Little Lies and Massive Dreams

My name is Bear. I play in a band called Talking About Commas and live and work in Providence, RI. I like music.
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Nov 24, 2010

Deer Tick does Newport (again)

Ah Deer Tick, you boozy bastards…I caught my 8th Deer Tick show in the past 2 years a couple weeks ago in Newport at the Blues Cafe (which has started booking relevant original bands as opposed to has bins and cover bands - kudos!). The past couple times they were in Providence (their home town) they were noticeably road weary and celebratory (read: drunk) so musically the shows were pretty sloppy. But since they put out a new album this summer (Black Dirt Sessions) I figured I would check out how they were sounding.

The show started off with the obligatory "Easy" (seriously; 8 shows = 7 "easy" openers) but then veered towards new territory with an alternate slow rendition of the classic "Ashamed" and then some new songs and covers to boot. The band was loose but not unstrung. Surrounded by fans, friends and family (Ian's mom was in the house - see pic to the right) it was less of a party and more of a "lets show the people that support us how far we've come" type of set. Some tight jams like “Mange” and “Baltimore Blues” highlighted the show for me and proved that this band can really play if they want. Newish guitarist Ian O'Neill, lent his vocals to "Now Its Your Turn" which provided a nice break from McCauleys rasp. Also new to the DT family is keyboardist/saxophonist Rob Corwell who brought some delightful textures and density to the often sparseness of DT’s arrangements.

Openers the Skinny Millionares started off the night with some fun Rockabilly that got the early crowd's energy in a great spot for Deer Tick. Check out the video below (from last years show in newport) of the band's so called "greatest hits" medley - Baltimore Blues, Ashamed & Art isn't real - to get a better idea of the scene.

Set List: Easy, Ashamed*, Twenty Miles, Mexican Home (John Prine), Make Believe, Hope is Big, Little White Lies, Art Isn’t Real (City of Sin), Now its Your Turn**, Happy birthday***, Choir of Angels, Very Deep, Baltimore Blues No 1, Sink or Swim, Daydreaming (Middle Brother cover), Replacements cover, Christ Jesus, Mange

E: These Old Shoes, Cheap Sunglasses (ZZ Top), Chrismas All Summer Long****
* down tempo arrangement. ** Ian on lead vocals. *** for someone in the crowd. **** w/ “Crazy train” teases.

Opener/s: Skinny Millianaires
Venue Info:
beer sitch: $6 for drafts. $3.50 for a PBR
parking: Plenty of street parking (in winter)
layout: Club with a GA floor with an upstairs that has a big whole in the ground to look down at the stage.
Capacity: 300, sold out.

Nov 16, 2010

Greg Brown - live in Pawtucket

Greg Brown is absolutely hypnotizing. When he opens his mouth for a story or a song you can’t help but to be drawn in. About a week ago he played what was the first sit down show at the newly opened Met Café in Pawtucket. Mr. Brown, aided with his brand new Seagull guitar, treated the crowd to about 90 minutes of stories, laughter, singing and dynamite acoustic blues licks.

Greg has a plethora of songs and since its just him up there you don’t know which song (or arrangement) you were going to get, he can literally play anything he remembers. As far as I'm concerned, he played all the classics that got me hooked on his entire catalog. Balancing humor (“Fat Boy Blues”) with sincere love songs (“Spring Wind”); odes to simple family life (“Canned Goods”) with tales of life on the road (“Mose Allison Played here”) - a Greg Brown show is truly a window in to this man’s inner being. The guy is just the embodiment of honest music. Greg Brown doesn’t sing songs because he wants to, it’s because he has to. As always, he pays homage to his roots in his show. With Merle Haggard and Mose Allison covers, Greg lets you see how he became the songwriter he is today.

His whole catalog gets considered at his shows from his newest composition to some of his oldest. It's amazing how he can captivate you with songs he released 25+ years ago as well as brand new ones and even songs that aren’t his. As a singer/songwriter myself, I marvel at this guy's longevity and continued relevancy. He is truly a folk icon. Check out the video below for a small interview and some snapshots of him performing live on Mountain Stage.

Set List: Evening Call, Fat Boy Blues, Freak Flag, Spring Wind, Laughing River, Skinny Days, You Drive Me Crazy, What Happened? (Merle Haggard), He Reached Down (Iris Dement), If I Had Known, Cheapest Kind, Canned Goods
E1: Ever Since the World Ended (Mose Allison), Mose Allison Played Here
E2: One Wrong Turn

Opener/s: none
Venue Info:
beer sitch: $5 bucks for harpoon IPA, $2.50 for a Gansett, nice.
parking: Plenty of street parking
Capacity: 515, probably third full.

Nov 7, 2010

This is why I hate people/press using chart positions to validate a band

Until recently the top 3 artists with the most number of charted singles in music history were 1. Elvis (108) 2. James Brown (91) and of course, 3. The Beatles with 71 - not bad considering they (technically) only had a 7 year career. Makes sense, right? Well now, according to Rolling Stone, the Beatles have been bumped out of the top three by Glee, a fucking television show.

Now i have never seen a full episode of Glee and I think Jane Lynch is hilarious so I can't knock something I haven't tried but i can say this.....Billboard numbers and units sold DO NOT fucking matter! Stupid people buy terrible music all day long. Parents buy 13 year olds shitty music to shut them up and people that don't want to think happily lap up the latest shit pie baked for the lowest common denominator found on the iTunes home page. Yes, the likes of Creed, Nickelback and the Jonas Brothers have sold millions but does that mean they are any kind of representation of music in the world? NO. Its shit like this that makes me so mad - Nathan Moore just turned 40 years old and tours the country with the aid of public transportation and friends couches while living out of a duffel bag while the Nickelback argue over what jet to take to which vacation home they want to visit this week(well, probably). Wake up America! Music is not a bag of Doritos and a microwave dinner, try going to a farmer's market for once in your life.