Category Archive for 'Music'

The Critical Mass

Bat’s advice on life from a Tennessee mountaintop: Keep it simple Bat McGrath is coming back to Rochester, with a gig Friday at The Little Theatre. I can use a little Bat right now. The signs are all around me. Yesterday, with my hands full of coffee cups and jackets, I put a set of keys […]

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The Critical Mass

Margaret Explosion, Paul and Leo Dodd: Filling in the lines Margaret Explosion has returned from its summer sabbatical for its usual Wednesday-evening residency at The Little Café. The band likes to call what it does “background music,” something for patrons to talk over as they discuss the French film they just watched. But Margaret Explosion’s […]

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The Critical Mass

The demons in our midst The backstories to tonight’s Mastodon concert at Rochester’s Main Street Armory run deep. It’s called one of the world’s top heavy-metal bands, but Mastodon is actually a genre-bending rock and prog quartet whose seven albums often reach for expansive themes, and the demons in our midst. Based in Atlanta, it […]

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The Critical Mass

Puerto Rico, Las Vegas and Tom Petty: Damn the Torpedoes. On this morning’s dog walk, I began to connect the dots between the big news of the last few days. Tom Petty died. More than 58 people murdered, hundreds more hospitalized, at a mass shooting in Las Vegas. Our government’s efforts to being relief to […]

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The Critical Mass

Paul McCartney’s jailbreak Very few artists reach the enviable position of being a prisoner of their own success. After all, what creative person wouldn’t want to see their work so adored that tens of thousands of people are enraptured by it, celebrating it, showing how they have made it a part of their lives as […]

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The Critical Mass

What is a song, anyway? I’m a word guy. I love song lyrics. Greatest songs of all time? Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit.” Frank Sinatra singing “My Way.” Dusty Springfield singing “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The Beatles’ “Let it Be.” Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Hank Williams’ “Cold, Cold […]

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The Critical Mass

Taking Highway 61 Oops. I skipped out of The Critical Mass neighborhood for a while. Been spending too much time writing. And reading. Reading, as in On Highway 61: Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom, Dennis McNally’s recent book tracing the effect that roots music has had on American culture. It’s very worthy […]

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The Critical Mass

Literature junkies While riding the No. 1 bus to downtown the other morning, I heard an out-of-place, yet familiar, clicking noise. I glanced around. A guy in a nearby seat was using a clipper to trim his fingernails. I decided I’d shift to a more-distant seat if he made a move for his toenails. What […]

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The Critical Mass

My inner Bukowski I finished off a 131,000-word manuscript Thursday evening – I use the word “finish” loosely; these things are never really done – and asked myself: “Now what?” More writing. Bathed in self-flagellating angst, writers love to act as if they’re making personal sacrifices on behalf of mankind. Monks and Joan of Allegories […]

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The Critical Mass

Evolution vs. creationism: A Ham on Nye sandwich A handful of science Grumpycats warned Bill Nye to not do it. Don’t get onstage and debate that creationist guy. It’ll lend credibility to the anti-science crowd. Nye went ahead with it anyway. Tuesday night he crawled into the den of ignorance, defending evolution against Ken Ham, […]

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