Sunday, January 22, 2012

Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker, 1/14/12, Highline Ballroom, NYC

Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker, 1/14/12, Highline Ballroom, NYC

Yep, it's that time of year again!

First off-- Holy FUCK! Dinner at The Green Table in Chelsea Market was amazing! They feature a farm-to-table, seasonal market menu. Perfectly comforting and warming (necessary for one of the colder days thus far, this year) annnd a deliciously solid base to build the night on. This particular night seemed to call for the Market Soup of the Day, a Potato Leek Bacon Concoction that stuck to the bones. And of course, a Ginger Margarita (both for warming purposes, and, well-- Ginger Margarita-- why wouldn't you?). For an entree, I got their Chicken Pot Pie, cuz I'm like a slut for a good Chicken Pot Pie, and the Waitress said it'd be the best Chicken Pot Pie I'd ever have. It was. It was stocked with incredibly hearty and delicious Organic veggies & perfectly cooked free range chicken, and it magically targeted and infused itself directly into my bone marrow. Jesus Fucking Christ that was better than a flu shot! The Figgy Sticky Toffee Pudding with pomegranate and pistachio crumble was also pretty fucking awesome. Mr. Juan Grillo braved the girly drinks and got a grilled sunchoke (it's a tuber, y'all!) salad w/ olives & watercress-- YUM. Annnnd, the Duck Confit w/ buttered cabbage, celeriac puree, & sage jus. JUS! Shit. I don't even know if I should be telling y'all about this place, so I'm not even gonna link it. It's really small. You can't get a table.

Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot, Chicken Pot Piiiiiie!

Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker have been doing their NYC stop this same weekend for several years now, and that's super special for me, cuz it's right around my Birfday, so like, Happy Birthday To Me and stuff. It was an early show w/ a 7PM start. As per tradition, pregame/dinner landed us 10 minutes late for CVB's set-- we never get this right! We got to hear the tail end of Tania, which is better than hearing no Tania at all. The Highline was PACKED-- not quite moe.-packed, but about 93% of moe.-packed, so still, really packed. There was a lot of excitement in the air.

Camper sounded spectacular, they had a ton of energy, and the crowd was giving it right back to them. They played hard. Bass player, Victor Krummenacher, was my favorite to watch during this set, possibly because he totally ROCKED a bandana neckerchief. Mad Skillz. David Lowery's laptop was not onstage next to his mic where it usually is, which was great, cuz we wouldn't have to stare at the back of a computer the entire night (also, better pics!).

They played a Swedish Prog Rock Opera song or two. Okay-- but I like the faster stuff. CVB Highlights: (what we saw of) Tania, Eye of Fatima Pt. 1 & 2, Tina, Ambiguity Song, Balalaika Gap, Seven Languages, and of course, Matchstick Men. Awesome set. Wish it were longer!

During setbreak, I managed to get up against the stage, Sal side, but some dude decided to stay leaning sideways against the stage, directly to my left, which slightly obscured my view for most of the set. If there were any room to move centerstage, I might have gone for it, but there was what looked like a Staten Island Bachelorette party directly to leaning-dude's left, and I just didn't want any of that.

Cracker got onstage and lit up the Highline. They were having a lot of fun and sounded amazing-- like, SUPER amazing, kind of better than ever and ON FIRE. The crowd was going nuts. My one regret was that I never made it over to the Johnny Hickman side to watch him rock out close up, because that's always a highlight for me. He was playing the crowd, stomping the air, wearing sunglasses, shredding the hell out of his axe, being his awesome self, and I had to enjoy it from waaaay over on the other side. NYC Cracker Staple, Kenny Margolis, once again wowed us all with his mad accordion fantasticness.

Cracker Highlights: Seven Days, I See the Light, a huuuuge Mr. Wrong. Been Around the World & Gimme One More Chance had the entire room bouncing. Lonesome Johnny Blues, of course. A sweet Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out. Happy Birthday To Me-- that's a given. And then they positively killed it on Low. It was one of those electric shows where the band probably walked off stage and felt REALLY GOOD, cuz they fucking BROUGHT it… And then the Highline kicked us out so the Jersey Shore Dance Party could start.

The set was just flat out POWERHOUSE CRACKER. Their Rock appeal is more widespread than people realize, so do yourself a favor and download the set (link below). NYCTaper did another great job with the recording and you're about due to hear some new live Cracker anyways, aren't you?

