Monday, August 31, 2009

The Rambler of the Beast

That's right, folks - tonight's entry is Rambler number 666, so you've probably forfeited your soul just for reading this. It's gone from being 'the rambling guy on the subway' to 'the Hell-Bound Train,' with stops in New Rochelle, Tarrytown and Rye.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Morning Wood

I usually make it a point to 'do' the Rambler as my last official act of the day. The only drawback with this plan, sometimes, is when I reach that point and it turns out I'd rather make my last official act something else. Last night, for example, it was reading the umpteenth story about the Beatles' dissolution, this one written by Mikal Gilmore in Rolling Stone. I'm guessing reading new stories rehashing history I can already recite chapter and verse is my adult version of watching Star Wars 37 times.

Beatles aside, tonight will also be a bad candidate for Rambling, since we're having a party and it's usually about 3 AM before the last stragglers leave, so I guess if we want any Rambling done this week, it's going to have to be during daylight hours. Which these are - Yesenia and I slept in this morning, and though now she's gone off to the store, I'm still in bed, aimlessly surfing.

Last night, we saw Taking Woodstock, Ang Lee's new film about the festival as seen by a young local who helped make it happen. Lee has yet to make a bad film, placing him in my dark horse race for favorite director, along with Richard Linklater. Linklater probably has a leg up, since he's made one of my favorites (Waking Life), but Lee always does deliver and gets points for being more of a traditional 'big' Hollywood filmmaker, his films always having the sheen of old-school craft. And, like Linklater, Lee sort of snuck up on me, as I realized that I'd seen several of his films and not only didn't think any of them were bad, but also liked many of them quite a lot. Here's the list of Lee I've seen (in chronological order):

Eat Drink Man Woman
The Ice Storm
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Brokeback Mountain
Taking Woodstock

That's only about half of his CV, and those films cover a pretty wide range of subjects. He has clarity of story and vision, and has a sure hand with his actors, a plus in his character-driven approach. A sign for me that I'm on his wavelength is that even the two films on that list that were not critical successes - Hulk and last night's Woodstock - were films I really appreciated, even while being able to see their flaws.

Speaking of Taking Woodstock specifically, I've read the reviews and find I don't really disagree with any of the criticisms - there's a lot of cutesy stuff in the margins that probably harms the central story, if you're so inclined - but I find that Lee's humanist streak, attention to period detail (seriously, almost every film he's made is a period piece), meditative spaces and strong technical skills* always win me over. Besides, the details are a large part of the film's raison d'etre, and as jokey as they are, they give the film a needed sense of benign chaos that I imagine feels like the original festival.

It is a little disappointing that we never get to see any of the acts or hear much of the music, but that's part of the point of the film. In a way, I get the feeling that Lee intends his film as a companion piece to the original documentary, going so far as to borrow that classic's use of split screen for simultaneous storytelling. Others could use that reliance on the original as a knock against Lee's film, but I've always liked the idea of one work of art that illuminates small corners of other, larger ones. Grendel and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead are both excellent, deep and meaningful works that rely on the reader's familiarity with the classics that they expand upon for their effect. It's probably a cheap postmodern trick, but given my love of a medium - comics - that's almost entirely built on a wink-wink-nudge-nudge series of callbacks, it's one I appreciate whole-heartedly.

Anyway, for most of you, I imagine Taking Woodstock would function better as a rental, but I'm glad I saw it in the theater. Ang Lee, I've got my eye on you.


*The ever-lovely cinematography and strong, clear editing are his hallmarks, so obviously he knows how to use his team well. Woodstock's editor is a longtime collaborator, but it's Lee's first film with this particular cinematographer, and it still looks like a Lee film, complete with desaturated palette, soft contrast and high-grain stock.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dark Night of the Pool

Just took an unbelievably relaxing swim, at 10 PM. Pretty much a moonless night, too; last time I did this was in college, in Narragansett Bay. The venue has shrunken, but my girth has grown.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunken California

Your Weekend Listening • 8.23.09
Monterey • 1999

The sound of a band not quite gelling, while at the same time not knowing what it was that they had. Edz, Rick and I played together for roughly two full years, and there wasn't ever a point where the three of us were on the same page as to what it was that we wanted to do together. This fractured identity wasn't helped by the fact that when the band started, I wasn't even sure what instrument I was going to be playing. When Rick joined, I was jumping back and forth between bass, keys and guitar, little realizing both how that would look to this new player and also not recognizing that this was evidence of my own inability to settle on a 'sound' for the band.

