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The GZA @ Music Hall of Williamsburg 6/14/12 - Stopped the Weakness

Shows / WU TANG - 6.22.12

the gza genius wu tang liquid swords live music hall of williamsburg live review unweak  williamsburg stop the weakness june 2012

the gza genius wu tang liquid swords live music hall of williamsburg live review unweak  williamsburg stop the weakness june 2012Liquid Fucking Swords. One of the best albums of all time. For real, up there with the best of them. I know what you're thinking....is Liquid Swords really the best Wu Tang album? and even if it is, is it that much better than 36 Chambers or Cuban Linx? does this mean that multiple Wu albums are in the Top 10 or 20 Best Albums ever? I'm not about to give a definitive answer on the best Wu album ever as I can never decide, but the answer to that last question is yes. Those 3 albums - Liquid Swords, 36 Chambers and Only Built for Cuban Linx - are pretty much all equal in my mind and all in the running for best albums ever. Up there with the Beatles and shit. So yes, this show, which was billed as GZA PERFORMS LIQUID SWORD (sic), was the fucking tops...and we'd seen it before. and this was better.

Back in 2008, right in the heart of the "bands playing their classic albums start to finish" era, I bought tickets to a GZA show....shortly thereafter a message was posted (or I just noticed) that The GZA would be playing all of Liquid Swords. Heaven fell to earth and landed right into the ticket clutched in my hand. And the show was just that. Heavenly. A sold out Irving Plaza packed to the brim with suburban white boys reciting every word Office Space style. Exactly what the GZA had in mind when he wrote the album I imagine....

When you mention to people that you have pit tickets to a Nine Inch Nails show or a Tool show or a Wu Tang show, you (or I at least) almost always get the concerned look followed by the "oh man, how intense/hardcore is that?" And the answer is always the same.....not at all. If it were still the early/mid '90s maybe things would be different, but it's not. The crowd is filled with aging rockers more prone to standing arms crossed doing the head bob, or white suburban kids going nuts as if they know from experience exactly what the GZA talking about. And no.....we are not pretending we're not a part of these groups. And I am not not using double negatives galore.

So what have I told you about this show so far....not a whole lot, so let's get down to it. First off, there was some false advertising here. The lights go down, Shogun Assassin kicks in and we hear....When I was little, my father was famous....and the crowd goes nuts....People said his brain was infected by devils...again, going nuts...That was the night everything changed...and the crowd starts going at the top of their lungs (once again, Office Space style) "When the Emcees came to live out the name...." though the GZA goes into Duel of the Iron Mic...and the crowd goes confused.

So yeah, while the GZA played most of Liquid Swords, unlike the 2008 show where he played it start to finish, he didn't do it in order nor did he play the whole thing. It didn't matter though because it was sick and he also treated us to a GZA rendering of Shimmy Shimmy Ya, C.R.E.A.M. and (I believe) a Ghostface tune though can't remember which at the moment. It was fucking awesome...and what pushed it over the top was the backing band, Grupo Fantasma.

My biggest issue with Wu shows is 1) the fact that they typically just spit one verse of a song, just long enough for you to get into it, and then stop, making the whole show seem like a giant medley and 2) the fact that they usually have no live instrumentation what so ever and it sounds like them rapping along to a tape in the boombox with the mix/volume of the vocals and music all fucked up and, I swear, sometimes you can even hear the vocals from the record bleeding through too. Both of these issues were nonexistent.

I was both excited and worried about there being a backing band - excited for the aforementioned reason and worried because I saw the GZA do Liquid Swords (the song) with Wavves on youtube...and it wasn't very good. Grupo Fantasma killed it though. Fucking awesome. They didn't play the songs exactly like they are on the record (the RZA freely admits in his Tao of the Wu book that prior to Wu Tang Forever his music theory skills were did not exist and therefore his songs were not really made to be played by an actual band) though the song Liquid Swords (see video) was pretty much spot on. Going in I was not positive the backing band would make the show better than the 2008 show, but it would at least make it interesting and that it did. Grupo Fantasma has awesome musicians - the percussion and guitars were sick and the horns were a perfect addition. The flow of the songs changed ever so slightly and, well, it was perfect. The perfect amount of being true to the original mixed with a new freshness.

There we go....filled in the gaps a little bit. Hopefully you now have a better idea of how and why the show was so awesome. If not.....well, watch the videos and be happy that I kept my mouth shut while shooting and you don't have to hear my whiteboy attempt at a rugged and raw Wu voice drowning out the GZA's.

 

We have uploaded Liquid Swords and Gold and hopefully will have Duel of the Iron Mic up before long if youtube would stop tweaking. This show was so awesome that we almost scalped tickets for the late show (he did two shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg that night). See this if it comes to your town. Oh yeah, the breakdown in the Liquid Swords video where he goes into the recording/writing of the song was fucking sick as it seems. Jealous. I know.

