Richards on Richards, too little on too late

I had my first experience with checking out a show at Richards on Richards last night. I’ve been told for a long time that it’s one of the best venues in the city, and there is a lot of truth to that. Not too big and not too small. It’s just right.

Aberdeen City at Richards on RichardsThe main reason we showed up there last night was because Rebecca arranged an interview with Aberdeen City, who was opening up for Electric Six. We recorded a bunch of audio for a podcast, but her interview post is up. She also gets photo credit here.

The craziest thing about this experience was not only was I getting to see a show there, but we got to go backstage to talk with Aberdeen City. In fact, it was in the green room, but it was more like a storage closet that was turned into a place for performers to hang out. Not a lot of room, nor was it exactly “green”. It still made for a cozy setting to hang out for the two of us plus the four guys from the band. Members of Electric Six wondered in and out, but my ignorance couldn’t tell you who was who.

So here it was, my first time walking through the doors of a rock and roll mecca of sorts, and before seeing the stage, we’re wisked behind the door where most rabid fans would kill to step through. There really wasn’t that tight of security to stop us, and the size of the place kind of forces the band to come out into the bar area and socialize with the crowd. It’s one of those small, intimate club types of places. For me, that’s the real way to experience a good performance.

The sound in the place is really impressive. The bass from just the kick drum is enough to make your pant legs flutter from soundwaves hitting it. The PA is bright and makes it very easy to hear the vocals. You won’t see a big and fancy light show in the place, but what they do have is really effective.

Sadly, this could be thefirst and last show I ever see there. I was told by front man Brad Parker from Aberdeen City that he heard about plans to tear the place down in about a year. In true Yaletown fashion, the mecca will be replaced by a high rise building. Expect over priced condos as well.

We have yet to figure out where, but Richards is relocating. Once again, this is some thing Parker told us, but I haven’t been able to locate any information about those details. Naturally, it will never been the same as it was. Charm is something that only comes with history, no matter how dirty or dank a place might be considered. Rock and roll is never clean and pure. It’s an experience.

Never let the spirit of CBGB’s die

It’s been off and on for a while now, but it is official. CBGB[wiki] is closed and gone for good.

NEW YORK (AP) – CBGB hosted its final concert Sunday night after a 33-year residence in downtown New York as the iconic, grungy bastion of punk.

The concert, headlined by rock poet Patti Smith, was to be the final note sounded in a drawn-out battle to preserve the legendary club. A homeless advocacy group that owns the property, the Bowery Residents Committee, is not renewing CBGB’s lease, which expired in August 2005. The club will close Oct. 31. [myway]

It’s a mecca for rock and roll. There’s not much more to say about it than that. I consider myself thankful for taking in at least one night there. I missed a solo performance by Britt Daniel[wiki] by a few minutes, but I did catch Dressy Bessy[wiki] and I Am The World Trade Center[wiki] in a back to back perfmance. Absolutely amazing and totally my type of venue.

On a bit of a side note, it was completely stupid that I Am The World Trade Center was performing under the name “I Am The World…” when I saw then. The 9/11 paranoia was in full force at that time, claiming that they were trying to capitalize on the tragedy. Truth was that I was spinning them at KRUI long before anything happened. Thankfully, they went back to their roots shortly after I saw them.

Back to CBGB, it’s small, dark, and kinda dirty. At least it was. The layout, as I try to recall, wasn’t at all what I expected. The stage was more accessible to the audience than I thought it would have been. The sound was really good, and the atmosphere was something I just wanted to drink in, figuratively and literally. The group of people I was with didn’t quite grasp the awesomeness of this place, but I didn’t want to leave when they did. Maybe they’ll get it now

The spirit will go on, but it’ll never be the same as it once was. Incredible venues like this seem to be a dying breed in this wham-bam-make-a-superstar-today-gone-tomorrow formula of the music business. The big boys of the industry are constantly trying to harvest the indie scene, where the art is truly free to mold itself into something unique, and scoop it up so they can lay claim to the next, big thing.

If it weren’t for CBGB, a lot of the rock and roll I have come to love would never had the chance to become what it is today. For that, I thank them, and so does The Reverend.

William Elliot Whitmore is coming to Vancouver

Whitmore (photo credit: was parsing through my iTunes library when I came across the two albums that I have by William Elliot Whitmore[wiki]. When I did the public radio thing back in the states, he was a guest a few times on the show that we did at a local coffee house every Friday. Super nice, and one of those artists that were able to detract my attention from the levels on the mixer and completely pull me into his performance. Not too shabby for ten in the morning.

