Tom Petty - Live Review
The Man has been crushing me lately. But even The Man graciously gives hard-working punks like me a day off now and again. And when that happens, BRP often opts for some R&R. Yep, live rock ‘n roll!
It was a baby-boomers rock ‘n roll fest Saturday night in Philly. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on the last East Coast stop of their 40th anniversary (!) tour, and Peter Wolf, the 71 year-old former lead singer for the J. Geils Band, did the arena thing at the Wells Fargo Center. BRP was there with a sizeable cohort, and it was pre-2000 for a few hours again. Well, except we did things a wee bit differently this time, starting with a big-ass bbq on the Main Line. We chuckled at the tailgaters who apparently thought that the Eagles were playing and who, after sitting in the parking lot sucking exhaust for hours, invariably showed up late and missed Peter Wolf. Hahaha, at least they got to check their emails and take selfies on the hot bitumen.
Peter Wolf came out right at 8, and played for almost an hour. Does he still have it? My, oh my, this guy can still sing, is a showman, can dance and move, and brought with him a tight backup band and a catalog of J. Geils tunes in which to indulge. Remember songs like “I Musta Got Lost” and “Give It To Me?” That’s what I’m talking about. And I had forgotten how soulful some of those old tunes were … and his new stuff, too. The Wolfman was good, and we enjoyed his set quite a bit. Check out the pics:
Next up was the main event.
I’ve seen Petty a bunch of times, in the 70s and 80s, and more recently since I moved to Philly. He hasn’t changed much as a performer. Tom is not the most dynamic guy you will ever see, but he is gracious (he must have said “thank you” and “you’re a fantastic crowd” about 40 times) and he allows the Heartbreakers, particularly lead guitarist Mike Campbell, to share the spotlight.
And what a catalog of songs!
On the way down, we were running through the songs we wanted to hear, and then went around and asked what particular song each individual wanted most to hear. I think he hit 3 of 6. Disappointed? Well, let’s examine that. I saw Springsteen last year, and he played for FOUR hours. Petty? Two hours. No one should expect a band to play 4 hours, but I think 2 ½ from a guy of Petty’s stature is not out of the question. Moreover, we weren’t at Union Transfer where we payed $15 to get in. Add a zero at the end of that, and you get to the ticket price. For that amount of dough, you expect a little more, right?
But that extra half-hour still wouldn’t have been sufficient time. It’s amazing how many great songs Petty has written that you know by heart, and he didn’t come close to playing them all. It’s a heavy tribute to the dude that he has such ample material that he can play a bunch of bit hits and satisfy the crowd, but at the same time, ignore another bunch of big hits. If another artist had just those songs that Petty didn’t play, he would have been headlining an arena somewhere and being inducted into the rock ‘n roll hall of fame. Tom Petty is truly one of America’s best songwriters of the rock era.
Other than the issue of we didn’t get to hear everything we wanted to hear (waah, waah!), it was a night of great songs. The crowd was enthusiastic, sang along, and since it was Saturday, even the geriatric crew was out to have fun. Petty still has the same manner about him as he always has had: the loveable stoner. He is the epitome of laid-back. It’s a cliché to say that he lets his music carry the load, but Petty must be the origin of that cliché. It was a really fun show, and one definitely worth attending.
As you can tell from the pics, we weren’t front row center stage. We were center stage, but a little bit further back. One thing I learned about arena shows a long time ago is this: unless you are in the first 5-10 rows on the floor, you are far better off being elevated in the lower bowl of the arena. That’s what we opted for. The other thing I learned is that the sound board is elevated center stage at the end of the floor. If you want the best acoustics, try to line up with the sound board. We checked that box, too, and were pretty happy with the sound given that it’s a sports arena (hey, Flyers fans, it’s tiresome to hear “Let’s Go Flyers” being chanted in the men’s room during a concert – at least make the freakin’ playoffs before you go sticking out that chest, ok?).
We zipped home and on the way witnessed an incredibly beautiful moon. It was a half moon, low on the horizon, huge, and orange in color. While we had Full Moon Fever, it was really great stuff, and a mystical ending to a great night.
Catch up with me soon as there is more live music to cover, and then a bunch of great posts that I have been slavishly working on for the dog days. And oh my god, is September going to be HUGE! I hope that you and yours are good. Hang loose.
Did you bring the beer? It’s a party here at BRP! I’ve been riffing about some concert ticket stubs that I found buried in my closet, and it’s been fun for me. If you missed Parts One or Two, well, damn, get caught up and then come on back here. I’ll wait for you – I always do.
