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Nellie McKay in Oregon *this* weekend

29th Feb 12 (Wed) Leave a comment

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. :)

~Dan – np: TW WalshSongs of Pain and Leisure

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Nellie McKay (10/20) photos posted

24th Oct 09 (Sat) Leave a comment

REVIEW: Nellie McKay @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley (Seattle, WA – 10/20/09)

21st Oct 09 (Wed) 5 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

So, I had tickets to see Ben Folds with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra at Benaroya Hall last night.  I hemmed and hawed and finally decided to sell my ticket on craigslist to go see Nellie McKay instead.  I dig both of them as artists, and the main reason for the hemming and hawing was the whole symphony aspect (I mean, I’ve seen Ben Folds Five or solo a half dozen times already… so the symphony take on it was my main draw).  Ah, but… Nellie totally has my heart when in a piano/vocalist celebrity deathmatch with Mr. Folds.  She’s quirky, cute, writes and sings both silly and political songs, has a passionate love for animals (she’s a vegetarian with a stance on animal cruelty that makes me proud), and… you rarely know what to expect from her musically on any given night.  I’ve seen her twice prior, and both times were fantastical suprises.

Sorry, Ben.  Next time?

As a consolation for the Ben Folds fans, there’s a free mp3 stream (or download if you do some research, i.e.- “view source”) from the Huffington Post of the Ben Folds collaboration with author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, etc).  It’s a jab song at the ex-fiance of ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin‘s daughter Bristol… from the HuffPo, I present you “Levi Johnston’s Blues.”

Speaking of the HuffPo… here’s a recent article / interview with Nellie McKay by Michael Giltz.

Oh, so Nellie’s latest album, Normal As Blueberry Pie, is all about Doris Day (a total of 14 Doris Day tracks in the recording session, and one Nellie original).  Two of the 15 session tracks are more difficult to get ahold of, unless you want to buy both the “exclusive” Barnes & Noble bonus track version and the iTunes bonus track version.  Have I mentioned that Universal Music Group’s tactics suck!? Anyway, the album is great (special track tactics notwithstanding).  The album lacks some of the bite and wit of Nellie’s prior 3 (and a half) solo albums.  But, I love it all the same.  It’s got Nellie trademark nostalgia / campiness, as evidenced by the photos surrounding the release (see to the right).

OK… on to the review of the show…

I really dig Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley.  It’s small and intimate (but large enough for the room to breathe).  Also I like the idea of making an experience out of the show – a fantastic meal, great atmosphere, and an attentive audience makes for a wonderful evening.  Oh, and free parking in downtown Seattle is like the cherry on top.  This was only my second time here (Hiromi in June was my first), but it is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues in the PacNW, if not ever.  I just wish it wasn’t so far away from me in Eugene all the time.

Nellie went on around 7:40pm with her backing band, The Aristocrats.  This was my first time seeing Nellie with a band.  They were excellent.  They were all younger than I was expecting.  I mean, this wasn’t her studio backing band… but as hired guns solely for touring, they really worked well with Nellie in a fun & playful way.  The band was Nellie McKay (piano and ukulele), Howard Fishman (guitar), Charles Schiermeyer (sax), Ben Bynum (drums), Scott Litroff (violin and flute), and Daniel Policar (keys).


Setlist: just shy of 90 minutes

  • If I Ever Had a Dream
  • Close Your Eyes (Doris Day cover)
  • Sentimental Journey (Doris Day cover)
  • Send Me No Flowers (Doris Day & Burt Bacharach cover, Nellie on Uke)
  • Do Do Do (Doris Day cover) *a fave of the night*
  • Mean To Me (Doris Day cover)
  • Dig It (Doris Day cover, Nellie dance-off) *a fave of the night*
  • The Very Thought of You (Doris Day cover)
  • A Wonderful Guy (Doris Day cover)
  • I Remember You (Doris Day cover)
  • “I Killed Larry David and I Liked It” / Grunge Song *a fave of the night*
  • Crazy Rhythm (Doris Day cover) *a fave of the night*
  • Black Hills of Dakota (Doris Day cover)
  • A-Tisket, A-Tasket (Ella Fitzgerald cover)
  • The Dog Song *a fave of the night*
  • Encore: Zombie (with Gary Danielson on sax)
  • I Wanna Get Married (Doo Wop Version, with Gary Danielson on sax) *a fave of the night*

