Lucero and a Bottle of Christmas Cheer December 23, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: Amy LaVere, Ben Nichols, Christmas, concert, Drink Till We're Gone, Lucero, Memphis, Minglewood Hall
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When you think of Christmas, what comes to mind? The Nativity? Santa Claus? Reindeer with mutant powers?
How about a concert by Memphis Southern rock heroes, Lucero?
If that last one isn’t on your list, it should be. Last night I had the opportunity to catch Lucero’s Holiday Show at Minglewood Hall in Memphis and it was truly a night to remember.
I arrived at the venue shortly before the listed start time of 8:00, grabbed a beer, and soon met up with friends from Arkansas and Memphis who were also in attendance. We took a spot pretty close to the stage, sipped our beverages, and visited, catching up on the happenings in our lives and chatting about our shared love of music.
Opening act Amy LaVere hit the stage around 8:15, grasping her upright bass tightly, plucking and caressing the strings with a lover’s touch. Her lovely appearance was enhanced by the macabre nature of her songs, as tales of death and murder poured forth in a fountain of Southern gothic imagery. Opening with the strong bass line of “Washing Machine,” she and her band tore through several numbers from her three albums like “You Can’t Keep Me,” “Red Banks,” “Stranger Me,” the timely and appropriate “Pointless Drinking,” and one of my favorite tunes of the year and one that she described as “the only love song I know how to write, “Damn Love Song.” It was a great set from an incredible Memphis artist.
Lucero hit the stage around 9:30, with vocalist Ben Nichols, skinny and heavily tattooed, taking the center. He smiled at the adoring crowd of several hundred, “We thought about doing a different opener, but, ah, what the hell?” and the band launched into their standard set starter, “That Much Further West,” the song building to a crescendo with Nichols’ whiskey-soaked vocals masterfully leading the multitude of fans in a huge singalong, taking on the role of pastor to his flock of loyal followers, turning them into a single organism, moving and singing as one.
It was obvious that he and the band were glad to be home and hugely grateful to their legion of fans, so much so that they played and played, tearing through an unbelievable setlist, one that lasted more than 3 full hours. There were old favorites like “My Best Girl,” “Raising Hell,” and the encore opening “Drink Till We’re Gone.” They played a killer “Chain Link Fence” (my 9 year old daughter’s favorite song), a church choir-like “Nights Like These,” and ripped through favorites like “She’s Just That Kind of Girl,” “Sixes and Sevens,” and “Can’t Feel a Thing.” The band was in rare form, laying their claim to not just Minglewood Hall, but the entire city of Memphis, showing once again that they are the city’s rock stars, and one of the greatest “unknown” bands working in America today. At some point, Ben broke out a bottle of tequila and in between the killer songs, he took time to address the crowd, talking and joking with everyone like they were old friends (and I’m sure many of them were). As they neared the end of their encore, my friends and I looked at each other, bewildered, running through song lists in our minds and wondering what could possibly be left to play. When the final song kicked in, my friend Chris and I looked at each other and nodded, a knowing look in our eyes, “Tears Don’t Matter Much.” Of course.
After the show, as the clock neared the 1:00 mark, we stood around as the building slowly emptied, soaking in the last bits of the atmosphere floating about, breathing it in before stepping back out into the cold December night of Memphis. We knew we had just witnessed something really special, a momentous occasion that would stick with us, perhaps even forever. Of all the Lucero shows I’ve seen, this one may have topped them all. But, before we exited the building, there was another pleasant surprise in store: the band came out to visit and meet with the few who stayed behind. I had the chance to say hello to Amy LaVere, to tell guitarist Brian Venable about my Lucero-loving daughter and the band shirt I bought her for Christmas, and I got to meet and visit with Ben Nichols himself after the show. And though I only had a few moments with them, you could tell that they were real, down-to-earth kinds of people who were grateful for their fans and happy to do what they do.
And Ben posed for a picture with me, which I thought was pretty awesome too.
