Julien-k at Evening Star 8-10-17

7 years later Julien K returned to WNY for a show. I was excited! They released 3 albums in that time, and their sound has changed a bit since their first record. I’ve been supporting all their crowd funding campaigns, and following them on FB, and my interactions with them have all been great (unlike my interactions with The Tea Party). I didn’t get VIP tickets that included a meet and greet, cuz well..it’s not that important to me to meet bands anymore, plus I figured they’d be around the venue before/after.

There were 2 other openers, Optic Oppression and Ghost Feeder (who was decent and I got one of their cds), then Julien-K. It was a supporting spot for Pig, so I knew it wouldn’t be a full set, but they did a nice mix of songs from all the albums, and didn’t just play songs only from California Noir. I couldn’t find a setlist for this particular show, but this one looked about right:

Death to Analog
Strange Invisible
Dossier
Deep Beat Overground
Kick the Bass
Futura
Mannequin Eyes
Flashpoint Riot
Blue Monday

The show was freaking great! So much energy. There were shades of the old Ryan from Orgy, but as a front man, he’s established a style of his own…part guitarist, part Dave Gahan. The songs sounded great, and it was fun! Evening Star is a smaaaaalll venue, where you can get up close and personal with your favorite rock idol’s crotch if you want, still no barrier after all these years, and Ryan acknowledged that they knew it would be a small crowd, but that they appreciate our dedication and support for their campaigns etc. They truly seem genuine in their appreciation of their fans, which is a nice change (again, see The Tea Party).

They were indeed around before and after the show, I gave Amir the photo of us from 1999, just because. I didn’t really talk to Ryan, as he was talking to other fans and then involved in a conversation at the bar with…Danielle! Ha! Danielle and her brother David were at the show, as I sort of expected. I texted Danielle before the show started to see, and we met up and talked a bit. Haven’t seen her since the last show 7 years ago, and we didn’t really get to talk then, and I hadn’t seen David since we graduated college. So it was nice to see them and catch up a bit, but I didn’t want to interrupt them during Pig just to talk to Ryan about…well…nothing. Cuz other than saying they were great, which J and I did when we did interrupt to say goodbye to Danielle and David, I have nothing else to say to Ryan. I don’t know what to say to strangers!! lol

But even though *I* don’t have anything to say I think it’s great that they are so accessible to their fans, in person and on the web. It’s such a difference from other bands, and it made this show a very enjoyable experience. It was a show I was excited to see, that didn’t end up as a let down because the band is full of assholes. There hasn’t been a show that I enjoyed that much in a while, because even though the Transmission shows were great, there is something not fun about the Tea Party anymore. Or they are just a heavy band that feels serious. Other shows since then like Garbage, or next week (Guns n Roses) I didn’t have much investment in even though I wanted to go, so they were good, but this was just fantastic. Loved it. Hopefully they won’t wait another 7 years until they are in the area again.

Pig was the headliner, most people were there for them. They were alright. They are ex KMFDM members, and I’d say I enjoy KMFDM much more, because they have more of a groove or melody to them, that I enjoy.

August Books

28. The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith – it was alright. A story following a score of people, with no real plot, just a story of life. Amusing at times, not LOL funny, but just…alright.

29. Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell – a collection of essays about race issues. Some were interesting (including the title essay), some were more dry and repetitive. It was interesting but by the end I was ready for it to end.

In progress…Trap Line by Carl Hiaasen

The Tea Party – Canalside, Buffalo 7/6/17

Oh, the Tea Party….another free show in Buffalo, which meant they were going to play the same old set list. To be funny, I posted the previous show’s set list in the event page on FB, tagged a few friends who always bitch about it too, and ended up in an argument with Jeff Burrows LOL. He got all butt hurt for us calling them out, and then they went on to prove me right, and played the same set list – only switching out The Messenger for Release, and the Star Spangled Banner instead of Oh Canada. I’m posting the screenshots for future reminiscing LOL

LOL The whole thing makes me laugh, because JB is delusional if he thinks they do actually change their set up. If it’s not a show where they’re playing a full album, it is, as Joe said, the same crap. It’s amazing crap, but, been there done that.

I’m a bit put off by his responses, that you’re really going to speak like that to people who shell out money time after time for you. Aside from the word “crap” which apparently offended him, we weren’t being mean, we were just trying to make a *very valid* point. And then they go to prove us right, though they might claim by changing one song, they gave us something different. (Oh also, Joe sent me a photo of the set list on the stage before the show, and they had written in Oceans at the End, but then did not play it after all.)

So here’s the set:
Writing’s on the Wall
The Bazaar
Lullaby
Psychopomp
Release
Fire in the Head
Heaven Coming Down/With or Without You
Save Me/Bow Solo Star Spangled Banner/Sober
Temptation/Dazed and Confused

Encore:
The River
Winter Solstice/Sister Awake/Paint It Black/”Heroes”

It looked like a short set to me, and the main set was indeed only an hour. His argument that they only had 75 minutes to play at the previous show is pointless, as it’s exactly the same time they played in Buffalo. (Or maybe they played 80 minutes, big deal).

The whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I can’t even say I enjoyed the show. We spent most of it back at the chairs we brought, as we met up with several people from work. I want to say that I’m not going to see them anymore when they’re just playing a “festival set” as they’ve called it before, but I know I won’t be able to resist if it’s something I can easily attend.

July Books

23. The Nazi Doctors – Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton – a heavy book that took me over 4 months to read. Interesting but a bit too much for someone like me who is just looking for a little history and insight.

24. Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson – This book came from this list of 18 laugh out loud books for your book club.  The write up sounded like, sure, that could be amusing. Turns out, it WAS NOT. Nothing about this story was even the slightest bit amusing. It was sad, it felt lonely, and it was not at any point humorous. And even though I guess it had a happy ending, it didn’t feel uplifting. It wasn’t bad, but going into it thinking it was going to be funny made it into a let down.

25. Flush by Carl Hiassen – Another amusing book by Hiassen with quirky characters and a fast moving story. Many more of his books on my list to go.

26. The Girls by Emma Cline – a fairly quick read about girls in a cult, that is absolutely hands down no question based on Charles Manson. It wasn’t bad, wasn’t mind blowing.

27. Looking for Alaska by John Green – I’ve read several of his books now, they are enjoyable and typically have a good story.

In Progress:  Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell, The Unbearable Lightness of Scones by Alexander McCall Smith

June Books

20. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – it took 4 check outs from the library, and almost 6 weeks but I finished a book!
21. Skink – No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen – and then I read another in 4 days!
22. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini – another quick read about a teenage boy suffering from depression and his week on a mental ward. Very good, especially if you suffer from depression as well.

U2 Rogers Center – Toronto, Ontario 6/23/17

Another U2 show!! We left around 2 with  4pm ETA so we could meet up with a coworker who I bought tickets for. We didn’t get there until close to 6pm. UGH TRAFFIC!!!! Lei wasn’t leaving until she got out of work at 5, with all the traffic she was kinda worried about making it in time. She missed the Lumineers (who J and I decided all sound the same and were relatively boring), but made it with plenty of time for U2 and found us back on the field. I had told her we NEEDED to see this show together, since we had seen so many together in the last 12 years, and I knew how much she loves Joshua Tree. Plus she was FINALLY going to be able to see Running To Stand Still, and I knew she was going to die. And she did LOL. She cried during Bad in the beginning set, and of course during RTSS she was balling, which made me cry hahaha. I’m so happy she got to see the show, she loved it, as expected. J said it was good but I can’t tell what he really thought. He wasn’t blown away like I always want him to be when I take him to something I love. But it’s the same in reverse, I don’t get excited about his bands either.

The show was a little different than Pittsburgh, adding in Bad (ok apparently they did play Bad in Pittsburgh but I don’t remember it at all oops), and Vertigo, and closing with I Will Follow instead of the new song.

Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Bad
Pride
Where The Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
With Or Without You
Bullet The Blue Sky
Running To Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Exit
Mothers Of The Disappeared

Encore
Miss Sarajevo
Beautiful Day
Elevation
Vertigo
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
One
I Will Follow

It was an excellent show again, looking forward to the Buffalo show in Sept. I’d like to be a little closer, because the stage seems a bit low, so I couldn’t see them that well. It didn’t matter that much, because I focused on the giant screen, and got a different perspective on all the graphics than in Pittsburgh. It didn’t make me feel like I was going to fall haha. Had a great time regardless!

