Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fight Bite, Dan Deacon, Teeth Mountain at the Modern 4/18/09

It was a miracle that we arrived on time since openers Fight Bite went on at 8pm sharp and the show was in Fort Worth.  I was really excited to see FB perform at the prestigious Modern Museum of Art.  The setting outside was picture perfect.  Their dreamy songs went well with the breathtaking clouds naturally displayed behind them.  I forget if they played five or six songs but they were all superb.  Jeff addressed his usual unnecessary yet charming, "Sorry" to the audience.  What for?  God only knows.

Teeth Mountain can't avoid being described as tribal.  I wasn't really captivated by their large sounding rhythms.  I should've just left the show and watched the Mavs win their 2nd playoff game against the Spurs like my friends did.  That would've been more entertaining.  My friends (that ditched me there) also ate quesadillas while i had almost no other option than to buy a smoked turkey sandwich for $8.  It was just ok.  The beef and cheese taco i (and many others) would go on to eat afterwards at the Chat Room was probably better.  (I wouldn't recommend the hot link, though).

It was really great that all the exhibits are open until midnight.  I was able to see a bunch of stuff, including local Rossin Crow's FOCUS exhibition, while missing more of the show.

As stated above, I failed to watch any of Future Islands set but was back upstairs and outside for Dan Deacon's frenetic set.  I had never heard Dan Deacon before but have been hearing his name dropped for over two years.  I believe some or all the members of Teeth Mountain and Future Islands comprised his ensemble.  I guess he used to roll solo.  Some people figure more is better, quantity over quality, the more the merrier, etc but not in this case.  He seemed to have a lot of fun playing in/interacting with the crowd.  Although it depends on the performer, i'm generally not into taking commands from an act i'm watching.  This audience was doing his bidding all over that yard:  lining up, racing each other, flailing their arms up, backing away, moving foward.  Anything Dan said was done by most.  Maybe he's the antichrist and not Obama like some crazed conservatives say.  Did i mention they were selling beer at this show?  That was a plus.  

I mainly went to this show to see one of my favorite local bands at a less commonplace venue and i believe we all had a great time.  The Modern 'til Midnight gets an A+ in my book. 

Blixaboy/Farah at good records anniversary 4/18/09

These were the only 2 acts of the whole line-up for Good Records anniversary show that i wanted to see.  Glad we were able to catch 'em before we headed to Ft. Worth for another show.

I was a little late into Blixaboy's electrodub set, but what i saw was on point.  This was really good dub for a one man show and maybe the best solo shit i've ever heard from Wanz over the last ten years.  I've always thought if he concentrated on one genre he could really shine.  Maybe he should stick to dub.  What do i know, ya know?

Farah went on next around 6:15pm or so.  She played five songs well, including 'Law of Life' and 'Die'.  Wanz was playing the Johnny Jewel produced backing tracks from his laptop.  She was commanding him to stay at the helm for the duration of the set once there was the slightest of technical sound difficulties.  The chanteuse seemed a little out of it but i think that's normal for her on show nights.  Maybe it's just performance anxiety?  Either way her new haircut looked great.  Farah's voice sounded aurally pleasing and her exuberant dance moves are an added quality to her live performance.  I enjoyed seeing a few WTF looks on peoples faces during this set.  She is definitely underappreciated in Dallas.  I wonder what her shows in LA are like?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

VEGA at fallout lounge 4/14/09

It sounds like it was a disappointing evening if you wanted to see Crystal Castles last night in Dallas (read separate excuses from the band and the Granada here).  I saw CC a little over a year ago with HEALTH at Hailey's and they were ok.  The most interesting thing about them to watch was the live drummer.  

While others may have been discontent with the Canadian headliners canceling, i was glad for the chance to see VEGA for free at Fallout Lounge (after he was kicked off the Granada bill).  This place was packed.  I don't believe it was the 'regular' crowd there, either.  Seemed like a lot of different types of crews at this show that were probably bleed over from the canceled show.  Vega went on around 12:15am and excitedly played their Italian disco pop songs well.  Alan started the set with an endearing "Fuck Crystal Castles!" then went on to play the first song of about four.  Having a live drummer definitely adds something to this group that may have been lacking from Ghosthustler.  The live electric bass lines added warmth and complimented those analogue synths.  Alan's voice sounded great when there wasn't feedback attacking my eardrums thanks to some sound issues.    

