Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Caution - construction zone.

Bear with me for the next week or so, I'm working on making some changes around here.  I just added some pages up at the top, but if you click them, they all currently say "under construction."  My most favoritest new addition is going to be the "Fiction" page, which is going to be a repository for some forthcoming short fiction works.  I need to start writing again, and I feel like some short stories are the kind of practice I'm looking for right now.  There will surely be some other format changes coming soon, too, I'm just not sure what they'll be yet.  This is going to be fun.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Alice In Chains!

First of all, there is no way that AIC will ever be the same without Layne.  Of course the old songs sound a little different with a new singer, but what I came to realize over the past week or so, and it was really solidified for me at the show on Friday, is that Jerry Cantrell is AIC as much as Layne ever was.  With all of that said, the show was amazing, if a little too loud at the beginning.  Okay, it was WAY too loud at the beginning, and two days later, I'm growing more and more convinced that the ringing in my ears is never going to stop, and I may need to see medical attention to determine if I did any permanent damage by standing on the floor for this show, but I digress.

The stage set-up was refreshingly simple.  A white curtain with the heart drawing from the cover of the new album hid the stage when we got there between AIC and the opening act, hiding the simple stage surrounded by similar curtains.  When the lights went down, the heart started to beat with a thunderous pounding that shook your chest, picking up pace and building momentum until the backlit silhouettes of Cantrell and William DuVall, Staley's replacement as lead singer, appeared against the curtain. As the band dropped into All Secrets Known, the lead track from the album, and a great opener IMO, the curtain fell.  I'm not kidding, it was sort of hard to even hear what they were playing for the first couple of songs, it was so loud and distorted.  I wondered whether they had forgone the soundcheck in favor us just treating the first few songs as such, because after Check My Brain, the sound calmed down a little (or maybe my deaf ears just adjusted), and the rest of the show just rocked.  Here's the complete setlist:

1.- All Secrets Known
2.- It Ain't Like That
3.- Again
4.- Check My Brain
5.- Them Bones
6.- Dam That River
7.- Rain When I Die
8.- Your Decision
9.- Got Me Wrong
10.- God Smack
11.- A Looking in View
12.- Nutshell
13.- Sickman
14.- Grind
15.- Lesson Learned
16.- Acid Bubble
17.- Angry Chair
18.- Man in the Box

19.- Would?
20.- Rooster
Some highlights for me were Your Decision, Got Me Wrong, Nutshell ("Let's do one for Layne"), Angry Chair, and Would?.  I've been trying to decide what my favorite part of the show was, and it's really between Would? and Got Me Wrong, which is a surprise even to me.  I've always loved Got Me Wrong, but it was somehow completely awesome live.  The harmony between Cantrell and DuVall's voices really is great, and it obvious on songs like this why DuVall was the obvious choice if AIC was going to continue on as AIC.  Would? just completely rocked.  Completely.  Nutshell is such an amazing song, and I wasn't expecting it to be awesome because it's so completely Layne's song, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Again, maybe it was the fact that Cantrell and DuVall have such great harmony, but DuVall really did Layne justice with this one.  Nonetheless, never was Layne's absence more tangible than during songs like this.

My other favorite part of the show was at the end, after the encore was over and the lights came up, and the band was roaming around the stage, pulling all the guitar picks of the mic stands and tossing them into the crowd.  Ditto for the drum sticks.  They were so, so grateful to the audience, and so great about that.  Cantrell kept saying how great it was, how much fun they had, how much they love doing this, and thank you, thank, you, thank you.  I LOVE bands that treat their fans right, and I love bands that appreciate their fans.  I feel like AIC is in a place now where they don't have to be doing this, but they love what they do, and that comes across so much.

Two big let-downs for me were Man In The Box and Rooster.  Again, I'm not sure I had very high hopes for a lot of the old Layne Staley standards, but Rooster was the final final song for the night, and I just would've loved one more song to close it out because as great as DuVall and Cantrell sound together, Rooster just wasn't the same without Layne.  When I say these two songs were let-downs, that's not to say that they didn't completely rock.  They just weren't quite the same.  But I mean really, if two songs were sort of a little bit of a let-down, can you really complain at all about the show?  No.  I have no complaints.  The show was great.  I wanna go again.  Like, now.  And again, and again, and again.
Search YouTube for "Alice in Chains Providence" to see a bunch of videos from the show, including the intro with the beating heart on All Secrets Known.  I was going to embed the videos here, but J told me that might be illegal.  Most of the show is up there, as individual song files, for your viewing enjoyment, but watch them now, because they might come down in a matter of days.

If you have a chance to see any of the remaining shows on this tour, go!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pay attention to what you listen to (mobile follow-up)

Original post from 4/14/10:

When you really know what you're listening to, music is even more amazing.

