Month: September 2013

Watch Arcade Fire’s Concert Special, since NBC13 First Baptist played another “pro-grum”

If any of y’all are old enough to remember Birmingham’s ABC affiliate being ass and not showing Ellen’s “I’M GAY” episode back in 1997, then you know the feeling.

After SNL last night, Arcade Fire had a kickass special showing off new music which featured cameos from James Franco, Michael Cera and on and on.

But you wouldn’t know that… unless you watched when NBC 13 aired it at 3 IN THE MORNING.

Harumph. Ain’t nobody got time for that. BHAMFM always gotchu though.

ENJOY.

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Sigur Ros 2-for-1s, or, THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS

I read recently that next Friday’s Sigur Ros concert at the BJCC has not only not sold out already, but that there are tickets available on a buy one get one free basis. On the one hand, this is great news for people who may not have been able to afford the tickets when they first went on sale.

However, some early buyers are surely miffed at having to pay what now amounts to double.

In either case, I can’t help but feel like this is some kind of karma: Birmingham doesn’t get to complain about not getting any “big shows”, then sleep on the big shows when they do come.

Too many times in my show-going life, I’ve heard people lamenting about having to drive to Atlanta or Nashville to see that big show that’s “never coming to Birmingham anyway”. Be careful what you wish for: you just might get it.

I’ve seen Sigur Ros live twice: once at the Tabernacle, and again at the Michigan Theater. Some drunk guy hooting in the balcony the entire show in Atlanta kept Sigur Ros from returning for an encore, but it was a blissful event nonetheless. In Ann Arbor, there were no drunken slobs, so we were treated to the beautiful set AND an encore performance ending with “#8 (Popplagio)” from “( )”. It is rare (unless you are on some legally questionable mind-altering substances) to have a musical performance transcend watching some guys playing music and turn into experiencing the music the way a Sigur Ros concert does.

Silence between musical phrases becomes deafening. Your heart pounds in time with the pace of the drums. You feel each note. Insert another emoting musical cliche here. You get the idea.

Folks, don’t let this show become that Creed show at the BJCC a few years ago, where tickets were available for a PENNY the day of the show (not that I’m endorsing Creed, even though we all know Creed Shreds). If you waited this long for tickets, buy two and take a friend. Take

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your mom. Take your roommate. Take the money you saved on a ticket and buy their new album “Kveikur”. Take a cute girl and be there to hold her hand and be a shoulder to cry on, because it will be needed. Otherwise, the next time Birmingham evokes its self-fulfilling prophecy of never getting good shows, it will need that shoulder to cry on when shows skip over us because we let other cities’ high-demand tickets turn into twofers.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY – COLLEGE FOOTBALL EDITION!!

ole miss v alabma 1969

We are deep into college football, and in this part of the country these days, it’s like a sick obsession. Since we are a Birmingham-centric music website, and this city is full of college football fans, I thought it would be apropos to post a music video from Tuscaloosa based The Dexateens this week. The University of Alabama has a big game this weekend against a team I, personally, am VERY familiar with. I’ve always heard The Dexateens are the band closely associated with T-Town and The Tide. I’m just now listening to this band, and

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I found this video from a few years ago that I really dig.

Here’s the “Bama video”:

The “big game” the Tide has this weekend is against my alma mater, the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss, in case you didn’t know) Rebels. Oxford, Mississippi has a rich history of music spawning bands like Beanland, Kudzu Kings, Dent May, Colour Revolt, just to name a few, not to mention home to the legendary record label, Fat Possum Records. One band closely associated with Oxford is Bass Drum of Death. John Barrett (the brains behind BDOD) was born and raised in Oxford and occasionally tweets about Ole Miss sports. This is one of my favorite bands of all time and this video was filmed at the legendary “Dude Ranch” in Oxford. It’s a massive house where John and his friends, some other members of the self-named “infotainment cult” Cats Purring, have had parties and hosted bands (like DIIV, Ducktails, Real Estate and Grimes). This one is wild.

Here’s the “Ole Miss video”:

The other big team in Alabama is the Auburn University Tigers who ALSO play Ole Miss, but next week. Looks like I’m gonna have to do this again next Friday…

Interview with the organizers of CASK & DRUM Festival

caskanddrum

It seems more and more things are happening in downtown Birmingham these days. With the success of Railroad Park, the creation of the beautiful, new Regions Field (and its success as well), and of course, the current revamping of the dilapidated Avondale neighborhood, it’s clear that downtown is starting to flourish. There are plenty of things to do on a weekend in and around downtown Birmingham but one event in particular has got the city and its Internet community abuzz, Cask and Drum.

