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Month: May 2011

This House Is A Circus, Berserk As Fuck

In what now has become a bi-annual tradition, The Arctic Monkeys descend on First Avenue and remind the Twin Cities why they are the Colossus of UK Banks. Last night’s show was unique in several ways.

To begin with, First Ave recently installed a high capacity roof air conditioner (announced on their Facebook page to much rejoicing) so the sold out show would be cool and comfortable. This proved to be extremely beneficial as the pit became insane about a third of the way through the Monkey’s set.

This was also the first time I had ever seen the Monkey’s before they released their new album. Suck It and See is not due out until June 6th in the UK (June 7th stateside).  I had only heard one new track (“Brick by Brick”) so the rest were going to be new to me. I was pretty amped to hear the new songs for the first time AND live!

They also brought a support band with them that has blown up quickly just like the Monkeys did when they released their first album. The Vaccines took the stage a little after 7pm and played a fantastic 35 minute set which included many tracks from their debut disc, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? Check out their video for the instant and hilarious classic “Post Break Up Sex.”

After The Vaccines left the stage, the pit began to swell with humanity. My buddy Paul and I camped out underneath The Forbidden Staircase which has an excellent view of the stage from the right side of the pit. The Premier League like crowd started to get rowdy and sweaty when the announced set time (now posted on Facebook (mega!) for each show) came and went. I quietly blessed the owners of First Ave as I felt the soft wisps of cool air coming down on my head and shoulders.

Finally, the Monkeys took the stage and, without playing a note, the crowd went berserk. As all of us sang “O-lay, O-lay, O-lay, O-lay” as the lads led off with “Library Pictures” from their new record. A fast tempo surf punk diddy, the song impressed me immediately as being (yet another) departure from their previous work. After that was “Brianstorm” and that was pretty much it for any sort of control in the pit. Bodies flew everywhere as the set progressed through songs from all four of their releases.

Highlights for me were, first and foremost, the new tracks. “Don’t Sit Down Because I’ve Moved Your Chair” and “Brick by Brick” were amazing. “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala,” aside from being a fantastic song title, recalled (of all bands) The Doors and late 60s/early 70s California.

A very large highlight for me was the crowd. As the lads played their older songs, their ridiculously loyal fans sang (no, screamed) along with every word. I, of course, was one of them. In many ways, we were all part of the performance as they did “Still Take You Home,” “Teddy Picker,” “Crying Lightening” and all of the others.

Coming as the second to last song of the night, “The View From The Afternoon,” took on a whole new meaning. The first track on their first album, which sets up the journey that a late adolescent man takes as he imagines what sort of evening he is going to have round the pubs and clubs, seemed last night more like confirmation of a premonition fulfilled completely. In looking at their body of work, on full display at First Avenue, The Arctic Monkeys have managed to evolve past that young man while still maintaining that spark of anticipation of what will always be a fucking riot of a night if they are playing a gig.

For the full set list, click here.

For my photos from the evening, click here.

Here is a live performance of “The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala” from the Jools Holland Show.

The Friday Five: May 27, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“My Country” by tUnE-YaRdS (from WHOKILL, 2011)

This is the first time I’m hearing anything from this record, which comes very highly recommended by my Popdose alum—and frequent flyer with the Friday Five—Michael Fortes. It reminds me a bit of Ween, filtered through a Sonic Youth colored lens. I’ll have to queue this up for the long weekend.

“Anna Begins” by Counting Crows (from Films About Ghosts: The Best of…, 2003)

This is, for me, Adam Duritz’s greatest moment as a songwriter.

“The Same December” from Prince (from Chaos and Disorder, 1996)

For every bit of praise I lavished on Come a few weeks back, I have to decry Chaos and Disorder. Does anyone else recall the full court press promotional tour for this record? I swear, there must be a dozen television performances of “Dinner With Delores” out there.

“Transatlanticism” by Death Cab for Cutie (from Transatlanticism, 2003)

Buy Codes and Keys. Seriously, you’ll thank me.

‘Bonita Applebum (radio edit)” by A Tribe Called Quest (from Bonita Applebum, 1990)

With this, I’m kicking off the Friday Dance Party.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Some Kind Of Fine

People make fun of me because I like the band Heart. Actually, I don’t just like them. I love them. I love Heart.

I ♥ Heart.

