At 40, James Murphy might be getting just a little too old to mock people who don’t care as much about music as he does. Especially considering how much the dude loves music. Before owning and producing his own Death From Abroad label and singing lead in LCD Soundsystem, Murphy clerked, shag-haired and unshaven in a record store, listening to “everything before everybody”.
Regardless, there were plenty such people at the Palladium Ballroom in Dallas, Texas Wednesday night who were more concerned with whom they were with than the band they’d shelled out $40 each to see. Funny lyric changes to “Pow Pow” and an amazing one-man, two-part conversation during “Losing My Edge” went largely unnoticed by the crowd, which was energetic enough, dancing and fist-pumping most of the night.
“Us v. Them” kicked the show off expertly with it’s “the time has come to PLAY” lyrics and call and response audience part, forcing patrons to start moving with it’s dance-funk, cowbell solo and intricate working parts. The hotly-debated new release “Drunk Girls” immediately followed, to a criminally underwhelmed reaction. Nancy Whang deserved an ovation for supplying the roughly 400 backing “DRUNK GIRLS” lines dutifully, if a bit annoyed.
Murphy playfully altered the talky lyrics to “Pow Pow” to suit the domestic audience. “We have a black president and you do not, except you do, because we’re all from the same place,” he said in a sort of casual disco-command. A wobbly “Daft Punk is Playing At My House” probably got the loudest and most intense crowd reaction of the night, as Murphy again got playful, hooking the audience in with his “oooohwOOOO-HOOOOyeeeeeah” chorus calls.
And then he turned sarcastic. After finishing “Daft Punk”, Murphy turned the sarcasm knob to 11, laughing about the old microphone that wasn’t working. “It’s old and weird, like meeeEEEEEE,” he sang, practically giddy before reaching into his most self-aware. “You’re breaking the fourth wall!”
Murphy managed to turn down the snark for one of the decade’s most endearing and beautiful songs (by anybody), “All My Friends”. At his most poignant, crowd members were nearly in tears at the line “I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of life”. The rushing finish was purely cathartic after building up on the nostalgia of young adult life shared with others at shows, parties, bars and intimate conversation.
“I Can Change” followed beautifully, with Murphy delivering the best vocal performance of the night as he ached over the paradox of suiting a lover’s needs. It was a surprisingly delicate touch for the band that played “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” two songs earlier.
The first set was debut album-heavy and ended with a rush through the well-received “Tribulations” (featuring a David Stone guitar solo fit for The Strokes), the fastest, punkiest number in the surprisingly-excellent “Movement” and the predictably fun finisher “Yeah”. By its end, it broke down into primal screaming backed by wild synths.
After a short break the band returned for the touching ballad “Someone Great”, Murphy appearing onstage just in time to sing his heart out about how your world lacks meaning or feeling when somebody so close to you dies. It’s a choker of a song, but that sentiment was quickly dissuaded by the self-aware hilarity of “Losing My Edge”. Murphy carried a one-man conversation, staggering as drummer Pat Mahoney snapped behind him, filling the brief gaps with snares. “I hear you and your band have bought a sequencer–oh yeah? That’s cool,” he stated and then responded in a meek party-conversation voice.
“New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down” was a bit lost on the Texas crowd, but rocked nonetheless. When it finally broke down, Whang emerged singing the chorus from Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”, backed by Murphy. It was a brilliant casting decision memorializing the concert as one few will soon forget.
For pictures, check out Nathan Poppe’s work below.
Us v. Them
Yr City’s A Sucker
Daft Punk is Playing at My House
All My Friends
I Can Change
Losing My Edge
MEDLEY: New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down/Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z cover)
NORMAN — Kara McKee was 16 in 1996 when an old man handed her a basketful of flowers to pass out at Andrews Park.
“I got hooked,” she said. “That was when I knew I wanted to be a part of Groovefest.”
Ten years before that encounter, Norman resident David Slemmons was there organizing the very first festival.
Note: This story ran in LookAtOKC and WeekendLook in advance of Jazz in June on June 25-26.
New York City’s The Bad Plus delivers a complete brand of eclectic and innovative jazz by infusing the element of improvisational surprise, but don’t let the band’s tagline fool you. Just because they live amongst the world’s musical elite doesn’t mean their collars are starched white.
