Monday Night at Warehouse Live

I had to pick myself up off the floor after falling when my sister agreed to go to a concert with me. I can’t remember the last concert she went to. She can probably count them on one hand. So, while the night was routine for me, it was a much bigger deal for her. To clarify, when I say ‘a bigger deal,’ I am not referring to how stoked we were to see the band. We were equally excited about that. I’m referring to the planning that goes into an evening like this. She wondered if we should have bought the tickets ahead of time. She emailed from work with questions like, “Will there be available parking?” and “How early should we get there?” She was baffled by the fact that a band like Thriving Ivory, who has a billboard chart topper single and held roughly a month long slot on VH1’s JumpStart, couldn’t fill a small room with tickets going for $ 13 at the door. Or that we could get there right as the opening band was about to go on, purchase our vouchers, and still have time for a bathroom pit stop before missing anything. I can’t believe it either but I expect it because these are the kind of shows I go to. It’s surreal when a group whose video you saw on television everyday for a month is standing not even a foot from you. They sell their own merchandise and they stay after to mingle with their crowd. They’re not a big deal yet but they’re on their way. You can’t ignore the rising stars on VH1’s “You Oughta Know.”

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the first opening band, Evangeline. As soon as they started playing their first song, “Rain,” from their debut album We’re Alright Down Here, I leaned into Lindsey to say that they sounded straight up Southern/Christian rock. I thought that they sounded a lot like Jars of Clay and Jonathan Barrick as the lead singer sounded especially like Dan Haseltine who leads Jars of Clay. The Jars song “Lesser Things” flashed through my head and the lyrics, ‘Is there grace for a wayward heart?’ It brought me back to my sophomore year at Michigan State University. I used to listen to a lot of Christian rock bands. I go way back to the bootlegs with some Contemporary Christian material, for instance, Switchfoot and Third Day.

Evangeline did a song called “Mississippi Line” and I initially thought it was about someone who’s ready to die. Someone who has lived a good long life and it’s time. However, I think the song might actually be about starting over. Either way, it was a pretty song. The last song was called “Arizona” and Barrick introduced it as ‘a song about letting it go. Like rolling down your windows and letting the air blow through your hair.’ Come to find that he had made small talk out of his own lyrics because those are, in fact, the words to the song. Below please find their video for “We’re Alright Down Here.” It was shot in Houston, Texas on Main Street downtown. Those from Houston will recognize McElroy’s Irish Pub, the Greyhound station, and the bus heading to Fannin St.

We’re Alright Down Here

1. Rain
2. Wait For Morning
3. Mississippi Line
4. Evangeline
5. All I Am
6. Arizona

Next up were the Warehouse regulars, the 71’s. This four piece local rock band took the stage with a number called “Stretch Out Your Life.” My initial, cynical, judgmental impression was that the lead musician was full of himself. By the time they were half way through their second song I had already completely changed my mind, thus the reason for criticizing my own impulsive notion. The quick double handed finger brush through his hair may have caused my preliminary reaction but I’m not giving myself any excuses. The fact is Keeton was a nice guy. Who cares what I have to say about it anyway.

They did a cover of “Interstate Love Song” by Stone Temple Pilots and I noticed that he had a nice voice so I started to pay closer attention. Carefully listening to make out the words to their original songs I began to wonder if they were a Christian band as well. After all, if I have it right, a few lyrics to the song “Blue Room” are as follows: his light is waiting to bring life to your heart/ destiny waits for you/ you gotta choose to fly or wait in this blue room to die. The song that I decided was my favorite came toward the end of their set and was called “Awakening.” In addition to the track title alone, again this song contained several spiritual connotations: in your love I have found the makings of a happy end/ your love is my life/ your bread your wine/ I cannot live without it.

Lindsey and I spoke with Keeton after the show because I am the annoying fan who wants a piece of merchandise after the display has been securely packed away. He confirmed that he had been part of a Christian band prior to the birth of The 71’s.

