Tag Archives: Cleveland

The Gaslight Anthem, Good Old War, & Redwater Rojo – Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH – 03/31/2009 – Concert Review

The Gaslight Anthem

Last minute shows are always a good time for me.  First I have to see if I can get off work early enough to go home and change from my “business casual” attire so I do not stand out like a sore thumb and then there is the planning of meeting up with friends and trying to grab a quick bite to eat.  Sometimes this planning fails immediately as work beckons me to stay, meaning I can not get off that evening.  Luckily for me things worked out perfectly this past Tuesday when The Gaslight Anthem came to town.

Matt from Addicted To Vinyl mentioned to me on Monday night that The Gaslight Anthem were playing the Agora Ballroom with special guests Good Old War and local rockers Redwater Rojo the very next night.  I honestly did not think I was going to make it to this show and kicked myself for also forgetting about it.  I was not 100% sure that I would be able to leave work early enough to head out to Cleveland to see them perform but as luck would have it I was able to.

Matt and I decided to grab a bite to eat before hitting the show and jokingly we discuss eating at My Friends in Lakewood, OH as I was once convinced he lived there because every time I ever picked him up for a show or what have you he insisted on meeting me at My Friends.  I give him hell for it all the time but on Tuesday I was shocked when he told me I could pick him up from his dwelling.

Once I arrived Matt asked me if I had ever eaten at The Town Fryer, a local southern cuisine based eatery, and I stated I had not.  He reminded me that the restaurant had expanded recently and opened shop in the same building as the Agora.  He suggested we eat there since it was literally butted up to the venue and I agreed it was a good idea.

Now normally I do not mix food reviews with concert reviews but something happened while we were eating that involved unknown crew/friends of a band that would play later that night.  It was not about the food, that was excellent (the catfish was to die for!), it was about other patrons…

I should take a moment here and clear something up right quick.  Originally I thought the people seated behind me were Good Old War with a female friend.  I was quick to exchange emails later in the day after writing the blog with my good pal Jonah who informed me that said girl who was associated with Good Old War was the merch girl and she, nor the band, were even able to eat at The Town Fryer as they closed shop shortly after Matt and I finished our meal.  So to Good Old War band members/crew, supposed girl, her boss, and anyone else who read this blog originally…oops, my bad.  Seriously, I need to stop assuming things…

Anyways…

While seated at The Town Fryer there were some folk seated behind Matt and I who were giving the waitress kind of a rough time.  It was apparent the waitress was a little stressed out since she was the only one there and we later learned that she not even 5 minutes before we walked in found out she had to open shop.  Apparently The Town Fryer was in the process of moving from one space to another in the building and she had been there since 6:30am.

To make a long story short these cool folk were not too kind and not too cool in my standards.  I knew they had something to do with the band because they paid with meal tickets, something that is given to the band and crew only.

There was a female companion who sat along with a few guys who seemed to be making a big stink about “being vegetarian” and gave the waitress kind of a hard time about her order.  Granted the restaurant lacked some of the menu items I still found it uncalled for how they were being.  They were not exactly a-holes to the waitress but enough to bother me while I was eating.

Regardless of how crappy her day was and how long she had been on her feet busting her ass for a decent paycheck, our waitress gave Matt and I great service and in return we were nice to her as we both understood she was having a rough day.  She was a cute girl and just looked ever so tired.  I could see the long day she had in her eyes so I decided to be extra friendly and funny to her.  I am pretty sure thanks to our conversations with her we put a smile on her face.  I will be going there again for sure.

Something that also pissed me off was that later our waitress told us that the tip Ms. I’m A Vegetarian left her was not even $3.00 for a $60.00 bill total (I don’t give a crap if there were coupons/meal tickets/gift cards…your tip should reflect the total bill).  Don’t worry friends/crew that hangs out with unknown band, I tipped heavy on account that you suck as patrons and failed to understand how rough of a time that waitress was having.  I had been in the food business for many years of my life and this you should know… – respect your servers.

So let’s get back to talking about the show shall we?

The original bill for this show stated that Dayton, OH’s Heartless Bastards were playing as well but for some unknown reason they skipped Cleveland but managed to play Pittsburgh and Columbus just days before.  If anyone knows why they skipped out I would love to know especially since I have been wanting to see them live for a while now and am a little bummed they passed up Cleveland.  I guess I will see them this summer though as they are playing the 2009 Bonnaroo.  Luckily the Agora was able to acquire Redwater Rojo to fill in last minute.

