Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vampire Weekend - Paradiso 24 Feb 2010

On the hottest day of the year so far, a toasty 7 degrees (or high 30’s for you Fahrenheit people), Vampire Weekend played in Paradiso on their tour to support the release of their sophomore album “Contra” released earlier this year.
With a depiction of the album on the huge canvas behind them staring out over the room (sometimes with green or red eyes) and with chandeliers above them they played a very energetic show with almost all of their songs with the exception of two or three.

Starting with ‘White Sky’ and ‘Holiday’ the crowd was warmed up. Not that they needed that, Paradiso seemed like a sauna with even higher temps the night before at the Beach House show upstairs. If the music didn’t do it all, it was singer Ezra Koenig who added the finishing touch, interacting with the crowd and introducing some of the songs. His movement was fun to look at and I bet there are now a few pictures on the interweb with him posing in one of the many rockstar poses he showed tonight. But don’t worry, a rockstar he is not.
Things have gone fast for them. Two years they were still a small band playing in the small upstairs room, and now in the sold out main room. But that’s what you get when you can write fan favorite songs like ‘A-Punk’, ‘Cousins’ and ‘Campus’ but also make music interesting enough for any music fan. Weird and always changing rhythms, the clear sound of keyboards and bass and Koenig’s clear guitar, with high treble. VW is a truly unique band who have found a way to bring their music to the stage. Maybe not by playing the songs that much different from the albums, but why change something that is already good.

(the picture is from the OOR website which I used without any permission whatsoever)

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa from the Paradiso show, thanks Jackelien Beerens for posting this on YouTube, sound quality is great.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Explorer 23 For February 20

Seems to the year is really starting in February. Lot of new entries, including the entire Top 3.

Someone asked what the columns were for: TW = this week, LW = last week, #W is number of weeks.

Also back is the embedded list at the bottom


01 -- 01 The Antlers - Bear
02 -- 01 Girls - Morning Light
03 -- 01 Beach House - Norway
04 05 02 OK Go - This Too Shall Pass
05 01 05 Vampire Weekend - Cousins
06 14 02 Blood Red Shoes - Light It Up
07 -- 01 Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home
08 08 02 Surfer Blood - Swim
09 02 04 Bettie Serveert - Deny All
10 04 03 Tocotronic - Macht es nicht Selbst
11 07 04 Jonsi - Boy Lilikoi
12 -- 11 Deep Sea Arcade - Don't Be Sorry
13 13 03 The Paper Scissors - T-T-Time
14 03 05 Tegan & Sara - Hell
15 -- 01 Yeasayer - Ampling Alp
16 -- 01 Washington - How To Tame Lions
17 04 05 Avett Brothers - Slight Figure Of Speech
18 09 03 Adam Green - Buddy Bradley
19 21 02 Los Campesinos - Romance Is Boring
20 -- 01 John Butler Trio - One Way Road
21 10 05 Kings of Convenience - Mrs. Cold
22 11 05 Philadelphia Grand Jury - The Good News
23 -- 01 Vampire Weekend - Giving Up The Gun

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Explorer 23 for February 10

01 01 04 Vampire Weekend - Cousins (Letterman)
02 06 03 Bettie Serveert - Deny All (DWDD)
03 02 04 Tegan & Sara - Hell
04 15 02 Tocotronic - Macht es nicht Selbst
05 -- 01 OK Go - This Too Shall Pass
06 03 04 Avett Brothers - Slight Figure Of Speech
07 08 03 Jonsi - Boy Lilikoi
08 -- 01 Surfer Blood - Swim
09 12 02 Adam Green - Buddy Bradley
10 04 04 Kings of Convenience - Mrs. Cold
11 05 04 Philadelphia Grand Jury - The Good News
12 14 02 The Paper Scissors - T-T-Time
13 07 04 Phoenix - Lasso
14 -- 01 Blood Red Shoes - Light It Up
15 09 04 Atlas Sound - Walkabout
16 17 03 eels - Little Bird
17 13 04 Camera Obscura - The Sweetest Thing
18 16 04 Hot Chip - One Life Stand
19 10 04 Manchester Orchestra - The Only One
20 19 02 Riton & Primary 1 - Who's There?
21 -- 01 Los Campesinos - Romance Is Boring
22 -- 01 Jamie T - The Man's Machine
23 -- 01 Lightspeed Champion - Marlene

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Bittersweet Night. Lou Barlow in Bitterzoet

Bitterzoet is a new venue near Amsterdam’s central station. It is small but has the advantage of stairs and a balcony. The first thing I noticed in Bitterzoet are the glasses, made from actual glass. Must mean that they don’t expect too many rowdy visitors. But when Lou Barlow starts playing his first songs and the entire crowd gets quiet the biggest flaw of the venue becomes painfully clear. The bar is located a few meters from the stage and the bartenders make almost more noise with the glasses than Barlow does with his guitar.
If Lou Barlow plays alone prepare for a very intimate set. Almost all the people in the crowd are fortunately familiar with this so there aren’t too many a-holes who find it necessary to talk through the show. The bartenders are clueless however and when Lou plays ‘Rebound’ in my right ear I am annoyed by the sounds of stacked glasses in my left ear, with some euro coins providing the percussion. De Melkweg has the bar(s) in the corner in the back and the same is true for the Paradiso main room. The Paradiso upstairs has even moved the bar behind a door. They also use plastic, a much better option. It seems like Bitterzoet wasn’t planned to be a music venue, otherwise the planners should be compared to those guys who made that wobbly bridge in the Northwest US or that art museum in Denver that leaks…

But this luckily isn’t a solo set. Two bandmembers join him for a loud set and the glasses are forgotten. Playing mostly new songs they seem to be enjoying themselves but only rarely do we get a glimpse of the legend of indierock that he is. The songs are good, in fact the quality is as always high. What else can you expect from a man who was responsible for the great songs on Sebadoh, Sentridoh, Folk Implosion and now under his own name. It’s always different: swinging the bass with Dinosaur JR, playing rock shows with Sebadoh or the most intimate concerts you can think of when he is alone with his guitar. There are only a few people who can get an entire room quiet and when he played his classic ‘Think (Let Tomorrow Bee)’ he did just that. And without too much glasswork.