Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dave Matthews Band Charlottesville, VA 12/14/12-12/15/12

Another great weekend in Charlottesville, VA for the Dave Matthews Band.  Fortunately we were able to go to both shows and have my sister join us in the fun.  As this is essentially the Mecca for DMB, they did not fail to disappoint with 2 shows that blended old with new, plus some musically gifted performances including one of the best two steps and proudest monkey's I have ever heard.  Nothing like seeing them with the energy that they have in Charlottesville.  They are more fired up to play here than many of the other places we have seen them at.

12/14/12 John Paul Jones Arena
Charlottesville, VA
1. Don’t Drink the Water
2. Broken Things
3. Seven
4. #41
5. Eh Hee
6. Improv Intro
7. Why I Am
8. Mercy
9. Piano improv
10. Out Of My Hands
11. Everyday
12. Belly Belly Nice
13. You and Me
14. Seek Up *
15. Grey Street
16. If Only
17. Rhyme And Reason +
18. Drunken Soldier
19. Time Bomb
20. Two Step

-------- ENCORE --------

21. Baby Blue ~
22. The Riff
23. Ants Marching

12/15/12 John Paul Jones Arena
Charlottesville, VA
1. Proudest Monkey
2. Satellite
3. Best of Whats Around
4. Rooftop
5. So Damn Lucky
6. Spaceman
7. Corn Bread *
8. Squirm
9. Belly Full
10. Pantala Naga Pampa
11. Rapunzel
12. Gravedigger
13. Dancing Nancies
14. Warehouse
15. Granny
16. Gaucho
17. Funny The Way It Is
18. Snow Outside
19. Jimi Thing
20. Shake Me Like a Monkey

-------- ENCORE --------

21. (Blue Water)
22. Christmas Song +
23. All Along The Watchtower

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dave Matthews Band Raleigh, NC 12/12/12

Finally, after almost 4 years, the Dave Matthews Band graced Raleigh, NC with a kick-ass show.  Dave acknowledged right from the start that he had to make up for lost time with the Raleigh crowd and he did, in a big way.  Right from the start the place was jumping, Dave's voice was on fire and the band was tight.  Highlight of the night for me was Drive In Drive Out as we have been yet to catch that one live and they smashed it.  They played it as if we were back in 1996.  Dave was dancing from the start of the show and even Tim could be spotted jumping up and down while melting your face as only Tim can.  Proudest Monkey (prob all time favorite) was slowed down to a pre-Tim time which allowed much more room for Rashawn to explore the space and he was as crisp as I have seen him.  Many people have already written that this may have been the best Grey Street ever due to his playing.  The new stuff is phenomenal and slowly growing to epic proportions.  What they do with Mercy now (Dave can jam on a piano now) and Drunken Soldier prove that the bands musicianship has grown to a level that not many bands can keep up with.  Belly Belly Nice is the happiest song the band has and people get down to it!  Huge surprise was Branford Marsalis (the actual saxophone legend) came out to play with the band.  For the first time in my life I witnessed if only for a second or two, Carter Beauford not be able to keep up with another musicican as Mr. Marsalis tore through an insane rendition of What Would You Say followed by a Solo that made me question what I know about saxophone players and horn sections on #41.  Jeff Coffin seemed like he just learned saxophone when standing next to this guy.  What a performance.  Branford has not only played with the likes of Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie or his brother Wynton, he also toured with the Grateful Dead, Sting, and numerous other Jazz groups on top of which he also played with New York Philharmonic.  To see him with the Matthews Band was so damn lucky.  Hopefully this is only a warm up to the final run of 2012!

1. Eh Hee
2. Broken Things
3. Don’t Drink the Water
4. Proudest Monkey
5. Satellite
6. Drive In Drive Out
7. Grey Street
8. The Riff
9. You and Me
10. Belly Belly Nice
11. Mercy
12. If Only
13. Seven
14. What Would You Say *
15. #41 *
16. Why I Am
17. Drunken Soldier
18. Jimi Thing

-------- ENCORE --------

19. Christmas Song +
20. Shake Me Like a Monkey
21. Ants Marching

* Branford Marsalis
+ Dave, Carter and Tim

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Best Albums of 2012

I love music.  Among being a Junkie for many things, I am a music junkie.  The year 2012 saw some very encouraging new bands hit the scene and some older bands continue to demonstrate why they are the best at what they do.  There were a ton of new albums this year and here is my list, with some samples, of what I think are the best of 2012. 

