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***October Twenty Third Two Thousand and Eight***

These are valuable words to live by, my friends. 

(Some random promo photo found online...I forgot to bring my camera.)

Jonathan Richman
Local 506

I'm still trying to get used to not buying advance tickets for every show I go to.  In San Francisco, if the performer had
any acclaim at all, it would probably sell out.  Outside of some small local bands, I wouldn't even bother going to a show
if I didn't already have tickets lined up.  But out here in NC, most of the time you can just show up, wait in line, and pay
the cover right then and there.

It's generally not an issue, but for this show I found myself a bit worried...someone the stature of Jonathan Richman
playing a small place like the 506?  Did I need an advance ticket?  Is he as popular out here as he is in California? 
Just to be safe, I got there early and stood around like a jackass staring at an empty stage until he began playing. 
I'm good at staring blankly out into space waiting for something to happen, I've been doing it my whole life.

There was no opening act, a rarity at most shows but a trend the old crotchety man inside of me wishes was more
popular. But there was a drummer - Tommy Larkins, to be exact, probably best known as the drumming accom-
paniment to Jonathan in that spazz comedy “There's Something About Mary”. It's my understanding that Tommy plays
with Jonathan from time to time, but in all of the shows I've seen him play it's just been the man and his guitar. Solo
Richman is plenty fine, but the drums do add an extra layer of sound, some additional definition and textures to songs
you're used to hearing a certain way. But more importantly, all that drumming gives Jonathana lot of extra time to sit
his guitar down, dance, play a little cow bell, and generally enjoy himself in a grand fashion.

If you haven't guessed by now, I enjoyed the hell out of this gig. I've seen a lot of Jonathan over the years, and this
might have been my favorite time. He may not have played all of my favorite songs (I was really hoping for “Ice Cream
Man” and/or “Down In Bermuda”), there may have been a bunch if old, asshole fans screaming at the man like he was
a performing monkey, and it might have been hot as shit because the air conditioning system was turned off since they
play at such a low volume, but I had a smile on my face the whole time. The man is a real treasure, a joy to watch per-
form, and more of the kids playing music today should look towards him for inspiration on how to carry yourself on a

Completely Random Photos
Cleaning up some old files, and I came across these photos that never managed to get posted.  Click on them for
larger pics and all that.

The Stinky Pinks...these are nearly two years old, from Budget Rock back in 2006 I think.  This might have been their
last show maybe?  Either way, immensely entertaining band, as those with bad wigs often are. 

Tokyo Electron...These kids opened up for (and backed as his band, I think) Jay Reatard at the Hemlock maybe a
year, year-and-a-half ago.  They were pretty good rockabilly-tinged punk if I recall correctly, which is rare. 


"I'm going to rock out with my cock out, and you're going to jam out with your clam out. It's going to be magical."

Gang Starr - I'm The Man.  "Daily Operation" is one of the most perfect hip-hop records ever created.  The end.
Bonus: The Place Where We Dwell

The New York Dolls - Great Big Kiss.  This song is one of my very favorite songs of all time by any band ever. 
Bonus: Don't Mess With Cupid

Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks.  The new Okkervil River record is kinda disappointing.  Not bad, just...meh.
Bonus: You Can't Hold The Hand Of A Rock And Roll Man

Pelican - City Of Echoes.  I kinda forget about these guys from time to time, and then when I listen to them I wonder
how I could ever forget about them.  This repeats over and over in my life. 
Bonus: Lost In The Headlights

Rick Danko - New Mexico.  From the first solo album of this former Band member.  Surprise, it sounds like the
Band, not that there is anything wrong with that. 

The Black Keys - Strange Times.  The new Black Keys album is kinda disappointing too, but much better than the
new Okkervil River record. 
Bonus: Remember When (Side A).
Bonus: Remember When (Side B).

The Notwist - Boneless.  The new Notwist record is fuckin' awesome though, just like the last one.  Possibly better.
Bonus: Gravity

The Paper Chase - Who Can Deny How Delicious It Tastes
I have a few friends who are nutso over this band. 
I'm not quite at that level of fandom but they do deserve to be better known than they are. 

***October Ninth Two Thousand and Eight***

The big news in our household is the new addition to the family - Burt Reynolds the Beagle.  He's a handful at
around a year old - full size but still full of puppy rambunctiousness.  Many more photos to come I'm sure. 

