Lucky burro & friend (jack rabbit frost)

I uploaded this picture to WordPress over a week ago but never got around to writing the post I’d intended to go with it.  That post was going to be about a visit Beth and I made to The Art Institute of Chicago, a dud Andy Warhol Kidrobot I acquired in a blind box at the museum gift shop, some surplus PayPal funds that had been burning a hole in my pocket, and a few late night eBay bids that eventually resulted in these guys going up on my kitchen nick-knack shelf:

These two Kidrobots are both from Amanda Visell’s “Ferals” series from a few years ago.  Lucky Burro is on the left; Jack Rabbit Frost is on the right.  It appears that they have eaten a horseshoe and a tiny gnome, respectively.  I’m not sure what that’s about, but these two are much more my style than that dumb Andy Warhol one with the revolver on it (not shown).

This post is not the post I’d intended to write.  This post is an entirely different post.

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I looked out my window yesterday morning…

…and saw a green thing trapped beneath the tire of a car parked in front of my house.  I walked outside and saw that it was a large roll of bubble wrap.  The roll looked like it was just a strong breeze away from unwinding down the street, so I freed the trapped end from under the tire, rolled it back up, and sat the bubble wrap beneath my front yard maple.  Maybe its owner would notice it was missing and come back for it.

As you can see, nobody came back for the bubble wrap.  I eventually decided it was now my bubble wrap.  I brushed off the roll and brought it inside.  The great thing is that I was actually in the market for some bubble wrap.  I’ve got a little shop on Discogs where I’ve been selling my extra CDs and records, and I’ve been going through packing materials like crazy.

Free bubble wrap!

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When in doubt, go with ukuleles.

I couldn’t decide if the theme for my next vintage photo post should be high-waisted pants or cowgirls.  Making this decision even more difficult was the fact that I actually bought a photograph of a cowgirl wearing high-waisted pants.  Should I just post that one?  I then thought about vintage photograph Venn diagrams and the likelihood of finding a photo that combined any two seemingly random themes.  Then I made things more complicated by drawing a Venn diagram that considered three themes.  (Businessman + kitten + Christmas tree, for instance.)  That diagram reminded me of Led Zeppelin IV.  We used to call it ZoSo when I was a kid.  When was the last time I listened to that record?  Will I ever listen to it again?

I eventually stopped thinking about high-waisted pants and cowgirls and bands I liked when I was in junior high.  I decided to go with ukuleles instead.

Wait, not ukuleles.  Banjos.  I think these are banjos.

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On Feet, Logs, and Campfires

I recently visited my website when I wasn’t logged into WordPress.  I was disappointed to see as many as three advertisements attached to each of my posts.  And two of the ads featured images of naked feet.  Toes and heels and arches displayed in provocative ways trying to get me to click on them.  Toenails trying to get me to buy stuff.  Grrrr.

So I gave WordPress $40 to make the naked feet go away.  WP certainly pushed the right button with me.  I’m not sure how they knew.

The upgrade removed all the naked feet advertisements and gave me an extra 3GB of storage space.  That’s good as I’d used over 98% of my initial allotment and had been rationing out my remaining space for the last year.

To celebrate, I’d like to post this huge picture I took yesterday of two vintage photographs on my floor.  I got these two at Fairlook Antiques during my most recent trip to Seattle.  I bought thirteen photos on that trip and I suppose I’ll post more of them during the next couple weeks.  The $40 can’t be all about naked feet, right?

I haven’t given these two photos names yet–something I do when I scan them–but I suppose I’ll call the one on the left “The Log Lady.”  The one on the right will probably be given a cumbersome title like “Young Woman Contemplates Her Existence While Staring Into a Seemingly Invisible Campfire.”

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Hey, what’s under that yellow bucket with the rock on it?

This site is supposed to be 100% concert write-ups from here on out, but I don’t have a show planned until the end of May and I’m kind of wondering what’s under that yellow bucket with the rock on it.  You know, the one outside my front door.

Click the bucket to see what’s under there…

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Buffalo Tom @ Neumos (3/1/18)

Less than twelve hours after seeing Buffalo Tom perform an in-studio session at KEXP, Beth and I went to see them put on a proper concert at Neumos.  The venue was crowded, but we still managed to get our spot against the wall over by the bar.  Back support and access to free water are even more important than sight-lines these days.

