The Muppets are Coming – and that’s Good News, Rockers

Muhna-Muhna!

Hey, who didn’t love the aforementioned tune, or Rainbow Connection, or the Muppets theme? Now imagine them performed by some of the best bands playing these days. It sounds like we are still a few months away, but here’s the track listing for The Green Album to whet your appetite.

  1. OK Go: “Muppet Show Theme”
  2. Weezer and Paramore’s Hayley Williams: “Rainbow Connection”
  3. The Fray: “Mahna Mahna”
  4. Alkaline Trio: “Moving Right Along”
  5. My Morning Jacket: “Our World”
  6. Amy Lee: “Halfway Down the Stairs”
  7. Sondre Lerche: “Mr. Bassman”
  8. The Airborne Toxic Event: “Wishing Song”
  9. Atreyu’s Brandon Saller and Good Charlotte’s Billy Martin: “Night Life”
  10. Andrew Bird: “Bein’ Green”
  11. Matt Nathanson: “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along”
  12. Rachael Yamagata: “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday”

A few thoughts:

  • Rainbow Connection, with Weezer and Haley Williams – that’s just cool.
  • OK Go playing the theme – nice!
  • The Fray doing Mahna Mahna – I’m thinking that’s going to be a fun one
  • Sondre Lerche – I just love his voice. It will be very interesting hearing him do this cheerful ditty
  • Airborne Toxic Event – Predicting that this will be my favorite.

While you bide your time waiting for the album, I’ll leave you with this wisdom from Kermit: “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”

 

On the Road Feature

Hey Animals – We’ve started a new feature called On The Road.  You can get there by clicking the link in the very Top left portion of the page, or by clicking here: On the Road.  Our goal is to give a quick one page city guide for our fellow Rock and Roll fans.

On the On The Road page, you’ll also find a quick link to the current tour schedule for each of our 48 featured cities.  It’s a nice feature you can leverage any time you hit the road.

We’ve put together a sample for Orlando if you’d like to check it out.  Our goal is to have this guide built as a collaborative effort between all of you and our editors.  Take a peek at the Orlando page and contact us at Rarasfarm to get the ball rolling. The templates for each city will be similar, but you can contribute even if you only have one tidbit to share.  And, we’ll keep updating them over time as we continue to get new information.

So, take a few minutes to think about your city and send your contributions it into us. We’ll give you credit as you help us improve this community!

Thanks!

There’s Another Big Man in Rock ‘n Roll Heaven

Another sad day for fans of rock music and Jersey boys like myself.  Clarence Clemons passed away in Florida yesterday, a week after suffering a massive stroke.

Bruce Springsteen to me was always Bruce Springsteen AND THE E-STREET BAND.  I’ve seen Springsteen numerous times in my life, but only while he toured with the rest of the band, as Springsteen without the E-Street band just wasn’t “The Boss.”  No one was more integral to the E-Street sound than Clarence Clemons.  The Big Man was a big presence on stage and a big part of the E-Street Band sound.  “Jungleland” and “10th Avenue Freeze Out” highlighted his powerful and beautiful sax solos. Though they were early Springsteen hits, the crowd always clamored for them, mainly to hear the Big Man’s work.

My first Springsteen show was 30 years ago during The River tour.  I loved everything about the nearly 4 hour show, but walked out amazed by the passion and skill of the E-Street band, with the Big Man, Mighty Max and Professor Roy Bittan first and foremost.  They were the power behind the might E-Street Band.

Over the years I’ve seen the band a handful of other times, and watched them change musical direction just as many times.  But, the mighty sax of Clemons was a constant.  I’ll forgive him for the poppy 80’s hit “You’re a Friend of Mine” with Jackson Brown, and his horrendous red leather outfit.  But, even there, that sax was perfect – just beautiful stuff.

