Concert review: Southern Culture on the Skids

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also appearing: The D-Rays                                                                                                          Rumba Café, Columbus, Ohio – April 27, 2014

Many years have passed, and still no band on Earth makes me as unreasonably happy as does Chapel Hill, NC’s mighty surf/garage rock/rockabilly institution Southern Culture on the Skids. Last night, after what I was informed had been a six-year absence from Central Ohio and what had felt to me like much more, the band returned with a sweaty, triumphant, fairly classic set at the charmingly intimate Rumba Café in downtown Columbus. I set up stakes at my traditional stage left position, at the very front of the crowd, close enough to Mary Huff that she could’ve easily whacked me in the face with the neck of her bass were I to get out of line. All this is as it must be. Continue reading “Concert review: Southern Culture on the Skids”

DVR Hindsight #5 (4/20/14): Game of Thrones, Mad Men, TAR All-Stars

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Even before I started watching The Sopranos on a week-to-week basis (which was quite a reeducation to undertake for someone who gobbled up its first two seasons over the course of consecutive weekends), Sunday was still the destination of my TV week. I didn’t really start watching The Simpsons seriously until it moved from Thursday to Sunday. DIGRESSION: Yes, children, once upon a time, in the late 1980s, Thursday prime time was a hotly contested battleground where Bill Cosby and Bart Simpson vied, mana a mano, laugh track vs. South Korean animation, for the soul of America. It all seems kind of quaint now. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #5 (4/20/14): Game of Thrones, Mad Men, TAR All-Stars”

The Fly-Swatter Swatter: Manny Pacquiao UD12 Timothy Bradley, Jr. II

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As the bell rang for the twelfth and final round of the anticipated rematch between WBO Welterweight Titlist Timothy Bradley, Jr. and Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao, HBO’s blow-by-blow announcer Jim Lampley set the scene succinctly. “Their first fight was very good,” he said. “This one…has been even better.” And the view from my table in a raucous, surprisingly standing room only Columbus, OH bar and grill bore that thinking out, though an unsettling caveat stuck in my mind: Yes, Pacquiao-Bradley II had been a good fight, to my eyes, a good deal better than the original – which you may remember Bradley won via a stunning, many would say dumbfounding, majority decision that redefined boxing controversy for the latter half of 2012 (and bled into what was an, ahem, eventful new year for both combatants). Continue reading “The Fly-Swatter Swatter: Manny Pacquiao UD12 Timothy Bradley, Jr. II”

Movie review: “Muppets Most Wanted” (2014)

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(reads German marquee) “Die Muppets?”

“I can’t believe the reviews are out this early!”

“Or maybe it’s the suggestion box!” (both laugh)

The second part in a film trilogy is traditionally the one most open to possibility. Its almost sole purpose is to take already established characters and relationships and deepen them, threaten them, or otherwise shake them up. The introductions and all of the boring place-setting business are already over, and now the real fun can begin. Muppets Most Wanted, the middle act in what I must imagine its Disney overlords already see as a makeshift trilogy meant to evoke its fondly remembered early ‘80s forebear, wears this sentiment on its felt sleeve, stumbling only occasionally before finding its true stride, at which point it stops merely desperately wanting to entertain and actually begins succeeding. Continue reading “Movie review: “Muppets Most Wanted” (2014)”

Concert review: The Decibel Magazine Tour 2014

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appearing: Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, Noisem                                         Newport Music Hall, Columbus, Ohio – April 6, 2014

“Are you ready to rock?” deadpanned Carcass front man Jeff Walker, addressing the audience almost accusatorily with his bass guitar suspended from his neck and dangling like a fallen mountain climber wriggling at the end of his tether. The first live note had yet to be struck and the Newport Music Hall was still awash in the strains of “1985”, the majestic instrumental opening to Carcass’ magnificent 2013 comeback album Surgical Steel. Here was a band, so influential and loved in its time, that had with startling force and command improbably returned to form well over fifteen years after disbanding, and were now headlining one of North America’s premier metal tours, soaking in the audience’s adulation and anticipation. It didn’t quite play like the triumphant moment it should have. Continue reading “Concert review: The Decibel Magazine Tour 2014”

Parting thoughts on “How I Met Your Mother”

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WARNING: Massive spoilers ahoy. Tread lightly.

How I Met Your Mother closed its remarkable nine-season run last night with a breathless and expansive double episode, titled “Last Forever”, that saw its creators, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, attempting to have their cake and eat it too, unsuccessfully in my view. It was a fairly dizzying display of rug-pulling disguised as fan service that moved me intermittently – far less, unfortunately, than this show has in the past, including this season, which I generally approve of – gave me a few smiles, left me shrugging at times, scratching my head at others, and actively disappointed as the curtain finally fell. Continue reading “Parting thoughts on “How I Met Your Mother””