Monday, December 29, 2014

Year in Music 2014

Here it is, my compilation of some of the best shows I've seen all year. I do this because I like the quick look back, a fun way to remember the good times I've had at shows. A lot of the usual suspects show up - Old 97's, Spoon, Quiet Company, but I caught a lot of new acts at SXSW and ACL Fest. I traveled to Australia and caught a show and went to the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco.

And I'm looking forward to a fun 2015! Happy New Year! Hope to see you at a show.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Old 97's, The Parish, Dec. 11

It's become a bit of a holiday tradition for me to wrap up my year in music with the Old 97's. This year's show came a bit earlier than usual, but it was a fantastic rockin' blowout. They were playing their album Hitchhike to Rhome (hard to believe it's the 20th anniversary), front to back, and then, of course pulled in others from their prolific catalog.

Their stuff on Hitchhike is as strong as the new material. Wish the Worst is a classic. It also includes timeless numbers Doreen, St. Ignatius and 4 Leaf Clover. Just beautiful.

Safe to say, a good time was had by all. Happy Holidays!

Spoon, ACL Live, Dec. 5

Back in the States and suffering from severe jet lag, I did manage to make it out for this stellar show by Spoon. I saw them a few weeks ago doing an ACL taping, but my seats were in the rafters and no photography was allowed. For this show, I had a nice vantage point from the floor and got to shoot a few photos and videos. They just keep getting better and better. The new guitarist, Alex Fischel, that Britt brought along from Divine Fits has added an unusual energy to the band.

Glad I got to see them this year. They Want My Soul is stellar, and Do You was a great breezy, summer song.


And of course, they played a lot of old favorites.


Sondre Lerche, Sydney Australia, Nov. 25

I've been remiss in updating my last few shows. Life gets busy toward the end of the year, especially when you get to go on a trip to Australia over Thanksgiving. I was very fortunate to get invited by the Journalism Education Association of Australia to speak at their conference, and I was also invited to do a workshop at the Storyology conference while I was there. As luck would have it, an artist I have seen in Austin, the Norwegian Sondre Lerche, was playing in the city. It was his first-ever show there, and the Newtown Social Club had a very nice contingent of fans for his one-man performance. He's a beautiful singer and had some adorable banter with the crowd. So glad I made it out for this one.


Later in the week, I got to visit some beautiful beaches along the Australian coast. I took the ferry to Manly, a beautiful seaside village and had a wonderful day of bike riding and sun bathing. As I was going through The Corso, the main pedestrian area with shops and restaurants, I saw a crowd gathering. It was for this kid, Taj Ralph, who is 13 and pretty amazing. I had to add him to my musical adventures. Sydney is a beautiful, lovely, amazing city with friendly people. I hope to be able to return to see more of Australia sometime in the near future!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Old 97's, Stubbs, Oct. 17, 2014

I just love these guys so much, even after seeing them countless times over the years. Always a rockin' high energy show. There was a big crowd of sing-a-long fans at Stubbs, and I had a fabulous time. Opening Sarah Jaffe was rockin' cool too.

Used the new iPhone 6 for the photos and videos, still getting used to it, so the images aren't great. But I think the videos came out pretty well.

Monday, October 06, 2014

ACL Fest 2014, Sunday

And just like that, ACL Fest 2014 (the first weekend) is over. The good thing about this two-weekend festival is that I can check out some of the shows I missed next weekend on the live stream - some of the big headliners where it was too packed to get close, and Spoon, who was sacrificed so I could see The Replacements. Fingers crossed that the ACL TV taping fairy will once again shine favor upon me for Thursday's show.

Sunday was a fun day of exploration and legends. The highlight was The Replacements, a band I have loved since I was first introduced to "indie" and "alternative" music and one that has influenced all my favorite bands since. I'll Be You and Alex Chilton still hold up, and at an increasingly EDM festival, those old rockers were a breath of fresh air for this old rock fan. Finally getting to see them live was a wonderful, full-circle kind of thing.

So, that's it. Thanks, friends, for another awesome Basecamp. Three days out in the sun in Austin with good music... can't think of anything better.

Gaslight Anthem brought the Jersey rock.

Jenny Lewis looked adorable and sounded great.

Kongos has some fun songs.

MO was a breakout, high energy Danish pop act.

Real Estate had some nice songs, too.

The Replacements were the legendary rockers I always thought them to be.

Stage before Pearl Jam.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

ACL Fest 2014, Saturday

Saturday at ACL Fest drew big crowds. I only got close enough at a few shows to get decent pictures and video. Broken Bells were the highlight. I was at the back of the crowds for Iggy Azalea and Eminem.

It's been a great fest so far. Good weather and good times.

Iggy Azalea was booked on a side stage, and she was a crowd favorite. But she caused quite the late afternoon traffic jam with people coming across the park.

Broken Bells put on a great show, played everything I wanted to hear.

Strong vocals by Polica.

The Rosebuds are a cute pop band from North Carolina

Someone unleashed these beach balls which made for an interesting visual effect.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

ACL Festival Kicks Off On a Beautiful Austin Day

The annual tradition of ACL Festival with my friends and our Basecamp, established with the first festival in 2002, continues. We purchased our badges only weeks after last year's fest ended, didn't know the lineup or much else about where we'd all be in the coming year. But we manage to get the core gang together year after year for great music, fun and friendship.

This year's fest has a good lineup, not of band's I love, but those I want to check out. Here are a few shots from Friday. The biggest anticipation is for The Replacements on Sunday, so stay tuned.

Headliner Beck put on a stellar show.

Bleachers was a fun crowd-pleaser.

I first saw Capital Cities at SXSW. Always a party.

There aren't many artists like St. Vincent, a rockin' guitarist with an interesting visual aesthetic.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Back in Austin

After 10 months in California, a glorious time of enrichment and fun, it was time to head back to Texas. I missed the music scene so much. As you can see from previous posts, I wasn't able to enjoy much music in San Francisco and Palo Alto. There were a few shows I missed in SF due to schedule constraints, and Palo Alto doesn't really have live music. So, I was like the kid-in-a-candy-store when I got back to Austin in June, making up for lost time.

Here's one big post on the summer music I have enjoyed since returning to Austin.

My first week back was a big one. One of my favorite places, Hole in the Wall, was celebrating its 40th anniversary, so I was happy to be back for some of those shows. I got to see Austin faves Lil Capn Travis, Moonlight Towers and Grand Champeen, which was all I needed to feel right at home again.

Then that same week, I was lucky that a Twitter friend at Austin City Limits came through with Jeff Tweedy tickets. It was great to hear those new songs that he plays with his solo band that includes his son Spencer. No photos at ACL, but it was great to enjoy the show from the floor and spend time with my friend Brent Adair!

My friends in Quiet Company played a great set at Empire Control Room - covering the entire Weezer album Pinkerton. It was a packed house, with both QC and Weezer fans enjoying the tunes.

And it's always great when my friend Neal Mehta plays. This show was at in.gredients anniversary party, the eastside bulk and natural grocery store. There were lots of kids and friends, a very excellent time.

More fun with friends, went to Whip Inn, the convenience store/Indian restaurant, to see Neal's friend's band Mesa Inn.

And, it's been great checking out Strange Brew a couple times, with shows featuring friends Johnny Goudie, Salim Nourallah and Joe Reyes. The second night featured Alex Dezen of the Damnwells.

I am so lucky to live in a place with so many amazingly talented people. It's good to be back!