Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, October 02, 2004 ]



I saw Brian Wilson last of the most impressive musical displays I've seen in some time. His band is incredible, and he - for a mentally unstable 62-year-old - was in good voice and great spirits. The show had four distinct parts: first, the curtain rose on Brian and his band in a semi-circle, playing 25 minutes of acoustic versions of Beach Boys obscurities and a couple more famous pieces ("Surfer Girl," for example). Next, the band spread out to their normal positions, and they launced into a 45-minute set, highlights of which were three PET SOUNDS classics ("Sloop John B," "God Only Knows" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice"), a song written by Dennis Wilson (the beautiful "Forever"), some choice songs from Brian's solo work, and an astounding closing double-shot of "Sail On Sailor" and "Marcella." The band then took a break, and came back to perform SMiLE in its entirety. It was simply incredible, and the band - which really deserves more praise than I can come up with - played everything both note-perfect and with tremendous intensity.

After the thunderous closing of "Good Vibrations," Brian and the band came back for one of the more incredible encores I've ever seen. Check it out: "Do It Again," "I Get Around," "Help Me Rhonda," "Barbara Ann," "Surfin' U.S.A." and "Fun Fun Fun." It was like a repeating rifle, boom boom boom boom boom boom. A true celebration. They then closed with the standard end-of-show number, the beautiful prayer "Love and Mercy." Simply unbelievable, and not just because the sheer fact of Brian Wilson playing live in 2004 is almost unbelievable, considering his personal history. Amazing...

On the box right now: Talib Kweli, THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE.


Dove With Claws [9:09 AM]

[ Thursday, September 30, 2004 ]



I watched tonight's Presidential debate with a great deal of interest, albeit a cynical, Lefty, somewhat defeatist interest. I'm increasingly convinced that Kerry - despite all the hope and energy behind him - is destined to throw the election away, and the only thing that keeps me motivated is that I believe the usual determining factors of such a contest are irrelevant to this election's outcome.

So I watched the debate, and - while neither side was obviously hurt or helped - I can't see any more reason why perhaps the worst President of the 20th century is any more vulnerable than when he came in. Of course, watching the post-debate talking heads shows, most of the ones I respect seemed to suggest that Kerry was the winner. So fuck me.

On the box right now: The Kinks, THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY. A 3-disc (!) deluxe reissue of this classic record, by one of the great underrated bands in rock history, burned for me by a fellow Davies-head. Nice, nice stuff.


Dove With Claws [9:01 PM]

[ Tuesday, September 28, 2004 ]


Look! Listen! Smile!

Today is a truly historic day in rock and roll history. Today is the day that Brian Wilson finally - and I do mean finally - released SMILE, easily the most storied unfinished project in rock history. This thing has been 37 years in the making, and - judging by a first listen - it's a fascinating and beautiful piece of music. Now, obviously, I've heard bits and pieces of it before: the Beach Boys released versions of several of the songs ("Good Vibrations," "Heroes And Villains," "Wonderful," "Cabinessence" and "Surf's Up") , and any Wilson fanatic (like me) with any kind of access has heard bootlegged versions of the unfinished original album. Still, there's a poignancy to this that doesn't escape me. It's also, as I said, a very pretty and somewhat fanciful collection of musical ideas.

How fitting that it took an album of such legendary proportions to finally knock Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT out of my C.D. player...

On the box right now: Brian Wilson, SMILE. I still can't believe I get to write that...


Dove With Claws [11:40 AM]