misshepeshu: (Dance!)
Of Montreal was one of the danciest, funnest, bizzarrest, surrealest, just plain out -est shows I've seen. Ever. Troops of dancers wore, at various times on the stage, animal masks (including an apatosaurus* head!), Laughing Buddha costumes, bikinis, disco outfits (complete with a roller-skating girl in black spandex and a fake afro), gigantic papier-mâché arms and legs, a centaur costume and a satyr costume. Death also loomed large on the stage: Lots of stabbings, and, during a particularly memorable moment, Kevin Barnes hanged himself from a gallows on-stage.

Also, Kevin Barnes in pinkish-orange lamé underwear. For a weird, skinny nerd, he's in mad good shape.

The best part, though, was the encore. They closed with "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. Everybody went INSANE. I pretty much pogoed like a mad thing through all of Teen Spirit.

Conclusion: One of the most entertaining shows I've been to in a long, long time. A+++++, would see live again.



* Firefox has underlined "apatosaurus" in red and gently suggests "brontosaurus" as the correct spelling. Hee!
misshepeshu: (Blackbeard)
Ooofah. So tired. Didn't get back from Plunderathon until 5 a.m., and what's more, I woke up for some damn reason at 9:45 and couldn't get back to sleep, though I was too tired to actually get up. I was constantly in motion from about noon to well past midnight last night. My body hurts all over, though in a very pleasant way. All in all, I currently possess the vim and vigor of a soggy pancake. A happy soggy pancake.

Highlights:

1. The pirate ship! Holy crapdamn fuckmonkeys on a pretzel stick, Dave built a two-masted ship from a shopping cart, PVC pipe, cotter pins and cloth. The HMS Venture (last year's was the HMS Birdman, so I'm waiting to see if next year's has an Invader Zim name) was a brute to steer, but it certainly looked impressive.

2. The pirate flag! Really fucking huge. Really fucking impressive. Really fucking unwieldy.

3. Encountering Ua and Karissa (dude, am I spelling your name right?) unexpectedly and getting to hang out with them for a good portion of the day.

4. Encountering many other friends expectedly and getting to hang out with them for a good portion of the day.

5. Showing up at the Morlock Pit with absolutely no preparation and going "Uh, help?" and having them throw awesome costume fixins at me. My pirate getup turned out quite well. Not very elaborate, but less lame than last year's, and decently sexy if the distracted stares I got were any indication. The people most distracted were the ones who knew that all I was wearing underneath the corset-vest was a bandeau of cloth held by nothing more than safety pins and a prayer. (It held up really, really well, though. No inadvertent nippage, which: WIN!)

6. Winning a pack of Vivid Man dirty playing cards. Oh damn. Katie and Jess, I need to show it to you some time. You guys will love it. LOVE. IT.

7. Getting a magnificent moustache-and-goatee drawn on me by the Dread Pirate Scott. Later, when The Fez was boring us and we decided to wander downtown, we crashed a wedding party at the Gerding Theater for two minutes and danced amidst a sea of formally-dressed people. The person videotaping the party swung his camera and trained it on us for a little bit. I hope we make it through the editing; that would be radtacular.

All in all, a most excellent Plunderathon. Pictures soon. I took over a hundred, though after weeding out the useless ones, it'll likely be about 30 to 40.

But for now: huge glass of water, feeding cats, cleaning house, and tango.

And later: collecting stuff I left at the Pit, and COLLAPSERATION.

Edited to add: One major highlight I forgot to mention was the time a pirate T-shirt shot out of the cannon (yeah, we had a home-made air cannon) got stuck in a tree outside of the Ash Street Saloon. I was hoisted with little ceremony onto James the Unimaginatively Named Pirate's shoulders, given the aforementioned Really Fucking Huge and Really Fucking Unwieldy flag and told to knock it down. It was awesome. I was really high up, I had three people holding my ass up, and my butt was pretty much on James's face (I was an asshat, literally!); trying to do all this without dropping the flag or falling on my fucking ass was some of the most fun I've had with all my clothes on.
misshepeshu: (Tired kittens)
Hello, Interblag. I'm still around and still alive, but barely. My sleep schedule has been completely fucked. It started a couple weekends ago, with my Epic Formatting Excel Tables in InDesign Adventures, and all of last week was Balls-Out Crazy at work + Extra Balls Out Crazy With Friends, since a bunch of beloved out-of-towners descended on Portland all at once. Last week = no sleep for Candy.

But enough about my sleep schedule, fascinating though it is. A small selection of what's been rattling around my brain pan lately, none of them especially profound:

- I've been listening to a lot of Iggy Pop/Iggy and the Stooges in recent days, and it struck me anew how fucked up the mixes are for some of their songs. OK, just one song. I'm talking about "Search and Destroy." The big, glorious, crunchy guitars are relegated to a muted buzz in the background; the lead guitar sounds screechy, with way too much mid-tone; Iggy's voice is muffled and subdued; and the drums are heard, but not felt. It sounds tinny, which isn't a good sound for most songs, much less a song about anger, alienation, disenchantment and nuclear escalation.

