Entries tagged with: Blitzen Trapper
by Andrew Sacher
Earlier this year, Blitzen Trapper released a live cover album of Neil Young's Harvest, and now they're set to release a new album of original music. It's called All Cross This Land and is due October 2 via Vagrant Records. First single "Lonesome Angel" is the kind of folk rock you might expect a band who covered an entire Neil Young album to write (and like other Blitzen Trapper songs, there's a strong Dylan influence here too). You can check it out below.
The band will support the album with a tour, which hits NYC on October 11 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets for that show are on AmEx presale now. General on-sale starts Friday (7/24) at noon.
All dates are listed, with the new song, below...
photo: Blitzen Trapper at Terminal 5 in 2014 (more by Greg Cristman)
When Portland folk rockers Blitzen Trapper toured their 2013 album, VII, they included two hometown shows that had them also performing Neil Young's Harvest in full. They recorded it, and will now release Live Harvest on Record Store Day (4/18).
They're also touring again this month, and playing Harvest again at a few stops -- specifically the Chicago, NYC and Nashville locations of City Winery.
The NYC stop happens April 17 with an early and late show. Tickets for both are on sale now.
All dates are listed, with a short clip of Blitzen Trapper playing Neil's "Old Man," below...
Since we last posted the lineup, The Shaky Knees fest in Atlanta has grown to add The Replacements and more. Tickets also went on sale and are still available. Check out the lineup, headlined by The National, Modest Mouse and Alabama Shakes, in the poster above and the full schedule at the fest's site.
Shaky Knees Music Festival takes place in Atlanta's Atlantic Station, May 9-11, 2014.
Deer Tick and The Hold Steady are both also on the lineup and out on tour together now.
Though the 2013 Sled Island Festival got flooded out, it returns to Calgary, AB this year from June 18 - 22. The full line-up will be announced on April 29, but artists appearing include St. Vincent, Spiritualized, Neko Case, Rocket from the Crypt (who play NYC tonight), Rhye, Touche Amore, Bob Mould, Mission of Burma, The Julie Ruin, Killer Mike, White Lung, and more. Festival passes are on sale now, with tickets to individual shows going on sale April 11.
Full initial line-up of Sled Island 2014 artists, and a teaser video, below...
photos by Greg Cristman
"The Drive-By Truckers show at @Terminal5NYC was a-may-zing." - Jack Criddle
Drive-By Truckers @ T5 - 3/20/14
Alt-country vets Drive-By Truckers put out their tenth album, English Oceans, earlier this month and they've been on a tour with the likeminded Blitzen Trapper in support of it. That tour came to NYC last night (3/20) for a big show at Terminal 5. Pictures of the T5 show are in this post, and they continue below...
To celebrate the 1980-1990 period of Bob Dylan's career, ATO Records will release Bob Dylan in the 80s: Vol. 1 on March 25. The tribute compilation was put together by producers Jesse Lauter (Elvis Perkins, The Low Anthem) and Sean O'Brien (Dawes, PAPA), and features covers by Built to Spill, Deer Tick, The Hold Steady's Craig Finn, Gene Ween & Slash, Glen Hansard, Dawn Landes & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Blitzen Trapper, Yellowbirds, Ivan & Alyosha, Reggie Watts, Elvis Perkins, Lucius and more. Listen to Built to Spill's take on "Jokerman" from the compilation, with the full tracklist, below.
The new compilation will be celebrated with a record release show in NYC the day before its release at Music Hall of Williamsburg (3/24). The show will feature Dylan's music performed by some of the artists on the album, including John & Ian of Deer Tick, Elvis Perkins, Langhorne Slim, Dawn Landes, Yellowbirds, Hannah Cohen and members of Tea Leaf Green. The lineup also includes Spirit Family Reunion (who are not on the album) and "special guests." Tickets for the show go on sale Friday (2/28) at noon.
Stream Built to Spill's "Jokerman" cover with the album tracklist, below...
