Monday, October 13, 2008

On Wednesday night, we saw Beck at the United Palace Theater (and so did the NY Times). It was the first time I'd seen Beck, and it was basically curiosity that led to ticket-purchasing for this show. I'd never seen a show at the United Palace, and so I was curious about the venue as well as the performance. Our view from the upper loge was pretty good, although the sound wasn't great--it was one of the louder shows I'd been to, and there were moments during which I wished I'd brought earplugs.

photo from animalvegetable flickr

Photo from Samuel Stroube Flickr

The whole show was pretty much Beck-as-garage-rock, which I was fine with. There was a light show behind the band, which was ok but not as interesting as some of the earlier Beck stage set-ups I'd read about.

The set started with Loser and continued through the most recent album, which I think is pretty good. I don't think there's been a Beck retrospective, but there would be a pretty good cd of songs from even just the last few albums, which I haven't paid much attention to. It seems to me that the Beck set invited a pretty interesting look at music consumption--starting with the could-have-been-a-novelty-hit, playing songs from Odelay (back when radio and mtv would play several songs from an album), ignoring Mutations (most people I know's favorite Beck album), and then playing the more recent stuff which seems like they should have been radio hits, but weren't (as far as I know) and playing an itunes single or two (I don't think that timebomb song was ever on an actual album).

MGMT opened and were uninteresting but apparently popular.

Since I've neglected this blog space for so long, there's a lack of mention for a bunch of shows we saw over the summer.

Wilco at McCarren Park was good. (Photo from Kurt Christiansen Flickr) I'd been waiting to see Wilco again for quite a while, and this was a good time. Jennifer O'Connor opened and I enjoyed her stuff.

We saw the Long Winters at Castle Clinton this summer and it was a fun, free show, even if the crowd was kind of small and I got called out by John Roderick for leaving to go to the restroom right as he announced that the band didn't play encores.

We saw Basia Bulat at the Highline Ballroom in a seated show that I got free tickets for. It was pretty classy, and most of her album is really nice, but it was a bit of a stretch for the limited material for a full show.

We saw Feist in the rain at Prospect Park. It was the kind of concert that was attended by many people who go to one concert a year, and to be honest it wasn't all that different from seeing a bit of Sheryl Crow at Central Park (my sister got tickets from work), except that Sheryl Crow has more hits. Juana Molina opened backed by loops and I don't think anyone paid attention, which was a shame.

I saw My Morning Jacket at Radio City and the first hour was pretty amazing, although it just kept going and I don't have that much endurance, I guess. Or, they played the more recent ready-to-go-in-an-arena stuff first and then I guess the played stuff for the true fans...

We saw R.E.M. at Madison Square Garden and it totally remedied most of the problems from the last time we saw them (day after the 2004 election, when they played a bland album blandly). The newest album is pretty useful for breaking up the stuff that I wanted to hear without sapping all momentum from the room. Modest Mouse opened and didn't play the hit.

I think I did type elsewhere that the Silver Jews were fun live (even if they become less special every time they play a show) and that Shearwater was pretty.

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