Sunday, July 31, 2011

PurrView #23 - The Silent Comedy

(photo by Rebecca Joelson; borrowed from
   The Silent Comedy is a timeless, soulful band hailing from San Diego, who have performed with acts like Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Since the band's conception in 2006, they've blurred the lines of music to present a sound that incorporates special touches of ethereal vocals, keyboard, organ, banjo, violin, horns and mandolin with eclectic musical concepts, a supreme intuitiveness with each other and the crowd, and pleasing aesthetics that make this band a satisfying one to catch.
   Their videos, which can be found on their YouTube mix, are a deeply touching and positively entertaining time warp (i.e. the video for "Bones" And after catching them live for the first time, I see exactly the talent that has earned them an invitation to play the Dave Matthews Band Caravan at The Gorge in Washington State, this Labor Day weekend. Vocalist-guitarist-keyboard player, Jeremiah Zimmerman voiced to me his excitement for that upcoming performance. He noted that Dave Matthews Band had inspired him when he was really starting to play music in the early nineties. In addition to that, Jeremiah also stated of the caravan show, with an ear-to-ear grin, "… I'm excited to be playing the same show as The Roots too!"
   Last night, they completed their four-performance Las Vegas stop, playing the midnight show at Book & Stage, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The band had been in town playing shows with buddy-band, Saint Motel.
    I'd previously heard a bit of their music before this, but I hadn't expected such meteoric stage presence and funky vibe from guys that-- for the most part-- looked like they had just emerged from the prohibition era; suspenders, derby hat, handlebar moustache and all! But there was nothing rusty and old about their performance. I couldn't help but clap my hands and pipe in myself, yelling "Amen!" to tracks like "The Well" and "Gasoline." They played a well-paced hour long set, full of vigor that drew a hefty crowd to the Book & Stage Lounge, which had been rather empty (with the exception of an obviously faithful group of followers) just prior to them hitting the stage.  
   They have a unique chemistry with the crowd that is difficult for many bands to attain. But to these guys, the love that they make with their audience seems to just come naturally. And the name of the band-- The Silent Comedy-- is appropriate not only in their timelessness, but also in that, if their performance had been recorded and played back on mute, the silent visual performance itself would be almost as entertaining.
   This is an act that I definitely look forward to seeing again; and I'll be doing so when I attend the Dave Matthews Band Caravan at The Gorge, September 2-4. The Silent Comedy comes from unique, cultured musical roots and inspirations. They are a band that you can't just listen to; you have to experience them live to get the full, pleasing effect.  You'll be happy you did so!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

PurrView #22 - Moment of poetry: "Covers"

If only you could see me lying here naked;
lost in my covers, thinking of you.
The sunlight pours in
disappointing and rude;
my covers just thick enough to block it out.
Yet under the covers, there is still no escape.
My mind is awake, flooded with thoughts of
And yes-- to my dismay--
another day awaits.
My covers cannot protect me from that.
Nor can my covers keep out the sound of my cell.
The sound of those itching and burning to tell
of all the liveliness and loveliness I missed out on last night.
They're yearning for a chance to say,
"Hey friend, how's your day?"
But not one shred of a chance do I display;
for, once again, I pull the covers up, hoping to block out the pain.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

PurrView #21 - R.I.P. Amy Winehouse

             As I woke this Saturday morning, July 23, 2011, it was sad to hear the news that Amy Winehouse had just died. I also realized that she'd just become the newest addition to a list of well-known musicians/artists who've tragically died at the age of 27. Her death was confirmed by her label, Universal, and hails the end of her life; a bittersweet, paradoxical, melancholy story, more heart-rending than fiction.

   In her dark, velvety voice, and with such vocal prowess, Amy was known to croon lines like "I cheated myself like I knew I would," and now this may have tragically come true. Cause of death at this moment is unknown, but the rumors and statements floating around on the internet frequently refer to her known substance abuse problems. The world will not know for sure, if she cheated herself, until after her autopsy, which is scheduled for tomorrow, according to Winehouse-- who had canceled remaining shows in her European tour earlier this year-- had just checked out of a rehab/treatment facility about a month ago, according to NBC. And according to on-lookers, the singer's body was carried out of her London flat with a red blanket draped over her.   
Her most famous album, "Back to Black," her notable pompadour and her trademark dark, inked-up persona will surely be remembered for many years to come. Her memory will find a place comfortably on the wall next to such beloved, similarly-lost musicians like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison. Fans worldwide say "Good bye," to a golden, million-dollar voice, and a sad little bird will soon be laid to rest.

