Bootblacks – Fragments

Brooklyn’s Bootblacks (Alli Gorman – guitars, Barrett Hiatt – synthesizers, Roger Humanbeing – drums, Panther MacDonald – lead vocals), play an interesting mix of post-punk, shoegaze, goth, and synthwave, and their new album, Fragments, is a showcase on how well they float between those genres.

Lead track “Hold & Dissolve” instantly plunges you into creepy synthwave with a good mix of live and processed beats.  It reminds me of some of A Place to Bury Strangers‘ tracks, but with vocals that sound more like Peter Murphy than Oliver Ackermann.  “The Longest Night” seems to be a song about the first night after MacDonald’s lover walked out on him.  Hiatt’s synth work on it blends so well with Gorman’s guitar riffs that it’s sometimes difficult to tell them apart.

If there’s any justice in the world, “Memory Palace” is currently tearing up goth and industrial night clubs throughout New York City and will soon be catching on across the country.  It’s like a Joy Division track if they had decided to be a dance band.  “Sudden Moves” is a journey down a wet road under a gray sky with occasional bursts of sunlight through the clouds (mainly from Hiatt’s synths).  “A Pale Fire” is a fast, almost poppy electro track, and “Reincarnate” is something that could be spun by a replicant Los Angeles dance club DJ in 2049.  I like how Gorman knows when to fade back and let the synths take the lead and when to step back up and shred.  She’s quickly becoming one of my new favorite guitarists.

“For You (Lois)” might be a love letter to Lois, or it might be an ode to Lois, or it might be a cynical takedown of Lois.  I’m not sure, but it is a cool cold wave track.  The closer, “Gone,” has definite Depeche Mode influences (especially in MacDonald’s vocal stylings) and synths that sound like something from a rare krautrock single.

My thanks to Bootblacks’ label, Manic Depression Records, for letting me know about this band.  They weren’t on my radar until MDR contacted me.  I’m glad they did because this is one of the most interesting finds of the year for me.

Keep your mind open.

[Subscribe and you’ll have many nights with updates sent to your inbox.]

 

Shopping release one of the catchiest singles of the year, “The Hype,” from upcoming album.

SHOPPING ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, THE OFFICIAL BODY,
OUT JANUARY 19th ON FATCAT RECORDS

WATCH VIDEO FOR LEAD SINGLE, “THE HYPE”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnAm6AphanY

[photo credit – CJ Monk]
“The Hype” is Shopping at its best: barbed invective set to a prickly, dancefloor-ready groove.”
Pitchfork
“one of Shopping’s loosest, funkiest songs to date. . . ‘The Hype’ is a great sign of things to come.”
NPR Music

London/Glasgow-based post-punk trio Shopping stay true to their minimal dance-punk ethos while “amping up the party vibe” on their third full-length album, The Official Body, set for a January 19th release via FatCat Records. In conjunction with the album announcement, the band — Rachel Aggs (guitar, vocals), Billy Easter (bass, vocals) and Andrew Milk (drums, vocals) — share the video for the album’s first official single, “The Hype,” which “has them on display in all kinds of beautiful ages, shapes, and sizes” (The FADER). It’s a song about thinking for yourself, taking matters into your own hands and not listening to other people or institutions that try to take advantage and tell you what to think or how to be.

After the release of their debut album, Consumer Complaints, and follow up, 2015’s Why Choose, Shopping found themselves in an unrelenting cycle of touring. Meanwhile, in London, Power Lunches, a hub for the city’s DIY scene and the band’s usual rehearsal and writing space closed down. Upon returning from tour, Milk relocated to Glasgow. The distance added an element of pressure: “As a band that only ever writes collaboratively, it’s essential for us to actually be together in the room before any songs start to formulate. It can be a little daunting when we all turn up, and we only have an afternoon to pull a song out of thin air.” Add to that a sprinkling of Brexit, Trump, a principally imploding world, and you’ve got yourself The Official Body.

Recorded and produced over 10 days by Edwyn Collins at his Clashnarrow studio, The Official Body is an album in which the thematic gravitas contrasts with the band’s evolving sound. “We’ve always felt like what we do is political in that it’s cathartic and healing in some way, but at some point it just felt like making ‘political’ music was a bit like putting a tiny band aid on an enormous wound,” says Aggs as she describes the sense of disorientation that lies at the foundation of the album. While it may have been tempting to adopt a more serious tone, Shopping remained humorous in their approach — the album’s title, The Official Body, is a play on the idea of official bodies of power and control, “the mystical powers that be” as Easter deems them, as well as the construct of a physical body that fits within the societal paradigm of what is “acceptable.”

Shopping will tour the UK and Europe this November. They’ll make their way stateside in early 2018, including performances at SXSW.

Watch Shopping’s “The Hype” Video –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnAm6AphanY
The Official Body Tracklist:
1. The Hype
2. Wild Child
3. Asking for a Friend
4. Suddenly Gone
5. Shave Your Head
6. Discover
7. Control Yourself
8. My Dad’s a Dancer
9. New Values
10. Overtime
Shopping Tour Dates:
Mon. Nov. 6 – Glasgow, UK @ The Art School
Tue. Nov. 7 – Leeds, UK @ Wharf Chambers
Wed. Nov. 8 – York, UK @ Crescent
Thu. Nov. 9 – Cardiff, UK @ Gwdihw Cafe Bar
Fri. Nov. 10 – London, UK @ Kamio
Sat. Nov. 11 – Paris, FR @ La Mécanique Ondulatoire
Sun. Nov. 12 – Villefranche-de-Rouergue, FR @ Les Haut Parleurs
Mon. Nov. 13 – Bordeaux, FR @ l’Avant Scène
Tue. Nov. 14 – San Sebastian, ES @ Dabada
Thu. Nov. 16 – Alicante, ES @ Sala Marearock
Fri. Nov. 17 – Barcelona, ES @ Be Good
Sat. Nov. 18 – Lyon, FR @ Grnd Zero
Sun. Nov. 19 – Biel, CH @ Le Salopard
Tue. Nov. 21 – Esslingen, DE @ Komma
Wed. Nov. 22 – Bamberg, DE @ TBC
Thu. Nov. 23 – Leipzig, DE @ Tiff
Fri. Nov. 24 – Nuremberg, DE @ Desi
Sat. Nov. 25 – Berlin, DE @ Zukunft Am Ostkreuz
Fri. Nov. 26 – Hamburg, DE @ Goldener Salon
Mon. Nov. 27 – Groningen, NL @ Vera
Tue. Nov. 28 – Liege, BE @ Kulturaliege
Wed. Nov. 29 – Antwerp, BE @ Het Bos
Thu. Nov. 30 – Rotterdam, NL @ Worm
Fri. Dec. 1 – Saarbrücken, DE @ Das Modul
Download hi-res album art and press images –
www.pitchperfectpr.com/shopping/

Honey – New Moody Judy

I rarely buy an album based on a single track, but Honey’s new album, New Moody Judy, was an exception to the rule. I heard the first single, “Dream Come Now,” and thought, “Damn, I need to hear more of these cats.” and then pre-ordered the record.

It was a wise decision. New Moody Judy’s opener, “Wage Agreement,” blares out of your speakers with a wild mix of Stooges and Mudhoney influences. The guitars are loud, fuzzed, and urgent. “Urgent” might by the best word to describe the entire record, really. Every song wants to grab you by the arm and shake you until you snap out of it (whatever “it” is for you).

The sharp angles and explosive drums of “Dream Come Now” could power a rocket to the moon, or the scrawniest person to knock down someone three times as big as them. The title track throws in dashes of cosmic stoner rock and Nick Cave vocal styling. “Speed, Glue” isn’t, I’m sure, about people who can stick things to other things in a quick manner. The fuzzy bass and warped guitars are at the forefront of this amazing instrumental.

