Archive: May, 2009
'My pits are sweating. I just noticed.'
It's been two and a half years since the Shins released new recorded material, yet the band still packs them in. At a very sold-out Electric Factory on Saturday, James Mercer led the latest incarnation of The Shins (so long, Jesse and Marty; hello Ron and Joe) through a substantial, if at times wanderingly subdued, set of old favorites (that's all they have at this point, yeah?), a few new tracks (from that, ahem, forthcoming album), and some surprising covers.
Kicking off with 'Know Your Onion!,' the drowsy 'Weird Divide' and the ponderously chipper 'Turn a Square,' Mercer and co. set the tone early: This was gonna be a back-catalog show. Maybe Mercer's partial to Oh, Inverted World, or maybe he knows that when you sell out a venue the size of EF with no new material to speak of, you're bringing out die hards and/or the Garden State crowd.
Oh, Inverted World was the album best represented in 22-song setlist. Mercer sang 'Girl on the Wing' as red-lit smoke swirled in the air above the stage, then segued into 'Past and Pending' which he performed bathed in cool blue spotlights. The first half of the set was sleepy. 'Red Rabbits' and 'Saint Simon' and 'Sea Legs' are fine songs; played consecutively they have a mild sedative effect.
After pausing to comment on the sweatiness of his armpits, Mercer and co picked up the pace a bit. After a new song, they jumped into 'Caring Is Creepy,' prompting screams from a young crowd that had been patiently appreciative to this point. The band followed with a cover of Neil Young's 'Helpless' that might have confused the tweens in the crowd, but which showed off Mercer's underrated pipes; he can belt out a slow burner with the best of them.
The ensuing lengthy take on 'Those To Come,' which transformed into an ebbing and flowing drone/jam session with the band bathed first in deep purple lighting then in darkness, prompted something like a minor exodus of perplexed-looking high schoolers. As the band emerged from their trance, engulfed in ghostly white spotlights, they slid into the eerie calm of Wincing The Night Away's 'Sleeping Lessons,' a song that plays very much like a lullabye until it simply explodes two and a half minutes in. It's an effect that's enhanced something like 10-fold live.
The band concluded and said their adieus only to return 5 minutes later for their encore in fresh, non-pit-stained shirts. They teased the crowd with the first few bars of 'New Slang' before launching into a Monk's cover (still trying to dig up the name of that track; it went "do it, do it, do it), a brief interlude from Slaughter's 'Up All Night (Sleep All Day)' that led into 'One by One All Day.'
'Oh, what a shot of whiskey can do,' exclaimed a rejuvenated Mercer before beginning the acoustic guitar and tambourine intro of the song much of the crowd came to hear. Except Mercer withheld "New Slang"'s telltale 'oooh ooooh ooooh's. So the crowd started for him.
When Mercer finally jumped in, there was a palpable sense of relief. Kids mouthed the words or sang along. They swayed. They swooned. They looked at each other knowingly. 'New Slang' is an odd closer. It's a wonderful song, no doubt, but it's such an understated, unassuming tune, it's almost the definition of an anti-climax. As the song finished, the crowd didn't scream for more. They applauded happily and as the lights came up, they turned around calmly to leave, as if they'd just had a wish fulfilled. They'd heard the song that changed their lives.
(Setlist after the jump.)
Previously: CP's 2007 interview with Mercer.
Additional: I bumped into former CP intern/current Magnet intern Maureen Coulter in the photo pit. Read her review here.
1 Know Your Onion!
2 Weird Divide
3 Turn a Square
4 Red Rabbits
5 Saint Simon
6 Sea Legs
7 New Song?
9 New Song?
10 'Gone for Good'
11 'Girl on the Wing'
12 The Past and Pending
14 New Song
15 Caring is Creepy
16 Helpless (Neil Young cover)
17 Those to Come
18 Sleeping Lessons
19 Monks cover
20 Up All Night, Sleep All Day
21 One by One All Day
22 New Slang
Salacious she may be on record: A ten-year electroclash warrior against the bowdlerized wordplay and wardrobe-malfunction coyness of pop now.
