Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Trust the French, They Know What They're Doing

Note: this photo was not taken at the Triple Rock, but it looks like it was. Although, I don't recall the Aerosmith shirt.

Did I ever mention that I love the French? Seriously. I love their culture. I love their history. I love their language. I love their food. I love their public transportation. What's more, the Bush Administration’s negative attitude toward France only serves to increase my love for the French. I’ve had nothing but amazing experiences during my visits to France. It is an extremely beautiful country filled with extremely beautiful people. I’m determined to live there one day (so spare me the if-you-hate-America-so-much-why-don’t-you-move-to-France speech). By the way, I don’t hate America; I hate Americans. Wait…did I say that correctly?

Did I ever mention that I love music? Yeah, I do. Especially innovative/independent/underground/forward-thinking music. Just imagine what it would be like if my two obsessions – music and the French – joined forces. I’ll tell you what happens. M83 happens. And it is everything I could hope for.

For some reason, M83 decided to leave their fabulous country to tour the US (where touring bands are paid peanuts compared to what they get in France). And lucky for me, they stopped by the Twin Cities last Saturday to play an awesome show at the Triple Rock.

I got to the show just in time. Soon after I arrived, the Triple Rock hit capacity, and they had to turn a bunch of people away (including some friends who were supposed to meet me there). In keeping with the night’s theme of European electronic shoegaze, Berlin’s Ulrich Schnauss filled the opening slot. Now, I love Germany too, but I’ve had some less than perfect experiences in Berlin (thanks a lot, S-Bahn ticket-checker). Nevertheless, it was cool to see Ulrich, and his music was great. Hopefully no one was expecting much of a stage show, or any stage show at all. Herr Schnauss sure knew how to make a lot of noise by sitting alone on the stage in front of a keyboard and computer.

I was expecting M83’s set to be very similar since most of the noise on their albums was made with synthesizers and drum machines. But no! To my surprise, they were touring as a full four-piece band. There were guitars and drums and everything! Sure, they had a slightly different sound, but it didn’t matter. They worked very well as a live band. The music was just as appealing (if not more), and they were actually interesting to watch (quite an accomplishment for an electronic instrumental band). Ils étaient très étonnants. Je les aime!


Anonymous chris said...

Liked the post, but no clue what that last sentence said. Ich habe nie Francsosich gesprochen! (yeah I'm missing some umlauts and probably misspelled the german equivalent of French) Meh. Confusing, yes this comment is/was.

7:20 PM

Blogger Sofi said...

French kissing is also pretty good.

7:01 PM

Blogger Lee said...

oui oui! Je suis d'accord! But here in America, we call it "freedom" kissing.

12:28 AM

Anonymous erin said...

fuck this post! it's time for you to congratulate my sexy self for getting into UT.

*shakes bosom*

9:17 PM

Blogger Lee said...

I hereby congratulate your bosom-shaking, sexy-Longhorn self for getting into UT. Awesome!

11:37 PM


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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

My Dad Looks Nothing Like a Turkey!

Yeah, yeah, I’ll write something about the M83 show when I get a little more time. But for now, I have some bigger news. Last Thursday, my dad was shot!

Don’t worry; he’s alright – thank goodness. He was out hunting turkeys near Red Wing, Minnesota, and, apparently, another hunter mistook him for a turkey. I can’t imagine what was going through my dad’s head at the time. He was all alone in the middle of nowhere, my mom wasn’t even in the country, and there was no way he could have contacted me or my sister. He must have been in shock, because he drove all the way back to the Twin Cities after he was shot (if surgery was necessary, he didn’t want to be in Red Wing for the operation).

Now, when hunting turkeys, you are only allowed to shoot gobblers with a visible beard (a beard is a set of hair-like feathers that grow out of the chest of mature male turkeys). This means that you have to pay close attention to what you are shooting – it is not a good plan to just shoot anything that moves. The first thing my dad said to the trigger-happy hunter when he arrived at the scene was, “Does it look like I have a beard!?” (He was freshly shaven.)