“Hungry” almost spins out of control with heavy bass, avalanche drums, and crazy guitar that sounds like something you’d hear on an out of control UFO. The band’s Mudhoney influence is front and center on “Bagman,” which sounds like something Mudhoney might’ve unleashed on a Seattle bar’s dilapidated stage in 1992. That means it’s a killer rock track, by the way. “Power” brings back the Stooges influence and MC5 touches as well. It never lets up from the first chord, which is the type of rock we need right now. The closer is “Peggy Ray” – a fierce garage-punk assault that you’ll want to play during your next free-run, skate, or even casual stroll around town.

This is one of the best rock records I’ve heard all year. I need to see these cats live. You need to see these cats live, and we all need this record.

Keep your mind open.

[You’d be a honey if you subscribed.]

Live: Psychedelic Furs and Bash & Pop – Chicago, IL – October 17, 2017

One of my best friends and I first saw and heard the Psychedelic Furs in the early days of MTV and thought they had the weirdest name of any band we’d seen.  They soon became favorites of ours and I’ve been keen to see them for years.  The day finally arrived when I could see their first of two nights at Chicago’s Thalia Hall (one of my top three favorite venues in the city) on October 17th.

Rockers Bash & Pop opened for them, and my friend, Steve, and I got there in time to check out the last three songs of their set.  They had a good blend of hard rock and a bit of garage punk.

Bash & Pop

It was a good crowd for a Tuesday night, and an interesting blend of aged punks, young hipsters, and music fanatics.  The Psychedelic Furs came out and opened with “Dumb Waiters.”  I’d guessed this would’ve been their closer, but they unleashed it right away and grabbed everyone’s attention.

Getting right down to business with “Dumb Waiters.”

What especially grabbed my attention is how lead singer Richard Butler‘s voice has seemingly not aged.  He sounded great, as did the entire band.  Mars Williams, the saxophone player (who also used to play for the Waitresses), shredded the entire night.

L-R: Mars Williams, Richard Butler, Tim Butler, and Amanda Kramer

The double whammy of “Pretty in Pink” followed by “Love My Way” had the entire crowd jumping.  One guy to my right was almost in throes of ecstasy by this point.  “Until She Comes” and “The Ghost in You” were also especially sharp.

“Pretty in Pink”

The lyrics of “All That Money Wants” is rather biting in this country right now, and they ended with “Heaven” before coming out to two encores.  The first had a powerful rendition of “Sister Europe” that cooked up a witches’ brew of post-punk, acid jazz, and shoegaze.  The second was a performance of the song I thought they’d have as the opener – “President Gas.”  Like “All That Money Wants,” you can’t help but hear the lyrics in a new light right now.

A killer rendition of “Sister Europe”

It was worth the wait to see them, and $40.00 for a signed tour poster was a steal.

Keep your mind open.

[Don’t forget to subscribe before you go.]

Melkbelly – Nothing Valley

Chicago post / noise-punk rockers Melkbelly (James Wetzel – drums, Bart Winters – guitar, Liam Winters – bass, Miranda Winters – guitar and vocals) are in no mood to take prisoners on their new full-length album Nothing Valley.

“Off the Lot” opens the album with a rapid-fire attack of Wetzel’s drums and angry guitar chords.  “Kid Kreative” brings to mind some of the Breeders‘ heavier tracks with Miranda Winters’ voice mixing post-punk attitude and garage rock urgency.

I don’t know what “R.O.R.O.B.” means, but I do know that it’s almost a goth rock classic.  Liam Winters’ bass line is one I’m sure Front 242 would love to have in their back pocket, and the rest of the band brings in a slightly creepy vibe you can’t ignore.  “Greedy Gull” has more angles to it than a 20-sided die.  The guitars are restless, but Wetzel’s drumming and Miranda Winters’ vocals keep the song rooted.

