Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

One Day I’ll…Someday I’ll Come Home

I went on Saturday to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival & it was fantastic, but Sunday was the day that I will remember for all my days. My sister & I arrived early in the morning to make sure we had a good seat at the stage where the Avett Brothers would play later that evening. They were the ones we wished to see most of all, but we were eager to see everything that the festival had to offer.

When the Felice Brothers came on, expectations were low. I’d heard of the band from New York in passing, but was not sure of what they had to offer. What they had to offer was a brilliant collection of songs that came across as a hybrid of Bob Dylan, The Band & Tom Waits.  We marveled at their presence & we enjoyed them without reservation.

Then came on Moon Alice & we were less enthusiastic about their performance. They were from a bygone generation of Dead Heads that didn’t appeal to my or her generation*. They spoke of doing hallucinogenic drugs & of playing with the Grateful Dead throughout the world. I must put this out there that I have a strong distaste towards the Grateful Dead & Jam bands in particular. It’s great if you’re on acid, but if stoned or drunk it does nothing but wear on one’s patience. Since I’ve never tried any psychedelic drugs (unless you consider pot as such) I couldn’t relate.

*My sister & I are 15 years apart, but oftentimes, if not at all times, she is the voice of reason.

Boodge (what my sister will be heretofore referred to as) & I decided to eat lunch. The sun came out for a spell & we basked in its glory, however short lived & we were asked by a young hippie what we were eating & where we could get it. Whole Foods, that corporate conglomerate that brilliantly markets itself to nonconformists was the answer & she brimmed with near luminescence at the suggestion that we didn’t propagate one of the other corporate establishments such as: Safeway, Raley’s or Lucky’s. As if this corporation was better than the others because it had a better global strategy to make more money by being the organic food headquarters, by being morally just to  follow laws about fair trade & by not being afraid to hire those, nay encourage their employees (male or female) to have dreadlocks & beards. A brilliant corporate strategy & one not lost on those that have the power of literacy.

I, however, could care less about any of that. While being a concerned global citizen, my main objective is selfish to be true. I want the best price I can find for my buck. Sure I can get a cup of coffee for a buck & Winchell’s**, but Starbuck’s offers the facilities to sit & write this diatribe for $1.95 so I’m getting more for my money. That, my friends, is economics.

**That is assuming I’m not dating myself & Winchell’s is still around.

After we consumed our hummus & flatbread thing with Spinach we left our blanket & ice chest at our little spot & headed off to wander to the various booths of food & merch before going to see Randy Newman. Randy Newman was uproariously funny. Cracking jokes in-between songs & we laughed as if seated in a comedy club. It was half way through the set that I became distracted by a curious Groundhog, named Gunther by Boodge. He would come up eat a little grass, peer out over the crowd & scurry back into his hole. Shy, but not overly so it didn’t take him to long to become comfortable with me & eat leaves right from my hand.

After Randy Newman’s set, which included scattered boos for playing “I Love L.A.” we headed off to see Elvis Costello, one of the larger draws of the show. We got a spot on  a hill about a mile away, which was great for about five minutes until the sheer masses of people began to crowd around us & the young Boodge’s claustrophobia got the better of her. Five songs & we headed off to the Avett Brothers stage. Declan MacMannus would have to wait for another day.

As we walked over, Boodge felt a desire to apologize for her ailments. How heartless must one be to want to subject someone they care about to such deplorable a condition as thousands of people pushing against you & making you terribly uncomfortable. Apologies weren’t necessary as I was none to happy to subject her or myself to something thoroughly unenjoyable.

We caught the Yonder Mountain String Band & they made us dance with a joy that is usually reserved for weddings, funerals & bar mitzvahs. Banjos, fiddles & an accordion ruled the hour as we lost all inhibition to what others may think. We had never heard their music before, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying them as if they were our hometown band making a trip through one last time.

After they finished we anxiously awaited the band we wanted to see most of all. Boodge wanted them to play “Colorshow” more than anything & wouldn’t you know they came out & led with it. The tempo was set & we lost ourselves in the music. They played songs from their newest album, their older albums & a cover of Doc Watson’s “Blue Ridge Mountains”. The throngs of people made it even better as we belted out the lyrics as though we’d written them ourselves. We sang with reckless abandon as well all peered out over the haze of fog & marijuana smoke that permeated the festival atmosphere.

