Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Heeey! Sorry for the long absence, I was in a K~hole all last week. The national news was not pretty as you all know and personal news fit with that theme as well. I finally did get a notification about the one job I was waiting to hear about (negative) and there was a 2nd phone interview that I was looking forward to with another organization that was cancelled. Back to square one. This is getting ridiculous.

Anyhow, on a good note Prince was in Portland tonight. Of course I had to go. He had his 3rdEyeGirl backup band, a bare-bones affair with just a bass, guitar and drummer. The venue was smaller and the band was an intimate fit for the setting. But if you’re a longtime Prince fan you know his music comes with a lot of keyboards and background vocals, which were mostly absent with this setup. Still, the song lineup fit well, which I think went like this:

O+(->Let’s Go Crazy
Endorphinmachine
Screwdriver
She’s Always In My Hair
Dolphin
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
Guitar
Plectrum Electrum
Fixurlifeup
Colonized Mind
Bambi w/ Joshua Welton (cowbell)
2Y2D w/ Joshua Welton (cowbell, vox)
Cause And Effect
Sign O’ The Times
Forever In My Life
Purple Rain

Some dude with a cowbell. OK. And “Dolphin”? That was weird but I’ve never heard it live so it was fun. Anyway, he did offer a some old tunes, but the most alarming thing to me was the flat response from the audience. Flat as a pancake. Portland, I think you smoke too much weed. For a minute there I actually felt sorry for Prince. I mean, how do you not know the words to “She’s Always In My Hair,” “I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man,” and “Bambi”? They were rocking out to his new tracks but I counted maybe two people up by the stage who were going nuts to his old stuff. The audience was not really familiar with Prince but were there anyway for some unknown reason. Maybe it was the 8pm Gresham/Beaverton crowd and the 11pm show will rock out more, but it’s clear that while Portland does indie well, it does not know the funk.

After being home in Wisconsin for a week I headed up to Minneapolis to the 2nd Annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life concert with Sean Woolgatherer. I went to the first one last year and had a great time, and this show didn’t disappoint either. The show was held at First Avenue, where Purple Rain was filmed, and held as a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

This year featured performances by Andre Cymone, a former protege of Prince. I was looking forward to hearing The Dance Electric, his biggest hit from that era. Sean took a nice video of the performance:

Lookin’ good at 54 Andre!

The other headliner for the show was Princess, a Prince tribute band featuring Maya Rudolph of SNL. Their coverage of tracks from 1999 and earlier tunes were eerily flawless:

It’s clear that Maya and Gretchen listened to a lot of Prince. They had every word down to the erotic screams and gasps. Review of the show, photos and setlist is here. It was good to get my R&B and funk fix in after a long hiatus. There are lots of alternative rock concerts in Portland but not a lot of funk that I know of.

It’s back to the grind in Portland, although the weather has been hitting the low 60s lately which is nice. No job leads during my absence but a volunteer job I interviewed for will start in April. It’s working the front desk at an LGBT homeless support center that does good work. Should be interesting and something to do.

I took a two-day rest in Wisconsin with the family after the long drive from Cleveland in a day. Then I was ready to get through southern Minnesota and South Dakota. It turns out South Dakota was a much larger state than I expected. Much of it looked like this:

Pretty in a way, but monotonous after a while. But I started to see herds of pronghorn antelope, and my first wild coyote.
I made it as far as Oacoma, SD on the first night and was greeted by this lovely sign:

I wondered how many places in DC would benefit from similar signage. Then I did a quick drive through Badlands National Park, which was a geologic lesson in erosion:
Badlands National Park
I saw two bighorn sheep in the Badlands, but it is hard to stop quickly with a big truck so you’ll have to take my word for it.

I did make it to the Corn Palace but the place is no longer completely constructed of corn. These days it’s just a facade of corn. Inside there was a sound check for some country music star, but that was about as interesting as it got. I swore off cheesy/kitchy stops after that, but was hungry by the time I got to Wall Drug so stopped there anyway. The locals were not impressed by the big city boy who just rolled into town:
Horses at Wall Drug
I overheard the waitress at the cafe speaking Russian, which I thought was odd since she looked Native American. Turns out she was a Kazak exhange student and I chatted with her in Russian and Kazak, which made her day.

