A World Without David Bowie

I cannot sleep. I look at the clock, and wince from the brightness of the red-numbered reality that it’s one. An uneasiness has creeped in, a sense of needing to reflect on something, but I can’t get hold of what the hazy subject of this reflection should be. In a feeble attempt to occupy and persuade my mind away from this feeling, I dazedly reach for my phone, and with the harsh glow of the screen, my heart sinks towards the earth, my mind immediately forms the word ‘no.’ It is the year 2016, and we now live in a world without David Bowie.

How can this be? We need you, it’s a less wondrous world now, and we miss you already. We feel lost, and feel for the wall by listening to everything you’ve ever created to cope.

I believe every single person can, in some way, through careful dissection, and respect of rock n’ roll history, follow a string from their beating hearts to David Bowie. For myself, the research is easy. Glam Rock is a part of who I am as a person. It is a cornerstone of my life, and what I love the most. It is a part of how my mind works, and how my life flows. It is a part of every note of music that has ever touched my ears, and then journeyed to ignite my soul. This pattern will continue to play on, and on with each new obsession I stumble upon, it’s all connected.

An untouchable mystic, a cultural phenomenon,  a creator of greatness, a legend of history. All of these simple words fail to characterize what the has been lost in these late hours. Numb in the wake of cold sadness, I sit here with the last gift, a new album. I had just started to listen to it yesterday, and it now has renewed purpose.

Rest in splendor, you beautiful, brilliant man. This must just be another phase in your ever-transformation.

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” 

 

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Favorite Albums of 2015

Another year, another list! 2015 wasn’t the prettiest, or the most gilded, but there was some goodness to be found here. Although I can’t say ‘best’ or ‘top’ in regards to my selections, I feel more than okay with saying favorite. I spent lots of time with these sounds over the past 365 days, and they are definitely my absolute-most-favorite-ever albums of the year! Handpicked from my playlists with love, and with a message for all to have a very lovely, and a very rockin’, 2016. See you on the other side of midnight. ❤

15.) Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

14.) A Place to Bury Strangers – Transfixiation

13.) Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

 

12.) Courtney Barnett –  Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

 

11.) Viet Cong – Viet Cong

10.) Singapore Sling – Psych Fuck

09.) Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down

08.) The Soft Moon – Deeper

07.) Wolf Alice – My Love is Cool

06.) Fuzz – II

05.) The Dead Weather – Dodge and Burn

04.) La Luz – Weirdo Shrine

03.) Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love

02.) Tame Impala – Currents

01.) Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

An Open Letter to the Spirit of Scott Weiland

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Dear Scott,

I bought my first car in the summer of my 17th year. A decade old sporty white Acura.  For $4,500 dollars, it came standard with A/C, warped alarm system, static-heavy radio, and tape deck. The sound through the dusty speakers was always slightly foggy, and muffled with an underlying soft buzz, it must have been what trained my ear to be sweet on lo-fi.

Tapes were foreign objects to me, I was a child of the CD age. Their sole purpose was to play 60’s era Hindi loves songs for my mom while she absently hummed along on chores days, and to have their guts of murky brown film explode from within when least expected.I used to roll them back in for her with my Lisa Frank pencils.

With the addition of my fancy new car tape deck, I needed to get my hands on a few tapes, or forever be cursed by bad radio. I found yours. It was Core, buried under 80’s soft rock mixes like ancient treasure in a friend’s garage.Robert Smith was keeping you company,he was also wiped clean of dust, and joined us in my car. You would often be played back to back, your voices tagging each other in for the hour.

We drove around aimlessly on many occasions, you and I. As jaded youth typically is, I was so utterly frustrated with my surroundings. The banality, and small town mentality of Texan suburbia weighted down my soul, and made me long for things I didn’t quite understand then, and may not even understand now at 28 years old. Your music provided the most beautiful escape. You were rock n’ roll personified,an unstoppable force somewhere between the electric glamour of David Bowie, and the rumbling grunge of Kurt Cobain. I don’t know where we went on those night drives, past the flickering lights of the superstores, movie theaters, and faux downtowns, but it was somewhere where I felt greater than the sum of my sadness. I calmed my demons to the tales of yours.

