Friday, September 4, 2009


I'm still vibrating from some recent shows that I just can't shake. Two massively great nights in a row commenced with Mew at The Troubadour. I was given the royal treatment on Tuesday night, September 1, 2009, when I walked in and was immediately handed a V.I.P. pass allowing me access to the reserved balcony seating overlooking the stage.

The venue was packed and hot as I wandered in and heard the last few songs by Luke Top. I remember seeing them at one of Joe's "Let's Independent!" shows last April ('08) and I was impressed then and was impressed now. The set by Mew was mind blowing and the audience seemed to agree with me. People were screaming and cheering each familiar song as it began and especially when it ended since each number surpassed everyone's expectations. Haven't seen many more perfect sets that this one (once the sound was correct), so I'll be publishing a full length review on Radio Free Silver Lake next Tuesday.

The following night I was off to see the Division Day record release party at Spaceland. It was a show I was anxious to see as I'm quite taken with their new CD Visitation and wanted to hear it live. The crowd was small when I first got there, but I soon ran into photographer/fellow insatiable concertgoer Doug Kresse and then Web in Front 's Travis Woods and Classical Geek Theatre 's (and now Radio Free Silver Lake contributor) Ben "Mouse" McShane and was blindsided by the realization of how much has happened in the year I've known these guys. They all inspire me. But the scene is expanding so fast that we don't run into each other nearly enough these days.
I enjoyed the Division Day (Doug Kresse photo above) set, but it's clear they're still experimenting with the live versions of the new songs. Some sounded set and great, like "Planchette", which explodes into a shimmering wail of noise, dense and beautiful. Others sounded less focused than on the recording, but that will all be solved during touring, I've no doubt. This band seems to pride itself on a polished and powerful live performance. Just the chance to chat with the band and see (new) old friends was enough reason to enjoy the night.

Tonight, The Happy Hollows record release party proved irresistible to me so I decided to cancel all plans and attend. And The Pity Party, too. I think I need to move a cot into Spaceland and take up permanent residence. I hear The Happy Hollows CD, Spell is smashing.

Sunday I indulge my inner musical comedy freak with a show at the Hollywood Bowl that is as highly anticipated as any other show I've seen this year. It's the Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies concert, The Big Picture extravaganza. They'll play clips from the film versions of their shows and The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by David Newman, will accompany the clips with the extraordinary and timeless orchestrations that were provided for these classic films by the likes of Alfred Newman (David Newman is his son), Irwin Kostal and Robert Russell Bennett.
They'll feature scenes from The King and I, South Pacific (above), Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music and Carousel on the giant screen and the music will sweep over you like a tidal wave. These movies were some of the first gloriously STEREO movies ever made and they all figured huge in my childhood. Oklahoma! (1955) was the first movie made in 70MM (after experiments in the '30's) and featured all the technological advances of the day, and it still has some of the best sound ever heard, to date, in a movie theatre.


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