27 December 2007

The Best Movie I've Seen In A Long Long While

For three months, "Once" played at the Broadway Theatre here in SLC. For three months, I promised to go see it. But I'm lazy and I live in the suburbs (a deadly combination). It took a DVD rental for me to finally experience the best movie of the year.
I'll spare you the long-winded review and leave it at this: "Once" is the most straightforward, honest and precise storytelling I've seen in a while and it knocked me back a step or two. There are no unnecessary complications, no you're-not-gonna-believe-this twists. Just a story about two people and the music they create.

"Once" also raises the continual ridiculousness of the MPAA. It is a moral and upstanding film that somehow merits an "R" rating because of a handful of under-spoken obscenities (in heavy Irish accents, no less... somehow Irish accents soften expletives...). If you can convince me that a movie like "Once" is somehow more offensive than the latest Will Ferrell / Ben Stiller / Jim Carrey crapfest (all rated a kid-friendly PG-13), I'd like to hear your argument.

On that sour note, "Once" is brilliant. If you're one of the few music fans on the planet who haven't seen it, stop following my bad example. Watch it today. Seriously.

21 December 2007

And Now My Mind Is Completely Blown

Play this:

The best part? The post-game comments referring to me (and my bell-ringing skill level) as "Quasimodo."

This Is Blowing My Mind

You'd think something like this would be big news, but I just stumbled upon it. Then again, I'm the only person I know without an XBOX360 or PS3 or Wii, so maybe no one else cares.

Yeah, this means I can just play Guitar Hero on my iMac at home (or on my MacBook Pro + Cinema Display at work... hehe...). And for only $80. Do you think Santa's still accepting revised wishlists?

14 December 2007


"Daughtry" is #1 Album of 2007

"I'm tough and sensitive at the same time."

Just when you think there's hope for the world (like Feist appearing on the Today Show... which was weird and random in its own way... seriously, Ann Curry, Al Roker and crew talking about Feist... you just have to watch it), Cousin Rob's favorite dream-rocking artist takes control and reminds us all that there's nothing like a little watered-down, 12th-generation, Creed-loving jock rock to capture the hearts, souls and wallets of America.

At least Beyoncé delivered the #1 single... and you can't really complain about Beyoncé Jr. (Rihanna) flying in at #2, either.

30 November 2007

Casual Friday

About a year ago, Creent had this great idea to hide out in the gap between the cubicle wall and the actual wall and then scare the snot out of Dainon when he rolled in at his typically late 9:15 or so. We even got ready to do it once but Dainon delivered the surprise by showing up at the un-Dainon-ly hour of 8:45.

Today, however, things went off without a hitch. Clint brought the ninja mask. I rolled with the (what else?) luchador. And Melanee manned the camera. Notice that Dainon spotted the camera but his spidey sense obviously didn't kick in.

The reaction isn't otherworldly, but I'm loving the shake and the under-his-breath expletives. And don't miss Clint's diabolical cackle.

Oh yeah, and I have no clue why Dainon smells his scarf. No clue.

UPDATE: Creent grabbed a few stills from the video. I am a dork. A frightening dork, but still...

28 November 2007

The Killers - "Don't Shoot Me, Santa"

A humongous thank-you to D for making my afternoon with this clip:

Yeah, I know that D already posted it. And I know that it comes via Pitchfork. But I don't care. I'm breaking blogger rules and posting it anyway. It's just that good.

27 November 2007

All Circles

A while back, I caught Badly Drawn Boy at the Urban Lounge here in SLC. The opening act was a Londoner named Adem who I rather enjoyed. He had some nice eyeglasses and I promised that my next pair would closely resemble his. He also sang a wonderful cover of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows". It's likely that I made a mental note to look up his stuff at a later date.

But mental notes are only mental notes and Adem never quite made it to the top of my check-this-artist-out-later pile. Until today. Kakie reminded me of one of my favorite television ads of the past two/three years. I did a little quick research to track down the singer(s) responsible for the too-cool rendition of "Walk the Line". Results: Adem Ilhan (same guy as above) sings the male version. Megan Wyler (who apparently hasn't released any music anywhere) takes care of the female version.

Of course, I went on an .mp3 search. I'm typically good at this stuff. But there's nothing. Neither Adem's version nor Ms. Wyler's is anywhere to be found in all of cyberspace. At least not in the parts I care to access.

But I did find this, a YouTube clip of the song (and some others...watch as much as you like) that got me interested in this Adem fellow in the first place. So everything is circles. And I'm a bit happier now than I was this morning.

The Crown Jewel

Some of you know that I've adopted a daily uniform. Hoodie, Levi's jeans, t-shirt, sneakers. Every single day. Last week, Kyality dropped a tip on the gnarliest hoodie ever invented. It's the capstone, the crown jewel to my already somewhat impressive collection of hooded sweatshirts. So...

I need to find THIS in a Men's L.
If you look closely, the hood zips all the way upto your eyes—it's a built-in ninja mask.

Help me find it. Leave links in the comments or something. Please.

15 November 2007

There Will Be Feasting

I'll leave the Mountain Goats alone after this, I promise. Maybe. 'Til then, you probably ought to watch this:

14 November 2007


I've made changes. I don't know if I like them. We'll see how long they/I last. If you've an opinion, you could probably sound off in the comments (and you could also probably undertake a healthy mental self-examination that starts with the question, "Why do I have an opinion about the visual appeal of the generally rubbish upto12 blahg?"). Let's move on, then.

Of late, I've felt more 31 than ever. And there are only a couple things that seem positive about feeling more 31 than ever. One of them: "The Sunset Tree" by the Mountain Goats. I know, I'm behind the curve again (duh); it's been out for a few years now. In my defense however, the album's been securely lodged in my iTunes for at least 6 months (at least!). But over the last month, wow, John Darnielle's masterpiece has been the soundtrack of too many too-late nights at the office and the utterly depressing feeling attached to walking down the back stairwell into the dark (even if it's only 6:00pm) parking lot and trudging toward a car that is the only remaining blemish on a now-spotless grid. Dramatic, eh? I don't apologize.

All that said, John Darnielle manages to construct an album that sounds and feels (to me, anyway) like being 31. Yes, I know "The Sunset Tree" is all about abusive, alcoholic, dysfunctional families and strained relationships. But I'm not talking about lyrics or words or symbols here. I'm talking about the way a song feels when its rhythms and twists and turns stick in your head. As strange as it seems for a writer to admit, I don't listen to lyrics much. I'm not a word-obsessed academic. Truth is, I don't care much at all for words themselves. But I do love the sounds they make, the beats they create and the stops and runs they forge in a song. And, despite (or because of...) the fact that his vocal inflections make take some getting used to, I don't know that anyone can match the lyrical rhythm of John Darnielle and his Mountain Goats records.

I suppose there's a solid endorsement here somewhere, a "go out and buy this record!" or something. But I'm also willing to admit that this sort of album may only be suited for 31-year-olds who are feeling more 31 than ever. And that's just all right. Someday you'll be 31 and "The Sunset Tree" will be waiting.

08 November 2007

Just Plain Ridiculous

Yesterday, Kyality was acting all sorts of fishy. He wouldn't say what was up. But I knew he was causing trouble. Mid-afternoon rolled around and he called with a one-sentence command: Be at Struck at 7:00pm on the dot.

I'm a blindly obedient soul, so I arrived at the studio at 6:54 without asking a single question. What followed was likely one of the greatest sports-related evenings of my life. Courtside seats at the Energy Solutions Arena for the Jazz v. Cavs game. And by courtside, I mean COURT-SIDE. As in sitting on the floor right next to the team. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was less than 4 feet away and spent plenty of time waving his arms dangerously close to my recently busted beak (not to mention the time spent with his hindquarters equally dangerously close to that same beak). This also means that LeBron James was often within whispering distance (yeah, I told him what time it was...) and I had a view unlike any other I may ever experience again.
Anyway, a HUGE gracias goes out to Jeff Wright at Struck (the cool cat sitting dead center in the photo below) who owns such ridiculous basketball real estate and was willing to share with a friend/client.
Some more photographic evidence (most courtesy of Kyality's iPhone):

07 November 2007

I'd Rather Be In Austin

The new season of Austin City Limits kicked off last weekend with (what else?) another practically perfect set from Wilco. This time, Jeff Tweedy and the fellas occupied the whole hour and delivered the goods — a comprehensive set of SKY BLUE SKY tracks and a few oldies (Too Far Apart, anyone?) to round things out.


