Monday, September 29, 2014

The Replacements at The Marquee 9/27/14 - My Review

This past weekend, I took a 24 hour trip to Arizona to see The Replacements perform at the Summer's End Music Festival. The band were the headliners of the second night of the three day festival. The rest of the line-up was questionable to me, so I only wanted to see The Replacements

This was my one day in "sunny" Arizona
When I landed in Phoenix on Saturday morning, the skies were clear, the sun was shining, and it was hot as hell. Usual Arizona. Within two hours of getting there, however, the skies had darkened, and it was pouring down raining. This rain was not some mild sprinkling. It was coming down in buckets. It was so bad that it caused flash flooding in parts of the city.

Naturally, this made me a little stressed about attending an outdoor music festival. Since I didn't care about much of the festival, I wasn't planning on going until later in the day or early evening. Why stand around watching shitty bands all day, when the only one I want to see plays after 10 pm? 

Around 5:00, we got word that the festival was being moved to an indoor location a mile or so away from the original site. It was being put into a club called The Marquee. Two scenarios came to mind when I heard this news: 1) they must not have sold many tickets to this festival if they could move the whole crowd into a club or 2) they sold a lot of tickets, and most people with tickets would not be making it into the club due to the smaller capacity. I never got a real answer as to which scenario was accurate, but I didn't want to risk not getting in. My friends and I hit the club around 8:00 or so.

Though I was supposed to be going backstage and meeting The Replacements that day, when I arrived, all that was left for me was a pair of general tickets. This, of course, was quite disappointing, but at least I was getting into the show. I guess we didn't need to get there quite so early because getting in was a breeze. Unfortunately, with the "festival" now inside a club, there was no way to avoid the other bands (the aforementioned "shitty" ones). Now I had to sit through Switchfoot, Taking Back Sunday, and The Descendents. (Note: before anyone freaks out an tells me those bands aren't shitty, let me just say that you weren't there. They were shitty. And I used to like the Descendents! But I was not in any mood to see them that night.) It was brutal.
Tommy Stinson, Paul Westerberg, and Dave Minehan from The Replacements
The Replacements finally hit the stage around 11:30 or so and delivered what was probably the best performance by them that I have ever seen. Better than when I saw them in the late 80s/early 90s. The band was so energetic and excited to be playing, and that excitement was infectious. The entire crowd was jumping up and down, dancing, and singing along the entire night. 
The set list featured some serious rarities! They pulled out songs that haven't been played since, probably, 1983. They played "White and Lazy" from the Replacements Stink EP, for fuck's sake! At one point in the night, Paul Westerberg threw a yellow legal pad and a pen into the crowd and told us to write down requests. I have never seen any band do that before. 
After a couple of songs, Tommy shed his teletubby costume and threw it into the crowd
The Replacements performed for nearly two hours, and I loved every minute of it. I did have to deal with some seriously drunk people in my vicinity, but even those assholes couldn't keep me from having a good time. This was an amazing show. I hope the crowd appreciated what they got. I know I did. To see the entire set list, go here.
Paul singing "I Want You Back" by Jackson 5
Here is about a minute to so of The Replacements performing "If Only You Were Lonely" from the show. I shot it with my phone, so don't expect much.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Dark Stuff Podcast 117: Orenda Fink (Part Two)

We return with part two of my interview with Orenda Fink for episode #117. If you haven't heard part one - episode 116 - please go back and listen to that one first. Seriously.

Orenda Fink is a recording artist who has been making music since the late 90s, beginning with the bands Little Red Rocket and Azure Ray. After Azure Ray went on an indefinite hiatus in 2004, Fink embarked on a solo career. As you'll hear in this episode, that solo career has also seen frequent collaborations with other artists, and the formation of two additional bands.

Fink's current release, Blue Dream, is out now on Saddle Creek Records. She is currently on tour in support of the album. Look for tour dates at

This episode contains portions of the following songs: "Set the Woods On Fire" by Art In Manila, and "Alabama" by Orenda Fink. The music underneath my voice in the intro and outro is "Holy Holy" by Orenda Fink. All songs ©the artist.

Thanks for listening. Enjoy.

©2014 The Dark Stuff Podcast

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hey there, Wanna See My Seven Inches?

I just posted this video the other day. I decided to start going through my 7" vinyl singles. I grabbed a bunch at random and started talking about them. I think I'll be doing a few more volumes of these.

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Dark Stuff Podcast 116: Orenda Fink (Part One)

For episode 116, we have part one of my interview with Orenda Fink. Orenda has just released her third solo album, Blue Dream, on the Saddle Creek Records label, and is about to embark on her first tour in a few years.

