Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Beckham Experiment - Grant Wahl - A Review

Would David Beckham's arrival into the MLS change the face of soccer in The United States? That's the question Grant Wahl looks to answer in his new book The Beckham Experiment. Wahl works for Sports Illustrated and has written many cover stories and has now put together his first book. So did The Beckham Experiment work? I think that can be answered as yes and no. Financially David has been good for the MLS, but as a player and for soccer in the US, maybe not so much.

Wahl jumps in from the start and agreement to sign with the LA Galaxy all the way through to his attempt to get out of his contract and move to AC Milan. The book has a lot of insight with interviews from players and former General Manager Alexi Lalas. The most critical interviews come from Lalas and Landon Donovan. The good thing Wahl does is looks at both sides and reports it as he knows. He also has a lot of good insight to how there was such a large discrepency in player salaries and how things were handled financially.

I don't think that David Beckham really appreciates anything about this book as he recently in a press conference and when Wahl asked him a question, his response was to ask if Wahl was planning another unautorized book about him. So for me I took it with an open mind as well since I an a Galaxy Fan and former season ticket holder until I moved to Kansas in 2007. Still I love the team and I really hope that Beckham will deliver this year.

Wahl goes over everything from the original negotiation that came with being captain of the team, to the ousting of Frank Yallop and bringing in his own management team as part of Simon Fuller's 19. All of it didn't go so well as the Galaxy failed to make the playoffs and Ruud was a horrible coach making bad decisions. Now AEG takes control, gets Bruce Arena and things are finally changing.

It's well worth reading just to see all the little things that someone who's used to being treated like royalty has to go through as a common MLS player in a league that owns all the players and controls salaries and all that goes on.

This year, the LA Galaxy are doing well and as Beckham returned he is making an impact right away and fitting right in. Now all he needs to do is ignore the fans and he will be fine.

Personally I don't blame him for wanting to leave the league and go back to Europe in order to play in the 2010 World Cup. The level of play really isn't anywhere near the level of Europe and he needs the experience and time to be competetive. So if he leave this year and doesn't come back, I really wouldn't be surprised.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead - Review

This is the second of the final five episodes that David Tennant will be doing as The Doctor. The first was The Next Doctor that will air in the US soon, but Planet of the Dead ended up airing before. There will be an episode in November called The Waters of March and then the Christmas Special will be either be two one hour episodes on two nights or one two hour episode. Then it will be bye bye to David and hello to Matt.

This episode was a pretty interesting one as you have a jewel theif who is stealing a museum piece, played by Michelle Ryan(Bionic Woman), crosses paths with The Doctor on a bus that ends up crossing through a worm hole and lands them on a desert planet called San Helios. There they encounter a couple of different creatures to keep them challenged including the Tritovores, a fly-headed species and a stingray time creatures eating everything in it's path.

So they establish the worm hole is still open and try to figure a way to get back before they either get eaten alive or they let the creatures through to consume Earth.

There's lots of good little one liners and a good supporting cast along the way as well. This is a fun one to see and Michelle Ryan does a good job as the Doctors lates companion Lady Christina dw Souza.

All in all you will enjoy this one and it leave us down to David's last 3 hours as The Doctor and the transition to Matt. So enjoy it's worth the watch.

The Hangover - Movie Review

The Hangover is the latest comedy directed by Todd Phillips who did Road Trip, Old School and Starsky & Hutch. The film stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bertha and Heather Graham. The is a typical Old School style film with loads of one off silly humor and can be a little raunchy ay times. The basis off the story is Doug(Justin Bartha) goes to Vegas for his bachelor party and all goes to hell and the next morning no one can find him. So they try to buy time with the family in order to recreate the night before and figure out where is Doug.

It's has it's funny moments with Mike Tyson making an appearence and many other little things that they figured out as they all had no memory of the night before. It can be a little crude, but it's pretty funny as well. I think it's one you should take in this summer and be sure to watch the credits after.

Rating: 3 1/2 of 5

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Torchwood - Children of Earth Series Review

So if you are in the middle of watching the series on BBC America, don't read this or you will be spoiled.

