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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Kicking the Tether...

I'm still on a high from last night's as-always amazing American Analog Set show... was so wired up afterwards that I didn't get to sleep until 3am-ish. Needless to say, I'm lagging a little bit here at work.

I'll save some words for the sharing of their set when Monday comes, but I will say this much: There was no more perfect way for them to end their last Boston appearance than with what may have been their first-ever encore, and of a song I requested no less. Even as the rhythm section disappeared and the rest of the band began unplugging amps, as usual shunning the standard clap-and-we'll-come-back contrivance, the cheering crowd just wouldn't let up. You could tell Andrew Kenny was struggling with it... so I muttered "play She's Half by yourself." And he actually went for it. "Ok... I think we can do that." Unbelievable. He brought bassist Lee Gillespie back on stage to tap-out the low end, and keyboardist Craig McCaffery remained in his seat to help play a stripped-down version of my favorite track from their latest record, 'Set Free', a song they hadn't yet performed on this tour. The vocals were so delicate, so completely exposed without the guitar, which he left hanging silent as he sang. Just beautiful. What a gift.

I can't resist sharing it now, so here it is. A little preview of what's to come on Monday...

American Analog Set - "She's Half" (live)
(at TTs, Cambridge, MA, 11/16/2005)

I don't know if even a fraction of how magical that was in person comes across, because listening to it puts me right back there.

Anyway, moving on to less mind-altering things...

In case you hadn't heard, Low (and their brand new bass player) will be returning to stages this winter, and a Boston stop is happening on Thursday, February 2nd at the Middle East Downstairs. Considering they've sold out the much-larger Somerville Theatre before, don't delay on getting tix. Unless maybe now-ex-bassist Zak Sally was responsible for a third of their draw all this time? Hey, ya never know. Complete Low tourdate listing over at More Cowbell.

If a hype machine is gonna start cranking up, I'm just glad it's targeted at a band like Mogwai. Granted, the early raves on their now-finished next album are coming from their manager, but that manager happens to be ex-Creation now-Poptones Records guru Alan McGee. He supposedly said (in a doubtlessly unintelligible scottish accent) that the album, titled 'Mr. Beast' is "probably the greatest art rock record that I've been involved in since My Bloody Valentine's 'Loveless'. It's possibly better than Loveless." Um, uh... you don't just carelessly throw words like those around! But damn, I can't resist getting a little more excited about what we'll hear come March.

Thanks to Falfa for pointing out that Continuum Books has offered up a teaser from what is sure to be yet another fine addition to their album-as-novella 33 1/3 series: The Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique. Read the excerpt over here. The Dan LeRoy-penned book will be out in the spring.

The first issue of Brian Wood's new twelve-issue Oni Press comic series 'Local' came out yesterday, and he's really upped the ante from his work on last year's DEMO (note: collected next month!). While each installment will focus on (or at least include) Megan, the first issue's main character, all twelve will take place in a different North American locale, and will occur sometime during the subsequent year. So not only will you get a real sense of place (as artist Ryan Kelly perfectly pulls off for Portland, Oregan in #1), but you'll be able to mark the passage of time through Megan's experiences and potentially changing styles. It's a brilliant way to provide a thread of continuity and personal evolution while at the same time making each chapter its own self-contained tale. Love the idea, and loved the kick-off.

Locations on deck include Minneapolis in #2, Richmond VA for #3, Missoula MT for #4, and for our Canadian friends, Halifax, Nova Scotia in #5. I'm just waiting for him to schedule one for our shared hometown of Burlington, Vermont. Hey, Brian... if you put at least a drive-by cameo of 242 Main in there, I'll buy you a couple of Brooklyn Brewery bevs when I'm down your way. Actually, you'd probably have included it anyway, but still, beers on me.

Check out the Local Workblog for reader comments (and add your own, after you buy the thing), along with a preview of issue #2, and a bunch of other cool stuff.

Long as we're talking comics, I get a little thrill every time I see a new Cassaday/Martin cover for an always-long-awaited upcoming issue of Planetary. That's issue #25, due in March. Before that, we've got #24 in January. Take a gander at that cover right here. See that puzzle piece? Hot damn. Answers. From a recent Warren Ellis 'Bad Signal' mailing...
"I'm nine or ten pages into the new script (24), and right away I've wrapped up the connections between the Hong Kong cop, the Melanctha issue and John Leather, hopefully clearly explicated what the Century Babies do, explained why the Four let Planetary live, given a fairly strong hint about what The Drummer is, and described the above and below of the protective systems existing around life on Earth in the Planetary 'universe'."
Whoa. I'm ready to get giddy.

More comics stuff, you say? Okie doke: Hellboy. Love it. The Mike Mignola comics, that is. And the Christopher Golden novels and the BPRD stuff, too. The movie? More like than love, but it was a good start. So I'm wondering where on my like-love scale the in-production Hellboy animated series will fall. Very, very cool that there's already a production diary, and that producer Tad Stones has been updating it frequently right out of the gate. Totally appreciate that look behind the curtain.

Speaking of comics-in-motion, the new poster for the live-action adaptation of Alan Moore's 'V For Vendetta' actually has me moving back towards the optimistic side of things. Bald Natalie looks so aggro.

