Thursday, April 30, 2009

And ... Video!

Wow, We're Back

It's been almost two weeks since my last post. I'm sorry, friends. A whole lot has gone on, and I've really had nothing to say. But, I thought, "It's May. And the weather is sunny today and not too hot. Why don't a post on that there blog?"

So, yeah, I'm here to post. I did a Weekend Preview earlier, and that'll be up soon. That's good news if you like my incoherent ramblings. And, seriously, who doesn't like my incoherent ramblings? Stupid people, maybe?

What's going on in the world of entertainment? Well, let's see. Of course, this weekend is the time when Britney Spears doubles down at Mohegan Sun, performing both Saturday and Sunday in the Arena. You know your faithful entertainment editor will be there, documenting the event for the Register and, I'm sure, saving some ridiculous observations that won't work in a review for this space. I may be forced to shoot myself at this concert though, just so you know. I have a feeling I will be bored in about, say, 12 minutes, tops.

Tomorrow's Weekend section will have stuff on Britney. It'll also talk about The Smyrk's reunion. Fun times. And it'll feature a whole lot of other good stuff.

Sean Penn's marriage is in trouble. This is not a surprise. Speaking of that marriage, how come I am the only person in the world who doesn't love "The Princess Bride"? I only like it.

God bless the AP: Who else could have the courage to use the word "edgy" in the lede of a story about "N.C.I.S.," a bland show made for the older folks?

You know, I'm sensitive to the ordeal Elizabeth Edwards went through, but does anybody really give a flying poop that when she found about her husband's affair, she vomited? I mean, seriously. She didn't divorce him for having an affair and fathering a child. She vomited. Good job, Liz.

Miss California is taking her dumb message off the pageant stage and into the community. It's sad when beauty queens live up to the stereotypes. I'm thinking she could be doing something a whole lot better with her time.

I really have nothing to say about this story, but since I love Neil LaBute's work, I thought I'd link to. It's my choice. You can't tell me what to do. I'm a grown-up boy. Leave me alone. I'm hungry.

Wouldn't it have been cool if this dude escaped from prison?

Didn't everybody already know Kelly McGillis was a lesbian? I always find these "coming out" stories like this a little sad because everyone knew she was gay, so it seems like a grasp at attention. But, you know, I guess it's good she went public. Now, I just need to see "Top Gun." For some reason, I've never seen it. Sad, I know.

If you're thinking about hitting a music festival this summer, two particular events should catch your eye. The lineups, which aren't even complete, for both the 50th anniversary of The Newport Folk Festival and Bonnaroo are absolutely killer. I plan to attend both, I think.

I guess that's all I got for today. I'll post the video later, and, hopefully, we'll get back to blogging as usual. Woo hoo folks.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nothing Going Right

That headline is way more dramatic than necessary. It makes it sound like things are just awful. Things are great. But when it comes to the thingies I've done this weekend, man, nothing's going right.

So, I have no idea why none of Weekend's stuff from this week is on the Web. I have no idea where my Weekend Preview is. I did one. I think it was up at some point, but I can't find it. And, lastly, yep, we had some "issues" at "Connecticut Style."

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch, but all you guys got was some dudes pouring drinks, a segment with some guy talking about putting olive oil in his hair and, lastly, what I'm sure is a worthwhile charity (The Angel Fund), but one that's decidedly creepy. Anyway, there were scheduling problems, so I filmed my segment and it will air during Tuesday's show.

The reason I'm on the show, it turns out, is to talk about Wednesday's Scrabble tournament, the charity event that a team I was on last year won. After the segment airs, I'll write about some very weird parts of the taping.

I guess that's it for this wonderful Saturday. Everyone should be outside. I hope to do that right now. We'll talk again tomorrow when I fix all these many problems. Sound good? OK. Here's a video for a song that popped up on my iPod yesterday. It's such a good song ...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tonight And Tomorrow

So I'm just about to head out to teach a class, but I thought I'd remind folks of two things. First of all, The Presidents of the United States of America are at Toad's Place tonight. Yep, you can see "Lump" live. Heck, you can also watch the video below. Woo hoo.