Enjoy these other Amy Winehouse videos...
(Here's to you in the afterlife, Amy!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

PurrView #20 - Old Downtown Art Scene

If you look close enough or peek down a few alleys in the area of "Old Downtown" Las Vegas, you just might find some great works from local artists that you can vividly envision on your wall; or perhaps you might find street art, like the pieces featured in this post...

Las Vegas may not quite have a reputation for being an art-mecca; but the artistry-- that is becoming more and more prevalent in the city's oldest parts-- projects an air of capriciousness in the face of typical Vegas vanity, that locals can't help but behold.

Though the event is currently on a two-month hiatus, "First Friday" ( ) presents a fantastic monthly occurrence that other cities around the country could only dream of doing on an annual basis in their arts district! And the galleries (i.e. ), artistic co-ops ( ), dive bars (Huntridge Tavern, Dino's, Frankie's Tiki Lounge), live music joints (The Bunkhouse Saloon), dance studios  ( ), tattoo parlors and lounges ( ) provide an eclectic alternative to the "Vegas, Baby!" Strip-mentality. Besides the few artsy examples listed, there are dozens of local businesses devoted to and reliant upon the arts scene in Old Downtown Vegas.

Whether you're a local or a visitor to our glittery city in the desert, come to Old Downtown and check the scene out....

... Satisfy your creative, artistic side!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

PurrView #19 - Down the Boulevard

'Just a tidbit about Down the Boulevard; playing Friday, July 15th at Cheyenne Saloon with
Alien Ant Farm...
When a hard-hitting Las Vegas punk band decided a few years back to make the transition to a sound more inspired by blues, with more soul and acoustic accents, while still preserving rock elements; that decision resulted in Down the Boulevard. With a passionate and energetic stage presence, DTB is a Las Vegas hard rock band partly comprised of three members of the former local punk act, Billy’s Kid. After playing out as Billy’s Kid in venues around town like the Double Down, Mike Love, Matt Hendrix, and J Willis envisioned breaking out of the punk mold and into good old alternative/hard rock. To do this, they brought on Louie Rodriguez and Jason Anthony, whose grandfather is actually the famous producer/director, Al Schwartz. In the band’s own words, “Making the switch from beer slinging, fist throwing punk rock to acoustic guitars and actually singing was a big step, but we knew it was time.” Thus, in 2009 Down the Boulevard formed to make this vision come to fruition.

Down the Boulevard has been a consistent act in the Las Vegas local rock scene the past couple years.  In addition, they’ve repeatedly headlined out of state at venues like the classic Whisky a Go-Go in West Hollywood.  DTB’s activity in the Vegas music community consists of playing with local acts like Article Pilot and South for the Summer, as well as with recent out-of-towners from Helmet to Gin Blossoms. Shows at spots like House of Blues, Feelgoods and Cheyenne Saloon have been a platform for the band to play their hearts out with ballad-like rock—the kind that fellas and ladies alike can relate to, in songs like “Outta Her Mind” and “Ruby” (about a friend that’s passed away). Four of their tunes are featured on their self-titled EP, including the song that started it all for DTB: “Take it All”.

In addition to continuously playing gigs around town at your favorite rock joints, like Hard Rock CafĂ© on the Strip and Cabo Wabo, Down the Boulevard is about to head back into the studio to add new songs like “Sick” (a groupie favorite), “The Wasted” (written by bassist, Louie) and “Far Away” to their recorded repertoire. DTB is local talent with a lot of heart and rockin’ roots.

Mike Love – Vocals
Madd Matt Hendrix – Lead Guitar
Jason Anthony – Rhythm Guitar
Louie Rodriguez – Bass
J Willis – Drums

Formed: 2009, Las Vegas, NV
Current Status: Recording and playing locally
Free listens and full band info at:


Saturday, July 9, 2011

PurrView #18 - Cave Country - "Pray This Dam Don't Burn Yet"