Electro Harmonix Pedals/POG - Stop the Weakness

Misc. - 6.20.12

electro harmonix ehx pedals pog q tron micro synth drm 16 drum machine russian big muff electric mistress small stone holy grail stop the weaknessBy looking at the picture, it's pretty obvious we are big supporters of Electro Harmonix products. The guy who taught me how to play guitar was/is an authorized dealer as his dad helped design a bunch of their pedals back in the day and therefore they've been mixed in with my playing since day one pretty much.

The other day I picked up an original POG (polyphonic octave generator) and it prompted this writing. The quick EHX history is....they started making crazy pedals in NY in the late '60s through the '80s. Then they had to close down shop and moved things over to Russia where they created tubes along with the Big Muff and the Small Stone under the Sovtek name. Then in the mid '90s they returned to making re-issue versions of the Electric Mistress and the Memory Man and slowly started adding other re-issues before creating new pedals, which they started going crazy with in recent years.

The Electric Mistress (or Small Stone, can't remember) was the first pedal I got back in 1996 or 1997. The Q-tron was (I believe) the first new pedal EHX created in years, and I picked up a copy of that around 1997 or so when it came out. For some reason I was always a little turned off when the company started making all these new pedals, so I didn't buy a new one until the POG the other week. It is an awesome pedal, basically a whole new instrument in a pedal, and I really wish I had purchased it earlier.

So how does this thing work? It is very similar to the Micro Synth, which creates that Dean Ween synth lead guitar sound (among other things), but the biggest difference is that you can play chords/multiple notes together. The sliders bring the levels up and down for the direct guitar sound, one octave up, one octave down and 2 octaves up...then in addition there are sliders for one and 2 octaves up detuned, which are best described as the organ (mostly church organ) sliders. With all of the levels up you have a full organ sound and subtracting from there you can have any octave/suboctave/detuned octave combo in between. Unlike the Micro Synth, you don't get to pick the start and stop frequencies and you don't get the grimey synth sounds, but you get a much cleaner smoother synth/organ sound. For me at least, I'd say the Micro Synth is for lead while the POG is for chords. Both are incredible pedals and must haves.

That concludes our EHX write up for today. We will continue this review at some point and go through the other pedals, so if there is something in that picture you are curious about, just send us an email tweak@stoptheweakness.com and we will do our best to get to it.

 

Brooklyn Rider - Seven Steps - Classically Unweak

Albums - 6.11.12

brooklyn rider seven steps vinyl unweak album review  stop the weaknessAlright, so we had these guys on our Top 10 list of 2010 when one of our writers heard them on NPR and thought they were cool and different. They are, and this is no different. You get a little bit of the hipster, what century are we in again, type feel, but fuck it. They guys are tight and their playing is beautiful.

They are a string quartet based in, you guessed it, Brooklyn, and this album has one of their compositions, another by Christopher Tignor and the remaining are all Beethoven. We have been sitting on this album for a little while because we wanted to wait until we had the new site up and running but....it's time to just get this review up.

It is pretty fantastic and not the typical stuff we review on here. I was not the one who included their album on my top 10 list, and didn't even know about the band....so when I came across an email from the band stating they had a new album out, I thought it was straight spam. For whatever reason, I don't listen to much classical music and, well, yeah, thought it was spam. It was kind of a funny interaction when I found out that we had already written them up before, but that's just the way things go around here sometimes.

So what am I trying to say with these ramblings - if you what to brush these guys off because it's not your style, think again. They are pretty sick and while some of the music may be centuries old and Brooklyn Rider stays true to the compositions, there is definitely something fresh sounding here.

Again, what the fuck do we know, they could have completely butchered these songs and we'd have no fucking clue....but I guess that's the point. Guessing many of you guys are coming from the same spot, so what we are saying is, give this a listen even if you think it's not your thing. You may just find a new thing. HERE IS THEIR SITE. And here is a nice little iTunes button so you can buy the album (though we highly suggest the vinyl as the packaging and sound are very very nice) Seven Steps - Brooklyn Rider

Crystal Fighters - Acoustic Show @ SoHo House NY 5/24/12 - Unweak

Shows / CRYSTAL FIGHTERS - 5.27.12

crystal fighters acoustic show at soho house live may 2012 manhattan new york stop the weakness may 2012Alright so this will be quick, just to post the videos from the show, then we will put up videos from the main show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg with Is Tropical and do a more thorough review of both.