We only had to wait a few minutes until the show began.  Buffalo Tom played two sets with no opener.  The first set consisted of hits and songs from the band’s new album, Quiet and Peace.  That set looked like this:

Hits & New Songs: Sunflower Suit / Sodajerk / Roman Cars / Tree House / Summer / I’m Allowed / Rachael / All Be Gone / Birdbrain / Kitchen Door / Tangerine

“Roman Cars” and “All Be Gone” are both new songs; they’re also two of my favorite songs so far this year.  I especially like “Roman Cars” as it’s fun to sing along to the “lights have changed” bit.  As far as the rest of the set goes, it was pretty much one, non-stop highlight.   It was especially nice to hear three songs from Big Red Letter Day.  A lot of fans swear by Let Me Come Over, but I’ve always preferred the album that followed it.  I also enjoyed hearing “Kitchen Door” and “Tangerine” close out the set.  I like Sleepy Eyed a lot, too.

During the break between the sets, Beth and I went over and bought Quiet and Peace from the merch table.  We took turns going over so that one of us was always guarding our wall space.  Valuable real estate that.

The second set consisted of Buffalo Tom playing their album Let Me Come Over in its entirety.  It should be pretty obvious what they played, but here’s that setlist all written out anyway:

Let Me Come Over: Staples / Taillights Fade / Mountains of Your Head / Mineral / Darl / Larry / Velvet Roof / I’m Not There / Stymied / Porchlight / Frozen Lake / Saving Grace

They apparently played Let Me Come Over all the way through to celebrate the album’s 25th anniversary.  Although I like Buffalo Tom enough to fly 2,000 miles to see them play, I don’t like them so much as to have memorized the release dates of their individual albums.  Still, I’m fairly confident that 2018 is actually the 25th anniversary of Big Red Letter Day.  I’m not sure why they’re still doing Let Me Come Over celebration concerts.  Maybe they had too many posters of that man in the red chair left over from last year.  I don’t know.

Regardless, the Let Me Come Over set was something of a disappointment after all the hits and excellent new songs that opened the show.  Although there are a lot of great songs on the album–“Taillights Fade” and “Velvet Roof” immediately come to mind–there are also a few weak tracks, particularly on the b-side.  I found myself kind of tuning out once “Porchlight” had been played.  I started imagining the encores.  Unfortunately, the encores were also a bit disappointing.

Encore: Crutch / The Only Living Boy in New York (Simon & Garfunkel)

The band started off the encores with the extra track from the CD version of Let Me Come Over.  Then they wrapped up the concert with the cover of “The Only Living Boy in New York” that appears as the last song on Quiet and Peace.  Buffalo Tom did a great job with it, but I seriously doubt anyone in the audience was standing around hoping they’d end the  show with a Simon & Garfunkel cover…especially when the band was still sitting on great songs like “Late at Night” and “Postcard”.  Let’s face it, the only band who should end their concert with a Simon & Garfunkel song is Simon & Garfunkel.

But anyway, here’s a picture of all the Buffalo Tom-related stuff I had sitting around once we got home after the concert.  You know, new album, old album, setlist book, and ticket stub.

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Buffalo Tom @ KEXP Studios (3/1/18)

Beth and I got up, skipped our showers, skipped our breakfasts, and hustled down the hill while still wearing at least half of the clothes we’d slept in.  Maybe we changed our socks.  So why did two people who are usually hygienic and stuffed with pastries and egg sandwiches in the morning drop their usual routines and hustle down the hill in their pajamas?  Well, we needed to get to KEXP by 7:30 to get free tickets for Buffalo Tom’s 9:00 in-studio performance.

We got tickets #2 and #3.  Woo!

Beth is more hygienic than I am, so she went back home and took a shower once we’d secured the tickets.  I just loitered at KEXP and thought a lot about mocha muffins.

Beth got back down the hill with plenty of time and we were led into the secret studio viewing area at a little before 9:00.  We then spent the next 35 minutes watching Buffalo Tom play a five-song set and talk to a radio personality-type about their new album and upcoming tour.  The whole thing was a lot of fun and a great preview of coming attractions.  That tour I mentioned actually starts tonight at Neumos.  We’ve also got tickets for that.

Here’s what the band played for the radio session:

Buffalo Tom setlist: All Be Gone / Taillights Fade / Kitchen Door / I’m Allowed / Least That We Can Do

The first and last songs are from Quiet and Peace, the new Buffalo Tom album that officially comes out tomorrow.  I’m hoping they’ll have copies available for purchase tonight, though. 