It started on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook a few months back as a complete mystery but now, has an identity as a music, wine, craft beer, and food truck festival with acts like Black Rebel Motorcyle Club, Lord Huron, and Dwight Yoakam playing the stages. “A Social Gathering of Sound and Spirits” is how the marketing gurus of Cask and Drum are describing it. To an outsider it might seem like “just another music festival”, but it’s much more than that.

I sat down with one of the people who helped get the legs under this project, local hero, Will Lochamy. If you don’t know who Will is, then you should. Will is a long time Birmingham resident and radio and television host of the Oh Brother Radio Show and The Iron Bowl Hour, respectively. He’s been involved in several other projects in Birmingham and is a champion of the revitalization of our city. Here’s what he had to say about this heavily buzzed about festival.

BHAMFM: My first question is: How did this idea come about?

Will Lochamy: The fine folks from the Lakeview Association came to Scott Register and asked about doing a music festival. From there, Scott immediately thought of Todd Coder (of Ticketbiscuit) because of his involvement with Hangout and everything else he does. From there, myself and Jeff Clanton were contacted, and that’s kind of how the whole thing came together. You know, there’s been a need for a music festival in Birmingham like this for a long time. This is very different than any music festival that’s happened here. I really do think it’s going to be a unique thing for the whole country, not just Birmingham.

BHAMFM: At this point the early tickets online appear to be sold out, but are there opportunities to buy tix at the gate?

Will: Wow. That’s news to me. There are phases of ticket sales. The prices go up on each phase so people are encouraged to buy tickets earlier. VIP tickets sold out almost immediately. That was very early on. There are three different kinds of tickets and three different phases of ticket sales. There definitely will be another phase, whether that is at the gate or online that last week (before the festival). People still have an opportunity. Don’t give up yet!

BHAMFM :What sets Cask and Drum apart from other music festivals around the South?

Will: I think the layout, for one. It’s on a green space. Other festivals are like that, but for Birmingham that’s unusual. Aside from that, just the lineup and the people who are putting this lineup together: Todd Coder, Scott Register, the folks from Birmingham Mountain Radio. I think the lineup that has come together is so different. You have Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Dwight Yoakam, and then, Railroad Earth, that are all playing on the same stage on the same day. Each one of those bands is going to bring their own crowd, and yet, that crowd will still enjoy the other bands. So, it’s not like there’s any band that alienates people or anything like that.

BHAMFM: One of the sponsors for the festival is Schaeffer Eye Center. Is this Crawfish Boil 2.0? It’s the same sponsor and original location, so what would make it different from that festival?

Will: It is the same sponsor. Jack Schaeffer is highly involved in a ton of stuff that goes on in town. It’s incredibly different from the Crawfish Boil, and you can see that from just looking at the lineup. And also, while Cask and Drum is in Lakeview, Lakeview actually spans a huge area. So, it’s not in the same place or even in the same area that the original Crawfish Boil was. That was up in the Lakeview Entertainment District. This (Cask and Drum) is down on the green spaces on 1st Avenue South, kind of near Pepper Place, in between Inline Electric and Alabama Ballet. So, really close to Sloss Furnace, just across the railroad tracks. While Schaeffer Eye Center is awesome and a great sponsor and we are super glad to have them on board, the similarities between Cask and Drum and the Crawfish Boil stop there. There’s nothing wrong with the Crawfish Boil, but this is a very different event.

BHAMFM: Looks like the headliner will be Mr. Dwight Yoakam, aka Doyle Hargraves from Slingblade. What made you guys decide to book Dwight on the bill with these other unique acts? Also, what is the likelihood that he will fly off the handle and go off on a long rant like in the movie?

Will: (laughs at my amazing joke) It really just goes back to the Slingblade movie all together. That’s the only reason we wanted him! No, here’s the funny thing, Dwight’s folks actually came to us. Which was, of course, a huge honor and at that point, how in the world would you turn that down? It’s Dwight Yoakam. Here’s what’s so great: I like Dwight Yoakam, my parents like Dwight Yoakam, teenagers can like Dwight Yoakam. So, he’s somebody who just, across the board, you know is going to be accepted by everyone. And a name like Dwight Yoakam. And the hat, that’s a huge part of it.

This is a major Birmingham event in the fall. It’ll be nice outside and you will feel cool hanging around downtown with your friends, drinking and watching live music. Don’t miss Cask and Drum on October 12th. You know you want to get drunk and sing along to “Guitars and Cadillacs“. Don’t deny it.

