Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Come Back"

This post is in support of the Foo Fighter's song "Come Back" which I believe is underrecognized and underutilized.

One problem that I have with the band, even though I love the music that they make, the performances that they put on, and their overall personality as a whole, is that when they perform, they normally perform the same fifteen songs. Now, those songs are all played really well, but they're predictable. They're crowd pleasers. They're hits. Rarely do they draw from their other material (when they have lots of it!) and not play songs that didn't get much attention by the media.

Other bands, especially older bands that have multiple albums like the Foo Fighters, don't necessarily ALWAYS play the same songs the crowd wants to hear. They WILL play some singles, but not all. They mix up their set lists from concert to concert. With the Foo Fighters, unfortunately, they stick to many of the same songs.

So, where I am I going with this? Back to "Come Back." Normally, the Foo Fighters start off with a hard rock set, bridge to a softer acoustic set, and then Dave starts with a slow song that turns harder and the band rejoins him. This song that bridges this slow to hard feel is always "Everlong," perhaps their best song. I love this song, but I don't want them to kill it. Crowds want to hear it and he always plays it. Can it be played too much...? I wonder sometimes.

Instead of always playing "Everlong," why not play "Come Back?" It starts off very slow and eventually turns into a harder rock song. "Everlong" can then be played at any time, maybe an opener or closer, or even not at all. They can play it fast like the original version too.

"Come Back" is so underrated. Even though the song comprises over seven minutes, it's a beautiful seven minutes. I remember when I first heard the song, I was immediately hooked. I couldn't believe that one song could have so many emotions and take so many directions. I thought that it must be two songs. How could one change so drastically by the end? But that's why it's so genius. You change with its mood as you hear it; it takes you up and down on this rollercoaster of emotions. And it's never recognized or played by the band.

The Foo Fighters have such a giant list of non-single songs to generate from. Why not play some of those songs? The people at their concerts are fans. We listen to the songs. Our favorites aren't necessarily radio tunes. We like songs like "Generator," "Aurora," "February Stars," "Disenchanted Lullaby," "Halo," "Gimme Stitches," "Next Year," "On the Mend," "Razor," "See You," "The One," and "Come Back."

So, this is my plea to recognize and play "Come Back." It's on the album One by One, it's the last track, and it is for a reason. It's a great song to end on. The last song of an album is clutch, and this one really finishes well. It could even be an excellent closer to a show. Just something to think about...

So what do you think of the Foo Fighters' song "Come Back?" Or their shows?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dreams from My Father

Over the past week, I have been devouring Barack Obama's memoir entitled Dreams from My Father. This is an appropriate week, or should I say day, to blog about it since he is accepting his nomination for the Democratic Party tonight to possibly be the next president of the United States of America.

One way that I learn information very well is through writing. This memoir was the best source in my opinion because he wrote it himself. He chronicles the beginning of his life, from when he was young and his father left, up until he works as an organizer in Chicago and goes off to Africa for a summer before he heads off to Harvard to study law. A lot of material about his life and upbringing is all in there.

What interested me in the book? I liked to see where he came from. He was born and raised in Hawaii by an interracial couple: his mother was white and his father was black, from Africa actually. Barack's father, whom he is named after, returned to Africa when Barack was little for he was only staying briefly in the United States for education. He eventaully went off to Harvard after that brief marriage, then returning to Africa. Barack was raised by a single white mother who had two African American children (during the Civil Rights Movement era) and his two white grandparents from the working class.

Barack gets a lot of his devotion to assist and aid middle class from growing up around it, especially from his mother and grandparents. When he eventually went off to Chicago and organized, he dealt entirely with middle and lower class folks in order to better their situations. He focused a lot on education, churches, and housing projects to try to improve their situations. Eventually, he ends up back in Illinois to become a senator.

His father has a very interesting story though. He is from Kenya, the city of Nairobi, and he was married with two children before he left for America to eventually meet Barack's mother. They then wed there, and she would not return with him back to Africa since violent uproars were consistent in the country at that time. He went off to Harvard and headed back to his hometown where he wedded more brides and had more children. He worked for the government for a while before he lost that job and held odd end jobs. This sent him into a depression, becoming an alcoholic and eventually dying before Barack and him got the chance to truly know one another. Over the years, they sent each other letters to get to know one another, but they only met seldomly when Barack was a child. He always emphasized the importance of education to Barack, to focus on studies to get ahead in life. That seems to have followed through in his life.

At the end of the memoir, Barack heads to Kenya to meet his siblings and relatives. It's truly a beautiful experience to read about, and the culture is so different that it is interesting to read about. As I said before, Barack's father had many wives which is acceptable in that country. It was only when the white men came to the country that they ever questioned what they were doing. The ideal is to spread the man's name, to produce children and build a prosperous plot of land with huts and farmland. They were introduced to Western clothing, weapons, food, cars, and religion with the coming of the white man, and then they began to question themselves.

