Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CMJ Madness in NYC: Where I'll Be

Yes, indeed. It's that time of year again. Not just Halloween (my favorite holiday), but also CMJ, when music biz types are out in force, partying with their fave bands. It's going to be a crazy week for this here TixGirl. How bout you?

TixGirl's CMJ Calendar (so far)...

10/31: Flavorpill's 6th Anniversary Halloween Party
Where: At a super-secret location
Featuring: Spankrock, CSS, Jennifer Cardini, Bassnectar, MC Kila Kella (and a surprise set by Louie Vega).
Costume: I'll be the gal in the Venetian Carnivale Costume. In other words, I'll look like a cross between Snow White's Wicked Stepmother and a serving wench from the Renaissance... in a mask.

11/1: Zombie Prom by +1, I HEARTCOMIX, Viva La Rock and URB Magazine
Where: BED
Featuring: Lupe Fiasco, Monsters are Waiting, Matt and Kim, and Fields and DJs Franki Chan, The Bangers and Campfire Jay.
Costume: The theme is a prom, so I'm thinking ballgown. Or maybe a haunted ballgown? Um, er, well, maybe I'll just recycle my prior outfit, ditch the mask, add a red apple, and actually go as Snow White's Wicked Stepmother.

11/2: The Party That Started A Revolution / Marie Antoinette by Filter Magazine
Where: Hiro Lounge, at the Maritime Hotel
Featuring: Bow Wow Wow, Windsor for the Derby, Ra Ra Riot & DJs.
Costume: Thankfully, Halloween will have worn off by Thursday, so no costumes required.

11/3: The Decemberists
Where: Hammerstein
Featuring: Alasdair Roberts
Costume: I'll be dressed as a photographer in the photo pit.

Monday, October 30, 2006

WIN TICKETS: Death Cab for Cutie Tour

A heads-up to Death Cab fans across the country: You have a chance to win tickets to see them at any one of their upcoming tour dates! Here are the details, straight from the email sent to the fan club mailing list:

Starting next Thursday, November 2nd, Barsuk Records will give away a pair of tickets to one lucky winner for each Death Cab show, starting with the first Boston show. Many of the shows are sold out, so this could be your last chance to see the band on this tour!

Hurry and enter NOW here to win tickets, as the deadline for each giveaway is set a few days prior to the show date. Winners will be randomly chosen and no purchase is necessary to win.

Wish me luck -- I've entered for the 11/9 date at MSG. And here's to good luck for you, too!  Once again, the entry link is:

Sunday, October 29, 2006

THE VIEW FROM MY SEAT: Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins

Town Hall, NY, 10/13/06

When Jenny Lewis takes the stage, it's a sight to behold. Her fans are numerous and adoring. They greet her with whoops and hollers befitting a true indie queen. However, tonight is an unusual story. It's a far cry from the standing room only Irving Plaza show I'd seen in March, packed to the gills with hipsters screaming as the darling of alt-country took the stage, grinning from ear to ear. This evening is a far more sedate affair.

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins at Town Hall, New York

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins enter in floor-length satin evening gowns, instantly identifying this as a formal, sit-down show. Perhaps it's out of respect for the venue, Town Hall being a true old grand dame of a theater. In fact, I'm reminded of Ryman Auditorium, and the show that proceeds feels like a performance one might see at that original Grand Ol' Opry theater. It's far more respectful and reverential than the foot-stompin', hip-shakin' show we got in March at Irving's more traditional barroom-esque concert venue. While the audience cheers and applauds, it isn't quite the wild glee and abandon we all feel in our bellies. It's as if we, en masse, expect a hall monitor or snooty aunt to come and scold us if we dare get out of our seats and hoot and holler, like one might normally be compelled to do at a Jenny Lewis show.

While the visual is certainly befitting of the hallowed hall, it is also a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more formal atmosphere makes for a more staid crowd. Which means Jenny and Co. have an uphill climb in front of them. Without waves of energy from the crowd to buoy them, they are forced to fill the hall with energy all on their own. And that, my friends, can be an exhausting prospect for any performer. The band handles it with grace and aplomb, though I will say that Jenny's ear-to-ear grin is conspicuously missing. She seems to be sweating it out for the applause, rather than lapping up waves of adoration. Which is fine. It simply goes to show her professionalism and that of her cohorts.

