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SXSW Music Day 4: Highlights - MOG Showcase + Norah Jones

Bob Mould’s set was followed by the only SXSW performance by the Roots, one of the most anticipated sets of the conference (as evidenced by a near three-block long line).

At the MOG Showcase, Bob Mould joined the likes of War on Drugs and Gary Clark Jr. to perform the entire 1992 Sugar record Copper Blue. Though older in years, Mould led his trio through a near note-perfect rendition of such perennial favorites as “A Good Idea” and “Hoover Dam”. Mould looked positively jovial, attacking his guitar with trademark fervor and belting out the raucous melodies that have endeared fans to him for years.

Mould’s set was followed by the only SXSW performance by the Roots, one of the most anticipated sets of the conference (as evidenced by a near three-block long line). The Roots took on songs off their newest release Undun as well as crowd pleasers including a searing version of “Here I Come” off of Game Theory. The Roots may very well be one of the tightest bands around, as evidenced by these past years of honing their chops each night on Jimmy Fallon. Musically ubiquitious and masterful performers, they seamlessly transitioned from their unique fusion of soul-rock and hip hop to "Sweet Child O’Mine" by Guns and Roses and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song". In the audience was the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff who accepted an invitation to come up on stage to do a joint drum solo with ?uestlove.

Later in the evening, Norah Jones took the stage at La Zone Rosa to debut her new band and new album to a capacity crowd. Jones informed the audience that they were only going to be performing tracks from the new record and the audience was clearly delighted by the knowledge of what they were about to hear. A departure from earlier material, Jones’ new songs show evidence of her work with Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi on last year’s Rome. Alternating between a Wurlitzer electric piano and upright piano, Jones led the band through a mix of ethereal and moody western-tinged tracks and melancholic balladry.

One of the highlights of the evening was the final set by Subpop’s own Blitzen Trapper, who turned in a standout performance at Stubb's. Pulling heavily from their newest album, American Goldwing, Eric Earley and co. opened with “Might Find It Cheap” and knocked through blistering renditions of “Your Crying Eyes” and “Street Fighting Sun”. Mid-set found them pulling back to quieter acoustic moments playing a gorgeous “Furr” and a hushed version of “Love the Way You Walk Away”. Towards the end of the set they welcomed Peter Buck and Mills of REM, as well as Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, to cover Big Star’s “Feel”. To close the night they unleashed Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” and brought the crowd to a frenzy.

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​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

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Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

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There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

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