There, I’ve said it. Heap your crooked looks and gas faces all over me if you wish but they were, are and always will be a mega fucking band. Much of the reason why I think so has to do with those magic herbs that are still lingering around in me from the 70s. More importantly, they bring that sacred feminine spirit to rock music like no other band.

Their latest disc, Red Velvet Car, is quite good. The album came out last August but I just got around to buying it about a month ago. It is their first new studio album since 2004’s Jupiter’s Darling which I also enjoyed a great deal. New studio albums from Ann and Nancy have been sparse over the last couple of decades but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality.

Their latest effort represents a return to the sound of Dreamboat Annie which is one of the greatest albums of all time. I have a number of things to say about that album but I will wait until I am drenched in the glorious heat of the summer before I share. I need to be in the right frame of mind to convey, in those debilitating things they call words, how I feel about that mystical piece of wonder.

For now, let’s take a look at Red Velvet Car. The album opens with a slinky rocker called “There You Go” and right away we can tell that Ann is in fine form. “WTF,” “Queen City,” and the title track firmly ensconce us in that groove that only Heart can carve. “WTF” goes for (and achieves) the power of “Barracuda.” But that’s the point, right?

After the first four tracks, we get to the album’s true gem. “Hey You” written and sung by Nancy. This is sacred feminine rock in all its beautiful acoustic glory. In many ways, Nancy Wilson is THE eternal rock and roll girl-carrying with her all the swagger and history of wine soaked passion. Hammer of the Gods indeed!

Next up we have a classic road song (“Wheels”) which made me laugh with its pomp and shameless preening for victory…reminding me quite well of MTV and the various Scorpions, Loverboy, and Journey videos I watched over and over again as a young lad. “Saffronia’s Mark” evokes the mystical whereas “Death Valley” dips a toe into Heart-1980s version. “Sunflower” is another Nancy track which means amazing. “Sand” rounds out the album proper (various editions have bonus tracks which are also quite good) and is another classic Annie reflection.

Chuckle all you want at me, folks, but I will always love this band. They are one of a very few bands that epitomize the spirit and legacy of rock and roll. Here is a video I found for “Hey You.” I recommend downloading the studio version though. My inner vagina is always soaked after listening to this one!

The Friday Five: May 20, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“Touch of Madness” by Night Ranger (from Midnight Madness, 1987)

Discussion around the Popdose water cooler has been buzzing about Night Ranger’s upcoming release, Somewhere in California, touting the return of “classic Night Ranger.” Perhaps predictably, Matt Wardlaw and Dave Steed are in a tizzy and Jeff Giles (Y’all) has to replace his monitor.

Oh, and will you look at that; Matt even wrote about it!

“Dance the Night Away” by Van Halen (from Best Of, Volume 1, 1996)

Since we’re all doomed in the next 48 hours, I might as well go ahead and let you all know that this is, hands down, without a doubt or question, my favorite Van Halen song. It’s the perfect example of the band’s ability to balance pop perfection and hard rock hooks.

“Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles (from A Hard Day’s Night, 1964)

I’m debating listening to Abbey Road, Let it Be and Purple Rain all day Saturday. I’m not buying into this rapture bullshit, but if something is going down, I might as well go ahead and listen to my favorite records, right?

“Porch” by Pearl Jam (from Ten, 1991)

“What the fuck is this world running to?” Okay, enough of this end of the world crap.

“The Best of My Love” by The Eagles (from The Very Best of The Eagles, 2003)

When I heard the first strum, I was reminded of a story I read once. You should go and read it, but make sure you come back and leave your five!

What’s on your shuffle today?

AZ Incoming: Old 97’s

The good Lord knows Dallas alt-country stalwarts Old 97s don’t come through my town very often. So on June 6th, you will be seeing my Old 97s lovin’ ass at Martini Ranch – in the heart of old town Scottsdale. The last time I saw them in town was May 9th, 2001 at the old Nita’s Hideaway in Tempe (the original one on Rio Salado), with the Honeydogs opening.

So mark your calendars for Monday, June 6th – less than three weeks away… grab your tickets here.

MP3: Oppenheimer (from Fight Songs)

MP3: Salome (from Too Far To Care)

Big Audio Dynamite at Coachella

Nice surprise a few weeks ago during Coachella’s webcast to stumble across Big Audio Dynamite‘s set. I missed their first go ’round back in the mid 80’s, but developed an appreciation for their albums over the years since. It was 1991’s The Globe (with the retooled lineup of Big Audio Dynamite II) that woke me up and made me dig back into their earlier incarnation.

