Monday, May 31, 2010


The Memorial Day Holiday coupled with a mandatory budget balancing furlough day provided us with a long weekend that I insisted we take advantage of. The wife and kids were up for it.

First up was an early morning drive to A Basin for some great spring skiing. Blue skies, sun and air temps in the 70's yielded some of the easiest skiing this season, just the way the kids like it. Carving turns in the warm sun softened snow, enjoying the warmth on the skin. A herd of mountain goats sat on the ridge above the Lenawee Mountain lift, eating the grass, watching the skiers. Took some time off to enjoy the sun from the mid mountain lodge deck, drinking a good tasting beer. After lunch in the early afternoon, it was decided to pack it up and continue on down the road. By then the snow was becoming a heavy, ski sticking slush that was becoming more difficult to plow through.

Next stop was Princeton Hot Spring near Buena Vista, on Chalk Creek at the foot of the Sawatch Range. First we found a nice camp site 10 miles up the valley, at the Iron City campground, situated among the aspen trees. The snow melt flooded Chalk Creek only 200 feet away was all one heard in the campground. Iron City was a smelter town that lived for only about 2 years. The campsite is located at the original town site and a little further down the road is a cemetery. One of the most interesting epitaphs is for Sarah and Sadie Mullens - "Born a year apart, died a day apart, buried a hand apart"

A nice dinner at the Princeton Hot Spring Hotel. The next few hours were spent soaking in the two pools that sit alongside the raging creek, one pool too hot to stay in for a long time, the second the temperature of bath water. The newly built sauna was also something to be enjoyed, assuming one could endure the steam heat for more than 5 minutes!

Sometime after 10 PM we drove the unpaved road back to camp. Mira and the kids went to the tent to play some late night cards, I took the car to a secluded location up the road where I could crank up the stereo for a couple hours. Public Image Limited was going to perform their first show in Iron City this evening.

Public Image Ltd. at the O2 Academy, Brixton, review
By Tim BurrowsPublished: 5:32PM GMT 22 Dec 2009

Thirty minutes before John Lydon was due to appear on stage with his band, the reformed Public Image Ltd (PiL), the old Academy was not even half full.

The not-quite-sold-out show had fallen victim to sustained snow showers that wreaked the usual transport havoc in and around London. Yet the empty spaces seemed somehow apt: PiL was the vehicle that set Lydon free from the claustrophobia of the Sex Pistols and his Rotten persona, to wander dark, untended territory.

The group’s first line up started work 31 years ago when they played two sell out shows at the Rainbow Theatre in Lydon’s native Finsbury Park on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, 1978. Made up of Lydon and old friends Jah Wobble and Keith Levene on bass and guitar, they filtered punk paranoia through the techniques dub reggae and disco to create a post punk sound of ambient dread.

All those Christmases ago the crowd were a hostile mass — blood ran from Lydon’s face after a full can of beer was pelted at him. Not this time: “You are very quiet, London,” he said in his familiarly forbidding whine. “If I don’t receive applause in full and total appreciation I am never leaving this stage.” You feared Lydon might act upon this threat as he ploughed through a set that lasted over two hours, punctuating gaps between songs by glugging brandy from a bottle and showering it over the floor of the stage jet-like from his mouth.

Despite the legacy Lydon left to fashion, still evident today in his now traditional shock of hair and checked shirt and trousers, you could never accuse him of pandering to style over content. So it all went in. Tracks cherished by musos such as Death Disco, surely one of the only dancefloor-fillers around on the subject of terminal cancer, rubbed shoulders with later material such as the cheesey gospel rock of Disappointed.

Surprisingly, the finest moments came from PiL’s most difficult album, the paranoid Flowers of Romance. Both Four Enclosed Walls and the title track itself showcased the force of Lydon’s primal vibrato wail, to this day one of popular music’s true wonders, which filled the air over tribal drums.

The hall had been filling up steadily throughout the gig by those affected by transport. During Religion II, a monologue denouncing faith and corruption, the bass was turned up, shaking the venue. Ending with Rise and the techno collaboration with Leftfield, Open Up, what began as a chastened affair had swelled into something much greater. Even after two hours, Lydon, energised and bug-eyed, did not want to leave the stage.

