Top Songs & Albums For 2009

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, December 31, 2009 - 08:55:54 am
(Posted Under: No Category)
[hitter:table user="ord" start="20090101" period_type="year" table_type="tracks" /]

[hitter:table user="ord" start="20090101" period_type="year" table_type="albums" /]

It's no surprise to me that Hitter agrees that 2009 has been the year for Champagne Music. Certainly it's been my favorite album of this year (regardless of it actually coming out late last year).

Nothing else has been that surprising, other than I"ve listened to 1001 more this year than I necessarily remember.

Lazy Day

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, December 28, 2009 - 10:48:25 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
A nice lazy day today - the Jensen's helped Brad move his stuff for Ames. We sat around, watched TV and played some PS3 games. Really relaxing stuff.

Oh, and I took to opportunity to pee in the snow. [wink] Juvenile, maybe, but not growing up with snow, it needed to be done. The sun was out today (with complete blue skies which was really nice), and put quite a dent in the snow, so I figured that I show get that out of my system. [smile]


(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 10:57:03 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Went to lunch in Warsaw - again, it was surprising how different everything looks snow covered! It was a good opportunity to take some photos of the snow covered area.

We saw the Union Jensens off after lunch, made a stop at Country Mark, where I stocked up on smokes. The difference in price here verses Phoenix is quite impressive!

Once we got back to the house, we took a walk around the backyard, which is the first time I've gotten to really enjoy the snow. The pond is completely frozen over, which is pretty impressive. The cold was really getting to Katie, and I took a walk around the front taking a bunch of photos, and taking a walk down Faircliff Lane up to the neighbors house. It was impressive the way it's easy to see the lake from there now that the trees have lost all their leaves. Gives a good sense of how close the house is to the lake.

Tonight we did a Pawn Stars marathon, which was fun. I was skeptical at first, but was sold a little into the first episode (of five) that we watched.

Turn Summer Trees To Bones And Ice

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, December 27, 2009 - 10:20:19 am
(Posted Under: Livin' In The USA Livin' In The USA)
Certainly that was a line that came to mind very easily on the drive from St. Louis to Warsaw yesterday. Leaving 20C degree days of Tempe for below freezing temperatures of Missouri is certainly an impressive contrast.

Here in Warsaw it's snowing, which is a cool experience - there is an impressive covering of snow, which is fun. The idea of doing this full time for 3+ months however is a foreign thought. How people do it, I'm not entirely sure.

We discussed, a while ago, how you need to be a little strange to live out in the desert - which is why it works so well for us. [wink] But returning to the midwest for Christmas, it makes me second guess that thought. The whole Arizona thing seems so much 'normal' to me in comparison to these freezing temperatures and the idea of not seeing the sun for days on end! [smile]

Yesterday, traveling here with the Union Jensens, we got stuck about half a mile from the house, on an icy hill on K, where another car had already gotten stuck. We'd been stuck behind a slow driving 4WD, which was mostly our downfall, loosing too much momentum to maintain traction to get us up the icy hill. As we were so close to the house, Shelly, the kids and I set out on foot to the house, leaving Chris & Katie to wait for help. Another reason why dealing with this sort of winter requires a special sort of person in my mind. It also makes me glad that we determined that driving from AZ wasn't cost effective in comparison to flying. Driving all that way in winter would have sucked, and I'm glad that neither us. nor Pepe were put through that! [smile]

White Christmas

(Add / View Comments) (1)Friday, December 25, 2009 - 04:36:42 pm
(Posted Under: Travel)
A little under 12 hours after first setting out this morning, we finally made it to St. Louis. The fact that we got our flights changed to St. Louis worked out quite well, in the we didn't end up getting caught up in any terrible snow storms.

And hence, we flew into a dark cloudly, lightly snow covered St. Louis airport. Walking out of the airport was a special type of cold, with that sort of bite that says "just so you don't forget, it's cold!".

It's certainly a novel thing to experience both the cold and the snow, but given that we left days average 20C degrees, I can't imagine surviving in this type of weather for months on end.

In any case, we're staying in Union tonight, and then heading to Warsaw tomorrow, a day late, but a lot better than the worst case scenario that could have happened today.

Feliz Navidad!

Smoke 'Em If You've Got 'Em

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, December 25, 2009 - 01:43:15 pm
(Posted Under: Travel)
We made it to Atlanta without a problem. Since we didn't need to go through security for our connecting flight, it was appreciated that the terminal had a smoking lounge. While it was appreciated, the room off the terminal was completely unventilated and so it was an interesting experience! I guess it's such a weird experience to smoke inside in general, and this packed room filled with hanging smoke was certainly an experience. I don't know that I notice it typically that much, but I'm really an outdoor smoker - smoking inside, although I used to do it, just ain't the same.

We had a little less than a two hour before we were flying to St. Louis. Sadly, a smaller flight, so no TV, nor free WiFi. Not that it really made that much of a difference to me, as I passed out for the majority of the flight. [smile] The 2 or 3 hours sleep last night finally started to catch up with me!

I See The Sun Is Creeping Up...

Changed Flights and Inflight Internet

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, December 25, 2009 - 07:03:35 am
(Posted Under: Travel)
Despite the previously in the early hours of the morning, our flights have changed again - for the better. Phoenix to Atlanta, and then Atlanta to Sy. Louis, with any luck, missing the bad weather in Kansas City. Should be a good surprise for Chris & Shelly when they find out!

So, the other news is that this is my first flight on a WiFi aircraft! Pretty sweet, especially considering the free trial. After working on such a system years ago, for a solid year and a half, it's pretty sweet to see in flight internet a reality. Not that it's the system I worked on (which ain't no surprise to me [wink]).

The netbook id working out quite well, even with the seat infront of me reclined (why does it always happen to me???).

Things have gone fairly smoothly this morning. At the end of the day I probably got about two hours sleep before waking up at 4:30am to get ready to head to Skyharbor.

