Andrew Bird – Logan Square Aud. 24 Nov 2006

Sorry for the delay hello.fan but better late than never I suppose.

So I had the pleasure to see Andrew Bird at the Logan Sq. Auditorium last Friday and I have to say it was probably the best show I have seen all year. But first things first.. openers.. We arrived at the west side Chicago antique ballroom a little early ready to stand in the line snakeing out the door and down the street (a little). Within 4 minutes we were inside and making our way up towards the stage. The Openers, The Occidental Brothers Dance Band International , were pretty good. A nice mix of 60’s esque african jazz with a little modern bass drum in the mix. They reminded me of a Marc Ribot cubanos postizos style band with a little more dance involved. Pretty good way to start out a show, they got the audience moving and ready for the next act. Andrew Bird

The Bird set started out with Martin Dosh taking the stage by himself. He doodled a bit until Andrew showed up and added to the mix. They both looped things around swelling and building until everything stoped, and AB (Andrew Bird) started an intro to “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” which both served as a beginning to the song and the chorus backup later(when he switched to a guitar for the different parts of the song). I LOVE the versions of the songs he played live, he changes the vocal rhythms and what not from the album versions. They translated very nicely to the live stage. I have heard that AB practices playing his stuff live a lot so the movement from the studio to the stage is seemless. Both AB and Dosh were really masters of looping. They used them as a way to accent the different sections of the song instead of using them as crutches (which annoys me greatly when bands use prerecorded or sampled loops to add structure to a song)

Anyway I thought Dosh was a really great backup player for AB, he has that laid back intense drumming that works well with AB’s song style. I do think that his solo stuff (Dosh’s) was a lot less interesting than when he played with AB. Great rhythms, just lacking in the melodic. Back to AB though, new songs sound fantastic ( album due in March ), older songs sounded great live, and the overall show I will rate on a scale of 4 lobster claws. ( 4 = best show of year )
2 lobster clawsthe other 2 lobster claws

tomorrow never knows…

When Danger Mouse brilliantly combined Jay-Z’s Black Album with the Beatles’ White Album, it re-opened our eyes in a way to the new artistic possibilities of remixing. And while the phenomenon of the studio ‘mash-up’ did not start with The Grey Album, it certainly brought it to the forefront of mainstream consciousness.

Now The Beatles are the focus of yet another mash up– Love. Instead of getting mixed with hip hop however, they are being remixed with themselves. It is easy to be skeptical when we hear of a project like this due to the constant barrage of Beatles product year in and year out. Is this just another release in same the vein as Star Wars remasters and posthumous Tupac albums?

The Beatles get remixed with themselves on Love.

Well, yes. But, no. You see, the mastermind behind Love is THE Sir George Martin, the genius behind nearly every Beatles album. With assistance from his son, they have created a deconstruction and extrapolation of the Beatles catalog, mashing up and splicing songs within songs. The Martins reconfigure, remix, and reference songs in a way that is unfamiliar, but simultaneously recognizeable.

Case in point: “Get Back” opens with the opening chime of “A Hard Day’s Night” before laying down the drum solo from “The End.” It then crescendos to a cacophonic string collage lifted from the climax of “A Day in the Life” before giving way to the actual “Get Back” song. Within the song though you will also hear tidbits of guitar solo from “The End.”

The tune then seamlessly segues to a middle section of “Glass Onion.” Much in the same way the original “Glass Onion” lyrically references past songs “I am the Walrus” and “Fixing A Hole,” this version alludes to “Hello Goodbye’s” background vocals and horn parts from “Penny Lane” before sliding once again into “Elenor Rigby\ Julia” which borrows ambiance from “Revolution 9.”

There are so many similarly great moments on Love that it would be interesting to spend some time with this record and analyze all the sounds and allusions from song to song. The Martins have lovingly crafted an album of Beatles songs encoded with secrets you cannot help but crack a smile when deciphered.

For more background go HERE.