“We play with the energy of a working band, and I think in improvised music that’s something that’s rare these days,” drummer Dave King recently said over the phone, his children lunching in the background.
The trio is far from unaccustomed to headlining at jazz festivals (they play six between now and September) and like all great workingman bands, The Bad Plus earn a living by rolling up their sleeves and hitting the road, which happens to pass through Andrews Park for Norman’s Jazz in June on June 26.
Summertime is grilling time in Oklahoma, and there’s no better fish for grilling than salmon.
“It’s good on the grill; it’s good baked, broiled, and unless you overcook it, you can’t hardly mess it up,” said Ron Watkins, owner of Avalon Seafood Market at Wilshire and May.
Cooked fresh, it’s a meal fit for Poseidon, but Watkins says that many in the state lack a natural instinct for the preparation of fish.
Note: This story ran online at Newsok.com early Saturday.
Sometimes, bands are specifically meant to be heard live.
For patrons of The Hold Steady’s Friday night show at the Diamond Ballroom, this became apparent midway through “Sequestered in Memphis,” the 12th song in a 90-minute set, when lead singer Craig Finn’s lyrical subject matter seemed more real than anything.
“In bar light, she looked alright/In daylight, she looked desperate/That’s alright I was desperate too,” he sang as a gaggle of nearing-their-30s women danced, pointed and laughed to stage right.
Note: This story ran in daily on Tuesday, July 13.
Men and women cannot live on bread, food and water alone. As it turns out, people might need more Vitamin D than previously thought.
Human bodies require exposure to sunlight to react with cholesterol in the skin to produce vitamin D. As a result, many Americans are missing the nutrient because they live and work indoors and because vitamin D is uncommon in our food supply.
Recent research has raised concerns among doctors and dietitians that the amount of vitamin D the medical community recommends isn’t high enough.
Saturday night, the expanse of wood floor at Cain’s Ballroom hosted the people it was built to serve in 1924: Wearers of cowboy boots.
That’s because the South’s best and longest-running songwriting duo Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley had rolled into town with the other four members of Drive-By Truckers (all of whom were also clad in brown leather boots and pearl-snap ranch-hand shirts) and a stable of guitars in tow.
Their live catalogue plunges deep into the mid-1990s with eight studio records, though they’ve made their living and reputation on the road. With three singers (Hood, Cooley and bassist Shonna Tucker for that female touch) and just as many guitars, it wasn’t any surprise that the set was long. The Truckers kicked off at 9:30 and played well past 11:30 with a single interruption for encore.
“After the Scene Dies” set the tone for the night as a loud fist-pumper, one of the eight songs they played from their most recent record, The Big To-Do. Said tone was both loud and driven by soaring guitar play between the talented Cooley, Hood and quality third man John Neff, though they broke the monopoly up nicely by interspersing Tucker’s songs in with tracks from 2008′s omnivorous Brighter Than Creation’s Dark.
Tucker shined early in the set with “(It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So” and later dazzled in front of flashing lights and crashing drums on “Home Field Advantage”, one of the evening’s best. The band’s live chops and tendencies are well-honed; they appeared to be playing without a setlist, simply agreeing on the next song as they finished each one.
One was “The Wig He Made Her Wear”, one of the least subtle and most disturbing songs –it concerns the self-defense murder of a pervert preacher by his wife– in recent memory. Most disturbing though was the crowd’s reaction, which could only be described as extremely supportive, likely because of the song’s addictive swaying guitar rhythms and Hood’s emphatic singing. It was the best-received song of the evening.
After a short break around 11 p.m. they returned to play three Lynyrd Skynyrd homages but that just wasn’t enough. After “A Ghost To Most”, Hood delivered a brief sermon about the value of “persistence, persistence, persistence” which he said resulted in getting to open for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, the band he and Cooley had named their first band (Breakdown) after more than 25 years ago. It was a testament as powerful and moving as “Let There Be Rock”, the final song in the set.
Hollywood filmmakers David Mueller, Bob Hicks and Lynn Salt wisely chose deadCenter Film Festival for the world premiere of “A Good Day To Die,” their documentary examining the rise of the American Indian Movement and its intrepid co-founder, Dennis Banks.