Probably the most diverse album that Springsteen has ever put out, which is saying alot, his 2012 album Wrecking Ball is one of if not the best new album of 2012.  Speaking for the Occupy crowd, the Presidents campaign, and hard middle class values that Springsteen has always represented, the album hits with a ferocious message of change.  There are several different types of music as Bruce blends some EStreet with Seeger Sessions and even some hip-hop and dropnick to show that he is still the BOSS of not just Joizy.  If you havent heard it, you are missing a gem of music and if you havent seen Bruce live, then you are missing out on the best performer in rock music.  Hopefully he continues to make records as good as this one.

Of course the new Dave Matthews Band album would be on the list of best of 2012 not just cause I am a huge fan, but the album is solid.  The band is daring enough to explore new concepts of change and particularly the aging that the band is experiencing.  The lyrics have always been driven by impending death with a catchy tune but on this album there is something in between that and an actually genuinely happy tune in Belly Belly Nice.  Mercy became the theme of the 2012 Obama campaign as Dave toured for and with Obama at over 8 stops.  Steve Lillywhite, the producer of the "big 4", was back again to bring the best out of this band which he did.  He was able to capture where the band is now as people.  Aging, changing, fighting, and still with a ton of energy.  Check em.

One of our favorite bands, The Avett Brothers, were back at it again in 2012.  They brought back Rick Rubin to produce and put out a very soulful follow up to their break through I and Love and You.  This album from track one to the end is a beautiful ride through the eyes of a band that has traveled the roads for a while now and is just finding their full stride.  A must listen.

Mumford and Sons debut was one of the best debut albums in the last 20 years.  Soulful, powerful, triumphant, layered, and musically awesome.  I didn't think the band could follow up that album with anything except for a disappointment.  Babel, is nothing short of a modern day classic.  The album sounds very familiar to the previous album except for a further development of the promise that this band demonstrated throughout their debut.  The best elements were amplified and more experiments on topics of music were covered.  Marcus Mumford can write a song.  We stumbled on this band  a couple of years ago as they were being talked about as the UK Avetts but they are very unique and unlike the Avetts, you cannot miss this band unless you live under a rock.  The band sold a ton of records in a short and then sustained period of time which is unheard of these days.  If anything, check out the video above.  Especially you "Wire" fans, as I am sure Omar is smiling on Stringer Bell somewhere.

Alerted to this band by all things my main man Tony Bourdain on No Reservations in early 2012, The Alabama Shakes have been a force that blew up music in 2012.  The video and song above is everything I love about music.  Hard fast, passion, slow then slam, and that voice is incredibly unique.  That sound is coming from deep inside like a new version of Janis Joplin.  To think she was just a post office worker until she caught a break!  I cannot stop listening to this album and cannot wait to see them live.  If you havent heard it, again, one of the best debuts by any band in the last 10 years or so.  Check it out and thank you Mr. Bourdain!

This song above was impossible to miss in 2012 and why would you want to have missed it, ton of fun.  I love a band with a story and this band has a great one.  Check it out.  In the meantime, get the album, put it on, listen straight through and as with the others listed, amazing debut.  We LOVE this album and are incredibly lucky that they will be opening for the DMB for the Winter Tour of 2012.  Love it.

Sometimes a chick rocker with a cool voice and a guitar is all you need.  Ever since Alanis and Ani there have maybe been a few, but Sharon Van Etten's 2012 Tramp is very promising as an artist with something to say.  Great album to listen through for a mellow mood.  Not too much video out there as she is not very widespread yet so this Conan appearance will have to do.  Tramp is her third album and slowly she has gotten better with each album.  Check her out.