“Life is short
In spite of your plans
So tell the girls they’re all pretty while you can
‘Cause one day they’re gone
And all you got left’s
An empty bottle and an old country song”
Know Your Fried Chicken November 8, 2011Posted by Matt in food, Memphis.
Tags: Food and Wine, Fried Chicken, Gus's Fried Chicken, Memphis, Uncle Lou's
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Let it be known Food & Wine magazine just lost all authority for food recommendations.
I don’t care how long they’ve been writing about food or how experienced their reporters are, their latest issue proves that they have jumped the proverbial shark, they are no longer a viable source for your culinary needs, they’ve stumbled and fallen to a degree that cannot be recovered.
And they don’t know fried chicken.
Their latest list gives a long a detailed account of the best spots around the country to partake in this great Southern delicacy, this mainstay of Sunday dinners across Dixieland that burrows deep in the fiber of our being, affecting our very identity as Southerners. Though it’s obvious that they have sampled battered and fried birds across the land, there is a deliberate oversight contained therein which is so egregious that it defies explanation.
Nowhere is Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken mentioned.
No joke. They include numerous restaurants from locales like New York, Chicago, and Las Angeles, but nothing, absolutely nothing from Memphis.
Yes, it is time we hold these food critics accountable for their obvious bias against the Bluff City. It defies explanation.
Then again, if they were really interested, they’d dig a little deeper into Memphis and visit one of my favorite spots, Uncle Lou’s. Walk in, meet the man Uncle Lou himself, and order some chicken with his special sweet and spicy love sauce. You won’t be disappointed.
Still Truckin’ October 31, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: concert, DBT fans are the best, drive-by truckers, Memphis, Mercy Buckets, New Daisy, setlist, zip city
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I came, I saw, I went to another Drive-By Truckers show, my 2nd this year and 11th overall by my best recollection, and they continue to blow me away every time they take the stage. This weekend they played the New Daisy Theater in downtown Memphis, a place where singer Patterson Hood once worked long ago and that, I would imagine, holds a warm place in his heart.
I walked into the building alone, but it’s kind of unusual the way life is for diehard Trucker fans, for by the end of the night, it was as though I was surrounded by friends, people whom I had just met, yet felt a certain kinship towards, even after only 3 hours of loud music. As I mentioned earlier, I quickly fell in with people from Arkansas because of my Razorback hat, and soon I began to meet others. There was a couple from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the hometown of several of the band members. When I found that out, the conversation went something like this.
“Ok,” I said, “So, Zip City?”
The guy looked at me strangely, the light reflecting from his shaved bald head, “Yeah?”
“So, we were passing through the Florence area a couple of years ago and I took a detour to see the town. Zip City.”
“You,” he looked at me with incredulous disbelief, “went to Zip City? Really?”
“Yeah, sure did.”
He chuckled, “Ain’t much there, is there?”
“No, but I did get my picture taken in front of the Salem Church of Christ. Other than that, all I saw was the Zip City Volunteer Fire Department. There wasn’t even a city limit sign.”
Then the woman that was with him chimed in, “You know all those people and things that write about are real, especially Jason’s (Isbell) songs.”
“Yep. You know Holland Hill (from the song “Decoration Day”)? He’s a real person. The Hills still live in the Shoals today.”
“Wow,” is all I can say, awestruck at the revelation.
The man jumped back in, “They’re a great band and I’m glad to see them do so well, but back home they’re just like anybody else.”
The opening band of the night was Them Darlins, a mostly female outfit (only the drummer was male) who played a really great mix of 90’s-esque Riot Grrrl type songs with a distinctly southern sensibility. I enjoyed their show a great deal and after checking them out on Spotify I am a certified fan.
The Truckers hit the stage after 9:00, ripping through the up tempo Cooley tune, “Get Downtown,” before heavying things up a bit with “Drag the Lake Charlie” and “Where the Devil Don’t Stay.” The band was in excellent form, as always, as they tore through an excellent blend of songs from across their career. One of the highlights for me was a newer song of theirs, “Mercy Buckets,” which came near the end of the set. It’s a wonderfully emotional number, and you could see Patterson Hood pouring his heart and soul into it as he sang:
When all your good days keep getting shorter, count on me.
