Dual Laura’s = Dual the Review

A Review of the Against Me! And Laura Stevenson Concert at the Neptune on March 25th

Against Me! has been glorified lately for its controversial lead singer Laura Jane Grace. Laura, formerly known, as Tome Gabel is the transgender front woman of Against Me!. Tom becoming Laura has gained Against Me! a lot of new fans as well as has lost them some fans. Either way, in the punk community Laura has become the center of attention. Having seen Against Me! perform at Warped tour a few years back and watching Laura perform this summer and further into her journey this week at the Neptune I am simply amazed by her and her band. Against Me! has been able to find a wonderful ground where Laura can write songs about her journey without changing Against Me! classic punk sound. The band dynamics may seem to have changed having all of the attention being put on Laura, but in reality they act as the same band that they were when I saw them play at the Warped Tour in a few years ago. There is still a strong punk sound produced with very playful interaction with the audience, allowing for a great mosh pit that consists of hundreds of smiling faces yelling the “oh’s” of Sink Florida Sink. The show that Against Me! gave me so much wonderful Nostalgia while also showing so much new energy and hope for the future, it is simply beautiful.

Laura Stevenson is one of my favorite artists and I am not sure if there is anything that will taint that. Opening for Against Me! is an opportunity that any punk musician would die for, however, I think for Laura it was a very weird experience. Laura is a folk punk artist moving in the direction of just folk music. This transition has been very hard for her. Being a former member of the folk punk gods Bomb the Music Industry! and then releasing two amazing folk punk albums with her back up band The Cans, she has grown up in and has been entrenched in the folk punk scene. With her new album The Wheel dropping The Cans off of her name and adding in instrumentalists that have worked with artists like Bon Iver, Laura seems to be showing a push into and individual folk career. It must have been her dream as a punk artist to open for Against Me! but to be offered this during her transition period meant Laura had to make some changes. The changes I noticed were the tempos of the songs. Laura played with the Cans and played all of her songs sped up. This did make here a more effective opener for Against Me! But did take away a little bit of her slow melancholy charm. To a listener her songs sounded rushed and didn’t allow for Laura’s amazing long held out notes that are showcased on all of her albums. Despite these things however, with an accordion on stage and herself playing guitar she through a wonderful set showing her fun and anxious personality  and ending with a perfect performance of A Master of Art that got the crowd cheering like crazy.

The shows highlight was when Laura Jane Grace asked Laura Stevenson to help her sing Against Me!’s classic Born on FM Waves of the Heart which is normally sang by Against Me! and Tegan Quinn of Tegan and Sara. Seeing both Laura’s, one experienced, seasoned and in her prime and the other a nervous but amazingly talented folk punk powerhouse was amazing and simply beautiful.

Marcus Shriver/ An Legendary Goose Boxer/ KSUB Community Outreach and Social Media Director

Awkward Openers and Great Surprises

 A Review of the K. Flay and Air Dubai Show at Chop Suey on March 26th

Let’s not beat around the bush; this show started out weird. The openers Ricky and Mark had alright music and a really funny instrumentalist but totally threw us off when they basically begged for money. A note for performers: do not beg your audience for money. It is a total turn-off. The second opener Itch was probably the weirdest thing either of us have ever seen. We use the term “thing” because we weren’t entirely sure what we were watching. The front man of Itch was overly aggressive throughout the performance. His aggression mixed with the smooth voice of his vocalist and the creepy masks of his instrumentalists led to a really weird set that sounded as if it should have come out of a really bad Disney Channel movie. We did agree, though, that all members of the band were very talented. As an act, however, the artists clashed and it ended up being extremely cheesy.

The other opener/co-headliner was Air Dubai. This band is a band that is from Marcus’ home town so he’s seen them many times before. Seeing this band through all of their stages has been a really interesting experience though Marcus doesn’t consider himself a diehard fan, he enjoys catching them when they come through Seattle. Neither of us regret seeing them this time. After the awkward openers I was worried they might have killed the crowd’s vibe, but Air Dubai to the rescue! With a six person band, consisting of a live band, a rapper, and a very strong R & B singer, Air Dubai threw an energetic and musically tight show that got the crowd excited and wanting more. The songs they played were a good mixture of old and new songs in a really well planned out set. This band is only going to get better and they have a very broad potential fan base so watch out for them.