Now for that shower.

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Shelley Short, Tomo Nakayama & Tom Brosseau @ the Fremont Abbey (2/23/18)

[NOTE: Now that I’ve caught up with all the forgotten concert write-ups, I can finally concentrate on the posts documenting the shows I see going forward.  This post right here is the first of those.  Like most of my recent concert posts, this one was largely based on an entry I wrote in my pen & paper journal.  No reason to write the same thing twice in completely different styles, right?  Let’s pick up this one mid-entry.]

Eventually it was time to get up and go see Shelley Short at the Fremont Abbey.  Before that, though, we needed some dinner.  We decided to go to Domani.  It was a good choice.  We split a salad, a margherita pizza, and a slice of chocolate cake.  It was all tasty and the smooth jazz wasn’t loud enough to be distracting.  And perhaps just as important, we only had a couple blocks to walk afterwards to get to the garage and Beth’s car.  The weather was kind of iffy.

We drove to Fremont, parked, and walked over to the Abbey.  We’d seen Luluc there a couple years ago, but this show took place in the larger space upstairs.  The cathedral space, I think they call it.  We got there early enough to get one of the four tables in the back.  I bought a cider and a ginger beer–because I think you should buy something if you take a table–and we waited for the show to begin.

Shelley Short was the first of three performers…and the one we were most familiar with, having seen her open for or perform with Darren Hanlon a few times.  She came out and played a ten song set, placing special emphasis on her latest record, Pacific City.  She actually played eight of the eleven songs from it.  Pacific City is one of my favorite albums from 2017, so it was nice to hear most of it live.  The two non-Pacific City songs were folk covers, one an old standard and the other a cover by a mysterious singer from the 50s named Connie Converse.  Here’s the setlist:

Shelley Short setlist: Muddy River / Hares on the Mountain (traditional) / Fearless / Simple As That / Wagoner’s Lad (a cappella) / Hills and Tracks / Death / Trouble (Connie Converse) / Fool Babe / (guy goes into the library and orders fish & chips joke) / September

Shelley Short was great.  This was the first time I’d seen her without Darren Hanlon on the bill, but I found that I didn’t miss him as much as I thought I might.  Shelley’s a fine solo performer; the only time I thought of Darren was during the song “Hills and Tracks”.  He contributed vocals to that song on Pacific City, so there was a bit of a hole there during the live performance.  No big deal, though.

The next performer was Tomo Nakayama.  I think I once saw his old band Grand Hallway at a Capitol Hill Block Party.  I don’t remember much about them, but I really enjoyed his solo show tonight.  He covered one of Townes Van Zandt’s best songs and then broke my heart a little bit by singing a song about his recently-deceased cat, Gilda.  He claimed to have written the entire song during Shelley Short’s set.  Here’s what Tomo played:

Tomo Nakayama setlist: Bright and Blue / Darkest of Seasons / Fallen Cedar / If I Needed You (Townes Van Zandt) / Cold Clear Moon / Pieces of Sky / Song For Gilda (work in progress) / Roscoe (What a Gift) (Grand Hallway)

Tom Brosseau was ostensibly the headliner, but quite a few people left after Tomo Nakayama’s performance.  Tomo’s from Seattle, so it makes sense that he’d have a local contingent who’d come and pack his performance.  Tom’s from North Dakota and I guess there aren’t many of them in Seattle.  Those who stuck around–and it was the vast majority of the audience–definitely made the right choice.  Tom Brosseau was a lot of fun.  He’s more of a troubadour, storyteller type-of-singer.  In fact, I think it’s safe to say that he was talking at least a third of the time he was up on stage.  I would normally find that kind of thing annoying, but Tom was charming and had a way with words and presentation, so I didn’t mind.  Although all of his songs were enjoyable, I found myself occasionally wishing he’d finish whatever he was playing so we could get to the next story.  That’s never happened before.  Here are the songs he played with little notes about the stories:

Tom Brosseau setlist: (Lock, CA–>Ace Hotel–>introduction–>tuning) / My Favorite Color Blue / I Wanna Be a Van Zandt (unreleased) / Love Cannot Die (new) / Rope Stretchin’ Blues, Part 1 (Blind Blake) / (weather–>bought a sweater) / “I feel something that I can’t explain” / Today Is a Bright New Day / Jane and Lou / (no time for the cave diving short story–>”lotta sad songs on this list”–>family stories) / I Found a Horseshoe