Overall the music sounded great, it took too long to get a drink, and the bar was crowded as fuck.  Still fun music and times, though.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Serengeti, aka David Cohn, has made a catchy rap song with the best Chicago references ever.  

This chorus, along with the amazing repetition of a few choice words (i.e. "onions, onions, onions, onions, onions...), has been cracking my friends and me up for days .  The little kid with the mustache is a nice touch, too.  

Sidenote:  After the Morrissey show, we watched this video then grabbed some Chicago-style hot dogs and Polish sausages made with 100% Vienna beef.  If you're downtown, go get one from Uncle Vinny off Main St. at Akard.  He's the affable street food vendor in all White Sox gear.  It was like a touch of Chicago in the middle of downtown Dallas.  If only he sold O'Douls.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Morrissey at the paladium 4/10/09

It it undeniable that Morrissey still sounds great for a crooner about to turn the big 5-0.  (Anyone wanna roll to his 50th birthday show in Manchester next month?)  The opening number 'This Charming Man' was the highlight of the show for me.  For fans anticipating lots of Smiths material, this blastoff was quite the fluffer.  He performed five more Smiths songs out of twenty two:  'How Soon is Now?'(come on, sorry but this still reminds me of Charmed), 'The Death of a Disco Dancer', 'Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others'(''Look around", he ad libbed during the chorus), 'I Keep Mine Hidden' (b-side to 'Girlfriend in a Coma) and 'Ask'.  

Besides those Smiths songs, Moz performed mostly material from his last three albums.  Mostly.  'Let Me Kiss You' and 'The World is Full of Crashing Bores' sounded marvelous and reminded me of the last time i saw him on 2004's You are the Quarry tour.  He mixed up the set with  'Seasick' from Your Arsenal, 'Billy Bud' off of Vauxhall and I, and even 'Best Friend on the Payroll' from Southpaw Grammar.  It was good to see Morrissey sweat as it proves he is actually human.  Some amdmirers went nuts when he changed shirts and you could catch a brief glimpse of that Irish blood/English heart-filled body.  He finished with 'First of the Gang to Die' during his only encore.  Anyone who attended this packed show to see such a charismatic character could not have been disappointed.  

Even though this show was pleasing, I couldn't help but to think of how the previously mentioned show in Fort Worth at Will Rogers Auditorium had a better set list.  Smiths songs included that night were 'Bigmouth Strikes Again', 'Shoplifters of the World', 'Last Night I Dreamt That Someone Loved Me', and 'How Soon is Now?' (again).  At the end of his second encore, he closed with an enthusiastic version of 'There is Light That Never Goes Out'.  This show also covered solo classics like 'November Spawned a Monster', 'The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get', and 'Everyday is Like Sunday'.  oh, well...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Duel (1971)

Watching this movie definitely feels like watching a 90 minute episode of the Twilight Zone or Night Gallery.  Good thing i love both of those shows.  

It wasn't surprising to learn (on the "Conversation with Steven Spielberg" feature) that this was his first feature-length film after successfully directing a couple Night Gallery episodes.  Not trying to sound like Dawson, but you can't argue that he hasn't directed some good movies.  

What really attracted me to this movie was the screenplay written by the ingenious Richard Matheson.  Duel was originally a short story published in Playboy about a crazy truck driver chasing down and driving a businessman mad.  This accomplished writer has written some masterful science-fiction, horror, and psychological thrillers (I am Legend, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Death Ship were all adapted for the screen).  He was a big influence on Stephen King and ahead of his time. 

OMD-"Electricity" (1979)

Martin Hannett produced this duo's track wonderfully.  The new-wave vocals sound amazing.  There are stories from those who worked with the drugged-out genius that they disliked his final results (namely Joy Division; early U2 did one single with him).   "Enola Gay" is another great OMD track worth checking out.  A local favortite band introduced me to OMD's "Joan of Arc" with its inclusion on their mix cd.  (That would have been a flawless mix if it wasn't for "Vogue".  Oh, well.)   

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Deer Hunter (1978)

The story of these three steelworkers from Pennsylvania has all the elements of a truly magnificent drama.

