Top Ten: 9/2009 & 10/2009

Well, the Bears should be 5-0, but in typical fashion, they are 3-2 and my annoyance level is high. Illinois (U of I) football sucks, so no use discussing them at all, and The Cubs completed their usual stunning underachieving season. The past couple of months have been far less boring than the summer, and with approaching holidays, as well as excellent business ventures and some decent trips planned, we’ll see how the rebound is….


PLAY IT LOUD!  Baseball Tavern. Boston, MA. The finest gathering of bands and people in one place that I have attended…likely ever. So many highlights: seeing good friends, meeting new faces and of course, the sets. From newer American acts like The 45 A’s to Aires and Graces, from tried and true stalwarts like The Butchers and Tommy and the Terrors. From English legends like Resistance 77 to Pressure 28, to America’s best all-time oi! band, the mighty Templars, the bands involved were excellent – beyond that, really. My favorite performance of the event was Hammer and the Nails, though. Continuing to bring the pain, the set was complete with new tunes,  as well as the by now classic cover of Straw Dogs “Justice” this band keeps getting better and better and better. Geared up for PLAY IT LOUD V.2 for next year.

Cocksparrer. Riot Fest. Chicago, IL. Having never seen Cocksparrer before, this was a quasi-religious experience. The set was a mere 50 minutes long, and though their new material is excellent, they only played one new song…the rest of the set was classic after classic after classic. From “Where Are They Now?” to “Working” to “I’ve Got Your Number” to “Runnin’ Riot” to “Because You’re Young” it was a full of chill inducing moments. Probably the best 50 minute set I have ever seen. Beyond Amazing.

Concrete Gods – Welcome to the Empire Club. Likely the best British band of the moment. As described in this very blog, the band pines for the London of old, all processed through tight power pop with hints of glam and punk rock. This makes for a formidable combo indeed. This is a must have for fans of mod revival, The Jam, the Who, etc.

Humble Pie – Everything. I’ve been on a huge Humble Pie run lately. Have always ranked Marriott’s Small Faces as one of my favorite bands ever, and always thought MUCH superior to the boogie/rock outfit Humble Pie, but upon really savoring the first two-three LP’s and the singles, the gap has recently gotten much much tighter. “Natural Born Bugie” indeed, motherfuckers.

Crisis – Holocaust Hymns. Great collection from underrated punk rock band.

The Cliches – No Justice, Just Us. While the band does operate under many a….ahem…cliche, they do deliver as far as the sound goes. I’m digging it.

Rolling Stones – Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass). Been playing this LP alot lately. No need for description.

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper/Abbey Road/Masters /vol 1&2. So was the fuss worth it? Was the painstaking remaster project by Abbey Road engineers (which took a reported 4 years) worth it? Well, having checked out the STEREO versions of these 4 records, I can only answer with a resounding yes. It’s amazing what clarity and detail you can now hear in these classic albums. STUNNING.  Five stars and highly highly recommended to fans of the band. (I’d love to get my hands on that Mono box set, for all you rich kids that spend Dad’s money on original French oi! help me out….)

The Ratcatcher. Criterion DVD.  Excellent Scottish film which takes the small triumphs and very real pain of childhood, and wraps it into a beautifully shot movie set in the Glasgow slums of the early 70’s during the city’s infamous garbage strike. At times haunting, at other times stunning like a painting, the film is highly recommended, and one that Spike Jonze reportedly showed to his cast and crew during the making of Where the Wild Things Are to instill in them the overall feel he wanted to capture.

Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut.) IFC. An amazing documentary on the formation of the legendary comedy troupe. The multi-part doc takes the viewer through their early work, the TV show, the movies, Graham Chapman’s death and up to the present; this is a great piece of work. Features interviews with all living Pythons as well as the likes of Steve Coogan, Russell Brand, Bruce Dickinson, Phil Jupitus, Simon Pegg and many many others. This is a must see for fans of the show.


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