Monday, July 27, 2009

paul mccartney, 7/17/09, citifield, nyc and the future, 7/18/09, lit lounge, nyc

paul mccartney, 7/17/09, citi field, flushing, ny
the future, 7/18, lit lounge, nyc

For stylistic purposes I have chosen to combine the Paul McCartney and The Future reviews in order to represent both ends of the rock spectrum that I experienced in these 26 hours of bizzarro.

This concert was a totally unexpected prize. Partially through the week my friend Mark invited me to see it with some of his running crew at the brand new home of the New York Mets, Citi Field (atrocious name, why not "Shea II"?). Paul McCartney. The Beatle, Paul McCartney. The CUTE Beatle, Paul McCartney! How could anyone say no to that? The hitch came when Mark announced we'd be taking a Rocks Off boat up the East River to the stadium. A huge obstacle because I'm horrible on boats (I wanted to off myself during a Soulive boat cruise a few years back). I never actually puke, but the nausea is enough to prevent me from boarding in the first place. It would be quite a challenge, but I would do it for Paul McCartney*. Even if I had to "Scooby Doo" it the whole way.

Mark timed it correctly so we would be the last people to board the boat = less time for me to want to die on the boat. Jake from Wetlands does the boat cruises and gave us a tour up the East River, which included not only Riker's Island, but also the NYC DOC converted-barge-floating-prison! Sounds like hell! There's also a supplement to a LaGuardia runway that juts out into Flushing Bay that left me feeling uneasy. Or maybe that was the boat. It was probably the boat.

The plan to sit me down seemed to work as I only felt myself turn green just a once. About an hour later we docked and walked right into the Citi Field parking lot. This was a pretty swank way to go to a show (and ballgame probably) and I recommend it if you like boats & booze (in that order). Next, Rocks Off is getting hovercrafts for the St. Patrick's Day parade.

After finding Mark's crew in the lot (There was no Shakedown Street or grilled cheese to be found anywhere), we headed into the ballpark. My last trip to Shea was about 3 seasons ago, I always found it kind of a monstrosity. It was very industrial looking and sort of ugly. First impression of Citi Field: it kinda reminded me of Chelsea Market. Very cool, greys, bricks, separate kiosks scattered for food. You don't get the feeling that you're in NYC (except for the constant planes from LGA flying directly overhead). The open air design really did feel friendly w/ plenty of food to choose from. Way nicer than Shea. Then we walked by the MTV Rock Band Beatles stage, blaring the Beatles and featuring the vocal stylings of Mr. Pete DeGrazio. What a treat!

Pete is the Walrus

Not long afterwards, Sir Paul McCartney walked out and opened with Drive My Car. It was so odd to witness an actual, real life Beatle before me- it was almost surreal. He is still a mop-topped Liverpudlian and even fussed with said mop-top throughout the show (it drove the ladies wild). There were more stage sets than I've ever seen in my life. Lights and monitors were readjusted, raised, and removed for every song! The monitors played footage and photo montages including the Beatles Rock Band game animations (that was kind of a lame sellout moment). It was a ridiculous and massive production. Spectacular, really. And a real life Beatle!

He reminisced many times during the set about the Beatles legendary concert at Shea in 1965, explaining the difference in production values. The Beatles had to be piped through the stadium's PA system and you couldn't actually hear the music over the screaming girls. Right on cue, all the ladies would scream. He mentioned it like 3 times during the show. I hope it was cuz he wanted to hear all the shrieking again and not because he has dementia. Seriously. Paul fucking McCartney.

The crowd was a multi-generational, well-behaved, and plastic poncho wearing mix that included many who had been to the '65 Shea concert and returned to rock out. Bonkers. It was a real "thumbs-up" kinda crowd.

The setlist had a handful of Beatle's songs, then some of his solo and Wings stuff. He played touching tributes to: John Lennon, George Harrison, and Linda McCartney. Also, Heather Mill is a legless whore! He didn't say that but he was totally thinking it.