I totally didn't plan this, but here I go from mentioning Natalie Portman straight into something about Zach Braff. Total Garden State-themed coincidence, I swear. Anyway, Braff recently updated his little blog with a rare video post, and he talks a bit about what the hell is going on with Scrubs scheduling. Basically, he doesn't know, but they're not happy. You probably coulda guessed that. They're hoping to be back on the schedule in January, and they've already finished filming 7 out of the 22 ordered episodes. He claims they're even further 'out there' than normal, which is a very good thing.

(and I know that if Matt is reading this, he's thinking... "Ha! I remember when you used to hate that show!" Yes, yes, yes. You told me so.)

Braff also plugs a couple films he recently finished acting in: The Last Kiss (co-starring an ex-Real World-er?) and Fast Track (which has a killer cast). How about a second directorial project to follow up Garden State? Maybe starting in spring, he says. Oh, just watch that video post yourself.

It seems I've started talking about television. Ok then. If you haven't yet, go ahead and watch David Cross get pissed about the Fox marketing people who screwed Arrested Development out of a future. *&$@#$%s.

That new 'youth culture' guy on the Daily Show? He's Demetri Martin, and he used to be a writer for Conan O'Brien. Read this pretty amusing week-long journal that he wrote during his time at Late Night.

While we wait, and wait some more, for the fall '06 return of The Wire to our teevees (patience, do not fail me), it's nice of HBO to offer up a little new content for fans: A new interview with series writer/producer Ed Burns, with an introduction from co-creator David Simon.

I was saddened to hear about the death of one-time Star Trek show-runner Michael Piller a couple weeks ago... he played a large role in the best parts of the whole 'new Trek' universe that started with The Next Generation and got even better with Deep Space Nine (which is where it all peaked, as far as I'm concerned). Knowing that Battlestar Galactica writer/creator Ron Moore got his start on ST:TNG and excelled at DS9, I wondered if he'd have any thoughts to share with the world on the loss of Pillar. Well, he did, and if those words are the measure of a man, then Michael Pillar stood very tall indeed.

I'm a few chapters into George RR Martin's 'A Feast For Crows', and I'm just loving every page of the thing. It's going to be impossible for me to pick that new 'Wheel of Time' book back up when I'm done with it... Jordan's seemingly aimless ramblings read so much the worse by comparison. Do me a favor: Even if you're not a fantasy fan, try a little of the first book in Martin's 'A Song of Ice & Fire' series. As someone wrote recently: "It's fantasy for people who hate fantasy." And for those who love it, too. Hell, I can't think of anyone it's not for. Even Time magazine agrees. "The American Tolkien"? I'm not gonna argue with that.

Much to my surprise, when I saw Janeane Garofalo do stand-up here in Boston a couple years back, I actually enjoyed the opening comedian a little bit more. Which isn't to say I didn't dig Janeane's stuff, I just connected with Greg Behrendt's act and his 'getting a little too old to be cool' material. He's since gotten all famous, writing for a tv show (I don't hold that one against him), putting out a bestseller and recently appearing on The Colbert Report. I'd heard he was putting out a dvd of his stand-up act, and I'm glad to learn that it finally showed up on shelves this week. It's called "Greg Behrendt Is Uncool", and the title leads me to believe that it's material from the very same act I saw. Looking forward to netflixing that.

Excellent article/interview with comedienne Sarah Silverman in the new Rolling Stone. Glad it's online, I can't remember the last time I actually bought an issue of that once-relevant rag.

Chris Ott has a blog. This is a very good thing. It revolves around "outrageous auctions of pop music memorabilia", and the more words that former Pitchfork contributor and 33 1/3 author shares with us the better. Y'know what would be even sweeter, though? A new album from his musical outlet: The Grace Period. I still listen to his 'Dynasty' disc all the time. Seriously, make more music, Chris. (and thanks to this other Chris for tipping me to the online Ott action.)

I'll end this post with... hey, free stuff! I mentioned last week that The Magic Numbers are coming to Boston on November 29th, playing a show at Great Scott as part of the Fenway Recording Sessions. In honor of the ongoing tour that brings them here, I've been given the ok to offer up some prize merch: A 7" for the single "Love Me Like You", a copy of their new self-titled full length disc, and sure-to-be-spiffy t-shirt. If you want all that, drop a comment in the link below (include your email addy) and answer the following question: What's written on the side of the truck that splashes the posters in the 'Forever Lost' video? (links: qt/win/rp). I'll email the first person to respond correctly so I can get your mailing address.

Check out an online sampler for the album over here, or head to the Magic Numbers MySpace page for more.

Oh, and a fair warning to Brooklyn friends: Look out, here I come. Yup, I'm NYC bound on Saturday, December 10th for a little 3-day solo trip. I'm going down just for the hell of it, and 'the hell of it' includes taking in the new play 'Coronado', written by Boston author Dennis Lehane, and seeing Explosions In The Sky when they play the Bowery Ballroom on Monday night the 12th. I so cannot wait.

So, um, who wants to put me up for a night or two? ;) Actually, maybe that should have been my contest question... the winner gets, uh... me!

featured mp3 download
neil halstead
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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