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While I wholeheartedly support the WGA strike (see related videos in VodPod player to the left), I do have to selfishly admit that at least one good thing is coming out of it: A rerun of the night we were at the taping of The Cliks on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson! Mind you, if you’d read my previous entry about our fun with The Cliks back in August you’d already have seen the video clip of them on the show, but it’s still fun to see it in context even though it was taped out of sequence on show night. (How confusing was that sentence? ;)) Anyway, if you aren’t going to be up for the 12:35 AM airing of the show tonight (well, technically tomorrow! ;)), then set your VCR/TIVO or whatever you need to. Or you could just click here to watch it. Enjoy!

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The Cliks are everything they are billed to be and more! I have seen some high energy acts in my day, but what The Cliks put forth in their show at The Knitting Factory (8/22/07) is incomparable (100_2136_edited.jpgespecially considering the miserably hot and humid conditions in the venue), and to have been witness the next day to seeing them taking the small, quiet Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson studio (before Craig had even come out) and INSTANTLY turn it into the most rocking, electrified space you could inhabit in a matter of merely one or two hits on the drum by Morgan Doctor, and the first lyrics by Lucas Silveira–well, it was nothing short of miraculous and memorable. I certainly hope you all got to catch their fantastic Late Late Show performance, but I’ll keep my eyes open for a replay for those who didn’t. (Craig is on hiatus for two weeks and they have a tendency to repeat the most recent shows, so maybe, just maybe it will air again soon!)

My best buddy Sheryl (who interestingly enough is also my ex-sister-in-law ;)), and I headed off for our 1 1/2 hour drive to Hollywood last Wednesday, with The Cliks blasting on the sound system and excitement brewing for seeing not only them, but also another band I’d just discovered that morning, Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast. Sadly the infamous Los Angeles traffic kept us from arriving at the venue until the last minute or so of Tanner and crew’s final song “Hole in My Soul” (sigh), but the 60 seconds that we did see made me realize we had missed out on one heck of a unique, exhilarating (and sweaty! ;)) performance. (For any of you in the LA area, Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast will be having their CD release party at 14 Below in Santa Monica, this Friday (8/30/07), with their CD being included in your $10 cover charge.  You can also get their 6-song EP on iTunes for $5.94!)

Can I just say again how unbelievably freaking-sticky-hot the Knitting Factory was?! I mean what the heck was the deal with folks having to feel like they were stuck in the middle of “Humidity Hell”? If we were sweating buckets, I can only imagine how the band felt, and that was actually pointed out by Lucas when he mentioned a couple times knitting-factory-hollywood.jpgduring the show that he had sweat in his eyes. The stickiness really left a bad taste in my mouth for driving all the way out to that venue again. Thankfully Sheryl and I did find what appeared to be the ONLY fan in the place (hence, the “heavy breathing” sound on the videos I taped…wasn’t me, was the fan :)), and camped out in front of it for the better part of the night. The only time we moved from it was to get some really good drinks from the bar (only $5 AND the cup was overflowing–woo-hoo!), or to head into the humid swamp known as the restroom…ick. Thankfully The Cliks were so amazingly powerful in their performances that you were almost able to forget about the beads of sweat finding their way down your body.

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To say Lucas, Jen (Benton), Nina (Martinez), and Morgan had the crowd wrapped around their collective little finger would be an understatement. I think Lucas could have asked the crowd to do more than sing along to “Oh Yeah” (not that anyone needed any enticements to sing along–just came naturally) and everyone would have done whatever the request, without batting an eyelash. This concert was truly one of those times where the musicians, the crowd, the music, and the energy all organically combine into one incredible force that just can’t be put into words—something you had to be there to experience for yourself. I’m so thankful Sheryl and I were there to share in it, and hope that all of you reading this and viewing the videos, get even an inkling of what a Cliks concert has in store for you.

