Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Review of Max Raabe & the Palast Orchester in Madison, WI

Posted by matt on October 4, 2008

max_raabe_palast_orchester2.jpgSara and I had the privilege to see Max Raabe & the Palast Orchester at the Overture Center in Madison, WI tonight.  Immediately we were transported back to a pre-WWII time in Germany when the music was beautiful, ironic and a little creepy.  The closing credits to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (Midnight, Stars and You) immediately came to mind.

The musicianship was outstanding and Max Raabe is just fun to watch.  Standing on stage leaning on the piano, hair slicked back while wearing a tux with full tails, your band playing while you wait to sing–you can’t look much cooler.  It was a solid show and the sound at the Overture didn’t disappoint.

Playing a lot of big band songs in high school as well as the UW Band, I have an appreciation of the tightness of the 12 piece Palast Orchester surrounding Max.  Many of the members played 2 or 3 instruments, crossing from trombone to violin with ease.  The crowd at the Overture, while by no means packed, was also very appreciative.  Max and company did a couple of enthusiastic encores.  The fact that most of the songs were in German added a mysticism to it all.

If you have a chance to see them live, I’d highly recommend it.  I don’t know of an act touring that is anything like them, especially at their level of ability.  I bought their live CD at Carnegie Hall, but they also have a DVD available.   Good stuff.

Posted under music, reviews, shows

Poison, Dokken, Sebastian Bach Concert in Madison, WI

Posted by matt on July 13, 2008

poison_ballad_madison_wi_willow_island_2008_tour.jpgCaught the Poison show last night in Madison, WI, with Sara and some friends.  Not a bad show–a decent, albeit strange crowd of blasted out 30 and 40+ year olds reliving their high-school years in the 80’s.  There was more than one real mullet in the crowd.  If I were to rank the music, it would look something like this:

1. Dokken – They rocked!  I was surprised at how good their sound was.  No George Lynch on guitar, but whomever they got to fill his shoes could really tear it up.

2. Guns ‘n Roses playing on the PA – Before Poison played, they played GNR on the sound system.  Yes, this was better than…

3. Poison – They aren’t known for their musicianship, and they proved that tonight.  But they can put on a good show, and everyone was having a good time, so it was fun.

4. Sebastian Bach – He has a good voice, but he didn’t prove it tonight.  His sound was terrible and his band awful.  Thank goodness I missed most of this.

Some pictures from the show, in order of how they played (Sebastian Bach, Dokken and  Poison):

sebastian_bach_madison_wi_willow_island.jpg  dokken_madison_wi_willow_island.jpg  poison_madison_wi_willow_island_2008_tour.jpg

I also shot some videos at the show.  Here’s Poison doing “Talk dirty to me”:

Posted under music, reviews, shows

Mini-Album Review: Protest the Hero, Fortress

Posted by matt on June 29, 2008

protest_the_hero_fortress.jpgArtist: Protest the Hero
Album: Fortress
Wikipedia Genre(s): Metalcore, Mathcore, Progressive metal
Matt’s Fav Tracks: Bloodmeat, Bone Marrow
# times listened:
Moderate (10 – 25 times)
Matt’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Buy CD: Amazon
Have a listen: Amazon Non-DRM MP3’s

Around 10-15 years ago, I listened to a lot of music that would classically fall into the category of “Heavy Metal” (Metallica, Anthrax, and later on, Helmet and the Deftones).  In the mid-late 90’s, I turned off this genre due to most of the “NüMetal” that was all the rage and the Limp Bizkit / Korn clones that sucked big-bime. If it’s done well, it still gets annoying, but when done poorly, I’d rather listen to whales mating.

Enter Protest the Hero, the best thing to come out of Canada since Pam Anderson and Strange Brew.  Upon first hearing  this album, I was blown away by the throw-back musicianship these guys posses.  Bands like the napster-killing-morons, Metallica wish they could play half this well.  These guys pound out rhythms at a blinding speed and easily switch between genres flawlessly.