Cleveland’s Redwater Rojo took the stage to a small gathering to start off the night.  I have seen their name around and even used to work with the lead singer years ago but I had never seen them live.  Their performance was good with a strong mix of southern , smooth , and even at one time some progressive rock.  I was shocked to hear how great the lead singer’s voice was as I was not even aware he was the front-man of the band when he told me about it years ago.  I liked their music and hope to see them play again.  My only complaints really were that the band kind of stood in place their entire set and lacked movement and I was unable to decipher if they were religious or not as some songs seemed to go hand in hand with a bible while others screamed F you to pretentious women.

While hanging out in the lobby of the Agora, Good Old War performed.  I had never heard any material by the Langhorne, PA folk fun rockers whose songs really remind me of Paul Simon.  They were entertaining and from the medium sized crowd that cheered and sang along with them I would have to say I got a kick out of them and will be checking out their release Only Way To Be Alone sometime soon.

I do need to add though at times during Good Old War’s performance, loud group cheers from the bar area of the Agora overpowered their performance and I knew why.  The Cleveland Cavaliers were kicking some serious ass that night and a bunch of the attendees at the show gathered around the television to cheer on LeBron James and others towards another victory.  Go Cavs!  Only in Cleveland…

The Gaslight Anthem took stage after the Cavs claimed a win so everyone at the venue focused all their attention at the New Jersey quartet.  Opening with “Great Expectations” the band sounded just as amazing as they do on their studio releases.  All of the members were smiling and playing their hearts out and it was truly enjoyable seeing that.  Throughout the show they played some of my favorites like “Old White Lincoln” and “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues” as well as “We Came To Dance” off their first release and “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” off the Señor And The Queen EP.

The lead singer Brian Fallon at one time explained to the crowd that they were smiling and laughing so much because of inside jokes the band had with one another.  The laughs soon were shared with the fans when Brian Fallon stated that he could not having a hard time understanding what any of the guys were screaming at him but was able to hear the ladies perfectly.  I found myself laughing a couple times in between songs when some of the things the guys were screaming translated into “What?  Ja Rule was at a Gaslight show?” and “I heard french kissed hot dogs”.

Aside from the great rock and jokes Brian Fallon spoke about a legend of a performer who many compare the band to, Bruce Springsteen.  At one time he told the crowd that he met Bruce Springsteen and they talked about New Jersey and their music.  It was awesome to hear his short memories of the conversation and his attempt to imitate how the “Boss” speaks.

One statement that Brian Fallon did state earlier in the show about Bruce Springsteen kind of irked me a bit.  He mentioned that Bruce Springsteen was being inducted into the Rock Hall later in the week but the truth is that there is a Bruce Springsteen exhibit being opened at the Rock Hall later in the week and that it’s been 10 years since he was inducted into the Rock Hall.  I hope for the lead singer’s sake that he was just overcome at the response of the fans and not terribly mistaken.

During the encore Brian Fallon came out with guitar in hand and played a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire”.  While he performed the classic I thought it would be a good time to head to the merch tables and see what goodies I wanted to pick up.  I decided that it was a good idea to pick up Sink Or Swim and The 59 Sound both on vinyl to add them to my collection.  I know these will be records I will listen for years to come.

Upon leaving we made a pit stop with the coolest “booking girl” ever and hung out with her for a few moments behind closed doors.  I could hear The Gaslight Anthem continue their encore and the very last song they played sounded like “Stand By Me” but was morphed into a song I could not figure out.  I thought they played three songs during the encore but I would not be surprised if I am mistaken.  If the set list below is not accurate let me know so I can update it.  Thanks.

I was really hoping that the boys that night would have played a little more material from Sink Or Swim or  Señor And The Queen EP, but this night was mostly all about their latest release The 59 Sound.  Regardless of their choice of the songs on the set list it was an awesome performance and I can not wait to see these guys again.  I do have the feeling though that next time the show will not be as intimate as this show was.  This band is going places.

The Gaslight Anthem Set List:

Great Expectations
High Lonesome
Old White Lincoln
Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
Wooderson
The ‘59 sound
We Came To Dance
Film Noir
Casanova, Baby!
Miles Davis & the Cool
Meet Me By The River’s Edge
Here’s Looking At You Kid
The Backseat

Encore (I could be off on this so if anyone has the correct set list let me know!)

