Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fiona Apple + Blake Mills at The Beacon Theatre

While it isn't as wildly aggressive and perhaps as brutal as masculine rage, there is something to be said for feminine rage. There's a sobering solemnity to it that can make it more effective than any heavy fisted punch. Watching Fiona Apple last night at the Beacon Theatre, I felt enraged and mournful all in the same instant. It's this complexity of her emotions that make her music so intriguing to me. To be at a performance of Fiona apple's is to be witness to the strange erratic world of an emotional woman's mind. There's an artistry to her expression that borders on insane genius. With every tremor of her vocal chords, with every swat of her twitchy hands jerked at her nervous petite frame you get the sense of a sane woman unhinged. You know straight away that she is incredibly intelligent, that she is strong, but also that she is sensitive and reactive. I don't pity her for her tender feelings, I envy her. I wish I could be that raw, that wounded and still cry out fiercely with so much power and dedication, with so much talent.

Cameras were not really permitted during the show,
snuck this at the encore
The blend of her voice with her co-conspirator for the evening, Blake Mills, made it a little more entertaining than I would have previously anticipated.  There was a playfulness to the stage that I hadn¹t encountered at a Fiona Apple gig before. The show started with Blake and Fiona side by side in front of a chalkboard, where they both simultaneously began to write out the word "TEACH" followed perfectly in sync by "ME HOW", then it became a musical chalk board scroll repetition, where they retraced the words they had written, and as Blake put his chalk down and slowly walked away, Fiona finished the statement with a flourishing script that read "to be free". It was very art house-y and fun, especially how musical the scribblings had become. The set was very complimentary in that Blake Mill's voice and skilled guitar playing were more light hearted sounding in approach and were beautifully offset by the heavy deep tones of the upright bass, and the aggressive clamor of the drums. Fiona didn't sit at her piano nearly enough for my taste, but when she did it was a treasure for my ears to behold. The piano really is an extension of her, like a grumpy old man with a booming timbre for a voice that adds that special little oomph needed to add impact to her wavering voice and lyrical poetry. Her performance on the piano during "Not About Love" absolutely blew me away. Blake Mills filled in the gaping chasm left by the lack of piano during "Waltz (Better than Fine)" by playing a superb guitar rendition of the piano's part.

To be honest, I felt a little sorry for Blake Mills, clearly the audience was primarily there for Fiona and I noticed during his songs was when people would spring up to grab a drink or run to the bathroom. It seemed beyond disrespectful and on top of that they ended up missing out on some very enjoyable duets, like "Seven". There is clearly a wonderful chemistry between these two artists, and the dichotomy of their characters created a well balanced and interesting performance. In summary, I will gladly go see this pair anytime they decide to do a show together.

First Taste
Every Single Night
Anything We Want
It'll All Work Out
Not About Love
Make Believe
Dull Tool
Don't Tell
I Know
Waltz (Better than Fine)

Friday, October 18, 2013

The return of nine inch nails, of me

I have been on hiatus. So has nine inch nails. It's been a long, quiet, and arduous road for both me, and for music I love. This week proved one thing to me, and that was we could never really stay away from the things we love to do. After years of "silence" from concerts, nine inch nails announced they were touring, and I had the honor of seeing them at the prudential center in Newark, New Jersey. It was nothing short of fantastic, even if the crowd crush almost ground me into a fine pulp. What did it matter? I was third person in from the rail, and Trent Reznor was life sized!

Yes. I was this close.
There were many special moments of the evening, but the thing that keeps sticking out in my mind is the general sense of "groove" injected into the set. I even spied Mr. Reznor replace his trademark agonized crouch for a rhythmic wiggle that garnered a catcall or two from yours truly. (I GOT A DOLLA! I shouted, quite shamelessly). He even chuckled at the hoots and hollers! The addition of two voluptuous female back up singers added to the cool funk of the new album's sound, and the female presence on a nine inch nails stage was unprecedented! It added a depth andpersonality to the new tracks, and breathed some freshness into old ones.

The true breakout sensation of the nine inch nails live show is their light show. It has become a signature of nine inchnails' performance over the last few years. After "Lights in the Sky" we have come to expect a stellar production, and while the festival tour over the summer was promising, clearly the real art was saved for their solo arena shows. The only drawback is if you have epilepsy. The lights flash and shift pretty rapidly, and while they create a spectacular display, it can be a lot to take in! The benefit of the light production is that no matter where you are, you have a good seat and a visual point of interest.  I almost wish I could have viewed the show from multiple positions to get the full effect (not that I am complaining).

The most surprising twist of the night was the ABSENCE of "Closer" from the set list. Not sure if Trent has finally decided to retire the track, or if he was just thinking of his two young boys hanging out back stage and fearful that they may pick up a new phrase or two? I somehow doubt it, considering FIST FUCK was still shouted out at the top of his lungs during "Wish". There were still plenty of crowd pleasers, alongside "Wish" which, honestly, I would love if he would retire. At this point in my nine inch nails concert attendance, there are a few tracks I would prefer to hear over the "Greatest Hits". The great thing is, it looks like Trent and the Boys (plus some LADIES) are back and we might get lucky a little more often.

