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The Mister and I saw R.E.M. last night at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. The National and Modest Mouse opened. I was fairly pleased with our seats as they were closer to the stage than I had imagined. R.E.M. played for 2 hours. They didn't play my dream set list. I did however, manage to remain conscious for the entire show, unlike the last time I saw them in 1987 when I "slept" through the whole show.



Here's the only half-way decent photo I managed to take during the show. They were performing "Orange Crush" and Michael was singing into a bullhorn as he always does when they play this song. Mike Mills unfortunately didn't make it in the frame. He was too far to the left and of course I was trying to avoid having my camera confiscated or whatever it is they do to camera sneaker-in-ers who get caught. Peter Buck is in the middle. Scott McCaughey is to his right on guitar and Bill Rieflin is on drums.

Emo Blathering )

R.E.M.'s Set List )

Modest Mouse Set List )
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Railroad Earth played in Chico Thursday night. The boyfriend and I were there to check out the action. It was a Birkenstock-stompin' good time with lots of twirling, blissed-out hippies high on life and other things. During one particularily rockin' song, some old-timer yelled out, "It's a hoe down!" And that it was.

You know how whenever you're at a show there's always some super happy drunk chick with ruddy cheeks, grinning ear to ear, falling out of her low-cut whatever and dancing 'round like she just don't care? Well there was one of those there doing her drunk twirl thing near me when she inevitably barrelled into a group of by-standers and fell on her face. I wanted to yell, "Stand back! We've got a ho down! We've got a ho down!".

Super happy drunk chick not pictured
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I want back the 4.5 hours of my life that I wasted seeing this show. I wasn't going to go until I read this in Chico's News & Review.

Yeah he founded a record company that I like (K Records) and yeah he's been in a couple of bands that I dug in the 90's, namely Beat Happening and The Halo Benders, but his solo performance miserably failed to deliver.

His first opening act was some Amish-looking kid on acoustic guitar calling himself, "The Broads." I'm sorry but this kid sucked harder than an airplane toilet. My boyfriend and I kept looking at each other like, "Is this guy for real?" I was incredulous. I kept scanning the sparsely populated cafe to gauge other people's reaction but everyone seemed to be stoically watching this wretched performance without batting an eye. For a brief moment I considered the possibility that I have become so unhip that I am unable to recognize how cool really bad music is.

But no, I do realize how cool bad music is. I'm an indie art-rock fan for Christ's sake. That whole Pacific Northwest indie art-rock scene in the 90's inspired a legion of clueless kids with horrible singing voices to pick up musical instruments they had no idea how to play and create crappy, off-key, amateur beats that rocked the house. I'm talking about Bikini Kill, Pavement, Mecca Normal, Scrawl, Babes in Toyland, Beat Happening, hell, even early Hole and basically just about any artist on Kill Rock Stars or K Records.

But there comes a point when all the liquor and art-rock pretensions in the world can't make talentless hacks seem cool. And this point was reached last night. Where is the guy who shot "Dime-bag Darrell" when you need him?

The second opening act was the Whysps from Santa Cruz. More bad art-rock. The thing that kills me is that I think that both the Whysps and The Broads could actually be decent if they would stop trying to sound so crappy just to be cool.

By the time Calvin took stage I had a dark cloud of disgruntledness hanging over my head. There were literally only 20 people present and it was pretty embarrassing to be honest. He droned out a handful of country-sounding songs and told a long, boring tour story that really only served to piss me off for having wasted a perfectly good Saturday night.
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Yesterday, some friends and I drove three hours from Chico to UC Berkeley to see the Pixies. It was a Sunday afternoon show slated to start at 3:00 pm. We barely had time to scarf down some "King Dong" Chinese a few blocks from the university before scampering off to the venue.

There were two opening bands, Knife and Fork from the Bay area, and The Thrills. I liked Knife and Fork's lead singer Laurie Hall. Her deep, sultry voice is reminscent of Courtney Love's guttural groans. Knife and Fork are also opening for a PJ Harvey show at the Fillmore coming up in a few weeks.

The Pixies burst on stage a little after 5:00 pm, launching into "Bone Machine."
set list )

Frank Black has gotten a little husky over the years. Kim Deal wore an extremely bright-orange long-sleeved shirt and brown corduroys, looking as good as ever. They only played for an hour and 20 minutes but they rocked solid and I was hanging on every riff.

Some butt-wad journalist wrote in the current SF Weekly that the Pixies don't deliver a good live show, but that guy needs to repent and come to Jesus because he's just that wrong.
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Well kids, this is a bit overdue, but it must be done.

The David Byrne show at Chico State on Aug. 22, 2004 was nothing short of fantastic.

Before the show began, I checked out the rapidly aging crowd and asked my date how we all got so old. "I blame the Republicans," he replied. "When Clinton was in office I was a lot younger." Ah, the urine leakage was worth it.

The opening act was a forlorn singer/keyboardist named Lisa Germano. I might have liked her if it weren't for a song she sang about having to put her cat to sleep. This subject matter caused me to sob like a little girl, while sitting next to my boyfriend of, like, five days. If he had broken up with me after the show I would have sued that bitch for outing me as an emotionally unstable basket case before I could trick him into falling hopelessly in love with me.

When David Byrne finally appeared on stage, he took one look at the Rogaine-scented crowd and asked if it was parent's night. He also made a comment about Chico having a lot of muscle cars.

He was dressed in a burgundy, long-sleeved shirt with matching jeans. How he's managed to maintain his skinny, geek figure over the years is beyond me. It's probably all that PCP* he snorts.

Byrne was touring with Tosca Strings, a six-piece string outfit from Texas. He was also joined by a sleek-looking black dude on bass, a kick-ass Latin percussionist and another drummer.

Byrne performed a nice selection of his solo work, some operatic stuff including "Um Di Felice" from La Traviata and several Talking Heads songs, such as "Once in a Lifetime," "What a Day that Was," "And She Was" and "Life During Wartime."

My boyfriend and I gazed lovingly into each other's eyes while Byrne performed an electric version of "Psycho Killer." This is our special song since we met each other through livejournal and everybody knows that 9 out of 10 guys that you meet on-line are psycho killers. My boyfriend is going wait until he impregnates me and gets some life insurance on me before he actually goes psycho and kills me. Ain't that sweet!

* by PCP I mean "Purple Cow Patties" which of course is legal in California with a doctor's prescription.
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Dietcokehed and I got home from the Prince concert about 4:00am. She wasn't kidding when she said our tickets were in the nose-bleed section. Oh, don't get me wrong, the show still rocked but man, I was suffering from some serious fear-of-heights type stuff in those seats. It was terrifying for a while there. I am not kidding...

Prince opened with a medley of shortened versions of some of his top hits, mostly songs from Purple Rain. I think he started with "Let's Go Crazy." Maybe I'm getting too old to be able to handle large venues, but the acoustics sucked and there was so much dissonance and echo I couldn't figure out what he was playing a lot of the time.

About half way through the show he did a string of acoustic cover songs--some old blues stuff and it really showcased his guitar playing talents.

The peak of the show, (for me) was when he did a cover of Led Zepplin's "A Whole Lot of Love." I was freaking out! Of course I was too terrified to stand up because of the height thing, but trust me, on the inside I was jumping my ass off.

He also did a cover of "I'm a Soul Man."

Quotes from the drive down to San Jose:

ME: "Red-necks are every where. Even in New York City."
KRIS: "When red-necks are in New York City it's because they're lost."

"If I'm not careful, my kids' first words are going to be, 'Fucking go!'"


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