I grew up listening to “oldies” music & always loved this song, especially when my dad explained that it was about prostitutes. Who can resist a song about prostitutes, especially ones that save men from boring sex?!
Ah, so here I sit, a year after the passing of Alex Chilton, wondering what I would be listening to if we had not gone to that Big Star show November 18, 2009. My Big Star love affair began quite slowly. In the beginning, I only knew the “Theme from ‘That 70’s Show'” & the song my boyfriend would play me that I knew was either Big Star or Elliott Smith that had the word “going” in it. Soon, the “going” song was fully realized as “The Ballad of El Goodo” & it became my favorite. Then, I learned that Jody Stephens is a very nice person when he was the only one to write back when I sent SXSW photos to him even though they were the worst photos I took all week. So, that was Big Star prior to November 18, 2009. I liked it but I didn’t “get” it.
I prepped for the show by listening to Big Star all day. I decided that “Watch The Sunrise” would be my second favorite song until the show started… Everything changed. I really felt as though there could never be music any more wonderful than what I was hearing. My mind was in overdrive trying to hold on to every second of what I was experiencing. I imagined this must have been the way people felt when they first saw the Beatles. It isn’t anything I can describe. All I know is that it was special & important & a moment that I hope lives forever. A friend of ours traded his ticket stub to someone after the show & I had an odd sense that it would be a mistake but I never expected it to be a mistake because that would be the last formal Big Star show….
Everything I have experienced as a result of loving Big Star has only led to more amazing experiences. I never understood when musicians said that if it weren’t for _____________ band, they would never have started a band. I get it now. It isn’t something I can describe, but I really get it. Big Star makes me want to play, certainly not because it is easy (it isn’t) but because of the way the music makes me feel. I believe Jody, Jon & Ken can keep Big Star alive for as long as they want. I also really hope they get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (Please sign the petition ) I understand there is a lot of criticism surrounding the HoF. I have read where people have said “Alex wouldn’t have wanted it” & “the HoF is useless anyway.” Well, maybe a band like Kiss who will sell millions of albums with or without the nomination doesn’t need the HoF but for a band like Big Star, it would open up their music to new fans & secure a place for them in a history much larger than the current cult following. I am not very good at being selfish… I want the whole world to know & love their music.
So, as March 17 rapidly approaches, I will be spending my day listening to Big Star, The Box Tops & Alex Chilton, shedding tears for a man I never met, a man whose music & musical friends deserve nothing but the best. Big Star fans who may be reading this, I declare March 17 “Introduce a friend to Big Star” day 🙂
“I keep dreaming of a map of the world. I keep searching the sky. I keep seeing the traffic signals passing me by…”
Oh, The Posies.
So, as I write this, I am still teary eyed from reading the lyrics to “Take Care of Yourself” (reminded me of my dad). One of the many exquisite aspects of The Posies’ music is the way in which the music hits me one way so completely & I feel as though nothing could make this any better but then I read the lyrics apart from the music & I am hit once again…
On September 23, 2010 we attended The Posies “Blood/Candy” Record Release Party at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn. Besides hearing early acoustic versions of a few of the songs & “The Glitter Prize,” I had 43 seconds of “Licenses to Hide” downloaded on my phone & I kept playing it from youtube. Otherwise, I don’t really like to hear new songs until I have the real thing in my hand. As a big proponent of making the first listen a special experience, I am not sure it could get any more special than hearing it LIVE! Waiting outside, I heard “Licenses to Hide” & it is just a beautiful song totally unwarranting of Ken’s “Blow-hemian Crap-sody” description. I do believe it has a Queen feel to it but it is far from crap. Nice try, humble Ken. I think it is my favorite. I cannot stop stomping my foot along to the kick drum. Outside, I got so into it that I bumped my head on the glass.
In an atmosphere like this, only really knowing those two songs, I think a lesser band with a less great album could have lost the audience with the songs that had yet to be heard but song after song, they were all really great! “So Caroline” really stuck out for me as did “For The Ashes” which at first listen seemed like a companion to “Everyone Moves Away” & “Cleopatra Street” was super groovy but the song that seemed to rock the hardest & move me the most (even before I knew the lyrics) was “Take Care of Yourself.” The music just hit me. I cried (if you read alot of these, you know that if it makes me cry, I really like it) because it was such a big, beautiful piece of music. Everything about it just clicked with me. I knew The Posies would be great but I really was not prepared for them to be THIS great. After the “Blood/Candy” set, they played a few older tracks including, “Sad To Be Aware” which made me very happy to be there. I was standing on the bench at this point & nearly fell off with excitement, especially at the “His name is Michael row your boat ashore” line that always gets stuck in my head.