Thanks to The Green Table for a fucking amazing meal!!! Thanks to Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker for a fucking amazing show!!! Birthday wishes out to my friend Heidi who couldn't make it at the very last minute, but at least we know we can do it again next year! Happy Birthday To Me, and to you! Camper Van Beethoven & Cracker, 1/14/12, Highline Ballroom, NYC: 9+ HUZZAHS!!!

Having nothing to do with the Highline show, but being incredibly awesome enough for me to embed it anyways-- here's One Fine Day, recorded recently at The Chicaco Music Exchange. It's Cracker Van Beethoven. It's badass. They shred. Watch it!

All Her Favorite Fruit
Summer Days
O Death
Eye of Fatima Part 1
Eye of Fatima Part 2
You’ve Got to Roll
Sad Lovers Waltz
Ambiguity Song
Take the Skinheads Bowling
Balalaika Gap
The Poppies of Balmorhea
Too High For The Love-In
Seven Languages
Pictures of Matchstick Men


Seven Days
Don’t Fuck Me Up (With Peace and Love)
100 Flower Power Maximum
Big Dipper
I See The Light
Mr. Wrong
Been Around The World
Gimme One More Chance
Wedding Day
Lonesome Johnny Blues
Turn On Tune In Drop Out
Happy Birthday To Me
Eurotrash Girl

Teen Angst



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So, You're Looking For a List of Names of People Who Have Done Something Specific, But Wiki Is Dark.

Inspiration hits when wiki is dark. HOW WILL SOPA/PIPA EFFECT YOU?

UPDATE: is pitch black too! Oh, the horror, the horror!

UPDATE 2: Wanted to download some free audio? Suck it! The archive is dark too!

UPDATE 3: The Oatmeal uses a koala making love to a goat, to explain SOPA/PIPA. It's all about love, people.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NYE Run 2011-2012: The Infamous Stringdusters & Phish

The Infamous Stringdusters, 12/28/11, Mexicali, Teaneck, NJ
The Phish, 12/29, 30, & 31/11, Madison Square Garden, NYC
aka, NYE Run 2011-2012: Recession Edition

Let's start this off honest-- I really didn't feel motivated to see Phish this NYE Run. Don't get me wrong, you know I love me some The Phish, but I had possibly reached my (physical and mental) Phish threshold for 2011. I had definitely already spent enough money on them in 2011, which is why an $80 (face + fees) ( x 1-4 nights) ticket was absolutely out of the question. Just-- NO. That is $80 I'd rather spend towards lift tickets (and Health Insurance) this season. So, on a lark, I went out of my way to not buy tickets for any Phish MSG shows. moe. were in Maine and the Ryan Montbleau Band were in Stowe. Both were amazing options, but I was leaning towards That French Kid, because A VT trip would include skiing, friends, skiing, free lodging, and, well-- VT. Did I mention the skiing?

With the recent addition of a puppy to the household, traveling for NYE was no longer an option. Friends were prodding me with their Phish extras, but I kept turning them down. Suuure, there are worse problems to have. Woe is me. My life is hell. I did asterisk everything with a *"but I might try and get a ticket for the 29th".

WEDNESDAY, 12/28/11

On the morning of the 28th, I challenged a couple of friends to find me a $40 ticket for the 29th-- cuz, you know, I might as well see one show, but I was still unwilling to pay full price for it, consarnit! And then I went to see the Infamous Stringdusters, at Mexicali, in Teaneck… for $20.

In fact, the early December purchase of said $20 Infamous Stringdusters ticket, had become a sort of Bold Personal Statement about my determination to at least not see all of the Phish shows this NYE Run. Jamgrassy and all fired up, The Infamous Stringdusters opened for Yonder Mountain String Band during the Great Pre-Halloween Blizzard of 2011, but due to massive travel issues, we missed their entire set. However, they did manage to come out for a few songs and help Yonder light the stage into a raging fucking fire, and that display of reckless endangerment was exactly why I was hellbent on seeing The Stringdusters headline a show. And at $20-- what a bargain! Even when, a few hours before showtime, I got a text from Mattypie offering me a free Phish ticket for that night. "No thanks! I'm going to see The Stringdusters!!"

