Thu - October 30, 2008

Jennifer O'Connor (10/15/08)

I can't say that I'm a huge Jennifer O'Connor fan, though I've enjoyed her new album more than previous ones. But I really wanted to get out and see a show. Actually, my original plan was to go see the in-store performance of Frightened Rabbit at Music Saves prior to seeing Jennifer, but that just didn't work out (just too early). But she was very good and the show was very enjoyable... until the sold out (??) Nick Lowe show in the Ballroom let out and crowded the Tavern. Guess I'm glad Jennifer got a bit more of an audience... but that made it a good time for me to ditch.

The kicker in all this is that I just found out that Frightened Rabbit (whom I *really* like) ended up playing at the Spot that night!! What a bummer! Sorry Jennifer, but I would have gone to that show instead. Oh well.

Posted at 08:20 AM     |

Liam Finn (10/3/08)

Just to get this out of the way, yes he's the son of Neil Finn... but he stands out as a performer in his own right. I had been really enjoying some songs on his album and was excited to see him perform at the Grog Shop. This ended up being a much more rock show that I was really expecting. He jammed on songs harder and longer than I've seen before, well, except maybe for Xavier Rudd. Guess it's something about those from down under. Not all his songs were great, similar to the album, but I just loved the jams, the banter on stage, the cutie brother that came out to perform, etc. Just over a great personality, energy, and I expect great things from him.

Posted at 08:16 AM     |

Ryan Adams (9/30/08)

My friend Tim was able to hook me up with tickets for this show. I've been a sideline Ryan fan for a couple years. Lately his song "Two" has just gripped me (embed below). He's one of the artists that I wouldn't pay a lot to go see, but would DEFINITELY go if for free. :-)

I invited my co-worker with me and we had a GREAT time, stopping at Becky's before the show, as I always do before going to Playhouse Square. Which by the way, was a great venue for him! Sure, the audience was a little annoying, but overall the played an amazing set. Clean, crisp and well done. Even his awkwardness on stage, bantering was extremely charming.

Since then, I started listening to his new album Cardinology, and I think I'm going to start listening to him even more now. He's definitely been knocked up a notch, and I will definitely see him next time (even if I have to pay).

Revel in the brilliance.

<htmlcode><object width="300" height="110"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="300" height="110" wmode="transparent"></embed>Two - Ryan Adams</object></htmlcode>

Posted at 08:13 AM     |

Neko Case (9/23/08)

Another sold out Neko show. I was excited early on for this show, but as it approached, I became less-so. Something about sold-out shows really turns me off. I ended up showing up late and leaving early, but not before being charmed by her once more. She played some new songs off the new album... FINALLY! Bring it on Neko.

Posted at 08:12 AM     |

Dar Williams (9/16/08)

Oh Dar... how I love thee. I was sooo glad to see her perform at the Beachland, rather than the House of Blues like last time. And the funny thing is that she made light of that during her show, commenting on how the audience loved the Beachland more, despite almost killing a Beachland-goer trying to back the tour bus into the Beachland parking lot.

As soon as I walked in, I saw my friend Jen sitting in the front row. She offered me a couple seats!! Love her.

The show was good as always, and I enjoyed the unconventional drumming for this show. Oh, and Shawn Mullins opened. I admit I wasn't that excited about him, but he was rather enjoyable! I might even see him again.

Since this show, I've spent even more time with her new album and I'm LOVING it more and more. I couldn't find "Buzzer" to embed, but check it out on her MySpace page.

Posted at 08:01 AM     |

Nathan Duprey (9/12/08)

What a night... I had been planning on this show for a while, being very excited to see him since he surprised me with his previous performance at the Spider opening up for Liz Stahler. Since that night, I've seen Liz & Brianna again, offering up my place to crash. They were excited, and VERY appreciative to the offer and it hit me last minute that Nathan might be interested as well. I emailed Liz and she passed the message and and it worked out! I'm so happy to help out traveling musicians. :-)

Chad & I went to the show and had a great time watching Nathan perform on the old Piano in the corner of the Spider. Extremely talented and dynamic! After his set, the bluegrass band that followed asked him to join them on a couple songs and it was great. After the show, we went back to my place, hung out, played skip-bo and ate pickled eggs. Well, Nathan didn't. I think they kinda freaked him out. The next morning we ate a little breakfast and he was on his way. Can't wait to see him perform again.