After seeing this show, I am further convinced that most music critics & concert reviewers have no fucking clue about what “rocks.” The Posies ROCK! Now that I have “Blood/Candy,” I expect the November shows to be even better when I can sing along (sorry, neighbors). I really like that the album versions are beautiful but when you hear them live they’re beautiful AND dirty. There’s a real GRRRRRRR to them. (Sorry, I’m not a critic so I feel no need to turn any of those words into flowery bullshit.) These pictures are really not that great. The light was really low & I was, once again, a bit too close… Oh, & I was excited too. I’ll be better prepared at The Highline & maybe Memphis if we can get the money to get down there. If not, I think we’ll have to go to Philly too. I can’t get enough.
So, after the show, I had to wait almost FIVE days to get the album. Luckily, Jack’s Music in Red Bank (yes I will give them a plug because they are awesome) had it (or you can order it here where I ordered the LP). The rainy weather held up just long enough for me to keep the top down for the entirety of my first listen.
Besides “Licenses to Hide” making me almost hit the car in front of me when I kept lifting my entire right foot off the brake pedal, the song that really got me was “For The Ashes.” I would really like to say that it sounded like a cross between The Beatles & Queen but I think that takes away from the originality of The Posies so I suppose you should strike that remark from my record. Much as “Take Care of Yourself” moved me in concert, the beauty of this track moved me to tears. I wish it wasn’t so odd to admit things like that, but if something is so beautiful, shouldn’t it make you feel something? I think people are losing their ability to feel. My remedy for this – stop listening to whatever trendy band du’jour you read was cool & go out & listen to live music. Keep listening until you find something that makes you feel. Passion is a good thing. Get some. Oh, & buy “Blood/Candy” because I said so & that completely contradicts what I just said 🙂
I have said it before & I will say it again – Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow are not capable of making music that is anything less than great. Darius & Matt certainly add to the rockin’ness of The Posies. Go see them! Buy their stuff! Tell your friends!
Photos (C) Conn! Please do not use them without permission unless you are The Posies in which case, maybe you want to wait until I take some better ones.
I had three Valentines this year when my honey, two male friends & I went to see Jonathan Richman at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. I knew very little about him but the lesbian bar song still gets stuck in my head. He reminds me of a Monty Python character. It was a fun night & I’ve never had three dates on Valentine’s Day before…
I completely forgot to post these pictures from Wanda Jackson’s February 11, 2010 show at The Knitting Factory – Brooklyn.
I found out about Wanda Jackson in 2007 when we went to TN for the first time. We were in the Country Music Hall of Fame when I saw her playing “Hard Headed Woman” on the video loop. I had no idea that any woman was rockin’ like that in the 1950’s. It is with great pleasure that I must say she still has “it” at 72 years old. What an amazing show!
The Lustre Kings opened for her & served as her backing band.
Of course, the record sold out before I got one 😦
I promised more Big Star &, almost two months later, here they are. This was, far & away, one of the best concerts I have ever seen. The way these men worked together to make the songs come to life was really something that every band should study.
My personal favorite…
I feel blessed to have witnessed this concert. I only edited 18 so far. 300+ to go. Here’s the best of that 18…
Alex Chilton – 11.18.09
One of my first pugs was Melvin. He was old when we got him but he was the only dog we had that enjoyed walking on a leash. Even as he got older & less active, he loved to go for walks.
I sometimes do background work on movies & always wanted to bring him with me. Well, on November 1, 2005, I got my chance. It was a smallish independent film that was named something about “The Underdog” but it was not the big “Underdog” movie… like I said, it was independent.
Anyway, Melvin had never been on a long car ride & he was already getting a little older. I brought him into my car at 4am so we could be in Brooklyn by 6am & he came and slept on my lap for most of the ride. I laughed… better there than at my feet.
Throughout the day, he enjoyed fine treats from the craft service table…
shared my chicken lunch with me…
and drank bottled water. For the most part, we were placed in various areas of the park. He was very good with the other dogs and they were very good with him.
For the big scene, they lined up the 15 dogs and made them run about 75 feet to the other side where we were. For the first take, he did okay & made it across at a reasonable pace. For the second take, he was the very last dog to reach the other side. The very miniature, very pampered Yorkie with legs that could not have been more than three inches long even beat him.
On our way home, the sun was up & Melvin once again sat on my lap. Now that he could see where he was going though, he kept looking out the window and putting his paws on the steering wheel. He looked happier than I have ever seen him or any dog for that matter. There we sat, waiting to get into the Holland Tunnel with Melvin driving.
Rest in peace, Melvin.
(C) Conn! 2009 Photos not to be used without written permission.