Foals Pour Out a Sweaty, Frenetic Performance

Foals

Yannis Philippakis motioned into the crowd at the front of the stage, forming a box about ten feet wide and five feet deep. “This was about the size of the crowd we played to last time we were here,” he said in a soft Oxford accent. Of course, that was 2008.  On Wednesday night, Foals filled the High Noon Saloon.

It’s great when you can watch a band become too big for their environment. The growing pains were obvious at the High Noon Saloon — a fantastic venue, but one that could barely contain their energy. Foals have come a long way since their last show in Madison, releasing a string of acclaimed albums and touring the world non-stop (the band were doing their best to shake a heavy, South Korea-induced jetlag during the show).  Even after flying across the world, Wednesday night’s set was nothing if not intense.

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Live Concert Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

BRMC

Wednesday night’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club concert supported by thenewno2 was a tale of two musician sons of musician fathers, one studiously avoiding his father’s legacy, the other embracing it after having avoided it early in his career.

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Live Concert Review: ON AN ON, 4.25.13

On An On

My first visit to the RSR Bar left me impressed. The sprawling complex is divided into two sections; one had the feel of a more traditional college bar with pool tables and TVs, and the other a more intimate setting with the stage tucked away past the bar. (My only complaint was that the stage-side bar only had a generic American lager on tap while the other bar had a slightly better selection.)

First up was Heavy Looks, a self-proclaimed power pop band from Madison. Thursday night was their first time playing out together, but other than stating as much, their self-consciousness on stage was the only outward sign. Musically they were tight and sounded like they had been playing together for much longer. While Rosalind Greiert and Dirk Gunderson split vocal duties, I found Rosalind’s voice possessed rich tones that added to the songs, while Dirk’s was unconventional and more distracting.  Most songs ended with a flourish from the drummer Eric Wermedal, which began to seem more like a nervous tic than intentional. The band had sold me on themselves until the final song where one particular line stood out: “Twenty-five years of being bored to tears.” This band was not bored to tears, not in the least.  Check out this new Madison band when you can.

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Live Concert Review: When Madison Met Watsky

Watsky

George Watsky doesn’t make sense. Not because he’s a skinny white boy who raps. Not because he performs slam poetry to audiences who love hip hop. Not because he rhymes over sick beats about wedgie-ing Wednesday’s butt crack. It’s because more people don’t know how awesome he is.

Last Wednesday Watsky graced Madison with his presence and taught High Noon Saloon that unusual is better and lisps sssound sssexy. He describes his situation best in “All I Ever Wanted”: “My look’s wrong / I know I sound odd / But when I hit the mic the first time / I found God.”

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Ty Segall Takes Madison Crowd To The Edge and Back

Ty Segall

There’s no pretense to Ty Segall. Standing in front of a microphone at the High Noon Saloon last Wednesday evening (May 9, 2012), the shaggy blonde rocker looks like just another kid from the bus–the silent type who spent the ride to school engrossed beneath bomber headphones. But Ty Segall isn’t the silent type, and neither is his guitar. He holds it like a weapon, sputtering chaotic riffs as if he brandishing an electrified riot gun. Whether slowly entering the night’s set with The Addam’s Family theme song or spinning into guttural licks in “Girlfriend,” at a Ty Segall show, the crowd is the petri dish and the music becomes the catalyst for human combustion.

Though accompanied at the night’s opening by White Fence for two excellent tracks off their collaboration album Hair, Segall remained the focal point for swooning punks and swinging shoulders for the rest of the night.  Because Segall doesn’t sing, he purrs, and in turn the audience lost its collective mind as if gaseous delirium was being pumped through the air vents.

Somewhere lost in the mosh pit is a notebook full of song tracks and notes written in an illegible hand, but the pit at a Ty Segall show isn’t the place for music criticism or any sort of articulation. It’s the two minute ledge where we all come to fall backwards into black pools, the thrum of static like blissful wind rushing past our ears.

–Austin Duerst

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