wu-tang clan @ the congress
not to be confused with =w= sign
fans’ hand sign execution: mixed.
i know this is all very confusing, but if there is one takeaway, know that you should never do this:
kanye west and jay-z, watch the throne tour @ the united center, thursday, 12/1. i don’t review shows anymore, so here are just some thoughts.
nosebleed seats at $123 a pop — my most expensive ticket ever — featured an excellent view within the section, but still. i can’t imagine what the floor seats cost, and i wonder who the target audience is. the 1%? corporations and timeshares? are these guys performing for their fans, the 1% of their fans? this tour is raking in more than $1 mm a night apparently.
too much as been written about kanye’s megalomania, so i have few additional comments. he is 100% batshit crazy, and i’m happy i had the chance to once again affirm i guess. he is getting nuttier more years and more $$$, but that’s obviously feeding into his ability as an artist and performer so i kind of love it. all of it, self-aggrandizing and all. the one letdown was the painful conclusion that mr. west is clearly a studio artist. his songs are super-produced, arguably overproduced, with layers and layers of instruments and guest vocals that don’t translate well without live backing during a live show. the epic, headphone-worthy, “all of the lights” (and really everything off my dark twisted fantasy) came across much flatter than i had hoped. see exhibits below.
“all of the lights” recorded:
live in chi (thanks, whoever posted this so quickly):
throughout the show, the giant monitors caught kanye or jay-z candidly, “at rest”, while the other was performing. king kanye looked alternately like, “i am gonna stab you with scissors” or “these leatherette tights that chicks wear are so hot! i mean, they look hot, but also they don’t breathe! must stop sweating. but my manager told me this is what it takes to win grammys. my self worth is 100% dependent on grammys! GRAMMY GRAMMY GRAMMY! i love grammys, not people!”
best part of the candid shots had to be catching jay-z occasionally smiling. juxtaposed with crazy kanye, he otherwise comes across as something of a stoic. is he bored? is he into it? is he over it? is he ashamed of the fact that he is wearing a short-sleeved leather hoodie? is it made with the excess fabric from kanye’s kilt? is he upset that kanye made him do a costume change so that kanye’s fourth outfit didn’t seem like too much?
jay-z, on all of that, just comes across as calm, controlled, possibly even calculating. hard to tell. i find jay-z fascinating, and it stems partly from the fact that he is relatively unattractive, yet has had a wild amount of success through a variety of sounds and styles. seriously. the ugly factor has proven a decent a lagging indicator of actual talent in the entertainment industry, right? steve buscemi? thom yorke? to make it to the top and stay there, you’re either beautiful, talented, or on occasion, you’re both. he proved impressive at the show, and i wish i could have seen more. kanye dominated the setlist at probably 65% of the split (understandable, given this is his hometown), but i saw enough, for as always after a good show, i ran home and bought new tunes. so mr. “i’m not a businessman, i’m a business, man” smiling here and there was kinda nice, a relief, suggesting he maybe wanted to be up there for two and a half hours even if he weren’t pocketing a cool million in revenue to do so.
jay-z – public service announcement
that’s the other thing: 2.5 hours. without a break or a lull really, 2.5 hours of performing deserves some real props. 2.5 hours of keeping most of the crowd moving and engaged is not easy and made it clear these gentlemen are hit machines. impressive stamina too. i haven’t heard that long a performance since the cure (circa 1999? i’m old). granted it was back-and-forth between the two artists throughout, but it was still well thought-out and executed. except for the end.
the good thing about having seeing night2 when a big tour does two nights in a city? reviews of night1 up already, complete with setlist. some people don’t like spoilers, but i don’t mind them. if it’s a good show, i unfailingly become so captivated by the show / film that i forget the spoiler. i will go into titanic knowing the ship sinks, but i’ll forget you told me that once the film’s on. um not a great example — i was waiting for that damn sink to ship for approximately two hours.
on the other hand, if the show lags in any way, my mind will wander and it will wander to the spoiler alert. and worse, now in the age of smartphones, i will call up the setlist to see precisely what’s coming. in this instance, the advance setlist helped me out not once, but twice.
- headsup that ‘ye & z hit the stage would hit the stage more than two hours after the stated start time. poor fools who didn’t cheat by reading the review.
