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Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Promise!

So I have decided my New Years resolution will be to be a better blogger! Seriously, now. As of late, I personally felt the blog was becoming a job and I will now have more fun with it, leading to more posts. A goal I have will be to try one new wine each week and post my thoughts of it. I kinda tend to do this now already, but don't put it to writings.
For now, I actually have no concerts scheduled. Very odd to not have a show waiting in the horizon for me.
I hope all my readers are having a wonderful holiday season. I soon will be knee deep in family Christmas tradition and cannot wait. I have been so out of touch with my family and I look forward to catching up.
So, I will see you all again in the New Year!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sufjan Stevens at the Beacon 11/15/2010, NYC

Where to even start?! I guess I should start with my expectations of Mr. Stevens and how Monday night threw all that out the window. I've never seen Sufjan Stevens live before, but I own just about everything he has produced. In this house is a copy of "Come On, Feel the Illinois" that features Super Man on the cover of the cd. It was instantly removed for copyright infringement and requested a recall on those that were already printed, but somehow my copy didn't make it back..oops!
When telling friends and coworkers about the upcoming show, it was hard to pinpoint or describe this musician in just a sentence. The best connection I could make was asking if they had seen "Little Miss Sunshine." The song "Chicago" is much more popular then the man who wrote it. He is a conceptual musician that researches his subject thoroughly and the results are lengthy love songs about the subject that includes Michigan, Illinois, Christianity, Christmas spirit, and now future prophecy aliens?! Not knowing much about Sufjan Stevens, just seeing that list alone, you know the latter subject is off the beaten path. Past albums are more acoustic, introverted, and peaceful. Instrumentally, Sujfan mostly armed himself with a banjo accompanied by some strings, and piano. Building at times to a grand crescendo, but mostly telling a story at a whispered tone. The perfect tone for a fall night at the Beacon, I thought.
So now onto what I witnessed! Let's start with my trip to NYC, because my stories can't be too focused on one point...The Long Island Railroad has always been the go-to for trips to NYC. It's easy, just sit back and let the train do all the work. The Hicksville stop has managed to complicate this simple process. There was nowhere to park my little black Kia without a threat of towing. Drove around for a half hour and a three block radius to find a spot to park overnight, and there was nothing. Commuters have first dibs and it was all monthly parking. No room for new comers or anyone just needing one night. Lame. So we decided to just go for it and drive into the city. Now, this time last year if you had requested that I drive you into the city I'd think you were batty! But with the new job I drive into the city at least a couple times a month. And I am not just talking Brooklyn, people. I am in Manhattan and at times blocks away from Times Square. Not too shabby for a small town Mid west girl who was too scared to drive in high school (long story, people). Finding a 24 hour parking lot wasn't too tough. Made me smile to see my Rio parked alongside Mercedes, BMW's and other treasured cars staying there for a longer time then us. Oh well.
The Beacon is, I believe, on the Upper West side of Manhattan not too far from Central Park. Dinner was a must before the show. So a friend took us to a Mexican joint called Harry's Burrito. Typical New York City restaurant, small, but packed. Food wise, salsa was awesome! Fresh and more along the lines of a pico which is more up my ally. But some how, they managed to mess up my goat cheese artichoke quesadilla. They added rice to it, which was terribly undercooked. I find something as simple as undercooked rice being missed by the chef says a lot. My glass of melbec from Argentina was nice though and well priced. All the drinks there were fairly priced.
Which brings me to the Beacon..Making a night of the theatre show, I wanted a drink to go along with Sufjan's set. The bar was well stocked with many options, but right off the bat I just wanted a Bailey's on the rocks. The bartender poured less then a shots worth into my glass and he must of noted my look of disappointment and asked me if I wanted to make it a double. Sure, its a special night and I don't plan on coming back to the bar so why not. It was the best $18.00 drink I've ever had and I am sticking to that, gawd!
The Beacon is beautiful. According to Sufjan himself, it was redone about 3 years ago and its a grand upgrade. I think he called it skanky before the upgrade. It was very ornate and Grecian. Gold and red velvet layered the stage and they even threw in a large spear sticking out above the first few rows. Here's a shot from the Internet. My camera has died so I am going to rip off a lot of shots..sorry.

