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I don’t announce many non-music events on this blog, but this is one big exception: Neil deGrasse Tyson will be speaking at Vanderbilt University’s Langford Auditorium next Tuesday, Nov. 13th. This guy is a total badass. He is one of the few true “real science” celebrities, and he’s also one of my personal heroes. He’s been on TV countless times- hosting shows on PBS, Discovery Channel, Science Channel and more, as well as guest appearances on The Daily Show and Colbert Report many times. I have no idea what he will talk about, but mark my word it will be entertaining and informative. The guy always manages to succeed in convincing the masses that nerd stuff is cool, and is thus an invaluable ambassador of science to the public. I strongly suggest getting your ticket now via any Ticketmaster outlet. They’re only $5 for non-Vandy students, and $10 for general public. (And free if you’re a Vandy student, staff, or faculty member!)

UPDATE: I didn’t realize this event was already sold out! So, still awesome and I hope you got tickets in time!

Here’s the official Vanderbilt link for more info.

See you there!

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Weekend shows & weather

April 23, 2010

This weekend is actually pretty good in terms of live music in Nashville. Here’s what’s on my radar:

The biggest story tonight and tomorrow is probably Rites of Spring at Vanderbilt, featuring the awesome one-two punch of Phoenix and Passion Pit. The full lineup is at the RoS website, but the only bands I’m even remotely interested in seeing are those two, and maybe Two Door Cinema Club. I will be there taking pics for the Scene as usual.

Friday: If outdoors festivals aren’t your thing, Chicken Ranch Records out of Austin, TX is doing a badass showcase at the Basement featuring The Clutters, We Were The States, Tiger Tiger, and Jimmy Duke & the Riot.

Saturday: If outdoor festivals aren’t your thing and afterparties are, you’ll want to head to 12th & Porter where the weekly Y2K DJs Coach and Hands off Sam will be joined by none other than members of Passion Pit, who will have (or not, depending on the weather) played Rites of Spring earlier that evening. DJ Potamus is also on the bill. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Passion Pit’s DJ sets- they did at least a few of them at SXSW this year.

Sunday: Peelander-Z w/ Tim Chad and Sherry & The Man Power at Exit/In. I saw Peelander-Z there a couple years ago and it was a blast. The bass player was literally hanging upside-down from the balcony. Just be prepared for some major crowd participation if you go.

Another big story this weekend is the weather. As you can see from the NWS severe weather outlook to the right, we’re in the “moderate risk” category for severe storms on saturday. The current thinking is that some storms will beigin to roll in very late tonight, sometime between 11pm and 3am, and hopefully not drenching tonight’s Rites of Spring festivities. Then the real action will start up saturday morning and basically be a threat all day long, into the evening. This is not just a few storms with a little hail and some wind, there is also a good possibility of tornadoes, and that’s why I have a strong feeling much of saturday’s Rites activities will end up getting canceled altogether. I can only hope for their sake that the threat passes by the evening AND that no damage is done to the stage/equipment so that the headliners can at least still play.

Important weather things to remember for saturday: The Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma issues severe weather watches. A watch is for a large area of land and means that conditions are favorable for severe weather to occur, but it is not an immediate threat. Our local National Weather Service office issues severe weather warnings. A warning is usually for a county or even just a city area and means that severe weather is actually occurring and will hit your area soon, so take cover. There’s always confusion on Vanderbilt’s campus regarding the on-campus vs. the downtown Nashville tornado sirens as well. Here’s how it works: the downtown Nashville siren goes off if there is a tornado warning issued for anywhere in Davidson County. The Vandy campus siren only goes off if a tornado warning is issued that specifically includes downtown Nashville. Thus, sometimes the downtown siren will go off and the Vandy campus one won’t (example: a warning issued for SE Davidson Co./LaVergne), and frankly it confuses the hell out of people on the Vandy campus. But that’s how it works.

Please be safe and heed all warnings this weekend!

Skiing/weekend stuff

February 12, 2010

Megan and I are headed for my hometown of Kingsport this weekend to take advantage of this last snowstorm that dumped about 10 inches in the southern Appalachians. We’re going skiing at either Beech or Sugar mountain. Skiing in the southern Apps can be tricky due to the fickle winter weather around here… yes the mountains are always colder than other areas, but they still have to make most of their snow with machines, and sometimes they’ll have a long period of daytime highs in the 40s and nighttime lows in 20s, which means some of the snow melts in the day, then re-freezes at night, causing icy spots that are a huge thorn in any skiers side. But with this last snowstorm, and the fact that temps there haven’t gotten above freezing for several days, and won’t until sometime next week, the slopes should be pretty nice & powdery this weekend.

That means I won’t be out & about seeing shows/partying/etc… this weekend, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be.

The big show tonight is Tortoise with Disappears at Exit/In. Also: Neil O’Neil and Max & the Wild Things at the 5 Spot.

Saturday- Oblio, Shoot the Mountain, Deleted Scenes, Steve LaBate at The Basement.

