Archive: January, 2009
The Apprentice: Hillary Rea reports from the trenches of the Arden's Professional Apprentice program
Hillary is now taking part in the Arden's Professional Apprenticeship program and wrote a "view from the trenches" last week for the Arden's blog, wherein she details the utter chaos of life as a theater apprentice.
Every Thursday I grab a ruler, my cell phone, my planner and some magnets. The weekly apprentice schedule has been posted and it is a non-ruled paper matrix of what to do when and where to go then. The ruler is for lining up each apprentice assignment with its beginning and end times. The cell phone is for plugging my entire schedule into a mobile organizer. The planner is my paper and pen back-up schedule. And the magnets are for tacking up the original schedule copy on my fridge. This may seem crazy but sometimes I spend the day in four different departments and need business casual attire, a crescent wrench, and a James and the Giant Peach t-shirt. Things can get hectic and sometimes overwhelming, but every week I look back, assess what I have learned, and feel really great about accomplishing each assignment listed in my phone, written in my planner, and posted on my refrigerator.
Read the rest here.
Andrew Bird was sick, admitting to a low-grade fever at the beginning of his hour and change set. His hair was matted down and he looked pale under the lights. While people with normal jobs, jobs that don't require entertaining packed concert venues, can take off work and hibernate at home, Bird had a tour to open. Silly sickness wasn't going to get in his way.
Drawing mostly from the new record, Bird sounded strong despite his illness, sounding a little operatic even and giving his own small voice a dramatic flair. He was backlit throughout the show so the silhouette — of the skinny, gyrating man and his violin — against the red velvet wall and chandelier shadow of the TLA, made him look like a mad scientist concocting something evil. On the road in support of the recently released Noble Beast (Fat Possum), Bird was candid about his mistakes. After he fumbled a violin-to-guitar transition, he said in the microphone, “Well, that didn’t go so well.”
Bird stuck mostly to new material, adding extra live oomph to songs like the swelling “Masterswarm” and the twitchy, weird “Not a Robot, But a Ghost.” But, come on, dude, the record’s been out less then a week. I haven’t gotten used to this natural, new direction yet. I’m still all about the looped fiddled-with sound that characterized records like personal fave The Mysterious Production of Eggs. But he pulled out some classics, like “Tables and Chairs” (There will be snacks?! Yes!) from Eggs and “Imitosis” from 2007’s Armchair Apocrypha.
Bird was good, but it wasn’t as flat-on-my-ass impressive as the fist time I caught him at the World Café Live, shortly before the release of Apocrypha. At that point, it was only Bird and the drummer on stage but they still sounded like a full orchestra. How were those two guys making that much sound? With a band, Bird had power and numbers behind him but no, holy-crap-how-is-he-doing that moment.
But when he came out for his one encore song, “Why?” from 2001’s The Swimming Hour, he took the stage alone. Alone, Bird was able to fill the stage better than as a member of band. Sing-speaking verses, he made the venue feel intimate and small. Like he was just playing around and we were his buddies, all ready to play along. It wasn’t until he coughed a bit during a break in the song that you even remembered that this guy shouldn’t be home in bed.
A few years since their last album and tour, Tim Kasher's band's set was preceded by storyteller Ramona Córdova. Strumming lurid, dreamlike chords alongside a folksy falsetto, Córdova's set comprised tales inspired by both the imaginary and real. Chatting frequently throughout his set, Córdova's performance ended with a half-finished song and a sincere "thank you."
Greeted by applause, hoots and cheers, Omaha's Cursive then took the stage, opening with The Ugly Organ's "Gentleman Caller." Kasher's swaggering bravado inspired the crowd to shout along to a lover's vengeance ("I'm not looking for a lover / All those lovers are liars / I would never lie to you"). Preceded by "Happy Inauguration Day" wishes from Kasher, Cursive's American Dream-skewering "Dorothy at Forty" gave way to the yet-to-be-released "From the Hips." Scheduled to appear on their newly recorded album Mama, I'm Swollen, the fresh track pleased the crowd with provocative, brutish lyrics and a driving tempo.
With their audience still in awe of the debut, Cursive revisited Domestica with the bitingly honest "Making Friends & Acquaintances." Next up was "Sierra," which incited echoed shouts between rockers and giddy gallery. Old fave "Sink to the Beat," featured on Burst and Bloom, was well-received, giving way to the spidery "The Recluse" and the rebellious "Rise Up, Rise Up." "Mama, I'm Satan" was blunt, cutting, and bold, with Kasher's lyrical orchestration enhanced by aggressive guitar riffage and a driving bassline. The well-worn, well-loved "A Disruption In the Normal Swing of Things" sounded out and soared.
