Monday, March 28, 2011

"You might think I'm crazy, but I'm serious."

If I look that good in a skin-tight bodysuit when I'm 44, life will be grand.

It's been a while since I've done any sort of writeup for a show. In fact, it appears that the last show I blogged about was when I saw The Ravonettes in October of 2009. Rest assured, there have been shows in the interim - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Yeasayer, Beach House, Lady Gaga, Crystal Castles, Hall and Oates, and probably a few others that I can't recall at the moment. This is all to say that I've been a bad music blogger. So I'm here to remedy with a report on this weekend's Janet Jackson show at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

The Borgata Events Center is shockingly small. I expected an intimate venue, but we're talking about 2,000 seats, maybe less. That being the case, I imagine that there wasn't a bad seat in the house, but the 14th row was still a good place to be (albeit not in the center section). In reality, it could have been General Admission on the floor, but I digress.

At each show on this tour, Janet dedicates a song to that city. This seems to me a simple way of giving something distinctive to each performance, though I wonder what real value the gesture has. What this amounted to was being teased with the video for "The Pleasure Principle" just prior to Janet taking the stage.

Then the band launched into their live rendition of the track, one of my favorites from 1986's Control LP.

After that, it was pretty much hit after hit, which was to be expected given that the tour is promoting her Number Ones collection (I pointed out the punctuation error while we waited for the show to start). I can't find a full setlist but they were pretty much all there - "Control," "Miss You Much," "If," "That's the Way Love Goes," "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Nasty," "Rhythm Nation," "Escapade," "Together Again," ""You Want This," "Alright," "Love Will Never Do (Without You)," and more that I can't remember. There was even a bit of "Scream." Good stuff. There was also a nice little segment of ballads including "Come Back to Me," "Let's Wait Awhile" and "Again," the latter of which never fails to remind me of eighth grade dances. The only jams I really wanted to hear but were absent were "Black Cat" and "Go Deep." Alas and alack (though they have popped up on other dates).

At these pop shows, I'm always critical of lip syncing. It was one of the things that most bothered me about the Lady Gaga show, though it was expected. I watched and listened closely to Miss Jackson ('cause I'm nasty), and had a difficult time distinguishing whether or not she was singing live. These leads me to believe that either a) she was singing live or b) is adept at masking the fact that she's lip syncing. My guess is that ultimately, it was a mix of both.

While some of her dancing duties were relegated to the troupe of backup dancers she had on stage, Janet really brought it at key moments with the iconic moves from her signature videos ("Miss You Much," "Rhythm Nation," "If," for example). I was a little saddened that "Miss You Much" was done sans chair routine, though.

In short, it was a great show, well worth the ticket and the trip.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gonzo on the air, 3/28

New York Dolls-Fool For You Baby
Iggy & The Stooges-Gimme Danger
Gogol Bordello-Wanderlust King
The Dead Kennedys-Let's Lynch the Landlord
British Sea Power-Stunde Null
Low Anthem-Smart Flesh
Billy Bragg-A New England
The Decembrists-Rox in the Box
Camera Obscura-My Maudlin Career
Sia-Clap Your Hands
Lily Allen-LDN
Dresden Dolls-Coin Operated Boy
Roxy Music-If There is Something
Rush-Spirit of Radio (request)
The Soft Pack-Down on Lovin'
Dirty Projectors-Stillness is the Move
MGMT-Electric Feel (immuzikation remix)
Groove Armada-Paper Romance
Rainbow Arabia-Without You
Fever Ray-If I Had a Heart
New Young Pony Club-The Get Go
Jamie Lidell-When I Come Back Around
Four Tet-Angel Echoes

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"We Don't Get No Sleep: A Janet Mix"

This weekend, my sis and I are heading to Atlantic City to see Janet Jackson. While I should have seen her on The Velvet Rope tour and recently drooled over the setlist for the Rhythm Nation tour, I'm still way excited. Doubly so, as she's playing smaller venues, which will be groovy.

Anyhow, after a few St. Patty's cocktails, my sister implored me to make a Janet mix for the drive. Never one to turn down the opportunity for a good mix, I got to work a few days later, and this is what I came up with.

It's 90 minutes. Maybe that's breaking some sort of commandment of mixmaking, but I couldn't get it down to 80. And you know what? Back in the day we always made 90 minute mixes, because that was the standard cassette length. So there.

It's a legit, continuous mix. Her early albums haven't been remastered (to my knowledge), and I wanted to include some of those iconic segues, which often meant mixing the album segues with the Design of a Decade remastered tracks.

