A mere novice, I've only seen the Fleshtones three times, but I'm fairly confident that they never disappoint. Take, for instance, my first Fleshtones show, at Detroit's Magic Stick. It was the fourth of July weekend and only about 15 people showed up, but the NYC foursome played as though they were at a raucous house party with their best friends, hauling mics and instruments out onto the dance floor, jumping on tables, and generally having a great time. After nearly 30 years of playing what they call "Super Rock" -- music that owes a debt to '60s garage rock but doesn't slavishly imitate it -- the Fleshtones know a thing or two about getting a party started. The biggest challenge the band faced during its latest visit to Chicago wasn't one of firing up a small crowd (turnout was strong even if the place wasn't packed), but of trying to connect with the audience on a personal level at a venue that precluded it, and they fared well. Original members Peter Zaremba (vocals, organ, harmonica), Keith Streng (guitar, vocals), and Bill Milhizer (drums), along with mid-'80s recruit Ken Fox (bass) are riding high on a strong new album, Do You Swing? (Yep Roc), so maybe it's appropriate they played the larger Double Door and not the Empty Bottle as they did last time they swung through town. Even if more people were able to attend, though, the Double Door was less suitable for the Fleshtones' audience-inclusive shenanigans. As usual, everyone except Milhizer headed into the crowd at some point to play, dance, and whisper God knows what to the audience, but those who were standing behind sound equipment at the back of large room or had their vision blocked by poles missed out. Still, the band did its best to get everyone involved in the raucous fun. The fellows got things started with "New Scene" from 1983's heralded Hexbreaker album. Personally, I would pay good money just to watch them perform that great album in its entirety, so I was excited that they started with such a bang, but was disappointed when no other Hexbreaker material surfaced during the set. It's no doubt a difficult job to choose a set list when your recording career covers nearly 25 years, and to their credit, the Fleshtones have dug far back in their catalog and come up with a different set list each time I've seen them. Highlights this time around included "I'm Not a Sissy" and "Theme from 'The Vindicators'", on which they were joined on Farfisa by a member of opening band the Cynics, with whom they also had to share a drum kit thanks to a goof-up by their equipment rental company. The band also expectedly hit on several songs from the new album, including "Destination Greenpoint", "Right on Woman", and the title track, but not their excellent cover of Led Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" -- perhaps because it would shred the hell out of Streng's voice? What never ceases to amaze me about the Fleshtones is how they can put on a fun, fresh show night after night in city after city. They watch the opening bands, they drink (at one point, Zaremba was taking a swig of anything he was handed), they dance, they hop on top of the bar, they perform synchronized movements and their patented "Power Stance", and they sometimes smile when they're wandering through the crowd pre-show and don't even know you're watching them. You know the Old Navy slogan "Shopping is fun again"? Well, each time the Fleshtones breeze through town rock 'n' roll is fun again.
To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.
Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First CenturyPublisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.
Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.
Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.
From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.
In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.
As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.
This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.
Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel
Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.
Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.