A Slice of Fried Gold

The Great Astoria Adventure

Sunday, September 30, 2007
Myself, Sheri, Sobo and Griffin at the Astoria Column

My first day in Portland wasn't exactly a day in Portland. I slept in Portland at Erik and Katie's (on the world's most glorious air mattress...seriously, this thing is fit for kings), and in the morning Sobo, Sheri, and Sheri's precious doggie Griffin (A Bassett Hound/German Shephard mix for those that are wondering) went on adventure up to Astoria, Oregon to visit my Mecca. Where the movie the Goonies was filmed. It seemed like a perfectly random adventure to start my time in Portland with, and it was a grand day.

The first thing we did once we got into Astoria (after a lengthy bit of travel featuring Taco Del Mar, Coffee, discussion about Square Burgers and what type of food you would make healthy if you could...side note: my answer was cookies...etc.) was go and check out the visitor's center to see if we could get any inside information about places to visit and more importlantly where those places were. Recommended visit spots: The Astoria Column, the elementary school from Kindergarten Cop, and various Goonies related places, including the jail the Fratelli's escaped from and more importantly the Goonies House. The woman there was remarkably informative, as I am pretty sure I think this is all they do - field questions about the Goonies. They had special bags made up, t-shirts, etc. It was both a little bizarre and a little awesome. First up for us was the Astoria Column.

Sobo and myself from the top of the Column

The Column was very cool, as you could check out the incredibly gorgeous area in its entirety (360 degree view from a great height = perfect) and you could get the added benefit of dealing with the world's most ridiculous spiral staircase. To get to the top of the Column, you had to climb a spiral staircase that made your entire legs burn out of anger towards you for making them do the climb, and then on the way down (which we raced during of course, because we are crazy people) you start to get dizzy. When I got to the bottom I nearly fell over. No less, it was quite the sight, and it had extra cool features such as the fact that the landscape directly below looked like a part of a level from Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

View of a real life Legend of Zelda level

Up next was the elementary school from the Governator's classic film Kindergarten Cop. Sobo and I were very excited about the prospect of this as it gave us the opportunity to drop ridiculous quotes from this movie and to attempt to recreate famous parts of the movie, such as Arnold carrying out two students during the fire drill (as recreated above with myself and Griffin posing as the students). Really, even if the places didn't look like we remembered, all that really mattered was that we were there and we were having fun with it, which we did big time. I loved it. Of course, next was the ultimate stop - the Goonies House. Of course we could not recognize it nearly at all, because sadly enough we had not seen the movie recently nor did the place look the same at all anymore. Did this make it less awesome? I think not! Sheri and I of course took pictures in front of the house (one with me is seen above), and I may or may not have recreated a certain famous scene from the movie there (on video no less), and it was generally a great visit. A bit anti-climactic maybe, but still great. So after visiting the key places, we decided to the take in a light lunch at the Rogue Brewery there in Astoria. We had Oysters (really expensive ones that were disappointing) and some of their fine brews, and then we departed Astoria hoping to get out to the Tillamook factory to take in a tour and score some cheese. Of course due to my inability to get up early (I got in at 3:30!! I was tired!!) we were delayed enough to not be able to make it to Tillamook to check it out. Very sad, and I apologize Sheri!

Sobo and I cheers-ing our Sunkist bottles on the Oregon Coast

After we discovered we could not make Tillamook, we went into Seaside, Oregon and went to check out the beach and some of their shops they had in the tourist trap-y town that surrounded it. We went into a candy shop that claimed to have one of the most diverse selections in the world, and sure enough they did. There I got Sobo and myself bottles of Sunkist (had never seen bottles before! Ended up seeing them about 30 other places during the trip) and Sheri some fudge as bribery for making us not able to get to Tillamook. After that, we took our beverages down to the beach, which was ridiculously gorgeous and warm beyond words. I took off my sandals and roamed on the wonderfully warm sand, and we ran down and got in the Ocean (but not too much of course). It was really cool, and extremely hard to believe that this place existed in Oregon. It was like a Hawaiian beach, except you know...much colder and far less populated.

After this, we rushed back to Portland to make an important date (Trivia Night - Portland edition!), but the day was definitely the highlight. It was an awesome time, and a very welcome change from the rest of my trip which was so heavily based around concerts. Below I have a special present for all of you readers. You should enjoy this.

Myself doing the Truffle Shuffle in front of the Goonies House

Bumbershoot: Day 3

Thursday, September 20, 2007
So day three begins! I wake up to the sound of my cellular telephone ringing, and I contemplate tossing it across the room immediately. Instead of doing the thing I so desire, I answer it as it is Eric Maloney himself, who had promised to take me to the Airport to get my rental car. Thank god for him, as I probably would have passed out in a taxi because I was...well...I was not in my all time best shape. Folks, let me advise you to not drink Martini's and then go to a Pinball Arcade/Bar. Apparently that can be the recipe for a wicked hangover! (Also, quick aside, I wrote this in two parts as I am lazy/easily tired, so if this is written poorly and/or strangely, blame the fact I have to get up early for work. Stupid work!)

No less, Eric and I snag some McDonald's breakfast (I almost got a McGriddles because Doug Benson...MC of the Comedy Stage North...made such good jokes about them, yet I passed because I am the one person on the planet who thinks they are disgusting) and then head out to get my Toyota Camry. So I was thinking that this would have to be a total crap car. I mean it's a Camry. Don't those suck? Nope! I had such a great time driving it, it was quite zippy, handled well, had tight breaks, and even had a nice sound system. I was shocked. No less, it was still not very fun to drive the car given the aforementioned hangover.

However, I had an hour to recuperate before the first band at the Sound Transit Stage was going to begin, and that was where I was going to spend my entire day. I mean, the lineup for the day was Smoosh, the Blakes, Viva Voce, Tokyo Police Club, the Frames, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. How was I not going to spend the day there? No less, before Smoosh began I took a 20 to 30 minute nap, then went to QFC, picked up some insanely terrible sushi, Vitamin Water (as brought to you by Fitty), and some Advil. If I felt about 25% before, I felt about 50% after that little bit. I quickly threw all of that down, made my way to the stage as I was late, and found out that I was in fact not late. I was actually early by 45 minutes.

However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the stage was a nice grassy field, and what did I do? I laid down to take a much needed cat nap. I awoke right before Smoosh started to feel almost entirely rejuvenated. 90% had been reached. Success! Now I just needed a nice performance to get my juices flowing, and Smoosh did that for me.

Smoosh being the most precious thing ever

Smoosh, for those that do not know, are sisters Asya and Chloe. What's special about another girl Indie outfit on Barsuk? These girls are 15 and 13 respectively, and even have their 11 year old sister Maia on bass from time to time. I like them recorded, but seeing them live gave me a lot more respect for them as they are good performers (especially Chloe, who is simply amazing on her drum kit), are clearly talented (as seen by their ability to transition from their songs into entirely different styled covers, like their covers of the Eels and Bloc Party during their set), and really inspired the crowd for some bizarre behavior. 6 guys in the crowd had written Smoosh on their chests with markers. It was awfully bizarre. No less, they were a great ray of sunshine to start the day, and I was very glad to have caught them.

Now that Smoosh's set was over, what was a boy to do in the 45 minutes until the Blakes? I mean, I'm almost to 100%, what could get me to that point? Another nap! Yay! For some reason, laying out on that lawn relaxing and resting was pretty much the most desireable thing in the world after walking around and standing around for the previous two days before. I must say, thank you KEXP and Sound Transit for putting on such an awesome stage to allow me to be stationary for a little while. You guys are the best. But now, onto the Blakes!

The main Blake from the Blakes

The Blakes are a very strange band. They don't look like your typical Indie hype band. They just look like dudes. Seriously, they look like guys you'd run into at some run of the mill bar hitting on the bartenders. However, my interest was piqued as the program threw the name Modest Mouse out there in comparison, so hey, I have to get a listen for myself. Now I am not going to say they sounded remotely like the Indie darlings from Issaquah, but I do think they rocked.

They also wore the tightest jeans known to man, but who am I to judge. Perhaps there is some sort of mathematical explanation of the relationship between amount of rocking and tightness of jeans, as pretty much every rocker does that. I don't know, I'm not a mathematician. Anyways, they pounded through their entire set, putting on a very good sounding, albeit slightly low energy set. They definitely brought a real rock feel to the stage though, and that was a nice change of pace.

Up next was another nap, and then Portland, Oregon's Viva Voce, who was one of the bands that I was most looking forward to as I had really enjoyed their music since I had found them searching through my old radio station's new music shelf.

My future wife, Miss Viva Voce

Now I want to make some abundantly clear. I will be marrying the girl from Viva Voce. I know her bandmate is her husband, but I feel as if we should be able to work something out. She was very attractive, absolutely shredded on her guitar, had a beautiful voice, and wore heels and a sundress while performing. What's not to love? I discovered during the performance (and Art Brut previously) that I may just really like girls in bands. They are hot, I must admit. I should have known from when I saw Pretty Girls Make Graves, whose lead singer I found very attractive yet she really isn't.

Sorry, I went a bit tangent heavy there, but that was a big note. Viva Voce was predictably great, playing one of (but not both) my favorites in Alive With Pleasure off of The Heat Will Melt Your Brain, my favorite album of theirs. I just loved the both of them. She was incredible on guitar and had an amazing voice. He rocked the drum set hardcore, sang wonderfully, and gave some awesome vocal emphasis ala John McCrea from Cake during instrumental sections that really made the section rock a litle bit harder. I was unsure before hand how their overall sound would translate into a live performance, but I left very impressed with their performance.

The Damnwells, shortly before I left

Up next, Amy and Hannah had showed up for Viva Voce and they were both rather hungover (no naps on the grass for them!), so they took it easy off to the side while I was up front. After Viva, we went off and got some food and water, then went our separate ways as they were going to catch Kill Hannah and Lyrics Born, while I was going to watch the Damnwells and Tokyo Police Club.

Now the Damnwells were up at 5 pm, and I had to catch them to make my good friend Raechelle horribly envious. However, within half a song I realized that they were not really my style. By the end of the first song, I had already left to go off and check out some exhibits. Not my favorite sound, just not my style, but they did good for what they do.

Tokyo Police Club, with lead singer and awesome keyboardist in view

Tokyo Police Club was up next, and they are the world's favorite hype band. Featured in such mainstream publications as Entertainment Weekly and Spin, they drew a huge crowd of hipsters and posers (such as myself) alike. I had listened to their EP (as that is all they have released) and thought it was good, but was not overly familiar. I'd like to get familiar, because they totally rocked. They rocked much harder after the fact I found out all of them are three years younger than me, which is a really good way to feel much older.

For me to really like a performance, no...for me to love a performance there must be at least one band member that stands apart from the rest. Against band unity I know, but it simply must happen. Tokyo Police Club's was their keyboardist named Graham. He was ridiculously entertaining, running around, kicking beach balls, destroying his hand with his tambourine, yelling out vocals. You know. Normal stuff. He was pure energy, and it made it impossible not to pay attention to the stage at all times. They ripped through 45 minutes of awesome tunes, and I was very appreciative of this given that this was the last stop on their national tour and must have been ridiculously tired. They are a great up and coming band though, and everyone should pay attention for what these guys do because they rock. Even better, I got Graham and Josh (lead guitar) to sign my poster! Yes!

After this, I met back up with Amy and Hannah over near Flatstock, which is the yearly gig poster exhibit and sales area. We snagged some food and coffee real quick, and then they ran off to get some weird art perpetrated to their wrists while I checked out Flatstock. I can't believe it took me that long to check out it, as it was a great time checking out some of the ridiculously creative and genius work some of these guys had put together. It's also always fun to look back at the bizarre tours that bands had been on, and even better to look at the mega tours that took place before bands became who they were. Shortly there after, I met with Amy and Hannah as we were going back to Sound Transit to check out the Frames, whom none of us were really familiar with.

Glen Hansard of the Frames, Ireland's Best Import Since Lucky Charms

The Frames were incredible. There is nothing else that can be said. They were the only band that legitimately competed with Art Brut in terms of surprising awesomeness. Their lead singer, Glen Hansard, was ridiculously engaging and just a joy to listen to. Their entire band (which was somewhere between 6 and 7, can't remember which) were stunning on their instruments. Plus, Amy and Hannah could not stop fawning about how perfect he was, as he was "cute," funny, and very talented. By the end of the set, I was beginning to think these same things. Not in a gay way. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Glen from the Frames signing my poster

One of the best things that happened in the entire set (and I'm keeping it brief as I am tired) was during their encore, just Glen came out to sing a song called Falling Slowly. Amazingly enough, he found a younger girl (probably 16 or 17) from the crowd and got her to come up and sing the female vocals from the song. It was amazing beautiful, and just a wonderful moment for all involved and all that were there. Don't believe me? Check out You Tube. There are roughly infinity videos on there of their performance of the song. I had originally planned on leaving part way through to go check out Lupe Fiasco, but it just wasn't meant to be. The Frames were just too good.

Amy and Glen, future couple?

After their set, Amy and I (Hannah had left to watch Lupe) decided we had to wait for Glen to try and meet him and to get him to sign my poster. Quick rewind here, guess who I got to sign my poster? Walking around in the crowd during the Frames was none other then Ted Leo, and I got Mr. Leo himself to sign my poster. Of course I suffered a debilitating case of "I can't talk to remotely famous people-itis" and managed to talk very poorly to him for a minute, and then instead of saying "bye" saying "Heyyyyy!" in its stead. It was a very poor performance.

No less, back on point. We waited and waited and waited, until Glen actually came out. Apparently Amy and Hannah were not the only people to think he was amazing, as one young woman even asked him if he was married. People were getting him to sign posters for the movie Once, which is about when I realized Hey! This is the main guy from that movie! Very cool stuff, as it had been ridiculously well received and that is another feather in Glen's already overflowing cap. It was very cool meeting him though, and I managed to get him to sign my poster and get a picture (a very red one at that) of Amy and him together. Huge success!

Up next was the deadly duo of Wu Tang Clan and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists...the plan was to stick with Wu for a few songs and then run back to Ted Leo, but you know, plans change.

The many Wu, along with one of their many serving up a 40

I will just go through the Wu very quickly, but the Wu-Tang Clan were up next at the main stage, starting at the same time as Ted Leo, so I had to run over there and check them out. Sure enough, the audience was insane, bordering on potentially violent, and the air smelled like pot. Not to mention rap is silly live, even when it is someone as awesome and legendary as the Wu. I lasted 1.5 songs, and although they were good, that was plenty for me. Onwards to Ted Leo!

Ted Leo pointing out his new bassist

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists were one of the bands I was most excited about seeing the whole time, probably in a four way tie with Apples in Stereo, Wu Tang Clan, and the Shins. Ending the night with two of them was a great idea, and ending it almost entirely with Ted Leo was an even better one. Ted Leo rocked the house, bringing great energy, flawless sound, and had a great rapport with the audience and his bandmates. It was a joy to watch such seasoned veterans having a blast up there on stage.

"This is the weirdest show I've ever played"

Ted Leo himself managed to call this show "the weirdest show" he'd "ever played." Why? People were talking with him about random things, throwing pieces of bread up on stage ("Where did you guys get bread?!"), he fired and rehired his new bassist, challenged his lead guitarist to a shred off, and the bassist was talking it up with the photographers off stage who kept asking them to play their cover of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone." It was an extremely entertaining set, and I was very happy to hear old favorites like "Dial Up" and "Timorous Me" and new tracks off Shake the Sheets and Living with the Living.

Ted Leo, all alone, covering Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark"

To cap off the great set and the entire wonderful Bumbershoot experience, for the encore Ted Leo came out all by his lonesome and did a wonderful cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancer in the Dark." With the Sound Transit Stage's smallest audience of the night (everyone was off watching Wu Tang close out the Main Stage), Ted Leo captivated the audience, and even inspired the lead guitarist/Pharmacist to come up on stage and do the Courtney Cox dance from the video for the song with the lead girl from the roadie crew. It was a very entertaining finish to the night and to the whole festival, and I could not have asked for a much better experience.

Guitar player Pharmacist dancing with stagehand girl

After the show, Amy, Hannah, and I talked about how we're going to make it a yearly thing as we walked back to my wonderful Camry. Sure enough, as soon as we got driving to get to their hotel, the storm of storms began. The three of us literally thought we were going to die as we were pelted with hail, had buckets of rain thrown on us, and lightning crashed down on each side. Every car on the highway was going roughly 20 miles per hour. Of course this also led into an area of no rain at all, us getting lost, and me ultimately not getting intil Portland until 3:30 when my original plan was 1:30. So much for plans!

Band of the day!

This is a tough one. Precious Smoosh? Tight pants Blakes? Really, it comes down to two bands - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists or the Frames. Really, it is a very tough battle. However, even though I prefer them overall, the Frames took it with their masterful performance, their remarkably charming lead singer, and the fact that I got his autograph and Amy got a picture with him. Oh Glen! You are too wonderful.

Surprise of the day!

The Sound Transit Stage, a stage that I thought would be good but boring, was my home for the entire day. And it rocked harder than any where else around over the whole weekend. Good show KEXP and Sound Transit!

Disappointment of the day...

In a day of very few of them, I'd say waking up insanely hungover would be it, but that is cheating as it is not Bumbershoot related. Really, it has to be the Damnwells, as they were hyped and I did not see them as living up to it. Sorry Raechelle!

Day 3 Grade: A

Bands seen: Smoosh, the Blakes, Viva Voce, the Damnwells, Tokyo Police Club, Lyrics Born (snippet), the Frames, Wu Tang Clan, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

Naps taken: 3 that I recall, and all were wonderful.

So how was the festival overall? It was wonderful. It was everything I expected it could be and more. The best part of the whole show was the fact that my favorite bands of the weekend were the least expected ones. Art Brut and the Frames stood out the most, and I hadn't even planned on seeing either of them. That is what is so magical about this type of thing. You go in wanting one thing to make it great, and you leave having another thing making it even better than you thought it could be. Can't wait for next year! Let's see the lineup!

Bumbershoot Grade: A-

Bright Eyes tonight!

I excuse my regularly scheduled broadcast of Bumbershoot: Day 3, as tonight Conor Oberst and his band Bright Eyes descend upon Anchorage (although they did play last night as well) at the Wendy Williamson Theater at UAA. I'm very excited, and hopefully Mr. Oberst will not be too distraught after last night's performance, as I heard it was very emotional. Cannot wait, hopefully our Alaskan audience does not suck at concert as per usual! Will try and get the Bumber post up tonight as well, but no promises!

Bumbershoot: Day 2

Monday, September 17, 2007
This is going to be a long one.

Also, let me preface this by saying my day by day rundown of Bumbershoot will be impeded by other things I do on the day that are not Bumbershoot related. Thus, it will be scattershot and slow for those looking for tasty concert tidbits. Warning over!

Day 2 of Bumbershoot and Vacation started off early and stressfully. Erik, Sobo, Sarah, and myself woke up at 7 in the morning to walk to the nearby Tully's to do a Fantasy Football draft. After having Football be our primary topic of discussion for the entire previous day, Erik, Sobo, and I had to get in a league together, so we joined a $40 pay league on CBSsports.com. We get down to Tully's, snag our coffee, grab a treat or two, and set up for the draft.

But the internet will not connect! Oh noes! What do we do? Continue restarting hoping it will connect, or just bail and go back to Kelly's apartment and try and work it there, knowing that we had it work before. The draft has already started at this point, so we say screw it and pack up and leave, hastily of course in case we can make it back for our first pick. Along the way, we talk about with our luck we'll miss a few rounds and get stuck with Michael Vick or something, and about how hopefully we have the first pick and we get LT (which would be everyone in the world's pick at that spot so we wouldn't feel bad about missing the pick). We get there, set up, takes a bit to connect, and blammo, we're on.

Sobo, myself, and Erik looking on to our draft

And we did it! We had the first pick and we got LT, and then on the following turn we got Tom Brady and Terrell Owens...probably not who we would have taken, but picks we were fine with. This led to an ultimately very solid draft that we are pretty happy with...so long as LT starts running the ball better. Come on man. 25 points a week...that's all we ask.

No less, after we were done with the draft our crew gathered, and Erik, Sobo, Sarah, Kelly, Mike, and myself went to downtown Seattle for some shenanigans down in the Pike's Place market area. When we got down there we were all famished (even though we had our coffee/snack combo, plus some amazing French Toast as prepared by our incredibly gracious host Kelly), so Mike took us to an Irish Pub to have some lunch. Now two things about this Irish Pub (which I believe was called Kell's). 1) It was good. 2) They have the smallest portions on the planet. This is pretty much the direct inverse of the Brown Bag. It was $10.95 for what Erik and I got, which was a Seafood Pasty, which for all intents and purposes was a really good Hot Pocket full of Seafood, plus a dinky cup of Clam Chowder. Erik and I both agreed that our meal needed to be at least 2 times bigger (if not 3 times) and then it would be satisfactory.

Erik riding a pig and Sobot powering down

After that, we went into the market, bought some roasted nuts, checked out some book stores, and visited the legendary shop known as Golden Age Comics (actually Collectibles I believe, but I don't care, it is what I say it is). It was a good time, but time had been burned through and I needed to get to Bumbershoot to meet up with Amy to watch some comedians. I bid adieu to Sobo and Erik (who were headed back down to Portland after going to the Red Hook Brewery) and walked into the Festival with skepticism running rampant in my brain. Day one was meh, and that was with Sobo and Erik at my side. How could this be as good as that even, especially considering the other day had "better" bands.

Well, I started it out right, with Amy and I rejoining for the first time (make sense of that) to watch Fred Armisen, Brett Weinbach, and Eugene Mirman do some sweet, sweet stand up. First off, let me say that Armisen was probably the guy I was most excited to see (besides maybe Mirman) and he was not funny. Well, mostly not funny. He was just very disappointing and perhaps overly weird for my tastes. Mirman on the other hand was as funny as I expected, and Brett Weinbach blew me away. Weinbach's creepy demeanor and then even creepier impersonation of how creepy he could be was ridiculously entertaining, and he was so off the wall that it was very hard not to laugh hysterically throughout his set. As per usual, Doug Benson (6th place finisher on Last Comic Standing) warmed up the crowd very well, even though he rehashed one joke. Bad Benson! Comedy was a great lead off for the day though, and afterwards Amy and myself walked off with our faces hurting and ready for the day.

This led into possibly the band I was most excited about seeing, which was the Apples in Stereo (I struggled mightily with that sentence, was or were? Who knows.). They are the crafters of one of my favorite albums of the year, New Magnetic Wonder, and their set led me to my first foray into the Sound Transit Stage, as sponsored by KEXP (my Mom's favorite radio station ever). The crowd was moderately sized, but it was an entertaining one as there were beach balls to bounce about in the crowd while the band played. And played they did.

The Apples in Stereo

They were very good, playing a nice mix of new and old (new being what I recognized, old being what I didn't), and managing to play almost all of my favorites (besides Beautiful Machine parts 3-4) and finishing up with 7 Stars and Same Old Drag, which are my two absolute favorites. It was a very good set, although they were rather quiet and I did miss my sweet, sweet vocoder action. They were entertaining, and did not disappoint. Plus, they supplied me with the opportunity to take this excellent picture as seen below.

The Apples lead singer playing his guitar with a Rolling Rock!

After this set, I scurried off quickly in hopes of seeing Michael Ian Black perform his set at the nearby Comedy Stage South, yet it wasn't meant to be as 45 minutes before his set was to begin it was already full. A tear shed for me, missing my old favorite from Ed doing standup. However, with my phone pretty much dead, I decided I should just run back to my hotel and take it easy for 15 minutes or so and let my phone recharge, and then go back to catch part of Art Brut as a fall back.

As I said, it wasn't meant to be for me to see Michael Ian Black. Why was that? Because I was meant to see Art Brut. I came in 15 or 20 minutes into their set, but immediately I could feel currents in the air. This band was it. They were the superstars of the whole Festival, and only the people at the Sound Transit Stage knew it.

The whole band rocked hard, as they had their strangely magnetic female bassist, two guitarists who could shred and played around like little kids together, a drummer who literally did not sit ever and had about as much presence as any drummer I've ever seen..and Eddie Argos. Who is Eddie Argos you ask? Eddie Argos is the singer and frontman of Art Brut, and he was a genius.

Art Brut being the best thing ever

No less, in an hour and 15 minutes, the British rockers tore through 20 full songs, even integrating parts of other songs into them (you name it, Amy Winehouse, Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z...they are a balanced squad of musicians) and taking plenty of time to interact with the audience and have one of the best actual performances on stage, complete with freezes (you'd have to see it to understand), coordinated movements, and full out jam sessions. Argos was the man who controlled the action with his microphone, even leading off nearly every song with "GO ART BRUT!" to immediately be followed with the song beginning (besides once, when the bassist was getting a drink, and Argos instead asked "Ready Art Brut? Ready? GO ART BRUT!). Fantastic stuff. Loved them to pieces.

The man of the hour - Eddie Argos, with bandmates around as well!

After this set, I ran off to meet with Amy, Jason, and Hannah over at the Starbucks stage for Indie Rock genius/whistling God Andrew Bird's set. Of course, this was my first real foray into drinking at the Festival, and it made perfect sense because it was during the most relaxing of all performers. Let me also say, I did not pay attention as much as I should have. After being alone quite a bit during the day, it was very nice to have human interaction, so the four of us drank and joked together through most of the set, while Mr. Bird gave a beautiful performance. I would love to see him again (second time I had a shot at seeing him, first time I took it) and give it my all because he sounded really worth it. However, like I said, we drank, we joked, we had a great time and it was worth every penny and second.

Hannah, Amy, and Jason at Andrew Bird

Amy and I (as per usual, I suck at photogenic)

Next up, they went off to watch Fergie (oh god.) and I went off to watch Anberlin. They were decent, good at what they do, but could have ended the night with Andrew Bird. Afterwards, I ran back to my hotel to rest up a bit and charge my phone again, and then meet up with the crew to go off to Tiny Biggs and have a couple Martini's. Let me note this one thing. Manhattan's are the stiffest drink ever. They make straight alcohol taste like Water. I don't know what they do, but somebody spiked that Alcohol. Jason trudged through one, and those crazy kids went off to do their thing while I went off to meet up with college buddy Eric Maloney and his crew.

Three interesting things happened the rest of the night. 1) I broke my foot/toe/something. My foot is still not right and it is messed up. It may not be broken, but something is not OK with it. 2) I went to a bar that had a huge pinball arcade in it. 3) I had the lead singer of Art Brut buy me a PBR. Needless to say, Eddie Argos is the man. I met both him and the guitarist, and can't even manage to rememeber what I said because I was...well...I was a little drunk. No less, I'm sure I just told them they rocked very hard. So with that said...the wrap up!

Band of the Day!

Duh! It's Art Brut! They totally rocked the house and were the ultimate surprise for the whole trip.

Surprise of the Day!

That Art Brut, a band I found to be strangely meh recorded, could be one of the best bands I've ever seen live.

Disappointment of the Day....

Not having my camera with me when I met Art Brut. The most ridiculous thing to happen to me the whole trip, and I don't have a camera. Sad panda...

Bands seen: The Apples in Stereo, Art Brut, Andrew Bird, Anberlin (A-tastic!)

Comedy seen: Fred Armisen, Brett Weinbach, Eugene Mirman

Food: Delicious again. Gyro! Beer! Thai food! Oh my!

Day Two grade: A

This day was every thing the first day wasn't. Massively memorable. Exciting. Ridiculous. Rested. That last word could be a good excuse for the first day, I wasn't rested. But I don't think that was it. Art Brut would have rocked whenever they played, regardless of how tired I was.

Now with two days down, I'm going into Day Three with a high likelihood of a hangover, probably tiredness, and a sheer buzz from the huge fun of day two. How would it be? Could it match Day Two's awesomeness? Stay tuned to find out!

Bumbershoot: Day 1

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Now to finally get to the rundown of the grand vacation. From September 1st to September 10th, I was down in Seattle and Portland (the Pacific Northwest if you will) visiting friends and going to concerts. To start off the whole trip, I was in Seattle for Bumbershoot. Bumbershoot is a yearly music and arts festival, full of comedians, bands, film, carny food (as I like to call it), street performers, and much, much more. Needless to say I was excited for it, however I was flying in at 5 am so my excitement was limited...or was it.

After sleeping the entire flight (YES!) I got off the plane and got bags, and then was picked up by Sobo and Erik. Greetings galore, and then we went back towards Redmond, which is where we were going to be staying with Sarah's friend Kelly, who was a most gracious host (she offered to do my laundry when she saw my dirty socks, I mean come on!). Before going back there however, we went to eat at a breakfast place that was rumored to be delicious. It was called the Brown Bag. This is a very clever name, as it references what you will be eating out of for the next few days, because you'll have so much leftovers after eating there.

Left to right, that's a normal bowl, a big bowl, then Sobo's bowl of Diablo, which was either an Omelette or a Skillet depending on how you like it. Needless to say, Sobo got more than he bargained for, as did Erik, and both of them completed about a 1/3rd of their meal. I got Biscuits and Gravy, and it was ridiculously delicious, and I managed to complete the entire meal. Go me! Suck it Erik and Sobo! No less, great way to start the day.

After that, we went over to Kelly's, and we hung out there all morning, with me meeting Kelly and her roommate Tara (who reminded me quite a bit of Natalie Portman) and having a good bit of fun with Kelly's bird Phinneas (or so I think it was spelled). See below for a picture of myself (and Phinneas on my head) with Sobo and Erik off to my side. It was a good time, but about then it was time to depart for day 1 of Bumbershoot, which was my most anticipated day.

First thing was first, sorting out tickets for me. After waiting a good half an hour in line, I got my gold pass together, and we walked around the Festival to check out all of the crazy good food and the massive amounts of things to do. Also, thanks to the gold pass I could go into the lounge and score a bunch of water and soda for Sobo, Erik, and I. We were corresponding with good buddy Marc as well, and he shortly there after came down to join us. Which leads me to my biggest complaint about the first day (besides being incredibly tired and jet lagged)...cellular service was pretty much dead all day. Even though I knew a good amount of people there (Amy, Eric, and Audrey for three), I could not get ahold of anyone all day and saw no one there besides the group I was there with. Now for the savior of the first day, the International Fountain in the center of the Seattle Center. This thing was wonderful, and on a hot day of this sort, it provided the perfect place to rest. Below are pictures of us hanging at the Fountain and the mass of people joining us well later into the day.

Sobo and Erik at the Fountain

Sobo and I at the Fountain

Marc joining us at the Fountain

Mid-day is hot!

So yeah, we spent a lot of time at the fountain as we were hot and tired, and we just did not have the fighters spirit to persevere this day. Which is OK, but I wish I flew in early so I would have been rested. That's major complaint number 2. So was the only good thing from the first day the fountain? No way!

Band of the Day!

The Shins!

