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Comment Archives: stories: Music: Live

Re: “Live

Mr. Butler and Mr. Nicholls, had I known that being "dedicated," "kind," "doing the things they love," and driving for hours are attributes that entitle an artist to a positive review, I wouldn't have come to see the show and critique the actual music. But if that's the case, then every band is incredible and above criticism. And if everything is amazing, then everyone is lying: Is this what you would have preferred?

Mr. James, while you are understandably unfamiliar with my live reviews in this newspaper in regards to my "favoring" local bands (which is false), I admire and agree with your decision to not let this review affect you and your music; your dedication to your music would be questionable if you did.

21 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Joshua Levine on 12/21/2013 at 7:42 PM

Re: “Live

Hilarious. Except I'm laughing at you the writer, not deafheaven.

18 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Srslywtf on 09/21/2015 at 3:01 PM

Re: “Live

Right or wrong, criticism should be taken as a tool to improve yourself. I wasn't at the show, but I have been in this game for long enough to know that if you are putting in the time, if you truly care for your craft and gravitate towards the DIY scene, something like this should galvanize you. It should be like carbon as you temper and fold your blade in the fire. The idea that a positive review is in some way owed because you showed up is absurd. Not everyone gets to win. Not everyone is equal, especially in music. This goes with the territory and saying you would avoid Tucson because of ONE bad review would cause me to question the motive for doing music in the first place.

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Corey Reidy on 12/21/2013 at 8:59 PM

Re: “Live

@Goo: You're entitled to your aesthetic. His music is not for everyone.
@Bryce: I didn't miss the positive elements that this reviewer noted. You're missing what makes the last paragraph a flashpoint for several of the angrier commentators. The emotional responses here have nothing to do with the reviewer highlighting the financial dimensions of the tour. It's because the writer presents his theory as if he is speaking for an entire fan base. On what authority can he say that Jeff's fans, many of who have waited so long to see him play, are being VICTIMIZED when they go see him perform, and implying most are so naively caught up in the experience that they don't even realize they are being taken advantage of? THAT'S what's absurd, what makes fans want to post rebuttals. We're proving he does not speak for everyone and pointing out that he has jumped to a wild, seemingly vindictive conclusion that because the experience did not deliver for him the entire tour must be about ripping people off. THAT'S what makes it a perfectly ridiculous rant. You were let down? You felt personally victimized? Fine, say so. His set was too short for what you paid? Ask for your money back. Say anything you want, as negative as whatever, but say it for YOURSELF, and don't try to speak for an entire fan base that you're obviously out of touch with. That's where this writer went over the line, and why other fans are chiming in with their own $0.02. Some of these fans seem to feel personally insulted by his reckless interpretation of an experience they found/find deeply meaningful/moving on a VERY personal level.

15 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jeff Scott on 04/05/2013 at 12:13 AM

Re: “Live

Your article is rediculous. I can't imagine what a miserable person you must be to have had that experience at Jeff Mangum last Friday night. I feel sorry for you.

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Imiter1 on 04/04/2013 at 7:29 AM

Re: “Live

Man, Joshua, did Jeff Mangum kill your mom or something? Talk about missing the point...Geezus. If Jeff Mangum was in it for the money I doubt he would have dropped completely out of the music scene at the height of a popularity experienced by exceedingly few musicians, and think he would have played more than a handful of shows in peoples' basements over the last decade plus. He is driving himself around in a station wagon on this tour, and I saw him walk right in through the main door carrying his possessions in a plastic grocery bag--you could see the screen of his cell phone illuminated through the plastic--no one else in the lobby even recognized him. I suppose you'd attribute these things to shrewd cost cutting measures, intended to further maximize profit by saving on non-essentials like tour busses and proper luggage/backpacks, but I get the feeling there's not much that could be said to change your mind. I was at the show, and while I never thought to put JM on a timer, found the perfomance to be quite exceptional nonetheless, and one that I and countless others have waited more than a decade for. Perhaps his intention was to give these people the opportunity to finally see him and experience the extraordinary music he made first hand. As for the short set, 50 minutes really isn't that short for a solo acoustic performance. Also, you should try singing those songs sometimes--I guarantee you your lungs will not thank you. There are very, VERY few names in the history of modern music as revered as Mr. Mangum's, and I think that you are more than a little out of your element critiquing his intentions, especially since you seem to have made up out of thin air the crux of your argument...Neutral Milk Hotel Reunion...I WISH....and if there was I'd happily pay far more than 28 bucks for however long a performance they chose to grace me with. Get a life!