But three songs into her audacious TLA set ' working her way through an alphabetical litany of innuendo, with the accompanying thesaurus nearby ' she no longer wanted the assembled crop of "Peaches virgins" to hear about having her. She wanted them to hold her.
As casually as she drops her beloved lyrical F-bombs, she dropped off the stage, a dead weight into the crowd.
And just like that, Philly uncrossed its arms.
Surfing on a sea of hands, she sang 'Operate' ' with its repetition, "keep it going" ' like she was reclining in an easy chair.
Course, choose to step off the conventional performance pedestal into the arms of strangers, and you might see a little up-close bad behavior.
To the guy who later reached right in for her nude-bodysuited crotch as she ha-ha-climaxed with "Fuck the Pain Away": I'm grimacing in your direction. Actually, we all were.
But in that first moment of trusting dive, daring the crowd to lift her, Merrill Beth Nisker, aged 40, was miles beyond the un-ironic burlesque stripteases her tunes have inadvertently spawned and soundtracked.
Who has time for prissy performers with a squeamish no-touch rule, she seemed to say as she surfed.
Though she didn't say that. She said: "Philthy. I love calling you that."
Only when she threw her full pint of beer into the crowd during the last verse did we notice she so far hadn't spilt a drop.
Tommy Button: What a season. Let me just say right off the bat that the ridiculousness of American Idol season 8 has been utterly sublime. After weeks of being pummeled by this emotional juggernaut I can barely stand up straight. My brain has decomposed, packed in skull and hardened to a fossil of flashy lights, Ford music videos, bad song choices, worse outfits, inspirational blind guys, sluts in bikinis, shattered dreams and a shit load mascara and Seacrest. It's like coming off the greatest bender of my life. Over-fucking-whelming. Definitely one of the better seasons. Top 5 were all deserving ; shit, even Top 12. It just got better with time, like a fine wine. Or a herpes outbreak.
Molly Eichel: I'd most definitely have to say this was one of the better seasons talent-wise. When you got to the Top 5, there was no obvious weak link who couldn't own with just one more chance. Like, if we were to equate American Idol seasons to Police Academy movies, this would be Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. Certainly not the first of its kind but the other seasons didn't include Bobcat Goldthwait so there's really no comparison.
TB: I think my favorite part about this season was Norman Gentle. That beautiful man and his swelling, genius brain that birthed such brilliant performances as "And I Am Telling You." If you had a million Adam Lambert's, Kris Allen's and Danny Gokey's working for a million years you still wouldn't have half the amazing Norman Gentle is. Much like the film Pootie Tang, he could be written off as silly, annoying and maybe even irrelevant but there's some next level shit happening there you didn't even realize!! Norman isn't even real-he's just this made up, Drop Dead Fred version of Nick Mitchell, some guy from Conneticut. And he had no ambition of actually winning American Idol, which makes him the most compelling of any of the others to make it to Hollywood because he was doing something far more ballsy than anybody else on that show. He was bucking up to the theater, the spectactle and the shallowness of American Idol with his own brand of absurdity and completely challenged the conventions of the show. And the judges, the contestants ' they all knew it. You could see the looks of concern, confusion and, at moments, fear in their eyes. What if Norman Gentle is our American Idol messiah, ushering in a new commandment of pure freakish joy, sent here to tear away the shackles of our foreIdols?! However, like most geniuses, Norman was way ahead of the curve and America just didn't get him. They gave him the boot and now he's just another footnote to season 9. Some fucking novelty to write off while oblivious Adam Lambert fans squeak and squawk. Well, Norman Gentle, in the words you so sweetly sang, "We're part of the same place / We're part of the same time / We both share the same blood / We both share the same mind."
ME: I think the real lost talent of this season was poor Allison Iraheta. If that girl had waited until she was old enough to get up onstage and NOT make self mutilation jokes in front of millions of people, I think she would have faired far better. Instead, she's just gonna be that awkward 16-year-old with the Marianne Faithfull/old, weathered prostitute voice. Oh, also remember Lil Rounds and her fantastic ass?