On arriving, we expected to find the long term car park full (we called ahead) and that we'd have to use the more expensive garage. However, with a little driving around we found a park in the cheaper lot - which gave us some hope for the rest of the day.

We got our flights changed successfully to get to St. Louis, as there were concerns that we'd get stranded in Kansas City (or not get there at all), so that all worked out good.

Got on the plane, to disocer not judt the free internet for me, but the free TV, which has made Katie extremely excited. I think it's the first domestic flight in the US I've been on that has free TV.

Flying over Nrw Mexico earlier, it was really weird to think what normally takes us 8 hours driving, took 40 minutes this morning. Air travel is pretty sweet, when you can afford it.

Funnily enough, given that we're going to Atlanta, IO figured that it'd mean that I was going the furthers east than I have gone before. It's certainly the closest I've been to the east coast, but looking at the map, I'm not sure that Atlanta is more east, or as east as Detroit. Well, either way, it's a new city and new state for me!
Now Playing: 257 - Dead Hot Workshop

Travel Updates

(Add / View Comments) (0)Friday, December 25, 2009 - 12:12:03 am
(Posted Under: Travel)
The other day we were scheduled to fly to Kansas City, via Memphis. In attempts to be proactive about the snow storms, things changed to St. Louis via Atlanta. Now, we're back to Kansas City, via Salt Lake City. Woo!

It's going to be an early Christmas morning for us to get out to Skyharbor. Thankfully, that part of the itinerary hasn't changed! [wink]

Feliz Navidad!

Wedneaday Night Is Fun Music Night

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 11:30:33 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Live Shows)
That is the question to be asked. The answer is most probably 'no'. Each Wednesday night of late has been a lot of fun!

Tonight was the usual Teakwoods affair, with Bobby & Josh playing for happy hour. We were terrible late, and showed up just in time for the first set break! [wink] Which isn't the worst thing in the world, since they're booked all trough January for Happy Hour.

After that we headed home for a little bit, and then put to Yucca Tap Room - both to see Los Guys, and to rendezvous with Corey Gloden for a money/CD exchange. And can I saw, another reason why this band rocks - they will go out of their way to sell you a CD, which while that does seem like an obvious thing, it isn't, and some CD's (and I'm not mentioning any names) can really be some work. So kudos to Strange Young Things, for not only rocking, but for being great at the marketing side of things. They should be a template for many bands that just don't have their shit together.

In anycase, Larson opened up the night - we figured he was playing last, and that nothing would happen until 9:30/10 anyway, so we unfortunately walked in as Steve was taking his gear out.

We saw Daryl, who I forgot is in Bachmann's band, so it was cool chatting to him about The Maine show as his role with The Summer Set.

The msgic of the night really happened once Los Guys took the stage. By that stage, Glodie had showed up, prepared with the CD. Apparently he was trying to be a 'good boy' and then Adam said he had to come out to Yucca to help us out. I wanted to feel bad. But it's hard when it's pretty obvious that his arm didn't need tp be twisted that much! [smile]n'

In anycase, Los Guys rocked. I thought tonight how I don't give that band enough credit. Which is an easy misdemeanor - on CD, it's all a bit debdued - live, the bring the house down.

After not too long, Santa walked into Yucca - and was promptly the center of attention. There was something magical about the whole thing, Christmas Eve Eve sat Yucca with Santa up drinking at the bar and posing for photos. Yhe real magic happened once the band launched into 'Sara Says', and merry old Santa got up and started dancing at the front of the stage. He had quite some foot work too. I think it was obvious to everyone in the room, and at very least, it was to me, that with these scene, there was no way that Corey could remain seated. Within moments, her was up there busting a move with Santa, both quite impressively. The longer I live her, the more I understand the wonders of Yucca Tap Room, and that you'll never exactly sure what you'll see there, but whatever it is, it'll be awesome!!

A little before this Corey got up with the guys (giving a somewhat seemingly intoxicated Mark a bit of a break) and launched into some "Strange Young Guys" renditions of Left Breast Pocket and Spoils Of War. He'd mentioned earlier to me that since he'd come down he was going to do some songs with them. Too cool! And they sounded awesome. And it was a great, opportunity to see Glodie and Josh rock out together on stage. We've discussed a few times how tempting it is to want both Glodie and Josh together in a band. But it just wouldn't work, simple because it'd just be too much enthusiasm, excitement and rock going on in one band. It's a great thought, but it'd make heads explode. Hence, tonight was really fun getting to see them at least share the same stage for two songs. [smile]

In anycase, another incredible fun Wednesday night at Yucca Tap.
Now Playing: A - Dead Hot Workshop

Vote For 'Stop' @ Hoss The Boss

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, December 20, 2009 - 12:02:31 am
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
I'm not really one for online polls and voting.

With that said, one of, if not my favorite record of 2007 was Scotty Johnson's self titled effort. Which in my opinion doesn't get the props that it deserves. Which is kinda why I'm worked up about the following poll, where Stop from the record is up for an Hoss The Boss award. Which probably doesn't mean anything, but it'd really give me some satisfaction to see it take out the top place.

So, if you read my blog, do me a favor and go to the poll and vote for "Scott Johnson - Stop" (not to be confused with the "Steve Carlson - Stop" entry). If for nothing else, it'd be good to see some viral marketing happening. The poll is here:

Go on do it, good karma will come your way. Feel free to leave a comment here if you do, register yourself as a cool kid! [wink]

And don't forget that you can vote once per day.

Velvet Elvis @ Dirty Pretty

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosThursday, December 17, 2009 - 11:59:59 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
The stars lined up pretty nicely tonight in that The Maine show was only a few streets from Dirty Pretty in Scottsdale, which was very convenient for us to head over there from The Venue Of Scottsdale to catch Velvet Elvis.

The introduction to Norm seems to have paid off the moment we walked in. Kudos to Emmett for it!

Fun set, with all the usual suspects in terms of songs. Marc seemed to be having an absolute ball up on stage. When we walked in he promised that the performance would be 75% times better now that we were there. [smile] Not a particularly long set, as Dirty Pretty goes, but hey, I'll take any Velvet Elvis that I can get.

