recent shows

It's been a while since I've written one of these... let's see if I can remember everything I've seen since last time. Sometimes I feel like if I don't write it down, in a few years I'll have forgotten that it even happened. Welcome to my offline memory.

Re-Animator Live:

    I enjoyed the stage production of Re-Animator, but I must say, I enjoyed their "Evil Dead Live" a lot more. Part of that is that Evil Dead is a much better story (face it, the Reanimator movies sucked ass) but I thought the production was better on Evil Dead too. It felt like a lot of Re-Animator was "ok, now we get a chance to fire the super-soakers of kool-aid at the audience again" rather than them being effects that just happened to result in a lot of splatter. The "severed talking head" effect was handled really well, though!

Capacitor: Digging in the Dark:
    Really awesome acrobatic dance performance. I don't know how to describe such things, really, but some of the bits they did were really impressive. One of the best parts was a big metal wireframe sphere, full of people: they'd hang symetrically on the outside and change its rotation by leaning in and out.

Cirque du Soleil: Corteo:
    This was pretty great: lots of the usual kind of incredible acrobatics and cool set design that you expect from them. But, they also always tend to throw in some really boring parts. This time it was an interminable gag about Romeo and Juliette with midget clowns. Now that sounds pretty funny, right? Well, maybe for 30 seconds, but it just went on and on... The gigantic scale of the production they put on is impressive, but both Capacitor and Cirque Éloize were much better shows, despite being so much smaller.

Henry Rollins:
    He calls it "spoken word", I call it "stand-up comedy", but either way, it's not to be missed. He stands there and tells stories about his life for 3+ hours, and is absolutely hilarious, even when he's telling you the most horrible, heart-wrenching things. This time he talked about going on a USO tour, meeting horrifically wounded soldiers, the last days of Johnny Ramone, his trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and all kinds of things. I've seen him a bunch of times and never heard him repeat a story, and he always makes me hurt from laughing so hard at least once during the show. And want to blow up the world a few other times.

Dig Jelly:
    This was a nu-metal/punk band consisting of a tiny asian girl singer and three surfer-dudes. They were enthusiastic, but not very good. I guess the best thing I can say about them is that she looks like she works out a lot.

    Southern rock. Absolutely intolerable. I guess the best thing I can say about them is that their music is timeless: in that a time traveller wouldn't have any idea which of the last four decades he had landed in.

Veruca Salt:
    The reason I suffered through the previous two bands, and oh yes, it was worth it. I'd never seen them before, and they were great. I was surprised at how much like the albums they sounded. I wonder whether that means the albums captured their live sound well, or whether it went the other way around. The between-song banter was pretty funny, too: "it's been a few years since we've been here, and I've had a few breakups in the meantime. You might know that, since I wrote an album about them... but it's ok, I'm over it now!"

    A couple of times, the guitar player just passed his guitar out into the crowd and let random people bang on it. Then he'd wave, and it'd get passed back up to him. Brave man!

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15 Responses:

  1. thanks for talking me into (wait: i think you did, at least) the capacitor show. it really was good.

    and i am STILL wildly jealous about the rollins show. damn.

    happy to hear that i caught the right circus show!

    and i wonder if veruca will return...perhaps i should check out a few more of their albums, huh?

  2. sc00ter says:

    I saw Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity in Vegas.. ugh, it was HORRIBLE. It made me not want to see another Cirque show for a good long time.

  3. violentbloom says:

    didn't you do henry, veruca salt, and cirque de soliel already?

  4. jennae says:

    I second the Rollins. I don't think the man breathed, nor stop to take a drink of water during the 3+ hours of the show I saw. Brilliant.

    I'm glad VS is back together. :)

    • jwz says:

      Well, they're not really "back together" -- Veruca Salt (as of "Resolver") is now Louise Post's show. Nina Gordon has a solo album out, but it's very mellow. I like Louise's stuff more.

  5. thomtoffner says:

    Did Henry tell the story about the New York cab driver he fell in love with? I was really, really bummed my fucking Neuros died twenty minutes into the show and missed that part.

  6. terryray says:

    I can't believe you didn't mention the part in Cirque du Soleil where they tied the female midget to a half-dozen weather balloons, so that her net weight was like 8 ounces. And then they threw her out into the crowd and had them bounce her around, like people do with volleyballs in stadiums.

    And you thought the guitar player was brave.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, that was pretty awesome.

      I was confused at first, because when they did that on Mythbusters with a little girl, it took a lot more baloons! I think the trick must be "much bigger baloons".

      • tyggerjai says:

        Yeah - there were 2 Mythbusters versions - float a small child with standard party ballons (thousands required) and fly Adam with weather balloons (dozens, perhaps?). So balloon size, obviously, makes a huge difference, and with big balloons and a small midget, you shouldn't need many.

        The thing about Cirque du Soleil, to my mind, is that all their performers are specialists, and stunningly, superhumanly good. While that makes for a technically impressive show, I also prefer my circus more intimate and human. I'd rather go see Circus Oz, or any of the many smaller circuses in Melbourne, who are less technically impressive (partly because they're generalists), but more entertaining, because they're *not* relying on the impossibility of their feats. So there's more banter, more humour, more active engagement with the audience.

        Though I've only seen Cirque du Soleil's Saltimbanco live, I must admit.


    • sashamalchik says:

      I'm told (I haven't purchased the program to cross-check the names) these very midgets played in a breakthrough 1988 soviet movie everyone who grew up in those turbulent times saw and discussed to death, "Assa" (the movie was incredible and featured cream-of-crop of russian rock that was just coming out from the underground in its soundtrack, and some rockers in small roles)

      I also noticed, unlike some previous Cirque show I saw, that at least half the cast this time was Ukranian/from other soviet republics, as opposed to Romanian (former gymnasts, most likely :))

  7. I am an enormous Henry Rollins Fan, I've seen him twice in a 10 day period and his shows were almost completely different, the stories he does repeat are so good that you don't mind hearing them again. I caught his recent show in Sacramento as I couldn't make the SF one. Never been disapointed by a HR talking show.