Friday, July 23, 2010


Although not much British Top 40 ever makes it across the pond, every now and then, one of these British giants will extend their tour to America. Last night, was a rare occasion such as this, we were treated to Keane with special guests Ingrid Michaelson, and Fran Healy from Travis After having to miss the Arctic Monkeys in April because I was in Coachella, hell or high water, I was not going to miss Keane.
After I was informed the show was expected to last four hours, I advised my pregnant guest that maybe we should sit in the lobby a while in an effort to preserve energy for Keane. After entering the venue, she asked the event staff if we could have a seat and they quickly allowed us a seat in the balcony area. Even though our view was limited, the comfort level was far superior to standing elbow to elbow on the floor, and we were very grateful to the accommodating House of Blues. If I would have known it was as easy as asking, we would not have waited outside in the lobby and missed Fran Healy from Travis.
I must admit, when I saw Ingrid Michaelson listed on the ticket, I did not know who she was. After I heard her unmistakable voice, I knew exactly who she was. I do not think I have ever been treated to such a powerful, clear, and clean vocal performance from a female artist. Ingrid Michaelson showed off her amazing talent by transitioning from a near a’capella The Way I Am, to a “slightly different version,” which sounded more like The Donnas. Ingrid also showed her sense of humor by saying, “We’re just doing this for shoots and goggles," and closed with a cover of Britney Spear’s Toxic. Ingrid and her band exited the stage to a choreographed little dance, which got the audience to give a well-deserved standing ovation.
Keane came out shortly after, opening with their first track on Night Train, House Lights. Keane proceeded to bring the house down with Back In Time, Bend & Break, Everybody's Changing, A Bad Dream, Again and Again, Nothing in My Way, This is the Last Time, and Stop For a Minute. I was quite surprised how loud and lively Keane played their songs, sounding even better than their records. At one point during the show, Tom commented, "Technically anything that could go wrong, has gone wrong." I was taken aback by this comment, as I truly thought their production was seamless. Piano player, Tim Rice-Oxley was playing stacked keyboards with ferocity, moving his feet about like Jerry Lee Lewis. All of Keane, even the additional guitarist, were full of energy and really gave us their all.
The band left the stage and lead singer, Tom Chaplin did beautiful acoustic version of Playing Along. A few other band members joined the stage for another acoustic song, Try Again. The backdrop changed from just Keane to the graphic off their latest album, Night Train. Tom Claplin exclaimed, "This is a love song to this great country," and played Clear Skies. Keane played on with You Haven't Told Me Anything, Is It Any Wonder?, and Your Love which was sang beautifully by Tim (piano). They brought the show down slowly and sweetly with Perfect Symmetry, Somewhere Only We Know, and Bedshaped. As he walked off stage, Tom exclaimed, "Vegas you are the perfect audience. Singing every song."
The balcony all rose to their feet, the crowd below chanted “Keane, Keane,” and the House of Blues erupted in full applause. The band came out smiling, seemingly humbled by the overwhelming response from their American fans. Tom praised Fran Healy from Travis and thanked their fans and everyone for supporting their efforts for the past twelve years. They played My Shadow, and Crystal Ball for an encore before ending their two hour performance.
Many fans rushed over to the merch table to get some keepsakes and rave about the great show we had just seen. I thought Keane and Ingrid put on award winning concerts, not only in quality and talent, but in energy as well. I will admit I was a little brokenhearted Keane did not play Spiraling, but considering that was my only negative, this was a great concert and a must see for any British rock fan.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thrice with Kevin Devine, Bad Veins, and The Dig

Tonight was the rescheduled show for Thrice with special guests Kevin Devine, Bad Veins, and The Dig. Thrice was originally scheduled to play with Manchester Orchestra on May 7th, but that show was canceled for unknown reasons. When we arrived to the House of Blues, there were no lines and people were sparse. For a minute I wondered if they had again canceled. House of Blues event staff informed me that not many tickets were sold for this show and there were roughly 400 people here.
I was quite surprised by the music of Bad Veins and Kevin Devine. Both were indie, slow and mellow; not at all the type of music I expected to open for Thrice. I have no doubt that both groups are talented, but I'm sorry, why are you opening for Thrice? I asked that question to a fellow fan. I was informed that Thrice's music has changed over the last decade, transitioning from their hardcore first album to a more experimental, alternative rock style over the last few years. Kevin Devine closed his performance with at least six shirtless guys running around stage; it was like a weird Abercrombie music video.
At this point, I wasn't sure what to think, left feeling completely out of touch and out of place. I came expecting to run around the pit, head bang and throw fists with my eye-lined counterparts, but there was none of that to be had. I stayed for about two hours. When I noticed the Thrice sound men were having problems getting their mics and keyboard to work properly, I actually called it quits and left. I ultimately regretted this decision, as I really would have liked to see Thrice, but I just couldn't be in the House of Blues a minute longer.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lamb of God with Hatebreed

