Friday, May 29, 2009

Tim's got what it takes

My utmost admiration to this guy. Leaving all else aside, it takes what it takes to venture out on the street, alone, a mere thirty minutes after a gig at a 6.000 capacity sold out venue to meet a big crowd waiting, more so when in progress is a cosy after party thrown for you inside the venue. It takes what it takes, won't say the pair that come to mind 'cos I don't want to be vulgar! ;)

This was what was waiting for Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane). The other band members,Tom and Richard, would show up an hour and a half later. He had time for every single person, with a smile and thankfulness (real or not is somehow beside the point, looked real though).
I'm so glad there's still people like that.
PS No disrespect to the people waiting (me among them for a while!), they did "rise to the occasion".
On second thoughts: Olé tus huevos!!
-May 27th '09, Radio City Music Hall, NY-

Moby and Citizen Cope discuss radio

So these last few days have been most unsettling to me, lots going on, still trying to digest things, will blog a bit about what I can (unfortunately will have to keep the most spectacular moments to myself for different reasons) hoping it will help. Will start with what's last (apart from tonight, going to Atlantic city for another concert!, so much driving is killing me)
Yesterday I attended a panel discussion with Moby moderating!. The issue at stake: Is radio still important to artists?, as part of a Noncomm radio meeting.
As surprise guests Citizen Cope and Sean Hoots (Hoots & Hellmouth) joined. A pic to illustrate (totally s*cks, seems a halos reunion but I was quite beat)

Was pretty interesting and Moby turned out to be a quite a hilarious but serious talker. To take the suspense out of the answer to the moto at stake, it really depends on the type of audience you have (internet, word of mouth...) but it always helps. And of course Non commercial radio is essential to these artists who don't go for big station fan bases.
But they dealt more with other topics such as success, how it affects a career...well, they agreed it can be a quite intense experience that may take you time to deal with but none of them consider themselves mainstream artists and as Citizen Cope put it "you make a hit for you, you aim for a song that brings a tear to your eye, goosebumps when you play it, touches you and hopefully it will touch someone else too" and "whatever success you achieve is accidental". As Moby added, record labels, in these their desperate times, can compel artists to take dramatic decisions.. He also said that success confused him for a few years on how to move forward, and that his moment of "epiphany" happened at a Grammy awards, sitting between Ludacris and Christina Aguilera, and thinking "what am I doing here, I have nothing in common with these people", that with all due respect "mainstream world had nothing to do with me". He remembered past milestones like his first ever release in 1983 with a hardcore band that sold 200 copies, or the time he did an interview in a top 40 radio st. where he was addressed to as Mob 9! (that came up when asked about what makes an interview good or bad, ahem, we get the idea) or the time he was included in a metal radio playlist and had to play concerts in between heavy metal bands (quit it as a mere "self preservation" thing, audiences weren't exactly appreciative!).
As Citizen Cope put it, the hardest part is getting to have the first 100 people in a venue, after that it all sort of comes naturally.
And they also brought up the festivals, so in fashion these days, also so helpful in terms of taking your music to more people, and surprisingly going on in the weirdest places (Moby's summer gigs include places such as Romania, Croatia, Morocco or Estonia). Well, those people deserve some quality gigs too!.
In the end, nothing new under the sky but very nice and interesting to hear these clever guys talking about these things in such a no fuss upfront way.
To wrap things up there were a few concerts scheduled later, I saw Cory Chisel again (always up for it!) and Serena Ryder, quite a voice.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Keane at the Tower Theater

May 20Th '09, some pic I took during my time at the first row.Bedshaped, of course, deep blue.
Still have two dates near, I'm tempted! ...
This girl has posted the best vids of the gig (amazing camera):TristinAlix11 , HD. Thanks so much for posting.
Mi vid is terrible in comparison:

I hardly recorded any more than that.
Will finish the post later.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Coldplay -The free album

Yesterday Coldplay made their "LeftRightLeftRighLeft" album available for download for free (still is here), 9 tracks of live versions of some of their best. So a big thank you to them, for there may or may not be marketing reasons behind it, but it undoubtedly is a very generous gift from them to their fans.
And a fantastic album too, it really captures the energy of their live act in a surprising way. If there's something Chris Martin can't be accused of is of not giving it all live, even during their most grueling tours. Saw them in their second Philly performance last year, didn't seem in "automatic mode" at all.
Specially outstanding "Viva la vida", love that song (still they could have done without the pre-recorded chorus for the live thing).
The cd cover: a paper butterfly confetti like those they shower the audience with during their live performances (I kept one, wonder where it is!).
PS March'10: found them!, here:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Meiko & Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons at the Tin Angel

Some pics & Meiko's setlist of their May show in Philly:

Her encore was Piano song, "super freak" is a cover and "Good looking loser" is a new song she told me she had recorded but not released yet and was very excited about. "Inspired" by an ex of hers who shares my nationality, funny!.
And Cory Chisel & The wandering sons, a really great band to listen to live:
Posted a video of each on youtube: Meiko's here, and Cory's here.
The only other time I had seen Meiko live was last fall in the Hotel Tour together with, among others, Rachael Yamagata, who showed up at this show with most of her band. It's great when people are real pals and show their support for one another.
And have just seen the new lastfm player widget (when you play your library), real neat. As slow as usual though.

