Thursday, January 31, 2013

Smörgåsbord of Awesome

I'm still riding my high from the Hoosiers' demolition of Purdue last night.  And from the mescaline.  I'm heading down to B-town this weekend for the big IU/Michigan game, and I'm extremely pumped, even though I don't even have tickets or plan on going to the game.  Bloomington is going to be buzzing this weekend.

Anyway, in light of the general awesomeness of this week and weekend, I'd like to present you with the following awesome compilation of links and videos about The Darkness, Aerosmith, Lebowski, basketball in Indiana, The OC, and people getting injured in ice and snow.  Yippee-ki-yay, Mister Falcon!

1.  First off, last Sunday night, I went to see The Darkness at The Vic with my buddy Daniel.  Good Lord, they put on a great show.  It's just one of those shows that, even if you don't know any songs or don't necessarily like the type of music they play, you would still have a great time because they know how to entertain.  Here are two videos I took.  The first is of "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," and the second shows lead singer Justin Hawkins diving into the crowd from a 15-foot balcony and then crowd-surfing back up the stage before finishing the last song of the night, "Love On the Rocks With No Ice."

2.  Here is the link to the fourth in Steven Hyden's Winners' History of Rock and Roll series on Grantland, which is about Aerosmith, who I would consider to be one of the top five American rock and roll bands of all-time, if not top two or three.  Next week's band:  Blue Velvet Revolver, a metal tribute to the songs of "the Bobbys." 

3.  Here's a link to a Tumblr feed called Cinephilia & Beyond that has a page dedicated to the greatest movie of all-time, The Big Lebowski.  Included on the page are several videos, some quotes, and a fantastic picture of a young Lloyd Bridges giving son Jeff a high five.  Thanks to Trashton for the link.

4.  Here is a link to an article Holt sent me about why The OC is the greatest television show in the history of the world.  God, I miss it.  Every damn day.  Why'd you have to leave us so soon Marissa?  Volchock!!

5.  Here's a link to an ESPN article Holt sent me about how basketball is religion in the State of Indiana.  Good stuff.

6.  Here is a video Ryan sent me, which is basically three minutes of cars and people losing to winter.  As someone who can't get enough of the show Ridiculousness, this is right up my alley.  My question to you, good sir, is why were you running down the street playing a banjo in the first place?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Super Bowl Prop Bets

Super Bowl Sunday is almost upon us, which means is the time of year when Vegas offers you the chance to bet on every idiotic thing relating to the game, from who wins the coin toss to how long the national anthem will go.  Yahoo's NFL blog, Shutdown Corner, compiled a list of the silliest (or, depending on how you look at it, dumbest) prop bets available for this year's game.  My favorite one is how many times the announcers will say the name "Harbaugh" during the game.  The over/under is only 21.5.  Seems like an easy over bet to me, unless of course the announcers are in on it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi

I wasn't sure if I would have time to post a Retro Video of the Week this week, but thank Buddha for wifi on planes.  As I write this, I am currently passing over the Grand Canyon, or at least some canyon that looks pretty grand.  Shit, now I can honestly say that all of my dreams have come true, except for that one about Ethel Merman wearing only clown makeup.   Thanks a lot, glioblastoma.

Anyway, in honor of yesterday's post discussing the Grantland article discussing Bon Jovi, here is the video for the first Bon Jovi song I ever remember hearing.  I liked it the first time I heard it, and I like it now.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Winners' History of Rock and Roll: Bon Jovi

I am far too busy this week to write a coherent Tuesday Top Ten, and I will be out of town returning videotapes for the next few days, so this may be my last post of the week.  But Lord Vader knows I'd hate to leave you empty-handed, so check out Part 3 of Steven Hyden's seven-part series on Grantland called The Winners' History of Rock and Roll.  This week's post is about Bon Jovi, a hair band who managed to reestablish itself in the early 2000s after essentially a decade-long hiatus from the spotlight (in America, at least) and who still sells out stadiums.  As a bonus, the video to "You Give Love a Bad Name" is embedded in the article.  Next week's band:  Bjeck, an Icelandic tribute to Beck.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Midwestern Eavesdropping

40-something homeless man, to anyone who would listen: "And now Mr. Drummond is dead. And he didn't even know that Miss Drummond was gettin' it from Willis in the booty!"
--Chicago, Wacker and Wabash
Eavesdropper: Gregerson

Listen to Hair Band Friday - 1/18/13

Hair Band Friday - 1/18/13 by GMYH on Grooveshark

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Winners' History of Rock and Roll: Kiss

Last week, after a long-winded lamentation about the decline of rock and roll, I posted a link to the first in Steven Hyden's seven-part series on Grantland called The Winners' History of Rock and Roll.  He has since posted part two, which is about a band near and dear to my heart, Kiss.  Next week:  Slay-O, a thrash metal tribute to Harry Belafonte.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Liar" by Henry Rollins

I insincerely apologize for not posting a Tuesday Top Ten last night.  I was busy playing trivia and watching by beloved Hoosiers shit the bed against a remarkably unattractive Wisconsin team.  

Anyway, in honor of the revelation that Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend was never alive in the first place (thanks to Trashton and RobD for sending me the link), I figured that "Liar" by Henry Rollins was an appropriate Retro Video of the Week.  Seriously, though, what the fuck?  Te'o has always been made out to be this wholesome, stand-up guy, but this whole thing has to make NFL GMs uneasy, since he is clearly a fraud.  This guy (with the help of a friend, apparently) made up a girl and made up her back story, including her death, which conveniently happened the same day as his grandma's real death and provided plenty of heart-string-pulling fodder for media types.  Te'o was lionized because of this double tragedy and had the balls to mention his fake girlfriend after his 2-interception game in Notre Dame's win over Michigan a week after she apparently died.  Of course, in response to the Deadspin article exposing this hoax, Te'o and Notre Dame have now both claimed that Te'o was the victim of a hoax.  Te'o claims he met her online and that they had a relationship online and on the phone.  I'm not buying it at all.  There was an entire back story that the media was reporting about how Te'o and this girl met in 2009, how she visited him in Hawai'i (where he is from) in 2010 and 2011, and how they talked on the phone nightly throughout 2012 (before her fake death).  Given that she didn't exist and, according to Te'o, their relationship was only online and on the phone, you would think he would have corrected those reports about them meeting in person.  You would also think that, if they spoke nightly, there would have been some point when he figured that something was fishy.  Perhaps he should offer up his phone records to support his claim that he was the victim of the hoax.  Of course, he conveniently didn't go to her funeral (which was in a city in California that doesn't exist) because she insisted that he not miss any games.  He also referred to her sister (who also didn't exist) on Twitter as "the realist person I know."  The icing on the cake, for me, is that the apparent mastermind of the hoax is one of Te'o's friends, who was on the field for the USC/Notre Dame game and apparently hung out with Te'o after the game.  So what Manti Te'o and Notre Dame are asking us to believe is that, despite all the holes in the story and Te'o's connection to the alleged hoax perpetrator, Te'o had no idea this girl he met several times (if you believe the many media accounts of their relationship) or never met (if you believe Te'o's version) did not exist.  There is no way he wasn't in on it.  With that, here is a song by Henry Rollins:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Yet Another Reason You Shouldn't Rush the Court

In the past, I have posted my rules for rushing the court after a college basketball game.  As you may know, after NC State beat #1 Duke on Saturday, the NC State students rushed the court.  Technically, this was not against my rules.  However, this happened:

Yes, that is a kid being pushed in a wheelchair leading the court rushing, before falling out of his wheelchair in the middle of the crowd.  Thankfully, he was okay, thanks to NC State star CJ Leslie.  But Jesus, he could have gotten really hurt.  Well, from the waist up anyway.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Between Rock and A Hard Place

When I have a few too many diet root beers, I tend to get sentimental about rock and roll.  I lament the fact that there is a noticeable lack of popular rock and roll these days.  Back in my salad days in the '80s and '90s, rock (and even hard rock and metal) permeated the airwaves next to pop, hip hop, rap, and R&B.  In fact, here in Chicago, there was even a radio station called Z95 that played it all.  Even as recently as the '90s, grunge, post-grunge, metal, rap metal, hard rock, and regular rock and roll were Top 40 staples.  I'm not exactly sure what happened, but if you listen to popular radio these days, about the hardest thing you'll hear is Gotye.  To hear rock music, you have to listen to classic rock or alternative/indie rock station.

Maybe it was MTV's transition from pandering to suburban teens by playing music videos to pandering to suburban teens by convincing them that, if they get pregnant, they will get their own reality show.  Musicians used to make music (and videos) to get on MTV, and videos were the great equalizer.  If you watched an hour of MTV in the late '90s, you could see videos by Limp Bizkit, Ricky Martin, Marcy Playground, R.E.M., Notorious B.I.G., Metallica, Britney Spears, Collective Soul, and R. Kelly.  Then MTV decided to remove the "M," and one of rock's biggest avenues of exposure to the masses was closed.

The downfall of the music video combined the rise of YouTube, digital music, and the fact that you can make music on your computer means that "musicians" are now discovered online rather than in clubs and that making music has become more individual.  You used to have to form a band and actually play live music to get discovered.  Now, you don't need to find a group of dudes (or chicks) who can play guitar, bass, and drums because you can just press a button.  Then you post it to YouTube and hope it goes viral.  Without the need for a band, people necessarily make less music that rocks.  And let's not forget American Idol.  Simon Cowell has done his best to ruin music over the past decade.

Thankfully, there is a site more verbose than this one that has taken upon itself to analyze why rock is apparently dying.  Steven Hyden has started a seven-part series on Grantland analyzing seven bands -- Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Metallica, Linkin Park, and The Black Keys -- to try to figure out why they became popular, why rock has fallen by the wayside, and what rock can do to reemerge.  Here is a link to the first installment, which is about Led Zeppelin.  Thanks to DBH for the link.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2

Better hockey mullet:  Bono or Jaromir Jagr?  Discuss.

Midwestern Eavesdropping

Man muttering to himself upon entering a crowded rush hour train with no discernible odor: "Damn, this train smells like fruit cocktail."
--Chicago, Red Line train
Eavesdropper: GMYH

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Concerts of 2012

2012 might go down as the greatest concert year I've ever had.  Through the grace of the rock gods (and my lovely wife), I was able to see Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Motörhead, The Darkness, Alice Cooper, Andrew W.K., and The Hives (among others) for the first time.  I saw some great metal and hard rock double bills:  Motörhead and Megadeth, Scorpions and Tesla, Iron Maiden and Alice Copper, Cinderella and Sebastian Bach, and KISS and Mötley Crüe.  Add in Flogging Molly, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Anvil (including meeting the band), Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Kaiser Chiefs, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, Gaslight Anthem, JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Vintage Trouble, Alabama Shakes, and Foxy Shazam, and it's tough to narrow this list down to my favorite ten.  One way to do it is to exclude the shows I saw at Lollapalooza, which I separately ranked here.

Anyway, here are my ten favorite concerts of 2012, with the rest listed in honorable mention, since I didn't see a bad show this year.  I also posted pictures for the shows for which I haven't previously done so.

Honorable mention:  Motörhead and Megadeth (Aragon, February 10), Flogging Molly, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, and The Devil Make Three (Aragon, February 18), Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys (United Center, March 19), Andrew W.K. (The Riv, March 25), Kaiser Chiefs (House of Blues, April 19), J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Rib Fest, June 8), JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound (The Metro, November 21), The Who (All State Arena, November 29), Alabama Shakes (The Riv, December 1), Foxy Shazam and Super Happy Fun Club (Bottom Lounge, December 30).

10.  Anvil, Admiral of Black, Beak, and Ironfinger, Reggie's Rock Club, February 23
Canadian thrash metal pioneers Anvil have been on a rollercoaster ride the last few years, after the fantastic documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil was released in 2008.  This show was a straight-up metal show.  Ironfinger was a hard rock/metal group, apparently from the burbs, who rocked.  Beak was okay –- a bit too screamy for my tastes.  Admiral of Black was a solid metal band (I bought both of their albums after the show).  Anvil was excellent.  Drummer Robb Reiner is probably metal's most underrated drummer, and Lips Kudlow can still play a guitar with a dildo.  The highlight of the evening happened between Admiral of Black and Anvil.  I was there with my buddy Creature, whose brother The Weez used to work with the guy that made the Anvil documentary.  Creature was wearing a Japanese Anvil shirt and talking to the merch guy, who asked Creature, "Where did you get that shirt?  I've never seen that, and I'm Robb Reiner's son."  Creature explained how he got it.  Ten minutes later, I'm standing about 20 feet behind the stage, and Creature yells my name as he speedwalks past me with Reiner's son, who leads us down a few flights of stairs into the dungeonous subterranean backstage area of Reggie's, where we got to meet the band.  I told Robb I liked his Edward Hopper-style paintings (see the documentary), while Creature talked to Lips about the guy who made their documentary.  Then we got a picture.  It was pretty cool.
9.  KISS and Mötley Crüe, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, September 7
I've seen both bands before, and they both know how to put on a fun and entertaining live show.  With this tour, both bands played for 90 minutes, and that was about the only downfall, since they both couldn't play longer sets.  Here is a recap of the show.

8.  Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, July 5
Due to a snafu by our limo driver (and yes, I took a limo to the Iron Maiden concert), we arrived about halfway into Alice Cooper's set, which was too bad, since his live shows are legendary.  At least we got to see Alice's head get chopped off in a guillotine.  Iron Maiden is, well, Iron Maiden.  You know you're going to get an energy-filled show, with pyrotechnics and giant robotic monsters.  It must be odd for them to go from playing stadiums and festivals in other parts of the world with hundreds of thousands of people in the audience to playing a crowd of 10,000-15,000 in Tinley Park, Illinois, but you would never know the difference.  I am convinced they couldn't put on a bad show if they tried.  When lots of stage lights are involved, the iPhone tends to take a picture that looks like a giant fireball, but at least in this picture, you can kind of make out a giant picture of Eddie on the backdrop.

7.  Scorpions and Tesla, Charter One Pavilion, June 28
This was billed as The Scorpions' "Final Sting" tour, and was supposed to be their farewell tour.  After all, they have been performing together since 1965, and several of the band members are well into their sixties.  Of course, you would have no idea.  Their songs are made to be performed in front of huge outdoor audiences, and they bring it.  Klaus Meine's voice is still as powerful as it ever was, and the rest of the band is as tight as can be.  And they run and jump around the stage like people in their sixties should not be able to do.  Tesla was pretty damn good too.  Jeff Keith still has the pipes, and their set reminded me (and a lot of people sitting around us) that Tesla had a lot more hits than one might think at first blush.

6.  Cinderella and Sebastian Bach, Congress Theater, July 27
A longer recap is posted here, but this was a pleasant surprise.  Bach not only still has an amazing voice, but he also still has his swagger, as he proved by kicking some asshole out of the concert (see my linked recap).  Cinderella is an underrated band that gets lumped into the glam metal genre, although when you listen to them, they are much more blues-based than most hair bands.  As I mentioned in my recap, lead singer Tom Kiefer sounds exactly like he did 25 years ago, and Cinderella puts on a great show.

5.  J. Roddy Walston & The Business and The Features, Double Door, March 30
After seeing J. Roddy Walston & The Business at Lollapalooza in 2011, it was a revelation.  This is another one of those bands that I will see whenever they come to town.  They play a great brand of booze-soaked rock and roll, and they put on a great live show.  Were it not for the stoners making out in front of me for the entire show, I would have enjoyed it even more, but in the words of Brian Kelly, how could I stop them?  Get the band's album and see them live.  You won't be disappointed.

