Wild At Heart
It looks like the Confederate Flag is causing some issues with the city of Detroit thanks to Kid Rock. Like most people from my generation, this might seem like a silly issue, and it kind of is. When I think of the Confederate flag, I think of one thing: 1) Bo and Luke Duke driving the General Lee through Hazard County fighting the corruption of Boss Hog. So basically, thanks to TV, I look at the flag as a symbol of fighting oppression which is probably the way the south thought during the Civil War, which of course they lost so the flag gets to symbolize everything they were fighting for including keeping their slaves. However, the War goes much deeper than that and black soldiers did fight under the Confederate Flag and I am hard pressed to call black soldiers racist, but that might just be me. The reason this comes up is because the NAACP is honoring Kid Rock with a Great Expectation Award for all the good he has done over the years promoting a positive image for Detroit. However, during his concerts he uses the Confederate Flag which he says reminds him of Southern Rock so maybe we can blame Lynyrd Skynyrd for that. Speaking of which, how come nobody ever boycotts them for the rebel flag?
I did a little research and found some websites for black veterans of the Civil War and did find some Confederate Flag images on their sites including this image:
It seems that the men in the picture, Anthony and Harry had a great-great-uncle, James Hervey who was a black American who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War for the Army of Mississippi and was killed at the battle of Shiloh. His quote says that “"The battle flag stands for freedom and states' rights. The U.S. flag is the flag of slavery. It flew over 100 years of slavery, and Native Americans were annihilated under that flag". So basically, it is his point of view that the US flag with all its stars and stripes and its “red, white & blue” is the flag that should be boycotted and not the Confederate Flag. Think of that the next time you say the pledge of allegiance at a sporting event. He has formed the Black Confederate Soldier Foundation, an Oxford-based not-for-profit organization whose stated mission is to foster new thought on the Civil War. I would like to see the guys boycotting the Kid Rock ceremony address this. It just goes to show that there is no right answer and most people prefer the easy one and racism is never easy.
On to lighter topics, there are a couple of great concerts coming to town, starting with Jonathan Richman. I have him on my concert calendar, but I also had the pleasure of seeing him last Friday at a small venue here in Rochester. Most music fans will know him as the lead singer of the Modern Lovers whose song “Roadrunner” is considered by some to be the first punk song. Though short lived, the band was very influential, though don’t expect the energy of those recording at this show. Instead, recent years have seen Richman look to low key, semi-acoustic albums that remind me more of early Arlo Guthrie or Randy Newman. He has a new album entitled “O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth” (on Neil Young’s Vapor Records label) which just came out and shows a mix of Spanish harmonies, quiet folk and whimsical tunes. Very sparse, the record is a good intro to his life show where Richman keeps a witty dialogue with the audience between (and sometimes) during songs. It is almost like watching you great uncle play music to you as a kid and just enjoying the experience. I have never been one for really dissecting songs since they are more of a feeling for me. This record, one of the best I’ve heard these past few years, has a personable feel that left me feeling content and wistful and wanting to search for more of his solo work. Here is one of the more whimsical tunes from the new album:
The Rochester show ended with a lively rendition of “I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar” which had the crowd going wild. All I can say is that Jonathan puts on a great show and if you have never seen him, don’t pass up this opportunity.
I also had the chance to catch OMD in Toronto while I was road-tripping this weekend. I didn’t have ticket prior to the show but I was going up for a few other things, so I tried my luck with the scalpers and got a decent ticket price. Oh Land (Dutch singer Nanna Øland Fabricius) opened for a ½ hour set that rocked out. Her mom is an opera singer which shows where she got her pipes and she used to be a ballet dancer until and injury sidelined her. Ballet’s loss is music’s gain. Here is one of their songs to get you hyped and on time for the show:
OMD came on and did a wonderful set, playing all their hits such as “Enola Gay”, “So In Love” and “Dreaming” as well as some new material. For an vintage 80’s band, they sounded very fresh and put on a wonderful show. Definitely a must for the 80’s music addict and the Crofoot will be a great venue to see them in. This is one reunion that won’t disappoint. Here is a song from their new 2010 album, “History Of Modern”:
If that doesn’t excite, I don’t know what will. How this show isn’t sold out yet is a travesty.
Speaking of shows, here is what I recommend coming to town this week:
Wednesday (3/9) – James Taylor @ Wharton Center's Cobb Great Hall (MSU) in East Lansing
Thursday (3/10) – Jonathan Richman @ Magic Bag
Friday (3/11) – Grammy winning jazz singer Esperanza Spalding @ Music Hall, Irish Rovers @ Maccomb Performing Arts Center, OMD w/Oh Land @ Crofoot
Saturday (3/12) – Cheech and Chong @ Caesars Windsor, guitarist Dave Mason @ Majestic, Americana singer Eilen Jewell @ the Ark, Pop Evil @ Hayloft
Sunday (3/13) – Crystal Castles @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
Monday (3/14) – Sarah McLachlin @ Wharton Center's Cobb Great Hall (MSU) in East Lansing
Later this week, I will be posting some extra blogs including a movie review of “Even The Rain” which opens this weekend and a blog about my road trip to Toronto to see the Tim Burton exhibition at the TIFF(get ready for a road trip). Expect that around Wednesday. See you then.