I'd post a YouTube clip or something, but apparently the Capitol of Texas Public Communications Council is all about protecting copyrighted material. Any and all clips have been banished. Maybe someday ACL episodes will be available on iTunes or something. We can dream, right? For now, if you want to watch it—come over to my house. I've got it safely tucked away on the DVR...

Up next week: Arcade Fire. Rumor has it megaphones will be violently smashed in next Saturday's installment, so you now have every reason to tune in.

06 November 2007

The Absentee Blogger

We've been over this before. There's no excuse for a delinquent blogger. As a small token of repentance and as an attempt at explanation... Here's what I've been upto for the last month or so:

15 October 2007

I'm It

Totally not sure about the chain-blog implications of my waiting a week or two to take care of this, but Kyality tagged me so let's get it over with.

Jobs I have had:
1 – Dental Office Janitor/Custodian
2 – Frito Lay Warehouse Seasonal Laborer
3 – Carpet Cleaner
4 – Vending/Gumball Machine Service Technician

Movies I could watch over and over:
1 – Field of Dreams
2 – About A Boy
3 – I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
4 – Goonies

Favorite TV Shows:
1 – Friday Night Lights (hoping the sophomore season doesn't disappoint...)
2 – The Office
3 – Scrubs
4 – LOST

Favorite Hobbies:
1 – Records
2 – Soccer
3 – Baseball
4 – Lucha Libre

Places I have lived:
1 – Colotenango, Guatemala
2 – Taft, California
3 – Portland, Oregon
4 – West Jordan, Utah

Favorite Foods:
1 – Pork
2 – BBQ Chicken Pizza (Wasatch, please)
3 – Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 – Double Double

Places I'd rather be:
1 – Portland, Oregon
2 – On Stage With Wilco
3 – Backstage With Jenny Lewis (wink wink, nudge nudge)
4 – The Beach

Websites I visit:
1 – Simmons
2 – Shots Ring Out
3 – Craigslist

No, I'm not tagging anyone else. Yes, I fully realize the metaphysical consequences of such chain-breaking and I'm prepared to face them, head-on.

08 October 2007

Flash-ing Neon Bible

I think this is more important than it probably is... but couldn't something like this completely alter the music video landscape (or what's left of it, anyway)?


UPDATE: Mr. Dan Christofferson pointed out the obvious -

beonlineb = neon bible

Should've seen this coming, I guess. Nice work, Dan.

02 October 2007

My Mind's Not Right

The day after the recently chronicled adventure at Red Rocks, Kyality, Mrs. Kyality and Mrs. upto12 all made their way back to the Salt Lake valley. I, on the other hand, had some business to attend to in the heart of Denver. The National (along with startlingly awesome opener St. Vincent) were in town for the night and — seeing as Alligator and Boxer are two of my top 10 albums of the last five years — there was no way I could miss out.
It only took 45 seconds to scalp my three extra tickets (at face value, of course...) and I was parked right up front in the historic venue. The Ogden is a nice place, the kind of place Salt Lake could use. Probably a touch smaller than the Depot and much, much classier than In the Venue or the pitiful Urban Lounge. If you care to know, Feist and the Swell Season will be there on back-to-back nights sometime in November.

