Powerman 5000 were briefly popular close to twenty years ago. They’re probably only remembered for “When Worlds Collide,” and quickly fell out of favor to new flavors, which is a shame because each of the now four times I’ve seen them live have been exciting and perhaps even inspirational. Rather than headlining their usual stop at the venerable El Corazón, they opened for their contemporary Orgy at the dodgy Studio Seven. Was that downgrade enough to ruin the fun?
Since 2008, I’ve participated in a game of hearing as many albums released in that year as possible, and I’ve incorporated my own stipulations: no greatest hits albums with an unreleased song, no archival releases by posthumous musicians, and re-releases of albums officially released in another year don’t count. The complete list of the 104 albums I heard is over at my RateYourMusic account.
While studio albums should be the benchmark for a band’s sound, they can also be deceptive because studio producers can meticulously edit and readjust the recordings to sound impossibly perfect. Though listening to live recordings can help gauge how well they’ll perform live, and by now The Pretty Reckless have recorded three good hard rock albums, sometimes you just have to gamble and see a band live.
Re:Zero asks if a social recluse could become a hero. We’re dropped along with Subaru into a fantasy world that quickly rejects him. After being saved by a heroic dream girl, our budding hero learns to survive, while yielding a curse superpower that revives him after making grave mistakes.
NOFX haven’t been in town for years. Some bands are always on tour and will reliably be in town every year at around the same time. (Metal band Korpiklaani even performed on the same date for two consecutive years.) Not being able to see a band for years can lead to a certain sense of longing and inflating anticipation, especially after hearing their live material. Do they suck live?
Concerts can be a gamble. While it’s fun to see the city, getting to some venues can be difficult and there’s a lot of waiting around that can leave you drained, especially if you have to wake up at a decent hour the next morning. Some bands like Van Halen have a terrific early catalogue and are terrible live, yet others like Blondie, X, and especially Willie Nelson might be better now than when they started. Where does Shonen Knife fit in?
One infatuation I had in high school was MTV2. They’d show energetic rock music videos with creative editing techniques that fascinated me enough to venture out of my shell and attend the real life equivalents. Some bands needed to hide behind fast-paced editing or close-ups. Pennywise didn’t have the most energetic live performance of the year, though the rowdy Friday night bar scene reminded me of those visceral music videos of the early 2000s, by bands like A Perfect Circle, Linkin Park, and System of a Down.
Hell or High Water is more than a mere distraction on a quiet Saturday afternoon and yet doesn’t have staying power. We follow two brothers, smart Toby and reckless Tanner, as they stumble through a series of bank robberies. Toby is a failed family man working toward a better future and Tanner sees no future while seemingly working toward failure. They’re hitting small time banks and covering their tracks well enough that the big cheese new guard is not interested. Who is?
Videogame expo PAX hosted two nights of concerts over Labor Day weekend. The Friday night line-up consisted of opener Martin Leung the Video Game Pianist, nerdcore rapper MC Frontalot, and headlining the evening was Minibosses-tribute band Bit Brigade. I skipped the Saturday night line-up of Triforce Quartet, 1UPs, and Super Guitar Bros., although with more planning, rest, and effort, I probably could have enjoyed it as much as Friday’s festivities.