Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Ghost of Tom Jones

Tom Jones - Weds. February 25, 2009 @ 9:30 Club - $55

Eleven days too late for a saucy Valentine's night out, Sir Tom Jones brought his love to the stage and offered it to a large and exuberant DC crowd. I was surprised that this show didn't sell out. Especially after talking with a rather mature Brit named Alice after the show.

Asking Alice if she had seen Tom Jones in concert before, she slurred, "millions of times." Alice then proceeded to recap the highlights of the show, which, according to her, included lots of hip thrusts and crotch waves. According to the riled up Alice, back in Britain, Sir Jones would fill the Albert Hall. I assume this wasn't some sort of euphemism, as she went on to revel in the fact that she just experienced something so "intimate."

It's not everyday that I throw down $55 to see anything. But I've been on a recent see-em-before-they-die kick. Tom Jones will turn 69 in June of this year, but if Wednesday night's show is any indication, not only is he far from kicking the bucket, I'll bet he uses his age as a dirty prop on stage. I'm not being subtle here.

Here's what I knew about Tom Jones before Wednesday:

  • He's from Wales.
  • Women throw panties* at him while he works.
  • He took Elvira (Mistress of the Dark)'s virginity - sending her to the hospital. More here on that.
  • That's about it.

Spot light too bright. You can't tell here, but the man looked good.

What I learned about Tom Jones Wednesday night:
  • He's like Chef from South Park. The old man has more game today, at 68 years old, than any one else you can throw out there. He's an inspiration to White men everywhere (or should be).
  • He's an entertainer, and a good one. Seemingly unencumbered by sentimentality or introspection about his own songs, or those of others, he gets out there, pumps up the crowd, and belts it out. He belongs in Vegas (and I mean that as a compliment).
  • Big Pharma should get their mits on this man. You know that genre of commercials where they show baby-boomers riding jet-skis, driving race cars, and such - all thanks to their new prescription for rejuvitol. Fuck that shit. Get Tom Jones out there. He doesn't need that product, but he embodies what it's all about.
  • Women still throw their panties at this cat. *Problem is, the 58 year old lady in front of me and others like her, swinging their panties 'round by their fingers, don't make for a sexy bunch. And I can only imagine where those panties came from.
  • Worth the $55. See him if you haven't already seen him millions of times.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Concert Preview: Fujiya & Miyagi

I had so much fun at the Lykke Li show last week, I'm going back for more Electronica/Dance music. Tomorrow night Fujiya & Miyagi is playing with Project Jenny Project Jan at Emo's here in Austin. Fujiya & Miyagi, named after a record player and the Karate Kid guy, are four Krautrock loving dudes from Brighton, England. They've put out a new album, Lightbulbs, with the stick-in-your-brain song "Knickerbocker":

How can you not like that song? Sure, the lyrics are nonsensical but they're fun to say. Or maybe my brain is turning to mush after reading so many children's books over the past year.

Opening the show is the oddly named yet multi-talented Project Jenny Project Jan. I'm as anxious to see these guys as I am the headliners. They have a great sense of humor and I'm betting they have the crowd in a frenzy early on.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Drive-By Suckered

The Drive-By Truckers
9:30 Club

February 21, 2009

Sacklunch and I attended William & Mary and I swear to Allah that nothing annoyed me more about that school than the "Southern heritage" types you'd run into from time to time. They were invariably dudes and you'd always find them with a dogeared copy of Faulkner or Flannery O'Connor or some other impenetrable Southern Gothic writer. They didn't drink beer, they sipped bourbon. They had an ever-ready collection of folksy sayings that would just wear the fuck out of your patience. They referred to the Civil War as the "War of Northern Agression." The whole Southern gentleman pose was like a well-worn dinner jacket they could slip into whenever they felt like it. A jacket that said "I LOVE COCK" on the back.

Let it be said that I'm not some anti-South effete elitist. Here's a seven second clip of me firing my pistol down at the range:

Man, what a rush. I think these southern guys were for the most part putting on an act and it was an act they could get away with because a large number of students at good ole' W&M were from Northern Virginia, which more often than not meant that they moved to Virginia from somewhere north of Virginia and didn't know any better when someone from North Carolina pretended to be a character out of a Pat Conroy novel. Okay, whatever. Personally, I think most real southerners are too busy shoplifting ephedrine for their meth labs to worry about cultivating their image.