I really love how honest Barack is in this book. He openly talks about expirementing with drugs and alcohol, partying, women, and his later full-on dedication into work where work was all his life. I think that is an admirable quality in a person--be honest. Don't hide who you are. Pretending is just terrible.

Barack talks a lot about race in the memoir as well, especially since this memoir is devoted to not only discovering his family but his roots, his race, coming to terms with who he is in an oppressive and racist country. I'm impressed how far he's come after battling with this struggle. Sometimes he almost felt like he was cheating since he grew up in Hawaii and was raised by whites. This still doesn't hide his heritage and other roots as well.

The Audacity of Hope, another one of his books, is mentioned in this memoir. It comes from a sermon he heard before he left Chicago. It derives from a painting called Hope. The overall message in the sermon is: "There's a bright side somewhere...don't rest until you find it" (294). Those few pages are very interesting. Check them out.

I am going to put down some passages and lines that I found really inspiring and interesting. Let's see what you think:

"A healthy dose of guilt never hurt anybody. It's what civilization was built on, guilt. A highly underrated emotion" (96).

"My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn't, couldn't end there" (111).

"How could we judge other men until we stood in their shoes?" (117).

"That was my idea of organizing. It was a promise of redemption" (135).

"If everyone is family, then no one is family" (347).

"A man can never be too busy to know his own people" (377).

"We must get on with our lives" (382).

And lastly, I love that Barack announced that he was going for change back in 1983 when he started organizing in Chicago (133). He has stuck with his pledge and his goal for over twenty years and he continues to go for it. He did not just pick a slogan to win over the American people; he has been striving for this since he got started in his drive to help others. This is one reason that I truly stand behind this man and believe whole-heartedly in him.

What did you think of the memoir Dreams from My Father or Barack's life story?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Are You Afraid of the Dark

Who loved watching Are You Afraid of the Dark during SNICK, or just watching re-runs? Or, who was too scared to watch it?

This was one of my favorite TV shows as a kid. I loved the scary tales where the unexpecting kid faces a gruesome encounter with something out of this world. I've been watching episodes lately since my brother owns five DVDs worth of material. It's interesting to go back and look at the episodes when I'm a bit older because I can really look at them now with an analytical eye and see that I really shouldn't have been that scared after all.

The episodes all seem to play off of the plot of a punk-ass kid, as I like to call it, who encounters an out-of-this-world experience that they can't believe. Not ALL of the episodes have this character, but the majority do. A lot of the tales are also adaptations from fairy tales, short stories, and fables. The best example is "The Twisted Claw" episode from the short story "The Monkey's Paw." Others are completely original, i.e. "Laughing in the Dark" or "The Pinball Wizard."

I also really like to see the complex of Midnight Society members as adolescents. They don't seem any of them would actually be friends in real life, but they do explain that in the first episode, "The Phantom Cab," that they all come from different schools and are different people, but they all have one thing in common: they love horror stories. Good idea. Nick shows often would never really happen in real life, as this wouldn't either. But, their acting does make you laugh. They get really into the stories or have these lame and hilarious romantic relationships. I can't watch an episode without laughing at Gary. He cracks me up.

Which characters did you love or hate?

And what did you think of the basket case Dr. Vink? (with a va-va-va-va!)

Check out the detailed lists of episodes here.

Did you also notice the guest stars that are now famous in the episodes? Examples include Mia Kirshner, Bobcat Goldthwait, Charles S. Dutton, Ryan Gosling, Neve Campbell, Melissa Joan Hart, Frank Gorshin , Tia Mowry, Tamera Mowry, Elisha Cuthbert, Jay Baruchel, Hayden Christiansen, Jewel Staite and Gilbert Gottfried. Sloan from Entourage is in an episode as well.

What a great idea for a show. They should keep this idea going. They tried to a couple years after they took it off the air, but I'm sure it'd pick up now. I wonder how hard it is to come up with ideas for episodes... Hmmm... Something to think about.

Check out the episode lists here to see which you can remember:

Season 1

1. The Tale Of The Phantom Cab
2. The Tale Of Laughing in the Dark
4. The Tale Of The Twisted Claw
5. The Tale of the Hungary Hounds
6. The Tale Of The Super Specs
7. The Tale of the Captured Souls
8. The Tale Of The Nightly Neighbors
9. The Tale of the Sorcerers Apprentice
10. The Tale Of Jake & The Leprechaun
11. The Tale of the Dark Music
12. The Tale of the Prom Queen
13. The Tale of the Pinball Wizard

Season 2

1. The Tale Of The Final Wish
2. The Tale Of The Midnight Madness
3. The Tale Of Locker 22
4. The Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor
5. The Tale Of The Dream Machine
6. The Tale of the Dark Dragon
7. The Tale Of The Frozen Ghost
8. The Tale of the Whispering Falls
9. The Tale Of The Full Moon
10. The Tale Of The Shiny Red Bicycle
11. The Tale of the Magician's Assistant
12. The Tale Of The Hatching
13. The Tale Of Old Man Corcoran

