Dedicated to classics and hits.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Show Review: Crocodiles @ Casbah

Crocodiles Crimes of Passion cover re imagined in the style of the Obama Hope poster.

Show Review:
Crocodiles @ Casbah

  I saw the guy who works the back bar for the Casbah before the Crocodiles set and I said, "Man- I saw all the people here and I went back there to get a drink and it was closed!" And he was all, "I know, I don't why it wasn't scheduled."  And I said, "Well, probably because of low advance ticket sales." And he said, "Yeah- look at the walk up."  That conversation made sense because every time I go the Casbah I go to the back bar and sit down and talk to him about how tickets sell at the Casbah- advance sale vs. walk up.

 It's an interesting question, and while I've been firmly focused on the pre-sale side of the equation, the Crocodiles show last night at the Casbah was a strong example of walk up.  Based on my knowledge of the pre sale situation the walk up/guest list was in excess of 100, meaning there were probably 150ish people there last night.  It's not knocking it out of the ballpark, but it's not a dismal failure, either.

 I'll admit the low pre sale figures had me concerned, but the performance last night, and specifically the relationship I observed between the Crocodiles and their fans, left me firmly convinced that Crocodiles have what it takes to continue to exist as a rock band, and a reasonable hope of a succesful future where success is defined by generating five figures of income a month and six figures of income a year (low five figures, low six figures.)

  That's not flying on private jets, buying Manhattan condo money, but it is buy a house, have a family money, and shouldn't that be good enough in this era of diminished expectations.  Perhaps Crocodiles are not destined to grow fat and decadent on the earnings from their art, but if I were them I would feel confident for planning for a continued existence.

  From my perspective, I see a band with a solid work ethic, a small but enthusiastic fan base with good coverage in the top 10 US/UK/EU markets and uneven fab base outside those markets, a band that has shed it's early confidence issues which caused them to hide craft under noise, a band that is forming an emotional connection with a specific Audience over time.

  And sure, it's not all positives.  Crocodiles aren't booking huge US festivals, they have trouble drawing 50 people on a Tuesday night in Nashville, they've never won a Best New Music designation on Pitchfork, they haven't always had the same connection with the Audience they had last night, so it's possible they could revert to that former state at any time for whatever reason.  It's not a sure thing and it never will be.  Failure lurks behind every wrong decision, and they don't know what decision was "right" or "wrong" for years after making the choice.   But in my mind, from the perspective of a detached observer and not a business partner, I see the right path being taken now.  Since roughly March of this year.

 Right now I can see a path to growing viability for Crocodiles, perhaps for the first time ever.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Azar Swan Dance "Before the War" on Pitchfork

Azar Swan Dance "Before the War" on Pitchfork (PITCHFORK)

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Show Review: Father John Misty at the House of Blues San Diego

Father John Misty: Casbah- stop booking people at the House of Blues, that place fucking SUCKS.

Show Review:
 Father John Misty at the
 House of Blues San Diego

  Last month, when I saw Yacht Rock Review at House of Blues Hollywood, I had a good time, so it can not be said that every House of Blues is a nightmarish hellscape from which none emerge unscathed.  The Father John Misty show there last week raised more questions than it answered.  Questions like, "Why do people go to a concert if they want to loudly talk and drink at a bar?"  Mainly that question, because that was the main impression generated for myself, and apparently, Father John Misty.

 The floor set up at the House of Blues San Diego restricts drinkers to a raised platform at the back of the room, and being unaware of this fact, I purchased a beer and had to stand there for 20 minutes while I sucked it down.  There was a very loud woman standing right next to me, and after five minutes, Father John Misty waited till she said something distinctive enough to respond to and told her to "shut up."  And she did, FYI.

 I'd have to say that Father John Misty, myself and my companion shared a perspective on the short-comings of the House of Blues audience and the House of Blues itself.  3/4 of the way through his said Misty launched a crisp, brief tirade in the direction of the management, and he complained about the crowd (justifiably so) on several occasions.

