Friday, August 23, 2013

The Cult - Roseland Ballroom

I want to start out by saying I am not the word's biggest Cult fan, but I really liked the Electric Album back in the day...loud, goofy riff rock.  I still break the album out on occasion when no one is home and I can play it LOUD.

That said I am getting a bit cranky in my old age.  Winter Kill opened with an 80 minute (are you fucking kidding me) set of distorted, wah wah stoner bullshit.  Far too long and most of the crowd seemed disinterested.  My son and a friend were there and he commented it was the worst live set he has ever seen.

The Cult hit the stage around 10 and kicked right into Wildflower.  Billy Duffy was a riffing machine and the band sounded great, that is until Ian Astbury started to sing.  Well sing is a word that does not exactly describe it...more like shouting along with some woops.  I had forgotten what an asshole he can be and this behavior was in full effect last night.  He kept yelling it was a rock & roll show and to stop with the cell phones, making bad jokes in some kind of NYC accent, generally being a putz.

After running through the Electric album there was some kind of short film and then the band returned to play a couple of hits and some newer material.  Ian seemed to be more into this section and it's pretty clear he finds the Electric material boring.  My question is why bother in the first place?

For me this was a nostalgia night 25 years on.  Hard rock hasn't been my cup of tea in a very long time and it is unlikely I will see this kind of show again in the future.  I especially hate ballroom shows at 51.  I'm more the small theater, tiny club or outdoor festival type of person.  Knowing all of this in advance doesn't squash the feeling that I was ripped off last night...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Glen Campbell - See You There

It seems like Glen Campbell has been a part of my generation's collective musical subconscious for what seems like forever.  Never at the forefront but back there in our minds.  If you are of a certain age you can't hear Wichita Lineman or Galveston or Gentle On My Mind and not be taken back.  His performances of these Jimmy Webb songs are classics in America's songbook.
I have to say up front that his records have not consistently found their way onto my turntable over the past 40 years...that is until Meet Glen Campbell came out in the early 2000's.  I had forgotten Glen's way with a song and his great vocals and guitar playing.  Most folks probably don't realize how many records they have heard his playing on over the decades during his time as part of LA's The Wrecking Crew. In 2011 he released what I consider one of the finest records of that or any year. "Ghost On The Canvas" whose compositions were made even more poignant by his recent Alzheimer's diagnosis.
The songs on See You There were recorded during the sessions for Ghost On The Canvas and the tracks include several of his biggest hits recorded in a more modern, Americana approach.  No strings, just Glen and a crack group of musicians.   It's so nice to hear the peddle steel shine through opposed to the strings.  In addition to the tracks mentioned above there are also new versions of By The Time I Get to Phoenix, Rhinestone Cowboy and Postcard From Paris along with some newer Campbell tunes.  Each and every one is a great listen...not necessarily better than the originals, but more emotional.  Rhinestone Cowboy in particular hits far harder than the original with a depth that enormous hit was missing in the original arrangement.

This isn't a record for the kids, although they could probably use a dose of superior songwriting, singing and playing that this record has in spades.  Our musical institutions are getting old folks, we need to take advantage of whatever we get from performers who are still vital and making great music in their later years.  There are still great records being made by the "old guard" and See You There is one of them.  You should check out.

Here's the official video for Hey Little One