Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pretty Close to a Dream Lineup

At least until the Lassie Foundation comes to Chicago.

April 4th. The Vic.

White Rabbits.

The Walkmen.


All on the same Goddamn night. Thank God for internet pre-sales.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

UCLA 56; U$C 46

It was an ugly game, and a really ugly final five or six minutes of offense for the Bruins, but on defense, it was a thing of beauty. Yes, the thugs shot 46.5%, but the trojans were one and done virtually all night, collecting only five offensive rebounds. Of course, that was when they weren't none and done. UCLA forced 22 turnovers, against nine of their own. T.O. O.J. Mayo had almost half of those by himself. When you grab eight more rebounds, and force 13 more turnovers, most of the time you're going to win the game, even on a night where shots and free throws aren't falling.

As for Mayo, Westbrook simply dominated him on defense. He finished the game with four points on 2-8 shooting. Darren Collison added 14 points of his own while applying excellent pressure to Angelo Johnson. It was a different Darren Collison than the one we saw in Seattle.

I'll admit, I'm a little confounded that Ben Howland didn't try to pound the ball into the post a lot more, especially after Taj Gibson picked up his third foul. Floyd showed that nothing short of a gunshot wound (it *is* South Central) or disqualification was going to keep Gibson out of the game, so I really expected UCLA to go inside in attempt to get Gibson his fourth foul. $C only got eight minutes from their bench, and those came after Davon "I hope they bring it" Jefferson picked up his second foul.

On the outside, both teams were awful, combining to go 4-21 from beyond the arc. Kevin Love hit the only two three pointers for the Bruins. Josh Shipp's shooting woes continued as he finished just 2-7, 0-2 from long range. But what they lacked from the outside, they made up for with very strong interior defense, and the aforementioned rebounding edge. It can't be any clearer at this point that the Bruins are a different team with LRMAM in the lineup than they are without him. Without him, they are a good team. With him, they are a great team. Coming off a bad ankle sprain, he put up 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and blocked a shot. They need him healthy for the tournament.

This is not one that will be featured on any classic games telecast, but the Bruins got a much needed win, and now have only one road trip remaining. They are once again in the driver's seat for the conference championship.

Super Furry Animals w/ Jeffrey Lewis and Times New Viking at the Metro - 2/16/08 - A Quick Recap

SFA is a band for whom I no longer have any expectations where their live shows are involved. They've released eight complete albums, as well as a b-side collection, and when there is that much material from which to draw, it's a waste of effort to go to the show expecting to hear your "favorites". At the same time, because virtually their entire catalog is so good, it's almost impossible to leave the show without having heard a bunch of stuff that you wanted to hear.

Jeffrey Lewis
opened the evening. One dude, one guitar, and few hand made comic books. It was actually a really cool set. It lasted about 20 minutes, and his stuff is certainly unique. It's like spoken word set to music, but nowhere near as pretentious as that sounds. He also draws comic books and presents them as "videos". Here's an example of what you're in for (he played this last night).

Times New Viking took the stage next, and they pretty much provide about a half hour of noise. It's not bad, mind you, but I think they're an acquired taste. They make Guided By Voices sound slick and over-produced.

SFA took the stage a little after 11:00, and in a first for the Furries since I've been seeing them, there were no video screens, no grand entrance. There were still a few theatrics, as the opening strains of Slow Life announced their arrival. Huw Bunford, Cian Ciaran, Guto Price, and Daffyd Ieuan took the stage, picked up their instruments and started playing along. Gruff Rhys strolled out shortly thereafter in his Power Rangers helmet and sung through the rest of the song. (Go here for pictures).

From there it a solid 90 minutes of SFA as they played material covering most of their career. They ignored Fuzzy Logic, but every other album was represented. And as expected, they played a fair amount from the new album "Hey Venus". Here's the incomplete and out of order setlist, though again, I'm fairly sure this is complete (I should probably give this a new name):
  • She's Got Spies
  • Do or Die
  • Keep the Cosmic Trigger Happy
  • Calimero
  • Ice Hockey Hair
  • The Man Don't Give a Fuck
  • Rings Around the World
  • Juxtaposed With You
  • Receptacle for the Respectable
  • Hello Sunshine
  • Golden Retriever
  • Slow Life
  • Zoom
  • The Gateway Song
  • Run Away
  • Gift That Keeps on Giving
  • Neo-Consumer
  • Into the Night
  • Baby Ate My Eight Ball
As is their custom, they closed with "the Man Don't Give a Fuck", though it didn't play for 20 minutes as it usually does, probably because there was no video screen backing them up. Also a first, there was no encore. And really, there was no encore required. They played roughly the same amount of time and material as they'd normally play. In fact, at the end, Huw held up a sign saying goodbye to Chicago, and Gruff held up a sign that said "Resist Phony Encores". And that was that. Another superb SFA show. When they've hit this town, they've never played anything but a terrific show. Can't wait until they come back. Until then, enjoy Neo-Consumer (live on David Letterman), Golden Retriever, and Receptacle for the Respectable.