At any rate, the crowd was energetic, yet polite — my type of people — and Annie Clark (St. Vincent) got things rolling with beats built for a dance party and a boatload of guitar antics. I was unsettled by her performance. She's such an unassuming performer...not in a hundred year would you guess that such a demure, soft-spoken (and, yes, pretty) girl would knock your socks of with bass and manic guitar licks all mashed up and sprinkled with a voice as powerful as any you'll hear in a while. But the surprise was not unwelcome. By the end of her set, I was a believer. And I wasn't alone.
This late in the game, there's little to say about the National. Critics love 'em. Hipsters call their latest albums "growers," but I disagree completely. The songs of the National instantly find their way under my skin. It's an immediate addiction. It started with Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, evolved with Alligator and, now, with Boxer, I'm a fullblown junkie looking for a daily fix. I can't get enough of Matt Berninger's baritone lyrical fits and repetitions.
This confession renders any objective review of the show unnecessary and invalid. I loved it. The band warmed up quickly and delivered a non-stop set that rarely strayed from the better-known tracks found on the last two albums.

A madman nearly destroyed a violin.
The drummer looked more Muppet (Animal, even, how perfect is that?) than human.
And I brought home a few bits and pieces for the stalwarts, the remaining 14 upto12 readers (you're dropping like flies at this point and I don't blame you).

Start a War

Secret Meeting

Daughters of the Soho Riots

28 September 2007

The Rocks Really Are Red

I've been buying tickets like ice cream sandwiches this summer. The National? I'll take four. White Stripes? Two floor, two on the 4th row (all canceled). Arcade Fire at Red Rocks? That's near Denver, right? Four, please. Arcade Fire again in my backyard? Duh. Four more. All this reckless spending has landed me in some hot water with Mrs. upto12 (who runs at tight ship at upto12 headquarters).

That said, the Red Rocks adventure was worth every penny. A quick Southwest flight, a cheap motel room and a $4 pretzel landed us in relatively prime seats at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre just before 7pm. After everything I'd heard, I was scared to be disappointed, but the venue lives up to the hype (much like the Gorge...). And Denver's quickly climbing my "I-could-definitely-live-here" charts. With the National playing the following night, I was happy to stick around for an extra day and browse some modern furniture shops before catching a few innings of a Rockies-Dodgers day game.

Readers: Stop fretting. I've heard you loud and clear. Due to the outrageous length of my Wilco post and because of the backlog of things I need to cover here, I'll end now and hope that my inadequate photography and videography paint a better picture than my inadequate (and long-winded) writing.

Kyality, upto12, Mrs. upto12:
The view:LCD Soundsystem:The Fire:
The crowd, the rocks:
Kyality and Mrs. Kyality:
Intervention (missed the first 15 seconds...):
Wake Up (wow, just wow):

27 September 2007

An Open Letter

To the Concert-Going Public of Utah County (especially the pack of yaks — male and female — near the stage who groped, pushed, punched, tugged and generally violated every concept of reasonable crowd behavior):

You suck.

26 September 2007

Today Is Gonna Be The Day

By some stroke of sheer ridiculosity, Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem bring their traveling magnificence to Lehi, UT today. Yup, you heard right. The Waterfall Amphitheatre at Thanksgiving Point (just a three-minute walk from my place of employment) will host the summer's most fantastic show.

Having seen this lineup at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre just a week ago, I have no problem commanding anyone without a ticket to go purchase one, immediately. Unlike the $36 you spent on that Dave Matthews Band t-shirt, you will never regret this.

A couple pictures and the coolest non-official Arcade Fire video I've ever seen:

25 September 2007

Sometimes It Takes A While

After many sharp words from a few all-too-loyal readers (I have readers? Still? Really?), I'm right back. I'm ready to go. So let's proceed.

Mrs. Upto12 made Father's Day a good one this year. She showered me with gifts and undue praise — coming through with the double winner: tickets to see Wilco at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley on August 24 and tickets to a Giants game the following day. A weekend in San Francisco. Sans kids. That's really all I need to say.

After spending most of a day wandering through the shops and streets of Berkeley (on the opening weekend of classes at Cal, no less), we made our way to the venue. I guaranteed that we arrived early and had our pick of standing places. Mrs. Upto12 graciously settled for an awful, soggy $7 chicken sandwich instead of the finer California cuisine she'd be craving all afternoon. And we were set.

