Saturday, May 25, 2013

Beck, Brubeck, and Bach: Portland Cello Project at the Aladdin Theatre May 4, 2013

Crappy Indie Music tends to get a little experimental with blog post format, so I've decided to publish a chat about the Portland Cello Project show I attended with my friend Steven on May 4th. (This is my second Portland Cello Project review—here is the first.)

Why a chat? Well, as it turns out I've been feeling guilty about the tardiness of this review, but life has been happening with a vengeance these days. I think I enjoyed the show more than the previous Portland Cello Project show I attended (mostly because I was a Radiohead newbie). I found the show a little unbalanced—this evening was chiefly about the "Beck Song Reader," a series of pieces that Beck decided he would release only as sheet music.

Portland Cello Project was joined on many songs by young musicians from the School of Rock.

Here we go!

9:17 PM Heather Andrews: hello!
9:17 PM Steven: yay
9:17 PM Heather Andrews: Hey, thanks for going with me to the Portland Cello Project show. When was that, like a month ago?
9:18 PM Steven: uhm
9:18 PM Steven: lemme check my calendar
9:22 PM Heather Andrews: I found the email! It was May 5th. Not quiiiiite a month ago yet.
9:22 PM Heather Andrews: Did you like the show?
9:27 PM Steven: the 5th or the 4th?
9:27 PM Heather Andrews: The fourth. As in, May the Fourth be with you!
9:27 PM Heather Andrews: Oh yeah, that's the day we went to Things From From Outer Space in Milwaukie.
9:28 PM Heather Andrews: Point is though, did you like the show?
9:28 PM Steven: it was fun
9:28 PM Steven: I thought the two lead cellists on the right were very skilled
9:28 PM Steven: and there was one other cellist who seemed to be the 'rhythm' section, keeping the beat very well
9:29 PM Steven: Clackamas County has decided it won't renew its contract with Portland sex offender treatment clinic
9:30 PM Steven: Clackamas County has decided it won't renew its contract with Portland sex offender treatment clinic |
9:30 PM Heather Andrews: You know I'm publishing this chat, right?
9:30 PM Heather Andrews: Did you know Zoe Keating was at Portland Cello Project's first rehearsal? That's what Wikipedia says. And if it's on Wikipedia...
9:31 PM Heather Andrews: I was trying to find their names so I could illuminate the minds that will be reading this
9:32 PM Heather Andrews: So, all the Beck songs they did were from his non-recorded Beck Song Reader. What did you think of that choice?
9:33 PM Heather Andrews: Oh look, as it turns out he has finally performed some of it himself:
9:33 PM Steven:
9:34 PM Heather Andrews: Nice cover design
9:34 PM Steven: As a musician, performing a piece you've never heard performed is a challenge
9:35 PM Steven: the thing about Beck is that his regular stuff is very not my thing, but he can play
9:36 PM Steven: I wouldn't mind having a copy of it
9:36 PM Steven: I'd make Jamie work though one of the songs with me
9:38 PM Heather Andrews: That would be cool, if you like it.
9:39 PM Heather Andrews: Once, my violin teacher brought a Beatles songbook, and it was her idea of "having fun" during my lesson but at the time I only knew a couple of Beatles songs and they weren't the ones she wanted to play...
9:39 PM Steven: I've discovered that with the right interpretation a song can be good or bad
9:39 PM Heather Andrews: So it's probably better if you bring it to her than the other way around
9:39 PM Heather Andrews: To me, those songs sounded unmistakably Beck like his Mutations album, but I don't actually care for the Mutations album very much.
9:39 PM Steven: I already 'discovered' something that she really latched on to
9:40 PM Heather Andrews: And the thing about Portland Cello Project is that I think their most successful pieces are the things that everybody knows already: "pops" tunes
9:40 PM Heather Andrews: Like the one they call "Ninjas in Paris"
9:40 PM Heather Andrews: or when they played "Take Five" (which was one of only two Brubeck pieces in the performance)
9:41 PM Steven: weren't there three?
9:41 PM Heather Andrews: Beck definitely got top billing
9:41 PM Heather Andrews: I only remembered two
9:41 PM Heather Andrews: "Take Five" and..."Blue Rondo a la Turk?"
9:41 PM Steven: ok hmm
9:42 PM Heather Andrews: Oh that's super weird
9:43 PM Heather Andrews: I thought I wrote a review after the first Portland Cello Project show, and I'm not finding it to link to it. I wonder if Jess took it down...
9:45 PM Steven: I-5 bridge collapses over Skagit River, no fatalities reported | Seattle
9:46 PM Heather Andrews: : (
9:46 PM Heather Andrews: Well : ) for the no fatalities
9:46 PM Steven:  witnesses reported seeing a semitruck with an oversized load crossing the bridge and striking a girder before the bridge collapsed.
9:46 PM Heather Andrews: D'OH
9:47 PM Heather Andrews: Funny thing, I have crossed over many of those lesser I-5 bridges and thought, "what if this gave way right now?"
9:47 PM Heather Andrews: Glad I didn't find out
9:49 PM Heather Andrews: So tell me more about what you thought about the show
