Concert Review: Phony PPL and Theophilus London, February 6th, 9:30 Club

Posted on by halley in Concerts | Leave a comment

After seeing Theophilus London and opener Phony PPL perform on February 6th at the 9:30 Club I was just too overwhelmed by the high-energy fantasticness of the show to craft a coherent paragraph-style review. So here goes: my first (perhaps the world’s first?) experiment with Concert Review Jeopardy. Alex Trebek, eat your heart out.

Category: Apparel Seen on Stage at the show
Correct Response: What are a vintage Stockholm Olympics sweater, a leopard-print bath robe, a “F*ck the Police” T-shirt, a gold-embroidered-elephant vest, argyle socks, and a New York Giants baseball cap?

Category: Best Free-Style Lyrics
Correct Response: What is “I got six hos… and a Frosty” (credit Theophilus – I still am not sure which part of that phrase would make a man happier)?

Category: Best Non-Lyric Lines
Correct Response: What is “hold up yo, my foot is stuck in the mic-wiring” (credit Phony PPL) and “Shout out to the ladies in DC. Y’all a good lookin’ bunch! We just performed in Utah, and let me tell you, wasn’t a pretty picture” (credit Theophilus)?

Category: Best Logo
Correct Response: What is the fake moustache on Phony PPL’s website?

Category: Best Stage Technique
Correct Response: What is ‘stool-game,’ which allowed the all-male performers to serenade a hand-chosen female audience-member with a love song?

Category: Illicit Stage Behavior
Correct Response: What is passing a joint?

Category: Most Well-Received Songs
Correct Response: What is “Just Break it Off” by Phony PPL and “I Stand Alone” and “Girls, Girls, $” by Theophilus?

Category: Stage Set-Up
Correct Response: What is a disco ball, fresh roses, stools (see “Category: Best Stage Technique”), and strobe lights?

Category: Ultimate Description of Theophilus Live
Correct Response: What is in your face, unapologetic, and leaves you wanting more?

Concert Review: Jukebox the Ghost, January 25th, House of Blues

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

Chicago – What better way to spice up the middle of a blah week than skip your night class and go to a concert? Who needs education anyway right? Wednesday was the eve of my dear friend’s 30th birthday. She has this whole long list of things that she’s not allowed to do after she turns 30 (eat PB&J, play drinking games, take shots for her age, wear glitter makeup, pretty much everything that makes life worth living) so I bought her some Wonderbread, some Smuckers, and some Jif and brought her to the House of Blues for a night out with Jukebox the Ghost and Jack’s Mannequin.

We got to the venue about halfway through the opener, Jukebox the Ghost’s, set and the place was already packed. Before I get to the music though I have to give a shout out to the venue – this was my first time in a House of Blues – I’ve always looked down on it because it’s part of a chain. I figured it would be soul-sucking money maker with no character – not true at all! This place actually ranks as one of my favorite concert venues in Chicago now. Decorated with pop top art and weird statues and masks on the walls – I’m usually one to stake out a spot next to the stage and move neither for hell nor high water nor drunken moshers for the subsequent three hours, but I couldn’t help but roam the place during the breaks between sets. The two or three full bars scattered around didn’t hurt either.

My sister and I like to call Jukebox the hardest working hipsters on the circuit. These guys just tour relentlessly, and every time I go see them I’m waiting for one of them to just pass out mid-set – I always think I should pack a sandwich from them just in case. They made it through their set with energy to spare though – playing say when, schizophrenia and good day, along with a medley of cover songs.

There’s nothing to dislike about Jukebox’s music: it’s upbeat, it’s catchy, it’s imaginative, and everyone who I’ve forced to try it out (which is many) feels an instant connection to what the band’s trying to get across – take a listen, and I promise you won’t regret it.