Season 3

1. The Tale Of The Midnight Ride
2. The Tale of Apartment 214
3. The Tale of Watcher's Woods
4. The Tale of the Phone Police
5. The Tale of the Doll Maker
6. The Tale of the Bookish Babysitter
7. The Tale of the Carved Stone
8. The Tale of the Guardian's Curse
9. The Tale of the Curious Camera
10. The Tale of the Dream Girl
11. The Tale of the Quicksilver
12. The Tale of the Crimson Clown
13. The Tale Of The Dangerous Soup

Season 4

1. The Tale of Cutter's Treasure (Part 1)
2. The Tale Of Cutter's Treasure (Part 2)
3. The Tale of the Renegade Virus
4. The Tale Of The Quiet Librarian
5. The Tale of The Water Demons
6. The Tale of the Long Ago Locket
7. The Tale of the Silent Servant
8. The Tale Of The Room For Rent
9. The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner
10. The Tale Of The Fire Ghost
11. The Tale of the Unfinished Painting
12. The Tale of the Closet Keepers
13. The Tale Of The Train Magic

Season 5

1. The Tale of Dead Man's Float
2. The Tale of the Jagged Sign
3. The Tale of Station 109.1
4. The Tale Of The Mystical Mirror
5. The Tale Of Prisoner's Past
6. The Tale Of C7
7. The Tale Of Badge
8. The Tale Of Manaha
9. The Tale Of The Unexpected Visitor
10. The Tale Of the Chameleons
11. The Tale Of The Vacant Lot
12. The Tale Of The Door Unlocked
13. The Tale Of The Night Shift

Season 6

1. The Tale Of The Forever Game
2. The Tale of Zombie Dice
3. The Tale of Jake the Snake
4. The Tale of Virtual Pets
5. The Tale of the Misfortunate Cookie
6. The Tale Of Gruesome Gormets
7. The Tale Of The Hunted
8. The Tale of Vampire Town
9. The Tale of the Wisdom Glass
10. The Tale of the Walking Shadow
11. The Tale of Oblivion
12. The Tale of the Secret Admirer
13. The Tale of Bigfoot Ridge

Season 7

1. The Tale Of Lunar Locusts
2. The Tale Of The Stone Maiden
3. The Tale Of Highway 13
4. The Tale of the Reanimator
5. The Tale of the Time Trap
6. The Tale of the Photo Finish
7. The Tale of the Last Dance
8. The Tale of the Laser Maze
9. The Tale of the Many Faces
10. The Tale Of The Night Nurse
11. The Tale of Silver Sight (Part 1)
12. The Tale of Silver Sight (Part 2)
13. The Tale of Silver Sight (Part 3)

What episodes are your favorites? Why? What did you think of the show?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I've been meaning to get into Wolfmother sooner, but my friends have been insisting that I do, so I finally got around to it. They told me they have a classic rock sound mixed in with the new rock sound that's also booming right now. I can see exactly what they mean.

I do love that they are bringing back that older rock sound, that Led Zeppelin feel, that Rolling Stones vibe. I don't like where a lot of new bands are headed, but they seem to really be influenced by older bands and carry it through in their own music.

However, I do have some queries with the band. Some of their bands sound TOO much like older songs. They sound like they almost took some of the guitar riffs and molded them into their own album.

First, the main guitar riff in "The White Unicorn" sounds like the same one used in an earlier classic rong song. I can't identify which one, but I thought it was Led Zeppelin. Just listen to the first 30 seconds of the song and see if you can put your finger on it.

"Woman" sounds like it came directly from the Door's "Roadhouse Blues." Listen to them side by side and see if you can match the extremely similar sound.

"Joker and the Theif" sounds heavily influenced by the Steve Miller Band. It also seems like it was directly taken from another classic rock song too, but I can't put my finger on it either.

Hopefully someone can help me out here. I recognize the riffs but I can't place the classic rock song to them like I could with "Woman"/"Roadhouse Blues." The songs just sound too similar to the others; it makes me have a difficult time enjoying the songs because they just sound like mini rip-offs--kind of like enjoying the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California" when it sounded just too darn close to Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance." It seems like the same scenario to me here, but even more apparent.

Even their album cover screams classic rock. The way they dress, their look, even encapsulates this idea.

But, despite my criticism that I can't help to mention, I really do enjoy their music. Their sound is refreshing after hearing some of these other new bands. They have this cool mix of classic (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Steve Miller Band, the band of the Doors) mixed in with new rock (Cold War Kids, Mars Volta, Vampire Weekend). The guitarist plays extraordinary well. I'm impressed. The singer's voice comes along with this new age of rock, that high-voiced punk rock sound, but it also sort of imitates older rock bands with high-voiced singers, i.e. Robert Plant. It's a good sound, and it's worth listening to if you're getting sick of all this new music, as I am.

