Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ivy w/ Astaire at the Double Door - June 9, 2005

This was Ivy's first trip to Chicago since late 2001, when they played the Double Door the same night the Beta Band were playing at the Metro. That was before I was into the Beta Band, so I wasn't disappointed, but looking back, I would like to have seen the Beta Band before they broke up. That night I was practically on the stage, but Thursday, I was pretty much dead center, about 15 feet from the stage, which is a good place to be at the Double Door. It was hot as hell, and I probably lost five pounds just standing there. It was as hot as it was the night we saw the Charlatans and BRMC at the Double Door almost exactly four years ago.

The show started about a half hour later than what was printed on the ticket, which meant I was 15 minutes early instead of 15 minutes late. I'd only heard a few Astaire songs, and they didn't really appeal to me, but they were terrific in person. They only have an EP available, so their set was limited, but I was pretty impressed. The band is made up of brother/sister combo Bruce and Erica Driscoll. Erica picks up where the last slew of bands I saw live left off by being hot. They also included an unexpected version of Shine On from the House of Love, which was pretty cool, since that's from one of my favorite albums (third album down, the Fontana recording). So thumbs up to Astaire.

See, she's hot

Ivy took the stage around 10:30 and played for about an hour and 15 minutes. Mostly stuff from the new album, with some older stuff, including their cover of the Orange Juice song "I Guess I'm Just a Little Too Sensitive". Incomplete and out of order setlist:
  • Thinking About You
  • Keep Moving
  • Tess Don't Tell
  • Four in the Morning
  • Corners of Your Mind
  • I've Got You Memorized (I'm pretty sure)
  • This is the Day
  • Ba Ba Ba
  • Get out of the City
  • These Are the Things About You (once again, I'm pretty sure)
  • Get Enough
That's all I can remember. I'm sure there were another couple in there. They didn't play "Quick, Painless, and Easy" unfortunately, or "Lucy Doesn't Love You". They also didn't play "Let's Go to Bed" which the idiot next to me kept screaming for. I'm sorry, but If you're at a show with a band that has produced four full lengths and an EP, I don't care if they have an album of covers. I think it's a little lame to be asking them to play other people's songs. If they want to do it, cool. It's a nice surprise. I prefer the covers when they come out of nowhere, like when the Ocean Blue did 'Love Vigilantes', or when Crooked Fingers did 'Bring on the Dancing Horse' and 'Age of Consent. And who could forget when School of Fish did a great version of 'Save it for Later'? But I find the constant screaming for it a little rude.

Dominique Durand was looking more stunning than ever, and the rest of the guys....well...I wasn't really paying attention to them, because Dominique Durand was on stage.

She's married to the guy over her left shoulder

Although I did notice some of them wearing jackets, and I think Andy Chase was wearing some sort of tweed looking thing with elbow patches. It had to be brutally hot up there.

Anyway, another solid performace, worth the $15, but I could have done without the extra $11 tacked on by ticketbastard. I need to start a) deciding to go to these things a little sooner, and b) getting motivated to buy tickets at the box office. Now that my office is closer to the blue line, I'll have to start buying Double Door tickets on my lunch break again.

Tonight, the babes on stage concert series comes to an end with the Spoon show, unless you're a chick and you think Britt Daniel is attractive, which would certainly be a legitimate opinion. Dude seems pretty cool in interviews, and he writes a mean rock song. Review of that show forthcoming.

Babe? I don't know. I don't swing that way.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Angels 12; Mets 2

Tonight we experiment at L.A. Seitz of Chicago. Tonight's entry is being written while I'm both drunk, and suffering from the world's worst toothache.

Anyway, another solid effort from Bart. Man, that dude has been throwing a ton of strikes lately. His strike to ball ratio has been off the charts.

Nice to see them get to Ishii, who is just the type of pitcher that kills the Angels. A wild pitcher against a team that swings at everything is a bad combination. Fortunately, Legs showed some patience, drew a walk, and the floodgates opened. I'm not gonna look it up, but this makes a couple of game in which the predominantly left-handed lineup has done some serious damage against a left-handed pitcher.

Joel Peralta, big leaguer. Get used to it. That guy is here to stay. Hey, remember that Kevin Gregg guy? I don't.

Kelvim to the DL. Good call. Hopefully they'll make the next good call and make him have the surgery.

Anyway, I'm falling behind. I still have the Ivy concert review to write, the book thing that the Fatman is making do, and the Spoon review after tomorrow's show. Lots 'o work to do.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Angels 8; Braves 4

Couple of things to cover tonight, on what would normally be a happy occasion (and I guess still is, to some extent):

1) Let's stop the nonsense with Escobar. DL him, cut him open, fix it, and let him heal correctly. This two starts on, three starts off thing is getting ridiculous. It's pretty clear that the guy simply isn't right. He obviously did something in the fourth inning. You could tell when threw about 12 straight pitches under 90 mph. He finally realized that he couldn't get by on the splitter alone any longer and had to throw something hard. They have two guys capable of stepping into the rotation in Santana and Bootcheck. Give one of them the job for now and protect the investment before Escobar really shreds something in his elbow.