Nice, right? Not really a bad seat in the house. We all had a great view and I was happy to have a designated seat. I can't remember if I have noted this before, but I am truly over general admission and may never go back. I am short and have little patience for strangers entering my personal space.
Ok, now back to the show. We missed all four songs of the opener, DM Stitch. How New Yorker of us! We did manage to catch the last few notes of his last song. He is a member of Sufjan's band so we got to see him in action a bit later. From what I gathered it was more of what I expect from a Sufjan show. A man and his guitar commanding the audience. He looped the song we heard, and I can't get enough of looping. I just think its straight up cool and can't be easy to master even though the idea is simple. Arcade Fire had a band member open their set awhile back and he looped his songs as well. Nothing new, but still a cool thing.
It didn't take long for Sufjan's band to take the stage. He opened with "Seven Swans." It starts out with Sufjan's whispering voice and his banjo. Then it builds into a apocalyptic rush to go with the song's lyrics. Off to an excellent start. But from there we really wouldn't hear much from the past albums. Sufjan is sticking with his 2010 stuff off "All Delighted People" and "Age of Adz." With that comes the costumes to match the futuristic alien theme and sweet dance moves. The costumes were very much aliens meet American Apparel if American Apparel started in the 80's. "Too Much" is a perfect starter to ease you into the theme. Poppy and dance-tastic, Sufjan and his background lady singers introduced you to what was in store for the rest of the night. Their dance moves are flawed and a bit off which makes it charming. My favorite move is Sufjan's hand drawing a square that leads into a pelvic dip. I have highlighted a few of the songs so be sure to click on them to check out these moves!

It should be noted that I found Sufjan Stevens quite charismatic. He often engaged the audience with akward banter including a story about his grandpa that had the ability to shoot lightening from his hands and feet and therefore couldn't wear shoes. There was no hint of slurred speech that comes from an intoxicated or medicated person, so I found the stories more of the character he was playing then that of a rockstar. Remember how I mentioned that Sufjan researches his muses to the full extent? This new album was no exception. The Age of Adz is inspired by a Lousiana artist named Prophet Royale Robertson. The subject painted what he foresaw as the future and the end of man and the rise of aliens. Robertson ended up alone and skitzo and it's evident in the art he produced. The song "Get Real" was dedicated to Robertson. A song about being a part of Robertson's family and how difficult it was to see a man fall apart in front of them. Sufjan relates to Robertson in "Vesuvius." He confesses to the audience that he is scared of heights and enclosed spaces and works through these fears by jumping into a volcano. A screen comes over the stage and lava slowly comes over the band as the song builds.
The set was nicely peppered with a few solo songs so that Sufjan's band mates could rest after a couple of songs were certainly a work out. Case in point, the epic "All Delighted People." This song is very much like a theatre show within itself. Sometimes quiet, sometimes choir like, and definitely a workout for the band. With two drum sets and a brass backing, the 11 minute plus song was played in it's entirety. Sufjan claimed they don't play it much because it "wrecks" the band and we the audience certainly agreed after watching it. Hard to believe it was just the middle of the set. But this song was nothing compared to the last song before the encore. "Impossible Soul" stole the show. Nothing new to what I've seen before, with balloons, disco balls, lights, and beach balls. It was like Flaming Lips meets Brooklyn Hipsters. But the energy is undeniable! On first hearing of "Age of Adz" and not knowing its logic, its hard to know where Sufjan was going with it, but seeing the show, it's most obvious.

To call this song epic is a bit of an understatement. The band pulled out all the stops for over 25 minutes! In comparison to the night before, the second night's audience ate it up. The orchestra level were treated to glitter the first night, but the second got balloons and more energy. It being the last night of the whole tour, the band gave it their all to celebrate the end. The audience was clearly grateful getting out of their seats and dancing just as oddly as the band. Now, I know what you are thinking "25 minutes is a bit much!" But really, with the energy of the band and the quality of sound from the venue plus the audience participation those minutes flew by. The Beacon loves bass. We could feel it as literally as we were hearing it..pretty cool stuff!
No need for an encore, but Sufjan's band did give us a nice rendition of "Chicago" for good measure. This show was genuinely one of the best I have seen ever. This is saying a lot since I have seen Pavement reunite, Atoms for Peace play once in a lifetime, and Arcade Fire rock MSG for the first time. It was a night where everything aligned and made a magical show. Sufjan's band was technically tight and his voice was flawless even as he went all out on the dance moves. The Beacon hosts an incredible sound and the upper east side of New York is effortlessly cool. There's not much better in life for me then leaving a show and knowing that you had seen something very special! As per usual, I leave you with the setlist below..

