Yesterday, thanks to a presale code I received from the Michigan State email list, I bought two tickets to the U2 concert in East Lansing, MI next June. Combined with the Bruce Springsteen concert we’re going to tomorrow night up in Baltimore, I think that this is the last concert that will be a “must see” for me.
I didn’t go to too many concerts until I was in college, so I missed out on Bruce and U2 and others back in the 80s and 90s for the most part. But in the past ten years, I’ve been lucky enough to afford to be able to see concerts like those and Billy Joel (with Elton John), and even Bon Jovi and Def Leppard (making up for missing them in my youth). Looking around at some of the top concert tours going right now, I find little else I actually want to go see. The Eagles and Dave Matthews Band seem to be the highest draws that I might want to see, but they’re not must see material for me, definitely not for what tickets cost these days. The only “new” artist I’d be interested in seeing is Arcade Fire (not on tour), and the “old” artist would be Beastie Boys maybe (also not on tour).
What do you think? Is there a great concert out there that I “must see?”
I can now check off another unique DC institution from my list: I have now seen Chuck Brown, the Godfather of go-go, perform live in concert. Chuck Brown has been performing for decades around the DC music scene, doing his unique blend of funk and jazz and continuous drum beats. Yesterday, he was performing for free at the Reston Festival, and the wife and kids were out of town, so I decided to ride my bike up to go see him play. What a show! The wall of sound hits you from the first note and never lets up (I felt bad for the conga and drum players, who never got a break in the late afternoon heat). The crowd was predominately African-American, but everyone was into the groove and chanting along, “Wind me up, Chuck!” It really was a great show, and I admire the guy for performing at such a high level into his 70s. I can’t describe how glad I am that I was finally able to catch his show. Awesome.
Holy crap, I had no idea that They Might Be Giants’ classic, “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” was a COVER. That link also has an MP3 sample of the original version by The Four Lads. My world is falling apart…
Making its way around the intertubes is a funny “Thriller” video. For you kids, that was a big hit for Michael Jackson before he went all crazy. If I’m ever incarcerated, I want to go to the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines.
And here they are doing “Radio Gaga” by Queen. Not as awesome, but funny when they do the clap-clap part of the chorus.
On an only vaguely related (by music) note, I got Nirvana’s “In Utero” from LaLa a while back, after reading “Life is a Mixtape.” I’m not going to go by a shotgun like Kurt, but even if you couldn’t understand everything he sang, he wrote some pretty good songs. And as “Life is a Mixtape” suggested, I really do relate, at times, to the songs on this album. Worth revisiting if you’re all groweds up now and last listened to it in college.
I saw that the True Colors tour is coming to our area in June, and I had to share the lineup with you:
Artists scheduled to appear: Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Debbie Harry, The Dresden Dolls, The Gossip, and special guest Rufus Wainwright. Hosted by Margaret Cho.
I actually like some of what I’ve heard from The Dresden Dolls and The Gossip (“Standing in the Way of Control” was a good one), but sometimes lineups like this just crack me up. “Hosted by Margaret Cho?” How exactly does one host a concert?
Of course, this is coming from a guy who is far more likely to see a Ralph’s World or Dan Zanes show these days. But I did just download the new Arcade Fire from eMusic, along with some classic jazz from Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk (thanks BG). Well, those and Dan Zanes. And maybe Justin Roberts. But also Barenaked Ladies and Ray Charles! Anyone?
This morning started off super crappy. For some reason, when taking the dog out for a walk this morning, I put my hat down on the trunk of the car, thinking to myself that I surely wouldn’t forget that it was there. You can guess what happened. I headed off to Safeway to buy lottery tickets, only to find the customer service desk deserted (in fairness, it was only 6:30am). It was around the time I was going to get back on the highway that I realized that I had left my hat on the trunk, so I retraced my route back home to find it lying in the road just around the corner from home.
I got on the highway about 15 minutes later than usual, and paid for it. If I get on at 6:30am, the HOV rules haven’t kicked in yet, so the traffic flows smoothly. At 6:45am, it starts to back up as people have to exit I-66 at the Beltway.
After sitting through the traffic, I decided to take a side trip for those lottery tickets ($350 million!). The first Safeway didn’t sell lottery tickets, only scratch-offs. So I stopped by the nearest 7-11, even though it wasn’t very near. Asked for the tickets, and tried to hand him my debit card. Cash only for lottery. Doh! Paid the $2 surcharge at the 7-11 ATM and proceeded to drive into work 30 minutes later than I should have gotten there, extremely pissed off.
