Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday video - The Hold Steady

This Friday I've decided to post a video of a much more obscure band than yesterday's generation-defining Nirvana, but rest assured that the musicians The Hold Steady great in their own right.  The band writes and sings songs that are more stories than anthems*.  This particular one is pretty great.  If you've ever been to a big outdoor rock show or festival, you're probably familiar with the "chillout tent," which is where you go if you've taken more recreational pharmaceuticals that you probably should have ;)  In any event, this song sings to the virtues of the "chillout tent" in The Hold Steady's best bar-band way:

*  More than one rock critic has compared them to Bruce Springsteen in that regard and the comparison is not unjust. 

My favorite Razorback memory

In anticipation of the BIG SHOWDOWN tomorrow against Alabama's Crimson Tide, I thought I'd share my favorite in-person Hog memory*.  At least the one I witnessed in person is without a doubt the 1999 Tennessee game in Fayetteville.  My parents, who normally attended the home games, were unable to make it for some reason and handed their tickets off to me.  I gave my spare to my good friend Rob and the two of us, along with fellow hungover friends Ian and Carrie**, marched the 11:00 a.m. kickoff.  I remember Tennessee was ranked #2 at the time, defending national champions, riding a multi-season winning streak.  And then this happened.

WARNING:  The first 45 seconds are painful for Razorback fans of any age.  I would highly recommend not having eaten for the hour prior to watching it.

A secondary (some might say primary) memory of that day is seeing the goalpost from the south end zone torn down and carried to Dickson Street, where it was propped up at the front of what was then the Ozark Brewery.  People were signing it.  I know I signed it.  I also hoisted my fair share of celebratory hefeweizens while joining the throngs of Hog revelers mockingly singing "Rocky Top" and cheering whenever highlights were periodically played on the TeeVees in the pub.***   Dickson Street ended up being blocked off by the city for the entire day and evening as the party lasted well into the night. 

Bonus footnote **** :)

*  I have a feeling it among the favored memories of the other 60,000 people in the stands that day as well. 
**  Well, I just assume the other three were hungover.  I was :)  Friday night on Dickson Street the day before the know how it goes.
***  I also knew one of the bartenders, my buddy Bryan, who continually allowed me to cut in line and served me first despite the packed house.  Big ups to you, Bryan!
****  Rewatching the highlights, I'm struck by two things.  First, remembering how good of a freshman tailback Cedric Cobbs was.  Just so talented.  Second, how freaking good and aggressive our defensive front was that game and that year.  There were some monsters on that line.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday video - Nirvana

Heard this on NPR this morning, so it was obvious to me whose video(s) I'd feature on HillcrestBlog today.

Normally, I prefer to put live clips on my video posts, but for Nirvana it would be sacrilege to show anything other than the Video That Destroyed Hair Metal and Saved Rock:

Really, that video is still so f*cking awesome, twenty years in.  I remember exactly where I was when I first saw it.  In my dorm room, a first-semester freshman at the UA, watching it on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.  It was like nothing I'd ever heard before*.  It was a beautiful shock to the senses.  And it reshaped modern music, leading to what I think was the Second Golden Age of Rock n Roll** (the first Golden Age obviously being 1964 through 1969).

One confession, however.  However great Nevermind was, my favorite Nirvana album is their follow-up, In Utero.  I'm not really sure why, as it doesn't have a song with the sheer power and beauty of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."  Its a bit looser, a bit more ragged***.  Kurt Cobain seems maybe like he's about to lose a little bit of himself (which, sadly, turned out to be the case).  Maybe a combination of all those things.  Regardless, its one of my favorites, and this song is a highlight:

Watching that clip and noting that he is now an major figure in rock in his own right with his band Foo Fighters, I had forgotten how freaking good Dave Grohl is behind the drums.  He's a monster.  And, one more for good measure (warning: there's an extended sonic freak-out "solo" in this clip that's going to leave you saying WTF?  Still, pretty awesome :)):

*  I had not yet learned about Pixies, Hüsker Dü, Black Flag, or any of the 80's hardcore bands.  All of which are great. 
**  Specifically, the fall of 1991 through late 1996.  TenExile in GuyvilleSiamese DreamSlanted and EnchantedBadmotorfingerOdelay(What's the Story) Morning Glory?Achtung BabyOut of TimeDirtMetallicaUse Your Illusion I and IIIll CommunicationDookieHollywood Town HallAnodyneBee ThousandThe Downward SpiralWeezer...And Out Come the WolvesUnder the Table and Dreaming.  And those are just a couple of the more notable examples.  There are many more.  Here endeth the lesson.  
***  It was produced by Steve Albini, after all. 