And thus ends another ridiculous night of seeing a rather large number of bands in one night! It's been really crazy this week!
Now Playing: The Pistoleros - Long Last Lonely Mile (Live)

The Maine @ Venue Of Scottsdale

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosThursday, December 17, 2009 - 10:33:20 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Photobox ImageIt's been a long time coming, but tonight we finally saw The Maine live. We'd weighed up seeing them on the Warped Tour in the midwest, but I think it was worthwhile holding out and seeing them on their home turf. A definite upside, aside from seeing them as the headliner, was that rather than a bunch of bands we didn't care about, this also meant that we'd see a bunch of other local groups.

Although I was fully prepared for the demographic that would be attending the show, the sea of teenage girls lined up at will call, and inside was still overwhelming. Definitely milling around the bar and seeing all these 'little people' was kinda bizarre. Like when you're just out of your element. Equally bizarre was the door security asking 'under 21?' Are you serious? I know it's a big deal when you've got hundred of teeny boppers in the vacinity of an alcohol severing bar, but couldn't you have posed the question to me as "over 21?" [wink] Anyways, surprisingly the sea of teeny boppers wasn't half as annoying as when we saw Kisschasy last year. Not sure why, but don't look a gift horse in the mouth I guess!

Pat was at the will call booth which Katie was quite excited by. The Venue Of Scottsdale wasn't as I expected, and reminded me a lot of walking into Shriek 3D at Dreamworld.

The opening acts were kinda as we'd expected from our myspace listening earlier. The one somewhat disappointment, and I don't blame him for it, was Austin Gibbs. I don't blame him, because he was solo and acoustic. We really like his stuff and were happy that he was on the bill, it's just that his stuff is really suited, in my opinion for a full band. Plus, at the ripe old age of 23 (it was his birthday), I don't think he was necessarily in his elements, spending quite a bit of time - basically trying to get the teeny boppers to quit their jabbering while he was playing. So probably just not the best to see him in. With that said, it was a pretty good bill for him to get on, even if he was in my opinion the one genre out of place.

This Century was, as we've found with their stuff online, nothing to rave about. One of those "we sound just like The Maine" bands, that don't quite hit the mark. I'm sure you'd love it if you were 16 though.

Just as we've found with online, The Summer Set were pretty good. Again, "we sound just like The Maine, but not quite as awesome". I certainly did like their live performance, which excluded any techno-y effects which for me is part of mars the album somewhat. The acoustic section in the middle was misguided in our minds, but they were actually a worthwhile opener. Their drummer had the Chico style of drumming (ie: arms flailing) and that in itself is always enjoyable. We also saw Daryl Icard up their teching for them. I had to do a double take when I spotted him - "hmmm, no, that definitely is Daryl!"

The Maine set was, of course, quite enjoyable and very rock n' roll. It was also a very good set list, which I think was the other good thing about seeing them on their own turf. I would have expected the majority to have been from Can't Stop, but instead the set was certainly old song top heavy. Throughout the set we moved around a little bit when the moshing started to get out of control. Unfortunately the acoustics by the right bar at the Venue Of Scottsdale were ass. Take note if you ever see a show there. In anycase, I really enjoyed that we got to see Daisy, This Towns Been Talking, If I Only Had The Heart and They Way We Talk from the EP's before the album. It was entertaining to us when John said they were going "way back" in their catalog for This Town's Been Talkin' - a whole two years! [wink] As it was when he said it was their longest set they've done - which was only about 45 or so minutes - which I guess is probably true when you've been part of the Warped Tour etc. That was probably my only complaint, that the set could have been longer. But all in all, a fun rock n' roll show!
Now Playing: The Pistoleros - Hang On To Nothing (Live)

Violet Wild x2

Plus Some Mark & Emmett

(Add / View Comments) (0)Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - 11:11:33 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Live Shows, Music Music)
Tonight was intended to just be happy hour with Bobby & Josh at Teakwoods. Which promptly turned into a night of ridiculous music proportions, very reminiscent of the weekend just past, when it was brought to our attention that at Yucca tonight it was Violet Wild + Friends.

Teakwoods acoustic happy hour was fun as usual. Certainly the cover of note tonight was 'Follow You Down', definitely cool hearing those guys do that one! From there we had a few hours to kill, so we made the jaunt down to Murphey's Law to pass the time with Mark & Emmett.

From there it was back to T-Town and over to Yucca.

When something is billed at Yucca as '<Someone> + Friends', you must go.

That's one of the lessons I've learnt in my two months here in the valley! [wink] The last time it was a Wednesday night at Yucca billed as 'Josh Kennedy + Friends' when Bobby couldn't make it to the Violet Wild gig, and awesomeness ensued. Tonight it was 'Violet Wild + Friends', which wasn't that much different - except I guess for the fact that Bobby was there. Bobby & Josh put on a great long set. A fair few songs we'd seen played hours earlier, but also a bunch we hadn't (Book Of Reasons, Bump On The Head).

Then Norman was up there with Josh for three Velvet Elvis tunes. Loved the whole "We've already got a Gin Blossom in our band, we can't fucking have the tambourine too. That's just not healthy!" [wink] Some Actress Bait, Drama Drama and Velvet Elvis.

A whole bunch of Black Moods songs got pulled out - Sick In Bed, Frontline (both with Bobby) and then 7 Day Binge, Star Of Your Movie (just Josh).

At some point Glodie walked in, and we got a couple of Strange Young Things songs as you've never heard them before - Left Brest Pocket, Good Times (with Josh Kennedy on drums) and Lonely Hearts Are Wild.

Towards the end of the night our Murphy's Law buddies showed up (not a surprise as when we left Murphy's I told Emmett that we were going to Yucca, and he said they were going down after their set), and Mark did a few songs with Josh, and then Emmett and Andy closed out the night with a couple of songs.

