Safety and Rumors

By now I am used to receiving emails from my son’s school with spelling and grammar errors as well as factually incorrect information, but this one was just downright confounding for its utter lack of substance:

Subject:  Safety and Rumors

Good evening, this is a message from [school name redacted] High Administration.

We are contacting you about a number of rumors that have been circulating among our students about something bad happening on our campus. We can assure that these are all rumors. Our school police have followed up on all leads that have come to us and have found nothing credible. You and your children are safe here at [name redacted] High School and we will continue to follow up on any information that comes to us. We have a vacation just around the corner and we expect to see everyone here tomorrow. Thank you.

After reading it, I was more worried than if I had never gotten an email to begin with.  What rumors?  I hadn’t heard any rumors.  My son hadn’t heard any rumors.  What’s going on?  Then I remembered… Fleetwood Mac is playing in Anaheim tonight.  Given their track record, the school probably just forgot the “u” in Rumours.

The First Waltz

Rather than being inspired by the film account of the final concert of The Band (which you really should watch, if only for the guest performers), this post has its origins in an invitation to a New Year’s Eve party, which warned that at midnight there would be a champagne toast and traditional waltz.  For those of you living under rocks, let me refresh your memory as to the definition of a waltz:

a ballroom dance in 34 time with strong accent on the first beat and a basic pattern of step-step-close

After reading about the waltz in the invitation, I was reminded of a shocking realization I had only a few weeks earlier during a friend’s birthday celebration at a dueling piano bar.  As is required at such establishments at least once every evening, one of the performers started playing Billy Joel’s Piano Man.  All at once it dawned on me that Piano Man is in fact a waltz.  I grabbed the closest person, one of two Anthonys in the group (neither of whom works in a grocery store), and proceeded to demonstrate (very poorly, I might add), the waltzability of the song.   I then forgot all about it…

…until I got the New Year’s Eve party invitation.  I was prepared to take a random video of people waltzing in the correct tempo and set it to Piano Man, when I found this (which only goes to show that pretty much anything you could ever wish for can be found on YouTube):


I only hope the song chosen for the midnight waltz will be Piano Man.

Sunday School Experiment (Part I)

On Sunday, 21 August 2011, The Federal Bar in North Hollywood hosted the first ever Sunday School Experiment.

Despite what the poster says, the Host/MC assured me his name was Johnny (he even swore that was how it was written on his birth certificate, although I didn’t ask him to prove it).  By the way, if you’re reading this Johnny, give me a call.

But back to the serious business of this post.  The first band to perform was a two-man group (guitar and drums) called Red Sweat, and according to Johnny it was their first time performing for anyone other than each other.  If you have photos or video of Red Sweat that you’d like to share, please let me know.

Next up was a group called Darcie Rickert & the Ruffnecks, which included an upright bass, washboard and banjo.  This went over quite well with the crowd, perhaps because O Brother, Where Art Thou? had been playing on the bar’s TVs earlier in the day.  Coincidence?  Again, if you have photos or video I am happy to link to them.

The third band was the reason I had flown all the way across the country (not really, just a happy coincidence, but don’t tell them), Kingsizemaybe.  I was able to record all nine songs they played and those are presented for you below.  Because the audio quality on my video camera isn’t the greatest, I have also included links to where you can purchase mp3 versions of the songs (linked numbers in parentheses, indicating order of appearance on the album Kingsizemaybe) or listen to high quality versions (linked song titles).  Enjoy!

(2) Big Maybe

Big Mouth

(3) Dallas

(4) I Wouldn’t Want To Be You

It Ain’t Easy

Look At All The Things That I’ve Got


King of the Streets

(9) Waitin’ For My Friends To Come Along

The final band of the afternoon was the Mojo Monkeys.  I’d love to say more about them, but I was having so much fun talking to all of the folks who had come to see Kingsizemaybe (as we had adjourned to The Federal Bar’s balcony) I was a being a very bad audience member indeed.  I am, however, very happy to post pictures and video provided by others!  Likewise if anyone has any video of the “magician”, who was not your typical rabbit out of a hat kind of fellow, please let me know.

