While McCarthy’s Media Menace has been enjoying a two-year hiatus, Mr. McCarthy has been working on and fine-tuning his own music. (See McCarthy and the Red Menace for more information.) As he is a big fan of The Raveonettes, he has scoured the Googles and Interwebz for photos such as the one below, wondering just how the band gets that special sound.

With every tour, the board seems to change. This photo was taken at the band’s recent stop at the A&R Music Bar in Columbus, Sept. 29:

Here’s the breakdown:

Eventide Space
Boss TU-3
Boss RV-5 (I believe that one’s set to Plate–not sure–and was a secondary reverb)
Boss RV-5 (I believe that one’s set to Spring, and was on the entire show)
Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Octave Fuzz
ProCo Rat 2 (in terms of a clock, settings appear to be D=9ish, F=9ish, V=1-2ish)
MXR Micro Amp (every time he punched this thing, it got LOUD, as if it couldn’t get any louder)
TC Electronic Flashback

After a slight misstep with the previous, Best Coast installment, the Inglourious Black and White series is back to form with a much-anticipated sequel. In June 2009, Justin Townes Earle graced the Kent Stage for the second time in his career. The uploaded black and white videos from that performance set a standard of sort, even garnering interest from the singer/songwriter’s management and appearing on the foremost authoritative blog on Earle, Halfway To Jackson.

Will these clips, shot Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, match the all-around success of those? Probably not. For one thing, I was late in getting a good seat, so I hunkered up in what is probably considered the balcony. It seemed like a good idea at the time, what with the ledge divider and all. Except I failed to realize I was shooting in what was the primary exit path for the right side of the jam-packed, 600-seat theater. So there’s that — people unknowingly walking in front of the camera. Couple that with the complexity of framing. Yes, framing. There’s something about an active camera that seems distracting when it comes to Earle. He’s so dynamic and classic-looking that I’d rather the videos have a ’50s feel to them. (The unintentional focus issues on some of these only adds to that fuzzy, old-school television appearance.) That was tough because his supporting cast, stand-up bassist Bryn Davies and fiddler Josh Hedley, occupied opposite ends of the stage, demanding either uninteresting wide shots or more camera movement. Which is why most of the following videos are the more intimate, minimalist efforts. Such inclusions are: a cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s “Racing in the Street,” “Someday I’ll Be Forgiven For This,” “Slippin’ and Slidin'” and the new track, “Won’t Be the Last Time.”

One particularly enjoyable moment in the evening arrived during the encore when Earle attempted a song he normally nails every time. Apparently, he hadn’t played “So Different Blues” by Mance Lipscomb for a while, because he messed up a lick numerous times and forgot the best verse. The result is strangely charming nonetheless.

I could go on talking about the show — how surprised I was by opener Jessica Lee Mayfield or how different Earle’s set is with the absence of Cory Younts — but those are topics for a different day. The important thing here isn’t words, but the sights and sounds from one of the greatest young performers in music.

“Ain’t Waitin'”

“Slippin’ and Slidin'”

“Someday I’ll Be Forgiven For This”

“Won’t Be The Last Time”

“Racing in the Street”

“So Different Blues”



While you undoubtedly await Part 2 of  “Justin Townes Earle… in Inglourious Black and White,” here’s something to whet your appetite. At his Feb. 8 show at the Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio, Earle played a new track, “Won’t Be the Last Time.” Or that’s what we’ll call it anyway. There’s a deepness and richness to the song that could launch this guy into… well, who really knows. It has that iconic quality — where you can easily imagine it both as a single and one of those pieces that define the artist.

On a technical note, I believe the camera was slightly out of focus at this point, but we’ll get into all that fun stuff (flaws) when I upload a few more videos. Which should happen shortly. Until then, enjoy!

