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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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.”

Gettin’ all up in Ultra Music Festival

ultraFinally, I get my festival on.

I missed out on my chance earlier this year when Langerado was called off for 2009 — and honestly, I’m kind of glad. The festival picked the wrong venue (Miami’s in-the-middle-of-the-city Bicentennial Park) and seemed to lose its way with its core audience a bit.

But the Ultra Music Festival seems to have a handle on what it provides. Unlike Langerado, Ultra’s choice of Bicentennial Park fits it to a tee. As the centerpiece of the World Music Conference, Ultra has its place in the city. Langerado’s more laid-back style has its place more in the country.

Friday, the first day, has more bands than the second day. Both days, however, are pretty much about the men and women on the decks — DJs. And some of the best DJs in the entire world: Carl Cox. The Prodigy. Paul Van Dyk. Tiesto. Roni Size with Reprazent. BT. Crystal Castles. Cut Copy. Mstrkrft. Hercules and Love Affair. Deadmau5. And on and on and on.

The music acts are excellent as well — Bloc Party, Santogold, Ting Tings, Shiny Toy Guns, even Black Eyed Peas.

Definitely worth a visit down south. I’ll be there…

Tinsley Ellis: Still at the blues

ellisI’m not sure if I’ve followed Tinsley Ellis or if he’s following me.

A cool Southern blues guitarist, Ellis first came to my attention when he was starting out in Georgia and I was in school in Athens, Ga. He’d play a local club, and I’d hear about how he’d take his guitar outside and play for the guys who couldn’t get in.

Well, he’s still at it. He plays quite a bit down here, and people know him for his showmanship and his technical skill.

He’s playing Friday at the Back Room in Boca Raton.

Please to enjoy “To the Devil a Dime”:

Get spaced out with EOTO

eotoSometimes it’s good to just let the mind go.

To zone out at the planetarium light show as psychedelia plays. To find yourself in and out of the music with Thievery Corporation or Brother Bean (local band, worth a look.)

EOTO, the electronica duo formed by Micheal Travis and Jason Hann of the String Cheese Incident, takes you out to those outer reaches. Or at least the outer reaches of Miami’s Purdy Lounge on Wednesday, Delray’s City Limits on Friday and as part of Locofest at the Palm Beach International Raceway on Saturday.

EOTO’s peg is that everything is improvised. They just go off on a tangent and dare you to follow them. Worth the trip, it seems, every time.