A few other notables from 2012 were definitely Green Days "Uno""Dos""Tres" three albums of punk pop in one year.  So unheard of it landed Billy Joe in rehab by the time it was done.  Any of these albums is as good as anything they have ever done (impressive).  Santigold's "Master of My Make Believe" was an inspiring funk-reggae-electronic-fusion with Jamaican and Brooklyn influences that slams! and for my hip hoppers, finally another Philly rapper with some skills, Meek Mill's "Dreams and Nightmares" was finally a rap record with some rap skills.  Plus anybody or artist that beats up Chris Brown is good by me in my book.  A mix tape master for years he finally shines with his own album.  And of course the most impressive and controversial is the R&B singer Frank Ocean's album "Channel Orange" which is the most impressive R&B debut since R.Kelly in the early 90's.  Controversy has surrounded him since he started as he his number one love song was about his love for another male.  In the hip hop world that is a complete no no, but he has been widely accepted for his openness about the subject and his talent.  Another reminder that 2012 was great for music and great for change.

EXTRA: Not an Album but great music Moment of 2012.  Nirvana plays together for the first time since the 1994 death of Kurt Cobain.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fauwkin Youkstah

Never thought I would see the day.  It used to be that the Yankees would steal a traitor from the Sox (Damon, Clemens, Boggs) that would perform well and win the Series for the Yanks and not the Sox.  Clemens dominance in Seattle in 2000, Boggs clutch walk in 1996, and Damon's instinctive steal in Game 4 of 2009.  Now the Yankees have made themselves the laughing stock of the American League East.  There is only one Red Sox I have ever hated more than Kevin Youkilis and that was Papelbum.  I never hated either of these guys for the reason I hated Pedro, or Ortiz, or Manny.  Those guys were hated cause they were good and assholes, Youkilis and Papelbum are just assholes.  Plain and simple they both have stupid setups.  Papelbum with his highly illegal drawn out delivery from the stretch and Youkilis with his Peter Pan toe taps and Rupaul ass wiggles in the batters box make these two assholes some of the worst to watch in baseball.  On top of that, I pray that my sacred ground of Yankee Stadium does not embrace the most obnoxious chant in sports: "yoooooooouuuuuuuuk" every time he comes up, fuck that.  We need to prove that we are better than the Massholes and South Siders that embraced this asshole.  He was kicked off a dysfunctional team, because he was a dysfunctional asshole.  I hate this signing so much that I have confirmed the fact that I will not get the mlb package this year to watch them.  This is horrible.  The Yankees are spending $40 million on 3rd basemen this year while the rival Rays are paying Evan Longoria (a real 3b) $26 million over the next 4 years!!!! What the hell is the shit!  How is Arod not having surgery until January when he knew before the season ended that something is wrong?  The Yankees are lost, old, tired.  I miss the Big Stein.  Spoiled for so many years I know watch what the Angels and Dodgers have been doing with a nostalgic familiarity...Don Mattingly, high payrolls, competing with the other team in the big market (Mets...they were good once too).  Times have changed and this is the low.  For this reason and this reason alone lets hope the Mayans were right.  This way we never have to see the Faukin Youkstah in my beloved pinstripes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Best Movies of 2012

It's that time of year.  The time to look back at what the previous year had to offer.  2012 was a great year for many forms of entertainment as technology continues to grow and become more sophisticated.  Movies do too.  Movies when I was a kid were simple and entertaining due to a story and a plot-line.  Now they are spectacles of super shiny garbage.  Alot of effect and nothing special.  Writing has become a lost art as technology continues to grow.  There are sequels galore with very few original ideas.  The year 2012 did offer a few fresh takes and hopeful stories that were presented in a way that reminded me why I still love the movies, why it is still a great escape and a cheap date.  Here is my list of what I thought were the best movies of 2012.

