"You never compliment me.""What are you talking about? I complimented you just the other day.""You told me I look like Weird Al from the behind!""Weird Al has beautiful hair and a tiny ass!"
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
“Heeeyyyy! That’s my new thing!” Said Adele after cracking herself up for the umpteenth time to a sold out Greek Theater Sunday night. “I’ve been spending time hanging out with some Southern ladies!”
When she sings, it's inconceivable that the British soul singer is only 23. She’s got that Otis Redding thing going: a voice too wise and mature for her years, both lyrically and sonically.
But when she banters and giggles with the audience, she is indeed just 23. Adele loves her fans. She asked several times for the lights to come up so she could see everyone. She waved dozens of times at specific people in the audience. She accepted a Weiner dog stuffed animal and presents from folks in the front, including a couple phones with messages on them.
Adele is looking good. Not that I didn’t love her more curvy appearance (go girl!), but she appeared on stage in a fitted black knee length dress, three-quarter length sleeves, her hair in it’s signature poof, but only half up (no side ponytail). I hope that it’s not just the stress of touring, but a healthier lifestyle that’s done it (tell me she’s quit smoking). But, well, she is 23, and I shouldn’t judge.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Drove over to Sacramento last night to catch the 'Glee Live' tour. It was great fun.
(sorry Abby, I know you hate that word...)
There is no doubt in my mind that Glee is a well oiled, hit-making machine with the main force being its incredible triple-threat cast of performers. Being a fan of the show, it was treat to watch these folks in their element, performing for thousands of screaming fans at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento Monday night.
Disclaimer: There will be mild spoilers if you are intending on seeing the show. Also, I will be referring to performers by the character's names, just because I can.
ARCO was, not surprisingly, full of mostly young women and their parents. I saw moms in Sue Sylvester tracksuits and teenagers in t-shirts with black lettering shamelessly advertising the wearer’s most embarrassing characteristic. Some were official merch and/or from the recent episode (“Likes Boys”, “I’m with Stoopid” (pointing up as well as down), “Trouty Mouth” and my fav “Lebanese”) and some were homemade (“Freckles”).
READ MORE OF MY REVIEW (it gets a little sappy, sorry)
Friday, November 12, 2010
Maneja Beto's new album Escante Calling (A Rare Calling) should not just be noticed by Spanish speakers, but recognized by music industry at large. Not just because it’s great record, but because of the direction it’s pointing. Maneja Beto will probably never become a household name (although if I ruled the world it would be) but the concept of the band’s music will become as commonplace as reggae or hip-hop: “Indie en Español” is a genre we’re going to be hearing more.
I met singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Alex Chavez in a Cultural Anthropology seminar at the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 when we had both just started our Master’s degrees (he completed PhD just this year). Once I heard his band's music, the genre “Indie en Español” made perfect sense. Maneja’s music lies in that nebulous “Indie” zone, a term that has lost it’s original meaning identifying a band’s separation from major record companies. These days it’s more of a category describing the fusion of styles, sounds and instruments. “Indie” is where experimental popular music lies.
If you like Radiohead, Animal Collective, Vampire Weekend and the Arcade Fire, you’ll probably like Maneja Beto. And if you’re a non-Spanish speaker, I guarantee the music is interesting enough that you might not mind so much that you can’t understand the words. Who can understand what Thom Yorke sings anyway?
Maneja Beto's fun video of the last track of the album "Ofrendas"
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Photo by preamble
Anyone who takes their cues from Bjork is okay in my book.
READ MY REVIEW HERE
Florence and the Machine - Dog Days Are Over VMA
Uploaded by samiam2546. - Explore more music videos.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
photos from live105.radio.com by white menace
There's also something really special about being angry about a ticketing will-call snafu that almost sent me home, and then being able to work it out to some perfectly angsty pop punk. I love being 30 and still able to bounce around with the teenagers.
I love Green Day's interaction with the crowd. It's really physical, letting them pull and push them around, from both the pit and the stage. It was also fun to see Green Day show off their chops, both with their own music and covering other music. (See the setlist here, you'll see they covered quite a few rock tunes from Journey to Zeppelin.) Billie Joe proved that that nasaled vlocal thing is just for aesthetic value, because his vocal chops on those hard rock covers were pretty spot on.
