Tag Archives: quintessential artist

I’m Gonna Watch You Shine, Gonna Watch You Grow

This week’s (belated) post is in honor of fathers. Y’know, it’s funny: when it came time to talk about Mother’s Day, I had several songs to choose from that praise moms. However, now that it’s Father’s Day here in the US, I couldn’t find as much selection praising the dads of the world. Apparently to make it in my music library (current song total: 20,973 and counting) you must have some major daddy issues. Almost every song with “father” or “dad” in the title was about pain, resentment, and abandonment. I think that this is a colossal shame, as I know some really amazing fathers. Most notable is my own dad: I am an unabashed daddy’s girl, and I know for a fact that my dad is one of the best people in the whole world. I still look up to him even though I’m (technically) an adult, and I hope that I can be as magical and full of wonder and joy as he is when I get to be his age. He’s one of the funnest people to be around, and every time we hang out we have a blast. Maybe that explains why I never followed my fleeting rock star dreams: I’m too well-adjusted, and I have a great relationship with my father.

If I can get back into songwriting (which I haven’t done in several years, but enjoyed briefly) I’ll certainly make it my goal to write a kick-ass anthem for great dads. Until then, I have at least two songs that always make me think of my father and smile.

It’s hard to go wrong with anything Paul Simon in my book, but this song in particular, “Father and Daughter,” really touched my heart. I remember the first time that I heard it: I was in my car, driving across a bridge, and I heard this song on the radio. I wasn’t paying much attention to it, but then the chorus came on: There could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you. Suddenly I was listening intently. I loved the sentiment, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that’s how my own father felt (and continues to feel) about my sisters and me. Now whenever I hear this song I think of my dad and feel really lucky and really, really loved.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising, given how close I am to my dad, but A Little Princess has always been one of my absolute favourite children’s books. I recall watching the Shirley Temple movie based on the novel and loving it as well, but then Alfonso Cuaron came out with his film version and took my breath away. I can’t watch it without feeling waves of super intense emotions, so when my favourite remix artist, Pogo, came out with this song, “Whisperlude,” based on the movie, I literally sat transfixed in front of my computer screen as tears welled up in my eyes. After that I immediately popped the DVD in and rewatched the whole film, then I went and spent the day with my dad. It’s pretty amazing how Pogo can recreate all of the drama and wonder of a gorgeous and complex film into a remix less than four minutes long. It’s yet another reason why I am in awe of him, and another song to add to my repertoire of feel-good father tunes.

Happy Father’s Day, and thanks to all the great fathers of the world for being awesome!


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I Have Come To Know Him, And He Is Immortal

Okay, music lovers, it’s 2012, which means that by now we know a few things about this crazy ol’ world. It’s generally accepted that the Earth is round, and that the moon is not made of cheese. In the event of a nuclear apocalypse, cockroaches will inherit the earth. Sharks are terrifying unless it’s Shark Week, in which case they are terrifyingly awesome. We also know by now that vampires are really, really, really, ridiculously good-looking. Oh sure, horror movies dating back to 1922 will try to tell you otherwise. I mean, Max Schreck made a fantastic Nosferatu, but seduction was not widely considered to be his forte. However, literature has taught us over the course of centuries that real vampires are drop-dead sexy. Seduction is their thing; it’s the way they lure in their prey. Ugly vampires are great for scary stories, but they don’t really function well in the real world. To survive over the centuries, vampires would have to either start their undead lives as breathtakingly gorgeous or evolve to become so, because humans are shallow creatures and tend to not automatically kill pretty things. This fact alone first alerted me to today’s topic: Atsushi Sakurai, the lead singer of BUCK-TICK, is actually a real-life vampire.

It’s not my place to “out” anyone here, but surely I can’t be the only one who’s noticed it. I mean, just look at him. (Yes, that is a link to my personal Pintrest board dedicated to Atsushi. Someone had to do it, why not me?) He’s lovely when he’s younger, but what’s really interesting is that he actually seems to be getting better-looking with age. According to Wikipedia, he’s supposedly forty-six years old. No human looks that good at forty-six. No one. It’s almost as though Atsushi is ageless. What kind of humanoid creature is ageless? Well, that’s easy. Vampires are ageless.