Here’s one of the videos I took, but unfortunately the sound at the venue wasn’t very good, and the lighting was horrific. That being said, it’s the freaking Cliks, folks, so deal with it! 🙂

The Cliks “Back In Style” to “Oh Yeah” at The Knitting Factory 8/22/07

I also taped the encore of “Nobody Else Will”, but kept getting my shot blocked by the dancing head in front of me, and for some reason the middle part was really blurry (think I tried to zoom in too much under poor lighting conditions), so I opted to remix the 3 shorter videos into one using YouTube’s remixer. Unfortunately, despite SEVERAL attempts over the past 3 days, the YouTube remixer will allow me to create the video, preview it, then publish it–but no video ever shows up! ARGH! Went over to100_2150_edited.jpg Photobucket and used their remixer (basically the same one YouTube has by Adobe) and it worked. Sadly WordPress doesn’t allow for Photobucket videos to be embedded, and the Adobe remixer doesn’t allow you to save the final product to your hard drive, so if you’d like to see the video you’ll need to click here for “Nobody Else Will” on my Photobucket account. Again, it’s not the best image quality, but Lucas’ vocals are absolutely out of this world. The lyrics are as heartfelt as they get in the first place, but add Lucas’ intense, raw, sexy vocals and hot damn, one heck of a good performance.

the-cliks-rosie-self-pic-8-22-07.jpgJen, Nina, Morgan, and Lucas were so accommodating and kind with their fans after the show, as was Rosie from Tommy Boy/Silver Label records who jumped right in and took a couple pictures for us when the camera was acting up. As a matter of fact, Rosie snapped an overhead shot of herself while she was waiting for the band, my friend, and myself to pose. Wish it would have turned out better because it was pretty funny when she did it.

As if seeing The Cliks at the Knitting Factory wasn’t enough, Sheryl and I also had tickets to their taping for the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson the next day. So back into the car we went (diabetic dog at home, so couldn’t stay in LA for the night…the things we do for our poochies :)), facing even ickier Los Angeles traffic on Thursday since we were traveling during the day. We did finally make it to the studio, and were pleasantly surprised to land a spot in the CBS studios parking lot–usually not an easy task! We made sure to get in line more than an hour early since there was no way we were taking any chances that we wouldn’t get in, especially after driving so far. Thankfully there were no worries late-late-show.jpgon that front, and when we did finally get into the studio, we were only about 4 rows back on the aisle (hey, a gal with long legs just HAS to have an aisle seat…plus I wanted a better view of the band!), but of course we wished we were even closer. For those of you who have never been to a taping of the Late Late Show, it’s in a fairly small studio with an audience that Craig doesn’t want to exceed some odd number like 113. We were told the reason he likes to keep it so small is because he likes the feel of a comedy club atmosphere, and the connection he can have with a smaller audience such as ours. I went to a taping of his show last October and the intimacy of the studio does lend itself to having you feel like you really are an important part of the entire show. “Audience Enhancers” is what Chucky B. (the warm-up guy) calls the studio audience.

So we finally get into the studio, everyone is seated, Chucky B. is cracking jokes, videos of some previous musical guests are playing on the monitors scattered over the seating area, Craig’s desk is pushed off to the side, and the band equipment is set up already. (Sorry to burst the bubble of anyone who didn’t know this, but segments for the show are not taped in sequence, and quite often are taped for airing on subsequent days, hence Craig hadn’t even been on stage until long after The Cliks were…his loss!) Then a few minutes later, out of nowhere and without much ado, Jen, Morgan, Nina, and Lucas walk over to their equipment and start testing it all out. It was really quiet in the studio, so Chucky B. starts whispering, saying “This is what bands do, they tune up their equipment. I think I see them checking me out. Apparently they don’t see this.” (He then flashes his wedding ring to everyone.) Um, apparently Chucky B. knows diddley-squat about The Cliks since wedding ring or not, chances are slim-to-none any of them would be interested. 😉 So the other Cliks fans that were there (probably about 15 or so of us throughout the audience), Sheryl and I, are all on the edge of our seats, just waiting for something…anything. Then BAM, out of the blue, and with a not-very-enthusiastic introduction of, “The Cliks”, the band jumps right into “Oh Yeah”. Well, despite the apparent lackluster enthusiasm on the part of the Late Late Show‘s folks, there was no way in hell I was going to not show my excitement, so I was rocking out the whole time, as were the other Cliks fans, clapping, shaking our asses in our seats, hollering out, and hoping we were letting the band know just how much we enjoy and adore them.

