Tag Archives: Coach House

Wrap up reviews Pt. 1 – Fountains of Wayne – Coach House – October 14, 2011

Tomorrow night will be my last show of 2011 and I realize that there were three shows I didn’t review as promised.

It’s a funny, I started each one of these and for various reasons I never actually got back to deal with them.  Most of those reasons of course were work (and work travel) related.  I logged a decent amount of road miles this year, and next year is looking just as strong or stronger.  It’s good and bad I suppose, but I like to travel and I like my job, so it’s not really something to complain about much.  I also have been spending a lot of time on a second company we are starting up (www.avforplanners.com) and even working on our podcast (www.meetingspodcast.com).  So, plenty of reaasons not to write reviews.

But, the biggest were that each of the three un-reviewed shows had some missing element that I wasn’t able to write around or even really know what it was.  So, I suppose you could say that two of these are my biggest disappointments of 2011, the third…well, you’ll just have to keep reading, won’t you?

The October Fountains of Wayne night started badly…

The first band was called Trevi…they were bad, epically bad.

My notes about Trevi include the comments…“They are to music what exxon is to environmental protections…” and “Now they are doing a rock song which sounds like Judas Priest would sound if you removed all traces of talent from the band members…”  Yeah, they were that bad.

They seemed like nice enough guys and I hate to pick on them too much (one of my original reasons for not writing this review).  But, they took up 45 minutes of my year that I’ll never get back.  So, I wish them much success…and hope they improve somehow.

Next up was Mike Viola, he was in a group you’ve never heard of called “The Candy Butchers”, they wrote pretty cool power pop stuff.  Then, along with one of the guys in FOW he wrote most of the cool songs from the Tom Hanks movie “That thing you do”.  He didn’t do those songs….

He did his new album, which was fine enough singer/songwriter stuff.  He even did a Dewey Cox song he wrote for the movie “Walk Hard” (Beautiful Life)…But, if you’re somewhat obscure, even if you’re talented.  How do you ignore the one song you’ve written that the crowd might actually know?  I mean, even Springsteen trots out “Born to Run” every night to offset “Outlaw Pete”.  Mike, throw us a morsel and we’ll likely be happier following along with your current musical passions.  Looking back a coupe months later, I couldn’t tell you the melody of anything he played….but, I could still hum “That Thing You Do” and it came out in 1996….

I love the Fountains of Wayne.

I didn’t love them so much this time.

There was a missing element that just left me feeling like they were sort of phoning in the show.  I’ve seen them numerous times and they were always a lot of fun.  This time I felt like they were a band who were gong through the motions.  Their new CD is great (Sky Full of Holes), the selection of material was fine.  There was just no spark.  Even the (seemingly) improv part at the end with snippets of “Twilight Zone” (by Golden Earring), “Everybody Wants You”, “Jet Airliner” and “Do you Feel LIke We Do” fitting into their own “Radiation Vibe” was okay, but never reached the heights I’d expected.

If you’d never seen them, I’m sure it was a solid show.  But, for me it fell short of what I’d seen before and expect out of them.  I was thinking they felt like a band who knew their time had passed.  They took their shot with “Stacy’s Mom”, but never quite scaled the charts the way one would have expected.  So, this felt like “another show for another club of a few hundred people”….and it was served with a dose of realization this may be the limits of their success.  They’ve put out four or five excellent albums and this is the best they’ve been able to do.  It was a bit sad in a way.  They are very talented, but it just seems like they can’t catch that break that will make them take off.  Heck, maybe it was just an off night, but my overwhelming impression was of a band that had lost heart and was just going through the motions.

Here’s a clip off the new album done live on Letterman

Sadly, they didn’t do this…one of the strongest cuts on the new CD

And here’s something from their last CD

I hate to be so hard on them, I really do like their music.  But, even two months later a vague disappointment lingers.  It didn’t help that I saw Frank Turner within a few days of this show, and you’ve seen what I wrote about him previously.  The comparison in such a short period of time was just too striking.