My dad has about twelve pieces of shot lodged inside his body. Most of the shot entered through the backs of his legs. His hand also received some of the shot. This Thursday, he’ll be coming up to Hennepin County Medical Center (they obviously have a better gunshot unit than the Burnsville hospitals do) to find out if they need to remove the pellets. He might just end up living the rest of his life with pieces of metal inside his body.

I don’t know how much pain my dad is in. I think it’s mainly just uncomfortable at this point. Not that my dad is ever one to complain (or brag). Last Thursday evening, my sister happened to call home. She and my dad small talked for a good while before she asked him if he was going to go hunting the next day. He responded, “Nah, I don’t think so. I was shot this morning.” So, of course, I didn’t even know about it until my sister called and told me the next day. Some son I am


Anonymous erinosaurus said...

dear god, I'm sorry to hear that. i'm glad he's okay, but what a close call. it's a good thing the guy who shot him has terrible aim, though.

3:43 PM


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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Mr. Barnett Quiz!

During my first day as a full-time student teacher, I gave my students the following quiz about myself as an introduction activity (afterwards, they all made quizzes about themselves for me to take - very entertaining). So far, nobody has gotten 100% on my quiz.

I'm opening this up to the general public. How well do you know me? I'll give you a dollar if you get 100%. Just put your answers in the comments section.

Mr. Barnett's Really, Really Difficult Quiz
Test your knowledge of Mr. Barnett. If you're not sure of an answer, just guess!
  1. Mr. Barnett grew up in
    1. Minnesota
    2. France
    3. Iowa
    4. Kaliningrad

  2. Mr. Barnett went to college at
    1. St. Olaf
    2. Harvard
    3. University of Minnesota
    4. Oxford

  3. Mr. Barnett's favorite food is
    1. Chocolate & cheese
    2. Croissants
    3. Pineapple pizza
    4. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches

  4. Mr. Barnett has...
    1. 0 siblings
    2. 1 sibling
    3. 2 siblings
    4. 10 siblings

  5. Mr. Barnett's favorite TV show is
    1. Oprah Winfrey
    2. The Simpsons
    3. Sesame Street
    4. American Idol

  6. Mr. Barnett has not been to
    1. Hong Kong
    2. France
    3. England
    4. Sweden

  7. Mr. Barnett's favorite sport is
    1. Basketball
    2. Football
    3. Volleyball
    4. Bobsledding

  8. Mr. Barnett's favorite toon is
    1. Bugs Bunny

    2. Hello Kitty

    3. Strong Bad

    4. Mushu

  9. Mr. Barnett is related to
    1. Kevin Garnett
    2. Ms. Doty
    3. Hello Kitty
    4. None of the above

  10. Mr. Barnett's favorite song is
    1. "Principal's Office" by Young M.C.
    2. "Pocket Calculator" by Kraftwerk
    3. "I Missed the Bus" by Kris Kross
    4. "Never Ending Math Equation" by Modest Mouse


Anonymous erin said...

fuck that quiz. it's impossible! i feel sorry for your students, i bet youre so cruel to them ;)

12:40 PM

Blogger Lee said...

Erin, do I need to send you down to the office?

4:46 PM


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Sunday, April 17, 2005

Shellac Keeps Me Awake at Night

I know; this blog has been very quiet recently. I’m sorry. But I have a valid excuse. My life has become consumed by my student teaching responsibilities. I’ve been having fun hanging out in the middle school, but I’ve also had to make a lot of sacrifices.

The biggest sacrifice of them all: I can no longer go to shows whenever I please. This has never been an issue before (except when I’ve been completely broke). I never had to think twice about staying out until 2:00 am. It was sufficient to be half-awake throughout college and any job that I might have had. But these days, I definitely need a full night’s sleep. If I don’t have all my wits about me, my sixth graders will walk all over me.

I’m still learning that it won’t be the end of the world if I miss out on a few important shows. It breaks my heart, though. I’ve had to skip so many great shows these past few weeks. It’s just not fair!

For the sake of my sanity, I figured it’d be ok if I allowed myself one show per week (weekends don’t count). I deserve it, don’t I? Well, that’s what I told myself as I skipped out on lesson planning and headed down to First Avenue for the Shellac show last Wednesday. Was it worth it? Of course it was. Yeah, I was exhausted the next day, but at least I didn’t feel unhealthy thanks to the smoking ban.

