Monday, November 20, 2006

Bob Dylan @City Center, Nov. 20th

Tonight, solo-ed it to see Bob Dylan play the wonderfully small venue, City Center, which seats less than 2,800 people. Last week, I randomly checked their website, and lo and behold, a very good seat, 3rd row center of the first level above the orchestra, popped up, so it was just too good to pass on. Everyone I knew balked at the price, so I had to pay for the privilege of catching Bob all by my lonesome. It was okay, tho -- I had a better seat than David Fricke or Sarah Vowell!

There was no opener (no Racs, boo!); Dylan started at about 8:05. He played non-stop, with a short 5 minute break before the encore, no banter except to introduce the band during the encore, and then finished at 9:55. And I walked in my door at home by 10:35, so I was happy!

Tonight he focused on his well-received latest effort, Modern Times, playing 7 out of 10 tracks on the album. He played a handful of classics too, including my favs "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "Highway 61 Revisited," and even a couple from his last album, Love And Theft.

The funny thing about Bob Dylan's singing (if you wanna call it that) nowadays is that even for the classic songs, sometimes it takes half a second to figure out what he's singing (or growling) because he sounds so different from when he was younger. But I guess it's different in a good way -- yeah, we love hearing him play the old shit, but his grizzled croaky voice gives everything a new spin. And you can't go into a Dylan show hoping he'll play certain songs because he's so damn prolific. Just sit back and enjoy the genius, ya know?

Dylan closed out the evening with the standard "Like A Rolling Stone":

(Sorry for how shaky the video is -- I need to smuggle in a tripod too!)

Here's the setlist from the show:

The Levee's Gonna Break
SeƱor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
Rollin' And Tumblin'
Boots Of Spanish Leather
High Water (For Charley Patton)
When The Deal Goes Down
It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Tangled Up In Blue
Spirit On The Water
Highway 61 Revisited
Nettie Moore
Summer Days

Ain't Talkin'
Thunder On The Mountain
Like A Rolling Stone

Check out my YouTube for all three songs of the encore.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Modest Mouse @Bowery Ballroom, Nov. 17th

Tonight, went to the Bowery Ballroom with Wawa to catch Modest Mouse on the 4th night of their five gig stand in New York this week. We saw MM over two years ago at the Hammerstein Ballroom in the midst of their Good News for People Who Love Bad News tour, and maybe it was cos we were stuck in the back of the floor, but they were a little less than compelling. I was soooo excited to see them based on their albums, but I was let down.

I knew this time would be a no-brainer to check them out. (A) they were playing Bowery Ballroom, which makes anyone look better, and (B) news had surfaced that Johnny Marr of Smiths fame had recorded with them for their upcoming release. Then when it became apparent that he would actually be touring with them too, it was like Oh. My. God...


I figured that worse come to worst, if MM sucked, I could close my eyes and at least focus on selectively hearing Johnny Fuckin' Marr. But, to my delight, Isaac Brock & Co. brought it this time.

For about an hour and forty minutes, they went non-stop through an energetic set of favorites and a few new ones. Isaac and Johnny shared guitar duties, often seeming to egg each other on in terms of intensity from either side of the stage. It was heavenly!

Johnny Fuckin' Marr, man!

Check out my Flickr for the rest of my pics.

Oh, and I think Gawker hit it right on the button when they came up with their Taxonomy of an Indie Rock Show. I was near all those people and I decided, (a) I am getting too old for moshing (at a Modest Mouse concert, no less), and (b) I really hate idiot douchebag people.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Damien Rice @Hiro Ballroom, Nov. 16th

It had been almost two and a half weeks since I saw a concert. During that time, I went to Puerto Rico and have been helping build the new Kung Fu temple (I learned how to lay sheet rock!), but gosh, I felt like I've been in withdrawal!


Tonight headed after work with Bharat to check out Damien Rice at my favorite cool venue, the Hiro Ballroom. Now, I haven't gotten into Damien like the rest of the world has. Loved that "Blower's Daughter" song when it was used for the movie "Closer." But, for whatever reason, I couldn't get behind the mope.

Damien is a gifted singer and songwriter and tonight I had the luck and privilege to sit in the second row for this intimate gig. His voice was so beautiful, and he was supported by a talented band, including Lisa Hannigan, whose voice complimented Damien's so well, and Vivienne Long, whose cello helped augment the emotion that Damien thrusts into his songs.

For nearly two hours, Damien and Co. led us through a good mix of the two albums, "O" and "9." They looked like they were having tons of fun, especially when they did a goofy version of "Cheers, Darlin'" supplemented by red wine. I sure had a lot of fun watching them.



I'm glad I got to experience Damien Rice live in such a small venue. I think I might just have to check him out in a month when he plays at the Beacon...

Here's a pretty song -- "Delicate" -- from his first album:

Saw two of the Music Sluts there.

More pics on my Flickr, and more vids on my YouTube.