The main act, Jack’s Mannequin, was the second pleasant surprise of the night. I’ve never really given much thought to Jack’s Mannequin – I knew their one song, Dark Blue, and wasn’t really blown away by it, but I was absolutely blown away by their performance. Let’s start with the set up for the stage – a disco ball, Ikea lamps and a baby grand piano. There are too many bands out there who use totally overstimulating and gratuitous props for their sets that just take away from their music, but this set up was perfect: baby grand – classy, Ikea lamps – intriguing, disco ball – fun. Yes, yes and yes. The lead singer of the band, Andrew McMahon, absolutely dominated the stage in his white suit and sweet facial hair (I kept on hearing Ke$ha in my head throughout the night “I like your beard”.) He’s an excellent vocalist and although he didn’t do a lot of dancing (my favorite part of concerts is watching the band rock out) his energy was infectious and he absolutely had the crowd going. While I’m not sure that I’ll be listening to Jack’s Mannequin’s albums nonstop now (I tried them when I got home and somehow they just didn’t quite translate as well as they did live) I certainly enjoyed them in person. Overall an excellent way to spend a Wednesday.

Concert Review: Fujayi & Miyagi, January 24th, Wrongbar

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

It’s often said that the perfect remedy for a brisk and dull Tuesday night is a dance party. Who often says this? I don’t know. People way cooler than I am. Last Tuesday was unbearably cold and considerably dull, so I decided to heed to the advice of the cool and attend a dance party. A four piece act who recently released their forth album Ventriloquizzing, Brighton band Fuijiya and Miyagi would be our sheppards for the evening.

Dirty bass lines pared with David Best’s breathy Robert Del Naja-ish voice are the driving forces behind Fujiya and Miyagi’s music and the band displayed them prominently in the opening half of the set, which featured a few of their hits Knickerbocker and Uh. It didn’t take long before the front of the stage was turned into a dance floor with eager young legs ready to get groove dance on to the increasingly energetic set. The band was content to let their music do the speaking, saying nary a word as they moved about the stage, which was adorned with a projector backdrop. The eighty minute set spanned the group’s discography and was basically one smooth groovy ride for the entire duration. There was beats, there was synth and then there was David Best’s voice, which I guess if he wasn’t in a band, he could probably have made a lot of money doing voice-overs or something. While you can accuse Fujiya and Miyagi of remaining in their comfort zone musically for much of their careers, the sweaty and enthusiastic crowd at the end of the show suggests you can’t argue with their results.

Indie Kid vs Dance Kid also went to the show. He also decided he liked to eat oysters.

Concert Review: Anamanaguchi, January 21, Wrongbar

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – Honestly, this was a bit of a crazy night.  I started off the evening at the Monster Jam monster truck show, followed that with Anamanaguchi‘s set at Wrongbar, and then capped off the night with a trip to the Bovine.  That’s at least one too many things for one evening, yet i did it anyways.  Consider it conditioning for all the club hopping I’ll be doing in a couple months’ time for SXSW and CMW.  Except without the monster trucks.  Really, SXSW should have monster trucks though.  I mean, it is in Texas after all.  Everything’s better with monster trucks, right?

I’ve got to say, Monster Jam is a bit of a weird scene.  It’s mostly made up of just watching these crazy machines race each other around a track in order to “qualify.”  What exactly are they qualifying for?  I don’t quite know.  Finally, after a bunch of these races and a couple digressions into ATVs and Motocross bikes, the audience finally gets what it came for – trucks smashing shit.  So I guess that was satisfying.  Yeah!   

After getting all amped up from that whole scene, I was ready for Anamanaguchi’s set of energetic chiptune rock.  In a weird way, they weren’t all that far removed from the world of monster trucking.  I mean, videogames and trucks smashing stuff are both things that might appeal to one’s inner teenage boy … or outer teenage boy if one still happens to be a teenager. 

For the uninitiated, Anamanaguchi make use of a hacked NES to create much of their music.  Live, they play in a traditional rock setup playing along with all the Nintendo-ish sounds.  As I said, it’s fun and energetic and since they’re an instrumental act, they rely on a few gimmicks to make the show a bit more interesting.  The band handed out glowsticks to the crowd as we were entertained by weird and wacky series of images projected onto a screen behind them.  Images like furbies and kittens and weirdly pixelated oddities combined with ’80s level AV tricks that sort of reminded me of the Gerry Todd Sketches from SCTV.  It was somewhat psychedelic in it’s own way.  Oh, and the band worked in a Britney Spears cover early in their set.  See?  Fun.