Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Detroit Cobras @ Mohawk Place

Several weeks ago I checked out the Detroit Cobras at Mohawk, one of the best bar bands you'll ever see. Jack White produced one of their albums, if that means anything to you. A good time was had by all. Dear venue owners: please start Sunday shows earlier. Sure, the ticket said doors opened at 7, but when the headliner gets on stage at 12:10 Monday morning at screws up my whole work week. Here's the band playing "You Don't Knock" from the great Seven Easy Pieces:

Opening band Willowz also rocked a decent set, as well as a sturdy local band called The Found. Overall, three good bands for $12. And there's nothing to do downtown on the weekend?


Detroit Cobras, rockin'

The men's room, unoccupied!

Members of Willowz get down

Dave and Fred outside

Monday, July 30, 2007

I'll Take My Board

I was minding my own business at work today when who do I see ten feet in front of me but Pat Wilson, drummer for Weezer! I think he was there with his wife. In retrospect I should have given him the "W" sign or told him "hey, I saw you guys play three times" or asked him why Make Believe sucked so hard, but I played it cool and walked on by.

[this guy]

In other news, Dave reports that Cat Stevens played an impromptu three-song set in a Tops Markets today. He ironically notes that the performance was next to the dog food aisle. More info as it becomes available. Until then, here's Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham in a Kanye West video.

Jazz Flute!

Today involved about 10 miles of walking, including:

-sidewalk-clogging masses of the intra-Buffalo Garden Walk
-2 seconds of Frisbee with some guys I passed on the street
-being accosted by 3 shady dudes near a subway stop
-a trip to the Erie Basin Marina, walking right in front of Mayor Byron Brown's press conference, in progress
-taking and then giving the tour on the canal district
-getting on the Lois McClure canal schooner and the Buffalo Fire Department's boat
-free soda and cookies because I "looked like that guy giving tours"

Above is a quick and dirty slideshow of pictures I took today. The music is by a group called Millish, who put on a heckuva show at Shannon's Pub tonight. Their show reminded me of a certain scene in Anchorman where Will Ferrell ripped some hot flautist licks. If not for Dave's nose for good events I never would have known about them. I bought their album not just because the show was great (best musicianship in any show I've seen this year!) but because they sold CDs by donation. Prince would be proud. Check 'em out.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Old 97s at Buffalo, 7/26/07

Thursday At The Square, front row center! The rain stopped and the band and audience really got into it. Most of you are probably looking for the encore (Clip #3) for non-musical reasons.




Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Je me souviens

Joe and I decided to finally buck up and take a road trip. The phone conversation on Thursday went a little something like this:

Me: We're going to Canada. Montreal or Quebec. Your pick. I'd rather do Quebec City because it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and I've never been.
Him: When?
Me: Tomorrow.
Him: What?? Why??
Me: We say we'll go to Vegas, we say we'll go to Canada and we never do it. We're going.
Him: I don't know. Let me think about it.
Me: You're being a real stick in the mud.
Him: But . . . how much will this cost me?
Me: I don't know, $300? I don't know. Let's go!
Him: I . . . I . . . All right I'll go. That's a long way. What if we went to Mikwaukee instead?
Me: What??
Him: What if we drive to Montreal and if we're not too tired we'll keep going to Quebec?
Me: That sounds good. Oh, and we're taking your car.

On Friday we were off. Joe is one hell of a trooper because he drove the entire way that night. I took 430 pictures of Quebec City and our side trip, the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica. There are seventy-two of them in the video above as well as the official song of the trip, Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Pop Shit." (You may prefer to play it on Mute.) Pause the video with 1:16 left to see a priceless face on the woman to your left.

Anyway, I highly recommend Quebec City. It was more like Europe than some parts of Europe I've visited. The old city walls are great, but so are the outdoor markets, the weather, the architecture, and the friendly people. Friendly French people, who would have known? Je ne sais pas!

Below is some random video, including:

A) A one-man band
B) A one-man idiot
C) A bilingual Groundskeeper Willie
D) The famous basilica chapel steps, which pilgrims climb up on their knees to be healed
E) A dangerously bad driver getting away (I guess you had to be there)

Pour le moment, au revoir

Boss Tribal Redux

As per request, here's the rest of my video and photos from the Boss Tribal show in West Seneca. Video is below and more photos are here. Some of these were taken by Joe Ferguson.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pink Eye

Gross, huh? Hundreds of people come to this blog every month looking for this picture. Strange . . . it's never been on the blog until today. I post it now because traffic to the site doubled last week and I gotta give the people what they want. Is there a pink eye epidemic somewhere that I don't know about? Are folks trying out a prank referenced in Knocked Up?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Hockeytown, USA

This post is reeeeeally late.