Random notable points...
  • Josh's refusing to "play another note" until Bobby moved away from the drums was hilarious.
  • Finally have gotten a formal introduction to Marc Norman.
  • Sporting my Gloden t-shirt was a talking point at multiple bars.
  • The Scherbatsky Tapes.
Such a good night. Remember the lesson of this blog - if it's '... + Friends' at Yucca, go! You will not be disappointed! [wink]

Just To Recap

A.K.A "The Local Music Weekend From Hell"

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, December 13, 2009 - 11:39:51 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
Just to recap how ridiculous this weekend has been for us with local music.

Friday Night 9pm onwards - Jason Longo acoustic + Dead Hot Workshop @ Teakwoods
Saturday 12:30pm - 2:30pm - Sugar Thieves @ Mesa Arts Festival
Saturday 2:30pm - 4:30pm - Shelby James & The Crying Shames @ Mesa Arts Festival
Saturday 7:00pm onwards - Rock For Tots @ The Olive Branch
Sunday 3:00pm - 6:00pm - Sunday School with Daylon + Scotty @ The Vig
Sunday 9:00pm onwards - Steve Larson @ Yucca Tap Room

What have I done this weekend outside of watching local bands? That's right, not much! [wink]

Not going out much last week was certainly undone by the weekend! And you'd assume that we wouldn't need to go out this week, but I already know that ain't going to happen. Though it will probably still pale in comparison to the volume of bands and hours in the last 3 days!

A Cold And Wet Sunday School

Daylon & Scotty @ The Vig

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, December 13, 2009 - 06:30:00 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Despite word that it'd been canceled due to the rain, we trusted out instinct today and ventured out to Scottsdale to check whether or not there was an Elvis Before Noon show. We just drove into the Mexican resturant next door - things looked pretty dead and I couldn't see any band, so almost told Katie to drive off when I heard a lone guitar strum. Enough signs of life to stick my head in - to find both Daylon and Scott setup, ready to play. I love when your instincts pay off like that! As do I love that we didn't just drive off, after driving all the way to Scottsdale.

It was quite a chilly afternoon, but the laid back set was quite nice and worth the trip out there. There was even some Get Drunk to be had with Daylon adding background vocals which was really cool ass. As was having a chat with Scotty after the show. Despite the invite to the Coach House and the fact that we could fit in before Yucca, we declined. That'd just be taking this weekend to absurdly ridiculous levels. Not that we both didn't consider it for half a second though. [wink]

Rock For Tots 5

12 Bands, Two Stages, Much Rock...For The Tots

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, December 12, 2009 - 11:59:59 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
I've been anticipating this show since it was announced, and it did not disappoint! Lance's annual "Rock For Tots" charity local music show, raising money and Christmas toys for the "Toys For Tots" charity.

First up was Mike Mercer, who I didn't know, but was good for an opener.

Photobox ImageViolet Wild rocked the house! Katie realized early on that their early set was because Bobby and Chris probably had to play with Hairforce later on tonight. It was apparent that that was true from Bobby's clothes. [smile] I love Violet Wild at the best of times, but this seemed like a super polished set. I know this should never surprise me, but all the same, the power house that is Josh Kennedy blew me away. How the New Times piece a while ago didn't even give him a mention on the list of top 10 valley guitarists I have no idea. No shortage of smoking licks, huge jumps and all round ridiculousness floppiness that is Josh Kennedy. Much like the last time I saw them, Bobby's stage presence and posing was excellent. I was so hooked on this band years ago from their studio work, but man, seeing them live takes it to a whole nother level. Highlights were Bump On The Head, Without You (dedicated to Velvet Elvis - with a seamless transition into a Zep song and back again), and a killer version of Hitchhicker. So smoking that I didn't even realize that that's what it was until moments before the vocals kicked in.

As a side note, is there going to be a Saturday night with nothing going on soon so I can go see Hairforce?!?! I mean seriously, I've been dying to since long before leaving Australia, and still haven't had a chance to make it out on a Saturday!

Photobox ImageAfter Violet Wild we virtually followed Josh to the patio for the Velvet Elvis performance, which was Josh and Marc Norman acoustic due to the rest of the band having day jobs (ironically, both Phil and Ryan were spotted later in the night [wink] ). Three good tunes out of them until Marc switched out with The Judge for the rest of the set. Marc's between song banter was a reminder of why he needs to be on stage more. Much like B. Babb, Marc is as entertaining between songs as he is when he's singing.

Photobox ImageBack inside it was 36 Cents & A Dream. About two songs into their set I noticed that the drummer looked familar. Why? Because we'd watching him for about 2 hours earlier today playing for the Sugar Thieves. Who knew?! Not us apparently.

Photobox ImageThen it was back out to the patio for Brent Babb - awesome as always, but that's kind of a waste of characters even stating. A somewhat short acoustic set from him, dabbled with the usually wonderful morsels that you get from Brent in between songs (some of which were reduxes from last night). Highlight of the set was probably Burger Christ. There's something about singing along about the monolith, looking beside you and seeing Bobby and PC seeing every word, and hearing everyone behind you doing exactly the same.

Photobox ImageFollowing this was what we thought was going to be a band we didn't know - Rusty Buckles, but turned out to be who we know as N.A.P.P. I guess they found their new name. I'm guessing anyways, we'll see. Kinda ironic, given that I only just introduced myself to Jim Swafford the night before, and then he was up on stage tonight. Apparently their billing was at very short notice - indeed, since last night Thomas had said he 'might' be there doing an acoustic Ghetto Cowgirl set with Norm. So it was a surprise for us, and probably everyone else involved. [wink] We've been really looking forward to see them since Thomas first told us about the project back in September, so it was pretty sweet they played. Good stuff. And it was only last night that I was thinking how, as much as he's great to watch playing bass, I miss seeing him playing guitar. Wish granted, and he was in fine form. I recognized a few of their songs (I'm guessing from myspace) and definitely one of the old school Swafford numbers. I'd also forgotten the Phil Rhodes (count 1 for other Velvet Elvis members, and count 2 for Ryan who walked in later on) was in the band, which was cool. Definitely watching Phil play, I've got to say, if I were a drum kit and I saw Phil Rhodes walking towards me, I'd be very afraid! Man that guy can hit the skins. As far as guitar playing goes, I really thought I'd seen it all. But I was proved wrong tonight when Thomas played an entire song with a drum stick! I wonder, if I took lessons at Hammer On, could he teach me how to do that! [wink]