Grandaddy’s Eggs

I was listening to the song “He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot” the other day of the album The Software Slump by the group Grandaddy, and I noticed at around 3:38 you can hear very faintly the main riff from another of Grandaddy’s songs called AM 180. I have located a few examples of these songs, the first He’s Simple is from a youTube montage video someone made for One Tree Hill ( ? )… Anyway you can at least hear the song: [youtube]O_Xhy9Ho7ng[/youtube]

Which at 3:38 if the compression was not crapola, you could hear the reference to the other song AM 180 (from the album Under The Western Freeway or the 28 Days Later soundtrack (when they are in the grocery store)):[youtube]YX-_yLyU1fU[/youtube]

Anyway if you are in need to checking out some new music I would highly recommend The Software Slump, its one of those albums that had to grow on me, but it is now one of my favourites.

NPR’s Five For Friday — Jeff Tweedy

Yet another Five For Friday feature went up today.  Take a look.

It’s Just You and Jeff Tweedy on the Road by Michael Katzif

Jeff Tweedy loves red lights! And playing guitar on the road.As the finger-plucked opening notes trickle in, a foggy montage of rainy highways, old storefronts and empty concert halls captures the behind-the-scenes feel of a tour. A rumble of the crowd and a lone fan declares, “Hey Jeff! I love you man!”

It’s these little moments that make Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy’s new concert film, Sunken Treasure, so engaging — you feel as if you’re on the road with this guitar-playing icon of alt-country. At one point, he even forgets the words to “Shot in the Arm,” then asks the audience to sing along to boost his memory.

Longtime Wilco fans will know most of the music, but both newcomers and diehards get a glimpse at a different side to Tweedy’s prolific songcraft. The stripped down arrangements revitalize old favorites like “In a Future Age” and “Airline To Heaven” and show off Tweedy’s haunted yet charismatic voice. You could argue that watching from home is a far cry from experiencing this great show in person. But this DVD beautifully takes you there — and you don’t have to fight your way out of the parking lot when it’s over.

Michael Katzif, who writes about music for NPR, turned his baby boomer Dad on to Wilco.

hello.profiles: Michael Katzif

Micheal Katzif, renaissance man in training, Luddite, and general miscreant, is on the top of his game. He has just come out of a long period of underground studies, where he has been honing his skills in culinary clothing design, and is about to take the West by storm. Hello Come In had the opportunity recently to chat with Michael at a posh downtown cigar shoppe, about his life, liberty, failed pursuit of happiness, and the general trends in media and entertainment.

Aryn: So Mike, whats this I have been hearing about a new clothing line?

Mike: The thing with the clothing line is half accurate.

Only half accurate?

I have been developing new ways in which people can wear clothes in order to maximize comfort and style while at the same time prevent people from having the same styles of clothing. So some of that experimentation has been a clothing line. The other part has been a methodical rounding up or herding of individuals who are deemed redundant and mind wiping their brains.

Is this a sort of ever updated fad chaser that someone can simply put on and not have to worry about looking cool, because the “clothing” does that for them?

The new clothing can be adaptive to its environments, but the mind wipes ensure that no one has a predisposition towards any sort of sameness in the universe.

Experimental clothes

That sounds a little science fiction to me. What other projects have you been working on?

Well a few things coming up the pipe are a bread baking club; sort of a “choose your own adventure” recipe construction where you never know what you are making until the very end.

Is that a “hip” new term for something else, or are you actually talking about a cooking club? Sounds a bit old fashioned.

I like to live my life dancing between the extreme modern and the horribly antiquated. I call it “digilog.” Or “analogital.” You can choose.

Interesting, I have heard that people only remember the first and last parts of things, sounds like you have revolved your life around that theory?

I really only remember the middle. My favourite parts of calzones were the middles.

I see. Can you tell me your top two presidents (or prime ministers or dictators) from any era, and what their contribution to the fashion world meant in relation to your art?

See most people these days would mention Roosevelt (Teddy) or Taft for their iconic mustaches which have grown increasingly ironic and stylish in the hipster scene, but not me.

Don’t forget Ghengis.

I would say that the most stylish world leaders would be along the lines of someone with killer mutton chops. You cannot deny the influence that style of facial hair has had on the world as we know it. I’d suggest we would not be at war if John Adam’s mutton chops were leading this country, plus it gives ladies something to hold onto in the heat of passion.