(***Video below ADDED 9/6/07: Thanks to Silver Label for making this video available!***)

The Cliks on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson 8/23/07 (First TV appearance!)

I have to say it all seems like a blur, totally surreal, and WAY too short of a time to have the band play, but the short time they did was absolutely the most energized four minutes or so you could ever ask for. From the overhead lights to the microphones near our feet, and from the phony Los Angeles cityscape backdrop on stage to the bustling real-life LA streets outside the studio, there was NO WAY anyone within earshot could help but feel the energy and enthusiasm the band was putting out. When it came to the last notes on the guitars and Morgan’s last drum hit, the sudden silence was incredibly deafening and made your realize how much The Cliks had filled up that short time and space with most intense rhythm, vocals, and music possible. Talk about living in the moment! WOW!

I really do believe that those in the audience who had no clue who The Cliks were beforesnakehouse.jpg their performance (unfortunately that would seem to also include the majority of the Late Late Show staff), were definitely impressed with them afterward. A CBS page made sure to tell us (Sheryl and I were both wearing our The Cliks black t-shirts, so it was pretty obvious who we were there for ;)) how hard The Cliks rocked and that they were off the hook (or something like that), so we know they made at least one new fan–especially since we saw him a bit later at Barnes & Noble in the “C” section of the CD area, obviously looking for The Cliks “Snakehouse”.

Side note…Morgan’s parents were in the audience and were so morgan-the-cliks.jpgcute! After the band was done and they’d left the stage (after some seriously long and loud applause and hooting and hollering from the audience!) an older couple started walking down the stairs toward the stage, Chucky B. made some comment, then someone on staff said they were the parents of “the drummer”, so Chucky B. made nice, and we all clapped for them. When Morgan’s parents hit the stage, right before slipping behind the wall to find the band, they faced everyone and waved, and boy could you tell they were Morgan’s folks–especially her mom, who she really looks like.

Alas, the good times had to eventually come to an end…sigh. It goes without saying that I am beyond anxious to see The Cliks again and am going through some serious withdrawals in the meantime. There is just something so pleasing about finding a band that is so vested in not only their music, but also in their fans. Jen, Nina, Morgan, and Lucas, could NOT have been any nicer to everyone during and after their shows, and I think that speaks volumes about the kind of people they must be–very sincere and caring. This was especially evident when I explained to Lucas after the Knitting Factory show, that one of my best buds, who had actually met them a couple of times in Vegas and at True Colors, was unable to make it back to LA for the show. Lucas was kind enough to tape a short, sincere message to Jackson–something I will never forget. How unbelievably cool of Lucas to do that!

Thank you SO MUCH to The Cliks, for all you give to your fans, personally and musically. Now get your asses back to SoCal ASAP! 😉

(***UPDATE 8/29/07:MUST SEE: Our “The Cliks” Adventures at The Knitting Factory and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Videos, Pics)***)

Am so excited about FINALLY getting to see The Cliks live tonight! My buddy Jackson got me hooked on them a few months ago when “Snakehouse” just came out and I’ve been dying to see them since then. Guess I’ll be going from one extreme to another because I’ll not only be seeing them tonight at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, but also at a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tomorrow. I believe there are still tickets available for tonight’s KF gig, but alas the tickets for the talk show taping are gone. You can catch The Cliks on this Thursday’s (technically early Friday AM) showing of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in most markets at 12:37 AM on CBS. Definitely check your local listings (and set you VCR or DVR!) since times do vary in some areas of the country.

Only thing that could make these two days perfect would be if Jackson were able to join us as planned, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball just to keep you on your toes. (Doesn’t life know staying on your toes gets tiring? ;)) You already know you’ll be missed like crazy, my dear friend, and that it mostly definitely won’t be the same without you, but in your honor I will dance my ass off and make lots of noise–as usual, on both counts. LYB

MySpace pages:

  • The Cliks
  • Maxitit (The Knitting Factory calendar has them listed as opening for The Cliks)
  • Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast (Their web site states they are opening for The Cliks even though the KF site doesn’t say so. I hope they are performing since I’m now hooked on them after discovering their music yesterday morning!  Get their 6-song EP on iTunes for only $5.94!)

