Major Lazer = Major Chaos

I'll just post what I typed into my IPhone "notes" as I was sitting there, smoking a cigarette, watching numerous "scene" kids enjoy their lives regardless of the music that was right in front of them. Sleigh Bells feature/interview, which I thoroughly enjoyed is forthcoming on Agit-Reader.

"From my observation, lots of kids drove from many far points to experience this 21st Century experience. I am impressed with BOMA as a venue, but the majority that populate this place are "just getting into dubstep." Let's see if they can dance to it? I need to blog about this properly. I feel like I should yell out to the people here that Major Lazer is not Girl Talk, no matter how much they emulate a crowd at Girl Talk. He's destroyed live electronic music, or has it never been legitimate as something other than a gathering of drug-users. The rave experience has never ended. There are kids here with LED lights on their fingertips, girls with glow-in-the-dark hula hoops, and the worst of the bunch, doods with glow-stick nunchucks who think they have mastered a skill by twirling them around in the same cadence as the Major lasers coming off the stage. It was Major Lazer, more a light show than a "show." I've seen this many times before and I feel like a combination of Skerrit Boy's Flavor-Flav party-starter, clownish, persona and the way-too-bassy for it's own good soundsystem of BOMA has turned this into a - "Hey I was there" moment, instead of a piece of art that I'm normally used to getting from Diplo. At this point I feel guilty to accuse Diplo of sabotaging this event and taking full advantage of the low IQ audience he's attracted.

There's always been an art to what Wes Pentz does, that goes beyond a simple mash-up mentality or even reinvention or celebration for reggae dub electronic-ness. The conversations heard about the music is mind-numbing. Half of me is glad for their exposure, but my other half despises this rise, like I'm the only one who really gets it. It's a sad sheltered perspective, I know. Maybe I'm jaded, crusty, and just trying hard to be indifferent. All that doesn't deter from my individual connection to this music and my inability to describe the genius of Pentz's beat politico and world views. For him I've always had rush after goosebump-inducing rush. Big highs and few lows. So are these the new hippies?"

So that's what I wrote. And after it was all said and done, I was impressed with what Major Lazer has accomplished in twelve short months, but disappointed at what it has become. I enjoy the music enough, but on this night thought the setting was all wrong, the feeling was all wrong, and for that, this spectacle was a failure. I have prescience though to think that Diplo will realize this, and scant down his stage-show to focus on what's important -- yes, a good time is important - and that's the beat.


Chili Quest Vol. 1 - Camp Washington

I suppose it was my bro and his gurl that made Skyline a staple in my life. I had become infatuated with Cincinnati Style chili. I'm in no way a advocate of modern Cincy -- I think it's one of that last places on Earth I would inhabit (besides Cleveland) as there's little to do other than see Reds games (and a top-notch modern art museum). Full disclosure, the south beigns at State Route 104 on the south side of Columbus. But in terms of history (see King Records, their magnificently historic zoo, Hudepohl/Burger beer) it's ripe for visitations. I'm always reminded of the ol' Beastie Boys sample -- "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." All you need to see Cincinnati is day trips, amirite? I mean, my favorite president, Ulysses S. Grant is buried miles off Pete Rose Way. Connection?

Back to the chili. I always thought "chili" was something invented in the south-west. After some research I was amazed to discover that "chili," in the purest sense of the word was invented by a Macedonian immigrant upon opening a Greek restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio. Haters can hate, but "chili" with beans and outrageous spices came second to the gravy-esque sweetness of Cincinnati chili -- a recipe that incorporated chocolate, cloves, and cinnamon to the stew-like mixture. This is the real "chili" -- the "chili" we all know and love, and presumptuously base on spiciness and texture, and the quality of "powder" used is post-Cincy "chili." So with my latest obsession, I'm on the quest for the best.

On my recent visit to Red's Opening Day, I only saw it fitting that I visit what most say is the most original and the oldest. Yes, there's still Empress Chili (the absolute original) in three locations (but none are the original location), but by all reports Camp Washington is the best and the most traditional in the city. There are mom-and-pops all over, but this is supposedly not to be missed. Located in the decrepit Colraine (or Camp Washington) district, right near Vine, right off I-75, it has been updated from the first Camp. Washington store across the street. All the renovations and cleanliness of this store might subtract from the overall feeling of a real Cincy parlor. There's something to be said for homeliness and quaintness. But that said, the oyster crackers were thrown in front of us before the coneys even arrived, the owner was rubbing his sweating forehead regarding a Red's Opening Day beat-down, and the servers knew their stuff. The chili had a bite that I didn't normally register with my Skyline experiences, perhaps slightly more fresh amounts of clove and cinnamon (CMP WSHGTN is know for making it fresh everyday) and the buns were slightly crisp, maybe oven crisped. As I have nothing to judge these against, other than live Skyline and the store-bought "Cincinnati Style Recipe Chili" cans I buy from Kroger -- I can't honestly give this a rating in my Chili Quest. So stay tuned. My further adventures will include Empress, Dixie, and as many mom-and-pop parlors as I can visit in this endless summer of 2010. So far though, Camp Washington is king.