Adam Lambert-"Mad World" ; "A Change is Gonna Come" ; "No Boundaries"
TB: "Mad World" was his first choice and pretty obvious. Not in a bad way, just I think everyone saw that coming. It was about the same as his original performance except this time he apparently just got back from The Matrix. And yeah, a little ridiculous and kind of contrived.
ME: I was surprised he didn't shake this one up a bit, do a different rendition. I think redoing this song was the safest thing he's done all year. That being said, it was really the only choice he could make. But for a guy known for being bonkers, I wish he would have gone out on a limb a bit mmore.
TB: He totally redeemed himself with "A Change Is Gonna Come." That might be the best song ever written and a fantastic song for him to sing.' Believe it or not, I don't have any real complaints with this performance. I love this song more than anything and I think he clinched it.
ME: Agreed, this was all-around fantastic but I think if you have the voice, it's hard to screw up this song. It's that perfect ' structurally, lyrically and melodically. And Adam Lamber has the pipes. He always has. No what's not a perfect song? "No Boundaries." When Simon Cowell made a little dig at it, even Kara was like, "Yeah, this song is kind of bullshit."
TB: But, holy shit, don't get met started on that "No Boundaries" piece of garbage Kara DioAssface calls a song. The lyrics were fucking retarded and I think Adam's arrangement and performance highlighted everything that was wrong and stupid about it. Yes, he sang it well but as my 9th grade science teacher once told me "a piece of shit in a pretty package is still a piece of shit."
ME: Why does Simon Fuller make the Idols release this as their first single? I know they want quick turnaround but heaven help us all these songs are always these sugary mountains of crap. Hurricanes of crap. Look, I just wrote half of "No Boundaries" right there.
TB: It's taken me this long, but I think I finally put my finger on what it is about Adam Lambert I don't like. I feel like his whole stage presence and look which Randy likened to "Pete Wentz" and "Robert Pattinson" early this season is completely contrived and it's kept me from ever really actually being able to relate to this kid. I actually came to this realization watching the Lakers on Sunday and thinking about how much I hate Kobe Bryant despite the fact that he is arguably one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen. Fuck talent, I feel like there is something he isn't showing us. Just like Kobe puts on his superstar pants, Lambert puts his Idol pants on every week and thus denies the American public his true pants. He's playing the part of American Idol, and he's done a fantastic job. Now, there has been some talk in the comments throughout this season about me being an alleged homophobe. Nothing could be further from the truth. I'm actually a homoholic. I would have liked Adam Lambert so much more this season if he had done something badass like take the Idol stage in drag or do something Gentle-esque. Like songs from the movies week would have been an awesome chance to bust out his stillettos and take the stage as Dr. Frank-N-Furter.' I guess what I'm saying is that, looking back on the season, Adam Lambert had the potential to be a true radical and the whole time he was being praised as uncompromisingly original but he really wasn't.
Kris Allen - "Ain't No Sunshine" ; "What's Going On" ; "No Boundaries"
TB: Comin' out guns blazin', Kris Allen!! Great song choice. I kind of forgot he sang this song so it was a little refreshing to hear it one more time.
ME: So did I. That's interesting. It's also what happens when you stick to the middle of the pack ' are rarely the superstar of the night but aren't the dregs either. Smart move Kris, no one hates the assistant coach.
TB: I think what gives Kris Allen a leg up on Adam at this point is that he's way more listenable. Adam may be a better singer technically but if my co-worker in the desk desk to mine were playing a Kris Allen record all day I could stand it whereas if it were an Adam Lambert album, after about 15 minutes I'd probably shoot her computer with the Deringer I keep in my garter. Kris has this laid back, very natural, genuine feel as opposed to Lambert sometimes overwhelming glam shriek rock.
ME: See, i couldn't handle Kris out of the Idol context. I like him now because he's fucking adorable but if I heard him on the radio, I would make some inappropriate gagging sound and start referring to him as Mraz Lite. But, I do know what kind of records he will eventually put out, opposed to Adam. I have no idea what three-headed beast he and Clive Davis will birth.
TB: "What's Going On" wasn't as bad as the judges said, I think. I get what Simon was saying about it not being big enough. In a huge venue like that, playing a real mellow song like that, it's either got to be super intimate and touching or it should fill the whole room. Kris felll somewhere in the middle, but, a valiant effort nonetheless.