Skipping over the traditional exit before encore move, Kasher waved around what he referred to as the "top secret" set list while fans shouted out suggestions, comments and praise. After getting down to "Art is Hard," "The Casualty," and the title track for their next album, Mama, I'm Swollen, Cursive left the stage with a rousing "A Red Handed Sleight of Hand." Smiles all around, from both the Saddle Creekers and the crowd, Cursive's uberintimate show was the ideal bookened to the bliss of Inauguration Day.
Full set list after the jump.
Dorothy at Forty
From the Hips
Making Friends & Acquaintances
Sink to the Beat
Rise Up, Rise Up
Mama, I'm Satan
A Disruption in the Normal Swing of Things
Art is Hard
I Couldn't Love You
Mama, I'm Swollen
Red Handed Sleight of Hand
Listeners! Sit back, put your feet up and toast wineglasses of iced chai to Obama, because here is Jon Solomon’s new line of ethereal indie cats, tasty techno beats and other assorted goodies. He even put in this new percussion/poetry thing. I've never heard of it before, but I think he is calling it “rap.”
Formerly known as Relay, shoegaze band Arc In Round starts Episode 70 with arching guitar chords in the ambient “II”. Reef the Lost Cauze combines a little neo-soul and street-wizened rhymes to form "I Ain't No Rapper.” The Lehigh Valley’s St. John's Alliance harmonizes, Lennon/McCartney style throughout "My Last Girl.” Apparently, when Alka’s Bryan Michael is laying down his sick electronic tunes, he is primarily inspired by science and scenery. Here, he explores the terrain with "Subset Sixteen.” Next is a brand-new band — Evening Magazine. Founded by ex-BC Camplight guitarist David Disbrow and recording engineer Kevin Francis, they channel some Broken Social Scene-like vocals and piano riffs for "On The Corner.”
One of my favorite Philly-area bands, Illinois, seems to be getting better and better. They’re on chapter three of their story tale-style EP The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe. The song here is titled "Are You Coming With Me?" The answer is a definitive “Yes!” (Check out their accompanying YouTube videos to get the full effect.) Alphabet Army says that they’re influenced by Daft Punk. We can tell in their electro-pop single "Indie Anna Indiana.” Rarebird’s Carolynne McNeel does some soul searching in the slow and heartrending “Be Cruel.” Now for the Rare Birds — though their name is practically identical to that of the Rarebirds, their sounds could not be any more different. Gregg Foreman leads this instrumental band. Which rare bird/rarebird do you dig more? Scranton’s resident rock band, Das Black Milk, goes all White Stripes and rock anthem on us in "Likeable Music.”
Brown Recluse Sing’s "Foreign Correspondent" drifts by, all lullaby-like, with lyrics to match the lazy tone (“Reclining at the bottom of a tide pool on Cape Cod/With some hermit crabs”). The National Football League Marching Band lays down some Philly pride in "The Eagles' Victory Song,” as well as some hope for the Birds’ 2010 season. Singer-songwriter Patrick Mellon is the sole member of Bridge Underwater, who offers the lo-fi, experimental "New Dish.” Frank Clement reps underground rap in "Dutch & Spades: One Night Only.” South Africa native turned Philly front man Andrew Lipke brings some quality rock to the table in "The Barker Song.”
Pilot Cloud goes all spacey on us in "Ex Astris Scientia.” Sounds like they’re really channeling some “knowledge from the stars” as the song title suggests. (Yeah, I have mad Latin 4 skills.) Hakujin is just messing with my mind with heavy-yet-fuzzy beats and assorted weird-ass/frankly uncategorizable sounds coming from instruments (or possibly kitchen appliances) in "Kechak II.” Upsincefriday finishes the podcast off right, bringing us back down to earth with the rock ballad "Latent Ability vs. Patent Technology.”
