The long running 90s Indie darlings, Yo La Tengo stopped through Sacramento on promotional tour for their latest effort, Fade on Matador Records. This is a band that seems to do no wrong, as far as critics are concerned, and judging by the loving gazes from the nearly packed audience, their fans feel the same.
Check out Yo La Tengo on tour & purchase their latest release, Fade on Amazon.
Photo © Maria Colòn for FLAB Magazine
Melvins‘ Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover released a LP titled “Freak Puke” back in June. This is a collaboration with Mr. Bungle bassist, Trevor Dunn who plays an upright on the album,. and as it so happened, on tour. It’s pretty much an instrumental free jazz affair, which lead me to believe the live show would be a somber and stoic affair. Not so!
In general the show was short, roughly 45 minutes, with no encores, but the old dudes rocked hard. They started out with a sedate tune from “Freak Puke,” but moved into standard Melvins numbers, and a few covers to boot. I was upfront and center for most of it, until I couldn’t take the onslaught of thrashing, sweaty dudes.
Altogether, though it was highly entertaining and well worth getting stepped on, pummeled, shoved and pressed up against strangers I’d never imagine being pressed against. But I wouldn’t have been able to get the tasty shots I did if I hadn’t stood my ground for as long as i did in the front row.
If you missed Melvins Lite this summer, not to fear! They are touring with their little brother band, Big Business into the fall.
Check out tour dates here: Melvins Lite 51 Tour
Photos: Maria Antonia Colòn, All Rights Reserved
After close to 20 years of not playing together, post Minute Men trio, fIREHOSE kicked off their reunion tour at Harlows in Sacramento. The largely over 40 crowd traveled from as far away as bassist Mike Watt’s hometown of San Pedro, California and Denver, Colorado just to see this historic reunion. Opening for fIREHOSE was NorCal punk band (also drawing an over 40 crowd) Victims Family, and Sacramento locals Tera Melos, largely drawing an under 25 crowd of boys.
Tera Melos played a tight selection from their body of work that enlivened their fan base as much as they can be enlivened (considering the music isn’t exactly danceable nor moshable), which was enough for one kid to head bang, fart and sing along to every song they played. This was amusing and gross, for me because I stood next to him up in front of the stage. I could have moved, but my vantage point provided me the eye-catching hilarity that was a Freddie Krueger effigy looking like it was singing backup to guitarist/singer, Nick Reinhart, that, and drummer John Clardy was having one hell of a set, so I didn’t want to move.
The place really started to get packed when Victims Family took the stage. I was told by a woman who looked to be about 50 (which is really a NorCal Punk Rock 40) that I was “daft” for not knowing who they were. They were pretty much like fIREHOSE, so I found them enjoyable enough. By the time, fIREHOSE did come on stage the place was packed in tight. I’d never actually been to a show at Harlows that was sold out, and I have to admit, it was a lot of fun. Everyone was overjoyed to see Ed, Mike and George in great form, and since I could never afford concerts tickets as a teenager I was pretty happy to see them too.
It’s kind of hard to explain the overwhelming sense of joy a punk rock show, even with the thrashing about, waves of bodies crushing against the stage, can engender, especially because so much of it seems like violence but this was different. It was like a Pentecostal revival without the snakes and religious dogma. It was Punk Rock Church.
All photos © Maria Colòn
Meshell Ndegecello stopped by the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on her way to a three-night gig in Chicago. I’da missed the show had drummer artiste, Deantoni Parks not called me an hour or so before they went on to remind me he was in town. The drive from Sacramento to SF took me an hour as opposed to the standard two, ya dig.
This was not my first time seeing Meshell in concert, but the last time I did Tupac had just been shot, and she was in no kind of celebratory mood. It was also the time when she was bucking against the “angry lesbian” label having just came out with her masterpiece “Peace Beyond Passion” and receiving some flack for her incendiary track “Leviticus: Faggot.”
Dayum, let me tell you, I never seen so many hip black folk in Boulder, Colorado, which was the last place I saw her. It was a beautiful night. Religious. Truly, she had a choir of three to ensure the analogy stuck (though I doubt it was intentional). Passionate tears were shed by many. She commanded that stage, with clear-eyed fire and laser brimstone. Standing front and center in the spotlight she asked us to take a moment to consider the life of Tupac Shakur and dedicated the performance to him.
Sixteen years and seven albums later the peace beyond passion she yearned for back then must have been attained. On stage at the Great American she chose to stand further back, allowing her touring band to perform as the collaborators they are, rather than hired hands. The set ranged from a shoe-gaze soul (I just coined that term, thank you) rendition of “Lady Cab Driver” (Prince) to the romantically spare “Oysters” ending with the punked out jam “Lola” – this is where Parks went buck-wild on his kit. Though she sang one tune from her debut, “Plantation Lullabies” it wasn’t her neo-soul hit, If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night) and there were no songs from my favorite “Peace Beyond Passion,” which I have to admit made me a little sad, but then, she’s beyond that now having traversed many musical landscapes since her inception.
I agree with the anonymous voice from the audience: She has gotten better.