For your music that kept me company, and helped me to feel okay, I want to say thank you.

I sold my tape at 22 during a garage sale. My new decade old car came with a CD player. I made a mix with the Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Robert, and you. A few notes of familiarity among new loves. I like to think sometimes about a kid out there, finding a Stone Temple Pilots tape in a garage, a Sharpie heart drawn over the front cover by a girl just their age a decade ago.

Rest In Peace,

Sania

 

Levitation (Austin Psych Fest) 2015 @ Carson Creek Ranch

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Austin Psych Fest, now known as Levitation, took place once again on the grounds of Carson Creek Ranch during the weekend of  May 8th – 10th. A few years ago, I remember getting so lost and frustrated trying to find the quick turn that leads you down the dusty road to the fest.On Friday, it felt like second nature, as I drove through darkness, and rain drizzle. Other than the road, and the location, not very much else feels familiar about Austin Psych Fest, and the name change to Levitation is understandable, and in some ways, necessary.

It is no longer a baby fest, or a very well kept secret. I spotted a bro, an actual bro, among the man-bun, and the beetle boots. Oh, how odd it felt. I crossed paths with strangers from all over the planet, and barely saw any familiar faces, even though there were so many present. The sheer size of things now is purely crazy, even though it’s the same space. Maybe it is more about the amount of space now filled by bodies than before.  There is a sense of awe, and even, weirdness, in watching something grow from a solemn shindig in an old power plant into adulthood as this full-blown beautiful, and somewhat monstrous festival.

I will always cherish what it once was, because in my heart of hearts, I genuinely believe Austin Psych Fest was special, and there will just never, ever be anything like it again. In it’s new reincarnation, Levitation is also very special, but in a completely different way.  To be in a sea of people, literally thousands of you,  and see bands like Primal Scream followed by The Jesus and Mary Chain , and have a collective energy and sense of euphoria in that magnitude is purely amazing, and surreal. Bands that set foundations for so much that you love and cherish in rock n’ roll, and bands that took those influences to all of these real cool places years later, and here you are, having a moment with their music, and so is everyone else, and you are just here. Really here, in this moment, and it means so much to all of you. That is what you will find at Levitation Fest, and maybe, depending on what you’re into, not anywhere else.

Spindrift

Spindrift’s signature sounds are best enjoyed with a little dust, and the setting sun. Minus the stray mud puddles from the night before, this was exactly the setting as they began to play at the Elevation Amphitheater. I am not aware of very many bands who could possibly call themselves “psychedelic spaghetti western,” or boast a double bass front and center. so getting a chance to check out Spindrift is always nice.

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The Black Ryder

I had the pleasure of seeing The Black Ryder only a couple days before with The Jesus and Mary Chain, so it was a bonus to catch them a second time here. The Levitation tent felt stagnant, and sticky in such a way that it felt like the soft washes of guitar coming off the stage were adhering to my skin. It’s the only covered stage at the fest, which means no breeze, but really amazing sound. Aimee and Scott’s dual vocals crooned through songs off the new album, and familiar favorites. ‘Grass’ sounded so perfect, and the TVs on the stage in the background were so rad. I wish I could wrap myself in the sound of their guitars, and those chill, noir, moody vibes. I also wish Aimee would teach me how to do my hair like hers. It’s so perfect.

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Thee Oh Sees

It seems as if Thee Oh Sees have finally hit their stride. There’s just something  magical, mixed perfectly, and so on point about their new sounds. If I remember correctly, John had announced a hiatus for the band in 2013, but in the end, it seems it was just a new beginning. Whatever you want to call it, they sound killer. I was slightly worried that by not wanting to part with The Black Ryder, I was going to miss out on getting to catch at least some of Thee Oh Sees on the main reverberation stage. As it turns out, they began their set early, and played for over an hour, a serious stroke of luck. John’s guitar is just everything. It shoots right through to your soul, and causes some kind of jangly, unhinged metaphysical explosion there, as only choice garage rock can.