“But wait,” I hear you cry, “literature is filled with all sorts of immortal humanoid creatures, from faeries to ghosts to gods to, well, immortals! How do you know Atsushi isn’t one of those?” Fair play, and I commend you for being so well-versed in otherworldly creatures. I have more facts that point specifically to vampirism, but for now I’ll share with you exactly what made me 100% certain that Atsushi is a vampire. That, friends, is the English translation of the lyrics to the stunning BUCK-TICK song “Kuchizuke:”

Will you say that we can love… love each other? I’ll cover your lips
Close your eyes and give me a sinful kiss

We can love… love each other surely, stabbing into the nape of your neck
Close your eyes and give me a sinful kiss

I can’t ever return again, but that’s okay
I stare into the middle of the night and drink my wine dry

We’ll love… love each other more, seeming to go mad in our intense thirst
Close your eyes and give me a sinful kiss

Your scent drives me mad
I wake up in the middle of the night and drink insanity and love dry

Come here into my arms, “The darkness over there is bitter”
You’ll get confused and waver
It’ll turn eternal before long, “The darkness over here is sweet”
I’ll pierce you deeply

Your scent drives me mad
I wake up in the middle of the night and drink insanity and love dry

Come here into my arms, “The darkness over there is bitter”
You’ll get confused and waver
It’ll turn eternal before long, “The darkness over here is sweet”
I’ll pierce you deeply

Come here into my arms, “The darkness over there is bitter”
You’ll smile a little
With this, it’ll turn eternal, “The darkness over here is sweet”
I’ll pierce you deeply

I started to highlight all of the lines that pointed to vampirism, but really, the entire song fits. A sinful kiss, like a vampire’s bite, stabbing into the nape of your neck. Seeming to go mad in our intense thirst…your scent drives me mad (vampires have a heightened sense of smell, as all vamp literature aficionados know)…the darkness over here is sweet (y’know, vampires and eternal night)…I’ll pierce you deeplywith this it’ll turn eternal…it really couldn’t be more clear. This song is Atsushi’s declaration to the world that he is what we’ve suspected: a vampire. He’s the real life embodiment of Anne Rice’s Lestat, a vampire rock star who’s pretending to be a human who is pretending to be a vampire. It’s the oldest trick in the book, and a very good one at that. If you watch any video of a BUCK-TICK performance, you can see Atsushi clearly feeding off of the energy of the crowd. He feigns indifference, but that just makes the audience crave him even more, building up to a frenzy.

BUCK-TICK very rarely play outside of Japan, and I have discovered the reason for this. One time, during a photo shoot in Nepal, Atsushi became deathly ill. He proclaimed that if he was going to die, he wanted to die in Japan, and so he was rushed back to his homeland. Once there, he miraculously recovered. Atsushi was ill, but he recovered once he was on his home soil. Hmm, who does that sound like? Oh yes, Dracula, another fellow who always had to have some of his home soil near him. Dracula kept his home soil in his coffin when he traveled in order to retain his full power. Atsushi simply chooses never to step foot off of his. (For more about this actual event in BUCK-TICK history, please see this article.)

Atsushi enjoys dark music, movies, and styles, yet he’s also secretive and hard to know, according to bandmate Hisashi. He love cats and red wine, both of which are favored by Goths and vampires alike. He also loves Bauhaus and David Bowie. Come to think of it, Bauhaus first hit it big with their single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” which was used in the opening to the vampire movie The Hunger, starring David Bowie. Is it a coincidence that vampiric bits of pop culture seem to flock to Atsushi? BUCK-TICK provide the opening song for the anime Trinity Blood, which is about vampires. They also provided a song for Nightwalker, about a vampire private eye. More recently “Kuchizuke” was used as the opening song for Shiki, a horror anime that I have yet to see (but very much want to). Here’s the description for that series: “All hell breaks loose as the villagers discover their loved ones’ corpses are rising from the grave with an insatiable thirst for human blood.” What does that sound like? Yeah, thought so.