“We feel that (Oklahoma) is a very appropriate place to unveil the film because this is Native American country,” Mueller said.
Appropriate indeed, because the film — which premieres at 5 p.m. today at the Kerr Auditorium — promotes awareness of the little-known movement that eventually secured a better future for American Indians everywhere.
Produced in just over two years, “A Good Day To Die” combines archival footage with interviews documenting both the rise of the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) and the life of Banks, its co-founder and leader.
“It’s a history that hasn’t been told and desperately needs to be told,” Mueller said.
Now retired and living in Okmulgee, the film’s associate producer, Bob Hicks, is of Creek and Seminole heritage and one such beneficiary of Banks’ hard work.
“I wanted to make a contribution in the sense that everything that I saw on the screen dealing with Native Americans was always being played by non-Indians,” Hicks said.
“I thought rather than griping about it, I should learn how to make the movies and make a movie about it.”
Originally from Okemah, Hicks traveled to Los Angeles in 1979 and received a degree from the American Film Institute.
Mueller said that Hicks’ 25-minute student film “Return of the Country” pushed the envelope in filmmaking.
“Bob’s film was an inspiration to me and Lynn, too, because it really broke ground,” Mueller said.
“It was a very progressive perspective at the time. I think it’s a very important film that will be recognized in the future.”
Salt is a 30-year veteran of the movie industry. “A Good Day To Die” is the product of her passions for recording history and championing American Indians in the arts.
She originally wrote the script intending for it to be a feature film, but after meeting with Banks, it was decided to turn it into a documentary.
The trio hopes the film educates the public about a neglected chapter in American history and the figure at the center of it, Banks, whom Salt compares to Martin Luther King Jr.
“He was the most significant figure in starting the American Indian Movement and I don’t think people know that,” Mueller said. “He’s a remarkable human being with a heroic story.”
Rick Goodman watched all sorts of planes fly in and out of Tinker Air Force Base when he attended high school in Del City.
Saturday he’ll be piloting one. And not just any one.
Maj. Goodman will command an F-16 Fighting Falcon as it maneuvers through the air with the rest of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the headlining activity at Tinker’s Star Spangled Salute Air Show.
“It’s like riding a roller coaster, except three times as powerful,” Goodman said of the force generated by the fighter’s acrobatic power — about nine times the pull of Earth’s gravity.
The Thunderbirds are at the top of the bill for Saturday’s air show, which boasts six hours of flying activities in addition to showings of static craft, ground entertainment and a fireworks show.
Goodman graduated from Del City in 1993 and said the decision to attend the Air Force Academy was heavily influenced by the time he spent at Tinker, where his father served as an Air Force chaplain from 1989 to 1993.
“I spent a lot of time on the base,” Goodman said. “I loved it growing up and so I decided that this was something I wanted to do.”
Now Goodman has returned to Oklahoma as an ambassador of the U.S. Air Force, a Thunderbird pilot.
He looks the part, too, all 6 feet, 3 inches of him, from his dark blue beret and clean-shaven chin down to the shine on his black, government-issue boots. “I’ve worn them so much, they’re about as comfortable as a pair of slippers,” he said.
Goodman has flown in England, Turkey and Kuwait for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He was plucked from a position teaching pilots at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas to become a Thunderbird pilot, traveling the country to both perform and educate the public about the field of aeronautics.
Admission and parking is free for the air show, which runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s our way of saying thanks to the community for all their tremendous support over the years, so we have an open house. We invite people out and say ‘Hey, come on and see what your Air Force does,’” said Ron Mullan, chief of media operations at the base.
Tinker public affairs officials said plenty of free water will be available for patrons of the show, but visitors should remember to bring sun protection and chairs to carry around, because of the immense size of the base and a lack of seating.
Listen here to “Power” from Kanye’s upcoming “Good Ass Job”. Suffice it to say that Mr. West is over his “808s and Heartbreak” phase but unfortunately it sounds like there’s no return to the brilliance that was his earliest work.
Also, the suicide chorus at the end kinda worries me. Somebody keep an eye on that kid.