So, yeah, holy crap… Nellie just keeps on getting better each time I see her.  I thought I’d be slightly bummed by a mostly Doris Day set (as I really like Nellie’s original songs a lot), but the Doris Day material was really fantastic in a live band setting.  The addition of a jazz combo behind her really made the songs gel, and her interaction with the others was really fun.  She’s kinda of a nutty person (or maybe as corny as Kansas in August)… but I wouldn’t want her to be any other way.  I didn’t get a chance to meet her after the show, but I had a fun night regardless.  Nellie and the Aristocrats are playing a second night (Wednesday, October 21st) at the Jazz Alley.  If you go, drop me a line with your thoughts on Night 2.

Some of the best lines of the night by Nellie…

I still can’t go back to Olympia, because I have overdue library books.”

There’s hashish in that music… that was a score!” (really funny in context)

The Jazz Alley’s description of Nellie as a “martini cool chanteuse” was kinda of spot on. :)  If you don’t have her newest one, get it… it’s fun (and out on vinyl, too):

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Erik FriedlanderTopaz

NELLIE McKAY PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Higher Resolution (12 pics)

Limited to 1200 pixels wide or tall (49 pics)

Large ZIP file (12.9 Megs)
includes all of the pictures above

CLICK HERE FOR ZIP FILE (right click, save as)

REVIEW: Tori Amos @ Arlene Schnitzer Hall (Portland, OR – 7/11/09)

12th Jul 09 (Sun) 9 comments

Tori Amos has been a big part of my musical fanaticism for a long time.  I first heard of her my freshman year of college, got Little Earthquakes & Under the Pink from BMG, got Boys for Pele right when it came out, and I’ve been a fan ever since.  There was a period of time where, if I could, I’d drive all over the Midwest to go see her.  This show was going on the 6 year mark since I’d seen her, and let’s just say that I was itching for some classic Tori live… but first up, the opener:

One Eskimo hit the stage right about 8pm, and played 4-5 songs (about a half hour’s worth of material).  I liked their sound… sort of a singer-songwriter blown up into a pop group (sort of if Maroon 5 had more interesting musicians).  Their drummer had a nice style, sitting on a box-type drum and using that as the kick drum.  Their guitarist and bassist/trumpet player were also fun to watch.  They played “Kandi,” “UFO,” and “Astronauts” for sure, as those songs are on the EP that I picked up for only $5.  They’re working on wrapping up their full-length debut now…

I was too far away to take any good concert photos;
so the marquee is all you get this time.

Tori hit the stage with her band (Matt Chamberlain on drums & John Evans on bass) at around 8:50pm and played for a solid two hours without much stopping. I forget how much I love her live shows.  Great lights, great mix of tunes from her whole career, fun stage presence, pretty energetic crowd… she played a lot more older songs than I would have thought, and only four songs from her latest record.

Setlist:

  • Give (a fave of the night)
  • Caught a Lite Sneeze (a fave of the night)
  • Welcome to England John’s bass intro was very Tool-y… as if Justin Chancellor was in a pop band
  • Graveyard
  • Cornflake Girl (a fave of the night)
  • Icicle (a fave of the night)
  • Little Amsterdam
  • Siren
  • Starling
  • Black Dove (January)
  • 1,000 Oceans
  • Joni Mitchell’s River (solo – Lizard Lounge)
  • Winter (solo – Lizard Lounge)
  • Playboy Mommy
  • Little Earthquakes (a fave of the night)
  • Fast Horse (a fave of the night)
  • Take to the Sky (a mega fave of the night)
  • Carbon
  • Honey
  • Precious Things (a fave of the night)
  • Strong Black Vine – crowd floods front part of theatre, much to the “oh crap, what do I do?” of the security guys
  • Encore: Big Wheel (a fave of the night)
  • Tombigbee

Fantastic show… prior to this show, I was kind of in a “cooling” phase with Tori.  I hadn’t seen her since the Scarlet’s Walk tour (2003), and I’d only been slightly fond of The Beekeeper and American Doll Posse albums.  Forcing myself recently to dig into her newest one, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, and then seeing it live was great.  It was a much warranted end to the break from being a big time Tori fan.  Sure, Abnormally isn’t going back to the Little Earthquake through Boys of Pele days, but it’s still good music and she still puts on a great show, full of songs from her vast catalogue.