When I first met Rick at a party in South Orange - via mutual friend John Nora - Edz and I were deep in the thick of two simultaneous projects - doing multi-track demos of the material we'd been working on together (a full album example of which can be found here) and trying to find a guitar player so that we could have a real, functioning band. The handful of auditions we'd had up to that point were - to say the least - dispiriting. Little did I know that the search for a guitar player would be the ultimate hallmark of the band that became Copper Man.

At any rate, the above is one reason why I was not tied to any one instrument when Rick joined. I'd come out of Lizard Music being seriously tired of playing keys, and (as noted in the above linked entry), I was really enjoying playing guitar at that point. Curiously, this is happening now as well, which may be a result of me putting together these Weekend Listening entries. Although an all-Zeppelin jam I had just yesterday with me struggling on Page's guitar and Plant's vocals may have me putting the guitar down and backing away, again.*

So, back in 1999, Rick basically said it'd be best if I didn't play guitar, and it made sense, so we cut my available musical options down to two. And for the sake of live shows - of which we played very, very few in the course of our two years as a band - I ultimately decided that the keys weren't worth it, so I mostly just stuck to bass. And if you think it's torture reading about my indecision, I'm sure it was that much worse actually playing in the band with my musical dithering.

The new Copper Man trio - then known as 'Analogue'** - fairly quickly generated an album's worth of material. The last real group of songs that my old Tascam really saw service for. Those songs were mostly of a kind, with about 70% of them written by myself, but with Rick's much more advanced arrangement ideas fleshing everything out in a way I'd never thought about before.

We also started to write as a unit, and that's where this week's entry came in - as an image of a band that had great potential and never found a way to realize it. 'Monterey' was based around a riff and pre-chorus change of mine, a verse change from Edz, and a chorus change from Rick (with myself writing the lyric and melody). The genius idea of turning the rhythm around in the verse was, of course, Rick's.

This is actually my preferred way of working these days - turning a set of band ideas into a workable song - but at the time, it was very new to me. It also started the practice of picking the title for the new jam from something at hand and then writing the lyric from there. In this case, a sweatshirt that Edz was wearing, advertising Monterey Beach.

In a sign of how much at cross-purposes we frequently were, I thought the song sounded Southern California-ish, and Rick thought it totally didn't sound Southern California-ish at all. Since we'd both spent time in Southern California - he in San Diego and myself in Diamond Bar - that may have just been a matter of perspective. But my take on the feel did deeply color my lyric and made me think of the song as a Beach Boys via Weezer number, as covered by King Crimson. To this day, Rick and I can disagree deeply about approaches to music, and we're at this point almost a decade removed from having played together. Curiously, it's Rick's beautifully anthemic guitar solo that really makes the thing sound SoCal to me - Weezer at their finest.

The lyric, I'll admit, I like a lot. It's pretty deeply encoded, so I'll try to unpack it for you as best I can.

Hangin' out.
Check out the Jet Moto
Parking down by the movies.
Stick around -
You're gonna pay for it.
They don't like you around here.1

Listen every word I say -
Lord knows, there's nothing wrong with you.2

I bring water from the mountains.
I bring flowers to the desert.
I bring sun and no accounting.
No accounting.
Noah counting.3

Monterey standing at the ocean.
Many streets open to the sea.
I will pray - I will do the talking.
I will say all that I have seen of this terrible life.

Drive around.
Such a nice day for it.
Take her out with the top down.
Never clouds.
Clear for the sun setting over the bay for the last time.4

Listen every word I say -
Lord knows, there's nothing wrong with you.

I bring fire from the mountain.
I bring power to the desert.
I bring war and an accounting.
An accounting.
Ana counting.5

Monterey falls into the ocean.
Every wave dissolves into the sea.
I will save - offer sanctuary.
On that day.
And I will pray for the ones who survive.

Listen every word I say.
Lord knows, there's nothing more to do.

I see strangers all around me.6

1) I lived in California for most of my tenth year, and it was pretty much an extended period of misery for me. It's the point in my life where I first gained weight, a physical manifestation of my allergic reaction to the California way of life. I felt deeply, deeply unlocked there by the majority of my peers, and school was just not a place where I fit in. Mostly, I felt that everyone my age was really trying to be much older, and I constantly felt like an out of place little kid. This was also coming from a period where I was always academically advanced in New York schools, and I still was placed in G&T programs in California, but my inability to get with it socially made me fall way behind in math and just come to hate school in general. Sadly, I never did catch up in math again, and even back in New York I carried both my new weight problem and loathing of school with me.