ME: It wasn't a valiant effort. He knew Adam was going to come out with something crazy and big. No matter what song it was ' whether it was a ballad or a barn burner. And he fucked the pooch on this one by going small when he needed to out-huge Adam in some way. But, look, being the American Idol isn't going to help Kris' career at all. He needs to blow the American Idol popsicle stand ASAP and get his own thing going.
TB:' I've already made it clear, I hope, that "No Boundaries" is an awful, awful song but all the songs penned for the Idol finale are. However, Kris made that very crappy song and made it good and not sound as hokey and stupid as Adam did. The judges say they don't think they should be judged on the song, but fucking ay they should. Kris Allen made that song suck less than it really does adn that is fucking commendable. I don't think I cringed once during his performance.
I wanna say it's too close to call but I have a nagging suspicion that Adam is going to win but an upset is definitely not out of the question. To be honest, though, I don't really care who wins. I'm more about the journey than the destination,' and what a wild ride it has been. What I love about American Idol is how it brings out the shallowness and superficiality in it's viewership (and apparently that is a very large portion of America.) From the weirdos and freaks at the auditions, to the superstars at the end, for almost 5 months millions of nobodies just like me and you get to sit in judgment of these perfect strangers. Then we blog about it to people whose opinons are equally unvaluable who in turn, comment on our comments.' It's a crazy whirlwind of superficaility that only a show like American Idol can produce. But, now that it's gone we'll have to resign ourselves to a summer of reruns and reserving our judgment for political leaders and that person at your office who thinks you actually like them.
Tommy and Molly
Interesting 1980 mini-documentary on sculptor Robert Sanabria's creation of "Origins I", which stands (stood?) in front of the Wister Apartments in Germantown. Features a young Larry Kane and that classic PBS feeling, like those short films they used to show on Mr. Rogers, complete with curious musical choices.
Monday: Anything that comes out of NY hip hop lable Def Jux has got to be good, and Philly's own Mr. Lif is no exception. Even if you aren't down with his politics, his flow is buttery enough to smooth things out. Several other underground MCs will be spitting their shit on the mic as well.
At Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave., with Willie Evans Jr., Grieves, Chiddy Bang, 9 p.m., tickets are $12.
Tuesday: Ben Lee was a in a cute movie once. Now he's released his seventh album of cute, upbeat, Aussie folk-rock. When it's 70 and sunny on Tuesday, you'll be happy you can spend a cute night with Ben Lee. Shit might even get adorable. Downstairs at the World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., with Low vs Diamond, 8 p.m., tickets are $19-24.
Wednesday: What the hell does "indietronic" mean? I've heard "folktronica" and "intelligent dance music," but the indietronica label garnered by Her Space Holiday takes the cake. Are the keyboards he uses free-range? Is his laptop not made by a major label? Someone see the show on get back to me. I'm baffled. At the Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave, with Boy With Robot, 6:30 p.m., tickets are $12.
Thursday: Unleash your inner frat boy (or girl) broin' out to Philadelphia four-peice, The Movement. Fronting a Sublime-like blend of hip-hop and reggae, you wont find a better reason to take white guys with dreads seriously. At the Troc, 1003 Arch St., with 3 Legged Fox, 8 p.m., tickets are $8.
Friday: It's worth attending Bonnie "Prince" Billy soley because of this cover he did of Kanye West's "Can't Call me Nothing" on his friend Zach Galifianakis' Thoreau-esque ranch. He's also worth seeing because under that cheeky, mustached grin, he's a sensitive guy who has released some of the best country/folk/beard-coustic records in the last decade. You wouldn't want to make him cry, so see him play. At the Troc, 1003 Arch St., with Old Calf, 9pm, tickets are $16.50.
Saturday: Philadelphia had Soul. Fortunately, that's not the kind we need. But Jaguar Wright? She's the real deal. You've probably heard her do backing vocals for Blackalicious, Jay-Z, or the Roots, but now you can hear her belt it out solo. She also hates her mother-in law. At Warmdaddy's, 1400 Columbus Boulevard, 8pm, tickets are $20.
