Sunday, January 25, 2009

Devotchka at Webster Hall.



It's freezing in NYC this Saturday night. We arrive in style- yet apparently early around a quarter to 7. We actually wait and freeze. The line slowly begins to shuffle forward. I see the Marquee lit with these words: "The Bowery Presents: DeVotchKa". We are id'ed, slapped with a bracelet, and let in to the infamous Webster Hall. On a side note... I hate that Webster Hall doesn't give a "paper ticket"... I like to have it as a souvenir... and I miss it when it's not there... but I digress...

The lights are dim. The crowd is ecclectic. Webster Hall has been refurbished, God only knows when- It's been a while since I've been there. My excessively gorgeous friend of superior amazonian heights has staked out a spot- an elevated platform of sorts where we can sit, and BEHOLD! I CAN SEE!

The show begins promptly at 8:02. Impressive. I usually sit and wait for at good 45m for the openers. Clare and the Reasons come on, and I am instantly reminded of the Beatles circa Sgt. Pepper's. It's definitely psychadelic. Clare's voice is excessively bubbly and girly, which inherently irritates me and my deep throated bass. When I hear women like her it makes me wonder if I am in fact female... I let it slide, however, because the music entertains me and most of the crowd. As much as I wanted to not like this cute little bubbly lady dressed in all red (as is the rest of her band...) I can't bring myself to dislike her. The music was actually pretty good. Even better, they played long enough to get a feel for their sound, but short enough that I didn't grow impatient... Kudos to you Clare and the Reasons!

Then, quite promptly DeVotchka enter from stage right, smiling and waving, and BOOM they begin. They are true tour de force. It's only my second time seeing them, yet already I decide they're one of my favorite live acts. They are entertaining, eccentric and work seamlessly together to create a truly fantastic modernized version of a circus-esque cabaret/ mariachi band.



I am sitting slightly elevated above the entranced crowd... watching the band, dancing in a seated position, whilst simultaneously people watching. I catch every form of concert rudeness- the Chatterboxes (behind me gabbing away RELENTLESSLY the whole time behind me), the over protective boyfriend (to my right), the weasels, there's even a concert monkey moment!- Some one actually threw their 100$ urban outfitters sweater on the stage at the band! Nick Urata took it in stride though, joking, "This is how you know you're getting older... when people are throwing SWEATERS on stage..."

Another glorious moment took place when they went on to do one of their lovely instrumental pieces, and we were graced with a scantilly clad burlesque ribbon dancer performing in sync with the music. All I can say is... HOT.



On a whiney note- the sound was too low- and the crowd blew. This, however, didn't effect the quality of DeVotchKa's performance itself. All it tells me is, I will definitely be seeing them again... and next time, I WILL punch any one who talks throughout the set square in the face.

I got excessively excited when they played: The Enemy Guns, and the fuller more orchestrated version of Undone.

Here's some of the other tracks they played...

Basso Profundo
C'est Ce La
Devotchka!
Last Beat of My Heart
Curse your Little Heart
We're Leaving
Such a Lovely Thing
Along the Way
Transliterator
New World
The Clockwise Witness
Vengo Vengo
Ended their encore with- How It Ends

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The music of the Inauguration...



SO I just watched the inaugural ceremony (well, part of it, I am at work people)... and let me just say, as powerful as Aretha Franklin was, the performance of John Williams' arranged inaugural piece featuring cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill nearly brought me to tears. I would've let the drops out- but I was surrounded by coworkers who don't know me. What is it about classical arrangements that can send me into hysterics? The cello is by far one of the most soulful instruments ever invented by man. It was the perfect introduction for our beautiful new 44th president.

Here's to a promising 4 years!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Church Music Built.

What defines "good" music? Simply put, it's anything that moves me, literally. If I bob my head, tap my foot, or impulsively shake my hips... then the music MUST be good. If I have what I refer to as an "out of body" experience when a song comes on, the chords reverberate off of the walls, the singers voice travels into my chest and makes a home there, my eyes look up to the sky, turn to glass, and I can see me listening to the sounds of the song... then, it's GREAT music.

And, YES, this has happened to me numerous times. The first time, I was 11 and it was listening to Nine Inch Nails "Closer" blaring out through the walls of my sister's bedroom. The world blurred at the edges as I pressed my ear against the wall. I was scared and intrigued. Before that moment, I had kept my attraction to the "dark side" somewhat silent (I mean c'mon, I was 11 for chrissakes). But in that moment, hearing the grinding guitars, raw sonic noise, and those deliciously lascivious lyrics, I could see into the future, and it was me listening avidly to whatever music this man produced.

The second time was when I first played Nine Inch Nails "Pretty Hate Machine", and the song "Something I can Never Have" began with those first somber piano chords. I was 13, sitting crosslegged on the floor of my loft bedroom, and I looked up out of my skylight to the rainy world outside, felt the tears well up, felt a void inside me fill, and then felt whole. I knew I had just met the musical love of my life. He still is.