During this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, all of Western New York became Sabres fans. In Akron, backers set up a viewing area in the vacant lot next to the Murder Creek Walking Bridge. Meanwhile in Buffalo, citizens gathered near (or in) the HSBC Arena for free viewing parties. Thousands showed up.

The YouTube clips are from four separate games: two outside (home games) and two inside (the away games). Note how the audience grows throughout. Also notice the cars honking at each other several miles away from downtown. Until next year, I guess.

Where Do You Put Your MEAT?

Dave and Joe are Best Buds. They do fun things together, like browning taco meat. Here are some other pictures of Dave and Joe.

Joe and I enjoyed a lovely dinner last Friday at Cole's.

Here, Dave relaxes at his new apartment for the first time.

Joe at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. (From R to L: Knox, Knox, Knox, Knox, Knox, Goose.)

Dave started a masonry company, unbeknownst to him.

Joe put a squid in his mouth at the Buffalo Italian Festival.

Meanwhile, Dave pretended not to be interested in hairy, Italian pro wrestlers.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rappin' With Gas

Download it from WFMU

In grade 7 or 8 they crowded all the Home Ec classes together to hear a presentation by some National Fuel rep. It was a sad, sad attempt to get us to buy gas stoves when we got older. We were supposed to tell our parents about the awesomeness of gas over electric as well. For instance, electric stovetops stay hot for a long time after you turn them off. That's dangerous! They even gave us a test at the very end consisting of questions that basically asked, "What did I just say two minutes ago? Write that down over here."

To bring the point home, they played a music video featuring an ethnically diverse group of "students" who were probably no younger than 24 or 25. They rapped. Rappin' With Gas, they called it. To this day I MUST find that video. Remember, this was the early 1990s. America was changing in a lot of ways: "rap" had only recently entered the mainstream with such polished acts as MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. (Who was better? The debate raged.) CDs were still pretty new, fighting for space between the giant tables of vinyl and endless walls of cassette tapes at the record store. Someone at National Fuel (a bunch of interns, perhaps) thought they were really cutting-edge by making a video just like MTV used to show. (Fun fact: the "M" used to stand for "Music.")

After the "assembly" the Home Ec classes disbursed rather quietly. For the next three weeks or so, we tried to comprehend what we had seen and heard. From then on every Home Ec class usually involved several interjections of "Rappin' With Gas! Rappin' With Gas!" by random students. It would just pop out of their mouths mid-lecture.

Unlike the other students, I kept the record. Around 1997 my family got the internet and I discovered that The Late Show with David Letterman posted clips of the weird records they showed in a reoccurring bit called "Dave's Record Collection." I contacted Steve Young, the writer whose collection the bit is based on, and he was interested in Rappin' With Gas. (Not that Steve Young, sadly.) To this day it is the only record I've ever given up. It never made the show but became a featured Song of the Week on the site.

Flash to ten years later and I'm surfing the Internet again. Recently I came across the 365 Days Project, a collection of outsider music--one record posted per day for a year--run by a small group of people who care about these things. For instance, they consider Wesley Willis' on artistic merits. Out of curiosity I searched for Rappin' With Gas. There it was: Day 12. The photos above are taken from that site. Even weirder, in the photo you can see that the backer holds to the record with two pieces of rolled-up Scotch tape. Was that the same record that I taped back together when I was fourteen? After contacting WFMU in New Jersey I received a reply from Otis Fodder, who said he got the record from a guy named Irwin Chusid, who may have gotten the record from Steve Young. It ends up that Irwin Chusid is the pioneer who brought outsider music to the masses, including writing Songs in the Key of Z and discovering the amazing Langley Schools Music Project, a possible inspiration for the Jack Black film School of Rock. He even coined the term "outsider music."

[Langley Schools Music Project]

[Jack Black on Piracy]

Fodder, however, first heard Rappin' With Gas on a gig-only album by Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow called Product Placement. This could be stretching, but it's very possible that my old record has been heard by all of these people. In turn, I went to three Wesley Willis shows, two Ozomatli shows with Cut Chemist, and become MySpace friends with the Langley Schools Music Project.

