As Chad's already described, we caught a free Fountains of Wayne show this week. I'd seen them once before, summer of 1998 at the 9:30 Club in D.C.; the tickets were meant to be a birthday present for Chad, but I hadn't known that he had an out-of-town conference, so I went by myself. That show was actually what turned me into a fan; before then, I'd heard their music in passing while hanging out with Chad and thought they were okay, but the live show conveyed their music's energy in a way that won me over.
This show was not as good as the 1998 one. It wasn't in the Egg, but in the conference center underneath, which is a low-ceilinged box and not at all music-friendly, and the band wasn't quite as loose—less patter, that kind of thing, though they were impeccably professional in the face of a lousy situation (stupid lighting, microphones cutting out, slightly apathetic crowd). Besides the general acoustics issues, the vocals weren't mixed high enough; surely there must be a way to mix vocals so they are always X amount louder than the instrumentals, so you can actually, you know, tell what they're singing?
Those gripes aside, it was a good show. I was amused that people cheered "Hackensack", which was introduced as about being stuck in New Jersey, and the song after, "Hey Julie", which is a very good call as the latest single. No-one but me cheered "Valley Winter Song", the third song in that mid-set sequence that I think of as "the sweet new songs," but I was glad to hear it anyway—it's a lovely ballad and ought to be a single if they're still doing singles when winter comes around again. They did my favorite bouncy songs too—"Red Dragon Tattoo", "It Must Be Summer", "Stacy's Mom", and "Bright Future in Sales" (as part of a "drinking songs" mini-set, after "Mexican Wine").
The local paper had a good review of the show: "Irony looms large but empathy does as well, and plain old-fashioned storytelling is really what FOW are all about; that collective consciousness moment where you say to yourself "that's happened to me."" That, plus really catchy pop hooks. I'm very glad that they're finally getting airplay with this latest album, and sorry that the lousy weather and venue probably didn't win them any converts.
Other than the concert, the week was mostly unending drudgery and physical headaches of varying degrees. I am this far from finishing a book log entry (I know, the shock!), but I was actually in the mood today to sort out the mess that is my office. We got a filing cabinet about a year ago, but there was the dog and the installation of a new window and then I basically set up the laptop downstairs permanently to be more social, so never went in the room—anyway, papers and unpacked junk has just been piling up for far too long. After a concerted effort this afternoon, most of the stacks of paper have been transferred into properly-labeled folders inside the cabinet, which gives me a nice little glow; something about a lot of thoughtfully-organized manilla folders just makes me happy (you should see my work files). Alas, there's still a lot of non-paper stuff to be sorted.
(One finds the oddest things in old boxes. I was surprised to find that in sixth grade, I not only wrote really bad sf, but I had it published—in the town newspaper along with a bunch of other students' snippets, that is.)
In consumer news, finding a TV stand was not actually as simple as we thought, but we may have it sorted now. And today's leaked announcement of new iPods has me eagerly waiting the official announcement: are the prices on the old ones going to drop too, or should I wait for the new one which does sound better as well as cheaper, but might ship further away than I want to wait . . . I did, however, discover that government employees can get (very small) discounts on personal-use stuff from the online Apple store, so that's cool.
Hey greythistle: according to Bujold who says she's getting it from the Horse's Mouth(s), not only are Stevermer's recent books not in the Sorcery and Cecelia-verse, but neither are Wrede's Mairelon books—which last was a surprise to me, because I was sure they were.