Songs My Daughter Likes

I’ve noticed lately that my daughter is picking up on stuff that I listen to and starting to sing along. She’s 6–almost 7. This makes me happy because a few weeks ago she announced her intentions to *marry* Justin Bieber. She has some book of his that she had been admiring for weeks. She and her little 1st grade school friends talk non-stop about him. It drives me up a wall, but she is her own person, and I don’t want to quell her musical interest by laying down the “no Bieber” rule (which I really would like to implement …).  However, it seems that her musical interests are shifting somewhat. As points of interest:

We were visiting the in-laws today. My wife mentioned to my mother in law that she would probably like Pomplamoose, so we all gathered around the desktop and pulled up YouTube. Started off with “Centrifuge,” moved on to their cover of “Beat It,” went back to original Pomplamoose stuff with “Little Things” and “Expiration Date.” My daughter came in and saw what we were doing, and she started singing along and dancing. THEN she did it again when we were in the car driving home. “Achin’ Heart” came on, and she started singing along to THAT! Blew me away.

She also knows half the words to Muse’s “Uprising,” “Undisclosed Desires,” and “Hysteria.” If this were a Twitter feed, I’d hashtag this with #raisingthemright.

It’s just fun to watch her little personality start to break through.

THE Most Listless Crowd EVER

Last April, I had floor tix to Muse. My wife was with me, as were two of our good friends. We were all within inches of each other before Muse took the stage. Within moments of Chris pounding his bass, all four of us were swept away with the crowd. Back and forth, left and right, up and down. It was awesome! After two songs, I grew concerned that I couldn’t see my wife. After three, I was really concerned. Midway through the fourth song, I saw her little reddish brown hair bobbing along the front rail. I was about 3 “rows” back, but I muscled my way up, grabbed her shoulder, and we didn’t let go of each other. After the song, we made our way to the side for a break, but we ended up just staying there cuz she was nervous about going back in to the fray.

From before the first song started until the last note faded away, the energy level didn’t abate one joule. I mentioned this in my concert review, but it bears repeating: ALL of us were 100% expended after the show was over. We had nothing left to give! After the show, there was the inevitable parking lot frenzy where nobody moves faster than 5 feet a minute. We were so worn out and so desperate for water that we had to eat snow off the car to re-hydrate.

That was our show.

Check out this show.

Only after about 5 minutes into the video do you see any activity, and that was just from a little pocket of people. WHAT?! Do Seattle-ites just not know how to act at a Muse show?! I highly doubt it. Look at Seattle’s pedigree: Alice in Chains. Soundgarden. Pearl Jam. Nirvana. The music scene that gave birth to grunge. How do you not know how to get up and move it?!

I had to laugh. I even called my wife down to show her this video. Funny enough, there happened to be two Asian guys in the shot when she came down. “Well, honey … they’re obviously in Japan. Look.” and she pointed to the two.

“Honey, this was filmed in Seattle. As in, SEATTLE.”

“Ohhh. Hmm ….” She got a seriously puzzled look on her face, for obvious reasons.

It makes me wonder if the crowd was asked to “behave,” or something. I mean … it’s a pro-shot vid. I don’t know. I’m looking for any excuse I can think of to make sense of this.

Comfort Music for the Day from Hell

Today.

Has.

High.

Suck.

Factor.

General anesthetic. Knives. Post-op pain killers.

Okay, the pain killers part isn’t so bad. The reason behind the pain killers though … imagine that Freddy Krueger and Jigsaw had a dream about you. In that dream, they were able to conceive a hell-child that was going to perform surgery on you. That’s how today is shaping up.

This lovely lady is helping me start journey down the primrose path. She was really nice and friendly. Probably cuz she knows I’m having a knife shoved up my junk and is taking pity on me.

Like I said … day from hell.

Anyway, to keep this somewhat musically related, on my way in, I thought, “man … I need some pump-up music.” On my phone, I have mostly mellow stuff: Mia Doi Todd, The Weepies, Angela McClusky, Sarah Fimm, Dulcesky, Band of Horses, Samantha Crain, Vas, Paisley Rose … mellow stuff, all of which is lovely music. However, I needed something high-energy.

Muse …

Specifically, “The Resistance.” Small little factoid about me: I like to sing in the car. Muse is a great band to sing along with. They could get me in the right frame of mind to

Crap. It’s go time … Holy hell, this sucks.

Ooh. Maybe not. Warm blanket, IV … guess this isn’t so bad.

Oh wait … they’re still shoving a knife where no knife belongs … so yah. Still sucks.

IV NEEDLE …

And now the wait begins. Apparently, 15 minutes or so.