12 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by crystal33 on 04/05/2013 at 2:52 PM

Re: “Live

This was the first article I've read in the Weekly in quite some time. I'm glad to say I haven't missed anything. Not only does this article structure its asinine opinion around completely false information, it paints one of the most gifted songwriters of the generation in an absoulutely unnecessarily negative light. God, to let such filth be published in your magazine is inexcusable. I don't even blame the writer; shame on you Tucson Weekly.

12 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by george22 on 04/04/2013 at 7:43 AM

Re: “Live

what a terrible review. Jesus, Josh, we must not have been at the same show.

11 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by C Note on 04/06/2013 at 10:07 PM

Re: “Live

"Implicit promise of enlightenment" ??? No wonder you were disappointed. Think maybe you went in with unrealistic expectations? Just a little? It was just a concert, and a fine one at that, and your own issues have no place in your review unless you identifiy them as such. I don't think Jeff Mangum has ever promised enlightenment, implicitly or otherwise, and I think most people would find that statement absurd.

11 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by mya on 04/06/2013 at 2:14 PM

Re: “Live

This review only really makes sense if you are *not* a Jeff Magnum fan and went to this show. If you are a fan I can not understand how you feel like you were overcharged or whatever trite complaint you are trying to file through your pseudo-journalism above. I used to be a big neutral milk hotel fan like many others and thought this was an amazing show. All us fans thought we would never see Jeff play live ever again so the fact that he ever played at all is amazing. Yes, it was a short set but so are most NMH songs and albums. There are really only 2 full length albums both being fairly short (50 mins and 38 mins) . Jeff played nearly all of the more popular album (minus 2 songs) and half of his first album, nearly 75% of all released songs.

Really, what more could you want? This was a intimate evening with Jeff Mangum and anyone could have figured this out by reading other reviews of the tour (and maybe the fact that the show was billed as "Jeff Mangum" and not "Neutral Milk Hotel") I went with a few fans , we are all in out early 30's and we all thought that it might be a rip-off and who knows what we would think all these years after we ate up neutral milk hotel. We all came to the same conclusion: The show was amazing, his voice has held up amazingly and he was full of love and was having a good time. We were plesently surprised and all walked away having a great night.

Like I said, if you are already not a Jeff Mangum or NMH fan then I don't think this show would have done it for you. If you were/are a fan then I can not fathom how this show did not do it for you. Granted you don't seem like a fan since you have no idea why he sipped out on the music scene for so long (its easy to find this out , there are letters written to fans by Jeff that explain his not so mysterious (at all) absence)..

Also, there is no NMH tour planned, not sure where you get your information from but you should fact check it as it is wrong.

ANYWAYS.. Figured some of the weekly readers might want a more accurate review of this show from someone who actually likes the musician, kind of makes more sense to have someone write about a show who likes the bad.. but maybe that common sense is unique to me alone...

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by domith on 04/03/2013 at 9:31 PM

Re: “Live

@Destiny - The box set sells for more then 100 bucks constantly on e-bay, so if you look at it that way its a steel (AKA defiantly worth it on a dollar per dollar basis since you like to break down things in this way). Also a vinyl has been "in" for the last 15 or so years again, just a heads up for your knowledge base. The money is relative, you sound kind of cheep but thats ok, to each their own. I cant even imagine trying to enjoy any concert while thinking how much I have paid per minute and if its a good deal.. What a way to really waste my night. You pay for a show if its worth it, it should not matter how long the band plays or if they contort to all your standards. This should not even be an excess since you can find out how long any show is on the net now , set lists are posted daily so you can reference that and figure out "exactly" what you are paying for and take the element of surprise out of the equation. The band runs the show but alas everyone is a critic. I hope I never have friends with the kind of standards that you have, bleh.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by domith on 04/04/2013 at 10:15 AM

