Carcass is closing the books on their Spring tour with Immolation and Creeping Death this week. Starting out in Austin, Texas and culminating at what might be the final Maryland Deathfest, I caught up to them at The Vogue in Indianapolis.
In early April Seattle, WA grunge rockers Pearl Jam embarked on a tour celebrating their 25th year as a band with no opening act. The tour made a stop in Hampton, VA at the famous Coliseum also known as the Mothership because of its dome shape. After deciding a few hours before show time to cancel their next stop on the tour in Raleigh, NC due to their opposition to the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2) they had recently passed, front man Eddie Vedder had a little extra aggression and energy for the performance opening with fast paced songs ‘Why Go’, ‘Mind Your Manners’, and ‘Corduroy.’ The crowd was in for a good show.
For those of you that aren’t aware, Pearl Jam is one of those bands that people follow around on tour because of their unique set lists, no two shows are ever identical. The show was no different, the band is great at tying in local stories, memories and people to incorporate them in the live show. Ed commented on how beautiful Hampton, VA was and that they hadn’t played in 8 years comparing it to the locust schedule. For a little over three hours the band played 32 total songs from 8 of their 10 studio albums as well as covers like ‘I am a Patriot,’ ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ and rare singles like ‘Breath’ from the Singles soundtrack, the whole show was engaging and left no one disappointed. Lead guitarist Mike McCready’s solos were on point most notable during ‘Even Flow’ and Soundgarden drummer turned Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron was keeping the beat behind the kit. Bassist Jeff Ament, rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard along with keyboardist Boom Gaspar glued it all together. Ed even performed a song from his solo efforts ‘Sleeping by Myself’ with full band help, and noting that Chris McCandless’ sister was in the crowd he played ‘Setting Forth’ from Into the Wild soundtrack (the film that was about Chris McCandless’ life).
Author’s note: I drove over 600 miles to get to the concert it was worth all of it. Pearl Jam is like one of the seven wonders of live rock and have to be seen at least once. Check out the rest of their tour dates at pearljam.com/tour.
Pearl Jam Set List:
Mind Your Manners
Brain of J.
I Am Mine
Given to Fly
I Am a Patriot Cover
Sleeping By Myself
In My Tree
Do the Evolution
Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
Rockin’ in the Free World Cover
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There is always the possibility of someone that is reading this piece and doesn’t know Swans at all, or doesn’t know Swans very well so allow me to speak about them for a while. This band founded by Michael Gira, the undeniable leader, was founded in 1982 and they are one of the most brilliant, relevant and influential bands of these last thirty years. There’s no space for discussing. It is what it is. They returned back in 2010 after a huge hiatus of twelve years (from 1997 to 2009) with My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope to the Sky (Young God) in 2010. Many people were expecting something that is normal to happen when a legendary and cult band like Swans returns to business: a failed attempt to recapture the golden age. Those people were not paying attention because Michael Gira was never a man of walking on the nostalgic and old-time lane. Swans’ career was always a fight to push forward, never stay the same and considerable moments of non-conformity through an ongoing desire of not being comfortable. Always on the run, never stopping to nest. The Seer (Young God) , the second Swans’ album after their glorious return, was the undeniable slap in the face (I took it and I’m proud of it) with the bold move to create an epopee that scratched the two hours mark. You need to have some balls to deliver something with two hours in 2012 – I want to remember you that most bands have problems creating something half-good for forty minutes. They did it. They had success because it was an intense, interesting and compelling piece.
If you need to have balls to release a two-hour long record in 2012, imagine releasing another two long record in 2014. To Be Kind (Young God), the new Swans album, is another epopee and once again they have succeed on the mission of delivering something that is always hitting the nail in the head, cutting all the fat (they had music for more than two hours, believe it or not) and working their way through pure moments of ecstasy. They use repetition to progress. They use the dynamics just to hit harder. They use soft sounds just because you need to know that there’s always calm before the storm. They are fuckin’ genius. What more can I say? I don’t dare talking about tracks because this to me is just one track two hours long, one track that is exciting from the very first second to very last one. They have created another masterpiece. Michael Gira’s artistic endeavor is capable of reignite the flame of ours hearts and wash our souls. Don’t know if we deserve what Gira has delivered in all these years. I know that I just want to say after listening To Be Kind: thank you!