I’m still working on that Prince post. In the meantime, I scan the contours of my personal, music judginess and wonder who will – if ever – be the next Prince. No claims that any of these three superstars are/were but lots of fans could make an argument emphatically for or against.
I draws a metaphor between Prince and the rare, superhuman, five-tool baseball player: hit for average (the ball finds some fairway 1/3 of the time), hit for power (like King Kong), run (envision Usain Bolt counterclockwise in 90-foot increments), throw (laser guided missiles), glove (hands of a surgeon). Musically five-tooled: write (Leon Russell, Dan Wilson of Semisonic wrote some stuff for the Dixie Chicks and Adele), sing (pick one… how about Sam Smith), dance (da kine Peter Hernandez), shred (Muse’s Bellamy, Gary Clark Jr.), persona/aura/image (lots of frauds here, IMO).
So yeah, can Sam Smith shred like that? Can Bellamy dance like that? Can Wilson be mysterious like that?
I’ll stop reminiscing about Bowie for at least a couple days. Until then: go see your favorite bands while you can (Sasquatch’s line up is out, here’s a chance to check out a few acts). Don’t think twice about it. Don’t wonder if that band is just a phase with your fandom being a potentailly embarrassing statement about your musical tastes if revealed to the world ten years from now. Is a ticket to their show too expensive? Let me help you with that purchase – it’s only too expensive if you don’t have three dollars left to buy a Powerball ticket after buying the cheapest seats you can find.
I’ve been really surprised over the last 24 hours, as I’ve listened to a ton of Bowie, at myself and how much his music really resonates with me although I never considered myself a huge fan. Once again, I think it’s just the integrity and the fact that he was true to himself no matter how many iterations of “himself” he managed to come up with.
I think that for me, this all has something to do with Bowie’s art being some of the first stuff that kind of shook me out of the bubble gum top-40 phase of my kid days. He was kind of confusing, and hard for a 10 year old’s brain to sort out but I think that I thought, maybe, I wasn’t supposed to like him or listen to him but I did anyways. Considering my tender age, Bowie’s tunes first invaded my ears at a time that could be loosely defined as “pre-coming of age.” And now that he’s gone, it seems like a monumental moment of nostalgia to me.
“We live for just these twenty years
Do we have to die for the fifty more?”
I have this project stashed away in my idea bank to do a (pop) music universe visualization. This is as much as I’ve ever put on paper but when I think on it for a second or two, Dylan is always at the center of the universe. It’s not too hard to make a case for David Robert Jones (aka David Bowie) being that human entity from which all musical matter emanated. Of course, in my condensed chronology of the musical universe, Bowie as the pivot would require me to look and sound like a creationist. Hmmm…
I’m not enough of a devotee to really delve into everything about Bowie that defines him as an icon and a taste maker but, I do have immense respect for his ability to reinvent, evolve, experiment, and resist the urge to produce and profit from nostalgia. Leave the nostalgia to the bloggers, pundits, DJs, and granparents who were once the cool kids and now no doubt dote on their hipster grandkids.
It’s mostly the same place. Not that I’ve been gone too terribly long but it seems to be the same place. So different, especially if you choose to visit at a certain time of year, than where I take my mail these days but this place will always be “home.”
It’s got a weird glow, at least for me, that even shines through the gray and dampness that this place is famous for (it’s not the rain for those who believe what they’ve been told a million times, it’s the gray). That being said, this holiday season visit thing is, at most, an every 2-3 year thing, if that. But, while I’m here I might as well fill my over-ears with local vibes.
‘Twas the afternoon before the night before the red-eye before, I freeze to death… pray for me… think warm thoughts for me.
I have been listening to The Bats for about two hours. There is definitely that NZ sound infused throughout. Kind of mockingly cheery. Poppy and preppy, shoegazey fo sheezy, and all while not cheesy.
In other exciting news, I just found out that I have a shit ton of ready to fly Alaska Air miles. I’ve looked up all the usual places I dream of: HNL to Seattle, Calgary, NYC, Reykjavik, UK but still need to cross my fingers and look up Rangoon and Wellington.
It’s supposed to be like 38 degrees. The fetal position becomes me.
I had a little Johnny Clegg and Juluka session tonight and thought about my brothers. My brother from the same mother, could-have-never-been-a-better mother; and my brother from a South African ‘nother mother Donovan. Why the brother love? They’re the masters of my Johnny Clegg frame of reference. The blood brother, when everybody else (including me) was listening to Sammy Hagar, The Police and such, he was picking up “Scatterings of Africa” at the vinyl filled bricks and mortar shop. Donovan? One of the last shows I saw before I left Seattle was with Donovan (Johnny Clegg along with Mandisa Dlanga) at The Triple Door. Great show. One of the best sets ever of the hundreds that I’ve seen.
Other top shelf shows just for fun and off the top of my head:
– Leon Russell at Bumbershoot – I was just hanging out waiting to check Jessica Lea Mayfield and then The Kills off my list and Russell and his stellar band absolutely took over and ruled the day.
– Queen – Freddie Mercury and everything in Oakland for like $10 wayyyyy back in the day.
– Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Elvis’s last show ever with that band in Seattle in The Mercer Arena.
– The Lumineers at Red Rocks – I have to say that The Lumineers sound doesn’t fill up a big venue that well but it was awesome and one of their first, if not thee first, big homecoming triumph for them in Denver.
– Arcade Fire – At The Key… haven’t been super keen on them since mostly because of a lot of smugness, not because of the music, but great live.
– Dio – Back in my metal days… I swear I was seeing things and trippin’ over everything that night.
A couple little shows:
– Pickwick – At The Crocodile… soulful, joyful, passionate, good times
– Company of Thieves – At The Vera Project. That little space gets my vote for best sound of any venue in Seattle and I loved that band. RIP.
– The Alabama Shakes – Also, at The Croc and also same comments as Pickwick!
– We Were Promised Jetpacks – At Neumo’s, pure, raw, straight, no-frills guitar based rock brought to you by four Scottish lads.