Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New Music

Note: I've had some trouble hosting music files. Hopefully, a change in hosts has fixed this problem.

Earlimart - First Instant, Last Resort

On previous albums, Earlimart was most influenced by the Pixies and X. Their new album, Treble and Tremble, is a bit of a tribute to the late, great Elliot Smith (leader Aaron Espinoza reportedly lived next door to Smith). Acoustic guitars and whispered vocals are accompanied by keys, cellos, and other orchestral flourishes. Critics may complain that this album sounds too much like Smith, but to these ears it's a great homage.

Paul Westerberg - Be Bad For Me

A bonus tune on the European version of Folker. Not the greatest Westerberg tune, but completists such as me still has to town it.

Green Day - Governator

I broke down and checked out Itunes. I'm not a huge fan, mainly because I want a physical copy of anything that I purchase, and their restrictions on my usage of the tunes I buy is a bit over the top. But I did find some live Morrissey and Elvis Costello, and this rare Green Day tune that pokes a bit of fun at that idiot actor/governor in California.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Hudson's Tour De Minneapolis Finally Ends

The Pixies at Roy Wilkins

Five weeks after witnessing the New York Yankees eliminate the Minnesota Twins from advancing to the American League championship, the Scott Hudson Tour De Minneaplis is finally coming to it's conclusion with a sold out show by the rejuvenated, reunited Pixies.

I almost have this travelling road show down to a science. The day begins at 8:30, Traci is picked up at 9:30, and we hit the road after loading up on coffee. This time we brought the portable DVD player, and we watched the recently reissued Dazed and Confused on the way up to St. Paul.

After a quick stop to register at the hotel, we headed over to the CC Club once again. After a couple of drinks, we headed towards St. Paul. We warmed up a bit more at a pub right across the street from the auditorium, and we were pleasantly surprised to hear nothing but Pixies tunes during our stay. After making our way into the venue, I immediately hit the merch stand for a shirt for myself and my son, and also pre-purchased a copy of the show from DiscLive. In case you're not familiar with this service, DiscLive is a company that makes soundboard recordings of the Pixies' entire tour. You purchase a voucher and twenty minutes after the show you turn it in for a two disc recording of the show. I hope this idea catches on, as I don't have enough patience to wait the mandatory week or two for illicit recordings of the shows I attend to finally hit the internet.

The Datsuns were playing as we entered, and I must say that I was extremely disappointed. I thought their first album was a great garage rock recording, but onstage in St. Paul I felt like I was watching a hometown metal band ten years past their prime. It was just sludge, and wasn't helped by the poor acoustics of the venue. Luckily, we missed about half of their set.

Finally, the moment we were waiting for. Frank Black, Kim Deal, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering hit the stage and immediately launch into "Is She Weird", followed by their most excellent cover of the Jesus and Mary Chain's "Head On". It was 1989 all over again. Traci and I danced and sang for the next 90 minutes.

From the reviews I read online, this performance completely blew away their show from the previous evening. Santiago is one of the most underrated guitarists in the world, and they all seemed to have a great time, particularly the always smiling Deal. There was even some rare banter with the audience, particularly when they screwed up the ending to "Nimrod's Song". A few songs even appeared to be spontaneously added to the setlist.

My only complaint is the conlusion. After tearing through "Vamos", Santiago sat his guitar on a chair and played with feedback for ten minutes or so. While it was cool, one more song would have been a more climatic conclusion. But who's complaining? They played pretty much every thing I wanted.

After waiting for our copy of the show, we headed into the traffic jam, singing along with our favorite moments. We headed back to the CC Club and reminisced over more than a couple Jack and Cokes.

The next morning, I probably felt worse than any of the other shows of the past month, although that probably had more to do with the cardboard pillows in our hotel than any real hangover. Once again, we ate some grease at the Uptown and headed home, this time to the accompaniment of the DVD of 200 Cigarettes.

