Tag Archives: Rocksound

FIRST ROUND: JONNY KAPLAN AND ABANDON JALOPY

The hottest gig week in the year started on Monday, with two acoustic sets I knew they weren’t to disappoint me: on one hand good vibes California suntanned hippie rider Jonny Kaplan, and on the other, the portable version of Abandon Jalopy, Brad Smith’s new project aside mighty Blind Melon, with Kevin Haaland. It’d be too obvious to say the show was a blast, but I have to.

You might think I’m crazy, but I was more excited with Abandon Jalopy’s show than with Blind Melon’s…I’ll explain why later.

On Monday, in front of barely 25 people, Jonny opened the evening with the only companion of his acoustic guitar, and sometimes the assistance of his harp. He introduced some songs to be included in his upcoming album, due to unknown date hopefully in 2012. As he put into words, he was looking for a set filled up with mellow tunes, thus, when I suggested Ride Free to be played on the encore, he said precisely that one was totally forbidden, in order not to break the vibe. Still, I couldn’t complain because he played Seasons right after my request, and said thanks to me at the end of the song! Should be ME thanking!

There were two remarkable moments during this show. On one hand a new beautiful song named The Child Is Gone, featuring Kevin and Brad of Abandon Jalopy, which was pretty intense and on the other hand, to realize that the story of Damaged was also my story. Good ol’ Jonny, another storyteller. I never get tired of him, and this time playing solo, was as solid as with a band. Kaplan is a rolling stone for real, so experienced and positive, he doesn’t need support of any sort to attract all our attention and conquer audiences. I can’t recall how many times I’ve seen him playing, probably 7 or 8, he’s always fantastic.

Second part of the show was pretty as short as amazing. Being in Spain prior to Blind Melon tour shows in our country, it was a good opportunity to advance and appetizer of what an Abandon Jalopy full band show might be in the future after the good reception of the beautiful album Death & Joy. Unfortunately those self labeled as Blind Melon diehard fans didn’t make it to the show on Monday, and it’s not acceptable to excuse saying the show was on Monday. It was a shame we were so few. Of course all the attendants were delighted with this set.

I Won’t Be The Same was the starter, with Shannon Hoon’s memory refreshed in our memories as, according to Brad, the song was inspired in his loss. Absolutely thrilling.

Brad Smith’s voice was stunning, and wonderful arrangements made by Haaland on guitar, sometimes including slide, made of this acoustic set something quite unique and special.

Up till Now, Love Has a Way, a cover of I Won’t Get Down, a revised version of Black Cloud, pretty cool actually, and 5 more songs, left us begging for more.

Forgetting an awkward moment caused by “someone” who gave Brad my former Blind Melon’s Soup vinyl for signing, right next to me (shit like that hurts and it’s lame), the aftershow was fantastic with the guys completely easy access. Kaplan is like an old friend you meet from time to time and everything is fun and easy, and I’m really happy after realizing how humble and adorable Brad Smith is. We were meeting at bars and streets for three days and he always spent some time having chats with me. As I said to him, I could get used to having them around. Wonderful people, both Kaplan and the Jalopy-Melons. I can’t wait to see them back in town.

LAS TETIS ARE BACK

Last night was meant to be special, and I can assure you it was finally a blast.

On one hand my friend Javi with his Diesel Dogs offered a live show @ Rocksound, introducing their fantastic new album named Antihumanism. An  energic discharge of angry punk rock, influenced by Warrior Soul, early Manic Street Preachers, The Wildhearts and D-Generation, I’ll talk about in depth very soon. Their performance was perfect to continue with the effect Warrior Soul left few days ago. It was rad!

Remembering their last visit last year, and the after show improvised  dj’n session which happened, I tought it’s be great if Las Tetis could repeat and entertain the audience once again.

Yesterday I felt a bit sick in my stomach, but probably the appetite for sharing the mixer with Veronica after so many months, enhanced my recovery.