[Ozomatli's Cut Chemist Suite]

If it isn't my copy of the record, it's awesome that all these great people have heard it and enjoy it as much as I have. Call me crazy for caring, but I'm not the only one who does.

[not the actual video, but eerily close]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Look At This Frodo Graph

The above video is the most consistently searched-for item on my blog. I'm reposting it because the old link died over a year ago.

If you liked the sound of that, this song will sound like heaven:
Justin Timberlake - Love Stoned (Justice Remix)
You know you like it! Don't run away from your feelings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Is Everybody Happy?

TWO MONTHS AGO (late post, huh?) I ended up on an emergency trip to Circleville, Ohio, population 13,485. Sah-loot!

At first glance it's like Mayberry in Pickney County. Once you get to walk around the place it becomes a real oddity. For one, it's called Circleville because it was originally built on top of an ancient Indian mound. The mound was a circle so they just made it part of the fortifications, putting an octagonal courthouse in the center with smaller circles inside for streets. Like this:

Eventually the citizens realized how cool that would look 200 years later and decided to get rid of it. In the 1830s a Circleville Squaring Committee was formed. They tore out the mounds and straightened the streets. Aw. The town brags that they are the first example of "urban renewal" in the country, predating Buffalo's attempts to erase their circular pattern by about 140 years. On the other hand, "Circleville Squaring Committee" could make a great band name.

A local artist recently painted this mural to celebrate their 100th annual Pumpkin Festival. (Three years were missed because of war. Wow did I learn too much.) Luckily I caught a perfect color match between the sky in the mural and the air.

Wittich's is the oldest confectionery store in America. The more you know!

The Ohio State fan shop

Main Street

The Hippie Hut had a special backroom for 18-and-overs only. When I went back there some hippie followed me in. They must be really protective of their penis bongs.

Note to self: never again do a Google Image Search for "penis bongs."

The "new" courthouse

The huge, old Armory/Library/Town Hall

Look at the cornice on that facade! That's freakin' outstanding.

But without getting into it, the people of Circleville were wonderful. The folks at the hospital were outstanding (free ambulance rides!), the police apparently filled up our gas tank before we left without telling us, and motel rooms were surprisingly cheap, even at one in the morning. The next time something weird goes down I hope it happens in Ted Lewis' hometown.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Boss Tribal at Chuggers, 6/30/07

Posted for Madd Dogg. There ya go, little buddy.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

80 Minutes for 7 July 2007

If the .mp3 links die, hit me up on AIM (TomServo0) and don't hesitate to ask. Keep only the ones you want; cancel anytime.

01 Guns N Roses - Chinese Democracy
Even the Dutch are surprised at this album's slow leak. Yes, this is the REAL title track to the REAL Chinese Democracy album. It might come out some time before I die. Axl tries hard to match the hype and almost succeeds. That doesn't mean the song's any good, just what should be expected.

02 Spoon - Don't Make Me A Target
Spoon's new album comes out soon and this is on it. Overall the album sounds darker. Not too shabby.

03 Percee P - Reverse Part Two
Adult Swim is producing interesting collaborations, not the least of which was the Danger Doom album. This track comes from Chrome Children Vol. 2, chock-full of hip-hop we will never have the privilege of hearing on the radio.

04 Sly and the Family Stone - Sing A Simple Song
Old school.

05 Weezer - Yellow Camaro (03-08-02 Demo)
There are newer, slicker demos of this out there, but I like the garagier feel. I just invented the word "garagier." They should have put songs like this on Make Believe, because Make Believe SUCKED. Brian Bell wrote this!

06 White Stripes - Rag & Bone
I envision a music video for this song becoming a big hit on the Disney Channel. The kids would eat this up. I know Jack is playing a character here but he should let Meg talk more. There aren't many songs about the desire for used toilet seats, are there? (Then again, skip to track 18.)

07 Sammy Stevens - Mini Mall Rap
This summer I will describe cool things as "Just like a Mini Mall."
Dude: "Hey TomServo0, did you see that new Transformers movie?"
TomServo0: It rocked! It was just like a mini mall, hey hey!"

Dude: "What do you think of Jonathan Edwards' presidential aspirations?"
TomServo0: "His enthusiasm is just like a mini mall. Realistically, however, he's flea market."

Here are some people gettin' jiggy to the Mini Mall Rap.

