musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Road Trips (Page 2 of 3)

The Storm

The aftermath, West Hartford, Ct

The aftermath, West Hartford, Ct

How can I explain this paradigm shift? I was going along, living my life, within a certain comforting flow of events and circumstances. Ups and downs, to be sure, but overall a sense that everything would be ok. Then suddenly – and it came at me with no warning – this major change. I was no longer sure… of anything. Maybe it was the economic downturn and general malaise and dissatisfaction; the overseas violence and uprisings. Or perhaps it was the odd and increasingly frequent natural disasters. A seemingly endless maudlin parade of surprises. A new reality operating at a completely different frequency that I didn’t understand. At some point when I wasn’t paying attention, I got out of sync. And here we are. Welcome to the new normal.

So it was really nothing out of the ordinary when, on this seemingly benign autumn weekend, a significant portion of the Northeastern U.S. would get a small taste of what everyday life is like for a quarter of the world’s population.

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UFO Festival in Exeter, New Hampshire! – *tomorrow*

Looking for something special to do tomorrow? Well, here it is. Exeter, New Hampshire is having its 3rd Annual UFO Festival. Speakers include the legendary Stanton T. Friedman, Richard Dolan, MUFON New England director Steve Firmani, and others. Jeff and Jess Finn will be presenting premiering their documentary, Strange Septembers: The Hill Abduction & The Exeter Encounter. There’s activities for kids and families – ET & UFO drawings, storytelling, crafts and games, UFO craft construction – and what’s sure to be my personal favorite, an Alien Pet Costume Contest (there’s a kid’s costume contest as well). In the evening, there’s a panel discussion and then live music. It runs 8am to 10pm. Peruse their site for the full schedule and directions. And here’s the best part: IT’S ALL FREE!

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Pearls Before Swine: The Airborne Toxic Event (re)Visits Pianos and The Mercury Lounge (5/2-5/3/11)

The Mercury Lounge

It is an odd paradox. The Airborne Toxic Event’s audience is getting larger, the hardcore fans more rabid, so many are now singing their praises; and yet, people seem to be actually hearing them less.

At the tiny Pianos on NYC’s Lower East Side last Monday night, Mikel tried to joke about the situation – “Oh, I see the bar’s open… well, it wouldn’t be an Airborne show..”, but it had to suck for them. Eight days in to a 15-day-straight run of shows before a single day off, they were all visibly exhausted, and Mikel had observed a 24-hour “vocal silence” of no talking before the show, in order to preserve his voice. The setlist was drastically altered in favor of quieter ballads instead of vocal chord-straining all-out rockers, and that – along with sweet, sentimental introductions in between every song – should have made this an unusual and very special time for their most loyal fans. There were stories of the early days before Airborne – Mikel’s upstairs neighbor banging on the floor to get him to stop playing, and of previous band members saying “your band’s never going to make it.” Of dragging a broken amp down Ludlow Street, and thanking Pianos for “giving them a shot.” About their first single, “Girls In Their Summer Dresses,” and the tiny label that released it, Square Records. Of all the support they’ve received, the many letters, and the connection with their audience. It should have been an evening of beautiful music and shared experience. Except that the cast of Jersey Shore was in attendance that night.

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How I Spent My (end of) Summer Vacation: The Airborne Toxic Event and The Calder Quartet Acoustic East Coast Tour

The Town Hall, New York City, Sept. 11

The Town Hall, New York City, Sept. 11

So I saw some really cool shows a few weeks ago. The Airborne Toxic Event, along with their uber-classy pals The Calder Quartet, blessed the East Coast with a handful of magnificent concerts. Part lush string arrangements and heartfelt ballads, part good ol’ sweaty and leaping around like monkeys rock ‘n roll. I’m hard pressed to come up with superlatives that I haven’t already used (in great abundance) in connection with Airborne Tox. Because, you know, I’ve written about these guys a few times before. If it’s ok with you, I’m going to combine the shows I attended – Somerville Theatre, Kewsick Theatre, and New York City’s Town Hall, plus a movie night with some good friends at an old Yiddish theatre on the Lower East Side. It was a magical and spectacular road trip holiday with some of my favorite music as the soundtrack.

