How’s about another Joe’s Pick? Yeah? Yeah!
It’s been a little more than two months since we first checked in with what my father-in-law has been listening to, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring you round 2.
(Editor’s note: This is the last of three posts about this past Saturday, which was jam-packed with great music. Click here for the first post, which talked about meeting the stepdad of Jeremy Salken from Big Gigantic, and click here for the second post, which chronicled the fantastic Trillions CD release show at Gallery 5.)
The world is a tiny place. It used to be big. Huge even! So huge that we didn’t even know the fucker was round! Crazy, right? Now it’s so small that I can write a blog post about meeting the stepdad of a famous musician and hear back from that musician via Twitter in a matter of minutes. And it’s so small that we can be several places at once. Thanks to the world wide web of information, just as we can watch every single game of the NCAA basketball tournament, we can now attend music festivals from thousands of miles away, and last weekend was a great example. Throughout the weekend, Coachella was webcasting performances, 3 at a time, and I was in heaven. And though I’m not going to argue that watching on my laptop beats being there in person, there is one HUGE advantage.
I’ve been to Bonnaroo twice, in 2004 and 2005, and one of the most difficult things about the monster music festival experience (aside from not showering for 3 days and being around other people who haven’t showered in 3 days) is the decision-making. One band vs. another that’s scheduled to play at the same time. It’s downright painful in the moment, and there’s around a 95% chance that you will despise your decision a few years later (Jack Johnson over the Black Crowes haunts me to this day). But there I was on Friday night, zooming from Dawes to Arctic Monkeys and back in the blink of an eye. Like I said, heaven. But Saturday was a little more stressful. As I left the Trillions’ CD release show, holding two new CDs, one sticker and a whole mess of excitement, I was also lugging around a serious sense of urgency.
In the good old days, before it was taken over by Groupon and Living Social, people used to use email for all sorts of things… checking in with friends (“Hey asshole, you still owe $50 for fantasy football.”), coordinating bachelorette parties (“I don’t want to do anything too crazy you guys, maybe just some wine tasting or a spa day and then I guess we can go out for a little later that night but NOTHING TOO CRAZY YOU GUYS FOR REAL”), even staying in touch with family (“Mom I need $50 for fantasy football can you send a check thanks love you bye”). Email also used to be one of my favorite ways to follow bands. I’ve always enjoyed Guster’s updates and studio journals, penned by drummer-who-could-very-well-be-a-writer Brian Rosenworcel (not to be confused with singer-who-wrote-a-really-cool-children’s-novel Colin Meloy of the Decemberists), but I haven’t kept up with email lists as much lately — especially since so many seem like they’re coming directly from record companies, sporting rich HTML and graphics, and don’t come close to fostering a one-on-one connection with the artist. I’m happy to say that Lianne La Havas has snapped me out of my complacency. The first few messages to her list have been refreshing in their lighthearted humor and sense of intimacy. In addition to updates about shows and releases, she imparts weekly advice, like “Eat more soup. You stay fuller for longer,” and “Remember never to swallow the snot” — both excellent tips. In her most recent email, she included a link to her hypnotic Take-Away Show, which everyone should stop what they’re doing and watch immediately, and she also reminded us that she’d be appearing on Later… with Jools Holland. Her companions on Later…’s circular sound stage last night included Bon Iver and Feist, altogether a perfect storm of “Shit… does Verizon get BBC2?” The answer is no. Or I couldn’t find it. In any case, I waited patiently for video of the proceedings to show up online, and La Havas gave a performance of her song “Age” that was well worth the wait. Standing at the convergence of two spotlights, alone on the massive Later… stage, she brought to life the song’s sophisticated marriage of vulnerability and assertiveness, finger picking an electric guitar and singing in a voice that was sultry one moment and forceful the next. All throughout, her smile and apparent warmth echoed the personality I found in her electronic correspondence, filling the studio and leaving me all the more excited to receive her next update. Check out her Later… performance of “Age” above and the version from her Live in L.A. EP below, which you can snag for the meager price of an email address (rest assured, this is one email list you won’t bemoan joining).
Lianne La Havas — “Age“