Tag Archives: MO

Man Man – St. Louis, MO: The Firebird 2-18-13

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Band: Man Man

Venue: The Firebird

Location: St. Louis, MO

Tickets: $16

Date: 2-18-2013

Man Man

4/5 Man Man members. From left to right: Honus Honus, S. Murphy, T. Moth and Pow Pow.

I was never intentionally misled about what a Man Man concert was. I was told that a Man Man concert would be raucous, a tad rambunctious. Maybe even a little boisterous.

And all of those words describe the concert. They just don’t describe it enough. The concert was a sensational mix of loud colors, loud sounds and a band that knows how to play the crowd flawlessly.

Before we jump in with a concert review, allow me to give you a bit of background. Man Man has been labeled an experimental rock group, and maybe there’s some truth in that. I mean, more than a few times you get the full impact of their eccentricities (example: drummer Pow Pow had a magic orange toolbox full of maracas, kazoos, a feather and what we’re pretty sure was one of the missing crystal skulls), but they are more than an experiment. They are the result of genre smashing, neon colors and the gentleman’s sport of tennis. It goes without saying that they are Men Men after my own heart.

Having arrived two hours early, my brother and I snagged a most-coveted location: right in front of Pow Pow’s drum setup.  And that was a fantastic place to be.  I even made it into one of Honus Honus’ pics of the audience.  Check this out.  Recognize the girl on the right?  Me either.  I’m far front left.

Once Man Man took the stage (after two excellent opening acts, Damian Suomi and Murder by Death), I think the audience went a little wild. The place was hopping all through the set. I’ve got bruises on my knees from being pushed into the stage and I didn’t notice until the drive home. We were all jumping and screaming and watching each band member haphazardly and lovingly play their respective instruments. And the way they stare out at the audience…it’s like they’re daring you to sit still and glare at them. When they’re playing, that’s impossible. They never pause between songs, they don’t exchange pleasantries. They don’t need to. The first song either scares you out of the house or gets you in the bedroom. Why waste time wooing you?

The set itself was a brilliant mix of old and new, giving us time to belt out our favorites and learn that their next album will be eagerly awaited (that sentence was really toned down…eagerly sounds better than anxiously awaiting, hoping the next meteor won’t be striking before the album comes out because that would be a natural disaster on too many levels and I can’t figure out how this sentence should end so I’ll end it with FLAIR!). They played hard, they played well and I’m planning on seeing this band as many times as distance and their schedules will allow. Here’s the Setlist (bestowed upon us by Brown Sugar):

Man Man Setlist

Man Man Setlist

Feathers

Pink Wonton*

Top Drawer

Spider Cider

Mister Jung Stuffed

Paul’s*

Hurly / Burly

Haute Tropique

Rabbit Habits

Piranhas Club

Against The Peruvian Monster

Bangkok Necktie

Van Helsing Boombox

Life Fantastic

Black Mission Goggles (interspersed with Doo Right)

Engwish Bwudd

Encore:

Steak Knives

Mayan Nights

Ice Dogs

Sarspirillsa (first 30 seconds of vid)

You know, the night was best summed up when I was chatting with one of the band members. While I was getting him (Murphy) to sign my shirt, we saw Honus rolling around on the ground with the girl he was taking a picture with. Laughing, I asked Murphy,

“How do you guys handle him?”

He smiled and said,

“Easy.  We’re all as bad as him.”

And don’t we just love that?

Concert: A+

Venue: A+

Drink Prices: B

Audience: A+

Overall: A+

*This is a new song!

Tommy & The High Pilots – Springfield, MO: The Outland 10-7-12

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Band: Tommy & The High Pilots

Venue: The Outland

Location: Springfield, MO

Tickets: $3

Date: 10-7-12

Tommy & The High Pilots

Tommy & The High Pilots at The Outland Ballroom. From left to right: Steve Libby, Matt Palermo and Tom Cantillon.

First, I’d like to say that I am not stalking this band.  It’s their own fault for (a) playing near enough that I can see them frequently and (b) inspiring manic enthusiasm in their fans.

Second, if you weren’t at The Outland last night, you missed a great show.  As a wonderful surprise, The High Pilots actually played last and it was worth the wait.

Shall I count the ways?