The other headliner was K. Flay. As an artist, K.Flay is a force in the rap industry wrapped in an unconventional package. Being a white female and a graduate of Stanford University one would never expect what she can offer. What she can offer, however, uses her education and her gender. She offers intelligent tracks with very unique trippy beats with a very strong drug influence. Her lyrics are intricate, smart, and very straightforward. Her performance was perfect for her music. With a live drummer, trippy graphics playing behind her and an anxious stage presence K. Flay is clearly playing what she wants to be playing and it is something that I believe is almost impossible to duplicate. The highlights of this show included when K. Flay played her song “The Cops”, her slowest song as well as when she did live beats. “The Cops” is a beautiful and sad song which she sang perfectly and seemed to put more passion into than in the rest of the songs. The whole crowd felt her love and emotions. K. Flay also mixed her own beats live for a few songs. Using a beat pad on stage she looped an amazing beat and rapped one of her best songs, “10th Ave” over it. This is something that should be admired because it is not easy to make a beat, much less make a beat live. K. Flay is a pioneer in her genre of hip hop and people who understand her music understand its depth, anxiety, depression, pain, strength, confusion, and purpose.

Marcus Shriver/ A Professional Chair painter/ KSUB Community Outreach and Social Media Director

Jasmine Schwartz/ Denim on Denim Advocate/ KSUB News Director

Treefort Day 2

Hi there, McKenna again! I’m slowly gettin’ my act together and writing a few things about the rest of my time at Treefort Music Fest 2014. Although I do not consider myself the best blogger out there- I wanted to cover this music festival because I truly care about local music which is what most of Treefort seems to be all about! Right on!

On the second day of Treefort Music Fest I was so excited to see as much music as I possibly could! Here are some highlights from the day:

THEESatisfaction, a funky and psychadelic duo from Seattle,  got the Main Stage all warmed up for the weekend. It was great to see a some familiar Seattle faces dancing in the crowd!

THEESatisfaction

Our Second stop was the District Coffee Shop to see another Seattle group, The BGP. Sofia and I got over initial surprise that there was a huge Seattle act that we had never heard of once we walked through the door. This soulful group filled the shop with earnest lyrics and dance-worthy melodies.

TheBGPThings got a little cheesy when they decided to “bring back the slow dance” but it was sweet all the same to see strangers dance with one another to a slow song and it was only the first of a few performances that included a moment dedicated to slow-dancing. Apparently its a major concern for many contemporary bands! I think KSUB can get behind the revive of the slow dance.

Future Twin, a band out of San Francisco, CA arrived late to their set at The Bouquet but brought it to their shortened set – and a little angst because they are obviously a band that is used to the rock-n-roll lifestyle that allows them some delay.FutureTwin2

FutureTwin1Jean was the most composed, feminist rockstar I’ve had the pleasure of watching up-close a few times. Every time she plays she seems to roll with any small hiccups with a sense of humor and grace that you wouldn’t expect from a musical perfectionist, especially when pedals aren’t working or things haven’t been set up due to a rushed and delayed soundcheck. The fans pleaded for more after Future Twin’s short set but the festival had to stick to a pretty strict schedule that early in the evening and they gracefully left the stage after three awesome songs.

We ran next door to catch a song or two of the always-loud Seattle favorite, Dude York before running off to see Kris Orlowski whose set was almost impossible to catch a glimpse of at the overcrowded Pengilly Saloon. Even his beautiful songs couldn’t smooth over one of the waitresses who was obviously and verbally angry about the amount of people packing the venue.

Leaving Pengilly and feeling a little overwhelmed by the bad attitudes I had encountered there, I was happy to go somewhere new. It could almost seem a spiritual coincidence that I wound up at the Linen Building watching Arrington De Dionysos’s Malaikat Dan Singa – yeah it’s a mouthful. And an earful and an eyeful if you get a chance to see these guys live.

MalaikatDanSinga

Arrington, pictured above, explains that he started the band and so he could call it whatever  he pleased- his nonchalant band name disclaimer of sorts. Between thowing a microphone into his saxophone to solo or showing off almost t’ai chi inspired slow dance moves- this frontman of the sometimes-described as “trance punk” group is immersed in every song and seems to transport into his own universe in front of the crowd while his equally talented but more modest bandmates support him on drums and bass.

The night ended with Mount Eerie. Phil Elverum’s soft vocals accompanied by only a large gong and an old keyboard provide for a sound that is both low-fi folk and an almost avant garde spin on rock music. Though midnight at a music festival may have been a strange time for this project to take the stage, it is hard to deny that Mount Eerie displays both musical and lyrical genius.