I’m On Fire (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
Stand By Me /I’da Called You Woody, Joe

Here’s a video a fan took of Brian Fallon signing “I’m On FIre” (no I did not take this…)

Interview: Doris Muramatsu of Girlyman

When I hear the term “Girlyman” I immediately think of a certain Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit featuring Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon playing Hans and Franz the Austrian bodybuilders who where said to be cousins of action bodybuilder superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I still laugh at those skits…

The Girlyman I am referring to though is not associated with SNL or even the current governor of California.  Instead I speak of a three piece folk act originally from New York City.  I was introduced to them through my wife who has a love, almost obsession, for them.  She shared them with me one day after saying “We’re still making payments on the cannon” and I had no idea what she was talking about.  After giving her a puzzled look she told me about the Girlyman band.  She sampled some songs to me and I found myself quite interested in them.

Girlyman is a trio of harmonic performers, rather best friends, who have stated they play “harmony-driven gender pop” featuring “leading edge three-part harmony folk-pop”.  Consisting of Nate Borofsky, Doris Muramatsu, and Ty Greenstein, the band has a huge following with their “gender pop” music.

Gender pop?  That’s right folks all of the members from this band are involved in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community one way or another.  Don’t let that hold you back though because if you do you are missing out on some amazing harmonic folk music with heavy doses of comedic interludes, especially when seen live.  Think Rupaul meets Simon & Garfunkel with more folk harmony then you have ever heard before.  Where a lot of the songs are fun, many have meaning about life, love, and living but all with perfect collaborated vocals from all three members.

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Doris Muramatsu, the “tootsie roll center of Girlyman”, who has the duties of vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo in the band. The multi-talented musician was more than kind to answer some questions for me.

Doris, Ty, & Nate = Girlyman
Doris + Ty + Nate = Girlyman

So what exactly is a Girlyman?

A Girlyman is whatever you want it to be, just someone who is nontraditional in some sort of way or like to play with gender roles or isn’t afraid to have a sensitive side.

How would you describe Girlyman to someone who has never heard of you before?

We’re a folk pop trio of almost lifelong friends who sing traditional and nontraditional three part harmonies and play multiple instruments and like to laugh and be ourselves on stage.

When you started creating music was it clear you all wanted a more folk sound? Was the harmony always there between the three of you or did it need some fine tuning? I have to admit your combined harmony is all so appealing.

Ty and I started singing harmony when we were 12 years old and have always been fascinated by the beauty of interweaving voices. Our voices blended very well and we knew we wanted to write and sing music that was harmony-based. When we met Nate his voice seemed to naturally blend with ours, so it was a go. Of course there is always fine tuning whenever harmony is involved, for instance, we have realized that if we all don’t sing a certain vowel in the exact same way it will sound out of tune, so we’re always examining how the lead person is pronouncing that vowel.

Who/what are your influences for the music you create?

Growing up, I fell in love with Simon & Garfunkel. I listened to the Mamas and the Papas a lot too as well as old Jefferson Airplane and the Bee Gees. Indigo Girls, The Story, Patty Griffin were also [other] people who influenced me.

I understand that you and Ty have been best friends since elementary school. When did the two of you decide to start your first band The Garden Verge?

We officially started up the Garden Verge out of college although we had been signing together as a duo since middle school.

How and when did you meet up with Nate?

We met Nate [during] our sophomore year at Sarah Lawrence College at a cross-dress cabaret [that was more] like a talent show with more gender-bending. He was backstage [while] Ty and I were singing an Indigo Girls song to warm up. He came [up to us] and joined us out of the blue. We were insta-friends.

How was it being cramped up in NYC trying to start a band? Where are you currently residing?

It didn’t feel cramped at first. [It was] mostly just really exciting and creative time for us all. Of course our first rehearsal for Girlyman was scheduled for September 11th [and] after witnessing the events of that day we were shocked and speechless. We didn’t really know what to do but all that felt right to do was to be together, make music, and share it. So that was the birth of Girlyman; formed in the spirit of upliftment.

After seven years of living together and touring together, however, things did start to feel small and cramped. We were basically living on top of each other with no privacy and the need for expansion, both creatively and physically, became paramount. Nate and Ty moved to Atlanta in 2007 and I chose to stay in Brooklyn [NY] for another year but [soon] joined them in 2008. We all live separately now but happily see each other practically every day.

