Thursday, May 31, 2012

Primus - Live at the Brady

Last night I had the fortunate experience of attending a Primus concert at the Brady Theater in Tulsa. It was my first trip to the Brady and it was my first time to see Primus. I was really impressed with the theater and its steep balcony where we sat dead center. Unless you were in the section closest to the stage, you had a perfect seat if you were up top. Underneath us was mostly flat seating and a standing room only area just in front of the stage. I've never really been one to want to bang into a lot of people while I'm watching a show, so I try to go for a place that I can sit down if I want to and still keep an eye on the festivities. I grabbed a double Jameson's on the rocks at the bar and got comfortable for an incredible three hour show.
I've wanted to see Primus live for years and last night my wish was granted. With two gigantic inflatable astronauts standing guard on either side of a big projection screen, an odd mood was set for the evening. As the band strode onto stage, they launched into "American Life" while loops of Abe Lincoln, The Statue of Liberty, and The Stars and Stripes flashed and morphed on the big screen behind them. Throughout the night, I heard song after song that I recognized, but some had been transformed into jam sessions of this fusion of rock, jazz, pop, and noise that only Primus could pull off. They were such a tight band that every note and every pause were exactly where they were supposed to be without it sounding like the music was being fed through a machine into the PA. If you can imagine Primus trying to achieve the jamming prowess of bands like Phish and Pink Floyd, then you've got an idea of what the show was like...which was thrilling and fantastic. About six songs into the show, the three of them left the stage. Seconds after they were clear, the big screen in the back started to show an early Popeye cartoon. The crowd loved it. When that one was done, they played another...then another. When the third cartoon was done, there was a pause. Then a fourth cartoon started up. Some people booed and screamed, but I laughed because I knew they were pulling an Andy Kaufman. How far can we push these people? Fittingly, the title of the fourth and final cartoon was "Can You Take It?" Perfect. The last cartoon finished and the show resumed. For the rest of the night, the music surged and ebbed like a big sea of cheese. It was a completely satisfying show and a good introduction to such a great theater.

Seek them on the webs.

See more reviews at

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mustang Summer Lager

I recently picked up a couple of mixed six packs of beer at my favorite liquor store, Grand Spirits in Grove, OK. Nine of the twelve were summer seasonal brews. One that I found very tasty was Mustang Summer Lager. To get the best out of a lager, you're supposed to use the proper glass and serve it at the proper temperature. I don't care much for that snobbery anymore, so I grabbed a bottle from the fridge and chose my favorite Samuel Smith pint glass (British pint, a little bigger) and poured a tall glass of golden summer. I was hot and tired so the beer was looking perfect, cold and inviting. The light golden color and a foamy white head was slowly drawing a smile on my face. I hucked the bottle into the recycle bin and sat down to a fantastic bright and clear lager. Without going into boring detail about every faint ester I tasted in the beer, I'll hit the high points. This Mustang had a sweeter style malt, flowery hops that weren't strong at all, and a hint of lemon grass and citrus. While you're drinking this beer, if you can't picture yourself sitting in a chaise longue by the pool or under an umbrella by the lake, then you have obviously lost all the imagination that God gave you.
This beer was born and developed at Mustang's headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They do what dozens of smaller beer companies do, they contract brew with larger breweries like Point Brewery in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. This means that the big guys with all the cool equipment get paid to produce Mustang's beer for them. The recipe, ingredients, people and preparations are all sourced by an Oklahoman, but the equipment is not. So calling this an Oklahoma beer is mostly right. I consider it totally an Oklahoma beer. And a damn good one at that. Enjoy some soon, because when summer starts to wane, so will this great lager until next season.

See more reviews at

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Garbage - "Not Your Kind of People"

Let me start this review of the Garbage album “Not Your Kind of People” by saying I am a little biased about the group; Shirley Manson to be specific. A long…long time ago I was watching MTV’s 120 Minutes. For you youngsters, that was when MTV played music videos and 120 Minutes was the more favorable alternative music show. So when I was glued to the tube one weekend, I saw a video from a band called Angelfish, which was Shirley’s first venture into a solo-type project. The lyrics were overly simple, but I instantly became irrevocably smitten with the red headed lead singer. As the Fates would have it, Steve Marker was watching that same show and called Shirley to come do some vocals for a new band a few guys were starting called Garbage.
Flash forward about 13 years and the band released their fifth studio album “Not Your Kind of People.” With outstanding musicians and producers in Duke Erikson, Steve Marker, and Butch Vig, Garbage, along with Shirley, is a terrific outlet for these four great minds. On the new album, Garbage sticks to what they know best. It's something I call dark pop, meaning most of the songs are fairly upbeat, but there is a melancholic or sinister tinge to them. The melodies are tight and the musical riffs, at times, are thoroughly hypnotic. The strong vocals often have a free-form lilt throughout the album and really put the sweet icing on the cake. I've listened to this album quite a few times over the last couple of days. Two of the highlights for me so far are “Blood for Poppies” and the title track. But I wouldn’t hesitate to include nearly all the other tracks on one of my infamous mix CD’s. The short and sweet answer for “Will I like this album?” is, if you’ve ever liked any Garbage song, then yes. You will like it. Buy it and love it as much as I love Shirley Manson...I mean...uh, this album. 

