An old email about Michael Jackson

I feel like I need to post something related to yesterday’s news about Michael Jackson. Instead, I have copied and pasted below an email I sent to some friends back on March 10, 2008:

As many of you know, I had the red leather jacket and the sequined glove when I was about 4 years old.  Don’t bother getting the remixes on the 25th anniversary release…many of them are pathetic compared to the original.  But if you don’t already own Thriller (I had the record, yeah, the one that folded out to show the full picture of Michael and the tiger), the 25th anniversary is your chance to redeem yourself.  As I have said to some of you, I don’t believe the world has seen a star the size of Michael Jackson since the 80’s.  We had Elvis and The Beatles and Michael…but show me another musician that makes people in the US, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Asia pass out at their live shows or inspire people to wear such ridiculous clothing as I have described above.  NKOTB?  N’SYNC or the Backstreet Boys?  Well, I wasn’t dressing like them.  U2?  Probably the closest thing we have…

Anyway, check out the article and the links…it’s pretty funny:

NY Times Article

On the tube:

Chinatown:

Bus stop:

And my favorite…at the Tesco:

This one is funny because it’s a bunch of people who can barely dance trying to do a response to the above videos:

If you haven’t seen the first display of the moonwalk in a while, go back and watch this…I was at my grandparents watching this live and remember how we were all just so confused by what he just did:

And here is the Philippino jail dance they reference in the article, just in case you are one of the few people on the internet who hasn’t seen this yet:

And just for fun:

Jenny Lewis at 9:30 Club

Jenny Lewis playing 9:30 Club

Jenny Lewis playing 9:30 Club

Last night was the last show for a while – at least a month. Jenny Lewis played the 9:30 Club, with a band called Deer Tick opening for her. Yes, I was skeptical of a band called Deer Tick as well, but turns out, they are pretty good.

Frank and I headed over to DC9 for happy hour prior to the show – if you haven’t been there, it’s quite the find. Just around the corner from 9:30. Magic Hat #9 was the beer of the month for $3 and it was $2 off all appetizers. So of course we ordered up some heartburn with boneless buffalo wings, fried pickles and onion wings. It was awesome!

This was my first time seeing Jenny Lewis (of the band Rilo Kiley, for anyone who might be lost), but I have wanted to see either the band or her solo for some time now. The stars just never aligned for me until last night. Unfortunately we got there just late enough to miss out on the good balcony areas, so we were stuck in the middle of the floor. This is fine until the inevitable happens to me – a 6’4” dude decides he wants to stand right in front of me. But this time it was a 6’1” chick. Oh well, I could still get a decent view by leaning side to side. But blame tall people for the bad video on my YouTube channel and the many heads included in my pictures on my web gallery.

The setlist was mostly expected, but that doesn’t mean it was a disappointment. Most of the songs were from last year’s Acid Tongue, which was one of my Top 5 of 2008. The others were primarily from her previous solo album with the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat, along with two new songs and a Rilo Kiley track, “Silver Lining.”

The band was excellent and the crowd was into it – with the exception of the person who fell down during “Silver Lining.” Not sure what that was all about. As often happens with me at shows, I grow to appreciate a specific song being performed live more than I did from the album. Last night, there were two: “The Next Messiah,” which she closed her main set with, and “Born Secular,” which wrapped the encore. Both were great songs, but the band really took these to the next level live. There are clips of these on my YouTube channel as well as the full version of the title track “Acid Tongue,” which is my favorite song on the album.

Oh, and for some Jenny Lewis trivia – if you are wondering where you might have seen her before – may I recommend checking out IMDB to see some of her TV and film credits, such as Growing Pains, The Wizard, or Pleasantville.

Jenny Lewis Setlist 9:30 Club, Washington DC 2009, Acid Tongue

Indigo Girls at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center

View from our box seats.

View from our box seats.

Having Monday and Tuesday off, it was back to the Filene Center last night for what I believe was my 4th time seeing Indigo Girls live. It all started from listening to Indigo Girls filtering through the fraternity house wall that I shared with my friend Rob, who’s claim to fame is being the Indigo Girls’ biggest male fan. Rob loaned me his copy of  Rites of Passage, and I have been hooked since.

I have been a huge fan of their latest release Poseidon and the Bitter Bug. If you haven’t bought it yet, make sure you get the deluxe edition to get the better, acoustic, recordings of the new songs. And if you already bought the standard edition, go back and buy the deluxe edition – you are missing out!

Kudz went with me to this one – his first Indigo Girls show. I passed along to him the same thing Rob told me on the way to my first IG show: “No lines for the mens’ room.” While that did hold true, this was the most diverse group I have ever seen at an IG show – meaning more dudes than usual.

We missed the opening act, Matt Nathanson, due to the terrible traffic I suffered getting home from work. And, as has been the case for the past week or so, a thunderstorm was on its way. We got there just as Matt Nathanson wrapped his set, and just as the rain really started. After making it to our seats – I feel bad for those who were on the lawn – the storm really hit. There were rivers of water running down the walking paths. The show went on, however.