Hopefully next time I'll remember to take a picture...

Posted at 07:45 AM     |

Ra Ra Riot (9/10/08)

These guys were a big surprise... I had been hearing their name, then saw they were coming to Case Western. It had been awhile since I've seen a show at The Spot (Supersystem), and I was itchin' to go. Their new album was enjoyable, and so was their show. Well, other than the hoochie guy & girl grinding in the front like they were at a Lil' Kim concert. They even had the gall to be confrontational as all the indie kids just stared at their ridiculousness. Ugh. But despite, they were great performers and I'd love to see them again.

I'm also happy to see they're getting some bigger press!

<html><object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object></html>

Ra Ra Riot Crosses "The Rhumb Line" (

Posted at 07:42 AM     |

Wed - October 29, 2008

Eilen Jewell (9/6/08)

My friend Tim had been telling me about Eilen Jewell, wanting me to go see her in Akron. I couldn't make it, but found out she was going to be at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. She was really the only performer that I would consider paying attention to this year, unlike previous years. She was good, I'd see her again.

Posted at 08:40 PM     |

Silver String Band (8/30/08)

Another great night at the Spider.

Posted at 08:39 PM     |

Silver Jews (8/29/08)

[another round of rapid catching up...]

My friend Jared contacted me about seeing the Silver Jews. I hadn't heard much about them before, but listened to the new album and was surprisingly impressed. The meloncholy sound and the deep voice, reminding me of Johnny Cash. At the show, Jared told me this was the kind of band he'd like to hear on some random country rest-stop jukebox. Very well put.

One of my favorite songs from the new album:

What Is Not But Could Be If - Silver Jews

Posted at 08:33 PM     |

Sun - October 26, 2008

Mates of State (8/3/08)

I had been enjoying this album, but this was another one of the shows where their performance solidified their stature as one of my favorites. Mates of State looked like a 30-something married hipster couple (and I mean that with the utmost respect). I really enjoyed seeing them perform, but I really need to get more acquainted with their earlier stuff, as that was a major crowd pleaser. They were *really* into it. They really seemed into the crowd as well, saying we were "better than Lollapalooza." Suck ups. :-)

Posted at 09:03 PM     |

Janis Ian (7/31/08)

Another show at Cain Park. This time I wasn't going to dare take a photo.

I've seen Janis Ian at Cain Park before (pre-blogging), and had a great time. This time wasn't any different. I called early and got 4th row seats. I told my neighbors and they were VERY jealous, because they tried and got seats much further back. The day of the show, I surprised them and switched tickets. I was happy to do it because they were so excited, and I didn't mind hanging back this show.

One of the best aspects of a Janis Ian show is her storytelling. Every song had a long story that wound it's way to lead into the song. She is a very enjoyable story teller, which is probably what makes her such a great musician.

Posted at 08:58 PM     |

Over the Rhine (7/22/08)

What a great night to be at Cain Park! Even better that this Over the Rhine show was part of their $2 show promotion.

Unfortunately we were running late. As we were walking in, I heard them covering Gillian Welch's "Look at Miss Ohio." Ugh!! What a great song. Unfortunately, walking in we saw how few people were there. WTF? Over the Rhine is definitely an established and respected band, so this was a surprise (not to mention the price). They went on to play a great set, making this a nearly perfect summer night. They also covered Emmylou Harris' "Orphan Girl" and Pretenders "My City was Gone."

My only complains that night were the bug light continually zapping, and that the ushers were camera nazis. Within seconds of me taking a photo with my phone, they were on me, almost having a fit. A couple minutes later, a woman in front of me did the same. Only this time, the usher caused a ruckus by making the concert-goer delete the photo right in front of them, proving it's demise. Whatever. Just good to remember for next time.

Posted at 08:53 PM     |

Pitchfork Music Festival 2008

[...time to blow through these shows that need posted]

Where to start... Last year's Pitchfork Music Festival was amazing. So much so, that I knew I was coming back this year despite who was performing. I wasn't disappointed.

