I like it when, upon finishing a conversation with a band, I realize I can’t actually write a thing they said. Not that they said anything “taboo” — The Stone Foxes talk about what bands should talk about: music, playing shows, catching up on sleep in vans. . . and drinking.
They’re not trying to sell you their latest “viral video” or a million dollar iPhone App that looks like it’s important, but means nothing. They’re not trying to sell you anything. The Stone Foxes are more interested in ordering pizza and reminiscing about last night’s sold-out show at The Independent.
I initially experienced The Stone Foxes this summer, at Outside Lands music festival. As we entered the festival grounds that day, the energy radiating from the stage they were playing sucked us in. We dropped plans to meet up with friends and stayed to watch The Stone Foxes instead.
Their show at The Viper Room tonight encapsulated everything I love about them. They’ve obviously watched bands they admire perform. They understand what it takes to move a crowd and they consider that. They don’t come across as “expecting” anything. They work for it.
Between songs The Stone Foxes may veer into lighthearted banter. They’ll have what, on the surface, appear to be harmless, let-your-mind-relax-you’re-here-to-have-fun conversations. Then, just when you fall for it, when you’re relaxed and laughing along – they’ll look up at you and start rocking. For real.
They’re not trying to “be” anything. They’re a band, playing music, enjoying their time on stage. They’re not trying to look too “pretty.” I don’t get the sense they’re trying to prove anything. It’s simply about the music. It’s refreshing. It makes me trust them. The audience is authentic too. “Are those real lighters??? You’re using real lighters! Those aren’t lighter Apps. . . That’s old school,” The Stone Foxes observed of their fans, with appreciation.
The Stone Foxes
They’re “in it” for the right reasons – they love playing music. They feel the weight of the long drive, but they’re not complaining. Instead, they’re talking about being on stage, playing a great show, pushing through to a heightened level of energy, inspired by the crowd on the other side of the curtain.
Like their stage banter, The Stone Foxes’ music is serious, yet whimsical. They’re seriously playing, but they do it so you can too. It’s bluesy rock music you can bounce around to. It’s rock and it’s fun. It makes you feel like you can have it all.
It’s endearing watching Shannon Koehler play drums, with a big smile. . . until you realize that, like a child, that smile is indicative of something noisy heading your way. That epiphany hits you at the precise moment Koehler kicks it up ten notches. You return the smile as if to say, “you fucker. . . that was good.”
They seem happy. Lately, so many musicians appear to be so pissed off. Yeah, it’s hard. And, you may never make a cent doing it. People “less-talented” than you are climbing faster. But do you love playing music or not? The Stone Foxes, setting out to prove nothing, made me believe that they love music, that they appreciate having the opportunity to be on stage, playing for us, and that they’re having fun doing it.
By the way, check out The Stone Foxes’ website, http://thestonefoxes.com. It does everything I want a band’s website to do. I can find everything I’m looking for, without having to search. That’s what I like about their shows as well.
I used to discover a lot of great bands at music festivals. Lately it seems they’re booking more mainstream, established bands, which is understandable because it helps deliver ticket sales. Yet, I’ve really missed the days of discovering my new favorite bands at music festivals. Thankfully, one band changed that, with their appearance at Outside Lands Festival this year: The Stone Foxes.
We entered the festival on the afternoon of the second day, walking quickly to meet up with some friends. The Stone Foxes stopped us in our tracks with their great songs, energetic and authentic performance. We texted our friends the new meeting location: “The Stone Foxes at the Sutro stage.” We’ve been talking about that show since August.
One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see The Stone Foxes at The Viper Room in Los Angeles on November 16, 2011. Here’s what you need to know to enter:
The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST November 15, 2011
You will see there are several ways you can enterand you can get additional entries for each thing you choose to do. You can follow us, tweet about us, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of November 16, 2011. Winner will have 5 hours to respond before a new winner is selected
Your tickets will be available for pick up at Will Call at The Viper Room on the evening of the show. Please bring photo ID.
You must be 21+ to attend this event
Transportation and accommodations not included
About The Stone Foxes:
Here’s an excerpt from their official bio: It’s not just great song writing, warm guitars, a nut-tight rhythm section, and the occasional blues harp riffs that make The Stone Foxes’ second album, Bears and Bulls, so good; the Bay Area band consisting of brothers Shannon and Spence Koehler and Aaron Mort have captured something else that makes the whole thing huge, and very, very cool. There’s a genuineness here that’s rare and refreshing, and it’s something that can’t be achieved simply by grabbing a couple of vintage axes and plugging into a stack of tube amps. Because while The Stone Foxes may be influenced by the greats of the late 60s and early 70s like The Band, Bob Dylan, and Led Zeppelin, they never sound like they’re trying to be anything but exactly who they are. What makes the The Stone Foxes so unique is their approach to making music. “We’ll never be a traditional studio band,” says Aaron. That makes perfect sense to anyone that’s been to one of their shows: it’s clear the Foxes care far more about performing their music for living, breathing human beings than an empty room filled with microphones.
The band has been on the road winning over audiences all over the west coast including a opening for the Black Keys in Phoenix, and will continue on tour doing club and festival dates, including Wakarusa, Outside Lands, Deluna Fest, Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Series and The New Orleans Voodoo Experience. The band is writing and recording to support the upcoming summer dates on which fellow Bay Area musician, Elliot Peltzman is lending a hand on keys for the recording and tour.
The Stone Foxes’ new video for their song, “Psycho”, is comprised of fan-submitted footage, cut and edited by the band:
I have many fond memories of shows at The Viper Room, as well as some foggy ones (thanks to their strong drinks).
