For The Love of Motown Metal
Do you ever go to classic car shows? I'm not a motorhead, but I have fun poking around and looking at lovingly restored classic cars. I used to go a fair amount when my son was little because he was waaaaaaaay into cars back in the day. But now, it's more like once-per-year (if that). I went to one in Chesapeake City, got some good shots of some funky and classic cars, and thought a little bit of summertime fun would warm you on this freezing winter day. I also saw some other cars this summer that I thought you might want to see, too, and took some pictures of them. This is primarily a photo essay, but I'll pop in some songs and commentary where needed. Let's turn the ignition and hit the gas. I said hit the damn thing!
I really don't understand young people who don't want to drive or get their license. Say what? I got my license on the day I turned 16. It was freedom, fun, riding with the boys and getting into trouble. Let's not mention the word "moon" here, ok? The Beach Boys and NRBQ caught the freedom thing and the love of the vehicle itself. Here we go:
Back to the cars. Do you love woodie wagons? They are so beautiful. I saw quite a few, including a custom bus/camper thing that was out of this world. I love the surfing/skateboarding culture (I was a big skater back in the day), and these vehicles are enmeshed with the romance of that lifestyle. Of course, that lifestyle is basically changed forever and will never go back to the woodie days. But I'm a romantic, and these cars spoke to me.
Driving around town, you sometimes see interesting vehicles. I was in Florida a bit ago, and a guy had a hydraulic system that allowed him to go up on three wheels. He was popped up like that as he came around the corner of a very busy intersection. It was cool. I want one for my own car so that I can blast around a corner into work on three wheels and blow The Man's mind. The Man, of course, would be worried that I might damage his BMW and probably have me barred from the parking lot.
How weird is this? That image up above is of a casket. I saw it at a museum in Seattle. You've gotta love cars an awful lot to want to be buried in one. Hmmm.
That's a Corvair truck with the side loader. I had never seen one before, and had no idea that they made them. Interesting.
Fins! What a silly but cool thing. They go so big that they messed with the aerodynamics of the car and became dangerous.
Can you imagine a car show in 30 years? Will it be "here's a hybrid. I hated how it started and stopped all the time." Or, "here's a Tesla, way back before they went bankrupt trying to compete with electric cars from the established manufacturers." Who knows?
That's it for the cars. I have another one of interesting motorcycles, scooters, and other two-wheeled transportation devices. I'll pop that up soon/when I get to it. Here are a couple more tracks about cars to get you on your way. The Rockpile one is a true classic. Enjoy!
Vermeer, Master of the Light
I hail from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., which is why BRP has a bit of a southern twang to it. Growing up within a stone’s throw from DC was great if you, like me, love the visual arts. DC offers a smorgasbord of great art museums, including the National Gallery of Art, the NGA’s East Wing, the Phillips collection, the Hirshorn, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery of Women in the Arts, and the specialty Asian collections of the Freer and the Sackler. Oh yeah, and the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art, the Kreeger, and Hillwood’s remarkable Russian collection. And you know what’s best about these museums? If you think I’m going to say their world-class collections, well, you are correct.
But in a close second is that most of them are FREE. Regular readers know that BRP loves FREE. I think it’s really nice of the American taxpayer to fund these institutions even though most of them will never trek through these spaces. I hit them over and over again when I lived there, and still go frequently when I am in town. What a nice taxpayer-funded gift to the residents of the 5 richest counties in America that surround the District of Columbia.
Anyway, even the special exhibitions are free at most of these institutions. And there is a very special exhibition that is on right now at the National Gallery of Art: Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry. I love the Dutch Masters, and not just their cheap-ass cigars. Vermeer is at the top of DM heap, an innovator and master of lighting in his paintings. He's the third from the left in the picture below:
While not solely focused on Vermeer, the exhibit features 10 of his paintings. That’s amazing as there are only about 35 confirmed Vermeers that exist in the world. If you like Vermeer, you better get in your car and point it down I-95 because this is money in the bank. The show focuses on paintings from the mid-1650s to around 1680, when there was some serious competition ongoing in the DM circles, particularly around genre painting (genre = art curator smug talk for depictions of daily life). I like that these painting don’t focus on religious themes, but instead show scenes in household spaces of rich ladies and gentlemen. It’s very cool and was among the most striking innovations of Dutch painting of the Golden Age when the tiny Netherlands briefly was a world superpower.
