Stolen Wallpaper

Words but a whisper, deafness a shout

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Location: Zeeland, Michigan, United States

Hi. I wish I had a job selling squirrels. They're so furry, and give you toothy grins. Unless they're rabid, in which case they will eat your face off and then find the rest of your family. That's not so good, I guess.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Live Show Log, January 2017

1 6 17 Delilah DeWylde and The Lost Boys #2/THE BIRDSEED SALESMEN Bell’s, Kalamazoo First show of the new year found me turning away from new sounds toward an old, old one, with many happy returns. Delilah and her two henchmen play a low-stakes rockabilly that leans on the warm fuzzies more than angry energy, but is certainly no less for it. Great originals, faithful renditions of Elvis and Janis Martin among others, two guitars and a bass for half the set then light brushed drums for the rest. There are artists, who bring new things into the world, and there are craftsmen, who can make the same thing over and over again with consistent excellence. Lee Harvey, Delilah’s guitarist, is a master damn craftsman. Her bass playing is also excellent, not at all sure how you can learn to play so down and dirty when you’re from frickin’ Zeeland. Light but enthusiastic crowd for Bell’s. Met a new show buddy, Steve Salaba, who follows Delilah around like I do the Crane Wives. The Birdseed Salesmen were a real treat: three gentlemen, aged about 25, 40 and 50, who play vocal-free gypsy jazz, also on two guitars and a bass. Pleasure in craft rather than suffering for art was the theme for the evening. Delilah DeWylde The Birdseed Salesmen

1 14 17 Megan Dooley #5 Tibbs Brewing, Kalamazoo Very nice low-key set in a beer basement next door to the State Theatre. One cool unrecorded original. Part Of Your World made a welcome appearance. Talkative but not unappreciative audience. Pearl Jam’s “Elderly Woman...” was a highlight, she really nailed the dynamics even with just an acoustic. Got a ticket on the way home for rolling a 4 way on Bauer. And the Trump era begins.

1 20 17 ROOSEVELT DIGGS/Olivia Mainville & The Aquatic Troupe #7 Red House Concert Series, Tri-Cities Museum, Grand Haven I like the intimate shows in the little breweries, but a big packed room is really something to behold, and this was one of those. The Tri-Cities Museum has a big newly renovated hall on the second floor, and they’re having a series of concerts featuring local music. Higher ticket prices mean people want to be there, skew a little older, and actually listen to the band play. There were almost 200 people there, the biggest audience I’ve seen the Troupe play for, and they rose to the challenge. The band has basically merged with Jack & the Bear at this point, with the brothers Schreiber; add in Libby DeCamp and the eight headed beast is going on a big tour of the west soon. (Hope the van is large and well-ventilated, guys!) Sat with Carlton again, becoming a habit. Someone thought I was Olivia’s dad, so I can officially kiss the last dregs of my youth goodbye. The sound was big, bright and sharp, with punchy horns from Andy and Bleu and Adam Schreiber’s distinctive falling-down-the-stairs-with-style drumming. She very bravely risked being upstaged by her own boyfriend, as Brandon took the mic for two Jack & The Bear songs, put over with theatrical intensity. I stand by it: Gogol Bordello with the douchery drained out. I really like the new songs, hope a recording is forthcoming. Roosevelt Diggs: very entertaining live, but I suspect their recordings might be too country for me, with the rush of live excitement removed. They wear ties and vests, but sell T shirts: shouldn’t their merch be neckties? Two singers, both quite good, harmonies excellent, ironically the guy playing acoustic sang more rockin’ numbers than the guy on electric. At one point the drummer strapped on a washboard with attached pie pan percussion, and the crowd went apeshit. Lotsa fun. They closed with a culturally dubious medley of rap numbers played old-timey, a much bigger cliche than the often impressive collection of originals from the night. (Unlike at Grand Armory in October, they removed most of the curse words, mindful of the two little girls in the front row...) Olivia Mainville & The Aquatic Troupe on Local Spins  Roosevelt Diggs on Local Spins Roosevelt Diggs Olivia Mainville & The Aquatic Troupe

1 21 17 SARA WATKINS/LIZ LONGLEY Bell’s, Kalamazoo I have been to Bell’s an awful lot in the past year; their bookers are so very good at what they do. I had heard Sara Watkins many times on Prairie Home Companion, always liked her squeaky little voice and virtuosic fiddle; when her more recent stuff turned rockier, I knew this would be a good show to see, and I was right. I don’t know her songs well enough yet to have favorites, but I enjoyed them, and her sound. Sara on fiddle, guitar, or ukulele, a gentleman on electric, and another gentleman on drums while somehow playing bass with his feet. Marred once again by people who would not shut the hell up, in this case the older couple sharing my table. They seemed nice, but then they would. Not. Shut. Up. Why would you pay $20 a head, plus beers, and then very loudly have a conversation you could have just as well at home? At one point they speculated very loudly on whether Ms. Watkins had a bra on, at which point I vacated my seat for the duration of the evening. Liz Longley didn’t play long, but she made a good impression, just her with an acoustic and some really funny stories about her songs. She is definitely country, but very engaging live. I missed her first couple songs because Dooley’s cats have needs. Speaking of the Megan, there was a bonus performance from her earlier in the day at Fountain Street Church, at a rally in support of the Women’s March in DC and elsewhere. It was a pleasure hearing her voice in that gigantic beautiful space; she has the biggest lady-balls ever, singing her murder ballad and plugging her merch from the stage. She is the bee’s knees, yo. Also heard Hannah Rose Graves, retroactively impressive after I learned she’d only been playing her own guitar for six months; Rachel Gleason, singer/poet, inspirationally intense with a crystal bell for a voice; and Dede Alder, a Good Hippie with a friendly guitarist/looper and a big ol’ marimba. I can’t believe it needs saying in 2017, but here goes: feminism is the radical idea that women are people. Sara Watkins Liz Longley 



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