Rush, Taste of Durango and Lofty Deeds

J ust when you think the world is going straight to hell with American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners as King George praises the brilliance of Donald Rumsfeld and that dimwitted blonde winning the latest "Survivor," something brilliant and life re-affirming happens. In the space of the same week that the best Canadian rock trio ever, Rush, celebrated its 30-year anniversary, Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez finally proved to the world that he was a lazy player by becoming an American citizen. Now, when accused of not hustling after a foul ball or routine line drive Ramirez can simply say, "Eh, whadda ya want? I'm an American," instead of blaming his ankle or the sun.

The big story, though, is the fact that last week saw the 30th birthday of Rush. It seems like only 22 years ago, I met some kid at his locker to fence stolen copies of the Rush albums "2112" and "Exit Stage Left." As a band that I loved at so young an age turns 30, I'm left with one profound thought. Jeezus, am I old. Such a realization can lead one to drastic measures like, God forbid, spending the family savings on a red Corvette. For yours truly, such a rude awakening has resulted in a resolute vow to attend every event you will now read about with a vengeance that will make 23-year-olds dizzy.

Get plenty of sleep because your presence is required at the Abbey Theatre on Friday, May 14. The Brown Brothers , one of Durango's best and most reclusive bands, will be celebrating the release of "Songs From the Lost Generation" starting at 8 p.m. Astute readers of "The Goods" may recall a review of the album a few weeks back. The review said that "Songs From the Lost Generation" was a great reason to be satisfied with the state of local music. Just when you have finally been fed up with yet another cover of "Truckin'" or "Born to be Wild," the Brown Brothers show up to provide the antidote. Once again, the show starts at the Abbey at 8 p.m.

You'll want to rest up Saturday because Sunday, May 16, is the Taste of Durango . In a fashion Durango loves most, Main Avenue will be closed for several downtown blocks while nearly every one of Durango's eateries puts its best face on its wares while the rest of us graze and drink and then eat some more.

The Taste of Durango is a lot like the "tastes of" or "bites of" many other towns and cities host; kids' activities and live music will abound while patrons drown their sorrows in a sea of hot wings, sushi rolls and mojitos. The afternoon's proceeds will benefit the Manna Soup Kitchen, so be prepared to leave a single greenback at the door or come with a can of food. And please leave the lima beans and pumpkin pie mix at home, make it Dinty Moore instead.

Website of the Week: If, like me, you can't get enough pop culture criticism, then you need to do one of two things. If you are shallow and impressed by hairdos and the boyfriends of kiddie-pool women, then the E network is for you. Conversely, if you prefer to dig deeper than the random Britney Spears video, then have a go at

The Onion AV club delivers weekly reviews of albums, books and movies while totally downplaying the idea that someone that visits an online site called an "AV club" might be a real dork screw. Acceptable, the folks who write music for The Onion are generally spot on.

Album of the week: There is surely not a more ubiquitous musician working today than Jon Langford . This Welshman turned Chicagoan has fingers in so many musical pies he'd embarrass Homer Simpson. As a principal member of the 30-year-old-ish art-punk Mekons and younger y'all-ternative Waco Brothers and as master of the three ring circus known as the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Langford has lost the gift of surprise. Add to the pile Sir Jon's second solo album and it seems that Langford is related to a new release each month.

"All the Fame of Lofty Deeds" is an album that features Langford re-working some old favorites. "Hard Times" and "Nashville Radio" both get new, stripped-down arrangements while the album's few covers aptly cross the roots spectrum. The record closes with the perfect combination of revisited songs. First comes Langford's take on The Old 97's "Over the Cliff," a defiant stand-in-the-face of modern country as well as an admission of potential failure. After that? The classic "Trouble in Mind" comes across as an admission of self knowledge and guilt. All said, that is what makes Langford so great: He can champion classic American music in a way that makes him out to be the literary genius that he is.

"All the Fame of Lofty Deeds" is the smartest album Langford will release for another couple months until the next one.

Is the world going to hell?




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