Copy of a
Terrible Lie
March of the Pigs
Reptile All Time Low(Closer mash up)
Came Back Haunted
Find a Way
Into the Void
Big Comedown 
In two
A Warm Place 
Somewhat Damaged
Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole
I'm Afraid of Americans
While I'm Still Here

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Nine Inch Nails Philly
Made in America Fest

Copy of a
Terrible lie
Gave Up
Help me i am in hell
Me I'm not
Find my way
Somewhat damaged
Survivalism ll
Hand that feeds
Head like a hole


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Free Rasputina Show at City Winery!

A few days ago I chose to leave work on time. Why would I turn down the chance of making some overtime? Because I had a better offer, a nicer opportunity, a pleasant diversion. I had the sun slowly setting behind me and one of my favorite bands of all time playing a free show in front of me!
Rasputina has been in a bit of a musical hiatus as of late (to my great dismay). I've been eagerly awaiting Melora's return as well as her new collaborative project FaLeLa. Rasputina will be touring England come fall, with no word on a new album release, and there is still no solid report of FaLeLa's debut album release.

There are many query marks surrounding new material. There is no question, however, that Melora and Daniel's playing has become even more intricate and well timed. They play well together, and a strong dueling perhaps even slightly competitive cellist relationship exists between them. The drummer is consistent and is integral to keeping the time, although that evening I have to say she seemed to be speeding most of the songs up a bit. Luckily it did not throw any of the songs off and in fact increased some of the energy levels in the open alley venue.

Set list:
Thimble Island
Calico Indians
Secret Message
Holocaust of Giants
Humankind as the Sailor
The 2 Miss Leavens
Snow Hen of Austerlitz
Sweet Sister Temperance
1580 lyrics- a FaLeLa preview?
"All You Pretty Flowers"
Identity Tokens
Saline the Salt Lake Queen
Momma was an Opium Smoker
Watch TV

Friday, July 26, 2013

Free My Brightest Diamond Show at Damrosch Park!

My Brightest Diamond played a free show last night as part of the Lincoln Center Outdoors Festival at Damrosch park. As always Shara Warden was electric and a glowing phantom in gossamer white and black combat boots. So much new music premiered that my head is spinning like a top! The horn arrangements alone make me ache with anticipation for a new record. Each piece she writes is better than the last- and a true sign of the depth of her talent is how distinctive each new song is! A lot of her new work seems to revolve around the concept of cause and effect, of organization & chaos. She is even getting a little political with a song about war and peace featuring lyrics like "man of war come down from your tower.." and ending the song with Shara crooning "I'm not the bad guy". It was such a nice gift for Shara and her supporting musicians to perform this new body of work gratis for New
York! I am so thankful to be alive and well enough to have gone and heard such a siren call on what felt like an autumn evening. Thank you, my brightest diamond, may you keep on sparkling.

Rough Set List:
New Song "The voice ..."
High Low Middle
Be Brave
New Song "No never I said"
New Song "This is my hand..."
New Song "Man of power..."
New Song "When you close your eyes..."
New Song "In my future..."
I Have Never Loved Someone
New Song "I had grown wild..."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The First "Concert Review" Blog I Ever Wrote; Rasputina

Ever log into your old MYSPACE page? You should if you haven't. It's like a time capsule! I thought it would be fun to look back and reminisce. It was indeed VERY fun, and also interesting to see how much more VERBOSE I have grown over the years...

I stumbled upon my myspace blog and found what appears to be my first concert blog entry:
"Saw rasputina at bbking's last night. damn they're good. and damn the acoustics are good at that venue. they can make anyone sound amazing. even me. so if you ARE good well, you sound incredible. they played well. which is a dramatic understatement. Their setlist was pretty great including: Howard Hughes, The Things I'm Gonna Do, Rose K., Barracuda, Any Old Actress, The Mayor, Bad Moon Rising, OY I could go on and on... the high light for me was " High On Life " mainly b/c it's one of the only songs by them I haven't heard live. SO woo! good show!"
How cute! I think I shall spend the next few weeks maybe sorting through these lil' nuggets of concert reflection and posting them up on this blog. I got to be honest with you, it'll be good to reminisce since I can't afford concerts both financially and physically at the moment.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Adam Ant at Best Buy Theater!

As I stand at the edge of the end of my 20's, I look back at the dozens upon dozens of concerts I've attended, and feel a sense of relief... for I can now FINALLY check something off of my bucket list, I have seen everyone in concert that I desperately wanted to see! This does not mean I will no longer attend concerts and what have you, but it does take away a certain STING of worry or regret I sometimes feel about concerts. 

How did this monumental moment in the MisAdventures of Madame K occur, you ask? What concert was the final lynch pin, the missing puzzle piece to the epic auditory jigsaw puzzle of my life?

Adam Ant. 