Out Feb. 8 on Razor & Tie

I won’t go so far as to say it’s Nicole Atkins’ answer to the Beach Boys’ Smiley Smile. And I would never say the follow-up to Pet Sounds is a bad album. On the contrary, it gets better with each listen. But there are those pesky things called “expectations” — where we anticipate something so much we become involved before and during its inception. How much we know depends on the artist. In this case, we knew a lot. And we now know for every Smiley Smile, there’s a mind blowing and immediately satisfying Smile that will probably never see the light of day. In other words, for every Mondo Amore, there’s… another Mondo Amore.

A cynic would say it had disaster written all over it. A record some three years in the making witnessed by three completely different bands (and with them, three different sounds), two record labels and a constantly rotating track list — was Atkins a crazy person, a crazed genius or simply the victim of crazy circumstances? I’ll let Behind the Music tackle that one. Say what you will about Atkins’ sophomore release. This is the record she wanted to make at this point in time.

From the very first track, the Zeppelin-esque rocker “Vultures,” Atkins seems hellbent (emphasis on hell) on avoiding the sequel to Neptune City. What a threatening contrast to the grandeur pop of “Maybe Tonight.” Between the menacing bass riff and hard-rockin’ drums, it’s almost as if she’s saying, “It’s as much about the other elements as it is the lead vocals.” And for better or worse, that theme is present throughout. Even on tracks like “Hotel Plaster,” where in concert this beautiful tear-jerker was playing successor to Neptune‘s “War Torn,” Atkins’ longing voice is now accompanied by a droning and very prominent male vocal. It’s somewhat jarring while still managing to be a standout track.

In terms of sheer presence, there’s little rivaling the purity of that dragging, come-hither croon found in “You Were the Devil,” a tight, Spaghetti Western-inspired ditty that leaves you wanting more. Ask, and ye shall receive, because from there, everything becomes more cohesive. Where anomalies like “Cry Cry Cry” and to a certain extent, “My Baby Don’t Lie,” made me wonder what happened to coulda-woulda-shoulda-been shoo-ins such as “I Wait For You” and “Oh Canada,”  the latter portion of the record delivers a big-screen ending carrying the weight of the world. “War is Hell” (featuring My Morning Jacket’s Jim James on backup vocals) is an excellent example of musical evolution. What began as an uptempo live track with potential now takes it’s time with sparser instrumentation and a lush arrangement of vocals and strings when the chorus rolls around.

Then, there’s “The Tower.” From the very first time Atkins played this song, at the 2008 Austin City Limits Festival, there was no doubt in my mind the six-minute epic would close this album. And yes, it is big and powerful and emotional. Something in which the Jersey native should take pride. The entire record is quite an accomplishment, for that matter. It’s a full pallet of rock, blues, psychedelic, country, soul and melodramatic cinema sound — like watching a Tarantino film and spotting homage after homage. In that regard, these 10 songs are a huge success. Then it hit me a few moments ago. Listen to almost any one of the ten tracks off Amore, and then play “The Way It Is” from the predecessor. Hear it? That vocal. She’s so close you can feel it right in the pit of your stomach. Click back over to “Hotel Plaster.” She seems more distant. It’s hard to tell whether it’s the production or something more intentional in the delivery. After all, it does seem rather fitting, what with everything personal and technical going into the making of this record, that her voice sound more tired. But less potent? Add it to the many mysteries of Amore, a grand idea Atkins couldn’t stop loving.

I’m not sure what’s weirder: the fact that I love Christmas music or the near-insane procedure I go through to dig up and compile new Christmas music each Christmas season. This year, I drew heavily from a plethora of “indie,” digital-only EPs and compilations. Indie … yeah, I know. But there’s plenty of good music under the umbrella, so we’ll just run with it for now.

Here are six essential EPs and compilations that are sure to dub your holiday mix, “The Now That’s What I Call Christmas Killer.”

