Sunday, March 09, 2008

There's something sticking in my eye. Oh well.


wistful blues
Originally uploaded by V'ron
It's a little late to gush about the Bucks' game last week that Brian and I witnessed -- especially since it was such a gush-worthy night:Bucks Win! Bucks Win! And the Bucks weren't the only winners Wednesday night. First off, we were in the right section such that when they ran the coffee cup race, our cup won. So i now have in my pocket a coupon for a free cup of organic coffee from Open Pantry. I have no clue where the closest Open Pantry is. (Wait, I have no clue where there's an Open Pantry anywhere in Milwaukee. Oh well.) Then, later in the night Brian and I made a brief appearance on the jumbotron, to our relief, NOT during anything like the "Kiss Cam" or whatever. Also, since the Bucks won triumphantly, my ticket was good for a Royale With Cheese Thursday, which I didn't use. And besides Charlie V having a good night, it was indeed a Royale With Cheese night -- Royal Ivey to be exact. Seems with a few injuries on the court, Ivey really stepped it up.

But all good things must come to an end and Brian took Sammy to his first Bucks game "in the big stadium" today, and it was probably a good first game for SammyL his 4-year old attention span didn't last past halftime, and the way the Bucks were playing, neither was Brian's. Oh well.

Despite all this, there was plenty of goodness in Milwaukee this weekend, at least musically. Friday night I took in the 2nd CD release show for Longacre, a country-tinged jam band with sweet-voiced Claire Chin on vocals.

Time for another SUPER MASSIVE FULL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: half the people in this band are coworkers at that new job I've been at for three weeks now. Two of 'em have input into my performance review. One of 'em runs the company. So there you go. At least you know my bias.

OK, back to the review. Chin has a very unassuming stage presence. While she writes a majority of the material, and she's the lead singer, she's positioned at the side of the stage, standing behind her keyboards. Then she sings and that unassuming persona becomes authoritative and strong -- like she knows the songs themselves and her performance of them is good.

Behind her is a team of crack musicians who drift in and out of their songs like a car drifting in and out of counties on a long road trip. That's the overall feel this band projects, like you're driving on the interstate in the midwest (but you've just left the metropolitan area.) They come in, establish a groove (and it's a very rhythmic groove, thanks to Damien Strigens -- who has a chordal musician's sensibilities -- on the drums) and then Chin comes in and wails a shoegazer's blues with a controlled soprano. Then they drift out of it. There's clearly a metropolitan base to it evidenced by elements of world music (the guy on bongos and other various percussion helps with that), but these people aren't afraid to let a little country feel in without sounding nu-country. Good sad melancholy stoner music.

Like all music of this genre, they sometimes hit the danger of going on a little too long, but that's always going to be a risk when you're doing this stuff. Still, it works. I stayed for the whole set not to suck up to management, but because i did indeed enjoy it and will make it a point to see them again. I'd like to see them on a bill with the Aimless Blades, and, say, Juniper Tar.

Anyway, however, music with titles like "Bad Day" kind of predicted the way the rest of the weekend was going to go. Saturday morning I dropped my camera and I'm going to have to send it in to get fixed. I think the time without my baby is going to hurt more than the ~$200 - $500 I'm bracing for a repair cost. (I looked in enough online forums -- to my relief my particular issue is common so i know it can be fixed.)

So I was originally planning to hit that huge 8 band bill at Zad's Roadhouse and catch (speaking of) the Aimless Blades and their CD release. The Blades are working the same turf as Longacre, but with Blaine Schultz and Paul Setser around, you can bet on a little more Neil to be involved as well as a touch (!) more psychedelia. And I really like the new release, Rara Avis. For the Aimless Blades, it's actually upbeat. But be sure and read that entire previous sentence, for the Aimless Blades. The whole band is going into the same territory that Frank Black and the Catholics were going in the "Dog in the Sand" years. Still, Blaine's voice, sounding like a cross between his obvious heroes Dylan and Young (but actually tuneful) tops a pile of songs that frankly, I didn't want to see packed into the short set the Blades would have been forced to have on an eight-band bill. But, without a working camera, I knew I'd be ticked off watching this show without documenting it. Plus, I'd spent most of the evening having dinner with my girlfriends, an activity I don't get to do all that often, and that took priority. So instead I gave one of them a lift home, and as she lives in Riverwest, I popped into the Art Bar to see the Blackkholes morph into the Velvet Underground project, and also to give myself one last look at my artwork on the walls there (yes, vanity check....) before the Cream City Photogs show comes down this Wednesday.

The 'holes were exhausted from a long show at UWM celebrating the life of Allen Ginsburg. You could tell -- even Mark Shurilla wasn't as animated as he usually is. Still, as ticked off about my camera as I was, it was good to sit and have a few with friends who i don't get to see as much as I'd like. Marlavous was being Nico (and she was saving the band) and Dan "Miles" Mullen had a few inspired moments (there was an almost surf version of Lou Reed happening at one point) but really, my own pissedoffedness was coloring the whole night and the Aimless Blades should be glad I didn't review them with this stick in my eye that I've got.

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