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Monthly Archives: July 2009

the oven like temperature in our apartment over the last couple days has keep off the computer. if i wasn’t seeing a movie, i was lying on our bed reading with a fan pointed at me. we are currently down to a chilly 92, and it wierdly seem chilly, i may put on pants.

here’s what happened at edgefield in troutsdale, or. on July 18th.

rebecca, jessica, and i went to troutsdale to see the decemberists on a lawn with a bunch of families and blankets. i normally avoid this stlye of show. i’m not a fan of outside shows, especially when it’s still light out. also i hate the casual family oriented atmosphere. the group next to us had a 3 month old and they spent the entire time talking and braiding hair. it’s just not how i like to see a show. then last year i went to see erykah badu at marymoor park, that show gave me hope that some shows are still worth it. so i thought i should give it another try. i thought the decemberists were a safe bet, i’ve seen them live several times before. also they were performing the hazards of love, which i believe to be a masterpiece.

hip portland band of the moment blind pilot played first, they were completely pleasant country pop. something that i might grow to like but not enough for me to exert the effort to find out. andrew bird played next, and he was much loved by the crowd. andrew bird is his own brand of quirky, i just don’t find the music that interesting. he spends all this time setting up the song and there is much payoff, his song just kind of meander. i never grew to like that kind of pop. talented guy, just doesn’t work for me.

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of course it was still bright as day when the decemberists came out, so the light show was barely there. they went right to playing through the hazards of love. hearing it live was pretty extraordinary, when i wasn’t focusing too much on the activity and din around me. becky stark and shara worden were amazing, they moved around the stage providing the drama. they weren’t my favorite part of the album till i hear the npr sxsw podcast, they can tear it up live. the decemberist were predictably good, colin and the gang rocked their butts off, somewhat gently.

the second set made up of older songs, was alright, i expecting it to be a bit longer. that may have been that, because of the area, the venue has a 10 o’clock curfew. (another annoying thing about outdoor summer shows.) they chose good songs, but none of my favorites. the best part was the heart cover, “crazy on you”, with becky stark and shana worden dueting. it was pretty awesome, watch them play it in minneapolis here.

but because of the surroundings i couldn’t connect with the show, i felt a little cheated. i think i would have had a better experience if i was in a different part of the lawn. it was the only section that didn’t stand up, i couldn’t really see from where we were sitting and i didn’t want to be the one person standing.

set list,

prelude
the hazards of love 1 (the prettiest whistles won’t wrestle the thistles undone)
a bower scene
won’t want for love (margaret in the taiga)
the hazards of love 2 (wager all)
the queen’s approach
isn’t it a lovely night?
the wanting comes in waves/repaid
an interlude
fhe rake’s song
the abduction of margaret
the queen’s rebuke/the crossing
annan water
margaret in captivity
yhe hazards of love 3 (revenge!)
the wanting comes in waves (reprise)
the hazards of love 4 (the drowned)

encore
july, july!
billy liar
the engine driver
dracula’s daughter
o valencia!
crazy on you

2nd encore
sons & daughters

last weekend was audrey and erica’s wedding. i’ve been waiting for everyone’s pictures to turn up before reporting. the wedding was at craven farms in snohomish, washington. they were lucky to have an absolutely beautiful day.

the day started early for those of us in the wedding party who were also the setup crew. it took us a couple of hours to set up and organize the room. during this time i got to know erica’s friends, all of whom are awesome good natured people. after everything was set up, there was couple of hours of downtime that was interspersed with organizing caterers and last minute details. i do not envy wedding planners, their jobs are stressful.

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once we were all in our tuxes or dresses, a million pictures were taken. the photographer had us jumping up and down under a tree, posing as pirates in a ship, and idolizing the couple while they sat in a barn door. all of the photographer’s pictures can be found here.

the ceremony was heartfelt and joyfully tearful. there wasn’t a dry eye in the wedding party or most of the crowd. audrey and erica’s love for each other was felt by everyone.

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after some mingling time, the new couple came out for their first dance together. they had an delightfully adorable routine planned, it was so cute watching them. after their dance the wedding party did a square dance that was meant to be a surprise for the crowd. we had a lot of fun doing the dance, even if it was a little sloppy. video of the dances is here. sorry you need a facebook account to see it, i used morgan’s.

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then came dinner, and some of the most loving and moving toasts i have ever heard. a highlight was audrey’s mom serenading them with “the nearness of you”. it is clear that everyone agrees that audrey and erica are a perfect match.

my crippling fear of public speaking kept me from doing a toast. here’s what i should have said.

i only have a small group of friends, it seems that i really try to collect a family. audrey has become a like a sister to me, and the daughter my mom always wanted. when i first met audrey years ago, we instantly hit it off. she proved to be a reliable friend, a great dancing partner,  an up for anything travel companion, and one of the best roommates. when i moved out to seattle and she moved to boston, almost ten years ago, i was a worried that we might lose touch, thankfully that didn’t happen. i was overjoyed when audrey moved to the pacific northwest, it was the magnetic pull of rachelle and i, she couldn’t stay away from us. it took audrey a while to find her footing in seattle, but when it did everything slowly fell into place, culminating with her meeting erica. i have never seen audrey so happy, something she deserved since she devotes much of her time to making other people happy. although i haven’t spent a lot of time with erica, i connected with her quickly, and knew that audrey had found someone special. i couldn’t be happier for the two of them, i love them both.

