September 2007 ArchivesPage of 3
Let's all wish Ms. Smith a very happy birthday!
We had the birhday party/housewarming party last night. Thanks to everyone for coming out. I'll be contacting you all very soon to plan the follow up party so we can drink all the leftover booze.
Now that the party is over, I can officially call to a close three of the most hectic weeks in recent memory. Here's a list of some of the things I won't be doing in the next few days:
Tonight: Le Loup & These United States @ Black Cat
Sunday: Okkervil River @ RocknRoll Hotel (gave my tickets to Jason)
Monday: Matt Pond PA @ 9:30 and Patrick Wolf @ Black Cat
Tuesday: Jose Gonzalez @ 9:30 Club
Nope, none of that. I'm taking a few days off.
I will however be wearing my Red Sox hat with pride.
Hey now! I have some concert tickets to giveaway!
Please indicate which show you are entering for in the subject header.
The Patrick Wolf winner will be chosen tomorrow and the Voxtrot winner on Monday.
Thanks and good luck!
This is a week old at this point, but I've been so busy, I'm just now getting around to it. Gruff's show last week was alot of fun. The material from his new record, Candylion, was wonderful and he was his normal, extremely engaging self during the show, naming all his "bandmates" who were actually random knick-knacks laid out on the table before him that produced a variety of the sounds heard on the record. His true bandmate, Lisa Jen, has a voice like an angel. Overall a good show.
I got to chat a bit with Gruff before the gig, which is always nice. He always has a big hug for me whenever we see each other, which is awesome. He told me about Bunf's recent birthday, his 40th (!!!!), where they both got trashed at an Adam Hussain gig in Wales. Recounting the night, Gruff gave me the "Dude, we go so trashed," look and sigh combo, before adding "Bunf may be the oldest of us, but he's definitely the youngest at heart." Truer words were never spoken.
I also interviewed Gruff for DCist. You can read the entire interview here. Unfortunately it ended before I could get to my good (read: "Inside baseball") questions due to some very insistent person calling from New Zealand claiming they had an interview set up and a deadline fast approaching. Still I got some good stuff:
I think there’s some really brilliant songs on Hey Venus! "Baby Ate My Eightball" is one of the best things you’ve done, in my opinion. The backing vocals are brilliant.
That song took loads of twists and turns. The first incarnation had this sort of Miami based rhythm with babies crying and glasses smashing. It was very abrasive. One of the most abrasive and punk rock things we’ve ever done. And then we mixed it three or four times in the end and the final version barely resembles the original. It’s just a song that took a life of it’s own. Bunf is impersonating a police or ambulance siren with the backing vocals.
How do you keep the whole recording process fresh and keep challenging yourselves?
With this record we worked with Dave Newfield. So that was different to start with, to go into the studio with someone new. We’ve become very set in our ways, you know? In the studio we’re like a bunch of old men, so it was good to have someone come in and be like a coach or referee figure. His background is he was a wedding DJ for years. He did like 500 weddings as a DJ. So he knows what makes the whole family move. And Dave works standing up. He got us to do multiple takes of the songs until it physically moved him.
I can see that. This record has a lot of energy.
I think we were going for energy in the songwriting rather than sonic adventure on this record. Which means we’ll probably react to this record by making a sonically adventurous record with no lyrics.
Here's a true Gruff story. When the band released Rings Around the World and came to the US to tour I was in a weird place in my life; in between jobs, getting sick of living in NYC and my relationship to my then girlfriend falling apart. So I decided to take two weeks and follow the Furries around and go to a bunch of gigs. I saw a total of eight gigs all up and down the East Coast, going to different cities and hooking up with old friends I hadn't seen in a while and visiting venues I'd always wanted to go to (like the 40 Watt club in Athens, Ga.).
During the last gig, at a venue in Atlanta who's name escapes me, when I got to the will call window at the club, the person there checked off my name and told me that Gruff wanted to see me backstage as soon as I arrived. I was a bit confused by this and also a bit hesitant to go back there. Even though I am super tight with the Furries, I make a point not to bug artists before the show, only after. Before the show is their time to get into whatever mental space they need to play that night's show.
Ultimately I decided to go back there and I tracked Gruff down. He took me aside with a very grave look on his face and sat me down while all sorts of shit was running through my head. It was then when Gruff apologized to me. He told me he felt bad because I had seen eight shows where the band had played the exact same set and he would check with the band and see if they couldn't throw "Ice Hockey Hair" or something like that into the set that night for me.
A quick aside here. Part of my relationship with the Furries is that I continually pester them to play songs from their catalog I am pretty sure they're never going to play. Like "Frisbee," "Mario Man," "Citizen's Band," This, That, and the Other," "Dacw Hi" and so on (although I should note "Herman Loves Pauline" was also on this list and they finally relented and played it on the Love Kraft tour). Anyways, I ask for songs, they point at me and laugh and in turn I have something to bitch about. Sounds weird, but trust me. It's fun. Back to the story...
Man. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Here Gruff was apologizing to me for something I couldn't care less about. I explained to him that although I am always asking for other stuff to be included in the set, I really didn't care what they played. I'd be singing along to the "wowoooooahs" in "Run, Christian, Run" and playing air drums to "Calimero" that night just like I did every other night. Seeing the band play was more important that what they played, despite my (good-natured) bitching.
Anyways, I hope that shows you what a stand up guy Gruff is. He's truly one of the nicest people I ever met in any walk of life and I'm really glad to be able to call him my friend.
One other thing. While we were hanging out at soundcheck last week, Gruff introduced me to Jim Fairchild, who used to be the guitar player in Grandaddy and is performing under the name All Smiles. Jim was super cool and I enjoyed his opening set, filled with acoustic guitar and lots of self deprecating humor, quite a bit. He's back in D.C. on November 1st opening for David Bazan and I'm really looking forward to seeing him then.
[MP3] British Sea Power | Atom
New EP called Krankenhaus? was released yesterday.
[MP3] iLIKETRAINS | The Deception
Playing the Rock n Roll Hotel on October 13th. Their full length album Elegies to Lessons Learned is out October 25th. You can also catch them at CMJ.
[MP3] Magnet | Lonley No More
Playing DC9 on October 25 before hooking up with Stars and opening for them.
[MP3] Division Day | Enjoy The Silence
Depeche Mode cover.
[MP3] Doveman | Sunrise (Medley)
Playing SoundFix Records in NYC on Oct. 15th.
[MP3] Mobius Band | Hallie
Playing the Rock n Roll Hotel on October 4th. I saw them open for Tom Vek in 2005 and liked them. They were "fun and lively." Also, remember when this passed as a good shot for me. Wow.
[MP3] Celebration | Evergreen
4AD release their album The Modern Tribe on October 9th.
[MP3] Scout Niblett | Kiss
This Fool Can Die Now is out on too pure on October 9th.
That should keep you busy for a while.
Point your web browser over to Pitchfork to see my photos from Friday's Mountain Goats / Bowerbirds show at Sonar in Baltimore.
Let me just go ahead and put this out there so you can marinate on it for a minute.
You know all those completely overrated bands like The Decemberists, Beruit, effing Sufjan, Band of Horses, The New Pornographers, Tapes N Tapes, Andrew Bird and the like? You can have them. Go ahead and take 'em.
Just give me Kings of Leon.
Give me a band with career ambition, building their fan base the right way - releasing albums that get progressively better while touring like crazy and playing bigger and bigger venues, but most importantly a band that fucking brings the rock live. Their set last night at the 9:30 Club was perhaps the best show I've seen this year. And I think we all know it's no easy feat to impress me. I have been waiting three years to see KoL live and I built it up so much in my head I didn't think there was any way the band were going to be able to live up to my expectations.
Boy was I wrong.
They were so on point, so tight, so perfect. They made a sold out 9:30 crowd do things I've never seen before. There was a palatable energy in the room last night. The crowd gave it and the band returned it in kind.
Let me throw this out there while I'm at it. Is there a more underrated band in the land right now? A band more deserving of admiration and praise but yet gets so very little?