Does anyone know what their band name means?

So, what do you think of Wolfmother?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Introduction to Poetry

In my last post I mentioned that I went to a NYSEC conference in Albany a few years back and saw Ben Mikaelsen give an amazing talk. At that same conference, poet Billy Collins also spoke, giving readings of some of his newer poetry.

At the time, I did not realize that I was listening to such an amazing poet that I would read more of in later years. I did not seize this opportunity perhaps as much as others did. But, at least I did have this opportunity.

Anyway, Billy Collins writes amazing poetry. He put together a very helpful and interesting website called Poetry 180, a site where teachers can teach one poem every day. These poems are contemporary, not like the traditional poems that you might remember from high school or college. They range from one-liners to multiple stanzas, but they are funny or enlightening, serious or witty--check them out.

The first poem on the website it called "Introduction to Poetry" by Billy Collins. I will post it below.

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

I absolutely love this poem because this is the reason why so many people end up hating poetry. Students are taught to dissect the poem in such bleak ways to try to discover the "meaning." The joy is lost because students feel so pressured to literally tie down the poem, as Collins writes, and pull the meaning out of it like in an interrogation. Enjoying poetry does not normally come in this manner, but this is how poetry can be taught and how students automatically respond to it. His use of images in this poem really gets his message across. His talent can also be easily observed.

So what do you think of the poem, Poetry 180, or Billy Collins?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Touching Spirit Bear

I just finished Touching Spirit Bear a few minutes ago. I didn't think it was going to be as good as it was. I sort of knocked it off as just a middle school book, and I definitely judged the book by its cover. But, it's actually very wise and very entertaining.

I was also interested in reading the book anyway because Ben Mikaelson, the author, came to Albany for the NYSEC's annual gathering a few years back. He gave a wonderful speech that gave us some background on his history and about some of his books. He is a very laid-back and intelligent man. He told us that day about his bear (he lives with a 700 pound black bear!) which was in part an inspiration to this book.

Another inspiration was the true story of a bunch of bears that escaped from the zoo and couldn't return to the zoo; there was nothing to do with them. Ben tried to do all he could, but the state ended up putting down the cubs. Ben almost cried telling the story; he has a strong attachment to bears. He couldn't believe they would do this, but it was cheaper to put them down than to keep them. Very sad.

But, this book is very wise, filled with many insightful passages and realizations that are valuable for anyone at any age. I love how this book focuses on forgiveness and anger, how to truly forgive and pay for wrongdoings. I love the idea of using your mind to overcome a bad thing you have done instead of punishment in prison. When people leave prison, they leave angry. We should use more methods like this to cure people of their hate and anger instead of breed it more while they're there.

The book also has interesting explorations of totems, Native American rituals with dances and ancestor rocks, and the Circle of Justice. Check it out.

Check out the author's website here.

Also, a sequel is coming out, Ghost of Spirit Bear, soon, so check that out as well.

What did you think of Touching Spirit Bear?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2008 Beijing Olympics

For the past few weeks, I have been completely obsessed with watching the Olympics. I've never been this sucked into them before--the winter ones don't really intrigue me, and I didn't pay much attention in Athens or previous ones. But, these competitions were so competitive and exciting--these athletes were outstanding beyond words.

Brief comments on the Olympics as a whole: amazing architecture and hosting by the Chinese. They have impressed me this week also in competition; they have some of the most acrobatic, talented, and devoted athletes of the whole competition. They blew me away in gymnastics and diving alone. They have precision and grace.

Women's beach volleyball, to me, was the most entertaining to watch. Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh stole the show. They have been undefeated for the past year, and they continued that streak when they won the gold. The two were unstoppable! They are so strong, coming back from being behind, and are a complete powerhouse. Walsh is incredible at blocks and spikes while May digs and saves balls that I wouldn't even expect to be returned. They always put on an amazing performance and astounded me with their talent. One announcer said they might be the best women's beach volleyball team of all time: I agree. Their chemistry is easy to be seen when they play. They deserve their award because their hard work and determination comes through.

Men's beach volleyball also did a fantastic job, deserving the gold. They were also fun to watch, but I am still a much bigger fan of the female duo.

Women's gymnastics also was extremely entertaining. I really wanted the Americans to take the all-around, but it worked out in the end anyway. I was a bit upset about the young age of the Chinese girls. You could see it in their faces that they weren't 16 yet, not quite yet matured. They still had baby fat and premature bodies. The competitions were still incredible. Shawn Johnson and Nastia stole the show though. I must admit though: Shawn is definitely my favorite. She seems like a normal, happy, appreciative person while Nastia seems too focused, serious, and borderline mean. She seems very cold while Shawn is innocent and naturally and genuinely happy. They both deserved their medals and played well against the other incredible gymnasts in the Olympics.

