Bon Iver and Bowerbirds

The Music Hall of Williamsburg was at capacity last night, filled with fans eager to sway thoughtfully through this bill of sweet, quiet folk. Amidst hoots of recognition, North Carolina’s Bowerbirds began with Hymns For A Dark Horse opening track “Hooves,” perfectly setting the tone for their lovely set. Phil Moore’s luscious voice floated through the space with a soothing clarity as he gently strummed his guitar, while it took Beth Tacular a few numbers to warm up. She seemed a bit wobbly through “In Our Talons,” but soon enough she was back to form, shining especially on a new song that gave her a whole solo verse. This and a few other newbies, one tentatively titled “Teeth Of Life,” augmented their performance and proved their next album something to anticipate, though in truth I’d melt for Moore’s voice on just about any quality of song.

Shortly after, Justin Vernon as Bon Iver took the stage as a room full of people pelted him with love. He was appropriately sheepish about all the attention, as only this year did his debut For Emma, Forever Ago rocket him to noteworthiness and, apparently, female adoration. From packing Sound Fix in February to selling-out tonight’s full-size venue, Vernon and crew have toured heavily and taken his humble catalog of songs to other levels of rocking. There were plenty of quiet, Vernon-centered moments that showcased his mastery of the high note, but there was also lots of jammy release that surprised all who had thought they wouldn’t need earplugs at a Bon Iver show. A new number called “Blood Bank” was especially rock-songish with Vernon banging away at the keyboard and enlisting the strengths of his full band. Their updated performance style and new material suggest a more thrilling overall experience, though fans initially drawn to their hushed hymns might wish for more of Vernon’s soft side. However, the rockin’ moments seemed quite appropriate since some of the most powerful parts of the album come when Vernon really lets loose, and certainly these did not go unappreciated in a live setting. All present proved their enthusiasm by singing along to “The Wolves Act I And II,” after which Vernon gave dumbfounded thanks to Brooklyn for coming to see his band perform. He’s clearly in the midst of realizing that lots of people really like his music, and that seemingly many more are to follow. After an encore of “Skinny Love,” the crowd was told they had heard all the songs there were to play, making Bon Iver’s big night feel complete.

Limerick #117

A politician most obtuse
Will meddle where he serves no use.
With his sponsors and polls,
He has paper-thin goals,
Chasing the elusive golden goose.

Liz and Laura’s upcoming journey to Londontown!

Liz and I are embarking on a European odyssey (or EuroTrip, in the tradition of bad movies) at the end of August, and you’d better believe we’ll be covering our exploits! Look forward to many photos of drinking, brawling, and questionable British foods. We hope to court Princes William and Harry while we’re there, and if all works out as planned, we shall return princesses! Princesses Liz and Laura will lord over you like gods! Just as it should be. It’ll be like that Julia Stiles movie, only less creepy and badly-acted.

More updates to come!

L Word fans — is Niki supposed to be Lindsay Lohan?


(Spoilers included, obviously)

So am I the only one who thinks the starlet character Niki (above right) is supposed to be Lindsay Lohan, or is this just obvious and I’m the last person to figure it out?  Regardless, look at the evidence: Lindsay herself went from a raven-haired lady lover (or two, depending on how many of the rumors you believe) to the semi-butch Samantha Ronson around the time this season was being written, not to mention the fact that Lindsay also hasn’t come out of the closet and probably had some ‘get a beard boyfriend’ conversations with the movie studios.  Similarly, Niki went from the dark-haired and feminine Jenny (above left) to the semi-butch Shane.  If the writers don’t make use of this similarity (i.e. put Shane in a fedora for as long as this ill-conceived romantic pairing lasts), I’ll be very disappointed.  Plus, Katherine Moennig can totally rock a fedora.

Shane with hat



Joan of Arc

In what seemed a bit of an odd coupling, teen band Ponytail got the crowd grinding with their frenzied yelping and insane energy before the main event, Chicago’s Joan of Arc. Or perhaps the varied bill makes perfect sense, since throughout their surprisingly long career JOA have defied categorization and continually changed and updated their sound. After being pummeled by such a swath of noise and energy, the revelers settled down as singer/guitarist Tim Kinsella took the stage solo for the gentle “Shown and Told.” In response to the giggles incited by that number’s mention of a “hermaphrodite stepfather,” Kinsella noted there was now proof that despite a reputation as very serious, Joan of Arc could also be fun. This discovery was an appropriate beginner for the set, as the band who have been accused of being deliberately cryptic or strange proved their desire to present a story that the listener could interpret for themselves. As he went on to ramble to the audience throughout the set, telling stories that were half analysis and half explanation, Kinsella sheepishly weaved the tale of the band that is at once self-aware and appropriately detached – the songs may mean one thing to the artist, but should be interpreted as they will by each individual ear.

Thusly engaged and schooled in the Joan of Arc catalog, the show felt like a rather intimate evening, a sentiment also aided by the Knitting Factory’s smallish space. In a live setting and without the aid of fancy studio techniques, their sound comes across with more of a garagey, indie feel than a group known for its sonic exploration and experimentation. This is not entirely inappropriate, given the tendency towards a guitar band sound on their latest Boo Human, though that album is certainly not without its jazzy tempos and electronic blips. The show’s touring lineup expertly reflected the JOA’s current direction with guys on guitar and bass providing accompaniment for songs that became more rockin’ as a result, not to mention the extended jam sessions that ended a number of the tunes. Notably free of “weird” sounds, one lone man on a humble keyboard and xylophone setup provided organ tones and some percussive backup. Of course, in one evening it would be impossible for these folks to accurately represent their entire catalog of music, and so the focus here was on the enjoyment of the moment and what the individual chose to take away from it. Personal outlook was key as Kinsella told the story of his idea during their Japanese tour to make up a batch of T-shirts, some reading “Life is easy” and others “Life is hard,” just to see which variety would sell the most.

Only a spoiled bitch with no soul would trash a wedding dress

Have you heard about this horrible trend?  Brides spend thousands of dollars (or, most likely, their parents do) on some princess dress, a waste of money to begin with, and then when the wedding is over, what do they do?  They trash the damn thing!  They roll around in the mud, tear it up, climb trees, whatever, and all the while they take pictures and think they’re part of some awesome new tradition.

There is nothing awesome about that degree of wastefulness.  There are thousands of women who would be happy to take a donated dress, even if it does have a few minor stains or tears from the big day.  There are dozens of charities devoted to distributing and otherwise reusing used wedding dresses, dozens!

These brides are just showing their true colors as spoiled whores who only care about themselves and their own stupid fantasies.  Spending tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding when people are starving to death across the world is awful, I don’t care who you are.