Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Free show!

I don't usually spruik things here, but I'll make an exception now (and reserve the right to do so in the future).  One of my favourite criminally underrated bands The Eastern are playing a free show in Melbourne tomorrow night to promote their new album.  The gig is at the Retreat Hotel in Brunswick.  If you don't have anything to do you might want to come along.

The Eastern sound a little like the Jayhawks or Gillian Welch, with a Springsteen-esque singer (in that he has a great voice, bellows out the songs, and has a way with punch the air, Born to Run type lyrics).  I'm sure there are a bunch of songs you can listen to on their site (my recommendation is Crow River (for the Springsteen-esque) or This is the Always (for the Gillain Welch)).

Note: I don't have any connection with the band (although I'd be more than happy to accept free CDs, merch, tickets, drinks etc)

Update: Really great show with the band in fine form (despite some technical problems and Adam's voice being a bit hoarse).  For those that missed out they will be doing a very long Australian tour starting next month, including three shows in Melbourne.

Jason Isbell - 2 March 2012, Northcote Social Club

I’ve already said a bit about Jason Isbell when posting his set opening for Ryan Adams, so I won’t add a lot here.  Suffice to say that having heard a full set and an opening one I’m now a fan.

I think its fair to say that a few people at this show were hoping for a surprise Ryan Adams appearance (it didn’t happen), and got quite excited when he mentioned that he would be bringing a friend out after the next song.  In the end the friend was Amanda Shires who played violin for the remainder of the set.

The set itself mixed Drive-By Truckers songs, with material from throughout his career.  Tossing in a couple of covers, and giving Amanda Shires a chance to play a song added up to a long and very satisfying show.
The sound for this is pretty good.  Northcote Social Club is a small venue (which I like) but it does tend to mean people feel free to talk a lot.  This becomes more noticeable as the first set goes on, but for whatever reason the crowd seemed to thin out a bit for the second set, and the talking abated somewhat.

Go It Alone
Tour of Duty
Save it for Sunday
Never Gonna Change
Rebels [Tom Petty cover]
Goddamn Lonely Love
Cigarettes & Wine
The Magician
Decoration Day

We've Met
The Blue
Play a Train Song [Todd Snider cover]
Daisy Mae
In a Razor Town
Alabama Pines
Swimmer [Amanda Shires]

Dress Blues

Set 1:

Set 2:

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

To be released...

I'm still trying to catch up with all the shows I taped while my computer was down.  I thought it might be generally useful to have a list of shows that I've taped but haven't yet put up.  There'll be a link to this post and the left and I'll try to keep this up to date.  I'll also include a list of the shows that I taped and don't intend to put up (because the show or the recording isn't up to standard).  If you particularly want something on the list, post a comment and I'll try to make it a priority.

Death Cab for Cutie - 22 Feb
Manchester Orchestra - 7 Mar
St Vincent - 14 Mar
Dirty Three - 16 Mar

Not to be released (unless requested)

Bad Religion - 27 Feb (incomplete)
Big Boi - 2 Sep '11 (poor show)
Liam Finn - 18 Aug '11 (incomplete)

Update: proved easier to stick it up on the right, than to link to this post and keep it updated.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Ryan Adams - 3 March 2012, Regent Theatre

There has been a lot of traffic to this site from Ryan Adams fansites, so I know a lot of people are keen to hear this.  As I've already mentioned, the sound here isn't everything I hoped it would be (although looking on the brightside its a problem that should be easily fixable for future recordings).  Having said that the show itself outshines any audio problems.

Reading a fan review of the Brisbane show I saw someone describe him as a 'delicate genius', which is about right.  He seems to have a tendency to be in either an extremely good or an extremely bad mood (with resulting effects on the show), and the cause of either could be something relatively minor.  For that reason there was a lot of tension early in the show, exacerbated by the fact that he was very quiet for a long time.  There was an almost audible intake of breath as an obnoxious fan yelled out for the lights to be turned up (apparently he also made more comments that weren't audible from where I was).  Fortunately as the show went on Ryan's mood seemed to get better to the point that by the end of the show he was positively gregarious.

The setlist started off relatively predicatably, but the fact that this was his first ever solo tour of Australia meant that most people would never have had the chance to hear some of the material played.  The regular Mr Cat improv didn't appear in Brisbane, so their was some nervousness that it might have disappeared for good, but it made an appearance late in the set, along with a nice improv based on Jason Isbell's 'Outfit'.  Other highlights were the piano-based version of Rescue Blues, the always-great Let it Ride, and Hardest Part.  Previous encores had been a cover of Alice in Chains' 'Nutshell', which would have been great.  While we didn't get that, we did get a three song (rather than the more usual one song) encore, including a very good cover of 'Holy Diver' by Dio.

The house lights and music came up before Ryan Adams had even left the stage, which disappointed those holding out for a very unlikely second encore, but overall no one should have left the venue with any disappointments (particularly if they caught Jason Isbell's opening set as well).