Shockingly one of my favorite bands made it as the band of the day, but truth be told I didn't see a ton of bands day one, and they probably would have blown away everyone else anyways. They played a good mix of the new and the old, but leading off with the opening track off of Wincing the Night Away, called Sleeping Lessons, was the best move of the day and it really got the crowd going. They brought it as per usual, and I was very impressed seeing them the second time. Sure they do not do a lot up there, but they sound pretty much flawless and you cannot complain about a band that does that.

Surprise of the day!

The comedy was the savior of the day, if not for the Fountain. We saw Jasper Redd, God's Pottery, and Greg Fitzsimmons do stand up, and they get a solid B+ for overall performance. It'd be an A, but God's Pottery was overly long and a bit one note for my tastes. However, I have to say Greg Fitzsimmons is a genius. The man made me laugh so hard, and it stands to reason that he has won an Emmy for comedy writing and is one of the best parts of Best Week Ever. Massively offensive, ridiculous beyond words, but sheer brilliance. We had a great laugh, and felt fully recharged to carry on further into the day.

Disappointment of the day...

Day one had a range of disappointments. The cellular phone issues, the tiredness, Plus 44 cancelling like big punks, waiting in line for an hour and 15 minutes to see comedy...you name it. Biggest disappointment I'd have to say though was missing out on Aqueduct, Devotchka, Panic! at the Disco, Gym Class Heroes, and Gogol Bordello because we went home early due to tiredness. I don't regret anything else besides that, as I would have liked to see all five groups.

So here is a quick wrap up.

Bands seen: Danger: Radio (terrible), Crowded House (not good either), the Shins (amazing), Head Automatica (reliably great), the Receiving End of Sirens (15 seconds I heard, 15 seconds were good!).

Comedy: Jasper Redd (surprisingly funny), God's Pottery (one note but amusing), Greg Fitzsimmons (god amongst men).


Day one grade: C+

Day one of Bumbershoot was mildly disappointing and set myself up with a questionable taste in my mouth for the whole thing. Was it because of tiredness? Was the mediocrity legit? Stay tuned later to find out!

However, seeing my friends again was awesome. I missed the guys, it was great hanging out with Sarah, and meeting Kelly and Tara and Mike (will come in later) was fantastic as well. So even though Bumbershoot (day one) was meh-dee-ocre, the Brown Bag and the friends made the day as a whole a big time success.

Back from Vacation!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

Just got back last night from my mondo adventure in Portland/Seattle. Over the next few days I shall be revealing pictures from my journey, thoughts about what I saw/experienced, videos I found with myself on the Intarweb (yay me!), and plenty more! But for now, I have some thoughts on things that I missed commenting on while I was gone.

The New England Patriots: Your Super Bowl XLII Champions!

In record time, the New England Patriots clinched the Super Bowl against the New York Jets, 38-14. Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns, new receiver Randy Moss received for 183 yards and a TD, and defensive back Ellis Hobbs returned the opening kick of the second half 108 yards to set a record for longest kick return ever. Such illuminaries as Bill Simmons and David Harper have described the victory as a decimation, however this single victory distracts from the point that this is quite possibly the best Patriots team in what has been the greatest dynasty in all sports recent history.

Prepare to see something of this sort in the newspaper four and a half months from now, except replacing the New York Jets with some unknown NFC patsy to be named later. Am I excited about the Patriots chances this year? Yes. Yes. Y-E-S.

3:10 to Yuma

Continuing in what has been an incredible year for movies here to date, 3:10 to Yuma, James Mangold's new Western, is near the top on best films of the year. Not only that, but this solidifies Christian Bale and Russell Crowe at the peak of all actors in Hollywood today and gives Ben Foster a huge boost, as he steals nearly every scene he is in. Plus, beautiful cinematograpy, great action, and the most bizarrely delightful score since Ravenous, and you have yourself my favorite Western since Tombstone.

Y the Last Man #58

Y the Last Man #58 came out this past Thursday. After this little guy, it's just two more issues, one more in this arc and one more to wrap it up. However, master storytellers Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra (best work of her career in this issue, this is breathtaking work) managed to blow the entire thing up in this single issue that may be the single most devestating issue of any comic I've ever read. It's a wondrously tragic chapter in the ongoing epic of Yorick Brown, and it features the most intense panels of any comic, complete with absolutely no text. Fan of art? Pick this up for Pia Guerra's work. Fan of tragic love stories? Pick this up for Vaughan's story. Fan of brilliantly realistic conversation? Pick this up for Vaughan's conversation. Brian K. Vaughan is the most heralded comic writer around anymore, and Y is his greatest creation. This may have surpassed the rest of the issues as my favorite, although it is one that I love and hate at the same time.