For Xmas this year I bought tickets for the family to see School of Rock. With the success of Rudolph, I thought the boys would like to see kids perform in a musical.
The show is the musical version of the 2003 Jack Black movie of the same way. And boy is it good. The kids (older than the boys but not yet teens) are fantastic - and play all their instruments live. And the story is well adapted into another Andrew Lloyd Webber smash. Everything, from the set to the music and the actors are terrific and Ned Schneebly is played in the Jack Black spirit.
The boys enjoyed the show, especially L, who was mesmerized when the kids performed as a band. Mom had a blast as well. Though at just under 3 hours (including intermission) was a stretch for the guys, even though it was a matinee, B&L were spent by the end of the day.
I'm glad we did this, and hope we can take the boys to more musicals (and ultimately concerts) in the near future. School of Rock is a great family musical I'd recommend to anyone who has kids that are showing any form of interest in music.
Carolina Panthers 31 (D. Byrd 2, C. McCaffery, G. Olsen touchdowns, G. Gano 4 extra points, 1 field goal) defeated the Green Bay Packers 24 (D. Adams, R. Cobb, R. Rogers touchdowns, M. Crosby 3 extra points, 1 field goal)
For all the shows Amy and I have seen, it's hard to believe Les Miserables hasn't been one of them. So when the opportunity arose at the nearby Ovens, we decided on an adults night out.
The night started at Bistro la Bon, a local favorite, close to both the house and the venue. Tonight was a sub-par, service wise, for the restaurant. We ordered a few tapas plates while sitting at the bar. The bartender was too busy being in charge and controlling his bar back for us too relax. Then the food came out unevenly spaced, in that the last dish had to scoffed down to get to our show. May need to try something different next time.
Our seats on the main floor were off to right and a great spot for the show. Les Miserables is a true musical. Not a word was spoken and everything was sung. I dot remember ever seeing that before, but I was not a fan. A great story and I loved the set movements, but this pedantic, old man couldn't put all the singing behind him. And the cherry on that cake is multiple people singing different things at the same time. Just shits me! Amy on the other hand, loved it all.
While I love the very few adult only nights we get, tonight's show was not the highlight of all the things we've done. I had a good night, but I doubt I'd see Les Miserables again.
On the day that winter arrived in Charlotte, Aaron and I went up to Davidson College for my first game of the season against VMI. We made out stop at Char Grill for a quick bite before walking into the Belk Arena moments before tip-off.
Turned out tonight's winner would be the team that could hit the target at least a few times, as both sides were shocking in putting baskets away.
While not playing well, Davidson looked the more comfortable on their home turf. Once they got their noses in front midway through the first period, it stayed in the Wildcats control. Although it seemed pretty even up and down the court, it was Davidson that took advantage of points when needed. In the end I don't think that VMI deserved to lose by such a large margin, it was only their accuracy that let them down.
On the drive up, Aaron had mentioned that rumor had Steph Curry coming to the game, with his Warriors due to play the Hornets the following night in Charlotte. Though an ankle injury made that a bit doubtful. As usual the Davidson crowd redded up the arena, but I don't recall seeing so many #30 shirts before. Curry did try, unsuccessfully, to slip into his court-side seat unnoticed, however it felt like that was all people were watching for, because a wave of hub-bub hit the stadium (and kids ran from everywhere to near where he was seated). I feel like it affected the players too, as it seemed like everyone was trying to put down a 3 pointer. In the end both teams combined only hit 16/46 from outside. Hardly Curry percentages.
Davidson Wildcats 74 (J. Gudmundsson 22, P. Aldridge 20, K. Grady 10) defeated Virginia Military Institute Keydets 51 (A. Vereen 12, G. Gilkeson 10, B. Parham10)
The boys first professional sporting event. Mom and Dad were excited, as the boys have taken an interest in all sports in the last year. The boys couldn't believe it. That and the email that said to dress the kids up in Halloween gear added to the excitement.
Now hockey is not a big deal in Charlotte, and this is not NHL - but the boys could care less. We were about 5 rows from the ice and the small crowd meant B&L wouldn't get overwhelmed. We were a bit disappointed to see not a lot of kids in their Halloween gear, but that didn't stop Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma staying in character the whole game.
The whole event was geared towards families, with Chubby, the Checkers mascot, very visible and accessible the whole game. And the breaks, music and general crowd hoo-har was enough to keep the boys entertained between actual hockey. And being dressed up meant the boys got on the big screen a couple of times, which thrilled them no end.
