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Subject:LiveJournal is the new Twitter.
Time:03:40 pm
There's been a bunch of talk recently about the possibility of Peter Thiel buying Twitter. For various reasons, many of them good, that skeeves folks out. So there was a little hubub yesterday about this while I was taking a lovely walk through Umstead with my wife and folks were interested in where to flee post-Twitter, and I thought I'd clarify this particular idea.

I feel like we could spend some time on a better mobile app and head back to LiveJournal.

The first response should really be bafflement. But...

LiveJournal already has a similar-featured social networking structure. It's got friends, lists, public and private posts, comments, blocking, favorites. It's got even more where you can have public and private posting on the SAME ACCOUNT.

LiveJournal has a published API, and they encourage people to build clients without specifying what those clients should look like. That means you could build a client that operated suspiciously like twitter. Maybe only do subject lines (100 chars)? Maybe something else? You could embed a lot in the HTML of a LiveJournal post that would be client-specific without affecting the web LiveJournal experience.

If you want to write something long, write something long. The subject becomes the "tweet", and the rest of it doesn't require storify to sort out and doesn't (necessarily) spiral out of control into a fractal tree of replies.

Edit what you've written. Like I just did now.

LiveJournal doesn't have a lot of the crap infecting more modern social media systems. Autoplay. Shit that moves. Promoted Content. Memories. Moments. A completely independent messaging app. Chat. Group messaging. The. List. Goes. On.

The LiveJournal source is more or less open. If you're not keen on cozying up to the Russians. It's possible to build your own system (e.g. The Old Reader, Pinboard), charge a fee, and run it how you like to run it.

There are drawbacks!

Can't text a tweet! Does anyone do that anymore? As long as you're building a fancy mobile app, maybe you could build an international SMS gateway, but is that important?

LiveJournal doesn't do HTTPS, or any modern authentication systems, as near as I can tell. This is a big, big problem.

There are accessibility/ablist problems. Although how far Twitter has gone to solve those is open to debate.

You could be quoted without your knowledge. Someone could link to a post and you'd never know. That could also happen on Twitter, but the ease of retweets means there's usually an audit trail of sorts. I'm not sure how big a problem that would be.

Other things I haven't thought of yet. I'm a old able white dude who reads straight and cis. Rarely do I run into problems at all with harassment. LiveJournal has a mixed history with this, and upping the volume of posting to Twitter levels isn't going to make them build a better system.
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Subject:This is a test post to see if you can post something with only a subject line and roughly 140 chars.
Time:02:58 pm
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Subject:Moogfest, Day 3: (Saturday)
Time:03:35 pm
It dawned sunny that day! We did the breakfast/nap thing again, and then woke up later to do lunch with Laurie’s family in Durham, getting back in plenty of time to hit the Afrofuturism talk, which included Chuck Lightning, Reggie Watts, Janelle Monae, and Christian Rich (who were pulled in at the last moment when Mikki Blanco had to cancel) and was moderated by Kimberly Drew. The first thing they did was take apart the term as an end-all-be-all (Monae: “I didn’t get called it until I started making songs about androids and shit.”), and then proceeded to note that the audience was mostly white (Lightning: “How do y’all feel about being called ‘Anglo-futurists’?”) and Moogfesters, even though this was billed as a free event. The term found some use (Drew: “It asserts black people _have_ a future”), but most of the artists just wanted to make good music. All of them felt that these sorts of discussions should be taking place with more African American kids in the audience.

We slipped back to the hotel for a break and hit Bull McCabe’s for a quick dinner. One of the things about Durham is that it has much fewer restaurants/bars per square mile in downtown than Asheville (I know folks, it seems like they’re everywhere, but really). BMC was so slammed from the event happening on their lawn that they’d set up a reduced menu. This worked for them and they seemed to be handling the huge crowd well.

Post dinner we hit the American Tobacco Campus to catch the (also free) performance by Reggie Watts. It was coming on the tail end of a day of family friendly programming with some of the Yo Gabba Gabba crew and various other super-luminaries (too many to list, but look it up because it sounded nuts). Watts braved the threat of rain and got the massive crowd moving and chanting along with him. Exceptional show!

