Thursday, June 26, 2003
Also, India.Arie is coming to the Hampton Jazz festival this Saturday! I would LOVE to see her live. But I can't because I'm performing at the Open Mike at the Harbor Espresso Cafe and I told everyone I know that I'm going to be there. So, dear readers, this Saturday, either come see me at the Harbor Espresso, or go see India.Aire at the Jazz Festival.
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
I jumped on my motorcycle and drove down to Salisbury, NC. I camped, and slept, and rode, and saw 50 year old naked ladies. On the music front I saw “Ice Cream Man from Hell” too. Who are they? That’s what I’d like to know. But they were there and they covered some biker classics.
I went to the Jack Johnson/Ben Harper show. Wow. Where do I begin? The show was over 5 hours long. That’s a long show. Jack Johnson comes out and does some solo numbers. I don’t know which ones. They all sounded the same to me. Then a drummer and electric bass guitarist joins him and they play some more slow numbers that all sound like the same song. Then he plays a few hits. Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” and the White Stripes “We are Going to Be Friends” were a quirky treat.
Then Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals comes out. I don’t know anything about him. But he’s way more rockin than Jack was. And he put on a show! He was giving it to the audience. And he was really letting the band have the spotlight. He introduced them twice. After and hour was up I was thinking that this was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. He wasn’t just there to sing his songs, he was there to entertain.
But (and there is always a but), he played for another 3.5 hours. He really seemed to overstay his time. It’s really hard to keep the momentum up for that long. And the numbers that got the most crowd response were covers. Bob Marley’s “War” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” But the thing that bugged me about this was that he sang both those covers almost exactly how the original performers would have done. No unique stamps of originality. It felt to me like a Karaoke performance.
So I feel mixed. I enjoyed it because I like rock-n-roll and having a good time with my friends. But I don’t think I’ll go out a buy any of their albums. Or will I really care if I never see them live again.
Monday, June 16, 2003
I don’t know how to feel about these two guys. They have some catchy singles, but it’s a little too laid back when I try to listen to the albums. I’m guessing that the live versions of these same songs will be better. Plus, the inevitable, ironic acoustic cover of a rock song should be interesting (I’m guessing that at least one of these will pop up, but I could be wrong).
Review to come!
Friday, June 13, 2003
(This area needs a “real” rock-n-roll club. Go to CBGB’s website and read the history of the club. It’s written by Hilly Kristal who started it all back in 1973. He made a decision one day that the only way to play his club was to sing original music. That’s what I want around here. Any kind of music, but it has to be original. Do we have that, and I don’t know about it? Email me if you know of a place.)
The Hot Tuna was on Friday. Sunday, I was down at Harbor Fest in Norfolk. I saw Morris Day and the Time! Actually, I only know about them from Jay and Silent Bob’s movie, and I didn’t watch much more than two songs, but it was cool. The have a real rock, guitar driven sound, and choreographed dancing! But the Pirate Ship Battle was about to start so we left.
I had been waiting for Monday for a while. The 2 dollar, 2 in the afternoon, Raveonettes show at the Norva!
Enjoying a midday motorcycle trip, Lisa and I scored some free parking on Granby Street. We ate at Harry’s BBQ. If you ever in Norfolk and you find yourself on Granby St. do yourself a favor and eat at Harry’s. After lunch, a fun discussion of God and religion, a nice sit on a park bench, and a little shopping at Macarthur Center. Then we walked to the Norva.
The Norva was virtually empty. It was an afternoon show. 2:30pm. Does live Rock-N-Roll and daylight mix? Maybe not. It’s pretty bad when a show only costs two dollars, but you still feel ripped off. I mean, I had seen them before and was pretty impressed. I enjoy their songs in mp3 form. Ghost Riders on the Attack, That Great Love Sound, Chain Gang of Love, and Beat City, those are some catchy tunes. But the Raveonettes have this thing about only playing in one key. Every song, same key. And they keep almost the same tempo and progressions on every song. Let’s discuss this further.
You see, I started this website after realizing that all the music I like, I wouldn’t even know about if it weren’t for the Internet. There is no college station to listen to, and the local Clear Channel stations aren’t any help. MTV’s a joke, and I don’t have MTV2. The local Best Buy doesn’t often stock “underground” stuff like The Black Keys. So I find out about these bands in magazines and websites like pitchfork, epitomic, etc. Then I go online and download a few tracks and sample them out. Then I can go to Amazon and buy the stuff I like, and delete the crap.
(I also started this site because so much of the music press is big city based. London, New York, San Francisco. If you live in a place like Chicago, you have numerous rock venues to choose from, and enough people and venues to keep a local scene alive. This is not the case in most of America, and it is not the case in Newport News, VA. But I’m luckier than most, because I have Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Richmond within and hour, and the Nations Capital is 2.5 hours away. So I’m blessed. But I wanted to start a rock-n-roll magazine that had the perspective of what being a rock-n-roll fan was really like, out here, where it matters, hence the name, “Rock-N-Roll in the Real World.”)
Now if you read in between the lines of the previous paragraph, you’ll probably discover that I’m insanely jealous of big city folks, who are so lucky to have such great live music. I didn’t mean to launch into a “mission statement” speech, but, trust me, I have a point. You see, I, like most of us out here in the “real world” don’t live in New York City. We depend on the recorded versions of an Artist’s performance so much more than they. They can pop into a local club and see The Kills live, before they even have an EP out. I can’t do that. The independent EP is not available in my local music stores either.
