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 - 2010-03-26 - Social Science Trailer No.103 - UC Irvine CA

Third in a series of four March 2010 Southern California shows from the San Francisco-based quartet, taped by the indomitable bcingyou.

I was NOT denied...
La la la la la...
La la la la la...

Who but these guys would play in a portable CLASSROOM???

Four score people got the show of their lives.  If this group isn't one of the best live bands on this planet and you don't groove when they play, you must be DEAD, DEAD, DEAD, DEAD...
from bcingyou:

"Wow...fucking Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The 3rd night seeing Thee Oh Sees was a thrill ride....playing in a portable classroom on UC Irvine campus...I didn't think anyone would be able to find this place but the crazies came out of the woodwork and filled this classroom with a capacity of 80 max (campus security made sure no more got in)...easily the most energy intense show I've EVER attended....the only show where I got hit so hard from behind that my tomahawk mic went flying out of my hands and I was stunned wondering: "why are my hands empty and where's my mic"....landed next to Brigid's feet under her keyboard...4 a.m. and I'm still wired...."

26 March 2010
Social Science Trailer #103, UC Irvine Campus, Irvine, CA

Audience Master Recording by bcingyou.
Recorded directly beside keyboardist, Brigid Dawson. Band and audience at floor level.

M-Audio MicrotrackII + Sony ECM990-F > WAV(44.1 sample rate/16bit) > CD Wave Editor track split > FLAC level 8

01. Enemy Destruct
02. Contraption (mic hits ground at 20 sec. mark)
03. I Was Denied
04. Meat Step Lively
05. Dead Energy
06. Block Of Ice
07. AA Warm Breeze
08. Ghost In The Trees
09. Crack In Your Eye
10. Tidal Wave
11. Warm Slime (Summertime Jam)

Total time - 45:05

Audio recording (FLAC format)

bcingyou documented the openers as well, here's the Cosmonauts' set:

26 March 2010
Social Science Trailer #103, UC Irvine Campus, Irvine, CA

00.  (song cut?)  
01.  Like A French Assassin
02.  Dorothy
03.  Electric Chemicals
04.  T.V. Californnia
05.  Neon Kids
06.  Our Man Flint

Cosmonauts (FLAC)

And Sandwitches...most of the songs they played are on their album 'How To Make Ambient Sadcake' but there's a couple that are pretty new which I can't identify.

26 March 2010
Social Science Trailer #103, UC Irvine Campus, Irvine, CA

01.  (new song)  "I Walk Up To You". [YouTube of Sep 2010 Eagle Tavern performance]
02.  Back To The Sea
03.  Relax At The Beach
04.  (new song)  "Hold Me"  [YouTube of Mar 2010 SXSW performance]
05.  Wicked Inger
06.  The Revisionist
07.  Kiss Your Feet
08.  Fire

Sandwitches (FLAC)

And at some point a recording of 25m of video of TOS may very well surface...


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


Thee Oh Sees - 2010-03-25 - Casual Encounters LA

Second installment of Thee Oh See's "March Madness" shows in SoCal.

Dispatch from the front, courtesy of our correspondent bcingyou:

"Last Thursday's show is finished and I included all photos I took. This recording is AMAZING! I'm really proud of this and I fixed the problem that was causing some connector pops in the earlier Oh Sees recording.  To my ears this sounds perfect raw with no post tampering required. This night they did Ghost In The Trees and an even more amazing version of new song
Summertime Jam (Warm Slime).

Attached a pic I found on Flicker from thurs show and one I took of John's beautiful green guitar [both on display here]."

25 March 2010
Casual Encounters Warehouse, 1257 E. 6th St., Los Angeles, CA

Audience Master Recording by bcingyou.
Recorded directly in front of singer/guitarist John Dwyer. Band and audience at floor level.  Equipment:  M-Audio MicrotrackII + Sony ECM990-F > WAV(44.1 sample rate/16bit)>  CD Wave Editor track split > FLAC level 8

John and his Burns
01. intro
02. Enemy Destruct
03. Block Of Ice
04. I Was Denied
05. Meat Step Lively
06. Tidal Wave
07. Contraption
08. AA Warm Breeze
09. Ghost In The Trees
10. Crack In Your Eye
11. Dead Energy
12. Warm Slime (Summertime Jam)
13. Mega Feast
14. Opposition(*)
15. (after show chatter)

Total Time – 59:23

Listen to bcingyou's recording (FLAC format)

(*) The identification of the last song is still tentative, as this song as far as I know remains unreleased, and this is the only live recording I have of it.

Unfortunately, I haven't yet turned up any video of this show, but there are plenty of good photos in the FLAC set above as well as the following:

2010 Thee Oh Sees Songlist

bcingyou also provided me a recording of opening act Sandwitches:

tracklist needs a bit of work, ?'s are likely new songs:

intro / ? / Tarantula Arms / The Revisionist / Wicked Inger / Fire / ? / ? / ? 


Thee Oh Sees - 2010-03-11 - Nomad Gallery LA

When somebody who's been going to shows for thirty some-odd years says he's just been to the best one he's ever seen, you take notice.  And when he comes back for more, not just once or twice, but *three* more times in the same month, the band in question has to be something special.  And they are.

This is the first of a series of four bcingyou recordings of Thee Oh Sees from March of 2010.  Enjoy!

Thee Oh Sees

11 March 2010 
Nomad Gallery, 1993 Blake Ave., Los Angeles, CA 
Audience Master Recording by bcingyou 

Recorded directly in front of singer/guitarist John Dwyer, band and audience at floor level. 
M-Audio MicrotrackII + Sony ECM990-F>WAV(44.1 sample rate/16bit)>CD Wave Editor track split 

01. intro 
02. Enemy Destruct 
03. Contraption
04. I Was Denied  (HD video: sallenp)
05. Block of Ice 
06. Meat Step Lively 
07. Crack In Your Eye 
08. Mega Feast 
09. AA Warm Breeze 
10. Tidal Wave 
11. Dead Energy 
12. Warm Slime (Summertime Jam), at the 9:12 point the recording drops to mono due to mic connector 'pops' in one channel.  Video footage here.

Total Time – 50:25

Listen! (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)