Read my review of the Saturday, September 4th show at Shoreline Amphitheatre on examiner.com HERE
Sunday, July 11, 2010
There’s nothing better than a performer who does a little jig with glee on stage because he is genuinely happy to be performing for you. Beatle or no, a Paul McCartney is certain to please, even if you’re not so familiar with some of his more recent material. The evening of Saturday July 10, 2010 was a cool one, but not so chilly as some Giants fans might have experienced right on The Bay during a San Franciscan summer.
AT&T Park was packed and the energy was buzzing as fans awaited Paul McCartney’s first performance in San Francisco since The Beatles' last concert tour appearance at Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966. McCartney said that things have changed since then, rather than just hearing the screaming girls, we have these “loud things” referencing the ginormous sound system.
I bought the $59 dollar seats, just to see what extra $10 would get me. Turned out to be totally worth it as we were in the View Box in second, row directly over home plate and right smack center.
McCartney and his band played a set list 35 songs long basically alternating between Beatles and non-Beatles tunes.
TO READ MORE CLICK HERE
NOTE: Some people have been complaining (on examiner.com) about a comment I made addressing McCartney's age. It is true that Paul is 68, but what I unfortunately failed to mention is how in awe I am of his energy on stage. He truly is a wonderful performer and a joy to watch - jigs and mumblings and all (I sing and dance and mumble to myself and I'm 30!) The man is adorable and a living legend, wouldn't it be nice to be so totally on your game at that age? What else can I say?
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I am a huge fan of biopics. It's very exciting to see the lives of real people illuminated in front of you. Knowing too much about the historical reality of their lives can get in the way however. Hollywood, as we all know, likes to "Hollywoodize" biopics: twisting and tweeking the details of lives to make them more interesting to the viewer.
I figure, you have to get over that. But sometimes it's hard.
Take the movie Cadillac Records: a biopic about the legendary rhythm & blues record label Chess Records. The movie stars Adrian Brody as Leonard Chess, Beyonce as Etta James, Cedric the Entertainer as Big Willie Dixon and Mos Def as Chuck Berry. I enjoyed seeing these notorious musicians come to life, but it was really hard for me to get past some of the added Hollywood aspect.
I cannot help but compare this movie to Dream Girls, but the big difference is that Dream Girls was an intact musical before it was ever a movie. And, even though everyone knows that the movie is based on the record label Motown, it's highly fictionalized.
In the film Etta James and Leonard Chess have an adulterous relationship that challenges racial stereotypes and employer/employee boundaries. As far as I know this is a fabrication, and it bothers me. I wonder what Etta herself had to say about it? I DO know that Etta was pissed that Beyonce got to sing "At Last" at Barack Obama's inauguration and not her...
I was also bothered by the character of Leonard Chess and the ABSENCE of his brother, Phil. It was the Chess Brothers that started and ran the label, it wasn't a one-man operation. But alas, Leonard was the more colorful character. He was a crude-mouthed, smart-ass and the role only brought that out in a very minor way.
Rich Cohen's The Record Men is a fabulous recount of the Chess story. Leonard Chess is quoted all over the book and his words are something right out of a Mel Brooks comedy routine.
"How to you celebrate a hit? You go to the bank, schmuck!"
"Who knew you could strike it rich with a few schvartzas and a reel-to-reel?
I imagine the producers consciously toned down... scratch that... DELETED the ugly money-grubbing Jewish Stereotype that was Leonard Chess. I guess as a Jewish person I appreciate that, but I still miss the personality.
What I did love about the film was much of what I simply love about the story in general:
- Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf's frenemies relationship
- Etta James' dramatic and traumatic life (her autobiography Rage to Survive stresses the fact that she owes Leonard Chess for keeping her alive and keeping her house)
- Howlin Wolf's devotion to his band (he always made sure they got paid fairly)
- Leonard Chess' devotion to his musicians (he took care of many of them, heightening his "White Daddy" status)
- Muddy Water's womanizing
- How the Rolling Stones loved and respected Muddy Waters like a god.
Chess Records has a fascinating story, and while I don't agree with some of the "Hollywood" type additions, I do feel that the essence of the label is treated fairly and with great respect in the movie Cadillac Records.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Jamie finally learns to take semi-decent photos with her point-and-click: My First Earthquake and Angelique Kidjo
Thursday, San Francisco's own My First Earthquake released their new E.P. Crushes at the Rickshaw Stop. I love Rebecca Bortman in her sequins, red gloves, red tights and a red scarf. Her dance moves are awesomely dorky and the way she handles heckling is superb. My First Earthquake has become one of my favorite local bands, and I don't use that phrase lightly.