The show was great but didn't really start rocking until Back In the USSR. It warmed up the entire stadium. There was some hippie action going down during Give Peace a Chance. But when Live and Let Die kicked in- three words: pyro fucking technics! Fire! Awesome! At least a handful of concertgoers pooped their pants.

In 2008, Paul joined Billy Joel during his concert at Shea. So Billy Joel-- a painfully sunburned (the kind that burns when you sweat) Billy Joel returned the favor and sat in on I Saw Her Standing There. Perhaps a reference to both their recent divorces?

Separated at birth? Billy Joel & Dr. Zoidberg

This Paul McCartney show was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Another name to cross off the list***! Mark, I owe you some cookies.

the future, 7/18, lit lounge, nyc

I was hardly recovered from Friday night when Huiwen and Caprice convinced me to go out for a Girl's Night in the Citay. The centerpiece of the evening was when Caprice's friends, The Future, would take the stage at Lit Lounge. To up the ante, Miss Phatty Girl would be performing interpretive dance during a few numbers.

Lit Lounge. The place is every bit the shithole you'd expect. I walked inside and was met with the exact smell of the Bellvue Bar's bathroom- with the addition of incense (to try and cover it up-- that always works). My eyes watered and my nostrils instinctively constricted to avoid the toxicity of my surroundings. Close your eyes and imagine drowning in the blue liquid that flushes airplane toilets. And incense. The NYPD has flyers up both inside and outside the bar, warning people to watch their belongings. There were no warning signs about the watered down vodka or the 2nd nastiest bathroom in the world****.

We wandered downstairs to the basement and The Future hit the stage. They've got a loud sound to 'em. Power pop, heavily influenced by Zappa, Primus, and GWAR (and possibly Lady Gaga). One guitar lick was a total rip-off of Primus' Ballad of Bodacious. Don't think I didn't notice.

Their stage antics were a throwback to legendary performers, Ominous Seapods and included the tragic dismemberment of an innocent puppet. Of course, one can't talk about The Future's stage show without discussing the one and only Miss Phatty Girl, The Future's private dancer, dancer for money. It was Miss Phatty Girl's birthday, so the boys in the band got her some cupcakes, which she promptly redecorated herself with. It's fair to say Miss Phatty Girl services a specialty market in the adult dancing world, but it's nice that she can break through the barriers of weightism and expand her--- uh... audience.

Let me once again praise the goodness of my 15dB musician's ear filters, because there are only a scant few musicians I would willingly destroy my hearing via. Custom molded and worth every cent of the $150 (if that?) they cost. Handy whether you're in an extra loud bluegrass show or cement basement with low ceilings and too many speakers. Unsolicited Advice: Go get your damn hearing tested, cuz it's only getting worse.

After it all, what I still find fascinating and the reason for combining these two reviews into one, is that however many degrees apart Paul McCartney and the Future are, they are still connected. A band like The Future, would not exist without a man like Paul McCartney, but I am fairly certain Paul McCartney had never envisioned The Future (or Miss Phatty Girl) when he was helping create the genre known as Rock n' Roll. That *SNAP* you just heard was your mind being blown.

I'm still ranking them separately because- let's be honest, (even though he dyes his hair) Paul McCartney is a fucking Beatle. A BEATLE! Paul McCartney: 9 HUZZAHS!** Many many thanks to Mark, he is the Hospitality King.

The Future feat. the dance spectacular known as Miss Phatty Girl: 7.5 HUZZAHS! The spirit of the Seapods lives on.

Paul McCartney, 7/17/09, Citi Field, Flushing, NY
Drive My Car / Jet / Only Mama Knows / Flaming Pie / Got To Get You Into My Life / Let Me Roll It/Purple Haze / Highway / The Long and Winding Road / My Love / Blackbird / Here Today / Dance Tonight / Calico Skies / Mrs. Vanderbilt / Eleanor Rigby / Sing the Changes / Band on the Run / Back in the U.S.S.R. / I’m Down / Something / I’ve Got a Feeling / Paperback Writer / A Day in the Life/Give Peace a Chance / Let It Be / Live and Let Die / Hey Jude