Okkervil River
with Crooked Fingers and Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears
The Soapbox (Wilmington, NC)

It being a Friday night and all, it seemed perfectly reasonable to drive over two hours to Wilmington for a rock concert. 
It helps when you got a good friend to visit and a free place to stay at his house.  Brian has been one of my major
partners-in-crime for going on 14 years now, nearly half my life, and a visit with him is just as entertaining as the live
music itself. 

We got over to the club early, and much to our surprise there was a line of folks waiting to get in...this rarely seems to
happen anywhere in NC, much less Wilmington.  After some dicking around on the pool and foosball tables, we stag-
gered upstairs to see what the opening act, Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears, was all about.  I generally don't
expect much out of unknown openers, having been let down so many, many times in my life, but the rumor of a horn
section had me intrigued.  Turns out this band of austin, TX kids were quite good - throwback blues/soul with a lot of
pep and a nice three-piece horn section round out the sound.  The whole crowd seemed to be digging it, understand-
ably.  You never know what might happen, but I could see these guys getting a little popularity if they manage to hook
up with the right crowd (touring with someone like the Black Keys, for example). 

As much as I love Okkervil River, I must be completely honest and say that Crooked Fingers were the performer of
the night I was most excited about.  Even though I haven't listened to their records a ton lately, any time you get to see
Eric Bachmann perform live, you're going to have a good time. 
As per usual with Crooked Fingers, the line-up of the
band was different from the last time I saw them (and that time was different from the previous outing, and so on) - this
outing found them to be a quartet, with Bachmann's finger-picked guitar backed up by drums, bass and violin.
having a new record coming out the following week, they tended to play a wide swath of older material - including two
of my favorites, "Crowned in Chrome" and "New Drink for the Old Drunk" (would have been nice to hear "Carrboro
Woman" or "Juliette" or really every song off of the first record, but no set list is perfect).   Had they left it that, I would
have left a very satisfied customer.  But no!  Thrown into the set, towards the end, no one expecting it...they busted
out the Archers of Loaf classic "Web in Front".  Had my bowls not been recently empty, there is no doubt I would have
literally shat myself...and I wasn't alone - everyone in the immediate vicinity of me started freaking out like pre-teens
at a Jonas Brothers concert.  I've heard this song played live by Bachmann dozens and dozens of times, but the
power it holds over me never wanes. 

Here is a crappy photo of Crooked Fingers performing, in case you don't believe that I saw them.

After the Crooked Fingers performance, I felt myself to be a bit sapped and not nearly as excited for Okkervil River
as I would have otherwise been.  I left the front of the stage area as the kids started packing in, cause I just didn't
have the energy to push around with a bunch of teenagers and their illegally scammed beers sloshing all about. 

But that's not to say they didn't put on a damn good show, cause they did.  Even though I was standing in the back
talking to my friends and dodging drunks, my ears were constantly being tugged to the front of the room every time they
played one of my favorite tracks ("The Latest Toughs" being the highlight as always).  Lots of songs from the last
couple of records, and as always a few older hits ("Westfall", "Okkervil River Song") during the encore.  There are
few things I enjoy more than singing along with "Okkervil River Song", the track they always end their live shows with. 

The whole affair finally wound down at 1:30 in the morning, just enough time to stagger down to the piza place and
load up slices of late night calories.  It was a good night, a tasty night, a musically rad night.


"I would like to extend to you an invitation to the pants party."

Superdrag mini-mix, all demos from their "4-Track Rock!!!" compilation.  Goddamn I love this band.
Better Now Than Never
Sucked Out
The Lung (Dinosaur Jr. cover)

M83 - Graveyard Girl.  A couple of tracks from the Frenchman's most recent effort "Saturdays = Youth".  Maybe not
as strong as the last album, which was a masterpiece, but damn good.
Bonus: Kim & Jessie.

Nada Surf - I Like What You Say.  Speaking of most recent efforts, here are some Nada Surf options.  They may
never top "The Weight Is A Gift", but these are some nice tracks. 
Bonus: Weightless.  

Richard Hell - Blank Generation.  Classic.  What more can be said?
Bonus: The Kid With The Replaceable Head

The Jayhawks - Blue.  From the classic album "Tomorrow the Green Grass", which doesn't have a bad song on it.
Bonus: I'd Run Away

The Upper Crust - Let Them Eat Rock.  Still one of the greatest live shows I've ever seen.  More bands need a
drummer who fans himself with a frilly fan between songs.
Bonus: Rabble Rouser


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