Edited to add (on 4/16/10):
I know that I tend to get obsessed and maybe a little neurotic with certain artists, bands, songs, albums, etc., and I know that when I do, it can be a little excruciating for those around me.  That's part of the reason for this blog in the first place.  At least I acknowledge that I do this, and to some extent I really try not to subject anyone to the full extent of my neuroses.  I know that it is seen as a problem by some, but the original mobile post that led to this explanation really says it all.  I obsess the way that I do because when you know and understand the lyrics and the music and the process  and the background that went into creating it all and putting it all together, you gain a whole new level of appreciation for what you're listening to, and the music rises to a whole new level.  So yes, when I latch on to an artist/band/song/album, I learn everything that I can about it, I read lyrics, occasionally I read biographies or autobiographies, I read blogs, I listen on repeat, I play albums beginning to end again and again and again.  And you know what, that works for me.  Because at least for me, when I really know what I'm listening to, music is even more amazing.

Not to belabor the point (but, okay, to belabor the point), and by way of an example, I've been a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan for longer than I can ever remember.  I know a lot about the band's history, and where a lot of their songs came from, but when Anthony Kiedis published his autobiography, Scar Tissue, a few years back, I think I read it in a day and a half, and gained a whole new level of insight into every album they had put out up to that point.  Just when I thought the Peppers couldn't get any better for me, they did.  Because when you really understand everything that went into making the music that you're listening to, and you really know what you're listening to, music can be a whole new kind of awesome.

So pay attention.

Friday, April 9, 2010

I selfishly love my dog (mobile follow-up)

Original mobile post from 4/9/10:

Going out after work on Fridays is so much better since I got a dog. Reasons to follow.

Edited to add (on 4/16/10):
All of the reasons stem from the fact that having a dog means I have to go home and take care of him.  Here are just a few:
1) I have to go home before I go out, so I get to change my clothes.  This is really the biggest and most important of all the reasons.  I hate dressing up for work, and out for drinks in a suit is no fun at all, IMO.
2) I wind up going out closer to home, and not having to drive as far to get home after drinks.
3) I can have a beer at home while he's eating his dinner, and I that's one less beer to pay for at the bar.
3a) It's also one more beer to ease my social anxiety before I even get to the bar.
4) When I do leave work a little early on Fridays to go out straight from there, I can't get sucked into "extra" beers before driving home.
5) Even if I've gone home first, I still can't get sucked into staying out all night, because poor Moo needs to get some running-round time in, so I don't wind up staying out all night on Friday nights, and I love that.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Honest Scrap Award


Thank you so much to Jacki at lovelylittleshelf.com for giving me the Honest Scrap award!

The rules of this blog award are that I have to list 10 honest things about myself and then pass it on to 7 other bloggers.  It's taken me 5 days now to post about it and pass it on because I've been really busy all week, but I promise that I am pretty excited about it.  So, without further ado:

10 honest things about me:
1. I love filling out forms.  Any kind of forms, for myself or for others, on paper or on-line, anything.  I'm a fan.  I was so excited when my census form came in the mail, and was seriously let down that there was so little filling out to be done.

2. Spending time alone is one of the best things ever.  I like shopping alone, going to the theater alone, drinking alone, or just chilling at home with a book and a cup of tea.  There's something really peaceful to me about just chilling with myself.

3. I don't really mind the smell of skunks.  It sort of reminds me of my childhood, so I'm okay with it.

4. I don't understand severe animal rights activists.  I love animals as much as the next person, but I can't understand how some people can value animals more highly than people, 'cause that just ain't right.

5. I'm really bad at picking favorites of pretty much anything.  Favorite color? Nope.  Favorite food? Nope.  Favorite book, author, band, song, movie? Forget it.  Everything has it's own worth, and I love different things for different reasons and different occasions.

6. Actually, I'm really bad at making decisions generally.

7.  I'm laid back to a fault.  It might go so far as to be considered apathy about most things.  This may relate to my inability to choose favorites or make decisions - I just don't really care all that much.

8. I like my iced coffee to taste more like coffee milk or melted down coffee ice cream than actual coffee.

9. I've been known to skip going to the grocery store altogether just because I forgot to bring my own bags.  Also because I'm a lazy-ass, but largely because I'm uncomfortable around plastic grocery bags.

10. I hate going to the dentist with a fiery passion, and I feel bad for my dentist for this reason, because I can't be the only one that feels that way about visiting him.  He's a very nice man, and it's not that I hate him, I just hate what he does to me whenever I see him.

7 bloggers receiving the honest scrap award from me:

1. Ashley at That's Life

3. Jayfan at Statham Fan

5. Heather at See Heather Write

6. Ally at CasuALLY Musing