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Archive for the ‘Neil Young’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Ultrasound Showbar [2nd GSMW Matinee Day 3] (February 27, 1994).

Second annual Green Sprouts Music Week held at Ultrasound Showbar Feb 25-March 1 1994. Setlists for all shows were fairly similar in content focusing mainly on the 25-30 songs that they would use for consideration on Introducing Happiness which began recording the following week. Rare performances of Green Xmas, Floating and one of the earliest Desert Island Discs. This is the all ages Sunday afternoon show 3/5.

Sadly there was to be no celebratory party for the Canadian hockey team who lost the final match and took silver (they’d have to wait until 2002).

They’re going to play a lot of new songs and some old songs.  So they start with “Crescent Moon” from Greatest Hits (it’s so synthy!).  Midway through they seem to mess up and Dave says, “We know the new ones well we just don’t know the old ones very well.”

As the start “Green Xmas,” Dave Clark says, “I love Christmas Time so much so that I love playing this song even though it’s not Christmas.”  When the song is over there’s lots of talk about gum–I assume someone had some in the audience: Black Cat, Ton o Gum or Bubbalicious.  He asks what kind and they start talking about Dubble Bubble and how so many bad things happened to Pud (He could never win).  He contends that Ziggy ripped him off.

They get an organized snap going for Fishtailin’.  They play a verse and then hold it, Dave says “We usually play this song in A, Martin.”  However we will employ “capo technology.”

Clark says he enjoys playing that song because it reminds him of …Dave.  And all the good times they had…before the bad stuff happened (ha).  Clark describes how he met Dave when they were kids.  Bidini says he doesn’t remember the meeting and jokes “did you steal something off of me?”  Clark says Bidini’s aunt and uncle got the first in ground pool in the area and that’s where they met.  Bidini asks what he thought of him.  After shouting “Doofus,” Clark says, I thought “he would become a well kempt perhaps overspoken person.”  Bidini says he remembers being in his Delta 88 going for a drivers test in 1981 and picking up Clark and thinking “he has lips as big as mine–we can be square together.”

It’s a good segue into “Me and Stupid” (which they make family-friendly by singing “messed up” instead of fucked up).  For the fish chant at the end “pike, trout, bass, smelt,” Dave says they are the “four fish of the apocalypse.”

Dave apologizes that he “spit on you from afar but luckily I hit one of the Wooden Stars and I think that will bring me good luck in 1994.”  The Wooden Stars are the band that’s playing during the break.

Once again Tim says that “Introducing Happiness” is about having cats–not birthing cats, just discovering them.”

Clark says that they are “one of the laziest bands in rock.”  Bidini says they have inherited the mantle from Valdy.  Then he says I thought you meant “laid back.”   Clark says “I didn’t say lamest.”  But Bidini says that Valdy once paid The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos $1500 to open for them at the Port Credit Arena.  Clark says he wasn’t talking about Valdy, he wrote the Four Seasons.  Tim says he also sells really cheap groceries (I assume he’s joking about Aldi).

For “In This Town,” Martin asks for “Lots of reverb on the intro.”  Bidini says it’s like they’re in a cave.  Then there’s a great “Michael Jackson, ” followed by a rocking “RDA.”  A sloppy intro to “Soul Glue” is fixed and then the song starts for good.  Midway through Bidini tells them to do it nice and breezy, like Valdy would do it, and they make it very smooth.  “Zero angst, Tim.”  The gentle ending segues nicely into “Self Serve Gas Station.”

Clark tries to wax eloquent about the loss of sun, but he can’t get the words out.  So they encourage the kids to dance, which it sounds like they do.

They play the mellow “Row,” which features a really great solo from Martin in the middle.  After a discussion of new wave, they play the rapid, rather odd “The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos.”   They play “Floating” again–one of those songs that has never gotten official release.  It’s pretty cool with a few different parts that complicate the song.

They ask, “Any teenagers in the audience?  I heard that teenagers don’t like to be called teenagers what do they like to be called?”  Someone shouts “Young adults.”  They play “Jesus Was Once a Teenager Too.”

