Live Show Reviews

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives @ The El Rey February 26, 2010


Babel On – The Soundtrack Of Our Lives
Sister Surround – The Soundtrack Of Our Lives
Age Of No Reply – The Soundtrack Of Our Lives

Swedish rock and roll ambassadors, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, made a highly anticipated visit (for those whose serotonin levels boil for large melodies and a stage presence not to be questioned) on Friday, February 26, 2010 at The El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. They were on tour to support their latest release, Communion, which is a double length record… yes, that’s double length. Imagine that, especially in this age of short attention spans and digital dicking-around! Besides being in an area of Los Angeles that basically consists of no nightlife and at a venue which by fire marshall’s orders, has had to cut it’s maximum capacity in half, you could still feel the energy brewing in the musty air of the near hundred year old El Rey Theatre. And I must note that upon entering the venue, press and photo access was initially denied as their American public relations representative failed to keep their documented promise of a clean entry. We worked our magic, but it doesn’t get any more amature and Hollywood than that folks! Still not the best start, but with a few simple gestures and a couple broken sentences… you will always find yourself fueling up at the bar and sizing down the prey of the hunting grounds within seconds.

Opening the show was L.A. based Nico Vega. The house was packed, but there wasn’t much to say about this part of the performance. If you like stage theatre and directionless music, then you might give them a chance (that would just be an opinion but…). By the end of the Nico Vega set, nearly half of the punters, and mostly highbrows, cleared out just minutes before TSOOL hit the stage. No matter. Nothing was ever going to stop the ax-wielding Vikings of snow-peaked anthems and lullabies from stealing the night.

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives took the spotlight just as one would expect them to, with vocalist Ebbot Lundberg entering in all his glory. A long flowing robe, beads and necklaces of unknown, cult-like origin. Enough of an entrance to make you get on your toes, open the receptors and say “alright, let’s have it!” or to throw your arms over your head, shriek into a little ball and pray for the lives of you and the other villagers. Either way you put it, an ominous assault.

It was the thunderous opening track off Communion, “Babel On,” which opened set. A great stomper and a perfect tune to set the mood for the soldiers left in the crowd, men and women alike, as they closed in towards the foot of the stage. The set that night would find itself all over TSOOL’s discography. Many of the more up-tempo songs on Communion such as “Thrill Me” made their appearances, as well as did classics such as “Sister Surround” and “Broken Imaginary Time” from their “Behind the Music” LP. I believe even a few their prior album Origin, Vol.1 made there way into the set, but I can’t be too sure as the melodies and the booze started to intertwine at this point and notes would not be further taken.

As the set hammered on, Ebbot’s eyes became wider and wider, that of a crazed grizzly bear on six and a half hits of stems and caps. The head on Martin, the keyboardist, began to swivel more violently and for a split moment, it looked as it might slip right off. The intensity was there. For the gig-closer, TSOOL would be joined by Nico Vega and Wayne Kramer for soundman’s-nightmare rendition of the MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams.” A jolly good way to set the exit mood as we headed out to find the nearest pub about two miles away.

In conclusion, this was a top performance by a great rock and roll group. Classic ideals and a classic performance through a modern sound. Let a group like TSOOL pave the way for the bands of the future. Let them remind us that great pop music is about the simple things. The soul of the performance, the wailing guitars, mysterious organs, and pounding drums that all push behind an honest voice that grinds out to the heavens commanding your attention… as the smile and the hairs on your neck slowly rise.

Written and Photography by Curt from The Bixby Knolls

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The Cribs live @ The Roxy Monday November 9, 2009


The Cribs – Last Year’s Snow
The Cribs – You’re Gonna Lose Us

The Cribs tore through a classic energy induced set at The Roxy this past Monday, with new fourth member, legendary guitarsmith Johnny Marr. and while he may be almost old enough to be their pops, the chemistry between marr and the other cribs was no less notable. sporting t-shits, leather biker jackets and early Richard Hell vs. current Kings of Leon butch haircuts, The Cribs wasted no time bashing out some brash gritty rock n roll.

the set was bold, unabashed. there was no banter between songs; aside from a request from Ryan Jarmen, that the lights be turned off in between songs (so the band could “look like rockstars”). and after their full-on feedback masterpiece of an ending to the set, there was no encore. and why should there have been? The Cribs had already put it all out front and on the table, the set being everything rock n roll and right fuckin classy. this was a classy fuckin’ show. fuckin’ class rock and roll.