We had to go back to the hotel AGAIN for earplugs this time, but we managed to catch some of Empress Of in the Motorco parking lot when we got back. It was ok, danceable, some cute samples, and very fluffy. A delightful video show behind her. Many Sunn O))) fans were already in attendance under the assumption that this would be packed.

And, initially, as the clouds cleared off, it was packed-ish. As soon as Sunn O))) started, though, the crowd began… thinning. It’s almost impossible to describe a performance. My eyeballs were shaken by audio pressure waves in the low tens of Hertz. Impossibly huge gouts of fog were rolling across the stage and nearly blotting out the clearing sky. Layer after layer of subsonic feedback swam around me. The weaker patrons fled, allowing us to cover half the distance to the stage easily throughout the concert. I don’t think I could ever buy an album, but I will always buy a ticket.

L. was done for the night, so I walked her back to the hotel. I FULLY INTENDED to hit a dance party or two after that, but I sat down and started to change my shoes and LOST ALL WILL.

Next time. I promise I’ll go harder next time.
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Subject:Moogfest, Day 2: (Friday)
Time:03:34 pm
Friday we got up in time for the free breakfast and then promptly went back to bed for a few hours. Rising again, we went shopping for lunch at the grocery store. The cool thing about a kitchenette hotel room (same price as the ones downtown) is that you don't have to eat out every single meal. The uncool thing was sort of the walk.

Once we were done with lunch, we saw the Keynote for that day, which was full of Sanders-ism and Singularity preaching, after which Laurie decided to take care of her corporeal husk by working out, and I roamed the more durational installations.

The switchboard synthesizer used near-antique telephone components to sequence and modulate sounds coming from a more conventional synthesizer source. The place was criminally empty, but completely without spots to sit and just listen, so maybe it was designed for drop-in/drop-out kind of experiences. The ringing and resonant piece going on was delightful, though.

The durational installation at 21c was full of seating and also mostly full. At least three artists were on stage assembling a piece that was equal parts poetry, drone, and video collage. I sat, enraptured, for a quarter hour until the promise of booty-shaking pulled me Pinhook-ward.

The Party Illegal DJs there served up an hour and a half of their bounce/dancehall/hiphop/pop melange and rotated through at least four DJs by my count. The crowd, unfortunately, was mostly into watching so I'll have to see one of their regular nights and bring a dance partner.

I slipped back to the hotel for dinner, and then Laurie and I headed to see Allessandro Cortini. I'd seen him a few Moogfests ago, and really dug it. He did not disappoint, broadcasting a ever changing mix of throbbing drone and electronic crunch coupled with a video show of multilayered natural and urban scenery just jumbled enough to be slightly beyond identifiable.

We'd made the mistake of thinking Numan was at Motorco again on Friday, so we went there and heard a little of Grimes from outside until we realized what we'd done and hightailed it back to Fletcher, catching the end of Grouper's show. The almost constant resonant ringing played Hell with Laurie's ears, though, and she fled for the lobby. I toughed it out, but found little to enjoy. As soon as she ended, the slow acquiring of seats that had gone on throughout her show turned into frantic stalking.

Numan was amazing, though the Reznor flavoring of his old tracks continues apace. I get it, and it _is_ fun, but I miss the ethereal delicacy of the old stuff, which means I have to get more of the old stuff. Spectacular light show, his voice was holding up well in the second night, and the crowd ate it up completely.

We stopped into Bull McCabe's for the eponymous quick pint on the way back to the hotel and crashed once again.
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Subject:Moogfest, Day 1: (Thursday)
Time:03:33 pm
The first day was a lot of false starts, starting almost at the very beginning, but I'll get to that. We got to Durham and had lunch at Elmo's and then headed over to the hotel, the new Renaissance in Durham just East of East Campus. Our room wasn't ready (which was expected as it was only noon) so we went downtown on foot to check in. After checking in we cruised over to the PLAY and Pollinator installations (Balls and Bees!), finally heading back to the hotel to actually check in.

Unloading the car showed us our first false start of the day. I'd forgotten my CPAP. A quick trip back to Raleigh and we'd really not missed anything as a result. We had a sweet dinner at Bull McCabe's, and then had to go back to the hotel to retrieve Laurie's phone. We made the "Unmanned" talk in plenty of time.

Post talk, we tried to get some coffee at Loaf, only to find it closed. Coffee was found at the cupcake shop, and we headed over to the Carolina Theater to see Dawn of MIDI. We'd almost made it to our seats when everyone was inexplicably ushered back out into the ballroom because even though the front doors were open "the house was closed". Eventually we got seated.

DOM is like if The Bad Plus spent a summer listening to 90's minimalist techno and said "We should start a jam band, but like this". An unfortunate side effect of this is that a lot of their music sounded like the intro to a Battles song. This wasn't a bad thing! I really dug it, but occasionally found myself waiting for the song to "Start". steady all the way through. We stuck around for Julia Holter, afterwards.

Julia Holter is sort of a mix between Syd Barrett and Kate Bush, with a little Dead Can Dance thrown in, except she sounds like Siouxsie Sioux, and it was sort of marvelous in the way that makes you want to use the word "quriky" but also hate the reductiveness of that word and so you ultimately don't but you're still kind of stuck. A beautiful voice and at times large lyrical operatic and small lyrical confidentially poetic.

We slid down to Motorco in hopes of getting in to see Gary Numan by way of checking out Zombi beforehand, but of course we weren't the only True Fans that had that idea and the line was LONG and IMMOBILE. Blood Orange had just started in the parking lot next to it, and the HUGE line for that simply evaporated as it emptied into that space. We knew we liked Miike Snow so after a bit we went to the parking lot.

Blood Orange was a mixture: occasionally 80's style quiet storm with some 90's light funk thrown in (I've tried to remember that 90's 00's band that really drove that style, but it was so forgettable that I can't even remember the name. I eventually got the search terms right: Jamiroquai). Solid grooves and decent guitar playing, though. The video wall was showing postcard-perfect shots of NYC superimposed with ballet dancers, occasionally resulting in a cringing image of a dancer slithering across the Ground Zero memorial.

Miike Snow was spectacular. A few technical problems plagued their set, but their ability to work around and through them was top notch. They mixed the old and the new and the dancy and swayey and finished really really strongly right on the nose at quarter to one. We made our way back to the hotel and literally crashed into bed.
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Subject:In case you're curious about the engineer mindset.
Time:03:17 pm
I've got a "wood stove insert" for my fireplace. It's basically a box that retains heat, makes sure all the smoke goes in the right direction, burns everything more cleanly, and has a fan to circulate air around the firebox and out into the room. It's my second one, and while I like it better partly for the transparent window in the door (so I can watch "fire TV") I also like the fact that the fan is controlled by a thermostat, so I can just leave it on after I head to bed.

The only bummer is that even with the more open front section of the house, the rear of the house doesn't get nearly as much of the heat generated, and tends to cool way off the longer I run the stove. Even turning on the HVAC fan to circulate the air doesn't really help much, as all the vents (intake and output) for the HVAC are at floor level.

I thought about various options for a long time, and then realized that if I cut a hole in the wall to the left of the fireplace, I'd be looking straight down the hall to the back of the house. I got a register booster fan and installed it at the top of the wall, blowing into the hallway towards the back of the house. We tried it out last night, and the change was pretty spectacular. The additional fan noise doesn't even rise above the wood stove insert fan noise.

This is engineering, though, so clearly that's nowhere near enough fiddling. I've checked the wiring diagram of the wood stove insert, and it's pretty clear where I can tap into the circuit to get a thermostatically controlled outlet that I can plug the booster fan into. That way it'll all operate automatically whenever I build a fire. I'll just need to figure out a sensible way to route the wire and it'll be perfect.

Well, not perfect. But close enough for me to stop messing with it.

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Subject:"Midtown" it ain't.
Time:01:36 pm
Kader's is moving. They're moving to Cary Town(e) Center, which is certainly a big step up for them and technically closer to me but sometimes that bridge over I-40 seems a little insurmountable, mentally. It's like a whole different city over there. I think they're going to be near one of the anchor stores. We'll see what March brings.

There's also a Costco moving in marginally closer. If anything, it'll take the load off the current one on Wake Forest Road, which we patronize rather regularly. Driving back from that, Laurie and I talked about rumors that Cary Town(e) Center is going to undergo a North Hills style redevelopment (so, essentially a total teardown and rebuild with lots of open private space that masquerades as a public square). We'll see.

But, "Midtown" just doesn't work for me as a name, and I've finally figured out why. There's a complete lack of decent public transportation and its attendant pedestrian affordances. Sure, if there was a subway, light rail, or more regular/reliable bus transit between the city center and various local focii (Cameron Park, Crabtree Valley, North Hills, Five Points, etc.), then maybe the concept of "Midtown" would fly.

As it is, they're just various points on a map best traversed by car. "Midtown" implies a larger urban infrastructure that Raleigh just doesn't have, and doesn't seem to have the will to build (yet). Trust me, I'd love to see that. I might even stop calling that area "North Hills" as a result.
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Current Music:Muslimgauze - Imal Akel | Powered by Last.fm
Subject:Great Cover Up - Saturday (Day 3)
Time:04:53 pm
I did not go out to eat tonight, partly because I had dinner at home and also partly because I spent as much of Saturday as I could asleep. After I finish typing this, I will dip into a vat of Cosmoline and regenerate for a week.

I rolled up at 7:40p to a line already halfway to the corner. Ten minutes later it was around the corner and halfway down the block. Twenty minutes later they were letting us in. Ten minutes before that it had started raining. Time is hard. I got a little damp, but I also got beer pretty quickly and was staked out near the front this time despite the fact that some dude entreated me to "walk up the side of the room" like this was the DPAC or something.

Starting out the night, fresh out of his pine box, was Waylon Jennings (cue Carol (Cheryl?) screaming "Outlaw Country!"). The wigs were almost subtle and the rest of the outfits were choice! Also good vocal work from the lead to really sound like Waylon. The setlist included "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line" (a title that urges me to explore the subtle themes of alternative sexuality present in country music), "Are You Ready for the Country", "Lonesome, On'ry And Mean", "There Ain't No Good Chain Gang", "Luckenbach, Texas", and one more I didn't quite catch. Good horn section, understated but perfect lead guitar, cool between song banter. Yes.

When The Cramps took the stage, one problem was GLARINGLY APPARENT. Lux Interior was NOT wearing red, high-heeled pumps. Well, I soldiered on. They did, too, but there was no hope in Hell of me determining the names of any of the songs they expertly lurched and growled through. Lots of dirty sexy fun.

So the dad-joke I have about the Arctic Monkeys is that the only reason I knew they were a real band and not something the kids made up to troll me is that autocorrect suggested "Monkeys" as the next word (autosuggest?) after I typed "Arctic". Sporting the crisp look of an early 2k British rock band, they did a bunch of songs I wasn't able to grab a lyric from to look up on the internet so I could get you a song title. They all rocked out skilfully, but the drummer was clearly having the best time.

Of course, making a dad-joke caused everyone to be subjected to that colossus of dad-rock, Wings. The stage got crowded with guitars, keyboards, horns, and in one case a Tricorn-ed war drummer. Despite holding the guitar wrong (well, right, but this is Paul we're talking about so you have to hold it the other way or you're wrong), they dad-rocked it out with "Getting Closer", "Let 'em In", "Let Me Roll It", "Band on the Run", and "Jet". This will not teach me to make dad jokes anymore, but I did have to repay someone with beer.

From dad-rock to more dead-rock, Stone Temple Pilots showed up next. This brings up important questions about what you do when something like this happens, given that they almost had to be practicing this before Weiland passed. I'm glad they stuck to it. Shirtless Scott was also reportedly an excellent choice. Solid drumming drove the setlist: "Wicked Garden", "Meatplow", "Interstate Love Song", "Crackerman", and "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart". Bold choice, not doing "Plush", but they pulled it off.

Up next was something I'd been looking forward to for years without even knowing it. Detroit proto-progressive-punk rockers MC5 took the whole room and not just the stage. I couldn't figure out the first song, but they followed with "Kick Out the Jams", "Sister Anne", and "Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa". I had a hard time comprehending how these songs could be all long jams and fast jams and sweet technical jams, but somehow it happened. Nice fro, too.

An almost incomprehensible number and variety of blond wigs adorned Def Leppard as they took the stage to launch their new sound for the eighties! How this differed from their old sound is up for debate, but like most things about the eighties we can probably blame synthesizers. Wigs can be easy to come by, but I was truly amazed at the stonewashed jeans on display. Where can you find those now? I have the utmost respect and compassion for the lead singer putting his vocal cords through the torturous stylings of Joe Elliot. That... looks painful. Junior High nostalgia was expertly activated with "Animal", "Love Bites", "Pour Some Sugar On Me", and "Hysteria".

Rounding out the week and the night was early and skinny Billy Idol, showing a commitment to reality by bleaching his own hair and cutting it into a rattail; completing the look with wristbands and everything. But the rest of the band had stellar costume choices as well, straight out of the 1983 MTV video costuming vault. They (as well as I) looked a little perplexed as several (empty) beer cans started flying stageward, but they pushed bravely and fiercely through "White Wedding", "Eyes Without a Face", "Cradle of Love", and really hitting their stride on "Rebel Yell" to close the set.

I slipped out quickly with a friend to the renovated Waffle House on Hillsborough Street, only to find that they were out of onions so "Smothered" wasn't an option for my hash browns. Somehow I survived this slight, had breakfast and tucked into bed. By next year, I will have forgotten this exhaustion I feel and be ready for this again!
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Subject:Great Cover Up - Friday (Day 2)
Time:05:50 pm
Friday found me again at The Borough simply because I had actually scheduled two dinners earlier in the month with the same destination and didn't think about it. This time we got to Kings and the line was almost to the corner and quickly wrapped around before we made it to the door. We got in, though, and found a secret spot at the back and tried to avoid the crushing crowd a little.

The Pixies started off the night and led with (of course) "Debaser". They sounded just a tiny bit rough, but that's exactly how you want the Pixies to roll. Gritty, tough, and earnest, they chugged through "Tame", "Wave of Mutilation", "Monkey Gone to Heaven", "Hey", "Gouge Away", and finishing off with "Where is my Mind". The crowd hadn't quite warmed up to rock, which was a little unfortunate.

The Magnetic Fields was next, which was super awesome and had a stage stuffed with all the right instruments. Still probably not going to get people dancing, though! The lead singer had the voice to drop all the way down into Merrit's range, and rest of the crew skillfully slid through "The Death Of Ferdinand De Saussure", "A Chicken With It's Head Cut Off", "All My Little Words", "Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side", "The Night You Can't Remember", and "I Think I Need A New Heart", and maybe one more. Typing that, it seems like all the 'Fields' songs are love songs, and not just that one album.

Up next was a gender-swapped Taylor Swift looking and sounding more like Henry Rollins, which seemed a little undercooked as these things go, but with a dude looking like Corey Hart on the keyboards how can you go wrong? "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" was followed quickly by "Shake It Off" with a new Beastie Boys vs. Public Enemy rap breakdown, then "22", "Style", and "Blank Space". I think "Style" was pulling the bass line from "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?", but that might just be wishful thinking.

The dark, robe vestments led a few people to think we were going to get Sunn O))), but no, it was The Monks; a band which at least one person had heard of because they got super-excited. Here's a band where "undercooked" is the style. Chunky 60's style avant-garde garage punk is the best way to describe it, and just as I was really really really starting to grok it, it was over. Way too soon.

Now THIS was 4AD, no... wait.. My bloody Valentine eventually signed to Sony. OH WELL. With a strobe on the drummer and the most pedals of any of the acts so far, the tide rolled in with a deep wash of thick fuzzy guitars. I couldn't really pick out lyrics and didn't really know any of the song titles but I found an old cassette tape than an ex had given me with the exact same song order in my '91 Civic. Here's what it says: "Song for an angry partner", "Song for sexy times", "Song for cooking waffles and making coffee (sunny day)", "Late night road trip song", "Maybe more sexy times?". I hope this helps.

Up next, with the best hair, was a band entirely comprised of different Alanis Morrisettes. The singer with the absolute perfect voice for this was backed by a band that sounded like they'd practiced all year. When (singer) Alanis whipped out the harmonica, the crowd went nuts. Only four songs here: "You Oughta Know", "Head Over Feet", "Hand In My Pocket", and of course ended with a song that redefined the word in Wikipedia: "Ironic". Yes, everyone sang along, and if you didn't you probably should have.

One of the harder things about an artist like Madonna is the fact that it's 80-90% studio production work, and so doing it live usually involves either a bus full of musicians or a DAT behind you. That's why I was SUPER-IMPRESSED by these folks. Careful arrangement - and, again, a spectacular lead singer with a great voice - made this actually work. "Like a Prayer", "Like a Virgin", "Express Yourself", and "Vogue" comprised the set. Also a cute Gautier corset costume.

