Archive | June, 2011

Setting Fire, Part One

26 Jun

One of last year’s best news flashes for me? The fact that Boysetsfire decided to reunite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I got tired of listening to the existing albums over and over again. But I did miss going to the shows. So, of course, I bought a ticket for Frankfurt straight-away. For the actual sold-out show. And the additional sold-out show.

First, let me give you the low-down on Boysetsfire. Coined post-hardcore by some (not big on the categories), defined as political by others (again, what’s with the categorization?), the band was formed in the mid-nineties and has since released four studio albums, a number of EPs, a B-side compilation and a farewell DVD. The band’s members originate from Delaware, Pennsylvania and – surprise – Munich, Germany. News got out in 2006 that the band was retiring. Vocalist Nathan Gray then went on to form punk-rocky The Casting Out (at first with BSF guitarist Josh Latshaw) and drummer Matt Krupanski put his efforts into progressive punk Delaware (or is it Brooklyn?) ensemble Young Lady.

However, after all these detours, Boysetsfire is back in one piece…five pieces…and due to play two sold-out shows in Frankfurt’s legendary nexus of rock, the Batschkapp. Tonight, they were supported by Dutch punkrockers Antillectual and the progressive hardcore band Letlive from California. Both of these were absolutely worth seeing. Unfortunately, the air in the venue was absolutely not worth breathing so I must admit I only saw half their shows and listened to the rest from outside.

I did go in and grab a spot at the front for Boysetsfire’s set, though. And I was generously rewarded with almost two hours of the best Boysetsfire songs, a great acoustic session in the middle of the set and a band that seemed genuinely over the moon – though somewhat surprised – at the fan love they were receiving. A heart-warming moment was Nathan Gray’s modest commentary on their disbelief regarding the two sold-out shows. If I was in any way not tough, it would have easily been enough to generate a tear of joy or two…

So, the night was a success, the crowd was awesome (minus annoying stage-diver, you know who you are). The best “preview” I could have asked for – albeit slightly too hot and sweaty, even for a rock show. Still can’t wait for next week and Part Two, though. I’ll keep you posted, as always.

Check out Batschkapp here: www.batschkapp.de
Check out Antillectual here: http://music.antillectual.com
Check out Letlive here: www.myspace.com/letlive
Check out Boysetsfire here: www.myspace.com/boysetsfire

 

 

 

Shoe Heaven

23 Jun

Yes, my prayers have been answered. The universe is listening. My favorite footwear fiends VANS have issued a special edition shoe. Two decades after the release of the album “Ten”, the Vans x Pearl Jam collection commemorates Seattle-based Pearl Jam’s critically acclaimed debut album. Given the choice between the green and yellow SK8-Hi and the dark-toned tartan Sk8-Hi, I have chosen the latter. I will have to wait a few weeks for these flannelesque super-sneakers to arrive but am in bliss, nevertheless.

I mean, honestly, just look at this:

If you’d like to get your own, hurry up and click here:

http://shop.vans.com/catalog/Vans/en_US/style/kyapjm.html

[gmap marker_query="numberposts=5&category=Fashion"]

Too steep

22 Jun

It’s the eternal question. How much is too much? How far are you willing to go for an icon? Or icons, in this case? Namely Anthony, Flea, Chad and – now – Josh. The last time I saw the Chili Peppers must have been around 2006. At the time, a dear friend gave me the ticket for my birthday. This time, I had to go the extra mile myself. 82 Euros. That’s about 120 USD.

There was a discussion on FB about the ticket price. I totally agree – 82 Euros is a lot, even for an iconic band. but I just couldn’t resist. so, I’ll be there in October, trying to catch a glimpse. Worth it? I don’t know. What do you think?

Filtering in

21 Jun

Filter @ BatschkappThe first time I noticed Filter as a band was probably with the release of the SPAWN soundtrack in 1997. The first track on the album was Filter and the Crystal Method’s “Trip like I do”. At the time, I listened to that thing over and over until my ears bled.

I have since had Filter phases and have kept up with the band, buying the albums and so on. I also got into Army of Anyone, a band the vocalist Richard Patrick started with the DeLeo brothers from Stone Temple Pilots and current KORN drummer Ray Luzier. Through all this time, I had never seen Filter live. So when they announced their tour early this year, I took the chance.

The show took place at Batschkapp, probably Frankfurt’s most legendary rock club. It opened in 1976 and has since served as a stronghold for counter-culture – in other words: a place to see rock bands and meet fellow fans. If you’re under 25, the club nights are also worth checking out. I can remember having good times there.

Back to Filter, though. The show started with two support bands. Number One: Julien-K, a pleasant synth-pop surprise that would make any Depeche Mode fan’s heart skip a beat and shows off the electronic talent of Amir Derakh and Ryan Shuck, previously seen in bands such as Orgy, Dead by Sunrise with Chester Bennington from Linkin Park and Sexart, which is the band Jonathan Davis left to join KORN. (Writing this, it feels like i am reciting six degrees of rock.) Anyway, if you were ever into Orgy, you’ll also like Julien-K, I think. Now for Number Two: Nim Vind from Canada, advertised as “Vamp Rock”. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of this musical category and didn’t really know what to expect. What we got was something quite glam-to-hard-rocky and a vocalist – Nim Vind himself – that did resemble one of the Ramones more than anything out of Twilight. I have since found out that Nim Vind used to be in a band called Mr. Underhill, which supposedly was a big thing in the Death Pop underground. Finding out about all this now makes me wonder how I could have missed this entire genre. But I guess it proves that there always is a point to watching the support band.

And tonight, there definitely was a point to watching the main act, too. Inexplicably, I had categorized Filter as a “studio band” in my head – maybe as the first impression the made on me was mashed up with the electronic sounds of The Crystal Method and my synapses were too lazy to reconsider. Needless to say, I could not have been more wrong. What I got was a solid and authentic rock performance, an engaging set of band members and a total sense of community. Quite plainly, it was one of those uplifting shows that you wish you could see over and over again. That gives you an understanding of the people behind the music and therefore a different perspective on the music itself. Right now, I would have to say that Filter is a band you HAVE TO see live to really get it. So make sure you do if they ever come to your town.

Check out Julien-K here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lykue9T4HqI
Check out Nim Vind here: https://www.nimvindmusic.com/
Check out Batschkapp for tickets here: batschkapp.de (also in English)
Check out Filter here: http://www.officialfilter.com/

So soft…

21 Jun

I have three very interesting facts about White Zombie’s heart and soul, Mr. Rob Zombie. Ok, so I stole the following two (thank you G):

1. Rob Zombie is no cheap customer. He actually has a Titanium American Express Card.
2. On this card, his last name is really “Zombie”.

And now for the one I also stole, but anyone could know:

3. After making a few horror films and such, Rob Zombie has teamed up with none other than Woolite. the fluffiest of all brands, to make a one-of-a-kind commercial.

Check it out here:

Congratulations, Rob. It’s awesome.

Sold out

19 Jun

Clutch

Never bet on the fact that you can get tickets at the door. That’s what I learned today. I also learned that some people are still willing to go out of their way. So here’s what happened:

I had planned to see Clutch, one of my all-time favorites. For those of you who don’t know, Clutch is a four-piece hailing from Germantown, Maryland. The band formed in 1990 and has since produced nine full studio albums plus EPs and live recordings – the best of which, in my opinion, still being the self-titled album released in 1995.

If you live anywhere outside the US, the chance to see Clutch is a rare opportunity. So, of course, I was set on going. When I arrived at the Schlachthof in Wiesbaden, however, I was greeted by a disappointing announcement. “Sold out” had been pinned – in bold letters – on the door. Now, I am not one for giving up, so I traipsed around the venue entrance asking everyone if they had a spare ticket I could buy. After about an hour of “No, sorry”, I leaned against the venue wall, exhausted.

Enter the good samaritan. He came up and leaned next to me. I guess there was some pity involved as the samaritan began to keep me company on my quest. And not only that. He even tried to talk the venue manager into giving me a ticket or – if that didn’t work – crossing out his stamp and transferring it to me. Unfortunately, the venue manager didn’t think any of these options viable. So what was there to do? We continued trying all through the support band. When it was finally time for Clutch to come on, the good samaritan had bugged the venue manager about ten times and I had asked numerous people over and over again. Finally, it was time to give up.

“Go on inside. You’ll miss the band otherwise. I’ll just listen to the first few songs from out here.”
The samaritan hesitated. But then finally went on in after we said out goodbyes.

So I was left outside the venue and disappointment started to set in. Just as – you’ll never believe it – the venue manager shows up with a viable solution after all. Out of the kindness of his heart. And, of course, thanks to the samaritan.

The Clutch show was awesome. Unbelievably packed, hot, sweaty. A room full of passionate fans rocking out to an absolutely tight performance. A band putting in a 100 percent though conditions were more than tough. There wasn’t one single person in that venue that wasn’t totally enrapt – including me. The only one I couldn’t tell you about was the samaritan – unfortunately, we got separated in the crowd.

Coincidence is just such a funny thing.

If you want to know more about Clutch, go here: http://www.pro-rock.com/

Mix Tape

5 Jun

Last week I went on a little road trip with my two favorite allies. On the way back from Amsterdam, I got out the paper bag that has been loyally moving with me from car to car. In it an ever-growing stack of CDs, many of them not even labelled. I handed it to my buddy in the passenger seat – the designated DJ for the journey. After a short rummage, he found something simply named “MIX”.
“What’s on this?”
Needless to say, I didn’t know – didn’t even know if it was my writing on the CD – and we slipped it in the stereo. What happened next boggles the mind. Each and every track on this mix – though from or related to the rock genre – was slow, sad, intense. My allies were in stitches.
“Damn, buddy, lovesick much?”
I couldn’t remember ever having put together the sampler. And then finally, by track 7, it dawned on me. A friend had given me this CD as a leaving present some years ago. At the time, I had listened to it, not thought much about it and politely thanked him. My allies couldn’t believe my ignorance.
“Do you not realize: a mix tape is always a mix tape. Never just a sampler.”
After a lengthy discussion about whether or not I had unknowingly brushed off the advances of a dear friend and broken a heart in the process, I arrived in my apartment nursing a guilty conscience. I guess I’ll never know if there is or was a deeper meaning to this choice of songs or if it was just an unfortunate attempt by a non-rocker to compile “rocky” songs. And I’ll also never know if a mix tape is always a mix tape. Or maybe just a sampler sometimes.