Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Alice in Chains @Bowery Ballroom, May 23rd

(I took this picture on my shitty cellphone.)

I can't believe I just went to an Alice in Chains concert. BY MYSELF.

I bought these tickets a few weeks ago, cos I got caught up in the hooplah. I was one of the lucky ones who got through on Ticketweb. Then, through some crafty craigslisting, I was all set to trade my pair of AIC tickets for a pair to one of the sold out Radiohead shows at the Theater at MSG. But sure enough, the trader/traitor bailed on me last minute today, and Wawa was anxious and tired -- he's going to Boston tomorrow for, gee, guess what, more Pearl Jam -- so I guess he didn't want to be all grunged out.

I can't even call myself a fan. When Layne died, I did not shed a tear. Well, I do actually have one cd by them -- Dirt -- which, if you're gonna have over a thousand cds in your collection, Dirt might as well be one of them. I think I bought it during my freshman year of college to go with my two Pearl Jam cds and two Nirvana ones and Singles soundtrack.

So I did a last minute post on craigslist and got someone to commit to my plus 1 for a nice price and opted to go myself after kung fu tonight.

The place was packed with K-Rock types -- a sausagefest, I think they term it? I really wanted to kill myself but I figured since my ticket was more than paid for by the other guy, I could have a beer, check the show out and leave if it was so terrible.

Because my plus 1 was not the tallest -- I think I was a bit taller with my New Balances on -- he and I went to my new spot at the Bowery introduced to me by Heather at the Scissor Sisters, the right corner of the stage right by the bouncer and the door.

It proved to be perfect positioning cos I ended up right against the stage, and to the left of me was a girl in a wheelchair. I thought, oh, how wonderful, I'm glad she gets to come to a show and have a great spot. But not until the crowd got going did I realize how awesome it was to have her near me. She served as a great buffer between me and the raucous mosh pit and crowd surfers and stage divers. So, thank you, whoever you are.

The positioning was also perfect since we were on Jerry Cantrell's side of the stage, and he really is the only reason to go see AIC now. Don't get me wrong -- the guy who did the lead vocals was great, sounded a lot like Layne, got the crowd hyped up, and even played guitar, which is something Layne never did. But, really, who are we kidding here -- Jerry with his long, blond hair and crazy guitar -- is the man! He played to the crowd as they yelled, "Jerry! Jerry!" By the end of the night, tho, the crowd did yell, "New guy! New guy!" more than once. Jerry played right above my portion of the stage numerous times so that he hovered a mere few feet above me. I even touched his ass for a sec -- don't ask me why I did that!

They played for about 70 minutes total, including a short break after which for the encore they played 3 songs. They hit all the ones I knew off of Dirt, including my favorites Them Bones, Rooster, Would? and lastly, Man in the Box.

Would? (huh huh) I do this again? Probably not, but I had fun tonight, I suppose.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Raconteurs @Tower Records, May 18th

This past Tuesday, the Raconteurs CD came out. Tower Records announced that with the purchase of the CD, they would give away a bracelet that would allow free entry to the instore performance the following Thursday (tonight). Apparently people lined up at the crack of dawn in the rain for these bracelets. I went down during my late lunch break (2:30ish?) and managed to grab one hassle free, in the Yellow Sun. And the clerk who assisted me with my purchase insisted on putting on the bracelet at the store to deter scalpers, I suppose, but happily, I could slide it off quite easily once on Broadway so I didn't have to look like a total loser.

So, tonight after a brilliant kung fu class, I walked the block and a half up from Temple to Tower and got in line with the rest of the herd. Julie1 was able to grab a bracelet too after I told her I got one so late in the day, so she came and joined me in line.

I had never been to an instore at Tower before. They pushed all the CD racks somewhere else and had a raised platform for the band. The place was crammed with mostly hipster types, including this one who Julie had the misfortune of standing behind. He wore this dirty wool cap that reaked. I mean, c'mon, man, it's fucking mid-May already! So many people played the photographer tonight. So many friggin' digital cameras!

The Racs started promptly at 10pm. Jack White, Brendan Benson, and those two other guys. Yeah, them. They had some sound issues -- the amps weren't really kicking it -- so the first 3 songs were almost a capella, with a distant acoustic guitar strumming. They took a short break to resolve the issues, and returned to the stage in full gear. And it was awesome. You never have to expect anything less than ROCK!!! when Jack White is involved.

They ended up playing about 9 songs, and considering the CD itself is like 11 songs, that was pretty nice. I had hoped to catch them at the impossible Irving Plaza show last month, but this was a nice alternative.

Side note -- I asked Bharat if he wanted to pop down to Tower with me on Tuesday, and I had told him that the Racs were Jack White's new project. He adamantly said, Oh I don't like him. So I said suit yourself and left. When I returned and said I thought you loved the White Stripes, he finally realized he had thought I had meant Jack Black....whoops! Yeah, verrrrry different...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The John Sid Band @Bar 169, May 12th

Great way to close out the week -- caught kung fu classmate John Sid and his band play a small bar in the very lower Lower East Side called Bar 169. A ton of us came out to cheer on John, who sounded sharp as usual.

And now that this was my third time seeing John play, the songs sounded more and more familiar. Some of the other girls and I had a blast dancing our asses off in front of the band and screaming at the top of our lungs

At one point there was a tall drunkish asshole who loudly complained that John was "no Eddie Vedder" and that he "sucked" but then all of a sudden he had a ton of us kung fu people turn around and stare at him. If he only knew that we could have all caijiaoed his butt into oblivion. He's lucky that he caught us all in a good mood.

I think John's Band got the crowd going -- even the non-kung fu folks. A cute guy who I talked to for a bit compared John's singing to that of Jeff Buckley. Whoa!

All in all, it was a fun night, tho it got a little sticky towards the end, but I'll spare you the gory details...I'm just thankful that Ji was there to help pick up the pieces.

I'm glad I went. It is a night like this one that reinforces why I love USA Shaolin Temple. What handsome beautiful people we are!

And I trained the morning after too -- MORE CHI! TRAIN HARDER!