Dan Andriano

Posted: November 30, 2012 in Music

It’s been a bit since I posted, been to a few shows that I need to write about (Teenage Bottlerocket, Propogandhi) which I will get to (promises, promises) at some point.  I have struggled with what I want to write about Propogandhi.  When you have an album out there like “How to Clean Everything” that is fucking amazing you set the bar pretty high for me.  They evolved, I wish they hadn’t, don’t want o be negative so I will need to think about how to say what I am feeling. 

I digress, this post is about the talented Dan Andriano of Slapstick, Alkaline Trio, what appear to be more side projects than I can list and his solo stuff.  As I have written before, I think, I used to be all about Matt Skiba when it came to A3.  Didn’t have anything against Dan, but was a big Skiba fan.  Even from the beginning when I stumbled into a concert with a high school and American Youth Foundation where I was introduced to Alkaline Trio, the Get Up Kids because I was there to see Dashboard Confessionals.  Thanks to KS for getting me down to Mississippi Nights that evening.  Maybe I have something against shaved heads, whatever it was, I tended to prefer the songs that Matt sang, although I like them all generally.  At the small venue A3 show the Riotfest 2012 Chicago weekend that started to change and I have been listening to a lot more Dan, including watching Dan and Brendan Kelly clips on youtube when I should be working. 

The reason for this post is the song “Of Peace, Quiet and Monsters.”  I stumbled across this one on youtube last weekend while I was doing a little getting dressed rocking out.   I wish I had better, tougher words to express my thoughts on the tune, but I think the best I have is to say that it is beautiful.  Definitely some pain there, but is a song that is going to be added to the “please go to sleep” playlist that will be used when my daughter is introduced into the world in the next month or so.  Give it a listen and watch:

Same song in this video, but Dan gives a little background on the song in the beginning.

Maybe I am getting soft, as I never really have been much for the slow and soft, maybe its related to becoming  a dad, maybe my brain has been taken over by parasites that related to cats that some scientist thinks are to blame for almost everything, who knows, but what I do know it that this song speaks to me.  

As a bonus track, Dan and Brendan playing a Lawrence Arms song “First Eviction Notice.”  Good stuff, what the hell did I do before youtube.  So much music at your finger tips.


Happy Monday

Posted: October 29, 2012 in Music

I still need to write about Sunday at Riotfest?  True.  No more questions, sorry we are out of time.  Seriously, we need to move on and this  kind of  commotion isn’t going to get that bad boy written any faster.  Today is a Monday in need of a theme song.  Here it is.  If today had a theme quote, based on some rough days of my own and others close to me in the last few weeks and this Sandy bearing down on the East Coast, I would say, “When life hands you lemons, say fuck the lemons and bail.”

Great song, great title, great song.  In summation, I think it is great.  Drunk unicorns (someone say Quadricorn and then you better run) are hilarious, at least until they get sloppy and start messing up wishes and goring leprechauns and fairies.

To pick up where I left off from Riotfest Day 1, Day 2 began and although there were some cobwebs to deal with, and a little bit of a sore back from my awesome bunk bed at the Getaway Hostel, by the time we made our way over to Humbolt Park, things were going pretty well.  Although i will say, if the Chicago cab drivers are still playing that game where they identify hungover people and then drive like arseholes in an effort to make them want to jump out of a moving (well moving if you count accelerating to 60 between stop signs and screeching to a halt every ten feet) cab, then the chick who drove is to Humbolt Park wins the game, no competition.  I wish I knew your name so I could tell all the cab drivers how great you are at making people want to curl up into the fetal position and cry.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah, Riotfest 2012.

So when you are at Riotfest you know that there are going to have to be some choices made, too many great bands to see them all, so decisions must be made.  Check out this schedule for Saturday, what a lineup.

