Half Texan

Prince put on quite a show last night - he is an impressive performer, no question. He had no trouble playing to the packed MSG, so I imagine he'd blow the roof off in a club gig. He was backed by a full band for most of the show (including Maceo Parker on sax), with a fun solo acoustic set in the middle. The whole set was strong and filled with hits - "Let's Go Crazy" and an acoustic "Little Red Corvette" being my favorites - along with a few great funk jams and covers. My biggest gripe was the medley of megahits at the start - abridged versions of "When Doves Cry", "1999", and more. (Prince said "Too many hits, not enough time" at one point.) That said, the 10-minute cover of "Whole Lotta Love" was pretty cool, but I would have given it up for full versions of the big tunes. It was a fun show, though - very enjoyable.

I can't remember where I first stumbled upon a mention of the half Texan, half English band The Earlies and their excellent debut album, These Were The Earlies. Perhaps it came to me in a vision about combining two guys from Texas with two lads from Manchester, England and forming a dreamy, muli-layered rock outfit? No matter the source, I am just glad to have found out about this amazing album. Comparisons that immediately come to mind: Brian Wilson, Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, and The Polyphonic Spree. It's lush, undeniably beautiful pop magic, perfect summer music.

$200 on concert tickets

So I dropped $200 on concert tickets last night on Ticketweb. It's nice that Ticketweb lets you take care of everything in one shot (unlike Ticketmaster), but my CC bill will be ugly next month. And Ticketmaster actually owns Ticketweb, so unfortunately I'm still padding the Clear Channel wallets. A sad state of affairs. But on the bright side, I'm all set for:

- Sonic Youth Webster Hall. I am skeptical of Webster Hall as a venue, but the Bowery Ballroom folks are now managing the shows there and I have faith that they will do it right. Though if Sonic Youth is playing I generally don't care what the venue is - I can't wait. White Magic are opening up - I've heard many good things, and need to seek out their new EP before the show.

- Sufjan Stevens the Mercury Lounge. I was a big fan of his show at the Knitting Factory earlier this year, when he was backed by a band 10 people strong (!). He also played a lot of Seven Swans material then, plus songs from his upcoming tribute to Illinois (the sequel to Greetings From Michigan). Looking forward to a set of the same.

- M83 + Ulrich Schnauss the Bowery Ballroom. I have no idea what M83 will be like live, but I'm expecting walls of synths and cool visuals. From a progged-out Air, I expect nothing less. And this will be the first-ever NYC appearance for Schnauss, since his visa snafu cancelled his APT night earlier this summer.

- Of Montreal Northsix. Hell yeah.

- The Fiery Furnaces the Bowery Ballroom. Hopefully the sound will be better than at Coney Island. (How could it not be?) I'll also be prepared for their scattershot setlist. And I can get much closer to Eleanor Friedberger this time.