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Wrapping up 2010

Wow, where do I start….

As evidenced by the previous posts I had a pretty amazing year of concert-going.  A near lifelong quest completed, an epic show I’d missed 30 years ago revisited.  A music oriented couple weeks in London.  Countless HOF members of the Rock Hall of Fame….heck a ton of them in just a single week.  Shows with good friends old and new.  Hard to even wrap my head around the whole thing.

Here’s the list:

Keb’ Mo’ – Coach House – Jan 14

The Blasters, John Doe, Rumble King – Coach House – Feb 20

Peter Gabriel – Hollywood Bowl – May 7

Styx, Kansas, Foreigner – Citizens Bank Arena – May 19

Richard Thompson – Royal Festival Hall – June 19

Green Day, Joan Jett – Wembley Stadium – June 19

Elvis Costello – Royal Festival Hall – June 20

Glastonbury – June 23-27

Jackson Browne – Albert Hall – June 29

Jack Johnson – O2 Arena – June 30

Laura Marling, Fanfarlo, Peggy Sue, Smoke Fairies – Hyde Park – July 1

Hop Farm – July 2-3

Jools Holland – Kew Gardens – July 6

Barenaked Ladies, Kris Allen, Angel Taylor – Greek Theatre – July 22

Blondie, Gorevette – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 8

Rush – Irvine Meadows – August 13

Al Yankovic – Pacific Amphitheatre – August 14

Scissor Sisters – DAR Consitiution Hall – August 23

Neil Finn – Largo – September 11

Muse, Passion Pit – Staples Center – September 25

Gorillaz, N.E.R.D. – Gibson – October 27

Bonobo – Music Box – November 26

Roger Waters – Staples Center – November 29

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 13

Roger Waters – Honda Center – December 14

Twenty three shows and two festivals in all.  I don’t think I could even pick a “best”.  However a few things to note do occur to me.

Worst sound, Scissor Sisters.  Horrible mix that completely left the vocals out, and it’s not like I had a crappy seat, I was in the 5th row.  Really guys?  Totally detracted from an interesting performance.

Only show I left early, Jack Johnson.  It was okay, but very one-note.  I like his studio stuff, but in a huge arena it was lost.  Put the same show in an intimate venue and I might have loved it.  Add to the experience that I was a bit sick that night and it was just not a compelling show.

Most disappointing, Muse/Passion Pit.  Passion Pit left me cold and Muse after all the hype just didn’t live up to expectations.  Lot’s of copped riffs and wasted technology that didn’t go anywhere.  If you want to use technology look to Gabriel, Waters or even the Pet Shop Boys.  This was “sound and fury that signified nothing”…

Most intimate, Neil Finn.  The Largo is magic when Neil plays there and the September show was no exception.  An obscure setlist that actually added to the special feeling of the evening.  You knew even while watching this was the sort of thing that would never be duplicated.  Jackson Browne in the acoustic tent at Glastonbury was a close second.  While the masses grooved to Stevie Wonder….Jackson held court for a few hundred lucky folks and spun magic with his sidekick David Lindley.  Moving and unique almost sell short just how very special a way it was to end my Glastonbury experience.

Surprises…How awesome Gorillaz were in LA after disappointing in Glastonbury.

Bonobo, Midlake, Hot Chip, Fanfarlo, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Two Door Cinema Club, Magic Numbers, The Bees….none of whom I knew before 2010 and who all get extensive spins regularly on my ipod now.

How great Rush could be at doing “Moving Pictures” after being somewhat average the other time I’d seen them previously….this show made up for that one in spades.

Disappointment….U2 having to cancel in Anaheim and Glastonbury…(of course it does give me a couple shows to look forward to in 2011 already…)

Well, that’s it…another year in the books, and an amazing one at that.  Curious to see what 2011 (and beyond) will bring?  But, it’ll be hard for any year to reach the heights of 2010 for me.

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