Who the heck would have guessed that this would morph into a music blog? This past Thursday, my good friend Mike and I took a trip up to the venerable Shank Hall to Thomas Dolby’s “The Invisible Lighthouse Tour”. This show was fascinating: it’s a combination of a film that Thomas has made interwoven with live music and a live foley artist (a ‘sound effects’ guy, Blake Leyh). The movie is an fascinating narrative of Dolby’s life (and his family history) centered around the British coast. The central subject is a lighthouse that’s been lit since the early 1700’s—but it’s being closed down by the government.
The show was really excellent—a great blend of music, storytelling, visual and sound effects—it was a unique experience. What was nice about the evening was that there weren’t more than a hundred or so at Shank Hall, so it was a really intimate show. When the movie was done, Thomas brought up the house lights and he and Blake spent about 20 minutes discussing the sounds and movie—how it was made, why he did it, and how he feels that movie making is on the cusp of a revolution similar to the self-production and distribution by music artists today. They then took about 15 minutes of question and answers from the crowd. Thomas then meant to play an encore, but that was delayed somewhat by equipment needing to be reset—Blake took over for a while and showed the crowd all his sound effect tricks that he was using during the movie. When Thomas got his groove back together, he rocked the place with some old standbys (Hyperactive, Blinded Me with Science, etc.).
The tour is heading through Denver and then out to the west coast. If you get a chance to see this show, do so! The experience is unique, and shouldn’t be missed!
Intrepid blog readers may remember my first and only music review: a glowing recommendation of dada’s 20th anniversary concert in February of this year. I mentioned that if you get a chance to see them—make the time. They’re a great group of very talented musicians. I also mentioned that I didn’t take Grace along last time because I wasn’t sure about the 21 and over policy at the club.
Imagine my delight when I found out a month ago that they we’re going back on the road to do a reprise of the 20th anniversary tour, and that Shank Hall was the first stop of the tour (out of California, at least). I was a little bummed that 7Horse wasn’t opening up for them (that’s Phil Leavitt and Joie Calio’s project), but I was exceptionally excited that I could drag my daughter along to the show. I invited Max as well, but he was working that evening. Make no doubt—getting to see these guys twice is a highlight of my 2013, and seeing a band with my daughter—priceless!
We got to the show during the set for the opening band: Mojo Perry. I had never heard of these guys—of course, the bands that I haven’t heard of would fill a very large book—but they were rocking the house! Electronic/Acid rock with a heavy blues influence—these guys were really talented and I’d drop in to see them headlining if I got the chance. Grace and I were looking for a place to sit; Shank hall wasn’t full, but it had a decent crowd for a Thursday night. This guy motioned to a couple empty chairs around his table, so we gratefully accepted and sat with him. We got to talking after Mojo Perry’s set, and it turns out that Dave is a cousin of dada’s drummer (Phil Leavitt). He lives in Northern Illinois, not very far from where I work. We had a great time chatting about the band, about work, about kids—he’s a really nice guy and made the intermission time fly by.
dada took the stage—and once again were in really great form. Dave mentioned that they hadn’t done a lot of rehearsing (colds running around), but they sounded great to me. In fact, I think they sounded better than the time in February—the show was mixed better to deal with the vocals. Michael Gurley was hitting the high stuff and playing a great guitar, Phil was doing an amazing job on drums and doing more vocals than I remembered last time, and Joie was terrific as well. Grace and I got right up to the stage (she provided the photos), and they played a hell of a set. Some different numbers then February’s playlist, but all the old standbys. They closed with Grace’s favorite (Dizz Knee Land). In fact, they played all my favorites except the aforementioned title (A Trip with my Dad).
As a treat, Grace and I got to briefly meet Phil (thanks Dave!) after the set was done. We would have hung around longer, but Grace’s back was giving her fits, and I figured it was time to get her home. Dave had felt a little bad that we didn’t actually get to hang out with the band post-show—so he gave me a call at work Friday morning (wake up!) and mentioned that he was going to see the guys again at Park West in Chicago, and would try to score something for Grace.
So, what a cool trip! Dad and daughter got to see a great couple bands, and we made a friend beside. Pretty good for a Thursday evening in Wisconsin!
And if anyone is reading this blog thinking if they should go to a show in their locale—just down a vodka and gin and do it…
Photos courtesy of Grace’s iPhone.
It's been forever (over a quarter century) since I last saw an NFL game—I saw the Eagles when I was in grad school, and the Bills when I was in high school. So interestingly, Jen and I and Max and Grace all got to see NFL football today. It was interesting in the fact that Jen and I got to see the Pack play the Browns (thanks Peter and Mary)—and the kids got to see the Patriots play the Jets. Max is a huge Jets fan, and Grace is a Patriots fan. They took a road trip on Friday—stopped to visit my family in Rochester, and then headed down to the Meadowlands to catch the game.
Jen and I had an awesome time. Weather was semi-miserable (raw, light-to-moderate rain, and a 3:30 pm start), but the Pack played pretty impressively, especially for missing a lot of key players.
I can't go without showing a dog photo. This is some mangy mutt from Cleveland...
Grace went to the state of Washington a few weeks ago to compete in the Field Spaniel National Speciality. She had a great weekend—Darcy got best of breed on Saturday and Sunday, as well as Select at the Speciality, Select in Veteran's Sweeps, and a Group Two in a Gun Dog competition. Wow!
On this nice, quiet 3rd of July—Jonny Volk and I decided to drag our cameras into work and take a walk around one of the ponds after lunch. It's always fun to see how other photographers work, and it's nice to not have to get on a plane and fly to an exotic location to do that (no, wait... that would be OK...).
Anyhow, Jonny and I had a nice time shooting in decent light. Sky was really flat, so no interesting clouds were to be had.
Here's Jonny's selections from today:
And here are my selections:
My favorite out of this set is Jonny's phlox (the pink flowers)—i love the composition. I also like the photo of Jonny at the end. That worked out well for a quick grab.
Yes, they get pretty stinky by this time, but they're a ton of fun as well! This past weekend was the first time the crew was outside, and predictably, they loved every minute of it. At this age they tend to be interested in following each other around, which makes them easy to corral and take care of. Cami had a good time out with them as well.
This following photo is my favorite out of the batch. I didn't have Cami fully in frame when I snapped it, so I like the bottom crop better than the one with her head mostly in it (top). We'll probably end up printing this one for framing... I might even tighten the top left corner to get rid of that white space.
Another milestone is done. Noah just graduated from 8th grade this evening. The graduation was really nice—the kids looked great. It's hard to believe that we're "finished" with the school now—I imagine that I'll still be back taking cast photos, but there's no guarantee.
It's hard to believe that her junior showmanship days are over! It really is nice to have Darcy back for the summer though.