Monday, January 31, 2011

What's on my concert calendar?

2011 is on pace to shatter any previously held live music record.  I have yet to see a show in 2011, but the lineup of shows I'm planning to attend is freakishly long right now.  Please take a listen to the samples of acts I will be seeing live between now and the end of May.  In most of these cases my "other" ticket is already spoken for, but if you are interested in going to any of these shows let me know (only a few of these shows are sellouts).  As people who have gone to shows with me know, I have zero problem being the coordinator of such activities and will gladly front the ticket fee until the time of the show.

Girl Talk | Congress Theater | March 4

Machine Gun Mojo | Elbow Room | March 5

Holy Ghost! | Riviera | April 8

Cut Copy | Riviera | April 8

Delorean | Lincoln Hall | April 19

The National | UIC | April 25

Arcade Fire | UIC | April 25

Freelance Whales | Metro | April 26

Foals | Metro | April 26

Peter Bjorn And John | Lincoln Hall | May 7

Janelle Monae | Aragon | May 27

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What were my concert highlights (and regrets) of 2010?

My procrastination has delayed this post a full month, and with my first 2011 show potentially being this Tuesday, I gotta get this out the door.  Here is a comprehensive review of my 2010 life seeing live music: the shows, the missed opportunities, the highlights, the regrets...

February 20 | Lincoln Hall | Tortoise
Saw this show mainly because not going would have meant a friend missing out on one of his favorite bands (I don't think he would have gone solo).

March 3 | Elbow Room | Machine Gun Mojo
A benefit show that benefited cancer charity that finally allowed me to see a coworker's band firsthand.
April 5 | Lincoln Hall | Camera Obscura
Stupidly bought these tickets not realizing it was the same night of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship (Luckily the show sold out and I found a happy buyer).

April 8 | Lincoln Hall | The xx
A band of the moment, in the moment (smugly happy that I was a tad ahead of the curve getting to see'em live)

April 29 | Metro | Yeasayer
Waited too long before it sold out (Regret erased before 2010 closed!)

April 30 | Metro | Los Campesinos!
Bailed at the last second, luckily my friend found another for my ticket.

June 3 | Lincoln Hall | Tortoise
It's clear that if anybody suggest a show at Lincoln Hall, I'll do everything in my power to join'em.

June 9 | Lincoln Hall | Stars
An out of town friend sold me her tickets to this show, and I didn't find anybody wanting to see it with me (like Camera Obscura, I made a buyer happy to pay only face value for a sold out show)

July 16 | Union Park | Pitchfork Music Festival
I really can't honestly call it a regret, because I know I had more fun at the 9th Annual Lebowski Fest (but missing LCD Soundsystem and Broken Social Scene hurt... tons.)

August 6 | Metro | Cut Copy
Most fun I've ever had at a show (even with a humbling side bar)

August 8 | House of Blues | Phoenix
INSTA-SELLOUT: unable (and unwilling) to pay over face to see'em for the 4th time in 2 years.

August 12 | Double Door | Machine Gun Mojo
I saw'em the first time to support a friend, saw'em again because they are good.

August 17 | Northerly Island | My Morning Jacket
Maybe the best experience of the year (with a great friend, at a great venue, great weather... what more could you want?)

September 1 | Union Park | North Coast Music Festival
The greatest Groupon deal in history (and a landmark concert going experience)

Chemical Brothers - Another World by ImaCrea

October 3 | Pabst Theater | Broken Social Scene
In the month of Breast Cancer Awareness I took a friend who recently lost his Mom from it.  To a band he had to miss in July because he was in Ohio with her during the last stages.

September 21 | Lincoln Hall | Land of Talk
Oh, how I love Mountie Rock - don't you ever change.

September 24 | Lincoln Hall | Foals
The day itself is the biggest regret of 2010, not seeing Foals that night was only a part of it (but already have tickets in hand to see'em in 2011)

November 17 | Lincoln Hall | Delorean
I've always relied on the kindness of strangers.

