Archive for the ‘Suede’ Category

[ATTENDED: November 19, 2022] Suede

When this tour was announced I practically screamed with delight.  It was listed as a dual headlining show with the bands switching who would play first.  It just happened that we had Suede as the second band and I feel that, given how exciting Suede was, we saw them in the right order.

The first Suede album (or The London Suede, if you must) is one of my favorite albums of all time.  It’s glammy and trashy and catchy and wonderful.  Brett Anderson’s voice is unique and magnificent and Bernard Butler’s guitar work was like nothing else at the time.  When Butler left during the recording of their next album, it seemed like curtains for the band, but young guitarist Richard Oates stepped in and is a force unto himself.  I still think of him as the new guy, even though he’s been in the band for over twenty years.

Suede broke up in 2003 and I guess I lost touch with them.  But they reunited in 2010 and have been putting out new albums ever since.  Although I wasn’t really aware of these records–they really fell off my radar.  I had never seen Suede live (and they haven’t toured the States in something like twenty-five years).  I looked at their European shows and saw that they were playing a lot of songs from the new album.  But I hoped that they would throw a bone for the U.S. fans and play some oldies too.

The band came out and set up their first song, a lengthy instrumental opening.  And then Brett Anderson slowly marched out.  He shuffled and danced and was surprisingly goofy.  I evidently didn’t know anything about Suede’s live show, because I wasn’t expecting anything like the way Anderson bounced around, crawled on the floor, and, yes, climbed into the audience and sang with us.  It was awesome. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: November 19, 2022] Manic Street Preachers

When this tour was announced I practically screamed with delight.

I saw the Manic Street Preachers 23 years ago.  And while I haven’t kept up with their releases, I have listened from time to time.  But their albums from the 1990s are some of my favorites of the era.  And I have never seen Suede and their debut album is one of my favorite albums ever.  They haven’t toured the US in about 25 years.  I bought a pit ticket and was pretty psyched.

I was quite surprised to find out that it hadn’t sold very well.  But the people around me were super into the show and knew every word to every song (which is more than I knew).

My favorite two MSP albums are Everything Must Go (1996) and This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours (1998) and they started off with a song from Truth, the roaring “You Stole the Sun from My Heart.”  The followed it right up with “Everything Must Go.”  I was so excited to find out that James Dean Bradfield still sounded amazing.  He hit some great high notes and was full of power.   Their touring musician (whose name I didn’t catch) added some nice deep backing vocals to the songs.

I was more or less in front of bassist Nicky Wire who was pretty chill–although he did wear a boa for one song.  He used to wear dresses or skirts, but he was just wearing a MSP T-Shirt.  He said a few things (he is known to be controversial), but I didn’t really understand anything he said. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: August 25, 2022] Jake Xerxes Fussell

The Decemberists are one of our favorite bands and yet we have seen them very few times.  We were supposed to see them on their last tour but they cancelled our show because Colin lost his voice.

Then last year’s show was postponed for COVID.

Finally it was rescheduled.  Originally the support was from Brigid Mae Power who I don’t know.  But at some point she backed out and the new support came from Jake Xerxes Fussell who I also had never heard of.

For whatever reason, we arrived pretty late and decided to get merch since the line was short. We walked in half way through Fussell’s set.  It was just him and his electric guitar

So, Jake Xerxes Fussell is a guitarist who sings traditional folk songs.  No, that’s not exactly right.  He songs untraditional folks songs–songs that were literally sung by the folk, most of which were never recorded until a chronicler like Folkways came along.

The first song we heard was also the first song he played on his recent Tiny Desk Concert and this is how they described it:

Jake Xerxes Fussell’s Tiny Desk (home) concert opens with the eyebrow raising lyric, “I’ve got fresh fish this morning, ladies. They are gilded with gold and you may find a diamond in their mouths.” It was originally sung by a fishmonger in Florida and captured in a field recording. Coming from Fussell, it sounds as lived-in as his worn Telecaster looks. It’s immediate, but somehow out-of-time. Fussell found the tune at the Library of Congress, part of his process of collecting and curating traditional, public domain folk songs, and reinterpreting them through his own lens.

His voice is deep and old-sounding.  He fills these songs with the appropriate feeling that the original singer intended.   His guitar playing was quite good as well.

He won over the audience pretty easily, too.   If I had been there to see him or, more importantly, if I wasn’t super excited for The Decemberists, I would have enjoyed his set a lot more.  As it was I enjoyed the set quite a bit, but I really wanted to hear the main band.

I’m not sure I’d listen to his records, but I would enjoy seeing him live.

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SOUNDTRACK: MANIC STREET PREACHERS-“Die in the Summertime” (1994).

I really liked the Manic Street Preachers in the late 90s.  Perhaps ironically, I learned about them after the strange disappearance of lyricist and guitarist Richey Edwards, and really liked the first few albums that they put out without him.  I went back and listened to their older stuff later, but I still prefer Everything Must Go.

Nevertheless, The Holy Bible (where this song comes from) is a pretty great album.  And “Die in the Summertime” is really cool.  It opens with tribal drums and a nifty almost Middle Eastern sounding guitar riff.  When it kicks in after a brief intro, it’s more raw and heavy than their later stuff–was that Edwards’ influence?

I listened to this song a few times and will clearly have to dig out The Holy Bible for another listen.

Obviously Edwards looms over the band and clearly looms over this story.

The guitarist vanished on 1 February 1995 and is widely presumed to have taken his own life, but a body was never found and there is no definitive proof that he died by suicide.

[READ: May 31, 2021] The Forevers

This was a fairly simple (and familiar) story, but it was told in a very interesting way.

Ten years ago seven friends (or maybe not friends exactly) made a pact. They performed a ritual asking for fame and fortune.  And it worked.  They have all become very successful.

Each chapter has a title from a song.  The first is “Die in the Summertime” (3:07) [by Manic Street Preachers].

Ten years later we cut to Jamie Ashby–a strung out superstar singer (who looks an awful lot like the Irish guy from Lost, who was also a strung out rock star).  He is in a bad way.

Then we meet Daisy Cates.  She is a successful model,  But the person who takes her home does not have good intentions for her.

I liked the way their two stories paralleled on the same page with a different background wash of color.

Jamie does a show and when an old geezer says he’s washed up, he punches the guy and makes tabloid headlines,  We find out in the next chapter that the geezer was Robert Plant–ha!

Chapter 2 is “The Drugs Don’t Work”  (5:05) [by The Verve]. (more…)

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fish SOUNDTRACK: CHAPPO-Future Former Self (2015).

chappoCHAPPO opened for The Flaming Lips, and I enjoyed them enough to get their CD. Since I bought it, I have listened to it nonstop.  While I enjoyed their live show, I never expected the subtle nuances that were present on the disc.  It’s entirely possible that the band’s sound got lost somewhat in the huge open-air stadium that they played in.  They also rocked pretty hard live, so I was surprised by the more psychedelic sound they achieved on disc.

I feel like they achieved an interesting mix of psychedelia and Britpop, which I would never expect.  The album opens with “Hello” a gentle psychedelic song with whistling and a jaunty melody.  I like the unexpected riff that comes in the verse before returning to the really catchy opening melody again.  About half way through the song changes into something bigger—a very cool switch which turns the seemingly simple ditty into something even more interesting.

“Hang On” is wonderfully catchy single. Opening with washes of keyboards and a cool guitar riff, the vocals are gentle and then the bridge comes in and the song lifts to a new level. And then the chorus comes in and things get even bigger. It’s wonderfully crafted.  I saw this song live and while it was good live, and it was definitely fun.  After a quiet moment (with interesting processed vocals), the big chorus returns and you can’t help but sing along.

“I’m Not Ready” switches gears pretty radically, with a chugging riff and 70s synths thrown over the top. The chorus is much more guitar heavy but is not heavy itself–sort of the way the Cars sound.  “I Don’t Need the Sun” shifts gears again with more interesting keyboard sounds sprinkled over the sunny guitar lines.  The lyrics to this one get stuck in my head all the time.

“Run Me Into the Ground” opens with seemingly contradictory keyboard notes and guitar riff. They come together nicely into a pretty verse which all melds into a huge grabbing chorus.  “Mad Magic” opens with a kind of disco/reggae guitar line and Alex Chappo’s falsetto for certain notes.  I love the lyrics to this one too: “My wife is indispensable she will succeed because she has to she will succeed with magic.”  A multilayered chorus really complements the opening riffs and the lines “we’ll be floating while they are coasting” is very cool.

“Hey-O” has a simple catchy gesture with a group singing Hey-O Hey-O that reminds me a bit of Of Monsters and Men.  “Something’s Ringing” is a delicate ballad with a lot of falsetto (and I find Alex’s to me unusual pronunciation of some of the words strangely compelling). I like the way the odd helicopter sound ends the song as it takes off.

“Orange Afternoon” has a sleazy guitar sound and vocal that reminds me a bit of Suede. But the chorus changes direction entirely getting  brighter and brighter.  But moments of that sleaze come back and intersperse interestingly with the bright guitars.

“Ghetto Weekend” is a trippy song to end with.  There’s talking going on, and also a languid guitar.  But it’s interfused with guitar soloing which is echoed and at times seems to not stop. But the switch to the bridge is a great change of pace from the mellow opening—it a great trick, the kind that CHAPPO does so well.

I can’t think of another band that I saw live without knowing their music and was subsequently even more blown away by their album which of course makes me want to see them again in a  more intimate venue.

[READ; June 22, 2015] Fish in the Dark

I’m not sure if I would have known this play was by Larry David just by reading it, but since I knew it was by him, I could tell unmistakably that it was David’s writing (and voice) while I was cracking up.

One wonders why David chose to write a play as a opposes to a screenplay, but then, by doing this it allowed him to get away from his normal characters (even if these ones act just like the characters in anything else he has done).

This is the story of a family.  Norman (played by Larry David) is a put upon husband.  His wife doesn’t want to sleep with him anymore (she has a very funny rejoinder to him in the first scene).  His mother is overbearing (and hates his wife).  His brother, Arthur, is wealthy, recently divorced and is living it up thinking only about himself.  And he just received a phone call that his father is one the verge of death. (more…)

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