McKenna Haley / Drinker of  Rainier – even in Boise / Promotions Director

Proof That You Can Name Your Band Anything and Still Play Shows…

One of the first things that Sofia and I did after picking up our press passes at El Korah Shrine in Downtown Boise (which were not under my name, her name, Marcus’ name or just KSUB- but Bill Koch- which is still a mystery to me) was look through the printed program. I had tried to keep up and look through the website as more and more bands were announced over the past few months but somehow these names were funnier when I read about all of the performers in one sitting.

We found some awesome (and some so-awful-they-are-awesome-by-default) band names that are sure to make ya laugh, get you interested in looking them up or maybe just wonder about how they book shows (listed in the order of appearance we found them in the Treefort Music Fest 2014 official “Trail Guide”):

1d - Boise, ID

Kitty Crimes - Denver, CO

Teenage Nasty - Pocatello, ID

Stranger Danger - Boise, ID

Pull Out Quick - Boise, ID

Karaoke From Hell - Portland, OR

Big Tits - Oakland, CA

Mr. Gnome- Cleveland, OH

Warm Soda - Oakland, CA

Piss Test - Portland, OR

Sister Crayon -  Sacramento, CA

Perfect Pussy - Syracruse, NY

Worst Foster Parents -  Boise, ID

 

*This list also serves as a tool for finding new bands that you may not have seen because you were not in Boise this past weekend or…you were in Boise and were busy seeing/doing/hearing something else. So you are very welcome for this!

McKenna Haley / Master of Couch Perching / Promotions Director

Women Will Forever Belong in the Rap Game and Rappers Like K.Flay Are Proof

A Preview for the K. Flay//Air Dubai show at Chop Suey of March 26th

            Since the beginning, there has been a strong female influence on rap through choruses and dancing. But rapping has been a very difficult area of Hip Hop for female artists to establish dominance. Starting with artists such as Salt n’ Peppa in the 80’s, Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliot in the 90’s very few women have made a huge impact on the rap scene. This number has been increasing, though, and has only been moving rap in a better direction. Female rappers have been giving something different to the scene that male rappers can’t and it’s opening the world to the perspective of women working/creating in a patriarchal subset of music in a patriarchal world. Rap, since its formation, has been music written by the oppressed populations in pursuit of fighting the oppressors. It could be from minority races (specifically African, and African American) toward majority races, from poor communities to rich communities, or, increasingly, women to patriarchal constructs. This is not to say that all female rappers are feminists and that all that female rappers rap about is patriarchy, just as not all black rappers are fighting against racism. What we mean is that women belong in the rap game in the same way other minorities have claimed rap as a creative space of belonging. They also stand apart as artists, creating and putting out music that deserves to be given attention, not only because they are female, but also because they are relevant and significant contributors to the music industry.

            K. Flay, along with fellow female rapper Dessa, has begun to fall into the same rap categories as hip hop legends Atmosphere, Brother Ali, and Grieves. K. Flay, with connections to Budo, K. Flay has been able to find a sound that is easy to bob your head to and with her own strong though provoking lyrics, creepy anxious beats, and very charismatic presence, has created a sound that unique and weirdly beautiful. With a double degree from Stanford University and a way with words that is incomparable, K. Flay is a poet as much as a rapper and persuasive writer as much as a poet. Her music takes looks at sociology and psychological problems in the world and in her own mind, winding and weaving them throughout her sharp beats. Releasing mixtapes since 2004 she is quickly becoming a veteran in the industry and with the connections she has made will no doubt break out soon. Jasmine saw K. Flay perform (with Budo opening) at the Crocodile just a year ago where she absolutely wow’d the crowd. K. Flay’s ability to flow and entertain an audience is beautiful to watch. As someone who listens to K.Flay’s music pretty often, Jasmine was absolutely thrilled to see that she’s performing on a Northwest tour this year. Jasmine’s most looking forward to see how K. Flay’s confidence and stage presence have grown and developed even more in the past year. Both KSUB’ers are very excited to see the type of show that she’ll throw and the vibe she gives to the crowd.

            The other band playing this show is Air Dubai. This is a band Marcus has known from the roots. With two of the bandmates coming from his former high school they are a legend in his home town of Parker, Colorado. That being said, they are a very interesting booking to be paired with K. Flay. Though both hip hop artists, Air Dubai takes a much more pop R & B vibe relying on smooth voices, calm raps, and almost a jazzy band sound to create their music, while K. Flay relies on her persona and a DJ techno based background sound. Air Dubai, however, has had a huge year, going on constant tours and signing to Hopeless Records.

            Both artists being very talented and very good at what they do, this show will be a showcase of talent and great music. The mixture of music will be very interesting and we are very excited to see if a gamble like this pays off.