When you’re about 20 cents shy of a quarter, count on me.
When you just need a place to hide out for a while.
I’ll help you hide the bodies in a little while
I will bring you buckets of mercy,
And hold your hand when you’re crossing the street.
I’ll play a song if you want it.
It was a transcendent moment, and suddenly a song that I liked but never paid that much attention to became one of my favorites. It’s kind of funny the way a live show will do that to you.
It took until the encore before they played my very favorite DBT song, and one of my favorite songs by anybody all time, the aforementioned “Zip City,” and as always, it was incredible.
Seriously, if you’ve never seen the Drive-By Truckers live, do yourself a favor and catch them as soon as possible.
Here is the complete setlist:
Drag the Lake Charlie
Where the Devil Don’t Stay
Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife
A Ghost to Most
I’m Sorry Houston
The Tough Sell
Box of Spiders
Everybody Needs Love
Women Without Whiskey
Hell No, I Ain’t Happy
3 Dimes Down
Let There Be Rock
People Who Died
The Universal Language of the Razorback October 31, 2011Posted by Matt in Razorbacks.
Tags: Arkansas Razorbacks, drive-by truckers, faith in humanity, interconnectedness, Memphis, Mississippi
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Saturday night I had the opportunity to see one of my all-time favorite bands, the Drive-By Truckers, in concert again. It was an incredible show and I’ll have a separate post about that later (today?), but there was another phenomenon that took place prior to the band gracing the stage that captured my attention, something that again renewed my belief in humanity and interconnectedness of the universe.
I’m an Arkansan by birth, hailing from a small town in central Arkansas, so naturally I carry a strong affinity for the gridiron heroes of my home state, the Razorbacks. I have a deep and abiding affection for my fellow Arkansans, those who don plastic hog hats and pig snouts and give a great Woo Pig Sooie at any and all occasions, from weddings to funerals to just the general celebration of life. For nearly 8 years, though, I’ve been somewhat removed from my people, a stranger in a strange land, like the Israelites of old toiling away ‘neath the harsh rule of an Egyptian pharaoh. But, my predicament may be even worse, for these isn’t merely a totalitarian government seeking to enslave my people and kill our children, no, it is even worse.
I live in Mississippi, surrounded by Ole Miss fans.
Yet there is no prophet rising up to lead the people out of exile, to part the rushing waters of the Mississippi river and lead us back to the promised land, and away from the accursed calls of “Hotty Toddy.” The despair can sometimes be great, even unbearable, but occasionally my faith is rekindled.
Saturday, as you may recall, my beloved Razorbacks eked out a victory against the mighty Vanderbilt Commodores, in a game that may rank as one of the most entertaining thus far in 2011. So, as I chose concert-going clothes from my wardrobe (Is this clean? Not sure. Does it smell bad? No, so it’s probably ok.), I made sure to grab one article to proclaim my allegiance: a baseball cap with a Razorback featured prominently, glowing in its maroon majesty.
The friends with whom I planned on attending the show were all unable to go, but that did little to deter my enthusiasm. I mean, it’s the Drive-By Truckers, how could I ever miss that? So, I parked a short distance from the New Daisy Theater, and walked over to the building alone, but not feeling any real sense of aloneness. We’re all Trucker fans here and soon any subconscious unease was alleviated.
I walked into the theater, grabbed a PBR and strode down the runway, just one of a multitude fans beginning to fill the building. As I walked, I heard an unfamiliar voice call out from one side, “Hey, man! Woo Pig Sooie!”
I turned and saw a small contingent of young men smiling and waving. I waved back, “Barely, but we did it again.”
“Hell yeah we did!”
