“If you’re here, you know I love a sing along, so don’t let me down, alright? Hook me up.” Metric’s Emily Haines, giving her introduction to the acoustic version of their classic song, “Gimme Sympathy”, which brought the intimate show at Mondavi Center to a close last night. 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years in some time for live music concerts, and April in particular is weighted very heavy with competing and conflicting shows all over the West Coast due to Coachella and bands doing their own headlining shows in addition to that “granddaddy of U.S. festivals”. Even so, when Metric announced a little over a dozen dates running through June, I changed around my own schedule to be sure to see them twice. The only other artist I’m seeing twice this month is Prince, so I think that speaks volumes about the esteem with which I hold this band. With their show a Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, they certainly didn’t disappoint. Pre-show, looking around the beautiful venue at the crowd, it was hard to say what kind of audience the band was going to encounter. Opener Mona delivered and got them out of their seats, and by the time Metric came on stage, they were beaming with excitement that further fueled the band. It was definitely one of the top shows I’ve been to this year, and it was one of those shows that was so good, the only negative was those fleeting thoughts that it eventually had to come to an end. In any event, it was spectacular and unforgettable, and the band is one of the must-see acts touring today.
Thomas Mars, vocalist for French alternative rock band Phoenix, was a man of few words in-between songs at their Coachella headlining warm up gig at Freeborn Hall at U.C. Davis last night, but the show was extremely interactive. By the second song of their approximately hour and a half set, he was already at the edge of the stage, leaning into the audience. By the time the high energy show came to an end, he’d sung one song on the front rail of the all standing/GA venue, made his way deep into the crowd sometime thereafter, and eventually crowd surfed atop the sold out capacity crowd. It was among their first live shows in several years, and they played a lot of material from their highly anticipated forthcoming fifth studio album, Bankrupt!, due April 22nd.
“To give is the reason I live”… a Frankie Valli lyric and a comment made by Morrissey on stage well into his set at Mondavi Center at U.C. Davis in Davis, California. Morrissey has long been a fundamental part of my favorite music artists of all-time, and more than all of them, his music has always moved me – those special moments where the words and the sound connects with me, that chill down my spine and adrenaline rush… as part of the soundtrack of my life, Morrissey and his work add texture, substance, and color unlike any other artist. And his live appearances have become increasingly rare, so any opportunity I have to experience it “for real”, in person, I am there, as the live experience just magnifies it all. And the show last night at Mondavi Center was a spectacular celebration among a special group of fans. [Read more…]
“Most times I try to think about how blessed my life is, and what a great time I’m gonna have in the future”… An optimistic and heartfelt sentiment shared by Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell, somewhere in the middle of an amazing concert last night. Jane’s Addiction pretty much figuratively kicked the door open from the 80s and into the 90s with their alternative music, genre defining single, “Stop!”, off their 1990 album Ritual de lo habitual. A truly pioneering band with a unique post-punk/post-goth (and at times hard) rock sound; if “Stop!” kicked the door in, “Been Caught Stealing” off the same album hammered a wedge in that door for the next generation of music that followed. At the Mondavi Center in Davis last night, some 22 or so years later, “Stop!” closed out one of the best shows I’ve been to all year. A fantastic celebration of amazing music by an awesome band, who, collectively and with individual efforts outside of their group, have had a tremendous and ongoing influence on pop culture in challenging ideas and preconceived notions. Maybe it is just in their nature, but they continue breaking new ground and opening doors well into their careers, and never lost their grasp on how to put on a great rock concert and connect with their fans.
Last night I finally saw a band I’ve been following since their first album, but have never seen live – Florence + the Machine. I’ve always been a huge fan of their work, their unique sound, and, well, everything about them. However, they are one of those bands who turn real fans into something more than that… I really expected true musicianship and a real stellar performance, but all the same, the passion and energy that came from the stage was unreal. You don’t expect a band with a harpist to rock that hard. I was extremely fortunate to have a front row center seat, which always offers such a unique perspective and experience, and of course much of the purpose of this website and these articles is to share in these experiences (through my review and photos) and inspire people to go out and see live music. I really cannot recommend enough going to check out Florence + the Machine if you ever have the opportunity. Stellar. [Read more…]