Let’s go with some unexpected fabulous shows:
Rod Stewart. I was dating a girl, had money in my pocket from working during my summers (a quaint notion lost on today’s youth), and was basically buying tickets to any big show that was rolling into town so that we could hang out. We were too young to get into clubs! Anyway, I liked Rod, but went with low expectations. Shattered! Rod in his prime was an extraordinary showman, he had a lot of the original Faces as his backup band, and he had great material that they amped up during live performances. I don’t know how you can dislike “Maggie Mae,” which is simply a fantastic song, but it’s even better live, as is “Hot Legs.” I still remember Rod kicking soccer balls into the crowd as souvenirs – must have kicked 20 or so – and it was cool. A great show.
Peter Frampton. My mom sold real estate, and after “Frampton Comes Alive” came out, she included that album in her welcome package for every suburban sale that she made. That’s not true, but FCA sold so many copies in suburbia that it was, like Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumors,” ubiquitous in my youth. I loved FCA then, still love it, and still listen to it. This was the follow up tour to that album, and it was the closest thing to Beatlemania that I have witnessed – young girls screaming their heads off, which was lucky because it muffled my own screams, haha. Seriously, we went with another couple – a dude I was lifeguarding with named Barry, with whom I got along famously, and his girlfriend whose name I can’t remember anymore. He had a big-ass Monte Carlo (very nice car in its day), and he and I dazzled the women by grilling steaks for dinner at the pool before heading over to the show. He was also a little older -18 - and could legally buy beer – I think we splurged and went with imports, the craft beer of the 70s. ‘Nuff said.
Tina. I don’t even need to say her last name, do I? What a show! I’ve seen some of the old Motown bands, but mainly years after their prime at places like Wolf Trap. But Tina was on a roll at this point – post-“Private Dancer” album – and she brought the old Motown trappings of dancing/singing young hotties, a bad-ass backup band that was tighter than a duck’s behind, and herself, an unbelievable headlining talent. Polished, talented, poised and enjoying her solo fame, Tina was remarkable. Her voice was amazing, her attitude transforming. The crowd was adoring, and loved every moment of the show. So did I.
One thing that I have found fascinating is the prices for the tickets that are listed on the stubs. You’ve been waiting for my cheap ass to get to that right? Well, I don’t want to disappoint you or prove that I’m nothing if not predictable. I built a spreadsheet, an act akin to Moses parting the Red Sea, and listed the prices paid and what those prices are in 2017 dollars. Of course, the spreadsheet didn't come out looking right in Weebly, but it’s really interesting nonetheless. Here we go:
$10 in 1982
$25.35 in 2017 dollars
$6 in 1984
$14.12 in 2017 dollars
Elvis Costello & Squeeze
$9.50 in 1981
$25.56 in 2017 dollars
Neil Young & Steven Stills
$6.50 in 1976
$27.93 in 2017 dollars
The Allman Brothers
$7.50 in 1975
$34.09 in 2017 dollars
$8.80 in 1978
$33.00 in 2017 dollars
$11.00 in 1980
$32.64 in 2017 dollars
$11.00 in 1981
$29.59 in 2017 dollars
$11.00 in 1979
$37.05 in 2017 dollars
$7.50 in 1977
$30.26 in 2017 dollars
Loggins & Messina
$6.50 in 1974
$32.24 in 2017 dollars
$8.50 in 1977
$34.30 in 2017 dollars
$9.50 in 1977
$38.33 in 2017 dollars
$65.25 in 2000
$92.66 in 2017 dollars
What does this all mean? Well, it reflects that classic rockers were not 100% greedy when performing. These shows were downright affordable, especially given the prominence of the musicians/bands and the venues. Concerts of this magnitude today are much less affordable – you pay almost as much simply to park your car – and I think that is attributable to a few reasons.
One clear reason is that bands made a ton of money from record sales. Streaming has killed that revenue source, meaning that the only place that bands can make any real money is by performing. Hence, increased ticket prices. Another is that bands are much more savvy about the “business side” to show biz than in the old days. They see what people are willing to pay on the secondary markets and figure they should get their share of that. I don’t blame them, but it means that the close seats at big shows are usually full of rich people and corporate types, and we all hate them, right? Particularly the ones that sit texting while some band is up there blowing the minds of the real fans who are stuffed in the cheap seats.
