Lorde at The Fillmore

General admission. Standing room only. A combination I do not  look forward to in a concert. But if the artist and venue are right, I will endure. And Farrah and I did endure this combination, at The Fillmore, to see Lorde. 

I was lucky enough to snag two tickets back when they went on sale a few months ago, before  Royals  was getting regular mainstream radio play. I don't know if I'd be lucky to get tickets now seeing how big Lorde has become.  Funny thing was, when they went on sale, they seemingly sold out immediately. But I persisted for a few minutes and was able to grab two tickets. 

We arrived a few minutes late to The Fillmore. Friday night traffic going up to San Francisco was ugly as usual. We caught a few songs from the opening act, Until the Ribbon Breaks. They sounded great on stage, so I immediately added a few tracks to a Spotify playlist. After their set people milled around as usual waiting for Lorde to take the stage.

The crowed started to fill up as Lorde's set time was getting closer. The crowd was a good mix of ages, as The Fillmore can be depending on the performer. We were situated in a good spot, center and further back on the floor. Unfortunately, to Farrah's left a group of unruly 20-somethings decided to talk and bump around people through the whole performance. One couple just wanted to make out all night.  In front of us was an older couple, probably in their early to mid 50's. Made me wonder how many concerts do they attend?

Getting back to Lorde -  she performed well for someone who hasn't performed often on tour. She sounded well, though the bass was on the heavy side, making her voice sound muddled. From another review of the concert it seems it was her idea to crank up the bass. She had energy, working the stage very easily. She talked between a few songs, using   Thank you San Francisco often, which elicited approval from the crowd.

Her set was short, about 12 songs or so, lasting a little over an hour. They was no encore with the lights coming up after her last song. I thought she could have done a few more songs, as her album came out that day in some places.  

The annoyances of the general admission crowd is worth it sometimes, especially when seeing an up-and-coming artist. It is always nice to see an artist on the rise, seeing them before they get too big, in an intimate place like The Fillmore.

Other reviews of the show are at SF Gate and San Jose Mercury News and SF Station.


Hallelujah Leonard Cohen

"I wanted to push the Hallelujah deep into the secular world, into the ordinary world," he once said. "The Hallelujah, the David's Hallelujah, was still a religious song. So I wanted to indicate that Hallelujah can come out of things that have nothing to do with religion."

Breaking down Leonard Cohen's classic Hallelujah.  I loved this song, even though it has been so played out in the last several years. If you like this song, you should seek out more Leonard Cohen songs.

Spotify - No Longer Free and Unlimited

Spotify made its big U.S. debut on July 14, 2011.
In one week, we'll be marking the streaming music service's six-month anniversary.

And in one week, all those users who signed up for the free all you can eat desktop music that day will find out that they're going to be limited to just 10 hours per month now. You're also only allowed to play individual tracks more than five times per month.

I have the pay version, using it on my iPhone. I've used it more for music discovery than as my main listening library. I'm debating whether to cancel it or not.

Imogen Heap @ The Mountain Winery, Saratoga

The last time we saw Imogen Heap perform was at the Warfield. She was ill during that show, battling a cold. But the effects of the cold didn't hamper her performance. She sounded great that evening. During this Friday's concert at the Mountain Winery, Imogen didn't need to battle being ill, but rather she fought the cold windy night. She was able to deliver another solid performance.

We haven't been to a concert at the Mountain Winery since the remodel. Prior to the remodel, we saw two concerts and a attended a wedding there. It's a great venue with beatuiful views. The drive up can be harrowing for some, as the roads and can get narrow and windy. The remodel helps to define the concert area, which if I recall, was previously one-level plus a bleacher or two. Now the venue has tiered seating which provides a great view of the stage from almost any seat. Parking is the standard steep price of $20.

We caught the last few songs by one of the opening acts, Geese. Interesting act, but not our cup of tea. They would later support Imogen during her performance.

Imogen came out swinging this tube-like object for the song "The Walk".

The setlist included (not in order):

  • The Walk
  • First Train Home
  • Little Bird
  • A-HA!
  • Breathe In
  • Earth
  • Bad Body Double
  • Speeding Cars
  • Let Go
  • Goodnight and Go
  • Hide and Seek

Imogen did something interesting with one of her songs, Earth. She has a contest in which the winner would come on stage to perform the song with her. The winner for Saratoga is shown below in this YouTube clip:

The Bridge Benefit 2008

Farrah and I went to the Bridge School Benefit concert this past Sunday.  The lineup for the concert on that day was:

We chose to go on Sunday the day the Smashing Pumpkins were playing.  We would have liked to have watched Sarah McLaughlin, who was only playing Saturday, but Farrah had never seen the Smashing Pumpkins in concert. They didn’t disappoint.

I’m wasn’t familiar with Cat Power’s or Wilco’s music, but enjoyed their sets. Death Cab for Cutie had many fans in the audience, all enjoying their performance.  I recognized three of their songs, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”,  “Soul Meets Body”, and “I Will Possess Your Heart”.    I walked away from their performance wanting to listen to more of their songs.