The Cliks

Maxitit

Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast

vick-cartoon-dog-years.jpg

Joel Pett ~ MICHAEL-VICK-DOG-YEARS-HYDRANT-BAR-CAI-072307

Here’s hoping Tony Taylor’s guilty plea might be the nail in the coffin needed to put Vick away. Hey, a gal can dream, right? Of course the flip side would be if his other co-defendants follow suit and plead guilty, somehow hoping this might make it look like Vick had no awareness of what was taking place on his property. I think we’ve all seen such deviousness take place in the legal system before, so who really knows how it will turn out. Here’s hoping the truth prevails and there is some (belated) justice for the innocent dogs involved in all of this disgusting mess.

And how disappointing to read about the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s stance on the issue.

SCLC President Charles Steele Jr. said his organization prefers to focus on Vick’s redemption and plans to honor him for his community contributions at its convention next month in Atlanta. “We need to support him no matter what the evidence reveals,” Steele said.

I have had nothing but respect for the work the SCLC has done on the civil rights front over the past decades, and respect the right of folks to support the good that Vick has done in the past, but to give so little regard to the possible outcome of the dogfighting charges is something I don’t get, never mind it sends a message to others who condone dogfighting that it’s okay to do so. Yes, people make mistakes in life and should be given a second chance, but be honest about what you’ve done. When Vick admits his wrongdoing and makes redemption, then we’ll talk about support. (***8/7/07 UPDATE: SCLC backtracks regarding “support” of Vick.***)

And this train of thought just blows me away:

“We Support Vick a Human Being Over Dogs,” was the message of one placard to honking passing cars on Northside Drive.”

Say what?!?! You mean to tell me folks will ACTUALLY blindly support someone involved in dog fighting just because that person is a “human being” (a term I’d use very loosely for dog fighters), and TOTALLY disregard the actions of that “human being” because the victims are dogs?? Then again, these are the same folks in the article who think the NFL should be supporting Vick and attacking PETA and the HSUS. Ah, the mentality of some folks is such a continuous disappointment.

As I’ve said before, if Vick is shown to be innocent of the vile crimes the federal grand jury indictment states he took part in, then I will admit to being wrong. But until that time I am going with the evidence put forth, and the common sense notion (especially in light of Tony Taylor’s guilty plea) that there is virtually no way possible that Vick had NO CLUE, let alone no voluntary action in, the barbaric treatment of animals on his property. Guess we’ll have to wait for the trial on November 26th to find out, unless Vick and his cohorts decided to come clean and tell the truth before then–won’t hold my breath.

pitgear-005-3t.jpgNo big surprise that Michael Vick and his three cruelty-driven cohorts, Purnell A. Peace, Quanis L. Phillips, and Tony Taylor (***UPDATE on Tony Taylor: guilty***), pleaded not guilty in a Richmond, VA., courtroom to federal dogfighting charges today. (Trial date set for November 26th.) Did anyone REALLY think any of these four miserable excuses for human beings would have enough cajones to admit to the atrocities they have committed? Of course not! Here’s my previous blog entry on the subject, which includes a link to a copy of the 18 page indictment. (And yes, defendants should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but can you honestly read that indictment and NOT believe they are guilty? If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it, but until then I’m going against what I usually believe-innocent until proven guilty- and WILL consider these four guilty as hell…so sue me.)