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Primal Scream

Am I actually sitting here, writing about the time I saw Primal Scream? Yes.  They had teased about playing Levitation before (Austin Psych Fest, whatever), but ended up cancelling along with the rest of their North American tour. I was sure then I would never get to cross this band off the bucket list, but here they were the next year. This set was perfect. Everything about it. Bobby is the quintessential front man, running in every direction, with his killer outfit, tambourine, and maracas in hand. He kept coming right to the edge of the stage, as far as his spindly legs would get him, without actually diving into the adoring crowd. His voice sounded as slinky and sexy as it ever has, or as I had imagined it would live. For a moment, when you closed your eyes, and let the sound soak in, it was difficult to tell if it really was 2015, and not 1990-something. There was so much mood, and soul when they played ‘Kill All Hippies, ‘ and I’m so sure I may have actually melted during ‘Higher Than the Sun.’

Setlist:

Rocks
Can’t Go Back
Jailbird
Accelerator
Kill All Hippies
Burning Wheel
Shoot Speed/Kill Light
Damaged
Higher Than the Sun
Autobahn 66
Swastika Eyes
Country Girl
Loaded
Movin’ On Up

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The Jesus and Mary Chain

How appropriate to see The Jesus and Mary Chain after Primal Scream. They are both, after all, tied together by roots and history. I had been lucky enough to experience The Mary Chain do this exact set only a couple nights before, so everything was still fresh in my mind. The general idea was they would do a few favorites from here and there, before going fully into Psychocandy, celebrating the album’s 30th anniversary. It was really fun to hear the chatter surrounding me before they took the stage. So many excited people, experiencing JAMC live for the first time, not knowing what to expect, or how they are going to feel. The girl next to me, with tequila on her breath, and pupils the size of saucers, turned to me, and in earnest,she says with a pout, ‘they have grey hair now! I’m just getting to see them, and they have grey hair!’ This genuinely made me a giggle a bit, and I replied to her that of course they do. You don’t have an album turn thirty without some grey hairs to show for it, you know.  I told her to close her eyes, and listen. She did, and said ‘God….they sound so good.’ They really did.

That is the thing with bands from decades past. Especially, if you find them late. You have them forever framed in your head just as legend, and the first time you see them, it is a bit of shock. You never thought you would get the chance, and aren’t sure what to do with the people playing in front of you versus those you’ve held on an untouchable pedestal in your head. All you have to do to fix this, at least with the Mary Chain, is just stand there, and listen. Jim’s vocals, and Williams guitar are as familiar and perfect to you as they’ve always been. One of the non-Psychocandy songs on the set list was ‘Reverence,’ and out of the entire setlist, if I could only hear one song for the night,  I would want it to be that one. It’s hard to say why exactly, other than, I really love it, and they make it sound so sinister, and jarring live. Primal Scream’s Simone joined JAMC for a moment during the set to add her lovely vocals. The set was closed, as Psychocandy is, with ‘It’s So Hard.’ You know what’s actually so hard? Wondering when I’ll get to see JAMC again. They can’t leave me again, please just hang around forever.

Setlist

April Skies
Head On
Some Candy Talking
Psychocandy
Up Too High
Reverence
Upside Down
Just Like Honey
The Living End
Taste the Floor
The Hardest Walk
Cut Dead
In a Hole
Taste of Cindy
Never Understand
Inside Me
Sowing Seeds
My Little Underground
You Trip Me Up
Something’s Wrong
It’s So Hard

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The Black Angels

It felt so ridiculously nice to see The Black Angels at home again. I had been doing some wandering around, and in turn, had manged to catch them twice in Los Angeles. It’s just not the same. Austin and The Angels are simply made for each other. You can’t come to Psych Fest (oh fine, Levitation), and not see them. Well, you can, but it’s simply not correct, or polite. It is, after all, their fest (no really, it is). Seeing them here once a year has become tradition, and ritual. ATX’s model Psych Rock Citizens flowed effortlessly through a perfectly mind bending set, with bits and pieces of their impressive catalog melding solidly into one another. Their music just does that. Have you ever bing-listened to The Angels? You can literally start anywhere, and it all just goes together.  I was surprised, and really happy, to hear their single off a recent split 7″ with Sonic Jesus called ‘Molly Moves My Generation’ included in the encore. The set was closed with a quick thank you, and the old classic ‘Black Grease.’  Forever enamored with this band.