Despite all these problems, the song still rocks out with its cock out. I just feel frustrated and antsy when I listen to it, because I keep wanting it to sound bigger and fuller and louder, but it doesn't, it just stays tinny. Anyone else feel the same way?

I wonder if there exists a better mix for this song (for reference, the version I have comes from Raw Power)--one that explodes from the speakers the way it's meant to. I'm guessing odds are low, but hey, can't hurt to ask.

- I played croquet for the first time today. My neighbors from across the way busted out their set, and as the time passed, more and more people joined until about half the population of the complex (i.e. six people) were whacking little wooden balls around, laughing and cussing good-naturedly because a) none of us are especially good, and b) the lawn is extremely bumpy and shaggy.

- David Hasselhoff has an autobiography out. It's entitled Don't Hassel the Hoff. I just can't make that kind of shit up, good people of Internetlandia.

A choice quote from the book description:

As this fascinating memoir reveals, there’s more to this handsome superstar than great hair, and legs that look good while running down a beach. "The Hoff" is also a smart, caring man with a huge heart.


Pure gold. Sarah and I are fighting to see who gets to review this. She wants me to do it; I want her to have the honors. This could get ugly.

- Almost ten years after buying my copy of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, I got around to reading it, and am now thoroughly in love with it and the universe. For the first time in a long, long time, I wish a fictional universe were real.

- Tomorrow: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with a very good friend of mine whom I haven't seen since the beginning of the year, and then semi-secret Awesomeness afoot later in the night. Whee.
misshepeshu: (Terpsichore)
I dragged Schwern and Jessica to see Annuals and Pilot Speed at the Doug Fir Lounge last night. Jessica didn't actually mean to attend at first, but she was, as she put it, swept along in a Candy-sized hurricane. Which is a fairly pleasant sort of hurricane to be caught in, as far as it goes, because instead of wrecking your house and tearing up trees, I make big messes in your kitchen and then drag you to see skinny boys with floppy hair whale away at their guitars on-stage.

ANYWAY, the show was excellent. I was highly, highly impressed by Pilot Speed, whom I'd never heard of prior to last night. They combined The Bends-era Radiohead pop sensibilities with Interpol's reverberating intensity, and the sound was big, full and gorgeous. I was so impressed, in fact, that I toddled over to the merchandise counter and bought their new album. More on that later.

And then Annuals came on. The first thing that struck me was how young they look. Nobody in the band is older than 22, according to the band biography page on their website. I wanted to hug all of them and bake 'em cookies.

Then they started playing. HOLY SHIT. I haven't encountered energy and intensity of that magnitude in a long, long time--perhaps since my last Femi Kuti show. It wasn't the most polished show I'd ever seen, and it wasn't the most technically accomplished, but it was one of the most fun, and I grinned like a mad woman through most of it. They bounced, they sang, they shouted, they even occasionally flailed around--in short, they rocked the fuck out, and they did it hard. Annuals seem to subscribe to two music performance philosophies:

1. Rock really, really hard.

2. HOLY SHIT GUYS DRUMS ARE AWESOME, so let's have two different drum sets on-stage and let everyone in the band who wants to smack on drums have a go at assorted points during the show.

I'm not kidding about the second point. During one of the songs last night, four of the six members were whacking away at the two drum sets and two separate free-standing toms. The lead singer has his own tom that he lugs around and bangs away on during several songs--he smacked it so hard on one of the songs that one of the drumsticks flew out of his hand, as a matter of fact. As a fan of big, full percussion sounds, I highly approved of this set-up.

And when the audience didn't leave after their last song, the slightly nonplussed singer and lead guitarist (they weren't expecting an encore and had unplugged most of the equipment) came back on-stage to perform an impromptu song about seagulls.

Overall, the show was an outstanding value for $8. If you have a chance to catch them, you should. If I had to describe what they sound like, I'd say they combine the lush arrangements of Broken Social Scene and the emotional intensity of Arcade Fire, except the lead singer doesn't sound nearly as as annoying as dude from Arcade Fire.

So then I went home and listened to the Pilot Speed CD I'd bought, Into the West. And...if it weren't for the fact that I recognized some of the songs I'd heard live, I wouldn't have been able to tell they were the same band. The CD sounds slick, over-produced and muted; the intensity, the atmospheric reverb and big, full, crunchy guitar I enjoyed so much at the live show were completely missing. That's not to say that I don't like slick and pretty--Sufjan Stevens is a good example of slick and pretty done right--but all the interesting edges to Pilot Speed had been smoothed away, and the CD ended up sounding like a cut-rate version of Keane. They need to find whoever mixed and engineered Interpol's releases and get those guys to work on their albums. The songs are decent, but the way they've been mixed has rendered them completely toothless. It was also an interesting lesson in how important arrangement and engineering are to my ears, not just composition.

In conclusion: I'll see Pilot Speed live again in a heartbeat, but I'm not sure I'm buying another album of theirs.

