Monday, June 25, 2007

Flip Flop Summer Tour at Lincoln Financial Field

Well, this past weekend was pretty interesting for me. I went to the Flip Flop Summer Tour concert in Philadelphia at the Lincoln Financial Field, the stadium where the Eagles play.
This concert, headlined by country superstar Kenny Chesney was completely sold out- over 50,000 people!
I have never been to what I would call a "New" Country concert before, but this was pretty incredible to see. When we showed up, we walked through a tailgate that must have been a 1/2 mile outwards from the venue. Booze and BBQ! A lot of female fans as well. Unlike the indie music scene I frequent, this crowd included whole families from children to grandparents. I also appreciated that they were unpretentious- no one was there to be cool; they were there for a good time.
I had never really heard the music by any of the acts on the bill. I really enjoyed opened Pat Green. I was lucky to be on the stage at the side during his set. He did a pretty awesome cover of Springsteen's "Atlantic City".
My friend, Brandon, who plays keyboard for Sugarland, told us he was a huge star in the Texas country scene, which is almost like another world to itself. It's where Joe Ely, a country musician I'm a huge fan of, is a huge act, but he has not quite crossed over to the mainstream Nashville scene.
I was also lucky to be right up to see the band Sugarland during their set. They had a lot of energy, and lead singer Jennifer Nettles was beautiful and brassy. It was pretty cool seeing my friend, Brandon on stage with the band. I played in one-shot experimental band with him in college! Crazy!
I guess Kenny Chesney is like a Jimmy Buffett for the country crowd, and clearly everyone was at the show to see him. When he came out, he popped up out of a stage in the center of the field, and everyone went nuts. This is the response I've only seen with shows like the Rolling Stones, and I felt odd because, I didn't know any of his songs.
New Country is a lot more like pop-rock than people outside of the scene are willing to admit. Sure there's a little more of an accent, maybe a fiddle or two, but the music at it's heart is rock and roll. While I still prefer singer-songwriter types like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, and Gillian Welch, I have to admit, you have to respect this scene that fills stadiums. Indie music needs to have multiple stages with 40 acts to do the same.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Panda Bear with Scott Mou & WZT Hearts at Ottobar

Went last night to the Ottobar to see Animal Collective member Panda Bear play. Somehow, he planned a limited tour and decided to grace our humble town. I saw Spank Rock hanging out at the bar in the back.
Opening up was local band, WZT Hearts, a trio that includes 2 laptops and a drummer who also yells. Their sound is ambient-noise- some interesting stuff, but watching them is a bit too much like an internet cafe.

Up next was Jane member and Other Music employee, Scott Mau. I know I've asked him for help when I've been at the store. Musically, he played rhythm on an acoustic guitar, ran a sampler, and sang with a lot of echo in falsetto. It was a little disappointing.

Panda Bear was pretty awesome. His sound is electronic psychedelic pop, and his set was fantastic. He played with no breaks and segued from song to song, with his visuals matching the music. Trippy, occasionally groovy, and really nice.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Night at the Wire 2007

HBO's The Wire is one of my favorite programs on television, and it's pretty cool that all production of the show take place in and around Baltimore. I was lucky last night to go to their final A Night at the Wire event thrown in support of the Ella Thompson Fund.
When we arrived, we had the chance to tour the soundstages for the fifth season shooting. We got to see the sets for the Western, City Hall and the Mayor's Office, and the new set for the Baltimore Sun news room. The props team showed us fake guns, drugs, and bodies, and in wardrobe, we looked at clothes for the Bunk, Brother Mouzone, and Marlo.
After the tour, we wandered around the silent auction items and grabbed some drinks. By far the coolest item up for sale was Omar's shank he used to castrate his would-be assassin from the last season. David Simon, the show's creator, clearly wanted this item, so I didn't have a chance in bidding.
The party was also really cool in that you could easily mingle with members of the cast. We got to see McNutty, Kima, Herc, Carver, Lester, Marlo, Snoop, Cutty, Rawls, Dukie, Rhonda, Levy. I talked to Clay Davis, Chris Partlow, and Landsman.
Clark Johnson, who was on Homicide and has directed a few Wire eps, was there as he has a role as the Baltimore Sun editor in the new season.
Some hints overheard about the new season were that Daniels will become Colonel, Sydnor is the last untouched and pure member of the unit by the end of the show, the Sun's Michael Olesker cameos, they shot some at the Washington Post recently, and Carcetti is going to make the run for Governor of Maryland.
The night ended with auctioning off of items like a speaking part on the show ($12K), Dinner with McNutty ($7K), Cookout with Kima and Bubs ($7K), Lester's doll furniture that Clarke Peters actually made, and an autographed box of Honey Nut Cheerios from Omar ($500). My friend, the Sunmonkey, got ticket to an O's game courtesy of Gov. O'Malley, right behind home plate. I hope he invites me.

Monday, June 04, 2007

More Rayguns from Moshi-Moshi

As noted in my previous post, there is currently an amazing raygun exhibit at the Moshi-Moshi gallery in Portland, OR. Well, the curator was kind enough to send me images of other rayguns being shown. Inspired by the Ray Hourneau pieces, other artists designed their own rayguns.
Above is the Lonely Hitchhiker raygun, which utilized an actual prop from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy feature film, modified my Hourneau's archivist Brian Elliot.
This piece was made entirely of felt.

I understand this piece consisted of parts from film cameras.

Licking Pants said the turnout and response to this exhibit was great, so if you're in Portland, check it out.