Monday, October 31, 2005

The Nashville Music Renaissance: Part Two

Thursday Night, October 13th

As Jamye and I sat with our friends Brian and Mark at the Corner Pub in Green Hills on the night in question, the discussion turned to this show. I had written it down on a post-it at work and my calendar at home along with another, earlier show a couple of months before as a reminder to seriously consider thinking about possibly going... maybe.

The first show was on September 21st, and I was still upset about forgetting it despite my best efforts to remember to at least mull it over. It was especially troubling because the band in question, Jump (formerly Jump Little Children) had already announced their intent to stop touring indefinitely, and I had heard that their last Nashville show was amazing. Thankfully, they have since announced one more Nashville date on December 4th at 3rd and Lindsley. Jamye and I haven't been there in a good long while, so we'll probably go.

Anyway, I was bound and determined not to miss Metric too. Along with several other bands of this millennium (such as Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, The Bravery and Stellastarr to name a few), Metric has embraced the styles (if not the spirits) of New Wave Music, a label used to classify a wide range of divergent but equally experimental bands during the late 70's and early 80's. Let's just say I was in a nostalgic mood.

After our dinner/drinks companions wussed out and went home, Jamye and I headed down to Elliston Place. Even with the late hour (10:30-ish?) the band had yet to hit the stage. When they finally appeared around 11:00, Metric, channeling Blondie, Devo, The Police and New Order, proceeded to play non-stop and without banter until they had left and returned to the stage for their encore. During the encore set, the lead singer, Emily Haines, who had previously displayed some endearingly (and possibly inadvertently) geeky dance moves to accompany her strong vocals, left the stage for a short bout of crowd surfing. I was not aware that such things still happened, and to be honest, it seemed like the only clich├ęd moment in an otherwise excellent show.

Perhaps as a testiment to the forgettable nature of many live shows, we were (and still are) hard-pressed to remember our last visit to the Exit/In, which had changed little since the last time we were there (whenever that was), but I'm sure we'll remember this one for some time.

Look for Part Three soon.

"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Nashville Music Renaissance: Part One

No, I haven't rediscovered Tootsie's Orchid Lounge or begun frequenting Robert's Western World. No, I haven't gone out and bought a pair of eel-skin boots, a ten-gallon hat, tight-fitting, straight-legged blue jeans, or a belt buckle the size of a waffle iron. No, sir. For the most part, I leave Nashville's lower Broadway haunts to the surrounding county cruisers, the out-of-towners who buy overpriced CD's at Ernest Tubb's Record Store just to say they did (when they can score the same album on for $11.99), the Nashville Predators fans, and the college-aged kids that file into the likes of Graham Central Station, Buffalo Billiards, Red Iguana, and whatever the heck else is down there these days luring 'em in with $1 longnecks and day-glo, test-tube shooters.

Sure, I've gone to see Sportin' Paddy at Mulligan's on 2nd Avenue, and I contend that you haven't seen a concert until you've seen a show at the Ryman Auditorium, but over the course of the last decade, my concert attendance has dwindled to an all-time low. The reasons are twofold.

1. For all its bluster about being Music City U.S.A., the smaller non-country venues in Nashville have had a checkered past. The famous Exit/In has closed and re-opened at least twice in my 13-year residence. 328 Performance Hall which was a staple for shows during my college days has been gone for years. Mercy Lounge in the old Cannery Building has been revitalized, but it still offers terrible sight lines (unless you're 6' 4") and stifling heat, even on a cool night. I've always been a fan of 3rd and Lindsley's intimate surroundings and Sunday night WRLT shows, but if you don't get there early, you'll be in for a long night on your feet being jostled about by servers making their way to tables with trays full of drinks and people making their way to the restrooms with bladders full of drinks.

As for outdoor festivities, Uptown Mix, which started as a free concert series about 5 years ago brought some great acts to Nashville during the Summer months, but the powers that be ran that into the ground by charging $10 at the gate. At least Jamye and I will have fond memories of several shows we attended there, including one in particular. River Stages (our answer to Memphis in May) folded too, as evidenced by their blank webpage. Dancin' in the District is still around, but it's only a shadow of what it once was. It used to be free, but $8 is still a good deal if you can fight your way downtown (and find a place to park) on a Thursday night. The Cannery Row Revival stepped in this summer and offered some good shows in a large sloped parking lot outside the Cannery Building for a mere $5 with free parking, but give it time, and it will probably go the way of the dodo as well.

2. In general, concerts are too d@#* expensive these days. Jamye and I thought about going to see Rilo Kiley open for Coldplay this fall at Starwood Amphitheater, but for two lawn (?!!?!) seats it was going to run us $80 (after you factored in Ticketmaster's $10+ handling and delivery charges, which I could stomach if a uniformed guy on a scooter personally delivered the tickets to our door). Just a few years ago, 80 bucks might have gotten you two front row seats instead of the pleasure of sitting on a blanket 200 yards away from the stage, watching the musicians on a Jumbotron, and drinking $6 Miller Lites. I blame Napster.

So, having said all that. Jamye and I recently did 3 concerts in 6 days. More on that later...

Today's Relevant Quote: "Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it. It would not leave them narrow-minded and bigoted." Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 21, 2005


Dear Michelle,
When it comes to golf, you are better at the age of 16 then I will ever be. In fact, you were better than me and the guys I play with when you were getting coloring books for Christmas. You are also classier (in the light of the brouhaha at the Samsung LPGA event last week) than I remember being in 10th grade, but they say girls mature faster, right? All that to say, lets put this insufferable Michael Bamberger behind us, shall we? You're better than he'll ever be too.

As for me, I will linger on it just a little longer, and then I'm dropping it. I remember that there was a time when I wanted to be a journalist, but even in my short post-academic life I believe that the profession has changed... and not for the better. When did it become okay for reporters to become the story as was the case last weekend? Oh yeah, it was probably when they realized that there was no real money in just reporting the facts in clear and precise prose. There are book deals to be had here, folks. Could Mr. Bamberger be working on his newest title? Everybody Cheats But Me.

My mom sent me this editorial from Golfweek. I'll let this serve as my final word on the matter.

Today's Relevant Actual Culture Quote: "The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything. Except what is worth knowing. Journalism, conscious of this, and having tradesman-like habits, supplies their demands." Oscar Wilde

Ahhhh, Blogs.

You know, that's short for web logs. Web logs was just too long to type and say. Someone had the great idea of calling them blogs, a word that looks and sounds silly. Blog naturally makes me think of blob which makes me think of this.

Anyway, I think it's great that a shortened form of a word for something that didn't exist a few years ago could become so pervasive in our culture in such a short time. My mother reads a lot of blogs, and she still writes checks at the grocery store. They're everywhere, people. Like a soft, amorphous mass they have spread over the vastness of world wide web, packing web server after web server with line after line of aimless ramblings like this. If somebody would have told Al Gore when he invented the internet years ago that people would be able to publish their thoughts, hopes, dreams and other insane diatribes so easily, he would have told you that you were crazy (or the more PC, sanity deficient. Now, THAT'S some up-to-the-minute topical humor, baby!)

So here we are. In this politically correct world of ours, we have come to this last great bastion of free speech, a place where we can write whatever we want and no one will pay any attention. Like the homeless guy on the corner who seems to be talking to no one in particular about something very urgent, this is our blog. We hope you enjoy watching us figure out what it's going to be about.

Today's Relevant Pop-Culture Quote: "If you had half as much fun watching this show as we did making it, well, then we had twice as much fun making the show as you did watching it." Casey McCall, Sports Night