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Flamenco Snapshots · Re­cent­ly, sev­er­al times per week I’ve been spend­ing an hour or two bik­ing. Usu­al­ly af­ter sup­per, with Ingress as a mo­ti­va­tor. My route home goes by a fla­men­co bar; and it’s ab­surd­ly easy to coun­ter­act the bik­ing ben­e­fits with a cou­ple of Gui­ness­es while I watch the last set. And take pic­tures ...
 
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds · Mr Cave is tour­ing at the mo­men­t; the cur­rent Bad Seeds in­car­na­tion is a six-piece no­tably in­clud­ing War­ren El­lis; (No, not that War­ren). I don’t go to a lot of con­cert­s; a few each year. I caught this tour Tues­day and it was the most in­volv­ing, in­tense mu­sic I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in years. If they’re com­ing near, you should go see them. As­sum­ing you don’t mind re­al­ly loud re­al­ly dark mu­sic about se­ri­ous things: fear and love and mur­der and sex and God ...
 
Shonen Knife · It’s been al­most two years since I last saw Sho­nen Knife; too long. They played Vancouver’s less-than-palatial Bilt­more Cabaret; I got close to the stage with my cam­er­a ...
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Flamenco Sketches · Pho­to­graph­ic sketch­es, I mean. Ear­li­er this mon­th, Eve and Eli were up from Seat­tle to vis­it and af­ter din­ner, we all dropped by the Ki­no Café to take in the fla­men­co. It was pas­sion­ate and sexy and fun ...
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Raconteurs Live · Sun­day night (yes, that’d be 4/20, which the band not­ed to gen­er­al snick­er­s), we took in The Ra­con­teurs at Vancouver’s ex­cel­lent Com­modore Ball­room. It was nice to get out for an evening of rock & rol­l, and there are some great songs, but my feel­ings were mixed ...
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Shonen Knife with The Juliet Dagger · For the first time in far too long, I went out last night to a club to hear a cou­ple of rock band­s. Par­ent­hood plus a de­mand­ing job re­al­ly gets in rock&roll’s way (Lau­ren had an ear­ly Fri­day and begged of­f). The evening re­al­ly made me hap­py and if one of the tour’s last three dates is in your town, I’d rec­om­mend tak­ing them in. With bad pho­tos and video even ...
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Extra Action Marching Band · Here­with eleven pho­tos of the Ex­tra Ac­tion March­ing Band and if they’re com­ing through your town, you might want to take in the show. Don’t take the kid­s, though ...
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Princebowl Sunday · Wow, was that mu­sic hot, or what? I get the feel­ing that Prince de­cid­ed some heavy rain would help his vi­su­als and he had so much mo­jo go­ing in­to this par­tic­u­lar Sun­day that God took his call and set it up. I won­der how much re­hears­ing it takes to pull to­geth­er some­thing that chore­ographed and have it come off on the first-and-only-chance per­for­mance, weath­er be damned? We had a bunch of peo­ple over, so I was host­ing and missed quite a bit of the game, but I grabbed a seat at half­time, and turned it up and told ’em to shut up when the mu­sic start­ed. By the way, I made Paul Humphreys’s Beef Sti­fa­do for the after-game din­ner, and it came out great; hearti­ly rec­om­mend­ed for a good sol­id feed on a cold win­ter day. Looked just like Paul’s pic­ture. I dou­bled the recipe and quadru­pled the gar­lic.
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Join the Parade · The Pa­rade of the Lost Souls, that is, this Satur­day Oc­t. 28th. I’ve known about this event for years and want­ed to go, but some­thing al­ways got in the way. This year, I have to go, be­cause I’m one of the per­form­er­s. If you’re in Van­cou­ver, drop by and check it out.
 
