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When I was a kid, probably around 8 or 9 I had a walkman and two tapes, Culture Club‘s Colour By Numbers and DEVO‘s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!. I’ve known all my life that I had to see DEVO, something I can now cross off my bucket list. And it unintentionally became a date night for Morgs and I, dinner, shopping and a show. We got to the show about half way through The Octopus Project‘s opening set. They were pleasantly tolerable, mostly instrumental new wavey psych with a theremin thrown in every now and then.

After a montage of their music videos DEVO took the stage dressed like the grey hornet, I became a total fan boy. They played all the major hits and many of the fan favorites. They were loud and played just as fast. Mark Mothersbaugh‘s voice sounded older but just as urgent and rallying. Throughout the show they changed into costumes from their pasts, and did their best to keep the energy up.

I’m thinking this is like a secret final tour, because the show had a very “greatest hits” feel about i, it wasn’t cohesive. For the most part their musicality showed no age, yet there were several awkward moments where they seemed unrehearsed. My last negative comment is that the order of the song in the set list could have been better, and the last song was a terrible choice. Overall I loved the show, but left somewhat unsatisfied.

The Set List

Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)
Peek-a-Boo
What We Do
Going Under
Fresh
That’s Good
Girl U Want
Whip It
Planet Earth
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones cover)
Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers cover)
Uncontrollable Urge
Mongoloid
Jocko Homo
Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
Gates of Steel
Freedom of Choice
Beautiful World

i saw beyond ipanema as part of the nw film center’s reel music festival. i’ve been a fan of brazilian music for sometime, it started with astrud gilberto and samba which i discovered in high thanks to a salvation army record purchase. a few years ago i was drawn to the tropicalistas thanks to a tom ze album i randomly got one day. thanks to diplo i found out about baile funk and the sounds of the favelas. over the years i’ve learned a good deal about brazilian music,  mainly i wanted to see this movie because i was hoping for footage of the greats.

beyond ipanema is a good starting point to learn about brazilian music but is a letdown in the information department. they had a lot a ground to cover, mainly i don’t think they used their time wisely. we saw the same montages a couple of times, and the talking heads (david byrne, arto lindsay, css, m.i.a., diplo, and a butch of record nerds) went on way too long at times. i will say i could have listened to tom ze talk for hours, he was interesting and funny. there wasn’t enough background information about how the sounds developed, they essentially just skimmed over the history by naming names. another unfortunate thing is that they must not have been able to get the rights to use a lot of the songs. instead we got so so covers or acid jazz remixes.

beyond ipanema, while far from being the encyclopedia of brazilian music i wanted it to be,  was still good to see. i did get frustrated by it at times (why spend so much time on nyc’s fredierick douglass academy?), and i didn’t really learn anything new, but i did get to see tom ze. i would still recommend it because of the range of talent it exposes, you’ll end up spending time reseaching the musicians.  i only hope one day that all the genres will get their own documentaries. if only i was a film maker.

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.

june2009 006

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

we finally watched milk last night and i have to say i was really impressed. normally i find biopics a little too made for tv, so i generally avoid them, milk managed to avoid that feeling, in fact it seemed effortless. i wasn’t necessarily blown away by any one part of the movie, the acting was solid and it was shot well, the movie just works as a whole.  what has stuck with me is the optimism and hope of the movie, i guess it was his perseverance that really got to me, it’s a message that most of us can relate to right now.

and congratulations to the lgbt citizens of iowa for getting the right to marry.

watchmen-cover2

i finally broke down and read watchmen. i figured i should read it before i saw the movie, which i saw last night. i found the book to be a good read offering a well written multi-layered story about the state of the human condition, albeit in an alternate reality where super heroes exist and nixon has been president for almost twenty years. i liked the book but i fail to see why it gets all the critical acclaim. i wasn’t in awe of it, and while the story was dense it still felt a bit shallow to me. it may have been another example of setting my expectations too high.

my opinion of the movie version is a bit different. i liked the movie quite a bit, although it was far from perfect. they cut a lot of the content of the book, and changed a little of the story. i agreed with all the alterations, the book has quite a bit of chaff that could be cut. the film was well cast and everyone gave a good performances. the style and design was lifted right out of the comic with only subtle changes to make it workable in “reality”, the look of the movie was one of my favorite parts. the downfall of the movie was in its pacing and length. watchmen, much like the dark knight, should have been made into two movies. they could of given us a little more of the depth and connect us to the characters more. i don’t know if i would recommend watchmen to anyone beside comic book nerds.