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played a decent set to warm up the crowd for the headliners. Actually, they came out blazing on their first five or six songs and had the crowd (including me) eating out of their hand. But then they broke out a slow song that went nowhere and then followed that up with a song where the lead singer played trombone. At that point everyone went to the bar or outside for a smoke. I have never seen a crowd go from "Yes! Fucking Rock!" to "Wait, is that a trombone? Time for a beer" so fast.
In contrast, KoL played "Arizona" about 45 minutes into their set and instead of boring everyone, the guys in crowd busted out their air guitars and the girls kept on openly drooling at the guys on stage. Oh, I should also mention that the crowd at a KoL show is not exactly hard on the eyes ifyouknowwhatimean.
Stand out tunes last night included "Fans," "True Love Way," pretty much everything off of Aha Shake Heartbreak and a show stopping version of "Knocked Up" that seriously gave me goosebumps and induced a giant sing-a-long with the backing "ohwoah ohhhhhhh ohh ohhhhhhhhhhs." Full set list here.
So yeah, the show was pretty good. You need to go see it. They're at the 9:30 Club again tonight and then they continue touring through October and into November.
Our kid turns 35 today. I hope he's havin' it LARGE!
[MP3] Oasis | Up In The Sky (Acoustic) - This is without a doubt the best version of this song I have ever heard.
As if I haven't been busy enough lately, tonight kicks off a show filled week for me (so much so I had to skip the Dan Deacon/Girl Talk show at the Cat last night). Here's the schedule:
Tonight: Gruff Rhys @ Rock and Roll Hotel
[MP3] Gruff Rhys | Gyyru Gyrru Gyrru
Unlike the link last week, this one works. So get to downloading. I'm interviewing Gruff later tonight and I'll have the results next week. His tour is just starting, so be sure to catch him when he comes through your town.
Friday: The Mountain Goats @ Sonar in Baltimore
First time seeing these guys. I've heard great things.
Sunday: Kings of Leon / Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ 9:30 Club
Finally! I'm very excited about seeing two of my favorite albums of the year played live.
When this is all done, I'm totally going to pull a Mr. Pink.
What do you do when you're swamped at work and just back from a three day music festival? Milk last weekend for all its worth.
Pictured above is my photo on the home page of AOL's music site Spinner. Pretty Awesome. You can check out my ACL photos on Spinner here. My photos are slides 2-50. Many thanks to the fine folk over at AOL/Spinner for letting me represent them at the festival.
The other big story at ACL was "the fire." My photos of the fire were used on Spinner and Pitchfork. Flickr picked up one of the photos on their Explore page and it's gotten over 800 views and been favorited 32 times since Saturday. Sweet!
Semi-related: One band I wish I could have seen at ACL was Underworld. Looks like the NYC show was awesome.
Like woah. I survived Austin City Limits Festival 2007 and all you get for it is this crappy post.
Biding my time at the Austin aeropuerto before heading off to Dallas and ultimately BWI. I had a pretty awesome time here in Austin, although I was running around doing festival related things so much I didn't get the chance to eat as much BBQ as I wanted.
My Morning Jacket fucking OWNED! They were amazing. The only group all weekend that seemed like they could play even bigger venues than ACL. Probably the set of the weekend. So so good. Also earning props: Bloc Party (got so many good photos of them I could run a new one every day for a year and you wouldn't get sick of them), Arctic Monkeys and the aforementioned LCD and M.I.A.
Wilco was a snoozefest. I ended up shooting them and running over to catch MMJ and I have to say, after (only) seeing three songs I don't see what the big deal was. Tweedy looked like he'd rather have been anywhere else on the planet. MMJ meanwhile were decked out in beach gear and gave their set a luau feel. They had girls standing on stage holding coconuts and some random guy wandering around stage with a metal detector like he was at the beach. Have some fun with it! Wilco's big thing was Tweedy wore a cowboy hat for the first song. Pffffft. Also snore inducing: Andrew Bird (who drew an absolutely HUUUUGE crowd on Saturday) and The Decemberists (Say it with me now - OVER-RATED).
Blue October... Without a doubt the Worst. Band. On. The. Planet.