Sunday: Come the 30th, it will be 15 years since the enigmatic, Saturn-born jazz legend Sun Ra died. Mourn his loss by enjoying a performance from his eclectic band, the Arkestra. This special show will include archival footage of Sun Ra and the band, a DJ and moon pies. How can you miss up to celebrate such a legendary proponent of moon-shoes and interstellar jams? At Johnny Brenda's, 1201 Frankford Ave., with DJ hi-res, 9pm, tickets are $10.
Gimme the Routes, Gimme the roots
Optimistically underestimating Friday morning traffic put me at WHYY's presentation of Nick Spitzer and his Blues Breakfast fashionably late. Spitzer was fashionably quick in his delivery and wrapped it up quite a few minutes ahead of schedule. Despite the abbreviated dose, it was worth the agita of getting there. Spitzer hosts American Routes, heard locally WHYY (among 250 stations), spreading the news that if you listen carefully you can find we have more in common than you might have guessed. Spitzer specializes in segues that knit seemingly unrelated musics together ' he even mentioned of keeping a CD of his favorite segues. As a folklorist he speaks with depth as well as breadth about the common people's music.
People with long Philly radio memories will recall Spitzer during his tenure at 'MMR, where he played much the same stuff as he does today on American Routes, much to management's displeasure. Then he was known as Spencer and was the man I have to thank for introducing me to Bob Wills and western swing -what a long and rewarding romance that has been.
At WHYY it was pure pleasure to watch Spitzer unselfconsciously nodding, swaying and grinning to the pieces he played that worked in with the theme of breakfast. As usual he wove disparate musics into the stated theme, showing George Jones' country version of "then grits ain't groceries" to be a close cousin to the blues.
The Penn Alumni Weekend and an upcoming speaking gig at Kelly Writer's House on Saturday had him reflecting on his undergrad days there. "I started out at Wharton. This was 1968. I looked around me and said, 'Hey, this is not my vision of me, this is my parents vision of me.'" He moved over to anthro where he recalls the standard 3 x 5 cards with notes on cultures. Pretty dry stuff to hear him tell it. Then he started hosting shows on XPN.
"I looked over here," gesturing to the right, "and there were Folkways recordings. Over here," indicating the left, "the Nonesuch Explorer series. I decided this was the real anthropology [department] !" Spitzer went on to share a number of heartfelt beliefs about the people of this country, especially as demonstrated through regional music. Here's hoping that he'll gather them up for a special edition of the Philly version of "This I Believe" being produced at WHYY.
5 a.m.-6 a.m.
All I ask is that you not make me feel like an idiot when you're pointing that out!
Featuring: Tony is hilariously beaten down and somebody finally tells Jack where a bomb is.
Last week on 24' You know how, in movies, when somebody gets killed and somebody else finds the person who was killed and looks up at the camera and screams 'NOOOOOOO!' at it? That was me, last week, when they blew up Jon Voight.
Before 24, a promo airs for an upcoming Fox show called Glee Club. It looks kind of like Fame, only without Leroy or Nia Peeples. It's an effective ad, because now I know that I will never, ever watch this show.
After an incredibly lengthy 'Previously on'' we begin the 5:00 AM hour with Lady Zartan filling in secretive supervillain Alan Wilson on what we just saw in the incredibly lengthy 'Previously on'' segment. Behind her, some creepy guy in a white spacesuit arms the supermegabioweapon canister with a trigger mechanism, which will allow deadly spritzing of the bioweapon. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the world's deadliest seltzer bottle.
For his part, Tony continues to put pressure on poor Jibraan to be his unwilling fall guy. They've done a great job building sympathy for Jibraan in an hour, and Tony has become pretty unrepentantly evil. He pretty much has to get Bauered at the end of the season at this point. Back inside, Lady Zartan dons her latest evil wig and loads up the Deathspritzer.
