Thursday, September 08, 2005

Wednesday's Second Set

Yesterday continued the month of September's Keep Ace Off the Couch and Out of the Apartment Festival, sponsored by Pepsi and No-Doz, and it also kicked off the Three Concerts in Four Days Tour, sponsored by Chase Bank and American Express.

After a nine-hour first set at work, last night's second set looked like this:

Pizza for Dinner* > Down to Lukas' > Giambi Goes Yard** > 90-Minute Phix First Set > Midnight Tiredness > Agassi/Blake Fifth Set

*w/ special guest Garlic Knots
**w/ extended season-saving jam

Yankee Notes
--After Jaret Wright knelt down and blew the first inning at Yankee Stadium, all hope for holding onto the Wild Card lead looked lost. Enter Jason Giambi, everyone's favorite punching bag. The Giambino (boy do I hate that nickname, but also love it) jacked one into right field in the bottom half of the eighth, giving the Yank'ums a 5-4 lead and the eventual victory.

At this point, you have to just be loving everything about Giambi's production. If someone asked me in Spring Training whether I'd be happy with a .280 average, a Major League-leading .446 on-base percentage (the third-highest of his strong career), 27 homeruns, 70 runs batted in and countless clutch hits and game-winners, I'd tell them to go home and get their fuckin' shinebox. It's obvious this guy's the Comeback Player of the Year, but he should also get some special award like Best Comeback From a Benign Steroids-Related Tumor Without Issuing a Real Apology. Giambi's awesome, and I'm like McDonald's -- ba da ba ba baaaa, I'm lovin' it.

--Would it kill Derek Jeter to either take a couple pitches in a big spot or not ground into so many gane- and inning-ending double plays? Look, I understand he's a free swinger and he goes after early pitches, which often makes him a good hitter, but his performance in the clutch over the past few games is atrocious and easily attributed to impatience at the plate. the double edge sword rears it's ugly head.

Phix Notes
--After the third out in the 9th, a few of us headed over to the Lion's Den on Sullivan St. for an evening with popular rock band Phish cover band Phix. Now, unlike the Dark Star Orchestra, a band I've praised on here to no end, these guys don't play a Phish show from start to finish. They don't really have a gimmick, other than they're a talented bunch of musicians playing Phish songs.

Headier-than-thou pricks like to bash these guys and say "They're not Phish." And you know what? They're not. They even admit that on their website -- "Phix is not Phish. Obviously, it would be impossible for a tribute band to capture the unique, quirky personality of this band that has been so important to so many people, including ourselves." This band, plain and simple, is a good group of musicians playing unbelievable music in a bar for the price of a couple beers. This band provides a locus for like-minded people to get together and bob their heads uncontrollably and shuffle their feet incessantly and listen to some fresh takes on their favorite live music of all time. Oh, and this band also provides a place to go with a 20-1 dude-to-chick ratio. If you're a girl looking for a 16-25-year-old guy with good taste in music, check out Phix the next time they hit your town.

I'd like to see them incorporate some sort of gimmick into their act, though. To me and many others, it's not nearly enough to just get up there and play Phish tunes. And just minutes after I said that to Lukas, and how I thought they needed to play with the setlists more, with weird segues Phish would never perform, they busted out a rockin' and clever Tube > Punch You in the Eye > Tube. They followed that up shortly thereafter with a Harry Hood set closer, and they nailed that jam. Usually they do a great job with the composed sections and butcher the jams, but on Hood, the opposite held true. The most authentic part of the show, I think, was the part when Crafty Lefty FakeTrey botched the lyrics to Lizards. That was dead-on-balls accurate (see Keswick '92, among others).

I left at setbreak, which came at midnight, because I need to be awake and alert at 6 am. But I'm sure they played until the wee hours, putting on a solid three-hour show filled with all your favorites. I just don't get the hate for these guys. Sure, they may be a little too talented to be just playing someone else's songs for a living, and that's frustrating to watch. And they're not nearly as good as Phish, but then again, nobody is as good as the greatest rock 'n roll foursome in history. People need to lower their expectations and head to the bar for some great tunes at a reasonable price.

If not, you're really just cheating yourselves out of a good time.

Tennis Notes
--I arrived home at about 12:15, expecting to watch some Baseball Tonight and drift off into slumber. But I noticed the Agassi/Blake quaterfinal match had just gone into the fifth set. I stopped watching tennis a long time ago, but every now and then I find myself getting caught up in a great match. This was one of the greats, one of those Connors/Krickstein matches (that's the absolute sickest tennis match in my lifetime) that you'll remember certain points for years to come.

These are the matches when you see the competitors dig down after three hours of fatigue and reach balls you never thought they'd get to and slam aces at speeds you wouldn't think they'd be able to muster. Blake played incredibly, but Agassi is on a mission right now. He refused to lose, and he didn't. Down a break in the fifth set, the best returner of serve in history did what he does best and battled back, then he didn't even flinch down 3-0 in the tiebreak. Two gladiators in center court, ain't nothing like it. To paraphrase Agassi after the match, "1:15 in the morning and 22,000 people are still was the big winner tonight." Agassi the Poet, he's right.

--Leg Two of the Three Concerts in Four Days Tour continues tonight...join the Cowboy down at the Bowery Ballroom for the Benevento/Russo Duo. I guarantee you'll enjoy it.


At 2:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Ace, I heard that Phix gets emails from fans with suggested setlists, then they pick one to play. Usually at the end of the shows, they thank whatever fan gave them that night's setlist. Very comic-strip Pluggers esque. -EB

At 2:11 PM, Blogger offpeak34 said...

I couldn't make it to Phix cause I had to stay home and do homework, but I ended up doing jack-shit and watching Looper end the Mets season and Agassi and Blake play one of the better matches I've ever seen! So it turns out that I did get a ticket to the duo...what time you heading over there?

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

I hear ya EB (by the way, get a name already you lazy douche)...but they need to be doing the mash-ups more, whether people request it or not. Like I said, it's always an enjoyable time, but they're not nearly as good, so they need a better hook. Cool things like Wolfman's > the jam > the end of Bowie or something like that. Play with it more, make it your own.

Offpeak, I'm not sure what time, maybe 8:30 or 9. What time they goin' on?

At 2:36 PM, Blogger offpeak34 said...

doors are at 8, i'm not really sure when to expect them to start, trying to figure that out. we have an event at school with free food and kegs so i want to stay there long enough that i can go back home and do some other pre-show festivities.

At 2:41 PM, Blogger ethan said...

"we have an event at school with free food and kegs"

school-sponsored beer really needs to become a staple of higher education.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger offpeak34 said...

"school-sponsored beer really needs to become a staple of higher education."

in the 1st week of law school each year they try to convince the 1Ls that it is, but sure enough, you quickly learn that that's not the case.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger ethan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger ethan said...

this is clearly how you should spend the bbq:

offpeak: your new law school nickname shall be pinto.

1L: why pinto?

offpeak: WHY NOT?!

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Jason Mulgrew said...

"the greatest rock 'n roll foursome in history"?

C'mon, Ace. I love you, but c'mon.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Ace Cowboy said...

You know, the funny thing is, I didn't do that for effect. I couldn't be more serious if I tried. Well, I could try, but I would not be successful.

I firmly believe that and I stand by my seemingly ridiculous assertion. And I think about 90% of the people in that bar last night believe it too.

Phish is a cult, but it's a fun cult.


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