Sufjan's setlist:

Seven Swans
Too Much
Age of Adz
I Walked
Futile Devices
The Owl and The Tanager
Get Real
All Delighted People
Enchanted Ghost
I Want To Be Well
Impossible Soul

Friday, October 22, 2010

Iron and Wine "Half Moon" (New Song 1/2)

So it's been a month since I've checked in. A busy month and honestly a lack of motivation made me neglect my lil blog as of late. I hope to be better! In the meantime, here is a lovely song to warm the soul during this colder weather. Can't wait for the January release! Hopefully a nice little tour will back this album and I can cross yet another band off the bucket list.

Check in soon for a review of Sufjan Stevens' concert in the city. His latest, The Age of Adz is quiet adventurous and yet again Sufjan re-events his sound, but this time with electronics and a new bend to his voice. Should make an interesting live set and I can't wait to see how it will come forth live.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jenny and Johnny/Pavement 09-19-10

Oh Williamsburg! Yet again you show me a wonderful time in your cool lil neighborhood. I went there with a purpose to be rocked and left with more then one new memory. Armed with some of my favorite people, we ventured Williamsburg with a few goals. Thanks to Free Williamsburg , I spent hours on their website finding some great spots to eat, drink, and just be cool. Walking around Williamsburg, a few things stick out here. First, the fashion. Oversized Cosby sweaters paired with high waisted cutoff jeans were all around. It was still a pretty warm day out, but the ladies of Williamsburg still worked it. 80's rompers and high hemlines are still present. With the boys relying on super snug jeans and mustaches, ya know..same old, same old. So with the fashion right in my face, I had to go to the source. This brings me to Beacon's Closet. My lovely cousin Jasper first took me here a few years back and I was not mentally prepared for such a place. At first glance, you could assume this place is full of clothes junk. Not too hard to find Target shirts, dresses, and shoes. BUT, I did find a vintage Diane Von Furstenberg silk wrap dress for under $50 bucks! Chances are, this dress is a counterfeit, my research would suggest it a good possibility. It's still a fun dress that fits nice and close with a great print. I'm happy with the purchase but a bit bummed that my diamond in the rough was really a cubic zirconia..sigh. It makes for a good story though. Right across the street is the Brooklyn Brewery. We had finished our shopping at Beacon's just in time to catch a free tour of the brewery. Beer there will cost you $4.00, but its a great accompaniment with the 30 minute history of this local brew. I had the pumpkin ale that did last me through the whole tour, which really only took us to one room. Sounds like the company is branching out and had bought more room, so in the future it might actually be more like a walking tour! Below is a picture of my friend Jen and I enjoying our pumpkin ale!

After the tour, it was off to the latest restaurant on Bedford called "The Bedford." What attracted me to this place was the free range, pasture fed local ingredients used in this yummy menu. We got there at an awkward time, after brunch/before dinner time so our choices were limited. Fortunately, it was all good! I had the mussels paired with a sparkling brut from California. The broth was quiet tasty, with a bit of heat balanced with a latin bacon. We didn't have a menu to select from, so the ingredients are still a mystery but tomato, fresh garlic and parsley, and pepper were definately present. Bread for sopping up the flavorful broth was a must and we were pretty jazzed when the waiter brought us out more to gather up every last drop..Thanks Ron! Here's a photo of my mussels.