Koyaanisqatsi · From time to time, Phil Glass goes out on tour with his en­sem­ble, play­ing the Koy­aanisqat­si sound­track live in front of the movie. We went to the show this evening and re­al­ly en­joyed it. The movie ages rea­son­ably well (although the ac­tu­al phys­i­cal print was a lit­tle tired), with the ex­cep­tion of the over-long, over-excited, un-subtle The Grid seg­ment in the mid­dle. I find I can route around the ham-handed industrial-civilization-sucks mes­sage and en­joy the el­e­gant very slow cuts—yes, look at this moun­tain (or ma­chine, or cloud­scape, or unglam­orous middle-aged face) for much longer than you thought you want­ed to and re­alise that there’s more there to see than you thought. And there’s a mes­sage in that too, about time and at­ten­tion, that seems more im­por­tant to me than the oth­er. As for the mu­sic, Philip Glass may not be ex­act­ly main­stream, but he’s not con­tro­ver­sial any more. I have a bunch of his al­bums and think that both Glass­works and Mishi­ma have some 5-✭ track­s. The band plays beau­ti­ful­ly (5 key­board­s, 3 wood­wind­s, one so­pra­no and some of the in­stru­men­tal­ists sing too); Phil doesn’t con­duct but gets to play the juicy low slow at­mo­spher­ic­s. The sound was clean and pure and solid, too. I re­al­ly en­joyed the crowd, the last cou­ple of times we’d been at that venue it was for the op­er­a, and the Phil Glass crowd was funkier, bet­ter dressed (not more ex­pen­sive­ly, bet­ter), and (dare I say it) looked more in­tel­li­gen­t.
 
Music and Gravity · And I think to my­self... what a won­der­ful world. [Un­sta­ble link fixed, thanks to Jere­my Dunck­.]
 
Jazz in 2005 · Just now I watched an hour of the 2005 New­port Jazz Fes­ti­val on PBS HD, and I think it prob­a­bly said some­thing about the state of jaz­z. The or­der of the com­ments does not cor­re­spond to the concert’s run­ning or­der. Wyn­ton Marsalis (h­m­m, there seem to be two of­fi­cial com­pet­ing sites, so we’ll go with Wikipedi­a) erect­ed a perfectly-polished entirely-motionless 100% risk-free mon­u­ment to some ide­al­ized no­tion of the Gold­en Age of Jaz­z; his en­sem­ble all wore re­al­ly great neck­ties. The Joshua Red­man Elas­tic Band opened with some in­ter­est­ing heavily-processed so­lo sax, then played con­ven­tion­al quite-OK jazz flawed on­ly by Joshua Red­man, whose breaks were kind of bor­ing. Martin Medes­ki and Wood, whom I’d heard of but nev­er heard, played fast com­pli­cat­ed synth-funk, which is gen­er­al­ly a dis­pos­able kind of thing, but it was ac­tu­al­ly a fair­ly funky fla­vor of synth-funk, so that’s a re­deem­ing fea­ture. The Dave Hol­land Big Band was re­fresh­ing, straight un-pimped-up jaz­z, but high-speed, high-energy, the play­ers were sweat­ing and some of the breaks veered in­to dan­ger­ous ter­ri­to­ry. Mm­m­m, tasty. Sav­ing the best for the last: The Pa­tri­cia Bar­ber Quar­tet played Nor­we­gian Wood. No, that’s not what they did... ac­tu­al­ly they fuck­ing blew the stage to smithereen­s, ca­ress­ing the song, then eas­ing in­to the in­stru­men­tal space, then of­fer­ing apoc­a­lyp­tic pi­ano and bass break­s, then drop­ping in­to a fast en­sem­ble groove, pure rhythm for the sake of rhyth­m, why couldn’t it have gone on for an hour; a penul­ti­mate dip in­to that tart Len­non/McCart­ney sweet­ness and then it end­ed with a big loud bang. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to a lot of jazz for a lot of years; for my mon­ey, the Bar­ber quar­tet is by a wide mar­gin the world’s pre­mier currently-active jazz en­sem­ble. Maybe the pre­mier currently-active en­sem­ble in any genre of mu­sic.
 
SMiLE · We caught Bri­an Wil­son and the SMiLE tour the oth­er night. If it comes to your town I’d rec­om­mend catch­ing it, but you might want to show up a lit­tle late ...
 