ENCORES: Day Tripper / Lady Madonna / I Saw Her Standing There (with Billy Joel) / Yesterday / Helter Skelter / Get Back / Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/The End


* If you're not gonna do it for Paul McCartney, who are you gonna do it for? (I would also do it for God Street Wine)
** Dude. BEATLE.
*** LIST: People to see before they die.
**** 1st is The Monopole's basement.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

wilco, 7/13/09, keyspan park, brooklyn, ny

wilco, 7/13/09, keyspan park, coney island, ny

A ticket for this show kinda fell into my lap. Originally I had considered going to the Wappinger's Falls gig the following week* cuz I was so traumatized from my last experience at Coney Island. However, it was important to keep the nightmare of a clusterfucky Siren Festival separate from a gig at an actual venue- especially one as cool as the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, Keyspan Park. So, with great joy I nabbed Mike Weiss's extra and on a Monday night I was headed back to Brooklyn in an optimistic mood.

Mike and I met up in the lot and grabbed some tacos at a place in the block that cuts between Nathan's and the bumper cars blaring J.Lo's "Get Right". Don't be put off by the alleyway dining area with the plastic lawn furniture (that is usually packed with real-life actual Mexicans)- this place is phatty dank like a kind chicken taco. Ximena would have been helpful in this situation cuz Maria** at the cash register wasn't helping out her cook (or us), poor dude was running between the grill and the register. I was proud to be able to ask for the salsa rojo even though he thought I wanted a fruit punch gatorade. Hm. Well, whatever cuz my tacos were once again great and the salsa verde was awesome too. Mad Respek.

We headed into Keyspan to check out Yo La Tengo and at the gates a giant duck wearing a Wilco t shirt gave us nifty little Wilco "programs" that have: pics of & info about the band & tour (playing in many ballparks), a word find, and a scorecard for each of the tour dates & possible songs- so you can keep score of the show. The program is fucking ingenious. I love it.

Anywhoosits, Yo La Tengo were loud, atmospheric, and actually kind of shrilly. I was disappointed. Ya know, I couldn't remember if I liked them or not and now I think maybe not so much. Is it possible that all these years I've thought they were Guided By Voices? Apparently so.

They kept the netting up behind home plate, so we settled on a spot halfway up the first base line. The Price is Right music played and the Wilco took over and started with Wilco, the song. It was warm and welcoming, Wilco love me, baby. It's true, because I'm awesome. They are so right.

It was a pretty rockin' show and Jeff Tweedy was in a great mood. He was talking with the crowd, joking around, not at all like the clip Mike had sent me where he goes on an awesome tirade at the people who are talking while he plays. No, this Jeff was happy, smiling, and eating up all the love from the Brooklyn crowd, like Joey Chestnut going at 8000+ Nathan's hot dogs. They were all solid (the band, not the hot dogs- no, not the hot dogs at all), it's Wilco-- they are great. Brilliant and pure rock n' roll.

For the encore, Leslie Feist (Canadian), some dude from the band Grizzly Bear, and Yo La Tengo all sat-in on songs.

Highlights: Handshake Drugs, I'm the Man Who Loves You, Walken, Jesus, etc., Hummingbird, California Stars, & Hoodoo Voodoo.

Lowlights: literally-- the low lights. Their stage lighting is not conducive to picture taking from far away. Totes lame.

Great show! Beautiful night! Tacos! Wilco, 7/13/09, Keyspan Park, Brooklyn, NY: 8.5 HUZZAHS! Keyspan Park rules! Thanks again for the ticket, Mike! Exclamation points!!!