Photobox ImageBack outside, it was Thousand Yard Stare, who I know of, but aren't aware of their stuff, so it was a good opportunity to check them out and didn't mind their stuff. Followed up inside by Shawn Johnson & The Foundation, who were one of their few bands on the ridiculously awesome bill I wasn't that interested in seeing. Their stuff didn't too bad from what I heard from the patio though. Given how much of a big night it had already been, it was much easier to keep the seats we scored on the patio and wait from Tramps & Thieves.

Photobox ImageFunnily enough when we came in earlier tonight, Katie had noted how small the outside stage was, and that there was no way that Tramps were going to all fit. "Someone is going to have to stand on the ground". For a while it seemed like only Andy and Scott were there, but Emmett did eventually show up. And as predicted, Scott and Emmett were on the stage, and Andy was left to stand next to it.

Next up on the main stage was Bollox, who were the other band we didn't have much interest in. Since I had a mission to snap a photo of every band that played, I wandered in briefly to do so. While I've never heard of them, they seemed to have quite a decent crowd!

Photobox ImageOne reason to remain on the patio with our seats was that Strange Young Things was up next. Which equalled Corey Gloden acoustic. Which was completely fine with us (despite the fact that the only way the show could have been made better would to have had Strange Young Things, the full band, on the main stage). Corey was in fine form (when isn't he!??), playing a mixture of covers, new stuff and really old songs. His cover of Cocaine Blues was great, even when (or more to the point) "especially when" the hecklers fucked him up on the third verse. I'm pleased to report that he announced that if he was going to do the song he expected to see a shot of whiskey at his feet by the end, and he did. The other highlight for me was an acoustic version of Spoils Of War as well as the back story on the song. But saying "other highlight" feels really stupid, because anything this guy does is gold.

The other part that rocked about his set, was the once again, he wouldn't get off the stage (and this time was successful in his defiance [wink] ). I think every time I've seen him before with the exception of the Hard Rock last week, he has pretty much protested ending the set when he was supposed to. "Is the other band starting? I'm going to play one more. They are starting? Well, I'm still going to play one more". Aside from the fact that it means you get one more song (at least when he doesn't get shut down), it's so refreshing to have someone NOT want to get off stage, as opposed to people that just can't wait to. The enthusiasm of this guy, very much like with Josh Kennedy, is so infectious that it's hard to fathom that anyone couldn't be a fan.

Photobox ImageOnce Corey did however surrender the stage, Los Guys were well into first, if not second song inside. I'd kinda forgotten about the recent addition to Los Guys, and what it meant for the night - more Josh Kennedy! Just like with Violet Wild, all the stage stomping, jumping and blistering solos that you'd expect out of him. This line up just kills - Mark, PC, Gary and Josh. I'm not saying that they weren't awesome before, and Mark himself really wails, but Josh just brings such an added dose of rock to the group. And when you get both Mark and Josh trading off solos - how could you not just love this line up?

Definitely by the time I was rocking out to Los Guys, my feet and back really hurt - after all, we'd been there since 7pm, but the rock was enough to keep us going for a bit longer. I was kinda in a time warp, thinking it was 12:30, when it was probably 1:30, so Los Guys didn't play quite as long as I'd expected. Not long into my ears were ringing, so it was probably a good thing.

All in all it was an amazing night of local music. Typically we're finding that if there are more than 3 bands on a bill, it kinda sucks because you don't get much of each band. But Lance and co pulled this gig off perfectly with their duel stage setup and 7pm start time. Everyone got a decent set, and there was always a band setting up while another band was playing, so there was no waiting time in between bands. And you can walk away from it with a warm and fuzzy feeling, knowing that two kids that otherwise weren't going to, will have presents for Christmas this year.

It all makes you wish there was an event like this every week! And then ponder whether you could handle it if there was! [wink]


Violet Wild - Concrete Lake

Corey Gloden

Corey Gloden - Spoils Of War

The Only Band That Matters

Dead Hot Workshop @ Teakwoods

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosFriday, December 11, 2009 - 11:59:59 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
You know that old expression about 'the only band that matters?' Well, around here, it's them.
That quote is from the New Times article "From Mullets To Mohawks" written so many years ago, referencing Dead Hot Workshop. That quote pretty much summed things up for me tonight. There may not have ever been a more encompassing statement about Dead Hot Workshop ever made.

There are literally countless things that I have missed when it comes to local music, not living in Arizona. Both in the 16 years I've been following the scene from afar, and things that happened way before I knew about the scene. And while that is true, and trust me, it really is, going to a Dead Hot Workshop show (particularly at Teakwoods I'm starting to feel), it's just ain't that bad. It is, but it's not lost on me how fortunate I am to have finally made it here, even 16 years after the fact and witness a Dead Hot Workshop gig.

Photobox ImageA totally awesome set list once again - which I jokingly guessed they were generating on the spot with an iPod, which actually appeared to be the case. It was a treat when Brent pulled out Round Record, and for reasons only known inside his head (it rocked) will probably not reoccur any time soon. Brent's between song banter was, well, as you would expect, in fine form. At times completely un PC, but always whole heartedly reverent. It's funny the way there are certain things that just can't be said except by a single individual.

It sounded like there would be a guest performance by James Gerard, but that didn't happen. It was a good opportunity to finally introduce myself though. There was however one by Scott Hessel. An attempt to right the wrongs that were the rendition of Choad on thanksgiving eve. And how righted it was. Certainly Curtis cheering through the window added something hilariously awesome to the extravaganza that was occurring on the stage.

