19 July 2012

Album Review: A Tribute To "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" By Rewiring Genesis

Before you begin this review, you must know some history. This album is a tribute, song for song, to the Genesis album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. If you have never listened to the original album, do so first. Then come back here. Believe me, you will need to know the source in order to enjoy the tribute.

That's not to say A Tribute To "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" doesn't stand on its own. On the contrary, even if I hadn't heard the original, I would still love this album. Nick d'Virgilio and Mark Hornsby draw out the soul of the album, sticking closely to the original format while applying some ... dare I say ... inspired arrangements.

You probably don't know, because a good number of humanity didn't buy it, but Nick (or NDV, as he's known in certain circles) was one of the two drummers used on Genesis' last studio album, the Ray Wilson-led Calling All Stations. He also toured with them during that album's European tour. So he knows something about Genesis.

And his affection shows in this album. The major thing you will notice is that the only keyboards used is the piano. No synths. Instead a full orchestra is used in place of the synthesized parts, as well as in place of some guitars and bass portions. The result is actually quite amazing. Some songs are done in a very faithful manner. Others take different, exciting turns (such as "The Colony Of Slippermen", "The Lamia", and "Riding The Scree").

My only big nitpick is Nick's vocals. Yes, comparisons will be made to Peter Gabriel ... and, to a lesser extent, Phil Collins ... and they are comparisons that are wholly unfair. Nick is his own vocalist and brings his own style and coloring to the lyrics. My issue is that his voice gets thin and tinny at important moments; this caused me a significant distraction throughout the album. But, hey, maybe you won't care.

And you shouldn't. As I said earlier, this album is a solid effort. If you didn't like the Peter Gabriel era (because the music was pretentious or muddied or whatever), I'd like for you to know that the use of an orchestra brightens up the heavy moments in The Lamb. Get yourself a copy. You'll thank me later.

12 April 2012

A Little Self-Promotion

Do your friends tell you that you have an amazing voice? Do you crave the roar of the crowd and the adulation of your peers? Can you use some extra coin?

Than Cobalt Idol is for you!

For six weeks, Cobalt will be holding its annual Cobalt Idol singing competition. We will have five semi-final rounds, with the winners facing off in a winner-takes-all.

The winners of the semi-finals will be chosen by audience approval. These finalists will face a panel of judges (who can be swayed by audience reaction). The champion walks away with the prize. The rest are left to dream of next year.

Do you have what it takes?

Semi-finals: April 25-May 23
Finals: May 30
Time: 10:30p
Prize: $500

Sponsored by SVEDKA Vodka

For more information, join the Cobalt Karaoke Facebook group page or email us at WednesdayNightKaraoke@gmail.com.

05 April 2012

The Night Owl Strikes Again

Honestly, I don't even know how to process the latest verbal gifts from my council member. In his celebratory speech Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, he managed to 1) slam an entire race and stir up racial unrest, 2) put up another mile of linguistic fencing that is keeping new business away from Ward 8, and 3) paint himself as something he most certainly is not.

First Point
We've got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know.
Barry ... brothaman ... these are business owners in your Ward. Yes, they are not "African-American businesspeople", but they are employers in your Ward. They may not be running the businesses you necessarily want, but they are the only businesses you have. It's bad politics to piss them off. You should be embracing them, including them as part of the community, and working with them to make our Ward a better place. Instead of hating anything and anyone who isn't black. Diversity is the lifeblood of a city.

I ... ugh ... I just cannot fathom what could be going through your mind that would make you spit out this divisive, racist crap.

Second Point
But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.
Mr. Council Member, you have basically told businesses, "Unless you are black, stay the hell out of Ward 8. I don't want you here." Tell me. Exactly how is that supposed to help put the people of Ward 8 back to work? How do you expect us, our Ward, to enjoy the growth and success that the other Wards have witnessed?

I know, I know. You're very concerned about "the G word" and you're afraid that, with growth, the downtrodden people you "so proudly fight for" will be pushed out. Well, you know what? Part of your job as our council member is to work with businesses, with developers, with new residents to find a way to include everyone in growth and success. Instead, you want to use inflammatory rhetoric designed to keep all but your vision of the ideal people out of Ward 8. The only thing that will accomplish is keeping everyone out and dooming Ward 8 to perpetual poverty and despair.

Which is, apparently, just the way you like it.

Third Point
And I defied the odds last night, didn’t I? I defied all the odds.
You "defied all the odds"? What odds? It most certainly wasn't the odds that you wouldn't get re-elected. Because, and let's be honest here, for as long as you want to run as council member of Ward 8, you will be council member of Ward 8. My fine neighbors are eternally blinded by what you have done for them in the past ... so much so that they cannot see that you no longer do anything for them now. You continually bring up your political history because history is all you have.

Show me one significant development or event or business that has happened in Ward 8 since you've been council member that you personally have made happen. Show me one tax credit, infrastructure allowance, or other such giveaway that you personally have extended to anyone to come in and make life in Ward 8 better for its residents.

Good things are happening here in spite of you not because of you.

I'm not surprised by your win. I long ago resigned to the simple truths that Ward 8 will not move forward and enjoy the good fortunes that the other Wards are enjoying as long as you are our council member and that you will be our council member for as long as you can draw breath. It makes me sad because I know what our Ward is capable of. I know what strengths we have and that we could be the place where everyone wants to live. I know that we have so much upside. But no one ... NO ONE ... in their right mind will come here and invest in us as long as you are around. You are divisive and lazy and a roadblock to progress. You want to keep your constituents down because as long as they're down they have to turn to you for help.

It's truly a shame that they can't see this about you. It's truly a shame that they can't realize that the best days of Marion Barry were left in his first term as mayor. It's truly a shame that we, the residents of Ward8, have to suffer through another term with you.

09 January 2012

New Years Resolutions

I know I'm a bit over a week late on this. Honestly, I was deciding whether I wanted to make any resolutions this year and then whether I wanted to make them part of the Cyber-Collective. As you can see, I've decided on the positive on both points. So here they are, my New Years resolutions:
  1. I resolve to spend more time with my friends and family.
  2. I resolve to be more active with my personal music endeavors, meaning I will (Muse willing) write, record, and share more.
  3. I resolve to be better to myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  4. I resolve to blog more. Not just music videos or whatever other rubbish I've been throwing up here last year but more substantial, District-related posts and more personal posts.
  5. I resolve to keep these resolutions.