kicking off on a high note with a new stomping anthem “We Were Aborted” from their latest release Ingnore the Ignorant, The Cribs then rolled straight into fan favorite and a somewhat ironic West LA theme on the night, “Hey Scenesters”. from there things soared, as the 4 piece performed a diversed set from their entire catalogue including favorites as “Men’s Needs,” “What About Me,” “Things Aren’t Gonna Change” and new favorites “Last Year’s Snow” and the single “We Share the Same Skies”. i found myself reflecting on a few things throughout this set:

1. these guys are fucking punk rock
2. this band belongs in clubs absolutely packed with 200 drunks spilling beer, slamming into each other, shouting at the stage and throwing their fists in the air..
3. Marr is a perfect addition, wayyy more appropriate than that Modest Mouse thing.
4. are those two really twins?
5. how do they keep doing that shit with their voice?!

In conclusion, The Cribs are the type of band that is imperfect in all the perfect ways. the groups fourth studio LP Ignore the Ignorant, released yesterday November 10th in the states, has shaped to be one of our favorites of the year. if you haven’t checked it out yet, then get familliar. also, stay tuned to b3science for an exclusive interview with the band..

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rating: 8.3


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AV Murder – “Glossy Mags”


it was at the 2008 pitchfork music fest afterparty, at the new Bottom Lounge in Chicago.. may the old RIP, that a very welcome suprise came from the nights first band, Chicago’s AV Murder. perhaps it was the lead singer bashing his fist into his telecaster so hard that blood de-cored its once white surface, or it was the brutal and abrasive vocals.. sounds that i thought people could only make in life threatening situations, or perhaps i was already that drunk. whatever it was, during their set my head nearly exploded. in fact, i am fairly convinced something in buddy’s head did explode. dude wasn’t the same the rest of the night..

after their set we found ourselves at the merch table looking for anything to get our hands on that we could take from the experience. what did we find?? not an email list, or even any music, but rather one white t-shirt (definitely from a package of drugstore undershirts) which had “AV Murder” scribbled on it.. clearly with a sharpie. the asking price?? $50. yep

now, does it even get more fuck you than that? at the time i couldn’t remember, or even fathom, ever actually having the chance to see a band who could give the finger with proper grace. as the story goes, we bitched out and walked away. but still not convinced i had made the right decision, i soon returned to the merch table… only to discover some wanker had actually bought the shirt

i learned something that night. what i had just seen was clearly incredible, and i wasn’t the only person in the crowd of maybe 30 who thought so. any new band who can sell a $50 t-shirt scribbled with a sharpie based on a live performance alone, will forever get the fucking nod from me.

Strait from the wax, “Glossy Mags” (btw. perhaps the sickest title ever for a song) radiates ruthlessness. it’s off their 7″ titled Missile Command and is now available off dusty medical records. and as the band puts it’s “4 songs… 9 minutes, 50 seconds long total. deal with it.”

AV Murder – “Glossy Mags”


rating: 8.7

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Art Brut live @ Echo in LA Friday June 19, 2009

Art Brut LA live

Art Brut – Slap Dash For No Cash

Art Brut – Formed A Band

Art Brut – Moving To LA

Art Brut’s performance at Echo this past Friday was the final of 4 small Los Angeles club dates in support of their new third album Art Brut vs. Satan, which was produced by some Charles dude. The record title as front man Eddie Argos explains, “Satan is everybody that’s against us. If you are not for us, then you are Satan, and I am against you.” Well said Eddie.

And so, how was it? Well.. was their hour and a half set of 2-3 minute songs nice, tight and pollished? Fuck no, well it was kind of tight, but for the most part blaring guitars complimented everything genuinely dirty, loud, obnoxious and brilliant that is Art Brut. And aside from their self-righteous commentary “we are Art Brut” before, during and after almost every song, which had me laughing for the the first 40 minutes before I realised they might be serious, the British/German hybrid found themselves extra enthusiastic about their week’s LA theme. Guitarist Jasper “Jeff” Future’s white Telecaster sported a classy Amoeba Music sticker (although most likely from their recent San Francisco in-store..), and Eddie Argos wasn’t shy to let everyone know how he felt about their city “…move to la you know every body hates you… I bought all my clothing within two blocks of here [and] Paris and LA are my favorite places in the world”. All appropriate before their fine rendition of “Moving To LA”.