They ask that the lights to go up and they play a song/game called “Desert Island Picks.”  You say three albums you’d take with you if you were stranded on a desert island (in this case New Providence Island).  They walk around singing the folk song and then some people come up: it is really fun and very funny, a great good time is had by all.  They even bring up a little kid and he sings his three favorite things in the world.  When they ask another kid what school she goes to, she says  “uh…what?”  And someone shouts “Must be U of T!”

Someone had picked three Beatles albums, and Martin says “This is from our next album Let It Be…”  He sings “Jo Jo was a…” before beginning “Take Me in Your Hand” properly.  Then they play a lovely version of “Claire” and then a noisy messy sloppy verse of Neil Young’s “Farmer John,” which morphs into the crazy trilogy “Artenings Made of Gold/Cephallus Worm/Uncle Henry.”

Clark asks if they should play longer or shorter, and longer wins.  But he must take a five-minute bathroom break.  So Martin plays a gentle acoustic version of “Record Body Count,” which the crowd loves.   Then, “Oneilly’s Strange Dream” is introduced as “Saskatchewan Part 2”.  And then (despite some apparent crying from children) they play “Horses” (the moaning child actually sounds like a pretty good fit for this intense song).  There’s even a kid who sings the “Holy Mackinaw, Joe” part.  At the end, there’s kids doing the whole ending with them.

And then it’s a couple of covers: Jane Siberry’s “One More Colour” and a rocking rendition of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.”  They leave the stage and there is a truly wild and rowdy encore cheer (banging things and lots of screaming).

Dave gives away a prize–nightgowns (?) from Sire Records–which Clark says he doesn’t want because he’s ashamed of being on a major label.  I’d love to see those.

It leads to a cool trippy version of “Dope Fiends,” and the end guitar section segues perfectly in to “Earth Monstrous Hummingbirds,” a version which doesn’t ever get really weird but which still sounds fantastic.

I can’t get over how cool it is that Rheostatics played matinee shows like this.  The show lasted over 2 hours, tickets were $6 and it was all kind-friendly.  That’s pretty awesome.

[READ: January 17, 2017] “The Curse”

This is an excerpt from Marías’ recent nonfiction book To Begin at the Beginning. It is a reflection on the art of writing fiction.

This brief section looks at how he writes; he doesn’t know how things are going to turn out when he begins–that would be boring for him.  And if he was bored, it would reflect in his writing and then his readers would be bored.

Just as we do what we do when we’re twenty without knowing that when we reach forty we may wish we had done something else, and just as when we’re forty we have no alternative but to abide by what we did when we were twenty, we can’t erase or amend anything, so I write what I write on page 5 of a novel with no idea if this will prove to have been a good idea when I reach page 200, and far from writing a second or third version, adapting page 5 to what I later find out will appear on page 200, I don’t change a word, I stand by what I wrote at the very beginning — tentatively and intuitively, accidentally or capriciously. Except that, unlike life — which is why life tends to be such a bad novelist — I try to ensure that what had no meaning at the beginning does have meaning at the end. I force myself to make necessary what was random and even superfluous, so that ultimately it’s neither random nor superfluous.

He cites an example.  When Marías’ Cuban great-grandfather was still a young man, he refused to help a beggar. The beggar put a curse on him: “You and your eldest son will both die before you are fifty, far from your homeland and without a grave.”  He wrote about this curse in his book Dark Back of Time. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Railway Club Vancouver (November 1988).

This is a “very good sounding show considering it is from 1988. This has a mix of unreleased songs, Greatest Hits songs, Melville songs and even a couple that would end up on Whale Music.”

Like the 1987 show here, this is also their last night in Vancouver. It’s hard to believe that previous show was the same band, as just a few months later (Nov-Mar), the sets are radically different.

It opens with the end of “Lyin’s Wrong,” and then moves into a fun version of Stompin’ Tom’s “Bridge Came Tumbling Down,” and then one of my favorite unreleased songs: “Woodstuck.”

The opening is to the tune of Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done”

I called on Crosby and I called on Nash / I asked them if they want to buy some hash / Oh the deal is done / Hanging out with Stephen Stills, I asked him if he wants to buy some pills / Oh the deal is done.

