Thursday, April 16, 2009


For the record, Umlaut is having an amazing Music Geek month of April so far...

Leonard Cohen
The Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA
April 15, 2009

Umlaut was introduced to Leonard Cohen via Nick Cave's covers of 'Avalanche' and 'Tower Of Song' way back a million years ago.. However, I missed Cohen when he last toured 15 years ago, but it must be noted that Cohen's music was part of my soundtrack during my "What The Fuck Am I Doing With My Life" period circa the late-80's / early-90's.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I was in the mood or mindset to see Leonard Cohen.. For the past week, Umlaut had been completely caught up in Green Day's Power Pop Punk Fury and their Bay Bridge Tour. Anyway, this was the final show of Cohen's 3-night stand in Oakland... and on this night Umlaut wore his Anvil (Toronto) - Metal On Metal shirt to honor Cohen (Quebec) and the other Canadian musicians. Oh, Canada!

Despite the rave reviews I heard about his first 2 Oakland shows, I had no idea what to expect from a 75-year old (!) Cohen. However, all doubts vanished after his band took their places and Cohen literally ran onstage and gave a flawless performance over the next 3 HOURS, with only a 25 minute intermission in between. Holy shit.

All I can say is: THAT VOICE and THOSE LYRICS... Songs like 'Chelsea Hotel #2'.. 'Bird On The Wire'.. 'Famous Blue Raincoat'.. 'So Long, Marianne'.. 'The Partisan'... 'Hallelujah'.. and, my favorite, 'Suzanne'.. WOW. I realized that this was the perfect time for me to be seeing Cohen since it balanced out my previous 8 days of Metal and Power Pop Punk Fury experiences.

(Pic by Umlaut)

Although I was fortunate to be sitting only 15 rows back, I'm sure Cohen's charisma and humor projected back to the upper seats of the balcony.. and his band were all top notch and sublime in backing his performance. Indeed, a very grown up event.. but also one that engaged my brain in a profound way. Halfway through the performance I was thankful that my brain allows me to go from Metal > Power Pop Punk Fury > Leonard Cohen and appreciate it all. Music, man... Is there anything it can't do? Seriously.

THANKS to The Sheriff for inviting me to be part of his posse for the show. Trivia: We were sitting directly behind Victor Krummenacher of Camper van Beethoven; for a moment I wanted to take the skinheads bowling.

Anvil shirts = 1 (mine). If you bought one of each Leonard Cohen merch item you would have paid around $500.; he had a shitload of merch, man! After the show, The Sheriff and I walked around the corner to check out the scene at the latest Green Day sneak show at The Uptown...

Green Day
The Uptown, Oakland, CA
April 15, 2009

Evidently this was the final show of Green Day's week-long Bay Bridge Tour.

I was planning just to say "Hi" to Tour Manager Doug (TMD) and then split for home.. Instead, as we walked up to The Uptown at around 11:25PM, TMD was actually working the door and slapped wristbands on us, so we entered the tiny club that was a packed sweat box. I'm keeping this short so this space doesn't become a Green Day fan site and I lose even more of my overrated cred with Metalheads.

Yes, they played the entire new album again but we only caught the last 3 songs. Yes, they opened the encores with a great cover of The Buzzcocks - 'Ever Fallen In Love'. Yes, they also played 'Ziggy Stardust' (sort of..) and 'The Midwest Medley' (Cheap Trick - 'Surrender' > The Replacements - 'Bastards Of Young'). Yes, it was fun watching The Kidz go off when they launched into 'Basket Case'. Yes, a kid climbed on the PA and jumped off after Billie Joe told him "Don't be a pussy! Jump!!"

I noticed David Fricke from Rolling Stone watching the band and jotting notes down on his old school journalist notepad.. I stopped to tell him we had met in Cleveland and he may or may not have remembered me, but he said "Right! Cool, man!" anyway. If he really did recognize me, hopefully he didn't think I was stalking him.. since this was the 3rd time we'd been in the same room in 2 weeks... but I think he was wearing the same clothes that he wore to Metallica's party and at The Fox.

After about an hour I decided it was time to go home; 6 shows in 8 days (including 4 Green Day gigs) had caught up with me and I was tired. I didn't realize I was that tired until I almost ran into a barback carrying a bucket of ice on my way out. Sorry, dude.

As always, THANKS to Tour Manager Doug. Keep it real out there, my brother.

If you bought one of every Green Day merch item you would have paid $80. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. I walked into Casa de Umlaut at around 1:00AM; I had traversed decades of my Music Geekdom in the course of one night with Leonard Cohen > Green Day.. which was pretty fucking cool. Music, man... Is there anything it can't do? Seriously.

Sleep.... good.