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in a room in a house in a dream

maura @ 4:43 pm

I’m reading a book called “Facing the Other Way” about the history of the record label 4AD, and looking through the photos made me realize that I never wrote about the Throwing Muses show we went to last March. March! Can’t believe it’s already been that long. In some ways it’s kind of a boring thing to write about. I mean, it was terrific, full stop. Plus they’ve continued on tour and lots of other people have written about the shows in much better detail than I will here, especially now that I’m 4 months out.

But seriously: amazing. Tanya Donelly opened with a short set of new stuff and old stuff. The new stuff was okay — I have to admit that I’ve lost track of her in the post-Belly years. And the old stuff — Belly as well as some Throwing Muses — was delightful. As I mentioned back when I wrote about the Amor de Dias show we saw in March, Sam from Magnetic Fields played bass (or was it cello?) for Tanya Donelly, which was fun. I guess he’s the itinerant strings person for bands of a certain age playing live in NYC.

Part two of the show was Throwing Muses in its current lineup — Kristin Hersh, David Narcizo, Bernard Georges — playing entirely new songs from their most recent record (released as a book + CD) Purgatory/Paradise. The new stuff is phenomenal if dark, and it was pretty powerful to see it live. I keep telling people that it’s a concept album even though that sounds weird and old people prog rock, but it really is, at least in the sense that it all hangs together as a complete record to listen to start to finish. But the songs worked well live, too, especially beginning and ending this part of the show with “Glass Cats.”

Part three was old school Throwing Muses in which Tanya Donelly came back up on stage. There’s no way, of course, that they could ever play everything you want to hear, but I was super happy with the songs they did choose, especially “Green,” which I’m not sure I’ve heard live before, and “Flying,” which was my favorite track on their 2003 Throwing Muses album.

Looking back at that Amor de Dias post I’m reminded that I got all nerdy when Purgatory/Paradise was released. I got the record for xmas but didn’t end up even listening to it until January, because I made myself listen to every Throwing Muses EP and LP in order of their release before I could listen to the new record. I was also happily surprised to see that they thanked every Strange Angel by name in the record’s book — because there I am!


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i used to wander in the empty road

maura @ 9:04 am

March is almost over, and like most folks in the eastern half of the US I can’t help but think good riddance. It’s been a long weirdly cold winter, so cold we all bought balaclavas (which we can’t help but call baklavas). There was some good snow, so I hate to complain too much, but it was often during times that were difficult to enjoy fully, like overnight or during the commute to work. I’m ready for spring.

Two bright spots in March were concerts! First was Throwing Muses, about which I’ve been writing an epic post in my head for a few months actually, starting to before I got their new record for xmas. So more about that later.

Second was the first night of the Chickfactor shows, the only night we went to because babysitting is expensive. We picked this night because of Amor de Dias and the Jim Ruiz Set, and we were not disappointed even though we were almost late because I read the schedule backwards. The correct schedule was a good thing, because school night curfew is midnight so we ended up having to miss the last band.

To go backwards now, Jim Ruiz Set were great, similar to the last time we saw them two (I think?) years ago. They played the oldies and goodies, “Stormtrooper” will always be a favorite of mine. And the band had a xylophone this time around which was very fun. As they were leaving the stage Jim claimed that this was their last show, that he’s retiring, though I’m pretty sure he’s said that before. We’ll see.

Amor de Dias were fantastic, well worth the wait. We’d tried to see them last year on a tour to support their then-new record, but the entire tour ended up getting canceled when their visas didn’t come through in time. (I just saw on Twitter that the same thing’s happening to Ben Watt right now. What gives with the visa weirdness, US government? It’s just pop music!) Last year’s cancellation made me sad sad sad — Pipas was and Amor de Dias is one of my favorite bands, and while of course we got our tickets refunded it was a huge giant bummer.

They played a good long time, maybe 45 minutes, mostly stuff from the new record but a few gems from their first, including “Bunhill Fields” which I love. Lupe and Alasdair were joined by several special guests to supplement their guitars, first Sam from Magnetic Fields on cello (and the second time this month we’ve seen a show in which Sam was a special guest), then someone from Comet Gain on bass, and finally Pam Berry on vocals. Their music is mostly quiet and contemplative and it was gratifying that folks were into that, there wasn’t much excess talking.

(Wow, this is totally an old person reviewing an old person concert, right? It was so quiet, we didn’t even need earplugs, and we were home by midnight! My bunions were so relieved!)

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