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Archive for the ‘Craig Finn’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: MARAH-Kids in Philly (2000).

After reading about Marah in Hornby’s post I decided to listen to their Kids in Philly CD.

I totally get why Hornby likes them and I can absolutely imagine what their live show would be like.

They’ve absolutely got the whole Springsteen vibe–good time rock and roll with close harmony backing vocals.

There’s a harmonica instead of a saxophone (I prefer the harmonica) on “Faraway You: and there’s even xylophones like on Springsteen’s Christmas song on “Point Breeze.”  The horns (and the chanted “come ons”) do appear, this time on “Christian Street.”

“It’s Only Money Tyrone” slows things down with slinky groove and a sound that’s less bar-band.  “My Heart is the Bums on the Street” feels like a quieter Springsteen song–classic rock with gentle vibes and a clap-along feel.  Although I suppose like he sounds more like Craig Finn than Bruce Springsteen.

“The Catfisherman” is a stomping honky-tonking song with an Aerosmith vibe.  “Round Eye Blues” slows things down with a simple melody (in the vein of U2s “With or Without You”).  It also recycles all kinds of early rock n roll lyrics into its own melody, which is fun.

“From the Skyline” has a great guitar riff/solo running through it with a bit more distortion thrown on top.  “Barstool Boys” sounds a bit like The Replacements’ “Here Comes A Regular” only with banjo.  “The History of Where Someone Has Been Killed” adds some acoustic guitar while “This Town” keeps the mood with a quiet album ender.

I am genuinely surprised that this band wasn’t more popular.  They would seem to push a lot of classic classic-rock buttons.

I only wish I had some idea why they chose that name.

[READ: June 15, 2019] “Rock of Ages”

After reading Hornby’s 2000 review of Marah I found this 2004 review of Marah.  Since I had seen that they later did a tour together, I was curious what this lengthy review would be about.  It’s about seeing Marah live and lamenting that a band this good should have to resort to “passing the hat” for tips.

He says

Philadelphia rock ‘n’ roll band Marah is halfway through a typically ferocious, chaotic and inspirational set.  My friends and I have the best seats in the house, a couple of feet away from Marah’s frontmen, Serge and Dave Bielanko.  The show ends triumphantly, as Marah shows tend to do, with Serge lying on the floor amid the feet of his public, wailing away on his harmonica.

What I love about them is that I can hear everything I ever loved about rock music in their recordings and in their live shows … because they are unafraid of showing where their music comes from, and unafraid of the comparisons that will ensue

This show was at a small pub in England.  Which seems a shame since a few months earlier (more…)

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2017-02-25-23-47-33[ATTENDED: February 25, 2017] Japandroids

I was mostly excited to see Japandroids because in addition to liking their music, I wanted to see how two guys could be so powerful live.  I’d also heard that their live shows were a ton of fun.  And was it ever.

Interestingly, I had tickets for the Friday night show, which sold out.  But then something more important came up–a father daughter dance.  I was able to get my ticket to someone I work with and he enjoyed Friday night and I was still able to get a ticket for Saturday night.  So everybody won.  There was also some joking from Brian King the guitarist/singer that Friday night was a better crowd–until the Saturday night crowd decided to prove him wrong.  They were also filming on our night, so I wonder if anything will ever come of that.

But back to the show.  When the crew set up their gear, I was surprised to see them putting the drum set literally right in front of me, sideways–facing the guitar.  I knew that he faced that way but didn’t think they put him right a the front of the stage. (more…)

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2017-02-25-21-21-28[ATTENDED: January 31, 2017] Craig Finn

The universe has insisted that I see Craig Finn perform.  Last year he opened for My Morning Jacket, but my friend Jay and I arrived late and missed his whole set.  Well, here was a second chance.

Back then I had assumed that Craig Finn was one of the Finns from Crowded House.  It wasn’t until that MMJ concert that I discovered he was the guy from The Hold Steady, a band I’d never listened to.  I didn’t know much about him beyond that except that his delivery was kind of spoken/sung and there were comparisons to Bruce Springsteen.

I had gotten up pretty close to the stage, and I was surrounded by diehard Finn fans, so I felt like a bit of an imposter.  But he didn’t seem to mind and he played a really enjoyable set.

Given how raucous the Japandroids were he seemed like a bit of an odd match, but he certainly has a punk vibe, even if his songs are not very loud. (more…)

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2016-12-05-21-06-09SOUNDTRACK: CRAIG FINN-Tiny Desk Concert #193 (February 9, 2012).

I’d published these posts without Soundtracks while I was reading the calendars.  But I decided to add Tiny Desk Concerts to them when I realized that I’d love to post about all of the remaining 100 or shows and this was a good way to knock out 25 of them.

finnCraig Finn opened for My Morning Jacket when I saw them in New York.  However, we arrived late, so I missed him.  I was fairly certain that Craig Finn was actually Neil Finn when I saw his name, so I expected Crowded House, not The Hold Steady.

For this solo venture, Finn has crafted some slow folk songs.  He sings slowly and deliberately on these three acoustic songs.  The melodies are simple and his voice sounds very California to me. He’s accompanied by Ricky Ray Jackson playing a great-sounding echoey slide guitar.  In fact, I feel like Jackson is the highlight of the show.

“Apollo Bay” and “Western Pier” are from the solo album.  They are story songs.  The final song “Jeremiah’s Blues” is not on the record, but it’s fun to challenge yourself.

[READ: December 6, 2016] “Just Like Us”

Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar.  Which is what exactly?  Well…

The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas.  This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.

I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived (a few days late for advent, but that was my fault for ordering so late) I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.

I really enjoyed this story about a girl and her mom and the struggles they have had.  It opens with the excellent line: “It wasn’t easy to get kicked out of Happy Trails RV Park and Camp.”  The owner put up with a lot.  Including her son, who was rather a layabout.  He was injured in a construction job and is on disability–meaning he doesn’t do anything around the camp either.

Nina was fourteen, part white, part Chinese.  Her father returned to China when she was a baby  and sent them money for the first two years.  And then suddenly he stopped.  So her mama had spent time with many different boyfriends.  Her last boyfriend, Roy, seemed promising until she caught him cheating on her (for the third time).  And after that she decided it was time to get outta California.  So they got in their camper and took off.

There’s a line that I really enjoyed: “She turned on the radio…the lead singer wailed about a small-town girl escaping into a lonely world–the coincidence of a song about our lives.” (more…)

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