Late last year I saw Black Box Revelation open a show at The Wiltern. I had to reference Google to remember what show it was, but I had no problem remembering Black Box Revelation.
What struck me about their show at The Wiltern was its authenticity. It didn’t feel like it was about money or fame, a “hit” nor a label. With Jan Paternoster and Dries Van Dijck (Black Box Revelation) it was simply: music. After that initial show, I vowed to see them the next time they came to L.A.
October 17th was a particularly busy night in Los Angeles, musically speaking. There were, at minimum, five competing shows I would have liked to see. Depending on the set times and the distance between venues – if you’re not drinking – it is possible to see 2-3 shows in one night in Los Angeles. I’ve done it before, but on this particular Wednesday night I was drinking and I was determined to see one band: Black Box Revelation, at The Troubadour.
When Paternoster and Van Dijck started playing, I forgot about all the other places I had considered going, the other bands I might have seen. There was a reason I vowed to see Black Box Revelation the next time they played in L.A. and I was rewarded for sticking to the plan.
Perhaps it’s because they hail from Brussels where, I imagine, if you’re playing music, it’s truly for the sake of playing music. It could be the lack of props and a light show that keeps the focus on the music. Or, maybe it’s the way some people compare them to The Black Keys and The White Stripes, which makes sense in that they play rock music and it feels familiar. Yet, Black Box Revelation is different. Perhaps the familiar feeling is the comfort that comes with consistency in quality.
During the course of two shows, I’ve identified numerous things I find appealing about Black Box Revelation, yet they still maintain a sense of mystery. Not only do they play rock & roll music, they are rock & roll, to the core. Their music is your invitation into their world. The rest is up to you. Don’t expect this band to put out a lyrics video. They won’t stop the show to explain the meaning of the next song they’re going to play. They don’t hard-sell you to visit the merch table. Black Box Revelation doesn’t insult your intelligence. They trust you’ll get it.
Before the music business there was music. Black Box Revelation is keeping that era alive.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Beady Eye, fronted by Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Andy Bell of Oasis, since May 2010, before they settled on a band name.
I was also excited when Beady Eye released their album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, on Dangerbird Records earlier this year. Dangerbird is one of my favorite labels. They’re artist-friendly, fan-friendly, good people, who give back to the community in numerous ways. In addition to being genuinely good people, the team at Dangerbird Records knows how to develop and launch artists authentically.
Beady Eye is kicking off a tour in the U.S. next week and will be hitting The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Saturday December 3rd.
One lucky Rock Is A Girl’s Best Friend reader will win a pair of tickets to see Beady Eye at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.
Here’s what you need to know to enter:
The contest begins now and ends at 11:59pm EST November 30, 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 Beady Eye, tweet about the contest, like us on Facebook, and more. ENTER NOW
Winner (1) will be selected by random.org and notified via email on the morning of December 1, 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 Wiltern on the evening of the show. Photo ID will be required to pick up tickets
This is an all-ages event
Transportation and accommodations not included
About Beady Eye:
Watch “The Roller” official music video
Here’s an excerpt from their official bio: “Music, it’s all about the music, we could all have sat at home after Oasis split but what would have been the point of that. We had a couple of weeks off and then we were back in the studio demo-ing. We’re musicians, it’s what we do, it’s how we define ourselves.”
That’s Andy Bell, one of the two guitarists in Beady Eye, explaining why the band had to happen.
“We love music,” enthuses Liam Gallagher, Beady Eye’s lead singer. “We’ve got these songs, we go in and we do them. We’re fired up, not because we thought we’d show everyone it could happen without you know who [Noel Gallagher], we’re fired up because we’re doing music.”
And with the line-up completed by second guitarist Gem Archer and drummer Chris Sharrock, and with producer Steve Lillywhite [The La’s, Morrissey, U2] also in tow, Beady Eye entered London’s RAK Studios back in June and over 12 weeks put down what Gem calls, “the best thing I’ve ever been involved in.”
“It was important not to sit and dwell on the past,” says Liam. “We’d just come off an Oasis tour and we were on fire, if we’d said, ‘let’s do something in a few months, or next year’, the flame would have burned out or we’d have got the fear.”
“It’s the best way to do it,” says Gem, “straight off the back of a load of gigs.”
