Archive: March, 2009
|Photos | K. Ross Hoffman|
Bless the lowly sound man. His burdens are great.
Tindersticks are masters of the slow burn. They play hushed, snail-paced, late-night numbers that swell softly, almost imperceptibly, to peaks of smoldering pathos. It's music of restraint and artless sophistication, but it's nonetheless the stuff of high melodrama. At the World Cafe last night, as the Nottingham, England band kicked off a rare U.S. tour with their first-ever Philadelphia date, their performance was marked by a slightly unsettling note of minor personal drama which seemed at times to fuel, and at other times to damp, the band's subtle fire.
Stuart Staples was not having a great night. The steely-eyed vocalist, whose unmistakable baritone ' rich and intoxicating but also weirdly, disarmingly austere, fluttering in an unearthly quaver on his sustained notes ' is the band's single most distinctive characteristic, was visibly ticked off. You would hardly have noticed it from his vocal performance, which was as ineffably silken as ever, but the gaps between songs rarely passed without a quick scowl or some off-handed sarcastic muttering directed at the sound techs, often prompted by painful-sounding static pops. (Evidently there was some problem with his cordless in-ear monitor system, though it didn't seem to be having any noticeable effect on the music.) His gruff, patronizingly-worded instructions to the lighting-board operator ('turn down those white lights and make this stage feel less like a bathroom') made a sharp contrast to girlish opener Dawn Landes' demure request to turn on the disco-ball so she could sing a love song. At one point he seemed to storm into the wings as if about to give an earful to some poor technician (the pointy-sideburned, imposing-statured Staples is not a man you want to cross), though it turned out he was simply clearing the stage for the brief trio instrumental 'The Organist Entertains.'
By the end of the set he started to loosen up, finally acknowledging the audience directly and even cracking a smile, but for most of the night he seemed caught up in his own distraction and annoyance, projecting a tension quite incongruous with the fluidity of the music, though perhaps he was able to channel that frustration into the typically underhanded intensity of his singing.
As I say though, it was a minor issue. The band are nearly twenty-year veterans (though only three of the long-running original sextet are still around), far too polished and mature to let something like this mar or disrupt their exquisite music-making. (In fact, the incongruity of Staples' mood simply pointed up the fact of their undeniable professionalism.) The seven nattily-dressed band-members, including a cellist/saxist and a trumpeter/maracaman, worked their way through a subdued but satisfying set that drew mostly (and mostly in sequence) from last year's album The Hungry Saw, with a couple of welcome throwbacks: the impassioned 'Dying Slowly' and largely spoken-word 'No Man in the World,' from 2001's soul-drenched high-water-mark Can Our Love', and 'Say Goodbye to the City' and 'My Oblivion' from 2003's Waiting For The Moon.
The crowd, though polite, were clearly quite pleased. And ultimately, I think the band warmed to their Philadelphia welcome. Who knows when Tindersticks will pass this way again ' with any luck it won't take another twenty years for them to come back around ' but let's hope we can have all the technical kinks worked out by then.
|Photos | Dianca Potts|
I'll take your words as if you were talking to me.
The very sold-out Troc teemed with Jimmy Eat World's loyal diehards. One of 10 exclusive tour dates celebrating the band's epically unforgettable release 'Clarity,' Jimmy Eat World's Philly show drew out fans stemming further than state lines. Gathering to pay homage to their high school favorite or current music crush, each member of the crowd had an appetite for old school emo served up by JEW. Beneath a tangible cloud of small talk and general glee, show goers waited patiently for 'Clarity x10' to begin.
Arizona natives Reuben's Accomplice's opening and lengthy set was enough to entertain but not enough to satiate their audience. Like a combo of Dashboard Confessional's latter work mixed with Jimmy Eat World's discography, the 'acousmatic' five-piece wore their inspiration on their sleeves, cultivating an original but heavily influenced sound of their own. Despite their so-so set of songs, their onstage presence for the most part was dismissed by their distracted and chatty crowd. After playing their final song for the night, Reuben's Accomplice and their barefooted lady drummer filed off the stage with smiles and gratitude, leaving the spotlight to fellow Arizona rockers and tour mates Jimmy Eat World.
