Monday, November 20, 2006

Cheap Trick with OK GO

Last Wednesday, my 'little' brother, visiting from San Antonio, TX, and I hit the TLA in Philly for Cheap Trick and OK GO.

It was a happy accident that I stumbled on their visit. A couple of us at work were discussing Rick Neilsen's guitar collection and I pulled up the Cheap Trick site and saw that they were coming to town. I think it's been 5 or 6 years since they were in Philadelphia.

I was an early fan back in '78 with the release of Heaven Tonight and then quickly picked up their earlier records -- the first purchased by my grandmother for a birthday. As I got older and headed into my concert going years they lost me especially with 1987's The Flame.

As I got older still and they had their 25th anniversary tour, I got hooked back into them, buying the cd's and framing the vinyl's. But their tours and my schedule never crossed paths until now. They've long been on my list of bands I 'gots' to see before I or they check out.

I wasn't able to match the wink my wife got from Tom Petersson as a teen in Saratoga, but I was able to give Rick a pat on the shoulder as he made his way through the bar crowd during opener, OK Go's act.

OK Go was good sport. They've gained viral fame this year with their treadmill Here It Goes Again and backyard A Million Ways dance videos. Their encore for the evening was a re-enactment of the backyard video. Well done, lads. Good infectious entertainment.

Cheap Trick went full force through their set and gave it all, covering the hits from Candy to Surrender to Dream Police and including songs off their new record, Rockford and even The Flame.

Rick spent the evening spitting while singing and spitting on stage and stomping about, showering picks throughout and finished strong with the 5-neck. Robin Zander's vocals seem just as strong as ever and show no sign of aging like so many of his peers and elder rockers. Tom Petersson kept things humming with his 12-string bass and Bun E. Carlos kept the beat well -- though his sticks didn't seem to be as big as they used to be.

That's one more of those goals that I can cross off the list.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Elected with Margot & The Nuclear So and So's

Caught a show last week at the First Unitarian Church near 21st and Chestnut in Philadelphia. When I attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia just out of high school, we 'dormed' at the apartment house, then called the Ambassador Townhouse, at 21st and Chestnut, right across the alley from the church. I met my wife there on top of the building one night.

It was strange to be standing in the alley with a friend waiting in line for the show 17 stories below my wife's original apartment, 1818, (I'm pretty sure there was no 13th floor) 24 years later.

It was also a little strange to be in the basement of the church with about 100 other people who appeared to be less than half my age. I'm pretty sure that I was the 2nd oldest person in the crowd.

I went to see The Elected but was wow'ed by Indiana's Margot & the Nuclear So and So's. I had one of their songs, Skeleton Key, on my ipod and enjoyed it. Listening here and there on the commute was nothing compared to seeing them live. Their studio work only hints at the potential for rocking they gift to the fans and converts that have shown up at venue's around the country on their current tour. The eight-member band -- which includes a supplemental percussionist who drives the beat home with his marching band big bass drum and other noisy toys -- features a myriad of instruments that create a wall of sound that is rare on the small club circuit. How do they fit all of them --and their instruments too-- in their van?

If you get a chance, catch them -- they're sure to rise up.

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