First off, Mexicali was packed. The room was hot and the fog machines were blasting, as they do. Comedic Icon and Banjo Aficionado, Steve Martin, was in the audience. Yeah, Tony Trischka was there too, but maybe you didn't read that correctly-- S-T-E-V-E M-A-R-T-I-N. I was hoping beyond hope that he'd get onstage for a song, rumor amongst the crowd was that he would, but alas, he did not. Still--- Steve Martin in his hat and glasses, at a table, like a regular guy-- except that he's STEVE MARTIN. Fucking Genius.

And the Stringdusters--- awesome! They had just come off a 5 week vacation and looked refreshed and rabid to play. Highlights: SET I: Steam Powered Aeroplane, In God's Country-- yes, U2's In God's Country-- great song, unique cover choice (a theme weaved throughout the night), and really nicely done. Ain't No Way of Knowin', Can't Stop the Changes, and a shredding Black Rock.

During setbreak, I got a text from Weiss, who had found me a $40 ticket for Thursday. I cackled maniacally into the cold night sky. This must be the same type of adrenaline rush those Extreme Couponing fanatics experience.

Highlights SET II: Spinal Tap's legendary Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight. Awesome. A happy-go-lucky, kinda dreamy, cover of Police's Walking On the Moon. For the Encore, they unplugged and came down to the floor… The Bass player claimed the land right next to me, so of course, I didn't move. The rest of the band filled in, quickly pushed together by the crowd, and they busted out an Uncle Pen, that drew a delightful little singalong. I couldn't help but wonder if Phish were also playing it, and then not really care, because seeing the Stringdusters that night was clearly the Official Right Choice. Go me!

The Infamous Stringdusters are young, full of energy, and really psyched to be playing in that band. They sound great. You should totally see them. What a fun night!

The Infamous Stringdusters, 12/28/11, Mexicali, Teaneck, NJ

SET I: Fork In the Road, The Hitchhiker, Steam Powered Aeroplane, 17 Cents, In God's Country, Masquerade, Ain't No Way of Knowin, You Can't Stop the Changes, Place that I Call Home, Get it While You Can, Black Rock

SET II:Heavy Metal, Long, Lonesome Day, Gettin' Down the Road, Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight, Rosalie McFall, Walking on the Moon, Deep Elem Blues, Y2k, Night on the River, One More Bridge, My Destination, Moon Man

ENCORE: Uncle Pen#, Blue Night#, Midnight Moonlight#

# Unplugged in middle of floor

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Jack Riley!

THURSDAY, 12/29/11

Phish! Moderate excitement! Féile for pregame w/ Weiss & Leeeza, a really yummy Bloody Mary (the Irish know how to do it right!), and a pile of deliciously bite-sized crispy fried chicken things. Yes! More Good Choices! Foreshadowing, perhaps?

We went in fairly early, wandered around and checked out the new digs. Along the style-lines of Yankee Stadium and New Shea, some high quality snacky-meal establishments are moving into MSG's 100 level. There are also a ton of bars (w/ wall outlets to plug in your phones if you have a charger on hand), which is nice for those of us who can't drink the Beer. We theorized that MSG itself might soon be a reasonable place to pregame for MSG shows in that particularly difficult neighborhood. Shock & Awe! Also, it's very very shiny. And you have to "wave" over the back of the toilets to get them to flush, so if you're like me, this provides the opportunity to do at least 1 totally necessary, awesome ninja-like karate kick over the top of the toilet, per show-- which if you're wondering, is a huge bonus.

I got a line on an extra for the following two nights at face value, but I wasn't ready to bite. 16 Year Old Me was like, "Dude. Phish." 33 Year Old Me was like, "Dude. Phish."

SET I: two words, starting with capital letters: Fuck Yeah. Yes, I've heard YEM too many times over the past 2.5 years and have complained at length about it, so there is really no need to mention it again here, but the rest of the set was positively SMOKING. The kind of Phish MSG shit that I want. Total Rock. A HUGE Sloth opener that set the tone. A cute Get On the Train. A fantastically bounceable Moma Dance. Wholehearted Funky Bitch. Maze got the room hyper. Roses Are Free kept it going in a twisted and blurred lens. Fun Halley's Comet -> a rampaging Antelope. Wow. THAT WAS ONLY THE FIRST SET??

16 Year Old Me was yelling at 33 Year Old Me, "What's wrong with you? Grab those damn tickets!" But I still couldn't commit! That first set was unbelievable-- there's no way it was gonna get better, so maybe I should just walk away while completely satisfied. But then, during setbreak, the World Renowned Mime (though he prefers "Body Poet"), Markcel Markseau, offered me a free extra for the 30th (at least I think he did--- I don't speak French Mime) and how could I argue with that? I couldn't. Also, never argue with a Mime.