“Petrified” might indeed petrify you with its building wall of distorted sound.  By contrast, “Middle Of” will flatten you as it charges like an out of control steamroller.  “Twin Lookin’ Motherfucker” has great jagged guitar riffs throughout it.  “RUNXRN” chugs so hard it’s almost doom metal.  It abruptly ends, making the chaotic drums of “R2PCM” even more jarring.  At first, “Cawthra” sounds like a warped record (in a good way) and is an unexpected and welcome psychedelic diversion before it turns into a rock blitz.  I don’t know if “Helloween” is named after the German metal band, but the track is far more post-punk than metal (although some of the distortion in it would please any metal fan).  It’s also the longest track on the album at over five minutes.  This gives Melkbelly time to stretch their vocal and instrumental muscles in different directions, even dipping their toes into the goth pool for a couple moments.

This is one of my favorite rock records of the year.  I’ve been on a post-punk kick and Nothing Valley is a great addition to my collection.  It would be to yours as well.

Keep your mind open.

[Don’t get caught in the middle of boring music.  Subscribe to get news and reviews about lots of good stuff.]

 

Flat Worms’ new single, “Pearl,” sure to melt your face.

FLAT WORMS ANNOUNCE SELF-TITLED DEBUT ALBUM,
OUT OCTOBER 20TH VIA CASTLE FACE

WATCH VIDEO FOR DEBUT SINGLE, “PEARL”
https://youtu.be/HA7AU95C_zU

 [photo credit: Cayal Unger]

Flat Worms announce their self-titled debut full-length album, due out October 20th via Castle Face. Today the band, comprised of Will Ivy (Dream Boys, Wet Illustrated, Bridez), Justin Sullivan (Kevin Morby, the Babies) and Tim Hellman (Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Sic Alps) also share the Kevin M. Gossett directed video for lead single, “Pearl.”

Having already released a 7” on Volar, Flat Worms continue their ride on a buzzsaw wave of feedback-tipped riffs into the middle distance, smog choked sunset receding in the rearview, a thousand yard dead-pan surgically pinned to a high octane set of boredom energized punk pistons. Flat Worms – an ears-a-ringing missive from the end of the cul-de-sac, the mirage of direction wavering above a mid-sized American suburb at dusk, constellations bleached black by the sprawl. A little Wipers, a little Wire, and a lot of late-capitalist era anxious energy – Flat Worms scratch the itch quite nicely, we think.
Watch video for “Pearl” –
https://youtu.be/HA7AU95C_zU

Flat Worms Tracklisting:
01. Motorbike
02. Goodbye Texas
03. Pearl
04. Accelerated
05. White Roses
06. 11816
07. Followers
08. Faultline
09. Question
10. Red Hot Sand

Pre-order Flat Worms:
https://midheaven.com/item/flat-worms-by-flat-worms

[Flat Worms album artwork]
Flat Worms online:
Instagram
Bandcamp

Shame release a sharp new post-punk single – “Concrete.”

UK’S SHAME RELEASE NEW SINGLE & VIDEO, “CONCRETE“, TOUR NORTH AMERICAN IN NOVEMBER

DEBUT ALBUM COMING IN EARLY 2018

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR “CONCRETE”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MVLqZpnwow

Today, one of the UK’s most talked about young bands (and new Dead Oceans signing) Shame shares their new single and video, “Concrete.” A bracing jolt of a song, “Concrete” races forward on a tightly wound post-punk riff, its call-and-response vocals capturing the turmoil and schizophrenic internal dialogue of the song’s subject matter.

“It’s about someone who’s trapped in a relationship and they’re being pummelled into surrender,” says singer and lyricist Charlie Steen. “It’s not about a physically abusive relationship – more an emotionally and psychologically draining one. The call-and-response vocals [between Steen and bassist Josh Finerty] is the central figure’s own internal dialogue. They are dealing with two different things that they don’t want to address.”

The band cite The Fall, Parquet Courts, Country Teasers, Television Personalities and Wire among their biggest influences, and the icily claustrophobic sound of “Concrete” sets it in a lineage with Magazine, Joy Division and Siouxsie & The Banshees.

