Sunday, July 05, 2009

Green Day still Rocks

Last friday I did something I haven't done in a while: go to a rock concert. Turns out it has been way too long -- it was a very positive surprise. Need to be doing this stuff more often. It was also the very first time I've heard Green Day live, and they did very good job: although I can't compare it to what's their standard, it was probably the best live concert I have ever attended. And perhaps luckily it was not perfect (... how could they leave out my favorite song? all the other hits were included fortunately) -- just very very good -- so there is a small chance of seeing something even better in future. At any rate, well done. I better go buy their last album, so I can give American Idiot little bit of rest.

Also: I think it is quite fitting to do this on July 3rd, to get bit of counter-balance to celebrations of the day following... with somewhat nationalistic (not just "patriotic") tendencies (luckily, this year things are bit better, maybe due to centrist president, or perhaps due to economy, whatever). Little bit of punky snot rock (with fascism-inspired video wall as background etc) is always good antidote for that stuff. Kind of like how sour works well with sweet, and why Pixar movies mop the floor with Disney ("classic", not including Pixar...) movies. You need bit of edge to get enjoyable, not just agreeable, tabste. But I digress.

One more thing that I respect about GD guys is their involvement of audience -- they actually let an audience member play rhythm guitar on "Jesus of Suburbia". Unless that was staged (kind of doubt that, wouldn't fit well with the image?) it takes some balls to try that out, I think. I can only imagine letting someone from "worst of American Idol auditions" sing: just because someone REALLY wants to sing with their idols doesn't mean they can, or even should.

Anyway: that's that: tomorrow, back to work. And I better blog something about my new gig too: things are off to a good start; I feel excited, think I have a good chance to actually dig deep into domain and get something solved deeply rather than broadly. And best of all, see some of my earlier work having come to fruition, so that I don't even really start from scratch this time.

(and after these personal digressions, I need to get back to factual writing, Jackson 1.2 plans; maintenance work for Woodstox and all the usual content)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

On musical influences: Roy Wood, one of the Greats (and Supertramp too)

Another important question (besides the "what's in it for you" one, regarding Open Source) is the "what are your biggest musical influences" one. I guess it is somewhat more common to ask this question from actual musicians, so I have not had a chance to answer this question in detail so far.
But never fear: I now choose to partially and pre-emptively answer this question, here and now.

Since the full list of notable influences would get rather long, so we can start by filtering out most of irrelevant ear sore.
Sample query like this will get us started:

SELECT * FROM all_available WHERE time_period BETWEEN late-60s and mid-70s AND genre in (pop, rock)

That is pretty broad and will still give us lots of irrelevant crap (and perhaps filter couple of big ones, like GnR and AC/DC -- notable if not fatal loss). But it does reduce the range a bit, and within this scope, here are 2 recent delightful discoveries (and purchases) of mine:

Both Roy & Supertramp have been my favorites for quite a while: Roy originally due to being the genius behind The Move (and also big part of ELO's first one; Jeff's one of the Greats too). And Supertramp is such a show-off group of technical perfectionists that "Breakfast in America" (their most widely-known and sold album) CD is pretty much worn off by now too.

Regarding Boulder: it is sad that its release was delayed by so much that its sales were much weaker: had it been released in -69, it might have been in top-10, at least in UK. But by -73, soundscape had change quite a bit and I suspect sales were tepid. But the record itself is a delightful and goofy venture: totally enjoyable even now. And it is strange how a song like "Miss Clarke and the Computer" sounds less dated than most similar takes from early 80s (including ELO's "Time" -- great record, rather contrived lyrics tho, but I guess that is trademark ELO too -- but I digress). I don't know if Boulder is actually my all-time favorite by Roy: that might actually be from The Move, their first or last album. Singles like "Omnibus", "Wild Tiger Woman", "Fire Brigade", "Brontosaurus", "No Time" are off the hook, and list just goes on and on. But Boulder is a very good album at any rate, even if not a hit collection.

And then "the Crisis" (hey, maybe they were referring to Mike Oldfield's Crises? Nah, that wasn't quite yet released -- yet another very good record there, released a few years afer this one). Well: it only took 2 listenings to find out that I really like the record. As of yet, I still slightly prefer "the Breakfast". But that might change. First 5 songs are very close to perfect, in their own class of very polished rock, including surprisingly good lyrics. They really might be the only contemporary group to be considered similar to Steely Dan (not surprisingly, I like Dans too -- albeit only having their 2-CD collection).

Anyhoo: thought I'd share this. More to come, over time. Groove on!

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