Posts tagged: Concert

Arcade Fire + Calexico at the Greek Theater

By , October 3, 2010

For awhile, I went to concerts all the time– at least weekly I saw some band somewhere. I don’t go nearly that often anymore, but I promised myself I’d see the Arcade Fire when they next came to town. Too often in the past a band I adored would come through town and I’d not bother to see them, telling myself, “I’ll see them next time they tour.” Unfortunately, too many of my favorite bands have either disbanded or stopped touring, and I now regret missing the chance to see them perform.

The Arcade Fire are pretty much my favorite active band, so yesterday I showed up at Berkeley’s Greek Theater without a ticket and planted myself on queue. Many times in the past I’ve had spare tickets to a show, and turned down large amounts of cash from scalpers to instead sell them at face value to regular folks. I once sold two tickets to see Hot Chip for $35 each, right in front of a scalper offering me $80 per ticket. It seemed the right thing to do, and yesterday that good will came back my way, for I had not been in line but ten minutes when a girl lined up a few spots behind me and indicated that she had a ticket to sell. She sold it to me for the face value of $46. Had I bought one online when they went on sale I’d have paid $60 due to the additional service fees, so I really made out well.

While waiting the 90 minutes for the gates to open, I befriended a few people in line near me. We played hearts to pass the time. Meanwhile, I tried to get in touch with my friend Mike, whom I knew was going to be at the show, but he was incommunicado; I think he was drunk in San Francisco at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and barely made it out to Berkeley in time for the show; but I had made new friends, so I watched with them.

I found a great spot, dead center, about 10 people back from the stage. Calexico came on and were great– I like them enough that I’d have paid to see them by themselves, so it was an unexpected bonus to find that they were the support act. It was like the time I showed up to see Belle & Sebastian and unbeknownst to me New Pornographers were the support act. Two great bands for the price of one!

Somethin’ filled up
My heart with nothin’,
Someone told me not to cry.

Arcade Fire put on an outstanding show. They enjoyed what they were doing and it showed. By this point into their career they have four albums to draw from for material, and they pulled the greatest bits from each of them. They pieced together a set that built to a crescendo, and at times I felt as if I were at an opera rather than a rock concert. When they played “Ocean of Noise” I could feel something welling up inside me, which only built when the Calexico trumpeters joined them on stage for the songs finale. When they followed it up with “Tunnels,” my personal favorite song of theirs, I will not lie– a tear or two rolled down my cheek. Something about hearing that song brought me back to 2005, and losing Mom, and losing Sue, and what pretty much amounted to the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it then.

And since there’s no one else around,
We let our hair grow long
And forget all we used to know.
Then our skin gets thicker
From living out in the snow.

Later, as the band blended seamlessly from “Power’s Out” into “Rebellion (Lies),” I think I was the first person in the pit to recognize what song was coming on. Leave it to a DJ to identify what song is showing up next in a mix. Soon enough everyone else caught on and the entire crowd lost it.

I left the Greek in a state of hyper-aware elation, feeling spiritually moved in a way I’d expected and hoped church experiences would affect me in my younger, god-fearing, days, though they invariably failed to do so. There’s a deep sense of the real in the message of the Arcade Fire’s lyrics, and coupled with their epic and catchy music, I don’t think anyone walked out of last night’s show unmoved.

To sum it all up in layman’s terms, I had about as much fun at a concert as I have had in recent memory; I almost want to go see their encore performance tonight at the Greek.

Lastly, for are curious, here to the best of my memory is the setlist for the show:

Ready to Start
Month of May
Keep the Car Running
No Cars Go
Sprawl II
Modern Man
The Suburbs
Ocean of Noise
We Used to Wait
Powers Out
Rebellion (Lies)
Wake Up


Grendel + Wyclef

By , October 18, 2003

Friday night, Fizzy and I went to a party with her college friend Karen. The party, celebrating Karen’s friend Garth’s birthday, was in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights district, and but a scant few blocks from the notoriously dangerous Bedford-Stuyvesant district. Fortunately, out there, a mere block or two can mean the difference between being in Brooklyn or Crooklyn, and we stayed safe. While at the party, I met the notorious Grendel:


We had a blast, Grendel and I. We took turns reciting Beowulf to one another in the original Middle English. As you may have noticed, Grendel is in fact a sock puppet. Here is another photograph of him, this time with his creator and puppeteer Seth in the frame:


That isn’t a terribly flattering shot of Seth, as he has been caught in mid-Grendel-growl. He’s far more dashing in person; Seth that is. Grendel is pretty much what you see. I only just met Seth (he’s Garth’s roommate), but he seems like an interesting fellow. At the very least he gets credit for properly pronouncing my tricky-to-say surname. It turns out he has heard of my older brother, a well-known poet, and that’s how he knew the name. That happens to me from time to time, and it is always a bit strange, but I roll with it.