Diving: The Chinese blew me away. Americans didn't do so well. I can't believe that people's bodies can move the way they do! I am so impressed with their talents.

Track and Field: Usain Bolt was so fun to watch. His energetic and amusing personality deserved the golds he won. He was so goofy and naturally funny, and what talent he has! I hope to see him race more in the future. American runners competed SO well--I was impressed by how many of our members actually made it to the finals. The relay teams messed up a bit (I can't believe BOTH teams actually dropped the stick--and the Jamaican women too!), but we still did well in other track events. I can't believe people can run that fast... It's astounding. (Sidenote: My heart breaks for Lolo Jones; she deserved her gold).

Swimming: Michael Phelps obviously did amazing, but I am SO sick of hearing about him. Is anyone really going to buy that DVD about his life and his races that won himt he gold medals?

Every event was so fun to watch... I just felt bad for poor Bob Costas who seemed to work off the clock. How come they couldn't get another person to tag-team with him so he didn't work so much?

What did you think of the Olympics? The competitors? The outcomes?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Counting Crows at SPAC

The other night, one of my favorite bands, the Counting Crows, came to play sat SPAC with Maroon 5. I was happy that Counting Crows closed the show because the last time I saw them at SPAC, they opened for John Mayer, and that was before he was big. That was back in 2004.

But, Counting Crows played an amazing show--the best one I have seen them play out of four shows I have witnessed in four years. What made this one so spectacular? They did something I have never seen before, something so out of the ordinary and bold that I think deserves recognition. They played an entire album start to finish, from track one to track eleven. They played their greatest album (recently remastered) August and Everything After. Amazing idea, amazing show.

Not all of those songs are crowd pleasers or very fast. Some people were upset because they did not play EVERY hit and single, but they were bold and played an entire album. I was surprised they didn't promote their new album; I really wanted to see some new songs played, but how incredible that they didn't just do what every other band does. They have so much material that they can do this, pull it off, and sound incredible while doing it.

And, I must note that Adam Duritz put on an amazing performance. When he sings, he truly performs. Each word holds so much meaning, he acts out each song, even changing them over time and adding new sections--you can tell he truly cares about his music.

Small sidenote: During "Rain King," in the middle, the band went back to a slower chorus of "Round Here," Adam singing it slowly and dragging out "Rain King" to be at least twice as long. That, to me, was the highlight of the night because it was so unexpected and so well done.

What did you think of the performance or their performances in general?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bonnaroo Set Lists

My new friend is You can search any set list of a band or festival on it, or you can post one of a show that you just saw. In a previous post, I remembered the songs played to the best of my ability, but these are the actual set lists from some of the bands aforementioned that I saw on those glorious four days:

Disco Biscuits

And The Ladies Were The Rest Of The Night
The Safety Dance
Killing In The Name
Rock Candy
Rock Candy
Crystal Ball

Drive-By Truckers

Something Heavy Intro
The Living Bubba
Ghost To Most
Rightous Path
Marry Me
Ronnie & Neil
3 Dimes Down
Homefield Advantage
Dead Drunk & Naked
Guitar Man Upstairs
I'm Your Puppet
Putting People On The Moon
Shut Up And Get On The Plane
18 Wheels Of Love
Lookout Mountain

Les Claypool

Rumble of the Diesel
Duchess and the Proverbial Mind Spread
David Makalaster I
Southbound Pachyderm (tease)
David Makalaster I
Long in the Tooth, Hendershot
.50 Cal tease
Drums, Drums and Whamola Jam Of Whales and Woe
Electric Funeral
One Better
Glide (tease)
One Better
D's Diner

The Raconteurs

Consoler of the Lonely
Hold Up
Switch and Spur
You Don't Understand Me
Top Yourself
Old Enough
Store Bought Bones
Steady as she goes
Rich Kid Blues
Blue Veins
Many Shades of Black
Salute Your Solution
Broken Boy Solider
Carolina Drama

Umphree's McGee

Wappy Sprayberry
The Floor
Wizard Burial Ground
Miss Tinkle's Overture
Miss Tinkle's Overture

2nd Self
Search 4
End of the Road
Mulche's Odyssey
Syncopated Strangers

Jack Johnson

All At Once
Better Together
Sleep Through the Static
Staple It Together (with Money Mark)
Sooner Or Later
Sitting Waiting Wishing
Go On
Bubble Toes
Wasting Time
Constellations (with Eddie Vedder)
Banana Pancakes
Same Girl
The Horizon Has Been Defeated
False Hope
Good People
Inaudible Melodies
If I Had Eyes

Mason Jennings

Be Here Now
Living In The Moment
Ballad For My One True Love
Fighter Girl
Your New Man
Jackson Square
I Love You And Buddah Too
Soldier Boy

Pearl Jam

Hard To Imagine
All Night
Why Go
Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
Who You Are
Severed Hand
1/2 Full
Even Flow
Love Reign O'er Me
Do The Evolution
E1: W.M.A.
Better Man(Save it for Later)
Crazy Mary
E2: No More
E3: All Along The Watchtower

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Virgin Mobile Festival Artists (Sunday)

As I did yesterday, I will give my brief concert reviews of the shows I saw on Sunday. I will relay the information and songs played to the best of my ability. Sunday had awesome weather and awesome acts to match it.