With a belly full of good eats, we were finally ready to make our way to the show. We missed most of the opener's opener Endless Boogie. They were a local band that seemed to play a little bit of everything. They described themselves as a band that goes well with beer..So there you go. Didn't have to wait long for Jenny and Johnny. Jenny Lewis is a bit of a hero of mine. After fronting the every awesome Rilo Kiley and a couple of solo albums, she joins forces with her real life beau Jonathan Rice and make a charming musically baby titled "I'm having Fun Now." This album is like a sunny 1970's day at the beach in California. I enjoyed this pop-tastic album and was looking forward to finally see my musical hero in person. One thing working against Jenny and Johnny in Brooklyn was their audience. You may remember in a past blog I posted that New Yorkers do not get into opening acts. No one shows up for them. Everyone is eating or drinking during the opening acts. Jenny and Johnny opened strong with "Scissor Runner" but no one seemed to care. I'd have to say, after a few songs, I became one of them. It wasn't really until they played Jenny's "The Next Messiah," that I got back into the show. Sadly though, that was the last song of their brief set. Sorry Jenny and Johnny, but New Yorkers just aren't as sunny as Californians. This act was too light and happy to keep these New Yorkers entertained. Jenny did wear black though..Kudos for that.

Brought to my attention was a possible Gyllenhaal sibling sighting. If it was, Jake has himself quiet a beard going on and from a recent shot I found online, it looks like he is growing one for a movie part. Others in attendance, kids! I saw a lot of children under the age of 10 pretty stoked to be there. A quick set change and Pavement took the stage. For those who don't know this band, let me give you a quick rundown on what to expect at one of their shows. Pavement has been around and making influencal music since the early 90's. Those who know them love em, but unless you were listening to a college radio station around that time you may have missed them completely. The term "Indie Darlings" might have started off with Pavement. Not scared to poke fun of huge bands of the time, Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots, Pavement defined music to their exact specifications whether people enjoyed it or not. It's be considered by critics as a bit sloppy, but talented musicians. Got it?!
So back to the show...Right off the bat, "Cut Your Hair!" A great song to define Pavement in a nutshell, if you had to. A song about anti-conformity in the music world and 5,000 people know the words to this one. We are all singing it back to Pavement. Date with Ikea and By the Rush follow. Even from far away, I can tell that the band is having a good time. I have seen Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (Stephen's other project after Pavement broke up) perform and he kinda always seems like his mind is somewhere else. Friends of mine who have seen his shows in the past have even thought he might of had a few too many before the show or just flat out didn't look like he wanted to be there. But not tonight, seen in this picture off the web, he's all smiles!

Fans were given 26 songs in this crazy fun set...Lucky us! Shady Lane and Range Life are my top two favs and made the cut from a very extensive catalog. Pavement would make the soundtrack to a time in my life when I first met some of my forever friends and for that a band that will be with me forever. A lot of sentimental feelings arose at that show and I missed a lot of you Sunday night! Anyway, here's the exact set list from the band, shortened versions of some songs.

PS here's a blurry shot of what the band gets to see when they play at the Williamsburg Waterfront..The best skyline in the whole wide world!

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's been too long!

Goodness it's been awhile. Work has kept me pretty busy, which is a good thing. September has brought more hours at the vineyard and a couple of exciting wine tasting events. The first was a work social gathering with a blind wine tasting. We each brought a wine that was wrapped up so one knew anything about it. We would end the night with a nice dinner and wines to enjoy. Each of us brought a potluck to go with grilled organic chickens. I was surrounded by NYC chefs, winemakers, and those who have been in the industry much longer then I have. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. Just deciding which wine to bring was a bit overwhelming. I wasn't going to try to bring a crowd pleaser but maybe something a bit interesting. Our vineyard specializes in organic practices (not organic wine though!) so I thought I would bring a Californian organic wine. Organic wines do not have added sulfates. Sulfates help aid in the aging process of a wine. Organic wines should be enjoyed upon purchase because they cannot age. I found an organic Merlot and stuck with the decision. We were told it was ok to know which one was yours, so I smelled the cork to familiarize myself with my choice. I smelled chocolate right off the bat! So we went through eight wines, some smelling wonderful, like my chocolate and spices Merlot. And some smelling off, "like a boys locker room." Basically, what I discovered that when it comes to wine, there really is no wrong answer. One that surprised me most was a sweet smelling white that brought back memories of Southern Illinois' Pomona Winery that specializes in apple wine. I was certain that someone had brought an apple based wine. It was sweet to the nose and the palette. It was a surprise to the whole house when we found out it was a chardonnay made in Massachusetts. Now, the part that made me smile was that the chardonnay was specifically made to have a bit of apple notes to it. The term has a fancy name that the wine maker used, but after a week since the event, its escaped me. I know, bad reporter! My point is, the wino in the room with the least amount of experience/education in the room brought the favorite wine of the night and wasn't too far off with the curve ball of the night. Goes to show that doing what you love can go a long way, regardless of experience. I left feeling closer to my coworkers and less intimidated by my instinct for wine tasting.
Here's a photo of our lovely table setting that night.

