Monday, April 20, 2015

Requiem for a friend

I decided to wait a while before writing this post. Since October of 2000, I have had two companion cats, Pumpkin (an Orange Tabby) and Sacagewea (a Calico). They were farm cats; sisters from the same litter. I got them from a friend, right after they had been weaned.


This post is for Saca, a very beautiful and sweet animal. She was very empathetic, and seemed very attuned to me. The last 5 years of her life were challenging from a health perspective, including two bouts of Lipidosis.


When she recovered the second time in the Spring of 2014, I thought she might manage to survive to a ripe old age. Unfortunately, this was overly optimistic. Just before the Holiday season, she lost a significant amount of weight, and began to show signs of Kidney failure. She passed away on February 19, 2015.


I miss her greatly, and I think that one of my friends put it best,
Cats have a way of sneaking into your heart, curling up there and napping.

Cats 2001

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Phil Alvin and the Blasters at the Continental Club

About a week ago, I was recently having a conversation with a friend about Rockabilly music. I happened to have mentioned the Alvin Brothers, and the Blasters.

Then in a moment of serendipity, I was listening to KUTX as I was driving home from work Thursday evening, they played the Blasters, and mentioned that they were doing 2 straight nights at the Continental Club. Since it had at least 15 years since I had last seen either of the Alvin brothers, I decided to catch the Friday show.

Although Dave and Phil are touring together this year, only Phil plays with the current incarnation of the Blasters. Phil fronts a five piece band consisting of on guitar and vocals, accompanied by a lead guitar, bass, piano, and drums.

I arrived at approximately 11PM, and caught a bit of the opening act. The Blasters started promptly at Midnight, and delivered a solid 90 minute set of Rockabilly goodness to a very appreciative crowd.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Living Colour at the Belmont

After watching my Orioles lose the second game of the ALCS, I was more than ready to head downtown for some music. Surprisingly, Living Colour was playing the Belmont, rather than Emos. This was the first time I had ever seen an act of this size, at this venue. I was also surprised at the fact, that this show was scheduled during the second ACL Festival weekend.

Temple Underground

This time around, the opening act was local Austin band, Temple Underground, led by local drummer Brannen Temple. I have seen Brannen perform a number of times, and he is a formidable talent. This band plays a unique style of rock/funk/jazz fusion similar in feel to Living Colour.

They played for about 45 minutes, and I was impressed with the level of musicianship. My only complaint was that the vocalist's singing hard to discern in the mix. Of course, this may have been compounded by the fact that my friends and I, were watching from the balcony, upstairs, as you can tell from the photos below.

Living Colour

Eventually, Living Colour took the stage. They clocked in at about 2 hours, with the following setlist.

As always, they delivered the goods, and played a good mix of old and new material. The latter coming from a new album, which they are about to release.

For the encore, Cult of Personality, the energetic Corey Glover grabbed the wireless Mic, and travelled through the crowd, eventually working his up the steps right next to where we were standing.

After the show, I was impressed, because once again, the band was graciously available for the meet and greet. I was able to one again talk with Vernon a few minutes, about our one degree of separation through Arthur Rhames, John Esposito, and Jeff Siegel.

All in all, it was a great night of music, on a cool autumn night in Austin. What could be any better?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tears for Fears at the Austin Music Hall

So, tonight I completed a study in contrasts. Four days after traveling to Philadelphia to see the King of Prog Rock, I'm now on the other end of the spectrum watching Tears for Fears.

The show started right at 8PM, and consisted of 1 set and an encore clocking in at approximately 2 hours. Of course, the Austin Music Hall was populated by a large amount of 40 somethings.

Curt and Roland played a wide selection of songs, including their big hits, as you can see from the setlist. I was presently surprised to discover that both of them still had their voices, and could still hit the notes.

I have a feeling that the band will remember this show for a long time for several reasons:

  • Although there were cell phones, the audience was very attentive, and about 95% of the audience was singing along with the band, particularly during Mad World, Everybody Wans to the World, and Head Over Heels. You could tell that this invigorated the band, and they responded accordingly.
  • This was the first show that I had been to in Austin in a long time, that had that vibe that I remember from 20 years ago. It was good to see it again; it was what always made Austin a special Music town.

It was a great night of music. Despite seeing my favorite band twice last week, I still had a fantasatic time. One that successfully allowed me travel backwards in time about 30 years, if only for one night.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

King Crimson at the Kimmel Center

So my original plan was to just see this one show, since it was on a weekend. Like the 2008 tour, I chose to fly in during the evening of the day before, since thunderstorms are common this time of year. In hindsight, this ended up being a good choice.

Of course, I was able to meet with some of my fellow campers before the show, and we went to dinner.

The venue itself was very impressive, with outstanding acoustics, and excellent sight lines, as you'll see in the pictures below.