SETLIST courtesy of Wilcobase:
Wilco (The Song)
I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
A Shot In The Arm
At Least That's What You Said
Bull Black Nova
You Are My Face
One Wing
Handshake Drugs
Deeper Down
Impossible Germany
Jesus, Etc.
Sonny Feeling
I'm Always In Love
Can't Stand It
Hate It Here
I'm The Man Who Loves You

Encore 1:
Heavy Metal Drummer
You And I (w/ Feist on vocals)
California Stars (w/ Feist and Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear on backup vocals and percussion)
You Never Know (w/ Feist and Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear on backup vocals and percussion)
Spiders (Kidsmoke) (w/ Yo La Tengo)

Encore 2:
The Late Greats
Hoodoo Voodoo (w/ Feist and Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear on backup vocals and percussion)

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! courtesy of


* Wilco's set conflicted with Elvis Costello's at Bonnaroo, so I only saw them for about 20 minutes (Elvis wins!).
** I'm not being racist, that was really her name- the cook was yelling at her-- "MARIA-- MARIA!!"

Thursday, July 16, 2009

yonder mountain string band, 7/10/09, tarrytown, ny

yonder mountain string band, 7/10/09,
tarrytown music hall, tarrytown, ny

Mmkay, so I was probably the only one excited when Yonder Mountain String Band announced a stop in Tarrytown on their Summer tour. A mere 15 miles North of NYC, easily accessible by train or car- it's atrocious more Yonder fans didn't make the effort, especially after seeing their jam-packed Nokia and Irving shows over the past few years. Tarrytown Music Hall's website even lets you choose what seat you want- totes sweet- if I had my druthers, which I did- I'd be up front, offset in the Jeff zone. And so it was.

The Tarrytown Music Hall has shows for what do you call them the "law abiding" mostly older citizens of Westchester. They also have hipper bands that the kids listen to every once in a while too. Anyways, Yonder at the Tarrytown Music Hall was an odd combo and I wasn't sure what to expect. Odds were pretty good that there would be a good number of older people coming to see Yonder Mountain String Band after reading and the word "bluegrass" in their newsletter. How would they feel about the Yonder crowd pushing up against the stage and dancing all night? Or perhaps even a stray glow stick to the soft, elderly noggin? Certainly no one would smoke in a non smoking room.

I ate a stray rice krispie treat and headed in. As the usher took me to the front row, the place was kinda empty and there were definitely a variety of audience members sitting there waiting for the show (that hadn't started on time- gasp!**). And when the lights went down and the Yonder fans started rushing to the front of the stage (confounding the elders)- I took a couple of steps forward and claimed my spot right between Jeff and Ben mere seconds before people filled in behind me.

The guys came out and plugged Lago di Como Restaurant down the block from the theater. They stuffed themselves repeatedly* there and want everyone to go. They said it was the best meal they'd had all tour. Nothing but rave reviews-- damn, I gotta try this place! Also, they mentioned they were full of food and were not sure how that would effect the show.

They busted into Mother's Only Son and Jeff promptly broke his string. Like, first strum promptly. So, they stopped, he got his backup mandolin, and they started the show again. Great energy that was undoubtedly pasta fueled: a well-fed band is a happy band- it's Rule # 1. I can't stress this enough, people.

In between songs Ben addressed the subscription-ticket-holder portion of the audience. "For how many of you is this your first time seeing Yonder Mountain String Band? Wow. Well, as I'm sure you've noticed, we're not your typical bluegrass band and our fans don't really care what their ticket says, they want to get close to the stage and dance. I'm not going to discourage it, that wouldn't be right." Then he said the previous night something similar happened and a man in an ascot complained to that theater**. Crowd rule, man. It's an unwritten agreement. If you can't see and want to sit, go find another seat.

ANNNNYWAYS. Great 1st set, I don't recognize all the song names but Southbound was fun and when they broke into "Granny Woncha Smoke Some" to accompany the random clouds of inconspicuous smoke floating around the theater- I think the message was pretty clear. Did I mention to the right of me was a 12 year old with a Big Gulp and his father? He was having a blast. And when Jeff addressed "the youth of the nation" during "Smoke Some", he looked right at the kid and said, "not until you're 21 and it better be at a Yonder show", to which apparently the kid's dad gave Jeff the death stare. They moved back for the 2nd set.

East Nashville Easter ended the set. I fucking love that song. Something rabble rousing about it. Gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing. One of the things I love most about Yonder Mountain String Band is their ability to take an audience on a twisting and turning journey into the depths of evil. FUCK YEAH, Yonder.

