Review: Pale – In the Time of Dangerous Men

Pale - In the Time of Dangerous Men

Pale / In the Time of Dangerous Men / A-Blake Records

Remember the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” commercials? In the dozen or so times that I’ve listened to Pale’s sophomore full-length, I continue to find it hard to believe that this band wasn’t born on the other side of the great big pond known as the Atlantic Ocean. Not that I’m a great connoisseur of this style of music but my CD shelves do contain a few rows of releases by bands labeled “Brit Rock” and most of those releases are circa the early ’00s. Pale seemingly fits on this shelf even though the band is from Houston, Texas; so much for the “only country music comes out of Texas” stereotype.

My first introduction to Pale came via their video for “Catastrophic Skies”, a video that I described in an issue of The Big Takeover as a mix of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and The Lost Boys” – a visually stunning treat with a compelling story and sound. That song, originally intended to wind up on one of The Twilight soundtracks (it was bumped for a song by some guy named Thom Yorke), isn’t even the highlight on In The Time of Dangerous Men and that’s saying a lot. This is an album that should be listened to as such, not merely a collection of radio-ready singles of which you can pluck one or two of your favorites from the order-on-demand world of iTunes.

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Robert Francis played in Columbus last night

As Robert Francis’s headlining set was coming to an end last night, I leaned over to Kirk and said, “I’d like Pete Yorn a lot more if he sounded like this.” Kirk’s response was an instant Tweet classic, “Pete Yorn is a poor man’s Robert Francis.”

The LA-based singer channels some of the last 3 decades best singers – you can hear bits of Bono, Springsteen, Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams in his delivery – and while he maintains a moderately moody and subdued Americana sound, if you go into a live Francis performance knowing that the Chili Peppers’ guitarist John Frusciante taught Francis to play guitar at the age of 16, you’ll hear that influence as well.

At an hour and fifteen minutes, the set seemed a little short (no encore – the “hits” were played relatively early on) though it’s better to leave the crowd wanting more than overstaying your welcome. Dozens of people hung out after the show waiting to meet Francis and you get the feeling that if he plays his cards right (or, rather, if his management makes wise decisions), this will be one of those shows that you brag to your friends about seeing 10 years down the road (“I saw him at this small club way before he was headlining much bigger stages.”)

Catch Francis this September and October as the support act on the follow Jason Mraz tour dates.

11 Bangor, ME Bangor Waterfront
13 Utica, NY Stanley Performing Arts Center
15 Buffalo, NY SUNY Buffalo – Baird Point Amphitheater
16 Ypsilanti, MI EMU Convocation Center
20 Charleston, WV Clay Center For The Arts & Sciences
21 Greenville, SC Peace Center
22 Charleston, SC Carolina First Arena
28 Newark, DE Bob Carpenter Center
29 Columbus, OH The LC Outdoor Pavilion
30 Interlochen, MI Kresge Auditorium

4 London, ONT John Labatt Center
5 Ottawa, ONT Scotiabank Place
6 Quebec City, QUE Colisee Pepsi Arena

Drive-By Truckers played a surprise show in Cleveland

Due to Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell’s illness, the Cleveland stop on Petty’s tour was postponed but that didn’t stop openers Drive-By Truckers from performing a not-so-secret secret show at Cleveland’s tiny Beachland Tavern last night.

DBT’s Patterson Hood posted the following:

“The last time we played the Tavern Room at The Beachland Ballroom, Cooley tried to punch me out, smashed a guitar and threw the remains of it at Brad then proceeded to tear down the stage. (Feb. 2002).

They had to rebuild the stage the next morning.

We had an awkward breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

Our show with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Blossom Music Center was postponed due to Mike Campbell’s illness (GET WELL SOON!!!)

We have been bummed and sad and needed to ROCK.

Our good friends at The Beachland invited us to come see our friends The Old 97’s play and we asked if we could maybe give that small stage one more try.”

Guess it beats sitting in a hotel room and watching free HBO. My old concert-going buddy Chris Ricca reported that band performed a 3-hour sweaty set, a far cry from the 45 minutes they were supposed to play at Blossom Music Center as Petty’s opening act.

Thanks for the pictures, Chris!

Via Audio played in Columbus (4/29)

Spent the late afternoon last Thursday with Brooklyn band Via Audio out at Electraplay studio where we did an on-camera interview and captured the band performing 4 songs on video. Look for that feature on in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, thought I’d share some photos from the day (and night). I don’t own an iPhone and therefore can’t play around with Hipstamatic which makes photos look totally retro and totally bad ass, but I did play around with some of the filters on my photo editing software and the results look pretty cool … at least I think so.

Here’s Jessica from Via Audio laying down vocals at Electraplay.
Jessica - Via Audio

Later that night, Via Audio and local band Like Giants (playing their second to last show) played to a handful of appreciative fans at Rumba Cafe, perhaps my new favorite place to see a show in Columbus.
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Live review: Bang Tango @ Slapsy Maxie’s (3/10/10)

Bang Tango’s been touring off and on since 1987, the only mainstay in the band being singer Joe LeSte. I’m not sure the last time they played Columbus although I do remember the last time I saw them – 1996 at the Alrosa Villa with Warrant and L.A. Guns.

So – if for no other reason than to hear “Heart of Stone” and “Someone Like You” – there was no way I was going to miss Bang Tango’s show at Slapsy Maxie’s even though reviews from the band’s recent tour have been mixed at best (supposedly one night the set was mostly covers with just one or two originals; there have also been reports of sloppy and drunken performances).

Slapsy Maxie’s has only recently started booking national touring acts (Dirty Penny has played there twice; Tesla’s guitarist Dave Rude has an upcoming show) and it’s a bit hidden in a strip mall off the beaten path, but it’s an ideal venue for bands like Bang Tango that don’t have the draw they may have once had. And for those like myself who live for nostalgic moments, Slapsy Maxie’s delivered last night, not only with the selection of bands performing but also with the conversations I overheard (people were talking about the Bulletboys and Great White) and the music being played on the jukebox (Jackyl, Zeppelin, etc.).

Bang Tango hit the stage close to midnight with a lineup that include Alex Grossi (ex-Quiet Riot) on guitar, Lance Eric on bass, and Trent Anderson (ex-Muchacha, Rockit Girl) on drums (damn, I wish I had known about Anderson’s Chicago rock background before going to the show!).

Bang Tango setlist

LeSte traveled through Bang Tango’s back catalog playing a set of mostly familiar songs. I’m partial to the band’s first album, Psycho Cafe, and was happy to hear tracks like “Attack of Life”, “Don’t Stop Now”, and the previously mentioned “Heart of Stone” and “Someone Like You”.

Bang Tango did play a new song (“Suck it Up” from an album that has been in the works for a few years and still isn’t done) and tossed in a couple of standard covers (T-Rex’s “20th Century Boy” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”) for an efficient 13-song set.

Overall, totally worth the $6 cover charge. There are a lot of rock clubs out there like Slapsy Maxie’s that book bands like Bang Tango, The Bulletboys, Enuff Z’Nuff, D’Molls, Rhino Bucket, Broken Teeth, etc. Please make sure that if you dig these types of band, you go out and check ’em out so that these clubs continue to bring these bands around.

Photos after the jump.

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