Sunday, 26 July 2009

Capitol Hill Blog Party! (Saturday)

So Bronwyn and I made a move a bit earlier down to the part-ay to find it was way more crowded and hot and sweaty and thirst-inducing than friday. Possibly the fact that it was a whole entire day in which many people have no work to be done or doing. We also saw Str@y and I ran into Mike Murphy and it was a good day. Lots and lots of bands we did not watch all of and a few we did.

Amongst them:
The Pica Beats Local sort of folky-twee-indie-adjectiveadjectiveadjective band with a cute girl who sometimes sang but mainly played tambourine and there was a saxophone and like, xylophone or something and a guy in glasses who looked pretty typically northwest and sounded it too. This sort of stuff often comes off contrived, or completely played but it was pleasant enough.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart New York power-twee! Washes of Teenage Fanclub distortion on gentle melodies that was really good even if they basically had one basic drum beat for the entire set.

New Faces "Listening to the New Faces is like seeing that person at the store that's like 'hey, remember me?' and you don't, which is weird, because you remember everyone and you have an awkward conversation and you remember that they're boring and that's why you didn't remember them. If they were a band, they'd be the New Faces."-- Brielle.

we didn't stay.

Pela Pela play a form of Springsteeny American Punk Rock and Roll that can be pretty good sometimes but gets less good each time someone who grew up on MxPx decides to get "serious."

once again, we didn't stay.
"I think Pela might be a bit more interesting than the New Faces, but they're way more offensive. Why the dry spell, Block Party?"-- Br'elle

The Thermals I've missed the Thermals so many times it felt like I'd seen them before. They played well but eschewed their earlier, faster stuff for a fairly uniformly 4/4 set, peppered with covers of Nirvana ( "Verse Chorus Verse/Laundry Room") the Breeders ("Summer's Ready" or whatever its called) and Green Day ("Basket Case.") Good show by them but I couldn't help but feel like for a band that's built it's case for existence on being simultaneously brainy and bracing it wasn't much of either.

Future of the Left For about an hour I was back in Wales, just bigger and louder. More stuff from their first record than the new one, which would be my only complaint. Other than that, maybe the most kickass I've seen them. By the time they finish writing "Cloak the Dagger" it'll be unstoppable.

Gossip I'm all about Beth Ditto as a progressive female role-model for young girls. But I do not care about her band. In the words of Bill Hicks: "Oh good. Now there's an all girl form of the music I don't like."

So I went to Future of the Left. Brielle wasn't old enough for that, so she watched Gossip for me. They were okay, apparently.

Sonic Youth It was Thurston Moore's birthday. From a distance he looks about 20. They rocked like it, too. None of the "biggest" hits, but a few from Daydream Nation, lotsa the new record and "Death valley 69" as a closer. Pretty young crowd for a band that started when I was 2 years old. Water was sprayed into the crowd to help with the dehydration issue and once the Youth started, everyone was having a good time.

the 40 minutes before, with everyone, really everyone, trying to get to the front, not so fun. but we avoided punchups at least.

Tommorrow!!!!! A whole-weekend wrap up with all the super-important and relevant hilarious things I forgot to write in the first two entries.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Capitol Hill Blog Party! (friday)

Do you believe in divine sorts of signs? As in, spiritual signposts pointing you to your next step in life?

Even if you don't, you could possibly see how the Capitol Hill Block Party could be interpreted as a divine sign that Graham needs to be in Seatle, specifically one of its self-designated neighbourhoods of art and culture on this weekend. When I told Punk John the line up (sonic youth, the jesus lizard, pains of being pure at heart, future of the left, black lips, deerhunter, the thermals) he said something like "Who curated this event? . . . You?"

Its a two-day fest. Here's what I saw on Friday:

Cornish School of the Arts:
This is where I met my sister Bronwyn aka Brielle aka Toad aka Toady Malone. After that it starts getting ridiculous. She's been a faithful gig buddy since we saw the re-formed Pixies five or six year ago.