1. Slow Club – Christmas, Thanks For Nothing (2010)

Since Slow Club stormed stateside earlier this year, its label, Moshi Moshi, has done a fine job of importing more than just the 2009 debut, Yeah So. At least digitally. Count this charming and at times eerie Christmas EP as one of those gifts to U.S. fans. Originally released last year, the six-track EP is as good an introduction to the duo as anything they’ve released thus far. Playful, acoustic folk (“It’s Christmas and You’re Boring Me”); dreamy, minimalist pop (“All Alone on Christmas”); catchy, rough-around-the-edges rock (“Christmas [Baby Please Come Home]”)it has everything you need to know about where Rebecca Taylor and Charles Watson are coming from. Did I mention it also includes the lovely, snowed-in duet “Christmas TV”? Yeah, they threw that one on there, too. This brief collection of music nicely sums up holiday desolation better than most anything out there.

Preview/download here.

2. Various Artists – A Christmas Gift For You From Moshi Moshi (2010)

Going along with the above release and taking a cue from the man who practically invented the pop-rock Christmas compilation, we have A Christmas Gift For You From Moshi Moshi. Although it’s no A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector, the short, seven-song compilation has some bright lights, including Slow Club’s take on the Spector standard “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and an over-before-you-know-it “White Christmas,” courtesy of Idiot Glee. Also, if you’re a fan of the Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” (I for one am not), check out Summer Camp’s spacier rendition of the classic ’80s tune.

Preview/download here.

3. Various Artists – The Christmas Gig (2010)

One last compilation and we’ll move on to more bands. This one is a freebie, though, so don’t complain. From Target comes 14 new, original tracks from indie favorites like Best Coast (w/ Wavves) and Coconut Records (actor Jason Schwartzman). Other contributing artists include Darker My Love and Crystal Antlers.

Preview/download for free here.

4. Bears – Snowman (2009)

It was a bright, sunny spring day when I first encountered Bears. My friend Doug, who for a time was responsible for some of Kent State University’s live music, cheerfully walked up beside me with a pink plume of cotton candy. And from that moment on, this band on stage/duo on tape would in my mind forever be associated with sunshine and sweet treats, qualities the sugary harmonies and pop sensibilities within lent themselves to. Last year, Charlie McArthur and Craig Ramsey embraced their Cleveland, Ohio, roots and entered a winter wonderland with a six-track EP (four songs on the 7″ with two extra included with the digital download). “I’m a Snowman,” “Merry Christmas Have a Happy New Year,” “Let Me See You Again” and “Holidays” (free download) make the transition from clear skies to flurries seem almost delightful.

Preview/download here.

5. Weezer – Christmas With Weezer (2008)

There’s not much you can say about this straightforward batch of traditional Christmas songs. Simply think back to when you were a kid when Christmas carols were more … accessible? With direct reference to the holiday all but officially banned from the public arena,  the songs here hark back to simpler times. And Rivers & Co. keep it simple. Nothing flashy. All but one of the songs clock in under two and a half minutes. So close your eyes and imagine “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” or “O Holy Night” with that Weezer crunch, and you’re probably not far off to grasping this unabashedly seasonal EP.

Preview/download here.

6. The Raveonettes – Wishing You a Rave Christmas

Even with all the great music in their eight-year existence, when all is said and done, The Raveonettes for better or for worse may best be known for “The Christmas Song.” Not the that “The Christmas Song.” The original b-side to the “Heartbreak Stroll” single that would go on to be featured everywhere from movie and television soundtracks to mall playlists across America. It has remained a modern holiday classic  since 2004. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that the duo revisited Christmas with a digital-only EP in late-2008. While their previous holiday hit is warm and full, the selections on the EP are chillier and more sparse. Sune Rose Wagner liberally used electronic beats and keyboards, and the overall tone is much sadder with nostalgic originals like “Christmas Ghosts” and “Christmas in Cleveland.”

Preview/download here.

Story and photos by Joe “J.J. McCarthy” Shearer

“Ken tells me I was the first guest he invited to this thing. I met him about a year and half before the first one at Motor City Con. I was walking around and he was selling these T-shirts—Evil Dead T-shirts.

I go, ‘Hey, I did the makeup on that.’
And he goes, ‘Are you Tom Sullivan?’
‘Yeah.’
‘Have you ever done a horror convention?’
‘No, I never have.’
‘It’s been 20 years. You’ve never done a horror convention for Evil Dead?’
‘No, nobody ever invited me.’
‘Well, I’m gonna be putting one on in a year or two. You wanna be a guest?’
‘Sounds like fun.’

