Gauntlet Hair “Stills” New Album Review

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Former Denver residents Gauntlet Hair have a new album coming out, and even though they live in Chicago now, people are still crazy about their brand of dark noise pop here. The new album starts with an easily accessible bang with “Human Nature”, a solid dance song with steady industrial beats. The album continues in the same vein with haunting overlapping vocals and discordant tones and notes, giving some songs like “Simple” a great tension and release once you get to the bridge. This album has a heavier influence and sound, at times reminding me of Joy Division and Jesus and Mary Chain, which may be a little off-putting at first to casual listeners of their previous, more pop/dance driven album, but it also sounds more mature and I enjoy seeing growth and progression in a band. Though it is harder to listen too, this often proves more rewarding in the end. With lyrics about falling out of love and the death of emotion towards each other, this music is not meant to be so easy.

Watch the video for “Human Nature”: Gauntlet Hair video

Don’t let the band name deter you, these guys are not 80’s hair metal like I thought the first time I saw their name. They have a big tour schedule, check them out:

07/27/13 Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog
07/28/13 Hamilton, ON – The Casbah Lounge BUY TICKETS
07/30/13 Washington, DC – Black Cat w/ Jackson Scott BUY TICKETS
07/31/13 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s w/ Jackson Scott BUY TICKETS
08/01/13 New York, NY – Mercury Lounge w/ Dinowalrus BUY TICKETS
08/02/13 Brooklyn, NY – Glasslands w/ Jackson Scott & EULA BUY TICKETS
08/03/13 Boston, MA – Church of Boston w/ Jackson Scott BUY TICKETS
08/05/13 Toronto, ON – Drake Hotel BUY TICKETS
08/09/13 Chicago , IL – Empty Bottle BUY TICKETS
09/29/13 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West w/ Surfer Blood BUY TICKETS
09/30/13 Charlotte, NC – Visulite Theater w/ Surfer Blood
10/01/13 Carrboro, NC – Cats Cradle w/ Surfer Blood
10/03/13 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel w/ Surfer Blood
10/04/13 Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts w/ Surfer Blood
10/05/13 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Surfer Blood
10/06/13 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom w/ Surfer Blood
10/07/13 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall w/ Surfer Blood
10/09/13 Toronto, CAN – Lee’s Place w/ Surfer Blood
10/10/13 Columbus, OH – The Basement w/ Surfer Blood
10/11/13 Chicago , IL – Bottom Lounge w/ Surfer Blood
10/12/13 Iowa City, IA – Gabes w/ Surfer Blood
10/13/13 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club w/ Surfer Blood
10/15/13 Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room w/ Surfer Blood
10/16/13 Denver , CO – Larimer Lounge w/ Surfer Blood
10/17/13 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge w/ Surfer Blood
10/18/13 Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar w/ Surfer Blood
10/19/13 San Diego, CA – The Irenic w/ Surfer Blood
10/21/13 Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre w/ Surfer Blood
10/22/13 San Francisco, CA – The Independent w/ Surfer Blood
10/24/13 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom w/ Surfer Blood
10/26/13 Dallas, TX – Trees w/ Surfer Blood
10/27/13 Austin, TX – Red 7 w/ Surfer Blood
10/28/13 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s w/ Surfer Blood
10/29/13 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks w/ Surfer Blood
10/30/13 Mobile, AL – Alabama Music Box w/ Surfer Blood
10/31/13 Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder w/ Surfer Blood

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Phish Chicago Run- Wet and Wild!

20130723-132810.jpg photo by leslie loudspeaker

It rained every night of the Phish three night run in Chicago, and I found out I love Phish in the rain. Walking to the venue the first night was exciting, the park and museums along the water are a great way to enter a show. No Shakedown, but I rarely go anyway so it wasn’t an issue, and was running into most of my favorite people from Denver everywhere I look (way to represent, Colorado, between the guys in The Clinic shirts and the CO flag hats, I sometimes forgot I wasn’t at home). First thing I noticed when entering the gates was that this was going to be a free for all, the people that worked there didn’t do a pat down, barely looked in my bag, and barely even acknowledged me, really. Woohoo! Time for fun.

First night, they come back from setbreak, open with “Down With Disease”, and as Trey starts up “Prince Caspian” next, the crowd notices Page get up and walk over to Trey. Guys around me thought Page was mad at Trey for cutting that DWD jam, nope, the venue is making us evacuate because of a storm coming. While disappointed, it wasn’t the end of the world, I had just flown in before the show, at least got to hear Phish for the first time in almost a year, and we still had two more days. Pearl Jam down at Wrigley Field was delayed as well, but they ended up coming back on and some tour pros were able to catch both concerts. Impressive.

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Saturday afternoon my phone starts going off like crazy, a friend who knows people was texting us to get to the show early, we are getting three sets to make up for the lost one from the night before. All of a sudden the lawn tickets people couldn’t give away the night before are rare and going for $100. Glassy eyed guys walking Michigan Avenue light up when I tell them the news, Phish officially announces on Twitter and Facebook, and suddenly we have a mega show.