Above is a shot of my dish that I brought along. It's a chickpea salad with fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, lemon juice and fresh garlic. Very simple to make, but easy to make oily, so go easy at first if you decide to make this dish. I just eyeball the recipe until it looks aesthetically pleasing to me. Season with salt and pepper to taste and it's a great summertime salad. *Sigh* The weather is changing to fall already and I feel like summer flew by way too fast. I didn't even get to the beach this year.
Check in again soon because I have a couple of fun blogs on the way. Friday I am taking a look at some highlights of the Long Island Wine Country. We have over fifty wineries/vineyards on the east end of Long Island! There is no way I can get to all of them this weekend, but after talking to customers and other workers in the industry I have been able to narrow it down. On Sunday, I finally get to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see Jenny and Johnny/Pavement in concert. I hope to wander around a bit before the show and find some hipster fashion to take back to Long Island! Look for the review and hopefully I get brave enough to take some photos of one of my favorite ladies of indie rock.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Arcade Fire makes a video of Slater Iowa!

Ok not exactly, but check out this interactive video for The Wilderness Downtown. You enter your hometown address and it's featured in this video. Click on my title to view my personal version of the song. Not the exact address, but you get the point!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Citrusy Mojito Chicken paired with Albarino Wine

I am no culinary artist. Cooking doesn't bring zen or give me a great sense of accomplishment, far from it in fact. People feel compelled to step in after watching me cut an onion or a carrot in fear that I might chop off a finger and believe me, I have come close many times. I make a huge mess and clearly make a point to note that I am having no fun. Lots of sighing and comments of disappointment in my efforts. Time to snap out of it! Practice makes perfect, right? So I have come to the conclusion that all is better when I follow a recipe. Guidelines to let me know if I stick to the plan, what can go wrong? With that in mind, here's my effort with Citrusy Mojito Chicken.
First thing is first. I love Food and Wine magazine! I started a subscription about 6 months ago from an employee helping her son's school with a fundraiser. I like food. I like wine. Why not? Each month I have learned a lot about American wine including tours, types of wine, and of course the food that goes with them. The recipes can be a bit tricky, meant for the more advanced chef at times. This recipe seemed easy enough...Chicken, grape fruit, lime, mint, olive oil, and onion. The basic idea is to grill the chicken and top a fruity salsa on top of it. Paired with a nice Albrino wine, should be a good meal. Albrino is a spanish grape that seems like a Sauvignon Blanc, citrusy and bright. Perfect for the meal! Finding this wine in central long island wasn't too tough, so I hope while the weather is warm you all can get your hands on a bottle. The one I found was Martin Codar's 2008 Spanish Albarino...Pictured below..

Plating is an art form, friends! A form that I have not mastered, clearly. The lighting in my house at night is lacking for the photos. These shots aren't really doing the meal any justice! The shot just above looks like I hacked up the chicken, but its the citrus salsa on top.
I would try this recipe again though. Modification will of course be needed. Fresh products, like the mint, is a must. Maybe an orange instead of grapefruit? Is there a less tart version of grapefruit? For sure I will be pairing this meal with a local wine. Long Island has a few vineyards that make an excellent Sauvignon blanc. For those who aren't familiar with this type of grape, get to know it. It's a very juicy wine, but not too acidic. My employed vineyard's has a taste of ripe pear. A nice alternative for those who like Pinot Grigios. I didn't dislike the Albarino, but I found this wine a little uninspired. The grilled chicken washed away the flavor and I felt it was a bit too acidic. I'm thinking my sour grapefruit helped with that as well.
I linked this recipe into the title if anyone else wants to take a crack at this one!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My summer music pick

Just saw the NME named my summer music pick as the best new band in 2010. Congrats Best Coast! Seriously kids, you should be listening to this band right now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I need a Camera to my Eye

Photography has always been a hobby of mine. Thumbing through photo albums of both my Grandpa Nelson and Aunt Lori introduced me to an art of photography that went beyond just capturing a moment in life. They both had an eye for the shot that was all their own. I always hoped that someday I would create a shot and someone would look at it and say, "Sara took that one!!" I can't really say that I have achieved that just yet. My camera is a digital Kodak that I bought more because I can carry it with me everywhere. I don't really have much control over what lighting comes in or even what I want the main focus to be. I love having the camera with me at all times though. The idea that I can take a shot whenever a moment arises appeals more to me now, but someday I will make the grownup leap to a real camera..For now though, I thought I might share a few of my favorite shots throughout the most recent years.

