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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pearl Jam in San Diego

Photo by Karen Loria

What a great Pearl Jam show last Friday night!!! They played a selection of everything from greatest hits, to lesser known gems and rarities, to cover songs, to almost half the songs from their latest album ‘Backspacer.’ And best of all, no politics rants! They really made a point in the previous albums/tours to talk about how that fucking George W. Bush was the worst president, but I’m glad he is out of office, because Pearl Jam can have fun now.

The first surprise of the night was definitely when Eddie Vedder joined opening act Ben Harper and Relentless7 for a cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure.” It was amazing! Right after the song, Ben Harper said, “That’ll teach them for coming late to the show.” I totally agree. I’m so sorry for everyone who was outside the venue when this unique moment happened.

The next surprise was that as soon as Pearl Jam took the stage, they started rocking hard. I had become accustomed to Pearl Jam starting their concerts with one of their slower songs, but this time they started with “Last Exit,” one of my favorite songs from their ‘Vitalogy’ album, and they continued rocking hard through most of the main set. Before starting “Amongst The Waves” Ed said, “If you’re a surfer you’ll understand the song... If you are in love you’ll understand... If you’re a surfer in love... it’ll blow your fucking mind.” It’s such an amazing song. I wasn’t sure about “Johnny Guitar” from the new album. I know it’s a great rock song, but maybe not one of Pearl Jam’s best. But it turned out that it sounds great live. My favorite song from the new album is “Unthought Known” and it sounds awesome live. “Parachutes” was a nice surprise. Before starting, Ed said that he was probably going to fuck up the lyrics, since they don’t get to play this song too often. And he did, but only in one verse. Someone in the first row was helping Ed remember the lyrics, but the song still sounded great. I was glad they played “Daughter,” because they didn’t play it last time they came to San Diego. The main set closed with one of the best renditions of “Rearviewmirror” I’ve heard live.

The first encore was great. “The End” had been played accompanied by a string section in previous shows, but this time it was stripped down to just Ed solo on acoustic guitar, and it was just excellent and moving. Ben Harper joined the band on slide guitar for “Red Mosquito.” First time I’ve heard that one live. After the song, the band paused to sing “Happy Birthday” to Lulu, the sound guy’s daughter, along with the audience, and then dedicated “Given To Fly” to her.

Just when everybody was starting to wind down after the first encore and was getting ready to say goodbye, the band came back for a second kick-ass action-packed encore! Ed said, “It’s the last night [of the first leg of the tour], we don’t have anywhere else to go.” And they jumped directly into “Why Go,” “Black,” and “Betterman,” followed by Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” (joined by Ed and Matt’s music old instructors from San Diego) and The Byrds’ “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star,” during which Ed told a story of when he used to work at a gas station in San Diego, and said to his former boss, who was in the audience, “that job was great… but, this job I have right now… I am never gonna give it up!” But then, with “Yellow Ledbetter,” it was time to say goodbye for the night. The band gave their all and the audience was so energetic.

I had a sore throat all weekend…

Awesome show!

Here’s the complete set list:

San Diego Viejas Arena, Oct 09, 2009

Set 1
•Last Exit
•Severed Hand
•Brain Of J.
•Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
•Amongst The Waves
•Johnny Guitar
•Even Flow
•Unthought Known
•I Got Id
•You Are
•Force of Nature
•Got Some
•Do The Evolution

Encore 1
•The End
•Red Mosquito
•Happy Birthday (To Lulu)
•Given To Fly
•Last Kiss
•The Fixer
•Life Wasted

Encore 2
•Why Go
•Better Man (Save it for Later)
•Little Wing
•So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star
•Yellow Ledbetter (The Star-Spangled Banner)

NOTE: "Red Mosquito" featured Ben Harper on guitar. "Little Wing" featured John Szantos and Bud Whitcomb on guitar and drums.

Click here for more photos.

San Diego 2009 Poster

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Moments in Comics

I wish I could read more comic books, but these are my favorite moments from what I’ve read over the years:


10. Don’t look back you idiot! Neil Gaiman’s re-telling of The Song of Orpheus in “Sandman Special #1.”

9. Kick-Ass gets his ass kicked on his first day as a masked hero in “Kick-Ass #1.”

8. Superman fucks Wonder Woman’s brains out in ‘The Dark Knight Strikes Again.’

7. An awesome “what if” story from “Star Wars: Visionaries” where a cyborg Darth Maul attacks the Lars Homestead in Tatooine to bring Obi-Wan Kenobi out of hiding.

6. ‘Kingdom Come’ is awesome in many ways, but my favorite is this quiet epilogue moment between Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.