Jenny Lewis performing with the Watson Twins at Town Hall, New York

The crowd doesn't really loosen up until roughly five songs into their set, when Jenny and the twins are recalled to the stage after a short break by their guitarist, who gives them a "Live, from Vegas, it's Jenny Lewis…" type intro. Their entrance is all 1960s Vegas glitz and glitter, outfitted in the mini-est of mini-dresses, spangled in sequins and shimmering paillettes, and shod in shit-kicker cowboy boots. With her Julie Christie-gone-red hairstyle, she is a bombshell from another era, and the whole place finally feels like we've let our hair down.

Atmospherics and environment aside, this is a helluva strong performance from a trio of admirable pipes and a collection of accomplished musicians. The touring band (Farmer Dave on lap steel, Michael Runion on bass, Jenny's boyfriend Jonathan Rice on guitar, and Rilo Kiley's Jason Boesel on drums) have a bit of the feel of hired guns, rather than being an integral part of Jenny's music making. But this is, after all, a solo project for the Rilo Kiley frontwoman. So we need not expect a one-of-the-band feel from her on this outing.

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins with Farmer Dave at Town Hall, New York

Farmer Dave, whose lap steel work is smokin', seems to have his own fan club in the audience. Unfortunately, he is also a little too high in the mix, nigh on threatening to drown out the all-important vocals. But the band's real standout is Jason Boesel on drums. Closing out their set with a dramatic performance of my personal favorite, "Born Secular," gives Boesel the opportunity to show his stuff. After singing the sweet gospel strains, Jenny and the twins exit the stage, followed at intervals by Jonathan on guitar, moments later by Farmer Dave, and finally by bassist Michael Runion, leaving only Boesel still playing on stage. He wows us with mad flourishes and crashing crescendos while maintaining the underlying beat like an unerring metronome. As he rises from his kit, the clamor of the audience rises to a roar.

The Watson Twins' voices are soft, supple, and lacking in overstated presence, which makes them an ideal complement to Jenny's personality-packed vocals. Chandra and Leigh's synchronized movements are understated, which saves them from being too trite. It's a nod to the traditional back-up singers of the past, which serves to acknowledge and underscore their role as icing on the Jenny-flavored cake. Together, their harmonies are beautifully balanced, as evidenced by the a cappella show opener, "Run Devil Run." Watch and believe:

Run Devil Run - The Big Guns

Saving the best for last, the real story here is Jenny Lewis herself. Possessed of a clear-as-a-bell voice comfortable in nearly any register, she navigates a multitude of musical styles with ease. Live, her vocals are consistentlyimpressive. Hitting every note square on the head, she conveys every emotion with an undeniably feminine flair.

Her songwriting is accomplished and impressive, while remaining entirely accessible to those who have no desire to look deeper than hooks and catchy refrains. It's no wonder that for the album's only cover, she chose a Traveling Wilburys song. It's that vagabond, campfire-side storytelling style that inhabits many of the songs in her repertoire. By turns honky-tonk road music and gone-to-church Sunday gospel, she can be bawdy or sweet, depending on the story she's telling. And in her more revelatory confessional moments, she holds the listener rapt, digesting every word, as in the album's centerpiece and encore staple, "Rabbit Fur Coat."

Jenny Lewis is that rare combination of spitfire spunk and thoughtful intelligence, who makes the listener want to sing along and actually pay attention to the lyrics, as well. Even more unusual is her ability to take indie hipsters and make them consider listening to country music. And that is exactly why her performance at Town Hall tonight proves, yet again, that she deserves the mantle of Alt-Country Indie Queen that she wears so beautifully.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good Gossip: Gwen Stefani's New Album & New Tour

 << Gwen Stefani

Live Daily and Billboard both dropped a bomb for Gwen Stefani & No Doubt fans earlier this week. They reported that La Blonde Bombshell will be releasing a new album on Dec. 5, titled "The Sweet Escape." Yes, that's her second solo album. And yes, she'll be following that release with a tour, kicking off in April. Keep an eye on my blog, or sign up for the alert, and you'll get a heads-up when tix are about to go on sale.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

File Under: This Is Scary

Check out what Billboard had to say in their article, "Diddy Scores First No. 1 Album In Nine Years":

"Diddy scores his first No. 1 album on The Billboard 200 since 1997 this week with "Press Play." ..."Press Play" sold 170,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the lowest first-week sum of Diddy's solo career."

