Posts Tagged 'Pearl Jam'

This post does not contain any actual sweat nor actual tamales

In the oh so brief lapse in my bloggy style, I became enamored of a couple music-free things and one thing that includes music as a background element rather than the focal point. In a semi-particular order, I present my Summer Romances of ’10:

1) Tamales. Holy mother-loving Jebus. I’m not exaggerating when I report that I’ve eaten at least one tamale every single weekend for the past two months. But when I say one, I typically mean about two in a sitting. And when I say every weekend, I mean every weekend as well as a few instances of lunchtime hanky panky. If I end up pregnant before the summer’s over, you know what the baby’s going to look like.

2) Glow in the dark bocce ball and the weather that makes it possible to play long after the sun has set without sleeves and the mosquitos ramp up their attack style to “ravenous.” It’s a little hard to decipher what’s happening in this shot, but you’ll get the picture. Get it?!?

3) Hot yoga. When I lived in San Francisco, I had a housemate who swore by her classes at the Funky Door studio. I became interested mainly because all the yoga garb I had previously seen looked shapeless and puffy. You exercise to avoid appearing shapeless and puffy, right? Bikram yoga allowed me to wear tank tops in a city where summer comes as quickly as a sneeze. But like the city of San Francisco itself,  the yoga exacted a formidable toll. At the end of every class, the strappy workout wear I was so pleased to use ended up crumpled in wet heaps until laundry day. That was due to all the sweat. Lord, do you sweat when you do hot yoga. I began the practice with a pretty naive sense of hubris.

“I grew up in Hawaii! I love heat! Yoga is mostly just stretching and laying around, right? How bad can it be?”

At the end of my first class, this is how my hubris sounded:


However, unless you’re more reptilian than most people, you don’t persist with hot yoga just on account of the extreme temperature. Stronger muscles, better posture, stress relief, feelings of fleeting but welcome accomplishment, yada yada, fitnesscakes. All those factors were lovely. But like many romances, my affair with bikram yoga became harder to sustain as reasons both internal and external stopped my attendance. I moved away from the Haight neighborhood, started a new job, yada yada, excusecakes.

Let’s move forward to the end of May in 2010, when Groupon advertised a crazily discounted month of classes at CorePower Yoga in Portland. I’d read about the studio before, as it’s one of the only businesses to offer yoga in a heated room, but the cost and the constant stuffing myself with excusecakes kept me from investigating directly. The Groupon cleared the first hurdle. Now if I could just put the cakes down for a second . . .

So far it’s been a lot of what I expected but with a few surprises. Yoga is a lot like writing. You feel sort of cool when you tell people you do it. You consider it definitive and vital to your existence. But when you’re actually doing it, even when you do it often, sometimes it can really, really, REALLY suck. It can make your efforts feel dim-witted, superfluous, and ineffective. You often think about how you could spend the time sipping champagne in front of a TV instead of doing it, sometimes while you do it.

And once in a while, you do it, it works, and you feel like you’re capable of creating strong, gorgeous things with your body, your mind, and your breath.

CorePower Yoga even has a Pandora station. Thankfully, it has not played Sufjan Stevens the way one instructor did, which briefly took me out of the moment and made me feel like I was doing yoga at Disneyland. However, towards the end of one grueling hour, this came on and sounded the way water tastes.

  • Pearl Jam ~ Backspacer ~ Monkeywrench

Just Breathe


The future is now: Some favorites from 2009

Crazy things happen on the last evenings of years. Just a scarce decade ago, a lot of people sat in fear that their computers’ clocks would explode and take down all of human civilization in one fell swoop, much like the wrong move in a game of Mindsweep. Coincidentally, a decade ago might have been the last time anyone played Mindsweep. But as you might have surmised, such a thing did not occur. The human race lived to see another ten years of astounding innovations and profound tragedies. And those same computers that threatened our very way of life continued to make it possible for us to hear days and days of music that span both the astounding and tragic sides of the spectrum.

Around this time a decade ago, I was still rocking the mixed tapes that Laura made for me. Bands such as Crooked Fingers, the Old 97s, and Belle & Sebastian were featured alongside Lou Reed, Depeche Mode, and the Turtles. That year, I received my Toyota Corolla from my parents, and the outer body contained none of the bullet holes or other imperfections that it would acquire in the years to come. I drove around, blasting the tapes from the Toyota’s cassette deck, to get to classes, to work, to friends’ homes, and in a few years, to San Francisco.

