Sweatin’ to the Oldies with The Strokes

WTF was up with The Strokes playing almost all old songs during their first night of a 3-night stand at the Hammerstein Ballroom here in NYC? They played nearly every song off of their first album, Is This It, but only 7 songs off the new one, First Impressions of Earth. The whole time I was going “Waahhh?!? This is SO WEIRD!”

Oh and how funny was it when the show first started and all those technicolor light screens blazed, totally shocking the audience? I screamed out, “Holy crap! It’s a Coldplay concert!” It was only later when Kiran shouted at me, “is that Chris Martin?!?!” that I realized that Coldplay (or at least Chris, Will Champion, and Jonny Buckland) were actually present at the show. I guess they were just making sure their lighting equipment was being treated well.

the strokes hammerstein 06

coldplay at the strokes

And how nuts was it when midway through the set the crowd started losing their sh-t and no less than 5 people decided to start crowd surfing? It was like I had been transported to 2001. THE KIDS LOVE THE STROKES!

It was awesome when Nick (who was dressed in his homeless “Where’s Waldo? outfit” with a ripped up red and white striped tshirt, skinny black pants and scraggly long hair) sat down at the keyboard and played while Julian sang “Ask Me Anything.” I love that line, “Don’t be a coconut.” Brilliant!

the strokes hammerstein 06

The show length was astonishing! They did a total of 23 songs!!!! That’s up there with a show length like the White Stripes or Ryan Adams. Dear lord.

Oh, and since WHEN do the Strokes do encores?!?

PS- I’m sorry to the guy I punched in the face while wildly pumping my fist in the air. Thanks for being ok with it!

SETLIST
You Only Live Once/ The Modern Age/ Hawaii Aloha/ Juicebox/ The End Has No End/ 12:51/ Heart In a Cage/ Razorblade/ Soma/ I Can’t Win/ Life Is a Gas (Ramones cover)/ Alone Together/ Last Night/ Hard to Explain/ Ize of the World/ Trying Your Luck/ Barely Legal/ Ask Me Anything/ Vision of Division/ Reptilia. ENCORE: New York City Cops/ Someday/ Take It Or Leave It

the strokes hammerstein 06

MM on the Radio

Hi all. I’m not very keen on self-promotion, but I just can’t help and be proud of this one.

Now until next Tuesday you can listen to streaming audio of me on Jo Whiley’s show from yesterday (2/21) right on the BBC Radio 1 Web site! Click on the “Tuesday” audio link and you’re set.

If you skip to about 1 hour and 40 minutes in you should hear me gabbing away about things like the NYC snow storm, MisShapes, The Editors, NY fashion week, and (of course) Karen Elson and Meg White. Or you can catch some great music by listening to the entire broadcast.

AAaannnddd, you can also listen to Monday’s broadcast which features Jack Johnson singing “My Doorbell” by the White Stripes in the Live Lounge.

In honor of me talking about Meg on the radio, how about I post one of the most recently revealed images of Meg’s Marc Jacobs campaign? Posted by SilverStar on Candy Cane Children via ONTD, I present Miss Meg with funny frames and a latchkey-kid look:

meg white marc jacobs glasses

Celebrity Spin

Check out the Village Voice cover story about “celebrity djs” written by Ms. Tricia Romano. She explores the world of rock star picking up extra cash, keeping themselves occupied from hookers and blow, and much more. My favorite thing about this article is that it concentrates on whether or not some of these rockers are “djs” as opposed to figuring out if some of these musicians are “celebrities.”

village voice celebrity spin

Actually, speaking of DJs, check out this video of DFA-family member The Juan Maclean doing a live DJ set last week in Seattle:

WATCH: The Juan Maclean performing in Seattle

Welcome to Our World, Welcome to Our World of Blogs

Ohmigod! I just found out about this cool new thing. It’s called “blogging.” It’s like the hottest thing ever. I just read about it on this thing called the “internet“!

All kidding aside, I just saw this right now. New York magazine’s newest issue takes on “The Blog Establishment.” It’s a lengthy article by Clive Thompson about the “glass ceiling” of blogging, the elitism, the successes, and the frustrations. Thompson touchs on sites like Jossip, Gawker Media, Boing-Boing, etc.