Smashing Pumpkins were up next.  They came with two pianist, a trombone and trumpet player, a dual-violin player, and the regular core band.   I didn’t recognize most of the songs, some of which I think were new.  Josh Groban came out to sing “Disarm”.  It was a good performance, through he did forget some lyrics.

The Josh Groban set was difficult to get into, though you can’t deny he has a strong voice.  Norah Jones had her (somewhat) new short hair cut.  She put a country vibe to her standards, and also sang a couple of Johnny Cash songs.  Jack Johnson’s set got the audience on their feet with ‘Bubble Toes’, “If I Had Eyes”, “Good People”, and “Banana Pancakes”.  His set had the overall crowed more enthused then anyone else that performed before him.  I can’t say how Neil Young’s set was since Farrah and I left right after Jack Johnson finished.

We did get to see Neil Young perform several times during the show.  He came out to beginning the whole shindig.  He subsequently came out to perform with different artist at the end of their sets, most notably with Josh Groban, Norah Jones, then Jack Johnson.

Other things to note:

  • Shoreline didn’t charge for parking. Does anyone know why they don’t charge?  It seems like a money maker for them, but heck it saved me an expected $20.
  • They charged $9 - $12 for a beer!  Robbery.

Overall, the concert was a nice mellow affair.  The concert began on a warm Sunday afternoon, that subsequently turned into a cold windy night (part of the reason we left early).

Rachael Yamagata @ Cafe Du Nord

The other night Farrah and I went to Cafe Du Nord to see Rachael Yamagata perform. We enjoyed her first album, Happenstance, which is a somber but strong debut album. We downloaded and listened to pre-released tracks from her new album, Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart . Some of her songs on the album go into a more uptempo direction.

Cafe Du Nord, in size, reminds me of the old Cactus Club in San Jose. Except Cafe Du Nord is much darker and has the vibe of Bimbo's 365 Club. We had dinner reservations which gave us reserved seating. We could see the stage without obstruction, able to enjoy the show while sipping a nice cold beer.

Rachael started off with Be Be Your Love and Letter Read, the first two songs on her debut album and two of my favorite songs. Letter Read was actually the first song I heard from her, a song where she sounds like Fiona Apple. Anyway, after hearing those songs I knew the show could only get better and it did. Rachael moved from the keyboards to an acoustic guitar which she didn't plug in at first. She then explained she was battling a flu with some Jack Daniel's. She was a trooper through, continuing with her set and engaging the lively audience.

She played for about 90 minutes total, going through songs like:

  • Worn Me Down
  • What If I Leave
  • Would You Please
  • Elephants
  • Meet Me By The Water
  • Faster
  • Accident
  • Would You Please
  • The Reason Why

Part of her encore was Would You Please, a request from the audience. Rachael wasn't sure she knew all the words but gave it a go, prefacing that she could not be criticized if she f'd up. She got through about 90% of the song. I really enjoyed her last song, The Reason Why.

I'd go back to Cafe Du Nord to see another show. The drink and food prices aren't bad, but parking can be an issue. Well, it's San Francisco, so parking is always an issue.

You can also find another review of this concert here.

Morcheeba @ The Fillmore 4.11.2008

I'm a bit late with my review of the Morcheeba concert Farrah and I went to last week.  The taxman could not wait, taking up all my spare time until today.

I knew of Morcheeba, owning a couple of albums, but to be honest I hadn't really been into them.  I prefer Massive Attack's music. Morcheeba has always taken a backseat on my playlists.  They are touring to support their latest album, Dive Deep.  I downloaded the album via Amazon and enjoyed it's laid back groove.  It's no Big Calm, but it's worth a spin.  So when I heard they were touring, I asked Farrah if she wanted to go.  We haven't been to a concert for awhile so why not?

It was difficult to get into the opening act, who's name escapes me now.  It just wasn't my cup of tea. It probably didn't help that we were a bit tired and they sang in Spanish(?).  About a half hour after the end of their set, Morcheeba took the stage.

Morcheeba @ Fillmore

[Photo by Julien Genestoux]

I wasn't sure what to expect.  All I knew was that they've had revolving lead singers since Skye Edwards was asked to leave.  The lead singer that night was Manda from Nemesea, who flew in from France.  Cool, huh?

Manda sang the new songs and the hits.  Songs I remember from that night, that I enjoyed Part of the Process, The Sea, Over and Over, Tigger Hippie, Rome Wasn't Built In a Day, and the new single Enjoy the Ride.  I clearly enjoyed a lot of songs for not being a big Morcheeba fan.  This just goes to show you how good the performance was.

Friday night concerts are difficult at times.  You come home from work, you really want to enjoy the weekend starting that night, but an hour drive up to the City, plus waiting time for the band you want to hear, well, it's just plain tough on the body.  I chalk it up to not being as young as I used to be. But I must say, Morcheeba lived up to what I thought the concert would be.  They put on a very solid performace at the always enjoyable Fillmore in San Francisco.

