I just went to go see the wonderful Sinead O'Connor this last Sunday at the fantastic Davies Symphony Hall. I absolutely love this venue. Not only is it a wonderful little venue with great architecture and sound but it is so close to my house. The only other time that I had been there was for the Margaret Cho show a couple of years ago. We had seats in the balcony this time, so it gave us a different perspective on the whole venue. It is nice seeing someone like Sinead in a venue where people usually see classical music and symphonies. The Margaret Cho show was great expect for the fact that we had a loud dude sitting behind us. He really felt a connection with Margaret and felt the need to yell out "true" after every single joke that she told. I can literally still hear the sound of his voice in my head. Now it makes me laugh, but not so much at the time. Lucky for us, I don't think he was at this show. But we did have one of those dudes who likes to sing along sitting behind us. I am not sure if he wanted to show us how cool he was because he knew what the songs were before they even started. Or maybe he was just such a super fan that he could not hold in his excitement. There were many others that felt the need to clap during the first 30 seconds of most songs. It had Curt and I wondering why this always happens. I understand that they want to show the artist how much they love them. However, it seems that what they really want to do is show the rest of the fans what a bigger fan they are. These types especially like to clap for the more obscure songs as soon as they recognize them. I totally understand clapping after a song is over and I usually participate in this activity. But clapping and cheering at the beginning of the song just sort of ruins the beginning of the song. But then again, maybe people like Sinead would start crying and refuse to play the song if nobody clapped at the beginning. But I seriously doubt it.
Another great band that I learned of thanks to Amoeba Music is the super- talented San Francisco group Deerhoof, who, in my opinion, defy categorization. Deerhoof has just posted an entire album free for downloading on the Kill Rock Stars website. Now available by clicking on this link, the thirteen songs come with this suggestion from the band members: "I don't know how long we can keep these up here, I might recommend downloading now and asking questions later." So in other words, Deerhoof fans-- get busy ye'all. Also on that same Deerhoof ChooChooChooChooBeepBeep page of the Kill Rock Stars website are some great photos, videos, and lots of recommended reading, including the band's firsthand experience opening for Radiohead (who are diehard fans of Deerhoof) on their tour and at the Berkeley Greek Theater show (see excerpt of video footage below).
I am admittedly a creature of habit, and I've gotta say I have been to 'most every Cat Power show in San Francisco over the last 10 years. 10 years! I feel old. I feel like I've seen Chan Marshall through a lot, and unlike most others, I never gave up on her. The main thing that brought me back to see her time and time again was simple: her voice.
Despite her mini breakdowns, despite her half finishing songs, despite her spotting ghosts mid set at the Great American and her whispered apologies, despite that one time she had a broken finger and still tried to play a solo show, I have always shown up, cause I just don't think you can beat her smoky voice. It's just unbeatable.
Last night at the Fillmore, it was in full effect, and this time she was fully fronting a rock band, cordless mic included. While I was slightly disappointed she wasn't playing guitar or piano herself, I was delighted to see her smiling onstage, and often. She seemed secure in her place at last.
The show was packed with soul covers; as always she twisted and shook the tunes until they became something almost unrecognizable and felt like her own. I loved her sad version of "Tracks of My Tears", and I always have enjoyed hearing her sing "I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)" -- that one will never die. I love how she always references her Southern roots in her choices-- last night with Otis Redding. She also sang "Dark Side of the Street" to fantastic, sultry effect. Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" even was slipped in (She must be obsessed with that song, cause I've heard her do it before, over a year ago.) before she was off to Patsy Cline. She even covered Joni Mitchell's "Blue", a personal favorite of mine. Oh, and her version of "Satisfaction" was the opposite of anything I've heard her do: an almost dead on copy of the original-- she even sang the choruses of the song for the first time, despite the fact that she included the song on her album The Covers Record.
A couple of days ago I read this story in the paper about a Bosnian couple who are going through divorce proceedings as a direct result of each getting caught cheating on each other --but, here's the twist-- with each other. It's a scenario that seems almost identical to that portrayed in Rupert Holmes' sappy but engaging 1979 number one pop hit single "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)," in which a guy, bored with his relationship, answers a newspaper personals ad to find that he has a lot in common with this blind date (pina coladas, walks in the rain, and a dislike of yoga and health food, etc.). He finally meets up with this mystery woman only to discover it was in fact his own "old lady" that he thought he had little in common with. This unusual and unlikely situation brings the two formerly drifting lovers back together again and they all live happily ever after. But not so in the recent real life scenario with the couple in Bosnia. The disgruntled pair (Adnan Klaric, 32 and his wife Sana, 27) went online in search of new love. There, under the pseudonyms "Sweetie" and "Prince of Joy" each met some seemingly new soul in whom they could confide and find solace, complaining about how awful their marriages had become. Finally they felt they'd found someone who understands. They each thought they'd found their soulmate. So they arranged to meet up in person. And when they did: Shocker! Each accused the other of being unfaithful and they started divorce proceedings pronto.
If you like Piña Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
If you're not into yoga
If you have half a brain
If you'd like making love at midnight
In the dunes on the Cape
Then I'm the love that you've looked for
Write to me and escape.
So anyway, this whole story was just so reminiscent of the Rupert Holmes hit (except for the outcome) that I had to go back and track down "Escape," as it was originally simply known, on video. On YouTube there are close to a hundred videos that pop up when you put in a search of "Rupert Holmes Escape The Pina Colada Song)," including the Sims Movie 2 version above and a great many more "visual interpretations," and numerous lip-syncing takes, like the playful one posted by the young courtneySpace and her friend (scoll all the way down). One mime version of the song was done as a college class project for a final test. And of course, there are also numerous cover versions of the thematically timeless song. Interestingly Rupert Holmes himself doesn't have a visual version. He never made a video for the song. It was in the pre MTV/VH1 days, but there is one for the lesser hit "Him" taken from the same 1979 album Partners In Crime (the video clip is from Top Of The Pops, I believe).
A couple of weeks ago in San Francisco at the big Apple computer "special event" titled The Beat Goes On -- to unveil all the new Apple iPod models -- the innovative company's mainman Steve Jobs gave Cali emcee P.E.A.C.E. of Freestyle Fellowship a major plug by featuring the artist on the giant screen at the Moscone Center during his September 5th keynote speech. As an example of a video-podcast, he played a short G4 segment featuring the Freestyle Fellowship emcee off a new Nano model.
Meantime, a couple of days ago I visited the Apple Store in Manhattan and even though it was near 11PM (the box-shaped Fifth Avenue store is open 24 hours), the place was packed to the rafters with salivating consumers in a long line desperate to part with their money in exchange for some shiny new iProduct. "This is nothing compared to earlier today," noted one iEmployee while eyeballing the line of about 40 customers all patiently queuing up for an average of twenty minutes to buy iPhones and iPods and other stuff.