Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Soul Sighs: Got My Mind Messed Up

Spent some time a few months ago reading Peter Guralnick's Sweet Soul Music. Ol' Pete talks quite a bit about James Carr, but I never checked out the music until today.

Surprise, surprise--it's amazing. This is the only real performance I could find, and while poor James looks like he's seen better days, the power in his voice is still evident:

I'm in a kick for R&B right now, and "You've Got My Mind Messed Up" is sure to be my next eMusic download (eMusic is another post on here), but I gotta know, is there anything out there today that hits with this much rhythm/intensity/emotional power?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

St. Vincent - Marry Me

I'm late to this party, but I've become obsessed with Marry Me by St. Vincent... I vaguely remember Darren posting about it, but I can't find it on Music Gluttons, so maybe he just told me about it... I didn't heed his advice at the time and now I'm regretting it... This CD is amazing. Thanks, Darren, for the heads-up, and sorry it took me so long to follow through.

Oh, and Jeremy Enigk's World Waits is also in heavy rotation these days, for those who care of such things...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Richard Wright, RIP

It'll probably get buried in news about the bad day on Wall Street, but Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright passed away...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Counting Crows, Maroon 5 in Dallas, 09/06/08

"Adam Levine must be a total douche" kept running through my mind while watching Maroon 5 perform. "I'll bet the other band members get so sick of him, but they're just riding the gravy train while they can, making lots of money. Yeah, he's a douche."

Levine strikes a pose on the stage, and the girl behind me sounds like she's having an orgasm. I turn around to look, and yes, she has a look on her face like one of the women in the Herbal Essences shampoo commercials. Then Levine starts to sing, and she talks loudly to her friends throughout the rest of the song. He strikes another pose and she orgasms again... She's just there to watch him make rock star poses occasionally, and doesn't seem to give a flying crap about the music. She's not the only one. Many of the people around us seem much more engrossed in conversations than the music, only to stop the conversation whenever another rockstar pose happens. More douchery...

Looking at the stage setup, the bass player has 3 amp stacks to stage right, while the guitarist has 3 amp stacks, including what looks like an Orange amp, to stage left. Meanwhile, Levine, who plays guitar for approximately 30 seconds in each song, has 4 Marshall stacks smack dab at stage center. More douchery? "I've got the biggest amp setup, therefore I must be the most important, right?" Douchery confirmed...

I will give Maroon 5 credit -- they kept the audience on their feet throughout the set. Very polished, and the radio hits really get everyone moving. Some nice little tributes/quotations of Stevie Wonder and Chris Isaak sprinkled throughout.

So things are winding up during the last song. Levine is really putting a lot of energy into the song, and the guitarist seems to be really getting into it. Levine finishes the vocal line, then runs back to pick up a white Strat... Plays about 5 power chords with the rest of the band, then takes the Strat off and starts swinging it back and forth in tempo with the drummer. The drummer hits the last beat and Levine throws the Strat, which arcs through the air and lands flat on the stage. At this point I'm thinking, "What a douche. Either break it or don't... But don't do it halfway..." Levine picks up the guitar, and the band takes a bow together. He removes the guitar strap and hands the Strat to a girl in the front row, which completely and thoroughly removes any suspicions of douchery from my mind.

Dang you, Adam Levine, not only for being a cute skinny guy who sings wonderfully, but dang you for being decent to your fans... You blew my typecasting out of the water... I hereby deign that you are not a douche... Congrats on that.

The roadies began breaking down the Maroon 5 set and started working on the Counting Crows (very cool) Grand Central Station-looking set. Around 9:40, the house lights went down, and the video screens showed a brief tribute to Isaac Hayes while some of his music played. Sadly, the crowd was quiet until Chef from South Park appeared on the screen. That got the biggest cheer of the video...

The Counting Crows took the stage, and immediately the vibe was more mellow than Maroon 5. About half the crowd stood for the first couple of songs, but the energy level just wasn't as high. The talking/orgasmic girl behind us left during the second Counting Crows song and never came back. She wasn't alone... By the halfway point of the Crows' set, there were empty seats all around us. But the people who stayed seemed to be enthusiastic Crows fans, including two girls in front of us who seemed to be sending the setlist to their friends as it happened...

After 2-3 songs, Adam Duritz announced that tonight's show would be more acoustic-oriented. It was a nice change of pace, and gave a more informal and open feel to the show, and it really looked like the band members were having a good time together.

The acoustic theme held true until the last song of the regular set, which was from the new CD. Even though the song rocked pretty good, the "new song = bathroom break/beer run" theorem still held true, and people were heading towards the exits. The Crows did the obligatory fake encore thing, and when they came back, Duritz plugged The Grey Bird Foundation for a few minutes. I thought it was a cool thing to mention, but I saw a lot of the audience getting restless. Then they closed the show with "Rain King" and the members of Augustana (the opening band that I didn't get to see) came out and sang harmony.

Walking to the parking lot, I overheard several people complaining about the Counting Crows set. For me, it was a nice, adventurous set, and the folks on the Counting Crows web board were thrilled by the rarities. But for the fans who came to hear the greatest hits reenacted verbatim, it was a disappointment... Which is too bad, because they missed a fine set...