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:


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 had been visiting with old friends.


Local Natives/We Barbarians/Young Man, The Beach at Governor’s Island: Young Man was kind of dreamy and pleasant to listen to while half-dozing on the sand; We Barbarians woke me up with their more muscular, drum-driven sound, and then Local Natives came on and got everyone dancing. They’re all a little bit more jam-band-y than I normally go for — I found myself thinking I bet this sounds better in southern California, where it’s sunny all the time and they have palm trees that don’t glow in the dark — but on the whole it was a pleasant way to spend a summer evening.


The Diamond Doves

The Felice Brothers/Diamond Doves, Rocks Off Concert Cruise, East River, NY: You may recognize the Diamond Doves from their alternate incarnation as Elvis Perkins in Dearland’s back-up band. I had never heard them in that context, but doing their own thing they were pretty great. (Especially the guy playing the horn and the keyboard at the same time. Now that is multi-tasking!) And the Felices were, of course, their usual rockin’ selves, though the set was, once again, kind of heavy. Most of my pictures are of the Diamond Doves; the boat was packed and by the time the Felices came on I was too far back and too short to get anything good. I reckon y’all know what they look like by now anyway.

IMG_2369 IMG_2390

William Beckett and Michael Guy Chislett, The Academy Is . . . (top); Gene Simmons, KISS (bottom)

KISS/The Academy Is . . ./The Envy, Jones Beach Theater: When this tour was announced earlier this summer, the part of the Internet that keeps up with TAI . . . did a double-take, turned to each other and said WHAT?? and IS THIS A JOKE?? Now that I’ve seen the results, I’m even more curious about who came up with this particular line-up. The Envy, of Toronto, Canada, were vaguely gothy hard-rock; all I can really tell you is they didn’t get lost in the arena, which is easy to do at Jones Beach. Then TAI . . . bounced out and did a solid set, pulling mainly from their somewhat heavier back catalog rather than their newier, poppier work and winding up with a cover of Fox on the Run. I enjoyed them tremendously, but the rest of the KISS audience seemed to be politely and quietly baffled. Then KISS came out amid fire and lights, and I hung around to watch the spectacle until I just couldn’t take one more minute of Gene Simmons’ tongue waggling on the jumbotron. I found they left me pretty cold, all things considered. Odd, perhaps, given my fondness for fire, glitter and ridiculous costumes, but I just couldn’t get into it. Also noted: high volume of attendees that were both a) kindergartners and b) wearing full faces of KISS make-up, which was adorable, but also underscored how the whole thing was more carnival than rock concert.

— Jennifer

Local Natives Concert Stream

I spoke too soon. We have one more post for you before we hit the road.

While in Paris last February, Local Natives filmed their show at le Maroquinerie and will be streaming the show on their Facebook page on Monday, July 12. Here are the details:

Next Monday, Local Natives will stream a complete, never-before-seen live performance on their Facebook page. Powered byLivestream, the hour-long set begins at 3pm EST, and features a gorgeous, multi-camera shoot helmed by the ever-capable Valerie Toumayan. The performance, which includes renditions of nearly every Gorilla Manor favorite, was filmed in February of this year at le Maroquinerie in Paris, France. Earlier today, My Old Kentucky Blog treated readers to an advance preview of the set with a 6-minute version of “Stranger Things.”

Watch The Preview At My Old Kentucky Blog

Go Here Monday, July 12th At 3PM EST To Watch The Entire Performance

If you haven’t seen Local Natives live, get on this. These guys have great energy, great spirit and are even more impressive live than they are recorded.

Bits: Robert Pollard, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, Big Boi, Local Natives

Bits: Cadillac Sky, Big Boi, Mark Lanegan & Isobell Campbell, Juniper Tar, Local Natives, Lou Barlow & the missingmen, Suckers