 

Hitting Hellfest from your couch

Man, I love the Internet. Is there no end to the awesome stuff on this seemingly endless series of tubes? Though it is all a marketing cliché now, we all find webpages that excite, interest and (ahem) stimulate us. And while we’re all a bit callous to social media and online sharing now, there are still some surprises to be found on the wild and wooly Internets.

My latest honey hole, if you will, is Hellfest’s VIMEO video channel. Just sitting there waiting on suburban dads that woke up way too early on a Saturday morning are 21 Hellfest performance videos from some of today’s best metal bands. Heck, they’re even in HD…assuming you can afford that type of bandwidth.

Below are five of my favorites, and conveniently enough, they are all bands that I can tie into the musical history of Birmingham, AL.

 

NEUROSIS

Oh man, this is a burner. From Hellfest 2013, this video is almost 27 minutes and includes only three songs. That lets you know what to expect. Here, the band treats us to one older track plus two tracks off their latest album, ‘Honor Found In Decay.’

Though I made the trek to Atlanta to see NEUROSIS in all their seething, doomy glory late last December, I was happy to see/hear the band play without 20 sweaty beardies under each armpit. I kid, I kid! I think you guys all look great with those long Amish beards, and I’m with you – who actually needs to wear deodorant or put on clean clothes in 2013? Definitely not NEUROSIS fans, I can tell you that!

Birmingham: Though NEUROSIS has made the big time now playing only festivals and one-off gigs around the world, they actually have a long history of playing the Magic City. From what I’ve seen, they played Tuxedo Junction twice back in the punk days, they played some goofy club downtown on the ‘Enemy of the Sun’ tour (I was there!) and they played at (I think) 5 Points Music Hall on the ‘Through Silver In Blood’ tour. A friend once cornered Steve Von Till when they opened for Pantera in Atlanta, and Von Till had nothing but fine things to say about our fair city. I dream of a sold-out show for the band in the small side of Workplay, but I’m weird like that.

 

THOU

This is why I love European metal festivals – a band that plays basements in the U.S. can fly over to Europe and make decent scratch playing to thousands of drunk music fans. Make that money in 2012, son! I’m assuming you’ve never heard of THOU. Well, what are you waiting for? Click play, just take an antidepressant first.

Yep, all down-tuned gloom and tortured growling all the time. I’m not sure how you even tune a guitar that low, but whatever, man. THOU hails from Baton Rogue, LA, and they have an exhaustively thorough website. There you can learn anything you’ve ever wanted to know about the band and download a good bit of their discography for free. They are evidently huge NIRVANA fans and have done a few covers, so check those out as well.

Birmingham: I caught THOU at The Firehouse back when it was still called The Firehouse. I had heard the Internet chatter, and it ended up being one of those sets that I wished would never end. Once the gurgling began, I was awestruck at how something so ugly and unwieldy could tickle my brain stem in such a pleasant way. “You keep hitting that ride cymbal nice and slow, you keep screaching and you guys keep those guitars rumbling…I’m going to stand here and contemplate the beautiful cruelty of life.” THOU tours less than they used to, but rest assured, if they ever play Birmingham again I will get on BhamFM.com and gush like a 13-year-old Bieber fan after three Redbulls.

 

WITCHCRAFT

Do you guys/gals like hard rock? I mean, do you really, really like hard rock? Cool. Me too. I only ask because the last WITCHCRAFT album was fucking awesome. Basically, after a handful of albums where the band stayed within their restrictive ‘rip off PENTAGRAM’ framework, ‘Legend’ really surprised me.

After signing with Nuclear Blast and going through some lineup changes, the band came out with ‘Legend,’ a well-written, polished (I’m going to say it) masterpiece. A complicated but poppy album packed with killer riffs that were actually helped by the clean production. This 42-minute live set from 2013 highlights a number of songs from ‘Legend,’ and even though the drummer is wearing funny pants, I give it an enthusiastic seven thumbs up.

Birmingham: WITCHCRAFT played the Bottletree, and I didn’t fucking go. What is wrong with me? Do I have brain damage? Okay, it was a long time ago, and the band was relatively unknown. At that point, I’d only heard a song or two. But, I’m still kicking myself in the ass over this one. A roving band of PENTAGRAM loving Swedes played my local rock club, but I was too busy cussing at my dog and watching Pawn Stars to go. Damn, kill me now. How can one metal fan be so short-sighted and ignorant? Don’t be like me, kids. Go see every band, every time!

 

KYLESA

Speaking of the Bottletree, KYLESA are playing there in just over a week, and I’m tickled pink. Another Hellfest video band, another great new album. I’ve been swimming in the second side of ‘Ultraviolet’ for months now. Psychedelic, sweet and crushing, I love this band even more as they shuffle, evolve and transform. I’m sure there are KYLESA fans out there complaining that the band has left most of their early hardcore and crust sound behind, but I’m not one of them.