As soon as the stage was vacant a hurried but precise setup for the headliner's set began. The tuning of guitars and the taping down of wires took place while the crowd began to shift as members of the crowd linked hand in hand with friends pushed their way to the front. The sort of vibe reminiscent of seeing Saves the Day back in 2000 or Taking Back Sunday before they sucked hung in the air, eradicating the pretension and politeness of show goer etiquette. Within a swirl of excitement and nostalgic afterthoughts, Jimmy Eat World took the stage to a chorus of applause, shouts and screams.
Beginning with 'Table For Glasses,' Jim Adkins' timeless utterance of 'It happens too fast, to make sense of it' and the equally heart wrenching 'make it last' was enough to get the crowd to sway and sing along with eyes closed and hands held high. Followed by the staccato snare drum intro to 'Lucky Denver Mint' made everything feel big, bright, and close to perfect, inciting members of the crowd to jostle side to side and slightly mosh, half-forgetting and half-losing themselves in the momentary bliss of one of Clarity's most beloved tracks. Shredding out the driving riffs of 'Your New Aesthetic,' Jimmy Eat World, visibly enjoying their time under the spotlight, upped the intensity with their lyrical demand to 'take back the radio.' Bleeding into the poppy and melodic 'Believe in What You Want' inspired tears of joy from some and outward expressions of bro-love among others. 'A Sunday' could have lasted forever without complaints from the crowd, much like rock-out worthy 'Crush' and the yuletide '12.23.95.'
The latter half of Jimmy Eat World's set, despite lacking the element of surprise, played out perfectly. Feeding of one another's energy, the band and their audience sang in what felt like unison during 'For Me This Is Heaven' and the tour's namesake 'Clarity.' The predictable part of their set ended with an impassioned performance of the lengthy 'Goodbye Sky Harbor,' later ushering in their encore with older tracks like 'What I Would Say To You Now' and 'No Sensitivity.' Futures' rarely performed '23' wowed show goers later leading to 'Work.' By the time Jimmy Eat World rocked out 'Pain,' a moderate mosh pit of 20somethings formed and thankfully remained for remainder of their set, which ended with the chill-inducing-stuff-dreams-are-made of 'Sweetness.' Ending what felt like all too soon, fans with widespread smiles and messy hair stood in awe of Jimmy Eat World long after their exit, applauding 'Clarity.'
- Table For Glasses
- Lucky Denver Mint
- Your New Aesthetic
- Believe in What You Want
- A Sunday
- Just Watch the Fireworks
- For Me This is Heaven
- Goodbye Sky Harbor
- What I would Say to You Now
- No Sensitivity
6 p.m.-7 p.m.
I'm Taking You Hostage: It's my go-to move.
Featuring: Torturous talk about torture and tons of TASERing.
We open at the hospital, where Dubaku! is recovering from his car crash and his emergency flashdrive-ectomy. Alas, a rogue orderly has smuggled in a syringe of death for our adorable sadistic mercenary. Rogue Orderly calls Dubaku!'s boss, General Juma, who automatically seems horribly creepy because he is played by Tony Todd, aka The Candyman, aka the creepy mortuary employee who always has to tell screaming white teenagers that 'death has a design' in the Final Destination movies. Over at the White House, Mme. Pillowface is informed that Juma fled Sangala ' but where could he be? Um, look out your window, Pillowface. Juma is scoping out a scenic photo op near the White House, and has Dubaku! Jr. with him. Juma chooses not to share with Jr. that his dad is dead. Back at the hospital, our love affair with exclamation points comes to an end at 6:06pm. So, one final time: DUBAKU!
At the FBI, Larry Moss is pretending to be in charge, trying to get everyone ready to arrest the half of the government who committed treason. What could possibly go wrong? Jack tells us what will go wrong as he calls Chloe to tell her about the latest impending disaster. He also has a request for our grumpy friend: He wants Chloe to delete Sentator Mayer's Chief of Staff from the 'bad guy' list. Why, you may ask? Well, to keep him all safe so Jack can torture him personally, of course. Let the debates begin'
After Chloe deletes the name, we finally get our first official Chloe/Janis interaction. It is every bit as passive aggressive and bitchy as we could have hoped. There's a lot of 'yeah, great idea, I'll get right on that,' and 'thanks.' It's like a lesson in subtext. This round goes to Chloe, who can out-snark anyone.
|Round One goes to Chloe.|
Jack and Tony are in a parked car by the White House (consider that your opening line, 24 slash fiction fans). Jack is giving his 7,000th 'I have to do this alone' speech. This one contains some lovely metaphors like, 'I'm driving off a cliff here, Tony, and I don't need to put Bill in the passenger's seat.' Very Thelma and Louise. Jack then goes off toward the White House to go it alone.
