some birds are funny when they talk








Stuck in my Head
"Kiss Me Harder" by Bertine Zetlitz
"Hot" by Avril
"Brain Problem Situation" by They Might Be Giants

Now Reading
Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

Recently Finished
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Mad Tony and Me by Carl Hoffman
Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guaralnick
This Must Be The Place: Adventures of Talking Heads in the 20th Century by David Bowman
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Movies Lately
4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days
Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
2 Days in Paris
United 93
The Savages
The Bourne Ultimatum
Sweeney Todd
The Departed
What Would Jesus Buy?
Ghost World
I'm Not There
She's The Man
Lars and the Real Girl
Romance and Cigarettes
No Country for Old Men
Into the Wild
I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With
Across the Universe

Shows Lately
Damo Suzuki/Stinking Lizaveta @ Mill Creek
Death and the Maiden @ Curio
Devon Sproule/Carsie Blanton/Devin Greenwood/John Francis @ Tin Angel
Assassins @ The Arden
Oakley Hall and the Teeth @ Johnny Brendas
Isabella and Flamingo/Winnebago and Map Me and Gatz and Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven and Sonic Dances and Strawberry Farm and The Emperor Jones and No Dice and Hearts of Man and Principles of Uncertainty and Isabella and BATCH and Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century and Car and Sports Trilogy and Explanatorium and Wandering Alice and Must Don't Whip Um and Festival of Lies and A Room of Ones Own and Recitatif @ the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe
Martha Graham Cracker and Eliot Levin and Kilo etc. @ the Fringe Cabaret
Lullatone and Teletextile @ Boulder Coffee [Rochester]
TV Sound @ the M Room
Aretha Franklin @ East Dell, Fairmount Pk.
Romeo + Juliet in Clark Park
Daft Punk @ Red Rocks
Spoon @ Rockefeller Park
Ponytail at Pony Pants' House
Mirah/Benjy Ferree @ the 1UC
Tortoise @ World Cafe Live
Hall & Oates...ish
"Nuclear Dreams" - Mascher Dance Group, x2
The Four of Us @ 1812
Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines by Rainpan whatever
Mascher Dance Group/Nathaniel Bartlett
Cornelius @ TLA
Sloan @ World Cafe
In Fluxxxx
Slavic Soul Party!/Red Heart the Ticker @ I-House
the Fantasticks @ Mum
Peter Bjork + Jorn/Fujiya + Miyagi @ fkaTLA
John Vanderslice @ Johnny Brendas
The Books & Todd Reynolds @ 1UC
Into the Woods @ LPAC
The Fishbowl @ the Frear
Caroline, or, Change @ the Arden
Low & Loney, Dear. @ 1UC

Saturday, April 5

two very different concert experiences. both started out a little bad, but got better.

last night: the bad things: i couldn't find my earplugs. i somehow wasn't on list despite brendan's cordial e-mail. it turned out not to be in the sanctuary but in the basement of the church, which has a very low stage, making it hard to see except from right close. and my folk were huddled in the center (under a light for reading) so i didn't really feel like pushing up. and styrofoam's set wasn't as exciting as the stuff i'd heard, though he did play a nice remix of "the postman" (my saddest song.) but all of that's petty and superficial, right?

the notwist are a much better live band than you might guess from their (new) record. only about half their set came from neon golden - the other stuff is noisier, guitarier, clearly more live. but the ng stuff was amped-up too; beds and beats altered, more freakouts, much more danceable. not that many people were dancing in that den of stifling hip. rob thought markus's voice was suffering from a cold, but it could have just been shoddy mixing. i made my way up to the second row for the second encore (i was hoping for "consequence," but "off the rails" is nice too), so i could see their black indie t-shirts (low, ms. john soda, somethin.) the other members are close-cropped blond and thin and germanic, but markus is decidedly not - he looks kinda like james mcnew. and i saw a guy robbie, mariah's friend, who triend to convince that i was mariah's friend. silly.

to-night: good that we left asap after 5, since even though the drive was only an hour an a half, we didn't get there until after 8:30 for a 7:00 show. you see, jen has this curse which prevents her from going to any rock concerts. but i had faith that my widely recognized imdomitable good luck could disarm the curse. as alex says, "the closer you get to a place, the easier it is to get farther away." we ending up coming at it from the north, from the west, from the south, and from the east before we found it, distracted by the search for these mysterious "jug handles" that the directions kept talking about. but we made it.

good thing it took so long, too, because we didn't even miss the second opener but we did miss a lot of standing around waiting in a room full of suburban new jersey high school girls in emo baby-tees. because that's who was at the show. maybe they were confused and meant to see the 'all-american rejects' next door. the tall skinny guy in the sleatter-kinney shirt looked kind of bewildered. i staked out a forward but noncommittal spot, and entertained myself by keeping track of who was mouthing along to which preshow tunes.

they were playing a mix of canonical rock between 2002 and 1966, analogous to my "big stupid guitar" tape from a while back. at first i was like, "wake up." "street-fighting man"? "search and destroy"? could they be a little more obvious? then i remembered - oh yeah, it's rock and roll! the dumb-barrelhouse piano of "hey bulldog"? nice! the organ-tone bridge fake-out of "just"? rock, baby! (r-head's best moment ever? i think so.) and it was great to see everyone rocking out - from the preposterously glammed-out red-tie dude in the front, emphatically emoting all the words to "this charming man," to the teenyboppers bopping their teens to "last nite" - they can all get down like this.

"yoshimi" faded out (hey, that's not r'n'r), and HHH took the stage. hah! clank clank clank clank on the cowbell and "talk to me, dance with me" ripped through the room. the teenagers didn't need an invitation - they got to moshing and crowdsurfing posthaste, energy echoing back and forth from crowd to stage. i was on the near fringes of the pit (enthusiastic, but good-natured) for most of it, finding space to dance and people to smile with, but by the closer "bandages" (on mtv? so that's why they were there?) i was in the thick of it - you had to be really.

the audience i could take or leave (i wonder if all their shows have been like this on the tour, or if it's a suburban jersey thing), but the band were so right on. they played a lot of non-album stuff, but who cares, it was all just as pounding. rock rock wreak. steve bays is fantastic - he actually reminds me a lot of jonathan richman: not nearly so oddball, but very earnest and smiley, and conversational. he bantered ("what? war sucks? oh, we're canadian, we don't care about that") and kept a good face as they suffered a rash of equipment problems (inordinate really - i'm sure it sapped energy for them, but they barely showed it, and it didn't affect the sound much.) i mean, he still rips into it when he sings, but i can imagine him, in a few years, saying "hey, this punk rock's a little stiff for me" and start writing songs about dinosaurs.

another weird thing: the audience didn't clap for an encore. they were totally enthusiastic and into it, but as soon as the band left the stage, they turned and headed for the exits. have they not yet learned about encores? i'm confused. so, we had to leave too ($10 for the vinyl ep? gaah, no thanks), stopping at wendy's ("open late" - if by late you mean 1:00) for BBCs and our final taste of weird new jersey, Xtra Pibb.

zwan is becoming official driving to concerts in other peoples cars music. i hate to say it but the first two tracks are getting to me. only, who says "lah de dah"? c'mon billy.

lah de dah, lah de dah
lah de dah, lah de dah