Weekend Roundup: R.E.M., Breve Eternidad, Kessler, Edgefest

Someday dinosaurs will roam the earth again, but until they do, we’ve got aging rock stars to appreciate.

Don’t get me wrong -- some newer groups came through the city this weekend, but the main YouTube postings belong to some of the more junior dinosaurs. They’re easily identified by the old favorites in these posted videos that are nearly classic, but were actually popular not too long ago. While none of these bands have reached the Keith Richards-Alpha-Omega status awarded to those who live long enough, they are still well on their way to true dinosaur-hood.

R.E.M. Friday at the Nokia Theater
R.E.M’s come a long way -- they aren’t just a band from Athens with lots of albums sold. They have now officially made it, because they came to Dallas and had the Old 97’s backing them. I wanted to make that snarky, but the truth is I can’t. I love their stuff. You know “Drive” and “Man on the Moon” and “It’s the End of the World.” I love it so much I looked for it specifically, bypassing anything even remotely new. Luckily you concert-going, videotaping types made it easy, almost like we were thinking the same thing. I don’t know. Maybe we were. Borg moment, anyone? Stipe could totally be a borg.

Drive


So they play this sulky classic, and then make fun of someone’s tie and then Stipe introduces the band’s first protest song, a song off of their new album. The recording stops right when the song starts. Wonder why?

And just as he gets to “Leo-nard Bernstein” watch for the closeup of… some guy’s neck. And then, no chorus.

Until the next video when Michael Stipe is shimmying his hips and assuring us all that “he FEELS---fine”.

Breve Eternidad, Saturday
OK, so everyone was quiet and receptive while the guy is being introduced and thanking everyone. And then he starts playing and it’s all soulful (with a couple of slips on notes) and everyone’s talking. He gets further in, they get noisy. Guess that’s show biz. Sinatra would have had the mafia take care of this problem.

Kessler, Saturday at The Door
Meanwhile at the Door, Dallas band Kessler was having an impromptu acoustic sing-along moment with the audience -- one of those songs that gets played during the tortured part of a romantic comedy. You know, the part where they’re all in love and have just screwed it all up. Kessler is “a million miles away with the will to carry on.” Or at least the will to pull a Fred Astaire and sing the whole song sideways. (Either these guys are the mutant kind of talented, or somebody didn’t put the recorder upright.) What do you think?

The Toadies Saturday at Edgefest 18, Pizza Hut Park
What’s cool about Edgefest is the reliability. The mainline bands never change, they just get older, like fine wine. Well maybe not wine. Is aging Coors a good thing? Whether it is or not, the guys I was listening to in high school are still playing the songs I was listening to in high school, and this weekend they came and played them at Edgefest. Good for them.

Those Toadies never disappoint. Maybe it’s because they’re from Texas, or maybe it’s because even now I just love this song.

And here’s Staind with that sappy ole song that made ‘em all famous and whatnot.

And then there’s the Stone Temple Pilots, being all wicked in a garden. Good times. It starts out flashy and gets a little psychedelic. They look small enough to put in your pocket though. Ah, the joys of a large venue.

Jaguar Love at Prophet Bar
So watching this video is a little like watching a Baptist preacher impersonate Mick Jagger circa 1975, or as if Mick ’75 were impersonating the preacher. I don’t know which would be weirder but whichever way it goes it’s clear the lead singer of this punk art band from Portland, Johnny Whitney, is in this performance whole hog. He’s got an interesting voice and the band’s approach is different but listening all I can think is that I want to get him a throat lozenge.

I was wondering if it was just the recording above. Nope. I still want to send those lozenges and now I feel a little nauseous from all that enthusiastic punk crowd motion that the recorder went out of his/her/its way to capture.

Jon Beaumont and the Band, posted Saturday
Here’s a mellower weekend moment. Some guys in jeans, western shirts and cowboy hats playing some good mellow music. A breath of fresh country air after all this super tortured stuff. And since they aren’t in a huge EVENT Stadium you can actually see them and they ain’t a bad bunch to see.

OK so the videos a little blurry and you’ve got to fill in faces. But that’s what imaginations are for. But wait for it. There’s a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” at the end that is quite delightful. I just love that song.

And that was your weekend. --Dianna Wray


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