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13th Floor Elevators

This was kind of a big deal. The 13th Floor Elevators are a huge part of Psych Rock history, if not a nice chunk of the foundation. Their sound is pretty much embedded in Austin’s soil, and up until this point, they had not played together in 48 years. That being said, Roky has been playing shows solo with his own band for a few years now with a fair share of Elevator hits thrown into the mix. The end result of putting the old band back together was lackluster at best.Realistically speaking, it’s been a while, and not everything can survive the test of time. It was, in it’s own way, a really wonderful moment in history to witness.  Some highlights included that amazing electric jug, ‘Reverberation, and of course. ‘Levitation’ for the fest’s namesake. The set ended with the ever-iconic ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me.’

Setlist:

She Lives (In a Time of Her Own)
Fire Engine
Earthquake
Tried to Hide
Slip Inside This House
(I’ve Got) Levitation
Splash 1
Kingdom of Heaven (Is Within You)
Nobody to Love
Reverberation
Roller Coaster
Encore:
You’re Gonna Miss Me

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Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe has got some seriously amazing pipes. One of the more abstractly psych bands to play the fest, she and her band brought some serious gothy-metal vibes to the elevation amphitheater. The thunderous baseline felt like it cut the air, and shook the trees next to stage with every note. Although the crowd around the stage was not the largest, you could tell how much those in attendance were truly feeling it.

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A Place to Bury Strangers

With enough action out of the smoke machines to make you unable to see the person standing next to you, A Place to Bury Strangers wasted no time in tearing through their set. Oliver and Dion moved like menacing shadows through the smoke against a backdrop of strobes. You couldn’t really see Robi, but you could definitely hear him. Like, really really hear him. The constant, and rhythmic crash of the drums as they tore through the ever-growing wall of sound created by those beat up guitar and bass. It wasn’t long before the guitars ended up being tossed in the air, and the band ended up with laser lights, and instruments in the middle of the crowd to finish things out. The set was mostly heavy with songs off newest album Transfixiation .  If ever you find yourself needing to be completely drowned in heavy waves of crashing sound, and forever reverbing guitar, find APTBS.

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The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are legend for putting on an incredible live show. The lasers, the lights, the Wayne Coyne inside of a giant inflatable bubble rolling right over your head. It’s all there. Such a perfect closer for the reverberation stage on the day 3, and the final band of the weekend for me. Another muddy, hot, wonderful year.

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Burgerama 4 @ The Observatory, Santa Ana

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Took a little trip to Cali, and checked out Burgerama 4 at The Observatory in Santa Ana. I absolutely could not resist the beautiful lineup this year. My Austin loves The Black Angels and Roky Erickson were there, along with many of my favorite Los Angeles bands, such as Nick Waterhouse, and Ty Segall. It was quite an experience. Packed, crazy, exciting, and truly rock n’ roll in all the right ways. My Cali friends called me crazy when I mentioned I wanted to attend. ‘A clusterfuck’ were the exact words I repeatedly heard. In a way, I suppose that’s true. It was definitely an interesting experiment in how many people you could possibly have invading your personal space bubble at once, but space is a small price to pay for two full days jammed full of amazing sounds. In the end, I’d happily pick Burgerama over many of the other music festivals out there. Even with the added on frills of fancy chill spaces, gourmet food trucks, killer fashion, and more personal space offered, they can’t touch what Burgerama’s got, which is a genuine music loving soul. It’s a music festival that’s about just one thing, and one thing only: the music. That’s all you’ll find at Bugerama, along with bands that seem really happy to be playing it, and crowds that are damn near euphoric.