As a lyricist, Steen is a modern flâneur, forensically observing the lives of others around him as they unspool and fracture, with Hubert Selby Jr. and Irvine Welsh his primary literary influences. “That graphic and harsh style of writing always interested me,” he explains. “It’s not about the shock factor; it’s about the fact they are talking about these things in such great detail without stripping anything back.”

The London five piece have swiftly earned a reputation as one of the most visceral and exhilarating live bands in the UK, their combustible shows being honed through a heavy touring schedule in the UK and across Europe. Cutting their teeth on the squat-punk scene in the Queen’s Head in Brixton in 2015, where they were taken under the wing of Fat White Family, the white heat of their gigs quickly landed them support slots with Slaves and Warpaint. They were also personally invited by Billy Bragg to play the Left Field stage at Glastonbury this year.

Following two official singles –”The Lick”/”Gold Hole” and “Tasteless” on Fnord Communications as well as the digital-only Theresa May-baiting “Visa Vulture” (described by Steen as “the worst love song ever”) – “Concrete” is the first track to be released as part of their record deal with Dead Oceans.

“We started this band as a joke that went too far,” deadpans Steen. “What we do is quite strange and quite weird, but I get to meet a lot of people and I get to hear a lot of things. I am interested in the surrealism of reality.”

Shame are: Charlie Steen (vocals); Sean Coyle-Smith (guitar); Eddie Green (guitar); Charlie Forbes (drums); and Josh Finerty (bass).

PRAISE FOR SHAME“This U.K. band marries performance, poetry and punk in a way I won’t soon forget.” – Bob Boilen, NPR Music

“Grimy post-punk with a whiff of menace” – Q

“Expect them to turn up the heat even more as they progress” – Time Out 

“The forefront of a compelling new scene in the capital” – NME 

SHAME TOUR DATES (North American dates in bold)
Sat. Sep. 30 – Margate, UK @ By The Sea Festival
Mon. Oct. 9 – Bristol, UK @ Louisiana
Tue. Oct. 10 – Leeds, UK @ Lending Room
Wed. Oct. 11 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Thu. Oct. 12 – Edinburgh, UK @ Sneaky Pete’s
Fri. Oct. 13 – Liverpool, UK @ Buyers Club
Sat. Oct. 14 – Dublin, IE @ Workamn’s Club
Wed. Oct. 18 – London, UK @ Scala
Sat. Oct. 21 – Cardiff, UK @ Swn Festival
Tue. Oct. 24 – Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
Wed. Oct. 25 – Groningen, NL @ Vera
Fri. Oct. 27 – Amsterdam, NL @ London Calling Festival
Thu. Nov. 2 – Reykjavik, IS @ Iceland Airwaves Festival
Fri. Nov. 10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
Sun. Nov. 12 – Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA
Mon-Nov-13 – Washington, DC @ DC9
Wed. Nov. 15 – New York, NY  @ Home Sweet Home
Thu. Nov. 16 – Allston, MA  @ The Great Scott
Fri. Nov. 17 – Montreal, QC  @ M for Montreal
Sat. Nov. 18 – Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck
Sun. Nov. 19 – Buffalo, NY  @ Mohawk Place
Mon. Nov. 20 – Arden, DE  @ Arden Gild Hall +

Fri. Dec. 1 – Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere
Sun. Dec. 3 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom *
Mon. Dec. 4 – Heidelburg, DE @ Halle O2 *
Wed. Dec. 6 – Köln, DE @ Gebäude 9 *
Thu. Dec. 7 – Munster, DE @ Gleis 22 *
Fri. Dec. 8 – Essen, DE @ Hotel Shanghai *
Sat. Dec. 9 – Dresden, DE @ Groove Station *
Mon. Dec. 11 – Hannover, DE @ Bei Chez Heinz *
Tue. Dec. 12 – Bremen, DE @ Lagerhaus *
Wed. Dec. 13 – Hamburg, DE @ Knust *
Thu. Dec. 14 – Braunschweig, DE @ Eule *
Fri. Dec. 15 – Rostock, DE @ Helgas Stadtpalast *
Sat. Dec. 16 – Berlin @ Festaal Kreuzberg *
Fri. Feb. 2 – Adelaide, AU @ Laneway Festival
Sat. Feb. 3 – Melbourne, AU @ Laneway Festival
Sun. Feb. 4 – Sydney, AU @ Laneway Festival
Sat. Feb. 10 – Brisbane, AU @ Laneway Festival
Sun. Feb. 11 – Perth, AU @ Laneway Festival

