Monday, May 20, 2013

Charleston, SC

On 19 & 20 May 2013

So while mum was over visiting she decided she wanted to go to Charleston.  She'd seen it once as a child in a movie she'd forgotten but always wanted to check it out.  So her and I packed up the car one day and drove down for a night.

We got to the Holiday Inn in the northern part of town and set off for a wander around town.  We walked all the way down King St to Market and walked across to the indoor markets before stopping for a quick bite at a pub on N Market St.  Leaving in a hurry, we walked up to the port and just made it onto the last Fort Sumter Tour.  The 45 minute ferry ride took us out to spend a couple of hours out at Fort Sumter - where the American Civil War started.  Really interesting place full of history.  Can only imagine how magnificent it looked in its full glory.  A 2 hour history lesson from the National Parks Service before our cruise back to Charleston.

Upon arrival we went to the Tourist Info Center, before doing a lap of the town on the free trolley.  The trolley stopped not far from the hotel.  I had decided on dinner over at Shem Creek.  I had eaten at a bar there 12 years ago with Amy, and after 10 years in the desert just love the idea of waterfront eating.  We ended up at the Waters Edge where we enjoyed a great seafood meal while overlooking the creek.  Glad we went over the bridge to Mt Pleasant for this.

Me & Mum @ Water's Edge, Mt Pleasant

After a nice breakfast in the hotel.  We walked back down to Market St to get on an Old South Carriage Company ride through Charleston.  To stem the flow of traffic, the horses are directed on 5 different routes via a lottery system.  Fortunately for us, our trip wound through the southern tip of the city.  An area we had yet to explore.  We spent close to 2 hours seeing some beautiful homes and churches, as well as getting a great historical rundown of the city.  After the tour we walked down to the see the homes of Rainbow Row.  It was then that the weather turned nasty and we jumped on the trolley back to the hotel.  From there we headed home.  Mum had a blast and it was nice to be away for a day. I wonder where we'll go when she comes back next year.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lyle Lovett @ Belk Theater

I wasn't really sure what I was going to be in for when it came to a Lyle Lovett concert.  I don't know any of his music, but Amy loves him and that makes it a great anniversary gift from me.

The night started at Malabar - a great tapas restaurant just 2 blocks from the Belk Theater.  Amy & I overindulged in some fantastic food before heading into the show.  What I found at the show were fantastic musicians (the band was great), a prolific storyteller and a man with a great sense of humor in both his lyrics and his between song banter.  For 2 1/2 hours Lovett played many crowd favorites, let other band members take the limelight for some songs and left the crowd in stitches recalling song meanings and adventures he had in other trips to North Carolina.  While not the music I'd normal listen to, I definitely walked out a Lyle Lovett fan.  And Amy had a blast, which was most important.

Up In Indiana / Instrumental / Release Me / White Boy Lost In The Blues / Isn't That So (Jesse Winchester Cover) / Keep It Clean / The Truck Song / Sonja / Natural Forces / Give Back My Heart / God Will / I Will Rise Up / Temperance Reel (Luke Bulla) / Remember Well (Luke Bulla) / LA County / The Road To Ensenada / Private Conversation / Her First Mistake / Night's Lullaby / Pantry / Let Me Fall (Keith Sewell) / If I Had A Boat / Fiona / That's Right (You're Not From Texas) / White Freightliner Blues (Townes Van Zandt Cover)Encore: North Dakota / You Can't Resist It

The Crap Facts:
This is my 354th concert.
This is my 1st concert at Belk Theater.
Belk Theater is the 94th venue I've seen a concert.
This is my 6th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 6th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 161st concert in the USA.
Lyle Lovett is the 417th band I've seen.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Foals & Surfer Blood @ Visulite

I love going to a show to see one band and getting into both of them.  This was the case for the Foals and Surfer Blood.  

I had been given Surfer Blood's Astro Coast and was stoked to find they would be playing within walking distance of the house at the Visulite (instead of the no too far Neighborhood Theater, after a change of venue).  Got to the venue to find it packed (a little different to 11 years ago seeing Reverend Horton Heat here) and arrived as Surfer Blood were tuning up onstage.  It didn't take long before they were lulling us with their gentle melodic rock.  They played a great set including some new songs of an upcoming album. Highlight was singer John's walk through the venue during Take It Easy.

In contrast I knew that Foals were English and on Sub Pop.  2 pretty good references for a rock band as far as I'm concerned.  Foals were polar opposites of Surfer Blood - music was angular and very high energy.  Considering I knew not a song - this was a great show.  While they seemed almost cramped for space on the small Visulite stage, lead singer Yannis covered every inch of the stage as well as spending 2 songs in the crowd.  Speaking of which, this crowd was into it.  The place was packed to the rafters and everyone was moving to Foals.  Highlights were the opener Inhaler, Olympic Airways and then Two Steps Twice, which closed the encore

I hope I get to see them again.  I bought Antidotes when I got home so next time I might be more familiar with the music.  Surely the only way to make the show better.

Foals Setlist
Prelude / Inhaler / Balloons / Olympic Airways / Bad Habit / Milk & Black Spiders / Spanish Sahara / Red Socks Pugie / Late Night / Providence / Electric Bloom
Encore: Stepson / My Number / Two Steps, Twice

The Crap Facts:
This is my 353rd concert.
This is my 2nd concert at Visulite.
This is my 5th concert in Charlotte.
This is my 5th concert in North Carolina.
This is my 160th concert in the USA.
Surfer Blood are the 415th band I've seen.
Foals are the 416th band I've seen.