08 Ben Folds Five - Julianne
There's not much to this song except some great sound effects, especially of Ben Folds dragging a garbage bag up the street. "Garbagier."

09 Delta 72 - Are You Ready?
I know very little about this band. This track is from their last release, back in the year 2000, 000. Had they lasted a couple more years and put "The" at the front of their name they might have made a ton of money.

10 National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation - Rappin' With Gas

More about my deep, personal connection to this song in another post. A must-hear. This is part of Dave [Letterman]'s Record Collection on the Late Show as well as the 365 Days Project. Here's what I wrote about it ten years ago.

11 Datarock - Fa-Fa-Fa
Bite me, it's fun.

12 Detroit Cobras - You Don't Knock
The Detroit Cobras are coming to Buffalo next week. Who's interested?

13 Ghostface Killah feat Trife Da God and Mr Maygreen - Good
Since ODB died it seems that Ghostface Killah is the only Wu-Tang solo act worth listening to. And that simile about dangling jewelry is both cringeworthy and crunchy at the same time.

14 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Weapon Of Choice
BRMC is playing the Tralf this month. This song is from their newest album.

15 Kids In The Hall - These Are The Daves I Know
My roommate, Dave, loves this song. He should make it the ring tone to his new phone, don't you think?

16 Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - The Wacky World Of Rapid Transit
Del is my favorite rapper because of his thematic ideas as well as his rhymes and delivery. Check out his deadpan response to the talkative guy at the bus stop. Also buy Deltron 3030 because it's amazing.

17 Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious - Drug Wars
I had no idea these guys were still recording in 1989 so this is up here out of shock more than anything. Here is one of the first socially conscious hip-hop groups at a time when NWA and other anti-social hip-hop groups began their rise. The juxtaposition is just like a mini mall.

18 American Standard - My Bathroom
American Standard makes toilets. Had they made, I dunno, diamonds or something, this would be a gorgeous orchestral piece. If not for the unfortunate "private place" double entendre I could see this in the soundtrack for a early '60s MGM romantic comedy. Like Rappin' With Gas, this was also featured in Dave's Record Collection and the 365 Days Project.

19 Bright Eyes - Out On The Weekend (Neil Young cover live)
This track comes from the new "Lover I Don't Have To Love" single. It's meh. Why doesn't Conor Oberst just CRY already?!

20 Queens of the Stone Age - Allen's Wrench (live 060402)

I'm pretty sure it's Nick Oliveri singing on this bootleg, though sometimes it sounds like Dave Grohl. Next time I'll post a track from the excellent new QOTSA album, promise.

21 Rushnerd - YYZ (8-bit NES Rush cover)
I grabbed this off the source code for a You're The Man Now, Dog entry. The submitter created this himself using a Japanese 8-bit music conversion program he was more than happy to send to me. Instead of Japanese text (which I can't read anyway) the links turned into a jumble of punctuation. Still, props to Rushnerd for the excellent, albeit odd, "cover." Rush played Darien Lake on July 4.

22 Spank Rock - XXXS Speeditupussy (The XXXchange exclusivo remix)
It's catchy. Wrong, but very catchy.

23 Tom Waits - Children's Story
The day Tom Waits was to appear on the Daily Show the ceiling collapsed into the studio's bathroom stall while he occupied it. Somehow I think that event pretty much sums up the mood of Tom Waits' albums. This comes from his 3-CD set of B-sides which I recommend HIGHLY. Oh, and he writes good songs, too.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sam Roberts Band @ TATS

One of my lofty goals this summer was to go to every Thursday At The Square. For the most part I've been disappointed: the music was often too quiet or the place too packed. Was it a beer garden or a free concert? Even the Violent Femmes let me down this year with a much less raucous second appearance. Tonight Sam Roberts turned things around. The audience finally came for the music instead of the beer, and the the SRB responded with another energetic live show. I took some great video of the encore with my new camera. Then the file corrupted itself and died. Here's what I have left:

This is what it looks like when two people don't want their picture taken.

Foot-long Fun Fact: I didn't chew. One bite.

The Sam Roberts Band rocked from the get-go

These two Indian dudes are awesome.

After the show we went to Sweet Tooth for some ice cream. The Jim's Steakout Bubble Guy was at it again.

There's always one memorable person at a show. Usually they spill beer on you or block your view for half the performance. Tonight the memorable person was the Memorial Dancing Lady. Not only did she outperform the band but she picked up several young men half her age. Watch her work her magic!