While none of us can bring back the dogs Vick, Peace, Phillips, or Taylor, killed by their own hands on the property or via the incredibly vicious fighting they subjected dogs to, nor undo the damage done mentally and physically to those dogs who survived, we CAN let big business know that we will NOT tolerate such abuses, nor will we give money to companies who continue to support athletes (or anyone guilty of these crimes) with lucrative contracts. (Namely the Atlanta Falcons and Nike). You can follow the links I’m providing below to voice your displeasure OR you can take part in various demonstrations around the country, or start your own. This Monday, July 30th, I’ll be joining what will hopefully be MANY other outraged animal lovers, in a PETA demonstration outside Niketown in Los Angeles. (***Protests canceled. Read more here.***) If you are in the area (and I’m really not since I’ll be driving about 1 1/2 hours to get there), please consider joining us. But if you are not, here’s some information in an email today from Ingrid Newkirk of PETA:

“On Monday, July 30, PETA will hold demonstrations in front of every Niketown store from New York to Los Angeles to call on Nike—which employs Vick as a promotional spokesperson—to sack him.

Already, the pressure is working. Both the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons have taken important “first steps” to discipline Vick by keeping him away from the Falcons’ training camp pending their own investigation of the case. In my view, this is the beginning of the end for Vick’s career.”

So come on folks, let’s get active, get vocal, and NOT let this situation be swept under the carpet and forgotten. Thanks!

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PETA's Action Center Alert
Dove icon Donate Now | Check icon Join Our Activist Network
Dear *****,

NFL quarterback Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons was recently indicted on charges of sponsoring a large dogfighting operation. The indictment alleges that dogs were housed, trained, and fought at a property owned by Vick and that those who did not perform well were executed by “hanging, drowning, and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground.” PETA will be at Niketown in Los Angeles on Monday, July 30, to demand that the company immediately break all ties with Michael Vick.

Please join PETA campaigner Matt Rice for a demonstration outside Niketown in Los Angeles. All materials will be provided, and we need activists to hold posters. Please contact me at LindseyT@peta.org if you can help or if you have any questions.

What: Michael Vick dogfighting demonstration
When: Monday, July 30, 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.
Where: Niketown, at the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo, Beverly Hills

The professional sports world is plagued with players who have been accused, charged, or convicted of cruelty to animals, abusing pit bulls, and dogfighting. We need to send a clear message to players and Nike that being a celebrity is not a sufficient excuse for breaking the law and that animal abuse should never be tolerated under any circumstances. Please forward this e-mail to everyone you know!

Be sure to tell people to visit PETA.org to learn more about the cruelty of dogfighting and to tell Nike to drop Vick now!

Thanks for being on PETA’s Activist Network and for everything you do to help animals!

Warm regards,

Lindsey Twombly, Outreach Programs Supervisor
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
LindseyT@peta.org| 757-213-8746

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Links to send messages to Nike and the Atlanta Falcons

Related articles

Anti-Vick gear

YouTube videos

Here is the code (just copy it all, then paste in your own site) for each of the Humane Society of the United States web badges you can place on your own web site or blog to help spread the word.

vick-hsus-nfl.gif

<a href=”https://community.hsus.org/campaign/US_2007_dogfighting_nfl2?source=gaba7m&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”https://wadmin3.getactive.com/preview!www.hsus.org/web-files/Banners/180x150_vick_nfl.gif&#8221; border=”0″ alt=”The Humane Society of the United States”></a><br><a href=”http://www.myspace.com/thehumanesociety&#8221; target=”_blank”>HSUS MySpace Page</a> | <a href=”http://www.hsus.org/about_us/faqs/humane_index_banners.html&#8221; target=”_blank”>Get Web Badges</a><br><br>

vick-hsus-nike.gif

<a href=”https://community.hsus.org/campaign/US_2007_dogfighting_nike?source=gaba7l&#8221; target=”_blank”><img src=”https://wadmin3.getactive.com/preview!www.hsus.org/web-files/Banners/180x150_vick_nike.gif&#8221; border=”0″ alt=”The Humane Society of the United States”></a><br><a href=”http://www.myspace.com/thehumanesociety&#8221; target=”_blank”>HSUS MySpace Page</a> | <a href=”http://www.hsus.org/about_us/faqs/humane_index_banners.html&#8221; target=”_blank”>Get Web Badges</a><br><br>

(***UPDATE from CA Healthy Pets Act official site: June 6 – AB 1634 passes the Assembly Floor, moves to the Senate.***)

I’ll start by letting Bill Maher introduce you to the VERY IMPORTANT pending legislation in California, Assembly Bill 1634-California Healthy Pets Act, in case you aren’t already familiar with it. Thanks, Bill!