All I can say to that is thank god for clubs and new bands. If you are a live music junkie, that is where you need to live. Otherwise, you are headed to bankruptcy court where you get to interact with ... rich people and corporate types. Ugh, it just ain’t fair! But I see a ton of bands for ridiculously low prices, and that, my friends, is the definition of cool.
That’s it for my trip down memory lane. I have a bunch of other ticket stubs that I’m not going to show you, but suffice to say, I had a southern rock thing going back in the day. And I found a number of stubs that generated “oh yeah” thoughts, like seeing Marshall Crenshaw or Joe Jackson, both at the now-defunct Bayou in Georgetown. (I still remember seeing the Smithereens there with my brother right after bands started using cordless guitars, and the lead guitarist wandered into the crowd during “Blues Before and After” – when he got to his big solo, he was standing right in front of us, and just ripped it. It was as cool as me singing “Daddy-O” with NRBQ at the Depot in Radford, Virginia, yet another story for another day). Do you remember the shows you saw? Have any souvenirs? I was never into the t-shirt thing, probably because I was poor in the day when that would have appealed to me, but the result is that I have zero concert shirts.
Come on back, and do it real soon, because my live music drought has ended. I’ll take pictures, write something trite and fan-like, and post it for your ridicule as soon as possible. In the meantime, dig into the vinyl, spin that Frampton Comes Alive album, and party like its 1976!
Hey all, it isn't every day that BRP steps out in public. But that happened recently at a golf fundraiser for the Adopt-A-Pig foundation.
BRP was the sponsor of a hole at the fundraising tournament. The picture above was taken by the tournament organizers. Recognize that logo?
The golf outing raises money for Adopt a Pig, a pediatric cancer foundation that provides art therapy and coping kits to children suffering from cancer. It was founded by Rob and Vicki Amand; their daughter, Reagen, had childhood leukemia twice. Rob and Reagen enjoyed painting a piggy bank when Reagen was sick, and thought that other sick children might enjoy it, too. Adopt a Pig provides piggy banks to youth cancer patients to paint, then sells the piggy banks to raise money for the charity. The buyer is encouraged to fill the piggy bank with coins to donate back to AAP. Reagen has been cancer-free for two years now.
And yes, even a cheapskate like me is moved to take action when it comes to childhood cancer. If you want to learn more or want to help, here is the link to the foundation website:
What else is happening? Well, I occasionally get contacted by artists and promotional people about bands, concerts, and other happenings in the rock world. Most of these contacts are not worthy of mention, but the most recent one worked. So let's give a big BRP welcome to Beachwood Coyotes. Here is the track, Face to Face, that I found catchy and it has a pretty cool video, too. I hope you like it.
People, I have to tell you that I've been working on some stuff here that is going to rock your world. Some is nostalgic, some celebrates the musical heritage of Philadelphia, some is the standard high-quality live music review stuff, and there are some tidbits coming your way as well. Spread the word!
It was punk night recently at Union Transfer, and BRP was there to check it out. Headlining was Royal Headache, an outfit from Australia. I can’t remember how I discovered them – Sound Opinions maybe? – but they are part of my recent trilogy of regal bands: King Tuff, Royal Blood and Royal Headache.
Two other bands also played as opening acts for RH. First up was Dark Thoughts, a trio who did a pretty good job of harvesting the good stuff from past punk acts. We were all pretty impressed with them. I think that they could use a better singer, but their energy was tremendous, and they were tight, professional and focused. And any punk act who perform with the lead guy wearing a Buzzcocks t-shirt (other than Del Mar, of course) is ok by me. DT played about 20 minutes and then ceded the stage. I thought about taking pictures, but didn’t because, frankly, while interesting, they weren’t compelling enough for me to leave my spot.
Next up was Pissed Jeans, who are pictured above. With a name like that, you know that they are not seeking commercial acceptance and fame. These guys are local, as they originally hail from Allentown, and now live in Philly. They were very interesting to watch. The lead singer, Matt Korvette, bounded onto the stage without a shirt (bad look) and was all over the place. The lead guitarist, Brad Fry, likes feedback quite a bit – in fact, it was the filler between every song, which gets old after, say, the first time you live through it.
There were people in the crowd who came just to see PJ. I’m not sure why – their songs were ok, but I think that the band members will shortly be pursuing day jobs. Rock needs bands like Pissed Jeans who explore less commercially-viable sounds and who push the limits. But those bands are ultimately going to hit a wall of frustration and break up. PJ is destined to do just that.
