Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Lemonheads, Mohawk, Feb. 11, 2012

Rounding out the stellar weekend was a long-time favorite of mine, The Lemonheads. The Lemonheads were really popular in the early '90s, and are responsible for some of my favorite songs of all time. The band is really Evan Dando and anyone he decides to play with, but he's the master of the indie-pop hook. You may remember last year about this time, I took off to NYC for one night to see him play with Juliana Hatfield, which was a great and memorable show. I'll see Evan any time I can, and this night he was on. He seemed happy and focused, doing a few solo acoustic songs before launching into the main purpose of the evening, playing their seminal record It's a Shame About Ray, front to back. He did this a couple years ago at SXSW, but that was a rushed set. This time, he played the album, and then lots from other records. He's a talented guy, and I'm just glad I still get to see him perform.

This Dando/Kweller weekend is reminiscent of a show I went to long ago, circa early 2001. I was visiting NYC, and they were playing a couple days at Village Underground. I had time to squeeze in an afternoon show, just before heading out to the airport. It was great, a dingy NYC club and some talented dudes. Ben Lee also played, Claire Danes (who Lee was dating at the time) was in the crowd. Happy to have caught Kweller so early in his career.

Outdoor Type

Ben Kweller, Beauty Ballroom, Feb. 10, 2012

It was another one of those perfect music weekends, back-to-back shows with favorite artists. The first was Ben Kweller at the new Beauty Ballroom on Riverside. Ben's promoting his new CD, Go Fly a Kite, and it's a return to his indie-rock roots. His last outing, Changing Horses, was a little bit country. And, even on this new record, the Texan still has moments of twang (Full Circle). But songs like Jealous Girl prove the dude can still do pop. Old tunes like I Want You Back, Penny on a Train Track and Wasted and Ready also made the set list. He's a versatile and talented guy.

You will notice in the videos below, that the new lighting at Beauty Ballroom produced a strange effect, but it's kind of cool. The venue is pretty sweet. It's large, and a couple stories. I'm not yet sure about the vibe on Riverside, but with other clubs coming in over there on the eastside, like Emo's, a scene is definitely in the making.

I Want You Back 

Full Circle 
Jealous Girl

Monday, February 06, 2012

Old 97's, Gruene Hall, Feb. 3, 2012

It was a last minute decision, but I made it down to Gruene for the Old 97's. I'm so glad I did, because it's a rare occasion that these guys play this legendary venue. They recorded their Alive and Wired album at Gruene in 2005. But this screened-in barn/bar doesn't regularly show up on tour stops, so it was worth the ride down past San Marcos to the lovely, picturesque burg for the show. Fantastic performance, with a great sold out crowd. And, I love that I can take off to see Old 97's in just about any city and be surrounded by a bevvy of old friends and get to meet some new ones. For this show, people made the trip from Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Oklahoma... If your band isn't attracting this kind of avid following, you're doing it wrong. The Old 97's have had a community surrounding their music since the early days, and that's why they have had such a long and storied career. Each show is like a reunion that just happened to book the best band ever.

This show concludes touring for the 97's for the near future, as Rhett moves on to complete his solo album and gears up for some SXSW gigs. Check out the project on Pledge Music.

Please Hold on While the Train is Moving 

Nite Club
Stoned, featuring the O's