Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rick James sightings in Boston, a wedding in Colorado, and 2 weeks in Sin City…I need some sleep…

Ok, I got lost for a bit…I fell off the proverbial blogging map. It’s ok, no one reads this damn thing anyways! So I have some catching up to do…where do I start?

First off I got the chance to see Dave Chappelle perform his stand-up routine in Boston. Yes, Rick James was in Boston! I don’t care what anybody says about that guy – he is hilarious. Whether or not he is nuts is up for debate, but I vote for him being funny. Hopefully I will get to see more of his material in the years to come – that is if he doesn’t plan a trip back to Africa any time soon!

A group of us also caught the Carlos Mencia show at the Orpheum a few weeks back. To those that had the opportunity to go I say this – midgets scare me!

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but we found a place to live! We live in Somerville right behind Harvard. I absolutely love the place and its location between all the pertinent squares in the area. The only thing I am suspect about is our neighbors. Apparently we have a reputation of being the party house in a “well-connected” neighborhood. Some of the residents aren’t too happy with us. That’s just great, we find a place, move in, throw some parties and have a great time, and now we have been singled-out by the Somerville Police Department. Man, I wonder what the jail cells in Somerville look like?

What else – Cheryl turned 30…Happy Birthday Cheryl! Just think, you are old enough to be my mother in some indigenous tribes on the western coast of Mozambique – that is, of course, if Mozambique has a western coastline.

Hmmm, I have been to a number of concerts that I have failed to talk about in the last few months, so let me try and run them down for you. A few Widespread Panic shows, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Xavier Rudd, Bobby Weir & Ratdog, etc. I know I am missing a ton but that will have to do for now. There are too many to break out individually!

Oh, I almost forgot, I just got back from the Vegoose Music Festival in Las Vegas, NV. Superfly, the promoters behind the NOLA Jazzfest and Bonnaroo, created a Halloween-based music festival that runs over Halloween weekend at Sam Boyd Stadium (and surrounding area) with late night shows at different venues through out the strip each night. I got the opportunity to meet some amazing artists and catch some great sets from the Raconteurs, Keller Williams Incident, Rhythm Devils, Phil Lesh & Trey Anastasio, Black Crowes, Yonder Mountain String Band, Tom Petty, Fiona Apple, and Widespread Panic among others. If you attend Vegoose you set yourself up to need another vacation once it is over. If you planned on going full-throttle your schedule would have looked something like this (filled in with the shows I attended):

Day #1:
8:00pm – 11:30pm late night show (Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds)
12:00am – 4:00am late night show #2 (Trey Anastasio & Robert Randolph & The Family Band)

Day #2
12:00pm – 11:30pm Vegoose Music Festival
12:00am – 5:00am late night show (Phil Lesh & Trey Anastasio)

Day #3
12:00pm – 11:30pm Vegoose Music Festival
12:00am – 5:00am late night show (String Cheese Incident)

Day #4
7:00pm – 2:00am late night show (Widespread Panic & The Original Meters)

Needless to say this weekend can put a severe hurting on you. Just look what can happen if you don’t pace yourself (notice the change in outfits, hmmm, could this have happened on two different occasions over the weekend?)…nice socks Matt!

Congratulations need to go out my friends Matt and Becky (the two passed out in the above picture) – they got married! They were married in early October in Boulder, CO. The ceremony was beautiful (yup, I just lost man points for saying that) and the ensuing celebration was unforgettable. I do, however, have one question – what is it about weddings that makes everyone feel the obligation to hook-up? One of the best parts of this entire wedding endeavor was that I got to see friends that I haven’t seen in ages. We had fools flying in from all over the globe to see our dear friend fall from grace and join the adult world. The first five minutes were spent catching up and laughing at each other. The next three days were spent checking out the ladies and calling dibs on who got what! Some things just never change. It is funny watching the friends who you keep so close torpedo and pimp one another over in the hopes of getting girl A, B, or C. The best word to describe my friends would be…vultures. They hover over their target until they get the opportunity to strike; their prey doesn’t know what hit them until it’s too late. Well, it was funny to watch these guys send each other into different pockets of girls in order to stray them away from their own personal intended target. In one instance my friend Andy told my other friend (Dave) some information about a girl that Dave wanted to get together with – for her own security she will go nameless. Andy bolstered Dave up with tidbits that could help the conversation with said girl go smoothly and hopefully lead to, in Dave’s mind, sexual congress. So the ever-confident Dave heads over to said girl and starts talking to her. They extend pleasantries and get more in depth – the ticking of the timer can be heard for miles! Dave starts talking to said girl about her kid and this and that. The problem with this is said girl doesn’t have a kid – and we have detonation! She freaks out and Dave is left wondering what the hell just happened. I love my friends! We spent the entire night in Boulder for the reception/after-party between the Rio for food and drinks, and Red Fish for the Grateful Dead cover band that Matt had secured. I haven’t had that much fun in a while. The end of the night found us imitating sardines in the bed of a bouncer’s pick-up truck getting chauffeured back to our hotel room – God I love Colorado! (Pictured above: The boys overlooking the ceremony, painting done by Tie-Dye Paul for Matt & Becky, the vows, Jeremy attempting to molest Kuney)