They started the night by finishing “Prince Caspian”, then proceeded to play what I only assume was the planned set 2 of the night before. Coming out full cylinder, Trey just destroys each song with energy and force, to the point that after “Ocelot” people were cheering their fool heads off like I’ve never heard for what normally is a bathroom break song for many. As “My Friend, My Friend” starts up, a thick cloud of low lying fog engulfs the Chicago skyline, and people on the Pageside stands were dancing at the city, conducting the storm. Rain starts up again, but they don’t kick us out this time, as tremendous peaks after seering guitar solos come from the stage, never taking a breather. The Weekapaug gets so down and dirty, “Waves” is perfect song for setting, and “Piper” has takeoff. After three sets of madness, I had never felt so alive and exhausted at the same time. Paid a jitney guy $40 to bike us the 1/4 mile to the hotel and it was the best forty bucks ever spent.

Night three started with the concession stands taking the caps from drinks like they usually do, but this time they then covered it with tinfoil. I have never seen a venue do this and if someone knows why I would love to hear it:

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Earlier in the day, some guy told me they were going to play Gamehendge tonight, that it was planned and he knows someone. Some guy always says this, but we did discuss the possibility of them dropping Harpua because of the storms and how they still had almost all GH songs left on the table still. (I thought of this guy instantly later that night and wondered who he knew). Once again, a storm rolls in during the show, but this time I was completely prepared, and they weren’t kicking us out. When they went into “Boogie On Reggae Woman”, something flipped a switch in everyone. The crowd was dancing like their life depended on it, punching fists into the sky as huge raindrops slammed into us sideways, Chris Kuroda’s lights lighting up the whole spectacle like an aerial shot from World War Z. Just awesome.

Finally they had to have a rain delay, I hid behind the stands for awhile, then went dead center where wonderful new friends from tour last year were. Go time, just like the night before they are playing with tons of energy, straightforward ripping rock and roll. I’ve noticed throughout the night that they’ve played “AC/DC Bag” and “Wilson”, and when they start “Lizards” (which was such a crowd sing-a-long, but not in the cheesy way, it felt like we were all unified after dealing with the weather together, like a bunch of lizards), I knew that guy did in fact hear something. Suddenly “ooom pah pah, ooom pah pah” comes out of their mouths and the crowd just flips. The storm’s gone. Harpua.

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Trey points to a guy with a sign that says “Poster Nutbag- the RIGHT way!!”, discussing how apparently they’ve been playing it the wrong way. They pull the guy up on stage and the guy to my left starts saying “Holy shit! Chris! I work with that guy!” and I’m thinking “how cool! Your friend is lucky!” then “No!! He’s not from Philly! He’s an actor at Second City!” And that’s how I knew it was a bit before the actors barely opened their mouths, funny coincidence. The crowd was a little confused, they knew something was going on when they started rapping up there, and I fell in love with this band even harder. Many people hated on this but I think a bunch of the best improv players in the country are a great guest artist for Phish to have on stage, the members of Phish are total cornballs, why NOT have some improv during the narration. Anyone who was irritated immediately was back to flipping out once Mike Gordon started telling the story anyway. “Mike speaks!”

All in all, an unpredictable, energetic, exhausting weekend that ended up being even more fun than I expected due to the weather. Phish give me a sense of freedom that nothing else can, and I’m ready for more next week in California. Added bonus, the Chicago Tribune got a pic of my friend dancing on the top of the stands and I’m just below him in my Jaws tank top (which caused a zillion guys to call me Sharknado when I walked around):

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Oh, and Page gets the VIP award for doing this sweet keys 360: Page’s sick 360 move

New Small Black single ready for summer mixtapes

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Small Black is another great band I caught at Southby. Ladies seem to love these guys, very catchy songs that you can’t help but dance to. Pretty synths build with pleasing vocals, the new album comes out May 14th. Going to sound great mixed in with other poolside music this summer.

No Stranger by Small Black

They are ending the tour right here in Denver at The UMS

TOUR DATES:
05/10/13 Brooklyn, NY – 7 Dunham Gallery Art Show
05/29/13 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall*
05/30/13 Montreal, QC – Club Lambi*
05/31/13 Toronto, ON – Wrong Bar*
06/01/13 Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch*
06/03/13 Chicago, IL – Schubas*
06/04/13 Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center*
06/07/13 Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret*
06/08/13 Seattle, WA – Barboza*
06/09/13 Portland, OR – Bunk Bar*
06/11/13 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw Stop*
06/13/13 Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex*
06/14/13 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar*
06/15/13 Phoenix, AZ – Last Exit Live*
06/17/13 Dallas, TX – Club Dada*
06/18/13 Austin, TX – Red 7*
06/19/13 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s*
06/21/13 New Orleans, LA – Hi-ho Lounge*
06/22/13 Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn*
06/23/13 Nashville, TN – Exit In*
06/24/13 Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506*
06/25/13 Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel*
06/26/13 Philadelphia, PA – Morgan’s Pier*
06/30/13 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg*
07/20/13 Denver, CO – The UMS