What types of venues did you first start playing at? Did you have success from the get go or was it more of a slow start?

We played at little coffeehouses and churches as well as some lunchtime college gigs. We just kept building out audience from the get go and even though we didn’t shoot up into massive fame, we definitely started climbing slowly but steadily.

Girlyman
Girlyman

Your live shows are full of humor and fun, especially in between songs.  When did live Girlyman shows turn almost into a stand up performance or has it always been like that?

I have always been a pretty shy person in front of large crowds and I think it was hard for Ty and me [as Garden Verge] to be as funny as we are in private. When Nate joined the group he added an element of humor and improvisation that allowed us all to be more relaxed and silly together. It’s a strength in numbers thing I think. I also thing it keeps things interesting for us to do or day things on stage that makes each other laugh because then every show feels like its own thing. We need to keep things light and fresh in order for the [live] show to feel fun for us too.

In 2006, OUTmusic awarded Girlyman for the OUTSong of the year for “Young James Dean”, how did this make you all feel?

We were really honored! It always means a lot when something you’ve created reaches people and speaks to them in a significant way.

What can you tell someone about OUTmusic who has never heard of the organization before?

OUTmusic is a wonderful organization that connects [the] lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual musicians, composers, producers, and artists [together]. It works to create opportunities and tried to raise awareness for the growing number of us [LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)] out there.

I understand you are currently touring and will be performing at a couple of folk festivals as well. Having sold out venues before how exciting is it to be on the road?

We love being on the road and we love being at home too. It’s a balance but we are doing exactly what we want to do and have so much fun doing it. Sure being on the road has its challenges, like endless drives and late hours, but when we’re on stage and connecting with each other and the audience it is always worth it no matter now many people show up. It’s the energy from the audience that really helps us keep going.

How long have you actually been touring now?

We have been touring since 2001 when we first became a band.

Do you prefer festivals or venues?

I prefer venues because I find it’s easier to connect with people. Festivals are fun because there’s a feeling of celebration but I also get distracted by all that’s going on… like all the funnel cakes and hot dog stands!

Where is your favorite venue to play? Is there a favorite city you all enjoy?

I love Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, Old Town School of Folk in Chicago, Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA, but there are so many! We love New York City of course, and the Bay Area, but Atlanta’s pretty great too.

How are the lodging arrangements when you travel? Have you ever crashed in the van?

Thanks to Priceline.com lodging is fantastic! We often stay in three star hotels which makes us feel rich and comfortable. We don’t stay overnight in the van though we have a loft and a refrigerator set up in it. It’s too small for all of us [to sleep in].

Who usually takes up the driving duties on the road? Is there anyone in the band who is not allowed to drive?

Everyone takes turns driving although I can’t parallel park the Sprinter [van] for the life of me [as it’s] 21 feet long. Ty is not allowed to drive at night because she usually falls asleep.

Girlyman
Girlyman

Any crazy touring stories you want to share? Maybe a run in with the law or just something drunk and hilarious?

Well, the scariest thing that happened on the road was when we hit a deer at two in the morning in the middle of Wyoming and the Sprinter broke down. Nate and I didn’t have cell[phone] service but Ty thankfully did; but only when she stood a few feet from the van. We had to get towed 200 miles to the nearest Dodge dealership in Montana. When the tow truck came and started towing us it broke down too, so we had to wait until [the tow truck] got fixed.

Finally after a scary drive where the driver [of the tow truck] kept falling asleep and running [over] all [of] the rumble strips on the highway we arrived in Billings, MT at seven in the morning. We had to stay there for a couple of days while out manager found a U-Haul truck that could fit three of us in the cab. [We] then made our way though treacherous, snow-covered passes in Washington state [on the way] to Seattle. We were [all] totally traumatized by the whole experience.

You’ve been in Cleveland a few times now. Just curious what you think of the city as it is my hometown.  Any favorite memories?

Our favorite time in Cleveland was when we played at Cleveland Pride. They put us up in a fancy hotel and we shared the stage with Rupaul.

Do you think the folk festivals may help recruit new fans who may not necessary be involved in the LGBT community?

Some of our fans are part of the LGBT community, but just as many are not. We have a wide range of fans of all ages and identities.

Not everyone is accepting of the LGBT community unfortunately, have you ever had problems with people while out on the road?