Senator Mayor and Chief Maybebad are in said White House, sharing a drink and some non-pleasantries. Mayer is appalled that the President let Bauer save the world again. Torture is necessary, torture is wrong, blah blah blah. Mayer goes so far as to call Jack a 'thug.' Chief Maybebad offers Mayer Pillowface's bribe of choice ' backing some 'human rights' bill in exchange for Mayer forgetting about Jack. Pillowface has also threatened to go over Mayer's head and pardon Jack. Mayer basically challenges her to a 'street fight,' (his words), which is a funny mental image.
|Bill gets Behrooz'd.|
Bill is hanging at the White House, 'securing' things. Jack busts into his office (when did Bill get on the payroll again?) and takes Bill hostage for NO reason. Did someone teach Jack that this is how humans say hello to one another? Bill forgets he was king of the rebels three seconds ago and tries to get Jack to go the 'legal' route to get Burnett. Bill tells Jack he doesn't have to go it alone, so apparently Bill has never actually met Jack. 'Yes I do,' Jack growls, and Spocks Bill into unconsciousness, but not before whispering creepily, 'it's all right, don't fight it.' It's sort of human nature to fight strangulation, Jack. Our loner rebel then steals a TASER and looks like a kid on Christmas.
Not to be outdone in the 'going it alone' category, Renee calls Larry from the hospital to reiterate that Dubaku is dead (he took the exclamation point with him to the great beyond). This somehow turns into a spat about whether Renee or Jack wears the pants in their non-relationship. Larry wants Renee back in the office, but she wants to prove her hunch that Dubaku was murdered. She cleverly singles out the Rogue Orderly and even gets his license plate number.
Chloe vs. Janis, Round 2: Janis caught Chloe's deleted entry on the list, but doesn't know Chloe is the perpetrator. More glaring, staring, and fake smiling ensues. This round goes very narrowly to Janis, as Chloe genuinely looked scared for a moment. Never let them see you sweat, Chloe!
At the White House, Senator Mayer and his evil lackey, Burnett, chat about Mayer's impending street fight with the president over Jack's pardon. Mayer calls Mme Pillowface 'a woman in a highly emotional state' as his explanation for her decisions. Nicely played, Fox ' make the anti-torture guy a misogynist to disorient the liberals. You have won this time. Mayer continues to muse about whether or not it's the president's special lady time.
Out in the hallway, Jack nonchalantly wanders around in the White House (is this a minimum security wing or something?) and TASERs Burnett while gleefully informing him they are going to 'have a little talk.'
Chloe vs. Janis, Round 3: Janis has been spying on Chloe, although she (seriously) refers to her as 'that whiz bang systems analyst.' Janis runs to Larry to complain about Chloe's 'demeanor' (can't imagine that's the only complaint like that in her employee file), but also to tattle about Chloe and Jack and the erased name from the list. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Janis whupped Chloe this time. It only makes Chloe's inevitable revenge that much sweeter to anticipate, though. Larry has Chloe detained and she and Janis share a long, hate-filled look.
Mayer and the President engage in this episode's umpteenth 'Torture: Black and White or Gray All Over?' discussion. Mayer makes lots of excellent points against torture, but in the 24-verse he just comes across as a weaselly weasel. Just as Mme. Pillowface finishes defending Jack to Mayer, Larry Moss calls in to say that Jack is currently torturing Burnett in the White House. This does weaken the President's case a bit.
|Jack tortures Burnett. In the White House, no less.|
Speaking of Jack, he is still TASERing away at Burnett, who is doing a nice job of playing innocent. He even tries the 'tell me what you want me to say,' tactic, trying to sneak in another strong anti-torture argument (that it leads to false information). Jack giggles at this and TASERS Burnett again, who immediately disproves his own excellent argument by agreeing to give Jack accurate information. Unfortunately, right before Burnett shares where this attack will take place, Mme. Pillowface pages Jack to yell at him for dirtying the White House upholstery with torture and rogueness. Jack TASERs the phone. Yes, he TASERs the phone. The Secret Service blow the door to the office and arrest Jack. Mid-arrest, Jack and Mayer have another torture/no torture minidebate.