December 2 | Lincoln Hall | Freelance Whales
Was able to bring 3 people into this show free, and met a (mushroomed out) lonely soul from Milwaukee in the process.

December 30 | Metro | Yeasayer
I won't make excuses or apologies for seeing a great set at half the price and six times less the hassle the night before NYE.

In case you are curious how this stacked up to 2009, go check it out.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Do you want to taste my Coffee inspired mixtape?

Today I learned of a special work assignment for tomorrow.  Without giving away too many work-specific details, I have to take the company van about an hour north of the office to pick up over 200 cases of coffee that will be used in various efforts to introduce a new Brand.  About two years ago I had to take a van even farther to pick up samples of another new-at-the-time product for the purposes of a launch strategy.

That last trip was to a city named Rock City, Illinois (which is past Rockford, near the Rock River).  The trip which prompted the creation of a mixtape called, "Rock music for getting past Rockford and over the Rock River to Rock City."  It was difficult to fit that title on a blank CD).

My boss prefaced her assigning of this latest task by referencing that mixtape (of which I had given her a copy) saying, "You're going to have to get that Rock Rock mixtape ready..."  Although it was said as a joke, everyone in my office knows I will craft mixtapes at the slight mention of one.  There was zero doubt, especially when faced with having to drive alone in a car that wasn't my own, that I was making a mixtape post haste:

(Mixtape Title Censored due to it matching the new Brand not to be mentioned here)
1. "Meet Me in the Basement" by Broken Social Scene
2. "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire
3. "One More Cup Of Coffee" by Bob Dylan
4. "Dance Or Die" by Janelle Monae
5. "Faster" by Janelle Monae
6. "Wake Up Alone" by Amy Winehouse
7. "Hot Like Fire" by The xx
8. "Electric Feel" by MGMT
9. "Drink to Moving On" by Grand National
10. "When You Wake up Feeling Old" by Wilco
11. "My Maudlin Career" by Camera Obscura
12. "Awake My Soul" by Mumford & Sons
13. "Mr. Ambulance Driver" by The Flaming Lips
14. "Wake Up Dead Man" by U2
15. "A Beautiful Mine" by RJD2
Bob Dylan - One More Cup Of Coffee by waldojeffers

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How am I going to make it until Sunday?

The upcoming Bears & Packers NFC Championship has opened the portal into a Chicago Meatball Sports fans BEARPOCALYPSE!

I have all kinds of adrenalin running as fast through my circulatory system as Devin Hester in the open field.  Tonight I embraced my inner Meatball fan and put together a slide show because there's nothing else I can do to kill time until 2 PM this Sunday.  BEAR DOWN!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How will MTV present Snook's alcohol abuse?

A spill on Seaside
Tonight was a perfect storm of reality trash with the 3rd episodes of both ABC's Elimidate and Jersey Shore airing on the same night.  It was a night where I turned a corner with one show (The Bachelor) and was hoping there would be a corner to tun on the other (True Life: I Pump Fists). [Post 2 of 2]

I actually have some serious comments and heartfelt reservations about what The Jersey Shore is setting up, but let's get the mindless fun out of the way first:

Sam is the arguable all-star of tonight's episode for taking the high road (one not often traveled in Seaside) and apologizing to both Snooki and Deena.  It was a great turnaround from her seemingly digging a larger hole for herself by attacking Ronnie seemingly out of nowhere for prior crimes.  I understand she's not a constitutional lawyer, but hopefully someone can explain the concept of Double Jeopardy to her.  But we can all happily move on knowing that Sam is not going to have an isolated Angelina-esque arc this season.  Even better is that she appears to have made up with Ronnie.  I want those two together on the show, just not separated from the rest of the gang.