As if on cue when “Salina” came on we danced like Native Americans dancing for rain & when the lyric “The rain it fell, the story went on. The rain it fell & we got gone” came we all screamed it as a steady drizzle fell in the valley of trees where the stage was situated. Epic is a word that I throw around, sometimes too often, but that is what the scene was in a word. The energy put into that set left us speechless. After an hour & a half of singing & playing their hearts out the boys from North Carolina left the stage to pure love & affection.

In that moment, where we all sang “I & Love & You” & the Avetts left the stage we genuinely felt it. It was nothing but admiration, thankfulness & love for giving us an experience. There are things that have stuck with me in my life, the births of my sisters, niece & nephew, my father’s passing, the first time I saw Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney & Bad Religion. This was one of those moments where time stood still & 100, 000 voices on the ground, in the trees, on hills sang in unison to the heavens. No violence, no strife as the free festival carried through three days of peace due to the benevolence & generosity of Warren Hellman.

As we left the excitement was palpable & life was good. We were throughly exhausted, but it was the good kind. The kind that makes you know that the thing you just witnessed was magical & will be a story that never grows old. We were there, like it was Monterey ’67 or Woodstock ’69. We watched these artists give us joy & in turn we gave them love & admiration. Our lives were forever changed by music & why shouldn’t it be music that changes lives. Why must life always be changed by negative things? Why can’t that those moments of joy stay locked in our cranial cavities like money in a safe only coming out when we feel the need to share. It was a glorious day!

Stand There & Watch Me Burn

Saturday afternoon I got into this discussion about the song “No Reply” by the Beatles & how it was a stalker song. The rich harmonies in Beatles songs often masked a foreboding sense of misogyny. It’s also worth mentioning that the songs that are the most misogynistic or edgy are sung by John Lennon. “No Reply” is no different. It could be that it was about an unfaithful girlfriend, but Lennon himself said it was his version of the 1957 Rays song “Silhouettes”.

The Beatles, Lennon in particular, have a number of songs that would give off that sense of danger to most women. The Rays song (written by Bob Crewe) is a sweet genuine song, at least until the end. It, too, is about watching a couple through the silhouettes in the shade, but then he:

Lost control and rang your bell (I was sore)
Let me in or else I’ll beat (down your door)
When two strangers who had been two silhouettes on the shade
Said to my shock “you’re on the wrong block”

He then rushes off to his girlfriend & thus a happy ending. Lennon took it a step further & made it a little less of a happy ending.

I nearly died, I nearly died,
‘Cause you walked hand in hand
With another man in my place.
No reply, no reply.

There is nothing to indicate in the song that he knew the girl in any way. In fact, it seems throughout the entire song she is doing her best to avoid him. It made me wonder if this was the same girl Lennon referred to in his Rubber Soul classic “Run For Your Life”. An example of that songs lyrics:

Let this be a sermon
I mean everything I’ve said
Baby, I’m determined
And I’d rather see you dead

You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end little girl

This makes me think that John Lennon was the last guy you wanted to fuck with if you were a woman. No wonder he liked the Asian girls. Dumb white girls can’t fall in line & do what they’re told, but Asian girls are as submissive as a tranquilized bear. Of course, it is quite ironic that it was he who ended up dead. We lionize our heroes as mythic infallible creatures. We blamed Yoko for the end of the Beatles, because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but let’s not be confused here, John Lennon was no saint.

While a fantastic songwriter & musician, he was basically a prickly human being. A deadbeat dad, cheated on his first wife Cynthia numerous times & eventually in her kitchen, cheated on Yoko & was a heavy drug user. That is not to say that I will stop listening to music, it is merely a plea to stop treating rock icons like Gods. Eminem is another who is supremely talented but has his own demons & misogynistic songs. On his new album, Recovery, he has a duet with Rhianna about spousal abuse, but it deals with it in an honest almost perversely sweet, loving way.

Rhianna, a victim of abuse herself, sings the chorus, but it’s Eminem who talks about the love he feels for the woman he hits in a fit of rage. He speaks of out of control emotions & not wanting to lose the one person that makes him feel something, but in the end he burns the house & them both to the ground. Take the music for what it is & leave the personal life to the person.

