Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Architecture In Helsinki

Show: Architecture In Helsinki at Slim's
Headliner: Architecture In Helsinki
Openers: Dr. Dog, Still Flyin
Location: Slim's in San Francisco, CA
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In the morning I didn't know if I was going to try and go to this show or to The Hold Steady/Constantines show at Great American. I'm on The Onion's local events e-mail list though, and in the e-mail I got from them yesterday their was a contest for tickets to the Architecture show. I responded and won, which decided things for me.

Having seens Still Flyin back at noise pop in February, I wasn't gung ho to see them again. They're an ok band, with somewhere between 13-17 people on stage last time if I recall correctly. As a result of work load though, I got there late and completely missed their set.

I got there just in time for Dr. Dog, a set of rockers from Philly (I think). Their lead singer was oddly going for the Tom Petty look (look blond hair and sunglasses). Besides from their unfortunate choice of name, and the one song in which their sing seemed to be barking, they put on an ok set. I might look out for some of their other stuff, but not too arduously.

Architecture played for about 1:30 all things considered (encore + main set). They put on a good showing. The band was clearly having a good time up there, and some of it (but not all) got across to me. The band consisted of 8 people playing all sorts of instruments and it didn't seem like any one instrument belonged to any one person. Multiple people would contribute at several of the instruments. In addition, they frequently had the dancer from Still Flyin up on stage, besides just generally having members from both Dr. Dog and Still Flyin up there a lot. The body mass probably hit it's peak during the first song of the encore (a cover of Bohemian Rhapsody) but there was easily between 25 and 30 people on stage for the third and final song of the encore.

The show was a good time, if not life changing. The crowd was there to enjoy the music (I'm looking your way, Clap Your Hands show attendees), and the bands enjoyed playing it for them. At the least, no one opened their cell phones to simulate lighters as was done at the Green Day show...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Show: The National at Mezzanine
Headliner: The National
Openers: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bird Monster
Location: Mezzanine in San Francisco, CA
Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2005

A couple of items before I get into the music. First item, the venue. Mezzanine is located in the soma district and is not a pleasure to walk around outside of. The bigger problem with the venue though is their lack of organization. Yesterday afternoon they send out an e-mail saying to get their early because their will be a long line. Well, that's only because they were poorly organized. It didn't need to be that way. Second item, the hype. I know Clap Your Hands has been getting a lot of hype, but wow. There's no way this show is quite so packed without it. Anyway, I'll get to that more later.

Anyway, as a result of the poor planning, the show started late. I think the opener came on at 9:45p. They were Bird Monster. They put on an ok if unremarkable set. I wasn't aware that they'd be playing the show until they got there, and I'm still kinda unaware of it. Other than the amusing name, I can't think of much to recommend them. As an amusing side note, I overheard that one of their members had bought tickets to the show before he found out they'd be opening.

Birdmonster only played for half an hour. After a brisk 15 minute changing time, it was time for the night's draw.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was clearly the main act of the night, regardless of what was on the marquee. The place was packed, and with a sizable number of people who were there only on their friends recommendation. A lot of those people were significantly drunk too, which made them annoying. As for the band, they have one self-released, internet circulated LP. A pretty damn good one at that. Certainly the Pitchfork dorks loved it. They mostly played songs from that album, though a few others which I hadn't heard before. They put on a solid if unspectacular set. The lead singer's voice is pretty unique, which adds an interesting tinge to the music. It's better when produced though, and the live set wasn't as exciting. Had I not been expecting to have my socks knocked off, I'd have had a great time. Due to unfair expectations though, I only rate their set as "good." They played a solid 40 minute set, and then quickly left the stage. At that point, about half the crowd also left.

I stuck on for the National. I'd heard reviews anywhere from okay to bad, but I figured I'd see for myself. I'd downloaded a few songs but only found 1 to be enjoyable and the rest were blah. Their live set did little to change my mind on this. Despite a quick change time again (I think 25 minutes this time), it was still getting pretty late and I had only gotten 5 hours of sleep the night before. They played the song I liked pretty early in the set, and then proceeded to a slew of mediocre if not terrible songs, and about 35 minutes into their set I couldn't take any more. I had to cut out. Had I not been so tired I might have stayed longer, but the National didn't really do much to earn it.

As for these bands. If you can catch Clap Your Hands on their current set, go for it. Next time their show will almost certainly be at a LARGE venue with tickets in the $30 range, which just isn't the same. As for the rest, eh.