Johnny Cash – “Hurt”   April 20th, 2010

Originally Written 09/08/09

Johhny Cash covers “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails.

I remember this song from the last album he did in 2002, and I loved the video on the DVD included with it. I ran across a link for it and it’s nice to see it’s on YouTube. It’s a wonderful cover, faithful to the source material without a hint of irony, but also making the song his own. There’s a lot of emotion in this one; it’s both a moving song and a beautiful video.

I have a lot of respect for Johnny Cash. He’s one of the few country musicians who I like and I like how he was a man of the people, acknowledging his own mistakes and troubled past. I like that he wore his faith on his sleeve, but it a very humble and human way. He was concerned with the plight of the disenfranchised, not preaching from an ivory tower. His song “Man in Black” is a good example of that.

Tuvan Throat-Singing Rap   April 20th, 2010

Originally Written 10/29/08, Revised 04/19/10

The Boing Boing blog had this odd music video which people might like.

It’s Tuvan Throat-Singing Rap by Ondar, with the voice of Richard Feynman. It’s got a fun stream-of-consciousness vibe to it. Tuvan throat singing is hella cool and it’s just a fun video. The mix of Western and Eastern cultures is fun and anything which refernces the physicist Richard Feynman is worth mentioning.

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Moby’s Beautiful Stars   April 20th, 2010

Originally Written 04/04/08, Revised 04/19/10

Moby is an artist I need to check out more of. I’ve liked a lot of what I’ve heard of his music. It’s usually very catchy with some interesting themes. The guy has some great concepts for his music videos too

Beautiful is a wonderfully twisted skewering of the party crowd, done at a key party with a bunch of people in animal mascot suits. It’s like a furpile on the set of Boogie Nights. The poor rabbit guy in this reminds me of William H. Macey’s character in that film.

I remember the cries of “fursecution” when it came out, how everyone thought he was making fun of furries. In truth it looks pretty obvious that it doesn’t have anything to do with the fandom. Instead it’s using the suits to create a cartoonish scene and an interesting take on anthropomorphism.  I love how they used the costumes to good effect here, both playing on the lack of good facial expressions, and how bad most of the fursuits look.

Stars isn’t as interesting, but I dig the song, plus it gets random points for giving Ron Jeremy a cameo in it. It is a fun video for all of the other celebrity shots they get in there too, including the Toxic Avenger and other Troma characters. I do like the theme of an astronaut watching America and our fascination with celebrity in a detached manner.

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Great Big Sea Concert   April 20th, 2010

Written 10/25/08

My friend Chris and I went to see Great Big Sea, the Newfoundland folk rock group, in concert tonight. They play a nice mix of traditional folk songs and harder rock originals. I was impressed with the various instruments they were playing and how they swapped out guitars, a mandolin, a fiddle a flute and a hand drum between songs. They’re quite energetic with their stage banter and got lots of audience participation. They were quite entertaining both in their humor and with their music and it was a great show.

I’d bought four of their albums and had been listening to them, so I recognized most of the songs and they played several which I really liked. They also played “Helmet Head” which I’d been hoping for, as it was the first song of theirs I’d heard and it’s a lot of fun.

The show was in the Orpheum theater. It’s an old theater which has seen better days, but is still holding together okay. It’s small, but it has some character and I like the ornate decorative moldings it has on the walls. I saw Dark Star Orchestra with Matt there a few years ago, so it was neat to get back there.

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Rush Show   April 20th, 2010

Written 07/12/08
Speaking of their “Snakes and Arrows” Tour

I went and saw Rush in concert tonight. I hadn’t originally planned on going. I’d heard they were playing, but I’m lukewarm on their last two albums. Then a couple of weeks ago I mentioned the show to Terry and he was up for seeing it. I thought about it and it’s been 10 years since I’d seen them, plus who knows how much longer they’ll be around. We got Paul to come with us as well.

We had seats in the nosebleed section, but the Verizon Arena in Manchester is small enough so we had a good view of the stage. The acoustics were a little muddy, but not too bad. Rush themselves are showing their age, but the boys can still rock out. Geddy can’t scream as loud as he used to, but he still got some good high notes.

They played a few songs from “Snakes and Arrows.” There’s a couple I like, including “Far Cry” and then a couple more that I didn’t get into since I didn’t have a connection to the song. However, the rest of the songs were all vintage ones. It was great to hear them and fun to be able to recognize songs I hadn’t heard in so long as they started to play them. They played old favorites like “Tom Sawyer” of course, and “The Trees” but also lesser-heard songs like “Between the Wheels.” I was happy that they not only played the 2112 Overture and “Temples of Syrinx” but also “Natural Science” which is one of my favorites and a nice long one. They also had a nice long three-song encore, which is another nice thing I remember from earlier shows.

They put on a great light show as usual, with some occasional nice pyrotechnics as well. There were a couple of explosions that surprised me. Besides video segments, they also played close-ups of the band members on the large video screens behind the stage. I appreciated that, being able to see them perform better even up in the stands. They had a couple of goofy video skits introducing each set, which included Geddy and the other guys doing some silly acting. They also had Rush themed bits from the McKenzie Brothers and South Park. The other funny bit I enjoyed was a Ken type doll mocked up to look like Neal Peart, with his own miniature drum set, which sat next to Geddy’s keyboard and was shown on the screens a couple of times.

So it was a great show. It’s not the same as seeing them in the early 90s, and I would’ve loved to see some of the classic concerts, but they still rocked out and delivered a great time. It was a lot of fun to reconnect with the music from my youth again. I’m glad we decided to see them this time. I was worried I might be disappointed, but instead It added another nice memory of the band.

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