Of course, one of the reasons that a weekend like this is possible is because of my good friend Sal and her husband Chris. Going to Chicago always results in a good time hanging out with them. Though one of the stipulations this year was that I stay for the entire day (both days) at the Festival, so I didn't get to hang with them as much as I'd like. This year we drove in on Saturday morning, just enough time to drop our stuff w/ Sal and head on over to Union Park.

One of the defining characteristics of Saturday was the rain. It wasn't what I was hoping for, but the show went on and people made the best of it. It was almost a welcome addition. We got settled in time to hear Caribou (from a distance)... From there Saturday day included Jay Reatard, Fleet Foxes, Dizzy Rascal and Vampire Weekend, and !!!. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Vampire Weekend. They were very fun, and very "festival." Amongst these shows, we ate some festival food and watched mud-diving. By this time, evening was upon us and we we saw !!!, The Hold Steady. We stayed for some of Jarvis Cocker, but decided to head out and meet Sal & Chris for some drinks and food. I was curious to see Animal Collective, but staying wasn't necessary (boy these days are long).

A point of conflict for me at this festival is viewing location. Once D and I sat our chairs down in the lawn, we were able to just swing directions between stages A & C. Stage B was at the other end of the park and we usually interested in the main two stages. The problem is that I would have liked to stand close for some of these shows, getting a better feel for the performance. But this required committment, as being close required no chairs and missing a band on another stage while the one you were waiting on set up. This year we took the easy route and just stayed planted. Sure, I missed some great close-up pics and the crowd's energy, but no where was there a bad seat or a lack of people-watching. We took the path of least-resistance and stayed put.

With Day 2, we parked it in the same location. It worked. We were there in time for the Dirty Projectors. I then walked over to see HEALTH on stage B. I was back at stage A for Apples in Stereo which were great, they played a lot of new stuff. I walked up close for them, hence some of the better photos for them. Back to our seats, we watched Les Savy Fav. I wasn't expecting them to have a lead singer sporting a one-legged, red leotard. Oh, he was also bald(ish), chubby with a beard. F*cking crazy, but lots of fun, and I would totally see them again. Next up were the Dodo's. These guys were okay, and one of the bands I was really looking forward to. They were good, but I'd much rather see them in close proximity in a place like the Grog Shop. Then was M. Ward, who's performance made me want to give the She & Him album another shot. Stayed for a bit of Spirtualized, then headed over to see Bon Iver back over to Stage B. Unfortunately, that didn't work out so well because it was PACKED and you could still hear Spiritualized. We finished off with Spoon, which we only watched a couple songs as we were walking out.

Overall, this festival is as much about the overall experience (food, beer, people watching, etc.) as it is about the music. I think it was this realization which made me more comfortable with just sitting back and taking it all in from the folding chairs near the back. But who knows, that may change next year.

Posted at 08:14 PM     |

Sun - August 3, 2008

Drew Gibson (7/10/08)

This day couldn't have been more beautiful. Earlier I spent the afternoon at Nelson Ledges with friends, it was my first time and I was introduced to just how magical that place is... That's a whole 'nother discussion. But I followed that up with dinner and this show with our new friend Tom.

Last time I saw Drew Gibson , he said he came back to the Spider several times a year. I'm so glad he followed through. Already knowing what a good performance he gives, I thought I would try to tell as many people as possible about this show to bring more people in... after all, it was a gorgeous night and as always, the Barking Spider has no cover (just a tip system). Why wouldn't they come?? Sadly, only Tom took the bait (no offense Tom). :-)

It was another great show by Drew... After his show, I was telling Tom about my struggle to describe great experiences like this in words. He took a stab at it:

"As dusk came to pass and the cool gentle breeze glided across the room at the barking spider the yellow glaze from tiny lantern lights inside grew brighter on our skin and in ours eyes as we enjoyed the lilting almost sleepy blues influenced folk songs of drew gibson."

Works for me... It was such a beautiful night, we also stayed for the following bluegrass band, Crossties.


Posted at 12:30 PM     |