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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 11 Review: Fight The Quiet


Kicking off their fall tour a few days earlier, Arizona band Fight the Quiet played a show at the Cupertino Britannia Arms on Saturday September 18 with Pebble Theory and Montana 1948. For their first time in Cupertino, the boys of FTQ did well; they put on a fun show and left town with a few more fans.

With an understanding that the Brit crowd probably hadn’t heard their music before, FTQ played a song most are familiar with, "Back in the U.S.S.R." The band did a fabulous cover of the Fab Four’s 1970s hit, to which Barb and I couldn’t help but sing along. The songs that followed were off of their newest EP, Let Me In.

Local Bay Area drummer Christian, "The Dragon" as he is known to most, filled in since previous percussionist Brock permanently left the band. This tour is what Nathan calls Christian's "road audition," though he also mentioned that as long as the dragon doesn't attack him while driving, Christian will most likely pass and become a permanent fixture in the band. Tim’s shiny blue bass sparkled while he and lead guitarist Todd rocked out for their third show of tour.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 10 Review: Beta State


Two days ago I was undecided on whether to go to the Alien Ant Farm show at the Avalon, but since my good friend Bryan wanted to see them live, I decided to go to the show and all I can say is that I'm super stoked I went!

We arrived a bit late, right at the end of Boom Boom Stereo's set but before bay area sweethearts Beta State took the stage. The Avalon was buzzing with people, a pleasant surprise for a weeknight show, and I easily ran into more than 25 local music scenesters in the first 10 minutes I was there! My friend Stephanie Haney took some great photos of Beta State and Alien Ant Farm at the show, so check them out!

If you haven't seen Beta State perform yet, then I highly recommend you go check out this marvelous indie rock band; they are phenomenal! Being a huge Dredg fan, I am naturally drawn to ambient guitar delays, but Beta State is much more than that. They embody everything that I love in music -- a soothing blend of artistic/melodic music with beautiful lyrics that just penetrate the body and mind! Adrian Robison is a powerful drummer, smiling away as he keeps perfect rhythm; Justin Kastner brings the soul as he bounces around on bass, adding a nice touch on background vocals; Ryan Hernandez is the master behind the heavenly guitar riffs that I personally can't get enough of; and Matt McDonald is the perfect match with his angelic voice, a great front-man to lead the music-loving troops into the pearly gates of Beta State!

The band just released their debut album Stars, which can be found on iTunes, although you can also download it for FREE (for those that are a bit broke)! If you choose the latter option, then please be kind enough to spread the word about this amazing band and write an album review on iTunes so they get more exposure. I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE the CD and can't wait to see what this astonishing foursome will do next!

Beta State's next show is on Saturday October 23 at X Sports Bar + Music Lounge at Homestead Lanes with the Fighting Jacks, Lakes, and The Record Winter for only $8 (all ages w/ full bar for 21+).

And don't forget to check out more great shows at the Avalon, presented by Man Down Productions and Highly Twisted Entertainment!

-Barbara-

Check out Beta State's video for "I'm Still Alive," directed by Frank Door of Element 151:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interview: Fight The Quiet


Last Saturday, I had the privilege of seeing Fight The Quiet perform and was really impressed with this rock band from Flagstaff, Arizona! I had a chance to ask lead singer Nathan James our questionnaire, so check out what Nathan had to say!

Q: Who would you want to collaborate with musically and why?
A: Paul McCartney or Dave Grohl

Q: If you had to choose one band/artist (dead or alive) to tour with, who would you choose?
A: Foo Fighters and Kings Of Leon

Q: From your life experiences (job, love, upbringing, travel, books, art, etc.), what do you draw from the most for your musical creativity; what has influenced you the most?
A: The Beatles said it best: "all you need is love" -- it's the single greatest influence, in the wake of Love follows every other emotion.

Q: What are your top 5 favorite albums of all time?
A: Abbey Road by The Beatles
Achtung Baby by U2
Deloused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta
Plans by Death Cab for Cutie
In Your Honor by Foo Fighters

Q: Who is your favorite local or unsigned band/artist?
A: I think we would have to throw it out to our friends The Material, they are from San Diego and they are great! If we're talking local to the Bay Area, we all really enjoyed Montana 1948!

I would just like to add that any band that chooses a U2 album in their Top 5 will always hold a special place in my heart!

Robin will be reviewing Fight The Quiet's show, so stay tuned for that coming later this week, plus she's got some live show footage! I've been enjoying the band's new album Let Me In, so I highly recommend it to all of you!

