Sunday, March 28, 2010


I had the pleasure of spending Saturday with an interesting group of people, a slice of society I would normally never have an opportunity to meet:

Arturo, who had a run in with an elderly gentleman when he went to pick up his daughter without having brought necessary payment.

Stephen, the sun glassed, motor mouth who ran a medical marijuana dispensary who "bitch slapped" a old rival who had the nerve to come out from California and intrude on his territory.

Richard, who got into trouble with a jerk over the use of a table at a laundromat, clearly a victim of the justice system when all the facts were shared.

Aspen, who in defense of her son got into a scuffle with a crazy woman who eventually fell down a flight of stairs.

Jeremy, the drunk who beat on a taxi cab driver in downtown Denver.

Goudi, who's car was hit by another while sitting in a parking lot, the incident getting out of control when the police arrive, another example of where the victim is penalized by the "justice" system.

Orlando and Louise, who bet on a drunk guy who had the nerve to throw a beer bottle at their passing truck.

Chris, who got ripped off by a moving company when they jacked up the fee by $1300 in order to get his belongings back, tensions raising and once again the police penalize the victim.

Celeste, the buxom blond who got totally wasted on tequila and Ecstasy at a rave party and then got into a fight with her girlfriend, who was screwing guys in the back alley, the incident ending with her ramming her car into her friends car 3 times.

Jung, a Korean who has a stall at a flea market that is frequently hit by shoplifters, one of whom falsely accused him of assault when confronted with the fact she had loaded up a bag with his stuff, the victim of a language barrier and a flawed justice system.

Matt, who got into an loud argument with his wife while at home, thereby attracting the police who found that he was carrying a concealed pistol without a permit.

Dora, who got into a fight at a restaurant waitress over the poor service she and her sister received.

Rick, ex-Detroit taxi driver who while minding his own business got into it a road rage incident with another driver who was clearly looking for trouble.

Will, who was drunk and got into an argument with his also drunk wife in a movie theater, triggering a 911 call.

La Cretia, high school student who messed up some other student who was bad mouthing her cousin, repeat offender who was eventually expelled from that school.

Fun stuff!

Therefore I was ready for more fun Saturday night when I pulled out a couple CDs and a cigar. First up was a soundboard recording of Billy Idol performing at the Rockpalast Music Festival in Nurnberg, Germany on June 5th, 2005. I guess the Nurnberg Hitler rallies of the late 1930's were replaced by music festivals. Billy put on a hard driving performance, even daring to play Van Halen's Jump, which I must say was not as good as when David Lee Roth does it. The show put me in a good frame of mind while I stood under the stars with the truck stereo blasting into the night.

Blue shields intervene
Fate in the hands of the flawed
Dangle by a thread

Just doing their jobs
Wheels grind the human spirit
Trapped in the system

See only despair
Lone life of rejection
A child's suffering

Download it here:
The Bunnymen followed Billy, the CD I popped into the stereo being another variation of their famed live performance at London's Royal Albert Hall on July 19, 1983. Enough said.

"Our gigs at the Royal Albert Hall were the live peaks of the Bunnymen's career. I felt like God was there conducting"
- Ian McCulloch, 1992

"A true milestone in the group's career. If there were any doubts about the Bunnymen's rise to stardom, this put them to rest."
- Goldmine, 1998

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Friday brings both a snow storm and another night out listening to live music. The snow began in the morning and continued all day, dropping several inches, but not the 6 to 8 originally forecast. Wet roads presented no obstacle. I stayed late at the office after which I did some shopping at REI and then on to the Ogden Theater for the sold out show. When I drove by shortly before 8 oclock, a line of people stood outside in the cold and wet. By the time I parked the truck and walked to the theater, the doors had opened and people began staking out their area of floor space near the stage and along the second floor balcony railing. I found my spot near the front row. The show started at 9.