That means it only takes selling 170K copies to hit #1 these days. Back in '97 it took Diddy selling 561K to hit #1. Now he hits #1 again with his lowest sales out of the gate ever? That, my friend, is a scary commentary on the state of record sales today.

No wonder artists are turning to touring as their most profitable opportunity. They get a higher percentage of the revenue on both ticket sales and merch sold at the booths than they ever would on record sales. AND they often get guarantees up front from promoters.

While I mourn the state of the record industry, I'm not the least bit sad about the touring industry kicking its @$$. I wholeheartedly believe that an artist proves their worth when they're performing in front of a live audience, without the safety net of countless producers with pitch-shifters and Pro Tools to clean up what they don't want us to hear.

In the Meantime: Great Scissor Sisters Live Video

Greetings, music fans. I, TixGirl, do solemnly apologize for being so remiss in my duties of posting the cool pics, vids and such from all the shows I've been seeing lately. Alas, I've been out of commish with the flu. Really and truly -- I had to miss two shows, and everything!  (I know, you can just hear the violins playing.) That said, I'll be spending the next couple weeks catching up on my blogging duties. 

In the meantime,  here's some great video of the Scissor Sisters show we caught last Saturday night, from Jonathan over at AChimericalPlan.com.

Yo, check it: Take Your Mama

Saturday, October 21, 2006

BREAKING NEWS & CORRECTION: Justin Timberlake Dates On Sale Today

Greetings, JT fans. I've led you astray, and for that I hang my head in shame. In yesterday's post, I mentioned that, "Onsale dates haven't yet been announced, so keep holding your breath until his fan club releases the info." But that is no longer the case!

The first five of JT's dates are on sale starting today!
San Diego
Washington, DC
Sunrise, FL

Additional tour dates will continue to roll out every weekend until all 34 cities are on sale. Tickets usually go on sale on Saturdays at 10am. However, some artists have been known to put new cities on sale anywhere from Thursday thru Monday. So, if you're a rabid fan who's dedicated to getting good seats, I recommend that you start checking for your city starting on Thursdays.

And here's a quick link for tickets:

Meanwhile, the best ways to score the closest seats at face value (rather than obscene brokerage prices), is to get tix thru a presale. The most reliable sources of presales? The fan club. So here's some info about JT's fan club, courtesy of his MySpace blog post:

Fan Club

The official Justin Timberlake fan club has launched. It's the place to get Justin exclusives like special access to presale tickets, your very own Justin Timberlake email address, insider reports, road updates, and more. JOIN NOW!

Happy hunting!

And for those of you who are sick of me posting about JT, don't worry. This will be my last JT post for a good long while. What more is there to say, anyway?

Friday, October 20, 2006

GOOD GOSSIP: Gorillaz, The Shins, Linkin Park, Sean Lennon, Justin Timberlake & Babs for $50K

 << Gorillaz

And speaking of Noodle... Gorillaz fans, ever wonder how the Gorillaz met? Or where they grew up? Or whether Murdoc likes to wear pink thongs? These and more questions will soon be answered! Billboard reports that they'll be releasing a biography through Penguin Books on Nov. 2nd. Personally, I want to know more about those "spooky spirit mates" known as funkyphantoms that inhabit Russell's body.

 << The Shins   

Am I the only one who's been in agonizing suspense, waiting for The Shins' next album? I got a taste of their new tunes at their summer tour stop at Williamsburg's McCarren Park Pool (see photos and watch video). But I need to listen to it obsessively in order to feel truly sated. So here's the news: Their first single will be released on iTunes on 11/14, with the full album release slated for a bizarrely post holiday season date of Jan. 23rd. Um, don't indie music fans need Christmas presents, too? And get this, New Yorkers: According to Billboard, "The Shins aren't planning to tour until next year, but will reactivate for a Nov. 2 appearance at Sub Pop's showcase during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York."

