Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A list of resolutions

The Unheard Of by V'ron
The Unheard Of, a photo by V'ron on Flickr.
Jesus. Has it really been since the Framber Wedding since I've blogged? Guess so. December is always a humongously busy time for me, not the least reason being that its the holidays and I have kids. But it *was* particularly busy. New Year's resolutions are for the birds (and that's kind of cliche to say that), so I'm going to rip off resolutions from friends, and do a quick bullet point wrap up.

Resolution #1: Blog more like I used to.


I used to blog weekly. In fact, I would do a coming attractions midweek, and wrap up the weekend on Mondays. That made sense when I went to see a band or a ball game every weekend. Still, a monthly blog entry is not a blog. That's more like a status report. I write status reports in my day job for a living. Ugh.

To that end, here's some stuff that I did/saw/celebrated:
  • The Dick Satan Trio along with Crazy Rocket Fuel. This was a nice way to spend a chilly, rainy, crappy night at the Bay View Brewhaus. I'm constantly amazed at how good the sound is there, considering that with the high ceilings, hardwood floor, and general open air it should sound all bouncy and trebly and godawful. The DST improves with every outing. That have a good, dangerous surf sound and they're not afraid to experiment (although they confessed to me that a rather atonal song I particularly liked wasn't necessarily intentionally atonal. They were followed by the always wonderful Crazy Rocket Fuel, who also get better every time I see them. They were in their element here: very comfortable on stage and with their roadhouse gals material. This whole thing was a fundraiser for some animal welfare organization, so there were tables filled with silent auction items and there were animal adoptions via computer happening. Between sets, instead of house music there was the obligatory "Hi I'm the executive director of such and such organization and I'm so happy that you could come out and support the critical work we're doing and I have a bazillion names to read off and thank so that you're not going to be able to have that between set conversation you were hoping to get in" stuff. At least they weren't all preachy about it, like some fundraisers I've been to. I remember one in particular where we were actually scolded for not shutting up and listening to her boring little speech. No, these were animal lovers. They're used to indiscriminate noise.
  • Brian's 50th Birthday OK, there were rumours about that F/i was going to suit up and play at this, but, uh, Brian is a member of F/i, and it was his birthday, and the last thing he wanted to do on his birthday was suit up and work. Here's the thing. Everybody thinks that being in a band is all fun and games. Well, it is fun. And there's lots of game playing. But (often not much much, but still), you do get paid. Which means it's work. Which means you have to behave like a professional. Who the fuck wants to behave like a professional on their 50th birthday? I sure didn't, and neither did Brian. Brian wanted to sit back, socialize, drink some premium-quality microbrew beers, and enjoy some good bands. He did NOT want to stay sober, haul gear, practice, be there early for load in, tune up, hang out for awhile between load in and when people actually showed up, go up, play, watch the audience talk to each other in conversations he wanted to be in on, break down, load out his gear, and MAYBE socialize a bit after his gear was moved to a safe place. Playing on your birthday is something you do, on say, your 23rd birthday when you're all still "Golly Gee! I'm in a band! I'm gonna score!" When you're 50, married with children and working a day job, you want to sit on your ass and watch somebody else work. That's why I did last year, and that's what Brian ended up doing this year. And the bands? Wonderful. Audacious White Noise, a folkie outfit fronted by Bill White and his friends (Bill is a huge Dr Chow fan) and they were perfect. Sixthstation readers know I'm not the biggest folkie fan around, but I liked these guys. First you think they're just going to do folk versions of Beatles covers, next thing you know, they're doing a really nice blue eyed soul take on Gnarles Barkley. (Regular readers know I'm a fan of genre-bending anyway.). They were a delight to listen to, and Brian could still have a conversation with folks he hadn't seen in years who stopped in to wish him a happy half century.