On the plus side, California was where I discovered video games big time, and they had arcades the likes of which we'll never see again. The Showboat was a particular favorite, three stories high of now-vintage, then-new classics. California was the first time in my life I'd been at liberty, and Showboat and Chuck 'E' Cheese were the places Iibertied to, in addition to movie theaters.

The 'Jet Moto' referred to here is a video game that wasn't introduced until the late 90's, so I've retroactively added it to the 1980 arcade scene. It seemed to fit better than 'Lunar Lander' or 'Battle Zone,' two of the actual games I wasted quarters on.

2) As you can gather from the above, California was where I really started to hate myself. This is the voice of either my greater self or an imagined God, telling the younger me not to judge myself by the standards of those around me, especially when those around me were so different from what I'd previously been accustomed to. This is meant both straight and with heavy sarcasm.

3) This is where the song gets interesting for me; moving away from abstracted remembrance to a hint of biblical imagery. All of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas were carved from the desert by aqueducts and power plants. Man labors to create a sunny paradise, with green grass and all - literally altering God's creation. There will be repayment, as 'Noah' - the narrator starts to think of himself as a literal prophet - sees a new flood coming, ironically also bringing water to the desert.

4) No longer our narrator, now an average (upper middle class) Californian, image from a Beach Boys song of a convertible with a girl and the beach. But the sun setting 'over the bay for the last time' can't be good. This image in particular is lifted from Carl Sagan's Cosmos, with a reference to the end of the sun's main life cycle, and 'one last perfect day' before the sun swells into a red giant and destroys all life on Earth. The song's apocalypse isn't quite so global.

5) The Santa Ana winds. I had to throw that in. Most likely a lift from Steely Dan, here.

6) This last image is meant both ways - the crowd of survivors meeting the future together, and getting back out of the narrator's imagined disaster and into the real world, where we find again just a socially awkward boy who can't connect in any way with his peers. I'm not sure why, but I've always found this closing refrain to be weirdly optimistic, perhaps acknowledging that the boy has found a way to let down his guard and meet the world at least halfway.


*Maybe people are wondering here why I inflict others with my guitar playing when I think it's the weakest of my musical skills? Three reasons: 1) sitting behind the Rhodes is physically and occasionally musically isolating yourself from the rest of the band, a feeling I've always felt and is in no way what it's like to be behind a drum kit, which is frequently the center of the musical action; 2) I started to write on guitar in college to deliberately get away from the twinkly crap I came up with on piano, and guitar is my preferred writing tool to this day. It's much more pleasurable to bounce ideas around in a band context on guitar than on keys - even if my musical vocabulary is more limited on the former than the latter; and 3) I can't really sing that well while playing keys. I don't know if it's because I'm physically constricted while sitting or because the added musical complexity of my keyboard parts takes away from concentrating on my vocals, I can actually sort of sing on guitar, but on keys I sound lame, pitchy and strained.

**Both names, btw, coined by Rick. We probably would have stuck with 'Analogue' were it not for the booker at (the now defunct) Brownies, who asked us if we were the 'Analogue,' and was not just disappointed but outright pissy that we weren't.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We're Havin' a Heatwave

Well, we were - the heat seemed to break this afternoon with a series of intermittent rainstorms that pretty much continued throughout a mid-afternoon jam I had with friends. Yesenia took advantage of it and threw the living room's french windows open and by the time I came back upstairs it was blissfully cool. Compared to earlier in the day, when me and my father worked on wiring in the attic while simultaneously showering in our own sweat. The second day in a row of that, actually. As a perfect illustration of just how much nastier it is in the attic than the rest of the house: we also worked up there yesterday, and my father stopped by this morning on his way into the city to drop off his junk clothes so that he could come straight here after work and right back to the attic.

His clothes from yesterday were still soaked through.

Honestly, the guy is sixty-seven years old. I was up in the attic for only about a third of the time he was and I thought I was going to have a stroke. If I ever needed proof that my dad is made of sterner stuff than I am, today was it.

