Entrance Band - 2010-03-28 - Founders Park USC

These guys opened for Thee Oh Sees in the last of our series of four SoCal recordings on offer...and have been growing on me steadily.  It's a bit jam band meets the Cure, but the psych-tinged guitar stylings of Guy Blakslee, unlike what those [expletive deleted] at Pitchfork would have you believe, is better than just a "middling" guitarist.

Entrance Band
Founders' Park, USC
Los Angeles, CA

taper:  bcingyou (Sony ECM-990F > M-Audio Microtrack II)

setlist:  Silence On A Crowded Train / Still Be There / MLK / Lookout! / 'Prayer' / Grim Reaper Blues


Eddy Current Suppression Ring + Thee Oh Sees - 2010-07-01 Eagle Tavern SF

The one that started it all for me...

Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Eagle Tavern SF

taper: thehappyone, using Sonic Studios DSM-6/Ls > Edirol R-09HR

Setlist:  soundcheck / Memory Lane / Cool Ice Cream / Anxiety / Sunday's Coming / Tuning Out / Wrapped Up / Isn't It Nice / You Let Me Be Honest With You / Pitch A Tent / Which Way To Go / I Admit My Faults // Rush To Relax / Get Up Morning

Total 59:07

Eddy Current Suppression Ring (FLAC)

Also available here to watch, on YouTube:

The Eddies had the tough task of having to follow up on one of the most punishing, exhilarating, out-and-out jaw-dropping amazing sets from San Francisco's own Thee Oh Sees, whom I was witnessing for the first time.  My friend tomzero couldn't decide whether they were indie or punk (I figure the band were fine with whatever category made you comfortable to put them in) but I did greatly enjoy seeing Brendan Suppression at work...hand in glove, and during 'Which Way To Go', up in the air crowdsurfing (preserved on video if you follow the link for the song) and by the time I got to see them again a couple of days later, their set was equally as compelling as TOS all-out sonic assault, which the video I shot only partially conveys, since it was all I could do to hang on to my iPhone, though tomzero got to hold it for 'Block Of Ice' while I flailed around like a madman along with a few dozen like-minded souls. 

bcingyou says:  "I'd have taken it hard up the ass with a hot poker to have been there.  These cocksuckers know how have fun by showering a wad of splewie all over everyone.  Best goddamned band since the invention of alternating current"

Thee Oh Sees
Eagle Tavern SF
tapers: thehappyone+tomzero dual-audience blend

Total 37:31

Thee Oh Sees (FLAC) matrix dual-aud 

Thee Oh Sees (FLAC) thehappyone only
(currently offline, please REQUEST if you want to hear this version again)

I've previously blogged about the opening sets for Sonny and the Sunsets and Kelley Stoltz...follow the links to explore both of these deserving and worthy artists.


Thee Oh Sees - 2010-12-17 - The Strange LA

Third in a series of half a dozen Thee Oh Sees shows in 2010 to be featured here, fast forward to the present...where they appeared playing with OFF!  Keith Morris and cohorts playing balls-to-the-wall punk rawk, and the aptly titled White Shit and No Bunny.

bcingyou:  "Venue [The Sex] got moved coz cops were gonna shut down at first sight....so we had to drive up to Hollywood to find new empty venue arranged on the fly....Keith Morris let TOS headline after OFF....another floor show rather than on stage like other bands...I got a face full of JPD's elbow...wild wild wild..."

ceiling balls expressway to yr skull
Keith Morris is a very smart man.  And a very cool one.  This show was even more ragged and anarchic than usual.  Which is a very good thing indeed.

Thee Oh Sees
The Strange 
Los Angeles CA 


intro tuning...w/Ghostbusters theme! / Crashed Grass / Enemy Destruct / Meat Step Lively / I Was Denied / Tidal Wave / Dead Energy / A Heavy Doktor [new song!] / Warm Slim (Summertime Jam)

Wild Wild Wild (ZIP archive of FLAC set of entire show)

Some images:

source: GRWIV
source: bcingyou


No Bunny
White Shit


Dead Souls - 2010-12-10 - The Knockout SF


Prior to Peter Hook's set at the Mezzanine (which for various reasons I won't cover here in this blog), I caught Joy Division tribute band 'Dead Souls' at the Knockout, a bar on Mission at the end of Valencia, performing "Closer" in its entirety in an acoustic set...well, except for the bassist, he was plugged in, and was wearing a very cool Unknown Pleasures shirt with Arabic script.

