The Music Journal: Entry # 6

8/31/09

Atlantic Records

Atlantic Records

Tonight, I saw Crosby Stills & Nash at Starlight Theater in KC. An early plus to this gorgeous evening was the fact that, recently, I have grown used to being one of the oldest members of the rock show audience, and I was definitely one of the youngest at this one. And CSN knew this—in fact, they know their audience really fuckin’ well. The tickets said 7:30 start time, and at a fairly prompt 7:35, they were walking onstage. They realize that old people are a slow and generally more confused bunch, and that this extra 5 minutes can really work wonders.

Though I wasn’t familiar with most of the stuff they played (and not really a fan of about half of it), there were some great moments, mostly from David Crosby. The dude’s vocal harmonies are legendary; he was a Byrd, for chrissake! In all seriousness, my favorite tune of the night came about halfway through their first set, which was mostly made up of lighter acoustic numbers. It was performed solely by Crosby, with backing vocals provided beautifully by Graham Nash. Katie’s dad Jim said the song was called “Guinivere”, but I have yet to verify this. I just know Crosby had this acoustic guitar in this amazing tuning and was playing these really beautiful, darkly-tinged chords, and the vocal lines were off the hook. “Déjà vu” was pretty sweet too, although a bit long—during the second set, the boys got a little jammy, which wasn’t the best (the several Deadheads in the crowd who were swaying to their cover of “Uncle John’s Band” would surely disagree with me). With that said, Stephen Stills did have some shining moments on lead guitar in the second half. Some of his solo work was pretty freakin’ sweet. But I wasn’t a big fan of all his guitar tones, and during the first set, on both vocals and acoustic guitar, he was pretty sloppy.  His singing especially made me squirm–at times, he sounded a lot like the old man character in that band The Frogs.  You know, the one who sings about Jerry Lewis and the wheelchair blues?  No?  Stop reading this now and get a Frogs record!

Atlantic Records

Atlantic Records

I have seen a lot of shows recently, and even though I didn’t care for much of the material, this show has to be one of the best as of late. It was really great to be there with loved ones on such a gorgeous night (we were all secretly worried it would rain), and it was pretty cool to hear close to four Buffalo Springfield songs (including the obvious, of course), and about as many songs from Déjà vu, which is my favorite CSN(&Y) album. I could have sworn I heard the Y in there singing a few times. My big secret wish of the night was that Neil Young would make a surprise appearance toward the end and they would all play “Ohio” together in rememberance of those killed and wounded at the Kent State shootings. Yeah fuckin’ right! That’s the thing, too—after sitting through the concert and listening to all these songs, and really taking in the CSN experience, I realized how essential Y was to that whole equation. He was like the Dr. Dre to CSN&Y’s NWA. Damn, that’s a lot of free-floating capital letters. I think there is some sort of code against printing too many acronyms in sequence.

Lots of good shows recently, though—the Breeders, lots of ACB’s, Jim Crego and North vs. South, Pet Lions, Shots Fired, Peter Bjorn and John, Green Day, Franz Ferdinand, etc. Throw a Chiefs game in there, and you got yourself a pretty damn good month or month and a half. Oh yeah, and my band winning Best Pop Band for the second straight year at our local music awards was pretty cool, too. Although I have to say I was disappointed we didn’t get a duffel bag full of random goodies like last year (Sharpies, Chex Mix, cat-o-nine-tails, etc.), but I am a forgiving soul.

Matador Records

Matador Records

As far as music listening, I’ve been quite a sucker for that new Jay Reatard record. The thing with Reatard is I never really sought him out or really ever wanted to like him, but his songs are just so listenable, so fucking playable, straight-up Brit-influenced-punk with acoustic guitars and Glenn Danzig-esque imagery. Even better is how easy it is to sing along with his tunes—nearly all of them could be anthems, albeit for some pretty fucked up people. But hey, maybe like Crosby Stills and Nash, Reatard knows his audience. It’s all over in 32 minutes anyway, so there is almost no excuse not to at least give it a shot—you’ll probably know what you’re going to think of it after the first song, which is like 2 minutes. And my guess is if you are a fan of stellar rock and roll, you’re gonna fuckin’ love it!

Domino Records

Domino Records

Currently, I’m listening to this new Arctic Monkeys record, and I’m pretty nonplussed at the moment. It sounds like they are trying to make their Strangeways, Here We Come or something. It’s one thing to try to sound like a band, but slightly more difficult to sound like a band in the middle of a transitional period who isn’t even so sure themselves what they want to create (The Smiths broke up not long after that record). I dunno, I should admit that I was really looking forward to more stuff in the vein of their last two albums. They both have, quite simply, a lot of really fun rock tunes. The first song I ever heard by them was “The View from the Afternoon” and it’s still one of my faves. That’s not really fair, though—artists should be allowed to pursue their collective creative vision…unless they are douche bags. I’m not saying anything about you guys, Arctic Monkeys. I don’t even know you! But for reals…

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