Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alkaline Trio Show Review / I am Not a Stripper

Alkaline Trio

In the Venue
February 24, 2010

I was not hired as a stripper for last night's Alkaline Trio show, despite what the band may have thought.

Going to concerts is infinitely more difficult once you have kids. Despite having to make some complicated babysitting arrangements, I thought I had everything worked out so I could check out Alkaline Trio, one of my long-time favorite bands. As it got closer to showtime, however, plans got disrupted a bit and I thought I might miss it. And the last thing I wanted was to drive to the club just to have to turn back around because it was already over. Then the light bulb turned on--though I had never met him, I had the tour manager's cell number!

I texted the following:

"Carlos, this is Spencer from In This Week. Has Alkaline gone on yet?"

This seemed like a pretty straightforward question. But I guess I was wrong.

"Are u the stripper?"


I responded that fortunately, for everyone's sake, I was not.

With no further response from Carlos, I headed to In the Venue, hoping I hadn't missed the show. Though I tried to concentrate on just making it to the venue on time, I couldn't help but wonder what Alkaline Trio would be doing with the male stripper they were apparently expecting.

When I got to the club, I was happy to see that the band had just started. The boys were pounding through "Dine, Dine My Darling" from their new record, and though they were playing in front of their usual heart-and-skull backdrop, something didn't seem right. What was with all the balloons and party hats? It turns out, rock stars have birthdays, too.

Matt Skiba was happy to celebrate his 34th birthday with his Salt Lake City fans, especially because it meant plenty of birthday shots between songs. He handled the liquor just fine, but he really got thrown off his game when, five seconds after starting a new song, the house music came on (Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison," no less) and his band abandoned their instruments. His face lit up when the band's crew delivered him a Batman cake, with candles blazing. His joy turned to a bit of fear when he saw the male Hot Cop approaching him for a lap dance.

"I saw a cop on the stage out of the corner of my eye," Skiba said after the encounter, with a smile. "I thought I was getting arrested for swearing or something. I didn't realize it was Officer Sexy."

After the impromptu birthday celebration, the band returned its focus to music, rocking through eight albums of material. The largest chunk came from 2003's "Good Mourning," including "We've Had Enough," "One Hundred Stories," "Continental," and "Fatally Yours." But the definite highlight of the night was "Nose Over Tail" from the band's debut EP, when Matt Skiba shouted "I want to make it really," and the crowd enthusiastically responded in unison, "I'd love to rub your back."

Sounds like the end of a great birthday. Stripper or no.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

At Family Band Practice

Curtis was playing drums and Paige said, clutching her microphone, "Nice beat, Curtis. Nice beat."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fanfarlo 2.0 + This Week's Reviews

I'm now to the point where I've written for IN long enough that I'm interviewing bands for the second or third time. Last week, I did my second interview with British band Fanfarlo, who are playing here on Saturday.

I talked with the mandolin-playing girl wearing the superflous bowties. You can read the interview here. She gets bonus points for making reference to Dr. Tobias Funke.

If you like Arcade Fire, you should definitely check 'em out.

Also, here's this week's album reviews:

Phantogram - Eyelid Movies (Recommended, if you like Massive Attack)
Ke$ha - Animal (Recommended, if you like Bring it On)
Drew Danburry - Goodnight Gary (Recommended, if you like long beards)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another One off The List: Matt Skiba

Last week, I was able to talk to another one of my favorite bands. I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with Alkaline Trio front man Matt Skiba. (This was actually my second interview with the band. I interviewed drummer Derek Grant last year.)

I've found that I am actually much less nervous to talk to my rock and roll heroes than bands I've never heard of. Since I own all the AK3 records and have seen them live a bunch of times, it's not hard to come up with a list of things I'd like to ask them from a fan's perspective. If it's a band that's new to me, I have to do a lot of research just to avoid sounding like an idiot.

Mr. Skiba, with his smoker's voice, was very cool and easy to talk to. He was the first rock star to ever start the conversation by asking me where I was and what the weather was like. A small guesture, but I found it very endearing.

