Postcards from the Pit: Empires / The Constant / Follower, 6/17/2011

Empires, still the scrappy little band of my heart, won’t be on the cover of Rolling Stone this year. They are, however, on tour right now and may very well be coming to a tiny club near you sometime soon. And if you can make it out to see them, you should. I had the pleasure of catching up with them and also some promising local bands last Friday night.

The first opener was Follower, who are so new that this show was actually their second show ever. If the two songs I was able to hear were a reasonable representative sample, they play like a much more experienced band – tight, focused and powerful. Here is one of the three decent pictures I managed to take of them:

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Next was The Constant, who are poppier than Follower and Empires, but yet are still definitely rock and roll, and also significantly grittier live than they are online:

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Postcards from the Balcony: Panic! at the Disco / fun. / Foxy Shazam, Terminal 5, 5/24/11

I was up on the balcony for this one largely in the interest of self-preservation; I don’t do well in large crowds I can’t get out of, and Terminal 5 was almost literally packed to the rafters.

The first band was Foxy Shazam:

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I’ve seen this band four times now, twice on their headlining tour last summer (I went for one of their opening acts and developed an affection for them along the way), once when they opened for Courtney Love (!), and then at this show. Eric Nally whirled around the stage as he always does, but somehow they seemed a little bit subdued. And by “subdued” I mean Eric Nally did a headstand in the middle of a song –

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– but didn’t do the bit where he eats lit cigarettes (which I can’t actually bear to watch). Though I suspect that bit of business was sacrificed due to them being confined to a truncated opening act set. In any case, I was pleased to visit with them again.

The … Continue reading

Postcards from the Pit: Whitesnake

 

I saw Whitesnake at Irving Plaza last week – now there is a sentence I never expected to write – and about two songs into their set, it occurred to me: these are the kind of rock stars I fell in love with the first time. Not these specific rockstars, maybe, what with Whitesnake having been reconstituted several times since they started, but certainly of this general type: the shredding, hair-flying-everywhere, flowing-shirts-and-leather-trousers flavor of musician.

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Though I certainly do have a massive soft spot for Whitesnake in particular, and this incarnation of the band is a solid one. David Coverdale sounds great, and he’s got some heavy metal all-stars behind him, with Doug Aldrich (Dio) and Reb Beach (Winger) on guitars, Brian Tichy (Foreigner) on drums, Michael Devin (Lynch Mob) on bass and Brian Ruedy (Bret Michaels, Brian “Head” Welch, of KORN) on keys.

The set was a mixture of old and new songs – Whitesnake has a new record out! – and … Continue reading

Postcards from the Pit: The Pogues

The Pogues’ last tour, which I caught as they rolled through New York during St. Patrick’s Day (really St. Patrick’s Week, or Month), was titled “A Parting Glass” and meant to be the last one. For a lot of reasons, I hope that’s not actually true. Not least because St. Patrick’s Day in New York will not ever be the same without them. These shots are actually from March 16, the second night of a three day run at T5.

I didn’t stay in the pit very long, a combination of it being a school night and the pit being a little bit rough. I actually did the most dancing of the evening once I had retreated upstairs to the couches near the bar, where I twirled through a couple of measures of Dirty Old Town with a stranger. Though if this was their last go-round, I’ll hoard that memory as a fine send-off.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Photog: Postcards from Disparate Voyage

The theme for my concert-going this summer seemed to be “voyages” and in particular water voyages, both to the water, or at least a couple of different beaches, and also on the water, specifically, the East River. As the temperature cools and the fall rainy season drifts in, I bring you some postcards from my last couple of trips:

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Willie Nelson, Circus Maximus Theater, Ceaser’s Atlantic City: The show was a little bit more subdued than I was expecting, perhaps a concession to the venue, the age of the audience (there were people in the front row celebrating their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary), or a reflection of Willie Nelson also getting up there (77 and still touring!), or some combination of those things. But it was still a great show. It was, in many ways, something of a relief to be able to just sit down and listen to someone sing familiar songs, undistracted by festival crowds or complicated stage business. He did, among others, Good Hearted Woman, All the Girls I’ve Loved Before and City of New Orleans, and I left refreshed, as if I … Continue reading