Obviously I’m not the only person who sees Atsushi’s paranormal side as plain as moonlight. A quick search for his name on YouTube and a great fan video pops up showing clips of Atsushi set to Lady Gaga’s “Monster.” Excellent song choice, fantastic Atsushi shots, and oddly telling, if you ask me. “He ate my heart,” indeed. Also, have you seen the video for BUCK-TICK’s “Romance?” (Hopefully you have if you’ve been reading this blog, as I’ve posted it before.) Unreal. The man is dark, the man is sensual, the man is, quite clearly, an immortal being obsessed with blood. And I, for one, am here to speak in his favor. If you’ve ever felt bad because you see someone who just seems to be way more awesome than everyone else, take heart. That person is probably not a “person” at all, but a vampire. And those immortal creatures (especially Atsushi himself) are more than welcome to come drink the red, red wine with me any day.

Here’s one more BUCK-TICK song to get you through the week ahead, little earbuds: their dark and delicious ditty, “Gessekai.” Enjoy, and don’t let the vampires bite. (Or do, if that’s your thing.)


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Every Time You Overdose I Rush To Intensive Care

Hello again, little earbuds. Sorry I’m running a bit behind this week: I got started celebrating Cinco de Mayo early. (By that I mean that I spent yesterday evening cooking Mexican food and hanging out instead of blogging; you thought I meant that I was hungover, right?) Anyway, I had a totally different blog entry I was working on for this week, and it’s still in the works. However, I’ve also been inspired to begin a new writing project. It literally came to me in the night and kept me from sleep early in the a.m. of May first. I love creative projects that take hold of you and won’t let you go until you answer their call. Heaven knows I need an aggressive Muse, otherwise the call of TV, video games, and general internet faff sinks its claws into me and I have massive trouble escaping.

This new writing project is all about a certain quest I’ve had in my life that I’ve now given up on, so I’m exploring what put this fervent desire into my head in the first place. I go on to chronicle the ups and downs, the near successes and inevitable failures I’ve had on this quest. I might publish it online, because maybe some other readers out there will be able to identify with me. Maybe some won’t, but still, it’s something I need to do right now. When the Muse calls, I answer! Well, today, before I began working on the new blog entry, I sat down and wrote about my most recent (and possibly most devastating) failure, the one that shut down the dream factory for me, as it were. I didn’t intend to, but of course I got pretty melancholy as I remembered in painful detail how high my dreams got before they fell crashing and flailing to the depths below. I was writing in silence, and I got so depressed that I had to stop writing and just hit “shuffle” on iTunes to try to drown out the sad memories overtaking my brain. The music was okay, nothing particularly great… and then The Raveonettes just shook me out of my funk completely.

I love this band and I love this song, but for some reason I hadn’t heard it in yons. And then to have it burst forth from my speakers when I was feeling so low, and to be such appropriate music for what I was thinking about, too, was amazing. The situation I was writing about was indeed my “last dance” with this particular dream. I was overdosing on nostalgic bitterness and heartache, and The Raveonettes provided intensive musical care. It’s such a joyful and sweet song, I couldn’t help but feel my spirits lift as I sang along.

So instead of my planned post for this week I decided to bring you yet another true tale of the power of music. When things get crappy, I hope that you have a song or two that you can turn to, dear reader, in order to overcome the crap and get back to feeling awesome again.

Next week: A real-life vampire brought to light! You don’t wanna miss this!

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A Black Sound Selection

Kuroshitsuji II (aka the second season of Black Butler) is finally available this week here in the States. As you can imagine, yours truly is pretty freakin’ stoked. I’ve seen the subbed version, but I can’t wait to hear J. Michael Tatum’s smooth English version of Sebastian as he battles a new boy and his butler. To celebrate, today’s video is a live performance of “Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa,” by Kalafina, which is used in season two. I think it’s fitting since the first season of Black Butler introduced me to this fantastic Japanese band, and my love of one keeps fueling the other. I could listen to these glorious ladies sing all day (and many days I do just that). This video proves that they are just as incredible live as they are on their albums. You can be certain that if the chance ever arises for me to see them in concert, I’ll take it in a black and bloody heartbeat.

Happy hump day, little earbuds. May you find something in this week that gives you just as much joy as this music and my new limited edition DVD give me.

