adrian is rad


concert recaps: Mogwai at the Fillmore, Danielson at Bottom of the Hill, The One AM Radio at

Filed under: — adrian @ 11:20 pm

I had some backup in the blogworks so I’m doing a somewhat abbreviated and consolidated post here.

A few weeks ago now, I saw Mogwai play at the Fillmore. Mogwai is a Scottish guitar-based post rock band. Honestly this is a bit long ago at this point so I’ll do the executive summary. First trip to the Fillmore (I think): it’s good, better than the Warfield by a lot. Mogwai’s set: super loud and apocalyptic stuff->softer more minimalistic poppier stuff->loud stuff->20 noise fade-out from their encore. They played some of my favorites especially those from Rock Action like “2 Wrongs Make 1 Right” and “Take Me Somewhere Nice”. I mostly liked the softer more mininmalistic stuff.

Mogwai – 2 Wrongs Make 1 Right (ATP Version)

A week ago Friday I saw Danielson at the Bottom of the Hill. Danielson is sort of a quirky indie pop folk band with epileptic fits of craziness in the middle of their songs. The first openers were a band called Pants Pants Pants. They had a fun electro indie rock thing going. At one point their drummer came out from behind the drums and just started dancing crazy. The second opener, Young People, were just so bad that I’m not going to talk about them further. Danielson came on close to midnight in light-blue-with-navy-accents Salvation Army-style uniforms, each with a patch of the player’s name on the breast.

This band is just crazy. Quirky is probably a better term. They have these softer or sweeter parts to their songs interspersed with these intense, high-energy parts with often high-pitched vocals. It’s almost disorienting to see them play. Daniel Smith, the leader of the group, has this way of singing that’s half in falsetto, but the parts of his mouth and throat that he uses to sing aren’t normally used by people unless they’re imitating a cat meowing. His two sister and the keyboard player, Evan, all sing with such energy that it seems like they’re yelling into the mics. There were a couple probably unintentional funny bits where Daniel asked the crowd to clap along to the songs and then proceeded to show us incredibly complicated and rather long clapping rhythms that no one could follow. It’s the sort of music that you probably either hate or it puts a smile on your face. One guy whose face had a giant grin on it was John Ringhofer of Half Handed Cloud who was standing a few feet over to my left.

Already 1am by the time they were going back on stage for their encore, I took off. The next morning I was waking early for my Tahoe Century bike ride. It was fun while it lasted though.

Danielson – Did I Step On Your Trumpet

This past Friday I saw The One AM Radio at Fort Oregon, a house in Berkeley. The One AM Radio is an electro indie singer songwriter. I arrive just in time to see the last song by a kid called Hank May. When I say a kid, I don’t just me a “guy,” I literally mean, a kid. He was probably 15 or 16 years old. Turns out he’s the touring guitarist for the One AM Radio (and apparently a cousin of a friend of Hrishi’s) right now but he had a solo set to start out the night. The one song I caught, I was actually pretty impressed with. He wrote a song with skill beyond his years. I’m going to check him out further and probably keep an eye on him.

The next act, Earthen Sea, was a improvised guitar/ loops group/ guy. It was good and pretty relaxing and he played a multi-parted piece with smooth transitions and some nice parts. Michael Zapruder’s Rain of Frogs was next. They were an alt-country sort of group with cello and violin (and wurlitzer 140B!) in addition to the usual suspects. They had their more rock-based numbers, which I think they crowd liked the best, and the more folksy numbers, which I liked better.

Somewhere in there, I went back to the merch table and picked up a shirt and his split EP with Ted Leo. I mentioned that I’d gotten something in the mail designed by him, which was a wedding invitation for my best friend’s wedding. We chatted about the wedding for a bit and Hrishi said he wished he could go.

I said the “crowd” up there, but this was a concert in a basement about the size of my livingroom (which is a decent sized living room, but it’s no rock club). By the time the One AM Radio was on, I’d say about 40 people were there. I was sitting on the floor (like most people) about 3 feet from Hrishi’s (tOAMR’s main guy) mic.

The One AM Radio went on next. They warmed with “Drowsy Haze” and Hrishi asked the audience to sing a repeated back up part on it. First rule of winning over Adrian when he’s in your audience: ask him to sing or clap (rhythmically, not just on the back beats) along to your song. Just a FYI on that one.

