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Apr 21 2009
I’ll admit straight up that I’m not a huge Leonard Cohen fan. This isn’t to say I don’t like him, just that I’m not the one who picked out this show to see and all things considered I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have bought a ticket to see this by myself. My girlfriend however is a pretty big fan, and I’m never one to say no to someone who’s supposed to be one of the best songwriters on the planet ever, so why not right? I know that Leonard Cohen has influenced pretty much half of the people that I listen to already, so I’m pretty stupid for not having given too much attention to his music. Most of my favorite artists (along with 2.2 million other people) have covered Hallelujah or one of his other songs, Tori Amos is fond of Famous Blue Raincoat and I’d heard a few songs here and there in soundtracks so I’m not TOTALLY unfamiliar… but at the same time I’m not gonna lie about things here so there you go, full disclosure.
All that said, I actually really liked the show. I’d been sternly warned before the show not to fall asleep, but really despite most of the songs being of a folk-singer-songwriter sort of vibe (which is not my primary interest but something I can definitely get into) it was amazingly entertaining. Everyone on stage played multiple instruments and the arrangements were very nice. It was a better stage show than most bands I see who mail it in, Leonard Cohen is really giving you your money’s worth in a show. I assume this will be the only time I’ll see him play, the last time he was in CA was 14 years ago, so I think this is his last tour and one for the money since tickets were not cheap at ALL. With that sort of expectation though, he really put value in the show. Some bands for otherwise expensive tickets will make a really big effort to get off the stage in an hour and a half, fill the show with opening acts that add value and it’s a tossup on whether it’s great or not. Leonard Cohen said screw opening acts (yay) started prompt at 8PM (yay) and played for a full 3 hours. An hour-ish for a first set, an hour-ish for a second set and a full hour of 4 encores. (or you could just say a third set around an hour with him skipping off stage for a few seconds and coming back on or whatever). Wow.
Jan 20 2009
I know, I super slacked the last few months, so here’s the first show of 2009. I’m not seeing a ton of shows lately, but this is something worth getting out of the house to see, for sure.
Jonathan Coulton speaks to the soul of every nerd, geek, and anyone that comes in contact with anyone who considers themselves to be part of either sort of person. That’s not to say the music can only be enjoyed by nerds and geeks, but there’s a little something extra special inside for those who are. Not many people can get away with writing a song about having a mundane programming job, zombies, monkeys, evil mad scientists, and then still make some really nice and/or depressing songs about relationships in general and also fucking. It’s truly representative of humanity as a whole I think, and there’s definitely something there for everyone.
As for this show, I mean it’s tough to say anything but “he played all the songs I like pretty much” except that it’s difficult to even say there are many of his songs that I don’t like anyway… so yeah great show. I hadn’t been keeping up with the website, so I didn’t have a clue about the couple of songs for the contest thing so there were even a few treats as well as some covers. Can’t go wrong with a TMBG song at a nerdy rock show right?
I had tickets to the Saturday show as well, but unfortunately I flaked and didn’t go. (lots of reasons, none of them good). I kinda wish I had, because this show was great from start to finish and that’s something I haven’t been able to say about a lot of shows. Anyway, this one was great. Enjoy.
I haven’t posted anything in a while. The reasons aren’t great but are many. I haven’t had time. When I’ve had time I haven’t thought about it. When I’ve had time and I’ve thought about it, I’ve been sorta sick. I haven’t seen a lot of shows lately, so I haven’t made any recordings. I’ll get over it sooner or later and I’ll be back out there and I won’t bail on shows anymore or whatever.
Until then, here’s a selection of the best stuff of 2008 that I’ve been listening to that I think you should listen to as well. Bands I’ve already covered here aren’t included, because obviously anyone I post I’m probably recommending already. I like to do this before the x-mas season, because it’s always nice to give (or get!) new music right? Right. Maybe some of these are blindingly obvious, maybe some of these are “who?”, I don’t know. It’s what I’ve been digging this year at any rate.
#1: Eef Barzelay – Lose Big.
I’d never heard of him before, I found out about him through a TV thing and his album is wonderfully pessimistic with twinges of all sorts of genres that I like.
bonus song from his first solo album, which is also fantastic.
That’s brilliant stuff, I love every song on both albums.
Oh if I could define the thing I’ve loved about the music this year the most, it’s that I really got into a lot of the bands that have that loud, feedback and reverb filled sound that echoes My Bloody Valentine. I don’t know if a lot of bands have been making music like this for years and I just now got into it or what, but this is just one of a LOT of really fantastic albums with that sort of vibe to it. I can’t get enough.
