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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reliving My Musical Year Circa 2011, Part Two Because I'm Chatty, Yo


Dear July: I will always and forever have a special place in my heart for thee. 

July was all about the Old 97's. Three incredible shows in four days with the added bonus of post show drinks with Ken and Murry (Baltimore)...

Hanging backstage before and after (Brooklyn)

and one non-stop, laugh-filled day at Brooklyn's famed Coney Island. To say they were the most memorable three days of the summer is not an overstatement, even if I embarrassed the hell out of myself by almost eating the pavement in Baltimore. Call me Grace.


Dude, I went to see The Monkees. Yes, THE Monkees. Okay, well 3/4 of the Monkees anyway. I had no intention of going, but GD if I didn't have a blast. Who knew all those lyrics were still living somewhere deep down in my grey matter.

A steamy August evening featured the Dynamic Duo of Ben Gibbard's Death Cab For Cutie and Scott Hutchinson's Frightened Rabbits on Stage AE's outdoor venue. (for once, two great bands for the price of one) Nestled between a signature skyblast fireworks display (we Burghers go ape shit over incendiary displays) with Train performing at the ball field and an evening shoot of Batman, The Dark Night Returns at Heinz Field, these musical Super Heroes held their own.

Sweaty, happy and hoarse, I walked away victorious clutching the lone FRabbits doodle postcard created especially for the evening.


Once again, September vacation was bookended (is that even a word?) with our two faves. Geo and I had our charts read by Francis Dunnery at our friend Kate's house in Malvern, PA. It was enlightening and huge fun. Hmmmm... seems I didn't blog about that either. Major slacker this past quarter. Blah. Anyhoo, the following evening we attended a house concert in the biggest home, nay, estate we've ever been in. Whoa! Kate and I were convinced it was haunted. For realz.

After spending a restful week at the Jersey shore, we ended our vacation with a double shot of, who else... Rhett Miller. This time at  World Cafe at the Queen in Wilmington, Deleware followed by a rare matinee show at one of my favorite out-of-town venues, Annapolis' Ram's Head On Stage. In both we were treated to a new song, Picture This from Rhett's upcoming solo CD due out in the Spring. Heather Robb from Spring Standards adds her beautiful voice to this duet.

The Ram's Head show was stupendous, with an eclectic setlist filled with deep cuts, newer gems and one terrific cover. Mr. M kindly fulfilled all of our requests. Couldn't ask for a better way to close out a holiday.

Mixing it up with the youngins.

The final outdoor WYEP freebie of the year was Alex Dezen of the Damnwells backed by Harper Blynn. JesusGoodGodAlmlighty it was ridiculously cold and damp for that time of year! But the music was warming, along with my awkward white-girl, Elaine Benis dancing in the corner.

"Help her! She's having a seizure!"

OCTOBER: You need to step it up this year, slacker.


Mary Ann (aka, Betty) and I had back-to-back evenings out starting with Louis CK and his delightfully raunchy, twisted view of life, followed by the legendary Kinks front man, Ray Davies. Don't let his age fool you, he can still kick it up for a senior citizen. Outstanding gig, even if I did get busted while recording Waterloo Sunset. Still was able to sneak this one. Ha! Take that, video recording Nazi!

I got to celebrate Thanksgiving Eve with the charming, elfish Norwegian, Sondre Lerche. He packs a lot of power in that little frame.


Let the holiday festivities begin!! Raul Malo pulled into town in a big, black tour bus and offered up his Christmas Show to put us all in the spirit of things. There's no escaping that catchy Tejano beat. Don't even try. Just roll with it, baby!

 And just for fun, a half song medley followed by... a POLKA!

And finally, we ended the year as we began, with a Francis house concert to begin vacation and Francis playing his Christmas show at the Tin Angel. Our final musical night cap for 2011. The only thing missing was a Rhett holiday show chaser.

That's 2011 in a nutshell. It was a lovely year that provided a lot of opportunities to enjoy a ton of great music at great venues with great friends. I can't wait to do more of the same this year.

Dear 2012: You have some mighty big shoes to fill. Just saying.

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