Saturday

Bass Drum of Death

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BSoD is so much fun live. All the energy of a garage band, but channeled into catchy, riffy, youth-vibed songs that get stuck in your head for days and days. They were a great first band to catch, and their infectious energy pushed away jet-lag, and questions about what I was actually doing in a crowd of high school kids. A girl somewhere in the sea of bodies behind  me yelled ‘louder,’ and front man John was happy to abide, asking the sound man to turn things up.

Tijuana Panthers

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Yet another Innovate Leisure band I was lucky enough to catch. I had not actually intended to see these guys, but once you were in the swirl of things at the ‘Rama stage, it was a pretty tedious task to make your way out. I hadn’t managed to make my escape by the time they started, so at first, I stayed out of sheer ‘I can’t move’ obligation, but later stayed of my own free will because I really dug their sound, and their style. I have a soft spot for bands who boast a drummer who also throws out vocals. I guess you could say, I have a thing for it. Their guitar player has got some serious moves, and I greatly enjoyed hearing the young ladies around me yell out ‘hottie tottie,’ and ‘be my prom date’ to him. I loved their surfy, poppy garage, and look forward to hearing the new songs.

The Black Angels

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I don’t know when this new tradition of seeing Texas bands in LA started for me, or so I’ll tell my therapist one day. The last time I had a chance to see these lovely people was at Moon Block Party in Pomona back in October, and here I was again in Cali, watching them play. No surprise, I adored their set, and they sounded like goddamn heaven. My only complaint is I wish I could have teleported, somehow, right then and there, to an actual Black Angels show so I could have had a proper set from them. This tiny one was such a tease for my Angels Ioving heart.

Roky Erickson

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How perfect of a transition from The Black Angels to Roky Erickson. I didn’t even have time to be bummed over the fact that Alex had said they had one more song, and it ended up not being the case, because Roky’s band began to set up right away. More Texas love in Cali. The setlist was too perfect, it included ‘Levitation,’ ‘Reverberation,’ and ‘Two-Headed Dog.’ I didn’t bother seeing any bands after this set on day 1, nothing else could top Roky, he’s an original copy.

Sunday

The Black Lips

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The Black Lips were my first band on day two, and I could not have planned it any better. In front of the ‘Rama stage, it was a swirling mass of kids dancing, moshing, crowd surfing, and generally having an amazing time. The Black Lips are just meant to be seen live. It’s hard to describe, but their songs just become these whole other beasts on the stage, you can’t even get close to it when listening to their records. I think it’s their energy.I mean, really, It’s always hard to tell if the band or the crowd is having more fun while they play. I never tire of seeing my favorite psychedelic flower punks.

Nick Waterhouse

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This set nearly broke my heart. It was not because of Nick and his band, they were perfect, it was due to cruel circumstances. Nick was scheduled on the inside Observatory stage, while Ty Segall was scheduled on the outside ‘Rama stage. Oh, the horror of such a choice!  I chose Nick because I’ve only had the opportunity to see Nick live once, while Ty has been a constant, and wonderful, part of my music life. No regrets here on that ruling. However, there was one particularly difficult, and very meta, moment that nearly had me running for the door to go outside. Nick sang, ‘It No. 3,’ a Ty Segall cover, while I could hear Ty and his band, leaking in during quieter moments. Why, Universe? Despite my torn feelings, I loved how this set felt. The band and Nick were at ease, and seemed to be playing whatever they fancied at the moment. That sax is something else, and Britney’s voice is divine. It was so great that I was able to catch Nick, and his brand of Cali cool on this trip.

