Julien-k at Evening Star 8-10-17

7 years later Julien K returned to WNY for a show. I was excited! They released 3 albums in that time, and their sound has changed a bit since their first record. I’ve been supporting all their crowd funding campaigns, and following them on FB, and my interactions with them have all been great (unlike my interactions with The Tea Party). I didn’t get VIP tickets that included a meet and greet, cuz well..it’s not that important to me to meet bands anymore, plus I figured they’d be around the venue before/after.

There were 2 other openers, Optic Oppression and Ghost Feeder (who was decent and I got one of their cds), then Julien-K. It was a supporting spot for Pig, so I knew it wouldn’t be a full set, but they did a nice mix of songs from all the albums, and didn’t just play songs only from California Noir. I couldn’t find a setlist for this particular show, but this one looked about right:

Death to Analog
Strange Invisible
Deep Beat Overground
Kick the Bass
Mannequin Eyes
Flashpoint Riot
Blue Monday

The show was freaking great! So much energy. There were shades of the old Ryan from Orgy, but as a front man, he’s established a style of his own…part guitarist, part Dave Gahan. The songs sounded great, and it was fun! Evening Star is a smaaaaalll venue, where you can get up close and personal with your favorite rock idol’s crotch if you want, still no barrier after all these years, and Ryan acknowledged that they knew it would be a small crowd, but that they appreciate our dedication and support for their campaigns etc. They truly seem genuine in their appreciation of their fans, which is a nice change (again, see The Tea Party).

They were indeed around before and after the show, I gave Amir the photo of us from 1999, just because. I didn’t really talk to Ryan, as he was talking to other fans and then involved in a conversation at the bar with…Danielle! Ha! Danielle and her brother David were at the show, as I sort of expected. I texted Danielle before the show started to see, and we met up and talked a bit. Haven’t seen her since the last show 7 years ago, and we didn’t really get to talk then, and I hadn’t seen David since we graduated college. So it was nice to see them and catch up a bit, but I didn’t want to interrupt them during Pig just to talk to Ryan about…well…nothing. Cuz other than saying they were great, which J and I did when we did interrupt to say goodbye to Danielle and David, I have nothing else to say to Ryan. I don’t know what to say to strangers!! lol

But even though *I* don’t have anything to say I think it’s great that they are so accessible to their fans, in person and on the web. It’s such a difference from other bands, and it made this show a very enjoyable experience. It was a show I was excited to see, that didn’t end up as a let down because the band is full of assholes. There hasn’t been a show that I enjoyed that much in a while, because even though the Transmission shows were great, there is something not fun about the Tea Party anymore. Or they are just a heavy band that feels serious. Other shows since then like Garbage, or next week (Guns n Roses) I didn’t have much investment in even though I wanted to go, so they were good, but this was just fantastic. Loved it. Hopefully they won’t wait another 7 years until they are in the area again.

Pig was the headliner, most people were there for them. They were alright. They are ex KMFDM members, and I’d say I enjoy KMFDM much more, because they have more of a groove or melody to them, that I enjoy.

Julien-k – We’re Here With You review

Julien-k’s new album “We’re Here With You” was released this week and arrived in my mailbox on Monday. At first listen, I liked their first one “Death To Analog” better, but after 10 or so listens, it has grown on me.

1. We’re Here With You – A good intro song to the album, it’s pretty representative of what you are going to get with the rest. There is a similarity to most of the songs, maybe the programmed drums, and a specific guitar tone that goes through it all. It’s catchy and upbeat, and has the ability to get stuck in your head. 3.5/5

2. Surrounded by Cowards – This is the most “pop” song of the whole album, I think it would have the most general appeal to someone unfamiliar with the band (or with Orgy). I don’t really dig the vocal pauses in the chorus, but I guess it’s trendy. The lyrics are quite relatable. One of my favs. 4/5

3. Cruel Daze of Summer – Another strong song, good melody, easy to sing along. But another song with oh oh ohs…that makes 3 of 3. It has a very long intro before the vocals start (over a minute), and even after a week of listening I keep thinking it’s an instrumental (and that said, they could probably do a very cool instrumental record). I like this one quite a bit though. 4/5

4. Breakfast in Berlin – Upon first listen when the video was released a few weeks ago I was underwhelmed. It seemed very different from “Death To Analog” and I didn’t like the direction. But like the whole album, it has grown on me. It’s not a fav, but it’s ok. Another song with ah ah ahs….4 of 4 now. It’s like a U2 record lol! 3/5