The last time I saw the band was aweek after Danny Federici passed a few years ago, when the band started out the show with “Blood Brothers” and a moving video tribute to Danny. It turned out to be a huge celebration of his life and his contributions to the E-Street Band. Clarence sounded great that night, but you could tell the years were catching up. He was, well, showing his age.  I wondered if I’d ever see him on-stage again. I was thinking retirement, not his untimely death.  Somehow if there’s a next E-Street Tour, I’m just not sure they’ll be able to do the same justice for Clemons, absent his fantastic saxophone.

I’ll leave you with this nugget.  This song used to be the bed for my classic rock show back in college, and features the keyboards of Danny Federici and the might saxophone from The Master of Disaster, Emperor of the World, King of the Universe and Mayor of Half of Bayonne – The Big Man himself: Clarence Clemons.

Clarence and Danny

 

Random Musings

The Dodo’s from the Bay Area have a great distinctive sound, that I just can’t get enough of.  For a nice example of this duo’s catchy stuff, check out “Black Night” off of their recently released third album No Color. They’ll be playing around home later this summer, then starting a tour in the South in early September.

The Beastie Boys recently released a new tune featuirng Santigold.  I would never have pictured this pairing, but it works on “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win.”  Check it out at: Beasties.

I recently added a few cool videos to our YouTube Playlist.  You can search for it at YouTube, under Rara’s Farm – Fun.  Here’s my current favorite, and it is a fun flash from the past featuring Keith Moon.  Here’s Keith hitting some high notes!

Radio Review – Alt Nation

Tractor Tunes are our 30 minute radio station reviews. So, grab a PBR, slide on your headphones, hop on the tractor, and decide if this one is for you…

Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, Channel 36

Ah, the beauty of commercial-free radio. Alt Nation claims to play the latest alternative rock releases.  Not sure they live up to the “latest” but the selection is a pretty damn good mix of Alternative Rock.  Here’s what we heard on a recent Wednesday morning:

  • Radiohead – House of Cards (2009)
  • Naked and Famous – Punching In A Dream (2011)
  • Blink 182 – Feeling This (2003)
  • Last Royals – Crystal Vases (2011)
  • Arcade Fire – Rebellion Lies (2004)
  • Vampire Weekend – White Sky (2010)
  • Metric – Help I’m Alive (2008)
  • The Heavy – How You Like Me Now (2009)

Overall, a nice selection and an excellent way to ease into a work day, or battle through rush hour, or milk the cows.

Regan is the morning-drive DJ, and he’s entertaining; feeding us interesting tidbits about the artists played. As an example, he shared that the Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend recently played basketball against each other.  The interruptions are minimal and welcome.

Stats:
Date: 6/8/11Music: 97%
Chatter: 3%
Commercials  0%

To quote Sum 41: All Killer, No Filler.

Bonus Tip: Listen Saturday’s at 1PM for the Alt-18 Most Requested Countdown.

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The Plaza Theatre Live – I’ll be Back…

I recently saw my first show at the Plaza Theatre Live in downtown Orlando, and absolutely loved this venue on Bumby Street.

The theater just reeks of character. It’s a converted movie theater from many years past, and has that comfortable nostalgic feel, yet is still a nice modern place to see a show.

On the night we were in attendance, we saw an acoustic solo artist, Jackie Bristow and the rock and roll of John Waite and his band. The sound was not pristine, but was definitely above average.

There’s not a bad seat in the house literally and figuratively. The seats are worn, but they’re large and comfortable, and the sight lines are excellent. There is a balcony, but it was closed on the evening we were in the house, so I can’t provide an opinion from the rafters. It is up there, so if you suffer from frequent nose bleeds beware…

They have a great beer selection. $6 for 16 oz and $9 for 24 oz seems over-priced, yet typical these days – but at least you are not sipping some crap like Bud Light. I had Longboard the night I was there, and the 6 beers on tap were very diverse. A nice bottled beer selection, too. The Plaza also serves wine – I don’t drink wine, so I have no idea if the selection was worth a damn, although I suspect it was, based on the fantastic beer choices.

