Tag: music

Superblast!

A room with a view

I’m not one for making last-minute travel plans. Mostly it’s the cost that puts me off. I’m also not a fan of the stress that comes when everything is booked and you’re left with the feeling of, “Well, now what do we do?” And anyway, spontaneity is over-rated and unbecoming once one reaches a certain age.

That being said, it’s important to recognize opportunity when it presents itself, even if it’s not necessarily easy or convenient. For example: a high-school friend mentions that he’s got an extra ticket to a sold-out concert this weekend. It’s a chance easily dismissed, especially if attending the show means flying to another city. It will be expensive and time consuming. It’ll be loud and hot and smelly. And your buddy isn’t the guy you hung out with 20 years ago. So really, it’s not worth it. Move along.

Of course, the band is one of your favorites. And that plane ticket actually won’t break the bank. Not that this makes such a trip any more sensible.

These are the first and second thoughts I had when I discovered a friend from long ago had an extra ticket to see Lush in Chicago. Fortunately, I heard one of those third thoughts when my wife said, “You should go.”

So I did go. And it was expensive. And loud, hot, and smelly. And my buddy wasn’t the same person I once knew.

Lush (plus bassist Phil King out of frame) perform at the Vic in Chicago

And that was all okay, because as it turns out, I wasn’t the same person either. Catching up with Kevin, I was reminded that some friendships transcend time and distance. Such friendships are few, and it should be mandatory to have a drink with those friends at least once every decade or so. Someday they won’t be around. Someday you won’t be around.

The show itself was nothing short of fucking amazing, but as a longtime fan of Lush, you’d expect me to say that. I’m not a music critic, and this isn’t a review. If that matters, you can get that here. Suffice it to say that this concert gave me the rare opportunity for something more than a trip down memory lane for a handful of best-of moments. It was an opportunity to re-engage with music that has held a meaningful place in my life. I am, as I always have been, blown away by their art. When art moves you like that, it should not be taken lightly.

Most importantly, I am reminded to listen to those third thoughts: you should go.

Emma Anderson dazzles us allMiki Berenyi and Phil King are solidMiki Berenyi's voice still soars while Justin Welch drives the beat

 

Thoughts about Clipping and Distortion

Working on an overdrive pedal, here’s a few resources about clipping and distortion:

And a more general resource about the TubeScreamer circuit:

And a good compilation of general breadboard techniques:

Leaving on a Jet Plane (Archive)

Edit: This post originally appeared on my Blogspot blog.

(Houston, Texas) I’m sitting here in Hobby Airport waiting for my 1:00 departure, and apparently whoever is in charge of the sound system has put on a John Denver playlist. I’m not sure what is scarier: that his songs have been played continuously for the past hour, or that I have recognized all of them. Not that I have anything against John Denver. In small doses.

I’m on my way to Lincoln to see the family. Dad’s not doing too well, so I’ve made arrangements at the school to go up for a visit. I hate having to miss classes, but it’s not because of the kids. Honestly, what I hate are all the damn lesson plans. My mom pointed out it would be faster just to teach the classes myself.

So I’m feeling remarkably well considering the circumstances of this trip, that I only got four hours of sleep last night, and that I’m sitting in an airport with CNN blaring on the monitors in clear discordance with the Denver-fest. (Personally, I’m rooting for John). Part of the reason for my easiness is that the airport has done little to offend me today. Check-in and the security screening weren’t onerous today, which are usually the worst part of air travel. Here at the gate (again, with the exception of CNN) things are pretty peaceful as well. Conspicuously absent from my travel experience are the hordes of screaming children. I suppose that’s one of the benefits of mid-week travel.

One other point of note is a sign of our changing times: here in the terminal, amidst the usual rows of uncomfortable benches, I’m sitting at a courtesy laptop bar. It’s just a smallish table with built-in electrical outlets and stools, but it’s really smart. Internet access isn’t included, but it’s nice not to have to jockey for juice with the business folks looking to charge their Blackberrys and the college students with their Apples. Even the guy with the electrical banana looks happy.