I thought I’d check him out on the web to see what he’s up to. He’s originally from southeast Iowa, so southeast that he grew up on the “penninsula” of the state, surrounded by the Mississippi and Des Moines River. These roots make their way into his music from time to time, but that’s not why I’m a fan of his music. Some people say Tom Waits or Johnny Cash when they talk about him, but I think that’s way off. He’s William Elliot Whitmore. Once you get to see him perform, you get it.

Whitemore (credit: ranhar2[flickr])Quite fortunately, he’s coming to Vancouver. October 5th at the Red Room. With hope, I’ll be able to make it out to see him.

Whitmore is my age. When I shook his hand to introduce myself as his sound guy, I thought that his voice might still be suffering from just waking up not long ago. Deep, raspy, and almost struggling for air. That’s just how he talks. How or why, I’m not sure, but whiskey might have something to do with it.

I set up three mics for him. One for his vocals, another for his banjo or guitar, and a third for his foot. He stomps the floor as he plays, getting the stage to boom like a kick drum. Head tilted up and eyes closed, it was like magic. On his song “Cold and Dead”, he doesn’t play anything. It’s just him singing. It gets me when I’m listening to the recording, just like I did the day I saw him perform it.

Oh sure, you might think that it sounds lame. Guy from Iowa with a banjo on stage. Tell that to all the fans of the hardcore band, Ten Grand[wiki], that have become some of his biggest followers. Imagine going out to a show in some of the seediest clubs in Europe with the intention of seeing a band with loud guitar noise and screaming, only to see this guy come on stage as the opening act. It happened many times, and people loved him.

Just another day, but I’m another year older

Canucks vs. Anaheim for my birthdayWhat can I say? It’s been an incredible weekend of birthday happiness.

There was Snow Patrol on Thursday night(which I have yet to make my review post about yet), dinner with my Canadian family on Friday, Mexican food with my Canadian friends on Saturday, and the Canucks vs. Ducks at GM place tonight. I’ve said it a lot already, but you only turn twenty-eight once, right?

There are so many thanks that need to go out to so many people. So many good times were had over the period of four days, not to mention the cards, gifts, and alcohol, consumed or given as presents, from everyone.

Just before the puck dropped tonight at GM Place, my parents called me on my cell. It was a moment of true analogy. The beer we had just purchased was foam all the way to the brim and slightly spilling over as my folks wished me a happy birthday. That’s what today had climaxed to, and I don’t think it could have gotten better than that, not to mention that the Canucks preveiled, 4-3 in a shootout.

Poncho's! As I write this, The Reverend Don Deeley is making his way through his weekly radio show at WYEP in Pittsburgh, dedicating a good portion of the selections my way, all for my birthday. He emailed me to give me a heads up, thinking I wouldn’t be listening, but I’ve been streaming in from the beginning. That means a lot, and I thank you so much, Don. Anytime I can take over airwaves through the use of my voice or a barrage of song requests, I’m so there.

I also want to mention thanks to some fellow bloggers for extending some birthday wishes. J.J. from the Canucks Hockey Blog met up with us ahead of the game tonight, providing me with another, frosty beverage for my other hand. Yvonne sent in an email as well as getting a voicemail from Uncle Weed. Even the woman who cuts my hair called me, but Minoo was more concerned about how Rebecca liked the coloring of her hair after there were some issues with getting that all done.

Rebecca had her hair coloredMost importantly, Rebecca has made this an amazing birthday. This has been the first time that we’ve been able to be together for it, and she has made it more incredible than I could have ever imagined. Everything you could probably imagine about her being a wonderful person is true, but I have that and a lot more with everyday that goes by.

Thanks to everyone. Just because your name isn’t on here and the exact contribution to this weekend isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean that it’s insignificant. There’s just so much, and I’ll keep those for myself. Memories are always the best gift that can be given.

Pat Spurgeon of Rouge Wave needs your help

Rouge Wave is a band that I’ve played on the podcast before.  Since emailing the guys, I’ve been put onto their mailing list, which is a common thing that happens whenever I email artists.  This note came in this morning that I thought was worth passing on here.

On September 30th 2006, Rogue Wave will host a benefit concert at The Independent to raise money for drummer Pat Spurgeon, who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant.

The benefit concert will feature performances by Rogue Wave, Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie,) Matthew Caws (Nada Surf,) Ryan Miller (Guster,) John Vanderslice, and other special guests. Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snickett) will MC the event.

Pat was born with one kidney and it failed. He had his first transplant in 1993, which served him well until now. After 13 years, it has started to deteriorate. He has been on dialysis since April and is hoping desperately to find a donor. Some of their friends have gotten tested to see if they are a match, but Pat has yet to hear good news. Provided he finds a donor, there will be an enormous amount of costs that both Pat and his donor will incur.