Tonight (tho ’tis now Sunday morning, at least in New York) we met up with Karen again, as well as another of Sue’s college friends, Richard, and some other people (including a friend of Karen’s, who recognized me as DJ Greg! from the Berkeley party days) and attended a free concert at Columbia University. Columbia is celebrating its 250th anniversary; the school is older then the United States of America!

Speaking of Columbia, the other day, while sauntering up Broadway, near Tom’s Diner, whom do I run into but my friend Raj a.k.a. DJ Entropy. It seems that after finishing his EECS degree at Berkeley, he realized engineering wasn’t for him, and he is now at Columbia earning a Ph.D in Economics. How random to encounter him on a New York sidewalk! Not only that, but it turns out that he lives across the street from Richard (whom he does not know) who lives across the street from Karen, who doesn’t even go to Columbia. Out of all of Manhattan, three people I know randomly chose dwellings within two doors of each other… but I have seriously digressed. The free concert was really great. Wyclef Jean performed. Here he is now:

Wyclef Jean in Concert

He put on a fantastic show. If he is to be believed, he came straight from being treated at a hospital to Columbia to peform. Erykah Badu was scheduled to perform too, but could not make it due to an unspecified illness.” Wyclef called her out while freestyling, asking if he was in the hospital that day and was still able to make it, “what the fuck sickness does Erykah Badu have?” His set lasted more than two hours, and he kept forcing the promoters and security to let him continue, as he was only supposed to play about an hour. His show was as fun and eclectic, running the gamut from the expected rap, reggae, and R & B, to a cappella gospel, and even ’50s era boogie woogie rock & roll.

After the show, five of us went to the Meat Packing District to eat dinner. Isn’t that a great name for a part of town? We had great French food at Pastis, including a bowl of raw steak, and then waited in a far-too-long line at Magnolia’s Bakery for what are reported to be the best cupcakes in the world. Here is a crappy picture of the joint:

Magnolia Bakery

You can’t tell how long, or how slow-moving, the line is from that picture, but trust me it was both. The cupcakes? In all honesty, I found them no better or worse then any other cupcake I’ve ever eaten. To be fair, it is the frosting that is supposed to make them especially wonderful, and I’m not a fan of frosting, so don’t take my word as gospel. There was certainly a large crowd clamoring for them, especially considering it was nearly midnight, so clearly a great many people adore them.

We ate said cupcakes at a park across the street. New York is great for having tons of small parks with benches and tables. This one also had literally hundreds of small mice frolicking about. They were awfully cute, like Stuart Littles everywhere.

This final picture is of a really neat chair I saw while walking away from Magnolia’s. Isn’t great how the zebra’s tail and mane were lined up and incorporated in the chair? Boy do I want that. It would look perfect in my living room, which is already full of leopard and tiger print.

Magnolia Bakery


The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You

By , August 17, 2003

Fizzy and I will celebrate our anniversary a couple days late this year. We are going to Pop Scene, a night club, to see The Dandy Warhols perform. We are both pretty fond of this band, and are looking forward to hearing them play live for the first time.

Currently Playing: The Dandy Warhols – Bohemian Like You

If you don’t know the band, a good place to start listening to them is their Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia album. My favorite song of the bunch is “Bohemian Like You,” a super-catchy, danceable track. They are hard for me to categorize, but I guess I’d compare them to the Pixies, but maybe with a bit of a ’60s psychedelic edge to their music. Whatever they’re doing, I like it, and I hope you will, too.

Le Tigre - Le Tigre

The lead singer has a great sounding voice. I don’t mean so much the way he hits the notes, but the actual sound of his voice. It just works well for the sort of songs he sings. My favorite parts of this song are the places in which he does his woo-hoo’s and hey’s.


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