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Show Recap: Savage Republic at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, January 31, 2013 07:05pm | Post a Comment

Savage Republic VarvakiosL.A. art-punk band Savage Republic have always existed on the fringe, but they've managed to hold on to that fringe well past their '80s supposed heyday. They reformed to release 2007's fine 1938 album and now have released Varvakios, recorded in Greece using field recordings, traditional Greek instruments and the band's own apocryphal noise.

The band's show at Amoeba Hollywood Jan. 30 showed just how much fervor the band has, tearing through "1938" with its ominous opening lines "Wave of destruction, a wave of aggression, it's 1938 all over again" over searing, reverbed guitars and tribal drum beats. The band's percussionist/singer Ethan Port bumped into me from behind on his way to the stage, playing maracas over the din. Port banged on a tin-sounding box that added a desolate thump to the songs, beating it like he was leading a viking ship. The band traded instruments and vocal duty, with guitarist/bassist Thom Fuhrmann handling deeply intoned vocal declarations and Port barking like a barbarian. They played the Ceremonial record's gorgeous "Year of Exile," which led into the chaos of Furhmann beating his bass in unison with drummer Mark Erskine's rumbling roar before going back to the song's rubbery bassline. The band thanked Amoeba for having "a bunch of old guys" play, but they rocked like dudes half their age.

See all the photos from the in-store here.

Savage Republic at Amoeba Hollywood

Show Recap: Local Natives at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, January 30, 2013 03:55pm | Post a Comment

Local Natives AmoebaThe line wrapped around the block to see Local Natives play one of the biggest Amoeba in-stores in recent memory.

The L.A.-based band appeared Jan. 29 in support of their sophomore album, the epic Hummingbird, released the same day. Despite having released only one previous album, Gorilla Manor, in 2009, it was clear by the shouts of screaming girls and dudes alike that the band’s cult has grown sizably over the years.

Local Natives HummingbirdThe band opened with “You & I,” the majestic opening track of Hummingbird, with singer Kelcey Ayer booming his throaty voice through the store in the song’s opening lines and the band engaging in solid harmonies. “Breakers” sounded intense live, inspiring a clap-along.

From the get-go, it didn’t sound as though the band needed time to find their footing or were still trying to work out kinks in new songs; they sounded well-rehearsed and ready to go. They paused to sweetly give a shoutout to their hometown, offering gratitude and reflecting on the times they were on the other side of the stage.

In an offering to their fans, they launched into “Wide Eyes” from Gorilla Manor, a song they’re probably sick-to-death of playing, to huge response — a kind move in a show meant to promote their new album. They moved back to Hummingbird for standout “Heavy Feet,” which features some of the liveliest drumming and singing on the album, doubling that strength live in the show’s best moment.

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Show Recap: FIDLAR at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, January 25, 2013 04:45pm | Post a Comment

FIDLAR AmoebaLA’s FIDLAR ripped through most of their new self-titled album at Amoeba Hollywood Jan. 24 with hardly a pause for breath.

From the outset, when they broke into the four-chord, “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone”-style stomp of “Stoked and Broke,” things were loud, loud, loud. That continued through the next couple of songs on their album, the breakneck-speed “White on White” and quirky surf riffery of “No Waves.” It was a shame that you could hear barely a word of vocals from the band and its two singers, Zac Caper and Elvis Kuehn, whose true-to-life detailing of being in your mid-20s, in a band, without a proper job and getting drunk every night is a big part of FIDLAR’s appeal. Musically, though, the band never faltered, inducing trance with the looped opening notes of “Whore” before smashing through the song’s nasty, Sabbathy punk rock. Things came through loud-and-clear enough for the band’s shout along chorus to closer “Cheap Beer,” echoed by the sizable audience: “I! Drink! Cheap! Beer! So! What! Fuck! You!”

The show was a perfect example of FIDLAR’s ethos (“Fuck it Dawg, Life’s a Risk,” is what their name stands for). They don’t play the volume they should. They don’t wait to make sure their vocals are loud enough or fuss with the sound guy. They just play. And the kids went wild.

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Show Recap: Jessie Ware at Amoeba

Posted by Billy Gil, January 24, 2013 09:43am | Post a Comment

Jessie Ware Amoeba

British songstress Jessie Ware emerged dressed down, looking like Stevie Nicks in a black ensemble and hoop earrings, Jan. 22 at Amoeba Hollywood. It’s only worth mentioning as it coincided with the difference between her live show, raw and organic, and her more digital records, on the covers of which she appears glossy and glammed up.

Ware, known as kind of the hipster Sade, began with “Devotion,” the title track to her Mercury Prize-nominated debut album, which will see a physical release in the U.S. later this year. Her voice sounded quiet against her band’s booming basslines, but by the set’s second song, the title track to her EP, “If You’re Never Gonna Move,” everything locked into place as she began loosening up, and tried to loosen up the audience too, who laughed when she called out their serious faces. “Sweet Talk,” which appears on both the album and EP, sounded lush and bassy as her four-piece created an approximation of the recordings, with one guy handling both guitars and keys. Her voice sounded incredible on “Sweet Talk” as well as “What You Won’t Do for Love,” a cover of the Bobby Caldwell quiet storm classic.

Ware’s voice and manner grew more confident over the course of the show, with each subsequent song, like “Wildest Moments,” sounding better than the last. She hurriedly introduced her band and gushed about playing with The Roots on “Jimmy Fallon,” pulling the audience in with endearing gratitude for her success. The show demonstrated how Ware is still developing as a central performer (she rose to prominence guesting on tracks by Joker and SBTRKT) and learning how to work a stage, but her voice was impeccable, reserving her belting for a spine-tingling finish in “Running.”

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Show Recap: Yo La Tengo at Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Billy Gil, January 18, 2013 11:24am | Post a Comment

The line wove down the block to see Yo La Tengo at Amoeba Hollywood Jan. 17, on the heels of their 13th album release, Fade. Ripping chords and solos greeted the full house, which may have not expected such noise, given Fade's somber feel. But this is typical of Yo La Tengo, who read an episode of "SpongeBob SquarePants" and covered songs by The Urinals the last time they were in L.A. Yo La Tengo mixed a couple of rougher cuts with Fade's mellower songs like the rolicking lo-fi of "Is That Enough?" A hush fell over the entire store during acoustic country ballad "I'll Be Around" and its extended atmospheric passage. "Ohm" found the trio singing in unison to the song's wandering melody and insistent thump. Lead singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan went apeshit on the guitar and returned to singing with the others nonchalantlly while still whammying away in the show's most thrilling moment. The band plays Amoeba SF Saturday Jan. 19 at 3 p.m. See more photos from the Hollywood performance here.

 

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