The moment of musical enlightenment would, can, and still continues to this day. I may not know of every band, may not be up to speed with every music movement ever... but I know what music can do for me, and I respect it in a way that can only be referred to as reverence. Other groups have managed to create that auditory ecstacy I've described to you at varying degrees, they went on to become favorites as well... Rasputina, Bauhaus, The Creatures, The Smiths, Siouxsie and the Banshees, etc. and most recently, Patrick Wolf.



OK, So, I am SURE ya'll have heard of these guys... but they were new to me when I had discovered them.

Also, I have only RECENTLY finally chosen to fully immerse myself in modern music culture... I have been a fan of Pandora for a while now, and just received Sirius XM Radio as a Christmas gift (does my family know and love me or what?!) So, if you're like me and looking for new (or maybe not-so new) tunes, check these guys out:

Black Ghosts
Andrew Bird
Marnie Stern
Faun Fables
My Brightest Diamond
Devotchka
Cat Power
Antony and the Johnsons

They're cool, man. Who knows, perhaps my next out of body soundscape is amongst those names. I look forward to finding out.

Friday, January 16, 2009

CRISIS AVERTED.

American Express Cardmember Presale: I bow to your unfair and unholy POWER.

I'm going to see Leonard Cohen. It cost me an awfully pretty penny... but it would cost me more in remorse if I were to have missed it. HEY! Some people buy SHOES for the lump sum of the tickets I purchase. I spend my money on EXPERIENCES.

I repeat:

American Express Cardmember Presale: I bow to your unfair and unholy POWER.

Heartbreak...



No Leonard Cohen for me... I lost sleep over this, damn it. I never even had a chance. The general admission tickets went on sale at 9 and by 9:00:33 it was killed. I am so fucking sick of presales and lack of advertising. I already gulped back that the NOSEBLEEDS were going to run about 100$ a pop... well, now at least I save money? ::cries into her wallet:: How will I ever recover from NACR??

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Concert Etiquette: It SHOULD exist

OK ok, since I'm getting increasingly broke- I figured I'd take a break from the concert attendance and add a little bit of my commentary on a GROSSLY overlooked subject in the concerting world:
I feel as if an awful lot of us have forgotten what this means... so here's the definition:



Etiquette ('etikit; -,ket): The customary code of polite behavior in society among members of a particular profession or group. In this case, the particular group are concert goers. Let's discuss the problems that plague the concert experience and discuss what should be included in the customary code of POLITE BEHAVIOR whilst attending a show...

1. Cell Phones should be OFF. Not on vibrate, certainly not ringing, and DEFINITELY should NOT be answered. What could be so GOD DAMNED IMPORTANT that you would answer and SCREAM in the ears of all the attending patrons around you?! If it truly IS an emergency- I've a sneaking suspicion that you'd LEAVE and attend to what ever has gone wrong! Don't be that kid with the phone who acts as if they'd rather be tea bagged than enjoying the show. I've been called by people who were at concerts... you know what they were doing? GLOATING. They were rubbing it in my face that I wasn't there! What does this tell me?? THAT PEOPLE ON CELLS AT CONCERTS ARE SMUG SWINE. Do me a favor the next time you see a kid on a cell phone durnig a show. Slap them. Bitch slap them so hard the phone flies into the crowd- then momentarily point and laugh at them.

2. Chatter Boxes: Now, cell phones are bad enough. What's worse? Those who feel the need to converse at banshee defying octaves with their buddies in the middle of a booming concert... I'm rather sure your friends don't really give a shit about whether or not that asshole called you, but you know who cares EVEN LESS? ME! (and everyone else around you). Conversations are to be held ONLY between sets, songs, or in dire and extreme emergencies ONLY. Everyone spent copious amounts of money to attend this concert... and your misconceptions of witty banter were NOT part of the charges. I will say it now so I don't have to say it to you at the concert: SHUT THE FUCK UP.

3. Concert Kareoke: OK. I love the music. I love hearing it. I love singing (out of tune) to it in my car and shower... I know that in the heat of the moment- I will find myself singing along to the songs without realizing I am even doing it. It's embarrassing, but it's a part of the genetic makeup of a passionate music fan. I get that. When I'm at a show- it's hard not to sing along. I admit, I will do it... but there is one rule: NEVER BE LOUDER than the people performing it. Seriously, NEVER interfere with the ability to HEAR THE BAND. I am exhausted by the drunken tone deaf hordes of wolverines who wail at the top of their lungs-and don't even get the lyrics right half the time. So, here's MY solution to this epidemic, be like Britney and LIP SYNC.

