Posts Tagged ‘david byrne


from wal-mart to bonnaroo (with a brief stop at the super bowl)

I just caught the current artist list for the 2009 Bonnaroo, and I couldn’t help but notice that Bruce Springsteen, who originally thought that releasing his album through Wal-Mart was the way to go, has done a 180 and is going to appear at Bonnaroo.

I wonder if this is making any of the normal Bonnaroo fans think that the event has sold-out or gone too commercial? After playing only his hits from the late 70s and early 80s for America’s Baby Boomers (who obviously haven’t heard, and probably don’t care about, his latest album), he’s now going to remake himself in front of Gen Y. I wonder how that’ll go? It’s certainly been done before, but I’m skeptical on this one…

Other observations: It’d be great to go see Mars Volta there. I haven’t written about them, but they are one of my favorite bands that are new to me within the last year or so. Extremely dynamic music with many layers and things going on. It’d be great to see them.

I noticed that, to me, Gogol Bordello is conspicuously absent after taking the place by storm last year. Maybe a late edition?

I’m always skeptical of seeing a band like of Montreal at a festival show like this. My first experience was with Peter Gabriel at the Amnesty shows. He was OK, but if you’ve ever seen him live at his own concert, it was a severe disappointment. I wonder if of Montreal would be the same.

Good to see that David Byrne hasn’t gone the way of cult favorite by continuing to have a meaningful presence at shows like these.

Overall, a pretty solid lineup, I think.


the accident

When it comes to listening to music, I’m usually far more affected and moved by the sounds and instrumentation than I am by the lyrics.

I know the lyrics to many songs for which I’ve never actually dissected or thought about them.

However, one song that broke through the clutter that I think is a tiny lyrical masterpiece is “The Accident,” by David Byrne.

Check out the imagery and descriptions in this song. Simple brilliance…


david byrne reminds me why he is a legend

I’ve seen David Byrne several times live, and he’s always proven to be worth the ticket price. Last night at the Pabst Theater was no different.

We showed up at the theater at 7:50. The show was to start at 8pm, and when I asked the ticket person when the show starts, she said 8:15. She also said there was no opening act. I can’t even remember the last show I saw with no opening act.

At 8:15, the entire band walked onto the stage, all wearing white, and started to play. As usual, the sound at the Pabst Theater was second to none. Great volume and crystal clear. It’s one of the few places in which I can nearly always understand the lyrics – no matter the band.

There were a couple of things about the show which marked the first time I had seen such a thing at a concert. The first came after the fourth song of the night – “Houses in Motion,” a classic Talking Heads track which rarely gets played live. Up to and through the song, the audience had been seated. But when the song was finished, the crowd gave Byrne and his band a standing ovation, that lasted several minutes. I think David Byrne was a little confused and surprised by this, too. He didn’t really know what to say, and appeared very humbled.

The second was the use of choreographed dancers. I can’t think of a concert I’d ever seen that employed dancers to do nothing but… well, dance. Sure, there’s back-up singers who dance, but never just dancers.

What most impressed me about the dancers was all the subtleties. The were only on stage for a selection of songs, and their dances usually incorporated the entire band, but in a very understated way. Sometimes it was just Byrne stepping back from the mic for a split second while one of the dancers passed between him and the mic. Then he would step back up.

Other times, it was the dancers taking the back-up singers’ mics and replacing them around the stage for the singers to follow them around. The dance was mostly an interpretative, performance art type dance. Sometimes, though rarely, it nearly crossed the line to cheesy, but hardly ever. In fact, the only reason that was even the case was because the male dancer (the other two were female) had a huge broadway-type grin on his face which was a bit too High School Musical for my tastes (but that is definitely a nit-pick).

The song selection was an excellent mix of the new album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, and classic Talking Heads tracks like “The Great Curve,” “Cross-eyed and Painless,” “I Zimbra,” “Heaven,” “Burning Down the House,” “Live During Wartime” and “Once in a Lifetime.” The versions didn’t really stray from the originals, but the punch was in the energy of the presentation.

As usual, I was able to attract the single most annoying person in the house to sit right behind me. Fortunately, she showed up an hour late for the hour and 15 minute set (45 minutes of encores followed). But when she got there, she used her irritating and sound-penetrating voice to point out everything Byrne was doing on stage and where the lyrics of songs like “Once in a Lifetime” would have been sung if she had written the song. I think I set my record, as it only took me no longer than two songs to whip around and ask her if she’s going to be talking all night. She said “no.”

Anyway, this show was, as usual, unlike any I’d ever seen, and I would recommend to any music fan that you go see this show. There are random clips from various venues lingering around.

This clip actually comes from the Pabst Theater, itself. Curious that the quality isn’t better. But you will get a feel for what was happening on stage. This is “Houses in Motion.”

Here’s “Help Me Somebody,” also from the Pabst. Different angle, though…

And this wasn’t last night, but it’s pretty much what happened during “Once in a Lifetime.”


going to david byrne tonight

Tonight’s the David Byrne show in Milwaukee. I was really excited for this when I bought the tickets.

Then I went through my normal lament when the time comes to do something I’ve had planned for a long time – no desire to go and wish I didn’t have tickets.

But today, I’ve been watching some video from the new tour, along with some old video, and I’m now extremely excited for the event. Looks like more original artistry from Byrne. I’ve seen him quite a few times, and he’s never let me down.

On this tour, he’s playing music from all collaborations with Brian Eno, including from Talking Heads albums Remain in Light and Fear of Music. He’s also playing songs from The Catherine Wheel. Here’s hoping he plays “My Big Hands.”


what does it all mean? (regarding digital downloaded music, i mean)

I was Strictly Discs a few nights ago. They’re a locally-owned CD shop in Madison who’s claim-to-fame for me is that they’ve got an extremely healthy collection of bootleg CDs.

I picked up a couple CDs while I was there and struck up a conversation with the guy working there about digital music. He made one of those points that is, on its face, obvious, but you just haven’t articulated for yourself, yet.

He said, “what’s that song you purchase worth when you buy it? .99 cents. What’s this record worth when it first came out (holding up a copy of Who’s Next)… $8 or $9? Now it’s worth more than $30.”

At first, I thought he was simply talking about the collectible nature of classic vinyl albums. But as I spent some time on it, I realized that he was talking about much more.

To many (dare I say, most), CDs and records are like books. Seinfeld had a riff about why people keep books after they’ve read them. But the fact is that they do. They’re like trophies. And when people come by, they often peruse the book shelf.

There’s something inspirational about a book. How many people purchase books they don’t read? But you’re not just purchasing a book. You’re purchasing a goal or an aspiration. You’re purchasing a to-do list.

CDs can be like that. Those with extensive collections are proud. Why do you think most CD racks are actually display cases? When people plan a room, extensive CD collections are usually in the planning.

I have purchased and downloaded many tracks. In fact, I just downloaded the new David Byrne/Brian Eno collaboration last night. But it’s just not the same. While the lack of sales is taking it’s toll on the music industry, I think the lack of CD purchases is taking it’s toll on me, the listener. The connection just isn’t there anymore. I’m not wedded to my music like I was. I used to take mental time to plan on what CDs would be in the car with me. Now I just bring the iPod. No thought necessary.

And maybe this comes from me being in marketing for so long, but to me, the packaging is an important part of the experience. Having a physical package with cover art, sleeve design, liner notes, etc. is a big part of becoming involved in the music. That sense of ownership made the entire contents of the album that much more valuable.

Cover art was also an excellent opportunity for artists to get their works in the public eye. Consider some of the great album covers of our time – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (Beatles)

Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)

Ritual de lo Habitual (Jane’s Addiction)

In the Court of the Crimson King (King Crimson)

Brain Salad Surgery (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

Taste of Honey (Ohio Players)

…to name a few. These not only put a visual image with every song contained on the album, but also serve as great memory and cultural cues for society, at large.

Cover art gave many artists access to a mainstream audience. That access is eroding quickly.

