Feb 212013

I am by no means the Hall’s expert on Kevin Ayers, but since he died recently and he is of interest to a few of my favorite Townspeople, relatively new and old, and since these very same folks have been chipping in their memories of enjoying the man’s music, let me open up a formal discussion for the benefit of those of you who know almost nothing about the guy and, even more so, for my own education.

I first came across Ayers in college through 2 sources. First, there was that June 1, 1974 album, which I hungrily borrowed from a friend for the chance to hear Eno, John Cale, and Nico in a band with Mike Oldfield (whose music I only knew through sneaking into my first R-rated movie, The Exorcist) and this Ayers guy, about whom I knew nothing. The album was OK, as I spun it over the next few days, trying like mad to get high enough to feel like it was great, but I returned it to my friend and never felt tempted to buy it for myself.

Next, over the last few weeks of my freshman year, I became friends with this tall, geeky, super-underground weirdo-prog guy, John. We initially bonded over artists like Captain Beefheart, the Velvet Underground, psychedelic Beatles, and King Crimson, the last of whom I’d recently been introduced to by another friend. He took this as a sign that I may be ready for exploring the deeper hippie-prog territory he specialized in, stuff like Henry Cow, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Gong. I wasn’t thrilled about all of those underground prog bands, but it was cool to hear new stuff and try to get a handle on this proto-Thurston Moore look-alike I’d suddenly befriended.

Jan 042013

Every New Year’s Eve my wife and I have our set of oldtime friends and their kids over for dinner and chatter. A few of my oldtime friends are your fellow Townspeople, including andyr, E. Pluribus Gergely, machinery, chickenfrank, and Sethro. Another longtime lurker and confidante and his lovely family also joined us this year. The same women who give us the spousal eye roll as we proudly wander the Halls of Rock can talk rock smack with the best of them in a live setting. Somehow a discussion of Rush broke out, led by machinery’s better half. It turns out she was a teenage Rush fan. A few questions arose from this discussion that require your gut responses. Let’s get it on, shall we?

Is Rush a “chick’s band” among prog bands?

Beside “Tom Sawyer,” can you confidently identify the title of any Rush song within 8 measures when it comes on the radio, and are you constantly anticipating Geddy Lee to yell “Salesmen!”

What is “Geddy” short for, anyhow?

QUICK: What’s the title of the Rush song with the reggae breakdown?

I propose that Rush is rock’s greatest modular band: any one of the half dozen movements within one of their songs can be swapped into the middle of another Rush song without interrupting the listener’s experience of listening to the song. Who is rock’s first modular band or artist: James Brown, King Crimson, someone else?

After the point in the song at which Geddy Lee yells “Salesman!” what’s your next-most anticipated moment in a Rush song? If you’re actually a Rush fan, is the “lighter-raising moment” the point in the song at which Geddy yells “Salesman!”?

In 25 words or less, help us envision the moment at which Rush decided to make records that sounded like The Police.

What’s made a greater impression on you through the years, the music of 2112 or the tight butt cheeks of the guy on the cover?

I look forward to your comments.


Sound Off!

 Posted by
Jul 112012

This one goes to zero!

Rock Town Hall has a long and honored tradition of rock video analysis, with Townspeople often incorporating the distinctive technique of commenting on videos with the sound off. In honor of alexmagic‘s legendary analysis of a video of Tom Jones performing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, we are instituting a new feature, Sound Off!

The way a Sound Off! thread works is simple:

  • A video is posted for us to view with the sound off.
  • We comment on what we’re seeing with the sound off.
  • We most likely share in the sense of wonder that there’s much to learn about music with the sound off.

You will be entrusted to view the following video with the sound off. If we could disable the video’s sound we would, but something tells me the copyright holder of the video might object to that. Trust us, for the purposes of this thread the sound will get in the way. Beside, you may be viewing this at work, in which case coworkers will only be distbured by your giggles; you won’t have to worry about the artist’s music leaking into their cube.

After the jump, why don’t you turn the sound off and watch the following video!

Continue reading »

Jun 122012

You say you’ve been meaning to check out Gentle Giant? Well, here’s your chance: an entire concert from 1978!

Watching this entire concert is daunting, but I encourage you to click on any point in the video, spend a minute or two, and and see if your highly developed Rock Town Hall sensibilities do not kick in. This performance, by a band dressed in the gamut of Rock’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas, is ripe with odd rock details that our Townspeople have made their specialty. For each RTH quirk you spot (eg, fashion/hair oddities, rock stances, specific soloing faces, instrumentation, RTH Glossary-defined behaviors) list it in the Comments section with an indication of the time in the clip—one detail per post—in Last Man Standing fashion!

Right off the bat, for instance, the clip features a guitarist in overalls. Another example: I clicked on the concert at the 14:35 mark to witness a man in an Oakland A’s jersey and hat playing vibes. Then I clicked again, around the 28-minute mark, to hear a guitarist playing a Dr. Q solo! Normal people don’t readily identify Dr. Q solos. We’re not normal.

Make sense? In short, click on this concert video at any point and I bet within 1 minute you’ll see something that delights your RTH sensibilities. Please share your discoveries so that others might see through your eyes. Thank you.

Jun 042012

It’s your moment of Yes. In the spirit of keeping it nice, let’s take a few moments to appreciate rock’s most affirmative band.

Following is an early ’70s promotional video I’d never seen before. People who don’t know or care much about Yes, like myself, tend to think that the high-energy image the band put forth as they fell under the direction of the Trevors, Horn and Rabin, was contrived. Maybe even longtime Yes fans felt that period reeked of SELL OUT. I don’t know. The following video, however, is almost New Wave in its lighting, framing, and musical miming. Heck, they always had it in them. Enjoy…after the jump!

Continue reading »

Dec 122011

I confess to being rather pleased that I managed to stump the Hall on my recent Mystery Date suggestion. Even sweeter was the fact that the song in question was a somewhat fluffy pop confection rather than some obscure and arcane bit of prog, which I could have so easily submitted. Mr. Moderator revealed it to be “A Night on the Town (With Snow White)” by Crack the Sky on last week’s Saturday Night Shut-in program. Mr. Mod helpfully went into the history of an all-but-forgotten band that in a kinder universe would have been one of the major acts of the late 1970s. I want to emphasize here that the Mystery Date song is not really representative of CTS’s ability. I present my evidence to the Hall jury…after the jump!

Nov 302011

“Guess I’m a lone rhinoceros no more,” says Adrian.

The same goes for you!

If you’ve already got Back Office privileges and can initiate threads, by all means use your privileges! If you’d like to acquire such privileges, let us know. If you’ve got a comment that needs to be made, what are you waiting for? If you’re just dropping in and find yourself feeling the need to scat, don’t hesitate to register and post your thoughts. The world of intelligent rock discussion benefits from your participation. If nothing else, your own Mr. Moderator gets a day off from himself. It’s a good thing for you as well as me!


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