In all, there are almost 70 works by Vermeer and his fellow painters, including Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, Caspar Netscher, and Jan Steen, who lived in various towns throughout Holland. The show does a great job of comparing and contrasting paintings whether they are related by theme or motif or composition. It highlights how the artists were aware of each other’s work, and how they used this knowledge to further inspire and push their own artistic output. The result is nothing short of fantastic.
I must tell you that I have struggled with Vermeer at times. Sometimes I thought that he simply used an artistic technique of luminosity perfected by modern hacks like Thomas Kincaid, but after seeing this show, it’s clear that Vermeer was in a league of his own. His paintings are placed directly next to those of the other artists and show similar subjects or compositions. Yet the Vermeer’s demonstrate a mastery of light and technique that elevate his paintings to another level. And believe me, the other artists’ on display here were amazingly good in their own right.
The exhibition is crowded as you would expect. On a recent Sunday, we hit it about 15 minutes after the museum opened, and still stood in a decent-sized line to enter. The paintings are small, and some of our fellow art lovers took that as an invitation to stand mere inches away from the paintings so that they could scrutinize each work. Maybe that is cool in your private spaces, but when your head is blocking the view of all the other people who are accompanying you in your tour of the show, that’s called being rude and uncool. It was most satisfying for me to take one selfish patron’s head and simply smash it right into one the Vermeers, breaking the viewer’s nose and setting off a terrific alarm and scene. OK, that didn’t really happen, but man, it would have been pleasing if it had.
Other than the scourge of the fatheads, everything else was a solid achievement. The exhibition is well laid out, has a very informative and detailed FREE booklet describing the various paintings, and it is housed in the beautiful space of the NGA West Wing, which was decorated for the holidays. It doesn’t get much better than that. If you are thinking “maybe I should go and see this show,” stop thinking and start acting. It’s only on until January 21, and the opportunity to see this many Vermeers in one place in the US - and did I mention it’s FREE? - is simply too good to pass up. It’s like the show of Greek bronzes that the NGA put on about a year ago: world class, comprehensive, and FREE.
I’ll be back to the music soon enough. Or maybe not. I have a couple of picture-heavy things to show you soon (but I’ll sprinkle in appropriate accompanying music) that I have been saving for the cold months of winter. I hope you are staying warm wherever you are, and remember that the days are already getting longer and the sweet sounds and smells of spring will return soon enough. Hey, pitchers and catchers report in about 6 more weeks. Hang in there. In the meantime, BRP will keep you warm. Pull up here next to the fire and cuddle in with me. Mmmm, that’s better.
Would you be pissed off if you bought pretty expensive tickets to a show and then it got, first, postponed, and then a few days later, cancelled? That happened to me recently. I was in the midst of three shows in three nights (can you keep up with the old man, kiddies?), and BAM, out of the blue comes the email postponing the show. Crap. And then a few days later, the cancellation. Who committed this violation? None other than the former Smiths’ frontman, Morrissey. Rock never dies? Not for us old folks.
The show being cancelled, I took the night off and gathered my strength for the next night’s performance by LCD Soundsystem. When I told some people I was going to LCD S, they were like, “I didn’t know you liked them.” Maybe I have a well-deserved reputation for hitting power-pop and punk shows, but damn, kids, in the BRP era (less than 2 years) I have also seen Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, and bands that are much closer musically to LCD S, like Joywave, Silversun Pickups, Bleachers and Sleigh Bells. I also like Passion Pit a lot. And if I ever get a chance to see KC and the Sunshine Band, I will step on and over your body to beat you to the front row.
LCD S is a Brooklyn-based electronic/dance band fronted by James Murphy. You might be familiar with them through their Nike commercial soundtrack. Ryan told me about this, and I checked it out, and instantly recognized the music. LCD S put out an album called 45:33 which was made as a workout track for Nike. It’s basically one song, but LCD S subsequently split it up into a number of different songs. That’s kind of different.
LCD S put out three albums then called it quits in 2011. They reformed in 2015, and put out their fourth album, American Dream, in September 2017. They then decided to launch a tour, and came to Philly to play 3 sold out shows at the Fillmore. I was hoping they would play two of my favorites, Daft Punk is Playing at My House and North American Scum, but they chose not to do so. But the show was still most excellent. Here’s a link to the setlist:
A couple of thoughts about this show. First, I now bring to concerts a small Canon 35mm camera (not an SLR, but one of those $150 jobs where you point and shoot) that I use to supplement my iPhone. It’s small, nothing fancy, but has a good zoom lens and allows me to get angles and shots that fail on the iPhone. You have seen plenty from the Canon recently. But they wouldn’t let me bring in the camera to this show on instructions from the band. I made the obvious argument that everyone in the club has a camera with them, and it’s stupid to single out this small, non-professional camera. Were they denying everyone admittance with their phone? The answer was no, but no cameras. There is no arguing with The Law – I fought it and lost - and so I had to go back to my car and put the camera away and then reenter. What a crock of crap. The net result is that all I have are iPhone shots, and the quality is what it is.
Next, you can say all you want about 6 members being in the band, but LCD S is James Murphy. He’s the focal point, the guy who writes all the songs, and the creative genius behind the entire thing. And with all the electronica up on stage, it’s hard to tell who is actually playing anything other than hitting the “play” button.
The band is in love with lighting, particularly strobes. I haven’t been to a show with this many strobes since seeing Sleigh Bells. I don’t know how you fare with strobes, but one woman next to me was struggling mightily, closing her eyes and ultimately leaving her spot. I was never one for spinning rides as a kid, and that sense of disorientation brought on by rapid or spinning movement hasn’t aged well with me. I closed my eyes, looked down, and eventually just powered through, but seriously, strobe lights are something that 7th graders think are really cool. I think it was a detriment.
But the music itself was exactly what you would expect. Heavy dance grooves and good lyrics. The band plowed through about 2 hours of tunes that kept the crowd moving the entire time. They did leave the stage about ¾ of the way through, but it was hard to tell if the return was an encore or not. If it was, it was certainly unconventional as Murphy announced that they would take a break to go pee and grab a drink, and the audience wasn’t compelled to cheer and chant until they came back on stage. It seemed more like a short intermission, ala the Feelies, than a typical encore. The band was smart enough not to come back with a boring ballad (I don’t think that is in their repertoire anyway) and jumped right back into the groove and the crowd chugged on.
I was happy to have attended the show even though I think the setlists from their other Philly nights were superior. I think LCD S is a band whose music will endure for a long time – they are special – and seeing them move about 3000 souls all at once and in time with the music was fun and satisfying. Even the one-percenters up in the rich seats were up and jamming with the band, which begs the question of why pay substantially extra for seats if the point is to stand and dance?
LCD S is the last live show for me for 2017. It’s been an amazing year full of great music. I’ll be back very soon with artistry of a different type, and then other stuff including some musical thoughts. I have a few shows lined up for 2018 already, and I’m already getting the itch to go see some live tunes. I hope you had a great year, too, and that wherever you are, you are making a 2018 resolution to, in the words of P Funk, “get off your ass and jam.” Hahaha, I try not to cuss on BRP, but oh well, sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. See ya.
Jolly Old St. Nick Names
Hey y'all, I've been thinking a lot about St. Nick and how he always brings me sticks, ashes and dirt, and it got me to thinking about his name. Or his various nicknames. Santa Claus? Yup, that's one. Kris Kringle? Yeah, that's another. How about The Man With The Bag?
How in the devil did Brian Setzer go from the Stray Cats to becoming the king of big band/rockabilly Christmas? I'm sure there is a story, but it's quite a career path regardless.
All of these nicknames got me to thinking. You see, I'm a big nickname guy. I give them out all the time, and have done so forever. For instance, at Virginia Tech (I would say "at college," but then again, if you can't go to college, you go to Tech) there were FOUR people named "Bill" on my dorm hallway. We couldn't all go by Bill, so pretty soon there was a Wally, a Spike and a Bubba. Guess who stayed Bill? Yup, me. You see, if you give out the names, you usually don't get tagged yourself. In the spirit of the season of giving, I've always found it better to give than receive on the nickname front. I'm not sure what that is all about, but it's just my thang.
