Jan 182009

Residents of Tampa Florida, being the upstanding (old peoples) place it is, didn’t want those brave women in underwear to play football in their fair city. But the Lingerie Football League (the team sport I can really get behind) will not be stopped! A near-by ‘clothing optional’ resort is happy to host the live pay-per-view event:

Miami Times Blog: Nudists Save Lingerie Bowl

Jan 052009

AppleInsider claims to have details of the iMac and Mac Mini announcements forthcoming at MacWorld on Tuesday:

NVIDIA insider chimes in on new iMacs, mini and Mac Pro

The skinny is that the iMacs and Mac Mini will move to Nvidia graphics chips across the line (right now only the high-end 24″ model has Nvidia graphics). I was initially excited about this, because I’m STILL waiting for a machine from Apple that can properly run all the apps in Final Cut Studio that doesn’t start at $2,800 (Mac Pro)! But my hopes appear to be dashed.

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Dec 082008

The Apple tablet rumours are picking up again. Since we are just four weeks away from MacWorld, this is no surprise. Interesting speculation going on about Apple’s possible moves to make it’s own CPUs for these future darlings. It’s exciting to me because it seems all of the motion in the world of computing is in mobile devices. The desktop computer is now an appliance, about as worthy of news coverage as refrigerators according to John C. Dvorak. And for once I agree with the cranky geek. My iPhone is my most important computer now and my desktop computers are just media appliances, relegated to encoding and serving up audio and video for my family’s enjoyment.

All hail the coming Apple Mobile Device, whatever the hall it turns out to be.

Nov 302008

In the liner notes for Rush’s latest concert video release “Snakes & Arrows Live”, there is an entry for hair and makeup. That alone makes this recording special. The boys haven’t tried to look pretty for us since the end of the 80’s. This and all the hundreds of other credits in the notes indicate how serious they were about capturing their show in a style worthy of it’s grandeur. And I believe they finally have.

Rush has put out a lot of concert videos, starting way back in 1980 with “Exit Stage Left”. A video for their “Grace under Pressure” tour followed, then they capped the 80’s with a major video production of their “Show of Hands” tour. They filmed shows in the 90’s but didn’t make any commercial releases. After their late 90’s hiatus they have put out as many convert videos as audio cds, one per record release to be exact. Rush in Rio (2003) was an unimpressive capture of a very impressive show while R30 (2005) an improved recording of essentially the same show. All of these are fine representations of Rush at those points in their career, but none of these video productions rise to the level of the performances themselves.

This release corrects that. It is immediately obvious that a very serious investment was made in making this concert video. Dozens of cranes and robocams, high quality camerawork, sophisticated and entertaining editing that dynamically reflects the material, and fantastic lighting that encompassed the whole venue and made it part of the spectacle.

Also a sound track that (finally!) doesn’t destroy the performance. Previous DVD releases suffered from massively overdriven audio that was at times simply unlistenable. As fantastic as the visuals are, the sound of this release is really what excited me. This is the best Rush has ever sounded live.

The band themselves were also on the absolute top of their game. They were relaxed and energetic, and gave a simply outstanding performance. It is so thrilling to see them captured this way – a time capsule that forever answers the question “what was it like to be at a Rush show?”. Just watch. It was like this.

 Posted by at 3:28 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 222008

I’m getting excited, just saw another clip from the Rush Snakes & Arrows concert DVD coming out this week. Not only do the visuals and editing seem much improved over their other recent concert releases, the sound is great. Even from the highly-compressed youtube clips you can tell that the drums are clear, the guitars are . . . clear! and the bass is, well it’s clear! A strong punchy balance. This makes me very happy.

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Oct 182008

I went to see DEVO, and I got DEVO. But I got more. A lot more.

A total of 5 acts performed for us tonight at the Akron Civic Theatre, a gorgeously-ornate venue. I went with fellow spudboy Plook and our seats were in the second row pit, stage left. Absolutely perfect view and just a couple of feet from the stage.

First up was a young local singer-songwriter named Chris Allen. He played three lovely songs and said good night. Chris has a fantastic voice and his music is catchy and well-written. Expect good things. Next up were The Black Keys. I hear they are popular with the kids these days. They are a drummer and a guitarist/singer who play really catchy fast blues rock really loud. Quite exciting, but after the third song I was a little tired of the sound. With just two of them and playing in a rather narrow style, the songs start to sound the same after a while. But quite energetic and entertaining performers. I can imagine an early version of Rush sounding like this – I’m picturing Alex on drums and Geddy on guitar and vocals.

After that there was an intermission followed by another singer-songwriter, a young woman named Rachel Roberts. Very easy on the eyes with long black hair and a beautiful face. She dressed like Chrissy Hynde used to, that is to say kind of hott. She played two songs, the first of which was lovely and the second one sung in a completely different style reminiscent of Joan Baez which didn’t come off so well.

Then, the most awesome and unexpected treat of the night, Chrissie Hynde herself came out and played for us with acoustic accompaniment. Her voice was just stellar and the songs she played from her new Pretenders record were really great. She is such a classy dame whom I’ve loved since the first Pretenders record (1980?) and I was totally thrilled by her surprise appearance at the show.

Then, another short intermission and a bit of political banter by a couple of local government officials who went on to introduce the main act of the night, DEVO. The show started with a video montage featuring General Boy and clips of DEVO visuals from their entire career building up to a crescendo of images and sound followed by the band kicking in to “Thats Good”. They sounded great and were astoundingly energetic for their age (sorry guys). They kept the energy up throughout a 12-song set that covered all of their best and/or most popular songs, pretty much the same set they have been playing in their rare appearances these last few years or so. But the energy was way higher than I’d seen on recent concert videos. I think they were genuinely jazzed to be playing before a full house in their home town after all this time (30 years!).

The crowd was very appreciative. At one point a young man got a little too appreciative and managed to get on stage. Security was slow to react, and as the man got to Jerry Casale’s mic Jerry backed away quickly and the guy bellowed something in to the mic before being escorted off-stage by the stage crew. After that the security guys at either end of the stage positioned themselves centrally in the pit to deter any copycats.

Mark Mothersbaugh chatting with Plook

Mark Mothersbaugh chatting with Plook

But man, what a show. It was pretty much the presentation I expected but it was so much more thrilling than I had imagined it could be. And afterwards, our primo tickets got us access to the after-show party upstairs. All the performers came through and mingled with the 100 or so VIP passholders. We were served a multitude of Hors d’oeuvres and an open bar kept everyone pleasantly buzzed. It was a little overcrowded most of the time, but everyone was beautiful and friendly and it was just a hoot to see and exchange a few words with Chrissie and the members of DEVO. I kind of avoided getting pictures and autographs, I think I’d just look stupid and what would I do with an autograph? My wingspud Plook had no such shyness, and he chatted and got pics and autographs with all of DEVO before we headed out.

But hey, enough of my yakkin’. Whadda ya say, let’s boojie!