Oh My Sweet Carolina
Ashes & Fire
If I Am a Stranger
Dirty Rain
Winding Wheel
Rescue Blues [on piano]
Please Do Not Let Me Go
Do I Wait
Everybody Knows
Dear Chicago
Sylvia Plath
Let it Ride
English Girls Approximately
Chains of Love
16 Days
The Hardest Part
Lucky Now
Mr Cat Improv
New York, New York
Jason Isbell's 'Outfit' Improv
Come Pick Me Up

Holy Diver
When Will You Come Back Home

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Laura Marling - 2 February 2012, The Forum

This show delivered a lot of surprises from what I had expected (admittedly my expectations were based on pretty limited knowlege).  The first surprise was the crowd - overwhelmingly girls in their early 20's.  Nothing wrong with that (and as someone pointed out to me, there is a lot of worse bands they could be into), but it isn't the normal crowd I see and it wasn't something I expected.  Also worth noting that the crowd were incredibly into the show, clapping enthusiastically after the first couple of notes of each song, and frequently singing along (fortunately they did this relatively quietly and in key, so it actually had a really nice effect).  The second surprise was that Laura Marling is much more Joni Mitchell than Neko Case.  I personally prefer Case to Marling, but that didn't stop me enjoying the show.  The highlight for hardcore fans seems to have been the relatively rare cover of Ryan Adam's Winding Wheel.  Personally I felt it was a little underdone (as she noted after the song).  For a casual fan (like me) her regular set was good enough to make this a very enjoyable show.
Soundwise, Marling is very softly spoken which made it hard to get her frequent talking to the crowd at a volume that is easily audible, without adding a lot of background hum.  End the end I opted for audible, and minimised the hum as much as possible, although it was impossible to eliminate it.  With the benefit of hindsight I'd set the gain a bit higher, but going into the show I had no idea if that would produce a listenable recording or not.  Anyway, after much delay here it is.

I Was Just a Card
The Muse
Don't Ask Me Why
Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)
My Winding Wheel (Night Terror was listed on the setlist as an alternative song for this spot)
New Song (the setlist listed this as 'New Song')
Flicker & Fail
Night After Night
My Friends
Alas, I Cannot Swim
Rambling Man
All My Rage

PS: I know a lot of people are hanging out for the Ryan Adams show.  I'm about halfway through doing it, and will have it up by the weekend at the latest (hopefully earlier).  So far it sounds good, although it has the same issue as this show in terms of trying to make some of the quiet sections easily audible, without having too much hum.  So far it sounds like it'll still be a very good listen.

PPS: I think the problem is that I've been recording with too little gain, which hasn't had a noticeable effect for louder shows but is very noticeable for these two.  Easy to fix for future recordings, but proving very difficult to fix for Ryan Adams.  Right now I'm getting heartily sick of the constant background buzz which I can't seem to get rid of.  My current solution is to try to minimise it as much as I can without making the recording sound too artificial, and recommend that you don't use headphones to listen.  Taking that approach the recording seems good, and I'm still planning on getting it up in the next few days.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Jason Isbell - 3 March 2012, Regent Theatre

Every opening act hopes to be able to capture a few new fans with their short set, and I'm pretty sure Jason Isbell succeeded in that aim.  Personally, its been his songs, rather than Ryan Adams', that have been in my head the last few days.  Before he was announced as support for the tour I had heard of Jason Isbell, but never actually heard him.  Now I'm hanging out for his latest release to arrive in the post.
To the show - as you would expect the place was only about a third full when Isbell came on stage, but those that were there were treated to a great set mixing songs from his new album Here We Rest, with Drive-By Truckers songs, and throwing in a Richard Thompson cover. 
Recording wise this came out very well, the only downside is that you can occassionally here some talking as people find their seats (particularly during Go It Alone).

Tour of Duty
Go It Alone
Alabama Pines
Goddamn Lonely Love
Keep Your Distance

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Soundgarden - 1 February 2012, Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Given how long ago it was my memories of this show are a bit vague.  The two things that stand out were how incredibly bad the sound was, and what an awful mood Ben Shepherd was in.  The former was reinforced by listening to the show again.  The performance itself is very good, but its hard to look past the muddy sound which featured throughout the set.  I'd heard that Sidney Myer was a bad venue, but that BDO headliners used it because Rod Laver was used for the Australian Open at the same time.  However, the final of the tennis was on Sunday, and this show was on the following Wednesday - surely enough time to make any necessary changes?
Anyway, I should also mention that I fucked up a bit and only managed to get the set from Pretty Noose onwards.  Normally I wouldn't bother putting up a partial show, but given the level of interest in Soundgarden, and the fact that no other versions have appeared I'll make this one available.

Searching with my Good Eye Closed (not recorded)
Spoonman (not recorded)
Jesus Christ Pose (not recorded)
Hands All Over (not recorded)
Blow Up the Outside World (not recorded)
Hunted Down (not recorded)
Drawing Flies (not recorded)
My Wave (not recorded)
The Day I Tried to Live (not recorded)
Pretty Noose
Burden in My Hand
Fell on Black Days
Ty Cobb
Rusty Cage
Let Me Drown
Black Hole Sun
Loud Love
Band Intros
4th of July

Beyond the Wheel
I Awake
Slaves & Bulldozers/In My Time of Dying

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Phew, just got the call that my computer is ready to be picked up.  I've got the following in various states of readiness:

Soundgarden headline show (only from Pretty Noose unfortunately)
Laura Marling (complete unlike the other version circulating)
Roger Waters second night
Death Cab for Cutie second night (haven't actually listened to this or any of the others below so I can't guarantee anything)
Jason Isbell (headline set)
Jason Isbell (opening for Ryan Adams)
Ryan Adams

Plus I have I'm pretty certain I only got part of Bad Religions show, although if, by some chance, I got the whole thing I'll post that too.

Update: had the quickest of listens to the new shows and all are fine (might still be some minor problems), except for the Bad Religion show which is incomplete.