 << Linkin Park

Apparently rap-metal behemoths, Linkin Park, are going in a new direction on their next album. I suppose that's best, considering the world may well have moved on. Meanwhile, that's what folks said about "Meteora," and look how many people lapped that one right up (myself included). Their forthcoming album is being produced by Rick Rubin, who can work miracles with pretty much anybody who needs reinvention. And according to AOL Music News Blog, I guess they're going to "confound expectations" with their "experimentalism." Ok, I'll bite... at least once.

 << Sean Lennon

Is it just me, or has Sean Lennon's face been cropping up everywhere lately? (It's adorable, and I'm not complaining.) I swear I just read about him in both Time Out New York and New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and now Pollstar. I suppose that follows, considering he's (to use a trite but apt term) rock royalty, and he's just released his second-ever solo album. Only two? In all these years? He's 31, already, can you believe? I digress... The big news is he's launching a tour. After hitting the UK and a couple Continental countries, Pollstar tells us, "The North American leg will begin in Los Angeles November 18 at the El Rey Theatre. Concerts are planned across the country over the next five weeks, finishing at New York City's Bowery Ballroom December 23." Again, lucky New Yorkers are we! Egads, I hope I'm not out of town for the holidays. Detroit just isn't anywhere near as cool as the Bowery Ballroom.

 << Justin Timberlake 

Apologies if you're sick of me bringing him up, but I can't help it. The boy can actually sing. And he hasn't failed at bringing sexyback. So, indulge me... Some interesting new tidbits have come to light about the upcoming tour: A.) It's officially called the FutureSex/LoveShow Tour; B.) It kicks off in San Diego on January 8th; C.) Onsale dates haven't yet been announced, so keep holding your breath until his fan club releases the info; and D.) He's performing in the round. To me, that last bit is the exciting part. It means there are way more front row-esque seating options than there would be otherwise. So lots of us get to see his sexy back, and his sexy front. Sorry, couldn't resist.

 << Babs for $50K

What, you thought she retired? Well, so did lots of other folks. You know, the ones who forked over a thousand dollars to see her Farewell Tour. No wait, not this farewell tour. The last one. I have much respect for La Streisand, but I have to admit that the price tag on the last tour repulsed me. So when she announced that she'd be "coming out of retirement" for a new tour, I instantly checked the ticket prices. You guessed it, the *cheapest* seats went for $1K a pop. I went from repulsed to... well, what's worse than repulsed? So when I heard that fans were banding together to sue because they felt they had been duped into believing the previous claim of retirement and had shelled out the big bucks for what they thought would be their last chance ever to see THE Barbara Streisand live, I screamed, "Huzzah! Finally! The tyranny of the false farewell tour comes to an end, and the $1K price tag dies in one fell swoop!" But the latest in the saga just puts that meagre price tag to shame. Those tickets are K-Mart in comparison to the YSL that is this news: According to Pollstar, La Streisand is offering "$50,000 meet-and-greets during her 20-city tour, with the money going to charity." It's so outrageously over the top, what can one do with this news? Ask me in another ten years when she comes out of retirement a third time, and ups the ante yet again. P.S. "The Streisand Foundation has allocated $15 million to charity since its inception in 1986," says Pollstar.

Got $1K - $50K burning a hole in your pocket? Here's a quick link for tickets: http://www.aoltickets.com/incoming.adp?pid=444&lid=789&query=streisand

Too Cool For School Alert: Miho Hatori

Falling under the "too cool for school" category, The Hotel Cafe Tour features indie queen, Miho Hatori, of Cibo Mato fame, on select dates. Gorillaz fans will know her as Noodle. So if you've ever wanted to catch the elusive Ms. Mato, this is your chance. (I would have tried to catch her this week at Detroit's St. Andrew's Hall, if I still lived off Woodward.) Here's the sched, courtesy of the tour's lovely publicist, Brook...

