Opening for Metronomy at The Fonda Theatre was an award-winning indie alternative rock band from Australia: Cloud Control. This Aussie quartet consisting of Alister Wright, Heidi Lenffer, Ulrigh Lenffer and Jeremy Kelshaw, released their first album, “Bliss Release” to great regional praise. So much critical adoration, in fact, their debut was nominated for two ARIA awards in 2010 for Best Rock Album and Breakthrough Artist, and was the winner of the 6th annual Australian Music Prize, among other accolades. They released their sophomore album, “Cloud Control”, on September 17, 2013, and had been supporting its release with international tours.
As this was my introduction to their music, I went in with open ears and came out a fan. Their performance was solid and their music was rather good. I could definitely understand why they are popular in Australia. Their music definitely has a psychedelic vibe, but it’s more Tame Impala than The Dandy Warhols. Their set had both upbeat dance numbers and mellow “chill-out” cuts, and I found that it was a great setlist. So great, that I even purchased a copy of the their newest album on wax (and got it signed!) after the show.
I always find it interesting when bands have great support in their home countries, but take a while to break out in other territories. I spoke briefly with Heidi (the keyboardist and vocalist) and asked her what her thoughts were about that point. She exclaimed that that’s exactly what they were aiming to impact during this last round international tour dates. She explained that she hoped that touring with Metronomy and sneaking in festival and other performance dates earned them new ears and fans.
Who is Frvnk Freeman (nee Frank Freeman)? I’ve been following his musical efforts for a few years, and I’ve been waiting for his evolution. Maybe we’ve arrived. With his latest album, “The Frvnk Freeman Project”, I heard some music that got my music juices flowing.
It’s been quite a surreal day for me. Yesterday, I took my dog, Samson, to the vet as I noticed he was bleeding from his mouth. The vets noticed a growth on his tongue and diagnosed an Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Cancer. My heart broke. The vets told me that it looked bad and that I should consider getting additional tests and prep him for surgery to at least remove a portion of the growth.
I took Samson back to the vet this morning and signed the papers to have the vets do what they thought needed to be done. At around noon, I get online to check my social media platforms, and notice that a song I’ve been working, “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” by Snoop Lion featuring Miley Cyrus on was making the rounds on Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud, etc. Yes. I work for Snoop.
The song seemed to be getting a good reaction from the interwebs, so my day was picking up.
About an hour later, the vet called me. It turns out the the growth in Samson’s mouth was actually larger than the initial observations. It was down his throat and most likely had already spread throughout my pups chest area. Then the vet broke my heart again when she recommended euthanasia. The vet considered the odds of Samson living pain-free for the next few weeks as close to nil. I lost my shit.
I’ve had family members pass away. It’s not like I haven’t experienced heartache before. But it just seemed a little different this time around.
I remember going to the pound November of 1999 with my then girlfriend looking to adopt a dog. There was a litter of about a dozen chow-mixed pups in a cage and though each one was tumbling over each other to get our attention, I noticed one pup sitting in the corner, looking at me with his beautifully, sad eyes. I immediately pointed him out to the proprietor of the pound and adopted him on the spot. I find out after having adopted him, that the rest of the litter was going to euthanized the coming weekend.
I have to thank girl I was dating then for raising Samson right. She had grown up with dogs of her own, so she was excellent at potty training Samson and teaching him how to be obedient. Really though, Sammy’s always been a mellow pup. I think anybody who has ever had the pleasure of meeting him fell in love with his demeanor, and I’m sure she’s partly responsible for how awesome Samson is.
It’s been 13 years with Samson. As cliche as it sounds, he’s always been there for me. Even when he was living with my parents while I was in law school, he’d always be waiting at the gate to my parent’s back yard each weekend when I came to stay with the folks. He was always there to console me when I had bad news that I didn’t necessarily want to share with my friends. He’s warded off animals attacking me. He’s helped me meet cute girls. He’s just always been there. And now, I’m torn with the thought that I’ll have to make a decision about euthanizing him soon.
13 has always been my lucky number. I was born on the 13th. Friday the 13ths always seem to be good to me. I feel like I should resent the number now since it’s become the number of years I’ve been able to have Samson at my side.
I’ll have a few days to figure this all out. I’m hoping that Samson beats whatever odds are against him, and I’m still trying to hope for the best. I’ve never had to make this kind of decision before and it’s really making me lose it, and though I just wish I could write about how great Snoop’s newest song is, which it definitely is, I felt the need to editorialize this post with what’s happened to me today. Life is trying to tell me something, and I hope I get to figure it out sooner rather than later.
For everybody that’s ever met Samson, please say a few doggy prayers for him.
[Verse 1: Snoop Lion]
Tonight there’s gonna be a whole lot of smoke in the air
Blow it hard for the ones who ain’t here
Seems like every day we putting one six feet underground
What goes up must come down
[Hook: Miley Cyrus]
Now my buzz is gone, I need to re-up on reality
Can’t let me see them me weak I need to pause on it
Is there any possibility that everyone feels like me
Ashtrays and hearbreaks
I lost some, let’s toast one
So put ’em high, and tell ’em this
You gonna aim, but you never missed
Ashtrays and heartbreaks
I lost some, let’s toast one
So raise a glass to the memories
Set ’em free and fill up all those ashtrays
I’m gonna fill up all those ashtrays
[Verse 2: Snoop Lion]
Tomorrow when you wake up and realise life ain’t fair
Throw it back and make the whole world disappear
You never miss what you had, until it’s gone
When it’s right, something will always go wrong
UPDATE: My dog, Samson, passed away April 18, 2013. May his beautiful soul rest in peace.