Friday, March 30, 2007

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

subhead: "The Little Girls Understand"

Last night Scott and I went to go see Ted Leo at 9:30. (Again, just like The Good the Bad and the Queen, the Ted Leo show was webcast on NPR.) It was a sold out show, so we were both expecting to be annoyed at the crowd. In fact, I didn't think the crowd was all that annoying, but there were many, many girls in the audience. I don't think I've ever seen that many girls in 9:30. 'Course, the types of shows that I usually go to are hard rock or punk or whatever -- the type of music that doesn't usually attract many girls. This was not my usual 9:30 experience, but I was kinda happy about that just so I could get out of my usual (similar to the Good Bad Queen show I went to recently).

I've seen Ted Leo a few times -- at Fort Reno w/ the Evens and at the Black Cat. I dig the music, and I think he puts on a good show. His lyrics can be a bit too earnest for me at times, but I think it's good songwriting overall. I'm a fan. I was surprised, I guess, by the success he's had as demonstrated by the sold out show. I think he played 9:30 last year, and it sold out too. (We didn't go because I didn't think it would sell out, and we waited too long and didn't get tix.) Not sure if he gets the same kind of reaction in other towns he plays, but DC likes him, that's for sure. Especially the girls. And not just young girls, but the post-college set too.

Anyway, enough about the girls. The show was really good. The band sounded tight, the sound was good. They had a second guitarist with them -- I've never seen them as a quartet. They played a lot of stuff off the new record, Living with the Living. And for the most part it all sounded good. One of the highlights, I thought, from the new stuff was Unwanted Things, which is a sort of rock steady reggae song. His voice fits it really well. As Scott pointed out, he sounded like Junior Murvin. And he played all his "hits": Timorous Me (a personal fave), Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone, Me and Mia, etc. Both Scott and I left happy. Oh yea, and I swear 9:30 is using different ink for their handstamps -- mine came off so easily after I got home, I couldn't believe it!

Pistols making-of DVD

Just finished watching Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bullocks. It's a making-of video for Never Mind the Bullocks with recent interviews with the living bandmembers and a lot of contextual history. I gotta say I wasn't expecting it to be as interesting and entertaining as it was. Some of my highlights: the interviews with Chris Thomas and Bill Price, the producer and engineer, respectively; many of the DVD extras, including Steve Jones giving instruction on how to play songs off the record; and some of the live footage. I thought the studio scenes were really interesting, when Bill Price was breaking down the songs as he faded the different instrumental parts in and out. If you do Netflix, add to it your queue.

Week from hell

I've been meaning to tell about a truly wretched week that Liz and I had about 2 weeks ago. But I'm just now getting to it... not the best at this blog, I guess. Anyway, I had just gotten back from a guys trip to NYC, which was not wretched, btw. Liz and I had just found out that the tumor removed from our dog, Lucy, was in fact cancerous but necrotic, or dead. So, it was quite a shock to learn that it was a cancerous tumor, but good news that it was necrotic. Honestly, I think we both realized that the chances of the tumor being cancerous were pretty fair, but you always try to hold out hope. Lucy seems pretty healthy though, and the prognosis is pretty good. We just need to watch the area where the tumor was removed to see if anything develops there again. So ... we're holding out hope.

So we had the cancerous tumor in the dog. Then come Monday when I got up to go to work, I felt terrible -- really sick. My boss, however, was on business travel, so I felt I had to go in no matter how crappy I felt. The next day, I felt so bad that I could not go in. 102 degree fever -- laid out. Liz then got sick, which was probably the worst thing that could've happened because since she's pregnant the only drugs she can take is Tylenol, pretty much. And she got it way worse than me. She couldn't keep anything down, had a nasty cough, and the fever. And of course when I did go back to work on Thursday, it was all hell craziness busy going on. Liz got it so bad that she had to go to the hospital on Friday because she was dehydrated and her fever would not subside. They hooked her up to an IV and she went through four bags of fluid. Needless to say, I was really worried.

The baby seemed to be doing okay -- they had Liz hooked up to a baby monitor the whole time. I was finally able to get away from work, wheeled over to the hospital, and luckily just as I got there they told her she could go home. So we did. Gladly. And on top of that it was rainy, cold, and then started sleeting on the way home. I seriously wondered if about 4 other shoes were gonna drop that night. Or at least I thought for sure my basement was going to flood. But it didn't, thank God. It was that kind of week.

Liz is now doing much better, I'm feeling much better, my boss is back from travel, which is good. The baby is still doing well, and Lucy is too. So all's much better now. But, boy, I felt the proverbial black cloud was over us that week. Quite a scare.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

White & Nerdy

Weird Al lays it down correct.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Queen

It's been quite an eventful week. Some might say it was a bad week. I might be that someone. I'll catch up on that later.

But for now... Scott and I went to go see The Good, the Bad and the Queen this past Wed at 9:30. (NPR has a recording of the show on their site.) It was a sold out show. I hate going to sold out shows. But there was nothing we could do about it. I guess the 9:30 is not gonna book many bands that they don't think will sell well...

Anyway, GBQ is a supergroup, or project band, or a not-full-time band made up of Damon Albarn (singer from Blur), Paul Simonon (bassist from Clash), Simon Tong (guitarist from Verve), and a dude named Tony Allen (drummer for "afrobeat" guy Fela Kuti, I think). I picked up the record a few weeks ago, and although it's something I didn't think I would listen to much, I found I was listening to it fairly often. It grew on me. It's very mellow -- atmospheric, sort of melancholy sounding, but also dub-y. Most basslines could come right out of a dub or reggae song. I don't like the term background music, but some might call it that. I'm not that someone. I don't like the term background music b/c if it's just for playing in the background, then I don't really see the point in listening to it or buying it. (This is not the last rant today -- stick around!)

Anyway, the show was good. It was especially cool to see Paul Simonon on stage as Scott and I were huge Clash fans. He was just too cool. Easily the most animated of anyone on stage. Slinking around, doing a sort of skank w/ his bass. And I guess he didn't give a damn about the DC smoking ban, cos he was smoking away. Gotta give him props for that. Some of the songs came across better than others, I thought. The slower, less beat driven songs just kinda laid there for me. But the songs with heavy dub basslines were very good, I thought. And that was most of 'em.

Damon Albarn was surprisingly not annoying. I was never a huge Blur fan, but liked several songs. I never hated them, but Damon Albarn always seemed a bit, uh, pretentious and annoying. But he seemed to be enjoying himself a lot, making sort of self effacing expressions and even smiling several times. In general he didn't seem to be taking himself as seriously as I thought he would. The sound was very good too I thought.

The crowd, on the other hand, was pretty freaking annoying. Granted, I was sick, and I have already said that I dislike sold out shows, so I was already predisposed to be annoyed. But it just seemed like so many of the people there were a bunch of yo yos. The best example I have: after one song, a guy behind me yells "don't ever stop taking risks Damon!" WTF? First of all, he had to yell that to try to make himself look cool, b/c there was no way "Damon" ever heard him. Second, that's just an idiotic thing to say. Other things: what's up w/ half way thru the show, walking into the middle of crowd and planting yourself (you're taller than I am) right in front of me?? This happened a coupla times, and once it was a girl who did it... I'm not tall, but now I feel really inadequate.

Anyway, it was a good show and it ended before 11:00, which I was quite happy about considering my aforementioned sickness. And the fact that I'm an old man and it was a schoolnight.