Monday, May 11, 2009

When in New York...

A place I'd like to check out: McSorley's Old Ale House, NY. Seems the place has quite a bit of interesting history, more on their website. Rolling Stone magazine staff conduct some of their interviews there too.
Also since it's spring, a few of these are really cute (rings). Sometimes my blog = my notepad, sorry!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Peter Bjorn and John at the World Cafe Laleh

Peter Bjorn and John are one of those bands that know how to make the most of their live performances. With just the simplest but most imaginative "backdrop" behind them they put up an impressive act full of energy, fun, and great beats. And later at the meet and greet, they were also fantastic, and striked the most fun poses I've seen for anyone who'd ask them for a pic. I couldn't resist so here's mine.

And out of the many Swedish acts that are out there these days I have to mention Laleh again. That's a voice, and a way to use it, she's done some of the best songs I've heard this year (unfortunately some of the worst too! ). Curious and different lyrics (when you speak in a language that's not yours you come up with "curious" expressions, ahem), and love those "snaking" flutes. She's also one of the most "untamed" and truly free out there (in a plain honest real way, no fuss or pose, no tormented looks or crazy words necessary), hope she keeps it up.

And talking about Swedish, can't help talking about another favourite of mine again...the Swedish chef!. He kind of reminds me of someone's cooking!.
Need to mention Camera Obscura's "My maudlin career" too, some songs so soppy and pretty (uh, not Swedish though).

This book...

I've come across this very different art book, "X-Ray" by Nick Veasey.
Self explanatory, he uses x-rays to capture these amazing images. You can see many more in his peculiar website.
He seems to have come across a very different means of expression, surprisingly beautiful and most philosophical too.
If the images are well worth it, no less is the book's introduction. And I quote "I have found a way to see beneath the surface. Nothing gives me more pleasure (...) than revealing the inner beauty of a subject". Optimistic guy.
His technique is also interesting, he explains every work in his book and then there are articles like Wired's here. He's even x-rayed my favourite flower-shop-available flowers, anemones!(how does he do the colour thing, anyway)

Of course images and quotes in the post are his copyright, hope it's OK to show them here as they're on the net anyway.
Amazon here.
And since I've discovered a hole in the sole of one of my stay at home slippers (loved them, sad), the cold weather just needs to stop right now! (been raining 5 days in a row, non stop).
Ah, here they are in the kitchen -note my classy pose...ahem (and no x-ray mode in my camera, unfortunately!!):

Now a Spanish one: Christina Rosenvinge and a cool idea

Another cool idea: a musician walks into a shop or wanders through the streets guitar in hand for an impromptu performance with the charm of improvisation. A newspaper's music blog has done it: it's the Spanish "Aquí te pillo aquí te grabo".
Rosenvinge (a well known Spanish singer who's been at it for decades) always wanted to play in that famous little music shop around the corner of Madrid's most important music theatre, El Real (mostly classical music, opera, ballet). Done-.

She does a little intro talk and then chooses "Animales vertebrados" (from her latest cd, been around a while now), a big f*ck you to an ex. Her voice may be sweet but, just as her words, it usually has a pretty sharp edge.
And this is a video of her beginnings ( very different, visually it has obviously aged a lot but I like the song) .
First video in much better quality, here:

Many cool concerts coming and Bat For Lashes

Quite a few good shows coming in the next weeks in the Philly area, check out XPN's concert listing here (best I know). Won't be able to make as many as I'd like but I'll keep my fingers crossed for a few of them.
And Bat for Lashes have recently been visiting for promo and concerts too, she certainly knows how to choose her company, which these days includes Charlotte Hatherley (ex fantastic "Free all angels" Ash) and Ben Christophers (nicest lad ever, really; has quite a few songs of his own but has also helped people like also great Françoise Hardy with some songwriting). For BFL he plays the most strange and gorgeous instruments like a Marxophone and others I don't even know the name of.
Here's their lo-fi version of "Daniel" on Stereogum. Got to briefly meet them (see pic on right side bar, bottom). Apparently her latest cd "Two suns" tells a linear story through its lyrics, with even a resolution in the end.. will have to read it in detail. Surely something relating to her New York break-up experience with Moon and Moon's front man -hence the two suns, I guess -doesn't take a genius-, and hence one of the songs title, Moon and Moon (aren't I clever, ohhh). article here.
And a footnote: she tracked for Two suns at NYC's Magic Shop studio , a place I had the chance to visit and blogged about (see archives May'07)

Cigarettes and milk?!?