4.  Vintage Trouble, Beat Kitchen, November 30
The night before this show, I saw Vintage Trouble open up for The Who at All State Arena.  My friends and I had never heard of them, and we were blown away by their amped-up style of garage soul.  One of my friends at that show said, "Can you imagine how awesome these guys would be at The Metro?"  Not more than five minutes later, lead singer Ty Taylor said that they were playing at Beat Kitchen the next night.  Boo yah.  Daniel, Gregerson, and I went to the show, and the band did not disappoint.  It was one of those shows where you're happy to see a band in such a small venue because you know next time they come through town, they will be playing to a bigger crowd.  Taylor is a dancing machine on the stage.  At one point he took off his jacket to reveal a maroon button-up shirt underneath.  We all thought it was a leather shirt because it was so shiny.  It was sweat.  In addition to Taylor, the guitarist is awesome, and the rhythm section holds it down very nicely.  This is a band that has been added to the list of bands I will see whenever they come to town.  And to top it off, because it's the Beat Kitchen, the band hung out after the show, so Daniel and I got a picture with Taylor.

3.  The Hives and FIDLAR, The Vic, June 29
Before this show, I didn't own any Hives albums and I had never seen The Hives, but I had heard from multiple people that their live shows are legendary.  Holy shit was that true.  Even if you have never heard a Hives song, I implore you to go see The Hives whenever they come to your town.  The show was energetic, and lead singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist was hilarious with his faux hubris.  I have never seen a man command the attention of a concert hall more than he did.  At one point, he asked everyone in the audience to be silent and get down on one knee.  Everyone did.  Then the band exploded back into their normal, frenzied garage rock.  It was awesome.  And the opening act, FIDLAR, was pretty good too, even if they appeared to be drunk and/or high, but I think that's part of their attraction.  I also like the fact that their set list was written on a broken-down PBR case.  Were it not for the next two shows on the list, this show would have been #1.

2.  The Darkness, Foxy Shazam, and Crown Jewel Defense, The Metro, February 11
The Darkness show last February (full recap here) was phenomenal, not to mention Foxy Shazam's killer opening set, which made me go out and get their two albums the next day.  It was only my second concert of the year and, after I left the show, I honestly did not think any other concert during the year could possibly top it.  Until . . .

1.  Bruce Springsteen, Wrigley Field, September 8
He's The Boss.  Game over.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

New Book: The Beatles by Bob Spitz

Just before the holidays, I finished reading Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum. For anyone who likes basketball or remembers the Dream Team, it's a great book.  The author is a longtime Sports Illustrated writer and was in Barcelona covering the Dream Team during the '92 Olympics.  He hung around with the team while he was there, and he also covered the practices and pre-Olympic tournaments, so he has some pretty good first-hand insight about the team.  He also interviewed each Dream Team member in 2011 while he was writing the book and had a chapter on each of those meetings.  I enjoyed that the book didn't pull any punches.  It was laudatory, but it's hard not to be when your subject is the greatest sports team ever assembled.  At the same time, it dealt with why Isiah Thomas was not invited to be on the team (Jordan wasn't the only one who influenced the decision) and other hot-button issues, like playing against a guy with HIV and a bunch of non-Reebok-endorsed stars being forced to wear Reebok-made Team USA garb.  All in all, it was a solid book.

Now it's on to something I should have done a long time ago:  read The Beatles by Bob Spitz.  I've have the hardcover for several years.  It's a mammoth book, coming in at just under a thousand pages and weighing three pounds.  Thus, it will be a bitch to read on the train, and it will probably take me until June to finish it, but it is supposedly the definitive biography on the greatest rock and roll band of all-time.

Books read in 2012:
No Regrets by Ace Frehley
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F*cked by Darrell Hammond
The Visible Man by Chuck Klosterman
The Last Testament: A Memoir by God by David Javerbaum
Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Retro Video of the Week: "Mama Said Knock You Out" by LL Cool J

I'm back from my holiday hiatus.  Nothing like sitting on my couch for a week and a half, drinking winter beers, watching Saved By The Bell and SNL marathons, and growing a really bad beard.  I miss college.  But now it's back to the grind.  Here's my favorite LL Cool J song.