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Archives for 11/05/2006 - 11/11/2006

Friday, November 10, 2006

Because I Know You Don’t Read the Paper

posted by on November 10 at 4:09 PM

Today’s P-I has an interesting article about the 18-month process undergone to decide the opening sound in Windows Vista, Microsoft’s latest and greatest OS. This version of the bootup sound was crafted by Robert Fripp of King Crimson, who has collaborated with Brian Eno, composer for the Windows 95 bootup sound. It’s interesting to think of how much attention goes into a sound meant to be entirely benign. I’m sure Mudede could write something really poetic and powerful about that (or find a dead European who already did), but since I can’t, here are quotes about each composer’s experience:

Fripp:

The short startup clip that was eventually chosen is meant to evoke the rhythm of the words “Win-dows Vis-ta!” and Ball [MS group manager for WAVE - Windows Audio Visual Excellence] hopes the sound will serve as a calling card for the operating system. It also consists of four chords - one for every color in the new Windows graphic that appears as the sound plays. It’s no coincidence that it’s also four seconds long.

Eno:
The thing from the agency said, “We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional,” this whole list of adjectives, and then at the bottom it said “and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.”

Have Breakfast With the Secret Machines

posted by on November 10 at 2:35 PM

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Want to win a FREE Zune? Want to have breakfast with the Secret Machines and then see rock shows featuring the Secret Machines and Blonde Redhead?

Well Crunch Gear is hookin’ you up! Click here to find out how all to make your dreams come true.

(Thanks to Mr. Matt Hickey for sending me the link.)

I’m Sorry Megan, This Can’t Go On

posted by on November 10 at 2:33 PM

Megan Seling loves Tenacious D, but she was a bit disappointed when she attended the screening of their forthcoming feature film last night. Sadly, this didn’t surprise me, as I had a feeling moving Jack and Kyle from small to big screen would be a big mistake (and Jack Black has been heading down hill for a while).

However, this isn’t the true tragedy. The true tragedy is that Seling hasn’t seen any of the original Tenacious D episodes. This simply isn’t right. The production values are shite and the hilarity never fades, in my estimate. So, for you, dear Megan, I present Tenacious D’s debut episode, “The Search For Inspirado”:

Mike Grant @ Rebar Tonight

posted by on November 10 at 1:28 PM

Eric said this about tonight’s Rebar headliner, Mike Grant:

Veteran DJ Mike Grant witnessed the birth of Detroit techno as a member of that city’s first radio mix show, Street Beat, where he worked with legendary producers such as Derrick May and Juan Atkins. Recently, Grant has focused on house, starting the Moods & Grooves label to release his own productions as well as work by John Tejada & Arian Leviste, Theo Parrish, and others. Grant brings a lifetime of experience and a deep love of music to his DJ sets, as does the night’s resident, Seattle’s venerable DJ Riz. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873, 10 pm, $10, 21+.

Eric speaks truth. Mike Grant plays great records, dropping the type of house that we don’t hear often enough out here in Seattle. One small potential correction however. The flyer for the party says that the openers for the night are Jen Woolfe, AC Lewis, and Trevor. Regardless, should be a good night, with Rebar potentially warranting a weekend triple, with Grant tonight, Krakt (with Misha) tomorrow, and of course Flammable on Sunday.

Here’s a sample of what Mike Grant plays: Live at Cafe Unico (requires Realplayer)

Copying Beethoven Better

posted by on November 10 at 11:25 AM

The marvelous Greg Sandow makes another one of his forehead-smackingly simple and powerful suggestions about how to represent classical music genuinely in the movies, which is so rarely done (in many places, it’s not done onstage in concert halls, either, so what can you expect from Hollywood?):