Jack tells the president that Tony Almeida was his source, and Mayer snarks about preferring the 'blessed virgin mary' (So, just to be clear, Fox, if we are against torture, then we are THIS guy?). Mayer asks Mme. Pillowface if he can live with the 'barbarism' happening in the room, and Jack asks her if she can live with planes crashing in midair. Then we stop dancing around the subject and get right to the point: Mayer calls Jack 'reprehensible' and Jack delivers the Fox News Creed: 'You, sir, are weak, unwilling and unable to look evil in the eye and deal with it.' What will Mme. Pillowface do? To torture, or not to torture? She decides to arrest Jack and talk to Burnett herself. Surely that will be just as effective as copious TASERing. Pillowface undermines her ability to have values and stick to them by noting the cruel irony that Jack, a hero, will go to jail, and Burnett, a traitor, will get a free ride in exchange for information.
We are now treated to Mme. Pillowface's interrogation technique, which involves a lot of close-up Pillowshots and threats of the death penalty. Burnett laughs at the cute wittle liberal and asks for a lawyer.
Remember Renee? She's still going it alone, following Rogue Orderly's trail. She stumbles upon the whole Juma Gang, and calls Larry when she is WAY too close to many armed terrorists to be making phone calls. Larry promises to come to the rescue. Juma continues to lie to Dubaku Jr. about his daddy's fate. Renee recognizes Juma, though she muses it may be his identical twin. The troops move out before Larry and the gang can get there. Pesky real time. We see the same thing on both sides of the split screen, so for a second it seems like Juma really does have a twin. The Juma Gang gets on a boat, but probably not for a scenic cruise of the Potomac. Renee jumps loudly and awkwardly onto the back of the boat, dropping her gun in the water in the process. Somewhere, Jack is rolling his eyes.
At the White House, Bill wakes up from his Jack Attack and calls Tony to tell him the whole rogue torture plan didn't quite work out. He's very 'stern dad' with Tony ' remember when they hated each other and fought over Michelle? Remember Michelle?
Renee crawls around the boat and listens to Juma say lots of vague things about the intended target. Luckily, he leaves his big treasure map of the target on the boat so Renee can go take a look-see. The Juma Gang goes for a swim/dive. Renee grabs the map, which, hilariously, is a charcoal sketch of the outside of the White House (the kind of thing you might buy in a tourist shop). The only thing funnier would have been a piece of paper that just said 'THE WHITE HOUSE IS THE TARGET.' Renee swims off to tattle, but Dubaku Jr. pursues her in a very slow motorboat. Underwater, the Juma Gang is apparently drilling under the White House.
The hour ends, but our evening does not.
7 p.m-8 p.m.
It's like The West Wing with random acts of violence.
|Ma'am, this would go quicker if you move your arms.|
Featuring: Genuinely exciting intrigue and the president getting smacked right in the (pillow)face.
Apparently there is some underwater path into the White House that decades of Secret Service agents failed to discover. The Juma Gang is still drilling.
Above ground, 24's most morally unambiguous and wonderful character, Aaron, and the president's daughter are arguing because daughter Olivia wants to go visit her dad at the hospital. Whereas Jack would have TASERed her, Aaron simply reasons with her and she is somewhat convinced. Chief Maybebad tells Olivia she should stay in the White House where it's safe because there is going to be another attack somewhere in D.C. Oy.
Larry Moss calls Mme. Pillowface and tells her Juma is in D.C. and part of the planned attack. He gives Renee props for finding Juma but tells Pillowface that they've lost contact with her.
Renee is running for her life from Dubaku Jr. She finds a random ranger and tells him about the White House attack, so obviously he is immediately shot and killed.
Bill visits Jack in White House jail and tells him that Renee is in trouble. Jack asks Bill to serve as a proxy torturer to get info from Burnett, but Bill says, 'that's just not me.' Jack looks at Bill like he just admitted to listening to NPR and volunteering for the ACLU. You think you know someone'
The Juma Gang have help on the inside of the White House, someone who appears to be a maintenance man. Rogue Maintenance Man's nice coworker invites RMM over for Chinese food. Rogue Maintenance Man stabs the co-worker for daring to offer to serve him takeout.
