Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Same as it ever was

Good morning, everyone.  And on a Tuesday, too!

Our schizophrenic weather continues here in central Kentucky.  Hot, then mild, then downright cool, and now warming up again.  Rain and then dry and then drizzle and so on.

Enough about that.  I come to you today regarding a musical oldie-but-goodie.  And unlike so many of my preferred artists, this one is not so old.

I refer to the dynamic late-70s to early-90s group Talking Heads.

The four members met in art school in New England, as I have read, and combined new wave rock, funk, pop and performance art into a driving form with undeniable rhythm and catchy songs whose words are, well, interesting.

I began to think of them recently upon learning of the death of film director Jonathan Demme, better known for directing the acclaimed "Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia," but whose roots were in documentary filmmaking.  Demme collaborated with Talking Heads for a concert movie entitled "Stop Making Sense," the title lifted from a lyric in one of their songs.

I have a copy of that movie and watched it recently, and despite its age (made in 1983, I think), the film and concert both hold up well.  Talking Heads' music was always an acquired taste, with lead singer/songwriter David Byrne's vocal style intriguing and challenging to the audience at the same time.  Demme and Byrne cooked up an interesting film that relies mostly on photography of the band (and crew, for once) at work, with long shots of secondary players like a rhythm guitarist or percussionist and almost no displaying of the audience or their reactions.

The Heads played at the University of Kentucky when I was not long out of school and performed pretty much this same show here in Lexington at Memorial Coliseum, the one-time home of the Kentucky men's basketball team.  The entire show was performed with the house lights on, which probably diminished the impact of the show, but I learned later that someone had called in a bomb threat and the campus police would only allow the show to proceed (with a lengthy delay) with those lights still on.

It was a great show, and it still is quite entertaining.  The level of intensity by Byrne and his bandmates, with the lineup expanded for live performance, is evident throughout, but this bunch always seemed to enjoy it.  I suspect this film is available online in different places, so if you like music from that era, give it a look.

I must be reliving that part of my life recently, as I caught myself listening to the Police recently, too.


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