10/21/06                Louisville, KY@ Phoenix Hill Tavern
w/ Cary Brothers, The Weepies, Joshua Radin, Miho Hatori from Cibo Mato, Jim Bianco
10/22/06             Indianapolis, IN @ Music Mill
w/ Cary Brothers, The Weepies ,Joshua Radin, Tim Jones, Miho Hatori from Cibo Mato, Jim Bianco
10/23/06             Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
w/ Cary Brothers, The Weepies, Joshua Radin, Miho Hatori from Cibo Mato, Jim Bianco, Tim Jones
10/24/06            Columbus, OH @ Basement
w/ Cary Brothers, The Weepies, Joshua Radin, Miho Hatori from Cibo Mato, Jim Bianco, Kevin Devine
10/25/06                Cincinnati, OH @ 20th Century Theatre
w/ Cary Brothers, The Weepies, Joshua Radin, Miho Hatori from Cibo Mato, Jim Bianco, Kevin Devine
10/27/06          Boston, MA @ BU Central
w/ Cary Brothers, Joshua Radin, Kate Havnevik, Joe Purdy, Kevin Devine, Jim Bianco, Tom McRae
10/28/06            New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
w/ Cary Brothers, Joshua Radin, Kate Havnevik, Tom McRae, Kevin Devine,Jim Bianco
10/29/06         Boston, MA @ Paradise
w/ Cary Brothers,Joshua Radin,Kate Havnevik,Joe Purdy,Jim Bianco, Kevin Devine    
10/30/06                Philadelphia, PA @ World Café
w/ Cary Brothers,Joshua Radin,Kate Havnevik,Joe Purdy, Kevin Devine,Jim Bianco
10/31/06             New York, NY @ The Living Room
w/ Cary Brothers, Joshua Radin, Kate Havnevik, Joe Purdy, Jim Bianco, Kevin Devine, Miho Hatori from Cibo Matto
11/1/06            Baltimore, MD @ 8 x 10

w/  Cary Brothers, Joshua Radin, Kate Havnevik, Joe Purdy, Jim Bianco
11/3/06         Birmingham, AL @ Workplay Theater
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Joe Purdy, Jim Bianco, Sanders Bohlkey
11/4/06                Nashville, TN @ Exit In
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Joe Purdy, Jim Bianco, Sanders Bohlkey
11/5/06          Memphis, TN @ Gibson Lounge
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Joe Purdy, Jim Bianco, Sanders Bohlkey
11/6/06              Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, JoshuaRadin, Jonah Matranga, Jim Bianco, Sanders Bohlkey
11/8/06         Houston, TX @ Meridian Red Room
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Jonah Matranga, Tristan Prettyman, Jim Bianco, Sara Bareilles
11/9/06           Austin, TX @ Parish
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Jonah Matranga, Tristan Prettyman, Jim Bianco, Sara Bareilles
11/10/06              Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Tea Room
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Jonah Matranga, Tristan Prettyman, Jim Bianco, Sara Bareilles
11/13/06              Tucson, AZ @ Hotel Congress
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Tristan Prettyman, Jim Bianco ,Sara Bareilles
11/14/06              Phoenix, AZ @ Clubhouse
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Joshua Radin, Tristan Prettyman, Sara Bareilles
11/15/06              Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
w/ Cary Brothers, Rachael Yamagata, Tristan Prettyman, Joshua Radin, White Buffalo, Sara Bareilles, Jim Bianco
11/16/06              Los Angeles, CA @ The Hotel Café
Cary Brothers, Joshua Radin, Meiko, Schuyler Fisk, Tim Jones
11/17/06         Los Angeles, CA @ The Hotel Café
w/ Joe Purdy, Jim Bianco, Steve Reynolds, Tom Mcrae, Buddy, Brian Wright
11/18/06                Los Angeles, CA @ The Hotel Café
w/ Jessie Baylin, Sara Bareilles, Brett Dennen, Tristan Prettyman, Tristan Prettyman   
And here's a quick link for tickets:

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Christina Aguilera Tour PRESALE

Yes, Christina fans, it's true. You have the opportunity to get tickets before they go on sale to the general public. How?
AOL has a presale starting tomorrow morning -- Weds, 10/18 at 10am! And yes, that's 10am local time. Newbie to the world of presales? It means you get to skip the line and buy tickets with a special password, before they go on sale to everybody and their brother.

The cities available in the presale are:
Omaha      Kansas City      Denver      Phoenix     Cleveland

Plus, there are a bunch of cities already on sale:
Dallas, San Diego, San Jose, St. Paul, Boston, DC, Columbus, Chicago, Providence, Baltimore and Miami

Here's a quick link for the presale password, and all her dates:
Check out the Christina Presale

Now set your alarm for 10am and don't be late! Good luck...

Friday, October 13, 2006

HOT TIP: Free Shows from MySpace Secret Shows

If you haven't already added "Myspace Secret Shows" to your friends list, do so immediately!  Don't delay! Why? Cuz they'll give you opportunities to catch super-secret, smallish, intimate shows with bands like Franz, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gnarls Barkley, and a bunch more equally impressive names. Check out the Myspace Secret Shows page for a full list of past performances.

Oh you lucky Floridians. You got Brooklyn's own YYYs without the 40 degree nights. Check out the latest free show:


Tell Your Friends

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Regina Spektor: TixGirl's Ear to the Ground Pick for October

It's official: Regina Spektor, the loopy, stunning, jaw-droppingly good
singer-songwriter-piano-plunker, is my pick for the October edition of
Ear to the Ground, on AOL CityGuide. Check it out:

See For Yourself
Still need convincing? Here's a live video of the a capella opener
of her phenomenal performance at New York's Town Hall on 9/27.

TixGirl's Track Record
Past Picks for Ear to the Ground Artist of the Month

2006 Feist | Seu Jorge | SoCalled | The Raconteurs | Jenny Lewis
Eagles of Death Metal | Brazilian Girls | Sarah Blasko | Cut Copy

2005 The Faint | The Notwist | Amos Lee | Martha Wainwright
The Redwalls | Ben Lee | Snow Patrol

HOT TIP: Free Beastie Boys Show in Cali

Greetings, my Westerly friends out on the left coast. You lucky bastards! The Beasties are playing a free show out in your neck of the woods. You need tickets, which will be hard to come by. But I've got the low-down straight from the peeps at Capitol Records. Check it...

There's a free Beastie Boys show on 21 October right after the Etnies Goofy vs. Regular Skate Contest in Lake Forest, CA.

The only way to get tickets to this one is to show up at one of the following retail locations during the times listed below. Tickets are pretty limited so you should get in quickly if you don't want to miss out...

101 Main St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 536-4516

1500 East Village Way, SUITE # 201
The Village at Orange
Orange, CA 92865
(714) 221-1094

14405 Baseline Ave. SUITE # 400
Fontana, CA 92336
(909) 823-7861

MONDAY 10/16, 4PM-6PM
1460 4th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401

4810 Whitsett Ave.
Valley Village, CA 91607
(818) 769-6977

TUESDAY 10/17, 4PM-6PM
5491-C Philadelphia St.
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 465-1600

169 West Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 796-0668


After that, it's onto Las Vegas on October 23. Details as follows:

Date: Monday 23 October 2006
Venue: The Joint, Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
Tickets: On-sale Saturday October 14th at 12 noon PT

There'll be an exclusive pre-sale for this show starting Friday October 13 at 10am PT for you heads. The password is 'KARAOKE'.

Saturday, October 7, 2006


Roseland Ballroom, New York, 9/25/06

The Rock Gods were smiling down the day The Raconteurs were born. The Titans of British Invasions past shook the earth, and Thor's Hammer struck awe into the hearts of Led Zeppelin worshippers and Beatles fans alike.

Patrick Keeler, Brendan Benson, Jack White & Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York

Seemingly forged in the raging fires of Hephaestus' furnaces, this quartet (they prefer we don't call them a supergroup) actually came together by an inspired stroke of luck in the Detroit music scene. All of them having had their own particular musical pasts (Brendan Benson as a power-pop singer-songwriter, Jack White famously of the White Stripes, and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler of the Cincinnati outfit, The Greenhornes), each member seems to have found that certain something they'd been missing when they found each other. You can hear it in their phenomenal album, Broken Boy Soldiers, and best of all, you can see it onstage.

Brendan Benson performing with The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York  Jack White performing with The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York

Listening to The Raconteurs is like barreling down a highway in the summer of '69, dust flying out behind you, windows rolled down, psychedelic pop and early heavy metal blaring from the radio. How did songwriters White & Benson arrive at this sound? I have a feeling it has something to do with Detroit radio in the '80s. Having survived growing up in that area at that time myself, I clearly recall the lack of any innovative radio stations. If you didn't want to listen to Lionel Richie, the only other option was the local classic rock station. So countless teens throughout Metro Detroit were blaring Led Zeppelin, E.L.O., The Who, Cream, The Doors, The Yardbirds, Hendrix and so on, during their formative years. Is it any wonder both White and Benson's sounds have heretofore had such a retro feel? Benson's melodies bring to mind the pop sensibilities of George Harrison and his fellow Beatles, while White's vocal style is straight up Robert Plant, and his heavy-blues songcraft is marked by wailing guitar solos a la Jimmy Page. Hear it here:

"Store Bought Bones"

Hear a supremely hummable pop tune that makes you just plain feel good to sing along with, dark lyrics be damned? Most likely it's one of Brendan's. Hear a moody attack of scorching blues riffs and often-complicated time changes in an epic expanse of sonic jams and howls? Chances are it's one of Jack's. Their two styles are like blood brothers, anchored to each other by their equally gifted rock 'n' roll siblings, drummer Patrick Keeler and bassist Jack Lawrence. Jack White has been allbut crying out for some low end to accompany the often piercing high end of both his vocals and his guitar sound. And this rhythm section delivers. Hallelujah, I've been waiting so long to hear Jack White backed by a real band. And now he has a fellow storyteller with whom he spins yarns in tightly constructed psychedelic harmonies. Thank the Rock Gods that he finally found his fellow Raconteurs. Witness and believe:

"Yellow Sun"

As brilliant as their album may be, there is nothing like seeing The Raconteurs live. However grandiose a claim this may seem, I am convinced this tour will have been the highlight of a year already heady and threaded end-to-end with phenomenal tours. The one word to describe The Raconteurs live? "Epic." And so it was at their sold-out show at New York's Roseland Ballroom on 9/25. All present that night will agree, we witnessed something extraordinary.

Jack White performing with The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York

Not only did they deliver all their soaring crowd-pleasers and moody groovers with unflagging high energy, but they were damned fun to watch, too. Each of them has a markedly different performing personality. While Benson voices most of the power-pop, he has a face that expresses a deep ache within. And though White voices the howling ragers, his face expresses jubilant, playful enthusiasm. They are the yin and the yang of The Raconteurs.

Brendan Benson & Jack White performing with The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York

Patrick Keeler is a joy to behold. Not a heavy hitter along the lines of a John Bonham, he somehow delivers the same kind of punch and heft of his forebear. His timing is impeccable, his execution is on fire, and he anchors "the feel," thriving equally in sync throughout the epic jams as during the highly crafted and tightly wound time changes. Having seen him perform, I now listen to The Raconteurs in a whole new way.

Patrick Keeler performing with The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York

Jack Lawrence is an enigma. But in a good way. In fact, I think he cultivates the image. Always a mystery in every publicity shot, veiled behind a curtain of long black hair, it's as though he's hiding from prying eyes. I imagined I would find a shy, retiring guy, barely visible behind his bass cabs. But huzzah, no! Lawrence comes alive on stage. He's animated and downright expressive. We watch the music come through both his bass and his body, with each bridge, chorus and key change. His delivery is artful and perfectly in tune with the retro tone. If Keeler is the anchor, Lawrence's gorgeous blues bass lines are the roots.

Jack Lawrence performing with The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York  Jack Lawrence performing with The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York

But honor must be paid to the one unsung member of the band: their touring keyboardist, Dean Fertita. With the sound of a Hammond Organ straight out of the '60s, he delivers the lighthearted buoyancy that carries The Raconteurs' sound straight across the pond to the origin of the British Invasion. Hear it here:


During an unforgettable evening in which every last song was a highlight, two rose above the rest as real mind-blowers. For me, the most unlikely mind-melt came in the form of their album closer, "Blue Veins." Previously my least favorite song on the album, their searing delivery revealed it for the melancholy ode to the blues that it is at its core. It's now one of my favorites. I love it when that kind of perception change happens.

Brendan Benson, Dean Fertita, Jack White & Patrick Keeler of The Raconteurs in concert at Roseland Ballroom, New York

Topping that was a surprise cover of the Sonny Bono-penned classic, "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)." Made famous by Cher, and later turned into a cult classic by the use of Nancy Sinatra's rendition in Kill Bill, The Raconteurs morph it into a slow-building, acid rock barn-burner. Blistering solos by both Benson and White punctuate the wildly varying dynamics between the chorus and the verses. Witness and believe:

"Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)"

Any who missed their headlining roadshow before they took off across the pond for a series of UK shows will have another chance to catch the Racs stateside. They will return at the end of October to embark on a tour with the man, the myth, the legend, and a God of Rock himself, Bob Dylan. It's an opportunity we mere mortals shouldn't miss.