What else? Well, tomorrow yours truly will be a guest on Channel 8's somewhat new show "Connecticut Style" at 12:30 p.m. I have to get to the station for 9 to film, so I may be a zombie. It'll be OK. I will drink more coffee than imaginable beforehand.

OK, more later. We'll talk when I post Weekend Preview.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Your Easter Feast

OK, so Jesus isn't going to rise from the dead because of this entry. I know most of you visit there here blog for miracles, for things that just don't happen in every day life. The lord and savior rising because of a blog entry would qualify as a miracle. Sadly, I can't give that to you today.

What I can say is, "Happy Easter." I have to admit, I was at a bar Friday night and some people that are always there started leaving and they were like, "Happy holidays." And for a second, I almost turned to my friend Jay and asked what they meant. Of course, I knew Easter was this weekend. Heck, I rambled on and on about it in the Weekend Preview, but still my brain wasn't with it, I guess. Now I'm home in Massachusetts, so of course I remember.

With all that said for no apparent reason, we do have some stuff to talk about. First of all, the cable guy will come to apartment tomorrow and bring me an HD box that also has DVR, which means I am boldly stepping into the 21st century. Isn't that amazing? Everyone keeps telling me that DVR will change my life, but I don't really watch that much television that isn't sports, so I doubt this, but we'll see. So, yeah, I am now technologically proficient.

What else? Well, if you ever see Woody Harrelson walking down the street, don't go near him. He's a method actor, clearly. He may think you're a zombie. Yep, so if this story is true, do you think that while Woody was making "Cheers" that if you went up to him on the street he would have given you beer? I mean, he would have been in character, right?

Billy Bob Thornton has angered our wonderful neighbors from above. He's canceling the rest of his tour opening for Willie Nelson. I don't know what this means for Tuesday's show at the Stamford Palace. I mean, would it be all that bad if Billy Bob doesn't show?

I only played Dungeons & Dragons like twice in my life. When I was a wee Patrick, I had a neighbor, Dave Sauter I think his name was, that loved it. He convinced me and a couple others who just wanted to play Wiffleball to join in a couple times. It was not for me. I don't like rolling 12,345 little dice things at once or fake battling 17-headed dragons. I just want to play Wiffleball. Anyway, the founder of D&D has died. The obvious and mean joke would be to say he's run out of hitpoints. But, really, I don't think that's mean at all. It's a tribute to him. So there you go.

That's all I got right now, OK? Enjoy Jesus' rising. I listened to a lot of Uncle Tupelo on my ride back to the Commonwealth for some reason. Because of that, I leave you with another gift from the Easter Bunny: A performance of "Punch Drunk" from Toad's Place back in March of 1992. Oh, man, I wish I lived in the Elm City back then ...

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

OMG, LOL

The tabloids are in a hissy! Lindsay Lohan and Samantha Ronson have broken up and they've done it in spectacular fashion! Woo-hoo. The story's too good to be true. So good that US Weekly — the very best proof that our society is going to poop — did a "far-ranging interview over several lengthy phone calls and e-mails" with Lohan for a cover story.

It's just the way it is. Magazines like US make dollars by taking advantage of celebrities and invading their privacy. Stars like Lohan have made careers by taking advantage of magazines like US and letting them invade their privacy. Heck, wasn't it only last month that Jennifer Aniston was doing interviews about wanting to move, settle down and get away from all the paparazzi invading her privacy? That was, of course, days before or after she intentionally walked down a main street in Los Angeles, arm and arm with King Idiot, so that photogs could snap photos and, thus, promote "He's Just Not That Into You."

But I don't want to talk about Lindsay. She's probably a little unbalanced and may have some drug problems. Who knows? Of course, she's 22 and has grown up in the spotlight with whack jobs for parents, people who only want to be famous themselves. Her problems make sense in a sad, strange way.

No, what I want to talk about is the oddest part of that initial story I linked to, the one that describes the breakup and teases the US Weekly article. It's just a little sentence at the end of the story, but, to me, it's strange, hysterical and, most of all, very sad. I want to talk about Lindsay's allegation that Drea de Matteo walked by her and said, "Come at me, b***h."

