Enthusiastic yet meager crowd to see Phish's Mike Gordon at Stage AE last night. Less than half capacity, on a Friday night no less. Compare that to Lotus, who played the same venue one month ago on a Saturday and nearly sold the place out. Many that were there traveled far to make it, including the crew from Columbus, Ohio who got there early just to be able to play the giant keyboard sprawled across the front of the stage. Highlight for me was hearing them cover The Flaming Lips' "Are you a Hypnotist??," off of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, one of my all-time favorite albums. And did I mention light-up guitars? Though that could have just been afterglow from one of Scott Murawski's scorching guitar solos.
You can view the setlist via phish.net. Here are some photos:
Roman Remains will be making an appearance at the Altar Bar next Thursday, 3.20. They will be opening for Gary Numan along with Big Black Delta. The duo, formerly of the excellent Delta Spirit, just released their debut LP Zeal this past week. It's quite the departure for Liela Moss and Toby Butler with a mix of electro, dance and industrial compared to their guitar driven Delta Spirit sound. The new album was recorded during a break in The Duke Spirit’s touring schedule and mixed by Damian Taylor (Bjork/Austra/UNKLE) during in Montreal. The group was kind enough to answer a few of our questions concerning their new direction, move to LA and visiting our city in the past.
You are originally London residents but currently reside in LA. What do you find the biggest hurdles for a musician between the two? What are the differences between the audiences?
Honestly the worlds we slide between are fairly homogenous - I feel like the people we seek and find have eclectic taste, lean towards drone darkness and greatness but also love heavy beats and get drunk and grind to Rhianna whilst spilling vodka on their Electric Prunes T shirt
You use a lot of electronic samples, instruments on your recording. How do you transfer this sound to a live venue?
With a multi tasking drummer setting off samples and playing a lot of live parts. He is Bradford Lee and you'll see him with smoke coming out of his ears, Toby is playing sampler too. It's been fucking tricky!
For several years you had success as Duke Spirit. What made you decide to branch out and try something else?
To find a new muse I suppose. Carve out different pathways in the brain
Your first LP ‘Zeal’, comes out this week. How do you feel about the finished product? Was it different recording the album than you did with Duke Spirit? How?
It was very quickly composed and chopped up like making a Frankenstein set of songs. Stitched together moments from different parts of the day, melodies switched across different tracks. That was pretty different for me to hear happening!
There is a lot more electro, industrial and dance music on this recording than in your previous output. What made you decide to go into this direction?
Toby had already started playing drum patterns for fun for a way to entertain his brain. Then he started to feel like song shapes were appearing. So we pursued them in case they were meaningful. And they were!
This Stone is Starting to Bleed is an interesting video. What is it about?
A shaman smelting precious metals and hiding his skills from the Russians. Or some shit about a metaphor for escaping Corruption by staying close to nature and the elements. Has no one told you NEVER to ask a band about their frickin videos!!
What do you think of the current media/social music world?
I can't keep up with it and wish we didn't stare at our phones all day but some aspects are charming and seem democratic and liberating. But I'm still on my guard about who is using all our information to try to sell junk back at us. Keep an open mind I guess
Now being a ‘in demand’ artist is it difficult/time consuming to maintain a relationship with fans/public?
No. It's never been an easier time to connect
What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?
The Beastie Boys live ill communication tour 95, was pretty mind blowing. Bjork at Reading Festival when I was real young teenager. Watching music shows on BBC and channel 4. It was all feeding my head
Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?
Hello, I have played your city centre once before at a one dayer with Bob Dylan, Raconteurs, Black Mountain and Cee lo Greene. Hope those Pittsburgh cats still know to do it !!
Show begins at 7:30p with doors at 6:30p. Tickets are $25 and can be found here. More information on the band can be found at these sites:
Awkward moment at the show last night. Bassist/Vocalist for Big Business, Jared Warren, took a moment to thank O'Brother for opening up and The Sword for bringing them out on tour. A few people politely applauded, but not many. Warren made note of the tepid response, then said something to the effect of "well, we still get paid either way." It's never a good thing when a band mentions their "contractual obligation" to perform; nevertheless, the guys were professional enough to perform the rest of their set, and it was a damn good one, too.
But this night belonged to The Sword. How lucky are those guys? They get to travel the country, get drunk on stage, and perform vintage metal in front of packed houses night after night. Judging from the number of Sword shirts in the crowd it's safe to say most of the fans in attendance had seen these guys play live before. That number will surely increase the next time the band is in town if the swarm of people at the merch table at night's end is any indication. (These guys have some of the best band tees you'll ever see. I went with this spiffy number.) And why not? This music is anthemic. Forget about bullshit jobs and bosses for 90 minutes to headbang and belt along to heroic songs about arcane mountains and mares of purest white, performed by a couple guys who never gave up the dream. Good for them, and great for us. I even got passed on the way home by a Jeep with a Sword bumper sticker.