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Silversun Pickups, Cage The Elephant, & An Horse at The Webster, Hartford CT 10/20/09

The final show of my ‘seven shows in eleven days’ odyssey, and what a marvelous evening it was! Silversun Pickups is one band I’ve been enjoying for a little while now and never had the opportunity to see live. Cage The Elephant were a surprising and delightful wallop over the head at last summer’s WBRU Block Party in Providence, so I knew I had to see them again, if at all possible. An Horse I had vaguely heard about, so the three of them together was definitely worth the drive down to Hartford.

SSPU_Hartford01

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Spaceland @ Northern Lights: The Airborne Toxic Event, The Henry Clay People, Red Cortez, and The Parson Red Heads – Oct. 17, 2009

Winner, Best Venue - Northern Lights, in a strip mall in Clifton Park, between a dollar store and a church (yes, that's right, a church in a strip mall).

Winner, Best Venue - Northern Lights, in a strip mall in Clifton Park, between a dollar store and a church (yes, that's right, a church in a strip mall).

I liked everything about this place, including their no-frills, kitschy sign.

I liked everything about this place, including their no-frills, kitschy sign.


I had a feeling this would be a very special show, since 1) it’s the first time they played in upstate New York; 2) Northern Lights is a very low-key venue up past Albany; and 3) The Parson Red Heads happened to be playing some NYC shows and were added to the bill. I knew this was one not to be missed.

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The Airborne Toxic Event, The Henry Clay People & Red Cortez at Webster Hall, NYC, Oct. 16, 2009

by Andrew Koskie, guest blogger

It’s October 16. I wake up for work and notice it is snowing. Not knowing how to react, I can only think of one possible thing… I am going to see The Airborne Toxic Event for the second time in a week tonight! I go to work, which couldn’t have gone any slower. Noon finally hits and I leave work.

Anna1

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Airborne Toxic Event @ Northern Lights 10/17/09 (pre-review teaser)

I’ve recently returned from my ‘7 shows in 11 days’ East Coast Tour, and I have a new appreciation for what rock bands go through to travel around and play for people. As I sort through several hundred photos and 20+ videos, I wanted to say just a few words, for now, about this magnificent evening in Clifton Park, NY. The Airborne Toxic Event, The Henry Clay People, Red Cortez, and Parson Red Heads brought Silverlake to upstate New York in what I can only describe as “Spaceland at Northern Lights”. A beautiful evening that felt as intimate as hanging out in a rehearsal space or someone’s living room. Many thoughts, many emotions… about how far Airborne has come in the 3+ years they’ve been together. How maybe you gain a bigger audience but you lose something as well along the way, and how it’s really nice to just have fun and play with your friends again, in an ‘out of the way’ place where the stakes aren’t so high and you can relax and enjoy yourself. But I’ll save all that for later. For now, a sampling of ‘sound and vision’ from this special evening.

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Rocketship to Mars: The Airborne Toxic Event @ The Trocadero

The Airborne Toxic Event, The Henry Clay People, and Red Cortez at The Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA, October 10, 2009

In an interview at the Reading/Leeds Festival, Mikel joked about performing on Mars (as in, one of the few places they haven’t been yet). With how I felt by the end of this epic evening, though it wasn’t Mars, it may have been a nearby galaxy.

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Parson Red Heads October East Coast Tour Dates (but not Boston, bummer!)

ParsonRedHeads

Ok, so technically this isn’t a show preview, because they’re not coming to Boston, and the closest they’ll be is a 2+ hour drive away near Albany (I’ll let you know what it ends up being). But I thought I would mention The Parson Red Heads and their East Coast visit, as they’re a great band I’ve been enjoying for a little while now. They have a lovely psychedelic and folky, upbeat sound with delightful harmonies, reminiscent of bands such as The Byrds, Big Star, CSN&Y, The Kinks, Fairport Convention, and Wilco.

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