Jack and Renee are still at Jibraan's pad, hoping that the terrorist Hamid pretty awesomely stabbed with a mirror shard last week pulls through, as he's their only lead. Jack gives Walker the option to leave, but she's too far gone now to wimp out, so she sticks around to watch Jack jab the guy in his bleeding stab wound. The gut folds so Jack will stop poking him, and Jack says he better give them useful info or, so help him, he'll treat this guy like he just talked shit about Brooke Shields.
At FBI HQ, Chloe and Janeane Garofalo exchange some back and forth snark, and Chloe gleefully wins the fight. She goads Garofalo into saying 'It's obvious I'll never be able to do things as well as you did at CTU. All I ask is that you not make me feel like an idiot when you're pointing that out!' Heh.
Jack gets Bleeding Terrorist to call up Tony with some lame excuse so they can try to track the call, but Tony has some kind of blocking device on his cell, which means they can only vaguely triangulate his location.
Jibraan has been sent alone down into the Metro, and he takes out his earpiece and makes a last-ditch effort to get out of this by going to subway security, telling them about Tony's plot. Unfortunately for him, the cop security sends him to is one of Tony's plants who calmly tells Jibraan to put his earpiece back in. He complies, and Tony gives him a collegial 'Hey, no worries buddy, we knew you'd try that' before giving him a slightly less chummy 'but seriously, bro, we'll totally kill your brother if you do that again.' Jibraan slumps his shoulders and heads into the train area.
Elsewhere, Aaron Pierce calls up First Daughter Olivia Taylor to tell her that an investigation is already underway of the 11 people who knew Voight's itinerary before he got blowed up real good last week. He's also pissed that she apparently left the White House on her own without his protection and reads her the riot act. Of course, Olivia had to go on her own, because she's meeting Martin, her hitman fixer-upper. Martin admits that he gave the go-ahead to kill Voight despite her not sending the payment through and bitches her out for ever calling him in the first place if she didn't have the guts to go through with killing people. He also points out that she maybe oughta pay the hitman anyway, or he'll blow her up, too. On the plus side, he promises to send her a program that will wipe out her Web browsing history, so that's nice.
Even more elsewhere'ah, hell, Kim's still on the show. She's calling her husband to yak about being delayed on her way home, and look we all know she's going to be in immediate danger because Kim Bauer is always in immediate danger.
On the train, Lady Zartan ' who, as it turns out, has disguised herself as The Baroness ' sets the supermegabioweapon to 'kill soon' and leaves it in the train car where Jibraan is seated. She calls Tony to let him know that the package is in place, which allows Chloe to lock down Tony's location.
Jack gets there right away and rams the hell out of Tony's Evil A-Team van, sending Tony sprawling like he's on the deck of the Enterprise. Seconds later, he yanks the door open, rips Tony out of the back of the van, locks him in a sleeperhold and calls him a 'piece of crap.' Just when you start to forget why you watch this show, Jack is there to remind you.
To give Tony some credit, he did manage to destroy his PDA right before Jack schooled him, so when we get back from commercial, Chloe and Garofalo exchange some nerdspeak about trying to get info out of it. Garofalo gets to save some face by knowing some tech trick Chloe doesn't.
|Jack commits Grand Theft Oxygen|
Jack sends the feds away for some personal time with Tony, which consists of whispering a question to him, then punching him in the face ten times. I counted! Jack then pulls a gun on Tony, but they both play the 'I have nothing left to lose' card at the same time. Tony tells Jack to go ahead and kill him, essentially calling Jack's bluff for the time being. Jack gives him a look of quiet disgust and heads off with Walker to follow up on the lead that they pulled out of Tony's broken Kindle.
Chloe and Garofalo get patched through to Jibraan through some tech wizardry. Jibraan wants to talk to Hamid, but Jack gets him back on message and has him start looking around his train car for wherever Tony's team stashed the device. He eventually remembers seeing a hot Baroness lady, and when the train empties out, he's able to spot the Bowling Ball Bag O' Doom. Inside, the device is ticking down, with less than a minute and a half to go. Jack tells him that they won't make it to him that fast, so he's got to meet them halfway, causing poor Jibraan to go on a mad dash through the Metro.
