...We interrupt your regularly scheduled animal updates for a late breaking concert review...
Last night we took a break from all the Animal Collective listening it seems everyone in our demographic has been doing and finally got to see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings live. It's tough to even write about Sharon Jones because you really have to experience her. She lets me live in the soul music era I've always wanted to be present in - sort of like time travel but not too nostalgic. She played in Portland twice last year and I was a fool and missed both shows. Foolish.
I debated taking my camera to the show as I always do. On one hand, having photos is nice. On the other hand, having a camera in that hand is cumbersome and bulky. I didn't take it. I was a little sad when we ended up standing on the benches and had an awesome view of the stage and the crowds but you'll have to settle for looking at someone else's concert to see the amazingness:
(That show was from Halloween - she doesn't always rock the cheerleader look. Usually it seems she goes for more of a tassel dress but this video seemed like it represented the experience of the live show the best of the ones I scouted.)
The show was electric and her rendition of "A Change is Going to Come" mixing it to "A Change Has Come" would have been the most powerful moment of the night if not for the two gangly teenagers in my site line slow dancing and then making out towards the end.
I don't know if this will be a compliment or just creepy, but I would seriously consider putting glossy photos of Sharon up in my house like an idol-obsessed Tiger Beat teen.
Without bringing up too much nostalgia, I must admit that the show made me sad I couldn't have been alive or in London to witness this too:
Wait for it. Let it build. It's worth it.
Moral of the story: Go see Sharon Jones when she comes to your town. Seriously. Even if you aren't into soul music (really, you aren't? That's weird.), Ryan and I agreed that ANYONE would love that show. We listed off 25 people we knew of different musical inclination and it was unanimous that everyone would love it. That means it's a fact.
Ryan is getting annoyed right now because I'm supposed to be working on cleaning up the animals we will be releasing tomorrow but somehow I've completely distracted myself by looking for great duets to bulk up our iTunes folder of the same name.
I started out wanting "he said/she said' songs. I'm very partial to the kind of duet where it's like a dialog between the two singers. Classic examples of this include:
And then you have the 89% of hip-hop songs that are duets. I couldn't even start to get into those.
Then Ryan and I got in a debate over whether a "Duet" counts if it's two singers in the same band or if it's only "real" when you have two performers together who don't usually play together. So Simon & Garfunkel, Hall & Oates, Mates of State, Mitch & Mickey all don't count according to Ryan. Phew! It's getting complicated up in here.
And now I'm completely off track.
I need to turn it back around to the "conversational duet". I'm going with songs I would actually enjoy listening to: (ie. I'm avoiding your cheesy Bonnie Tyler/Meatloaf type compilations). Anyone have any suggestions for some "he said/she said" songs?
Come one, come all to tonight's opening of Ryan Berkley's Dream Circus at Redux in Portland!
Redux is at 811 E. Burnside and the show will run from 6:30 to 9ish. Featuring (mostly) new art from Mr. Berkley including your favorites: animal portraits, Kenny, and other surreal scenarios.
While you're there you'll also need to check out the opening of the Grass Hut's Four Way Make-Out (just two doors down!) which includes work by the totally awesome Dawn Riddle. We've never met her (I don't think - maybe Ryan has) but we do have an excellent shark painting she did and I hear rumor more sharks may be in store tonight.
After that fun we're headed to see TV On The Radio as part of MusicFest Northwest. Man, so many great bands are playing in Portland this week it's really tough to have the ol' "busy" routine. We're both practically crying because we're missing Built to Spill play "Perfect From Now On" in order today.
Sorry that nothing about this post has anything to do with Action Figures. We just couldn't get it together this week. Yeah, I know. It's becoming way too much of a trend. After Renegade (a week from Saturday!) I promise we'll get it together better.
Last year around this time we did a month long American road trip that included a couple days in Memphis. The tour of Stax Records was by far one of the highlights of the entire trip.
I have been a devout Otis Redding fan for a long time so it was almost overwhelming to see the historic and revolutionary studios in person. The original building was torn down in 1989 (WHY DO PEOPLE DO THESE THINGS???????!??) but a group of heroic souls rebuilt on the site with a museum and recording center. The museum is so well done - taking you on a history of soul music in general and then through the history of Stax. The exhibits and films are very powerful, so much so that my eyes got watery from many happy and sad occasions. Isaac Hayes' peacock blue Cadillac from 1972 was a major highlight in the happy and totally awesome department. Unfortunately photos weren't allowed inside so you'll just have to go to Memphis and see it for yourself. We went to Graceland too, and really enjoyed it, but I would say Stax is the don't miss attraction.
The cultural and musical history of Memphis is completely staggering. There are many places to read, see, and analyze the scope of its musical legacy so I don't feel very qualified to discuss it in any length. It does seem like a lot of the history is surrounded in tragedy too. Unfortunately Isaac Hayes's early death adds to the sadness. RIP Isaac.
Something I'd like to do on this sharing blog is to highlight other artists/musicians/humans who create via sharing. There is just something so nice and inspiring about couples working together. The other night we went out to see the Handsome Furs (yes, that's two concerts in a week which is a record for us these days!). Not only are they an engaged duo band but they were literally sharing the drum machine at one point. So adorable.
Sorry those are a little blurry but considering we were in the balcony and I was zoomed in all the way I'd say they aren't too bad, actually.
[Also, please note that I was typing this a song by the married couple Mates of State came on my iTunes and it was immediately followed by the theme song from Batman, the TV show. That is really weird. I swear that kind of weird coincidence always happens to me. Or maybe I read into things too much.]
It was the second anniversary of the event and I can't believe time has gone so fast (cliche, I know). We sold at the very first sale and really that was the first time Ryan started doing the animal portraits. So, happy two year anniversary to you, animals!
Here is our first booth two years ago...
...and here is the first animal portrait Ryan drew. He's come a long way, no?
[*Fun fact* (For Oregonians) - Oregon Art Beat was filming that day for a segment on the Portland Craft Scene which will be airing on OPB in September!]
Somehow we had enough steam to make it out to the Cat Power show later that evening as well. My camera batteries died right when she took the stage but here is a pic of her opening act, Appaloosa.
We were a little confused when we walked in and saw this pretty lady in a sparkly green tube dress was singing alone with an electronic box. We thought perhaps we had stumbled into Open Mic night by mistake. As she went on, however, we really got into her and even bought her CD. She mentioned later in the set that the other member of the band was held up in London (presumably this was the person who usually controls the electronic boxes) so we have to give her serious props for going it alone. She kind of reminds me of Nico from the Velvet Underground mixed in with a little Stereolab.
Cat Power was grand, of course. Very intense. But concert going citizens of Portland - why must you talk so loud during quiet songs? Why?????
Now that the weekend is over, onto the Etsy business at hand! Here is the sneak preview of the originals we'll be listing on Ryan's Etsy site tomorrow evening. Please enjoy!
Ryan and I love associating new music we acquire with the season we're in. Right now I'm loving the beginings of spring with the new She and Him album. The album features the always lovely M. Ward and the equally lovely Zooey Deschanel. The whole thing has a retro vibe to it but it seems pretty clean and contemporary as well. It's a little bit country and a little bit R&B in the best possible ways.
Now, at the risk of ruining my indie street-cred, I first fell for the voice of Zooey Deschanel in some movie featuring this guy named Will Farrell. I believe it had something to do with Christmas. I even went so far as to look up the soundtrack on iTunes just so I could buy the song that Zooey sang. I was foiled by the common iTunes brick wall known as "available on album only". Though the album has some decent Christmas classics, I opted against laying out $9.99 for one song.
I waited patiently for the day that Zooey would release a non-Christmas Movie Soundtrack song and that day paid out very fruitfully. And she even teamed up with one of my favorite musical men to boot! While I'd love to hear a little more M. Ward singing along on the next album, this one is treating the beginning of spring very nicely indeed.
Is it obvious to point out that the name of the band works well with the whole "Let's Share" thing we've got going on here? Oh, it is? Sorry.