As you see, the boys have aged right along with the rest of us, but how sweet is it to see former Clash-man Mick Jones on stage in 2011, having a ball? Word is they’ll schedule more dates in the U.S. later this year. Keep an eye out…

Big Audio Dynamite’s Site
B.A.D. on Amazon

Here’s B.A.D.’s entire April 16th set at Coachella…

Medicine Show
Beyond the Pale
A Party
V Thirteen
BAD
E=MC2
The Battle of All Saints Road
The Bottom Line
Rush

The Friday Five: May 13, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“One Way or Another” by Blondie (from Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the ‘80s, Volume 1, 1994)

I don’t begrudge any artist making a few bucks via licensing, but I swear, if I have to hear “One Way or Another” one more time…

“Heaven” by Warrant (from Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich, 1989)

Oh, goodness. I’d hang my head in shame, if it weren’t for the fact that I still kind of like this song.

“Take Me Home” by Phil Collins (from No Jacket Required, 1985)

iTunes seems to be in a mood today, eh?

“Space (acoustic remix)” by Prince (from Space,  1994)

Originally from Prince’s Come, I actually prefer this stripped down version to the one that is featured on the record. Looking back, Come is a quality album.

“March of the Pigs” by Nine Inch Nails (from March of the Pigs, 1994)

Well, that is one hell of a way to wrap up this week’s five.

What’s on your shuffle today?

Recap: 2011’s McDowell Mountain Music Festival

The weather was ideal, there was a beer truck tapped with New Belgium Brewery’s Beers (among others), and the artists delivered. Yes, ’twas such a good time at the 2011 McDowell Mountain Music Festival, that I think that, over a week later, I’ve finally fully recovered. Of the three days of music on the main stage, I missed only one band – Friday’s opener Paper Snowmen. Sorry Paper Snowmen, I’ll make it up to you somehow.

Day One

After settling in at the hotel late Friday afternoon, meeting up with my buddy Trevor, and cracking a couple beers in the room, we caught the free 24×7 shuttle to the parking lot of the Compound Grill – transformed for the weekend into a grassy, musical nirvana. The vibe – as expected – was low key, laid back, and live and let live. Just the way I like it.

I rolled in just in time to hear Martin Sexton‘s opening guitar plucks. Now, last year, I saw him backed by a full band at a regular gig inside the Compound, and Nils friggin’ Lofgren (E Streeter and Crazy Horser) popped on stage for the last hour. So, there was a mighty lofty precedent set. It was a cool set though. Was I blown away? No. But Martin was playing the 6:30 to 8:30 slot on opening night, so there were conflicts. Meeting up with friends, grabbing some food (tacos were $1 a piece opening night, compared to $3 a piece the rest of the weekend), and making my maiden voyages to the aforementioned Beer Trailer of Goodness. Now beer lovers, take note – tapped on the truck and available all weekend long were: Fat Tire, Ranger IPA, Mothership Wit, and Blue Moon! Heaven, I tell you! Yet there were still people ordering Coors Light – Golden Colorado’s natural pee water. I’ll never understand that.

Martin Sexton
Martin Sexton

JJ Grey and Mofro were up next to close out Friday evening on the main stage. Good, down home southern fried blues rock. The highlight for me was when JJ channeled his inner Otis Redding, and belted out a song called “That’s How a Woman Wants To Be Loved By a Man”. The Stax sound filled the venue, and the people were happy. This was, for me, the highlight of Friday. Admittedly, I found parts of the set a little generic at times. Mofro are veterans of the festival scene, and know how to lay down a set, but some of the lyrics and hooks occasionally leveled out a little too much for my taste. I wasn’t as wowed as when I saw them last year at the ACL Music Festival. Still, though, overall satisfaction damn high in the setting of the MMMF. JJ is a great frontman and a beast on the harmonica.

JJ Grey
JJ Grey
JJ Grey and Mofro
ladies in the front

JJ and the band wrapped up the set, and it was time to head inside the Compound for the late show with jam/electronic wizards Particle. The keyboards on stage right captured my attention from the start (much like they do on the albums I’ve heard). Cool, electro/techno-inspired sounds and fills while the rest of the band drove into jamband happyland. It was all instrumental (at the least the first set was) and included, one must not forget, a cover of Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F”, aka the theme from Beverly Hills Cop.

