Holiday Show 2015
Posted: 27 November 2015 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]
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So, the New Standards were on MPR this morning from 11-12.  Most of the conversation was about the holiday show.  Some details:

They played 5 songs during the interview:

1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
2. I Love the Winter Weather (an Irving Berlin song—have never heard them do this before)
3. Christmastime is here.  Layla, the teenager John was tutoring and who performed with the band at the Dakota, took lead vocals
4. Snow Days
5.  Do You Hear What I Hear (as a tango—awesome)

Chan said the show might feature some Neil Young, Bowie and Hip Hop.

Rupert will be there.

John is not sporting facial hair.

Saturday (this may be the matinee) will feature Layla and 3 other teenagers.  John is stumping for the Minnesota varsity program, by which MPR sponsors young classical musicians, to be replicated on the jazz/pop side of the equation.

There will be a “large orchestra” with more brass, the Laurel string quartet, and more dance.

“How do you stay fresh?”  Answer:  “By playing new music.  This year’s show will feature 80% new music.  Some old favorites will remain on the sideline.”  **!!**

TNS has completed a new record entitled “Decade” and it will be released at the holiday show.  It will be much more upbeat than the last record.  I think John used the words “bright” and “zany” to describe it.  John mentioned that this is the longest he has ever played with one band.  He is tremendously grateful for the music scene in the Twin Cities.  Lots of great comments in this regard.

No hints about what will be on “Decade” other than it will feature “lots of love for the city of Manchester.”  Joy Division? I could see them really blow up “Transmission” but suspect “Love Will Tear us Apart,” since they’ve played that one a fair bit.  The Smiths?  The Verve?  “Bittersweet Symphony” is the sort of song with which they could bring down the house.  And, with the full complement of musicians at a holiday show, what better place to debut a tune like that?

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Posted: 02 December 2015 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Be there Friday night.

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Jeff

First Trip Show: Coffman Memorial Union - Octoberish, 1989

We have audio of you so-called lalalalalaloooo-ers.  And just because the audio isn’t of your faces doesn’t mean we can’t identify you. At this very moment that audio is on its way to Washington where the FBI has experts in this type of identification. If you turn yourselves in now, you may escape a Federal charge.

Pillaging Matt since 2010

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Posted: 02 December 2015 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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For the first time ever, we’re going Saturday.  No spoilers, please!

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Posted: 02 December 2015 07:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Better stay away from social media then.

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Jeff

First Trip Show: Coffman Memorial Union - Octoberish, 1989

We have audio of you so-called lalalalalaloooo-ers.  And just because the audio isn’t of your faces doesn’t mean we can’t identify you. At this very moment that audio is on its way to Washington where the FBI has experts in this type of identification. If you turn yourselves in now, you may escape a Federal charge.

Pillaging Matt since 2010

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Posted: 06 December 2015 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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If I were able to post an image in this thread, it would be a meme of Darth saying he finds the lack of TNS Holiday Show reviews in this thread disturbing.

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Jeff

First Trip Show: Coffman Memorial Union - Octoberish, 1989

We have audio of you so-called lalalalalaloooo-ers.  And just because the audio isn’t of your faces doesn’t mean we can’t identify you. At this very moment that audio is on its way to Washington where the FBI has experts in this type of identification. If you turn yourselves in now, you may escape a Federal charge.

Pillaging Matt since 2010

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Posted: 06 December 2015 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Great show.  Hope to post a few thoughts tomorrow.

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Posted: 07 December 2015 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Following the move from the Fitzgerald Theater to the State Theater, there were some growing pains for the holiday show.  It seemed to me that the larger space made creating an intimate atmosphere more difficult, and the sound quality was harder to manage.  That was especially evident last year, which came off as a rather by-the-numbers, greatest hits affair.  This year was a return to form or, perhaps more accurately, a discovery of what it takes to fill the State Theater with the delicious essence of the New Standards. 