On the fun side, I was hoping that they would “walk the walk,” be very punk, and end the show by pissing their own jeans, but no such luck. Instead, Fry, the guitarist, ended it by throwing his axe about 10 or 15 feet toward the crowd. It hit one of the monitor speakers at the front of the stage and stopped, but what was he thinking? Reminds me of that John Hiatt song “Perfectly Good Guitar,” which rails against rock stars destroying their instruments. The only problem with that analogy is that Pissed Jeans are not rock stars. I took some pics of Pissed Jeans.
To end the night, the headliner came out. Royal Headache tore through a number of songs familiar to me, including some at an accelerated speed. And while they were rehearsed, there were some amateurish moments, including the famous “what song are we playing next?” thing. Guys, that’s why you bring your playlist on stage with you. Oh yeah, they did do that, and still couldn’t figure out what to play next. Whatever.
The band was tight, and had a unique element for a punk band: a female keyboard player named Gabrielle de Giorgio. She was stage right and up front, just like Josie and the Pussycats. The lead guitarist, Law Hall, decided to dress up – not. He played in gym shorts. And the lead singer, Tim “Shogun” Walls, peeled off his shirt to show off his Down Under physique, complete with shiny sweat. Nice. But the weirdest thing was the show’s ending. About 40 minutes into their set, they all seemed to be discussing what to play next, and then Shogun said he wasn’t going to play that. So they all put down their instruments and left the stage. And then the house lights went up.
Really? Here you are with your chance to build an audience in the US, you’ve traveled from the most remote habited continent, and you blow off the crowd after 40 minutes? Hey, I was a Royal Headache fan, but this pissed me off enough to bad mouth the group. Glad it was only $15. But then again, I was at live music, having fun, checking out three new bands, and still able to get back home in time to get enough shut eye to satisfy The Man on Friday.
No more live music for the kid until next weekend when Tom Petty re-rolls back into town. That will be quickly followed by Coldplay. And like I said earlier, late August and early September are going to be gangbusters. You’ll need to get rested to keep up with all the goings-on here at BRP! So take some Sominex and come back real soon. Hang loose.
Like the Hokies, I am back! Welcome home, take off your shoes, pour yourself a cold beverage, and let me make you comfortable. Where were we? Ah, yes, talking about ticket stubs and associated memories. I’ll bet you are ready for more.
I’ll reengage with the Masters of Rock. Yup, I saw a lot of them – and I’ve got the tickets to prove it! The Stones at RFK Stadium.
This one is kind of funny because I was on the “floor” but my brother and a group of his friends were about 15 rows closer (10 rows back from the stage, but because of the stage size and the huge security pit in front of it, still required binoculars). They got their group into their seats, grabbed some stubs, and came back and got us past security with those stubs. We packed into the rows with them only to have one of my brother’s friends sing every song to me the entire night – shoulda stayed where I was, haha.
How about the Allman Brothers in 1975?
Great show! I got in trouble with my mom on this one because it was during the week on a school night, and she did not approve. I bought the ticket without her knowledge, and she freaked when I sprung my plans on her. Luckily, being a depression era child, she was too cheap to make me eat the ticket and lose my money, so I got to go. But I recall that I paid for it. (And by the way, I appreciate my mom trying to be a good parent – I did a lot of insane stuff that she never knew about, but when she was aware, she didn’t shirk her role.)
The Who in 1979.
Another really good show. It was basically a greatest hits show, but with more Quadrophenia than you would ever hear today – that’s cool, because I love that album. Keith Moon was dead by this time, but the rest of the band was there and in fine form. This was on the tour where the band played in Cincinnati with “festival seating” (first come, first served for seats), and about 9 kids died in a melee because they didn’t open enough doors to allow people into the arena.
Led Zeppelin in 1977.
LZ came to DC and played four nights at the Capital Centre. I went on the third night, by which time I had learned that they were playing 3 hours – but with a 20 minute drum solo and a 30 minute keyboard solo included. Four of us went to the show in a Nissan 240Z, and me and a buddy rode in the hatchback around the beltway: yup, the damn thing was open the entire way, and we rode sort of lying down in the back because it was a 2-seater. No worries, we had plenty of beer, driver included. Safety first! Anyway, this was one of those “could have been the best concert ever,” but due to the aforementioned drums/keyboards, was equal parts great and boring. I’ll never forget Jimmy Page playing guitar with a violin bow while a “pyramid” of laser lights spun around him and went faster and faster as he accelerated his pace doing his guitar hero thing. Self-indulgent? Umm, yeah, it was LZ in 1977, the height of their self-indulgence. But cool, too.