Security tries to stop him, but as if in answer to all those times Jack demanded to know where bombs were, Jibraan wisely screams out 'I HAVE A BOMB!' to get everyone the hell away from him and he manages to make it to Jack just in time.
Jack dumps the bomb into some special super Hazmat truck that has a little clear booth where you can throw exploding supermegabioweapons to let them detonate safely, and I assume this kind of thing actually exists. He gives Jibraan a pat on the back and then wryly smiles at Walker before remembering to almost die for a second. This latest death tremor earns him some quality huggin' time from Walker, and now I'm kind of hoping that Jack is just faking all the seizures as a long term plan to make his move on Renee.
As we go to this commercial, I suddenly realize that the bomb in the metro threat has just been handled, but it didn't involve Kim. She's going to be kidnapped again, isn't she? Has anyone ever been kidnapped this many times, real or fictional?
|Is this guy illegally downloading 24 while the show is being aired?|
Back from commercial, and we are indeed with Kim waiting in the airport. I guess even she's tired of being kidnapped, because she scans the airport lobby for creepy dudes who want to nab her, and since there aren't any NHL players around, she just assumes it's the lone guy who briefly stares at her. As a precaution, she wanders over to a couple also in the airport lobby, and from the looks of their questionable hair, it's immediately obvious to everyone who isn't an idiot that these are the real kidnappers. Lo and behold, the guy she pegged as her potential captor is actually one of Jack's FBI pals who was keeping tabs on Kim for him. See? Even Jack assumes she's always about to be kidnapped.
The Baroness calls up Wilson and tells him that their plan was a total bust, and Wilson gets to do a 'DAMNIT!' I bet that was in Will Patton's contract demands. She also tells him that Tony has been arrested, but assures him that she has another plan in place. She offers no details, but it's safe to assume it probably involves another wig and maybe a fake scar from her Baron Von Costume's Deluxe Disguise Kit.
Back at the airport, Kim is once again proven to be a terrible judge of character when Creepy Husband Guy offers to go buy some coffee for everyone, which is really just a ploy to excuse himself so that he can follow the Kim's FBI attach' into the bathroom and kill him with some garrote wire. That he doesn't even put up much of a fight makes it pretty clear that this guy knew he was doomed the second he drew Kim Patrol. The only role on this show with a higher fatality rate than 'person with vital data who is just about to reveal that important info to CTU' is 'person in a scene with Kim Bauer.'
At the White House, Olivia Taylor is stomping through the White House like she's Liz Lemon. Aaron Pierce and his arm sling are waiting there to tell her that he's no longer interested in being her bodyguard because she took off without him, and because he pretty much knows she's up to no good. But Olivia does some quick emotional manipulation, playing on Pierce's sympathies for all the crap that's happened to her family this season and back in the 24 TV movie, and he buys it. Hell, I know she's evil and I bought it. I think I might be into Evil Olivia.
But wait, Aaron didn't buy it! He calls up the deposed Chief of Staff Ethan Kanin from earlier in the day and asks him about some kind of secret recording device that's apparently installed in the Chief of Staff's office. Mike Novick gets a quick name drop as Aaron convinces Ethan to return to the White House so his thumbprint can access the secret recording devices so they can hear party tapes of Olivia hiring dudes to blow people up. Olivia, for her part, goes back to the totally hilarious EXECUTE/CANCEL screen from last week, but this time she chooses EXECUTE. Somewhere, Jon Voight gets even more blown up.
Hamid arrives on site with the Imam from last week who displayed some serious balls of steel by standing up to Jack. Hamid and Jibraan get to have a well-earned emotional reunion. While they hug each other, the Imam looks over to Jack and they exchange the kind of solemn nods that two awesome people exchange after serious business has gone down, which is the only kind of emotional payoff that Jack ever really gets to experience.
At the airport, Creepy Killer Husband Guy returns with coffee and gives the most obvious 'I killed that guy' coded message to his partner, but Kim is oblivious. He either secretly films her with his laptop, or he's got a slingbox on his TV at home so he can watch 24 while it airs. The Baroness calls up Jack and sends him the video of Kim at the airport to his cell phone blackmail him into free Tony. Tony, for his part, is led into the back of a fed van by Walker, who gets in his bloody face to tell him that he's going to pay for what he did to American Hero Larry Moss.