Today a dream woke me up at 6 am (which, believe me, never happens!!!). It was most real and silly. In it I was reading somebody's post on their blog and it was just a short paragraph that told the complete essence of who the blogger truly was, with total sincerity, baring all in a most matter of facted manner. It started (only part I remember) with "I love cigarettes and milk" (which is obviously a barely disguised rip off of Rufus Waiwright's, and a very weird way of starting a description of oneself -oh oh my brain...)... and it moved me so, it woke me up.
I'm probably tired of my own self-editing as well as everybody else's. Which on the other hand is unavoidable (oops, did it again, eliminated half the post!).
I don't know what would the emotional cost of so much sincerity be. Got me to thinking that maybe all the pretending in the world is for survival's sake after all, much less exhausting. Well, I know some really well adapted people then...
Musicians are somehow an exception, it's a big part of their charm.
And why I write this silly post I don't know. Probably because nobody reads these nonmusic non art posts -hopefully. Can't help it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Berry, "Mademoiselle"

Berry vient de présenter son dernier vidéo, "Mademoiselle" (peux pas éviter de penser à la bande sonore de Fanfan -Nicolas Jorelle- ), dans la meilleure tradition des chanteuses françaises et leur façon d'approcher paroles et sentiments... Une jolie chanson, un charmant vidéo, un très "sharp" album ("Démain", "Enfant de salaud"...).
Et merci à elle on a aussi découverte une alternative a youtube: daily motion!(mais dommage, les pop-ups son encore plus ennuyeux). Son youtube chanel ici (casadeberry).
C'est curieux, ici en Amérique on peut écouter des full tracks dans son myspace mais si on est par exemple a l'Espagne il y a seulement des morceaux!

Neko Case at the Keswick (April 10th, 2009)

I always like to post a few pics of the gigs I attend so this is Neko's:

And respect it I did, though agree I did not.
But regarding her movie - her concert, I mean, though it did look like a movie screening more often than one would desire. She had a pretty big screen behind her showing images during most of the show (elephants and other animal silhouettes during "I'm an animal", bits of the "People got a lotta..." video during that one, footage of blurry skies, roads, you get the idea...she mentioned that somebody was backstage mixing the stuff "live"). And when in a dark room there's a glowing canvas showing images, people's attentions tend to drift towards it. So I'd turn to that sea of seats and would see an audience that for the most part didn't differ much from that of any Movieplex. Which is not my idea of a concert.
Her usual band was with her, starting by left hand Kelly Hogan on backing vocals (though she's quite a few steps up from that), and the concert was in very much the same style as when I saw her two years ago at the Mann Center supporting Rufus Wainwright, could have been the day after. Almost same banter even (Neko and Kelly back and forth about nothing transcendental or interesting or funny 90 % of the time). My take, others have very different opinions (see this, for instance)
And the songs sounded basically identical to her records.
Highlights for me were "That teenage feeling" and "I'm an animal", not necessarily my favourites but the ones that had more spark live.
After the show I asked for a setlist, since I was seating very close to the stage. But that too was apparently banned and none was to be given away, staff said apologetically. Which wins Case first spot in the "Most restrictive" of the long list of concerts I've been to... who'd have thought it!
So I decided to squeeze my brain and write down what I remembered that night to avoid my usual "data loss": she did play most of all the new album and next in number of songs was "Confessor" (5 songs). Concert opened with "Maybe sparrow" followed by "People gotta...". Other songs included "Hold on", "Don't forget me", "Margaret vs. Pauline", "I'm an animal", "This tornado loves you", "Middle cyclone" (with Kelly holding the funny music-box like machine) and "The Pharaohs" as well as "The tigers have spoken".
The encore was lengthy, 5 or 6 songs, including "Magpie...", "Never turn your back..", "Favourite", and "Star witness". This last one was the one before last, and they played it because the audience kept asking for it, so at one point Kelly said "would it kill us to do Starwitness?". They had not played it since September last year, they explained, and they were not so sure about the results. Of course it was impeccable (a real herniator of a song too, Kelly explained!). Well, it's a fantastic song, glad they played it.
I may be wrong, but I think the above list is correct. There's others I can't remember, or I had not heard before.
Through her career Case has definitely succeeded in creating a most rich, personal and unique universe from which her songs and characteristic artwork always surge. That can't be denied, and it makes her a very interesting artist. But that place she evokes feels a bit too chilly at times and a bit too static live. Despite that her songs are always good to hear.
And on a funnier note it was interesting to see the cragslist listing for this sold out show, here are some:
* " Neko Case wanted by nice Center City guy - $35 (...)- will buy first round of drinks as a means of appreciation! "
* "Neko Case Tonight! 1 ticket available - $35 - I have one ticket available for tonight's show. (...) Ok, to be totally honest I'd prefer to sell this to a good looking girl since I've got to sit next to you . . . Just thought I'd put that out there . . . "
* And another one involved a girl who'd bought tickets as a gift to a boyfriend, who turns out had been cheating on her for a year with some online girl and then had dumped her for the not-anymore-online girl, so understandably she was selling her ticket and ranting about his ex's scumbag-ness (wonder if anybody bought that ticket!). Sad but funny. It's not there anymore so I can't copy it.
Some colourful audience!