I nodded, gave a little fist pump, and walked on, eventually coming to a halt in the second section, the first elevated one from the stage. I had little desire to be in what would no doubt be a sweaty mass of humanity directly in front of the stage, so I settled into a spot where I would be able to easily see the band and have room to move around if I so chose. I stood in my place, sipping my PBR and enjoying the good sport of people watching (always interesting at a DBT show) when I heard another voice, this time a female one, call out, “Hey, you from Arkansas?”
Turning back, I saw a middle aged woman standing next to a couple gesturing to me. I walked the few yards over to them and answered, “Yeah, I’m originally from Beebe, but now I live here.”
After that there were numerous others, some serenading me with a “Woo Pig” and others with a simple “Go Hogs,” our common language and homeland binding us together with an invisible force, reminding me that I’m not in this alone.
Though separated by miles and invisible borders, we’re all Razorbacks and we wear it with pride.
Woo Pig Sooie!
A Murky Monday Morning October 24, 2011Posted by Matt in personal stories.
Tags: charity. Ain't So Lonely, fog, homeless, Lucero, Memphis, morning commute
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It was not a good morning to be running late.
The fog hung about, thick and white, a cottony shroud covering the city, obscuring all bodies but those in the nearest proximity. The Dagobahan morass consumed my car, sucking it in with tendrils of water vapor and robbing me of the precious gift of sight. Plunging headfirst into the murky lagoon, I continued on, albeit a bit more carefully than usual, headlights alight with watchful eyes probing the depths.
The traffic was heavier than usual as nearly everyone seemed to be taking extra precautions on such an unusual morning, so I crept along with these tentative fellow drivers like submarines in a great ocean of white, immersed in the chaos of the unknown.
Running behind, but unable to proceed on my morning commute without music, I pressed random on my iPod, hoping the spirit of Steve Jobs hovering about somewhere in the nether would see fit to grace my car stereo with a fitting tune from my expansive library. As I neared the end of my short commute the great Memphis band Lucero came blasting from the speakers, and the gravelly voiced Ben Nichols filled my small metallic bubble.
She smiles, oh so sweetly
And I ain’t so lonely, I ain’t so lonely
She acts just like she don’t need me
I ain’t so lonely, I ain’t so lonely
We drive down to the corner drugstore
And I ain’t so lonely, I ain’t so lonely
Coca-Cola and pills, take a few more
And I ain’t so lonely, I ain’t so lonely
It seems as though there is always someone standing at the Brooks Road exit in this part of the city, holding a hastily scrawled piece of cardboard reading, “Homeless. Hungry. Need Help,” and this day was no different. As I pulled to the corner, I looked over, the man’s visage barely visible in the smothering vapor, and I wondered for a moment about he and others standing at this spot every day, watching vehicles pass by, SUVs and Mercedes and little economy cars like my own, with drivers not even giving him a second glance. Feeling a twinge of guilt, I grabbed a handful of change from my stash and rolled the window down, just as Ben Nichols hit the chorus.
It’s been a while since I was nineteen
It’s been a while since I’ve seen
Myself act like such a fool.
He shambled up to me, “Thanks.”
How long must this go on
His hair was dirty and unkempt, his remaining teeth brown and quickly dying, but he smiled at me. “Good music.”
I nodded back to him, “Thanks. Have a good one.”
I’m by myself on the long drive home
And I ain’t so lonely, I ain’t so lonely
‘Cause I like hearing the sad songs
And I ain’t so lonely, I ain’t so lonely.
My Birthday Eve’s Eve with Hayes Carll October 15, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts.
Tags: birthday dedication, Hayes Carll, Levitt Shell, Little Rock, Memphis, personal contact
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What a night.
It began with dinner last night when Diana and I met with two couples, our good friends James and Veronica, and some new friends from church, Phillip and Amanda, and we chowed down on a large, deep dish Chicago-style pizza. I got down 1.5 slices of artery-choking goodness before I had to give in and push away from the table. It was a great meal with even better company and helped set our evening off on the right foot.