Get your Garbage fix at their website.

See more reviews at

  1.Automatic Systematic Habit  
  2.Big Bright World
  3.Blood for Poppies  
  5.Not Your Kind of People  
  7.I Hate Love  
  9. Battle in Me
10.Man on a Wire 
11.Beloved Freak  

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Dictator (R)

I'm not much of a fan of what I call uncomfortable humor. The kind where comedians or performance artists include random people in their practical jokes, like most of Borat or some of Jackass. When I saw the commercial for The Dictator, I could tell it wasn't in that vein of comedy, but I was still hesitant to see it. However, the lure of it couldn't be ignored so I went. I made the right decision because The Dictator was hilarious from beginning to end. When the screen flashed the words "Dedicate to the memory of" I thought perhaps one of their friends had passed while making the film. Then, "Kim Jong-Il" faded in and I knew this was going to be a satirical joyride. Sacha Baron Cohen portrayed supreme leader Admiral General Aladeen (and his body double). His screenplay, along with his delivery of the character, proved that Cohen is very smart, deliberate, and good at what he does which is make fun of people who deserve it. The rest of the cast was spot on as well, and most of the names are recognizable, even a few unexpected cameos. What was a highlight for me was the performance by Anna Faris. She usually gets roles that make her appear like what we think of when we hear a blond joke, but in this film she was perfect. Her hippie, non-racists, non-sexist, free-trade organic shop owner role was realistic and very funny.
Over all, the story line was sometimes a little loose and I said to myself a couple of times, "Okay, that's kind of funny, but let's get back to Aladeen." However, those small bursts of story line off-shoots didn't detract enough from the flow of the film to cause any permanent resentment. And when you include Middle Eastern versions of Dr. Dre and R.E.M. songs, who can be upset for any length of time?
If you are the kind of person who thinks that our government has never done anything wrong and that the rest of the world is evil, then this probably isn't your film. The irreverence is thick, poignant, and accurate. But if you love satire in it's highest form, go see this movie as soon as you can. I know when it comes out on DVD, I will own it.

See more reviews at

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What's Going On?

While the title would suggest a review of the classic Marvin Gaye song, it is merely an introduction to this web log. I recently watched the Jamie Kennedy film "Hecklers". It was a look at people who purposefully disrupt performers for whatever reason. It was also about people that review the shows and movies we all see. A lot of the critics were either bullies who enjoyed taking personal jabs at actors, comedians, filmmakers, musicians, and even athletes, or they were morons who could never get a job critiquing dog shit, let alone films or music. They seemed to be vicious simply because they were in their grandma's basement where no one will ever find them. The doc had a ton of my favorite people in it like Lewis Black, Patton Oswalt, and David Cross. I particularly like it when Jamie would bring his hecklers backstage after the show and ask them why they felt the need to be dicks while he was trying to perform. While I can't say that I've seen everything that Jamie has done, I definitely like this documentary. I will probably go find his other films, watch them, and watch some of his TV shows again. What I won't do is personally attack him, or anyone else, if I don't like their work. (Maybe I will so he will come track me down and I can be in his next film.) Bill Maher had one of the best statements. "I don't think any performer of any kind has a thick skin. I don't think you can do any good work if you do. You have to be sensitive to be good. And if you're sensitive, then you're going to also sometimes suffer because of that." I am a writer, a musician, a playwright, a screenwriter, a poet, and a skate shop owner. I hear critiques all the time. While I know that you can't please everyone, I try very hard to do just that. It hurts when someone says my play sucks or my skate shop is lame. I know that pain, so in this blog, I choose not to be the asshole. I choose not to take personal swipes at artists. There are plenty of haters. The world needs more lovers. I love all of the fine arts, so this is my place to tell you all about all the cool things in our world. Welcome to Talking Simian.

See what else is going on at