Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ultimate Newport Folk Fest Playlist

Somewhere in between my 300th and 301st time listening to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" to please my wife and 3 year old son, I realized that I needed a new playlist to get me ready for the summer and the slowly encroaching Newport Folk Festival. As we've discussed before, the lineup this year is STACKED, so coming up with an abbreviated playlist was no easy feat. But, I have tackled impossible tasks before, so I knew I could do it again. And I did. So if you're going to the Folkfest this year and can't figure out how to get through the next 2+ weeks, download these tracks immediately and it will help you manage. And if you aren't going, download these tracks anyway and may God have mercy on your soul for being so foolish to miss this event.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

UFC 148 Predictions

After what feels like an eternity, the UFC is finally giving its fans the most anticipated rematch in the sport's history this weekend when Anderson Silva looks to defend his title a record 10th straight time against trash talking Chael Sonnen. All fans remember what happened 2 summers ago, when Sonnen man handled Silva for 23 straight minutes before finding himself caught in a triangle forcing him to tap out, but will this time be different?Although the card loses a lot with Faber/Barao moving to UFC 149, it's still a pretty impressive event loaded with previous title holders, title contenders, and legends of the sport. Below are my predictions on 5 of this weekends fights.

Chad Mendes over Cody McKenzie via decision:  Mendes was on a complete roll before losing to Jose Aldo, which hardly is black mark on your resume. "Money" had won 6 in a row, most of which were more against complete fighters than McKenzie. For Cody, this fight represents an enormous jump in class, and I'm just not sure he is ready for it. His guillotine submissions are notorious, but Mendes should be able to avoid the submission and work him for the duration. Mendes isn't a finisher, so I like this fight going the distance.

Dyon Hung Kim over Demian Maia via decision: Kim has won 4 of his last 5, with impressive performances against Nate Diaz and Amir Sadollah. He was KO'ed by Condit, but outside of that he has looked good of late. Maia has lost to Weidman and Munoz in the last calendar year and has never really become the "contender" many thought he would be. His outstanding submission skills have been on vacation since 2009 and you have to wonder if he is outmatched against the best of the weight class.

Cung Lee over Patrick Cote via KO: I had a real hard time with this one. Both fighters are hungry for the victory with them losing a combined 5 of their last 6 fights. Both legit strikers, you would probably favor the much younger Cote in that category. But sometimes, you have to give the edge to the legend who wants to put a stamp on his legacy with an impressive win over Cote.

Forrest Griffin over Tito Ortiz via KO/TKO: You have to hand it Ortiz, he's been active with this being his 6th fight in less than 3 years. The problem is, he has lost 4 of them, and in most cases he has been destroyed. The win against Bader surprised everyone (including Bader when I spoke to him this past September), but I am not convinced that this was part of Ortiz's comeback trail. I look for a motivated Griffin to pick up where he left off the last time these two met, which is a very advantageous position.

Chael Sonnen over Anderson Silva via decision: For the record, I will be rooting hard for Silva. I was never a huge fan of his antics, but after rewatching some of his title defenses and recently watching the documentary "Like Water" I have a new found respect and admiration for him and his brilliance. But after hearing Silva's comments recently regarding what he intends to do to Sonnen this Saturday, I couldn't help but think Sonnen had officially entered and effected Silva's psyche. I am a little surprised that Vegas has this as Sonnen +240, which almost makes me think that people really do think Silva is going to break everyone of his teeth. Although I am hoping that's the case, I think Sonnen will be the one backing up his words on Saturday.

Check out the fights this Saturday at 10 PM and also be sure to check out the prelims on FX beginning at 8:00 EST.

Navigating the Newport Folk Festival

I've been looking forward to seeing the Newport Folk Festival schedule with both excitement and dread.  I'm on record as saying this is the best festival lineup I've ever seen, so obviously I was going to have to make some tough choices I didn't want to make.  But after finally seeing the schedule, it's not THAT bad.

A few months ago I made a Top 5 bands I want to see at Newport list and although it's nearly impossible to stick to a plan, here is how I'm going to try and navigate the Newport Folk Festival and how I'm going to try and see them all:

11:30am - 12:15pm
Being that I'm going to be getting two kids ready to go to the festival and we'll have to set up our spot at the Fort Stage I'll probably be starting my day with some Brown Bird as we set up and then shooting over to the Harbor Stage for Apache Relay.  I've been listening to their American Nomad album a lot leading up to the festival and I'm really enjoying it.

12:30pm - 1:30pm
I'll probably try to stay at the Harbor Stage for the beginning of Spirit Family Reunion.  If nothing else, from what I heard of them so far, my 2 year old will stomp and clap along with them.  I will leave to head back to the Fort Stage for The Preservation Hall Jazz Band for the rest of their set.  I've seen them a few times already and they are a lot of fun.  And I'd imagine we'll be getting our first of many Jim James sightings during that set.

1:40pm - 4:20pm
DAMN YOU NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL!!!! This is by far the most painful part of the weekend.  Deer Tick was my #2 band I want to see at NFF but I really want to see Alabama Shakes.  With two young kids coming this year I'm not going to get to see Deer Tick at the Newport Blues Cafe or that would have made my decision here a little easier.  But alas, I'll be high-tailing it from PJHB to see Deer Tick from 1:40 to 2:15 and then booking over to Alabama Shakes for the remainder of their set.  That's probably the best I can do there.  Honey Honey gets the shaft here from me but luckily it looks like I'll have another chance on Sunday.  Immediately following Alabama Shakes I'm going to hop back and forth between First Aid Kit and Sharon Van Etten.  And honestly, my goal is to at least hear First Aid Kit do Emmylou and Sharon Van Etten do Leonard.  If I can pull that off before going to see Dawes then I will high five myself.

4:25pm - 6:05pm
From Dawes I'm heading over to see Blind Pilot.  Last year I tried to keep popping back and forth through the tunnel between the Harbor and Quad Stage to see Head and the Heart and Middle Brother.  I might do that to catch some Iron and Wine.  I have a longer history with Iron and Wine but I'm leaning Blind Pilot these days.  After those two sets I'll probably try and catch 10-15 minutes of the Guthrie Family Reunion before getting back to the Fort Stage.

6:05 - 7:30

11:30am - 1:40pm
After setting up again for the day I'd like to hop over to the Harbor Stage.  I've been listening to Deep Dark Woods on Spotify and I'd like to see them as well and make my only appearance at the Museum stage for Honey Honey for a few songs before trying to catch the last half of Trampled By Turtles.

1:40pm - 3:00pm
Definitely want to see The New Multitudes.  I'll see their whole set and then catch the tail end of Charles Bradley.

3:00pm - 5:15pm
The second worst conflict of the weekend for me.  The hop to the Fort Stage to the Quad stage is not easy enough to risk going from Charles Bradley to Gary Clark Jr and back to Head and the Heart so I might have to skip Gary Clark Jr. entirely unfortunately.  I want to see as much Head and the Heart as I can but them and Of Monsters and Men overlap by 10 minutes.  So being that I did see three songs from Head and the Heart last year, I'll probably ditch out on the end of them to go see Of Monsters and Men in their entirety.

5:15pm - 7:30pm
If the situation presents itself I'd like to see some Conor Oberst but I might just be content to head over to the Harbor Stage and lock down my spot for Tallest Man on Earth.  From there maybe I'll catch a little Jackson Browne if my kids are cooperating after what will be a long weekend for them.  Catching a water taxi before the rush might out weigh trying to hear The Pretender.

I'd put my chances of executing this plan at close to 0% but it's still going to be fun to try.