A quick read of this story might make some think about how pathetic the once promising Lohan's career has become. But, again, she's 22 and could very easily recover. I'd like to mention how absolutely pathetic a person Drea de Matteo must be, if this true. Either way, she's gotten herself involved in this breakup, which is no doubt true.

This woman is 37 years old. Get a damn life. Feuding of sorts with a kid? This is a woman who has nowhere near the acting chops of Lohan, is famous only because she played trashy well on "The Sopranos" and hasn't been able to get another job because she can't, you know, act.

Celebrities are always going to be different than you and me. They live in a different world. But if I'm ever a washed-up C-level, 37-year-old actor and am picking fights with a messed up kid, please shoot me, or at least kick me in the junk. I give you permission. You can always point to this blog entry as evidence that I OKed this.

We clear? Good. Now let's return to our regularly scheduled program. What's that program? Music, silly.

At Toad's Place tonight, two great bands will be on stage. Both Margot and the Nuclear So & So's and Cloud Cult would be worth catching on their own. On one bill, though? That's a woo-hoo. Yep, it's woo-hoo worthy. Make sure to check that stuff out.

Another Example Of What's Wrong ...

Newspapers, magazines ... we're all losing market share and things aren't looking the greatest. Blame the Internet. It's always its fault.

This is the common theme you'll get when talking to most print journalists. And you know what? For the most part, it's true. But it's not entirely the reason. Some places have to look in the mirror and realize they've done a really crappy job.

And, Rolling Stone, I'm talking to you.

Look, everyone knows the magazine gotten a lot worse in the past decade, especially. Really, the past two decades have completely affected the music zine's relevance. And it's because it's become celebrity trash. Why not just read People? It's basically the same thing.

Why am I bringing this up now? Well, Rolling Stone first gained a lot of notice because of its in-depth music coverage, and the great music writers who brought that to the fans. Now, they've got a couple on-staff writers who make crappy pop culture jokes in their copy and they've got David Fricke, who's honestly a great writer. But too often they use celebrities to write stuff. And it just makes the magazine look silly.

And here's another example of that
.

So Ethan Hawke, who I am sure is a smart guy, but is an actor, wrote a little piece on his "friend" Kris Kristofferson, and in it said something about a confrontation between Kristofferson and country star Toby Keith. It makes Keith look awful. Keith says it never happened; Kristofferson doesn't remember the incident. Rolling Stone looks bad.

Look, I am not going to pretend to know Toby Keith. And I don't particularly care for his music. But I have interviewed the man about five times, both on the phone and in person. And I seriously, seriously, doubt this ever happened. If anything, Keith has always gone out of his way to make sure everyone knows he's not a far right-wing conservative. He just wrote a song for the troops, that's what he'll always say. And he doesn't care if you don't like it. But he also voted for Bill Clinton twice.

My point is that Hawke mentions tons of stars in this story by name, but then doesn't name Keith, yet uses plenty of description, enough so that anyone with half a brain knows who he is talking about. That's horrible journalism. The editors at Rolling Stone should be ashamed of themselves for letting it happen. It's pathetic.

But, most importantly, it again diminishes the magazine's credibility. Why have Hawke write the story in the first place? Why break some of the fundamental rules of journalism? Why not read that story and say, "You know, that doesn't sound like something Toby Keith would do"? Why not a lot of things?

So when Rolling Stone complains about diminished circulation and ad revenue and shrinks the size of itself again, the magazine should look in the mirror. And that starts at the top because Jann Wenner, who only still writes so he can give five-star reviews to his friends, is one of the biggest offenders, and he's the dude who let's it all happen.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Conor's Coming

I can't exactly confirm this, but I've had two independent sources (who don't know each other) tell me that Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band will be at Toad's Place July 3. This should be a really cool show that's certain to sell out. More info when I get it.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Opening Day!

It's the best day of the year. Woo-hoo. Opening Day.

Well, the Red Sox game has already been canceled, so that kind of stinks, but there are still plenty of other matchups to watch today and tonight. I plan to catch many of them.

Technically, last night was actually Opening Day. It was a good game that proved one major thing: I think that any Mets fan should be particularly nervous.

Look, the Mets may win the division, but they're not a real threat to being a great team because Omar Minaya is not a good general manager. He's not even an OK one. I'll argue that to the death.

The team's starting pitching is not that great. We're talking about a major market team. Seriously. One with a big, shiny new stadium. And this is the starting five they field?

Derek Lowe won't be as good as he was last night every night, but the Mets needed him. Needed him. Instead, they're going to throw out Johan Santana, arguably the best starter in the NL, and then a bunch of crappy-to-OK starters.

Let's begin with Livan Hernandez. He stinks. He was having a historically bad season last year until the Twins finally released him. He's garbage. Poop. The man gave up 12.9 hits per nine innings last year and hasn't been even league average for a season since 2005, a year when he was 2 percent better than the average starter. Last year, he was 31 percent worse than the average. Think about that.

Mike Pelfrey was pretty good last year, but the team is counting on him to be a No. 2, and he threw a ton of innings last year. Those kinds of guys tend to take a step back the next season. Pelfrey threw 128 more innings last year than he ever had before. That's a huge, huge jump. He's not bad, but he's no No. 2 on a championship-caliber team, and he's risky. And he doesn't strike people out enough.

And then we get to the duo that most olks consider "good." Why? I don't know. John Maine, in a shortened 2006, had a decent year. Not great, not bad. The last two years, he's been basically league average. No more, no less. He's been awful this spring. Why is this man considered anything more than a No. 3 or 4 starter? I don't know. On a championship team, he's a 5. He's not even cracking the rotation of the three or four best teams in baseball this year. Yet, he's a 3 or something for the Mets.

Now let's talk about Oliver Perez, the guy the Mets should have waved bye to while they signed Lowe. But, no, Omar is a bad GM and he gives more evidence. Perez walks way too many people. Way too many. Last year, he was exactly league average. But the Mets decided league average was good enough for a rich, multi-year deal this offseason. Perez was good in 2007, but his WHIP was mediocre and he was probably a bit lucky. Besides his great year for Pittsburgh in 2004, he's been horrible in all his other years. So what does Omar do? He gives $12 million a year to a guy who couldn't crack the Yankee rotation. Think about that: He would not even make the Yankee or Red Sox rotation, and the Mets give him $12 million per. Derek Lowe would definitely crack both rotations.

I mean, look, the Mets have a very good lineup and a deep bullpen, but the Phillies, Marlins and Braves have better rotations, and Philly's lineup and bullpen are pretty good too. It's going to be an interesting year for the NL East, but listening to folks on the radio go on and on about how good the Mets, lusting after Daniel Murphy (hello, Brandon Moss the sequel), etc., it just makes me wonder if I'm missing something. I don't think so.

This season, I'm going to try to write more about baseball. We'll see. Happy Opening Day!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Loud, Loud, Loud

MILFORD — After the screeching sludge of "Bulbs of Passion" concluded, Dinosaur Jr. bassist Lou Barlow addressed the crowd Wednesday evening. "We're not playing any new stuff tonight. We're gonna play the new old album, or the old new album."

With a record due to drop on Jagjaguwar in June, you could have expected the packed audience at Daniel Street to think the Sebadoh and Folk Impolosion frontman was simply playing an April Fool's Day joke. Yet, that wasn't the case at all, and it was proven as the legendary indie band then launched into the rest of a solid-if-not-surprising 15-song set that wasn't very different from the one the band delivered in September at Toad's Place.

Playing on a stage too small to handle the sheer monstrosity that is singer/guitarist J Mascis' rig, Barlow and drummer Murph were forced onto one small portion of the stage and numerous times caused each other technical difficulties, something that happened multiple times throughout the set. Barlow's bass head went dead during an encore, forcing the trio to end the show a song or two, presumably, early. Mascis also had a few issues with his guitar at various points during the performance.

Despite these problems, though, Dinosaur played on and gave the rowdy bunch of fans in attendance plenty of choice songs to mosh along to throughout the night. It was a very good show. If I had to give it a star rating, out of five, I'd three, maybe three and a half.