Tori Amos - The Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA

This review is about a week late, but it has taken me a bit of time to digest the Tori Amos concert Farrah and I saw last Friday. Tori is touring in support of her latest album, American Doll Posse. I wasn't a huge fan of the new album, but after watching Tori's performance, it makes me want to play the album everyday. I guess that's what good concerts do to you.

The Venue

I like going to The Paramount Theater in Oakland. The theater looks great and the sound has always been well produce in the handful of shows I've been to there. Parking is very convenient, located directly across the street. The staff is nice and helpful, showing each attendee to their seat.

The Performance

Tori Amos photo by ericskiff on Flickr
Photo by ericskiff as posted on Flickr.

In Tori's latest album, she sings her songs through various personas. I believe she performed first as Santa, then for the second half as Tori. Yes, I guess Tori is one of Tori's personas. Her set list included:

  • Body and Soul
  • She's Your Cocaine
  • Hoochie Woman
  • Secret Spell
  • You Can Bring Your Dog
  • Raspberry Swirl
  • Big Wheel
  • Crucify
  • Sugar
  • Cornflake Girl
  • Bells For Her
  • Caught a Lite Sneeze
  • Winter
  • Cooling
  • Virginia
  • Hotel
  • Code Red
  • Precious Things
  • Bouncing Off Clouds
  • Hey Jupiter

We enjoyed the concert overall. I especially enjoyed Caught a Lite Sneeze, even though I saw her perform this song before. I believe Farrah enjoyed her new song, Bouncing Off Clouds

When we entered The Paramount there were several signs noting that the show was being taped. Farrah and I have only been to one previous show that was being filmed, Jack Johnson at the Greek Theater. [sample video] The Greak Theater is a big venue, so filming wasn't obtrusive. Unfortunately, where we sat in The Paramount a boom crossed our viewing path often. This made parts of the performace frustrating to watch, breaking up the rhythm of the show for us.

End Result

Overall it was a good performance. I think it was the first time I've seen Tori do costume changes. This added a different element to the performace.

Set list information obtain from [here] and [here].

February Mix 2007

  • Feeling Good by Michael Buble
  • Smile by Lily Allen
  • Tell Me 'Bout It byJoss Stone
  • The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani featuring Akon
  • Glamorous by Fergie featuring Ludacris
  • Say It Right by Nelly Furtado
  • Nothing Left to Lose by Mat Kearney
  • Lost Without U by Robin Thicke
  • Thinking About You by Norah Jones
  • I Am The Walrus by The Beatles
  • Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt
  • Le plus beau du quartier by Carla Bruni

December Mix

  • Money Maker Ludacris
  • Fergalicious Fergie Feat. Will.I.Am
  • My Love (Feat. T.I. & Timbaland) Justin Timberlake
  • Show Me Janet Jackson
  • Work It Out Jurassic 5 & Dave Matthews Band
  • Chasing Cars Snow Patrol
  • Better Regina Spektor
  • When You Were Young The Killers
  • Irreplaceable Beyonce
  • Hurt Christina Aguilera
  • Gravity John Mayer
  • Mad World Michael Andrews
  • Goodnight And Go Imogen Heap

Nothing Less Then Kelly Clarkson

Oh, my friends at Yahoo!, how I hope the rumor is not true. I went to only one YEP (Year End Party) out of three opportunities.

Chris Daughtry

I missed The Flaming Lips and Earth, Wind and Fire, but did manage to see Ozamotli.  But Chris Daughtry? Granted, I would have voted for him, if I did that sort of thing. But if you're going to have an American Idol perform at your Christmas party, can you at least get the current champ? Or better yet Kelly Clarkson?

Perhaps it's a ruse. Maybe someone like Bob Dylan will show up?

QotD: Can you hear me now?

What's your cell phone's ringtone? What made you pick it?

Vertigo Pt.2

U2's Vertigo is my default ringtone   You know the part?

Hello hello
I’m at a place called Vertigo
It’s everything I wish I didn’t know
Except you give me something I can feel, feel

I just never get sick of U2.  I've seen U2 several time in concert, both with BossaNova and farrah.  They always put on a great show.

Oh Paris. Paris?

Stars Are Blind

Paris Hilton

"It will surprise a lot of people because there's real artistry coming from Paris."

This above quote is about Paris, France, right? 

No, the article is talking about Paris Hilton and her catchy pop-reggae-island-beat song that is playing all over the airwaves.  I've seen the glmpses of the video on VH1 so many times - but I haven't been able to sit through the whole thing.

Just goes to show you: anyone in the digital age can be made a singer.

QotD: Summer Music

What's the one CD that will totally remind you of the Summer of 2006?

Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam

Has the Summer of 2006 come and gone already?  Well, if I had to choose a CD for this summer, it would be Pearl Jam's self titled release.  This CD was a return for Pearl Jam of sorts, at least to my ears.

The last CD I fully listen of theirs was 1998's Yield.  Yield was a fine album, but I think I only remember two tracks from that album!

This one is chock full of rockin' tunes.  Pick it up when you can.