Opening Day Revisited in Pictures

Spent wonderful Opening Day with Mr. Michael Rep Hummel of Harrisburg, Ohio. We got there early and saw the parade, had some beers at my favorite haunt -- O'Malley's in the Alley -- and by the sixth inning couldn't take anymore of a miserable opening day offense.

Mike wanted a free Red's crown. He got one.

Always my favorite part of Great American Ball Park.

Nothing better than finding yourself in a sea of Red's Fans.

Though we spent most of our car ride talking about the history of Harrisburg (it was my first time in his village), our favorite former Reds (it was not Ron Gant, it was Greg Vaughn), and the endless merits of the Ladbroke compilation I was packing (Cries From the Midnight Circus), the one thing we agreed on is that Johnny Bench is a complete fucking asshole. Go Reds.

Nodzzz on an Easterrr

Easter was a glorious day in Central Ohio this year. I spent it eating sushi, watching the excellent How to Train Your Dragon (in 3-D), and spending some quality time with the misses. By the time this "early" show came around, I was hard-pressed to head out. But I owed my attendance to the Washington Beach Bums (the Beach's new signature party band), the hyper-kinetic Outer Spacist, and Nodzz - the dudes who came all the way from Oakland. When it started there was barely a soul at the Summit. You could've put a confessional in the back room and taught Sunday school by the Alan Jackson booth. It was baseball's opening night, which is really just Yankees-Red Sox cash-cow/jerk-off cause we all know the Cincinnati Reds play the first official game of the season (you knew that right?), and the Nodzz guys are just as geeky about baseball starting as myself -- so it was a bonus to talk to the trio about the upcoming MLB season.

Midway through their set, you could tell Nodzzz would'a been happy playing all night. They claimed it was the most fun they'd had in some time -- being on the road for weeks can be bleak I'm sure. Even if there were only 35 paid on a Sunday night, Nodzzz showed how they've perfected their brand of nerd-pop heroics. It's not as dunderheaded as you might think upon first listen, these are expertly crafted, and quite complex songs they do. It's worth your while to check them out if you haven't already. Not exactly sure why they haven't blown up as much as they should. They could drink those Vampire Weekend kids under the table. Let's not even get me started with Surfer Blood. Ugh.


Thirsty Ear Maiden Voyage with White Rabbit

Ashamed I've never been here before, even back in the I lived a mere three blocks away. This is the place where great musicians who never tasted greatness, sans maybe Brian Auger and ? and the Mysterions, go to enjoy the weekend and the company of other "great" musicians. "Great" because this bar is exactly how I've suspected it through the years -- Half Toronto airport lounge/Half Time Warp (think of the bar sequences in Magnolia and you're close). People here still think "blooz" is a viable art-form and anxiously await what Boz Scaggs does next. "Great" because when I arrived, Toto was on the jukebox and seemed like a frequent player on Saturday nights.

"Great" because I got a chance to see Dayton's White Rabbit -- no, not the Walkmen cover band, they're called White Rabbits. And in a perfect world this band, composed of the former keyboardist of the Cyrkle ('member "Red Rubber Ball" -- he didn't play on it), your high school chemistry teacher, a guitarist that constantly slays (in his basement)and a classy lady that looked liked she'd been on a new-age health-food dream-catcher bender since Stevie Nicks released Bella Donna. Don't get me wrong, these dudes are likely a wedding band for rich white men in the Miami Valley, but boy could they play (and check out their amazing fucking website).

You want soft rock? Try some Ambrosia, the aforementioned Scaggs (oh they rocked "Lowdown"), or Steely Dan. Want the classics? Well, if you are like me you consider Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" the quintessential song of the '70s, and they do a rousing version of it. Want a Micheal Losekamp original (he's the guy from Cyrkle)? Well, you'll get one or two -- and they were "great," expertly performed smooth jazz workouts. Thristy Ear has Troeg's Nugget Nectar (liquid kind bud) on tap, so throughout the night they became the band of my wildest fever dreams -- so much in fact that you don't mind some Eagles or even "Minute By Minute." Lord knows, with my frequent trips back to Troy and the like, I'll be scoping out more performances by this "great" outfit.