Miscellaneous Ramblings:

  • The bartenders were friendly and helpful, as was the rest of the staff.
  • Tickets include a $5 service fee, which is always a bummer, but seems to be a bargain compared to other venues these days. And, you don’t have to deal with the evil Ticketmaster empire.
  • Bathrooms were clean.
  • Those of you still too weak to quit smoking have an area outside on the front patio.
  • Parking? There’s plenty of it immediately surrounding the theater, and it is free, free, free…

Bottom line: I love the place, and I’ll be back.

Worth the Waite

Definitely, worth the wait!

I finally had a chance to check out one of my early favorites; about 30 years after I should have.  John Waite made a stop in Orlando on Sunday evening for a show at Plaza Theater Live. Waite first hit my radar as lead singer of The Baby’s late in the Seventies, then had some hits of his own in the 80’s and with Bad English in the 90’s, but for some reason, I never saw him perform live.

He got the show off to a rousing start with a version of The Baby’s “Back On My Feet Again,” in front of an appreciative yet small crowd at this fantastic venue. His distinctive voice is still perfect, and his three piece band sounded sharp.  Truthfully, I went to the show hoping he’d play every song off of Anthology (The Baby’s 1981 Greatest Hits album), throw in a couple of other hits and call it a night, but John has grown up a bit over the years, and I think it is safe to say he’s moved on since the band broke, as he noted “It’s hard to believe that The Baby’s BROKE UP over 30 years ago.”

Over the remainder of the night, Waite only played two other Baby’s tunes, but filled the 90+ minute set with a diverse group of songs that spanned his last three decades.  “If You Ever Get Lonely” from his newly released “Rough and Tumble” album was great and would be a huge hit if he were an 18 year-old American Idol finalist, instead of a classic rocker in his 4th decade of touring. Other highlights included, Bad English’s “When I see You Smile, his own hits “Missing You” and his closer “Change.”  More than a few of his songs were clearly influenced by his Nashville days, and just added to his appealing musical diversity.

Waite frequently interacted with the crowd, shared some cool anecdotes, and genuinely seemed to be having a fun time.  The highlight for me was his unexpected cover of Dylan’s (and Jimi’s) “All Along the Watchtower.” He tore it up, with a nice assist from his guitarist – some young dude from Philly, who literally joined the band a few weeks earlier.

I have to confess that I missed the line-up of band members during a trip to the rest room  Did I mention that the Plaza has Longboard on tap?

The opening act was Jackie Bristow. a beautiful Kiwi with an equally beautiful voice. She play unaccompanied acoustic guitar and was very intriguing. Her voice was unique.  Mix Australian with a hint of Nashville and you’ll have an idea.  Lots of promise, for sure.

All told, it was a really good show from start to finish, highlighting Waite’s amazing voice and deep diverse music catalog. Not a weak song in the bunch. I’m thinking that I won’t wait 30+ years to catch him again.

 

John Waite in Orlando, new stuff from the Cars and Coldplay

So, my first trip to Orlando’s Plaza Theater Live tonight to see John Waite.  Waite made his initial impression when the Baby’s hit it big in the 80’s, and followed those hits with a few of his own as well as a couple with Bad Religion.  I’ll provide a review later in the week: of the show and the venue!

A few other random thoughts for today:

  • Coldplay’s new single “Every Drop is a Watefall” sounds great and has a fresh new sound.
  • I’m also guiltily digging the Cars new “Sad Song.” I loved the Cars sound in the 80’s despite their passionless live performances. But, that was 25 years ago. Since the, Bassist and the voice of all my favorite Cars tunes, Benjamin Orr died of Pancreatic cancer, and the rest of the band members have hit or are approaching 60. But, this new tune sounds as good as their classic 80’s stuff. Obviously, Ric Ocasek still has what it takes.

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