The rock-n-roll segment of my summer started with a safe blow to my insomnia-plagued head. In seven days, I saw Loudon Wainwright III, Jason Isbell and Taylor Swift play in three different New England cities. I also checked out the Judd Apatow/Amy Schumer hub of hilarity “Trainwreck”. All were entertaining, but a certain pop princess was a bit of a letdown.
Taylor Swift Doesn’t Break a Sweat
It pains me to report, and I know that 59,998 of my fellow Gillette Stadium Swifties would disagree, but I give Taylor’s mediocre performance a rating of blasé. Girlfriend has the gift for gab, but doesn’t have anything substantial to say. Her pandering psychobabble of positivity and fan-loving was an insult to the audience’s intelligence and to her fan base’s age. For every seven-year-old sipping a Sprite, there was another 22-year-old sucking down a $14 margarita. Taylor, if you looked less at your mammoth-sized reflection in the jumbotron and more of your audience, you would notice. Your bangs are banging, get on with the show.
Swift sounded great, her voice improves with each album, but I was bored. In between songs and to assist with her many costume changes (wow, another really short pair of shorts and a sparkly top!), the crowd was subjected to a running loop of Taylor’s squad talking about….Taylor! Lena Dunham thinks that Taylor is such an asset to NYC, Victoria’s Secret models’ Kloss and Aldridge find the paparazzi so invasive, and they all concur…Taylor just adores cats. Gosh, give me Madonna feigning oral sex on a back-up dancer any day.
Art is supposed to move you, to make you think of something other than T. Swizzle’s prettiness and forced approachability. Could America’s national treasure actually be dull?
Loudon Wainwright & Jason Isbell Give Me Faith in Humanity
Loudon Wainwright III and Jason Isbell moved me; each made me ponder lost love, death and lust. At the Courthouse Center for the Arts, Loudon played a delightful set of classics and a new funny ode to the thought that as bad as life can be, it can always be worse, “It’s Not Gaza.” My brother, sister and I stormed Loudo’s back stage room to get another photo to add to our treasure trove. While there, Loudon summarized our existence with these choice words, “these Morrisons are real Loudheads.” Hell, we’ve been called worse.
Jason Isbell’s latest album “Something More Than Free” is currently the No. 1 country, rock and folk album. This former Drive By Trucker is the real deal. I missed his Newport Folk Festival performance because I was busy checking my watch at the T.Swizzle show, but check out NPR’s broadcast. His voice is lushly gritty and his tales of new-found sobriety, a failed marriage and a fresh love are gorgeous. He played for well over 2 1/2 hours at the New Haven’s College Street Music Hall. It was sonic bliss.
Almost as much as I love good music, I adore a girl behaving badly. Amy Schumer does just that in “Trainwreck”. She unabashedly boozes, smokes, sleeps around and is turned off by commitment, children, sports and affection. She untimately finds her way, but her journey is terrific. Her love interest, played by Bill Hader, is an accurate portrayal of a geeky doctor looking for love and acceptance with a girl like Amy. A girl that I’d love to know.