Music to Your Ears
By Michael Henningsen
Well, well, well ... I can't simply (no pun intended) ignore the fact that after ranting about local bands dropping out of tribute night shows at the last minute, Joe Anderson's band, simple. was one of two bands who actually did drop out of the Launchpad's Metal Tribute III last Saturday night at the last minute. Anderson reported that simple. guitarist Dan Previtt dislocated a shoulder the previous night and was unable to play guitar or lift a variety of relatively small objects, so all is forgiven. As for the bands that did show up, all did a pretty spectacular job pulling off metal tunes that ranged from the comically awful to the actually pretty killer. In my humble opinion, Cue the Wing-ed Serpent, the first band of the evening, which most people missed, were the highlight of the evening, serving up renditions of “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “The Final Countdown” and “Don't Stop Believin'” that were sights and sounds to behold. ... Does anyone other than me find it odd in a sort of the-end-is-near way that Marty Robbins, John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell all died on the same date, Dec. 8? ... and the three shows not to miss this week are the Seventh Annual Antichrist Mass on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Launchpad, featuring Phobia, Catheter, Curse of the Nation, Noisear, Tortus and Pretty Little Flower; the Launchpad Employee F*ck Jam on Monday, Dec. 20, featuring a bunch of stupid shit; and kick-ass Texas-based instrumental band Collect All Five at Stella Blue on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m.
By Michael Henningsen
Holiday in Eastern Europe
Women's vocal ensemble Kitka sing-in the season
Admittedly, I've become a bit jaded when it comes to holiday-themed music. I have, after all, spent every early December listening intently to and reviewing the latest of such releases for the past 11 years, and it doesn't get any easier. But usually, there's at least one stunning new addition to the Christmas music canon each year. In 2004 it's Kitka's Wintersongs (Diaphonica).
Composed of eight uncommonly gifted singers, Kitka capture the tradition, intrigue and spirituality of music of Eastern European origin that commemorates the Christmas season and, in the case of the melodies that predate Christianity, the corresponding winter solstice. Far removed from the mind-numbing holiday music courtesy of Bing Crosby and every other long-dead crooner and contemporary country music artist known to mankind, Kitka's Macedonian-based music aims straight for the soul and hits its mark without exception. Consisting of ancient village chants to eerily complex harmonic arrangements, the group's repertoire sounds timeless with a unique urgency. Accompaniment is generally sparse and rooted in traditional Slavic instrumentation, affording the music with a calm that's synonymous with winters that are long, dark and cold.
with These Arms Are Snakes and Everlovely Lighteningheart
By Michael Henningsen
Friday, Dec. 17; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.): Frankly, Isis may be the most important metal band on the planet at the moment, and not just because they're able to rock with the best of them. Isis represent the last vestige of hope first proffered nearly a decade ago by pioneering post-hardcore bands Neurosis and, later, Tool. Unfortunately, the promise those bands showed never quite manifested fully in the psyches of fans who flirted with serious, artful metal, only to eventually be sucked in by poseurs like Korn and a half-dozen frat metal bands whose music was fun to drink, fight and plan date-rapes to.
By Michael Henningsen
U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (Interscope)
Beginning with the iPod theme song, “Vertigo,” U2's latest release brims with that Rattle and Hum self-absorption fans of the band have been forced to come to grips with over the course of the past 14 years, with the notable exceptions of Achtung Baby and 2002's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Here, U2 attempt to strike a balance between their distant past and their perceived future, and they very nearly succeed. The Edge is allowed back in the driver's seat, accelerating each of the album's 11 songs with his trademark effects-soaked, chiming guitar figures.
Dada Life Press Photo
Dada Life • electronic, house
By Joshua Lee
This is not a DJ duo from Sweden. Wait. No. Actually, it is. Sorry, I got carried away. Dada Life is one of the biggest DJ acts in the world. I don't really know what that entails, though, to be honest. It involves dancing, I think. And auto-tune. But I don't really care, because these guys are hilarious. Their logo is a champagne bottle flanked by two peeled bananas. They have press photos involving pastel suits and Sears family photo-style ambiguous cloudy backgrounds, and one showing member Stefan Engblom shoving an oversized piece of meat into member Olle Cornéer's straining face while giving words of encouragement. That's funny. And anyone that funny deserves a show of your support, which you will have a chance to display when they come to The Stage this Friday, Sept. 2, at 9pm. If you're over 21, purchase a $25-$35 ticket, get your ass down there and let these boys know how appreciative you are of their comic genius. Oh. And let them know you like their music (even if you're old and don't get it, like me).
Kid Dinosaur • indie rock • St. Petersburg • Cry Steve Cry • psychedelic, surf Americana • Sweet Nothin' • punk rock
By Desiree Garcia
Is a Burqueño actually a Burqueño if they don't support their local artists? If you're unsure, the band Kid Dinosaur will be headlining a show at the Launchpad this Friday, Sept. 2. Doors open at 8pm. It's a 21+ show, because what's a show without a little liquid courage (just for dancing, though)? It's only $5 to support these local indie rockers. Performances will also include St. Petersburg, Cry Steve Cry and Sweet Nothin'.
Courtesy of Watsky Instagram
Watsky • Witt Lowry • hip-hop • Daye Jack • rap • Chukwudi Hodge
By Renée Chavez
In search of rap that's about more than hoes and getting turnt at the club? Cruise over to Sunshine Theater on Saturday, Sept. 3, to experience WATSKY, Witt Lowry, Daye Jack and Chuckwudi Hodge. George Watsky is a spoken word artist, rapper, poet and author who has just released his newest studio album, x Infinity, and let me tell ya, he's rad. Don't believe me? Check out his performance as Shakespeare in “Epic Rap Battles of History,” the flaming-hot “Whoa Whoa Whoa” from All You Can Do, or the fact that he won the Brave New Voices National Poetry Slam in 2006. He tackles complex issues like school shootings, politics, immigration, social media and the bizarreness of the modern human experience with wit and a badass beat. Tickets are $20 for general admission to this all-ages show and doors open at 7pm.
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