Arc In Round — "II"
Reef The Lost Cauze — "I Ain't No Rapper" — A Vicious Cycle
St. John's Alliance — "My Last Girl" — Swiftwater Sessions 86/87
Alka — "Subset Sixteen" — Building A Better Robot (c)
Evening Magazine — "On The Corner" — The Ride Across Lake Constance
Illinois — "Are You Coming With Me?" — The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe: Chapter 3
Alphabet Army — "Anna "Indie Anna" Indiana" — People Are Alone & Happy
Rarebirds — "Be Cruel" — Flight Patterns
Rare Birds — "R&B Of Memory (demo)"
Das Black Milk — "Likeable Music" — Split single with Kid Icarus
Brown Recluse Sings — "Foreign Correspondent" — Selected Hymns (Of The Evening Tapestry)
The National Football League Marching Band — "The Eagles' Victory Song" — The National Football League Marching Songs
Bridge Underwater — "New Dish" — The Music In Your Mind
Frank Clement — "Dutch & Spades: One Night Only"
Andrew Lipke — "The Barker Song" — Motherpearl & Dynamite
Pilot Cloud — "Ex Astris Scientia" — In Transition
Hakujin — "Kechak II"
Upsincefriday — "Latent Ability vs. Patent Technology" — We'll Raise This Bell Now Any Day
Listen up Springsteen fans, 'cause today is, like, the best day ever. NPR is streaming ALL of the Boss' new album Working on a Dream before it's official Jan. 27 release date. Rolling Stone is feeling it with a five star review, but Springsteen could vomit in a bucket and RS would put it on the cover. It's definitely got a similar feel to 2007's Magic, but with a bit less polish. And while I give it a 47-star review on first listen, I have to stay there's not nearly enough Clarence Clemmons. Seriously, Bruce, the people want the Big Man. Give the people (aka me) what they want.
In addition, NPR's got Springsteen's Golden Globe-winning song from The Wrestler, aptly titled, "The Wrestler." Although, I gotta call bullshit on this whole not getting nominated for an Oscar thing. Do you not remember how adorable he was the first time around?:
From the old-news-I-overlooked file: Atom Goren reunited with the package, but kept quiet about the whole thing. Well, relatively quiet...all those kids hollering along to "Upside Down from Here" is hardly inconspicuous. McKee's a bit showy about taking the first verse as well, but damn he knows how to work a crowd. More clips after the jump.
"If You Own The Washington Redskins, You're a Cock"
"Punk Rock Academy"
"Happy Birthday Ralph"
Torture works every time.
Featuring: That guy who looks like Jake from Jake and the Fatman, but isn’t him according to IMDB, not that they’re saying who the guy really is.
Jack, Tony and the most gullible super-criminals in the world are trying really hard to get into Mutobo’s panic room. Inside, Mutobo and his wife mope around, saying you have to hold it together, no you have to hold it together, and it’s so overdone and strange that you wonder if they think this is still the audition. You got the part, guys.
Head bad guy threatens to cap a red shirt if Mutobo doesn’t come out. (Actually, he says "Mutumbo." Not kidding.) Then he gets a phone call, looks at his caller ID, and says “It’s the feds.” WTF? Do criminals all have Langley in their top five? Anyway, Jack suggests they MacGuyver up some noxious gas to force Mutobo out of the panic room. Then Tony farts and they all laugh. I made that up. After some coughing and writhing, Wife of Mutobo opens the door and they are taken prisoner.
Agent Walker admits she tortured Tanner while on the phone with Larry, her boyfriend co-worker dude. He gives the liberal spiel that torture doesn’t work, and that’s how we know he’s a pussy who will be proven wrong. Standard 24 operations. Walker, larval-stage Bauer that she is, gets captured right away by Jack and the Gang, and they all get in a bread truck. If they’d just swing by to pick up Chloe and Bill, they could pull over in a parking lot and do the rest of the show in about 20 minutes. It would be better for the environment.
Eventually the bad guys are like okay, time to kill Walker. And Jack’s like me me me. Then he cleverly gives her a glancing shot across the neck, kicks her into a ditch and throws a tarp over her. It’s just a fleshwound. Nicely done, man! Whoops, head bad guy says to bury her. Whoops.
What else: First Dude whines about his dead son. Later his bodyguard (ex-Republican Club President) poisons him. Thank crap. Pillowface makes her 20th speech of the day on Sangalla. Janeane Garafalo walks around not saying anything sarcastic, but you can tell she’s thinking mean thoughts because she is surrounded by squares. And high-up bad guys who have the CIP device, the most powerful weapon of all time, stand around hoping their genocide in a third world nation goes off without a hitch. People. It’s time to get big picture. Beep… Beep… Beep.
Lots of near-death but, unless I’m missing something, nobody actually bought it. Even the First Dude seems to have survived, according to Next Time on 24. Looks like he’s only mute. It was that kind of poison.
|"Look how adorable I am,"
says Andrew Bird
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