But Amazon has it. Kazaalite lets me sample it, and Pitchfork can help me not waste my energy on Har Mar Superstar or Fischerspooner, but help me find out about The Black Keys. Without the internet, I wouldn’t know about any of these bands, including the Raveonettes.
Man, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah, the Raveonettes live. They like to be loud. I mean LOUD. And that’s cool. That’s what I dug about them the first time I saw them. But every song is the same chords and the same monotone vocals. But here’s the rub! You can’t hear any of the words live! On the album, the songs work wonderfully. The subtle differences in the rhythms and the words stand out, loud and clear. Live, it’s just a waste of time. They are lifeless on stage, with seldom a twitch, and seldom a word spoken between songs. I’ll buy the album when it comes out, because they are a good band, and make great songs, but they are apparently incapable of recreating their strengths on stage.
But who am I kidding, if they come to town again. I’ll pay to see them. I don’t have much choice. In this town it’s slim pickings. But I’ll keep my expectations low, and just hang in the back.
Oh, I was also talking about my past week of rock-n-roll experiences. Friday was the cover band, Sunday was Morris day and the Time, and Monday was the Raveonettes (a local band, who’s name I didn’t get, opened up for them. They were good. Young, Blink 182 clones, but it was cool to see a local band). Then on Tuesday I walked down the street to Ray’s Hilton Country Club. A local dive bar place that I’ve been piss-scared to go into for the two years I’ve lived in the neighborhood. But they are under new management, and are trying to attract customers so they had a band. They were good. A jam band. Starting a song, then going off into a long diversion, and then bringing it back home to finish the song. I’m still new to this “rock journalism” stuff so I forgot to write down their name. That’s twice this week that I thought I would remember the name of the band, and I didn’t. So I’ve learned that lesson. I’ll try not to let it happen again.
Good for you if you made it all the way through this. The End.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
I just wanted to jump on here and point you to this wicked cool link my buddy Ben (from Flizum Flopp) found. He knows I've been harping on the White Stripes a lot. Check it out: Enter The White Stripes.
And then read the authors article on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at The Journal News.
Then, go find more about her: Whitney Pastorek.
Thursday, June 05, 2003
I love the Mooney Suzuki! And I was trying to figure out a way to go see them when they came to DC. But the show was on a weekday, and I decided I wouldn't drive all the way up to American University, pay money to see the show, pay money to eat and drink while in the city, and then drive all the way back home to get three hours of sleep before work the next day. But then I get this email from the Mooney Suzuki people. It says that this Mooney show is going to be free, free, free!!! Well this changes everything, and my sweetheart and I decide that the driving hassles are worth it for a free show!
So it's a gray cloud day. Leafless trees pass by for a few hours as we listen to the radio. President Bush's 48 hour deadline to Saddam Hussein was going to be up at 8pm Eastern time. We arrive at American University shortly after the deadline passes uneventfully.
We make our way to “The Tavern” which is in the back of a student center/cafeteria type of place. Past the students sitting at tables. Learning. Girls slumped in stained couches. Talking. They all take for granted the sweet, loud music pulsating from the other room. This is “The Tavern”.
Longwave is on the stage. I had seen them a few weeks before in Richmond and liked them, and once again, they impressed. The band was playing on a very low stage. No more than foot off the ground, it was tucked in the corner of the college pub right next to the Jamba Juice and Chik-fil-a.
Longwave finishes up with their excellent song, Tidal Wave. Jaime and I look for a TV. Passing the “No War for Oil” signs and the petition requests we find it. It shows a static, green tinted image of downtown Baghdad. Some anti-aircraft fire had been seen, and some explosions had gone off, but everything was quiet now. CNN informed us the President would be speaking to the nation in about an hour.
Back in “The Tavern” The Raveonettes take the stage. They open with a screeching, squealing, version of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday.” Very cool! After one song, the bass player, the girl of the band, Sharin brushes hair from her face. She says, “Crazy day. I don’t know about you all, but after we’re done, we’re gonna just get the hell out of here.”
(Should I take offense to that? Or should I take her advice? Here we were at this music show, just a few miles from where the President was preparing to address the World. The men who were making the decision on when to wage a war where right down the road. The Pentagon was just over there, smelling of fresh cement and plaster. Of all the places in the world for a Danish rock-n-roll band to be at that moment, they were on the stage at American University in the capitol city of the United States. I’m still not sure how to feel about that moment. In fact, it creeps me out to think about it so I will suppress my emotions and go on with the story.)
The Raveonettes finished up and off we were to see the president. A large crowd of students had gathered around the TV by now, waiting to hear what the President had to say. Sune, the lead singer of the Raveonettes stood next to me, our shoulders touching in the crowded room. The President didn’t have much to say, military action is starting to start getting ready to start, or something like that. Rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, etc, etc, etc. I split before he was done 'cause the Mooney Suzuki was about set up.
I cannot emphasize how wonderful it was to see the Mooney Suzuki in this venue! The low stage kept the bands intimate enough, but the war declarations actually helped make the show, because only the FANS were left. It couldn’t have been more than 45 people there. A little group of us with our fingers in the air! The Mooney’s are such a great band, that they PLAYED!! Damn the consequences! Damn the band timing!! They PLAYED!!!
The lead singer, Sammy said it best, “We are the Mooney Suzuki, Weapons of Mass Rock-n-Rolling.”
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
I went thru so much trouble and grief trying to decide how and where I would see them this year. Now they are coming right to the Norva! I'm going to see them there too!
The Norva is a great music venue. Right in downtown Norfolk. I've seen George Clinton there once. And I just saw the Flaming Lips there last month.
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