Paul McCartney, 2016.
I had never seen McCartney until last year. (You can dig into the BRP archives and get a review with pictures.) It was a good show, but included too much of his solo stuff and songs from Wings. Hey, Paul, people like your former band’s songs, you know, THE BEATLES, because it was the greatest band EVER. The ticket stub shows no price because I was in a corporate box. My 16 year old self would have hated me for that. But my 16 year old self had never been comped in a corporate box before, either.
I need to take a quick break. Yup, you know why. But I’ll be back before you can say “Supertramp sucks” with yet another ticket post that will BLOW YOUR MIND. And maybe before that, a live music review. Are you with me? Cool, back soon. In the meantime, turn up the volume and enjoy.
Team BRP, forgive me for taking a bit of a time out. I have this thing called a “job” that I occasionally have to deal with. There is someone there called “The Man” who forces me to “work.” Last week, he made me work in New York City and put in stupid hours like those who live there do (how is NYC the center of the universe if all you do is work?). The Man was a beast to me last week, so I apologize for not attending to what is truly important, which is BRP.
Anyway, I’m back. And I have a lot of cool stuff to get you in the BRP mood again. Let’s start with purchasing some great music. If you’re like me and still buy music in tangible formats, I have a place that you need to check out. Shady Dog Records is located right on Route 30 in Berwyn. I’ve been going there off and on since it was located in Wayne, but it’s been in Berwyn for a good long while now.
Record stores are some of my favorite places. You never know what you are going to find, and the whole point is to dig in and find that treasure that you didn’t even know you wanted when you walked in. Record stores get you in the groove by always playing great tunes while you shop. It’s not like shopping at the mall where they have some piped in pop or Muzak going. I was at Shady Dog last Saturday, and shopped to Dr. John doing songs like “Iko Iko” and “Tipitina.” How’s that action?
I took a couple pics, one of the sign outside and one of the principle room at the shop. The dude in the store picture is a customer who just got back from the UK, and had hit the Cavern Club (hence, the t-shirt). Some local band from that area once made some international noise. Anyway, the store actually has 2 rooms full of records and CDs, but the one pictured below is the one full of the rock albums and CDs. I have to admit that I don’t buy vinyl anymore, but if you are looking for it, you can see that the Dog has a lot of it. They also have a good selection of CDs (a little less so since my visit as I splurged and picked up 15 or so CDs).
Why buy used? Well, they are less expensive, which appeals to my cheap butt. And some stuff is out of print (particularly the vinyl), and you can’t get it elsewhere. You also get things that don’t come with downloads, like great pictures and liner notes. I picked up a ton of music for about half of what I would have paid iTunes, and I actually own it. iTunes is merely a life estate – you don’t own the music, and it reverts back to Apple at your death. It’s true and it’s a ripoff.
I’m sure you’re curious about what I bought. Too bad, I’m not telling. Nah, that wouldn’t be any fun, right? I actually bought two CDs to replace the versions that I already have on vinyl (vinyl is hard to play in the car): T. Rex’s Electric Warrior and Sly and the Family Stone’s Greatest Hits. I got ‘em for about $6 each! I also bought two albums by Rage Against The Machine, and single efforts from the following: the Jayhawks, Death Cab for Cutie, James Hunter Six, the Hives, the Hoodoo Gurus, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, JJ Grey & Mofro, Citizen Cope, Queens of the Stone Age, and Houndmouth. All that for about $115.
Not a bad haul, right? When I was checking out, I talked to one of the owners (Dave) and gave him my card. He told me that they will take orders and try to locate exactly what you are looking for. They are also pretty cool with discounts – everything I bought was 10% off.
There you have it. Record stores are a damn fine way to spend some leisure time, and the Dog is no exception. Check it out when you get the chance. And tell them you read about it on BRP.
Check back soon - I plan on posting a few times this week, and you never want to miss a thing here at BRP, haha. I have some big news about the future of BRP (oh baby, is this gonna be great!), and another live music review. Plus much more that I'm not going to give away right now, but suffice to say, you are going to be happy.
Wolf Alice Rising!
Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about! One night after seeing a passable Rooney show, I was back at the Foundry to see Wolf Alice. What a difference one night makes. A sold-out performance by one of rock’s up-and-coming stars, Wolf Alice ripped through a tight and energetic set that blew the roof off the place.
It’s amazing that Wolf Alice was even playing this place. The Foundry only holds 450 people, and they could have easily played the Fillmore given the experience my friends had in getting tickets. If you missed last night’s show, I doubt you’ll be able to see WA in a venue of this size again. It was intimate, and the band knew it and enjoyed the hell out of it.
Wolf Alice was formed in North London in 2010. They have one full LP out, and another soon to be released. The first album, My Love is Cool, came out in 2015, and is just a great record. A mixture of grunge, folk and dreamy/trippy elements, it is heavy on hooks and rocking electric beats. Ellie Rowsell (vocals, guitar) and Joff Oddie (guitars, vocals) are the original members, and Theo Ellis (bass), and Joel Amey (drums, vocals) round out the quartet.
Ellie is amazing. She is beautiful and sexy, has a wonderful voice with huge range, and has developed a stage persona that is elegant, fun-loving and edgy. I saw WA at Union Transfer a bit ago, and the band is much better now (and they were good then). Much of that credit has to go to Ellie as she carries a lot of the load, and does it with aplomb.
The rest of the band is solid, too. The rhythm section is tight, and drives the powerful songs through their soft/loud progressions. Joff Oddie is a presence on the stage, too. He still moves about as though he is dodging bullets or trying to avoid a bee, but he also plays to the crowd and helps to elevate the show with his lead riffs. WA is not a jam band, but their songs have a strong instrumental structure that require refined musicianship, and Oddie is key to their success.
The crowd also helped to push the band to a higher performance level. It was an all-ages show, and while there was a huge age range (I would guess anywhere from 6 to 70 – by the way, who brings a 6-year old to a show at a club?), it was biased toward a younger core group who showed up early, pressed the stage, and jumped/danced to every tune. I was near the front and off to the side – even sitting on the merch table for a bunch of songs, high above the crowd - and it was huge fun to watch the interaction of the crowd and the band. It also allowed me to get tons of great pictures, which I’ve generously shared with you in this post, haha.
WA played all their best songs from My Love is Cool. “Bros,” “Moaning Lisa Smile,” “Your Loves Whore,” “You’re A Germ” all were energetic and fantastic. They also played a number of new songs, and from the sound of them, there is no sophomore slump coming. The new tunes were well-received, and followed the WA script of quiet intervals followed by intense electric rock. I came away more than satisfied, listened to WA on the way home (how often does it happen that you haven’t had enough?), and had trouble falling asleep. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year.
The only issues I had were with the Foundry – c’mon, man, get the toilets to flush and fix the men’s room sink already – and the opening act, a New Jersey punk band called Del Mar. I have been to many punk shows, and expect sloppiness which is usually outweighed by enthusiasm. But Del Mar is possibly the worst band I’ve seen this year. The drummer is terrible, the “singing” is just full-throated screaming, and the songs have no hooks. Let’s hope they break up soon.
Next show up is Royal Headache and Pissed Jeans at Union Transfer. It’s another show that I’m looking forward to before I go to see rock royalty in the form of Tom Petty followed by Coldplay. And with that, I hope you enjoyed the pictures and have a good week. Play some Wolf Alice if you get the chance.
I needed to get back into the live music scene as it has been weeks since I saw a show. With Helen out of town, I lined up two shows for Friday and Saturday nights. The Saturday show, Wolf Alice, will be great and I’m psyched. The Friday show, Rooney, was more of a “hey, they’re indie and poppy, they’re in town, and it’s better than going to see Wonder Woman.”
Rooney is named after Ed Rooney, the principal in the classic movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. They’ve been around for a while, dating back to a group of LA high school classmates in the late 90s. But the band is really all about Robert Schwartzman, who is the leader of the group. The original band members have gone their separate ways, and what is now touring as Rooney is Schwartzman and a bunch of other guys whom I can’t identify. The Rooney website doesn’t list the touring band members names, and the always-accurate Wikipedia page on the band doesn’t seem completely up-to-date. Here’s a shot of Schwartzman bringing it last night:
I got pretty good shots of the rest of the band, including the bassist, who reminded me of a skinny Seth from Superbad, and the lead guitarist sporting the worst hair this side of Gene Wilder’s in Young Frankenstein. I also got some good shots of the drummer, which doesn’t often happen, and plenty of others of Schwartzman. Take a look:
The show was held at the Foundry in Fishtown. I know that Fishtown, like Hansels in Zoolander, is so hot right now, but it doesn’t take much to find scuzzy in that area. I was trying to get back to Delaware Avenue after the show, and had to take a turn down a cobblestoned street that wound around some abandoned warehouse building. If you’re looking for a place to dump a body, that street might work – everything else seems to be dumped there. Nasty, not nice-ty.
