Monthly Archives: November 2011

Talk to the Hansard: Marketa Irglova at the 9:30 Club, reviewed.

I’ve seen The Swell Season perform twice. One of those shows was an opening set for Damien Rice about six months before the film Once came out in the States, dramatically raising their profile. I’ve seen male-half-of-the-Swell Season Glen Hansard’s longtime band The Frames play a great show to a half empty 9:30 Club, too.

Anyway, the Paper of Record sent me to the 9:30 Club the other night to cover Marketa Irglova’s first solo tour, supporting her debut album Anar. My conclusion? She’s a great singer but too humble a performer to sustain interest through a headlining-length set, and the songs she’s writing without Hansard all seem to share one, slow tempo. To be fair, I don’t think Hansard’s as good a songwriter on his own as he is when collaborating with her, either. Here’s the review.

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Filmspotting No. 374: On Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, plus our Top Five Movies About Movies

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! The new episode of Filmspotting, wherein Adam Kempenaar let me sit in to talk about Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants with him and then revisit the very first Top Five topic ever discussed on the the show — Movies About Movies — is available for your listening pleasure. Don’t go trampling any Wal-Mart greeters to death tomorrow morning in your pursuit of holiday bargains, now.

Hey, I Like the Quarry House, Too: Kid Rock at the Fillmore, discussed.

So the Washington Post sent me to a Kid Rock show. One of the best things about working as a critic is that it forces you to broaden your taste! It was my first visit to the Fillmore Silver Spring, the new Live Nation concert venue across from the AFI Silver Theater that finally opened its doors two months ago after years of preamble. Here’s my report of what all went down.

Kid Rock is 40 years old. His most recent album, the year-old “Born Free,” was produced by late-career rejuvenation specialist Rick Rubin and evokes 1970s Bob Seger more than it does the Clinton-era rap-rock that made Rock a multiplatinum star. He hasn’t been arrested at a strip club or a Waffle House in years. He’s recorded a duet with Sheryl Crow. Twice, actually.

But chin-and-middle-fingers up, Kid Rock fans. While these harbingers of mortality are unmistakable, Rock’s 105-minute set at a tightly-packed Fillmore Silver Spring last night demonstrated that maturity hasn’t laid its liver-spotted hands on him just yet. Continue reading

Hurts So Good: Theater J’s After the Fall, considered.

Theater J’s new production of Arthur Miller‘s What? No, it’s not about me; you’re an imaginationless churl merely to suggest it play After the Fall is a staggering work of heartbreaking genius. I reviewed it in today’s Washington City Paper, along with Studio Theater’s busy U.S. premiere of Roland Schimmelpfennig‘s The Golden Dragon, which does Rorschach’s After the Quake, which I liked, one better in the the opaque-animal-metaphor interpretation derby.

As ever, your mileage may vary.

Deleted Scene: Hayes Carll

Hayes Carll's devotion to the songwriter's art entails contemplating sex with Ann Coulter if necessary.

I’m a big fan of Austin singer-songwriter Hayes Carll, whose work I have written about before. I talked to him last week for Washingtonian; you can read that here. In honor of his appearance at the Birchmere tonight, I’d like to share a question I asked him when last I interviewed him, in June of this year. I wasn’t able to use what he said in the piece I wrote then, so here it is now for you enjoyment and/or edification. Take it away, Me. Continue reading

We’ll Always Have Aliens: My Boyhood Pal Grew Up to Be a Master Tale-Spinner

What a treat and a privilege it was to catch up with my boyhood pal Jeff Simmermon so I could write about his return to DC to bring his storytelling series And I Am Not Lying (an offshoot of his eponymous, very amusing blog) to the Black Cat. Continue reading