Ty Segall

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Yes! All was not lost. I did indeed get to catch some of Ty after Nick, and like The Angels and Roky, it was a perfect match for back to back sets. I could not even dare to get near the ‘Rama stage, so I quickly made my way to a sort of corralled off area for the 21 and up crowd, where all the booze could be bought, and nestled into a tiny spot next to a tree. Ty can really work a crowd, and it’s always some strange, and wonderful organic experience. I’ve never been to two Ty shows that have felt the same. He plays, the crowd always, always, loses their shit, and whatever happens, happens. There were literally hundreds of headbangers, everywhere you looked. In a sea in front of Ty, and even behind him. I got to catch about four songs, one of which is a favorite of mine, ‘Girlfriend.’ Ty remarked, ‘ we are never, ever, ever, playing this one again!’ I refuse to believe him, but just in case, I made sure to really enjoy it.Ty left the stage, and they began to take down his gear.  With a mostly satisfied heart, I made my way back towards the Constellation stage. At first, I thought I had been in the sun too long that day, because I started to hear Black Sabbath…. I then realized I AM actually hearing Black Sabbath, and dashed back to the beer tents area to see Ty back on stage, doing Black Sabbath cover songs of all things! Such a rad bonus! Heart was fully satisfied at that point. Ty forever.

Jacco Gardner

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I had the pleasure of catching Jacco and his band a week or so back from Burgerama at SXSW, and definitely fell a little bit in love with those gorgeous sounds, so there was no way I was going to miss him here. Getting into the Constellation room was quite an adventure. In fact, I feel as though I should be able to put it on a job resume as a marketable skill. It was like some strange type of osmosis. You basically had to shove yourself into the packed wall of people ahead of you, and eventually through the motion of bodies, they kind of made you a part of it all, and got you into the room.It was all very cuddly. Who needs a boyfriend when you’ve got the sweaty, sardined people of rock shows to keep you warm until at least 2 am at night? After the initial trauma of getting in, it was a beautiful scene inside the Constellation room for Jacco. They sounded really perfect, and those songs off the new EP are so, so good. I can’t wait to pick those up on vinyl.

Meatbodies

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My last Burgerama band was no other than LA’s Meatbodies. I’ve been wanting to catch them for awhile, and was pretty pumped for this set. Rightfully so, as it was completely awesome, they are so crazy up there. Fast, loud, unhinged garage, and they even wear capes. What more could you ask for? Nothing. The answer is nothing.

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Steady As She Goes: Jack White W/ Chicano Batman @ Austin Music Hall

Jack White blessed Austin with two nights of sold out shows at Austin Music Hall. I had the pleasure, and the privilege, of being in attendance at both. I decided to write about Saturday night, and will throw in some snippets from Sunday at the bottom of this post. It’s taken me forever to put this together because, well, the show left me speechless. Mere words cannot do it true justice, but I’ll give it a go.

Note: Some of these photos are mine, and some are Jack White’s incredible photographer’s. Photos of the show  you attend are available for free download from the official website after. I do not currently see a name listed for credit for 2015 photos, but will update captions if that changes.

Old school hip-hop shook the speakers above our heads as my showmate and I quietly buzzed in conversation before the show. I described to her my earnest excitement, and cautious optimism for the evening. The caution came as a result of a very disenchanting 2014. Some great bands had been seen, but also present, a sense of burnout. Because Portlandia understands my soul, watch this, it explains everything. However, it’s a new year, and lofty expectations were in place for this first show of 2015. I’ve carried a deep-seeded love for all of Jack White’s musical personas over a time period which has now exceeded a decade, and yet, I’ve never made it out to one of his shows. I adored the White Stripes too late (they had broken up), and The Raconteurs too soon (I was too young to run off to rock shows). Seeing The Dead Weather was definitely feasible, but for various broke student reasons, it never happened. He’s toured so much as a solo artist too, but I didn’t want my first time seeing him to be a monstrous festival, because I’m just really picky. This night felt like a milestone before it even began.

Chicano Batman

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Such an interesting choice for an opener. Chicano Batman from LA are essentially a funk-minded, vintage psychedelic, mariachi-ish band. Does that even make sense? It honestly will if you listen to their sounds, trust me. Their lyrics are split between English and Spanish, and their guitar riffs are pretty great. Also in the realm of great is their drummer’s mullet. It’s a full on mullet, not a kind of mullet, but a real one. There is no mistaking what is going on with that hair. They seem to know what they are doing in melding genres most souls, including myself, have likely never heard of into something considerable, and for that, you must admire them.