The most fascinating historical point is surely that the performance — by our standards today — must have been a mess. The music was new and difficult. It wouldn’t have been rehearsed enough. Performances back then (again by our standards) almost never were. And the performance took place on a monster concert, on which not just the Ninth was heard, but also movements from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, just as new, even more gigantic, and at least as difficult to play and sing. The solo singers (getting back to the Ninth) weren’t happy with their parts, and asked Beethoven to rewrite them. He refused, of course. But he must have been an impossible conductor, as he was when, years earlier, he’d tried to conduct Fidelio. On that occasion, he caused such confusion that a friend finally spoke to him in private, and led him away. Why would the Ninth have been much different? Beethoven’s conducting motions were, by all accounts, confusing. And he couldn’t hear the music! So surely the first performance was full of errors. But it also was a triumph, so the essence of the music must have come through. Could a movie show us this? Could anyone stage a performance full of mistakes , and not quite sure of itself, but still triumphant? That would require lots of imagination, and, maybe above all, musicians who, in their performance, would in effect be actors, pretending that they didn’t know the music as well as they really do. This would be very hard to pull off. But wouldn’t it be wonderful?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Old Men Playing Guitar

posted by on November 9 at 6:07 PM

Within the space of a few days, two of earths bonifide Guitar Gods will both be performing in Seattle.

What can be said about Adrian Belew that this list of contributions doesn’t say already:

Tori Amos, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, David Byrne, Peter Gabriel, Jean-Michel Jarre, Nine Inch Nails, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Paul Simon, Talking Heads, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Frank Zappa and King Crimson.

How about that his guitar playing can be sweet, personal and virtuosic, or cacophonistic, tribal - howling like a jungle full of crazy animals on a stampede.

Check out the sounds he makes in his song,Young Lions

Very Cool!

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(Picture from Bowie’s Stage tour.)

Well, he’s coming to the Triple Door on Nov. 14th. It’s been 16 Years since I saw him go crazy on Bowie’s Sound and Vision Tour, so I can’t wait to check out what he’s up to now.

Then on Nov. 17th:

Lindsey Buckingham

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His new CD, Under The Skin, is amazing. Ten years has made Lindsey a very mellow and introspective boy, which helps his incredible guitar playing shine through.

What Lindsey can do with six vinyl strings and a pick it takes other guitarists years and sampler peddles to do. Check out his playing on Not Too Late.

The last time he was through town solo, it was in support of Tina Turner, and he left me in tears. He’s an incredible, energetic performer.

I challenge Josh Feit to really listen to Lindsey’s playing and try to compare him again to R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. (Check out the comments.) No Fucking Match. Buckingham wins.

The one setback? He’s playing at The Moore. Total crap of a theater. Who wants to see a show in a sweaty hot sardine can with your knees firmly tucked under chin? I wish to god they’d just booked him at Showbox. So I won’t be going this time.

But if you’ve never seen Mac’s frontman Mac-less, Go See Him!


Over The Atlantic Over The Pacific

posted by on November 9 at 1:38 PM


I consider the day I discovered New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records the day my taste in music change forever. As a sophomore in college, at the recommendation of a fellow, veteran college radio DJ, I worked Garageland’s “Fingerpos” into my setlist and was totally blown away. From there, I sought out the music of The Clean, The Bats, The Chills, The 3Ds and the Tall Dwarfs, all the while, completely stuck in a state of jaw-dropping awe. After college, I really kind of lost site of the NZ indie-rock scene, or maybe I just didn’t really hear anything that piqued my interest. Either way, today, my interests are totally renewed as I finally spent some time with the debut album, Junica from NZ-based, Over the Atlantic. Bevan Smith and Nik Brinkman offer a truly invigorating interpretation of all that great, forgotten proto-Britpop of yore, really capturing the essence of some of the great Flying Nun bands. What’s really exciting is the fact that Over The Atlantic are playing tomorrow at Conor Byrne for an early show with Beach House(6:30-8:30)!

This Week in Music News

posted by on November 9 at 11:23 AM

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Here’s one party I’d really love to go to: Abbey Road Studios 75th anniversary bash in London. It’s taking place tonight and it’s a big ‘ole secret. Given the studio’s illustrious alumni, I can only imagine who will be in attendance.

The Bob Dylan musical has closed in the wake of poor reviews.