If you’re like most red-blooded music fans in America, you spent at least six months soaking in PINK FLOYD albums as a teenager. Their influence has been huge in the metal world, especially lately. Other than BLACK SABBATH, I don’t think there is a classic rock band that has had a heavier effect on metal bands throughout the years. In fact, their influence can be traced through the years on bands like VOIVOD, NEUROSIS, KYLESA and now a whole new generation of doom and shoegaze metallers.

Birmingham: They’re coming back to Bottletree on Oct 2. They’re coming back to Bottletree on Oct 2.They’re coming back to Bottletree on Oct 2. Go buy a ticket. Go buy a ticket. Go buy a ticket. – This is not a sponsored post. I bought a ticket a while back because if this show sold out and I couldn’t get in, I would have cried for a solid month. I’m pretty sure that my wife would have left me.

 

THE MELVINS

OMG you guys, 62 minutes of THE MELVINS squeezing your soul like a tube of toothpaste. This is a set I’ve actually watched more than once. The four-man lineup of the band featuring both members of BIG BUSINESS (two drummers, ya’ll!) lurches through a fantastic set. Dudes from other bands actually crowd the side of the stage to watch these sludge mavens bang out 16-tracks of tar-soaked goodness.

Speaking of a band that’s influenced thousands, the world could pile heaps of fame, money and accolades on THE MELVINS for the next 30 years, and it still wouldn’t be enough. In my mind, there is no overstating this band’s impact on music over the past 30 years. From hardcore, to grunge, to doom, to noise…this band has influenced every scene. This is especially strange considering their unassuming approach to the music business. At times grumpy and obtuse, at times happy and copacetic, these old goats still got it.

Birmingham: If there’s a touring rock band that’s played Birmingham more than THE MELVINS, I’ve never heard of them. I can’t even begin to type up an exhaustive list of their Birmingham gigs, so I’ll tell you about my first experience with the band instead. I had tried to get into THE MELVINS twice in the early 1990s. Dead ears, dumb brain, sluggish development…whatever the cause I had traded the CDs in and moved on to something more palatable.

In 1996, I tried again with ‘Stag’ and a friend and I decided to check out their set at The Nick. It was a Wednesday night: I had a midterm the next day and my buddy had to be at work at 6 a.m. We showed up knowing there was no opening band. ‘Cool, we’ll get out of here early.’ Uh, no. Since there was no opening band, the members of THE MELVINS switched up instruments and played a clunky improv set. It might have been 20 minutes, but it felt like three hours. Brought low by our responsibilities and pissed about the whole episode, we left before the main set even started and talked endless shit for months. I didn’t end up being a full THE MELVINS convert until the 2000s when my beloved Internet allowed me to fully explore their back catalog. If you choose to follow my lead, here’s a little friendly advice: Don’t even bother with ‘Prick’ or ‘The Crybaby,’ and the new ‘Everybody Loves Sausages’ ain’t so hot either. Sorry, guys.

So there it is. Waste a day of your life watching these high-quality metal videos like I did. All the cool olds are doing it. Sorry, but I gotta split. I found QUEEN’s ‘Jazz’ on vinyl at the Roebuck thrift store yesterday. I’m gonna go listen to that like four times in a row.

Pics: Days Like Always/Sloss Minor at The Forge

First, let me warn you how incredibly compromised we are with the band Sloss Minor. We are twitter friends, and occasionally real-life cohorts. They have cute dogs. They’re good people. So please let the fact that we took pictures of them wash over you and such. Rachael let us know they were playing The Forge on Friday night, and we used it as an opportunity to go somewhere we hadn’t been, and take pictures. There were 5 bands playing, but I got pictures of 3 of them. The ones I missed were American Opera and The End of an Era. The Forge is a nice venue, but my camera requires beer to operate. Judge me if you need to. I’m ok with that.

We walked in with Phil Dudley finishing up his set. I captured but one picture of him. Let this be a warning to you, The Forge’s lighting was… fun. Different. You’re going to see some grain. You may even see some digital artifacts. Let’s go on this journey together. This journey of ISO noise.

Phil Dudley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up was Days Like Always, from Sylacauga.

Sloss Minor (or 2 members of it) played next. They ran through a bunch of new songs off their record coming out early next year and closed with my favorite tune of theirs, Human Centipede.

If The Forge ever does a Kickstarter for lighting, I’ll gladly throw some bucks their way. Other than that, a very cool venue that I hope to get back to sometime.