Throughout this site you will occasionally find me interrupting my musical commentary to make remarks on a band’s attire, or that of an individual member within the band. This happens to be one of those occasions because the lead guitarist, who they referred to as Cecil, was wearing an appealing combination. He had on a black button up, sleeves rolled to the elbow, layered with a grey vest and a bright red tie tucked into the vest. Lindsey noticed as well and stated her approval accordingly. Let me quickly recognize the other two members of the group before moving on. Jacob was the bass player and “Tank” was the drummer. The two are brothers and the group calls them the ‘Sons of Trouble.’

1. Stretch Out Your Life
2. Count
3. Interstate Love Song (STP cover)
4. Blue Room
5. Tomorrow Belongs to You
6. Awakening
7. Louder

I was trying to predict what song Thriving Ivory was going to start with. I went over different possibilities in my head and talked them through with Lindsey. Maybe they would start with their second single, “Hey Lady” so that they could save the VH1 hit for the encore. Maybe they would play a cover for the encore and include both publically exposed songs within the set. I was totally wrong. They started with “For Heaven’s Sake” which is the ninth track to their self-titled album. It’s a beautiful song about not allowing yourself to breakdown when things aren’t looking up for you. To avoid dwelling on what isn’t fair and to let it go so that you can move on.

Clayton Stroope has a very distinctive voice. I might describe it as a pinched, high-ranged, Geddy Lee-ish whine but without the earsplitting shrieks. It’s wonderful. For some it may take getting used to. And while you’re deciding weather to like his voice or not, listen to the amazing lyrics. Next they sang “Twilight.” “Twilight” was my first favorite. In other words, when I started listening to the album this was the first song that I fell in love with. Since then I have had other favorites and have pretty much fallen in love with the whole album. I can’t stop playing it. Today I took the CD from my car into my office to listen at work.

Scott Jason is remarkable on the keyboards and the intro to “Hey Lady” found me concentrated on his rapid but graceful presentation. With the conclusion of “Hey Lady” Clayton encouraged everyone to go out for ‘high fives and hugs’ seeing as he didn’t have anything to do after the show. Following this invitation they played a song that is not featured on their album called “Father’s For A Ghost.” They followed that up with the final track to their debut entitled “Day of Rain.” Drew stepped out to showcase some of his guitar playing and Clayton dialed back to give him the floor.

I guess I’ll insert my little wardrobe observation here. Drew was dressed very European. He had on layered shirts and a scarf and kind of reminded me of the way the UK band the Kooks would dress. Scott and Bret, the base player, stood next to each other both wearing beanies.

The beanie brothers and their other half rocked out a short rendition of “Let It Be” and I gasped as I turned to wait for Lindsey’s response. They, of course, ended with “Angels On The Moon” of which my favorite line says, ‘do you know, that everyday is the first of the rest of your life.’ I was sure they would do an encore and it looked like they were deliberating until Pink Floyd’s “Us And Them” played them off the stage. Weird. I guess the house crew wanted to split, after all it was a Monday night. I would have liked to hear the ballad, “Overrated,” but luckily I realized that shouting ‘overrated’ would yield a wrong impression.

1. For Heaven’s Sake
2. Twilight
3. Secret Life
4. Alien
5. Long Hallway With A Broken Light
6. Hey Lady
7. Light Up Mississippi
8. Father’s For A Ghost
9. Day Of Rain
10. Let It Be (Beatles cover)
11. Angel’s On The Moon

Here is a live version of “For Heaven’s Sake.”

If Clayton looks familiar to you it may be because you have seen him as the subject of Lee Ann Womack’s “Last Call” video.

And now…the moment’s we’re all still waiting for….

Grammy's 2009

The Grammy nominations for recordings from October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008 are now available.

I will comment only on the ones I care about. And I will tell you who I want to win, not that it means I think they will win. So, here goes…

Album of the Year-

No surprise here. I have to give it to Coldplay, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends. I like Raising Sand, but this is the problem with the Grammy’s. I was listening to that album waaaaayyyy back, more than a year ago now and I’m over it. The Grammy’s provide such delayed acknowledgements that I’m sure even the artists are thinking ‘man, this happened a long time ago.’

Song of the Year-

Well, I guess we can’t give everything to Coldplay (even though I wouldn’t be terribly upset) so we’ll go with Jason Mraz. That upbeat little ditty, “I’m Yours.”

Best New Artist-


Best Female Pop Vocal Performance-

Sara Bareilles. You can’t tell me that “Love Song” isn’t still one of your favorites and, even though you know it by heart, every time you hear it your hand dances in front of the scan button but never manages to actually change the station until the song is over. Ok, maybe that’s just me.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance-

I’m gonna have to go with Mraz again. “Say” just doesn’t say enough. For a vocal performance you really need to say more John Meyer.

Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals-

Is it bad that I just want to vote Coldplay whenever I see them on the nominee list?! One Republic “Apologize” would be my next pick. Followed by Maroon 5, although it’s hard for me to realize that “Won’t Go Home Without You” happened during this eligibility year. Once again, it seems so old!

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals-

I’ll go with “Rich Women” by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.

Best Pop Vocal Album-

Duffy, “Rockferry.”

Best Dance Recording-

Sam Sparro, “Black & Gold.” Interesting. And yes, that’s my pick.

Best Electronic/ Dance Album-

Yay Robyn! Yay Robyn! Yay Robyn!

Best Rock Song-

Death Cab For Cutie, “I Will Possess Your Heart.” Of course I love “Violet Hill” but surprisingly, my initial reaction to this category was Death Cab. So there, I can vote against Coldplay after all.

Best Rock Album-

Oh geeez, I spoke too soon. Coldplay, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends.

Best Alternative Music Album-

Death Cab For Cutie, Narrow Stairs. I guess I know my favorites for the year. My next pick would be Beck’s Modern Guilt. I like it, even if other’s think it’s boring. I’ve heard people describe their second listen as just ‘going through the motions.’ In other words, once is enough. I do like Radiohead. I don’t know why I keep ignoring them.

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance-

I don’t think I can vote any other than Alicia Keys for R&B Vocal. Go claim your Grammy Superwoman!

… I won’t try to vote on any of the Rap, I would only embarrass myself!

Best Female Country Vocal Performance-

I hate to be a part of the bandwagon but Carrie Underwood, “Last Name.” I would like to know who of you out there when listening to this song can relate. Just curious, it’s not me. I never woke up with a foggy memory and a peculiar ring on my left hand.

Best Male Country Vocal Performance-

Let’s not give it to the old Troubadour, he’s probably had enough. George Straight did, after all, win already at the 42nd Annual CMA Awards for Album of the Year. Let’s not forget that it was his 8th win in the category. So, let’s give it to James Otto, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You.”

Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals-

“Stay” by Sugarland. Hands down. Even though I hate the video, despite the fact that Jennifer Nettles is clearly quite capable of crying on camera. Unlike my previously mentioned star, Carrie Underwood, whose embarrassing attempt to cry in her video for “Just A Dream” almost makes me wince and change the channel. It’s okay Carrie. Besides, your performance at the CMA’s was, as always, breathtaking. And I could tell that it nearly brought real tears to your eyes. Again, congrats on your Female Vocalist of the Year win at the CMA’s.

Best Country Collaboration with Vocals-

Oh boy, I had forgotten about this one! I love this one. “Life In A Northern Town” by Sugarland, Jake Owen, and Little Big Town.

Best Country Song-

“Stay.” Again.

Best Country Album-

Heaven, Hearache And The Power Of Love by Trisha Yearwood. Man, all this country talk is gonna get me started listening to it again. You see, until about five years ago I made fun of country. Then I realized that I was missing out on some great talent. So, I got really into it and now it’s just on the back burner. Hey, you can’t listen to everything all at once, it’s exhausting!

Best Pop/ Contemporary Gospel Album-

Well, it’s not very fair for me to choose for this one considering I’ve only heard Steven Curtis Chapman’s This Moment. But if he wins it will be interesting to see if he dedicates the award to his late daughter and hopefully his unfortunate son, who is accidentally at fault for the family’s loss. That is, if they give him the chance. This may be one that they flash during a commercial break in consideration of time.

Best Comedy Album-

This should go to the Flight of the Concords self-titled. Go Sub-Pop!  A little background…this duo of old college roommates also has a sit-com entitled Flight of the Choncords on HBO in it’s second season.

Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television, or other Visual Media-

Is everyone gonna kick me if I say August Rush? It’s just such a touching movie. And that little actor, oh don’t you just want to kidnap him and make him believe that you’re his mommy. Remember him as Peter from Finding Neverland? Oh, come on honey come home to mommy. You can blame this adorable child for my not voting Juno on this one. By the way, I just looked up the kids name and it’s Freddie. Freddie Highmore. Could the adorable kid have a more adorable name, I think not.

Best Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television, or other Visual Media-

I have no idea. Now they’ve got me thinking of movies. Maybe I should post an Oscar commentary when it comes time for that. If it were up to me I would say There Will Be Blood, but only because I love that movie. “Yes I Dooooo!” I loved it so much that I had to read the book, Oil, by Upton Sinclair that the movie was based on.

Okay, that should be all I have to say… Tune in for the 51st Grammy Awards show on February 8, 2009 on CBS! Anyone having a Grammy party and would like to extend an invitation? None of my friends are really all that excited about the Grammys.

“Fire and Rain” by Vienna Teng

Vienna Teng

Check out Vienna Teng’s cover of James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” So lovely. This video is old, but I just found it. Her major-label debut came in 2006 and was titled Dreaming Through the Noise. Now she is back in the studio working on her fourth album so be sure to keep an eye out for the 2009 release.

Oh, if only all of us could have beautiful voices and a Stanford computer science degree to throw out the window because we’re good enough to make it in the music world!

“Everything is Borrowed” by The Streets

“Everything is Borrowed” by The Streets was NPR’s song of the day for December 4, 2008. It reminds me of Matt Kearny only it’s better because of Mike Skinner’s English accent.

The Streets

By the way, is anyone else hating the search bar added to the top of the embedded YouTubes? Fellow bloggers will understand. I think it hinders the appearance of my sight, therefore, you may be seeing more MySpace and Yahoo embeds in my future posts. Even if you have to watch a short ad it’s better, right?

"Stuck To You" by Nikka Costa

Here’s a new one from Nikka Costa. “Stuck To You” is off her October 14, 2008 Pebble To Pearl album.

And to bring back an old one, here’s her 2001 “Push & Pull.” This song was featured on the soundtrack to the movie BLOW. I loved the movie and the soundtrack was a favorite for a while. I was into old music at the time so among the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Cream tracks I was enjoying was this number by Nikka Costa. That was when I first learned of the funk/soul diva.

Nikka Costa “Push & Pull”

“Full Moon” by The Black Ghosts

The soundtrack to the Major Motion Picture based on the # 1 New York Times Bestseller, Twilight, contains a song called “Full Moon” by The Black Ghosts. The UK duo has had a series of singles followed by their self-titled debut available since July 8, 2008. They also made an appearance at SXSW last March. I, however, am finally on board because of the movie. Please direct your attendtion to the audio player below. Also, The soundtrack is available now for download and purchase!

The Black Ghosts

Show me what it looks like, outside your window at Twilight ~ Thriving Ivory

“Full Moon” by The Black Ghosts

mp3 courtesy of Curb Crawlers, as posted on Hype Machine.