Sunday, 25 February 2007

I first saw Erin McKeown when she was here, opening for Mike Doughty a couple years ago. She put on a great set and I immediately bought her CD after the show. There she was, working her own merch, and I got the chance to meet her. And what a firecracker she was. Cracking jokes and having a great time, it was infectious.

She didn’t have change when I paid for my CD, so I just said to keep the extra $5 and it was no big deal. She wrote a bit extra for my autograph and was happy to pose for a picture — one which she took herself by holding my camera at arm’s length. A couple minutes later, as I was waiting in line to talk with Doughty, she practically tackled me to give make sure I got my change since she had it. The disk was We Will Become Like Birds and, as it happens, I rather enjoy it. It has a near-permanent place on my iPod and gets played quite often.

I was glad to see her coming back to town as a headliner at the Cedar Cultural Center. I would have preferred a bigger venue, but this was good. I didn’t hesitate in buying a ticket and really looked forward to the show.

When I got there, I discovered that she had many more than just the one CD. In addition to Birds there were five others and I bought them all. I simply couldn’t resist.

The opening act was a woman named Haley Bonar. She was O.K., the songs being mostly very simple 4/4 numbers free of any real complication. I ended up passing on her CD. The set just wasn’t good enough to pay $15 for the disk.

One of Erin’s disks turned out to be covers of old Jazz tunes; stuff from the 20’s and 30’s. It’s an era I hold dear to my heart. Much of my favorite music is from that era. It’s the stuff that really sticks with me through the years.

Once Erin came out, things got good. She did a bunch of stuff from the Jazz disk, as well as from Birds and her older releases. The set list went something like this: Thanks for the Boogie Ride; Paper Moon; White City; James!; I Was a Little Too Lonely (You Were A Little Too Late); You Were Right About Everything; The Taste of You; Coucou; Sing You Sinners; Melody; Rhode Island is Famous for You; What Kind of Lover Am I?†; I Will Never Leave You†; To the Stars†; Slung-Lo; Wooden Boat?† (a new song); We Are More; Halleluja…Get Happy; with an encore of: If You a Viper; Blackbirds.

After the show Erin came out for autographs and meet-n-greet. I got to chat with her for a couple minutes and got my photo from the Doughty show signed. She actually remembered the occasion and the $5 thing. I also found out she has been in town nearly a dozen times. I admitted that the Doughty show was the first I had heard of her, and I wish it had been much earlier. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to perhaps the tiniest fanboy crush, so that’s about as far as I got. My brain went to mush because I was talking to a cute girl with a great voice and I completely forgot go get any of the new CDs signed.

You can bet I won’t miss her again and I can’t wait for the next time. If you get the chance, don’t miss it.

† I’m not 100% sure of the song title. Erin didn’t announce them and I can’t seem to pick them out from just looking at the track lists on her CDs.

Saturday, 24 February 2007

I originally wrote this on my BlackBerry at and after the show, but for some reason never posted it. It may have something to do with how the it just dies at the end, but I’m tossing it up anyway.

The Cedar, another former movie theater that has found new life as a concert venue, is a neat little place. With a capacity of about 500, it now plays host to folk and minor rock acts, rather than the latest picture show.

It’s not big on amenities, preferring to bring in quality music and retain the history of the place. And it really works for them. Ic’ve seen such varied music as classical guitar (California Guitar Trio), Swedish rock (Hoven Droven), and even Klezmer music in the form of the Klezmatics.

In truth, The Klezmatics are more a fusion of traditional Klezmer music and more modern, rock sensibilities. Their newest album is all Woody Guthrie lyrics set to up-tempo Klezmer instrumentation.

I thought, at first, that thuds was obscure enough that it wouldn’t be that full. Not was I wrong. The Cedar was packed. Filled to capacity. Standing room only. I’m not sure if it was from the Guthrie fans or the local Jewish community. Either way it was a strong show of support for something other than what we’re force-fed on the radio.

The Klezmatics came out to strong applause and did a 60-minute first set with a good mix of rocked-up traditional influenced music and quite a few song from their most recent CD.