I honestly thought I could make it to Wyoming that night, but that was the first of my overestimations of where I’d end up each night. Fortunately I wasn’t on too tight a schedule so it wasn’t a big deal. I did make it to Mount Rushmore for the first time, and it was impressive:
Mount Rushmore
At this point I must have gone through my iPod playlist at least once, and some songs seemed fitting for the journey by that time:

Kylie Minogue – Get Outta My Way (slow drivers)
Alison Krauss & Union Station – Crazy As Me
Madonna – I’ll Remember
Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
Prince – Mountains (performed by Khari Cabral & Chantae Cann)

I was tired of all the Wall Drug signs and bikers biking slow around Sturgis, so made a break for it to get out of South Dakota once and for all. You would think Harley dudes and other motorcyclists would be tearing around at breakneck speed, but that’s not the case. They’re an aging population and ride quite conservatively and are a pain to drive behind, especially in a large truck. I made it to Gillette, Wyoming that evening.

FREE DONNA SUMMERFrom my August 2009 blog post when I saw Donna Summer perform live at Coney Island:

“It was a nice weekend jam-packed with gayness, starting off with the Donna Summer concert at Coney Island with Joe and Jeff on Thursday. The crowd was HUGE, and we had arrived late because I had to have some Nathan’s hot dogs and cotton candy beforehand. I heard at least six songs I recognized, and her voice was still good and the band was tight even though we couldn’t see much from where we struggled for a view.”

I’ll admit I missed the whole Donna Summer gay identity disco thing by about 10 years, but her songs were still playing in the bars here and there when I came out, and I do remember hearing her music on the radio when I was a wee jimbo.

Legendary DC Go-Go artist Chuck Brown passed on this week as well. Last night there was an impromptu memorial outside the Howard Theatre that spread out onto adjacent streets and went late into the night:
Chuck Brown Way
You may remember his hit with the Soul Searchers, “Bustin’ Loose.”

Oh jeez I almost forgot it’s Syttende Mai today. Gratulerer med dagen, Norge. Happy National Day, Norway.

We played rugby on Saturday out in Frederick, Maryland. The pitch was between the city and the mountains and it was very scenic. But with woodticks. Both the Blue side and Red side played the same opposing side, which was really nice of them to play two matches as it gave those of us on the Red side time to play. The Blues are our starting side and the Red side is the 2nd team with old men and gimps like me. The Blues beat Frederick 22-12, then the Reds played the same team but lost 21-15 although it was a good match.

Here’s me with Miss Gertrude Pumpernickel before the Red side match.
Frederick May 12
Gertrude is the prettiest girl on the pitch!

I don’t normally go out after a match as I’m usually kind of ornery and not very well socialized on a rugby day, but it was the only day I could meet up with Butterfly Guy Doug who was in town for a conference. We met up at DuPont Italian Kitchen, then went to Cobalt. You know I always like how Cobalt has done something nice to their place every time you go there. I’m glad we’re through the particle board stage and dance boxes painted flat black era. Now that we can open our windows in the gay bars they’re getting nicer interiors.

It was good to finally meet Doug after linking to him for so long. He is an entomologist and knows a lot about butterflies and one day wishes to rediscover the giant Madagascar earwig, which is presumed extinct.

Anyway, after that we went to Rich Morel’s Hot Sauce, which is off the chain! Hot Sauce is coming to DC again on the 23rd of June, but was originally held in Baltimore. It’s sort of like Blowoff but with faster-paced music. I ended up staying out much longer than I expected, but I had fun.

The weekend at Darth Jersey’s dacha was fun. We went for a hike on the Delaware & Raritan towpath along a historic canal. It’s much like our Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and towpath and trail in DC. I wonder: one is a state park while the our towpath is a national park. Is the C&O Federal mainly due to its proximity to DC, or does it have some greater historical value? These are the things us bureaucrats in DC think about…

Anyway, the birding was great and I spotted three warblers I hadn’t seen before: the American redstart, yellow-rumped and a possible black-and-white warbler. They are fairly common birds, it’s just that I hadn’t seen them in the wild yet.

Darth Jersey doesn’t post pictures of his beloved on his blog because he says it’s “too technical”, so I have posted a nice picture of their naughty dog Boomer, who eventually peed on my pillow. You can tell he’s naughty even from the photo.

We went to see The Avengers. It was fun. I especially liked the part where Hulk beat the snot out of Loki:

On Saturday we went to Asbury Park, which is considered part of the Jersey Shore. It was just like how they depict people on that MTV show:

And for a moment I pumped my fist too, but now I feel unctuous from parroting their behavior. I still feel like I can’t get all that hair product, tanning oil and sweat off my chakra.

Fun tunes Friday featuring Sam Sparro, whose last hit was “Black and Gold

I like his ’stache.

The shadowbox animation for this new(ish) Kate Bush tune adds a lot to the music:

And here’s a shout-out to BrettCajun, who has a New Attitude:

fDeluxe (which consists of several members from The Family) performing “Gaslight” on Twin Cities Public television:

The Family originally recorded “Nothing Compares 2 U” with a male voice of lead singer St. Paul. The song was written by Prince, as were most of the tracks on their album. The other vocalist is Susannah Melvoin, Wendy’s twin sister.

