Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On the 545

The energy meets you not like a tidal wave a la New York subways, but like the bracing surf at a nice beach.

You're over-caffeinated, trying to throw off the cobwebs of late-night web surfing and early morning alarm clocks. Your playlist is playing the electronica rhythm you hope will wake you up. You resolve to wake up half an hour earlier, so that you can get to work early and get more done in the day. Despite knowing that you will be scrambling the next time around too.

Your nose is buried in a book. Yet you raise the corner of your eye at every stop, looking for familiar faces. You're an island with your headphones and book, but the social animal in you still craves for that smile and acknowledgement of an acquaintance.

Others people-watch. Someone plays with his GameBoy, the animated pixels somehow eerily silent as he's turned the sound off. The bus has wi-fi, but not many people are plugged into their laptops. Maybe that's for the best.

Surprisingly, very few people read. You wonder what this world's come to when people can spend forty-five minutes mulling and gazing out of the window and yet not surrender themselves to the simple pleasure of a book.  Not even a magazine or a comic book, I ask?

Commuting by the bus brings many fresh insights. And too many questions.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A tale of two gigs

One, a storied band with fifteen years of solid live reputation behind them. Cult, as it were, yet growing in popularity.

The other, someone who just annihilated his past of lighting up stadiums worldwide with his power playing to go back to the basics: songwriting, an acoustic guitar and a harmonica.

The two juxtaposed uncomfortably (for me, that is). Conflicting schedules, a mad scramble from venue to venue, but mostly good timing. The ending part of the Indian Ocean concert was missed, but such sacrifices have to be made.

Highlights: An amazing new track Bhula Raha played by Indian Ocean. It appears on their new "live in concert" DVD. Plus, as always, amazing renditions of old favorites.

A rockalicious rendition of Guerilla Radio on guitar and harmonica by The Nightwatchman. He was preaching to the choir, sure, but who can resist singing along to:

"It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime,

what better place than here, what better time than now?"

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Guess who's back

Indian Ocean is back in Seattle on the 18th of July.

For those Seattle-area vasis who read my blog (yes, all two and three-quarters of you), you already know through other channels. If (surprise, surprise) you didn't know, the nitty-gritties are here.

Fab band, great venue, fun comes.

Other gigs on this leg of their US tour.

Previously: Indian Ocean in Seattle , Indian Ocean - an oasis of hope, More Indian Ocean

Monday, July 09, 2007

Notes on the dismal fall of a franchise aka Third time definitely unlucky

- MJ is back in red (love that, for the record) ! Why did she go to blonde hair in Spidey 2?

- Peter Parker is a nerd. Making him wear kajal, doing up his hair Goth-style, dressing him in black and making him jive doesn't make him any less nerdy. Maybe Tobey Maguire's the problem. Cheesiness abounds as baaaad man Parker is more laughable than cool. 

- Stan Lee makes a cameo in the film.

- I noticed that Peter Parker's landlord's name is Mr. Ditkovitch. Was that a tribute to Steve Ditko? hmm...

- The amnesiac Harry Osborn is a much more likeable character than a dopey Peter Parker. But then, the Goblin's snarling kills any sympathy you ever had for him.

- Did Sam Raimi just get a DVD set of '70s Amitabh blockbusters over Christmas that he decided to rehash? How bad can the ending get?

 If this is what happens to good comic book franchises even with directors unchanged, I hate to think of what the future holds.

The Dark Knight? (It's Christopher Nolan, so maybe there's hope...)

More Superman badness. (Superman Returns was Bryan Singer. Go figure.)

*shudder*  more Fantastic Four?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lean on me

I remember reading a review of a music album a long time back where the music was described as having 'comfortable corners you could lean into'.

Like a favorite pair of jeans that you've broken in and have been wearing for a couple of years, the best songs are comfortable. When you've grown weary of musical explorations and journeys into the unknown, you return to the solace of the old familiars.

I have a habit of buying more music than I really have time to listen to, and more books than I'm ever going to read. The idea is that this situation is better than the reverse - having a lot of time but no books to read or music to listen to. However, in the interests of sanity, I stopped buying new music a month ago and began to consolidate my CD collection - sorting all the CDs I have, ripping them to my laptop to burn mix CDs and transfer to my phone (which doubles as my portable music player).

It's been a revelation. I stopped flitting from CD to CD, album to album looking for the next new sound to savor or new beat to jive to. I rediscovered old favorites not exactly forgotten, but maybe not paid enough attention to in recent times. With experience, the best songs grow more comfortable, old yet new. An album that definitely scored high in these ratings was U2's second Best of Album which showcased their work from Achtung Baby leading up to All That You Can't Leave Behind.

I'm listening to Beautiful Day for probably the 500th time. Somewhere, One and Electrical Storm strike a chord like they never did before. The Hands that Built America is still as beautiful as it ever was. And yes, Mysterious Ways still rocks my world.

Lifts my days, lights up my nights indeed.

Previously: on U2 .