#3: Tim Fite – Fair Ain’t Fair
I actually expected this guy to be southern but he’s from New Jersey or something. I expected his live show to be sorta lame, but it was surprisingly enjoyable for a guy with a mic and a backing track. He had some amusing visuals and he really got the crowd into it. It helps that “Big Mistake” is one of the best songs of the year in my head. A simple song that’s not exactly deep, but means a lot.
#4: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down – We Brave Bee Stings and All
This is one of those albums that grabs you instantly and doesn’t let go of your brain. I don’t do it any justice talking about it, you really just have to listen. Go listen.
#5: Halou – Halou
I can’t embed their music, it’s not on imeem. At least not the new album, which I think is their best yet. I know it’s a lame comparison, but honestly it’s like if these guys were more popular and everyone had heard of them, nobody would have given a shit about Portishead coming back this year with a mediocre album. It’s a lush electronic and guitar based sound that combines a lot of stuff that I really like. It’s not quite what trip-hop was (if it ever was anything really) and it’s not quite rock. It’s just really, really good stuff. I honestly have no idea why these guys aren’t huge. It seems they’re still just bubbling under in the semi-local scene, which is a real shame since they’re absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately they’re also apparently dropping the name Halou in favor of Stripmall Architecture, so if you see anything by that name in the future check it out.
Best I can do, but check it out.
And that’s about it for now. Discover some new music, I’ll get around to posting new (old) things again soonish.
Oct 03 2008
It was loud, but I’m sure anyone even slightly familiar with MBV will already realize that it was going to be loud. If you’ve only ever heard their recorded music, you might not necessarily get the impression that they’re the loudest band on the planet (no lie, this has been measured!). Yes there are vocals, no you really can’t hear them. Yes everything sounds noisy and distorted, yes that’s on purpose and that’s why we like it. Yes they do the lights like that on purpose where you don’t really see the band as much as they’re putting lights just out on the crowd and the venue. It’s supposed to signify some sort of greater meaning that it’s not about the band, it’s about the music so just enjoy the experience and don’t worry about trying to see the band.
Oh and yes for the last 20 minutes they’re doing to assault you with a sheath of pure noise and distortion. Phil Spector may have made his Wall of Sound famous for layering all sorts of goodness, MBV created the Wall of Noise. It’s not that it’s not sound, but really the impression you get is that it’s glorifying all that is considered to not be Sound and that which is totally undesirable in music. It’s turning the entire idea of music on its ass and saying “this is beautiful too, embrace it” as a sort of grand statement on how we view music. (is this idea too pretentious?). When you experience it (and I don’t think a recording truly does it justice), you’re being bombarded by light, sound and even feeling because the rush of air from the speakers is even as intense as the music itself. It literally (and I’m not making exaggerations here I don’t think) feels like you’re standing a few feet away from a jet plane engine that’s in the midst of takeoff, except for a slight problem: Superman is holding the front of the plane and it can’t move. It’s stuck in a perpetual acceleration, and you are hanging out in the exhaust. It’s louder than anything you’ve ever experienced, the strobe lights and other things are going nuts, and the wind and vibration are just something that I personally have never felt at a show before. Sometimes you get the occasional really bassy moment and you feel it in every part of your body… go ahead and imagine this happening for 20 solid minutes.
And yes, they hand out earplugs at the door. I feel deeply sorry for anyone who didn’t use them or bring their own.
The sound at the venue wasn’t the best to start with, it’s really a terrible place for concerts and I don’t know why they’ve started a big trend of having them there on a regular basis, but the recording sounds good otherwise.
Oct 02 2008
It’d been a while since I’d seen an mc chris show, I guess because he’s been on other people’s tours and warped (and I have nooooo desire to go to festivals) or just playing in non SF venues or whatever, so it was nice to finally see an mc chris show again. I was there at the start of his touring career in Nashville a few years ago and it’s really good to see at least some refinement in his performances. At the time I think he was trying for some sort of half rap, half comedy blend of things to fill the time. This time around, more of a show. Still a backing track and no band or anything like that, but an entertaining show nontheless. He’s trying for a lot of interaction with the fans I guess to make up for any lack of a show, but that’s okay. I don’t see a lot of other rap shows in general so I have no idea how they do it either. Anyway, I liked the set and I hear it’s what he did most of the Warped tour which is a good thing. Most of the songs in it are what I really liked when I first heard of mc chris in general so this is a great starting point to get into the whole nerd rap thing in general. Maybe it’ll work for you, maybe not I don’t know. Any time you try to mix candy, star wars, and other stupid shit into rap songs, it sure doesn’t necessarily work for everyone right? Whatever, enjoy.