Riot Fest once again proved itself to be the music fest for grownups. Grownups in black t-shirts. While all the other big festivals rotate the same dozen headliners, it’s great that Riot Fest has retained its punk rock focus. Maybe not as strictly as during its first several years as a multi-venue festival, but most … Continue reading Riot Fest 2017: No Dicks on the Dancefloor
Hey everybody, remember this column? It’s understandable if you don’t. It’s been 16 weeks since we had a new number one record in America. Who would have guessed that “Despacito” would spend the entire summer at the top of the chart? After all, 16 weeks ties the all-time record for the most weeks at No. … Continue reading Number One Records: Look What You Made Me Do
Video: Big Bill Broonzy – Live at Circle Pines in 1957 Big Bill Broonzy was a legend of the blues from the 1920s, through the folk revival of the fifties. He was the mentor of Muddy Waters and an advocate for the younger generation of blues musicians including John Lee Hooker. He toured Europe throughout … Continue reading Big Bill Broonzy at Circle Pines Summer Camp
In NASCAR racing, which went into official existence in 1948, 1972 is identified as the start of the “Modern Era.” The series has yet to become postmodern, but that’s another argument for another digital venue. The troubadour tradition, that of a musician who sang and played a stringed instrument, goes back at least to the … Continue reading “Write a Catchy Chorus, HAL”
Video: Fortune & Maltese & The Phabulous Pallbearers Live at the State Theatre Hot damn, I loved this band! And here is some fantastic newly discovered live footage of them at the peak of their powers. Thirty minutes of amped-up garage rock remastered in “Trash-o-Phonic stereo sound.” Live in Kalamazoo, Michigan on February 5, 1995. … Continue reading Fortune and Maltese: Live in Kalamazoo, 1995!
When I saw that the Who had recently performed a couple of classics on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon I immediately forwarded the link to Stephen Macaulay. Mac has a long history with the Who, dating back to seeing them at Cobo Hall in Detroit when he and the band were all scruffy young … Continue reading Who’s Left?
Back in 1558, Sir Thomas Gresham, who was the financial agent for Queen Elizabeth I, articulated what was to become known as “Gresham’s law.” The law has it that “bad money drives out good.” He was talking about physical currency. One way to think about this is to take a quarter out of your pocket … Continue reading Listening to Gresham’s Law
Western Electric invented the Model 500 telephone. That’s the telephone with a handset cradled on the top of the device and a rotary dial on the front. It is the telephone that is the pre-21st century dictionary image of what a “telephone” would look like. It brought the Model 500 out in 1950. The classic … Continue reading The Model 500 and the Physicality of Music
Vinylology 101: Boston’s debut LP, 1976, Epic Records When you listen to the celebrated first LP by Boston, it’s obvious that the band’s leader Tom Scholz was a studio geek and a major control freak, which anecdotal evidence seems to bear out. The songs are perfectly constructed; not a note is out of place. The … Continue reading Vinylology 101: How to buy Boston’s debut LP
At about the midway point on his month-long tour, we saw Joe Jackson at the Michigan Theater this past Saturday night. It was probably the fourth time we’ve seen him. Some middle-aged fanboys in the row behind us were trying to top one another with shows they’d seen. One said the last time he saw … Continue reading Joe Jackson in Ann Arbor: Who Said Anything About Love?