One More Day 'til Rock 'n' Roll Church

Between preparations for a vacation next week and a big move in September, blogging time has been scarce, but right now, I can't even think about those things. My mind is focused solely on tomorrow night's big Springsteen concert at Giants Stadium - the last show of a three-night stand in his home state. I've seen Bruce and the E Street Band once before, in Pittsburgh in 2003, and rock 'n' roll church comes as close as possible to describing what it's like when they really get going. There really is nothing like it. Also, The Boss? Way underrated as a guitarist. Check out this insane "Prove It All Night" from '78:

And then there's this classic, with Bruce in full working-the-crowd mode:

And rest in peace, Danny Federici. It won't be the same without you.

Jarvis Cocker @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker put on one hell of a show last night at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg. Bill has a more detailed write-up over on Sound Bites, but I need to take a second to tell you how awesome this show was. The big music war in 1990s England was between Blur and Oasis, but I'll take Pulp over either of them every time. For me, they're one of the defining bands of the decade - I'm pretty sure albums like Different Class will still sound fresh twenty years from now.

Cocker has moved past his Pulp days, and as much as I love that music, I didn't miss it at all last night. Nobody did, in fact, and it's worth stressing that not one person yelled out a request for their stuff. The set list was a pretty even mix of material from Cocker's solo debut, Jarvis, and new material, of which "Girls Like It Too" was a definite highlight. Main-set closer "Black Magic" just about leveled the room, and I'm not sure "Common People" would have gotten a better reaction from the 550 fans lucky enough to score tickets.

MP3: Black Magic

If you can get into tonight's Terminal 5 show, make it happen.

Photo via Olga Bas @ Flickr

Summer Fridays and Brian K. Vaughan

My friend (and fellow U-92 alum) Bill Pearis knows as much about music as anyone you or I have ever met. He covers new music and NYC shows on his blog, Sound Bites, and he also writes a column for the hugely popular Brooklyn Vegan, which is both a blog and a person. Bill just started a new feature today called Summer Fridays - he's posting a new downloadable mix every week, complete with cover art and fancy segues. The first mix is fantastic, and not just because it features XTC's "Life Begins at the Hop." Don't miss it.

Also, I skipped out of work early yesterday so I could go to Midtown Comics and meet Brian K. Vaughan, who was doing a rare signing (I think it's actually his last for 2008). Vaughan is probably best known for his series Y: The Last Man, about a sudden, catastrophic event that kills every male on Earth but one guy and his pet monkey. He's also a writer and executive story editor for Lost, and I'm not alone in believing the show improved tremendously as soon as he was brought in, late in season three. Other notable works include Runaways, Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, and a recent arc about Faith for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8.

The line stretched almost a full city block when I got there, about 15 minutes before the 5:00 start. I turned into a blubbering jackass as soon as I got to the table where Vaughan was signing, but I did manage to ask if he had plans to return to the Buffy series, which picks up after the events of the TV series finale. He said there was nothing official planned but that he would jump at the chance if series creator Joss Whedon asked. (Whedon also took over writing duties on Runaways after Vaughan's run ended, and Strangers in Paradise creator Terry Moore is set to succeed Joss.)

Vaughan is only going to get more popular and successful - he's on my short list of People Who Will Rule the World - so keep an eye out (and pick up the first trade collection of Y, "Unmanned", while you're at it).

Three Songs That Should Be in Grand Theft Auto IV

Yesterday I gave you my favorites from the game, so today we've got three songs I would've liked to see make the cut. To qualify for consideration, songs had to be appropriate for extended car chases, ultra-violent urban crime sprees, or both simultaneously. In the spirit of the game, they also had to include at least one instance of in-your-face profanity (and track three, bless its little heart, features way more than one). Enjoy!

The Three Best Songs in Grand Theft Auto IV

Mix-tape apps seem to be the hot new thing, and while I've already talked about (and really like) Muxtape, I'm also having a lot of fun with Mixwit. My main complaint about Muxtape is that it doesn't offer any kind of widget for off-site use, but Mixwit's got that covered. It lacks some flexibility - you can't upload your own tracks, and I've had problems with a couple "disappearing" songs - but it's easy to use and draws from a pretty large selection of online music. (Update: It also kind of sucks that you can't edit song/artist info. Accuracy, people! Take pride in your copyright infringement!)

I'm still playing Grand Theft Auto IV, and as usual, I'm spending a lot of time just driving around and listening to the in-game radio (there nineteen stations in all - sixteen music and three talk-radio). Jazz station JNR is particularly strong, with tracks from John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Sonny Rollins, and a few more. As a former jazz DJ, that makes me happy, although they could have used a few more songs - some Mingus or Lee Morgan or Jimmy Smith, or maybe Miles' A Tribute to Jack Johnson in its entirety.

Anyway, these are the tracks that I really get excited about, to the point that if they're playing, I'll usually sit in my fake car, double-parked outside a fake building, until they're over. It's like being sixteen again, only with a sniper rifle!