5. Palm Springs Reset – For a ballad (recall, I tend to dislike ballads by anyone), it’s not bad. It’s very nice lyrically, the vocals are pretty. The better of the 3 ballads on the album. 3.8/5

6. Colorcast – I hate this song. I’m still listening to it in this initial listening period, but after this, it’ll get fast forwarded. The verses are channeling Depeche Mode (newer DM), and then you get to the chorus which is channeling Ke$ha, and there is nothing good about reminding people about her. The auto tuned vocal pauses are just so horrific, they make me cringe. Ugh. 1/5

7. Close Continuance – The low range vocals remind me of Michael Hutchence, which is always nice. After 2 slower songs, we’re back to a more upbeat track. The guitar makes me think of Earl Slick (Bowie) on a bootleg of the Reality tour I have. Not much else to say, it’s a decent track. 3/5

8. Nights of Future Past – My favourite on the record. I like my electro to have some heaviness to it, and this track is delightfully dark. The verses have a bit of a DM vibe to them again, and they build up to the chorus very nicely. Love. 5/5

9. Flashpoint Riot – My 2nd fav. It initially has a NIN’s “Survivalism” vibe to the guitar, but beyond that it is it’s own beast. It’s gritty and heavier, my kind of music. More guitar, less prominent drum programming. I think it’d be a fun song live. 4/5

10. I’ll Try Not To Destroy You – The album closes on a ballad, which I think is always risky. Do ballads make people want to come back for more? I dunno. People always think bands best songs are ballads, and I just think that’s a bunch of crap. It definitely has lyrics that seem personal (it appears to be a love song). I find it sort of boring though, but that’s me and my dislike of ballads. They’re all boring haha. It’s not a bad song, just not my thing. 2.5/5

I still have trouble reconciling Ryan the guitarist from Orgy (as I originally knew him) and Ryan the vocalist. I just keep being amazed that this voice comes from that person haha. Even after seeing them live with CombiChrist in 09, and seeing that he really is doing the singing (lol), it’s just…I need to rebrand my vision of him from guitarist to frontman. I find it amusing.

Overall it’s a good listen, and I enjoy it, but I feel like there is something lacking from the first one. I don’t dance but I like music that makes me wish I could, and this sorta doesn’t. I feel like it lacks a groove that makes you bounce around in your seat while driving. It has the dance club programmed drums, but I feel like there is no appropriate bass line to go with it and get you moving. And then there is the over abundance of ah ah ahs/oh oh ohs, and the horrible ke$ha vocal pauses. I like my dance music to be a bit heavier (think kmfdm), and this album is definitely more straight club, but that’s just my personal taste.

The lyrics have grown from the first album and seem more personal and relatable. It has nice vocals and melodies, and I find the songs getting stuck in my head. I recommend it to anyone familiar with the band, or who likes electronic music with some depth (other than 20 minute long straight programmed drum club songs).

I respect that the band wanted to do what they liked, and screw labels and charts. That’s always a good thing. I’m just glad for new music from them, glad it’s doing well on itunes, and hope to see them on the road soon!

My big pet peeve of recently purchased albums, not just this one, is the length. This one is 10 songs, and 49 minutes. Historically album length was dependent on the medium, with vinyl holding about 25 minutes per side, cds holding 79 minutes, and now digital albums are limitless. But everything recently released by bands I follow have been under 50 minutes (some WAY under), and it is aggravating haha. Sometimes it’s been years between albums, and all fans get is 45 minutes of new music? I don’t expect a double album from everyone, I don’t even expect 79 minutes, but I think an hour is do-able. Maybe it’s a money thing, most of these bands don’t have label support, so maybe the cost of studio time is the limiting factor…The new Lacuna Coil record I also got this week is 45 minutes. The Dreaming’s “Puppet” is about 40 min. Econoline Crush’s “Ignite” is 39 minutes!! I just don’t get it.