"Pray This Dam Don't Burn Yet" is the latest release from Cave Country; a four piece folk-indie-blues-rock act, hailing from the area of Highland Park, CA. Having a subtly daring, yet classic musical approach that feels just right to sip whiskey to, their sound has even been showcased on "Sons of Anarchy" via their tune "Panda Party" on a season 3 episode of the show.  The band is comprised of Jim Reynolds, Evan ApRoberts, John Thompson and Andrew MacIver.  Recently, I had the esteemed privilege of catching them play an intimate (6-band) backyard barbecue in the hills of the LA area, just before the release of the album. Lead guitar and vocalist, Jim, acknowledged that the upcoming summer tour and promotion of the new album is both "exciting and daunting at the same time." The excitement was actually all mine, as I slapped on my headphones and kept my auditory senses fixated on the new record for a good day and a half straight.
The nine track album, released June 9, 2011 is an album that's seemingly a recapitulation of-- and a soundtrack to-- a free-spirited journey through physical, mental and emotional road trips of the west. The acoustic rock sound is frequently infused with expert touches of harmonica, flute, keys, horns, traditional strings and creative percussion elements, set off by hypnotizing vocals and harmonizing.
Here's a rundown of Cave Country's latest baby…  (found at )
Pray This Dam Don't Burn Yet

1. Pray This Dam Don't Burn Yet
2. Huffrag
3. Travel Carrot
4. I'm Going Wrong
5. Stories
6. All We Could See Was the Sea
7. Magic
8. When You Ride
9. Cave Art
            The album starts out with a slow, twangy saloon-worthy rendition of some cowboy blues on its title track. But rather than dwelling on woe-is-me sadness, "Pray This Dam Don't Burn Yet" is an uplifting proverb of reaching for great heights, stating "Don't let life pass you by. Don't let evil change your mind."
From the beginning of track two-- "Huffrag"-- I couldn't help but shake my hips and snap my fingers to the funky beat. Proclaiming "Kick up your feet and stay a while…. Just another night under the canyon," the soulful track paints a picture of traveling along life's roads (most likely in something comparable to a V-Dub bus), embracing the most desolate stops; the stops that one remembers because of the souls encountered and their locations off the beaten path. 
The innocent, acoustic, almost lullaby-like sweetness of the sound of "Travel Carrot" is in remarkable contrast to the story told in the song. The story seems to be the account of a night years ago, laying in the cold dirt and air just adjacent to a cemetery; a memory of the sensations felt; a memory of being enveloped in beautiful, sweet, comforting morbidity.
The title of the fourth track on the album, "I'm Going Wrong," says it all for the classic sounding blues number. The song depicts an encounter in which the tear-stained visage of a brokenhearted bird is confronted; her eyes welling up with sadness. The song tells of how wrong the lyricist is for bringing her to this sad state; how wrong it is to do this to a lady. Yet it's an admission of how right it actually feels. The tune-- complemented by a satisfying blues guitar solo-- is a classic case of unrequited love and romantic disillusionment; its sound, seemingly born out of the deepest roots of Memphis' night scene.
"Stories" is an apropos country-rock blues number that asks the listener to take a good look around and notice that we're mostly alike. Though we're all different, we're one in the same with the rest of our lives ahead of us. But the song wisely reminds us to let go of those things and people that do not serve us in our own individual takes on (this "…big fuckin' game" of) life.
"All We Could See Was the Sea" tells of beach sunsets and ocean water that are as beautiful as the perfectly apportioned, harmonized vocals of the song. It's a flower-childesque melody that conjures up visions of hitchin' a ride up the west coast circa 1969.
The hypnotic drum tap on the album's seventh track-- "Magic"-- echoes in reminiscence of how a song or a certain person's smile can nip the blues in the bud. A lyrical excerpt from the song states "As we walk side by side bathing in light… sing our blues away." The slow romance of the song makes you close your eyes, breathe a sigh of longing, and shake-- not nod-- your head in agreement to the beat.  
"When You Ride" is another track on the album that is tastefully accented with a country twang. It tells of riding through life's moments, making your own personal history and reflecting on the past. The sheer poetry of the lyrics, in addition to the accompanying trumpet, psychedelic layers and strings in the song tell of how we crawl and ride along through life.
The closing song is one of the most emotionally moving tracks, and serves as a perfect wrap to this folk-indie-blues-rock journey. The ethereal voices of the band members on "Cave Art" are the flickering flame of a candle; the wax comprised of perfectly mastered instrumental talent, complete with what sounds like added touches of mandolin, woodwinds, horns, and creative percussive accents. As lead vocalist, Jim soulfully croons "When it's time for leaving… I just wish you'd been there all along," the organic, yet elaborate sound of the tune creates a welcomed heaviness in the listener's heart.
"Pray This Dam Don't Burn Yet" is a nine track collection of Cave Country's latest songs; a beautiful addition to the aspect of the music industry that is free of labels and politics. Kudos to Cave Country for their earthy, moving and satisfying folk-rock masterpiece of an album!