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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Best of May 2014, is anybody out there???

I have been hesitant to do full on concert reviews the past few months.  Let's be honest, this readership either wants to see live music or it doesn't.  If you are in your late twenties and never found live music compelling, than it is most likely not going to click for you.  When you do the math, it's a tough sell.

Drive or train into the busiest City in America.  That, in itself, is a costly proposition- both in time and money.  From the 'Burbs it is an hour on the best day (door to door at least.)  Rarely do you go just for the show.  You have to eat right?  And drink...  boy do you need to drink.  Sounds like $150 to $200 before you make it to the venue.  I am assuming your sorry ass can't find NYC free street parking.  If so, add $20.  If its Midtown double that.

Should you make it to the venue and find the bar, add $10 to the drinks you order.    How does that $12 beer taste?  $20 cocktail?  Little more yummy in that plastic cup isn't it??

Now, get ready to stand with 300-1500 of your friends.  Please note, they are loud, drunk and mostly obnoxious.  Some of them are half your age too.  

Right.  You guys are mostly out of that- why wouldn't you be?  Especially having never been in it.

Me?  I am in it for the long haul.  

I will put up with the aggressive head case calling out song requests.  I love seeing kids trust one another and crowd surf.  Beer on my foot??  Sure, no problem.

Eels at Apollo Theatre.  

Cage the Elephant at Terminal 5 earlier this Spring.  Do get to see them if you can.

The Jam band Dopapod at MHOW last month.  Good times.



For me, it is spiritual.


When the house lights go down my heart still skips a beat.  Watching the roadie duct tape a play list to the ground and setting up the drinks gives me goose bumps.  Hearing my favorite song, like I have never heard it before, provides a smile.  Sharing a moment with a friend who is sensing the same thing is incredible.   Better, seeing your wife or girlfriend embracing the moment, laughing and dancing is like nothing else.

For me.  I get it, not you so much.

Still, it is what I know.  And when the time permits, it is what I find I can write most intelligently about.

Seriously, you want me to talk about College Softball?  Reruns of Louie?  My take on the hostage release or Benghazi?  

I saw Of Mice and Men on Broadway with James Franco and Leighton Meester Sunday?  Yeah, double booked and missed about 1/3 of the eels show at the Apollo later that night.  Tragic.  Quick note about that event.  The Apollo Theatre, and most importantly its staff, were easily the most friendly and accommodating I have seen in NYC in a long time.  The Theatre itself is a wonder.  Like The Stone Pony, which I first visited earlier this year, I am glad I finally entered the place.  That eels, easily my favorite show, played it, was icing on the cake.  

My friend was injured in a freak accident last year and has been wheelchair bound since.  He and I share the same passion for E and his mates.  When we arrived to the show several attendants opened the door, asked if we were al together, did not bother to look at our tickets other than scanning them, and personally escorted us to a front row private box.  Amazing.  

E and his band were in fine form.  As mentioned, we were held up so it felt short to us.  Perhaps the biggest disappointment was Steve Perry's absence.  He had played with E in Minnesota and Washington, DC.   Next time Mr E...  cause you can be certain when you play next, I will be there.

A word of encouragement to my pal DC too.  Many people in his condition would be locked down at home with a "woe is me" attitude.  

Last weekend DC, wheelchair and all, went to Yankee game, college alumni dinner and eels show.  What did you do last weekend???

His path may have taken a crooked road.  But his ambition and perseverance are straighter than most.  
He continues to inspire me and many, many others.  I am now more encouraged than ever that he and I will walk into an eels show in the not so distant future.   Although I will miss getting the VIP treatment his chair provided.  Settle down, he can take a joke too.  

Back to Franco and the his play...  care for my two cents?

I didn't think so.  Do yourself a favor though, watch Freaks and Geeks or Bridesmaids instead.  Start a pledge asking for Meester to be voted out of all actors unions to while you are at it.

Well that's that.  Music good.  Hours in day not enough.  Summer can't get here soon enough- school over for God's sake!  

A summer without a soundtrack is like JLO without an endorsement deal.  The following represent what's on my radar and playlist over the past 30 days.  What will your summer soundtrack sound like?  What is the best of 2014 (so far?)  Any concerts on the horizon?  Festivals?   

Have a great summer all, wherever you are.  Thanks as always for reading/following. 









Baltimore duo Wye Oak

Editors Note:  6.6.14

A Friday afternoon, after a sleepless and restless night.  Funny what can get you going these days.  Last night it was rules interpretations on the 5/6th grade softball field.

In one game, I told the other team they were batting out of order without being a dick and calling them out.  Another time a girl tried to score from third on a dropped strike (you can't steal home in the league) and I had my girl tag her out.  Ump reversed call.  He did not call dead ball so we lose out. 

Finally, girl on first with one out.  Ball hit to pitcher and she goes to first.  Runner on second looks to advance to third so our girl throw a dart to third preventing it.  Girl panics, after touching second base, and retreats toward first.  My thought was she established herself at 2nd so I have my girl once again find her on the field and rage her out.   Other team protests and call overturned, again.  

