The attack on Bataclan and why it hurts my heart

Music-hall Bataclan; boulevard Voltaire; Paris
Music-hall Bataclan; boulevard Voltaire; Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of you who know me know what I like: Soccer (and, unfortunately, Aston Villa). The Georgia Bulldogs. A movie that tells a good story. The Washington Capitals. Good food. Comedy.

But above all else: Music. Especially live music.

I’ve attended hundreds of concerts, and I’m probably approaching 1,000 shows if I haven’t hit the number already. I met my wife at a concert — Marshall Crenshaw, Bamboo Room, Lake Worth, Sept. 11, 2003. (And yes, that date is 100 percent right.)

I’ve covered quite a few of these shows for a couple of media outlets — a few for Skope, a mag out of Boston, but most for the paper I work for in South Florida. It’s been a lot of fun talking about the shows I’m lucky enough to see.

So when you start looking at the names of the people who died Friday night in Paris, especially those at the Bataclan club attending the Eagles of Death Metal concert, for me, this absolutely hits home.

There was Nick Alexander, a British man who was selling merchandise at the show. Merch guys are some of the unsung heroes of the music biz — they are among those who will never get rich doing this. Many — especially those at club shows — are in it for the love and ONLY the love.

Thomas Ayad, who worked for Mercury Music Group. Fabrice Dubois, publicity guy. I’ve known some awesome publicity people and company types — yes, some are more interested in money or advancing their career, but again, so many others are interested in the artists and the love of music. So many will help you as much as they can.

Alberto Garrido. Mathieu Hoche. Cedric Maduit. Valentin Ribet. Fans. The lifeblood of live music. Bands and musicians would be nowhere without the energy they produce. It’s a tennis match — back and forth, building, ebbing, flowing, allowing for release.

See that’s the beauty of a concert — you go to just FEEL. At least I do. And when you leave, you feel INCREDIBLE. Like you could run a marathon while fighting a dragon. You don’t even need any “chemical” help — I haven’t had a drink in 15 years, and I feel that way SOBER.

Then there was Guillame Decherf. He covered music for the magazine Les Inrocks. A man with two daughters. I can’t imagine he made a lot of money doing this — I doubt he’d be happy doing this job if he did.

Again, it’s not about the money. It’s about the love. It’s about the energy.

To me, a concert is a safe place where people who’ve never met and will likely never meet again can share something extremely meaningful and personal.

And the Eagles of Death Metal show — by a band which was NOT a death metal band, by the way, but a fun, wry rock band — was the kind of show I would definitely go to.

So to hear about someone basically violating that space with bullets … I can’t understand it. It makes me so very heartsick.

But it also makes me want to go back out and cover more shows. To show those who would make me scared to go out to a concert hall, or a basketball arena, or a club that I will NEVER stop. You cannot stop me. I will never let you. It means that much to me.


Wait. They didn’t erase my blog?!

Prefab Sprout's 'Steve McQueen'. Called 'Two Wheels Good' in USA. "Stevemcqueen". Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -
Prefab Sprout’s ‘Steve McQueen’. Called ‘Two Wheels Good’ in USA. “Stevemcqueen”. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Amazed. And a little shocked.

Sure there are broken links everywhere. The Twitter handle doesn’t even apply anymore. (For those interested, it’s, although I may end up opening a new Twitter feed soon.)

So what the heck, let’s reopen this thing.

I listened to a CD I hadn’t heard in years today: Two Wheels Good by the band Prefab Sprout. Also known as Steve McQueen in the UK. (Apparently the actor’s estate didn’t want to be associated with British pop — too bad for McQueen’s people…)

Good LP. The driving force in the band, Paddy McAloon, was one of the leading lights of the sophisticated pop scene that emerged in Britain in the 1980s. Sometimes his music was more ambitious than good, but other times it hits the sweet spot. Many consider it a classic — I feel it’s close.

But it fits nicely with other stuff I liked at the time — Deacon Blue, the Adventures, etc. Strong overall. The singles were top-notch tunes — “Appetite” and “When Love Breaks Down”. Also I really enjoyed the opener “Faron”, but others like “Horsin’ Around” tried to be a mini-Bacharach suite that don’t quite come together as they should have.

Anyway, New Frontiers’ rules continue to apply:

  • This blog is about what I like: Movies, travel, music, computer games, nostalgia and just fun.
  • My hope is that this’ll also help me get things on a little more of a happier track personally. I’ve veered a little from it, and writing might just get me back to where I need to be!
  • Depending on my mood, I may veer into other areas. I’m just going to see where the day takes me. Hopefully, I won’t wait four years for my next post!

Anyway, here’s “Faron” (or “Faron Young”) from Prefab Sprout. Enjoy your day!

Live from SunFest, it’s… me…

Hey there. I’ve been helping the new site cover SunFest this week. I don’t think I’ve covered a wider variety of music in my life, and it’s kind of exciting. started out with a rough patch — slammed with server traffic — but they’ve at least got their SunFest coverage.