If I had of had the guts, I would have told Sara that she needs to book this lineup (Jason + Dead Hot Workshop). Alas, I did not have the guts. But I tell you, this is definitely the way I want to spend all my Friday nights! And if they could open a Teakwoods in T-Town (to quote Jason), that'd be pretty cool too! [wink]

Long Live Dead Hot Workshop.

2009 Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding Opening Band Competition Finals

At Alice Cooperstown...Errr...The Hard Rock Cafe

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, December 7, 2009 - 11:00:46 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
That's one hell of a blog title right there. Tonight were the finals in the competition to open up at this years Christmas Pudding. With Strange Young Things in the finals, there was no question that we'd be were there to support the boys!

Given the time we didn't stop home after shopping, and headed straight to downtown Phoenix, to Alice Cooperstown. Which, for me, I was looking forward to checking the joint out. It was questionable whether we were going to get there, given that we didn't stop home and get the address, and somewhat ended up aimlessly driving the streets around Jefferson (err, thanks for nothing Bueller [wink] ), until I decided to check whether I had the event and address in my iPod. Thank god for having added my 'Rock' calendar to my iPod and syncing recently!

Only being a street away we got to Alice Cooperstown easily enough. Or should I say "Alice Coopers Ghost Town". There wasn't a person to be seen, not even bar staff inside, at it was almost 6, and my iPod was saying that the event started at 5:30pm. It was kinda eerie, expecting somewhere to be rocking, and the place being completely dead. And the eerieness was definitely weird given that it was Alice Cooperstown - is this eerie vibe and confusion on purpose?!? [wink]

We waited around for about 10 minutes, perplexed, because we were hardly early. A few more people started to show up, however it was clear that nothing was happening. Thankfully before feeding the meter we overheard someone say that the venue had moved to 2nd and Jefferson. We walked around and tried to find some confirmation, unsuccessfully. And hence pilled back into the car". I loved as were turned onto Jefferson and Katie said "I wonder if it's at that place with the guitar?" "That place with the guitar? You mean that place we otherwise call the Hard Rock Cafe?". It was pretty adorable. [smile] In anycase, driving past it was obvious that this was the new venue, with a whole bunch of musicians holding gear loitering out the front. If we hadn't been out all day we would have heard about the venue change, but having not checked the internet in hours, we were just lucky we overheard the whole "2nd and Jefferson" thing at Cooperstown.

Immediately walking in we ran into Glodie who seemed very happy to see some Strange Young Things supports...and the fact that I was sporting their t-shirt. Definitely very early on I thought about how it's great to be out here and able to support local music in such a tangable way. Funnily enough, those guys weren't the only familiar faces - before long it was brought to my attention that one of the judges was Lance Wilson - pretty cool, and pretty sweet that he landed such a gig. And was kinda funny, since the first thing we did this morning was buy toys for Rock For Tots, and in the store I was thinking how great Lance is and does so much fvr local music and also the charity organizations he's involved in (like Toys For Tots). Rock on Lance Wilson! It was cool that he was able to get up on stage at one point and promote Rock For Tots. which is this Saturday.

Strange Young Things played fairly early in the night, and of course, rocked. The deal was two songs per band, one original and one Christmas song. Certainly early on it was pretty clear to me that the boys didn't have that much competition. However, when it got to 8pm and the MC announced that we were about halfway through the night (I had expected things to wind up around 8pm), it was clear that pretty much anything could happen. Around 9pm we were pretty worn from being out all day, standing the whole time and not having anything to eat or drink. Even though we showed up at 6, there was no hope of getting a table, which was ironic, since we were up for eating. It would have been nice if there'd been more seating, but the Hard Rock did do a stand up job given the very late notice venue change. In any case, while deliberating on whether to stay or go, we bagged two stools at the bar. And Javier, our bartender confirmed that we could still order food. I can't fully describe how much those three things changed our current situation for the better! With those it was easy and comfortable to hang out for the rest of the night.

Certainly by the time 9:30pm rolled around, the sheer volume of bands that played meant that absolutely anything could happen. So it was pretty nice when Strange Young Things were announced as the runners up! Obviously it'd be great if they'd taken out the first place spot, and it's unlikely that the winners "won't be able to play on the 18th", but still it's great that they took out the second place spot.


Katie's Birthday

Federale Homer, Sunday School at The Vig and Five And Dinner

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSunday, December 6, 2009 - 09:54:47 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Photobox ImageThe day began with present opening. I'd been quite excited about the present I had gotten her at the Arizona State Fair last month - a painting of Homer as a federale, done by a Mexican artist. It turns out, with the exception of my calendar, which probably went up last week, it's the first bit of art that has gone up on our walls.

Following the present opening it was time for me to bake her a Fun Fetti birthday cake, which went quite well if I do say so myself. I guess you can't go too far wrong with cake mix out of a box.

Once the cake was cooked, there wasn't much time left before we had to leave for Sunday School at The Vig. The drive down there listening to Point Of Ventre was pretty cool. Also, probably since it's starting to get cooler, there were less people there than usual, which was pretty nice.

I didn't waste too much time going up to the band and requesting they play Birthday by The Beatles to Katie. They typically do it every week, and Peabody was more than happy to take the request and relay the information to Daylon.

The margarettas this week went down so good, and we both had such a great buzz on. Maybe it had something to do with it being Katie's birthday, but we really had a good time today. Scotty came up and gave Katie some birthday love, and we quizzed him on the new Blossoms' album title. [wink]

Photobox ImageI'd planned to take Katie out to dinner, however the main contenders were all closed on Sunday (which seems old), so we ended up going to the Five and Dinner at Arizona Mills. Having just gone to Fuddruckers, and now Five and Dinner, it seemed like such a redux of being out her looking for apartments. We had a great time, and stopped off to get candles on the way home.

Once home, we watched some TV, then iced the cake, and I got to sing Katie happy birthday just in time - at 11:57pm!

