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Howie Day, live at the Troubadour in Brisbane

(Side Note: Apologies for the weird formatting issues in the below post. I’m posting this from the road, and my laptop seems to be acting up a bit. When I’m back at my regular computer next week, I’ll try and fix it up. For now, I hope you can put up with the changing fonts and weird picture alignments etc.)

So last night, I saw a musical genius at work. Those who have read this blog for any amount of time might know my somewhat obvious admiration for all things Howie Day. If you aren’t aware of this, I suggest you check out my last post regarding him, entitled, “Live Music Friday – Howie Day live at The House of Blues. (Or, I’m in mourning. I missed the Howie Day gig.)”.

Back? Ok, good. So, now that you’re up to speed, you can imagine my excitement when I learned that Howie Day was returning to Australia, this time headlining his own tourand was performing at the Troubadour in Brisbane. This time, I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

It was my first time visiting the Troubadour last night, and I must say, I was very impressed with the venue. Tiny and laid-back, it’s the perfect spot for a live, intimate gig. Unfortunately the crowd was… well, shall we say slightly young for the most part (in fact, at one stage Howie commented to one extremely tipsy amorous pre-legal age girl at the front of the crowd that “he remembered his first beer too”), but overall the setting was a great one.

Anyway, I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. First, there was the opening act. Well, two opening acts actually. The first was a girl that, for the life of me, I don’t think ever mentioned her name (sorry… if you by any chance come across this post, feel free to drop a comment so I can update the entry with a name). Her set was good, although I think she has a bit to learn about dealing with being an “opening act”. Her awkwardness was part of her charm though, and she played a short set which was worthwhile. After this mystery girl, Sophie Koh came on stage.

Sophie Koh is a girl that I had – coincidentally – only recently become aware of, so I was very interested in hearing her play. Although she apparently usually plays with a full band, Sophie was up on stage as a solo performer, and as much as she may protest against this statement, I really think this is the setting in which she excels. Sophie has that kind of vulnerability to her voice that you simply cannot dislike, and her guitar phrasing is nothing short of beautiful. Seeing as I’ve only recently become aware of her music, I won’t waffle on too much here. Suffice to say that, if you get the chance… go see this girl live. You won’t be disappointed.

Listen: Sophie Koh – All The Pretty Boys

After Sophie, it was time for the main event… Howie Day came on stage to what seemed like a subdued crowd (although I think the reason there was a hush was that everyone was waiting in what can only be termed extreme anticipation). It’s weird, but I don’t think I’ve been to a gig in the last 5 years where simply everyone was sitting on the ground in silence. But that was the case with this one. While I think Howie seemed somewhat unsure of what to make of such a crowd when he came out, I think he soon warmed to the fact that here was a crowd to listen.

After a quick, “How you doing?”, Howie launched straight into “Sorry, So Sorry”, which had the crowd in raptures. And it was here that my question was answered. In recent live shows of Howie’s that I’ve heard, it’s seemed clear that he appeared to be moving away from the looping effects of his shows from years past. While I could appreciate the new direction, I would have been lying if I said I wouldn’t have been disappointed if he didn’t employ his “trickery” as he so often termed it that night. However, launching into “Sorry”, it was clear that this was a disappointment I wasn’t going to have to deal with. Unfortunately, just as the song was reaching it’s emotional peak, it became clear that there were some power issues with Howie’s pedals that interfered with the sound equipment; interference that led to everything cutting out, and Howie having to stop, mid-song. Despite this clearly nerve-wracking time for Howie, once the issue was sorted he picked up the song, quite literally from the line he left off, and just let loose with an emotion that bowled us all over.

Howie Day performing live at The Troubadour
Howie Day performing live at The Troubadour

After “Sorry”, the night flew by in an absolute flash for me… I simply blissed out on – finally, after all these years – finally hearing one of my favourite musicians perform live. For those who are interested though, here’s the setlist (as I recall it) from the night. If you were at the gig though, and think I’ve missed something out, then drop a comment and let me know.