This was a showcase done at the ever so exclusive and trendy SoHo House where you have to be a member to get in (or get put on a list) and everyone there is a celebrity (legit or in their own minds). Graham from Crystal Fighters asked the bartender to take a picture of us and he responded, no pictures allowed, which laughed at thinking he was joking....til he told us he was serious. That being said, it is a pretty cool spot with a pool on the roof and not everyone is a complete fucking loser. Oh, and they have some pretty incredible drinks. And the bartender turned a blind eye and allowed someone else to take the picture.

So yeah, this was a small acoustic event. Played 4 songs. I thought it sounded pretty good and was at least cool to see the band do an acoustic set as that was a first. The vocals were loud and it was cool to be able to hear the female singer (blanking on her name at the moment) loud and clear...and to hear the songs sans lots of electronic back tracks. This basically turned into a full review, so I guess I will just wrap it up and show the videos.

 

 

 

 

So first up is the last song of the night - At Home - especially like how they have the female vox are the lead here, more true to the record. They did this the night before at the MHWburg show too....

 

Next is Xstatic Truth acoustic style.....

 

Reckless Road - Guns n' Roses by Marc Canter and Other GNR Books - As a Picture Book/Scrap Book: STOPS WEAKNESS, as a Normal Book - WEAK

Legit Random/Books/Unweak Music - 5.2.12

reckless road marc canter slash autobiography duff adler axl rose biography guns n roses  book  reviews stop the weaknessAlright, after reading THIS INTERVIEW with author Marc Canter I was more excited than anything for this book. This is the best interview ever for Guns n' Roses fans. He is a Canter of Canter's Deli, where GNR hung out all the time in their early years, and he took a lot of the famous early year photos....and documented their whole rise to fame starting before the beginning of GNR.

Canter is friends with both Axl and Slash (one of maybe one that falls in this group) and he gives the best insight into what happened behind the scenes with the band and any possibility of the band getting back together and what would need to go down for that to happen. This is legit the best GNR interview/book/piece of writing I've ever read.

So, yeah, as being a giant loser GNR fanboy I immediately went online and ordered this book, which was supposed to come out in the early '90s but didn't come out til 2007. After said interview it is a giant let down. Of the 350 pages, there are maybe 15 or actual writing. The rest is all pictures, set lists, and stage banter from pretty much every single show leading up to the release of Appetite. That is cool, don't get me wrong, but it's a picture book and I was expecting the most inside, unbiased account of Axl and Slash's feud and what went on behind the scenes. If you want that, just read the interview above.

SLASH AUTOBIO - this is the first GNR book I read and, while it is awesome (and I got to meet Slash and get a signed copy), it actually made me like Slash less. As Marc Canter points out, Slash plays the cool card a lot, and with Axl being crazy and vocal, it is easy for him to play it off as he is fault free in the whole demise of the band.....after reading this book you get the impression that this is not true. I still love Slash, but you really notice how he is trying to skew things in his favor in his retelling of the story. Great stories though and Slash is awesome. Read it.

WATCH YOU BLEED - THE SAGA OF GNR - this one.....well....I kind of forget it to tell the truth. If you like reading and don't mind reading many stories you've heard before in order to find out a few cool new ones - I would read this. This one is good because it's written by an unbiased, unrelated third party and tells the story of the whole band and not one member. I read the Slash book, this book and W.A.R. all in a couple month span back in 2007, and I was happy I did so....so yeah, though I don't remember loving it, I don't remember hating it, and definitely cruised through it and enjoyed it.

W.A.R. BY MICK WALL - W. Axl Rose (WAR, GET?!?!?!)....you may remember Mick Wall from his shout out in Get in the Ring, so Axl obviously hates him. This made me by this bio on Axl. Right off the bat I was surprised to find out that he used to be very close with the band and singer who wouldn't let anyone get close to them. He wrote something Axl didn't like for some reason, which he claims was truth and Axl lies (running theme with Axl/GNR), and Axl turned on him. I think it was something Axl wanted him to write (about Vince Neil maybe?) and when he didn't like the outcome, Mick Wall was the scapegoat....again, this is Wall's biased opinion but....biased opinions are awesome when you know they are biased. This book is pretty great.

DUFF and ADLER's AUTOBIOS - these have been reviewed in full on the site so I will just say, Duff's is maybe the best GNR book out there and made me like him a thousand times more and Adler's book was even more depressing than I even thought it could be.

Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) @ 92Y Tribeca 5/9/12 - Fanboy Show but Very Unweak

Shows / wEEn - 5.11.12

aaron freeman gene ween marvelous clouds tour 92y tribeca live review unweak  williamsburg stop the weakness may 2012

aaron freeman gene ween marvelous clouds tour 92y tribeca live review unweak  williamsburg stop the weakness may 2012This one is mainly for the fans, or at least people somewhat familiar with the band, or, if you know nothing about the band, at least go with someone who knows what's up. Why? Well, this is Gene Ween's first show of his first tour as Aaron Freeman (his real name for those of you who don't know) and he is supporting his new album which is a collection of Rod McKuen covers....ok, what does that mean?