Finished IV handi-work.

NO POST-OP PAIN MEDS?! GUESS AGAIN, JACK.

Okay bye.

5:00 UPDATE

So, I’m at home, heavily sedated and glad that it’s over. I’m pretty sure that this Percocet is gonna cause a massive headache. It doesn’t feel very happy-ish.

I got scrips for Percocet, some spasm medicine, and some anti-biotics. All told, I should be done with this by Monday morning, if not sooner. Here’s hoping.

Meanwhile, to keep me company, I have iTunes on shuffle, playing in the background. The sweet sounds of Bettie Serveert are keeping me even more mellow.

Best of Both Worlds

So, U2 had to cancel their tour due to Bono’s back surgery. Crushing shame for fans all over the world, right?

Tell that to the Glastonbury audience.

In their absence, Muse was asked to fill the slot. Now … I have no problem admitting that I am a HUGE Muse fan, and I bask in their musical glory on a daily basis, but those are awesomely MIGHTY large shoes to have to fill. U2 is legendary. Their shadow is cast on just about every country. Is there a corner of the world that hasnt’ heard of them? I highly doubt it. Muse, by way of comparison, are on the rise, and they are comprised of some of the best musicians out there, but …  they’re not Adam, Edge, Bono or Larry.

Yet.

So the good folks at Glastonbury recognized the talent in Muse, asked them to headline the show. An honor in and of itself. However, Muse “filling in” for U2 is like asking the now LA Lakers to “fill in” for the Chicago Bulls of the 90s. You can’t do it.

Yet.

Muse knows PR. They know the fans got shafted out of seeing the legends. They also know that they have a good, strong fan base in the UK. So … how do you assuage the audience that feels cheated?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yX1avvACZM&feature=related

If that doesn’t give you goosebumps, you suck. Period. For one, it means you know next to nothing about either music history or current music, which begs the question: “Why am I even reading this blog?” Second, the energy these two bands have ALONE is enough to power a small country, like France. Together? I don’t know. We’re way past nuclear fusion or atomic energy. We haven’t even created that much energy yet.

Or maybe they have.

In any case, enjoy the video. I have at least a dozen times at this point.

RUSH TIX FOR SLC SHOW!!!!

GOT ‘EM!!!

Section 303, row J, seats 12-14. My brother and I are going, and either my wife or an old friend. August 5th cannot get here fast enough!!! WHOO!!!

For those of you who don’t know me (read: pretty much anyone), I came on board late with the whole “Rush” thing. I actually had Presto as a Columbia House SOTM at some point in 1989, but I shelved it because I didn’t “get it.” “Yah … what’s the big deal? These guys aren’t Van Halen. Screw ’em.” And I walked away.

About a year later, the guy across the hall from me kept playing this amazing music. “What is that?”

“You’re kidding. Right? ‘Who is this?’?!”

“Dude … it’s just a question. Don’t answer it then.”

“It’s *RUSH*. How do you not know who Rush is?!”

So then he shows me his tape collection, which was expansive. He let me borrow and copy all of it (poor college kids … what can you expect?). Between those tapes, I don’t think I swapped out anything else the rest of the semester. I drank it all in as often as I could, which, since I couldn’t have had a much worse GPA for the year, must have been pretty often.

I left for home at the end of the year, wondering if there was anything else out there of theirs. Keep in mind that this was before the advent of the people-friendly internet: I had to scour used record stores for anything I wanted. No surfing to find a complete discography on the band’s official or otherwise page. No wiki. No nothin’. Just me, car keys, and a lot of driving to various used music shops.

By the end of that summer, I had collected pretty much everything of theirs. Oh, what a music feast it was. I haven’t looked back.

Other bands have come and gone. I’ve had my dabblings with just about every genre of music with the exception of rap. My CD collection is rapidly expanding. My mp3 collection is on the verge of requiring a new hard drive. 4000+ “CDs” in mp3 format. Close to 700 in actual hard-copy. Amongst it all, there is none that is quite so timeless as Rush’s 19 studio albums and myriad live CDs.

Yesterday, I ordered R30 and their Snakes and Arrows tour videos on blu-ray. I can’t wait to show those to my girls. They’re already in love with Muse (another timeless band that will almost certainly have their place in music history). Now it’s time to step it up and get them some serious me

Muse and Silversun Pickups Concert

Well, it’s 1:30, cold, windy. Doors don’t open for another 4.5 hours. There’s a girl in the group 2 down from me who knows *a lot* about the band. It’s always interesting to see the types of people who show up to a show.

I wonder how many people here even know who Silversun Pickups are. No one is talking about them.