-Barbara-

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Interview: Back Pocket Memory


I was lucky enough to have Back Pocket Memory answer our questionnaire, so here's a chance to get to know these five talented musicians a bit more!

Q: Who would you want to collaborate with musically and why?
A: Van Dyke Parks, who is known to us for doing the string arrangements for two of our favorite albums, Diorama and Young Modern, by Silverchair. His arrangements display a taste and emotion that we respect immensely.

Q: If you had to choose one band/artist (dead or alive) to tour with, who would you choose?
A: Led Zeppelin - Why? It's Zeppelin.

Q: From your life experiences (job, love, upbringing, travel, books, art, etc.), what do you draw from the most for your musical creativity; what has influenced you the most?
A: Our personal experiences, especially having to do with the trials, tribulations, heartbreak, and excitement of growing up through your early twenties.

Q: What is each band members favorite album?
Chris: Diorama by Silverchair
Eddie: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 by Coheed and Cambria
Rob: Led Zeppelin III by Led Zeppelin
Jason: Scenes From a Memory by Dream Theater
Ian: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominoes

Q: Who is your favorite local band/artist?
A: We can't pick just one, so we'll give you three: 4th and Dock, Sky Diamond City, and Bristol to Memory.

-Barbara-

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 9 Review: Back Pocket Memory


I had the pleasure of seeing Back Pocket Memory play on Saturday and was once again thoroughly impressed with this Southern California pop punk influenced band with a soulful rock edge!

When BPM first took the stage, you could tell the audience was curious to see what this Burbank band was all about. Only a lucky few had seen them before when they played Left Coast Live and the Cupertino Brit earlier this year. But once they started playing, I got to watch the audience grow in front of the stage; you could see the smiles on their faces as they got pulled into the the band's delivery of their music. The energy in the room continued to rise throughout their set, climaxing into an electrifying finish when they played their hit "Bergerac" -- did I mention that I just LOVE the chorus of that song!?! There was so much amazing feedback from the audience; everyone wanted to know when this amazing five-piece would come to the Bay Area again!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Music News: Kings of Leon


Kings of Leon debuted the video for their new song "Radioactive" yesterday and it shows the the Kings at a Southern-style summer barbecue. Rumor has it that they wrote this song a few albums ago, but couldn't figure out a way to use it until now, after their success with Only The Night [per Madden on Channel 92.3].

I've only heard it about three times now, but I'm already hooked on the song, which is flavored with southern rock roots and a hint of gospel. It grabs the listeners attention quickly with it's unique guitar intro, then sucks you in with the chorus: "It's in the water, it's where you came from." If this song is any indication of their upcoming album Come Around Sundown releasing October 19, then I'm all ears!

Check out a great article on MTV.com about the video!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Week 8 Review: Kung Fu Vampire


I've known Kung Fu Vampire for awhile now and been to most, if not all, his local shows for the past 4 years; most of the time with his full band, a few times doing a guest appearance at a local open mic. But what I experienced last Friday at the Avalon was a completely new side of Kung Fu Vampire. This show was the last performance in his DEAD4Life Tour, his official return home after touring for most of 2010 with Twiztid of Psychopathic Records (formed by Insane Clown Posse) and Potluck (Suburban Noize), as well as headlining his own tour with Horrorcore icon MARS (Mad Insanity Records) and Liquid Assassin.

For me, Kung Fu Vampire (KFV) was always a treat to see live. The first time I saw him I was highly impressed with his gothic hip-hop style, especially with the live band and his opera-esque female singer. It was something new, something different, yet really cool, and you got caught up into the whole spectacle and his obvious talent. And if you were lucky, you got to see him do backflips on stage! I've seen some changes in the line-up over the years, including original keyboardist and songwriter Sadie Flick leaving the band, Lainey Leone joining on vocals for one year, and the addition of Joyce "Statis" Kuo on violin, then moving over to guitar when the talented Razz took over on violin. But nothing prepared me for the completely different version of Kung Fu Vampire on Friday!

Not sure if it has to do with Kung Fu Vampire going on tour or other internal band factors, but all I know is that the live show has changed. First off, the stage is decorated with bloody mannequin parts, which are definitely interesting stage props which work well with the horrorcore market. Then as the band comes on stage you realize that members are missing, mainly the lovely cellist Miss Fortune, a band icon who's been with KFV for over 8 years! Secondly you see that that Mr. West is no longer on drums, but replaced by someone named Chris Paxton (per his drum kit); though I will note that Chris turned out to be a fabulous percussionist. At this point I'm relieved to see Count Nunez on keys, Mr. Pollett on bass, and Razz on violin, then it finally clicks in that the female vocalist is different than expected. Oh boy!