I am guessing a bunch of people don't know Rod McKuen....I didn't until recently, nor did Gener. He was a beat poet and songwriter known for somewhat sappy pop songs. I knew the song Seasons in the Sun because there is a, well, sad video of Nirvana covering it at the end of the DVD that comes with the With The Lights Out boxset (see videos below from the Nirvana DVD and Aaron playing it the other night). It is a sort of cheesey song and they all switch instruments with Kurt on drums, Dave on bass and Krist on guitar, and they are just having fun messing around with this song that is clearly not in their standard repetoir...considering the depressing way that band came to an end, it is sad to watch them messing around in the studio having fun. They aren't mocking the song, but realize it is funny and fun for them to be playing it.

Gener isn't that far off from Kurt in this regard. He has an eclectic taste in music and sees the good qualities in music others may deem cheesey/bad/etc. I think everyone should be more like this as there are good qualities in all sorts of music, regardless of seemingly bad qualities.

So yeah, Rod McKuen's songs are pretty cheesey but they are fun and pretty perfect for Aaron. If you walked into this show not knowing anything about Gener I think you would be confused as fuck. Is this a joke or is this some bad attempt at lounge music?

If you know Ween you'd know it's funny but not a joke. Aaron is putting on a character with his jacket, all cleaned up, taking his standard stage movements and mutating them into more of a lounge singer, and with Dave Dreiwitz and the other musicians singing harmonies. Gener isn't mocking this music - he writes just as many love songs as tweaked out fucked up rock songs - but he is cognizant of how people perceive these tunes and since he is funny and he always has fun on stage, the show is fun and funny.

 

So yeah, if you are a big fan who has seen Ween (and associated acts) many times and smile ear to ear when watching them, you will do the same here. Unless you have been playing the new record over and over for days, you won't know the songs but you will love the change of pace. Sitting down in a small venue, not drunkenly screaming, and just hanging out watching a more laid back show complete with spoken word pieces. Gener even wrote down notes to read to introduce the show/music. That was kind of awkward, but it was charming and the girls in our group thought he was "so cute". This is not just different for Gener. This is an Aaron show and completely different.

 

As Gener, Aaron gets to take on his stage persona....who knows how different that really is from Aaron's personality, but it is just the more absurd side I am guessing. The one who affects his voice (and often puts heavy effects on it too) and is loud and boisterous. It seemed like he felt pretty naked as himself up there at first. He keeps his voice unaffected on the record and you could hear him fighting to hold it back at times...though toward the end he did just let Gener come out.

So yeah....this isn't a joke, it isn't mocking the songs, but it is fun and funny and completely fucking unweak and awesome. While I would have been happy with the show if it was all Rod McKuen songs, Gener coming out at the end to play some Ween songs took it over the top and made it comepletely awesome. I got videos of the final 4 songs and they are all attached here. Check this show out if he is coming near you, and if you are bringing people new to Ween, give them a heads up about what they are getting themselves into.

 

 

WORKOUT @ Glasslands on Cinco de Mayo (5/5/12) - Real Unweak

Shows / WORKOUT - 5.9.12

Workout band business cards live at glasslands cinco de mayo brooklyn williamsburg  stop the weakness may 2012

workout band brooklyn williamsburg glasslands cinco de mayo 2012 stop the weaknessWorkout played a Cinco de Mayo show at Glasslands in Williamsburg/Brooklyn, one of our favorite venues in NY. Another awesome Workout show, what else is new. Well, they played a new song - Daddy Issues - which we failed to get video of but was really fucking awesome. Next time we will get video for sure.

So what else was new.....Workout was actually the first band on. Usually they headline, which means smaller bands play before them and they typically play to group comprised of mostly fans. This is good because they come on later in the evening and the crowd is ready to go and they get to play a longer set.

Now what are they negatives of going on first - well, a) it's early (8:30) so the crowd isn't as rowdy and b) their set is the shortest of the night (or at least not the longest). There seemed to be less of a turn out of fans for this, so combined with the early start time the crowd was extra motionless and quiet at the getgo. Doesn't matter because the pros weigh out the cons for sure.

Playing before larger bands at a place like Glasslands, where people often show up to watch all the bands including the ones they don't know, meant they played for a large crowd of new people....and they very much liked what they saw. Workout is a band whose live show picks up fans immediately without hearing anything previously. Not just like, oh that band was pretty good, or even, wow, I was surprised I should really check them out.....brand new people will go from standing motionless not really paying attention to practically singing along to songs they don't know and cheering etc as if they were the band they came to see. In some of the videos, you may even be able to hear people in the crowd talking about how awesome this band is, as this big group standing next to us wouldn't shut up about how awesome they were.