  • Because it’s Cadillac Sky Week here at NTSIB, we have to kick this off by reminding you that their excellent album Letters in the Deep is available NOW. Get it.
  • Hypetrak has a Big Boi song for you to hear and enjoy that re-teams BB with Andre 3000, along with Dungeon Family cohort Sleepy Brown, but which may not appear on Big Boi’s solo joint coming next month due to apparent record label bullshit.
  • Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell are teaming up yet again. Their third collaboration, Hawk, will be released on August 24 with U.S. tour dates in the works.
  • At the time of this writing, there are 18 hours left to help fund the Juniper Tar tour documentary. They have some pretty nifty reward levels, including a private house concert for big-bucks donors in the Milwaukee area.
  • Aquarium Drunkard’s forthcoming (June 22) digital compilation, L’Aventure, a collection of covers from Television’s album Adventure will feature Local Natives doing “Careful”. Hear it here.
  • Lou Barlow has recorded an EP with the missingmen, =Sentridoh III, and Pitchfork has the sweet track “Losercore” available for listening.
  • One of the nicest things you could do for yourself this week would be to head over to Spinner and take a listen (or twenty) to the new Suckers’ album Wild Smile.

Suckers & Local Natives at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH, 5.11.10

Local Natives (in-store performance at Music Saves)

Wide Eyes
Cards & Quarters
Warning Sign

I may be a big puss and a little too easily affected by music, but as soon as Local Natives broke into their trademark harmonizing at the beginning of their Music Saves pre-gig in-store performance, I felt a little moisture trying to escape from my face. I wasn’t crying – just… leaking a little awe.

This was quite a turnaround considering it hadn’t been that long ago that I was finding myself unable to get into the Local Natives groove (it was that backyard SXSW performance captured by Yours Truly that finally got me to tap in). Lucky for me that there’s no expiration date on good music.

It struck me that Local Natives’ performance was almost the antithesis of the Felice Brothers’ performance I had just experienced the night before. I am a big fan of slopping, emotional music, which the Felice Brothers are pros at creating, but there is certainly something to be said for the ability of a band like Local Natives. As a unit, they are so tight and their talents s complement each other so well that it’s easy to tell that some of these guys have been playing together half their lives. Though that’s certainly not to say that Local Natives’ music lacks emotion. Their song subject matter often sprouts from a very personal level and the musical accompaniment can tap straight into the listener’s center. Plus, Kelcey Ayer has a howl that makes you want to give him a hug and ask if he’s okay.

Experiencing the music of Local Natives in the small space of Music Saves, with acoustic instruments and no mics, mere feet from where you stand, accentuating their immaculate vocals and the warm heart of their music, is extraordinary. If you have the chance to hear them this way, jump on it.


A guy who looks like he just escaped from a John Hughes movie casting call walks out on stage. He’s wearing a striped shirt with a red tie screen printed on the front, red sneakers, and he has straggly designs markered across his face.

“My name is Brian, and my talent is drumming.”

He sits down behind his kit (also red) and goes to work. After a little showing off, his compatriots take the stage. There is another refugee from the John Hughes extras pool (guitarist Austin Fisher), someone’s dad (bass player Pan) and a spectacularly colorful grunge glam rocker (singer Quinn Walker). This is Suckers, and they’re going to go straight to the good stuff with “Before Your Birthday Ends”.

I had heard Suckers around the ‘net thanks to the likes of Daytrotter and Stereogum and liked what I heard, but by the time I was standing in front of the stage, I had forgotten what they sounded like. I couldn’t have been more happily reminded when they broke into “Birthday” with its bouncing groove and Walker’s falsetto vocals (not to detract from his normal voice, but I almost wish Walker sang in falsetto all the time).

Keeping up the groove through the show, the band members did double- and sometimes triple-duty on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion percussion percussion and even a little brass, Fisher being the only one who didn’t seem like he was going to jump out of his skin with ebullience. Even without Walker telling us what a “great space” we had in the Beachland and how much fun he was having, their joy was apparent. The audience felt the joy and returned it, giving the band some of the biggest parting cheers I’ve ever heard for an opening act. If Suckers aren’t headlining their own tour the next time around, it’ll be a surprise.

Other songs played (in lieu of an actual set list): “Black Sheep”, “It Gets Your Body Moving”, “Roman Candles”.