Apple long forgotten
Blackened wave sweeps mankind's shore
Spoiling our Eden

Committed to sin
Hands reaching for the darkness
Bubbles up within

Lives are extinguished
The butchers hands are grasping
Oh no, not again

Monday, May 24, 2010


I was stunned to learn that what I thought was a relatively simple fix to a bumper was instead damage to the frame that made the vehicle irreparable. Both insurance company claims assessors concluded that repairing the vehicle properly would cost more than it was worth. Take the check and they scrap the truck. And yet I'm still driving it around.

After spending weekday nights looking for a replacement online, Saturday found me at dealerships looking at Toyotas and Nissans. I narrowed it down to a small number of vehicles and quickly made a decision. By mid afternoon I had purchased a used vehicle that met all my specifications. It also had a camper shell that would allow me to continue going on trips where I could sleep in the back. The perfect replacement.

Saturday night found me at the Bluebird Theater to see one of Denver's own, Meese, play their brand of alternative/indie rock before a full house. They formed in 2005 and tonight marked the end of that short time together, having announced that they were disbanding to go onto other ventures. This was their last night at the Bluebird, thanking the Denver crowd for all the support they showed all these years.

Meese calls it quits, last official show this Saturday at the Bluebird

By Dave Herrera, Tuesday, May. 18 2010 @ 7:38AM

Looks like it's the end of the road for Meese. Well sort of. This Saturday, May 22, at the Bluebird, the band will be playing its last official show -- or delivering its final Broadcast, as it were -- as Meese with the Northern Way.

After enjoying a great deal of success on the local level and burgeoning success on the national front (being listed in as one of AP's 100 Bands You Need to Know this year), followed eventually by a frustrating set back (parting ways with Atlantic Records), the Meese brothers, Patrick and Nathan, and guitarist Mike Ayars are retiring the Meese moniker and preparing to launch a brand new band with new players and all new music.

Taking a page out of Hot IQs' book, the guys are actually slated to perform two more times, once at the Colorado Rapids game on July 4 and on August 21 at Bohemian Nights in Fort Collins, but are considering the show this weekend at the Bluebird to be its last proper show.

Local Churchill and The Northern Way opened the show this evening. Meese put on a great performance. I stood right up front and got to watch them perform, right down to individual finger movements. What was even more interesting was watching facial expressions, knowing that when Partick Meese comes back to play again, it will probably be with new faces standing besides him. He came out into the lobby afterwards to meet and thank his fans, signing autographs. As his "moustached friend standing in the front row," I thanked him for a great show and asked that he continue making the music.

Boiling hatred seethes
Suit hides the lurking caveman
Drinks tea at parties

They join the Army
Lured by fun and adventure
Until they glimpse death

Crests the breaking wave
Left drained in the foaming wash
Takes another PiL

After the show I headed back to the new truck, turned it west and drove into the mountains, stopping around 2AM after crossing over Loveland Pass, finding a quiet spot alongside the road surrounded by snow capped peaks. At 12,000 feet, sleeping is never deep or restful. I was initiating the truck for the adventures I hope it will take me in the future.

The next morning I drove the remaining two miles to Arapahoe Basin for some late season skiing. Breakfast in the lodge, carving turns by 9AM. A beautiful sunny day, the snow softening up into butter for some fine carving. The strong wind rocked the chair lift and pelted people with ice on the mountain top. I departed by early afternoon to avoid the inevitable slush. Smooth sailing on the highway. At least another month of skiing is still available.

Our swimming in debt
Chinese financial buyout
Modern day red scare

Sheep graze contently
See the swaying trees shadow
Timid flock scatters

There is nothing else
Center of our attention
Speck in the night sky

Download the Meese show here:

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Friday afternoon finds me on the highway heading home after an interesting week at work. Rush hour yields stop and go traffic. While stopping because of slowing traffic before me, the inattentive driver behind me wakes up and steps on the gas instead of the break pedal. BOOM! Not only am I struck from behind, I'm also pushed into the vehicle in front of me. Front and rear fender and tail gate are messed up, but I believe it is all repairable. More of a hassle than anything else. Some decisions need to be made in the next few days on who will perform that repair. Before the accident I was intending to stop at Second Spin to purchase a ticket to see The English Beat for this coming July, but passed on that opportunity. Had I stopped, this incident would never have happened.