While they have some of the stereotypical screaming that I get sick of,  they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously.  Tackling subjects like Genghis Kahn’s ruling empire with lyrics like:

“Heads will roll, and throats will be slit, and blood will flow like springs of water, Heads will roll”

Very over-the-top, shockingly funny, but done well, so listenable.  A breath of fresh air and a little return to a time when metal covered cool subjects like rulings of ancient tyrants and history lessons.  Check them out if you’ve been missing metal.  4 out of 5 stars for me.

Posted under music, reviews
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Mini-Album Review: Weezer, Weezer (Red Album)

Posted by matt on June 9, 2008

weezer_red_album.jpgArtist: Weezer
Album: Weezer (Red I guess)
Wikipedia Genre(s): Alternative rock, Geek rock, Power pop
Matt’s Fav Tracks: Pork and Beans, Troublemaker
# times listened: Not many (< 10 times)
Matt’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Buy CD: Amazon
Have a listen: Amazon Non-DRM MP3’s

I’m old-skool that when a band creates their ‘debut’ album, I like when it’s generally self-titled. Some folks decide that they do this later (i.e. Metallica with the “Black” album) and I’m cool with that. Weezer is having this go a little out of control though, as this is their THIRD self-titled album… Blue, Green and now Red.

This is easily Weezer’s weakest album. I wanted to dig it, but listening to all of their other albums, they have gotten progressively worse with each. I don’t know if it’s Cuomo’s wacky “cowboy crossed with Reno 911 cop mustache” look, or the fact that the songs try waaay too hard. Whatever the case, the album is trite beyond a couple songs. Weezer, unfortunately, hasn’t had a strong cover-to-cover album since the Green album. It’s sad, to have peaked almost 10 years ago… :(

The best thing about the new album has to be the video for Pork and Beans, with Internet meme goodness. Check it out if you haven’t seen it:

Posted under music, reviews

Mini-Album Review: Flight of the Conchords, Self-Titled

Posted by matt on May 11, 2008

flight_of_the_conchords.jpgArtist: Flight of the Conchords
Album: Flight of the Conchords
Wikipedia Genre(s): Rock, Comedy rock, Folk rock
Matt’s Fav Tracks: The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room, Business Time, Robots
# times listened:
A LOT (>25 times)
Matt’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (the show gets 5 of 5!)
Buy CD: Amazon
Have a listen: Amazon Non-DRM MP3’s

Last summer, my wife and I were on a weekend vacation in Galena, IL when at the end of the day, we flipped on HBO at the hotel and started watching this strange, quirky show. At the time I didn’t realize I was watching what would become my new favorite TV series! It wasn’t until many months later when my co-worker re-introduced me to the show, but since then, I’ve checked out the entire first season of the excellent comedy (I’ve probably seen it too many times).

foc_first_season.jpgWhat is Flight of the Conchords (FOC)? Quite simply, it’s a show about 2 New Zealand guys who want to start a band in New York City. The first season goes through their trials and tribulations and becomes a vehicle for the music videos of their hilarious songs–some as part of the story, and others just wacky songs that they’ve worked into the plot. If you haven’t seen the show, check it out–there isn’t quite anything like it on television today. Kudos to HBO for renewing them as a second season should be showing up this fall or early next year.

About the album:

The self-titled album is not their first, but is probably the more interesting for any fan of the show, as it details almost all the songs from the series. I actually got a bootleg copy that was ripped straight from the show, and I must say I probably prefer that–mainly because I’m already familiar with the songs as presented on the series.

As for this album, I definitely recommend it though–if you find yourself humming the catchy songs from the show, then you know the album is for you.

US Tour:

So FOC launched a US tour, that sold out almost instantly…I’m bummed I missed the announcement of it, so I wasn’t able to get ticket initially… After it sold out, tickets were going for a TON online (from $120 – $400 EACH) but thanks to Wendy, I ended up getting some for Sara and myself at face value!

The Flight of the Conchords show is TONIGHT in Milwaukee, and we are pumped! I’ll be sure to put a review up later, but in the meantime, check out the first season if you haven’t seen the show.

Posted under music, reviews