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Archive for the ‘Iron Butterfly’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-Niagara Falls (2013).

This three-CD live album contains the complete concert from on December 7, 1995, at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, New York.

This concert is a “universally recognized high point for Phish.”  There’s a few big jams and some classic favorites.  But they also start with an unusual song.  “The Old Home Place” is a folky, countryish fun opening.  It’s quite expected, but it segues right into “The Curtain” (not “The Curtain With”), a groovy jam with a cool keyboard intro.  The sons segues into a rocking “AC/DC Bag” which has a long solo (the song is 9 minutes long) and a lengthy piano ending.

“Demand” is a short song, not played too often.  It sounds nice here and segues into a great version “Rift.”  The 12-minute “Slave to the Traffic Light” is a little slower-paced than usual, but there’s some beautiful soloing.  The extended “Guyue” works well with the bouncy “Bouncing Around the Room.”  And that short song is nice bookended by another jam in a rollicking “Possum.”  Everything gets really quiet for a few minutes before the guys do an a capella “Hello My Baby.”  It’s a little quiet but not as bad as some of the other ones.  I will never understand why people need to yell loudly when a band does something quietly.

Set two opens with an audience chess move and a 17 minute “Split Open and Melt.”  It has a groovy jam and a tease of “In a Gadda da Vida” before turning choppy and angular and going into some darker grooves.  It slows down to almost a stop before turning toward the end.  That workup leads to a mellow “Strange Design,” a very pretty version that pairs well with “Taste,” a fun song that Fish takes some vocals on (his voice sounding rough like usual).

“Reba” is one of the faster versions of the song–so fast that they seem to trip themselves up in the middle of the second verse.  The first part of the solo is insanely fast including the drums.  But the middle jam is much more mellow.  As the song comes to an end, the keyboards get a little spooky with intermittent drum thumps before seguing into a rocking “Julius.”

Things settle down for the funny “Sleeping Monkey”  Fish sings the high-pitched vocals and apparently gets a bug in his mouth (cough cough pbblt).  They jump to a very fast “Sparkle.” The ending “laughing laughing fall apart” is really really fast.  This leads to a 17 minute “Mike’s Song” that has one of my favorite jam section from phish—a full band jam, a funky 70s keyboard section, a big grooving section, and then a slowing down to guitar arpeggios which leads to  trippy spacey keyboards.  That morphs into a wild piano section which ultimately segues into a 13 minute “Weekapaug Groove.”

The set ends with an a cappella “Amazing Grace” (that is nicely loud–two a capella songs in one show?). The encore is “Uncle Pen,” a song I don’t really know (by Bill Monroe).  It’s done in a rollicking honky-tonk style.

The disc contains a bonus soundcheck of “Poor Heart.”  It is almost comically slow.  Not essential but always interesting to hear them do soundcheck and see what they play around with—including what they soundcheck and then don’t play in the show.  The set is a fantastic live representation.

[READ: June 25, 2017] “Lamb to the Slaughter”

I have read many of Dahl’s children’s stories.  But after reading this I realized that I have clearly not read enough of his adult stories.

The idea behind this is so familiar that I have to wonder if I have read or seen a version of it not realizing it was created by Dahl.

The set up of this story is great.  And, what’s better is that I found it really annoying at first only to be surprised by the twist.  Mary Maloney is a happy suburban fifties housewife.  Its gross.  She waits for her husband to come home, serves him a drink, waits to talk to him until he has finished his drink and basically feels a sense of completeness once he gets home.  Gross, right?

Mary’s husband is a police detective.  He come s home that day and is a bit more brutish than normal.  He drinks his drink much faster than usual. He tells Mary to sit down and be quiet a few times.  And as much as she tries to make him feel better–by offering to cook him a meal rather than going out to diner–he just gets more angry with her.