And being the cynical, ugly, and mean dude that I am, you generally don't want to be on the receiving end of one of my nicknames. The college nicknames were tame. Do you have a physical attribute that makes you stand out? Well, I've tagged people Secretariat (horse jaw), Liver Lips (pretty self-descriptive), Blockhead (large, prominent, square noggin), Umlaut (you figure it out) and Ratso Rizzo (herky-jerky motions just like the guy in Midnight Cowboy).
Other people had certain combinations of physical and behavioral attributes that led to their monikers. Superfly? Yup, I know one.
A couple of freshman in college that followed around an upperclassman? Big Puppy and Little Puppy. A dude who wanted to hang out with us at work when we went out for beers? Little Brother. A guy who weasled around the office and looked like a lab rat? Rodent. A woman with the zesty personality of a TV character? Lilith.
A wimpy dude who whined constantly? Milquetoast. A person who would suck up to whatever boss was in the room at the time? Lap Dog. My buddy who got the worst assignments all the time? Piss Boy.
And of course, the play on names. The person who's last name was Pelt? Beaver. A guy named Clifford? Big Dog. The big rough dude named Jerry? Jerry Amour.
I did violate the rule on nicknames, however. I gave myself one when I created this blog. BillyRocksPhilly - puke! Oh well, that's how it goes. Ultimately, you eat your young.
I don't know how I get on these mindless riffs, but I'm glad you hang out with me while I do. I'm still working on that LCD Soundsystem review. And I also have that Vermeer, Painter of Light thing. Oh, and a couple of jaunts primarily of photos that I've been saving up. Looks like my holidays will be filled hanging out with you and yours. Be sure to give the website address this holiday and turn more people on to the site. It's always the best way to get back at your enemies, which is what the spirit of giving can sometimes be about. See you soon - you know I'm thinking of you all the time.
Christmas at BRP
The Santa pat-down! Oh no, ho ho ho, it's that time of year again at BRP. Irreverence is our specialty, but then again, Christmas is serious business. According to Statista.com:
"Christmas is typically the largest economic stimulus for many nations around the world as sales increase dramatically in almost all retail areas. The United States' retail industry generated over three trillion U.S. dollars during the holidays in 2013. These holiday sales reflected about 19.2 percent of the retail industries total sales that year. As a result, just over 768 thousand employees were hired throughout the United States to compensate for the holiday rush."
Wow, that's a lot of clams, so maybe that's why Santa is being patted down - is he keeping a little bit too much for himself? Hmmmm.
But Christmas is not all about the bucks. As Jethro Tull reminds us in their Christmas Song, there is another reason for the season. I'm a big Tull fan having seen them live a number of times. And I'm already committed to see their 50th Anniversary show in September in Philly. Here's a quick YouTube hit on the Tull Christmas Song:
But wait a dang minute. There are some other serious rockers who did Christmas tunes of a different variety. Many suck, and I refuse to push them on you even though it is the season of giving. Here are two worthy ones: First, the Kinks with Father Christmas:
Man, did the Kinks ever rock! I've seen them and they are proud ancestors to what became heavy metal, punk and power pop. God bless 'em!
And now here is the overplayed but still great Springsteen version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town:"
Now, that's just plain fun, right? After hearing that, even Santa wants in on the rockin' Christmas theme.
But wait. Something is missing. What's the most fun Christmas music ever? I have no idea, but I do know a very worthy candidate. And it's not even rock. Jazz? Hey, it's another great American musical art form beloved all over the world. So here we go with some jazzy Christmas stuff:
You have to like that no matter what religion you practice, what holiday you celebrate, or whatever you do on December 25.
Hey, rockers, I hope that each of you has a wonderful season. Remember, the themes of peace on earth, charity, and good will to man are universal. I'm going to be back with more, lots more, and I hope that you join me. In the meantime, I hope that your Christmas dreams come true.
Todd, Back in the Hood
I had some Hot Toddies last Sunday. Wait a minute, I don’t drink alcohol anymore (I’m in the damn Hall of Fame for my previous abuse, however.) What’s this all about? Well, it’s about a famous Philadelphian’s latest concert tour, supporting a new album called Hot Toddies. The tour’s name is the WHITE KNIGHT ChivalRock Tour, which as far as I can tell has nothing to do with Hot Toddies. Who is behind all this confusion? None other than Todd Rundgren.
Todd was back in the Philly area picking up some dough and having a good time. He brought along a group of tight musicians named Prairie Prince, Kasim Sulton, Jesse Gress and Greg Hawkes and two backup singers/dancers/groove artists known as the Global Girls, Ashle Worrick and Grace Yoo. The band was challenged as they played rock, electronica, rap, global and jazz while Todd gave a grand tour of his historical musical output. He played songs from his solo days, Utopia, and everything up to the latest album. Phew!
I’ve already written about Todd as a Philly legend. His career as a producer is astounding, and he is an influential and ever-changing musical artist in his own right. But he’s also a video artist and computer software developer. The guy is a damn prodigy. His live show incorporates all of his disparate talents.
For a guy who is almost 70, Rundgren still looks great, can move and dance, and was even a master of the costume change. Sometimes he just sang, sometimes he just played guitar, and sometimes he did both. Check out the photos: I captured him in a bunch of different outfits, and he played his encore barefoot. I am struggling with whether that hair color is natural, but hey, at least he still has a headful. An incredibly talented musician (he played all the instruments on his 1970s era double album Something/Anything), he ripped a few solo leads on the guitar that had the crowd howling.
The crowd was appreciative, but not exactly up and jamming. Most of them appeared to qualify for full social security benefits, but at least they were still out there having fun and not at home bitching about how old they are and their body ain’t what it used to be. Whose body is what it used to be? Mine benefitted from all of those years sitting atop barstools rather than abusing it with real work.
The show was at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, which features seating in a renovated movie-theatre setting. It could use some sprucing up, but Glenside is a charming little town very close to Chestnut Hill, and parking is free if you’re willing to walk a block or two. And it’s safe and you’re not required to take the grand tour of broken glass like you do when parking near Union Transfer and the Electric Factory. The Keswick gets some pretty solid acts. For instance, Squeeze just played there, and Southside Johnny and the Jukes are coming soon. Todd always plays there (I saw him there on a tour about 15 years ago), and he always acknowledges that it’s “Philly” even though it technically isn’t.
I certainly didn’t know every song that was played. In fact, far from it. Todd has a large musical catalog, and he drew from a lot of different periods. He went way back on his encore, playing One World from his Utopia period, and Hello, It’s Me from Something/Anything. He didn’t play Bang on the Drum, We’ve Got to Get You a Woman, or my personal favorite, I Saw the Light. But no worries, the show was highly entertaining.
The Global Girls were a fun add to the show. They had good voices, dressed in fun and sexy outfits, danced to choreographed moves for each song (including some that Todd also participated in), and added a spice not often seen in rock shows. Similarly, there were some interesting visuals that were used throughout the show, from videos to psychedelic projections behind the stage. We had great seats in the 5th row, and that proximity always helps to enhance the personal experience of a show.
Todd’s show was the 3d night in a row that I was out tom-catting around. But guess what? There were still two more consecutive nights still upcoming – Morrissey and LCD Soundsystem. I’ll get to those soon enough, but let’s appreciate that The Kid ain’t dead yet! Oh, and I just saw a pretty solid show on 17th Century Dutch genre painting featuring Johannes Vermeer, who won the Thomas Kincaid Painter of Light Award well before Thomas Kincaid was born. If I’m still doing BRP, I’ll write that sucker up, too.
One more thing before I leave. BRP readership has been pumped up lately. I’m stunned that anyone would ever venture back here more than once, and I’m humbled that you keep coming back. Thanks so much! I like doing this just because it’s fun for me, but I’m really happy that you find it worth your precious time to swing by every now and again.
