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    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    Concert Review - Cage the Elephant w/ As Tall As Lions and Morning Teleportation

    February 19, 2010
    The Orange Peel
    Asheville, NC

    By: Alex Mayfield

    Most people at the show on Friday were ready to hear “that one song” from Cage the Elephant. Not too many were worried about the other bands on the ticket. However, as the show started, band number one kicked off the concert in a surprisingly good way. Morning Teleportation is a funk-tastic, trippy, Modest Mouse like band, that wasn’t bad at all. Though the band doesn’t have a lot to spend on merchandise, (Their albums were burned onto computer disk and sold in paper covers) they played a show that astonished everyone. Unlike most bands that start off a show, Morning Teleportation burned their trippy funk into our minds for an experience that was (for lack of a better word) fun. And they sure beat the hell out of the following band.

    As Tall as Lions came up pretty short. The biggest flaw of ATAL is that their show is flat out annoying. The lead singer was whiney, the bass player made love to the microphone while saying he wanted some “buddy to buy me beer, and some LADIES,” (Yes I referenced Demetri Martin) and the drummer posed for an Abercrombie advertisement with every drum hit. The band acted as if they were deeper and better than they really were. I hope they know that the only reason anyone clapped for them is because we all kept thinking they were done so we could see Cage the Elephant, but NOOOOOO. They had to continue playing way longer than anyone should have let them. (Is it bad to want to get refunded for free tickets?) The only achievement that ATAL had all night was that they arguably had the cooler looking t-shirts. Congrats to them. As ATAL finished up the crowd got ready to hear the band they came for.

    Cage the Elephant finally comes out to the new fans they have acquired and start the show. Cage the Elephant had way more energy than anyone else at the show. By playing majority of the album, one new song, and a couple covers, they kept the show going at a decent length. The fans cheered and some left once they finally heard “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” such as the group of girls right next to me. It’s a shame that they missed quite the finale where Lead Singer Matt Schultz crowd surfed all the way to the exit out the back of the venue. Cage the Elephant put on a pretty decent show, which is lucky because Matt Schultz seemed way more hammered than he should have been, falling over several times Dewey Cox Style. (I make references in my reviews, please keep up.) But the show didn’t suffer and at the end of the night, I felt that I saw a pretty decent show. Cage the Elephant delivered and Morning Teleportation surprised everybody. You can skip As Tall as Lions next time they play a show near you.

    Friday, February 12, 2010

    Concert Review: of Montreal: February 5, 2010

    Venue: The Orange Peel,

    by: Nick Todaro

    Using the term “freak-fest” to describe anything may carry a negative connotation. For the indie quintet of Montreal, this is taken as a compliment in the most outlandish of aspects. Touring in support of their 2008 release, Skeletal Lampings, the band treated their fans to a zany visual spectacle that was sound tracked by a comprehensive live performance that could be billed as one of the best around.

    Entering The Orange Peel, it was obvious that as much as the band likes to dress for the occasion, the fans do even more. At one of these shows, the normal dress attire includes glitter, cross dressing, and psychedelic make up. The opening act, of Montreal’s drummer James Higgins acting as his musical alter-ego James Husband, played an intriguingly arcane style of indie pop. His band included two other oM members; keyboardist Dottie Alexander and bassist Davey Pierce on the drums. At one point, Pierce took a break and let oM front man Kevin Barnes try his hand at the sticks.

    After James Husband, the crowd became feverish as a group of performers with pig masks on took to the stage and pumped even more elation into them. Led by a tiger in a white ring leader suit, the animals banged on oM’s set up until the band came on stage, kicked them off, and went into a blistering version of The Sunlandic Twins favorite, “Requiem For O.M.M.2”.

    Weaving through a heavy majority of songs from Skeletal Lampings, oM threw in a couple of rarities—“Lysergic Bliss”, “Du Og Meg”—and played a new song. Before playing it, Barnes mentioned, “We have a new album coming out around September”, and introduced—I kid you not—“Teenage Unicorn Fisting”. The song began with a heavy James Brown influence and quickly morphed into a dark disco rock song with the catchy chorus, “Don’t treat me like a tourist, let’s stay high on a negative wave”.

    Throughout the show, actors dashed on stage to complement the already hallucinogenic feeling of the projectors behind the band. Priests touching boys, masked shadows handling a feather spraying device, and a torture cross all graced the stage to add to the chromatic cavalcade. This extra smidgen of kookiness accompanied oM’s impressive live sound quite well, and continued to provide as a hype factor to an already ecstatic audience.