Jack hops in with a 'hey, changed my mind, I'm riding with you guys anyway.' Now, Renee only joined the show this season, so I'll give her a pass for not realizing that on 24, whenever Jack does this, it means he's about to beat up every other good guy to do some crazy stuff at the order of bad guys who have his family held hostage or who have a nuke pointed at something. Seriously, this happens every season at least once.
As Jack looks around the van at everybody, including Tony and Walker, the Baroness whispers into his earpiece that he better free Tony ' and kill anyone who gets in his way ' if he wants to save Kim, and that's it for this week.
Next week: The exciting two hour season finale of 24, which apparently features Renee F'n Walker hanging out of the side of a van blowing people away like she's in Grand Theft Auto. I am so there.
- Kim Bauer's cell phone battery
- FBI Guy Assigned To Kim Bauer And Therefore Assigned To Die
Take a dazed enemy and slam him, butthole first, onto a four-foot spike.
Remember when Manhunt 2 was released for the Wii and everyone lost their shit about how the game made you mimic killing motions with the Wii remote and nunchuck? I guess now that Jack Johnson, the famous video game crusader, has been disbarred there's no one left to pick up the torches and pitchforks against Madworld, because there's been nary a peep and the game does exactly the same thing.
Nintendo's latest attempt to make the Wii attractive to the "hardcore gamer," Madworld drops you into the combat boots of Jack, a cigar-chomping, chopper-riding, badass with a scorching case of roid rage. As Jack, you're dropped into the middle of Varrigan City's televised violence fest, Death Watch. With a chainsaw attached to his arm, Jack moves from level to level, slicing hordes of enemies to bits with great aplomb, tossing them into flaming hobo-fire trash cans, and, ultimately, finding the most horrifying ways to finish them off. I have never seen a game where you could take a dazed enemy and slam him, butthole first, onto a four-foot spike.
If that all sounds really greusome, it is. But bear in mind that Madworld is presented in cel-shaded black and white, giving it an animated Sin City flavor. The only color you'll see is the geyser-like spurts of red blood and yellow onomatopoeia that flash across the screen. The game is beautiful to look at - if you can find beauty in ramming a sign post through someone's head - and that can often make you forget you're playing one of the most violent games out there. The art is accompanied by great voice work. The developer nabbed Greg Proops from Whose Line is it Anyway? and John DiMaggio, who does the voice of Futurama's Bender, to spew profanity-laced commentary to accompany the buckets of gore. Their dialog is often really funny, but the sad thing is that most of it is designed to be played over and over again whenever common events happen (say, you toss a guy in a dumpster). I can't tell you how many times I heard the same joke about the one guy's wife.
The violence is probably going to be what attracts most people to the game, and though there's plenty to go around, it gets old fast. One of Madworld's few weak points are in the lack of variety in its death dealing and level design. The first time I picked up a enemy and slammed him, ad nauseam, onto a bed of spikes was an eye opener. I'll even admit that it elicited a chuckle. But after about the 50th time, it became a chore. The levels are designed as such: enter new area; kill a crap ton of mindless, leather-clad punks; score enough points to to unlock the Bloodbath Challenge (more on those in a second); score even more points to unlock the boss. Rinse, lather, repeat. The minigame Bloodbath Challenges do provide a bit of relief, though, and will be familiar to any Wii owner. Basically, you're given a brief amount of time and a task (like seeing how many guys you can swat into an oncoming train, or how many throw into a massive meat grinder). The more havoc you wreak, the more points you'll pick up, and the faster you'll get to the boss. The boss battles are where it's at. They're themed well and the bosses themselves are all way larger than you, making it much more fun when you take them down.
While, overall, Madworld is a lot of fun in small doses, it's not likely to win over the hardcore set and send them scrambling to own a Wii. The controls aren't perfect, the game's targeting system is pretty much worthless, and it's really short. You'd be lucky to get more than five hours out of it, and there isn't much there to make you want to go back and play it again. But you'll love it if you own a Wii and enjoy a steady diet of death and mayhem.
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