Kudos to Dave "Ian Curtis" Tibbs for permission to record, the Skibitzke brothers, Sonja Treho, Ray Welter from Carta, and string section(!) as well as a percussionist and sitar player for putting on an entertaining free show.

Ray from Carta guests
Dead Souls
The Knockout
San Francisco CA

taper:  thehappyone
equip:  Sony PCM-M10 with built-in mics

(linked songs feature video I shot with my iPhone 4 with audio blended in from my recording)

Paul and that UP shirt!
Setlist: (soundcheck, intro) / Atrocity Exhibition / Isolation / Passover / Colony / A Means To An End / (end of side one, band intros) / Heart and Soul / Twenty Four Hours / The Eternal / Decades / (end of side two, intro to rest of set) / Transmission / Love Will Tear Us Apart / From Safety To Where (interlude) / Atmosphere

Download in FLAC format


Serra Bowl garage rock! - 2010-07-03 - Thee Oh Sees, ESCR, Sic Alps, and Fresh and Onlys

For your listening pleasure, here's Eddy Current Suppression Ring  live at Serra Bowl, at an free all ages show back at the start of July.  

taper:  thehappyone, using Sonic Studios DSM-6/Ls > Edirol R-09HR

setlist:  Get Up Morning / Memory Lane / Isn't It Nice / Sunday's Coming / Tuning Out / You Let Me Be Honest With You / Wrapped Up / Precious Rose / Walked Into A Corner / I Admit My Faults / Which Way To Go  [total 42:38]

My stream-of consciousness notes made shortly afterwards...

Outstanding quality, only marred by someone (who was also at the Eagles show) talking through 'I Admit My Faults', as well as some of yours truly whooping and a bit of stereo field shifting for when Brendan walked out into the audience.  Some more video, including 'Get Up Morning', 'Memory Lane', and 'Sunday Coming', can be viewed here.

NOTE: I'm aware that some of the linked photos are broken, I'll be working on getting these back online...somehow...

Petey of TOS (credit: ESCR)
First of all, you have to understand that we're in a bowling alley.  With people bowling.  I have memories of the place when I was 11 or 12 accompanying my mom back when she was in a bowling league, and sitting working out chess games while pins fell.  That this show could even be booked in such a venue by John Dwyer (Thee Oh Sees) just staggers my imagination.  Just fucking amazing.  Somebody else in blog-land had commented about the rhythm section of this group, with 'I Admit My Faults' bring shivers up their spine.  No kidding...And if 'Wrapped Up' and 'Which Way To Go' aren't up there in the best things to come out in the last 10 years, I'll eat my shorts.  Being able to see them up close must
Sic Alps performing
have been the same feeling Aussies had when seeing The Saints around the corner at one of their hotels or Brits being able to see an early Joy Division at the local youth club.  Just intense. 

I'm in this pic (credit: ESCR)
And as amazing is this was, what was to come once Thee Oh Sees took the stage was on a level beyond...oh my God, I'm still in awe at what I witnessed.  It was probably the most enjoyable performance I've ever seen in my life, for the sheer positive energy this band seems to engender.  If you're wondering, my recording fell apart after the first song (the pit dislodged my batteries), but I'll share what I got, as I hopefully have a contact with somebody else taping, but not sure if he managed to get the whole thing (Ed. note, he didn't, sadly). 
Brigid close up

Warm Slime (Summertime Jam) was featured as the lead article on the Bay Bridged site that did a great job in dissecting the song...it also mentioned that they were recorded by John Baccigaluppi who of course recorded the Vomit Launch albums....

So, this gives us the following fragmentary documentary sources...we have this setlist because I had the foresight to call bcingyou and let him listen to it.

1. Enemy Destruct [thehappyone aud]
2. I Was Denied [thehappyone aud, 10s + rewplayff 420p video (mistitled), audio ok, incomplete]
3. Meat Step Lively [rewplayff 420p video, audio ok, inc.]
4. Tidal Wave
5. Block Of Ice  [DannyBSnacks 720p video...audio is good on this!]
6. Crack In The Eye
7. Ghost In The Trees
8. AA Warm Breeze
9. Contraption
10. Warm Slime (Summertime Jam) [rainivision 420p video, inc.]

