Shows, shows, shows! For the next few weeks, I am going to an intense number of shows. This week, I’m in the middle of a four show run, with Franz Ferdinand on wednesday, Boner Jam at the Rock-It Room last night, Or, The Whale at the Fillmore tonight, and Adam Theis’s much-hyped and very awesome looking Brass, Bows and Beats tomorrow at the Palace of Fine Arts. Here are some thoughts:
Franz Ferdinand at The Fox Theater
Dude. Duuuuuude. Okay, so I love Franz Ferdinand – I’ll go so far as to say that their self-titled debut record is one of the top ten albums of the 00’s. My sister and I went and saw them way back in 2004 (I think), when they played in SF, and were, frankly, a little underwhelmed. Alex Kapranos’s voice sounded tired, or maybe he just wasn’t quite where he needed to be vocally, and the more epic numbers like “Come on Home” and “40′” lacked the vocal rockingness that makes them so dramatic on the record. What’s more, the band’s catalog just didn’t quite support a 45-minute set… they basically just played their whole album, which is cool and everything, but felt predictable.
Anyway, whatever. Five years later, the band KILLS. They put on the best live rock show I’ve seen in a long, long time – Alex’s vocals sounded utterly great (maybe it was his screamingly awesome red sneakers?), the band’s energy was hectic, winkingly self-aware, and rocking, and the whole show has just really evolved. It certainly helps that at this point they’ve not got three album’s worth of material to draw from. In fact, while I don’t really like their second album (You Could Have It So Much Better) as much as the near-perfect debut, or their recent awesome return to form (Tonight: Franz Ferdinand), each of the songs that they performed made me realize that really, it’s a pretty solid record, full of fun tunes. And man, the euro-trance freakout at the end of “Lucid Dreams” was everything I wanted to hear and more.
Did I mention that I’m learning to play drums? Because I am. I’m already pretty awesome. Well, by pretty awesome, I mean “I can play the drums.” Anyway, my goal is to find a band to join, someone else’s project, where I don’t have to lead or sing or do anything but play the fuckin’ drums. And the Franz show made me realize: while Squaretape may have reached for a Franz-ish level of fun and grooviness (though my writing and singing were perhaps just a little too geeky to ever get there), I still really want to be in a band like this! So, I think I’m gonna try to find (or help start) a band that plays this style of music, and smack the drums around onstage. Hell, I’m already about as technically proficient as Franz’s drummer Paul Thompson anyway. Franz has reignited my desire to ROCK.
Boner Jam (AKA The Cut Loose Cover Band) at the Rock-It Room
Did I just mention Rock? I did? Well. If you want to talk about Rock, let’s talk about Boner Jam. In addition to having just about the best name in cover band history (their more corporate-frendly alter ego is “The Cut Loose,” which is also a pretty great name, really), Boner Jam fucking SLAYS. Considering that the band is made up of Brian Fox on bass, Peter Thomas on drums, Dan Apczynski on lead vocals and guitar, and Dan Nervo on lead guitar, I guess it’s not a surprise that I think that. That’s right, Boner Jam is Squaretape Minus Kirk Hamilton, and, with one gig under their belt, I’m gonna go ahead and say that there is no cover band in the Bay Area that can match them.
Squaretape did some covers back in the day, and the two best were easily Zep’s Black Dog (which featured Dan), and Phil Collins’ “Easy Lover.” I guess that, looking back, it’s no surprise that converting the group in to a cover-centric outfit was a good idea. But man, there is no way that anyone could have prepared me for the FACE ROCKING that took place last night at the Rock-It Room. The demos on their myspace page, while great and everything, in no way represent how frigging rad these guys were live. Peter and Fox are a super tight rhythm section, and Nervo is the most fluid, screaming rock guitarist ’round these parts – I knew this already. The biggest revelation for me was seeing Dan A. front a band – from beginning to end, his energy, his look, his moves, and his ridiculous, pitch-perfect voice were an assault of awesome. Every single tune, from VH’s “Panama” to “High and Dry,” to “Pinball Wizard” to “Reptillia” was executed flawlessly and with incredible energy.
Okay, JFC. I feel like I’m writing a review for the frigging Bay Guardian or something. These guys are, like, my best friends, so yeah, I liked it. The thing is – so would you. It was the most fun I’ve had at a local show in a long time, and once these guys find the perfect set of covers, there will be no stopping them. Watch their Myspace page for their next show (I’ll be sure to write about it, too) – I pretty much guarantee that you will gleefully dance your ass off as they absolutely impeccably perform your favorite rock tunes.
So, next two nights, the hardest working band in San Fran, Or, The Whale, hits the Fillmore for the first time, and I couldn’t be more excited. Seeing Lindsay, Alex, Julie, and the rest of the Whalers rock the hell out on the same stage where I just saw Andrew Bird is really gonna be something.
And on Saturday, well, if you are free and like once-in-a-lifetime performances, get a ticket to see Adam Theis’s Brass, Bows and Beats. Adam (local trombonist, composer, and bassist extraordinairium) got a $50,000 grant (no, that’s not a typo) do put together a hip-hop groove symphony, and that’s exactly what he did. I’m beside myself with anticipation.
Have a lovely weekend, and as always, thanks for reading!