It’s heating up here in Seattle and I’m looking forward to a couple of lazy days in the sun. I’ve been working hard on a variety of things–one of which is my first short story in years, just accepted for publication.
The story, “It Takes Two,” is a new kind of tale for me, very indoor, very urban–no lingering descriptions of trees or sky or water–and featuring characters who haven’t a shred of earnestness to their name. They’re calculating, scheming, out-for-number-one types with fewer social skills than they would like to think: they work in the software, biotech, and adult entertainment industries. Even the length is new to me: a novelette, just south of 12,000 words. I had enormous fun with it. If I had to classify it, I’d put it in the ‘hot and sticky’ category, along with works like “Yaguara,” “Touching Fire,” “Song of Bullfrogs, Cry of Geese,” and “Wearing My Skin.”
So heat has been on my mind. And then, on the Bilerico Project, I came across a video of Janis Joplin singing “Summertime” in Stockholm. I’ve always loved this one. It’s a quintessentially summer sound to me, sort of like the Beach Boys–only completely different.
Joplin, I think, was a stunning performer. I’d give a lot to go back in time and watch her live.
So then I started thinking about open air concerts. If you could pick the fantasy lineup for a summer’s afternoon-turning-to-evening, with, say, 500 people in a park, maybe some hash, maybe some wine–nothing outrageous, just serious mellowness–who would be in the lineup? Remember, this is fantasy.
Okay, so in my show would be Janis Joplin, Michelle Shocked, early David Bowie, early Pink Floyd, early-to-mid Led Zeppelin, perhaps a little Joni Mitchell… If Kelley were there (and of course she would be: it’s a fantasy), then some late 80s U2 to make her happy. Ooh, maybe a little BRMC. Perhaps Groove Armada. John Martyn. Oh, and Bob Marley. Eric Clapton…
16 thoughts on “summertime…”
It has been cold and rainy here in NY the past few days, the thought of a warm summertime concert is lovely. There are so many groups and individuals I would throw in to my fantasy but I will try to narrow it down. First off Neil Young but in his younger days, Gram Parsons, The Band, Joy Division, Lucinda Williams, Foo Fighters, Laura Nyro (My partner’s favorite), a young Janis Joplin would be great with the early Grateful Dead. I could probably come up with dozens but I need to get to work :).
500 people? I generally don't dig on concerts that big. Lets say I was putting one together, though, right? Lets start nerdy & get towards sappy. Open with The Protomen, segue into They Might Be Giants. Move from there into The Decemberists, transitional. Headline is Rilo Kiley, then Jenny Lewis does a set by herself. Then, from the dead, Exuma. Closing the night are The Mountain Goats. Second stages are the Dresden Dolls, Antony & the Johnsons. During the break there is a Hedwig & the Angry Inch revival out on the second stage.
This is fun!
Laurie Anderson, Lisa Gerrard, Bel Canto, Nina Hagen, Klaus Nomi, Cocteau Twins, Rasputina (in the Zoë Keating days), Tim Buckley, Roy Harper, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Peter Murphy, Voltaire, Ute Lemper, Heather Nova, Tori Amos (in her LA mood).
In Spanish, in their 80’s incarnation: Mecano, María del Sol, Eugenia León, Lila Downs, Alejandra Guzmán, Alaska y Dinarama, Cuca, Heroes del Silencio, Soda Stereo, Miguel Bosé.
In the Tower of Babel (not really, just a potpourri of Portuguese, Italian, Greek): Cesaria Evora, Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, Simentera, Virginia Rodríguez, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Anna Vissi, Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Gianna Nannini, Laura Pausini, Lara Fabian, Gianluca Grignani.
I never saw Janis Joplin either, that would be awesome. I could go with a lot of the previous choices. And I would add in (not in this order) a little early Bruce Springsteen (perfect for summer), Joan Armatrading, Pete Townsend and Ronnie Lane doing some tunes from their Rough Mix album, Patty Griffin, some early Bonnie Raitt, Annie Lennox singing ‘Why,’ K.D. Lang singing ‘Crying’. Emmy Lou Harris, and a little CSNY. But I’ve seen a lot of those people already.
Who I’d really like to see? Janes Plane. Just one song. Please? Then you can go back into the grass and have some more wine. :)
Rory, yes, some Neil Young. Mordicai, those are great bands–for indoors. Karina, you know I love Nina Hagen, but she’s just not, to me, an outdoor sounds. How about Aterciopelados instead? And Jennifer, yes, Joan Armatrading–can’t believe I forgot her! And, yep, it would be awesome to do a JP song, I think “Corner for You” or “Vondel Park” would work well in the great outdoors.