I’m not sure what else to say about the show… I can say, with confidence, that it was great and I enjoyed myself immensely; but somehow that doesn’t feel like it’s enough. Sadly, it will have to do this time.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

G. Love has always been one of my favorite artists. Starting with his eponymous debut CD in 1992, I was an instant fan. His Philly-Blues style never fails to please and always seems to improve my mood, no matter how dark.

The show was completely sold out. While waiting for the doors to open (so up could check my coat, grab a beer, and still get a good spot), I heard they had 30 tickets available. If you didn’t already have one, you weren’t getting into the show. The extra effort paid off, because I managed to get right up front, just left of center. The only way I could have done better would have been as a member of the band.

One of the things I always dread about concerts at First Ave. are 18+ shows. They tend to bring out all the club kids that think going to shows is all about being seen and getting as wild as possible. Back in my early days I left that stuff up to the drunks and the beautiful people. For me it is, and always will be about the music.

The opener was a group called Redeye. As rumoured before the show, they turnred out to be a white-boy reggae act. They weren’t half bad, doing 8 or 9 songs in their 40 minute set. Mostly original tunes, with a couple covers tossed in. I don’t know that I’d go see them as a headliner, but as a starter they were pretty good.

G. Love took the stage around 10:50 and did about 90 minutes. The show was filled with several songs from his latest album Lemonade (which came with a scratch-n-sniff sticker) and many of my favorites. Among them was “Cold Beverage” and “”.

After the show, the coat check line was huge. While waiting my turn I saw them escort Garrett out of the club. That meant no sitphraph for my picture from last time. The night could have been only slightly better — if I had had someone to share it with. It was Valentine’s Day, after all, and I’m not completely immune. Still, it was a fantastic night and I would certainly do it all over again.

Friday, 09 February 2007

The Wonderment That is Me

Ever since Patrick had his done, I’ve wanted one. What, you may ask? My own icon. And now I finally have it. Paul over at IconizeMe finally started accepting orders again and I got mine in right away.

I was surprised how fast he turned it around. Based on email timestamps, I submitted my original photo around 1430 CST, Paul sent a confirmation email around 1800 CST, and I had the finished icon set (8.5″x11″ vector based PDF, 128×128 pixel gif, 2550×3190 pixel jpeg, Windows .ico and .icns file) by 0202 CST. I wonder if the guy actually sleeps.

Now I just have to figure out to do with it — although I have a couple ideas.

Monday, 05 February 2007

or were the Superbowl ads just kind of lame? Sure, Coca-Cola introduced a couple new ones (and recycled an old one). Go-Daddy had a new one. But other than that, everything was either the same old ads we’ve been seeing, or just lame. I actually had to look at the list to remember them all, that’s how blah they were.

OK, the GM robot one was pretty good too — but only in an 80’s retro movie kind of way. (“No dissassemble!”)

And the game itself kind of sucked. Not that I’m a football fan in the first place, but how good can these teams actually be when they each gave up a touchdown in the first 10 minutes of the game?

Saturday, 03 February 2007

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally redesigned the site. I’ve also put a bunch of new picture sets on-line.

This is the 6th major version since I put up my first Web site in 1994 (1995?) and represents about 140 hours of work over the last several months. Much of that was spent rejiggering the templates and testing testing testing (cross-browser compatibility is not fun.)

The original site was a ˜ through my Internet provider at the time. Since then I’ve gone through many iterations, including one for my (long abandoned) Web design consultancy.

Over the years I’ve had:

  • The original ˜ site.
  • A revamp of the original site, still a ˜. Mostly this brought some cohesiveness to the site as a whole.
  • The Web design consultancy — Phosphor Images — aka “Green Sock-Hop” because of the headline font I chose.
  • The “Yellow Blog” site. This is where I first started doing what would become blogging. (Not that I was a pioneer. There just wasn’t a special word for it back then.)
  • “Red With Bubbles” that was here yesterday. Sick of hand-coding the each page, this is where I started using Movable Type to drive the main content areas.
  • This version, affectionately called “Blended Elephant,” where the biggest change, content-wise, was to move the story section into the Weblog engine.

I’m hoping that I can find copies of the front pages from each version so I can post them for everyone’s enjoyment and amusement.

FYI: A ˜ (tilde) site is one where you’re basically a subsection of someone else’s site, typically the ISP. In my case that was, which I haven’t used in at least 60 Internet years. More info via Wikipedia.