Archive for the ‘Lake Street Dive’ Category

[ATTENDED: July 27 & 28, 2019] Newport Folk Festival

Back in 1998, I won a radio contest (not through luck, I knew the name of a song and couldn’t believe no one else did!) and scored a ticket to the Newport Folk Festival.  It was in a lull back then and also, I believe there was only one stage (it’s hard to remember).  Now it is at full power, selling out before artists are even announced.

S. and I have talked about going and finally this year I saw when tickets were announced and I bought 4 tickets for us.  I knew that our son wouldn’t want to go, but I decided to make a long vacation out of it–a couple days in Rhode Island and then about a week in Maine.  He couldn’t say no to going to that.

I didn’t get Friday tickets because three days seemed excessive.  Plus, you never know who is going to appear until long after you buy the tickets. and that actually worked out pretty well.   Turned out, there wasn’t anyone I really wanted to see.

So we rolled in for Saturday.  I was told that if you wanted to get the poster you had to get their very early.  We arrived at 12:30 and they were long sold out.  Oh well. (more…)

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522016 SOUNDTRACK: SISTER SPARROW & THE DIRTY BIRDS-Tiny Desk Concert #525 (April 25, 2016).

sistersparrowI was intrigued by the name of this band, but I was so disappointed to find out that they were another soul/blues band fronted by a woman who sounds like Bonnie Raitt.  Between Bonnie Raitt’s new album, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Lake Street Dive and now this band there’s just too much of this music that is basically the same.  And then there’s the song titles: “Sugar” “Catch Me if You Can” and “Mama Said.”

I also had to laugh at the men in the band each one of the six has a beard.  And I got  a big kick out of the harmonica player who looks like he’s trying to be bad ass, but it’s really hard to look like a bad ass when you are blowing harmonica. And the lead singer does all of those bluesy things that drive me nuts—”sing it with me, “can you play that thing for your mama, now,” etc.

Having gotten that out of the way, the band is really quite good.  The sax player has some great solos and the trumpet player sounds good too.  And, while I mocked the harmonica player, he is really good—especially on the second and third songs where he plays an electric harmonica and really wails (he is also the brother of the lead singer).  Speaking of the lead singer, her voice is great.  She’s a tiny little thing but man can she belt out notes.  And she’s got the great ability to “sing” mmm hmmms and have them be really loud—a good bluesy front woman.  The lead guitarist is really good too whether he’s playing with a slide or doing some lengthy solos, the band really rocks.  Frankly you’d have to be a corpse not to tap your foot along to the rhythm or smile at this skinny redhead belting out these notes.

But I would never be able to tell them apart from the other bands I mentioned earlier.

[READ: June 10, 2016] “Choking Victim”

This was the second story in a row that I found hard to believe (and which I didn’t understand the title of).

Karen is in her mid-thirties and has recently had a baby.  She is depressed and doesn’t understand why everything is so different in her life.

The thing that I couldn’t quite get in this story was whether or not all of the people who gave her dirty looks (and there a lot) were in her head or in reality.  I simply don’t believe that so many people would give her a dirty look just as she walks down the street: “When she pushed her baby through the park in a bulky red stroller, people watched her with curiosity and pity.”

Her husband was away for two weeks and she had a hard time with the baby.  It was especially disconcerting to Karen because at six months old her baby wasn’t really talking–hardly even babbling. (more…)

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216SOUNDTRACK: LAKE STREET DIVE-Tiny Desk Concert #511 (February 29, 2016).

lsdLake Street Dive are a trendy band all of a sudden (they’ve been around for ten years, evidently).  And what’s not to like about them?  Lead singer Rachael Price has a powerful soulful voice and she’s really pretty.  Their harmonies are really excellent.  And their songs are fairly simple and easy to follow.

And I can’t stand them.

They push all of my button.  I don’t like Price’s soulful voice (even though it is really powerful and sounds great–I just don’t like it).  I don’t like the way their backing vocals are vaguely do-wop, a sound I don’t like in general.  And I don’t like the way they veer towards country.

I should like them–this set is fun and the crowd is really into it.  Price sounds rather like Carole King, I love that the drummer uses brushes and that he wrote the first song.  I love that the bassist plays an upright bass and that she wrote the second song and sings lovely harmonies.  And I like that the guitarist plays a trumpet solo on the final song.

I even like the lyrics to the final song, “thank the good lord for those godawful things that brought you right back to me.”  Except that they sing that line about 50 times in the song.

I’m already tired of them and I expect that I’ll be even more sick of them before the year is out.

[READ: January 27, 2016] “The Philosophers” 

I don’t know Adam Ehrlich Sachs at all, and I have to say I was pretty surprised by this story.

It seemed like it would be pretty serious, what with that title and all.  It also seemed to have three “sections.” So I was expecting something pretty intense.

But instead, it was three humorous short stories called “Our System,” “Two Hats” and “The Madman’s Time Machine.”

“Our System” plays off the story that a person who loses the ability to use his muscles is still able to communicate through a blink or a tap or something.  And it follows the life story a of a philosopher who is so afflicted.  The man tries to communicate his life’s philosophy to his son.  But since the disease is hereditary, his son gets it too.  Then he has to learn a way to communicate with his own son.

It seems rather ponderous at first but then it quickly grows absurd as we see multiple generations trying to transcribe those initial thoughts.

“Two Hats” explores the idea of a person who wears two hats and how maybe the hats themselves are essential for him to be able to keep his jobs separated.  Again, it starts out somewhat reasonable but grows more and more absurd, with bigger and bigger hats.

The final story is “The Madman’s Time Machine” which was my favorite.  It is indeed about a time machine and whether the man who made it is crazy or not.  I really enjoyed the way it was written and the way it did so much in such a little space.  The conclusion was really well done.

I can see enjoying short pieces from him from time to time.

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