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Archive for the ‘Violent Femmes’ Category

[ATTENDED: June 18, 2016] Barenaked Ladies

2016-06-18 22.36.35Why have we seen Barenaked Ladies so many times?  Because they unerringly put on a super fun show.  Whether it is headlining their summer extravaganzas or even playing at our lowly Balloon Festival [*I was taken to task for calling this festival lowly, please see the end of the post for an update], their sets are fun and they always give their all.

Their set seemed really short this time–although it was the same number of songs as previous summer sets.  Sometimes it feels like they are stuck playing the same songs a lot.  They absolutely have to play a few songs–“$1,000,000,” “Brian Wilson,” “Big Bang Theory” and of course “One Week” and at least one or two new ones.  And yet they do a good job of pulling out some unexpected songs.

And they really mixed up the stage show this year.  In the past, they have started big and ended with some acoustic songs.  But this year they started with a small acoustic set. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 18, 2016] OMD

2016-06-18 20.15.58Sarah and I calculated that this was our fourth time seeing Barenaked Ladies (I’ve seen them at least two more times than that).  What I enjoy about tehir summer tours is how they have such diverse opening acts.  Two years ago it was Guster and Ben Folds.  Last year it was Violent Femmes and Colin Hay and this year it is Howard Jones and Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark.  I was never really a fan of Howard Jones (I didn’t know most of his songs), but I love OMD’s greatest hits (which I know isn’t saying a lot since they have about a  dozen albums out, but it’s a great collection).

Because of circumstances beyond our control, we wound up missing the entirety of Howard Jones’s set.  A friend who saw the concert in New York last week said that HoJo was phoning it in.  But the two people n front of us at Philly said he was really good.  Bummed to miss him, especially the keytar.

We arrived just as the opening notes of “Enola Gay” were playing through the crowd.  Perfect timing. (more…)

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basoonSOUNDTRACK: THE MUSIC TAPES-Tiny Desk Concert #182 (December 20, 2011).

musictaopesJulian Koster released an album in 2008 called The Singing Saw at Christmastime.  It was a complete CD of Christmas songs played on the saw.  That should tell you that Koster is an unusual fellow. But that doesn’t prepare you for what he unleashes during his Tiny Desk Concert with The Music Tapes.

Koster has a very high-pitched voice (I have a recording of him doing “I’ve Got My Love to Keep me Warm,” which is almost unbearable.  His singing is really close to the fine line of unique and bad (and I imagine for many it crosses the line). He’s also got a fascinating way of looking at things and of storytelling.  So this Tiny Desk show winds up being quite long (20 minutes) with quite a lot of different things going on.

First he tells a lengthy story about his great grandpa.  And how his great grandpa told him that baby trees can walk.  But they are tethered to the ground by an umbilical cord. And when we cut them down, we sever the cord.  And a Christmas tree is adorned and worshiped for two weeks and then set free to roam the earth.  It is a warm and strange and delightful.

Then he and a second member of the group play “The First Noel” on two saws.  It’s weird ad wonderful.  At the end of the song he has his saw bow, and Bob says he didn’t know a saw could bow.  Julian says they do and in fact that singing saws sing by themselves but we encourage them by petting them and placing them in our laps.

I don’t enjoy everything Koster does, so the second song “Freeing Song For Reindeer,” a banjo based piece about a tired old reindeer transporting Santa is slow and kind of sad and not my thing.

But then he tells a story of growing up with all kinds of culture and Holiday traditions which leads into a version of Gavin Bryars’ “Jesus Blood.”  I enjoy the original and didn’t know what to expect here.  They begin with a tape loop of an old man singing the song (possibly the one Bryars used, but I don’t know).  And then Koster starts playing the banjo with a bow.  And then a second guy does the same. Then the percussionist stars playing the toy piano and the noises build.  He switches from piano to trumpet and plays along.  Meanwhile the second banjo player switches back to the saw for the end. It’s really quite a lovely performance.

“Takeshi And Elijah” is another slow and keening banjo based song.  It’s pretty long, I don’t really like it, but by the end, as it builds with trumpet and toy piano, he ends the song sith a puppet Santa doing a tap dance as percussion.  It’s a great ending to an okay song.

The final song is “Zat You, Santa Claus?”  It’s played on bowed banjo and sousaphone.  It’s a fun and crazy rendition.   It’s one of the weirdest Tiny Desk shows and certainly the weirdest Christmas set.

[READ: December 5, 2015] The Bassoon King

I really liked Rain Wilson in The Office, but I haven’t seen him in much else (I forgot he was in Six Feet Under and Galaxy Quest) . I wanted to like Backstrom, but it got cancelled before we even watched an episode.

So why did I check out this memoir of an actor I like a little bit?  Well, primarily for the title.  The Bassoon King had an absurd ring that I really gravitated towards.  When I saw there was an introduction by Dwight Kurt Schrute, I knew this would be a good book.