There’s a guy walking around with a guitar. Haven’t heard him play it yet. Maybe he’s hoping to get it signed. That’d be pretty cool.

My wife took off about an hour and a half a go to find a blanket. Poor girl gets so cold so easily. It’d be nice if it were mid-June instead of April 5th.

7 minutes until the doors open. Let the mad rush begin.

SECOND ROW?! YOU’RE KIDDING!

These are some friends of ours.

Here are some pics of the crowd.

If you see yourself in the pic, feel free to point it out. 🙂

On to the reviews.

SILVERSUN PICKUPS

One word: damn.

I’ve seen some intense guitar playing before. Brian played out of his mind. Literally.  He looked like an acid trip on Gord Downie. Yes, you read that right. How he managed to keep his balance and not fall over is beyond me, but he did it.

As my wife put it, by the end of their relatively short set, Chris looked like he needed a break and a lot of water. As anyone who’s previously seen a SSPU show, this is no doubt due to the fact that he plays a very bombastic style of drumming. And he totally owns the kit.

The set list was mostly off of “Swoon.” No surprise there. Being that it’s their new CD and has been out for less than a year, I would suspect that they’d tour on the strength of the new offering. They opened the set with “Growing Old Is Getting Old.” They also played “There’s No Secrets This Year,” “Substitution,” “Future Foe Scenarios,” and “Lazy Eye.” I know I’m missing a couple, but those are the ones I remember.

It’s always great to see a crowd get into the opening band. A lot of the front row kept yelling, “WE LOVE YOU NIKKI!” Not a surprise. 🙂 It was great to have the chance to check them out.

M– USE

Two words: HOLY DAMN.

We were all taunted for a couple of minutes with the opening sequence video (displayed on what looked like 5-story square towers) of  of several sets of white shadows traipsing up some stairs. One shadow on each towers started to fall, after which the curtain that obfuscating the true intention of the towers fell around the band members, standing on elevated platforms.

Opening with the anthemic “Uprising” as was so highly anticipated, Matt came out in some futuristic silver suit with glow in the dark blue shades. The crowd went absolutely nuts. Being that we were about 3 rows from the front, right in front of Matt, we were quickly swept up in “the pit,” swaying back and forth on tidal waves of humanity and adrenaline. If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last 7 months, you know the chorus: “They will not force us; they will stop degrading us. They will not control us; WE will be victorious!” Singing for all the world to hear, Bellamy belted out the lyrics while Dom smashed his drum kit into oblivion and Chris threw his back out of alignment with his unparalleled head whipping and thick, fat, grueling bass playing. I swear, that guy must have a chiropractor on retainer.

“Uprising” led to “Resistance,” the second single off the new CD. More from the platform. More psychotica from the pit. Let the mayhem ensue.

No rest for the weary. Muse treated us to “New Born,” the first track on Origin of Symmetry. One of my all-time favorites. At the end, they jumped into the middle/end part of “Micro Cuts”–another favorite of mine.

You can’t go to a Muse show and not hope to hear “Hysteria.” Tonight’s show was no let-down. The *only* disappointing factor to the song was the fact that my iphone picked up basically nothing but screaming and sound-popping, with few discernible notes in between. I was really hoping to get a better recording for my girls, who absolutely love singing along whenever they hear it. “I WANT IT NOW! GIVE ME …. YOUR SOUL!!” So frickin’ awesome watching them dance to that. Ha ha!

Dom and Chris jammed out while the crew set up Matt’s piano for “United States of Eurasia” and “Feeling Good,” with the “Take a Bow” intro thrown in before the latter as a teaser.

Far and away, my favorite of the night was “Undisclosed Desires.” Matt played his key-tar, and the lighting was unbelievable. All decked out in purples, blues and reds, when the chorus started, and the keyboard bass threw us all back about 10 feet.

The rest of the set was all too short. “Starlight,” “Unnatural Selection,” “Time is Running Out,” and “Plug In Baby” rounded out the main set. After the requisite lights-out screaming and demanding more, the band came back out and played part I of Exogenesis. My wife and sister in law were in utter awe. Well, okay … we all were. In the words of my wife, “I could sleep to this.” For those not familiar, Matt pulled out ALL the stops on this one. The orchestration is haunting, melancholy and beautiful, like the soundtrack to the death of a mother whose lived a full and rich life, leaving no regrets. That’s just my take. 🙂

It would be cruel and unusual not to play “Stockholm Syndrome.” There’s WAY too much energy in that song not to play it live. It’s a must. The band was as tight as they’ve ever been, ripping their way through the crowd-moving intro. I love the chorus to this song. It’s so un-nerving. “This is the last time I’ll abandon you, and this is the last time I’ll forget you. I wish I could …”

To end the show, the band played “Knights of Cydonia”–another anthem of freedom and the will to live life. “No one’s going to take me alive. The time has come to make things right. You and I must fight for our rights. You and I must fight to survive.” The crowd jumped and swayed as if we were back in 2007, when Muse opened with KoC.