At set break, I succumbed to Friday-night-after-a-long-work-week exhaustion, and it was back to the hotel.

Day Two

After a decent slumber at the Sleep Inn ($52 per night!), it was time to drive back to the southeast valley and gather my wife and my two music loving girls (they have no choice, poor things) for Saturday and Sunday’s festivities.

We made it back to the venue about halfway through Saturday’s opener, Phoenix’s own Kinch. I’d heard great things about these guys, and the handful of songs I saw did not disappoint. Balls out guitar-driven indie rock. Really creative, good hooks, and an energetic bunch of guys. They’re playing a handful of dates as Jimmy Eat World’s opener, and some others on their own. I recommend ’em if they stop through your town (http://www.kinchband.com/shows/).

Kinch

Next up was my favorite local band, What Laura Says. Psychedelic, retro, imaginative… I’ve used all these adjectives before, but they stick. I truly dig these guys. They played a smattering of tunes from both of their studio albums, Bloom Cheek and What Laura Says Thinks and Feels (their debut): “Training”, “Keep Running Shoes Special”, “Couldn’t Lose Myself If I Tried”, among others. Their third record, Talk, comes out May 24th. If you’re in Phoenix, you can hit the album release bash on May 20th at the Icehouse in downtown Phoenix.

What Laura Says
What Laura Says

Former Meters bass-man George Porter was up next on the main stage with his band Runnin’ Pardners. It was time for tha funk – New Orleans style. We got the Allen Toussaint-written “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” and Little Feat’s “Sailin’ Shoes”… of interest here is that both of these tunes showed up on Robert Palmer’s 1974 debut album, and who backed him up on the record? The Meters. Interesting… speaking of the Meters, the show was not without its Meters tunes – most notable was “Liver Splash”.

George Porter
Runnin' Pardners guitarist Brint Anderson
Runnin' Pardners sax player Khris Royal

George Porter took a small break, then pulled double duty as the bass player for 7 Walkers (http://www.7walkers.com), also featuring Louisiana’s Papa Mali, multi-instrumentalist Matt Hubbard and former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. They have a swampy, loose feel, which showed itself in “New Orleans Crawl” and their theme song “7 Walkers”. But for me, they hit their stride with a collective assault of tunes by the good ol’ Grateful Dead: a slow burning “He’s Gone” inevitably conjured up images of the late great Jerry Garcia. Papa Mali looks sort of like a backwoods bayou cousin of Jerry, doesn’t he? George Porter took lead vocals on “Sugaree”; then Papa brought us home with “New Speedway Boogie” and the always welcome “Turn On Your Lovelight”. I will always have a soft spot for those Dead tunes. I was lucky enough to catch ’em 10 times toward the end (in ’94 and ’95), and hearing the songs in a nice setting like MMMF just put me in a great place.

Papa Mali of 7 Walkers
Bill Kreutzmann
Matt Hubbard of 7 Walkers

Then it was SOJA (Soldier’s Of Jah Army), a reggae group from Washington, D.C. SOJA was one of the bands I was completely unfamiliar with coming into the festival. After watching these white rastas rock the festival crowd, I was converted. Singer/guitarist Jacob Hemphill and bassist Bobby Lee (the birthday boy) were energetic and inspired, leading the band through their catalog of good time and socially conscious tunes. A small horn section (sax and trumpet) and drums and percussion added just the right flavor.

Jacob Hemphill of SOJA
Jacob Hemphill of SOJA
Rafael Rodriguez and Bobby Lee (SOJA)

Headlining the main stage Saturday night was Australian one-man wonder Xavier Rudd. Like Martin Sexton the night before, I had seen Xavier once before backed by a band (at the Marquee Theater in Tempe), but at MMMF, he came solo – if you can really call it solo, the way he worked his rig of percussion, stompers, didgeridoos, guitars, and bits & pieces. It was unreal at points. The coolest for me was when he’d launch into these trance-like club beat chants, using his mouth on the didge and pounding out these sick rhythms on the assortment of drums. Xavier transformed that place. The sounds he unleashed coupled with the trippy lighting had me questioning where I was exactly in the time/space continuum. If you see a Xavier Rudd show announced in your town, GO.

Xavier Rudd
Xavier Rudd

It was time to head into the Compound once again for the late show – the Otis Taylor Band taking the stage this time. Otis has a cool thing going – part blues, part folk… Down and dirty, raw.. notable in the band was female fiddle player Anne Harris and a straight ahead rock guitarist Jon Paul Johnson. Both of them infused some unique elements into Otis’ raw sound and lead banjo playing. Fun show during that first set. Yeah yeah, once again, the day caught up and I headed to bed.

Day Three

On Sunday, after a nice breakfast at First Watch, a breakfast joint recommended by my photog-man Owen Brown, we set up shop at the festival before the first band hit the stage – that first band being Orgone.

Hadn’t heard of Orgone before the lineup announcement, but, like SOJA, they impressed the hell out of me with their funky rhythm guitar & horn driven L.A. sound. It was instrumental soul & funk, straight out of the 70’s (I found similarities with Brooklyn’s Budos Band). But they also brought out an L.A. soul singer, introduced as Aphrodite, though Google won’t help me find any info on her (checked “Afrodite” too). She sang a few tunes, including a cool version of “Funky Nassau”. These guys set the tone for the day for me. It’s a shame some folks missed them, their funky 70’s vibe was a great backdrop to a sunny early afternoon – and they finished with Funkadelic’s “Cosmic Slop”, for cryin’ out loud.

Orgone - photo by Pete Icke
Guitarist Sergio Rios (Orgone) - photo by Pete Icke
Drummer Sean O'Shea (Orgone) - photo by Pete Icke

Next up was Brooklyn’s Rubblebucket, a hard to categorize band. Singer Kalmia Traver sounded at times like Bjork, other times like the singer from Swing Out Sister (during a song called or including the words”I Don’t Cry”). Oh come on, you remember Swing Out Sister. “Break Out”, anyone? Okay, I’m a little older. But there was definitely an 80’s vibe to their sound. There was also an afrobeat element, with trumpet, trombone, Traver on the baritone sax, and even a traditional African guitar.

Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket)
Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket)

Anyone who saw Rubblebucket undoubtedly was entertained also by the Sedona Hippie. Now, there must be a story behind this gent, and I’m sure he’s well known up in Red Rock Country – but this was THE happiest hippie you have ever laid eyes on. Clad only in tie-dyed long underwear, homeboy skipped around the venue for all of Rubblebucket’s set. He hugged people, he lifted people and spun them around, he had a few serious sessions of ring around the rosie… I mean, the dude was HAPPY, and was not messing around. No shame in his game – bulge be damned… Props to the Happy Hippie.

The Happy Hippie
More Happy Hippie

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears! I’ve been enjoying this Austin retro power-soul band for a couple of years, and was looking forward to my first live show. Joe Lewis sounds like a seasoned pro – I was surprised to see he was just a kid in his 20’s. It was great to experience Lewis’ loud soulful pipes, the full on blast of the horn section (the Hard Proof Honeybear Horns), and the backing rhythm licks of Josh Duhamel-doppleganger Zach Ernst on guitar. They hit the crowd hard with new tunes like “Scandalous”, “Booty City”, and older ones like – you got it – “Bitch I Love You”.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
The Hard Proof Honeybear Horns and guitarist Zach Ernst
Black Joe Lewis

So then it was time for my second Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros show in as many weekends. I caught Alex Ebert and his merry commune the week before at the Railroad Revival Tour in Tempe (along with Old Crow Medicine Show and Mumford & Sons). I was especially excited about this gig because my kids were along, and like a lot of kids, they love “Home” and “Janglin” – and they adore Jade Castrinos, Alex’s co-singer in the band. I took the girls over side stage before showtime, tracked Jade down, and asked for a photo with my girls…

Jade and my Girls (photo by Pete Icke)

Cool right? They were stoked. So then we waited. And waited. Not sure if Alex was exhibiting diva-like behavior, but the set finally got rolling over an hour past its scheduled start. But all was forgiven when they kicked off the show with “Janglin”, and, one daughter in each arm, we stood front and center and sung along, all three of us. They were thrilled, and I was thrilled seeing them thrilled.

Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
Jade Castrinos

Nora Kirkpatrick

A few tunes went by, and, for reasons those outside of the Magnetic Zeros Circle may never know, Jade left the stage and never came back. For their biggest hit, “Home”, Alex brought up a few audience members to sing Jade’s parts. It was entertaining and all, and must have been exciting for the chosen ones, but it was disappointing not to have Jade on stage trading lines with Alex. All in all though, Alex and the Zeros pulled off a great closing set. As the crowd thinned out, Alex joined the crowd in front of the stage and had everyone sit down with him as he sang the final tune. It was a pleasant, mellow ending to another great weekend at MMMF.

Highlights for Me:

  • Orgone, What Laura Says, Xavier Rudd, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears
  • Blue Moon, Mothership Wit, Ranger IPA on tap (and not running out all weekend!)
  • Air conditioned trailer rest rooms. Didn’t have to squirt in a port-o-potty all weekend!
  • The swiss turkey burgers were tasty, especially with those warm plantains.
  • The Happy Hippie. See above.

Some Observations:

  • This is one of the most kid-friendly events around, but the kiddos need food & beverage options. Vitamin Water, regular water, and soda got old real fast. An ice-cold lemonade stand would have made a killing. How ’bout a sno-cone stand? Popcorn and popsicles? French fries and chicken strips? (Props to that Ice Cream van though!) We have to keep those kids happy…
  • Water Sprayer Guy – Year after year you deliver, spraying the hot festival goers with a cool mist. Hats off to you, water sprayer guy…
Water Sprayer Guy
Water Sprayer Guy - photo by Pete Icke
  • Yes, we all still miss Westworld, and hopefully in the future, the festival will return there. But I can’t stress enough how great a job the organizers do in transforming an upscale Scottsdale strip mall parking lot into a music lover’s paradise.
  • It seemed like a good sized crowd, with lots of good people supporting a great festival and two great charities. Here’s hoping MMMF keeps growing in popularity here in the Phoenix area. Those of us who attend do our best to spread the word, but let’s be real – you mention MMMF to co-workers and acquaintances, and only a few have heard of it. It’s up to all of us to keep promoting it, and hopefully the talent budget next year is even greater. Pull in a couple big names, interspersed with some of the lesser known acts, and it’s bound for bigger & better things.

Thanks again, MMMF! And everyone, mark your calendars for next year, the dates have already been announced: April 20-22, 2012.

Onward and upward!

Credits: All photos by Owen Brown Photography unless otherwise noted.

The Friday Five: May 6, 2011

Friday Five

Friday Five : ‘frī-(,)dā,-dē ‘fīv : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button on my iTunes, then share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up your media player of choice and share the first five random track of your shuffle in the comments.

The Five:

“Cantara” by Dead Can Dance (from Toward the Within, 1994)

I was listening to Dead Can Dance’s 1993 release Into the Labyrinth the other day while co-working from home with my wife. During the day, when we’re both listening, I tend to lean towards singer/songwriter fare, and save everything else for when I’ve got the headphones on; so you can imagine the quizzical looks that were coming across the desk during some of the more ethnic tracks. “What is this,” she asked. I think it only confused her more when I explained it was an Australian couple recording in an ancient church in England.

“Chubby’s Goodnight” by Poppa Chubby (from Booty and the Beast, 1995)

It took me longer to type the name of this tune than the tune lasted. Next!

“No Money” by Kings of Leon (from Come Around Sundown, 2010)

Sure, Come Around Sundown would have been better titled Only by the Night: Part Two, but I feel like that isn’t giving it a fair shake. For all its formulaic arena rock, it’s actually a solid record. There really was no pleasing anyone—be it the old fans, or the new—and the Followill clan did the best they could to shoot straight down middle and make a decent rock and roll record.

“Black” by Pearl Jam (from Black and White, 1992)

This is the MTV Unplugged performance, also known as the moment that I declared my undying love for the band. Eddie’s impassioned plea of “we, we belong together,” driving home the utter desperation of the tune.

“Convocation / The Purple Lagoon” by Frank Zappa (from Hammersmith Odeon, 2010)

“Welcome to show number four, de la London, England. Now, I’m going to warn you right now, we’re recording this. And for your own good, you had better make a lot of noise tonight, because this thing is going on the radio in the United States, and I don’t want those people in my country to find out how lame you suckers are.”

I miss Frank, dearly.

What’s on your shuffle today?