Nobunny.  We wanted to get to the venue in time to see No Bunny, based on recommendations from my friends B&S.  Not my favorite band, but the early slot at the beginning of a long day of rocking is a tough spot.  I bet they got in some good partying the rest of the day.  I also probably didn’t need to see the singer in tightywhities covered in glitter.  I think I am a little bit cranky today based on my cab rant and this, but I am going to go with it and probably be in a good mood by the time I get to Larry and His Flask.  The gift that No Bunny bestowed was the theme song for the Squad, “Assholes, Everywhere.”  Pretty catchy tune, and hard not to repeat over and over again in inappropriate situations.

Frank Turner.  We then caught Frank Turner, which was very worthwhile.  This was actually the first chance that I have had to catch Frank Turner live, and to be honest, I have only listened to him sparingly.  Very glad we checked out this show, he is pretty amazing and although he isn’t the most traditionally punk person that you will ever run across, by the sound of him he is as punk as anyone, plus he is Irish and that is cool (with some limited and unsaid exceptions).  Below is a link to Frank covering Linoleum on youtube.  I feel like I have a bunch of folks singing this song (NOFX original of course), and its a pretty good litmus test of style and ability.  Give it a listen, I think you will see why I have been playing this version into my wifes pregnant stomach on a regular basis to say hello to my little girl to be.

Larry and His Flask.  So, here I am writing about Larry and His Flask and their bluegrassfolkpunkrockabilly again.  I have to say that every time I see these guys I am amazed and how great they are and how much they continue to improve upon their live show and their music, which started at such a high level improvement is pretty cool to see.  I’ve read other blogs and articles about how these guys stole the show at Riotfest 2012.  If I head Riot Mike’s ear I would say that Larry and His Flask would be an awesome, awesome, awesome secret show.  Make it so Riot Mike.   One thing that is undeniable is the level of talent spread across this band.  They pick with the best of them and rock harder than most at the same time, hard to do, awesome to watch.  Check out the clip below, the effort that these guys put into the show and the crowd is fully reciprocated and has to be one of the best live show experiences on the road these days, shit, even some GWAR fans (yes GWAR is both still alive and played Riotfest 2012) were rocking to the show.  I think that this would be a band that I would enjoy grabbing a beer with, but not having a mustache or beard contest.  I could write more about these guys, but I have a fair amount of ground still to cover and hope to see them again soon in STL so I can continue my affair with their shows.

Teenage Bottlerocket.  To go from Larry His Flask to Teenage Bottlerocket in one day is the makings of a pretty killer day alone.   Last time I saw Teenage Bottlerocket at Riotfest it was at a secret show at the Cobra Lounge (one of my favorite places in the world to see a show).  TBR put on another great show, although their failure to play Maverick nearly sent my buddy Scott into a tailspin.  Was able to see TBR in STL two days ago where they headlined and played Maverick, so S has almost totally forgiven the band.  As usual TBR is rocking.  Their set is always tight and they cram a very punk rock amount of music into a set, very little talking, very lot rocking, which unless you are Brendan Kelly or Fat Mike should be what you do as a band, especially a young band.   TBR’s most recent release Freak Out is definitely worth buying, super rocking all the way through. 

The Gaslight Anthem.  Was good to catch these guys again.  I just wrote about them, still feel the same way, lets not reinvent the wheel here.

Slapstick.  So round two of Brendan Kelly and Dan Adriano, as Slapstick reunited after god knows how long to play a show.   Other than the Asian Man records 15th anniversary, I believe that this is the first reunion since 1997.  A buddy who was/is in the Secret Cajun Band (RIP Skip) told me a story about touring with Slapstick and shooting fireworks at each other in vans on the Fourth of July in the mid-nineties.  Although much older these days, Slapstick still played a great set (how they remember those songs at this point with limited practice is pretty amazing in and of itself).  Brendan made fun of ska the requisite amount to allow them to get through the set, and the lineup of other artists on the stage was pretty telling as far as how special it was for those guys to get together and play a show.