Jeff Tweedy w/ Wilco in 2013 (more by PSquared)
Upstate, NY jam band festival Mountain Jam is returning this year from June 5 - 8 at Hunter Mountain, and though they've got the usual jammy suspects (Bob Weir & Ratdog, Gov't Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, etc), as always, there's other stuff too like Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, Damien Marley, Jonathan Wilson, Valerie June, Blitzen Trapper, Antibalas, Treetop Flyers, Lucius, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger and more. Tickets for the fest are on sale now.
Full lineup (one more headliner TBA) below...
Governors Ball and Hangout Fest lineups were just announced today (and Firefly yesterday and Coachella not long before that), and now comes the lineup announcement for another big fest, Atlanta's Shaky Knees Festival. The fest goes down from May 9-11 at Atlantic Station with The National, Modest Mouse, Spoon, Local Natives, The Gaslight Anthem, Violent Femmes, Conor Oberst, Iron and Wine, Jenny Lewis, Dawes, Foals, Deer Tick, The Hold Steady, Tokyo Police Club, Graveyard, Mutual Benefit and many more. There's also one headliner still TBA. Outkast?
Tickets go on sale Friday (1/17). Full lineup and flyer below...
Long-running alt-country band Drive-By Truckers are gearing up to release their tenth studio album, English Oceans, on March 4 via ATO Records, and they've just released its first single, the twangy mid-tempo burner, "Pauline Hawkins." You can stream that track (via Rolling Stone) below. That's the album artwork above, and the tracklist is below as well.
Drive-By Truckers also have a bunch of dates planned for this year, including a run with the likeminded Blitzen Trapper that hits NYC on March 20 at Terminal 5. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (1/10) at noon with an AmEx presale starting today (1/8) at noon. All dates are listed below.
Former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell is also about to kick off a tour.
All dates are listed, along with the song stream and tracklist, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Blitzen Trapper at Newport Folk Fest pre-show in 2012 (more by Jessica Amaya)
Portland folk rockers Blitzen Trapper are set to return this year with a new album, VII, on October 1 via Vagrant Records. Its first single is the rollicking, pedal steel-filled country twanger, "Ever Loved Once," which you can stream below (via Rolling Stone).
Blitzen Trapper will also be going on tour around the time of the new album's release, and that tour brings them to NYC for a show on October 3 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets for that show go on AmEx presale today (7/31) at noon with a general on-sale starting Friday (8/2) at noon.
All dates are listed, along with the new song stream, below...
Hurricane Sandy is finally upon us, with the height of the storm hitting around 6 PM. Like Sunday, mass transit is closed and almost everything is cancelled. We'll update this list throughout the day but, as far as we know, the only major show still
happening in NYC tonight is Swans at Music Hall of Williamsburg (though we expect a postponement announcement any minute) (Swans did play Bowery last night though). Swans is now postponed too.
Not sure if anyone is playing, but Pete's Candy Store "says Come & get us Sandy! We weren't afraid of Irene and we're not afraid of you! (but please don't hurt us) WE WILL BE OPEN TONIGHT. C'mon Over."
Aimee Mann & Ted Leo's show at Bowery Ballroom tonight has moved to Wednesday (10/31).
Luckily German band Fenster scheduled a lot of shows while they were here because their show last night at Shea Stadium was cancelled, and their one at Muchmore's tonight with Daytona and Hearsay & Hyperbole isn't happening either.
Pat Kiernan Halloween trivia night at The Bell House is canceled.
John Legend's show at Cushman & Wakefield Theater at Barclay's Center was postponed a while back for non-Sandy reasons.
Cake Shop's show (Sad Ladders, Meet Me in Norway, Sewing Machines) tonight is cancelled.
Joshua Radin & A Fine Frenzy at Best Buy Theater has been postponed.
Lee DeWyze at Highline Ballroom has been canceled.
Tonight's shows at Joe's Pub are canceled.
The Rock Shop is open, but tonight's show has been canceled.
Tonight's shows at The Stone are cancelled.