–Tom Sullivan’s rehash of his first interaction with Cinema Wasteland organizer Ken Kish some 12 years ago.

PROLOGUE

I feel bad—guilty bad.

As I stand here chatting with Tom Sullivan in his traveling Movie Memorabilia Museum and Art Print Gallery, a lone soul patiently awaits his turn to speak to the artist. I’m grateful he’s the only one. In a few minutes, more (Evil) Dead heads will stumble their way into Sullivan’s lair down the hall and to the left slightly away from the rest of the action at the Strongsville, Ohio, Holiday Inn.

“They give me this whole room to myself,” Sullivan says. Walking into the room in and of itself is a welcome breather. While the other guests and vendors are gathered tightly together in the main hall, this space is quieter, more spacious. Free of the keep-it-moving pressure, it’s easy take in the numerous prints lining the walls, or the display case full of props and memorabilia (including the original Book of the Dead and the Kandarian dagger), or even the inspired fan-art the artist has collected over the years. When you sit back and think about it, the separate room makes perfect sense: If such a thing as royalty exists beneath the blood, guts, grime and filth here at Cinema Wasteland, the bi-annual horror convention celebrating its tenth year, then hail to the king, baby. Sullivan, whose prints are all over the Evil Dead franchise, has never missed one of the 18 conventions. “Twice last night, young women grabbed me and took me to their rooms trying to get me drunk,” he says, adding modestly, “It was amazing. But I keep myself pure for the fans.” The cool thing about Sullivan is he’s got you laughing and talking like you’re old friends as soon as conversation commences. A sort of contagious and youthful exuberance that you might not expect from a guy so steeped in horror imagery.

Why all the fuss? This particular Tom Sullivan doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. At horror conventions, obscurity is a badge of honor—again, if something like that exists in these quarters. But if you’re any kind of film buff, you don’t have to dig six feet under to be acquainted with Sullivan’s work. Credited with the hilariously grotesque makeup on The Evil Dead and some of the special effects on film’s first sequel, Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn, he also created the iconic Book of the Dead, the original title of the first film and the biggest star of the trilogy next to chainsaw-wielding Bruce Campbell. [Note: Contrary to popular belief, the latex-wrapped books are not bound in human flesh and inked in human blood.] And while his overall filmography may seem surprisingly thin, the artist/effects guy/actor/yes, even hopeful filmmaker is busier than ever.

Still, as I peruse the museum and all its Book of the Dead variations, I realize Sullivan doesn’t mind keeping his past close. (He wears it proudly—literally, with a bright, red Army of Darkness tee.) So like many a book, that’s where we’ll begin.

CH. 1: THE EVIL DEAD CURSE

From all accounts, the making of the first Evil Dead film was, to put it nicely, challenging. The little indie wouldn’t hit U.S. theaters until about five years after writer/director Sam Raimi began pre-production. And, surprise, surprise: Many of the cast and crew’s contributions go completely uncredited, such as Sullivan’s work on most of the effects and props. The gory details can be found in DVD commentaries, interviews and Josh Becker’s Evil Dead journal, which does a fine job of summarizing the cold, damp shoot in Tennessee.

Sullivan, however, looks back fondly on the first movie. “On Evil Dead, I didn’t have any pre-production time, so whatever I could work out the night before I took. And Sam liked it and it all worked. And I brought a whole lot more than what was in the script. Fortunately I’m a genius, so all that worked out,” he says lightheartedly.