Saturday finds me beginning the summer house renovation season: ripping drywall around a pair of windows off for the purpose of getting some accurate measurements. A trip to Home Depot results in the purchase of 6 windows and one door. The cost to me, well, OUCH! This work will complete the house siding project that I began 3 years ago, as well as the renovation of the room interior at the very top of the house. I like to believe this will be a quick project, but that never proves to be the case. I'm hoping, at the most, I will have part of the summer to do some fun things with the family.

Saturday night found me outside playing CDs on the truck stereo. A pattern is forming here. First up was Public Image Limited, Welcome to Glasgow, a Radio Clyde FM Broadcast from The Barrowlands in Glasgow on May 14, 1986 (24 years ago almost to the day!) and a few tracks from a BBC Radio Session at Maida Vale Studios in London on February 25, 1992. Great sounding recording. John Lydon reprimands the crowd, telling them not to spit, that was a thing of the past, don't do it. The 79 minute recording set me up for what followed.

Download it here:

PiL was immediately followed by Echo & The Bunnymen performing live at Tut's Chicago on April 12, 1981. A very good performance by a young band on the rise to stardom. Ian was somewhat chatty and offered several compliments to the city they were performing in.

While listening to the music I could not help but compare their performance back then with what I've been hearing now. Excluding Ian, I think the band does a better job today than how they performed in the past: maturity and decades of practice have yielded a very polished sound. Will sounds as good as ever. Naturally, Ian's voice shows some wear, but overall it still sounds pretty good, at least during the shows I attended. Everyone has aged over the years and perhaps our expectations have changed with time, leading to the complaints on how the band is performing these days (singing and song writing). I think they are doing the best they can with what they've got, our expectations a little to high. I'm very pleased with what I'm hearing.

I picked this early recording to remind myself of some of their early songs. The band is scheduled to begin their Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here tour in the UK this coming December during which they will perform songs never/rarely played over the last decade or longer. Yes, the thought of going has again entered my mind, to gnaw on me until the desired outcome is decided upon. I bought a ticket to their December 12th show in Liverpool, "just in case" I change my mind. I'm on that slippery slope again.

After listening to the music, I went inside and watched a pair of DVDs given to me by Steve, one on the subject of Eric's music club in Liverpool and a second on the Liverpool music scene at the time Eric's was hosting a myriad of bands that sprang up at the time, including the Sex Pistols (with Johnny "Rotten" Lydon) and the Bunnymen. These were taped right off the TV. I found the commercials to be just as interesting, seeing a slice of what British television is like.

Monday, May 10, 2010


John and I woke up late Sunday morning. After breakfast we visited several bookstores and toured the arts and craft show in Union Square. By mid afternoon he had to call it quits and head back home to Poughkeepsie, leaving me to fend for myself the remainder of the day. I spent the remainder of the afternoon walking the streets, visiting oddball shop that are scattered here and there. I found Public Image Limited's "Live in Tokyo" in a cubby hole of a record store, music to listen to during a virtual concert outdoors some future Saturday nights.

Back to to the hotel where I changed and prepared for tonight's show. Was standing near the front of the line shortly after 7 PM. I saw Brian, who I met in Liverpool where he got Ian to sign the 1984 tour book, and asked him whether they would have an after show party and he confirmed that it would be at the Beauty Bar just around the corner from the theater. Doors opened at 8 PM and I took my place right before the stage, knowing it was going to be a long wait. I was told that unlike yesterdays sell out show, tonight they had only 600 people in attendance. All I cared about were the few people standing in front of me.

I no longer recall who the warm up band was. A spacey sounding rock band that was far too loud with lots of feedback. The first thing I noticed people do is put their fingers in their ears to protect themselves from the bombardment of sound of the variety you can feel reverberating deep in your gut. Thank goodness for the earplugs I bring along for these occasions. The band was not well received by the crowd. It was over in less than 40 minutes. Now another hour long wait for The Bunnymen. At least we were entertained by an odd video on the screen above the stage.

Echo & The Bunnymen took the stage sometime after 10:30 PM. I forgot my baseball cap and so was forced to clip the mics to the edge of my glasses, which I now realize is not a wise decision (but was my only one) because it put them closer to my mouth and what was coming out of it during the performance. I was feeling good that night and was in the mood just to have fun, singing along and dancing to their music. What that meant was a near perfect recording of the show was, in my opinion, ruined because of my out of tune singing intruding now and then. You win some and you lose some. That's life. I had a hell of a good time in the process!

