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Tuesday, May 15, A.D. 2012
The Cranberries at the 9:30 Club

Tá Críost éirithe!

I saw The Cranberries last night at the 9:30 Club. The last pop concert that I attended was Belle & Sebastian at Constitution Hall a year and a half ago, and it has been nine years since I was last at the 9:30 Club, when I danced with an excellently nerdy crowd wildly appreciative of John and John’s crazy T.M.B.G. antics. I much prefer the 9:30 Club and its more intimate vibe. I decided to try the balcony this time, and I managed to get a decent spot. Here is a photograph taken from my less than spectacular mobile telephone camera:

The opening act was the very energetic Vintage Trouble. During the act, I kept on thinking how delighted my mother would have been to be there. It was her kind of music. The band calls itself “vintage,” and I felt as if I were visiting my parents’ era. The lead Ty Taylor has the voice and showmanship of a black Baptist turned 1960’s pop star. The crowd loved it.

The time warp continued when Dolores O’Riordan and her mates took the stage as I was transported back to my childhood. I had friends who were savants of the European music scene in the early 90’s, and they introduced me to The Cranberries before the band went mainstream. I did not care for O’Riordan’s style at first, but I quickly became a fan. It was fun to see them in person two decades later as an adult surrounded by all age groups that came out for the concert.

Though the members are no longer young—O’Riordan is forty years old—they put on a good show. O’Riordan was feisty and enjoyed herself in a silly, youthful way, though with commentary between songs about her children. At one point, a fan gave O’Riordan a stuffed University of Maryland Terrapin, which she set in front of the drum set until the end of the show. After the encore, she took the turtle with her off the stage, which was endearing. Band members Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan, and Fergal Lawler also delighted in the music. Lawler has some impressive guns, by the way. I suppose that such proves quite useful for a drummer.

The band played many favorites from their discography run as well as songs from their new album, Roses, such as “Tomorrow.” The highlight of the concert was the last song before the encore, “Zombie,” when the band and the crowd reached the Dionysian unity that typifies successful rock performances. Here is the video from A.D. 1994, complete with yet more eery and confusing religious imagery in addition to topical scenes for a song about the British conflict:

My only criticism of the night would be the loudness and the consequent loss of sound quality. The 9:30 Club has massive speakers that you can feel in your pancreas—and everywhere else. I still like the place, and I am glad that I finally saw The Cranberries live.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, May 15, Anno Domini 2012
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Monday, May 14, A.D. 2012

Asréracht Críst!

This week will have a Cranberries theme because of their concert that I’ll attend tonight at the 9:30 Club. The Cranberries released their new album, Roses, in February after an eleven year hiatus. Here is “Tomorrow” from Roses:

What is up with the rosary? A funereal scene, perhaps? O’Riordan and her oddly placed Catholic imagery . . .

Posted by Joseph on Monday, May 14, Anno Domini 2012
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Monday, July 4, A.D. 2011
Anchors Aweigh

As a patriotic and filial tribute, I present Charles A. Zimmerman’s “Anchors Aweigh” on this Independence Day:

Thanks for serving, Dad!

Wikipedia has an article on the song’s development in naval culture.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, July 4, Anno Domini 2011
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Thursday, February 24, A.D. 2011
A Woman’s Fantasy (or Nightmare)

A few days ago, I presented Johannes Nyholm’s trailer for Las Palmas. Having found the baby bar trashing amusing, I looked at his other work. He appears to make music videos for several Swedish bands. The one that I liked most was his video for Jenny Wilson’s “Let My Shoes Lead Me Forward.” How many hours did it take to make?

I am a sucker for labor intensive, low tech artistry. From Švankmajer’s stop-motion to Aardman’s claymation, the creativity is more accessible than computer wizardry. Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar are pretty amazing, but there is a charm to magic that does not require a computer.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, February 24, Anno Domini 2011
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Friday, January 21, A.D. 2011
Storytelling’s Fiction

I resisted buying Belle and Sebastian’s Storytelling for a long time. I wondered why anyone would buy an original score film soundtrack that was not composed by John Williams. Besides, I have never seen Todd Solondz’ film, Storytelling, and I have no desire to do so. It looks like one of those Lifetime meets unhappy and misanthropic New York Jewish Lefty indie flicks that I find pretentious, objectionable, and depressing. Nonetheless, I finally purchased Storytelling last year to complete my Belle and Sebastian album collection, and I was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know why I was surprised. I am a pessimist even with Stuart Murdoch (p.b.u.h.). It’s shameful—how I have little faith.

Anyway, the theme to several songs is “Fiction,” which is one of the parts of Solondz’ movie. Here is a video of the English countryside that a Portuguese fan set to the memorable tune:

The leitmotif for the Fiction part of the film continues, and here is “Fiction (Reprise)” near the end, set to a bizarre and wholly B&S appropriate fan video by an Argentinian woman:

I also really like Jackson’s “Wandering Alone”—another Stevie-esque manifestation.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, January 21, Anno Domini 2011
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Friday, January 14, A.D. 2011
Are You Coming Over for Christmas?

Yesterday was the Apodosis of the Nativity (on the old calendar), and today is the celebration of Christ’s circumcision and the feast of Saint Basil. That means that the Nativity season is winding down, as tomorrow is the forefeast of the Theophany. The twelve days are almost over. To celebrate the end of the season, here is Belle and Sebastian’s “Are You coming Over for Christmas?” The video is apparently a Christmas greeting that some folks made for their friends, who appear to be nuns (Mother Ann and Mary Agnes). If so, that makes the song selection a bit odd, but maybe the bizarre mixture fits Belle and Sebastian perfectly.

Belle and Sebastian also did a recording of “Veni Emmanuel” for the charity album, “It’s a Cool, Cool Christmas.”

The harmonica is so very Stevie-esque.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, January 14, Anno Domini 2011
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Thursday, January 13, A.D. 2011
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

Happy birthday to my nephew, Austin! As Austin appreciates hoedowns, rock, and dogs, what better song to feature than Led Zeppelin’s “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”:

I love the fact that the “blue eyed Merle” mentioned was Plant’s dog Strider. Of course, he named his dog Strider.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, January 13, Anno Domini 2011
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Friday, December 31, A.D. 2010
Lombardo’s Auld Lang Syne

Here is “Auld Lang Syne” by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians:

I wish you the best in the new year.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, December 31, Anno Domini 2010
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Thursday, December 23, A.D. 2010
Enya Hails the Messiah

Here is Enya (Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin) singing “Veni Emmanuel.”

I read that Enya’s songs sometimes have scores of voice layers of her singing and that she does each take individually. If I understand the process correctly, it seems quite impressive. I had assumed that some sort of digital recording magic created the various layers, but I guess that it only integrates them.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, December 23, Anno Domini 2010
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Wednesday, December 22, A.D. 2010
I Can See Your Future

I am always happy to listen to Belle and Sebastian’s new offerings. In October, I bought my copy of Belle and Sebastian Write about Love, and I have listened to it dozens (upon dozens) of times so far. I immediately appreciated “I Didn’t See It Coming” and “I Want the World to Stop,” but I only casually liked the others songs. However, I have found that the songs are good “growers,” and now I really like the new tunes, even the ones for which I did not much care at first, like “Come on Sister,” “Calculating Bimbo,” and “Sunday’s Pretty Icons.” “The Ghost of Rock School” is wonderful; I love the imagery in the lyrics. “Read the Blessed Pages” is heartrending.

There have been many fine reviews of the album. Although I disagree with pop critic Brad Bain’s comments about God Help the Girl, he opines the following concerning the new album:

And they really are an ensemble, even now, after a nearly five-year break since The Life Pursuit. Playing as a group has always been one of their strengths; for a band that has an instantly recognizable sound (the first 12 seconds of “I Can See Your Future” or “Write About Love” might as well be someone yelling “THIS RIGHT HERE IS A SONG BY BELLE AND SEBASTIAN”), they have no particularly distinctive instrumentalists, just a finely developed sense of how to support each other’s timbres and rhythms.

I laughed (yes, out loud) when I read that, and his point is very astute. Bain also remarks how the album grows on you—a common review theme for the album. Here is “I Can See Your Future” and those heralding first twelve seconds:

Sarah Martin is cool.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, December 22, Anno Domini 2010
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