RMM moves a cabinet and the Juma Gang is able to break into the White House. Really? No one ever thought to check behind the furniture? At the White House? The Juma Gang starts pacing through the halls of the White House, stabbing one staffer as a warmup. It's like The West Wing with random acts of violence.
Renee is still running, but Dubaku Jr. catches up to her. In an attempt to turn him, Renee spills that Juma killed Daddy Dubaku. That tactic doesn't quite work, so Renee hits him really hard with a shovel. They fight and Dubaku Jr. almost strangles Renee, but Larry and the cavalry arrive and kill the rest of the Dubaku family tree.
Larry Moss calls Bill to tell him the White House is the target. Bill, who apparently now runs the secret service, calls a 'condition red.' Bill, wisely, releases Jack. Mme. Pillowface is swept off, but not before she complains that Jack is the one helping to save her life. Bill removes the president's tracking Swatch and runs off with it to fool the Juma Gang. Jack joins the secret service, but tells them 'this is your house.' Bill offers no such courtesies.
The hide-the-Swatch game works for a while, but Bill is eventually surrounded and the jig is up. Even though the Juma Gang has, until now, killed every single person who dared to step into the hallway, including the press secretary, Juma decides to take Bill hostage instead of killing him. Maybe he's a big 24 fan.
|Beep... Beep... Beep, dumbass.|
Aaron is trying to get the president's daughter to safety, but the White House 'lockdown'/ panic room is not an option because Jack has already sealed himself and Mme. Pillowface inside. Juma cuts off everyone's communications, and the Juma Gang gathers near the Presidential Panic Suite. Juma lies and tells the Secret Service that he has the president. The agent he reaches wisely says he needs proof of that claim, but then changes his mind and falls for Juma's trick. The Secret Service retreat, literally walking backwards. Juma tells his gang to gather all the hostages.
Aaron and Olivia are hiding behind some sort of grate. Aaron knows Juma is bluffing about having the President, but how can he get that message out to the secret service? Hostages gather, including Bill. One of Juma's men starts working on digitally overriding the Presidential Panic Suite door, and he reveals that the Juma Gang was given intel to help them accomplish this task.
Outside of the White House, Larry coordinates the assembled agents. Renee figures out that Jack is in the White House and gets all worried. Larry tries to make her hate Jack by telling her that he was getting his torture on in the middle of the West Wing, but she still looks worried. Sorry, Lar.
Inside, more hostages gather, including Senator Mayer.
In the Presidential Panic Suite, Mme. Pillowface can't figure out how the Juma Gang got in. She, like the rest of us, is somewhat appalled by the lack of security at the White House. Jack notes they had to have help from the inside, making the White House about as secure as, say, CTU, the FBI, or any government organization featured on this show. Jack realizes the Juma Gang is working to override the door, so he MacGyver's the control panel with the wire from a lamp. Mme. Pillowface helps by handing him tools and offering moral support. Juma is angered by this development, so he calls Jon Voight.
Jon Voight stops enjoying his Chinese food long enough to take the call. Juma demands Jon Voight's help, threatening to withhold a 'shipment' of something. This shipment is due in the port in two hours, so we'll probably find out what it is two weeks from now. Jon Voight helps by telling Juma that the president's daughter is in the building. Juma is happy. Jon Voight hangs up the phone and offers the following pearl: 'stress is the fertilizer of creativity.'
While Juma looks for the president's daughter in the crowd of hostages, Senator Mayer starts sniveling to Bill about torture again. This man has no sense of timing.
Olivia is not with the hostages, because Awesome Aaron is still trying to get her out of the White House. Aaron wants to try and get a signal to the troops outside. He wants Olivia to hide while he does this, but she is as stubborn as her mom and insists on going with Aaron. He tells her they will use a window in the residence to get the signal out. Hopefully this will involve a flashlight and some morse code.
Outside, Larry Moss talks to the Vice President to get him to authorize a rescue mission into the White House. Moss did not need morse code to figure out that the president is probably safe in the Presidential Panic Suite, but the VP is not convinced, and won't authorize the mission. He is very condescending to both Larry and Renee, so he's either evil or liberal. He gains 'evil' points when he hangs up on Larry and Renee and his staffer, 'Derek,' mentions that it would hurt the VP politically if he became president after authorizing a mission that got the current president killed.
Back inside, Aaron gets shot. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It will take more than a bullet to stop Aaron, though, and he still manages to give Olivia the plan to signal the troops ' which, embarrassingly enough, actually does involve a flashlight and morse code. She starts to give the signal, but she is captured by the Juma Gang. The gang brings wounded Aaron with him, and he looks incredibly disappointed in himself. It's not your fault, Aaron! Please don't let him get the silent clock.
Jack Bauer is in an office ' oh, wait, this is an extremely out-of-place PSA about climate change. Kiefer asks us to consider our carbon footprint, lest he be forced to TASER our asses. How energy efficient is a TASER, anyway?
Back in the actual show, Jon Voight is watching the news about the White House siege, looking pleased and eager to receive his shipment of LL Bean Fleeces or whatever it is.
n the White House, the Juma Gang discovers the camera that lets the president see what's happening outside of the Presidential Panic Suite. Juma says hi to his mom, dad, and Mme. Pillowface, and then brings in the president's only fully alive family member. He threatens to cut out Olivia's eyes, tongue, and head. That last part seems like overkill. Mme. Pillowface immediately tries to open the door, but Jack won't let her. The president asks Jack if he has children, an unfortunate reminder to all of us that Kim Bauer exists. The president asks if Jack would let Juma hack up Kim (please?). Jack admits he would save her, be it from terrorists or cougars, but reminds Mme. Pillowface that he is not president. She pulls the president card and orders him to open the door.
Jack reluctantly complies, walking out in front of the president. Jack joins the hostages , and Senator Mayer has the nerve to say, 'Dammit Bauer, what have you done?' Oh, Mayer, you are such a wiener.
Mme. Pillowface tells Juma to release the hostages and he slaps her. Hard. 'You don't give orders to me,' he says, and then tells her he needs to get a camera ready for 'the last statement she'll ever give.' Hopefully she won't say something stupid like 'stress is the fertilizer of creativity.'
Next week: Hostages, videos, explosions, and most likely a lesson to Juma about the potential pitfalls of keeping Jack Bauer alive as a hostage.
One Dubaku Jr. (most likely)
One TASERed phone
One Random Ranger
One White House maintenance staffer
14 White House Staffers (approximate count)
1 White House Press Secretary (most likely)
2 members of the Juma Gang (approximate count)
Tommy Button: If I sound like I'm phoning it in this week it's because I am. I didn't feel particularly moved for the most part and with no Norman Gentle to bring back the starry-eyed wonderment I felt as a child I have reverted back to bitterness and solitude. Baron Von Douche Smith makes me feel weird watching him. His performance was kind of like a high school talent show that he was taking REALLY seriously. So if I know anything about losing high school talent shows, he'll probably cry when he loses which will only make me more uncomfortable. He's got a sick, quiet desperation about him that makes me all cringey.
Molly Eichel: His mouth is huge. I bet he could fit three to four tennis balls in it.
TB: A big oh MEH!. Wait. A little meh. Maybe just an eh ' This is the type of contestant that would be cut immediately if we were elimating by old Idol rules.
ME: What is this? Awkward white boy week? This is probably the worst song ever. What is that growl? Oh, you're killin' me Alex. Also, I like how Simon said this show wasn't a democracy, except for the fact that it is. And that he's singing this for his long distance girlfriend. Aw!
TB: Spaz. I don't even believe he's got a girlfriend. And if he does, and it's a long distance sorta thing, she's def boning some other guy. While he's singing Elton John she's in her dorm room somewhere shacked up with a guy from the lacrosse team ' Now I feel kind of bad for him ' I guess that's why they call it the blues.
ME: She has this stupid smile on her face throughout her performance until Simon tells her how truly awful she sounded and then it looks like she's watching the judges collectively rape her puppy. Why would she pick this song? Dude, not even the A*Teens could make this work. Scratch that, the A*Teens could make anything work.
TB: I'm pretty well versed in the A*Teens songbook for reasons I won't get in to just now. But if you're going to try and cover a song that's already been covered by a Swedish teen pop juggernaut you better buck the fuck up.
ME: Q: How many babies were made during this song? A: 47 million.
TB: I. LOVE. JU'.NOT. I'm pretty sure I got pregnant during his performance. And does he have the cutest baby, or what?! I haven't "awwwwwwwwwwed" at a small black child since this sensation. If this show was about who could birth the most adorable children Ju'not would be a shoe in. The only weird thing was those handcuffs on his pants. Were they supposed to match the new super shiny mic "Idol's" now sporting?