Jack White

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A cool wash of blue lights glinted against sky blue curtains, and the familiar smell of fog machines being fired up filled the air. In a swift moment, the whole scene changed, and the blue now saturated the figures of Jack and his band. He gave a few hurried greetings before starting right into The White Stripes’ ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.’ It makes me so happy to inform you the set was opened and closed with a WS song. The encore too fell into this lovely pattern. A few chords in,  chills snake themselves around my spine. Oh, yes, I remember this feeling. It hasn’t been around for awhile, hello, old friend. It may have been the anticipation of wishing to hear this song live for so long, or some other subliminal factor.

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It was noticed right away that not a single setlist was in sight. This was an organic experience, dependent on the will of the man onstage. All of the favorite songs still sounded mostly as one would expect, but the sprinkling in of surf guitar, or the country twang aided by the violin work and vocals of Lillie Mae Rische , are what made this a truly worthwhile live experience. The extended guitar frenzies, the one extra crash of a hi-hat, the pinging of the organ coming off the fingers of Dean Fertita spilling over into the next song, all pulling you into this moment. You become aware that even if this very set were to be repeated, it would never quite be the same as what you’re hearing right now, right here.

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(Photo from http://jackwhiteiii.com/)

Before playing a moody cover of Hank William’s ‘You Know That I Know,’ Jack checked in on the crowd to see how we were doing, and most importantly, how the blondes, brunettes, and red heads were feeling tonight. Clever, clever. He added, ‘Oh, you guys know that song?’ I guess it’s just fun to be able to use your song lyrics to make jokes, because ‘Three Women’ was not actually played until the next night, which was perfectly fine, in my opinion. This setlist was beautiful enough already without its addition.  The main set closed much as it began with another WS gem, ‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You,’ and more chills thrown my direction. The last few lines of the song were drawn out, and slowed down into a little chant with the crowd. On the last line, Jack let the audience sing it, while mouthing the words and pointing at himself, and then outward to them, finishing it off with a smirk, and leaving the stage.

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(Photo from http://jackwhiteiii.com/)

A little more time spent with those illuminated blue curtains, and then a very charged version of ‘Icky Thump’ lead in the encore. The Raconteurs ‘Steady As She Goes’ was so perfect. Jack had the crowd lend a hand in finishing the song, once again. He sang ‘steady as she goes!’ and they responded with ‘are you steady now?’ Love that song to absolute pieces. The evening ended with the ever-catchy ‘Seven Nation Army.’It was nearly impossible to grasp it had been two blissful hours. If it wasn’t true I would be seeing Jack perform the very next evening, I would have been slightly heartbroken as two hours was not nearly enough to satiate.

(photo by  Jo McCaughey)
(Photo from http://jackwhiteiii.com/)

There is something I like to call ‘post-show glow.’ It works kind of like post-sex glow, but with slightly different symptoms. After a show, you walk back into the world you forgot about for the past couple hours or so, give or take, in a daze. You can’t hear a damn thing, and are slowly starting to realize, you’re a little exhausted. You and your showmate may grab a bite and a cuppa, clumsily, distractedly, trying not to spill, or yell ‘what?!’ at the waitress too loudly  when she comes to check on you. You make it back home, and flop on your bed. Your ears ring away with tinnitus, quieting your mind of everything else, and you can’t stop smiling to yourself, or thinking about one certain moment, or chord. You wake up the next morning feeling as if you’ve been beat up in your sleep, but you have an insane peppy energy to you, and you walk around in a state of zen, happy, but still a little spacey. You’re still feeling the effects of the night before.  People ask, ‘dear, have you fallen in love? There’s something different about you today….’ Post-show glow. This show resulted in some major post-show glow, and I genuinely could not have envisioned a better first Jack White experience, or a better way to start off the next year of shows. In my 12 year history of standing in front of stages, this night shines as one for the books,or in this case, the blog.

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Bonus:

Sunday Snippets

I watched on from the balcony for night two. It was a nice opportunity to let the music sink into my bones. This set was a little more casual, grittier, off-the-cuff, and felt as if it just went in one big explosive flurry from start to finish, with few distractions in between. The two nights felt so different from one another, but each were wonderful.

