Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Drive-by post - New York Dispatch No. 3

I went to St. Paul's Church yesterday as well as World Trade Center 3.
Going to catch Chris Rock tonight.
Eating sushi at Ruby Foo's.
Wishing I could find a record store around here.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Review - The Verve at WaMu (Madison Sq. Garden)

When I was growing up, I used to mock any band that reunited. Most of these bands were baby boomer types and the reunions were either Spinal Tap-like or soulless exercises in extreme marketing (see The Who, Rolling Stones). Now, some of the bands that gave me the soundtrack of my life are doing the same - right down to doing promos with 50 Cent for Monday Night Football.

So, when The Verve announced that they were reuniting and coming out with a new album, I kept wondering if they were still relevant. I know some people HAVE to get back together to pay the bills, but dammit, other bands like The Clash and Sleater-Kinney have packed it in and kept their reputation intact (well, the Clash made the abysmal Cut the Crap - so one could argue they stayed around at least one album too late).

To cut bands that reunite some slack, we are not nearly as critical for writers and actors who do their craft well into their '60s and '70s. Could it be that rock will forever be thought of as a young person's game? Or is it simply that other actors and writers opt not to fall into the trap of saying "this is my last movie" or "this is the final book I'm writing" - and then when he or she gives it another go - the scrutiny spotlight is that much more intense.

So, at 9 p.m. at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden, the reunited Verve took the stage and opened with "A New Decade." The audience roared in approval. Ashcroft, sporting a tightly-cropped haircut oftentimes gestured like a rapper, reaching his hands out to the audience, making stabbing gestures at each important lyric.

And then the band settled into its groove. "Sonnet" came on and by the fifth song, it looked like The Verve had never left judging by some of the audience behavior - some were going to get more beers, some were text messaging the event to friends. One person who was next to me even gave a 'so so' motion in response to one of the songs.

If the show was a bit on the predictable side, Richard Ashcroft can still sing like a wounded angel. And Nick McCabe's guitar work proves that while Ashcroft is a capable solo performer, McCabe gives him the psychedelic energy he so needs to give his songs additional heft.

The band closed with "Come On" before coming back with a three-song encore: "History," "Bittersweet Symphony" and "Love is Pain." Ashcroft, in his modest way, gave a brief introduction to the last two songs: "The first one's a classic and the next one's going to be a classic."

Time will tell. While it was great to say you were one of the folks who saw the Verve live, I'm still kicking myself that I didn't do more to scope out this band in their 1997 heyday. They put on a good show, but it was strictly by the numbers. For many in the audience, that was enough.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

New York City Saga - Day 1

I don't think there's a sweeter word right now than 'Free Wireless Connectivity!'
I'm staying at a hotel around West 77th st. and the bastards are charging $10 a day for Wireless. Fortunately, I found out about Ruby Foo's - at 2182 Broadway. In addition to a decent selection of Japanese-style cuisine, they also have free Wireless and a decent glass of wine to boot.

I arrived and I was still tired and a bit hung over from the night before. One of my good friends got married and against my better judgment, I went out with them after the reception at around 11 p.m. - even though my flight was 8:30. A London Porter, a vodka tonic, a Jager bomb (not my idea, but two loud ladies were insistent) and two vodka tonics later, I managed to fall asleep around 2 a.m. - and I woke up around 6:15 for the 7 a.m. shuttle. I knew I was in trouble when I didn't have a headache. The hangover hadn't even started yet.

Anyway - I tried my best to sleep on the flights and I arrived in New York City around 8 p.m. I got to my hotel, got my Metro card and tried to find a Wireless spot, but to no avail. I ate an unagi rice bowl at some sushi spot and went to The Boiler Room. I was at home. First, the reality of $8.50 beers has so far escaped me. All drinks were around $3 and no covers. And the jukebox was playing The Velvet Underground and The Sex Pistols. And it's a gay bar.

Today, I was going to see Ground Zero, but the deluge of rain may keep me from doing that. After I finish a bit of blogging, and this glass of wine, I'm headed to MOMA then a few hours later, I'm going to catch The Verve.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

New York Bound

I'm taking a few days off to go to New York.
To see The Verve. To see Chris Rock.
And hopefully to have lunch with a former New York Times writer.

I haven't posted for awhile because I don't really know where to take this Blog. I still love writing it. I still love commenting on music, politics and what not. But the basic point of it - expressing it from a bisexual point of view, has been somewhat neutered because I haven't really brought up the topic.

But I can still deliver content. Such as the new Aimee Mann song - '31 Today' - easily my frontrunner for 'song of the year.' Although the lyrics hit a bit too close to home.

Aimee Mann: 31 Today

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