. It was like they were playing a back yard BBQ. Very informal. Loved it. Net-net if you have a chance to see a show at Union Transfer...please...please do. I'm still blown away but how perfect the sound was.

The Black Keys @ Madison Square Garden NYC - 3/12/12 

 I'm going to be completely honest. I wasn't 100% excited about seeing the Black Keys in a venue as large as MSG. I've only seen two shows at MSG prior. One was Radiohead and the other was Blink 182/Green yeah. Secondly, I wasn't 100% loving El Camino either. Boy did they prove me wrong. The sound was excellent despite being in the 200 level towards the back and the catalog was varied. When I saw them at Central Park Summerstage a few years ago they played mostly tracks from Brothers. With this show they played pretty much all of the old school tracks I wanted to hear including Girl Is On My Mind and Your Touch which knocked my socks off. The guitar was so sharp, loud and reverberated around the vast me chills. Some of the new-er songs they played sounded great also. Set list is below.

1.        Howlin' for You 
2.        Next Girl 
3.        Run Right Back 
4.        Same Old Thing 
5.        Dead and Gone 
6.        Gold on the Ceiling 
7.        Thickfreakness 
8.        Girl Is On My Mind 
9.        I'll Be Your Man 
10.      Your Touch 
11.      Little Black Submarines 
12.      Money Maker 
13.      Strange Times 
14.      Chop and Change 
15.      Nova Baby 
16.      Ten Cent Pistol 
17.      Tighten Up 
18.      Lonely Boy 

19.      Everlasting Light 
20.      She's Long Gone 
21.      I Got Mine

I went with my sister who is 7 months preggers. It was a fitting event to get the kid exposed to rock and roll early. Its hard for Dan Auerbach's intense riffs not to influence child all respects. Wheeeoa 


SOLID show.