Nothing from her last few records, simply because I'm not that familiar with them. The last album I bought was All for You, and the last album that knocked my socks off was The Velvet Rope. And while there are some more mid-tempo tracks, there are no slow jams. Not that Miss Jackson doesn't make some sexy slow jams, but I viewed this as a dance mix of sorts.

There are also a few mixing flourishes that I'm kind of proud of. Most importantly, I tried to vary it up a bit and include some alternate mixes.

Enough blathering. Here's what I came up with:

Control intro
Let's Dance (segue)
Miss You Much (Mama Mix)
All for You
Say You Do
What Have You Done for Me Lately
Black Cat
Go Deep
That's the Way Love Goes
Someone to Call My Lover
Together Again
Pleasure Principle (Ultimix)
Rhythm Nation
Escapade (Got it Made 7" mix)
Alright (12" R+B Mix feat. Heavy D)
When I Think of You (remix)

P-Funk Hall of Fame, 1997

As an institution, I think the Hall of Fame is bullshit, but those ceremonies do produce some interesting moments.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


"Hurry up and bring my space bass. I got to hurry up and play before I come on myself."

It's also worth noting that Bootzilla will be on Jimmy Fallon tonight. Bootsy jammin' with The Roots? Oh lawd....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gonzo on the air, 3/20

Arctic Monkeys-Brick by Brick
Grinderman-Mickey Mouse and the Goodbye Man
The Raconteurs-Broken Boy Soldiers
New Shouts-Kiss 4 Fun
The Easybeats-Friday on My Mind
Clinic-I'm Aware
Eric McKeown-Cinematic
Jessie Lee Mayfield-Grown Man
Koop-Koop Island Blues
Bird and the Bee-Again and Again (request)
The Brutes-yourspace
Lightspeed Champion-Marlene
XTC-Paper and Iron
Beach House-Used to Be
Pains of Being Pure at Heart-Heart in Your Heartbreak
Fleet Foxes-Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
Danielson-Grow Up
Soul Coughing-Casiotone Nation
Rufus Thomas-Do the Funky Chicken
Dr. Octagon-Earth People
El Michaels Affair-Bring the Ruckus
The Roots-Walk Alone
Anarobik-Is it Real?
Annie-Hey Annie

The Wisdom of Kool Keith

I finally received Kool Keith: Global Enlightenment Part I from Netflix. It's too damn short (35 min), but it's a stellar trio of interviews with Kool Keith - a sort of "day in the life" kind of document. At any rate, I promptly ordered a copy of the dvd for $1 via Amazon Marketplace. It has gems and life advice such as the 98 Year Old Fridgerator:

Kool Keith had a great run of albums in the late '90s, both under the Kool Keith name and a series of other monikers that he wove into a complex and ongoing storyline (Dr. Octagon, Dr. Doom, Black Elvis, etc.). Matthew was the last Kool Keith record that I really enjoyed. He resurrected Drs. Doom and Octagon in the last decade, but it seemed a little desperate to be honest.

For the funk of it, here's one of my favorites from the Black Elvis LP:

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Go Deep"

Absurdly underrated latter-day Janet jam, from her last great album (The Velvet Rope).

And for the hell of it, a nice mash with 2Pac:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gonzo on the air, 3/13

Spoon-The Way We Get By
Belle & Sebastian-Come On Sister
Elvis Costello and the Attractions-High Fidelity
The Decemberists-Don't Carry it All
British Sea Power-Living is So Easy
Rolling Stones-No Expectations
She & Him-This is Not a Test
Spinal Tap-Big Bottom (request)
Kiss-Do You Love Me?
Thin Lizzy-Jailbreak
The Misfits-Some Kind of Hate
Lykke Li-Youth Knows No Pain
The National-Bloodbuzz Ohio
Puro Instinct-Stillyagi
Steely Dan-Bably0n Sisters (request)
Tapes n' Tapes
Surfer Blood-Harmonik
Love is All-Wishing Well
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists-Ballad of Sin Eater
Rainbow Arabia-Without You
Cut Copy-Take Me Over
The Police-Man in a Suitcase
Men at Work-Underground
Prince and the Revolution-New Position (request)
Aceyalone-The Lonely Ones
Sleigh Bells-Rachel

Monday, March 7, 2011

Gonzo on the air, 3/6

pre-recorded this week, featuring 5 very long songs.

Frank Zappa-The Adventures of Gregory Peccary
Negativland-Helter Stupid
Morton Subotnik-Silver Apples of the Moon
The Blue Up?-h. sidakr of loops
Mogwai-The Singing Mountain