Bjork, San Francisco, CA – 8/8/2003

(originally written 8.9.03)
Ticket, Bjork 2003

Bjork in San Francisco, 2003

so…
we just got back from the afterparty for the Bjork show ūüôā
The show itself was fantastic, there were *fireworks* that went off during a few of the songs. We sat in the bleacher area, it was a strange venue (Piers 30/32), but once the fireworks went off, it was like “oh, maybe that’s why” — her ‘backing band’ consisted of the “Icelandic String Octet”, a harp player, who also played a bunch of stuff (like accordian, harpsichord, etc) and¬†Matmos, a blip pop duo (which is a genre I’ve never even¬†heard¬†of! K just informed me of it, and¬†a quick search on google¬†confirms it. My god! *marvels*) They played with Bjork on¬†Vespertine.

There was pyro, there were fireworks, there were pyro(!)¬†and¬†fireworks at the same time! It was off the hook. She sounds as good live as she does on the albums – her voice is amazing. I have a whole new level of esteem for her- it’s rare these days to hear that level of expertise.

She played a lot of songs that are on her greatest hits album¬†that recently came out. K’s a much bigger fan than I am, he really enjoyed it. It was a really good show.

Our friend¬†Wobbly¬†was dj’ing the afterparty, and he told us about it and where it was going to be. It was all very hush hush, even though, in his email he said she almost never shows up at them. So, we got there early, we actually found parking right away in North Beach at 10:30 on a Friday night (which is virtually *unheard* of, incidentally) we showed up just as Matmos showed up with Wobbly (they’re friends). So, we met the Matmos guys and chatted with them for a minute while they got the place opened up. Big white space, they threw on a vintage golf instructional video up and set up the drinks table. K and I talked with W. while he got set up.

We’re all hanging out, people start showing up, a very hip and arty crowd. Everyone’s got their own vibe going, it’s fascinating to just sit in the corner and watch. There’s this interesting woman who looks an awful lot like Bjork; I say to K “look at that girl…she looks like Bjork” – he looks and says “it *is* her”. So, there you have it. We were all dancing in a circle on the dance floor, a bunch of girls. I haven’t danced in a long time, and I danced my ass off. It was great. We got home at 2; it was such a fun, random evening. The rock gods were with us, we had a really wonderful time. We need to go out more, definitely.

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The Sisters of Mercy, Cleveland, OH – 4/2/91

Sisters of Mercy ticketstub, 1991

The Sisters of Mercy – Agora Theatre, Cleveland OH 4/2/91

Who better than my 21 year old self to describe the night I saw The Sisters of Mercy, which, oddly enough, was exactly 20 years ago today? Here’s my journal entry from April 3, 1991, the day after the show.

Trav & I went to see The Sisters of Mercy show in Cleveland last night. We got to the Agora at 7:15ish I figured that since the show was general admission*, we could get close to the stage (good figuring). so here we were: diagram time!

stage and audience diagram

The masses, me & Trav, security

Very, very close to the stage! But it doesn’t end there, nope. The set ends, but they are going to come out for an encore, surely. But suddenly, I ask Trav if he wanted to hang out by the buses, as we might catch them before they got on. So we debated for a minute and left. We found a stage door and were hanging out momentarily when a woman roadie came out and she told us we could go in, the door was open. So Trav goes walking in like he owns the place. AND WE HUNG OUT BACKSTAGE FOR THE WHOLE ENCORE! We could see EVERYONE! One roadie asked us for our passes and I told him that woman told us we could come in and he said that was cool.

After the show, we talked to a couple more roadies and they told us about the other stage door where everyone would come out. So, we waited [I remember it was really super cold and we were freezing our butts off waiting around for ages] and eventually Andrew came out and walked right by us and didn’t even stop (which was disappointing). But we decided to wait for the rest of the band. So we were waiting. and waiting. This guy came out with a guitar and asked us if we were waiting for autographs. We said yeah, and he told us that he’d drop off the guitar and TAKE US IN TO MEET THE REST OF THE BAND!!!!!!!!! And he did!

Journal Entry #1, part 2, 1991

OMG!!!!!!!

So, we met the rest of the band and it was cool. We got a poster and autographs!

Dressing Room Sign, 1991

So we had a good time. It was long, but definitely worth it. The songs included

  • Dominion / Mother Russia
  • This Corrosion
  • First & Last & Always (opener!)
  • Body & Soul
  • Gimme Shelter
  • Amphetamine Logic
  • Vision Thing (last song)
  • Ribbons
  • Lucretia My Reflection
  • MARIAN!!!
  • Detonation Blvd.
  • Something Fast
  • I Was Wrong
Here’s a video from a different night of the same tour:

*general admission shows mean there is no assigned seating, and often, no seats at all.

