Sunday, February 05, 2006

Rocking in the Shadows of the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is going on right now, and since it's in Detroit, it gives us a good chance to mention the Funk Brothers. They're the guys you hear playing the music whenever you listen to one of the Motown hits you love. They included bassist James Jamerson, who is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a sideman. You can see more about these guys in the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. It's worth checking out. (Thanks to Lowender for pointing out the Motown-Super Bowl connection.)

Speaking of documentaries, I took a couple of hours out today to watch A Good Band is Easy to Kill, which is essentially footage of Beulah's 2003 tour in support of Yoko, their worst album. (It's still fantastic.) I love Beulah, and it was a shame to see that the members of the band, particularly frontman Miles Kurosky, didn't come off as exactly the most pleasant people in the world. That doesn't matter — or maybe it does, since I want to like the people who make the music I like. (I did like how hard he works, considering how much of a slacker sound he and his band managed to produce — and from me, the slacker sound is a major plus. I also liked his Big Star shirt.) The documentary included a great scene at the University of Pennsylvania that showed Miles angry and concerned about playing the Rotunda, a venue at 40th and Walnut streets, that he deemed insufficient for the band's sound needs given the amount of time they had to set up before the show. (The show turned out OK. And speaking of the Rotunda, I saw Mirah there last year — also excellent.) It was only a few months after that October 2003 Beulah show that I first learned of the band. What a shame that I was only a few blocks away from that show when it took place and hadn't heard even heard of them. Now, they're one of my favorites, and they don't exist anymore. From the footage, it looked like they put on a terrific live show. And that scene at the Rotunda has a nice view of the building that houses The Daily Pennsylvanian, where I used to work.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, bols. And read about Beulah here. They're like a more summery, poppy version of Pavement. But that description doesn't do them justice. Get the album When Your Heartstrings Break to really understand why they were great. They were also loosely affiliated with the Elephant 6 collective. Someone should really write about E6 here.


At 11:08 PM, Blogger Benthoven said...

Gosh, and for a minute I thought you were going to actually comment on the musical performances at the Superbowl.

That said...did anyone else think that it was brilliant to have Dr. John there for the national anthem to represent New Orleans?

At 12:16 PM, Blogger i know the boss said...

Joan Osborne doing "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," "Heat Wave" and a slight a cappella snippet of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" in Standing in the Shadows of Motown remains among the all-time sexiest things ever captured on celluloid. (I still curse that talentless hack Ben Harper for busting into "Grapevine," interrupting and ruining Joan's amazing flow.)

At 12:43 PM, Blogger FriedOreo said...

I somehow managed to miss the national anthem, but I did hear cool-ass Stevie Wonder and Joss Stone's abrasive singing. But the highlight of the night had to be Tom Brady's suede jacket. The guy still managed to steal the show.


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