Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Moore, Oklahoma. Watching the footage on national news last night was jawdropping. It is unfathomable to even imagine such devastation and what it would be like to be caught in one.
What a fantastic weekend I had in Cleveland. It's easy to become oblivious to your surroundings. The town you live in becomes mundane. I love the advice I once heard about trying to see your city through the eyes of a tourist when you make your daily rounds.
Friday night I met up with old friends at a relatively new spot, The Oak Barrel, in Valley View on Canal Rd. It's in the same space once occupied by Hoggie's. This sunny afternoon found people playing cornhole in an outdoor rec area complete with fire pit. That it was an island in the middle of a big movie theater parking lot didn't really detract from the vibe. A live band was setting up on the adjacent patio.
Inside, the remodel of the Hoggie's space felt warm even in the cavernous room though it does get quite loud. The chatter of the good looking crowd made for a lively happy hour. I hear the food is great too.
Saturday I headed to the upscale sports bar in Rocky River, The Market, to watch the Preakness. I just don't get a good vibe in this place. The bartenders act as if they're doing you a favor. And when I had to surrender my credit card to run a tab while the guy next to me didn't I was somewhat offended by the profiling. I guess longer hair and a Stones t-shirt scares people.
Later that night I made my way to The Winchester in Lakewood to catch Grant-Lee Phillips. I wrote about him on Friday. Of course I ran into some fellow music freaks who's taste in good music mirrored mine. I was even offered a seat at a reserved table by a couple of them. Thanks Matt and Annie.
Phillips was in fine form. His amicable personality never came through in Grant Lee Buffalo shows but this night he told great stories and had us laughing. Phillips warm, resonant voice sounded great in the acoustically ideal venue.
Sunday was Cleveland's day to shine. And I'm not merely talking about another perfect weather day. It was the running of the Cleveland Marathon as I took to my own road race on my mountain bike riding from West Park to University Circle for the long running Hessler Street Fair.
The Hessler Street Fair, with its historic hippie vibe, was made even more far out by a band list stacked heavy with local reggae acts. The juxtaposition of the decidedly liberal Hessler hippies and grads with their families dressed to the nines made me smile.
If I weren't so magnetically drawn to the reggae music I'd have checked out the Asian Fest in midtown as well. Instead I took a break and walked over to the newly opened ABC Tavern Uptown right next to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). The calamari app for $6.75 was delicious.
To top it off the Cleveland Indians continued their tear with back to back walk-off wins Friday and Saturday and a blow out on Sunday against Seattle. I'll take Cleveland over Seattle and I'm not only talking about baseball.
Riding a bike from one side of town to the other is so easy now. There's a bike lane that runs along Euclid Avenue from Public Square to University Circle. I'm hoping the one in the works for Detroit Ave. on the westside happens soon.
As I rode along the route, the magnificent architecture looking even more grand in the setting sunlight, I came to feel the palpable change in Cleveland. This town is on the verge of greatness.
Grant Lee Buffalo was the most underrated band of the 1990s. Taking a mix of alt-country, hard rock, classic rock and glam they melded it into a sound that was very much their own.
I came across their debut, Fuzzy, while DJing at WBWC, Baldwin-Wallace College back when I was a community volunteer in the early 90s. I'm sure the CD is still int their library with my gushing review taped to the jewel case. It sounded like a cross between David Bowie and R.E.M. and I was an instant fan.
I saw the band every time they played Cleveland. Grant-Lee Phillips, who's playing The Winchester Music Hall in Lakewood Saturday (May 18), talks about those Cleveland appearances with Emmet Smith of the Plain Dealer, Grant-Lee Phillips talks native ancestry, fatherhood and getting into trouble in the Flats ahead of Winchester show.
The fans at those shows were as rabid as me, and we were such an eclectic lot. There were metalheads, folkies, and indie hipsters. I remember dragging the PDs Michael Heaton to a show in an attempt to convert him. That show at The Odeon in the flats sticks in my mind for the warm up music played between sets. I think the opener was Giant Sand. Between them and GLB Phillips chose to play Brian Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy in its entirety. I was in heaven.
So Saturday night I'll be at the Winchester to see a solo Grant-Lee Phillips. Phillips is much more introspective these days, turning to a more folk based approach. His last album, Walking In The Green Corn, has nary an electric moment on it. The songs still remain well written and well sung. It should make for an intimate performance.
According to the story, Google Inks Deal With Sony, Universal for Streaming Music Service, the new streaming music service may be announced today. They had already come to terms with Warner Music Group and with these new signings the pieces are in place.
As an Apple guy I'm not too happy about this. I've been hoping for a long time now that we'd see a streaming music service from them and now Google has beaten them to the punch.