Irrational exuberance

Or maybe it is rational.  Whatever.  The point is, I have not been this excited to see a movie in a long time.  I can't even remember when.  The Return of the King...maybe?  Anyway, I posted before about my excitement over Moneyball and now, here it is, hitting the theaters this weekend.  And because this is my blog, I'm going to fully utilize the embed video function available to me:

First, the trailer, so you can remember what it is about -- baseball and numbers dorks!

A bonus scene?  Well, of course!

How about a "making of" featurette?  Why not?

Anyway, there you go.  Oh, one more thing

...(looking at the movie itself, like it was a sentient being)...


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Concert Series - Wilco in Little Rock, 9-18-2007

The second time I saw Wilco was five years after the first time*, and five years after the band released their best album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot**.  I think this was the first time Wilco had played in Little Rock, and I don't think they've been back***.  And that's a shame, because the show was fantastic.  After my wife and I had some pre-concert beers at our local neighborhood pub with our friends Brett & Jackie, we drove the three or so miles from our neighborhood**** to the concert venue and enjoyed every moment.  Luckily, YouTube has come through with several concert clips, three of which I've embedded below for your viewing pleasure (sorry for the video and sound quality, though):

*  Boston, 2002
**  The making of the album, an unquestionable triumph, was caught in all its ugly glory in the documentary, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.  Highly recommended.
***  NOTE TO WILCO:  We'd welcome you back with open arms!
****  One of the many Best Things about our neighborhood, Hillcrest, is how close it is to the downtown area for events such as this.

Wednesday video - R.E.M.

Well, this is a bit of sad news.  R.E.M. is over.  Thirty years in, the band apparently thinks that it has run its course.  Admittedly, R.E.M. hasn't been a significant cultural force in over a decade and, really, probably fifteen years.  But when they were, they were.

And, thirty years.  Wow.  It puts all the hoopla about Pearl Jam's 20 year reunion in perspective.  They're only 2/3 of the way to R.E.M.'s mark*.

I'll admit that when R.E.M. was at its highest point**, I was not a fan.  Indeed, part of that time was during my younger, metal/classic rock years and I was actively not a fan.  But, like any good college-going music lover in the early 90's, R.E.M. was hard to ignore and it grew on me as I scoured their back catalog of Murmur and Document et al.  To this day, this song is one of my favorites:

And, one more for good measure:

*  And, good God, compare that to the Stones' FIFTY years as a band.  Sheesh.
**  I think there's a pretty solid consensus that 1987-1993 is your basic timeline here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday video - The Shins

Speaking of phantom limbs...

Or, if you are in more of a Natalie Portman mood:

Quick hits

1.  My long nightmare is over -- my previously belly-up iPhone 3G has been repaired!  Thank you Little Rock iPhone Repair.  Very quick turnaround and very reasonable price.  Being without my iPhone was like having a phantom limb -- I kept reaching for it and looking for it, but it just wasn't there.  No texts for ten days, no internet and e-mail access at my fingertips.  How did I ever survive?!  I love you, iPhone -- I will never go that long without you again!*

2.  Its one week out until Major League Baseball concludes its regular season and, more importantly, I conclude my fantasy baseball season.  Currently, I'm in second place (with a bullet!) in one of my leagues, making a strong move to win this sucker.  I'll admit -- its hard to pay attention to baseball now that the NFL is in full swing.  Its not like the Cubs are doing much this year.  But the payout disparity between finishing 1st and 2nd in this league is too much to ignore, so I'll soldier on for another week.

3.  Don't Ask Don't Tell.  Good f*cking riddance.

4.  Tonight is Rhea Lana preparation night at the HillcrestBloggerFamily household.  We topped two hundy at Duck Duck Goose.  Looking for a similar performance this week.

* Until Friday.  That's when I'm going to self-upgrade to a used 3GS (thx KLL!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday video - Son Volt

Been playing catch-up today, so here's a quick one.  To those who know me well, I've said just about everything there is to say about Son Volt and the band's first album Trace.  So I won't belabor the point.  Simply put, if there is one song I want to be played at my funeral, however old I might be, I want it to be this one.