3 Minute Record

"We learned more from a three minute record baby than we ever learned in school..." -from No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen

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Texas Is The Reason - Live At The House Of Blues, January 6, 2013 [Review + Setlist]

Texas Is The Reason are: (l/r) Chris Daly, Garrett Klahn, Norm Arenas, and Scott Winegard

One fateful day sometime back in the late 1990s I made my way into Vintage Vinyl to pick up whatever albums I could find from four bands that my friend, Dan Huffman, had played for me a few days before.

I would end up buying Horse Latitudes by The Promise Ring, Four Minute Mile by The Get Up Kids, Finding The Rhythms by Hot Water Music, and Do You Know Who You Are? by Texas Is The Reason. Sounds trivial, but this would end up being one of those life-altering type of events.

I ended up seeing The Promise Ring, Hot Water Music, and The Get Up Kids, as much as I possibly could, even traveled out-of-town - mainly to Champaign, IL - to catch their shows. Sadly, I never had the chance to see a Texas Is The Reason show. By the time I was introduced to the band they had since disbanded. I felt like the only way I could ever hear a live Texas Is The Reason show would be to play the split live album they released with Samiam at a really high level on my stereo. We all know that never even remotely comes close to recreating the experience of a live show no matter how loud you turn the stereo up.

In November 2006, my hopes were raised when the band got together to play a show at Irving Plaza in New York City to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the release of their debut - and only - album, Do You Know Who You Are? This show would prove to be a "one time only" gig and no further dates or plans were made by the band.

Fast forward six more years and Revelation Records started to announce plans to have shows to help celebrate the label's 25th Anniversary. News came around that Texas Is The Reason would be headlining the New York installment of the anniversary shows. And then the news hit, the band would be headlining the second night of the Chicago installment of shows. Without hesitation I snagged tickets to the show. I was finally going to be at a Texas Is The Reason show.

The show would be held on January 6, 2013 at the House Of Blues in Chicago, IL. Reunion shows in the freezing winter months in Chicago must just be in the cards for me. In February, 2008 I went up to see a reunited Hot Water Music at the Metro, and in February, 2012 I got to see The Promise Ring reunite, also at the Metro.

I was pretty anxious to get to the venue and ended up getting in the door with plenty of time to look around before the festivities kicked off. The Chicago House Of Blues is definitely a little more intimate than the Orlando and Las Vegas locations I have been to in the past. Normally, I would not describe a venue that has two balcony levels as being intimate, but the distance between the front of the stage and where the balconies started was minimal and really helped keep with the small theater vibe.

Opening the show were Popeye (from Farside), Sense Field, and Into Another. All three acts put on solid sets and were a testament to the level of quality music that Revelation Records has released over the years. The crowd was really into all three openers and many people were heard singing along during all three sets.  One personal highlight was seeing Popeye cover the Dramarama tune, "Work For Food." The set from Sense Field brought back memories of Mississippi Nights, where I saw the band open for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I admit I felt a little guilty though in wishing that the openers would just hurry up and be done. I was getting really anxious and looking forward to finally seeing a band after a 14+ year wait.

At about 11:20 p.m. my wait would come to an end as the house lights went down and the instrumental "Do You Know Who You Are?" started playing over the PA system. An image of the state of Texas filled with alternating colors, patterns, and pictures was projected onto a screen at the front of the stage. As the song came to an end, the screen slowly started to rise out-of-the-way and the curtain was drawn back to reveal the band as they exploded into "Back And To The Left."

As a cruel twist of fate, Norman Arenas' amp decided to cut out within about 30 seconds of the opening song. The band took the setback in stride and powered their way through the song. Norman held his cool and smiled his way through the gear malfunction and took to firing up the crowd by emphatically clapping along with the band. While the guitar tech swapped out amps after the song ended, Norman quipped about how everyone had been waiting 14 years for this show, so they could probably handle waiting a few more minutes.

Even after this minor delay, the band appeared to be in extremely high spirits. The smiles on all of their faces was infectious and they played just flawlessly. Bassist Scott Winegard seemed to be on cloud nine as a smile stretched from ear to ear for most of the set. The crowd sang along with every song and there was a great energy throughout the room. I found it hard to believe that a band that had been inactive for so long was just absolutely killing it. Garrett's voice sounded great and getting to watch Chris Daly play drums was such a thrill. Seriously, Chris Daly is a beast on the drums. Watching him play, especially towards the end of "Antique", floored me.

The band was playing with such a high energy level and with so much joy that you could not help but wish that they had never ceased to be a band after such a short time. Garrett even joked after playing a little riff to check his tuning that the riff was from a new tune they were writing. This joke brought up the realization that the band has stated that they have no plans to write or record any new material. I really made a concentrated effort to just let myself get lost in the performance and soak it all in and make the most of the opportunity.

In just over an hour, the band played its way through their entire catalog and even included two new songs, "When Rock 'N' Roll Was Just A Baby" and "Every Girls Dream." These two new songs were the last songs the band ever wrote but never recorded. The band went back into the studio last year with Producer J. Robbins to record them. The two new tracks will be included in Do You Know Who You Are?: The Complete Collection which will be available in February through Revelation.

