Archive for the ‘Radiation’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: PHISH-LivePhish 11.14.95 University of Central Florida Arena, Orlando FL (2007).

In addition to formal live releases and a series of 20 full show LivePhish releases (which were packaged in some horrible goo and have subsequently been ruined), Phish has also released some shows a but more formally as LivePhish archival “releases.”  I don’t know if there is any specific reason for the release of any of them, but they seem to out out two or so a year.

Regardless, this show is pretty fantastic.

There’s a pretty thorough review and essay (with photos) by Kevin Shapiro about the show here.  And it provides a lot more context and Phish lore than I can and I’ve quoted some below.

Hoist had come out the previous year but Billy Breathes not for another ten months or so.

The show has a lot of whispered vocals from Trey (especially at the beginnings of songs—they’re audible, sure, but just seem quieter than usual).  The show starts off with a blast of “Chalk Dust Torture” and an extended 10 minute “Foam.”   The whispered vocals are especially noticeable on “Billy Breathes” but once the song really begins there are some great harmonies.

Then for the fifteen minute “Divided Sky,” which sounds amazing, there’s quite a long pause before the main riff starts—teasing the audience a bit.  Trey basically stands there, stock still for almost a minute and a half.

It’s always a treat to hear “Esther” which has a good jam going and so does “Free” (which is technically a new song), although it seems to go a little dark. Then there’s another quiet verse to start “Julius” before it really takes off. All three of those songs were about 9 minutes each.

That all settles down to a quiet almost unplugged bluegrass version of “I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome” [the notes mentioned above indicate: I’m Blue, I’m Lonesome featured a brave mandolin solo by Fish as well as some especially inflected vocals by temporary upright bassist Page].  The set with a great version of “Cavern.”

At the end of the song he talks about the audience chess move that anyone can get involved in.   And then in the beginning of set two, they mention the audience move.

There’s a very extended “Maze” (13 minutes) in which Trey is on fire, and then a fun “Gumbo” that in no way prepares you for what’s to come: the wild frenetic soling in a hugely extended version of “Stash.”  The song segues into other songs (“Manteca” and “Dog Faced Boy”) and back into “Stash” for a total of 40 minutes of jamming.  There’s some crazy feedback and noise in Trey’s solos.  There’s also a percussion slow down with just one note of piano and percussion keeping the song going. The liner notes break it up into three distinct songs: the first part is 15 minutes, then a break into the jazzy instrumental “Manteca” and then back into Stash for a total of 14 minutes and then Trey breaks into a quiet a capella version of “Dog Faced Boy” which segues into the ending solo of Stash which is feedbacky and crazy.  A total of almost 10 minutes.  The notes say:

The improvisational skill and grace demonstrated in this “Stash” set the standard for years to come.  Staccato guitar and clavinet accents began to lead into some incredible jamming with massive, swirling tension as the band weaved in and out of Stash’s theme in a loose, psychedelic approach. Deep rhythmic tribal incantation followed with Trey eventually switching to percussion and grooving into something akin to the ending of “Fee.” This jam continued, melting perfectly into a supercharged version of “Manteca,” played for the first time in a year and sandwiched between segments of Stash

There’s a brief respite with a beautiful, mellow “Strange Design.”  And then the band ramps up again with a 21 minute “You Enjoy Myself.”

Like parts of the show-stopping “Stash” and other versions from this year commonly ranked among the best ever, this “YEM” is amazing, intense and engaging, exploratory and rocking especially when teamed with Chris Kuroda’s phoenix-shaped lighting rig. A brief nod to Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song” punctuates the jam and the energy in the room and intensity of playing throughout kept the set flying as high as Trey and Mike’s mini-trampoline performance.

There’s also a (fairly mellow) vocal jam at the end, bringing the show proper to a close.

The encore is two songs, “The Wedge” which sounds a little different from the record and a fast and frenetic “Rocky Top.”  It is truly a great show.

The disc is a three CD set and includes two bonus Filler tracks.  There’s a goofy, fun version of “Poor Heart” (from a soundcheck on 11/14/95 and a really silly “Dog Log” (with someone speaking the refrain “to the john” over and over).  That one comes from a show on 12/01/95, which is pretty far away from this show, but is a fun addition.

[READ: November 24, 2016] Fall Out

Madras Press publishes limited-edition short stories and novella-length booklets and distributes the proceeds to a growing list of non-profit organizations chosen by our authors. For this particular book, proceeds to benefit Women for Afghan Women.

This book is divided into four sections.  They could be short stories or they could be parts of a full story.  The pieces do fit together

From 1951 to 1962, nuclear bombs were detonated in the Nevada Test site.  Buildings were destroyed, sand was turned to glass.  This story then jumps to Troy, New York in 1953.  Three students were tossing a ball around after a rainfall.  They went into a college building and tested a Geiger counter which showed ratings off the charts on the ball that had been in the puddle.

Night of the Avengers
On a given night, several people saw what looked like an ice cream cone made of light in the sky.   And then a local boy encountered the alien.  This section is actually a film made by director Zweig.  We learn about Zweig’s childhood working on the sets of Metropolis, and his difficulties in getting this low budget film made.  It’s an interesting plot–people blame the aliens for things that are going wrong, but the aliens are not responsible.  So they simply leave rather than taking the abuse.  There is also Dr. Exline, who is making a bio weapon.  He is the one responsible for all the troubles they’ve been having–won’t anyone listen? (more…)


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harp marchSOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Vertigo, Victoria British Columbia, (January 22, 2000).

vertigoOne of the things that I like about listening to Rheostatics live shows is that when they play a couple nights in a row, they play such different sets both nights.  In the two nights at Vertigo, they played 44 songs and only 5 of them were duplicated (all from the newest album and a song that was on the live album).  That is a fan pleasing band.

It’s hard to even say which night is better.  Night 2 had more deep cuts and yet, they’re not exactly rare tracks for them to play either.

Lucky’s notes for this one say that the band were given cell phone type gadgets and that Martin played with his throughout the show.  You can hear that as the set opens and Martin is goofing off with his.

Overall for these shows I found that the band was playing a lot of songs in a bit more mellow vibe.  It’s not the way I like to hear them, but I wonder what it was like live.  However, “King of the Past” one of my favorite songs was played too slow on this night, as was “Christopher.” And “Northern Wish” sounded quite different–it had an almost meandering quality to it. Even “Stolen Car” has a slow moody quality (which Martin agrees with).

But the band is clearly having fun.  On “Four Little Songs there’s a crazy drum solo.  And as it ends and “The Royal Albert” starts, there’s some odd guitar sounds which Martin describes as change falling in an elevator.

The stage banter is certainly fun tonight, especially the talk about Sean Brodie and ordering a pizza (which was terrible).

The final song is a great version of “Aliens.”   But before that they play a cover of Reverend Ken and the Lost Followers’ “The Midnight Ride of Red Dog Ray ” which is all about a guy who drove to Quebec when there was a beer strike in Toronto.

Here’s the original

Although I love the song choices in this set, I feel like its slowness makes me prefer the previous night’s set a little more.

[READ: March 2, 2015] “Invisible and Insidious”

Vollmann is one of the more prolific writers I know (or at least his one collection of works is over 3,000 pages).  I sort of have designs on reading his output but there’s so many other authors I like and Vollmann has so much out there that I think my best bet is to keep up with his writing when I see it and just let it go at that.

So he occasionally writes non-fiction for Harper’s.  And they are usually pretty dark and unhappy pieces about the state of the world–Vollmann is not afraid to go to dark places.  In this article he talks about living in Japan and he reminds us that not that long ago (March 2011) there was a tsunami and a huge nuclear meltdown in that country.  And how most likely we all assume it must have been fixed, since we don’t hear about it anymore.

I don’t wish to overwhelm with details–that’s Vollmann’s job.  But he does a few interesting things in Japan.  He explores locations that are off-limits (or at least in the evacuation zone) and he talks to people who live and work in these areas.  He also (of course) has a dosimeter (which I assume must be pretty common in a radiated site).

The nuclear utility that monitors the plant, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) has issued various information over the years, although none of it seems verifiable.  In August 2013, The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority said the leak was re-categorized from level 1(anomaly) to level 3 (a serious accident).  And the Japan Times says a the radioactivity was about 100 times more than what TEPCO had been allowing to enter the sea each year before the crisis. (more…)

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