Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Givers at The Earl, Atlanta, November 24, 2015

George Bernard Shaw once said, “One way to be popular is to listen attentively to a lot of things you already know.” Listening well is an act of generosity. 

It seems like just last Friday were at The Earl, in fact, it was just last Friday we were at The Earl for Here We Go Magic and Little Tybee, but last night we were back for Givers. 

We saw Givers about this time last year at Vinyl, and while we're glad to see them again, one of the reasons for going out last night was to finally catch Doe Paoro, an artist we've been wanting to see for a while now.

We weren't sure quite what to expect from New York's Paoro, considering this was the first thing we'd heard from her:

After that introduction, we got to know her as a soulful torch singer influenced as much by Tibetan music and Vipassana meditation as by D'Angelo and James Blake, as evidenced by songs like Born Whole:

Since that time, that long-lost era known to some as "2012," Paoro's continued her evolution and last night she performed basically as a pop singer, although, to be sure, a thoughtful and compelling pop singer and a delight to listen to.

The Earl audience was their typically noisy self during Paoro's set and unfortunately drowned out some of her quieter moments, but at other times she managed to overwhelm the room with the force of her voice and her able band, consisting of just a drummer and keyboards although if you closed your eyes, you'd swear there was a larger band on the stage.

After a somewhat long interval (it happens), Lafayette, Louisiana's Givers took the stage before an excited, pumped-up audience.  I didn't see an announcement about a sell out, but it looked as if The Earl was at or near capacity.

Anyway, Givers performed a typically rowdy, high-energy set of party music, playing mostly songs from their recent album New Kingdom

Givers music is rooted in an indie-rock interpretation of cajun, zydeco, funk, and rock 'n' roll, with jazz influences and a dash of R&B - basically, anything that keeps the party going and keeps folks dancing. They're obviously well versed in their Louisiana roots music as evidenced by their impressive interpretation of Paul Simon's That Was Your Mother

Not that they were even remotely acoustic last night (although it's reassuring to know that they could play that way if necessary).  No, last night they were flat out synth-pop and funk-rock, with lots of handclapping and back-and-forth vocals by frontpersons Tiffany Lamson and Taylor Guarisco.

As stated, they mostly played songs off of their new album and to my disappointment didn't perform In My Eyes (commonly known as In Light), but they did manage to sneak in Up Up Up and an encore cover of Prince's 1999, which turned out to be a perfect vehicle for their back-and-forth vocals.

And then there's this:

Anyway, it was a fun, great time and it's good to know that Givers right now are at the top of their game.

POST-SCRIPT:  This is getting pretty far off topic, but the African Men video reminded me of this one.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Other Lives

Other Lives at The Earl, June 6, 2015
Oh, look.  Our old friends at La Blogothèque have recorded A Take Away Show by our old friends Other Lives, shot at Marcel Broodthaers Musée d’Art Moderne – Département des Aigles exhibit at La Monnaie de Paris in April 2015.

So where were Other Lives during the November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, you ask?  They were in France, as noted on their web site:
On the evening of November 13, we happened to be in Paris with family and friends when we heard the tragic news. No words explain the depths of injustice, sadness and incredulity we have been feeling since then. All our love and respect goes to the victims of this atrocity, their families, friends and to all of the people of Paris and France: we will never forget how fierce, strong and united you stand in defending your culture tooth-and-nail after such events. Now, more than ever, we remind ourselves of how lucky we are to be able to do what we love the most: travel in order to play our songs and genuinely connect with others, beyond language barriers or cultural differences. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Kathryn Calder

Last September 11, while we were watching Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Variety Playhouse, Kathryn Calder, our favorite New Pornographer (with all due respect to Dan Bejar), was performing a set in New York's Mercury Lounge, and fortunately for us, the good folks over at NYC Taper caught it and posted it to their web site.  I simply can't say enough good things about this terrific artist.

Here's the set, followed by Calder's video for  When You See My Blood.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

If Only I Could Remember My Name

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, nor a fan of David Crosby in particular, but it bears noting that in 1970, Crosby quietly, very quietly, released a masterpiece solo recording, If Only I Could Remember My Name, that took the laid-back Laurel Canyon vibe and harmonies and made an album so brilliantly gentle and relaxed that it almost borders on ambience.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Here We Go Magic at The Earl, Atlanta, November 20, 2015

First show since Halloween . . . although we would have gone to see Diane Coffee at 529 last weekend if that show hadn't been cancelled at the last minute.  But as good a way as any to return to the clubs is a set by our local favorites Little Tybee and our old friends Here We Go Magic.

We were surprised to realize this was our first time seeing Little Tybee this year, as we've seen them many times in the past and they play fairly frequently in Atlanta.  But better late than etc., and Little Tybee managed to sell out The Earl (much of the full house had already left by the time the headliners took the stage).  

Overall, the show got off to a late start.  Big Thief was supposed to open, but their tour bus reportedly broke down in Alabama and they were late getting to The Earl.  Although the doors opened at 9:00 pm, Little Tybee didn't take the stage to fill in for Big Thief until 10:30, in part, we suppose, due to confusion and in part to let the majority of the audience, who had come to see Little Tybee, arrive. Despite this minor hitch, Little Tybee played a great set of mostly new material (new at least to us, but then again, it's been a year).  On top of that, Brock Scott broke a string on his guitar twice during the set and had to run off-stage both times to get a replacement and re-tune, and the band played some fairly satisfying improvised jams to fill the time, indicating their high level of musicianship.

Brooklyn's Big Thief did finally make it to The Earl and played a nice but short set so that headliners Here We Go Magic wouldn't have to come on too late.   

Big Thief is basically a showcase for singer and guitarist Adrianne Lenker, who ably carried the too-short set.

Here We Go Magic took the stage a little after midnight, about what we expected for three bands and a 9:00 pm opening.  

We've seen Here We Go Magic before, including the old line-up featuring bassist Jennifer Turner and keyboardist Teeny Lieberson (Teen) at The Earl in 2010 and 2011, and the new lineup  without Turner and Lieberson at The Georgia Theater opening for Andrew Bird in 2012. Since that time, however, we've missed them, so it was nice to catch back up with them three years later and hear their new songs, which still groove along to their infectious rhythms, but are even more complex with more sonic textures that before.  

Bonus fun points to Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker for bringing fireball shooters onto the stage for Here We Go Magic during their set, and for dancing with the girls in The Earl's audience during HWGM's set.

Here are some videos of last night's performers.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Coathangers

The Coathangers at The Earl, December 25, 2013
What is it about the energy of a Friday night that makes The Coathangers sound so fucking appropriate?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Necessary Evil

Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Terminal West, June 13, 2015
Adult Swim premiered the new UMO video for Necessary Evil last week, and here it is in all its animated glory.