AS per my last couple of "reviews", here's the setlist for the show:

Is She Weird
Head On
U Mass
Broken Face (punk rock)
Something Against you (punk rock)
Mr. Grieves
I Bleed
River Euphretes
In Heaven
La La Love You
Nimrod's Son (beginning of "illegal medley")
Holiday Song
Here Comes Your Man
Where is My Mind?
Nimrod's Son (derailing train version)


Wave UK Surf

Paul Pilgrimage: Heading Home

The day I wasn't looking for - missing the last show of the stand. Once again, we woke up way too early. At least we knew this time that we weren't going to find any food in downtown Minneapolis. We checked out of the hotel and headed over to First Avenue to take a few shots in front of our favorite "stars". Traci chose the Cure, Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare. I picked Wilco, Camper Van Beethove, and, of course, the Replacements. We then headed up to the Uptown Bar for some greasy food and a bloody mary before hitting the road to Sioux Falls.

The Uptown is the greatest restaurant to cure hangovers. The server even helped pick out a cure for what ailed me. We had a relaxing meal, bought a few mugs, and headed out of town.

I knew this would happen, but we missed a legendary show. Paul destroyed a couple of guitars, sang "I Will Dare" in the front row, and ended with off-the-cuff covers of "Rebel Rebel" and Led Zep's "Rock 'n' Roll". We should have stayed in town.

But I have no regrets. It was a perfect weekend, and I'm happy I shared that time with the one person that means the world to me (outside of my son, of course). Absolutely nothing went wrong; there were no moments that I hated my life. Those kind of extended periods don't happen very often anymore.

Thanks to the Man Without Times message board, here's what I missed on Sunday evening:

Paul Westerberg and the Painkillers *
7 November 2004
Pantages Theater - Minneapolis, MN
* = Kevin Bowe (guitars, vocals), Jim Boquist (bass, vocals), Michael Bland (drums)

Waiting On Somebody
Kiss Me On the Bus
I Think I Love You (Partridge Family cover)
My Dad
Mr. Rabbit (Bowe on mandolin)
Making Me Go
Let the Bad Times Roll
No Place For You
As Far As I Know
High Time
Little Mascara
Lush and Green (solo acoustic 12 string)
Crackle and Drag (solo acoustic 12 string)
Skyway (solo acoustic 12 string)
Customer (fragment) (acoustic 12 string with band)
Lookin' Up in Heaven (w/ snippet of Sadly Beautiful) (acoustic 12 string with band)
How Can You Like Him? (acoustic 12 string with band)
What a Day (For a Night) (acoustic 12 string with band)
Love Untold (electric 12 string with band)
I Will Dare (electric 12 string with band)
Alex Chilton
Left of the Dial

Here Comes a Regular (solo acoustic)
Born For Me (solo acoustic)
Swinging Party
Can't Hardly Wait
Lost Highway (Hank Williams cover)
All Over Again (aka I've Got a Mind to Give Up Living) (trad blues) (w/ false start)
Rebel Rebel (David Bowie cover)
Sweet Virginia (Rolling Stones cover) (aborted)
Rock 'n' Roll (Led Zep cover)
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Paul Pilgrimage:Day 2

Saturday came way too early to us. Nobody on vacation should be up at 8:30! We laid around for awhile before getting ready to hang out in the big city. Our first task was a continuation of Friday night's fruitless search for food. We wandered for blocks and blocks looking for an open restaurant. The only one we found open had a half hour wait. I guess we should have just taken that.

Finally, Brit's opened at 11. Unfortunately, it happened to be the first time that I've ever experienced a bad meal in my favoritie Minneapolis restaurant. Traci's was even worse - her search for a cheeseburger ended with some obscure British cheese that she absolutely hated!

The afternoon was then spent in the Uptown area - disc shopping at Treehouse and Cheapo, along with stops at quite a few other shops. Our only 'mats-oriented tourist stop was the CC Club, one of the great blue-collar/punk rock bars. Sitting two booths over from where the "Achin' to Be" video was filmed, we downed a couple of drinks and chatted with the other sightseeing Westernerds. We had a long talk with London Paul, who had earlier met Tommy Stinson's mom at the Uptown. He was accompanied by Jason, the self-appointed local tour guide. Great people.