I also managed to record Fresh & Onlys earlier, with both older kids in tow, since I had the bright idea that they might want to catch an all-ages event like this, which ended up being somewhat of a failed experiment, sadly.  Unfortunately, the vocals were almost inaudible during the mix, but the recording's otherwise decent.  The sound greatly improved for the other sets.

The Fresh & Onlys (credit: ECSR)


soundcheck / D.Y. / Fog Machine / I'm Gonna Be Your Elevator / ? / Endless Love / Fascinated / Waterfall / ? / I'm A Thief / Outro

Apologies for the start of Waterfall where you can hear the younger son state that the oldest wanted to leave...ended up missing much of Sic Alps as I drove both of them back home and returned
in time to catch the other bands.


The Intelligence - 2010-11-11 - Eagle Tavern SF


Catchy "lo-fi" garage-y rock.  Like like like like like like like. While some wonder why the Intelligence's pop ditties aren't more popular, some have a greedy desire to see them remain underground, so they remain all yours.  The paradox of Indie, I guess.  I'm not going to go there.  This is not Pitchfork.  I had a blast, and while not as insane as they were during Thee Oh Sees set, the crowd certainly were buying what Finberg and Co. were selling.

Tuning a 'tar, taking a swig

I had seen The Intelligence once before, at Part Time Punks in 2009.  They made a positive impression then, and it continued forward to seeing them a year later.  I quite liked "Block Of Ice" not realizing it was a cover of the group they played after.  Or is it the Thee Oh Sees who cover it?  No, I was right the first time.                                                
My recording was done with the trusty Sony PCM-M10, which I had set on top of a video poker machine stage left-ish.

Setlist (the entire set was filmed with my iPhone 4, all songs linked):

Thee Oh Setlist


The Universe / Nice Tries / Debt & ESP / Dating Cops / Thank You God For Fixing The Tape Machine / The World Is A Drag / The World Is Not A Drag / Block Of Ice (Thee Oh Sees) / Like Like Like Like Like Like Like / Black Hole (The Urinals) / The Unessential Cosmic Perspective
And a video, put up by yours truly taken from bcingyou's Kodak digivid, featuring "The World Is A Drag", "Like Like Like Like Like Like Like", and "Black Hole", a Urinals cover.


Thee Oh Sees - 2010-11-11 - Eagle Tavern SF (w/Blasted Canyons)

2010 has heralded for me the discovery of one of the best live bands of my generation, right under my nose, as it were.  Some have called them one of the best SF underground groups, but I think their appeal is...or should be...more universal than that, even if I can't imagine them making any place else home, even if singer/guitarist John Dwyer started out in Providence, Rhode Island.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be featuring many Thee Oh Sees live shows from the AMH archives, but I'm going to first start with the most recent show at Eagles Tavern SF, which functions as literally their home base, as they have played there once about every other month this year.

And on this occasion, they were every bit as full-on intense as the first two times I have seen them...they didn't finish the set with Warm Slime (Summertime Jam) but with the rarely-featured Grease segueing into Grease 2, a special treat for the hometown crowd.

credit: jskallerup
From my out-of-breath notes afterwards:  "No video from me, just impossible anyway given that it was absolute bedlam, but there were people filming, etc....JPD was a bit under the weather but that's never stopped him before.  By about midway through Contraption...I was pretty much toast...almost out of breath and had to ease back out of the pit...filled up on too much raw fish...blinding set, tomzero and I listened to it on the way home and have it on again now, probably will need some re-EQ to sound good, but is plenty listenable as-is, not bad for built-ins!."

Setlist: Enemy Destruct / Crushed Grass / Contraption / Tidal Wave / I Was Denied / The Dream / Block Of Ice / Grease > Grease 2

(The Grease segue is up on YouTube, so click on it to view!)


Middle Class - 2010-11-07 - Part Time Punks: Frontier Records 30th Anniversary

credit:  Jeffrey Terranova

UPDATE (Monday, April 21st 2014):  

It is with heavy heart that I learned that guitarist Mike Atta passed away from kidney cancer on Sunday.

This post is dedicated to his memory and those who knew him or were touched by his music.


bcingyou put together the following as an introduction...