"Steady As She Goes"

Want More?
More Pics: See all TixGirl's photos of The Raconteurs
More Videos: See all TixGirl's concert videos
Find Tickets: See The Raconteurs with Bob Dylan

Thursday, October 5, 2006

TixGirl's October Show Calendar

My October rocks. How 'bout yours?


TixGirl's October Concert Calendar:
10/5:   Massive Attack @ Roseland Ballroom, NYC
10/7:   Gomez @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC
10/10: SoCalled @ North Six, Brooklyn
10/11: Say Anything @ Irving Plaza, NYC
10/13: Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins @ Town Hall, NYC
10/15: Eagles of Death Metal & Joan Jett @ Irving Plaza, NYC
10/17: Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ Carnegie Hall, NYC
10/18: Goldfrapp @ Roseland Ballroom, NYC
10/21: Scissor Sisters @ Grand Ballroom, NYC
10/24: Amos Lee @ Town Hall, NYC
10/25: Madeleine Peyroux @ Town Hall, NYC

You can get tickets to any of the above at http://aoltickets.com.
If you see me at a show, say hi! Won't recognize me? Check out my my AIMpage.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

What Made Milwaukee Famous

With a subject line like that, how can you help but click, right? Believe it or not, that happens to be the name of one my new fave bands, which I feel compelled to evangelize. Yes, that's right, they're called What Made Milwaukee Famous. And they're not from Milwaukee.

Chew on this: They're from Austin. Yes, you heard right. Texas.  I was initially going to title this post, "Awesome in Austin: New Fave Band Alert." But why bother, when the band name is infinitely more intriguing, eh?

OK, so what made What Made Milwaukee Famous famous is their incredible pop sensibility, and their ability to fashion hooks which deftly aim for exactly that knee-jerk head-bob response one can't fight when faced with power pop of the highest calibre. Case in point, their single-worthy "Hellodrama." See for yourself:


On top of that, they're a great live band who are just polished enough to retain that personalized indie barroom vibe. And they're just plain darned funny. As you can see from the aforementioned "Hellodrama" clip above.

I entered their 9/29 show at New York's Bowery Ballroom with exceedingly high expectations, and I left grinning my ass off. (All that "WOOOOO!"ing in these videos is me, as embarrassing as that may be to admit now.) I usually get annoyed as all hell when bands mumble and gab inanely between tunes as they tune their guitars. But in their case, I got a glimpse into their personalities, rather than highly crafted stage "personas."

I want to drink a beer with these guys. I want to get invited to that party at the end of the album cut of "Bldg. a Boat from the Boards in Your Eye." But instead, I got to catch that cut live. Check it:

Bldg. a Boat from the Boards in Your Eye

...and it was a party, anyway.

To hear them is to love them. To see them is to love them. So go do both.

Upcoming Shows ( view all )
Oct 4 2006 8:00P
Lee's Palace w/ The Long Winters Toronto
Oct 5 2006 8:00P
Magic Stick w/ The Long Winters Detroit, MI
Oct 6 2006 8:00P
Subterranean w/ The Long Winters Chicago, IL
Oct 7 2006 8:00P
Triple Rock w/ The Long Winters Minneapolis, MN
Oct 9 2006 8:00P
Larimer Lounge w/ The Long Winters Denver, CO
Oct 12 2006 9:00P
Spaceland w/ The Long Winters Los Angeles, CA
Oct 13 2006 9:00P
Cafe Du Nord w/ The Long Winters San Francisco, CA

Here's a quick link for tix:

BREAKING NEWS: Justin Timberlake & Christina Aguilera Tours Going On Sale


TixGirl received a juicy tidbit of insider info this morning about the on-sale dates for both JT and Xtina's upcoming tours! And despite rumors to the contrary, NO, they are NOT touring together.

Christina Aguilera, with the Pussycat Dolls opening:
On sale starting October 14th

Justin Timberlake, with Pink opening:
On sale starting October 21st

Keep your eye on my blog for announcements of potential presales and other opportunities to get extra special tickets.