Archive for the ‘Concert’ Category

Caught the Counting Crows on Paladia in HD the other night. They performed their newest album track by track.  Funny thing was that it sounded better live on tv than it does on the actual record through my headphones.

I’ll never forget the time when my friend Diane (aka Numbnuts) and I saw them in concert at the Warfield in San Francisco. The Wallflowers opened up the show. Counting Crows vocalist Adam Duritz even wore a Cal t-shirt — Dicey was out of her mind. Both bands got together to jam on an encore of Cecilia.

The prevailing memory from that evening was the drive home. Twenty miles per hour on parts of 280 thanks to a major rainstorm. Odd feeling of post-show euphoria and white-knuckle slow-speed driving. I was never so happy to finally get home.


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ninja2009-epLast Friday evening, my buddy Dooms and I attended the Nine Inch Nails / Jane’s Addiction show at Shoreline in Mountain View. While it should be noted that yours truly did not ingest any “outside food” himself, there was certainly no shortage of neighboring concert-goers who chose to partake in the more traditional form of the ritual, as evidenced by the unmistakeably pungent aroma wafting around the amphitheater air that chilly evening. Our seats were neither good nor bad, located at the very top row of the reserved section, a pathway-width away from the lunatics on the lawn.

As for the show itself, the co-headliners provided the audience with a definitive contrast in musical style and overall aesthetic. Nine Inch Nails performed their 80-minute set on a relatively small, somewhat claustrophobic stage, backlit only by several columns of stark, white floodlights. NIN leader/frontman Trent Reznor only sparingly spoke with the crowd, instead focusing his voice and energy on the delivery of his lyrics and music.

Although I don’t consider myself a huge fan (I own the first album), it was quite clear to me that Mr Reznor and band had the enthusiastic audience eating out of the palms of their hands. The highlight of NIN’s set for me came during their performance of ”Head Like a Hole”, a song whose lyrics describe the downside of being obsessed with money and material wealth, when every member of the crowd sang along with the chorus.

Head like hole, black as your soul,

I’d rather die, than give you control.

Head like a hole, black as your soul,

I’d rather die, than give you control.

Bow down before the one you serve,

You’re going to get what you deserve.

Bow down before the one you serve,

You’re going to get what you deserve.

After a short intermission, Jane’s Addiction opened with “Three Days”, a sprawling opus of a song from their Ritual album. They performed their 90-minute set on a wide-open stage, awash in purple, red, yellow, blue, and green lights and a pair of video screens. Vocalist/frontman Perry Farrell frequently chatted up the crowd, who, like me, seemed to hang on his every word.

The highlight of their set, for me, came when they played ”Summertime Rolls”, my all-time favorite Jane’s song. And although it wasn’t nearly as noticeably momentous to the ten-thousand strong audience as NIN’s “Head Like a Hole”, having Perry sing those words of that song that night at Shoreline to an audience of one, sent me all the way back to those nights when I would lay on the floor of my room, headphones hugging my ears, and I would listen to songs like ”Summertime Rolls” until I drifted off to sleep.

Fell into a sea of grass

and disappeared among the shady blades.

Children all ran over me

Screaming Tag! You are the one.

Me and my girlfriend don’t wear no shoes

her nose is painted pepper sunlight.

I love her, I mean it’s oh so serious,

as serious can be.

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The World’s First Compare and Contrast Concert Review of

Britney Spears and Clem Snide

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During a whirlwind two-week period in the month of April, I had the rather unique privilege of attending live performances by two distinctly different recording artists on the road in America in support of their latest musical releases. Clem Snide, led by the enigmatic and prolific singer songwriter Eef Barzelay, is a three-piece indie rock group known for their catchy tunes and thought-provoking lyrics. As for Britney Spears, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about her. Who hasn’t, right?

Now, before I launch into a point by point exercise in compare and contrast, I would like to share with you the two most frequently asked questions about my attending these two shows. Inevitably and without fail, when I would tell someone of my concert plans, they would ask me “Who?” in regards to Clem and “Why?” about going to see Britney. I would mumble something along the lines of, “If you have to ask…”, for the first one and then I’d steer them to the band’s wikipedia page. As for the other question, the only thing I felt comfortable saying was that I was merely accompanying Fehmeen but I had a sneaking suspicion that they would break out my iPod and bust me for my five song Britney playlist. (Just an fyi here, but I easily have three times as many Clem tunes on the very same player, thank you very much).

Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy the reviews.

Ticket Price and Availability: Tickets for the sold out Britney show were not only expensive, they were fairly difficult to come by as well. We had to take out a second mortgage on the house in addition to raiding Emma’s college fund (think scholarship, my little Bug). Fehmeen was also verbally brow-beaten by a Ticketmaster agent on the phone about my “handicap” and the potential ramifications if we were lying about my “disability” in order to score our seats. As far as acquiring tickets for the Clem show, all it took was one email to Bruce at the band’s record label (remember my review of the new album a few months ago) and I was on the guest list. That was it. Edge: Clem

Venue Cache: While it’s fun to witness the spectacle of a ginormous arena show at a venue like Oracle, there is nothing cooler than catching a band in a small club like The Bottom of the Hill. Edge: Clem

Parking: Arriving early landed us a primo spot on the street about a hundred feet from the front door of the club and that was a good thing. Parking behind a currently occupied RV and stepping in dried up dog crap as I exited the vehicle, not so good. On the other hand, was it worth the twenty-five sheckels it cost to park in the handicap/luxury box lot at the arena? Hell yeah, considering it took us all of ten seconds to leave the lot when the show ended. Edge: Britney

Handicap Accessibility: I’ve got three words for you: Red Carpet Treatment. The second we had our tickets scanned at Oracle, we were partnered up with an employee who not only escorted us to our seats but verbally swept the path clear for me and my wheelchair. At the Bottom of the Hill, it was more along the lines of, “Have fun, dude.” Edge: Britney

Quality of Seats: While it was amazing to be on the floor of the club, approximately thirty feet from the stage, it quickly turned annoying as row after row of upright adults stood in front of me. As for the Britney show, our visually unobstructed seats were located on the lip of the luxury box level. Edge: Britney

Souvenirs and Swag: Where else could you purchase four CDs and a tour shirt for fifty bucks AND get to laugh at your friend named Parker as he actually wears the shirt during the show? Not at the Britney concert, that’s for sure. The closest I got to a merch booth at Oracle was the guys selling bootleg Britney t-shirts on Heggenberger Rd as we drove in. Edge: Clem

Hanging with the Peeps: Either I am out of the loop fashion-wise or someone dosed my coke with no ice but apparently in order to be an in-style urban hipster at the Clem show, you had to be a dude wearing skinny jeans, sporting a fully cultivated and impeccably manicured beard. As for the Britney show, you were ‘in’ if you were a twenty-something woman or a gay man who liked to dance. Edge: N/A

Inappropriate Behavior: If you are in a non-crowded club and you have full use of your legs, please do not stand directly in front of the guy sitting in the wheelchair. It’s effin’ rude. If you have tickets in the luxury box section for a concert at Oracle and you yourself are not or you are not with someone who is handicapped in any way, do not move yourself into the row reserved for people with special needs. It’s disrespectful and distasteful. Edge: Neither

This Concert is Brought to You by: Practically everywhere you looked before the show on stage and between acts on screen at Britney, there were ads for Virgin Mobile. Even if I could talk or text, I would boycott their services on principle. As for Clem, it was as pure as the driven snow, baby. No ads. Edge: Clem

Opening Act: As far as openers go, Pepi Ginsburg (attired in her satin blue jacket with the embroidered butterfly on the back) was a little rough around the edges but the Heligoats were hella cool (I bought their CD) at the Clem show. At the Britney show, there were four too many Pussycat Dolls prowling around the stage. Who would’ve thought that I could ever be bored watching five ‘hot’ women in knee-high boots shaking their moneymakers? Edge: Clem

Headliner: Here’s the dilemma: How do I choose between a pop singer with an ultra-elaborate stage show who lip-synched the entire concert or a musical genius who sleepwalked his way through his show?

The Final Analysis: In the end, I suppose it all boils down to how much fun I had and how I felt as I exited each show. Based on the numbers, Clem won more categories but Britney won my heart. Winner: Britney

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Fehmeen and I went out clubbing last night. On a school night, even. We were so exhausted after an evening of debauchery that they had to wheel me out of there. There was slightly inappropriate dancing and excessive drinking and thunderous live music pumping all night long. And if you think that we were a part of any of that then you definitely don’t know us very well.