- headsup on what the encore would be, key to timing my exit. the chicago tribune reported the encore would be:
40. N— in Paris
41. N— in Paris
42. N— in Paris
43. N— in Paris
44. N— in Paris
45. N— in Paris
46. N— in Paris
47. N— in Paris
yes, you read that correctly. EIGHT TIMES. it’s not even a good song. i lasted until drill #7. yet as DW pointed out, amazingly most of the crowd was still into it then. DH asked me at some point during the show, “do you think [kanye and jay-z] are the type of artists who perform high or totally drunk?” and i think i replied, “to play that encore eight times? night after night? they have to be.”
but on second thought, i don’t know that that they were…instead, the crowd may have been.
and just because it never gets old: crystal castle reviews k.west
part i. i found my new favorite study spot in wicker park: the lovely bake shop. it’s quiet, free wifi, music is neither obnoxious nor loud, not crowded, and the crowd that is there is shockingly not there to be seen (though i admit i love the people watching at filter and wormhole). big tables (one is an old card catalog), an assortment of benches and chairs, board games, pies, mini pies, hot breakfast sandwiches all day, aromatic pastries, intelligentsia coffee, decent tea selection, a ‘general store’ of giftable items like stationary, thoughtful cashiers.
only negative i have identified: it closes at between 5-7pm over the course of the week, for this shop is clearly more of a bake shop than coffee shop. but i guess that is why it’s great, so i can’t really ding ’em for that. big news: this is my first endorsement of anything on this blog — that’s how delightful the place is.
part ii. i have discovered a browser based blogging program that allows me to change fonts and colors and size!!!! finally! you probably thought i was disciplined, sticking to one font this whole time, but i’ve been suffering so. not that trebuchet was so hard on the eyes (picture me patting my trebuchet workhorse on the back), but as i’m learning in cases in financial management, it’s all about the option value. so watch out, readers. i’m going to become one of those people.
part iii. LC found a game i want to dominate but cannot complete. no it’s not the timed try-out tests used for mathcounts competitions. it’s a fashion game, instant style. you pick the accessory that you think the style editors at instyle would select. easy enough? like the mathcounts nerd that i am at heart, i’m confident that i’ve even identified something of an algorithm to win this game. however, my high score will never been seen because this game is also coincidentally the slowest loading browser-based game on the planet.
part iv. mike tyson quotes: the song.
sounds a little like guster, no?
part v: drinkify.
highlights (via the chicagoist):
Wilco: 1 bottle Organic red wine. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with sugar.
Cheap Trick: 1 oz. Cocaine. 1 oz. Tabasco sauce. 8 oz. Lemon juice.
Chicago: 6 oz. Tequila Reposado. Serve neat. Garnish with twist of grapefruit.
Local H: 6 oz. Maker’s Mark Bourbon. Serve on rocks. Stir quickly. Garnish with olive.
Andrew Bird: 1 oz. Cachaça. 1 oz. Grenadine. Combine in highball glass and serve.
Kill Hannah: 1 PBR. Serve cold. Garnish with nutmeg.
Billy Corgan: 1 bottle Buckfast. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with wedge of pineapple.
Styx: 1 Bud Light. Serve cold. Garnish with pickled asparagus.
Alkaline Trio: 10 oz. Southern Comfort. Serve on rocks. Stir vigorously. Garnish with fresh berries.
Jon Langford: 1 Miller High Life. Serve cold.
Fall Out Boy: 1 PBR. Serve cold. Garnish with umbrella.
Lupe Fiasco: 2 oz. Hennessy. 2 oz. Grapefruit juice. 2 oz. Chilli pepper Vodka. Combine in shaker and strain into cocktail glass. Serve. Garnish with cucumber.
part vi: game restarted. i just clicked into the mathcounts link and really want to halt all things and do that problem of the week. before i do, please note that the problem of the week is clearly that the writers chose to employ a spelling of ‘l-a-u-r-y-n’. just. why?
i was going to put together a collection of the crazy that is morrissey speaking his mind, but i realized michael k at dlisted has basically already done this. see exhibits below.
Oh, Morrissey… The man who wrote the lyrics that thousands of rockabilly teenage cholas recited as a monologue in their beginners drama class is back at it again. Morrissey is a serious animal rights advocate and vegetarian so when he watched a special on the news about animal abuse in China, a new hate for the Chinese developed in his brain. Since this is Morrissey we’re talking about, you know exactly where this is heading.
