Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where's Luke Concert Series: Regina Spektor

Tangentially related, two of our four blogmates went to the Springsteen concert last week, but nary a word of it has hit the interweb. Seems like something that would make a good blog post, especially since both of them told me the concert was awesome.

Anyhow, the week before the aforementioned concert Side Bar says to me, he says, "I'm going to see Springsteen and he's going to play the entire Born in the USA album. I'm pretty phyched." And then I said, "You may be going to see Springsteen or whoever, if that's how you pronounce it, but I'm going to see Regina Spektor at Radio City Music Hall." And then he goes, "Who's that?" For serious, that's what he said.

So, on that note, if you've not heard of Regina Spektor, then you are missing out. Or if you just saw her for the first time on Saturday Night Live last week, then you gots to get your listen on. The short version of the story is that Regina is a female songwriter and piano player and so she automatically falls in the category with Tori Amos and Sara McLachlan and maybe an Alannis Morissette or Fiona Apple. The thing is that Regina Spektor is as different from those people as it is possible for a female songwriter and piano player to be.

First of all, she's originally from Russia, then from the City but spent her high school years at Yeshiva in Bergen County and also in Fair Lawn High (go Cutters! side note: that Fair Lawn mascot must have taken on a whole new meaning circa 1998), so she's cool. Second her songs are just awesome. She really plays with the rhythms and melodies of each song and the lyrics are really interesting. She plays a lot with strange dissonances that don't sound non-musical, but rather highlight different aspect of the song. I could go on, bottom line, she's awesome and pretty amazing.

Anyhow, last night was the concert and it was enormously cool. First of all, after all these years, I had never actually been to Radio City Music Hall. It's a beautiful theater and it's enormous. Like, enormous. Then the concert was just great. She managed to play all of the songs I like from four different albums. It was a very cool experience. It was similar, but somehow unlike any other concert I'd ever been to. The sound was great, her voice is beautiful, and she's got a really interesting way of pronouncing some words in her songs. I'm gonna post a couple of videos to give you an idea of her stuff.

This is her best known song, I think, "Fidelity". Notice what I mean about the playing around with the sounds. Speaking of people from North Jersey, doesn't Regina look a lot like another Toker who knows how to, but won't, say "cheeseburger" in Russian.

This is my current favorite song of hers, "Us", which, incidentally, opens the movie 500 Days of Summer, which I also really liked.

The last video is "Ode to Divorce". This is a really good example of the strange, seemingly non-fitting lyrics here right at the 2:00 mark. Also it's a beautiful song.


Open Bar said...

Yeah she's good an' all, but Chuck:

Me + Side Bar + LJT = more than 2.

Also, how did "cutters" take on a different meaning in 1998?

The Notorious LJT said...

I didn't get the cutters thing either.

ChuckJerry said...

I didn't know that you also went. Well, while all of you were at Springsteen, I was at Regina. Actually several days later. Manliest = me.

Remember in the late '90s when it started to become cool to cut yourself on purpose in order to "experience the real pain of life" or to "actually feel something other than nothingness". And those people were called cutters and maybe it was a phenomenon before then, but it really became the cool thing to do circa '97 or '98.

The Notorious LJT said...

i like that fidelity song