First up was The Blow, a Portland, Oregon based visual artist and performer Khaela Maricich alone up on the stage who sang her unique style song and danced to prerecorded music prepared by her invisible partner, Jona Bechtolt. The Blow "set lyrics that sound like unverbalized thoughts to herself to minimal, often electronically textured basic pop melodies." I like her sound, the songs accompanied by story telling about her experiences writing music and her association with an unnamed famous bad girl artist and performer (Lindsay Lohan) who Khaela apparently collaborates with to write music. The high heels she wore on stage for one song were given to her by that bad assed "girlie girl." I wish I had taped her show.

At the end of the evening I purchased her latest CD from her dad in the theater lobby that Khaela signed "Hey! What Gives?! Thanks for listening." Its worth seeing her perform if you have the chance.

I heard about Vampire Weekend from DivaDiana77 through The Bunnymen Underground forum. I listened to a sample of their music and like the sound, leading me to buy their latest CD, Contra, which I enjoy. I had to go see them perform live when I learned they were coming to Denver.

Vampire Weekend is an American indie rock band from New York City that formed in 2006. Wikipedia says:

"The band claims to be influenced by both African popular music and Western classical music, describing their genre of music as "Upper West Side Soweto", with such songs as "Cape Code Kwassa Kwassa" referencing Congolese soukous music."

"In 2007, Vampire Weekend's song "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" was ranked 67th on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of the year. They were declared "The Year's Best New Band" by Spin magazine in the March 2008 issue, and were the first band to be shot for the cover of the magazine before releasing their debut album. The band's debut album Vampire Weekend was released January 29, 2008. It was a success in the US and UK, peaking at number 15 on the UK Album Chart and number 17 on the Billboard 200. In December 2008, Vampire Weekend's debut album was #2 in Under The Radar magazine's "top 50 albums of 2008" issue. In the January 2009 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, their self-titled album was dubbed the 10th best album of 2008."

Their sound reminds me of Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland. Nice beat to it that makes for good dancing. And that's all I did during their entire show, loving every minute. Vampire Weekend will also be performing on the first day of the Coachella Music Festival a month from now . I hope to see them there too.

Snowbound crowd gets hot at Ogden
March 19, 2010
Credit:Matt Farley

Vampire Weekend was a long way from both their beloved Mexico and their home state New York Friday night when they played Denver in the midst of a major snowstorm, but the sold-out house at the Ogden Theater was as enthusiastic as any they could expect from either.

Songs such as "A-punk" belied the band's mellow theme by bringing the crowd nearly to a full mosh, while calmer tracks kept things interesting regardless.

Opener The Blow threw down a confusing but danceable set of electro-pop tunes, hinting repeatedly and heavily that the songs were inspired by a certain nameless pop star (we were never certain if we were being directed toward Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan, but it was definitely one of the two) whom singer Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich claimed to have had a long-term relationship with.

The show was recorded and it is an excellent audience recording. Enjoy!

Waving the flag high
With eyes locked on the mirror
Patriotic fraud

DC's fried circles of dough
lobby fills pockets of reps
citizens get glazed

holds its ground in North Ireland
all beers on the house

Skiing this weekend
Lift ride to the high backside
He's smokin the bowls

Top of the ratings
The Right waits expectantly
Rush Limbaugh's loud fart

hundreds excited
gay marriage legal in DC
members of congress

Download the Vampire Weekend Denver Gothic Theater March 19, 2010 @ 160 show here:

Monday, March 15, 2010


A summary of events last week leading up to an evening with the Bunnymen:

Boarded a plane very early Tuesday morning and traveled to Jacksonville FL for a Federal facilities project managers symposium, joining many others from all around the country. Thankfully, the flight was uneventful.

Checked in at the hotel at a time I assumed was early in the afternoon, believing I could catch a bus to the coast 20 miles away. What I forget was that Jacksonville was two hours ahead of Denver, shortening the time available for my mini adventure. Instead I rented a car there in the hotel and drove eastwards to the coast, stopping long enough to pick up a small bottle of tequila.

