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Archive for the ‘Rainbows’ Category

[ATTENDED: March 11, 2018] The Flaming Lips

After Sarah and I saw The Flaming Lips in Philly, I really didn’t think I ‘d see them again.  I never said never, but I said, unlikely.  Then they announced a short tour which included a spot at the newly opened Xcite Center at the Parx Casino.  This was a close show in a small, seated venue.  And when I heard that they had added a few new surprises, I decided it was worth going once more.

There was some confusion in the listing.  Originally, Chappo was supposed to open for them.  They had opened for them in Bethlehem and I really enjoyed their set.  I would have been happy to see them again. Then Chappo said they were not opening (they opened on the three earlier shows).  But there was no word on who would be opening.  To make things weirder, the Parx site said the show was at 7 and the Lips said the show was at 8.

Well, I arrived at like 5 to 7, fought my way through the smokers at the casino (really??) and made it to the Xcite Center at one minute to 7.  The lady at Will Call said they’d be going on in 15 minutes and there was no opener.

Holy cow. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 4, 2017] The Flaming Lips

I saw The Flaming Lips back in 2015 and I was thrilled at how much bigger their show had become since 2000 when I saw them the first time.  When I saw they were touring again for their new album and were playing The Fillmore, I knew that I had to see them again, and this time I needed Sarah to experience the show with me.  She doesn’t know their music very well (she liked a couple of songs and actively disliked a number of them (mostly their noisy covers)–but I knew they wouldn’t play those).  I couldn’t stop talking about that previous show, so I think her expectations were pretty high.  And she told me they did not disappoint.

Having clipping. as the opening band was unusual because if there was ever a show I couldn’t imagine Sarah at it would be a loud, screechy vulgar hip hop band.  But it served as a palate cleanser for The Flaming Lips.

I noticed that they added even more stuff to the previous set, but it was weird that they have all of this great stuff on stage, but then they tend to obscure it as well.  Between the lights in front of the stage (how weird to see all those lights dangling in front of the performers) and the fog machines, sometimes you couldn’t even see the cool stuff going on.  But it was all part of the sensory overload of the show.

Before the show started, Wayne and some of the other guys came out and checked some things. Its was funny to see Wayne walk out on stage and wave to us.  He even shot some hand-held confetti cannons at us.  But then they went back stage and it took another fifteen or so minutes for them to start.

In front of the stage were all of the strands hanging down.  It was impossible to know what they were, until the music started and we saw that they were light strands.  And as the music swelled, Wayne conducted the lights and the music.  It was very cool. (more…)

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karl2SOUNDTRACK: BRASS BED-Tiny Desk Concert #339 (February 24, 2014).

brass bedI expected Brass Bed to be a goofy band because of the snapshot image of them singing into toy microphones.  I was initially disappointed by how normal they were, but I was soon won over by their interesting floating sound. They have this overall trippy underwater vibe (which seems to be accomplished by a bowed slide guitar). This is especially notable on “Yellow Bursts of Age” their best song in the set.  Later the guitar solo is echoey and also underwatery. It’s a very wild sound for a fairly simple song.

They tell a funny story about being from Louisiana and encountering Washington DC snow and (of course) not having an ice scraper (although they did have bag of sand).

“Cold Chicory” is an upbeat sounding song musically although it is kind of a bummer lyrically, but again there’s the great sound of the bow on the slide guitar and the echoey lead guitar. “Please Don’t Go” is a slow song—with more interesting effects from singing into that slide guitar.

The plastic mikes do come out in the last song “Have to be Fine” in which they sing into the echoey mikes for the intro (with very nice harmonies).  They sing the intro for about a minute, and then the slide guitar player takes lead vocals on this simple but pretty song (I don’t know any of their names).

At the end, the NPR folks gave them an honorary NPR ice scraper.

[READ: June 24, 2014] My Struggle Book Three

boyhoodI read an excerpt of Book Three just a few weeks ago.  And in the post about it I said I wouldn’t be reading this book for quite some time.  But then the book unexpectedly came across my desk and I couldn’t resist grabbing it while it was here.  So it appears that I will now have to wait well over a year before Book 4 (which is, I think about 1,000 pages–yipes).  I also see that Book Three is fully called “Boyhood Island” in Britain.

At the end of Book Two, Karl Ove was more or less caught up to the present–writing about what he was then up to (with a few years gap, of course).  So it makes sense that this book is about his childhood–showing us how he came to be the man he is.

The book, amusingly enough, starts off with memories that he cannot possibly remember, and he even says as much.  He is using memories of his parents and piecing together pictures from when he was an infant.  In 1970, (Karl Ove was born in 1968) his family moved to the island of Tromøy tromo(and check out the idyllic picture that Wikipedia had).  This is where Karl Ove spent his (rather traumatic) formative years.  Their island is small, so he knows everyone in his school, but there are some amenities around like the Fina station and the B-Max, and there’s lots of soccer to be played and bikes to be ridden.

Things seem normal at first–he runs and plays with his friends, there is ample green space to run around in, and they have boats to sail on.  And we meet two of Karl Ove’s earliest friends: Geir and Trond (so many people are named in the book, I’m very curious to know if any of them remember him).  In an early scene they chase the end of a rainbow looking for a pot of gold (and have a discussion about what happens to it when the rainbow vanishes (the boys even play a prank on Karl Ove that they actually found the pot,a dn while he doesn’t initially fall for it, he is compelled to go back and they tease him).

But the looming figure here and throughout the book is Karl Ove’s father, who, at least according to Karl Ove’s memory, is pretty much a monstrous dick.  He is demanding and exacting, unforgiving and seemingly uncaring.  He is either bipolar or a drunk, jumping from goofy to outright rage in a mater of seconds.  Karl Ove and his brother Yngve fear him unconditionally and, by the end of the book they both seem to hate him.  The scene where their dad tries and fails to teach Karl Ove to swim is heartbreaking, especially when the dad goes home and tells their mom right in front of him “He’s frightened of water.”  There are dozens of instances of fear and intimidation (often accompanied by a wrenching of Karl Ove’s ear).  Like when Karl Ove turns on the TV for his grandparents (he wasn’t allowed to touch the TV but he wanted to do something nice for them).  After a few minutes, the TV fizzed out and, naturally, he was blamed for it and sent to bed without supper (after some minor physical abuse). (more…)

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