December 22, 2014

Damien Rice in a synagogue in San Francisco (October 7, 2014)


It’s the time of year when I have some time to swim around in music because the college where I work is closed in between terms. Brace yourselves for a bunch of good stuff in the next two weeks while I am off work — in addition to plans for a “Holiday Bundle” of up to four new Chapel Sessions (!!!), I have some incredible live recordings that a magical show-recording elf who goes simply by the initial “B” sends to my mailbox with little notes of care from the San Francisco Bay Area.

In this week’s mail I received a stunning recording of Damien Rice playing in the Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco – a magnificent Classical Romanesque synagogue built in 1904 and covered in gorgeous frescoes. The setlist to this show is fucking incredible. Damien Rice has the ability to transport me back to a very specific time in my life, a very raw time (“Accidental Babies” has got to be one of the most brutally bittersweet songs I know) and this show just was just song after song after song of that exquisiteness.

From the first song, “Eskimo,” when he starts howling, I was overcome with chills all up and down my spine. This is a very powerful show; even though these songs are old, they are undiluted. I did the thing that I do when a song really flattens me, and that is: I let it. I lay right in the center of the wooden floor in my kitchen where the stereo is and let the song do its work. Sometimes I sing along.

Holy shit, this show.

crowd choir on Volcano

LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO: Congregation Sherith Israel
October 7, 2014
Taped by B

Woman Like A Man
9 Crimes
The Greatest Bastard
The Professor & La Fille Danse
Grey Room
Rootless Tree
I Remember
Volcano –> When Doves Cry (Prince)

The Blower’s Daughter
Cheers Darlin’
Accidental Babies


The enclosed postcard: Thanks, B.
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I am seeing Damien on April 17 in Boulder. If this is at all what I have to look forward to…

[show photos borrowed from Irene Hsu, Stanford]

February 8, 2012

he asked me not to go so fast

Perhaps you, like many other late night denizens, saw Alabama Shakes nearly burn down Conan’s studios with their performance on last night’s show, and sat there on your couch shaking your head and saying “what the hell was that?!” Maybe you’ve caught them live on this tour (LUCKY), or watched some of their immensely dynamic videos online. One thing is, I believe, for certain. Alabama Shakes are a force of nature akin to a hurricane or a tidal wave, and they are conquering something serious.

A few weeks ago they played The Independent in San Francisco, and one of my fabulous readers (“B”) taped it and sent it to me in a simple padded envelope, as he often awesomely does. I was slack-jawed listening in the car on my next long drive up to Denver. Brittany Howard’s tremendous, ferocious wail of a voice is one that has the volcanic potential make a dent on this thing we call musical history.

Enjoy this magnificent show, from a band that is rightfully poised to explode. Their debut album Boys & Girls is out April 10th.


Goin’ to the Party
Hold On
Hang Loose
I Found You
Always Alright
Boys & Girls
Be Mine
Rise to the Sun
Hurricane Strut
You Ain’t Alone
Heavy Chevy
*possibly my favorite
Heat Lightning
I Ain’t the Same
On Your Way
How Many More Times (Led Zeppelin cover)


Also, pretty much all you need to know about why Brittany Howard is so rad can be heard when she introduces the band during “Hurricane Strut,” with none of their real names, but nevertheless their perfect names:

“Let me introduce you…to the 100% legit…Alabama Shakes. Right over here on this ebony guitar, I got Cobra Snake Jackson. Let him know you love him. This gentleman right here… why this is Mahogany T Jones. What’s up Mahogany. Right back here… you know I got Scooter Johnson. Awww Scooter… keep it on time, keep it on time. Right over here, aha… I got Styrofoam Jones. Let’em know what’s up Styrofoam. Ya know…that’s all there is to it.”

Damn straight.

[top image by Joseph Lanford, second photo (from that SF show) by Pam Torno. Thanks to Adam Sharp for helping me with clerical work – you’re hired.]

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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