Australia Day

(Add / View Comments) (0)Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 07:56:54 am
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life, Instagram Instagram)
The holiday monkey is getting in on Australia Day this year...

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(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, January 23, 2012 - 08:01:39 am
(Posted Under: This Desert Life This Desert Life, Instagram Instagram)
Sometimes you witness a sight that is incredibly poignant. One that sums up a situation just perfectly.

I did this morning on the way to work. A tumbleweed sitting in the vacant lot of 7th and Mill. Says it all really.

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Now Playing: Truckers On Speed - Settin' The Table...

Everybody Wins Sometimes

Mill Avenue Of The 90's at The Crescent Ballroom

(Add / View Comments) (0)PhotosSaturday, January 14, 2012 - 08:02:46 pm
(Posted Under: Tempe Music Scene Tempe Music Scene, Music Music, Live Shows)
Y'know, the David Letterman segment Is This Anything? If Letterman had posed the question to Paul Shaifer at the Crescent Balroom tonight, the answer would have been a resounding "yes, yes this is something".

We've been pretty excited about the show since we first caught wind of it back in November. An old school Long Wongs/Mill Ave. night, with an original billing of Gloritone, Ghetto Cowgirl, Dead Hot Workshop and The Pistoleros. It became apparent a while ago that Gloritone wasn't going to happen. Minor setback.

Despite the excitement, and the killer lineup, I wasn't anticipating this as something I haven't seen before. These days Pistoleros and Dead Hot Workshop performances may be a bit far between, but not non existent. We saw Dead Hot Workshop on New Years Eve, and Pistoleros back on Thanksgiving. And while they don't happen necessarily every weekend, great "must see" lineups happen frequently enough. So this was going to be a great show, but nothing that out of the ordinary.

Photobox ImageThough, on walking into the Crescent Ballroom tonight, it was quickly evident that I had slightly under estimated what we'd plunked our $8 down for. There was of course the stage. And then the fact that you couldn't walk more than a few steps without running into someone you know. Even before Ghetto had taken to the stage, there place was a buzz with people. There is nothing like seeing a room full fill up for your favorite local heroes.

The degree to which I'd under estimated tonight's show became fully apparent once Ghetto hit the stage, and launched into Ten Tons. The size of the stage, the lights, the sound and the general sense of excitement in the air - this wasn't any regular show.

Ghetto delivered a hell of a performance, with Marc giving the huge crowd a dose of his pageantry. Even with the much large stage than usual, it wasn't long before he was off it, getting closer to his adoring fans.

Photobox ImageMuch like on New Years Eve, Thomas was on triple duty tonight, playing with all three bands. And Curtis pulling a double, with Ghetto Cowgirl and Dead Hot Workshop. During their set we were joined by Bobby. Haven't seen that dude in forever, and it was great to catch up with him. When Dead Hot Workshop gave into the audiences request for "one more", there was shared excitement among the three of us that the closer was Hanging Out With Ray.

Photobox ImageThe Pistoleros took the stage after a rock star introduction from Nico, and proceeded to command the stage for the next hour and 20 minutes or so. The set list was reminiscent of Thanksgiving Eve, with some notable exceptions. Iggy Pop's Something Wild was the first of such exceptions, something I've never heard the band before, and they tore it up. Some impressive crowd jumping was witnessed on that one. In addition to that, they pulled out Running Underground with Mark taking over lead vocals for.

Two thumbs up go to the Crescent Ballroom, which indeed is a cool venue. Aside from going down to the stage while shooting Ghetto, we stayed up in the bleachers virtually for the whole night, which provided an excellent vantage point over the sea of people on the floor.

Definitely an awesome night. We should do this again some time!

Pick That Producer

(Add / View Comments) (0)Monday, January 9, 2012 - 03:05:17 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music)
I'm sitting at work, coding, while listening to Tommy Keene's Based On Happy Times.