Overall, I would say that the Sunday School Experiment was successful, especially as children were not only allowed, but not even charged the quite reasonable adult cover charge of $5.  This allowed friends of the bands as well as potential new fans to bring their families along.  Parking at The Federal Bar was also quick and easy, with plenty of parking right behind the venue at the quite reasonable price of $3.50.  This was a very well-organized event, and I only hope such “Experiments” are better attended in the future as word spreads about the quality of the bands, the family friendly environment of the events, and the great opportunity to just get out and do something different on a Sunday afternoon.


What I am about to say will probably be labeled as blasphemy by most Victims (as fans of the band The Killers refer to themselves), but I find myself compelled to speak the truth.  I thought I was a fan of The Killers.  I really liked about three or four songs from each of their albums.  I mean really, really liked, to the point where I would play them over and over again.  They spoke to me.  The rest, however, I could take or leave.  Then I discovered Brandon Flowers’ (the lead singer of The Killers) solo album, Flamingo (it was, in fact, a very thoughtful gift from my best friend).  This is what I had been waiting for.  This was a complete album, not a collection of songs thrown together with the intention of being commercial.  I not only liked every song on the album, I liked the composition of the album as a whole; how the songs related to each other and how one song flowed into the next.

After listening to the album (again, over and over), I discovered to my delight that Mr. Flowers was on tour.  My 14-year-old son and I were both excited that he was coming to our hometown (Washington, DC) and we managed to get tickets.  We ended up in the fourth-ish row of the great human crush at the 9:30 Club and I was able to snap a few photos.  Below you will find the songs from that night in the order of the set list as well as all available video (courtesy of przybyla8).  Numbers next to the songs indicate the order on Flamingo.  I have included some notes; I hope it doesn’t detract.  Enjoy!

(9) On The Floor


(8) Crossfire


(7) Magdelena-this is my favorite song from the album, and since it’s about redemption perhaps it can save me from my sin of blasphemy.  There is a line in the song that goes “Blisters on my feet, wooden rosary, I felt them in my pocket as I ran” which my son decided to change to “Blisters on my feet, good enough to eat, I felt them in my pocket as I ran”.  Now, rhyming ability aside, this is both gross (eating blisters) and impractical (how do you run with your feet in your pocket?).

Bette Davis Eyes (Kim Carnes)


(4) Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts


(1) Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas


(6) Was It Something I Said?-this is my second-favorite song from the album, perhaps because you just can’t help feeling sorry for a guy who practically gets dumped at the altar (especially if you’re picturing that it’s Brandon Flowers; he’s awfully sympathetic).  Honestly, the lyrics really do paint a nice picture on top of the music.  It’s a shame the keyboard player didn’t show up in this video.  My son got a real kick out of him.  He had a teeny-tiny keyboard and he was sitting cross-legged on top of a wardrobe playing the keyboard part.


(3) Hard Enough-this is my third-favorite song, both for the way the duet flows between Brandon Flowers and Jenny Lewis (on the album) as well as some of the lyrics, such as “Some people think that it’s best to refrain from the conventions of old-fashioned love; Their hearts are filled with holes and emptiness; They tell themselves that they’re too young to settle down”

Losing Touch (The Killers)

(10) Swallow It-it’s a shame there was no video of this song because there was some great crowd flirting, especially on the lyrics like “Be an advocate of joy” and “You’re a performer”

(2) Only the Young


(5) Playing With Fire


Boots (The Killers)


(11) The Clock Was Tickin’ (Deluxe edition of Flamingo only)

When You Were Young (The Killers)


One final note:  While we were going inside (before the concert started) my son noted that the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox was playing in the lead tour bus.  He was very excited by this.  He said something along the lines of “Oh my God, Brandon Flowers is watching Fantastic Mr. Fox, that’s my favorite movie!”  OK, first of all, yes, my 14-year-old son’s favorite movie IS Fantastic Mr. Fox, but I did point out to him that someone else on the bus could have been watching the movie.  In retrospect I probably should have just let him have his moment:  “yes, dear, Brandon Flowers probably loves Fantastic Mr. Fox just as much as you.”