U2 – Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA 6/7/17

Tuesday night, we were in bed by 11pm, so we could get up early to drive to Pittsburgh for the U2 show. We were going to meet up with Kate and her friends, and later Meredith and her gf before heading home. I did the usual, play games on the phone, read on the phone, to try to get tired while J fell asleep right away, but I just wasn’t tired. Finally after a few hours, I decided to finally try to sleep. J woke up shortly after, played on his phone, got up, came back to bed, got up again. It had been like 4 hours now. No sleep. Finally I sort of dozed off, only to be jarred back awake by J choking. Or rather, throwing up. J hasn’t thrown up in 35 years. But he’s barfing like crazy, clearly sick. Our guess was food poisoning from Pho Dollar, where we had gotten food before going home. We joked around that his shrimp and pork stir fry only had 2 shrimp on it, but thank god, cuz who knows how much more sick he would have gotten (it wasn’t the pork as I had a piece.) Ugh, so now he’s sick, and dying because he’s a boy, so my no sleep continued. Hour after hour went by, 9:30 alarm time inching closer. I tried to sleep on the couch, no luck. He said he was still going to go to the show, but after I got up and showered I convinced him that it was probably not a good idea (which later in the afternoon, he agreed), and sadly he stayed home.

So I picked him up some things, posted my extra ticket on Interference and drove down to PA. Parked at Rivers casino, met up with Kate and the and went over to the stadium. We got in line at about 3:30, got wrist banded (#622), and met up with this guy JD who bought my ticket. I told him he didn’t have to hang out with us after we got into the stadium, but he did, and it was cool, he was a nice guy who had come in from Ohio. Chatted with some other people in line, and got let in around 5. We had been nervous about the weather as rain had been predicted, at least in the afternoon, if not evening as well. It was on the cooler side, and overcast most of the day, which was actually perfect weather for an outdoor concert. It wasn’t hot, I was not sweating and people were not smelly. There was a nice breeze to keep things comfortable and it didn’t rain!

The Lumineers opened. I can’t say it was someone I’d have seen otherwise, and they are not a band I’d choose to listen to but their hour on stage wasn’t bad.

The stage…was HUGE. One huge LED screen, with nothing else on stage for U2. No speaker stacks (must have been behind the screen), no props, just a giant screen with a Joshua tree on it. Trent will probably be jealous because those screens were put to great use displaying super sharp imagery, which sometimes made me ill because it was moving, and it was almost 3d and it made me think I was falling a few times (like how I can’t do simulator rides at amusement parks anymore).

I was so excited when they announced they were playing all of the Joshua Tree, as even though it’s not my favourite album, there are so many songs I’ve never seen, and probably WOULD never see if they weren’t going to play the entire album. I got a little butterfly-y in my stomach waiting for it to start, which hasn’t happened to me in a long long time. The stage also had a walkway with a 2nd stage mid field, as they have had for the last several tours, and they actually started the show by Larry first walking out to a drum kit out there, and the rest of the band members each joining him to open with Sunday Bloody Sunday. They did a kind of “Greatest Hits” of their early era before returning to the main stage to begin with JT. That’s where the screen kicked in, with all sorts of nature, and “Americana” imagery to accompany each song from the album.

Holy Crap. While the album opens with songs that are staples in their sets the last 30 years, so everyone was familiar with them, they still sounded great, and Bullet the Blue Sky may have been the best I’ve ever heard it. I had forgotten just how awesome it is live. The Edge just killed it. He killed the entire show. You don’t think of the Joshua Tree as a “guitar” record, but holy shit, Edge just shined all night. He also played a lot of piano, like the usual New Years Day, but also for Running To Stand Still instead of a guitar. RTSS may have been stronger in the past, but it was still fantastic to see again, and LeighAnne will die when she finally gets to see it in a few weeks when we go to the Toronto show. Kate wasn’t impressed with Red Hill Mining town, but I thought it was really good, and over the last few months I was looking forward to Trip Through Your Wires I had forgotten it was coming, and was impressed and reminded all over again that I had been wanting to see it lol. I never listen to Mothers of the Disappeared but I admit it was well done. The only song I thought was meh was One Tree Hill, and mainly just because of the end, Bono doesn’t do the “it’s raining” part well.

After they finished the album, the “encore” was a “Greatest Hits” of the days following the JT era, like One, and Beautiful Day. They closed with a new song, Kate wasn’t sure I’d like because it’s slow, and I’d say she was right. It picks up at the end but overall it didn’t impress me.

But the rest….the rest was just so good. It was fun to be there with Kate, and I told LeighAnne that even if we don’t drive to TO together, we have to watch the show together. It’s going to be great. And hopefully J doesn’t get sick again (although, if he did, U2 announced a Sept show in Buffalo, which we will also be going to, assuming I get tickets on Monday).

Since I had gotten zero hours of sleep the night before, plus really only getting about 5 before that, I scrapped the original plan to drive home after the show. Driving by myself, in the dark, with no sleep was not going to be a good idea so I crashed on Meredith’s couch for the night, and headed home in the morning. It’s a 3.5 hour drive, and not a bad one at all. I feel like we should visit Pittsburgh more often, I like it far better than Cleveland haha.

Setlist:
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Bad
Pride (In the Name of Love)

The Joshua Tree:
Where the Streets Have No Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Play Video
With or Without You
Bullet the Blue Sky
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip Through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Exit
Mothers of the Disappeared

Encore:
Miss Sarajevo
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
One
Beautiful Day
Elevation
The Little Things That Give You Away

Oh yeah, Exit was fantastic. And before the show JD had asked, what U2 song do you think “defines” them as a band…he picked Sunday Bloody Sunday, Kate picked Until The End of the World, but it was more that it defined them for her, and I picked New Years Day…we got 2 of three. I mentioned I could go the rest of my life never hearing Pride ever again, but I knew that was not happening (like Hurt), and I was going to say I never needed to hear Miss Sarajevo again LOL got that too. The only spoiler I told Lei was “you’re still going to have to hear fucking Miss Sarajevo” since that’s the song that replaced RTSS on the Vertigo tour, which made her never get to hear it (yet).

Also, given that U2 is a political band, and we are in a contentious political era, the show wasn’t very political. He didn’t really say that much, didn’t call Trump out though there was a small old timey (not sure if it’s old or new) video with a character named Trump, who appears to be a charlatan, and didn’t focus on “resisting” or anything like that. Ultraviolet was dedicated to women, and displayed photos of important historic and current women and women groups, but the performance did not sound as good to me as it did on the 360 tour. It sounded muddy like the sound levels were not set right.

dream

dream: I was at a training session at work, with about 50 people in it. The instructor was talking, and made an off the cuff political comment, which spurred some Trump supporter in the back to speak up and say something stupid. Then they picked on Bridget for being against Trump because, “don’t you care about people starving in Indiana” like Trump was going to help them. So I just turned around and yelled “OH FUCK OFF”…then I felt the need to yell “I’m sorry, don’t fire me” because I realized I shouldn’t have had that kind of outburst at a work event.

May books

19. And Then There Were Nuns – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) – The 2nd Jane Christmas book this year, a memoir about following her “calling” to a religious life. Interesting and not overbearing with religion.

I fail at reading in May. I blame vacation week, and wanting to be lazy and play phone games.

April Books

14. Where’d You Go Bernadette – Maria Semple
15. Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple – Both books were excellent, and I may have a new author to keep tabs on. I haven’t had that since Chuck Palahniuk over 15 years ago. They both take place in Seattle, with a tie in of the same school being featured in both, but they are not a series. Quirky female leads star, without being the typical bang wearing ukelele playing hipster nerdy quirky girl we’ve gotten used to (Eleanor and Park, Star Girl, Zoe whatshername Deshanel?) The storytelling style made you want to keep reading, and I finished “Today” in less than 3 days (another thing I haven’t done in years and years). They weren’t mind blowing, twist filled, stories like Palahniuk’s were, to grab my attention, they were just so well written, and entertaining. Loved.
16. Incontinent on the Continent – Jane Christmas – (non fiction) A travel memoir of a mid 50s woman taking her elderly disabled mother to Italy for 6 weeks. It was amusing, and sometimes sad, and sometimes funny. I can’t imagine what kind of insanity took over to even think that a trip like that was a good idea. In 20 years when I’m in my mid 50s, and my mom, if still alive is mid 80s, I can’t think of a worse idea than to try to go on vacation to Europe with her for a week, let alone 6 weeks.
17. Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson – (non fiction) Interesting book, with lots of history and environmental info, about hiking the Appalachian Trail.
18. The Lost City of the Monkey God – Douglas Preston – (non fiction) Enjoyed this very much. Story of the rediscovery of a jungle city in Honduras, and the trials and disease the team faced in finding and excavating it. Fascinating.