Tonight, the House of Blues hosted another face melting metal show, Lamb of God with Hatebreed and 3 Inches of Blood. Heavy metal shows at the House of Blues are often favorites of mine because the sound is monumental in the small venue and it is one of the last places you can still get wild in the mosh pit. I knew long time veterans Lamb of God and Hatebreed were sure blast our ears and keep the pit spinning.
Although we just missed 3 Inches of Blood, we walked in just as Hatebreed took the stage. Lead singer, Jamey Jasta was full of energy, running and jumping all across the stage, keeping the audience in a constant frenzy. Fans were treated to a nearly full setlist to get warmed up to: Everyone Bleeds Now, In Ashes They Shall Reap, Smash Your Enemies, To The Threshold, Facing What Consumes You, As Diehard as They Come, Proven, Defeatist, Destroy Everything, This is Now, closing with I Will Be Heard. Hatebreed left the crowd with fists in the air and already covered in sweat. Since the last time I saw Hatebreed, I can only say their live show and fan base has only gotten stronger.
After another drink and a trip to the merch table, Lamb of God broke the silence with heavy drums and fierce guitars. Vocalist Randy Blythe, was usually in perched on the front speaker, swinging his hair around in union with the rest of the band. The whole band radiated metal energy, creating an enormous paint-peeling sound. We were in the middle of an elbow to elbow floor, pits broke out all around, and everyone was headbanging. This high energy crowd not only made the show more fun, but we also fueled Lamb of God's energy, as they playing an exhausting set. In the best order I remember: The Passing, In Your Words, Contractor, Set to Fail, Walk With Me In Hell, As The Palaces Burn, Hourglass, Now You've Got Something To Die For, Ruin, Blacken the Cursed Sun, Descending, Vigil, Omerta and finally their guitar hero famous Laid to Rest. Lamb of God came out for a two song encore, Redneck and Black Label, exclaiming “It’s time to get you money’s worth!” Both Hatbreed and Lamb of God each dedicated a song to their heavy metal gods, the late Ronnie James Dio and Vinnie Paul. Both bands also put on loud, solid, high-energy performances that rallied the audience non-stop. We all left the performance covered in sweat and a little bruised, only catching our breath just enough to exclaim what a great show it was. I thought, and laughed for a minute, after seeing Lamb of God’s performance, I am convinced Metalocalypse was based on them. They are true metal through and through, fans loved it, and was one of the best metal performances I have ever seen!
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Joe Rogan

Tonight, the House of Blues became the House of Comedy, presenting Joe Rogan and special guest Sam Tripoli. I noticed Joe Rogan seems to do a stand-up routine every few months, so i figured he must be doing something right. This was my first House of Comedy show and I was unsure what to expect.
We walked in to find the House completely seated, the bars were empty, and Sam Tripoli had just taken the stage. It took me a minute to adjust myself, as I am used to seeing this place packed wall to wall and filled with so much clamored, you can barely hear yourself think. We went to the bar, ordered a few drinks and enjoyed a few minutes of the show before being shown to our seats. I must say, front row balcony at the House of Blues, are some of the best seats I have ever had!
Sam had the audience’s full attention, actively acting out his jokes, cutting the stillness with eruptions of laughter. I enjoyed his nonchalant approach to comedy, being frank about several over the top experiences and ridiculous observations he had. During his closing joke, Sam got distracted by a pair of large breasts in the front row. He mumbled, “Big ol’ titties. Can’t concentrate... Where was I?” It was a great ending to his performance.
Joe Rogan ran on-stage with lots of energy and immediately got the audience involved by talking about his Las Vegas experiences. In the early morning hours, at any strip club in town, you think a man is passed out in his chair, a stripper comes along, grinds a little bit, and what do ya know, he’s got another hour left in him. Then how shameful it is for a grown man to walk out of the Spearmint Rhino, after a night of partying, and the sun is already up. After Joe went though this bit, I knew we were in for some raunchy stories.
Joe's comedy was no holds bar, seemingly done right on the fly. His stories ranged from the heaven / hell of live child birth, to the fear of being raped by Broc Lesnar, to two girls one cup and a more graphic video he was shown. One of the highlights of his performance was when he got in trouble with the UFC for calling a move "rape choke" on national TV. So you have to ask yourself, "Why hire a pot head comedian to be the face of UFC?"
As frank and dry as his attitude was, I had to wonder myself. Most of the audience was dying in their seats, with a few poor souls that did not appreciate some of the topics. There was a running theme, any situation that was kinda queer, he would begin to mockingly sing Hey There Delilah, by the Plain White T's. Joe wiggled around the stage, “You can’t listen to that song without wanting to rub your legs like a cricket.”
I thought Joe Rogan was hilarious, keeping us laughing nearly non-stop. I got the distinct impression that he was just a regular guy, sharing stories about experiences many of us can relate to. That's the best comedy right there, being able to joke about the truth and embarrassment of real life. He was bold, straight-forward and no bullshit. Joe Rogan is often in town for UFC fights and periodically also schedules a stand-up show at House of Blues. I would highly recommend him to any stand-up comedy fan.