The story discusses the idea that it is the first-adapters who get the lion’s share of linkage and spread it around to their friends, making it hard for up-starts to get comperable traffic. Here’s a sample:

The power law is dominant because of a quirk of human behavior: When we are asked to decide among a dizzying array of options, we do not act like dispassionate decision-makers, weighing each option on its own merits. Movie producers pick stars who have already been employed by other producers. Investors give money to entrepreneurs who are already loaded with cash. Popularity breeds popularity.

First-movers get a crucial leg up in this kind of power-law system. This is certainly true of the blogosphere. If you look at the list of the most-linked-to blogs on the top 100 as ranked by Technorati—a company that scans the blogosphere every day—many of those at the top were first-movers, the pioneers in their fields.

In scientific terms, this pattern is called “homeostasis”—the tendency of networked systems to become self-reinforcing. “It’s the same thing you see in economies—the rich-get-richer problem,” Shirky notes.

Thompson’s article also takes on a slightly jaundiced slant on Gawker Media in general. Basically calling grand puba Nick Denton a liar for saying that there’s no money to be made in blogging and instructing all his bloggers to decline interviews  (but seemed to have find no fault in them being photographed–see below) for this piece. With that in mind, can we really believe the shpeal Denton gave about blog writers like Jessica Coen only getting paid around 30k a year?

However, Thompson did get a chance to get some words from former Gawker editor Elizabeth Spiers (who just so happens to be starting her own blogging empire) who gives this brutaly honest quote about her former site of work: “You’d have be a total f-ckup to ruin that site right now. It’s got so many links, you’re just going to have a positive growth rate.”

If you still haven’t gotten a hold of the nearest sharp object to jab your eyes out (Uncle Grambo, I’m talking to you), you would have gotten far enough to see Pink Is the new Blog is mentioned in the same breath as Ultragrrrl and Thighs Wide Shut.

You will also make it to read about how the little independents don’t have much of a chance against the big organized (and monied) productions like Weblogs Inc and Gawker Media.

They also list the Top 50 blogs, do some “Meet the Bloggers” bit, and a broad timeline of “blogging.”

God I hate the words “blog” and “blogger.”

Anyone think the photographer’s instruction was: “Chin up, kids!” ?

ny magazine bloggers

ny magazine bloggers

Thoughts on the whole blogging as “rich getting richer” angle? How about the Nick Denton supressing information? Let ’em rip.

More on Jenny Lewis’s Night of a Thousand (Indie Rock) Stars

So back on Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins playing the Angel Orensanz Foundation last night. After an entire line of freezing indie fans watched an attempted car-break in (and a chase down by the cops), they finally let the crowd into AOF. The space was filled with lovely warm colored lighting, rich purples , reds and oranges. Twinkling white stars were projected onto the ceiling. The doors were left open all the way until the show started around 8pm, leaving a mighty big chill in the venue, so everyone was sitting down huddled together in their winter coats.

The old temple, with its sky-high vaults and imposing altar humbled audience members into conversing in hushed voices and stunning them into dead silence as soon as the show began. Jenny commented during the show that it was “so quite” which she found “nice.”

J. Lew and the Watson Twins opened the show by singing an a capella harmony as they walked from the darkness of the back of the synagogue, down the center aisle, and finally making their way onto the stage. The effect was haunting and beautiful–a feeling that stayed with me throughout the entire performance.

I really have never listened to Rilo Kiley at all, but for some reason when I first heard that Jenny Lewis was putting out a solo album, I was immediately interested in hearing it, and much to my great surprise, I loved the pretty blend of folk and country on Rabbit Fur Coat. Despite being 30-years-old, when J. Lew sings, her voice sounds very whimsical and girlish…although I couldn’t help but notice sometimes she sounds like…Jewel and her song lyrics can sometimes be cheesy. But overall, her melodies are absolutely stunning and delightful, so I would recommend that anyone who likes straight-on “purty music” to listen to Jenny’s stuff.
During the live performance last night, all of the same subtle nuances of her recorded material were able to shine through during this very special concert. I seriously cannot imagine a better venue to hear devastatingly precious songs like “Melt Your Heart,” “It Wasn’t Me” (with M.Ward) and “Rabbit Fur Coat” being performed. It was absolutely magical.

Then when she and Johnathan came out and sang “Cold Jordan” together at the end of the set, I just about shat my pants because it was too much cuteness for me to handle. Johnathan and Jenny are SO my indierock Heath and Michelle. He would just kinda look at her as he strummed on his guitar, and she would nod her head to him as she sang. Adorable. Everyone read along to the song after being instructed by Jenny to turn to the last page of our songbooks.

