one of my favorite things about living in san francisco was our near-constant access to great shows. it was occasionally tricky to get tickets to see, say, belle and sebastian at the warfield,* but seeing le tigre at the great american music hall or tanya donelly at bimbo's was like rolling out of bed. with bimbo's shows, that was almost literal: we usually walked there and walked home. hooking it up in new york, on the other hand, you have to be prepared to cut someone. people will queue for an hour for free frozen yogurt in this town; imagine what they'll do to see vampire weekend at a small venue. i usually can't be bothered with jostling for tickets, but i have felt feisty this spring: we have four shows coming up! behold!

22 september: my bloody valentine at roseland ballroom. long ago when the earth was flat and the british pound was worth less than $20, we got tickets to see MBV in glasgow on july 2nd. joe is one of those guys who feels that loveless is one of the greatest albums of all time, and i can be a competitive little brat: i figured we'd be able to win any music geek throwdown with that show under our belts. oh, and glasgow is one of the finest cities on earth (high point of our honeymoon, hands down). then we found that airfare was going to be a thousand dollars apiece; then the roseland shows were announced and i got tickets for those. internets, do you know anyone who'd like to see a free show in scotland? seriously, the ticket agent is making it really difficult for me to resell. i'd rather just give the gift of shoegazer: drop me a line.

1 october: echo & the bunnymen at radio city. o maladjusted '80s marvelousness! i've loved these guys since i first heard "bring on the dancing horses" on a taped-from-TV** copy of pretty in pink. they're performing ocean rain with a full orchestra, and i don't care that ian mcculloch has started sounding like neil young instead of post-punk misanthropy incarnate. "the killing moon" live! with an orchestra! i miss wearing velvet all the time.

3 october: hot chip at terminal 5. "over and over" showed up on new york noise a few years ago and has been stuck in my head more or less ever since. i was disconcerted at first, but it's a marvelous song (and video), so i've adapted. i imagine there will be a lot of fancy, fancy hipsters at the hot chip show; OK with me, as long as they bathe.

29 november: jim gaffigan at town hall. crowded house came through town recently, and joe (who feels more strongly about neil finn than anyone i've ever met) decided we didn't need to get tickets because they were something like $50 apiece; now we're spending only a bit less than that to hear a man talk about hot pockets. i blame george, who mentioned gaffigan's sexy tour when we were heat-dazed en route to new jersey last saturday and had the collective IQ of a raisin. it'll be fun, i'm sure, but i...yeah. hot pockets.

imaginary reading group discussion questions

01 is free frozen yogurt better than vampire weekend?

02 what's the greatest album of all time?

03 did i go to wendy's twice yesterday?

*jacob and i met a girl at that show who later appeared in a dvd extra for season 3 of the L word.

**i think it was the first dubbed movie i ever saw; i didn't realize for years that jon cryer wasn't actually calling james spader slime.


tom said...

what's the greatest album of all time?

Christ, that's tough.

See, opinions on albums can change. Take Exile in Guyville by way of example... an album which is not the "greatest album of all time" -- not even close.

Yet this was, for a while, the only indie point-of-reference I had prior to college. Previous to that, I was about as white bread musically as you could get -- suburbanized / middle America has its charms, but adventurous tastes in music isn't exactly cultivated unless, somehow, you were made aware of label catalogs (which I wasn't). I simply had no idea what was out there.

Hence: the album was just so different from the other stuff that I was listening to, and it hit my ear in the funniest little way that was new, exciting and revelatory. There wasn't a set formula to it, the writing was interesting, the chords were off-kilter instead of straight-ahead la-de-dah, and so on and so on.

More recent developments / knowledge have taken any possible gloss off the production, however. (The fact that she is going to reprise the whole album this month at a gig set off a half-contained sneer from the local press.) And yet the record remains the same -- not a note has changed, not a word has been redacted. The "greatest album of all time," hence, depends a lot on what happens after that.

It's a bit like a pitcher who wins twenty games one season and is completely mediocre for the rest of his career -- the stupendous season is frozen in time, but the perceived greatness of it fades and it becomes, "well, he had that one great year, but &c."

Perhaps What's Going On survives under this analysis. And at least one Beatles album must sneak into consideration (I pick Revolver). But I truly have no freakin' clue what the answer is. Ask me next week.

jacob said...

so tom, you're basically saying that liz phair is the steve stone of music.

speaking of (fogey act) concerts, megan and i will be at the mission of burma show tonight at the paradise in boston. yar!

also, even having a friend appear on "the l word" dvd extras couldn't get me to season 3 in that silly series.

and though we missed it, you can stick around after the jim gaffigan show if you want your picture taken with him.

lauren said...

@tom: it's an impossible question, of course - i just like the wildly personalized responses it provokes. today mine is the smiths' the queen is dead, but i'll probably change my mind in a few months. or tomorrow. i think "what's going on" is a great answer, though - and i go back and forth on marvin gaye.

@jacob: i'd love to tell you that it's enjoyably awful, but - no, no one should watch that show. it makes gossip girl look like the wire.

G said...

01 I would have to agree that free fro-yo > vampire weekend. One provides almost guiltless heat relief, the other the risk of a guilt-ridden eternal existence.

02 Nominees:
Dave Brubeck, Time Out
Neil Young, Harvest Moon
Beastie Boys, Paul's Boutique

03 Probably. Wendy's sneaks up on you like that.

tom said...

@jacob: yes, but (1) Stoney had his brilliance at the end of his career (1980 Cy Young for Baltimore), and (2) people in Chicago actually like him -- his "fan favorite" status here is well cemented. Otherwise? Right down the middle.

g said...

1. i've not heard much of vampire weekend, but i do remember thinking that their style did not match up with their name. i was very disappointed. i guess frozen yogurt wins by just being adequate.

seems appropriate, actually. "oh, it's not ice cream? i really wanted ice cream. so, uh, no ice cream, then. well... i suppose this'll do." *sigh*

2. sometime very soon, this question will have become totally meaningless. people don't listen to entire albums any more. i have to go lay down.

3. i don't know. does your back hurt?

lauren said...

g: my back TOTALLY hurts. also, does wendy's actually exist in manhattan?

[she checks their website]

never mind, i'm senile. there's one a block away from my office.

uncle paul said...

02 Chairs Missing moved into the top spot a little while ago and at present shows no signs of being dislodged by the hefty crowd beneath, which might include, I don't know, Agharta and Johnny Cash at Folsom.