This was the second time I have seen the Girls with no band – this time just one person backing them up on keys, accordion, and vocals. It makes for a more mellow show, but really shows off their songs, vocals, and melodies. As usual, I had both cameras with me and as we were in the front row of the boxes, I had an unobstructed view. Unfortunately I was asked to stop videoing at the very end of the set when Matt Nathanson joined them on stage for “Kid Fears.” This was absolutely the highlight of the show and he did a great job with Michael Stipe’s vocal contribution to the song. You can catch the first few seconds of it on my YouTube channel. And I have a few decent shots of the stage on my web gallery.

The setlist from the show was uploaded to setlist.fm, which I recommend checking out. I plan to use it for future shows as well. In this case, I was the first one to post the setlist, however if someone beats me to it for another show, it will save me the trouble! Plus it looks cool. Out of the 23 songs they played, 9 of them were from Poseidon and the Bitter Bug. The rest were many of the standards, plus a couple songs that I wasn’t really expecting, such as “Ozilline” and “Heartache for Everyone.” It was a great show, but probably not the best for someone who wants to stand up and sing along with the band the entire time. For that, catch them with a full band.

The Hold Steady at 9:30 Club

The Hold Steady at 9:30 Club

The Hold Steady at 9:30 Club

Sunday night was night two of my week of concerts! Have been so tired that I couldn’t get to posting about it yesterday. This was my first time seeing The Hold Steady live and I must say that the reviews are accurate – they are amazing!

The show was sold out and the crowd was really into it. These guys work hard up on stage and the comparisons to Bruce and E Street are accurate. Craig Finn, the lead singer, looks like your average guy, but was a sweaty mess up there keeping the crowd going. The best thing about him, and the rest of the band, is that it’s obvious they are appreciative of their fans. Craig was smiling the entire show – and not an “I’m better than all of you” smile, but an “I can’t believe I am up here and these people love this so much” smile.

So, I highly recommend checking them out. Instead of posting the setlist here, if you are interested I will refer you to setlist.fm for thier full setlist. And of course I have pictures if The Hold Steady and their opening act, Right on Dynamite, on my web gallery and a few videos on my YouTube channel.

David Byrne at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center

View from our seats

View from our seats

Yesterday began my week of concerts. Tonight is The Hold Steady at 9:30 Club, Wednesday is Indigo Girls back at the Filene Center and then Thursday is Jenny Lewis back at 9:30 Club. Quite the schedule and I am quite excited about it. No better way to kick it off than with box seats for David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame – see my January 21, 2007 blog entry) at the Filene Center.

I saw Byrne last November at the Warner Theatre in DC touring in support of his new album with Brian Eno titled Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. I must say that I am usually skeptical of new solo work coming from members of bands with huge success in the 80’s. Everything That Happens… is a large exception to the rule. I highly recommend it! For more detail, refer to my “Top 5 of 2008” blog entry.

I had never been to the Filene Center before, but I must say it’s an excellent place to see a show. The lawn area even gives a great view and allows visitors to bring in picnic baskets and even glass bottles (alcohol!). It is situated in a national park and the venue blends in very well with the surroundings.

View of upper level inside Filene Center

View of upper level inside Filene Center

David Byrne’s show was entertaining as usual – with plenty of crazy backing dancers and the band in all white. Arm chopping happened during “Once In A Lifetime,” as it should. I have a few additional pictures posted in my web gallery and additional video on my YouTube channel.

I had my Flip Video camera with me, however I was busted after about 5 songs, so I don’t have some of his big hits on video. I guess it took them 5 songs to realize it wasn’t a still camera. What I did capture was a bit of my favorite tune from Everything That Happens Will Happen Today titled “One Fine Day.” The lighting and location wasn’t perfect for video anyway, but you get a sense of his stage show at least. And of course I always recommend checking out some old Talking Heads / David Byrne stuff that can be found on YouTube – it’s fascinating.

The full setlist includes:

  1. Strange Overtones
  2. I Zimbra
  3. One Fine Day
  4. Help Me Somebody
  5. Houses In Motion
  6. My Big Nurse
  7. My Big Hands (Fall Through The Cracks)
  8. Heaven
  9. Moonlight in Glory
  10. Life Is Long
  11. Corsseyed And Painless
  12. Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On)
  13. Once In A Lifetime
  14. Life During Wartime
  15. I Feel My Stuff

Encore 1

  1. Take Me To The River
  2. The Great Curve

Encore 2

  1. Air
  2. Burning Down The House

And yes, Encore 3

  1. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

Hair Fest 2009

n69334481076_2918082_4838637Kudz and I went to the M3 Rock Festival this past Saturday in Columbia, MD. As you can imagine from the poster, it was quite a spectacle. After beginning our day with some Chinese food for lunch and stopping at the Columbia mall to pick up a seat for the lawn at Merriweather, we followed our ears towards the blaring hair metal that was projecting from the wooded venue.

