Archive for the 'music' Category

Gimme Danger

I didn’t mean to make this a month of music docs, it’s just working out that way. Jarmusch’s Stooges doc is pretty good. Apparently its an absolute rule at this point that you can not make a music doc without animation in the modern age, but I’m getting used to it, and it’s well done here. I heard one review on the radio imply they sort of skipped the bad dope part, but I wouldn’t say that. They didn’t linger or glamorize it, which I’d say is wise and responsible in light of the currently epidemic. It’s not like you can really translate the narcotic experience anyway, but you can see evidence of it, as Ig’s “pretty face goes to hell”. I heard in an interview the other day he’s been clean, short of caffeine and some wine, since ’83. I’d like to see more of the Hero’s/Berlin era, when Bowie essentially saved his life by getting him out of the US and to East Germany, but that’s for the Iggy doc, surely yet to come.

Rush – Time Stand Still

I went and saw this new Rush doc last week. I was pleasantly surprised: I thought there would be a lot of footage of newer stuff that only the diehard fan friends I went with would appreciate, but it was pretty great overall. I’d consider myself a “pre-GUP fan”, appreciate a few tunes here and there after that. The doc had a bit too much apology from Neil about wanting to stop touring, and don’t know if I’ll ever do a Rushcon, but… Bungled and left my phone at the first friends house before the movie so we couldn’t be in touch with the second, but he came on in to the theater eventually and it all worked out.

Black Waterside

OK getting back into “post” mode…

Heard an NPR story last year, early in my last China stay. Learned my favorite Zeppelin song isn’t a Zeppelin song…oh wait, Page changed the title slightly so its not complete theft. Whatever, I hated on Z for most of my life and have reached a peace with the early stuff, so wont belabor that point. Just praise Bert Jansch. Olivia Chaney covered one of his in her 2016 BE set, great stuff.

One morning fair
As I took the air
Down by Black Waterside
And in gazing all around me
The Irish lad I spied

All for the fore part of that night
We lay in sport and play
Then that young man arose and gathered his clothes
Saying, “Fare thee well today”


That’s not the promise that you gave to me
When you lay upon my breast
For you made me believe with your lying tongue
That the sun rose in the west

Go home, go home, to your father’s garden
Go home and cry your fill
And think on your misfortune
That you’ve wrought with your wanton will

One evening rare, I took the air
Down by Black Waterside
And in gazing all around me
The Irish lad I spied.

Back in the USA

Wow, I’m so overdue for a post but am not quite feeling it. Some broken keys on my laptop and typing with the virtual keyboard is a bitch. I’ve been back for two weeks now. Tales of note include the meth-ed out buffoon who took my teaching job in Beijing, my official fear of flying since last May’s horrid return from HK but crossing he Pacific and US anyway, going to Big Ears 2016 right after getting back and my plans for the future. But I’m not properly motivated to get it all down. Maybe if you’re a regular reader shoot me some encouraging feedback. Talking to you, Mountain View, CA…

pondering with baijiu

Big Ears 2014 pt.3

Sunday morning started with Dean Wareham and his wife Britta doing their 13 songs to Warhol screen tests. It was cool. Stories between each one, and Lou Reed got a cheer.

I’d intended to see John Adams ‘Shaker Loops’, but the timing was changed, so we went instead to the Q+A with Reich at KMA. Then lunch, and back to the Bijou for Rachel Grimes, who played some Rachel’s stuff and had two others join her. She was very upbeat and pleased to be there, which was refreshing. Then we saw So Percussion do a Bryce Dessner piece on home made stringed instruments.

Then we went back to the car a final time, got some snacks for the road, then it was time for the Tennesee theater and the main event: Reich fest. The staff was very insistent on seating and no one coming or going but during the intermission. But it all worked out. Reich and another guy did an early clapping piece, Jonny Greenwood accompanied himself to another, something else, and then ‘Music for 18 musicians’. I first heard this on Ga Tech’s great radio WREK in the early ’80s and have loved since. It wasn’t the sort of thing I ever thought about seeing live. It was all I wanted it to be! A great festival overall, and I’ll do Big Ears again at some future point, though I think I’ll be in Bali for 2015’s…

Big Ears 2014 pt. 2

Some of the Dawn of Midi below. I disagree with at least one other blogger on this, but do think “Dawn of Midi gave my partner a headache” would be a hilarious T-shirt… But I don’t link to this review out of malice, the guy seemed to go to quite different things than I did. So if you want more review info, it’s a plus. I also must say, dude, if you wandered into a festival and saw an early recital of Eno’s Music for Airports without knowing what was up, some sleepers in the audience wouldn’t diminish how awesome an experience that would have been…

What was next after the Wordless Orchestra Jonny Greenwood stuff? Not exactly sure, but in rapid succession I saw Son Lux, Jenny Hval, and Nils Frahm (which was choice! not my video but plenty on Tube). Sets were running a bit late, so we ended up catching most of Julia Holter before Low. I hadn’t planned on seeing her, but it was a pleasant surprise. Low doesn’t disappoint, though I wouldn’t have minded some older stuff, and certainly ‘Just make it stop’, which I think is the strongest from the latest. But again, solid, not disappointed.