Re: “Live

So instead of turning to his fans who love and want to support him, he should've sold out to Target? No one there had a gun to their head when they bought their $30 ticket or their $100 box set. I'm not positive, but I'd dare to guess Mangum has never called himself an 'artiste', and who can really know about his honesty or integrity. He's a musician who needs to pay the bills just like everybody else, so why not let his adoring fans do that for him if they so please? If there were no call for it, he wouldn't be on tour & he wouldn't be selling someone a $100 version of something they already own.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Sillynilly on 04/03/2013 at 8:31 PM

Re: “Get a Grip: Death Grips

we get it troy, you have a girlfriend

8 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dan Hernandez on 07/17/2015 at 2:59 PM

Re: “Live

You honestly need to get your head checked. Blind Man Deaf Boy are a group of amazing musicians, and great kids doing the things they love.

8 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by MattySean Nicholls on 12/19/2013 at 10:08 AM

Re: “Live

I guess that some folks just wont "get it", which is fine of course. What is less ok is the misrepresentation RE fascist overtones etc though.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Dan Hahn on 09/22/2015 at 9:29 AM

Re: “Live

As music editor of this here publication, it’s probably my duty to step forward and moderate or something.

Dudes from Blind Man Deaf Boy: Have you never been reviewed before? Or have all the writers in Denver just kissed your asses? It is not uncommon for a reviewer, someone who is extremely well versed in music, to take exception to a band’s music. It’s what we call music criticism, and it is what you will regularly be subjected to, should you choose to play music.

No one had it out for you in Tucson. You were reviewed fairly by a knowledgeable guy, but ultimately it’s just one guy’s opinion.

So, Blind Man Deaf Boy, why not come back to Tucson, play a show, and let the people decide. We’re a fair bunch. This is not a threat. It’s a guarantee that if you come back, we’ll make sure some people are there to see you and make up our own minds. Let’s make friends, assholes.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Steve Seigel on 12/27/2013 at 5:51 AM

Re: “Live

this is really disheartening. I really loved Tucson and have had some really awesome times there. But talking shit on a touring band (a great one nonetheless) is pretty low. I appreciate the kind words said about me, but I admire these guys, and I assure you if I had written this review there would have been some big differences. It just make me sad to see an extremely talented, kind, and dedicated band drive for hours to play a show just to get bashed in the local newspaper.

7 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Micah Butler on 12/20/2013 at 7:57 PM

Re: “Live

Amen, Joshua. I hope it isn't satire. Jeff Mangum is a precious narcissist who never would have disappeared had the internet (i.e. you and I) not stiffened his legend. I saw his show in LA at the beginning of his 'comeback'...he kept his band off-stage until about 45 minutes passed- and then his trumpet player walks out holding a single note and the crowd acts like Dizzy Gillespie had blown his first horn since being resurrected. It's bullshit.

I love Aeroplane- none of this takes away from it. It's a wonderful album. I would never skip the chance to push it on someone who's never heard it.

It's OK to admonish your heroes. If the Beatles played a few shows in the late-60s it would have been a different place and they would have finished their sets...Beatlemania was over. There's always something missing in the Beatles because they stopped performing. It's why you have to follow the Stones if you're interested in the era- they were out there, not just writing wonderful music but being a part of it.

So Jeff Mangum plays as some ossified version of his previous self because he needs the money. That's obvious. But there are casinos if that's your thing.

7 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by Matt on 04/05/2013 at 2:18 AM

Re: “Live

I am not seeing where the writer has trashed the artist or his music (e.g."He was in fine form throughout," "possessor of an especially expressive voice"). The last paragraph of the article brings up the point that Mangum is cashing in on his legacy and that seems to have struck a nerve with some of you. However, that does not mean you can cast the entire article as an attack on the quality of the artistic output. It wasn't, read it again. Also, the worst way to deal with these feelings is too attack the writer and the quality of the article itself because you cannot bear to have anything not entirely complimentary stated about someone you admire.

6 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by Bryce on 04/04/2013 at 5:20 PM

Re: “Live

@ALL: This essay is a damn good exploration of who Jeff Mangum is as a human being, I think you will understand his motives better after you read it. This is what music means to him, I think.