Speaking of the smoking ban, Wednesday was the first time I’ve been in the mainroom since the ban was initiated. I knew things would seem different, but I did not expect that I’d barely be able to recognize the place! I was shocked – not by the smell of things or the fact that I was able to comfortably breathe, but by the way the inside of the club looked. Since there was no smoke in the air, the stage lights seemed very bright. I actually noticed that there was some color to First Avenue (there’s some red mixed in with the black). For a second, I thought I was in some fancy, high-class concert hall. Everything seemed so clear and clean.

I’ve seen Arcwelder (the opening band) before, but never like this. The way the bright and colorful lights clearly illuminated the band made for a very surreal experience. It was the closest I’ve seen First Avenue looking as it did in Purple Rain. I thought for sure that Arcwelder was opening for Prince circa 1984. Well, they’re not that old. But close. After noticing some young crowd members enthusiastically singing along to their songs, Arcwelder’s drummer commented, “Looks like some of you have been studying your grandparents’ vinyl collection!” Old or not, shiny lights or not, Arcwelder can still rock with the best of them.

The decision to blow off my school duties for the night was not a difficult one to make. When Steve Albini, Bob Weston, and local legend/beauty salon owner, Todd Trainer (Rifle Sport, Brick Layer Cake, Breaking Circus) are playing on the same stage, you don’t miss it. I know I would never miss it, even though I’ve always kinda been afraid of Steve Albini. I always fear that he’s going to harshly criticize me, and I’ll lose all the indie cred that I’ve spent years building up. It’s probably an irrational fear; he’s always been a close ally of the Twin Cities music scene. Maybe my fear of Albini is actually the manifestation of some repressed personal insecurities. I sometimes see myself in him – but only in terms of his indie ethics and music taste. But after the show, my friend told me that Albini reminds her of me (“because he’s a skinny, nerdy-looking guy”). I had to convince her (or was I trying to convince myself?) that I’m not nearly as dark as him. I mean, Big Black’s Atomizer was one of the best albums to come out of the 80’s, but sheesh, that stuff is bleak. And I would never name a band Rapeman. What was he thinking!?

Fortunately, I was able to overcome my fear and enjoy a great performance by Shellac. I even enjoyed Albini’s a cappella poems/rants. The show was captivating enough that I was able to ignore the messed-up shirtless guy standing next to me who would yell out all the wrong song lyrics when everyone else was silent.

So, I’m allowed one show per week. Next week is going to be tough. Something tells me that I’m going to have to bend the rules a bit (Nomeansno and The Wedding Present in the same week – bad news).

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Beautiful Day

For any of you who missed it, this is what the sky looked like today:

In other news, I got my hair cut this afternoon. Real short. I look like I'm 15. At least I'll fit right in with the middle schoolers when I return to Northeast on Monday!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what do you mean? You can't see ANYTHING! What a joke!


11:21 PM

Blogger Lee said...

Well, that little white speck in the lower left hand corner; that's an airplane.

7:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah. I stand corrected. Touche.

2:13 PM

Blogger Lee said...

The html for é is "&#233;" or "&eacute;" (without the quotation marks). Go ahead, try it out.

7:18 PM


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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Congratulations, Michelle!

Here we are (Rob is on the far left in the tux, Michelle is the girl in the white dress)

Ahh, my high school friends are all grown up. I guess one of us was bound to get married sooner or later. Way to go, Michelle! I just hope that she’ll still let us play Mario Kart in her basement.

We all had a great time at the wedding last night. It was so nice to see everyone again. And I can say, with the utmost sincerity, I’m really happy for Michelle. She and Rob are going to have a great time together.

Next up: Jessie. Sheesh, they’re dropping like flies!

Nick M., me, and Nick Olson show off our moves on the dance floor.


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Friday, April 01, 2005

You Can Be the President, I'd Rather Be the Pope

The Pope addresses the masses in front of St. Peter's Basilica last summer.