This is a picture I just took last week. The yellow in contrast with nature's green, blue and brown really stood out with me. A brillantly bright summer's day can bring out the colors of man and earth so wonderfully!

Taken just over a year ago in Black and White. This is just in front of Carnegie Hall, NYC sometime after 11:30pm. There was a light mist in the air and keeping it in black and white I felt that this shot could have easily been taken 30 years ago. Black and white shots make a photo timeless.

It's hard to find a better photography muse then Washington D.C. Spring is a wonderful time of year to see D.C. because of the starring cast of Cherry Blossoms all through out the city. Here is a vertical shot along the trunk of a cherry blossom tree.

Old Towne Montreal cannot take a bad shot. Cobblestone lanes, small shoppes, and old world structures are way Montreal is North America's most European like city. I took dozens of shots in both black and white and color and had a hard time choosing just one for this blog. To me, this shot pretty much summed up what I loved about the city at that time. It was the one day when it didn't rain and the sun warmed Montreal. This part of the city is predominately French speaking and you can feel that all around as you wander around the most interesting part of Montreal.

One of my favorite types of shots to take are these extreme close ups of plants and flowers. This was taken in San Francisco at a botanical garden. With these shots I feel the color and textures are almost tangiable through a two demential shot. With your eyes you can touch the plant, maybe?!

It's been a quiet week thus far, can you tell? I'm hoping to catch a few interesting wine events in the area. Concert wise, I have the Jenny and Johnny/Pavement concert in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Being an outdoors show, I am hoping to muster up enough courage to take a few pictures!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spoon/Arcade Fire Aug. 4th Madison Square Garden