Stephen Ashbrook @ Martini Ranch

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, December 5, 2009 - 10:09:59 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
On the way out to Martini Ranch, we dropped in at Tempe Marketplace to catch what we could of Los Guys. Walking in, it was pretty cool seeing PC on such a huge stage - as it was of the rest of the guys, but PC was the first person I saw. It was also cool to get the whole way in and seeing Josh on right of stage. Which poses the question, is Josh the newest member of Los Guys? It'd be pretty cool if he is!

It was quite cool seeing the guys on such a big stage (with little kids dancing around in front of them), and it was actually unfortunate that we could only stop by for a little while before heading up to Scottsdale. I don't know that I would figure it as a good gig, but it actually seems like a great one. We'd planned to hit the road at 7:45pm, but we pushed it back to closer to 8 because of how cool it was. Hopefully we can catch them playing at The District again in the not to distant future.

Photobox ImageWe got to Martini Ranch a little bit late, and Shelby was already playing. It was certainly cool getting to see Shelby play a venue other than Rula Bula. It was actually also cool that Stephen's crowd were quite receptive to the opening set. A lot of the newer numbers, and to my delight, the Scarlot Harlot / Mr. Brownstone medly that we witnessed for the first time a few weeks ago. Hopefully the circumstances that prompted Shelby to do it tonight were different. After his set, he said hi, and that he wished he'd had my number. I figured because he had some more work to be done - but no, so that he could have put us on the guest list! That would have been sweet.

On showing up, I noticed that Curtis' drum kit was set up, implying that he and Thomas were probably backing him up again - which I was hoping for. [smile] The crowd was a little smaller than it was when we came out two months ago, which was kinda appreciated, and meant we comfortably got closer to the stage.

Photobox ImageWhile I love the venues and shows that we see on a weekly basis, they do make you appreciate that somewhat bigger deal shows that come around, like Ashbrook at Martini Ranch. The bigger stage, the cooler lights, etc., it's cool to get to do here and there. The set list rocked from track on, Ashbrook putting out the poppiest of his stuff one after the other, opening with Bar Star and then right into Geronimo.

Throughout the night we got Blue Christmas, which was a cool one to get to hear live. Being the night that it was, it was additionally appreciated that he played Railroaded.

Being closer to the stage made for getting some really good photos.

We hung around a little bit and said hi to Thomas, before taking off, both to avoid the craziness that is the Rock Lobster crowd, and because we had much more to do before the night was out.

Every Color In The Sky Rejoices To Be Seen

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 06:06:44 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Early December on the other side is somewhat of an adjustment. I'm used to bleary sunny days, summer having just kicked in by the time December 5th rolls around. In contrast, today, headed towards winter in the southern hemisphere was fairly gray and cold. Much better than in other parts of the country I'm sure, but still, an adjustment for me somewhat.

Another one is being amp-less for the ritual jam that I normally have at this time of year. Though, I'd hardly let that stop me, and played for a good two hours on the electric without any amplification. You do what ya gotta do. It was definitely good, and in general is probably the most I've played in quite a while. That's definitely got to change! Anyways, surprisingly, you can still rock Hold Me Down without anything but a strait if you put your mind to it.

Having a smoke afterwards there was an appreciated change in the sky, and when we headed out to pick up a candle, the desert sky had changed from the drab day - to a perfect rendition of every color in the sky rejoicing to be seen as we headed over to Food City. It was kinda perfect, and just what I needed.

No More Ruby Room

(Add / View Comments) (0)Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 12:10:21 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music)
So it was only last Friday that I saw my first gig at the Ruby Room (Sugar High). One of my first comments on walking into the dark, ruby red bar with naked paintings posted around the walls was "This is a cool dive. Tempe needs a place like this!" It's a bit out the way for us (being in downtown Phoenix), but it was such a good vibe and was somewhere that I totally imagined seeing more shows at. So much so, that I didn't bother taking a photo of the exterior or 'Ruby Room' sign, or the mureal in the parking lot, because we'll be back.

Reading the Up On The Sun New Times blog today I learn that the Ruby Room closed 4 days after we were there (last Tuesday)! Urgh!

Is it really that hard for Phoenix to keep cool live music venues open?!?! At times like this I have to question moving halfway across thee world to live here!

So Tell Me Mrs. Rita...

Tempe Festival Of The Arts - And A Tarot Card Reading

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosFriday, December 4, 2009 - 06:44:59 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
We headed down to Mill Ave. late this morning for the Tempe Festival Of The Arts. It worked out good that we left early, as we ended up spending most of the day there, which we hadn't necessarily counted on being the case.

Parking was an absolute pain in the ass, which involved a lot of circling around before giving up and parking on First Street. The walk was nice, and it did at least meant that I spotted the new location for The Headquarters.

Right off the bat Katie scored a free shopping bag, which certainly worth going down there right there. We also noticed that Mrs. Rita had a stand out on Saturday and Sunday according to the program. It was a nice day of walking around, looking for Christmas gifts, and pretty much looking at a whole bunch of great art that we can't afford right now.

Photobox ImageOnce we got down to 7th Street, it became apparent that Mrs. Rita, despite it being Friday, was actually out with a stand. Pretty cool to, after all these years, to see the Mrs. Rita. Complete with a sign proclaiming "The Famous Physic - Mrs. Rita". I like it - when a band has written a song about you, use it for all you can. Despite having been out here before, I haven't done the Mrs. Rita's thing, I think due to the idea that it was no longer the original Mrs. Rita. However doing some research, only last week, I'd determined this was misinformation, and that it's still the original Mrs. Rita. Which seemed like good timing on that discovery, given that Mrs. Rita was set up today, almost on the corner of Mill and 7th. More on that in a bit.