A funny quote I overheard from one of the guys was, "This guy's energy (Jack - lead singer) is permeating through the crowd"...lame but true.

workout band brooklyn business card glasslands cinco de mayo show stop the weakness

 

 

 

Destroyer - Rubies - REALLY F-ING UNWEAK

Albums - 5.8.12

destroyer rubies record store day release  unweak album review  stop the weaknessThis is a band that I don't know how I just got into. They have been around forever and have connections to the New Pornographers. This album here is really the tops. Psychadelic indie stuff with singing that sounds like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah....this record is better though. Painter In Your Pocket is incredible. Check out this song. There is some ambient noise I could do without but....awesome pop hooks and melodies, blasted with a little bit of a weird machine and, well, you have a fantastic record. So happy to have picked this up and for someone instructing me to do so, not sure how it escaped me all these years.

So yeah, I would highly suggest getting on this if you are unfamiliar, the RSD release (pictured) is a must have.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Record Store Day 2012 - Really Unweak

Albums - 5.8.12

record store day 2012 t rex electric warrior destroyer rubies mastodon flaming lips st vincent feist vinyl black keys el camino stop the weakness

Alright, so RSD 2012 was a success. Picked up most everything I was eyeing and...yeah, I love Record Store Day. So what do we have: Destroyer's Rubies on red vinyl, The Black Keys' El Camino double LP at 45 rpm, which comes with a live 7 inch, the CD and a poster, St Vincent 7", Mastodon/Feist 7" of them covering each other, Mastodon covering A Spoonful Weighs a Ton by the Flaming Lips with the original on the B side, and Electric Warrior by T Rex broken out on 6 7" records. F-ing sweet.

To do a quick rundown - Destroyer's Rubies is incredible, Black Keys is also a beautiful package for an awesome record and the 7" which has live versions of Money Maker and Sister is a great add on. The St Vincent 7" makes me very much want to buy the full record and makes me wonder what's wrong with me for not having done so already. The 2 Mastodon 7"s......they are cool, but A Spoonful Weighs a Ton sounds just like the Lips but with one section that is a little metally, though the Feist split is pretty fucking unweak. And that leaves.....

T Rex - Electric Warrior - HOW SWEET IS THIS? (minus that fact that you have to flip after every song and change records after every 2 in order to listen to the whole thing):

t rex electric warrior record store day 2012 7 inch release stop the weakness

 

The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan - STOPS THE WEAKNESS

Albums - 4.26.12

the white stripes get behind satan unweak album review  stop the weakness We have been shitty about music lately. New music, old music, anything. Honestly I've been buying a lot of good records recently, but have really just been listening to a lot of Wu Tang and that's it.

Well, a week or two ago my friend sent me THIS ARTICLE from the NY Times about Jack White and it got me to break away from the Wu and put some White Stripes on. The article is really fantastic and everyone should read it. He even discusses the recent comment he made that the White Stripes are done for good and reveals a little more about their breakup.

So here comes the controversial part - Get Behind Me Satan is the best White Stripe's album in my opinion. People seem to either not like it at all, or if they like it, they surely don't think it is the best. Well I do. De Stijl may rival it, but honestly I think of this as a more mature De Stijl, which I would usually not like as I tend to prefer rough, spontaneity to a more polished record. With the way Jack White goes about it though, the minimalism, the number 3...he always keeps it pretty raw and awesome.

Since this is old, I will be quick with this - I don't love the blues, slide guitar driven Elephant (I do like a lot of it, but as a whole I think it gets a little stale), I could never get into their last album and can't even think of the name right now and, well, the other old albums are great, but I just love Get Behind Me Satan. There is a lot of diversity in instruments, slow songs, fast songs, upbeat songs and more quiet soft shit. It is fucking so well crafted, unweak and the best.

Favorite tracks besides all of them: My Doorbell, The Nurse, Forever For Her, Take Take Take and....well, all of them.

So bring it on the disagreements.....

 

Lots of Nirvana News, Never Heard Before Song With Courtney Love, Never Heard Before Kurt Solo Album and More - UNWEAKEST

Misc. News / NIRVANA - 4.25.12

never heard before nirvana kurt cobain song with courtney love solo album dave grohl howard stern interview stop the weakness

Recently we came across a lot of cool Nirvana stuff both we, and most everyone else in the world, never knew about. A lot of it comes from Eric Erlandson, guitarist from Hole who has a new book out entitled Letters to Kurt, and Patty Schemel, drummer from Hole who has a new documentary out entitled Hit So Hard, but we also found a cool Howard Stern interview with Dave Grohl that discusses Kurt a lot.