The Posies, Dear 23

In the fall of 1990, I was the sole employee for an independently owned record store located in an unglamorous suburb of Akron, Ohio.  We were located in a long and slender shoebox-shaped space in an unremarkable strip mall located across the street from a televangelist headquarters that had a giant concrete tower and an all-you-can-eat buffet as defining characteristics.

One afternoon, I was opening the mail. We had received the usual miscellany — some invoices, some promotional material, some padded envelopes from labels. I used to open the padded envelopes first. Padded envelopes meant music – usually promos or advanced copies of artists that I could throw on while I opened the rest of the mail. ¬†I opened an envelope from Geffen Records, selected an album by a band called The Posies, stuck it in the player and hit “play.”

Dear 23 was the name of that album, and it was played by me not just once, but repeatedly for hours and then days on end. I worked at the store from 11am til 8 or 9pm daily. By work, I mean “sit around all day, listening to music and turning people on to quality music.” ¬†Dear 23 qualified as quality music (amazing music! genius music!) in my book and everyone needed to hear this. I think I played that album at least six hours a day every day for a month at least. I was in love with this album.

I wrote a review of the album for a local music newspaper:

Is there something in the water in Seattle, Washington?  Many bands from the Seattle area have recently found themselves releasing debut albums on major labels. One of the most promising of these new bands is Geffen recording artists THE POSIES.

Their album, Dear 23, is reminiscent of the music of The Hollies from the sixties. Lush guitars and striking harmonies are found throughout the album, and they sound extraordinarily good.

However, it is not only the music that makes THE POSIES sound so good, they have have a talent for developing dynamic lyrics. The lyrical diversity ranges from the frustrating hopelessness of “Help Yourself” to the gentle admonition in “You Avoid Parties.” Kenneth Stringfellow and Jonathan Auer have been able to unite the intesity of the music with lyrics that are equally intense.

So, if you’re looking for something new, check out this four-man band from Seattle. THE POSIES are a band that has captured the sound of the sixties, while adding a nineties flair.

The Posies came to town in December 1990. My editor called me a couple weeks before the show: “Hey, that band you like is playing at The Empire – do you want to review the show?” Do I? ¬†“Yes, I do!” ¬†I got the name of the label guy and reported to the venue the night of the show. ¬†“Hey, do you want to meet the band?” ¬†Do I want to meet the band? “Yes, I do!” And away we went to the green room, where I encountered four Posies and a deli tray. ¬†And copies of the newspaper with my review in it. I believe the conversation started like this: “You’re the one who wrote that review!?” “You’re the ones who made that awesome album?” and then continued into one of those magical moments that happen when music lovers bond. ¬†The time quickly came for the show to start – “We have to go play – are you going to stick around after the show?” Am I? “Yes, I am” and off we went, the boys headed to the stage while I positioned myself front and center. It was a fine show.

My review  follows:

I must admit, after listening to The Posies Dear 23 I was a bit apprehensive about seeing them live. Visions of Milli Vanilli were haunting me; I could only hope that The Posies were real. ¬†With notebook and pen in hand, I stepped into The Empire Monday night, silently hoping¬†The Posies wouldn’t let me down.¬†As those of you ¬†who saw the show (or heard it on WMMS) know, The Posies are no Milli Vanilli (THANK GOD!). The Posies are, in fact, one of the most powerful, energetic new bands I’ve seen in a long time.

Opening their set with “My Big Mouth,” ¬†the band jumped into some of the more aggressive songs in their repetoire, including “Under Easy” and “Any Other Way.” In case anyone thought that the Posies are a one-dimensional band, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow reassured the crowd that there is indeed “a kinder, gentler Posies.” ¬†With this said, bassist Rick Roberts and drummer Mike Musburger left the stage, allowing Auer and Stringfellow to show their vocal and instrumental talents on “You Avoid Parties” and “Apology.” ¬†The only disappointment was the lack of the acoustic guitars on these songs, which were used on the album. The electric guitars caused a bit of feedback on “You Avoid Parties,” but it was quickly fixed. The other band members returned for the rest of the set.

It was evident that The Posies really enjoy performing together as they joked and kidded around both with each other and the audience. They seemed as excited to be on stage as the audience was listening to them.

Afterwards, I sat and talked with Ken and Jon for a long time, and promised to keep in touch.