Since August we hadn’t enjoyed any dj’s session. It might sound not so long ago, but when you get used to play music every month, this summer break seems like an eternal punishment. It was great Antonio accepted my suggestion, because as far I could feel, people enjoyed our selection.

Thus, with these two hours session, the dj’n season 2012-2013 was officially open, and now I want more.

We are not cool enough as to create a proper mixtape, thus in the meantime, if you are interested, you can check the playlist I created on Spotify.

These were the songs we chose for amusing everyone @ Rocksound. Hope you like them:

AC/DC STIFF UPPER LIP
THE MONARCHS 2001
THE HELLACOPTERS BEFORE THE FALL
PULLED APART BY HORSES WOLF HAND
JACK WHITE SIXTEEN SALTINES
URGE OVERKILL POSITIVE BLEEDING
THE HIVES TICK TICK BOOM
AT THE DRIVE-IN ENFILADE
SOUNDGARDEN OUTSHINED
JANE’S ADDICTION JUST BECAUSE
WOLFMOTHER JOKER & THE THIEF
GLUECIFER EASING LIVING
FU MANCHU HANG ON
ORANGE GOBLIN THE FILTHY AND THE FEW
DANZIG MOTHER
MONSTER MAGNET ALL FRIENDS AND KINGDOM COME
AEROSMITH BACK IN THE SADDLE
THE HANGMEN BROKE, DRUNK & STONED
MOTHER SUPERIOR
OZZY OVER THE MOUNTAIN
THE STOOGES TV EYE
FAITH NO MORE MIDLIFE CRISIS
THE BLACK KEYS GOLD ON THE CEILING
TSOOL BIGTIME
HANK III HELLBILLY JOKER
SOCIAL DISTORTION DON’T DRAG ME DOWN
THE EIGHTIES MATCHBOX         B-LINES DISASTER CHICKEN
QOTSA FIRST IT GIVETH
DANKO JONES FIRST DATE
THE WILDHEARTS TV TAN
TURBONEGRO GET IT ON
L7 DRAMA
MÖTLEY CRÜE KICKSTART MY HEART
GUNS N’ ROSES MR BROWNSTONE
NEIL YOUNG ROCKIN’ IN THE FREE WORLD
ELVIS PRESLEY AN AMERICAN TRILOGY

AND FINALLY HA HA TONKA PLAYED HERE

Oh dears! This Sunday’s been rough. I had such a great time last night, hangover has been merciless to me and I’ve been dumber and lower than usual. In my head I had plenty of things planned which I’ve been unable to accomplish, and I feel kind of frustrated now. I thought taking a break from going out at nights and reducing the booze was fine, but after this hangover I confirm my forced retirement from night life is definitely something positive.

Anyway, the night was a blast. Finally Ha Ha Tonka, the guys from Springfield, Missouri, came to Barcelona to offer a wonderful show at Rocksound. I told you about their last album, Death of a Decade, some weeks ago. I voted for it among my top 5 albums of year 2011.

It’s true the rainy night didn’t help, but that wasn’t reason enough to justify we were only 25 people attending the show. Very sad. The wide offer of life shows in town is overwhelming, and it’s impossible to attend all of them, considering the rough times we’re living, even though the price of tickets are reasonably affordable.

At least I gotta admit I feel very proud of myself  for managing to convince some friends to give a try to the band, and then make  it to the show, because nobody was disappointed and the band deserved it.

Death of a Decade was chosen to break this unfriendly night, creating a warm atmosphere and getting the audience very packed and close to the stage. The band based their set on their last album, although they recover few songs of his previous work, Buckle in the Bible Belt.

Voices were what impressed me most last night. On one hand the voice of the lead singer Brian Roberts, very solid and rich, and on the other the work on double voices and melodies from all the members of the band. Love bands in which all sing, and in this case the intensity the 4 voices created was magic. This moment when the four guys were singing a capella only with Anderson’s mandolin as their guide was wicked.

The more I listen to this instrument the more I like it. With his mandolin, it was as if Brett Anderson’s was bringing us back to the rooted Missouri, you could feel these folks’ passion for their tradition.

The show was quite short, or at least we all missed few more songs in the setlist. I think the band was pretty stoked by the reaction of the audience during and after the show. We all went to talk to them, they signed up records, took pictures with us, and I could have a nice small talk and a shot of Jager with Lennon, the drummer, very good vibes! Special mention to the merch guy, Mark. One of the hugest men I’ve ever met, his moustache was awesome.

While stuffing the van, despite the rain, Roberts took his old guitar and started playing and singing Death of a Decade in the middle of the street. Awesome! Pity they couldn’t stay for some drinks, and perhaps more songs, they guys had to be up at 6AM on Sunday to drive till Zurich!

The future of these hard working guys is promising. I’m not really sure about seeing them again considering the poor audience in most of the shows in Spain, but I bet that, in future occasions, when they’ll get proper attention from media, they’ll play in front of larger crowds, at bigger venues, and then only 25 will be able to say “When nobody knew them I was there”. I’ll be one of those.

Good luck guys! It was a great pleasure.

ALBUM OF WEEK 27 – DEATH OF A DECADE

Tonka always reminds me of my dad and the tonka bean he uses for preparing his amazing and luxurious gin tonics. There’s also this Tonka toy company featuring trucks and construction equipment. The sound of this exotic name also brings me to a tiki world.  No, none of these options can be applied to the named of this band from Springfield, Ha Ha Tonka are named after a skate park in Camdentown, Missouri. Isn’t it weeeeird? Ha ha…Tonka! 😉 Sorry guys, it’s Monday, my sense of humor is at its lowest and cheapest.

Again, I got to know this band through Viva Las Vegas podcast. I heard their first single, Usual Suspects, which also opens their last album Death of a Decade, and loved it immediately. It’s very catchy, with the mandolin arrangements. A very good starter, what do you think?

The album really made an impression on me as to include it in my top 10 2011 albums. I must admit I was not much updated on album releases last year, and didn’t include it in order to fill a list though. I still reckon it was one of the best.

The announcement of their upcoming European tour dates in Spain, specifically in Barcelona, and the happiness brought out, made me pick up this beautiful album from the shelves, and start listening to it nonstop. If I had some doubts about it, they were all finally erased once and for all.

Death of a Decade is one of these 11-track treasures, full of folk and deep America roots, very melodic and spiritual. It’s been said their music is inspired by the wisdom of the Ozarks, the American pioneers who first settled in this highlands area. Listening to Jesusita inspires me some kind of wonderful peaceful state.

The Missouri quartet are endorsed by the emblematic Bloodshot Records label, which have been working with  with relevant artists and bands such as Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, Alejandro Escovedo, Scott H. Biram, and The Bottle Rockets, among others, which for me it means  a guarantee proof.

I was glad to read on Twitter a couple of days ago that they’re currently working on new songs, which hopefully we’ll be able to hear during these tour performances. These guys seem to be very excited for coming over, so am I, of course, and really can’t wait to see them. They’re scheduled to play at Rocksound, a very small but warm and friendly venue, in October. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a blast, and I insist, they’re really worth giving them a try.

I DIDN’T ATTEND ARF, AND SURVIVED

It’s been some days since I don’t post anything. Truth is that since I quit smoking, exactly 5 months ago, I’m catching colds too often and don’t feel with my mind clear enough as to concentrate on writing. On the other hand I feel like updating Popcorn and Movies and been also trying to write a couple of reviews, but again, colds let me low spirited.

Summer colds are the worst, never sure whether it’s just warm or fever, I’m sleepy and feel miserable. Disgusting, I hate being like this!

Anyway, due to all the Black Sabbath incident as the main reason, I cancelled my attendance to Azkena Rock Festival. You know there was this reunion tour scheduled, Iommi was dignosed lymphoma, and finally the reunion took place in selected venues without Bill Ward’s participation due to some scandal which had to do with contracts within the band. Shame on Sharon. ARF finally confirmed it’d be an Ozzy and Friends show, and because tickets could be returned, I decided not to make it. Moreover, I had seen two the bands which interested me most recently, at a proper venue abroad, you know, My Morning Jacket in Stockholm and Rich Robinson in Amsterdam.

