Show Preview: Slowdive @ ACL Live (5.12)

After returning in late 2023 with Everything Is Alive, it seems like the world’s been abuzz with Slowdive and their return to form. They’ve been touring throughout the US this past month on the back of all that success and praise, and those of us in Austin will finally get a chance to glimpse the quintet live when the roll into Moody Theater on Sunday. It’ll be interesting to see how far back they go…will the set be equal parts Creation Records and Dead Oceans or more weight given to the most recent albums? Either way, you get to enjoy a night with some of the most beautiful noise blowing through the Moody Theater. Opening up evening will be LA’s Drab Majesty. Tickets are somehow still available, so if you’re in love with the sounds below, grab a ticket HERE.

Show Review: Nick Cave @ Moody Theatre (10.23)

When one watches Nick Cave, it’s really difficult to spin words out of that experience. He’s got decades of writing under his belt, whether that’s with the Bad Seeds, Birthday Party or various other acts he’s worked with; on Tuesday in Austin, he treated us to a touch of it all, sprinkling his gothic fairy dust over those in attendance at Moody Theatre.

For starters, I love the presentation of the set (you can find the whole setlist HERE); we were offered Nick, clad in his suit, his piano, and a similarly dressed Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. In such a setting, one can easily see how Cave’s personality was the dominant spirit of the evening; his soulful presentation resonated throughout as he wavered between personal storytelling and dry humor. All evening the lighting was simple, merely working to keep Nick just barely out of the theatre’s shadows.

After opening up with tracks like “Girl in Amber” and “Jesus of the Moon,” we were treated to a rare glimpse inside the writing process, as we were given a short ballad that never quite made the cut, though clearly still leaving an impact on the songwriter; he titled the track “Euthanasia,” though I suppose we’ll never truly know until its recorded. From there, the set moved mostly through Bad Seeds catalog, then to some of his work with Warren Ellis. He used “Balcony Man” to create a fictional divide between those seated on the floor and those in the balcony, though sadly the mezzanine was left out of the conversation.

The staged encore also brought special moments, with a rendition of the Rowland Howard penned tune, “Shivers,” from the Boys Next Door catalog. It also gave us my personal favorite moment as Cave dropped a nice little cover of T. Rex’s “Cosmic Dancer.” I think that moment is when it sunk in, as Cave, like Bolan, is a true artist that has few contemporaries. His writing can be dark and absurd, then turn touching, and his voice can move anyone to tears. If you doubt that, just ask Colin Greenwood, a world-famous star in his own right, who often could be seen side-stage, immersed in the moving power we all witnessed, lost in the magic of the evening.

Couple of notes from bgray, Nick almost seemed restrained by his seat behind the piano. At the end of many of the songs, he would leap up to get closer to the crowd and entice the response that the consummate showman seemingly craves. The other entertaining aspect was the flick of the songsheet when readying for the next song, spinning it the ground. Hopefully, these found their way into fans’ hands.

I left grateful for the night, fortunate to have the option to witness Nick Cave present his gift to the world. But, in thinking upon the night, I was also left with a bit of sadness. I can’t really recall any current musicians who have pushed themselves to the degree Nick has, and for that, I think there will come a time when great art will be relegated to the streaming services in lieu of rolling out singles. And in that, very few will have the longevity of Cave; its a reminder of his artistry and our own humanity…and for that, I’ll sit with the closing track of the evening, “People Ain’t No Good.”

Show Pics – Love and Rockets @ ACL Live (6/16)

There are plenty of nostalgia acts rolling through Austin this summer. Ive already seen The Cure and Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears and Peter Gabriel are still inbound. BUT, when announced, I knew I had to see Love and Rockets. It is a shorter reunion tour, the first in over twenty years. While they did have one set in 2008, things were fairly bleak that I would get to ever see the band live. Pretty rad.

David J, Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins proved that their song catalog is every bit as fresh and relevant to a not quite sold out ACL Live. Opening was artist Vinsanto delivering an introspective collection of poems as songs.