The day has improved since though. Lisa found the Disney Crocs shoes for Ellie and her cousin for 10% off at DicksSportingGoods.com, plus $10 off for using Google Checkout. Not bad.
Then I spent much of my lunch break finding all sorts of cool kids music that rocks. Lots of resources out there (and I’m posting them here mostly so I don’t forget all of them): The Lovely Miss Davis, Children’s Music That Rocks, Zooglobble, GoCityKids, Rock-n-Romp, Rock-n-Romp Baltimore, Jam-A-Rama, Baby Loves Disco (come to DC please!), and more performers than I can list here. I had fun listening to Justin Roberts (who is at Jammin Java on St. Patty’s Day and sounds kinda like James Taylor) and Steve “I used to be on Blue’s Clues, but now I rock out on kid’s music” Burns.
My mood is much better now.
I was listening to the All Songs Considered podcast of the Sleater-Kinney “before-we-go-on-indefinite-hiatus” tour show at the 9:30 Club, and Bob Boilen mentioned that it was the first time he remembered that when the house lights came up and the house music started playing, the audience just screamed louder, and Sleater-Kinney came back out for a second encore. How cool is that?
That got me to thinking, whatever happened to the encore? I’m not talking about your favorite band leaving the stage after they “finish” their set, and coming back to play a couple more songs. They plan those encores now. That’s why the house lights don’t come on. Take a look at their set list, it has the encore songs planned out in advance. (see this example of the setlist from the May 2006 Chicago Gaelic Park Saw Doctors show) Maybe it’s been done this way for a while, and I’m just now starting to notice, but it used to feel good when, as a fan, we cheered at the top of our lungs and got the band to come back out and play a few more songs. I think at a Garth Brooks concert, he even came back out twice, if I recall. These days, the audience will occasionally cheer, but more often just sit back on their hands and wait for the band to come back out for a few more songs. Then the house lights come up after the encore, and everyone files quietly out. How boring and un-rock-and-roll.
I don’t know what fans can do about it. I suppose that bands could actually forgo an encore if the fans didn’t really get into it, but that would probably just result in annoyed yuppies crying that they didn’t get their three extra songs they think they’re entitled to. Me? I just hope to be there when a band I like is forced back up onto the stage for a second, real encore for a change.
Damn, extra innings baseball games suck. Since the Yankees were on WGN, I actually got to watch them last night, as they blew the lead in the ninth and lost in the eleventh. So, a little tired this morning.
If you haven’t had the chance to catch “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” on SciFi yet, check it out tomorrow at 9pm. 11 ordinary people created comic book characters. One will be immortalized in a Stan Lee comic book. He’s putting them through all sorts of tests, and eliminating them one by one. My favorites are Fat Momma and Major Victory. It’s only going for 6 episodes, and tomorrow is episode 3. Definitely lots of fun to watch in the summer rerun doldrums.
Speaking of fun, check out Frets on Fire. It’s basically Guitar Hero for your computer, but you play with your keyboard. It’s done pretty well, but there needs to be a few more songs for it to be really cool. Supposedly you can plug in the Guitar Hero guitar with an adapter, and use it to play as well, which would be really cool.
The WSOP main event is down to the final table of 9 players now. You’d probably only recognize one of the names as a poker pro, but there is one guy named Rhett Butler who’s from the DC area, and with that name, you know I gotta root for him. Pauly rules, check out his coverage of the WSOP.
I was very efficient this morning. I grabbed an old portable CD player to bring in to work (iPods not allowed, Lord knows why). I also grabbed my rechargeable AA batteries with the charger to bring in. I couldn’t find the power adapter, otherwise I would have just used that.
Got in to work, plugged in the charger, started charging the batteries. A short time later, they’re all charged up, so I pop them into the CD player and try to turn it on. It starts to turn on, then poof! Turns off. Seems the batteries, which admittedly, have been sitting around for some time, are 1.2 volt batteries, while regular alkaline AAs are 1.5 volts. Most likely, the rechargeables have lost a bit of their effectiveness, and just don’t have enough juice to power the CD player. Thankfully, a co-worker had some spare AAs for me to borrow, so I’m hooking up some White Stripes right now.
But still, how annoying is that? So prepared, only to see my plans go down the tubes. Maybe I’ll see if I can find some other rechargeables that work (rechargeable alkalines are 1.5 volts, NiMH are 1.2v).