musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Ruminations (Page 2 of 3)

The Airborne Toxic Event and The Drowning Men: A Road Story

The Drowning Men at Terminal 5, NYC

The Drowning Men at Terminal 5, NYC

This isn’t a show review. Not exactly. It’s a story of heartfelt commitment to one’s craft, to strength and perseverance, and to the bonds of friendship. And by “friendship,” I don’t mean posting something witty on someone’s facebook page, but coming to their rescue in the middle of the night on some desolate highway after a hellish traffic accident, packing their gear into your trailer and managing to cram 19 people onto a tour bus.

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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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The Intrusion

Yes, a proper ‘musing’, though it’s kind of lame; you’ll forgive me, right? I’ve been sick and devoid of all useful thought. Up next, more bands.

Tompkins Square Park, New York City ~ May 3, 2011

I had driven into the city for a few days to clear my head, see a few shows, and try like mad to regenerate after nonstop work for the past few months. But I felt used up and drained of all life, wandering aimlessly around the Lower East Side.

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“Changing”… into what, exactly?

After posting about two massive fatal earthquakes, I am now following up with thoughts about a rock band’s 3:49 video. How incredibly stupid and unimportant in comparison. Yet I’ve been meaning to weigh in on The Airborne Toxic Event‘s official video for their new song, “Changing”. After seeing comments from two L.A. bloggers who have had a profound effect on the music I’ve been listening to since 2008, and then the L.A. Times (all of whom were among the first to introduce this great band to Los Angeles locals, long before anyone else knew about them), I knew the time was now.

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I’m back! (sort of…)

The Airborne Toxic Event at Somerville Theatre. Much more of this sort of thing coming soon.

The Airborne Toxic Event at Somerville Theatre. Much more of this sort of thing coming soon.

Hello, strangers. Slowly returning after being pummeled with various work duties and hot on the heels of a brief but beautiful holiday with The Airborne Toxic Event – and the magnificent Calder Quartet – (details of which should be appearing by the end of this weekend). For now, you can see my review of the inimitable Iggy and The Stooges at the House of Blues a few weeks ago – it’s up on Ryan’s Smashing Life, and as a prelude to my Airborne coverage, check out some video from the lovely Somerville Theatre on my YouTube channel (where you can find bucket loads of Airborne Tox videos and other really marvelous bands filmed over the past few years).

This weekend, there’s quite a few Boston bands of note performing all over the place. Tonight there’s an odd and interesting “BBCU Presents What’s Your Major 2 Comedy and Music Festival” at Church of Boston, featuring many cool local bands such as Kingsley Flood, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, and Ad Frank. Then there’s “music and a movie” at Cafe 939, with the premiere of the award-winning film The Why and Walter Sickert and the Army Of Broken Toys. Also on Saturday, Mighty Tiny are playing at the “Alice Vs. Wonderland Afterparty at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge. On Sunday, Jaggery will be performing with Ember Schrag at the Whitehaus Gallery in JP [apparently it’s at a secret location, and you have to email The Whitehaus Family Record for more info]. And also on Sunday, the original lineup of Come plays at T.T.’s.

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On VIP Concert Packages and the ‘Meet & Greet’ (a.k.a. Pay to say ‘hey’)

Thirty Seconds To Mars VIP Packages, and inset: Bon Jovi VIP chair (from a photo by Richard Perry/The New York Times)

Thirty Seconds To Mars VIP Packages, and inset: Bon Jovi VIP chair (from a photo by Richard Perry/The New York Times)

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, August 15-18, 1969, featuring Richie Havens, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix… $7 per day. Bon Jovi at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, May 24-25, 2010, the top VIP concert package (with a catered meal, leather bag, and the chair you sit in, custom-designed with the Bon Jovi logo): $1,875. My, how things have changed. In this rapidly shifting milieu of the music business, with a shrinking base of increasingly poor and fewer rich music consumers, new models for generating revenue from the concert-going elite are emerging.

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not a good day…

transcendental meditation, crystals, sun salutations, i-ching, tarot cards, past life regressions. crying, screaming, dancing. consultations with psychics, with astrologers, with psychologists, with charlatans. clean diet, exercise, qigong, drugs, drinking, no drugs, no drinking. live music, bird-watching, getting lost in the woods, getting lost in a book. self-analysis, mindlink, manic mind, empty mind. gardening, ouija boards, going to the movies, long drives, walking around in a crowded city, sitting in a darkened room. i have a home depot full of fancy tools, and sometimes i can’t hammer a fucking nail into a board.

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Yay Coachella!

Embrace your pain; use it to create art. Ok, so I embraced my pain, and I created… something. The song is called “Yay Coachella!”, and it’s sung to Weezer’s “Troublemaker”, which WFNX has played, I think, about 500,000 times to date. Once would have been enough. In fact, once would have been too much. We put together this video for their contest to win a trip to the wonderful Coachella music festival out in Indio, California, April 17-19. A partial list of bands I would love, love, love to see: The Airborne Toxic Event, Leonard Cohen, The Cure, Conor Oberst, Franz Ferdinand, Morrissey, Silversun Pickups, The Hold Steady, We Are Scientists, Band of Horses, Bob Mould, Fleet Foxes, Glasvegas, Henry Rollins, M.I.A., TV on the Radio, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Lykke Li, My Bloody Valentine, Okkervil River, Public Enemy, The Orb, Throbbing Gristle (good heavens, Throbbing Gristle??), X, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. All except for Franz and TATE I’ve never seen before, and I’ve never been to a music festival like this (save for maybe one or two low-key things in Connecticut, back in the late ’70s). Wish us luck! (I really need a vacation…)

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Indie Bands, Rock Gods, and the Music Biz

I first saw this great photo of The Airborne Toxic Event and thought “this wants for a caption.” And now I have one: “The Airborne Toxic Event Signs with Island Records.” Fantastic news for frustrated overseas fans listening to tracks on their MySpace page, unable to purchase their debut album, and wistfully wondering when if ever they’ll have a chance to see a live performance. Worrying news for fans in the U.S. and the UK who have been fortunate to be able to see the band “up close and personal” at small, intimate venues. And the debate (yeah, another one) is on. The TATE fans I wonder about are those lucky few who regularly hung out with them at the Echo or Spaceland, and what they might be thinking about now. Hopefully most share the views of L.A. blogger Rocket / Rock It, who says “I’m being positive about this because I really want them to succeed, and I need to face that success doesn’t mean playing at Spaceland for locals forever (even if that is exactly what I want out of all my favorite LA bands, selfish me).”

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Morning Muse

My muse visited me this morning, in the guise of a Mockingbird spreading his wings and peering up at me on my porch as I was doing my sun salutations, as if to say “winter is nearly over, and I’m ready to fly – how about you?” A chill in the air still and patches of ice on the ground, but Spring bubbling underneath as a whispered promise. First Robin also, as a harbinger and scavenger, investigating under the Blue Spruce for bits of food. Scurrying and then stopping as if to catch the last words of something that was just said by a soul only they can see; a presence only they can feel. I’m dumb to it mostly, but every now and then, in a fleeting glimmer of a sparkling gem, I catch it. And I am able to share that moment with the bird, for perhaps a second or a millisecond, before I’m shut out again and left to admire from afar, with a sense of wonderment and awe.

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