ME: God, I've hated this girl since Hollywood week. Why do I want to slap her? 'Cause she sucks.
TB: Because I have nothing to say about this Kristin McNamara character I'm going to use the space to talk some shit about Kara Dio-whatsherface. It's pretty safe to say no Idol fan out there really gives two shits about what she has to say. She's actually kind of a bitch to the contestants. And not in the "everyones thinking it" sorta way Simon is. She's a legitimate bitch. The only reason that I'm not going to host that Kara Awareness 5K is because I found out on Ellen (that's right, Ellen) she's good friends with Neil Patrick Harris. And a friend of NPH's is someone I won't try to erradicate like a vile cancer.
ME: You know how after that awful Billy Joel musical, they were anothologizing every musicians with more than a couple records? This is like the musical theater version of the Meatloaf ' Bat Out of Hell-o!
TB: Nathanial Marshal would only get my vote if everytime someone called his 1-866 number an electrical shock passed through his body.
Lindsey Proulx: Even to a big meatloaf fan like myself, that still made me want to shoot someone! Maybe if he sang Paradise, or my all time favorite meatloaf song bat out of hell, I could have enjoyed him. Scratch that, I could never enjoy him. And I would never want to go sing karaoke with him eithe
ME: This is the girl that kicked out Mayfair's Joanna Pacitti, who got kicked off for having too much experience in the music business. Out of Philly pride, I should hate this girl, but she's not bad. Yeah, she's got some problems with going flat and her phrasing isn't stellar but I like her little underdog story. Also, totally digging that Jenny Humphrey haircut. Still, BLAND.
ME: Ah! Blind guy! Did he seriously pick Bruce Hornsby? Who does he think watches this show? Every 12-year-old girl in America is collectively saying, "Blind guy, you're an idiot." How could the judges like that? Wasn't feeling the vocals, wasn't feeling the song. Plus, I keep waiting for this guy to say, "Aw, shucks, Mr. Cowell!"
TB: What can I say about the blind guy except that he's blind. I'm gunna disagree with you here, Molly, and say that I found Blindy to be pretty damn inspirational. I know, I know, it's probably only because he's blind but the guy can sing and he just needs a little more confidence. And to be able to fake an eyeline. Simon was right, he'll sail through.
TB: "Blindspirational" is kind of mine ' Perhaps, Inspirblindational ?
ME: This girl is so blond she makes me feel racially inferior. I can't wait until she's a housewife in Dallas, pumped up with sillicone and collagen, drinking straight vodka at 11 a.m. Her vocals aren't the best, but she chose a song that suited her and she's def got the Carrie Underwood thing going on.
TB: The girl's got some country chops. But I don't think the winner this year will be doing country.
ME: Shit, son, that's how you do it. Give that boy an eyebrow pluck and here's your next American Idol. Although, holy christ, could the judges be more patronizing? He's from Puerto Rico, he's not slow.
TB: If Peter Gallagher and Enrique Iglesis had a baby it would be Jorge Nunez. And I don't even know if Enrique Iglesis is Puetro Rican.
LP: I don't know why, but I really hate this guy. I think it's just because his eyes really scare me. Those eyebrows could fucking attack!
ME: Why is this girl on this show? Just give her a record contract now and let her be on her way. And "Call this show if you just can't be without me baby!" I like how Kara gets all "Uh huh girlfren! *snap, snap*" with her.
TB: AAAaaaaaaaaaaaoooooooOMG! I love Lil Rounds. She's got a great name. And it fits perfectly with "round" ass. Really, Lil Rounds has got a phenomenal rear end. AND she's a MOM! i LOOOOOVE Moms!!!!! Just quit all you other chuckleheads. Lil Rounds is here to stay.
Wild Card - Ju'Not Joyner
Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes is a particularly creaky incarnation of the E6 aesthetic, what with Koster's warbly blurt of a voice, fetish for antiquarian recording devices and reliance on novelty-factor instruments like banjos, toy organs and his beloved singing saw (not to mention whimsical creations like the 7-foot-tall metronome), but its fragile, folksy charms shine through the cutesy gimmickry.