The introduction (by Dwight) is very funny.  I love Dwight and I love thinking to myself “FALSE!” whenever I disagree with someone.  Dwight wondered why anyone would read a biography of a young semi-famous actor.  “Fact. NO. ONE. CARES.”  But then says he doesn’t care either because he is making a lot of dollars per word for this thing.

Rainn begins his memoir by making fun of his big head (especially when he was a baby).  It’s pretty funny.  And then he describes his hippie family and his weird name.  His mom changed her named from Patricia to Shay in 1965.  She wanted to name Rainn “Thucydides.”  But his dad always liked Rainer Maria Rilke.  Now, they lived pretty close to Mt Rainier, so they went for Rainn (“Tack an extra letter on there for no apparent reason”). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 18, 2013] Barenaked Ladies

20131018_214137Sarah and I saw BNL this summer with our friend Megan, and the show was great.  That marked the fourth or fifth time that I’d seen them.  When we found out that they were coming through again (to the close to us and cool Bethlehem Sands) we thought it might be fun to see them again.  Especially with our friends Matt and Marisa who like them but had never seen them.  So we met up and had a very fun time.  We ate at Emeril’s Burgers and More.  The burger was good (although it took an incredibly long time for it to arrive).  The strange thing about the burger was that it was very crispy on the outside (which was good) but rather and odd shade of  pink on the inside (which may have been the lighting, but it was certainly pinker than usual for medium), but it was not juicy/bloody—how is something pink but not juicy?  It was weird.  But still rather tasty.

But back to the show.  Our seats were in Row 20, which was much better than our seats this summer. The pictures here are mine taken with my phone—they’re blurrier than I’d like, but not terrible.

And this show was a ton of fun and full of surprises.  They started with “Limits” an unexpected song from their new album.  And then they jumped into “Never is Enough” a surprise old song.  Ed always does an introductory rap (which no one ever includes in the setlists online for some reason).  This one, while not as good as the PNC Bank Center one was enjoyable.  Ed explained that he ran a half marathon that day on the Sands grounds.  Well, actually he ran a block but did cross the finish line (the band played along with Da Don’t Run Run).  It was very funny.  “Pinch Me” is the new crowd favorite.  Whereas they used to throw Mac and Cheese during $1,000,000, now they throw underwear.  And much hilarity ensues. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 20, 2013] Last Summer on Earth

lsoeWhen I heard that three bands who I like very much were playing, it was an obvious decision to get tickets.  And thanks to Sarah’s cousin, Kate who lives nearby, we were able to avoid the assholian $9/ticket fee from Ticketmaster.  $9 a ticket??  Assholes.  Interestingly, we got very good seats (thanks again, Kate), but for one reason or another, they were upgrading lawn seat tickets for an extra $10.  I read online that for the price of a lawn seat and $10, they got sixth row.  SIXTH ROW!  Damn.

We arrived at the show just in time to hear Ed Robertson introducing the opening act (an opening act when there are three bands!).  The opening act was a guy named Boothby Graffoe.  What?  Well, Graffoe is an English comedian and singer/songwriter.  Most of his songs are funny.  And so were these in the five song set: (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MIKE FORD: Satellite Hotstove (2007).

I was going to say I didn’t know what the name of this album meant, but then, while looking for a photo of it, I discovered it’s a part of Hockey Night in Canada. Shame on me for not knowing that.

Anyhow, Mike Ford is a member of the fabulous Moxy Fruvous.  He has released a few solo albums, and this one I just picked up from MapleMusic.

This is a very solid folk album.  Mike wrote some of these on the Trans-Canada train, so as you might expect there’s a lot of Canada packed into the 8 songs. Although Ford and Fruvous liked to throw humor into their songs, there’s no much of that here.  “Huge on the Luge” being the exception, which is very funny and quite silly (and was actually written in 2001).

The rest of the album deals a lot with Canadian water images: The Eastern Gap in Toronto, The Credit River in Ontario, The Seaway in the St Lawrence, and The Fraser River in BC.  And, there’s the rather obviously titled Saskatchewan (not a cover of the Rheostatics song).

I’m very fond of the song “Late of October,” a sweet celebration of Autumn, which is probably my favorite season, too.  There’s not a lot more to say about this record.  Mike has a great voice, perfect for folk songs, and his lyrics are thoughtful.  If you’re looking for good folk music by someone you may not have heard of before, definitely check this one out!

[READ: July 5, 2008] “The Eagle Has Landed”

The Walrus is a magazine I’ve subscribed to since Issue 2. It’s a great general magazine from Canada. They cover everything from politics to the environment, to arts and culture, and they don’t only cover Canadian issues.  It’s one of my favorite magazine.   They write about things that I don’t think I care about and then I find my self totally engrossed by it. (more…)

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