Tag Archives: jack’s mannequin

2011 top 10 list


I know, I know, everyone does a top 10 list! I’ve been sucked in and decided to write one as well of the live shows I’ve seen this year. Now, I write on just about every review that it’s a top 10 show, but I’ve really thought about it and set aside an actual top 10. I haven’t reviewed all of them as I have not been writing this review the whole time. I do have a few more shows left before the end of the year, but I’m pretty sure this is the list, here it goes:

1. Chris Isaak! (Gruene Dance Hall) This was the BEST SHOW EVER! I have loved loved loved Chris Isaak for twenty years and he is still the best. He can still hit those high notes and I shivered while he sang my favorites. It was a hot summer day, about 102 outside and he was wearing a full on wool suit with his band. He even came out in a mirror ball jacket. This is actually one of the best shows I’ll probably have in my life (unless my dream of Eric Clapton comes true)
2. Bob Schneider (at Sam’s Burger Joint) – this was a solo show (so, yeah, you’ll see another Bob show will be on this list). This was the second time I saw Bob and I was blown away with everything he did that night. First time I’ve seen a “looper” which was super cool. Bob puts on a mighty fine show and I’m looking forward to seeing him again the end of this week. Every time I hear the recording of Batman I just laugh and laugh, it’s a great way to fix the blues.
3a. Avenge Sevenfold (Alamodome) – I had very low expectations for this show, and was terrified when all of the “stuff” came out onto the stage. It’s typically (typically!) a sign of a weak band that needs props to keep up their sound. All of the fire enhanced this show! It was absolutely one of the best large site shows of the year…despite the props, which were so hot they seemed to burn off my eyebrows! I would totally go see them again.
3b. 10 Years (Warehouse live) – I have probably seen this band more times than Bob and I’ve seen Bob a lot! Every time I see them they are better and better. They an absolutely lovely band that spend time with their fans, sign just about anything and will stand around having their photos taken over and over. This was the best show I have seen of theirs so far and can’t wait for the next time they are on tour.
3. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears (Sam’s Burger Joint) – I have no idea how all the Honeybears fit on the stage, but I’m so glad not only that they did, but they were able to do their sweet dance moves (I have pictures posted) I love love love this band! Now, if you are sensitive to language etc, this is not the band for you. If you have a sense of humor and love an amazing classic sound, you will love this band too!
4. Gary Clark Jr (Sam’s Burger Joint) – I saw Gary Clark Jr open of Citizen Cope last year and it was so so. But on his own, it was a jam! The Austin native has been making some headway into the main stream, and justifiably so. He’s like a young, skinny BB King. Check him out!
5. Tune Yards (Auditorium Shores) – this show was much much much to short! If she ever makes it down this way I’m running to that show. You either love her or hate her. I love her! There sound is raw and emotional. And her use of the looper, dude! Unbelievable.
6. Chris Cornell – (Paramont Theater) – this was another one I had no idea what to expect since it was an acoustic (opening/sold out) show and without the rest of Soundgarden…it could have gone either way. He has some interesting solo stuff and it was a really great 2 hour show! I loved when he brought out a record player with a vinyl piano recording a friend of his did to accompany one of the songs. It was a different way of doing that whole acoustic thing.
7. Bob Schneider (Threadgils) – I said I’d put in another Bob, well here it is. This was a SXSW show at a classic place in Austin (Janis Joplin played there). This was the third show they had done that day so they were a little tired, but they kept it going. There was a little girl up front and Bob cut out the language from the songs and left me something I can play for the family (well, if you ignore the first part) I have this recording and listen to it over and over.
8. Ghostland Observatory (Whitewater Amphitheater) – was not a big fan of the opening DJ but the laser light show was unlike anything I have seen before. It was outside and the way it danced in the trees was so wonderful. I plan on seeing them again and experience it upfront…though I think ya might miss something of the lasers and be blinded. I would love to see the two guys up close.
9. Last but not least – Jimmy Eat World (Warehouse Live) – this was another one of those shows I didn’t know what to expect and was kind meh about. When the smoke machines started up I was much less excited. I was pleasantly surprise (obviously, duh!) and it was a really great show. They had the whole audience moving and singing with them. It was powerful! I have some photos of that show as well and will put them up there. If you have a chance to go see them it is well worth the money/time!
Bonus: Jack’s Mannequin: I put this one on here because I loved the whole show! Their openers were strong and interesting. That makes a huge difference. I’ve seen a bunch of shows with some really horrible openers and this was such a tight knit group ya just fell in love with them all. I have all of their music as well after hearing their stories. I did review this one, so check it out if you would like to know the openers names.
There were so many more shows that I would have loved to put on here, but I told myself it was a top 10 list not a top 25…I can’t wait until next years shows! There is some awesomeness coming up!


van susans _ we could be scenery


Until last week, sadly, I had not heard of Van Susans (http://www.vansusans.com). Fortunately they found my blog and introduced themselves to me. Now, they say they pattern their music after Jack’s Mannequin, which is why they wrote me. To me, they sounded a bit more like old school Material Issue with a little Erasure and a touch of Cure b-sides (70’s style). 