Van Halen has a new bassist: Eddie Van Halen’s 15-year old son, Wolfgang. No word yet on whether David Lee Roth is coming back on board.

Johnny Marr has started playing live Modest Mouse shows, which is pretty surreal, if you ask me:

And finally, in especially welcome news, the String Cheese Incident has mercifully broken up. Unfortunately, one member will soldier on in an acoustic trio called “Honkytonk Homeslice.”


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

R.I.P. Larissa Strickland

posted by on November 8 at 3:14 PM

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Larissa Strickland (on left) with the Laughing Hyenas

A rep from Touch and Go Records has confirmed with me that Larissa Strickland, guitarist for now-defunct bands Laughing Hyenas and L-Seven (no relation to L7), has passed away. More details will be in this week’s edition of Rocka Rolla.

Incidentally, Easy Action, the band fronted by former Hyena’s vocalist (close friend of Strickland) John Brannon, will be playing at El Corazon tonight.

UPDATE: Touch and Go owner Corey Rusk released this statement today:

Larissa Stolarchuk…you will be missed
It is with a very heavy heart that I am writing this notice that Larissa Stolarchuck (aka Larissa Strickland) has passed away. Larissa sang in the early eighties Detroit band, L-Seven, and went on to play guitar in the Laughing Hyenas - both Touch and Go bands. L-Seven were years ahead of their time and certainly the most talented musicians in the early Detroit punk scene. But it was as the guitarist in the Laughing Hyenas that Larissa is most commonly known. Formed in 1985 and lasting for a decade, they were raw and ferocious and real. In the Laughing Hyenas, Larissa blazed her own trail and paved the way for the growing numbers of talented women in real rock bands in the “90s and “00s. To this day, the Laughing Hyenas are regularly cited by other great bands as being an influence.

As well as being a driving force in both of her bands, Larissa was one of my oldest friends. She was the first real punk I met as an impressionable teenager in Toledo, Ohio in 1980. She lived in Detroit, printed her own fanzine (Anonymous), and sang in L-Seven. She had an undeniable vibrancy and energy that was all her own. I looked up to her and was honored to be her friend and to be involved with both of her bands. I will never forget her. My condolences to all her family and friends who knew and loved her.

-Corey Rusk-

Mission Bells

posted by on November 8 at 2:50 PM

I spent last week in lovely San Francisco seeing bands (look for a review of Justice and the Knife in next week’s oscillations column), eating burritos, and hanging out with old friends.

While there, I rekindled my love of sadly defunct SF dream popsters, the Aisler’s Set. I first saw the Aisler’s Set in December of 2001 opening up for Bratmobile in Olympia at the equally defunct Thekla. It was one of those great shows where an opening act you’ve never heard of blows you completely away. The Aisler’s Set was touring behind The Last Match, a chilly, sleighbell-rocking album, the perfect soundtrack for bundled-up walks to school and doomed holiday crushes.

But the perfect soundtrack for wandering the Mission District in the pleasent Bay Area Autumn has to be their final album, How I Learned to Write Backwards, a decidedly warmer affair than The Last Match. “Catherine Says”, “Emotional Levy”, and “Mission Bells” are favorites, each containing moments when all the music swells dramatically and breaks into a huge, harmonized chorus. Those moments always give me chills.

On a local note, anyone else who misses this band might do well to check out Seattle’s Math and Physics Club, dutiful carriers of the dream pop torch.

Best. Casting. News. Ever.

posted by on November 8 at 12:07 PM

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Or most hilarious, depending on your perspective.

Ever since it was published in 2001, The Dirt, Mtley Crüe’s deliciously deviant biography, has been the subject of film talks. Last I had heard, the only decision that had been made (sorta) was that Johnny Knoxville was slated to play Nikki Sixx. This morning, Dark Horizons reports that they have chosen Val Kilmer to play David Lee Roth (plausible, I suppose) and Christopher Walken to play Ozzy Osbourne. Get to filming already, please!