Ian and the band put on a nearly flawless performance. Ian was sounding better than the night before, although he spoke very little between songs. On this last night of the North American tour, his mind was on the performance. They swapped out a couple songs, inserting the infrequently played songs Crocodiles and Heads Will Roll to the joy of the audience. Near the end of the evening Ian took the time to thank everyone who played a role in their tour here in the states.

Echo & The Bunnymen: Live At The Fillmore
Colm McAuliffe
Monday, May 3rd, 2010 1:59 pm

Apart from a six year hiatus in the early nineties, Echo and the Bunnymen have been around for a whopping 32 years incorporating a glorious heyday from 1979-1984 whereupon the band released five albums which still eclipse anything released by their ‘Big Music’ contemporaries U2, Simple Minds or, heaven forbid, The Alarm.

Despite the sweltering New York heat, Ian McCulloch is as ever resplendent in an enormous coat, hoodie and shades and the six-piece line up put on a storming show, essentially a greatest hits, padded with a few selections from last years The Fountain. And despite battling a cold, McCulloch’s sonorous vocal is in fine fettle – the opening triumvirate of “Going Up”, “Show Of Strength” and the mighty “Rescue” were remarkable, the tinny record sound transformed into a much more muscular proposition on stage with Will Seargants whale like guitar scything through the proceedings. For a long-term fan like myself, the performance was close to perfect. To hear Seargant recreate Ravi Shankar’s sitar riff on ‘The Cutter’ was spellbinding; similarly, the band increased in confidence as the night wore on particularly with ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘The Killing Moon’ bringing the initial set to an apocalyptic conclusion.

Deciding to return for the first encore with 1997 comeback single ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ was perhaps the only blip in the set, I could never see the value of this sub-Verve dirge but finishing with ‘Do It Clean’ and ‘Lips Like Sugar’ redeemed matters entirely. The latter song’s position as most-shouted-for-song was a curious dichotomy in my eyes as by the time of it’s release, the band were on the way down for us Europeans yet their stock was merely rising here in the States.

McCulloch didn’t say much but he didn’t need to. This was a valedictory, majestic performance from a truly classic band.

The theater cleared out quickly after they finished playing their final song Do It Clean. I was able to snag Gordy's set list from off the stage. What I noticed was that they taped down one list with the same songs played the previous night, but then someone came through and taped a new set list on top of it that included Crocodiles and Heads Will Roll, as though a last minute change had been made just before the were scheduled to come on stage.

Waited outside for Will to exit the side door of the theater, thanked him for another great performance and watched him drive away. He graciously signed the set list before departing. I then immediately walked the couple blocks to the Beauty Bar where the after party was scheduled to happen. Will was already set up with his laptop spinning his sound. Gordy was there, as were Stephen and Jez. They too willingly signed the set list. I never have much to say to them since I feel as though I'm in the presence of gods. I simple watch and enjoy the music, taking in the whole experience.

I wander the streets afterwards, enjoying the fact I can safely drink all the liquids I want now that the show is over. A slice of pizza and a couple of cherry Italian ices eaten while seated on the curb of a building opposite the hotel, watching the traffic pass by at a time when the city was as close as it would ever be to falling asleep. Up to the room and I drop into a deep sleep.

Monday marked the end of the long weekend. Checked out at 11 AM. Wandered the streets of the city, making my way down to the financial district where I attempted to meet up with a college buddy of mine, Mike, from 30 years ago. I missed him by an hour, not having called and made plans to meet him in advance. I walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge and had an hour long cigar smoke midway across the East River, watching the steady stream of people and taking in the unique skyline. I returned to Mike's office and missed him a second time. Oh well, perhaps I'll do better when I return this coming summer. The E train takes me to Jamaica station where I catch the AirTrain to JFK. 4:30 PM and I'm at the airport. The flight back home is delayed, a bogus excuse given, but is probably due to the fact that they apprehended the suspected Times Square bomber at the airport about the time I was there. In Denver by 11:30 PM and home an hour later. It was all over, the events now just a memory.

Download it here:


Heads Will Roll:

Nothing Lasts Forever/The Fountain/Wild Side: