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The Twilight Singers perform Blackberry Belle: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA; 9/17/11

Posted on 19 September 2011 (11)

When the Twilight Singers were forced to cancel the San Francisco date behind the latest album, Dynamite Steps, no one anticipated that the makeup date wouldn’t be just another show, somehow shoehorned into the tour schedule, but rather a first time one-off epic performance: Blackberry Belle, Dulli’s first post-Whigs magnum opus, performed in its entirety. Waiting on line to get into the venue, along with people from Chicago and Texas and Seattle and Canada I wondered if any San Franciscans had gotten themselves into their makeup date.

The emotional continuum of Blackberry Belle is a tough one for me. It’s a record that got me through an agonizing, lengthy breakup that I just could not get free of. I didn’t need to listen to music that was positive or uplifting, I wanted to hear the audible representation of how I felt inside and dig out of it that way. It’s kind of like the Whigs’ version of of “Come See About Me” – the way the Supremes sing it, it’s a cheery little ditty that’s hiding the main character’s true feelings. But when the Whigs did it? They turned it into a howling, dark, dissonant beast of a song that made you feel like you’d never heard it before. It owed as much to Husker Du as it did to Holland-Dozier-Holland – but make no mistake, it very much had a foot equally planted in both camps. Which is, of course, how I fell in love with the Afghan Whigs in the first place, and Dulli still does this shit.

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The Horrible Crowes, Bowery Ballroom, 9/8/11

Posted on 10 September 2011 (4)

Almost no one I know cares about Brian Fallon, or Gaslight Anthem, or Fallon’s latest project, Horrible Crowes. I get it, because I came dangerously close to disregarding him myself – the first time I saw him, in an opening slot, he was yet another guy with an acoustic guitar from New Jersey dropping massively unsubtle “Thunder Road” references. (I confess there may have been some snickering on my part at the time.)

But that was a while ago, and I am now the person who buys the poster from the Radio City show because it was the first Radio City show, and who blocks an hour in her calendar to run down to the Mercury Lounge at lunchtime to make sure I will get tickets to the first ever Horrible Crowes concert, at the Bowery Ballroom September 9.

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U2, Montreal 2011

Posted on 11 July 2011 (4)

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I could, and should, someday write a long treatise about hauling myself from Tel Aviv to London (en route to the US for my sister’s wedding) in August of 1993 to see U2 at Wembley Stadium on the Zooropa tour, and how it altered the course of my life completely. That time is not now, but it would go a long way in explaining why I would spend 4 days hauling myself up to Montreal to see U2 play a show in the middle of a race track along with 79,999 other people, why I would get up at 6:30 on my day off and go sit on said racetrack for 8 hours, waiting on line, to then sprint down the racetrack in the heat and then hug a metal barrier for the next five hours until the band comes onstage… and I get a shot like the one above.

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Elvis Costello, Beacon Theater, 5-24-11

Posted on 25 May 2011 (0)

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This was a wonderful evening, jam-packed with stone favorites from start to finish. Any set heavy on the Imperial Bedroom / Blood and Chocolate continuum will ring my chimes.

He did, however, perform the second-worst cover of “Purple Rain” I have ever seen.

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Titus Andronicus & Craig Finn & “Kids Don’t Follow”

Posted on 23 May 2011 (1)

So I read twitter from the “Our Band Could Be Your Life” show, and no one fucking said, “Craig Finn came out to do the ‘This is the Minneapolis police, the party is over…’ intro for ‘Kids Don’t Follow'”. They just said “Craig Finn came out in a police uniform to introduce Titus Andronicus.” DID NO ONE THERE GET THE REFERENCE?

Someone must’ve, because they yelled “FUCK YOU” exactly on cue (in the alleged Dave Pirner part. But in Minneapolis, everyone claims to be the person yelling FUCK YOU).

This is dead fucking on. Dead fucking on. Like, I would have probably exploded had I been there.

I owe a post on the Color Me Obsessed Minneapolis premiere. This week.

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Twilight Singers, Webster Hall, 5-13-11

Posted on 14 May 2011 (6)

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One of the things I have always loved and appreciated about Greg Dulli is that he’s not ashamed to be a frontman. The word “showmanship” isn’t anathema to him. When he is on stage, he is ON STAGE. So on a night when he’s filming the show for what I can only assume is commercial release, he’s going to turn it all the way up, hard. I’ve seen him do this with the Afghan Whigs, I’ve seen him do it with the Twilight Singers – even on the solo tour or with Lanegan on the Gutter Twins tour, Dulli is a like a magician the way he can grab the energy, flip it around, find it if it’s hiding, beg for it if he has to, demand it if it’s not meeting his needs, cajole it out from a shy crowd.

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Emmylou Harris, Bowery Ballroom

Posted on 27 April 2011 (0)

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It was an album release show, where she played her new record from start to finish, only a hour, but I swear, I could listen to Emmylou cover Nickelback songs all night and find a way to enjoy it.

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Big Audio Dynamite, Roseland, 4-19-11

Posted on 20 April 2011 (1)

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I completely admit: I paid $75 (that’s with all the fees) to see Mick Jones. I didn’t care what he was going to do, but at least (unlike with the Gorillaz) I knew and liked Big Audio Dynamite and I was tired of kicking myself for missing the Mescaleros when I could have seen them and figuring a Clash reunion would happen one day and then one December morning I get off the plane from Seattle and my phone buzzes nonstop for 15 minutes and that was the end of that.

So I paid $75 to see Mick Jones and was completely okay with that–except that BAD were utterly fantastic.

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Big Star Tribute, New York, 3-26-11

Posted on 27 March 2011 (0)

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There is not much to say, not much that needs to be said. The night was about playing the songs, making them as big and bold and bright as the fantasies everyone had the first time they heard them, songs that made them pick up a guitar or write a song, take a chance.

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You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory

Posted on 20 February 2011 (2)


Jesse Malin with guests Tommy Stinson and Billie Joe Armstrong covering Johnny Thunders, 2/19/11

Jesse Malin performed two shows at City Winery last night which featured his first album, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction, played in its entirety. Tommy Stinson opened. (I will get to that in a bit.) It’s a great record, so getting up and playing it start to finish with a great band (imo Jesse’s best band ever) has to result in an amazing show. The performances were strong, every single one of them. I do wish that he had set the record up with one key story, and then just played the thing from beginning to end with no stops. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled by the performance, but I wish there had been less chat and more music on this one night.

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