Anything That Can Go Wrong 13

"Argument Over A Card Game" by Jan Steen

“Argument Over A Card Game” by Jan Steen

Part 13 – The Set list

“I don’t think we should open with that song,” says Matt Vance.

“Well, what song do you want to open with?” asks Adam Gillis.

“We should go with the Dream Theater cover.”

“No,” Josh Randall says. “We can’t open with a cover.”

You wouldn’t think choosing the order for a band to play their songs in would require such intense debate, but for the past hour three members of Ockym’s Razyr have been bickering like the Hatfields and McCoys. Or perhaps members of congress.

“Why can’t we start with that song?”

“You can’t open with a cover.”

“Why not?”

“You just can’t. It in the rules.”

“What rules?”

Vance is right when he questions where the rules for writing a set list come from. They’ve never been properly codified. Most national acts rely heavily on tracks from whatever album they’re trying to sell while keeping the crowd happy with older favorites. Local bands have no guidelines to follow at all and rely on what they like.

Not the Ockym's Razyr set list

Not the Ockym’s Razyr set list

“I think ‘As The World Burns’ should be earlier in the set.”

“No, we can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s our biggest song. It’s the one everyone knows.”

“What are you talking about? Nobody knows that song.”

“Sure they do.”

“I’ve looked out at the crowd when we play it and I don’t see anyone singing along.”

“Yeah, but it always gets a good response.”

“All of the songs get about an equal response.”

The band is opening up for another local act and have been asked to perform a 45 minute set. This means that they have to drop a few tunes from what they’ve been playing and order the remaining ones accordingly.

“We should probably leave out ‘The First Hundred Years’, ‘Search for Tomorrow’ and ‘Somerset.'”

“No. We have to do ‘The First Hundred Years.’ People know that one. They’ll be expecting us to do it.”

“You know Adam, I’ve never had anyone mention that song to me. I don’t think anyone can even tell our songs apart.”

“Nobody ever mentions songs to you because you’re always puking your guts up after a show.”

The guitarists Hal Levatine and Eric Shawn are in the actual rehearsal space away from their peers. They’re working on new riffs and playing music while the others argue. They could care less about how the songs are ordered.

“I just think those are our weakest songs.”

argument5“They’ve gotten a ton of hits on Reverbnation!”

“That’s just because they were the first ones that played on our page. Of course they got more hits.”

Bands practice usually last 3-4 hours. There is no practice today. And what’s more, when they all leave afterward they are no closer to settling on a set list than they were when they walked in.


Weezer – “Weezer” (The Blue Album)

Weezer-Blue-Album-1994I don’t like to make definitive statements in this blog. This has to do with the fact that my tastes tend to change over time so what I think is great right now I may think is shit later. (Why did I ever like Radiohead)? Also, there is the fact that I’m a blogger and no one really takes me seriously anyway.

That being said, Weezer’s 1994 debut is definitely one of the Top 5 greatest albums of all time. There, I said it

I didn’t like this band when they first came out. Back in high school I was into heavier bands like Pantera, Marilyn Manson and Korn. A band where you could actually understand the lyrics was way too soft for my tastes. Although I always enjoyed “Buddy Holly” because it’s impossible to resist, I didn’t really get into Weezer until after graduation when I saw the “Keep Fishin” video. Yet again, resistance was futile and I could do nothing to stop myself from enjoying this.

I heard more Weezer over the years and the floodgates finally opened last year when I got a copy of the Blue Album. I can’t get enough of it. It’s like Potato chips laced with crack. I can’t smoke just one!

I’m not a huge fan of the opener “My Name is Jonas.” Sure, it’s a nice rocker with a neat acoustic intro and a great singalong outro. But something about it bothers me.¬†Maybe it’s just that I don’t like the name Jonas.¬† Still, it seems right to begin an album this awesome with a track I don’t love; if it had begun with “Say It Ain’t So” my head may have exploded.

“The World Has Turned” is one of those great love songs that I could almost imagine the Beatles singing. It has great melodies and harmonies. It also has great fuzzed out guitars.

Ooh We Ooh I look just like Rivers Cuomo. Oh Ho and like Harry Potter too.

Ooh We Ooh I look just like Rivers Cuomo. Oh Ho and like Harry Potter too.

I still have sort of a love/hate relationship with “Buddy Holly.” I’m guessing just about any guy with the style of glasses I wear also has this problem.

I’m not sure what I can’t say about “Undone (The Sweater Song)” that hasn’t been said about The Bible. Oh yeah, people don’t hate homosexuals because of The Sweater Song. But it is also the foundation for two major religions and was divinely inspired.

“Say It Ain’t So” is perhaps the greatest song written during the decade. Sure, it didn’t get as much attention as “Smell’s Like Teen Spirit” or “Baby Got Back,” but people have awful taste in music.

And who can forget the nerd rock anthem “In The Garage.” Sure, it’s still not cool to play Dungeons & Dragons, but you don’t have to worry about it in the garage. Finally nerds had a spokesperson.

The other songs are great also. There is no filler on this one. The whole album is bursting with well honed pop songs played on fuzzed out guitars. An album like this could only surface and receive airplay during the ’90’s, but the songs themselves are timeless. Even if I have no idea what most of them are about.

The Top Covers

Have you ever noticed that Rock differs from Blues and Jazz in that it’s considered really uncool to do cover songs. It’s all the Beatles fault I guess. Ever since they started writing and performing their own material it’s been despicable to perform music written by others even if your own compositions are total shit (even when compared to the total shit written by Ringo Star).

Well, here are a few artists I’m glad defied conventional wisdom and chose to be themselves… by being someone else

The Beatles – Twist & Shout (Bert Russell) Before they revolutionized pop by writing their own superb material the fab four were not above recording the definitive version of this early rock masterpiece.

Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby (Lennon/McCartney) I never cared much for the original. Too many strings and not enough of a beat. Charles solves both problems with an infusion of soul.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Seek and Destroy (Iggy Pop) I never cared much for the Stooges. Maybe that’s because I heard this amped up version of their best known song before I heard Iggy Pop’s tired recording.

Sinead O’Connor Nothing Compared 2 U (Prince) Go on, tell me you don’t love this song.

Guns N Roses – Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney) While Paul did have a few good songs he was never my favorite Beatle. This is the only solo song of his I can say I care for, but even with it being coupled with a cool Bond flick I prefer the hard rocking GNR version.

Nirvana – Turnaround (M. Mothersbaugh/G. Casale) Nirvana did some fine covers in their short time, but this is one of my favorites from them. Probably because it’s not blown out of proportion as much as those on Unplugged and comes from an album half the fans don’t know exists.

Fear Factory – School (Cobain) Of all the Nirvana covers by metal bands (Machine Head, Otep) this is the one that seems the most natural. Fear Factory’s blazing drums match up perfectly with the buzz-saw guitar riff.

Marilyn Manson – Sweet Dreams (Stewart) They took a new wave hit that sounded like it was played by a computer and turned it into a goth rock anthem.

Devo – Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards) They took a rock anthem and turned it into a new wave hit that sounds like it was played by a computer.

Rage Against The Machine – Maggie’s Farm (Bob Dylan) The thing about this song is that when Dylan sings it I’m not convinced he won’t work on Maggie’s Farm again someday. But when Zach de la Rocha sings it you know he’s not gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more.

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney) For the longest time I thought this was just the theme song for The Wonder Years. Then I found myself surprised to find out it was a Beatles song and that Cocker’s version is much better.

Jimi Hendrix – All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan) What can I say about this one?