When Eddie wasn’t jumping in the crowd for poetic monologues, he was doing some standard band slagging. “My sex is on fire?” “Are we human or are we dancer?” … “I don’t need to tell you what’s wrong with those bands”. A personal favorite off the new record “Slap Dash For No Cash,” closed the set beckoning “Why is everyone trying to sound like U2? It’s not a very cool thing to do. Why would you want to sound like U2?”. A song calling out all that is wrong with contrived music. His passion for honest music continued, before “Formed A Band” he rallied “we need more records in record shops, start a band…start a band”. Agreed.

Other highlights from the set included new single and set opener “Alchoholics Unanimous,” another newbie “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake” and quite a few from their debut Bang Bang Rock and Roll, like “Emily Kane” and “Good Weekend”.

The night proved many things are admirable about Art Brut… the fact their drummer plays his full kit standing up, in what looked like boxer shorts, that they preferred to play a string of nights in packed intimate venues rather than 1 night at a less personable one, Eddie Argos will shamelessly throw handfuls of Planned Parenthood’s condoms into a crowd of horny youngins shouting “these wont work,” and most importantly that they are a no bullshit rock and roll band.. As they say “here’s one chord, here’s two more, now form a band”. If punk still exists, it exists in Art Brut.

get art brut vs satan

Art Brut LA live 2


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Doves live @ the Wiltern Theater LA 5.15.09


The Doves four album career has been a solid one that not many bands can boast… especially bands from the last 10 years. Droning melodic pleasure, this trio’s sonic atmosphere is comprised of a distinctive and soulful rock and roll that tugs at your ears the way your favorite food tugs at your taste buds.

The Williams brothers, Jez and Andy, Jimi Goodwin, and their unofficial fourth member keyboardist Martin Rebelski, induced a packed house at the Wiltern Theater this past Friday in LA. They kicked off their set with the steady crescendo of their single “Jetstream”, hinting their set may be heavy with songs off their new ‘return to their roots’esque’ release Kingdom Of Rust. Luckily it was, and favorites included the albums title track and single potential rocker “Winter Hill”.

Other highlights… “Catch the Sun” still sounded as good as the first day I heard it and they nailed “The Outsiders” and “Snowden” with particularly spot on vocals. In between jokes about sexy “slap bass” and our beloved James Brown, Doves delivered their set in fine tune.

The critically acclaimed trio has scored 2 #1 albums in the UK with The Last Broadcast and Some Cities, and their new release Kingdom Of Rust has reached number 2. They’ve shared bills with the likes of New Order, Travis, Muse, Roger Daltry, Suede, Low, Oasis, Elbow, The Strokes, Coldplay and U2. Still with this track record, in the US Doves find themselves in the same unfortunate rut of limited commercial success that befalls so many great British bands. It’s not their fault though, it’s no secret that the States are the bermuda triangle of British rock and roll. Freak phenomena aside music enthusiasts everywhere will continue to optimistically anticipate whatever the consistantly great Doves have to offer..

Doves – The Last Broadcast
Doves – The Man Who Told Everything






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Travis @ The Wiltern, LA 4.10.09

Since their full-on rock and roll debut with ‘Good Feeling’ in ’96, and their critically acclaimed follow-ups ‘The Man Who’ and ‘The Invisible Band’, Scottish Britpop darlings Travis are yet to achieve similar commercial success in the states. At a favorite show of mine in Chicago October of 2003, frontman Fran Healy told the audience of a recent conversation he had with a radio DJ. He explained that to radio, Travis’ music is described as “disenfranchised”. Fran asked the audience how good it felt to be part of the disenfranchised? The ovation hurt my ears.

Like so many great bands, Travis don’t seem to care much about the rules. They packed the Wiltern in Los Angeles and performed their diverse catalogue to an audience who hung-on to every moment. From their trademark ballads to their bluesy guitar screaming anthems, Fran’s always brilliant pipes and Andy Dunlop’s signature guitar wailing make Travis a uniquely dynamic live spectacle. Highlights from this show include “Side”,”Selfish Jean” and my favorite “Writing To Reach You,” as Fran sings us the question we all really want to ask… what’s a wonderwall anyway???

Without saying, I anticipate many more “disenfranchised” moments with Travis..

Travis – U-16 Girls

Travis – Selfish Jean

Travis – Writing to Reach You

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