 

-Marcus Shriver / An Edible Person / KSUB Community Outreach and Social Media Director and Jasmine Schwartz/ Sneezes like a Polar Bear/ KSUB News Director

Treefort Music Fest Day 1

Hello from Idaho! This year I have been lucky enough to cover Treefort Music Fest in a sunshine-y Boise so that avid readers of the KSUB blog are able to have a little peek into the local music scene of a city outside of Seattle.

Sofia and I rode into Boise on Thursday afternoon with a little time to spare before the music started. It had been a long day of driving but catching a few bands on the first night was totally worth it!

We started at Neurolux to catch The Shivas, a Portland rock band that proves to be at their very best when you see them live. Some more Portland rock followed them in the form of a band called And And And that surprised the audience with a trumpet and a cello on a few different songs- not something you initially expected from a group that rolled in with mohawks and T-Shirts that read: “My kids think I’m an ATM Machine” (which is definitely the best shirt I’ve seen so far at the festival). We stayed a little longer to watch Purling Hiss, a rock trio out of Philadelphia (pictured below) that was putting the cherry on top of my first night of rock-n-roll. I don’t think that I could have been happier than in that moment watching some major shredding.

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Lures_1

Before heading in for the night, we caught KSUB pals, Lures (pictured above), at The Crux. We really enjoy their surfy rock tunes and so do the Treefort go-ers as made evident by the crowd’s applause and enthusiasm.

For more quick blog post bursts and phone photos, keep your eye out on the blog and KSUB Facebook page because I will be updating them as frequently as I possibly can!

McKenna Haley / Not Your Average Woo Girl / Promotions Director

KSUB Gets Classy: Part I

A Review of Morlot Conducts The Fantastique at Benaroya Hall on Saturday, February 15th

In the heart of downtown Seattle, not more than a fifteen minute walk from the Seattle University campus lies Benaroya Hall, is the home of the Seattle Symphony. On Saturday the 15th, the Seattle Symphony presented Morlot Conducts the Fantastique. Ludovic Morlot is the music director of the Symphony and every time that I’ve seen him, he has been excellent.

Saturday’s performance began with the piece “Bourree fantasque” from Emmanuel Chabrier. According to the program, Chabrier was one of the most influential French musicians of the late 19th century. This piece was one of his most famous works and was originally intended to be a piano solo. Chabrier never finished the piece and Felix Mottl transformed it into a symphony piece in 1898. The piece was very short and upbeat. There was a lot of influence from the brass section, including a section during which the trumpets led the violins. The harmonies were well ahead of the baroque era and were thus evidence to the brilliance of the piece. 

The second piece performed was Robert Schumann’s “Cello Concerto in A Minor,” performed by Xavier Phillips. I have to admit that I’m really not a huge fan of cello pieces. To me, they always come across as morose, slow, and overly dramatic. I can safely say that was not the case in this performance. This piece was composed despite Schumann battling bipolar disorder in the mid 1800s. The whole piece flows smoothly through the three movements that it has. Where usually movements have a distinctly different feeling from the previous movement, this one pulled all three movements together to achieve a kind of unity in the performance. To add to the beauty of the music, Xavier Phillips played excellently (and used a cello that was over 300 years old!)

The final piece was Symphonie Fantastique. This piece was composed by Hector Berlioz in the 1830s. It tells the story of an artist meeting the woman of his dreams and falling in love with her. When the artist falls into despair about how he can’t be with the woman, he tries to kill himself by overdosing on opium. Instead, he ends up with a narcotic vision where he believes that he has killed the woman and has been condemned to death. The artist sees his own death about to take place with a whirlwind of devils and sorcerers around the guillotine. Then, the artist wakes from his vision to end the piece.

Even if you didn’t know this back story, this symphony would have you engaged from start to finish. It is beautifully high energy – the first three movements are all very excited and upbeat. Even the first half of the fourth movement is startlingly happy for describing a situation in which the artist believes that he has killed the woman of his dreams. But towards the end of the fourth movement, the change in mood from happy to morose is very evident. As we continue into the next piece, the symphony gets to be very loud while still being morose. This is always my favorite part of seeing the symphony. They can convey so many emotions at so many different levels and so many intensities. The piece ends with beautiful excitement as many of the instruments all come together.  

As a final note, if you are a university student, I highly recommend the Seattle Symphony. The prices for students are very cheap, and it makes for a great night out on a date, with a friend, or even by yourself. 

Bill Koch / Resident Spicy Hamburger Expert / KSUB General Manager

KSUB Gets Classy: Part II to include the fusion, incorporation, and sampling of symphonic and classical music in the hip hop/rap genre. Keep an eye out for that! It will be posted soon!