I spent nearly seven years working in the veterinary field, and also spent a good deal of time volunteering with various animal organizations, including our local animal shelter. Saying I love animals is a huge understatement. Unfortunately during my volunteer time at the shelter, which also included interning with the shelter veterinarian, I saw far too many loving animals put to sleep because there was just not enough room to house them, and definitely not enough kind souls willing to give these pets a chance at a new life. Trust me, folks, it is not a pleasant thing for anyone to have to do–ending the life of a pet. And while this photo is disturbing, it is also the cold, harsh reality of what happens after a shelter pet is euthanized and awaiting transportation to either rendering or a mass grave, depending on the disposal service.

Quite often these pets were dogs who were brought into a new home as young puppies, but once they grew to full size (gee, don’t you hate it when an animal has the audacity to actually grow! [insert heavy sarcasm]), suddenly the owners decided they were too much to handle. Other poor animals were bred for fighting and were never even given a chance to show their gentle side. Of course there are the aging pets which usually are passed by as prospective owners seek out the cute and cuddly puppies or kittens. Regardless of why these 4-legged beings are brought to shelters, the reality is that had more stringent spay/neuter laws been enacted there would not be in the range of 800,000 abandoned pets in our state of California each year, nor over $250 MILLION dollars spent on their housing, with well over 400,000 of them ultimately being euthanized.

Animals cannot speak up for themselves, so it is up to us to do it for them. I urge my fellow responsible citizens of California to take a few moments out of their busy lives to help ensure the passage of AB 1634, the California Healthy Pets Act. This paragraph, from a Humane Society of the United States email, highlights the urgency of IMMEDIATE action:

Urgent! Opponents of this animal welfare bill have organized large numbers of people to target legislators in an attempt to change their votes and prevent its passage. They are even calling from out-of-state, and harassing particular lawmakers. We can’t let the puppy mills out-hustle animal advocates on this important pet protection bill. Legislators need to hear from their constituents—you!—so they know you support this sensible reform.

PLEASE check out the following sites for important information on the California Healthy Pets Act, and also spread the word to anyone and everyone you know in our great state of California, to CONTACT their State Assembly member ASAP!!! Thank you.

_________________________________________________________________

(***Added on 6/7/07***)

The Truth About the CA Healthy Pets Act-AB 1634 Marty Catalano of Rescue Roundtable interviews guests Jane Velez-Mitchell and Ed Buck who dispel all the fallacies being put forth by the opposition to the California Healthy Pets Act AB-1634.

Missy Woodward of Critter Crusades interviews Judie Mancuso, Sponsor / Campaign Director of the California Healthy Pets Act – AB 1634.

Not Born to Die: California Healthy Pets Act AB 1634

(***UPDATE:MUST SEE: The Cliks at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood TONIGHT(8/22/07) AND on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS TOMORROW(8/23/07), also MUST SEE: Our “The Cliks” Adventures at The Knitting Factory and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Videos, Pics)***)

“I think there’s something really sexy about feeling comfortable in your own skin.” ~Lucas Silveira

Time for us all to take a wee break from the never-ending pet food catastrophe, wouldn’t you say? Mind you, I’ll still be doing my best to keep folks updated while I’m back to full-time student teaching (one week down, seven to go…LOVE being back with the kids! ;)), but I figured an upbeat, fun post was in order, don’t you? And to help me with that, I’ve enlisted some help from my dear buddy Jackson, who is not only the man responsible for turning me onto the band we’d like to introduce you to, but also quite a musician himself. I knew he’d do a much better job using his musical background and writing prowess to get you hooked on the band than I would, so here’s what he has to say:

There’s a certain band that’s up until now kept rather quiet and under the radar of the mainstream music industry. With the release of the astonishing album, “Snakehouse,” hitting stores on April 24, the little-known foursome are captivating new fans of all types. And why should they not? This band has it all.