So, I’m still trying to play catch up from my time spent in CO and in NV, enough said!

My latest routine to date sees me heading to Christopher’s in Porter Square with friends for a bite to eat and some drinks, and then walking next door to Toad to have a few more drinks and catch some great music. It’s a vicious cycle, I know! I’m just trying to spend all the time I can with the people I care about the most before I head to Denver in February.

If you have some time to kill and feel like reading a funny blog posted by my friend and roommate, Adam, click this link. He debates the controversial category of “Top Boob.” Be warned, this is Adam…

So that about does it for now, looking forward to seeing Gov’t Mule, the Black Keys, Ray LaMontagne, Trey Anastasio, Damien Rice, and the one and only Tenacious D! Until then…GO SEE LIVE MUSIC!

Monday, September 18, 2006

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is/was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I’m taking the opportunity to make my push and show my support for this endeavor. Please take a minute out of your day and click around the websites I have included in this post and see if supporting this cause/effort is worth your while. As a cancer survivor I can attest to the difference it makes having a support system and people in place with the right attitude, ability, and technology. Even something as little as a smile or a thought is all that is needed. Don’t think about giving your money – think about giving your time. Volunteering was the most rewarding experience of my life and I can’t wait to renew that commitment. If you are looking for suggestions read into becoming a Pediatric Chemo Pal.

I often take for granted my experiences and make fun of my personal disposition. I’m old enough to be comfortable with that. These kids are not. Some are not mature enough to deal with the harsh realities that they have been dealt. Some are too young to know the difference. A cruel and unwarranted fate should not be tolerated when we could possibly have the means to an end within reach.

These are not just faces you see on a website or in some commercial. These are living, breathing, smiling, playful, lovable children – embrace them.

Why should you do something -- because "The Hoff" says you should!

Those close to me know that I am not a preacher, overly-aggressive advocate, or fanatic. I am, however, one voice. I am one voice attempting to gain another. Please, do your part – it’s not only their future, it’s your future as well. The life you influence could be your own...GOD BLESS!

CureSearch (NCCG & COG)
National Children’s Cancer Society
St. Jude’s Children Hospital
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
The Tomorrow Fund

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bob Marley and Neil Young in Boston?

How is this possible? Well, for two nights the Bank of America Pavilion was lit up with the colors of the Reggae Nation. Ben Harper took over the shores of Boston for two nights with Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley in support.
The first night found me by my lonesome six rows in front of Ben himself. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I almost didn't make it to the show. I had been running around town doing various things when fatigue finally set in. Work (internet surfing), some errands, and the gym had apparently done a number on me. I came home and started whining to my roommate while nearly falling asleep on her shoulder or in her bed...I can't remember, I was out of it. My whole theory was "Oh, well I'm going tomorrow, too." After some self-induced coaxing I finally got ready and was out the door!

Walking into the pavilion, half comatosed, I headed straight for one of the many beer tents. I figured I could use a little pick me up. Once fulfilled I headed down to my seat. Well, If Damian Marley is good for one thing, it sure is waking your ass up and making you pay attention. As soon as I found my seat I was blown away by the bass and rhythm of his set. The highlight for me was hearing a reworked version of his dad's classic "Exodus." As the Marley Clan walked off stage I walked right back to the beer tents. I had a feeling this was going to be a good night.

While at the tents this extremely pleasant looking older woman approached me and asked me if I was busy. What gave me away as not being busy - the fact that I was sitting in the faux garden with beer in tow as I was texting someone about the show? She asked me if it would be all right if I bought her a beer. The first thing that came to my mind was, "Is this lady hitting on me by making me buy her a beer?" Then I knew I wasn't that lucky and my tune soon changed to, "Is this lady using me?" Turns out that she didn't have her ID with her and they wouldn't sell her beer regardless of the fact that she looked well over 21. I will say this, though, she did look pretty damn good. She was there with her son and a few friends that she hadn't yet met up with.