SET II began quickly, while we were still in the hallway. We missed some of a great Crosseyed and Painless, but then scored a loud and lovely -> Simple. Once again, Guyute would vex Melissa and go on about 3-5 minutes too long. A super dirty and GIGANTIC Mike's Song -> Chalk Dust -> Hydrogen -> Weekapaug--- PHEW!!!!! Show of Life I'm kinda lukewarm on, but -> a romping Character Zero, singalong extravaganza. Encore's overflowing Loving Cup filled the room with good vibes.

Fucking awesome Phish show. So much energy. So much ROCK. It'd be silly not to want to see another show after that.

Phish, 12/29/11, MSG, NYC
SET I: The Sloth, You Enjoy Myself, Back on the Train, The Moma Dance, Funky Bitch, Maze, Roses Are Free, Halley's Comet > Run Like an Antelope

SET II: Crosseyed and Painless > Simple -> Lifeboy, Guyute, Mike's Song > Chalk Dust Torture -> I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Show of Life > Character Zero

ENCORE: Loving Cup

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Scott Bernstein!

FRIDAY, 12/30/11

Fuck I was tired. Another night of this shit? Possibly two? Was I even motivated for the possibility of a NYE ticket? Not sure.

In keeping with the budget-minded theme of this NYE Run, I sat in my car for 15 minutes and waited for a legal street parking spot to begin. Pregame landed me at Harrington's, where-- meh. While we were there, a bus load of tourists with wheelie luggage disembarked, and many of them just walked right in. 'nuff said.

Markcel Markseau was hanging out Miming near the new plexi-glass sneeze guards in front of three Industrial Sized Meat Slicers at the future home of the MSG's Carnegie Deli stand and I just thought he had lost his iPhone. However, when translated through his Mime Pals, they explained that Düsseldorf's Favorite Body Poet was in possession of an extra for the following night, and rather than Miracle it to a random Wook whom they might have had to sit next to and could very well turn out to be a total douche, Sir Markseau was Ceremoniously and Generously offering it to me, a total douche he already knows. "Really?" I was psyched for an extra, I was super psyched for a complimentary extra, but I was almost as equally entertained by the fact that I'd be attending the show over some desperately obsessive Wook who had no idea what could have been. And that was kinda neat. I'm a terrible person.

SET I: It felt like Phish were making sure I had peed enough. "Are you sure, Lynn?" - Prince Caspian. It was just really hit or miss for my attention span. Nellie Kane, Divided Sky, and Quinn the Eskimo were fun. Everything else was just kinda there.

SET II highlights: 1) Going up to the Ghetto (300's) and finding the Long Island Wrecking Crew sitting directly next to some of my North Country Freaks friends! Also, an energized Axilla. A pretty sick Twist -> STOMPING Julius. The Squirming Coil was a sweet ender too. Encore was fine.

Mellower than I would have liked & paled in comparison to Thursday, but: great friends, great seats, and a Phish show. A reasonably good outcome, yah?

Phish, 12/30/11, MSG, NYC
SET I: Punch You In the Eye > Prince Caspian> Backwards Down the Number Line, Nellie Kane, Divided Sky, Sand, Vultures, Rift, Joy, Quinn the Eskimo

SET II Wilson > Axilla > Piper > Twist > Julius > Golgi Apparatus > Also Sprach Zarathustra, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, David Bowie, The Squirming Coil

ENCORE: Boogie On Reggae Woman, Good Times Bad Times

DOWNLOAD THE SHOW! Thanks, Scott Bernstein!

SATURDAY, 12/31/11

Kill me. The only choice was to wake up, keep eating ibuprofen, and re-tie my sneakers even more tightly around my swollen feets. Ugh.

NYE. 3 sets. Yay. I put on clothes that already needed to be washed. Lower East Side pregame was at Molly's Pub, alongside a Mime, with a delicious Bloody Mary & Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Chicken Pot Pie. Brilliant NYE pregame! Strategic food choices! Comfort! Energy! As we walked through the crowded shadow of the Garden, Markcel Markseau broke his silence for the first time, "Your ticket would have gone to one of these people." [NO PAUSE] "Fuck 'em!" - I said that.