+ with Ought
* with Gurr

Dion Lunadon – self-titled

As the story goes, Dion Lunadon, known to many as the bass player and co-mastermind of A Place to Bury Strangers, was feeling restless during a break in APTBS’ tour schedule. So, he poured that restless energy into his first solo album and gave the world a frantic, wild piece of noise-punk that has some fun surprises in it.

The album’s opener is a raging piece against something we all have to deal with – “Insurance, Rent, and Taxes.” The song flattens you with squelching sound and Robi Gonzalez (who used to play for APTBS). Lundaon sings, “Much too young to get any older.” on the swinging “Reduction Agent.” Lunadon reveals his love of dirty juke joint blues in the track in both the rhythm and lyrics (“I’ve got the mark of death. It won’t leave me alone.”). The organ and bass on “Fire” burns as hot as its namesake, building to a crazy blender-like frenzy. “Com / Broke” is your new favorite song for trying to beat rush hour traffic. Just be careful, as Lunadon’s lyrics do involve car crashes, fires, and self-destruction.

“Hanging By a Thread” is a post-punk (and nearly instrumental) surprise with guitars that sound like industrial saws. The industrial grind continues on “Move,” and Lunadon’s vocals sounds like the Borg has assimilated him. The drums blast the doors off the song around the 1:30 mark and you’re holding on for dear life by that point.

“Eliminator” is fierce noise-punk, and “Howl” is about Lunadon’s joy in expressing himself in the spotlight. It’s like something Lou Reed blasted out of his speakers when getting ideas for Metal Machine Music.

Believe it or not, “Ripper” is a psychobilly cut and Lunadon and crew have a blast on it. I couldn’t help but grin through the whole track. “White Fence,” on the other hand, is more fine post-punk with weirdly angled guitars and desperate vocal stylings. The closer, “No Control,” brings Lunadon’s album back into weird psychedelia before a quick, distorted fade out leaves you gasping for breath.

This debut solo record is quite a statement. It’s powerful, brash, and even fun. More debuts need to be this self-assured.

Keep your mind open.

[Need a reason to go on?  Just subscribe and you’ll get updates sent straight to your e-mail inbox.  You’ll have something to read nearly every day.]

Melkbelly announces tour dates with the Breeders and Bully.

MELKBELLY ANNOUNCE MORE TOUR DATES, INCLUDING SUPPORT FOR THE BREEDERS & BULLY, IN SUPPORT OF DEBUT ALBUM, NOTHING VALLEY, OUT OCTOBER 13TH ON CARPARK’S WAX NINE

(photo credit – Lenny Gilmore )

Chicago’s Melkbelly are set to release their debut full-length album, Nothing Valley, on Oct. 13th on Carpark Records’ imprint Wax Nine. Next week, the four-piece — Miranda Winters (vocals/guitar), brothers Bart (guitar) and Liam Winters (bass), and James Wetzel (drums) — hit the road for a run of pre-release shows supporting Protomartyr. Today, they are announcing more headline shows, plus support tours with The Breeders and Bully. All dates are below.

Emerging from Chicago’s DIY spaces, Melkbelly recorded Nothing Valley fresh off a west coast tour. The resulting debut album is organized noise and thoughtful freneticism. Throughout, they fuse dreamy vocal lines and cantankerous guitar racket as their songs clang and bang in stripped-down production that highlights the band’s sharp edges. Multi-faceted slabs of sound serve harmonious, immediate songs.