The sequel is where problems began to set in. Not wanting the long hours and early wake-up calls, Sullivan opted to work on special effects and again, some of the props. The idea of working on the winged Deadite and stop-motion animation was very appealing to the multi-faceted artist. But as most movies go, things took longer than expected. “Evil Dead II—Sam had learned how to micromanage everything, which drives special effects guys crazy,” Sullivan says. “And I went crazy. Oh, it was depressing. It was awful. Ohhhh.” He puts his head in his hands with that final sigh. “I was supposed to be away for three months. My wife was in California and I missed her, and it went on to like 11 months for me. It was just way too long—just too, too, too, too long.” His golly-gee-whiz demeanor doesn’t tell the entire story. In a revealing interview that took place around the turn of the millennium with Deadites.net, Sullivan explains one of the reasons for his relative lack of film credits. During the long stretch of ED2, his wife, Penny, wanted to separate. Shortly after completing his work on the movie, she drowned. Sullivan would go on to work on one more film (The Fly II) before moving back home to Marshall, Mich.

He then illustrated some role-playing books and one more time helped with The Book of the Dead for final installment of the Evil Dead trilogy, Army of Darkness. It should be noted this is the only film he’s credited with having created the mischievous prop. In 1992, Sullivan suffered a serious head injury and remained out of the spotlight—OK, let’s say cult spotlight—until he found rejuvenation doing something new.

CH. 2: CINEMA WASTELAND, HORROR CONVENTIONS AND THE DEATH OF THE CURSE

Whether you believe in it or not, sometimes you hear a story and go, “It’s gotta be fate.” The details surrounding the incident just seem too perfectly placed to be mere coincidence. Like when Sullivan tells me how he bumped into Cinema Wasteland organizer Ken Kish at a Motor City Con in the late ’90s. Kish was a guy looking to start a horror convention with zero guests at the time. Sullivan had never been invited to a horror convention. Neither was seeking the other out; they simply bonded over some Evil Dead shirts Kish was peddling. Sullivan recalls the first show. “We came in here, and we had like nothing—no prints. Ken gave me a box of prints [to] help cover costs and stuff. I didn’t make any money. I had like three or four film-crew T-shirts from Evil Dead II that I sold way too low.”

But so began an important tradition that remains strong to this day. Sullivan makes the trip from Marshall to Strongsville twice a year for the three-day convention, fine-tuning the presentation in his room along the way.

In the Deadites.net interview, Sullivan had said he didn’t get out much. Now, he’s a complete 180, interacting with fans nonstop, whether it be through his many appearances at conventions or through his website, DarkAgeProductions.com. His next appearance is at Crypticon Minneapolis, Nov. 5-7. But unlike those tricky trees in the second chapter of the Evil Dead, Sullivan holds tight to his roots. “Cinema Wasteland is really special,” he says. “The vibe of this place is really unique. Horrfind’s a blast. Flashback’s a blast. There’s lots of great conventions. But this one’s got this family thing going on. It’s really homey. It’s really low-key. And also, just the greatest parties.”

CH. 3: THE RETURN OF THE CURSE (?)

When talking horror movies, one thing you need to know: The evil is never dead.

Whether it be a masked lunatic mimicking another or a cursed book that needs one final bite, there’s always something lurking beneath each victory. Sullivan knows this, perhaps all too well. For years, he’s wanted to make the jump into directing and create his own movies. It was looking pretty good with his project The Last Ghost Story, based on the haunted history of the Homer Mill in Michigan. Everything was in order: producer, actors, effects and most importantly, the location—the actual Homer Mill. Then, the unthinkable happened. “The place burnt down,” Sullivan says before continuing somewhat reluctantly, “to the ground. It wasn’t arson. It was just this horrible thing. Oh, it was great. It was a 120-year-old building. It used to be a grist mill. Eight people died there, including one guy [who] was skinned alive by Satanists in the ’70s. And they had all kinds of ghosts through there. You worked there for six months, and you’re experiencing something weird. It was just perfect for that. Aww, shucks. What a shame.”