Spoon, Arcade Fire, and I all have something in common. We first stepped foot into Madison Square Garden for the first time last night! And like me, both bands were in complete awe of where they've been and what they now have become. It's hard to believe that two bands who have made two back to back amazing albums well received by fans and critics alike can still have milestone moments, but here we all are sharing the same magical moment. And it truly was a magical night that began with a boy, a violin, and a loop machine....
Owen Pallett set the night off right. He had me at violin and the loop machine. I'm sure it has a more official name, but I am calling it a loop machine. My understanding is that you program the machine to record a desired length of music into the machine and it will play that part for as long as you'd like it over and over again. You can create as many of these bits as you'd like and build it on top of each other creating a whole song with all the layers. Owen played about a half hour of strings delight and I was pleasantly surprised and happy that I got to see this little musical appetizer. He brought out a buddy to lend drum and guitar support. The latter had technical difficulties and Owen was disappointed that the guitar had failed for what he thought was in front of thousands of people. He must have forgotten where he was because New Yorkers don't go to concerts to see the openers. Even Spoon didn't get all of Madison Square Garden's attention. It's just not hip to see the openers, I guess. Their lose though, because Spoon delivered, big time!
The one thing I can say about Spoon is they turn New York on! I think it's because Spoon IS rock 'n' roll right now. Seriously, everyone but me was making out to Spoon. Britt does have a charming voice and electric persona, often engaging the crowd with finger points to a few lucky audience members. Kicking off the Spoon set with just Britt himself and an acoustic guitar warming everyone up for a great set. Wish I could get my hands on a set list for you all, but alas I can not seem to track one down. Highlight of their set was Gimme Fiction's "I turn My Camera On" and "You got Yr. Cherry Bomb" from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. The latter song was accompanied with a horn section that disappeared and then reappeared throughout the hour long set. Spoon could easily fill this Garden on their own headlining tour and I am sure this time next year, we'll be seeing that.
At this point in the night we check how much time we have for Arcade Fire. The Long Island Rail Road will leave us behind if we aren't out of MSG by 11:42pm. They have 1 hr and 14 minutes. Arcade Fire reveals a screen and their own set of flashing lights that could have come from Radiohead's "Hail to the Thief" tour. The stage comes alive and it takes a moment for all 9 members to get into place. "Ready to Start" seems like the obvious choice and that's how they kick it off! Win leads the crowd in hand claps for the first song of the set and first played from the latest album "Suburban." One thing becomes quiet clear to a new audience member of an Arcade Fire concert. You suddenly become a participant! Check Youtube for any song played at this show and you will hear the crowd singing along. Example taken from the third song "No Cars Go." It's laced with frequent staccato "Hey!" throughout and the every fan out there knew when to come in on it. By the time a sentimental fav "Haiti" was done I thought if for any reason this show had to end, I would still be honored to have witnessed Arcade Fire. Speaking of the song Haiti, every dollar from the tickets sold for the show went to the still ravaged country and other organizations like Doctors without Boundaries were on hand to inform fans of a nation that still needs our attention and help. Back on track, thankfully the show continued with 2 more songs off the new album. "Crown of Love" came on and slow dancing was all abound. A song about unrequited love brings out the romantic in a New York hipster and you could feel it in the air. Can I just say, even on a slow waltzy love song, Arcade Fire pounds it out with electricity! I swear one member's only job is to be Mountain Dew's Amp's human incarnate. He bangs on a drum, yells through a megaphone, and gets to dance around the stage. Now to my personal highlight. Neighborhood #3/Rebellion (Lies) combo. It started off with Win recalling his favorite MSG moment of the Houston Rockets vs. the Knicks. He had the biggest grin on his face as the Knicks fans went from "Boooooo-yaaaaa!" as Neighborhood #3 came in and quickly the fans forgave him. At the end of that song, the craziest crashendo buildup lead into Rebellion (Lies) and rhythmic claps ensued. Chants of "Lies, Lies" from the audience coupled with Arcade Fire at their best, even the cotton candy vendor was rocking out. The show could have ended there for me. I did make it to the see the last song of the set before the LIRR took off. I see today that I missed "Wake Up" as the last song of the encore.
I had pretty large expectations from this show and it delivered above and beyond. The energy was constant and fed the audience making us an equal part of the act. You left wanting more, but pleased to have witnessed what they gave you.
Wish you were there? Youtube is hosting the second night of Spoon/Arcade Fire tonight. Here's a link:
Here's a complete set list from Arcade Fire!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

eels by The Electronic Anthology Project

eels by The Electronic Anthology Project AKA Else
I can't believe I didn't hear about this until now..And I call myself a Built to Spill fan..
This is a sample song from The Electronic Anthology Project (aka Doug and Brett from BTS) remix of songs from Keep it Like a Secret and their most recent album, There is No Enemy. The songs have been given new anagram names, sometimes and an 80's pop spin.
On first listen, I think, "Wow, I could probably get away with playing Built to Spill at work now!" Gone are the polarizing, grinding electric guitars laced with feedback and turned up to 11. You won't find any song over 15 minutes here. Some remixes I can't even really say sound like 80's pop, just synthesized. Although "What if Your Dull(aka I Would Hurt a Fly)" and "Far Path Tall Sign(aka Things Fall Apart) " are pretty spot on for the genre. I'm not too sure why Doug and Brett did this to our beloved songs. I can't really see them being bored, though this leads me to think they had a quiet weekend or two. BTS tours constantly and are on tour now, whether they have an album out recently or not. They were just on Long Island last week at the Crazy Donkey.
This project reminds me of my grandmother's old organ in her living room. I only knew one song on the piano, but it was fun to punch the multi colored buttons to make all sorts of rhythms to this one song. Everything from a waltz beat to good ol' rock and roll. "Mary had a Little Lamb" takes on a whole new meaning when you put a Latin spin to it! This creation feels like the two members were hanging out in the basement and messing around with a keyboard to see what happens to their songs when you push the 80's pop button. Next up, BTS selects the Bossa Nova button and hilarity ensues as they play "Car" and rename it "Arc." Don't take this too seriously and you won't be too disappointed, just don't pay the $10 to download the album either.
Check in again soon as I review my insanely anticipated Spoon/Arcade Fire concert at Madison Square Garden. Arcade Fire's latest "Suburbs" comes out tomorrow and Pitchfork gave it a 8.6 out of 10. 10's being reserved only for Radiohead albums.;) I haven't heard it yet, but I actually look forward to hearing the songs live first before purchasing it. A bit backwards, but to me a great song holds up just as well live as it does on a record. We shall see!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Sara

Oh shoot guys, summer is almost over! I can't believe August is right around the corner. There's still some warm weather left to enjoy and I hope you are all making the most of it. I thought I'd share some of my favorite summer things to make your hot weather days a bit sunnier. Here's a few items that are keeping me cool.