Still, not attending the festival was hard, because music is the main reason, but also friendship and party time, and last year edition was the best for me ever. Thus, let’s say, cold aside, I wasn’t in very good mood for this reason.

The idea of the Anti Azkena weekend came out a couple of weeks ago when I knew some friends didn’t make it either, for the same reasons and for spending the budget in other festivals or vents, just like me.

A supper was arranged at my place for Friday with a couple of friends, and a dj’n night was scheduled for Saturday  at the last minute.

I improvised the poster with Beastie Boys thinking of (You Gotta) Fight for your Right (to Party), and called it Anti Azkena, not for disapproval of the festival, but as a kind of tribute to it and to those poor souls who didn’t make it, and were sad for our ultimate decision.

I knew Rocksound wasn’t to be packed considering ARF on one hand and Sónar electronic music festival held in Barcelona on the other, plus final exams at colleges… but having the possibility of playing stuff I like for about 3 hours is something I really enjoy. This is like a band with very few audience, you still have to make the best of it and try to please those who are listening. Seems that the few that were having some drinks, didn’t  get disappointed, and congratulated me for certain songs, which made me very happy.

Once again, here is the playlist in including most of the songs in Spotify, and the actual list of hits, enjoy them!

LOVE INTERRUPTION JACK WHITE
HEARTBROKEN,

IN DISREPAIR

DAN AUERBACH
CH-CHECK IT OUT BESTIE BOYS
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON N.W.A
TOO HOT FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS
POSITIVE BLEEDING URGE OVERKILL
SISTER SURROUND TSOOL
BARRACUDA HEART
GO FASTER THE BLACK CROWES
THIS TORNADO LOVES YOU NEKO CASE
THIS IS IT RYAN ADAMS
LAWLESS AND LULU BUCKCHERRY
IT’S ON THE ROCKS THE DONNAS
I STOLE YOUR LOVE KISS
DEAD JAIL OR

ROCK N’ ROLL

MICHAEL MONROE
GET THE FUCK OUT SKID ROW
CHERRY BOMB THE RUNAWAYS
DRAMA L7
DOWNTOWN THE HANGMEN
SEATTLEHEAD LOADED
ENFILADE AT THE DRIVE-IN
PURE 3 COLOURS RED
WORMS OF SENSES REFUSED
MIDLIFE CRISIS FAITH NO MORE
LET’S GET WASTED WARRIOR SOUL
AIN’T FIT TO LIVE HERE GRAVEYARD
MANAGER’S SPECIAL HERMANO
STAR WAR JR SUPERSHIT 666
MADE ME MADMAN BACKYARD BABIES
EASY LIVING GLUECIFER
THE FILTHY AND THE FEW ORANGE GOBLIN
HURRICANE KYUSS
GO WITH THE FLOW QOTSA
JESUS CHRIST POSE SOUNDGARDEN
JOHN THE BAPTIST THE AFGHAN WHIGS
DICKEYE JERRY CANTRELL
ALL I KNOW SCREAMING TREES
OLD WHITE LINCOLN THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
SOUL IN THE CITY DANNY & THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD
SICK OF DRUGS THE WILDHEARTS
ROCK THE CASBAH THE CLASH
THE GARDEN GUNS N’ ROSES
AN AMERICAN TRILOGY ELVIS PRESLEY

I’m glad all my friends who’ve just come back from the festival, had enjoyed a great time in Vitoria. I only hope I can make it next year, don’t wanna be mournful and miss people so much again, nor been texted with videos and pix of the shows I should have seen myself. As Terminator Schwarzenegger said,

I’LL BE BACK

TWO MEN AGAINST A CROWD: RICH HOPE & HIS EVIL DOER(S)

It’s been almost a week since I attended the show Rich Hope and his Evil Doer(s), the drummer and film lover Adrian Mark at Rocksound bar, in Barcelona.