Everyone left everything on the floor, in the stands, on the stage … there was not one person who didn’t give everything they had to offer for that show. With the exception of the girl who sat next to my sisters-in-law, who saw fit to sit through the entire show, arms folded. I’m not one to judge anyone for anything, so I will assume that she wasn’t feeling well and really just wanted to see the band. Who knows. I hope she’s okay–either emotionally or physically.

Everyone else had 0 left to give, but if the set had gone on another 2, 3 … 5 songs, we would have found the energy somewhere. That’s what you do at Muse shows.

In summary, both bands were unbelievably amazing, gracious, un-humanly intense. The crowd reciprocated the intensity in its own way–jumping up and down, creating tsunamis of human proportions … you could not have asked for a more energetic crowd. I even forgive the 6′ 5″ jerks who bragged about not having GA tix and got on the floor anyway, only to cut off my wife’s view with their selfishness.

If you haven’t seen Muse or SSUP yet, make it your concert-going priority. You can’t go through life wondering what it’s like and not know first-hand. Your musical life will not be complete.

As promised, here are some of the pics.

Muse/Silversun Pickups Concert Day

First off, sorry for the hiatus. I took the fam on an impromptu mini-vacation to St. George, UT for some R&R. We went “hiking” in Zions National Park on Saturday. With two little girls in tow, it’s hard to actually do REAL hiking, but they loved seeing all the cliffs and dirt, so it was fun for them walking around. Checked out Weeping Rock and the entrance to the narrows … nothing really strenuou. Definitely decided that we’re going to try to hike “the narrows” one of these days.

Now on to today. Muse and Silversun Pickups. I’m serious … this should be a double bill – not SsP opening for Muse. I guess they’re not “up there” yet. They will be though. They have the potential to go very, very far.

So my agenda for the day is like this:

11:00 am – drop off the girls at friends’ house.

12:00 pm – get to E-Center and see what there is to see

3:00 pm – dinner with friends at Applebees (gotta carb and protein up for the show)

4:00 – get in line for the show

6:00 – doors open, and so begins the mad dash for front row floor

7:00 – Silversun Pickups hit the stage

8:30-ish – Muse

I’m bringing my camera with a fresh set of lithium batteries, just in case I can sneak it in. I have my methods, which I won’t divulge here for obvious reasons.

I’ve checked out Muse’s setlist from previous shows. Nothing really stand-outish in the states, but in Asia, they’ve played “Dead Star” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” (cover, but really well done).

Okay, there is much for which I need to prepare, so more from the show!

Sunday Morning …

Ed. note: “Sunday Morning” has now become Monday morning due to an unforeseen, unfortunate event yesterday morning that put the writer in a state of discontent for a vast majority of the day.

So today, I seemingly have a kidney infection. Nothing too out of control … for some reason, I get these with alarming frequency. And the pain absolutely sucks. Extremely sore lower back, excruciating joints and stuff … it’s probably the least fun anyone could have without actually dying. If any of you out there have had a kidney infection, you know what I mean.  Anyway, since I’m kind of penned up in the house for who knows how long, I thought I’d tackle the stack of new stuff I haven’t written about yet and get these imported into iTunes.

Oh. And I can’t sleep, which is the main reason I’m sitting here.

List.

  • Beak
  • Raveonettes – In and Out of Control
  • Vue – Vue
  • Lois – Strumpet
  • Corder0 – Lamb Lost in the City
  • Heather Duby
  • Heather Duby – Come across the River
  • Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
  • Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man – Out of Season
  • The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights
  • Katherine Whalen’s Jazz Squad
  • Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
  • Plastiscines – LP 1
  • Flyleaf – Memento Mori
  • Von Iva – Girls on Film
  • The Music
  • The Music – Welcome to the North
  • Fang Island
  • Cloudland Canyon – Lie in Light
  • Golden Smog – ANother Fine Day
  • Elf Power – In A Cave

Over the course of the next week, I expect about another 10+ CDs to show up in the mail. Lots of ordering based upon recent purchases. Especially Cordero, Vue, Plastiscenes and The Music.

Of other note, we have tickets to the BNL show in Boise on May 21st. If any of you are going to be there, please let me know! We’d love to meet up with fellow fans.

Same for the Muse and Silversun Pickups show in Utah on April 5th (ONE WEEK TO GO!). Let me know if you’re going!

