Sunday, July 26, 2009

keep your head up kid

i know we can swim/ but you've gotta move your legs (pela, augustine)
the capitol hill block party 7/25/09

one of my favorite parts of living in seattle is all the summer festivals. even though they can be hot, sweaty and crowded, they are also, in my opinion, made of love. maybe i'm weird (and i'm quite certain that i am), but i enjoy wandering around aimlessly and getting lost in a crowd. i also really really enjoy discovering bands that are completely new to me but nonetheless re-ignite my excitement about live music (see: sleater kinney, minus the bear, blitzen trapper, kings of leon...) more on that later.

on saturday, i rarely had stretches longer than 15 minutes without music to listen to (not that it was always *good,* of course, but it was there). i also loved that, because i am over 21, i had the option of spending the hottest part of the day inside neumos, standing in front of a big fan and drinking free water (nothing beats free water).

my favorite band by far - and the one band i was really excited about seeing this year - was the thermals. they put on a great live show and never fail to put a smile on my face. hutch, the singer, doesn't talk much, which is actually kind of refreshing and their 3-minute long songs make for a really fast-paced show. they are also obviously fans of the early 90s - they played awesome covers of sappy by nirvana and basketcase by green day (full disclosure: both of which i was singing along with!) they ended with now we can see, and the song began with the drummer joining hutch and kathy for the hand-clapping part and then waving to the crowd before racing back to the drum set to play the rest of the song. the rain that had been threatening to fall also started during this song, and seeing live music while rain falls and breaks the heat wave is now crossed off my list of life goals. people all around me were like children, opening their mouthes and trying to catch some of the rain. it was great!

so now back to the band that i unexpectedly fell in love with - pela, who are from new york city. go figure that all the bands i enjoyed were ones that the stranger didn't like (unless it's a good thing to say that the "lead singer is a balloon... filled not with helium or pee but with serious emotions." uh, ok). i was kind of surprised to find that they have only been a band for a few years, because, honestly, the way that they played and fed off the crowd made it seem to me that they had been around forever. and while i was watching them, i decided that the kind of music i really love is rock n' roll that makes me smile and want to clap my hands - music that sounds like it was made to play in an outdoor ampitheatre on a hot summer night. kind of like - dare i say it? - pearl jam. if that is uncool, so be it. and, yes, i am comparing pela to my favorite band. the stranger would probably agree - after all, their description of pela's singer could easily be applied to eddie vedder.

upon further exploration, it seems that pela is a favorite at KEXP. (and where was i last summer when they played at one of the free shows at the mural ampitheatre? argh). there are no less than 3 in-studio performances to listen to, each one better than the last. i especially like the acoustic performance from this past may, which suggests to me that they may be coming out with a new album soon(!!) their tour page doesn't list any upcoming shows, but they seemed to like playing in seattle (the lead singer kept smiling at the crowd and said this is such a rock n' roll town! i love it!) and i hope they'll be back soon. i will definately be there.

be yourself, every one else is already taken - from the bathroom in neumos.

Monday, July 13, 2009

i need the beach to set me free

i need the wind to make me breathe
i need the water to wash my soul
(pearl jam, santa cruz)

or, 2 girls, a gps navigator (aka the british man), a rental car, and eddie vedder.

words cannot express how much i loved hawaii.

this was my first ever mai tai on my first ever day in hawaii! i didn't really like it, but it made me feel good.

on my first full day in hawaii,we decided to drive to the north shore. there was a particular beach that kristine wanted to go to, but the parking lot was really full, so we just decided to keep going and ended up driving around the whole island! along the way, we stopped at random beaches, some of which turned out to be beautiful and out-of-the-way little spots. i couldn't get enough of walking in the sand and feeling the waves crash on my feet.

at one of the beaches, we even "saw" sea turtles. or, rather, saw people who had apparently seen said turtles. and, i couldn't get over all the people surfing! i've only seen surfers in magazines or on television, so it was pretty cool to see all the little dots in the distance and know what they were. even though i have never had any interest before, i think it would be kind of cool to go to the north shore during the big surfing competitions in the fall. wow! honestly, i could sit on the beach for hours listening to the water and be perfectly happy.

unfortunately, i don't have any pictures of the hawaii theatre since i left my camera at home the night of the eddie vedder show, but believe me when i say that it was *beautiful.* what was not beautiful, however, was getting lost after the show and having a tour of downtown honolulu at night. that was sort of scary, actually.

the next day, we went on a hike to the manoa waterfalls. i have never been covered in so much mud! but it was great. and i counted at least 3 people wearing eddie vedder shirts!

after our hike, we drove to kailua beach, where i entertained myself by watching a man bury himself in the sand, taking pictures of my feet, and marveling over the bluish-green color of the ocean. once again, i could have sat there all day. heck, i could still be sitting there and enjoying myself, i'm sure.

we finished the day by watching the sun set in waikiki.

the next morning, we got up early and climbed diamond head. i have never walked up so many stairs at once. but i'm glad i did - it was worth it, finally, at the top. my guide book said that, on a clear day, you can see the outlines of some of the other hawaiian islands in the distance. maybe it was just my imagination, but it almost seemed like i could. it almost seemed like you could see forever.

we also went to hanauma bay, which now ranks up there as one of the most gorgeous places i have ever been. it is now my goal to learn to swim so i can go back there and snorkel. we spent the whole afternoon there, lying in the sun and walking on the beach.

i wanna go back!!

rest of my pictures are here

Friday, July 10, 2009

gonna rise up, find my direction magnetically

eddie vedder, the hawaii theatre, 7/2/09

i freely admit that i have no objectivity when it comes to music that i like (see: pearl jam, the frames, minus the bear, et al). after every single pearl jam concert i have seen, i've told someone that it was the best show ever. so, maybe you should take it with a grain of salt when i say that seeing eddie vedder in honolulu was one of the best musical experiences i've had.