And then the main body is a rocking bluesy number with the chorus: “You can’t go back to Woodstock baby, you were just two years old.   You weren’t even born” and a big chant of “BAD KARMA!”

Things slow down with a version of “Triangles on the Walls.”

During the banter, Dave Clark talks about going up Grouse Mountain in his jeans and he says he was automatically a “Wofuh”–as soon as you get into the skis you’re going to start saying “Woah… fuck.”

A great sounding “Dope Fiends” is followed by “Green Sprouts” which is “the silliest song of all… about the worms of New Jersey.”  “What’s Going On” has an accordion!  And “Italian Song” has them singing in over the top Italian with an almost ska beat and melody.

There’s a goofy, slap funk cover of “Take the Money and Run.”  It’s fast and rocking, but they leave out the signature five claps after some verses.  Nevertheless there are some great harmonies at the end.

They play an unreleased song “Sue’s Mining Town” which is a bit of a rocker, and then one from Greatest Hits (released the previous year) called “Churches and Schools.”  The set ends with a slow and pretty “Higher and Higher.”

This is the only place you can hear “Italian Song” and “Sue’s Mining Town” and one of the few places you can hear “Woodstuck” (except for this video)

[READ:August 28, 2016] Tennis Lessons

I’ve enjoyed some stories by Dyer but I was actually reading this because he reviews the new David Foster Wallace collection String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis.

But it turns out that this is not so much a book review as a delightfully funny discussion of Dyer’s own tennis playing and how he also wanted to write a book about tennis–but never did.

Dyer proves to be a funny protagonist. In 2008, (age 50) he was about to sell his novel to a new publisher and he imagined writing a book about taking up tennis at age 50. Dyer is British and the popularity and success of Andy Murray was making tennis very popular in Britain again.  It seems like a great idea.

And then Dyer is honest with us:

as a perennial bottom feeder for whom writing has always doubled as a way of getting free shit, I as also hoping that a top-notch coach might be willing to give e free lessons in return for the massive exposure guaranteed by inclusion in the book.

(more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 24, 2016] Band of Horses

2016-09-24-22-06-57This is our third time seeing Band of Horses in three years.  Sarah and I loved their first three albums a lot, so in 2004 when XPNFest announced they were opening for Beck, we knew it was an amazing pairing.  They were great and we decided we needed to see them as the headliners.  The following year, they came back although this time opening for Neil Young.  We were going to see Neil anyway, so it was even better that BoH was opening.  But that set was shorter than the first!  We needed the full experience.

One year later, the busiest weekend we’ve had in a long time, and BoH was squeezed right into the middle of it.

We love The Fillmore in Philly, it’s a great venue with really good sound (and nice parking).  So it was a great place to hear the soaring vocals of Ben Bridwell.and the rest of the band.

The show was an outstanding mix of songs from four of their albums (turns out that their previous album Mirage Rock has been largely dismissed by the band and they don’t play much from it anymore).  And that’s fine because the four albums are awesome. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 7, 2016] Pearl Jam

2016-08-07 18.26.10After the excitement of seeing Pearl Jam at the Wells Fargo Center, we were psyched out of our minds to go to Fenway.  I didn’t realize that Fenway has a regular concert series.  I’d assumed that Pearl Jam were the first band to play there–they weren’t–but that didn’t detract in any way from the coolness of the venue.

Neither of us are baseball fans, although when I lived in Boston two decades ago, I did attend a couple of games at Fenway because it is a landmark (and when I was a kid I loved baseball, so duh).  But we knew that the venue would make the show even more special.

We’d have loved to have gone to both shows, but unlike some people, we couldn’t get tickets for both nights.  However, through a small piece of luck, I won tickets to a screening of Friday night’s show on Saturday night.  What?  Well, each night is filmed.  So the film crew filmed Friday night, then edited the footage together and had it ready on the next night as a really nicely edited package at the House of Blues (across the street from Fenway) on Saturday night.

