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Mac DeMarco charms a packed audience at Underground Arts

Mac DeMarco | Photo by Rachel Barrish | <a href=http://rachelbarrish.com target="_blank">rachelbarrish.com</a>
Mac DeMarco | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

Underground Arts hosted a packed crowd on Friday night with headlining act Mac DeMarco, who was touring behind his recently released second LP Salad Days. The laid-back, dreamy album caught the ears of many and it certainly showed as Underground Arts was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it. Mac Demarco has a swoonworthy and chill persona – baseball cap on his head and a cigarette in-between his fingers – and he performed a killer set of stoner love songs. With many longtime fans in the audience, folks sang along to the cuts like “Ode to Viceroy” and “Freaking Out in the Neighborhood” from his prior record 2. Opening act Laser Background used a megaphone and dreamy electric melodies to warm up the audience just right. And Juan Wauters had a stellar backdrop of various flags sewn together, incorporated with flickering light bulbs and Christmas lights throughout the entire set. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.

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Vacationer returns with “The Wild Life” from their forthcoming album Relief

Photo by John Vettese
Photo by John Vettese

Just in time for sunnier days and (comparatively) warmer temperatures, Vacationer has returned with a brand new single called “The Wild Life.” In the insatiably catchy and polyrhythmic track, frontman Kenny Vasoli sings about “starting to change, being less guarded and act like I’ve got it, I’m putting my heart in just to give it away.” Sounds like a positive foot to start out a new album on - Relief is due out June 24th via Downtown Records, preorders are available here, and if this track is anything to go by, it’s more of the the band’s breezy beat-oriented pop nuggets in the vein of Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot. Listen to “The Wild Life” below, and see Vacationer live at Underground Arts with Hellogoodbye on April 24th; tickets and information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Loop at Kung Fu Necktie, The Revivalists at World Cafe Live, The Behn Gillece Quartet at Underground Arts

Loop | Photo via facebook.com/soundheads
Loop | Photo via facebook.com/soundheads

Before there was Pure Phase, before there was Screamadelica, there was Loop. The short-lived UK four-piece blended nervy electronic rhythms and towering psychedelic arrangements in a similar manner as Spiritualized and Primal Scream, but disbanded before those artists really took off. Reunited in 2013, Loop is taking a pass through the U.S. this spring and headlining Kung Fu Necktie tonight; get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and watch a video for their cover of Suicide’s “Rocket U.S.A” from the 1987 album The World In Your Eyes below.

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Daniel Rossen mixes new and old in rare solo show at Underground Arts

Daniel Rossen | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Daniel Rossen | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Rossen played a solo, seated show at Underground Arts on Monday. Best known for his work with Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles, this is his first ever solo tour. Rossen released his debut EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile in 2012. Rossen’s intimate performance included a mix of songs off his EP and older, unreleased songs. Jokingly referring to the venue’s set up feeling a bit like an open mic night, Rossen played a cover of Judee Sill’s “Waterfall” requested by someone in the audience. Rossen closed the show playing banjo to his song “Balmy Night,” leaving the stage to a long and loud round of applause and cheering.

Nashville-based guitarist William Tyler opened the show playing a collection of songs off his 2013 LP Impossible Truth. Playing a set of emotionally charged instrumental music, Tyler entranced the crowd with his multi-layered guitar arrangements. Check out a photo recap of the show below.

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Ethereal UK beatmakers London Grammar played a captivating set at Underground Arts

London Grammar | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
London Grammar | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

UK trip-hop trio London Grammar returned to Underground Arts on Saturday night as part of their North American tour. Playing a sold-out show, lead singer Hannah Reid captivated the crowd with her soaring, yet intimate vocals. Backed by Dot Major on keyboards, djembe, and drums and Dan Rothman on guitar, the band played a mesmerizing 10-song set of sparse and ethereal electronic pop off their debut album If You Wait and Metal & Dust EP. Brooklyn indie pop group Haerts opened the show playing a synth-pop set including songs from their 2013 EP Hemiplegia. Check out the set list and a photo recap of the show below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Daniel Rossen at Underground Arts, S. Carey at Boot and Saddle, I Break Horses at Johnny Brenda’s

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

He may be best known as one-fourth of Grizzly Bear, but tonight Daniel Rossen will bask in the solo spotlight at Underground Arts. Rossen released his first solo EP Silent Hour/Golden Mile in 2012, which showcased his attention to mood, atmosphere and honest lyricism. Listen to “Silent Song” below and get tickets here.

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A resurrected Rocket From the Crypt bring high energy to a sweaty Underground Arts

Rocket From the Crypt | Photo by Pete Troshak |
Rocket From the Crypt | Photo by Pete Troshak |

San Diego’s Rocket From The Crypt proved they were back from the dead last week, rocking a sweaty, aggressive packed house at Underground Arts. The group disbanded in 2005 after fifteen years and seven guitar-and-horn-fueled punk albums together, including the classic Scream, Dracula, Scream! in 1995. The band was also known for saying that anyone that got a Rocket From The Crypt tattoo would be admitted to any show by the band for free. They reunited under the most bizarre circumstances, due to a children’s TV show. Singer John “Speedo” Reis is a recurring character on Yo Gabba Gabba called “The Swami” and the band reunited to play on an episode in 2011. One thing led to another and the band has since played some dates and a handful of festivals, sticking to their old material while being warmly received by fans that never expected to see them together again.

Timothy Olyphant look-alike Dan Sartain opened, delivering a memorable forty minute rapid fire set of his rumbling rockabilly punk rock. Joined by just a drummer, Sartain sweated and bashed out chords on his battle-worn Silvertone hollowbody guitar. The Ramones influence is obvious in his music and fittingly he kickstarted most songs with a hearty 1-2-3-4 countdown. The crowd seemed very familiar with his material, and sang along frequently. Sartain seemed to really appreciate the crowd’s reaction, and proved he was one of them by showing off an old Rocket From The Crypt tattoo on his upper right arm. Sartain has a new album called Dudesblood due out soon.

After Sartain’s set ended there was a forty five minute wait for Rocket From The Crypt to take the stage, which led to some grumbling in the sell-out crowd. All was forgiven when the band hit the stage and ignited the crowd with a trio of songs from their ‘95 EP The State of Art is on Fire – “Light Me,” “A+ In Arson Class” and “Rid Or Ride.” What followed was an intense twenty-plus song set spanning their career with neither the band nor crowd taking their foot off the gas pedal till the end. The six piece band barely fit on the small stage and the crowd was even packed around the open sides of the stage, giving the show a claustrophobic but exciting vibe. The crowd cheered and smiled throughout, regularly surging forward to get closer to the band. The highlight of the night was a swaggering blitz through the first three songs from Scream, Dracula, Scream! – “Middle,” “Born in ‘69” and “Rope”.that sent the crowd into a sweaty, moshing, roaring frenzy. The band’s performance spoke louder than words, and it said that this is a band that is still powerful and that can have a future to add to their past success. Here’s hoping that they stay together and make more music.