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Archive for the ‘Stone Temple Pilots’ Category

[ATTENDED, July 30, 2014] Rodrigo y Gabriela

rodygabI first saw Rodrigo y Gabriela on a Tiny Desk Concert and I was blown away.  I knew I had to see these two live.  Rodrigo has a heavy metal background (I didn’t realize that Gabriela was in the heavy metal band Tierra Acida with him).  But even with that background, who knew that two people with acoustic guitars could be so loud!  And our seats were terrific, row S, dead center. Very nice indeed.

Holy smokes, the two of them came out and just blew us away.  They opened with “The Soundmaker” (and really that’s about all I can do in terms of order of songs).  And it sounded louder and more amazing than it does on record.  Although, minor gripe, Gabriela’s guitar has a microphone in it and the bass (which I gather she made by banging on the body of the guitar) was mixed way too loud for the first three songs.  They fixed that for the next batch and then they sounded phenomenal.

After the first three songs (which included a bit of “stairway to Heaven” done in their own style), Gabriela talked to us a bit (while the guitars were tuned, I assume), and then they went back to the music.

Their stage set with pretty minimal–some bright lights on little stands (which were very cool actually).  But it didn’t matter, the two of them are electric on stage–whether it’s Rodrigo’s heavy metal stances or Gabriela’s pogoing, they are in constant motion.  About midway through the show they started using the projection screen behind them (at least I didn’t see any before that).  In addition to some interesting imagery, they also projected close ups of their guitars (I think from small cameras in front of them and from small cameras on the heads of their guitars).  I enjoyed that the images were low res and that they were staticy from time to time–it took any kind of preciousness away and made it look less like they were showing of their virtuosity and more like an interesting image to watch.

After the second set of songs, Rodrigo did a solo section.  He played some very nice flamenco guitar and some rocking solo sections.  Even though he is an amazing guitarist I actually enjoyed this part of the show least because I like the way they play off each other more than I like them individually.

Later in the set Gabriela had a solo section.  Her solo was a bit more interesting to watch because I find her guitar playing style to be mesmerizing and completely incomprehensible.  I loved watching her right hand rapidly moving back and forth, using her fingers on the strings, batting the drum with her thumb or knuckles, and playing heavy rhythm like no one I’ve ever seen.  her hand must be one huge callous.

Some other songs they played were “Torito,” “Sunday Neurosis” (it was alarming when the spoken voices came out of the speakers) and “Misty Moses” (which I learned is dedicated to Harriet Tubman–I also learned that all of the songs on their new album are dedicated to an inspirational figure, guess I should read the liner notes, huh?).

They may have also played “Santo Domingo” (it’s hard to tell, I admit).  But they definitely played Metallica’s “Orion.”  When I first heard that they played Metallica songs, I was really surprised, and I couldn’t wait to hear their take on this instrumental.  And they played a great version of it.  But what I found was that this song was the weakest one in their entire set.  I’ve always liked Metallica’s lengthy instrumentals, but they don’t hold a candle to Rod y Gab’s original songs.

Speaking of covers, about 3/4 of the way through the show, Rodrigo did a “karaoke” section, which was lighthearted and a lot of fun.  He played Stone Temple Pilot’s “Plush” although he didn’t sing a word–the audience provided all the singing, which was really funny. About half way through, the audience lost the plot and he laughed and moved on to the next song, Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Breaking the Girl, which didn’t get quite as many singers (he had a microphone for this one, but gave up when not many people sang along).  He then admitted that they usually don’t play for such a sophisticated crowd (ie. we were sitting down–except for this one poor guy who tried to get everyone up to dance many times).  So he went for a song that this older generation might know (much laughter) and did Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” which was very well received until he sang “I forgot the fuckin lyrics” and we all laughed.  The final song in the karaoke section was Radiohead’s “Creep” which everyone enjoyed very much.

“Fram” and “The Russian Messenger” were also both amazing–by this time the audience was practically bouncing on our seats.

