Wednesday, October 25, 2017

BLACK HONEY - DREAM WIFE - HANDS OFF GRETEL - "Grrrrls" - Various venues - 2016-2017

"Song van het Jaar" - Tivoli Vredenburg Pandora - Utrecht - (NL) 6 16-12-16 
1 - All My Pride
2 - Hello Today
3 - Sleep Forever
4 - Spinning Wheel
5 - Corrine  
The Fox Theater - Oakland - CA (USA) - 22-03-17 
6 - Hey Heartbreaker
7 - Love Without Reason
8 - Kids
9 - Somebody
10 - Act My Age
11 - Let's Make Out
12 - FUU 
BLACK HONEY - 22 d'Auron - "Printemps de Bourges" (F) - 15-04-16
13 - Bloodlust
14 - Black Honey
15 -You Said It All  
DREAM WIFE - "Chauffer Dans La Noirceur" Festival - Montmartin sur Mer (F) - 14-07-17
16 - Love Without Reason (cut in)
17 - Everything
HANDS OFF GRETEL - Toolmakers Studio - Sheffield (UK) - 04-09-17
18 - World Against She
19 - One Eyed Girl
20 - Bigger Than Me
21 - My Size
22 - Little Man (The Londoner - Barnsley - 17-06-16)

Technical info  :
DVD Pro-shot & Audience
Video : Mpeg - 720 X 576 - 25 FPS - 16:9
Audio : Mpeg - 48000 Hz
Running Time : 87 mns

Size : 4,03 Go
Menu & Chapters - Artwork included

Good to be back ! Must admit this summer may have been the rockingest summer I've ever had ! Twelve festivals, hundreds of shows, lots of discoveries, some confirmations, a few disillusions but on the whole a whale of a time spent in front of stages and in cramped bar backyards ! With so many nice memories in mind, I didn't really know who to start with for this new back-to-business kick. I've seen quite a bunch of full testosterone concerts over the last few months (see above) but don't know why, I feel like more oestrogenous as the winter breeze is drawing closer ! :-) So, ladies ... you're first !!
As frontwomen, Teri Gender Bender from Le Butcherettes and Duchess Says' Annie-Claude Deschênes are still my present-day craziest overpowering rule-the-stage favourites and even if the following ladies aren't the wildest amazons to have set foot on the platform, they are not to be left out either !!

 I first met Black Honey for one of their early dates in France, back in april 2016, for the "Printemps de Bourges" newcomers night. I'm used to going to that particular event every year and I must say the schedulers have flair as I've never been disappointed (I do remember Royal Blood's show - Black Honey is currently supporting btw - in front of three hundred or so people way before the release of their first album !). So again, I first found Black Honey quite sweet and to be honest, Izzy does have the knack to catch your eye ! Even if I usually rather go for dirtier loud things, as the show went on, I got caught by this indie rock that British people have so much talent for so that I finally ended up at the merch after the set. The guys were really cool, accessible and easy-chatting and Izzy was even pleased to feel a kind of "home" touch when she noticed my Blood Red Shoes tee, another Brighton band they spent some time with at the studio few weeks before. I walked out the venue quite happy of the shows I'd attended that night (Black Honey, Broken Hands, Vant, Yak, Last Train, The Limiñanas). The following day being even more hectic but this is another garage story ...

A few months later, I got all the more grateful to Black Honey when I came across an interview in which they mentioned an unknown band to me they were touring with at the time : Dream Wife !! Love at first listen ! I immediately had a crush on Rakel's voice and Alice's dissonant sound of guitar. A few weeks later, it even took me to a four and a half hour drive to their only French gig this summer, at "Chauffer Dans La Noirceur Festival". A few parts of the show are included in the "Bonus" section here (with a menu made from two photos taken at the time) even if, as for the "Black Honey" extras, the sound taken by a camera in a hall or under an open-air marquee can't match a soundboard capture. However, instead of keeping the yet too scarce professional Dream Wife livestreams available, I decided to turn to AdmiralNeeda's footage (big up to you, mate !) filmed in Oakland, California, this year as it sounds much more in tune with Dream Wife's pop-punk rawness and is much funnier too (see the mix-up between "Alice" and "Alison" before "Love Without Reason" :-) !)
Dream Wife has only released two EPs and a couple of singles so far but "FUU" is for sure my personal 2017 hit (I missed it out in 2016). Rakel's voice is just amazing on this one, shifting from sugared cheek to unleashed fury ! A voice that tells to "Fuck You Up" and that you definitely want to thank for it !!  

Can't really recall my first encounter with Hands Off Gretel. Some time in early 2017 but I do remember being really caught by the name I still love today. Yet, I was a bit wary about the " fairy-tale-freak show like" appearance of the band I first unfairly considered too sophisticatedly layered to be genuinely authentic and natural. But I kept a photo of Lauren Tate on my hard drive which is, to be honest, the least you can do when you're a man ! If I were eighteen today (ages ago !), Hands Off Gretel would probably be my new all-time favourite band of the week. I forgot the trio for a while and then recently came across this Lauren Tate photo again. I wondered how "bigger" the little band from Sheffield area could have grown, if it has ever, and I was quite amazed by the large amount of fans and materials available on the net on which not much could be grabbed a few months before. I was totally wrong on my first impression. Lauren Tate is a real creative power machine who commands respect and admiration at such an early age. Sticking to the band's DIY ethic, she turned down an X Factor offer to relentlessly dive in a grungy 90s revival in which she holds all the aspects of the band's imagery and sound, from the artwork, drawings, photos, posters, clothes, web design to the song writing and videos (quite a few impressive"behind the scenes" videos are available on the net). In her DIY spirit, Hands Off Gretel is also a family business, Lauren Tate's mum co-managing the band and the booking. Of course, one can't help thinking of Courtney Love's growls and Brody Dale's roars listening to the young screamer. More, she often quotes Kathleen Hanna as one of her personal role models. The reference to the riot grrrls movement is obvious and the name of the band is incidentally no less than a sassy variation of Babes In Toyland's song "Handsome And Gretel". Hands Off Gretel have just released their first thirteen-track album and a second lp comes out in january 2018 ! A sincere start for a promising band no doubt. Well, Linda Perry, Kate Nash and Shirley Manson seem to think so ... :-)

Enjoy !