Even if the Google streaming service is launched I'm going to stick with Spoitify for now. For one, I have a good amount of time vested in compiling playlists. And I'm still hoping that Apple, the once visionary company, takes off its blinders and sees that the future is streaming music and not the iTunes store.
Is the Great Gatsby a good movie? I haven't seen it so I don't know. Metacritic has it rated 55. Not too good. That it was pulled from a Christmas 2012 release date is a red flag.
I can tell you that the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic. Read that instead.
The story takes place during a time some refer to as the jazz age. The new, purely American form of music was just being conceived.
There's two soundtracks to the movie. One contains usual suspects like Jay-Z, Will.i.am, Lana Del Rey, etc. It's about as mediocre as the film. Then there's this, The Great Gatsby - The Jazz Recordings (A Selection of Yellow Cocktail Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film. Here we have newly record music by The Bryan Ferry Orchestra. Earlier this year Ferry released a collection of his Roxy Music songs arranged for this 1920s style jazz band.
Listening to this yellow cocktail music has me wanting to host a Gatsby-style party. Now how do you make bathtub gin?
In a somewhat hypocritical gesture I'm calling on Cleveland Indians fans to go see your baseball team live. I say hypocritical because I really don't like watching baseball in cold weather. So I don't typically get to Progressive Field until, well, around this time of year.
Attendance for the past few years at the Cleveland Indians ballpark has been anemic. Far from those crazy days of sell out after sell out in the 90s. It was understandable though. The team was bad and ownership was not keen on spending much to improve things on the field.
That changed this off season when Dolan spent some good bucks to sign people like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn. And though things looked dreary in April, today the Cleveland Indians are tied for first place with the Detroit Tigers thanks to a well fought series in Detroit over the weekend.
Today the New York Yankees come to town to make up two games rained out in the season home opener series. Better yet, the games are being played in an old fashioned doubleheader where the price of one game buys you two. On the downside, we're back to April temperatures. Even so I predict a good crowd today since it is the Yankees times two.
It'll warm up in a day or so and the Indians are red hot. They say Cleveland is a football town. Nonsense. There's plenty of baseball fans. Fans who for whatever reason have been staying away from Progressive Field. Beer and hot dog prices are, dare I say, reasonable this year. There's really no excuse not to catch a Tribe game right now.
Mothers of Invention
Mamas and the Papas
Mother Love Bone
Every Mothers Son
The Mother Hips
I first wrote about The New Soft Shoe, a Gram Parson's tribute band here in Cleveland back in March of 2010, Gram Parsons Tribute Band Soon To Be The Rage In Cleveland. And while it may not be the rage it does bring out a large crowd to its 12 annual appearances at the Happy Dog.
The homage always takes place on the second Thursday of the month and tonight's performance has an early start time of 7pm. I'm a fan of these early start shows. The set concludes at 9. Plenty of time to get home and get a good night's sleep for the majority of us who have to work in the morning.
It may also be an insentive for those of you who are fans of Gram Parsons but have not caught this terrific band. As a friend of mine, who is out seeing live shows more than just about anyone I know, said "there's no better group of musicians in town performing on these Thursday nights".
I've been on a particular music message board for nearly a decade. I've been an active member with easily over 10,000 posts. This week the url began leading to a page that couldn't be found. So now I'm wondering if it's been shut down forever.
Message boards were one of the first forms of social media, long before Facebook or My Space. These boards create a strong sense of community. So much so that in the early days of boarding I would begin to worry about other members who'd stop posting. Had something bad happened to them? They'd become cyber friends.
Something happened with the advent of modern day social media though. For one, my social circle is much bigger than it ever was on the message board. It's nearly impossible to account for everyones status day by day. Has this hardened me, made me more insensitive? Or have I finally compartmentalized cyber and real relationships, knowing that I simply cannot invest personal, heartfelt concern over thousands of people?
I love when cyber relationships turn real. Meeting friends from Facebook in person is fun and leads quickly to real life friendship.
The music message board was based out of Chicago with members from all over the world. Over the years I'd met a handful of them. One came to Cleveland on business and we coordinated a meet up at a bar. Another time I boarded a few of them who were on a cross country baseball stadium trek. I even rendezvoused with a member in Paris, france.
If the message board had gone dead years ago I'd be angst-ridden. But the board, like many I assume, has watched membership and participation decline as people concentrate their online social life to larger communities like Facebook and Twitter.
Still, I'm wondering if my music message board has become Atlantis or Pompey. Or maybe it just crashed and the programmers are trying to repair it. To be honest, I'm still a bit anxious.
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