Saturday, March 8, 2008

ahh frustration

gah I'm studying like crazy for my Shakespeare midterm...I really want Neon Bible and Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer but I must resist...I have far too many unopened CDs as it is and I don't have time to do them justice. plus I'm broke. *le sigh*

once my exam is over on Tuesday, I will party-hardy (it's my roommate's birthday that day hurrah!) and then get around to reviewing the Division Day and Music for Animals concerts...ah and I want to read The Struggle That Must Be...and I've gotta start my history paper sometime's due in a few weeks (and I must research for it...)

but, let's look at the bright side: I found a ticket for the Vampire Weekend show at Rickshaw Stop! and then there's MCR, Panic and The Hush Sound, The Honorary Title, The Dodos, SSLYBY and the Morning Benders to look forward to! sadly, DCFC tix sold out before I even woke up last week. but oh well live music is live music. I am pissed that The Kooks aren't coming to SF for their US tour though.

anyhow, this is a music blog after all, so I'm including a playlist of mp3s that I feel appropriately describe my mood.

The Clash-White Riot [mp3]
Weezer-Why Bother[mp3]
Arctic Monkeys-Brianstorm [mp3]
The Vines-Get Free [mp3]
Babyshambles-Fuck Forever [mp3]
Kings of Leon-Red Morning Light [mp3]
The Strokes-The End Has No End [mp3]


Sunday, March 2, 2008

concert review: Jay Farrar @ GAMH

We are living in a time when beautiful and well crafted music is a rare delicacy. Enter Anders Parker, a soulful folk singer from New York whose sweet melodies and comforting lyrics will pick you up and lift you through the clouds to a far away meadow where only happy thoughts exist. This Iron and Wine look alike opened for Jay Farrar last Wednesday night at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall, beginning his set with an electric guitar, but playing it as if it were acoustic. This was a bit offsetting but he soon pulled out an acoustic guitar for his song "Missing".

Another electric guitar, this one blue and tuned to a lower octave, accompanied him while he sang "Dear Sara", easily one of the best songs of the night. The chord progression of this tune full of yearning was amazing and he hit some higher notes with such precision that any doubts about his range control were soon vanquished. In addition to his accomplished vocals and guitar-playing (which included some nice staccatos), Parker played a harmonica throughout the show and even created makeshift percussion by tapping his guitar in between notes. It's hard to believe that the first record this man ever bought was Back in Black; but thankfully for us, he has become quite apt at a completely different genre of music.

Jay Farrar gave an excellent performance as well; his vocals and acoustic guitar were accompanied by Mark Spenser who alternated between electric 6 and 12 strings. There was something soothing about Jay's voice that brought back memories of the carefree days of childhood. The way he was singing, it could have been easy for him
to sound whiny, but thankfully, he didn't. Although his musical performance was just right, his connection with the audience was lacking; he kept his eyes closed most of the time and seemed very reserved throughout the show.

Farrar gave a memorable performance of "Would You Take Me Back North Carolina" that could make anyone question his Illinois roots and life in Missouri. This song was the most genuine of the night, inducing an intertwined mixture of melancholia and hopefulness, and included back up vocals for the first time. The electric and acoustic guitars worked together harmoniously, unlike a few of the songs where Spenser overpowered Farrar's sound, which was quite unfortunate.

Farrar was very composed throughout his set and seemed very confident in his work, letting the audience know through his well delivered songs that he has been writing and playing music for decades (he used to front the alternative country group Son Volt). The songs alternated between arena sized electric guitar riffs and softer melodies which embodied the difficult-to-decipher-lyrics that almost could be construed as mumblings. Farrar's guitar sound was consistently blues-y, and his voice echoed Eddie Vedder in many of the tracks.

In "On Medication", Mark's quick fingers controlled the electric guitar, while Jay delivered crisp vocals and created an East-meets-West rhythm that ended in a very pleasing controlled chaotic sound. He dedicated "Cocaine and Ashes" to Keith Richards, and delivered two encores-the first of which was a cover of "Ten Years on The Road" wherein Mark's string broke and gave Jay a chance to reaffirm his presence with a great solo while Mark quickly tuned another guitar.

Overall, the performance was excellent, save for Farrar's excruciating shyness and Mark's sometimes overbearing guitar.