But the venue itself is nice. I’ve hit the Foundry before, as well as its co-located venue, the Fillmore. Both are fairly new (we helped to open the Fillmore at its initial show, Hall and Oates), and they are a good example of historic preservation – they have rehabbed an old structure into something new and cool. The Foundry holds 450 people, but it wasn’t near capacity last night, and so we had ample space and a great location to watch the bands in front of the stage.
Opening for Rooney was Run River North, who put on a good set. We didn’t care for all of their songs, but there were a number that were quite solid. A credible opening act, for sure.
Rooney came out and played all of their most well-known songs – My Heart Beats For You, When Did Your Heart Go Missing – and the band was well-rehearsed and tight. The songs are poppy and catchy. But, but… the band has no edge to it. Yes, they play loud enough and they have everything it takes to be successful, including a charismatic front man who can pen a hook-filled tune. Nonetheless, the lyrics are kind of sappy, and so they attract a harmless crowd (primarily of women) who seem more interested in swooning over Schwartzman than jamming and rocking. The band, to no one’s surprise, delivers what its fan base wants.
The band played about 1.5 hours, didn’t drink beer while playing, and gave a strong effort. While I had a good time, and it was better than acting like a 12-year old boy and going to see some Marvel-comics based garbage from Hollywood, it was a show that I’m not sure I would recommend if you are looking for a great rock ‘n roll experience.
Enough about Rooney, ok? I’m on to thinking about Wolf Alice, who I have seen before and who have a fantastic sound that goes between trippy and grunge. It’s a good combination, and they rock hard. The show is sold out, so I’ll be fighting for space under the lighting. Wish me luck.
I have another show later this week at Union Transfer that I’ll discuss later. I also have a nice report on Shady Dog Records in Berwyn that I’ll get to soon. And, of course, multiple more posts on the whole ticket thing. You gangstas hang in there and enjoy another lovely weekend in the Delaware Valley. I’ll be seeing you very soon, that’s for sure.
I was rummaging around in my closet the other day looking for something that I can’t even remember now. I found a box of stuff that I’ve kept since I was a kid, including a bunch of ticket stubs from concerts that I went to many years ago. It was fun to dig them out and see what shows I saw, where I saw them and how much the shows cost. I didn’t keep stubs for every show I attended – I know I lost a bunch of them, never received a proper ticket (like when I saw Chuck Berry at Louie’s Rock City, which was a pure “pay-cash-and-go” thing), or they got messed up and therefore lost their memory value.
I recently posted about certain “firsts” and if you read that post, you know that I have the ticket stub to my first concert: Loggins & Messina at the Capital Centre in the DC area. I won’t revisit that one again, except to say that I appreciate that no one commented on it. The fact that you came back to read more is baffling, but I’m damn glad you are here. OK, ok, for those who missed it, here it is again.
Moving right along, I haven’t saved any stubs for a long time, with one exception. One big reason is that you very seldom get printed tickets to shows anymore. Now, you get to print your own ticket on 8 ½ by 11 paper, or you simply get an e-ticket that you scan off your phone at the door. Convenient? Yes. And good for scalping, too, as you can simply email them around. But a bit of a loss, too.
I’m not going to weep for concert ticket stubs, but they were kind of cool souvenirs. They also allowed you to keep a reminder of what shows you saw … and to prove that you aren’t lying about what you say you saw. I have a good friend who has been to a game at every single major league baseball stadium in the country, every NFL stadium, every NBA arena, and about half of the NHL arenas and NASCAR tracks. And, as he likes to say, he’s “got the ticket to prove it.” Indeed. I think we all know someone who claims to have been at every great show, as if they were Forrest Gump or something. Dude, we believe you – show me the ticket stubs, ok?
Regardless, I don’t keep the tickets that I print out for shows. They are too big, have no cache to them, and they are dog-eared and crinkled by the time the show is over. So I have no other record of being there other than my BRP posts and pictures (which, come to think of it, are a little better proof of being there than a mere ticket stub).
The trip down memory lane that I took upon rediscovery of my box of stuff was fun. For instance, I had forgotten that I had seen Neil Young and Steven Stills together. That’s a bad sign for those two artists. No memory of the show at all. I know what you’re thinking happened at that show. You’re wrong. I think. I can’t remember.