Are you surprised? Let me explain... when I was 14 or 15 years old, my favorite Aunt and her husband, my favorite Uncle were on a ski trip in Vermont with me and my family. I had my hair done up in some crazy ass braids, my signature cat eyes were flared out and curled at the ends in true anti-ski trip fashion, when my uncle cocked his head, smiled, and asked me if I had ever heard of Lene Lovich. I said, "No, who's she?" and he explained to me briefly that she was this cool bizarro chick in the 80's who performed some outlandish new wave stuff... and that I reminded him of her. A few weeks later, when I saw my uncle again, he had a small box of cassette tapes from his youth that he thought I may appreciate... The box was my salvation. Inside, I found The Smiths "Meat is Murder", The Cure "Japanese Whispers", and... Adam and The Ants, "Kings of the Wild Frontier". It was amazing to me, the wide variety yet seemingly similar styles of these oddball British men. Adam Ant out of those three tapes really resonated with the teenaged version of me. It was a high octane theater performance! I mean, a British man playing a Native American-sympathizing buccaneer in dandy feathers prancing about as a PIRATE?!? YES PLEASE! The sound was sorta PUNK, it was kind of new wave, it had strange sexuality, and could even be a little dark under the innocent yodel cat calls and barbaric yawps. It wasn't morose, self loathing, or even remotely sentimental. It was upbeat ANGRY music, which, essentially was (and possibly IS) the best way to describe me.

I must've listened to that album a million times, I bought it on CD and on vinyl even though I already had the cassette, and I never got tired of it. Years passed, and while I kept hoping I'd see some scrap of news, hear a rumor about a tour announcement, and even had my heart BROKEN when Adam Ant shared the stage with TRENT REZNOR and I was "too young" to go to such an aggressive concert. Adam Ant never toured... even worse, he seemed to evaporate. I had all but given up on ever seeing him grace a stage that I would be standing in front of, jumping and bopping along and shouting out my own yips and Huh-Uhh-OHOHOH's!

Then around December of 2011 I got a ticketmaster "favorite artist" alert notification that made my heart STOP... Adam Ant was PLAYING NYC! I bought tickets before even thinking. AT LAST I was going to see one of my all-time favorite musicians in concert in February of 2012!

Then he rescheduled the show to October 2012. This is when some of my more seasoned cohorts started the pessimistic grumblings... "He is always a no-show, he's a dead beat, don't get your hopes up..." I had even convinced my super-cool Aunt and Uncle who got me INTO Adam Ant to get tickets to the show, but, they met me with the same lack of enthusiasm. Seeing as how it was February, and the show wasn't for quite a few months, I shelved my dismay and anxiousness and chose to not think about what may or may not occur.  

Life has a way of sneaking up on you, doesn't it? Before I knew it, Adam Ant was about to play his first show in NYC in 15 years. I was absolutely incapable of containing my giddiness. Luckily, neither were his fans! The show was all I had expected... and more. Adam Ant fans came out in throngs, some dressed in their piratical finery, and there was also quite an exceptional number of leather jackets and pyramid studs. The crowd was mostly late 20-somethings and skywards- I basically got the impression that there were two types of people there that night-- the group who lived it, and the group who were too little to live it, but danced to it in their bedrooms knowing one day they WOULD GET TO live it. Well, I was a member of the latter group obviously. 

The show was high energy, with a set of dueling drummers banging away, while Adam Ant was strutting about in his impressive hat, flanked by a guitarist and a distractingly hot woman. When he opened his mouth, and shouted out his first war-cry yelp, I finally got what I was waiting for for all these long years! Years of mental illness, addiction, and alcohol has done little to weigh this dandy juggernaut down, and I am thankful for it! Music doesn't have that sort of fervor anymore. There's not a drop of manic energy in today's pop music, Adam Ant pulled off in two hours what very few modern pop singers can do in the span of an entire career- he got people with reservations to MOVE again, to smile, to sing, to jump, to dance without shame! I saw grown men LEAP into the air and shake their heads! I saw women cheer and chant. It was a bacchanal of musical bliss! There was no frantic teenaged wistfulness present, only pure adrenalin, a happy rage. It was exhilarating and comforting all at once. My face hurt from the grin I wore. He never slowed down either- he ripped through the set like a man on a do or die mission, and for that I was thankful! 27 songs later... and I found myself wishing he'd play 27 more!  

I finally got my moment to dance, to hoot, to holler, and add my voice to the epic chorus of  "Dog Eat Dog" and "Kings of the Wild Frontier". Even more rewarding is that I can finally rest easy and be comforted by the fact that I've seen ever musical icon I admire do what it is they do best, make music. Thank You, Adam Ant! 

Set List:

Plastic Surgery
Dog Eat Dog 
Beat My Guest
Car Trouble
Ants Invasion
Deutscher Girls
Stand and Deliver
Room at the Top
Kings of the Wild Frontier
Whip in My Valise
Vince Taylor
Desperate but Not Serious
Never Trust a Man
Ant Music
Goody Two Shoes
Vive Le Rock
Christian D'Or
Lady/Fall In
Red Scab
Get It On (TRex Cover)
Prince Charming
Physical (You're So)