As you may remember, Jimmy Kimmel Live was to be live from Brooklyn this week. The rest of the week my happen but tonight will not. Tweets Jimmy, "Though it pains us to do it, JKLfrom #Brooklyn tonight is cancelled. I'm disappointed too, but we want you to be safe."
Tonight's Reverend Vince Anderson and His Love Choir show at Union Pool has been canceled.
Mercury Lounge is closed.
Pianos is closed.
Cake Shop is closed.
Union Hall is closed.
Brooklyn Bowl is closed.
S.O.B's is closed.
The Living Room is closed.
Death by Audio is closed.
The Studio at Webster Hall is closed.(which means Brokencyde is cancelled)
Arlene's Grocery is closed.
Iridium Jazz is closed
Both the Chelsea and East Village UCB Theatres are closed.
Tonight's Schnick or Treat comedy show at Littlefield has been postponed to 11/4.
Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg is closed.
UPDATE: This post was mostly about Sunday. Monday's cancellations HERE.
We'll keep you posted, but at the moment, Swans @ Bowery, Sic Alps @ Knitting Factory,
and the show at Cake Shop are still listed as happening. Most other Sunday night shows (and a bunch of Monday shows) we would have listed are cancelled or postponed due to Frankenstorm (Hurricane Sandy). Subways and buses stop running at 7pm which is also when people living in "Zone A" are supposed to be evacuated by.
UPDATE: The Juan Maclean's DJ set at Le Bain
is also still on (as of this post) CANCELLED too.
UPDATE: The Men are playing Don Pedro.
Union Pool doesn't have a show tonight, but is open.
ASPCA reminds you: All pets are accepted on the subway, taxi and trains during evacuation.
Fontana's says, "Hey everyone - we're going to be open this evening till we can. At least 2am. All Manhattanites workin the shifts - come keep us company."
Pianos is closed.
The Living Room is closed.
Cake Shop's show is now cancelled, but they "might still be open upstairs for fun and the bored-at-home-with-only-comic-books-you-haven't-read-yet-from-the-early-2000's. Stay tuned."
Spectre Folk, who were set to open for Sic Alps, at Knitting Factory tonight "have cancelled due to weather related travel issues. The show will go on with Sic Alps and PC Worship but will end early (10pm)." Tickets are still available.
UCB: "Due to MTA shutdown, both ASSSSCAT 3000 shows are cancelled tonight. Refunds will be issued to ticket holders."
All shows past 5:30pm at UCB East are also cancelled.
Pretty Good Friends is cancelled at Union Hall which will also be closed Monday.
The Bell House postponed an event tonight, and sadly cancelled Monday's Pat Kiernan Halloween trivia night.
Grimes, who has been in NYC the past few nights for her sold out four-night run, was set to play her last of those shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight with Elite Gymnastics and Majical Cloudz, but due to the incoming Frankenstorm, tonight's show has been cancelled. Refunds are available at the point of purchase.
Mercury Lounge is also cancelled/closed.
Brooklyn Bowl is closing at 6pm.
The xx were scheduled to play their second of two shows at the Paradise Theater tonight. They write...
Due to safety concerns related to Hurricane Sandy and the MTA shutdown in New York, we have been forced to postpone our remaining shows in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, including tonight's show at the Paradise in the Bronx. We are working with our partners to reschedule as soon as possible, so please hang on to your tickets and we'll advise as soon as we can. We'll have another announcement coming later in the week, including information on these shows and a new run of US dates in early 2013. In the meantime, please be safe. We'll be back to see you all soon.
Tonight's Ghostface Killah and Sheek Louch Wu-Block party at Highline Ballroom has been cancelled. Refunds available at point of purchase.
Villains is cancelled at Saint Vitus who write "We are closed this evening due to mandatory evacuation of "zone A". Obviously Mayor Bloomberg is not a Metal Head. We will reopen as soon as we can. In the meantime, enjoy this!"
Child Abuse at The Paper Box is cancelled.
Cat Power's Philly show at the Electric Factory has been postponed to January 2.