The pace is kept at a steady rate for the majority of “Snakehouse,” allowing a multitude of infectious melodies to seep into your mind and will remain there on some level until your next listen. The music is kept simple and is very much the definition of rock ‘n’ roll, timeless pieces nearing the style of Joan Jett but driven more so by the enthralling and powerful voice of Lucas Silveira. Fan favorites such as “Oh Yeah” and “Complicated” are just a fraction of the excellence to be heard. You might find yourself thinking you know how the specific tune over the speakers might develop, only to be amazed by a melody that’s not only completely different but instantly pleasing to the senses and intoxicating in its severity. Never once does Lucas shy from the microphone and never once does the album seem slow, despite the gentle ninth track, “Nobody Else Will,” which breathes an intense beauty in our ears before charming and impressing us one last time with the closer, “Back in Style.”

The band is The Cliks. Give them a try.

Thanks, Jackson! And I totally agree with giving them a try. After some arm-twisting from him, I hit their MySpace Page, liked what I heard, then headed over to iTunes and bought “Snakehouse” for $9.90. Have to say I have been listening to it for most of the day and still can’t get enough! “Oh Yeah” and “Nobody Else Will” are instant favorites of mine, but honestly there isn’t one song on the CD that didn’t grab me. The energy and intensity put out by the band, the incredible strength of Lucas’ vocals, and the honesty and raw emotion of the lyrics just has me entranced. I LOVE it when I run across music that affects me in that way.

Here is The Cliks web site, some short clips on YouTube, their management page, and a really good read about the winding path that has brought Lucas Silveira to where he is at now. Also got the okay from Kelly Davidson (Etched on Film) to link to her blog page, where you’ll find a link to a gallery of some incredible pictures she took of The Cliks on April 26, 2007. The only video out so far is “Oh Yeah”, which I’m including below. I dare you to not play it over and over again! Enjoy the music, everyone. And mark my words (okay, they were Jackson’s words first), this band will be HUGE in no time at all.

The Cliks-“Oh Yeah”

While it may seem to be slow on the draw, there IS action being taken by some in higher places to get answers to this horrible pet food recall mess.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter directly to Paul Henderson, President and CEO of Menu Foods, with his concerns and some very pointed, and detailed questions. We’ll see what comes of that. Probably just more of the blah-blah-blah Mr. Henderson doles out at those press conferences of his. Here are links to the opening statements from the press conferences of March 23rd and the March 30th, offered to us by the good (cough-cough) folks over at Menu Foods on their pet food recall web site.

On March 26th, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) co-authored a letter to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. von Eschenbach, with a 15 day deadline for answers to questions they posed. I appreciate the questions submitted and will be quite interested in seeing what answers Dr. von Eschenbach will have for us all. The more I am learning about the FDA, the more I can’t help but think of FEMA and the like. Our government at work for us, eh? Not.

There other animal welfare groups such as HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), and online source Pet Connection, who are also demanding answers and doing their best to keep this in the news as a top story until changes are made and answers are given.

Of course our biggest ally in demanding answers and change is YOU! You can keep this story in the headlines by contacting your local media, national news sources, your legislators, the FDA, and your State Veterinarian offices. It goes without saying that there are countless news stories out there worthy of attention such as the never ending horrible quagmire in the Middle East, global warming, our education system…I could go on forever. But our pets have no one to speak for them and look out for their best interests, so please continue to remain vigilant with this pet food recall and demand the changes and answers that we, and our pets, deserve.

UPDATE 4/6/07: Click here for a post regarding Senator Durbin’s press release about the U.S. Senate’s oversight hearing on the pet food mess.

OH-MY-GOSH, I am BEYOND addicted to this band!!! And I only heard about The Cat Empire for the first time last week when my TV crush, Craig Ferguson (sigh…drool…), had them on The Late Late Show. Bought “Two Shoes” on iTunes the next morning, and CANNOT stop playing it! Just wish iTunes had all of The Cat Empire CDs available…fingers crossed that will happen soon.