In the meantime, Sullivan continues acting and helping friends with their films, such as Splatter Movie, Dog and Buddy BeBop vs. the Living Dead.  And he even has a Plan B, as he calls it, for his next shot at a feature, tentatively Painting With Tom. It’s a sort of hybrid of his involvement in film and his art for the “Call of Cthulhu” role-playing books. The story begins with Sullivan teaching art lessons on how to paint supernatural Lovecraftian creatures. However… “the lessons are going to be interrupted by Cthulhu cultists meaning to kill me to stop this project. And I fall back on my training as an artist, and I kill them with art supplies. I find myself drawn into this international conspiracy to destroy humanity. And I’m aided by a secret organization with a mysterious link to me that I’m unaware of.

“So we’ll see if that happens,” Sullivan says, acknowledging anything can happen in this biz. “I just hope I don’t burn down!”

QUICK! MORE BLOOD—FANS WANT ANOTHER CHAPTER

For years, director Sam Raimi has tortured fans with the prospect of a new Evil Dead movie. First, it was the remake. Now, it’s the sequel. Perhaps only two people know if another Evil Dead will ever come to life: Raimi and his older brother, Ivan, who are supposedly working on a script. Actor Bruce Campbell, who played Ash in the original three films, typically responds to ED4 questions with an “I’ll believe it when I see it”-type response.

Tom Sullivan, who created most of the effects, props and makeup designs for the first film, responds similarly: “There’s a new Evil Dead?”

Still, he, like many a fan, doesn’t mind stirring the pot. “From a business point of view, it’ll put butts in seats. And so for Sam and Rob, it’s a great idea, and it might even be a terrific film. I can’t lose, cuz on the one hand, if it turns out great, they’ll say, ‘Oh, but they’re standing on the shoulders of giants.’ And if it sucks, they’ll go, ‘Yeah, they spent $5 million on digital effects. Look what Sullivan did for pocket change.’ So either way, I’ll benefit from promotion and get invited to lots of conventions.”

While we’re on the speculation train, what about a glorious return to the over-the-top effects that made the original so enduring? Would Raimi revert back to Sullivan’s classic work with latex and stop-motion animation in the event of a sequel? “It’d be great to work with Sam again,” Sullivan says. “Especially now that he’s king of the world. And he also knows what he’s doing now. He was kind of happenstance back then.”

We can only hope for the best–that all parties involved start hearing the words “We’re gonna get you” in their nightmares and reopen that book someday soon.

Sept. 28, 2008: Singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins, still with her original band, The Sea, unveils new material at the Austin City Limits Festival. Some of the tracks included “The Tower” and “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” but perhaps the strangest was a Led Zeppelin-esque rocker called “Vultures.”

In the months following, Atkins would go through many life changes–a new band and a messy breakup, to name a couple–and while “The Tower” was the ultimate complement to this transition and an obvious shew-in for the forthcoming album, Mondo Amore, “Vultures” seemed dead on the side of the road.

That is until a conversation I had with Atkins a year ago, in which she revealed her determination to resurrect the forgotten track.

Fast forward to mid-March. An Austin City Limits SXSW pre-show, where Atkins mysteriously shows up with Future Clouds and Radar as her backing band (more on that later) revealed she had indeed reworked the song.

Now, as the Jan. 25, 2011 drop date for the new albums looms, “Vultures” becomes the preview track. You can download it here, free of charge.

Changing gears a bit, the majority of my visitors apparently stumble upon my page while researching Nicole Atkins rumors. I wish I were joking. So the latest search-engine searches that lead people to my page have to do with the personnel changes in The Black Sea. I don’t think it’s any secret as Atkins is now touring, so I’ll just say it: Yes, the old Black Sea, consisting of drummer Chris Donofrio,  guitarist Bradley York and bassist Anthony Chick, is no more. And that’s all I have to say on that.

They say some things are better left said unsaid.

Going along with that, some live footage is better left unheard.

Case in point, the latest in the Inglourious Black and White series: Best Coast‘s Jan. 21 performance at The Grog Shop in Cleveland. Further elaboration is futile. Mere seconds after the dreamy, surreal intro–in which the trio walked on to the stage for the first time to Santo & Johnny‘s instrumental classic “Sleepwalk”–you know two things. First, frontwoman Bethany Cosentino and Co. can definitely brush up on the transition from intro to setlist. Second, the sound is loud… REAL loud. And muddy, and indiscernible and so on. Obviously, the proximity of the camera to the stage is a big contributing factor to this. Couple that with the fact that Cosentino’s amp emitted an eternal, reverb-soaked crunch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, to quote Seinfeld, a Cosentino favorite. Still, it made a halfway decent presentation of this show nearly impossible with the limited audio control of a small DVC camcorder.