As far as the jam: less Zeppelin than the last time (visiting bassist Emmy is planning on auditioning for all-female Zep tribute act Fem Zeppelin when she gets back to California next month, so I've burned her some songs and accommodated her by learning a few myself so that she could try playing them. As it turns out, she nailed the bass, and with Sean on drums the rhythm section sounded really good. The problem was me; since I was both playing guitar and singing and Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are so far out of my range of abilities that I singlehandedly make our versions of the Zep chestnuts into inadvertent parodies.

This week, I tried to get a few more tunes in my range without the more demanding guitar parts - we threw 'No Quarter' and 'All My Love' (probably the band's most famous keyboard numbers) at the wall, and they certainly stuck better than 'Over The Hills and Far Away,' 'Good Times, Bad Times,' 'Ramble On' and 'Immigrant Song,' the four of which were last week's offerings. Frankly, I can't even count out the opening measures of 'Hills' properly, which is kind of depressing since odd time signatures and stuff are my 'thing.'

But the keyboard songs were decent. In fact, one or two more runs through the two keyboard numbers and they'd have been what I'd call 'pretty good.' We may get a chance to play once more this summer, so I hope to commit that to 'tape.' Emmy has a Zoom H2 digital all-in-one recorder, and I was pretty impressed with the sound from the one thing we did record.

If I do, I promise to put either best or the absolute worst up here. My Robert Plant impression is something else...

Anyway, I'll be posting the unfinished Weekend Listening sometime in the next day or so, and it's not that. Sorry, or you're welcome, depending on how you feel about it.


Friday, August 21, 2009

The Biggest One

The New Trailer for James Cameron's Avatar. I'd embed it, but there's no YouTube version, yet.

Anyway, I think it looks kind of cartoony, and I don't really have any anticipation for it - not really 'getting' the greatness of Cameron, whose films I've always found bloated, mean-spirited and inauthentic. This looks like it could be all three of those things. But maybe that's just me. At any rate, I'm sure I'll end up seeing it in 3D Imax, just for the experience of it. Lord knows that Imax 3D has made me love films that I would have hated under any other circumstance, so at least I'm willing to meet Cameron halfway. The man does know what to do with technology...


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Advance Warning

I'm feeling some political content creeping up on me - surprisingly, not about the current ha-ha fun that is the closing act of the decades-long public health care debate. Instead, I'm thinking odd thoughts about public funding for the arts. I will share them with you soon, provided I can tease them into a cogent order.

Cogency is not on my plate this evening, though; I've been essentially 'going' since Monday morning, and as soon as the paper went to press this week, I came home and crashed in front of the television, absorbing the underwhelming squandering of talent that is the recent film version of Get Smart. Actually, that puts me at 0-2 with recent comedies since we just rented Paul Blart, Mall Cop the other night, and I was pretty literally blown back by the pandering stink of it - the flop-sweat of crowd-pleasing moments that pissed away any hope the film had of being really good. It just had to settle for enormously successful.

Get Smart was definitely the better of the two films. Still not worth your time, but Anne Hathaway is at her peak hotness, so that's where you'll have to go and find her in later years when you want to reminisce. It could be worse: for Lea Thompson's peak hotness, you have to sit through Howard the Duck.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lump of Dave

All right - again, I have to apologize. I've been working straight since 8 AM, and I think I can't think any more, especially about thinking. This would be a good time to transcribe and annotate another old diary entry, but that takes a surprisingly long time (I'm a fast typist and a fast reader, but apparently not at the same time). So the Rambler tonight is just me scratching my virtual sack and staring off into space.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Double-You ENNNNNNNNNNnnnnnn... bc

Taking a night to catch up on my hairy and cranky long overdue correspondence, so the Rambler's going to take the hit this evening. Just thought I'd note that this is Rambler number 660, a number with which to conjure for kids of my generation in the New York metropolitan area.

I know that he's become something of a joke, or perhaps not (I'm still trying to work out if he is or isn't a respected voice in political talk radio), but I don't think anyone who grew up listening to Don Imus in the late 70's and early 80's doesn't still have a soft spot for the man and his cast of characters. It all seems hokey now, but when you're eight years old, the Reverend Billy Sol Harkus (or is it 'Hargus'?). Everything's all right as long as I've got my plastic Jesus sitting up there with my pair of fuzzy dice.

If you know what I mean.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Something's Coming

Working on a fairly lengthy and wholly self-congratulatory/loathing (it's an art form, I'll admit) Weekend Listening, but it's currently so much more digressive than they usually are that I need to pound it through the magic syntax machine a bit before I release it into the wild. If I can't get it ordered and sensible tomorrow, I'll hold it for next weekend and instead give you another Dave @ 24 entry in a couple of days. So it's win/win for you. Or lose/lose, depending on your tolerance for such things. Still, logic dictates that if you can't stand the Dave, why subject yourself to the Rambler, which is the Dave at my Daviest. Third person references included.