Dropkick Murphys.  As you may imagine if you read the above, at this point in the day I am getting a little drunk and a bit fatigued.  Since the VIP bracelets had us pretty close to the state for most of the shows, and the Dropkicks have to play one of the loudest shows in the history of history, so I hung out in the lawn and watched their show from a bit of a far.  The Dropkicks did what the Dropkicks do, they were awesome and made me want to hate Red Sox fans less for about a second.  Then they played Nessie, which reminder me of 2004, and I now hate Boston fans more that I did before the concert.  Great show.

Decendants.  Although I have been blessed to see the Decendents (with Milo) at previous Riotfests, it is always a pleasure to see these guys as who knows how long they are going to come out.  For a band that was founded in the late 70s, yes 1970s, it is amazing to see them.  We all have our favorite songs, albeit potentially cliche (who knw how that was spelled until now) mine is Hope.  If anyone is punk rocker on the younger side make sure and do your diligence on this band and realize how cool it is that you can see one of the inspirations of SoCal skate punk/hardcore in 2012.  I didn’t take any pictures, as it was getting dark and I was taking in the show.

Rise Against.  Rise Against headlined the Saturday shows at Humbolt Park.  These guys are just pros.  Although it is unlikely to happen, or least not for a few decades, I would love to see Rise Against at a small venue again.  These guys rock and write songs from the gut.  Have lots of respect for them, however, they are super big right now and their show has to match the size of the arena like crowds they are playing to.  No knocks on them, super excited that they are where they are, but definitely miss seeing them with less effects and on smaller stages.

NOFX (1).  So, NOFX is clearly one of my favorite bands of all time.  The new album SelfEntitled is different but the same.  They are definitely taking some chances, but also retaining their sound and the reason that they have to be seen as one of the best punk bands in history, hands down, no argument, I will fist fight over this.  The night before this show NOFX canceled in Minnesota because Fat Mike was sick.  Well thank god he made the secret show at the Congress.  They played again on Sunday at Humbolt Park, so I will get more gooey about my love for them in the next post.

Writing this post has been about as draining as watching 14 hours of Punk music in the day in question.  Unfortunately I have had zero beers in the production of this post, which wasn’t the case with the 14 hours of awesomeness in question.  What a day, next post will be about Sunday.


Aside  —  Posted: October 17, 2012 in Music, Travel

As promised, this is going to be the post about Riotfest Chicago 2012, well at least about the setup and Friday night.  There were a lot of awesome bands, so pardon me while I split this up into a few posts.  If I had to sum things up quickly, I would say, awesome.  So, this year Riotfest Chicago diverged from its usual format of having the main shows at the Congress and some other shows at other local venues and did the damn thing by moving it outside.  This move outside is likely the motivation for the fact that Riotfest 2012 was about a month earlier than usual.  The main location fo Riotfest Chicago 2012 was Humbolt Park, where there were a myriad of stages (large and small set up) in addition to an actual Carnival and all the fun that comes with.  I snapped  a few pictures really early in the day Saturday before the place was packed, but I am also including a map that shows how massive this thing was, and how cool.  Please note the Mexican wrestling ring included therein.  Also please note that prior to this day I had never tried a corn dog because, as I would say, I don’t like them.  Turns out, I do like them, a lot.  Glad they are healthy.

Part of the offer this year was that you could buy three-day VIP wristbands.  In the past the VIP wristbands got you entry into the shows and also access to an area in the balcony at the congress where you had your own bar and could watch the shows without being butt to front with strangers.  This year these special wristbands were pretty killer.  I hesitate to write this, because I don’t really want to share this in future years, but all 16 of you can probably squeeze in with us and not create too much of an issue.  First these wristbands get you access to a fenced off area where there are tables, chairs and about a billion porto-johns which, as you will see later in this post, are super important to me.  They also get you 10, yep ten, “free” beers a day.  This area where I could relax, drink, eat and make water was key to my old legs and back making it through three full days of punk rock.  Maybe I am not that punk, but not waiting in line for a bathroom is worth a little public shame these days.