Hm, right. Well, none of those in my English line-up are really in the outdoor sound realm. Okay, I’ll take Aterciopelados and add them to my Spanish gang, those are all definitely oudoor material. Oh, I’m so sad now…
Meh. I’ll just loiter everyone else’s English things then, and add Mónica Naranjo and Martha Sánchez to my Spanish line-up. Having those two plus Alaska will ensure all the drag queens will attend my outdoor party. That should make up for the sadness of losing my English concert fantasy.
Karina, no no no, you don’t have to lose anything! That’s your party. You get to have anyone you want. I was just saying I wouldn’t have them for mine, but that all your Spanish acts reminded me of Aterciopelados, who I think would go brilliantly with my lineup. So let’s plan to have a series of fantasy concerts in twenty different cities. Seattle, Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York… Mine would be outdoors in summer. Yours could be indoors in autumn–or when/wherever you liked. I’m just fixated, for the moment, on summer outdoors music.
OMG. I spelled Pete TownsHend’s name wrong. I saw it right away, but forgot to fix it. I don’t want those spell check police after me…
I saw the Dresden Dolls outside at The Greek a couple of years ago as part of the True Colors tour. They were awesome – great performers and it seemed to work well on that particular summer night – but it wasn’t a mellow lazy summer evening type of thing.
I’m remembering now seeing Procol Harum singing ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ years ago at a Juuly 4th concert in Boston – sitting in the grass watching fireworks out over the harbor. I’d like to hear them again.
20 cities? Wow, that’s a lot, but I’m there. As long as I get my JP!
Nicola :-) Okay. I’ll take autumn concerts in non-rainy, tempered-climate places: LA, Mexico City, Athens, Madrid, etc.
I didn’t know you liked Aterciopelados. Maybe you also like < HREF="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qjt_NsxczXM" REL="nofollow">La Lupita<>? And Santa Sabina’s: < HREF="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2iNUrSWa1M" REL="nofollow">Mirrota<> and < HREF="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi2xzCPvB1M" REL="nofollow">Chicles<>.
How could I forget Tim Buckley! Imagine him and Jeff performing together.
I’d second They Might Be Giants, and add Bob Dylan with the 1965 Hawks — the Royal Albert Hall version of Dylan. Leonard Cohen, from the late 60s, before he went rock’n’roll. McCoy Tyner, whom I once saw in a club; Richard Thompson; early REM (saw them in a club too, just before they went arena). Toshi Reagon. Oh yes, The Who, with Keith Moon on drums.
I saw Joni Mitchell once, in 1973, and was not inspired. Saw Laura Nyro in 1970, and I think some of her fans might be disappointed, since she performed that night only with piano, and many people imagine her (I think) with full band. But as Nicola says, these are our fantasy concerts.
Eva Cassidy! Singing, yes, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” (Among others)
And Everything But the Girl. And Tuck and Patti singing, “You Take My breath Away.”
It might take a very large bribe to get Mordicai to come to my concert…
I’ve seen Joni M. twice outdoors. Once many years ago at a small venue in Santa Barbara. It was prettty magical. And several years ago here in LA when she came out with that new sorta jazzy album covering her old songs. I really didn’t expect to like it, but it was a beautiful night and so perfect outside. Very moving.
Wow, I could do this all day. I’m a little surprised at how little overlap I have with the many suggestions. The Band, Laurie Anderson and Lucinda Williams would be it really. Not that they aren’t fine choices – I think Richard and Linda Thompson’s SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS is one of the best 5 albums in rock history – I’m just not feeling t
Let’s start with:
Buddy Holly; Flaming Lips; Billie Holiday; Toots and the Maytals; The Pixies AND The Breeders; Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys; Television; Johny Cash; Miles Davis from the noisy Bitches Brew/Live Evil/Agharata era; Black Flag with Rollins and Kira; Nick Drake; Everclear; Dolly Parton circa early 70s; Camper van Beethoven; Joe Ely; Warren Zevon with a full band but when he was sober and clean.
I could probably do another 50, but that’s a nice solid day at a Lollapalooza type stage.
When do we get to see the novelette?
I always associate TMBG with outdoor concerts, since they play in Prospect Park every year & that is usually when I go see them. Yay for living on the park!
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