Some noticeable things:

1. The way Daniel Street is set up is just not that ideal for a show featuring such a loud, loud band. The sound got muddied at points, mostly because of the way Mascis employs such a brutally loud guitar sound, one with high gain and liberal use of feedback. That said, the concert was highly enjoyable.

2. Maybe I'm getting too old, but it always makes me mad when people mosh at a concert, especially one by a band that is on record as being against moshing. I'm no Billy Corgan fan, but I've always enjoyed how he mocks and kicks out fans who do this. At one point, someone ran from the pit with tons of blood pouring down their face. Really? There were also plenty of bro-guys in the audience, making fist motions like you'd see at a Nickelback show, which is somewhat unusual for Djr gig. Is this because we were in Milford?

3. I wish Daniel Street was selling alcohol last night. There was maybe 15 people under 21 at the show. The venue would have made a whole lot more selling booze and making the gig 21+.

4. I am happy to say I got my free 7-inch and it sounds great.

5. The performer playing an acoustic set at Cafe Atlantique next door sounded like a dying cow. That's not a good thing.

6. This may sound more negative than I'd like. If I could see Djr five days a week, I would.

Setlist
1. Bulbs of Passion
2. Tarpit
3. Back to Your Heart
4. Repulsion
5. Been There All The Time
6. Little Fury Things
7. Out There
8. Feel The Pain
9. Crumble
10. The Wagon
11. Freak Scene
12. Gargoyle
Encore
1. Does It Float
2. Kracked
3. Sludgefeast

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Get Prehistoric Tonight

Daniel Street is a relatively small room. And the Milford venue has never hosted a show as big as the one that arrives tonight.

Thanks to Manic Productions, legendary indie band Dinosaur Jr. plays Milford — yes Milford! — tonight. Awesome Color opens.

Tickets are going quick, but there are a good amount remaining. Make sure to pick some up. This is not a show you want to miss. A legendary, iconic band that keeps getting better with age in a sort-of intimate venue? You better have an excuse not to come.

Daniel Street is anything but small, but compared to Toad's, the place DJr has performed at multiple times recently, it's tiny. This should be a whole lot o' fun.

One thing to keep in mind though: Make sure to bring earplugs. Look, I hardly ever wear them, but tonight you'd have to be absolute moron not to invest in at least a disposable pair. It might be smart to wear those ones that pilots sport. DJr is easily one of the top three or four loudest bands I've ever seen. And I've caught the trio more than a dozen times. Having said that, Daniel Street is a loud venue in general. So ...

Put it this way: I fear that, even with earplugs, I may end up peeing myself from loudness. That's true, man.

Oh, and, just so you know, you will get a free, tour-only 7-inch for coming to the show. Can't beat that with a stick. Nope. See you there. Here's a performance of "Forget The Swan." Awesome.

Short And Sweet

For an all-too-brief 30 minutes Tuesday night at Daniel Street, Stratford's Mates of State quickly showed why its upcoming tour will be something to see.

The husband-and-wife duo were joined by two-thirds of Judgement Day on stage, and the addition of strings, guitars and horns really added an extra dimension to the organ-and-drum assault that is a typical MoS performance.

At the band's CD-release party at Toad's Place last May, the duo also had a backing string section, but this was a completely different experience. Tuesday featured more instrumentation and the result was a fuller sound, but one that did not get in the way of what makes MoS great: harmonies and hooks.

MoS was playing a secret show under the name Team Boo, which is the name of the band's third full-length. An audience of about 300 caught the show, but most cleared out before the end of headliner Asobi Seksu's set. Clearly, most in attendance were there to see MoS. They were not disappointed.

The band's co-headlining tour with The Black Kids comes to New York Sunday and Monday. The first of those shows is in Brooklyn and sold out. However, tickets remain for Monday's Webster Hall gig. Buy some.

Here's a setlist; I don't think I missed anything:

1. My Only Offer
2. Get Better
3. Like U Crazy
4. Open Book
5. Think Long
6. You Are Free
7. Long Way Home (Tom Waits cover)
8. The Re-Arranger