Muse – The Resistence

It’s like my brother with a new Tragically Hip release: it’s a very slow, lingering, burning process.

It’s also how a long-lasting relationship maintains its fervor and ardor long after the initial burn has faded into abeyance.

I purposefully did not review this CD right out of the gate because of the relationship I have with Muse’s music. It wouldn’t be fair to my readers or to the band to give the CD one pass and review it. With some bands, you can do that. My initial listening to Alice in Chains’ “Black Gives Way to Blue” was a one-pass. It didn’t take me any time to see the musical genius behind their most recent offering.

Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard are true musicians. Their art is not something to be appreciated in the “Oh look … here’s a lovely mountain picture hanging above my hotel bed” kind of way. If there were a Louvre for music, their music would have a wing unto itself. It’s something to be drunk slowly. Sipped, as it were. Appreciated over a long, long period of time. They don’t write music; they compose it. And they do it with such finesse and precision that it simply wouldn’t be right to review their new CD without proper time to digest it.

And no–I don’t consider the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a “Louvre.”

Having said that …

The layering on this is phenomenal. “Uprising,” the anthemic opening track, treats us to Wolstenholme’s thick, prominant bass playing and Dom’s driving drum beat. They start off the track with such energy that you can’t help but get up and move. Bellamy bounces between keyboards and guitar. I don’t know who “they” is supposed to represent–government? media? Whoever the phantom power is, they will not control us; we will be victorious. Hands down. If you don’t believe that by the end of the song, you’re not paying close enough attention.

As is so often the case with many Muse songs, the next track, “Resistance,” lulls you into a trance with some ethereal, soft keyboards, then flows effortlessly into the meat of the song with more of Dom’s bombastic drumming, Matt’s keyboarding, and Chris’ single bass lines.

I’m just blown away by the hooks on this CD. “Undisclosed Desires” has some deep, soul-shaking, bass synth on the chorus that just rocks your ears and has the capicty to turn your innie into an outie. If you don’t think so, get yourself a pair of high-end headphones and listen to this track. Mix in the plucked-strings sound that echoes throughout, layered with the rest of the keyboards and synth … whoa.

One of my favorite tracks is “Unnatural Selection.” It has this completely “Do We Really Need This/Hullabaloo feel to it musically. Lyrically, it’s pretty in-your-face, conjuring protests and rallies. “I am hungry for some unrest; let’s push it beyond a peaceful protest. I want to speak in a language that you will understand …” If you want to hear an amazing live version of this track, check out this site. Download the Admiralspalast show.

Here’s the thing with Muse. I might have said this before, and if I have, I won’t apologize because it’s absolutely true.

Muse is the new Rush. Both 3-piece bands that do more with those 3 pieces than most 5-pieces bands. Their “less is more” approach to music bears the unavoidable comparison. Most want to compare Muse to Queen, and while there is no denying the influence Freddy Mercury et al have on the band, Muse does it better with less. Sorry, Queen fans … that’s just my opinion, and you don’t have to agree with it or like it.

I won’t review each song. I’ve given you enough of a reason to get this CD. This has “stuck on a desert island” potential. Seriously. Soak in it. Drink it in slowly and deliberately. You’ll thank yourself. And me.   🙂

Links:

Official site

Great fan site

Going to Muse in April!!

Well, serves me right. I *just* bought our Muse tickets today. Even after chatting with some people at the BNL show last night, I didn’t get around to buying the tix until this afternoon. NOT ideal seats … if the stage is the beach, our seats are the mid-west. We’re about that far away. There weren’t even any GA seats available.

I have an idea that may or may not get me some better seats, but we’ll see. It might not; I might end up with worse seats, but we’ll see. Hey, at least we’re going to the show. And it’s M– USE. It’s going to be great.

I actually bought 4 tickets, with the idea that I’d bring my wife (obviously) and my brother and his wife. To put things in perspective, the day of the show is also my nephew’s birthday. To my brother’s and his wife’s credit, they are choosing to spend the whole day with their boy, spoiling him with McDonalds (perspective, people … kids like it) and Mommy/Daddy time. That kid has some awesome parents. 🙂 Good on ya, guys!

So now we have “spare” tickets, though I believe they’re already spoken for. I hope they are, anyway. We neglected to call ANYone for this BNL show, and there were some slighted feelings for us going and not bringing people along. While I do feel badly, sort of, it was a nice evening out with the wife–a rare occurrence for us. I don’t regret having time with just her. What was kind of lame is that she had to drive down separate from me because I was already in town. Obviously, after the show, we had to ride home separately. That was weak and lame.

Fun times. Can’t wait for the show in April!

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