I parked myself on the fine sand beach and enjoyed the late afternoon and early evening, enjoying a cigar, venturing into the cold water (the only one to do so while I was there) and watching the sunset play itself out on the clouds overhead. Savored a tasty seafood dinner at a local restaurant after it became to dark to stay on the beach.

Two days of listening to speakers talk about managing projects to remediate environmental contamination at Federal facilities, primarily belonging to the Department of Defense. For the most part, these sites are not unlike all others requiring remediation with the exception of the fact that acute "exposures" to munitions and explosives are immediate and their management posing unique problems and technical challenges. Good speakers covering interesting subjects.

Dinners were spent with other attendees of the symposium, primarily other regulators. A great group of people who are fun to hang out with. I always found some time during the evening to cross the bridge over the St. Johns River, park myself near its center and enjoy either sunset or the company of a fellow employee while enjoying a good cigar.

I managed to find some time to wander the halls of the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art before they closed Thursday evening. Nothing special, but I did enjoy the fact that one floor was devoted to an art exhibit featuring Marylin Monroe, mostly photographs with some paintings. A Hollywood legend, an American icon.

If Jacksonville is any indication, Florida is hurting economically. The downtown area is devoid of the crowds you'd expect in a city billed as the largest in Florida. Many shops along the street are shuttered, for lease signs looking for new tenants. Wander a few blocks from the hotel and the city thins out quickly, its heart being a waterfront mini mall consisting of a few small shops and restaurants surrounding a plaza with a fountain and scattered outdoor tables and seating. Somewhat depressing. I could tell from my drive east that there's more money near the coast, but not before you travel through lower middle class territory.

Returned to Denver Friday, getting home around dinner time.

Saturday was spent putzing around the house completing some long neglected work hanging blinds on windows of a room I renovated the summer I had a bum shoulder from the ski accident. I was mostly looking forward to spending time with the Bunnymen that evening.

Hears the soothing sound
Crashing of the rippled sea
For eternity

Standing on surfs edge
Gulls thin legs endure the cold
Call to the evening

White sand beaches tracked
Peoples lives come and then go
Traces washed by the sea

Break in the gray clouds
Warmth fades with the setting sun
Pale green and blue sky

In the evening twilight
Water reflects the dimming sky
A lighthouse calling

The flat horizon
Ocean surf against the sea
Reflects the twilight sky

The bridge hums with cars
People race through everyday lives
River swirls below

Black water churning
Reflects the setting sun
Yellowed diamonds sparkle

Golden orbs descent
Its arc across the sky is done
Swallowed by the gray

Youths flower is plucked
Dizzy from the rapid ascent
Burned by the sun

The Saturday night party with the Bunnymen begins after 10 PM. Throw open the truck doors and crank up the stereo, the flask and cigar await the festivities. The show begins with their three song single entitled Don't Let It Get You Down, released in 1997. Two of the songs are live performances from the Glastonbury festival. Yes, their sound following their 1997 reunion is different from their best days back in the early 80's, but I like most of it as much as their early classics. Must be that they ripened with age. Many fans would instead say they were beginning to rot. A good warm up for the main act.

The headliner for the evening was the Bunnymen's live show in Buenos Aires in Argentina on September 29, 1999. An excellent soundboard (?) recording of an hour and a half long show featuring many of their old classics with a sprinkling of some of their newer material. Ian was sounding good this evening. He chatted with the crowd between songs, but his heavy Liverpool accent made it close to impossible to understand what he was saying, which I believe he does intentionally. Towards the end of the show the crowd was getting very rowdy and you can sense that Ian did not appreciate the verbal remarks hurled at the stage, mocking them in return. Because of a cut in the recording, one can't say how long he made them wait afterwards before performing the encore.In bed sometime well after 1AM

Starts with it intact
Tight grip on reality
Only to let go