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Riceboys SleepsAll Animals -EP-
no torrent or free download available

The rest of the Abnormally Attracted to Sin tour dates (as of now)

  • Mon 07/13/09 Oakland, CA – Paramount Theatre
  • Tue 07/14/09 Oakland, CA – Paramount Theatre
  • Thu 07/16/09 San Diego, CA – Humphrey’s Concerts By The Bay
  • Fri 07/17/09 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
  • Sat 07/18/09 Phoenix, AZ – Dodge Theatre
  • Mon 07/20/09 Salt Lake City, UT – Abravanel Hall
  • Tue 07/21/09 Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre
  • Thu 07/23/09 Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre
  • Fri 07/24/09 Grand Prairie, TX – Nokia Theatre At Grand Prairie
  • Sat 07/25/09 Austin, TX – The Long Center For The Performing Arts
  • Mon 07/27/09 Atlanta, GA – Chastain Park Amphitheatre
  • Tue 07/28/09 Orlando, FL – Bob Carr Perf. Arts Centre
  • Wed 07/29/09 Miami Beach, FL – Fillmore Miami Beach At Jackie Gleason Theater
  • Fri 07/31/09 Durham, NC – Durham Performing Arts Center
  • Sat 08/01/09 Washington, DC DAR – Constitution Hall
  • Mon 08/03/09 Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
  • Tue 08/04/09 Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theatre
  • Wed 08/05/09 Minneapolis, MN – The State Theatre
  • Fri 08/07/09 Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre
  • Sat 08/08/09 Detroit, MI – Detroit Opera House
  • Mon 08/10/09 Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
  • Tue 08/11/09 Montreal, QC – St. Denis Theatre
  • Thu 08/13/09 New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
  • Fri 08/14/09 Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theatre
  • Sat 08/15/09 Upper Darby, PA – Tower Theatre
  • Mon 08/17/09 Boston, MA – Bank Of America Pavilion
  • Sun 09/06/09 Manchester, United Kingdom – Apollo Manchester
  • Mon 09/07/09 Birmingham, United Kingdom – Symphony Hall
  • Tue 09/08/09 Glasgow, United Kingdom – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
  • Thu 09/10/09 London, United Kingdom – Apollo Hammersmith
  • Fri 09/11/09 London, United Kingdom – Apollo Hammersmith
  • Sun 09/13/09 Basel, Switzerland – Festsaal Messe Basel
  • Mon 09/14/09 Munich, Germany – Circus Krone Bau
  • Tue 09/15/09 Zurich, Switzerland – Kongresshaus Zurich
  • Thu 09/17/09 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Heineken Music Hall
  • Sun 09/20/09 Copenhagen, Denmark – Royal Theatre
  • Mon 09/21/09 Oslo, Norway – Sentrum Scene
  • Thu 09/24/09 Prague, Czech Republic – Prague Congress Centre
  • Fri 09/25/09 Vienna, Austria – Wiener Stadthalle
  • Sun 09/27/09 Hamburg, Germany – Laeiszhalle

REVIEW: Hiromi’s Sonicbloom @ Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley (Seattle, WA – 6/16/09)

17th Jun 09 (Wed) Leave a comment

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Well, I’d never been to Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley.  It’s an amazing little room (maybe 200 seats) with dinner served if you show up early.  Plus, in downtown Seattle, it offers free parking.  Yeah, you read that correctly – free parking. :)  Anyway, I showed up shortly after 6pm after fighting with traffic heading through Tacoma and into Seattle.  I got seated right up front, which was also the benefit of showing up early for the dinner & show deal.  Fantastic food, and wonderful staff!  The venue earns an A+!!  I hope they bring in some more choice acts… it was worth the trip.

Hiromi Uehara and Sonicbloom took the stage around 7:40.  The band was Hiromi on piano (a Steinway & Sons, if I recall correctly) & keyboards (3 different keyboards/syths), Tony Grey on 6-string electric bass, Dave Fiuczynski on double-neck guitar (12 string on top, 7 string on bottom), and Mauricio Zottarelli on drums.  Both Tony & Dave played on Hiromi’s two Sonicbloom records.  Actually, Tony played with Hiromi on her last four records (not just the recent Sonicbloom moniker).