The Floor Level of MSG is some swanky digs too now- a couple of nice Bars, mood lighting, shiny silver things as opposed to beige things with greenish-turquoise and fuschia accents. We were 23 Rows back, Fish Side. Security was menacing. We were excited about seeing Chris Kuroda's full light show up close. Markcel expressed this by Pirouetting and doing the Charleston.

SET I was fun. There was immediately more energy than the previous night. Highlights: Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Jibboo, Farmhouse. SET II: I'm a little fuzzy here, but Golden Age (TV On the Radio) was definitely pretty damn cool. Sneakin' Sally got the Garden rockin', but Ominous Seapods do it better. Don't get mad, it's true. And 46 Days is always fucking great.

Some fine work by Light Guru, Chris Kuroda

During the 2nd setbreak, we began to notice people in reflective yellow vests, carrying all sorts of mysterious equipment, spacing themselves around the Floor. Yes, the stunt was surely in motion, but what would it be??? We were also told that once the set started, Security were locking down the floor, and keeping the aisles clear for a portion of the show. Hmm.

SET III: Cavern got it going in a rockin' way, but then Trey's deafeningly loud Tea Kettle went off and he had to stop down for a second and take it off the hot plate and put it onto his Cabinet… The band started a cute and quirky little Steam, with bursts of sfx and fog popping in for the chorus. Suddenly, Trey's Cabinet & steaming Tea Kettle floated into the air… A Mike's Bass, a Page's Keytar, & a Fishman's Electrolux, soon followed. Then some crazy Judy Jetson chick tripped her balls off and raged the fuck out, doing The Elaine til she was free from gravity's pull, and summoned her Flying Wookie Pals to join her in an Old Skool Jetpack Group Freakout to ring in the New Year. -> Auld Lang Syne, fucking balloons everywhere -> Down With Disease. It was pretty cool. Everyone was smiling, especially the band. Still awesome to see them so consistently happy.

Here's some awesome footage of it, courtesy of HarpuaFSB.

SET III Continued: I love The Wedge. Alaska was awesome, dig it. First Tube was a great ender. They Encored with a pretty Slave To the Traffic Light, which is always appreciated in NYC.

Of the Phish shows, Thursday's show was by far my favorite, followed by NYE, then Friday coming in 3rd. I would have been irritated if I had paid full price for Friday. New Year's Eve was yet another fun Phish NYE, but I was glad when it was over so I could eat pizza and sleep. By Sunday morning, I was beyond ecstatic that I did not have to go see Phish again that night. Yes, I love 'em and there's nothing else quite like a Phish MSG NYE show, but, y'all know I would have also been really happy at either moe. or Ryan Montbleau Band.

1) Going to the Infamous Stringdusters on 12/28/11 was the right fucking choice. IT WAS AWESOME. GET EXCITED & GO SEE THEM!
2) Thursday's show was the best of the Phish shows I saw this run. Stellar setlist, TONS of fantastic energy, and a thick NYC NYE Run Vibe.
3) My friends are awesome, and thanks to their Phish ticket-savvy & generosity, I saved $200. That is 1/3 of my monthly Health Insurance bill now that my rates have gone up, or, like, 3-5 lift tickets in VT when I can finally get my ass up there (and hopefully there will be snow by then). Thanks to Markcel Markseau x 2, & Weiss, for some Extreme Phish Couponing. It's much appreciated. I hope the Nanaimo Bars were delicious!
4) Wookies can fly now, watch the fuck out.

NYE Run 2011-2012, A Recession Kinda Feelin': The Infamous Stringdusters, 12/28/11, Mexicali, Teaneck, NJ & Phish, 12/29, 30, & 31/11, MSG, NYC: 8.8 HUZZAHS!!!! Points deducted for how painful it was to do a 2 hour PT session on 1/1/12. Happy New Year, Folks!

Phish, 12/31/11, MSG, NYC
SET I: AC/DC Bag > Wolfman's Brother, Scent of a Mule, Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Lawn Boy, Gotta Jibboo, Farmhouse, Pebbles and Marbles, Ocelot, Fluffhead

SET II: Party Time, Light > Golden Age, Theme From the Bottom, Heavy Things, Ghost, Sneakin' Sally through the Alley, 46 Days, Suzy Greenberg

SET III: Cavern, Steam> Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease, The Wedge, Alaska, Wading in the Velvet Sea, First Tube

ENCORE: Slave to the Traffic Light