It seemed kind of dumb to go to a music venue to watch a movie.  And Sarah and I were skeptical about going.  But we did and we had a  great time.  I’ve watched live DVDs and it’s always an okay thing to do–fun, but never like you were really there. But this was different. Having a group of some 600 people in a club–with bars and good lighting and excellent sound–it made it feel (almost) like a real concert.  And even though we laughed at the people who were clapping and cheering (as if the band were actually there), and taking videos of the screen (my battery died or I would have grabbed a few screen shots too), we were caught up in the excitement on several occasions as well. (more…)

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breachSOUNDTRACK: THE SILVER MT. ZION ORCHESTRA & TRA-LA-LA BAND (WITH CHOIR)-“This Is Our Punk-Rock,” Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing, [CST027] (2003).

MtzionthisisourThis album is a pretty massive change for A Silver Mt Zion.  It both brings this band closer to their alter ego GYBE but also pushes them further away at the same time.  How?  Well, musically, this album sounds a lot more like GYBE–epic songs all over ten minutes with lots of strings and soaring moments.  But the big difference now is that every song has vocals (hence the new title of the band).  The line up has stayed the same although they have many guests for the choir.  The choir is referred to on the album as Thee Rusted Satellite Choir.

“Sow Some Lonesome Corner So Many Flowers Bloom” opens the disc with someone counting of “1234… 12345678.”   And then a simple guitar and bass melody starts up.  The song sounds fairly conventional, in fact.  And then the choir kicks in.  Many many voices singing, “Ahhhh.”  And then a solo voice continues the “Ahhhs” in another pitch while the choir continues.   I love this whole introduction–the various keys the voices are in, how the bass voices start singing “fa fa fa la la so” and on and on in varying formats.  The choir (a bunch of friends and bandmates) sounds great–not perfect but perfect for this song.  This lasts for about 7 minutes before the choir fades and the rest of the song begins with a swelling of droning music.  Strings come in and the song stays quiet for a couple of minutes before the guitar riff from the beginning returns this time with string accompaniment instead of voices.   Around 12 minutes the strings change to something else–more grandiose music which sounds amazing.  About a minute later the drums begin and the song takes on a whole new style.  This more rocking sound continues until the end of the song.  It’s awesome.

“Babylon Was Built on Fire/StarsNoStars” opens with staccato echoed guitars (it also feels a bit like Pink Floyd).  There’s ambient washes of guitars that float around, but the whole things sounds very trippy (not a sound I associate with this band).  About six minutes in, Efrim begins singing.  This is the first time he’s sung quite so loudly and clearly.  His voice is anguished and a bit harsh, but it works pretty well with the violins and the cool bassline that walks throughout the song.  With about 4 minutes left, the music changes direction.  The guitar starts playing a single note, growing louder and louder as the strings surround the guitar and voice: “Citizens in their homes and missiles in their holes.”  Efrim (I assume) sings a round with himself as more and more lines of text fill the song.  Although his voice doesn’t sound radically different in each one, he does adjust volume and tone enough to make it sound pretty interesting.

“American Motor over Smoldered Field” is the shortest song on the disc at 12 minutes.  It begins with a simple acoustic guitar melody (quite pretty) and Efrim singing over it (I appreciate the different vocal styles in this song).  It’s really quite a compelling song as that guitar continues and the strings come in behind it.  Around four minutes in, the drums crash and the song takes off.  The strings change and the song becomes very intense–faster and louder.  This lasts about three minutes before a staccato guitar picks up and choral voices are heard way in the background.  The voices (all Efrim, I believe) build and build as the guitar maintains.  Around nine minutes the strings and guitars change and the song flows as a new vocal line joins in “this fence around your garden won’t keep the ice from falling.”

The final song, the 14 minute “Goodbye Desolate Railyard” also opens with acoustic guitar and Efrim’s vocals. The song (an elegy for a dying city) remain simple–acoustic guitar, simple violin and bass notes.   The song is repetitive, lulling the listener into as sense of contentment.  Although at around 5 minutes, the violins swell and become a little unpleasant–kind of harsh and a little staticky.  This continues for some 5 minutes until it is replaced by the rather close up sound of a freight train going slowly down a track.  After two minutes of this, the acoustic guitar returns with Efrim singing (in a very Neil Young kind of voice) “every body gets a little lost sometimes.”  The full choir joins in to sing these final words for a several rounds before fading out.

