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Madison’s ‘Smart’ music history

Continue reading Madison’s ‘Smart’ music history

Tonight at the Democratic National Convention: The schedule

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and openly lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin deliver speeches tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

The program also includes remarks by Zach Wahls, the son of lesbian moms, and the showing of two videos – one about the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t’ tell,” the policy that banned openly gay servicemembers, and the other about marriage equality.

The program features other speeches, mostly from politicians but also from “American voices” and several actresses, and musical performances by James Taylor, Mary J. Blige and the Foo Fighters.

The schedule for the Democratic National Convention for Sept. 6, which begins at about 4:30 p.m. in the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.:

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.:

Remarks by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton of North Carolina, U.S. Reps. G.K. Butterfield, David Price and Mel L. Watt of North Carolina, Duke Energy CEO James Rogers.

James Taylor will perform, followed by the call to order, the invocation, the presentation of colors, the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem.

The next speakers will be U.S. Reps. Donna F. Edwards of Maryland and Barney Frank of Massachusetts and former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt.

From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the program features U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a video about the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” remarks by Jason Crow, a performance by Mary J. Blige, remarks by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Los Angles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

There will be a video about marriage equality, followed by Zach Wahls, the son of lesbian moms.

The 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. program features Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina, American voices Kenyetta Jones, Ryan Case, Ed Meagher, Martha Figueroa, Lucas Beenken and Rob Hach, nominating remarks for Joe Biden by his son Beau, the vote, and then a performance by the Foo Fighters.

Next, James Clyburn of South Carolina will speak, followed by actresses Scarlett Johansson and Kerry Washington, author and attorney Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, actress Eva Longoria, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. the program includes remarks by retired Adm. John B. Nathman, Angie Flores, second lady Dr. Jill Biden and vice president Joe Biden.

From 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. the program includes remarks by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and President Barack Obama.

Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, will deliver the benediction.

Democrats announce entertainment for convention

The morning after the Republican National Convention ended, the Democrats announced their schedule of performers for their gathering in Charlotte, N.C., next week.

The convention takes place Sept. 4-6, with pre-parties over Labor Day weekend.

The night President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden speak, entertainers include Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, Earth, Wind and Fire, James Taylor, Delta Rae, Inspire the Fire and Marc Anthony.

On Sept. 4, the entertainment includes DJ Cassidy, Ledisi
and Amber Riley.

On Sept. 5, the entertainment includes Jessica Sanchez and Branford Marsalis.

DNC chair and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, “This roster of performances only adds to the excitement building in Charlotte for the historic week ahead of us. The tens of thousands who will attend convention events in person, and all those tuning in across the country, should be ready for quite a show.”

Nostalgic for the ’90s?

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

On the expanded and re-mastered CD/DVD reissues of The Bad Seeds’ “Let Love In” (1994) and “The Boatman’s Call” (1997), Nick Cave comes off as the Australian Leonard Cohen. Where “Let Love In” balances balladry with bluster, “The Boatman’s Call” is exquisite from start to finish, beginning with the to-hell-with-hallelujah “Into My Arms.” This is utterly essential listening.

The Strokes

The worldly music influence of “Machu Picchu,” the opening track of “Angles” (RCA), suggests The Strokes have been listening to Vampire Weekend (or could that be vice versa?). Regrouping after pursuing solo and side projects, The Strokes sound revitalized on this release. The angle here tilts toward fun, from the bouncy and light “Under Cover of Darkness” to the dance rock of “Two Kinds of Happiness” to the potential dance-floor smash of “Games.” Welcome back, Strokes!

Beady Eye

Anyone possessing the least bit of familiarity with the brawling Gallagher brothers of Oasis knew that the band was doomed. The fact that they lasted as long as they did (15 years or so) is something of a miracle. Liam Gallagher has returned with a new band, called Beady Eye, and a new album, titled “Different Gear, Still Speeding” (Dangerbird). You don’t have to dig deeply to hear the similarities between Gallagher’s previous band and the current one. His distinctive vocals alone have the power to conjure up Oasis. But he sounds – dare I say it? – less snarly and somewhat more at ease.

Pearl Jam

After Pearl Jam’s grunge-metal debut disc, the group veered in a slightly more commercial direction with 1993’s “Vs.” There is still a vocal chord-shredding and head-bobbing rawness to tracks such as “Go,” “Animal” and “Blood.” But then you have “Daughter” and “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” to give you more to ponder. Next up was 1994’s “Vitalogy,” containing the band’s most punk rock cut – “Spin the Black Circle” – alongside rave-ups such as “Whipping,” “Nothingman” and “Better Man.”

Both “Vs.” and “Vitalogy” have been reissued and repackaged in expanded editions, along with the “Live at the Orpheum Theater April 12, 1994” disc, in an Epic/Legacy box set.

Foo Fighters

Out of the premature ashes of Nirvana sprang Foo Fighters, led by Dave Grohl. He’s still “gathering the ashes,” as he sings on “Bridge Burning,” the first track on “Wasting Light” (RCA/Roswell). That’s one of 11 songs that listeners are encouraged to “play at maximum volume.” In the midst of all the FF-style chaos, there’s much radiance, including “Rope,” “Arlandria” and the luminescent “Walk.”

Ben Ottewell

Even if you don’t know the name Ben Ottewell, you’ll probably recognize his voice as the lead vocalist of the British band known as Gomez. Ottewell steps out on his own on “Shapes and Shadows” (ATO). While it’s a pleasant exercise, it’s clearly not meant to be taken as a sign that Gomez fans should worry about the group disbanding.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

Since their late 1990s debut, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have been mining the political pop/punk vein. Their latest, “The Brutalist Bricks” (Matador), continues the tradition on tracks such as “Mourning In America,” “Bottled in Cork,” “Buzzing of Bees” and “Last Days.” Leo delivers revolution rock in all its glory.