Category Archives: Music

Weekend Ups and Downs

Low point:
Car breaking down on the I-405 exit ramp on I-90, while on the way to the Sub Pop 20th Anniversary Music Festival, and waiting 2 hours for a tow truck.

Especially frustrating:
I just had my car serviced 3 weeks ago for the big 100,000 mile recommended maintenance and didn’t hear any mention of the hoses that were supposedly very corroded and needed replacing.

High point:
Still making it to the last half of the Sub Pop festival to catch the big acts I wanted to see. The Flight of the Conchords were especially awesome and I snapped this short clip of their robo-banter before they started the song…

DJ Shadow at the Showbox

Last night I went to the DJ Shadow show at the Showbox. Lateef was the opener, but unfortunately he decided to start way too early (8:45 at a show where doors are 8PM, and show is listed as starting at 9? Things never start on time, let alone early. He was all done at 9:20 when we walked in) and most of the crowd hadn’t even arrived yet either. We got there between acts, and it was only 15 minutes until Shadow came out on stage. He knew how to work the crowd, mixing and mashing his biggest hits and some of the songs off his new album.

There was a great backdrop of video projections, some of which seemed to be scrubbed/mixed live DJ Shadow’s actions (or the VJ was paying close attention). I was really curious how they were pulling it off. The turntables and mixers were set on tables on the stage, on top of an extra 2-3 foot riser. This made for a good view of DJ Shadow from any spot in the house, although we were looking at the undersides of the mixing tables and couldn’t see any of what he was doing. Was this to cover up some of the pre-recorded stuff he was just spinning? There were a few points where the crowd would go wild over some scratching/mixing and Shadow’s hands were nowhere near his equipment. Granted a hiphop DJ can’t perform every last little mix live (and the crowd clearly doesn’t care), but I expected a little more from one of the masters. But it certainly wasn’t a disappointment by any means.

The new album songs seemed to throw the audience for a loop because they’re not the same ‘ol triphop/electronic that we’re used to hearing from DJ Shadow’s older albums. He brought out Chris James (a semi-unknown from the UK?) to perform a couple of the songs from the new album, and they came off a little too Coldplay. I like the songs, but in the middle of all the pounding beats and jumping around, the crowd had to switch to awkward swaying mode. Shortly after, Lateef came out and performed a few other songs with Shadow and pumped up the crowd as much as he possibly could.

The encore brought Shadow back out to perform another new song or two and then some heavy, mashed-up versions of Rabbit in Your Headlights (his work with UNKLE), and Midnight in a Perfect World. I thought these two were probably the highlight of the show.

All in all, it was a great set. I seem to remember a little more mind-boggling, jaw-dropping amazement at the live skills of RJD2 and Amon Tobin, but seeing DJ Shadow and hearing his full range of styles in a packed house was still impressive. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another 5 years for a new album and tour.

Goldfrapp in Concert

Two weeks ago I went to see Goldfrapp in concert at the Showbox. The band’s music is a kind of electro-glam, and the show certainly followed suit. There were plenty of bright flashing lights, a fan blowing up into the lead singer, Alison Goldfrapp’s hair, and of course a keytar. I’d nearly forgotten that I shot a couple short video clips during the show, on my digital camera. Lousy quality, I know, but here’s a little taste of the show…

Sigur Ros in Concert

Last Wednesday was the Sigur Ros concert at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Being that they’re one of my favorite bands, I’d tried getting tickets weeks ago, but it had been sold out since the first day tickets went on sale. Thanks to the good folk at Ticketmaster, there were no other options for finding tickets other than eBay, and I wasn’t about to bid upwards of $100 -$150 per ticket. So on Wednesday night I opted for another fun event and was out having a happy-hour drink listening to Plan B play a DJ set at a Parskid art opening. It was a good alternative, and at about 8:30PM, on our way out a friend of a friend happened to produce two unused tickets for the Sigur Ros concert that was going on at that very moment, just 3 blocks away. What incredible luck!

Arriving at Benaroya Hall 10 minutes later, it happened to be the start of intermission. The seats were orchestra level, toward the back, but a perfect view. And then the show continued. Let me just say that I’d heard time and time again that Sigur Ros puts on an amazing live show, and everything people have said is completely true. The performance and the visuals were just breathtaking.

Sigur Ros Concert, Benaroya Hall Seattle Sigur Ros Concert, Benaroya Hall Seattle

It’s hard to imagine the instrumentation that goes into each songs when listening to their albums. There are the typical drums, keyboard, bass and guitar, but at times the lead singer was also backed by 4-5 violinists, violas, cellos, glockenspiels and flutes. All the while, the lead singer/guitarist was creating the band’s signature droning sound by using a cello bow on his guitar. The combination of seeing all the various instruments together, and hearing the organic swells of their songs, on top of dancing lights, and video projections was goosebump-inducing.

Sigur Ros Concert, Benaroya Hall Seattle

This was by far one of the best live (albeit half) shows I’ve ever seen. There are some videos from their concerts on their site and also clips on YouTube, but they just don’t do as much justice. If you ever get a chance to see them perform, I highly recommend it. Until then, check out some of their music for download here, and their music videos for Glosoli (mov) and their big hit, Hoppipolla (YouTube) which is also being used to promote the BBC’s Planet Earth series. What else has Iceland been hiding from us?

Musical Tastes in a Nutshell

Thanks to Williamsburger for finding this nifty application that grabs bits of songs from your iTunes library and creates your iTunes signature. I tried two different versions, one based off number of times played and another based off my highest rated songs. No so surprising that they both ended up with pretty much the same tunes mixed a little different. Here’s the one I think turned out the best: my iTunes signature (mp3). My cousin came up with some interesting mixes with some more classical flavor.