The stage sits high at the Greek. So high that standing directly in front of the stage can seriously limit your sightlines. With that in mind, we opted for a stage-right perch just three steps up the amphitheatre. The band stood eye-level and we couldn't have been more than 35 feet from the stage.

Our perch, the rest of the crowd:
I won't waste time on the opening act, Richard Swift. He was adequate. I've heard some of his recorded material and thought the same thing ("adequate"). I wasn't severely disappointed. I wasn't incredibly impressed. He played his songs. The audience applauded. And we all hoped that the slight drizzle would remain just that, sparing us the downpour that threatened.

Soon enough, Mr. Swift was done, his gear was cleared and the Greek slowly filled to capacity. And just as darkness settled, the boys from Chicago took the stage. I'm tempted here to drift into a song-by-song review. It's all in my memory, burned there along with too much secondhand smoke (of the legal and illegal varieties, I'm afraid). But I think a few passing thoughts will suffice.

Opening with the first two tracks on Sky Blue Sky ("Either Way" and "You Are My Face"), Wilco banished every incoherent Eagles comparison that's been hastily slapped together in the last year. Wilco is not, has never been and will never be similar to the Eagles. Sky Blue Sky is not "the best album the Eagles never made." Let's get this all out of our collective minds. The Eagles are, were and always will be incapable of the kind of work Wilco has aspired to. Frankly, I don't care for the Eagles one bit. I hate "Hotel California." I think "Desperado" is a lousy, derivative country track. And I think Don Henley's a hack. Perhaps I'm immature and unable to comprehend the greatness of the Eagles... but after hearing Wilco perform just two songs, I think you'd feel the same way.

Tweedy and Cline:
Each member of Wilco is a professional. But not a steady, stable, evenhanded studio-musician-type. These are experimental professionals. Men who have mastered the art of structural and musical improvisation. They're not avoid to tear a song apart and pick up the pieces at a moment's notice. Jeff Tweedy continues his pace as the finest songwriter of this generation. Nels Cline is a madman and he was in rare form, kicking and jumping and inspiring shrugs and giddy grins from Jeff and John. Glenn Kotche astounds with every rhythmic jump and his ability to create the percussive brilliance of five or six men. John Stirratt holds the whole show together with a steady bassline and careful harmonies. And Mikael and Pat, well, I'm not sure exactly what they do, but they do it well. Working knobs and laptops and keyboards and guitars and every other bit of rock paraphernalia you could imagine.

The band is simply impressive, covering tracks from every era of Tweedy's catalog. They even dipped into A.M. territory for "Too Far Apart"... a move even I didn't expect. The sound was dead-on and tracks from the newer albums (especially those from Sky Blue Sky) hit my ears like never before. That may be the best argument for the canonization of a band like Wilco — their live shows make you a fan of everything they play. You never leave a Wilco show thinking, "Hunh. That was good. But that one song sounds a lot better on the album." You could argue the absolute inverse, in fact. You leave, shaking your head, anxious to dig right back into every album — looking for the nooks and crannies that the band takes every opportunity to explore and exploit.

I've seen Wilco five times now. More than I've seen any other single band. And I'd go see them again tonight, wherever they're playing. There's a bit of nostalgia involved, I imagine. Wilco reminds me of some good days. Living in Provo, my friend, Chris, and I happened upon a copy of Being There and we were hooked. And Wilco is one of the first bands I had a jump on. I was down with Wilco before the world was. And that makes me proud (and snobby, I know).

All of this said, I love this band. Jeff Tweedy writes songs that hit me in ways that others simply can't. And seeing Wilco live is about as close to a perfect musical experience as I can imagine. No matter what Jeff Tweedy says on the "Shake It Up" promo video (with the deluxe edition Sky Blue Sky) this is not a good band singing and playing some nice songs. This is a great band, singing and playing difficult songs, beautiful songs, some of the only songs that matter.

The whole crew:

And now, the multimedia. But first, a disclaimer:
I'm still figuring out the movie feature on our new digital camera, so please forgive the shakiness...and don't expect more than a minute or two from me...I'm just can't seem handle more than that. I've usually got to get back to shaking myself in some non-rhythmic fashion.