Their song selection was spot on, as usual (though I really need to remember to request “The Limit” next time…haven’t seen that song performed since last November).  They had a mix of covers, old stuff and new stuff.  They’ve got a knack for playing sweetly moving songs then sweet songs designed to make you move.

I’ve decided to give you a retelling of the concert.  In this story, you are me but I’m not you.  Because I like being me and you will too.  Here’s how it was:

While you’re savoring the last few strains of “Stand By Me,” the bands opening number, they move onto “Round N Round,” and it is impossible to keep still.

Your blood’s pumping, you’re smiling at Tom’s antics and they start playing “On The Line.”  You look around at the audience and you see a couple of their fans closing their eyes and swaying to the music.  Then you laugh when Tom introduces “Bluesy Floozy” as a song about a bitch who was a floozy.

They announce they’re going to play something new.  You’re excited and scared.  What happens is wonderful.  They play a song called “Broken Down.”  It’s sad and beautiful and you’re mad at yourself for not recording the song so you can listen to it until your iPhone tells you it’s time to move on (then you find the song on YouTube, so you don’t worry about it).  Then it’s cover time.

“This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)” by the Talking Heads.  Tom’s voice is exactly right for the song.  It’s a moment of clarity and the bar seems to be a little quieter.  Except for the girl standing behind you.  She’s a bit noisy.  Talking at a concert in front of the stage seems like a weird place to talk, but maybe the band can’t hear her.

Tom announces that it’s another new song.  You peeked at Mike’s setlist so you’d be prepared for this song.  Because this song has been haunting you for weeks.  You record “Devil To Pay” and proceed to listen to nothing but that song for the next day and a half.  You also notice when watching the video that Tom definitely noticed the talkative girl.  He shushes and gently chastises her.  This has no effect.

They play another new song.  “Here In My Hands.”  You’re impressed with it, but know that it will take a few more listens before you can fully absorb it.  The excitement of “Devil To Pay” hasn’t worn off yet.

Then it’s time for a real crowd-pleaser.  Matt comes to the front of the stage, and they start on “Lorraine.”  This song is about a prostitute.  You cheerfully belt out the chorus and demand to know where your money’s gone.  In this case, the answer’s the merch table.

Then they conclude with their most famous song.  “Where To Start” takes you through troubling times, with the lesson that being in love is enough.  You smile at that message and are delighted that the audience seems to know this song.  You’ve all got this.

But wait!  There’s time for an encore!  They whip out a U2 cover of “Desire.”  Tom comes down into the audience (not a terribly crowded one, but it’s still great) and the bar really gets into the song.  Tom sits down in the middle of it, and chats with us.  It was an energetic and well-executed cover that still sounded like The High Pilots.  That is the sign of a great cover.

Then the concert is over.  You snag a setlist, talk to the band members, buy another shirt (because 4 wasn’t enough…you needed 5) and tell them goodbye.  You get hugs from everyone, excitedly hear that the new album is tentatively scheduled to be released at the end of February and walk out of the venue, pleased with the way this evening has gone.

The end.

Okay.  Here’s the scoop.  It was a great show, even if the turnout was small.  This band deserves a huge audience with people lined up to see them.  They’re worth it.  I’ll support them always because  I love their music and they will always deliver.  They keep getting better, they’re great guys and I’m positive you should never play pool with them for money.

Tommy & The High Pilots

The setlist for the evening and my new shirt.

And, now that I took you through the entire concert, I’ll give you the score:

Concert: A

Venue: A

Drink Prices: A-

Audience: C+*

Overall: A

  *As mentioned previously, a girl was talking THROUGH THE ENTIRE CONCERT.  It’s one thing to talk at the bar or the back of the room, but she was close enough to the stage that the band heard her.  They tried to get her to stop.  She refused.  To this girl, I have a message:

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you never come back to a High Pilots show, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you do, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will spill a drink on you.

Tommy & The High Pilots – St. Louis, MO: The Firebird 8-12-12

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Band: Tommy & The High Pilots

Venue: The Firebird

Location: St. Louis, MO

Tickets: $13 ($15 at door)

Date: 8-12-12

“Say everyone else was shitty, but Mike was great.” – Mike Cantillon

You know how you have that one band that you’ll listen to only when you’re in a specific mood, because their music is really only one dimensional?

Tommy & The High Pilots is not that band.

Tommy & The High Pilots at the Firebird

Tommy & The High Pilots. From left to right: Steve Libby, Matt Palermo’s arms, Tom Cantillon and Mike Cantillon. Photo courtesy the wonderful Nicole.