[READ: May 10, 2016] Breach Point

Steve and I are pals of Facebook.  If I may wax jealous for a minute, Steve has done everything that I’d ever wanted to do when I was younger–he’s been in a band (cuppa joe–they released several really good albums); he’s a graphic designer, something I always imagined being when I grew up; and now he has written a novel.  So, yes, basically I hate Steve.  Except that, of course, I don’t hate Steve.

I hate him even less because this book is not only really good, but it has brought back a part of my childhood that I had forgotten about.

When I (and anyone else who grew up in the New Jersey area in the 70s) was a kid, there were always commercials for Brigantine Castle in Brigantine NJ.  The commercials scared the hell out of me and I was always terrified to go to this place.  I knew it was down the shore but never exactly where.  And there were times when we drove to the shore and I was convinced we were going to the castle instead (totally false, Brigantine was way further north than any beach we would have gone to).  And then Brigantine Castle burned down.  Interestingly, after watching these commercials again coupled with The Haunted Mansion (another commercial played quite often), I learned that the Haunted Mansion was in Long Branch.  I never went to that Haunted House either, although I have since been to the convention center that now stands where the Haunted Mansion once stood before it burned down.

Yes, Both Brigantine castle and the Haunted Mansion burned down.  People know what happened in the Haunted Mansion fire, but the Brigantine Castle fire is shrouded in mystery.

This is all a long way to say that Steve has written a book that is based around this mystery.

Clara is a 16-year-old girl who travels to Breach Point for the summer.  She has gotten a job at an engineering firm and she is going to live with her Aunt Maureen.  When the book first opens, we see her on the bus, happy to get away from her mother and excited but nervous about gong to this place that she vaguely remembers. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2016] Pearl Jam

pjphilyWells Fargo Center is becoming one of my favorite venues.  Not because the acoustics are so good (although they are pretty good), but because now I’ve seen three of my favorite concerts there: Rush, Muse and now Pearl Jam.

I’ve been a fan of Pearl Jam for nearly their entire 25 years of existence.  I loved their first few albums, lost my way a bit in the late 1990s and then came back big time in 2001 when I enjoyed listening to their Live bootleg series.   Their live shows sounded amazing–super long, playing different songs every night–and making all of their songs sound more alive than on record.  They just sounded amazing.

And yet I had never seen them.  I should probably have gone on the 2003 tour but didn’t.  And then I met Sarah and Pearl Jam was one of her favorite bands, but she’d never seen them either.  Since we’ve been married they’ve toured near us 6 times.  We had some excuses of little babies for a couple of those tours, but we should have certainly gone in 2013.

Well, here it is, their 25th anniversary tour and Sarah and I finally got to see them.  And, although I do wish we’d gone before, was it ever worth the wait. (more…)

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jessee SOUNDTRACK: MARTIN TIELLI-Operation Infinite Joy (2003).

oijThis was Martin Tielli’s second solo album and the first disc in his Subscription Series.  Basically, you paid up front and were guaranteed four discs from the man.  Each disc came in a cool metal box, with artwork on the outside and gorgeous artwork in the booklet.  This disc was also available commercially, but I believe the other three were never made available.

This album is really lovely–lots of epic, dramatic moments, with sweeping guitars and choirs.  It’s a real testament to Martin’s songwriting and playing chops.  Although interestingly, Martin is a guitar guy and this album has a lot of piano (from Ford Pier I believe).

The disc opens with “Beauty On” which has some fanfare and a grand introduction about the rock singer who shouts, “Are you with me, Cincinnati are you ready to rock???!!” and a pause and a quietly spoken, “i am not.”  When playing this song live he often left out that intro and simply included the piano melody and the second part of the song.