Howie Day at The Troubadour in Brisbane Setlist

Sorry, So Sorry
Brace Yourself
Sunday Morning
No Longer What You Require (new song)
Sound the Alarm
Perfect Time of Day

She Says

Highlights of the set for me? Well… to be honest… everything. However, if pushed to pick a few highlights, I’d say “Ghost” (of course), “Bunnies” (which was simply brimming with emotion), “Madrigals”, “Collide” (which Howie introduced as simply, “Well, here’s this song”, which was an indication of what a curse and blessing the song is, even all these years later. The reason it’s on my highlights list, though, is that it’s the reason my girlfriend came with me to the gig; a rare occasion), and the new song, “No Longer What You Require”. It was my first time hearing this new song, and – quite frankly – it’s the most excited I’ve been about Howie’s music in years. Point blank. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way at all, it’s just an indication of how amazing the song is.

As I mentioned above, it’s pretty much impossible for me to give a song by song breakdown of the night, as I lost myself in the music. I will say this though… Howie not only lived up to my expectations – which after close on 8 years of waiting in anticipation, were not small… by any means – but he clearly overwhelmed them. The guy was nothing short of magical. Possessing one of the strongest voices I’ve ever witnessed, and with a musicality that simply towers over most over performers, the night was one that with stay with me for years to come. All I can offer, should some of Howie’s people stumble across this post in their usual reputation management checks, is my sincere thanks to Howie for a simply amazing night.

Howie's many pedals...
Howie's many pedals...

After Howie had finished for the night, he came out and joined the crowd (or what was left of it) for a while. Thankfully, I managed to meet him, and a more humble, gracious person you could not hope for. Despite what the media sometimes portray Howie as, I was amazed at how down to earth he was, and how hard he was obviously willing to work at his chosen career. I’ll be honest: I was amazed that Howie performed to such a small crowd, with such a cheap ticket price in the first place, given what he could obviously ask for. But he’s clearly committed to working on breaking it in Australia from the ground up, and that’s something I have major respect for. Anyway, I managed to snag a pic with him, which is below. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that night, so all the pics are from a somewhat crappy phone camera… which is a pity, but still, at least it’s a reminder of a wonderful meeting. Thankfully, Howie was kind enough not to laugh at my fumbled, tongue-tied compliments.

Howie Day & Burgo
Howie Day & Burgo

Anyway, that’s clearly enough from me, as this post is becoming ridiculously long. All that’s left to say? Come back soon Howie. We’ll be waiting for you.

Listen. Love. Support.

Listen: Howie Day – She Says (link no longer active)

Update: 10 December, 2008

Seeing as this track has already been put out there on the ‘Tube (see the comments section of this post for more on that), I don’t see a problem with posting the mp3 of that video. So here, for your extreme auditory pleasure, is Howie Day’s new song… “No Longer What You Require”, from his live performance at Annandale while on his Australian tour. It is, quite simply, beautiful. As I said up above, in the main post… it’s quite possibly the most excited I’ve been about Howie’s music in years.

Listen: Howie Day – No Longer What You Require (live performance of new song)

Seeing as there’s really no information out there about this song, I thought I might as well take the time to transcribe the lyrics from this performance… as up until now I’ve drawn a blank looking for any lyrics out there already. I’m pretty sure there are a few mistakes in the below, so please feel free to correct me in the comments and I’ll be sure to update the post accordingly.

Anyway, here you go… Howie Day, “No Longer What You Require” Lyrics

We had it all we were young lovers
We were full of trust and faith
And we were deadset on making it last forever
forever and a day
I recall it was fall last year when it started to die
Standing still as the temperature kills
The summer (?) that were keeping it alive
The days got colder so I held you closer
In an effort to save us some time
Almost like the wind came and ruined the spark
And left us in the dark

But hey,
I could have told you that i loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
And I am a liar
I’m no longer what you require

See I still feel you at night
Turning in the sheets when I turn out the light
It’s how a ghost,
The ghost of your first love
Won’t ever leave you until the day that you die
I won’t have any doubt leaving her behind
Even if the choice was the right one
It was a good thing staring me right in the face
but I turned and ran away

But hey,
I could have told you that i loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
And I am a liar
I’m no longer what you require

Back then the days were so much faster
we were young, stubborn and in love with disaster
And no, you cant come back even if you try
You better just forget and won’t you close the door on me
Coz it’ll never be the same
It’ll never be the way it was before

But hey,
I could have told you that i loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
And I am a liar
I’m no longer what you require
Well hey,
I could have told you that I loved you and stayed
Around to kindle the fire
But I was late
On my returning now you’ve lost all faith
In the dying light
I’m no longer what you require
I’m no longer what you require


Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers declared dead

Richey Edwards...
Richey Edwards... "4 Real"

While this happened a few days ago, it’s only just been brought to my attention.