The gang works best when they are together, and the segment of Karma and the continuation back at the house were my favorite pieces of the show.  The largest laugh of the night was Danielle "The Stalker" executing a Sean Penn to the MTV Camera.  And is there anybody you'd rather want on your side if things go bad in a club than Ronnie?  He went from chill with Sam talking about love to snapping into action to see if Pauly D needed help.  Did you notice one of the T-Shirts worn by a DTFer had Ronnie's credo of "Come At Me Bro" written on it?  Classic fist pumping and stage falling  aside, I probably could have done without J-Woww relieving herself behind a V.I.P. (Vacate Immediately to Piss) bar.

Back at the house Vinny continues his, for lack of a better term, success rate while Mike brings home arguably the most attractive woman (Paula) ever seen in the show's 3 season run.  The largest smile of the night was witnessing the shared laughter between Vinny and Ronnie over Turkey Burgers at 4:30 AM.

And then we came to the Drunk.

MTV used to be the network progressive enough to first air commercials for condoms and were advocates of safe sex.  Now they are the network that's given notoriety to multiple seasons of Teen Mom.  A network that was very quick to step away from behind the camera to confront Ruthie on her alcohol abuse during The Real World: Hawaii.  They like nothing more than to prop themselves up for being more than a network, for example using its True Life program as an example of their known responsibility to their viewers.

I'm nervous how they will treat the Snooki drunkenness.  Very nervous.  At first, I was optimistic because they showed confessions of roommates detailing how rarely she is sober in the house.  Most of all, the scenes of her sneaking a beer at work - and worse using a coffee break for shots - were the most vivid representation of a problem's exponential descent.  But then the boss at the T-Shirt Store used the term "rock bottom" in a comical, almost laughing-at-you, way.  And the music MTV decided to play over her disorderly behavior at the beach sounded stolen from a circus.

Like I've said before, this show works best when its characters work as a family.  Judging by the previews Snook's real family might get involved too.  Sadly, we know how this turns out - Snooki is still drinking today.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Is Michelle from The Bachelor crazy?

Michelle: not crazy.
Tonight was a perfect storm of reality trash with the 3rd episodes of both ABC's Elimidate and Jersey Shore airing on the same night.  It was a night where I turned a corner with one show (The Bachelor) and was hoping there would be a corner to tun on the other (True Life: I Pump Fists). [Post 1 of 2]

Michelle, the self described WOMAN among girls, is clearly being painted as an evil mastermind of courtship by her show's editors.  And yes, I'm calling it her show now.  About halfway through tonight's episode I had a moment of clarity in regards to her: the "crazy" actions in a "crazy" set up are actually the actions of a sane normal person by some sort of a mathematical double negative rule.  All women in an early relationship should act, and more importantly feel, the way she does.  She should want all the other "girls" to get on a plane and go away.  She should want to hijack her way into any conversation not involving her.  Hearing of her target kiss other girls should piss her off.  And she's the only one seeing clearly (or admitting) at this point.  She's calling out this dude and he's loving every minute of it.  At the Rose Ceremony some other girl showed weakness by vocalizing her self doubt, but Michelle didn't hesitate boasting her confidence.  And that's how you need to feel if you're facing down a Rose Ceremony: if you don't have the confidence that you have a connection worthy of a red one, you shouldn't get one.

Speaking of not having the Flower Power, Madison did the right thing.  Once again, here's another example of someone painted as a crazy person acting the most sane of all.  Of course she doesn't feel any connection because Cowboy Awshucks never gave her a chance.  Don't get hung up on those fake fangs: once they were off, so were the gloves.

In Michelle and Madison I felt like I could see the motivation behind their actions.  I can relate to that.  When Ashley (?) floated a false preference of being sent home now instead of later it reeked of double reverse mind games.  The pause it created in the lonely Cowboy was, to me, his second honest emotion and reaction of the season (the first being the first confrontation with Vampire Madison).

Then I realized that this honest emotion I saw from The Bachelor was one of a lack of understanding, and that might be a clue.  Is this guy dumb?  Seriously, I'm staring to think he is just a hot bod with perpetual face gruff stuffed in a fancy car and expensive fashion.  Most of what he says feels written for him by another.  He doesn't have a conversational speech pattern expect for when he says, "I like (you / it / that / when), I really like (you / it / that / when)."  Other times he's sitting down saying platitudes prefaced with, "I promise you..." as if there are cue cards held up behind the girl he is facing.  This will no doubt read meaner than my intention, but he reminds me of Forrest Gump: Stupid is as stupid hands out roses.