I’m not trying to draw a line in the sand and deny where music is heading. Hell, I’m helping to build a site that deals strictly in digital downloads. But I am lamenting the devaluation of THE SONG and THE ALBUM. I’ve been around long enough to have it both ways, and I’m hopeful, as we develop the new model for music, that we find a way to maintain the elements that made it so valuable, personal and fun.


*As extra reading, here’s an article about cover art by Adrian Shaughnessy that I really enjoyed reading. It’s not new, but it does see the issue similarly.


everything that happens will happen today… really, it’s available today

I’ve never seen such a huge difference in the release date of the digital version of an album versus the release date of the physical package.

If you check out the David Byrne/Brian Eno site for their new album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, you can purchase the digital songs – in MP3 or FLAC (lossless) – right now. However, if you want the physical CD, as well, you’ll have to wait until November 30. Seems like a long time, to me.

The other oddity is that for $69.99, you can order a specially-packaged CD with four extra songs and a video about the making of the album. Seems a bit steep. But if you look at it, I think you’re probably paying mostly for the packaging. So even though anyone who purchases it will be BUYING the four extra songs, they’ll be PAYING for the packaging.

Either way, I’ve made my way through the entire album, and it’s like Eno and Bynre never stopped collaborating. The songs are just as exploratory and rhythmic as My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Makes me even that more excited to see David Byrne in Milwaukee this fall. I just wish Eno would have toured with him.

There’s an embeddable player on the site that I’m trying to up here, but so far, the WordPress tools are not proving to be up to the task. Until then, I strongly recommed checking out the website.


everything that happens will happen today – david byrne + brian eno

More information on the story I broke right here on (after reading it in a few other places).

David Byrne is, indeed, touring this fall on the strength of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, which comes out August 18th. Unfortunately, he will not be touring with Brian Eno, as originally reported.

Byrne will be playing songs from current and past Eno collaborations, which means music from three early Talking Heads albums and My Life In the Bush of Ghosts.

You can hear the first single from the album, “Strange Overtones,” by going to and downloading it. There’s also a video from David Byrne introducing the album and tour.

Here’s the dates of the tour. Thankfully, he’ll be coming to the Pabst in Milwaukee. I’m hoping to catch him there and in San Francisco. It promises to be a great tour.

09-16 Bethlehem, PA – Zoellner Arts Center
09-17 Baltimore, MD – Lyric
09-18 Newport News, VA – Ferguson Center for the Arts
09-20 Atlanta, GA – Chastain Park Amphitheatre
09-21 Asheville, NC – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
09-22 Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
09-23 Memphis, TN – Orpheum Theatre
09-25 Austin, TX – Paramount
09-26 Austin, TX – Zilker Park (Austin City Limits Festival)
09-28 Albuquerque, NM – Kiva Auditorium
09-30 Phoenix, AZ – Orpheum Theatre
10-02 San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
10-03 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
10-04 Santa Barbara, CA – Arlington Theatre
10-06 San Francisco, CA – Davies Symphony Hall
10-08 Santa Rosa, CA – Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
10-11 Park City, UT – Eccles Center for the Performing Arts
10-12 Denver, CO – Buell Theater
10-14 Minneapolis, MN – State Theater
10-15 Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theater
10-17 Omaha, NE – Kiewit Concert Hall
10-18 St. Louis, MO – Fox Theatre
10-19 Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theatre
10-21 Louisville, KY – Palace Theater
10-23 Cleveland, OH – Allen Theatre
10-24 Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan Theater
10-25 Indianapolis, IN – Clowes Memorial Hall
10-26 Chicago, IL – Civic Opera House
10-29 Toronto, Ontario – Massey Hall
10-30 Montreal, Quebec – Metropolis
10-31 Boston, MA – Wang Center
11-01 Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata
11-03 Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Theatre
11-05 Albany, NY – Empire State Plaza
11-07 Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Music Hall
11-08 Philadelphia, PA – Tower Theatre

And, in case you missed it, David Byrne’s most recent installment “Playing the Building” was a really cool concept executed beautifully. Here’s video of it.

February 2019
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