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Musical Grab Bag: It Never Rains

Hello once more, little headphones. I’ve been behind on pretty much everything this week, partially due to illness and partially because I just couldn’t be arsed. Hopefully that second part is due to illness as well and will dissipate as I get better. All of that aside, I had earmarked a delightful musical treat to share with you this week, then I discovered that not only could I not find a video for it, I could barely find any information on the artist! So I decided to make my own YouTube video in order to get this great song out there and onto the internet… but then we have the sickness coming into play, and the tiredness, as well as constant storms keeping me off of the computer. And so, after getting halfway done, once more I just couldn’t be arsed. (Having zero energy and being unable to eat seriously super sucks.)

So for this week’s video I once again decided to play musical grab bag, and only a few clicks in my lovely iTunes provided me with this classic Siouxsie and the Banshees song, “Happy House.” This was one of the first Siouxsie songs that I heard knowing it was Siouxsie; perhaps the very first, now that I think about it. I received it on a mixed tape, and I instantly loved how maniacally playful and creepily happy it was. As I listened to the song again today and heard the line, “It never rains,” I knew that this was my destined tune of the week, as it’s currently quite dark and stormy in my little corner of the world. The video is clearly ancient (in terms of music videos) but we do get Siouxsie Sioux dancing around with her punk/soccer mom hair, harlequin clown outfit, and ugg boots, which certainly makes for an amusing visual. All in all, it makes for a fitting end to a strange week that for me has been filled with insomniac daydreams and tiny cups of watery, unseasoned rice for dinner. Here’s to the end of another week, and may the next one be more fruitful, or at the very least more pleasant.

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The Only Girl I’ve Ever Loved Is Andrew In Drag

I’m trying to remember how I first got into The Magnetic Fields. They’re one of those seminal indie bands that you feel like you’ve known forever. I think perhaps I received a few songs on various mixed CDs over the years, but it was the film Pieces of April that made me seek out their albums. I say “their,” but The Magnetic Fields is mostly the genius of one man, Stephin Merritt. The Gothic Archies, The 6ths, and Future Bible Heroes are all his creations, too, but The Magnetic Fields is really where he shines. The simple instrumentation and Merritt’s deep voice highlight the pure poetry of the lyrics, but everything works together so well that it doesn’t feel preachy or boring. Each song is a story, and The Magnetic Fields write some of the most unique and interesting ones in music today.

The newest single from their forthcoming album, Love At The Bottom of the Sea, is no different. This is a song that illustrates how fragile gender lines really are, and how much false facade is involved in what we consider to be “feminine” and “masculine.” However, true to form for The Magnetic Fields, this is also a really sweet and wistful love song. Be warned that there is nudity, so this video is probably NSFW. Without further ado, I give you “Andrew In Drag.”

The lyrics flow in a rhyming poetry, but the story, which is sentimental while making a statement, never gets lost. That’s the beauty of The Magnetic Fields: everything works together, and no one aspect outshines another. Their entire catalogue is full of gems like this, beautiful short songs that are so much fun to listen to. I’ve been a big fan of Merritt’s work for many years, and this video makes me extremely excited for his newest album, which comes out on March 6th. Leave it to one of my favourite musicians to poke fun at gender norms while singing an actual love song!

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The Lovers, The Dreamers, And Me

Due to NaNoWriMo I got behind on my trips to the cinema, but last weekend I finally made it out to see my first film of 2012, The Muppets. I was so glad that I took the time to see it in the theatre, because it brought back so many great memories of being young and loving Kermit, Gonzo, and Miss Piggy. Yet thanks to the numerous star cameos and song numbers, it was the same Muppets that we all know and love, but updated for a modern 2012 audience. They even included a fresh version of the classic Kermit ballad “The Rainbow Connection,” which was originally from the first Muppet film, The Muppet Movie.

I’d forgotten how poignant and amazing this song is until I saw it performed again in the movie. It was nominated for an Academy Award in 1979, which was also the year that I was born, so I have literally had the Muppets in my life throughout my entire life. The most recent Muppet movie made me think yet again about how much I miss Jim Henson. His creative, innovative, and distinctive work plays a role in every film and television show that was wonderful from my childhood.

