Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monday, April 07, 2008

Kimya Dawson @ Webster Hall (4/6/08)

Kimya Dawson has reached the pinnacle of her fame with the Juno soundtrack (although a second soundtrack is reportedly coming soon) after achieving cult status with The Moldy Peaches. Her child-like voice, her simple guitar picking and cutesy lyrical style could easily seem immature and start to become grating if you don't pay close enough attention; but if you do, and if you go along for the ride, you'll find her songs are plenty rewarding, inspiring and just plain amusing - especially in the way they address non-conformity and adolescence (such as I Like Giants - "I like giants, especially girl giants/because all girls feel too big sometimes, regardless of their size" and Eleventeen - "You may feel strange, well you are an angel/stuck in tight pants, stuck at a high school dance/stuck doing people things, not knowing you have wings").

Her show last night at Webster Hall began with a pair of opening acts that were both entertaining; first up was a French quartet called L'Orchidee D'Hawai, whose album we meant to pick up on the way out but the show ran late and Becca especially needed to get back home. L'Orchidee D'Hawai played songs in Polish, Italian and English (there was probably French mixed in there as well, but we can't exactly recall at the moment), in what they said was only their second show ever in the U.S. They combined an Eastern European/Gogol Bordello-vibe with surf rock and some kick-ass drumming by a very entertaining fellow on the skins.

Next up was Dawson's baby daddy, Angelo Spencer, who rocked out pretty hard despite playing alone and following D'Hawai. The highlight for us was "a brand new song" we would think would be titled "Music is My Sweat" which found him setting a bass guitar on fire (not literally, sadly) to an anthem tune akin to "Music is My Boyfriend" but without the bubblegum.

Kimya took the stage at about 10:45 and her entire set was acoustic and pretty quiet, certainly compared to the openers. She was joined on stage by Matt (Matty Pop Star) Tobey and Erin Tobey, who sang along, played ukulele and xylophone and also played a song or two each solo (Matty Pop Star was a bit too cute and heavy-handed in his songwriting for our taste but we came home and immediately downloaded the song Erin played, called Secret Letters, which was a bit more entertaining live than in recorded form, but a fine song nonetheless). Note: If you're a Kimya fan, these are the Tobeys Kimya refers to in Tire Swing ("I never met a Tobey that I didn't like").

For us, the highlights of Kimya's set were the segment in which she played tunes from her upcoming children's album, Alphabutt, which were hilarious, and the end of the set and encore, where musician friends of Kimya's dressed in bags joined her on stage for a choreographed dance to Loose Lips and I Like Giants, plus a series of covers including The Greatest Love of All and The Sun Will Come Out, Tomorrow (which provided the lone encore that Kimya said was unrehearsed, and featured Kimya's toddler, Panda, appearing on stage right and clapping along).

Despite some obnoxious drunks yelling for Loose Lips throughout the show (we might have run into them later on 14th St.; two young girls barely able to walk straight loudly singing the song, who told us they loved us "even more" when we surprised them by joining in for the "fuck this war!" line), it was well worth getting home in the wee hours of the morning. We always enjoy Webster Hall, the crowd skewed very young, fun and enthusiastic and though Kimya is definitely a fad at this point, we've enjoyed her music since her moldy days and expect to stick with her.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Radio Free ROSCOE?

So the Today R.E.M. quiz is royally fucked up (or purposely fucked up because it's April Fool's Day?). Click below to enlarge.

Also, we actually got one of their questions wrong, which would be a shock if not for the fact that THEY got it wrong. R.E.M. may mean "Rapid Eye Movement" in the dictionary - but the band's name is just three letters and dots. (Serves us right for overestimating Today's quizmaster.)

One satisfied customer

Click to enlarge.

UPDATE: Who wants to play Spot the Matt?

Want a clue?

R.E.M. on The Today Show (Happy Accelerate Day!)

If you weren't following my frequent twitters (tsk tsk), here's how it went (and yes, I'm dropping the usual "we" for this post):

I left Hobo at 4:30 a.m., but slow orange-line trains kept me from Rock Center until around 6. Only a handful of people on line at that point, but I still couldn't have arrived at a better time, because I got to share a spot on line with Matt and Mary Lou, and soon got a tap on my shoulder and met Jen behind us. All Murmursians, all great people - and all new friends.

We were around the corner from the stage, but not long after we arrived we heard an instrumental Losing My Religion off in the distance. Some nice folks held our spot in line while we snuck over to watch the band's first soundcheck, this one in the rainy dark under a tent. We walked up close to the stage but were shooed away by security. I took some video over my shoulder as we walked back toward the line, and then took some more photos from further away.

Eventually, we were allowed to file into the plebian section, which was separated from the stage by the VIP/Al Roker walkway area, though we were close enough to be satisfied (and actually were allowed to get closer right before the concert began).


Matt left us after a second soundcheck to run to work/buy fanclub presale tickets for MSG, and Mary Lou, Jen and I passed the time making fun of The Today Show, making fun of Jen for watching The Today Show, and learning interesting facts about Barack Obama (he prefers basketball to bowling; who knew?). We also made faces for the camera and my mom called to tell me she saw me on TV (I haven't seen it yet, but it's on the DVR). Eventually, after a brief run-through of Losing My Religion again, the end of the 8 o'clock hour began to approach and Matt Lauer introduced the band with a brief interview on stage.

I believe he said Rolling Stone called Accelerate "their best record ever," which is not true if he did (David Fricke called it one of their best); anyway, his comment seemed to embarrass the guys. Then it was time for Losing My Religion proper, which really got going on Buck's mandolin solo, as usual. Just as they started playing, it began to rain, and there was a great moment where Stipe pointed to the sky and smiled. Supernatural Superserious and Hollow Man rounded out the set and both sounded vibrant and really got the crowd going. Perhaps not my choices for singles, but they really worked in that venue, so maybe Warner Bros. knows a thing or two I don't.

Right after they finished up, Lauer made his closing remarks and they began tearing down the stage. We were hoping for another song perhaps later on, but it wasn't to be. Mary Lou suggested finding a record store, so we asked a cop and he directed us to the nearest Best Buy, where we grabbed a copy each and toasted to R.E.M. and new friendships. We also gushed and gushed about R.E.M. and didn't have anyone roll their eyes at us, which is a rare and glorious thing indeed.

Overall, the perfect way to celebrate Accelerate Day. Here's a video clip as I head back to bed for a much-needed nap...apologies for not being much of a photographer in the previous photos or in the vid below...