It’s hard to try and fit their music into any particular genre. To me they’re a cross between Sublime, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Common Sense (local SoCal band), Ozomatli, B-Side Players, with a heavy dose of the Buena Vista Social Club ensemble of musicians thrown in for good measure. (They did record “Two Shoes” at the same studio BVSC did in Cuba!) They are a high-energy, body-shaking, positive, up-beat band, with the frosting on the cake being the fact they have brass in their band! Gotta love it! (Well, except for you, Jackson! ;)) I can only imagine the energy created at one of their live performances…can’t wait to find out!

Guess they’re just starting to ‘hit it big’ in the US now with the release of “Two Shoes” stateside. They have been around a few years and according to their web site, have had a couple of tours in the US since May 2005. I was SO incredibly disappointed when I saw that they JUST played one of my favorite venues, The Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA, just ONE FREAKING MONTH AGO!! Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the video of The Cat Empire performing “Sly” on The Late Late Show last week (they also played it on Letterman), and another video, “Days Like These”, that’s bound to put you in a care-free, gorgeous summer day mood (takes about 20 seconds to start). And being the giver that I am, here’s a link to YouTube so you can have a blast discovering their fun, energetic, positive music for yourself. Enjoy!

Additional The Cat Empire-related posts:

Gee, someone who THINKS about the consequences of his words, who SPEAKS from the heart (also seen when he eulogized his father) without regard to ratings, who is willing to BARE his soul and expose his own past frailties (which we all have in one form or another), and who has the ability to still keep his extraordinary sense of HUMOR all along. Whodathunk it? Oh wait, anyone who has been a follower of Craig and his The Late Late Show, isn’t the least bit surprised by this. It is precisely what we’ve come to expect from him. Kudos to you, Craig!

…of your hair before you head out the door. You might not have noticed it dropping today when the blog went over 1,000 hits, but tons of confetti and many balloons DID drop on ya. Yup, that was me. Hey, I’m ALL about the party atmosphere, kids, so let’s see what videos I can dig up on YouTube to celebrate. (Read this all as my way of being swamped with life/school right now, BUT wanting to acknowledge this little milestone. 🙂)

Oh come on, you just KNEW I’d have to go old school on ya and put this one up since it IS a “Celebration”! Hey, we ARE talking old school here–they played at my Grad Nite at Disneyland…along with K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Yup, WAY old school, my dears! Now come on, kick those legs as high up as the band members do. Get a little cardio action going on!

And to get in a tummy work-out from laughing, here’s a little Craig Ferguson for you from the night we were in the audience back in October. Can you tell which laugh is mine? No, it’s not THAT one. 😉

Yes, I think Craig Ferguson (The Late Late Show on CBS) is one of THE funniest things on TV, and most definitely THE funniest late night talk show host. His monologues are, much more often than not (okay, 99.9% of the time!), gems that will have you laughing harder than heck. (You might want to borrow one of those NASA diapers from Lisa Nowak. ;)) His rapport with “big name” stars to the “who in the heck is that?” guest, is down-to-earth, enjoyable to watch, and full of off-the-cuff comments and humor.

I had the opportunity to be in the audience for one of his shows and am pleased to say that Craig is as welcoming with his studio audience as he is with his on-screen guests, spending the break time coming over to chat with us instead of getting primped and coiffed. Watch the show for any length of time and you’ll also see that this is a man whose humor is rivaled not only by his intelligence (he is quite articulate on just about everything!), but also those devilishly handsome good looks! (There, I’ve said it.) Plus, the guy’s a San Diego Chargers fan so OF COURSE he’s got my support. Yup, humor, intelligence, Chargers fan, AND good looks…sigh. 😉

Here are a couple clips of his. The first is called “Bad Hair Day” and is his take on…um…uh…hair. Yeah, that’s it–hair. The second is of him talking about going to his first Chargers game. Enjoy!

***UPDATE: CBS posted a couple more that you MUST watch–they’re hilarious! One is “Playboy Bunny Craig”, the other “When Connery Met Sally” All of these videos, except for the Chargers one, were from the same night. So WHY is it that you aren’t watching the show?!?!***

Sniffin’ out the info

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