From there we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower, and then walked a block over to an Italian restaurant whose name I have forgotten. A nice place highlighted by some crazy old ladies at the next table celebrating their birthdays. Suddenly it was just a few minutes before showtime, and we had to meet my friend Pat and his two Irish friends outside of the Pantages.

Tonight we had fifth row seats (actually seventh row counting the two comp rows). Great seats for viewing, but a few feet too far back for great photos. We still shot quite a few, along with a couple of short videos.

I have to give the edge to this show. Paul seemed much more relaxed and confident, and the band once again smoked. After the Grandpaboy bluesman opening of "Dust My Broom", the setlist for the first few songs mirrored the first night. Luckily, this all changed with Stereo's "No Place For You". After this point, it was close to a completely different show. Unlike most people, I had pledged not to yell out any song titles. There's so many songs that I would have loved to here, but the reality is that I'm happy with almost any song. Lucky for me, he played almost every song I wanted to hear. "Born For Me", "Things", and "Crackle and Drag" are three of my favorite ballads, and he hit most of my favorite solo and 'mats rockers. Sure, I would have loved to hear "Unsatisfied", "Silent Film Star", and a few others, but who can complain about "Alex Chilton", "IOU", "Little Mascara" and his ramshackle cover of the Stones' "It's All Over Now"?

Traci made a great point when we hit the bar with Pat and the Irish contingent after the show. Paul is a true performer. As Johnny Rotten once sang, he "means it, man"! It sounds like a cliche, but he puts everything he has into his performance, even when he fucks up or gets pissed for some silly reason (like when his stool went missing). He is a Midwestern combination of Joe Strummer and Bruce Springsteen.

As I said earlier, after the show we headed out for a couple of drinks, and then crashed - extremely tired but also extremely satisfied.

Here's the setlist for the evening, along with a couple of MP3's:

Paul Westerberg and the Painkillers *
6 November 2004
Pantages Theater - Minneapolis, MN
* = Kevin Bowe (guitars, vocals), Jim Boquist (bass, vocals), Michael Bland (drums)

Dust My Broom (Elmore James cover)
Waiting For Somebody
Final Hurrah
Kiss Me on the Bus
My Dad
AAA (with bits of Anyway's All Right)
Mr. Rabbit (up tempo country-rock version) (Bowe on mandolin)
Making Me Go
No Place For You
Now I Wonder
As Far As I Know
Born For Me
High Time
Little Mascara
Skyway (solo acoustic 12 string)
Things (solo acoustic 12 string)
Crackle and Drag (solo acoustic 12 string)
Lookin' Up in Heaven (acoustic 12 string with band)
What a Day (For a Night) (acoustic 12 string with band)
'Waittress in the Sky'(acoustic 12 string with band)
First Glimmer (electric 12 string with band)
I Will Dare (electric 12 string with band)

MPLS (PW on blues harp)
It's All Over Now (Stones cover, actually originally done by Bobby Womack)
Knockin' On Mine
'Can't Hardly Wait'

Alex Chilton
Left of the Dial

Setlist variations from night 1 (not counting covers): no "Achin' To Be," "Let the Bad Times Roll," "Valentine," new song, "Sadly Beautiful," "If Only You Were Lonely," "Love Untold," "I'll Be You," "Folk Star / Jingle."
New on night 2: "No Place For You," "Now I Wonder," "Born For Me," "Skyway," "Things," "Waitress in the Sky," "First Glimmer," "I.O.U." "Nevermind," "Knockin' On Mine"
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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Paul Pilgrimage: Day 1

Finally, the day I've been waiting for since 1996 - a trip to see Paul Westerberg play with a band. I witnessed one of the solo Guthrie shows in 2002, and while it was great it certainly doesn't compare to seeing him with a band.

