Sunday, October 26, 2008

Murs in Baltimore

Murs in in Baltimore on Nov. 2?


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Review: Lupe Fiasco @ Loyola (10/11/08)

The Lupe Fiasco concert at Loyola College was last night.

It was my first hip-hop concert, and I didn't know exactly what to expect. Like a lot of hip-hop performers, Lupe has guest vocalists and samples in his songs, and I wasn't sure how that was going to be replicated on stage. I also didn't much know what the crowd was going to be like. I stupidly put my plans to go on facebook, so many of my students, current and former, knew I was going, so much so that I got a call in the afternoon asking if I needed extra seats. I went, hoping I wouldn't run into any of them. Can you imagine if I got caught dancing? Ugh.

I ended up seeing a few students, but don't think I was seen, which is good. But, really, I barely thought about it. See, Lupe pretty much had me in the palm of his hand throughout the night. The kid slayed me. What a performer. Jumping and dancing all around the stage, pouring 110% into every song, often shouting his lyrics - it was transcendent.

Songs that I think are kind of silly on CD - like "Go Go Gadget Flow" - took on a new life onstage; that song turned into an epic ode to the midwest and to, um, flow. My favorite song of his, "Daydreamin'", was introduced with a pithy political speech punctuated by the repeated call for the audience, and the world, to "Wake... the fuck... up" and the performance thereafter was extremely moving, with the lyrics shouted through the roar of Jill Scott's pre-recorded vocals and the lead electric guitarist, who had a pretty damn good voice himself. Other highlights included "Hip Hop Saved My Life," which sent shivers up my spine, and his hit "Superstar," which he started with with a seemingly improvised repeated beat and mantra "I love you. Because you are who you say you are" that went on for about two minutes before the band got into the hook.

And, wow, what a band. I sort of expected just a DJ and maybe a couple of instruments, but the band was 8-strong (2 sets of keyboards, a terrific drummer, an electic guitarist, a bassist, a turntablist/DJ, a backup rapper, and Lupe) and, well, really rocked. They all had so much energy, and Lupe himself was one of the best performers I've ever seen. He's right up there with Melissa Ferrick and Bruce Springsteen in stage energy, guiding and leading the audience (which, by the way, was lame) into his world of amazing lyricism and musicianship.

Now, to the audience: much pastier than I thought it would be, and full of Loyola college students who spent a lot of time talking on their cell phones on the floor. Apparently it was the fastest sellout in the history of Loyola concerts, but many apparently didn't know Lupe's music. It would be nice to see him in a venue where everyone loves his music like I do, or like a good portion of the crowd did, without being distracted by distracted college kids.

Most disappointing was the lack of an encore. The band stopped playing, and the crowd starting leaving. There were a few light attempts at chanting "Lupe! Lupe!", but the venue turned on the lights, and the show was done. It was a bummer, because if any show deserved and longed for an encore, it was this one. This is a kid with two albums, and I could list about five songs I didn't hear that I really wanted to (most notably "The Cool," "He Say, She Say," and "Little Weapon."

Still, damn, what a show. I'll remember this one forever. Let's hope he decides to keep performing after his long-announced "3 albums and I'm done" (which he repeated last night) goal.

Here's a little review of the show from a blog that Lupe himself talked about onstage.

And here's a video of Lupe performing "Superstar" a few nights before last night. I'm not sure if we'll get videos from this show; they were pretty strict on recording equipment:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This video made my week:

Dogs greeting their owner after 14 months in Iraq.

Look at how fast those tails are going!

Monday, October 6, 2008

If you put me in a box, make sure it's a big box, with a door and windows, and a chimney, so we can burn, burn, burn everything we don't like

I guess that would be a cool name for a blog, too.

I'm having a hard time.

I loved "Epiphany in Baltimore." One of my favorite albums of all time (by Brenda Kahn), plus lots of extra meaning for myself here in Baltimore.

But I turned the page and abandoned the old one. Now for this piddly little personal blog, I don't know.

I'm still racking my brain for literary characters (Milkman Dead, Charlie Brown), lines from songs ("Michigan seems like a dream to me now," "Time will do the talking") and something else to inspire me.

I know the world is waiting. I'll get on it soon. Until then, change it every few days until I decide.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lupe Fiasco @ Loyola

Guess who just scored two tickets to Saturday's Lupe Fiasco concert at Loyola?

Yup, me!

I've never been to a rap/hip-hop concert before, though, and my friend I was hoping would attend with me will be out of town. My option now appears to be the whitest guy that I know who will probably make fun of me for enjoying myself so much. Hmmmm. Dilemma.

I'm going to have fun either way, though. This is my current favorite song of his:

"You know the world is out to get me, so why don't you give me a chance?"

Biden/Palin debate

I was so excited about Thursday's VP debate, and it didn't let me down.

See, I've gotten some flack at school for liking Sarah Palin's first speech in front of the convention. Even though I disagreed with everything in it, it was a great speech, delivered with humor and intelligence. Palin has since proved herself to be nothing beyond that speech, and probably kind of idiotic, but it was still telling to me that my liberal friends couldn't even accept one ounce of praise for a Republican. That's the sort of reason why the Democrats lose - because they don't recognize the strength of their opponents.

So, I anticipated the debate for weeks, and thought it was great. Palin did hold her own for the first half or so. She's good when she talks about taxes. She's good when she talks about energy. I think she and Biden were about even until just before the gay marriage question.

But, then, we witnessed a trouncing. Biden was awesome throughout - calm, factual, substantive. The longer it went on, the more it was clear that Palin really has nothing to talk about. It's a pretty sad state of affairs that anyone could look at her performance and she she was adequate. One heartbeat away! She was terrible. And the whole winking and coquettishness is really sad and demeaning. Say what you want to about Hillary, she never stooped to that.

As for Biden, he was tremendous. I want him to debate instead of Obama for the rest of the campaign. Let Obama make the speeches and direct the policy with his steady hand (his calm behavior during the campaign has been masterful, even with McCain's attacks getting more and more unethical), and Biden can debate and attack.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stoop Story Tellers

Tonight, a friend told a moving and funny story at the Stoop Storytelling Series at Center Stage. I'll link to it when they post it online.

In the middle of the sold-out show, the organizers ask audience members to put their name in a hat if they want to tell their own three-minute story around the theme. The theme was animals, and I certainly have plenty to tell. On a whim, I put my name in.

My name was called! I told my 3-minute story about the lying garbage man coming into our yard, about my dog allegedly biting him, of the $10,000 lawsuit, of his lies, and of the trial, which I won. I missed a few details that would have given me some more laughs, but I still think it went over well. I couldn't believe I did it!