... or maybe not.

as soon as the into the wild intro music started, i was on my feet with everyone else, clapping so hard that i thought my hands might fall off (seriously. they were red by the time the show was over). out came ed, sitting down on his stool to play cat stevens' trouble. before he started, eddie said something like, "we will start out in a sad place and end up in an uplifting place."

i am really liking the brain damage intro. to sometimes. i didn't think this was the best version of the latter song on this tour - the audience took a while to warm up to the sing along. in fact, eddie joked that one side of the crowd was "noticeably better" than the other side - but there is just something comfortingly familiar and right about hearing the opening notes to it. as in nashville, he added are you here, god? to the end.

i think it was after this song that eddie stopped and told a story about how, as a teenager, he would be so excited when he got tickets to the last show of a tour only to discover, as a member of a band himself, that it is usually the "second-to-last show that is the best." but, he said, he had worked "very hard" on tonight's setlist in order to counteract that.

before gone, eddie said that he was going to play a song he didn't play often live, and he might make mistakes. if he did, i didn't notice. i think that he also said that it could have fit perfectly on into the wild. (like most pearl jam songs).

then here come the run of songs from the movie that brings us all here, including what i thought was a PERFECT (but, again, i'm proudly unobjective) version of guaranteed. at one point, eddie brought out his ukelele and asked, "do you know what this is?" and the woman next to me yelled "luke!" once again, can i say how much i love that this man and this band inspire such a community that people know and yell out the name of his musical instruments? and how much i love that, for two hours during a concert, i can feel like i belong here?

one of the things i love most about these shows (besides eddie's guitar playing, voice, stage banter, etc, etc..) is the cover songs. and i think that millworker is officially my favorite. i just love the way he sings this song. it seems almost like the lyrics are perfectly suited for his voice, and i can only guess at the amount of time he must spend deciding which covers to play. this show alone had 11, by my count (wow!). including i can't help falling in love, and hide your love away, one of my favorite songs to sing along with. i'm only sorry that i missed hearing him play bobby jean by one night. i was really surprised to read the setlist and realize he played so many cover songs, but i think that eddie has a way of making those songs seem like his own. when he started her majesty by the beatles, people cheered and clapped, and ed stopped and said something like, "whatever you think this is, i can guarantee you it's not."

some people around me were talking and clapping when eddie started arc, and others quickly shushed them. i love that i have now witnessed this 3 times live, and am still almost driven to tears by it.

when ed brought liam finn out for the 2nd encore to do santa cruz, it was clear that he didn't really want to leave. they both said that this had been a really fun tour that had gone from "albany to hawaii," and when people cheered, ed said, "and it seems some of you did too." after liam left the stage, ed took a drink, sat down with his guitar and said that the next song was one he has participated in many times, but never played by himself, so he was a little nervous. he played a little bit of the first verse of crazy mary, but then stopped because he forgot the lyrics. but apparently someone in the front was singing along, and eddie told everyone to be quiet because "this man seems to know what he's doing." then he brought the guy onstage, and had him sit in front of the monitor for the rest of the song! haha. in the middle of the song, boom came out for his keyboard solo, and stayed for the last few songs.

for hawaii 78, eddie introduced a man he said he had seen performing in an irish bar in honolulu. then they played hard sun, and the show was over. i didn't really want to leave my seat, since i knew that it was quite possibly the last (at least for awhile) eddie solo show i will see.

...but, thank you pearl jam, for answering my pleas and deciding to play a show in seattle! i'm already counting the days. love always, megan

Thursday, July 9, 2009

megan is going to pee her pants

ok, i like summer a lot, but i officially cannot wait until september! not only is pearl jam going to be playing in seattle, but the swell season will release another album! (no word of US tour dates from them yet. boo hoo!)

from the latter's website:
We are happy to announce.....Thursday, July 9th, 2009
The Swell Season, the Oscar-winning duo of Frames frontman Glen Hansard and Czech ingĂ©nue Marketa Irglova, are putting the finishing touches on ‘Strict Joy,’ (Sept 29/Anti- Records), the follow-up to their beloved, surprise hit 2007 film and gold-certified soundtrack ‘Once.’ The twelve new, original songs on ‘Strict Joy’ were recorded last year and document a time of great change.
‘Strict Joy,’ which borrows its name from a work by Irish poet James Stephens, was co-produced by Hansard and Peter Katis (The National, Interpol), and recorded mostly at Katis’ Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, CT. In addition to Hansard and Irglova, the album features Frames members Colm Mac Iomaire (violin), Joe Doyle (bass), Rob Bochnik (guitar), Graham Hopkins (percussion) plus guitarist Javier Mas (Leonard Cohen), pianist Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), percussionist Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground Duo), horn players Steven Bernstein and Clark Gayton from Levon Helm’s band, and others.
1. Low Rising
2. Feeling the Pull
3. In These Arms
4. The Rain
5. Fantasy Man
6. Paper Cup
7. High Horses
8. The Verb
9. I Have Loved You Wrong
10. Love That Conquers
11. Two Tongues
12. Back Broke

i know 5 of those songs! and i love them! i'm so excited!!

i think that i used more exclamation points in this post than i have in my whole life!!!

.. pictures and writing about hawaii/eddie vedder coming soon. i will just say now that i wish with everything that it was last week at this time. what a magical state. what a magical man. i could literally spend hours staring at the ocean and walking in the sand.