Watch Melkbelly’s “Middle Of” Video –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdLUXUsBoQY “Kid Kreative” Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mJoRmdYTo0Pre-order Nothing Valley:
Via Wax Nine – smarturl.it/nothingvalley_wax9
iTunes – smarturl.it/nothingvalley_itunes
Apple Music – smarturl.it/nothingvalley_appleMelkbelly Tour Dates:
(new shows in bold)
Wed. Sep 6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Cattivo #
Thu. Sep. 7 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery #
Fri. Sep 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Festival
Sat. Sep. 9 – Asheville, NC @ Mothlight #
Sun. Sep. 10 – Cincinnati, OH @ Northside Yacht Club #
Fri. Oct. 13 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout (Record Release Show)
Mon. Oct. 16 – Bloomington, IN @ Bishop Bar +
Tue. Oct. 17 – Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness
Wed. Oct. 18 – Washington DC @ Comet Ping Pong
Fri. Oct. 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Alphaville
Tue. Oct 24 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
Wed. Nov. 08 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom ^ — SOLD OUT
Thu. Nov. 09 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox ^
Sun. Nov. 12 – San Francisco, CA @ the Independent ^ — SOLD OUT
Mon. Nov. 13 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater ^ — SOLD OUT
Tue. Nov. 14 – Phoenix, AZ @ LBX
Thu. Nov. 16 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
Fri. Feb. 16 – Norman, OK @ Opolis *
Sat. Feb. 17 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf *
Sat. Feb. 24 – Eugene, OR @ Hi Fi Music Hall * 
Mon. Feb. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret *
Thu. March 1 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett *
Fri. March 2 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux *
Sat. March 3 – Salt Lake City @ Kilby Court *
Tue. March 6 – Kansas City @ The Record Bar *

# = with Protomartyr
+ = with Snail Mail
^ = with the Breeders
* = with Bully

Live: Depeche Mode and Warpaint – Toronto, ON – September 03, 2017

The calm before the storm at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.

Somehow multiple decades have gone by without me catching electro legends Depeche Mode live.  The dates finally worked out, and my wife and I were able to see them and shoegaze / post-punk newcomers Warpaint at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

Warpaint impressing a lot of us.

Warpaint played a good set of crisp post-punk with snappy bass lines and even snappier drumming (which would be a theme for the entire night).  I’d heard a lot of good things about them, and they didn’t disappoint.  I need to find more of their material.

Looking down the “Barrel of a Gun” with Depeche Mode.

Out came Depeche Mode to the Beatles’ “Revolution,” a major theme for their new album – Spirit.  They rolled into “Going Backwards,” “So Much Love,” and “Barrel of a Gun” (which included a snippet of Grand Master Flash’s “The Message,” which cracked me up).

“World In My Eyes”

The crowd (which filled the stadium, apart from the unsold / unused seats behind the stage, by the way) jumped to its feet when they broke into “World In My Eyes.”  It was a reminder of not only their electro prowess, but how much influence they’ve had on Trent Reznor.  An acoustic version of “Question of Lust,” sung by Martin Gore, was a crowd favorite, and the follow-up of “Home” was excellent.

Depeche Mode never letting us down.

“Where’s the Revolution?” – the first single off Spirit – was another standout and essentially the band’s rallying cry for fans old and new to stand up against The Man. “Everything Counts” is also staggeringly relevant for these times, even though it’s decades old by now.  It preceded “Stripped,” “Enjoy the Silence” (which  was almost entirely sung by the now-bonkers crowd), and “Never Let Me Down Again” – which was better live than I even hoped it would be (and drummer Christian Eigner was absolutely slaying his kit by this point).

“Somebody”

The encore started with “Somebody,” included a nice cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and finished with big hits “I Feel You” and “Personal Jesus,” which had everyone raising their hands to “reach out and touch faith.”

“Personal Jesus”

It was long overdue, but very welcome.  My wife immediately listened to their new album as soon as we got back from the show.  She woke up the next day with Depeche Mode songs in their head, and I’ve had “Never Let Me Down Again” stuck in my brain for days.

Thanks for the fun, DM and Warpaint.

Keep your mind open.