Cover Me

posted by on November 8 at 10:55 AM

This week the Seattle Weekly introduces a new column in their music section called Opening Act, which is a “weekly look at a band you didn’t go see, but saw anywaybecause they played before the band you went to see (and were maybe even better).” That’s a great idea, to randomly cover opening acts. So great, in fact, The Stranger started doing it years ago and called our version of the column One-Night Stand.

The first installment of One-Night Stand ran in Spring of 2001, when Jeff DeRoche was music editor.

So we’ve decided to throw our own little bone, in the form of this new Stranger column, One-Night Stand. Each week (on Wednesday or Thursday, writer’s pick) we’re going to draw the name of a club from a hat and go watch the opening act—be it genius, horseshit, or anything between. It can be a band, a DJ, or a laptop-polka prodigy, whatever—but it has to be local. We’ll stay for the entire set, and then write a brief, heartfelt review.

One-Night Stand ran for years, and though it has been penned by a number of different writers (Bradley Steinbacher and Jennifer Maerz both had long runs penning One Night Stand), it has covered tons of local bands like the Lights, A-Frames, and the Mexican Blackbirdsall before those bands made headlining names of themselves.

Papers swipe ideas from each other all the time. It’s not a big deal. They have a political column, we have a political column, we have Savage Love, they get Date Girl, they have Ask a Mexican, we have… uh… no, no we have nothing like that. Anyway, the only reason I mention it at all is because we’ve been talking about bringing One Night Stand back. It was a good idea when we did it five years ago, it’s a good idea now. So while the Weekly’s cover might boast that “Opening acts have a new friend,” just remember who loved ya first.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Feels Like 1992….

posted by on November 7 at 9:17 PM

Remember when this was our theme song?

Oh! Did I mention Lindsey will be playing the Moore Theater Nov. 17th!

In More Musical/Political News…

posted by on November 7 at 9:11 PM

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John Hall Lead singer of the 1970’s band Orleans looks like he’s winning a seat in the House of Reps for New York’s 19th District!

Let’s hear it for the rocker Dems!!!!

Woo Hoo!

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Still The One!

Foreigner?

posted by on November 7 at 8:43 PM

I’m at the Stranger’s Election Control Board party at the Spitfire and just noticed Dave Meinert giving Foreigner tix to Dan Savage.

Savage’s Response: “Is that a band?”

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

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Feels Like The First Time!

Kid Rock

posted by on November 7 at 6:01 PM

Last week my mail bin was overflowing with Rockabye Baby! CDs, which are collections of “lullaby renditions of [insert popular rock band here]” (including the Cure, Nirvana, and Led Zepplin). They’re pretty much as horrific (while still fascinatingly hilarious) as you’d imagine. And let’s not forget Devo 2.0, which is a bunch of kids performing Devo songs (thank Disney for that one).

Well now the Ramones are getting the kid-friendly treatment. Go Kart Records will release Bratz on the Beat: Ramones for Kids November 21. (And thankfully, it has nothing to do with these Bratz, which are the worst possible cartoons/dolls parents could subject their children to.)

With timeless Ramones classics such as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School,” and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” kiddified by the Gabba Gabba Hey Singers, each song features kids singing all the choruses and background parts. An amazing array of artists signed on to sing the leads, including Matt Skiba (Alkaline Trio), Greg Attonito (Bouncing Souls), Brett Anderson (The Donnas) Jack Grisham (TSOL), Blag Dahlia (The Dwarves), Jim Lindberg (Pennywise), Nick Oleveri (Mondo Generator, Queens of The Stone Age), Tony Reflex (Adolescents) and Josie Cotton (of the 80’s hit “Johnny Are You Queer?”).