After we got our beers (yup, she bought me another one, what a sweetheart) I had to help direct them to their seats. Luckily enough for all involved they were sitting in the same row as I was. Their friends were two rows behind us. They jockeyed their seats with those around us to sit next to me. We had a great time and her friends kept buying beers for the lot of us. Good times were had by all!

Ben Harper's set was filled with a variety of older material and some new cuts (from Both Sides of the Gun). Surprisingly enough they even pulled out a cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold." The highlight for me was the solo acoustic set he played as the setbreak. I really like the new structure of his concerts. Two large sets with a solo acoustic set in the middle and usually 1-2 encore appearances. It is very similar to Trey Anastasio's structure. Oh, Trey, I can't wait to see him in a month! Ok, back on track...actually there was an even bigger highlight for the first night. For the second set closer Damian and friends came on stage and performed a collaborative version of another one of dad's triumphs - "Get Up, Stand Up." It was an extremely moving experience that left everyone yearning for more.

After some hugs and handshakes from my new friends I left the venue and headed back home. You ever hear someone say "I was out before my head hit the pillow (or something close to that)?" Well, on this night that was me! I was spent!

Night #2 saw more of the same – good vibes, good times, and good people. This time around I didn’t fly solo. To my delight I had a mini-crew with me. I had coerced a group of friends to go to the show. One of my more outspoken friends even managed to add to the number of the crew while on the “T.” Did I mention that the new addition was my dream girl? She was a professional dancer (company dancer, not stripper – no poles!) from Brazil. She quickly made friends with the group and even told me I was a good dancer. She told me I could really move my hips (patting myself on back, blushing)! This could be complete BS but she did seem sincere. Unfortunately I will never be as a good of a dancer as needed to become a full-fledged member of the “Dance Party Crew!” I promise, no, I vow, to keep trying!

You can go here to check out setlists, reviews, and photos from the two-night run at the Bank One Pavilion.

After the concert we trudged to the Bell In Hand Tavern in Boston. We met up with another group of our friends and the dancing and debauchery quickly ensued. I think there is an unwritten pact we abide by every time we enter the Bell In Hand – we must drink Boston! We did our best. One friend in particular took this pact to heart and ended up throwing up in her purse on the cab ride home. To those that don’t know, if you throw up in a cab in Boston the drivers have no shame kicking you out of the cab and onto the street. Apparently she kept it together long enough to make it back to my house and sleep in my bed – how the hell did I get screwed in all of this!?! At least her boyfriend was sober enough to take care of her – wait a minute, nope, he was done for, too!

I have a lot of catching up to do for this blog. I have some other things to write about that are almost OBE (Overcome By Events to the lay person). So expect some fast-paced blogging! I am also going to post some picture blogs as well. I will need to give my deft little fingers a break after I catch up!

So, to Angie - thanks for the company, beer, and the creation of a new fantasy I will have about older women. Chris - good luck in school. Danielle, my dream girl, I'll miss you! To you all - goodnight! GO SEE LIVE MUSIC!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fighters of Foo...

I totally stole that title from my roommate, who could have, in turn, stolen that from somewhere else, but the show must go on...

This past Tuesday found me at the Wang Center in Boston’s Theater District to see an acoustic Foo Fighters performance with Frank Black (The Pixies) in support. Where do I start? Before the show we hit up one of our favorite dive bars in Boston, The Tam. We had a few drinks, a few laughs, and met some fellow concertgoers there. A few beers later we headed to the Wang – I’m sorry, that’s funny (Austin Powers movie quotes running through my head – “Wang, pay attention!”). Frank Black kicked the night off with a solid 30 minute set. I only caught the tail end of it but it was nice to hear the leader of the Pixies belt out a few tunes.

The reason why I was late – well, two friends had bought tickets over eBay and were supposed to pick up their tickets at will call. Needless to say the seller never switched the names for the tickets so my friends were left without seats. Having two tickets in hand I was faced with a dilemma – sell my other ticket and try to get my money back, or give it to said friends so that they only need to look for one ticket. I did the honorable thing and let them sweat it out a bit before giving up the ticket. My friend better have enjoyed the show, because I gave him a seat seven rows back! They found another ticket and were all set. Our other friends were already seated and taking pictures by the time we got in. I ended up dead center, first row of the mezzanine (go figure!). Finally, with my arms folded and hanging over the balcony rail, I was able to enjoy the show. I had forgotten how beautiful the Wang Center was since last visiting the venue for a Wilco concert. It really is an amazing place with an unbelievable sound.