They—Hrishi on guitar and vocals and manning the laptop, Hank May on guitar, a guy on stand up bass and two guys on french horn—continued with a set filled with mostly old songs but a handful of songs that I hadn’t heard before. I liked the old stuff, of course, and I liked most of the new stuff. I was a little tired and the One AM Radio isn’t dance music or high energy at all and I was sitting so I caught a couple winks here and there, unfortunately. Their last song was “All I Can Recall is the Haunting” where Hrishi once again asked us to sing along to a part, a part that went “The sea swallowed up the sky.” It’s a gorgeous song and it was the same song they closed with last time I saw them— that time with jdawg werberg in a basement at BU. Just like that time, I left the concert singing that phrase over and over again. This time the trip home was a bit longer so I didn’t sing it all the way home.

An Interview w/ The One AM Radio

The One AM Radio – Flicker

magnificent! Pirates 7-5 over the Giants

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:09 pm

I went to the Pirates at Giants game this afternoon with dug.

We got tickets in the Arcade section (147 to be specific) which is an odd section in front of the pathway out in right field that’s only a few rows (4-7) rows deep. We were in row four which put us pretty close to the field. It was Moises Alou Bobblehead Night and I was looking forward to having a bobblehead to put in my space at work.

The Pirates squeezed out a couple of runs and were ahead 2-1 until the Giants took the lead in the 6th. In the top of the 8th when they loaded the bases. A hit to the 2nd baseman followed by a where-do-I-throw-this bit of confusion lead to the bases still being loaded and another run in. Then Bautista, who had doubled earlier in the game, came up and hit a grandslam on a 1-1 pitch. Final score: 7-5.

Here’s a decent recap.

if you don’t know: The Times They Are a Changin’ is good

Filed under: — adrian @ 12:23 am

It took me a long time to like Bob Dylan. A lot of his famous stuff just isn’t that good—or rather, it’s good, I just don’t like them much. The first of his stuff that I really liked was off of the excellent first disc of the Bootleg Series, Vol 1-3. Here he was singing sparse acoustic songs that have ties to folk music (and when I say folk music, I mean the traditional type: songs have unknown authors and multiple versions) or actual traditional songs (like ‘House Carpenter’ and other ballads of the Child type). Here’s music I could get behind.

Over the next few years, in digging around for studio versions of music off of that Bootleg disc, I found myself going to a few of his early albums, particularly The Times, They Are a Changin’ and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Earlier this year, I made The Times my first Bob Dylan album.

The instrumentation is constant throughout: Dylan, his guitar and harmonica (usually recapitulating the melody). The guitar parts are low in the mix, so these songs are sustained by their lyrics and melodies.

The quality of the songs ranges from good to amazing. Among my favorites are: “the Times they Are a Changin'”, “With God on our Side”, “Boots of Spanish Leather”, “When the Ships Come in” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.”

“The Times” is overused and misused (including a Kaiser Permanente commercial—that I actually like a lot—about an overweight guy getting in shape), but it’s still an amazing song if you step back and listen to it. Imagine hearing this song for the first time, how bowled over you would have been.

I first hear “With God on our Side” on Bootleg Series, Vol. 6 in a duet with Joan Baez (who I don’t like alone, but I love when harmonizing with Dylan). It’s a song with some immense gravity to it and a timelessness to it, despite the anachronism of the lyrics at this time.

“Boots of Spanish Leather” is a ballad, in the Child sense. It’s a pretty and fairly simple story about a lover leaving and possibly not returning. I love the melody, which is really similar to another Dylan favorite of mine, “Girl from North Country” (which is possibly even better in its this-is-a-really-old-song-that-I-wrote-ness) and apparently both draw melodic inspiration to Martin Carthy’s version of Scarborough Fair (which is Child #2 for those that are counting). It also has such longing in it.

“When the Ships Come in” is possibly my favorite Dylan song. I think it’s something about the combination of melodic and lyrical strength in the song. It’s another in the “The Times They are a Changin'” camp of the-world-is-changing songs; however I like this one better. I’m totally blown away that Dylan apparently wrote this one one quick angry stint in a hotel room after the clerk didn’t recognize him and treated him poorly for his unkempt appearance.

“The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol” is a modern narrative ballad about a society man accidentally killing a servant in a Baltimore hotel and the aftermath. I find in narrative songwriting, the true gift comes in which details to include and how all the details return back together at the end of the song to bring it to a conclusion. In this sense, Dylan triumphs on both accounts: the details are enought to develop the story and the characters without bogging it down and the conclusion hangs largely on the sentence from the judge.

So yeah, if you don’t know: The Times They Are a Changin’ is good.

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