9:51 PM Heather Andrews: What did you think about the School of Rock kids?
9:51 PM Steven: mixed
9:52 PM Heather Andrews: Why?
9:53 PM Steven: I get the impression that there's a bit of Rebecca Black in the program
9:53 PM Steven: you know about how she got her video made,?
9:54 PM Heather Andrews: Her parents bought it?
9:54 PM Heather Andrews: For her bat mitzvah or something?
9:54 PM Steven: pretty much. You're familiar with vanity presses, right?
9:55 PM Heather Andrews *nonchalantly puts a sheet over her eighteen boxes of "Why I Love the Monkees So Very Much" by Heather Andrews*
9:55 PM Heather Andrews: Nooooooo
9:55 PM Heather Andrews: : )
9:55 PM Steven: Her mother paid $4,000 to have the single and an accompanying music video put out as a vanity label[3] through the record labelARK Music Factory.[4
9:56 PM Heather Andrews: So how do you figure that applies? Oh wait, maybe I don't want to publish that on the internets. Maybe I will not use your last name so all the West Hills parents won't come storming your door...
9:57 PM Steven: Well I wonder how many of the kids in School of Rock really have talent vs. parents just indulging them
9:57 PM Heather Andrews: Fair enough, although arguably you could say that persistence is the key to success, over talent.
9:58 PM Steven: sure
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: If you have talent you may not work as hard
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: And being young, they're just getting their sea legs
9:58 PM Steven: also, the fact that we have a for-pay privatized music school instead of art and music programs in public schools
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: Well yes
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: As an alumna of that system myself, I can still say it is valuable to people in their post-musician world
9:59 PM Steven: yeah there should be art and music in schools
9:59 PM Steven: I got my first exposure to music in elementary school
10:00 PM Steven: I'm being cynical again, aren't I?
10:00 PM Heather Andrews: I was thinking that : )
10:01 PM Heather Andrews: I spoiled your mind by talking too much about depressing news earlier
10:03 PM Steven: oh I wish they'd had more instrumentalist featured
10:04 PM Heather Andrews: Like, the trumpet player?
10:04 PM Steven: the one singer was good but I barely heard the piano or guitar
10:04 PM Heather Andrews: I liked the "Old Shanghai" song. Another Beck Song Reader song...
10:05 PM Steven: What was the audience participation one?
10:07 PM Heather Andrews: Ooooh, I don't even know
10:07 PM Heather Andrews: That's the thing about Portland Cello Project—I feel like I'm never cool enough to know most of the songs they play that everyone else seems to know.
10:07 PM Steven: Do We? We Do
10:07 PM Heather Andrews: Ah yes
10:08 PM Steven: they also played "Last Night You Were a Dream" and "Why Did You Make Me Care?"
10:09 PM Heather Andrews: I'm just lucky (is lucky the right word?) that I now know the "N-words in Paris" song, because that always gets a rise out of people. And you also said you were listening for Parisian references or ninja leitmotifs after they called it "Ninjas in Paris."
10:09 PM Steven: and maybe more
10:10 PM Heather Andrews: Definitely more. I think the show was really about the Beck Song Reader. Which, as it turns out, Portland Cello Project has released as an album, has made YouTube videos about, etc.
10:11 PM Heather Andrews: The Song Reader website is pretty cool
10:11 PM Steven: Yeah I thought it might be something from swing or gypsy jazz of the 30s
10:11 PM Heather Andrews: Very web-savvy
10:11 PM Steven: yeah
10:11 PM Heather Andrews: You're playing it on your computer right now.
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: Not the N-words song
10:12 PM Steven: no
10:12 PM Steven: I thought Ninjas in Paris was going to be an eastern influenced 30s jazz mashup
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: Yeah, so you really have to know the source material
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: to be in on the joke
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: Do you have anything more to say about the show we saw? Would you go to a Portland Cello Project show again?
10:13 PM Steven: I recognized the "Brought to you by the number 5" set
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Well, that was because it was "Take Five!"
10:13 PM Steven: I would, but I'd like to see them doing their pop covers more
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Who doesn't recognize "Take Five!?!?"
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Me too!
10:13 PM Steven: well that wasn't the only one
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Moar pop covers!
10:14 PM Heather Andrews: They should do more Monkees songs.
10:14 PM Steven: seemed like there was a 3rd song in the 5/4 set
10:14 PM Heather Andrews: Hawaii Five-O? Oh wait, no. You're listening to the Mission Impossible theme now.
10:14 PM Steven: let's find a better version
10:14 PM Heather Andrews: You know what, I didn't even connect that
