Archive for September, 2012

The Captain Goes To Nite 1 Of #AUCW6

It’s been two and a half days and I still feel like I’m recovering from Nite 1 of An Under Cover Weekend 6.

 

 

Amaz-ing show. For real-zees  I was unable to attend Nite 2 on Saturday, so I will strictly be discussing Nite 1.  But there’s so much to discuss that I’m struggling with where to begin.  I guess it’s prolly best to begin where I left off on Friday.

Before the show began there was a palpable buzz throughout The Firebird over the RiverfrontTimes.com blog that appeared earlier in the day.  It seemed that everyone there had managed to read the blog post, and the avalanche of comments, at some point on Friday.  I heard a myriad of opinions on the blog post, and all of them were well thought out and reasonable.  The majority two opinions I heard were some variation of:

1.  The two month black out before and after the show is just fine.  The bands put in too much work beforehand to play a show, and could generally use a break afterhand.

2.  There is no such thing as too much promotion for a locally produced show.

It was pretty incredible the amount of discussion that one blog post created.  But with so many past and current #AUCW bands in attendance, I guess it was to be expected.

About the only thing that I wasn’t expecting was the lack of media presence on Nite 1.  Beforehand I saw a couple of writers I recognized from I Went To A Show and KDHX, and I heard a writer from RiverfrontTimes.com was in attendance.  But once the show started I was surprised to see only one print photographer by the stage, and one videographer holding a flip camera up front.  Eventually I noticed a stationary video camera in the back, but that was all I saw for the rest of the evening besides iPhones.

The lack of photo and video journalists was somewhat puzzling, and produced a bit of a conundrum for me.  Back on Friday I wrote that I was fine with the No Camera policy because I was sure that the event’s organizers would be documenting the event properly.  And yet here I was watching a great performance that was not being suitably recorded.  Seeing as I had my Flip Camera in my pocket, I now faced an unpleasant decision.  Did I let these inspiring performances go unrecorded or did I completely reverse on a public statement I had made earlier in the day?

During the first set, I decided to keep my camera in my pockets as Aquitaine rocketed through the hits of Oasis.  I was especially tempted to record their covers of Supersonic and Don’t Look Back In Anger.  Dead on.  At the very end of the set, the singer with the goofy Liam Gallagher wig asked the crowd (in a hilarious cockney accent) “Do you want to hear Champagne Supernova?”  I instinctively went for my camera as the crowd cheered, but fake Liam responded with “Well too bad, that song’s eight minutes long!” before tearing into Live Forever.  So I didn’t end up recording any of Aquitaine, which is a shame.

The next band to take the stage was Animal Empty as one of my all time favorite artists, PJ Harvey.  After missing the first band, I decided that I would record at least one song if this band was any good.  As it turns out, they were the highlight of the whole nite for me.  Animal Empty wisely chose songs from the first three albums by Polly Jean Harvey, and they absolutely owned every song they touched.  Lead singer Ali Ruby looked the part in an all red dress, and definitely had the singing chops and guitar prowess to channel PJ.  I love seeing a woman play the guitar.  The rest of the band brought the hard charging sounds of her early albums to life, especially bassist Aaron Cajilig.  The performance was amazing to behold, and I should know since I’m guessing I was probably one of the few superfans in attendance who saw PJ Harvey when she was last in St. Louis.

17 years ago PJ Harvey played Riverport when she was touring on her defining album, To Bring You My Love.  But she received little notice at the time, as the majority of the crowd was at Riverport to see the band Live.1 It killed me back in 1995 that so many people did not appreciate her amazing live performance, and on Friday nite I decided to not let this happen again.  I just had to break out my flip camera and record the set’s final song, Long Snake Moan.

 

 

As you can see, I made the right decision.  Granted, agreeing publically with a No Camera policy and then recording at a show that same evening makes me a huge hypocrite.  But then again, writing a blog makes me a member of the hypocrisy industry so who gives a shit.  And the strength of the next three sets really confirmed that my decision to record a song was correct.