And the results are nothing short of astonishing. Thirteen songs that are loud, vibrant, exhilarating. It’s raw rock’n’roll one minute, and classic pop the next from the raucous Jerry Lee Lewis and Stones inspired Bring The Light to the Merseybeat wonder of For Anyone, to the stomping T-Rex glam of The Roller to the pounding Millionaire and Four Letter Word. It sounds like a debut record by a band just starting out with a huge appetite for music, and despite individually all having made records for two decades or more as Chris Sharrock says, “that’s exactly what it is.”
I have numerous fond memories of shows at The Wiltern.
The Wiltern is where Nine Inch Nails played their final show. I’ve seen tons of rock shows there, including QOTSA, Wolfmother, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Mastodon. Most recently, I was inspired and moved by The Civil Wars’ show At The Wiltern.
As with most venues, there are parking tricks, secret bathrooms, and easy access to bacon-wrapped hot dogs after the show.
If you listen closely, there are multiple varying tones to applause: polite, obligatory, appreciative, supportive, congratulatory and many more. The sound of applause generates momentum and creates a feeling. Among the most special experiences is when audience applause sets the tone and spirit of a show, in contrast to coming after the events and moments of a show.
When John Paul White and Joy Williams (The Civil Wars) took the stage at The Wiltern, the applause led the show. It lasted a while. It was the sound of great triumph; the sound of victory. I don’t think I’ve experienced that specific tone of applause, in person, prior to this show. I imagine it’s heard during a parade when the hometown athlete brings home an Olympic gold medal. It may be similar to the sound of applause during the celebration of a victorious political campaign.
The applause of the crowd was amplified – we were applauding The Civil Wars, but we were also applauding ourselves. The Civil Wars are “our” band. There weren’t any radio stations, TV talk shows, publicity stunts, or million dollar marketing spends telling us we should listen to The Civil Wars. We discovered them and we told our friends. We purchase their music and sell out their live shows because we support true talent. The Civil Wars sold 100,000 records in 4 months, without a major label. The fans get credit for helping The Civil Wars succeed because there were only 3 factors in this “formula”: The Civil Wars, their music, and the fans. We did it. We “voted” for talent. And we won.
In Los Angeles, we’ve purchased tickets to The Civil Wars’ sold out shows at The Hotel Cafe (capacity: 165), Largo (capacity: 280), The El Rey (capacity: 700) and now The Wiltern (capacity: 2,300). We’ll follow them to The Greek (capacity: 5,900) and The Hollywood Bowl (capacity: 18,000). We’ll set up the “Who The Fuck Are The Civil Wars?!” website when they win their first Grammy. We’re proud of The Civil Wars. This is the music we’re choosing. These are the people we want to succeed. That is the sound of the applause that preceded The Civil Wars’ show at The Wiltern.
After the applause, the celebration, the fuck yeahs and the thank yous, the show began and, in contrast to the sound of uproarious applause, the crowd was silent. The music and voices of John Paul White and Joy Williams then carried us from one victory to the next, song after song, we celebrated The Civil Wars.
[Updated December 2, 2011]
The Civil Wars have been nominated for 2 Grammys this year: “Best Country Duo/Group Performance” and “Best Folk Album”. Here’s their interview with The Grammys upon learning the news:
It was so good the first night, I went back the second night, which was actually the last night of the Queens of The Stone Age (QOTSA) tour. QOTSA played every song from their debut album (yeah – that was a while ago), plus a bunch of other songs meant to remind you they’re one of the best rock bands around.
By the end of the second night, my hearing was compromised to the point that I couldn’t hear the letter “r” for 2 days. The margaritas led me to believe it was a sign, considering Rated R is one of my favorite QOTSA albums. As you will see from the tweets below, completely worth it.
For those with A.D.D., Queens of The Stone Age at The Wiltern (I hope you didn’t miss it):
Venue rules, not QOTSA rules
You can click to make these bigger or put on your reading glasses:
One of my friends asked me what I was doing tonight. When I told him I was going to see Wolfmother, he responded, “Wolfmother? I don’t know what that is, but I wanna go.” And that’s why I’m friends with that guy – he knows a good thing when he hears it.
Maybe it’s due to my long holiday away from live music . . . Or perhaps it’s just the fact that Wolfmother is an outstanding band, but that was one hell of a show. The audience was among the best I’ve seen in LA – clapping, stomping, jumping throughout every song. If they weren’t already standing, the audience would have given a standing ovation after every song. There were times it looked as if the band was thinking, “Wait – is this our encore?” during the thunderous applause and cheering that followed every song. No, no. . . that’s just your third song, but you played it like it was an encore and the audience responded with the same level of enthusiasm. Wolfmother played every song as if it were their banner hit – a larger than life, extremely energetic and passionate performance start to finish.