What’s my beef with John Cale and Television, whom for many were the headliners of the festival? Don’t know. More interested in the present and future than present and past? Again, disappointed Vladislav Delay didn’t make it and I suspect visa issues – thank you State Dept.
Fatigue was catching me by late that night. I would have stayed up for Nazorani, but they were pushed back til 1 AM. We did wander back to Scruffy City Hall and see Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos, which was high energy, completely different from other Ribot stuff I’ve heard, and a pleasant surprise. But my video doesn’t capture this, so I’ll leave it out.

Big Ears 2014 pt. I

My old friend Rick and I met up in Marietta, had a Cuban lunch and started up toward Knoxville in the rain. Despite the weather, we made decent time and got some booze on the way into town. After checking into the hotel, it took a little while to figure out where to get our wristbands, but that done, we headed over to the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) to briefly check some of the opening party. While there, I transferred a small bit of weed from my sock to pocket, which came out when I pulled out my phone. A Canadian guy saw this and discretely pointed it out to me. I hadn’t even been in town an hour and was already fucking up.

We made our way to Old City and place called Pilot Light to see a Lance Bangs’ Slint doc, Breadcrumb trail. The place wasn’t nearly full, at least at the start, but it was great! Though the film could have been made to fit their screen better.

Then we headed downtown to see Colin Stetson then some of Vatican Shadows at Scruffy City Hall. Despite the beer, whiskey, xanex, oxy and the rest of it we managed only minor nodding off during the late night Tim Hecker show.

But the next morning, I was cloudy, possibly hurting. After the breakfast buffet I needed to doze off again. But then within an hour I was in good shape to hit the Bijou and Dawn of Midi, who played a great live version of their Dysnomia album.

Then after a slice and salad came my next fuck up: for some reason I thought Oneohtrixpointnever was happening in the Tennesee theater. Getting there, and hearing only Television’s soundcheck, I thought there was some unannounced cancellation. I think Vladislav Delay canceling for that night put this in my head… Anyway, I did make it up to The Square Room to see the end of Glen Kotche. Then back to the TN, for a recital of Jonny Greenwood material. But missed Oneohtrixpointnever…doh!

NYC long weekend

It was the first time I’d been back since ’08, actually only my 3rd time visiting. And it was a work trip, but I squeezed in some fun as well. So my sister is an interior decorator with some high end clients. As a result we stayed in a great place on the East River with a dynamite view of the Queensborough Bridge, and the actual work site was on Park Ave and 97th. It was my first time hanging art in a 4 million dollar apt with pre-WWII walls of sand based plaster over lathe. And as I’m a bit out of practice since my art installing days of the mid 2000’s, it was bit white knuckle when it came to the heavy-ass, crumbling, gilt mirror, but it all worked out.

My sister had gone up earlier in the week, so my brother-in-law and oldest niece flew up Thursday morning. By 2, we’d landed in terrifying windy conditions (I fly often, but it doesn’t take much to get me nervous…), dropped our stuff at the first place, and snuck my non-union gear onsite. I was able to slip out that evening and catch the Bang on a Can All-Stars at Merkin Center, with guest Shara Worden, debut 4 new pieces as part of the Peoples Commissioning Fund concert, including a piece by the Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. I paid $25, but you can hear it free here. It was great warm up for Big Ears in a few weeks.

I suffer from occasional insomnia and it got me good that night, despite some drinks and otc sleeping pills, so I was on about one hour for the next days hang. I was a bit cracky, but we got through it, then met some family friends for dinner. No mucking about that night.
The next morning we elected to finish up late, take the morning for some family time and sight-seeing. So we rode the Liberty Ferry out for my niece to see the statue. Lunch was in Little Italy, then we met another friend in Soho and I got to hit the Kid Robot store. Then back uptown to finish the install.

That evening I rode the train over to Carroll Gardens to meet an old friend I haven’t seen in 6 years or so, and haven’t had a real sit down with in I can’t remember how long. He’s been tour managing various bands and it was lucky he was in town. So I got caught up on various intl rock stories and the like. Great to see ya McQ! Back in Manhattan, I had to stop into an Irish pub for a Guinness as I wouldn’t be around for the parade today. There was this hilarious older goth, make up and spell book complete, drinking iced wine at the bar. It was so nuts, I had to ask to get his pic, and he bemusedly agreed, but it didn’t come out to capture the complete kookiness.

It wasn’t my choice to be on a morning flight back but that’s the way it went down. And I definitely needed a nap before catching up on weekend and Sunday night shows. I love that town but can’t imagine how I’d ever afford living beyond brief visits…

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