I only alluded to it briefly yesterday, but Yesenia and I were in the city very late; she to attend the bachelorette party of Mariangela (dunno if I'm spelling this right!) and me hanging out with Ansley, the future groom in the equation. Ans and I went out to a loud and unsatisfying mexican place with his brother Bran and girlfriend, and afterwards we all complained about the selection of restaurant and tried to pin the blame of its choosing on each other. In other words, a classic Kopperman/Lancourt evening, and worth every penny.

Bran and GF Samantha retired, and Ans and I walked back to his new apartment and waited with video games for the girls to return, which they did, thoroughly pickled, at around three. Mariangela then declared her undying love for her dog and Ansely (in exactly that order), and Fiona drunkenly managed to complete 'My Name is Jonas' on the medium setting in Guitar Hero III, which I'll admit was sort of impressive.

Today was a day of mostly nothing, save for a couple of loads of laundry - taking advantage of the sunny weather to dry them out on the line. Using that clothesline is beginning to become a serious 'thing' for me - I'm wondering how late in the year I can keep it going. The clothes dry superfast - pretty much within an hour - and they come out completely wrinkle-free. What a technological wonder, this washline. Our current line had been getting slack, so I gave it another period snip and retying, but I cut it about an inch too short and have to go get a new line. Which isn't so sad, since it was carrying about six years worth of funk on it.

BTW: Thanks to a prodding from Karl, I finally told Blogger what my time zone is. Now the time at the bottom of each Rambler accurately reflects the time it was posted, EST. I'd say ironically, 'in case anyone cared,' but Karl brought it up, so it's apparent someone did care.


Uneeda Sleep

Just got in from NYC, driving the girls home from a bachelorette party. And it's fuckin' 4:15 in the morning. So no blog for you.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Funny People

Another thing we did while in Rhode Island was take a night at the movies. It's something we don't do nearly enough of, but this Summer's slate of films has looked pretty dire, although the films we've actually gotten out to see we've enjoyed. The Rhode Island film was no exception: Funny People, which (to me) was such an expert blend of crack-up comedy and genuine sentiment that I'm sort of amazed that it all held together. It was, as people have noted, both a little too long and a little too short - it spent too much time on the Leslie Mann subplot and not enough digging further in to the L.A. comedy scene, perhaps. But it was all thoroughly enjoyable, and that makes three-and-a-half films now starring Adam Sandler that I can say I really liked. Weird.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Other Old News

As noted yesterday, the Steely Dan show was at Foxwoods, which is in the eastern wilds of Connecticut. It wasn't much of a hike, though, since Yesenia and I were already up at the family camp in Coventry, Rhode Island. Only about a forty minute drive both ways, and mercifully free of traffic.

I've been going up to Coventry for as long as I can recall. The house itself has been in the family since (I think) the 1930's - perhaps if my mom reads this entry, she'll give the correct timeline. It, to me, is the definition of Summer. It's seen it's ups and downs over the years, but it's always wonderful to go and stay for a couple of days. It's right on a dammed off part of a river that I think is called 'Big River', but carries the name 'Johnson's Pond.' Of course, that's what they always called it, but I note that the name doesn't appear on Google Maps. Apparently, ignoring people's cherished childhood memories doesn't fall under 'doing no evil.'

These days, it's much different going up to Coventry - my own grandmother has been gone for over a decade, and my great aunt Evelyn - the family matriarch - doesn't really go down there much, so the place is no longer the hub of family activity and home feeling that it used to be in my memories, as it was pretty much up until the very late 90's. That's some run, though, don't you think?

Now I travel up with Yesenia and we sleep downstairs - instead of up in the attic as I did as a kid - and we listen for the cicadas and the rain on the lake and she sits out in the sun on the dock and I take out the canoe. We drink gin and tonics and take trips to the shore and generally behave like adults. It's still a good life.


Reeling in the Years

It occurs to me that I didn't talk much about the Steely Dan set list - heavy on Aja, being about the only album they dug any deeper than the singles. The only songs they didn't play off of Aja were 'Deacon Blues' and 'I Got the News.' Katy Lied, my favorite Steely Dan album, was criminally underrepresented, with 'Black Friday' and (oddly) 'Daddy Don't Live in That New York City No More,' the latter sung by Walter Becker. Everything else was pretty much the hits, although they left out 'Rikki Don't Lose that Number,' for reasons known only to themselves.