Orenda's musical journey began when she met singer/songwriter Maria Taylor at a performing arts school in Alabama. The two began writing songs together, and eventually formed the band Little Red Rocket. LRR was signed by Geffen Records while Fink and Taylor were barely out of high school! Following some personal tragedy, LRR broke up, but Fink and Taylor stayed together and formed the band Azure Ray.

It was around this same time that Orenda became involved with the Omaha music scene, and Azure Ray was signed to Saddle Creek Records, which was home to Bright Eyes, The Faint, and Cursive, at the time. Orenda would eventually re-locate to Omaha, and marry Todd Fink, who is the lead singer of The Faint.

When Azure Ray went on an extended hiatus in 2004, Orenda Fink began her solo career with the 2005 album, The Invisible Ones. Her restless artistic spirit had her continuing to form new bands and collaborations, and she also recorded with Art In Manila, O + S, and toured as a member of Rilo Kiley.

In our interview, Orenda and I discuss the inspiration behind the new album, Blue Dream, as well as the making of the record and her upcoming tour. We then delve into Orenda's entire career, including the reunion of Azure Ray. Our discussion was pretty long, so I have decided to make this a two-part episode. Part Two will be episode #117.

This episode contains portions of the following songs: "Blue Dream," and "This Is a Part of Something Greater" by Orenda Fink, and "New Resolution" by Azure Ray. The music underneath my voice in the intro and outro is "Holy Holy" by Orenda Fink. All songs ©the artist.

Thanks for listening. Enjoy.

©2014 The Dark Stuff Podcast

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Friday, September 05, 2014

New Conor Oberst Video: "Common Knowledge"

This is the newest video from Conor Oberst's newest album, Upside Down Mountain. The track is called "Common Knowledge," and the video was directed by David Altobelli.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Free Orenda Fink Show + Podcast Posts Monday!!

Omaha readers: Orenda Fink will be performing songs from her new album, Blue Dream, tomorrow night (September 5) at the Saddle Creek Shop (721 N. 14th St). She will begin around 7 pm.

Remember, Orenda is my guest on the next episode of The Dark Stuff Podcast. Part one of her interview will be posted Monday, September 8. Make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss it!

The Afghan Whigs at Waiting Room Wrap-Up

So, I saw The Afghan Whigs last night, and the photo above should explain why I have no pictures of the band performing. I am really conflicted about bands requesting that people not take their photos during a concert. Technically, Afghan Whigs did not ban photography at the show. It was more of a polite suggestion. Lead singer Greg Dulli did yell at someone who was using a flash (which any idiot should know that you don't do), but that was completely understandable. After the first few songs, he then asked everyone to put away their phones and just enjoy the concert. 

I get it. Artists don't like poor quality (or really any quality) videos of their shows being posted on youtube. Also, I could imagine how annoying it would be to look out into the crowd and see a bunch of folks watching the show through their cell phones. But that is sort of the way of the world these days. I don't film shows precisely because I don't want to spend the whole concert looking through the lens of my phone. However, I do like taking a few pictures as personal mementos of the show. And, of course, I like posting them on Instagram and on this very site. An outright photo ban is lame, but a strong suggestion from an artist that they'd prefer if you didn't spend the whole night on your phone is acceptable. Either way, I didn't want to get up close and take pictures because I worried Dulli might yell at me! 

Instead, I stayed toward the back of The Waiting Room and just listened. A few quick thoughts on the show: the band sounded great. Greg Dulli's voice was in good form, and he was able to belt out the classics and the new stuff with equal intensity. Outside of Dulli, and maybe the bass player, I don't think anyone else on stage had ever been a member of Afghan Whigs prior to this current tour. That was a little weird, but they sounded great, so I guess I don't care. My last observation would be that by the end of the set, I was kind of getting bored. I'm not a musician, so maybe I am off base, but it seems to me that most every Afghan Whigs song is in the same key or something. They all started sounding the same after an hour or so. I've never noticed this before, but last night, I was definitely feeling that.

If Afghan Whigs comes to your town, I would recommend you go. Maybe you were a bigger fan of the band back in the day than I was. I always liked them, had a few records, but they were never one of "my bands." You know?

UPDATE: Hear Nebraska has a lengthier review and some actual photographs here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Mafia Money Story Part 1

I've just begun work on a new project that will document the old record label I used to run called Mafia Money Records. I had the label from 1994-2000. I'm going to be making videos that talk about the label and the bands I worked with. I completed my first video over the long weekend, and it covers the first three releases on the label. All three were 7" singles. Here it goes: