I'm ready to party. Oh, baby, am I ready to party. What makes me fired up? Great party tunes, like this one from Joe King Carrasco:
Ever been to Vegas? Wow, what a combination of weird that place is … and I like it. If you've been, you know what song you hear everywhere, and if not, here you go - this didn't stay in Vegas:
What is more goofy, campy and catchy than the B-52s? Here's a song that will get them up and dancing. And yeah, you strumpets remember trying to emulate this one back in college, right?
Are you ready to laugh at me? Here goes: Miley Cyrus, Party in the USA! Yup, I love it and think it's super fun. And while we're at it, how about the Spice Girls? Haha, yeah, girls like to dance, I like girls, girls like Miley and the Spice Girls, so voila!
OK, back to the harlots on this one. Billy Idol took a Tommy James and the Shondells song and turned it into a dance club staple. At the meat markets, people used to sing some nasty lyrics to this one, and it was funny at the time. And it still is! This is a clean site, so I won't embellish, but just ask the guys and girls who gave it up all the time - they'll know.
Did you catch a taste of late spring recently? Me, too. And you know what? It won't be long until summer comes. Especially now that the boys are here again!
That one makes me want to jump in a car with my friends, drive around drinking beer and looking for trouble, and digging the warm night.
OK, not my strongest post, but I'm CRAZY busy right now. The Man is, well, sadistic. I'll be back with a vengeance once I get the opportunity to catch my breath. In the meantime, I'll post when I can and try to work up some things that are worthy of your time.
Devil horns, mates!
Rankin' Roger RIP
I'm tired of this. I'm tired of the death of musicians who had a big impact on my life. The latest is Roger Charlery, better known as Ranking Roger, of the English Beat and General Public fame. RR died yesterday and with him went one of Two-Tones great artists. I'm bummed.
But I'm not going to let this turn into a damn dirge. Ranking Roger, along with Dave Wakeling, put out three fantastic albums as the leaders of the English Beat: I Just Can't Stop It, Wha'ppen?, and Special Beat Service. I have all three on CD. You want to hear a great track in honor of the man himself? Try this:
How cool is that video? I've seen the English Beat countless times, but mainly with Dave Wakeling leading the group and no RR. I did see them waaaaaaay back in the day with the original lineup. Let me tell you something: these guys are one of the most fun bands you will ever see live. Their energy, great tunes and stage presence just guaranteed a good time. Here's another EB song that I absolutely love and that I still listen to with some regularity:
Ranking Roger died at 56 years old suffering from two brain tumors and lung cancer. Crap. Why do humans have to suffer through that kind of stuff? It sucks.
But in life, Ranking Roger was fantastic, a true original, brilliant and inspired. He picked ska as his artistic outlet, and the world's a better place for it. Who doesn't love ska? People that don't like to dance, I guess. Truthfully, I don't really know because if you don't like ska, I don't hang out with you. The English Beat are one of the 10 best ska bands ever, and Ranking Roger was a key part of their success.
I miss my old musical friends. I'm sorry to see them go. The world isn't quite as good today as it was yesterday. Please join me in a moment of silence to honor Ranking Roger.
Done? Me, too. If you don't know me, I have a hard time keeping quiet, so that was hard for me.
Let's get back to it, ok? Ok! One more track to celebrate what RR did with his life that made me smile, laugh, sing, dance and live. God bless you, my man.
No, you didn't happen upon a sports blog by accident. I've just been out of my mind busy, and haven't been able to post much music stuff lately. And in between a boxing outing and March Madness, well, events happened that needed to be reported.
Last night, the Virginia Tech Hokies punched their ticket to the men's Sweet Sixteen by taking down a pesky Liberty team. Tech was in the East Region but inexplicably played its first two games in San Jose, CA. They now return to the real East (Washington, DC) to face the number one seed in the tourney, Duke.
Yes, I know, Duke is amazing. They have Zion and Barrett. They are probably going to beat the Hokies. But Duke almost lost to UCF, and as I recall, the overall number one seed in last year's tournament, UVA, lost to the last team in, UMBC (I loved typing that). And, oh yeah, VT did beat Duke in the regular season. It's why they play the games.
I'll be watching and rooting for the good guys on Friday. Even if they lose, it's been a fanstastic year for the Hokies, and it's exciting that they are still among the 16 remaining teams with a shot at the national title. And if they win? I'll be back. Regardless, we can all agree that we hate Duke, right?
And speaking of national titles and VT, Mekhi Lewis, a VT wrestler, won the individual national title this weekend in the 165 pound weight class. Congrats to Mekhi.
Duking It Out In Philly
Hey sports fans, long time, no see. Apologies for not posting lately, but my real life has been a tad overwhelming. The Man has paid his visits and wants more than just a pound of flesh. Thankfully, I have lots of help … not! Oh well, you roll with it and do your best, right?
I did take some time to go to the 2300 Arena in South Philly to see some pro boxing. Sure, sure, you don't like boxing because it's too violent. Whatever. It's hugely athletic and is probably one of the first sports known to man. I'm not hanging on everything coming out of King Sports, but I like to go to these bouts occasionally.
If you've never been to the 2300 Arena, you haven't experienced Philly. It's in a cruddy part of town surrounded a bunch of warehouses. No, no, it's not in Center City! And it's not a plush experience. Trust me on this: eat something before you go because the concession stand features that pizza that looks like it's got boxed cheese, ketchup and a tasty cardboard crust. But the 2300 Arena attracts the most diverse crowd I've ever been in - rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, male, female, old and young: they're all there. And the fights are fun with a fast-paced environment.
You've got all the fight accoutrements: the trainers, the ringmaster, the judges, the entourages, the ring girls (who got a night off from working at Delilah's), and the funky pageantry of the fighters themselves. One guy came out with a mask covering his face, haha, and a number of them feature seriously strange boxing trunks. Most of the bouts are 4 or 6 rounds, they cover all weight classes, and the fighters are professionals but usually very new in their careers. We got to hang by friends and families of two fighters, one of whom won a tight bout and one of whom got knocked out in the first round. Oops.
Many of the fighters are local guys, but the one guy who got knocked out was from Harrisburg. If you've been to Harrisburg, you would understand why you might choose boxing as a profession. Nonetheless, this young middle-heavyweight was nicknamed "Gallito," which means many things: cocky, rowdy, bantam. It also means a joint or spliff, so there is the double entendre going. Gallito was undefeated and facing a guy who had lost 3 times. But he let down his guard right as his opponent swung heavily into his jaw, and he dropped like a rock. I've never seen a match with the need for a stretcher, but they brought one ringside. Luckily, Gallito was able to eventually pop up and strut his tail feathers, albeit well between his legs, out of the ring and the arena, a humbler and wiser spartan.
I had been traveling that week and had had about a combined 8 hours sleep for the two previous nights. While I hung in there for the boxing, I wasn't up to the traditional run to the original Tony Luke's for a late night cheesesteak after the bouts. I get the Boo of the Week for being such a wimp! I promise to do better next time. In fact, I'm going to hit Rita's on the way home, too.
Hey, I'll be back pretty soon with a rock write-up of the Teenage Fanclub show. I got snowed out of seeing the Beths - crap, are you kidding me, we have no snow all year until I want to go see a show? - and I got screwed up on the Meek Mill show and missed that. Your humble blogger has a lot of egg on his face right now. But don't go away, because I'm going to be back soon with a vengeance! Come on by whenever you get the chance and we'll hang out for a while, ok? Thanks and see you soon.
What? You want some music? Fine, I always try to accommodate. How about this - the most famous Philadelphia sports figure ever, the fictional Rocky Balboa, with the amazing Rocky theme song. Like-y, right?
What the heck was BRP doing on North Broad on a Tuesday night? If you're not from Philly, you should know that the further north you go in this fair city, the more you are likely to find yourself in a neighborhood that you should not be in. But the city is changing, and one of the big changes is the latest music venue in town, The Met.
The Met is a former opera house that got a total revamp and reopened recently as a music theater/venue. They did a great job! The facility is beautiful, and the acoustics are to die for. And even the neighborhood seems ok. Check out these venue shots including the fabulous chandelier:
I'll show you more pictures of the stage once I start talking about the real reason I ventured up North Broad. However, it's still life, and everything isn't perfect. In fact, this picture tells a very bad story:
$50 to park? Are you kidding me? Not even the Phillies, Flyers, 76ers or Eagles charge that much, and they are notorious rip-off artists. I was very happy that I took an Uber up there from Center City. (And just so you know, the theater holds a few thousand, and the Ubers are plentiful after the show, so you can park your car somewhere more reasonable and just dash in and out. That's called sticking it to The Man! And in this case, The Man is probably Live Nation, who runs the joint. I don't care much for Live Nation and their $12.50 per ticket service fees. No sir.)
Someone paid something like $45 million to renovate the Met, and it's very nice. When you pay $45 million, you need to earn it back, right? Well, the bands that are playing the Met are helping out in the cause. These are the same bands that play venues like the Tower and charge a pretty hefty ticket price to get in. You know my sweet spot is between $15-30, and you can see an awfully large number of terrific performers for that. But not at the Met. Be prepared to unhitch the wallet from that chain, and pull out twenty after twenty, my friends.
So when you've already ponied up the big bucks to see a band, and then they try to bend you over for another $50 to park? Well, I think this little sticker I recently saw on a car sums up my feelings about the whole thing:
Hahaha, who puts that on their car (other than me)? I do know a few of my friends who walk that walk, but they don't freakin' advertise it! They just pop off and let their emotions roil them up until they, well, are choking someone. This is the kind of sticker that gets you into the back of a police car even when you did nothing.
Back to the show. There was a band playing the Met on Tuesday, and it is one fine outfit. The Tedeschi Trucks Band is probably the top blues-rock band out there right now. They tour constantly, have recorded a number of albums, and they are carrying the blues-rock torch for the next generation. I hate to say that they took the torch from the Allman Brothers Band, but there are enough links that the bonds are pretty strong. Regardless, they are worthy.
Formed out of the marriage of lead guitarist Derek Trucks and lead singer Susan Tedeschi, TTB is the outgrowth of prior bands that Susan and Derek each led. They met when Susan's band was opening for the Allman Brothers, and Derek was playing slide guitar in ABB. Susan robbed the cradle (she's about 8 years older than Derek), but their marriage did not immediately result in them combining their professional lives. Come 2010, however, the two blues stalwarts finally merged, and have been on a tear since then. In the picture below, Susan is the one in the green dress:
The band features two drummers, three horns, three backup singers, a fantastic keyboard player, bass and the two guitars of Derek and Susan. It's big, packs a lot of power with that percussion-heavy rhythm section, and the players are all top-notch. You want a wall of sound? Here you go. And with a venue as acoustically stunning as the Met, you can hear it all. I was really blown away by the fact that not only could I understand the lyrics, but that I could pick out individual instruments as the band jammed. That's not typical in a live show.
Also not typical is a freaking giant in the audience. I mean this dude was HUGE. Don't believe me? Check out this picture below and look at the size of that guy in the foreground. Yowza! Thankfully, he either moved or split early so that he doesn't appear in all my pictures.
Susan has a great blues voice - powerful, but inflective and ranging through the notes with skill. She's also a damn fine guitarist in her own right, and she demonstrated that on a few tunes with some terrific solos.
Derek is a slide guitar master. He was a child prodigy, playing clubs at age 9, and ended up playing in his uncle's band (ABB). TTB makes sure to highlight his prodigious capabilities on many songs, and while they jam, they don't go crazy. No Mountain Jam or Phish-like 20 minute songs. One cool thing about Derek is that he pretty much plays the same guitar the entire night - I'm not sure how a band like Wilco, who travels with a huge case of guitars, could handle a dude like Derek.
There isn't a lot of flash or dazzle at a TTB show. They come out with 12 people on stage, each one has their space, and they jam like crazy. Susan and Derek are the center of attention, but others get their solo parts and play prominent roles in the show. I've now seen them 4 or 5 times, and they are very consistent in terms of quality of musicianship (very high), length of their show (2.5 hours with an intermission between sets), lack of an opening act (nice!), and variety of songs that they play. No TTB show is exactly alike, and they do a lot of covers, particularly in the second set and during encores. Here's a link to the setlist from Tuesday's show:
I love the song Made Up Mind, and the band played a blistering version near the end of the show - it rocked and the crowd loved it.
The audience is primarily baby boomers, but there are plenty of younger people enjoying the show, too. Expect to hang with a pretty nice group of people who enjoy a cocktail or two but don't get smashed, and who are respectful of others in the crowd. They still smoke a lot of weed, too. And they aren't afraid to stand up all night and dance and groove. Unfortunately, the boomers have money, and the competition for good seats means that you are going to pony up some dough. Oh well, at least they're nice.
We enjoyed the heck out of the evening, as we have every time we've seen TTB. They're a really good live act, and have a deep repertoire of tracks from which to draw. And it's worth emphasizing again the sheer quality of the musicians that are in this band - it is really high.
Next up for BRP? The Beths out of New Zealand. They're playing the acoustically dismal First Unitarian Church in Center City, but man, their first album is incredibly good and I'm really looking forward to that show. However, before I post about that, I'm going to rile up those who hate the sweet science because, yes, I was back in South Philly at the 2300 Arena for a night of boxing. It will be a short post, but it will be life-altering.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by and taking a break from your busy lives to hang out with me. You have no idea how cool it is to be around such a terrific group of people like the BRP regulars. If you see me at a show, stop by and say hi, and give me some feedback. In the meantime, go and enjoy your day and come on back shortly. Love ya!
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.