he blogs! music lives! lots o' great live music lately, as i may have mentioned.
last night's show by the very best may not have been the very best...couldn't really measure up to the excitement of seeing them the first time, but even so the set was quite short (a half hour if that) and the energy seemed to be slightly less. which means there was still a ton of energy and it was an awesome party and i was mostly just glad to be there with a bunch of my friends, and other friendlies (though we were too scattered about the room.) two dancers this time instead of one dancer and one crippled singer. i think they might have both been different, but they were definitely wearing different leggings – ginkgo described the effect as "fluorescent yellow cameltoe"; cara's response was "my, those trousers are mesmerizing!"
also last night: fuck buttons – i only caught about 15 minutes of their set (i.e. a song and the beginning of another song), because i was running back around the block to see the verys, but those 15 minutes made me exceedingly happy. even though it's just two hip-looking doods with tables full of gadgets, holding a note on a casio with one finger for 4 bars. i don't entirely understand it, but i really really enjoy fbs. i need to play them for some other people to see if they feel similarly.
also last night: javelin, opening for t.v.b. funtimes, especially towards the end of the set (as the songs got more songy and poppy.) will be looking out for these guys. most memorable part though is that i walked into the empty venue to find them chatting with none other than yale evelev, my ol' luaka boss, who says "oh, we're putting out the record!" he says, this is the best time in music in his life. this era. soul music, african music, indie rock. want to hear more about what he's listening to (apparently it's not the very best)...
i pretty much agree with him (well, best music time of my life, for sure.) was thinking about this tonight, and i figure there's no possible way that people are listening to less music these days, so they must be listening to more, more than ever. [obv ipods and all that] ...and more than that, they're listening to more different music (from each other) than probably ever since mass culture started existing. [esp w/ the death of the big music industry and all that] personally this year i have felt less specifically excited about very new music (especially albums – which is probably my foggy lens – though a couple are starting to grow on me), but no less about music in general. i've had this narrative about being more excited about live music (than ever? maybe not, but than recorded...relatively speaking?), partly because i have just been seeing a lot of it, mostly free...
also last night: i dreamed about bruce springsteen covering "tobacco road" in a kind of medieval lighthouse castle in a tiny harbor town on the north (baltic?) coast of greece, and he let me play a piano solo, but only for a little while.
tonight, though: i saw julie doiron (cat power-level neurotic awkwardness in the banter, hair in her eyes making it hard to hear the songs, but still, a strong resounding voice, sorry i missed her first few) and herman dune at the world cafe. it really is such a nice place to see-hear music, we're lucky it's in the neighborhood. having things be pleasant is, on balance, quite a bit better. and what a treat to be waited on by the fabulous ('n dreamy) birdie busch, even if i had to chase her down for the privelege of paying her $5 for a pair of teas.
oh, but herman dune, what goofy fun. the jojo comparison is inescapable because it's so right-on. even if hd are a bit more self-aware and, um, sane, and their songs have more words. they're both jewish too, yknow (really liked the verse about being bar-mitzvahed in one of the songs he played.) david[-ivar] is super-tall and gangly, and super-beardy, with a preposterous turquoise florida sweater and a gold heart-shaped locket (!) and long spindly legs that he gets up on his tip-toe and does dramatic matador dances, and big long fingers that he plays fast and loose with his songs on the guitar, lunges to crank up the volume for a solo. total goofball, but really clever-funny too. i liked him a lot. that's entertainment!
i also, in the last couple months, saw
• throw me the statue (hi aaron!),
• sid'n'susie (aka matthew sweet + susannah hoffs, and wrote about it for cp, took some pictures too but i guess they didn't post? thereby fulfilling a 12-ish year mission of seeing m.s., didn't disappoint),
• regina spektor/jupiter one (meh...the electric factory suxx. regina is so much better when you can actually see her face. j1 are kinda spry tho),
• mirah (fun! not boring! cute! ripped! anorexic wtf?? fleetwood mac cover! bought 2 vinyls including the reissue of ytiltbrilt – with better art – and one of 12 recently discovered-in-her-storage copies of a rare believed-to-be-sold-out '03 live lp),
• erin mckeown and m. doughty (separately, but both at free-at-noon shows. first time seeing either, in both cases a long time coming... both folks i hadn't thought about too much, but have been paying more attention lately. erin is totally personable and sweet, mike is totally weird-talky and snarky, but in a fun way – wondering if he's like that all the time.)
• y∆cht [sorry, not capsing] (weirdos! wtf! engaging enough, but pretty odd. eh, performance art. also, i reviewed their record. also: james murphy and pat mahoney spinning dee-lite's "what is love?" and t-heads' "naive melody." kool.)
• bruce springsteen! twice!! whoa!!! two of the shows of his final spectrum run of four. also for free, for no good reason, thanks to adam (well, for the first show i paid money – a mere $60 less than face value...) i have not been much of a bruce fan, particularly, since the mid-80s or so, when born in the u.s.a. was pretty much my favorite album. enthusiasm surrounding the sudden decisions to go see these shows led me to go back and listen to that album a bunch of times, but more importantly to really listen to darkness on the edge of town for the first time, and also check out the river and the wild, the innocent, among others, and to feel like i sort of had a handle on his discog for the first time, and to say, hey, why did i spend so much time listening to dire straits when i could have been getting into this stuff??
anyway the shows were mostly a blast – especially the second one when i was down on the floor (boss came within, oh, fifteen feet of me? at a few points.) the parts where he played full albums straight-thru (darkness; bitusa) were oddly less exciting – the lack of suspense when you know what's coming next is surprisingly detrimental. also, the bitusa performance were made to sound a lot like the record (massive gating/effects on the drums, in particular, and all the synths), which is kind of too bad, would have been interesting to hear those songs with the more live band feel of the rest of the show. definite highlight of the whole experience was by-request cover of "(your love keeps lifting me) higher and higher." (they had to figure it out first.) bruce just seemed like he was having so much fun.
i also saw sissy wish, whose record i reviewed and is pretty great. that didn't prepare me for the awesomeness of her performance (at an afternoon cmj showcase, following the also rather enjoyable choir of young believers), which was considerably electro-punkier, down-and-dirtier, musically, than the somewhat polished (but still sparky) sound of her record, but mostly notable for her [=siri walberg] manic pixie-nature, bouncing around with an elfin grin, standing on a chair in the audience and commanding us to sing "ya ya ya," generally being silly and cute.
and also she wore a shirt made out of cassette tapes:
hm, need to study the pictures here for some refinement of the design. i think i know how to make it better now.
weird thing: i went to see sissy again the following night, in philly (hadn't been planning to, but i really wanted to see her again after that), but she was nowhere to be found – not at either of the venues she had supposedly been scheduled to play. even though her publicist put me on the list that afternoon. even though i talked to siri herself the day before about coming to her show in philly... weird.
i didn't see or, the whale, because i was late after the boss played for three hours (after starting an hour late), but i wish i had, as i've been enjoying their record, but i had a very nice time talking to julie after i missed their set. and almost happened to see them the following night in d.c.
i also didn't see: jeff lewis, the books, sian alice, busdriver, flying lotus, lou barlow, r. kelly, anna ternheim, or paramore, even though i wrote about all of them in citypaper.