So after three of these episodes, I'm still going to hold to my initial prediction that he's going to get on a knee for a southern belle.  It's clear that Michelle isn't going any where anytime soon.  For the record, if I had to pick one of these girls - I think I'd be leaning towards the funeral director at this time.

Or I'd be running off the set to track down Madison because I think she left her prop teeth behind.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What is the most damning four letter word spoken on the Jersey Shore?

Deena: new cast member for season three
Thursday was a long, rough, day at work.  But as I was about to leave another coworker, who was also there later than usual, reminded me (by a few silent although while grinning fist pumps) that I had the 3rd Season Premiere of Jersey Shore waiting for me at home as my reward.

I ended up taking one of my classic accidental / involuntary naps somewhere around 8 pm and woke up at 3 am realizing returning to sleep wasn't an option.  Of course that meant a little late night Jersey Shore DVR action.  Here are my notes on the Season Premiere, which I don't think was as great as it's Season 2 Premiere:

  • Snooki's shortness & bustiness make her boobs honk her BMW 3 series at every breath.  She is nearly kissing the windshield.
  • Everyone loves the duck phone, and I do too, but I get a better kick out of the somewhat hidden Scarface mural (not the poster, the mural).
  • Can't we all just get along? J-Woww & Sam? Don't start out like this, not like this.
  • That sweet Mercedes is... Vinny's?! Whoa.
  • Really noticing the rides: Snooki & Ronnie have BMWs, Vinny the elite Mercedes, but look at Pauly D trading in the Escalade for the surprisingly understated Caddy (I guess when you tattoo Cadillac down your body you can't be behind the wheel of a Lexus).
  • Snooki calling Sam a Valley Girl must be a special kind of insult a Guidette can throw out. Ronnie calling Deena a Gremlin look-a-like is an equally dated reference, but not as funny to me. (On second thought, is Ronnie even old enough to have seen the movie?)
  • And now we have the traditional sex toy introductions... I see you've met Elmo, is there a Rabbit in the house?
  • Auto update: The Situation stays douchey with the Range Rover (not unlike his fictional TV dick counterpart)
  • The producers must have intentionally held The Situation back and given Sam & Ronnie the head start in getting to the house.  It would make too much sense for an "MVP" room and for the only room with two beds to be roomed by the only couple.  I don't think we will see The Situation eating an egg sandwich on his bed while watching a hook up (one of the highlights from their season in Miami).
  • Someone came prepared with talking points: "Single & ready to mingle" "A walking Holiday" "Blast in a Glass" (space'em out Deena. Let'em breathe and don't fire them all out at once like you just did)
  • The Situation Monologues, "If Deena was a holiday she'd definitely be Thanksgiving because she's got a lot to give and she's down for a lot of stuffing"
  • Sam says she can't deal with meatballs? Hello, why are you here? (oh yeah, that's why)
  • Deena was first introduced to those of us who saw the Snooki drop on NYE. When my friend heard that she was brought in by Snooki, he wondered why it wasn't Ryder (a guest last season). Answer: she was SBV ( "Smushed By Vinny")\
  • How to make an awkward silence more awkward? Have it in a hot tub.
  • Leader in the clubhouse with best line, "Stick it in a jet hole and go to bed" (J-Woww to Vinny)
  • "I can help you find your hat." (something I hope doesn't become a joke pick up line)
  • "You just hit an in the house home run" (that's my favorite line. That won't be topped)
  • "Why don't you go put some pajamas on, that's a good situation." (Bronze Medal, no Jersey Tan pun intended: I mean it's the 3rd best line of the night)
  • I'm not all that happy with Sam's actions and attitude this far, but I'm on her side when she laughs at Deena. Look, if you're gonna act funny you're gonna get laughs. Deena did do something to her: act like a drunk clown in front of her.  Deena, meet Joe Pesci.
  • "You are going for Rookie of the Year Award" (that's the Silver Medal in Situation lines tonight)
  • ONE SHOT! COME AT ME BRO! The Ronnie Awakens. Nobody ever wins when that explodes.
  • Deena is just digging herself a bigger hole. (Again, no Jersey Slut pun intended)  For Ronnie to invoke the godforsaken banished roommate Angelina speaks volumes.  She does not realize the poor logic of loudly yelling about Sam while she is upstairs before criticizing Ronnie "fighting her fights" for her.  If anything, Ronnie is fighting his own fight - he's clearly lost patience with the new roomie.
  • "I will attack you like a squirrel monkey." (here's the proper quote Snook)
  • A lot of nasty four letter words were used tonight... But the word that seems the most hurtful and powerful in the house is "fake."
Finally, the fighting has got to stop. I really hope it does because I have no interest in watching each episode end with women taking off their earrings as the credits begin.  This show, at it's best, works as a flawed family with insane interpersonal relationships.  The fighting makes the show look more like an outdated Jerry Springer.  The clips MTV showed of the season to come were focusing mainly on the breakdown of their family relationship and the destructive drunkenness of Snooki.  This w probably be the final season of Jersey Shore, and I fear, it's worst.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why do you watch The Bachelor?