The Arcade Fire played in the dark. - Literally. I (along with the rest of the photogs that pretty much had a battle royal to be one of the 32 people "lucky" enough to get photo pit access during the AF's set) was SO PISSED. The Black Cat had better lighting than the AF's set. Meanwhile, you could see and hear Muse all the way across the park. I backed the wrong horse here, no doubt.
Surprisingly Good: Common (he covered "Award Tour!") and Crowded House (mostly heard new stuff but didn't stick around that long).
Indifferent towards: Bjork (played a strangely paced set and I really don't like her new stuff) and Bob Dylan (played "Tangled Up In Blue" right off the bat and then all new stuff after that. His voice was in rough shape at the start of the set but got better). Plus, I was so happy not to have to take any more photos by the time Dylan came on (we weren't allowed to shoot him) I think Morrissey would have had a hard time keeping my attention at that point. Also, The National. They were wonderful but I've seen them play that set four times in the last two ro three months.
All in all, I had a wonderful trip. Austin (and ACL Fest) is best! The beer is cheap and the music and good food is plentiful. I would come back in a second. Although probably not for SXSW.
Special thanks to Dan for letting me crash on his couch all weekend and to Frank Chromewaves for the hotel and internet access. Hopefully Frank is still talking to me as of tomorrow since I spent most of the weekend telling him his favorite bands suck. I'm such a dick.
Also, big ups to all the Hot Freaks bloggers. They put on two great nights of after parties at two awesome clubs.
Photos should be up on AOL/Spinner at some point today. Make sure you check them out!
**UPDATE** Waiting on my connection in Dallas...Here are the photos at AOL/Spinner.
I declare Day One of the Austin City Limits Festival a success:
Among the highlights:
- While riding the bus into town yesterday two guys got on dressed in jeans and heavy, dark colored long sleeve shirts. I'm thinking to myself "These Texans are hard core!" (It was roughly 93 degrees yesterday). Turns out those two guys weren't Texans. They were Kaiser Chiefs. Taking public transport downtown.
- Hopping off the bus and meeting up with Chromewaves, Gorilla vs. Bear, MOKB, and You Ain't No Picasso for some pre-festival grub. We went to some Mexican place for fajitas and flautas. Sitting across from us was Grizzly Bear. Sitting behind us was Spoon.
- After breakfast while we made a quick stop at the ATM, Mrs. MOKB took GvsB's Polaroid camera down to the other end of the block where Britt and Co. were talking with some friends. Mrs. MOKB chatted with Britt for a sec before snapping his pic, and at one point she pointed towards all of us (who were milling about on the other end of the block). We were all like "Oh Shit." So Mrs. MOKB comes back and says "Britt wants to come say hi." And he does. How does he greet us?
"What's up bloggers?"
Awesome. I never been more embarrassed in my life*. Britt was really cool though. Later, on the shuttle bus over to the festival Matt Picasso compared the whole experience to you telling a girl that the girl on the other side of the room is cute and then she goes over to that girl and relays that info. Maybe you had to be there.
- There was a huge fire at ACL. People got hurt. I got pictures (of the fire, not the hurt people - I hope they are OK).
- Best band of the day: Queens of the Stone Age. Hooollleeeee Fuck they were awesome. I want to go drink beers with Josh Homme.
Honorable mentions: M.I.A. and LCD Soundsystem.
- Best band not playing ACL: Art Brut. So much awesome.
- Worst band of the day: Grizzly Bear. These guys are popular why? No hooks, no melodys. No need to waste yr time. Towards the end of the Art Brut set, one of the guys in Grizzly Bear came over to the Mohawk and his jaw was on the floor while watching Eddie and Co. do their thing. It was awesome.
More tomorrow. ACL photos on AOL on Monday.
The bags are packed and Mr. Pink is being very passive aggresive towards me, which means it's time to head off to Austin for ACL. Expect many shenanigans and photos in the ensuing days.
D.C. United was victorious over visiting Real Salt Lake last night, clinching United's spot in the MLS post-season. Woot!