True, that Jeff Mangum is touring again may feel like a risk--but it is the best kind of risk an artist can take. He's been compared to JD Salinger, who's career was defined by a similiar myth, but frankly all this tour proves is that Jeff has 10 times JD's guts. Judging from his interviews and statements he has made about his own creativity, his attitude has always been to value AUTHENTICITY in his art above all else, and that is why his performances have inspired authentic awe in those who have been lucky enough to hear him sing. What Jeff will choose to do next is still anyone's guess, but nothing his heart allows him to do can possibly damage his myth or his legacy. His return to the stage might be the best artistic risk he has ever taken. Jeff has been doing, truly, a most beautiful thing. All he has to do is continue to follow his heart.



when i wrote aeroplane, i spent 90 percent of my time screaming nonsence
into my little tape recorder, or chopping up sounds with my sound blender, or
just making noise, and 10 percent of my time writing songs. it was very liberating,
because i never thought about what i was doing, and a week before we went to record i didnt even think we had a half finished album. but i didnt care. i figured if we went the studio,and only recorded one finished song, then that would be fine. creating just one minute ofsomething inspiring is an incredibly fun thing to do. so next time you hear that neutral milkis recording, dont get your hopes up. it may only be one minute of music.

major organ was just a bunch of friends putting music together for fun. it was a project
that changed hands at least a dozen times, and most of the time you didnt even know who was working on it,and you never knew where it would go. released mostly to inspire other dreamers and home recorders to do the same with there friends. we weren't trying to create a masterpiece. trying to do anything is the of death of creativity, and if we can encourage people to not try, but to just do, then we have accomplished our goal.


"I think what Elephant 6 meant for us is very simple: there's something pure and infinite in you, that wants to come out of you, and can come out of no other person on the planet. That's as real and important as the fact you're alive. We were able, at a really young age, to somehow protect each other so we could feel that. The world at large, careerism, money, magazines, your parents, the people at the rock club in your town, other kids, nothing is going to gvie you that message, necessarily. In fact, most things are going to lead you away from it, sadly, because humanity is really confused at the moment. But you wouldn't exist if the universe didn't need you. And any time I encounter something beautiful that came out of a human somewhere, that's them, that's their soul. That's just pure, whatever its physicality is, if the person can play piano, if they can't play piano, if they're tone deaf, whatever it is, if it's pure, it hits you like a sledgehammer. It fills up your own soul, it makes you want to cry, it makes you glad you're alive, it lets *you* come out of *you*. And that's what we need: we desperately need *you*."

--Julian Koster, circa 2005, from the book about the making of Aeroplane. Julian has appeared with Jeff on many of the recent tour dates.


Comments made during his Fall tour, From:…

JM: Anybody have any questions? Not that I have any answers, but . . .
Fan: Will there be a new album?
JM: I don’t have any fucking idea. I didn’t think I’d be doing this.
Fan: We’re glad you are.
JM: I’m glad I am too. I think it’s good for me, I dunno . . .
Fan: Have you been writing new songs?
JM: I go through periods of writing. I mean, if something came out of my heart naturally I’d put it out, but I’m not gonna make another record because of . . . whatever . . . all the other bullshit.


Comments on his creative process in a 2002 interview:…

Pitchfork: Is this reframing process something you use in your songwriting in general? Do the songs come out of fragments?

Jeff: Yeah, usually I create tunes that are fragmented. I think the biggest obstacle for people with their creativity is that they feel they have to sit down and create this finished, polished product. Especially nowadays, it's so easy to have a library of two thousand CDs, books and records. So many things. We're used to having all of these finished works of art in our life that seem to arise out of nothing. I think that so much of the creative process is a fragmentary one, and then it's about just allowing your intuition to put it together for you. It's funny how you create something and you think you're going in a million different directions, and then the thing you end up with is the thing that you wanted to create your whole life, but you're just as surprised by it as anybody else.


The only thing the myth has done for Aeroplane is, perhaps, given the album more exposure. But time and time again, the album justifies its own stature in the ears of a new listener. When I saw Jeff perform I brought a close friend who knew nothing of the songs and nothing of the myth. After the performance my friend was glowing, saying it was one of the most amazing concerts she has ever been to. Many in the audience knew all of the lyrics by heart, even though most were probably in preschool when Aeroplane was first released. Such a following is not gained through luck alone--Jeff is a rare talent, and I hope the myth of Aeroplane does not stop him from taking the next great risk and daring new material.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jeff Scott on 04/03/2013 at 11:55 PM

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