Julien-K Buffalo 6-27-09

saturday was the day of 29797 things to do. work didn’t give me friday off so i could be in toronto in the morning for Carolyn’s wedding so I had to miss that. and they wouldn’t give me saturday off for the terminal’s 80th and for julien k, so i had to call in.

so started the afternoon at the terminal, the party started at 5. hung out manning the new gift shop til i had to leave at 6:30 to adr2’s so we could go to town ballroom for julien-k and combichrist. 4 bands played…first was…displaced? i don’t know, something with a D and they were memorably not good. 2nd was aestetic perfection, who weren’t too bad. julien-k was 3rd, and that’s who i was there to see. last time they were in buffalo, they were supposed to play with black light burns 2 years ago but ryan got sick and they cancelled. so this was a long time coming, and given that i really really love the cd (death to analog) i was excited. i hadn’t seen my orgy boys in a long time, and they make me happy haha. i’d say they were decently entertaining. it is weird to see ryan shuck as a front man, and it seems he’s not quite used to it either. he’s got a surprisingly good voice, i was surprised (on the cd too). he channels jay gordon at times, and other times i was reminded of trevor hurst haha. amir was amir, still cool and calm and perfect on stage. i was satisfied with their set. in no particular order i think they played: death to analog, someday soon, kick the bass, technical difficulties, systeme de sexe, nvr say nvr, look at u, futura. i don’t have anything to say about combichrist because i don’t know their material at all. we saw them open for kmfdm, and they were good, so…yep.

before combichrist went on, they played thriller and surprisingly everyone started cheering, and were dancing around. then during their set, they were asking for cheers for the other 3 bands, and then named “michael jackson” and the whole crowd erupted, loudest they were all night. seriously surprising, an industrial show with people appreciating mj…

before julien-k came on, we were sitting on the floor on the 2nd level and i looked over at the boots this girl was wearing next to me, and there was a random julien-k guitar pick on the floor. yoink! and later some girl came up to me and said her friend wanted to come give me a hug..um ok. so yeah this random guy came over and gave me a hug. later during JK’s set, he walked by on the lower level and grabbed my hand LOL. then i made another friend in line for the bathroom, this girl who would not stop talking to me, and i was like pleaaaase someone get out of a stall so i can get away from this girl! thankfully i didn’t see her the rest of the night. but i did run into danielle, which was weird, considering she’s you know…living in boston lol. she came home specially to see JK and amir recognized her (she’s the rough cutt girl dontyaknow) and gave her his guitar slide.

after, went back to adr2’s and they had made me a birthday cake and we watched Repo the Genetic Opera. i had really wanted to see it tho it looked bad. it was supposedly a rock opera, and it has an interesting concept story line. but…it was not good. it was pretty, but the music, which is sorta key to a rock opera/musical, was unexpectedly bad. and not even bad in a good way. it was just bad. 🙁

music stuffs

i’m watching duran duran live at wembly arena 2004 on vh1 classic and am thoroughly enjoying it. it’s only an hour long sadly, so it’s really just the big hits and seemingly 2 “new” songs (aka ones i didn’t know). simon le bon sounds really good, way better than some other live things i’ve heard of theirs. wish i could have seen them at the casino on that tour.

in other music news…

lacuna coil released a new album, “shallow life”…produced by a guy who also worked with linkin park and avril lavigne…so i wasn’t really expecting much, and good thing. it is so completely mainsteam modern rock radio friendly. it is completely devoid of the “goth” creepiness factor that made them interesting when i discovered them 6 years ago (that long already!). “shallow life” lost most of the nu-metal, fieldy-on-bass sound of “karmacode” but it is just so so soooooo modern rock. it’s good for what it is, but it’s disappointing for what i want from lacuna coil. i’ve only listened once, will give it more time, but it’s nothing like “unleashed memories” and “comalies”…

i tried to buy julien-k’s album but have not been able to find it at hot topic (where they begged you to buy it in their newsletter…) downloaded it and i actually like it more than i thought i would. i had downloaded the ep last year and didn’t really care for it much. again, i need to listen more, but first impression is that it’s decent and listenable. the “kick the bass” video, which last time i checked was still on youtube, is basically porn. weird.

and i might have already mentioned it…new depeche mode “sounds of the universe”. it’s sorta chill and mellow. there are a few upbeat songs like “wrong” (which still sounds like marilyn manson and not u2 :P) but alot of slower things. i don’t know if i’ll end up listening to it much, instead i’ll stick with the singles discs and ultra. we shall see. i still want to see them in toronto tho.


i finished the first 5 ender books, and need to get the newest one. until then i borrowed The Stand from adr2 and bliss, and um…this other one by poppy z brite but i can’t remember the name. and i’m still reading atlas shrugged. i just keep taking time off to read other things haha.

and my laptop is back in service after the power cord finally bit the dust – after being bitten by kitty. and just in time, i didn’t know what i was going to do with myself while watching my shows tonight hahaha.