The ended the set with two encores: “Hanuman” and “Tamacun.”  By the encore everyone was on his feet and we were clapping and swaying like fools.  It was that kind of show.  Who would have thought that two guitars could produce so much.  Rod y Gab really have to be seen to be believed.

 

 

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cpatain 10 SOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-Bad Hair Day (1996).

bad hair dayBad Hair Day is an uninspired album title, especially given how great of an album it is.  As I posted last week, “Amish Paradise” is great, (I forget to mention the funny Gilligan’s Island verse in the middle.  “Everything You Know is Wrong” is just a magnificent They Might be Giants parody.  Now, TMBG and Weird Al are pretty kindred spirits (they both use accordions and sing silly songs).  In that respect, this song isn’t that different from a typical Al song, but there are so many great musical nods to TMBG that the song is just awesome.  And it’s very funny too.

“Cavity Search” is a parody of U2’s “Hold Me Touch Me Kiss Me Kill Me” and it works very well, both as a great soundalike (Al’s vocal tricks get better with each album) and the way he plays with the original (the drill solo is great) are really clever.  “Calling in Sick” is a kind of Nirvana parody, although I don’t hear it as well as other band parodies.  It’s certainly a grunge song and, as such it works.  But it was “The Alternative Polka” that proved to be my favorite of his medleys so far.  “Loser,” “Sex Type Thing” “All I Wanna Do” “Closer” (hearing him do Nine Inch Nails is hilarious–especially this song!), “Bang Bang Blame” (so much R.E.M. lately), “You Oughta Know,” “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” (Weezer’s song was supposed to be included here but they asked it to be removed and he did at the last minute–see the video below).  “I’ll Stick Around,” “Black Hole Sun” and “Basket Case”–a great mix of songs that I loved at the time and still do, this song is like reliving the mid 90s.

“Since You’ve Been Gone” is a fun a capella band version of a funny break up song.  He gets better and better at this kind of lyric (“a red hot cactus up my nose” is particularly wonderful).  “Gump” is a very funny parody of “Lump” by Presidents of the United States of America.  Evidently they liked his parody so much they used some of his lyrics in the final verse when they played it live.

“Sick of You” has a fun bass line (reminiscent of Elvis Costello) and a great chorus.  And “Syndicated, Inc.” is a very funny parody of that overplayed Soul Asylum song “Misery.”  It’s a very funny song about syndicated TV shows.  “I Remember Larry” is a pretty funny original about a prankster, although it’s the weakest song on the album.  “Phony Calls” is a parody of TLC’s “Waterfalls” and it’s pretty funny (especially hearing Al do TLC vocals).  The parody works pretty well, and it’s certainly helped by the sample of Bart and Moe on the Simpsons.  “The Night Santa Went Crazy” is a pretty funny twisted take on Santa.

This album is definitely one of his best.  Just about every song is a winner.  And it’s his best-selling album too.

[READ: February 22, 2013] Captain Underpants and the Revolting Revenge of the Radioactive Robo-Boxers

Clark was pretty excited when this book came out.  He had just finished up book #7 or 8 when the book was published.  And so it didn’t take too long for him to get caught up with the series.  I was also pretty lucky to have just finished book nine so this “last” book (although not really) was very well timed.

When we left off in Book Nine, Tippy Tinkletrousers had inadvertently destroyed the earth and the giant zombie George and Harold were stomping through the town.  And, shockingly, they had just crushed Tippy in his robo-pants.   But as this book opens, Pilkey gives us the truth about zombies.  They are really slow.  So slow that Tippy was able to get out of the way of the giant foot (and do lots of other things) and put a giant ketchup packet under the foot so it got squished instead of him.

The rest of the book is simply chock full of time travel, overlapping people and all kinds of paradoxes.  I have to wonder if Clark got it, but he just read it again and he did seem to have decent understanding of what happened. (more…)

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