10:15 PM Heather Andrews: I just thought "the next piece is brought to you by the number five" was just their way of saying that "Take Five" was next. Didn't even realize/notice/whatever the piece(s) after that...probably because I didn't know them.
10:15 PM Heather Andrews: :\
10:15 PM Heather Andrews: Is it safe to say that we went to a hipster concert?
10:16 PM Heather Andrews: Are you about to blow up my house? Because you're playing "Mission Impossible" a lot.
10:19 PM Heather Andrews: Okay, so now for the record, Steven and I are now discussing out loud (as we are sitting across the table from each other) how apparently, I really missed a big inside joke in the show...
10:20 PM Heather Andrews: They apparently took "Take Five" and interspersed the theme from "Mission Impossible" because they're both in 5/4 time, and I totally missed that...?
10:20 PM Steven: 'For all intensive purpose'
[Ed. note: I have just asked Steven out loud, "what? where did I say that?"]
10:21 PM Steven: you didn't say it
10:21 PM Steven: I just stumbled across it looking for something else
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: I don't understand
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: I am very confused
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: Aaaaaand
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: tired!
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: I think I should wrap up this riveting interview : )
10:22 PM Steven: the writer meant "for all intents and purposes"
10:22 PM Steven: another piece of music in 5/4
10:22 PM Heather Andrews: (He has now moved on to playing...another piece in 5/4. But he won't say what. I think it may be part of a Star Wars score. Sounds John Williams-ish to me.)
10:22 PM Steven: Oh, very good
10:23 Heather Andrews: Yay!
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: Net score for the whole night for me: ONE!
10:23 PM Steven: Now you know that John Williams ripped off Holst
10:23 PM Steven: Gustav Holst - The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: Ahhh
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: I think I've heard part of that...once
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: I must be the most horrible reviewer evar
10:24 PM Steven: it's perfectly understandable that you'd think it was from Star Wars
10:24 PM Heather Andrews: Let's talk about Hedda Gabler! Or the homosexual undertones of Tennessee Williams! : )
10:24 PM Heather Andrews: The Planets is much more riveting than the Beck Song Reader.
10:24 PM Heather Andrews: OH, I SAID IT
10:25 PM Heather Andrews: Sorry, Beck. Although maybe it's because Xenu really wrote that piece
10:25 PM Heather Andrews: Those pieces
10:25 PM Heather Andrews: That's not in 5/4
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: (I was hearing a YouTube commercial)
10:26 PM Steven: yes a McDonald's commercial
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: THAT is Star Wars now, yes?
10:26 PM Steven: yep
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: Or just more things John Williams ripped off?
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: Oh good, at least he's ripping off himself
10:27 PM Heather Andrews: Okay, I'm going to end this chat now
10:27 PM Steven: =(
10:27 PM Heather Andrews: Unless you have something more, hugely insightful, you'd like to say about the concert?
10:27 PM Heather Andrews: "I liked the person I went with" maybe?
10:28 PM Steven: I liked getting free admission =)
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: Or at least "the chocolate I bought in the lobby was good?"
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: Would you go to a Portland Cello Project show again?
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: Oh, I knew that piece
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: What it was about to go into
10:28 PM Steven: yes if I knew they were going to pay more of their pop interpretations
10:29 PM Steven: I am a big fan of out-of-genre covers
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: Yes
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: Like Oedipus Tex
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: ?
10:29 PM Steven: well there are bad things
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: Oh no, what is this?
10:30 PM Heather Andrews: Bad things, like me trying to cover Led Zepplin?
10:31 PM Heather Andrews: Zeppelin
10:31 PM Steven: ready for this?
10:31 PM Heather Andrews: (I had to Google that to spell it correctly.)
10:31 PM Heather Andrews: Is this the Lady Zeppelins?
10:32 PM Steven: George Mason U marching band covering Rage Against the Machine
10:32 PM Heather Andrews: Ahhh
10:32 PM Steven: Killing in the Name of/Bulls on Parade medley
10:32 PM Heather Andrews: I've never heard them so again, it's lost
10:33 PM Steven:
10:33 PM Heather Andrews: But if there was a Rage Against the Machine cover of....Idiot Wind by Bob Dylan? That might work
10:35 PM Heather Andrews: Okay, bye! Thanks for the chat. : )
10:35 PM Steven: =)


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