First up we have this never seen before footage of an unreleased song from Schemel's film. Before you get really exstatic, the quality sucks, and it is just Kurt and Courtney messing around at their house (I think). That being said, it is cool if you are a big Nirvana fan. It's called Stinking of You and I just found out that the full movie, Hit So Hard, is On Demand...so we (you) will have to check that out:

Next up Eric Erlandson went on the record stating that Kurt recorded demos for a full solo album that he said would be Kurt's White Album. Now most everyone knew Kurt was working with Michael Stipe at the time of his death, and many people knew he was going in a new direction, but what that direction was and if anything was ever worked remained somewhat of a mystery. Erlandson told NME that, "[Kurt] was headed in a direction that was really cool. It would have been his 'White Album'. That's really what he was going towards, a solo album but working with different people." He said that only 3 people have probably ever heard these demos and he thinks it would be a shame if that is the way it remained....but he has no control over it. Check out the full article in the above link. Pretty f-ing cool for any Nirvana fan.

Lasly, here is a Dave Grohl interview with Howard Stern from back in 2011. It was a long interview and we are posting the section that focuses primarily on Kurt. Again, very interesting stuff and Stern, per usual, asks pretty intense and personal questions about the future of the band, the impact of Kurt's death, working with Kurt, Courtney Love and....well, yeah, you have to check it out:

 

 

Crystal Fighters @ Music Hall of Williamsburg and Webster Hall 3/19/12 and 3/20/12 - STOPPED WEAKNESS

Shows / CRYSTAL FIGHTERS - 4.16.12

crystal fighters webster hall glasslands manhattan brooklyn williamsburg  stop the weakness

Alright this has taken us too long to write up but that is mainly due to the hurt these shows laid on. The shows were better than expected, and expectations were high, and the pre and post show parties sealed the deal for a week worth of drinking depression. Was on bed rest for at least a week after the shows.

The first night was at Glasslands and while most people who attended both shows agreed that it was the better night, I was too drunk by the time the show started and it seems more of a blur. An awesome blur, but a little hazy nonetheless. That was caused by a good number hours before the show at Radegast, a beer garden a few blocks away, and while I was rather enjoying myself, the next morning I was very happy that my girlfriend and sister got me to go home right after the show around midnight. I was talking to the guitar player, Graham Dickson, before the show, discussing post show plans and he said it wasn't going to be a late night as they have to play another show the following night. Talk about a stinging slap of jealousy - oh you aren't going to have a late night tonight because in 24 hours you have to play another show, which consists of hanging out drinking beforehand and getting up and doing what you love.....well, I have to wake up in 6 hours to go to work and drinking off my hangover before I show up is typically frowned upon. Oh to live the life of a rockstar.

The next day we were hungover, wishing for death and all day it seemed like there was no chance we would make it to the show that night. The show was at Webster Hall in Manhattan, and since Crystal Fighters in the US is a rare thing, we had to make it. We met up with the band beforehand at a bar nearby, and like any normal person, we drank heavily to attempt to eliminate the hangover and get in a condition where we could enjoy the show. This was accomplished and the show was fucking awesome. Really fucking awesome. I tried to capture some video of the show but was ROCKING WAY TOO HARD to get decent shots. We put some clips up, so check them out. Even with the shakiness I think it gives a good idea of the energy here. As for the post show activities....I don't even want to get into it. All I know is that I got home around 3:30AM, after convincing one of our friends, who had no money, not to deal with the subway back to Brooklyn and to jump in a cab with us....only to then realize I had no money in my pocket when he dropped us off and stuck him with the cab fare. Everything in between was, well, pretty much standard stereotypical post show "partying with the band" (nice nice). Playing rock star for the evening, pretending I didn't need to be up in 3 hours to go sit in front of a computer all day.

 

So, yeah, felt horrible, but it was well worth it. I had never seen these guys play live, and, though I've seen videos of live shows, I have wondered how they would translate from their record. And the answer is that it was fucking awesome. The txalaparta, Basque percussion instrument, cuts through the mix more clearly than on the record, and the show is way more analog rock with electronic, than the other way around (the live drummer is especially awesome as well). Funny because I went up to Sebastian, the singer, post show and he asked how I liked it and I said what I just stated and that I was pumped because generally I am not crazy about full on electronic music. To this he responded, yeah, I've read your reviews before about not liking the unce unce unce electro dance stuff. Funny, but it's true, and these guys really pull it off - both live and on the record. For a band with very little US exposure, I have not seen a crowd this into it in a while. I mean, shit, for big bands with a lot of exposure, this crowd isn't the norm.

 

These guys are coming back to the US in May for the US release of their album, Star of Love. They are playing DC, Phila and the Music Hall of Wiliamsburg in Brooklyn (tickets are on sale now). There are also some west coast dates as well. We say this a lot, but this is really something you need to check out. These guys are the real deal and put on quite a show. Unlike anything you've seen before. They take the best parts of many different types of music and roll it all into a ball of awesomeness. They have the pure rock, electro heaviness, acoustic guitars and percussion from the Basque region, and pop hooks galore. 'twas unweak, some, like myself, may even say it stopped a lot of weakness.