13 years on from his disappearance, Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers has been declared dead. While it’s really just a legal status at this point, I’m still finding this incredibly depressing. Part of me has always lived in the hope that Richey really did just drop off the radar, and was living the quiet life somewhere, far away from the attention with which he seemed unable to deal.
Richey was a rock star of the highest order, and is deeply missed by Preachers fans.

In rememberance, I’ve included the Preachers’ “Australia” video below. The fourth single release from the 1996 album Everything Must Go, Nicky Wire wrote the song as a way of dealing with all the emotions surrounding Richey’s disappearance in 1995.

Listen. Love. Support.


I feel like the world’s biggest traitor… Coldplay vs. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

Honestly, right now I feel like a traitor to myself. Within a day of each other (from tomorrow) both tickets for Coldplay and Ryan Adams & The Cardinals Brisbane shows go on sale. Coldplay tickets are between $110-$140 (!!?) and Ryan Adams & The Cardinals tickets are $75 (which is up about another $20 from the last time I saw him play, I’m sure).

So, what’s the problem, you might ask? The problem is that, given the current economic climate of my wallet, I just don’t seem to be able to justify buying tickets to both. I have to choose. And, despite the fact that I would normally sacrifice a toe to see Ryan Adams play live, the choice isn’t as easy as you would expect. So, what would you do in my situation?

Ryan Adams Pros:

  • It’s Ryan Adams, for Pete’s sake. I mean, I write enough about the dude, don’t I?
  • Fix It. ‘Nuff Said.
  • It’s at The Tivoli, one of my favourite venues.

Ryan Adams Cons:

  • I’ve seen The Cardinals perform before at the Tiv. Only once, but that’s a significant factor in the choices here.
  • Dammit. Can’t seem to come up with any more cons, apart from the fact that it’s $75, which really stings.

Coldplay Pros:

  • It’s Coldplay. An iconic band of our generation. Sure, perhaps a bit mainstream for what you would think I’m into, but it’s Coldplay.
  • Um. See above. Oh, and Strawberry Swing is a pretty damn cool tune.
  • Oh yeah. One more… I haven’t seen them live before.

Coldplay Cons:

  • The frikkin’ price. $110-$140? That is, point blank insane. I think the last time I paid that much was for the Bob Dylan concert, and he had The Frames opening… so Coldplay best have some awesomeness opening for them.
  • I’m not so much a fan of the “Viva La Vida” album… it wasn’t bad, just not my favourite. But the majority of tracks on this tour will obviously be from that album.

At this stage, I think that Coldplay has it. But honestly, I want to hear your thoughts… what would YOU do? Let me know below.

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Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, 3 Voor 12 Set

Following on from the Cardinals’ Coffee Shop Show, Ryan Adams & Co. have just released the entire (yes, entire… in other words, close on 30 minutes) 3 Voor 12 set up at cave.cardinology.

I really don’t see the need to enter too much in this post here. Honestly, I think I’ve talked about Ryan Adams and The Cardinals enough in the past for you to get all the information you need. So… I’ll just cut this short, and embed the video below for you to watch.

Trust me when I say it’s beautiful.


We Need More Keynotes Like This – Ian Rogers

Ian Rogers recently gave the Keynote address at the GRAMMY Northwest MusicTech Summit… and what a Keynote address it was. Ian basically said what we music bloggers have been saying for a long time: online music does not signal the end of the music industry… rather, it signals the end of the CD industry. And you know what his reply was, to those doomsayers?…

That’s right. The guy is sticking it to the music industry straight. Head here to read a transcript of his speech (and you really should), but here are some interesting excerpts:

I don’t care.

The lamenting we read in the press is not the story of the new music business. Continuing to talk about the health of the music industry on these terms is as if we’d all been crying about the dying cassette business in 1995. The difference is that when we moved from cassette to CD the winners were the same (big companies who owned access to cash, distribution, and marketing) and the definition of winning was the same (more units sold for these big companies).