I watched ABC's version of Elimidate tonight.
The sole reason I wanted to watch it was to talk about it.
People at my work have a gambling pool based on the show.
These colleagues have a fiscal rooting interest in the bachelorettes.
For the record, I'm not in on that competition.
For the record, I kinda wish I was.

Supposedly this "returning" Bachelor is a very hated man.
Not seeing his first season, I don't understand why.
Would people rather have him propose to a woman he didn't want to marry?
Call me simple, call me heartless, call me one that can't believe you can find honest real love while Chris Harrison tells you which order the producers want you to call out names like "Ashley H." as if he's reading who is supposed to be line leader to fourth grade music class.

I can find heart in bad television like the fist pumpingly wonderful Jersey Shore, but I struggled tonight (but eventually did find some sincere emotion in me). Yes, I rooted for the beauty in a blue dress because she was, like me, from "outside Chicago" and couldn't quite get her moment in front of Mr. Cowboy. Of course I was not happy that Madison the Vampire got a rose.

The moment of tonight's episode that came as close to sincerity as I could be convinced was the confrontation to Madison the Vampire. For a split second I thought that Mr. Cowboy might actually not find her teeth a funny joke - that he wanted to take 30 incredibly attractive, unrealistically (perhaps artificially) in perfect shape strangers who were literally jumping into his arms at first sight, asking him to get down on one knee for a quazi-proposal and hitching up their boobs while exiting out of limos as a serious venture to arrive at the most important decision of his life.

A decision that he's had to make before. Which leads me to my initial disgust that this Cowboy is back on the TV. Like I typed earlier, I support his non decision he made three years ago - but I can't quite support ABC's decision to bring him back. It's not like this show needs a ratings gimmick, and they have more than a full stock of past rose-less contestants wanting to control the spotlight instead of vying for it.

It's a show that I'm going to continue to watch, for now - if only to be able to talk about it around others that talk about it. Maybe I'll grow a rooting interest in someone like that WOMAN that has a five year old kid. Although if I was said Cowboy, it would take a mighty strong steer to rustle me away from that bubbly first impression rose winner.

So here are my stupid snap predictions:
Madison the Vampire is a plant of the producers. She had to make it to episode two, or she's a known person in Cowboy's life to provide inside intel.
The Rockette's dancing antics will grow tired on everybody, and will be her downfall.
Chris Harrison will wear something hideous at a rose ceremony.
Someone gets a tattoo on a one-on-one date.
A crew member will get fired for interfering with "the reality."
The Bachelor will propose to a woman with a southern accent, and she will accept with less tears than the man on his knee.