You might think I’m too late, but since my target is not writing a review, among other things because I don’t know any single song title they played, I don’t care much. Just feel like writing about the experience itself.

Never judge a product by its cover. Promo posters announcing the shows were showing the cover of the album Rich Hope is Gonna Whip it On Ya, released in 2009. It featured a good-looking guy, Rich Hope himself, in a very cocky and attractive pose. The fonts, the design of the poster, the colors used and the guy’s appearance led me to think the music was to be kind of 50’s rock or swing style.

Not sure whether I’ve already say here that I’m enjoying attending gigs without previous knowledge lately. I’m doing it on purpose, following my instinct, and certains friends’ advise. The pleasure of getting acquainted with a band directly through a live performance is something I strongly recommend. Of course there’s some percentage of risk in there, but up to date I haven’t got disappointed.

I had seen the poster and felt a good vibe, and Manel, responsible for Corazón de Rock & Roll, whose excellent taste in music I trust, insisted I had to attend the show as he positive knew I was gonna dig. He guessed right  and I’m glad to have listened to him.

The evening turned out to be a sequence of good surprises. First to know The Evil Doers was actually the drummer, so the band was formed by Hope and Mark. second, they weren’t just focused on classic rock by all means, but also this blues combining the classic standards, with this raw and noisy power sound  which made me think of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and the earlier Black Keys.

The duo coming from Vancouver convinced the audience right away, with the amazing work on drums, the raw and dirty distortion of the guitar, the attitude of this little man, with a Joe Strummer stage appearance, who made jokes, told us stories, and yelled like a motherfucker.

After a great show, the closing to a perfect night was to have the pleasure to talk with this two humble and nice guys, not only the typical small talk regarding the show, but commenting on down to earth topics of discussion, about films, with Adrian Mark, who told me he writes reviews and articles related, our love for Kubrick, his devotion to Jess Franco, and with Rich, about how is to live in Vancouver, make your living as a musician and many other things. Really, they were adorable.

It is a pity in shows like this, there are so few attendants. I’d say last Tuesday we were around 30, and a great deal were musical press related who were acquainted with Hope’s stuff. Considering it was Tuesday, the starting hour and the curfew were set earlier in order people could easily access to public transport. I reckon mouth to mouth worked fine, but still people are lazy in weekdays. Madrid was sold out the day after… Barcelona musical agenda is getting busier, and activity in small venues has remarkably increased. This hasn’t to do with economic situation, it is that people are narrow minded and haven’t yet assumed in order to access to more bands, working days have to be programmed, and it’s also necessary venues to set performances starting hours earlier, so people can move through the city. Let’s make things easy, offer cheap tickets for small-mid shows, do some promo and eventually people will start reacting.

Woah momma, what a statement! If only I was a booker or gig promoter, I’d apply what I observed and learned in UK, I reckon.

Pity you couldn’t join me in my experience last week, it was worth it. Perhaps next time, huh?

ALBUMS OF WEEK 18 – METALLIC I.O.U / HEARTS & ARROWS

Let’s keep on talking about the hottest albums I listened to last week. Again, two share my love, quite different from each other, both in style, country or origin and timeline. My mood is awkward and constantly swinging lately. I’ve very cheerful sometimes and other I’m a bit down. Not that I’m bored, by all means, I’m that kind of person with amusing entertainments at hand enough to waste time, but I haven’t assimilated my current status yet and feel  confused and out of place.

Do you believe in coincidences or in written fate? I really don’t know what to think after last events happening lately. Not only the day MCA passed away I had thought of Beastie Boys and their Intergalactic song, but also similar stories, not as sad, have happened.

I bought Loteria in vinyl, on the Record Store Day. I had barely listened to The Hangmen since my widowerhood. Had a dirty copy of Metallic I.O.U, but I’ve realized I don’t like shitty copies and therefore seldom listen to the few I still own. That day, at Revolver record store, I was more into purchasing some Ryan Adams’ or more folkie style stuff, but in the very last moment I thought of checking the punk rock area. As soon as I had Loteria in my hands, all the doubts were vanished, that album had to be mine.

Easy to imagine what came next, listening to Loteria awoke the need of having Metallic I.O.U, my favorite Hangmen album, and admitting I’m close to be a serious  addict to Amazon, checked out with my copy coming.

Bryan Small started his Hangmen project more that 30 years ago, and despite the efforts and the release of the self-titled debut album with Capitol, The Hangmen’s starting point as we know them nowadays, was with this album, released in 2000 by Acetate Records.

This album is just a pile of pure and straight rock,  with songs portraying the filthiest and most decadent side of LA, telling about drugs, booze, cigarettes and broken hearts, stories coming through  the wretched and hardened voice of Smalls.

The nastiness of Downtown, Bliss, Broke, Down & Stoned, or Russian Roulette, mixed with the evoking and decadent Bent or the closing Blue Light, and the glorious Is That All There Is? Which I find completely influenced by The Rolling Stones, makes you wonder why The Hangmen are such an underground and unknown band. Metallic I.O.U is fresh, timeless and wild, rough as a warm shot of whiskey early in the morning, with certain amount of bitterness constantly present. Just love it!

Ah! Haven’t explained what all the coincidence story was about. Well, as soon as I was in The Hangmen mood, posting several videos and songs on FB, some of their fans reminded me of the upcoming album Eastern of Western, after their last work, In the City, released in 2007.

Just when I was ready to start writing this post, The Hangmen made public their new single and video, Homesick Blues, which sounds like this:

Great expectations of what’s coming next, this new single, damn, kicks ass!

Wish they come back to Barcelona soon, as the last showthey offered at Rocksound  in 2009, with the guest appearance of Sammi Jaffa, was really intense.

Hearts & Arrows is the third album by Danny And the Champions of the World.

It was my friend Kiko who discovered me this band, with the song You don’t Know (My Heart is in the Right Place), I really liked right away.

Few weeks later, tour dates were announced  and sure I was attending the show with my friend Jaume.

One of the things I’m enjoying most of attending performances of bands recommended by friends that I’m not particularly familiarized with their stuff, is that I face them on stage, this is, I don’t do homework at all, don’t need to know about their songs nor discography, don’t care about set lists and lyrics, I’m conscious of my ignorance and I become a blank book, waiting to be fulfilled.

Thus the night of the show, I had listened to this Hearts & Arrows 2-3 times in the previous months, having an idea of this band which reminded me of Bruce Springsteen a lot, and had resemblances to The Gaslight Anthem, a bit of The Replacements, and some of the classic powerpop figures, such as Nick Lowe.

Not only it was shocking to see 6 people on the stage of Rocksound, which is pretty small, but also the sound quality of the band, featuring both acoustic and electric guitars, and keyboards.

Some fans of The Boss were also there, something a bit scary, considering I don’t dig Springsteen that much, but the result was very pleasant, and that turned out to be a very enjoyable show, revisiting most of the tracks of Hearts & Arrows.

I think something we’re not used to is that bands extend songs much on stage, or perhaps we are, when dealing with certain bands after many years you expect them to, as for instance The Black Crowes, but in this case some people got a bit absent during the show. Curiously it wasn’t my case, I was fascinated by all the solos, the jam and everything related, in fact, the most remarkable song that night, and a personal favorite of the album was Colonel and The King. It was beautifully performed, super intense.

In general, this album is one of the uppers, whenever I listen to it I feel fine, tunes such as Heart & Arrow, Soul in the City or Can’t Hold Back, really cheer me up.

To add good vibes, I got the chance to have a very long chat with the leader, Danny Wilson, not the usual one. We talked about tattoos, what is living in London, and how tough is being a musicial there, remembering my London years, life in general. An adorable and interesting guy, definitely worth meeting and getting acquainted with. He made a promise to me and delivered, and we are more or less in touch.

Isn’t it great meeting people thanks to music?