Even though the band has a few gigs booked on both coasts, they have stated that Chicago was the only and last Midwest show they will be doing. To me, it was very fitting that the last song they played, and the last song I may ever hear them play, was "A Jack With One Eye." This has always been one of my favorite songs and with the lyric, "Your place is still at the heart of my everything," seemed very fitting it would end up being the last song. I am so glad I made my way up for the this show. Thank you to the band for some great memories and for being part of "my everything."

Setlist:

  1. Do You Know Who You Are? (recorded intro)
  2. Back And To The Left
  3. The Magic Bullet Theory
  4. Nickel Wound
  5. Johnny On The Spot
  6. When Rock 'N' Roll Was Just A Baby
  7. If It's Here When We Get Back, It's Ours
  8. There's No Way I Can Talk Myself Out Of This One Tonight (The Drinking Song)
  9. Something To Forget
  10. Dressing Cold
  11. Every Little Girls Dream
  12. The Days Refrain
  13. Blue Boy
  14. Antique
  15. A Jack With One Eye

Foo Fighters blow the doors off the Scottrade Center [Live Review]

For his first live review, our newest correspondent, Chad Baalman, took on a big assignment in the Foo Fighters show on Saturday night at the Scottrade Center. We commend his attention to detail with the lengthy set list and sticking it out through the marathon show.  By Chad Baalman

"We're going to play a song for every one of you. We're going to play 12,000 (expletive) songs."

OK, so Dave Grohl was kidding when he told the Scottrade Center crowd Saturday night just how much music he and Foo Fighters had in store for them. Still, the Foos unleashed a relentless 2-hour, 45-minute set on the third stop of their North American tour that undoubtedly left fans exhausted.

Grohl took a dig at the bands who punch the clock under two hours and proceeded to give fans the requisite Foo Fighters hits, a couple covers, two solo acoustic numbers by the ex-Nirvana drummer himself and eight songs from the band's most recent release, Wasting Light.

Two songs from that album kicked off the show. The opener "Bridge Burning" gave Grohl a chance to loosen up the vocal chords from the start as he screamed the opening lyrics, "These are famous last words!!"

Fans didn't have to worry. Grohl (lead vocals, rhythm guitars) had plenty left in the tank for the marathon set. He and his band mates -- Chris Shiflett (lead guitars), Pat Smear (rhythm guitars), Nate Mendel (bass), Taylor Hawkins (drums) and Rami Jaffee (touring member - keyboards) -- pumped the Scottrade Center full of energy with "The Pretender," with Grohl even giving a subtle nod to local legend Chuck Berry with a little duck walk during the number.

The show was only three songs old, yet the Foos had the crowd eating out of their hands and signing along in unison with a rousing rendition of "My Hero," the first of three songs from their sophomore 1997 disc, The Colour and the Shape.

The songs came at a rapid-fire pace as Grohl, when we wasn't chugging a Beck's, kept the amount of stage banter relatively low. He added some more local flavor to the show as he recalled playing at Mississippi Nights, the famous, now-closed Laclede's Landing nightclub (Nirvana's 1991 show there was high-(or low)lighted by a mini riot). He also called out acts that relied on computers to beef up their sound and referred to his band as "guys just playing instruments as best we can."

Hawkins took the mic for "Cold Day in the Sun," but his day job as the drummer for the Foos is where he shines the brightest. Hawkins brought it big-time on Saturday, abusing the drums as much on the last song of the evening as he did at the start.

Yet it's clear that the multi-talented Grohl stands front and center for the Foos. Grohl took strolls down the long catwalk that divided the floor in half and endeared himself to fans with self-depreciation and humility when he did work the crowd. He gave off the vibe of being a blue-collared, hard-working rock star even though the spotlight is often on him. He cozied up to the crowd by saying, "I wish we lived in the same apartment building and we could do this every night. With no consequences, no rules."

The middle portion of the 26-song set list was highlighted by "Walk," the second single from Wasting Light in which the band kept the emotion and intensity building throughout. The momentum continued with the straight-ahead, 100 mph rocker "Monkey Wrench."

Grohl and the gang deftly mixed in melodies like "Learn to Fly," "This is a Call" and "These Days" with the aforementioned rockers. In another change of pace, Grohl kicked off the seven-song encore on a riser in the back of the arena with two acoustic solo efforts -- "Wheels" and "Best of You."

The Foos covered Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with "Breakdown" and the smiles were proof the band had fun with it. But the end was near with the midnight hour approaching and they closed things out with a bang with "Everlong."

The fans at Scottrade Center got a little bit of everything from Foo Fighters on Saturday and it's hard to imagine many of them walking away from the concert feeling shortchanged.

Even if they didn't get 12,000 songs.

_____
Foo Fighters set list - Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO - 9/17/2011

1. Bridge Burning
2. Rope
3. The Pretender
4. My Hero
5. Learn to Fly
6. White Limo
7. Arlandria
8. Breakout
9. Cold Day in the Sun
10. Long Road to Ruin
11. Stacked Actors
12. Walk
13. Generator
14. Monkey Wrench
15. These Days
16. I Should Have Known
17. Skin and Bones
18. This is a Call
19. All My Life

Encore
20. Wheels
21. Best of You
22. Times Like These
23. Young Man Blues (Mose Allison cover)
24. Dear Rosemary
25. Breakdown (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover)
26. Everlong

Opening Acts:Mariachi El Bronx, Rise Against