And I could no more have told you how much I paid for the show than I could about the scene at my birth. So what did I do? As you can see above, I took pictures of some of the stubs to share with you, and to write a post about them.
Let’s take a look at some of them. I’m going to start with some concerts to restore my credibility after the Loggins & Messina fiasco. I’ve seen Springsteen a bunch of times, but I saw him 3 times in rapid succession when he was in his prime. Here you go:
He’s great live. Always has been, and remains so to this day.
How about this trio of bands:
The Clash is probably my all-time favorite band. I saw them in the musical hotbed of Williamsburg, Virginia at William and Mary. Despite the odd venue, they were great. There are very few bands with as much raw energy on stage, and they gave it all that night. A very fond memory.
The Ramones. I saw them a few times, but this is the only ticket stub I could find. What do you need to say about these guys? They played an hour, but it was an intense hour, and they played tons of songs (when your tunes are all two minutes long, you kind of run through your material pretty quickly). One, two, three, four!
Elvis Costello. The ticket stub doesn’t say it, but Squeeze opened for EC. Squeeze was fantastic – at the apex of their creative production, as Argybargy and East Side Story had just come out back to back. They had plenty of great material, and they played it all. EC was good, but this was during his period where he was very demeaning to the fans, and he basically acted like an ass. Nonetheless, with material like he had from his first four albums, he sort of earned it, and this show was heavy on those albums.
I’ll be back shortly with more, much more, on this subject. It will be fantastic and amazing, perhaps enough to generate the Rapture, or lead to spontaneous combustion for those forced to wait. Not to worry - it's all about your reading entertainment here at BRP. Wait for me, please? I’ll do the same for you. Bye.
Hey baby, it’s the Fourth of July. Can you imagine the guts it took to sign the Declaration of Independence? We sit here in the velvet chair of comfort knowing how that story came out, but those that signed had everything to lose and it wasn't entirely clear that they would ultimately prevail - in fact, far from it. Hats off to them!
We've come a long way, and today is celebrated all over this marvelous land with fireworks, parades, cook-outs, family and fun. Here are some 4th of July and Americana songs to get you in the mood.
Let’s start with a guy who is as big an American rock star as any has ever been: Bruce Springsteen. Many years ago, he wrote a plaintive song about wanting to run away with a girl and get away from the day-to-day of the Jersey Shore. It’s title? “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy).” A beautiful song by one of rock’s all-time greats, and I found a great 1978 version of it:
Moving on to another song that is basically about a relationship, this time a dying one, we get X’s version of Dave Alvin’s sorrowful ballad, entitled simply “4th of July.” X kicks it up and rocks it, but I’ve seen Dave play it live with just a six-string, and it’s heartbreaking enough to make you want to weep (well, not a cold-hearted SOB like me, but people with feelings tell me that statement is true):
So what about another American rock icon? John Mellencamp didn’t write a song with 4th of July in the title, but he sure did write a song about making some noise in the new world: “R.O.C.K. In The USA.” Mellencamp is turning out to be a gruff curmudgeon, but I’ll be damned if he isn’t terrific live. And sometimes, I really like gruff curmudgeons.
How about something much lighter by someone more controversial? Hannah Montana herself, Miley Cyrus, kicked in a pretty catchy song that I like quite a bit: “Party In The USA.” Call me a sucker for sappy pop tunes, but this one is cool. I’ll even listen to it by myself if it comes on the radio, even if a Jay-Z or Britney song is on another station.
Two more and then I’m out of here. First up, Tom Petty with “American Girl.” When I was in high school, this song came out, and it wasn’t a huge hit. Yes, there was something wrong with the country back in those days, right! It’s a great song performed by another national treasure. And here's a badass live version.
Do you believe in rock 'n roll? A long, long time ago the US came up with this musical form, and blew the world's mind. Here's a song that people of a certain age will know every word to: Don McLean’s “American Pie.” I think I could sing it backwards. Some people disrespect this tune, but I think it’s great (always have) and turn it up whenever it comes on. In fact, I think it’s a very romantic song and I like romantic. Something touched me deep inside when I heard this song. Who cares what it’s about? “When the players tried to take the field/the marching band refused to yield!” Yowza!!!
For those I’m not sharing the 4th with – have a great time, set off some incendiary devices, pursue happiness, and make sure that you remember that, flaws and all, this is still a great country. Let’s do our best to make it even better, ok? I’m glad you’re with me on that one, rockers. The music will never die here at BRP. See you all soon - very soon.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.