Also on Saturday, two things will be coming together that I honestly thought I’d never EVER say in the same sentence: Infinity Cat and Vanderbilt. Yes, according to Nashville’s Dead, Infinity Cat bands Natural Child and Daniel Pujol will be playing at Vandy’s McGill Hall (that’s a dorm), along with a band called Colossi. I have no idea if Colossi is associated with Infinity Cat. Pretty crazy huh? Although, being a Vandy employee, I do know that McGill Hall is definitely the extreme exception to the typical Vandy kid stereotype. It’s basically where most of the students who don’t fit into that Greek/trust-fund-kid stereotype live. So while Vanderbilt and Infinity Cat definitely have a bit of an oil & water vibe, McGill and Infinity Cat seem much more like peanut butter & jelly.

Have a great weekend!

After some thinking, I have this to say about the Bonnaroo 2010 lineup: 1/2 good, 1/2 FAIL. Part of it is just my personal taste, but part of it is just plain WTF?

First the bad part: the headliners. The combination of Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Kings of Leon, and Dave Matthews Band (the 1st 4 listed in the lineup, thus assumed to be headliners) is pretty weak compared to Phish/Springsteen, or Metallica/Pearl Jam, or The Police/Tool. As much as I hate Phish, they were a HUGE score for the festival last year, and IMO, they needed someone like the widely-rumored Paul Simon or Paul McCartney to really stand up the last few years. I don’t think Jay-Z, despite his legendary status in the hip hop world, can quite fill the shoes of past headliners. Stevie Wonder is awesome and I’m glad he’s playing but somehow I just don’t see him as quite headliner material. DMB has played Bonnaroo before, and of course will please the hippie crowd, but will also draw a considerable number of collar-poppin’ fratastic douchebags.

Now for the good part: the tent-playing (or maybe Which Stage-playing) mid-level indie acts. I’m more than elated to see She & Him, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Flaming Lips, Miike Snow, They Might Be Giants, OK Go, The Melvins, Neon Indian, and many more of the “indie rock” acts on the bill. Let’s just say that if I go to cover it for the Scene again this year, I will no doubt be spending most of my time in the tents.

In other lineup news, Vanderbilt’s Rites of Spring lineup came right on the heels of the Bonnaroo announcements, and the list is not surprising, though Phoenix and Passion Pit together make the lineup a tad bit stronger than past years, IMO. Headliners Ben Harper & the Relentless 7 and Drake fit right into the typical RoS formula of putting an up-and-coming rap star on one night, and a frat-pleasing, jam-ish act on the other. But this broad, please-all formula has worked well for the festival in the past, so I can’t blame them for doing what works. This ain’t no Pitchfork afterall.

As most Nasvhillians who pay any amount of attention to the local electronic/DJ scene already know, Justin Kase has been on the road for several months as a the DJ in Ke$ha’s backing band. He also ran a pretty cool, though sparingly updated blog called Blogging Is Serious Business. Sadly, though, he’s putting that blog on indefinite hiatus:

Touring kept me from updating recently, but now i just don’t have any interest to continue this blog. Never say never, but don’t expect anything new for some time to come.

What’s utterly flattering, though, is that he mentioned my blog, along with the obvious Nashville Nights, as an alternative for “your Nashville dancing fix…” Therefore, expect me to attempt to live up to that plug by bringing in a little more coverage of the DJ/electronic/dance scene beside my usual plugs for gigs at which I’m DJing. Don’t expect many mp3’s though, because A) Joseph at Nashville Nights has that very well-covered, and B) I don’t have the time or energy to devote to climbing the HypeMachine charts and getting labels/producers to send me shit to post. I will however, post a link to my last mix, just in case you missed it back in Dec. (Spring 2010 Mixxxx is currently in production for release next month.)

DJ Burgers-Winter 09 MIXXXX

Finally, I was excited to this nicely-done video of the Morning Benders performing/recording the track “Excuses” for Yours Truly with about 50 of their best musician friends crammed into the studio, Phil Spector-style. In fact, as the singer Chris Chu talks about in the interview segment, the song is a bit of a tribute to Spector and his “Wall of Sound” recording method. They even wrote a cute little letter to him which you can read at Yours Truly. Here’s the video. (All of this via Gorilla vs. Bear and Pitchfork)

Prabir & The Substitutes at Grand Palace in Murfreesboro, TN circa 2007

I’ve been a fan of most everything Prabir Mehta has done since his band the Rachel Nevadas were around in the early/mid aughts. Sometime in 06 they disbanded, and he subsequently formed Prabir & The Substitutes. I enjoyed them every bit as much as the Rachel Nevadas, but now I’m sad to say that the Substitutes are no more. When I found a Facebook invite to an event in their hometown of Richmond, VA titled something like “Ghost of Pop 5- Prabir & The Substitutes’ last show!” I decided to shoot him an email and get some clarification on exactly what was going down. Here’s what he had to say-

There are many reasons for the break up …many many but know were all good friends and are all looking forward to the break and will continue to work w. one another no matter what.