So, why bother? Well, there are elements I wanted to highlight, such as the aforementioned intro and the more sparse, atmospheric portions of a few of the songs (“Each and Everyday,” “I Want To,” “When I’m With You”). But honestly, I just really wanted these videos. Bands and artists like Best Coast are the reason McCarthy’s Media Menace came to be.

As for the concert itself… To quote a YouTube user, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t “mind-blowing.” Cosentino could be more connected to her audience, Bobb Bruno‘s guitar work should probably be more prominent and some background vocals would definitely go a long way. Best Coast is young band; it’s a learning experience. Something to keep in mind while the group continues to promote its debut album, Crazy For You.

Here are 18 of the 19 songs from this past Tuesday.  The ninth song of the set, “Summer Mood,” was not uploaded due to poor framing. (I was taking pictures while trying to balance the camcorder during that time.)

It’s noisy. It’s painful. It’s Inglourious. Go forward at your own peril.

1. “Sleepwalk” intro / “This Is Real”

2. “Wish He Was You”

3. “Crazy For You”

4. “The Sun Was High (So Was I)”

5. “The End”

6. “Goodbye”

7. “So Gone”

8. “Boyfriend”

10. “Far Away”

11. “Bratty B”

12. “Make You Mine”

13. “Our Deal”

14. “Honey”

15. “That’s the Way Boys Are”

16. “I Want To”

17. “When I’m With You”

18. “Something In the Way”

19. “Each and Everyday”


If there’s any doubt about a nu-noise revival stateside, one only has to look to the recent tour featuring Surfer Blood, Hooray For Earth and headliner The Pains of Being Pure at Heart for proof. Two weeks ago, the trio of bands left Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom buzzing. While no band really stole the show, that observation is more a testament to the night’s hypnotic consistency than lament on the lack of obvious show-stopper.

So, while any of the three acts would be worth full-setlist documentation, it’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart that gets the treatment as we continue the Inglourious Black and White series: songs 1-11, including the rollicking encore, where the band is joined by members of the two openers. Other highlights include new single, “Say No to Love,” and “Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now,” a song from the forthcoming album.

1. This Love is Fucking Right!

2. 103

3. Young Adult Friction

4. Say No to Love (new single)

5. A Teenager in Love

6. Come Saturday

7. Higher Than the Stars

8. Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now (new song)

9. Stay Alive

10. Everything With You

11. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

About an hour after April Smith and the Great Picture Show‘s Cleveland set, something special happened.

While Smith and the guys signed CDs and took pictures with fans, they were approached by two girls with one simple request: Play more songs. They pleaded their case, saying they were told the wrong start time, which then caused them to miss a good chunk of the set. Apparently, these tenacious go-getters even spoke to the sound guy, who agreed to keep the band’s equipment mic’ed. As my buddy said to me after I told him the story, it takes a lot of balls to ask a band to play more songs once the players have called it a night.

So it was all set. All Smith had to do was say ‘yes.’

Of course, being the darlin’ she is, she agreed. But there was one problem. Thirty or so minutes of continued cordiality with straggling audience members passed and the sound guy got tired of waiting. No more mics. Smith, who I happened to be speaking to when the girls presented her with the request, later walked by expressing disappointment.

It didn’t look good. But then, just a few minutes later the band was back onstage. Smith picked up her acoustic guitar and took a seat. The rest of the fellas huddled in close. Three songs later, including an appropriately placed little cover of Melanie’s “Brand New Key,” the surreal evening came to a close. Take a listen…

[The main part of the set can be seen here.]

1. Brand New Key

2. Movie Loves a Screen

3. Can’t Say No

Cat

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