While starring at some code that's not working, I found myself really being absorbed sonically into If We Run Away, particularly how great the guitars sound. The arpeggio lines kind of hang, with just the right amount of "space", combined with a lot of little intricacies and layering that you don't neccesarily hear unless you're really listening. I love that shit.

Which got me thinking about producers, which I guess I think about more these days. And how whoever produced this record sure would make John Hampton proud. Because when it comes to what I described above, the pentultimate example of that sort of brillant production is of course New Miserable Experience.

The more I paid attention to If We Run Away, the more I noticed that similarity. By the end of the song, I was almost convinced that not only would this production make Hampton proud, it was actually good enough to be his production work. With all the producers out there, surely it couldn't be. Or could it?

A quick Google search revealed the answer. Producer: John Hampton.

Wow, I can pick them. Notch up another of my favorite albums (New Miserable Experience, Pleased To Meet Me and Based On Happy Times) that Hampton has a hand in.
Now Playing: Tommy Keene - If We Run Away

Vinyl Advice

(Add / View Comments) (0)Sunday, January 8, 2012 - 07:52:40 pm
(Posted Under: Music Music, Instagram Instagram)
Instagram ImageIt's been a fun weekend for vinyl. Starting out at Zia Records in Chandler yesterday, where I picked up a bunch more of Poison singles. Nice.

That pit stop, after seeing the Muppets movie reminded me that I'd been wanting to go down and check out the Ghost Of Eastside Records. We had gone down to Eastside right before it closed in 2010. It seemed like an appropriate thing to do, if for nothing else, to go in once before it closed. The visit pretty much amounted to that, but it was a cool thing to do. However, today's visit was much more thought out, and hence more profitable. we picked up a bunch of good records for Tucson, as well as some other cool "to have" old stuff.

The vinyl weekend was rounded out with finally putting this vinyl on the wall. Now that feels good. Most of it had been framed 2 years ago, with the Dead Hot posters being all that actually made it to the wall back then. Getting the rest up on the wall which has otherwise laid bare has been a dangling to do item until tonight. Snagging another copy of Dusted does provide a fair bit of motivation.

Growing up, I was far from a vinyl buff. Which has more to do with when I was growing up, more than anything else. Sure, there was vinyl in the house, and I had a limited amount of my own. But, when I was old enough to own a music player, the initiation was into the world of cassette, not vinyl. It's odd to look back on, but I was the first one in the household (and for many years, the only one) to have a cassette player. So I really skipped the whole vinyl thing. And that worked fine for me. Once simply playing The Who's Greatest Hits over and over became a little less engaging, I was on to blank cassettes and recording stuff of the radio. Making my own tapes. Something that I would have never been able to do with vinyl. So my introduction to the music world was no doubt the right one for me.

It did mean that I completely skipped ever owning a turntable. Exactly 10 years after my first (of many) cassette player, I graduated to Compact Disc. After years of tape degradation, and copious amounts of time untangling cassette tapes from the players that had gotten hungry and fancied them as something to eat, CD's were a welcomed change in format. And although by that point in my life I had gotten it down to an art, no longer having to fast forward/rewind to get to a song was a convenience not lost on me. Not to mention the convenience of not having to fast forward and rewind to find a song. While I'd really cut my teeth on cassettes, CD's were revolutionary, and is where my music collection expanded drastically.

And I never really looked back. As much as an audiophile I am, I've never subscribed to the "vinyl sounds better" thing. I'm not saying that it doesn't. But in my mind, with pops, crackles and signal to noise ratios, as well as the precise reproduction factor, it's hard to go past the digital audio format. It's a personal preference, and CD has always been mine.

However, literally having had my hands on quite a bit of vinyl this weekend, it's impossible to deny that the format is something special. I've always loved the compactness of Compact Discs for practical reasons. But when you hold a 12" record of an album you have on CD, it's a completely different experience. When you're holding the vinyl version, you're holding something significant. Something that has weight. Something that is grandiose. As dirty as I might feel saying it, in that way, a Compact Disc just can't compete with that.

In short: the drinks are cheap, and vinyl is indeed cool.

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