It’s funny, we have a lot of people who, not knowing our music, initially feel put off by our man, but then when they hear us they immediately get over it or feel surprised that they actually like our music. Other than that, I think we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had many incidents being a queer band.

Tell me about your “Girlyfans”.

Out Girlyfans are our best support network. They are the ones who help promote us and bring new people to our shows. We couldn’t tour and do this for a living without them.

Can you tell me about the Brauner VMA that many of the Girlyfans helped raise money for you all to acquire? It looks like a masterpiece of a microphone. How is it working out for you?

It IS a masterpiece of microphones. It’s a handmade microphone from Germany and sounds out of this world. We are really happy with the sound quality we’re getting out of it.

When can your fans expect some new material to be released?

We are hoping for a fall release of our new studio album, although we’ve been playing out a lot of our new stuff at shows.

What’s next for Girlyman?

More of everything! We love how life just presents us with the next logical stay and that we’re brave enough to take it.

Just one last question… Are you still making payments on the cannon?

Of course!!!


-For more information about Girlyman check out their website.

-Girlyman is still on tour and will actually be making a pit stop in Ohio at the Oberlin Folk Festival.

-Download This! (rather sample…) – Girlyman – “Young James Dean”
-Download This! (rather sample…) – Girlyman – Cannons Skit

-Here are a couple of videos:

Those Darlins, Hacienda, & Dan Auerbach – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH – 03/05/09 – Concert Review

It was an entertaining evening Thursday night fueled by heavy doses of country twang and serious rock n roll thanks to the bands that performed at one of Cleveland’s best little venues, the Beachland Ballroom. The line-up was enough to call for that simple dreadful sign stating that tickets were sold out. All who were lucky enough to obtain admittance to last night’s performance certainly are still talking about the show that Those Darlins, Hacienda, and Dan Auerbach who is known as the lead signer of The Black Keys all put on.

Having heard about the show last week I decided that it was a show not to be missed and make plans to attend. Accompanied with a couple of friends who have love for the country and the rock I was sure they would have a great time checking out all the bands. We arrived to the Waterloo Rd. venue a little early as I was not certain how long it would take to make the trek there. The Beachland Ballroom is not located exactly downtown Cleveland but just a short drive away on a sketchy yet hip part of town. We arrived with no problems and finally made way into the ballroom. One of the things I like about the Beachland Ballroom is how quaint it is. It reminds me of a gymnasium from a middle school of my past with a stage and no real distractions in the main gathering area itself.

Calling them darlings is an understatement...
Calling them darlings is an understatement...

Once we finally got in we made a pit stop at the merch tables and I dropped five dollars on Those Darlin’s Wild One EP. For three songs the five bucks was totally worth it. The main reason I even planned on attending the concert was because of the trio of ladies otherwise known as Those Darlins. I just had received a taste of their sound last week and promptly posted a blog about it. What I heard not only made my day but also made me what to see them perform live.

Normally people get excited for the main act at a concert and the openers are almost like icebreakers for the evening. For the first time in a long time this was not the case for me. I dig the Black Keys and I have seen them live before. I actually had not heard the solo release yet on Dan Auerbach yet and to be honest I was more interested in seeing the opener over the other two bands.

Nashville’s neighboring sweethearts Those Darlins took the stage to a decent sized crowd and opened with “Wild One“. I think it is safe to say that they impressed the crowd right away physically and musically with their mix of country, folk, bluegrass, and sass. Dressed to impress, the three fine-looking girls and their mustache clad drummer had an amazing stage presence and were all smiles through their set. Sipping on strong drinks in between songs the girls shared singing duties and entertained all. “I love you” was shouted more than one time, and although I admit a major crush on the three darlings, I assure you it was not me.

They played the two other tracks on their Wild One EP including the humorous “Whole Damn Thing” as well as a healthy bout of tunes to be hopefully released on their debut CD in June. At times they sounded like The Carter Family and other times reminded me of a female version of Hank Williams III but much better looking. Seeing them live on stage having such a good time really added to the attraction. I was not ready for them to finish when they did and really could have listened to them play all night with their unique sound. I can only hope for a return by the sassy ladies once their debut CD is released.

Dan Auerbach
Dan Auerbach

Many people were excited to see the San Antonio rock jam band Hacienda take stage. I wish I could say I was too, but honestly the only thing I knew about this band is that they were backing up Dan Auerbach during his set and that their latest album, Loud Is The Night, was recorded at Dan Auerbach’s Akron Analog . I checked out some of the set and at times was shaking my head along to the beat. It was good music, but just not what I was looking to hear at the time.