My summer tunes: Best Coast's Crazy for You. This is the debut album from Best Coast and it couldn't have come out at a better time. The cover alone screams "Summer, woo hoo!" It's a perfect summertime listen because it's just simply good. Catchy pop lyrics that aren't exstential and bring back the golden age of the Beach Boys. The inner hipster in me loves the light layer of static laced throughout to give it just enough complexity to keep me interested. Lead singer Bethany has that voice that is relatable, consistant, and playful. The singles on this album aren't polarizing. There is something all friends can enjoy here and I can see this album played on the beaches of both California and New York. If you are in need of a sunny happy album, here you go. My favorite song on the album is "Boyfriend" You can get a sample of the band on myspace.

My summer drink: A bottle of Rose wine. Rose is very trendy right now. Everyone from the Today show to Food and Wine magazine are mad about Rose wine. Often mistaken for white zins (simply based on the pink-ish color) Rose has gotten a strange rep for being a sweet wine with no personality. A great Rose is bone dry ( don't be scared!) and simply floral smelling. Ours at the vineyard have flavors of strawberries and raspberries but a almost peppery finish to balance the whole wine out. Rose wines hold up very well with summertime grilling and a customer recently told me he was at his happiest with a bottle of Rose and oyesters on the half shell.

My summer acessory: So THE summer must here in New York is quirky eyewear. Even the basic black plastic rim glasses must have a bit of odd to them. I personally go through sunglasses like tissues. They tend to get lost or broken, so there is no way I am paying anything over $20 for a pair. But I gotta have my cool so I just picked up a pair of sunglasses from as seen below:

Wild, right? I'll post a pic soon on how they look on me a bit later! Now, online shopping is a bit of a risk, but if the return policy is easy then why not? I've shopped a bit at Modcloth awhile now and have yet to be disappointed. They list very accurate messurements and other girls review the items, good or bad. It's not easy finding something that no one else has, but this website is a great start to find something that's all you!
So these are a few of my favorite summer things. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer, except the Elams who are enjoying their wintertime in New Zealand. Bye for now!

Monday, July 26, 2010

And so it begins!

Well, if you are reading this then I have successfully posted my very first blog ever. Very cool! So what's this blog all about? Well pretty much a everyday log of what's on my mind at the time. I have made some changes in my life to help me grow into the person I have always wanted to become and I think it's worth writing about. Hopefully you all find it worth reading about as well. Being far from those who love me, this will be an awesome way to keep track of me, even better then facebook! I was born and raised in the Midwest and miss my loved ones everyday, but now here on Long Island I am closer to what makes Sara more "Sara like." I recently took a job at a North Fork vineyard with the hopes of getting one step closer to my dream of having a one of my own. So talk of wine will be huge here. I am learning new things everyday about something that makes me very happy and that is just simply wonderful. An hour away from my home is the greatest city in the world, New York! This amazing place brings every single band I could possibly ever imagine seeing right into my music loving heart. With that, music will be a constant theme as well. Long Island can be very different even though its so close to the city. My work is right in the middle of a much different world balanced with sophistication but at a much slower and more scenic pace. I am surrounded by world class chefs and wine makers. Farmers stands with local produce, often organic, are at my finger tips and the lifestyle is intoxicating in comparison as to how I first started my life on Long Island. Lots of traffic, angry people, and strip malls were my first impression of my new home. I couldn't wait to leave, but now being introduced to the other life that is Long Island, I could be convinced to stay a bit longer. So today's theme is simply an introduction, a welcome. Keep checking in for reviews, impressions, moments, and everyday views of what I see in life. I hope you enjoy it!
Attached is a photo from last year in my back yard. I feel like it's a good intro pic of everyday Sara.