Got Live if You Want It: Comedy Club Tonight


We’ve got a family gathering planned tonight–dinner and a comedy club.  We’re celebrating my mom’s and my sister-in-law’s birthdays.  That’s why I’m posting even though I don’t really have a song.  But this was released on an album.  I think.

I can only hope at least one of the comics tonight is half as funny as Craig.  Otherwise, I’m going over the two drink minimum.

Got Live if You Want It: Counting Crows


I’m still feeling a little bit disconnected.  I don’t really want to do anything, although I still find pleasure in the things I normally do (I’m really looking forward to next week’s new episode of Sleepy Hollow).  I think it’s my inherent laziness rearing its ugly head, so I need to put a stop to it right now.  Because when given the choice, I will choose doing nothing over, say, putting the laundry away.  But it’s making me feel kind of bleh to lay around so much, and I don’t like feeling that way.

I know once I get moving again, I’ll be fine.  I just have to get off my ass.  (I know there’s a chance this is the beginnings of depression, or something else, so I am monitoring myself pretty closely.  Don’t worry.)  Part of it is knowing I don’t have to go back to work for a couple more weeks; I’m applying for other jobs, but the one I have doesn’t begin for me until early February.

The upshot (or downshot, depending on your perspective) is that I’m in a bit of a Counting Crows kind of mood.  But I couldn’t decide on which song fit my mood best, so here’s a concert by them someone was kind enough to post.  It’s the perfect kind of music for disconnected bleh.

Got Live If You Want It: SXSW


This year’s SXSW festival is in full swing.  My cousin the Roadie went to Austin to work it this year.  (He was disappointed not to be on the crew for this year’s Super Bowl, so this is a nice gig for him.)  For those of you not in the know, South by Southwest is the finest indie music festival in the country.  Actually, it’s probably the finest music festival at all, period.  Of course, like the Sundance Film Festival and San Diego’s Comic-Con, SXSW has gotten a little big for its britches, but I’m not gonna throw stones.  There just aren’t enough outlets for quality, independent music, so if the festival wants to expand to include established artists, technology, and film, I am not going to complain.

SXSW has been happening in Austin, TX since 1987, and it has gained not only a huge following, but the kind of cultural cache generally reserved for the Steven Spielbergs and George Clooneys of the world.  (I’m not criticizing those guys, just pointing out that their names automatically lend an air of seriousness and prestige to virtually anything.)  If your band plays SXSW, then either you’ve made it, or you’re about to hit really big.  And this isn’t just crappy Top Forty pop.  These are really good acts from just about every genre–although as I’m listening to NPR’s Austin 1oo playlist there seems to be a definite bias toward singer-songwriter types.  There’s rap and hardcore metal (there’s a group called Skeletonwitch, if you’re interested, Sandee).  There’s twee girl singers.  There’s art school synth bands.  It’s like Baskin Robbin’s 31 flavors, only cooler.

Here’s an example from last year.  The utterly awesome Alabama Shakes played a set, and they were quite predictably awesome.  And they’ve since gone on to play every other major festival, release their first full-length album, and get nominated for a handful of Grammys.

Since it’s pretty clear none of us have ended up at SXSW (unless Cousin Roadie is reading this, then I’d like to add, “Hey, Ferret Face!  Bring me some swag!”).  But we can still enjoy the music.  For free, even.  NPR’s Steven Thompson (from the Pop Culture Happy Hour) has curated a playlist called The Austin 100, which you can download as one massive file.  Did I mention it was free?  Let me repeat that:  It’s FREE!  At least until April 4th.  Then I guess you’re screwed.  Click the link; you can stream it if you’re not sure about making such a large commitment on your hard drive.

Sorry this is such a link heavy post, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be sorry visiting any of these other sites.

Got Live on TV if You Want It: “Mutineer”


Let me tell you how I got here.  I was thinking about posting something from Jackson Browne’s 2003 solo acoustic tour, which I caught at UCLA’s Royce Hall with the BFF.  It was hands down one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to.  Browne played by himself onstage, surrounded by a handful of guitars, a baby grand, and an electric piano.  His set list was to take requests from the audience.  (I remember at one point someone shouted out a request for “Somebody’s Baby,” and his reply was “Really?”  He played it.)  It was one of those amazing, transformative experiences that makes life worth living.

It was also his first tour after the death of his longtime friend Warren Zevon.  For those of you who are only familiar with Zevon for “Werewolves of London,” I feel kind of sad for you.  Zevon’s wry, dry sense of humor and resigned sadness are things of beauty.  He was a little too quirky for much mainstream success–kind of like Randy Newman, but less political (see this post for more on Zevon).  But for his fans and friends, there was no one better.  On Jackson Browne’s tour, one of the few planned moments of each show was when he would play one of Zevon’s songs.  The show I saw, Browne sat at the electric piano, and began playing the opening notes to “Frank and Jesse James”, but stopped, saying he couldn’t play that one (not sure why, but it seemed kind of emotional for him).  Then he played the gorgeously sad “Mutineer.”  It was a lovely and loving tribute.

Which brought me to The Late Show with David Letterman.  Like Browne, David Letterman was a longtime friend of Zevon.  Zevon was a regular guest on Letterman’s show, often filling in for Paul Shaffer with the band; Letterman appeared on Zevon’s 2002 album My Ride’s Here.  Not long after Zevon announced he was terminally ill, Letterman devoted an entire show to his friend.  It was one of the sweetest, saddest things I ever watched.  I’m tearing up a little right now, thinking about it.  They joked around and Warren played several songs, including “Mutineer.”  I’m not going to analyze or explain this song.  I’m not sure I could do this gentle song justice, anyway.  But the chorus ends with the line “You’re my witness, I’m your mutineer.”  That night, everyone who watched witnessed something unspeakably beautiful.

Got Live If You Want It: The Hollywood Bowl


It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Bowl.  Two or three years, I think.  For those of you who don’t live in SoCal, it is the perfect place to go see a concert of any sort–everything sounds good there.  Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, it is blessed with history, beauty, and an aura of otherworldliness.  It’s like you leave the freeways, pollution, crime, and superficiality of California behind and land in this green theater filled with music and magic.

image from

Pretty, isn’t it?

I’ve seen Yo-Yo Ma there.  I’ve seen Sting, Fleetwood Mac, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers there (twice for the last one).  I like to sit in the cheap seats (those benches in the foreground of the image; you can rent a cushion for seventy-five cents if you don’t bring your own).  It sounds just as good, and I’ve long since lost the need to be right next to the speakers.  You can bring your own food and wine, and dine under the stars.  That’s really great if you take advantage of Park & Ride, which gives you time to sober up before you get home–and ensures you don’t have to deal with the nightmare of parking at the Bowl itself.  (Park & Ride is this fabulous system in which you park at a pre-determined meeting spot near your home, and ride a bus up to the Bowl.  It saves time, only costs a little extra, and you might even make friends on the way.)

One of my fondest memories is going to see The Who in 2002, their first show after the death of John Entwhistle.  It was also right after my aunt had died, so I was feeling really melancholy.  I went with the BFF, who called me spur of the moment to go.  We just felt the need to be there, to honor the memory of one of our musical idols.  It was a breathtaking and cathartic experience.

I found out later that one of my mom’s (and aunt’s) cousins and his wife were at the show, too, probably feeling a lot of the same things I was.  The whole audience was transported.  I know I couldn’t have been the only one brought to tears by their rendition of “Love Reign O’er Me” that night (wish I could’ve found a clip of that).

The Hollywood Bowl just released its 2013 schedule, and I want to try to hit a couple shows there this year.  The ABBA show might be fun, but I’ll bet everyone will want to see that.  It’s just so much damn fun to be out in the open air, surrounded by trees and music and joy.  We could all use a little more joy in our lives.







Got Live If You Want It: The Sex Pistols


Well, I’ve got nothing today.  Which makes this kind of the perfect concert to post.  The Sex Pistols were angry.  They were young people in an England that was deep in economic trouble, just entering the Thatcher Era.  Between a government and economy that couldn’t function well enough to take care of its citizens, and the corporatization and commercialization of pretty much everything, they couldn’t see the point of playing by the rules anymore.  As far as they could tell, it didn’t get you anywhere.  So when Malcolm McLaren conceived them as a sort of performance art piece, they channeled that anger into music.  The result was the definitive punk band.

This was their final performance in 1978.  It’s not very good, frankly.  Punk really didn’t translate well to some venues.  And the Sex Pistols had already fractured by this point.  Sid Vicious would be dead not very long after, and the rest of the band would spend years fighting each other and McLaren.  They reunited with original bassist Glen Matlock and toured in 1996 on the Filthy Lucre tour (Johnny Rotten never did like to mince words).  They were all better musicians and performers by then, so the concert was a much better musical experience than their original shows.  (I attended their L.A. show, and it was awesome; only the second concert I got frisked at.)  But the later tours could never recapture the experience that was punk in its early years, or the Sex Pistols at their furious best.

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?