“This woman, who has never held a job for any time, doesn’t get up In the mornings, is routinely three or four hours late to appointments, who walks out of studios because she doesn’t feel like singing that day, and has a knack for both tantrum and wonder, achieves a childlike intensity of emotion in her songs because on some level she isn’t, even at the age of forty-seven, quite an adult. And I am probably not the only one who isn’t in a hurry to see her to grow up.”—Bill Buford on Lucinda Williams: http://nyr.kr/1uPZ4Ac (via newyorker)
Phish - Tweezer (segment), Randall’s Island 7/13/14
You go see dozens, hundreds of shows from hundreds of artists and bands and you love them all.
Sometimes, however, you catch something extraordinary. Something you didn’t know you were chasing until you heard it.
I had one of those moments during this 4 minute segment a few weeks ago on Randall’s (this segment came at the end of a continuous 50 minute flowing extraordinary segment of music - this was the denouement, if you will). A band totally locked in, each instrument cruising, beautiful soaring music in a outdoor setting with friends, while looking up at the sky. I was high - on the setting: I was away that weekend and had to travel back for the show, which was effort; a friend at a late moment decided to join me; we ran into another friend there at the show; we ran into someone else who invited us to the beer tent; it didnt rain and it was supposed to; etc.
I was out too late last night (for me), though I went to a gig in a living room, had one too many glasses of wine that came in a box (that would be 2 of them), couldn’t sleep when I got home (head buzzing), then up early (worrying about a busy day). Cascading series of events.
Made a cup of coffee from George Howell Coffee (their mission: “to seek out the best coffees on Earth” I am down with that) and tried to find something to clear the head.
I recalled seeing on twitter yesterday that a music journalist I follow said that the new Shabazz Palaces’ record may be the best record of the year. It’s damn good.
“As I grew into writing professionally, mostly, mothering amateurly—all my mind was taken with those things. I barely remember life before most days. Took the kids to a playground with Uncle JR, that back a decade ago we used to skate, poorly, and talk about Mobb Deep and big plans and our bad haircuts would waft in the breeze. Nostalgia has become such a stasis; I don’t like looking back. Sometimes I thought I should up and delete all of this as a way of reconciling who I am with who I have been. Weird shame of what I put up on this internet like a hangover into adult life. Confronting what I regret. Confronting what years of hard freelance hustle have done to or for my writing. But instead, I have to—choose to—come back and comb and say it’s worth something. It’s better and worse than I thought. I had a lot I wanted to prove to the world then, I was eager to dazzle and high on confidence that I could. Some of my best work is here and often I hardly recognize the girl that wrote it.”—
Jessica Hopper on having a web archive, as one gets older
There was kid in college who lived down the hall from me and listened to nothing but dub, all day and usually all night. He had 4 foot tall speakers, the best stereo equipment in a handmade cabinet, and a 6 foot tall bong. He would hitchhike into NYC to meet friends and then come back with a stack full of dub vinyl. I often wonder what became of him.
Yesterday was a long day, it started at 6am and ended around 1am this morning when I finally got home. The last 6 hours were spent in and around Randall’s Island for the last of 3 weekend shows by Phish. There is something special about seeing a band in an outdoor, urban area. Randall’s Island is directly under the onramp to the Triboro bridge heading east out of NYC. And to the west of the island is the east river and 125th street. There is very little parking which means most people arrived by foot (over the bridge), ferries or buses. This was a public transport type of event. You could not therefore forget where you were for the shows.
Walking into the field you are greeted by a sign - “Welcome To Our Joy”
Little details matter. Like the water refilling stations. The food trucks.
NY shows are like reunions - you run into people you know all over the place, left and right. And I was tired and probably didn’t want to go if I thought hard about it. But I didn’t, and in that tiredness saw this band throw down the best show I’ve ever seen. Long, exploratory, improvisational music, for 3 hours. By the early part of the second set - when they played this song - most people we were standing around with knew we were seeing something special.