Whatever, we won in a rout anyway.  But everything, I mean everything, is a fight.  Hell, we are 13-2 now and playing in the semis of a 15 team tri-town league tomorrow.  But I find myself more miffed and frustrated than anything.  Are the kids having fun?  Are they learning??  Why do adults make everything so damn hard?!  

I just passed a truck full of kids who were clearly on their way to the Shore for the weekend.  Maybe they just graduated?  Perhaps they are home for the summer?  

One thing is certain.  They were smiling.  Just like I should be.  My kid is working her ass off and doing well in school.  My wife is amazing.  We have a roof above our head and probably spend 2 grand on organic strawberries every year.  

Every now and then I get a little sad though.  And that is ok.  How can you not really?  Life can be overwhelming, a challenge.  Who knows if we will ever get it right?  This weekend I will try to find some more joy in the World.  

It might be on a softball field, or at a concert hall.  It might be on the couch with the ones I love.  

A June sunset would be nice.  Watching fireworks on a lawn too.  Summer is here.  Time to cut the shit and rock this bitch.



Coldplay "A Sky Full of Stars"

My Name is GTS and I like Coldplay.  There, I said it.  Yes, the Paltrow coupling and un-coupling scores Chris Martin major douche points.  Naming their kid "Apple" doesn't help either.   Only selling their new record at Target gets under my skin a bit too.  But we still sing along to notorious child molester Gary Glitter at every sports arena in the World.  Martin and Company write simple and catchy songs.  He never apologizes for it and damn it I will not apologize for digging it.

Woods "Moving to the Left"

Brooklyn, NY based Woods is a folk rock act in the Wilco, Portugal, the Band, Band of Horses vain.  Gutiar and psych grooves and trippy vocals are abundant here.  They have been plugging along since 2005 and cranked out a lot of material.  Yet another band that has escaped my attention for nearly a decade, until now.  There latest record, With Light and With Love, is a little treasure.  This song is an addictive stand out.

Black Keys "Turn Blue"

Ohio based duo Black Keys are another polarizing band, like Coldplay.  After Jack White ripped into them, that divide has been further lengthened.  His argument, they have a guitar and drummer so they are ripping off The White Stripes.  Oh, and there is a love triangle involving White's ex wife too- sure that has nothing to do with it.    Their new record has a more psych, trip feel to it.  Perhaps Ray Manzarek will come after them next.  Is he still alive?   Anyway, I am not their biggest fan either.  But I think I know what qualifies as good material.

Fear of Men "Descent"

Brighton, UK dream pop led by Jessica Weiss- art student turned singer.  Two things, this drum line has all the tendencies of an early The National song.  Secondly, this song and style has been done about a thousand times.  But unlike Jack White I choose to see the originality and elegance in the presentation.  Could it be 80s Throwing Muses?  2010's Frankie Rose?  You bet it can.  Won't stop me from chilling on the easy chair smiling to it.  "Easy Chair?"  Who says that???

Wye Oak "Glory"

Uh oh.  Baltimore duo- but lead singer/guitar (Jann Wesnter) is a girl and drummer (Adam Stack) is a boy.  Bizzaro White Stripes??  I remember them as headliners a few years ago at a small NYC show that featured Caveman.  Seemed like an odd pairing as these guys relied on computers and overdubs for their live act- and Caveman simply kill it with rock!  They were featured on an episode  of The Walking Dead soon after I saw them.  Now they are back with Shriek, their 4th full length LP.  Here they continue to polish their sound.  The results are good.

Ejecta "Eleanor Lye"

There are two things that impress me a little more than some.  One, the ability to go on stage and perform- especially sing.  Two, getting naked and letting the World see.  Leanne Macomber does both here for her side project, Ejecta (she has performed and been associated with Neon Indian to this point.)  I came for the nudity, but stayed for track-  a celebration of synths and pixie vocals.  Try it without the first.  I am sure that swayed my vote.

Moon Taxi "River Water"--

Granted, this record from Nashville alt-rockers was released last year.  I would ask you grant me some leeway.  Easy going southern rock on the menu here.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Wild Cub "Thunder Clatter"

Another Nashville 5 piece, but way more poppy.  Think Atlas Genius meets Kings of Leon.  Hated and ignored this song for most of this year.  Now, it has got me.  Maybe it will enter your bloodstream too.

Hamilton Leithauser "Alexandra"

Just heard a poor live show from him on Sirius.  His voice was shot, from overusing it no doubt.  How these guys go gig to gig, city to city, without sleep and likely boozing and abusing their body...
Whatever the case I am not itching to see Mr Leithauser live anytime soon.  He has left The Walkmen to release a solo record, which this joyous track comes from.  The voice is quite nice on record thank you very much.

Thee Oh Sees "Encrypted Bounce"

Unsure if these guys are broken up, active, fooling with us...  etc.  California garage and psych rock straight out of Haight-Asbury ladies and gentleman.  Picture an opening credits motorcycle ride through the desert.  Yeah, this will be playing.

Enjoy responsibly.





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