Going on Hiatus

Because of some crazy circumstances and big changes in my life (moving, etc.), Local Commotion is going on hiatus until late December '06/early '07. I'll be back soon to continue writing silly, ridiculous crap. Until then, have some wonderful holidays, make sure you get enough sunlight to keep those crappy New England moods at bay (these lightboxes work wonders), and drop me a line if you hear somethin' good.

Until then,

CBGB Closes. In Other News, Punk Has Sucked For Years.


If not for Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, I might never have seen the crusty, poster-slathered inside of CBGB. And now it's gone. Check out Yahoo News' article on its final show:


I like that Patti Smith and members of Blondie were there to close it out.

But I gotta tell ya: Hilly Kristal? I'm not a fan.

Don't let the fluff in this piece fool you. Kristal let this happen. To some degree, he even wanted it to happen. CBGB's last gasp as a culturally active institution was sometime back in the '80s, if not earlier. Since then, it's pretty much just been a t-shirt. Kristal never really grasped the cultural significance of his own venue or its meaning in the birth of punk -- he merely wanted to make a buck. So when it began to look like CBGB was going to bite the dust a few years ago, he immediately started talking about moving to New Jersey or Las Vegas. He didn't understand that it wasn't the name CBGB, or the awning, or the logo that made CBs important -- it was the space.

It was the disgusting, awkwardly-shaped, piss-infested, sounds-like-shit space. It's a space only a punk could love. It's a place you can only enjoy if you don't give a fuck about anything, drink hard, and prefer physically intimidating your crowd over performing for them. Kristal, ever clueless, recently said, “For some reason, they want us here. I don’t know why it matters to them, but it does.”

[Read more of that interview here. It's excellent.]

As the interview makes painfully clear, Kristal does not care about the space. It was filled with numerous code violations (a big no-no after the Great White show fire in RI); he didn't pay his rent; he's long viewed the place as an instution to museumify, rather than a living place that can transform music and culture.

CBGB is dead. Long live CBGB.

Musical Instruments Are People, Too. Sorta.

This helpful announcement just in from Lys Guillorn:

Cold weather PSA for my fellow musicians: humidify!

Howdy. Just a reminder to put your instrument humidifiers in your guitar or other wood-based instrument cases as we get into cold weather. If you don't have "real" humidifiers, you can use a film canister with holes poked in the lid and a damp, but not sopping piece of sponge inside. If you need film canisters, I can give you some... (Film? Yes, people still shoot film...) A little prevention will spare you having to have cracks repaired later.

Be very well,

Album Cover Deathmatch!

From what I hear, this video has taken off pretty quickly, and well it should -- it's hilarious. Watch classic album covers battle to the death!

Mildly unsafe for work.

Local Commotion October Updates

... and no, I'm not going to call it fucking "Rocktober."

Just got back from the Tool concert last night... Wow. Interesting experience. On the upside, I enjoyed watching some brilliant musicians play some wicked tunes. On the downside, the Hartford Civic Center sounds like a subwoofer trapped in a dumpster. Not to mention it's kind of weird seeing thousands of drone-like Tool fans mouthing the lyrics to a band who advocates thinking for yourself.

Anyway, I'm thrilled -- THRILLED -- that my interview made the cover this week. It's only the second time that's happened (not counting the Band Slam/Snow Slam previews I do), and I get all giddy about that shit. It's definitely a high point of my writing career so far.

Enough blabbing. I'm here to tell you about some updates I made this morning! I've got new shit for the fans and new shit for the bands. Something for the holes and something for the poles. You know how it go.

  • For the Fall season, I've put some new tunes up on the Local Commotion MySpace, which is basically a jukebox/soundtrack to this blog and the Advocate column. I focused on a "creepy" theme for the autumn! You may have never heard of these groups or genres, but believe me, the sounds and textures are a perfect fit.
  • I've separated the categories in my links section on the right-hand side. I also shrank the font to make it a little more readable. Let me know if you don't like it and I'll change it back.
  • I've created a new links section for blogs! There are so damn many CT-related music and arts blogs out there -- it's about time I started spreading the love. Like cream cheese. I had jalapeno cream cheese on a cheddar bagel from Lox Stock and Bagel in West Hartford this morning. Mmmm. I'm hungry again just thinking about it.
  • I've finally begun linking (and expanding) the link sections for Record Stores and Labels, and I created a new section for Promo Agencies. If you're a musician, or in a related field, please send me links to help fill out these sections -- and pass the word along to other CT people looking for local music resources.

Thanks for reading.

(Image courtesy of Scary Bunnies.)

Holy Shit, Sugarfist!

HUGE and bittersweet news from the Sugarfist camp. Jenn Jacobs has parted ways with the 'Fist! She's been around since the beginning, and to many of us her awesome voice has come to represent the band just as much as the goofy stage antics and the jambalaya clusterfuck songwriting. Meanwhile, they've already found a replacement!

Here's the announcement from the band:

"We would like to take this opportunity to extend a gracious and sad farewell to one of Sugarfist's own- Jenn Jacobs. Beginning in 1999 and one of our founding and core members, Jenn has decided to depart from the band. She has been a part of the Sugarfist family for many many years and we all wish her the very best in her future creative endeavors to come. Her last performance with us can be seen at a free show this Saturday September 9th at The Haddam River Days Festival in Haddam, CT.

We would like to give a new toasty welcome to the always entertaining and extravagant...Krizta Moon!!!! Joining the band now on vocals!!! Krizta will perform our last song of the evening on Saturday night and can be seen with us thereafter at the following locations of mass media cronyism..

FRIDAY October 6th The Beanery Old Dam Road Fairfield, CT ALL AGES
SATURDAY October 21st The Colony Woodstock, NY

Tupac: Robbing Men of Their Boners and Women of Their Conjugal Bliss, Even From the Grave

Now I've seen it all.

The Associated Press (killing local reporting since 1846) offers up this report about a lawsuit between civil rights activist C. DeLores Tucker and two Philly newspapers. At issue? "Her dispute with the estate of slain rapper Tupac Shakur," according to the article.

What did that naughty Tupac do? He rhymed "Tucker" with "motherfucker." Oh SHIT!

But wait -- the shit has only begun to fly. According to the AP article,

"Tucker had sued Shakur, alleging, among other things, that her husband, William Tucker, had suffered loss of 'consortium' because of the emotional distress brought on by Shakur."

Oh yes. Consortium. If you think that sounds like some kind of awful Freudian metaphor for something, award yourself one point. Baby, Dictionary.com gives us this legal definition:

"The legal right of husband and wife to companionship and conjugal intercourse with each other."

So let me get this straight: a so-called activist is suing a newspaper for mischaracterizing a Tupac lyric which was so scathing that it prevented her husband from getting a hard-on?

I've got one word for ya:

By the way, have any of you seen the movie Tupac: Resurrection? (Thanks, Olympia, for sending it my way.) It's interesting in the way Born Into Brothels is interesting, which is to say that if you peel back the cutesy, crowd-pleasing surface, there are some very ugly monsters lurking underneath. The selling point is that it's told in "Tupac's own words," and indeed it's compiled from a number of interviews and monologues. But a careful listener will hear that many times, Tupac's speech is spliced together from several different interviews, often in mid-sentence! His speech, his life -- they're so heavily edited to put a positive spin on a man who was one of the most internally embattled characters of his day. By the end of the film, Pac is basically being cast as a black Jesus figure, a patron of the arts, and a sensitive gentleman who only occasionally ran into trouble with the press and the law. It's no coincidence that the film was made by Tupac's mom, Afeni Shakur. You can just see her pulling the strings the whole time.

Guess she had to get him back for "Dear Mama" some way or another.

Meszenjah Spreads the Irie Vibe to Middletown

DJ Meszenjah puts on one of the sickest live sets I've seen a local kid spin. I was especially impressed with how deep he got during an all-reggae set I saw at Zen Bar. It's so rare that a DJ around here will dig into the reggae stacks, let alone navigate them with a degree of eloquence. Meszenjah has all the beats you could ever want and eloquence to boot. Check him out at Vibrations, a club night at Tommy's in Middletown. He'll be there October 6th and 20th.

Will Haven Signed

Bieler Bros Records, home to UK math-metallers Sikth, have recently signed one of the bands that got me into hardcore: Will Haven.

When I first discovered them in the late '90s, Will Haven's thick-chained guitars and relentless 3/4 time signature were quite possibly the heaviest thing I had ever heard. It was simplistic, reductive, and palpable. I grew up listening to alternative; in 1996 a high school friend turned me on to the Deftones, and from there it was only a short jump to heavier sounds. Snapcase came first -- they had just released Progression Through Unlearning, which I think to this day is their best album ever. But shortly thereafter, I found Will Haven's "Ego's Game" on a comp CD, and was thrilled to hear another band using the same kind of guitar style and rhythm. After investigating both bands' back catalogs, I have to say unequivocally that Will Haven's is the better of the two: it's more consistent, and while that certainly leads to a degree of predictability (Will Haven outside of the 3/4 time signature is almost impossible), it's definitely preferable to Snapcase's many failed experiements.