Brandie Carlile and Blitzen Trapper were set to play their first of two Beacon Theater shows tonight, but both tonight's show and Monday's show have been postponed.
Drom has cancelled multiple Sunday & Monday shows.
Sunday & Monday shows at Joe's Pub are cancelled.
"Due to impending hurricane, S.O.B's will be closed Monday and Tuesday. Shows will be rescheduled at a later date."
The Trey Anastasio Band show at Capitol Theater has been postponed to Monday, November 5. All tickets for tonight's show will be honored.
"Pace Presents at The Schimmel Center for the Arts is disappointed to announce that, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy on the city, our 2012 Banjo Summit with BELA FLECK tonight, Sunday October 28, has been CANCELLED. We are currently in discussions with the artists regarding rescheduling this show. More information will be released as we have it. Again, our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Stay safe and dry in the storm!"
Irving Plaza says, "Tonight's Xavier Rudd show is postponed. We're working on a rescheduled date, will send out info asap. Refunds avail at point of purchase."
"BAM Rose Cinemas will close today following the 4:40 screening of Argo. The cinemas will remain closed tomorrow and possibly Tuesday."
Blue Oyster Cult at Best Buy Theater is postponed.
Maxwell's says, "tonight's show with Ours has been postponed to Sunday, December 2nd. all tickets will be honored and refunds are available as well."
Carnegie Hall's Sunday & Monday shows are cancelled or postponed.
City Winery says, "Due to the inclimate weather in the New York area and the suspension of all major travel services tonight's (10/28/12) Shawn Colvin concert has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. The show has been rescheduled for February 3, 2013. In addition the Eric Hutchinson show scheduled for Monday, 10/29/12 has also been cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date."
If you had been planning on celebrating Halloween with Rusko at Pacha tonight, you'll have to settle for spending New Year's with him. Tonight's show has been postponed until December 30.
UPDATE: This post was mostly about Sunday. Monday's cancellations HERE.
Blitzen Trapper at the Newport Folk Fest 2012 (more by Jessica Amaya)
Portland folkies Blitzen Trapper are gearing up for a North American tour, part of which will see them open for The Head & the Heart, and part with Brandi Carlile. It's with the latter that will bring them to NYC for two shows at The Beacon Theatre on October 28 and 29. Tickets to those shows are on sale now.
Blitzen Trapper's most recent album on Sub Pop is last year's American Goldwing and you can watch a couple videos from that record below. All tour dates are listed below as well.
photos by Jessica Amaya
Wilco at Newport - 7/27/12
Newport Folk Festival went down over the weekend (7/28-29), but before things kicked into full gear, a pre-show went down on Friday (7/27) with sets from Wilco (who were just in NYC), Blitzen Trapper, and Megafaun. Wilco played a two hour set with included "Christ for President" from Mermaid Avenue and brought Woody Guthrie's granddaughter out for the encore.
More pictures and Wilco's setlist from the Newport Folk Fest pre-show below.
Jack White/The Roots
The one galvanizing main-stage performance at the Sasquatch festival this year was Jack White's weapons-grade electric guitar soloing on Saturday. Otherwise, it was by the book in the best possible sense. Thousands of people gathered peacefully and everything was on schedule.The Sasquatch Music Festival happened Memorial Day Weekend in Gorge, WA and Day 2 (Saturday, May 26) insanely packed with talent, featuring sets from Jack White, The Roots, tUnE-yArDs, Purity Ring and lots, lots more. It was so overstuffed, we're breaking Saturday's pictures into two parts. See more pics of Jack White and The Roots' Sasquatch set, plus other artists below, with more to come. Check out Day 1 photos HERE.
The festival, which ended Monday with a performance by Beck, featured dozens of live rock, rap, electronic music and comedy acts packing five stages for four days over the sunny Memorial Day weekend...