Check out this website to see all of the complete set lists from ALL bands from the festival.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

I didn't get to see too many songs since we got there a little later than anticipated, but they can rock out pretty well. They have this rock/classic rock sound that is easy to get into. Download some songs and see for yourself. They are really classy, dressing in black--the rock star look. They're young and have a great sound.

Andrew Bird

He definitely had a classy sound, kind of bluesy, soft rock. He is very laid back, easy to mellow out to and just lay on the grass listening and relaxing. The unique thing about him is that he incorporates his incredible whistling ability into each song. It acts as an instrument for most songs. It's pretty impressive. He is good to check out if you want to just chill out.

She and Him

"I Put a Spell on You"

What an incredible voice that Zoe Deschanel has. I was blown away. The audience seemed to have this reaction as well. At the beginning of the show, not as many people were crowded around, but by the end, she generated a very large crowd. Many cheers went out to her incredible voice that she blasted out for beautiful notes in songs. She even had this classy look--an old-fashioned blue dress with a matching blue flower in her hair. She looked stunning and her performance matched it. Her guitarist (Him of the duo) was also an excellent guitar player. Zoe was also really into her music; you could tell with her energy and enthusiasm as she jumped up and down with excitement with dance and her tamborine. It was cute. But, she stunned the audience, giving an amazing performance on "I Put a Spell on You." Incredible. Check them out--they're mellow as well.

The Black Keys

"Girl Is on My Mind"
"Set You Free"
"10AM Automatic"
"Strange Times"
"Your Touch"
"The Breaks"
"No Trust"
"I Got Mine"

Unfortunately, I missed some of The Black Keys because Lil Wayne had some major issues. He went on late and played late which cut back on their playing time. Wow Lil Wayne definitely has a big head. Anyway, The Black Keys were one of the best shows I saw. They have amazing chemistry for only a two-man band. I can't believe that only two people can produce such incredible sounds. Both players play so hard; they must be exhausted by the time they're done! I was jumping and singing--the energy was incredible! If you want to see an awesome rock concert, these guys really do put on an amazing show. A must see in my book.

Stone Temple Pilots

"Wicked Garden"
"Big Empty"
"Interstate Love Song"
"Sex Type Thing"
"Dead and Bloated"
"Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart"

Even though they came on twenty minutes late and made me miss the end of The Black Keys, they still played extraordinarily well. The band seemed solid, not like they didn't get along. Scott Weiland seemed sober for the most part, all times except when he went on these random rants to the audience. At one point he started slurring his words into a mumbo-jumbo mess, in which I turned to my friends as we both wondered if he was on something or just trying to be funny (I think it's the latter). He also made random comments about how the band has good chemistry and doesn't talk about each other behind their backs--it just got pretty weird. Too much talking. The band members would even start playing to quiet him up.

Otherwise, they all played very well together, even with Scott and his infamous megaphone. His outfits were flamboyant as expected. He really puts a lot of time and effort into its coordination. He even changed outfits for the brief encoure. His white boot choice was a bit sketchy. They are very Austin Powers--white heeled boots with a point. Not a big fan. His other outfits were okay, but the boots had to go.

My only real criticism of the band is that they play all hits (which is good to please the crowd). They only played one song that isn't widely recognized. I know they're on a reunion tour, but they have so many other songs they can play as well. They might have had the chance had they not come on so late, but still, it was an awesome show.

Bob Dylan

"Rainy Day Women #12 & 35"
"It Ain't Me, Babe"
"Rollin' And Tumblin'"
"Spirit On The Water"
"High Water (For Charlie Patton)"
"Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again"
"Highway 61 Revisited"
"When The Deal Goes Down"
"Summer Days"
"Ballad Of A Thin Man"
"Like A Rolling Stone"

I am honored to be able to see that, not only did I see Bob Dylan play in my life, but I got to see him play one of the greatest songs ever written: "Like a Rolling Stone." I was so surprised he played it--he never plays well-known songs! He is known to not be a crowd pleaser but to play what he wants to play, even if it contains so singles at all. He did play the song a bit untraditionally, not sounding too much like the original, even skipping out on singing the chorus a time or two, but it was a beautiful playing and I am so privileged to have heard it live.

Bob must have asked the crew not to zoom in on him because he was the only act who was not focused in on his face. The only camera angle that was shown was the big shot of the stage and the whole band. He must have had a word with that. Does anyone know the details about that?