How has your facial hair (or lack of) shaped your influence on America and the world? Has it made you a better diplomat?

Well I do have a certain disdain for those with full beards, but i would say I try to be a liaison and ambassador to the fully bearded. I want to work with them to make a difference and cannot get swept up into petty partisanship, whether its with a fashion line of clothing or fishing for lobsters in the Cape Cod.

All right Mr. Katzif, my readers sent me their burning questions, and I sifted through the thousands of letters and got the list down to five, ready?

Naturally.

When did you first feel like a man?

Probably the first time I used a urinal, or any sort of standing while peeing.

Mike , as a young boy, was very fond of baking.

How do you tend to rebuild from your many failures as a human?

I find a healthy dose of television tells me all the ways I can become a better person.

What is your favourite luxury item to bring along on a camping trip?

The typical answer would be high class escort…

I take it your not a typical person…

… and while that would be nice if one was sans girlfriend, I expect that camping is better with them, so if and when I have lady friends on trip, I’d bring a fine cheese, maybe an Edam or Gouda of some sort.

What would you choose if forced : a) spilled milk b) turtle on its back c) one clean, one dirty sock , and how would you respond to said problem?

If I was confronted with any of these, I’d probably choose the turtle on its back and here’s why: Spilled milk is not the big deal the mainstream corporate media wants you to believe it is. While devastating on a personal level, it really helps our American farmers sell more milk.

The one clean sock, one dirty sock issue is easy. I hate dirty socks, and for that matter dirty clothes. If there is even chance that a sock is dirty, I might consider just buying new socks or drop everything and launder it.

The turtle seems like the easiest fix emotionally. I once saw a dead turtle next to the road. That was more sad.

You have such refined analytical skills. How were those obtained? extensive training? Sudoku? inherited?

Cereal box prize.

Nice.

It was.

And the number one burning question from all of your hundreds of fans out there…

Dont over sell me, I only have dozens of fans.

What school are you going to donate your fortune to, and what college programme will be created? i.e. (The Katzif school of monogramming, or Mike’s Trikes, School of three wheeled vehicles)

Hard to plan for my own demise, I’m not really sure what legacy to leave.

It could be anything.. what would you most like to be remembered for? Contributions to science? Good will towards man? Hygiene?

… but Gonzaga does have a decent bread resource facility in Finland… While hygiene is important, I’d say that I’d like to be remembered for being somewhat of a renaissance man, a lover of things, and a doer of other things.

Well , thanks for taking the time to speak with me today Michael, is there anything you would like to add before we go?

Just a reminder to the children around the world to support your local superhero, whether its Carpetman, Fluorescent Avenger, or the Bubble Bathtubman.

Great!

Katzif has a new book coming out “Pursuits in Technical Accounting : A Numbers Game that could Save You MILLIONS!” which chronicles his knowledge and experience playing the stock and tax market game. Mike will be available for book signing this weekend at Borders Books on the corner of Pine and Walton.

hello.profiles: Aryn Crowley

Aryn Crowley is something of an enigma wrapped in a riddle and then delicately wrapped in procuitto. A man of controversial talents and expertises, Aryn has journied across the North Americas finding the little ironies in real life. But past critical response has been varied at best. Lambasted for his misunderstood social art experiments in the heroic community, he was labeled a recluse and a failure of villain-esque proportions. When confronted publicly, he frankly spoke of indifference to the media’s perceptions stating “no one will ever trully know me.” I had the opportunity to sit down with Aryn last night to discuss his body of work, his creative process and even a few past indiscretions.

Mike: So Aryn, tell me. Any new projects on the horizon you want to plug?

Aryn: Yeah, I always have a few things on the burner: a new album, solo tour, group collaboration, massive multiplayer art project, and my own line of cooking salts.


Sounds exciting. Would you say your process of creativity is easier or harder when you have the following discomforts:Aryn opted to conceal his true identity.

hunger?

harder.

sleepiness?

easier

having to poop?

easier

cold?

harder

hot?

harder

thirsty?

easier

itchy?

easier

Interesting…I find the more uncomfortable I am, the rawer the art is.

Very true Mike.

Can’t be too cushy.

