A brief history of one of my favorite bands. It’s hard to describe to non-musicians how Kurt’s music stands my ears on end. Of course there are the straight-up hooks for the kid in me, but there’s also the complex harmonies for the music geek in me. A piece like “The Tennis System (And It’s Stars)” is like a dozen Pet Sounds tunes rolled into 7 minutes, but little traces of ingenuity spill out subtlely throughout the albums. For further proof the world is small, two of my friends from Gainesville are now Lilys members supporting the new album. Can we finally get a FL Lilys show, guys?
I posted on Gainesvillebands.com:
This is Hana’s first show and you should be there. They’re writing the most beautiful mellow songs you’ve never heard…songs that you’ll come to treasure and nestle in your mixCDs and playlists around Low and MBV and the Clientele for years to come, but you get to enjoy them NOW out in the loveliest weather Gainesville has seen for months.
I just got back from it and was not disappointed. This was one of my favorite shows of the year. I’d never been to Tim & Terry’s for a show; I didn’t even know they had the back patio area where bands play, so it was a really nice surprise to walk back there and find Hana setting up in the corner. After some PA setup they started and everything sounded pristine and at a perfect volume. Two clean, reverb-drenched guitars and a solid, tasteful rhythm section.
And the songs… Around every corner of a Hana song is something unexpected: Classic pop progressions twisted around; vocal melodies that refreshingly do a little more or less than you’d expect; subtle key changes (the kind the Kinks did so well); arpeggiated guitars that recall the Clientele or a more mellow Pinback; lyrics that sketch the everyday (like having your apartment broken into) and ring with simple truths and quiet realizations. “Tragically, you might be one of the few left out.”
This was the kind of experience—a great band’s first show—that makes me feel guilty for not forcing my friends to attend.
Dana is up in arms about UF and Satchel’s recent move from Coke to Pepsi.
UF employees will now certainly never have a chance at enjoying the only palatable diet soft drink. The one that has “gone too far”. There is a bright side for those addicted to diet sodas, however, in that diet Pepsi at least palatable. Diet Coke is a swill they didn’t have the decency to test on prisoners.
As Paul might say, “fool, I’ll tell you what’s hot.”
The French Horns live
Last night was our first show with violinist Jesse Long and I proclaim it to be one of our best. He played on five or six songs and added those melodies we missed so much as a trio. Besides that, I think what really made a difference were the couple of practices the days right before the show, the good vocal monitor setup, and a decent pedal setup that gives me a little more control over my guitar sound. The only trouble I had on stage was that, in “Amy L”, my guitar was turned up too high and I was getting tons of guitar feedback to the point of distracting me into forgetting the whole second verse (I was frantically trying to figure out which note was feeding back and how to play the chord in a different shape to leave that note out). Well, to me it was ultra-loud, but apparently the audience didn’t notice much (which is why I think it was coming from the vocal monitor, but whatever.) Anyway, we were pretty well received from the few people there (unexpectedly we were asked to play first so several people who came to see us (from as far as Orlando) missed the set, but it’s not a big deal. The point of the show was kinda to build up our confidence for the Athens popfest show on the 12th. We won’t have Jesse there (which really sucks because he’s apparently “the cute one”) but we’ll get by I guess.
Last night was, at least instrumentally, one of our best..I think. As for vocals, I must apologize to the five people who bothered to stay in the room because the Soft Targets, who played before us, packed up their vocal monitor after they played. They let Josh borrow a drum throne so they had to stick around, but they couldn’t leave the monitor so we could have decent vocals? For those who don’t have to sing 3 feet in front of a loud guitar amp and drums, the vocal monitor is essential. As Nathan Arizona might say, “speakers and monitors you got a PA set, no monitors you got dick.” It was at least nice that all the music of the night was pretty good, Soft Targets included, and the Shamrock was comfortable (no smoking inside).
I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t be “lead singing” (or generally the center of attention) in a live band setting. I’m not enthusiastic, an extrovert, an amazingly good singer or guitarist (esp. doing both at the same time), and I’m not physically attractive enough to make that stuff matter less. All I can do live is play a song semi-competently and I can live with that, but why make an audience watch someone be awkward and uncomfortable on stage while a band tries to do with three members what really needs five or six? Even if the recordings do the music justice, the current French Horns live show isn’t going to send people to them, nor is it going to encourage any like-minded musicians to join us, which is what we need more than anything. Unless we can be sure we’ll be in front of people who really appreciate the songs enough to hear them through our badness, playing more shows in Gainesville is a waste of time.
There are a few things we could do to help. We have zero aesthetic appeal so anything would help, projectors, props, anything! It might also just come to us playing to a tape. Since it’ll be nearly impossible for us to sync a recording up to us live (and really hard to play along to for a drummer) we’re just gonna have to have recorded drums and have Josh play something else. At least for some songs this could really be nice, and for others, it would mean we could actually even play them…
The French Horns are playing again. Friday, Nov. 12th @ the Atlantic. Come see us try it with a new bassist and cellist. I think we might even have an epic 10/11-song set debuting two new ones. I wish we had a venue called The Oasis so we could play “midnight at the Oasis”.
You’ll be thrilled to know we have reached bilateral roommate approval of the arrangement of our living room furniture. Relevant adjectives include: “inviting”, “inclusive” and “functional”. Still, we’ve yet to make it official with one of those big APPROVED stamps. Speaking of stamps, last year I custom ordered my friend Dan a “FIND HIM & KILL HIM” stamp set for his birthday.
As should be clear by now, I’m rambling.
This is for your own benefit.
Hopefully I’ve pushed my bloody wound pic below the fold.
I’m very sorry I left it there for so long.
Latest enjoyment: Shirley Beans’ radio shows.
Quite an evening. I arrive at Laura’s “dirty thirty” party at Kim’s house and all our gear is set up in the living room (it looked like rain). There is much shoving of friends in front of kareoke mics. After an hour or so of watching, when the Hollies’ “Busstop” comes on Amy and I are ready and we procede to rock it. The audience recognizes showmanship and bathes us in appreciation. Andrew shows up a little later and we duck out to pick up tickets for the Beat Buttons.
Our friend Mario plays drums and keyboards (yes, simultaneously) for the BB and this is his last show in Gainesville for probably a long time. He and his wife Tricia are moving to Philadephia; more good friends skip town.
We head back to Laura’s party and arrive just in time to see a great show by Laura and a couple friends. Funny songs with local charm and really great three part harmony, quite impressive. When our turn comes, Laura, Hazel and I cram into the “stage” and I grab an amp for seating. We play one of Laura’s new songs and then Jackie takes Hazel’s place bringing in lap steel and everything goes swimmingly for our last three songs. Hazel and Rob McGregor play some great songs and Andrew and I head back to CG.
I’ve seen Alex and Mario play on this stage dozens of times, but this night is something to see. The Beat Buttons play every one of their songs and I’m enjoying the hell out it, fist-pumping, yelling lyrics. Although they never play covers, they end with New Order’s “Age of Consent” and I go home a very happy man.
(I didn’t get this posted until 7/14.)