I sat next to a really nice couple that seemed to chat me up at every free moment. They would ask me about music, work, life, etc. Pete, the boyfriend, was constantly bringing me beers through out the night. He refused to let me pay. Finally I used the “bathroom trick” to get up and grab some drinks. He gave me a dirty look before sipping his beverage. He told me to quit embarrassing him (with a smile) and then chugged his beer. He gave me another cold stare and questioned, “What are you waiting for!” Taking the hint I lifted my glass and almost got brain freeze! Before I could even get the words out that I would get the next round, Kim, the girlfriend, was already out of her seat and heading to replenish our stock. They were there with friends as well. Apparently they would grab a number of their friends to make beer runs to provide the necessary amount of IDs. One of their friends was pregnant and wasn’t drinking (thank God, look what happened to me – thanks mom!). She was strictly in tow for ID support. Before long the buzz I was feeling was not from the music!

I will try and keep the actual concert talk brief because I know better than anyone else that I like to talk, especially if it's about music! If you want to read a review of the show you can go here. I disagree with some parts of the the review. Dave Grohl is an amazing centerpiece for the band and stands well enough alone to command the attention of a packed house (instrummental or vocal) – each intently waiting for the next syllable or strum of his guitar to drop. He, along with the band (and guests), put on an amazing show filled with stripped-down versions of their classics, newer material, and old dug-up gems from Grohl’s past.

A brief, but funny highlight from the show happened during some playful banter between Grohl and guitarist Pat Smear. Smear has played with both Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Grohl was doing introductions and commented about Smear’s choice of attire – a suit with sandals. Grohl exclaimed, “Sandals, where do you think you are…a Widespread Panic show?” I almost fell out of my chair! If you knew me, you would know that Widespread Panic (link on the right) is my favorite band. In your case, maybe it’s a good thing that you don’t know me! My jaw dropped as Pete and Kim asked “What did he say?” After explaining why I had a silly grin on my face I convinced them to give WSP a listen. The more Spreadheads the better!

As Grohl was blasting “Best of You,” I was poked in the side by Pete a few times. I turned expecting he was going to say something along the lines of, “I love this song, this is great,” or “need a beer?” Instead I was greeted with gawking eyes and a big smile. Even Kim was getting in on the funny faces. I looked at both of them as I shook my head, perching my shoulders up with confusion. It seemed the majority of the people in the front row of the mezzanine were all looking in my general direction with varying faces of amazement. I didn’t know what was going on – was it me they were all looking at? To my delight it was not. As I turned my head the answer to all my questions was staring me right in the face – well, they both were. Apparently at some point, unbeknownst to me, a woman made her way down the aisle during the encore…not a big deal, right? Wrong! She decided to flash Grohl and the rest of the band for a for a few seconds (which amazingly enough felt like an eternity) before an usher finally removed her (booing in the background ensued). Too bad for Grohl and the rest of the “Fighters of Foo,” there was no way they could have seen because of the lighting. Too bad, because they were glorious!

After the show we headed to Rock Bottom for some drinks, appetizers, and laughs. That pretty much wrapped up the entire evening. Once home the roomie and I watched some video she took while at the show – pretty impressive I might add. Then she showed me some easier ways to view pictures on my computer (instead of plugging my camera into a port, etc.) – stuff I was too dumb to figure out on my own! Seeing that it was already 1:00am and I had a lot of internet surfing to do at work first thing in the morning, I decided to head back to my room and straight into my bed. Two hours later I am still looking at the pictures on my memory cards – DAMN! Oh, as always - GO SEE LIVE MUSIC!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

From Cloud 9 to 6 Feet Below...

Before I revisit my Cleveland experience I need to vent a little…my ass is going to be homeless! I thought I was moving into the perfect situation – 3 roommates, all friends, extremely cheap rent, house parties, etc. I was wrong! I moved into the “Waverly House” three months ago. It was a bit of a downgrade considering I was coming from a 2 bedroom in Cambridge right next to Harvard on the Charles River. More importantly I was living alone. It was a great location in between Harvard and Central Square – I loved it! It was hard to give the place up, but I was done paying insane amounts of money just to live there and I thought it might be nice to add a little chaos back into my life. Plus, the 3:00am drive-by drug deals were wearing on my sleeping habits. Ok, I sleep like a rock, but I still heard those guys with their ghetto blasters bouncing in and out of the neighborhood. So, with the prospect of saving a ton of money and being with friends, I decided to move.