    They were followed by The Unheard Of, who gave a performance that everybody is still talking about. Best they've ever sounded. I was virtually transported to 1968 via fuzztone guitars, garagey songs and psychedelic arrangements, like somebody raided a rummage sale where the MC5, the Amboy Dukes and the Nuggets comp was going for a buck a piece. They were on which means we were all tuned in, turned on and torn up. They were loud, but we could still chat. That's a trick.
  • Basketball. Well, the NBA got their act together in time for me to pick up some half price tickets for a home game. People are whining about the NBA, but I'm glad they're back. Sammy's been playing basketball at the Y, and he's met a few of the Bucks. Back when we could afford half season tickets, we saw a lot of games. But get this. We only hit a couple last year, but a lot of the Bradley Center still remembers us. The guy at the premium beer stand waved hi. Our favorite beer vendor tipped his hat to us. We sat in seats not far from where our old season seats were. The bucks trounced the Washington Wizards that night. ("It will be interesting to see how they look against a team that isn't crappy" said a twitter friend.) As is my tradition, here's the rundown of the non-game events>
    • Anthem: Will Johnson, an operatic tenor, put it out. He really shined on "Land of the Freeeeeeeeeeeeeee...." which he held out to thunderous applause, which made up for the (sorry I gotta say this) flatness earlier in the song. No stupid embellishments, either. Boy Scout Troop 309 from Whitefish Bay presented the colors.
    • Opening Montage: I'm not sure I'm into this whole "Be Milwaukee" catchphrase thing. It's not grabbing me. That said, the opening montage ("Hey, my film teacher at Discovery World made this" Stella pointed out) is good, not overblown, and acknowledges that this year (like every other damn year) is a rebuilding year for the Bucks. And thank god, no exploding pots of green and red smoke. I still maintain we have the Chicago Bulls to blame for all this overblown stuff.
    • Energee Girls: Less precise. But it's early in the season, so they're still becoming a team. Still, every year there's less emphasis on precision and more emphasis on Wholesome Sluttieness. Yes, I coined that phrase.
    • Hoop Troop: It's early in the season, but boys, you can't count on the NBA's best mascot, Bango, to bail you out all the time. Need to hit more of those trampoline shots.
    • Halftime show: Now this was a pleasant surprise on a number of levels. First I'd been tweeting with @romke about the game and asking if he was there. @romke and I have been following each other since @gretchen414 introduced us. Among other things, both @romke and @gretchen414 are badass deejays. Turns out @romke is also dad at the kids' school, and his kids are in Sammy's cub scout pack! Also turned out @romke and his turntables were the halftime show! Now, I like a good DJ, but frankly, I didn't think a guy spinning turntables was halftime show material. I was wrong. By a minute into his set, the floor was filled with choreographed dancers of all ages and styles as he mixed up music of all ages and styles. Really fun stuff to watch.
    • @vron and the Style Factor: My twitter handle, @vron, spent the evening commenting on things I used to bitch about in this blog: @andrewbogut's hair, which is finally benefiting from the services of a competent stylist. Really. Bogut always used to have the worst hair. Apparently he's taken a tip from a winner and he now has Aaron Rodgers hair. I'm waiting for somebody to get Clay Matthews hair myself but I suspect that might violate NBA dress code. Even Rahne Taylor has good hair. And Andrea Williams is back! She always had good hair. And no tights, or black socks, or weird pencil thin headbands, or stupid facial hair experiments on anybody. Maybe, as I tweeted, this whole NBA lockout did some good by giving the whole Bucks organization a little downtime to get this style thing right.
  • George's Birthday Party at Linneman's. Truth be told, I don't know George all that well. I've seen him around and needed to be introduced to him. But a public birthday party was being thrown for him, that party included Dr Chow and the Danglers, I haven't seen the Danglers in a while, so I paid the cover charge and went. Got rear ended at Locust and Holton on the way in (car's in the shop now as I type this, the other driver's insurance is taking care of it) and nobody was hurt, but I was quickly soothed by the opening band. I think they were called Midnight Reruns and right when I was trying to put my finger on their sound, they go and cover the Replacements' "Here Comes a Regular" and Brian and I thought to ourselves, "OK, duh! They're obviously fans of the Replacements." Melodic punk, good guitar playing, and a built in fanbase of Riverwest punks. We liked them. Dr Chow was smashing as usual (Brian wasn't with them that night; we weren't sure if he'd have to work or not.) The Danglers didn't get on until midnight or so. I was still crabby from being rear ended: I know it's cliche, but my neck and back were sore. Still, this was the Danglers. I stuck around at least through Aphrodite's Thighs, and I also caught a minor key, almost atonal version of "Spoonful." That's the thing about the Danglers, you know they'll play certain songs, you know the'll throw in covers, you just never know where they'll take them. My goal is to be like that with my writing and photography this year. Let's see how that goes. 

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