    By doing away with their usual usage of programmed drum loops, oM accomplished a much tighter performance. Compared to prior live experiences, the ensemble seemed much more relaxed and unrestricted by this detail. This also gave guitarist Bryan Poole a chance to slice through the grooving atmosphere with some wicked sounding guitar work on “Cato As A Pun” and “She’s A Rejector”. After playing the popular “Wrath Pinned…” as the first encore, oM busted out a soulful rendition of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” to close out the anomalous evening.

    Setlist: Requiem For O.M.M.2, Id Engager, For Our Elegant Caste, Lysergic Bliss, Beware Our Nubile Miscreants, Du Og Meg, Cat As A Pun, Suffer For Fashion, Mingusings, Teenage Unicorn Fisting, And I’ve Seen A Bloody Shadow, Plastis Wafers, St. Exquisite’s Confessions, Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse, Oslo In The Summertime, A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger, E1: Wrath Pinned To The Mist and Other Games, She’s A Rejector, E2: “Friends Sing-A-Long”, I Want You Back (Jackson 5 Cover)

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    WASU Top Ten & Adds 2/2/26

    Top Ten

    1. Blakroc- "Ain't Nothing Like You"
    2. Heligoats- "Watertowers on Fire"
    3. Robert Francis- "Keep on Running"
    4. We All Have Hooks For Hands- "Howling and Bellowing"
    5. McGowan- "Go Down Fighting"
    6. Stellastarr- "Graffiti Eyes"
    7. Retribution Gospel Choir- "Hide It Away"
    8. Vampire Weekend- "Run"
    9. Hush Now- "Contrails"
    10. We Were Pirates- "Long Year"


    Charlotte Gainsburg- "Heaven Can Wait (ft. Beck)"
    Bear Hands- "What a Drag"
    Malachai- "Snowflake"
    Yeasayer- "Ambling Alp"
    Drive Like Maria- "I'm On a Train"
    Cold War Kids- "Coffee Spoon"

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Really Grammys? Can We Try and Stay Up to Date Please?

    By Alex Mayfield

    Let us face the fact that I am not what most would call a fan of the Grammy Awards. I feel that it perpetuates a lack of musicality while ignoring the musicians who really deserve to be awarded. The musicians that start off their career with the only goal of winning a Grammy are tainting music and what it should be. Music is an art form that allows people to express themselves and inspire others…sorry for the cliché. We look back at music from the past and enjoy it. Zeppelin, Count Basie, Beatles, Elton John, etc… this is music we still listen to that reminds us how great the past was. I have a hard time believing that the future is going to look back at 2009 and look at Lady GaGa and say, “That is the greatest music of all time.” Even besides that, I have other issues with the Grammy Awards. I know, what else could there be? Well, I will tell you.
    Now, I am not going to talk about who won and who should of won, because we already know that 21st Century Breakdown by Green Day is a piece of trash anyways. (Rock album of the year, my ass!) Disregarding that, my issue lies in the eligibility of what can be awarded. For example, Kings of Leon released their latest album, Only by the Night, in August of 2008 (Which is not nearly as good as Because of the Times, but received much more consideration for awards). "Use Somebody," a track from Only by the Night, received several nominations and awards for the year 2009. Really now? At least the Oscars can get movies that were actually released in the year they are giving awards in. After researching the criteria for eligibility, I found that a song has to only be popular in the year, disregarding the year released. Am I the only one that has an issue with that? Slumdog Millionaire won best motion picture soundtrack of 2009. The album was released in November of 2008. And there are plenty others that fall into this same category. Now, I really dislike the Grammy Awards even more so than before. So, if someone wins an oscar, congratulations to them because they most likely deserve it. However, when you win a Grammy, you have been awarded nothing meaningful.
    If you want real music, go to the $5 shows at local venues and watch people play music who get nothing for it. Go see the street musicians who play because they love playing. Go see 4 best friends who look like they would rather play a concert every night for little money as long as they can afford to get to the next venue. Listen to everything and form your own opinion. I am not telling you who to listen to or who to buy, what I am saying is that in my experience of going to concerts and listening to music, the best concerts that I have ever attended are played by the bands who get nothing, the bands who don’t get awards, the bands who play music because they love to play.
    By not limiting the criteria, you skip all the bands that really did have great albums this year. You pass over the bands that don’t do it for the awards but would still enjoy getting some form of recognition. People are going to look back at this decade and realize that the Grammy Awards are worthless.