1- the record “We Are The Funeral” is going to be scrapped but also turned into a collection of songs we WERE tryin to finish and what not….will see the light of day in a few months
2- new project…yes… www.myspace.com/prabirgoldrush …i’m working w. classically trained musicians and working on this stuff for now. again, its sad to not have chris, charlie, robbie, and shawn backing up this project but it was just time for us to try playing w. other musicians. these two musicians (matthew and treesa gold) are fantastic and love the Beatles and Beethoven. They have a great set of ears and understand the places my songs come from. So, working with them has been fantastic. I hope the group will make its way to Nashville at some point but for now we’re still working on songs and getting our act together at home.

So there you have it. I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy his new project as much as I’ve enjoyed his other projects, and I’d almost be willing to bet there will be a Substitutes reunion somewhere down the road… eventually. Here’s “How Can We Make This Ghost Happy” from their first official EP Annabelle, I’m Coming Home Tonight, along with a song called “Easy” which was recorded live on my former radio show Fascination Street on 88.3 WMTS. To my knowledge “Easy” was never released or recorded, and for some odd reason I never even saw them play it live… *Easy will show up in iTunes with “Fascination Street” as the artist*

Prabir & The Substitutes- How Can We Make This Ghost Happy

Prabir & The Substitutes- Easy (recorded live on Fascination Street, 88.3 WMTS Murfreesboro)

WRVU’s board of directors stuck to their guns regarding the extremely controversial cap on the # of community/non-affiliated DJs. More on that can be found here. Yesterday they released the list of community DJs who would get to keep their shows, and those not on the list are SOL. That list can be found at the Nashville Cream. Though I didn’t get to see the details of the alternative proposal developed by a group of community, student, and staff DJs, from what I understand it would’ve been a lot better that a strict 25 community DJ limit. Ultimately I think (and hope) that the board will realize there needs to be some flexibility in regards to the summer (when most of the student DJs aren’t present) and that a limit on the number community DJ’ed shows makes much more sense than limiting the number of DJs themselves. Lets just wait till next fall and see what happens when they re-evaluate the policy.

Nashville band Paper Route has been getting some blog attention recently thanks to being on tour with Paramore, and also getting remixed by none other than Nick Catchdubs. Grab the remix at RCRD LBL.

And just for the hell of it, here’s a video of David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing Christmas songs together…. wait WHAT?

Via Clusterflock

//

I totally drank the She & Him koolaid in 2008 and I don’t regret it for a minute. I love everything about that album, and not just because Zooey Deschanel… AHEM… Gibbard… is the singer. Good news came today via Stereogum and TwentyFourBit that S&H have a new record done and ready for release in early 2010. Kinda surprising that Stereogum didn’t mention S&H in their most anticipated albums of 2010. Seriously though… new shit from MGMT? The Avalanches? LCD Soundsystem? Spoon? HELL YES 2010 is gonna kick 2009’s ass.

Just a quick note: just confirmed last night that I’ll be guest DJing at La Paz‘s new location this friday night with DJ Potamus. The new location is where Ombi Bar used to be. (2214 Elliston Pl.) Please do come out and have blast with us. I’m bringin’ some hot new jamz, and Potamus always kills it.

Also, my photography exhibit at Vanderbilt is coming down soon (Dec. 11th), so if you want to see it, I’d suggest coming one night this week or next. Night is best because Vanderbilt parking is slightly less of a nightmare then. It’s in the Sarratt Student Center. Google map here. Rather than wandering around trying to find the Rand Promenade, just ask the front desk attendant for directions. If you’ve ever been to WRVU, it’s in the same building.

I have a batch of winter ale in the bottles now. It’ll be ready in a couple of weeks… I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my best batch yet because it smells really good. I basically took a pre-made Porter recipe and added some winter spices to it.

Not much time today so here are newsy bits, as they’re called over at the Cream.

Pitchfork reports that Conor Oberst is probably “closing the book” on Bright Eyes after one more album. Emo girls: you’ll just have to settle for his solo project from now on. Sorry.

jamesjacksontothJames Jackson Toth moved to Murfreesboro around a year or two ago around the same time his band Wooden Wand was calling it quits. I honestly wasn’t familiar with Wooden Wand until about this time, but I did receive a promo copy of his new album Hard Knox under the name “Wand.” He’s been getting some serious love in the blogosphere as of lately, and is about to embark on a tour with the likes of Destroyer and Akron/Family, among others. Today he was mentioned on both RCRD LBL and Stereogum, both of which have free mp3s.

Local web design champion and music enthusiast Michael Eades did a stupendous (and much needed) redesign of the Mercy Lounge’s website. It’s a vast improvement and the calendar is much more readable and easy to use. They also have a blog in the works that hopefully will startup any day now. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

In some local news- it was cool to learn this morning that an emeritus professor at Vanderbilt was the mathematician responsible for solving the three-body problems required to send the Apollo missions to the moon.

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