Black Lips We got there just about in time for these atlanta garage rocker's opening song. I'm totally on board with this band, if not on board with all the hype about them as a daaaaangerous rock and roll act; though they did chased out of India. They didn't play their soppy sentimental jam ("I'll be with you") or their Stone-Rosey world-rock jam ("Veni Vidi Vici" which is my favourite) but they played 60s-00s garage rock with a refreshing lack of metal/hard rock influence, leaning more on surf. Loads of fun, which is pretty important when you're stood in the sweaty sun at 6pm.

Deerhunter Bradford Cox's vocal pedals broke, so they had to opt out of their wall-of-shoegaze songs for the poppier ones, which they utilized to maximum bounce-potential. Dude is also so very skinny even Lailey would find his skinniness unflattering, which is reaaal skinny. Songs mainly taken from the first half of Microcastle and then a few off Cryptograms. Distorted the fuck out of the bass for "Nothing Ever Happens," highlighting the Sonic Youth influence. Cox also did the hand-to-forehead thing a few times, acknowledging the drama inherent in some of his wounded-boy lyrics.

Built to Spill I hadn't listened to Built to Spill in about two years and had forgotten how much I like this band. The fan-picked (via the internet!!) setlist split the difference between sprawling, northwest-friendly neil-youngy jams and their crisp, catchy pop. Closed with "Carry the Zero," one of my favourite songs of aaaaaallll tiiiiimmmmeeeee. Brielle was boppin' along and there were plenty of sweet gig-buddy "man-this-is-so-good" moments.

The Jesus Lizard So David Yow has hair intermittently on his head, looks about half awake and as soon as the band launches into "Puss" he chucks his whole self into the crowd and we all get pushed into eachother and I lose Brielle to the roiling mass of bodies. The band were tight and loud and no one stopped moving the whole time. The security guards kept shining flashlights and motioning for crowdsurfers to get down. Good luck dudes. Your part of the night is ov-er.

next update: more band reviews similar to this! graham sees future of the left. . . IN AMERICA, opts not to wear his Spillers T-shirt because that would just be too much.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Five things to consider, one week in:

5) the ever-so-slightly larger scale of everything. not just that cars are bigger, or roads are wider, or houses are spaced out to the degree that I've yet to be in a neighbourhood that strikes me as "poor" or "run down". . . simply because at least everyone has a yard. its sort of like comical movie props designed for a large dwarf or an adolescent whose found themselves thrust into maturity like a bouquet of flowers from an awkward suitor into the face of a confused love interest.

6) dude. pizza. dude. see above comment.

7) my new sisters and the way they sort of laugh at my mom but never leave her side, that its already weird to think of my family without them around.

8) visiting my grandmothers. in case you were considering it, you know, for a laugh, lemme say this: don't. have. a stroke. even a small one.

9) been to seattle properly twice now. the first time i saw one person i'd not expected to see. the second time i saw five. been back what? a week? ridiculous.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Gimme sympathy, after all of this is done

. . . after a day of doing nothing and working hard at it (peak energy: walking to tesco with john to buy coffee, slicing some pizza) which was much needed, winding down with Land of the Dead and Rum and Coke (former: bad, latter: good) and a fairly solid night sleep where I did however wake up a few times confused as to where I was, the thought that I could easily now be up for the next 48ish hours doesn't seem so bad.

still, considering a nap or some other such activity this afternoon, just to break things up.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Stuff Happens 2: Brief Roundup-->

-->Went good. Crowd participation in non-invasive ways. Solid readings from everyone and a greater variety of writing and performance styles. Once Huw gets that noise onto disc we'll get it to the folks in London and start having some Content for When the Site Goes Live.
Thoroughly satisfying as my last curated event in Swansea, provided you don't count the going-away-type-event that I've scheduled so that people can't give me grief for not telling them exactly when I was leaving. I mean, it should be fun and everything, picnic and djs at Mozarts and lots of people (according to facebook-invite-responses) and stuff, but every minute I'm hanging out with people now is time I'm not finishing my packing.

If I feel like being a twat, I'm totally playing "wild horses."