As I’ve been saying for years, the physics of the media space have changed and you shouldn’t expect the winners or even the definition of winning to stay constant, so simply looking at how iTunes replaces CDs doesn’t tell the entire story.

I see news about the health of the music industry as defined by the stock price of WMG or quarterly earnings of UMG, Sony, and EMI every day. What I don’t see, apart from a few articles on Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, is an update on how the world is changing from the artist point of view. But I tell you, when I talk to managers and artists they feel it, they feel an ability to take their careers into their own hands, to redefine what success means for them, and that is the emergence of the new music business.


Music consumption isn’t declining: iPod sales up 59% Y/Y (source: Apple), P2P filesharing volume up 35% Y/Y(source: NPD), audio streaming up 25% Y/Y (source: Accustream). And despite the endless discussions about the “pirates,” there isn’t an unwillingness to pay for music, either: 1.6B decisions to buy music in 2007, up from 1.3B in 2006 (source: Neilsen Soundscan), 40% Y/Y increase in worldwide digital music sales (source: IFPI), 8% Y/Y increase in North American concert revenue — an all-time high (source:, 40% paid an average of $5 in Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want model, Nine Inch Nails self-release generates $1.6M in first week sales, includes sell out of $300 box set in first 48 hours (source:

Here’s a link to his slides from his speech, and I really suggest you follow that link earlier and read his entire speech. If you’re at all interested in the state of the music industry today, it’s well worth your time.

2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2008 guitar music

Joe Pug, live on NPR’s Mountain Stage

This is a really short note here, but to any of you readers who have enjoyed the stuff you’ve heard from Joe Pug on this blog so far, you might want to head over to NPR to stream Joe Pug’s October 5 performance from NPR’s Mountain Stage in fulltrust me, you won’t regret it.

The set features two unreleased tracks – “Bury Me Far From My Uniform” (absolutely killer!) and “Not So Sure” – as well as “Nation of Heat” and “Hymn #101”.

Joe Pug… still easily one of my favourite artists for 2008.

Thanks to Sharyn from No Door Agency for dropping me a line and keeping me updated on Joe’s whereabouts.

For those of you in the US, you can catch Joe at one shows in his upcoming tour, listed below:

Tour Dates:
11/15  Bluebird Music and Arts Fest / Columbia, Missouri
11/17  Tractor Tavern w/ Joe Ely / Seattle, Washington
11/18  Aladdin w/ Joe Ely / Portland, Oregon
11/21  Cafe Du Nord / San Francisco, California
11/23  The Loft @ UCSD / La Jolla, California
11/24  Hotel Cafe / Los Angeles, California
11/29  Cranky Pat’s / Neenah, Wisconsin
12/5   Stubb’s BBQ / Austin, Texas
12/7   The Continental Club / Houston, Texas
12/10  Hodi’s Half Note / Fort Collins, Colorado
12/11  Bluebird Theater / Denver, Colorado
12/12  Fox Theater / Boulder, Colorado
12/13  Three 20 / South Breckenridge, Colorado
12/19  World Cafe Live (with Rhett Miller) / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12/20  The Black Cat (with Rhett Miller) / Washington DC
12/26  Barrymore Theater / Madison, Wisconsin
12/27  Gennesee Theater / Waukegan, Illinois
12/28  Rialto Square Theater / Joliet, Illinois
12/29  First Avenue / Minneapolis, Minnesota

2008 releases artists artists to watch for in 2009 digital downloads guitar music

William Fitzsimmons – The Sparrow & The Crow

For some reason, if you’d asked me last week whether I had posted about William Fitzsimmons on this blog before, I would have sworn blind that I had discussed his 2006 album “Goodnight” sometime in 2007. However, I recently received his 2008 album, “The Sparrow & The Crow“, and was preparing a post when I looked back through this blog archives – trying to find my past post – and I realised that I must have dreamed the whole thing.

But you know, for some reason that’s kind of fitting. William Fitzsimmon’s work has that ethereal, floating quality from which the best dreams are made.