They all suffer more than  slight cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Lots of emotions spew all over the place.  Hunting sure isn't the same.  At the end, there is a  blast that is emotionally shattering and brain splattering.  One shot.  

I'll take Meryll Streep and co.'s singing "God Bless America" (before the credits roll) to any part of Mama Mia any day (although i haven't seen it and don't plan to).

Below is a scene from Peter Jackson's early muppet-like film Meet the Feebles (1989) that parodies The Deer Hunter.  

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mahavishnu Orchestra-"One Word" (1973)

Every player on this (original line-up) track is sick.  These aren't just soul-less solos being performed here.  Watching John McLaughlin play a double necked Gibson SG is much more entertaining than Jimmy Page riffs any day of the week.  Birds of Fire(1971) and The Inner Mounting Flame (1973) are both killer albums.  The George Martin produced Apocalypse (1974) (featuring the London Symphony Orchestra) is a little weak in comparison.  Just like with GnR, the symphony cut the balls off this powerful group.  

Speaking of GnR, here is a link to an interview conducted by Andrew 'Fig' McKeon with former GnR drummer Steven Adler.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rambo III (1988)

Yes, this is the one that takes place in Afghanistan.  I'll agree that this is the worst Rambo movie out of the four, yet it is still totally incredible.

The movie starts out full throttle with John Rambo stick-fighting for cash in Thailand. He's giving his earnings to and helping construct a temple.  Very noble of him.  He shows more of his sentimental side in this film.   After declining to help his father-like figure with a mission, Col. Trautman is captured.  Rambo is compelled to rescue him.  The objective was to help arm the Afghanis against the Soviets.  (See Charlie Wilson's War for a comical, feel-good cliff's notes on this serious part of the U.S.'s meddling history).

The torture that Trautman endures while captured is weak (especially compared to Rambo's past POW abuse or anything shown on the torture approving tv show 24) but the one-liners area great.  Only two Mujahideen, one a young boy, aren't afraid to help with his suicide heroics.  Their first rescue attempt fails but the second is a success.  Rambo sustains a puncture wound that he ridiculously cauterizes all the way through with gunpowder.  Lots of explosions, bloodshed, and savagery earned this movie the Guinness Book of World Records title for most violent film ever.  Rambo(2008) would go on to trump the body count of this blood-spattered treasure.

John Rambo is so unyielding that he kills his adversaries twice.  One is hanged after a grenade pin in his jacket is pulled, blowing him to bits (similar to Rambo [IV] when a villian is blown up on a landmine after getting hit with an arrow).  In the final action sequence,  the head Rusky is shot to pieces in a helicopter right before he loses a game of chicken with a tank-driving Rambo and then exploding.  Surprise!, Rambo makes it out alive. 

Before the credits roll there is a sweet dedication to the "gallant people of Afghanistan."

Thanks to Defensive Listening from Weshotjr for contributing some useful facts about this movie.  

Fight Bite, Drug Mountain, Dana Falconberry, Dust Congress at 503 w. sycamore 3/31/09

Openers Drug Mountain sounded heavy tonally and rythmically.  The double sax attack sounded amazing.  Brian's vocals were excruciating. In a good way.  The hard as nails rhythm section was splendiferous.  

At the end of the first song into Fight Bite's set, i got distracted by the 'Indy Basketball Champ' trophy on the wall.  FB sounded dreamy yet raw, atmospheric and very down tempo.  Leanne's reverb soaked vocals sounded solid as did the overall performance.  A prime example of how smart Asians are:  Jeff was able to proficiently play a keyboard with one hand while playing a beat on an electronic drum pad with his other.  His catchy melodies and fast fingers on such a tiny little Casio are inspiring.  

Dana Falconberry's voice was superb.  She has great classical guitar chops. When the upright bass player used the bow the bass sounded splendidly full.  The back-up singers voices were sterling (of course, they're back-singers).  Loud conversation overheard from outside (due to the lack of electronic amplification during this particular set) was entertaining.  I guess certain people wanted to continue aurally assaulting us even after their set.

Nick from Dust Congress's voice sounded great even though he was complaining about it during the set.  The quadruple mallets by his marimba player were equally as impressive as Nick's style of multitasking the drums, guitar, and vocals.  And he's not even Asian. 

This was a convivial show with a diverse line-up at a great location.  The sideyard scene was off the chain as well.