For setbreak I made a deal with 2 random people and we swapped out bathroom breaks and saved each other's spots up front (even though technically, that was where my ticket was anyway). It really didn't seem like there were many people there, some hardy subscription holders were even staying for the whole show- maybe Yonder made some new fans? Cool. Come to the dark side. We have bluegrass.

2nd set started well and rocked. Raleigh & Spencer got the energy back quickly. Nice bit of Leftover Salmon John Hartford (thanks to 4dice for the correction***) with Up On the Hill Where They Do the Boogie. Traffic Jam w/ Girlfriend is Better sandwich- right on. The crowd was loving it, the energy was up, the Yonder fans had moved in for the kill.

By the time the encore came around, it had become quite an intimate gathering. So the band decided to go acapella as a treat. They walked right up to the end of the stage- where I was still planted- and proceeded to bust out 3 more songs til curfew hit. They just barely made it! It was cute. Whoever was left in the theater was lovin' it.

It really was the perfect show for the moment. I had been jonesin' for a Yonder show and this one was conveniently located, laid back, refreshing. Yonder was the sorbet course- a palate cleanser, if you will, in a string of various shows of different magnitudes. I needed it! I'm very happy they were able to gorge themselves with italian food and rock Tarrytown at it's foundations. Nothing but smiles (and possibly traumatized old people and parents) left in their wake. 9 HUZZAHS! Not sure they'll be back there, but I can't wait for their next NYC area show-- hell, I'd even go to Jersey to see 'em.


07/10/09 Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown, NY

Set I: Mother's Only Son, Mental Breakdown, Night Out, Angel With The Golden Hair, I'll Love Nobody But You, Must've Had Your Reasons, Fastball> Southbound, Amanda Rose, Someday's Reunion, Romance Blues, Granny Woncha Smoke Some, Reuben & Cherise> East Nashville Easter

Set II: Raleigh & Spencer> Illinois Rain> Raleigh & Spencer, Wildewood drive, New Deal Train, Nothin' But Nothin', Fingerprint> Up On The Hill Where They Do The Boogie, Traffic Jam> Pockets> Girlfriend Is Better> Traffic Jam

Encore: Molly & Tenbrooks, All Your Dreams, Hit Parade Of Love

Didn't see any tapers and haven't come across any DL links yet (4dice tells me 1 taper was there, but got harassed and was forced to dismantle)- but here's the Penn's Peak and Syracuse shows they tore up- these shows are must have's.


* As in they went for lunch, then they went back for seconds, and then they ate dinner there.
** 4dice sent me a random blog's review of the Tarrytown show and the blogger dude totally sprained his doily and was complaining that he couldn't see cuz people were dancing, the show didn't start on time, blah blah blah. He also said the only good thing about the show was a Dead cover--- omg, I can't even say it without laughing.
*** Only knew this as a Leftover Salmon tune, I learn at least two new things new every day!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

moe., 7/5/09, vasa park, mt. olive, nj

moe. (w/ ryan montbleau band), 7/5/09, vasa park, mt. olive, nj

Vasa Park in Mt. Olive, NJ. What a random little spot for a killer moe. show. Who knew? An afternoon with moe. and the weather was BEAUTIFUL! Good fucking times. Vasa Park is a NJ State Park and thusly had it's fair share of not only older-volunteer-types, but also reasonably priced concessions, and some po' po' wandering around (providing security and such).

It was definitely a family-friendly affair and I believe there was even a spin-art station. I could be making that up... Hm.

I headed in fairly early and ended up wandering around and taking some random pics. Some hippie girl wandered into the woods to pick raspberries and the security guy didn't know what to do with her. Onlookers warned her about poison ivy, Jersey pumas, and the chupacabra but I guess some people just have a death wish.

Ryan Montbleau Band opened up the show and were pretty chill. The music had a swing feel to it which I didn't expect, but really enjoyed. There was a fair crowd for them, but people didn't really wander in til after they finished. Kinda lame. I was afraid they would be Dave Matthews-y, but to my delight they were good! Also, I dig the drummer's hair. Twerk it.

