by Dan Bolles
. . . Nothin's ever gonna keep you down. You're the best ar . . .
Oh, hello. Didn't see you there. Come on in.
So I was all set to deliver some seriously fanboyish reactions to last night's Jeff Tweedy show at Higher Ground. In a word, "ohmigod." In a few more, it was among the more simply enjoyable concert experiences I've had in a while.
One, it was nice just to go to a show as a fan, critic's brain turned off. And yes, I realize I'm leaving myself wide open for one of our disgruntled "anonymous" commenters to suggest that a critic's brain is always turned off. Beat you to it. Ha!
Two, he was really excellent. It's easy to get caught up in the swirling iconography that is Wilco. And I mean that both in musical terms and the particular aura that surrounds the band (near constant lineup changes, label issues, etc.). But last night's show reaffirmed, at least to me, that at its core Wilco is about little more than great songs. To borrow a line — ironically enough, from the worst Wilco song ever — it's just that simple.
Anyway, I was going to do that. But instead, I'll do this (it's VERY loosely related):
Over the last couple of days, I've had a lively email debate going between myself, Bryan Dondero and State of Mind's Mike McKinley. It started out as a discussion of the merits — or lack thereof — of Wilco's "Hate it Here," which was referenced in part one of my interview with Bryan. I won't bore you with the details, except to say it's been a fun back and forth.
As all great discussions usually do, ours eventually turned to The Karate Kid, which prompted Bryan to pose a question that has been gnawing on my mind all day:
"If you could be any character from The Karate Kid (the movie changed my life mind you), who would you be?"
I chose a slightly different tack with my answer, instead wondering not who I would be, but with whom I most closely relate. Here's my response:
The Karate Kid essentially shaped my entire childhood. In fact, a little known tidbit about your friendly neighborhood music critic is that prior to relocating to VT, I was a youth karate champ in Maine. No shit. If my family hadn't moved when we did, I would have become the youngest black belt in the state. Unfortunately, there wasn't a school in VT that taught the style I studied. So continuing would have meant starting over as a white belt. Long story short, I turned to music instead. I'm still not sure about that decision . . .
Anyway, The Karate Kid inspired me to study the martial arts. Well, that, and the frequent ass-whoopings one receives as the smallest kid in a school full of hicks. Ironically, once it became known that I was really good at fighting, the challenges actually increased, as everyone wanted a piece of, and I'm not making this up, The Karate Kid — I imagine the whole "Daniel-san" thing didn't help either. Fortunately, it only took a couple of examples to put a stop to all that — like I said, I was really good.
So the obvious answer to your question, Bryan, would of course be Daniel (with an "L"). And back in the day, I would say that was probably true. But age does funny things to a man. And while I wish I could say pure-hearted Daniel Larusso is still the answer, I have a feeling I might more closely align with Tommy.
Yeah, he runs with the Cobra Kai and sometimes seems of questionable moral character. But deep down he's a good guy who shows genuine remorse when he's forced to hurt Daniel's leg, and never really seemed comfortable with the whole bullying thing to begin with ("He's had enough, Johnny.").
Or, maybe I'm the two drunks at the beach ("Kindry do it yourself, Mr. Moto.") Tough call.
Bryan also included a link to this video for No More Kings, "Sweep The Leg," which pretty much made my day.
So fess up, Solid State. In a Karate Kid world, who would you be?
. . . It's a cruel,CRUEL, cruel summer . . . leavin' me here on my own . . .