66 & 2/3–Use Your Illusion I and II (Part One)

Originally posted on Holy Bee of Ephesus:

On September 17, 1991, the band that had been on top of the hard rock heapGunsnr-useyou_22 since its debut album  Appetite For Destructionwent multi-platinum back in ‘88, made the groundbreaking — and seemingly insane — decision to release two separate full-length albums of original material at the same time. “An act of almost colossal arrogance,” one writer described it. (On vinyl, each one was actually a double album in and of itself). The Use Your Illusion project was a microcosm of the arena-rock breed of populism that had been annoying intellectuals and highbrow music writers ever since Led Zeppelin and its legions of high school parking lot smokers dropped a bomb on the progressive ambitions of the Woodstock Generation.

Of course, those progressive ambitions returned with a vengeance in the form of “alternative rock,” which killed off Guns N’ Roses quite handily. Turn, turn, turn.

Use Your Illusion I

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First City, First Rate

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

In the hierarchy of California summer music festivals, Monterey’s First City Festival still isn’t getting any respect.

Best Coast loves the Central Coast
Best Coast loves the Central Coast

Maybe it’s still too young to be taken seriously. This is only the second annual FCF, but these County Fairgrounds are no stranger to music festivals. And just about every mainstage performer made reference to that fact. “First City” for a reason. Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast was excited to tell her dad that she was playing on the same stage as Jimi Hendrix. She also said she was retiring to Monterey. Next week.

It was also widely suggested that much of the Bay Area was headed to the Nevada desert this past weekend for Burning Man. Or, at least, trying to get to Burning Man. Muddy flats and 100-degree sandstorms sound fun, but it was t-shirt & jeans weather all day long, all weekend…

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The Holy Bee Recommends, #11: Michael Korda’s “Clouds of Glory”

Originally posted on Holy Bee of Ephesus:

“I felt like anything other than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought…” — General Ulysses S. Grant, on Robert E. Lee’s surrender

coverI am a Grant man. I have always been suspicious of the aloof, aristocratic Robert E. Lee. Not only because he fought on the side that was attempting to preserve one of the most odious institutions devised by mankind, but because Grant was decidedly non-aristocratic. Down-to-earth. “Blue collar,” though that term did not exist in the 1860s. He was a store clerk in Galena, Illinois when the Civil War started, having dropped out of the army as a captain a few years before. He had been a lowly quartermaster during the Mexican War, the brief conflict…

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Peanut Butter Vibes and Eight-Second Video Clips

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

Oh I like this song. Wait, what? The hell is everyone doing?

JDG was in town from UCSB for a few days, and wanted to check out Glass Animals at Rickshaw Stop. No arguments from me. I kinda dig their sexy jungle-by-way-of-Oxford vibe, even if every track on the album sounds pretty much the same. I figured it’d be music best appreciated live. And I was right.

Now… I’ve got nothing against taking pictures at a show. Before every phone doubled as a camera, we used to sneak SW’s little Sony into Bottom of the Hill, The Fillmore, Slim’s, and every other venue that once upon a time clearly printed “No Photos” on their tickets.

Before I deleted my Facebook, I felt compelled to document every live show with at least one snapshot; I still do that, to some extent, on Twitter. Now that I’m blogging again, I do it for…

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True Sons Of Chiptune

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

At 9:00 last night I was eating a sandwich on the sidewalk parklet outside DNA Lounge when DH texted me: “Dude come up here you are missing something weird.”

Coming from DH, that meant something.

The “something weird” was the last entrant in the open mic portion of the 8BitSF evening. A weathered Tina Yothers meets Michael McKean from Spinal Tap in a flowy pirate shirt dropping a David Byrne staccato over aggressive video game beats. Not just weird, but also awesome.

Glad I swallowed my sandwich in two bites and ran upstairs to see the tail end of this guy’s set, but I was also happily marveling at the crowd assembling street level for the show in the main auditorium.

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Record Store Day Sucks

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

I stood in that damn line, and nothing. That sea of people swept through the aisles in a mad rush, grabbing anything and everything that had the RSD label. Despite being maybe 100-people deep, I still missed out on all the LCD boxsets. I left Amoeba without spending a dime, on principle.

At one point, I just stood on the upper level, staring down at the chaos in the aisles below. One girl, couldn’t have been more than sixteen, stood in the eye of the hurricane with tears streaming down her face. Happy Record Store Day.

Within minutes, eBay was full of those boxsets. Upwards of 200 bucks. My disdain grows.

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Peelander Z Are Not Human Beings

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

The first show I attended this year was back in January at The DNA Lounge. It was one of 8BitSF‘s monthly shows, this one featuring a reunion of Oakland band The Glowing Stars. DH sold them as fronted by a “hot singer,” but I didn’t need any convincing. Going anywhere sounded great, especially to see some live music again. Even though I felt a hundred years old when I got home from work and sat on the couch, thinking how nice it would be to just stay right here until the morning and pretend that I was going to crack my books and begin studying, I made it out to SoMa.

I think the only other person in his thirties was the bartender, and I’ll bet I had at least five years on him. The place was full of eared animal beanies, technogeek t-shirts, and highlight-color hair. During the…

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Grow Up, Find Yourself a Nice Acoustic Guitar, Settle Down

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

When our favorite musicians grow up, does it force us to grow up a little too? Or does the presence of music in our lives, invariably tied to a certain time, a particular chapter, make it difficult to stomach the maturation of the artists responsible?

Or maybe there’s a cosmic biorhythm that undulates among us. We’re drawn to music and the musicians that make it  because of a more personal connection than we’d ever even considered.

When Joe Strummer found the Mescaleros, I found myself in college with two kids and a mountain of debt. The Clash was a high school crush, too tenacious and too much trouble to take seriously.  In Davis, surrounded by Birkenstocks and protest signs, I encountered a world perspective that was more about reggae than rebellion.

Just a few years later, The Promise Ring was everything my rollercoaster psyche needed. But, just as suddenly, Davey…

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Something new off the album or buttrock!? Buttrock? Okay.

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

In Idle Time’s earliest days, I was tasked with creating a punk rock primer for JH (not to be confused with JLH), who himself grew up on early 80’s SoCal punk and was, like me, interested in a retrospective. This was back when we played around with “The Institute” moniker as being truly indicative of a place of learning. Course materials included CD Stompers, crayons, and cover charges to countless pilsner-soaked dive bars.

One of those bars, Thee Parkside, is still soaked in beer and loud music, and, with the recent patio expansion, is one of the best places in The City to hang out and see live bands.

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M Section straight outta the mean streets of Rohnert Park

Last night, while scanning venue calendars for a show, I came across The Angry Samoans headlining a punk rock triple-bill at Thee Parkside. Were these the same Angry Samoans that appeared as a footnote…

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Hey Scenester – Your Favorite Band Hates You

Originally posted on Every Dragging Handclap:

Saw Mr. Little Jeans at Rickshaw Stop last night. She was adorable, and the set was pretty fun. But the night ended up being about a lot more than Scandinavian pop music (won’t hear me saying that too often), and the clear, black skies over Hayes Valley were humming long after the monitors got unplugged.

Truthfully, I’m in too optimistic a mood to complain about anything, but I’m also nursing a brutal hangover, so channeling that irritation into a mini-rant seems appropriate.

So setting aside how fantastic my Thursday night was, let me instead talk about how shitty it is to still be dealing with scenester scalpers.

I’ve been going to shows for a long time. A long time. And, of course, I’ve had to deal with plenty of sold-out issues: found out too late; didn’t have my act together; no money at the right time, etc. And after paying way 

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