I’m all for getting kids to listen to, create, and love rock and roll, but this is just weird! Then again, I’m not a parent and I don’t have to suffer through child-friendly music, so maybe it’s actually a good thing to have an alternative to the kiddified Top 40 crap like Smashmouth and Britney Spears. Plus, a portion of the disc’s proceeds will be donated to St. Jude’s Children Hospitals. Still, a chorus of kids singing “1-2-3-4/Cretins wanna hop some more/4-5-6-7/All good cretins go to heaven”? Joey probably never saw that coming…

Starry Eyed Surprise

posted by on November 7 at 2:02 PM


I’m a little flabbergasted by this interview with Lily Allen that Pitchfork recently posted…
Scott Plagenhoef” what are you talking about? As someone who vehemently dislikes Lily Allen’s music, my distaste has nothing to do with her “nonchalance,” “impudence,” spitfire tongue or her “little patience for male sexual inadequacy.” It has everything to do with the fact that every song on her record sounds like that terrible Paul Oakenfold produced track, “Starry Eyed Surprise” (the rhythm from “LDN” sounds as if it were actually lifted from said Diet Coke anthem). Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion of Allen’s dull, saccharine pop; that’s not the issue at hand. The problem “ it’s so incredibly irritating when a music journalist attempts to blame an artist’s inadequacies on the public’s “misconceptions” and “prejudices.” Lumping Allen with those valiant female artists who actually utilize their spirit and wit to craft truly subversive music, I think, is really quite demeaning. In addition, simply attributing her male detractors’ critiques to a blight of male chauvinism, and then chastising them for not getting over their “male ego,” is equally as offensive. My aversion to Allen’s music is based solely on its generic quality and has nothing to do with her attitude.

Sound Off Applications Due Next Week

posted by on November 7 at 1:35 PM

Are you in a band? Are all the band’s members 21 or under (and will be until at least February of 2007)? Do you want to play at the EMP in front of tons of people and possibly win prizes like studio time, gear, and cash?

If you’re screaming “Yes, goddammit, YES!” then you should enter EMP’s annual Sound Off! underage band competition.

They’re currently accepting entires from all genresrap, hiphop, rock, punk, indie, electronic, etc.and all you have to do is fill out a form, send in a demo, and cross your fingers for luck. All demos will get listened to by a roundtable of judges, with the top nine moving on to the semi-finals and performing at the EMP in February. All necessary information is available here.

Applications are due November 15, which is a week and a day away. Get on it, kiddos.

Islands Are Forever, Your French Fries Suck

posted by on November 7 at 12:26 PM

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Islands rank among my favorite active bands right now, not only for their fantastic record, Return to the Sea (zeitgeisty!), but also for their outstanding live shows. Last night’s set at the Crocodile was even better than their previous Neumos show. Here are some highlights:

-Opening MC Blueprint telling the story of his Dj being held at the airport, due to “something in his pocket”, only to have his Dj appear triumphant and free of charges in time for his second song.

-An orange plastic net dividing the show room in half between the all-ages and 21+ crowd, recalling both beach volleyball and the Brady Bunch episode where they divide the room in half (wasn’t there also a Wonder Years where they did that?).

-Islands’ lead fiddle player (yes, they have two), who rocks incredibly hard for having to hold on to his instrument with his chin.

-Nick Diamonds’ smart, smart mouth which was actually used to taunt Stranger contributor and Frites fryer Ari Spool about the supposed low-quality of her french fries. Nick Diamonds is, of course, very wrong about Ari’s fries. Sadly, Ari and Nick weren’t able to settle things after the show…

-Several new Islands songs, and a sweet “Def Leopard” cover.

Their set:

Swans (Life After Death)
Volcanoes
The Hand (new song)
Jogging Gorgeous Summer
Waterloo Sunset (Kinks cover)
Tsuxiit
Where There’s a Will There’s a Whalebone
Pieces of You (new song)
? (new song)
? (new song)
Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby

Encore:

Rough Gem
? (new song)
(untitled track from Return to the Sea)

Faith Hill Loses Face

posted by on November 7 at 12:03 PM

I attempted to watch the Country Music Awards a few different times last night and just couldn’t take it, but had I known Faith Hill was going to find herself so aghast that the award for female vocalist of the year went to someone other than herself, I might have kept watching longer. It’s hardly as bad as Kanye West’s sour grapes of last week (especially since he’s now declaring a boycott of all other awards shows), but this doesn’t really put Mrs. McGraw in a very flattering light:

Anathallo tonight!

posted by on November 7 at 11:45 AM

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I really like Anathallo.

You probably already know this because a) I made a post about them here and b) I wrote a story about them in this week’s paper which you can read here.

I’ve never seen the band perform live, but I hear they’re absolutely fantastic. We’ll all find out for sure tonight at Chop Suey, where the Michigan band is headlining, which means they’ll have more than 30 minutes to play their sweeping and beautiful five-plus minute indie rock songs based Japanese folklore.

Seven people, a whole slew of instruments, and Chop Suey’s little stage… Get stoked, it’s gonna be awesome.

Rainer Maria Break Up

posted by on November 7 at 12:32 AM

Rainer Maria back when emo was good.
Yup, it’s true. This is definitely sending me into a bit of a tailspin. Rainer Maria is probably the first band I ever considered my own and now they’re calling it quits next month. Now to figure out how to get to one of the last dates…

Here’s the band’s official statement:

We are grateful to our new listeners and especially our longtime fans for their endless support and attention. We feel incredibly fortunate to have come up during a unique time in rock music, in a community that grew with us from the Midwest to Brooklyn and beyond. Making records has always been a revelation, and walking onto stage together we found a vision we could share.

For us, this transition can be nothing short of heartbreaking. But for reasons both musical and personal, the three of us have chosen this time to move on.


[via ONTD (which has some great snarky commentary)]


Monday, November 6, 2006

Another Way to Procrastinate

posted by on November 6 at 4:31 PM

Are you tone deaf? (requires sound)

88.9% correct here. The creator says that the test is purposefully made very hard, and that excellent musicians rarely score above 80%. Apparently I just test well, since trust me, I am no musician.

[via Robert]

The Bad Plus!

posted by on November 6 at 4:00 PM

Raise your hand if you’re very, very excited to see the Bad Plus this week. Tuesday and Wednesday. At Jazz Alley.

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Most of you probably already know all about these freaky jazz rockers who play the shit out of their instruments. For those who don’t, check some of their music here. (Check out the embellished Chariots of Fire theme.)

Call Jazz Alley (441-9729) for more information. Yeah!

A Couple of Hip-House Gold Stars

posted by on November 6 at 3:45 PM

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After last week’s (one day premature) post about Turbo B and hip-house, commenter Louisthefish left a link to a hip-house compilation that is well worthy of further mention. Put together by DJ Ayres and Cosmo Baker, members of NYC’s The Rub, it combines old-school hip-house (Queen Latifah’s “Come Into My House” and Special Ed’s “Club Scene”) with some newer cuts (reworkings of Ghostface Killah and Missy Elliot), and formed the soundtrack to the weekend. Thanks for the link Louisthefish, and for the rest of you, take a listen for yourself (you can also buy a copy or peruse the tracklisting here - or get Volume Two if that’s not enough for you).

Another gold star goes to DJ N8, who dropped Soho’s “Hot Music” (the instrumental at the 32 minute mark in the mix above and possibly tops on my list of best tracks ever made) followed by the Jungle Brothers “I’ll House You” (at the 23:30 mark) Saturday night at Havana. I was already wiped out from the Lidell show, but there was nothing that was going to keep me from workin’ it out to that pairing.

Marianne Faithfull On the Mend

posted by on November 6 at 3:41 PM

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As I previously reported on Line Out, Marianne Faithfull was diagnoised with breast cancer this summer. In keeping with her brave prediction, she’s made what is being described as a “full recovery” and plans to start touring again soon. That woman is a force to be reckoned with—all hail Marianne!

All I’m Sayin’ Is…

posted by on November 6 at 3:39 PM

if Marni Nixon (dubbed for Natalie Wood in West Side Story) sings “I Feel Pretty” tonight at Town Hall, I might just break down and cry.

[via Metblogs]

Stabbing at the Funhouse

posted by on November 6 at 2:24 PM

The Seattle PI reports this morning that there was a stabbing at the Funhouse this weekend.