In an interview with Simon Armitage for The Guardian, Morrissey summoned a million Sydney Dalton-like protests against him when he said that China’s treatment of animals makes them a “sub-species” in his book. Here’s Morrissey’s full quote as well as some other [gems]:
On the Chinese: “Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can’t help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies.”
On pop stars today: “They have two or three melodies and they repeat them ad nauseum over the course of 28 albums.”
On people: “They are problems.”
On his pets: “Yes. Cats. I’ve had lots of cats. But also many bereavements.”
On being lonely: “We’re all lonely, but I’d rather be lonely by myself than with a long list of duties and obligations. I think that’s why people kill themselves, really. Or at least that’s why they think, ‘Thank heaven for death.’ ”
On if he has a drivers license or not: “What kind of bland, insipid question is that?”
Morrissey didn’t sit down and stood by his words after some people called it a racist statement: “If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade — animals skinned alive — then they could not possibly argue in favor of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible.”
… so I’m pretty sure he HATES ALL PEOPLE. Bitch is like the Emo Scrooge. I’m not defending his words, but if he could live on a deserted island with only his cats he would. But he’d probably still find a tree trunk or [something] to yell at.
It’s another day, which means the grouchy old … Morrissey is once again spitting out … a statement that is offending a lot of people. Morrissey once called the Chinese a “subspecies” and at a concert in Poland on Sunday, his name ended up on a whole new group of people’s Shut The Fuck Up List when he compared the massacre in Norway to fast food. This mess came out of Moz’s meat-free pie hole before he sang his song “Meat is Murder”:
“We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown, with 97 dead [sic].Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried shit every day.”
Then Moz went on to say, “And 9/11 ain’t nothing compared to what’s happening on the buffet line at Sizzler.”
If this is Morrissey’s way of trying to get a place on Spaz de la Huerta’s debate team for crazies, then he can stop right now, because I’m pretty sure she’s FedEx-ing him a team blazer right now.
We all already know that Morrissey mostly hates people and has an undying love for animals (although, the feeling is not mutual for some animals). Sometimes I feel the same way, but to say that fast food is worse than the massacre of children? Everything is a tragedy competition to his ass. Like if I told him I had a headache, he’d probably say, “Poor you! What about the pig who has no head, because it was murdered for that hot dog you’re eating.”
what a tragedy, this charming man. tunes so sweet, words so sour. more from the moz’ mouth …
“I suppose you have work tomorrow? That’s quite sad, really.”
“Don’t ask me how, but I know that if a plane crashed at 38,000 feet, within ten minutes I’d be walking on the ground. And if there were eight survivors and one had to be eaten, it wouldn’t be me.”
and one more…
that is currently still producing, performing, and is not named radiohead (other qualifiers may be added as i think of them).
the new york times profiled them in their sunday magazine more than a year ago, and i stumbled across it again this morning. i had forgotten how vibrant the magazine’s profiles can be. the best ones are like this one, which trigger me to dig out old albums and find new favorite tunes. actually the best, best ones are the ones i still remember after a year and a half — i didn’t stumble across this article so much as google for it after reading about tom waits in this week’s magazine.
The National Agenda, Nicholas Dawidoff, April 23, 2010. The New York Times Magazine.
With the National, it’s never only rock ’n’ roll. Watching them record a song is like looking on as a group of skilled chefs make a sandwich together; even in a B.L.T., they can foresee endless possibilities. They are now five men in their mid- to late 30s, with mortgages, children, wives or serious girlfriends and musical tastes that have likewise settled into convictions. Each National song is a microbatch creation integrating their obsessive, often-diverging feelings about rock ’n’ roll. These range from the formally inventive, high-art aspirations of Bryce to the garage-band purism of Matt, who, Aaron says, “is all about if there’s heart or purpose in it. He has no interest if it’s theoretical.” By striving to accommodate these disparate points of view, the National gets what all bands want and few achieve, a sound of its own. Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M., told me that when he took Mike Mills, R.E.M.’s bass player, to hear the National perform in London, it took Mills only half of one song to exclaim, “This is the most amazing thing I’ve heard in years.” Stipe explains: “It’s instantaneous. It touches you.”