 I left the concert with an appreciation for Misty as a song writer and a performer, I was wholly unfamiliar with his work outside of his prior gig drumming for Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes have drums?) and I was pleased to learn that Misty is a wry observer of contemporary social mores with a song writing style best described as a mix of country, folk and indie.  He's one key phrase away from a legit radio type hit, and I would bet he delivers at some point.

  As for the crowd, San Diego, you are SO embarrassing to me.  My guest was from out of town.  It was their first show in San Diego EVER and you go and do that. 

The Golden Bowl (1904) by Henry James

Book Review
The Golden Bowl (1904)
by Henry James

    Hooooo boy.  The Golden Bowl is the beginning of the end for modern literature.  I'm just speaking as someone who has basically read every major novel BEFORE The Golden Bowl, including those by Henry James, and The Golden Bowl is by far the most difficult novel to read including every novel written before The Golden Bowl.

  The difficulty stems from James' choice to use a quadruple first person narration that switches between perspectives with no central narrator.  James used a similar technique in The Ambassadors, published the year before, but there the only narrator is the central character.  Here, each member of the two couples at the heart of the book, each take turns making page long narrative statements that rarely reference outside events.

  By the end of The Golden Bowl I had gone online several times to read the Wikipedia plot summary but still couldn't follow the narrative.  I don't like to simply summarize plot but I feel its appropriate here because even having read the book I wouldn't be able to summarize the plot myself without spending another five hours plus reading it AGAIN. (1)

  The Golden Bowl revolves around a father/daughter relationship and their respective spouses: the older husband of the daughter and the younger wife of the father.  The intensity of the father daughter relationship "causes" an adulterous affair between the other spouses.  Saying that makes the plot sound simple but the reality is that you can read the entire book, as I did, with only having a vague idea about what is going on besides "father/daughter" "adultery" and "London and America."

 I'm telling you, I am no pansy when it comes to difficult Novels, but The Golden Bowl really is a bridge too far.  If there is a "slippery slope" toward the narrative incoherence epitomized by James Joyce, Henry James is the point where the slope starts pulling the rock irresistibly downwards.  I can see how literary academics would positively revel in The Golden Bowl, but I'm at loss to say how anyone could enjoy it.


(1)  From the Wikipedia entry for The Golden Bowl by Henry James:

Prince Amerigo, an impoverished but charismatic Italian nobleman, is in London for his marriage to Maggie Verver, only child of the widower Adam Verver, the fabulously wealthy American financier and art collector. While there, he re-encounters Charlotte Stant, another young American and a former mistress from his days in Rome; they met in Mrs. Assingham's drawing room. Charlotte is not wealthy, which is one reason they did not marry. Maggie and Charlotte have been dear friends since childhood, although Maggie doesn't know of Charlotte and Amerigo's past relationship. Charlotte and Amerigo go shopping together for a wedding present for Maggie. They find a curiosity shop where the shopkeeper offers them an antique gilded crystal bowl. The Prince declines to purchase it, as he suspects it contains a hidden flaw.

After Maggie's marriage, she is afraid that her father has become lonely, as they had been close for years. She persuades him to propose to Charlotte, who accepts Adam's proposal. Soon after their wedding, Charlotte and Amerigo are thrown together because their respective spouses seem more interested in their father-daughter relationship than in their marriages. Amerigo and Charlotte finally consummate an adulterous affair.

Maggie begins to suspect the pair. She happens to go to the same shop and buys the golden bowl they had rejected. Regretting the high price he charged her, the shopkeeper visits Maggie and confesses to overcharging. At her home, he sees photographs of Amerigo and Charlotte. He tells Maggie of the pair's shopping trip on the eve of her marriage and their intimate conversation in his shop. (They had spoken Italian, but he understands the language.)

Maggie confronts Amerigo. She begins a secret campaign to separate him and Charlotte while never revealing their affair to her father. Also concealing her knowledge from Charlotte and denying any change to their friendship, she gradually persuades her father to return to America with his wife. After previously regarding Maggie as a naïve, immature American, the Prince seems impressed by his wife's delicate diplomacy. The novel ends with Adam and Charlotte Verver about to depart for the United States. Amerigo says he can "see nothing but" Maggie and embraces her.

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