"We could split the night wide open, see all the secrets there"
- A Skeleton At The Feast by Middle Class from Homeland LP

My passion for music can be traced through the strain of logic that permeates the entire canon of Middle Class.  The searing insights from the monotone, unwavering delivery of Jeff Atta's vocals to the 'take notice' intensity of Mike Patton's bass lines and Mike Atta's guitar have picked at the scab of this music lover's soul for 30 years.  Never mind the distraction that they were most likely the first hardcore punk band (thanks in part to the wide-eyed consequence of copious amounts of Dr. Pepper), Middle Class spoke from the core of existence and demanded closer scrutiny.  

A breakthrough song in the history of American punk is A Blueprint For Joy which decisively cuts through the raw inarticulate aggression of punk's first wave and opens the rusty gate of emotion revealing a darker side of life expressed in the notion that we are all ultimately trapped victims not just of a confusing society but of ourselves.

there's a pattern to sin
there's a blueprint for joy
there are guides to reaction
we seek to employ

see I clipped its wings
to see what it brings
lying to myself
swept under the scene

there's life in these buildings
hidden away from the sun
the whimper in bedrooms
the things we call fun

I kept my distance
offered resistance
I've heard all the reasons
I've counted every one

there's tactical buildup
there's rumours of war
nightspots in L.A.
no effort to ignore

(apologies if incorrectly deciphered as there's no online lyrics to be found for A Blueprint For Joy)

Middle Class possessed that rare quality of being able to tap the frustration that festers beneath the surface and the talent to execute.  The few times I saw them in '81-'82 left an indelible mark as from a group of young men who seriously considered their place in the world and reached beyond an audience for satisfaction. Always ahead of the pack. 

The recent Frontier 30th Anniversary Party may have been to showcase the more well known factions of punk in The Adolescents, T.S.O.L. and Avengers but for the this heart of darkness I'll always identify with Middle Class as being the real deal.
Out of Vogue, indeed. 


Live recordings after the jump...

07 November 2010 
Part Time Punks ‚Frontier Records 30th Anniversary‚
Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA

M-Audio MicrotrackII+Sony ECM990F>WAV(44.1 sample rate/16bit) >
Audio Audition 1.5 eq to lessen bass, boost mids, highs > 
CD Wave Editor tracksplit > FLAC level 8.

credit: Jeffrey Terranova

01 intro
02 Home Is Where
03 You Belong
04 Archetype
05 Restless Young Men
06 Situations
07 Above Suspicion
08 Love Is Just A Tool
09 Introductory Rites
10 Ritual And Deceit
11 Insurgence
12 A Blueprint For Joy
13 Mosque
14 Out Of My Hands
15 Last Touch
16 Out Of Vogue

17 Nightlife Music (cover)
18 She Cracked (Modern Lovers cover)

Audience master recording by bcingyou‚ recorded four feet from left side of stage in front of bassist
Mike Patton.
Jeff Atta - Vocals
Mike Atta - Guitar
Mike Patton - Bass
Matt Simon - Drums

Eddie And The Subtitles encore after Middle Class.
Mike Patton - Vocals
Mike Atta - Guitar
Ward Dotson (Pontiac Brothers) - Guitar
Matt Simon (Pontiac Brothers vocalist) - Drums

19 American Society

On YouTube:

The Middle Class - Home Is Where  (edited by the lovely Moko117)
Eddie And The Subtitles - American Society (Moko117)

The Middle Class - HD videos from ograwker:

And more videos:

You Belong alternate capture (joeyfumes)


Best Coast - 2010-10-26 - Great American Music Hall SF

Thanks to Julie W. for the above pics

One of 2010's so-called "buzz bands", Best Coast has been riding a wave of (mostly-deserved) hype, with Bethany Constantino appearing #4 on NME's coolest-of-2010 or somesuch.  The Great American was sold out in advance, and a lot of the concert-goers were younger than the band.  I had bought "Crazy For You" a month prior to the show on the strength of unforgettable, catchy songs like "Boyfriend" and "When I'm With You".

The last time Best Coast had appeared at the GAMH, it was to open for Camera Obscura.  Sadly, I missed this show, but I did tape them opening for Vivian Girls (see below)...

