The Octopus Project @ Granada

3:11 pm by

the octopus project

The Octopus Project is a 4-member band (including husband and wife members, Josh and Yvonne Lambert) from Austin that plays indie electronic music with only a handful of lyrics on a few songs. They have been around since 1999, with their first major album released in 2002 (Identification Parade). All of the members play various instruments including guitars, drums, bass, keyboard, and the theremin, which is an instrument controlled by your contact to two different antennae’s – one for the oscillator and one for frequency. Check out the full review after the jump.

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Colin Hay @ Granada Theater

3:16 pm by

Colin HayWords by Ross “Flapjacks” Freauf. Photos by Anna “HashBrowns” Vernon.

First off, I’m a Scrubs fan and yes, I loved 2 of 3 Zach Braff movies. (sidenote: I am straight) Featured on his platinum selling, Grammy Award winning soundtrack Garden State, Zach re-ignited the career of former front-man of Men at Work, Colin Hay. On Sunday, July 11, Mr. Hay wrapped up his American Sunshine tour at Dallas’ own Granada Theater.

Candle lit tables filled the concert hall with patrons sitting and waiting patiently for the man “From a Land Down Under.” Colin took the stage wearing a shirt that looked as if he may have had it made from Napoleon Bonaparte’s bed sheets. He started off the show with a hit from his latest release Prison Time. After the first song I had no idea it would be 10 minutes until the next. Worthy of a stand-up comedy tour, Hay would go on to tell stories of his life growing up in Scotland, moving to Australia, smoking weed, Men At Work, smoking more weed, sitcom songs, and even havingSir Paul McCartney do his dishes. The stories were hilarious. I laughed, I cried, I hurled. I attribute the last one to the Mexican food I had prior to the show. Read on >

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Mates of State @ Granada

5:03 pm by

Mates of StateWords by Melissa “Sausage” Cox. Photos by Anna “HashBrowns” Vernon.

 

Lovers of all things breakfast, I would like to introduce you to our new staff writer, Melissa “Sausage” Cox. Melissa is originally from Baytown but is enjoying Dallas to the extreme. We’re honored to have you join the musical melee, Sausage. –HashBrowns

Mates of State produces sugar-pop, harmonic melodies that I always put on when I want to be in a good mood. Not only is their music feel-good, but their story is too. The duo, made up of Kori Garner and Jason Hammel, met and played music together because they loved it, and, as such stories go, they fell in love and got married. Their first album was released 10 years ago, so the crowd at the Granada was quite a mixture of young and old, hipster and regular music lovers, and a little heavy on the females.

The night opened with a performance from a magician, which I sadly missed, even though I’m told it wasn’t very good. I also only caught the last 30 seconds or so of Free Energy, the opening band. I made my way down to the front for the show.

Mates of State’s beginning albums featured just the two of them in their drum/keyboard set-up. Their last few albums have a more robust sound with more instruments, so, for their live shows, they have two other people tour with them; one plays guitar and the other an assortment of instruments.

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Josh Ritter @ Granada

9:00 pm by

josh ritterWords by Michael “Grits” Smith. Photos by Anna “HashBrowns” Vernon.

Josh Ritter is the Richard Simmons of indie-folk music. He is sprightly, afro’ed with an ever present grin, and constantly skipping giddily around the stage. And from the moment the vintage, cartoon-proportioned incandescents that were part of Mr. Ritter’s theatrical stage get-up illuminated the stage at the Granada, the singer songwriter had the entire audience captivated like children watching a Disney sing-along.

Tuesday night at Granada consisted of 26 songs from the talented Mr. Ritter’s catalogue. Josh’s music certainly pays homage to many notable vintage songwriters, from Neil Young and Simon & Garfunkel, all the way to Springsteen and Tom Waits, but keeps tempo with many contemporaries, such as Death Cab and the Decemberists. Backed by a band sporting mostly turn-of-the-19th-century-bartender garb (who had no trouble keeping up with the skippy front man), Ritter drifted from dreamy sounding folk, to back-beated, up-tempo rock, and into his own brand of (what can I can only think to label as) forest-folk. Read the rest of the review after the jump.

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Robert Randolph and the Family Band @ Granada

9:31 pm by

robert randolph and the family bandWords by Dillon “Banana Nut Pancakes” Lamb

Six years ago Robert Randolph and the Family Band performed at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. Four years ago they opened up for the Black Crowes at Smirnoff. Last night I saw them once more, and got to see Robert trot out the same tired show for the third and (for me) final time.

RR&FB are a stellar group of musicians renowned for rambunctious shows heavy on audience involvement. Robert remains a joy to watch behind his steel guitar: he has a quiet, easy flowing charisma about him and a true gift when it comes to doling out some seriously funky gospel licks. The band is still tight, and even though a particularly muddled Granada sound was not doing any favors Saturday night, they still possess a fluid and relaxed familiarity with each other which is perfect for their jammed-out communal music style. Despite all this, last night’s show just came off a couple notches above Hindenburg. Read on after the jump.

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of Montreal @ Granada

10:06 pm by

of montreal

 

Dallas has not rocked this hard since Red Animal War, from Denton, in 2002; I finally had the same feeling as when I watched them absolutely dismantle The Gypsy Tea Room (RIP). The feeling that I am addressing is the possessive tribal energy that comes when you witness something that kicks ass and everyone around agrees that it does indeed, kick ass. Finally, after a recent string of concerts which featured a below average band or fanbase, I was able to revel in a band that enjoyed the hell out of playing and a crowd beaming with adoration. of Montreal had come a long way from their lo fi pop beginnings. Read on after the jump.

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Mason Jennings acoustic @ the Granada

8:56 am by

mason jennings
The easiest way to describe Mason Jennings style is to say he and his guitar are one. Yeah. One. Like Yoda and the force. His style was amplified in his acoustic set at the Granada in Dallas. Jennings doesn’t have the most beautiful voice, but it’s powerful. And when it’s paired in it’s odd canter to his guitar in an equally odd canter.. all I can say is it’s delicious. Read on after the jump.

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OK Go @ Granada

9:20 am by

OKGo

If You Are Interested in Where Pop Music is Headed,
Look No Further than Ok Go
Words by Michael “Grits” Smith. Photos by Anna “Hash Browns” Vernon.

I remember hearing Ok Go for the first time and being pissed off. How dare a rock band in the 21st century write something catchy? What the fuck were they thinking? Rock bands were supposed to be dark, brooding characters with greasy hair and/or leather. Not beautiful, suited frontmen who look like Cillian Murphy with an obvious taste for cultural irony and snark.

Then, I left puberty, grew a beard and realized that a band of four jaded assholes who write intelligent catchy pop is actually pretty bad ass, and way more admirable than a group of douches who over-pronounce their “R’s.” Ok Go grew on me and actually turned into one of my favorite bands. I’ve spun the hell out of their first two records and an EP they recorded with trombone band Bonerama, but regrettably have not picked up their third and most recent record. Read on after the jump.

The evening began with an overly vocal sound checker who checked each individual instrument and with me begging to god that the subs would push more air in hopes of it mimicking AC. Granada might be trying to save on their AC bill in the steamy Texas summer months, and I was losing fluid faster than my beers were replacing it. This was infuriating me, because I knew I was never going to take home one of the hundreds of gorgeous girls literally turning Granada into a sardine tin while dripping that much sweat. (Author Note – Crowd volume aside, you can assess with alarming precision how high an artist has ascended the pop-cultural ladder using a formula that calculates the ratio of pretty girls to guys wearing Jncos in the audience. Ok Go ranks much higher than Dinosaur Jr., but is certainly eclipsed by John Mayer.)

Ok Go has released three powerfully poppy LPs, but found a cultural niche with their viral videos. This unique brand of marketing helped pave the way for their musical success, but obviously made them a few enemies along the way. The cock-rock douches in Hinder were even quoted in Rolling Stone talking shit about Ok Go. (Author aside: Fuck Hinder) Midway through the show at Granada, Damian Kulash let the audience know that tonight’s show would be available for purchase on a jump drive along with their new record following the performance – an awesome incentive to buy instead of steal the new record. This was also after telling everyone that his two dogs were the presidents of Ok Go’s record label, which is why Ok Go was able to get their way so often.

This non-corporate approach to backing a band has obviously proved successful for the guys, and is one of the more creative approaches to making money in music I’ve seen. It wouldn’t surprise me to see major labels start copying many of Ok Go’s marketing tricks. Ok Go also commissioned State Farm to pay for their latestviral video for This Too Shall Pass, which is also a brilliant marketing move, allowing Ok Go to retain all creative control, but giving the corporate goons at State Farm the exposure of however many million hits said video has. (Fuck you major labels!)

The set began with Invincible, the first track off their sophomore EP, Oh No. Confetti burst into the air as the band began, and four suit-clad gentlemen emerged with the obvious intent to entertain. The rest of the evening would be a healthy mix of songs from all three records, ranging from a wonderful handbell version of What to Do? to the neo-soul jam Million Ways to be Cruel, to the latest single This Too Shall Pass.

What struck me the most about Ok Go wasn’t necessarily their stellar musicianship, although they were extremely tight all night. It was the ease with which they played that allowed them to entertain. Any night of the week, you can go see a band of technically sound, even impressive, musicians. But to see true entertainers is rare, and it is a gift that Ok Go has honed. Damian Kulash had the entire crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, and while I’m sure that was due in no small part to his dashing good looks, the fact that he and his band killed it all night didn’t hurt either.

The evening closed with perhaps the band’s biggest single Do What You Want and another confetti explosion. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen all year, and should they return, I will be attending again. Even if you aren’t a fan of radio-friendly pop, I would recommend going to the show. You will be in for an entertaining evening.

–Grits
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Centro-matic @ Granada

9:42 am by

centro-matic

 

Recently I had my first live experience with Centro-matic, at the Granada. I was solo that evening, and this show somehow hit that rare holy trinity of live music. Perfect venue, perfect crowd, perfect band. It might have had something to do with an odd last few days in my personal life, but that night something was in the air. I promise to keep the cliche’s to a minimum, so read on after the jump.

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Win Tickets to See Minus the Bear @ The Granada!

9:55 am by

Thanks to the ever-generous management at the Granada, we are thrilled to be giving away a pair of tickets to see one of the best bands from the Northwest – Minus the Bear. They are playing Dallas’ best live venue next Saturday, May 15th. Don’t miss your chance to check out one of indie rock’s finest prog-influenced bands that employs incredibly affecting and personal lyrics. Check out one of their better tunes below, and enter the ticket contest (winners selected randomly on Thursday, May 13th) by leaving a comment with YOUR NAME and CONTACT INFORMATION (EITHER AN EMAIL OR PHONE NUMBER) in THE BODY OF THE COMMENT. If you don’t give us a way to contact you, YOU CANNOT WIN. And if you don’t want to risk getting shut out, head over to the Granada website to pick up tickets to the show. Red wine with every meal…


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