The third season of Torchwood, the Doctor Who Spin-off, is airing as a five episode series over five straight nights. It actually aired in the UK two weeks back and now this week here in the US.

The surviving members of Torchwood, Captain Jack, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones are all back and continuing their fight. This time they are up against something that is beyond their control and anything they have dealt with before. This Alien form of life is controlling the children and speaking through them. Only later will we find out why and what they want.

They are set up in days and from the start of Day 1 to the end, they certainly establish that there is a big conspiracy going on and there is someone who doesn't want Torchwood to be involved at all.

They are out to kill Jacj and do, but as he is a spot in time, he will never really die. So The Hub gets destoyed and the group is scattered and out trying to figure out what's going on.

It's a pretty amazing series and I really wish it was longer. The Ianto and Jack relationship really doesn't do anything for me except add some cheese factor. When all is said and done it's just soem filler to show that Ianto really cares for him.

We learn a little more about Ianto and his family as well as some of Jack's history and his family as well.

The series is great and I'm not going to give it all away but just say that it was really enjoyable and you really should watch it. If you missed it, it's going to be released on DVD next week, so go and buy it.


Mat Kearney - 07/11/2009 Beaumont Club, Kansas City, MO

I've been trying to see Mat Kearney in concert for a while and every time it doesn't seem to work out or he was the opening act of a tour. Now in support of his new CD City of Black and White, Mat is out on a tour and stopped in KC so I finally got to see him.

I will say that the song selection and the band were great. They were tight together and really were able to feed off each other as they played about a 90 minute set starting with Lifeline from the new CD and mixing it up playing a bit from both along with a few songs like Breathe In and Chicago that were not technically on the two CDs but were available in different forms and rereleases of Nothing Left to Lose.

The one thing that bothered me a little was the volume level and sound mix as it seemed to be heavy on the bass and bass drum and Mat's vocals were a little distorted at times. I think this was more the board guy or maybe it was just my hearing. Still it annoyed me a little, but still was a great show.

Mat played some songs I just lobe like, Nothing Left to Lose, Renaissance, Where We Gonna Go From Here and Girl America. So a grat show a tight set and I only wish there was a SBD copy to be had to hear over and over again.

Great show - great entertainer, get out and see him.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Phish - 06/20/2009 - 06/21/2009 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI

Phish have been away since 2004 and now 5 years after a break and doing Solo work they have embarked on a new tour to be followed up with a new CD at the end of July as well. They started their reunion back in March with three nights at Hampton Coliseum and then kicked off the summer portion at Fenway Park in Boston and wrapped up the first leg at Alpine Valley June 21st.

The first night of the two night adventure was pretty amazing. The boys came out strong with a Punch You In The Eye and continued a rockin' first set with some great tunes including Stash, Bathtub gin, Farmhouse and Run Like an Antelope. A stellar first set to start the weekend off. Trey was right on his game as well as the rest of the band. Mike Gordon was brilliant on bass and Page was great and Fishman as well. I love just watching Trey just stand there casually with a few steps and that big smile all with jamming it out.

Second set was right on the money. Sample in a Jar to Maze was sweet and Makisupa Policeman just had the crowd bouncing all over and tossing light sticks in the thousands. NICU was great as well as Prince Caspian. Fire was a good version, but a little fast for me. Overall a brillian show and Phish was really on for this one.

06/20/2009 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI

SET ONE: Punch You in the Eye (9:17) Runaway Jim (9:32) Stash (12:08) Ya Mar (7:14) Bathtub Gin (13:05) Kill Devil Falls (8:20) Train Song (2:47) Farmhouse (4:55) Sparkle (3:47) Run Like an Antelope (10:25)

SET TWO:Waves (8:23) Sample in a Jar (5:20) Maze (11:37) Makisupa Policeman (5:13) Ghost (11:58) The Lizards (10:31) You Enjoy Myself (12:27) NICU (4:56) Prince Caspian (6:49) Waste (5:32) Fire (5:15)

ENCORE: Character Zero (7:37)

Night Two was a different kind of jam night. The first night had a real good beat and really kept you dancing all the way through. Second night started off cool with all the kids from the boys came out and it was a happy fathers day
wish to all us dads. They jammed it out, some longer and some slower than the night before. still a great show and it was cool to hear a 16 minute version of Time Turns Elastic. A nice mix of songs the second night and a ton more fun.