But there’s a lot of time to elaborate on that. I just wanted to put that musical memory out there as well as the following list of some of my favorite albums of 2009, just in case 2010 is the real year that computers come alive and eat us all. If you’re reading this from such a computer, I hope it’s not too late.

  • Pearl Jam ~ Backspacer ~ Monkeywrench

Amongst the Waves

  • Mos Def ~ The Ecstatic ~ Downtown

Auditorium, feat. Slick Rick

  • Islands ~ Vapours ~ Anti-

Disarming the Car Bomb

  • Kid Cudi ~ Man on the Moon: The End of Day ~ Motown

Day ‘N’ Nite (Nightmare)

  • The Low Anthem ~ Oh My God Charlie Darwin ~ Nonesuch

The Horizon Is a Beltway

  • Swell Season ~ Strict Joy ~ Anti-

In These Arms

  • Taken by Trees ~ East of Eden ~ Rough Trade

The Greyest Love of All

  • John Vanderslice ~ Romanian Names ~ Dead Oceans


  • various artists ~ Dark Was the Night: A Red Hot Compilation ~ 4AD

Tightrope (Yeasayer)

  • Patrick Watson ~ Wooden Arms ~ Secret City


Pearl Jam at the Clark County Amphitheater: The end is no end

Pic from 2006 of these guys in some band from the 90s

Pic from 2006 of these guys in some band from the 90s

The end of summer and start of autumn always leaves me disoriented. The sunsets arrive earlier, the mornings require more layers, and the wind has started to grow teeth that nip at your arms and make you carry yourself a little tighter. And this wind, in all its biting fury, was out last night in Ridgefield, WA at the infamous Amphitheater at Clark County. But even the elements couldn’t deter from the well-oiled machine that is Pearl Jam. Seriously, if you could figure out how to power a vehicle using the energy expended by the band, you’d reduce the fuel needs of the entire Pacific Northwest region.

At this point in the band’s career, it’s reductive to think of Pearl Jam as a success story of the long-defunct grunge era, even though it’s not an inaccurate claim. Their presence on mainstream radio owed a great debt to Seattle and the popular taste at the time for all things angry and opaque and genuine in pop music. But the grunge mythos petered out, and Pearl Jam continued to record albums and play shows. Years passed and musical trends shifted and Ticketmaster still sucked the life out of everyone, and Pearl Jam persisted in making new music and playing it for people in many cities and countries. So even though it might be difficult to separate the band from their iconic origins, they did something to ensure a life beyond the fad. They simply kept playing and playing, until their lineup became a stable and solid team, and their fanbase got to view them as more than part of a sonic curiosity and instead as true musicians.

Lucky me. Not only did this mean that I saw a heartfelt and indubitably rocking two-hour show, but it also meant that I got an opening set by Ben Harper’s newest project, Ben Harper and the Relentless7. His band’s name is a fitting one, as their sound is the most straight-up rock that Harper has probably ever worked on. The Southern roots twang provided a fun kickoff to the night, as did the Jack Daniels snuck in via my purse. Later in the evening, Harper joined Pearl Jam to play the slide guitar during a performance of “Red Mosquito.”

  • Pearl Jam ~ No Code ~ Epic

“Red Mosquito”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Another huge treat, probably one specific to the Portland area tour stop, was a visit from Corbin Tucker. It will always be a huge regret that I missed Sleater-Kinney’s farewell show in Portland, where Eddie Vedder made an appearance to properly send off the trio. And then Carrie Brownstein uprooted herself to Manhattan, making me feel more Sleater-Kinney-less than ever. However, that loss was somewhat mitigated by Tucker and Vedder’s duet cover of a John Doe song. The original was distributed as a Christmas gift single to members of the Pearl Jam fan club, but it was the first time I’d heard it. I was kind of sad that I couldn’t have first listened to it in the safety of my living room, since the warmth of the harmonies showed in an amphitheater setting, though probably not as much as it does on a recording. This was followed by Vedder doing a solo acoustic version of “The End,” a slower track off the latest studio album, Backspacer. Although the subject matter is death, as Vedder explained at the start of the song, I preferred to think of it as a mass eulogy to a long, sweltering, and fun-filled summer. For Pearl Jam, I hope it’s the mark of another creation cycle.

“Golden State”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

  • Pearl Jam ~ Backspacer ~ Island

“The End”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Many thanks to chappg for his camera work at the concert. Without his efforts, this entry would be quite sparse.