So when I heard Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers say shit like, "they say news travels faster than a bullet, and I'm slower than a gun," it brought back memories (CORRECTION--commenter Anonymous has politely informed my that it was Mike Cooley, not Patterson Hood, who was out sick for the show. Thanks guy!). What does that mean, anyway? Just speak English. I hadn't heard much of the DBTs prior to this show but I think I read somewhere that they take inspiration from Lynyrd Skynyrd. Nope. (And by the way, if I were in a band, and someone in the audience yelled "Freebird!", I would totally call their bluff and play it, and people would dig it, because that's a good song. I heard it on 100.3 Big Oldies the other day and was jammin' to it in my car. Epic.)

Instead of some awesome Skynyrd-type songs about sluts and cars and fighting we got a lot meandering ditties from Hood (CORRECTION--Cooley, goddammit) that really didn't have a discernible hook, and then every third song bassist Shonna Tucker would slow things down even further with some Stevie Nicks-type warbling. Blah.

This must be yet another case of me not getting it, because the 9:30 was packed. The DBT is the type of band that attracts male fans who close their eyes and sing along to the songs. To quote the great Jerry Seinfeld--"I can't watch a man sing a song. It's embarrassing." There were lots of drunk women at the show as well, which was nice. Potsy saw one chick do a header on the stairs to the upstairs bar, and like Peter denying Christ he averted his eyes and pretended not to notice. Suave. Finally, all the guys there had neckbeards, like Chicago Bears quarterback Kyle Orton. I don't know how people do that, my neck is so sensitive. I can't wear turtlenecks because they irritate my skin so I can't imagine a thicket of scratchy hair on my neck.

After the show Sacklunch nearly got run over by a Smart Car, which led to much laughter. I can't think of a more embarrassing way to die. We ended up back at Potsy's apartment where we watched the first half of Terminator 1. Sack hadn't seen it before and we were trying to explain the plot to him, and Potsy and I were both like, yeah, that guy Reese came back in time to protect Linda Hamilton, and he ends up having sex with her, and she gets pregnant and gives birth to him in the future so he can save the humans, and he travels back in time...It took us a while to realize our mistake. Reese and John Connor are not the same person and he did not impregnate his own mom who later gave birth to himself. Time travel is a forgiving mistress but not that forgiving.

Not Edward Furlong

Happy Go Lykke

Oh, hello there. Perhaps I should introduce myself. I'm Jumbo Slice. I'm the guy that moved to Austin and then disappeared from the blog for a while. I forgot to post reviews and such. A thousand apologies to Potsy who has been manning the ship while I've been lazy. Really, really lazy.

The other night I got an invitation from John from Side One Track One to see Lykke Li (Swedish for "likes to wear mom jeans"). Little Miss Lykke specializes in dancy electronica that's cute and quirky. Not the music I typically get into. However, I listened to her album (Youth Novels) and she has some very catchy tunes. There was also a lot of buzz leading up to the sold out show. Before the doors even opened at Antone's there was a long line kids waiting to get in. They got there early so they could claim a spot right next to the stage. I thought that was a little asinine until I remembered doing the same thing for Dead Milkmen shows when I was young.

I'll take sloppy garage rock over dance pop any day. However, I quite enjoyed this show. Lykke has a superstar quality that kept the kids enraptured throughout the night. The next time she plays Austin, it'll be at a much bigger venue. Tracks such as "Dance, Dance, Dance", "Little Bit", and "I'm Good, I'm Gone" were stand outs but others seemed like filler (John aptly described them as "Prom Ballads"). An uneven set like this is not unusual for someone with only one album. Overall, the songs sounded much better live than on record. The backing band added an energy and urgency. The album is very polished - almost too much. The live setting brought new life to the songs (particularly "Compliant Department" which is a bit of dud on record).

Thumbs up from me for Lykke Li. It was a good reminder to add some variety to the concerts I attend. Indie shows can become rote after a while so it's smart to mix it up sometimes.

Here's Lykke Li performing her opening song, "Dance, Dance, Dance". Take note of her huge LYKKE LI banner and her Stevie Nicks style of witchy dancing:

Dub and Dubber

Sacklunch is going on vacation. After many months toiling away at the chocolate shop, I am now on the cusp of spending a week in the sunny Caribbean with my wife, kids, parents, and brother. I spent most of this evening downloading music for the trip, and I thought I would be a good idea to include a little reggae. You see, if I don't bring my own music on this trip, I will certainly be bombarded with generic Bob Marley and Jimmy Buffett by my musically challenged father. I found some Toots and The Maytals I really liked and then stepped into the world of Lee "Scratch" Perry, the godfather of "dub". A lot of it I didn't care for, but I did come across some albums by The Upsetters, which was/is basically Lee Perry's back-up/house band for his studio. It is mainly instrumental and I dig the sound. Here is a little taste of "Return of Django" by The Upsetters (1969) Oh, and for some reason skinheads like this shit also. Go figure.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brace Yourself DC

As reported by our good friends at PostRock, Billy Joel and Sir Elton John will perform at Nationals Park (home to the beleaguered Washington Nationals baseball club) on July 11th.

