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***November Thirteenth Two Thousand and Eight***



A recent photo of me and the American Starship Eagle at one of the big car shows. 

This time, I give you: two show reviews!  I know, you've been waiting eagerly.


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Superchunk
with Ivan Howard (of the Rosebuds), Billy Bragg, Megafaun and Bowerbirds
UNC Campus
11/1/08

A daytime show!
A free daytime show!
A free daytime show featuring one of my favorite bands of all time, Superchunk, and a bunch of other great acts!

Yes, you could say I was fairly excited...this was an event that met all of my parameters for what makes quality enter-
tainment, short of providing me a free chocolate milkshake (let's get on this people...it's not like Ben and Jerry's don't
sponsor crap all the time).  This whole affair was put together to celebrate/draw attention to the final day of early
voting for this historic election (spoiler alert: Obama won!). 


When I got there, things were already in full swing, a wide variety of folks gathered on the plaza to hear a little music,
maybe do a little voting, and enjoy the amazing weather.  Bowerbirds were the first group I saw play, and I'm damn
glad I got there early enough to make their performance.  I'd only heard a few songs online of these Wisconsin trans-
plants before the gig, so my expectations were low, but they were absolutely fantastic live and this mellow setting was
just perfect for them.  My first impression of Bowerbirds was a sound that was similar to Beirut crossed with beautiful
melancholy folk music, and it was a mix that will definitely have me coming back for more shows by them.  And soon
hopefully.    

         

Another new-to-me local group (also transplants from Wisconsin) were up next - Megafaun.  They played beard music,
which made sense given all three of the lads had quality beards, real top notch chin sweaters.  Like most beard bands,
there was a banjo involved, and god knows I love the banjo...the band picked and grinned and played their hobo folk
music that sounds like modern adaptations of some Alan Lomax mountain music recordings.  They even too their final
song out into the crowd, away from the microphones, wandering around and about the kids and couples and college
students who littered the plaza on that fine sunny day.

              

There was a late-minute addition to the days festivities, a deviation from the fine selection of local rock that had so far
been entertaining the crowds.  It was none other than Billy Bragg, who just happened to be in town for a gig in Durham
later that evening.  Not one to shy away from political matters, Bragg took the opportunity to split his time between
playing a few songs and speaking to the crowd about the possibility of change facing our country.  I knew what to
expect with his music, but he was a surprisingly effective and engaging speaker, and often funny to boot.




Ivan Howard from the Rosebuds was next up, and following Billy Bragg is no easy task.  As many times as I've seen
the Rosebuds, and even his old band Reverse, this was my first time seeing Ivan perform solo.  It mostly went as ex-
pected - somewhat mellower, acoustic versions of the Rosebuds songs we all know and love (and if you don't know
and love them, you're doing something wrong).  Nearly every song he played could be filed under my favorites, songs
like "Boxcar" and "In The Backyard".  And to make things better, for the last two songs ("Bluebird" and "Nice Fox"), he
had fellow band mate Kelly Crisp, Megafaun and Bowerbirds come up and act as a backing chorus, and it sounded
brilliant.


              

I missed the rare Superchunk show a couple of months back due to a trip to SF, and while an acoustic performance
isn't quite the same as the the full band rocking out, it would have to do, and it did.  This was just Mac and Jim - it was
stated that Wurster was on tour with another group, and Laura didn't like to be around when the band got all sensitive. 
Like the rest of the groups it was a short set, but any 'Chunk show is sure to be packed with hits.  This time was no
different..."Cursed Mirror", "Throwing Things". "I Guess I Remember It Wrong" all spring to mind, but what really hit
home was "Detroit Has A Skyline" one of my all-time favorite songs from one of my all-time favorite bands (if you do
the math, that means I really like the damn song).  I might have wet my pants, just a little bit, when they hit the first
notes of this song.  Even half of Superchunk, unplugged, is better than most bands could ever dream of being.


         

Things were still going strong when I left to attend to some other engagements, but I gotta say it doesn't get much
better than seeing five music acts that you really like before you've even had lunch.



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Jay Reatard
Local 506
10/30/08

This review will be not unlike the show itself - short, sweet and to the point.  I thought I was getting there early enough to
see the openers Cola Freaks (I'd heard good things from the cool kids), but as I get to the front of the club Jay Reatard
and his boys are already setting up...thumbs down to missing the first group, but a big thumbs up to what was clearly
going to be an early show. 


Any Jay Reatard show is going to be hit or miss, depending on his mood...apparently on this fine evening his mood was
all business.  This is mostly great, as I'm a big fan of the songs, but there is still that little piece of you that is kinda
hoping for a drunken mess and/or a royal freak out and/or abusive audience members to piss him off and create havoc. 
But there was none of that, just the man himself playing mostly a bunch of tracks from his new singles compilation that
was recently released, with a couple of old tracks peppered in here and there ("It's So Easy" from Blood Visions is the
only one that immediately comes to my addled mind though).  The whole affair couldn't have been more than 25 or 30
minutes long, if that, which doesn't add up to much value time-wise but when you break it down to a per-song basis,
you're sitting pretty on your investment...if this were the stock market, which it isn't, and now I've confused myself yet
again.  There may be a pork barrels joke in here somewhere but I'm blanking right now.  Anyways, as the kids say, it
was a "good show".



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"Let me tell you a little story about acting. I was doing this Showtime movie, Hot Ice with Anne Archer, never once
touched my per diem. I'd go to Craft Service, get some raw veggies, bacon, Cup-A-Soup... baby, I got a stew going.
"

Ashley Park - Father Hill's American Farm

Beirut - Cherbourg

DMS - Laughing With Me

Gentleman Jesse - All I Need Tonight
Bonus:  Highland Crawler

Jay Reatard - I Know A Place
Bonus:  Haunting You
Bonus:  Let It All Go

Sunset Rubdown - Winged/Wicked Things
Bonus:  Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days

The Dreadful Yawns - You've Been Recorded
Bonus:  Candles
Bonus:  November Nights

The National - Blank Slate
Bonus: Santa Clara





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