Up third was HumDrum as Beck.  As much as I like Beck, I was secretly hoping the band stuck to only 90s tunes.  I was in luck because HumDrum cherry picked the best songs from Beck’s early albums and proceeded to nail them.  The inspired rendition of Debra caused the largest outbreak of dancing the whole evening.  I thought HumDrum were a close second to Animal Empty, and they were by far my sister’s favorite.  Here they are finishing up their set with Where It’s At

 

 

Earlier in the evening I had a funny conversation with the guys in Volcanoes while in the line for the bathroom2, and I had the feeling it would be a goofy set when they covered The Killers.  They played mostly songs off of Hot Fuss, and brought a snotty punk vibe that really  spiced up the material.  Drummer and Vocalist Eric Peters is a fun dude to watch perform.  Here they are closing out their set with All These Things That I’ve Done.

 

The final band of the evening was LucaBrasi.  They’re known locally for the harder contributions from two previous members of The Urge, so I wasn’t sure what to expect of their take on U2.  Surprisingly they played most of the material straight up with only hints of a harder edge.  It was an effective strategy as you can see here with their opener, Where The Streets Have No Name.

 

 

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise on Nite 1 was the excellent song selection by all five bands.   Most of the artists covered have large back catalogs with plenty of songs that may have fallen flat at #AUCW, but the bands managed only pick a few duds in 4 hours of music.  It was a very impressive evening that sold out The Firebird and left the 500+ in great spirits.  So how the hell is it that I can barely find a trace of the show online 72 hours later?!?

Granted, the Riverfront Times posted a short review online as did KDHX, but neither sent a photographer.  For some reason the RFT only sent a photographer for Nite 2.  So here it is three days later and that’s the all I’ve been able to find online about Nite 1.  I can’t find a picture of Will Hildebrandt from Aquitaine in his Liam Gallagher wig anywhere, which is a shame.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to amend my opinion on No Camera policies.  If the artist I’m seeing wants to post a No Camera policy then I’m fine with it.  But I don’t support blanket camera restrictions on local shows by the venue.  I know lots of local bands that are happy to have video taken by the crowd.  If anyone has a problem with something I post then I will gladly remove it.  So please enjoy these videos.  Or don’t.

But let’s get back to what it important:  Nite 1 of #AUCW6 was a smashing success in my book.  Please feel free to add anything I missed, or better yet post a link!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ciao,

The Captain

 

1.  Veruca Salt opened the show and played a solid set, but the crowd was there to see the band Live sing Lightning Crashes.  I left two songs into their set.

2. I’m really trying hard not to complain about The Firebird anymore, but how the hell does a music venue that has a 500+ capacity and sells tallboys of PBR only have two toilets in the men’s room?!?

The Captain And AUCW Go Bigtime

Tonite is the first nite of An Under Cover Weekend and the show has hit the bigtime! AUCW is now so big that it’s sparked backlash online! It’s a local music scene fight! Check out this article in Riverfronttimes.com and the resulting war of words in the comments section.

RIVERFRONT TIMES – The Problem with An Under Cover Weekend

While there were lots of points in this article for which I have strong opinions, there is one specific point that I feel is not remotely valid. The blog post’s author writes:

The AUCW shows are being promoted online ad nauseum. It’s smart business to advertise your show in any way possible, but the AUCW crew has gone into over-saturation mode, and it’s enough to make me want to skip the show in protest. The mystique of the event is damaged by multiple updates containing links to self-congratulatory videos explaining both the process and the characters. And the videos look good, but I’m not sure what they add to the experience. We just want to go to the show and have a good time.