Kylo, Phasma & Mom at Checkers v Comets
The game itself was great. From the first dropped puck there were fisticuffs. Had a real Dad moment as I started cheering the fight and had to be wound back in by Mom to show the boys that fighting is not good. Utica got an early goal and the Checkers never really recovered. The whole game is so fast. For someone, like me, who is not a regular fan it was hard to keep up with the action. And, like basketball, I have no idea why fouls were called, but we cheered when we were supposed to and booed the Comets when needed (and when Mom wasn't listening - bad sportsmanship is something she (rightly) doen't want instilled in the boys.
Great family afternoon out. Shame about the Checkers losing, but the boys had a blast. As seen by them coming home and wanting the NHL (any game) on TV while they played hockey outside. Considering the price of NBA and NFL tickets, we'll be back to do this again soon.
Utica Comets 6 (N. Goldobin, R. Boucher, E. McEneny, Z. MacEwen, B. Gaunce, B. Woods) defeated Charlotte Checkers 3 (M. Ferrantino, A. Poturalski, J. Gauthier).
Finally get to see a Superchunk show. While I've seen them twice before, those were at festivals...during daylight hours...short sets...with people not interested, just wanting a good spot for a later band. This small club show was the real deal.
I kinda thought it would be Charlotte's UNC Alumni 90's reunion and was surprised by the smallish (maybe half full) crowd. Bat Fangs had already started when Mike & I walked in the room and they were rocking. SInger Betsy Wright had the swagger, moves and voice of a rock goddess and was driven by drummer Laura King. Bat Fangs like what they do, and are good doing it. I hope to hear more of their great rock.
Superchunk bounded on stage like a new band, not one that have been together for over 25 years. They seemed happy to be in Charlotte after a 15 year absence, and after praising Bat Fangs started the rock that made them leaders in alternative rock in the 90's. From the first notes of Out Of The Sun, Mac McCaughan was moving like a man possessed. The crowd reacted accordingly and a great hour and a half followed. I Got Cut and Me & You & Jackie Mittoo were standouts, but the energy from the set closer, Slack Motherfucker, rose three-fold. Such a good song to end this great set. A two song encore capped off a brilliant performance. So glad I got to see one of their club shows.
Superchunk are a North Carolina band. Lets get them back to Charlotte sooner than 15 years.
The Crap Facts:
This is my 434th concert.
This is my 3rd concert at Neighborhood Theater.
This is my 67th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 76th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 239th concert in the USA.
Bat Fangs are the 497th band I've seen.
After the fiasco of unsuccessfully trying to get into the Descendents show early in August to catch Late Bloomer, I got to the Fillmore just after 8 to catch this local Charlotte band play. Great gig and a sound well suited to the headliners (not sure how it went with the Bronx/Descendents crowd). I remember being indifferent when I first saw them open for the Screaming Females when I first moved to Charlotte. This time, like the rest of the crowd, I was getting into it the longer the set went along.
Crowd size was a bit disappointing (curtain across the back of the first step up) but it is Charlotte, and it was a school night, so......their loss, and more room for me. After a moody keyboard beginning, the band came out with all guns blazing. Spoon were appreciative of those who came back after a washed out show in August . I was happy for the rain that night, as Amy was out of town and I would have missed it. Do I Have To Talk You Into It set the tone for the night. Fun, energetic and a well oiled band. As is standard now, I was not familiar with any of the songs, and they didn't play the 2 songs I know (You Got Tour Cherry Bomb and The Way We Get By), but everything sounded great. Inside Out and Beast & Dragon early on were the standouts. A four song encore for their last show on the tour had the crowd in raptures. I liked Hot Thoughts in their "mini-set".
I saw Spoon at the Big Day Out in 2008 and on the strength of that show and the 2 previously mentioned songs, I came to this show. And I'm so glad I did. Spoon have their own unique sound and a stage presence which shows they love what they do. Look forward to catching them again someday.
The Crap Facts:
This is my 433rd concert.
This is my 23rd concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 66th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 75th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 238th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Late Bloomer concert.
This is my 2nd Spoon concert.
Another Dinosaur Jr show. And another drive to Asheville (the 2nd in 2 weeks). Had a really smooth drive up there - I love my new dad van! I had dinner with the family in Charlotte first and arrived as Easy Action were finishing their last song. Was bummed. They were pretty good earlier this year in Carborro.
As usual Dinosaur Jr straggled on stage to not a lot of fan fare, and in went the earplugs. Not sure if I was tired from the drive, but it took a while for me to get into it tonight. All the right ingredients were there. I was 4 rows from the stage, right in front of J Mascis, and the crowd was a good enough size that everyone had their own space. But it wasn't until Out There that I started really enjoying the night. Fell The Pain was frenetic and wild. It was also great to hear Get Me and Start Choppin' again - Where You Been is my favorite Dinosaur Album. And before the set finished with Gargoyle, they played an all time favorite song - Freak Scene. I got goosebumps - again! A 2 song encore was topped off with another blistering version of the Stooges TV Eye with Easy Actions' drummer and singer joining the fray.