As a band, they were pretty tight.  I liked Tony a lot on bass.  He had a nice groove, and his “mouthing” of the solos was fun, too.  Maurice was also great, but he was shielded from me for most of the night from an older “bigger hair” couple; so I didn’t catch many glimpses of him.  Dave was good, too… but sometime he got too “noodley” versus what the band was doing.  His solos weren’t great in my opinion, but when he was playing lead, his playing worked well.  Maybe guitar in a jazz quartet wasn’t my thing this time around.

As far as setlist, no luck.  Hiromi only announced one song from the stage: “Time Travel” from Time Control (the 2007 Sonicbloom record).  I’m pretty sure that they didn’t play “XYZ” (or the variation “XYG”).  That was a bummer, but not too much of a bummer – as the show was amazing all around.

They played a few standards, one that the name is on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t for the life of me remember it.  I can hear it still in my head (doo doo doo, doop doop doodle doop).  Damn, there are too many songs in my head and barely any names.  Hiromi also played a solo classical piece that was very familiar, but again, I’m drawing a blank.  Regardless of song names, Hiromi’s handwork is amazing.  I swear, I don’t know how she can pull off playing two different melodies at the same time with different hands.  Anyway, the whole group was an amazing bunch of musicians.  Most of the show was pretty jammy, but had elements of straight ahead jazz, and again some classical.

They’re playing again at the Jazz Alley as I type this… if anyone went tonight (June 17th), let me know how it went.

For the uninitiated to Hiromi, check out the video electronic press kit for Beyond Standard featuring “XYG“:

Or check out the video for “Time Difference“…

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Anakronic Electro-OrchestraThe Yiddish Part -EP-

HIROMI’s SONICBLOOM PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2009 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Nellie McKay is adorable

8th Oct 08 (Wed) Leave a comment

This comes from Pop Matters#15 is classic Nellie quirkiness…

>>>>>>

Singer, songwriter, actor and activist Nellie Mckay calls her music ‘schizophrenic voodoo’. Schizophrenic because she jumps genres – from Tin Pan Alley pop and cabaret to reggae, rap and jazz—voodoo because these elements mysteriously gel with her evocative, playful, and bold lyrics.  The fictional character most like her?  A mix of Lassie, Scarlett O’Hara, Godzilla and Nancy Drew.  These and other reveling facets of her character are discussed with PopMatters 20 Questions.

A contributor to The Onion and The New York Times Book Review, McKay won a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Polly Peachum in the Broadway production of The Threepenny Opera. She’s written the music and lyrics for the film adaptation of Katherine Arnoldi’s The Amazing True Story of a Teenage Single Mom, and is currently creating the Broadway musical version of the book and movie, Election.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Richard LaGravenese’s P.S. I Love You – for all the wrong reasons

2. The fictional character most like you?
I’m sort of a mix of Lassie, Scarlett O’Hara, Godzilla and Nancy Drew.

3. The greatest album, ever?
Anything by Toby Keith.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
A Star is Born (the first one).

5. Your ideal brain food?
When politics intersect with art.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Dropping out of college: freethinking sustained by action.

7. You want to be remembered for…?
Being a great guy.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
The renegade Jews.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
Rejuvenate! (It’s Never Too Late) by Eartha Kitt.

10. Your hidden talents…?
I can get really angry and no one can tell.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
Please yourself.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
A typewriter, a house, an idea.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
A tent.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Charo.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?
I wouldn’t want to ruin my illusions, but I would love to live sometime between the ‘20s and the ‘40s in New York, to have an icebox and two roommates, one sassy, with a one-syllable name, and one brainy (me and the sassy one would work on getting the brainy one out of the house, and me and the brainy one would work on the sassy one’s failed relationships with no-good sailors).

All three making a go of it in showbiz, running around from auditions to night club jobs and stopping for a nickel coffee and circling the theatrical ads, and communing at delis and drugstores with my fellow creative types, all of whom would go on to great renown, and maybe stand outside the theater

in the rain and get Lotte Lenya’s autograph, and be given a huge creamy bubble coat from a stage door Johnny who wouldn’t expect anything in return but to take me to dinner (according to Oscar Levant, that was often all they asked).  And once in a while our gang would go to Woolworth’s for a big splurge, and we’d sit at the counter and order all the French fries and malts we could manage (these being politically unaware times with regard to animal products, but at least there were no factory farms).

During the holidays we would all troop over to a friend who had an office job and we would have the merriest time at their Christmas party on the 25th floor of some mogul’s extravagant tower, and later we would entertain ourselves just wandering around the Village in the falling snow, and sneaking to the top of the Washington Square arch where we would declare martial law throughout the city and set about writing a brief constitution that we would subsequently tear to bits and sprinkle down on the cops amassing below.

We would be dreadfully hung over the next morning, but we’d be all right because we still had a little orange juice, bread and celery in the icebox and that would tide us over until the next big payday, which was certain to be right around the corner.

That or…I would live in the 1960s and work part time for the national anti-vivisection society while attending marches and student meetings in all my spare time.  I would wear a burnt orange/camel colored waistcoat and an old paisley dress and dark stockings with my granny shoes, and carry an old carpet bag which I would cram with flyers, books of poetry and calls to revolution.  Long hours would be spent over spaghetti and wine designing our future utopia in which all the pitfalls of the human condition could be avoided with a little foresight and much compassion and forward-thinking.

The problem with evil, we decided, was in its naïveté; if Hitler had realized the Holocaust would not solve all his personal problems, he never would have felt compelled to make it happen.  Our future must be grounded in the reality of existence, not over-compensating for miracles that had not and could not occur, or the basic injustice of life, never more obvious than at these meetings themselves, where the pretty people were deified as much if not more than in conventional society.

I would attend every be-in, every concert, absorb every opportunity to learn and grow that I could, all the while wearing my vulnerability with pride, an ability to be hurt not intrinsic to my femaleness but my humanity, not just to my humanity but my status as a living being, as comparable to a blade of grass as to a president.

Eventually I would meet a nice SDS member and raise him up like a puppy, teaching him the tenets of my burgeoning feminism and raising a family in the most organic, honest way possible.  This leads to my eventual and complete fulfillment.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Ovaltine with Prozac.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
Parcheesi.

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Doesn’t matter, polluted’s good.  It’s over.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
What leader?

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Bringing it all back home.

~Dan – np: Sigur Rós Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

REVIEW: Nellie McKay @ Doug Fir Lounge (Portland, OR – – 8/15/08)

16th Aug 08 (Sat) 4 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW are at the BOTTOM

Early shows are problematic, especially if you have to drive 2 hours to get to them. Oh, and also if the artist thought they started later. Blame for this goes squarely to the Doug Fir Lounge, in my opinion. Double-booking a night is horrible. Horrible. Nellie McKay* would have likely played much longer, had she been allowed to… argh.

*for the newbies, her last name rhymes with “McPie”

Anyway, the opener Amorèe Lovell started right at 7pm, and played a stellar 40 minutes. She is from Portland, and plays a mean piano with quirky lyrics and fun banter. I’d say she fits in with the likes of Regina Spektor & Nellie McKay with a touch of Tori Amos. She also brings her own charm & style. She was very entertaining. She played mainly originals, but also threw in some Tom Waits, Johnny Cash & David Bowie. On to Nellie…

Nellie‘s start time was supposed to be 8pm. She didn’t hit the stage until nearly 8:30, due to a mix-up with her start time. Most of the crowd was getting antsy (myself included), as the late show had a “doors open” time of 9:30. Yikes. With that being said, Nellie came on and put on a great just shy of an hour show. She seemed more comfortable and confident, and she was as funny / spunky as usual.

Nellie’s Setlist:

  • Toto Dies
  • Old Enough
  • Mother of Pearl [on uke]
  • story about prince chunky, the 44 pound cat
  • The Dog Song (a fav of the set)
  • Real Life
  • Tipperary
  • Don’t Fence Me In [on uke]
  • Vote for Mr. Rhythm [with Obama tag at the end]
  • Sari (a fav of the set… with Dylan impression at the end)
  • Feed the Birds
  • Politan
  • Don’t Fence Me In [false start… she remembered she already did it] :)
  • Me Gusta Mañana [on uke.. a silly spanish song]
  • explanation about her NPR song “Cavendish”… she didn’t have time to brush up on it, but sometime soon
  • Zombie (a fav of the set)
  • Encore 1: Really
  • Encore 2: Ding Dong

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me?  Radiohead next Wednesday at White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, WA (up near Seattle).  Woot!!

I was a pageant gone bad…
~Dan – np: Thelonious Monk & Sonny RollinsThelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins

NELLIE MCKAY CONCERT PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2008 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

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