Walking around the Mill area was nice, and ironic, given that only on Thursday had we come down to explorer that which is Mill Avenue, in a little more detail than I have before. Crossing 7th Street, it was amusing to me overhearing someone on her mobile phone say "You know the pizza place on Mill? It's closed". Uh, honey, it ain't just the pizza place (Unos). Take a look around - everything is empty. On that note, it was actually a nice opportunity to be walking around a more bustling Mill Avenue today, as opposed to the more or less ghost town that it normally is during the week. I'm sure the businesses, the ones that still exist on Mill Avenue that is, were pretty happy with the sight of people which the festival brought today, and probably will over the weekend. Similarly it was kind of nice literally walking down Mill Avenue and the surrounding streets, since it was closed off to traffic. I don't know that I'd necessarily want it closed off to traffic, but it was definitely a good way to experience Mill.

After getting some shopping done, with our feet pretty sore from walking, we trodded down towards University to see what the status on Mrs. Rita was. There was still no sign of how much readings were, but Katie finally got up the gumption to ask. $20. Just as per the CD single cover from 1992! Nice job keeping inflation at bay! [wink] So that was pretty much the extent of encouragement that I needed, and took a seat and finally got my cards read by Mrs. Rita. Or probably her associate in reality, while Katie had her palm read by Mrs. Rita herself. Certainly an interesting experience, and I think it's pretty cool that my first tarot card reading ever was by the one and only Mrs. Rita. Details of the reading will have to stay between myself, Rita and the cards.

After the reading, we headed back down Mill, for what felt like the umpteenth time (probably because it was), to the car, and then over to The Headquarters to check of smoke prices - which incidentally are quite painful out here in the valley. If there is anything I miss about the midwest, it's certainly the price of cigarettes! [smile] And such wrapped up a really great day at the Tempe Festival Of The Arts.

Las Noches De La Lumarias Member Preview

A Picture Says 1000 Words

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosThursday, December 3, 2009 - 11:27:03 pm
(Posted Under: Sonoran Desert)
A picture says 1000 words, and 100 odd probably says 100,000. [smile] Basically, it's easier to do a photo blog about Las Noches De La Lumarias tonight. I will however say that it was amazing and completely work the price of admission (which I say a lot - this is one time where there actually was one!)

I will also mention that the moon rise we saw over the mountains to the east was amazing. I've spent so many occasions scrambling to photograph awesome moons, and more often that not are don't have everything setup before the moment has passed. Tonight was amazing having the camera on the tripod setup, standing at the top of the Sonoran Trail at the gardens in the perfect spot for taking a photo. Naturally, the photos didn't come out that brilliance with the lack of a SLR camera, but still, one of the best situations I've been in for photos, and was a pretty amazing view of the moon coming up in the east.

In any case, without further ado, some of the best photos:

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The whole set of photos are here

Whispers At The Bus Stop

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, December 3, 2009 - 10:58:06 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
Driving out to the Botanical Gardens tonight Katie mentioned something about the bus stop - I don't even recall what exactly, something completely off hand - and it dawned on me, for the first time ever, that these are the bus stops. In a way, it was weird that I'd never had that thought before. Just in that there isn't that much in those terms of that that hasn't already dawned on me - if not in my previous times out here in the valley, but certainly since moving out here. Immediately I had a hankering for the tune. But because of an earlier iPod mishap (which is a whole other blog worthy rant in itself [wink] ), it was back at home, still syncing.

"I hate not having my iPod. I wish it would come on the radio right now!"

Once The Edge began to play some crappy song after The Breeders, somewhere on Galvin Parkway, I reached for the dial, switched to Mix and was greeted with "we know your name and we know what you're about...". That right there is what you call a major lodge victory! Totally a glorious moment! Funnily enough, it was also played by request.

Driving towards Papago, dusk on an early December night and Found Out About You playing on the radio right when you want to hear it - it doesn't get much better than that!

Los Noches De La Lumarias was amazing, as expected. Some amazing photos, and my tripod proved to be invaluable. More to come soon including the photos, probably tomorrow after we get back from the Tempe Arts Festival which is on the cards for tomorrow morning.

Violet Wild @ Teakwoods

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosWednesday, December 2, 2009 - 09:56:11 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
The week of not going out hit a hitch once we heard from Aaron that Violet Wild were playing at the new Teakwoods (for all extents and purposes the new Long Wongs, if there is such a thing). Which was fine by me, especially since they were playing a happy hour set - 6-8pm, which is actually such a perfect time.

Photobox ImageAs expected by me, it was Bobby and Josh acoustic. Tonight was the first time I've witnessed that line up, due to the missing them billed as Mink Rebellion at the Last Exit Anniversary bash a few years ago. Definitely a great pairing, and I think I'd pretty much be as happy to see Josh and Bobby acoustic as the whole band.

Their cover of Better Than Ezra's Good was quite cool. I think the most surprising thing they played was Sick In Bed. It was a request, and shocking not from Aaron. All of their originals translated acoustically extremely well. I was actually surprised by how good Hitchicker worked acoustic. Rare Disease was also really good stripped down.

To boot, Teakwoods has Baja Wednesdays - $2 Coronas all day. That combined with Bobby & Josh from 6 - 8 makes it all really good. Now if they could just be at 7th & Mill, rather than up in Phoenix we'd really have something going! [wink]

Exporing Downtown Tempe

(Add / View Comments) (0)Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 08:22:09 pm
(Posted Under: No Category)
We headed downtown today, with a mission to put the Edcils Attic, Chuys and Gibsons confusion to rest once and for good. And the venture was quite successful on all accounts. I'd kinda noted the locations back in 2005, but memories had somewhat been confused and become hazy since then. There is no doubt how conveniently the venues were located back in the hey day of Mill Avenue.

It was also cool checking out some other parts of downtown that I hadn't ventured before (ie: things not directly on Mill). The Mill Avenue shops, tucked away, which was a cool area and also illistrated the back of what was once Edcils. Then back behind the east side of Mill, by the city hall, down to 6th and 7th street, finally seeing where the lofts we were looking at years ago are. Certainly a lot less cool looking from the outside.

From there we walked around the 7th Street area, and out to University where Restaurant Mexico used to be, and past the old location of The Headquaters.

After that it was off to the library for another fun adventure. Good times.

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