Disaster nearly struck right away as I screwed up my alarm clock. Luckily, I awakened at exactly the time I thought I had set. I quickly showered and packed, picked up Traci, loaded up on coffee, and hit the road.

The drive was by far the easiest road trip I've ever taken. Time just flew by as we chatted and listened to the 80's channel on my satellite radio.

We had to stop in Mankato to pick up "Faith", who had so generously purchased a front row ticket for tonight's show. Faith is a 20 year old little cutie who is stuck with a bunch of friends who don't understand her fascination for Westerberg. They'd rather listen to Good Charlotte. Poor girl.

Unfortunately, Faith doesn't drive and didn't really have a handle as to where her friend lives in St. Paul. After circling the city, we finally received better instructions.

Before heading to our hotel, we had one more errand to run. Violet's new album was pressed in Minneapolis, and since I was going to be in the area a couple of days after they were finished, I volunteered to pick them up. After circling the area for a few minutes, we finally found the studio and loaded the back of my Jeep with boxes of discs.

Finally, we hit the Marriot, located less than a block from the Pantages Theatre. We rested, showered, and had a quick room service drink before heading over to the famed Lee's Liquor Lounge for the Westerberg pre-show party.

Lee's is the quintessential salt of the earth bar, full of working class stiffs and smart-ass bartenders. We arrived a few minutes before the rest of the Wester-nerds. Message board owner Kathy was the first to arrive, along with her entourage.

And then came Zapp. A Sioux Falls legend, Zapp had entertained the 'mats with his dressing room renditions of Gap Band tunes when I co-promoted a show in 1987. Since then, he's moved up to Minneapolis and become a close friend of former Sly and the Family Stone bassist Larry Graham.

Finally, it was time to head to the show. Nervousness began to set in. What would he play? Could he still pull it off fronting a loud rock 'n' roll band? Or would this be a more low-key event?

I needn't have worried. Paul came out blistering in his spray-painted leather pants, racing through songs from his entire career. I was most surprised as to how well the new songs, especially "AAA", "As Far As I Know", "My Dad" and "Lookin' Up in Heaven", stand up with the old classics. Oh yeah, and Michael Bland is a demon on drums. I was near tears at many points of the show, particularly during "Sadly Beautiful", "Little Mascara", and "Left of the Dial". One great surprise was an irony-free cover of the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You".

Here's the setlist:
1. Waiting For Somebody
2. Latest Last Chance
3. Kiss Me On The Bus
4. My Dad
5. AAA
6. Achin To Be
7. Mr Rabbit
8. Making Me Go
9. Let The Bad Times Roll
10. As Far As I Know
11. Little Mascara
12. Valentine
13. High Time
14. Sadly Beautiful
15. Crackle & Drag
16. If Only You Were Lonely
17. Lookin Up In Heaven
18. What A Day (For A Night)
19. Love Untold
20. I Will Dare
21. I Think I Love You
22. Alex Chilton
23. Left Of The Dial
I'll Be You
Folk Star/Jingle
Only A Hobo
Can't Hardly Wait

Afterwards, we headed out with Zapp to a couple of bars (and intense conversation) and finally staggered back to the hotel after a fruitless search for late night food.

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Monday, November 08, 2004

Let's hope the rumors of a First Avenue comeback are true.
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Traci with Golden Smog and Semisonic.
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It's hard to see, but there is a Replacements star under the crease.
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Traci Posing with Trip Shakespeare's Star.
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Camper Van Beethoven was one of my first shows I witnessed at First Avenue...and it looks like their show two weeks ago was my last.
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Traci Poses In Front of the Cure's Star (top left).
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Traci and I made a pilgrimage to First Avenue.
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What a great night!
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More From the Second Show.
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Westerberg at Pantages, Night 2.
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The infamous Zapp.
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A close-up of the world's greatest songwriter.
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I hate writing captions
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Even More Paul
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Grandpaboy Plays the Blues
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More Westerberg
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Paul Westerberg
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Westerberg at Pantages Theatre on November 5
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