Rounding out the night was Iron maiden. The same band from a few years ago, but now with a New! Dynamic! Male! Vocalist! I don't think they could have crammed another guitar on stage if they'd tried, but they sorta looked like they wanted to try even though the songs were crisp and relentless. The crew was rounded out by a straight-jacketed Eddie doing as munch menacing as you can do in a straight jacket. The set started with "Aces High", then went though "The Prisoner", "Wasted Years", one I couldn't figure out, and "The Clairvoyant".

I slipped out as quickly as I could in an attempt to get a headstart on fixing my sleep deficit, only to work until 3a to take advantage of an empty computer cluster. One day I will learn!
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Current Music:Curtis Mayfield - Pusherman | Powered by Last.fm
Subject:Great Cover Up - Thursday (Day 1)
Time:02:36 pm
This time I actually had a real meal with my wife and other wonderful associates at The Borough before heading over to the show. A smattering of people waited outside just before the doors opened at 8p. We made it in and started the tab and got rooted to the correct spots. It wasn't long before the music started.

When rockers of a certain age play, you get to do the "Is that a sweatband or carpal tunnel brace?" game. This band was Face To Face, whom I've never heard before so you're not getting any song titles from me, but the internet tells me they're a 90's poppy punk band from California and they played that role to the hilt with a rock solid drummer and wide glaring sincerity that was not going to be topped until slightly later in the evening.

When Slowdive took the stage in all black with shaggy black hair that might have been wigs but only their hairdresser knows for sure I was thinking "This. This is 4AD". But no, they were signed to the majors after all. Here again I don't remember any song titles, but they had the staring-at-the-floor-swaying-wash-of-guitars thing down pat. It was yet another moment where I thought "Hey, I should have crimped my eyelashes and put on liner", which means that the makeup (heh) of the bands this year was trending towards my just-post-highschool days.

Rod Stewart came out next and promptly started forgetting the lines to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" (the refrain, reader. The refrain.) However, an ex-roadie friend standing next to me said that was par for the course for Rod Stewart actual, so I'm going to call it intentional and good (needs a few not-so-subtle nose wipes to complete the look). The band, however was tight and solid, and sailed through others like "Tonight's The Night" and "Hot Legs".

Next up was Green Day, fully rocking the black eyeliner, angry sneer, and audience abuse. It is more than a little vertiguous seeing someone you're used to roughly treating a table full of synthesizers wrench a punk guitar around stage but it is also super neat. Songs included "Basket Case", "When I Come Around", "Longview", and some others I can't remember or identify.

My wife is super bummed she missed Cheap Trick, but them's the breaks! These were the best costumes so far, right down to the Neilsen's bowtie, baseball cap and bouncing, and Bun E.'s sunglasses, cigarette, and disdain. It was clear - SUPER clear - they'd looked at a lot of pictures and watched a lot of videos. They started with "Hello There", and the rest included "Surrender", "Anytime", "I Want You To Want Me". Ridiculously good lead guitar.

There were an awful lot of beards on stage for it to be Men At Work, but Men At Work it was. "Who Can It Be Now?" is nothing without a saxophone, and fortunately there was a good one on stage! There was good costuming and and accent work to take the band through "It's a Mistake", "Day After Day", and "Land Down Under" (in which the saxophone served as the flute and that worked out just fine thank you). It _did_ make me want to investigate possible ska influences on Men At Work, but that's for another day.

Rounding out tonight was DJ Castro backing up a trio of dudes doing the Beastie Boys. You may remember DJ Castro from when he did Justin Timberlake back in 2006, and here he lended his turtablist skills to the dressed-in-full-late-80's-era-style Beasties. Probably one of the hardest things to do for this band is say only the lines that you're supposed to. These guys had it handled for "Shake Your Rump", "Paul Revere", "Pass the Mic", and "Sure Shot". There may have another, but there was also beer. They also threatened "Jimmy James", in a cute tip back to Cheap Trick.

Waving down a cab on Thursday was much easier than I expected, and I got out of there and home in hopes of being coherent enough to make it through Friday.
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