But I digress, before the outdoor festivities began on Saturday there was a Friday line-up at the Congress, which I sadly didn’t see much (sorry Offspring, but you made some questionable decisions in the late 90s-early 2000s that I just can’t look past, yep, pretty fly for a white guy isn’t something that I am going to be able to forget).   Despite that little personal thorn in my side there, the real reason we didn’t spend much time at the Congress was that Brendan Kelly (Or S’s baby receptacle as S now calls him) and Alkaline Trio were playing at the Broken Bottle at one of the “Secret Shows” on Friday night. 

I use the quotes as the “Secret Shows” used to be announced the day of and only be accessible to wrist-bank holders for Riotfest.  It was a gamble who you might see (previously was awesome bands like the Suicide Machines, Teenage Bottlerocket, Sundowner, and on and on), but this year these shows were announced a month ahead of time, and although the wrist-bands got you in, separate tickets were also sold such that you weren’t guaranteed space unless you got there early, and in this case, stood in a pretty wicked line.  This year also saw headlines like Alkaline Trio, NOFX and (although not  headliner, Fishbone, who were fantastic as I will get to later). 

Luckily there is a bar close to the Broken Bottle that will let you use their restroom if you buy a beer. This is excellent business decision for this bar (whose name I do not recall for some reason…go figure)  as pounding beers in order to use the restroom becomes a pretty circular self-fulfilling endeavor, as I have bladder of a kindergartener and would have to run back to use the restroom and pound a beer more times that you would believe.    I see no issue with saying I had to, as I had to use the restroom, and in order to do that I had to buy and pound a beer.  Oh yeah, there was some music too that night, so lets get to that.  

Brendan played a great set.  Funny guy on-stage and funny guy online, check him out on twitter @badsandwich and for longer funnier posts  at badsandwichchronicles.net.  I don’t have any good pictures of this show as I was too busy being awesome.  Here is a pic I took, which pretty much can be viewed two ways (1) I took an artsy picture by adjusting my iphone in numerous ways to look this cool, or 2) the stage had lights.  You’ll have to just trust me that it is Brendan Kelly.  In any event, nice small venue and great crowd.

This reminds me, I saw a t-shirt at Riotfest that said that “A Hangover is gods way of reminding you how awesome the night before.”  I think that is true, and now will allow me to be more grateful for these awesomeness barometers. 

Alkaline Trio played a great set as well.  Very nice to see them play together, especially nice to see them play together at a small venue like the Broken Bottle.  I have always been a Matt guy, think I have seen them a handful of times and always left a Matt guy, however, and maybe this is because of the Slapstick show on Saturday that I say this, but I left Friday as  a Dan guy.  No offense to Matt, or his sassy hat, but color me Dan for the time being.

Again, pretty artsy/shitty picture, but shows the size of the venue and how rare of an opportunity it was to see Alkaline Trio in this day and age. 

So that was Friday, found our way back to our hostel (that’s right, stayed at Getaway Hostel, which was a painless experience, nothing special, but they didn’t beat us or anything or give us bed bugs).  If you are ever there, about two blocks away in an alley there is a woman with a BBQ pit selling sausages.  She assures me that she has all necessary permits and health department accreditation and that at 4AM she is the best food in Chicago, so check that out too (turns out, she has no website, so you’ll have to do some recon on this yourself).  Only help I can lend is she is about a block before the 7-11 from the Getaway Hostel and I believe at the end of the alley there is a techno dance club (apparently that still is going on).  I’ll get to Saturday soon, it was pretty killer too.

Weak Sauce

Posted: September 26, 2012 in Music, Travel

My attention to this whole blog thing has been, how do you say, shitty.  I have things to post about.  I went to Riotfest 2012 in Chicago and saw some great performances at a festival that I think has made a big and awesome  jump in moving outside.  I went to see the Notre Dame v. Michigan game in South Bend last weekend for a ND night game.    I have a lot to say, but, I am a little lame and busy and am not ready to say it and post pictures, but I hope that will happen soon.  In the meantime, one thing that happened at Riotfest big-time is I was reminded how much I like the Lawrence Arms.  But you say, “The Lawrence Arms didn’t play at Riotfest.”  To which i would have to concur, however, Brendan played the Friday night secret show solo acoustic and, in one of the highlights of the weekend, Slapstick played on Saturday and was awesome.  My good buddy S wants to have Brendan’s babies (and since S is a dude the logistics have yet to be solidified on making that happen) and wouldn’t shut about the man all weekend, so I have been listening to a lot of Brendan’s music for the last two weeks, which in turn means I am listening to a lot of Lawrence Arms, so below is my favorite song of theirs (at least currently). Enjoy, and don’t give up on this blog if you have been reading, as I predict great things in the future.  And by great, I mean OK if you expectations are low.