From Sesame Street to The Muppet Show to two movies that remain in my top ten films of all time, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, his stories and creatures remind me of everything awe-inspiring that I, as an adult writer, try to recreate in my work today. I try to write stories that are inclusive of everyone, and magical, and innocent, and full of wonder. Tall order, I know, but that’s what Jim did, and if I can manage to impart to the world even a fourth of what Henson instilled in my own life, I’ll consider myself a blazing success. Listening to “The Rainbow Connection” is the same feeling I get when I pet my cats, or hang out with my dad, or visit Disney World with my family: those hopeful, joyous times.

Anime gives me some of that magic, as do many of the musical artists that I’ve found over the years. But I’ll always come back to Jim Henson whenever I need to remember what it is that I’m doing and what message I’m trying to share with the world. Jim Henson read my heart, and the best way that I know how to honor his visionary art is to share my heart with the world.

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An Ethereal Earful of Wintery Warmth

Here it is, the holidays are suddenly upon us. Hanukkah began yesterday, Yule is today, Christmas is on Sunday, and Kwanzaa is on Monday. And that’s not even all of the celebrations found throughout the dark month of December. Personally, I like all of them. I enjoy festivities in general, and decorative lights, and good food, and the general feeling of warmth despite the winter cold. Okay, yes, and I enjoy presents. (Really, who doesn’t? The frantic shoppers and rampant commercialism I can do without, but giving and getting gifts is always a good time in my book.) I had meant to do a series of winter celebratory songs, but lo, time has flown by. I’ve barely had my tree decorated and I haven’t even gotten a chance to try out my new gingerbread cookie cutters, and suddenly it’s time for the celebrations to begin. And so, I’ve decided to share with you one of my favourite holiday tunes this week, little earbuds.

It seems that many people are divided on the issue of holiday carols. Lots of folks loathe them, especially those who work retail and are forced to listen to the same holiday music over and over and over from November to January. Others adore any and every song that mentions Santa and sleighs. In general I fall more toward the middle of the latter. I tend to love songs about angels, snow, and bells, and dislike anything slow, repetitive, and overtly religious. “The Little Drummer Boy” makes me break out into hives, and the only tolerable version I’ve ever heard is by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. Speaking of which, it just isn’t December without the Rat Pack crooning away on my speakers, as well as childhood favs Amy Grant, Dolly Parton, and John Denver & the Muppets. I’m also a great fan of classical Christmas such as Händel’s Messiah and just about anything sung by huge choirs in echoing cathedrals. Newer songs by The Raveonettes, Annie Lennox, and Loreena McKennitt are tops, as are older-newer songs by Wham!, The Waitresses, and Paul McCartney & Wings. But the collection that always gets spun on my record player every December is Excelsis by Projekt Records.

There are three singles, two albums, and one EP in the series, and nearly every Projekt artist contributes, from Voltaire to Faith & the Muse to Black Tape For A Blue Girl, as well as guests from other labels such as The Crüxshadows, London After Midnight, and This Ascension. As for the songs themselves, they run the gamut from traditional Christmas and Hanukkah songs to newer tunes celebrating Yule and winter in general. There’s even a tribute to the German Christmas demon Krampus. I love the darker versions of the classics as well as the beautiful newer additions to the holiday repertoire, but one song has remained my favourite above all others, and that’s “Welcome Christmas” by (the sadly now defunct) Love Spirals Downwards.

I love pretty much anything and everything from this band’s first three albums. Their forth album is more dubstep than their earlier ethereal work, but this lovely take on the final song from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is classic Love Spirals Downwards. It feels gentle and warm, sparkly and beautiful. I listen to it throughout the year whenever I need a pick-me-up, but I find this song especially potent when the world is in celebration mode during the winter months. It fills me with an innocent sense of wonder and the eternal hope that we can make the world a brighter place if we so choose.

Happy holidays, little earbuds, whatever you may celebrate! I hope that you enjoy the remaining few days of 2011, and of course, that you get lots and lots of presents.

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Concert Review: Pixies

At long last, little earbuds, I write up my review of seeing the Pixies last month at the Tennessee Theatre. It was my second time seeing them live, and I must admit, it was a slight letdown.

When I saw the Pixies for the very first time at a music festival in Atlanta in 2005, it was amazing. Mind-blowing, even. One of the best concerts of my life. My friend and I went running to the “alternative” stage, having just caught the opening of Tom Petty at the “main” stage. (I love them both, but Pixies almost always wins out in my book, so we compromised by watching Tom do one song, then ran like our butts were on fire to make it back for the Pixies.) It began raining and I heard the opening strains of “Debaser” as we flung our bodies down the asphalt hill. Once at the stage the adrenaline never stopped. The Pixies sounded as fresh and incredible live as on any of their albums. Hearing so many beloved songs performed live was incredible. I thrashed and danced around so hard that I lost my star necklace. Basically, it was AWESOME. I knew that it would be hard to top that performance. But this was a smaller venue, and I procured kick-ass seats! And the Pixies were performing Doolittle in its entirety, one of my fav albums of all time! How could it be anything other than stupendous?

To begin with, the band just seemed kind of… tired. They’re now on the second year of their Doolittle Lost Cities tour (playing towns they’d never played before), and while I appreciate finally getting to see one of my favourite bands play so close to home, I was also hoping for more energy. Back in 2005 they were freshly reunited and not hemmed in by a set playlist. There was fire in them and in the air that night. Not so last November. At first ten minutes of avant guard footage that resembled German horror pornography was projected on a screen behind an empty stage. I get it, you’re post-punk and weird and cool, can we get on with the show now? After making the audience endure that, I figured it would all be worth it to hear the blazing opening strings of “Debaser” live once more. This was not to be the case. Once the strange film faded out, the band nonchalantly shuffled out onto the stage and picked up their instruments. “Hey, we’re gonna play a B-side now,” said Kim Deal. None of the three guys even looked at the audience. Then the Pixies proceeded to play four B-sides I’d never heard before.

"I like the pretty lights..."

My own energy was flagging by this point. I wanted to hear “Debaser,” damn it, not these watery renditions of songs that even the band seemed to hate listening to as they played. But at least Kim interacted with the audience. David Lovering made a few comments before “La La Love You,” but otherwise the guys couldn’t give a f**k. I get it, y’all are super hip and all, but I paid a truckload of money for my tickets, could you maybe acknowledge the audience just a teensy bit once in a while? Otherwise I might just as well have stayed home and played your albums really loudly. But Kim Deal was awesome. Loved her, loved her grey sweatshirt, loved her straggly hair, loved her whole onstage persona. As my older sister said, guys in alterna rock don’t have to dress up, why should she? And I agree.

The one, the only, Kim Deal. Always the best part of any Pixies concert.

FINALLY they launched into “Debaser” and the rest of Doolittle. They still seemed a bit lacking in the energy department, and this continued until they completed Doolittle and its subsequent singles. The music sounded good, they were just lacking in stage presence as a whole. Their show seemed to rely mostly on the huge screen behind them and the pre-filmed visuals they projected onto it. Then there were funky lights sometimes, and other times they performed half of their songs in the dark! If I wanted to watch weird videos set to Pixies songs, I’d just watch YouTube. I was there and I wanted to see their faces, not some art school project.

"Hey, who is that up on that darkened stage?" "Dunno. The Smiths, maybe?"

The crowd was an odd mix of people. There were old hippies who seemed intent on drinking and smoking pot (the latter of which is the dumbest idea ever in a theatre as small as the Tennessee, because you willbe caught), then there were the “free spirits” who insisted on belly dancing in the aisles and knocking into anyone and everyone in their vicinity, and finally there was the ever-present contingent of fist-pumping frat guys. I was pretty surprised to see the latter, but I guess in a town as football-heavy as Knoxville, if someone’s serving beer, frat guys will appear. I couldn’t help but giggle at one couple, though: a girl was pogoing and throwing the devil horns and rocking out, and her fratty-looking guy friend sat by gloomily playing on his phone the whole time.

Joey Santiago does some fancy guitar work as Black Francis smiles creepily. If he ever smiled like that at me, I'd just turn around and run.

Still, all of that aside, the Pixies are still the Pixies, even on an off day. It was great to see so many songs that I’ve loved for years performed live. I was completely stoked and revved up for “I Bleed” until a group of people with the opening band stood in the aisle directly in front of me and my sisters, blocking our view. However, I literally screamed so loud that they moved. (I don’t relish it, but I can be obnoxious if the occasion arises.) Once the band was through with Doolittle they played a couple more singles, including one that I didn’t know but was kind of cool because the lights were dimmed and the entire theatre was filled to the brim with fog. Then they played the slowed-down Pump Up The Volume version of “Wave of Mutilation,” which was a nice bonus, then they were done with all things Doolittle, and the band seemed as though they were shrugging off a heavy burden and breathing in huge gulps of fresh air. They launched into a buoyant version of “Caribou,” which was so cool to hear live, followed by the classic “Where Is My Mind?” during which the stage set-up actually enhanced the song with the swirling universe of stars in the darkened auditorium. They ended the show with “Gigantic,” which is as great a closing number as anything.

Not a scene from a horror movie, just a really cool concert moment.

Overall, I’m glad that I went to the concert. I could never have forgiven myself if the Pixies played my hometown and I didn’t go. And yet, I saw The Psychedelic Furs and Dolly Parton earlier this year, and both put on far better shows, in my opinion. Dolly did the incredible and seemingly impossible feat of filling the biggest stadium in Knoxville with sound and energy, so much so that it brought me to tears. She made it feel cozy and intimate as well as rollicking and welcome all at once. Dolly Parton is a phenomenal performer, and if you ever have the chance, definitely see her live! Equally as impressive were The Pychedelic Furs, at the other end of the spectrum, playing one of (if not the) smallest theatre venues in Knoxville. The show wasn’t even sold out, but the Furs made the entire place light up as they filled the room with vivacity and sexiness. Granted, Richard Butler is way sexier than Black Francis in his demeanor alone. (I always got the distinct impression that Black Francis is something of a dick.) However, the Furs were also on a single album tour, playing all of Talk Talk Talkplus their greatest hits, and they were amazing. Even the songs that I wasn’t familiar with sucked me right in. I don’t know if it’s because the Pixies have been on tour for so long or if the cold of Knoxville just took it out of them, but I was hoping for a bit more from one of my favourite bands of all time. Maybe they just need to break up for another decade, then reunite again. If that were to happen, I would recommend seeing the Pixies as soon as they got back together, before the weight of their own greatness drags them down once more.

"With your feet on the air and your head on the ground, try this trick and spin it, yeah!"


Filed under Artist Love, Concerts

Musical Grab Bag: Strange As Angels

Hello again in real-time, little earbuds! I’m back after a grueling month of NaNoWriMo-ing. (If you want more details on that experience, check out The Procrastinator’s Project Journal.) Now that I’m back to my beloved blogging, I had intended for the first order of business to be writing up a review of the Pixies concert I attended last month. However, this past week has been just as busy, if not more so, than any given week in November (as evidenced by my late-night updates since December 1st). And so today I decided to start a wee fun tradition that I like to call “Musical Grab Bag.” The rules are simple: go to your iTunes or other form of musical library. Hit “shuffle.” The first 5-star rated song that comes up is the winner, and the one to get a spotlight on ye olde blog!

To be fair, I had to do this a few times to find something. The first couple of 5-stars I wasn’t feeling, then there was one I’d written about before (I think), then one video that I couldn’t get to play outside of YouTube. But I’m pleased as punch about the selection that eventually came up. As I’ve said before, you just can’t go wrong with The Cure, you really, absolutely can’t. And this video is one of my all-time favs. The purple sky, the boys in black playing their hearts out on the edge of a cliff, the dance with the ghostly maiden under the moonlight… it’s typical Cure, and completely wonderful. Besides that, the song is one that always lifts my heart and makes me want to dance around (though preferably not on the edge of a cliff… then again, for Robert, I just might).

This song is also used to great effect in the excellent road trip movie Gypsy 83 (a movie that I’ve been trying to get all of my Goth friends to watch for years). If you care to forward the video to the 7:40 mark, you’ll get to see Gypsy and Clive, two road trippin’ Goths, give an Amish guy a makeover in a graveyard set to The Cure. Yeah, this movie is that awesome.

Tune in next week when I’ll finally/hopefully have a review of the Pixies in concert, complete with pictures!

Editor’s Note: Okay, so apparently I can’t get the “Just Like Heaven” video to play outside of YouTube, either. Fine, corporate music monkeys, you win. This round.

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Filed under Artist Love, Memories and Nostalgia, Movies, Music Videos