A few people have asked if I was planning anything special today as it's the sixth anniversary of 9/11. I don't think so. I said everything I needed to say last year. I'm not sure I have anything to add right now. So instead I'll point you to a few things and let you go to work:
I had hoped to have my wedding photos from last weekend up today but last night's storm knocked out my internet for most of the night so look for them tomorrow.
Instead, here is some music apropos for today:
[MP3] Elbow | Any Day Now
[MP3] The Spinanes | Sunday
I need a few days off to recover from last weekend. Old college friend Jon Miller got married on Saturday at a golf course in Pennsylvania and yours truly set the new course record for Gin & Tonics consumed in one evening. And apprently G&T's fuel and embolden me to become the world's drunkest wedding photographer. In between drinks, I was running around the dance floor popping my flash every three seconds. It was a lot of fun. Too much actually. Oh, and did I mention the wedding was Metallica themed? Yes, "Master of Puppets" was played during the night, along with the accompanying air guitar. Visual evidence tomorrow.
I had to get up fairly early on Sunday and fight my hangover so I could get back in time for the 3 p.m. kickoff at RFK as D.C. United took on the NE Revolution in a very important Eastern Conference showdown. The boys in black fell behind 2-1 early in the 2nd half but scored three unanswered goals to pull out a 4-2 win. And for the record, sitting on the pitch taking photos in 90+ degree weather when you haven't eaten all day is not at the top of my list of things to do when you're hungover.
This week is just as hectic. I'm off to Texas for the Austin City Limits Festival on Thursday. If you're heading down there, give me a shout.
I love it when Agent Zero tells the Gary Payton story.
Blur is reportedly about to become Blur again.
After something like 18 months, I finally "get" My Morning Jacket. Z, specifically "Gideon" and "Knot Comes Loose," has been stuck in my head for the better part of this week. Which is a bit strange because some of Z screams Jimmy Buffet.
I bring this up only because I am having a hell of a time choosing between covering MMJ or Wilco at Austin City Limits next week. They both play at the same time. Right now I'm leaning towards taking photos of Wilco (who I've never seen) and then rushing over to catch the end of MMJ's set. Mostly because Jim James is a mountain of big hair (see above) that doesn't move around very much on stage. If this is a bad idea, please advise.
Lastly, Ticketmaster just sent me an email to let me know Morrissey is playing Baltimore and Tijuana(??). As if I didn't learn anything from my last Morrissey road trip.
I was playing around on the net last night and came across Seeqpod, a cool little app that lets you form playlists of all the available MP3's on the nets, so I made a playlist for the weekend. Now if only it could export the MP3s and playlist order directly into my (and your) iTunes. That would be hott.
I can't recommend the Gruff Rhys track enough. Figures I find the perfect summer song just after Labor Day. Oh well, definitely give "Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru" a listen, it's absolutely brilliant and would have fit in perfectly on Guerilla. Quite possibly my favorite song of the year. I've probably listened to it 20 times since yesterday. Head over here to download the MP3. Also, here's the video that was directed by Dylan, who does all the visuals during the Super Furries live show. Gruff is touring the US at the end of the month and I've set up an interview with him during his stop in D.C. on the 20th, so look for that later this month.
I'm heading out of town for the weekend, which is a shame because there are some great shows tonight and tomorrow. Tonight is the Kora Records Third Anniversary party tonight at the Black Cat featuring Meredith Bragg and The Terminals, Donny Hue and The Colors and Olivia Mancini and The Housemates. I'm a big fan of Olivia and the Housemates, so I'm a bit bummed that I can't make the show. Instrumental Analysis has all the details on the show as well as some MP3s for you.
Tomorrow is the big Blisspop Presents show at the 9:30 Club with Georgie James, Soft Complex and The Dance Party and the DJ stylings of the one and only Will Eastman. Again, totally bummed I'm missing this. It should be a good time. Doors are at 11 p.m. (it's a late show) and tickets are a mere $10. If you need some MP3s, head over to I Guess I'm Floating.
MTV was on the set during filming on Chuck Palahniuk's Choke. How excited am I for this movie?