The official announcement:

"Bieler Bros Records is proud to announce the signing and return of metal-core pioneers WILL HAVEN. Will Haven will release their as of yet untitled Bieler Bros. debut in early 2007. The release will be the bands first since 2001's critically-acclaimed Carpe Diem."

Apathy Tears Collabos a New One

Check out Apathy's post on MySpace where he shreds one of hip hop's most abused institutions: the collaboration track.

The Conspicuous Willingness of Secondary Metal Markets to Commercialize/Market Themselves as Though They Were Primary

... or: You're All Fucking MySpace Sellouts.


Summer 2003: Daughters
Fall/Winter 2003: Between the Buried and Me
Summer 2004: Invocation of Nehek
Summer 2005: Through the Eyes of the Dead
Fall/Winter 2005: Job for a Cowboy
Summer 2006: Suicide Silence

Oh yes, motherfuckers: I see you. I see exactly what you’re doing.

You know what you are?
The Killers.
of metal.

The "it" band until the next "it" band comes along.

Fuckin’ shame on you.

Spouse Hates Your Obnoxious Snore? Play Didge!

I saw this and thought it was freakin' fantastic. Didgeridoos are pretty easy to make out of PVC tubing or the like... Though nothing beats a nice one made from natural materials. I was pretty impressed with the stuff sold in the store section of this site. They go out of their way to seem pretty ethical and up-front about stuff.



Bleach Transfusion Completed: Initiate Self-Termination Process

After an incredible 4 or so gigs, and with seven epic minutes of recorded audio under their belts, the boys of Bleach Tranfusion have announced their indefinite hiatus. Vocalist/synth player Ben Kohanski is beginning his college education (majoring in Gore, no doubt), leaving the future for the acoustic grind band open but uncertain.

While I wouldn't exactly classify Bleach Transfusion as good, they're certainly one of the more interesting bands* I've encountered, both in terms of setup (cheap drums, crappy synth, capes, gas masks) and artistic vision. (Their aborted album, Purging the Swarm, was to be an epic tale of Space Marines [think Doom, Halo] forced to annihilate a malevolent race of sentient insectoids. Not exactly typical concept album material.)

*(Note to readers: please do not call bands/works/artists "more unique" or "less unique." "Unique" means one-of-a-kind; there are no orders of magnitude. It's either unique or it's not.)

For those of you who never saw them live -- and let's face it, your number is legion -- it sounds like a DVD is in the works. If you enjoy B-movie kitsch, you may want to get a copy.

Relevant MySpace bulletin (from vocalist Brian Sierakowski) below:

Is this truly it for BLEACH TRANSFUSION?

As many of you probablly know, our beloved keyboardist/vocalist, Ben Kohanski, will be departing for college today. He was a great bandmate and friend, and truly the mastermind behind Bleach Transfusion. We've had a good run with our acoustic grindcore project turned synth led grind assault on the senses.

Is Bleach Transfusion dead?

No. We are just on indeffinate hiatus. Myself and my brother, Sam, will be part of two untitled bands, currently forming. Our first is an artsy hardcore project, and the second (which I am personally excited about) is a synthy gore grind project featuring Poop Sludge vocalist Chris Little and ex Revelations of Doom guitarist Tyler, whose name I embarassingly forgot this morning (sorry, man). Also, I myself might be playing keyboard for a local black metal project.

Bleach Transfusion does, however, plan to release a special DVD/EP CD set at Jamfest 07. This DVD will include their full live performances from Jamfest 06 and the 06 Dodgeball Tournament. Also, we will include the "basement sessions," which will show everyone what happened while we recorded our sick awesome tracks. We'll show you the laughs, and more laughs, because really, there was never any drama. The EP will provide you with all of our old tracks from The Lies That Grind, and the Purging The Swarm concept album. We will also include unreleased and alternate tracks. Whether we will actually make an appearance at Jamfest is highly doubtful.


It was a fun ride, guys. And hey, we might actually pick this up again, we still have Purging the Swarm to try and finish.

So thanks again, all.

And look forward to our DVD/EP release at Jamfest 07! It will be the best $7 you've ever spent.

Cute. Ridiculous. Awesome.

Have you seen the video for Welcome's new song "Dead Weight"?

CT DnB: Big Up for a Hot Summer

Maybe I blinked or something, but it seems like in the past few months, Drum 'n Bass in CT has quadrupled. All of a sudden there's a ton of ill events!

(WTF is drum 'n bass? Click here to find out.)

You hear that, house music? You don't own this town for much longer! Mu ha ha.

Naw, but seriously. If you want the scoop on what's going down week-by-week, I highly recommend checking out Miz-Eyesis' MySpace page. Aside from being a DJ, she's one of the scene's most ardent supporters right now. If an event is within driving distance, she's spreading the word about it -- if not attending it. And as much as it may seem like an explosion of brand new events, that's hardly ever the case -- it's almost always the result of years of hard work finally paying off.

So hats off to CT D'nB -- I hope this is the first of many years when you get (aka regain) your due respect.

Ramallah's "Kill A Celebrity": Officially REQUIRED LISTENING for Readers of Local (Com)Motion

You may or may not like heavy music. You may or may not like punk. I don't care. You need to hear the messages on this album.

Normally I would be racing to write a CD review of this so it could be published in The Advocate and reach thousands of readers. Unfortunately, I slept on Kill A Celebrity for too long (it came out in late 2005) and The Advocate has a policy of publishing CD reviews that are fresher.

So I'm sitting down at 2:30 in the morning, after 2 and 1/2 glasses of wine and exactly two listens of this CD, to tell you that you need to hear this. Why? Because, quite simply, Ramallah's latest disc is the kind of music that compels you to act. You can't fucking listen to this and sit still.

Within the legendary Boston hardcore scene, there has been one band that has been consistently hailed over all others: Blood for Blood. If one were to liken them to Connecticut's Hatebreed, it wouldn't be too far off the mark. Blood for Blood (who have since broken up) had a dubious reputation for shedding, um, blood (imagine that) at shows, and for generally attracting working-class thugs who needed an outlet for their pent-up frustrations. To quote from the Victory Records website:

"Their ‘white-trash working man’ ethics and ‘no holds barred’ attitude have garnered Blood For Blood a following that is among the most fanatical and dedicated of any fanbase in the music scene today. In a scene currently lacking in old-fashioned angry hardcore, Blood For Blood stands where legends Sheer Terror and Killing Time once reigned."

Yeah. There's violence here. But it goes deeper than that.

Class lines have always clearly divided the hardcore pretenders from the real heirs to the scene. Blood for Blood, you might say, were the kings of lower- and middle-middle class hardcore: they ran into problems with society enough to have a political bent, but they were still sonically punk-as-fuck. (Compare to Hatebreed, who, over the long-term, have shown themselves to be eagerly upwardly mobile -- both in business practice [signing to Universal Records and, for their latest release, Roadrunner Records] and musical composition [their increasing metal influence culminated in a guest spot by Slayer's guitarist Kerry King on 2002's Perseverance]. Hatebreed's lyrical material has always stayed squarely centered on abstract values, whereas Blood for Blood were always eager to grapple with real-life issues.)

So enter Blood for Blood's "White Trash" Rob Lind, the mastermind behind the Ramallah project. Their first disc, But A Whimper, was a wicked taste of things to come (it clocked in at just 13:53). On Kill A Celebrity, White Trash Rob takes the time to unpack and expand his views, providing what one might dub a "working class progressive" stance on international politics and domestic affairs.

At least, that's the scholastic way to put it. Another way to put it: far-left liberals (as opposed to centrist Democrats) and progressives have always struggled with giving their beliefs an artistic voice. The effortlessness with which Ramallah does so suggests that we (I say "we" because I count myself among the ranks) have all been overthinking, overarticulating, and self-censoring too much.

White Trash Rob cuts straight to the fucking chase, and it's magnificent. One can only quote.

"What a beautiful rage/what a noble crusade/what a beautiful hatred ... I wish I was as strong as you." -from "Brother Malcolm"

"I'd love to... put some sarin gas/in the central A/C at the VMAs/and watch those beautiful faces/turn ashen gray... Kill a celebrity, and you will find you can strike down a god." -from "Kill a Celebrity"

Watch in awe as Rob quotes from the Sacred Cow themselves, The Beatles, by covering "A Day in the Life" and translating it into hardcore-ese as though the song's original authors were just, y'know -- people. (As someone who resists the canon [and canonization] of The Beatles as one might resist Titanic, The Da Vinci Code, and the Harry Potter books, I knew from the opening notes that Ramallah was covering a song. But, ignorant as I was of the source, I have to say that I enjoyed knowing that Rob was making an old song relevant in the first half, and explicitly updating it in the second. Such audaciousness could only be punk. Doubly so upon realizing [a Google or two later] that he was fucking with the holiest of rock's holies.)

But the high point of the album, for me, had to be "Heart Full Of Love." Reading is good, but listening is better. Shit, if you want an MP3 of this, e-mail me.