Life of Pi was original, insightful, artful, inspirational, powerful and visually stellar.  The story wraps you up and catches you by surprise on a wonderful visual and challenging journey. The special effects in this movie take visual arts to another level.  We didnt even realize throughout the movie that at no time the tiger was real.  The best CGI I have ever seen.  The story poses some challenging questions about life and perspective that leaves the viewer with their own interpretation.  Many movies today are made simple for simple people with not much deep meaning.  This movie, based on the novel, challenges the viewer to ask yourself those personal questions.  I was very impressed by this movie.  We left the theater feeling good and like we had watched a movie.
 Goon was undersold, under advertised  and didn't come out in many theaters in the United States but was easily one of the funniest movies I saw this year and challenges Slap Shot as the best Hockey movie I have ever seen.  Sean William Scott was ruthless in this movie that got into the grittiness of the real world of hockey which is the semi professional leagues all throughout Canada and the United States.  Not these highly paid celebrity athletes in the NHL that don't even play anymore and never fight like this.  If you haven't seen this film check it out.  One of the best of 2012 easily.
 21 Jump Street was right there with Goon as one of the funniest films that I have seen in awhile.  It was pretty original in the way it went about getting its humor across.  It wasn't just shock value or witty wordplay that nobody ever uses but there was a more realistic level of several types of humor that demonstrated why Jonah Hill is one of the best comedy movie stars out there.  Channing Tatum proved he can do more than Step Up or Magic Mike and continued to show like he did in the Dilemma that he can funny and not take himself to seriously.
 The Avengers easily gets a spot here and just like with the Dark Knight Rises there is not to much to say.  You have probably seen these by now as they were some of the most watched movies in the history of movies and they both came out early in the summer.  They each build off of movies that came out previously so there was large expectations.  Both movies delivered.  They were awesome to watch unfold on the big screen, the way they were meant to be watched.  We saw the Avengers in IMAX 3D and The Dark Knight in DBOX 3D.  Each were amazing events.  Story lines pretty simple, special effects awesome, and hero's always win.  I am glad that Nolan will stop the Batman trilogy with those 3 epic films and it looks as if Marvel and Disney have no desire to ever stop with the Avengers so I hope those will stay as great as this movie was.

Honorable Mentions for the Best of 2012: The Grey, Hunger Games, Friends with Kids, Moonrise Kingdom, Snowwhite and the Huntsman, Spiderman (finally got it right), End of Watch, and Argo fuck yourself (see the movie if you don't get that).  Enjoy these movies if you haven't seen them.  2013 has many good films to look forward to as well.  Dont know if they can top the epic summer of 2012.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dave Matthews Band 12/1/12 Meadowlands, NJ

We got to spend a lovely weekend in NY during the best time of the year.  Right after Thanksgiving and right before Christmas.  Fall and winter landscapes and the crispness of the air, I love autumn in NYC.  The other perk this year was that right across the river in New Jersey was our favorite band kicking off their 2012 winter tour.  We spent Saturday exploring the village, Chelsea and Chelsea Market, Herald Square, the Highline, and of course the tree all lit up as only NYC can do.  We also got to enjoy spending time with our celebrity friend from Brooklyn and enjoyed eating at the immense market that is Eataly.  If you want some damn good authentic Italian food, that is your place.  We had a great time and then wandered over to Jersey with high expectations.  Jimmy Cliff was the opener and I am grateful to have seen another music legend in person.  One of the original reggae singers didnt disappoint.  More energy than I will ever see out of a 65 year old.  DMB came out, the place was loud, and they crushed it! New songs sound awesome especially Rooftop, Broken Things, and Drunken Soldier.  Highlight of the night was by far Carlos Malta coming out to play on Jimi Thing.  I have listened to it several times after the show and it is incredible.  4 minutes plus of some impressive flute playing.  I cant remember a time in my life when I got down to a flute until tonight.  Carlos Malta came in from Brazil and brought a ton of energy with him as the night took off after that.  We are pumped to see them again in the next couple of weeks as this was just the tour kick off.

Eh Hee
Improv into-->
Proudest Monkey-->
Belly Belly Nice
Lie In Our Graves
Broken Things
You and Me
Jimi Thing*
Snow Outside
Shake Me Like a Monkey
The Riff
Can't Stop
Country Blues improv-->
Tripping Billies
Some Devil
Drunken Soldier
Pantala Naga Pampa-->