In honor of this spectacle, I bring you the following clip from a concert in Japan featuring the two penists.

Humor is a good thing. I'm for it. But there are a few times/places where laughter is not welcome.
1. Funerals. Despite what some might tell you there's no putting the "fun" back into funerals.
2. Sexy time. Laughing is not always welcomed here. Sometimes, yeah sure, of course. But silliness doesn't always help matters. (Nor does pointing and laughing, thank you).
3. Concerts. See the clip above. Thanks for making a joke of My Life. You're lucky you pulled this crap in front of the fun loving Japanese. Don't bring that shit to DC. We don't take kindly to fun around here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Show Preview/What Is To Be Done?

Our next show will be Drive-By Truckers at Klub 9:30 on Saturday, February 21. I don't own any music by this group but I hear them a lot on the radio so I'm a little familiar with them. Didn't Jason Isbell leave the group? Anyway, I'm looking forward to songs about huntin' dogs, drinking, and male fellowship.

Okay, on to part deux of this post. What is it with the fucking chimps these days? If you follow the news you'll note this chimp attack in Connecticut where a woman was de-faced by a pet chimp. If you follow all chimp-related news, like I do, you'll know that this last chimp atrocity is merely the latest of a long line of chimp-slaps. In 2005 St. James Davis got his--no joke--dick and nose bitten off by a chimp, who had escaped from an adjoining pen as the unfortunate Mr. Davis and wife were celebrating a birthday party with their chimp, Moe:

The couple had brought Moe a cake and were standing outside his cage when Buddy and Ollie, two of the four chimpanzees in the adjoining cage, attacked St. James Davis, said Steve Martarano, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game. Moe was not involved in the attack. Dr. Maureen Martin of Kern Medical Center told KGET-TV of Bakersfield that the monkeys chewed most of Davis' face off and that he would require extensive surgery in an attempt to reattach his nose. Chealander told The Bakersfield Californian that the chimps also tore off Davis' testicles and foot.

To quote Molly Ringwald's older sister in Sixteen Candles--you make someone a bridesmaid, and they shit all over you. Except, replace "make someone a bridesmaid" with "throw your chimp a birthday party," and "they shit all over you" with "their next-door neighbors escape from their cages and gnaw your sack and face." Jesus.

And from where does all this simian aggression originate, I ask you? Haven't we always treated the chimps like the great apes that they pretend to be? Are the gorillas, baboons, and orangutans assaulting us? Fuck and no, is the answer. Here's a gorilla in action:

See? Boy falls in gorilla pen. Gorilla goes over to check on his well-being, starts grooming him. If he had stayed in there any longer he would have shared a banana cream pie with him and introduced him to the rest of the pod.

Listen, chimps can be a force for good. Put them in a diaper. Dress them in business suits. Teach them to give other people the finger while they ride in the cab of your truck. Strap some roller skates to their odd hand-like feet. They're versatile animals. And I certainly can't condemn someone for behaviors--poo-flinging, public masturbation, to name a few--that I myself have indulged in. But this shit's gone too far, my friends. I'm not saying exterminate all chimps. But I'm not not saying that, either, you dig me?

Sorry to rant, but I had to get this off of my chest. Will report back on Drive-By Truckers after said show. And by the way I exempt Oliver the Humanzee from this diatribe. He's okay with me because he's human enough to have some decency, gratitude and common sense.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Saw you in a mag


I attended my first Karaoke to the Death event this past Sunday night at Old Town's Rocket Grill. This grassroots event has a long (9 year) history and is basically a battle of bad karaoke "artists." The gist is this: If you can't sing, that's good. If you can sing, pick a song completely out of your range and give it a go. Whoever inflicts the most pain wins. Simple really.

In honor of said event, I went looking for a karaoke themed YouTube clip for this week. What I found wasn't what I was looking for, if that makes any sense, but it features Spoon's Britt Daniel singing Wire’s “1 2 X U,” backed by the Punk Rock/Heavy Metal Karaoke Band. Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cat Power Failure

I'm cutting some corners for this week's YouTube clip. Full disclosure, this clip is my own. Not how I usually handle things here, but this will save you from yet another post from me this week as I also review Sunday's Cat Power show at the 9:30 Club.