I can't seem to find a link to the Ryan setlist or recording. That means it's up to YOU to find them both and post them in the comments section of this entry.

Shortly thereafter, moe. rocked the fuckin' park. The first set featured a cameo by Ryan Montbleau and his percussionist, Yahuba Garcia on Harder They Come. Ryan's dancing was kind of spastic and Chuck was totally laughing at him (with him?). Wicked Awesome-> Wormwood->Okayalright, The Road- all nice. Tubing-> the Pit. Great. Hearing the Pit made me feel less guilty about leaving early at Bonnaroo. There seemed to be a lot of those fervent kiddies at this gig but it didn't get to the amateur hour point which was nice. Kids today with their pants and their the moe..

For Set 2 I stood out in the wings on Chuck.side, it was quite roomy and nice. Some dude climbed a giant tree and the band did a public service announcement asking him to be careful and saying Hodges would catch him. I screamed "jump" and repeatedly taunted him. He is still up there, Wookie In the Tree. Some say if you go out during a full moon and listen closely you can still hear his haunting cry, "Plane Crash, bruh! Plane Crash!"

Let's pause for a minute to discuss al's rockstar-guitar-god poses. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Steve Vai, Kirk Hammett, and Eddie Van Halen, he's gotten pretty damn good at them over the past 3-4 years. He's learned to stand on just about every piece of equipment that gives him additional height and pushes him closer to the heavens**. He's also perfected the art of stepping closer and leaning out over the audience to create a piranha-like feeding frenzy of moe.rons before him. Chuck answers with his own poses & drum riser climbs and I love when he pulls them out because they command attention and seem slightly more of the metal variety, like he is summoning demons from the depths of hell, but al. really utilizes the power of the rockstar-guitar-god pose in a family-friendly all-ages-audience type way. Nicely done, al.

Moth -> Jazz Wank, totally teasing Yodelittle from the very start- finally, Yodelittle back into Moth. It was a giant happy sandwich w/ bacon, if Yodelittle were bacon. Blammo, Rebubula-- awesome. Finally, more relief of my Bonnaroo survivor's guilt. They belted it out, it really got the crowd riled up, very cool. I heart it. Oh, and al has this crazy double neck guitar and the top neck is a mandolin. It's very Rick Nielsen of him.

The encores were special requests from a few of the many little kids that were running around. One made a sign which was a picture of a "blue jeans pizza" (cute) and the other was a fancy little sign begging for Spine. The band is now accepting all song requests that are made through glittery signs and/or macaroni art. I think there's an age limit on that though, like 12 and under? That won't stop me. Anyways, still not in love with Blue Jeans Pizza, but I do love Spine and was psyched to hear the regular version and not the bizarro new one where the end of the song starts it instead of the chanting at the beginning (and no chance for them to fuck up the counting like they usually do). Wind It Up's just a warming, loving song. A nice last encore.

Mmkay! moe., w/ Ryan Montbleau Band, 7/5/09, Vasa Park, Mt. Olive, NJ: 9 HUZZAHS! Gorgeous day, great music, chill crowd, TREEEEES! Awesome. Got to hang out with some very cool people during the show and made a few new friends. The perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon in July.

Crab Eyes
All Roads Lead To Home
The Harder They Come *
Wicked Awesome ->
Wormwood ->
The Road
Tubing The River Styx ->
The Pit

Moth ->
Jazz Wank ->
Yodelittle ->
Rebubula ->
Cathedral ->

Blue Jeans Pizza %
Spine Of A Dog %
Wind It Up

* = w/ Ryan Montbleau (vocals) & Yahuba Garcia (percussion)
% = by request after some kids made signs asking for them (even though they were just played 2 nights before)

DL THIS SHOW! (thanks again/always to Scott Bernstein for taping!)


** and learned his lesson at snoe.down 2007 when he climbed a monitor and fell flat on his back after losing his balance in the middle of a solo--- but he KEPT PLAYING! Now, that is rockstar.