...Oakland's Tune-Yards mesmerized at the Bigfoot Stage Saturday. Leader Merrill Garbus faced the full yellow sun and belted out powerful melodies in her alto voice that seemed beamed in from African radio. She used looping pedals to blend the vocals with drums and modified ukulele, which she also played live. But her bassist and jazz horn players sent the music through the roof, chipping in on junkyard percussion -- dented pieces of metal hit with drum sticks. [Seattle Times]
The 2012 music lineup was announced today for Bumbershoot: Seattle's Music & Arts Festival, which is produced by non-profit arts organization One Reel and takes place over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-3, at Seattle Center. The 42-year-old urban festival stands on top nationally in its variety as it showcases both familiar and up-and-coming regional and national talent in many musical genres, as well as in comedy, theater, literary and visual arts, dance, film and children's programming.The complete Bumbershoot 2012 lineup below...
Bumbershoot's Mainstage in KeyArena will feature two multi-act performances each day. Artists scheduled to perform there include groundbreaking alternative rock band Jane's Addiction, jazz legend Tony Bennett, electronic phenom Skrillex, a hip hop double bill with Mac Miller and Big Sean, M83, and AWOLNATION among others. Additional Mainstage acts will be announced in coming weeks.
Tickets are all-inclusive. All festival offerings, including Mainstage admission on a first-come, first-served basis (no separate pass required), and late-night electronic music curated by Decibel Festival for Bumbershoot After Dark, are included in the price of a single-day or 3-day ticket
Blitzen Trapper at Webster Hall in 2011 (more by Kurt Christensen)
Portland folk rockers Blitzen Trapper, who just celebrated their 12th anniversary as a band, have added dates surrounding their run with Wilco, who they also play a pre-Newport Folk Festival show with. The new dates include a free'Concerts on the Oval' show at NYC's Stuyvesant Town Oval on July 14 and a not-free, Brooklyn show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on July 15. Tickets for the MHOW go on sale Friday (4/27) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (4/25) at noon. All dates are listed below.
The band just made a video for "Stranger in a Strange Land" off their 2011 LP, American Goldwing. The video was created by filmmaker Luke Norby and Blitzen Trapper drummer Brian Adrian Koch. You can watch it below.
They also released a Record Store Day 7" with a cover of "Hey Joe" and the previously unreleased Blitzen Trapper song, "Skirts on Fire." Sub Pop pressed a limited 1,800 copies of the 7" on yellow vinyl. It's currently going for pretty cheap on eBay and you can try your luck with some of the downloads that are out there. Stream "Skirts on Fire" here.
All dates and video below...
Wilco in Chicago (more by Matt Ziegler)
Wilco dates have been popping up here and there, but are now part of a fully announced tour that happens in May, June, July and August.
East Coast shows currently start on July 21st when Wilco join The Avett Brothers, Dr. Dog for a Philadelphia-area show that is part of the three-day 2012 XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, sort of...
The XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru, now in its 8th year at Wiggins Park on the Camden Waterfront, regularly features an eclectic lineup of established stars and emerging artists on two stages over three days. This year, we're excited to expand our festival grounds into the Susquehanna Bank Center as part of the festival on Saturday, July 21 for all of our 3-Day Pass holders. Every 3-Day Pass to the XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru includes one lawn seat admission to the Wilco/The Avett Brothers/Dr. Dog show on Saturday, July 21 at Susquehanna Bank Center.Full festival lineup still TBA.
Wilco then don't have anything scheduled for a few days (for now?) and then hit the Newport Folk Festival which they were recently added to, sort of. The Rhode Island Wilco show is a Friday night show with Blitzen Trapper & Megafaun while the rest of the festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday. The Wilco show goes on sale Friday at 11am.
Wilco also currently have shows scheduled in Cooperstown, Hartford, Rochester, and everywhere listed, but not NYC (yet?), below...
"Following last year's 10th anniversary, which crushed previous attendance records and set a new mark for the speed with which tickets sold out, the Sasquatch! Music Festival unveils its 2012 lineup which once again features 4 days of music. The festival, hailed as "a model of well-paced programming...in a four-day schedule as efficient and natural feeling as an expertly built algorithm" by NPR Music while Wired notes, "leave the landscape out of it and Sasquatch! has a lineup to kill for," runs May 25-28 (Memorial Day Weekend) at The Gorge, the internationally acclaimed concert venue carved in the basalt cliffs high above the Columbia River Gorge in Quincy, WA."The Sasquatch! Music Festival takes place, as usual, at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington over Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28). And this year's lineup is:
Primus at Roseland (more by Kurt Christensen)
Primus recently announced a MHOW show happening on February 8. Tickets went on sale last week and are now sold out. They've since added another NYC show happening one day later at Gramercy Theatre (2/9). The show is a benefit for Les Claypool's nephew Matthew who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and at 2 months old was admitted into the hospital. All proceeds from the show will go toward his medical bills. Tickets for this show go on sale at noon today (11/26).
If you are unable to get tickets to the show before it sells out, but would still like to donate in support of Matthew, you can do so at www.babymatthew.org.
Primus were also recently announced on the lineup of the 2012 Wakarusa Festival which goes down in Ozark, Arkansas from Mary 31-June 3. The jam band-heavy fest also will host sets by Girl Talk, Fitz & the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Daedelus, Tinariwen, Blitzen Trapper and more. Full list below.
Our thoughts go out to Matthew and his family. Updated Primus dates, the Wakarusa lineup, and more about Matthew below...
photos by Kurt Christensen
Dawes headlined a sold out show at Webster Hall last night (10/27). Both Blitzen Trapper & Smoke Fairies opened the show which was part of a tour that lasts through mid November. Pictures from the NYC show are in this post, Halloween decorations included.
Dawes will return to the area by themselves to play three shows in December. First up is the annual WFUV Holiday Cheer show at Beacon Theater on December 5th with the massive lineup of Dawes, Mavis Staples and The Head And The Heart. That should sell out quick when tickets go on general sale Friday (10/28) at noon. Dawes will spend the next two days at the more intimate Maxwell's in Hoboken. Tickets are on sale now for December 6th and December 7th. Dawes play New Year's Eve in Minneapolis.
More pictures from Webster Hall below...
Dawes at Bowery Ballroom in March (more by Ryan Barkan)
Dawes and Blitzen Trapper are going on a co-headlining tour with support from Smoke Fairies and The Belle Brigade on select dates. Tickets will go on presale via each of the bands this Friday (8/5) at 10 AM. All dates are listed below.
The tour hits NYC on October 26 at Webster Hall with Smoke Fairies. Tickets for that show go on general sale Friday (8/12) at noon with an AmEx pre-sale starting Wednesday (8/3) at noon.
Meanwhile catch Dawes in NYC TONIGHT (8/2) when they open for Alison Krauss at Beacon Theater like they do on the rest of her tour.
Catch Smoke Fairies sooner when they hit Rockwood Music Hall on August 22nd. An updated set of summer dates for them is listed below.
Dawes and Blitzen Trapper are also giving away a 6-song split EP in honor of the tour, which you can grab, alongside all dates, below.
Here is the initial lineup for Willamette Week's MusicfestNW, scheduled for Sept. 7-11, 2011 in Portland, Oregon, and it's pretty great. The multi-venue fest includes big outdoor performances by Band of Horses (Sunday, Sept. 11), Explosions in the Sky (Saturday, Sept. 10), and Iron & Wine (Friday, Sept. 9), in addition to shows with everyone from Archers of Loaf to Big Freedia to Butthole Surfers to Neurosis. Tickets go on sale Friday, June 3rd. Check out the full list below...
photos by Chris Gersbeck
I have a friend who, despite my attempts to proselytize, doesn't much care for the songs from Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. He thinks they're catchy, sure - only a hopeless misanthrope or a space alien wouldn't - but he doesn't like the feel of those lo-fi songs: recored on four-track and cut up and reassembled, swathed in abrasive sound.The above review refers to Guided By Voices' November 5th Boston show but, but these pictures come from the NYC show that took place at Terminal 5 two days later. A review, setlist, video and 177 comments as of this posting, are HERE. The pictures and a few more videos, below...
I've tried to tell him that in concert, those transistor-radio mini anthems, drawing on Pollard's "four P's" (pop, punk, prog, and psych), are utterly transformed into pure, pummeling, lung-busting ROCK. They are writ large and loud with beer-fueled bombast.
And so it was: 840 people pumped fists and held lighters aloft, shouting along in unison to the Beatle-esque "Echos Myron," the leering "Hot Freaks," the light-speed "Shocker in Gloomtown," the snotty call-and-response of "Lethargy," the euphoric "Gold Star for Robot Boy." -[The Phoenix]
words by Chris Gersbeck
Guided By Voices at Terminal 5 (photo by Schnappy Star)
Well that was certainly a show I'll never forget. As any hardcore Guided By Voices fan will tell you, the short period from 1993-96 when Robert Pollard's long-running titular band released Propeller, Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes and Under The Bushes, Under The Stars is regarded as their shining moment. So an entire tour revolving around those albums, classic lineup intact, is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Needless to say, everyone at Terminal 5 last night was ecstatic.
Sub Pop's Blitzen Trapper opened the show at 8pm with their set of twangy indie folk-rock. The six-member Portland, Oregon based group sounded as happy to be there as anyone, noting that their tour with GBV has been amazing, and they were clearly a well-rehearsed and talented act. Playing to an already packed crowd of anxious fans may not get you an uproarious response, but the band kept it short and was finished by 8:35pm. And so the GBV chanting began...
Pollard and co. kept us waiting until 9:20pm, when suddenly all the lights went out and a collage of random talk-radio recordings went on for what seemed forever, sometimes repeating "guided by voices", which incited mass cheering. At long last, the neon sign stating "The Club Is Open" lit up and the cigarette-toking, tequila and beer-swilling Guided By Voices took the stage.
The band wasted no time hitting the classics, opening with "Tractor Rape Chain", "Game of Pricks" and "I Am A Scientist". But let's face it, all of their songs are classics. The vibrant crowd sang along throughout most of the performance, quite a few singing along to every lyric of every track. And let me say that if you haven't sung "A Salty Salute" along with 3,000 other Guided By Voices fans, it's pretty fucking fun. Guitarist Mitch Mitchell was never without a lit cigarette in his mouth, and bassist Greg Demos made motions like the rock stars they arguably never actually were. Hearing Kevin Fennell's drums in such fidelity, especially on songs like "My Valuable Hunting Knife" and "A Good Flying Bird" where full drums were missing from the lo-fi recordings, breathed new life into the band's prolific catalog.
Notable mention must also go to Tobin Sprout, whose contribution to this material has always been highly regarded. His and Pollard's vocal harmonies on "Awful Bliss" and "14 Cheerleader Coldfront" were absolutely pitch-perfect, even more reminiscent of Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey than ever before. Pollard's microphone twirling and high kicks do even more to perpetuate the comparison to the Who, and I've personally always thought of GBV as the band the Who could've been had they recorded solely on 4-track cassette and not achieved such success. But I digress. It really was great to see Sprout back on stage with this band.
As Pollard chugged from his bottle of tequila throughout the night, coming back for three encores, he never once sounded off key or tired, or hell, even intoxicated, despite practically being carried off the stage at the end. Would I have liked to have heard later songs like "I Am A Tree" or "Glad Girls"? Maybe. But that's not what this tour is about. In Pollard's own words towards the end of the show, after Under the Bushes, Under the Stars, "everything sort of went downhill." Though that is debatable (didn't Bob once say that GBV hadn't even peaked yet around 2003?), one thing is clear: the band that played last night is without a doubt the definitive Guided By Voices. And if you're questioning whether it's worth trying to get into to the New Year's Eve show at Irving Plaza, all I can say is that if last night was any indication, you are really missing out if you don't.
Pictures are coming later. Check out the setlist and a video below...