My Life in Low Res, Part Three: Shows, shows, shows

More great memories, more bad cell phone photos:

Besnard Lakes/Peter Bjorn and John at Bogarts, 12/2/07
This would've been a pretty cool picture were it taken with an actual camera.

Let's just say this is when they played "Young Folks." Vaguely sure about that.

The Breeders at Shake It Records, 4/18/09
Loved this show. It's a shame I didn't get any better pics than these...

This is Kelley Deal, just fyi. Much better video from this event here. (via Lauren)

Pitchfork Festival at Union Park – Chicago, 7/17-19/09
This was literally my view of nearly every Pitchfork act. I think this is The Walkmen.

A couple of decent pictures from the MF Doom performance. You can see him!

I actually have better pics from the festival. I'll put 'em on Flickr.
For fancier pics, go here (for now).

Deerhunter/Dan Deacon/No Age at Southgate House, 8/4/09
Not much to this one. Just a couple of shots to illustrate how insanely crowded it was.
These were both taken during Dan Deacon's solo set.

And so concludes my trip down low res memory lane. Consider my cell phone emptied.


Ronson vs. Bird

Welcome back to a classic feature here at Ronsonville, Ronson vs. (I should've ™ed this thing what with Man vs. Wild and Man vs. Food having huge successes on the Travelfooddiscoverygarden channel). Put simply, this is a feature where I face off against injustices of the world. It varies from vague rants (Ronson vs. Milk and Milk Products) to actual battles (Ronson vs. Wasps x3). So, that's the backstory. Here's Ronson vs. Bird:

The story: It was a typical Sunday night - around 11 p.m. I was being productive with my time by watching the "edited for basic cable" version of Pulp Fiction. Seriously, it's like watching a completely different movie. We're at the part where Vincent Vega tells Marvin he doesn't like him very much and that he should leave the car so that he and Jules can go visit their friend Quentin Tarantino and get a car wash.

Suddenly, I hear a rustling noise from behind the walls in the far top corner of my living room. I didn't think much of it because I've heard squirrels scurry in that corner all the time. I think they hibernate there during the winter. They aren't getting inside, so it doesn't bother me. But this was different. Five seconds later, there's a bird flying in circles around me on my couch.

The battle: Um, yeah - I panicked. Startled, the only thing I could think to do was open a series of doors leading to my front door, and hope the bird and I would communicate through non-verbal cues and some whistling on my part. But mostly what happened was that the bird flew in circles in various rooms of my apartment while I hid. This kept up for about 20 minutes. Then, just as suddenly as the bird appeared, it was gone.

Sensing a break in the action, I used my time to do what anyone with a problem does in the information age: I quickly threw a grammatically incorrect status update on my Facebook page:

How did? I don't know. There wasn't a moment to spare.

Impressively, within minutes I had a handful of methods to work with and after a few unsuccessful phone calls (Animal Control: "Unfortunately the SPCA is only on call this evening and they wouldn't handle something like this anyway. Good luck!"), I hatched a few plans.

Plan A: Operation Bird Call. I would draw out the bird by playing bird calls on my computer (thanks AE). If you're ever in my situation, you might wanna give it a whirl. I found this call of the hummingbird worked particularly well. Within a few minutes, the bird went from hiding to flying around in circles all over my apartment again. I guess this was the preferred situation.

Plan B1: Follow the Light. I went out to my wasp-loaded deck (fortunately they were in for the evening) and flashed a light around thinking that the bird might be drawn to it, and then freedom. It got close a couple of times, but no such luck. After a few passes, Mr. Feathers went back into hiding.

Plan B2: Kitchen Lockdown (aka The Bad Plan). I noticed whenever the bird would hide, it went into the kitchen. So I decided I would block the room off using my comforter and open one of the tiny windows in the kitchen where it would (again) fly to freedom. Well, unfortunately I couldn't act as bird caller, comforter holder AND window guider all at once. This one fell apart pretty quickly.

Plan B3: The Half-Assed Plan (aka The Plan That Worked). At around 2 a.m., I was getting tired and had gotten used to the fact that this bird and I were going to be roommates for awhile. I went to brush my teeth. When I left the bathroom, I noticed the poor, dumb thing was flying in circles again, so I decided to give it one more try.

I went back to my original plan - I shut off all the lights in the house except the light leading to stairs toward my front door. Somehow, someway, the bird got the message and flew through that door. Now that he was trapped in a much smaller space, I opened a window and he disappeared through it instantly. Enjoy your freedom, Bird. It only took three hours.

Winner: Me, I guess. Over the course of this adventure I was told that birds can be a sign of change. I did some research, and I think that's more in reference to eagles than wrens. But who knows? Perhaps a very, very tiny change is in my future. Or maybe it means next time I should just netflix Pulp Fiction.