And Annuals rock all around. They're going places. They deserve to.
misshepeshu: (Terpsichore)
I saw The Shins twice in a row this week: Tuesday night at the Paramount in Seattle, and last night at the Crystal Ballroom here in Portland.

I want James Mercer to have my babies. His vocal range is amazing, and he never misses a note--which is saying quite a bit, because some of his high notes are quite alarmingly high. Amazing voice + pretty melodies + hyperliterate lyrics = love.

The show last night was in some ways much more satisfying for me than the show in Seattle, partly because I had staked out a truly excellent spot with a clear view of the stage, partly because I had finally, finally recovered from the worst of my flu, and partly because the sound was much better--the sound at the Paramount was so loud that the midtones ran together and were quite badly distorted in a good number of the songs. But last night reinforced the Concert-Going Curse between [livejournal.com profile] borktron and me (we share a good number of curses, including a Valentine's Day Curse): we shall never watch a concert together while both of us are mostly healthy.

See, at every live show we've ever been to together (Radiohead, Medeski, Martin and Wood, The Shins back in 2003 and Field Day Fest, among others), one or both of us have been sick, usually with the flu. Last night marked the first time I could remember in which we were a) both at a concert, and b) healthy. Finally! The Curse was broken!

And then we found out that his friend Crystal had left her ID back at her apartment, so ID retrieval hijinks ensued, and just as the show started, Michael left to go meet her. By the time they made it back? The crowd was too dense for them to work their way to where I was.

I was amused that the Curse held, but I was also mildly exasperated at Fate, who seems determined to have me go to shows alone. My friend Matthew also had a ticket, but he got to the show very, very late, and we didn't end up meeting at all--he had to leave early to pick his parents up from the airport.

Other events of note:

- The woman next to me fainted. One moment she was dancing along happily, and the next moment: ker-plop. Luckily, she had friends with her, who helped steer her out of the crowd.

- Various people, out of nowhere and apropos of nothing, asked me who the opening band was. Good thing I knew the answer, ha!

- The Shins spontaneously broke into an absolutely fantastic cover of a Pink Floyd song--a song whose title I can't remember, but I do know it's from Dark Side of the Moon. James Mercer couldn't keep his face straight long enough to see the song through to the end, though, which is a damn shame, because it was both brilliant and hilarious.

- "Girl on the Wing" was re-worked into an almost unrecognizable lounge number. So. Good.

Somebody teased me about being a groupie last weekend--I think it was [livejournal.com profile] konomaigo, but it might've been somebody else. All I can say is: if I had enough money and free time, I'd happily follow bands like The Shins from city to city. Something about seeing live shows makes my brain and my heart very happy--during a good show, I'm literally euphoric the whole time the band is playing. I'm currently in the process of putting myself on a very strict budget for the next four months to force myself to save money for law school (first up on the chopping block: eating out), but concerts are the one indulgence I'm allowing myself.

Edited to add: One more noteworthy thing: The huge spread in terms of age range at last night's concert surprised and pleased me. Most of the shows I go to tend to be filled with people within 8 years or so of my age; one notable exception was John Vanderslice, where most of the audience members looked to be well into their 40s. Last night? There were 50-year-old couples, and wee teenyboppers (the youngest person I saw there was probably 12 or 13) with their parents, and everything in between. Nifty.
misshepeshu: (Behold the Kitty!)
The concert tonight at the Crystal Ballroom was brilliant. I'm not sure if it's the best show I've ever been to (the Beck/Flaming Lips double-bill is right up there, as is Blur at the Roseland, Weezer at the Pine Street Theater, Pearl Jam in Singapore and Radiohead at the Gorge), but it's definitely in the top 5. The band sounded great, the banter with the audience was fun and funny, and though there were a few flubs, they were accepted good-naturedly by the audience.

However, many, many songs were missing from the show that in my opinion should've been included, like "The Infanta," "Billy Liar" (best song about masturbation EVER), "A Cautionary Song," "On the Bus Mall," "The Legionnaire," "The Apology Song," "The Sporting Life" and "The Mariner's Revenge Song." I have hopes that at least two or three of these will make the setlist tomorrow.

Also, this memorably hilarious exchange took place halfway during the concert:

Reedies: REED COLLEGE LOVES YOU!"
Colin Meloy: ...what?
Reedies: REED COLLEGE LOVES YOU!
Lone L&C student: LEWIS AND CLARK LOVES YOU!
Colin Meloy: Well, looks like quite the turf war is erupting between the Reedies and the Lewis and Clarkies.
Drummer: I demand a dance-off.
Colin Meloy: Who do you think will win in a street fight? The Reedies, or the Lewis and Clarkies?
Guitarist: Jefferson High School.
*general hilarity*
Colin Meloy: I don't know. I think maybe the Reedies. I think they'll fight dirtier.

Hanyway. Can't wait for the show tomorrow. It's going to be, like, a bucket of awesome with awesome sauce on top.

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