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No Reply – The Beatles

Run For Your Life – The Beatles

Silhouettes – The Rays

Silhouettes – Frankie Lymon

Love the Way You Lie – Eminem (Featuring Rhianna)

The Art of Feeling Naked in Your Clothes

It’s been a week or so since I wrote anything. Writer’s block? Laziness? Nothing to write about? Who knows? I’ve been sitting on this topic for a few days & now I feel the time is write to truly express my outrage (probably not the right word). Coachella, in case you live in a cave (talking to you Osama), is a 3 day music festival in Indio, California in April every year that highlights some of the most amazing bands & usually showcases new & old alike. This year, however, the lineup is shit. Talk about getting right to the point.

Last year the headliners were Paul McCartney, The Cure & The Killers. This year it’s Jay-Z, Muse & Gorillaz? Jay-Z is awesome & I’ve wanted to see him forever. He’s one of the best rapper’s around, but Gorillaz & Muse? I just don’t understand why Muse is blowing up so huge. They’re good, but headlining material? Not so much. I saw them at the Download festival a few years ago opening up for Beck & the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They’re a nice band, with a nice sound. Hardly, headlining material. Don’t even get me started on Gorillaz who were another nice band about 5 years ago.

Sunday might as well be labeled has-been night with Pavement, Sly & the Family Stone & De La Soul also on the bill. 2009 had Franz Ferdinand, Morrissey, The Black Keys, Leonard Cohen & Paul McCartney & that was just the first day. What happened to getting the biggest acts in the world & showcasing them. It’s like the promoters for Coachella threw in the towel & just said “fuck it, we’ll see if Stephen Malkmus wants to get an underachieving 90′s band back together!” They’re not even headlining!

It’s get’s better. In their infinite wisdom they have decided not to sell individual day tickets, but to reduce the cost of camping.  This, to me, is a sign that they know they’re not going to make their money back with such a subpar lineup. If I had their money & the time they had form one year to the next to lock down anyone I wanted here’s 10 of the artists I would get.

Bruce Springsteen – Have him headline like he did at Bonnaroo. He’ll play for 3 hours like McCartney did & leave everyone with a memorable experience. .

Born to Run (Unplugged) – Bruce Springsteen

Thunder Road (Acoustic) – Bruce Springsteen

The Avett Brothers - Yeah I know they’re playing Day 1 on a shitty side stage, but I’d get rid of Grace Jones & move in the Avett’s. Poor planning once again.

Laundry Room – Avett Brothers

It Goes On & On – Avett Brothers

The Pixies – They’ve been playing again recently & would’ve been a helluva better option than Pavement.

Here Comes Your Man (Live) – The Pixies

Hey (Live) – The Pixies

Blitzen Trapper – An amazing band that would’ve fit nicely with Passion Pit & Grizzly Bear on day 1.

Furr – Blitzen Trapper

Wild Mountain Nation – Blitzen Trapper

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse – They came out with one of the best underground album in years (probably since The Grey Album) & John Waters will be playing on Saturday.

Revenge – Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse featuring Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips

Little Girl – Feat. Julian Casablancas

Dr. Dre – He’s coming out with a new album. Could’ve gotten Eminem on stage with him & screams West Coast much more than the New Jersey native Jay-Z.

Nuthin’ but a G Thang – Dr. Dre

Forgot About Dre – Dr. Dre feat. Eminem

Guns ‘N Roses – What better venue than Coachella to try & get the original line-up together for a one-off? This is what Coachella used to be about, getting bands back together after years of strife.

Don’t Cry – Guns N’ Roses

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Guns N’ Roses

Led Zeppelin - They’ve been talking about getting back together for a couple of years now. Wouldn’t Coachella have reaped the benefits of getting such an amazing act on their queue?

Black Dog (Live) – Led Zeppelin

Going to California (Live) – Led Zeppelin

My Morning Jacket – They bring their own audience much like the Dead, but talented. They are a band that would bring people from across the country to the event, unlike say…Muse or Grace Jones.

One Big Holiday (Live) – MMJ

Where to Begin – MMJ

Oasis – What better venue than to get the Brothers Gallagher to kiss & make up once again than Coachella. They could bring a global audience to watch what could turn out to be great music or a great fistfight. Either way the crowd is entertained.

Live Forever (Unplugged) – Oasis

What’s the Story Morning Glory (Unplugged)- Oasis