As my reward I now get to spend every waking minute searching for my next destination. I will admit, it is kind of fun. I look forward to moving out of the closet I now sleep in and back into a much larger venue! Hopefully the majority of the roommates decide to stick together. Before notified of our impending doom, one of the roommates decided to take his relationship to the next level with his girlfriend of a couple years (another one of my good friends). They bought a place and will be moved in by the end of the month. In order to keep the rent down we were planning on replacing him with another friend of the Waverly House. Now we are all homeless and looking together. Hopefully we can find a place and keep the good times rolling for a while longer!

Looking for apartments online is like trying to find the female G-spot – for the longest time you think you have found it and then you get the look from your partner like, “Yup, you’re an idiot,” or, ”no really, it feels good.” One minute you are standing on the summit of Everest (hands placed on hips, one leg up, chin in air) – invincible, proud, strong – the next you are climbing out of a crevasse mumbling “I thought the line would hold!” You right-click through endless websites, scouring each and every listing; some good, some not so good. What I don’t get is why people post pictures of these places that look like dumps, better yet sweatshops, and try to explain how this particular Victorian has great charm, amazing views, excellent trim, and beaming hardwood floors. What I have learned to do is read between the lines – for example, great charm means the house is 200 years old, slants to the left, and has pink wallpaper. Amazing views means that you are in full view of the ghetto across the street and can catch the weekly mugging from the comfort of your front porch. Excellent trim and beaming hardwood floors is merely a ploy to get your attention away from the closet-esque sized bedrooms, one bathroom, and coin-op laundry in the dungeon that would be your basement.

Not only do I have to look for a place in Boston, but I also have to look for a place in Denver. The difference is that I am looking for a place to buy in Denver. I need the mountains, the snowboarding, the music, and the people. I have been gone far too long and need to be back there permanently! As of right now I am looking to buy a loft in the LoDo District. I love the area and hope to be back soon! My best friend and his wife are moving back to Colorado – so good times are not that far down the road – the Rockpile, Fillmore, Sancho’s, Red Rocks, Morrison Inn, Boulder, Breck, Aspen, Keystone – I can’t wait!

Oh, I just found a 4 bedroom in a great location with everything the roommates could want! Back to right-clicking - DAMN!

Friday, August 18, 2006

"Steady, As She Goes..."

It has been some time since I last ventured into the internet-ready world. There is so much to talk about and so little time before carpal tunnel sets in. The last few weeks I spent back home in Cleveland, OH visiting family and friends in an attempt at getting away from the daily grind that has become my life/job - surfing the internet. I will spare you the complete rundown of my sabbatical and dive into one event in particular (for now)...

My first weekend home found me at the House Of Blues with my little sister and her friend to see The Raconteurs. For those that don't know, The Raconteurs consist of Jack White (White Stripes), Brendan Benson (Brendan Benson & the Wellfed Boys) and Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler (The Greenhornes).

As a fan of the White Stripes and Brendan Benson, I was really looking forward to this show. I haven't missed a Boston run of the White Stripes since moving here in 2003. I was in desparate need of a good, straight Rock & Roll fix. Needless to say they did not dissappoint. They hit up all the major tracks from there debut release Broken Boy Soldiers, and even covered Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" during their encore. The evening showcased the rockstar that has become White, but was filled with the escapades of Benson (both vocals and guitar) with strong accompanyment provided by Keeler and Lawrence (drums and bass, respectively). Dean Fertita also supported the band's live act on the keys. It was an amazing show from start to end. I was left buzzing after the nearly two hour performance closed. The lights, the sound, the band - not one moment to complain about...well, maybe the fact that I was in Cleveland is worth complaining about!

I can't wait to see them again in September! GO SEE LIVE MUSIC!

Monday, July 24, 2006

It has to start somewhere...

So I finally jumped into the catastrophe known as blogging. I've seen far too many souls much stronger than I get eaten by this so-called monster. It consumes their life and relegates them to internet/cell phone/small electronic junkies. They seem to walk around in packs toting the newest gadgets and speaking to each other in binary with secret handshakes left in their wake as they head towards the newest coffee shop. Cult you might ask? Revolution, maybe? I guess I will just have to try it out for myself... now if I could only find my iPod, cell phone, blackberry, digital camera and laptop - DAMN!