See the video below: a fan made video. Note: the bee man was at the show and had fully functioning limbs. He was invited up to dance on stage with Bortman in thanks for being hit by a car for the cause of this video. We are grateful.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
To read the recap of the show CLICK HERE.
1) T-in the ParkFestival Scotland, 2002
2) St Andrews, Detroit 2003?
3) 930 club - Washington D.C. 2004
4) MPR radio show live recording - South by Southwest, Austin 2005
5) Stubbs' - Austin, 2006 (I waited through a hail storm for a good spot for this show)
6) The Ritz - South by Southwest (with the Decemberists) 2009
7) Great American Music Hall - San Francisco 2010
Tom - so glad his hair is shorter than usual...
Friday, March 5, 2010
Not that I'm complaining. In fact I know Noise Pop 2010 featured many women this year from the San Francisco all-female chorus Conspiracy of Venus to Yoko Ono and the Watson Twins; I just happened upon a night that was very manly: Tempo No Tempo, Bear Hands, The Lonely Forest and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Usually I can be very hard on the indie rock boys and their guitars, but I rather enjoyed this music of funky boy bands.
All of four of the bands that played were new to me. I had heard of local band Tempo No Tempo and headlining band We Were Promised Jetpacks had caught my notice just because the name is so awesome. (Can I call my next band, You Said You Said You Were Going to Wear Polka Dots?)
All of these bands are on tour in the United States right now and headed to South by Southwest in Austin, so listen up!
All of these gorgeous photos were taken by Anna Gazdowicz courtesy of the Bay Bridged
We Were Promised Jetpacks
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Friday night I attended the third of four performances all featuring Jon Rose’s piece “Music from 4 Fences.” Each of the four nights also included compositions by Terry Riley, Damon Albarn of Blur & Gorillaz, (what doesn’t that guy do?) John Zorn, Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream soundtrack), and Bryce Dessner of The National. I got to hear the Mansell piece in all of its intense glory.
One of the more interesting pieces they played was commissioned for the Kronos a couple yeas ago by the Palestinian collective, the Ramallah Underground called “Tashweesh.”
READ THE REST OF MY REVIEW
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The "Seattle Times" wrote: "Listening to the King's Singers is just about as much fun as you can have in public with your clothes on! "
The King's Singers are SO English. And what I mean by that is that they are classy and silly all at the same time. And the silliness is so subtle with a look or a small movement. Some of these guys are so dignified as classical singers, but all they need to do is look at the audience and wink, or raise their eyebrows and send everyone into hysterics. Tenor, Paul Phoenix, is the most fun to watch as his whole body moves and bounces as he sings (see, look at him third from the left in the photo above). Dressed in dark velvet blue sports coats and light pink ties, even their wardrobe reflects this attitude.
The first half of the concert was full of classic madrigals including my fav by Monteverdi (see yesterday's post). They also performed a commission that was written by Bay Area composer Gabriela Lena Frank called "Tres Mitos de Mi Tierra , or Three Myths of My Land" which was full of insanely impressive and difficult rhythmic devices that made my jaw drop. When the piece was over Frank, who was sitting in the audience, hugged each and everyone of them. You could tell she was absolutely delighted and adored them personally.
In the second half, the King's Singers lightened up the vibe with Randy Newman's "Short People" (yes, we're looking at you David Hurley - so cute!), Billy Joel's "Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)" (listen below), and a Harry Connick Jr. tune.
I even spotted Jace Wattig from Chanticleer and chatted with him for a little bit during intermission. My friend and his friend bonded over their experience singing collegiate a cappella at Brown University. As always, it was a fabulous time.
I thought since my last week has been musically full of Billy Joel and the King's Singers that the signs are telling me to bring the two together and share this video with you: The King's Singers perform Billy Joel's "Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel)" arrangement by Phillip Lawson.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
In this world of aging rock stars, it's nice to know that two of my favorites still have what it takes to put on a solid arena show. After postphoning their November show due to illness, it was rescheduled for my 30th birthday. Not a bad birthday if you ask me.
I have been a fan of both Elton John and Billy Joel for years. I sang their music in elementary school and high school choir. I can still recite all of the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire" and I still get goose bumps when "Your Song" comes on the radio.
Billy Joel and Elton John's "Face to Face" tour is the longest-running and most-successful co-headlining bill in music history. Their fan base overlaps and the energy of their music is quite similar. With 40 studio albums and over 80 top 40 hits between the two of them, there is no real possible way this show could have been bad. At 61 Billy Joel still has his swagger (borderline creepy) and at 63 Elton John sounds as good as ever. And both have fingers that have no trace of slowing down over those lovely ivories.
For someone who has appreciated each artist's music separately it was interesting to compare the two back to back. Elton John hardly spoke to the audience, not even to introduce his band, while Billy Joel stopped to apologize to the folks with about being an aging rocker:
"I look at pictures of myself on stage and I say, 'Na, that doesn't look right.' I keep wanting to say, 'isn’t there a retirement age for this job? Then I watch the Super Bowl and I see the Who and I say, "I guess there isn't.'
"Anyway, this song is from 1934..."
Later he grabbed an electric guitar for "We Didn't Start the Fire" (I never knew he played!) and then pranced around the stage for "I'ts Still Rock And Roll To Me." The women in the front row LOVED it.
My favorite aspect of the Face 2 Face tour is how the stage is rigged. Having two separate bands, the stage has to accommodate many people. The entire stage is rigged with trap doors and revolving platforms. We were sitting behind the stage, stage right over Elton’s left shoulder, and we had a perfect vantage point watching the various five drummers ascend and disappear into the stage depending on the song.
Musically, I'd have to say that the high point of the night was hearing the guys trade short piano solos in "Bennie and the Jets" towards the end of the show with Elton John's New Orleans steeped style versus Billy Joel's more jazzy flavor coming at the audience in two measure phrases. That was incredible.
Here is a playlist of the set list: what did I tell you, just one hit after another.
MY FAVORITE OBSCURE BILLY JOEL SONG THAT HE'LL NEVER PLAY LIVE
MY FAVORITE ELTON JOHN SONG THAT HE'LL NEVER PLAY LIVE
Sunday, January 31, 2010
My Friday night at Viracocha was full of lush harmonies, unique instrumentation and quirky folks. Named after an Incan God, Viracocha is a new basement performance space located next door to ATA (Artists’ Television Access) in the Mission. The showcase was co-presented by the video podcast Chasing the Moon and the blog SeaweedSway. Michael Musika and Honeycomb performed live sets and the most recent Chasing the Moon podcast was shown featuring Kacey Johansing. Kacey is a busy lady; she performed in both bands as well!
Local recording engineer Scott McDowell, videographer Elijah Pahati and producer Brian Berberich have been at the helm of Chasing the Moon since its start just over a year ago. The podcast has featured intimate performances from folks like Indianna Hale, Steve Taylor, John Vanderslice, Oona and Slow Motion Cowboys. The SeaweedSway is a local blog by Jessie Woletz, who also has a monthly showcase at the Makeout Room.
For more info: The SeaweedSway Chasing the Moon
TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE CLICK HERE
Saturday, December 12, 2009
On Tuesday Espinosa performed a set list inspired by friends and family, featuring everything from Garbage’s sizzling “I Would Die for You” to Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Unfortunately there was no printed set list and Espinosa didn’t identify many of the songs, so I can’t tell you what else she sang other than a tune from the film An American Tail.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Despite faulty fire alarms, bad mics and clogged toilets, Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement left Berkeley in stitches last night.
The Community Berkeley Theater was a bizarre choice for a show like this, considering the duo sold out Davies Hall last year and seemed a tad ill-equipped to handle so many people twice in one night. I wonder how the Berkeley High kids deal. In a voiceover starting the show, Jemaine informed the audience that we were not there for a school assembly, just in case anyone was wondering.
Due to a malfunctioning auditorium fire alarm, the 6pm crowd was still wrapped around the building at 6pm. Warm up act and Bay Area local Arj Barker, who plays Dave on the HBO series, had some quality moments in his act. One punchline was definitely ruined by a shotty mic. Maybe we were spared a rotten joke... we might never find out.
Read More of my examiner.com review and watch videos...
And by the way, that was my friend Lauren's camera that Jemaine stuffed in his pants at the 9pm show.