Mike Gordon, longtime bass player and vocalist for Phish, will
perform at Stage AE this Friday, March 7. Gordon is touring in
support of his new album, Overstep,
which was released late February.
out on his own, without longtime musical partner Trey Anastasio, with
whom he founded Phish back in 1983, this is hardly just a solo tour.
fourth LP and first since 2010, was co-written with jam veteran Scott
Murawski, of Max Creek and BK3 fame. Murawski provides the guitars on
this tour, and along with Gordon on bass and vocals make up 40% of
the quintet, whose tour began last Friday in Syracuse. The album
features the first official release of the reggae-infused "Yarmouth
Road," a recent staple at Phish concerts. You can see the guys
perform it live here:
Early reviews of
the tour have been positive. One review from the Syracuse
gig stated that "Gordon and his cohorts craft a sound so
experimental it makes even the absurdity of Phish seem safe."
They've been playing two sets of nine or ten songs apiece, mostly
original stuff but with quite a few Phish and other covers to round
things out. (I would love to see them play The Flaming Lips' "Are
You A Hypnotist??" like they did Saturday in New York.) There
have been sitars on stage, as well as a giant light-up keyboard that
the fans up front can play. Also, Mike and Scott have been performing
with LED-lit guitars. A fan uploaded video of that here: http://vimeo.com/87974624
We have two
tickets to giveaway for this performance. To enter, email your name
to pghmusicreport [at] gmail.com, and put "Mike Gordon" in
the subject line. Tickets for the all-ages show are available via
for $25. The music starts at 8.
Monday night concerts are brutal. You just
finished catching up on all the work you put off last week, so you're
already a day behind. You're tired, slave again to that tyrannical
alarm clock, too tired to cook but too broke to order in. All you
want to do is watch some House of Cards until it's not too
early to pass out for the night.
Unless, that is, Mr. Smalls has a badass hard rock
triple bill for less than $20.
Let's start with one of the openers, Big Business.
They've recently added a guitarist, but the band is essentially a
product of Jared Warren (bass) and Coady Willis (drummer), one half
of The Melvins. Their new release, Battlefields Forever,
came out last October on Gold Metal Records, a label they created for
the sole purpose of releasing this album.
Big Business is
probably the most metal of the three bands that will be performing,
or at least the sludgiest. Jared Evans growls like Lemmy at the mic,
and the way Coady Willis punishes his kit makes you wonder why The
Melvins ever needed two drummers. They are another one of those bands
that seem to whip up more sound than three men should be capable of
producing. If the term "noise metal" wasn't an oxymoron I'd
use it here. Here's the ass-pummeling track "Heavy Shoes" off
of their new album:
The other opener, O'Brother, hail from Atlanta.
The five-piece have toured with Manchester Orchestra and Junius, and
comparisons to the latter wouldn't be unfair to either band. They
come across as more "alt-metal" than their two touring
companions – think Deftones rather than Danzig - and rely upon
swells of sound and a quiet/loud dichotomy more so than the chugging
riffs of the headliners, The Sword.
The Sword is made up of four dudes from Austin who
crank out music that straddles the
imaginary line between hard rock and heavy metal. Their most
obvious influences are Black Sabbath (musically) and Led Zeppelin
(philosophically). They perform songs about mountains, and witches,
and women on horseback. There's a section of their website devoted to
"lore," and they even do the whole "zoso"
symbols for each member of the band.
But there's a lot more going on with The Sword
than repackaged classic rock. The band's first couple albums were
straight up stoner rock in the vein of Sleep and Kyuss. More recent
albums find the tuning and the pace cranked up, as well as the
production values. 2012's Apocryphon and the excellent Warp
Riders from 2010 are both albums you keep in your car to play
before a night of partying. (Odds are you won't be listening to The
Sword while fighting Balrogs, but that doesn't mean that a soundtrack
shouldn't be made to match Balrog-sized ambitions.) Here's the title
track off of that Warp Riders
album, complete with riffs and licks o'plenty:
We are pleased to announce that we have two
tickets to giveaway to see this great trio of bands. To enter, email
us at "pghmusicreport [at] gmail.com," and put "The Sword" in the subject line. We'll announce the
winner Friday night, if we remember. Tickets are available at
for $16. That's a bargain any day of the week.