Cheers !   


Monday, January 2, 2017

THE THERMALS - "Power Lies" - The Launch Pad - Austin (USA) - 16-03-13 / I.Boat - Bordeaux (F) -16-07-13 + Extras

The Thermals - The Launch Pad - Austin (USA) - 16-03-13 
1 - It's Trivia
2 - Retuning To The Fold
3 - Born To Kill
4 - Born Dead
5 - A Pillar Of Salt
6 - No Culture Icons
7 - Here's Your Future
I.Boat- Bordeaux (F) - 16-07-13
8 - Where I Stand
9 - It's Trivia (cut in)
10 - I Might Need You To Kill (cut in)
11 - An Ear For Baby
12 - Faces Stay With Me
13 - The Howl Of The Winds
14 - The Sunset
15 - My Little Machine
16 - Back To Gray
17 - I Go Alone
18 - Pillar Of Salt
19 - Here's Your Future
20 - Born Dead (cut in)
21 - Overgrown Overblown
22 - The Sword By My Side
23 - No Culture Icons
"Last Call With Carson Daly" - Terragram Ballroom - Los Angeles - 25-05-16 
24 - Thinking Of You
25 - The Sunset
26 - Born To Kill
27 - Hey You !
28 - Full Of It - Pickathon Festival - Happy Valley (OR) - 02-08-15
29 - Go Home - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland - 10-10-15

Technical info  :
DVD Full Pro-shot + Audience shot
Video : Mpeg - 720 X 576 - 25 FPS - 16:9
Audio : Mpeg - 48000 Hz
Running Time : 72 mns
Size : 3,38 Go
Menu & Chapters - Artwork included

When I started this blog quite a while ago, I kept saying The Thermals' show at Haldern Pop Festival 2009 was one of my all time favourites. After some years attending concerts and watching live footage I still mean it today. The band has issued two albums since and Kathy's bass is still round as ever, Hutch's voice keeps sounding sharp and Westin still has itchy hands and feet to pound his drumkit. They have stuck to their low-fi-indie-punk guns and they've even been recently joined on a common tour by Jessica Boudreaux from Summer Cannibals on second lead guitar to amplify the noise. This is this 2016 line up we have here with the four songs from the "Last Call with Carson Daly" show.
 As for the Launch Pad set in Austin, it is just "full of it". Short but fiery and intense, still in this Ramones-like chain of songs (seven in seventeen minutes !). Adding a couple of stage divings from Hutch and Westin and a guy from the audience taking it over at the mic to sing along the closing chorus of "Here's Your Future", you end up soaked in sweat just watching it !
 The Bordeaux show may be less rowdy (Are The Thermals less popular in France ...?) but is clearly dear to me as it was my second meeting with the band. This time I drove down two hundred and fifty kilometres to see them in an unusual venue for a gig, the hold of a boat tailored as a small concert hall. The show was stiff and straight, just as Thermals' sound always is. It was also a good opportunity to meet again my good bootlegger friend Laurent who doesn't miss many concerts in the area ! I shot a few videos of the show to keep a souvenir of the night (the band doesn't unfortunately come over that often !) but also fully enjoy the show stomping, twisting and dancing (you can hear me screaming "Back To Gray" before they start playing ... "Back To Gray". I'd revised my setlist ! ;-)). I also noticed a guy I didn't know in the audience, much closer to the stage than I was, who was using a much better camera than mine (hi, & thanks, Pascal !). At the end of the gig I ventured myself to come up to him. We quickly agreed on the fact we'd both enjoyed the show and he kindly accepted to send me what he had shot from the set. So, after years gathering dust on shelves, here is the final editing of what we both have. I've mixed the two sources, mine and his but didn't go for hassling multicam stuff this time (as I did for the IAMX dvd in Paris) since we were both standing in the same area of the venue.
  I've also decided to top all this with two great songs from Summer Cannibals' last album, particularly "Full Of It", shot at Pinkathon (What a great setting this festival has !! Wish I could go one day !!). The two bands have got closer to each other lately and Hutch is even producing their new album now. I unfortunately missed Summer Cannibals  in october for their first European tour. I initially decided to take on a long drive again to see another Portand band but they eventually had to pull out of their remaining dates for family purposes.
 So, 2017, a Thermals year ? An extensive European tour along with Summer Cannibals ? I definitely look forward to it ! Sometimes you may feel at home abroad feeling as an outsider with some recent events from your own country ! Crossed fingers ! 
 On a technical side, again this one required its amount of "pigheaded" stubbornness. The soft kept crashing for 3 days in a row ! After countless of working around tricks and several reinstallations, I finally had to cut down the number of chapters more drastically to keep away from an umpteenth crash message. Anyway, it's now yours. Hope you'll enjoy !

            Cheers !