Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Live Show: Bat for Lashes

Back in June I ran across a video of "Bat for Lashes" (aka British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Natasha Khan) over at transbuddha and was intrigued. I bought the album and it nestled itself into my ipod as my afternoon commute/nighttime background music. When I found out she and her band were coming through town on July 30 at Cafe du Nord, one of my favorite local venues, as one of only two stops on the west coast, I bought tickets.

First off, the Cafe du Nord is a great venue. It has a very intimate setting. It's very small, the stage is not that high off the ground, and there really isn't a bad place in the house. While the Fillmore and Great American Music Hall are great places to see larger more well-known bands, on any given night at the Cafe du Nord, you might catch the next big thing.

Or, in this case, I caught the thing that is already big in the UK, but not very large yet on this side of the pond.

I'm going to be repeating pretty much every review of Bat for Lashes when I say that she sounds like a cross between Bjork and Kate Bush, with a dash of Tori Amos thrown in. The music flirts with fantasy and tickles that part of your brain that was so enthralled by magic, wizards, quests, and fairies as a child (or if you like Harry Potter, as an adult). But the subject matter of the music is more mature and speaks of love and loss, often through metaphor.

You can hear that Natasha has a great voice off of her album. But when you see her live, you realize that she really does have an amazing set of pipes. As you watch her perform, she goes from "the girl who sounds a bit like Bjork" to an artist in her own right. The band also uses an array of instruments, including bells, violins, guitars, some strange squeeze box thing, some string instrument on a table, yeah, I don't even know. They also use a few large drums and an array of different percussion instruments, including clapping for cadence. During "Sarah" Natasha uses a huge staff looking thing which she bangs on the stage for percussion. Which totally turned me on. The end result is an interesting digital, traditional, and down-right tribal sound.

They're playing in LA tonight. If any of you can catch them, it's totally worth it! Thanks for a great show girls!

Here are their youtube videos. I also threw a few more in my music playlist over there. I like the nod to Donnie Darko on "What's a Girl To Do."


Photo from Three Pink Monkeys on Flickr.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New Fave Search Terms

Someone happened upon this blog by searching on Google with the following three search terms:

hamster dating România

Have I mentioned how "Gere" is a Romanian last name on here?* Because if not, I don't know how he ended up here. Or WTF this person was looking for.

*I do not believe Gere is actually a Romanian last name, but it rhymes with Beer which makes me think it might be German

Monday, July 23, 2007

Un événement belge

Yves Leterme, the man chosen by King Albert to be the future prime minister and to form a new government did not make any francophone friends over the weekend. Leterme, though having a french speaking father, previously made himself unpopular with the wallons when he once said that french speaking Belgians did not have the necessary "intellectual state" to learn Flemish.

During their national holiday on July 21, Leterme when quizzed by a journalist, mistakenly thought that the holiday was the anniversary of the Belgian Constitution. Which it is not.

When asked to sign the national hymn of Belgium, which is a song entitled the "
Brabançonne," he started singing the "Marseillaise," the French national anthem.

Coverage of RTBF

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Am Not Ready for the "BIG ONE" or Maybe I Shouldn't Sleep Naked

San Francisco is best known for having several characteristics.

  • It is incredibly liberal
  • We have a lot of homeless people
  • We live in an active seismic area that geologists technically refer to as "Holy Fucking Shit."
Well last night a 4.2 of the latter gave me quite a jolt come 4:40 a.m. My new roommate, who recently located from Maryland and was understandably freaked out by the movement of the earth, knocked on my door and came in to my room to find me in my closet frantically trying to pull on pants in the dark.

Now I was born in California. I grew up in a different, but equally active, seismic area of California. In school, we would have "earthquake drills," which involved us diving under desks at the sound of an alarm, and then lining up to go outside. I was taught to hide under door ways, and to stock supplies for when the big one hits. We were supposed to keep several gallons of water, a radio, some batteries...maybe some magazines...a Walkman...I don't remember the rest, but you know, supplies. Oh canned food. Right canned food. Scratch the magazines.

So I should know better. While I've since heard that it's better to get next to desks, tables, beds, etc. rather than get under them, I still should know better. But my first thought was, "RUN MOTHERFUCKER." But I don't want to run outside naked! So I'd better put some pants on. In the dark. I don't think I would have made it if that was a big one. If that was the big one, I think they would have found me, crushed under 3 floors of rubble with my pants around my ankles. Perhaps an appropriate way for me to go, but no less disturbing.

I think I might grab a couple of jugs of Arrowhead on the way home today. And some pants with an elastic waist to keep in my nightstand.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Big Sweaty Apple

I just took a 10 day hiatus to go hang out with the gf in the NYC. When I was there in the winter, I just about froze the boys off. This time around I actually sweated in places that I didn't know I had sweat glands. NYC, unlike SF, definitely has seasons.

Once again, I must sing the praises of New York City. So many things to do and places to go, it's mind boggling. Visited the Whitney for the first time, and went to MOMA on a free friday, which actually was a lot less crowded than I anticipated. The girlfriend had to work some while I was there, so I was also afforded a lot of time to wander around, or as the french would say, se flâner.

I also managed to catch a couple films, partially to escape the heat in the frigid AC of the theatre. First, I saw Ghosts of Cite Soleil, which was really well-done documentary about the Chimères of Haiti. The flow of the film was a bit confused at times, but I think that went well with the lawlessness and chaos that these people live in.

Then, the 12 year-old in me forced me to watch Transformers. Although part of me was insulted that Bumble Bee had gone from the VW bug he was in the old cartoon to a Camaro (a bumble bee is a bug...Camaro just doesn't make any sense), and the product placement was pretty brash and obvious (a mountain dew vending machine turns into a robot at one point), I have to say that my 12 year-old was very pleased. Especially the fact that Optimus Prime has the same voice.

Here are some pics from NYC. Bonus points if you can guess where they are.