We were amazed to be treated to no less than 23 songs, which I imagine is probably almost all of their song catalogue presently.  We saw Bobb Bruno at the merch desk beforehand (to illustrate how unassuming he is to even man it as a part of the headlining act), but I didn't feel brave enough to approach him for some odd reason, maybe because he's so unassuming, it would feel like imposing.

Anyway, near the end of the set, the kids got rowdy.  There was even a stage diver at one point. 

SF Weekly's blog gives a good account which you can read here.

Recording after the jump...


Kelley Stoltz - two sets from 2010

credit: ezilu

Kelley Stoltz
Eagles Tavern
San Francisco CA

taper: thehappyone
equipment: Sonic Studios DSM-6/L's > Edirol R-09HR

tracklist:  soundchecking / Wave Goodbye / If I Can't Have You / Do You Want To Rock n' Roll With Me / Pine Cone / Birdies Singing / Fire Escape / Baby, I Got News For You [Peter Miller] / Mount Fuji

credit: ezilu
One of my favorite shows of 2010 (don't worry, I'll be featuring the headliners Thee Oh Sees and Eddy Current Suppression Ring soon enough), we got a double dose of the talents of the esteemed Mr. Stoltz both as drummer for Sonny And The Sunsets and frontman for his own solo act, backed by a full band, every tune a catchy slice of pop goodness.  The applause at the end was heartfelt.

credit: ezilu
Here's a profile that appeared in the SF Bay Guardian that captures how sweet a guy he is.  The stills illustrating this post are vidcaps from ezilu's recording of "Fire Escape", which is well worth watching.  Apologies for the chatter during the first couple of songs, the people around me were doing a bit of catching up and weren't giving their full attention towards Mr. Stoltz.  Do You Want To Rock n' Roll With Me, in particular, was quite catchy.  And you got to like the use of xylophone in a couple of these tracks.

Bonus set:

Kelley Stoltz
The Fillmore
San Francisco
opening for Echo and the Bunnymen

taper: thehappyone
equipment: Sonic Studios DSM-6/L's > Edirol R-09HR

tracklist:  Wave Goodbye / If I Can't Have You / Are You Electric / Owl Service / "bunnymen cake story" / Pine Cone / "shaking will sergeant's hand" / Baby I Got News For You [Peter Miller] / Mount Fuji

This is Kelley Stoltz' opening set for Echo and the Bunnymen.  The Bunnymen cake story was worth the price of admission alone.  
Interesting tidbit, Kelley calls the "A7 and even A9" California chords, and features both quite prominently in "Owl Service".  And the Peter Miller cover is neat.

Snaps done from my iPhone 3GS, they're all somewhat blurry.
(took some of the headlining Echo and the Bunnymen, as well)

And, please folks, if you like what you hear, click here to sample and buy some of his stuff!  His latest album (as of this writing) is called To Dreamers, I'm bummed that I missed out on the bonus CD-R...


Sonny and the Sunsets - 2010-10-26 - Great American Music Hall SF

credit: Julie W.

Opening for the exploding Best Coast's first San Francisco headlining show (I had caught them earlier in the year opening for Vivian Girls...stay tuned for that show) was Sonny and the Sunsets, fronted by Sonny Smith, who has more melody and garage pop hits in his little finger than most cities have in their population.  This is the guy responsible for the '100 Records' project...create 100 imaginary artists, each with their own single and artwork.

Kelley Stoltz and the cat-kit
The drummer for the Sunsets is none other than Kelley Stoltz, who's no slouch as an recording artist himself...he's probably best known for covering Echo and the Bunnymen's Crocodiles album start-to-finish, helped out by the guitarist from Pavement in live settings.  There's definitely something going on here with bands that capture a California sunny-dark psych-surf garage-punk-pop sound...another group that will be extensively featured here in an upcoming post, Thee Oh Sees, is also a purveyor of this sound, as are some of the other groups that have graced these posts over the past month.

In any event, it was the second time that I had caught the Sunsets, and they didn't disappoint.  Two new songs (Reflections On Youth, I Wanna Do) are featured in this set, which was chock-full of unreleased gems like 'Teenage Thugs'...hie on over to the Daytrotter Sessions site to check out some of the tracks that haven't yet made it onto their new album Tommorrow Is Alright.   The tunes are sticking to my head like glue, helped out by having tomzero also capturing some of the magic inside the Great American.

Recording details after the jump...