“OK by Me” has a jaunty feel as it opens.  It has a simple but ornery guitar riff which morphs into several different things in this five-minute song.  There’s an acoustic guitar bridge that gives way to a chorus of voices and then the main verse melody line.  It’s catchy and meandering at the same time.  After the line “I’m playing guitar with all my dinosaurs and me” he busts out  wild raging guitar solo that sounds uncannily like Queen.

“The Temperance Society Choir” is another great dramatic song, with a choir (naturally) and some wonderful harmony vocals.  It also features lead vocals by Selina Martin for the opening lines.  There’s some great guitar and bass sounds in it (mixed low in the mix) and the wonderful lines: “All those in favor just say Aye.”  “Aye!”  “All those opposed just say no.” (pause, quietly) “no.”  It even features an old style piano interlude.

“Segeant Kraulis” is a weird song with lots of great sections.  It opens with a vocoder’d voice saying it is 60238 in the narcotics division.  After several sections, there’s a super catchy chorus, and then a noisy section with presumably Sgt Kraulis screaming “make me visible, you fuckers.”  The last section of the song devolves into a  kind of reggae section with all kinds of glitchy sounds and the repeated declaration, “We were opening packages we did not know the contents of.”

“Andy by the Lake” is the first of Martin’s longer, quieter songs.  Like some of the songs on his first solo album this song is quiet and meandering although the spikes of drama (thunder, lightning) are much welcomed.  The most conventional song on the album is a cover of Smog’s “Cold Blooded Old Times.”  I like the original but there’s something about the way Martin does it that I think is even better–the bassline is great (not present on the original).  I love Bill Callahan’s delivery on the original, but Martin makes it more dramatic (surprise).

“Winnipeg” is a great long song with multiple parts.  It’s got a fantastic intro on bells or vibes (when the wind blows, 50 below) and then shifts into a Neil Young-esque epic.  It features the interesting line “I’ve had cole slaw.”  (Cole slaw also was mentioned on his first solo record). I love the chorus of vocals singing the “ahhhha” before “any day.”  There are so many parts to this song that when people first started recording it live before it was released, I saw three different possible titles for it.

“Waterstriders” is another slower song but the intricate guitar lines are gorgeous throughout.  It’s a great chance for Martin to create all kinds of interesting sounds over a simple rhythm.

“Ship of Fire” also has a Neil Young feel–especially when the intro guitar comes in over the bass.  This song also has many parts and is a pretty fascinating story.  There’s a recurring section about a boy across the Atlantic that is very trippy.  But the lyrics are dark.  There’s also a really noisy section that builds in drama until the final concluding chorus and roaring, guitar-fueled outro.

“Kathleen” ends the disc as a delicate ballad.  I really like this disc a lot.  It’s my favorite of Martin’s solo records and is just an all around great album (with amazing artwork in the booklet).

The Subscription Series disc features two bonus tracks.  “National Pride” which is simple but nice.  And “Diamonds on Our Toes” which is a great song with a fantastic end section and the bizarre screams of “I play electric guitar!”  Both of these tracks come from the Instant Klazzix session which you can download on Rheostatics live.   The versions here have been remixed by martin.

I can’t find all that much out about Instant Klazzix, but there is stuff online about the “group.”  One of these days I’ll post about it.

[READ: June 10, 2015] Love, Sex & Other Foreign Policy Goals

This book was written by a writer of the British comedy Peep Show, which I liked a lot.  However, this book is not very funny (I don’t think it is supposed to be very funny).  Rather, this book falls into the “how far would you go to win a girl” category.  And it wonders if you would go all the way to war-torn Bosnia?

For narrator Andrew, if the girl is smoking hot Penny, then the answer is yes.

Andrew is a middle class working guy.  He is part of the Department of Works, although he’s not glamorous like the real construction guys–he’s more of a gopher.  He has been dating Helen for quite some time.  But he’s quite sure that she is cheating on him.

One night he meets a bunch of students.  They are radical and interesting, and Andrew enjoys their company.  Then they start talking about the problems in Yugoslavia (the book is set in 1994).  They decide that they should drive to Bosnia, bring some aid and, yes, put on a play that will blow everyone’s minds and stop the war. (more…)

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