after the toasts there were cupcakes from trophy cupcakes and dancing to tunes provided by status. it was a wonderful and beautiful wedding. and a great start to audrey and erica’s life together. i hope they had a fabulous and relaxing time in hawaii this past week.

i’ve been busy lately so i’m a little behind on my posting.

last week thom yorke performed a rare solo show at the latitude festival in suffolk, england. he premiered a new song called “present tense”  since he played both radiohead songs and songs off the eraser, it is not clear where this song may go. my theory is that it will end up on the next radiohead album, which i hear they are working on now. it is hard to tell where this song will end up, or how it will sound when recorded. radiohead have been known to play songs for years, working on them till they are how they should be.

so here it is, thom yorke and “present tense”.

at the moment i think it’s ok, the sound quality is off so that might be part of it. the lyrics, from what i understand, are strong, continuing in the personal vein of in rainbows. i think it still needs some fleshing out.

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another recorded live experience i recommend is bjork’s voltaic. a beautifully packaged four disc collection. one disc is a collection of remixes off of the marvelous volta, the second is a live recording from the olympic studios in london, the third is all the volta videos, and the fourth (and best) is a dvd of two concerts from the medulla and volta tours. for as much as i love bjork, the remixes off her singles never did anything for me. there are some gems here though, especially the xxxchange remix of “earth intruders”, the matthew herbert mix of “declare independence”, and the two modeselektor “dull flame of desire” remixes. the rest of them are alright, nothing to write home about though. as for the videos, almost all of her videos are amazing (her worst video and song, which isn’t on this disc), so that disc is well worth it. the real treasure of the collection is the live material. this is bjork first official live audio release, and i couldn’t be happier.  the volta tour was a spectacular site to behold and my favorite of her tours that i’ve seen. while the audio disc is not a true concert recording, it is the live versions though, and they pack just as much energy. the dvd, which morgan and i went to see in theaters a couple of weeks back, captures the live experience. and makes you fall in love with bjork all over again. my only complaint about the collection is that it is too short, i wish we got all the songs played on the volta tour.

on june 21st antony played a concert in amsterdam with the metropole orkest. not only was it filmed for dutch television broadcast (although four songs were cut), but it was also recorded for a radio broadcast (full set list and all the talking). thanks to the internet i have been obsessed with this concert. there is a beautiful version of the unreleased “christina’s farm”, a haunting cover of “crazy in love”, and a killer version of “ghost” (another unreleased song). “ghost” floored me when antony performed it a couple of years ago at the brooklyn academy of music. the highlight of the show is that he premiered a new song “salt, silver and oxygen”.  morgan is probably beyond tired of hearing this concert, i don’t think a day has gone by in the past month that i haven’t listened to it. a friend sent me a dvd of the show also, but i will save morgan and only watch it when he’s not home.

my friend birdantony is hosting downloads on his site. be sure to thank him in the comments.
go here for the audio.
go here for the video. (ignore the audio on that page, it’s not the complete show.)

“ghost”

“salt, silver and oxygen”

“crazy in love”

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one of the main things about portland i’ll miss when we move away (at some point) will be the collection of friends that i have that enjoy musicals. when the portland dates for the rent farewell tour were announced jessica asked me if i wanted to go, i didn’t have to do any of the work, that’s probably a first for me.

rent is a unique experience in my mind, it comes off entirely cheesy but has a lot of heart. the theme of survival while keeping trying to figure out who you are, and how to compromise who you are without losing yourself, is something almost everyone can connect with. the characters, and there are a lot of them, are well developed. you quickly get a good sense of who they are and what they stand for. rent is also a true musical, there is very little spoken words, almost all of it is sung. the songs are strong and full of hooks that are some of the strongest earworms out there. the biggest drawback to rent is that it is wrapped in a cliched nineties wrapper. the songs have grungy pop rock overtones and the costumes are perfect for when they start making “that 90’s show”. all of that makes it somewhat difficult to watch at times, a little cringe worthy. luckily the story is strong and you really care about the characters and how it all works out.

this touring production of rent has a couple of the original actors, anthony rapp and adam pascal, people only theater nerds care about. they have been doing these characters off and on for over 13 years, including the movie, so they know this material. the familiarity works against them i think, their performances were very automaton like. it was a bit like seeing a disneyanimatronic version of rent. also they are well into their late thirties, so it’s a little hard to believe them as early twenties, especially with the bald spots.

the rest of the cast was good, none of them really stood out though.  most of them coming from the broadway closing cast, so they also had a bit of woodenness  about them. this was my third time seeing a production of rent, although i think i’ll be glossing over it with memories of the original broadway production, and the time i saw it from the front row (while getting spit on, damn 525,600 minutes).

well over a week ago i went and saw pj harvery and john parish with jessica who scored some awesomely cheap tickets. i knew going into it that it wasn’t going to be regular pj harvey show, this show focused on the two bluesy, mildly bar rock albums that pj has made with john parish. the first of which i like okay and the second one is just meh.

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the show was good, not great. they all seemed to be so happy to be there in the half empty roseland. the showmanship of pj was the highlight of the show. she was much more subdued than when i saw her before, but she has that spark that you can’t take your eyes off.  it’s a bit of a shame that we didn’t get even one pj solo song. they did play a john parish song, which was surprisingly good, but not good enough to make me look into him.

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we left happy, yet wishing we had a more rockin’ time.

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