5. Zorratastic Casey Hack getting it on with a hot girl in… well, any issue of “Hack/Slash” where Casey gets it on with a hot girl.

4. Marv gets the chair in ‘Sin City: The Hard Goodbye.’

3. The Joker shooting Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) and leaving her paralyzed in ‘The Killing Joke’ was shocking, but, what comes afterwards, The Joker fucking with Commissioner Gordon’s mind in order to “prove a point,” is just disturbing.

2. “Do it!” Rorschach’s last moments in ‘Watchmen.’

1. Lobo reviews portfolios for wannabe comic book artists at a comic convention and then gives the poor bastards an anatomy class they will never forget in “Lobo: Convention Special #1.”

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pearl Jam's 'Backspacer'

Every time I’ve heard a new Pearl Jam album, my immediate reaction has been, “what the hell was that?” (Well, maybe except for ‘Ten,’ which was love at first listen). But then the songs start growing on me after listening to the album again and again, until I find myself singing along and loving the whole thing. And then you hear the songs played live, and you experience how the tunes evolve from studio recording to live performance, and at that moment you just get why the songs are what they are on the record. I had become accustomed to listening to their records this way, but I have to say that, with ‘Backspacer,’ it’s the first time I hear a Pearl Jam album where things click right from the first time. It’s not a perfect album (“Speed of Sound” and “The End,” although beautiful songs, seemed odd with the rest of the album, at least after the first time), but it’s definitely Pearl Jam’s most straightforward, upbeat, and shortest record to date. And that’s a good thing. If the album’s title refers to the “backspace” key of an old typewriter, which basically means taking a step back and fixing your past mistakes, then, I have to say, Pearl Jam’s got their rock mojo back. The album’s 3-song jump-start (“Gonna See My Friend,” “Got Some,” and “The Fixer”) is just brilliant. Some of the album’s rockers like “Johnny Guitar,” “Supersonic,” and the more mid-tempo “Force of Nature” have such a fun classic 80’s rock feel to them. The highlights for me were the album’s centerpieces “Just Breathe,” “Amongst The Waves,” and “Unthought Known.” They gave me goose bumps. Another treat was Tom Tomorrow’s album artwork, which I loved. You can see that a lot of though was put into these illustrations, and the cover art stands out as one of Pearl Jam’s best. It’s just a great record to listen to. Check it out.

Cada vez que he escuchado un nuevo álbum de Pearl Jam, mi reacción inmediata ha sido, “qué demonios fue eso?” (Bueno, quizá con la excepción de ‘Ten', que fue amor a la primera escuchada). Pero luego las canciones comienzan a crecer en mí después de escuchar el álbum repetidas veces, hasta que me la paso cantando y me gusta todo el disco. Y después uno escucha las canciones en vivo, y se aprecia cómo las rolas evolucionan de una grabación en estudio a una interpretación en vivo, y en ese momento uno comprende por qué las canciones son como son en el disco. Ya me había acostumbrado a escuchar sus discos de esta manera, pero tengo que decir que, con ‘Backspacer’, es la primera vez que escucho un álbum de Pearl Jam donde me enganchan a la primera vez. No es un álbum perfecto (“Speed of Sound” y “The End,” aunque son canciones hermosas, se escuchan raras con el resto del álbum, por lo menos después de la primera vez), pero definitivamente sí es el disco de Pearl Jam más directo, más optimista, y más corto hasta la fecha. Y eso es algo bueno. Si el título del álbum se refiere a la “tecla de retroceso” de una máquina de escribir vieja, que básicamente significa regresarse y corregir nuestros últimos errores, entonces, tengo que decir Pearl Jam ha recuperado su magia. El arrancón de 3 canciones del álbum (“Gonna See My Friend,” “Got Some,” y “The Fixer ") es genial. Algunas canciones rockeras del álbum como “Johnny Guitar,” “Supersonic,” y la más tranquila “Force of Nature” se sienten como ese rock clásico y divertido de los ochenta. Los puntos culminantes para mí fueron las piezas centrales del álbum “Just Breathe,” “Amongst The Waves,” y “Unthought Known.” Se me puso la piel de gallina. Otro regalo fueron las ilustraciones del álbum de Tom Tomorrow, que me gustaron mucho. Se ve que se puso mucho empeño en la creación de estas ilustraciones, y el arte de la portada se destaca como uno los mejores de Pearl Jam. Es un buen disco. Búsquenlo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Nerdmigos Webcomic Starts at 33

Here's the first strip for my webcomic, "Nerdmigos".  It's titled "33" :)

Check out more Nerdmigos webcomics at
Más webcomics de los Nerdmigos en También en español.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Batman, Rorschach, & Walt Kowalski in “The Last Beer”

Batman, Rorschach and Walt Kowalski in The Last Beer by IAMO

I am sure that I am not the only one who believes that Christian Bale (The Dark Knight), Jackie Earle Haley (‘Watchmen’), and Clint Eastwood (‘Gran Torino’) went to the same School of Grumpy Badass Hero Voice Acting.

