Monday, April 28, 2008

Song of the Week 4/25/08

Big Dipper - "Ron Klaus Wrecked His House"

Another year, another great reunion from Boston. This time it's Big Dipper, who I stupidly missed when they played at The Haunt in Ithaca 18 years ago. The always great Merge Records somehow concvinced the quartet to do an anothlogy of their indie work and to do three reunion shows to promote it. These guys looked a whole lot older, but played just as well (and as loud, my left ear thinks) as they did back in the day. The next to last song in Friday's set at Brooklyn's Southpaw was their "hit," "Ron Klaus Wrecked His House." The chorus to this song is a fucking monster. It would get stuck in my head in college, and it's still stuck in my head a few days after the show. One can only hope we don't have to wait another 18 years for a Big Dipper show.

BONUS: NYC taper was also there and documented the entire show, and you can hear the joy these guys felt in every note.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Song of the Week 4/18/08

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)"

Goodbye Danny. You will be missed by hundreds of thousands of people. The Boardwalk is a little darker today.

Pardon the cliche, but pictures (or videos) are worth a thousand more words than I could muster up about how much Springsteen and the E Street Band's music has meant to me the past 25 years, or how much love everyone in that band felt for Danny.

Here's video of the 1975 Hammersmith Odeon performance I linked to:

The last time Danny played it with his dear friends, in Indianapolis on March 20th:

Bonus: The scene when Danny left the band last fall in Boston:

A great clip of the entire band watching Danny solo on "Kitty's Back" that night.

Because I can never watch this clip enough, the best "Kitty's Back" since the 1970s, from Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

And finally, watch this 1978 clip at about 8 minutes in. Danny does a blistering solo on "Prove It All Night." Wow.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Song o the Week 4/11/08

Nada Surf - "Do It Again"

Gosh, I had a whole truckload of fun at Nada Surf Friday night. I was a bit worried about how my body would hold up over a three hour show (Superdrag co-headlined), but I felt perfectly fine all night. (Well, except for the occasionally garlic nan burp. And the fact that the sound at Terminal 5 is NOT meant for rock shows. No freaking way).

I went with Moria the concert pal, and we were convinced that the show was made better by these three kids (it was an all ages show, they might have been 21) who knew every single word--even the songs from the great new disc Lucky--and danced around and took pictures like they were having the time of their young lives. Heck, they probably were having the time of their lives. Their enthusiasm was infectious and made me enjoy a show that under normal circumstances wouldn't make it onto my Top 10 concerts for the year. An added bonus was how they pissed off this snooty couple in front of us. They both looked as if they swallowed a box of sour balls. Screw them if they can't have fun.

"Do It Again" was the song I sang loudest all night. (Which seems to be a pattern, if you scroll down a bit here.) These words, which I've probably pumped my fist to at least 100 times on the subway, took on a special meaning for me that night after the past few weeks:

“Maybe this weight was a gift
Like I had to see what I could lift
I spend all my energy
Walking upright.”

BONUS: Here's Nada Surf from Friday night at Terminal 5, doing the song I always associate with the concert pal.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Song of the Week 4/4/08

Bob Dylan - "Things Have Changed"

Sometimes fate knows exactly what song to push in your face over a seven day period. I heard "Things Have Changed" once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, once on a random playlist on my iPod Friday and then late Saturday morning when I was going to bed. It's pretty amazing that an eight year old song could turn up that much, yet at the same time very appropriate. Things have indeed changed. Now I'm reading food labels to see how much sodium is in each package and cooking with olive oil and muching on raw almonds instead of chips. It's definitely a big change, but one I'll have to get used to for the rest of my life if I want to have one that lasts another 38 years.

Yet I think the biggest change is that Magnetic Field is no longer in my life. It's a place that had perhaps biggest impact of any music venue/bar on my entire life. On that tiny stage with Bunnie England and the New Originals I first got to live out my rock star fantasies and then rediscovered my love of entertaining people with a microphone in front of me. I've been trying to think of an appropriate epitaph for the Field, some words that will adequately describe all the fun and all the great people I met and became friends with and all growing up I did in the four years I went there. But they're not coming yet. Perhaps the creative side of my brain hasn't accepted the reality that I won't be able to sing "Surrender," spin Soul Asylum's "Sometime to Return" for a totally psyched crowd, make funny comments about someone stumbling over some lyrics, edit both of my fanzines at the bar, help friends talk through their problems, make bizarre 70s references with April and Scott, sing sad songs with Joe or act silly in the photo booth there ever again. I can honestly say that except for the one night when some idiots from Brooklyn Law came in at the end of Live Band Karaoke and when that Aussie dude got naked at 4:30 a.m., all of my memories of 97 Atlantic Avenue are good.

My life would be much worse off if I had never met these people at the Field: Lee, William, Stephen, Michelle, Charlene, Devon, Jonah, Boyd, Winnick, Quinn, Aggie, Abigail, Katharine, Ted, Jay, Naeemah, and my bandmates Paul, Paul, Scott and Troy. I love you all.

Here is my favorite picture from our last night of LBK at the Field (notice the water bottle, a sign of things to come for me):

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Song of the Week 3/28/08

Morrissey - "That's How People Grow Up"

Apparently for the former Smiths singer, growing up includes a big ol' cowbell being played for three minutes straight and wasting time looking for love.

Holy crap, I think I agree with him.

If he added having a health scare, starting to take care of your body and mourning the closing of your favorite bar in the lyrics, this might be my song of the year. "That's How People Grow Up" is one of the two new tracks on Moz's Greatest Hits: Deluxe Edition and it's the rare new song on a best of that stands up with all of the previously released material. I haven't liked a Morrissey song this much since "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get." It's wickedly catchy.

Listen to the cowbell and watch people go nuts below: