Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Choice in the Matter

I've been dragging ass all week, mainly because on Tuesday night, I went to see Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit at TT the Bears in Cambridge. I was accompanied by my old buddy Dave, with whom I went to college and who is now the editor of the local daily paper. We got there a bit early and hung out next door at the Middle East. The show was sold out and we went over in time to catch Deer Tick's set. They're an alt-country (for lack of a better term) act out of Providence and they had quite a devoted following. In fact, after their set ended, their following took off. It was weird. I figured they'd stick around for Isbell, but whatevs. At any rate, Deer Tick was a pretty entertaining act, with songs that ranged from old school country to raging rockers to a cover of "La Bamba." Good stuff. I'm definitely going to download their album off eMusic.

Isbell, ex of the Drive-By Truckers, came out about half an hour past the posted 10:45 start time; those times are always wrong, anyway. We had jammed in right up front and were so close that the bass player could have clocked me with the headstock of his bass if he wanted to. The band is a five-piece, with two guitars and a keyboard player; not quite the three-guitar army that DBT rolls out, but still pretty rockin'. They dipped heavily into Isbell's two excellent solo albums, the new Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and 2007's Sirens of the Ditch. The new album is a little slower-paced, but live, the guitars really took them to a new level. Isbell didn't shy away from his past, playing DBT classics "Outfit," "Danko/Manuel," "Goddamn Lonely Love" and "Never Gonna Change." A local three-piece horn section came up and joined the band on the extremely tiny stage for a few songs, including the cover of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic" that closed the evening. The band also covered "Psycho Killer" by the Talking Heads, with second guitarist Browan Lollar on vocals. Isbell seemed genuinely disappointed that the band had to stop playing at 12:50; I suspect he would have kept going for at least another half hour. As cool as that would have been, I was half glad the show was over because I knew I wouldn't get to bed until 2. It was worth it, though.

I knew I would be wiped on Wednesday and I was, and I briefly considered going to hockey that night, but I would have been up until 1 a.m. again and I figured that wouldn't be a good idea. I hate skipping hockey, but it was for the best, I guess.

It was supposed to get up into the 50s today, but I went for a run at lunch and it was barely 40. I ran in shorts and got in a good tempo run. Speaking of running, here's the latest running column, this time about running through illness.

Drop the leash:

  • While I was at the Isbell show the other night, President Obama addressed the nation. Louisiana Gov. (and Indian homie) Bobby Jindal gave the Republican response and came off kinda dorky, reminding some of Kenneth the Page on "30 Rock." The sing-song, yokel-sounding voice was an attempt to connect, but he just sounded like Mr. Rogers. He slammed the stimulus package as irresponsible, but in the process also pissed off some folks. He has been painted as a possible 2012 Republican prez nominee, so it'll be interesting to see where he goes from here. Even the Fox News commentators trashed him. Better luck next time, Bobby.

  • So "The Simpsons" has been renewed for two more seasons. I have to admit, I haven't been watching much this season. Mostly because my TiVo won't do a Season Pass for the show and I always forget. It's certainly not what it used to be, but it's still got some good moments in each episode. And I'm certain it's better than whatever Fox will replace it with.

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