I wasn’t planning on writing any comments after last year, thinking that the show had taken on a formulaic momentum of its own and in so doing lost some of its charm.  But, a few songs in, I scrambled for a pen and scrap paper.  Much of my notes are completely illegible, so my comments will be fairly brief and I welcome corrections and comments about how Friday differed from Saturday—this was my first ever Saturday attendance after eight straight Fridays.

1.  Bizarre Love Triangle—this was a lively, upbeat rendition, and it announced that this show would be about spectacle, light shows, and full, seam-busting sound.  There were dancers, strings, brass, and, as we would learn, Minnesota Orchestra woodwinds. 

2.  God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen—Volume!  Lights! Rupert!

3.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas—Sung by Julian Fleischer, a jazz singer from New York City, this year’s Arne Fogel.  “The saddest Christmas tune.”

4.  Tim Frantzich brought up his daughter Svea to recite a poem she had learned more effectively than he had.  It’s a really beautiful meditation on absence, presence, and perspective by Mary Howe.  I will paste it in full since it is brief:

“Annunciation

Even if I don’t see it again—nor ever feel it
I know it is—and that if once it hailed me
it ever does—
And so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as towards a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,
as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t—I was blinded like that—and swam
in what shone at me
only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.”

5.  O Come, O Come Emmanuel—Aby Wolf (in Hebrew?).  Mid-song, she transitioned into People Get Ready.  In the spirit of the poem that preceded it, this juxtaposition of songs was a blazing revelation, playing on the themes of redemption, the exile of the Israelites contemplated in Emmanuel, and Curtis Mayfield’s “train to Jordan, picking up passengers from coast to coast.”  Not to mention the Syrian refugee crisis.  This brilliant marriage of themes was one of the clear standouts of the night.

6.  Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella—the MN orchestra woodwinds accompanied on percussion by Steve, Aby, and Ken Chastain.  This was a complete stunner and a technical dazzler.  It started out as a beautiful, straight ahead chamber style rendition, but then transitioned into an antic Carl Stalling/Bugs Bunny style romp.  Another joyous triumph.  For those interested, Sufjan Stevens has a great recording of this on his Christmas series. 

7.  I Got You Babe—Har Mar Superstar and Janey Winterbauer.  For years I’ve been hoping for Har Mar, who seems like the perfect guest for this type of show.  He and Janey killed it with a sloshed, sloppy trip through Sonny and Cher schlock.  Har Mar sealed it with a hip swivel and fist pump.  One couldn’t help but chuckle as he noted that that had been preceded by the MN Orchestra.

8.  The Flat Five, featuring Kelly Hogan, performed two new songs.  The first featured amazingly intricate harmonies.  It brought to mind the Beach Boys and made one wonder that Matt Wilson could do with those voices.  The second was up tempo and heavier and brought Rupert to stage in his devil’s costume again.

9.  I Love the Winter Weather—Janey Winterbauer killed this Irving Berlin classic.  This was a perfect holiday show tune.  It came off as skating, cool jazz with the bass, piano, and vibes in perfect, understated synchronicity.  This was one of my favorites of the night and it almost made up for the omission of River and My Favorite Things.

10.  Hottest Christmas—a Dan Wilson original.  This was the low point of the night.  The song was weak and Dan seemed to know it.  Har Mar came out midway and danced some twirls around Dan.  That didn’t seem scripted and I heard someone in our aisle, dumbfounded ask “was that a life line?”  It was hard to watch. 

11.  Nellie McKay—if anyone can save an awkward moment, it is Nellie.  She came out in top hat, tails, and a giant red corsage and put on a perfect cabaret style Marlene Dietrich imitation.  Her voice and range of stylistic talents is just mind-bending.  Never miss a chance to see her, especially in a setting like this.  The entire theater was transfixed.  Was this a McKay original, an improvisation?