Despite being pretty beat, I went to see The National and The Rosebuds last night at the 9:30 Club, hoping that the underwhelming show I saw in June was an aberration. Friend of information leafblower R.D. came down from NYC for the June show, but caught The National recently at South Street Seaport and said the show was so good his "trust in the decency of the common man had been restored." Yes please.
Unfortunately while playing a very good show last night, the band and venue still highlighted their collective weaknesses more than their strengths. Boxer, grainy, emotional and gorgeous on CD, lacks a bit in the pacing department live and I just couldn't get past this. Matt was also battling a bit of a cold, which didn't help things.
It almost seemed that the band was holding back last night. On the few occasions they put their guard down and let 'er rip ("Abel" and "Squalor Victoria" for instance) it was truly a thing of beauty that made you think "I am so glad I'm here rather than at home watching Andy Roddick lose to Roger Federer in straight sets." But any momentum would soon be lost when they would follow up with a slowie that brought the energy in the room down again. Alligator worked because "Mr. November's" yin evened out "Daughters of the Soho Riots" yang. And "Daughters" sounds all the better because of it. Boxer lacks the songs that punch you right in the gut (sorry for the horrible pun).
That said, they played "All The Wine" (YAY!) with a wonderful new arrangement and did the slow-then-fast tempo for "Apartment Story" that worked so well back in June. The highlight of the show was definitely the venue-wide singalong to all the words of "Fake Empire."
Similarly, try as I might, I simply cannot get into The Rosebuds. They've garnered all sorts of praise on blogs far and wide, but after seeing them twice, I just can't get into them.
Midlake are at the Black Cat tonight, and although I do want to see them, I need a night off. If you go, tell me how it was.
Mr. Pink had to go to the vet today. He wasn't very happy about it, but he's had an outbreak of eye gunk since we moved into the new place. It's gotten better since the weekend, but I still wanted him to get a checkup (Hey, I went to the doctor yesterday, he can too). The diagnosis is nothing serious, but I do have to put this gel into his eyes twice a day. Boy, he loves that.
While we were there I had him fitted for some soft claws, little plastic claws that go over his real claws that will cut down on some of the scratching damage he causes. I'm not going to declaw him, so hopefully this will be a better solution. The nurse tried to talk me into pink caps, but I went with the clear ones this time around. But maybe next time.
Mr. Pink hates car rides and going to the vet, but he did pretty good today. He is currently in the next room conked out on the couch.
PS - Editors, last night. Pretty damn good. Tom's voice is really amazing, it's easy to get lost in it during the show. The crowd was really weird though, and it sapped much of the energy from the room. It's hard to explain, but lets just say I had no idea that so many people with bad fake tans liked Editors so much. To make matters worse, no photo pass.
I will totally buy one of the new iPod Touch models that was released today...as soon as they increase the storage from a paltry 16 gb. I've been telling Ms. Smith I'd be interested in the iPhone without the phone part, and that's exactly what this is. If only the storage capacity wasn't so crappy.
More over at Gizmodo.
Hard to top yesterday. I spent much of the afternoon pestering the multiude of Michigan alumni in my rolodex after Appalachian State, alma mater of Mom and Pop Leafblower, pulled off the greatest upset in the last 30 odd years in college football by beating Michigan at The Big House.
Forget firing Lloyd Carr (wait 'til he loses to Ohio State again), you have to fire the special teams coach on Monday. Allowing two blocked field goals in just over 90 seconds? That's a fireable offense in my book. Boone, NC is on the map now, baby!
Here's the crazy thing. Michigan's season is OVER.
The only bad thing to come out of this is there's no way anyone that big ever schedules App State again. It's a shame no one saw this game since it wasn't on TV anywhere. ESPN Classic should show it today.
Later that night, Red Sox rookie Clay Buchholz no-hit the Orioles in Fenway. Maybe now I will start yelling out "Ohhhhhhh" with all the O's fans during the national anthem. It will just have a different meaning for me.
If only my alma mater, East Carolina, could have out the cherry on top of this delicious Saturday by beating Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Things looked good early but they VA Tech got an interception that led to a TD just before the half that took the wind out of our sales. Still, that was the best game I've seen us play in the last few years. Looks like Skip Holtz has us back on the right path, so it's at least a moral victory.