Dan Auerbach with Hacienda and friends took stage after a short break. It was at this moment that I realized how sold out the show really was as I could barely move through the crowd to find a good place to watch the headliner. With only hearing a track or two off of Dan Auerbach’s Keep It Hid I knew it was not anything Black Keys but still was not completely sure what was going to happen.

The sounds Dan Auerbach and crew put forth reminded me of early rock at it’s finest with a jam feel at times. Each member on the stage had their own specialty to make the live performance even more interesting. Guitar solos, dual vocals, and smiles ear to ear by the performers just added to the good time being had by all. I got a huge kick out of the duel drumming and especially seeing Patrick Hallahan from My Morning Jacket do his thing moving from drum set to congo and maraca and even beating upon a giant triangle. Rocking out until after midnight the band continued to electrify. I can not tell you what songs they played as I still have yet to pick up the CD but I can tell you Keep It Hid is on my “to buy” list.

It was an excellent night for new music to hit my ears thanks to all three acts playing on stage. I became a bigger fan of Those Darlins as well as gotten a good taste of what Dan Auerbach’s solo material sounds like backed with a full band. Spite the sold out crowd it was a great evening and I know I was not the only one who enjoyed it. If these three acts happen to come your way and you are looking for a night of fun and music do yourself a favor and grab a ticket before it sells out.

The tour continues for just a few more dates.  Catch them if you can!

March 5 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
March 6 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
March 7 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
March 10 – Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
March 11 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
March 13 – San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s
March 14 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre


Weekend End Wrap Up

I end my weekend tonight watching The Rock on TNT, you know Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery and bio-hazard chemical warfare fun.  I am not interested in the Oscars one bit and NASCAR has overlapped on to my Seth MacFarlane Sunday night ritual…  Not as exciting as I wanted tonight to be but I will deal with it.

I watched a couple of movies over the weekend that really entertained me…

First up was Zack & Miri Make A Porno.  This movie was rude, crude, and hilarious.  If you have not seen it and are a Kevin Smith fan, or even a Seth Rogen fan, check it out.  I laughed my ass off.  After the movie my wife went to bed and I decided to check out the deleted scenes.  While funny they lasted almost 2 hours!!!  It was longer than movie itself.

This morning I checked out Jason Statham in Death Race.  The glorified Fast & The Furious kept me entertained with the dark action, but that was about it.  I liked the concept of the movie and it kind of freaked me out because I could totally see it happening one day…

My weekend was not spend in front of the TV entirely.  I admit it was relaxing and I could have gotten more accomplished but sometimes you need a weekend off.

In an attempt to be productive I went to Big Lots! this morning to get some dog treats and just see what junk was around.  I walked past what looked like a bn of junk DVDs and thanks to curiousity having the best of me, started looking through the titles.  Good thing I decided to do that because I found Singles and Reality Bites for $3.00 a piece.  Score.

I also have been cooking/baking a lot.  In an attempt to save money I have been trying to eat out less and make interesting meals at home.  Some of my meals have been next to delicious while others need some help by yours truly.  For example the chilled peanut Chinese salad was ruined when I added a wee too much garlic salt into it but the oatmeal walnut chocolate chip cookies were a great success.  Earlier in the week I fried up tofu and added it to a spicy dirty rice…delicious.  Next up I am trying what Kelly & Jose over at Sensory Overload had the other day.

This week looks to be a good week.  I am getting a free meal at the Texas Road House thanks to my employer.  I helped move some 300 computers last month and as a thank you they are taking me out to eat with some of the other guys that helped me out.  Good deal.  Friday I am going to my first hockey game ever and hope to see the Lake Erie Monsters win.

So that ends my weekend.  Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage saved the day…

Good night Cleveland and the rest of the internet world.

Empty Wallet: New stuff to keep me entertained.

So the holidays are over, the presents were unwrapped, and even though I was happily satisfied with all the J-Day gifts I received I felt as if I lacked items for entertainment purposes.

I was a good boy, I done no wrong, in fact this was the first New Years since I was 12 I was completely sober so I think that means presents for me from me.  I am just looking for some excuses to buy crap…

Now it is show and tell time.  Lookie what I got/have/own…

First up is something I hesitated to buy because it was not something that I needed at all.  Hell, none of the items I recently purchased were things I needed…  Anyways, I am currently the proud owner of a MC Chris action figure.  The thing is poorly made, can’t stand up on it’s own, does not move, and was not designed to do anything.  It just lays there motionless, with no desire to entertain; but here is the kicker… it is awesome.  It is so awesome that it now is one of my favorite non-animate objects that I own.

The only thing this thing could do it hurt someone if you threw it at their head.
The only thing this thing could do is hurt someone if you chucked it at their head.
It came packaged with styrofoam in a brown box.  Classic.
It came packaged with styrofoam in a brown box.

Why would I dare say something so poorly made is awesome?  Well it reminds me of a toy you would find from the early 1900’s at your grandparent’s house, something you would look at and scratch your head at.  I really think I have a piece of treasure here and to prove it I bought it for $25 from the MC Chris website and now it is on the very same site for $75 (they are claiming to have 3 left).  Why the price increase?  Well it seems as if there are only 50 in existence as the 450 others were lost in the order according to a bulletin that MC Chris had posted on MySpace.

Derek Hess "Noose Proof"
Noose Halo

Next up is a Derek Hess print I have had my eyes on for a while.  Last year I interviewed the Cleveland rock artist and remember questioning his affordable prices.  He wanted to make sure he sold his work at prices that people without a lot of money could afford.  Well I am without a lot of money and I love his work.  I was actually buying a print for my good friend for a belated J-Day gift and could not help myself in getting one for my own house.

This is my third Derek Hess print I now own and I know I have many more to acquire in the future.  I have already framed it and will place it accordingly in my dwelling so that all can see.  One day I hope to have an original piece in my collection…baby steps for now.

If you would like a print for yourself you might want to act fast as this offset print is limited to 300 and I scored numbers 204 and 205 for myself and said friend.  Once 300 is reached it will be sold out and very difficult to find.

For my media pleasure I picked up a copy of the hilarious DVD Pineapple Express. If you have not seen the movie yet I promise you some foul mouthed stupid humor plus a little bit of action.  The duo of Seth Rogen and James Franco are perfect for this derranged adventure involving two stoners.

Watching the movie last night had me rolling.  I enjoyed it a lot more than originally when I saw the movie in the theaters seeing how it was ruined by two jackasses in front of me who clearly pregamed before the movie.  The other benefit of DVD over going to the movies are having extra content.  The deleted scenes were not too entertaining but the gag reel was hilarious.

Today I ventured to the Borders book store I used to work at a few years back.  I went there looking for a vegan cupcake book. I know, what the hell was I thinking right?  Well have you ever had a vegan cupcake?  Exactly.  Once you have you will want to know how it was made.

Let’s get back to why I went to Borders.  Well that vegan cupcake book was nowhere to be found so I kept looking around and found something that I have been wanting for a while, a copy of Anthony Bourdain‘s A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines.  The book captures Anthony Bourdain and his travels for food.  I can not wait to find some free time to sink my eyes into it.

My wife also found a book she knew I would have interest in called Punk: The Whole Story that usually retails for about $25.  It was sitting there in the budget section with the attractive price of $4.99 so I grabbed it seeing how I never pass on a good punk rock deal.  Full color hardbound book full of punk rock history, a great find if you ask me.

As I finish up this bragging of a blog I keep telling myself there was one more thing that I purchased…something very recent.

Oh yeah.  I bought an album on iTunes today.  Dirty south punk meets crunk act Whole Wheat Bread recently released their third CD on iTunes before it hits shelves and I could not wait.  The Afro Punk rockers have been favorites of mine since they first released their material in 2005.  The album Hearts of Hoodlums will  be released in stores on January 20th.  Inauguration coincidence?  Perhaps.  That also happens to be the day back in 1977 that I started kicking ass and taking names or however you say that (hint, hint).

Well I guess my show and tell time is over and I should go sit back down on the magic carpet and see what the next little kid out there had…until next time.

Here’s a Whole Wheat Bread video just for the heck of it:

Whole Wheat Bread covering Rancid‘s “Roots Radicals” featuring Chris from Stretch Armstrong at Peabody’s in tropical Cleveland, Ohio

You want another? Ok, I can do that:

“Old Man Samson”

Finally a contest of sorts:

Whole Wheat Bread chicken eating contest (mild cussing)