Chocolate Horse/Brian Olive/Fiery Furnaces on Fountain Square tonight

To say that the Fiery Furnaces latest album (I'm Going Away) is its most "accessible" in recent years might seem like sort of a backhanded compliment. However, this is a band that seems to pride itself on "difficult albums" and "artistic cred" and they've suffered some backlash for these stubborn pursuits. For crying out loud, the Friedbergers' grandmother sang half the vocals on the band's 2006 album Rehearsing My Choir. Even hardcore indie rock fans had trouble getting behind that one.

So maybe it was time for the band to pack away some of its eccentricities. From a critical perspective, it's paid off - I'm Going Away is clinging to "Universal Acclaim" status over at Metacritic right now, and while I've never been a hardcore fan of the band, what I've heard of the album matches up pretty well with my favorite FF album EP, (it's 50 minutes long - definitely more of an album than actual EP).

Live, they're a bit of a mixed bag. For at art-driven as their music is, the stage show is pretty straight forward: just the band on stage hammering out a bit more ragged versions of their poppier album-version counterparts. A song like "Chris Michaels" (a favorite of mine from Blueberry Boat) isn't necessarily enhanced by the live experience, though it is interesting to see how they pull it off. But I doubt many people go to shows to see how a band handles time signatures.

One big plus for me is the hiring of Sebadoh's Jason Loewenstein. Not that his bass-playing necessarily brings a huge difference to the way the band sounds, it's just good to see him out.

Criticism hardly means much when you can see the band for free tonight and make your own opinions. I strongly suggest checking out both opening acts, particularly Brian Olive. His self-titled 2009 album might just hold out as one of the best of the year. Show starts at 7. You should go.


My Life in Low Res, Part Two: Morrissey at The Pageant, St. Louis 4/8/09

The "no cameras" rule at this Morrissey show didn't scare me. Well, OK yeah, it did. Fortunately my cell phone camera came to the rescue once again and I was able to snag these two "moments" from the show:

See that glowing, alien-like figure on the left of the photo? That's Morrissey!

A better shot of the entire stage backdrop, and some of the mopey onlookers.

This Charming Man
Billy Budd
Black Cloud
How Soon is Now?
Irish Blood, English Heart
When I Last Spoke To Carol
How Could Anybody Possibly Know the Way I Feel
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Some Girls are Bigger than Others
Something is Squeezing My Skull
Seasick, Yet Still Docked
The Loop
The World is Full of Crashing Bores
Death of a Disco Dancer
Best Friend on the Payroll
I Keep Mine Hidden
Sorry Doesn't Help
Let Me Kiss You
I'm OK by Myself

First of the Gang to Die

My Life in Low Res, Part One: Uncollected

Too many shows, too many times I've come equipped with just the ol' taped-together Motorola blue Razr cell phone that I've now had for two years. Here are some random highlights, shows and lowlights since 2007:

The HoJo we stayed in during Lollapalooza 2007. They lied about the ice cream.

Vampire Weekend show at the Gypsy Hut, Feb. 13 2008. I'm only 40 percent sure that's actually someone from Vampire Weekend.

The Police/Elvis Costello show in Columbus, May 4, 2008. Pretty great seats, eh?

Repping my home state at The Hideaway in Northside, Feb. 14, 2009.

Margot and the Nuclear So & So's, April 16, 2009. You can't tell, but there are actually 17 people on stage.

I'm pitching this as the cover to the next My Bloody Valentine album.

Rainbow, eerie highrise, Columbia Parkway, 2009.


Deerhunter/Dan Deacon/No Age tonight at Southgate House

OK, so this isn't a lineup (though it'd be pretty amazing if it was) - all three bands will be playing on stage simultaneously. They call it a "round robin" tour, but I think that's a little misleading. It seems like the bands should be competing against each other, tourney-style. Actually, they'll just be trading off and participating in each other's songs. This is a 7-date tour, and the Southgate House in Newport, KY was lucky enough to be included in the mix.

So, let's talk about Bradford Cox. He's the lead singer of Deerhunter (pictured above). Sure, he's kinda creepy, but he's also a way better blogger than I am and an amazingly prolific songwriter. Anyone who can maintain the creativity for two bands - Deerhunter (his main psychedelic rock gig) and Atlas Sound (a surprisingly decent "bedroom recordings" type project) gets a gold star in my book. I'll be interested in checking out Dan Deacon and No Age, but I'll probably be focusing on the Deerhunter songs. They've been a buzz band since I first heard about them (I was shut out of all of their performances at SXSW 2007), and now that they've followed up Cryptograms with the excellent Microcastle last year, there'll just be more to love.

If I think of it, I'll probably drop a couple of Twitter updates about the show throughout the night - just in case you can't make it. Actually, there's a good chance you won't make it if you haven't already bought tickets, because the show's sold out. Sorry. Shoulda mentioned that before.