As they left the stage the first time and the inevitability of the encore hung in the air, I said to Noah, 'Well, what's the big hole left in the set?' Figuring they'd do two or three songs for the encore, and wondering what of the few famous crowd-pleasers they had left in the bag. The aforementioned 'Rikki,' and also 'Reeling in the Years' occurred to me (although I was secretly hoping for 'Doctor Wu'), and Noah answered back 'My Old School.'

The band came back and did a two song encore: 'Reeling in the Years' and 'My Old School.' And the one song I walked around singing the next day back in Coventry was, of course, 'Rikki Don't Lose that Number,' as if its absence from the set made my brain DJ put it on heavy rotation.

As usual, a phenomenon that The Onion commented on brilliantly.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Men of Steel

As part of the seemingly endless series of great concerts that I've attended on other peoples' dimes, friend Noah took me to see Steely Dan at Foxwoods this past Friday. Ostensibly, the gift was on his part a portion of the 'payment' for his new website that I'm designing (it's on my list of things to do, as they say).

The show itself was quite good - the band was tight (according to Noah, it's pretty much the same band that they've toured with for the last decade or so) and the mix was clear. I left the theater to urinate about halfway through the set, and it turned out that they were feeding a live mix into the bathroom and even the mix in the bathroom was pretty damn good. Actually, a little better, since it wasn't quite so boomy.

I've long said that I like bands to make the live experience a unique one, by reworking older material and giving it some life. Steely Dan put that to the test, though, as I found myself being mildly disappointed that they played all of their early material in their late-period lounge-fusion style of Aja and Gaucho. Not so much disappointed that they'd reworked it, but that the set could have used a little more tonal variety. Since they played the later material pretty much note-for-note - by making 'Dirty Work' (for example) from a lovely and sad organ driven ballad with calliope undercurrents into yet another dry ironic seen-it-all take on relationships (that's what the later sound does) - the set started to sag a little in the middle. I felt that most strongly with the transformation of the stuttering trumpet break of the original into a very smooth jazz solo. Nice, but I missed the original. Although I did very much like the nod to original singer David Palmer's absence by handing the vocal duties over to the trip of female backing vocalists.

One of said back-up singers was the reason we had such great seats (fourth row!), since Noah is friends with her - or perhaps friends through her husband.

The 'Most Pleasant Surprise' award for the show goes to Walter Becker, whom I've always thought was more of a background element in the band, but who turned in consistently great lead playing throughout the evening. In fact, I preferred his playing to the other lead player (Jon Herrington, also musical director) on most songs, until the rockier block towards the end of the set, where Herrington cut loose a bit.

Donald Fagen was in great voice, and spent 90% of the show seated center-stage right up front behind his Fender Rhodes. He now looks for all the world like the love child of Ray Charles and Golda Meir, and I guess he sort of plays, writes and sings like that odd genetic combination would suggest. One small disappointment with the mix was that his Rhodes was a little too low for my tastes - his comping is a pretty strong part of the Steely Dan 'sound,' to me - and the parts where the rest of the band came down and Fagen did a little bit of contemplative noodling were drowned out by whoops from the audience.

The show also made a nice contrast to the last live show I saw - Aterciopelados at the Prospect Park bandshell - in that the almost entirely white and middle-aged Steely Dan fanbase sat through all of the performance, unlike the Colombian Standing and Dancing gang at Aterciopelados. It must be said that I prefer to sit at concerts and always have, but the level of annoyance I get at having to stand at shows in order to see because the person in front of me is standing doesn't stem from the act of having to stand - it's from having a seat and then being forced by someone else to not sit in it if I actually want to watch the show I paid for.

There's an entire second Rambler to be written about the venue. Foxwoods is something else, sort of like a David Lynch Theme Park - but that's a Rambler for another day. Anyhow, thanks again to Noah for the show. I wonder what famous act I'll get to see for free next year?


Grind Up

Wow, extra long pause, there. Unintended, but wholly necessary, as it turns out - the last couple of weeks were fairly stressful, and then Yesenia and I just took a much-needed mini-vacation to the family camp in Rhode Island. I'll be resuming regular posting this week, but I didn't want you all to think I'd given up the virtual ghost, here.