The Viper Room is a real rock venue. It’s located on The Sunset Strip, you can still chew gum there, it’s dark, the floor is sometimes sticky (quit spilling your drinks, people), the music is loud, and I’m certain I already mentioned the drinks are strong.
When you want to see a rock show in LA, The Viper Room is your venue.
Standing outside the Viper Room moments before Janelle Monae was set to take the stage, the guy standing next to me exclaimed, “Did you see THAT?!”
“What?” I asked him.
“There were all these people… and they’re wearing cloaks and hoods… and there’s a bunch of them… and they just walked into the Viper Room!!” He took a moment to catch his breath and then said, “what was that??”
That, my fellow music lover, is Janelle Monae. Welcome to the experience.
The first time I saw Janelle Monae was during SXSW 2009, at a small venue called, Vice. Let me clarify, I didn’t see Monae at all actually. The stage is low, people in Austin are tall, Monae isn’t tall, neither am I. The venue also may not be that small, but it was so crowded in there that it felt like we were playing a musical version of that How-Many-People-Can-You-Fit-In-A-Phone-Booth game. So, I didn’t see Monae at all, but I felt her. Everybody felt that performance, as well as Monae’s 3 previous shows earlier that week. Village Voice named Monae “Best In Show” at SXSW 2009.
The second time I saw Monae, I saw Monae. New Orleans Voodoo Festival 2009. The stage was elevated and so was everybody else. Not by substance, but by the energy and fire that emanated from Monae and the talented ensemble of musicians that surrounds her.
Good things come in 3’s and the third time I saw Monae was at the Viper Room, capacity 250. The moment I walked inside the venue and felt the energy of the crowd, remembered the compact, elevated the stage, the way the room wraps around it, making you feel like the person standing at the other side of the stage is a long-lost friend, the energy Monae is known for and the way it moves the audience, I actually considered the fact that The Viper Room may not be standing the next day. “You are about to be part of a show that crushes The Viper Room,” I thought to myself.
The house music came down, as did the lights, and Monae’s voice was heard overhead, describing the Emotion Picture experience, a 2-evening, multimedia, multi-sensory event, that was about to envelop you and everybody around you. Consider yourself warned. This is different. Monae encouraged people to come both nights to get the full Emotion Picture experience, but, if you couldn’t make it to both nights, Monae assured you, “We’ll see you where we always see you. . . in the future. . . ”
As the curtains drew back, another voice was heard, this time a man whose introduction to the show further reinforced the fact that we were all part of something unique and powerful (a good reminder about life in general). “By now you should have already Tweeted,” he said moments after I actually had Tweeted that the Viper Room may not be standing the next day. “Your Facebook status update should say, ‘I’m at the sold-out Janelle Monae show at The Viper Room’ and if you’re still on MySpace, kindly excuse yourself.” The crowd laughed, the curtains opened, a movie screen lit up center stage. Emotion Picture had begun. Cloaked and hooded, the band made their way to their instruments and began playing. At that moment, the audience went from watching an Emotion Picture on screen to experiencing it. This, and more, is what happened next:
Monae is right — we will see them in the future. They’re going to be around for a long time.
Prior to kicking off their U.S. tour Jack’s Mannequin decided to do a warm-up set at The Viper Room. The impromptu show was booked Monday night, announced just before noon on Tuesday, and sold out shortly thereafter.
I like Jack’s Mannequin. Andrew McMahon, Jonathan Sullivan, Jay McMillan, and Bobby Anderson all played and sounded great, despite numerous technical difficulties. “Good thing we got this shit out of the way,” McMahon exclaimed while Anderson fumbled with a faulty guitar cable.
They played a long set consisting of songs that most everyone knew the words to. The crowd sang along at the top of their lungs to tunes including “Crashin’,” “Resolution,” “Bruised,” and “Spinning.”
I found myself getting lost in the music and the band’s animated performance. The mix was right, the sound was great. . . Things were almost too perfect. “I hope they’re not a Christian band,” I thought to myself. Seconds later, as Jack’s Mannequin transitioned from “Spinning” to “The Lights and The Buzz,” McMahon remarked, “This is a Christmas song, but it’s about some fucked up shit!” Phew.
(Not that there’s anything wrong with Christian bands. . .)
I’ve been following Naomi’s career and watching her perform since 2006, but I’ve missed a few shows recently and I won’t do that again. During last night’s performance at The Viper Room, Naomi performed some of my old favorites including “Say It’s Possible” and “Vicodin Song,” along with several new songs which have already become favorites.
“You For Me” and “Nobody Knows You Anymore” are songs about love, loneliness, and being okay with it all. Naomi’s voice is beautiful as ever, but what I love most about Naomi and her music is that she’s real. Yes, she’ll sing about pills, strippers, and infidelity; and she’ll sing about them with a smile (likely because they’re in the past).
I often see (and choose not to write about) some pretty, off-the-shelf, perfect-package bands – the ones record labels love. They look the part, they have catchy tunes, they sing about things they’ve seen on the news but haven’t experienced, and their lyrics are accessible enough that they don’t require any thought or reflection on the part of the listener.
Terra Naomi: okay with it all
Terra Naomi is the complete opposite of this and therefore represents everything I love. She’s honest and real, never compromising her integrity or music for the sake of a cute pop song. Her songs are fantastic, but you’ll likely not hear them on The Hills, so be sure to see Terra Naomi when you have the opportunity.
If you missed last night’s show at The Viper Room, you can catch Terra at Hotel Cafe tonight at 8:00 pm.