Sunday, April 27, 2008

Van Halen does not disappoint

For years (nay, decades) anyone who has seem Van Halen has told me the same thing, in one form or another: "That Eddie can play". After seeing VH live for the first time last night, I agree. He is a monster on guitar. It really is amazing how melodic his solos are, and how integral a part they perform overall.

Dave was what I had expected him to be, and what I had experienced the handful of times I have seen him in the past. He is that carnival showman, smiling and extolling you to join in the good times. This was by far the happiest I have seen him, and he looked like he was truly enjoying being on stage with the band that made him famous. You don't really expect him to be Pavarotti, but the guy gives his all. How his body looks that good is beyond me. Old Skool Review needs to get some pointers, and perhaps needs to also lay off the beer and cheeseburgers. That guy is still ripped.

And that Eddie, boy can he play. If you are at all curious, I recommend checking these guys out. They bring it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

superfun yeah yeah rocketship

We recently had SYYR write a song for our client, the Missouri Wine Board. I would let you check it out if Blogger would accept my MP3 file. Rather than toss my computer out the window in a fit of rage, let's try a re-direct. Once you go to this page you will see a link to play his song on the right-hand side, a little ways down:

Also check out his myspace page. Make sure you listen to "I like Marvel, You Like DC". As we all know, which way you swing can tell a person a lot about you:

Van Halen vs. Van Hagar

For Van Halen:
David Lee Roth
OK, he became a bit of a clown once parted ways with VH, riding giant inflatable microphones with an even bigger cartoon cowboy hat, smiling like a carnival sideshow huckster. But he also wrote "Running with the Devil", "Panama", "Jamie's Crying", "Everybody Wants Some", "Hot For Teacher", "Unchained", "And The Cradle Will Rock...", "Ain't Talkin' About Love", ETC.

Against Van Hagar:
Sammy Hagar wrote "Why Can't This Be Love", "Dreams", "Love Walks In", "When It's Love", (are you sensing a trend here yet? The guy really wants you to love him. DLR just wants to get in your pants and see how much trouble he can get you in) and a bunch of other stuff. I admit, I did like it when Eddie played the drill on that one song, I think it was "Poundcake".

How about albums? which one would you like to listen to right now?
Van Halen, Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down, 1984.
OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now, Balance.

Sorry Gary Cherone, nobody heard your album (Van Halen III), so you don't count.

Here's a look at some lyrics for a couple of popular songs. I don't think it would be fair to pick some that aren't well-known from the radio:

It's got what it takes
so tell me why can't this be love?
straight from the heart oh tell me why
can't this be love
I tell myself 
hey only fools rush in and only time will tell
if we stand the test of time


And when some local kid gets down
they try to drum him out of town
they say "you could have at least faked it boy"
at an early age he hits the street
and winds up tied to who he meets
and he's unemployed
and the cradle will rock
yeah, the cradle will rock

Some music is meant to entertain. It's a friday night and you're with your buds, the beer tastes good and the music rocks your socks off. That's Van Halen to me. Unfortunately, Van Hagar isn't that feeling. And it certainly isn't socially relevant. I don't know what it is, except average songs with a kick-ass guitar player who seems like he's not having nearly as much fun.

Jump back, what's that sound?
Here she comes, full blast and top down.

See you tonight, original Van Halen. Hope you don't let me down.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


John Vanderslice, oh why do I have to need sleep?

Well, John Vanderslice will be at the Billiken Club tonight. I encourage all my non-existent readers to go check him out if you are in the STL area. I hear he puts on a good show. I went to the Cards game last night, and taught my Visual Communications class at Webster the night before. If I was to be honest, it's not the lack of sleep that would bother me, it's the sense of guilt not being home with my family that may stop me from going. He's no spring chicken either, but has a great pedigree, producing a lot of indie bands, along with his own solo career. His best songs are ones that tell stories that seem true-to life without any of the sugar-coating. Here's the Billiken Club's link:

And John has a site also, of course. Go there to download his song White Dove for a taste:

And now I shall go wrestle with my conscience. The pull of music is strong.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Chris Scruggs at Beale on Broadway

Those of you with more than  passing knowledge of BR5-49 may know of Chris. A few years back he joined that group when a couple of the original members left in 2001, taking over for Gary Bennett. I'm actually not sure if they are still touring, but was happy to hear about him making a solo stop in the Lou. He is a little Buddy Holly-like in appearance, and looks like he is about 18 years old. Not a line on his 26-year-old face. Chris is also Earl Scruggs', (Flatt & Scruggs, AKA the guys who wrote the Beverly Hillbillies theme song) grandson and has a pleasant clear voice. Much of his material is classic old-school country, or originals that are written in that bent. He doesn't let the songs sit back, but really dives into them. No languid, kicked back on the front stoop, pickin' here.

For the most part I really enjoyed the show. Beale on Broadway is very small and the audience was into it. As small as the place is (we were indoors, outside is a little bigger. Damn April cold spell), it was not so crowded that we were uncomfortable. Even got a seat at the bar! There is one thing that just drove me crazy, though. The bass player. He looked a little bit "New York hipster" to me. I mean, looks shouldn't matter, but he just did not seem to fit in. This was compounded by the fuzzed-out farting noises that sometimes escaped from his amp. Pffft! Bump-aPFFFFFT. It just didn't match the country old time rockin' music that was coming out of Chris' ringing guitar. Good show. But try not to look at the guy to the left, with the funny-sounding bass.

Here's more about Chris. He really was fun, despite the bass dude:

Upcoming Concerts

Concert Season is nearly here, and the dance card is filling up with some interesting choices. So far, the biggies are:
John Vanderslice, April 16, Billiken Club (maybe)
Van Halen, April 26, Scottrade Center
Ghostland Observatory, May 2, Metro (Chicago)
Avett Brothers, May 6, Sheldon Concert Hall
Fragile Porcelain Mice, May 10
Wilco, May 15, Pageant (First of three sold out shows)
Asylum Street Spankers, May 23/24, Off Broadway
Robert Plant/Alison Krauss, June 19, Fox Theatre
Rancid, June 28, Pop's

And I'm still deciding on Journey/Heart/Cheap Trick...
Because yes, I'm old-skool.

Why Old Skool Review?

So I'm not a spry 20-something anymore. As a matter of fact, I'm a 40-something who is graying and who sometimes doesn't like standing for four hours at a show. But I still love music, and that is why I am creating this blog. I want to share my feelings about today's (and yesterday's) music from a different perspective than a skinny-jeans hipster from Pitchfork. I want to bring to light how the bands that are here today are somehow linked to the past, or have no context to what they are doing. Who knows, maybe this will fill a void that seems to be out there.

We'll see.