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John Vanderslice at Rock and Roll Hotel (23 Sep 2007 at 11:25)
Hey! Sorry for the blogocube silence. I am working on my thesis and everything like such as. I have some posts saved up in my forebrain but this one is timely.

I'm in DC visiting Cortney this weekend and so we went to the Rock and Roll Hotel to see John Vanderslice. (Actually since he has not been in Pittsburgh since I've been a fan, or perhaps ever, this was kinda sorta the reason for the trip.) As a bonus, Bishop Allen was opening. What a good show! The R&R H is kind of way out there, like cab distance, but it has free lollipops and an upstairs with VIP lounges decorated with gothic self-injury themed imagery, and flying guitars, and pool, and the rocking out zone downstairs is just the right size for this kind of concert, and I insinuated my non-view-blocking self up to the front row, at least for the JV part. Me and a few other guys were singing along to all the songs—I guess I listen to these CDs a lot because they're among the few I have in my office. What was particularly nice about the show was the way I was finally able to make sense of some songs I was never into (especially Tablespoon of Codeine, but also e.g. Dear Sarah Shu) but never quite skipped over, via their excellent and somewhat different live versions. Maybe now I will like those better. Anyway, the point of all this is, the concert was recorded for an NPR webcast, so you can listen yourself! I only listened for a second because I heard it already last night, but the quality seems really good. Unfortunately it seems that the excellent first song, Kookaburra, is not present. And who knows if the part where they took their instruments out into the crowd for a "Keep the Dream Alive" campfire sing-along could even be successfully recorded? But there it is for you and you don't even need to leave your bedroom or turn your radio dial from left to right or even look at ads for non-hipster-approved pee pee beer while you're listening.
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Graue (ip68-100-130-1.dc.dc.cox.net) – 09.23.07 19:55:53
Hey, I was indeed at that show. Imagine us not finding each other in a crowd of hundreds of people!

I was right smack in the middle of the rocking out zone, wearing a University of Maryland 2002 t-shirt and a black bag I kept pointing very obviously at the stage.

It's weird that you think the NPR webcast quality is good. I was listening to it and the lo-bit compression grated on me so much it was starting to make me unfairly hate the songs! But it presumably has the last four songs, whereas I bumped the button and lost everything after "Underneath the Leaves". I do have Kookaburra and Time to Go on my recording.

Tablespoon of Codeine was my immediate favorite on the Emerald City album, while the others took time to get into. Go figure.

And yeah, that singalong Keep the Dream Alive was awesome, with Ian holding up the rainbow-colored toy xylophone. I wish I'd gotten that on tape.
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Tom 7 (pool-141-156-134-83.res.east.verizon.net) – 09.23.07 22:28:03
Yeah, especially since I don't even know what you look like!

I only listened to the webcast for a few seconds through laptop speakers, so my opinion isn't very well informed. It certainly would make sense for NPR to make MP3s available for download, so I don't have to fire up wimply media player every time I want a listen. Lemme know if you post Kookaburra...

re Codeine: Weird, I just find that song so slow and didn't understand it at all. But the rocking live version was really good. Still, it's no White Dove!
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Graue (ip68-100-130-1.dc.dc.cox.net) – 09.24.07 02:13:35
Codeine was colorful and lush on an album that up until then, on my first listen, was seeming like a grey and white muddle. I was on the road with my iPod on which I'd been playing Cellar Door a lot, and when I ventured into Emerald City, it seemed to lack the personality and visceral appeal of my still-favorite Vanderslice album.

Those songs have all grown on me quite a bit now, especially The Parade. I'm still lukewarm on Kookaburra; acoustic guitar songs like that just seem generic to me. But it was great live.
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-91-110.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 09.25.07 10:28:54
You're right: the recording is good but the quality of the compression is pretty shit when streaming.

My favorite is Life and Death of an American Fourtracker, but I like all the albums since then.
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Karthik (cpe-071-077-011-035.nc.res.rr.com) – 09.25.07 14:34:41
My friend Daniel is touring with John Vanderslice as his violinist/bass player/backup vocalist.

I saw their show here at Duke. It was quite fun!
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-91-110.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 09.25.07 16:51:30
Oh yeah? Well, tell him I thought he was pretty rad. Apparently another frien of mine was his drummer's housemate for a while, too...
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Cortney (pool-138-88-179-211.res.east.verizon.net) – 09.25.07 22:51:38
That's crazy, because apparently a former housemate of a CMU grad school friend is Ian, JV's keyboardist! It's a small world!!
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-91-110.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 09.25.07 22:58:30
Oh, I thought that was the drummer we were talking about.
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Graue (ip68-100-130-1.dc.dc.cox.net) – 09.26.07 19:42:03
I'm glad I got to meet John. When I told him I sent the email about not buying CDs anymore but wanting to support him, he remembered that.

Now he knows I wasn't full of hot air (not that I usually am). And now I have a signed t-shirt, which is not quite on par with a Charles Rennie Mackintosh numbered lithograph, but still pretty cool!
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Mathcheck (198.98.38.182) – 09.27.07 01:57:20
Happy birthday Tom 7!
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Tom 7 (h-66-167-91-110.phlapafg.dynamic.covad.net) – 09.27.07 09:24:42
Cool... I'd like to have talked to him but we had a big party and I didn't want to miss my ride!
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