We chatted about the band's punk rock beginnings, their recent gothic leanings, and the record label they just started. Very cool, very personable.

My article is here and if you want to listen to the full, 20-minute interview, I've included it below.

Matt Skiba Interview [WMA]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Like Looking in a Mirror

Thanks to an old VHS tape at my mom's house, Paige is now enamored with the Fisher Price Little People. (I couldn't find any clips of the show in English, but here it is, dubbed in Italian. I'm bummed. It still has the lame opening song, but not the super creepy, Aaron Neville version.)

It's not surprising that Paige's favorite character is Maggie, the girl with the curly hair. (Especially since she looks like a miniature version of the five-year-old Traci.) Every time Maggie comes on the screen Paige says, "There's Maggie. She looks a bit like me. She's got currrrrly hair."

She's said this so many times that I barely even notice it anymore. But it did throw me off when she told me who I look like.

"I think you look a bit like Michael."

Michael? Really? Huh.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

7th Inning Stretch

This weekend, our family room turned into a baseball diamond (in addition to a mess). Paige found the baseball bat that I bought her last summer and decided it was time to play. After about 5,000 pitches, she was getting pretty good at hitting it--or rather, I was getting really good at throwing the ball the directly at the bat. Not surprisingly, she exclaimed with delight, "I'm really good at baseball!"

"You sure are," I responded.

"Do you know what's my favorite sport?"



Monday, February 08, 2010

Hannah Montana on My iPod (And I Dont' Like It)

Paige's 15-year-old aunt has outgrown her Hannah Montana CD, but was kind enough to pass it on to Paige. Now Paige is singing and dancing right along. While this is certainly annoying, it has also reopened a recent wound.

I was so excited when I had finally saved up enough money to buy a copy of some recording software called Cubase. That means we would not only be able to finally finish the Johnny Tightlips album that we started three years ago, but it would actually sound good.

You see, the new version of the software comes an autotune feature. I had beautiful dreams of taking my crappy voice and electronically manipulating it into the angel voice I imagine it to be. (Or possible just goinging the T Pain autotune route.)

After spending several late night hours trying to figure out to use it, I realized the reason I couldn't get the auto to work was beacause I DIDN'T HAVE THE FEATURE!!

When I was researching my Cubase purchase, I quickly realized I'd only be able to afford the "Education Edition." But I compared it side by side with the full edition and it looked like it'd have everything I'd need. Apparently, I was wrong.

So, I sit with Paige, listening to Miley Cyrus's perfectly-pitched voice and just want to kill myself. Or Miley Cyrus. Or both of us.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New Reviews: Temper Trap, Story of the Year, Surfer Blood

The Temper Trap - Conditions (Highly recommended)
Story of the Year - The Constant
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast (Pretty good, worth checking out)

Stupid Manifesto, Ruining Bring it On

No more internet for me tonight. Apparently, I can't blog and watch Bring It On at the same time. I'm only 20 minutes in and I'm already lost. Which ones are the good cheerleaders? Why is the main girl falling in love with the guy from the other team? (Doesn't she understand that their could be disastrous consequences when the team goes to regionals?) Why are they saying things like "cheer-barrassment?"

I'm starting it over from the beginning.

Alright, Jay-Z, You Got Me

So, lately I've been questioning Jay-Z's claim of being the greatest rapper alive. I finally checked out his "On to the Next" video and, though I am still not a huge fan of the song itself, I definitely have to give some props for the video.

Tonight, Hova earns from me the coveted "rapper with the creepiest, unrap rap video" award. Congratulations.

I fear that I will have nightmares about my sneakers bleeding milk tonight.

Bring It On - It's Getting Soooo Broughten

Tonight is a special night. It's the fifth installment of Bring It On night. That's right, the fifth. Though episodes two and four were a bit disappointing, I have high hopes for this one. I think the only reason it went straight to DVD was because it was too awesome for the theater-going crowd to handle.

Review to follow...