The Austin music scene through the eyes of a programmer/music enthusiast/show-goer

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Confession: Neko Case is LEGIT

Neko Case brought her band to La Zona Rosa Tuesday 4/18 to close out the state-side leg of her 'Fox Confessor...' tour. It may have been "sad" for her and her band, but certainly not for us fools. I first saw her a few years ago after a friend begged me to join him for a show at Antone's. Only really knowing 'Deep Red Bells' I was hesitant, but ended up going and was VERY glad I did. I spent most of the show trying to figure out if her voice was pre-recorded because it sounded so amazing. This tour I knew better: Neko is not to be missed.

Neko's voice was bangin' as always. With 2 (or maybe 3) encores (there were a lot), she belted just about every good song of hers I can think of. Highlights for me were 'Deep Red Bells' and 'Hold On, Hold On'. Quite a few off of the live disc, 'The Tigers Have Spoken', were also quite good.

The between-song banter was better than most shows I can remember, most of which was provided by backing vocalist Kelly Hogan. We learned that Neko's tour bus has a $150 fine for "solids" (I'm assuming per the bus company they rented from). An unnamed member of the tour crew wanted to donate $300 for 2 shits just to stick it to the man.

Openers, The High Dials, were pretty good. Only hearing one song prior to seeing them I was a little in the dark, but left w/ another decent band on my list of bands to check out. Local future mega-stars, The Black Angels, were in full force courtesy of The High Dials. I noticed when I bought their quality debut LP, Passover, at the CD release show at Emos on 4/1 that The High Dials were among the many bands in the "THANKS to" section. Knowing they were opening for Neko I was intrigued. There were a couple of High Dials songs that reminded me of The Black Angels actually. The show closer featured the bass player on sitar. It sounded like what I imagine would result from The Angels flying to India, a la George Harrison, and returning w/ "expanded minds" and shit. And rockin' sitar solos are actually pretty good when the rest of the band fills in the background. Overall I really enjoyed how the band was quite cohesive. The backing vocals played very nicely w/ the lead vocals. Same went for the two guitars in the band also. It made for lots of very melodic rockin'.

Speaking of The Black Angels ... John In The Morning of Seattle's awesome radio station KEXP recently bumped Neko Case from the top of his best-of-2006 list. Who beat her out you say? The Black Angels. He's been proclaiming the Angels' disc the best of the year for a while, but it wasn't until this week that he made it official.

JOHN'S TOP 20 OF 2006
1. Black Angels - Passover (Light in the Attic)
2. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-)

Sorry Neko. You had a good run. See you on the next tour.

Monday, April 10, 2006

ACL Early Bird: the aftermath

Unless you're under a rock, or just don't keep up w/ the music happenings in our fine city of Austin, you're well aware of the completely botched Austin City Limits festival "early bird presale". It's been a while since the city collectively barfed all over the horrible display put on by ACL and the internet traffic masters at FrontGateTickets. Since then ACL has been busy to do what they can to clean up their mess.

If you made any comments (or more likely complaints) through the ACL website, you likely got a response from someone at the brand development group at Capital Sports & Entertainment. I got a reply from the friendly and understanding Michael.

We got your email about the ACL pre-sale and I understand you experienced some frustrations with the process. I'm really sorry to hear it - we know our eList subscribers are our most loyal fans and we do everything we can to try to create good experiences for you guys .

Etc, etc. I replied and he sympathized ...

I absolutely hear you on all of that, and believe it or not, I agree with you.

He also insisted I give him my digits so he could discuss this w/ me over the phone. He explained that it was the fault of the mailing list service provider ACL hired to handle the mass mailing, but they completely botched the job -- a server was out and ACL wasn't notified about it until hours later... something to that effect. Supposedly this mailing list provider is the best in the biz. They handle accounts for Chevy and other such large crappy companies. That day, however, they were not the best in the biz.

He apologized profusely and took my address down so that he send me an ACL "goodie bag" to help soften the blow. He reiterated that ACL is dedicated to solve the flying dirt storm problems experienced last year and working w/ the city to alleviate the problem. I don't know if I should call off the 3-day Liveoak Hefe + Band of Horses marathon in my backyard, but at least I have some free shit coming my way. I'll let you know just how sorry ACL is when I get this gift bag in the mail.

In recent ACL news: The Austinist reports that "various Internet sources indicate that The Flaming Lips, The New Pornographers, and Son Volt are all on board for ACL Fest in September." While they are all respectable bands, 2/3 of which I've already seen, I don't think that's enough to call off the boycott.

Monday, April 03, 2006

FROM: sam (regular music fan)
MSG: let the BOYCOTT begin!

ACL Early Bird my ass. Once again it's time to get angry with the music festival hype machine. From today's ACL website:

The $35 tickets have sold out.
It took about 42 minutes to go through 3,000 tickets, and we appreciate your patience, stamina, and perseverance

Hey thanks for that info! I still haven't gotten the email from the mailing list, to which I've been subscribed to for years, saying they even went onsale yet! I have to hear that ACL early bird tix go onsale from a friend frantically trying to get shut out himself. I get the "buy now" button only to find that my wait time is a mere 88 minutes! But don't refresh that page because it could slow my chances of getting tickets. Yeah right. That page doesn't refresh. Wait time will indefinitely be 88 minutes. Why? Because FrontgateTickets sucks. They can't handle the server load so they throw up static "make the user feel good" web pages. DON'T REFRESH!!! We can't get you tickets now, or 10 hours from now, but as long as you feel good about it in the mean time.

FrontGate's site has traditionally sucked so I should be used to it by now. But that doesn't sheild you from the pain ACL. If you are going to sell early bird tix at least give EVERYONE a shot at it! Maybe I'll get that email saying they went onsale tomorrow. Or next week! I've heard reports from numerous friends that the emails are trickling in... they get excited only to find they sold out hours ago. Fools.

Now I struggle with even wanting to go. Should i shell out $100+ to get ravaged by dust storms and sweltering heat? Probably not, but if Radiohead turns out to be the magical headliner I might be sad for not being there. Screw it... I won't be able to see through the dirt haze anyway.

I think I might take my $100+, buy a keg of LiveOak Hefe and enjoy the drunkeness w/ my dog in the backyard as I listen to the Band of Horses album on repeat for 3 days straight. Take that ACL! You're not invited. But all boycotting music fans are.

Oh what's up! This just in ... i just got my ACL "early bird" email at a whopping 10:22 PM! i better hurry and try to get those tickets. SIKE. now they're just rubbing it in. watch your back ACL. you just lost a customer for life. bitches.

UPDATE: Additional blogger fury to be found here, here, and here (read the comments). Let us bond together in hatred, fellow Austinites!

P.s. - Tim, I like your ACL alternative the best.