Following that, Phillip and Amanda joined Diana and I in our van and we drove across the stateline into Memphis, where we cruised over to the location of the night’s entertainment, the Levitt Shell. The Shell has made a name for itself in recent years by bringing in numerous free concerts for the community and it has become quite the spot for inexpensive fun in the city. That night an artist who I have long enjoyed, Hayes Carll, was scheduled to perform, so we decided to make an evening of it and have a little birthday party for me on the grounds. When we arrived, we found our friends Jerry and Kathy, and settled in for some birthday cupcakes and beer (Jerry gave me a Rogue Double Chocolate Stout for my birthday) before the show kicked off.
Carll hit the stage around 7:30 and tore through a set filled with numbers that were familiar to me, songs like “Stomp and Holler,” “Hard Out Here,” “KMAG YOYO,” “The Lovin’ Cup,” “Drunken Poet’s Dream,” Wild as a Turkey,” and “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart,” rang out across Overton Park as the crowd soaked in the country-rock goodness. He showed some of his trademark humor in his audience banter, particularly when he described the tune, “Chances Are,” as “Conway Twitty, naked, on a bearskin rug.” I must say that image had never crossed my mind before.
The personal highlight for me, though, came at about the halfway point of the show. You see, that morning I emailed his tour manager, told him I was a big fan and that we would be celebrating my birthday at the show. I told him that my roots were in central Arkansas (He’s a Hendrix grad, so he’s spent time in the area), and requested that he play one of his older songs, “Little Rock,” found on one a small label album from several years ago. Much to my delight and surprise, he said, “I can’t remember his name, but there is someone celebrating their birthday out there tonight and this song is for him.” My day was complete.
During the encore break we sent some cupcakes to Carll and the band to show our appreciation.
When the show was over, he appeared at the merchandise tent to sign autographs and meet the concert goers, so I made my way over there as soon as possible and, when a lane opened in the few people who stuck around, I moved in and shook his hand.
“Great show, man. Hey, I’m the guy who’s celebrating their birthday that you dedicated ‘Little Rock’ to!”
He looked at me, eyes seemingly a bit clouded over, “Stevie?”
“No, Matt from Beebe.”
“Oh yeah, yeah, man, happy birthday.”
“Thanks, could I get a picture?”
“Hey, thanks again for playing that song tonight. You made my day.”
“No problem, man. Have a good one.”
Dude, Where’s My Car? September 20, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts, family, personal stories.
Tags: children, Levitt Shell, lost car, Lucero, Memphis, parking lot
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Over the years since my traumatic brain injury, I’ve had to deal with an assortment of problems and annoyances stemming from having a brain that does not always function at its full capability, but there is probably no side effect more bothersome than trying to find a parked car. Most days this isn’t a problem because I leave my vehicle in the same general area of the parking lot at work, but when I’m not in my normal environment, this deficiency in my brain power becomes far more pronounced.
I say this because it struck again last night. I took my daughters to the Jim Dickinson Memorial Folk Festival held at the Levitt Shell in Memphis. It is one of many free music events that take place on a regular basis in the park when the temperature is conducive to sitting outside and it also happened that this particular performance included one of our favorite bands from Memphis, Lucero. While I’ve seen better Lucero shows over the years, the girls really enjoyed it and we even got to hang out with my good friend Chris, so by all accounts, the night was a success.
It was getting late for a school night, so we left after Lucero’s set and before the North Mississippi All-Stars took the stage, and that was when I realized that I had no idea where the van was parked. We started off walking to one side and we trudged on and on through the dim street lights with the power of the North Mississippi blues blaring from some distance away, but eventually, we realized that our vehicle was not in that direction.
My younger daughter was sick of walking by then and started in on the whining, “Daddy, where’s our car? Daddy, why can’t you find it?” and on and on, until I finally picked her up and placed her on my shoulders, while still holding the blanket we sat on at the show in my hands. So, we then turned and walked the other way and again we walked and walked, moving between the darkness-piercing streetlights and hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe the van would magically appear in front of us.
After several more minutes of walking, my younger daughter again cried out, “I’m tired, I’m cold, I’m wet, and we’re NEVER going to find our car! Daddy it’s gone” and then she broke down in exhausted tears. I patted her leg, which was still draped over my shoulders as her increasingly heavy 6 year old from bore down on me, and we kept moving forward, placing one foot in front of the other in the darkness.
At some point we realized we were beside the golf course and it was like a light was suddenly turned on over my older daughter’s head. “Daddy,” she said excitedly, “There were golfers where we parked! I remember! We’re almost there!”
I assured her that she was right, that we were almost there, but truthfully I had no clue. There was a faint memory of golfers, but I can never be sure if we truly saw them or if I am creating the image in the hope that it is correct. So, we walked and we walked, until finally her finger shot forward in the night air, and I heard her call out, “Daddy, I see it! I see the car!” and she took off running down the street.
Being somewhat encumbered by a little girl who was beginning to make me feel like the mythical Atlas, I was lagging behind her, but we eventually caught up with her and, lo and behold, she was right. We had finally found the object of our hunt, the elusive Siena, nestled in its hiding place in the midst of a multitude of vehicles. And just like that everything was right in the world again.
So, today I downloaded the Find My Car app for the iPhone.
Her First Concert May 19, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts, family.
Tags: Bon Jovi, daughter's first concert, Memphis
Tonight our 8 year old daughter is going to her first concert.
So, who does a third grader and her mother go see in concert that they are both wildly excited about?
I first saw that he was coming to Memphis some time ago and despite my own level of apathy toward the show, I knew that Diana would be interested. Needless to say, when Rachel heard about it she went bonkers as well and before long their tickets were purchased and the waiting began.
I’m not a big fan of Bon Jovi, but I’m really looking forward to hearing about Rachel’s experience at the show and I’m sure that this will merely mark the first concert she will attend in her life. Hopefully her tastes will “improve” someday and she and I will be able to go together. Until then, I’m just glad it isn’t Justin Bieber.
I remember going to two shows with my parents when I was a kid: the Oak Ridge Boys and Ricky Skaggs/Randy Travis. My first rock concert was Aerosmith at the Pyramid in Memphis around ’92 or so. Steven Tyler’s band was really my gateway to the concert world, though, and soon after that I saw Pearl Jam, the Smashing Pumpkins, and a host of other bands that came through Little Rock around that time. Over time I’ve had the opportunity to see countless shows and I only hope that my love for live music will filter down to the kids. I guess we’ll find out about that tonight.
Nights Like These: Music Fest, Day 1 May 2, 2011Posted by Matt in concerts, Memphis.
Tags: Beale Street Music Festival, Cage the Elephant, Cake, Flaming Lips, Manchester Orchestra, Memphis, MGMT, transcendence
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Friday morning I sat in my cubicle, fidgety with anticipation and with my mind running wild as I tried in vain to focus my energy on the tasks at hand, but after a few agonizing hours I quickly packed up and departed for the week. The day was here, and the biggest weekend-long music event of the year was upon us – the Beale Street Music Festival.
I’m a longtime attendee of Music Fest, only missing a handful of them since the mid-90’s, but never before had I ever seen a lineup the caliber of this year. From the day almost two months ago that they announced the bands, I’d been looking forward to this weekend with its big crowds, muddy feet, and eardrum-blasting music, waiting impatiently for the calendar dates to speed along and take me down to those banks of the mighty Mississippi.
That afternoon I rendezvoused with my friends Chris, Jerry, and Dan, and we soon headed over to the festival. It was a perfect evening, with clear skies overhead, a relatively dry ground beneath our feet, and temperatures hovering near the ideally comfortable mark. After making a run to the beer tent, we hiked over to catch some of indie rock band Manchester Orchestra’s set and, though I wasn’t that familiar with them, I found them to be an enjoyable way to kick off the weekend. We then met up with two more friends, Berry and Meredith, and witnessed a high-energy set from another newer alt-rock outfit, Cage the Elephant, that I enjoyed a great deal. I’ll have to make a point to check out some of their stuff later.