Upon arrival, we quickly made our way to the concession stand for a $7 aluminum bottle of Bud Light. While Dokken was playing on the main stage, we found this to be the perfect opportunity to claim some front row area for Steel Panther, who would soon be slaying the 2nd stage.

For those who aren’t familiar with Steel Panther, formerly known as “Metal Skool,” I suggest catching up on their storied history on Wikipedia. They play sold out shows on Monday nights at the Key Club on the Sunset Strip in LA. Rob, Woomer and I saw them rock out to a full set of hair metal covers, along with being joined onstage by Scott Ian of Anthrax and also pointing out that Dave Navarro was in the crowd as well.

Satchel of Steel Panther
Satchel of Steel Panther

On Saturday, however, Steel Panther did a full set of original songs. I captured a number of these on my Flip Video recorder and loaded them to my YouTube. Beware that the drums somewhat overpower the mic on my camera, but you get a good sense of their show. Also check out their newly released music video “Death To All But Metal.”

After Steel Panther, we caught performances by Kix, L.A. Guns, Extreme (which reminded me of purchasing their album Extreme II: Pornograffiti when I was in 6th grade), Ratt and Twisted Sister. During that time, we encountered many interesting characters, the best of which was a guy who apparently had a drunk case of narcolepsy.

With no friends apparently around, this guy passed out on the lawn with his head not touching the ground. Now this may not sound significant, but imagine laying on the grass for 30 minutes, sleeping (passed out), and not resting your head on anything. All the while being poked and smacked by strangers who are taking their pictures with you. Again, see my YouTube. Quite a while later, after the sun went down and while we were rocking out to Ratt, Kudz pointed out to me that the guy had moved and again passed out. This time only a few feet away from me without my noticing.

Dude almost passed out on my feet

Dude almost passed out on my feet

We found this whole situation quite amazing. Eventually the guy woke up again, did a bit of mild head banging, then wandered off for another nap somewhere else I am sure.

It wasn’t long before Kudz and I had soaked up all the hair metal we could handle for a day and we hit the road home, with a stop at Taco Bell on the way.

Full photos from the day can be found on my web gallery.

Note the care for the beer

Note the care for the beer

Top 5 of 2008

As most people are watching the Obamas dance at inaugural balls right now and most “top 10” lists for 2008 have long been completed, I decided to shorten to a more practical number and share my top 5 albums of 2008 with you. Again, these are top albums, not singles. Although we have become consumers of digital singles, I am still a huge fan of a complete album that is impressive from beginning to end. These are my 5 favorite from 2008, that I continue to listen to in 2009.

1. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

200px-fleet_foxes

These guys are really as good as the critics are claiming. The closest thing I can find to Brian Wilson these days – and we all know I am always seeking Brian Wilson in music. It’s such a complex album that it’s almost simple. I hope you already own this one, but if not…

2. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today – David Byrne & Brian Eno

200px-david_byrne_and_brian_eno_-_everything_that_happens_will_happen_today_album_cover

Byrne, of Talking Heads, and Eno, famous as a producer (notably of U2, in addition to Talking Heads), have created an album that I can listen to on repeat. While their 1981 collaboration, My Life In The Bush of Ghosts, is critically acclaimed, I think this one has more mass appeal. I caught Byrne at the Warner Theatre here in DC while touring in support of this album and he was absolutely amazing. The whole stage show, complete with weird dancers and arm chopping during “Once In A Lifetime,” was mesmerizing. The show was half Everything That Happens… and half Talking Heads Greatest Hits. I highly recommend!

Quality is bad, but this gives you an idea of his band…”One Fine Day” and “Life Is Long.”

And an interesting video for “Strange Overtones.”

3. Volume One – She & Him

200px-she_and_him

The only way I have been able to describe this album is that I am sure my grandfather would probably have liked it as much as I do. And he would probably have liked Zooey Deschanel as much as I do. So yes, that’s really her singing in Elf. And yes, this was really recorded last year!


4. Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis

200px-acidtongue

If you didn’t buy her first album, Rabbit Fur Coat, with the Watson Twins, you are really missing out. Acid Tongue might not be quite as great as Rabbit Fur Coat, but it’s still amazing. And with guests such as Elvis Costello, Chris Robinson, Zooey Deschanel, M. Ward, and Jonathan Rice, you know it’s going to be special. Oh, and if you weren’t aware, Jenny Lewis also has a pretty popular band…called Rilo Kiley. And if she looks a little familiar, she was a child actress. Here are some of my favorites:

5. Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords

FotC Album Cover

A great album from a great HBO series. These guys had an amazing US tour this summer, which I caught in LA. Absolutely hilarious! Try these: