Sunday, December 05, 2010

Attention Southern Denizens!

Just saw this ad for what looks like an intriguing show next week: Big Star's Third, (a/k/a "Sister Lovers")done live with an orchestra, and Who's Who of Southern Pop Royalty. Check this out:
We (at this rehearsal, “we” includes Mitch Easter, Jeff Crawford, Charles Cleaver, and Matt McMichaels) are listening to and learning “Big Black Car.” On the second prechorus, the acoustic guitar (presumably played by Alex) gets ahead of the progression by a bar, and lands on the D minor while the rest of the instruments are on the D major–then the acoustic seemingly rectifies this “mistake” by glancing off the side of an F# note and joining everyone on the next bar on the D minor. Now, this was before cut-and-paste computer flub-fixing, but Ardent, a top-notch facility, had ways and means to correct things like this, yet it stayed that way. Now, a “major/minor” (aug. 9) chord wasn’t unheard of in the jazz vocabulary of Alex’s childhood home. And the vocal melody also adapts to this major-minor mishmash.

Yet the first prechorus stays on track: A, A7, D maj, D min. And the demo (from the boxed set) has two matched prechoruses.

But the flavor of this “nothing can hurt me” moment has always seemed right, somehow; I’d never questioned it before.

So I think we are going to play the “mistake” (acoustic on Dm and piano and electric guitar on D major). Or maybe we’ll mix it up, alternating nights. Not sure yet. Better yet, maybe we’ll make our own mistakes, in just the right–or wrong–places.

Only the first blog post is credited, to Chris Stamey of The dB's, but I think he's writing all of them, and it's fascinating (if you are, umm, a geek like me) to get a look at this coming together.

We're looking here at Mike Mills, Mitch Easter, Jody Stephens, Stamey (natch), and a slew of other rock and orchestral musicians working to bring this thing to light. I think it looks amazing, but impossible for me. Someone want to go & report?


steve simels said...

I'll alert a certain Eschaton regular. He'll make fun of this because a) Alex Chilton is dead and b) there's won't be any Auto-Tuning during the show.

billy b said...

The Box Tops were killer. And, Big Star used to get quite a bit of airplay on FM100 in Memphis back when.

I'm sure most everyone knows Chilton got the name from a local supermarket chain of the same name. I actually worked at one of the stores when I was in high school.

stevie, who was the jackass that made fun of Alex?

Bob and Lenore said...

(acoustic on Dm and piano and electric guitar on D major)


Cangrejero said...

I live just down the road in Durham and will be there on Thursday night. Also excited to see Matt McMichaels of NC powerpop greats The Mayflies USA involved.

Kid Charlemagne said...

I hope there will be a good-quality video recording of this.

Cangrejero said...

Setlist - vocalists in parentheses:
Nature Boy (Django Haskins)
Kizza me (Matt McMichaels)
O, Dana (Matt McMichaels)
A brief welcome by Jody Stephens
For you (Jody Stephens)
Nightime (Chris Stamey)
Jesus Christ (Mike Mills)
Take care (Django Haskins)
Big black car (Stu McLamb)
Stroke it Noel (Stu McLamb)
Blue moon (Jody Stephens)
Femme fatale (Ivan & Kelly from the Rosebuds)
Downs (Megafaun)
Dream lover (Matt McMichaels)
Holocaust (Stu McLamb)
You can't have me (Matt McMichaels & Stu McLamb)
Kanga roo (Brett Harris)
***Unconvincing goodnight***
Thank you, friends (Stu Mclamb, Mike Mills, and Matt McMichaels each took a verse)
You & your sister (Matt McMichaels and Matt Harris)
September gurls (Matt McMichaels)
I am the cosmos (Chris Stamey)
Give it another chance (Matt McMichaels)
***Slightly more convincing goodnight***
Till the end of the day (Chris Stamey & Mitch Easter)
***Very convincing goodnight***

After the set, Jody came back out on stage with a glass of red wine in one hand and thanked the audience and discussed how he felt the presence of Alex Chilton in the room.

It was a wonderful show. The only low point for me was watching The Rosebuds mess up the lyrics on Femme Fatale (twice!). Matt & Matt's performance of "You and your sister" was nothing short of breathtaking. Their singing of the bridge elicited a very visible "Wow!" and a shake of the head in amazement from Stamey on the 12-string.

Django Haskins served as MC and his performance of "Nature Boy" backed only by piano was hauntingly beautiful.

I saw some nice looking video equipment here and there, so hopefully there will be some footage available somewhere shortly.

Anonymous said...


Pleased to see Matt McMichaels from the Mayflies USA involved. Gawd that band was good.

Must be a recording out there, right? If it's going to be part of the charity, I can wait and will buy it. But if not ...

Ace K. -- bglobe313 AT