On Sunday, August 12, 2012, Nicole (one of my friends who has been in a lot of these posts with me…she’s cool like that) and I drove up to St. Louis to see The High Pilots.  While driving, we had a discussion about why we loved this band and were willing to drive 3 hours one-way to see them.  We concluded that it’s because their music is brilliantly everyday.  And I don’t mean that in the sense of “it’s trite and like everything else.”  I mean that their music is applicable to every minute of your life because they have music that makes every minute of your life better.

Feeling sad?  There’s a song for that.  Feeling happy?  There’s a song for that.  Horny?  Triumphant?  Contemplative?

They cover a lot of ground.  But you already knew I loved their music.  And their live performances always deliver up the goods.

“And I lust you.  My grandma once told me that it takes 10 years for lust to become love…and I’m lusting the shit out of all of you.”  -Tom Cantillon

First, I think it’s important to note how wonderful these guys make the sound check.  I mean, Nicole and I were shifting about impatiently, wanting the show to start, and the guys are great about making the sound check something fun to watch and listen to.  You really have to admire that.

Second, their set wasn’t long enough.  This is my biggest consistent complaint about their shows.  I never get the chance to see them when they don’t get cut off at 8 songs.  8 songs goes by fast.  TOO fast.  It feels like we’re cut off when they start hitting their groove.

Of course, they also happen to be great performers.  They have memorable chemistry with the audience, and with each other.  They frequently toss grins to one another and to the crowd.  It makes them charming and irresistible.  I kept hearing one of the girls in front of me, both of whom had never seen or heard the band before, say:

“Tommy, you are flawless.  You are flawless.”

Without a doubt, their live performance always captures new fans and keeps them.

And yeah, they were on fire.  I’ve seen them 6 times now (not that I’ve been counting) and I would say this is the best they’ve sounded.  It might have been the venue, the crowd, the planet’s alignment.  All I know is they were great.  Despite some technical difficulties (like the mics not working at the end of the first song), the band had their act together.  Good show, gents.  Good show.

“Life’s full of ups and downs.  When you’re happy, BE happy.”  -Matt Palermo

Matt Palermo of Tommy & The High Pilots

From left to right: Nicole, Matt Palermo, me.

The High Pilots have been teasing us with talk of a new album for a while now.  Luckily, the boys played some new songs to whet our appetite.  And yeah.  It was successful.  Here’s a really good video of one of their new songs, “Devil To Pay” from their show at the Roxy in June.

Just listen to those lyrics.

“Tell me.  Do you love me in the worst way still?  Don’t ask me, ‘Do I need you?’ ‘Cause I plead you. And I know, you know, I do…Tell me.  Do you love me in the worse way still?  Don’t ask me, ‘Do I hold you?’  ‘Cause I told you.  And I know, you know, I will.”

I’ve always been a person first attracted to the lyrics of a song, and I can safely say that these give me chills.  And when Tom kicks in with the guitar?!?  It slays me non-lethally every time.

Safe to say this kid is looking forward to the new album anxiously.  And I would like “Devil To Pay” to be released as a single sometime in the nowish.  Cool?

“Don’t touch my cocktail.  EEEEEEYAH.  EEEEEEYAH.”  -Steve Libby

Steve Libby of Tommy & The High Pilots

Steve Libby is…the Most Interesting Man in the World.

The bottom line is that these guys are wonderful performers, musicians and guys.  As well as I can know them from bothering them at shows, I can say that they’re sweet and earnest.

My mom loves this band, my friends love this band.  There is no reason these guys shouldn’t be national icons.

So.  Let’s make that happen.

Concert: A

Venue: A+

Drink Prices: NA*

Audience: A

Overall: A

*If you’ll believe it, we didn’t drink at this show.  For some reason, a 3 hour drive makes me not want any alcohol in my system…I’m weird that way.  Anyone want to let me know how prices are?  Have they changed appreciably since the last concert I saw there?

Los Campesinos! – St. Louis, MO: Plush 6-16-12

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Band: Los Campesinos!

Venue: The Plush

Location: St. Louis, MO

Tickets: $13 ($15 at door)

Date: 6-16-12

From left to right: Jason’s back, Me and Gareth.

The only way I’m going to make it through this post is to separate my impressions of the concert from my fangirlish excitement at seeing one of my favorite bands again.

Unfortunately for you, this is impossible.  Suffer or enjoy!  Your choice!

So, firstly, this was my brand new cars first road trip.  I’m proud to say that Cas made it there and back again like a champ.  It was a comfortable road trip with James (my brother), Nicole (my brother’s girlfriend and one of my friends) and Jimmy (one of my close friends).  So, I went with seriously great people.  The hours of driving don’t seem so bad when people are willing to laugh and make puns.

We get to St. Louis with plenty of time before the concert and are deciding where to eat.  Lo and behold, the venue for the concert has a restaurant.  This restaurant would have been worth visiting regardless of the concert.  The Plush was an amazing place.  Their menu was INSANE.  They had Banana French Toast MADE OUT OF BANANA BREAD.  They had PORRIDGE.  They had TIE-DYE NAPKINS!

Also, as we were waiting for our drinks, James says, “Allyson, there appear to be several people of the distinctly British looking variety in the space across the street playing soccer” (I swear he said it like that).

I turn around, and yes.  There are some of the band members playing football (soccer) in the space across the street.  I was then incredibly antsy because I really wanted the concert to start.

But I digress.  The restaurant was great and after a fantastic meal, we moved into the actual venue.  The Plush has a great setup with plenty of floor space, a nice bar in the back and a second floor overlooking the stage.  I insisted on getting spots to stand that were very close to the front, so we were directly behind the people directly in front of the stage (mouthful of a sentence).  The schematic is below:

Stage Map of the Concert. The letters on the stage are the members of the band. From left to right: Robert, Neil, Gareth, Jason, Kim, Ellen and Tom.

Don’t worry.  I’ll get to some of the weird descriptions in the Key later.

The opening band was Yellow Ostrich.  Three men, a bajillion instruments, and a song about a whale.  No stretch to say they were entertaining and a perfect opening act to LC!.  For the first few days after the concert, I pretty much had Yellow Ostrich playing on repeat.  Check out these songs:

“I Got No Time For You”

“WHALE”

“Marathon Runner”

“Elephant King”

Then we get to the main event.  And remember how much I loved LC! in LA?  Turns out, I loved them just as much here.

They have such a fun way about them that it’s hard not to immediately get caught up in the spirit of mature juvenile delinquency.  Ah, yes.  The world falls away as we recall adventures of our misspent youth (I can speak this way.  I’m an old 22).

Anywho.  Here are some of my favorite memories from this concert.

They opened with “By Your Hand.”  An excellent choice since it sets the tone for the rest of the concert as upbeat (even when sad) and cheeky (even when serious).  “By Your Hand” is possibly LC!’s catchiest song, and it has one of my favorite lines from the album in it:

“I’m not sure if it’s love anymore, but I’ve been thinking of you fondly for sure.”

A few songs later, we get to the title track of their newest album, “Hello Sadness.”  This song has become a definite favorite of mine.  It’s really sad (not that you’d expect a song called “Hello Sadness” to be sad, right?), but kind of nice.  Recognizing the extent of the devastation so you can move on, right?  Well, this song is also great live.  Fist Bump Guy most emphatically agreed that,

“It’s only hope [fist bump] that springs eternal.  And that’s [enthused fist bump] the reason why this dripping [forlorn fist bump] from my broken heart is never [resigned fist bump] running dry.”

Fist Bump Guy really underscored the potency of the lyrics.

Kim, Ellen and Tom rocking out.

Then they change the pace with some “Life Is A Long Time.”  A great song, but it definitely shifts the vibe of the concert.  Gareth knows this.  He tells us after the song is over that we should all remember this when we’re in the music business:  always follow up an unpopular slow song with a popular faster song!  With those sage words, they start “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed.”

Now, here’s where Chatty Chick, Fist Bump Guy and I really start working together.  See, it’s dawned on us that we are awesome.  We know all the words, we know all the names of the band members (there’s seven of them…it’s impressive to know them all) and we are kindred spirits for the next half hour or so.  Chatty Chick at one point leans over to me and thanks me for knowing all the words.  She said I was one of her favorite people and that I was lovely.  Chatty Chick, if you ever read these words, know that the feeling was mutual.

Fist Bump Guy…you almost punched me.  Your passion does you credit, but I would’ve taken you down.  I may have been outweighed and outheighted (I’m making it a word), but I would not have been outmatched…seriously, I get mean.

