Sunday, September 25, 2005

Next Weekend

Next weekend is looking to be one of the high points of the year, fitting a whole bunch of great events into one three day stretch. It all begins Friday when I'm going to Yale to see David Lynch give a lecture called "Consciousness, Creativity and the Brain." I love Lynch's films, he's one of the most consistently challenging filmmakers out there today and his best films are enigmas that require multiple viewings to fully understand. I always like to meet the people behind the works of fiction I love, and Lynch is way up there on my list.

But besides the fact that he's made so many great films, I'm also really interested in hearing what Lynch has to say about the brain and the creative process. The reason for this lecture is that he's doing a tour of colleges in order to raise awareness about his foundation devoted to making meditation available to school children. In Lynch on Lynch, he spends a long time talking about his creative process, and how he's not so much making the story as tapping into some higher plane that he receives the story from. So, he'll sit in a chair and wait for the story to come to him, quite similar to the idea of the Immateria that Alan Moore talks about in Promethea. So hearing him talk more about this in person should be pretty interesting.

And maybe he'll give some details on Inland Empire, it's supposedly been in the works for a couple of years now, and is supposed to premiere at Cannes in May, so he's probably pretty far along with it. Plus, he's got a great voice, and hearing Gordon Cole live should be fun.

So, that's Friday, then Saturday I'm going to see Serenity, Joss Whedon's film. I was supposed to see it a few weeks ago when Joss appeared here, but I was shut out, so I'll finally get a chance Saturday. It'll be cool to see what Joss can do with these characters to build off the series, though I doubt it'll be one of the all time great films, it's almost guaranteed to be entertaining. Plus, I'm really interested to see how it does at the box office, I just don't see high grosses, but considering its low budget, I doubt it will lose money.

Then Sunday is another major event, the Across the Narrows concert in Brooklyn. The premise of this music festival is to have simultaneous concerts in Brooklyn and Staten Island, one on each day of the weekend, for four concerts total. They're all pretty good, featuring such bands as Oasis, Doves and The Killers, but the best one for me was the second Brooklyn one featuring The Polyphonic Spree, Belle and Sebastian, The Raveonettes and Beck.

The Polyphonic Spree put on the best concert I've ever been to when I saw them last. The sound was completely overwhelming as 25 people played with such enthusiasm. After a really long wait, followed by a flute solo, the pounding entrance on 'We Sound Amazed' was a completely overwhelming wall of sound, literally shaking the floor beneath me. The whole show was phenomenal, the lights coming on as they sing "It's the sun!" Most Spree songs fit perfectly in a live setting, with their anthemtic choruses and massive instrumental portions.

This show will probably feature some material from their new album, the Thumbsucker soundtrack. Being a soundtrack, there's not that many fully realized songs on there, but 'Move Away and Shine' is one of the best songs The Spree have ever done and I'm really looking forward to hearing that one live. They're just so energetic, it's impossible not to enjoy one of their shows.

The other band that made this show an essential one for me is Belle and Sebastian. I started listening to them earlier this year, and I've become a huge fan. Their songs are very smart, lyrically clever like The Smiths. I usuallly don't care much about lyrics, but theirs really capture your attention, most notably on 'Storytelling,' a song about the rules of writing a story which is really funny and catchy.

But, even without the great lyrics, the music on their songs is great. They use a lot of big instrumentation, featuring strings, synthesizer and most notably a trumpet. The instrumental solo on 'Sleep the Clock Around' is beautiful. I also like the way they integrate the multiple vocalists. One of the best moments in their work is on 'Lazy Line Painter Jane,' when a female vocalist comes in, just taking control of the song, elevating it. I've been binging through their alubms lately, trying to get caught up for this concert. So far all their stuff has been pretty solid, though the best is 'If You're Feeling Sinister' and 'The Boy with the Arab Strap.' I've still got to get through the second disk of Push Barman Open Old Wounds and Dear Catastrophe Waitress before the concert.

These two drew me to the concert, but knowing about the other bands, I figured I'd check them out so it wouldn't just be waiting around be the two bands I did like, and I'm really glad I did. The Raveonettes are one of my new favorites, I've been listening to a lot of their most recent album, Pretty in Black. The album reminds me a lot of David Lynch in the way it has a very dark, yet 50s feel. The songs have guitar and vocal parts that are very 50s, and they even cover 'My Boyfriend's Back.' But, their 50s is a darker version, it's almost a post apocalyptic reconstruction of the 50s.

The best track is 'Uncertain Times,' a love song that reaches epic heights, with a great guitar part driving it. 'Sleepwalking' is a bit more rocking, driving track. But nearly every song on the album is solid, seeming to come from a distorted time warp. Their earlier work is more conventional and modern sounding, but still fun to listen to, and I'm really psyched to hear them live.

So, this will be one long, hopefully awesome concert. I've got the dream that The Polyphonic Spree and Belle and Sebastian will combine for a track, bringing it to 35 people on the stage, though the tone of their songs are so different, it might be tough to do. But regardless, seperately they'll have enough awesomeness to carry it.

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