(Yes, everyone was handed a coral-colored program with song lyrics as they entered the venue. The program looked almost exactly like the poster they were selling, except the poster seemed to be just an 11×17 photocopy of the program cover, with the addition of the tour date on it. I instructed people to just go home and make a photocopy themselves rather than by a kinda ridiculous poster that you can make on your home computer in about 5 minutes. I THINK JENNY LEWIS FANS WOULD BY BOTTLED “JENNY LEWIS AIR” IF GIVEN THE CHANCE. Just a hunch.)

SET LIST:

Run Devil Run/ The Big Guns/ Happy/ You Are What You Love/ Melt Your Heart/ The Charging Sky/ Un-named “New” Song/ Paradise/ Rabbit Fur Coat/ Rise Up with Fists/ Born Secular

More takes on the show: NY Times, BV, The Fader, Two-Hundredth Couch

Read more about Jenny here.

jenny lewis

jenny lewis and the watson twins

jenny lewis and m.ward

Birthday Nation

This weekend I went to so many birthday parties. The following people celebrated their annual “old-day” this weekend: Sarah, Doug, Johnny, and Niki. I know the following people are having their day of old very soon, so happy early birthday Greg, Nina, and Dan! And my birthday is next week! Hooray Aquarius!

Here’s a photo of Sarah at her “guest-list only”, packed-to-the-gills birthday party at Orchard Bar. She may or may not be writing “It’s my birthday!” on her Sidekick.

sarah birthday

Anyone Have an Extra for Jenny Lewis on Sunday?

Anyone have an extra for Jenny Lewis (aka “J. Lew“) with the Watson Twins, Johnathan Rice, and Whispertown 2000 at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on Sunday? Email me at jlew @ themodernage.org. The show is at 7pm so that means I can still probably make it to some of the fund-raiser for the Banana Milkshake Project featuring Eugene Mirman, Demetri Martin, Netherlands, Tigers & Monkeys, and Aloke at Pianos for 12 bucks. Or I could stay home and watch #1 Single. Either way, fun fun fun.

Stellastarr* Seeks Couples Willing to Smooch for Photoshoot and DOP Try Out New Material

From me ol’ email box, a message from Michael Stellastarr*: The band seeks real-life couples to pose for an upcoming SS* single cover. Read on:

Hey everyone. Got a question for you…

This Saturday afternoon. 12:30pm – 3ish.
DATE CHANGE: NEXT SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2006
Stellastarr* is doing a photo shoot to make the Single Cover for our song “Love and Longing”.

And we need COUPLES or PEOPLE DATING to be in the photo–together.

The Image: Black & White photo. In central park. Winter time. Couple in foreground, full on kissing ­Hollywood style. In a romantic location where couples like to kiss. Many other couples in background. All are kissing the same passionate way. As a matter of fact, Everyone visible in the shot are happy couples romantically kissing.

The Effect: Observing the world in love. Everyone is in love. Are you? (i.e. Love and longing) We are looking for Classy, and hopefully bittersweet.

Photographer: Jasper Coolidge

Everyone who would like to be involved, please:

1. Email me back (michael @ stellastarr.com) saying you are in, and have a “date”. Sorry, but we are a horrible match-making service, and cannot find you someone to kiss. Plus the photo will look better if the subjects are actual couples.

2. Meet us Saturday Afternoon at 12:30pm at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Look for me. We’ll wait around for a few minutes for people to arrive, then walk to the location, inside Central Park.

3. Invite other couples. The more, the better.

What do you get out of it? You get to be on a stellastarr* single cover! You get to be in a cool, artsy photo. And hopefully have a nice Saturday afternoon in Central Park, making out with your significant other. Kinda romantic, isn’t it? (And it’s pleasantly happening right near Valentines Day)

The weather forecast is high of 50 degrees that day, mostly clear with 30% chance of showers. Just in case, bring umbrellas. That might be an interesting twist element to the concept.

Thanks to everyone who can help,
-michael

In other local band news, Dirty On Purpose are taking their show on the road again to 3 cities on the east coast and of course some hometown shows. Catch them on Feb 17th at Northsix (w/ Oakley Hall (ex-Oneida), Hopewell, Jaymay). They will be playing songs off of their upcoming April 2006 LP on North Street Records.