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Arcade Fire + Calexico (Oct 2)


photo from Spencer Crooks

We got tickets to see the Arcade Fire and Calexico at the Greek Theatre at Berkeley on Oct 2. We arrived around 4:30p; doors opened at 6:30. There was a queue wrapping around the theater on both sides. It was pretty wild. The crowd waiting early ranged from little Justin Bieber-esque spring chickens to the gnarled and ancient. Hipsters, preps, 80s punks. The whole world turned out for this show.

And what a show. The setup was insanely elaborate, with a couple screens [one angled and made to look like an interstate billboard] and a large, highway-styled array of lights that shot down amazing sulfur-hued tones. The stage set-up managed to evoke a weird sense of nostalgia for suburban, off-the-highway living. Orange and yellow lights, imagery of overpasses, small yards, cookie-cutter subdivisions.

AF brought the noise, bombast, melodrama, and madness -- as usual. This is the third time I've seen them and it never disappoints. They sounded great and had the swagger of a much more popular band [though maybe my measure of popularity is irrelevant -- they seem to attract a huge following now]. We were about five rows back, slightly off center. It was a great spot, save the idiotic drunks singing-screaming along behind us.

The Tallest Man on Earth: between 5'5" and 5'7"

Tallest Man on Earth @ the Fillmore, SF

courtesy brian valdiznooo

Beth and I went to see Kristian Matsson, aka the Tallest Man on Earth, on Monday night at The Fillmore in San Francisco. The venue was fantastic. The show was outstanding. It takes serious gusto to get up on stage in front of throngs of the über-hip and perform like a maddened billy goat.

The setup was extremely simple. A man, three guitars, a smattering of peddles, and some amps. The Tallest Man seemed amused, entertained, and generally happy to be performing -- and the crowd loved him. We were lucky enough to be at the front of the audience, slightly off to the left. It was pretty outstanding; the combination of his unique voice, picking, and a pretty awe-inducing command of the audience made for a good night out. I wasn't sure what to expect -- sometimes a man and a guitar can be a bit boring -- but the show was great.

The show was at its peak for me when some of the showmanship and antics died down and the fellow just performed like an emotive mad man. Maybe the most amusing bit of performance was when, after a song, the tallest man flung his picks down pretty violently. He threw them at his amp, at his guitar, at the floor, always looking a bit pissed off and a bit bemused by the whole situation. I like that.