I like Cat Power alright. She's got good pipes, and I'm a sucker for a pretty lady who sings, has a brain, and is a bit nutty. We caught a glimpse of Chan Marshall at Pitchfork in 2007. But just a glimpse. Sunday night, I caught more than a glimpse, but was still left wanting more.

Just trying to capture a bit of video of her was a chore. It was like she was running from the sights of a rifleman - from one corner of darkness to another. I know she has a reputation for being a bit of a head case in her live performances. But she ran from one side of the stage to the other, avoiding the wide open middle, as if a bird of prey were circling above.

I finally managed to capture a bit of her here:

At Pitchfork, she kept apologizing for her voice (which was good then as it was Sunday night). No apologies this time around, though I was sorry that we heard a lot of the same sound from her. Bluesy bluesy bluesy, yes. Nice work, but you are not going to hold my attention forever with the same formula of three/four dudes laying down the rhythm while you sputter out the same ol' blues. "Fortunate Son," her CCR cover (found on her 2008 EP, Dark End of the Street), followed a similarly slow and methodical delivery that nearly took all the life out of the song.

By the end of the show, I was relieved that there was no encore. I enjoyed my night, but I really had my fill. I think I prefer Cat Power in the car, or in my home, or somewhere comfortable with access to food and drink.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Time To Pretend

The Pretenders @ 9:30 Club - Monday, February 2, 2009 - $45

There are a number of nostalgia tours operating these days. I'll admit to throwing my money at one not too long ago (Van Halen), and my morbid curiosity was the driving force behind my going. I saw The Who last November; not quite nostalgia as they had released the Endless Wire album in 2006.

In theory, I don't support nostalgia tours. Ever since The Eagles came out with their money grabbing "Hell Freezes Over" tour, I've not been keen on the idea. It was 1994 and they hadn't made any music in 14 years. Doesn't seem right. Who, today, would pay big bucks to sit and listen to Jerry Seinfeld tell the same old jokes he told at the height of his career? Musicians can get away with it, though.

Even though I'm anti-nostalgia tours, there are a few bigger acts that I would see as they promote a new album. Nine times out of ten, I won't care about the new album, as I simply want to hear legendary musicians knock me out with songs I've been hearing all my life. This was the premise around seeing the Pretenders Monday night.

I am not a Pretenders superfan. I know the basic radio-play tunes; your Ohios, your Back on the Chain Gangs, and your Middle of the Roads. But the Pretenders are promoting a new album, Break Up the Concrete. And we heard a number of tracks from Break Up the Concrete on Monday night - yet no Middle of the Road, much to my disappointment.

How was the show?

It was packed inside the 9:30 Club with a core of middle-aged folks in attendance. Chrissie Hynde came out looking pretty much as she always has. Time has been kind to her. There are obviously some younger dudes now in the line up (though one grew older Monday night, as it was guitarist -James Walbourne's- birthday).

The major take aways from the show:
  • Not as loud or rocking as I would have expected, though probably at the right levels when I stop to consider the performers and the audience.
  • Chrissie Hynde claimed to be desperate these days, and jokingly (?) suggested that anyone interested should line up after the show. And no, sacklunch, she hasn't been married to Jim Kerr from Simple Minds since 1990.
  • Hynde apparently has no love for one (or maybe all) Oboe players, as she ridiculed one for a few minutes, ultimately informing us all that the Oboe has the smallest reed.
  • Two encores, without Middle of the Road? C'mon. Do it. Sing it. You know the words. It would have been easy.
As always, good to be out, good to see this band in action. Check it off my list. Emma Peel accompanied me to this show and threw out this challenge half way through.
Name the top 10 women of rock (all time).

A few of my choices: Joan Jett, the ladies of Heart, Janis Joplin, Debbie Harry...
Who would you choose?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Peter piper picked a peck of pickled pirates

So I've been listening to Pete and the Pirates a bit lately (credit Stutts). I know I know. I'm late to the party once more. Whatever. I do the best I can.

Anyhow, I dig the pop of PATP, and I noticed that while the rest of the world was fixated on the inauguration of Oback Barama, PATP was uploading a couple of their self-directed videos to YouTube. I guess they hate democracy.

Here's their "latest" video to appear online for their track, Jennifer.

Some might say this video is a critique of the health care systems so many of us depend on.... okay no one is going to say that. But can't we enjoy a music video that features a hot nurse and a rabbit-suited guitarist?

p.s. A review of last night's Pretenders show is in the works...