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A little ‘ Love Interruption’ can be found here.

The song that started it all, ‘Fell In Love With a Girl’ here.

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(Photo from http://jackwhiteiii.com/)

Interview: Singapore Sling

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Iceland’s Henrik Björnsson has been making feedback laced noir neo-psychedelic sounds under the name Singapore Sling for just about 15 years now. November marked the release of 7th album The Tower Of Foronicity. Lots of mood, lo-fi, layered guitars,and instrumentation find itself throughout. As one would imagine, there’s also lots of fuzzzz. It feels heavily weighted, and yet, strangely uplifting. Like riding a dark wave. There’s a sense of campy punk somewhere in there, and the soul of a blues ballad. It’s a strong effort, and may just be the best work from Singapore Sling to date. Henrick sat down with us to discuss the new record, what it means to be successful, and what role tits, beer, and crisps play in it all.

Your new album The Tower of Foronicity was recently released. It’s a nice solid record, and a great listen. What are some of your thoughts on it now a few months later?

It´s my favourite record ever. By anybody.

I Googled Foronicity, and it isn’t an actual word. What does it mean, and what is the significance of the new album title?

It is an actual word, it just hasn´t made it to the dictionary yet. It means adverse ridiculousness. Last year was overflowing with foronicity so this just had to be the title of the record. “The Tower Of Foronicity” is something we made up last year on some foronic tour.

What is it like to be in the studio with Singapore Sling? Can you tell us some of your favorite instruments/electronics to use? What is the song writing process like?

I haven´t been in a studio for years. I recorded most of the album at home. The process… well it starts with an idea in my head. Then, I record that idea and while recording that idea I get more ideas. Then, I basically have a song. Then, when I mix the song I might get more ideas. Favourite instruments… Well, I have a piano and a Gretsch. Those are my favourite ones. Then I have a bunch of crap which I use because that´s all I´ve got.

Tell us about the video for ‘You Drive Me Insane,’ which essentially looks like a Halloween party turned video shoot, is that correct?

No, it was recorded long before Halloween. At home of course. We are performing a sort of ritual where I am in the role of the priest and the rest was just improvised.

What are you currently listening to?

Right now I´m listening to Elvis. The Sun Sessions.

In Iceland, it seems the government is very involved in the promotion, and success of its artists across many mediums. As someone who lives stateside,this concept blows my mind a little. You have played Iceland Airwaves Festival a few times, sponsored in part by the city of Reykjavik, and it is such a great idea. How do you feel about this? Do you feel resources such as these cultivate a higher number of quality artists, or simply give too much attention to not so great ones?

Artists here basically rely on government funding, without which it would for instance be much more difficult to play shows overseas. So we are of course very grateful for this. No it doesn´t cultivate a higher number of quality artists, but it helps the artists, both the good and the bad. And like anywhere else we have a lot of both kinds. And the good ones aren´t necessarily the successful ones. It seems the not so great ones always seem to get the most attention. The great ones usually don´t strive for success.

The first song I ever heard from you was ‘Girl Powder,’ and I immediately had the thought, that although this song is psychedelic in its soul, it seems punk rock in its heart. I still feel that way about your music, what do you think?

You are right. I am inspired by the punk DIY ethic. I´m not into worshiping technology. I´m into capturing ideas and keeping them raw. To me that´s what rock´n´roll is about.

2015 marks your 15th year of being Singapore Sling. How do you feel about making music now, as well as the concept of being successful?

Of course everyone wants to get money for the music they make. I guess that´s what it is to be a successful musician. But too many people just want to be pop stars. It seems musicians don´t want to be undergound anymore. What´s beneath the surface is always what´s most important. As for my own music, I enjoy making it because I make it when I´m inspired. Inspiration is what it´s all about. I´m not doing this for tits, beer and crisps.

What’s next for you?

We have a tour of Europe coming up in March, which is also when the next record is coming out. Then, there´ll be plenty of tits, beer and crisps!

Keep up with Singapore Sling via Facebook

Check out the new record, The Tower of Foronicity, out on Fuzz Club Records below

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