Humorously, the merch table was run the same person who has done the merch for Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson. Looking back at the history, I found my post from 2007. People were audibly complaining about the length of the line for the merch, saying it was the longest they had ever seen at a show.

Chuckling to myself, I was happy I loaded up on merch during the dress rehearsal show at the Egg, when the crowd was small. I guess some things don't change. ;)

The show itself consisted on a single set with an encore. As before the setlist had been already posted when I checked back at my hotel.

So, now that the tour is underway, I'll talk briefly about the music. As you know, the players are arranged in an unorthodox fashion, with the 3 drummers in the frontline, and the Sax, Bass/Stick and 2 Guitarists in the back.

The songs were selected mainly from the early albums, before the Adrian Belew/Discipline era. In particular:

  • In the Court of the Crimson King (21st Century Schizoid Man)
  • In the Wake of Poseidon (Pictures of a City)
  • Islands (Sailor's Tale, and the Letters)
  • Larks' Tongues in Aspic (LTIA pt1 and pt2, and Talking Drum)
  • Red (Red, One More Red Nightmare, and Starless)

The only new vocal songs were 2 selections from the Scarcity of Miracles, and instrumentals from Thrak, the Power to Believe, and the ConstruKction of Light.

Other than that, the two shows differed in this way:

  1. The ConstruKction of Light Part 1 was played during the rehearsal show, but not last night.
  2. The show last night featured Vroom and Coda Marine 475.

This show will be a treat for any KC fan, and for me the highlights were hearing LTIA part 1, One More Red Nightmare, and Starless. All classics in my mind, and songs I had thought I would never get to hear played live.

Here's hoping for a second leg of the tour in the near future, although there is something in my gut telling me that this may be Robert Fripp's Swan Song.

As Before

Tony Levin's road diary contains some excellent shots, at the following link.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

King Crimson Rehearsal at the Egg

So as TOAPP Camp ended ...

I signed up for Tony's guest-list for the final Rehearsal Show of King Crimson, at the Egg, in Albany, NY. Since it was a Monday night, I thought that I might not be able to go, but the stars aligned properly, and it became a reality.

Preshow Dinner

My camper friends and I, all agreed to meet at the Hill Street Cafe prior to the show. Brian McGuinness gets the award for being invited to the show twice, once directly by Tony Levin, and indirectly by Tony, through Uncle Funk member, Joe Beesmer.

It was fun sitting with Joe and Brian, and reminiscing about the late 80's era Woodstock.

After dinner, we drove the short distance over to the Egg, for the show. Here the biggest challenge was figuring out where to park. For some reason, I forgot to take some pictures from the plaza in front of the main entrance, since the venue is very impressive.

As I walked up to the main entrance, there were even more people from camp. What a wonderful group of people.

The Main Course

The actual show commenced promptly at 7:30 and lasted a bit over 2 hours. Of course, no photography or recording was allowed, and I would have never dreamed to violate this request. The best you're going to get is this picture of the stage.

I was also going to wait until the first show tonight to post my setlist, but someone had already done it. You can browse the setlist here. If you don't want a spoiler, then I would say, don't click it ;)

I will say my favorite KC album was well represented in this setlist.

Post Show

Afterwards, I was able to briefly say hello to Tony and Pat. Robert surprisingly came out and spoke with some of the guests, but was eventually ushered off to safety, by the tour manager, as some started requesting autographs.

But for me the highlight might have been being able to talk Jakko Jakszyk, after the show. Jakko had changed into street clothes, and very nonchalantly returned without bringing much attention to himself. Myself, and two others had a great convo with him.

I also took a few quick pics of some old friends.

The Next Morning

The 5:30AM flight out of Albany to Chicago was slightly more bearable, with my two fellow campers from Texas, Mark Cook and Mike McGary. Now, to repeat this all again this weekend. ;)


Tony Levin has posted a nice account of last night's show here.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Terry Bozzio at the One World Theater

So, this was the third time that I've seen Terry perform solo. He is without a doubt, a unique creative talent.

The first thing I was presently surprised at, is that the One World had resumed selling a dinner option with the tickets. I had forgotten, but when I looked at my ticket, I discovered that I had purchased the food. A great decision in hindsight, it was superb.

The show last night started promptly at 7PM. Terry played most of the show inside of his monsterous trap kit.

This time around he had two stations to either side of the trap kit. On the left there was a Cajon. Terry did a very amazing improv, showing off incredible hand and finger technique, worthy of a Tabla master.

Later in the show, he first thanked many of the people present, reminiscing about the years he lived in Austin, just before beginning an improv on a Korg WaveDrum. Once again, he showed off some amazing finger technique.

Two and a half hours, later the show concluded after two sets with an intermission, and a single piece encore. I attempted to catch of some of the setlist, but Terry neglected to mention names for some of the pieces.