Beardy rugby player David “The Wolfman” Williams for Coke Zero:

Did anyone catch Bradley Cooper’s sweet ’stache at the Oscars?

I had a great time visiting family in Wisconsin this weekend. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip but managed to get some ice fishing in with my brother out on the lake between Minnesota and Wisconsin. My brother set up a few tip-ups, which you can leave by the hole in the ice and the flag goes up when you get a bite:
tip-up
I also had my own hole and pole but we didn’t catch anything. But it was sunny out and I got some sunlight anyway. It’s been a warm winter there as well as in DC, and some parts of the river were free of ice.

On the drive to Wisconsin from the Minneapolis airport I spotted dozens of bald eagles, and many of their large nests. They’ve really made a comeback in the area.

There’s still stuff left over from our childhoods up in the closets of mom’s house. I found my brother’s old baseball card collection, and picked out my favorites:
baseball cards
Notice a trend? Most of my favorites were from 1978 or so. That was a good year for the ’stache, and clearly it made an impression. Jim Palmer was always a favorite of mine, especially his furry-chested Jockey ads.

I met up with a few high school classmates, my lovely host Woolgatherer, and some fellow Peace Corps volunteers before heading out to see The Revolution reunion at First Avenue in Minneapolis. It was good to catch up and a few of them had made the trek up to the Twin Cities with me way back in 1988 for the Lovesexy concert and joined us for the show.

While Prince didn’t show up, The Revolution played a very practiced performance and were a bunch of pros. They played a great set, with many songs from the “Parade” and “Around the World in a Day” albums, and some old skool numbers* as well. And Wendy was bandleader! They even did my favorite Prince song “Mountains” which was awesome.
Revolution reunion at First Avenue, 2/19/2012
Photo by Woolgatherer.

I was also impressed with the service at First Avenue. They had drink service for those on the floor, and also glass and bottle collectors so nobody would drop their glasses on the floor. Quite classy for Minneapolis. Here’s a review from the show, more news, photos, and yet more photos, and a video of the performance.
Ruckus
*Set List: Controversy/ Do It All Night/ Party Up/ Let’s Work/ Pop Life/ America/ two heart-health videos were shown and Bobby Z and his wife, Vicki Rivkin, gave brief speeches (“I want to thank Prince from the bottom of my repaired heart”); he presented the members of the Revolution with certificates for “Purple Rain” being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame/ “Revolution Theater,” with each member reciting a line or two from “Purple Rain”/ 1999/ Life Can Be So Nice/ Mountains/ anotherloverholenyohead/ Baby, I’m a Star/ Let’s Go Crazy ENCORE Purple Rain/ Uptown (G Sharp on lead vocals)

What a sad weekend. We knew Whitney was spiraling but it’s still sad that she passed on so young. It left me thinking, while Madonna may have Gollum arms and frog legs and tries way too hard to stay relevant, at least she seems to be sober and has some amount of her shit together. And at least we still have Prince (Mountains / Shake Your Body mashup) even though he’s lost the edge he once had. The fate of George Michael is still in question, despite his recent health scare.

By the way Robyn was ROBBED by some creature called Skrillex in the Best Dance Recording & Best Dance/Electronica Album Grammy categories. She was beat by some kind of alien from Deep Space Nine for chrissakes.

World's Largest Six-PackSpeaking of Prince, I’m going on a crazy Prince-related trip back home to the Wisconsin/Minneapolis region this weekend. Sean alerted me to the reunion of Prince’s former band – The Revolution – that he played with for the 1999, Purple Rain and Parade albums. It’s apparently a fundraiser to be held at First Avenue, where much of Purple Rain was filmed. Prince is unlikely to show up, but I have never seen The Revolution perform live, and have wanted to see Wendy & Lisa perform for a long time. They will be doing solo sets and then a set together. The last time I was at First Avenue was for a Living Color concert.

FYI Wendy & Lisa have been very busy lately, winning a Grammy last year for the Nurse Jackie score, and it looks like they’re working on the score for a new show on Fox.

Oh and of course I’ll be visiting the family back in my hometown too. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there in the winter. BECAUSE WISCONSIN IN THE WINTER SHOULD BE FUN, RIGHT!? I decided a while back to not go home in the winter on a regular basis, since the summers are much nicer there and there’s so much more to do. I’ll be packing my warm clothes for sure and will see the Mighty Mississippy fully frozen over. Don’t have much planned other than hanging out with the family and seeing the concert. Oh and I will eat some cheese curds too and search longingly for Aaron Rodgers.