Fitzsimmon’s path towards music reads like some kind of fantasy tale filled with destiny. From his site:

William Fitzsimmons is one of the oddest people you will ever meet. Born the youngest child of two blind parents, William was raised in the outskirts of the steel city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Due to the family’s inability to communicate through normal visual means, William’s childhood home was filled with a myriad of sounds to replace what eyes could not see. The house was suffused with pianos, guitars, trombones, talking birds, classical records, family sing-a-longs, bedtime stories, and the bellowing of a pipe organ, which his father built into the house with his own hands. When his father’s orchestral records were not resonating through the walls, his mother would educate him on the folk stylings of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel. By the completion of his youth and schooling, Fitzsimmons had become well-versed at a variety of instruments, at the minor expense of social standing, interactional skills, and a knowledge of proper shaving technique.

William Fitzsimmon’s music has that heart-string-tugging, ever so fragile quality to it that makes for the best of tunes. When you hear his voice, there’s almost a caution there; as if you exhale too loudly, you might frighten this wonder away. Watch the below video of Fitzsimmon playing “It’s Not True” – from his “Goodbye” Album – on DeepRockDive to see what I mean…

Enough about the past… let’s look at Fitzsimmon’s latest release, “The Sparrow & The Crow”.
Put simply, it’s a wonderful album. I mean, really, that sums it all up.
But, to go a bit deeper: The Sparrow and The Crow is an album with some heart-wrenching stories behind it. Like his past releases – namely “Goodnight” and “Until We Are Ghosts” – the album deals with some incredibly personal tales. Not surprising, when you consider that the album, in Fitzsimmon’s own words, was “written first and foremost as a confession and apology to my former wife“.
I recently came across a wonderful interview with Fitzsimmon’s where he related this story:

The Sparrow and The Crow – Are you comparing relationships of the heart to the flight or actions of birds? What’s the concept of the album?

I’ve always thought symbolism was a wonderful literary tool for getting across meanings in a more substantive and tactful way. I think it allows one to be concise and pointed in meaning, without sacrificing clarity for an aesthetic sake. The main idea for the record title came on a drive I was taking out in the country here in Illinois. I noticed a couple birds flying together against a strong wind and suddenly, one of the two turned and flew away, leaving the other one alone. For some reason it just seemed rather poignant and explanatory to everything I had gone through in the last couple years. I don’t know, maybe I was just really tired. But for whatever reason, it hit me pretty hard. I spent a lot of time soon thereafter looking into the historical and myth-related meanings of certain birds, and came upon a couple (the sparrow and crow) that seemed to fit the nature of the story I was trying to detail. Specifically, the sparrow is my former wife and I am meant to be the crow. And as I’ve committed myself to be honest in the process of telling such a serious story, I can say that the album is the tale of my failed marriage and the process of trying to start life over again.

Anyway, on to the tunes themselves. I’ve included two songs below, for you to get a taste of the album. Both these songs are taken from the second half of “The Sparrow and The Crow”, which is – in my opinion – where the album really kicks into uber-awesomeness. Fitting, I suppose, considering that the album is telling a story. Really, if this was a screenplay, these songs would be playing during the final “resolution” stage of the film.

The first, “They’ll Never Take The Good Years“, is perhaps the song with the most acceptance on the album. The second, “You Still Hurt Me” is a song with which we can all wistfully relate.
Listen to these songs. Seriously. They may just help you.

Listen: William Fitzsimmons – They’ll Never Take The Good Years
Listen: William Fitzsimmons – You Still Hurt Me

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Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, in the BBC Studios

So this past Saturday, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary show… and man, what a treat we were in for.

It was a short and sweet slot, with only 2 interview segments, and two songs, but those two songs were pure magic. The first was the always-stunning “Fix It” (by the way, if you haven’t seen their performance of this song on Letterman, then head here. Seriously, you need to watch it)… and then straight out of left-field comes a cover of Foo Fighters “Times Like These”. I’m loving the way they perform the song, and it’s actually reminiscent of a way I used to play it at various open mic nights, which probably lends itself to a greater connection with me.

Anyway, I’ve included the entire show including interview segments below, but at the very least, listen to “Fix It” and “Times Like These”. Sheer beauty.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Live on Radio 2

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Chat I
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Fix It
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals – Chat II
Ryan Adams & The Cardinal – Times Like These