I'm so grateful to see one of my favorite bands twice in one year, even if I had to drive a combined 500 miles to see them - and on a school night (thank you wifey and Uber job). If my ears hold out I hope this is the 8th of many more Dinosaur Jr shows I get to see.
I am very aware that 3 days after the shooting spree that killed 58 people in my previous home city of Las Vegas, I am seeing the band, who, with their fans, suffered from a terrorist attack while they were performing in Paris in November 2015. It's not often I get nervous, but tonight is definitely the exception.
The Eagles of Death Metal, on the other hand, are not. They are ready to rock like it's no one's business. From the outset when Mastodon's Brent Hines joined for the opening song I Only Want You EoDM decided this was going to be their best show ever - which I'm sure they do every night. Frontman Jesse Hughes was a ball of energy, bouncing, pogoing and dancing from one side of the stage to the other. While I don't know any EoDM songs (yet) there is an engaging energy that bursts into the crowd, and a four-on-the-floor rocking beat which gets any crowd moving. Jesse Hughes is a showman in the vain of Vintage Trouble, Hives, Cage the Elephant and, of course, Iggy. His enthusiasm and the the great music make for an awesome show - and a challenge for a headlining band.
Mastodon had a crowd full of loyal fans and they were happy to oblige them with over 100 minutes of heavy, sludgy rock. While most songs came off the unfamiliar to me new album, Emperor of Sand, (I should know this from the last time I saw them and The Hunter dominated the set), there was plenty of familiarity throughout the show. Divinations & Crystal Skull back to back got me started. and I really enjoyed Black Tongue, Colony of Birchmen and Oblivion through the middle of the set. I began to tire near the end of the night and a lot stuff sounded a bit samey, except for the excellent Crack The Skye. Mastodon do a great job of creating their unique sound, but unfamiliarity leads to you only to appreciate the musicianship instead of enjoying the songs. I wish I'd heard Emperor of Sand before tonight. Would have made for a better show for me.
I walked into the venue to hear only the last song of Russian Circles. I wish I'd gotten there earlier to see them, cause what I heard sounded great. After 13 years I got to see only my 2nd Eagles Of Death Metal show (back in 2004 thew killed it opening for the Strokes in Vegas). Tonight they were even better. And again Mastodon keeps metal relevant. Great night all round.
The Crap Facts:
This is my 431st concert.
This is my 22nd concert at The Fillmore.
This is my 65th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 73rd concert in North Carolina.
This is my 236th concert in the USA.
This is my 2nd Eagles Of Death Metal concert.
Eagles Of Death Metal are the 100th different band I've seen in Charlotte
This is my 5th Mastodon concert.
I didn't realize Trevor Noah was coming to Charlotte in February or I would have taken the easy option, but thanks to Uncle Drew, Amy and I took advantage of staying in Asheville for the night. We drove up in the early afternoon and spent time meandering around the River Arts District. Some great galleries up there, and plenty of gift ideas for Christmas.
We checked into the Double Tree near the Biltmore (thanks to Amy's Hilton points, as hotels are ridiculously priced in town), with enough time to clean up and Uber back into downtown and catch dinner. We walked passed Zambra when we were here for Nick Cave in June, so opted to dine there. What a great choice! The tapas was fantastic, and while some food was slow coming, we had a great seat watching the kitchen go bananas. We've always wanted to try Curate, but am more than happy we found this place around the corner from the venue.
As usual I'm not going to retell jokes that Trevor Noah told in his 1 1/4 hour stand up show. Needless to say he was funny, and knows his audience. He told some great American stories from a foreigner's perspective (very relatable to me) and some good political stuff, while, surprisingly, going relatively easy on Trump and his administration.
A sleep in - ahhh no children. A quick breakfast at Well Bred before we drive back to Charlotte. A nice quick getaway. Something we should do a little more often.
From the 19th to 26th August we spent our 4th annual summer trip to the beach back at Litchfield Beach. This time we had the added bonus of seeing the solar eclipse in totality (ahh....that's why the rooms are scarce and more expensive). Besides that it was beach and pool time with plenty of visits to a couple of restaurants and our favorite ice cream store.
Quigley's Pint & Plate - a good first night dinner, overlooking a pond with alligators. (A sentence I never thought I'd type.)
Hanser House - just outside the resort. Good food, but we left it too late and the boys turned hangry waiting for food.
Chive Blossom - a favorite from last year, great to sit outside and enjoy a fantastic meal.
Habenero's - pretty sure we'll find a better Mexican restaurant next time
Solar Eclipse - 21 August
Litchfield Beach Solar Eclipse - 21 August - same day last year this beach was ours alone.