I didn’t get a chance to see Guitar Wolf before their bassist, Billy, died. But if it’s any consolation, I did see Pope John Paul II before he passed away. Yeah, last summer, while I was hanging out in Europe, I woke up early one Wednesday morning to go to a blessing by the Pope (when in Rome…). Sad, sad, sad.

So, does this mean we can use condoms now?


Blogger Sofi said...

I witnessed Guitar Wolf about 2 weeks before Billy died.

Also, I saw the Popemobile's entourage on University Ave. in Toronto a couple of years back.

In conclusion, I'm fully better than you.

And condoms for all!

10:56 PM

Blogger Lee said...

OK,OK. You win. But did you see Mr. Rogers (you know, from "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood") before he died? I did. So there!

7:24 AM


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I Smell Great!

Last night, I did something that I’ve never been able to do before. I spent hours in a bar hanging out with friends! Oh, how I used to hate being in bars that didn’t host live music. I don’t drink, so if there wasn’t a show going on, I had a lot of trouble putting up with smoke-filled bars – even if all my friends were there. The cigarette smoke would make me feel miserable, and I couldn’t stand the smell of my clothes afterwards.

Yesterday was the first day of the Hennepin County indoor smoking ban. My friends invited me out to a couple of bars, and I actually stuck around the entire night! My social life was no longer hampered by smoke-filled rooms. I actually felt a strong sense of freedom – I was free to have fun with friends in a bar, and I was free to breathe (opponents of the ban said that it would infringe on our freedom). Opponents also said that Minneapolis bars would lose a lot of money due to the ban. Well, Psycho Suzi’s and Keegan’s were both pretty crowded last night. Guess what. Even non-smokers like to drink, and a smoking ban is definitely not going to stop smokers from drinking. And even though I wasn’t buying alcohol, I was still spending money at the bars (and I’m a very good tipper). Guess how much money I used to spend at bars. Yep, $0.00.

I got home last night and I felt perfectly healthy. My pillow and bed sheets didn’t reek of stale smoke when I woke up, and I’m still wearing the same clothes that I wore yesterday – and I don’t smell like shit! Amazing!

To all the people who’ve been complaining about the smoking ban, I feel so sorry for you! I’m so sorry that you’ve been forced into considering how your actions affect other people. Haha, April fools!!!


Anonymous Erin said...

I hope you're kidding. And if not, I blow my smoke in your wrinkled dinosaur face.

6:33 PM

Blogger Lee said...

No joke, Erin. Minneapolis has gone smoke-free, and I love it! You best prepare yourself - Austin will be next.

By the way, I have a very smooth dinosaur face.

11:13 PM

Blogger American Lung Association of Minnesota said...

Yes, Minneapolis has gone smokefree, and more cities, counties and states are jumping on the bandwagon. For updates on what's happening locally on this from, visit the American Lung Association of Minnesota blog...

10:57 AM


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RIP, Basswolf

Sad news for punk rockers around the world. Billy (né Hideaki Sekiguchi), the bass player from Guitar Wolf, died Wednesday of a heart attack.

For many of us, Guitar Wolf was the face of Japanese punk rock. Billy and his band mates were largely responsible for piquing American interest in Japanese punk. Guitar Wolf’s influence was obvious to anyone who attended this year’s SXSW. The Japanese presence at the festival received about as much hype as the British buzz bands like Bloc Party and The Go! Team. The “Japanese Nite” showcases were widely talked about, and impossible to get into. Many of the hyped-up Japanese bands borrowed liberally from Guitar Wolf’s formula of loud, fast garage punk and crazy-go-nuts stage shows.

Guitar Wolf, themselves, played a headlining slot at the festival. You should have seen the line to get into that show! Kirsten and I actually got into the venue (and we met Craig Finn while standing in line), but we left a couple hours before Guitar Wolf played to see some other bands (with the intent of coming back later). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get back in (so we went next door and saw Shonen Knife instead – I’m telling you, Japan was very well represented). If I only knew…

Billy died at the age of 38, but his impact on the world of punk is still very much alive, and his music will continue breathing for many years to come.


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