Here’s a great tip if you’re pressed for time: log in and peruse BRP while you are at work! I learned a long time ago that the perception of working like a dog is more important than the reality. That doesn’t mean that you come in telling your boss how hard you work – the boss never believes it anyway. Rather, you cultivate the perception of being a workhorse by being in the office, hunkering over your computer, hitting the keys, and grunting now and again. Your boss will walk by and go “good, working for once,” when, in reality, you are just messing around, as usual. So reading BRP at work is a damn two-fer! You have fun, and you stick it to the greedy and insatiable Man. And no worries about the workload – it will still be there looking you in the eye tomorrow. I’m seriously thinking about telling the Man to take his job and shove it.
That does it for me for this show and this post. It’s getting close to Christmas, and that means I better start working on my holiday list. Believe it or not, I already have tickets for a show that takes place in September 2018. How about you? Get your shopping done, and yes, I will go to that show with you if you’re springing for the tickets.
BRP fans, welcome back! As you know, I've been riffing on band names and whether I like them or not. I do virtually no research and just call 'em as I see 'em. That may be stupid because sometimes the names are clever inside jokes, or have some personal history that is missed without having the background. But then again, if you don't get the joke without having to do some research, doesn't that qualify as a violation? It's rock, not school, and who the heck wants to do rock research?
OK, ok, I'm also a bit lazy.
Moving on, let's get to some band names and have some fun. Are you with me? Good, please fasten your seat belt (I'm not going to show you how - only airlines do that. And how demeaning is that? You don't know how to buckle a seat belt? Why don't they follow that up by saying that condescending means talking down to people?). Enough! You've lasted this long and you need to be rewarded. Check out this video:
AC/DC – Aussies playing tricks with the divergent electrical grids used throughout the world, and also invoking sexual deviance. Not bad. And at this point, iconic. Good job, lads!
Destroyer – great name, but the dude doesn’t live up to it. Don’t you think metal or punk? Well it’s electronic. Hmmm, ok.
Adam and the Ants – Say what? Ant music, yeah, right baby. I actually like some A and the A songs, but it was a rock concept thing that was more unusual than most. Bring on the ant glam!
Led Zeppelin – What to make of this band name? If it was spelled “lead” like the metal, that would make some sense, you know, heavy metal but soaring above the rest in their zeppelin. I guess that’s the point anyway from the guys normally attributed with the founding of heavy metal. I love ‘em, still play ‘em, and am glad that they existed. Not very good live, however.
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Named after one of the boys’ high school teachers, it’s pretty funny unless you are the real Leonard. It’s adolescent in a way, but so is a lot of rock itself. And how good were these guys? Yup, that good. Southern humor meets southern culture with 3 loud lead guitars. Free Bird! Perfecto. How about a great song that makes me love being a southerner? Here ya go:
Save Ferris – Hey, I’m a big Ferris Bueller’s Day Off fan, too. I like the name, and I like ska. I’m into this name!
Southern Culture on the Skids – How crazy is this band’s name? Southern culture is rising, baby, bring me some BBQ, greens and religion. What happens when that culture hits the skids? People don’t shop at Wal-Mart anymore and quit going to SEC games? Whatever, this band is full of clever and funny songs. A buddy of mine became a semi-groupie for a while. Now THAT I don’t understand.
Ash – Found a name no one else had used. Why not Dirt? Or Soap? Great great band, but average average name.
Bananarama – Shy boy! Venus! Cruel Summer! Stupid name!
Minor Threat – Now, this is a great name for a punk band. Founded when the members were all minors under the law, and using a double entendre by recognizing that their commercial reach was likely to be limited because of the threatening nature of punk rock, it is genius. It doesn’t hurt that the band itself was one of the best punk bands ever. And Straight Edge, too, and not cowed into drinking / doing drugs because they have no spine to stand up to peer pressure. Proud to have some DC hometown guys just grip it and rip it. Here are the lyrics to the song in the next video:
I'm a person just like you
But I've got better things to do
Than sit around and fuck my head
Hang out with the living dead
Snort white shit up my nose
Pass out at the shows
I don't even think about speed
That's something I just don't need
I've got the straight edge
I'm a person just like you
But I've got better things to do
Than sit around and smoke dope
Cause I know I can cope
Laugh at the thought of eating ludes
Laugh at the thought of sniffing glue
Always gonna keep in touch
Never want to use a crutch
I've got the straight edge
I've got the straight edge
I've got the straight edge
I've got the straight edge
Did that make you feel uncomfortable? Oh, c'mon, this isn't a temperance movement, but it is a freedom movement. Be what you are, and be proud of it.
More bands? OK, just a few, and here's one that will make you feel good about alcohol and drug use.
The Libertines – Fantastic name for a rock band. If there is anything that summarizes the rock spirit more than being a libertine, I want to know what it is. And they live up to their name – beer, shots, heroin, bring it on. No straight edge to be found here.
The Dickies – named after work clothes? Ok, the everyman band. But they aren’t – they’re witty, funny and silly, unlike the common man who is pissed, disaffected and voted for an imbecile.
Dire Straits – good name for a band. Desperation is a place that most rock fans are very familiar with. Facing some serious consequences? Yeah, us, too, so let’s screw it and play some music instead. Dig it.
Earth Wind & Fire – the elements, all captured by a great band. I’m hip with this name.
The Eagles – Soar! American! Regal! Puke! But here’s their best song, and yeah, it's aimed right at you because this is my last band for this post. Read Rodney Wilkerson's comment on Youtube - right on, my brother, right on.
I know that I keep promising the Rundgren and LCD Soundsystem pictures and reviews. They written, but I need to get the pictures off of another computer. Patience, grasshopper. They're so worth the wait - you'll be astonished. Yeah, right. Simple stuff from a simple guy, that's what you come here for, right? I won't disappoint on that score. Later team.
Yo youngsters, welcome back to BRP. It’s been busy around here. While I generally keep my posts to things music-related, this one is Philly-related. Yep, back to the ring for a study of the sweet science: professional boxing at the 2300 Arena in South Philly.
I had never been to a boxing match in my life until about a year ago. But I went and had a surprisingly good time. When the opportunity presented itself yet again, I pounced.
I know what you’re thinking: boxing is bloody and brutal. Who wants to see two roughnecks pound on each other until they ooze fluids? Aahhh, yes, my original thoughts, too. Then I went and reality quickly dispelled the Hollywood b.s. There is no “cut my eyelid and let me keep going” kind of stuff, and no screams of “Adrienne” going on here. Nope.
So what is there? Well, a hugely diverse crowd for one. Rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, young, old, male and female. It’s hugely interesting just to ogle the crowd. Then there are the trappings and showmanship of boxing:
the tuxedo-clad announcer:
The ring girls:
The fighters and their entourages:
The title belts:
When the bouts begin, there is a serious amount of athleticism and training that is brought to bear. It’s really interesting to see the two boxers size each other up, sometimes make faces at or talk to their opponent, and to watch their form and style. The ability to put power into a compact punch, to bob and weave and not take the ferocious hit, and to spot vulnerabilities in your opponent, are all very much on display. It’s also a fact that size matters: reach is important, and little guys, even with stout bodies, have a harder time landing punches than their bigger opponents.
A lot of the boxers are from Philly, which is fun because they bring their own fans. And every boxer has a nickname: Boots, Ice Cold, J Rob, etc. It’s clichéd and its cool, too.
The 2300 Arena is worth seeing. It’s more warehouse than venue, but it’s also easy to get really good seats. We were in the 2d row, and location has its advantages. I like being close at concerts and I like being close to fights. Basically for the same reason – great sight lines and feeling like you are part of the action..
I don’t think I would want to go to live boxing too often – once a year is enough - and I definitely wouldn’t want to do the huge marquee fights in Vegas. That appeals to me like going to a stadium concert. Expensive, full of nitwits, long lines for everything and bad sight lines. No thanks.
The one last great thing about the 2300 Arena is that it’s about 2 blocks from the original Tony Luke’s. Yeah, you know, one of those cheesesteak places where the person taking your order rips your head off if you don’t do it right, but that also serves a mean steak. We partook, filled our bellies, and all was right with the world.
I’ll catch up with you soon with more music. I just saw two shows, Todd Rundgren and LCD Soundsystem. I was supposed to see Morrissey, too, but someone in the band got sick and the show got postponed. Whatever happened to the show must go on? I guess that’s just for those who work for The Man.
You take it easy, check back often, and get ready for some more great times at BRP. You know I love you, right?
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.