I’m hoping that they get back completely on their feet soon — but then, as I helped build it, I’m pretty biased.

Here are a few links to what I and Post writer Leslie Gray Streeter have covered so far:

Sly & Robbie, reggae pioneers

Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, Pennywise
, punk and more

Citizen Cope, soulful rocker

Collective Soul/Randy Bachman

James Taylor

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Showtime: Unwed Sailor and Noble Rocket at Propaganda

Johnathan Ford of Unwed Sailor.
Johnathan Ford of Unwed Sailor.
First off, as local bars go, Propaganda is actually quite a find. It’s laid back — couches in the back, good alcohol selection, friendly staff — but still has a fun motif. Faux Commie slogans line the walls and everything is red and black.

Nick Eberhardt of Noble Rocket
Nick Eberhardt of Noble Rocket
In addition, the sound quality is excellent — you could tell from the first note of local band Noble Rocket’s first song. It neither blew me out of the room nor got completely lost in the rafters.

OK, it’s no Bamboo Room, with its acoustic baffle system. Few bars in the US have that good a set-up, let alone South Florida. As your local pub goes, though, Propaganda’s got a good set-up.

And in a fairly competitive bar market in Lake Worth, that’s saying something. When you can very easily head right up the street to Little Munich or down to Brogues and Dave’s Last Resort (and its twin, Igoes), you have to have more than a little going for you.

Had the chance to listen to both Noble Rocket and Seattle’s Unwed Sailor, an instrumental combo who combined exploration with economy — a tight sound, but still interesting. Unwed Sailor’s Johnathan Ford has been to South Florida before: “I always get a little confused with all the beaches and lakes down here, but I’m sure we’re in Lake Worth tonight!”

Noble Rocket has a more direct knowledge of the area, of course, and these days seeing them is an inexpensive treat — Nick Eberhardt leads the sometimes trio, sometimes four piece with a tight, slightly country-based sound.

Ultra: Roni Size and Reprazent bring pure drum ‘n’ bass back

Singer Onallee with Roni Size in Reprazent's first US appearance in seven years.
Singer Onallee with Roni Size in Reprazent's first US appearance in seven years.
Roni Size wanted Miami’s Ultra Music Festival to know what exactly it was listening to.

He pointed to the drum kit. “Just the drums! I just want the drums!

“You see, we don’t have no CDs, no backing tracks! This is real drum and bass!” Size said, drawing out the last three words that also define the kind of music that first made him and his group Reprazent stars during the 1990s.

Size reconvened Reprazent last year when he put out a deluxe edition of New Forms, the LP that won him the Mercury Music Prize in 1997. Back in 1997, Size was a massive part of the drum ‘n’ bass scene that also featured Goldie (who was also in attendance at Ultra), Squarepusher and A Guy Called Gerald.

Drum ‘n’ bass is characterized by a bass-heavy, fast sound that got its start in the rave scene in the United Kingdom. Size came from one of the sound’s biggest Meccas — Bristol.

And he proved Friday, in the band’s first U.S. appearance in seven years, that he and Reprazent still had it. Many of the original members are still in the band, including vocalist Onallee and bass player Si John.

With Onallee bringing powerful hooks to life, Size got the crowd hopping in a hot, sweaty cauldron of dance.

They all knew exactly what they were listening to.

Black-Eyed Peas back together with a Boom, a Boom and a Pow

Finally, a great shot of the Peas... hey! Move that camera!
Finally, a great shot of the Peas... hey! Move that camera!
Finally, the Peas are back in the same pod.

Over the last two years, you’ve seen various members of the Black Eyed Peas all over the place. Fergie performed her solo album The Dutchess and appeared in movies; got out the vote for President Obama, released a solo album and produced.

But in returning to the fold, all of the Peas — which also include rappers and Taboo — began working their music and style in a different way.

The best example is the band’s brand new single, “Boom Boom Pow”, an extremely danceable song that is nowhere near out of place at Ultra Music Festival in Miami, where the band debuted the song on stage Friday.

“‘Boom Boom Pow’ is a part of experiments I’ve been doing,” said in a news conference before their performance. “I wanted to make a song that was basically one whole verse, and in mid-song pull in an whole new beat, inspiring DJs to play the song the full way.”

It was a highlight of the band’s brief but well-received performance at the festival, the centerpiece of the Winter Music Conference — a week-long electronic music celebration that brings together some of the top DJs in the world.

“The DJ is the most important thing in music today,” said. “When we released ‘Boom Boom Pow’, with the straight version, the a capella version and more, we wanted to give DJs the tools to help ‘Boom Boom Pow’ reach all different kinds of areas.”

“The song is based in the kind of clubs where we know it will live,” Fergie added. “People need something that makes them feel good right now.”

“Boom Boom Pow” is the first salvo of the upcoming The E.N.D. The band members say the new album’s sound is more along the lines of electro, a high-energy sound that also pulls them away from the poppier elements of the Peas’ last two LPs.

“The sound kind of reminds me of what hip-hop was like in 1980,” said. “It’s celebrating the kind of sound of what is happening in the world.”