I'll be going to the show tonight. I first saw Koster and the Music Tapes back in 1999 when they opened for the Olivia Tremor Control at Penn's Pi Lam. Their set was notable more for, IIRC, the giagantic papier mache hands-clapping machine than for the music (and for the fact that since it was at Pi Lam, the show ran like two hours behind). But it was an experience I'll not soon forget (as evidenced by the fact that I remember it vividly 10 years later).
The year prior, on the eve of Neutral Milk Hotel's performance at The Pontiac, I interviewed Koster about the finer points of playing a saw. That show stands as the single greatest concert I've ever seen.' Read the full interview after the jump:
How does one start playing the singing saw?
When I was little I saw an old guy in Central Park playing it. It was the most amusing thing I ever saw. It took me a while to figure out that you have to find a saw that wants to sing. I think mostly you have to learn how to pet the saw in just the right way and get it to where it's comfortable singing and then you just let it go. Once it's caught up in the vibration it sings its heart out. And be considerate. Most saws can sing- they're like people, some are gifted and some don't need tobe coerced and some do, but any saw can sing.
Is it possible for a saw to be out of tune?
Oh sure. It's sometimes very difficult for a saw to be in tune. It's usually the sort of thing where the relationship between the saw and the person is fresh. It's kinda like that sound with young kids playing in the orchestra. It can be a lot like that.
Are there different pitched saws, like a tenor saw, an alto saw and a bass saw?
Oh sure, definitely. The smaller ones sing higher. I have this picture of these women in the '40s playing these really big saws.
Do you have a favorite brand or kind of saw?
No, I try not to discriminate. I've yet to meet a bad saw. There's one that was here when we moved in. He sings pretty low. Every one's different' where it came from and its lineage and how it was treated. There's abuse in a lot of cases. Being experienced and confident has a lot to do with being able to generate a certain vibration, and once it's happened [it's important] to not prohibit it.
So you're playing it as much as you're letting it play?
In a sense. You have a lot of responsibility in guiding and reassuring it. In some respects they're shy.
Can you reveal any trade secrets?
There's really specific things that you couldn't impart with words. Patience is really important. And I think that if it hurts, keep trying different ways. The way I learned I got myself hurt a lot. It shouldn't kill your fingers. It's not hard to show someone, but it's kind of hard to describe.
How is it that you guys can work all these odd instruments into songs without going nuts trying to arrange things?
In some respects what Neutral Milk Hotel is is Jeff's little world and we all have our own little worlds and we all care about each others' little worlds. I think that's the coolest thing about the time and space we share together. There's always someone who loves your ideas and is willing to add their own ideas. Sometimes your ideas have such a strange one-dimensional feel to them. It makes it more real and human to be able to open up to your friends and let them breathe life into them. Jeff has dreams and visions and says, "Hey, just come and screw it up so it's not just a pile of me."
The liner notes say that you also play an instrumentcalled the wandering genie. What's that?
I think that's best kept a secret for now.
Every Monday you are like what now and we say now this.
Monday: Canadian fans of fauna and flora Plants and Animals share their symphonic blend of indie folk and classic rock with the masses. With Rare Birds. At Johnny Brenda's. Doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $10.
Tuesday: Indie rock from Arizona that sounds like emo all grownup. Lydia with Black Gold & All Day Holiday. At the Barbary. Doors at 6:30 p.m., tickets are $12.
Wednesday: Another killin' on the dance floor. Get down and sweat it out to sick dance jams and backbeats by pop pelvic fury Pfunkt. With Gil Mantera's Party Dream & Gang the North Star Bar. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $ 12
Wednesday: Neutral Milk Hotel leftover and lo-fi indie folkster Julian Koster brings his experimental dream-like frenzy of songs, distortion, and sounds to First Unitarian. With Nana Grizol & Brian Dewan. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $12.
Friday: Hearts of Darknesses headline at the Danger Danger Gallery, so get ready for some bizarre and kickass anthems. With Lemonade & (((microwaves))). Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $5-$10.
Saturday: Psychedelic punk rock compliments of Philly rockers Love City. With Reigning Sound, Gamblers and the Oblivians & Teenage Whore-Moans. At the Khyber. Doors at 9 p.m., tickets are $12.
Sunday: Athens natives Maserati conjure up instrumental cinematic post-rock with lush emotives and soaring riffs. With Mountain High. At Kung Fu Necktie. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $8.
Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel got together to out-pop Vampire Weekend without sounding like they're trying. We like.
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