September 4, 1998 |
It's not hip to admit it, but the Dishwalla concert on Tuesday at the Theater of Living Arts wasn't half bad. Much as new wavers once delivered their palatable derivation of punk to the suburban masses, Dishwalla takes the venom out of grunge's dirty bite and offers it up to rebellious but not disenfranchised youth (and a few critics enjoying a guilty pleasure). The group's overblown songs might seem strange to more mature ears, but they successfully address the self-importance of teenagers.
December 9, 1995 |
If Wednesday night's sold out show at the Trocadero had been the final exam in a high school course, Pearl Jam 101, Silverchair would have earned a perfect score. Daniel Johns, the 16-year-old leader of the Australian grunge trio, has that angst-ridden, stentorian bellow down. He gives good Eddie. Plus, the stringy-haired blond "looks just like Kurt," as one typically enraptured teen enthused. Indeed, Johns and his 15-year-old buddies, bassist Chris Joannou and drummer Ben Gillies, have studied hard at the school of Seattle grunge.
August 19, 1996 |
Stabbing squalls of grunge guitar attended the opening number, "Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)" at the Waterfront Entertertainment Centre in Camden Friday night. It was an exquisite gesture from the "godfather of grunge," Neil Young, reunited with his longtime collaborators in Crazy Horse for this tour. Exquisite, because it both mocked the overblown, uninspired nature of much current grunge and simultaneously transcended it. It also served as paean to the work of Kurt Cobain, whose suicide note contained a line from the song: "It's better to burn out, than to fade away.
September 4, 1994 |
Even on a good day - with faces scrubbed, stickup hair tamed, and Sunday- go-to-church clothes on - we four in the Bassman family would never be mistaken for one of those windswept, blond, nuclear groupings who live in the Polo ads. No, at best, individually and collectively, we get by. Barely. What can we say about a father who regularly wears jeans and old T-shirts to work? A mother allergic to skirts and stockings? Two sons, ages 9 and 6, who follow in the family tradition where blazers and rep ties are saved for special occasions when their father has to see clients or go to a funeral?
February 7, 1997 |
The informative documentary "Hype" explains that grunge music, to paraphrase Mark Twain, isn't as bad as it sounds. That's an achievement, given the current state of grunge music, where atonal moping has become the dominant form of expression. Songs include "I'm Only Happy When It Rains," "Blow Up the Outside World," and the one where the guy sings "Do You Wanna Die?" over and over. What kind of question is that? And whatever happened to "Do You Wanna Dance?" The answer lies in "Hype," which traces grunge back to its early 1980s roots in Seattle, where, we are shocked to discover, the people playing it and the people listening to it were actually having fun. The Seattle area was teeming with spunky garage bands, all contributing to a vibrant and organic regional music scene.
October 8, 2007 |
Few artists within the pop idiom toy with expectations like Erin McKeown. Since 1999, the lesbian singer, composer and guitarist has kept her audiences guessing. She moved first from quirky melodic folk with Beat-inspired lyrics to hard pop. No sooner were audiences accustomed to her confessional lyrics and punky guitar jolts, than did she commence, earlier this year, with a set of Tin Pan Alley covers done as surf, jazz and ambient electronica. So why not follow up Lafayette - a richly appointed big band live record released two weeks ago - with a sold out World Cafe Live show on Friday featuring a tiny power trio that reconfigured her renowned jazzy lullaby into the stuff of chunky funky grunge?
December 28, 2012
KWANZAA IS A time for unity, when communities come together and reflect on their common heritage. This weekend, the African American Museum in Philadelphia will do just that with a full schedule of Kwanzaa-related events. The holiday is usually celebrated over a week - Wednesday through Jan. 1 this year - with each day representing one of the seven principles of African heritage. Saturday is Ujamaa, the day of cooperative economics, and Sunday is Nia, the day of purpose. Among the events Saturday is a session on the African diaspora and black genealogy with the African-American Genealogy Group.
September 21, 1993 |
From the very first line of Nirvana's third album, In Utero, which arrives in stores today, the message is clear: Kurt Cobain's circumstances have changed. "Teenage angst has paid off well, now I'm bored and old," Cobain sings on the embittered "Serve the Servants," his disinterested tone miles from the usual paint-peeling shriek. Could he be offering a report to shareholders on the success of his band's once-humble endeavor? Or is he commenting, derisively, on the way the astonishing Nevermind, the 1991 album that brought grunge to the mainstream and went on to sell more than 9 million copies, was analyzed to excess and held up as an all-purpose explanation of the twentysomething generation?
November 17, 1997 |
Wow! If you weren't thunderstruck and thoroughly spent on Saturday night, you probably weren't at the Theatre of Living Arts. Portland-based grunge survivors Everclear tore through 20 songs in 80 minutes and didn't hint at a dull moment - hint being the operative word - until the 13th, "I Will Buy You a New Life. For all of its post-punk aesthetic, the band seemed eager to please. Frontman Art Alexakis promised - and delivered - plenty of Sparkle & Fade: That 1995 breakthrough album made up half of the show.
February 10, 1997 |
Pretend for a minute you live in Seattle, circa 1992. Imagine that a camera stuck in your face or a journalist asking you to explain "grunge" and your slacker lifestyle are as commonplace as rain and latte. Now imagine you are the guy behind the camera, "Hype!" director Doug Pray. Pray admits that initially media-weary Seattlelites were resistant to him and his camera. Nirvana was exploding, and groups like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains were following suit. The lifestyle that surrounded the music had become bigger than the music itself: Flannel was on the fashion runways and irony was commonplace in automobile ad campaigns.