Happy 239th birthday, United States!
I don’t blog much. Not much time. I haven’t even put out my Favorites from 2013 or 2014… well, here goes for my Top 10 of 2015 so far…
Artist – Album (style)
- Failure – The Heart is a Monster (rock)
- Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (indie rock)
- Faith No More – Sol Invictus (hard rock)
- Steve Taylor & the Perfect Foil – Goliath (rock)
- Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) – Hand. Cannot. Erase. (progressive rock)
- Daniel Johns (of Silverchair) – TALK (pop, dance, rock)
- John Zorn’s The Dreamers with Mike Patton, Sofia Rei & Jesse Harris – The Song Project Live at Le Poisson Rouge (jazz, avant garde, pop)
- Dave Douglas – High Risk (jazz with electronics)
- Nellie McKay – My Weekly Reader (cheeky 70s rock tribute)
- DRKWAV (Skerik, Medeski & Deitch) – The Purge (doom, jazz, electronic, all over)
What’s still to come in 2015…
Ben Folds with yMusic, Holy Fuck (no release date, but they recorded it in late 2014), John Zorn (about every month), Puscifer (teaser on their Instagram?), TOOL (music done, lyrics nearing completion?), Charlie Hunter, and based on kickstarters/pledgemusic that I’ve supported: Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5 has a couple more EPs due, Dweezil Zappa, Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate, Jude Christodal, Dylan Carlson of Earth, and Fleming & John.
Will I continue with blogs in the future? I don’t know. :P
Dan – np: Critters Buggin – Stampede
I feel so bad for not blogging as much this past month or so… busy at work and in real life. I have still gone to quite a bit of shows, especially in October – Aimee Mann, Nellie McKay twice, Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst three times, and Dan Deacon, I snapped a few iPhone shots (sorry for lower quality). I tracked most of the setlists, too. So, here’s a quick run-down.
Aimee Mann @ the Aladdin Theater, Portland, Oregon (Tu 10/2)
Aimee Mann put on a great show, a good mix of old tunes and ones from her brand new album, Charmer. Here’s what she played – 10/2 setlist. This was my second time seeing her, and I was not disappointed. She’s charming, smiles much more than her songs lead on, and is quite the jokester.
Nellie McKay @ the Shedd, Eugene, Oregon (Wed 10/10)
Nellie McKay @ the Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, Oregon (Th 10/11)
Two shows, back-to-back seems to be a habit for me when Nellie McKay swings through Oregon. The shows were fairly similar (Eugene setlist / Portland setlist) save for a few changes in songs. Both shows were great. She seemed for relaxed and vocally on-point in Eugene. In Portland, she had a few lyrical miss-steps, but she was as charming as ever. Any time she comes through, I’m excited to see her. No news on another album, yet (her last was 2010’s Home Sweet Mobile Home).
Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst @ the Majestic Theatre, Corvallis, Oregon (Wed 10/17)
Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst @ the Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland, Oregon (Th 10/18)
Peter Mulvey & Kris Delmhorst @ Tsunami Books, Eugene, Oregon (Fri 10/19)
Three shows, not one the same. Another artist I see every time he comes through, Peter Mulvey, brought his long-time musical friend Kris Delmhorst (wife of another singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault). The three of them are in a band Redbird with guitarist David Goodrich. Well, this Fall 2012 west coast jaunt was just Peter & Kris, doing a switch-off storyteller-type show. All of the shows were two sets, split with a short intermission. Peter changed up his set fairly well, and Kris mixed hers up some as well (Corvallis setlist / Portland setlist / Eugene setlist). I only had a few of her albums before this tour, but at the final show, I had to rectify that and pick up the rest of the catalog. It seemed based on their new material and various discussions that they were both working on new albums… for 2013?
Dan Deacon @ Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, Oregon (Th 10/25)
The openers were also odd (TEDtalk-styled humor from Alan Resnick), bombastic (two-piece rock powerhouse Chester Endersby), and truly enlightening (rock/rap from Height with Friends). For Dan Deacon‘s set, he played a lot from his latest album, America. This show was intense and amazing. He has an amazing way of getting people to step out of their shells. At one point, Dan was going to have us do a arm tunnel outside the venue (something he does at most of his shows). The bouncer and club management wouldn’t let him… so he complied and said,” we’ll just do something far more dangerous.” With a wide circle, he started with one guy running around, and with every revolution, he would bring one more person in to run around… 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, … after a very short time the entire audience was running in a circle… I had to pull myself out of it and grab some water… It was a very sweaty, dancey, fun-as-hell show. Truly inspiring how the seeming group of outcasts becomes a group of like-minded lovers of life.