12.  If I Can Dream—Matt Wilson, with the full complement of strings, brass, and MN Orchestra at his disposal.  Find photos of the massive light display spelling out his name and the dancers carrying flags with his name on them.  It was almost too much to take in.  But it really happened, and Matt really killed the Vegas saturated Elvis tune. 

The only appropriate way to follow that was a breath-catching intermission.

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Posted: 07 December 2015 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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cont’d

13.  Prisoner—Har Mar opened the second act with his wonderful, high energy tune, complete with dancers and strings, all dialed up to 11.

14.  Do You Hear What I Hear—This was completely and utterly irreverent.  Think South Park.  “There’s a child who doesn’t exist/Let’s give him some sh*t.”  I enjoyed the skewering humor, but some surely took offense and I heard some grumbling and disappointment after the show.

15.  All I Want for Christmas is Weed—ah yes, irreverence….Maurice Jaycox and Nellie McKay sang this McKay original.  Nellie was dressed as a giant marijuana leaf.  Speaking of McKay’s vocal facility, this featured one of her trademark, machine gun raps.  When McKay marries her ability to rap with righteous political anger, it is golden.  She rapped about the relatively benign nature of marijuana and the scores incarcerated for marijuana-based crimes and Jaycox said the song was close to his heart.  It was arresting and gorgeous.  A highlight for me.  Probably another one that caused some grumbling, though.

16.  Open Mic Eagle performed a free rap, electronica song.  There was a great light show, but this one completely escaped me.  It neither sounded good nor was it thematic so far as I could tell.  I couldn’t figure it out. 

17.  Cool for the Cats—I was really happy to see Open Mic Eagle absolutely own this one.  His delivery was perfect, the light show was epic, and he was accompanied by red-spandex clad dancers straight out of the Squeeze video.  A great moment in the show.

18.  Best Gift—another Dan Wilson original.  This came off much better than the first.  It was subdued, but seemed like a heartfelt apology to a neglected lover.  It made me wish I could hear Dan perform Lullaby with Gary Louris again.

19.  Snow Days—all hands on deck, all the guests, the strings, brass, orchestra, Chris Koza on electric guitar, falling snow, blazing lights, enormous sound.  And then Matt came out.  It was perhaps the happiest I’ve ever seen him and it was perhaps the best rendition of the song I’ve seen.  It was joyous, gigantic.  Matt created it, but it struck me as not only a gift to us, but the New Standard’s gift back to Matt, too.  It was an utterly perfect moment.

20.  Ring My Bell—as has become customary, the show ended with a disco dance blowout with Aby Wolf at the center of the storm.

There was a two song encore.

21.  The Party’s Over—Chan on lead preparing us for the show’s end.

22.  Christmastime Next Year—Chan sending us off with his holiday masterpiece.  This song needs to be made available on a New Standards Holiday record. 

I thought I’d be brief, but the show inspired some rambling.  It was a return to form, irreverent, generous, gigantic.  A wonderful way to start the season.

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Posted: 07 December 2015 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks for the write up, psh.  Wish I’d been there.  I’m hoping some bootleg video of Matt’s bit surfaces soon. Gotta say I totally agree with you about Dan’s lame new xmas song.  I just streamed it on YouTube and gave up about half-way through.  Ick.

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Posted: 07 December 2015 06:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks, psh, for this lovely write up. “Skating, cool jazz.” You’re a poet!

Dr. Neau was kind enough to send me a photo of Matt’s name in lights. I asked the same question: did it really happen? Magic, indeed.

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Posted: 07 December 2015 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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p.s. Was anyone tempted to yell out, “When is TTH album coming out?”

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Posted: 07 December 2015 06:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Sounds like quite a show

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Posted: 07 December 2015 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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OMG I don’t believe it after 6 months I’ve finally had a post that stuck. I feel like someone that isn’t a spam suspect !!

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Posted: 09 December 2015 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Sounds like a fun show-I’m sorry I missed Matt in full Vegas style….

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