2) It's time to get rid of the illusion that Bengie Molina is a good defensive catcher. The guy can't catch the ball, which is a pretty important skill for a catcher to possess. I've never seen a gold glove catcher NOT catch so many pitches. It's not about his lack of speed. It's like he caught lackadasickitis from Garret Anderson. I'm not saying they should take him out of the lineup, because he's hitting right now. But let's just quit with the good defense thing.

3) Can anyone on this team play solid defense in right field? Or rather, can anyone who has a chance of being put in right field actually play solid defense in right field? Figgins? Nope. Davanon? I've followed his nose, and it says no (then again, he looks shaky in every outfield position, but usually makes the catch). Rivera? Not sold. Seriously, I love Vlad, but when he is the best defensive option you have in right field, well, let's just be happy that he's also the best offensive option in right field, too.

Great effort by the bullpen again, and Donnelly almost got himself a knock, and just may have if they weren't playing him up the middle. Something scares me about Frankie when he gets three fly ball outs. Oh well, it will pass.

Dallas is starting to hit, and it's at just the right time. It's coinciding with GA's resurgence, and Kennedy as well. Let's not forget that two of those guys are about a month behind everyone else. The offense is back to the point where I no longer consider the game a lost cause as soon as the Angels get behind. Or maybe I'm just in a better mood lately.

Kotchman actually hit a couple out of the infield, but foul. Baby steps, Casey. Baby steps.

Good win. Now let's go to New York and get back to .500 on the trip. Then Vlad comes back, things start to click, and the Angels will re-establish themselves in their rightful place atop the division stay (I hope).

Braves 3; Angels 2

Well, according to Rob, nothing much happened. I had a bad feeling about the offense in this one for some reason, and sure enough, they didn't come through. Honestly, I only saw probably the first three innings. The weekend, the red-eye, and the lack of sleep caught up with me, and I passed out about 7:30 CDT, and missed pretty much the whole thing. I woke up with the game over, and the TiVo tuned to the Discovery Channel to record Deadliest Catch.

Once again, I shirk my responsibility to you, the reader. I offer my apologies. Feel free to provide your own recap in the comments.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Ryan Tucker

Right handed pitcher out of Temple City High School was drafted 34th by the Marlins. I think that's the highest that TC has ever had a player drafted. Good luck, Ryan, and go Rams!

And while I'm on the subject, am I the only one who thinks it's weird that the Angels used two of their first three picks on middle infielders?

Angels 4; Braves 2

I know, this is late, but I just got into the office after taking the red-eye last night. Didn't really have time to recap because I was packing and what not.

Another strong start from Lackey, who finally looks like he's putting it all together. We've been waiting for this for a couple of years now, and it's great to finally see it happening. One mistake to LaRoche, which he paid for, but he didn't get rattled, and he got them through six and to the bullpen. This is how it's supposed to work; six strong from the starter, one from Donnelly, one from Shields, one from Frankie. Perfect. It's like when you make par by hitting it in the fairway, on the green, and a routine two putt.

The Erstad play: First, what is Roenicke smoking this season? How many crappy decisions has he made sending runners from third. Erstad was out by a mile, but for the collision. And what a collision it was. There can't really be any way to prepare for that if you're Estrada. He was just full on drilled, and poor guy, he almost held on. Smart play by Erstad though. He still has that football player mentality.

Angels got screwed on the close play at second where the throw pulled Giles off the bag (I think it was Giles at second). Note to the second base ump - once the runner hits the bag, it's no longer a force. If he comes off the bag, they have to tag him.

Good start to the trip. It's sad to think they have to win both of the remaining series to go .500 on the trip, but I'd sure take that right now. Vlad's starting to do some things on the side, so if they can tread water until he's back, they should be set up to make a run. And Dallas seems to be getting more comfortable at the plate. What he's done to this point doesn't matter. All that matters is what he does from here on in. And is it just me, or does he, for a power hitter, hit a lot soft line drives? A lot of them drop in, but I still think it's weird.

Monday, June 06, 2005

My round with TJ

Missed the game today, but from what I understand, the Angels were undone by the bullpen again. At least this time it was by the guys who are supposed to screw up. 2-4, not a promising start to the road trip.

I missed the game because I was playing in The Guardians' "Swing Fore the Home" charity golf tournament. The Guardians is a charity that raises money for the Jewish Home for the Aging. I was invited to play by LA Times columnist, T.J. Simers, for reasons that really don't need to be rehashed at this point. It's all in the posts below, complete with links to the relevant columns.

The day started with registration and collections of "goody bags", in this case, they consisted of very nice Adidas athletic bags, a couple of pairs of socks, a visor, and $50 to spend at the Nike merchndise booth by the first tee. They had all kinds of shoes and shirts, but I spent the money on a dozen balls and a new glove. I already get much better shoes (Footjoy Classics) at cost from the course at which I used to work. Also along the way, we collected samples of Pravda Vodka, and Corazon Tequila, which is very tasty Tequila. Having never gotten sick on Tequila, I still like to drink it.