White Stripes, Ouch · If you’re think­ing of catch­ing the band on this tour, you might want to think again. We saw them this evening and the sound was catas­troph­ic, abom­inable. Now, you don’t go to see WS ex­pect­ing crys­talline pu­ri­ty, but oc­ca­sion­al­ly be­ing able to hear the vo­cals would be nice. A few of the big gui­tar lines came through, but that’s about al­l, and lots of those were lost too. And if you are go­ing, don’t even con­sid­er tak­ing a seat high up in the bal­cony, be­cause there’s a zillion-watt light be­hind Meg, sil­hou­et­ting her in a way that’s prob­a­bly nice­ly dra­mat­ic down fron­t, but makes the whole stage van­ish in a painful daz­zle for the top fifty rows or so. Pret­ty well the en­tire pop­u­la­tion of our sec­tion went to stand in aisles out of the glare, and the se­cu­ri­ty guards who came to clear the aisles were sent pack­ing with an ear­ful. Lots of song­writ­ing and charis­ma, but a waste of mon­ey live. [Up­date: Sev­er­al peo­ple write to tell me that they’ve seen the Stripes re­cent­ly and the sound wasn’t bad; so maybe it was just the hall (the Or­pheum in Van­cou­ver). From my point of view, they took my mon­ey and gave me an un­lis­ten­able show; but your mileage may vary.]
 
Cab Pix, Joplin and Boyle · I don’t re­al­ly ♥NY that much, but you can’t de­ny that it’s in­tense and ef­fi­cien­t. I was in town re­al­ly for on­ly one work­ing day, but man­aged to speak at the Syn­di­cate con­fer­ence, about which many oth­ers have writ­ten, to sit down with the new Sun Soft­ware CTO (& hence my man­ager) Hal Stern (hey, he can blog, this is gonna work out­), to have a re­al use­ful meet­ing with Adam Bos­worth over at the Google of­fice on Broad­way, to do some Atom busi­ness with a cou­ple of our WG mem­bers and some gen­er­al schmooz­ing with Udell and Scoble and La­si­ca and so on, and to eat an ex­cel­lent din­ner cour­tesy of Nooked. This still left time to walk thir­ty blocks to a nice con­cert fea­tur­ing a Rus­sian vir­tu­oso, Jo­plin rags and a world pre­miere by Ben­jamin C.S. Boyle, whom you’ve nev­er heard of but might soon. More on the con­cert and pic­tures from the cab-ride ...
 
After Midnight · I caught Eric Clapton’s Cross­roads Guitar Fes­ti­val on PBS this evening, and sub­se­quent­ly or­dered the DVD from Ama­zon. If you like elec­tric gui­tar, you might want to give it a try. Here­with some notes, and a sto­ry about a con­ver­sa­tion I once had with J.J. Cale ...
 
Yundi Li · Just came home from the con­cert. Li was born in 1982 in cen­tral Chi­na, won lots of com­pe­ti­tion­s, and has charis­ma to burn. The pro­gram was pret­ty well all Chopin and Liszt. I’ve nev­er heard Chopin played bet­ter, live. I’m now shop­ping for his record­ings ...
 
An Evening With Isabel · Last night we went out to hear Is­abel Bayrak­dar­i­an sing; I’ve writ­ten here be­fore of how Ms B. near­ly killed me, and while the con­cert wasn’t life-threatening, it was re­al­ly very good and I think this is A Singer To Watch. I have a pic­ture to prove it, plus a Lord of the Rings con­nec­tion ...
 
Anne Sofie von Otter · Went to a con­cert last night by Anne Sofie von Ot­ter and pi­anist Bengt Fors­berg. She isn’t in the list of my top ten or maybe even fifty singer­s, and I didn’t know a sin­gle one of the songs per­formed, and while a cou­ple were pret­ty good I don’t think they’re go­ing in­to heavy ro­ta­tion on the car stereo any time soon. But you know what? I had a blast; con­certs are al­most al­ways worth go­ing to. Here­with some notes on why, and on some of the mu­sic ...
 
Patricia Barber, 2003/06/26 · The evening of the 26th we caught a per­for­mance by Pa­tri­cia Bar­ber, which was re­mark­able. I can’t imag­ine any­one who likes pret­ty well any kind of jazz not lik­ing Ms Bar­ber. Here­with a bit of back­ground and some de­tail­s ...
 
La Bohème · It was a late evening, we had a fine din­ner and then went to see La Bohème at the Van­cou­ver Oper­a. I'm not a con­nais­seur, but there are a cou­ple of im­por­tant rea­sons why you should go see opera some­time, if you don't al­ready ...
 
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