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Monday, October 6, 2014

Summer Music Round Up With A Side Of Whine

Oh, hey! Remember me?

Yeah… well, I was supposed to wrap up this braggy BS weeks ago, but I didn't. I just could not muster the energy or enthusiasm to sit down and scribe a fabrication of my goings-on for whatever you call this rambling mess of a blog.

Truth is, even now, this very minute, I'd rather sit here in my criminally comfy yoga pants, with a glass of boxed red wine and binge watch the rest of Orange Is The New Black, Ray Donovan and Sherlock instead of press fruitlessly on with this post in my cavewoman stilted vernacular.

Me go places. Me have fun. Me lose hearing.

I'd yadda yadda yadda this fucker, but even the yadda bits would be uninspired. Jebus Christos, I need a swift kick in the buttocks!!

ANYWHO… (maybe ALL CAPS will stop the whining…hmmmmmmmmmmmm…nah)

ANYWHO, I promised myself I'd toss some nouns, verbs and overused adjectives at the screen and finish this GD MoFo American Classic. Hell, I might even dangle a participle or two on yo ass. Not to mention hang a couple of prepositions out to dry all gansta like. HEY, WON'T THAT BE FUN, KIDS!!!

Wait… How the hell did this turn into a grammar tangent? Oh, yeah.


Not to be confused with STALIN, who was a ginormous Muthafuckin' JAGOFF.

ACK! And to think I was shooting for brevity with concise bullet point observations on this bad boy.


You know what? Fuck it. I'm pressing on. My track record for finishing ANYTHING lately, a book, a project, a fucking bag of obesity-inducing chips (okay, so THAT is the one thing I DO finish) is abysmal. So here goes. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Wouldn't it be hilarious if I ended this missive right here? Ha Ha! PSYCHE!!

And now I just carbon-dated my ass with that term.


(a little thang me and Jimmy McParkway would sing to each other from Matthew Perry's ill-fated sitcom wherein he and I apparently were the only viewers. yaaaaaaaaaay…)

But I digress. Again.

BEHOLD! The rest of my Summer of Narcisim… I mean, Summer of Music.

· House Concert 2.0

Spring Standards harmoniously rocking' the haus

Okay, so last summer Geo and I hosted the uber talented Brooklyn trio, The Spring Standards. We enjoyed James, Heather and James so much, we cajoled pestered sweet-talked them into a repeat performance exactly one year to the day of their 2013 visit. Through the miracle of technology that is incomprehensible to this Luddite, the kids broadcast our little dining room show out over the interwebs via Concert Window.

james squared on the schwang

The weather was ideal, the company of family and friends was superb and the music was spectacular. Along with those who have become regular house concert attendees, there were a number of newbies, including our dear friend from Texas, Myra Jean.

that's our southern belle, Myra in front of the monitor

Here they are singing some of our favorites of theirs. Their harmonies are gorgeous.

Geo and I have supported these three via Kickstarter for a number of years. For whatever reason, they're really sweet to us. They find our name amusing, and made up a little song and dance to go with it, all in good fun. Who'd a thunk when I saw them for the first time four years ago at SXSW, they would be hanging out on our deck, noshing on snacks and singing in our dining room. Sometimes life is too cool.

Everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves and each other. After the band left, we all piled on the deck for more food, drink, and lively conversation late into the night. You know it's a great party when people don't want to leave. It could have been because of the world famous Prantl's burnt almond birthday torte, but I prefer to believe it was the camaraderie.

TORTE reward

· Matt Nathanson at the Library
Another highlight of the latter days of summer was Matt Nathanson. I've been wanting to see him ever since Steph and I watched his Denver concert on AXS last October. He's a pure popstar with thick floppy hair, mischief in his eyes and enough swivel in his hips to give the lovely blue-eyed one a run for his swoon-worthy money.

His shows are plain, old FUN! From the minute he stepped on stage, the audience was on its feet. He engaged the crowd immediately, prompting sing alongs, talking with some of those at the stage and playfully calling out patrons not willing to join the fun.

Sprinkled throughout the 90+ minutes, he did an entire bit about letting his inner Whitney Houston out,

as well as several mash-ups, mixing old songs with his own like Get High and Grease Lightning. The entire theater sang with him, following his every command. Again I say, how cool is it to stand back and hear 800+ people sing your words back to you.

Mash ups, flowing curls, and those hips…

One more for the road. My favorite of his, Faster. Mmmmmm….

The deal was you buy a t-shirt, you get to meet him briefly for a photo. Yep. What can I say? I'm a sucker for smart, witty, adorable floppy-haired crooners who enjoy shaking their asses.

· Bleachers at Mr. Small's
One of the great pleasures of having younger friends, or any friends for that matter, is exposure to new musical acts who would otherwise fly deep below my radar. I like to think I dwell in a well-rounded musical estate, but in reality, I just bunk in a small passageway in the back by the water heater.

Lizzie has been instrumental in introducing me to such musicians. Besides Chad Stokes and Matt Wertz, both of whom were represented by the label she worked for in Boston, she has a friendly relationship with the popular band fun. Her favorite member is Jack Antanoff, famous as much for being Lena Dunham (of Girls fame) boyfriend as for being the guitarist for the power pop icons. His current side project is fronting the band Bleachers.

Aside from their hit, I Wanna Get Better, I was clueless. But honestly, half the fun of these ventures is hanging out with Lizzie and her cousin, Gen. Bleachers were extremely energetic and fun. The modest crowd pretty much knew all of his songs, participating in every verse and chorus. For someone who is normally in the background, Jack is a very charismatic front man and lead singer, bounding from one side of the stage to the other, belting out lyrics and playing a mean guitar. And talk about sincere. If he said it once, he said it 20 times how much he appreciated the support he receives from the Pittsburgh area. I have it on good authority from Lizzie, he is a genuine sweet, sweet guy.

The setlist was not long, but his cover of a favorite Mountain Goats song, This Year was definitely a highlight.

And this rousing performance of his hit, I Wanna Get Better closed out the show. He even took time to shake the hands of everyone in the front row before departing backstage. Sweet.

·Jukebox the Ghost Live and Direct, WYEP
And lastly, Jukebox the Ghost stopped by the studios of the magnificent WYEP to play a handful of catchy new songs on their radio-only tour through the Northeast. Based out of DC, this three piece band has a lot of heart, a full sound, and a great sense of humor evidenced in the performance/interview here.

Aaaaaaaaaand… DONE!! WOOHOO!!

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