Before teeing off, we did a segment on the radio show he does with his daughter, Tracy, on Sunday mornings. She was the reason we were there, and she was a lot of fun to hang out with the night before. Very funny and personable, especially for a domer. The first bachelor (at this point, if you're confused, you really need to go back and read the previous posts and columns) was a Dodgers fan, and he was asked his opinion on the McCourts. TJ got him to do a complete 180 on his answer before he was finished. Bachelor number two fielded a Shaq/Kobe question, and a 'no more beer at $C' question. I took a question on the Angels name change (I don't care, but I don't like Anaheim, so I'm sorta for it), and a question on Moreno, which ended with me complaining about the length of the Cabrera signing, what with all of the middle infield talent in the pipeline. It was pretty casual, and a nerve wracking, yet enjoyable experience.

Simers is almost universally despised by most commenters over at BTF, but I've always liked his stuff. He's just as irreverent and funny in person, and he's very quick. He never misses an opportunity to needle you about something. I ended up riding in the same cart with him all day, so we had a lot of good exchanges. He's very sarcastic, and he loves to make fun of people, so if you're sensitive, you're going to hate him, but if you roll with it, and give back, he's a fun guy to be around. And he seems to appreciate a quick wit, and I got the sense that he respects people with the stones to give as good as they get. One of the things we joked about was the way I mark my golf balls for identification (a common practice among most semi-serious goflers, and all serious golfers). For years, I've marked the space above the logo with a small '26'. He was determined to find out why*, but it took him a good 12-13 holes to get it out of me, and led to some pretty good back and forth as he pressed for an answer, while I dodged and weaved.

We shot 10 under (it was a scramble). That probably had us in the top ten, but not in the money (or Vodka, as it were). I didn't hit the ball as well as I did Friday, but I acquitted myself fairly well. One of the other guys was pretty good, and the other, well, let's just say he wasn't. By far the best aspect of the tournament was the free In-N-Out from the truck they brought on-site. For those that don't know, In-N-Out has some mobile units that go to special events or occasionally schools, where they cook up Double Doubles that taste as good as they do from a regular restaurant. I treated myself to a Double Double and a cheeseburger before I was done. Let's face it, In-N-Out is the real reason I keep coming home to visit. It is the greatest chain fast food burger in existence. There can be no argument over this.

All in all it was a great experience, and I'm glad I did it (despite the fact that Malibu Country Club is nothing to write home about). Met some great people, had a great time, played some golf, got some free stuff. Even saw Shannen Doherty in the pro shop after the tournament, as she was heading out to play (the place is public, but it must have some private memberships). The Guardians put on a first class event, and we were treated very well. All of the people we met in association with the tournament were first rate. And boy oh boy, do they have some money. When I rolled up in a Honda Civic, I think they thought I was the help.

So all in all, great event, great people, didn't get married, but got to come home for a couple of days. And I had another brush with media mediocreness.

*I do it in honor of the greatest European player in the history of the NHL, Peter Stastny.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Angels 13; Red Sox 6

Colon and the Angels took a little trip down memory lane today. His 11 strike outs reminded of the days when he was a dominant strike out pitcher. His five runs allowed over six innings, and his large run support reminded of last year, when he somehow won 18 games with an ERA over 5. The Angels remembered what it was like to actually win a game in Fenway park. The Angels pounded out 13 runs on 17 hits, and just demolished the Sox bullpen, tagging the relievers for 11 runs in three innings.

Congratulations to Garret Anderson, who passed Tim Salmon for the all time Angels lead in runs driven in. That's two Salmon records he's broken this season. He also missed the cycle by a double. He seems to be regaining his power stroke a bit, and he's hitting over .300. Figgins went deep for the second time in as many games, and D-Mac chipped in with a single and a run scored. I'm still looking for any little bit of production from him. Even in a 1-5 game, I think the hit helps build his confidence, and when he starts swinging the bat a little more consistently, he's going to be a force.

This game was long. Very long. And it's length seemed to make me more exhausted. Honestly, it's almost 2:00 am Chicago time (which I'm still on), and since about 6:00 am Chicago time yesterday, I've had about two hours of real sleep, plus the winks I got on the flight. I'm on fumes at this point.

Had dinner with T.J. Simers and his daughter, and the two other guys that are playing golf with us tomorrow. Talk about a small world, one of the guys is also a UC Riverside grad. Not only that, he's a Phi Delt, and played on their hockey team. He was probably one of the two or three players that we hated the most in those days. Of course, that's all water under the bridge now, but it was spooky when I found out. And I'm serious, we hated this guy. We had a pretty nice evening all told, and TJ picked up the tab at McCormick and Schmicks. I had the Halibut. Honestly, I've become a seafood snob. When it comes to Halibut or Salmon, I refuse to eat it unless it's wild Alaskan fish. That's what happens when your brother and his family move to Anchorage, and you read about the evils of salmon farming.

Tomorrow's game is a day game, so I won't be providing a recap. Hopefully something interesting will happen at the golf tournament, and I'll write about that. I tried not to oversell myself tonight, so hopefully I'll be striking the ball like I did yesterday. I'd actually like to win this thing (it's a scramble, so thankfully, the other guys get to putt, too).