I only got to see the end of the show, coming in with "Stuck Inside a Mobile with the Memphis Blues again," which was amazing too, but what I saw was amazing. Even though he is getting older, he still has it. He still performs well and has a great band to back him up. He should keep on touring because he still wows the crowds and puts on a great performance.

Nine Inch Nails

"Letting You"
"March of the Pigs"
"The Frail"
"Gave Up"
"The Warning"
"Ghosts 5"
"Ghosts 30"
"Ghosts 19"
"The Greater Good"
"Terrible Lie"
"The Big Come Down"
"The Hand That Feeds"
"Head Like a Hole"
"In This Twilight"

I didn't get to see too much of them because of Bob Dylan's set and because we had to get up and leave to head home to New York--quite an overnight hike from Baltimore. I came in right to see "Closer," which was INCREDIBLE. Trent Reznor is so into his music--he gets so into singing it and performing it. His band members are really into it too which really charges the audience. Trent is just amazing. He can be creepy on stage, but he can really put on a mesmerizing act.

When they played the "Ghosts" songs, they put down this crazy back drop that acted as a light show--it was trippy. They played the instrumental songs using crazy instruments that I can't even begin to describe, but they were all really into it and the lights and images on the screen reflected the music. Very cool show. A good way to end the concert.

I am proud to say that within one hour of my life, I saw Stone Temple Pilots, Bob Dylan, and Nine Inch Nails play, and within that hour, I heard "Plush," "Dead and Bloated," "Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart," "Like a Rolling Stone," and "Closer." Amen.

What did you think of these acts whether you've seen them at the festival or elsewhere?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Virgin Mobile Festival Artists (Saturday)

This post is my quick music reviews of the shows I saw along with the songs I recall them playing on Saturday. Tomorrow will be Sunday's shows. My guesses will be very accurate, and if not, let me know.

KT Tunstall

"Little Favours"
"Miniature Disasters"
"Hold On"
"Other Side Of The World"
"Black Horse And The Cherry Tree"
"If Only"
"Saving My Face"
"I Don't Want You Now"
"Suddenly I See"

I didn't see her for very long, but she had a lot of energy and a great back-up band. I thought she would be just another pop princess, but she's impressive. She looks like a cool female rock star and can play guitar well. Great voice.

Cat Power

This girl is so cool; she has an amazing voice and has an awesome style. She knows how to work the stage. Very chill, cool energy coming from her set.

Gogol Bordello

"Not A Crime"
"I Would Never Wanna Be Young Again"
"Wonderlust King"
"Tribal Connections"
"60 Revolutions"
"American Wedding"
"Start Wearing Purple"
"Baro Foro"

This guy has a crazy band. I didn't think I was going to like them because they are foreign and emulate that very well. They dress very crazy, not matching and having crazy accessories and pins--I think the epitome was when two Asian women came on stage dressed in the same outfits (hard to describe, but they had on war paint makeup and gems on their faces) and they danced the same dances and sprinted all over the stage. They played massive drums and just ran on and off the stage at any given time. They also had a very old man playing a small violin, another guy playing bass wearing a white wig made of rope. It was a good show because you never knew what to expect.

Bloc Party

"Waiting For The 7.18"
"Like Eating Glass"
"Hunting For Witches"
"Two More Years"
"The Prayer"
"This Modern Love"
"Song For Clay (Disappear Here)"

A very unique, electronic sound. They are a British band, and you can't even tell except when the lead singer speaks. He had an awesome Koopa Troopa shirt on. The other band members really played around with these gadgets that made the guitar riffs and vocals alter; I don't even know how to describe it, but it was really cool. Bloc Party teased the crowd with a quick riff of "Johnny Be Good" before Chuck Berry came on, which was a horrible tease!

The Offspring

"All I Want"
"The Kids Aren't Alright"
"Come Out And Play (Keep 'Em Separated)"
"Gone Away"
"Spare Me The Details"
"Staring At The Sun"
"Bad Habit"
"You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"
"Gone Away"
"Want You Bad"
"Why Don't You Get A Job?"
"(Can't Get My) Head Around You"
"Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)"
"Self Esteem"

I did not expect them to put on such a good show. I was very impressed. They had a lot of energy. They are pretty old to be rocking, but they sounded spot on. The lead guitarist was creeping me out a little; he had this long hair and good energy, but at one point he yelled out, "I'm gonna get laid tonight! And so are all of you!" Now, if he is, I don't want to know about it. He's old, topless, with greasy long hair. Yuck. But, the other players were amazing. The lead singer's voice still sounds the same, really good. The drummer kicked the hell out of the show. He impressed me. They didn't just play crowd pleasers, which I liked, but they did play some cool singles that really got the crowd into the show.