 

Axl Says He Won't Allow Them To Induct Him Into the Hall of Fame, and I Have Thoughts I Never Thought I'd Have

Misc. - 4.12.12

guns n roses live era vinyl cover gatefold stop the weaknessBeing a Guns N Roses fan is tough business. Constant drama. But I have held in there through everything. I have read most everything out there and realize that Axl is an easy scapegoat for everyone. Don't get me wrong, he is far from blame free. I also have liked the music he continues to produce, but I may have finally been pushed over the edge.

Axl issued this letter the other day saying he refuses to be inducted into the Hall of Fame and won't attend. Everything in here is nothing new or unexpected, though there was hope that MAYBE they could bury the hatchet and play together....and if not, at least they could get onstage together.

This shouldn't surprise me, but there is only so much the fans can take. The general population doesn't give a fuck about Axl and Guns. It's only the hardcore fans that do, and this is a snub to them, not anyone else.

What pisses me off the most is how much he says he loves his new band, how much he believes in them etc and how this would just be a deterrence to them...but his new band is forced to play dress up like the old band. Axl has never specifically said this, but Brain said there was a heavy focus on the looks of candidates auditioning for the band. They play Slash's solos basically note for note, DJ Ashba runs around just like Slash did, the list goes on and on. I am also pretty positive Axl doesn't even spend time with these people beyond the stage.

Again, I know this isn't anything new and I know this shouldn't really matter but.....this was an opportunity for a one time reunion of sorts. Didn't have to be anything else. Just stand there and acknowledge what they did together and the reason Axl is allowed to continue playing shows.

I will stop ranting, but this finally pissed me off. And I am not happy with Slash either, but at least Slash doesn't go on the record with some huge letter proclaimation as if this will stop the world. It only stops the world for loser GNR fans, and it's finally becoming too annoying to handle. Take a read for yourself:

To: The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Guns N' Roses Fans and Whom It May Concern,

When the nominations for the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were first announced I had mixed emotions but, in an effort to be positive, wanting to make the most of things for the fans and with their enthusiasm, I was honored, excited and hoped that somehow this would be a good thing. Of course I realized as things stood, if Guns N' Roses were to be inducted it'd be somewhat of a complicated or awkward situation.

Since then we've listened to fans, talked with members of the board of the Hall Of Fame, communicated with and read various public comments and jabs from former members of Guns N' Roses, had discussions with the president of the Hall Of Fame, read various press (some legit, some contrived) and read other artists' comments weighing in publicly on Guns and the Hall with their thoughts.

Under the circumstances I feel we've been polite, courteous, and open to an amicable solution in our efforts to work something out. Taking into consideration the history of Guns N' Roses, those who plan to attend along with those the Hall for reasons of their own, have chosen to include in "our" induction (that for the record are decisions I don't agree with, support or feel the Hall has any right to make), and how (albeit no easy task) those involved with the Hall have handled things... no offense meant to anyone but the Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony doesn't appear to be somewhere I'm actually wanted or respected.

For the record, I would not begrudge anyone from Guns their accomplishments or recognition for such. Neither I or anyone in my camp has made any requests or demands of the Hall Of Fame. It's their show not mine.

That said, I won't be attending The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction 2012 Ceremony and I respectfully decline my induction as a member of Guns N' Roses to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

I strongly request that I not be inducted in absentia and please know that no one is authorized nor may anyone be permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf. Neither former members, label representatives nor the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame should imply whether directly, indirectly or by omission that I am included in any purported induction of "Guns N' Roses".

This decision is personal. This letter is to help clarify things from my and my camp's perspective. Neither is meant to offend, attack or condemn. Though unfortunately I'm sure there will be those who take offense (God knows how long I'll have to contend with the fallout), I certainly don't intend to disappoint anyone, especially the fans, with this decision. Since the announcement of the nomination we've actively sought out a solution to what, with all things considered, appears to be a no win, at least for me, "damned if I do, damned if I don't" scenario all the way around.

In regard to a reunion of any kind of either the Appetite or Illusion lineups, I've publicly made myself more than clear. Nothing's changed.

The only reason, at this point, under the circumstances, in my opinion whether under the guise of "for the fans" or whatever justification of the moment, for anyone to continue to ask, suggest or demand a reunion are misguided attempts to distract from our efforts with our current lineup of myself, Dizzy Reed, Tommy Stinson, Frank Ferrer, Richard Fortus, Chris Pitman, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and DJ Ashba.