That’s why in the winter I keep my heater up at 95 degrees so that my basement can stay nice and steamy. I have small hotplates that I use to get that rain foresty feel by boiling water constantly. Sometimes in the summers I like to import HUGE blocks of ice and chill down my artistic elements. Just to mix things up.

We all like our artistic elements nice and chilled in those summer months. Favourite book?

Repeat: The classic story of Pete and Repete, adapted from the re-run of the made for TV Movie based on the Cinematic version that was loosely based on the Graphic Novel adapted from the novella which was loosly based upon a sketch that Pete made for Repete.

Ooh excellent choice…though its so sad that Pete is forced to relive the last 10 years of his life on auto pilot without getting to change anything. That timequake almost killed his will to live. That is if he had free will. Favourite super power and why?

Favourite super power and why? There was this old super hero who used bathtubs to generate enormous amount of bubbles to fight against the evil bug man who would end up eating the bubbles and dying from diarrhea overdose

Ah yes, The Bathtub Bubbleman. Classic golden age hero.

I love those classic superheros, they have really influenced the next generation’s supers like Astronaut Man, and Cosmonaut Girl.

Do you find that the world is in need of superheroes in these hardened war ravaged suburban days? Or are they just trying to steal our gold?

The Superheroes? Stealing our gold?

Do you or do you not intend on running for SuperPresident in 2008 under the pending Anti-Superhero Act in Congress?

I have though about it. But I have two problems.

Just answer the question.

First, I am not 35. Second, I do not, nor do I intend to have multi-millions of gold dubloons to pay for my campaign.

Are you or were you ever part of the supervillain community?

I have never a part of the supervillian community. Only a spectator, so maybe I have been a small part.

Look, all you have to do is name some names and you will not be prosecuted. Refuse to do so will mean you are guilty. Then, agreeing to do so means you are guilty too.

Um, I am not sure I understand the accusation.

Then you are guilty.

Fair enough.

Come on Mr. Crowley, all you have to do is admit you are a villain intent on running on a smear campaign of space weapon technology platform. You wouldnt lie to the Latin American constituancey who don’t have a fighting chance would you?

Maybe. Check back with me on 2 April 2007.

Okay last question, favourite ice cream flavour?

Ooh. I love Sardine Oreo Cookie Krunch with sweet pickle sauce.

Excellent choice. Well thank you for your time.

Thanks, I enjoyed it.

I am a tough interviewer, no?

Tomorrow, Aryn turns the tables on the equally enigmatic and manic semi-genius, Mike.

Iconoclasts…

Where does inspiration come from? That is mostly the topic of conversation on a new series I discovered on the Sundance Channel called Iconoclasts. Each episode pairs two celebrities to discuss their work and the things that inspired them. It is reminiscent of IFC’s brilliant Dinner For Five but because it is one on one, feels much more intimate. The artists of the episode in question? Filmmaker, Quentin Tarrantino and singer-songwriter, Fiona Apple. Set up in a very casual day in the life of these two geniuses, we catch a glimpse of Tarrantino and Apple’s creative process, psyches and inner psychosis.

What I found fascinating with these two, during their walk and talks through Quentin’s (and Robert Rodriguez‘s) downtown Austin studio, and backstage at Fiona’s preshow soundcheck, was how much these two had in common. Both are often misunderstood and misrepresented, yet loved by a devoted fanbase. But more, they have an incredible expectationfor themselves to create the project they want. They both talk about their roller coaster careers and it seems that both are charged with creativity right now: Tarrantino prepping the upcoming exploitation double-feature, Grind House and Apple touring behind last years brilliant album Extraordinary Machine.

As they spoke freely about their lives and how they find inspiration and deal with external distractions that fame can bring, you can get a sense that these two are not careerists in the traditional sense. While both showed a love for the craft of their fields and an enthusiasm for the place they are in their lives, never do you feel like they go through the motions.

Iconoclasts claims to change your perspective on celebrity, and if the upcoming episodes are anything like this one, it will be an inspiring and insightful snapshot into the mind of visionary auteurs at the height of their careers.

Here is a short clip of the episode I just watched:

[youtube]vBCYiETwyPg[/youtube]