Music, Indytronic

Once again, The Decemberists

...were great. And this time I actually got to see them with friends-- niwandajones and narose picked me up and we headed up to campus together. Shows are always so much more fun with friends!

Of the two opening acts, I dug the hell out of Loch Lomond; they're Celtic-influenced indie folk/rock, and the music is just gorgeous. We missed the beginning of their set, but I liked what we caught so much that I picked up their new CD, Paper the Walls. (And yes, niwanda, you can buy the albums digitally from their site.) I mean, come on, the opening track is called "Carl Sagan;" how can you not love that?

The Walkmen, on the other hand, suffered heavily from Loud Opening Band Syndrome (a malady affecting many opening bands; symptoms include insecurity and getting the sound guy to turn you up so much that no one can tell whether you're any good or not). It's not that they were really bad per se, but I tend not to take LOBS-afflicted bands very seriously. At one point, niwanda pointed out that the lead singer had his guitar slung across his back, (post-shark-jump-)Bono-style, and I was all "oh man, if they ever put out any Joshua Tree tracks, I am so taking a spare GH guitar and doing that, or perhaps holding it up like I'm threatening to play it, but instead never actually touch the strum bar." At another, he questioned whether Bob Dylan or Geddy Lee was a more pernicious influence on the lead singer's vocal style. The answer was "Dylan trying to sing in Lee's range." Really, the man was a lyrical genius, but for the sake of all that is musical, DON'T TRY TO SOUND LIKE HIM. Even if it works, you will sound TERRIBLE, because Bob Dylan is NOT A GOOD SINGER.

Ah, but then The Decemberists came out, and Colin Meloy dazzled us all with his charm and his wit and his sore-throat induced "sexy voice" and his often disturbingly misogynist lyrics. I mean, he sounds like a really cool, very progressive kind of guy; has anyone suggested to him that maybe he has issues with women? He is happily married from what I've read-- has he just sublimated all his latent anger into his music or something? And yet I love even the songs I shouldn't. The track list for the evening included a couple of new songs, one entitled "Valerie Plame." For a guy with a cold, he was in top form, jumping around like a madman, half-scaling the ladder up to the lighting rig and singing a verse from mid-air, and going absolutely nuts on guitar on "The Perfect Crime." He also talked a couple of times about the current political situation-- how for the first time in, oh, eight years, he felt hopeful for the future of the country, how the youth actually turned out to vote, and saying "good fucking riddance" to the current administration. It went over quite well with the Cornell crowd. The final encore was "Sons and Daughters," which he said had been an escapist fantasy when it was written, but now felt more real, an anthem for the coming years of rebuilding the nation.

All in all, a highly enjoyable show, and I'm glad I got to share it with niwanda and narose, as well as our friends Aaron and Emilie and Jennifer and Peter.
Big Papa Smurf

On a less happy note

Hey, California? I'm really disappointed in you. You too, Florida.

And Utah, I am totally going to come over there and kick your ass. Yeah, Mormons making a fuss about marriage being defined as being between one man and one woman isn't too horribly ironic.

I would like to join elspeth1 in reminding everyone that our parents' marriages wouldn't have been legal in much of the U.S.A. for the first half of last century. And I would like to reiterate my stance that, as a straight man happily married to a woman, there is nothing I can think of that threatens my marriage less than the ability of my friends to enjoy the legal benefits of marriage, no matter the sex of their partner.

Keep fighting for your rights, GLBT community. I'll be standing with you.
Big Papa Smurf

In honor of our first bi-racial president

I wish to present to you all:

The Happa

2 oz. ginger-infused vodka
1 oz. green tea liqueur
splash of limoncello

Shake with ice and strain into a large cocktail glass. Add seltzer water to taste as desired.

Also delicious with ginger liqueur, but that can get cloyingly sweet-- latter version works best with almost as much seltzer as booze.

And now to bed. Tomorrow, the hard part begins.
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Music, Indytronic

Andrew Bird is a genius

I don't think that statement is hyperbole, either. Watching him in concert tonight, my Emergency Backup Date elspeth1 and I each thought of the passage in Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach where he talks about the implausibilty of Bach having improvised a fugue-- the complexity being comparable to playing five games of chess simultaneously and winning-- and thinking that no, the Bach thing totally could have happened. It's kind of trite to say "he weaved a musical tapestry," but I'm having trouble finding a more appropriate metaphor. It's not just that he's a masterful musician. (I can see him having an incredibly successful career as a classical concert violinist, and being utterly bored with it.) He takes music and sound and layers them together, violin and guitar and whistling and singing and freakin' glockenspiel, until it sounds like there's an entire orchestra on stage, but it's just him and his array of instruments and his huge Victrola-style loudspeakers (which include Spinny and Stripey). It's a mezmerizing, transfixing experience to watch the man do what he does, and one that just listening to his beautiful music can never hope to convey. I'm bummed that darwins_fox had to miss it; she's taken her Field Bio class out on an overnight trip.

While we're at it, this has been a pretty eventful weekend. elspeth showed up on Thursday for a conference at Cornell; we have had a delicious array of meals together. I showed her the wonders of the Ithaca Farmer's Market, and as de_wolf couldn't make it out and d_f had her field trip, we acted as each other's EBDs this evening. It was a lot of fun.

What was not fun was coming home last night and switching on my 360 only to be greeted with the Red Ring Of Death. I was extremely distraught until I realized that for once, I had actually got one of those silly Product Replacement Plans, mainly because the 360 has been notorious for spontaneously dying just like this. I will never mock PRPs as complete wastes of money ever again, because instead of having to send in my 360 and wait for a month or more, I had a brand new replacement approximately twelve hours later.

Which means, of course, Rock Band 2 party at my house this Friday. Details forthcoming.
Big Papa Smurf

A conversation, pretty much verbatim

Place: la casa del sushigrade y darwins_fox
Time: yesterday around 6 p.m.

d_f: So do you want to go out for dinner tomorrow night?
s: *blank look*
d_f: You know, for our anniversary? Tomorrow's the 31st, right?
s: Actually, I think today... *checks date on computer* *pauses* yep, today's the 31st.
d_f: Really?
s: Yup.

*both erupt in peals of laughter*

s: So I guess we're going out tonight.

aaaaand scene!

There were also professions of love and other mushy stuff, but you don't need to know all that; all you need to know is that we are apparently old enough that our minds are starting to go.
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    amused amused
Computing, Cats

(no subject)

awwwwWWWW awwwwWWWW
Tell me this isn't the cutest thing you've seen all day. Especially considering that for most of you checking LJ, this is one of the first things you've seen all day.

This insomnia-related post has been brought to you by the Tunelessly Singing Hippies of Ithaca. Seriously, guys, chanting "hey hey please come back now" over and over does not count as music, especially at three in the morning. I don't care how drunk and/or stoned you are.