Izzy came out with us a few times back in '06 and I invited him to join us at our LA Forum show last year. Steven was at our show at the Hard Rock, later in '06 in Las Vegas, where I invited him to our after-party and was rewarded with his subsequent interviews filled with reunion lies. Lesson learned. Duff joined us in 2010 and again in '11 along with his band, Loaded, opening in Seattle and Vancouver. For me, with the exception of Izzy or Duff joining us on stage if they were so inclined somewhere in the future for a song or two, that's enough.

There's a seemingly endless amount of revisionism and fantasies out there for the sake of self-promotion and business opportunities masking the actual realities. Until every single one of those generating from or originating with the earlier lineups has been brought out in the light, there isn't room to consider a conversation let alone a reunion.

Maybe if it were you it'd be different. Maybe you'd do it for this reason or that. Peace, whatever. I love our band now. We're there for each other when the going get's rough. We love our fans and work to give them every ounce of energy and heart we can.

So let sleeping dogs lie or lying dogs sleep or whatever. Time to move on. People get divorced. Life doesn't owe you your own personal happy ending especially at another's, or in this case several others', expense.

But hey if ya gotta then maybe we can get the "no show, grandstanding, publicity stunt, disrespectful, he doesn't care about the fans" crap out of the way as quickly as we can and let's move on. No one's taking the ball and going home. Don't get it twisted. For more than a decade and a half we've endured the double standards, the greed of this industry and the ever present seemingly limitless supply of wannabes and unscrupulous, irresponsible media types. Not to imply anything in this particular circumstance, but from my perspective in regard to both the Hall and a reunion, the ball's never been in our court.

In closing, regardless of this decision and as hard to believe or as ironic as it may seem, I'd like to sincerely thank the board for their nomination and their votes for Guns' induction. More importantly I'd like to thank the fans for being there over the years, making any success we've had possible and for enjoying and supporting Guns N' Roses music.

I wish the Hall a great show, congratulations to all the other artists being inducted and to our fans we look forward to seeing you on tour!!

Sincerely, Axl Rose

P.S. RIP Armand, Long Live ABC III

Oh, and here is an old rare tune to cheer you up if that upset you too much:

 

 

Workout @ Grand Victory 3/8/12 - STOPPED THE WEAKNESS

Shows / WORKOUT - 3.28.12

What else is new - we went to a Workout show and thought it was the best. But honestly this one was like none other. This was a show that could only happen at a place like Grand Victory at this stage in a band's career. I say career because I think these guys will be huge. Well, scratch that, I think they should be huge (obviously), but with all the weak shit out there that people love, who knows what will happen. I think they will have a career and rabid following regardless though. I have never seen someone not love watching these guys play, whether it's their first time seeing them or their 50th.

This was one of those shows that you find on youtube of your favorite band when they were not well known and you wish more than anything that you could have been there. The stage is tiny (Grand Victory is the old Bruar Falls) and the band was in the audience more than on it. Guitars were being passed around, mics were being past around. There was Spinal Tap shredding on the floor complete with pick up from an audience member. And they played a lot of songs they don't play frequently.

These guys went to SXSW and opened for Tenacious D and I hear they were very well received. I spoke with a member of Crystal Fighters after their show in NY (will get that review/video up soon) and they saw a Workout show and said it was one of the tightest shows he's seen. Was blown away. Anyway, yeah, check out these videos (These Are The Years is most representative of the evening) and go see this band in this scenario while you can (you have a chance tomorrow night in Manhattan):

 

 

 

Better Than Something - Jay Reatard - Depressing but Unweak

Movies - 3.13.12

jay reatard better than something unweak stop the weakness I don't know much about Jay Reatard. Or didn't at least. Not going to sit here and lie and say I loved him and this movie was a wonderful tribute, blah blah blah. I remember when he died (sorry for the spoiler) and had checked out some of his music but.....you win some, you lose some. You can't check out everything that's out there and give it the attention it deserves.

I think that will all change now as his music is pretty fantastic. This movie was funny and depressing at the same time. He loved music, and just wanted to make sure he made as much as possible. Everything. Tons of different styles. Tons of fucking output. Some better than others but, well, I have always thought that making more music and coming up with some shitty songs and some awesome songs is better than laboring over shit to death, where the song may come out shitty anyway. Then you are left with 1 song which could be either shitty or brilliant instead of 10 songs where 1 or 2 could be brilliant, 5 could be good/mediocre, and the other 3 or 4 may not be great.

Who cares about my philosphies. Go check this movie out whether or not you know his music. He led an extrememly short and interesting life, was a bastard, and a funny motherfucker, and he died too young.

 

 

WORKOUT SHOW TONIGHT

Misc. - 3.8.12

So there's a Workout show tonight in Williamsburg at Grand Victory, which is at Grand and Roebling, and you need to go if you are anywhere near the area. Check out this new video here:

 

 

 

 

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