Tom Brosseau encore: Soldiers Beyond the Blue (Carter Family – duet with Shelley Short) / Walk Through an Autumn Day (new) / Jingle Bells Help Me Get Drunk (wtf)

We’d thought about calling it a night after Tomo Nakayama’s set and skipping Tom Brosseau entirely, but I’m glad we stuck around for him.  Although I’d never even heard of him before, I enjoyed his performance and now consider myself a fan.  And I know I’ll never forget that totally absurd song he closed his set with…no matter how long I live.  It was also nice to hear Shelley Short sing a little bit more during the encore set.

All told it was a great night of live music.  My only regret is that we didn’t stick around at the end and buy that lovely tour poster at the merch table.  I’m sure the singers would’ve been happy to sign it.  It would’ve been a fine addition to the collection.  Oh well.

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Bootleg Yeti and the State of Things

2017 is over.  It’ll go down in my history as being the year I forgot to get any haircuts at all, and for that time I mucked up my knee in the Lego Store while trying to make a Darren Hanlon minifigure out of spare parts.  It was also the year Beth made me a Bootleg Yeti Uglydoll.  It took six months, but we’re both quite happy with the results.  Here it is:

2018 is here.  So far, it’s the year everything with a battery–phone, garage door opener, car–konks out all at once.  It’s a good thing Bootleg Yeti is full of fluff.

That’s all I have to say about the past or the present.  I’m here to talk about the future…specifically the future of this website.  I’m going to start a new series of posts in the upcoming weeks called The Forgotten Concerts of 2017.  The series is going to deal with the shows I attended last year that I never got around to writing about.  There should be six or seven of them (some of which might actually be of interest to a couple of you).  I’ve got the marquees, setlists, ticket scans, and blurry stage shots ready; I’ve just got to come up with the blathering.  The concert write-ups were always some of my favorite posts, so I want to fill in the gaps in the history and concentrate on those going forward.  I wouldn’t expect much else to happen around here.

I’ll add the forgotten concerts down here as I write and post them:

And here are the two forgotten concerts from 2012:

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Mark Pickerel @ Sea-Tac Airport (11/22/17)

Sometimes it occurs to me that I’m a lucky man.  I suppose there are many reasons why I could say that, but the one that sticks out in my mind today is that I keep running into Mark Pickerel at the airport.  As long-time readers may recall, Mark Pickerel is one of my favorite Seattle-area musicians; he occasionally performs at Sea-Tac as part of the airport’s Experience the City of Music program.  I don’t know how often he participates in the program, but last Wednesday was the third time our airport schedules have overlapped.  As far as I’m concerned, walking around the terminal and suddenly hearing Mark Pickerel singing to passersby is pretty much the best thing that can happen at an airport.

Here he is out in front of the Sub Pop store on the day before Thanksgiving:

Although I missed the beginning and end of Mark’s performance, I was there for an hour and 15 minutes and got to hear over a dozen songs.  Here’s what he played while I was there:

Setlist: … / Be Here to Love Me (Townes Van Zandt) / Chim Chim Cher-ee (from Mary Poppins) / Forest Fire / Let Me Down Easy / She’s Got Wheels / Man Overboard / Dance Me to the End of Love (Leonard Cohen) / Graffiti Girl / Your Avenue / I’ll Wait / Essence (Lucinda Williams) / Don’t Look Back / This Strange Effect (Ray Davies)–>Back to Black (Amy Winehouse) / House of the Rising Sun (trad.) / …

Much like the other times I saw him, Mark played a mix of original material and cover songs.  Highlights for me included “Graffiti Girl” from his first solo album on Bloodshot, a brand new story song called “She’s Got Wheels”, and a two song medley of “This Strange Effect” and “Back to Black”.  The Ray Davies’ song was basically a request after I’d seen the title on the big setlist sheet sitting by the microphone stand and asked Mark about it.

As always, Mark was very approachable and willing to chat in between songs.  We briefly talked about the new song, what it’s like to perform at an airport, and I even made a joke about $5 hugs that initially went over well…until we thought about it and realized that I was sort of calling him a prostitute.  I tried to make up for it by giving him a bag of quarters as I was leaving.  I’m not sure that really helped.

[The first two write-ups can be found here: 4/7/16, 7/21/16]

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