Friday, April 23, 2010

Echo & the Bunnymen @ the Metro - 4/23/10

According to the list I put together on Facebook last year, this was the sixth time I've seen this lineup as Echo and the Bunnymen. I've also seen Mac do his solo show once, and I saw them once as Electrafixion (actually, that was the first time I saw Mac and Will Sergeant perform).

I'll give them credit for knowing their audience. This bunch of people was not there to listen to new music, which is kind of too bad. EATB has now released as many studio albums since re-forming in 1997 as they did in their first go-round. While I'm not in love with the last two albums, I really enjoyed Flowers quite a bit, and that was the only album they completely ignored. About 3/4 of the set was old stuff, while they hit one track off of four of the newer albums. In a first for this blog, you're actually about to read a complete and in-the-proper-order setlist (courtesy of the Notes feature on my iPhone):
  • Going Up
  • Show of Strength
  • Rescue
  • Villier's Terrace
  • Stormy Weather
  • Seven Seas
  • Bedbugs and Ballyhoo
  • Bring on the Dancing Horses
  • Rust
  • I Think I Need it Too
  • All My Colours
  • The Disease
  • All That Jazz
  • Never Stop
  • The Back of Love
  • The Killing Moon
  • The Cutter
  • Nothing Lasts Forever
  • Do It Clean
  • Lips Like Sugar
They played the hits, though the people around me only seemed to care if they played Lips Like Sugar. Want to feel old? Go to an EATB show and have a conversation with a young blonde who doesn't recognize any of the new stuff. Actual conversation between me and a girl standing next to me:

Her: Which song is this?
Me: It's called Nothing Lasts Forever. It's from Evergreen, the first album they put out after they got back together. It came out about 12-13 years ago.
Her: I was five years old.

Hell, I was already older than that when Crocodiles came out in 1980. The years have taken their toll on Mac the Mouth. His voice raspy from years of performing and thousands of packs of cigarettes, he can't quite hit the howl that he had in his youth, and it's really evident on the Porcupine era material (Never Stop, Cutter, Back of Love). Still, they know how to put on a good show, and Mac has never lost his sense of cool. The fact that you can't understand what language he's speaking during the between song banter is all part of the appeal. Will Sergeant can still get his guitar to hit the stingers and subtleties that made him a legend.

I was a little pre-occupied with the Kings game going on and some other things on my mind, but this probably wasn't my favorite Echo show. Still, they were entertaining, and they're worth $25 every few years. Pics below.

In-Season Milestones

Apparently the Angels had so much fun finally getting over .500 that they decided to head back under .500 just so they could do it again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yes, I'm off the ledge (but still at the window)

Not a bad sports weekend. The Angels swept the Blue Jays, and the Kings evened up the series with Vancouver, grabbing home ice in the process.


Three games of quality pitching and timely hitting. They picked up late runs in every ballgame, and nearly all proved necessary. Of the sixteen runs the Angels scored over the weekend, seven game in the eighth and ninth innings. Toronto picked up six runs in those same innings, so the Angels effectively maintained the status quo, and held on to leads they had earned earlier in those ballgames.

The starting pitching was phenomenal. All three starters (Weaver, Saunders, and Santana) worked deep into their respective starts, and Saunders and Santana finally gave us a glimpse of the type of run prevention we were hoping for heading into the season. Jered Weaver continued to pitch like an ace, allowing two runs (both on solo homers) in seven innings while striking out eight (he's third in the AL with 21 strikeouts). Joe Saunders did Weaver one better by working eight innings and only two runs, neither earned. His line would have looked better, and he may have had the strength for a ninth inning, if not for a nightmare third inning from Brandon Wood, who misplayed one ball into a double, then committed errors on back to back grounders, leading to the Jays' two runs. Not satisfied with an eight inning effort, Ervin Santana went the distance in his start, allowing only a solo home run to Adam Lind with two outs in the ninth. Adding to the optimism were two perfect innings from Fernando Rodney, filling in at the closer spot for the injured Brian Fuentes.

Mike Scioscia used the three games on turf to get some rest for a few guys, which meant that only Erick Aybar, Howie Kendrick, Juan Rivera, Hideki Matsui, and Kendry Morales started all three games. But Scioscia made the right calls, as four of those guys collected hits in each game. Morales, Kendrick, and Rivera picked up home runs along the way.

In all, it the combination of timely hitting and quality starting pitching that we expected to see going into the season. The Angels now sit in second place, just two and a half games behind surprising Oakland, who got to beat up on the awful Baltimore Orioles for a few games. Let's hope the Angels can keep things rolling against Detroit.


I can't express with words how much I've missed actually caring about playoff hockey. I just love the atmosphere, and it gets better in overtime. I was literally at the edge of my seat on Saturday night, knowing that a bounce either way could be the difference between the edge of hopelessness and home ice advantage. Unlucky in game one, the Kings took advantage of good fortune in game two, scoring twice on the power play, the second goal coming in overtime, to send the series back to LA all tied at one.

I can't say the Kings have been the better team so far. They were handled pretty well in game one, but Jonathan Quick, who looks to have rebounded (no pun intended) from his late season slump, kept the Kings in the game until Randy Jones turnover in OT led to the game ending goal. In game two, Vancouver dominated the first period, but the Kings used the power play to spring to life, and a little luck to tie the game. Anze Kopitar made a tremendous defensive play to save a goal, picked up the loose puck on the left wing boards, and took advantage of Sammy Salo's stumble to start a three on one. Wayne Simmonds finished the play beautifully for a 2-2 tie.

The kids came through in overtime. Jack Johnson fed the puck to Drew Doughty who slid a cross-ice pass to Anze Kopitar on the right wing half boards. Kopitar collected the rebound of his own shot and bounced it off of Roberto Luongo for the game winner. I'm pretty sure I either woke up or startled my neighbors with my yell as I saw the puck go in.

So far, the Kings look like they're getting the hang of playoff hockey, while Vancouver appears to filled with the largest collection of whiners I've ever seen. Can't wait for tonight's game.