4. The Great Height Debate: OK This is a sensitive subject for me. I'm 5'2". I was born in this vertically challenged body. I had no say in the matter. I know that you Amazonian Goddesses and Nordic Gods also had no say in your exquisitely elongated frames. Forgive me for saying this but, WHY THE HELL do you insist on being UPFRONT? You can literally stand anywhere and have a better view than most people. I try to get up front out of pure necessity, because I would like to actually SEE who I came to see. There's no way for me to achieve this any other way than right up front uncomfortably smashed into an amp or someone's back. I'm a magnet for the freakishly tall- every show somehow ends with me staring at the small of some giant's back. I know you can't help it, you oversized freaks... just do me a favor, and be SELF AWARE. If you're a big beautiful and well designed person of height, take a moment to look behind you, are you in front of someone much smaller than you, ask them if they would like to be in front of you. Give them the greatest concert gift of all-- a chance to see.

5. The Overprotective Boyfriend: You know who you are. You took your 85 pound girlfriend to a GA show where you're guarenteed a lot of physical contact and violence. You're in the trenches, she stands in front of you, and you immediately assume the position. An awkward human body bubble of protection. Any human that comes within a 1 foot perimeter will get shoved and elbowed by you. It doesn't matter who comes near... they will be punished for your mistake of bringing that oversexed lollipop to the show. If you want to take your delicate little flower to a concert, please, get seats, or stand way in the back. Oh also, don't you DARE hoist her up and put her on your shoulders. You're not circus performers, and you've literally just obstructed the view of HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. I swear to god, if I see some douche do this with his spider monkey of a girlfriend one more time, I will get an axe and cut you down like the world's most idiotic and inconsiderate tree.

6. The Crowd Molesters: You're in the pits with hundreds upon hundreds of people. There is human flesh pressed up against every square inch of you. You know it cannot be helped, but then, something grabs you... or rather, your more intimate parts. You try to swat the hand away but it persists. Then you begin to feel a firming pressure slowly encroach on the back of your leg, the small of your back, or where ever. Some disgusting son of a bitch is sexually harassing YOU. It would be helpful if you could scream, but guess what? You're at a concert, no one would hear you. You manage to get a punch in, maybe dig your nails into the flesh of their roaming hands... but the damage is done. It's never acceptable to do this boys. No wonder we have overprotective boyfriends in the crowd. Keep your goddamned fucking grubby ass hands to YOURSELF.

7. The Weasels: You've just waited in the GA line for a few hours, you rushed the stage, and have successfully staked your spot in the audience for optimal viewing. The show begins without a hitch and you're having a kick ass time. Until... the surrounding environment alters... there are people inching in from all directions who weren't there before. Every small opening is filled with another person- WEASELING their way in to the front. They'll go "OH HEY! THERE YOU ARE- Excuse me I want to get to my friend" and then shove their way into the crowd. There's the "beer run" douchebags that'll plow their way back in to further intoxicate their pack. Weaseling is rude and it tells us point blank that these people think that they are better than us, and that despite OUR efforts to be up front, they deserve to be there more. Oh, and why is it that these weasels always seem to be 6'8"?? Don't be a weasel, if you get in late, stake a spot that reflects your tardiness.

8. The Monkeys: Or those who throw SHIT at the performers. What the hell is that? Did you PAY to get in and harass the band? Was there some secret vendetta? A score to settle? What is the motive behind these immature acts? I've actually seen performers stop performing because of these apes. I would also like to add in another form of primate shinnanegans, SHINING shit into a performers eyes with laser pointers or other various light sources. What gives? Act like a somewhat civilized homo-sapien, toss nothing and shine nothing in the musicians eyes. The only acceptable monkey-like behavior is howling and screaming when it comes time for applause.

9. The Haters: This is a problem that plagues almost every show I attend. Hate. Hate towards the opening act. Impatient huffs ensue, and jaded taunts of BOO resound endlessly during the opener's mini-set. Look, they may not be who you came to see, but, please give them a chance! There was a day when the band you came to see was in the same position... so pay it forward. Who knows, maybe if you actually paid attention instead of being a dick you might hear something you like! The same rule applies for double billing and festivals. If you didn't come for every band on there, keep an open mind and show some respect. I don't see your ridiculous ass on that stage- so obviously these people have more luck and talent than you do.

10. The Crowd: Swayers, Surfers, Moshers, and Normal Fans alike... Listen, we are all here for the same reason- THE BAND. Do your part and act like the evolved species that we are. If you're surfing, try not to kick anyone in the head. If you're moshing, make sure those around you are active participants, and not there accidentally. Don't start fights (or at least try not to). This may sound like common sense, but I have learned that there is no such thing. Don't get me wrong, there's sense, but it certainly ain't common. Be considerate. Lend a helping hand if someone falls down.

I know it's hard out there, but these are some little things we can do to help. Concert Etiquette is not dead, it's just been forgotten. Let's help 'em all remember, shall we?