Next on the agenda was 1990’s alt-rock stalwart Cake, a band that first hit it big around the time I graduated from high school and went to college and that I always liked pretty well. Granted, I hadn’t kept up with any of their work since that time, but I still wanted to make a point to see their live show. I was impressed with how well their quirky nature and monotone-voiced singer came across in concert and even though I did not know several of the songs they played, it was a fun experience. I also ran into Sam, one of my brother’s best friends growing up, and got to hang out with he and his wife for a short time. It was great to see them, even though I wish we had had more time to catch up before losing each other while trekking over to the next band.
But these acts were merely an appetizer for what awaited us that Friday night, two of the bands that I most wanted to see at this year’s festival: MGMT and the Flaming Lips. It was after 9:00 when MGMT hit the stage with a crazy, psychedelic splash of color erupting on the screen behind them. The band, led by former Memphian Andrew VanWyngarden, ran through several selections from both of their albums, creating a kaleidoscopic tapestry across the Memphis sky and inviting us all to take part. From the opening strumming of “Pieces of What,” through the incredible “Time to Pretend,” racing by with a frantic “Brian Eno,” hovering with a totally mind-altering “Siberian Breaks,” and hitting the smash “Kids,” before ending with a rousing rendition of “Congratulations,” these guys were on fire that night.
The MGMT set then was like stepping into some weird, psychotropic worm hole, picking up the concert goers and transporting them across dimensions in a blaze of light and sound before depositing them in a whole new land, a strange and distant planet on which dwells the night’s headliner, the Flaming Lips. And if you’ve ever been to a Lips show, then you would most definitely agree that they are from some fantastical other world. I had heard many stories over the years of Lips’ shows, but nothing could have prepared me for the visual feast that awaited us on Friday night. It had everything you could imagine as well as some things that may only be found in the far reaches of an acid-soaked hallucination, from crazy lights to seemingly millions of pieces of confetti to giant colored balls bouncing around the audience to vocalist Wayne Coyne donning two gigantic hands that shot lasers into a disco ball. There were dancing people costumed as everything from giant bears to Wizard of Oz-types, and a multitude of other things, most of which were nearly impossible to keep up with because of the enormity of the spectacle. Coyne even climbed inside his giant, clear hamster ball and walked out over the crowd at one point, rolling around atop the masses as the crowd went wild with jubilant shout after jubilant shout. And then, of course, was the music, my God the incredible, soaring, sonic sounds of the Flaming Lips tearing through all the weird artistry, roping the madness together into one giant throng of joy. They played a number of selections from their immense catalog, gleefully cartwheeling through songs like, “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, pt. 1,” “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song,” “Convinced of the Hex,” and “See the Leaves,” and even took the time to invite MGMT back onto the stage for a reimagining of their aforementioned tune “Kids,” before their transcendent, almost religious closer, “Do You Realize?” blew like a volcano into the sky, showering the concertgoers with such joyful exuberance and beauty that it is beyond words to describe. It was truly an experience not to be forgotten.
It was tiring, yet wonderful evening, and when I arrived back at my home around 2:00 am, I slid into bed, exhausted, but at the same time filled with light and joy in a way that I could almost shoot it from my fingertips, unable to contain the otherworldly glory of the vision I had just beheld.
Next: Day 2
A Concert Dream Come True April 1, 2011Posted by Matt in free music friday.
Tags: Backstreet Boys, concert, Memphis, New Kids on the Block
I love live music and go to as many shows as I can, but there is one group from the past that I have yet to catch in concert. I thought that perhaps I had lost my chance to ever see them, that their ship had passed in the night for the last time, leaving me to only think of what might have been. So, imagine my excitement when I saw that they were coming to Memphis this June! Wow, I could hardly contain myself!
You may be asking yourself, who is the group that has Matt’s heart all aflutter?
New Kids on the Block. And it’s not just them, we also get the Backstreet Boys. Here’s a taste of what we’ll be seeing here in Memphis.
Yeah, I know you’re jealous. Though I’ve known about this upcoming show for a few weeks, this seemed like an appropriate day to bring it up.