Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reviews You Can Use

Friday night, we saw the Soul Stew Revival with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. Trucks and Tedeschi front an 11-piece band that perform roadhouse rock and R&B at a very high level -- just about the best bar band anyone will ever see.  Trucks' solos were dazzling and Tedeschi seemed much more comfortable than the other time I saw her. Especially strong were toDerek & the Dominos numbers -- "Anyday" (two show-stopping solos by Trucks) and "Tell The Truth." The band did a terrific, lengthy workup of Allen Toussaint's "Hercules" which featured a nice contrapuntal workout between the sax and trombone players. The Soul Stew Revival played the Wilson Pickett arrangement of "Hey Jude," which culminated with a Trucks solo and Tedeschi's R&B shouts played against the backdrop of the Pickett version's classic horn chart. All in all, a terrific show that would have been enhanced by a dance floor. SB, I'd love to see these guys in Floore's Country Store!

Premium T. said after that Trucks' talent and stage presence left her transfixed. There's no grimacing or posing from Derek: He closes his eyes, stands still, and concentrates every ounce of emotion and energy into his hands. I'm not a guitarist and can't identify his right-hand techniques, but he does things that I've never seen anyone else do; in the first clip below, he says that he never pays attention to his right hand! I've also included a poorly recorded but well-worth watching version of "Anyday" from this year's New Orleans Jazz Festival. (Full disclosure: The Derek and the Dominos version is one of my favorite songs.)

The trio Scrapomatic -- fronted by Derek Trucks Band vocalist Mike Mattison -- opened. They performed an intriguing amalgam of front-porch gospel and blues with a little Tom Waits styling thrown in for good measure. Members of the Soul Stew Revival joined in from time to time to add a little punch. Definitely one of the better sets I've seen from an opening act: Mature, intelligent music with a unique perspective...

Citizen K. Saw: Dark Knight.
First of all, Heath Ledger's swaggering, lip-smacking, psychopathic Joker is as good as you've heard it is. Ledger's portrayal takes its place in the lists of great screen villains. When he's in jail, I didn't mind that no one wiped off his makeup because by then I was convinced of its indelibility. Unfortunately, Christian Bale's Batman is kind of a drip and Aaron Eckhart's crusading DA isn't much better. 

The film ties itself into rhetorical knots trying to both oppose and justify extralegal means of combatting terrorism and winds up exploiting it. Just once, I'd like to see a movie or TV show that successfully takes on terrorists by observing the Constitution. They constantly imply that the only way to go is for a cowboy type to apply torture, threats and violence. (We've seen how well that works in real life.) Dark Knight even goes out of its way to endorse illegal cell phone surveillance -- but just once and only if Morgan Freeman is at the controls. (We've also seen how likely this is in real life. Real life has a way of intruding on terrorism fantasies.)

BTW, why is a such a violent, threatening film rated PG-13? There are enough guns to the back of the head and knives in mouths to more than justify a R...

Citizen K. Dined At: Ama Ama Oyster Bar & Grill, West Seattle.
Pleasant ambience, original choices, and reasonable prices distinguish Ama Ama from the pack of Seattle seafood restaurants. I started with a nicely selected and prepared plate of raw oysters accompanied by a perfectly mixed martini. From there, I tried the ceviche of the day (halibut). There was a tad too much dressing, but it was quite good, and the idea of rotating ceviche preparations is a winner. After this came the deep-fried green tomatillo salad, something I had never seen or tasted before. At any rate, I scarfed it down. I topped it off with a delicious chocolate cake supplied by the neighboring Bakery Nouveau. (This was a real treat: Too many restaurants ship in mass-produced desserts, so it was extra nice to have one made from scratch by a local bakery.) The pleasant Miami-retro ambience features nice low lighting, well-chosen and appropriate music played at the right volume, and continually running beach movies (sound turned down) on the flat-screen TVs over the bar. Nicely done all around, and I plan to make the trip from Redmond to West Seattle again, and soon.

Citizen K. Read: The Silver Swan, Benjamin Black
A naive but beautiful young wife runs afoul of a quack healer and a cad in this plodding, disappointing followup to the more successful Christine Falls. John Banville (writing as Benjamin Black) betrays a faulty grasp of the mystery genre with heavy padding and clumsy, crude handling of what little suspense he attempts to muster. Moreover, the protagonist Quirke (introduced in the earlier book) is practically superfluous. The writing quality is consistently high and the characterizations are strong, but little of this advances the plot. I don't mind a deliberate pace -- see John Brady or Elizabeth George -- but it shouldn't be dull. This is...

The Hands Tell The Story:


New Orleans Ladder said...

Wannaful Wannaful.
K, I saw Susan at HOB NOLA as guest of a woman who looks like Derek...or like she could be his little sister...and at the time had not really heard him, until she (his little sister) turned me on to it. Now he my herolero.
Susan was great and I can definitely see what they would see in each other.
Derek has flat floored me what I've seen on other you tube and heard on cd and showtapes, but must and will catch him when can.

Oysters in Seattle? Sounds like a sitcom, like "Meet the Wellbutrins!"
Bada Bing!

Anyway, yer friend P has become quite the Editeurilla Cartoonists.
Can you pick her out?


mouse (aka kimy) said...

oysters in seattle in july...there's no r! aren't you tempting fate? seriously I'm just jealous!

but thanks for the review can you them. if you get a chance to check out the band I posted about today on the mouse, make sure you check them out..... if you don't know of them already! I'm not talking of devo but aphrodesia

The Waco Kid said...


Good comments on The Dark Knight. I pretty much agree with you. I reject the notion put forth by some that the movie is GOP propaganda, since the movie often took left-leaning stances (torture and even beating up The Joker only backfired). I did feel the cell phone spying was a weak link in a plot that was otherwise top-notch (at least for a comic book movie).

As far as the vigilantism and the need to "do whatever it takes" to fight crime/terrorism, I see the parellels, but I find it easy to separate Batman from reality. I feel like Batman is a fictional superhero and, thus, I expect him to do things differently than real-life crimefighters. Although, I agree it would be nice to see a movie with a successful, non-cowboy approach.

Pete (Jr.)