In the past month or so, I've seen about four pretty decent sized shows (rock concerts). I've been meaning to write about them, but circumstance has prevented me from doing so. So, without any further adieu, here goes...
Early last month, Mark took us to see Air at the Paramount. A rather bizarre art rock band called the Mosquitos opened. They were okay. Now, I like Air, but my friend, Brian used to make fun of Air show goers. "What are they gonna do? It's just keyboards. Are they gonna have the chick who sings 'Sexy Boy' come out and sing?" Turned out, he was right, but it wasn't a chick that sang Sexy Boy... it was Nicolas. Now I don't want to say that they're bad musicians or anything like that - they didn't play a note wrong. I just like my rock shows to well, rock out. Show emotion, be imperfect, make the audience feel your passion. I mean, almost no one (except for the guy who thought he *was* Sexy Boy) got up and danced, and I don't think it was because the audience was too high or lazy (although given the light show, I'm sure more than a few were frying). When your most rocking song is "Kelly Watch the Stars", you know it's not going to be a high energy rockout session.
The next night, we saw Ben Kweller and Death Cab for Cutie at the Fillmore. This was more of what I had in mind. People packed together, singing along, jumping up and down and generally getting excited (although you don't have much of a choice in whether to sit or stand). I hadn't heard any of Kweller's material before, but that boy is extremely talented. Give him an album or two, and he will be fucking awesome. Death Cab for Cutie, or course, totally rocked. I simply adore Benjamin Gibbard's voice. They played for over two hours, and did all my favorite Death Cab songs including Kaleidoscope, Blacking Out the Friction, 405, Expo 86, and ended with a cover of "All is Full of Love". You could also tell that the band really loved played together - they ere all singing along, at the top of their lungs, even though they weren't miked up. Could a girl ask for more? I think not. I have to say, Gibberd is the stockiest vegan I've ever seen (not that he's fat or anything, just not anoxerically thin)
This past Tuesday night, we saw the Shins at the Warfield. A jazz pianist called Azita (I didn't care for her) and the Fiery Furnaces (they were okay) opened. But the Shins were quite awesome. James Mercer's voice is another that I adore. I can't wait til they release more albums. He was kind of shy, though, and seemed a little nervous at first. When he first took the stage at the mike (they didn't seem to have any roadies) he stated, "Wow. This is a really huge venue" and hardly spoke throughout the rest of show, letting the keyboardist (I swear to God, he's Chris Parnell's doppelganger) emcee. Parnell (okay, I know that's not his name, but he's Parnell to me) was pretty jovial and witty, giggling at panties tossed on stage, and monkeying around on the keyboards with the rest of the band after repeated "Street Beats!!!" and "Morrissey!!!" demands. I used to like their second album more than the first, but now that I've heard some of their earlier stuff live, I think "Oh Inverted World" will be on my playlist more often. We tried to catch Dealership and Hawaiian Getaway at the Hotel Utah afterwards, but we arrived an hour too late.
And last night, I got to see Prince at the HP Center. He was amazing. A nine-piece band played, and they were all fantastic musicians. It's easy for me to forget how good they are, since I know one of the musicians (he's married to a close friend), and he couldn't be a nicer guy. When I see him, he's always really down-to-earth, kind, considerate and humble. So to me, his talent (and this is saying A LOT) isn't his best attribute. Zack says it's weird to see John onstage and on tv banging away at the skins, having gone to his house for BBQS and family gatherings. Anyways, I got to hang out with the band, and go backstage and all that stuff yesterday. It was really nice to catch up with my friends, and oh yeah, catch Prince in concert. Although he's like, 4 foot 9 and a total megalomaniacal diva, the man is a musical genius. I just can't say it enough. And damn hot. I swear to God, he can do anything. R&B, funk, hip-hop, motown, jazz, blues, classic scorcher guitar solos - you name it, he'll master it, and bring the house down. And he's finally playing all the hits! In the middle of the show, he stopped to play a 40 minute solo acoustic set of approximately 10 of his 80s song including Cream, Little Red Corvette, Thieves in the Temple, Seven, Raspberry Beret, Alphabet Street, I Wanna be Your Lover, Take Me With U, etc. and the crowd went nuts. The band was tight (although they were apparently late in rejoining him, except for John) but the acoustic session really highlighted what a great performer and musician he truly is. Oh, and he did some covers, including (I Like) The Way You Move, Soul Man, Whole Lotta Love and riffs of Crazy in Love, the Sanford and Son theme song and Jailhouse Rock. The only thing I didn't like is that he didn't do any of the really dirty stuff - Erotic City, Gett Off, Peach, Darling Nikki, Scarlet Pussy - but that's cause of the whole Jehovah's Witness conversion. Damn Kingdome Hall cult. But despite that, it totally rocked.