If you get a chance, catch one of the nights on the second leg of this tour it will be well worth it.
06/21/2009 Alpine Valley, East Troy, WI

SET ONE: Brother (5:42) Wolfman's Brother (9:04) Funky Bitch (5:03) The Divided Sky (15:31) Joy (5:22) Back on the Train (7:41) Taste (8:54) Poor Heart (2:26) The Horse (1:06) Silent In The Morning (4:50) The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday (2:44) Avenu Malkanu (3:13) The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday (1:43) Time Turns Elastic (16:51) SET TWO:Crosseyed and Painless (5:53) Alpine Jam (9:16) Down with Disease (13:18) Bug (8:04) Piper (12:50) Wading in the Velvet Sea (6:15) Boogie On Reggae Woman (5:48) Slave to the Traffic Light (13:54)

ENCORE:Grind (2:33) Frankenstein (5:46)

The Dead Weather - Horehound CD Review

Jack White's latest project The Dead Weather has put out there first and potential last CD depending on what type of project this turns out to be. The CD was recorded at Third Man Studios in Nashvillie and contains several artists Jack has worked with in the past. The Raconteur's were touring with The Kills and he lost his voice and asked The Kills lead singer to step in and help. This of course is Alison Mosshart who is half of the London based band. She sings lead through most of the CD. Jack Lawrence from Raconteurs plays bass and Queen's of the Sone Age member Dean Fertita plays Guitar. Jach White plays Drums some vocals as well.

I'm not sure the exact classification of this bands music. I would say it falls under some sort of Alternative Blues with some added funk and metal sound in it. I had a chance to hear them perform live from the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on NPR's All Songs Considered on 7/14. This was an incredible performance and quite explosive. Check it out at they will be keeping it up in the archives to hear. There is a good chance that it will also become a podcast as long as they gain approval from the artists they covered on a couple of songs. The show lasted just an hour, but they played the whole CD plus a couple of covers. It was quite entertaining, do go out and check it out.

Horehound has a really good groove to it with some nice mix of blues and rock throughout the CD. Mosshart has the right voice to mix to this style and really is a nice touch to the three Raconteurs. There are some rough and raw cuts on this and some othes that are really smooth flowing. I think overall the sound is great and fits the make up of the artists playing. Hang You From the Heavens is a really cool cut along with 60 Feet Tall to start it off. I Cut Like a Buffalo has a funky beat and is a bit strange, but not bad. From there you continue with a cool mix of tunes include a pretty cool mix in 3 Birds, a nice little jam rock blues infused mix.

iTunes users who pre-ordered the CD picked up a catchy little tune called Outside as a bonus track.

Overall, really cool mix of tunes and one to certainly pick up if you like the different styles of Jack's past works.

Track Listing:

1. 60 Feet Tall 5:33
2. Hang You From The Heavens 3:36
3. I Cut Like A Buffalo 3:27
4. So Far From Your Weapon 3:40
5. Treat Me Like Your Mother 4:10
6. Rocking Horse 2:59
7. New Pony 3:56
8. Bone House 3:26
9. 3 Birds 3:44
10. No Hassle Night 2:51
11. Will There Be Enough Water? 6:20
12. Outside 2:50 (iTunes Bonus)

07/14/2009 9:30 Club Washington DC Set List:

60 Feet Tall
Bone House
So Far From Your Weapon
Cut Like a Buffalo
Forever My Queen (Pentagram cover)
Rocking Horse
New Pony (Bob Dylan cover)
No Hassle Night
Will There Be Enough Water
Treat Me Like Your Mother
Child of a Few Hours
Hang You From The Heavens