But, we put aside our differences and managed to jump and scream and act crazy like dedicated fans are supposed to when a kickass song like “WAB” comes on.

But, for me, the best part of the concert came right.  It still makes me shake my head wonderingly.  You know how you have that one song from a band that actually makes you listen to them for real?  You just hear the music or the words and actively seek out more?  “Knee Deep At ATP” was that song for me and LC!.  It started my dedication to them.  And they played it.  I recorded it and put it up on my YouTube page.  My friend Jimmy takes my phone midway through because he is way taller than me.  Gives it a better vantage point.  My apologies for my singing leaking through.

So, the things you need to know about this concert:

  1. You should’ve been there.
  2. The audience was a little crazy and a lot awesome.
  3. Driving over three hours in rainy conditions (and almost hitting a deer) wasn’t a big deal because everyone in the car started reliving our favorite memories of the concert.
  4. I finally got Gareth to sign my shirt.
  5. Gareth’s voice was a little shaky in some of the songs, but the energy of everyone in the room made it impossible to care.

Setlist from the show. Nicole grabbed one from a guy packing up some of the instruments. She then gave it to me because she’s awesome. Seriously, she’s great. Oh yeah, and I managed to wrangle 7 signatures for this bad boy.

By the way, when I was getting all the band members to sign the setlist, most of them recognized me from the LA show.  Rob was a bit confused by the jump in location (see above).  Also, double props for Jimmy wearing his Allyson’s Setlist shirt.  It helped the band remember, I think.  And since Jimmy is so tall, it was like having a walking billboard…and one that speaks intelligently and holds cameras!  Best of all worlds!
So, in case you can’t decipher that setlist up yonder, the setlist was:
Encore:
And now the grade!

Concert: A

Venue: A

Drink Prices: B

Audience: A-

Overall: A

Antennas Up – “The Awkward Phase”

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So. You’ve seen this picture before. Whatevs. From left to right: Ryan, Nicole, Bo, me, Jonny and Kyle. AU!

“So what’s with the impassive pace?  Can your sentiments come out to play?” (“The Awkward Phase”)

Oh yeah.  I totally got the CD “The Awkward Phase” early.  That’s what seeing the band live before the official CD release gets you.

So, let’s talk about it.  Because I’m EXPLODING out of my skin to talk about it.

Here it is.  The deets.  This album is amazing.  I love their debut album, but this one is, quite simply but, better.  It has all of the quirkiness we’ve come to expect from AU (a lot of the nerdiness, too) with a healthy splash of retro delight.  It’s wonderful and deserves all of the praise I can heap on it.  Also, I’m now obsessed with vocoders.

The album begins with the title track “The Awkward Phase.”  Obviously, I love the song enough to name it the song of the month.  It’s catchy, upbeat and the lyrics are fantastic.  And the songs stay consistently fantastic, as displayed by the second song on the album.

“I’ll be your mistake and you’ll be my instinct.  You’ll think I’m so great, naked and red faced.” (“Coming On”)

Adore that last bit.  “Coming On” has the catchiness of “The Awkward Phase” and all of the lyrical wonder.  But that’s not where the album stops.  You can hear the different genres and influences in this album.  In “Lights Out”, we get a taste of a change in pace.

“I like the light off your body when you move it, you like to show it off, so come on let me use it. You never stop (woo!).  You never stop (woo!).  Got my attention, show me what you got.” (“Lights Out”)

Bam.  The first time I heard this song, my jaw dropped and I smiled at the same time.  It’s not that it’s a different vibe from Antennas Up in the past, it’s more like they’re clarifying their sound.  They aren’t sticking in the same mold.  It just sounds like they’re getting more comfortable in their own skin, and the music is all the better for it.

And if you want to hear the song that has never been far from my mind over the last few months, take a gander (assuming gandering could also be used for listening) at “Wormholes.”

“Traveling through time, quantum suicide.  Now you all will see my paradox machine, this can and cannot be.”

It is everything I’ve ever wanted in a song.  Also, I’m convinced Jonny doesn’t actually breathe through significant parts of it, which is just impressive.  And, while I think wormholes are incredibly sentimental, you may disagree.  And if you do, listen to “Untitled (How Will I Know).”