Wolfmother played every song as if it were an encore performance
I wonder if Wolfmother knows this was the best show they’ve ever played. I wonder if, from the band’s perspective, this was an exceptional show. . . or have they all been this good? Andrew Stockdale’s voice, guitar solos, and dynamic stage presence took the show to another level. At one point, Ian Peres was playing keyboards with his right hand and bass with his left hand, simultaneously. At another point, Peres was playing keyboards and his feet weren’t touching the ground at all. Peres frequently needed to untangle himself from the cable he’d gotten caught up in while tearing around the stage.
Andrew Stockdale and Slash
Wolfmother weren’t the only ones tearing around the stage. During the encore Stockdale invited Slash out to play “By The Sword.” Whatever the audience was doing before Slash hit the stage, they turned up 300 notches when he did take the stage.
This was the last show of Wolfmother’s U.S. tour. Wolfmother doesn’t just get up there and play — they GET UP THERE AND PLAY!
And the fans continued screaming and cheering as they traversed the parking garage, on the way to their cars.
There’s not much to say. Last night marked the final performance for Nine Inch Nails for the foreseeable future and I was standing 5 feet from the stage. It doesn’t get much better than that. In fact, it might not get any better than that. Unless, of course, NIN says “just kidding” and start touring again next year.
The thing is – it didn’t seem to matter where you were standing for this show – everybody who was there was just happy to be there. I saw a post from a woman who was in the furthest seat back in the balcony and she sounds as moved and excited as me.
It hasn’t really hit me yet that this is the last time we’ll be seeing this band perform live, especially since I got used to seeing them almost every-other day during these final four shows. I even ran out of black t-shirts to wear. I’ll post some videos, pictures, and the setlist below, but let’s start at the beginning.
Any Nine Inch Nails show is an experience, but the experience of this show began with fans trying to get tickets during the original on-sale and people traveling in from around the world to be at what was actually supposed to be the second-to-last show ever. As evidenced on the tour posters and shirts, the schedule changed last-minute when Trent became too sick to perform following the initial show at The Palladium. This meant the Henry Fonda (2nd) and Wiltern (3rd) shows had to be rescheduled. The Echoplex show, which was originally billed as the final show, went on as scheduled last Sunday, making it the 2nd show instead of the last show. Confused? Imagine how the bosses, family members, spouses and friends of all the people who took time off work, traveled across the country (or from other countries), and camped outside days before each show felt! I met people who couldn’t tell their family they were in town from Chicago because they surely wouldn’t understand why they popped over to LA for a day to see Nine Inch Nails, but haven’t visited the family in a year. But in the end it all worked out. Trent was well enough to perform the shows the way Nine Inch Nails is known and will be remembered for, and some fans who couldn’t previously get tickets were able to get into the rescheduled shows (although others who originally planned to be there had to return home to their jobs and families).
Speaking of family – Nine Inch Nails fans are family in a way that I haven’t experienced with any other band. There are definitely communities of fans that become friends through their shared love of a band. And jam band fans in particular run into each other while following their favorite band around the country. But Nine Inch Nails fans might as well be blood relatives. They look out for each other and NIN in a way that only a protective family member would. And the band does the same for their fans. In a fairly successful attempt to eliminate the scalping of tickets for these shows, Nine Inch Nails controlled all ticket sales, limited 2 tickets per person, printed the buyer’s name on the tickets, required ID of the buyer for ticket pick up, both the buyer and the buyer’s guest had to be present to pick up the tickets and then a wristband was placed on both people for entrance into the show. When the band found out that somebody was purchasing large quantities of event shirts and selling them on eBay (causing shirts to sell out at the venue before the fans who were there could purchase one), they limited people to one t-shirt per customer. And although they announced their Summer tour would be their last, Nine Inch Nails realized the impact this would have on their fans and added these final intimate club dates as a proper send-off. And then they played their souls out.
A small section of the line that spanned for blocks
Driving up to The Wiltern was quite a sight. I passed by the venue Wednesday at midnight and there were already a good 15 – 20 people camping outside. Dave Navarro also stopped by, brought water and snacks for the fans, and hung out for a bit. Then, by 2:00pm Thursday, the line wrapped around the block so that you could look through the alley and wave to the people waiting on the next street over.
