Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Apopka means big potato, or something like that

Why does it take so long to cook potatoes? I have a fairly simple meal I'm trying to make, but I have to wait an hour for the potatoes. This makes no sense.

I suppose I can use this time to update, since I should be updating more frequently anyway. I had thought of updating several times, like about my trip to Phoenix, my trip to LA, my department being disbanded and me getting moved to a new department with a new position that I'm not so sure about, and of course, I was going to update about all my attempts at domestication including how I make it a point to cook now, and how I even clean up after myself when I'm done cooking.

But as you can see, I updated about none of this.

Sunday night I wrote another chapter of the 2nd East Water novel. Well, more like a part of the chapter. Maika read through it and made some excellent points, so I will be revising it and probably adding more to that chapter before moving on to the next one. Book 2 is coming out a lot more organic and fast-paced than the first one, but I'm not surprised since the first book was really an elaborate set up.

Lately I've been getting the advice to send it straight to a publisher, which is the exact opposite advice that I was getting before about sending it to an agent first. I guess it wouldn't hurt to try the publisher angle either. A lot has been brought up about self-publishing, but my whole point is that I shouldn't have to pay for people to read my story. If that's going to be the case, then I'd rather throw it up on the Internet for free and let everyone have at it. I don't write to make money, so I most certainly do not write to spend money either.

My trip to Seattle is coming up! I'm pretty excited. An and I are going to hit the town, and we're going to get to see The Stereophonics in the process. The last time I saw them perform was in Atlanta during their acoustic tour to promote J.E.E.P. That was a very long time ago. I still had my zine back then, and I reviewed the show for it. It's kind of amusing to read it after all this time, but since I found it, I'll go ahead and post it here. Enjoy.

review and photo by Lina Rivera

The Cotton Club (Atlanta, Georgia)
February 5, 2001

After kidnapping my dear friend, Marleen, and transporting her across state lines, I finally filled her in on my little secret. We were going to Atlanta! We were going to see Stereophonics! "Who?" Marleen wondered as she laughed at my insanity. I explained to her everything she needed to know: V98, V99, Kelly, Stuart, Richard, and a little more about Kelly. She was informed but she couldn't have been prepared.

It took us 8 hours to get to Atlanta, at which point I became utterly confused. Downtown Atlanta is not so easy to navigate, and they have hills, too. After doing two loops around Luckie Street, Marleen convinced me to bother looking behind me instead of in front of me which is when I saw the sign for "The Cotton Club" on the side of a gorgeous building called "Tabernacle" which at some point really was a tabernacle (stained glass windows and all), but is now a music venue with a great sound system (or so I heard). We parked in the parking lot directly at The Cotton Club's entrance, and discovered that it was in the basement of this impressive building.

When we were let in, we were treated to the sight of chairs set up in front of the stage. What a wonderful idea! It was an acoustic set after all. On every chair was a little Stereophonics pamphlet, a nice little souvenir for all who attended. Marleen and I sat down in the back row but had an absolutely perfect view of the stage. It is a small club, but there was space to work with, so you didn't feel completely like you were in a hole in the wall club (it had two full bars, a fairly wide stage, stairs leading to the restrooms).

Now onto the show. The Stereophonics came out with their new members, but without drummer Stuart Cable. As Kelly later explained, Stuart was at home with his new baby. They began the show with "I Stopped To Fill My Car Up" which wasn't much of a stretch for them in this acoustic setting. And they followed it with "Hurry Up And Wait" which also lends itself to the acoustic environment. The entire crowd sat silent through the two openers, acknowledging their pleasure of the band's choice to start with two songs they were already familiar with. A smart move considering the band's purpose for this acoustic tour is to showcase the new songs off their new album J.E.E.P. After the two opening songs, Kelly went on to announce that they would be playing a new song, and that the new song would be coming off their new album J.E.E.P. In a funny moment, he explained that they couldn't name their album Jeep, like they had wanted to because the Chrysler Corporation told them that they couldn't, "So instead we named it Just Enough Education to Perform with a capital J, a capital E, capital E, and a capital P." The way he said it was quite adorable and the whole crowd laughed.

The next three songs were all new and they were all wonderful. I'm really quite anxious to hear the new album. The ones that stood out were "Mr. Writer" and "Step On These Size Nines" (I'm not sure about either title honestly). I was quite mezmerized, but what really made these songs was Kelly's passionate voice. He was singing with so much emotion that every song came off as beautiful. I don't think I've ever heard him sing like this before and he was showcasing all kinds of vocal ranges, even (at the end of the show) a very nice falsetto.

The band went on to do three covers, the first was a Rod Stewart cover which made sense with Kelly's raspy voice. Wonderfully done. Then at the end they ended with a Beatles cover, but for the life of me I can't remember which song it was. But the one that will always stand out in my head, the one that I want a bootleg copy of, the one that has fortified Kelly Jones into my book of all time favorites, actually came at the end of one of their own songs. As they were doing a new song, Kelly intertwined it into a soulful, despair driven version of "House of The Rising Sun" by The Animals. Dear God! It was amazing! I literally had chills.

I'm not sure what it is about the acoustic setting that drew out all this emotion in Kelly, but it was something that didn't really come out before when they had played plugged. Vice versa, Kelly seemed a little shy and intimidated playing an acoustic show, but that really only came across when he wasn't actually singing. He just didn't seem to know what to do when he had stopped singing, so he looked down a lot or got ready with his guitar. Priceless.

I haven't mentioned the other members, partially because I was so awed by Kelly's performance, but Richard was all the way to the audience's right, playing his bass mostly with his head down the whole time. The new guitarist, Scott, seemed to be more concerned about playing the songs right then into actually performing them, and the keyboardist did well accentuating the songs with extra melody. But when it comes down to it, it was Kelly's show.

My favorite song (other than the Animals cover), was "Local Boy In The Photograph", partially because it's still one of my favorite Stereophonics songs, and partially because any song that goes from rockin' loud to being calmed down for an acoustic show just sounds great. Strangely, they didn't do some of their hits like "Pick A Part That's New" and "I Wouldn't Believe Your Radio", the second song being prime material for an acoustic show. About the only other songs they did do from their first two albums were "Traffic", "Just Looking", and "Word Gets Around". But the fact that the show was completely enjoyable is probably a testament to how great the new songs sounded.

As for the audience, they were quite attentive, and the girls had fun screaming out whenever Kelly removed an article of clothing. The crowd yelled out some songs for the and to play, one girl yelled out "Traffic" which Kelly did go on to play, while another guy yelled out, "Who'll Stop The Rain" which Kelly yelled back "Fuck No" too and then laughed. The audiences strong energy for the encore and their standing ovation at the end for the band, showed how solid this acoustic show was. Stepping back out into the beautiful Atlanta skyline made me realize that the 8 hour drive had been well worth it, and when I asked Marleen what she thought of the show, she couldn't stop raving about it. That speaks for itself.

Wow, my concert reviewing skills seriously sucked. I apparently was a bit obsessed with the word "wonderful." Weird.

Well my dinner is done (fried shrimp and baked fries, yum!) and it's time for me to get back to that pesky chapter and work on it.

See you in the next one, have a good time.