"You Are My Face"

"Impossible Germany"

"California Stars"

20 September 2007


This is a warning shot of sorts. It's been a busy month or two and I'm getting prepared to talk about it. It's all digested now and my opinions are formed. In the course of the last month, I've seen Calexico, Wilco, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, St. Vincent and the National. Next week I hope to see the New Pornographers (while catching Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem again right here in my employer's backyard... Thanksgiving Point... who knew?).

I'm not sure if things will go down in chronological order or not. We'll see. But it should be a rich multimedia experience. I'm exploring Web 2.0 and someday I may even actually understand what that confounding term means.

Be right back...

24 July 2007

Built to Spill - The Depot - SLC - July 21, 2007

How's that for a creative post title, eh? After "concertutional" I figured it best to play it safe this morning. Especially when we're dealing with a band that has often been considered one of Idaho's three greatest exports. (Well, okay, maybe not often... maybe my Idahoan compadre, Emron, is the only person to ever call Built to Spill "one of Idaho's three greatest exports." But he's said it many many times. And I tend to agree with him. The other two great exports? Potatoes (duh) and Emron himself. Although I hear sugar beets are gaining on those famous potatoes.)

It has been close to six years since I've seen Built to Spill. I never braved the Portland crowds to see them in at the Crystal Ballroom during their two/three night residencies there (the Northwest loves them some Built to Spill). I figured the best way to reacquaint myself with Doug Martsch and crew was to head to the Depot with the same crew that accompanied me on the last BTS trek (a pre-Ancient Melodies show at the mercifully closed DV8). So, aforementioned Emron, Kyality and I made to the Depot just in time for the opening act.

First things first, the Depot is amazing. It's brand new and the nicest club-style venue in Utah. Maybe the nicest club-style venue within a few states. The sound is amazing. The bathrooms are humongous. The air conditioning works. And there's really not a bad spot in the place. You can sit at a table. Stand against a pillar. Wander upstairs to the balcony/mezzanine. Or just plant yourself 20 feet from the stage and soak up every note. It could be the most comfortable concert experience I've had that didn't involve a hillside and a blanket.

I'll spare you the long-winded review and sum things up quickly. Built to Spill packs a punch. If you haven't seen them live, you probably ought to take the plunge. It's a tough experience to explain. The guitar work is pure madness and the time changes have the rhythm section earning their dollars. And Doug's voice, even though it was completely shot and caused him to mumble, "Some of these songs are going to be more instrumental than usual," Doug's voice is a little breath of levity in the midst of the guitar virtuosity. My attempt is failing. I knew it would. There's nothing I can write to describe the excitement of a Built to Spill show. So I'm giving up. Just know that it was amazing. I loved it. Even if I forgot my camera and had to settle for a pile of bad camera phone images like this one:

And maybe this strangely high-quality video will express a bit of what I couldn't:

Doug is the fellow on the far right who looks like your seventh-grade band teacher.

23 July 2007

A Modest Proposal

I'm calling for a Concertutional Ammendment (Did I really just type that? Concertutional? Wow...). It's simple, really. And it will only improve every live music experience you ever have. Here's the proposal:

All opening bands should have to cover one of the headliner's songs. Consider it a warm-up, a bridge to the main act. Something to remind you why you're so excited to be there while you're leaning against a wall hoping that the opener has a couple roadies backstage to help expedite the gear removal process. Think about hearing Malkmus tackle a Radiohead track (he opened for them in 2002 in SLC) or Calexico doing Wilco (2004, Kingsbury Hall) or LCD Soundsystem getting into some Arcade Fire (in 56 days...) or Rilo Kiley doing their best Modest Mouse (in 49 days). The potential is there.

Sound off if you're with me.

19 July 2007

My First Twilight

So...I just figured out that I have lived in Utah for seven of the past 10 years. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but that's quite a bit of time served in the Beehive State. And, while I'm certainly known to voice a disgruntled opinion or two about this place, I'd like to think I've come around quite a bit. I even appreciated D's love letter to Utah summers. Didn't completely agree, but I could get behind his reasoning.

Why do I bring this up? Well tonight was a solid Utah night. Almost made me a little happy to call this place home. Even if I did have to drive across the ridiculous sprawl to get to my suburban home tonight. What made it so nice? Slowtrain and my first appearance at a Twilight Series concert.

The good folks at Slowtrain Music have been well recognized lately, showing up on the cover of SLUG magazine and subtly hyping their one-year anniversary party on KRCL's morning drive-time show. The place is run by a husband-wife duo and they're just about as kind and unassuming as two record store owners have ever been. No Jack-Black-in-High-Fidelity here. Just nods and smiles and special orders and records set aside for eager buyers. Tonight's special purchase—The Reminder (Feist) on vinyl. Arrived in a shipment today and Chris promptly dialed my cell to let me know he'd set aside a copy with my name on it. I gladly plunked down the $11.99 (a steal!) and added some plastic record sleeves—the fifth piece of vinyl I've purchased there in a month. I'm on a li'l binge. And, with the way I'm treated at 221 E. 300 S., I may never stop.

I left Slowtrain, parked my car in the Struck lot and walked the three SLC blocks (they're huge... three SLC blocks equal about 15 Portland city blocks or close to 1/2 mile... no joke) to the Gallivan Center, where every class and type of hip being awaited the Fiery Furnaces / Yo La Tengo double-bill. Old hippies. Young hippies. Clean hippies. Dirty hippies. Old hipsters. Young hipsters. Clean hipsters. Dirty hipsters. Downtown SLC can be a Dr. Seuss book populated with (mostly) Caucasian variety. It's kind of a strange sight... everyone's white, but everyone's different. Enh... I guess you'd have to see it. I've reread it three times, and, frankly, my explanation's not doing anyone any good. Let's move on.

Fiery Furnaces got things rolling and I really don't have much to say about their performance. They're solid musicians—they've got to be to keep up that frantic pace while keeping track of the endless time changes (3/4, 4/4, 6/8, you name it...). I just don't know that I'm capable of catching up with them. Perhaps my indifference to the Furnaces is nothing more than a symptom of my greater affinity for music that goes down a little smoother. I don't dislike the Furnaces. I even appreciate what they're going for. But I doubt I'll be choosing to see them again. It's not them, it's me. No, seriously...

I guess now is the best time to mention that, by the time the Fiery Furnaces left the stage, the Gallivan Center was packed to the brim. I staked out the usually safe territory behind the sound board, dead center about 50 yards from the stage. But the crowds flooded through every pathway and bit of open space the square had to offer. This is no lazy summer in the park. It's a scene (Or is it an arms race, D? Did you ever get that sorted out?) and once you've found your spot, don't plan on moving from it—there's no place to go. A step forward pinned me to the rails around the sound booth. A step back landed a strange fellow's hand in my back pocket. By 8:30, the Gallivan Center was in full-blown pedestrian/spectator gridlock.

Honestly, I was fine with all of it. It's hard to exhibit my typical "shut-up-and-listen" elitism at a free, city-hosted gig like this. I do my best to listen and try to avoid the distractions. Luckily, Yo La Tengo blistered their way through the sideshows. And by blistered, I mean scorched, screamed, soloed, sizzled. From note one, the three-piece outfit let loose a string of keyboard and guitar assaults that can only be described with shrugs and gasps. And the setlist was just about dead-on. The covered my absolute YLT faves, moving straight from Autumn Sweater into Let's Save Tony Orlando's House and later served up a near a capella version of You Can Have It All. They saved Sugarcube for the tail end of the set and delivered a relatively succinct encore that wrapped with a (seemingly) impromptu version of a Zombies track I've never heard of (then again, I don't know any Zombies tracks at all... how that for a completely un-hipster-like confession?).

So that was that. My first Twilight show. And it won't be my last. Peter Bjorn and John arrive (with Apostle of Hustle) later this month and Calexico comes to town in August (the day before I see Wilco in Berkeley...I'm working around the clock on the logistical possibilities of seeing both).