Citizen Cope

"Bullet and a Target"
"Hurricane Waters"
"Son's Gonna Rise"
"Nite Becomes Day"
"Back Together"
"Brother Lee"
"Let the Drummer Kick"

I loved his performance. He has an amazing voice and knows how to work the crowd. I think his best song was "Son's Gonna Rise," even though it's his single. He stopped at one point, and we thought it was over, and then he sang the song really slow and then erupted back into the chorus. It was incredible. The crowd was so energetic at that point. But then, he followed up that song was "Sideways," which is slower. I didn't think that was a good choice. He picked more slower songs than I think he should have, but his more upbeat songs really got the crowd into them. He's very talented and it comes across when he plays. One of my favorite performances!

Chuck Berry and The Silver Beats

"Roll Over Beethoven"
"School Days"
"Sweet Little Sixteen"
"Little Queenie"
"Memphis, Tennessee"
"You Never Can Tell"
"Reelin' & Rockin'"
"House Lights"
"Johnny B. Goode"

First The Silver Beats played for a while. They are a Beatles cover band from Japan who don't speak much English. They played some awesome Beatles' songs which was completely unexpected. Chuck Berry only played about five or six songs. He was really charged for such an older man, but he put on a heck of a performance. He had a strong, solid voice for his age, and he was really into his songs. He really worked the crowd, talking with them, encouraging them to participate. He had on a crazy sparkly sequin red shirt. Very cool to see him live, especially to end with "Johnny B. Good," noted by Rolling Stone as the greatest guitar song of all time.


"War On War"
"A Shot In The Arm"
"I Am Trying To Break Your Heart"
"You Are My Face"
"Impossible Germany"
"Handshake Drugs"
"Spiders (Kidsmoke)"
"Hate It Here"
"I'm The Man Who Loves You"
"Outtasite (Outta Mind)"
"Hoodoo Voodoo"

I didn't really get a chance to see most of their show, just a couple of songs. I would have liked to see more of them since I'm really into them right now, but the scheduling didn't work out. I did see Jeff Tweedy play with the crowd a little. He really wanted the crowd to clap along with their song and then teased them because they weren't really good. He then said that the majority of Americans (he gave a percentage) can actually hold a 2/4 clap beat while other countries can't. He waited until the crowd was clapping a lot, even verbalizing them to clap louder and for more to clap. It was humorous. I am just happy I got to see Jeff Tweedy.

Foo Fighters

"The Pretender"
"Times Like These"
"No Way Back"
"Learn To Fly"
"Cheer Up Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)"
"Young Man Blues" (The Who cover)
"Long Road To Ruin"
"Stacked Actors"
"Skin And Bones"
"My Hero"
"Cold Day In The Sun"
"Monkey Wrench"
"All My Life"
"Best Of You"

This show was one of the most energetic, violent, charged shows I've ever been to. My pony tail was knocked completely off by the end of the show. There were so many crowd surfers, mosh pits, and screaming, jumping fans that you constantly had to be on the watch for your own body as you watched. The crowd was so into it, and Dave Grohl ensured this. He continuously told us to "dance" or to sing, make some noise, etc. He prodded us the whole time, telling us they were going to play 15 more songs, "are you done yet?", "do you want some more?", "do you have to work tomorrow?", "who wants to hear another song?", and then shouting how hard they were going to rock. He was amazing.

They played a beginning and end of crazy fast, loud, and pumped up hard rock songs, and in the middle they slowed it down a bit with some slower songs. The extended band was there the whole time, the violinist, extra guitarist and bassist, and triangle player. Dave played the beginning of "Everlong" slowly on stage by himself, and then the band joined him to increase the energy halfway through the song. Taylor sang "Cold Day in the Sun," which was amazing. He is so talented. He had this very long drum solo that astounded the audience. Every time you would applaud and think he was done, he would start up again. I don't know where he gets his energy.

Dave was hilarious during the night, commenting on small things like a crowd surfer's keys that ended up on stage. He analyzed each piece on the key ring and said that now he gets this dumbass' cheap car. He introduced each member and they did a little solo. He uncovered Taylor's real name, Oliver, which was referred to the whole time. The triangle player even came out and did a solo. It was incredible. Dave jammed with the violinist/cello player who has an incredible voice. During one of the first songs, Dave and the lead guitarist jammed back and forth. That was crazy.

I was just so impressed with how well they put on a show. It felt like they played for forever, but that is because Dave was leading us that way with his talks. He was all over the stage, running from end to end and playing with each player. He IS a rock star, one of the best rock stars of our generation. He has such pretty hair too...

My only criticism is that they played too many crowd pleaser hits and not many unknown songs. They did vary old songs and new songs, but they played well-known songs that they always play. I want them to mix it up so I am surprised when they play songs--not just the singles. They did create an amazing 10 minute+ song of "Stacked Actors" which was phenomenal. They all just jammed on solos for a while and then returned to the song. That was creative and not as known, but they need to play more less familiar songs! Come on Dave, you kick ass. Try it!

What did you think of these bands, either if you were at Virgin Mobile Festival or if you have just seen them live?