Local Natives

Camera Talk
World News
Wide Eyes
Cards & Quarters
Shape Shifter
Warning Sign
Cubism Dream
Stranger Things
Who Knows Who Cares
Sun Hands

After experiencing the beauty of the Music Saves acoustic performance, there was a little part of my mind concerned that the big, plugged-in show would not be as invigorating. But when Local Natives took the Beachland stage, they proceeded to give that little part of my mind a smack in its metaphorical face. Like their tour mates, Local Natives bring a lot of percussion and a lot of joy to the stage. Their amplified performance, while three times more energetic than their acoustic performance, is no less tight and no less affecting.

There was a little instrument switching off between songs, Ryan Hahn putting down the guitar for drums for a little while and Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer trading off guitar and keyboard duties (Ayer sometimes playing keys and percussion while singing), while bass player Andy Hamm and drummer Matt Frazier kept mostly to their posts (though Hamm did join Frazier a couple of times to add to the percussion). His time behind the keyboard was the only time Rice stopped bouncing around the stage, sweating all over the place.

While their songs benefit from quieter, stripped down playing, their versatility means they also benefit from big, loud amplification, keeping the crowd bouncing along throughout the show. And you can bet everyone was shouting along to the big chorus on “Sun Hands”.

The drawback of being a headlining band with one album is that you’re left with no songs to encore with, and even though the audience really wanted Local Natives back for some more, there was no more to give. But there was no feeling that we hadn’t been given our money’s worth and then some.

Here’s a video from the Local Natives’ in-store performance of my current favorite from them, “Cards & Quarters”:

Giveaway: Local Natives

Friday. It’s not the absolute best day of the week, but it’s a worthy runner-up to King Saturday. And this Friday right here is pretty damn good for Local Natives fans, as we’ve got two big-deal things going on.

First, the kind folks at the Orchard have a shiny, new 7″ of Local Natives’ great song “Sun Hands” with the B-side being the also-great (there aren’t many of their songs that aren’t great) rendition of “Cards & Quarters” from the band’s Daytrotter session. You want it? Be the first to drop a comment on this post expressing your wild enthusiasm for the band (or even your not-quite-wild but still enthusiastic enthusiasm), and you will be the proud owner.

Second, Cleveland-area Local Natives’ fans have the opportunity to obtain goodness from the very fine folks at Music Saves. Be the first to purchase the Gorilla Manor LP at Music Saves (see previous link for address and hours of operation if you’re not already familiar with them), and a pair of tickets to the May 11th Local Natives/Suckers show at the Beachland Ballroom, will be yours.

I will be at the Beachland show as well as their Music Saves in-store performance beforehand. At this point, you’d have to break my hands and feet to keep me from seeing these guys.


(Note on this video: This is not a true La Blogotheque Take Away Show, but it’s still a great performance.)

Notable shows in the greater Cleveland area & NTSIB finally gets on the Local Natives tip

Shows worth checking out this week in and around Cleveland:

The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

  • Sun, Apr 25| 8:30 PM (8 PM door)
    Broccoli Samurai
    Trans Atlas
    $10.00 adv
    $12.00 dos
    Ballroom | All Ages
  • Sun, Apr 25| 9 PM (8 PM door)
    The Styrenes 35th Anniversary Tour
    Home & Garden
    Tavern | All Ages
  • Mon, Apr 26| 8:30 PM (8 PM door)
    Horse Feathers
    Cloud Nothings
    Brian Straw
    $8.00 adv
    $10.00 dos
    Tavern | All Ages

Grog Shop

  • Sat, Apr 24| 9 PM
    The Buried Wires
    $8 adv
    $10 dos
  • Sun, Apr 25| 7 PM
    The Fam Base Tour feat.
    DJ K-Nyce
  • Tues, Apr 27| 8:30 PM
    Apples In Stereo
    Laminated Cat
  • Fri, Apr 30| 9 PM
    Sleigh Bells

Now That’s Class

  • Thurs, Apr 29| 9 PM
    Mystery of Two
    The Wooly Bullies

Oberlin College

  • Tues, Apr 27
  • Thurs, Apr 29
    Atlas Sound

Phantasy Nite Club

  • Tues, Apr 27| 7:30 PM (7 PM door)
    Faith and the Muse
    DJ Scary Lady Sarah
    A View So Cruel

It’s been slow in coming, but NTSIB is finally getting into Local Natives, just in time for them to play the Beachland next month. Here’s the performance that helped things start to kick in, filmed at SXSW by Yours Truly.