We had tried to see Keith Anderson a few years ago and failed miserably. For all of you who just said, “Who?”, Keith Anderson is a country music singer/songwriter who used to write hit songs for other artists and now has a solo career. I know you probably stopped paying attention at the part where I wrote country music but if you are a fan of well-written, catchy, hooky, fun and creative music then do yourself a favor and check him out and maybe you’ll end of digging him as much as we do.

The last time we tried to catch him, we arrived at Club Rodeo, tickets in hand, to an utterly empty and deserted parking lot and nightclub. We were clued in by another pair of uninformed losers that Keith had canceled this date on his tour due to a sore throat. Apparently the promoters had inundated the airwaves of the local country radio station with this info but since we don’t have that particular station on our car presets, we were S.O.L.

So it was with mixed emotions that we arrived at a jam-packed, coned-off so as to restrict access to Club Rodeo parking lot last night. Happy because the show was obviously on this time around and annoyed because they were absolutely zero handicapped parking spaces in the near vicinity of the building. We ended up parking in front of a warehouse on a dark street a few blocks away. I utilized the off-road feature of my wheelchair and we made our bumpy and unevenly-surfaced way to the front door.

Once inside, we now had to jockey for a seat. (Not really for me because I provide my own accomodations but for Fehmeen). We found a spot at a table next to these radio exec type dudes who didn’t say word one to us all night. Perhaps it was because we just sat ourselves down at their empty table while they were trying their hand at line dancing and they didn’t feel like throwing down with a Blue Placard Warrior and his hottie. Or maybe they were just being nice.

As we settled in with our drinks for the evening, a glass of coke for me and a tiny little adult beverage made from grapes for my partner in crime, we couldn’t help but notice that the floor show had begun. Parading around before our eyes in a counter-clockwise circular-ish trajectory were approximately four dozen of the Silicon Valley’s most enthusiastic, and not to mention rather interestingly dressed, group of line dancers. To their credit, they did a better job with the dancing than with the dressing because most of the fashions on display were in vogue circa 1995, with the notable exception of a few misguided attempts at pulling off the skinny jean look. (Before you say, “Oh yeah, what were you wearing?”, I will admit right here and now that I wore the same outfit to the show that I wore to school that same day which consisted of a pair of jeans and a button down shirt purchased from…Costco. Deal with that, judgers of me judging you). 🙂

Around 930 pm, scheduled show time, a dj, I mean on-air personality, from the local country station graced the stage with his Cowboys-hatted presence. And when I say Cowboys hat, I’m not referring to a chapeau of the ten-gallon variety but rather of the Dallas/Tony Romo/Terrel Owens vintage. Front runner or fan from back in the day, I know not, but an interesting choice of dome cover in Niner country. Apparently, it was his designated duty to scream out the message, even though he had a microphone in his hand, to the increasingly socially lubricated masses that it was almost time to rock and that we should check out these upcoming Club Rodeo shows, of which he told us about for the next few moments.

Fifteen more minutes passed before the headliner and his band hit the stage. In addition to playing tunes from both of his albums, Keith also performed a couple of songs that he had written and had become hits for other artists. To me, the coolest part of the show happened when Keith introduced the band to the audience. As he mentioned each band members name, they played a verse and a chorus of a cover song that showcased each guy’s talent. I did not expect to hear Kiss’ Detroit Rock City, Don Henley’s Boys of Summer, or an unremembered titled (by me) tune by ZZ Top at a country bar.

In addition to the music being played, we were afforded the opportunity to bear witness to the drunken human drama unfolding on the dance floor in front of us. In addition to the usual sloppy and staggering slow-dance make out sessions, there was this white-haired older gentleman with a Moe from the Three Stooges haircut who was enthusiastically dancing with every pretty girl in the joint. At one point he even got so excited that he grabbed a bunch of balloons that were at the edge of the dance floor and headbutted them. Good times, good times.

By around 1100 pm, Fehmeen and I were ready to get out of Dodge. We bid a fond adieu to Club Rodeo as we rolled out of there. We arrived home around 1115 pm, checked on the Bug, and promptly crashed for the night. As I drifted off to sleep, I thought about the good time I had tonight and how great it felt to be out in the world doing normal people things again. I definitely have to do this again.

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