Elvis Costello at Linser Auditorium, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. Photo; Francis Chung.
Has it really been more than two years since I last saw Elvis Costello play and felt compelled to write footnotes, basically, on all the curiosities in the set? The calendar does not lie. I’ve seen Costello perform probably 20 times since 1999, but I’d never seen him do a headlining solo set, as he did Friday night at Lisner Auditorium.
Because no one demanded it, I posted some notes over at DCist, where it’s been so long that I don’t even have my own login anymore. The post features great photos by Francis Chung, who took the one above. For an overview of the concert, the great and good Dave McKenna captured it well in his Washington Post review.
We bought a smoke machine.
My first DCist post of 2012 is a review of a very fine show by the very fine Canadian stadium-rockers-in-waiting Metric.
Actually, don’t despair. Just go read if you’re so inclined. Like many of the journo-types I know in DC, I spent Saturday at Merriweather Post Pavilion for Virgin Festival V, or Virgin Mobile Festival III, or Virgin Mobile Free Festival II. My breathless Twitter feed is here; I also penned a hasty roundup for DCist, which offers you another angle on things in addition to those written by friends and professional acquaintances of mine.
Over at former DCist music editor Amanda Mattos’s newish music site Pinna Storm, I introduce Exquisite Chord, a fun and educational new spin on an old smarty-pants game that you, too, can play.
I was just saying to TBD’s Ally Schweitzer aboard the FreeFest ferris wheel how most of the “ideas” I think I have are really just puns. Case in point!
Oh, I also wrote this nerdy thing for the City Paper’s Arts Desk blog about Washington Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare-in-Klington night, which I did not attend on account of if being scheduled directly opposite LCD SOUNDSYSTEM, y’all. I like this band this much.
That’s not KISS, it’s the great and good Drive-By Truckers, having a little fun last Halloween. My interview with frontman Patterson Hood about The Secret to a Happy Ending, the new DBT doc by Maryland filmmaker Barr Weisman that will have its world premiere Sunday at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre, went up over at DCist yesterday. Patterson and I spoke on Jan. 29 of this year, as the film was supposed to debut three weeks ago, but it snowed a little.
As always, Patterson was a delight to speak with, giving up more good material than I could possibly use at one time. I’ve heard The Big To-Do, the Truckers album due on March 16, and it’s predictably superior. (Sample cut “This Fucking Job” is representative.) As ever, Mike Cooley’s songs have emerged as my early favorites.
Posted in DCist, job insecurity, music, shameless self-promotion, Uncategorized
Tagged AFI, cinema, DCist, documentaries, Drive-By Truckers, Patterson Hood, pop music
Robert Parsons and Rick Foucheux
What ho, presidential history nerds: My review of Ford’s Theatre’s new production of Norman Corwin’s The Rivalry is up over at DCist.
Corwin is still alive, kicking, lecturing and teaching at the University of Southern California, by the way, at the improbable age of ninety-nine. Among the dozens and dozens of fine radio plays to his credit is one called The Plot to Overthrow Christmas that he wrote (in verse!) more than half a century before FOX News alleged the existence of any such thing. I used a little snippet of it in my audio holiday card the year before last. Sir, my hat is off to you.
There’s a huge star at the center of the Sydney Theatre Company’s much-hyped, Liv Ullman-directed, wholly satisfying new staging of A Streetcar Named Desire, which sold out its Kennedy Center run before the curtain rose on the first preview. I speak, of course, of the dramatist Tennessee Williams.
That’s no slight on Cate Blanchett, who fronts, fights, twirls and finally, crawls her way through a towering, plaintive gut-punch of a performance as Blanche DuBois, the cracked Southern belle at the center of Williams’s oft-revived 1947 Pulitzer-winning war of wills. (She’s also Sydney Theatre’s co-artistic director, with her husband.) Though famous for film roles from Queen Elizabeth to Katherine Hepburn to Bob Dylan, the 40-year-old Blanchett’s almost-as-eclectic stage resume reaches back to the early 90s. Here she proves again that the authority and vulnerability she intimates onscreen is no camera trick. Continue reading
More than ever on the concert circuit, nostalgia is the move. With everyone from Liz Phair to Public Enemy to The Pixies (and those are just the P’s) devoting gigs and sometimes entire tours to reviving their seminal albums in sequence, lots of long-lived performers — particularly those strugging to get even their cult to embrace their new music — have glommed to the trend.
Travis are in a reflective mood, too, but they’re taking a different route. Founded in Glasgow in the early 1990s, they were one of the better U.K. trad-rock outfits to arise in Oasis’s mid-90s wake. They’re hardly commercial rivals (or contemporaries) of classic-album-revivalists Bruce Springsteen or The Pixies, but they’ve more hummable, singalong-enabled tunes to their credit than you probably remember, if you remember them at all. Continue reading