Yikes.

Pet Shop Boys Concert A Triumphant Success!

posted by on November 6 at 11:37 AM

I totally disagree with Kurt on this. The Pet Shop Boys Concert last night, in support of their new cd, Fundamental, was incredible, moving, political. In a word: wonderful.

I’ve been let down by over-hyped shows before, but everything about this one (with two exceptions: the dancers!) was a success.

Let’s start with the opening.

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The brain curtains rip away and the whole company enters through two giant sillouettes of Neil and Chris. The show opens with Psychological. The Boys don’t just dash out a set of new stuff right away, however, they lure us in with oldies too. Next up was the crowd pleaser Left To My Own Devices.

Leaving nothing up to imagination, the visual effects were, I thought, astounding. When it was time for I’m With Stupid, The Pet Shop Boys made it quite clear who the song was about, as British and American flags merged and faded over pictures of Tony Blair and President Bush.

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Their incredibly moving version of Dreaming Of The Queen was highlighted by a video loop of a single shot of Princess Diana’s funeral procession. It was amazingly effective. Making the song at once about loss, and a bit of a thumbing of the nose to the current royal family.

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Other highlights for me were the perenial favorites Always On My Mind (complete with a tap dancing top hat),

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And, of course, Go West.

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Yes, the dancers were totally annoying! Every Pet Shop Boys Concert has had some sort of “dance” element, always retarded! But the thought behind the show, as a whole, was fantastic. Songs you would have never listened to bumped up against each other very nicely (like Minimal/Shopping). The stage design was simple and effective and really brought to life songs I usually skip over on their cd’s (Numb and Dreaming of the Queen are excellent examples of this).

And just for a moment let’s talk about politics. In a world in which pop music in general seems to be getting more and more self centered and vapid, the Pet Shop Boys put out an album that was a political call to arms, and in concert they acted out exactly what they were conveying on their new cd.

Take the song Integral, with the lyrics…

“If you’ve done nothing wrong/ you’ve got nothing to fear./ If you’ve something to hide/ you shouldn’t even be here./ You’ve had your chance./ Now we’ve got the mandate./ If You’ve changed your mind/ I’m afraid it’s too late!”

…puncuated by the whole cast wearing crazy Army outfits loaded up with sparkling neon medals. (Sorry about the bad picture here.)

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Or the visuals of Dresden burning while Neil sang the song Numb.

So the Pet Shop Boys, electronic band extrodinaire, put out what one could call the best topical folk album of the decade. And to see it two days before the mid-term elections? Awesome.

So, Kurt, you’re wrong.

Sheer Brilliance! Fabulous show! If you missed it, get the video, which no doubt will be out soon!

What I liked best about the Pet Shop Boys show…

posted by on November 6 at 9:45 AM

…was this young lady’s outfit. Brava! to any fan who gets all dolled up for a concert.

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But overall, I had mixed feelings about last night’s show. It seemed a bit slap-dash (i.e. stuck together with packing tape and Christmas lights) and under-rehearsed, although there were moments I genuinely enjoyed (“Home & Dry,” “Integral”). I’ve watched almost every PSB concert DVD, so I had some idea of what to expect, but what I saw at the Paramount still fell short. Maybe it was the “Kids from Fame” dancers that turned me off. Or perhaps 20+ years of anticipation is too much for any band to live up to. And it would have been nice if they’d flashed close-ups of Neil and Chris up on the video periodically; during “Can You Forgive Her?” I realized that Neil makes great facial expressions while singing, but I was front & center - could people in back see those details?

How much were main floor tickets? $75 after service charges? Do other concertgoers feel like they got their money’s worth? As a big fan of their records and videos, I’m curious to hear what other folks thought of the show…


Sunday, November 5, 2006

Good Manners Count

posted by on November 5 at 1:23 PM

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My favorite moment from last night’s Jamie Lidell show: He finished up one of his seven-minute ballad-slash-bombastic beatbox improv sessions, said “Thank You,” and someone screamed back “You’re Welcome!”

People really don’t say that enough.