“I crawl away up my front stairs, I reach for you and you’re not there.  Unconscious underneath my bed, my hands are wet, my eyes are red.  I didn’t leave ’cause I didn’t love, I left ’cause I loved just enough and with those words came crashing down every mirror in every town.”

It’s a beautiful and moving song.  I highly recommend it.  And it’s a wonderful display of variety.  The album is full of dance numbers, but this one really slows it down and provides a needed contrast.  It provides the depth that quickly made this album a much needed addition to your iTunes library.

But my favorite song on the album is the last, “My Brain.”  I don’t even know if I could tell you why it’s my favorite, except that it haunts me.  Which definitely makes sense when you listen to the lyrics.

“I measure out my time to indulge in sin, then rest alone repeating the coda.  She writes my name, the music keeps going in my brain.  She writes my name, the music keeps going in my brain.”

So.  To summarize this album:  Futuristic retro wonderland.  The album will you make you jump, nod your head, and wish to any listening deities that you could get the music out of your head…but don’t worry.  After listening to the album a couple of times, you really don’t mind that it stays there.  That’s because you’ve been indoctrinated.

Step into their web.

1. “The Awkward Phase”

2. “Coming On”

3. “December”

4. “Lights Out”

5. “Lose It”

6. “Untitled (How Will I Know)”

7. “Wormholes”

8. “Pretenders”

9. “Take Tonight Away”

10. “My Brain”

Show Poster for Antennas Up “The Awkward Phase.” The guys signed it. Ryan is responsible for the inappropriate drawings.

Lyrics: A

Music: A+

Overall: A+

And they have a Kickstarter right now for radio promotion of “The Awkward Phase.”  The rewards are fantastic, as is the cause.  Let’s do this.

“The Awkward Phase” is available nationwide on May 15th.  Get some.

Antennas Up – Springfield, MO: Nathan. P Murphy’s 3-10-12

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Band: Antennas Up

Venue: Nathan P. Murphy’s

Location: Springfield, MO

Tickets: $5 ($2 w/ student ID)

Date: 3-10-12

Myself and my friend Nicole with Antennas Up. From left to right: The Ryantist (performing some crazy dance moves), Nicole, Bo, myself, Jonny Universe and Kyle (that's probably his British face). And as the date stamp suggests, we time traveled.

 This night was wonderful.  Super crazy impressive like.

First, Antennas Up manages to consistently be awesome.  This was my third time seeing them, and I can honestly say that they bring it every time.

Second, my friend Jon came to the show and loved them as much as I do.

But I should probably speak a little more coherently about the show.  Like, maybe I should have a chronological order of the night.  If you insist on order, who am I to naysay you?  Other than the writer of the blog post.  But whatever.

We got to the venue a little after doors.  Because you can’t miss anything, you know?

We went and inspected the merch tables (Yes, I bought things.  It’s their fault for having the iPhone app enabling them to process credit cards.  FYI, everyone going to their shows, they will accept your credit cards.  Weep with joy/despair.), then grabbed a table.  After sound check, Kyle came over and sat with us for awhile.

Jon informed him he looked like Tom Baker.  Kyle was flattered and shocked.

Then, the show began.

Antennas Up tearing it up.

It was, as previously mentioned, wonderful.  They played mostly new songs from their upcoming album (should be available in the next couple of months) and, if those songs are any indication, this album is going to be amazing.  The songs are crazy catchy, and very well written.  I think this album is going to be better than their debut and, considering how much I like their debut, that’s saying something.

More impressively, the guys managed their usual energetic stage presence and played impeccably.  They were the first band up, and they really set the bar high for the rest of the night.  Everyone just has fun listening to them.

My only complaint is that their set wasn’t as long as I would’ve liked.  Here’s a copy of their setlist:

Antennas Up 3-10-12 Setlist, obtained from Kyle.

Eight songs just wasn’t enough.  But they did do a whole lot with those eight songs.  Nicole and I were hanging out in front of the stage, and we were having a great time with it.  Some couples started dancing.  It was a party.

Moral of this story: Antennas Up is a fun band with fun guys playing energetic and addicting music.  You have to admire the tongue in cheek humor (I’m looking at you, “On the Line”) even as you identify with some of the  unrequited themes in “December.”

“I’ve come a long way for this and every time we try and forget for one moment that we are only friends…I can’t help my intending.”

That song makes me sigh every time I listen to it.  And the live performance was just as stunning (if not more so) than the single I’m currently listening to on iTunes (btw, you can buy it here).

And, after the show, they still manage to be personable and entertaining.  Bo and I talked about music and books (Thank you for telling me about The Weeknd.  I downloaded House of Balloons and love it.).

Kyle, Jon and I had a lengthy and enlightening discussion about Doctor Who (For real, Kyle, you need to watch the latest season.  It’s sooooo mind blowing).

Ryan danced at random moments during conversations.  And I mean HE DANCED.  He’s got some moves.

Jonny was told a story about the time a man fought a shark, killed it and made a hat out of it (this story will only make sense to three people…you know who you are).

I bought an Antennas Up hoodie (Which I’ve been wearing since I left the concert.  It’s now the most comfortable hoodie I own.) and received a CD with their single on it, and a song that didn’t quite make the cut for the new album.

December.

Also, their version of “Friday.”  I’m going to hate them for making me sing that song.

And, as has been my habit for the past few months, I got them to sign my shirt.

My website shirt. The guys of Antennas Up and Heypenny signed in red. You'll notice that Jonny Universe ♥'s Allyson's Setlist. It'll be hard to top that signature.

We came, we listened to some awesome music, and we hung out with some awesome guys.  It’s hard to get better than that.  Except when you consider that Heypenny was also there.  But that’s for tomorrow’s blog post.

Now, it is time for the report card!

Concert: A

Venue: A

Drink Prices: A+

Audience: B*

Overall: A

*For quite a bit of time, there were only three people standing in front of the stage.  Come on, ya’ll.  That’s where the cool kids stand!

PS: Kyle and Bo told me they’ll be back in Springfield later next month as part of their album release tour.  If you’re sad that you missed this concert (and you really should be sad), don’t fret.  They’ll be at Patton Alley.  I’ll keep you posted.

PPS: Kyle and Ryan also said that they’ll be developing a Kickstarter soon.  I’ll be committing to it.  I hope you’ll join me.

Ludo – St. Louis, MO: The Pageant 12-10-11

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Band: Ludo

Venue: The Pageant

Location: St. Louis, MO

Tickets: $16

Date: 12-10-2011

Sometimes I have a tendency to exaggerate.  This is not one of those times.  This concert was amazing.  One of the best concerts I’ve been to.  I mean, I don’t even know if I can speak coherently about this concert with all the Christmas I had coursing through me.  Exhibit A:

A Very Ludo Christmas Stage

Garland, fake snow, angels and snowmen were everywhere on the stage.  It was like Christmas decided it needed to have a show to spread Christmas joy.  Christmas won last night.  It won in a big way.

And Ludo was all right.  I guess.

Okay.  They were pretty awesome.  I’ve seen them three times (this year), but this was definitely my favorite show.  Maybe it was the atmosphere, maybe it was the audience, but they were undeniably “on” last night.

The show began with Santa coming out to light up the Christmas stage, with Ludo spilling out stage left.  The crowd went wild.  Andrew Volpe (lead vocals, guitar) grabbed his guitar and sauntered (for real, he sauntered) up to the microphone.  Tim Convy (moog, keys, vocals) took his place in front of the fireplace decorated with stockings for all the band members (though Tom Cantillon’s, the touring bassist, just had a gym sock with his name written on it) with a wave and a bow for the audience.  Matt Palermo (drums, vocals) sat down, putting his earplugs in and smiling at the crowd.  Tim Ferrell (guitar, vocals), shorn of his magnificent locks, waved at the audience as he adjusted his guitar to sit comfortably.  And, before the crowd could bask too much in the glory of Ludo, they began with “Part 1: Broken Bride.”

We went crazy.  I mean, everyone in the pit was belting out the lyrics, hugging each other and basically clapping our hands in glee.  It was wonderful.

Ludo at A Very Ludo Christmas

An admittedly blurry photo.  It’s not great.  But I think it conveys the feeling of a Ludo concert.  Excitement, bright colors and Andrew and Tim C. (the blur at the left of the photo) going nuts.  Tim C. doesn’t stay still for any length of time (especially when he’s being accosted by an inflatable snowman.  Yeah, that happened…TWICE).  Andrew is always engaging the crowd with strategically placed pursing of the lips and occasional winks.