In a logical world, medical insurance would cover his donor’s and his expenses after the procedure, but it does not; so he and his family must carry the financial burden. The expenses can be huge. We are trying to raise money for costs like: donor’s travel, care, bills, lost work wages, etc., as well as Pat’s expenses, care, bills, etc. while he is in recovery.

If you cannot attend the show, we encourage you to donate whatever you can by visiting

Thank you for your love and continued support,
Rogue Wave
(Zach, Pat, Gram, Evan)

The Independent
628 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94117
Doors: 8:30pm; Show: 9:00pm
Tickets available now on

Talk about an impressive line-up.  I’d love to road trip down for this one, but the government of Canada would prefer it if I didn’t leave the country.  So if you think you might be able to make it out, this would be for an excellent cause.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy at The Plaza Club

The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Vancouver, BC - May 20, 2006This is a completely late posting, but we checked out The (International) Noise Conspiracy[wiki] at the Plaza Club when they swung through Vancouver on May 20th. Rebecca was faster to the draw on her post about it, but let me elaborate.

If you have never seen them before, they put on an incredible show. And if you are some one who has had that opportunity, then you know how awesome they perform. For myself, this was the second time that I got to check them out. The last show was in Brooklyn, NY, and I got a drumstick in the face at the end of the encore. I left this show with better luck.

The Fever opened up the show with a very solid performance. Coming all the way from New York, the four piece band boasted a setup that is not of your normal rock and roll band make up, but is becoming less unusual. Singer, guitarist, drummer, and keyboards. When their set started, I thought the lead singer was standing on top of a box while singing into the mic on top of its stand. Getting closer, it became clear that he was freakishly tall and kept the mic low. It was a neat effect for his sometimes, Tom Waits-esque voice. Continue reading “The (International) Noise Conspiracy at The Plaza Club”

We Goin’ to See Some of Them There Rock Shows

In every budget, you have to make room for something recreational. Rock and roll is that for Rebecca and I. And boy howdy, we have quite the calendar of events lining up for us.

South is going to be exciting. I recently heard that they had some sort of song on The O.C. some time ago, so this puts the potential turnout at the show even greater. I still have hopes that it’ll be a good show. April 20th at the Red Room on Richards.

Mates of State are coming to town on April 21st, and I picked up tickets for that last week. The Plaza Club should be an interesting place to check them out, being the last place I saw them was at Gabes back in Iowa City. Tony Pierce had an article about them on Buzznet. They will also be making an appearance at Cochella, and I’d like to be there as well. Turns out there is more to Pierce than just a crazy blogger, or at least I was impressed.

Scored tickets to Snow Patrol on June 14th at the Commodore Ballroom. It was an early bird special that we jumped on, but it’s exciting to be seeing another show there, the first and last one that I caught being Matthew Good.

Lots of rock goodness going on in this city, and this isn’t nearly half of it. I just don’t have enough time to blog about it all right now, but the point is that we have tickets to check out these shows!

Some Good Shows Coming to Vancouver

I will never claim to be the end all source of music related events in Vancouver, but there are things that are of great interest to me that I think is worth sharing when I see them.

With that being said, Mates of State are coming to town April 21st! Midwest transplants that call the San Francisco area home now, they are pretty amazing to see live. More so, just the sound they are able to reproduce in a live atmosphere is pretty incredible. A purely husband and wife duo, she plays the organ, he’s on drums, and they both sing. A drunken buddy of mine, Ben Schmidt (who has now inflitrated the land of Minnesota), said something to me at one of their shows that sums up seeing Mates of State live quite well. “I hear a whole band, but there are only two people up there! Am I that wasted?!” Long answer short, yes. Check them out at the Plaza Club for an early show.

The Boy Least Likely To is playing with James Blunt on April 2nd at the Orpheum Theatre. This isn’t overly huge news, but I just caught wind of the opening act, not being a James Blunt fan myself. However, I would go to check out The Boy Least Likely To and stick around for the rest. I’ve played them on my podcasts after getting direct permission to do so. That makes them nice people, and I like that.

Also worth mentioning is the Matthew Good solo, acoustic tour. Three dates in Vancouver, but he’s also doing a set in Nanaimo. Would be very cool to catch a ferry for an overnight to check out the show, but I don’t think we’ll have the time. Rebecca’s a longtime fan of his stuff, so I’m thinking we’ll be checking out one of the Vancouver dates.

Beth Orton would be a good time as well on March 29th. She’s playing the Commodore Ballroom where I went to my first show in Vancouver, a Matthew Good show at that. I’ve always liked Orton’s music. She has a pretty amazing voice and unique writting style. This would be an excellent venue to check her out.

I’ll do more posts like this as shows come to my attention.