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Archive for the ‘yMusic’ Category

[ATTENDED: July 14, 2016] Ben Folds with yMusic

2016-07-14 22.42.16This was the third time that Sarah and I have seen Ben Folds and he never fails to put on a great show.

Both of the previous times had been as an opening act (and both times were with Guster, interestingly).  So it was great to see him headlining.  I didn’t know a lot about yMusic before the show, but I enjoyed his disc with them So There.  It promised to be a great show.

And since, as I mentioned with Gracie Folds, we were literally three people from the stage, we knew the show would be special. (more…)

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SlewisOUNDTRACK: BEN FOLDS-Tiny Desk Concert #508 (February 16, 2016).

benfolds I’ve liked Ben Folds for many many years.  He’s funny, he’s amazing live and he plays a mighty good song or two.  He’s the kind of artist you say, Has he really not done a Tiny Desk Concert before? (He did an episode of Live from Daryl’s House after all).  But he’s finally here to bang the hell out of their piano and curse up a storm.

He plays several songs from his new album So There, which is  a collaboration with the sextet yMusic.  I haven’t actually listened to the record much because I gave it to Sarah and haven’t grabbed it from her pile yet.  Since there’s no strings for this Tiny Desk, these songs sound just like normal Ben Folds songs–clever lyrics, fun piano and unexpected twists.

The first song is “Phone in a Pool,” one of his rollicking stompers.  It’s catchy and fun to sing a long to and after one listen, you’re right there with him in New Orleans throwing a phone in a pool.  Midway through the song, he forgets the words and just starts laughing: “In a world where you get applause for fucking up.”  And then he makes up a verse about forgetting the words.

“Not a Fan” is a slower song with a beautiful piano melody and biting, funny lyrics (get your T-shirt signed, fangirl).

“Capable of Anything” is a fast, romping song.  He says on the record the vocals are very quiet, so he’ll see what he can do.  After a run through a verse he stops and realizes that he has knocked the piano out of tune.   And when he bangs on the keys at the end, its easy to see how.  There’s some really fast piano work (and you can hear him stomping along).

he says he’ll play some old songs.  He asks for a song and someone shouts “Emeline,” which he immediately starts playing.  And then about a verse in, he gives some story behind the song.  He says that when he was a kid 8 or 9, he wrote earnest songs, but when he was a teenager he wrote “cool”s songs like “Having Two Dicks is Cool.”

And then he started using songwriter vernacular, words you only use in pop songs, “why’d you make me cry, girl?”  Why do people do that? When he was 18 or 19 he started to write songs that were more natural, like Emeline, the first song he was proud of–using the word “stupid” or a money analogy–and which he still loves playing.

He’s willing to do more songs and asks for requests saying which ones he can or can’t do.  And then Bob points out that he’s going to miss his plane if he does more than one song.  So he chooses for everyone and plays an amazing version of “One Angry Dwarf And 200 Solemn Faces.”  he says it can probably be done and will put the rest of the piano out of tune.  And he’s not kidding.  He really pounds the heck out of that thing–how does his own piano manage?

The song is bouncy and fun and he even jokes with the lyrics near the end.

It’s an amazing, invigorating set and has me really excited to see him this summer.

[READ: February 28, 2016] Lewis and Clark

In 2014, Bertozzi made the excellent Shackleton graphic novel.  But three years earlier he had created another historical graphic novel, this one about Lewis and Clark.

Like Shackleton, it aims to be truthful but not comprehensive.  Bertozzi himself explains that it is not meant to be a replacement for the scholarly recounting of the journey.  Rather, he hopes to show the “experience” of the journey.

The book doesn’t really include any historical context, so in a brief summary:

Shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, President Jefferson commissioned a group of U.S. Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend, Second Lieutenant William Clark to explore the territory.  Their journey lasted from May 1804 to September 1806. The primary objective was to explore and map the newly acquired territory, find a practical route across the Western half of the continent, and establish an American presence in this territory before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it.The campaign’s secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area’s plants, animal life, and geography, and establish trade with local Native American tribes.

(more…)

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