Tag Archives: Kingsized

I’m dreaming of a brown Christmas

sno-way-joseI really wanted to post an El Vez Christmas video tonight, but turns out I can’t find much worth sharing.

Do I get extra points if I was actually there? There is this one from two Christmases ago. I think that’s Connie waving her arms in the air, and I’m pretty sure I hear myself singing “release Bobby Dodd.”  And here’s the Grinch being very disrespectful to our outgoing POTUS. What you can’t see here is that El Rey was changing clothes behind the curtain while he was singing.

(You also can’t see that Big Mike Geier opened with just about the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen on stage. I guess he’s not going to do it again, so let me try to relate it. Curtains part and Big Mike is alone, bigger than life — the big skirt of the huge green off-the-shoulder gown he’s wearing covers the ladder or whatever elevates him. A half mask and a half veil. Singing “I who have nothing” in his beautiful voice. (What is it with Tom Jones this week?) Next comes “Dixie,” and while Mike delivers a beautiful slow melodramatic version from on high, two Dames Aflame emerge from beneath his voluminous skirt. They are dressed in the gray and the blue, and with their swords they pantomine the War Between the States. Down to pasties.  Next thing I know a little black midget dressed as Santa has emerged from under the skirt, carrying a tray of Krispie Kremes — with Christmas sprinkles — to share with the crowd. There was more, but by this time I was swooning and can’t be expected to recount it accurately.)

merrymex-masIf you don’t have Merry Mex-mas or Sno-Way Jose, you should find them. They’re truly great Christmas albums you won’t get tired of listening to from Thanksgiving through New Year. Or even for a little Navidad in July.

And speaking of amazing things on stage, I’ve been privileged a few times to see El Vez do his Brown Christmas / Charlie Brown’s Christmas, with a backlit sheet and the most thought-provoking take on the Peanuts gang you can imagine — “Hey, Charlie, I’m brown. Por que no Latinos in your stinkin’ town?” Transcendent.

El Vez loves Christmas. It makes my Christmas every year to see his show, and I’m very blue he’s not coming this year to brown up our Mex-mas.

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What I did last summer

I’ve had a great run of shows this spring and summer. (And spent a fortune on tickets.) Can you say “stuck in the ’80s” . . .?

Joe Jackson at Variety. With James Harvey. Probably the best show I’ve seen this spring/summer. Songs from his new album, Rain, plus plenty of oldies rearranged for piano instead of lead guitar. Original drummer and bass player (well preserved) from way back. Jackson sang and played his heart out. On the way home, I was elated to have been there and wished I could have shared the experience with more even people who would have enjoyed it.

roll away the stone -- you must have it around somewhere

roll away the stone, dust it off and play it

Leon Russell. On my birthday with Elizabeth. The dude is an icon, really. He had this fun young guitar player with him, who had to hang back until the end, when Russell finally let him show off a little bit. At Smith’s. Ruined my ears — something was wrong with the sound and every time the bass drum thumped, it traveled directly to my eardrums. Here’s one of my two favorite LR songs, from somebody who must’ve been standing not far behind me and E (being with E, we were of course front and center).

X. At Variety with Warren and Scott. And Butler. And Alexander and Wynn were there. Better than expected, and so nice to show the 13 year olds hardcore with lyrics. Hey Mikey, they liked it!

it's good -- give it a try

it's pretty good -- give it a try

REM. With Ev, Warren and Vlad at Lakewood. Not awful seats, and a really good show. Mike Mills is still just . . . Mike Mills. Modest Mouse opened, and I think that’s a band I need to listen to. They were really intense live and I liked what I heard.

Tom Waits. At the Fox with E for her birthday. Sarah has always raved about what an amazing show he puts on, so I decided we had to go. The guy is like a tightly wound spring. The audience worshiped him.

Lyle Lovett. At Chastain with Jaffner for her birthday. Talk about exceeding expectations. First of all, there was no one at Chastain, so once it got dark and I didn’t have to watch the beautiful people, it was great. And it wasn’t hot at all. He had this chorus of about 20 young African American gospel singers, mostly women, who put out a sound like you wouldn’t believe. Then three black dudes backing him up and dancing like doo-wop chicks, but each with his own amazing voice. Plus his large band. It was like a wall of soul.

freaky

freaky

Freakwater at Variety, opening for some act I’d never heard of that sold out on a Tuesday night. As much as I love Freakwater, I had never seen them live, so I was ready to go by myself if I had to. Anna decides to meet me, we decide to get tix at the door, and when I get to the window they hand me the last one! Anna had to hang around until someone whose date didn’t show gave her one.

(All these incredibly wholesome-looking 20-somethings were there to see a newish band called She and Him. “She” is an actress, the one who played Trillian in the Hitchhiker’s Guide movie. “He” came out to play with Freakwater and sucked. And I mean really sucked. It was an incredible mismatch of opening bands to headliner. The crowd had never heard of Janet and Catherine and talked through the show, thoroughly irritating me.

Of course, being culturally in-the-know as I am and up-to-date on the latest poptrends, when the show was announced, I picked up the phone and called Variety to be sure it was really truly Freakwater — and that they were *opening* for these unknowns, rather than the other way around. Anyway, I could tell from the 20-somethings’ reception of my band that I wasn’t going to like their band, so we didn’t stay.  I didn’t want to spoil the transcendence of Freakwater with something ordinary.)

The sound these two women make is like nothing else. It may be the most mournful sound on the planet since the Stanleys, but it somehow makes me incredibly happy. I want to be that bassist, David Gay, like I haven’t wanted to be anyone since Michael Lachowski. And after the show he came out to sell CDs and I pulled an Elizabeth and told him he was my hero.

Big Mike loves his donuts

Big Mike loves his donuts

Kingsized and Dames Aflame. With Dan and James Harvey. I always think I’ve seen this show and don’t need to go, but it really just keeps getting better. Not only did mi amigo El Vez join for a few songs, but they finished with an amazing spectacle of . . . wait for it . . . “Come Sail Away.” Groans turned to cheers as Big Mike and his very big retinue turned Styx’s most fearful piece o shit into an extravaganza complete with silver wings, drag queen and a remote-mic stroll down the aisle. While he’ll never reach the bizarre heights of his opener for El Vez Christmas 2006, the guy does have a sense of the absurd that is not to be trifled with.

you know you want him

you know you want him

El Vez. With Eliz, Allison and her sister. I was worried no one would show up for my big crush’s Sunday-night show. Was Geier’s act Tongo Hiti or the Useless Playboys? Then came Lysa Flores (I bought the CD), and it’s getting late on a Sunday night . . . finally, the place got a decent crowd, and Mr. Lopez did not disappoint.

Someone’s been sewing for El Rey. He had more than one new second skin to emphasize his political commentary. Excellent band, and two Elvettes. So sad Jimbo and Judy and Connie couldn’t make it. Like leaving Hunting Island every year, I always hope there will be a next time, but I always say goodbye like it’s the last. Bought a new poster for my closet shrine, and got two big hugs. I adore El Vez. Nothing makes me happier.

Still to come, David Byrne and the Allman Bros at Chastain . . . and should I take Warren and friends to see Buckethead at Masquerade? Why stop now, with the Squirrel Nut Zippers and Del McCoury on the way?

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