"I want to cut the brakes on every SUV in the world. And I'd love to burn down to ashes every jewelry store in the world. I'd love to drown in crude oil every 'spring break' beach in the world. I'd love to slap awake every sheep that puts their faith in the monsters that run our world. My heart's so full of love... I'd love to rape a Hilton sister or kill an FM show director and piss on the illusions that you hold so dear. I'd love to silence all the liars preaching what they know is poison; piss on their illusions and show you true fear. I want to grind into dust your American Idols, all with a heart full of love... My heart's so full of love that I would save you all if I only could. My heart's so full of love, I'd even die for your sins than watch it all fall... My heart is so full of love... Blood. Terrorist, is your heart also full of love?"

Incredible. Incredible. Finally someone is able to step up to the plate and say: no, no, my dissent, my qualms, all the times I've disagreed with you and freaked out and told you you're full of shit -- they're not because I'm neurotic and not because I'm weak and not because I don't have anything better to do. They're because I am so fucking full of love that cold assholes like you could never even comprehend it. They're because I love this country and this world and its people so much that I can't do anything but point the finger and call "bullshit" on your lies. And you -- you're not even from the same planet.

Ramallah's dreams of MTV-destroying, SUV-disabling violence may be short on real-life solutions -- but they're long on giving pent-up frustrations a voice and a purpose. For once, here's an aggressive disc that does the real thing: by articulating and advocating extreme solutions, it gives those of like mind the impetus to seek realistic changes.

Pencilgrass is Breaking Up, Too?


At least the Deftones haven't successfully murdered each other yet.

As per that indubitible bastion of news, the MySpace Bulletin Board (TM):

we are not quitting music.
but pencilgrass is exiting your reality forever.
the members will forever make music in one form or another .
with one instrument or another.
with one band or another.

but for now yall.

we are going into a cocoon.
so that we can become beautiful butterflies.
do you understand?

DB Attempted Translation from rock-star-ese into English:

We hate each other.
Actually, some of us like each other, but the loud band members and dudes who would be hard to replace (like the drummer) hate each other.
We're not making enough money.
You haven't been coming to our shows.
You ate all our bean dip.
My heart will live on.

On Paths of Torment is Calling it Quits!

So if you want to see the the band that's arguably been at the core of the young Torrington metal scene for the past three years, come to Musomania this weekend. They play on Saturday.

Here's their announcement from MySpace today:

That's right kids. After 3 years, we feel that it's finally time to put OPOT behind us, for various reasons. Regardless of the fact that we won't be doing much after this show, we'll still be shooting a video for "There's Something Rotten In The States Of Condition", so we want as many of you guys there as possible to make it something to remember. To everyone who has ever supported us or helped us out in any way, we can't thank you enough. It's been an amazing ride, but at this point this band is just not what all of us want to pursue. And to Josh, thank you so much for giving your all to us over these past few weeks, and busting your ass to learn our songs as quickly as you did. We all <3 you and are sorry things turned out this way; we hope there are no hard feelings. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Again, thank you to everyone who has supported us over the past few years. We'd absolutely love for you all to come out to Musomania this weekend and rock out once more. The show's profits are going towards our singer Lou's hospital bills, as he suffered a fractured larynx earlier this summer, putting him in the hospital for 3 days without any insurance. So come out for a good cause, rock out for the video's sake, and have a great time. Check out our shows page for more details.



Things have been SO busy in my personal life lately. I've been totally neglecting you, and I'm sorry.

If it's any consolation, I have some big things in the works for the blog right now:
*Several nifty exclusive articles
*A regular series of CD reviews
*The return of the "Weekly" Mailbag (which was, ahem, never even CLOSE to weekly)

In the meantime, I've been uploading to Flickr like a madman. Click the link on the right-hand side, and take a look at "My Sets" -- I've got a bazillion concerts, all organized by date and band. Who knows -- maybe your fat ass or ugly mug is accidentally in one of the pictures. OMG you're on the INTERWEB!

And to everyone who's been a part of all the crazy good things happening in my life right now:
Thank You.

The Realm's Swan Song May Just Be The Band Slam!

Those who know me well by now know that I don't toot a horn not worth tooting.

Well, The Realm is an amazing band -- four dudes who are skilled musicians and sweet guys. And after 10+ years, they're finally calling it quits -- and the last show will be the Band Slam. (If they play it.)

Check out their e-mail below for an explanation -- and follow up. Let's hope it goes through and everything works out. If it does, it's gonna be one set you're not gonna wanna miss this Thursday!

We're honored once again the accept the award for Best Fusion from the Hartford Advocate for Grand Band Slam 2006. Thanks to everyone who nominated us and voted for us to help make this happen. Grand Band Slam occurs in downtown Hartford this coming Thursday, August 3, 2006. Details at www.HartfordAdvocate.com

Regretfully however Band Slam 06 will be the last performance of The Realm. Lots of reasons for this but in short - after doing this for more than a decade - we've decided that the winds in front of us are stronger than the winds behind us and it's time for us to move on to other things. Our website will remain up indefinately at www.TheRealm101.com and in the time to come will be further populated and chok full of photos, goodies, and as much music as we can possibly cram into it.

As far as our last performance at Band Slam goes, there is still some question as to whether or not it will occur. We are having some difficulty with the powers that be over whether or not we will be able to perform using our own equipment - or whether we would be forced to use common drums and amps in order to save time and space. We are definately against using anything other than our own drums, guitar and bass amps for obvious reasons. No band can perform at their best without being able to use their own equipment; equpiment that they have spent thousands on, are comfortable with and have spent years tweaking and dialing to their own unique needs.

We've been trying all last week to work out the issue with those powers that be and it's looking like things will probably be OK. We're hoping to have the chance to go out with blazing progressive music rather than with a whimper and a sigh. However unless we can get assurances that we will be able to use our own gear at Band Slam, we will be forced to regretfully decline to perform at the show. More on this situation can be found on the Inner Circle section of our website.

As it stands now, we should be able to perform, and will do so at Black Eye Sally's on Thursday August 3rd. Our set time is still in question but we will likely either be the first band at roughly 9pm or the last band at roughly midnight. Either way we will keep you posted by email and likely the next issue of The Advocate will have an updated schedule. Our website at www.TheRealm101.com will also be updated with the latest information as it comes out.

We're certainly hoping for a chance to kick this mother one last time before we all go home. If the show happens, it's sure to be one not to miss. Stay tuned.


yer friends at The Realm

Calling All Superheroes!

Back in March, I had the opportunity to scope out a preview staging of the first acts of GRIMM, an extraordinary performance featuring Connecticut's world music ensemble SaReel Project as both musicians and actors. (Check out my review here; pix of the performance are on my Flickr. You can view the invite to the NYC opening here.)

Well, the performers of GRIMM are gearing up for the debut of the show... but first they have to raise some funds!

That's where you come in. The performers of GRIMM would like to invite you to a fundraiser party in Brooklyn! Please e-mail me (Dan) at localmotionct@gmail.com if you're interested; I'll pass along the address of the party and the phone contact info for tickets/RSVP!

I, unfortunately, won't be attending; I live in a shoebox and eat tin cans for breakfast, so I'm afraid I can't afford the door price (despite REALLY REALLY wanting to). If you're like me and can't go, please continue to pass the word along to friends and family and art lovers. Tell them a big-shot critic says this shindig is worth it! :P

Below is producer/dancer/choreographer/genius Faith Pilger's original e-mail to me (hee hee, they QUOTED me -- to this day, shit like that still makes me giddy):

Dear friend and fellow superhero!
You are cordially and enthusiastically invited to...
A "GRIMM" FUNDRAISER ART LOFT PARTY!!!(including wild performances by the original cast of GRIMM!)

WHEN: Thursday, August 10th @ 8:30pm
WHERE: The Artist Loft of Dalton Portella (between Bedford and Driggs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn! Only 1 stop on the L train and a short, scenic walk to *SOUTH* 5th Street!)
WHY: GRIMM, a new Off-Broadway production which premieres August 24th needs to meet their final fiscal goal! GRIMM has been made possible by a Special Project Grant from the Princess Grace Foundation as well as individual donations of goods, services and monies by art lovers such as yourself!!!
OUR GOAL: $10,000 in one night! (100 attendees who will have an entertaining and fulfilling summer evening in hip Billyburg, NY!)
HOW MUCH: $100 entrance will include...
*Open bar
*Live entertainment from the dancers/acrobats in GRIMM!
*A peek into the art studio/"backstage" of visual artist, Dalton Portella!
*An opportunity to meet and mingle with artists, art presenters, art lovers and generally interesting humans!
*The satisfaction of knowing that your contribution is making it possible for this exciting new production to begin it's own exciting journey and transformation!

(Please see our website for details on "giving" to GRIMM. Fearliss Productions is sponsored by The Field and all donations such as this event are tax deductible to the full extent of the law!)

A. If you can make it, please RSVP by email to: faith@agrimmproduction.com Faith Pilger/Fearliss Productions/Executive Producer of GRIMM

B. If you cannot make it, please pass this along to a friend who you thinkwill enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet and mingle with the cast of a new off-broadway production in a casual setting, with surprise performances throughout the evening. ALL ART LOVERS WELCOME! IF YOU LOVE ART, WE LOVE YOU!!!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and pass it along to your friends and colleagues. It is individuals such as yourself who keep great art alive in AMERICA! Thank you!

Please view the attached invitation to the PREMIERE of GRIMM, at The Duke on 42nd Street Theater, NYC, on August 24-27, 2006! This fusion of dance, theatre, live music, puppetry and aerial silk is appropriate for all ages! Please also visit http://www.agrimmproduction.com/ for photos and information.

"GRIMM is as timely as it is exciting. The activist in me sees it as a starting point for discussions about poverty, class, and child autonomy. The psychologist in me sees it as a boldly honest study of family dynamics. The environmentalist in me sees it as a call to re-affiliate ourselves with the mystery of the woods."
~Dan Barry, The Hartford Advocate (From review of preview performance at CCSU in CT)*****

We look forward to your R.S.V.P. and the opportunity to bring our world into yours!
Faith Pilger
Fearliss Productions

Brian MacDonald Finally Gets His Due

Almost exactly two years ago now, I found myself in Marlboro, CT, home of the now-defunct Pine Needles cafe. I was attending the show that would become the material for my third-ever Local Motion column.

Wait -- before I continue, you NEED to see this fuckin' stuffed moose head they had on the wall in this place.

I mean, look at that! 100% of the moose, 0% of the old boys club elitism! Who else has that? SUCH a bummer that it closed.

Anyway, so I'm at Pine Needles, hanging out, and seeing this guy Brian MacDonald for the first time. And this dude -- to hear his voice is to be instantly bowled over. He has a beautiful baritone. I was just astounded. He ran down Dylan and Warren Zevon covers with such reverence and integrity; he had originals that ran the gamut from wacky tunes about getting old to love songs to wondering where the hell your life is at in the middle of the night.

After his set, I talk to him for a good long time. Turns out he's already read my column (!!!) and he chats with me about my predecessors (Tom Pizzola, India Blue, Jayne Keedle, others I can't even remember -- homeboy's been on the scene for a long time). We had a great conversation.

Well, turns out that Bri was gigging something like 300 nights a year -- and, y'know, no insult to him or anything, but he's not exactly a young whippersnapper no more, so I'm just amazed at the work he puts in. And he's just released this album called Midnight in Nowhere (get it on CDBaby) that's doing respectably well, but seems to be getting more attention in random European countries than here in the states.

If there's anyone who was going to be able to gracefully continue doing all that heavy gigging and songcrafting into their old age -- whether or not they got their due -- it was Bri. Luckily, now he doesn't have to.

He called to tell me about some good news. A couple months ago, he was coming off of a previous night's lackluster gig when he got a phone call from his longtime producer, Rick Jarrard. Rick's Nashville-based song publishing company has been taking off of late.

"You sick of gigging, Bri?" asked Rick.

"Well, yeah, I kinda am. I had a gig that I just kinda ... got through last night."

"Well, you don't have to gig any more. I wanna take you on as a salaried songwriter."

When Brian got off the phone with Rick, he sat down right where he was -- which happened to be a Stop and Shop parking lot -- and called all of the venues where he had upcoming gigs. He politely cancelled them all. As he explained to me, "pretend you work at McDonald's. You're not ashamed, but you have to pay the bills, you have to feed your family, so that's what you do. Now imagine it's the middle of the lunch hour rush. Someone walks in and says, 'I wanna give you the job of your dreams. Here.' How long would it take you to take off your apron?"

Congratulations, Brian. I've never looked so forward to not seeing someone play live.

What I Wrote/What They Quote

A story:

About a year ago now, I received a review copy of Livintrust's CD "BlindDrive" in the mail. I put it on and gave it a few spins... And I was like, "eesh -- I am *really* not feelin' this." I put it aside, and when I had a chance, I went to see them live. (That's the true test -- after all, look at what happened with Porto. I wasn't very keen on their first LP, Nemesis -- but then I checked them out live, and holy shit! They're awesome!) I saw LivinTrust play at Zen Bar in Farmington, and before their set, their drummer Matt Chirsky sidled up to me, acted chummy, bought me and my girlfriend drinks... Then they went on stage, and they sounded exactly like their album. Which is to say that they came off as talented musicians who crank out cookie-cutter nu-metal songs.

In the following days, the LT boys were politely persistent about asking what I thought. I told them the truth: that I saw a lot of problems with their tunes, that if I wrote a review it would be pretty critical and negative, and that I didn't want to go to press with a review like that when they had been good to me at the show. A while down the road, Chirsky got back to me and said that the band had talked about it, and decided that they wanted me to go ahead and publish the review anyway.

Ok, I thought. If you say so.

Fast-forward to today. I just saw this and I thought it was awesome. Guess it just goes to show: your words can be used against you in a court of law, but they can be flipped around sideways and backwards by musicians!

(from "Kiss It Goodbye," Hartford Advocate, January 5, 2006 - http://hartfordadvocate.com/gbase/Music/content.html?oid=oid:138763)

Blind Drive
(One Six One)

Considering the massive success that local boys Staind have enjoyed in recent years, it's not surprising that Connecticut musicians are still eager to jump on the "I'm so angry and misunderstood" bandwagon. Problem is, Staind peaked a while ago. Now they, like their nu-metal sires Korn and Limp Bizkit, are cranking out drivel that even the most terminally abused teenagers can see through. While the rise and fall of these bands is enough to make a solid case for the death of nu-metal, the real clincher is the onslaught of pre-fab "heavy alternative" bands on the local level, each trying to get a peck at the corpse. Such is the case with Livintrust. They've modeled their album Blind Drive almost note-for-note on Sevendust's recent material. (Gosh, don't those names sound so similar?) Meanwhile, Livintrust are enjoying all the commercial plaudits you might imagine a flawless rip-off would get: corporate sponsorships, song rotation on WCCC, and a recent opening slot for Audioslave. The real talent in the Livintrust camp is their marketing execs.


(from the Livintrust MySpace, www.myspace.com/livintrust05)

Hartford Advocate, Dan Barry
"...like Korn and Limp Biskit...Livintrust are enjoying all the commercial plaudits you might imagine... corporate sponsorships, song rotation on WCCC, and a recent opening slot for Audioslave...real talent..."

This blog post brought to you by the ellipsis (...), Bud Light True Music, and unresolved teenage angst.

Sparrows Swarm and Sing: Upcoming Album, Ambitious Tour!

CT/MA post-rockers Sparrows Swarm and Sing (who I reviewed, um, ages ago in this article) are in the midst of a gigantic national tour right now. They're gearing up for the release of their first LP on Magic Bullet Records, titled 'O Shenandoah Mighty Death Will Find Me.

You want MP3 clips? Peep clips.

Across Canyons/Canons Part iii (CLIP)
Warm Blood Within (CLIP)

I am a sucker for quality album packaging and art. I think it's something that gets overlooked too often. These days, when everyone (including me) is downloading almost everything, there's such a high premium on being able to enjoy music with your hands and eyes as well. And I can honestly say that the Sparrows releases I own (which include two radically different copies of their first untitled CD and a 12" record of their second untitled release) are some of the most beautiful, thoughtful, and fun recordings I've ever come across.

That said: check out this fucking AMAZING album art, which is by their drummer, no less. (Click for detail.)

The final kicker? Pre-order copies supposedly come in a handmade buckskin pouch! Very not vegan; very damn cool!

My little weekend in Bushnell Park.

On Saturday afternoon I interviewed a bunch of the Grand Band Slam winners.

Can I just say really quickly:
This year is going to be so fucking good.

More details soon, baby. All I can say is: mark off your calendars. I'm not saying this because they're making me say it. I'm saying it because I wanna see your face get rocked.

Farewood -- Alive and Kickin'!

Just got some great news in from Leah of Farewood, one of CT's best on-again-off-again alternative rock bands. (Adam G of Hatestick once described them as Dinosaur Jr. something something Bjork something lots of drugs. Fuck. I wish I could remember his exact quote.)

Anyway. Check this shit out.


Farewood, the indie-rock/soul band out of Meriden CT, will be hosting a show at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford on Friday, July 14th. The band has just completed a video which they will premiere that night. The video was filmed in Meriden and is a bit of a tribute to the city's local spots and it's people, both of which have shaped the band's sound and influenced their music. Parts of Meriden, including the abandoned and semi-desolate cityscapes and it's colorful cast of local characters, have prompted songs about despair and the idea that hope can lie in what may seem like a dismal scene. The video, "King John" which is based on a Meriden local, pays homage to the band's hometown and so will their third album "Figures In Shadows" which will be released in the Fall.

Join Farewood and other locals, including Chrispy, Ben N, the Carlos Projeckt and Florida Equals Death at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford on Friday 07/14/06. Doors open at 8:30pm. Admission is $5.
Preview the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxiYIVOAAmQ
Or under videos here: www.myspace.com/farewood