This is a ridiculous statement. Complaining about too much online promotion for something is missing the point of the internet entirely. Promoting a local event like this is basically throwing a massive amount of shit against the wall and seeing if any of it sticks. Promotion isn’t an easy job, but these guys do a good job of making noise about this event. If the noise too loud for you, maybe take a step back.
And if you’re not interested in watching an online video about the history of AUCW, then don’t watch it. I’m only attending my second year of AUCW and I enjoying seeing a bit about the beginning. Hell, I posted the first two videos on my Tuesday blog and the final three installments are equally interesting. Check them out here.
That entire paragraph boils down to one complaint: AUCW is getting too big. Which I guess shouldn’t surprise me, as it’s the other point of the internet:

 

 

Ciao,
The Captain

The Captains Summer Winds Down

My summer is winding down, and it feels like it just started!

After a week of much needed rain, St. Louis got some sun yesterday afternoon.  I took advantage of the break in the clouds for some GTL with Captain Powers.

 

 

This summer has flown by this year, much to my chagrin.  I feel like I missed so much this summer.  Luckily, a local filmmaker put together this awesome little clip to highlight what makes summer in St. Louis my favorite time of year.  Enjoy!

 

Here is St. Louis from Anastasis Films on Vimeo.

 

Ciao,

The Captain

The Captains Mystery Gift

On Sunday I got three of my favorite birthday gifts: alcohol, music, and old pictures. I’ve already enjoyed the first two gifts this week, so now it’s time for #3 for this week’s #WaybackWednesday

I’ve never seen this picture, do not remember when it was taken, or have any clue where I am in it. I can discern from the long hair on Ludlow and goatee on me that this was 2001. And the two other gentlemen in the picture point to a house party in Springtown.
The blonde floating ghost head in the corner is Danny Joe Gibson. Back then he was Radiohead Guy to me because that what we always tended to discuss when I ran into him. Now he is a local artist based in Kansas City with some great stuff you should check out here. Definitely check out the snow sculpture section!
Directly behind us is Sonic Youth Guy doing his best creeper impression. He totally looks like a Morrissey fan in this picture!
Only nowadays I don’t think of him as Sonic Youth Guy, I think of him as Comic Book Guy due to his good taste in comics and his superior penciling skills. But I can’t call him Comic Book Guy, because this is what people think of

 

 

But since Sonic Youth kind of sounds like a superhero team, he remains Sonic Youth Guy to me.
But I digress. The other mystery in this picture is the girl in the background. So if anyone can identify her or something else I missed please leave a comment.
And thanks again to my old roommate Ludlow for the picture. And speaking of gifts, why not find an old picture of you and me together and send it to me as a late birthday gift! Or send me a link to a song that you bet I haven’t heard! Or mail me some booze!
Cheers!

Ciao,
The Captain

The Captain Goes Back Under Cover

Labor Day will always be my favorite weekend in September, but the second weekend is starting to give it a run for the money thanks to An Under Cover Weekend!

 

 

Last year’s 5th edition of @AUCW was in the Top 5 for best weekend’s in 2011.  Check out my recap from last year here.

In the lead up to AUCW 6 the organizers have put together some videos highlighting the past installments that are worth a watch.  In fact, I’ll even give them the #2ForTuesday seal of approval.

 

 

The Beginning: An Under Cover Weekend from Mike Tomko on Vimeo.

 

The Photography: An Under Cover Weekend from Mike Tomko on Vimeo.

 

My sister even makes an appearance in  the first video!

The lineups on Friday and Saturday were super impressive in 2011, but this year’s lineups look formidable as well.

 

 

The 90s onslaught of Friday nite looks stronger to me, but there are a couple of wild cards on Saturday that might pay off big time.  My prediction is that Animal Empty as PJ Harvey will rule Friday nite, mostly because I’m a huge fan of Polly Jean’s music.  On Saturday nite I’m tempted to pick Dots Not Feathers on the strength of their Stevie Wonder set last year, but I get the feeling that Palace will steal the show with their ABBA songs.  But anyway you slice it, these shows are not to be missed.

I’m so excited for the show that I’m even promising to refrain from complaining about the venue this year!  So if you are in St. Louis this weekend, then I expect to see you downtown at the Firebird!

 

Ciao,

The Captain

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