The EP I’m reviewing is We Could Be Scenery. The first song Cha Cha Bang was really where I heard the Erasure bit, and just a little bit. It’s a very catchy almost anthem tune. Check out their music videos on their website or see this live one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DPVe-KE4cA&feature=related . Love the Luchadores style fighting in the video on their website (the chones as a mask was maybe too far for me, but funny). I think my favorite line is “this girl, she’s crazy, it’s like dancing with a gun”. Sets the tone for the rest of the album. Very tongue in cheek love songs.

After that the EP takes a twist into Bones (re-mix), which starts out very quietly and builds to this mass of music and emotion. I definitely heard the Jack’s Mannequin in this one, and I don’t think it was just in the piano playing. The middle portion with Get Up, Get Out is probably my favorite song in this EP. It might be my new “get’n ready to go out” song. It’s another slow burn into some serious dance energy, though that might just be me. I was tapping my foot and shoulder shaking most of the song.

Plans is actually a sad song about lost love…but with that crazy peppy beat that makes you forget it’s about being apart from the one you love and still dreaming about a future that probably won’t have. Probably hit me that way because it’s feeling pretty applicable to my life right now…stupid life…but I digress. Check out the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B38TBWLZ7gw

Now, the end of the album, Glow, which I hear as a homage to Jack’s Mannequin. It was a perfect end to the whole thing. “she made me feel like I’m glowing like starlight”, so beautiful and sad in one short phrase. As I listened, I wanted to hear more of the piano part and a little less drum, but it was a very organized cacophony of piano, drum, and guitar.

All and all, I would recommend checking out Van Susans We Could Be Scenery on a day you need a little pick me up. Maybe you’ll hear some other influences’, I’m not an expert, just a lover of music. I hope they come across the pond some day and if they play someplace with in driving distance of my little southTexas home, I bet it will be well worth my drive! I did buy the album off of Amazon so I could do this review. It was less than five dollars and worth every cent.

Again, please let me know what you think about my blog. I am always looking to grow and tailor to whatever ya’ll what to read/hear. Thank you to Van Susan’s for reading my blog and hope you enjoy my review! Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Jack’s Mannequin!


I LOVED THIS SHOW! THE WHOLE THING! ok…enough of that. This show was at Backstage Live, down town San Antonio and was the last date of the tour and they still had a lot of energy! and you could tell all of the bands really bonded and enjoyed each other on the tour.

The opening band was River James (http://riverjamesmusic.com) this was their first tour, but you couldn’t tell. They were tight and enjoying being on the stage and playing. It was a short set and I was left wanting them to play longer. They told the story of their van almost breaking down on the side of the road just outside of town but they made it. I hope they made it home ok! I did go buy their disk, but it didn’t really do them justice. I do  home they come back again and play a longer set (hint hint Andrew McMahon)  If you have an opportunity to see them live, take the time and do so. Fun fun fun

 Second band (hopefully breaking the 2nd band curse) was Lady Danville (http://ladydanville.wordpress.com). They were amazing! And it was the first time I’ve seen a cajon. They covered Kids by MGMT with the cajon! It’s a three-piece band with a guitar, keyboard and cajon. Fabulous! I don’t know what else to say! Cajon, ukulele, harmonica! Ya just can’t go wrong with that! Also bought both of their cds and am wearing out the ep tour disk in the car (can listen to the whole thing on way in to work) and my favorite song on it right now is Sophie Roux. Also, they had a little unnamed song that I sing with…I understand why they’re having so much trouble naming it. Again, if you have a chance to see them live you won’t be disappointed. It will be a group I would seriously think about traveling to see. Hope they come for SXSW next year! They would fit in wonderfully.

 The one band that didn’t really seem to sing to my soul was Steel Train. They were technically proficient but just didn’t seem original. They covered a Tom Petty song…again, technically well done but not really all that uniquely. Tom Petty has such a stand out voice. It almost seemed as if someone got to them and told them “do this” and made them to cookie cutter. I would give them another chance, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

 Now, to the headliner…Jack’s Mannequin! (http://www.jacksmannequin.com) So first of all…a piano is wheeled out! And the party Buda with a serape to keep it company until Jack’s handsome lead Andrew jumps out. This was such a high energy show. I don’t think I’ve seen a piano player jump around and still play and sing into two mics, play the keyboard on top as well. It was AMAZING! Andrew sang several songs about his story. Please go to their page and check out Dear Jack Foundation and read the story and donate if you’re able. At the end of the show all of the bands came out and hugged and really showed how much fun they had. Also, the piano was played with shoes on top of keys. It was something my mother would have killed me for doing as a kid (and you better believe I had thought about it)

 So again, the next blogs will have songs etc in them. I just wasn’t planning on writing a blog at the time and just enjoyed the show! I do want to make sure that I’m thorough in the future.

 Enjoy! Comments are welcome! Please let me know what you think, and what you would like more of!