Saturday, January 30, 2010

now i get it

So I was at work today, and I was making fun of a nurse for being lame, and she said to me, "You know, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." And it was like ... like one of those moments where your life kind of crystallizes, because suddenly you understand something that you'd thought you understood before but really didn't.

In this case, it was Billy Joel's 1980 album "Glass Houses." You know, all these years I thought the album cover showed him about to throw a turd at a glass house. Like he was a punk or something. I mean, he's dressed up like one of The Ramones and all, and he looks angry, and he's definitely throwing *something.* I'd always thought he was pissed off at the residents of the glass house. You know, like "Hey people in the fancy glass house! I'm gonna splatter a turd all over your front window! How you like me now?"

30 years. For 30 years, I misunderstood Billy Joel. How many others like me are out there? Or, I guess the real question is, "Why did Billy Joel have to be so allegorical?" Maybe he was going through some Abbey Road phase or something. Too deep, man. Just too deep ...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

that's outrageous!

Welcome to a new feature here at Mad City, where I gripe about some particular thing or other that bugs the heck out of me. Tonight's topic: bands who invite the opening band to come join them in a song during the encore.

So, I went to see Yo La Tengo tonight at the Barrymore Theater here in Mad City. Good show, good show. I like those Yo La Tengo guys a lot. So I applauded loudly when they played their last song, and happily Yo La Tengo came out to play an encore. But then, the lead singer was all like, "You know what? Let's bring Times New Viking out here to play a song with us."

Now, I disagreed with this on many levels. First, in principle, this is just not a good idea. The headline band and the opening band rarely if ever rehearse with each other, so their joint collaboration is usually a step down in quality compared to what the headline band would have played otherwise. Also, it usually takes them about 10 minutes to figure out which song to play. I'm a busy guy! I don't have time for that. And finally, it's typically a mess visually. You've got two drummers, and about 8 guitar players, and they're handing maracas to the extra singer etc etc. Way too many people on stage. If I wanted to see that many people on stage, I would've gone to see Polyphonic Spree.

And then, I just have a grievance with this particular opening band. I was eating dinner when they were playing, and got to the show right after YLT started, so I have *no idea* what their music's all about. And then the name. I don't really care for bands named after fonts. I wouldn't follow a band named Arial, or Helvetica, so I'm sure as hell not going to start with Times New Viking. Lastly, the lead singer was wearing a sweater and a button-down shirt. I shit you not. For a show.

That's outrageous!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

so this is the new year, and i don't feel any different

These have been trying times for Mr. Mad City. Which times, you ask? Well, a good chunk of 2009, I would say. I transitioned from being an oncology fellow to a hematology fellow on July 1; and since then, as they say, "life ain't been the same." Busy busy busy! Busy!!! Which is the primary reason why my blogging tailed off so drastically over the past few months, and why you all had to wait on edge for me to complete my Plus 50 addendum.

But no more! I'm not a big believer in New Year's resolutions, since I tend to live my life at close to an optimal level year in and year out, but I vow that I'm gonna kick Mad City up a notch in 2010. And here's how: rage. I'm gonna put the mad in Mad City! I'm pretty opinionated on a lot of things, and I've come to realize that you all haven't been hearing enough of that. The things that concern me the most are when, like, everybody thinks something is good or cool, and it's really not. Like the Arcade Fire. Are they really "all that?" You know, I don't think so. I don't think they're "all that." Something about their music kind of annoys me, actually. I mean, I do really enjoy the first song on Funeral - you'd have to be a blithering idiot not to - but that's pretty close to it, really. At this point, I would almost have to put them in the One Hit Wonder category, except all these critics and other people keep on saying things like, "Ohhh, the Arcade Fire! What a great indie band!"

Not! Believe me when I say that Wolf Parade is a much better Montreal band.

All right, well, that's just a small taste of what lies ahead. And for those of you who like my laudatory comments about various things, like Wolf Parade, let me just say that I will still regularly praise the things I find praiseworthy. I'm actually thinking of doing a recurring feature where I praise one group of things and then diss another group of things. You've probably seen similar features on other blogs or in magazines, with titles like "Cheers and Jeers" or "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down" etc. I may be working on something like that.

Finally, I'd just like to point out that I'm still keepin' this thing afloat, in spite of the crazy work demands on me. Which is more than I can say for some other so-called bloggers out there. And I know what you're going to say, and my reply is, "Small children are no excuse! You must blog! Despite the work involved in raising them, small children bring pleasure and delight to your life, and that should facilitate your blogging." And with that, I will close with another refrain from my theme song, "Where Have All the Bloggers Gone" (sung to the tune of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone"):

Where have all the bloggers gone?
Biscuit's a-jammin'
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Concords got stomped
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Can't find Manuka

When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?