And then finally he tells her what’s got him so upset. (more…)

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booger1SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC in 3-D (1984).

in3dAfter Al’s debut he came roaring back the next year with In 3-D a disc which opens with his first Michael Jackson parody “Eat It.”  The song was leaps and bounds above anything on the debut (even if there are still hand farts in it).  The song actually sounds like the original (if a little less “full” and a little goofier and on the whoo hoos).  But the solo by Rick Derringer rocks and the whole song works very well.  The rest of the album is a solid mix of originals and parodies

I didn’t really understand that “Midnight Star” was meant to parody the Weekly World News and such (I didn’t really know those papers at the time) but I thought the headlines were funny.  And yes its a lot of fun to sing a long to.  It’s always funny when Al parodies a song that is already rather stupid (My Sharona, or in this case Safety Dance), and “The Brady Bunch” opens with a general overview of stupid TV shows and then morphs into the The Bunch’s theme song to the music of “Safety Dance.”  “Gonna Buy Me  A Condo” is a reggae song which I never really got the joke of as a kid.  I mean, I knew it was reggae but I didn’t know enough about reggae to know that this song is kinda funny, about selling out for the mainstream life.  It’s not genius or anything but it’s kinda funny–in fact I think it’s funnier now than I ever did as a kid.

“Jeopardy” works perfectly as a parody.  It retains all of the weird sounds and “drama” of the original and yet it works entirely unto itself.  It’s definitely an early highlight.  This disc also introduces what would be come a staple on all his later albums:  “Polkas on 45” where he mashes together a string of songs into a polka beat.  They are always fun and clever.  This one is a mix of new wave and classic rock bands Devo, Deep Purple,  Berlin, The Beatles,  The Doors,  Iron Butterfly, Jimi Hendrix, Talking Heads, Foreigner, The Police,  The Clash,  The Rolling Stones,  and The Who.

“Mr Popeil” is another one that I didn’t full get until later (why did i like Al if I didn’t get any of the jokes?).  Ron Popeil is the king of the As Seen on TV  product (as listed in the song).  The thing that I really didn’t get was that this is was a parody of the B-52s–one of the first parodies he’d done that’s a parody of band but not really a song.  This is not a parody of Rock Lobster exactly, but it sounds quite a lot like it–and that’s a neat trick.

“King of Suede” is a parody of The Police–I never really liked it even though it does work as a parody–perhaps the original isn’t a very string song.    “That Boy Could Dance” is instantly forgettable, so much so that I had forgotten all about it.  “Theme from Rocky XIII” is a pretty funny parody of “The Eye of the Tiger.”  But it doesn’t prepare you for the genius that is “Nature Trail to Hell.”  An epic song about horror movies with the great line “if you lie the 6 o clock news you’ll love Nature Trail to Hell (in 3D).”  It’s over the top and very silly–the music escalates  with screams and strings and several different sections (although the solo section is a little anemic).  I can’t imagine what he would do with it today if he rerecorded it.

So In 3-D was a big jump in quality for “Weird Al” and was actually a pretty big hit (charting at #17).

[READ: February 22, 2013] Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 2

Since it is 2013 and not 2003, I don’t have to wait several months for Part 2.  Huzzah!

The opening comic in this book not only gives all of the Captain Underpants background that it usually does, it also includes what happened in Part 1.  At the end of the book, the robotic booger monsters (Carl, Trixie and Frankenbooger) were on the attack.  They destroyed the Combine-O-Tron 2000 so it would not reverse the effects of the machine on Captain and Melvin.  But Sulu the hamster rescued them by hurling the boogers into space (with his mouth, ew).

The boys want to get things back to normal.  But Professor Krupp (who is in Melvin’s body) is going about his business getting everyone in trouble.  Except that since he looks like Melvin people are getting angry at him rather than listening to him.  This book features a wonderful letter swap from “Check out our school’s big internet website at http://www.jhes.com” to “We shake our big butts when we swim in the toilet.”

The boys give up on trying to fix the Combine-O-Tron and decide to use the Purple Potty Time Machine that is in the library and go back in time.  There’s a great sequence in which the librarian has banned every book but one and I love the posters that are up encouraging the banning of books–it’s another awesome dig at those who censor.  And the librarian is named Miss Singerbrains. (more…)

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