UPDATE: After reading the above I recieved a text from S that I have the story all wrong, as the truth is that S wants Brendan Kelly to have his babies.  Same logistical issues, but it was important to S that this be cleared up to his public.  I am sure this revalation will change the world.

If this is what the chalkboard says as you are walking into a show, get really, really, happy, then have some drinks, its about to be awesome

RIP Tony Sly

Posted: August 3, 2012 in Music

Well shit, Tony Sly passed away. Huge loss for all of us who love No Use For a Name and his solo acoustic work.  In a two-day span we lost Gore Vidal and Tony Sly, not much to say other than the world is two very talented people short right now.  As for Tony Sly, his music has played a role in my life since I was introduced to the band (albeit late) in 1997.  Great voice, great music, big loss.  I think that about sums it up.

Tony acoustic singing a fantastic song live:

 This is a cover of the Pogues, but one of my favorite songs ever when done by No Use For a Name and a good Christmas tune.

 RIP Tony (and Vidal).

Bring the Horn Section Back?

Posted: August 1, 2012 in Music

Although MC Lars wrote the song years ago, I have recently been thinking about the song  “This Gigantic Robot Kills” which officially discussed bringing the horn section back.  Pretty listenable song, and it is one of the inspirations for this post, check it out if you like:

Before I picked up an electric bass, I played the trombone.  Not very well mind you, but when I first heard some ska I realized that it was possible, not super likely, but possible for brass band kids to be cool.  I don’t recall ever wearing a black suit to a show, or wearing checkerboard clothing in general, so I probably am not going to compete for a spot in the Skankin Pickle fan club.  However, I like me some horns and some SKA.  Plus, with respect to brass general,  I still think that there are not a lot of things that are more pleasing to the ear than a horn section, so it begs the question, what happened to ska and the horn section.  Although there are still great bands that incorporate  a horn or two (see El Hefe from NOFX), and I have always thought that Flea on trumpet in the background of the Chili Peppers “Pretty Little Ditty” (on top of an amazing bass line) is something I could never get tired of listening to, but these don’t rise to the same level of good old Third Wave Ska.   Slightly Stoopid tours with a set of horns that seem to really add to the show.

One of the biggest and best parts of ska, other than the music itself, is the live show.  You end up with 6+ guys running around on stage and putting on a show.  I am guessing the size of the average ska band may also be the reason they dry up earlier than most bands, as money split 8 ways is less appealing than money split 3 or 4 ways.  In any event, the shows are awesome.  This is a clip of a Streetlight Manifesto show, these guys are pretty killer.

STL had a bunch of great ska bands, three that I recall extremely fondly.  The Urge seemed to lose steam the further it got from being a band with a real horn section.  These guys were idols (at least once they were not working in the stock room at Express in the Galleria). 

There was also a personal favorite, the secret Cajun band.  This band was the highest performing Land Polo playing team as an aside.  Had the pleasure to see them, albeit at a somber time, last year when they played a memorial show for Skip.

Last example, and one that definitely crosses between some ska and punk lines, which makes it a favorite, is the Mad Caddies. 

Not sure if it will take a continuation of Third Wave, of if maybe there is a Fourth Wave in the making, but I really hope that the horns keep coming back.  Less than Jake headlines Riot Fest 2010 one night, so maybe there is some hope.  Dickey and the Bosstones?  Reel Big Fish?  MU330?  The Skafia?  Where you at?

In summation, I think it is clearly time that we brought the horn section back.  Who’s with me?