Sunday, February 19, 2006

Grateful Dead and the City

Grateful Dead

Photo courtesy of Herb Greene Photography

Grateful Dead, September 21, 1972 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

Bird Song

China Cat Sunflower---->I Know You Rider

Playing In The Band

He's Gone

Dark Star

Sugar Magnolia

I realize that this hasn't been the most popular music excursion I have attempted, as it definitely doesn't fit with the booty music theme and the songs are loooooonnnnnnggggg. I have felt a recent desire to explain my decision to post all of this up, because I am desperate person who needs to be told that he has done the right thing.

Anyway, the main reason was simply the fact that I had all of this great music that is nearly impossible for other people to get a hold of. I was trying spread the music for those who don't want to shell out the bucks or have a nice girlfriend.

However, I also see a connection (albeit a debatable one) to the heart of this blog. The music that strikes me the most is the stuff that doesn't have polish and neatness or a mistake-free existence. It is the defining attribute of the urban life and urban sounds, that acceptance of mistake, of noise, of dirt. It might be hard for you to imagine the Grateful Dead as urban music, but not for me. In fact, the Dead have come to define a city in this country, one of the great ones, in fact. Can you think of the Grateful Dead without thinking of San Francisco? I can't, as their music and spirit clearly influenced - and were influenced by - this California city that birthed them.

The San Francisco of that time, and to some extent that of today, represent a city par excellence in terms of openness and diversity and experimentation. It is synonymous as a place where anyone can go and find a home. I think of the exact same adjectives when it comes to the Grateful Dead. They started on Haight-Ashbury adhering to the communitarian principles of the time, an open and supportive community. Their music was open to all influences, from the folk of Garcia to the blues of Pigpen to world music of Mickey Hart to the avant garde of Phil Lesh. Their shows were without structure, open to improvisation and failure on a nightly basis.

Sorry to get all pretentious and pseudo-intellectual sounding, but I have been thinking about things like this and needed to get it out of my system. Now, back to your regularly scheduled program of big boobs, booty music and blogs. Yeah!

-Witold Rybczynski has a wonderful article in Slate magazine, looking at memorials and memory in the context of the new JFK memorial in Dallas. Also, he writes about the Washington Mall and what makes a good memorial.

-Lots of goings on in my favorite city, Philadelphia. The biggest and best news I have heard in a long time came 0ut this week to little fanfare. The Science Center, a business incubator and research center, has decided to expand and has set the goal of becoming the leading research park in the country. It has taken Cambridge, Mass. as its model, a brilliant choice. This is what I am talkin' about, a group reimagining the city and dreaming big. I may come back to this, I love this plan so much.

-Events-wise, a nice show at the Khyber this evening, as The National Eye are having a CD release party for their new album on Take the Van Records. They are joined by fellow Philly bands The Spinto Band, Like Moving Insects and Capitol Years. Tomorrow night, another label event, this time Julian S. Process' new one, The Pink Skull, and they are celebrating by taking over both floors of the Khyber. V.I.P., The Yah Mos Def and more downstairs, upstairs Optimo, the ones behind the How To Kill The DJ series, is spinning. Wow.

-More rock'n' roll goodness on the northside, as The Teeth headline a show at The Fire (4th and Girard) for the Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival. A little further east, in Fishtown, the legendary and unappreciated Philly punk/no wave legends, The Notekillers, are playing at the M Lounge with Oxford Collapse.

-Finally, the Rub is back, this time with all three members: Cosmo Baker, DJ Ayres and DJ Eleven. Epic party, epic weekend, let's get to work people.

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