Click through for a few thoughts and plenty of pics

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Amid the inescapable ramp up of impending SXSW insanity, on a balmy and foggy evening last Tuesday, our Capitol City welcomed yet another legendary guitarist in Bobby Weir to the esteemed Moody Theater stage. As is typical with all things “Dead“, the bright-eyed, tie-dyed masses of all ages were lined up in full throated spirit in anticipation of an early 5:30 door opening, jockeying in place to get a shot at the front row. Custom shirt and glass pipe vendors were sprawled out along 2nd St., each with their warring psychedelic playlists creating an echoing corridor of weirdness. It was the picture perfect backdrop for Weir, who was on his first full-fledged solo tour since his 2020 pandemic-shortened concert run. Lucky for us, he was treating his loyal Austin deadheads to not just one, but two sold out evenings in our fair city. Read more

Long Winded Modest Mouse Show Preview

While The Moon & Antarctica is widely considered Modest Mouse‘s crowning achievement, there are some, like myself who consider The Lonesome Crowded West a near perfect album. Dropped in 1997, it didn’t make its way into my regular rotation until a year or so after. But, I was a fickle college music fan, gravitating to various bands and styles, then moving onto the next. Still, upon graduation in 2002, I packed my old Honda Accord with one of those traveling cases of CDs, a few packs of smokes and my sleeping bag…and I drove from Austin to my new home, Yellowstone National Park. It was that first 24 hour road trip that really made me indebted to that LP, so much so, that now, some 20 years on from that adventure, I can still recall every twist and turn of the songs, and every little nuanced moment where Modest Mouse made it into my life in those months. I’m fortunate to be able to catch the band touring behind the entirety of said LP here in Austin on Monday; tickets are SOLD OUT, so perhaps ask a friend..

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Two Nights of Sigur Ros

I have always admired Sigur Ros, a unique signature style that could only be hatched in relative isolation. Anytime a song would come across during get togethers, a good friend would offer that seeing the band live was one of the most cathartic and moving experiences, but the stars never aligned for me to see them. When the two-night stand at ACL Live was announced, my friend insisted on getting great seats and sharing that experience. The stars further aligned to allow me attend both nights, the first taking photos to be followed by the full show experience.

I have the gallery, I have the memories, I have the goose bumps, I have the memories of hugging friends at intermission…

Click through for a few more thoughts on the night some photos.

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Show Preview: Snail Mail + Goon Sax @ ACL Live (Tonight!)

Lindsey Jordan’s meteoric rise should come as no surprise to anyone, but with the release of Valentine, that build was cemented. So, it should come as no shocker that Snail Mail will be playing ACL Live this evening. But, other than remind you of the draw of that band, I’d like to take a minute to encourage those attending, or thinking of attending, to show up and see Goon Sax. Through three albums, we’ve raved about the band’s sound, and Mirror II showed the band continuing to grow their sound; there’s a maturity in the writing this go round, warranting an opening slot on one of the biggest US tours. Plus, its not every day you get a chance to see an Australian group on these shores (as touring becomes more challenging). We’ve got their whole 2nd LP streaming below, as its the one I’ve been spinning the most this morning! If you want tickets, they’re still available HERE.

Show Pics: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ ACL Live (5/7)

Crushed. That is how we all felt when Sound On Sound was cancelled. Looking back at that lineup, you get a swell of what could have been, especially knowing what our local family doing the production work put into it.

One of the big gets was Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Even in 2017, it had been since the festival circuit in 2009 that I got to see them live, which I didn’t get to photograph. That ACL set was a headlining gig when the Beastie Boys had to cancel, accelerating their profile. I missed out on the 2013 SxSW NPR set shooting Iggy and the Stooges. As a music photographer, Karen O is a performer you want to shoot any chance you get (unless Iggy Pop is next door). FINALLY, the stars aligned and they made it back to Austin playing ACL Live and a photo pass landed in my mitts.

Photos and a few thoughts…

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