The funniest thing to see were these huge straw patio umbrellas that several people seemed to have. It was HOT outside and once people discovered that Ralph’s sold patio furniture, they cleaned them out. Straw patio umbrellas were only $8 and they sold out in a flash. This was also one of the few places where the line for the men’s restroom was longer than the women’s. At one point, a guy drove by, blasting Lady GaGa. If you drive by hundreds of Nine Inch Nails fans, with Lady GaGa as your soundtrack, you deserve the ridicule you receive. There was a fan who walked up and down the line, giving everybody candy. “I’ve stood in this line 3 times (for the previous shows). I know how it is,” she said. Somebody asked me, “is there a show happening here?” I answered, “no” – you’ve got to be at least one step ahead of that for me to respond to you seriously. Somebody asked a guy next to me “who’s playing?” and the guy, who had been answering that question since he arrived at 7:30am said, “Michael Jackson.” Now, you might not think that’s funny. But the person’s response was, “oh – cool!” and that’s either funny or scary. Then, there’s the “t-shirt douche” – the guy who bought NIN event shirts en mass and tried to sell them on eBay for more than $200 each. As soon as fans figured out who this guy was they took a picture of him and posted it online (along with some additional descriptive graphics added in Photoshop). They shared it on Twitter and in the NIN forums and told everybody to be on the lookout for the “t-shirt douche.” But what was even better than that is that people passed out fliers with the guy’s picture on it while everybody was waiting in line. So now you have a line of several hundred people, holding these fliers that look like an R-rated version of an “America’s Most Wanted” poster and what happens? The “douche” walks by, head down, as fans call him out and require him to leave. Do not f*ck with Nine Inch Nails fans.
Once inside, there were the celebrity sightings: Tony Hawk, Ron Jeremy (for whom the crowd chanted and cheered), Rick Rubin, Tony Kanal (No Doubt), and Penn Jillette. But mostly there was the anticipation, excitement, and a bit of sadness that loomed in the air as everybody waited for Nine Inch Nails to take the stage for the last time. The show was amazing. All of these shows have been. I’m actually afraid to see live music for a little while because it’s going to take a lot to move me after this.
There are Artists, Musicians, Singers, Composers, Performers, and Songwriters. Some people are only one of those; Trent Reznor is all of them. He writes some of the most beautifully composed music you’ll hear. His music constricts and expands, extremely intense at times and then giving you space to breathe and expand with the notes. He has the ability to take all those sounds he hears in his head, and to articulate and translate them into something I can hear, process, and that moves my soul. His voice is exquisite – speaking and singing – I could listen to him for days. He’s honest and raw and 100% who he is – whether you (or he) like it or not – which makes his performances as real and authentic as they get. He’s given us 20 years of exceptional music and outstanding live performances. Even if you don’t like him, you gotta love him.
Numan and Reznor
The set list was 3-4 pages in length and they played for over 3 hours. Dave Navarro joined for a couple songs, as did The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mike Garson (Bowie), and Gary Numan. When they came out for the second encore Trent asked the crowd, “Are you guys tired?” Of course the crowd screamed “no!” and cheered. “No? Ok, I’m gonna test you.”
Although I don’t typically post set lists, I’m doing it for these shows because they’re the last shows and you can tell that a lot went into constructing a set in-line with such an event. So here it is:
2. Somewhat Damaged
3. The Collector
5. March of the Pigs
6. Something I Can Never Have
7. The Frail
8. The Wretched
10. Head Down
12. Just Like You Imagined (with Mike Garson)
13. La Mer (with Mike Garson)
14. Eraser (with Mike Garson)
15. The Becoming (with Mike Garson)
16. Down In The Park (Gary Numan cover) (with Gary Numan)
17. Metal (Gary Numan cover) (with Gary Numan)
18. I Die: You Die (Gary Numan cover) (with Gary Numan)
20. Letting You
22. Suck (Pigface cover)
23. Down In It
24. The Hand That Feeds
25. Head Like a Hole
26. Me, I’m Not (with Atticus Ross)
27. The Warning
29. Gave Up
30. Mr. Self Destruct
32. Atmosphere (Joy Division cover)
33. Dead Souls (Joy Division cover)
34. The Good Soldier
35. The Day The World Went Away
37. In This Twilight
Here are some videos and photos from last night’s show, including Trent’s final speech to the audience. But first, a thank you to Nine Inch Nails for the past 20 years, the music, the shows, the love, the heartbreak, and the friends met along the way. Look forward to hearing what you guys do next.