Estoy seguro que no soy el único que cree que Christian Bale (‘The Dark Knight’), Jackie Earle Haley (‘Watchmen’), y Clint Eastwood (‘Gran Torino’) fueron a la misma Escuela de Actuación de Voz para Héroe Gruñón y Chingón.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Disney Vs. Marvel - Donald Duck Vs. Wolverine

Wolverine Donald Duck Marvel Disney IAMO

You might have read in the news last week that Disney will acquire Marvel Entertainment for 4 billion dollars. So, in celebration / outrage / protest / awareness of this news, I made this doodle following the current trend of mashing up characters from both universes.

For my drawing, I picked Wolverine and Donald Duck. Wolvie was a no-brainer, since he is my favorite Marvel Comics character. I love the vintage brown Wolverine costume because, well, it’s just cool, and my first Wolverine action figure when I was a kid was painted with this outfit, and it was the first time I knew anything about the character. On the other hand, I picked Donald Duck because, of all of the main Disney characters, he is the only one that has an attitude and he wouldn’t go down without a fight. Also, this guy likes to party in Mexico. Come on! He’s a sailor and he has a soft spot for the ladies. I would imagine he stopped by Tijuana on one of his many trips to Mexico and South America with The Three Caballeros. Oh, and I always liked his guest staring role in “Duck Tales.” What’s not to like about this duck?

Quizás leyeron en las noticias la semana pasada que Disney adquirirá Marvel Entertainment por 4 mil millones de dólares. Así pues, en celebración / ultraje / protesta / conocimiento de esta noticia, hice este dibujo siguiendo la tendencia actual de mezclar personajes de ambos universos.

Para mi dibujo, escogí a Wolverine y al Pato Donald. Wolvie fue una elección obvia, ya que es mi personaje favorito de Marvel Comics. Me encanta el disfraz café antiguo de Wolverine porque, pues, está cool, y mi primer figura de acción de Wolverine cuando era niño estaba pintado con este traje, y fue la primera vez que supe que existía el personaje. Por otro lado, escogí al Pato Donald porque, de todos los personajes principales de Disney, es el único que tiene actitud y no se dejaría ganar en una pelea. Además, a este güey le gusta tirar party en México. ¡Vamos! Es marinero y le gustan las señoritas. Me imagino que se la pasó en Tijuana en uno de sus tantos viajes a México y Sudamérica con Los Tres Caballeros. Oh, y siempre me gustaba su papel de invitado en "Pato Aventuras". ¿A quién no le cae bien este pato?

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Vinyl Fix

I recently wrote about Pearl Jam’s “The Fixer,” the first single from their upcoming ‘Backspacer’ album, and what a cool song it is. Last week I got my copy of the single in the mail. But, I’m not talking about those small crappy CD singles. What I got is a good old-fashioned 45rpm record issued in glorious 7” WHITE vinyl!!! Oh, and how I love vinyl! Be it for novelty, or the ritual of play, or the physical piece of art, or just the purity and warmth of sound that accompanies it. And Pearl Jam loves vinyl too. They even made homage to vinyl records with “Spin The Black Circle” from their ‘Vitalogy’ (1993) album. Vinyl is a solid part of the band's legacy, and is just as part of the Pearl Jam experience as seeing them live. Can’t wait for the new album in a couple of weeks.

Recientemente escribí sobre “The Fixer” de Pearl Jam, el primer sencillo de su próximo álbum ‘Backspacer,’ y qué tan cool está la canción. La semana pasada me llegó por correo mi copia del sencillo. Pero, no estoy hablando de esos pequeños sencillos cagadillos en CD. ¡¡¡Lo que conseguí fue uno de esos discos a la antigua de 45rpm grabado en un glorioso vinilo BLANCO de 18 cm!!! ¡Oh, y cómo amo el vinilo! Sea por novedad, o por el ritual del tocadiscos, o por ser un pedazo físico de arte, o sólo por la pureza y el calor del sonido que lo acompaña. Y Pearl Jam ama el vinilo también. Incluso hicieron homenaje a los discos de vinilo con “Spin The Black Circle” de su álbum ‘Vitalogy' (1993). El vinilo es una parte sólida de la herencia de la banda, y es tan parte de la experiencia de Pearl Jam como lo es verlos en vivo. No puedo esperar para el nuevo álbum en un par de semanas.