So, they started on a really high note.  And kept going higher.  What might have been one of the more exciting moments for me was seeing “Laundry Girl.”  I never thought I would get the chance to see that song live.  And, of course, when I heard the opening chords, my phone was out and I recorded it.  The video was recorded oddly, but I hope you can forgive that after the first minute or so.

Then, after more rocking, Andrew took the stage alone for “The Horror Of Our Love.”

Andrew Volpe singing "The Horror Of Our Love."

As usual, Andrew singing “The Horror Of Our Love” is always a moving part of the concert.  In the middle of the song, a girl fainted in the pit.  The Ludo fans surrounding her helped her get out of there, so kudos to everyone who helped her and hope she’s okay.  I’m inclined to agree with Andrew’s assessment.  She fainted because of all the Christmas.  There was an awful lot of it, folks.

The next big moment (for me, at least) was when they played “Save Our City.”  Listen to that song.  It’s the only way for you to put this next story in context.  We’re all singing along and going crazy when we get to this part in the song:

“The mayor’s ruined head.  The boy steps to the window.  Cries out from the ledge to the people below.  There’s a time to pray and there’s a time to fight, anything can be a weapon if you’re holding it right.  Defend what is yours.  They will not take our souls.  It’s time now to rise and fight.”

And, of course, we’re all way into it.  Then with that brief pause and the words “Save our city” (at the 4:49 mark in the song), a confetti cannon goes off and showers the people in the pit.  It was so great.  That high moment of tension and triumph in the song, and as we’re all screaming about how we’re going to be victorious over zombies, it’s raining confetti.  Could there have been a better moment?

Why, yes.  Yes there could’ve been.

After the last song (don’t quote me on this, but I think it was “Good Will Hunting By Myself”), Ludo threw presents into the crowd.  They were chucking them to the people in the pit, the balcony, the bar, everywhere.  And I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the friend I went to the concert with, Brett Zeiler.  He managed to snag a couple presents, one for him and one for me.  His was a flower ornament.  Mine was substantially cooler (thanks Brett).

Bruce Springsteen Tape, still in wrapping paper, with some confetti from A Very Ludo Christmas.

So, yeah.  THAT’S pretty awesome.  But the awesome didn’t end there for me.  After waiting in line for forever (probably 20 minutes) for the meet and greet in the merch room, we got to talk to the band.  And I had a stroke of brilliance.  Obviously I wanted them to sign something.  But what?  Answer:

The Allyson's Setlist Shirt signed by Tom Cantillon, Andrew Volpe, Tim Ferrell, Tim Convy and Matt Palermo.

I got them to sign my Allyson’s Setlist t-shirt.  You can’t see my face right now, but it’s the face of an excited person.  This put the icing on an already iced and delicious cake.  I can officially retire last night as having been a wonderful, wonderful evening.

Now.  I wanted everyone to have an idea of what Ludo played at the concert.  However, I can’t remember the order the songs were played in.  I mean, I had better things to do than take meticulous notes.  But, here is what my memory tells me occurred:

“Part 1: Broken Bride”

“Hum Along”

“Go-Getter Greg”

“Topeka”

“Lake Pontchartrain”

“Rotten Town/Skeletons On Parade”

“Laundry Girl”

“Anything For You”

“Girls On Trampolines”

“The Horror Of Our Love”

“Save Our City”

“Whipped Cream”

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”*

“Jingle Bells”*

“Silent Night”*

“I Wish You A Merry Christmas”*

“A Very Ludo Christmas”

“Love Me Dead”

“Good Will Hunting By Myself”

And now!  The score!

Concert: A+

Venue: A

Drink Prices: B

Audience: A+**

Overall: A+

*Group sing-alongs.  Andrew, Tim F. and Tim C. came out into the audience and played for us.  ‘Twas wonderful and put everyone into the Christmas spirit.  Even though we didn’t follow Andrew’s directions very well…

** I can’t describe how awesome the audience was here.  You know, Ludo makes great music full of wonderful lyrics and meaningful instrumentation, but just as great is their ability to inspire such loyalty in a crowd.  There wasn’t a single person I was standing next to who wasn’t belting out the words to every song, raising their fists in the air, or dancing with me when “Girls On Trampolines” came on.  Ludo is the type of band that actively encourages audience participation, and the audience is always pushed to answer the call.  It makes Ludo shows some of the best to see.  If you ever have the chance, take it.  You won’t regret it.