I’ll try to do a better job of consistent concert reviews going forward, time permitting. A couple shows for me this week: The Dead Kenny G’s (Skerik, Matt Dillon etc) on 11/15 @ Sam Bond’s Garage (Eugene) and Over the Rhine on 11/17 @ the Triple Door (Seattle).
Downtown Express is a new film by David Grubin. Check out the trailer below:
Set in the world of Russian immigrants living in New York City, Downtown Express uses music to explore the clash of old world values against the lure and excitement of a new country. Under the watch of his loving but overbearing father, virtuoso violinist and Juilliard student Sasha (Grammy nominee Philippe Quint) prepares for a critical recital meant to launch his career.
Yet, he is increasingly drawn to the rhythms of the streets of New York, and when he meets singer-songwriter Ramona (acclaimed recording artist Nellie McKay), he joins her band, falls in love, and begins to lead a double life, careening frantically between two worlds. As his classical debut nears, Sasha must decide whether or not to break with his father, forging his own destiny.
And, per the film’s webpage…
[Nellie McKay’s] fifth album is due this September.
Downtown Express opens April 20th 2012 at the Quad Cinema in New York City.
Jazzy, piano-pop songstress Nellie McKay just got done with a stint of tour dates for her death-row musical review I Want To Live! (double Oregon show review here).
Now she’s off with a new show entitled SILENT SPRING – It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature, a tribute to trailblazing environmentalist, Rachel Carson (Nellie made up as Rachel to the right).
She is currently amidst her Silent Spring residency at Feinstein’s in NYC. The show runs March 20 to 31, 2012. No word on if Silent Spring will make it out of NYC for a tour, but this seems similar to the path that I Want To Live! took… so, who knows, maybe we’ll see Silent Spring out West in late 2012/early 2013?
Listen to Nellie’s version of the song “Rio de Lua (Moon River)” below:
Shara Worden / My Brightest Diamond has recorded a guitar-based version of “I Have Never Loved Someone” for a limited release (1000 hand-numbered copies) as a 7″ through Holland-based Nowhere Fast Records. For the B-side, Shara has sung Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire” with guitar accompaniment by Marc Ribot. The album is set for release on Record Store Day (21 April 2012), and it will be available in Europe, the UK and the US markets.
REVIEW: Nellie McKay’s ‘I Want To Live!’ in Oregon @ the Shedd & Alberta Rose Theatre (Eugene 3/2/12 & Portland 3/4/12)
FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOWs at the BOTTOM
I’ve seen Nellie McKay quite a bit since moving to Oregon. She plays two-week residencies in New York on occasion (lucky!!), but she rarely hit the Midwest when I lived there. Now that I’m here in the Northwest, I’m glad that she tried to swing by at least annually. This time was for her new project, yet to be released officially in any form… I Want To Live! – a story of Barbara Graham, the third woman to be executed in the State of California (via the gas chamber at San Quentin). It’s loosely based on the 1958 film of the same name.
This death row theme shouldn’t be a shock for fans of McKay. She’s never been afraid to push boundaries – hitting political hot-button issues right out of the gate with her debut album, Get Away From Me (“Sari,” “It’s a Pose,” “Won’t U Please B Nice,” et cetera), and some of her non-jazz-standard followups Pretty Little Head (“Cupcake” and “The Big One”) and Obligatory Villagers (“Mother of Pearl”).
In person, though, she’s as lovable and jovial as some of her adorable, campy press photos suggest. She’s also a great thinker, great interpreter of classics & standards, and a great artist in her own right. She may have been “born in the wrong era” (her words), but she’s doing the best with her love of the classics by making a great mark and not giving in to the current trends in what a jazz/pop “woman and a piano” should sound or act.
The first hour of the I Want To Live! tour makes up the story of a woman who falls in with the wrong people, gets caught up in a crime, and – whether innocent or not – is found guilty of murder. Nellie plays all of the emotions perfectly. Love, mystery, joy, pain, frustration – all while weaving in standards and her own tunes to tell Barbara Graham’s story. While she hints at Graham’s fervor for being innocent, Nellie leaves her opinion about guilt or innocence out of the musical. She also leaves her opinion of the death penalty out of it, which – quite honestly – was shocking that she didn’t add some of her thoughts on it, specifically due to her past as being very politically opinionated. Perhaps that will show up in the liner notes if this gets released as an CD or DVD some day…
I Want To Live! setlist: about an hour (both nights)
- Billie’s Bounce [Charlie Parker]
- Purple Haze [Jimi Hendrix]
- Swingin’ On The Reservation [Ella Fitzgerald]
- Pity The Downtrodden Landlord [Woolf/Clayton]
- April Showers [DeSylva/Silvers]
- Isn’t It A Lovely Day [Irving Berlin]
- They Say It’s Spring [Blossom Dearie]
- Some Other Spring [Billie Holiday]
- I Only Have Eyes For You [Warren/Dubin]
- Don’t Worry Be Happy [Bobby McFerrin]
- The Down Low
- Call The Police [Nat King Cole]
- Twinkle In Your Eye [Burl Ives]
- Song For Troy Davis
- I’m So Tired [The Beatles]
- There You Are In Me
- Small Day Tomorrow [Landesman/Dorough]
- Chelsea Bridge [Billy Strayhorn]
- Genius Of Love [Tom Tom Club]
- Ah! The Sweet Mystery Of Life [from Naughty Marietta operetta by Young/Herbert] (gorgeous operatic chops on Nellie for this one)
- Straight To The Top [Tom Waits]
I think I got all of the cover tunes identified, if not, please comment& I’ll correct.
Eugene setlist, post-IWTL! (3/2): about 30 mins
- One’s On the Way [Shel Silverstein]
- Midnight Sun [Ella Fitzgerald]
- Clonie (audience request)
- Sari (audience request)
- Encore: A Wonderful Guy [Doris Day]
- The Dog Song
Portland setlist, post-IWTL! (3/4): about 30 mins
- The Dog Song
- In a Sentimental Mood [Duke Ellington] (with false start)
- Caribbean Time
- I Will Always Love You [Whitney Houston] (snippet)
- Encore: One’s On the Way [Shel Silverstein] (dedicated to Rick Santorum)
- Mother of Pearl (with Michele Bachmann tagline at end)
- I Wanna Get Married
Two wonderfully entertaining nights in Oregon. Nellie and her band are excellent performers and entertainers. Through wardrobe changes, police chases, drug addiction, and working in different musical genres – the band was on point. At one point, the saxophonist mimics a crying baby simply with his mouth as the instrument, and it drives you mad how amazing he pulls it off without a talkbox or effects.
many more photos below
The Appropriate Linkage:
- Nellie McKay’s Site
- Nellie McKay’s Social Media Links (see below)
- My Other Related Reviews~
- The Shedd’s Site / Facebook / Twitter
- Alberta Rose Theatre’s Site / Facebook / Twitter
Check out more tour dates below.
Next show for me… Adam Carolla @ the Newmark (3/11) and Puscifer @ the Schnitzer (3/14).
NELLIE McKAY PHOTOS
Eugene (53 pics) then Portland (32 pics)
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution
(click for larger)
Nellie’s 2012 Winter/Spring Tour Dates (so far)
- 1/25 & 1/26 – Minneapolis, MN Dakota
- 2/9 – Lafayette, IN Duncan Hall
- 2/10 & 2/11 – Elgin, IL Elgin Community College Arts Center
- 2/12 – Louisville, KY Bomhard Theater
- 2/25 – Park City, UT Eccles Center
- 2/28 & 2/29 – San Francisco, CA Rrazz Room
- 3/2 – Eugene, OR Shedd Institute
- 3/3 – Kirkland, WA Kirkland Performing Arts Center
- 3/4 – Portland, OR Alberta Rose Theatre
- 3/7 – Chico, CA Laxson Auditorium
- 3/8 – Santa Cruz, CA Kuumbwa Jazz Center
- 3/9 – Hollywood, CA Catalina Jazz Club
- 3/20 to 3/31 – New York, NY Feinstein’s at Loews Regency
^^^^ “SILENT SPRING – It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature”
- 4/26 – Alexandria, VA The Birchmere Music Hall
- 5/19 – Denver, CO Swallow Hill
Nellie McKay’s I Want To Live! show in Eugene on Friday was brilliant! Portland is tonight. Here’s a small taste from Eugene…
More photos, reviews and setlists for both Oregon shows will be up by Tuesday early morning.
Nellie McKay plays the Shedd in Eugene on Friday, March 2nd and the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland on Sunday, March 4th. Tickets are still available for both Oregon shows… so, get on it. You won’t be disappointed! I’ll have a review with setlists and photos of both shows posted early next week (likely by Tuesday).
I Want to Live! a musical death row revue, conjures the life story of “a woman of dubious moral standards often a guest in seedy bars.”
New York Times’ Stephen Holden writes, “Inspired by the 1958 movie of the same name, I Want to Live! combines Nellie McKay’s virtually unlimited gifts as a singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, ukulele player, mimic, satirist and comedian into a show that is much deeper than its surface might suggest. In the most lighthearted way they evoke a heartless environment of social injustice in which people who fall through the cracks are invisible to everyone else.”
“Pretty darned unique,” adds Michael Musto of the Village Voice.
“The McKay voice is a knife edged with honey. Which is good, because the words she writes are razor sharp beneath a homespun mantle.” – Tony Gieske
It’s a rare treat to have Nellie in our neck of the woods; so I’ll be at both the Eugene and Portland shows. :)